Letters from a Renegade
I: An Introduction to Consequence
We must each walk our own path, find our own way, every step forward unique to the lives we've led, the choices we've made. Yet we're connected. All of us. By choice. By consequence. By random luck, and those steps taken and decisions made. Our individual lives shaped by the person we were, the person we are, the person we claim to be, the person we hope to be—the stages of our singular existence. Or so we tell ourselves, lost as we are in our own stories. In truth, there is no "I," no singular existence. Never has been. Never will be. You. Me. Your fireteam and friends. Your allies and enemies. All lives move with—collide with—other lives, for better or worse, to form the whole of a lifetime (lifetimes?). It took me a long time to understand this: None of us are alone. I call it the "first understanding"—it's a bit of an inside joke. But I think maybe you get it. In fact, I'm quite certain you do. That's why I'm writing you. That's why now, after a life removed from the bigger picture, I'm risking everything I am on a simple bet—that you are different. That you are better. Than me. Than them—those who would tempt the dark. This is what I want—need—you to understand. Your path is not your own. It is shared. It has impact. It carries consequence and creates wake, both obvious and unseen. And the path you're currently walking is… concerning. For yourself, whether you see it or not. More importantly, for others. For those you may—those you will—influence. Collisions yet to come. New paths unimagined. Collateral impacts beyond the narrow view of your own life. Have you considered this? I ask not to sway you; you will find your way, and I will hold off judgment until judgment is necessary. I ask because we are at our best when considering the fallout of our intentions—good or bad, grand or small. That's all I'm after, here and now… Your consideration. Of the deeds left behind. And deeds yet to come. Who do you claim to be? Who do you hope to be? And how do the ripples of those answers expand to touch the lives around you? Think on your life and your actions. And continue ever forward. I will help where I can, with knowledge gained from a life hunting the very dangers you tempt. And though we'll never meet—our paths crossing at a distance as we each seek to confront all that drives us—from this moment on, our lives will never be the same. My name is Shin Malphur. And I believe you, Guardian, are the hope I was told was a lie. —S.
II: For Fear of the Conquering Hero
I knew a man once. Some claim he was a monster, and I agreed for a very long time. Anymore, I refuse to honor him with the power such labels imply. "Monster." "Beast." "Other." Terrors meant to frighten—meant to weaken, meant to control. There are no monsters. Only the broken and the misunderstood. Still terrifying, sure. But knowable. Conquerable. Unworthy of the power they possess. This man, clad in black and misshapen by the weight of his sins, professed to wield hope as a weapon, to offer it as a crutch, a beacon he saw as false promise. "Nothing dies like hope," he'd say. And was right. The loss of hope stings like no other. But he knew something else—a truth he would not share, a truth muddied by his words and deeds and the grim menace of his presence. And that truth? Hope is eternal. It may fade. It may get lost in the pain and suffering of existence. But it's always there. Somewhere. Hidden maybe, in plain sight or far from view. This man who craved fear, who inflicted its curse on all he encountered, once conquered the life or death game that would become your training ground. Seeing you, and other Guardians, enforce your will over your fellow champions of the Light is reminiscent of the ease with which he was said to dispatch his rivals. But you are not his equal. None are. Not Lord Shaxx. Not Commander Zavala. None of his "shadows" or the new breed who wear his title like a badge of honor. "Dredgen" means "abyss." It is an ancient tongue. Not Human. Not Hive. Just forgotten arcana—another layer of uncertainty and fear draped around a bastard to provide comfort against his sins. It means "nothing." It is a void. As is his path. And while you enjoy your victories and embrace the competitive fires of the Crucible, I would ask you to reflect once more upon yourself… Do you find joy in the challenge, or in the pain you inflict upon your "enemies"? Do you revel in the thrill of facing your equal in combat—in testing the limits of your might? Or do you take pleasure in the breaking of their spirit? Reflect on the answers you find. Seek yourself within the truth of your deeds. Are you a hero or are you a conqueror? One can harness the other, but the opposite is not true. For what it's worth, I see both in you. —S.
III: A Fire Inside
How did it feel? Hunting the Crow—tracking him through the tangled wilds of the Reef? Hunting the Barons—one-by-one, stalking the cutthroats who killed your friend? Was it righteous? Or pure, anger—vengeance driven by a lust for "justice"? I know the feeling. I know the sensation—loss, followed by a hole so big you can't fill it with anything but retribution. I've felt that hole twice. First when everything I'd known was turned to ash. I was just a child then. No way of knowing when, or if, the pain would end. A man—Jaren, my third father—helped redirect that pain. Give me purpose. Taught me to hunt. Taught me to survive. Taught me about vengeance. It felt good—like a fire inside. Or so I thought. In truth, the "good" was just a dulling of the pain—a covering up of the burden of my loss through the redirection of my focus. Why be sad? Why be broken? When you can be angry. And so I was. For a long time. After Jaren died—killed by the would-be monster and his Weapon of Sorrow—I hated him for a good while. I was alone again. Lost. I had no direction. I felt abandoned—just me and the hole left by losing everything I knew The man who'd destroyed my life twice over—first the burning of Palamon, my home, then the murder of my mentor and father-figure—still walked the wilds, but I was just a young man, angry and frightened. Vengeance—the fire inside me—was a weight, not a comfort, because I lacked the confidence needed to see it through. I spent a long time mad—at the murderer who played in shadows, at Jaren for leaving me, at the world, at myself for being lost, at Jaren's Ghost for not believing in me. My anger defined me. As did yours. For a short while. What I wonder is, have you ever considered… Cayde's death was not the origin of your recent aggression, but simply a catalyst for its release. That it's possible this whole second life of yours has been driven by vengeance: for the life you lost before your return as a Guardian, for the world—worlds—lost to the Great Collapse. Are you truly fighting to protect and reclaim, or have you been fighting this whole time to avenge? What are you fighting for now? Does your anger define you? If yes, if no—what are the consequence of either? Honestly. Truly. Ask yourself… What are you fighting for? And can you feel a fire—even a spark—welling up inside of you? —S.