If Jaren Ward was the embodiment of Light and Hope, Dredgen Yor was what you get when that hope dies. You see, long before the Titan we know as Dredgen Yor became perhaps the worst, most corrupted Guardian in history, he was a man known as Rezyl Azzir.

Rezyl was one of the Risen. One of those found by their Ghost before the Iron Lords, or The City, or the concept of Guardians existed. Rezyl, along with legends such as Zavala, Ikora Rey, and Lord Saladin saw to it that The City’s great walls were built in the first place. Rezyl was a hero, a bringer of hope. I love this quote about Rezyl Azzir:

The noble man stood. And the people looked to him. For he was a beacon – hope given form, yet still only a man. And within that truth there was great promise. If one man could stand against the night, then so too could anyone – everyone.

There are some great stories of Rezyl’s accomplishments. In one, he charges an entire Fallen Ketch on his sparrow knowing he’d be killed in the process. But he has a plan. He had his Ghost hang back. When the Fallen Kell and his troops came out to parade Rezyl’s lifeless body as a prize, Rezyl’s Ghost slipped into the crowd and quickly revived him. Alive again, Rezyl unloaded on the Kell with his hand cannon Rose and then:

In one motion, Rezyl rose from a crouch, his fists clenched and raised high as a storm of Arc Light built within him, his full might raining down on the Kell’s chest. The shockwave of Rezyl’s attack hit like a meteor, shattering the Kell’s body and any Fallen within the Havoc storm’s radius.

Through cleverness and strength, Rezyl had managed to kill a Fallen Kell, one of their highest ranking leaders!

In another story, Rezyl tracks a group of Fallen to a small town nestled in the snowy, tree covered mountains. Although it is not named, the town is almost certainly Palamon. Rezyl saves the town and leads those that are willing back to The City, but some stay behind. This might very well be the event that set Magistrate Loken down his bad path. And for Rezyl, this is yet another time that he does good and saves lives, but only after evil and suffering occur. We learn here that Rezyl is tiring of the endless war and is realizing that the good that he does is never enough.

By this point, Rezyl is a hero known far and wide beyond The City, but there are shadows growing in his mind. Shadows coming from a specific place. From the Moon! There were stories and legends of an evil far worse than the Fallen pirates that Rezyl and other Guardians had been fighting. This is a man who is already slowly losing hope after centuries fighting the Fallen, but Rezyl is also a proud man who is trying to push forward and be the hero he is expected to be despite his fears. So, at some point, Rezyl goes to investigate the strange calling he has been hearing from the moon.

On the moon, Rezyl soon finds and begins to investigate the Hive structures that have long been silent. This is long after the Hive emerged once before and killed thousands of Guardians, and long after Eris Morn and her fireteam managed to kill the Hive god Crota which banished him temporarily from our world. Rezyl’s Ghost notes that the Hive are all supposed to be gone. Once they lost Crota they fell silent… and yet the giant doors of the Hive structure Rezyl is investigating creek open for him as soon as he arrives. The Hive have been waiting for him. They have been calling to him. They invite him in.

Rezyl leaves his Ghost behind with instructions for it to run for help if he doesn’t return. He then proceeds down and down into the depths of the Hellmouth until he encounters waves of Hive being lead by a Hive Wizard. Rezyl does his best, but even his Rose is not enough to save him… and yet the Wizard and her Hive do not kill him. Instead she taunts him, goads him, and plays upon those fears that have been growing in his mind. She show him that the Hive are preparing to reemerge and that there’s nothing he nor The City will be able to do to stop them this time. And then, cruelest of all, she lets him leave.

Two days later, Rezyl emerges back on the lunar surface, but he has been permanently changed by his experience. One of the first things he does do is begin to affix some of the tough, cursed bones of the Hive he fought and killed to his hand cannon Rose. Later, perhaps after warning The City about the reemergence of the Hive, Rezyl spends one last day looking up at the moon while struggling with himself. He was a hero. Someone who spread hope wherever he went. He saved towns and killed alien leaders and helped establish a Last Safe City whose walls now guard millions. And yet, all he can do is look up at the moon in fear of what is coming.

In that cool evening air, 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 forbearer and last descendent of the name Yor.

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.

And so, the man that was Rezyl Azzir dies, and in his place stands Dredgen Yor. As Yor, Rezyl leaves a gash of death and destruction in his wake. We don’t hear a lot about his deeds, one of the few acts we do know about is that he uses his corrupted Rose, now called Thorn, to permanently kill Thalor, a famed Crucible Champion. It is clear from surrounding context in Destiny’s lore that Dredgen Yor becomes infamous and feared by even Guardians of The City. After that Crucible match he is likely driven out of The City after which he continues to wander and continues to sow destruction wherever he goes.

Interestingly, Dredgen Yor’s Ghost stays with him through everything he does. But, eventually, Yor even sends his Ghost away. We have a transcript of the final conversation between Yor and his Ghost. We learn that his Ghost never even really considered leaving his side, not because it agrees with the terrible things he is now doing, but because, as his Ghost says:

I rekindled your Light, it falls first to me to aid in its survival.

Ultimately, though, Dredgen Yor convinces his Ghost to leave by talking up how he now only inspires hope so he can crush those that have it all the more. “Nothing dies like hope” he is quoted saying. But there is one very interesting thing at the end of this transcript that needs to be pointed out. Something important for the future:

[u.2:5.5] If you cannot let that man go, you will forever taint his legacy. All the good I have ever done will be washed away in the fire of who I have become. (Note: u.2 is Dredgen Yor speaking)
[u.1:5.3] If you care, there is still some promise within you. (Note: u.1 is Dredgen Yor’s Ghost speaking.)
[u.2:5.6] If I am being honest, I care only to give hope to the frightened, huddled masses so that when I come upon them they will have more to lose. Their pain will be greater. Their screams more pure.
[u.1:5.4] You…
[u.2:5.7] Nothing dies like hope. I cherish it.
[u.1:5.5] You’re a monster.
[u.2:5.8] Finally, you see the truth.
[u.1:5.6] [REDACTED] is truly dead.
[u.2:5.9] So I’ve said. Long live Dredgen Yor.
[u.1:5.7] This is farewell, but you can only run from your sins so far. In the end, you will die alone.
[u.2:6.0] Maybe so. But I gotta tell ya… I tend to like my odds.
[u.1:5.8] Your tainted “Rose” will not always save you.
[u.2:6.1] Old friend… It already has.

Yes, Dredgen Yor wants to be remembered as the hero Rezyl Azzir for the sole purpose of crushing the hopes of those he next murders, but that one final line, “Old friend… It already has.” is very curious. We’ll come back to this transcript in a bit. For now, I’ll just tease by saying that Dredgen Yor’s Ghost was right the first time.

We don’t have anything even close to a timeline of what Dredgen Yor does once he and his Ghost part ways, but we do know he eventually returns to Palamon, the town he once saved. By doing so, one of the darkest, most twisted Guardians we have record of will come face to face with Jaren Ward, one of the best and brightest.

Next: The Last Word vs Thorn