The Tree in the Garden with Silver Wings


#1

The Tree in the Garden with Silver Wings

The tree in the Garden with silver wings. The air around it is oppressive and inspires violence in those who even breathe a little in. Shards of the disastrous bark peel from it and litter the ground, and nothing grows in its shadow. It scintillates faintly at dusk. It has achieved its entelechy with every body falling, every civilization laid to waste, every leaf forged into instruments of ruin.

The Gardener is hard to bother; she is constantly amidst her weeds, kneeling in the tangent dust, gloves covered in a mix of distant soils and metallic saps. She is listening to the music of the insects amidst the flowers, the unguent as it begins to drip from the ferns, the slight scratch of the Worm beneath, and not to you, and certainly not to your cries for help.
Mk. 44 Stand-Asides

I’m going to put forth an interpretation for the above lore entry. So here goes…

The tree in the Garden with silver wings.
Mk. 44 Stand-Asides

We know from the reveal stream that the simulation towers that we see in the Infinite Forest are what the Vex consider a tree. New Stories to Tell Archive 37:00 mark So within this garden lies a tree/simulation/timeline.

Now, moving on to the Garden. What is a garden? A conventional definition states that a garden is:

A piece of ground, often near a house, used for growing flowers, fruit, or vegetables.

Lord Saladin once described the universe itself as a cosmic garden

Every world begins as a big pebble lost among trillions of pebbles. Every worthy sun was once cold hydrogen spread thin across the vacuum. Even the universe, this cosmic garden that surrounds us and awes us…
Ghost Fragment: Abilities

Osiris once described the fruit growing in the Infinite Forest.

I see infinity.

An infinity of possible worlds, so perfectly simulated as to be indistinguishable from the experiences I once called “reality.” I can touch them, taste them, pass lifetimes in them! They grow within this machine like fruit upon a tree—no, a forest of trees, its fractal expansion nigh unmeasurable.
Kairos Function

We all know that a garden of trees is referred to an an orchard, and in fact derives from the same latin word hortus. Though the Infinite Orchard doesn’t sound very menacing.

So we see that a garden can mean many things. What we can determine from the original line is that the Garden here is a proper noun. And so whatever it refers to is a specific place, a specific garden. For the purposes of this discussion I’m going to propose that it means the Infinite Orchard…sorry, Forest.

But I can see the case for the Black Garden and may try to address that alternate theory in another post. Some might immediately jump to the conclusion that it is referring to the Black Garden that we know. But I would point out:

Let’s go back and read the first sentence again.

The tree in the Garden with silver wings.

This particular tree has silver wings. Panoptes, Infinite Mind is endowed with silver wings.

An aside: It is interesting to note that both Oryx and Panoptes, essentially gods in their spheres each have wings. On angels, wings are often seen to symbolize the protection of God and his care, as well as the ability to travel from one plane of existence to another. In Destiny these both seem appropriate as Panoptes protects, cares and traverses the Forest’s realities, and Oryx “protects and cares” for species by perfecting their will and traverses the ascendant Realm.

We have the mention of a tree, a Garden, and silver wings…i.e a timeline, a specific place, and Panoptes. The Infinite Forest, as I see it, is this specific location. My interpretation of the above line is “The timeline in the Infinite Forest with Panoptes.

The air around it is oppressive and inspires violence in those who even breathe a little in.

The tree/simulation/timeline with silver wings is the one wherein Panoptes achieves the Vex’s convergence. When looking at it from the Infinite Forest from within the game, we do truly see that the air around it is chaotic and a sense of violence surrounds the trunk. New Stories to Tell Archive 37:00 mark

Shards of the disastrous bark peel from it and litter the ground, and nothing grows in its shadow.

