Character Lore

A priest is an authorised person to perform the sacred rites of a religion especially as a mediator between human and god. The Hive’s religion is war, a conquest to rid the universe of all imperfections, to whittle the universe towards its final, perfect form. The sacred rite is the Sword Logic; killing that proves you are part of the final universe.

Oryx’s Warpriest demands the we demonstrate our knowledge of the Hive rituals, our ability to kill, and if deemed worthy he will act as a priest, a mediator between Guardians and a God, providing passage to the Taken King.

Welcome back Guardians, today we are discussing the lore surrounding the Warpriest in the King’s Fall Raid. I will use grimoire cards, raid mechanics and also information from Bungie’s King’s Fall ride along to explore this topic. Be sure to stay to the end of the video or skip to the end of the video (link in description) as I have the 4th and final Destiny artwork sketch for this month, which depicts Rezyl Azzir.

Also be sure to vote on your favourite sketch using the Poll card in the top right hand corner of the screen (and you can vote twice by following me on twitter). The sketch that receives the most votes will be completed in colour and in greater detail. You can support the artwork and download the images through my patreon account, the link is in the description.

This is myelin games and I hope you enjoy this latest Destiny lore video.

Let’s begin with the three main grimoire cards that refer to the Warpriest; The Warpriest grimoire card, Verse 4.0- A golden amputation from the Book of Sorrows and also the King’s Fall grimoire card.

The Warpriest grimoire card confirms that the Warpriest has ascended to his position due to his many victories in battle as a faithful servant of Oryx. It reads,

“The principle put upon his brow was slaughter, constant and escalating. The Principle he put behind his eyes was victory, which is the last true shape. The principle he put into his hands was tribute- to Oryx, King of Taking” and the card ends with “challenge me, by the law of my ascendance.”

From this, it appears that the Warpriest has earned his position amongst the ascendant Hive through victory in many battles. The Warpriest grimoire card also mentions that he was present “From the Golden Amputation to the Gift Mast.” These are distinct events that occur during the Book of Sorrows, which we know to be thousands of years prior to the appearance of Guardians. So we can also assume that the Warpriest has been victorious for thousands of years fighting faithfully at Oryx’s side.

The Book of Sorrows, Verse 4:0- a Golden Amputation, provides further detail about the Warpriest’s involvement during this earlier time, specifically, during the Golden Amputation. The Golden Amputation refers to Oryx’s war against a race known as the Taishibethi, who were eventually made extinct by Oryx. The Warpriest had a significant role in this and the Golden Amputation grimoire card reads,

“In his throne world Oryx paces ten times… On the third pace, Oryx’s Warpriest meets them in battle, and he is victorious, he paints the void with fire, he salts the earth with ash.”

The Warpriest is very important to Oryx, not only for his strength in battle, acting like a general of sorts, but also his ability to pay tribute to Oryx through slaughtering his enemies. The Warpriest grimoire card reads,

“The principle he put into his hands was tribute — to Oryx, King of Taking. Tithing to his Lord, that the First Navigator might escape the need to kill for subsistence, the worm need. That He might use His power to lead the final work.”

The Warpriest aims to do enough killing that would provide enough tribute to satisfy the hunger of Oryx’s worm and in doing so this would free Oryx to continue his work.

I have heard other theories that the Warpriest’s is not just feeding tribute to Oryx but also trying to discover a way to release Oryx of his worm. I don’t think this is the case, I believe that the Warpriest grimoire card is just emphasizing the importance of the Warpriest in Oryx’s lines of tribute.

On a side note, the Warpriest card also hints that time passes differently in Oryx’s throne world. It describes how with every step of Oryx, every second passing in his throne world, an obvious greater amount of time is passing in reality, as with every step major battles and events, which would surely take hours, days maybe even years, are occurring in reality. This idea that time passes differently in Oryx’s throne world is also reinforced by Verse 4:9 Open your eye: go into it, in the Book of Sorrows. In this verse, Crota is fighting the Vex for quote, “a hundred years of local time.” The use of the words “local time” indicating that there are time differences between throne world and reality.

Returning back to the information about the Warpriest, we can conclude that the Warpriest has been fighting at Oryx’s side for thousands of years and has been a faithful servant, tithing his slaughter to Oryx in order to feed his worm.

Whilst I believe this was the Warpriest’s major role for some time, I do believe that the Warpriest was also given a greater honour amongst the Ascendant Hive and that is to actually act as a priest. A human priest is a mediator between humans and god, so the Warpriest’s role is to connect us to one of the Hive Gods, in this case Oryx. However, he is only to provide this passage, if and only if, we are competent in the way of Hive, in the Sword Logic.

