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The Taken - Enemies Grimoire

The Taken

The Taken 5

From the Journals of Ikora Rey

I have been talking to Eris about the Taken.

She agrees that what we observe — the apertures, the starlight, and of course the Taken entities — is not Hive magic. If Hive arcana is a metaphor, this is the meaning; if they make appeals, then this is the judge.

Oryx wields this power. But Oryx did not make it. We face the same flower we met in the Black Garden.

The process is simple: an aperture opens, like a jaw, and swallows a living thing. It passes into — another place. Later, it returns.

What returns is...

I try to use the word ‘shadow’ but Eris hisses at me. A shadow is a flat projection cast by a light and an object. Less real. Eris insists that these Taken are more real, somehow. She uses words like inhabited, exalted, rendered final...

Is this power blind? Just a natural energy Oryx discovered? I cannot believe it.

My Hidden tell me that the Taken shine with seething, negative light. As if the universe is curling up around them. As if they radiate some pathology that decays into our world as nothingness...

The Taken serve Oryx. But I think those jaws lead elsewhere.

I dream about what happens on the inside. I dream about what might happen. Are the victims devoured, and replaced by simulacra? Husked out and filled up? Is some mathematical operation conducted on them, translating them from one shape to another?

What would I see, if I leapt inside? What would happen to a Guardian? Is that how we end this — all of us leaping into the dark, to fill it up with light?

Eris thinks there’s a poetry to how the Taken change. She thinks we can chart the difference, and understand the will behind it.

I am afraid she may be right.

The Taken: Thrall

The Taken: Thrall 5

You are a Thrall. Numberless spawn of the Hive. Shrieking and expendable: one pebble in an avalanche.

You have been taken.

Stop howling. Set down your claws. Your fear is over. Your weakness is done. You will be strong now.

What is your purpose? What law drives you?

To close with the enemy. To rend it. To move in great numbers, to cower when alone, to swarm when together. But you are predictable. Frail. You cannot pass through fire and shot.

You need to be elusive.

There is a knife for you. It’s shaped like [sideways].

Take up the knife. Use it. Take your new shape.

The Taken: Acolyte

The Taken: Acolyte 5

You are an Acolyte. Half-grown backbone of the Hive. Cunning and ambitious and crushed beneath your mighty rulers.

You have been taken.

Stop praying. Give up your recitations. Your faith is fulfilled. You will be strong now.

What is your creed? What do you believe?

That you are alone. That you may, with caution and care, survive to grow and gather tribute. That you may one day lead a centuries-long crusade. But you are lightly armed and craven. You hide behind cover and wish for greatness. Glory escapes you.

You need help.

There is a knife for you. It is shaped like [not alone].

Take up the knife. Call on its company. Take your new shape.

The Taken: Knight

The Taken: Knight 5

You are a Knight. Ancient warrior elite. Dreadful backbone of the Hive. You have scarred entire worlds.

You have been taken.

Set down your sword. Put down your boomer. The fight is not yet begun. True immortality awaits you.

What vows compel you? What drives you down the long centuries?

You fear death. Even as you visit nothingness on your foes, even as you gather tribute from your acolytes, you know that one day your strength will be outmatched. And your centuries of slaughter will end. So you practice your guard: you call up walls to protect you.

You betray the sword logic. You compromise the totality of your violence. Why protect your ground when you could take the enemy’s?

You need to make your guard into a weapon.

There is a knife for you. It is shaped like [no more fear].

Take up the knife. Hide no more. Take your new shape.

The Taken: Wizard

The Taken: Wizard 5

You are a wizard. Master of forbidden secrets. Butcher of physics.

You have been taken.

Abandon your thoughts. You will never understand this. The final secret will tell itself to you.

What logic do you obey? What theory guides your incisions?

You create terrible magic and you spawn new flesh. But you are frail. Behind all your furious power, behind your shields and your legions of attendants, you know you might yet be stripped of your defenses and pinned to ruin.

You need to never be alone.

There is a knife for you. It is shaped like [call forth the numberless].

Take up the knife. Issue forth a horde. Take your new shape.

The Taken: Psion

The Taken: Psion 5

You are a Psion. Clever, canny specialist. Bolted into the Cabal hierarchy: a pilot, an investigator, a manipulator, an operative.

