Okay, Traveler fights Darkness, depressing Dark Age ensues, and Guardians rise from the dead. What’s next?

Even after the first Guardians arrive on the scene, things are pretty bad for a long time. Think about it; a bunch of former Humans, Exos, and Awoken are walking around with seemingly magical powers and the ability to come back from the dead. In all of history, what usually happens when a small group of people have way more power than everyone else?

I’m going to say bad stuff.

Bad stuff is right. Many of the earliest individuals revived by their Ghosts are anything but heroes. They’re more like warlords, setting up their own petty fiefdoms among the detritus of humanity’s ruin. 

But not everyone in those early days is willing to put up with the tyranny of their fellows. A growing number of those revived and gifted with Light band together to stand up for a greater justice and fight the scattered and tyrannical warlords of humanity. These rising heroes call themselves the Iron Lords, and their ranks begin to swell. Eventually, there are hundreds of these Iron Lords, but we remember some of the first and greatest of these warriors, including Radegast, Jolder, Perun, Silimar, Felwinter, Saladin, Gheleon, Skorri, Timur, and Efrideet. These women and men are among the first to truly live as Guardians of humanity. 

What happens next?

The Last City gets founded. Humanity is scattered across Earth, and all our planetary colonies are presumed lost. Guardians continue to rise across the planet, and small, scattered pockets of surviving humans begin to search for the Traveler. Led by Guardians, these pilgrims seek a fabled refuge beneath the Traveler, and a community begins to form there. The burgeoning city is doing pretty well for itself, but it’s not long before trouble shows up. The aliens called the Fallen have pursued their Great Machine (the Traveler) across the stars, and once they find it on Earth, they prepare to attack. Remember, the Traveler once visited the Fallen, and then abandoned them? Turns out they want it back.

Guardians hold the line in a big fight called the Battle of Six Fronts, so named because Guardians have to hold off six entries into the city. They succeed. The Iron Lords’ mythical status is cemented through their deeds in that battle. Other legendary heroes also make a name for themselves; a famous Exo named Saint-14 insists on a crusade against the Fallen, and disappears into the wilderness, along with his amazing helmet, which is destined to be found by a lucky Guardian many years later.

After Six Fronts, the Guardians realize they need to train harder to protect this last bastion of their species, so they form a training regimen called the Crucible, in which they face off against one another in preparation for fighting the many alien threats they may face in the future. 

Unfortunately, many of the Iron Lords won’t live to see what happens next. 

Things didn’t turn out for these guys? 

I’m afraid not. While the specifics of what happened are set to unfold through Rise of Iron’s storyline, we know that after having pushed back the warlords and holding off the Fallen at Six Fronts, the Iron Lords start looking for ways to help bring humanity back from the brink. Rumors of a lost technology called SIVA are too good to pass up. If the Iron Lords are like the Knights of the Round Table, then SIVA is like their Holy Grail. Unfortunately, something goes horribly wrong in their pursuit of SIVA, and hundreds of them are killed, including most of those heroes I mentioned.

Two of the Iron Lords survive; one is a young sniper named Efrideet, but we don’t know what happened to her.

The other survivor, Saladin Forge, resolves to set a lonely watch to make sure SIVA is never awoken again. And he establishes the Iron Banner tournament within the Crucible. He wants to honor his lost friends with its founding, but secretly, he also hopes to hone the light of newer Guardians, preparing them for the possibility that SIVA might emerge once more.

Whoa. This guy sounds pretty hardcore. 

Yeah. He spends a lot of time alone on mountaintops, except for the company of a bunch of wolves.

Seriously?

Oh yeah.  

So, how are things back on the homefront? Everything is going well with this new city? 

No, left to its own devices, humanity once again causes some problems for itself. 

A new government is established, formed from a Consensus representing the people, the Vanguard representing the Guardians, and a mysterious figure called the Speaker (who somehow communes with the Traveler) helping to guide the Last City’s fate. A number of old and new factions begin to vie for control of the city, all with different ideologies about how to guide humanity back to greatness, and things start to get violent, including an attempted coup by a faction called Corcordat. Unsurprisingly, while the Guardians themselves remain chaotic and prone to their own agendas, they don’t have a lot of patience for humans fighting each other, and when events tip toward civil war, they step in. Concordat is defeated and expelled from the Consensus, allowing another faction called Future War Cult to join. The groups that survive the Faction Wars (Dead Orbit, Future War Cult, and New Monarchy) pursue their goals in other, more subtle manners that don’t involve outright conflict. 

Meanwhile, Guardians increasingly divide themselves into distinct ideological groups, some of which had already begun to coalesce, but which now become stratified. Titans task themselves with the defense of the city, and build a massive wall to surround their new home. Nomadic Hunters explore the wilderness, and help to guide refugees to this growing community. An order of Guardians forms to better understand Light and the Traveler – these warrior-scholars are the Warlocks. The Guardians join together in one of the Towers that rise along the outskirts of the Last City, from which they stand sentinel over humanity.

The Fallen have given up on taking out the city by this point?

No, they’re still a big problem, and that problem comes to a head at the Battle of Twilight Gap, which in later years will become the site of many a Crucible match. By the time of the battle, the Fallen have united under a single leader, and they once again attack the city to retake the Traveler. 

Defense of the city is entrusted to the veteran Lord Saladin, and along with his students, Zavala and Shaxx, they organize a tactical plan for withstanding the attack. An immense, legendary battle ensues, in which many Guardians become heroes for their deeds, and many more are destroyed outright. In fact, so many Guardians are wiped out that a great weapon-crafter gathers up the armor of those that didn’t survive and builds the Gjallarhorn rocket launchers from the metal remains. Regardless of their losses, the Guardians triumph at Twilight Gap, and the city is saved.

That rocket launcher is amazing.

Yes. It is.

I want to know more about...

...The Traveler, The Darkness, and where the Guardians came from »

...The Iron Lords, the Last City, and the founding of the Crucible »

...The creation of the Hive, the reign of Oryx, and Sword Logic »

...The Guardians’ disastrous assault against the Hive on the Moon »

...The Vex, the Cabal, and the Vault of Glass »

...The Awoken, and the Reef Wars »

...The opening acts of the Destiny base game »

...The quest to reach the Black Garden and conquering the Vault of Glass »

...The Dark Below and House of Wolves »

...The battle against the Taken King »

...The aftermath of the King’s fall, and the ongoing Taken War »

...What else I’m missing. Tell me about Dredgen Yor, SRL, the Ahamkara, and Osiris »

Next Page: The twisted history of the Hive