This is reinforced by the “King’s Fall” grimoire card that reads,

“I was right, at first. In the ever-expanding Blighted-place, even Light must obey the sword-logic. Even you Guardians, you best and brightest of the dying dawn, you drew blood in honour of the Taken King. The Warpriest did his duty, and you did yours.”

The Warpriest’s duty was not to stop Guardians from facing Oryx but was to provide passage, and connect Guardians with Oryx, if they demonstrated sword logic, if they could match the Warpriest in bloodshed, if they could prove that they should be a part of the final universe.

Whilst the Warpriest is only ever described as a faithful servant of Oryx, there is a hint that he is not necessarily faithful to Oryx, but he is faithful to the Wormgods and/or The Deep. When you defeat the Warpriest on challenge mode, you receive the emblem, Wormgod Servant. This reinforces, that the Warpriest serves the Worm Gods, not necessarily Oryx and he upholds the philosophy of the Deep, i.e. to make the final perfect form of the universe. Therefore if someone shows the potential strength to beat Oryx, his duty is to provide passage and allow them to challenge.

This concept was actually reinforced during the Bungie King’s Fall ride along. Jill Scharr, one of the member’s of Bungie’s writing team explained how Oryx’s door would always be open to be challenged. She linked this idea to her background in medieval studies, where Knights would leave a shield outside of their tents and another knight could challenge them by banging on the shield. Similarly, Oryx allows us to challenge him once we have proven we are worthy.

Now, that we understand the general purpose of the Warpriest, we can look more closely at the language used in the raid itself, the activity feed, the naming of areas and the general mechanics. The ride along confirmed that certain areas of the raid were also named using a medieval theme. As we enter the first section of the Warpriest battle you will notice it is called “Basilica”. Basilica has a number of different meanings, one is a medieval church, which reinforces the role of the Warpriest, i.e. to provide passage to challenge Oryx and the other is as an ancient Roman law court or a place for public assemblies. The idea that this area is a church and also a court room is perfectly suited because we are being trialled by the Warpriest to prove our worth before we are given an audience with a god, i.e. Oryx.

As we enter the Basilica we must first face the Annihilator totems encounter. Before beginning the encounter, we can see acolytes kneeling in worship with weapons floating above their head. I have long thought that this may be how the Hive tithe energy from killing to those above them. Their weapons are charged with death and they offer it to the superior Hive. That is just speculation, however considering this is both a church and courtroom, it makes sense that inferior Hive are also trying to prove their worth in front of the Warpriest with the hope of ascension.

As you will know, this area contains two Annihilator totems, one to the left of the door and one to the right of the door. You likely also know that these totems were created in the Book of Sorrows by Oryx’s daughters, Ir Halak and Ir Anuk, the Deathsingers. The two sisters created the Annihilator totems in order to combat the Vex, when Crota accidently allowed the Vex to enter Oryx’s throne world.

Luckily, Guardians have had previous experience with Annihilator Totems from Crota’s End Raid and they know that standing directly beneath a Totem disarms it. However, unfortunately, it appears that the Deathsingers have added a mechanism to stop Guardians from deactivating the totems so easily. If you attempt to stand in the area with the Totems, without an aura, you will be killed. In the area to the left, your death screen will say that you were killed by “Presence of Ir Anuk” using the weapon “Blight of weaving”. If stand in the area to the right without an aura, you will be killed by the “Presence of Ir Halak” using the weapon “Blight of unravelling”.

Despite the cunningness of the Deathsingers, they for some reason left behind their brands, the Brand of the Unraveler and the Brand of the Weaver which grants an aura of protection from this Annihilator Totem security defence. In the ride along, Jill Scharr confirmed that the mechanics in this area was meant to foreshadow the Daughters of Oryx being later seen in the raid.

In addition, she said, that the purpose of the daughters was to unravel our reality and weave into it Oryx’s throne world. This is why we must use the Brand of the Unraveler in the area with “Blight of Weaving” and why we must use the Brand of the Weaver in the area with “Blight of Unravelling.” We use the aura’s to survive by unravelling and weaving reality simultaneous.

For reasons unknown to us, when we do this, Guardians are gifted with the “Deathsinger’s power”. Maybe we have tricked the Annihilator totems into thinking we are deathsingers?? Regardless, the power acts as key and after continuously feeding this power into the Hive glyphs we are deemed worthy and given access to the Warpriest.

