The Dreadnaught has many functions and was initially created to protect Oryx’s throne world and lines of tribute. However some Guardians may notice the numerous prison cells and torture devices that line the inside of the Dreadnaught.
In the deepest, darkest corner, the Sunless Cell houses the Dreadnaught’s most notorious captive, Alak-Hul, the Darkblade.
This is myelin games and I hope you enjoy this latest Destiny lore episode on Alak-Hul, the Darkblade.
The earliest records of Alak-Hul appear to be when the Darkblade defeated the Titan, Vell Tarlowe. The item description for the Darkblade helm, confirms that Alak-Hul was involved with Tarlowe’s defeat. It reads, “Alak-Hul, the Darkblade, is laid low. And thus Vell Tarlowe is avenged.”- Eris Morn.
Vell Tarlowe belonged to the Titan order the Pilgrim Guard, as confirmed in the Duskrender Type 0 guantlets, “Vell Tarlowe was still a new Guardian when he joined the Titan Order of the Pilgrim Guard”. The Pilgrim Guard were one of the four Titan orders that defended the first refugees of the City as they gathered below the Traveler. They were more prominently known for defending the City at the Battle of Six Fronts.
Prior to the release of the Taken King DLC, Vell Tarlowe was always thought to have been defeated by Verok, a Hive Wizard, not the Darkblade. However, there was also conflicting information with this original story. In Vanilla Destiny, the Titan body out the front of the Temple of Crota, was thought to have been Vell Tarlowe. This is because of the Titan mark, Mark of the Duskborn, which reads,
“We called her Verok; it was her and her Thrall that finally overwhelmed him.”- Eris.
Many speculated that the reference to “Him” was a reference to Vell Tarlowe. This is because when you enter the Temple of Crota, you find a Wizard called Vurok, Eir Spawn and the Ghost Fragment: Hive 2 card. The Ghost Fragment Hive cards document Eris Morn’s fireteam and Eris Morn’s fireteam only had one Titan, so considering we found the Ghost Fragment Hive 2 card in close proximity to the Titan body, guarded by a wizard named Verok, it was logical to conclude that the Titan at the front of the Temple was Vell Tarlowe.
However, even in Vanilla Destiny there was some conflicting information. The in-game name of the Wizard is spelt differently, it is spelt as Vurok, with a ‘u’ not Verok. Many put this down to being a typo and that the Titan body was still thought to be Vell Tarlowe. BUT on August 7th 2015, Game Informer published an interview with Luke Smith, where this was said,
“Was the dead Guardian in the first mission on the moon part of Eris’ fireteam?” “No”.
To summarise my thoughts on this, I think it was a confusing coincidence that the Titan body was at the Temple of Crota and there was a Hive Wizard with a similar name to Verok. I think that the Mark of the Duskborn does reference Verok as playing a role in killing Vell Tarlowe, however the Titan we see on the moon is not Vell. The reason why I think this is because the Hive Wizard Verok is spoken about in the Sunless Cell mission and is referred to being the Darkblade’s mate. So potentially, Verok and the Darkblade killed Vell Tarlowe together.
I assume that sometime after killing Vell Tarlowe and the events of Eris Morn’s fireteam, Alak-Hul attempted to take Oryx’s throne. The Hive do not distinguish between war and love, and as such, some creatures of the Hive strain against the Will of Oryx. Alak-Hul was one such Hive that fought to overthrow Oryx and claim the mantle. Alak-Hul was even considered as a son to Oryx, as the Darkblade grimoire card refers to him as Oryx’s foster son. In addition, Eris Morn also refers to him as Prince.
However, it appears that something happened to break this bond between Alak-Hul and Oryx. It may in fact have been related to the Hive Wizard Verok. In the Sunless Cell mission, your Ghost asks why Alak-hul rose against Oryx, Eris responds with
“The Wizard Verok was his mate. He slew a legion of Thralls in her name. Marched on the King’s throne, at the head of an army built on hate and pain.”
