Ascension Day

The final scene from the short animation Ascension Day, showing the major characters in cinematic poster format: From left to right, Aria, The Philanthropist, Darro, Styanax, Darro again (as a part of Leviathan), and the Leviathan.

In the summer of 2022, to celebrate the release of the 50th warframe, Styanax, DE released a 5-minute animated film showcasing one of Styanax's famed battles. This video premiered roughly 2 weeks before the Veilbreaker update, which brought Styanax himself.

Aria: "He saved us. Me, and my brother. Orphans of war."

[The scene opens with two small children, Aria and Darro, in the midst of a Corpus ship overrun with Infestation. The corpses of Corpus Crewmen and Infested beasts are scattered throughout. A tall figure stands in the centre of the room, looking down on the children: THE PHILANTHROPIST. The Philanthropist wears a thin green robe with Corpus patterning, a metal breastplate and shoulder armour with green accent lights, and a half-cape over his right shoulder. He has face tattoos similar to those of the Corpus, though they are purple and orange as opposed to simple black. His head is encased in a metal helmet that does not cover his face, with a large dial or knob over each ear. A green wire or tube arcs over his head from one shoulder to the other in a perfect semicircle, like a halo.]

Aria: "Brought us to this paradise, to join the others."

[The scene changes to a brightly lit chapel, with stained glass depictions of colonists praising the Philanthropist. Portraits of smiling teenage children, all wearing the same green jumpsuit uniform and each holding a large purple flower, line the walls.]

Aria: "Until we came of age. Until HE summoned us."

[Aria, now a teenager herself, touches the portrait of her brother Darro. She has facial scars, including suture marks, from her traumatic past. She is wearing the same green uniform as those in the portraits, and holds a small device that looks like a detonator. She walks out of the chapel, hiding the device in her sleeve.]

Aria: "He called it… ASCENSION DAY."

[Aria walks down a corridor, between rows of colonists beating large drums in steady rhythm. Purple flowers line the ground and are painted on the drums. Colonists cheer for Aria as she walks towards a circular door at the end of the hallway.]

Aria: "Five years ago, Darro went to him."

[Aria closes her eyes and remembers her brother's Ascension Day. Aria, still an adolescent, is wearing a costume like the other colonists, somewhat resembling the Philanthropist's armour, with face paint to resemble his tattoos. Darro, wearing his green jumpsuit, gently touches his sister's shoulder, before leaving and walking down the hallway to the door. Colonists in festive costume cheer, as in the present. Aria holds her hand out, begging her brother to stay. The memory ends.]

Aria: "Now, it's my time."

[In the present, the large interlocking door plates of Orokin design swivel and unfurl as Aria steps through the doorway into the Philanthropist's chamber. It is a laboratory with gray Corpus machinery and computers, along with large tanks of green fluid with various biological specimens floating within – an Infested Maggot, a Pherliac Pod, and Lavos' Transmutation Probe. The Philanthropist stands before Aria, looming over her.]

The Philanthropist: "My dear child, your ascension is at hand."

[The Philanthropist raises his hand and turns the dial on the side of his helmet, and the floor beneath them starts to descend, acting as a large elevator platform. Aria regards the Philanthropist with suspicion as the two of them descend into the depths of the compound. When it reaches the bottom, a door opens, and the Philanthropist steps forward into a vast underground lab space.]

The Philanthropist: "Fear not. All the Chosen before you have played their part in my vision."

Aria: "Hm."

[Aria takes out her device and cradles it in her hand. The Philanthropist, a few paces ahead, stops and turns to address her. The chamber is still shrouded in darkness.]

The Philanthropist: "I have something beautiful to show you."

Aria: "Liar! Where's my brother?"

[The lights turn on in the chamber, slowly illuminating its contents. Aria's eyes grow wide.]

The Philanthropist: "Clever Aria! That fire, that singular determination… mine to wield."

[Devices and screens flicker on throughout the room, revealing more specimen tanks and machines. Aria steps back as she comprehends the entity in the centre of the room.]

The Philanthropist: "Behold… Leviathan!"

[LEVIATHAN is a monstrous Infested flesh-golem, easily ten metres tall or more. It is hunched over, inactive. In place of its head is an empty chair covered by a glass dome. Thick cables run from the chair into the creature's chest. Wires and ropes are embedded in the golem at various points, running up to the lab's ceiling or connecting to nearby machines. In front of the golem, on the floor, is a set of four robotic arms bearing sharp needles, poised to inject a waiting target.]

The Philanthropist: "Your brother is here, somewhere, like all the other Chosen."

[The Philanthropist gestures vaguely at the monster's bulk, and Aria can see that Leviathan is composed of dozens, if not hundreds, of human bodies, melded together in a singular mass of hypertrophic Technocyte tissue, with slack-jawed faces and miscellaneous body parts scattered across the outside. Bulging veins carry a glowing ichor throughout the massive organism. A chorus of dull moans rings out from its countless mouths.]

The Philanthropist: "You alone will be its driving force."

[Aria, overcome with horror, takes a couple steps back. She brushes against one of the lab's many containment tanks, and is startled when something pounds against the glass from within. Another golem, this one much smaller, possibly just two people melded together, presses its twin faces against the glass, moaning and drooling, and Aria jumps away again, before turning back to look at the Philanthropist. Leviathan kneels down to the floor, placing the empty chair embedded in its face directly in front of the four robotic arms. With a hiss of steam, the dome is lifted and the chair opens up, ready for someone to sit.]

The Philanthropist: "Get in."

[Aria, having regained her determination, grits her teeth and holds out the device in her hand.]

Aria: "I'm not alone!"