As we enter the main encounter we are presented with three large statues, one side is embedded with glowing Hive glyphs and the other depicts what I can only assume is ascendant Hive. You will notice, these statues have the same appearance as the Nokris and Crota statues that can be seen aboard the Dreadnaught. Raid designer, Brendan Thorne refers to them as monoliths and this is confirmed by the activity feed which reads, “The Warpriest draws power from a monolith” after he activates the Oculus. However, if you break the glyph sequence too often, your death screen will say that you have been killed by a “Wormstone Idol” with the weapon line reading “initiate rejected.”

From a lore point of view, I am not too sure whether we can explain all of these mechanics and I think sometimes that not all mechanics need to be explicitly linked to lore. The most we can say is, that these monoliths or Wormstone idols contain some sort of power, as the Warpriest draws from it as the fight progresses. Why the monoliths show us the glyph sequence and why they protect us from the Oculus when the Warpriest calls upon it, I don’t know.

However, the term “initiate rejected” reinforces the overarching concept of the Warpriest i.e. we are being trialled to prove our worth, before being connected to Oryx, before being allowed to challenge Oryx.

That being said, one mechanic that was given more attention in the Bungie ride along was the “Brand of the initiate”. After correctly inputting the glyph sequence, one guardian is given the “Brand of the Initiate” allowing the team to do damage to the Warpriest, however within the development team this mechanic was initially called something different, it was called, “Drowned in blood”, apparently because one of the developers was Slayer fan.

Even though it may have been named after a devs favourite band, the name also emphasises that we need to match the Warpriest in bloodshed and thus the aura can be extended by killing the surrounding acolytes. I assume that the Warpriest grimoire card subtlety references the original name of the Brand by saying

“Match me in bloodshed. Or in blood be drowned.”

Which is pretty cool as they kept an aspect of the initial concept in the grimoire cards.

Lastly, we should speak about the Oculus. In game, the giant orb above the Warpriest’s head is only ever referred to as the Oculus, however in the Warpriest grimoire card it references that the Warpriest learnt how to make an Oversoul. During the ride along, Brendan Thorne also references the Oculus as an Oversoul.

Whilst the Warpriest grimoire cards suggest that the Warpriest learnt this technique, of making an Oversoul, from Crota, Crota was not the one to invent the Oversoul. Once again, the Daughters of Oryx were involved with this creation. In Verse 4:8- The partition of death, Ir Halak and Ir Anuk describe how they invented a method to remove their soul in order for them to be more difficult to kill. Crota obviously learnt this method from his sisters creating the Oversoul we see in Crota’s End raid and consequently the Warpriest learnt it from Crota and we now see it in the King’s Fall raid.

Interestingly, when we kill the Warpriest, a portal opens providing passage for Guardians so that they can proceed to challenging Oryx, however the Oversoul remains… so the question is, is the Warpriest really dead! Or will he rise again and continue to fulfil his duty, testing any potential challengers to the throne, in fact this role may be even more important with the throne currently vacant.

Before moving onto the artwork, I will quickly mention that the Warpriest also provides a component for Touch of Malice, called Blade of Famine. Check out my Touch of Malice video for more information about that.

Let me now introduce the fourth and final art piece for this month and then I will recap the other art pieces so that you can vote for your favourite artwork. Whichever piece of art receives the most votes, will be completed in colour and greater detail.

Here is the fourth and final piece, Rezyl Azzir, the first guardian. If you saw my last video you will know this scene. Rezyl has just had his ghost revive him whilst in the grasps of a Kell, Rezyl shoots the Kell dead and then as the other Fallen close in, Rezyl Azzir punches the dead Kell with a Titan striker Fist of Havoc!

I will recap the other art pieces now. The first is Touch of Malice, representing how Oryx lives on through Guardians. If voted for, the final edit will show the Guardian holding Touch of Malice. The second is Golgoroth, the Orbweaver, which is mixed with some fan fiction with Golgoroth spinning a Guardian into a cocoon on his back. And the third is Xur- “You must stop eating salted popcorn.” If you would like to support myself and the artist who makes these creations feel free to visit my patreon account to donate and as a reward you will also be able to download these images.

Otherwise if you just want to support the channel with a comment, you can leave the phrase, “Drowned in Blood” in acknowledgement of the original name of Brand of the initiate. Once again it has been a pleasure, this is myelin games. Peace.