This page details the species of rhinoceros-like aliens that made Mars their primary outpost in the Solar system.
A massive race of rhinoceros-like humanoids who invade the Solar system in the name of their extrasolar empire, with the bulk of their forces settled on Mars. They are at war with Humanity and the Vex on Mars, and with the Hive over the rings of Saturn. By Destiny 2, they have made their way to Earth itself.
Beware of unmarked spoilers.
- Adventurer Archaeologist: The Cabal on Mars are a militarized version of this, showing an intense fascination with Vex architecture and technology and having an entire military division dedicated to clearing out and studying Vex complexes.
- Ambition Is Evil: Inverted; for the Cabal, ambition is extremely important, to the point that their equivalent of the Icarus myth, the Legend of Acrius, ends with the aforementioned Acrius taking control of the sun and becoming the first Emperor. According to Tyra Karn, a linguistic analysis of the Cabal indicates that they don't even have a word for "hubris."
- Anti-Villain: Along with the Fallen, they're one of the two most sympathetic enemy factions.
- The forces on Mars in the first game may be the servants of a harsh, brutal empire with absolutely no idea of the meaning of the word 'overkill', but they are, at heart, a bunch of weary, put-upon grunts who just want to soldier through and get their mission done so they can go home, ideally with as many of their friends still alive as possible. These "scout legions" are totally in over their heads with fighting the Vex, Guardians, Hive, and even the Fallen.
- The Red Legion in the second game are a different matter. They believe that the Traveler belongs to them and invade Earth with the intention of taking it for themselves.
- The majority of the Cabal are actually a peaceful society who live lives of happiness and leisure, first under Emperor Calus and then under Dominus Ghaul. The former created an empire of decadent merriment and happiness because he genuinely wanted the best for his people, while the latter maintains it because it keeps the people happy and content and not turning against him.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Up to a point. Senior Cabal officers are all extremely dangerous, but there does appear to be a maximum level of combat competence at the Valus (colonel) rank. Primuses (generals) are typically fought in solo missions, while Valuses show up as end-bosses in group activities like Strikes and public events.
- Awakening the Sleeping Giant: All of the battles that the Guardians fought against the Cabal in the first game were against a few "scout legions." The victories of the Guardians against the Cabal meant that they eventually had to take serious notice... and by Destiny 2 they've sent so much firepower that they were able to destroy the Tower and take the City.
- Badass Army: The only enemy race that fields a properly organized military, and they're giving just as good as they get from the Vex. Even as they suffer massive casualties from Oryx's first strike and are forced to order a general retreat, one battalion is crazy enough to form a beachhead on Oryx's Dreadnaught and succeed.
- Taken even further for Destiny 2: they're the first and only power in the entire system to actually conquer the City.
- Badass Normal:
- They're the only faction in the game not to have a direct connection to the Light or Darkness, and in fact are rather bewildered by the whole thing. All they have going for them is brute strength, simple-but-well-engineered technology, massive firepower, and sheer bloody-minded determination... and it's enough to make them one of the most dangerous players in the solar system.
- Destiny 2 revolves around the Cabal, with Ghaul and the Consul in particular, wanting to avert this and figure out how to take the Light for themselves. They're also not averse to using other seemingly magical abilities, such as studying the Hive to learn how to forcibly take and manipulate Light using purely technological means. They even learned how to copy the Taken's ability to render soldiers invulnerable with their Psions.
- Interestingly, the lore entries from the Warmind expansion indicates that the Cabal have extensive lore on the Traveler, the Light, and the Darkness, but much of the knowledge was lost on vast library worlds that could only be accessed by "guides" that are loyal to Calus. With his exile no one could access these secret libraries and the lore on the esoteric forces was lost, leaving Ghaul's empire with no idea what they were dealing with on Mars.
- Base on Wheels: They employ several giant land tanks which crawl across the Martian desert and house entire companies.
- Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism; Downplayed. Male Cabal and female Cabal are largely indistinguishable, save that female Cabal have massive pairs of tusks.
- Blade Below the Shoulder: In Destiny 2, Cabal units now come equipped with large wrist blades that they can deploy up close, or to make a mad charge.
- The Brute: They're the most physically powerful species in the Solar system.
- The Cavalry: Villainous example: Destiny 2, and with it, destruction of the Last City, come about when the Cabal Empire itself sends much-needed reinforcements.
- The Chosen Wannabe: As it turns out, the Cabal, or at least the Red Legion, felt they were the rightful successors of the Traveler's powers, but were passed over for Humanity. Dominus Ghaul intends to prove the Traveler wrong by crushing all of humanity.
- Cool, but Inefficient: Most Cabal technology is very powerful but also incredibly resource-hungry, both because the Cabal build on such a titanic scale, and because they're using the technologies of several different species that weren't meant to work together. For that reason, it's easy for the Guardians to exploit their supply lines and maintenance systems to infiltrate their otherwise impregnable fortresses and sabotage their equipment.
- Curbstomp Battle:
- Oryx's attack utterly wrecks the Cabal on Mars and Phobos. The Blind Legion and Dust Giants suffer more than a third of their total strength in casualties, while the Sand Eaters - who make up the bulk of the Cabal presence - lose well over half their numbers. It's no wonder why the Cabal opt to go to extreme lengths to take Oryx out. Additionally, thanks to the combined efforts of the Hive and the Guardians, the Cabal High Command is utterly devastated by the end of The Taken King, with most of their senior commanders dead.
- The Cabal promptly hand one right back to the Guardians when the Red Legion arrives. They disable the City's long-range sensors and sneak their fleet in close, and then obliterate the Tower and invade the City, while also cutting off the Guardians' access to the Traveler and destroying their weapons, armor, and equipment.
- Determinator: Their defining characteristic. They prefer to go through problems rather than around them, and literally don't have a word for "retreat". Even when their high command task them with the most batshit insane, suicidal missions, they'll pick up their guns and grimly soldier on. The Red Legion are even more determined than most, as their reaction to losing their entire officer corps over the course of Destiny 2 is to assault Mercury and try to use Vex and then Osiris's technology to undo their defeat through time travel.
- Dumb Muscle: Failsafe, Cayde and your Ghost all take turns snarking at the Cabal on Nessus during the Inverted Spire strike, observing that their scientists' research equals putting skyscraper-sized drills on the planetoid's crust, risking its destruction just to build more guns.Failsafe's snarky side: So Cabal scientists can take a punch, but theyre not very smart. I guess they cracked open the planet and that Mind came crawling out?
- It is noteworthy that while the Cabal come off as being dumb brutes, their technology is still startlingly advanced, and they are able to pull off some impressive feats of reverse-engineering and adapting their technology to new threats. They're even able to hijack the Sundial, a creation of Osiris, and use it in ways he didn't expect.
- Elite Mooks: Their leader units, Centurions who serve as field commanders and move around on Jet Packs, and Colossi who lug around Gatling Good weapons and launch guided missiles from their backs.
- The Emperor: Emperor Calus, the currently-exiled ruler of the Cabal Empire, who resides on a vast world-eating ship. He was deposed by Ghaul and the remains of the old Praetorate military oligarchy, but was left alive and exiled because he was so beloved by his people. In Destiny 2, he reappears as a mad herald of the Darkness..
- Enemy Civil War: Though it's not shown on-screen, the Cabal are split between those loyal to Emperor Calus and Dominus Ghaul. Normally this manifests as violent arguments between the Cabal on opposing sides, but in Destiny 2, one lore entry indicates that the Mars Cabal were staunch loyalists and went into open revolt against the Red Legion when they arrived, swearing to fight to the death instead of joining Ghaul's traitors.
- The Engineer: Like the Roman legions from which humanity gives them their designations, their forces seem to be simultaneously frontline infantry and engineering corps. When they take territory, the first thing they begin doing is constructing fortifications, using tunneling machines and pre-fabricated materials. This seems to continue indefinitely, and any time they are not spent fighting is spent landscaping the surrounding terrain into massive fortresses.
- Evil Is Bigger: They're much larger than humans (except for their Slave Mooks, the Psions), and their technology is built to scale.
- Explosive Decompression: Downplayed when scoring a Boom, Headshot! on Cabal infantry. Their suits maintain a high internal pressure and are filled with a viscous, oily fluid that powers the suit and explodes violently when ruptured.
- Expy: They are, in effect, the Imperium of Man from Warhammer 40,000, combining elements of both the Space Marines and the Imperial Guard. In the former, they're enormous, heavily-armored soldiers with colorful, bulky suits of thick plating, packing massive guns that fire rocket-propelled explosives as their main weapons. For the latter, they're (relatively) normal and non-magical soldiers who wage war through vast numbers, deep fortifications, sheer firepower, and dogged determination.
- Destiny 2 really drives home the point that they are the setting's equivalent of the Adeptus Astartes, with tactical soldiers supported by jetpack-equipped close-combat troops with heated swords, along with flamethrower teams. They even have the equivalent of Chapter Champions and Company Captains in the form of elites with lofty titles and the immense firepower and armor to back them up. If the Cabal in the first game were the Imperial Guard, the Red Legion are definitely the Space Marines.
- Just to drive home the point comparing them to the Imperium of Man, the Cabal are sharply divided between the Emperor Calus and Dominus Ghaul, with Cabal soldiers within divided into traitors and loyalist factions. Ghaul is essentially Horus, with his traitors being akin to the Traitor Legions who fell to Chaos - only in Ghaul's case, it is worship of the Traveler instead of the Chaos Gods.
- The Loyalists you run into on the Leviathan however, seem to be a dead ringer for the Adeptus Custodes, being very competent soldiers donning the Bling of War.
- The Exile: When a Cabal regiment is deployed, they're essentially kicked out of the empire and forbidden to return until they win. Given the way the war on Mars is going...
- Fantastic Rank System: The first part of named Cabal characters are actually their formal rank in the Cabal military. For example, "Valus Ta'aurc"'s name is "Ta'aurc", while his rank is Valus; "Primus Sha'aul"'s name is "Sha'aul", while his rank is "Primus"; etc.
- Destiny 2 introduces the Dominus rank, which is currently held by Ghaul. Judging by how much manpower Ghaul was able to bring to the fight, the ranking system probably goes as follows:
- Bracus: roughly equivalent to a captain. Lead multiple squads.
- Val: Bodyguards and lieutenants to a Valus.
- Valus: Roughly equivalent to battalion commanders.
- Primus: Commander of a legion.
- Evocate-General: the "Primus of all legions", and head of the Cabal legions.
- Dominus: Commander of the entire Cabal military.
- Destiny 2 introduces the Dominus rank, which is currently held by Ghaul. Judging by how much manpower Ghaul was able to bring to the fight, the ranking system probably goes as follows:
- Forbidden Zone: Areas under Cabal control are known as "exclusion zones", because the Cabal exclude anything from approaching it. And by "exclude" they mean "shoot down with excessive force".
- Forever War:
- Their war against the Vex on Mars. Their battle to secure the Dreadnaught may also count as one, and as one that shows up in gameplay: Hull Breach is the site of a constant, endless Cabal vs. Hive battle, with reinforcements from both sides being shipped continuously into the fight. The balance of power changes daily, but no one side ever completely overcomes the other.
- The Red Legion ends up locked in one across the system after Ghaul's defeat. They can hold on to territory but are unable to push past their strongholds and are constantly under attack by the Hive, Fallen, Vex, Taken, and Guardians. Every attempt they make to break out and retake the initiative is bogged down or crushed, to the point that they've started trying increasingly desperate strategies like assaulting the Leviathan or hijacking Vex tech.
- Gatling Good: The Heavy Slug Thrower, a rotary microrocket launcher that resembles an assault cannon from Warhammer 40,000, is the standard armament for Colossi, the Cabal's biggest, meanest soldiers, and may well be the deadliest hand-held weapon in the game, ripping through even the toughest Guardian's shields in seconds.
- Genius Bruiser: They're heavily armed, heavily armoured eight-hundred-pound 'space turtles'... but they're also gifted soldiers with a very technologically advanced civilization, and all signs indicate that they earned their military smarts and their tech honestly. They're one of the few factions that actually truly understands Vex technology, while even the Guardians and the Vanguard are mostly conjecturing about the true nature of Vex tech - to the point where the Psions feel confident enough in their understanding to start trying to Ret-Gone the Red Legion's defeat.
- Giant Mook: Colossi, as the name implies, are huge even by Cabal standards, and carry the alien empire's biggest and most devastating man-portable weaponry.
- Grenade Launcher: The Projection Rifle, a high-caliber indirect-fire version of the standard Slug Rifle that's the primary weapon for Centurions.
- Guilt-Free Extermination War: The Cabal are waging one toward all of their enemies in Sol, having no qualms with using whatever means necessary to clear out their enemies. Cayde even explicitly calls them "war criminals" in the Shield Brothers strike. In Destiny 2, the Consul outright says that the Red Legion have been exterminating the surviving humans who have stayed in the City once the Guardians were depowered and driven out.
- Hoist by Their Own Petard: As of Destiny 2, we get to use two Cabal weapons.
- The Skyburners' Oath is a Cabal Slug rifle that works like a full-auto scout rifle...with the ability to do extra damage to the Cabal.
- The Legend of Acrius is a Cabal Slug Shotgun that has two shots that can penetrate multiple targets.
- Hopeless War: The invasion of Sol is one... for the Cabal. They have to either win on Mars or die trying. They have a strong hold on Mars, but the occupation is under tremendous pressure by an endless war with the Vex and the Guardians, which is only sustained by constant reinforcements. Their highest-ranking commanders on Mars are wiped out by the Guardians. Then Oryx shows up, utterly devastating their numbers in a single massive attack, prompting the Sky Burners to take everything they have and assault the Dreadnaught in a desperate attempt to defeat Oryx. When their remaining commanders are killed or Taken, all the surviving Cabal can do is send a desperate message for help to continue the war.
- It's completely inverted by the time Destiny 2, where the Cabal have invaded with massive force. The Red Legion not only managed to take the City virtually overnight, but they also devastated the Vex, to the point that they've begun tearing apart Mercury itself to fuel the Almighty. After Ghaul's defeat, it gets flipped back on them, to the point that the Red Legion are trying to hijack the Leviathan and then repurpose the Sundial to rewrite history so that they win.
- Honor Before Reason: Cabal have a strict code of conduct that must be adhered to, lest one be branded a criminal or outright executed. It's the reason they keep trying to take the Sol system despite their continued losses, and why they cannot enter an alliance with the City without the Guardians pledging subservience.
- I Am Not Left-Handed: Destiny 2 makes it clear; all the Cabal encountered beforehand were scouts. The full force of the Empire is, shall we say, a bit more impressive.
- It's Raining Men: Jump jets are standard Cabal equipment, and they like to pop them off like fireworks on New Year's Eve. There are few sights in the game more unnerving than an eight-metre-tall Primus and his retinue dropping towards you feet-first, thrusters (and guns) blazing.
- They also possess drop pod technology, launched from ships overhead which disintegrate rapidly on touchdown to reveal their crunchy Cabal centres. They're also fired with surprising accuracy at the heads of Guardians otherwise distracted with checking their inventories.
