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Tear Jerker / Destiny 2

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"I'm comin' home, Ace..."

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  • After trying to fight Ghaul one on one and the Light taken away your Guardian has only one true option... run away from the city they failed to protect. To put into detail:
    • You wake up two days after the fall of the Last City, after seeing a strange vision. You reunite with your Ghost, but he's incredibly weak, with his voice barely a rasp, and if you pull him out you'll see that his prisms are sagging limply. Worse still is when he talk. You're both physically broken at this point. But Ghost sounds completely bereft of hope.
    • Two more days after leaving safely, you come across a camp of dead Guardians, twisting the knife further. Without the Light, they can't revive. Your Ghost's voice as he realizes that is really happening sells how bleak the situation has become. Then you're forced to fight against a pack of War Beasts with nothing, but a pistol and SMG. The sounds of combat become muffled while you're fighting back while the soundtrack is increased, completely cementing how desperate your existence has become.
      • Even the SMG has a depressing undertone. Its name is "Sorrow," and it's a creation of Omolon... only, it's been completely stripped of any and all power and uniqueness. There's no Pre Ass Kicking One Liner written on the flavor text. The gun itself has no perks, and is utterly inflexible, something that is the antithesis to what Omolon stood for. Finally, it's been booted down to 10 damage, it's worn and has lost most of its charm as a foundry weapon (the sudden appearance of VEIST later on isn't helping any, either), and you get it from a dead Guardian. The story truly means it when they say everything is gone.
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    • The next segment, a week has passed since the Fall. As you're hugging a cliffside, you're treated to a view of the imprisoned Traveler and the razed City. The game is giving you no break in telling you that you've failed to protect the City.
    • Throughout all of this, you repeatedly encounter a hawk, just like in the vision. The tone in which your Ghost notes this makes him sound in even worse shape than he already is. It's hard to tell if he's starting to lose faith in himself, confused, or just plain desperate for anything resembling a sign...
      Ghost: "It's that hawk again... Is it.. following us...? Or are we following it?"
    • Even sadder during this section, if you play as a Warlock, instead of their usual palm slap melee, they've been reduced to punching enemies.
    • It gets even worse when you read up on some of the other Guardian groups and orders through their gear. The entire Titan Stoneborn order was wiped out. The Firebreak order is ashamed that they couldn't follow in their steps, and the lore entry for the Hollowfire Heart says that the Sunbreakers have been wiped out as well, defending the Forge on Mercury.
      We fold tragedies into narratives and names so that we can process them. but in doing so, we also lose sight of the magnitude of what happened. "The Collapse" as a term helps us understand such loss and such suffering, but the story of the Sunbreakers isn't general. It isn't some long ago historical event to us at this point. It's imminent, personal, and something that a great number of us will have experienced. Even as we've been allowed to fold the traumatic narrative of humanity's near-extinction into a pair of words, the Sunbreakers and their story represent a real, tangible example of the fact that Destiny's story is filled with something terrible: Loss.
      So, the next time you hear the hammer strike ring out across the battlefield, remember this: The Sunbreakers may be gone, and the story of Destiny may forever be marked by their loss, but now, You carry their legend forward. It is you that has a chance to maintain their honor. To tend to the Forge and let their story live on.
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    • The Armor descriptions for the ruined gear you wear in the immediate aftermath of the Fall of the City are universally depressing. Wrecked Titan Plate lamenting their failure to defend the City, Scorched Hunter Gear that tries to hide the sadness with sarcasm, and Damaged Warlock Armor that mourns the loss of their Connection to the Light.
      Wrecked Titan Helm: Every Aspect of this helm has been compromised.
      Wrecked Titan Greaves: These Boots are unaccustomed to retreat.
      Scorched Hunter Vest: Every journey has its ups and downs. That's what you keep telling yourself, at least.
      Scorched Hunter Strides: Survival now depends on your ability to outrun the enemy.
      Damaged Warlock Hood: A good hood keeps you focused. This one targets nothing but loss.
      Shattered Warlock Bond: A shattered bond marks a broken promise.
  • The state of the Vanguard when you meet back up with them is heartbreaking:
    • Commander Zavala takes the fall of the City the hardest. On top of being unable to protect the very City he personally helped build with his own hands, he attempted to lead survivors to Titan in hopes of refuge, only to discover that it is infested with Hive. Zavala's confidence in his leadership is understandibly broken, and you can just hear the lack of hope in his voice.
    Zavala: Without the light...are we even guardians anymore...?
    • Cayde-6 may be the most humorous, seeing as his attempts to tamper with a Vex teleporter has briefly imprisoned him in a teleportation loop. However, once you bust him out, he explains that he was trying to set it up so he could teleport right to Ghaul's face and put a bullet in his head. If you read between the lines and note how increasingly frustrated he is, you wouldn't be crazy to think that he's effectively planning a suicide mission.
