The Burning Shrine
"They do not simply invade new worlds, they infect them - remaking them in their image, until only Vex remain."
ARENA DESIGNATION: The Burning Shrine
LOCATION: Fields of Glass, Mercury
This clockwork impossibility is but one small conduit in a vast network, extending throughout the dead planet's core.
The unknown energies and complex mechanics of the Shrine have been studied and mapped by the curious, yet its purpose remains a mystery. The only truth that can be agreed upon is that the structure is intimately tied to the past, and future, of one of our greatest enemies - the Vex.
The Shrine has been claimed as a battleground for the Crucible in an effort to familiarize Guardians with both Vex architecture and the otherworldly energies that signal their presence. Having a constant flow of combat-ready Guardians on hand should the Shrine ever achieve a higher functionality is simply a strategic byproduct of the Crucible's presence.
Shores of Time
"All power is humbled when weighed against the eternal tide."
ARENA DESIGNATION: Shores of Time
LOCATION: Maat Mons, Venus
The sulfur caves along the Shores of Time are now too unstable to be an effective base of operations for the Vex, but they suit the purposes of the Crucible just fine.
The region, which also houses the remains of one of the Ishtar Collective's many research stations, is a mix of geological chaos and the structured intent of ancient Vex machinery. The contrast between jagged, boiling terrain and the measured purpose of each Vex surface creates a unique battlefield - one where the planet itself seems to have risen up in defiance of the Vex intrusion.
"There used to be life here. Now it's just overgrowth."
ARENA DESIGNATION: Asylum
LOCATION: Ishtar Sink, Venus
Before the Collapse, this would've been just another stop on the subway line between Clovis Bray's Venus arcology headquarters and the Academy campus by the shore. Now, it's a grim reminder of the lives, the dreams, and the progress we lost when the Darkness came. For the Guardians of the Crucible, it's a place to sharpen their blades in the shadow of the Vex, an enemy who knows no such sentimentality.
"Here we fight, for the memory of those who stood. Here we die, for the glory of the Light that never fades."
ARENA DESIGNATION: Twilight Gap
LOCATION: City Perimeter, Earth
Named for the City's greatest battle, this defensive battery once held the front line against the combined might of the Fallen Houses. Overrun during the course of the invasion, many Guardians lost their lives to hold the line.
That the Crucible now claims this hallowed ground is seen as a privilege - a rite of passage, as new generations of Guardians stand and fight where the brave fell, heroes rose, and legends were born.
The Rusted Lands
"The scars of our collapse mark the land. Reminders that all is fragile in the face of time."
ARENA DESIGNATION: The Rusted Lands
LOCATION: Eastern Flood Zone, Earth
"The Hive never leaves the Moon." This is dogma - a way to soothe frightened children and reassure wary Guardians.
Not so long ago, a wandering Hunter and her Fireteam stumbled onto a feral community in the Eastern Flood Zone. The gaunt survivors huddled in these bombed-out ruins spoke of a terrible presence and begged for protection. No self-respecting Guardian could refuse.
As night fell, the Guardians found themselves the hunted - stalked through the ruins by shapes of bone and shadow. The discovery of a Hive Seeder made the truth plain. Mankind's ancient enemy had come to Earth.
The final confrontation came in the shadow of the Seeder, as a Hive Wizard and her Knights rose to challenge the Guardians. Only one Guardian returned to the City, her knife painted in black ash, a trail of grateful survivors in tow.
Now, in the chilling shadows of the Hive's pods, Guardians hone their skills in hopes that they may one day live up to the heroes of the Rusted Lands.
"In the shadows of all that we were, we fight for all we can be."
ARENA DESIGNATION: Exodus Blue
LOCATION: Cosmodrome, Earth
Grimly referred to as "The Graveyard," Exodus Blue was only recently secured for Crucible combat. Located among the ruins of one of the Cosmodrome's colony ship gantries, this site is a memorial to the grief and horror of the Collapse. Thousands died here in a last-ditch effort to outrun the oncoming Darkness.
But it is also a sign of hope. Once the Cosmodrome is secure, the great colony ships may fly again. And this location was chosen specifically to send a message to the Fallen House of Devils - "You may be picking at the bones of our history, but we are still here, and we are still strong."
"Our greatest enemy is the unknown."