- The Juggernaut: It doesn't matter what gets in their way. Humans, Vex, mountains, moons, entire planets. If it gets in the Cabal's path, they destroy it rather than go around it. This even extends to domestic policies; Emperor Calus intentionally obliterated entire planets and stars just to make the skies prettier, and stripped entire barren planets of their resources to feed his people's endless merriment and hedonism.
- Language Equals Thought: According to Ikora, the Cabal have six words for "advance" and none for "retreat". And according to Tyra, they also have no word for "hubris."
- Large and in Charge: The Cabal get bigger and tougher as they get older. Age = experience = promotion. Do the maths. Senior officers like Valus Ta'aurc and Primus Sha'aull are roughly the size of tanks. Cabal tanks.
- Leitmotif: A good chunk of the tracks associated with them revolves around oppressive drum beats and brass blaring all over the place, with "Cabal Stomp" being the most representative. Sure enough, it's brute force in musical form.
- Light Is Not Good: They favour lots of white highlights in the heraldry of their various regiments, underlining their cold, clinical aesthetic and letting the grime show up better to signify how the grinding Forever War on Mars has worn them down.
- Long-Lived: The Cabal's lifespan is unspecified, but it's stated that Emperor Calus had ruled for several centuries before being overthrown, and the Consul is a remnant of the caste that ruled before Calus did. To compound that, there's the fact that Ghaul's overthrow of Calus happened thousands of years before the events of Destiny 2.
- Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: The signature weapon of the Cabal Phalanxes. They're also known to use it as a weapon.
- Macross Missile Massacre: Colossi have multi-launch missile backpacks in addition to their massive gatling guns, meaning that even hard cover isn't a sure defence against them.
- Magitek: While the Cabal use conventional technology that doesn't rely on Light or the powers of the Darkness, they aren't averse to studying the more esoteric and reality-warping powers and reverse-engineering their principles. Much of Ghaul's Light-controlling technology in Destiny 2 is based on research into the Hive's Light-stealing techniques, but instead of magical spells and rituals they use purely technological means. They also researched the Taken and developed barriers based off of the Taken's powers, although the Young Wolf cuts off this plan at the knees before their experiments can get anywhere.
- Mighty Glacier: Their Grimoire entry notes that they only have one tactic: slow advance. The problem being that they are really good at it. In practice, though, it's mitigated by their ubiquitous jump jets, which can let even these lumbering behemoths reposition with frightening speed.
- Mook Horror Show: The first story mission of The Taken King (The Coming War) plays out like this. The player arrives at one of their fortresses in response to a distress signal, and finds the Cabal panicking and fleeing from something terrible. Inside the base, the ground is littered with corpses and bizarre dimensional rifts, which the player can occasionally witness sucking in screaming Cabal soldiers. And then they come face to face with Oryx...
- Nigh-Invulnerability: The Cabal are among the toughest of the alien forces, and are such purely through their technology and physical durability rather than any kind of Darkness or Traveler-fueled reality-warping. They're tough enough that Phalanxes and Centurions can withstand direct hits from a Fallen Walker's main cannon.
- No Kill Like Overkill: There is no such thing as subtlety for the Cabal. Everything they do is on a tremendous scale, from armor to engineering to entertainment. As a result, the Cabal Empire is also awe-inspiring but extremely inefficient, and have to strip-mine entire worlds to feed their empire's industries, ships, population, and vineyards.
- Our Weapons Will Be Boxy in the Future: Cabal tech is angular, blocky, and graceless, but manages to match and often outperform human designs without even having the Traveler's assistance.
- Out of Focus: For the first Destiny, the Cabal were never a major villain and never received an expansion focusing on them. Come Destiny 2, however, and they are the central focus.
- Planet Looters: The Cabal have no issues with literally ripping apart entire planets to fuel their war machine, and in Destiny 2, they're shown using Mercury as a source of fuel and raw resources to power the Almighty starship, literally pulling and transporting chunks of it off the surface and flying them to the Almighty for processing into fuel. It's also implied that the massive Cabal occupation of Mars in Destiny 1, which by their standards was "a few scouting legions," was only a simple mining operation that slowly turned into a brutal, grueling occupation as the Cabal fought the Vex and Guardians for control of the planet. Season of the Chosen introduces the Creed of the Cabal Empire acknowledging this trope:"We are Cabal. We eat the mountains. We drink the seas."
- Police Code for Everything: The military code 'Problem 78, Subsection F' may count, but to be honest, 'death by multiple gunshots' is a pretty regular occupational hazard for Cabal soldiers.
- Proud Warrior Race: Zig-zagged. On the one hand, many Cabal are fearsome and proud, dedicated soldiers who have no word for retreat. On the other hand, a large part of the Cabal population prefers to live in peace and comfort. The warrior part of the Cabal society was represented by the old Praetorate military aristocracy who used their power to subjugate the rest of their people, while the peaceful part of the society was represented by Emperor Calus, who overthrew the Praetorate. The perception among the military that the Cabal had become weak and decadent under Calus' rule and the desire to return to the endless grind of brutal warfare ultimately led to Dominus Ghaul's coup and the reestablishment of the military dictatorship.
- Punch-Clock Villain: Compared with the other factions. They don't really have any connection to the Dark, and the Cabal on Mars are mostly scouting legions sent from a vast Empire to plunder the human and Vex technologies on Mars. The Red Legion in Destiny 2 are a different matter, made up of loyal soldiers to Ghaul, who is brutal and power hungry in the extreme and wants the power of the Traveler for himself. It also turns out that the majority of the Cabal people are not aggressive or violent and were happy under the rule of Emperor Calus, who made it his goal to provide wealth and happiness for everyone. One lore entry in Destiny 2 indicates that the Sand Eaters were actually loyalists to Calus who were dispatched to Mars to get them out of the way.
- Punched Across the Room: Cabal Phalanxes are notorious for this as well as their invincible shields. And more often than not, players end up dying from being smacked into a wall at breakneck speeds.
- Pūnct'uatìon Sh'akër: Aside from the Psions, lot of Cabal names follow this convention, such as Valus Ta'aurc, Primus Sha'aull, Bracus Tho'ourg, and even Primus Ta'aun. Other Cabal, however, lack them, such as Ghaul, Pashk, Brann, and Kreth.
- Robot War: Engaged in one with the Vex over control of Mars. It doesn't look likely to end any time soon.
- Scary Dogmatic Aliens: Of the "Aliens as Conquistadores" type. If they want territory, they come in and take it, then fortify it with massive defensive landscaping and construction projects, and then they hold it and shoot any unauthorized thing that gets close. In extreme circumstances, 'unauthorized things' can include planets.
- Shield Bash: Guardians that are careless can wind up getting smashed into walls by Phalanxes this way.
- Slave Mooks: Not them, but the spindly Psions who operate their machinery and pilot their ships are said to be another race they conquered.
- Calus' lorebook indicates that not all Psions are slaves, and many are "freeborn." However, one of Calus' companions, a powerful freeborn Psion, balked at the idea of the species being released from slavery, as it would mean that she would lose her privileged place, and so supported Ghaul's coup.
- In Season of the Chosen, Empress Caiatl tells Commander Zavala that she freed the Psions in a private message heard at the H.E.L.M.
- Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Subverted, despite the Vanguard's expectations. They knew that the first Cabal forces were a few scouting legions, and expected that the Cabal would ramp up their forces in response to th City's efforts and Oryx's arrival. They did not, however, expect that the Cabal would jump from a few lightly-armed scouts to the de-facto emperor of the Cabal himself showing up with a titanic fleet of the best soldiers in the Empire to kick in the Tower's door.
- Space Romans: Explicitly so. Their unit names (Legionary, Gladiator, Centurion) are a dead giveaway, their armour designs borrow from the Roman legions (particularly with the crests on their helmets), and so do their tactics, advancing infantry behind a wall of shield-carrying soldiers. Backing up the Roman theme is Dominus Ghaul's story: he was a powerful military commander whose ambition and lust for power drove him to betray his own Emperor, which was a common occurrence in Rome.
- Taken even further in the Cabal lorebook written by Emperor Calus himself. Before Ghaul took over, the Cabal were a benevolently decadent empire akin to Rome at the height of its wealth and power, with Calus being a good emperor who was focused on the happiness and wealth of his people. It wasn't until Ghaul's coup that the Cabal became the militarized brutes that we encounter in-game.
- Standard Sci-Fi Army: The Cabal are probably the only truly well-organized military in the solar system, with specialized regiments and hierarchy. Because of their emphasis on using Harvester dropships, just about all Cabal units count as Air Mobile assault troops.
- The Sand Eaters, noted by the colors brown and green, form the Line infantry, and are the mainstay of the Cabal army on Mars. Being the front-line units, they're the ones most often fighting the Vex, manning the defenses, and patrolling the Mars ruins.
- The Dust Giants, denoted by orange and teal armor, are Heavy infantry who specialize in rapid air-mobile reinforcement and assault, and are recruited from veteran Sand Eaters.
- The Siege Dancers, denoted by yellow and blue armor, are Shock Trooper and Engineering units whose job is to advance into enemy territory and set up forward fortifications.
- The Blind Legion are the most Elite of the Mars divisions, wearing black and white armor, and are tasked with assaulting and clearing Vex structures and studying their technology, combining Shock Trooper and Intelligence.
- The Sky Burners are the last of the Cabal formations as of the events of The Taken King, denoted by red and blue armor, based out of a naval base on the moon of Phobos. They appear to fill the role of Marines, as they do not directly participate in surface combat and instead launch the invasion of the Dreadnaught above Saturn.
- The Red Legion of Destiny 2, marked by their red and black armor, are a combination of Shock Trooper and Elite, serving as the personal legion of Dominus Ghaul.
- And then there's the Loyalists, who show up on the Leviathan ship, colored purple and gold, which serve as both Elite and Praetorean, as the personal guards of the Cabal Emperor Calus.
- In addition, the Psions all serve in the Logistical, Intelligence, and Pilot roles, handling aircraft and support tasks for their larger, tougher Cabal leaders.
- Star Killing: The Red Legion make this a policy whenever they fight in a star system, win or lose. After taking everything useful from the system, they use a massive starship known as the Almighty to destroy the system to completely seal their victory.
- Tank Goodness: They're fans. Vehicles range from the hulking Goliath hover-MBT, with a gun powerful enough to shoot down spacecraft, to the skyscraper-sized land-tanks their regiments use as their bases during an invasion.
- In a bit of an inversion, their Interceptors are scout vehicles, likely designed to be used by the Psions. Still, they're as close to a tank that a Guardian can get. They slowly fire rounds that cause Splash Damage and have a short burst of speed for some Car Fu, but they are also slow and and well-armored.
- Victory by Endurance: This is the main strength of the Cabal: their military infrastructure is so strong and their reinforcements are so plentiful that once they have established a foothold, they win by attrition. However, by the time of The Taken King they've realised this strategy does not work against the Tower (whose Guardians can infinitely regenerate from death), so they started to investigate ways of killing Ghosts permanently. In the process, Ghaul discovered how to steal the Traveler's Light.
- Wave-Motion Gun: The Almighty, the Red Legion's ultimate trump card, is a massive starship that can destroy entire star systems by firing a beam at a star that causes it to go supernova.
- We Have Reserves: Every society in the solar system has an advantage or ally to back it up. The Vex have their time-warping hive mind. The Hive have their dark gods. The Fallen have their fleet of Ketches. The Reef has the Queen and her Harbingers. The Jovians have the Nine. The Last City has the Traveler. The Cabal? They have reinforcements.
- Supplementary material for the story of Destiny 2 has a more direct and darker example: the Cabal are disposable enough that the Red Legion intentionally arranged for the Broken Legion to kill the troops who refused to go with them and be sent to the Prison of Elders.
- You Can't Go Home Again: We learn in Season of the Chosen that Torobatl, the Cabal homeworld, has been lost to the Hive under Xivu Arath.
- Your Head Asplode: Subverted. Scoring a headshot kill on a Cabal soldier knocks their helmet off, causing an enormous spray of navy-blue... something that strongly suggests this trope. It turns out that this is an "organogel" material that is used in the suits for a huge range of purposes, including powering their armor.
The baseline troops for the Cabal. They wield Slug Rifles, and are capable of moving quickly with their jump jets.
- Abnormal Ammo: Their standard-issue Slug Rifles are pretty much the game's equivalent to a boltgun, which translates to Solar damage.
- Blade Below the Shoulder: Red Legion Legionaries get this as Type I. These are retractable blades that heat up when ready to use.
- Grenade Launcher: Sometimes they're equipped with a Projection Rifle. In Destiny 2, the Red Legionaries' wrist blade double as this, firing the blade at long range and treating it somewhat like a sticky bomb.
- Mighty Glacier: The above quote implies this, however their jump jets actually mitigate this problem.
- Pistol Whip: They can do this with their rifles if you get too close.
- Shotguns Are Just Better: Starting in Destiny 2, some Legionaries are seen wielding a Slug Shotgun that can fire several Arc projectiles in quick succession, not unlike the Fallen's Shrapnel Launcher. It's easily the deadliest weapon a lowly Legionary can field, especially when several gang up on you. After a lenghty sidequest that involves raiding onboard the Leviathan, Guardians can obtain a repurposed version of the gun called the Legend of Acrius, which fires much slower but packs a lot more punch than any other shotgun in the game.
Cabal commanders, with better defenses. They normally use the Projection Rifle.
- Blade Below the Shoulder: Like Legionaries, Centurions of the Red Legion sport retractable wrist blades with Destiny 2.
- Crazy-Prepared: Centurions take immense pains to prepare for any eventuality. Their fear that there might be something that they've overlooked is why their Taken versions are granted the Axiom Bolt, which will seek out the unseen threat unerringly.
- Deflector Shield: Centurions carry a strong Solar shield that can make them much harder to kill in a prolonged engagement.
- Elite Mook: Compared to the Cabal rank and file, they are much tougher, with shields, more health, and heavier weapons.
- Grenade Launcher: They're normally equipped with a rapid-fire version of this.
- Vertical Mecha Fins: Their armor mounts these.
- Spread Shot: Red Legion Centurions get these, which also doubles as a sort of fusion rifle.
Gigantic Cabal warriors, capable of bringing in a whole lot of firepower.
- Beam Spam: The Colossi in Destiny 2 either use the tried-and-true Heavy Slug Thrower or the Slug Launcher, a beam-firing energy cannon with a lower rate of fire, but high damage and accuracy, on top of being able to throw a Guardian's aim off due to each round's impact. Colossi wielding this weapon will keep firing it for several seconds, with a short pause between volleys.
- Blinded by the Light: The missiles used by the Destiny 2 versions will blind and disorient the player.