    • Ikora Rey does her hardest to hide it, but shows through nonetheless. After exiling herself to Io, the last place the Traveler touched before the collapse, she's been meditating for any hope of an epiphany for what should be done. Instead, she's come to realize that after centuries of immortality thanks to the Light, she's become terrified now that she's become mortal, and afraid she might fail.
  • Strange and absolutely crazy as it is, Dominus Ghaul manages to inspire some sympathy. Born a runt, weak and unwanted, raised by the Consul seeking nothing, but strength and glory for the Cabal. And to do that, he set his sights on the Traveler, and desired the Traveler to recognize his determination. For as much of a bastard as he is, he started from rock bottom, and his throughout his interrogation of The Speaker, it's fairly easy to tell that he's starting to doubt his path and strength. Hell, a bit more time and self-reflection with The Speaker, and he could have been on the road for a Heel–Face Turn. Instead, The Speaker dies from his injuries, The Consul pushes Ghaul too far, leading to Ghaul strangling him, and Ghaul forcibly absorbing the Light, only for the Traveler to wake up, recognizing Ghaul's madness and destroying Ghaul's very existence.
  • When you read through Calus' journals detailing his betrayal, you can see the horror and shock in his words as he talks about how he was betrayed by those he considered friends and family, including his personal bodyguards, his events planner, his personal confidante, and even his own daughter. On top of that is his sadness as seeing them turn the Cabal that he tried to build into another horrible war machine devoted to conquest and brutal battle. The betrayal hurt him so deeply that he implores anyone who would listen to bring the people who hurt him that badly to justice, including his closest friends and family, now nothing but traitors in his eyes.
  • You can find a torn page from Cayde's journal in a cache on one of his treasure maps. It expands on his transhuman story - it's revealed that he had a wife and child whom he nicknamed "Ace." Before he became an Exo, it was known that he threw his life away gambling and sold himself into Clovis Bray's Exo program because the only other option was death itself. Now imagine what that would be like as a family situation, and remember that Cayde associated things with cards as an Exo, and likes aces a lot. The journal page turns a mere natural obsession, given his gambling background, into a cry for help as it's presumed the Collapse occurred before what was once Cayde-0 could make it back to his family.
    • A later journal reveals that Cayde can't even remember who Ace was or he even existed at all. He found the name in a journal on his person when his Ghost revived him the first time, and kept writing despite Ace being long dead.
    • Forsaken twists the knife even further - one of Cayde's past selves outright admits that Ace and his wife probably never existed. He made them up so that he'd have something worth fighting and staying heroic for. And then the postgame adds another twist; "Truth to Power" has an entry that accidentally implies Cayde's family was Real After All, but (ironically) it is never explained if anything in the book is truthful to begin with.
  • The Failsafe's ship, the Exodus Black, was a colony ship of over 500 inhabitants headed off to colonize a new world, only to end up crash landing on Nessus. Stranding the crew and all the colonists, with the Captain's attempt to erect a distress beacon to call help failing and everyone perishing soon after. The Captain's last moments being filled with anguish and regret that he failed his crew and all the colonists. The only "survivor" being the ships "Failsafe" AI, who was activated after the crash and has been alone for centuries.
    • And the end of the O Captain, My Captain quest line really twists the knife upon hearing Captain Jacobson's last words. All from Failsafe's bitchy side no less. Who up to that point was full of funny quips.
    Moody!Failsafe: Captain Jacobson...is...Dead?
    Ghost: Yes. I'm so sorry, Failsafe. We'll see you soon.
  • During the mission to regain the Titan's Sunbreaker class, one of the lessons you come across is Shaxx recounting the many times that he and his friends pulled off Crazy Enough to Work strategies. One such time he recalls is when Lady Efrideet used Lord Saladin as a javelin. It quickly turns heartbreaking at the end as Shaxx starts to lament how he misses the glory days. And more specifically he misses Lady Efrideet.
  • One of Asher Mir's lines when talking to him on Io is surprisingly poignant and subdued for his personality:
    "I have considered ending my Ghost. None of my research indicates a way to extricate the Vex technology from her shell. This is how I know I am a coward.... because I can not bring myself to do it."
    • Asher's entire character becomes this once you get through the Crazy Awesome Mad Scientist side of his personality; much like Eris Morn he lost his entire fireteam to Brakion, coming out with not only a cracked mind but a new Vex limb and a Ghost converted into Vex technology. He knows his condition is slowly killing him and there's slim to no hope of reversing the process, so he's gonna make damn sure that the Vex pay for what they did to him and his fireteam.
