Thorn Part 1
Welcome back guardians, I have received a huge amount of requests for a lore video about the infamous Thorn. Before I begin, please be aware this is a multiple part Series. The first part, which is this video, will strictly focus on Thorn. The second part will focus on The Last Word and in addition cover the speculation around how the fate of these two exotics are bound together. This is Myelin Games and I hope you enjoy this latest addition to the Destiny Lore playlist.
Thorn is truly the most lore intensive item in all of Destiny and potentially a representation of the overall plot line, a story to parallel are own journey. Maybe the greatest evidence of this, is hidden in plain sight. There is only one grimoire card in the whole of the game that uses the actual word “Destiny”. No points given for guessing what card this is… yes it is the Ghost Fragment: Thorn Grimoire card. I want you to keep that in mind throughout this video.
Thorn is a Weapon of Sorrow. We are told this during the very first step in Thorn’s exotic bounty. Quote
“The Weapons of Sorrow were born from forbidden use of the Hive’s dark power. We thought them eradicated. But Recent Developments suggest one of these weapons may still exist in the Hive’s Summoning Pits”.
In order to better understand Weapons of Sorrow, we turn our attention to the exotic auto rifle, Necrochasm. Necrochasm’s grimoire card clearly states it is also a Weapon of Sorrow and provides greater description to how these weapons work. Quote
“It is said the Necrochasm was born in the twilight after Crota’s sword first cracked the Moon. That a lost Guardian’s weapon was altered by the Hive in an attempt to fuse their own dark understanding with humanity’s mastery of war. The result was a weapon that would feed on its owner’s aggression- reaching further when angry eyes drew focus, its hunger rising as it tore through bone and flesh. Any Guardian who comes across the weapon must ask some very simple questions with endlessly complicated answers: Is your light bright enough to stand, even briefly, in full gaze of the Hive’s abyss? Can it handle what has died and been reborn in those shadows?”
It appears that Weapons of Sorrow are alive, they hunger for bone and flesh and feed off the aggression of their owner. The Necrochasm grimoire card also provides a timeline to the first appearance of these weapons, that is, after Crota took the moon. It also emphasizes that it was combination of Hive sorcery fused with human technology. The last sentence is very important to understanding Thorn’s story,
“Is your light bright enough to stand, even briefly, in full gaze of the Hive’s abyss? Can it handle what has died and been reborn in those shadows?”
Whilst the Nechrochasm card appears to be talking about the birth of the weapon, it is not uncommon for the Hive themselves to be reborn, in fact Ogres are given the title of “Reborn” after they complete an agonizing Hive ritual, that is taking from the Telthor, Unborn grimoire card. This idea of being reborn is not only applicable to Hive but some may argue that Guardians have also been subjected to the nightmares of the Hive and re-born in the shadows. Eris Morn is a fantastic example of this, her card reads,
“Robbed of her Ghost, Eris remained lost among the darkest shadows of the Hellmouth for countless cycles. Despite all odds she endured, using the very dark she battled to emerge a changed warrior- driven, some would say obsessed. The Speaker and Commander Zavala find her compulsions a sickness, convinced she has been fully seduced by the shadows.”
Despite losing her ghost and being subject to the shadows of the Hive, Eris Morn remains loyal to the tower, however another Guardian was not so lucky. We only know him as “noble man”, a man that was once a beacon of hope, a hero, however he eventually succumbed to the shadows and was reborn as Dredgen Yor, ruling with his notorious Thorn by his side. His name is now only remembered with shame and disgust. The Ghost Fragment: Thorn card provides a clue to the catalyst for his transformation. It says
“his thoughts were dark, a sadness crept from the depths of his being, he had been a hero for so long, but pride had led him down sorrow’s road.”
It seems to suggest that this man has suffered a terrible loss and has a deep sadness, however he also has an internal darkness present, with a specific reference to pride. Now this is actually a theme represented in other lore stories, that our pride may be one of our biggest weaknesses. It is a trait that provides opportunity for the Darkness to make a bargain, a trade, lead us astray, for the promise of unbelievable power.