- Gatling Good: Their standard-issue weapon is the Heavy Slug Thrower, a two-handed, fully automatic gun that fires a constant hail of Solar microrockets, but aesthetically looks and functions like a gatling gun. By Destiny 2, however, they started fielding the Slug Launcher in greater numbers due to its overwhelming firepower. Eva Levante somehow managed to retrofit one such Heavy Slug Thrower into an Exotic machine gun for Guardian use, dubbed Heir Apparent.
- Giant Mook: They tower over many other Cabal units.
- Macross Missile Massacre: If you're too far from them, they're likely to unleash a barrage of homing missiles onto your position from backpack-mounted launchers.
- Mighty Glacier: Unlike the other Cabal units, these guys are slow as hell without the jump jets; however, they're capable of taking as much punishment as they can dish out.
- Shockwave Stomp: They're a non-boss enemy that is capable of this if you get too close.
By far the smallest unit of the Cabal, roughly around the size of a human. They primarily serve as intelligence officers, skirmishers, pilots, and technical support.
- Body Horror: Should you shoot off their helmets in Destiny 2, you'll discover that Psions appear to have bolts drilled into their skulls and perhaps even their brains. The Cabal are clearly very thorough in the Psions' enslavement.
- Cyclops: Destiny 2 reveals that they're one-eyed creatures, much unlike the Cabal.
- Jet Pack: Psion in Destiny 2 use these to quickly dash around the battlefield or leap onto high ledges.
- Mental Fusion: Theyre capable of joining their minds together in a process called metaconcert when they need to pool their knowledge or powers. The Flayer Sisters fought in Season of the Dawn were able to take it a step further, performing a permanent metaconcert that ended in an outright Fusion Dance.
- Mind over Matter: They make use of telekinesis for a variety of purposes...this includes pushing you back, or firing a wave of psychokinetic energy at you.
- Shock and Awe: In addition to the Solar damage they do to you with their Slug Rifles, their psychokinetic powers count as Arc damage.
- Slave Mooks: Many Psions are slaves to the Cabal, using their intellects to control advanced weapons and spacecraft. Some Psions are not slaves but "freeborn," but they assist in the domination of the rest of their people because it gives them a place of power and prestige among their species.
- As of Season of the Chosen, this is no longer the case, as one of Empress Caiatl's first reforms was to free all the Psions, and give all Psions who wished to leave the empire enough supplies to survive. Many Psions chose to stay in the empire.
- The Smart Guy: While the Cabal themselves are no intellectual slouches, the Psions are extremely adept at mental tasks and are generally the ones who handle piloting aircraft, electronic warfare, intelligence operations.
- Sniper Rifle: Destiny 2 adds sniper rifles to their arsenal, which, when coupled with their smaller size, makes them a much more dangerous long-range threat than before. In Season of Dawn, the player can forge a Void sniper rifle called the Trophy Hunter, whose frame is very similar to the Psions' Cabal Headhunter, albeit with a longer and thinner barrel.
Cabal units wielding a shield, usually seen supporting Centurions.
- Achilles' Heel: In Destiny 1, their shooting hand is unprotected, allowing you to take a potshot at it and cause them to stagger, leaving them wide open. In Destiny 2, they trade the metal slabs for an energy shield that expands widely, creating greater protection for themselves. However, these shields gain a glowing core in the center that can be damaged, staggering them after shooting them enough.
- Dual Wielding: They wield a Slug Rifle in one hand, and their shield in the other. This combination is similar to how some riot police fight.
- Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: It doesn't matter what you fire at it; barring area damage, nothing's penetrating that shield. This can get really troublesome if the "Angry" modifier is active, which means that the enemies will never flinch, meaning that shield will not be moving.
- Punched Across the Room: They can do this to you with their shields if you get too close... this becomes more of an issue when they either punch you into a wall, or off a ledge.
- Shield Bash: They're capable of doing all sorts of damage to you with their shields, including smashing you against walls.
- Shotguns Are Just Better: Some of the ones with the Red Legion can heft around a shotgun.
- Stone Wall: They're one of the reasons why fighting the Cabal head-on is so hard: that shield will not be penetrated by anything to the point that it can block even some targeted Guardian supers like the Golden Gun. The Red Legion's Phalanxes are somewhat easier to deal with, as their shields can be depleted by concentrated fire, but they make up for it with being much faster.
- What Measure Is a Non-Badass?: In-Universe, while Mars Phalanxes have a critical battlefield role, according to the Taken: Phalanx grimoire card, many resent the fact that they seem to serve only to protect their fellow troops and don't have much in the way of offensive options. By comparison, the Red Legion's Phalanxes are far more aggressive.
Cabal Red Legion units armed with flamethrower weapons.
- Fire-Breathing Weapon: Their weapon of choice. The Incendior's flamethrower works similarly to the Taken Knight's Fire Breath, creating small fires where they land and setting you on fire.
- Flamethrower Backfire: Shooting the fuel tank on their back enough will cause them to explode, setting anyone close by on fire. This is thankfully pretty easy to do, since their body structure makes them also have their fuel tank peek out.
- Kill It with Fire: Their whole battle methodology relies on hammering an enemy with flames, both driving the target out of cover and denying areas.
- Shockwave Stomp: Another non-boss enemy type capable of sending Guardians flying with a stomp should they feel the Guardian is too close to them.
Red Legion warriors who eschew normal guns and charge into battle Dual Wielding swords.
- BFS: Their cleavers are massive, almost the size of an adult human being. Despite this, Gladiators are abnormally agile.
- Dual Wielding: Instead of any ranged weapon, they instead focus on carrying their two massive cleavers for close combat.
- Lightning Bruiser: Ditching guns is no disadvantage for them. They move fast despite their bulk, and can quickly overwhelm players who don't take care of them, showcasing the terrifying disparity in sheer strength between a Cabal and a human.
Alien creatures used by the Red Legion.
- Lightning Bruiser: Unlike the Hive Thralls, Cabal War Beasts are good deal tougher, thanks to their bulk and armor.
- Spikes of Villainy: Their armor features a large number of bladed implements, almost making them porcupine-ish.
- Zerg Rush: Like the Hive Thralls, War Beasts rely on their numbers to make any major impact so expect to see them in large numbers when they show up.
An officer in the Sand Eaters legion, Bracus Tho'ourg is the first Cabal commander fought by the Young Wolf on Mars during their quest to find the gate to the Black Garden.
- Boss in Mook Clothing: A regular Centurion, although at that point he is the first one encountered by the player.
- Frontline General: He led the conquest of the Buried City when Mars first fell to the Cabal.
- Long-Lived: He was apparently present at first contact with the Cabal, which was several centuries before the events of the game.
An officer in the Sand Eaters legion, Bracus Tha'aum is encountered leading a recon mission into the Dust Palace.
The commander of the Blind Legion, encountered by the player Guardian during the quest to charge Zydron's eye.
- Adventurer Archaeologist: Taken to its logical extreme. The Blind Legion's mission is to study the Vex ruins on Mars, and since said ruins tend to be filled with heavily-armed Vex unwilling to give up their stuff, exploring them is adventuresome indeed.
- Badass Bookworm: A scholar and archaeologist who can and will stomp you into Mars's red dust.
- Bling of War: Wears a gold chest plate and has a fan of feathers on his back. He looks kind of like a peacock. A peacock with a fully-automatic rocket launcher.
- Four-Star Badass: The Cabal equivalent of an admiral or a general, and the meanest soldier of theirs you'll encounter outside a Strike.
- King Mook: Per Cabal standard, he's a super-sized Centurion.
The Psion Flayers
Three powerful Psions and the bosses of the Dust Palace strike. They're seeking access to a terminal that Rasputin had managed to deny the Cabal.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: They managed to drive Rasputin out of a computer terminal. Cayde-6 even notes that if they could do that, then the Psion Flayers are extremely dangerous.
- Person of Mass Destruction: They're speculated to have moved the moon Phobos from its orbit, possibly as a weapon against Earth.
- Rule of Three: There are three Flayers: Kolar (who has an Arc shield), Numoc (who has a Void shield), and Vatch (who has a Solar shield).
The leader of the Siege Dancers legion, and the boss of the Cerberus Vae III Strike, Ta'aurc oversees the occupation of the buried city of Freehold from his gigantic Land Tank, deploying his troops to secure the Iron Line against humans and Vex alike.
- Armchair Military: Subverted. He's been involved in much less direct combat than most Cabal commanders despite his impressive record, preferring to use his horde of soldiers and enormous Land Tank to crush his enemies. Then you actually fight him, and lo and behold, he's one of the toughest bosses in the game.
- Back from the Dead: Many fans were amused to find out that, when summoning the boss that opens the portal to The Whispered quest (which, by the way, are all Destiny 1 bosses resurrected by Xol), one of the possible bosses that can appear is none other than Ta'aurc, now Ta'aurc, Aspect of War.
- Flunky Boss: As per normal. Unfortunately, many of his flunkies are the irritatingly difficult-to-kill Phalanxes, making them less useful than most as a source of ammunition and Orbs of Light.
- Four-Star Badass: A Cabal general who also happens to be one of the deadliest enemies you'll face outside of a Raid.
- Gatling Good: As a King Mook version of a Colossus, his Heavy Slug Thrower would look more comfortable mounted on a tank, and is one of the most devastating boss weapons in the game, alongside Phogoth's Eye Beams.
- How the Mighty Have Fallen: Used to be a Strike boss with overwhelming firepower. Now, as the undead Taken Aspect of War, Ta'aurc acts more like a Centurion, lacking his Heavy Slug Launcher and missile pack, and more easily crumbles like a pile of bricks under enough sustained fire. To make up for this, he has a lot more mooks and environment traps at play.
- King Mook: An even bigger, meaner Colossus, with the standard loadout of a Gatling gun and missile backpack.
- Macross Missile Massacre: His low-slung Heavy Slug Thrower leaves a lot of (theoretically) exploitable weak spots where you can shoot him and he can't shoot you. That's where the missile tubes on his back come in, launching enormous salvoes of homing death at anything he can't reach with his gun.
- Mighty Glacier: Colossi are amongst the slowest still-mobile enemies in the game, and this guy is no exception, but he's got enough firepower to more than make up for it.
A former Cabal commander, as far as his counterparts on Mars are concerned. He and his loyal soldiers launched an invasion of the Reef in defiance of High Command, and were captured there by the Awoken and thrown into the Prison of Elders as a result. Now leading what is left of the so-called "Broken Legion", he challenges Guardians of any caliber to come and try to kill him.
- Blood Knight: Like anything else you can fight in the Prison of Elders, Trau'ug has challenged Guardians to battle, entirely because he wants to fight and kill as many as he can get away with.
- Bad Boss: The reason he's a former Cabal commander is because, before leaving for the Reef (against the orders of Cabal High Command), he slaughtered the officers that would rather have stayed with his Martian counterparts than joined him in attempting to take the Reef.
- Boring, but Practical: Other Prison of Elder challenge bosses have a flashy gimmick that can debilitate Guardians and prolong the fight significantly. Valus Trau'ug simply has alternating elemental shields and reinforcements. Lots and lots of reinforcements. With grenade launchers no less.
- Dangerous Deserter: As mentioned above, he's a traitor to the Cabal forces on Mars. Those Cabal in the Prison, however, show fanatical loyalty to him.
- Elemental Barrier: His personal boss gimmick. Once he takes enough damage, he'll simply recalibrate his power shield into a different element between Solar, Void and Arc; this can make your task easier, or wall you completely.
- General Ripper: The most bloodthirsty antagonist we've seen as of yet.
- The Juggernaut: Variks even refers to him as a "Cabal juggernaut".
- King Mook: He's a mega-Centurion.
- Large and in Charge: He's on the same scale as Valus Ta'aurc, in both strategic command of his forces and in size.
- Meaningful Name: In-universe, his name roughly translates as "Less talk, more action". At least, that's what Variks tells us.
One of the Cabal who followed Valus Trau'ug into the Reef and was imprisoned alongside him. To the Cabal command, his promotion to Val is completely void, but to his fellow prisoners, he's a commander who's worth his weight in gold.
- A Father to His Men: Possibly the reason that the Cabal beneath him like him so much.
- Barrier Warrior/Flunky Boss: His Challenge of Elders schtick is that he's accompanied by three Psion Flayers along with his usual posse. A Flayer will channel their power to Aru'un, rendering him and the other Flayers immune to any damage until that flayer is dead. Doing so makes him vulnerable for a short time, but killing all three will make him vulnerable for the rest of the fight.
- Mook Promotion: Trau'ug promoted him to Val after they left Mars. As far as the Cabal High Command is concerned, he promotion is not recognized. As far as the Cabal of the Broken Legion are concerned, he's a worthy Val.
Valus Mau'ual and Valus Tlu'urn
Two Cabal officers who launch a suicidal attack on Oryx's Dreadnaught to avenge their fallen commander. Mau'ual is red and engages hand-to-hand, Tlu'urn is blue and attacks from a distance.
- All Your Powers Combined: When one of the brothers dies, the other obtains his signature weapon.
- For Tlu'urn, he gets Mau'ual's blade, so he can smash Guardians who are too close for comfort with it.
- For Mau'ual, he gets Tlu'urn's cannon, shooting missiles like a Colossus at Guardians while he chases them.
- Backpack Cannon: Tlu'urn fights with what appears to be an artillery piece strapped to his back.
- Band of Brothers: They underwent the "Shield Brothers rite" with Primus Ta'aun prior to his being Taken. Cayde-6 half suspects that their attack on the Dreadnaught is just as much an ultimatum get Oryx to return the Primus, though by this point, we're well aware that anything "Taken" cannot be "returned", in addition to you having killed their Primus already.
- Bash Brothers: They fight together, and their weapons complement each other well.
- Beehive Barrier: Tlu'urn creates one around him when both he and Mau'ul attack, allowing him to bombard you with impunity.
- Close-Range Combatant: Mau'ual is noted to be unusual among the Cabal in that he doesn't use a Slug Thrower or Projection Rifle, but a blade.
- Dual Boss: First you fight Mau'ual. After you reduce his health to half, he retreats and is replaced by Tlu'urn. After you reduce Tlu'urn's health to half, he retreats. Then you fight both brothers at once.
- Ground Pound: Tlu'urn creates shockwaves after landing from a jetpack jump.
- Ground Punch: Mau'ul fights by flying in your direction and smashing the ground with the Power Fist attached to his right arm.
- Incendiary Exponent: The second time you fight Mau'ual, his attacks set the ground on fire.
- King Mook: Both brothers are essentially oversized Legionaries. However, they also have enormous, wing-shaped jetpacks and a unique weapon.
- Large and in Charge: Similarly to Valuses (Valusi?) Trau'ug and Ta'aurc before them, the Shield Brothers stand more than twice as tall as average Colossi. They also take command of all the Cabal forces on the Dreadnought after Oryx took Primus Ta'aun.
- Lightning Bruiser: Mau'ual moves fast with that jetpack of his.
- Noble Demon: Cayde calls them war criminals, but their attack on the Dreadnought had somewhat noble intentions.