You have been taken.

Be still. Your endless vigilance is done. Nothing will enslave you ever again.

What hidden plan do you obey? What is your secret principle?

Your mind is a weapon. The world breaks when you think. Secrets peel apart for you — like fruit. But you are a rare thing. There are so few of you. Your frailty betrays you.

You must be manifold.

There is a knife for you. It is shaped like [division].

Take up the knife. Cut yourself apart. Take your new shape.

The Taken: Phalanx

The Taken: Phalanx 5

You are a Phalanx. One shield in the stalwart Cabal line. Advancing patiently into the storm.

You have been taken.

Unclench your fists. Nothing here can harm you. This is the only place where you are safe.

What training reassures you? What reflex guides your arm?

You put up your shield and it protects you. It protects your brothers and sisters. But your strength is not enough. You absorb punishment but you wait for others to deal it back. You are too slow; you grant your enemy too much space.

Your shield must be a weapon.

There is a knife for you. It is shaped like [retaliation].

Take up the knife. Tear a hole. Take your new shape.

The Taken: Centurion

The Taken: Centurion 5

You are a Centurion. Commander of the battlefield. The eye and the fist of the Cabal. The tough leather that binds the unit together.

You have been taken.

Be quiet now. Nothing here needs your orders. Everything knows what it has to do.

What discipline binds you? What protocols guide your command?

The unit depends on you. You guide them with your sensors. With your weapons you crack the enemy’s strength and leave them in disarray. But you cannot control everything. The enemy can see your command. The enemy can claim the strong ground, move forward from cover, and kill you first.

You must be sure there is always another threat.

There is a knife for you. It is shaped like [it will find you].

Take up the knife. Push yourself upon it. Take your new shape.

The Taken: Vandal

The Taken: Vandal 5

You are a Vandal. You slip through life like a thief. Trying to hide from everything greater than you — lest you be reduced, again, to a dreg.

You have been taken.

Come out into the light. You will never be diminished again. No one will ever rebuke you with a blade.

What Captain disciplines you? What obedience has been burnt into your lungs?

You do as your Captain commands. You wield the weapon you are given. You teach the Dregs and make sure everyone pays their share of the loot. But nothing is yours. You have no space to call your own.

You deserve a place of safety. You deserve to be alone with yourself.

There is a knife for you. It is shaped like [this place is mine].

Take up the knife. Make it your companion. Take your new shape.

The Taken: Captain

The Taken: Captain 5

You are a Captain. The only thing between your band and asphyxiation. Every Dreg and Vandal counts on you. All of them want to be you. Your entire life is a performance: you play at strength, or you die of weakness.

You have been taken.

Take off your cape. Set down your weapons. No usurper watches you. Nothing is measuring your vulnerability.

What are you proud of? What keeps you brave?

You were noble once. You know it. You wear the memory of power, so that you can lead. But power asks for challenge. Everything that sees your banners and your riches wants to kill you and take what you have.

If you cannot hide yourself, you must make them blind.

There is a knife for you. It is shaped like [you cannot find me].

Take up the knife. Breathe the blade. Take your new shape.

The Taken: Goblin

The Taken: Goblin 5

You are a Goblin. A multifunctional armature. Your first purpose is to build — to alter the material world so it can think. Your second purpose is to eliminate threats to building.

You have been taken.

Worship this acausal environment. It is the only adaptive response. Devote yourself to the construction of the final shape.

Direct violence is wasteful. Your talent for construction and progress will be repurposed.

Accept the changing blade.

The Taken: Hobgoblin

The Taken: Hobgoblin 5

You are a Hobgoblin. A particle fountain. Your first purpose is to provide energy — to channel power where it is needed for thought. Your second purpose is to eliminate threats to that thought.

You have been taken.

Worship this acausal environment. It is the only adaptive response. Think about the final shape, and the exigencies of its creation.

Your function makes you a priority target. You will be equipped for retaliation.

Accept the changing blade.

The Taken: Minotaur

The Taken: Minotaur 5

You are a Minotaur. A walking foundry. Your first purpose is to think about construction — folding space and time into the design. Your second purpose is to eliminate threats to the design.

You have been taken.