  • If Nokris' words are to be believed in "Apocrypha", Oryx abandoned them when they were a child and was the one that erased all traces of them from the World's Grave, all because Nokris was "cursed". The only one that has ever seemed to care about them is Xol. This comes as a shockingly stark contrast to what we knew of Oryx's relationship with his family. Even when he warred and conspired against his sisters, threatened to feed his daughters to Eir, punished Crota by tossing him through a Vex gate, and imprisoned Alak-Hul for eternity after his failed coup, he still genuinely, truly loved them all and was proud of what made each of them strong. Nokris was left to die and to never be remembered.
  • A console in the Warmind expansion will detail information about the Exos, explaining that the "projected" maximum number of times an Exo can be rebooted is approximately 20 before they become... nonfunctional from the repeated mental trauma. And at the Tower, we have Banshee-44...
  • The E3 trailer for Forsaken left many Guardians dumbstruck with what was shown. Cayde is heavily damaged, his Ghost is fretting over him before being shot out of the air, the eight Barons are closing in at all sides, and Prince Uldren, supposedly the leader of the Barons, shoots Cayde with the Ace of Spades. The closing art has the Young Wolf cradling Cayde's Lightless body, cementing why the story for Forsaken is going to be one of revenge. What's more, the project lead confirmed the worst in case there were any doubts: Cayde-6 is gone.
    • The music. The freaking music. Especially the last line.
    "Why can't I leave well enough alone, and go to the light?"
  • Bungie released another trailer for Forsaken, and it may be worse than the first one. It shows Cayde fighting down the Scorn as a one-man army, and he gets severely injured in the process. The Barons approach, and Reksis Vahn activates his cauldron. Before Cayde is finished off, he says "I'm coming home, Ace." as Reksis gives the final attack. Jeez, Bungie...
  • In the Forsaken Launch trailer, Uldren has Cayde at his mercy, and asks him if he has any last words. Cayde's answer:
    • What makes it even more tragic is Uldren's reaction. Does he yell, scream, or shout at Cayde? No. He simply closes his eyes without saying a word, and pulls the trigger. Which ultimately is sadder than if he had shouted in response.
  • The entire first mission of Forsaken cold be seen as one. Players know that Cayde is going to die, and that no matter how fast they are or how hard they fight, nothing can stop it. Which makes the entire mission leading up to it all the more tragic. Cayde is having an absolute ball on the mission, whooping and cheering as he drops prisoners, praising the player's ability and talking them up like they're completely invincible.
    • Cayde's taunt at Uldren is particularly heart-breaking. "Any second now, my partner is gonna roll in here and kill… Every. Last. One of you." Except you didn't.
    • The reactions of the other characters is almost as gut-wrenching. Ikora is ready to go an a Roaring Rampage of Revenge for her friend, Zavala is torn between his duty as Vanguard Commander and his sorrow of losing Cayde, and even the normally stoic Banshee-44 is urging you to put down Uldren. But the worst of it has to be Amanda. She lost her parents trying to reach the City, and the Guardians (Cayde in particular) became her new family, one she never thought would die on her.
    • Even Failsafe isn't immune to it. While her interactions with Cayde suggested she was annoyed by him, both aspects of her personality are torn up by his death.
    Snarky Failsafe: "AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!"
    Perky Failsafe: "I feel terrible!"
  • A couple of lore tabs detail what happened to Mithrax after he was spared on Titan. In the Lord of Wolves lore, he remarks about how humanity destroyed the Eliksni culture by refusing to even acknowledge both it and the language - the House of Wolves used to be called the House of Gentle Weavers before the events of both games. Even though Mithrax ultimately chose to forgive humanity for doing so, it's still quite sad to hear.
  • In the end, despite everything he had done, it's hard not to feel at least a little sorry for Uldren. For all of his pettiness and hostility towards the Guardians, all of it was done to protect his sister, and he was a legitimate hero to his people. And then the corrupted Riven used all of that love and grief against him, twisting his mind to make him commit horrible atrocities in the misguided belief that he could get Mara back if he did so. And all it got him was an even more broken Reef, the enmity of the few people close to him, nearly being eaten by an Eldritch Abomination, and a bullet between his eyes.
  • Throughout the Young Wolf's Roaring Rampage of Revenge against Uldren, their Ghost shows signs of feeling a bit uncomfortable with the Guardian's relentlessness to wipe out everyone responsible for Cayde-6's death. The biggest example of this is the lore behind the hand cannon "Thin Line". The Young Wolf's Ghost seems absolutely heart-broken.
    "I don't think this is why the Traveler chose you."
    • What possibly makes it even worse is the last thing on the list of things your Ghost won't tell you : "I love you."