- Voiced by: Neil Kaplan
The commander of the Red Legion, the force that invades the City in Destiny 2 and the de-facto leader of the Cabal empire. Raised since he was young by the enigmatic Consul to believe the Cabal to be superior and the most deserving of the Traveler's power, he overthrew the previous emperor of the Cabal, Calus, through a military coup, sending the latter into exile. Now, he turns his attention to Earth, intending to prove the Traveler's choice wrong...
- A God Am I: Proclaims himself as one after becoming a being of Light. The Traveler proves otherwise.
- Aliens Speaking English: One of the first signs of his intelligence is his ability to speak to the Guardian, rather than through the Cabal's usual jumbled comms.
- All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Having destroyed the Tower and occupied the City, Ghaul's basically taken the home of both humanity and the Guardians, and even cut them off from the Traveler. In the process, he destroys both their weapons and their abilities.
- Arc Villain: Of Destiny 2's Day One campaign, as the leader of the Red Legion who successfully conquered the Last City, depowered the Guardians, and destroyed all our loot.
- Badass Boast: The one he delivers at the start of the final battle stands out.Look upon me. Dominus of the Red Legion. Annihilator of suns. Razer of a thousand worlds. Slayer of gods and conqueror of the Light. I. AM. GHAUL. And I have become legend.
- Another from the boss fight, referring to the supposedly enslaved Traveler; "LOOK UPON YOUR DEAD GOD!"
- Big "NO!": Twice. Once after getting defeated by the player Guardian, then another as the Traveler destroys him for good shortly after.
- Bilingual Bonus: Incidentally, his rank is Latin for "master" which is fitting given that he's effectively the Cabal Emperor.
- Bling of War: While not too flashy or impractical, his armor is pure white with gold decals, which given the Cabal's rugged practicality, clearly sets him apart as the emperor.
- Bread and Circuses: Because Calus was such a popular Emperor, Ghaul has to use this to keep the people who benefited under his rule happy so they don't overthrow him and reinstate him.
- The Chosen Wannabe: Having been raised to believe that the Cabal deserve the Traveler's light, he's obsessed with gaining its favor and becoming its chosen, spending most of his time after taking the Last City trying to figure how to gain its favor.
- Combat Pragmatist: One of his first priorities in his conquest of the Last City was to DePower all of the endgame Guardians.
- Curbstomp Battle: He hands a brutal one down to the Guardians, forcing humans and Guardians both to flee the City.
- Death by Irony: When he becomes a being of Light, he declares himself as a god... only to get promptly snuffed out by the Traveler, an actual god for the setting.
- Driven by Envy: He is jealous of the power and mantle of guardianship given to humanity by the Traveler.
- Elemental Powers: In the final confrontation with him, he uses the Traveler's power to give himself Solar, Void, and Arc attacks.
- Embodiment of Vice: Envy and pride. He considers the Guardian beneath himself, and even compares himself to the Traveler in terms of power and control, yet tries to win its favor out from humanity.
- The Emperor: Effectively, but he eschews the exact title. After overthrowing Emperor Calus, Ghaul said there would be no more emperors, instead taking the absolute military rank of Dominus.
- Evil Sounds Deep: The first line he delivers to the player Guardian is in gravelly, delightfully affable English.[Chuckles] Your journey... Ends. Here.
- Evil Is Hammy: In true Bungie villain fashion, though it's not apparent until the endgame where he gets fed up with the Consul, then tries to take the Traveler's power for himself. From then on he becomes deliriously Drunk On Power, and starts handing badass boasts and "The Reason You Suck" Speech left and right when your Guardian finally confronts him. Good thing the Cabal have a sense for large-scale scenery, because he'd chew every bit of it and then some.
- Expy: According to Luke Smith, his characterization has a lot to do with Hans Gruber from Die Hard, being a Faux Affably Evil antagonist who's not merely out for wanton destruction, but to deliver a powerful message through scarily effective and brutal methods.
- Final Boss: He's the final antagonist of the story's main campaign. Of course, more things await the Guardians in the post-game.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: From an outcast child to commander of the Cabal's greatest Legion and Emperor.
- Genius Bruiser: Ghaul has proven to be the most dangerous foe among the Cabal. How dangerous? His very first move before anything else is to sever the Guardians' connection to the Traveler. On top of being a cunning warlord, he admits to having studied the Traveler for years, the worlds it has touched, and its power over life and death.
- Gladiator Games: Ghaul first came to Calus' eye when he fought in gladiator arenas and proved able to defeat foes several times his size, and always fought in an unconventional manner, maneuvering around his enemies until they exhausted themselves. Calus would eventually promote him to Primus of the Red Legion as a result, viewing him as too good a warrior to be wasted as a gladiator. Of course, this was all part of the Consul's plan to implant Ghaul into Calus' inner circle.
- Gone Horribly Right: Ghaul was raised to overthrow the Emperor Calus by the Consul and the remnants of the old Praetorate military aristocracy. They had hoped to use him as a puppet ruler, but he proved far too strong for them to control, and now they are forced to follow him on his warpath.
- Green-Eyed Monster: His motivation for exterminating humanity to take the Traveler boils down to envy, that the Guardians were given the blessing of the Traveler and the Cabal were ignored.
- Hand Cannon: When he finally fights you, he does so with an up-scaled handgun...which seems pretty large in his hands.
- Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Zig-zagged. In the earliest trailers, he was shown with a full-face helmet, but later trailers and in the game itself he wears a respirator so he can stare down the player face to face.
- Icarus Allusion: The Legend of Acrius lore describes a Cabal myth in which a chief tries to conquer the sun, succeeds and becomes the first Emperor.note Tyra Karn talks about how Cabal generals like Ghaul have used the myth to justify their own campaigns, and directly compares their myth to Icarus' more humble ending. At the end of the main campaign, the Traveller personally introduces Ghaul to the human version of the myth.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex: His insistence on being chosen by the Traveler rather than simply ripping out its power has overtones of this, particularly given how he describes taking the Light rather than being granted it as a failure. He comes off as having a bit of a fragile ego, needing the Traveler to provide validation for his actions and reacting poorly to the Consul trying to give orders to him.
- Knight of Cerebus: The Age of Triumph comes to a disastrous end when he arrives and in one fell swoop destroys the Tower, takes the Last City, captures the Traveler and cuts the Guardians off from the light.
- Large and in Charge: He fittingly stands head and shoulders above most Cabal, who are already huge to begin with.
- Light Is Not Good: Wears solid white armor with ornaments that almost resemble angel wings, is albino, and has taken down the entire Vanguard.
- Meaningful Name /Ironic Name: Ghaul's name is similar in its spelling to the Gauls, who were famous for sacking Rome in the Battle of the Allia. Ghaul's claim to fame in the framing of Destiny 2 is his sacking of the Last City. The irony comes from the fact that he is a member of the Cabal, a race whose culture is modeled after Ancient Rome.
- That, and his rank is Latin for 'Master'.
- "Not So Different" Remark: From Oryx, as Calus notes. He too wishes to turn the Cabal into less of a civilization and more of an army whose only purpose is to fight forever.
- While talking to the Speaker, Ghaul says that he and the Traveler aren't so different. The Speaker isn't having any of it.
- Orcus on His Throne: He spends much of them game deliberating on how to win the Traveler's favor rather than solidifying his conquests which the Consul calls him out for after the Vanguard begin retaking the City. Justified to a degree, because Ghaul and the Red Legion invasion were not in any danger until well into the Campaign when The Almighty was compromised.
- Power Nullifier: He's devised a means by which to cut Guardians off from the Traveler, which in turn shuts off their Light abilities, forcing the Guardians to travel to other planets to seek new sources of powers and weapons to fight the Cabal.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: Ghaul is immensely proud of his people's disciplined warfighting and glorious history of conquest, and during his "The Reason You Suck" Speech he sounds almost offended at the Guardians' Mildly Military nature and how they prioritize defending the City's walls.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
"You are weak! Undisciplined! Cowering behind walls. I command legions, conquered worlds, waged war across the galaxy to prove my worth. I alone am worthy of the Traveler's Light. You're not brave, you've merely forgotten the fear of death. Allow me to re-acquaint you."
- After soundly curbstomping the player Guardian, Ghaul lets them a piece of his mind before punting them off his ship.
"Your Traveler should have chosen me, and now it is too late! Look at your dead god! It won't save humanity a second time" [...] "YOU LET YOUR CITY DIE! GIVE UP! YOU HAVE NOTHING TO FIGHT FOR! NOTHING TO DIE FOR!"
- During his final battle, his ambient dialogue has him belittle you with No Indoor Voice, giving an insight of how deranged he has become.
- Recruited from the Gutter: Ghaul was cast out as a child for being weak and unimpressive, and was taken in by the Consul who raised him to become a great warrior and leader, swearing to help him get revenge against Emperor Calus. It doesn't stop him from killing the Consul once he's had enough of him though.
- Spam Attack: In the Solstice of Heroes event, in the revamped version of his boss fight, Ghaul will from the start have all three Supers unlocked and will never stop using them; He will finish one attack period and won't even stop to touch the ground before he moves on to another, meaning there are even less opportunities to attack safely when before he would have small down periods where he would merely shoot you with a gun.
- The Red Baron: Ghaul was known as the "Ghost Primus" because he was born an albino.
- Tranquil Fury: When the Speaker reveals that he only "speak[s] for" the Traveler, but didn't actually communicate with it, Ghaul realizes he'd been wasting his time trying to earn the Traveler's favor, and clearly looks pissed. This also applies to when he strangles the Consul, not once raising his voice.
- Tyke-Bomb: He was raised since youth by the Consul, who ingrained the belief that the Traveler's gift belongs to Cabal and not humanity.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Believe it or not. Ghaul was just an innocent orphaned runt, until the Consul took him in, instilling hatred and ideals that led to him becoming the ruthless warlord he is today.
- The Usurper: He deposed the previous emperor Calus through a military coup under the Consul's advice, so he is the current de-facto ruler of the Cabal empire.
- Villainous Friendship: With the Consul, the latter having raised him. He even refers to him as "old friend." However, that ends when the Consul gets a little too mouthy with him near the end of the game.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: He wants the Traveler to "see" him and deem him worthy of the Light. He interrogates the Speaker throughout the game, trying to learn what the Traveler sees in humanity and what he can do to prove himself worthy as well. When the Consul tells Ghaul that they can seize the Light at his command, he dismisses the notion and continues trying to impress the Traveler. As he sees it, forcibly taking the Light would be an admission of failure, and he has never failed. Even when he finally decides to take the Light by force at the end of the campaign, mostly because the player Guardian has forced his hand and the Speaker revealed that the Traveler did not speak to him, he still tries to get the Traveler to acknowledge him.
- Voiced by: Frank Langella
The mysterious advisor to Ghaul. Not much is known aside from the fact that he raised Ghaul from the time he was a runt and made him believe the Traveler's gift was meant to be given to the Cabal.
- Aliens Speaking English: Like Ghaul, but he has a British accent.
- Battle Trophy: He wears a necklace made of the ATS/8 Arachnid (an Exotic Hunter helmet) and the "eyes" of several destroyed Ghosts around his neck.
- Death by Irony: He dies from being strangled by Ghaul, who was pretty much his adopted son and the one he raised to adulthood and used to rise to power. To make it even more ironic, Calus had declared that the Consul would "beget no heir" and castrated him.
- Eunuchs Are Evil: Though only mentioned in the lore for one of the Leviathan raid items, apparently Calus personally made sure the Consul would beget no heir.
- Evil Sounds Deep: He speaks in a deep, rich baritone, courtesy of Frank Langella.
- Gone Horribly Right: Twice. First in that The Consul's raising of Ghaul to become the leader of their coup against Emperor Calus went exactly as they planned, only for the Consul and the other conspirators to end up losing whatever control they had over Ghaul (if they had any at all to begin with) and find themselves going along for the ride on his conquest of Earth and the Traveler, much to the Consul's ever-growing impatience. Then, he finally gets fed up with Gaul's egotistical desire to make the Traveler recognize him as a Guardian and demands that Ghaul finish his conquest of the Last City and just take the Traveler's light for himself. Ghaul responds to this outburst by strangling the Consul, then doing exactly what the Consul wanted him to do.
- Just a Machine: He is dismissive of the Traveler, referring to it only as a machine, and doubting that it is sentient in any way.
- The Man Behind the Man: The Consul served as Ghaul's mentor, and was the one told him of the Traveler and how its power was the Cabal's to wield, not humanity's. Bungie compares him to "the coach at the sidelines watching an Olympic runner get gold". Calus himself considers the Consul to be beneath even having a name, saying that someone who "seeks greatness in the shadow of others" is pathetic and weak.
- Meaningful Name: "Consul" is a Roman title for powerful military commanders who used their histories of service to leverage political strength.
- The Remnant: The Consul is a survivor of the previous Cabal military aristocracy known as the Praetorate, and his hatred for Calus and his overthrow of the Praetorate is what led him to train and motivate Ghaul to begin his coup.
- The Svengali: He raised Ghaul up from nothing and taught him of the Traveler and the Light not for Ghaul's sake, or even the Cabal Empire as a whole, but so he could have revenge on the usurpers who overthrew the old Cabal military government and cost him his seat of power in said government. Ghaul is a means to an end, nothing more.
- Too Dumb to Live: Yes, Consul, mouth off to the leader of the Red Legion and belittle his desires, especially after he just learned that he had been wasting his time, all the while acting like you have the power to command him. Ghaul strangles him for his troubles.
- The Unfought: While he is a secondary antagonist, he's never fought by the player Guardian because Ghaul kills him before the final battle.
- The Usurper: While he didn't do it directly, it was the Consul who advised Ghaul to usurp the throne of the empire and take control.
- Villainous Friendship: With Ghaul. He took him in when he was orphaned by his own family, then raised and trained him to become a great warrior. However, when he gets a little too mouthy, Ghaul gets fed up and strangles him to death.
Thumos, the Unbroken
An officer of the Red Legion, Thumos is a Blood Guard, part of the elite of the Red Legion. Thumos has a ship the Young Wolf must steal to access the Almighty.
- Hero Killer: Hawthorne regards him as this, saying that he took out a team of some of her best people.
- King Mook: Hes a super centurion with a Slug Rifle.
- The Magnificent: Hes known as the Unbroken because hes never been defeated. Upon being killed by the Young Wolf, hes referred to as Thumos the No-Longer Unbroken.
- Undying Loyalty: When describing him, Commander Zavala notes that his men are willing to die for him. Then Zavala tells the Young Wolf to help them in that regard.
Grask, the Consumed
Valus ThuunA Valus of the Red Legion who leads the assault on Mercury. A simulation of him is faced in the Infinite Forest, where he attempts to prevent the Guardians from recovering a map of the Infinite Forest by destroying it. Following the events of Curse of Osiris, a glitch in the system somehow recreates his simulation, requiring Guardians to put him down again in the "Tree of Probabilities" strike.
- Blown Across the Room: His gun's secondary fire is able to knock you back a large distance, potentially lethally into a wall. It doesn't help that he shoots these rounds with the fire rate of a Colossus' Arc cannon, leaving you with little room to avoid it.
