How Mara Sov Can Return In Destiny Forsaken
Fans have questioned whether or not Mara Sov is actually dead ever since that Taken King cinematic. After all, there was evidence in the Grimoire (Destiny's big book of lore) that she survived in some manner, with entries referring to Uldren still being able to sense her presence. There were also comments made by Bungie's Creative Story Lead, CJ Cowan, not long after Taken King's release which mention seeing another side of Mara in the future, saying that when it happens it'll be a "really powerful moment" (via Game Rant). And if the new lore gathered from datamines of Forsaken is the real deal, then that powerful moment is almost here.
The new information comes from the lore tabs of a new set of Warlock armor, Reverie Dawn, that players can earn in Forsaken. There are five pieces, each with a lore entry that seems to chronicle Mara's journey after unleashing the Harbingers to attack Oryx's ship. Visit the Reddit post for the full chronicle, but here are a few important excerpts:
She travels across the Ascendant Plane.
The voyage across the sea of screams threatens to erode her edges as no other trial ever has. In Oryx's throne world, she had a semblance of an identity. Treasure. Spoil of war. Defeated queen. Repugnant and alien and Not Me, but she could use these contortions as guideposts to trace her way back to herself.
Here in the emptiness between throne worlds, she has nothing but what she can carry.
The burden is growing heavier, but she is not alone.
He tries to speak to her from a place of high contempt. In doing so, he invites her into his topography.
She steps out of howling and finds her footing upon a plane of swords and madness and all-consuming curiosity.
'Who are you?'
The question summons an almost-forgotten answer deep within the rapidly solidifying shape of her.
"I AM MARA SOV. STARLIGHT WAS MY MOTHER, AND MY FATHER WAS THE DARK."
The thing that once was called Toland flees before her darkness/light/shadow/majesty. And she rests within this scrap of a world, before resuming her journey through the Howling.
This text comes from the gauntlets of the Warlock Reverie Dawn armor, and it's very revealing for a number of reasons. First, it confirms what many have long suspected - Mara Sov is alive. Or, at least, she didn't die - not entirely, anyway - and is now within the Ascendant Plane. The Ascendant Plane (or Realm, as it's also known) is an area of trans-dimensional space closely connected with The Darkness. As Guardians, players traveled to the Ascendant Realm when they kill Crota and later Oryx, entering their Throne Worlds - places within the Ascendant Plane created by beings tied to the Darkness where the world's physics obey their thoughts and desires.
In Forsaken, one of the Scorn Barons the Guardians will hunt, Hiraks the Mindbender, rules over his own Throne World near the Tangled Shore, meaning that creating a Throne World within the Ascendant Plane isn't Hive-specific. Anyone who studies Hive rituals - as Toland did, the entity with whom Mara is speaking, a Warlock who became obsessed with the Hive and went mad studying the Darkness - can learn to enter the Ascendant Realm and create a Throne World. Toland's Throne World, however, is described as only a "scrap," so great power is clearly needed to create grand palaces as Oryx and Crota did.
This next piece of lore comes from the boots of the Warlock Reverie Dawn armor, and they are the most revealing yet for where Mara Sov went when she "died":
Joy wells in her heart when her searching fingers trace the edges of Eleusinia.
She has passed through the desert. She has reached the far side of the chessboard. She is alive, or soon will be.
She opens the door and her joy dies on the threshold.
Her throne world is desecrated.
Not annihilated, as Oryx's was. The pillars and terraces and courtyards still retain their shape. But the roots have rotted, and the geometry festers.
She should have known she would not be the only one to plan for such eventualities.
Oryx's bootprints pucker like scars in the labyrinth that was once only her own.
She sits a while beneath Sjur's statue, then follows his tracks through the ruins of Eleusinia, back to the Dreaming City.
According to this excerpt, Mara is traveling the Ascendant Plane: beginning in Oryx's destroyed Throne World, through the Sea of Screams, resting in Toland's scrap, and finally arriving in Eleusinia - her Throne World. Once there, she hopes to restore her physical form, to become "alive" again, but Eleusinia has been corrupted by Oryx, a final insult from the Taken King to the Awoken Queen. The text then says Mara leaves her Throne World and returns to the Dreaming City - a destination Guardians will visit in Forsaken that will also host the raid of the same name.
We already know the Dreaming City is the homeworld of the Awoken and it's thought to exist partially in the Ascendant Realm - something which seems to have been confirmed with this lore excerpt. That is where the Guardians will again meet Mara, and it's likely she will ask for their help is restoring Eleusinia, her Throne World. This means that in Forsaken, we will again enter the Ascendant Realm, only this time from within the Dreaming City.
So Mara Sov isn't dead, she has instead ascended and returned to her Throne World. Whether this means it's her or just a vision who touches Uldren's shoulder in the Forsaken trailer remains unclear, but Mara is almost certain to return. When she does, it will be as a powerful Ascendant Queen tasking us to slay some terrible beast - an ahamkara, perhaps, as some have suggested - and save her Dreaming City.
Destiny 2's Forsaken expansion releases on September 4.