Sometimes “As a tree grows, the layer of bark thickens and the old, dead bark falls off” This tree/simulation/timeline is growing and it’s shadow is darkness. Pujari once said:

The Garden grows in both directions. It grows into tomorrow and yesterday.
Legend: The Black Garden

I believe this tree also grows in both directions, like all things with the Vex. It grows into the past and the future, and it starts to cover the rest of the timelines in its shadow. Eventually it will grow large enough that it’s shadow will cover all, and no other timelines will be possible.

It scintillates faintly at dusk. It has achieved its entelechy with every body falling, every civilization laid to waste, every leaf forged into instruments of ruin.

Entelechy means “the realization of potential”. With every body and civilization crushed by the bark and every new leaf and branch formed, this tree realizes it’s purpose.

The Gardener is hard to bother; she is constantly amidst her weeds, kneeling in the tangent dust, gloves covered in a mix of distant soils and metallic saps. She is listening to the music of the insects amidst the flowers, the unguent as it begins to drip from the ferns, the slight scratch of the Worm beneath, and not to you, and certainly not to your cries for help.

Who is the Gardener? On the surface, Panoptes seems a viable candidate. But you say, we just said Panoptes was in the tree/simulation/timeline. And that is true. But his presence in the first sentence was merely to establish which tree we were talking about. The subject of the first paragraph was the tree.

The subject of the second paragraph is the Gardener. The careful cultivator of the dark future. You might say that Panoptes in Greek mythology was a male, this refers to a female. That’s true. But we are also talking about a Vex mind here, Vex don’t have genders and not everything maps 1:1 from the source material.

The Vex have no hope. No imagination, no drive, no fear. All they have is the pattern. Everything must fit. If it can be made to fit, good. If it can’t, it gets cut away.
Paradox Daily

The descriptions of a gardener weeding out unproductive elements seem to fit nicely with Panoptes, who traverses the simulations deleting those things seen as unhelpful.

And what does the rest refer to?

She is listening to the music of the insects amidst the flowers, the unguent as it begins to drip from the ferns, the slight scratch of the Worm beneath, and not to you, and certainly not to your cries for help.

They are all representations of the elements and parameters that Panoptes has to work with. The civilizations, people, and things affecting the desired outcome.

Aside: It’s interesting that the reference is to insects, unguent (a greasy lubrication), and the Worm. Fallen, Cabal, and Hive.

But the gardener is not listening to humanity, and certainly not our cries for help.

The Vex won’t spare the City. They won’t even thank you.
Paradox Daily

And so there you have it. My interpretation of what the Mk. 44 Stand-Asides are talking about. Let me know what you think in the comments!


#2

On the topic of a “gardener”, there are a lot if references elsewhere in the lore, though not always with a capital G.

In Ghost Fragment: Mysteries, Rasputin describes the events of the Collapse and refers to the Traveler as “the gardener”.

IT is alone and IT is strong and IT won. Even over the gardener and she held power beyond me but the gardener did not shrug and make herself alone. IT always wins.

“IT” being, of course, the Darkness. He also makes the distinction of referring to the Traveler as female.

Perhaps in support of your theory that this is not the Black Garden we’re talking about, it could be Mercury.

Legends say that Mercury was once a garden world.

The Traveler was the force that terraformed Mercury before the Vex turned it into a machine planet - the “gardener” of a “garden world.”

Personally, I think your Panoptes theory is on the right track, but there’s so many gardens and gardeners, it’s worth putting everything on the table for curiosity.


#3

I agree. I’ve started another write up focusing on the gardens and gardeners in general. There’s so much there that needs exploring.


#4

This is also describing the same thing that the Ruin Wings exotic from d1 has in it’s description

“In the Garden grows a tree of silver wings. The leaves are ruin, the bark disaster. Of the seeds we do not speak.”

the Mk. 44 Stand-Asides certainly bears a similarity to the Ruin Wings


#5

It’s interesting that the Ruin Wings describe the tree as “a tree OF silver wings” instead of “with silver wings”. We will need to wait for Bungie to eventually, as I assume they will, add the Ruin Wings to Destiny 2 and see if they change the text. The Mk. 44’s led me to Panoptes, but when I read “tree of silver wings” I imagine something different. Like a conflux growing in the Black Garden with branches of silver.