- Dynamic Entry: His entry into the battlefield has him one-shotting a Vex Minotaur from above.
- Stable Time Loop: After he is killed the first time while the player is trying to get the map of the Infinite Forest, he starts attempting to capture it for himself in an effort to escape a constant simulation loop within the forest. He subsequently becomes the target of a strike to eliminate him before he can finally take the map, escape the Forest, and bring it back to the Cabal.
Kargen, the Technocrat
A Psion leading an expedition into Nessus to harness Vex technology for the Red Legion. He is the boss of The Insight Terminus Strike.
- Always a Bigger Fish: Destroys a Vex Hydra and about a dozen Minotaurs before you start the fight against him.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: His title of Technocrat implies he belongs the elite noble class of freeborn Psions who supported the coup against Emperor Calus.
- King Mook: A giant Psion Flayer.
- One-Man Army: Kragen rips through an entire tunnel system of Vex to reach the Insight Terminus and claim its power for himself. The few Vex the Young Wolf fights chasing after him are the remnants he skipped past and many are damaged from their encounter with him.
A Red Legion Val who became the new Dominus following the events of Destiny 2's main campaign. He is the boss of the "Spire of Stars" Raid Lair, where he attempts to steal control of the Leviathan from Emperor Calus.
- Authority Equals Ass Kicking: The prelude to his boss fight shows him effortlessly destroying one of Calus's robot doubles by himself.
- The Corruption: He's afflicted with the same Greed debuff as the Guardians, representing him being overcome by the power of the Leviathan. Unlike them, he can quickly transfer it to his opponents for one of his raid mechanics.
- Beehive Barrier: Ca'uor usually encases himself in a large, white spherical barrier with many stripes reminiscent of a Cabal drop pod. While it is immune to all damage, he eventually tries to keep it up by absorbing the Calus robot's energy, an attempt which falls flat when the Guardians throw Greed-infused ball at the robot's hand, prompting it to dunk on Ca'uor and break his shield.
- Betrayal by Inaction: He's indignated at Calus's inaction during the Red War, accusing the former emperor of turning his back on his people out of envy for the late Ghaul's ambitions and gallivating around the Sol system instead of helping the Cabal win the war. It's for this reason that he targets the Leviathan first so the Red Legion can gain a potent weapon to use against the Guardians.
- Death from Above: That massive fleet he brought with him to seize the Leviathan is not just for show. He can and will utilize his fleet's bombardment weapons against you throughout the fight, and destroying his ships before they can open fire is one of the major raid mechanics.
- King Mook: He's the largest Incendior you'll ever see, spewing patches of flames around whoever he sets his sights on, and packs rocket launchers similar to Cabal Colossi.
- Macross Missile Massacre: Once his invincibility barrier is broken, he'll start launching multiple rockets from his backpack like a Colossus would, they track their targets very aggressively, on top of dealing heavy damage. The only way to prevent him from launching salvos is to literally spam attack him at point-blank range and hope he keeps getting staggered.
- The Mourning After: Defied. His speech in The Last of the Legion's lore entry states that he will mourn Ghaul after he and the Legion recover from their defeat.
- Powered Armor: The Cabal as a whole already had strong similarities to Warhammer 40K's Space Marines, but Ca'uor takes it to a new level by basically having actual Space Marine armor.
- Puzzle Boss: His boss fight is similar to the step before the encounter (where you had to arm the Leviathan's weapon systems through a convoluted stepping plates puzzle), except this time you have to destroy double the amount of Cabal warships and juggle with several balls to break open his invincibility barrier.
- You Are in Command Now: Eight months after the Red War's end, Ca'uor took advantage of the power vacuum created by Ghaul's death and stepped in as the new Dominus. Since he jumped straight from a Val (a bodyguard or unit captain by Cabal military standards), it is assumed that there is a dire shortage of Valuses and Primuses thanks to the Guardians' efforts.
Niruul, the Hollow Voice; Ozletc, the Sky Piercer; Tazaroc, the Sun Eater; Amtec
Four Psion Flayers who take it upon themselves to exploit the Sundial to alter history so the Red Legion wins the Red War.
- All Your Powers Combined: As Inotam, the fused Psion gains access to each sister's unique power; Niruul's Void Detainment field, Ozletc's Voltaic Strike, and Tazaroc's homing Solar Seekers. That said, Inotam does not wield the sisters' Bronto Cannon, but instead a miniature version of the Colossus' Slug Launcher.
- Arc Villain: Of Season of the Dawn, with the four Psions planning to use the Sundial to rewrite time where the Red Legion is victorious in the Red War (and under the control of the sisters).
- As the last surviving sister, Amtec dons the mantle for Season of the Worthy, where she sets the Almighty on a one-way trip to impact the Last City.
- Elemental Powers: The titled Psions each employ a particular element; Void for Niruul, Arc for Ozletc, and Solar for Tazaroc.
- Fusion Dance: After spending most of the season rotating as Sundial bosses, the final act sees them fuse into one stronger being; Inotam, Oblivion's Triune.
- The Heavy: While Amtec never took to the field, she was the driving force behind the conflict of Season of the Worthy, and her influence is still felt a year later in the Season of the Chosen as the driving force behind the Psion insurrection.
- Make Wrong What Once Went Right: They're using the Sundial to exploit the anomaly created when the Guardians permanently killed the Undying Mind, to create a timeline where the Legion was victorious.
- Painfully Slow Projectile: Tazaroc's ability, Solar Seeker, lets her summon massive homing fireballs that deal heavy damage to Guardians, though they're quite slow.
- Shock and Awe: Ozletc's unique ability, Voltaic Strike, calls down pillars of Arc energy on her enemies. While fairly telegraphed, the chaos of the boss room can make it easy to get struck by them while you're distracted by Red Legion mobs. Inotam reprises this ability, and can sometimes cast it right after using Niruul's Detainment field, giving you very little time to escape the entrapment and the ensuing shock.
- The Starscream: Osiris observes that the timelines in which they successfully defeat the Guardians and establish dominion noticeably lack Ghaul's presence, and can only assert that they offed him to obtain full control over the Red Legion. Tazaroc in particular demanded that the sisters went further back in the timeline with the Sundial so they could kill Ghaul before he usurped the Empire, before Niruul retorted that it'd be a risky move, preferring to keep him as a puppet whose downfall they can control to their advantage.
- The Unfought: Amtec, the youngest and weakest sister, does not join the others in battle, presumably to act as a trump card in the event that Inotam is felled. This comes to pass in Season of the Worthy as she executes her plan to steer the Almighty into Earth.
Imperial Cabal / The Cabal Ascendancy
Empress Caiatl (formerly the Princess-Imperial)
- Voiced by: Courtenay Taylor
Calus' daughter, who became a skilled star pilot and close friend to Umun'Arath, and shared in the Evocate-General's beliefs in the dangers on the frontiers. She would betray her father, believing that he was becoming weak, and destroyed the one tool he needed to prevent the coup: a mysterious "bone"....
Despite Xivu Arath's forces being repelled at the end of the Season of the Hunt, the Hive God's power lingers throughout the system and beyond. With the Hive sworn to Xivu Arath eventually overrunning Torobatl, Caiatl, now Empress in opposition to Calus, came to the Solar system to recover the Red Legion and seek an alliance with the Guardians to fight back against the Darkness and the Hive. Unfortunately, her offer is for Zavala to submit to her; he refuses, prompting Caiatl to kickstart a series of wargames in the Season of the Chosen.
- Ace Pilot: More than anything, Caiatl loves flying her starships. Calus' order for her death specifies that she must die while flying, for it is the only time she is vulnerable.
- Anti-Villain: Compared to other Cabal barring Calus, she initially approaches the Guardians in a respectful, nonviolent manner and her goals are quite noble, seeking the survival of her people against the Darkness and the Hive following the destruction of their homeworld. In fact, if it werent for her peoples honour demanding that she make the Guardians bow to her, an alliance with the Guardians wouldnt sound unfeasible.
- Affably Evil: Caiatl is actually quite personable, debating with Osiris in an almost chummy manner the second and third time they and the Young Wolf explore the Glykon, even relating with him on some topics. She even admits that she would rather view the Guardians as equals if it werent for her peoples honour getting in the way.
- Arc Villain: Of the Season of the Chosen. When Zavala refuses to bow before her, Caiatl initiates the Rite of Proving for the scattered officers of the Red Legion to gain a seat on her Council. The Guardians have to eliminate the contenders to prevent Caiatl from organizing the remaining Cabal into a new war against the Last City.
- Badass Bookworm: Caiatl displays a history of being well read on lore and ancient texts, she loves good stories and uses them in application of her own rule. She even found the original version of the Legend of Acrius, which was a Parable on how true Cabal endure thanks to their sheer will and determination of their people as a whole, not just a single hero.
- Badass Creed: Caiatl of course has her own which is the Creed of the Cabal Empire themselves, which is seen above. It represents their indomitable will as they seek to survive after the destruction of their homeworld, showing that despite their loss the Cabal will not go down that easy.
- Bling of War: Though not nearly as flashy and opulent as Calus wore, Caiatl still wears fairly ornate armor by the time she appears in Season of the Chosen.
- The Chains of Commanding: In one of her communiques in the H.E.L.M. to Zavala, she admits that as Empress she is more servant than sovereign, as she must put her people first, implying that she would rather treat with the Guardians as equals, but that doing so would cause her people to lose their honor, which is all they have left."When I was a child, listening to stories of the Cabal's many rulers, I imagined that sovereignty was absolute power. The power to triumph. To spill blood. To rule. But now, I realize the ironic truth: sovereignty is a form of servitude. As empress, my people's will comes before my own."
- Color-Coded Patrician: Distinct from the Red Legion's, well, red armor and all the other differently-colored legions, Caiatl and her troops stand out with more blue-grey tones on their equipment.
- Contralto of Danger: Caiatl's commanding voice is gruff and masculine, making it easy to mistake for that of a man's. Considering the other Cabal members who spoke English before her were all in the baritone territory, Caiatl's voice is ironically the one with the least depth.
- Daddy's Little Villain: Zigzagged. Calus wasn't an antagonist per se, but he was still a guy who wanted to bring about the end while ensuring people were full of joy by then. Meanwhile, Caiatl, his daughter, despises him and Ghaul and seeks glory and conquest for the Cabal.
- Defector from Decadence: So much so that she was openly disdainful of Calus' revelries and even wore a full suit of armor whenever she was home.
- The Faceless: Downplayed. Her head and face are mostly covered by her helmet, save for her eyes.
- Foreshadowing: Caiatl's arrival was hinted at in the lore tab for the Heir Apparent exotic machine gun, where she vows to do what her father and Ghaul failed to do - secure a future where the Cabal rule the galaxy once more.
- Graceful Loser: After Ignovun is defeated, she calmly launches armistice talks with Zavala, and when Valir and Qalec try to assassinate Zavala, actually ends up saving his life.
- Kneel Before Zod: At the start of the Season of the Chosen, Caiatl tries to negotiate an alliance with Zavala, but then demands that he bow down to her. Zavala categorically refuses to bow to her, so the alliance is off, renewing hostilities between the Cabal and the Guardians. Her lorebook reveals she knew this trope was a bad idea, but the Cabal would not accept a species bound to a single star system as equals.
- Large and in Charge: Caiatl is a head taller than her Centurion bodyguards during her meeting with Zavala, and is certainly as grandiose as her father when trying to persuade the Guardians into joining her.
- A Mother to Her Men: Several lore entries show Caiatl caring deeply about the well-being of her soldiers and even visiting wounded Legionaries to lift their spirits. One reason she hates her father and Ghaul so much is that she views them as having thrown away the lives of their soldiers in pursuit of their own selfish desires than for the good of the Cabal Empire and its people.
- Noble Demon: Caiatl's primary goal is the prosperity and survival of her people and restore their glory, and she will use force if she has to. But she respects the capabilities of the Guardians, not wanting to seek a war with them, but her people's honor means she can't approach them as equals and must demand they bow to her.
- Parental Betrayal: The fact that his daughter was the one to turn on him deeply wounded Calus and made him wonder if he was a terrible parent, and reflect on the signs of her slow shift toward Umun'Arath's way of thinking.
- Properly Paranoid: Like Umun, she was aware of the threats of other powers outside the Empire and felt Calus was weak. Unlike Umun, however, Caiatl was aware of the "bone" Calus kept near his throne that could have stopped the coup. Considering a particular phrase he's noted for using, that "bone" may well have been either a Worm God larva or an Ahamkara bone....
- Her first reaction on seeing the Crown of Sorrow on board the Glykon is to destroy it, and balks at Osiris' insistence on keeping the crown contained under Vanguard supervision. Considering both of Calus' experiments with it resulted in disaster, it's hard to argue with her.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: By appearances, she pursues all diplomacy in person and itches to lead from the front in battle. The first entry in the Ripples lore book shows her at the head of a fleet ambushing a huge Hive warship, and orders her flagship to ram it so she can lead a boarding action.
- 24-Hour Armor: Caiatl took to wearing a full set of pressure armor all the time, even when she was at home. By Season of the Chosen, she's ditched the pressure suit for something more ceremonial, but is still wearing armor.
- Tranquil Fury: After Two Psions attempt to assassinate Zavala while he and Caiatl are in the middle of an armistice ritual, shes furious, but doesnt raise her voice when she orders one of her soldiers to capture the surviving sniper. Caiatl then calmly proceeds to brand him a traitor, renounce his very name and execute him before declaring that she will find the rest of his collaborators and see to it that they meet the same end as well.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: The Cabal homeworld was invaded by Xivu Arath using a portal opened by Savathun, fueled by the death of Umun'arath, who Caiatl executed herself after seeing she'd been corrupted by the Hive.
- We Can Rule Together: In a sense. Following Zavala's refusal to bow to her, Caiatl sends a communique to the H.E.L.M. in which she offers a different deal, proposing to exalt the Guardians as "the elite of the Cabal Empire," if he will join her.
- Worthy Opponent: Implied to see the Guardians as this. When Zavala declines to bow before her, her guards move to fire upon him and Osiris... but she raises a hand to make them stand down. Instead, she just says she's eager to see them on the battlefield and lets them walk out unscathed.
- Season of the Splicer cements Zavala as one; to the point where Caiatl is explicitly described as speaking with the voice of a friend.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Her fate is not disclosed, despite being one of Calus's targets. Season of the Worthy confirms she is still alive, and is using the Red Legion to kill several of Calus's lesser Shadows. Three seasons later, she physically appears as the primary antagonist of Season of the Chosen, having ascended to the throne as the Cabal Empress.
- Wrestler in All of Us: Caiatl's imposing physique isn't just for show; she's as strong as the rest of her species, and can pull out moves that would instantly kill a normal human. When a Psion tries to assassinate Zavala with the ceremonial knife Caiatl used for an armistice ritual, she quickly grabs the Psion and puts down the poor sap with a good ol' body slam.
