The Nine in D1 vs The Nine in D2

The title is not necessarily indicative of the body and intent of the post, so bear with me please.

That aside, I felt it might be an appropriate time to discuss how we understood the Nine described in Destiny 1’s Grimoire Card Legends: 2 (link) and how we understand them now, following the revelations of Destiny 2 Year 1, Season of the Drifter, and Season of Opulence. I’ve been a rabid fan of Destinys lore and longtime appreciator of the Ishtar Collective and the work done by its staff. Without their work, I would not have the command of the lore that I do today and it is largely thanks to the staff of this site that this post is possible. Now, to the discussion.

In Destiny 1, the Nine were nothing more than the motivator for Xur, the so called “Agent of the Nine.” No one knew from where he came, or for whom he worked. All that was known was Xur sold exotics for his own currency and that he would, from time to time, say odd little phrases such as “my will is not my own” which hinted to a higher, controlling power to which Xur answered. Then came the release/discovery of the Legends: 2-Nine G.Card that shed some light onto the nature of the Nine. However, upon reading this not so helpful piece of literature, many were left with more questions than when they started, including myself. One line mentioned that “The Nine are survivors of the cis-Jovian colonies who made a compact with an alien force to ensure their own survival” which sounds suspiciously similar to the Awoken. Another that “The Nine arrived in a mysterious transmission from the direction of the Corona-Borealis supercluster” and yet another that “The Nine is a viral language of pure meaning.” These combined with the statements that the Nine are Deep-Orbit Warminds, Ghosts, and the firstborn Awoken did little more than spark debate and confusion. After all, how can a singular be a multitude? Even more enigmatic was made their nature and form when HoW was released and we were given a look into the placation of The Nine by Mara Sov: “'More of your brother’s Crows have entered the Cauldrons of Rhea.” The Witch directly before her spoke with a dry buzz. “The Nine do not approve.”’ Here we are given a physical Region The Nine hold as valuable, but are not told why they hold it so or even where the Cauldrons of Rhea may be found. Closely following these events is the release of Skolas (The Quenns gift to The Nine) described in Mystery: Fate of Skolas. Arguably one of the Queens most important prisoners, let go with nothing more than “…‘the Queen sent you to the Nine, and they wish you sent back.’” Throughout the game, we are given no reason to see The Nine as unpredictable and even dangerous entities that can neither been seen nor touched, unless you are perhaps the Awoken Queen or one of Her “Tech Witches.” Thus, The Nine passed into obscurity for the rest of Destiny 1, with no more mention of the enigmatic beings in item, transcript, or lore.

That, of course, changed in Destiny 2 with the introduction of The Trials of the Nine, extended by their “new” agent The Emissary. In addition to the lore concerning The Nine attached to their weapons and armor, a new face and purpose were given to The Nine. No longer were they content to simply watch the random events of our solar system and its alien visitor, now they wished to equip and facilitate Guardian on Guardian combat and learn how to make us die. Later, it was revealed that they did not only encourage us to participate in war games against each other but actively sabotaged our early warning systems and allowed Gaul to snuff out thousands of Lights across the system. After their Trials ended and their weapons and armor examined, still our questions were left unfulfilled. In some aspects, they spoke in manners which suggested they were lost Children of the Traveler, in others they were a mind akin to the Deep-Orbit Warminds of our Golden Age. Not until the Drifter arrived and Cayde-6 fell did we obtain a truer understanding of The Nine; an understanding obtained by wresting the secrets the Drifter held close and, for some, violating the trust we had forged with him, or The Vanguard. Finally, we learned that these enigmatic observers and upstart meddlers were neither Ghost nor Warmind nor Ancient Awoken. Indeed, they are what might be called giaconsciousnesses, or sentiences born from the combined life of a world or system or galaxy. We learned that their existence was bound to our Sun and its planets and that some were willing to risk their entire existence and ours to discover how to exist without matter-life. No longer were The Nine mysterious benefactors cloaked in the guise of indifferent regard, now they were as small children discovering, to their horror, that existence as they know it will end once their progenitor/s leave them and let loose in the biolab of our Universe to figure out a way to either create life, guard it from death, or to take the power needed to define their existence outside of it.

This is how my understanding has developed. Please, feel encouraged to add your experience to the thread or any insights you have formed that differ from mine.

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