[Aria presses the button, and a tremor shakes the laboratory. Dust falls from the ceiling as something rockets down the elevator shaft behind them, then blasts the door to the lab wide open. From the cloud of smoke flies an Axios Javelin, burying itself in the floor before the Philanthropist and exploding in an emerald burst of light. The smoke clears to reveal the warframe STYANAX, standing boldly with his Tharros shield in his left hand. He holds out his right hand and summons another Axios Javelin. Aria turns to look at the Philanthropist.]

Aria: "It's over."

[The Philanthropist waves smoke away from his face with a dismissive gesture.]

The Philanthropist: "A warframe? Heh. A relic. I will have to show you the future myself!"

[The Philanthropist turns and strides towards Leviathan. As he sits in the chair, Aria realises his intentions with a gasp. The four robotic arms inject their needles into the Philanthropist's neck and chest, pumping glowing liquid into him while delivering strong electrical shocks. The scientist grunts and jolts in pain. Styanax twirls his Axios Javelin and hurls it at the chair, but a surge of green energy flows into the Philanthropist as he connects with the Leviathan, and the Axios Javelin is deflected by the blast1. Leviathan growls as it stands up, tearing the cables out of its flesh and rearing up to its full height before pounding its fists on the ground, sending rock and metal flying. Styanax holds up his Tharros shield to deflect the rubble, and checks to see that Aria is safe.]

The Philanthropist: "To think… I almost wasted this gift on you!"

[The Philanthropist is now fully bonded with Leviathan. His arms are embedded in Leviathan's flesh, and by moving them he can control the Infested golem. He looms over Styanax with a crazed look in his eyes and a maniacal grin, before hurling a long, tentacle-like arm at the warframe. Styanax knocks away a couple blows with Tharros, before cartwheeling to the side and charging straight at Leviathan. Dodging more strikes from Leviathan's long arms, the warframe leaps into the air and hurls an Axios Javelin at the golem, scoring a direct hit on its shoulder. The Philanthropist grunts and Aria shields her eyes from the green explosion. When she looks again, she gasps in surprise as she spots a familiar face staring from the Leviathan's right shoulder.]

Aria: "Darro!"

[Darro's eyes, like those of the golem's other faces, are unfocused, his face expressionless. Another two Axios Javelins strike Leviathan in the chest, and the Philanthropist wheels the beast around to track Styanax, who is leaping and flying through the air, dodging Leviathan's blows or knocking them aside with Tharros. Twisting and flipping, he never remains in one place, hurling spear after spear and then summoning yet another, slicing the golem's many limbs or striking the creature directly. Aria calls out again for her brother.]

Aria: "Darro!"

[The Philanthropist roars as a spear strikes the golem's head directly. He grins as he swings a wild haymaker with Leviathan's right hand, which seems to hit Styanax directly. Aria closes her eyes and cries at the top of her voice.]

Aria: "No!!!"

[A spark of life flickers into Darro's eyes, and he looks at his sister in recognition. His left arm, the only other part of his body not fully subsumed into Leviathan, reaches out for her. However, as this is happening, the Philanthropist traps Styanax at the ground and hurls Leviathan's left fist at him. Styanax catches the blow square on his Tharros shield, using both arms to brace against the titanic weight above him as the force of the impact sends a shockwave through the lab. The warframe is pinned against the floor, struggling valiantly, but the Philanthropist pushes harder and harder, pressing Styanax to the breaking point. Aria's distressed gaze flicks between Styanax and Darro. She gasps as she sees Darro's left arm hook around the Philanthropist's neck, cutting off his maniacal laughter. The Philanthropist chokes and gurgles as Leviathan leans backwards, lifting the weight from Styanax. Darro scowls in concentration as he tightens his grip around the Philanthropist's throat. Styanax looks over the myriad of other faces staring out from Leviathan's flesh, and holds out his hand to cast Rally Point. The surge of energy and morale flowing into each of Leviathan's constituent bodies is enough to restore their consciousnesses, if only temporarily. Faces light up all over the golem's body as the Philanthropist's Chosen come to life and realise their dreadful plight. Immediately they turn on their tormentor, with those nearest to the Philanthropist clawing at his face much like Darro.]

The Philanthropist: "What? No. No! Get—"

[Leviathan starts to come apart as dozens of Chosen break free from the squirming mass and crawl towards the Philanthropist to enact their revenge. Styanax summons two Axios Javelins, one in each hand, and leaps up into the air, casting Final Stand. The warframe hovers over Leviathan as a cyclone of green energy forms around him. The Philanthropist, set upon from all sides, can only look up helplessly at the glorious figure of Styanax above him. Aria looks at her brother.]

Aria: "Goodbye, Darro…."

[Darro, his arm still locked around the Philanthropist's throat, looks down at his sister tenderly. Styanax, at the apex of his Final Stand, summons dozens of Axios Javelins and, with one stroke, sends them all plummeting down at Leviathan, the Philanthropist, and all his Chosen. There is a massive explosion that blots out all vision.]

[The scene transitions to the exterior of the colony. A collection of large tents and ramshackle buildings, decorated with the purple and green motifs of the Philanthropist, is nestled into a mountain valley in the shadow of an ancient Orokin structure. The wreckage of a massive Corpus Obelisk ship is seen in the mountains in the distance. Aria stands outside one of the tents, holding out her handheld device to give it back to Styanax. The warframe instead takes her hand and closes it back over the object, leaving it in her possession. Aria smiles as Styanax turns and walks away into the distance.]

Aria: "We'll keep you close, Tenno."

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  1. It's not clear if the green blast is from the Leviathan, or if it's the detonation of the Axios Javelin which for some reason has no effect.

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