The mission ends with
“The creatures of the Hive are treacherous, vicious. But they can still fall to infighting, to petty distractions of the flesh.”
It sounds like Alak-hul fell in love, distracted by the flesh and you have to wonder whether something happened to Verok, which encouraged Alak-hul to start the rebellion, this is why it refers to an army built on hate and pain, however most Hive armies would be built on hate and pain. Alternatively alak-hul may have been trying to impress Verok.
Either way, Alak-Hul understands the bargain with the worms, the Sword logic and that to harness the power of the Deep he must take what he wants. This is demonstrated in the, The Darkblade grimoire card where Alak-hul says
“Oryx gave me no task. Therefore I must task myself with Oryx’s ending.”
This is very similarly to how Oryx speaks to the worm god Akka in the Book of Sorrows, Verse 3:8 – King of Shapes. Oryx says
“You give nothing. Giving is for the Sky. You worship the Deep, which asks that we take what we need, but you gave us your larvae, the worm, and that is why the worm devours us now: because it was given, not taken. So I must take what I need from you, although you are my god.”
You can see why Alak-Hul was a prime candidate for the Taken Throne as he understands that true power of the Deep comes from taking what they need. As seen in the item description of the Darkblade’s Spite, Alak-Hul challenged Oryx in the way of the Hive, however he failed. He was then imprisoned on the Dreadnaught in the Sunless Cell.
This brings us to the present day. After we complete the final mission Regicide and defeat Oryx, Eris is concerned that Alak-Hul will replace Oryx. The Quest line reads,
“Move swiftly. With Oryx incapacitated, Alak-Hul is a prime candidate to assume the Taken throne.”- Eris Morn.
So we embark upon the strike mission to defeat the Darkblade and in the words of Eris prevent another Prince from rising. The strike mission itself has a lot of lore in it, which was revealed during the Dreadnaught Bungie livestream ride along.
For example, these containers here are actually prison cells and contain the Hive’s enemies as well as I assume any Hive looking to betray Oryx. They also appear in a number of PvP maps, like in the Cauldron. Have a look up in the areas on lateral parts of the map and you will see many, many Hive prison cells.
As we enter the Next Room, we encounter a large device in the centre of the room. You can see that it also contains prison cells. During the Bungie live stream they revealed that this is a torture device, where the captives are constantly spun. Thccis comes as no surprise, as the Hive are known for torturing their enemies, Omar Agar, another member of Eris Morn’s fireteam is a prime example of this. At first this device looks relatively small, however, there are some clues later in the strike, that this could house many many captives, all being tortured at the same time.
As we progress in the strike, you can see that these large containers have a similar appearance to the top of the device we just saw, maybe when we see this torture device we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg.
Another interesting design of this room, is this object; once again during the livestream, this object is revealed as the Warden, a sentient being that guards the prison cells. Unfortunately, I could not find any more information on this, however still very interesting.
You may have noticed that as we go deeper into the Dreadnaught, the strike mission uses a portion of the same pathway during the final campaign mission where we confront Oryx. I do not think it is a coincidence, that Oryx placed Alak-Hul’s prison cell, so close to his portal within the Dreadnaught. Oryx kept Alak-Hul, a potential successor to the Throne close to him, so he could monitor him and ensure he did not escape and take his throne.
The final step that Oryx took to ensure that Alak-Hul did not escape was the three wardens of Oryx. Adleg, Heolstor, Thracu which we meet when trying to obtain the exotic swords.
With Alak- Hul defeated, the question is who is the next successor to the Taken Throne? What will happen when a vacancy opens, when Oryx is defeated in the raid and there is no Hive to take his place.
Thank you for watching, I hope you enjoyed this latest Destiny lore episode. If you would like to support the channel and cannot think of a comment, you can leave the words, Hive Booty, to acknowledge the Darkblade’s distraction by the flesh, which may have encouraged the rebellion, arrr, the things men do for love. As usual, it has been a pleasure, this myelin games. Peace.