#6

Savathun (with the little dash, i just dont know how to type it) is know as a “gardener”

Ruin wings also. cus ya know they talk about a silver tree, and they are called wings, and are silver. Ruin wings also have the same style as the Mk. 44 Stand-Asides.

Great article btw. obviously took a lot of time


#7

“I met IT at the gate of the garden and I recall IT smiled at me before before IT devoured the blossoms with black flame and pinned their names across the sky.”-Ghost fragment: Mysteries 1 (same card)

What would “I met IT at the gate of the garden” mean then? I immediately think of Vex cause you know, vex gates, and all their garden stuff. But the garden is something the gardener changes to their will, so why would the place of the traveler’s creation have a gate to the darkness?

Would the ‘blossoms’ be the other warminds or human society’s on other planets? Rasputin referred to the other warminds as “my brothers and sisters”, but if he is talking about other human civilizations he wouldn’t be ‘alone’ because there is the reef.

‘Blossoms’ come before the fruit. A ‘fruit’ by Osiris’s terms (when describing the trees in the infinite forest) is a alternative timeline the vex are simulating. But the darkness devoured them?

I don’t see any way the traveler could be the ‘gardener’ because it seems everything relating to the gardens, forests, or anything that is plant like, is created by the vex.
We know that one of the big themes in Destiny lore is ‘the creator and the created’. Personally because of this i believe Savathûn would be the gardener just because she is the one who put the vex into our world, is female, and the hive are the closest represontation to the Darkness that exists, at least that we know of. But that is pure speculation from me.

We really just need to figure what the ‘garden’ and ‘gardener’ mean. (which btw is another example of creator and created)


#8

It’s highly unlikely that the Gardener referred to in Ghost Fragment: Mysteries is Savathun. In this card, Rasputin says:

IT is alone and IT is strong and IT won. Even over the gardener and she held power beyond me but the gardener did not shrug and make herself alone. IT always wins.

We know from Ghost Fragment: Rasputin 4 that what Rasputin calls IT is the Darkness. In this card, he says that the person he is talking to is “not one of IT [the flower eater, the queen of final shapes, that which also inhabits its petitioners]”. The phrase “final shape” is connected to the Darkness in the Books of Sorrow. For example, in XXVII: King of Shapes, Oryx describes the Darkness, aka the Deep, as “the beautiful final shape”. “That which also inhabits its petitioners” is likely a reference to the symbiotic worms which the Hive have inside them. These worms were given to the Hive by the Worm Gods, who are agents of the Deep.

Since IT refers to the Darkness, then whoever the gardener is must be someone or something that has fought against the Darkness. This rules out Savathun as she is allied with the Darkness; she is not one of its enemies. So who else would Rasputin know about who has fought against the Darkness? He would only have encountered the Darkness himself once: during the Collapse, the events of which he describes in the Mysteries card. He also says that the gardener was more powerful than he was - “she held power beyond me”. The only entity that would have also been present during the Collapse, who would have been more powerful than Rasputin, and who would have fought against the Darkness, would have been the Traveler.

Also worth noting that Rasputin refers to a singular “gardener”, whereas the Legend: The Black Garden card refers to “gardeners” in “vessels of bronze”, ie the Vex. If Rasputin was referring to the Vex when he says the gardener, then why would he use the singular noun instead of the plural? There is not one Vex, there are many of them. Not to mention there is no record anywhere of the Vex fighting the Darkness itself. Their battles with the Hive, as described in the Books of Sorrow, do not count as the Hive are agents of the Darkness, not the Darkness itself.

