Toland was once a Guardian. A stout defender of the Traveler and its Light, until he went mad, and had to be cast out from the City. Or so the official records show. But was Toland truly mad? Or was he just enlightened, recognizing that the supposed pureness of the Speaker were not enough to combat the Darkness? Perhaps the Speaker saw him as a threat?
“I too, am detached from my source. The charming Ir Yût made her introductions, and I was very pleased to meet her. We had a conversation, a little tête-à-Yût, a couple of old wizards exchanging definitions.”
To understand Toland, one must understand his fate. He is not dead, at least not in the traditional sense. He is no longer a part of this world, but not lost. When Crota broke the ill-fated Fireteam of Eris Morn, there were no “survivors” other than Eris herself. The others fought the Dark until their final light was consumed. Except for Toland. He went willingly into the Dark, desiring to finally sate his curiosity. As such, he remained intact while the others were obliterated. This willingness surprised the Hive. They allowed him to remain, to learn. He spoke with Ir Yût, defining himself a friend. She defined the quiddity of death in return. Nothing has ever lived that will not die.
“Now I fly between green-black suns in the labyrinth beyond Crota’s god-star. This is the Overworld, the Sea of Screams, where the throne-universes of the Great Hive fester in eternal majesty. I move among them. I map the shapes and connections of this world”
It’s unknown how long Toland spent in these lost realms between his “death” and Crota’s end, as time cannot be reliably measured in such a place. It was at least long enough for him to lose the suspicion of the Hive. Even if they did not trust him, as Hive are probably incapable of such a thing, they at least did not pay close enough attention to him after time to notice his betrayal.
“I didn’t shuck my mortal form and smuggle this nightmare arcana back to the waking world for the benefit of that masked hypocrite’s drooling loyal orthodox”
Court of Oryx
Though Toland made “peace” with the Hive, he was not loyal to them. He felt the shuddering reverberation of Crota’s death throughout the Hive Netherworlds, and knew Oryx would come to avenge the murder of his son, at the cost of everything Toland has once fought to protect. He had kept a journal throughout his time outside the universe. It contained all that he knew of the Hive, their secrets, their rituals, their weaknesses.
Toland secretly allowed the Journal to pass back into the waking world, to allow some chance at withstanding Oryx’s rage. It arrived safely, and was instrumental in a Guardian’s struggle against the Taken. Toland does not do this for the Speaker, however, whom he views as an ignorant hypocrite. More likely, he does it for the benefit of the Guardians that still fight for the Tower, perhaps to aid their struggle, perhaps in pity of it. Regardless of the reason, Oryx would have been unreachable without the advice of Toland. And though he flies unbound beneath eternity, he is not lost.