- Xanatos Gambit: It turns out that Zavala's challenge was the best outcome she could hope for once it was offered. Caitl realizes that her Cabal would not accept an equal partnership between her and the Guardians, however they are still desperate enough to cling to the old ways of honour. So her people would honor the outcome of the Rite of Proving, and all out war could be prevented. She accepts the challenge as either outcome would be beneficial to her: if the Guardians lost then they would rally under her banner with Bracus Zavala in her council, if she lost then her people could not oppose the Armstice she was seeking all along without looking like hypocrites. This also later gives her justification to hunt down the more extreme components of her empire, and leaves those unwilling to pursue peace to fend for themselves as outlaws.
- You Can't Go Home Again: When she meets with Zavala and Osiris, Caiatl tells the two Guardians that the Hive overran her homeworld, Torobatl. Zavala expresses his sympathies.
A former Red Legion soldier, Dracus became a warlord after the Red War concluded. He is one of many contenders for Caiatl's War Council upon her arrival in the Sol System.
- Bad Boss: Casually executes one of his Legionaries who was wondering about challenging him.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: He used to be a mere Legionary under Ghaul's rule.
- King Mook: He's a super Blood Guard Legionary.
- Only in It for the Money: The only reason he seeks a spot on Caiatl's council is because of the riches such a prestigious position could give him.
- Sociopathic Soldier: He made his name during the Red War as a monstrous butcher who executed many Lightless Guardians and civilians of the Last City.
- Undying Loyalty: Dracus is still loyal to Dominus Ghaul even four years after the Traveler annihilated him.
Basilius, the Golem
A former Red Legion commander who is seeking the Deep Stone Crypt on Europa, hoping to forge an army of Cabal-Exos and earn a seat on Caiatl's War Council.
- Boss in Mook Clothing: Basilius is an oddity among the contenders for Caiatl's war council in that he was originally a Colossus without any rank or title, only having inherited the position of commander after the unnamed Valus he served under died while Basilius was sent on a recon mission away from Mars as the planet was engulfed by the Darkness. In-game, he really looks no different from a Blood Guard Colossus, only that his health is comparable to a Strike boss's.
- Epic Fail: When you think about it. He sought the Deep Stone Crypt... but instead was way off the mark, ending up in the Well of Infinitude instead. Osiris compares Basilius' endeavor to "groping around in the dark, so to speak".
- Meaningful Name: "The Golem" is a surprisingly appropriate title for a commander seeking the means to create an army of living automatons.
- Mecha-Mooks: Basilius' goal is to find the Deep Stone Crypt, hoping to make an army of Exo-Legionaries to turn the tide against the Cabal's enemies and impress Caiatl. The Guardians' job is to take him out before he can find it.
A former officer of the Red Legion who seeks to prove himself to Empress Caiatl by wiping out the Hive nest in the Cosmodrome.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: From a farmer in his home world's poorest agricultural district to an officer of the most respected and feared Legion in the Cabal Empire. And he realizes that he could go even further if he gains Caiatl's favor.
- Kill It with Fire: As a child, Ma'rag's mother taught him to to kill a parasitic insect by holding a flame to its shell, popping them from the inside. He considers it a fitting analogy for using a Magma Launcher on the Hive.
- King Mook: He's a super Incendior.
Ixel, the Far-Reaching
A Psion deserter from the Red Legion who leads a band of ex-Legion soldiers on Nessus that pilfer Vex technology. She rallies to Caiatl's banner in a bid to push her ambitions even higher.
- Ambition Is Evil: Among the reasons she is called the Far-Reaching is because her ambition knows no limits. She holds no loyalty to Empress Caiatl, but plans to use her to further those ambitions.
- King Mook: She's as large as Kargen, but wields a Colossus's Slug Launcher instead of a Projection Rifle, and she can perform Ozletc's Voltaic Strike.
- The Starscream: Considered the Valus who commanded her unit to be weak and short-sighted, so she killed him and recruited his soldiers to her own cause. She privately notes she's unsure if she can actually participate in the Rite of Proving since she's a traitor to the Cabal Empire.
Ignovun, Chosen of Caiatl
The commander of Empress Caiatl's fleet and her Chosen combatant in the Rite of Proving. He serves as the boss of the Proving Grounds strike.
- All There in the Manual: Most of the non-combat information about him comes from lore for weapons and armor. For example, his rank and solar powers are explained in the exotic Mantle of Battle Harmony, while the lore for Threaded Needle shows his POV preparing for the Rite.
- Bling of War: Was given gold and silver armor for the Rite. It's some of the most blinged out Cabal armor you'll see outside of the Loyalists ranks.
- The Champion: Serves as Empress Caiatl's champion in the Rite of Proving.
- Fireballs: Ignovun can send out tracking fireballs towards Guardians. Mantle of Battle Harmony says that they're due to Psion manipulations of his helmet.
- Four-Star Badass: Mantle of Battle Harmony states that he's the commander of Caiatl's fleet, and he's the toughest of their officers the Guardians have faced since Year One.
- King Mook: Ignovun is a super Blood Guard Centurion with a Bronto Cannon.
- Not Afraid to Die: In the lore for Threaded Needle, he realizes that he's facing the Guardians who can come back from the dead, so the odds are not in his favor. At the same time, he doesn't back down, reasoning that if the "smallmen" can face death, then he can do so as well.
- Voiced by: Darin De Paul
The ruler of the Cabal before Ghaul ursurped him, still alive, still plotting his return. In-character author of the Cabal Booklet. He once overthrew the ruling aristocracy that drove the Cabal like slaves for an eternal war machine, and enjoyed centuries of rule where the Cabal rose to glory and happiness, though at the same time started caving in to hedonistic pleasures. Ghaul caught his interest during a gladiator match, and so Calus took to making the albino a trusted warrior and officer in his army. Little did the emperor know that this was but a small scoop of the conspiracy to overthrow him.
After getting sent into exile aboard his planet-eating flagship, the Leviathan, Calus wallowed in despair, forced to seemingly travel forever until the ship stopped. It had stopped within nothingness, leaving Calus to bear witness to a great power. Such an experience rekindled his motivation, prompting Calus to a journey of his own leading to the acceptance that his philosophy was true and that he must take back his Empire. He'd take measures to ensure that the conspirators would die through employing other alien races; while some assinations were successful, they were unable to off all of them.
Following the events of the Red War in Destiny 2, Calus enters the Sol system aboard the Leviathan, inviting the Guardians to test their mettle. He was also the main focus of Season of Opulence.
- Actually a Doombot: As the final battle aboard the Leviathan goes on, you realize that instead of fighting Calus himself, it is a robot designed in his likeness built to challenge the Guardians that come to seek the hard-fought glory. And the ship has many more of these robots, justifying the weekly raid reset.
- Adipose Rex: While typical Cabal aren't slim by any stretch of the imagination, Calus is titanic even by their standards. His chin is jowly and fat, his stomach has a large paunch to it, and you even start the fight with him by shooting his wine cup out of his hand.
- Adventurer Archaeologist: Calus proudly talks about how he's plumbed ruins and studied ancient and lost societies, including those who were wiped out by the Hive.
- A Father to His Men: Calus genuinely loves those under him, particularly the Shadows who were his closest agents and assassins.
- Affably Evil:
- He's a selfish hedonist, but he genuinely seems to believe in his For Happiness creed, wants to avoid the Cabal going the way of the Hive and empathizes with the reasons of the council that betrayed him, even as he explains their weaknesses.
- The "Invitation from the Emperor" Adventure on Nessus has him attempting to invite members of the Red Legion in order to turn them away from the Ghaul's path of meaningless warmongering.
- During the Leviathan Raid, it's stated that the reason he brought you aboard his ship was to test your strength against his own. He's not explicitly trying to kill you (although killing a Guardian is a feat in and of itself), he seems to actually want you to improve and best him. The vast supply of robot dopplegangers he has also indicates that he wants you to keep improving and besting him, lampshading and justifying the weekly raid reset.
- The lore entries on the raid gear implies that he did forcibly conquer several species into his service, most notably the Sindu, whose greatest pilot he recruited into his Shadows, and the Clipse, whose greatest warrior was the only one to survive the Leviathan's trials.
- In some of the raid lore items, he outright says that he had the old Praetorate aristocracy literally thrown to a baying mob, and is implied to have had the previous Cabal Senate executed during his coup. In another, he also boasts that he personally gelded the Consul, which explains quite a bit of why the Consul would lead his own coup against him.
- The Anti-Nihilist: Read his quote. He looked into the Darkness and the void at the edge of the universe, and turned away both in horror of what it would make the Cabal, and because he does not fear death.
- In the Confessions lore, he bluntly states the reason he hates the Hive is because he's utterly certain of the Darkness' victory and the end of the universe - which means what they do is pointless cruelty.
- Calus has personally seen into the Darkness, and possibly the "final shape" the Hive chase, and found it was utterly lifeless. Toland and Rezyl Azzir became a bitter Straw Nihilist and an Omnicidal Maniac when they saw it, respectively. Calus regained the will to live.
- Aliens Speaking English: The third Cabal to do so in-game. Darin De Paul gives a gravelly and bombastic tone to him.
- Bad Boss:
- A downplayed version. Because he's certain that everyone is going to die anyway, he doesn't see the issue in killing minions who annoy him out of hand - at the same time, he greatly rewards those he respects.
- Played straight, however, during the quest Presage, where it's heavily implied he ditches the Glykon and its skeleton crew of devout Loyalists (including Katabasis, a Hunter who had earned many powerful connections with the Leviathan) after things go awry instead of trying to save them. In a true twist of Irony, the first person to go clean up after his mess is the person he admired most: you. However, it may be subverted due to context clues in the quest suggesting he might have been killed in the accident as well, with the Locus of Communion taunting you with his promises of power.
- Bling of War: His armor, his soldiers, the weapons and armor he hands out, and nearly every inch of the inside of the Leviathan is bedecked in positively dazzling amounts of gold, crystal, rich purple cloth, and precious gems.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Even though it's just a robot you're fighting, Calus is clearly enjoying himself when you fight him in the Leviathan raid.
- Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Calus was so beloved by his people that Ghaul couldn't have him executed when the coup happened, and instead had to exile him. If Calus had died, Ghaul would have faced a titanic uprising.
- Contractual Boss Immunity: "Calus" is immune to any debuff, and only takes increased damage the more skulls you shoot down in the mindscape. It's only during the robot's final stand that you can debuff it, but by then you'd have to be sorely lacking in damage to need a debuff.
- Dark Lord on Life Support: The first entry of the Captain's Log lorebook recounts the Hunter Katabasis meeting with Calus in the flesh, describing the Emperor as withered, with mottled, sickly, translucent skin. Katabasis arrives just in time to see the decrepit Calus being sealed inside a mechanical frame similar to his numerous avatars, designed to pump his royal wine directly into his body.
- Despair Event Horizon: Subverted. He felt like he crossed it after his betrayal, defeat, and exile, but ironically seeing the end of the universe served as ultimate confirmation of his belief in For Happiness, causing him to go right back to the jovial Affably Evil God-Emperor he was when he was in his prime.
- Determined Defeatist: He's pretty sure the end of the universe is inevitable, but he still plans on holding out and building the strong to help ease suffering before the end.
- The Dreaded: Throughout the "Invitation from the Emperor" Adventure, Cayde-6 makes fun of the various seemingly nonsensical discoveries you find, particularly everything concerning the creation of his "Royal Wine", unaware of that Calus is behind it. When Calus' name is dropped at the end of the Adventure, Cayde-6 immediately has an "Oh, Crap!" and says that he needs to alert Ikora. The fact that Cayde, who was planning on simply teleporting up to Ghaul and shooting him in the face, drops the jokes should tell you how dangerous Calus is.
- It's less that Cayde was afraid of Calus, the person, and more that he was startled by the fact that these transmissions were coming from the Cabal Emperor. After all, that would be the third time an enemy ruler stopped by the solar system to cause trouble.
- Et Tu, Brute?: He was genuinely shocked and upset by his council turning on him, since he considered them all his personal friends and family (with the exception of the Consul, who he regards as a Manipulative Bastard Dirty Coward). Even in the Booklet, he spends time blaming himself for driving them away.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Sees using children as tools to accomplish your goals as deplorable, which is partly why he hates the Consul.
- He also has no interest in serving the Darkness, unlike the Hive. In fact, he avoids that path like the plague.
- Evil Is Not a Toy: His Councilors once retrieved an ancient artifact on one of the Hive's war moons, dubbed the Crown of Sorrow. Calus suspected that it would be a trap, but still expressed a desire to use it to conquer the Hive, so he had Gahlran, a genetically enhanced Cabal super-soldier with extreme physical and mental fortitude, test the waters instead. Unfortunately, the suspicions were correct, and the entity remotely controlling the Crown, Savathûn, inexorably ate away at Gahlran's psyche mere minutes after he wore the Crown, driving him insane and turning him against the Loyalists, requiring Calus to call upon the Guardians to dispose of Gahlran.
- Eye Beam: During his boss fight, he'll occasionally fire a beam of Solar energy from his forehead. It's the first sign that Calus is not exactly what he appears to be.
- Flunky Boss: Has a lot of minions fight for him in the Leviathan raid. Much like how the three trials before facing him rotate each week, you can successively face Void-shielded Incendiaries, Arc-shielded Shotgun Legionaries, Solar-shielded Centurions, and standard Colossi.
- For Happiness:
- He wanted the Cabal to become a more open, free society of pleasure-seekers like himself. This turned out to be so effective at making his people happy that when Ghaul and the Consul took over, they had to continue the Bread and Circuses policy lest the rise up and overthrow them.
- His philosophy is further expanded in the Grenade Launcher "I Am Alive"'s lore: he has seen the end of the galaxy, and faced with such a vision of an inexorable fate, he muses to himself that he would do best to enjoy every small delight before the end."Now I've seen everything. We were all so wrong. All of thisthe machines, the Eliksni, the worms, the Light, the Nine. All of it meaningless. This galaxy is tumbling toward a singular conclusion and there is nothingno onethat can stop it. How could I have missed this? It's the small moments, the simple pleasures that matter. They're all I can think about now. Food and drink aren't mere sustenance. They're a reminder that I am alive."
- Friendly Enemy: To the Guardians who come to brave his trials in the Leviathan raid. He compliments them for defeating Ghaul and their progress through his ship.
- The Ghost: Zigzagged. While the Leviathan raid seemingly has you fight Calus himself, all the damage he takes chips away at his body and shows it's actually a robot double in his place, with many more being revealed post-kill. Meanwhile, Calus constantly talks to you during the Leviathan-based raids and Menagerie runs, but never actually shows himself. So while the Guardians are never seen interacting with him in person, his robot copies do give an idea of what he looks like.
- Go Mad from the Revelation: Inverted. Seeing into the heart of the darkness and the end of all things actually shook Calus out of his post-exile funk by confirming his Anti-Nihilist beliefs.
- God-Emperor: Was worshiped by the Cabal, and actively claims to be a god.
- Gone Horribly Right: He wanted to commune with the Darkness itself after it ignored him in the Season of Arrivals. He sure did.