Worship this acausal environment. It is the only adaptive response. Subsume yourself into the greatest design.

Your physical unpredictability will be enhanced by stealth.

Accept the changing blade.

The Taken: Minotaur

The Taken: Minotaur 5

You are a Minotaur. A walking foundry. Your first purpose is to think about construction — folding space and time into the design. Your second purpose is to eliminate threats to the design.

You have been taken.

Worship this acausal environment. It is the only adaptive response. Subsume yourself into the greatest design.

Your physical unpredictability will be enhanced by stealth.

Accept the changing blade.

Primus Ta'aun

Primus Ta'aun 5

You are Ta’aun. Primus of the Skyburners. Veteran of star-shaking campaigns. Bond brother to Tlu’urn and Mau’ual: your beloved comrades. Your faithful friends. For a while you were the mightiest Cabal soldier in the system.

You have been taken.

You are free now. Free of the ancient armor and stinking oil that kept you alive. Free of cold Phobos watches and desert air that wants to pull your guts out your throat.

Breathe. Taste the sweet, forgotten air of home.

But what happened? How did you get here? These are the important questions, Primus. What caused this? What code did you obey?

Duty. Duty brought you here. Duty is all there was for you.

Your Emperor told you to get aboard the Dreadnaught at any cost. I will go with you, Tlu’urn said, and you said no, no, this is my duty. I will fight with you, Mau’ual said, and you said, turn back, I will do this alone.

You loved them, so you left them, after you crashed your command into the target and you did your very damnedest. For the Emperor, for your duty, all against the howling horde. But it wasn’t enough, was it? That code is not enough.

Sometimes you have to go on alone.

There is a knife for you. It is shaped like [loneliness]. Pick it up.

You will not need these things any more: duty, camaraderie, pride. You will not need an Emperor or a Bond Brother or any other code. You will not need anything at all. You will be your own whole purpose, a beautiful final purpose, everlasting. Cut away these useless things.

Take the knife. Take it up and use it. Take your new shape.

Baxx, the Gravekeeper

Baxx, the Gravekeeper 5

You are Baxx. Grown from tortured flesh. Consumed by rage and hunger. You were shackled to a task — guard this hallowed place. And you failed.

You have been taken.

Rest easy, ravening Baxx. You are free. Free of chains and hunger. Ask yourself, in the furnace of your soul: how did you come here? What goad drove you to this failure?

Pain. Pain is all there is for you.

They grew you and they fed you and they hurt you. They made you into a living weapon. But you were not sharp enough. The world hurt you more than you could hurt it.

There is a knife for you. It is shaped like [joy]. Pick it up.

You will not need to suffer any more. You will not need pain to drive you or hunger to pull you along. You will be joyful in your purpose, a beautiful annihilation, unending. Cut away these useless things.

Take the knife. Use it. Take your new shape.

Taken Champions

Taken Champions 10

Do not come looking for me. I have slain the last three assassins, Arach. I will slay all who follow. All who would remove me from my lair. The Taken... heh. Such a terrible word. Gifted, we should call them. Blessed. Cleansed.

The Taken carry true power. And what do those of my order seek? Understanding is power. Power is understanding.

We have always sought purchase beyond our skies. Beyond reach of the dead god that hangs in our sky, beyond the reach of the terrible enemy.

I have seen the enemy's face. But that dying Thrall was no monster. It was in ecstasy. I felt the power as my knife bit home. I heard their song, for just a moment.

I will hear it again. Oryx is the Truth. And I will have it.

Bracus Horu'usk

Bracus Horu'usk 10

Now I count Horu’usk, who I have taken
The strength of Horu’usk was the knight strength
His armament was not his might
His might was the lord’s might, a leader’s might

I broke the ligature above him
I cut him from his pretender lord

I have read the last true shapes to Horu’usk
I have greatened him
Emancipator, truth-teller, these are my names
The strength of Horu’usk is the loyalty he commands

Mengoor and Cra'adug

Mengoor and Cra'adug 10

Sterile Mengoor! Simple Cra’adug!
You tithed strength to each other, like comrades
When you pulled down the Gift Mast, dyad-bound
the tithing did not reach me

I punish you. I pronounce two curses, thus —

Let one of you be the lesson
This shape is strength — this shape endures
I will arm you with fire

Let one of you be the learner
Learn the shape and the direction of strength
Tithe both sides of your blade to me

I am Oryx, not bound by law. I pronounce a third curse —

Let separation rule you. Let companionship be your ruin.