The card continues to describe an entity that tries to manipulate that pride, that ego, quote
“Slowly the shadows’ whisper became a voice, a dark call, offering glories enough to make even the brightest Light wander. And so the noble man hid himself beneath a darkness no flesh should touch, and gave up his mortal self to claim a new birthright. Whether this was choice, or Destiny, is a truth known only to fate. As dusk was devoured by night, the noble man ceased to exist. In his place another stood. Same meat, same bone. But so very different. The first and only of his family. The sole forebearer and last descendant of the name Yor.”
The whisper from the shadows that corrupted the man could be interpreted in two different ways. The first is a metaphoric interpretation, and the call from the shadows, is internal, it is a Guardian’s fear, self-doubt, pride, ego, the Darkness that is within all of us. The second interpretation is that this whisper from the shadows is coming from the Hive. The Hive grimoire card says
“There are nightmares rising from the shadows and they hunger for our dying hope” and the Thrall grimorie card says “The Shadows have claws”
The Hive are almost synonymous with the shadows and so could be interpreted that the call is literally originating from the Hive, they whisper promises in the ears Guardians, to corrupt them, to turn them towards the Darkness. I believe both interpretations are correct, we have an internal weakness, a dark side that already exists, and the Hive use that to their advantage, they try to corrupt us by enhancing the darkness dwells within.
So now let’s look at why the noble man was so susceptible to corruption, why did he have this sadness, why did he have this pride that made him yearn for more power and glory. I believe answer relates to the Great Disaster, the moment in history when thousands of Guardians attempted to reclaim the moon, and failed, defeated by the Hive champion, Crota.
Ghost Fragment: Thorn 2 provides evidence of this. The transcript is confusing at first glance, however quite simple to follow once you understand the format. It states that there are four un-identified parties during this conversation. Each person involved is indicated by the letter U. So you will see in the transcript it will say “u.1” which indicates person 1, “u.2”indicates person 2 and so on. There are also associations which connects Dredgen Yor, with Jaren Ward, Shin Malphur, Thorn and The Last Word. It does not tell you exactly how they are connected but it hints that these stories are entwined, which is the speculation that I will cover in Part 2.
In this transcript, I believe un-identified person 2 is confirmed as Dredgen Yor, due to the description of the Hand Cannon being held, quote “The bone, you see it, Jagged, like Thorns”, indicating that the cannon is Thorn and therefore the wielder is likely Dredgen Yor. The other 3 un-named characters are bandits. Dredgen Yor says “You are goddamn cliché’. The picture perfect bandit”.If you are happy to agree with these assumptions, then there are some other really important pieces of information in this card.
Dredgen says to bandit one, “Been to Luna?”, the Bandit responds, “Excuse me?”, Dredgen replies “The Moon. You been?”, the Bandit rebuts “Nobody’s been.” The fact that the bandit, does not know that Guardians went back to the moon, or were even on the moon during the Golden Age, shows the level of isolation. These bandits have not been to the Tower, they have been inside the city walls, they live in frontier, pockets of humanity that never made it to the safety of the Traveler. You can assume that this bandit was born outside of the city walls, post collapse and so never witnessed the Hive claim the moon and never witnessed the City’s attempt to retake the moon. However, although not specifically said, Dredgen Yor hints that he has been to the moon in this conversation.
So here is the speculation, the noble man was there for the Great Disaster on the moon, he witnessed thousands of Guardians fall to Crota’s blade. This is where his internal darkness began to stir, sadness developed from seeing his fellow comrade’s fall in battle, pride was exaggerated by thought of revenge, the noble man became hell-bent on increasing his power to destroy the Hive. What the noble man did not realize was that these emotions that drove him, would be his greatest weakness and they would open the doors for the whisper’s of the Hive.
We don’t know how the Hive communicate with Guardians to corrupt them, however I speculate that it likely originates from Hive Wizards. Hive Wizards have this ability to communicate telepathically. This is demonstrated in The Ghost Fragment: Warlock 2 card which describes the capture of a Wizard by Eriana-3. She interrogates and tortures the Wizard in order to learn how to defeat Crota. In defiance and refusing to provide information, the Wizard communicates telepathically with Eriana-3, and shows her a vision, a vision of Crota impaling guardians upon his Sword. On a side note, Crota’s sword shares similar characteristics with the Weapons of Sorrow, like the weapons, the sword is described as being hungry for light of guardians.
