(Disclaimer: The theories below are based on lore extracted from the Year 1 raid gear sets, as well as from the weapons found in said raids and the lore book "Stolen Intelligence" Chapter 6: "Passivity")
I have long been fascinated by Cabal lore, their military structure, history and their empire, so it came natural to me to dig deeper into the next piece of content presented to us by Vicarious Visions in Season 7: Season of Opulence. This post will primarily deal with the question of what we can expect to see in "Penumbra" in terms of locations, "story" and the raid titled "Crown of Sorrow" including speculation on boss encounters during the raid.
Before I go into more detailed descriptions of what I think will happen, I would like to present the general outline of the events to-come, which are as follows:
- We will return to the Leviathan (as stated by Bungie), however not for long
- We will patrol "Torobatl" the Capital of the Cabal Empire (of course not all of it) as "Penumbras" main location
- We will become true Shadows of Emperor Calus (alongside the new earnable Title "Shadow")
- We will face the remaining three traitors of the Midnight Coup: Caiatl, Umun' Arath and Otzot
- We will reclaim Calus' Throne for him
Now that you have a general understanding of where I'm going with my theory, let me dive deeper into why I came to those conclusions:
When I say "We will return to the Leviathan, however not for long" I mean it. According to the lore book "Stolen Intelligence" Chapter 6: "Passivity" there is rumour about some kind of portal deep within the Leviathan, leading somewhere, but nobody knows where exactly. As of now my best guess is that Calus found a way (either through the help of his Psion-Ministers or the power he gained when he ventured out to the end of the universe) to connect the Leviathan to "Torobatl" the Cabal capital on their homeworld. We will make use of this portal fairly soon.
As for all the footage we got for "Penumbra" being very Leviathan-esque I wouldn't jump to conclusions and say that it has to be on the Leviathan. The architecture shown could very well be the imperial palace on Torobatl for all we know, seeing as they would have been built by the same architectual standarts. There is also the fact that the hallways in the footage were darker than the Leviathan we are used to seeing, which of course could hint at an abandoned Leviathan and an entrapped Calus who seeks to defend himself. This, however, is where I think his mentality might have changed. Calus is done with defending himself. He is done with running away. My theory for the Leviathan being abendoned, as stated in "Stolen Intelligence" is that he sent his Loyalists through said portal to establish his presence in Torobatl (those dark hallways could be the dark interiors of the Imperial Palace for all we know).
Canonically speaking, none of us Guardians would have noticed their vanishing, seeing as after Val' Cauor perished and Hunter Vanguard Cayde-6 met his demise at the hands of the Scorn Barons we had to tend to more important things than upholding "Raid-Activity" on the Leviathan ("Stolen Intelligence" speaks about a lack of raid activity on the Leviathan).
As I stated beforehand Calus is done defending himself. Now is the time to strike back, with the Red Legion defeated and seven of the ten conspirators of the Midnight Coup assassinated, either at the hands of the Emperor's Shadows (Jarus, Rull, The Fulminator, Valus Nohr, Feltroc and Sekris, Baron of Shanks) or our's when we defeated Dominus Ghaul in the Last safe City on Earth.
During my research of all the Year 1 Raid Gear found on the Leviathan I stumbled across some very intriguing lines found on the "Equitis Shade Grips" ("Spire of Stars" Hunter Grips):
They say the Cabal are not a subtle people. We have fallen so far.
The Cabal I knew were better. We understood that there is power in subtlety.
And that's what it'll take to recover the throne at the center of my homeworld. The seat meant for me.
Open war is for savages. Pit fighters. The Red Legion. There shall be a day, long before the end comes, when that throne is mine again.
And a Shadow of your Guardian-tribe would be the ideal instrument of assassination that will take it for me.
—Calus, Emperor of the Cabal
This got my attention on various levels:
- He speaks about using subtlety to regain his throne (e.g. using a portal to invade Torobatl from within and assassinating the remaining traitors holding the city for themselves)
- He directly speaks about the center of his homeworld, Torobatl
- It sounds like he has an elaborate plan for retaking the throne when he says "And that's what it'll take to recover the throne" (like he is sure of *something* he has to do that involves subtlety to regain his power)
- We haven't seen the end of his storyline yet, but we can conclude that a Cabal Empire under Calus together with a House of Light under Mithrax, the Forsaken could be our new allies against the Darkness (especially in D3). My theory is that we will in fact see his storyline conclude in "Penumbra"
- The linguistic use of the word "will" in the last sentence of the flavour text implies that there is a finality to his "descision" to use us as assassins in the near future (which is not a real finality, of course but seeing as Calus views himself a god he might be convinced enough to think that his word spells the fate of everything around him)
The Class Item flavour texts from "Spire of Stars" all mention these sentences:
- "Earth casts no shadow… not yet."
- "You are so close."
This information, that we almost proved ourselves to Calus in order to become his Shadows (a privilege only granted to very few) by killing Val' Cauor is supported by Calus stating that we more or less invited ourself to join him on the Leviathan upon defeating Dominus Ghaul.
When we think in Terms of Gameplay and the requirements to earn a title in Destiny 2, we can come to the conclusion that we have to defeat the raids to earn either "Rivensbane" or "Blacksmith" (both titles tied to a content release that included a new raid). So it isn't too far fetched to believe that the possible title of "Shadow" will be earned by completing activities/encounters in the raid.
This all culminates in my theorie of what or whom we will face in the raid. Seeing as Calus mostly seems to show us his favours after defeating some of his most dangerous enemys (Ghaul -> Invitation to the Leviathan, Argos -> Loot and the promise of keeping in touch with the Guardians, Val' Cauor -> Loot and the consideration to make us his new Shadows), it is likely that our new objective will be to kill the last three remaining opposing parties that stand in his way of reclaiming what has been taken of him.
To be more concise, I predict the raid will have three encounter, one for each traitor. My best guess is that either "Freeborn Otzot" or "Caiatl, the Princess-Imperial" will start off the raid and the final fight will be against "Evocate-General Umun' Arath, Primus of all Legions". Another possibility would be a potential double-fight against two of the above mentioned to cut out one fight and replace it with a puzzle to learn the mechanics, akin to the first encounter of "Spire of Stars". The Theory that Umun' Arath will be the final encounter, is supported by the fact that he manipulated Caiatl into betraying her father, Calus, and the fact that he is the most warmongering individual that is left, directly going against everything Calus strifes for.
I am sure I have missed some potential things and outcomes I wanted to write down, but this is all I managed to bring to paper in my excitement, so please forgive me if I left out critical information. Also this is my first Reddit post so don't be harsh if I didn't tend to some of the etiquette known here (English is also not my native tongue). Feel free to discuss and critique my theories though. Nonetheless I sincerely thank you for bearing with me to the end, oh reader mine.
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