Destiny 2: Shadowkeep: How to get every Essence Weapon (Horned Wreath, Necromantic Strand, Captive Cord, and more)

If you’re the sort of Destiny 2 player who doesn’t like to rely on random drops for their shiny new endgame weapons, you’re certainly in luck. As part of the game’s new Shadowkeep expansion, Bungie has added in not one but four unique endgame quests, each of which awards a powerful Legendary (purple) tier weapon upon completion.

These four quests are all tied to four unique ‘Essences’ which must be cleansed before they unlock their corresponding Legendary weapon. Each Essence also requires a unique quest item which must be found somewhere on the new Moon location. In this guide we’ll explain what these four endgame Essence quests are, how to get them, and where you can find each quest’s corresponding quest item.

Finding Essence Quests

Late in the Shadowkeep expansion’s story campaign, you’ll unlock access to a device called the Lectern of Enchantment. This Lectern is initially used to cleanse story quest Essences so you can obtain a set of Dreambane armor for the campaign’s final mission. However, once you reach Shadowkeep’s endgame, the Lectern is also used to cleanse an additional seven Essences: Failure, Brutality, Greed, Insanity, Obscurity, Jealousy, Rage, Servitude, and Vanity.

If you’ve reached Shadowkeep’s endgame and you don’t yet have one or any of the above Essences, don’t fret. Just keep playing and completing activities on the Moon like Lost Sectors, Strikes, Patrols, and Public Events. The Essences are random drops most often found in chests awarded from such activities. Additional copies for both the Legendary weapon and Dreambane armor Essences can also be purchased from the Lectern by trading in a Phantasmal Core (which itself can be purchased for 20 Phantasmal Essence). You can obtain your first copy of all seven weapon Essences for free, however, just by playing Moon activities.

Each of the seven Legendary weapon Essences requires you to complete three specific goals. All seven essences task you with filling a percentage gauge by completing any activity in the Moon patrol zone (Patrols, Lost Sectors, or Public Events). You also have to rack up kills using a specific weapon type depending on the Essence, and finally you need to locate a specific item attached to each Essence. We’ll outline the specific steps and item locations for all seven Essence quests below.

A Note Regarding “Undiscovered” Essences

As of the first week following Shadowkeep’s launch, the following seven guide entries are as up to date and comprehensive as we could possibly make them. However, during our research for this guide we heard mention of an additional four Essences: Rage, Servitude, Premonition, and Envy. From what we can gather, these four additional Essences appear to be in Destiny 2’s game files but aren’t obtainable in the game proper just yet. Our research further suggests these “undiscovered” Essences unlock corresponding Legendary weapons such as a Shotgun, a Pulse Rifle, and a Fusion Rifle.

If these additional Essences are later added into Destiny 2 proper, we’ll be sure to update this guide, so be sure to keep it bookmarked if any of the above mentioned weapon types interests you. Otherwise, keep reading to find out how you can earn the requisite items for the seven Essence quests we know for certain are in the live game.

Essence of Brutality – Necromantic Strand

The Essence of Brutality quest requires the aforementioned Moon activity completions along with Hand Cannon kills and the Necromantic Strand item. According to the quest’s text, the Necromantic Strand is found in a Moon area called the Hall of Wisdom, but said Hall of Wisdom’s location isn’t made readily apparent on your in-game map. To locate the Hall of Wisdom and the Necromantic Strand contained within, follow the below instructions:

  • Head towards the Archer’s Line outdoor area from the Eris Morn spawn point.
  • As you enter Archer’s Line, take an immediate right and look for a large domed building with several holes in the domed portion.
  • Head through the domed building and out the other side to find a large ominous-looking Hive building you can enter (the one in the above screenshot).
  • Proceed into the building and work your way down the ramps to the very bottom to locate the Hall of Wisdom.
  • As you enter the hall, turn to your right and you’ll encounter some Hive enemies along with a waypoint indicator on your HUD pointing you to a large statue towards the back of the hall (assuming you have the Essence of Brutality in your inventory).
  • Work your way over to the statue where the indicator directs you and you’ll receive a prompt to retrieve a weapon part.
  • Trigger the prompt and the Necromantic Strand is yours.

