How do Guardians Die?


Guardians (death)

The Splicers are doomed. Just as the Iron Lords were, when he and his allies opened that vault. As Fallen continue to pour through the gap in the wall, they remind him of his friends in their final moment: a crimson pulse beats in place of their hearts. SIVA.

He puts his helmet on as an Iron battle axe forms in his hand, the air around him bursting into flame. The first wave of dregs approaches. Saladin breaks into a charge, swinging the axe to bear as he smashes into a storm of steel and weapons fire.

As his axe bites, again and again, Skorri’s Iron Song haunts him. He calls upon Radegast’s strength. Perun’s sense of purpose. Timur’s questions. Felwinter’s cynicism. Silimar’s persistence. Gheleon’s reasoning.

Jolder’s smile.

He always survives. When nothing else does.

Welcome back guardians, if you were anything like me, when you played the very first mission of Rise of Iron and accessed the Gondola to Vostok observatory/felwinter peak, you would have been shocked to hear your Ghost say this about the Gondola, “Whoa, this has not been activated in more than 400 years”. My first reaction to this was, wait what? Does this mean Saladin is 400 plus years old? I thought human life span only tripled when the Traveler arrived. So, my next immediate question is, can Guardians die? Or rather how do you kill a Guardian? This latest destiny lore episode will help clarify this question using grimoire cards, item descriptions and in-game dialogue.

See the description for my twitch/youtube streaming schedule which is 6-8pm EST US, almost everyday, from Sunday to Friday. This is the same as my youtube upload schedule, although not daily, when I do finish a video I always upload at 6pm EST. Follow me on twitter to keep up to date. I have some artwork featured at the end of this video, so please tune in at the end to see that and I hope you enjoy this latest destiny lore episode.

You likely know that Guardians can die permanently but the mechanism to kill a Guardian may be a bit blurry. The Speaker tells us that Human life span tripled with the arrival of the Traveler and the Golden Age grimoire card says that

“humans lived longer, flew further, and know more.”

But does this lifespan apply to Guardians, remember that these statements where about the Golden Age and humans, Guardians were not born until the Collapse. Perhaps, Saladin is the greatest evidence that Guardians have an even longer lifespan, especially since your Ghost says that the Gondola to the Felwinter peak has not been accessed for 400 years.

However, alternatively maybe the Gondola had been out of commission for a very long time and does not necessarily reflect Saladin’s age. BUT there are two distinct in-game dialogue references that seem to imply that Guardians are immortal. When I say immortal I am using that term very loosely and what I really mean is that Guardians cannot die from natural causes.

Here are the scenes I am talking about. Saladin says this during a cutscene,

“This may not make sense to you, but it took your fight to remind me that immortality is not the same as invincibility. I don’t understand.”

Saladin also says this during the final campaign mission as you make your way to the SIVA replication chamber,

“I did what I could to protect their resting place. But I knew what would happen if someone found it. We were touched by the light. I – I didn’t even know someone with the Traveler’s gift could die.. until they did.”

I believe that both of the scenes implies that Guardians cannot die from natural causes, those gifted with the Traveler’s light would live forever. I know this is somewhat strange considering Saladin has grey hairs, indicating that he has aged, which means if he has aged then he would likely eventually die from natural causes. Regardless to what you believe, Guardians can be killed and this is why I believe Saladin says,

“immortality is not the same as invincibility”.

So how can a Guardian be killed? I believe there are three ways that Guardians can be permanently killed: The first, 1. The Light of the Guardian is completely drained and then the Guardian is killed. Second, 2. The Light of the Ghost is completely drained and then the Guardian is killed and lastly 3. The Ghost is mechanically destroyed and the Guardian is killed.

  1. Light drained (Guardian)

  2. Light drained (Ghost)

  3. Ghost destroyed

Let’s look at the evidence for each one. Eris Morn and her fireteam is the best example of how a Guardian can be killed by draining their light. Remember though, it is not enough to just drain the Guardians light, they must then be actually killed. Take for example Eris, in Ghost Fragment: Hive 3 she says,

“My light is all but gone.”

And the Ghost Fragment: The Queen 2 confirms Eris does not have Ghost and Eris says

“My next death will be my last.”

So, it is not enough to just lose your light completely, you must also be killed. Now Eris is a unique example, she does not have any remaining light or a ghost, but lets say, you still did have a ghost but your body was drained of all the light, could you be revived? I believe the answer is no. This is reinforced by the Lord Gheleon grimoire card, Gheleon says,

“If all of you were cut down around me, your Light drained past return.”

