"We have butchers at our gates - four-armed and eager for slaughter."
The Fallen are ruthless scavengers. Brutal and uncaring, they arrived on their massive Ketches in the wake of the Collapse to loot and pillage our devastated worlds.
There are hints of ancient nobility to the Fallen - the scars of lost grandeur. The Kells of their scattered Houses still claim to be royalty. But they leave only grief and wreckage in their wake.
"Don't underestimate a cutthroat, or you'll get your throat cut."
Dregs cling to the lowest rung of Fallen society. Docked of their lower arms in a ritual of humiliation and obedience, Dregs seek to prove their worth. Only a few will survive to gain promotion and regrow their limbs. Their suicidal bravery is fueled by ambition and shame.
"Death flies on tarnished wings."
Shanks are the bulldogs of the Fallen. Small and tough enough to go where Dregs won't fit, they scout, keep watch, and patrol. Fallen Walkers deploy Shanks from internal bays for tactical support and field repairs.
"You could drown the City in the blood they've spilt."
Soldiers, brawlers, assassins, and scouts, Vandals are the seasoned regulars who fill out the skilled roles within a Fallen crew. Whether from distance or up close and personal, they are seasoned, efficient killers, with an arsenal of weaponry and tech to match their bloodlust.
"Waves of them smashed against our walls, hissing and wailing. But it was the one who stood beyond them, silent and scenting the air, that froze the blood in our veins."
Having clawed and knifed his way to the top, scattering bodies and limbs in his wake, the Captain is the strongest and most ferocious member of the crew he musters around himself. His ration of Ether is the largest, his blades the sharpest, his guns the finest. Upon his shoulders hangs the flag of his House, if he swears loyalty to any. For his crew, the slightest hesitation to comply earns a slash from his sword. Defiance results in immediate amputation, if he is in a good mood, or death, if he is not.
"A floating light, a sleepless eye. Their hope, their faith, their sustenance."
Servitors are living relics of the once-mighty Fallen civilization. Packed with ultra-sophisticated machinery, they process matter and energy into the Ether that the Fallen depend on for life. In battle they support the Fallen with defensive systems and their own powerful energy weapons. Outside, they anchor Fallen comms and provide vital technological acumen.
Servitors have complex relationships with each other and with their Fallen crews. Servitors are attached to a Prime, a massive Servitor which exists in unclear symbiosis with a Fallen Archon. The Archon conveys the Kell's wishes to the Prime Servitor, and exerts some measure of control. Recent developments suggest that Prime Servitors are more than a focus of worship and logistical activity. They may play a key role in Fallen star flight.
House of Devils
"The Devils take whatever nature has yet to claim." - Master Rahool
These are the scourge of the City, the shadow below our walls. This is the House that led the battle at the Twilight Gap, the House we tell our children about to frighten them into behaving.
The House of Devils have now devoted great strength to pillaging the Cosmodrome in Old Russia, hunting for something buried below. If they are not held in check, whatever they find might prove the City's undoing.
House of Exile
"They live among the Hive. Of course they're crazy." - Cayde-6
There is more than a whiff of desolation about these Fallen. Their ranks are swollen with Dregs; their rags threadbare. Perhaps this is a new House, gathered from the outcast malcontents and disgraced castaways of the others, galvanized by pride or hate or the desire for freedom.
Be watchful. If this is true, they will surely be hungry to secure their position - and that may drive them to bold action.
House of Winter
"Their greed is as much a threat as their blades." - Commander Zavala
The Fallen House of Winter, led by the ruthless Kell Draksis, have been found operating in and around the Ishtar Sink on Venus. Their interests there seem directed at the ruins of the Academy along the Shattered Coast, but there are concerns that their focus may, in actuality, be directed elsewhere - toward the ominous Citadel that rises like a warning above the Waking Ruins.
House of Kings
"Another great House hides among us..." - Ikora Rey
The colors of the House of Kings are rarely seen. They act with brutal contempt, as if they hold their rivals - other Fallen and City alike - in disdain. We have yet to grasp the full measure of their strength.