ARENA DESIGNATION: Anomaly
LOCATION: Mare Cognitum, Earth's Moon
Documents recovered on-site listed this research station only as "K1", although the location was hard to keep secret, given the intense electromagnetic fluctuations emanating from what City scholars have come to know as the Anomaly. Attempts to scan the Anomaly itself have proven futile, as the casing is constructed in a manner that defies modern techniques.
Reports suggest that those who spent time in proximity to the Anomaly reported symptoms of insomnia, some so severe they required hospitalization. It was the City's recommendation that only remote sensing equipment be used until such time that a full review of the existing data could be completed.
In the meantime, stewardship of the facility was handed over to the Guardians in order to maintain a watch against the Hive forces that will inevitably come in search of this mysterious power.
"The Earth shines so bright from here."
ARENA DESIGNATION: First Light
LOCATION: Mare Cognitum, Earth's Moon
What was once an unassuming exobotany laboratory complex turned into ringside seats to the end of the world during the Collapse. Immense fissures in the Moon's crust spew a sickly yellow miasma, and hint at the utter destruction going on deep beneath the surface. Whatever the Hive are up to, they've been at it a long time, and they're not overly concerned with keeping Luna in one piece.
"It's empty for now - like a ghost town. But for how long...and why?"
ARENA DESIGNATION: Firebase Delphi
LOCATION: Eos Chasma, Mars
When the Cabal decide to hold an area, they dig in deep. It's surprising, then, that the tunnel system at Firebase Delphi is woefully incomplete by Sand Eater standards. One theory is that it was built simply to be inspected, to satisfy some commander's lack of progress on another front. Perhaps the Cabal simply cut their losses once they realized that the location of the base was sub-optimal, although half-measures are really not something they're known for. We're talking about a culture that will grind a mountain to dust rather than build around it.
"There's no telling the scale of devastation hidden beneath these red sands."
ARENA DESIGNATION: Bastion
LOCATION: Meridian Bay, Mars
Thick, rugged terrain masks one of the largest Vex structures on Mars, leaving this imposing gate as the only conventional entrance. With the Cabal's interest in Vex activity, it was a matter of when, not if, they would set their sights here.
The Cabal deployed a massive ground and air offensive to breach the wall and enter the subterranean labyrinth. We don't know what the Vex deployed in defense, but we know this: the Cabal didn't make it very far.
The Vex have since mysteriously vanished from this region, giving the Crucible one of its largest arenas in the solar system. The Cabal, on the other hand, still prefer to keep their distance.
"Dry as the bones you'll break."
ARENA DESIGNATION: The Blind Watch
LOCATION: Meridian Bay, Mars
The Blind Watch was once a clandestine Guardian outpost on the outskirts of Freehold, used to monitor Cabal activity in and around the Buried City. After the Cabal consolidated their forces nearer their fortified Exclusion Zone, the site was reclaimed by the Crucible as a combat training ground.
Resting atop an old Clovis Bray science facility, the Blind Watch allows Guardians to acclimate to the harsh Martian environment, while maintaining a combat ready presence should the Cabal ever begin to mobilize.
"Take not for granted what you cannot see. What it is was not always, and may not ever be."
ARENA DESIGNATION: Pantheon
LOCATION: Black Garden, Mars
Deep in the endless channels of Black Garden, an ancient Vex temple sits high on a plateau, buzzing with anomalous messages.
Fearing that the Minds which live within seek to return, the Crucible has set up shop here to master the ins and outs of Vex-controlled landscapes and keep watch should any Vex find a way back.
"Whatever they were after here, it's been lost. We can only hope it was Rasputin that destroyed it and not the Hive." - Lord Shaxx
ARENA DESIGNATION: Skyshock
LOCATION: Old Russia, Earth
This repowered interplanetary defense array in the Cosmodrome, once under the control of Rasputin, was recently ravaged by the Hive.
Now cleared and controlled by the Crucible, the deserted Seeders left amongst the Skyshock Array offer more evidence that the Hive’s endless battle with the last Warmind still rages on, and has now reached Earth.
"Every inch of this place feels wrong... tainted. Makes your Light itch. Just ignore it and keep firing." - Arcite 99-40
ARENA DESIGNATION: The Cauldron
LOCATION: The Dark Side, Moon
The Warlocks' most lucid theories assert this crumbled husk of a Hive ritual site is one of many ceremonial transmogrification chambers hewn beneath the Moon's crust.
Now secured and maintained by the Crucible, scheduled study of it’s remnants suggest a sacrificial purpose—where other forms of life were given an audience with the reigning monarch and judged before the power of the Darkness.