Destiny’s main story isn’t the only thing getting a new chapter with the Taken King expansion. Another less well-known (but far better) Destiny tale has been given a conclusion, and it kicks ass.
To catch newcomers up: I’m talking about the legend of two weapons: Thorn and The Last Word. It’s a cool story that concerns the three men who used those guns, warriors named Jaren Ward, Dredgen Yor, and Shin Malphur. The story is buried in Destiny’s Grimoire cards and doesn’t actually appear in the game itself, but it’s a nice reward for anyone who goes paging through the game’s buried Grimoire.
I recounted the tale so far a few weeks ago; I’ve updated that version with the new chapters, so if you want to read the whole thing in one place, go read that. Here’s the short version: Shin Malphur was a young man living in a settlement called Palamon when a badass Guardian named Jaren Ward showed up. Ward was a force of light, an awesome dude who wore a gun called The Last Word on his hip. He eventually had a showdown with Palamon’s corrupt leader and killed him, then adopted Shin and rescued some of Palamon’s residents when some calamity burned the settlement to the ground.
While leading Shin and his friends to the safety of the Last City, their party was set upon by a man named Dredgen Yor, a powerful fallen Guardian who wielded the evil weapon Thorn. (Both The Last Word and Thorn are actual guns you can get in the game.) Yor killed Jaren Ward, but with the aid of Ward’s little robot Ghost, young Shin Malphur survived.
The rest of the story was left hazy. We knew that somewhere down the line, a fully grown Shin Malphur had a showdown with Dredgen Yor somewhere called Dwindler’s Ridge, with Malphur seeking vengeance for his slain mentor. During that showdown, Malphur echoed his former master’s challenge: “Yours, not mine,” presumably before blowing the villain away.
The actual events of that showdown have been a mystery… until now. In two new Taken King Grimoire cards collected over at Planet Destiny, the full tale has been revealed. And it rules.
First of all, there’s “Thorn 4,” a card detailing a conversation between Jaren Ward’s Ghost and Dredgen Yor immediately after Yor killed the Ghost’s master.
For reference, [u.1] is Ward’s Ghost, and [u.2] is Dredgen Yor.
Chapter Five: The Shadow And The Light
PARTIES: Two . One  Ghost-type, designate [REDACTED] [u.1], One  Guardian-type, Class [REDACTED] [u.2] ASSOCIATIONS: Breaklands; Durga; Dwindler’s Ridge; Last Word; Malphur, Shin; North Channel; Palamon; Thorn; Velor; Ward, Jaren; WoS; Yor, Dredgen;
[u.1:0.1] Such Darkness.
[u.1:0.2] Far from it.
[u.2:0.2] To each their own.
[u.1:0.3] His Light is faded.
[u.2:0.3] His Light is gone.
[u.1:0.4] You are an infection.
[u.2:0.4] I am that which will cleanse.
[u.1:0.5] You are a monster.
[u.2:0.5] Heh. An old friend once saw me as the same. He was right, and, had we met earlier, so too would you be.
[u.1:0.6] You’d dare defend yourself – all you’ve done – as anything but monstrous?
[u.2:0.6] No more than a hurricane.
[u.1:0.7] Then you’re a force of nature?
[u.2:0.7] I am all that is right. You may not see it – for lack of looking, or blind ignorance – but I am all that is good.
[u.1:0.8] You’ve just murdered a good man.
[u.2:0.8] He shot first.
[u.1:0.9] Yet you stand.
[u.2:0.9] Guess he missed.
[u.1:1.0] He never misses.
[u.2:1.0] First time for everything.
[silence] [u.2:1.1] His cannon? Nice piece of hardware.
[u.2:1.2] Well-worn, but clean. Smooth hammer.
[u.1:1.1] It was his prize.
[u.2:1.3] Guess he put too much faith in the wrong steel.
[u.1:1.2] Is that where you’re faith lies, in steel?
[u.2:1.4] Not for some time. My steel is only an extension. My faith is in the shadow.
[u.1:1.3] Then my Light is an affront to all you are. I am your truest enemy.
[u.2:1.5] One of many.
[u.1:1.4] Would you end me?
[u.2:1.6] Not you. Not now.
[u.1:1.5] The shadow knows mercy.
[u.2:1.7] The shadow knows no such thing.
[u.1:1.6] Then what?
[u.2:1.8] The other.
[u.1:1.7] What other?
[u.2:1.9] The dead man’s charge.
[u.1:1.8] The boy?
[u.1:1.9] You’d end him as well?
[u.2:2.0] If it comes to that… We’ll see.
[u.1:2.0] I won’t let you have the child.
[u.2:2.1] Been long enough now, think maybe he’s a man.
[u.1:2.1] You cannot have him.
[u.2:2.2] Not yet.
[u.1:2.2] I won’t let you.
[u.2:2.3] That you could stop me is an amusing thought.
[silence] [u.2:2.4] Here.
[silence] [u.2:2.5] Take it.
[u.2:2.6] Give the apprentice his master’s “sword.” It is a gift.
[u.1:2.4] You cannot have him.