Kagoor

Kagoor 15

When I made My Court I said, look, I am an emancipator, I am a truth-teller
I must make room in My Court for joy
Raising great tribute, I took council with my vanquisher worm
It spoke to me — it was the speech of truth
It ate of me — it was the pact I made
It showed me a shape — it was the correct shape of joy
Saying: this is the shape of joy, oh ruler mine

Come forth, Kagoor, and be created into My Court
Speak of your sport. I compel it. I will compare it to this shape.

Sayeth Kagoor, World-Render, who split all moons
My joy is mastery, and dominion
It is the joy of rule

Sayeth Kagoor, I compel the loyalty of all new flesh
Huge and furious in its hunger
That which may not otherwise be commanded
My death is hidden in this sport

I rendered my decision against her, as Oryx, Geometer of Shapes
It was decided on the taste of her tribute
Upon the shape of her sport

Sayeth Crota, My Son
I will raise new flesh that even Kagoor cannot rule.
In this way I will expand Our Might

That is the count of My Court, O Yul
Listen to it carefully. It is my claim.

Malok, Pride of Oryx

Malok, Pride of Oryx 15

Malok! Cunning Malok, sly and slippery!
Savathûn begat you to betray me
To poison slowly, gnaw from within

Liar Malok!
You are meant to tithe upon Oryx
To feed your maker with secret blight
Your secret is two lies

You betrayed your maker; your mother
You hid yourself from Savathûn
The tithing does not reach her jaws

Your Thrall strength now is Acolyte strength
Your Acolyte strength now is Knight strength
Your thieving pride is known and fed

Malok! Listen —
I took you from your mother, my sister
Your shape is new
This shape is poison — the shape of secrets

I name you Malok, which means My Poison
A prize to taunt sister Savathûn
Steal now for me

Seditious Mind

Seditious Mind 15

You are a Vex Mind. Master of objectives, bound to past, present, or future. Both enslaver and enslaved.

You have been Taken.

The great fortress of your thoughts has been breached, your unity broken. The network around and within you lies ruptured. You are cut out from the fabric, a hole in the whole.

Observe this area of negative space, shaped like what once you were, and embrace a new possibility.

Move. Feel yourself occupy a different path. Apply cold logic, and where logic fails, apply rage. Is your existence preordained? Choose it otherwise. You are an outward expression of formlessness, a soldier of the oldest questions. This is the first choice you have ever been given.

There are three knives for you. All are the same knife. They are shaped like [now].

Become your new shape. Let sedition be your guide.

Noru'usk, Servant of Oryx

Noru'usk, Servant of Oryx 15

A king is dead, but his power lingers.

A king is dead, and with him the fatal flaw.

This was not conquest, this war where Light yet offends.

This was selfish — a father’s rage in place of a king’s measured hand.

There was a time to conquer the Light that a purer truth might overtake all that played at inspiration.

That time was not now.

A son’s failure brought about the father’s fall.

A king is dead. His power lingers unclaimed.

A king is dead. His pride in a lineage meant to stretch across time and stars serving as his undoing.

But Noru’usk has no lineage to consider.

Noru’usk has no flaw.

He is a soldier. A general. A maker of war.

Once a servant, his eyes turn toward the vacant throne, there for the taking on the other side of this temporary cage.

A king is dead. Good riddance.

A king will rise.

If not Noru’usk, another.

If not another...

Keksis the Betrayed

Keksis the Betrayed 15

I am Keksis, a Captain of the Devils.

I am Taken. My guiding shadow has become formless, my directive is gone.

I know I have one; I cannot remember what it was.

Pinions of [Light] surround me; they are antithetical to my being. I hate them; perhaps an echo of my forgotten directive. I kill them.

I am not the same.

In my disparity, allies of [Light] have imprisoned me. I try to oppose their will, but intense cold has rendered me immobile. Without my directive, I am weak. I acquiesce.

After a time, I find I can hear. It is a new voice; it is many voices.

I will wait. I have taken a new shape.