When he says “light drained past return” I believe that means that Guardians have an internal light that must be maintained and if that is extinguished, there is nothing a ghost can do to revive you if you are killed. This is also reinforced in the Ghosts grimoire cards which says,

“In the right situations, a Ghost can even save a Guardian from death”,

I believe the right situation, means that you have some light left in your body.

You likely could also argue this is why Crota was so success in the battle of the moon, Crota’s sword drained the light of everything it touched, perma killing the guardians that went into battle.

If this is true, it raises some interesting points about characters killed by Dredgen Yor, specifically, Pahanin. The Cloak of Dredgen Yor reads,

“Before he took Pahanin’s Light, Dredgen Yor ruled the Crucible, the notorious Thorn at his side”,

took his light is not the same as killing him, unless Dredgen Yor took his light and then killed him in the crucible.

So that is the first way you could die, the light of the Guardian is completely drained meaning your ghost cannot revive you. The second way a Gaurdian could die, may be that the light of your Ghost is completely drained. We know that Ghosts themselves contain the light and I think that Ghost must have enough light remaining to revive you. The best evidence for this theory involves Eris Morn’s fireteam as they ventured into the Hellmouth. The Ghost Fragment: The Hellmouth 2 says this about Eriana-3,

“My Ghost’s Light is so dim, there’s no point following me further into this fog- any hope of raising me died halfway through the stills”.

Eriana-3 makes it clear that her Ghost needs a certain level of light to be able to perform a revive.

So summarizing the first two points, as long as you the Guardian have some light remaining, and your ghost has some light remaining, everything is good, doesn’t matter if you die, you will be revived. If you run out of light or your ghost runs out of light, game over.

The believe the Iron Lords worked out another to perma kill a guardian, well in their case perma kill Warlords, and it was simply to mechanically destroy the ghost. In the Lady Jolder grimoire card it implies that the Iron Lords are aware of the importance of protecting their ghost from mechanical damage during a 1 v 1 combat with a Warlord, it says,

“Perun ran a hand through her close-cropped hair. “Don’t know yet. Seems… too easy. If I were Rience, I’d be thinking about poison, neurojammers… Man like him with nothing to lose, might even target your Ghost.”

It implies that the Iron Lords realize that their Ghosts can be damaged in combat. In fact, the Iron Lords even developed techniques to protect their ghosts during the revive process. The Lady Perun card describes the use of a shield wall. It reads,

“Shields up!” Perun shouted… Perun, Radegast, and Saladin reloaded and then Segoth was up again, his glowing Ghost at his shoulder. He fired wildly, and a bullet struck Radegast in the head. “Got him!” Perun shouted as Radegast collapsed. “Covering you!” Saladin returned. Perun, Radegast, and Saladin died many more times than any one of Segoth’s men. But any time one of them fell, another would cover them until they staggered to their feet again. The shield wall held. The three gave no ground.”

As you can see the Iron Lords used a Shield wall to defend their ghosts during the revive process.

The Cabal even acknowledge that to kill a guardian you must damage their ghost, the Ghost Fragment Cabal 4 card reads,

“Guardians can be rebuilt after even total disintegrative trauma. This capability is provided by a small autonomous drone unit called a Dead Person [trans. unclear]. The Dead Person conceals itself during combat. It is not a viable target for direct fire. Saturation attack by artillery/heavy air/orbital fire may have good effect (although Guardians transmat frequently and refuse to assemble into large formations).”

This provides even more information about the relationship between ghosts and guardians, ghost conceal themselves during combat so that they are not damaged. Unfortunately, for a certain Warlord, Lord Felwinter had a strategy for dealing with this, he would kill a Warlord, wait for the ghost to appear during revive and then damage the ghost with his shotgun. Lord Felwinter’s card reads,

“Citan’s Ghost sparked into view from above, bringing its eye to bear on its fallen charge. The Warlord emerged from a radiant column, a frenzied shout at his lips. Felwinter’s shotgun cracked like thunder—once for the Warlord, and again for his Ghost.”

That concludes this latest Destiny Lore episode. To acknowledge those Iron Lords who have died, I have some artwork. Patrick Garcia has kindly allowed me to use some of his artwork which depicts Jolder, it is titled, “She’s beauty and she’s grace she’ll punch you in the face.” I normally pay for the artwork featured on this channel but in this case Patrick has kindly supplied it free of charge, so please thank him with a follow on Twitter and by viewing his deviant art page. Links in the description.

If you would like to support the channel and cannot think of a comment, leave the phrase, “dead person” to represent the little dead people that we rely upon so much to revive us from death. As usual it has been a pleasure, this is myelin games peace.