It is far more likely that what Rasputin calls the gardener is the Traveler, not the Vex or Savathun. This ties in with the Traveler’s history of terraforming planets, including those that were previously uninhabitable, such as Mars and Mercury. As RedRenegade pointed out, Mercury is described as previously being a “garden world”, and we know that this was due to the Traveler terraforming the planet. So there are “garden” references that are not linked to the Vex.


#9

K.
Why does Rasputin refer to IT(darkness) and the ‘gardener’(probably traveler) as female though?

IT: “not one of IT [the flower eater, the queen of final shapes,…" QUEEN
-random note: ‘flower eater’ so, obviously enemy to the gardener.

gardener: “Even over the gardener and she held power beyond me but the gardener did not shrug and make herself alone.” SHE and HERSELF

Do we have any idea why this is? I dont think Rasputin means this as in actual genders, because the light are dark are powers and forces. But the light and dark do have intentions which to me, means they have some sort of thought and choice process.

The savathun thing was just pure speculation by me.
But then again Bungie does seam to have a thing for messing up the lore in Destiny 2.
(there is going to be a Savathun dlc. Dont even deny it)


#10

I think when Rasputin refers to the gardener as “she” it’s just a figure of speech, similar to how we refer to inanimate objects such as boats as “she”. Don’t think it’s meant to indicate a gender as such. Same goes for when he calls the Darkness the “queen of final shapes”.

I agree that it’s highly likely there will be a Savathun dlc or expansion at some point, especially considering how many references there are to her in D2.


#11

I took this lore bit as referring to the traveler. The line “The tree in the Garden with silver wings.” kinda confuses me, but it may be referencing the traveler as a tree, on earth as a garden. silver wings makes me think of the light. (Spoilers) In the light explosion at the end of D2, the light looks silvery.

“The air around it is oppressive and inspires violence in those who even breathe a little in.” this line makes a little more sense to me, as humanity fought over the traveler for a little before they joined, and every other race in destiny is trying to get the traveler. Even the sight seems to make the alien dudes want it.

"Shards of the disastrous bark peel from it and litter the ground, and nothing grows in its shadow."
This line refers to “bark” and that could refer to (I think) two things. Either the actual shards of the traveler littering the EDZ, or guardians. The shards seem more likely to me. Also the traveler’s shadow is just city. nothing really “grows”. It might refer to progression as well.

"It scintillates faintly at dusk."
Traveler shiny

“It has achieved its entelechy with every body falling, every civilization laid to waste, every leaf forged into instruments of ruin.”
[https://www.thefreedictionary.com/entelechy]
This part is slightly harder to understand, but I think it refers to guardians, as entelechy is defined as “The actualization of the potential form or function of a substance”.
I read a fanfic a little while back that talks of exo’s made of shards of the traveler, and it seems like humanity would do that when they were trying to survive fallen.

"The Gardener is hard to bother; she is constantly amidst her weeds, kneeling in the tangent dust, gloves covered in a mix of distant soils and metallic saps."
The traveler has not been heard of or responded to anything (accept D2 shenanigans) since it went dormant. But is has been said that the light “Controls” the guardians, just as the darkness “Controls” the enemy races. I think of this more as ideals and a direction, like how hive and fallen want to kill stuff and us guardians are trying to protect the city (traveler). The traveler has traveled to many worlds, and has given the light to other species as seen in grimore card “Mystery: The Vault of Glass”

"The image clears of dirt and dust as a hand wipes the lens clean. A figure holds the Ghost up, looking into the lens. Harsh light from an unfamiliar sun backlights the four-armed creature, making it impossible to see its face. Its massive head turns, and a clicking and chittering voice can be heard speaking to something off-screen. While the noises themselves are harsh, the tone and content seem almost gentle. A curious creature, not a violent or angry one.

The lens refocuses beyond the creature’s head as it talks, and a startling landscape climbs to the horizon. It’s a paradise. Carefully tended lakes and rivers, water everywhere, wind their way between fields of lush iridescent crops and into groves of starkly colored trees. Every inch of the land seems engineered, brushed by a sculptor’s hand for form and function both.