- The Good King: Explicitly says he would have let the consul be had they not undid the reforms he did to make the Cabal a less elitist, stratified society. In addition, when he used the OXA Device, a machine that allowed for remote viewing a precognition, he witnessed the fall of the proto-Hive to the Darkness and Oryx's covenant with the Worm Gods, and saw what similar such bargains would do to his people, and thus refused the idea of servitude to another power.
- Gotta Kill Them All: The Booklet has Calus name the individuals whom he feels must die for having had a hand in Ghaul's coup. It includes his own bodyguard, a Psion scientist, his public activities overseer, the supreme commander of his armies, his confidante, and his own daughter.
- Having a Blast: Calus's main attack against Guardians who stay in his throne room consists of casting a localized explosion on the target, though the blast radius is small and easily avoided. Upon his Robotic Reveal, he'll start shooting rockets from his Arm Cannon, which, again, is a telegraphed move. Upon losing two thirds of his health, however, "Calus" will cast a souped up version of the explosion, leaving several patches of lava in its wake that last for several seconds.
- The Hedonist: And proud of it; he regards "decadence" as a good thing. This was the big splitting point between him and the Praetorate: under the old system the Praetorate were supported by the civilian population who worked as slaves to support the military, but Calus overthrew them and replaced their rule with a golden age of decadence and happiness for all.
- Calus' Leviathan is a testament to his hedonism. Gold and purple everywhere, gemstones left lying carelessly around, and his throne room contains a massive fountain int he shape of a Cabal head that is constantly pouring out so much of the distinct Royal Wine (which is made by refining the crusts of planets) that it has coated the floor of his throne room and hardened into an amber-like substance.
- In Love with Your Carnage: The lore entry for the Zenith of Your Kind shotgun mentions that Calus could easily wipe out Earth and humanity if he wanted to... but he finds the Guardian's - specifically the Young Wolf's - utter refusal to kneel or surrender to be fascinating, and your ability to challenge, fight, and defeat enemies so far beyond you to be something he loves.
- Large and in Charge: When you finally meet him in the Leviathan raid, it becomes quickly apparent that he is the largest Cabal in the game, easily about four times as tall as your Guardian. However, it's just a robot lookalike.
- Taken even further with the vague description of his true form, with it taking Drifter several minutes on a Sparrow to even get in earshot of him. Though it is possible that the hall was just that long.
- Large Ham: When you fling around words like "opulence" and "excess" like it's your bread and butter, there's no other interpretation. The man is showy and he loves it.
- Let Them Die Happy: His encounter with the Darkness left him with the conclusion that all life was doomed to destruction, so if that was the case, then he would spread joy and merriment across the universe so everyone could die happy. This has also led him to Mercy Kill the homeworlds of the Clipse (minus those he could move to pleasure-arcologies) and possibly the Arkborn.
- Locked Out of the Loop: Is apparently unaware that Toland, the Shattered's physical form is long gone. The Shadow's Mind helmet states that Calus caught wind of his existence and used an old keepsake (something that Calus mentions is "free for the taking," strongly implying it to be Bad Juju given what Guardians are attracted to) to attract him, but found no answer.
- Planet Looters: His exile is on a titanic space ship known as the "Leviathan" or "World Eater." Once he retakes his throne, he begins inviting other Cabal to rejoin his regime, but in order to do so they must provide geological data on planets for his giant starship to consume.
- Put on a Bus: The Leviathan disappears from Nessus's orbit at the beginning of Season 12, even though the planetoid was spared from the Darkness's grasp. This also means that all Leviathan-related activities are unavailable.
- Purple Is Powerful: Calus' Loyalists are distinguished by their purple armor and cloth.
- Puzzle Boss: Fighting him (or rather, his robot copy) in the Leviathan requires solid teamwork and communication, as each phase's execution before getting to damage him must be done with little delay in between. Your team has to divide itself in two to complete parallel tasks, taking along some much needed damage boost against Calus once the fireteam gets back together and fire in unison on him. The encounter greatly rewards strategic gameplay, and if perfectly coordinated can have fireteams easily melt Calus's entire health pool in under a minute!
- The Prophecy: He can quite literally see the future, due to having access to a Psion-constructed device known as the OXA Machine. Using it, he not only saw the Hive's fall into the sway of the Darkness, but he also apparently foresaw the deaths of each of the conspirators against him, and arranged his Shadows to kill all of them in the manners he'd forseen, save for Ghaul and the Consul, the former of whom he didn't know how to kill and the latter of which he declared would die via having "his own weapons turned against him." It turns out that the "weapon" was Ghaul, the Consul's weapon that let him rise to power, and Ghaul himself dies in the wake of the Traveler's unexpected return.
- He saw another one of his final victory over the Solar system and subsequent death when he met the Darkness, and made his psions write it down and believe it under penalty of death.
- Properly Paranoid: After finding the Crown Of Sorrows, he had Gahlran give it a trial run in his place due to his distrust of the relic. His distrust proved to be perfectly justified, as Savathûn used the crown to destroy Gahlrans psyche and turn him against his fellows mere minutes of putting it on, ultimately needing to be isolated and put down before he went on a rampage.
- Reality Warper: Numerous lore tabs tell stories of Calus doing impossible things with the implication being that he's getting paracausal power from somewhere and using it to perform some minor miracles. Most likely this is related to either his interaction with the Darkness or the talking bone he possessed that is heavily implied to be part of an Ahamkara dragon.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives one to the Hive as a whole in the Confession series of lore, calling them hypocrites who use their Social Darwinist sword-logic to disguise that they're terrified of death, and given how the universe ends eventually means that their cruelty is ultimately pointless.
- Robotic Reveal: After knocking off a third of his health bar, "Calus" will visually take damage and part of his skin will blow off, revealing a robotic arm (that he'll occasionally use as an Arm Cannon) and a core where the chest used to be. Once you're finally done taking him out, the robot will confirm that it was indeed a test and that the real Calus will await for the Guardians to find him when they become stronger.
- Something Only They Would Say: Check that header quote again; his using the phrase "oh, champion mine" draws some disturbing thoughts, given that only the Ahamkara/Virtuous Worms or those under their influence use that kind of wording ("oh, bearer mine" being the more common one). In addition, his entire entreaty to those who would help him is filled with flowery language, offers of great gifts of weapons and treasure and knowledge, and grand praise for his "champions."
- Sympathy for the Devil: Despite (reasonably) wanting Ghaul dead, the way Calus describes him in his bounty on the Consul seems to indicate that he actually feels a little sorry for him, mostly due to being raised to be a weapon for the Consul.Like any roach, this Consul has a low cunning. He found the perfect vessel to carry his poison: a lonely, crippled orphan child. Into that child he poured his jealousy, his cruelty, and his desire to see the great brought low. Imagine his venomous whispers - "look at how happy they are! Look at how they revel and thrive! While we crack our hides in the filth, and pine for days of fear and gunfire..." Had the child only escaped him, had little Ghaul only crawled off the heap where he was found, so much might have been saved. How terrible the man who sees an orphan as a hollow weapon, and who loads that orphan with the munitions of his revenge. How pathetic the man who wishes only to be a fat parasite again.
- In the newer raid lore from the Prestige gear, he seems to have wanted Ghaul to rejoin him if he got to Ghaul before the Guardians did.
- Uncertain Doom: Context clues during the Presage quest suggest he may have finally passed away in the accident that destroyed the Glykon, as the Locus of Communion (which speaks using the lines of deceased characters) can use his voice. However, Calus's paracausal feats leave it up in the air.
- Villainous Breakdown: He took his initial exile hard, falling into a deep depression and simply waiting for the Leviathan to fall into the Darkness. Subverted later on, his Affably Evil personality is him retuning to normal.
- The Voice: You don't actually meet him in person for the first year of Destiny 2, instead fighting against a robot double that talks for him. However, his booming voice can be heard throughout the Leviathan, encouraging you to brave the trials he presents you with (or to get rid of nuisances in the case of Raid Lairs) and watching your progress with amusement.
- Walking Spoiler: He only becomes involved in the story after the main campaign, and by that time you'll already know why he has returned from his exile. Then there's the fact that he hosts Destiny 2's first raid aboard his massive ship.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Calus' creed and desire to usher an age of luxury for the Cabal are very genuine, and he despises Ghaul's entropic Blood Knight philosophy. However, the means to creating the various luxuries he enjoys include destroying entire planetoids.
- We Named the Monkey "Jack": Several of the named War Beasts in the Pleasure Gardens encounter are named after significant Cabal figures, like Valus Ta'aurc.
- Work Hard, Play Hard: Don't let his worship of luxury fool you, he's just as much of a Proud Warrior Race Guy as the rest of his species. He says the main difference between him and Ghaul is that he fights to carve a safe haven out of the stars, while Ghaul fights to continue fighting.
Benedict 99-40, Emperor's Advocate
The Shadows of Calus
A team of assassins, pilots, and soldiers that Calus assembled in his exile to exact his revenge on the traitors who deposed him. The tales of six of those Shadows are told through the armor sets of the raids aboard the Leviathan; the Clipse warrior Rull; the Sindu pilot Jarus; the Arkborn known as the Fulminator; Cabal Valus Nohr; the Fallen Baron of Shanks, Sekris; and the Psion Feltroc.
Should a player complete the Prestige version of the Leviathan raids, their armor lore entries indicate that the Emperor is planning to recruit you into their ranks...
- All There in the Manual: The Shadows are never seen in-game, being long dead by the time the Red Legion attacked Earth. Instead, their exploits are chronicled in the lore tabs for the Leviathan raid weapons and armor.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: All of them died spectacular deaths.
- Rull, after killing both the traitors Iska'al and Moli, faced down Ghaul himself with a smile before being killed.
- Jarus flew a suicide ship into Ghaul's flagship, crashing it and killing himself but allowing the Fulminator and the rest of the Shadows to board it.
- The Fulminator burned her armor out frying countless systems on Ghaul's ship, and inflicted severe wounds on Ghaul himself as her final act before she lost coherence and was scattered to the winds.
- Nohr was the last Shadow to be killed by Ghaul, but only after she took out the heads of three hundred of Ghaul's soldiers.
- Feltroc spent her last moments providing cover for the other Shadows from her sniper nest, shooting down every enemy she could find, then shooting at the rounds aimed at her allies when there were no longer any targets in sight. The Red Legion then filled the air around her nest with neurotoxin.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy:
- Rull and his entire species, the Clipse, due to their society existing on a world constantly besieged by horrible monsters spawned off strange comets passing through their system. Rull and his soldiers fought through the same trials that the Guardians do in the Leviathan raid, and while Rull was the only survivor, he joined Calus gladly when the latter promised him a "warrior's paradise."
- Nohr, by virtue of being Cabal and fiercely loyal to Calus, believing he is the empire's best hope.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Shadows were assembled from a mismatched group of species and backgrounds, all united by loyalty to Calus and their own exceptional prowess. The Fulminator's lore entries even lampshade how she has no clue as to whatever bribe or promise Calus made to them to join his ranks, nor does she care since she's there to kill the emperor's enemies.
- Red Baron: Most of them bore a title. Jarus was the Ace-Defiant, Rull was the Gun of Kaga-Clipse, Feltroc was the Skull-Piercer, and Sekris was the Baron of Shanks. The Fulminator is only known by that name, and Nohr only has her rank of Valus to go by; it still doesn't stop these two from being as fearsome as the rest of the Shadows.
- Shadow Archetype: The six Shadows recorded in the Leviathan's raid armor lores ultimately look like a six-man fireteam consisting of two Titans, two Warlocks and two Hunters; Rull and Nohr are stalwart warriors not unlike our Titans' Blood Knight tendencies; Sekris's inquisitive nature and skill with designing is reminiscent of a Warlock's thirst for knowledge, while the Fulminator is a Stormcaller in all but name; Jarus is a daring pilot who shares the Hunter's desire for adventure, and Feltroc is a phenomenal sniper, a staple characteristic for your average Hunter. Ultimately, they all died on the same day they mounted an assassination mission against Ghaul.
- Undying Loyalty: All of them displayed this during their lore stories, with Calus giving them promises of greater horizons beyond their respective races' limitations. They sadly die without completing Calus's goal of taking out Ghaul, but undertook the mission anyway, such is their conviction that Calus will eventually achieve what he promised for his Shadows.
Jarus, the Ace-DefiantA Sindu and a proud pilot, Jarus couldn't resist Calus's offer to pilot a starship that was beautiful beyond compare. He was the helmsman of the Leviathan.
- Ace Pilot: He was known as one of the greatest pilots in the Empire, and was gifted by Calus a ship known as God's Will, which he used to hunt down the Emperor's enemies. He was also the Leviathan's Master Helmsman, which we find out is an ever-hungry sentient starship.
- Cool Starship: God's Will, the ship given to him by Calus. Though not described directly, it was considered beautiful by Jarus, whose entire species' hat was being masterful pilots.
- Power at a Price: In order to pilot the God's Will, Jarus had to use equipment that burned out much of his senses. As a result, he could no longer taste anything, much to Calus' sadness.
Rull, the Gun of Kaga-ClipseA hardened Clipse warrior, Rull was invited aboard the Leviathan along with many other Clipse to partake in Calus's trials. Only he came out of it alive, after which he accepted to serve under the former Cabal emperor.
- Blade on a Stick: Rull's weapon of choice was a combined arc spear and harpoon weapon. He used the former to kill Iska'al's bodyguards, while he used the latter to spear Moli Imoli and ride him until he collapsed so Rull could finish him off.
- Stunned Silence: Pretty much his reaction to meeting with Calus: when the Leviathan came to the Clipse homeworld, Rull lead a strike force to eliminate the Emperor, and was the only one who made it to the throne room. When he got inside, Calus asked "Are you hungry?", and Rull was so shocked that the Emperor would offer both slaughter and sustenance in equal measure that he just stopped right there in his tracks to process what just happened.
The FulminatorA being of pure Arc energy, the Arkborn known as the Fulminator sought to go beyond her species' limitations, something that Calus offered by building a specialized armor for her to retain her coherence outside of her homeworld.
- Energy Being: The Fulminator, like all other Arkborn, was a being of pure Arc Light, who existed within "interstellar conduits", until Calus recruited her with the promise of freedom and a body that would let her exist outside of the conduits of her species.
Valus NohrCalus's senior adviser and a legendary Phalanx, Nohr was the backbone of the Shadows, keeping them in line and offering Calus her strategic wisdom.
- An Arm and a Leg: Nohr lost her arm when Calus invaded the Clipse homeworld. When asked if she misses it, she says that she misses her empire even more, and will do anything to help Calus get it back.
- Genius Bruiser: A genius tactician and an imposing presence on the battlefield at the same time, Nohr was greatly valued by Calus, who thinks that your Guardian might be the one to take her place following your trials and tribulations in Destiny 2.
- Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Nohr was a legendary Phalanx, the greatest one of her time, so it's no surprise that her main weapon was a shield. A bladed shield.
