The Resource Grind: The Cabal’s Fight for Survival


Why are the Cabal in our solar system? This has remained an unanswered question for many lore theorists. The Hive are chasing the Traveler and its Light; Fallen want the Great Machine to return to them; The Vex are trying to insert themselves into space and time; what is the Cabal’s motive for being here?

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at


I hadn’t considered the possibility that their original goals were to mine Relic iron. That is a very good point.


very well said, my friend. I agree on your thoughts about their original motivation for coming to our solar system. I don’t think we know enough about the cabal to even speculate what they may be fleeing from.
I struggle with the dying home world theory, it is just hard to convince myself that with how powerful the cabal are and how coordinated they are. They could pretty much make any planet their own. My speculation is that the cabal are more so on a “campaign” of some sort. I think we will get a much better view of these things in D2. It is fun to theorize what the “campaign” may be though. I think it will definitely be something to do with resources. It must paint a bigger picture than what we know now.


Good theory, makes sense.


Yo Captain Kex, I LOVE YOU MAN!
That post was AMAZING!
It was such a joy to read and I’d love to read more of your work, your theory’s logic is impeccable and it does seem very possible that the Cabal’s focus was resources.
However, doesn’t that mean they have to send resources BACK to the empire?
We’ve never had confirmation that the Cabal are still able to travel back to their system.
I’m open to replies!


To add on, we also see the Cabal drill sites and whatnot on Nessus from the Inverted Spire.


Given how little we know about the Cabal, this post really ties together the information we do have nicely! The information about natural resources was also very illuminating, as well as being something that doesn’t often get discussed. However, I do think that the Cabal’s discovery of the Risen happened before the Guardian broke through the Exclusion Zone. From Ghost Fragment: Titan-

/ Cabal move slowly. We’ve got time.
/ But the Warlocks have had a vision.
/ Yes. That new one, what’s her name. Ingora?
/ Ikora.
/ She’s always been hasty. I’ve faced these Cabal before. I know 'em like I know my own armor.

Holborn’s Host has been active for longer than Ikora has been Vanguard, meaning that (if Ikora was Osiris’ immediate successor) the Hosts have been on Mars since at least the City Age. The existence of Blind Watch also implies that there was a Guardian presence on Mars before the vanilla campaign:

The Blind Watch was once a clandestine Guardian outpost on the outskirts of Freehold, used to monitor Cabal activity in and around the Buried City. After the Cabal consolidated their forces nearer their fortified Exclusion Zone, the site was reclaimed by the Crucible as a combat training ground.

Overall, I do think that the Cabal came to our solar system for resources, and ended up in the middle of the Vex and humanity. However, the Cabal’s attrition war has presumably gone on for much longer than the events of Destiny One, which certainly leaves room for more speculation as to why the Cabal didn’t send in the calvary sooner. All in all, this was a great post!


Don’t forget, there’s that legend of the Hunter and Warlock putting aside their differences and fighting off the Cabal in what was supposedly the City’s first encounter with them.


To me, the ending of that card calls into question the authenticity of that story. I almost feel as though this is just a fairy tale that Guardians tell each other.


Indeed. However nearly all stories have a basis in fact, so it is likely two of the earliest Guardians first discovered the Cabal when they installed recovered NLS tech on their ships (or ship?) and flew to Mars because it was the literal Library of Alexandria for the Golden Age and had to fight together for survival before flying back home.

Bracus Tho’ourg was likely the first Cbal commander these two hypothetical Guardians faced in the story.


I’m totally convinced by your argument regarding the importance of relic iron but I’m not convinced that the Cabal stumbled upon Guardians without prior knowledge of the Traveler and the power of the Light. Luke Smith told us that Ghaul had previous knowledge of the Traveler and believes he was the rightful recipient of its gifts. It also seems unlikely that a species could be diligent and resourceful enough to discover relic iron on Mars without realizing that much of the solar system had been terraformed by a giant magic golf ball and there are light-wielding zombies running around all over the place. Sure, it is clear from the Grimoire that low-level Cabal officers were surprised by guardians, but high-level strategies would not likely be shared with front-line scouting and mining units.

It seems more likely to me that Ghaul sent the scouting and mining detachments specifically to prepare for the invasion of the city and the capture of the Traveler.


I agree with Cpt. Kex.
About your Ghaul point: Ghaul is in Destiny 2, we are talking about the FIRST contact with the Cabal.
Furthermore about Ghaul, I believe he only recently became emperor of the Cabal empire.


I realize Ghaul is in Destiny 2, but through various interviews Luke Smith has implied that he has had a knowledge of the Traveler for a while. Also we don’t really know what it means to say something happened recently with respect to the Cabal. Time is relative for different species within Destiny and we don’t have any knowledge yet of Cabal life-spans. For example, something that happened 1,000 years ago to the Hive would be considered recent in their history but would be considered ancient history to humans. Point being, Ghaul’s ascension to become emperor may be considered recent to the Cabal but that doesn’t really tell us how long ago it happened.

Furthermore, if the original goal was only to extract relic iron, then it doesn’t match the known tactics of the cabal to only send a small detachment. This is an empire of vast resources and if they only wanted to mine some relic iron they would likely send in a huge contingent, get the iron, then move on. I am even more skeptical they would engage in an attrition war with the Vex just for relic iron. The Cabal don’t do attrition, they go big. They will destroy planets for just being in their way. For them to keep small detachments on Mars engaging in skirmishes with the Vex must mean they’re biding their time for something bigger.


Perhaps they did go smaller, expecting this to go quickly once all resistance was washed away (after all, the Darkness did devastate much of humanity’s defenses and people), and discovered they had awoken the Vex and were forced to bring in more detachments and then the Guardians showed up and the Cabal realized this was no shell-shocked star system but a system now embroiled in war.


That seems entirely possible but still suggests they knew about humanity. For them to believe that all resistance has been washed away, they would need to know the potential for resistance in the first place. This means realizing that the Traveler had powers which allowed it/us to resist.


You make a good point!
But thay still doesn’t prove they knew about guardians “from the get-go”.


Maybe theCabal are fleeing from the Darkness. As I said in a different post, the Hive have attacked the Cabal Empire once and succeeded. Who knows? Maybe Oryx’s siblings attacked. After all, Eris has left to go fight them, so they are a major threat to anyone.


i just realised that there is a dicussion for each errata. i am so sorry for not replying to you people :frowning: thank you for all your comments, i will take some time to read them through and reply!


i´d agree with the new information, but nothing really has surfaced to tell us what they are fleeing from. perhaps D2 campaign wiill teach us more


thank you so much :slight_smile: we do know that they can travel one way, and nothing suggests they cant travel in the opposite direction. Perhaps the mining is just for this region, to establish a foothold? i think Ghaul ruined whatever plans were once in place though :slight_smile: