“The Traveler will go. The Traveler will fall. The Traveler is not the only one of its kind. The Hive are not the last to be chosen by the Traveler.” A game of two truths and two lies played at the Altar of Reflection in the world of Savathun’s Throne in Destiny 2 has left us with these clues about the Traveler, the giant orb-shaped machine that has been at the heart of the series of games from Bungie since its very beginning. Eight years into the Destiny story, we still have more questions than answers about the Light and its travel machine.
Destiny 1 established early on that the Traveler is the savior of mankind, a universal good, a benevolent pious entity who only gives. When he arrived on Mars hundreds of years before the game’s opening scene, he gave humanity knowledge and hope that spread throughout the solar system. Now he watches in silence, hovering over the Last City, making it difficult to see his intentions – and the Vanguard characters seem as uninformed as the players. We understand the tenacity and ferocity of the Darkness, of the Witness, and the exhaustive history of increasingly powerful enemies – chasing the Light for eons. There are still deadly dangers to come in the Lightfall expansion based on the final Witch Queen cutscene – but the Traveler’s origins, nature, and motivations are unclear.
The Dark Fleet and the Witness are positioned as the antithesis of the Traveler, which leads to more questions about the Traveler, since we know so much about the enemy’s intentions. Are the Guardians the Disciples of the Traveler, or does this machine have similarities that make it parallel to the Dark Fleet? Destiny has had years of meticulous stories, from seasons to major expansions, delving into relationships with grief and loss, alien invasions, redemption, and many other themes. Although Light and Darkness are at the heart of most of these stories, the Traveler himself remains enigmatic.
What we know of the Traveler is a bit suspect, with much of its backstory coming from a lore book told from the perspective of Darkness called “Unveiling”. This book details what is apparently the creation of the Destiny universe. Anterior to time and space, the Clear (Gardener) and Darkness (Winner) played a little game of tag, the gardener cultivating a varied life, and the winnower weeding out all but the strongest of that life. By these rules, the Winnower was destined to win, as any seeds grown by the Gardener were either destroyed or still the same ruthless, survival-oriented kind of life. Fed up, the Gardener refused to follow this pattern, which then gave birth to the universe – well, that’s what players have been told so far.
The Traveler and Pyramid ships are physical representations of the paracasual forces of Light and Darkness and still follow their game of cat and mouse: the Traveler bestows his gifts on civilizations across space, the Witness and his henchmen annihilate them, and the Traveler flees. in order to survive – as he did with the Eliksni on their homeworld Riis, leaving them to fend for themselves. However, the witness has a contradictory perspective. Referencing the Traveler, the Witness said in the Witch Queen’s final cutscene, “The Children of Sol cry out for salvation. You promised them life but delivered only death. As you did for so many others before.”
The Traveler’s timeline on Earth begins with Savathun. According to Basic Knowledge of Ghost Shells, Savathun has visited Earth, perhaps with the intention of luring the Traveler with a song to where the last city is. During the collapse caused by the Dark Fleet, Savathun tricked the witness into the Traveler’s location to protect him. After the collapse, the traveler stood up against the alien danger by creating ghosts with his husk. Centuries later, the sleeping traveler awoke breaking his husk to get out of the cage placed by the Red Legion. Prior to the launch of Destiny 2 Beyond Light, the Traveler healed itself, returning to its spherical, pearly state, and at the start of The Witch Queen expansion, the Traveler began making new moves.
The Witch Queen dove deep into the lore of darkness and gave players pieces of Traveler’s story to piece together themselves. A cutscene tapping into Savathun’s memory through dark artifacts showed how the Witness lied to Savathun to lure her and her siblings to the dark side.
There was something about this cutscene that was easy to miss and could provide some context about the traveler. In the cutscene, the circles at the bottom of the traveler had a sacred geometry symbol inspired by the Seed of Life representing creation. Interestingly in Curse of Osiris, the concentric dawn sparrow shared a quote from Ikora, saying, “Study the sacred geometry of light and life. It is logical that the Traveler represents creation since it is the Gardener who plants his seeds before the Winnower harvests. The Witch Queen’s alternate reality game Ikora’s Circles legend book shares a passage explaining her theory that light represents grace, while darkness is memory – essentially saying that grace helps escape the cycle of violence , but memory allows you to remember the pain to protect yourself in the future.
