Destiny Lore – What We Know About The Cabal Empire

The Cabal Empire is an empire of militarized, large rhinoceros-like creatures who control most of Mars and are believed to have a large grasp outside of the terrestrial sector, and perhaps an even larger grasp outside of the Solar System. Though we do not understand their motives, we do understand their militaristic-style of dominating the battlefield and fear them as such. It is highly likely that the Cabal have conquered a countless number of systems, through sheer combat efficiency, corruption, and organization, before coming to our own—and they seek to do it again.

The Cabal arrived in our Solar System at some point following the Collapse of the Golden Age. Because of this, no efficient defense was present near the edge of the terrestrial planets (i.e. Mars and the Reef), so the Cabal established a strategic outpost at Phobos, allowing them to construct massive facilities such as Fleetbase Korus and Firebase Thuria, and launched a ground invasion of Mars, seeking to occupy the Red Planet. In the long years since, the Cabal have steadily advanced in the face of counter-attacks by the Vex, Guardians, Fallen, and Hive. Though they have had a large amounts of casualties, they have always been able to call on additional reinforcements—from somewhere out there in the galaxy.

There are many interesting details about the Cabal Empire’s hierarchy. When the Empire sends a division of it’s massive army out to war, every single soldier in that militia is exiled and is not allowed to return until their target has been defeated and conquered. This keeps Cabal troops’ morale up long enough to fight through these (sometimes) incredibly long missions. Loyalty and honor is such a high standpoint of the Empire, that they will disown or disavow anyone foolish enough to disobey. For instance, a Guardian’s Ghost that had infiltrated a Cabal base on Mars and noticed that there was some disputes going on within the Cabal ranks. Some Cabal pledged their allegiance to their Empire and obeyed their orders without question. Others, however, did not. Tensions between the two groups grew and eventually lead to a rift. One group, the Broken Legion, commanded by Valus Trau’ug, attacked the Reef without Empire authorization, resulting in their defeat and capture by the Awoken. This lead to the Cabal High Command disavowing the entirety of the Legion.

As stated many times, the Cabal in our Solar System are but a singular entity of a much bigger force. The identity of the Cabal Emperor or the leader of the Cabal on our Solar System is unknown, however the rankings that many Cabal possess can perhaps shed light on their importance within their legions.

  • Bracus is a rank seen among Centurions. It is most likely the lowest “officer” rank.
  • Val is a rank seen among Phalanx and Centurion Bodyguards. It is a subordinate position to Valus, but higher than Bracus.
  • Valus is a rank reserved for only elite Centurions and Colossi. It is subordinate to Primus, but higher than both Val and Bracus.
  • Primus is a rank that has only been seen for the commanders of the Blind Legion and the Sky Burners. According to Cayde-6, this rank is equivalent to an admiral and is currently the highest known Cabal “officer” rank.

Prior to the outbreak of the Taken War and the arrival of Oryx and the Dreadnaught, the Vanguard had speculated that a new task force led by the Sky Burners was being assembled at Phobos for the purpose of finally invading Earth. However, the Cabal were forced to evacuate Fleetbase Korus and other sites on Phobos due to the initial Taken assault. In the hours following, various detachments across Phobos and Mars suffered enormous casualties against the Taken, with the Sand Eaters losing 58% of their troops, the Blind Legion losing 35%, and the Dust Giants losing 39%. In addition, the entire local Cabal fleet was mobilized, and any ship that was not already on the move by the time the Guardians had arrived on Phobos, was believed to have been destroyed. To avoid complete defeat, the Sky Burners were forced to deploy early to reinforce the other battered Cabal, putting the impending campaign against Earth on hold. Following this considerable setback, Primus Ta’aun, commander of the Sky Burners, sent a report up the Cabal chain of command suggesting that the Hive technology aboard the Dreadnaught could be co-opted for Cabal use. His report reached the Cabal Emperor, who ordered Ta’aun to personally board and capture the Hive vessel by any means necessary.

In the aftermath of the Battle of Saturn, in which many Awoken and other races alike were killed, Ta’aun rammed his warship, Dantalion Exodus VI, into the Dreadnaught in order to land his troops directly into the heart of the vessel. While leading a squad through the Mausoleum in an attempt to reach Oryx’s ascendant realm, Ta’aun was taken and transformed into Ta’aun, Hand of Oryx. Ta’aun’s bond-brothers, Valus Mau’ual and Valus Tlu’urn, as part of a preconceived plan to force the Hive’s surrender and to avenge their Tau’aun, ventured into the Dreadnaught’s power core and planted explosives at its core. If the core was detonated, the blast would take out half of the Solar System. Fortunately, the two were stopped by a fireteam of Guardians before the explosives could be detonated. However, with the Cabal leaders gone, the rest of the surviving Cabal on Dantalion Exodus VI began transmitting an urgent emergency request for help to the rest of the Empire. The Guardians may have disabled this signal, but likely not before it reached its intended recipients—the Cabal Empire. And for all we know, the mighty fist of the Empire could be on its way to strike vengeance on the ones responsible for this serious defeat.

Perhaps we will hear something in a future DLC. Please Bungie? 🙂

Anyhow, that’s it for this week’s lore, fellow Guardians. Let me know what you think of the Cabal and their conquests. Personally, I think the Cabal would be an extremely interesting faction to base a DLC or expansion back around. I’ve always loved the aesthetic and feel of the Cabal structures and technology. As always, let us know what lore you would like to hear about in the comment section below, or tweet me @IansLuck with your suggestions!

My name is Ian Campbell, and until next time…

My name is Ian and I am the Lead Writer here at the DestinyFollower branch of Follower Interactive. I write/produce weekly (sometimes daily) Destiny content. I began working at DestinyFollower as a script writer and editor in March of 2015. You can follow me over @IansLuck on Twitter.