The Ghost Fragment Hive 2 grimoire Card, also provides greater insight into the power of Wizards, it describes the torture of Guardian. Quote
“My own Light flickers. They took me down into the dark, past tiers of massed Hive, more than we believed could exist. Past writhing worms that they swallow whole. I saw the armaments of war. I am weak, so weak. They have clamped me to this spire whilst a black foulness eats my Light. The Wizard comes now and then to probe with her scaly claws into my systems, to inquire about my making, the City, what I have seen. I erase and dump as quickly as I can – they will learn little from me – but I am studying them, I know – pain. Always pain. The Wizard is near. I feel her presence as a rip and a knot in the world. She tells me things that I immediately forget. I am too small to hold the vastness of them, or the terror. I am fading. I have no more that it can take. With my last light I say to the City: War comes again from the Moon. This time they want Earth. Prepare.”
Once again, we see this ability of Wizards to manipulate the mind of Guardians. We are also introduced into the idea of these parasites, these worms. That is a story for another time and another lore video. Whilst this card is not about the Noble Man, the question is did something similar happen to him.
So I speculate that the Noble Man, had some form of contact with a Wizard on the Moon, during or immediately after the Great Disaster. The level of contact is obviously complete speculation, did he fight a Wizard during the battle, and the Wizard played mind tricks, did he stumble upon a Hive ritual site or was he simple stranded on the moon post battle. We know that it is possible that some Guardians were stranded with evidence from the Ghost Fragment: The Ocean of Storms card, this says that after the loss, the Vanguard removed all assistance from any operations on the Moon. Regardless, I do believe that Noble Man had some form of contact with a Wizard, and the Wizard used those emotions that were born from the atrocities of the Great Disaster to her advantage.
There may be more evidence of this contact within the steps required in Thorn’s exotic bounty and the flavor text of Thorn. Thorn’s exotic bounty basically has us, enter the Summoning Pits, a place where Hive are reborn through torture and torment, and in that Pit, we encounter a Wizard, Xyor. I am sure that this Wizard has something to do with the Noble Man’s story because of the similarities with the name Dredgen Yor and the simple fact that is part of the exotic bounty.
Thorn’s flavor text says
“To rend one’s enemies is to see them not as equals, but objects – hollow of spirit and meaning. 13th Understanding, 7th Book of Sorrow”
The word Rend, means to rip apart violently or to cause emotional pain. This appears to be a characteristic of Hive rituals, they are torn apart and reborn, but they are hollow. You have probably noticed, when you kill Hive, they fall to ash, there is nothing to them. When you kill Vex, the spill milky white fluid, the Radiolaria, when you kill Fallen, they expel ether, when you kill Cabal, fluid and gas comes their suit… when you kill Hive, they dissipate into ash.
Here is some more speculation, like all good Sorceresses, the Wizards keep their ritual secrets in the Book of Sorrow. They perform these rituals to rebirth the Hive, hollow of meaning and ready to be filled by Darkness. Is it possible that the Noble man, ventured into the Hive Summoning Pits and witnessed Xyor conducting one of these Hollowing rituals and without knowing, the noble man was also affected by the ritual, set upon the path of sorrow, a cycle that would hollow him and consume his light. Another speculative theory could be, that the noble man, stole a page from the Book of Sorrow, the 13th Understanding, hoping it would contain the secrets the Hive, the secret to their destruction, so that he could revenge those who had fallen during the Great Disaster.
There may actually be evidence of this in his conversation with one of the Bandits, in Ghost Fragment Thorn 2 Card. Dredgen Yor says to the bandit,
“Do you have nightmares? Ever seen a nightmare? Ever opened your eyes and realized the horror wasn’t a dream? The terror wasn’t gone? I’ve seen nightmares. They live in the shadows. They’ve been watching. I thought…It’s foolish, I know… but I thought I saw a way. That maybe we could win. Maybe we could survive. But once you step into those shadows, it’s so very hard to walk in the light.”
It seems very plausible, that the noble man was trying to find a solution, a way to win against the Hive, however he could not resist and was corrupted upon entering the shadows.
