Destiny 2’s space horse raises questions nobody can answer

Bungie’s 30th anniversary event for Destiny 2 is fast approaching, and the studio has started teasing players with screenshots ahead of its Dec. 7 release date. Bungie’s latest reveal, a screenshot it tweeted on Thursday, showed Xur, the series’ mysterious merchant that trucks Exotic goodies around the worlds each week, standing next to a celestial horse.

Naturally this brings a lot of questions to mind. There’s a horse in Destiny? Is that Xur’s horse? Is Xur a horse girl? These were all legitimate questions posed to me by intrigued co-workers, assuming I would be able to help them.

But as Polygon’s Destiny expert, and as a fan of the Destiny series since its debut, with thousands of hours in the game across multiple platforms, let me tell you: Stop asking me questions about Xur’s horse, Mike (or whoever). I cannot help you. Nobody can. Nobody has the Xur horse answers you seek.

Here’s what I do know: The Xur horse first appeared with the launch of Destiny 2. Back before the Trials PvP mode went on hiatus and reemerged as the overhauled Trials of Osiris we know now, it was known as Trials of the Nine. Instead of pleasing Saint-14, it was all about climbing the tower of the very mysterious Nine (more commonly styled as “IX” in Destiny) by killing your way to the top.

Image: Bungie via Polygon

Players who were able to go Flawless (seven wins without a single loss) in Trials received a unique emblem named You Are Worthy and were transported to a special room. The emblem had the visage of the celestial horse on it, and players who hung out in that room could get a rare glimpse of the starry horse running around. Now that Trials of the Nine is gone, Bungie still uses the horse room from time to time; it plays a small role in Season of the Drifter in 2019 and is the final loot room of 2020’s Prophecy dungeon.

So that’s where we’ve seen the horse before, but that doesn’t answer the question: Why a horse? I don’t know. I told you there would be no answers for you, and the past 200 words haven’t changed that. Some fans out there surely have some theories, but none of it is supported by textual lore evidence. But that’s not particularly surprising when it comes to the Nine.

The Nine are still mostly a mystery to Destiny players, despite Xur being revealed as their “emissary” within the first few days of Destiny’s life back in 2014. The 30th Anniversary Event seems like it’ll involve them pretty heavily, which means we may get some answers around their past, their purpose, and even the horse. But I wouldn’t hold my breath. The Nine have had their own PvP mode, an entire season, and a dungeon based on them and even after all that we still know very, very little. Bungie seems intent on keeping this group a mystery for as long as possible.

We know that Xur and his horse will make an appearance in the 30th Anniversary pack, and that they’ll both appear in a new room (a big step for the horse!) But that’s it. We’ll definitely find out more when the pack launches Dec. 7, but how much more is really anybody’s guess.

But finally, we’ll leave you with a quick horse FAQ, where I answer Polygon staff questions about the horse as best I can:

Q: Can I ride the Destiny horse?

A: Almost certainly not, but you never know

Q: So I cannot ride the Destiny horse like a Sparrow?

A: I think this is a set dressing horse. Maybe it’ll be an NPC and you can talk to the Horse?

Q: Does Xur ride the Destiny horse?

A: Maybe? But Xur looks like he has a pretty bad back, so his riding days are probably over

Q: So I can’t buy the Destiny horse?

A: I think the horse is spoken for? I’m not even sure if Xur owns the horse. Nobody might own the horse. But you can buy the pack and that may lead to more time with the horse?

Q: Can I shoot the Destiny horse?

A: You can probably shoot through the horse

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