Do you know your Destiny? One of the biggest issues many people have with Destiny is that the story seems broken, a lot of things are unexplained, and many questions go unanswered. The goal of this series is to take a look at the various questions people have about the story and lore, and dig deep to bring as much of the story to the surface as possible. The hope is to bring a new light and enjoyment to the game as you become more familiar with the characters and places in the game. So with that in mind, please enjoy the first installment, The Traveler.
One of the most prominent figures in the Destiny universe is The Traveler, and still so little is known about it. Where it came from? Who built it? Why did it first appear? What has it done? While so little is revealed about The Traveler in the game’s story mode, there are subtle hints and references that can be gleamed by a watchful eye, and a read through the game’s various grimoire cards. The first appearance of The Traveler can be seen in a poster placed in Halo 3: ODST.
To begin, what is The Traveler? The Traveler is the large spherical object that hangs in orbit just above the last remaining city on Earth. The city was build within The Traveler’s protective aura, shielding the humans there from a constant onslaught from the various alien factions that comprise The Darkness. As revealed in the various prose titled “Dreams of Alpha Lupi,” it’s discovered that The Traveler is made up of Neutronium and Electroweak Matter, both hypothetical materials in astrophysics. Neutronium is the material that makes up a Neutron Star, the most dense objects in the known universe, and Electroweak Matter is a fundamental that hasn’t existed since the beginning of the universe. While The Traveler appears to be made of solid, inanimate materials, it’s “flesh” has been alluded to in several of the grimoire cards and lines of Dreams of Alpha Lupi. Whether or not this is actual flesh, or another material that once covered The Traveler’s core is still unknown. It’s size also has varied several times, going from the size of the moon to as small as a large city. It’s size is estimated to be about the size of the moon, as referred to as a “moon-sized ball” in The Traveler grimoire.
The Traveler is thought to have sentience and be able to make conscious decisions for itself. However, it’s not certain if this means The Traveler is actually alive, or if it is an advanced intelligence construct. Dreams of Alpha Lupi are thought to have been written from the point of view of The Traveler itself, indicating not only intelligence, but the ability to create art. In the lines of Dreams of Alpha Lupi, The Traveler is described almost as a living creature with the way it’s written, having not only flesh, but senses as well that were taken from it in it’s war with The Darkness. It, apparently, is also capable of experiencing feelings, having chosen Earth and humanity after seeing a face in the sun, and learing a ‘lucid melody’ which brought it joy, and resolved to become strong enough to face The Darkness. It is also mentioned that despite assisting the advancement of many other civilizations, it never wanted to be worshipped or seen as a God, indicating intentions and desires.
“The knife had a million blades.
And you were giant, powerful and swift. But the knife pinned you. Cut your godly flesh away.
Very little was left, you are sure, because you feel insignificant now. The hard slick heart of your soul: That is what remains. A body small as a river stone, and just as simple. You picture yourself as a piece of indigestible grit, a nameless nothing hiding among other nameless stones. Perhaps you glitter like a gem, yes. Pride makes you hope so. If only you could see yourself. But you have no eyes. Not the dimmest sense survives. What lives is memory, and what slim portion of these thoughts can you trust?
The knife stole much more than your body.”
The location of The Traveler’s origin is unknown at this time, and it is said to have visited several galaxies and solar systems, helping to advance various civilizations. The largest clue given about where The Traveler came from is from the title of the writings that describe so much of it’s journey, Dreams of Alpha Lupi. Alpha Lupi is the brightest star in the Lupus constellation. Alpha Lupi also means Alpha Wolf, which appears several times throughout the game as a motif.
The Traveler first arrived in the solar system centuries before The Darkness had arrived. First visiting Jupiter, Venus, and Mercury, catching the attention of humanity. It helped lead humanity into a time called “The Golden Age,” in which it taught humanity about new technologies and helped expand across the solar system by teraforming other planets. By the time the Ares One mission, the first manned mission to Mars, arrived on Mars, The Traveler had already brought rain to the planet. After centuries of prosperity and advancement, The Traveler gave “instructions” to “the trusted few” and disappeared. It’s assumed that it had completed it’s mission in cultivating the human civilization. It was during this time that the EXO race was created
The Golden Age of humanity ended some time after the disappearance of The Traveler, at which time The Darkness first arrived. Nearly wiping out humanity, The Traveler reappeared, being forced from hiding to protect it’s “children” in humanity. After a battle with it’s main enemy, The Darkness, The Traveler was left crippled and in it’s current state. As a last act, it situated itself above the last standing city on Earth and gave it’s protection to what was left of the human race. Before The Traveler went silent, it created the Ghosts to seek out humans who had the ability to wield it’s power and fight back The Darkness when it no longer could. The resurrected guardians were tasked with waking The Traveler by restoring it’s light. The first tasks were disrupting a ritual on the moon by the Hive that was leaching light from The Traveler, and then finally destroying the Heart of Darkness in the Black Garden.
The will of The Traveler is dictated by The Speaker who resides in the Tower, giving instruction to the Guardians on how to proceed. While The Traveler can no longer speak, hear, or sense, it works through The Speaker to help Guardians. The Traveler also goes through different stages, which can be heard as announcements over the loudspeaker in the tower, describing the various states of The Traveler.