Something had been set in motion, it fed his dark side, and there was no stopping the corruption spreading once it had been started.
This would not be the first time that a guardian has attempted to discover Hive sorcery and use their own powers against them. The noble man almost parallels Toland, The Shattered. Whilst Toland, was considered mad after discovering the secrets of the Hive, I do not believe he was corrupted like the noble man was. In fact, many cards refers to how acutely aware Toland was, of the ease of being corrupted by the Hive. The Blades of Crota grimoire card reinforces this, Toland says to Vell and Eriana-3, “Death is nothing compared with the shadows”, he then says in reference to wielding one of the dark swords, a weapon of the night
“when you have your hand around the hilt and their ash under your boot, you might change your tune Hunter.”
This a reference to the corruption that occurs with wielding Hive weaponary.
Toland is well aware, that the weapons of the Hive hold great power, however, they can easily corrupt a Guardian. The weapons are almost parasitic, they feed off their owner, they feed off the internal darkness, the aggression and also the light until the wielder is hollow just like the Hive. So now we move onto Thorn itself, understanding how Thorn fits into this story is actually quite difficult and more complicated than I expected.
It is like asking who came first, did the noble man transform into Dredgen Yor, influenced by a Wizard and then create Thorn or was Thorn already there, being a weapon of sorrow, linked to Hive sorcery, linked to the Wizard, it was a catalyst for the transformation, whispering in his ear. I believe it is a bit of both and there is evidence for both.
In the Ghost Fragment: thorn 2, Dredgen Yor says to one of the bandits, “Didn’t find it. Made it.” In reference to Thorn. This is obvious evidence, that he actually made Thorn. However, the Ghost Fragment Thorn card says
“On his last day he sat and watched the sun fall. His final thoughts, pure of mind, if not body, held to a fleeting hope. In his first moments as a new being, he looked down at his Rose and realized for the first time that it held no petals: only the jagged purpose of angry thorns.”
The key is within the last sentence, the specific use of “realized for the first time” implies, that his weapon was always Thorn, it did not transform from Rose toThorn, it was just not until he became a new being that he actually realized the true form of his weapon.
This theory is also reinforced by the Ghost Fragment Thorn 2 card, Dredgen says
“I used to think of it as a rose… but the bloom is just a byproduct of its anger.”
Once again, this seems to suggest that his original weapon Rose did not transform but more that his perspective is what changed.
I believe that this idea that the Rose did not transform into Thorn, but was always Thorn, is just the lie that Dredgen Yor tells himself. It is sort of like saying, this is who I am, I have always been this way. This is supported by the Ghost Fragment: Thorn 3 card. This card describes a conversation between Dredgen Yor and his Ghost. Dredgen Yor says
“Yet you disagree so thoroughly with my change in perspective” his Ghost replies “If only the change was simply one of perspective. You’re ‘evolution’ was no choice. This is not you having come to an understanding after careful considered thought. This is corruption.” Dredge replies, “the Shadows”, his Ghost says “The Darkness”.
I believe this is the true version of events, that it was not just a change in perspective but he was corrupted from being exposed to the Hive, specifically a Hive Wizard. This exposure capitalized on the Darkness within him and allowed his mind to be infiltrated. When Dredgen Yor says that he made Thorn, it may have been intentional and he used the secrets of the Hive or may have been unintentional and as the noble man began to transform, so did his weapon, darkness seeped into the weapon. Regardless, the weapon itself took on its own life form and started a cycle of corruption. It began to feed off Dredgen Yor’s pride, pain, fear, aggression and as Dredgen’s light faded, Thorn increased in power, as Thorn increased in power, Dredgen’s own power increased as he wielded the weapon. You can see that Dredgen and Thorn fuelled each other.
At some point following the Noble Man’s transformation, Dredgen Yor appeared in the Tower and entered the crucible. The Mark of Contention, a Titan mark states that
“The mighty Thalor was invincible in the Crucible- until Dredgen Yor and his Thorn.” The Cloak of Dredgen Yor says “Before he took Pahanin’s Light, Dredgen Yor ruled the Crucible, the notorious Thorn at his side”.