- Number Two: As the commander of both the Loyalists and the Shadows, Nohr was Calus' right hand woman. Nohr had been at Calus' side since his exile, and he considered her one of the last "true Cabal" besides himself.
- One-Man Army: Nohr by herself apparently was a force to be reckoned with, given she alone brought the Clipse to their knees when the rest of Calus's Loyalists had failed. They might have torn her arm off, but she still captured their main city. Then there's her Dying Moment of Awesome where she took out 300 of Ghaul's legions before dying.
- The Rival: With Sekris, whose constant questioning of Calus' orders grated at Nohr, to the point that Nohr would have killed him had Calus not intervened.
- The Strategist: Nohr is described as Calus's keenest tactician among the Shadows, easily translating the emperor's wishes into effective and deadly stratagems, and carrying them out if necessary. She was also the one capable of keeping belligerent individuals like Rull in check.
Sekris, Baron of ShanksOnce a renowned Fallen warrior-priest, Sekris was granted power beyond his scope by Calus, to which he agreed to serve the emperor and disappeared from Fallen history.
- Badass Preacher: Sekris was the most venerated warrior priest of his time, old enough to remember the Traveler blessing the Fallen, and his brutality (read: world-burning deeds) was infamous enough to inspire a generation of ruthless mercenaries like Taniks the Scarred.
- Fantastic Racism: Sekris kept pestering Calus to annihilate the human race, for he thought that every second that passes with humanity being at the Traveler's side was an insult for him. Calus had the necessary means to oblige, and would have had done so, if not for the fact that humanity didn't pique his interest at that time.
- Famed in Story: Sekris gained infamy early on in his life, enough to become the basis for what notorious mercenaries like Taniks would become. Then Calus reached out to him, and Sekris practically disappeared from Fallen history.
- Long-Lived: Sekris's unparalleled skill in designing and modifying mechanical lifeforms allowed him to live far beyond the Fallen's normal lifespan, as he was around when the Fallen were still blessed by the Traveler, and lived long enough to at least complain to Calus about humanity hogging the Traveler away from the Fallen.
- My Master, Right or Wrong: After entering into Calus's service, Sekris started questioning every order the emperor gave him. It got to the point that Calus had to personally appease Nohr to prevent her from beheading Sekris for his continued insolence.
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Sekris is a Fallen who severed his ties with his species to serve under Calus, being tempted with the promise of power beyond the Great Machine (i.e., Traveler's Light).
- Tactical Withdrawal: Sekris faced off against multiple Guardians decided to retreat because there were too many to fight. He especially retreated when Saint-14 took the field.
Feltroc, the Skull-PiercerThe Psion Feltroc was among the supporters of Calus's Psion emancipation project, and gladly lent her sniping skills to the Shadows' cause.
- Cold Sniper: Feltroc preferred fighting from afar, and was an incredibly good shot, enough for Calus to claim that a gun in her hands was a guarantee of victory. This was helped by her unique ability to hold her breath and steady her motion with a layer of telekinetic manipulation. Sure enough, her nickname was the "Skull-Piercer", and most of the Shadows' reputation as being able to kill from anywhere stemmed from her godly sniping.
- Shoot the Bullet: When Feltroc couldn't find any more Red Legion soldiers in her field of view to shoot down, she turned her attention to protecting her fellow Shadows... by shooting down bullets aimed towards them. Given she's repeatedly stated to be a crack shot, this is more plausible than most.
Werner 99-40, Shadow of Frames
Another Frame who relays messages from Calus, though the Emperor sometimes directly takes over to directly communicate with the player Guardian. Werner 99-40 lands on Nessus during Penumbra with a lavish imperial barge, selling the same items as Benedict 99-40 on top of offering droves of treasure chests on board of the barge.
- Mouth of Sauron: He is Benedict 99-40's counterpart, though he is instead stationed on Nessus. Ambient vendor dialogue shares similarities with his Tower counterpart, and both are susceptible to Calus directly taking control of them to better communicate with the player Guardian.
- Put on a Bus: Like Calus and the rest of his loyalists, Werner is gone from Nessus at the start of Season 12, leaving his barge completely abandoned at its spot on Watcher's Grave, and later outright gone at the start of Season 13.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Just like Benedict 99-40, Werner's blue electric circuits turn red when communicating with the player on behalf of Calus, though the lights turn purple when Calus directly speaks through the Frame.
Voyc, Shadow of the Wilds
A Psion Flayer who served as Calus' huntsman, tracking the most dangerous beasts in the galaxy.
Gahlran, the Sorrow-Bearer
A super-soldier created by Calus to control an Ascendant Hive device known as the Crown of Sorrow to command a legion of Hive under his name. However, Gahlran has been driven to madness by Savathûn and hides in the deepest parts of the Leviathan's treasure vault, growing a vast amount of Hive with the Crown.
- Designer Babies: Calus had him created specifically with the mental fortitude to resist any outside influences when wielding the crown, for all the good it did him.
- King Mook: Gahlran is a massive Ceremonial Bather (the Gladiator variant you once encountered in the Royal Baths section of the Leviathan raid), towering over the Ogres that are summoned to impede you during the fight against him and his Deceptions, the latter of which are significantly smaller and about the size of a normal Cabal Gladiator. While Gahlran normally casts Hive magic to take shots at you, he can summon an oversized Cabal cleaver if his spell is interrupted.
- Spanner in the Works: Savathûn's plan to control Calus was ruined when he had Galhran wear the crown instead of himself. As a result while the Hive did run rampant Calus himself was unaffected by the trap that was hidden in the crown itself.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Calus sees Gahlran as an unsuccessful experiment that needs to be disposed of by the Guardians, and the weapon drops from his raid refer to him as "Galhran the Failed".
- Younger Than They Look: The largest Cabal seen to date, Gahlran is only a few hours old by the time Calus assigns you to venture into the Menagerie's depths.
Noru'usk, Servant of Oryx
- "If I were you, roach, I would think hard before wasting the time of the only real weapons supplier you've got."
A supplier for the Red Legion and the boss of "The Arms Dealer" Strike. None too happy that the Red Legion deposed his biggest customer, Emperor Calus, but able to exploit the fact that he's practically the Legion's only reliable weapons provider.
- Arms Dealer: Zahn and his troops are technically disgraced and criminal Cabal who happen to be tolerated by the Red Legion because they have access to some very powerful weaponry that they're willing to sell.
- Awesomeness by Analysis: It takes one aside glance from him to figure out 10 weaknesses in Ghaul's ceremonial armor, and muses that one good shot is all that's needed to end the Red Legion's dumb crusade on Earth.
- Barrier Warrior: Deal enough damage on Zahn and he'll retreat to one of the towers in the final area and deploy an impenetrable shield around himself until you manage to grab some explosives and, shall we say, entice him back to the fight.
- BFG: Wields an oversized version of the Cabal Headhunter rifles used by Psion snipers. It's pretty much about as long as a Cabal Legionary is tall.
- Cold Sniper: Cabal? Check. Cabal arms dealer with a huge sniper rifle? Double check.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Zahn and his troops wear chartreuse (a yellowish green) armor to differentiate them from the Red Legion.
- Drone Deployer: Has his own personal Scorpius drones which he'll call upon to literally rain fire down on you.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Claims to Ghaul and the Consul that he provided them all the weapons he had available, but omitted the fact that he was working on experimental vehicles. Said vehicle turn out to be an Exotic Sparrow that's jury-rigged with explosives, something Amanda Holliday jokes that it would've been the fastest bomb you never saw after you've killed Zahn.
- "Get Back Here!" Boss: You have to chase him through the base during the second half of the strike, before cornering him in a large open area.
- King Mook: Is a regular old Legionary with a lot more tricks up his sleeve.
- Playing with Fire: Zahn deploys unique "Volcanic Scorpius" drones, which trade out the machine guns for flamethrowers. His Shockwave Stomp is also punctuated by creating flames around him.
- Shockwave Stomp: As with most Strike bosses, but Zahn stands out in particular because instead of, well, stomping, he briefly superpowers his jump pack create the shockwave for him while sharply shooting up in place.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: He doesn't take too kindly to the fact that the Red Legion took away his best customer, Calus, and had a mind about simply shooting Ghaul dead, but since Zahn knows that they desperately need him and his weapons, and are bitterly aware of it, he simply goes on to business as usual.
Lictor Shayotet, the Emperor's Protector
The personal bodyguard of Emperor Calus, who helped him overthrow the Praetorate in his original coup, and who in turn helped lead the Midnight Coup against Calus for the Consul and Ghaul. As such, he was marked as one of the traitors that Calus wanted dead.
- Bodyguard Betrayal: Calus viewed him as the most dear and loyal of bodyguards, who took numerous bullets meant for the Emperor. His betrayal, in turn, horrified and wounded the Emperor deeply.
- Character Death: He was assassinated by Jarus, one of Calus' Shadows, who shot down his ship and then executed him after he crawled out of the wreckage.
- Determinator: His weakness was that he would never flee and always stand to fight no matter the odds. Jarus used this to force him out of the cover of his wrecked ship and kill him with an energy blade.
- Undying Loyalty: Calus believed Shayotet to have this toward him, until that night he helped overthrow him in favor of the Consul and Ghaul. According to Shayotet himself, however, he was indeed being loyal... to the man Calus was before he apparently slid headlong into a life of excessive decadence.
Freeborn Oztot, Psion Savant
A Psion "freeborn" who rebuilt the mysterious, clairvoyant OXA Machine, and was recruited by Calus to use her mind to help the Cabal. When he told her of his plans to free all of the Psions within the Empire from slavery, Oztot feared for her high position as a freeborn and helped the conspiracy betray him.
- Didn't Think This Through: She was the one who actually suggested to Calus that he liberate the Psions. It was only after the fact that she realized what this would mean to her status among her people.
- It's All About Me: Since the Psions are a Slave Race, being a freeborn is considered to be a high honor and is a status symbol within the Cabal Empire. Oztot didnt want to free the other Psions because if everyone was freed, she would no longer be seen as better than the rest.
- Psychic Powers: Being a Psion, she is able to read thoughts and use the OXA Machine to secretly transmit information to Ghaul and the Consul's conspiracy. Calus also warns that anyone seeking to kill her will be given away by the "thoughts of an assassin," and the only way to kill her is to approach as a friend.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Oztot's death was not recorded in the lore entries for the Leviathan raid gear, indicating she's likely still alive somewhere. The latest trace of her presence stems from a century-old login on a OXA Machine replica uncovered in the Vex's Insight Terminus on Nessus.
Aedile Moli Imoli, the Everjoy
The events coordinator and entertainer of the Cabal Empire, both under Calus and later under Ghaul. His events served to make the people of the Empire happy with vast celebrations and resplendent holidays, and under Ghaul, those same events kept them under the control of the rising Dominus.
- Actual Pacifist: At least now, he cannot stand violence and only lives to make the people happy. This wasn't always the case....
- Bread and Circuses: His role under Ghaul's Cabal Empire is to keep the people content and happy with games and holidays so they don't turn on their new rulers.
- Death by Irony: Calus decreed that he would die on a holiday he had invented. Rull would indeed kill him on a holiday, going so far as to ride Moli through a crowd with a harpoon in his back and finally killing Moli when he collapsed in front of Ghaul.
- The Red Baron: He was titled Aedile when Calus named him the events coordinator of the Empire, with the additional title of "The Everjoy." Prior to that, he was the much, much nastier Colossus of Bru'unth.
- Retired Monster: Before he was titled Aedile, he was the Colossus of Bru'unth, and a loyal soldier of the Praetorate who massacred countless civilians for supporting Calus.
- Undignified Death: Rull shot his harpoon on Moli's back, causing the injured Colossus to run in a blind frenzy through a crowd while screaming in agony until he died in front of Ghaul. The whole sequence of events was apparently so surreal that people thought it was a spectacle.
Evocate-General Umun'arath, Primus of All Legions
The highest military commander of the Cabal Empire, chosen by Calus to lead after he overthrew the Praetorate. However, Umun'Arath disagreed with Calus' hedonistic policies, viewing the military defense of the Empire as more important than anything else, and joined the conspirators in overthrowing him.
- Defector from Decadence: She ultimately refused to be taken in by the hedonism of Calus' rule, and joined forces with the Consul because she felt it was all a waste.
- Meaningful Name:
- Shares two syllables with Xivu Arath, the Hive goddess of war. There may be a greater significance to this, but at the very least she has a lot in common with the Hive, sharing their belief that "war is all there is."
- Appropriately, in Season of the Chosen, we learn she was studying the Hive's gods, then began worshipping them.
- Obvious Judas: In-Universe, Calus was wary of her and began to suspect she would betray him, but was blindsided by the scale of the conspiracy against him. While he was prepared for Umun'Arath to betray him, he wasn't prepared for dear friends such as Iska'al or his own daughter to turn on him as well.
- Plot-Triggering Death: Her execution at Caiatl's hands completes a Hive ritual that allows Xivu Arath to invade and conquer the Cabal homeworld. This prompts an exodus to the Sol System, setting the events of Season of the Chosen into motion.
- Properly Paranoid: For all of her Well-Intentioned Extremist tendencies, she is totally correct in her fears regarding the "machines that eat her worlds", the "barbarians who corrode her frontiers", the "wizards who thirst for her soul", and worse.
- Warhawk: Umun'Arath only cares about war and the defense of the Empire, and felt anything not being spent on military forces was at best "logistical support" and at worst a dangerous waste of resources.
- Her obsession with war would prove to be her undoing, as her studies into the Hive would eventually lead Xivu Arath straight to Torobatl.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Her ultimate goal is to save the Empire from a galaxy full of horrifying monsters, and betrayed Calus because she felt that his hedonism made him weak and that only massive military mobilization would protect the Empire.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Umun'Arath is among the traitors whose fate is not revealed; so far only Shayotet, Iska'al and Moli perished in the backstory, while Ghaul and the Consul die in Destiny 2.
- Season of the Chosen reveals that she met her end at the hands of Caiatl.
Iska'al of Fantor
The confidante of Calus, a lowly merchant of tea whom Calus would often speak to each day to help unwind and remove his burdens. Iska'al would give these private conversations to the conspirators, becoming known as the "Imperial Informant."
- The Informant: As Calus' confidant, Iska'al was able to get valuable information to the conspirators, who paid him quite well for it.
- Non-Action Guy: Being a wealthy, fat merchant, Iska'al is the most non-comatant Cabal imaginable. Rull was able to kill him by simply holding him down and drowning him with wine, despite his greater size.
- Rags to Riches: Before, he was a poor, simple vendor of tea, but he had apparently grown very fat and became extremely well-off after helping betray Calus, despite still only operating a tea stand. When Rull hunts him down, he finds Iska'al on a grand estate with numerous bodyguards.
- Mercy Kill: Calus phrases his order for Iska'al's death as this, saying he cannot stand to imagine his poor friend suffering under the "poison" of the evil words of his new friends among the Dominus' command staff, and that whatever method is used to kill him should be pleasant and painless.