House of Wolves
"These ones are mine." - The Queen
The bulk of the House of Wolves now falls under the control of the Queen of the Reef. There are many stories of how this came to be, but they are too varied for the truth to be separated from rumor.
Ghost Fragment: Fallen
Okay, okay, I'll tell the story about that one Fallen.
It didn't happen like that. We didn't, you know, do anything actively - no handshake, no icy stare of grudging mutual respect. I don't even know which hand you would shake. Do they shake hands? It must be complicated.
Anyway, it was like this. I was on the Moon. I cracked a Hive structure near Mare Imbrium, looking for a Shrine, and they just - swarmed. Ranks and ranks and ranks of Thrall, pouring out between the columns, but the columns were Knights, and all the shadows behind them rose up hissing sorcery.
Of course I ran.
I had a line of egress and while yes it was full of Thrall I had a backup too. I went upslope. Took cover in the shadow of a crashed Phaeton. Emptied my machine gun, ducked down to reload, and saw her at the other end of the hull, killing Thrall: a Fallen in Exile colors, bannered in the marks of a Baron, though the flags were claw-torn and stained with Hive ash. She was alone. I think she must have lost her crew.
I didn't really have time to shoot her and she didn't really have time to shoot me so we just went back to killing Hive. Knights pushed me out into the open and back up the range to a high stone saddle in the shadow of an old interferometry array. It was good ground so she came up there too.
For a while we just killed things which is hard to make interesting in a story so I'll pass it over.
At the end the Wizards came. I climbed the array to get an angle on them and she fell back to the base of the antennae where she broke her swords off in a Knight. I saw that happen and I don't know if I can tell you how I felt. She was another living thing with a mind I could understand and she hadn't howled at me or tried to eat my Ghost. I cheered when the Knight went down.
When I came down, empty on all guns, she was slumped against a bulkhead staring at me with all her tiny black eyes. Ether leaking out of her like smoke. The Knight hadn't died easily. Downslope the last Wizard moved like fire behind another line of Thrall.
I looked at her and wondered how many innocent human lives she'd ended on those broken blades.
She did the strangest thing then. Took the last shock pistol from her bandolier and threw it between us, as if to offer it. When I went to pick it up she tried to knife me, but she was slow, and when I broke her arms and opened her throat she didn't seem surprised.
To this day I wonder if she hated me, or wanted to make me kill her, or just felt she should spare me the choice.
I did kill a few Thrall with that pistol.
Ghost Fragment: Fallen 2
A ROUTINE SUMMATION OF DARLINGS WON AND HEROICALLY HELD DURING THIS PROFITABLE CYCLE, AS COMPILED BY A DREG
ammunition of rich makes, quantity adequate to incinerate 6X6 foe
11 operational weapons, alien design, suitable for salvage
3 explosive charges of obvious design, suitable for salvage
1 cabal fusion reactor, disabled but perhaps repairable
61 machines, alien, inoperable, unknown significances
13 alien machines, inoperable, known significances
1103 twists of essence
15 human body parts, kept for study, scorn
55 human adornments, full of glory and warm memory, worth the cost of their acquisition and more so
some ether, quantity negligible
considerable experience in battle
4 dregs dead, rendering House of Winter weaker
1 dreg honoring self and House, leading to consideration of fabricated arms
1 disabled Fallen skiff, scrubbed of House identity and stories
1 Fallen story found beside the disabled skiff, unknown House, partly corrupted, rendered as follows:
what others call dark which is not I know what it is but no time room calm given for an appropriate telling so I say only that what is not shadow is an ally and a wonder and I respect what I cannot steal from and you cannot take from the dark you can claim only pain from the dark and that is why the dark is worthy of love beyond all other love that astonishing ability to evade being robbed
I love what I will not name
1 story, Fallen and found beneath the skiff, unknown House, story uncorrupted
subsequently the second recording has been washed away
I know what no one else knows and now I am a marvel with ten thousand arms