Once you’ve completed all three steps for the Essence of Brutality quest, return to the Lectern of Enchantment and you’ll receive the Legendary ‘Loud Lullaby’ Hand Cannon.

Essence of Obscurity – Withered Plumes

For the Essence of Obscurity you need to located the Withered Plumes item in the Circle of Bones area. There are actually multiple underground routes on the Moon that lead to the Circle of Bones, but we’ve outlined one below that dovetails nicely with the above Essence of Brutality quest.

  • Head back to the Hall of Wisdom and proceed through the passageway at the other end of the hall.
  • You’ll eventually reach the Circle of Bones area which has a large central chasm.
  • On the other end of the chasm is a noticeable hole in the wall. Proceed to the left, circling counter-clockwise around the chasm, and a quest waypoint for the Withered Plumes should appear.

Cleansing the Essence of Obscurity with Moon activity completions, SMG kills, and the Withered Plumes at the Lectern of Enchantment will award the ‘Every Waking Moment’ Legendary SMG.

Essence of Greed – Ethereal Charms

Along with Moon activity completions and Machine Gun kills, the Essence of Greed quest requires Ethereal Charms which are found in the Temple of Crota. If you’re an original Destiny vet, you might recall how to find the temple, but if not, no worries. We’ll explain how to find the Temple of Crota and the Ethereal Charms via the below steps.

  • Start at the Eris Morn spawn point and take the right path towards the Anchor of Light.
  • Once you reach the Anchor of Light, head into it a ways until you see a large structure on your right with purple fallen banners strung up on it.
  • Turn right at the building to locate a small path you can take which leads to the Temple of Crota.
  • Proceed into the temple and keep heading down, past a large room with a central hive pod until you reach a second large room that also has a central pod and is filled with enemies.
  • As you enter this second large room, another quest waypoint should appear straight ahead, leading you to the location where you’ll find the Ethereal Charms.

Finish out all the steps for the Essence of Greed and then return to the Lectern to receive the Legendary Machine Gun ‘A Fine Memorial.’

Essence of Failure – Captive Cord

For the Essence of Failure quest you’ll need Auto Rifle kills, Moon activity completions, and the Captive Cord quest item. The Captive Cord is found in the Lunar Battlegrounds area, but as with the other Essence quests it’s not readily apparent just where the Lunar Battlegrounds are. If you want to find both the Lunar Battlegrounds and the Captive Cord item, just follow the below steps.

  • Spawn in at the Sorrow’s Harbor spawn point.
  • Look at your map and you’ll see there’s a southeastern exit out of Sorrow’s Harbor.
  • Take the southeastern exit and you’ll reach the Lunar Battlegrounds (you might recognize this area from the opening Shadowkeep campaign mission).
  • Keep heading back towards the area you first spawned in during the opening Shadowkeep mission.
  • You’ll soon reach two buildings, a domed building on your left and an antenna building on your right.
  • A quest waypoint will guide you over towards the antenna building and the location of the Captive Cord item.

With the Captive Cord in hand, all that’s left is to rack up some Auto Rifle kills and complete some Moon activities. Do all that and return to the Lectern to claim the Legendary ‘Arc Logic’ Auto Rifle.

Essence of Vanity – Horned Wreath

The Essence of Vanity quest tasks you with racking up Sniper Rifle kills, completing Moon activities, and finding the Horned Wreath item. The Horned Wreath is located in the Chamber of Night deep beneath the Moon’s surface, and the process for reaching the Chamber of Night is sadly not as simple or as straightforward as some of the other items in this guide. Still, if you need help reaching the Chamber of Night and its Horned Wreath prize, we’ve got you covered.