In The hidden folder lore, Ikora explains that the Traveler chose to give humanity Ghosts because “the Traveler just couldn’t bear to give up another infantile possibility. So he chose an unreasonable act of grace.” Talking to Misraaks, Ikora says that although the Traveler abandoned the Eliksni when the Darkness arrived, they managed to survive and live without any responsibility to the Traveler, but humanity can die in the Solar System because she is trapped in the Traveler’s cosmic war zone, fighting to defend it.
She then asks her own questions about the Traveler: “Why then does he choose species to ascend in the first place? Why doom Eliksni or humans to a confrontation with Darkness? Perhaps he won’t let the Darkness forcing him to abandon his goal. Maybe he doesn’t value longevity the way we do; maybe he values a short, bright existence more than a long, ordinary one. I don’t know. Players are equally uncertain of the answers to these questions, even after spending many years under the light of the traveler.
From what we know of Destiny’s long history, the traveler is well-meaning but unfortunate. Seeing that the Traveler helped create a golden age for Earth and the Eliksni – other creations of the Traveler such as the Gift Mast, the Leviathan and the Ahamkara are mentioned in the Books of Sorrow– and did not create an army of Light until the eleventh hour, it seems that the fight was not his main intention. The Witness, on the other hand, is a child of darkness who seeks the final form – also the name of Destiny 2’s Year 7 expansion – where the Dark Fleet can lead the universe into nothingness. Players collected symbols from the Vow of the Disciple raid, which revealed a potential prophecy that the witness wants to commune with the traveler and drink the light to kill something – the last frame is blank, leaving the purpose of the witness up to interpretation .
There is a wall in the raid (between the guardian and the exposition encounter) where you have a chance to get a symbol.
You need crowd source to fill all symbols.
It tells a prophecy if you use the official captions!
Prophecy below ⬇️ 1/2
— Matt (@myelingames) March 8, 2022
Bungie presented warnings of a dark future through the lore of Exo Stranger and the dangers of another collapse with the impending Dark Fleet. Yet the exact role of the Traveler in this situation and his general motivations remain a mystery. Players have spent years protecting the Traveler by slaying the Black Heart in Destiny 1, dealing with the Red Legion in Destiny 2, stopping Savathun in The Witch Queen, and now preparing for the Black Heart’s next attack. Fleet. In The Witch Queen, however, we saw the Traveler choose to give his power to Savathun and the Hive – essentially rewarding our most fearsome and genocidal foes with the same gifts he bestowed on humanity. After the Traveler chooses the Hive and doesn’t retaliate when Savathun takes him to his throne world at the end of the expansion’s campaign, it raises questions about the Traveler’s intentions, but the game doesn’t. did not provide enough information about the traveler to form solid theories. Everything about the traveler is quite open. However, it’s interesting to see characters finally share their doubts about the Traveler – long revered as a divine savior of mankind – such as Saladin whispering to the Tower, “What if the Traveler wasn’t what we thought it was?”
The Traveler used non-verbal communication in-game, but information about this machine is still so scarce – so far it has directly communicated by showing Guardians visions of birds flying towards its Shards in the EDZ or the Light on Io. Yet the Traveler is clandestine and a recurring excuse to fight – a fanciful MacGuffin. He’s healed, awakened, repaired, attacked the darkness creeping into the solar system, and expanded his shadow army to include the hive over the past few years in Destiny 2, but that doesn’t convey much- thing.
The characteristics of darkness and the dark fleet are explicitly defined in the game, and players have encountered many forms of darkness. Curiosity about this pearly machine has lingered in the minds of players since the beginning of Destiny, even now with Lightfall on the way, the game’s lore and history provide inconclusive theories about the traveler. Bungie is keeping the next expansion a secret, though the Lightfall Showcase Teaser hints that the story will be traveler-centric, and the showcase can give players information about the plot and upcoming seasonal stories. Hopefully, Bungie wants to finally tell us something about this enigmatic entity – or at the very least, give us an idea of which Savathun claims are lies and which are truths. Destiny 2’s story could really use it.
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