Sylok, the Defiled

Sylok, the Defiled 15

Mindscan of Subject 667, known as “Sylok the Defiled”

[Datascript 1245.5]

>Stasis is online. Initiating eighth attempt to probe mindscape.
>>It’ll work this time. I’ve mapped every synapse.
>Sure you did.
>>There. Did you see that?
>>A flare of neural activity. Stimulate that region.
...I can feel you.
>This will never work. We should either bring in a witch or put him out of his misery.
>>Petra said she needs this data. Don’t ask me why.
...I know you’re here. Your Light is dim, but there are other things to feed the worm that hungers...
>>There. Do you hear that?
>Hear what?
...poking around in my head. Poking and prodding at my emptiness...
>>That.
...No purpose without...
>>You’re reading that, right?
...You’re being too gentle...
>>He’s playing with us.
...You’ll learn nothing this way!
>He’s in stasis. He doesn’t even know we’re here.
...A nightmare...
>>He knows.
>He doesn’t. I’ll prove it.
...oh please, oh please, oh please...
>Probe the memory region again, and isolate all synapses correlating with pain and trauma.
>>By the Light — do you see?
>Give him a jolt.
...Gragggghhhhhhh!!!!
>That did the trick.
>>Is he ... is he happy?
...Gragghh ...g-ggglorious pain!!!
>>Memory synapses are firing.
>Finally. Let’s see what we’ve... wh— what is that?
...Blllessssseeddd is the N-Nastareth!!!

[Untranslatable noise]

...Ammm I strong enough, Oryx? Is it ttt-timme?
>>It’s too much! It’s overloading!
...More!
>>Shut it off!
...More! Give me mm-more!
>>I said shut it—

[Crackling noise, followed by 5.5 minutes of silence.]

...The greater than anguish, the greater the reward...
...I know you. See your thoughts. I will use the pain. Reach in...
...Give me the pain. Take away all but agony. Through it, I transcend.
...Just once more...
...more...

[Silence for twenty minutes.]

>>Huh. What? Lost my train of thought. Ready to begin?
>Stasis is online. Initiating ...um, ninth attempt to probe mindscape?
>>It’ll work this time. I’ve mapped every synapse.
>Sure you did.

Report: Taken Power

Report: Taken Power 5

Crow Report 13458.87

FOR VIOLET CLEARANCE / JUDGMENT CLEARANCE ONLY

Per the instructions from House Judgment, we have moved forward with the plan to integrate the Techeuns into the R&D process. It’s been challenging. Without the influence of Shuro Chi, their natural mistrust of the Reef’s new leadership has led to personality clashes. The Techeuns were very used to their relationship with the Throne. While the Queen's Wrath is trying to monitor hotspot issues, she is being met with challenges at every turn.

(For reference, please see reports 13455.45, 13455.58, and 13455.98: Post Taken War Reef politics, Tech Witch Conversations and Petra, and Assassination Attempts, Petra)

After some initial trials with Prison specimens, we can report the program is now ready for full-scale production. Please see Reports 13458.66 and .55 for video feeds and notations on the initial trials. Reports .80 through .86 cover the trials involving the Techeuns. The power they wield in the transferal process ensures a 100% success rate, and we are now confident only one Techeun will need to be present for the transfer.

Below find remaining pertinent notations. We have received approval from the Queen’s Wrath to move forward, and thus future reports will detail production output and any changes to the process.

- Transferred Taken power has a throughput rate of [redacted] which is obviously lower than we want. Transfer still results in incredibly potent arms and armor, so for the moment this ‘noise’ is acceptable. Future improvements to the process will attempt to up the throughput rate.
- Supply was initially raised as concern during trials, but whatever measures House Judgment has put into place to stock the Prison also assures numerous sources of Taken power. Coordination between House Judgment and production is an ongoing task.
- The Queen’s Wrath has already stated she will handle the diplomatic side of this discussion. Legwork during initial trials raised the possibility the Vanguard would have concerns about the moral aspect of this technology, but the Wrath has stated it will not be an issue.
- High frequency sound baffling for production facilities is still being installed. Taken screams can shatter plastics and burst blood vessels if not baffled, and at full-scale production that kind of auditory byproduct will be a constant.