  • From Eris Morn’s spawn point, take the right path towards the Anchor of Light and proceed straight through into the Hellmouth zone.
  • Keep following the path that curves gently around to the Hellmouth’s northeast corner and you should run smack dab into the entrance to another Hive structure (as shown in the above screenshot).
  • Head inside and keep going down, you’ll know you’re on the right track when you reach an area called the Gatehouse.
  • Proceed through the Gatehouse hallway, fighting or running past the Hive enemies at your leisure.
  • Go through the subsequent hallway with the high ceiling and hanging hooks that exits to the left.
  • After taking the left exit, go straight forward until you ascend a slight ramp with an exit to your right.
  • Take the right exit and follow the tunnel down into the bowels of the Moon.
  • You’ll eventually reach another large room filled with enemies which you can exit pretty much straight across from where you entered.
  • Follow the second tunnel down until you reach the Circle of Bones area.
  • Head straight into the Circle of Bones and then look to your right for a doorway with a glowing chandelier-esque display above it (refer to the below screenshot).
  • Proceed through the doorway and down the tunnel until you reach the World’s Grave area.
  • As you enter the World’s Grave, turn to the left and head through the passageway to reach another large room with a raised circular altar at the center.
  • While facing the altar, look to the right to find another large doorway you can go through.
  • Through the doorway is a very long and very dark tunnel that will take you into the Chamber of Night.
  • Keep going straight ahead for what seems like a good long while, fighting or avoiding enemies as needed, until you reach a room with the quest waypoint directing you to the Horned Wreath’s location.

Completing all steps for the Essence of Vanity quest awards the Legendary ‘Tranquility’ Sniper Rifle once you return the cleansed Essence to the Lectern of Enchantment.

Essence of Insanity – Bound Manacle

The Essence of Insanity quest calls for activity completions, Grenade Launcher kills, and the Bound Manacle item. However, unlike the previous four Essence quests, the Bound Manacle item isn’t found out in the world. Instead, you need to locate and defeat a specific Moon-based mini-boss to claim the Bound Manacle for yourself. The good news is that if you already retrieved the above Horned Wreath for the Essence of Vanity quest, you’ll already have a general idea of where to go for the Bound Manacle mini-boss.

  • Head back to the Moon’s Hellmouth area and proceed into the same structure where you found the Horned Wreath until you reach the Gatehouse.
  • Keep going past the Gatehouse, through the high-ceilinged hallway with the dangling hooks, and out the exit to the left.
  • Normally, for the Horned Wreath, you’d exit the upcoming room to the right, but instead turn left and proceed into the Hive-filled room.
  • Start killing the Hive enemies and a large Hive Knight named Erath’ur, Eternal Blade should spawn (he only spawns if you have the Essence of Insanity in your inventory).
  • Kill Erath’ur and he’ll drop the Bound Manacle.

Once you’ve claimed the Bound Manacle and racked up the requisite Grenade Launcher kills and Moon activity completions, return the cleansed Essence to the Lectern of Enchantment to unlock your reward: the ‘Love and Death’ Legendary Grenade Launcher. 

Essence of Jealousy – Ralniks’ Hatchet

The Essence of Jealousy requires the Ralniks’ Hatchet item. Similarly to the above Essence of Insanity quest, Ralniks’ Hatchet isn’t found out in the environment but instead dropped by a world spawn mini-boss. This time, you need to locate the Traitor’s Ketch location on the Moon and fight a Fallen mini-boss named Ralniks, Blood of Kells. We’ve outlined how to find the Traitor’s Ketch location below.

  • From the Eris Morn spawn point, head right into the Anchor of Light area and take an immediate right towards the area’s southeastern corner.
  • In the southeastern part of Anchor of Light, you should see some purple fallen banners strung up like tent roofs (as seen in the above screenshot). Look to the right to spot a ramp you can go up.
  • Proceed up the ramp and through the small circular passageway it leads to.
  • The passageway will take you into the Traitor’s Ketch area where you’ll start encountering Fallen enemies.
  • Head through the first large room you enter in Traitor’s Ketch and work your way towards the back, dealing with any Fallen that cross your path.
  • If you have the Essence of Jealousy in your inventory, Ralniks should spawn as you approach the back of the room. Defeat him to claim the Ralniks’ Hatchet quest item.

For the Essence of Jealousy quest, you need to rack up some Sword kills and Moon activity completions along with acquiring Ralniks’ Hatchet. Complete those three steps and return to the Lectern of Enchantment to claim the ‘Night Terror’ Legendary Sword.

For more Destiny 2 Shadowkeep coverage, be sure to check out our guide on efficiently boosting your power level up to 900.