The Darkness arrived this season and rather than come in all guns blazing, The Darkness has been trying to persuade us that perhaps the Light isn’t the only way. This week that persuasion ramped up with the reveal of a gift from the darkness themselves in the form of Ruinous Effigy. This is fun and unique, but what are the implications of accepting this gift from the Darkness.
In early June at the start of Season of Arrivals, the Darkness Arrived on Io as a huge looming force that sat there. At first, we thought that the Darkness would be coming to exterminate everything in their path, and yet they sit there and wait. Rather than coming in with force, they claim to speak only truth. But what truth?
Eris and Drifter want us to speak to the Darkness to understand their message. However, there’s something in the middle, a third party trying to distort these messages from the Darkness… Savanathun. The Witch sister of the Taken King Oryx is trying to block these messages addressed to us, and week over week we must enter the Court of Savanthun and defeat Savathun’s minions to reach Eris morn and translates these messages through our conduit, Eris Morn.
Zavala is nervous. He can see Eris’ obsession with the Taken Queen and the growing interest in the Darkness. Why would a Guardian of the Light want to talk to the Darkness, the long sworn enemy of The Traveler?
We have been a true servant of the Light, but now the Darkness has arrived they appear to be trying to tell us the truth. This is a truth that clearly parties don’t want us to hear. We have grown powerful over the years working with the Vanguard – Defeating Oryx and his son Crota, defeating Ghaul and the Cabal forces during the Red War.
Zavala maybe cautious about losing us to the Darkness, as we’ve become a powerful ally, perhaps the most powerful ally of all in the Tower. All around him he can see others interested in the Darkness with Eris wanting to talk, and Drifter (as always) not really taking things seriously.
As the week’s go by we learn more and more from the weekly Interference mission. Before we may have taken the Traveler for granted, but now the Darkness aims to shine a light on the frailties of aligning with such a being. Take week 2 for example with the lore entry Eggshell. Eris interprets the message as The Traveler acting like a barrier, something we are meant to outgrow like a small chick once comfortable inside the eggshell, that later bursts out and realises our true potential.
As well as the persuasion, they now give us gifts in an attempt to woo us over to their side. Let’s take a look at the lore entry for Gift.
[Personal notes, scored in Hive leather with a knife.]
Something new has blossomed in the Cradle. A gift to reward my attention. It terrifies me, and the more afraid I am, the more I want to accept it. I came to learn from what I fear most. The more I am afraid, the more there is to learn.
The shoot is a single silver branch, with leaves like down. I think they are tiny feathers.
Is it some thorn of Savathûn’s, sent to bring disaster?
No. I know it is not; that would be too simple. It is from the black Pyramid. It was meant for me.
I will let it grow and see if it bears fruit.
It is true that I am watched by many Guardians, and doubted, and mocked. But this is the price of connectedness. This is proof, no matter how bitter, that I am part of something larger. Others look to me for guidance, so I choose to be worthy of that trust. I choose to tell Zavala what I have found.
I will even invite him to see it.
Zavala appears in front of Eris and the Guardian under the Tree of the Silver Wings saying he’s been reading Eris’ reports and that the messages from The Darkness appear obtuse. Zavala, clearly frustrated by Eris’ continued interest in the Darkness and their gifts, asks questions of the Darkness’ intent. Zavala warns Eris is playing a dangerous game and the risk of the Darkness exploiting our curiosity and he’s right. Eris tries to calm Zavala by saying any gift could be surrendered to the Vanguard, but by then, could it be too late?
Zavala and Banchee-44 managed to inspect the weapon at some point either before or after we claimed it from the Umbral Decoder. Let’s check out the lore tab for more info.
“That’s not right.”
Banshee-44 taps a spectral analyzer against the Effigy’s frame.
Commander Zavala turns, closes the lid on a small golden weapon case, and walks to Banshee’s side. “What have you found?”
“Well, it’s not petrified wood, but it is organic.”
“That’s troubling,” Zavala says and moves to run his fingers over the weapon’s frame.
A shallow cold saps the heat from Zavala’s fingertips; he pulls back. “This wasn’t in Eris’s report.” His voice is thin and stark with disappointment, as if spoken through dead winter air.
“Guardian doesn’t seem to notice either.” Banshee clinks the analyzer into a tool tray. “Leeches a bit, kicks out Void. Sig’s hazy, though. Wild.”
Long quiet overtakes the workshop, imposed by shuttered windows and empty streets below.
They stand over the weapon. Banshee stares down and nods along to the ambient static.
“What were you saying?” The weapon master’s voice is framed in apology.
Zavala puts a hand on Banshee’s shoulder, smiles, and gestures to the weapon. “Equipment that uses the wielder’s Light is not unprecedented.”
“It doesn’t use it; it eats it. Thing’s got an appetite. Works almost like, uh… a converter.”
“Is it dangerous?”
“Nah. Guardian doesn’t even seem to notice. I’ll get you a write-up.”
What does all this mean? Here Banshee-44 and Zavala are inspecting the Ruinous Effigy and it feels instantly cold to the touch. However, Banshee-44 comments that although this is true for Zavala, this doesn’t appear to be the case for us or perhaps Eris Morn. This could be a direct result of us speaking to the Darkness each week with Eris, perhaps signalling us as chosen by the Darkness to wield their powers. We’ve had experience in dabbling in the Darkness before with Gambit, and weapons like Thorn which have the influence of the Darkness. By not feeling the cold touch of the Darkness what does this mean for us as a Guardian of the Light? It certainly feels like this gift is being given to us to entice us over to the Darkness. Zavala knows something is going on with Eris and Drifter, but us? What does Zavala think about our role in this?
The main feature of the Ruinous Effigy are the transmutation spheres. These have a few purposes
“Transmutation Spheres have 3 abilities: Heavy Attack, Light Attack, and Guard/Drain. The Sphere has an ammo counter that goes down as time passes. The Heavy attack consumes all ammo and does devastating damage to the area around it. A heavy attack at full ammo will do the same damage as a heavy attack at 5 ammo. The Light attack consumes 1 ammo and does a small amount of damage. The Drain/Guard ability slowly damages enemies within the vicinity and regenerates the user’s health. It also provides a bonus to damages resistance. This ability slowly consumes ammo and can be used past 1 ammo, but in doing so damages the player.”
One aspect of the Ruinous Effigy is the slow consumption of our Light, as Banchee-44 pointed out in the lore. It acts as a converter, but what is it converting our light to? It could be that we’re getting softened up by the Darkness, so once we have that choice presented to us, the choice is simple.
The final thing i wanted to point out related to our ‘gift’ is the test that accompanies it:
“From the many wings of ruin blows a wind that will reshape this dead world.”
It remains to be seen what is going to happen next, but it certainly looks like our corruption and perhaps transition to the ways of the Darkess has begun by accepting this first gift. It’ll be interesting to see how this story unfolds over the coming weeks, and our role in that story.
Let me know what you think down in the comments? Where do you think this is going and whats coming next?