Image via Bungie

Who or What is ‘Pouka’ in Destiny 2: Lightfall lore?

Mysterious Mechanical Creatures

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Destiny 2‘s mysterious creature, the Pouka, has been subject to much speculation ever since one was first seen back in early 2020. They’ve not been sighted much since then, but Bungie has released a Pouka figurine with the Collector’s Edition version of Lightfall. As shown off in pre-release trailers, lore books, and Lightfall marketing materials, Poukas will be much more prominent throughout this campaign.

Still, there remains limited information about them. We’ve explored the lore books and trailers to discover all there is to know about these new mysterious mechanical creatures that could be seen floating around Neomuna on February 28.

What is a Pouka?

Image via Bungie

The Pouka is a small airborne mechanical creature that slightly resembles a fish or butterfly, and the one we’re familiar with spends its time accompanying Elisabeth Bray, also known as the Exo Stranger. Looking at the lore for the pre-order bonus weapon Quicksilver Storm reveals that it is a juvenile Pouka, and this could hint towards the Pouka being a native species to Neptune or Neomuna specifically. The Exo Stranger discovers the Pouka on an abandoned space station in orbit toward Pluto.

In the Season of Arrivals in mid-2020, Eris Morn spotted a Pouka hanging around her camp and mistook it for a Ghost. The Drifter is known to lack trust in the Pouka, as he and Eris discovered it at the Beyond camp on Europa, alone. Until now, no further information had been available about the Pouka, but in the lore book Bitter from the Lightfall collector’s edition, there lies some interesting information.

Pre-order bonuses

Screenshot by Destructoid

The Quicksilver Storm auto rifle and the Speed Metal ghost shell are exclusive pre-order items for Lightfall and hold some important information about the Pouka. In these lore entries, the Exo Stranger is exploring the outer reaches of the solar system and discovers the abandoned space station near Pluto. When she enters, she discovers modern equipment and a giant human handprint which we assume belonged to a Cloudstrider, the native race of Neomuna.

She then discovers a ghost named Tokki who was on the space station looking to resurrect their own Guardian. Tokki shows the Exo Stranger several things including some advanced technology and “nanomachines” that she has crafted into her own ghost shell, before introducing her to the Pouka. The Exo Stranger is very intrigued by the nanomachines as she’s never seen anything like it, but cannot get them to function until the Pouka registers her in the machine’s systems.

Quicksilver Storm

Destiny 2 Quicksilver Storm
Image via Bungie

In the Quicksilver Storm in-game lore, the Exo Stranger says, “Someone out there has a weapon I’ve never seen before, don’t understand, and don’t know how to defend against. The closest thing we’ve seen to this is SIVA, and these bugs are so far beyond that.” The Pouka then registers Elsie Bray — the Exo Stranger — as a new user, allowing her to investigate the discovered weapon further. She pulls the trigger, which causes the Pouka to emit a distress call. Since Elsie found the giant handprint, we can also assume this advanced technology is linked to the Cloudstriders, too.

Collector’s Edition

Destiny 2 Lightfall Collector's Edition
Image via Bungie

In the Collector’s Edition lore, this story continues. Elsie takes Tokki and the Pouka with her after leaving the station but Tokki departs later to continue searching for their Guardian. Elsie is then alone with the Pouka and after some time she learns that she can use it to begin to relive old memories. In the lore book Bitter, Elsie relives memories that are indicated with an emotion such as satisfaction. Elsie becomes fond of the Pouka after this point, referring to it as a “field therapist” and her “pet”. The Exo Stranger has lived through many time loops, so she finds the Pouka invaluable as it helps her to relive past memories and sort through them.

Rediscovering Stasis

Destiny 2 Stasis
Destiny 2 Stasis

This is also how the Exo Stranger rediscovers Stasis. Elsie vaguely remembers using Stasis in previous time loops but cannot remember how she began to wield it. By using the Pouka to look through her past memories she discovers that previously, someone else always learned Stasis before her but was corrupted by it. This time, she vows to be the first and visits the Pyramid ship on Europa. In the lore book Bitter, the pyramid seems to be aware of Elsie’s time loops and that she is “too early” this time. This could mean that the saga’s scariest protagonist, The Witness, is aware of Elsie’s time loops too.

As Elsie attempts to claim Stasis from the pyramid it manifests a Nightmare of Ana, her sister, to torment her. Continuing in the Bitter lore book it reads, “The Europan Pyramid pressed shapes into her heart the same way Pouka could, but the molds it cast were deeper and more urgent.” After tormenting her, Elsie manages to break the Nightmare’s bond. “The Pyramid’s gift for constructing this revenant was a grand imitation of Pouka’s gift,” the book reads.

This implies that the Pouka is so powerful at uncovering memories that the Pyramid doesn’t phase the Exo Stranger, even when imitating her sister. Bungie has a theme that Darkness is about memory and remembering and the Light is about forgetting, meaning that the Pouka is more closely aligned with the Darkness. The Pouka guided Elsie through the Pyramid ship by avoiding the “pools of Darkness” as well as helping her to uncover her memories on how to discover and wield Stasis.

Subclasses

Since Stasis and Strand are both Darkness subclasses, it remains to be seen whether the Pouka will become important in learning how to discover and wield Strand. Strand is about “consciousness” and requires Strand to access the weave, something which connects all living beings. On the topic of Darkness, the lore reveals that Elsie realizes that Stasis is harnessed through her desire to control and debates how Darkness would respond if it could be wielded with other emotions. “What other abilities – what shapes and tools – could be forged by deference? Or compassion?” she ponders.

If Stasis is linked to controlling, then what is Strand linked to? In a trailer shown at The Game Awards 2022, Osiris mentions that rather than using strength he has learned to use power through loss. “Through loss, we can overcome the impossible,” he says. You can see that timestamped above. Is the Pouka about to help us uncover the Strand subclass through its powers?

Only time will tell, as Lightfall releases on February 28 for PC, Xbox and PlayStation.


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Author
Image of Cheri Faulkner
Cheri Faulkner
Guides Writer || Cheri is a freelance guides writer for Destructoid having joined in early 2023. She is also published in the likes of NME, Metro, TechRadar, The Loadout, PCGamesN and more as well as writing about music in the pages of Metal Hammer and Prog Magazine.