[u.2:2.7] You fear for his Light?
[u.2:2.8] …is special.
[u.2:2.9] I am aware.
[u.1:2.7] You’re trying to tempt him. You’re feeding his anger.
[u.2:3.0] The gun is a memento, nothing more.
[u.1:2.8] You claim to be a vessel, a hollow shell where once a man stood, but that is just a lie. The man is still in you.
[u.2:3.1] There is no man here, I am now, and for the rest of time, only Dredgen Yor.
[u.1:2.9] “The Eternal Abyss?”
[u.2:3.2] So, not all the forgotten languages are dead.
[u.1:3.0] Hide behind whatever titles you wish, it is all still a façade. No force of nature would play such games.
[u.1:3.1] The cannon. You wish to tempt the boy. Too spur him on and fuel his rage. There is intent there. The actions of a man, monstrous, mad or otherwise… you are nothing more.
[u.2:3.4] And what value does your conclusion bring, flawed as it may be?
[u.1:3.2] That a hurricane can only be weathered, not stopped. Not redirected. A force of nature is uncaring and without intent, but a man…
[u.1:3.3] A man is none of those things.
[silence] [u.1:3.4] A man can be killed.
[silence] [u.2:3.6] And there it is…
[u.1:3.5] There what is…?
[u.2:3.7] A sliver of hope.
We know that Jaren Ward’s ghost did indeed go back to young Shin and deliver the weapon, The Last Word.
What then? Well, a second new Grimoire card called “The Last Word 4” reveals that Dredgen Yor was actually responsible for Palamon’s destruction, confirms beyond all doubt that it was Thorn’s wielder who killed Jaren Ward, and recounts the story of the climactic showdown at Dwindler’s Ridge in extremely awesome detail.
Chapter Six: The Showdown At Dwindler’s Ridge
Palamon was ash.
I was only a boy – my face caked in soot, snot and sorrow.
I’d assumed Jaren, my friend, our Guardian, the savior of Palamon, would always protect us – could always save us…
But I was a fool.
Jaren, and the others, only a handful, but still our best hunters, our hardest hearts, had left three suns prior. Tracking Fallen, after the bandits had caused a stir.
The stranger – the other – arrived the following day.
He rarely spoke. Took a room. Took our hospitality.
I was intrigued by him, as I was Jaren when he’d first arrived.
But the stranger was cold. Distant. Damaged, I thought.
But I wasn’t afraid. Not yet.
Only a child, I knew the monsters of our world to walk like men, but they were not. They were something alien. Four-armed and savage.
The stranger was polite, but solemn.
I took him for a sad, broken man, and he was. Though, at the time, I didn’t understand how that could make one dangerous.
As with Jaren, father made an effort to keep me away from the stranger.
It wouldn’t matter.
As the silhouette approached, fear held tight.
The dark figure towered over me. Looking into me – through me.
He smiled. My knees weak. All lost.
Then, he turned and walked away.
Leaving ruin and a heartbroken, terrified boy in his wake without a second glance.
I’ve been chasing that stranger’s shadow ever since.
We stood silent, the sun high.
Seconds passed, feeling more like hours.
He looked different.
He seemed, now, to be weightless – effortless in an existence that would crush a man burdened by conscience.
My gaze remained locked as I felt a heat rising inside of me.
The other spoke…
I gave no reply.
“The gunslinger’s sword… his cannon. That was a gift.”
My silence held as my thumb caressed the perfectly worn hammer at my hip.
“An offering from me… to you.”
The heat grew. Centered in my chest.
I felt like a coward the day Jaren Ward died and for many cycles after.
But here, I felt only the fire of my Light.
The other probed…
“Nothing to say?”
He let the words hang.
“I’ve been waiting for you. For this day.”
His attempt at conversation felt mundane when judged against all that had come before.
“Many times I thought you’d faltered. Given up…”
All I’d lost, all who’d suffered, flashed rapid through my mind, intercut with a dark silhouette walking toward a frightened, weak, coward of a boy.
The fire burned in me.
The other continued…
“But here you are. This is truly an end…”
As his tongue slipped between syllables my gun hand moved as if of its own will.
Reflex and purpose merged with anger, clarity and an overwhelming need for just that… an end.
In step with my motion, the fire within burst into focus – through my shoulder, down my arm – as my finger closed on the trigger of my third father’s cannon.
Two shots. Two bullets engulfed in an angry glow.
The other fell.
I walked to his corpse. He never raised his cursed Thorn – the jagged gun with the festering sickness.
I looked down at the dead man who had caused so much death.
My shooter still embraced by the dancing flames of my Light.
A sadness came over me.
I thought back to my earliest days. Of Palamon. Of Jaren.
Leveling my cannon at the dead man’s helm, I paid one final tribute to my mentor, my savior, my father and my friend…
“Yours… Not mine.”
…as I closed my grip, allowing Jaren’s cannon, now my own, to have the last, loud word.
Now we know how the story ended, and what really happened at Dwindler’s Ridge. Can’t say I’m not satisfied.
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Big thanks to Kevin Pennyfeather for the heads up.