The Ahamkara were a race of dragon-like creatures that inhabited the solar system and became predominant on Earth after the arrival of The Traveler. These magnificent creatures were said to grant power and forbidden knowledge to Guardians who sought them out. However the search for knowledge and power wasn’t appealing to all Guardians of the Light, belonging almost exclusively to the Warlocks which was a surprise to no one.
But what were the Ahamkara truly? No one alive at the time nor possessing the Gift of Undeath bestowed upon the Guardians knows what they look like and only legends exist about their unknowable power. In fact the only ones that know the prima facie truth about these dangerous beings are the unfortunate souls who dealt with them directly and of them, not much is left.
Back to the Ahamkara. These creatures had untapped knowledge of the universe and beyond and were able to bestow power upon those they struck bargains with. In the Grimoire Card : Ghost Fragment Warlock, they are referred to as, “The dragon that made promises”, which presents a degree of certainty on the behalf of the promise dragons. They know what they offer is true and undeniable, at least in their perspective. However the price for their knowledge was too great, so the Tower made a decision in that they had to become extinct. Ghost Fragment : Legends 3 explains that the benefits the Ahamkara bestowed were beneficial, “Power had been obtained from the bargains and the city needed power. Knowledge had been gleaned, and the Ahamkara knew answers to questions no one had known to ask”. It was clear that the Ahamkara were powerful beings drawn to another object of great and mysterious power. However the payment of the Guardians being driven mad or being coerced to do terrible things in the name of a bargain struck for forbidden knowledge was too high to continue to pay. A decree was issued banning any and all from seeking out these creatures in order to barter or gain the potential to wreak havoc on their enemies. However, the Tower and the Vanguard could not stop those Guardians seeking out the Ahamkara with motives driven by vengeance, greed and suffering. The only cause was to remove the temptation. The Ahamkara had to be eliminated.
The call was put out to Guardians to seek them out and eliminate them. Entire fireteams of mainly Warlocks with some Hunters scattered in here and there were put on the trail of the Ahamkara. Their wish granting powers were defeated, their prophecies laid to waste and the last of their line extinguished. Warlocks who were once seekers out of the arcane knowledge were now the trackers, the point of the spear in this campaign to rid Earth of this threat. Hunters entered the fray to prove themselves superior over Warlocks judging by the Grimoire Card, Ghost Fragment : Warlock, “You could never have brought down one of these, I said. Ever. Not the greatest Hunter, not the brawniest Titan…I saw right then she wasn’t going to pass on the challenge”. The artifact, Ahamkara Scale proves that some Hunters succeeded, “And that Warlock thought I couldn’t do it. Hah!”. So the Ahamkara were made extinct, at least on the surface. As a result of the killing, many Ahamkara fossils and pieces of their reptilian skeletal structures were recovered and kept as mementos and forged into Guardian armour but it may have been better to burn those items recovered and let the Ahamkara fade into distant history.
The Ahamkara may have suffered a physical death, a rending and clashing of their bones and flesh that reduced their solipsistic prophecies and rantings to mere whispers on the lonely wind over the Earth, but their minds live on. The wish dragons are still with us, manifested in the bones and fossilised remains recovered by Hunters and Warlocks alike. And they are calling to Guardians, twisting their minds, urging them to behaviours and mindsets that betray who they are as Defenders of the Light. The exotic armour pieces forged out of the remains of these great and fearsome creatures proves that they are not gone. Bones of Eao has a simple reminder as part of its flavour text, “Defy Extinction”. The Ahamkara may have died on this plane, but it seems like they can inhabit a mental plane as well, and assuming there is a particular physical connection, the Ahamkara will be ever present as a whisper in the back of your mind. The Bones of Eao attests to that with the name of its exotic perk, Not Bound By Law, stating that the Ahamkara are able to disperse themselves into minute parts of their once proud and noble frames and continue to exert their influence.
But what is their purpose? What deals can be struck that they still linger around the remnants of their bodies and bones? The Ahamkara are not continuing to make their presence known for some material service a Guardian can provide. They want the world and indeed worlds, to be devoured. To be destroyed and pain wrought until nothing is left. Look at the other Ahamkara exotics beginning with Young Ahamkara’s Spine, “Give me your arm, oh bearer mine. Let me help you fill the world with teeth”. This suggests that even though the Ahamkara’s power is great, they still need the assistance of Guardians to accomplish their ultimate goals. Let us consider the phrase, ‘Oh bearer mine’, which appears on many of aritfacts or armour pieces oh which the Ahamkara are associated. It showcases their influence and the subtle nudges they are giving to the possessor in order to warp their minds. Guardians have even attempted to stop the voices by plating the bones in a metallic substance in a desperate ploy to maintain their sanity by closing off the source, like the Sealed Ahamkara Grasps, “Plating the Ahamkara bones in silver helps to quiet the auditory hallucinations…oh bearer mine”.
As for their ultimate goal, the Warlock artifacts have some more direct lines of hallucinogenic thought, primarily through the Claws of Ahamkara. These exotic gauntlets are curious in a myriad of ways, the first being the flavour text, “Look at this life oh bearer mine. There is so much left to burn…”, wherein we once again are provided with the Ahamkara’s hatred of life that isn’t theirs. The second important point regarding these powerful gauntlets is the fact that they are known as the Claws of Ahamkara. I mean yes, they are fashioned into the likeness of claws but they do not contain the talons of any of the Ahamkara, rather a series of plates from presumably the body scales. It could be referring to the Guardians themselves as the Claws. They contain the power to wreak destruction and vengeance while the Ahamkara watch from wherever they reside. Possibly because they are too weak to fight back, as we saw with the apparent annihilation of the species during the Great Ahamkara Hunt. In essence, the Ahamkara are the brains, twisting and manipulating those unlucky recipients of the items in order to cause them to do their bidding. This is further accentuated by the name of the exotic perk on the Claws, it being known as The Whispers.
It appears that the incessant whisperings of the forgotten beasts eventually takes its toll as evidenced by the Voidfang Vestments, “”YOU WILL DREAM OF TEETH AND NOTHING ELSE” – scratched behind a buckle.” The unfortunate soul who wore those powerful robes eventually succumbed to the grip of the malignant space dragons and now only the buckle is testament to his or her great struggle. The final armour piece showcasing the power of the Ahamkara is the Skull of Dire Ahamkara, whose flavour text reads, “Reality is the finest flesh, oh bearer mine. And are you not…hungry?.” So it seems that the promise dragons gain power through the destruction of reality, the tearing of life away from this plane of existence. Warlocks who wear this helmet and are subject to the whispers of the dragons are in a prime position as given by the Grimoire Card, Warlock, “A Warlock’s mind is a arsenal of deadly secrets , balanced between godhood and madness. On the battlefield, those secrets can shatter reality itself”.
Even though the Ahamkara suffered physical deaths, they are able to maintain links through their remains of bones and fossils and the like, to any who stay in contact with those items for a prolonged period of time. Their power is not justified by their corporeal forms and they may be attempting to garner enough strength to return to a tangible state. Beware Guardians, by equipping those exotic armour pieces or holding on to Ahamkara derived artifacts, you are entering into a binding covenant. The benefits of the bones and talons of the Ahamkara are great but remember every bit of power comes with its price…oh reader mine.
*Full credit of the topmost image goes to R3CON ThG on bungie.net, https://www.bungie.net/en/Community/Detail?itemId=141436075