I guess the most obvious question is, why did they let Dredgen Yor into the crucible with Thorn? It does not specifically say that he killed these guardians, however it heavily implies that Dredgen Yor removed their light until the point of death. I have not found any factual reason for why Dredgen was allowed into the Tower, let alone the crucible, however I can only speculate that it was the same emotion that started it all, pride. Lord Shaxx, the Crucible master, is one of the most pride driven characters in Destiny, it may be possible that he thought they could learn something from Dredgen Yor in the crucible, maybe others could learn the power of the Hive, maybe they had faith that Dredgen Yor was not yet lost. The Titan Mark NYOB quotes Thalor, “One day in the Crucible tells you everything you need to know about a Guardian. Even yourself.” – Thalor”. Maybe this was the last effort to save Dredgen Yor, to rediscover that noble man.
Regardless of Lord Shaxx’s reasons to allow Dredgen into the crucible, I can only assume Dredgen was exiled. It would be reasonable that Dredgen would be exiled for simply dabbling in Hive sorcery, like Toland was, let alone the innocent blood that was on his hands.
The Ghost Fragment Thorn cards that I have been quoting appear to take place outside the city walls, in the frontier and this is where we witness the monster that is Dredgen Yor. Like the Hive he considers his victims hollow, empty of meaning and spirit. This is most evident in Ghost Fragment Thorn 2 card. The conversation is between Dredgen and four bandits partaking in dangerous banter, as if testing each other’s strength and will. Eventually, Dredgen tires of the conversation and three audible cracks cut through the air. Dredgen shoots dead the three of the bandits, three bandits they were not even talking. He says to the last bandit, “Sit down”… “Sit down”… “Your mouth just got your friends dead. This is what happens when you bore me. And right now… I’m so very bored”. Dredgen torments the last Bandit and says “You wanted to see my prize” he points Thorn at the face of the man, “Look at it”, the man begins to sob and closes his eyes, Dredgen instructs him “open your eyes. Look at it”, as the man opens his eyes one last time and between the sobs, Dredgen executes the bandit. This card is truly horrific and graphic but clearly represents Dredgen’s transformation and disregard for life.
We are starting to get to the end of Dredgen Yor’s story, Ghost Fragment Thorn 3 card documents his last conversation with his Ghost. His Ghost makes a finally bid for Dredgen to change his ways, to come back to the light. His Ghost reminds him that he has murdered innocent people. Dredgen claims their innocence is a matter of perspective and threatens to carve the light from the Ghost, leaving the empty carcass of first and last friend in the dirt. His Ghost finally realizes that the noble man is lost once and for all, with a frightening statement from Dredgen. Dredgen says, the only reason why he would “give someone hope, is so when he preyed upon them, they would have more to lose. Their pain will be greater. Their screams more pure.” The Ghost finally realizes that the noble man is truly dead and only Dredgen Yor stands in his place.
The last piece to this story comes from the flavor text for The Last Word. It reads “”Yours…not mine.” – Renegade Hunter Shin Malphur to Dredgen Yor. That is the perfect spot to end this episode for Thorn and Part 2 will cover The Last Word, so we can see how Hunter Shin Malphur came to be the owner of The Last Word and why he faced Dredgen Yor.
Before you leave, you know that I like to reward those viewers who stay to the end. Now I have saved one other piece of evidence for this moment because it contains spoilers. This information is taken from some of the dialogue said in the very first mission of TTK. If you do not want to know anything about the first mission in the TTK, then please leave now.
You likely already know that in your first mission in TTK you will travel to Phobos, one of Mars moons. You likely have heard Commander Zavala providing instructions during this mission, however I recently watched a longer playthrough that had been leaked, and there was another character that provided instructions. And this was Eris Morn. As you enter the Cabal firebase, Eris Morn says this “Something has drawn us here, I hear whispers in the Dark, fingertips on the surface of my mind, the whispers are louder, I will endure.” This provides evidence that these whispers of corruption, whispers of the shadow that corrupted Dredgen Yor is not only coming from the Hive, but has originated directly from the Hive God himself Oryx.
When you enter the TTK, ask yourself this question, is your light bright enough Guardian?