The sky is a light pink, spotted with clouds and crowded with ships. Thick lanes of aerial traffic soar through the air, tightly managed and seemingly endless.

And beyond it all, above the clouds, hangs a perfect alabaster sphere. The image wobbles, shaking, flickering as if the Ghost is blinking. And the fragment ends."

The figure in this card is obviously a fallen, and the traveler has terraformed and given help to the fallen so it would not be far fetched that the traveler has other species on far away worlds it exerts its influence on.

“She is listening to the music of the insects amidst the flowers, the unguent as it begins to drip from the ferns, the slight scratch of the Worm beneath, and not to you, and certainly not to your cries for help.”

This part talks about the traveler as observing the world, and to the people (insects) on them. The unguent is “A salve for soothing or healing; an ointment.” and maybe refers to the light. The only thing that bothers me is “the slight scratch of the Worm beneath” capitalized most likely to refer to the hive worms. but it could (maybe) just refer to a worm in the dirt. It tells that the traveler is listening to everything that is happening, but not to you or your cries of help, as us humans are after the collapse.

The theory @sharknado posted has equal parts credibility and made me think harder about this grimore card. thx for reading :slight_smile:


#12

This seams like it adds up, except for these 2 parts.
FYI (caps are used for pointing out pieces of the text)

"Shards of the DISASTROUS BARK peel from it and litter the ground, and NOTHING GROWS in its shadow."
Why would the shards of the traveler be considered disastrous?
Growth probably means progress in a society like learning. But humans have “grown” greatly, because of the traveler.

Also with this quote where the fallen holds up the ghost has to have happened after the Fallen have come to earth, so the background/scenery can not be the fallen’s home planet because they did not have ghosts. From what i know, the traveler created servitors for the fallen.

Qoute:
"A figure holds the Ghost up, looking into the lens. Harsh light from an unfamiliar sun backlights the four-armed creature, making it impossible to see its face. Its massive head turns, and a clicking and chittering voice can be heard speaking to something off-screen. While the noises themselves are harsh, the tone and content seem almost gentle. A curious creature, not a violent or angry one.

The lens refocuses beyond the creature’s head as it talks, and a startling landscape climbs to the horizon. It’s a paradise. Carefully tended lakes and rivers, water everywhere, wind their way between fields of lush iridescent crops and into groves of starkly colored trees. Every inch of the land seems engineered, brushed by a sculptor’s hand for form and function both.

The sky is a light pink, spotted with clouds and crowded with ships. Thick lanes of aerial traffic soar through the air, tightly managed and seemingly endless.

And beyond it all, above the clouds, hangs a perfect alabaster sphere."

The perfect alabaster sphere is definitely the traveler.
The location for this card has to be Earth since it occurs after the Ghosts are born(when the traveler “dies”/goes to “sleep”) and the traveler has stayed on Earth since the creation of the ghosts. also it has to be a terraphormed planet.
"Every inch of the land seems engineered, brushed by a sculptor’s hand for form and function both."
i am pretty sure the traveler has been refereed to as a sculptor before as well.

also note, this qoute about the garener working in the garden. "gloves covered in a mix of distant soils and metallic saps."
Distant soils, and metallic Saps.


#13

To the line, “Shards of the disastrous bark peel from it and litter the ground, and nothing grows in its shadow.” There are shards of the traveler in the EDZ, and in the story they say it poisons the forest. Most likely nothing would grow if the rest of the forest is poisoned. However, I do agree it has some holes, and the theory of the infinite forest fits better.


#14

There is a video on ‘Destiny Guides’ channel on YouTube called ‘Destiny 2 - THE GARDENER! God Inside The Traveler’ showing some early concept work of a female representation/representative of the Traveler. Might be relevant here. (sorry, can’t post links yet… info given should be enough to search the vid though)