      • A particularly notable line of dialogue highlights this further; after disabling the last Splinter Mine shortly after killing Kaniks, Ghost tries to reassure the Guardian that they aren't a murderer, and that what their doing is for Cayde... and even THEN his tone implies he's trying more to convince himself rather than his Guardian.
  • When the Young Wolf returns to the Tower after finishing the main campaign of Forsaken, while Ikora says that she's proud of them, Zavala... Is less than pleased. He states that while he will not shed a tear for Uldren, he makes it clear to the Young Wolf on no uncertain terms that their actions will have consequences.
  • While Fikrul is a fanatical Fallen dedicated to killing his own kind to raise them as undead Scorn to uplift them from their dependency on Servitors, when he fights you on the way to the Watchtower, you can hear the sheer anger and grief he has from how you simply butchered them for vengeance.
    "You enjoyed killing them? You enjoyed putting them in dirt - where you belong? Did it make you feel good? Kaniks... Reksis Vahn... Yaviks... Pirrha... Araskes... Hiraks... Elykris... Tell me that killing my friends made you feel good. TELL ME!"
  • Cayde-6 prepared a stack of recordings for the people he assumed would kill him. Cayde being Cayde, there's a fair amount of joking in his multiple-choice final words. But then there's the the message to Ikora.
    "But, uh... well, if you did hate me, the feeling was NOT mutual. In fact - yeah, I'll say it - don't even mind that you killed me. I figure if we threw down... first off, no one can blame me for losing. And... I know you'd be in the right. So... thanks? I guess? You were a... good friend. Better than a guy like me could hope for, anyway. So yeah, thanks, Ikora. For everything."
  • The entirety of Cayde's Will is a tearjerker since you're trying to take up Cayde's signature Hand Cannon after his death, but the most crushing part comes at the end when Banshee-44 reassembles the gun for you; He wonders why he hasn't seen Cayde around lately. The man's undergone so many reboots and his memory is so faulty that he might be stuck in a constant loop of wondering where Cayde went only to find out and be crushed all over again. It's like an Alzheimer's patient having to be told a loved one is dead over and over again and never remembering.
    Banshee-44: Parts are all in place now. Ace of Spades is as good as new. When you wield it, remember... remember... Now, wait a minute... Hey, have you seen Cayde around lately?
  • If you side with the Vanguard over the Drifter in “Joker’s Wild”, he initially seems fine with it. He’s upset, but understands that you don’t trust him yet, says he respects your integrity, and promises that he’ll prove he’s not the backstabber people think he is... then he casually dubs you “Snitch”. And from that point onwards, his dialogue becomes extremely cagey and hostile towards you, even during Gambit, and he generally makes it clear he no longer trusts you. Pretty harsh, especially given how he seemed to genuinely want to be friends with the Young Wolf.
  • The Vanguard has not been doing well since Cayde's death. Between that and the death of The Speaker, there has been a lot of skepticism, both in-universe and out, about the Vanguard's ability to adequately defend The City. Zavala has become overly cautious and unwilling to make any moves against the enemy, and Ikora has become withdrawn. It really does show how much Cayde was The Heart of the group, and how his willingness to take risks and make big plays helped balance out the more reserved leadership styles of the other two-thirds of the Vanguard. As for the Speaker, the leadership of The City has effectively stalled due to his death. Because he was a Guardian, and therefore Immortal, there isn't any official mechanism in place to replace him as Speaker. Since the City is a Theocracy with him as the leader, there's a massive hole in the power structure of the government.
    • During the 2019 Festival of the Lost, if you idle near Eva Levante, she tells your Guardian to cheer up and that Cayde would have wanted them to be happy. She also mentions that 'he would not want to see you this way'. That means the player Guardian is still broken over Cayde's death, enough for their grief to appear visibly; the pain probably intensified by the whole meaning of the festival.
  • Exploring the Corridors of Time revealed an interesting memorial to an unknown Guardian. After solving a complex community-wide puzzle, we discovered an echo of a future Saint-14 giving a memorial to the one entombed - his mentor, aka, you. His speech is just as heartrending as you'd expect, and what's more, following the messages left on the Bastion weapon you get for completing it leads you to another future artifact - one of Saint's weapons, which a Fallen named Reysk stole and killed us with; a final insult.
  • Shadowkeep's Dawning includes a ship called Amnestia-S2 whose lore tab gives a sad tale of a lonely Guardian during the holidays. The Guardian in question is the former Uldren Sov. He spends his days alone, avoiding other Guardians, because they either respond with grief or hostility to him when they see him, forcing him to keep his helmet on if he ever has to be around people. He wears his funeral shroud as a cloak or cape, but it reminds him that he must have come from some place nicer than the rusted out shipping container he squats in. His Ghost is a relentless well of optimism, and tries to cheer him up with talk of the Dawning, but he's still too lost in misery to really be cheered.
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