I’m really fucking tired of dead Guardians in Destiny. This is an in-game trope that has basically haunted us since vanilla D1. Basically every time you get sent to address some kind of distress call, you can rest assured that on the other end of it, the guy you’re helping out is either already dead, or possibly going to die while you’re listening. That’s even the plot of an entire strike in Destiny 2 (Savathun’s Song), where you get to meet the total badass that is Taeko-3 via radio, just to hear her off herself on the line so you can go on to beat the boss.
Exception: You get to rescue Cayde during the D2 campaign. Oh yeah, and then he bites it in Forsaken. Maybe the player character Guardian should just stop trying to rescue people.
I was pretty upset in D1 when there was a story mission where the conclusion was the corpse of Praedyth, a character we’d all gotten to look up to via lore cookies on gear named after him. I haven’t been looking forward to personally adding more legends to the massive pile of dead Guardians we stand on as players.
Which brings us to Curse of Osiris. Where we get sent to see the tomb of my personal favorite legendary Guardian, Saint-14. (Look, I’m a Titan at heart. Bite me.)
To this, I say no. Saint-14 isn’t dead. And this isn’t just me being in denial because I am tired of dead Guardians.
Let me explain.
The entire way you get to Saint-14’s tomb is via the Infinite Forest, which is a giant ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff. The entire point of the Infinite Forest is that it’s a simulator that runs on an engine of time travel bullshit that enables the Vex to try to calculate a future where they get all of the things they want. Well, considering what an unholy terror Saint-14 supposedly is, it’s no surprise that the Vex want him dead, right? So right off the bat, you cannot trust anything the Infinite Forest tells you, because it’s only calculating futures and possibility trees; it’s not a picture of current reality, but rather what the Vex could do if they traveled to some other point in time and changed things.
Another factor to consider: we get told repeatedly that the Light of the Guardians is one of the few things that the Vex can’t manage to simulate. So when we get to Saint-14’s tomb, Ghost tells us that there’s no Light here, despite the fact that what’s led us here was “traces of familiar Light.” Which sure, could be a way for the Destiny writers to be yelling, “LOL HE’S SUPER DEAD, TROLLED YOU AGAIN.” Or it could also be an indication that Saint-14’s corpse is just an approximation, an empty shell because the Vex can simulate a mannequin that looks like Saint-14, but they can’t actually make it be him. The fact that this tomb is also in the simulation we’ve seen before, the awful-looking place where the Vex have won (or are about to win) cements that for me as another argument that they’re figuring Saint-14 being super dead is necessary for that to happen.
Also, Saint-14 is a big enough badass that he made a whole rift full of his Light in the Infinite Forest. So what’s that about? We’re following traces of his Light smeared all over the damn place, but he’s simultaneously utterly gone? I don’t buy it. The Vex aren’t known for utterly destroying a Guardian’s Light the way the Hive do. Praedyth kind of survived being dead as a ghost. You can’t do that with no Light. Kabr still had his Light and was able to turn himself into the Aegis, even while he was getting brain-eaten by the Vex. (Kind of like whatever horrible Vex transformation happens to Asher, it’s eating his body from the outside in, not his Light.) So if Saint-14’s Light is utterly gone, it wasn’t the doing of the Vex, that’s for sure. The Perfect Paradox lore says that the Vex created a Mind to drain Saint-14’s Light… and also that he killed it. Like he’s literally talking to you while sitting on its corpse. That Light went somewhere, that’s for sure.
But let’s say, even for the sake of argument that the tomb of Saint-14 is “real,” or as real as anything in the Infinite Forest can be. It’s the goddamn Infinite Forest, and Saint-14’s Light is actively in it. He’s still wandering around in there, and may have even stopped by his own tomb to drop some more Vex corpses on it. It’s a world powered by time travel bullshit; anything and everything is possible in it.
Sagira says it best: “Nothing could stop that old Exo.” As much as it pains me to agree with the Drifter about anything, I’m with him–I don’t believe Saint-14 is dead for one minute. Because what’s the point of building a game out of space magic time travel bullshit if your heroes don’t come walking out of death once in a while to tell you to buck up? He’s going to come walking out of the Infinite Forest some time soon to ask for his shotgun back, and welcome to the new DLC, motherfuckers.
And goodness knows we need some more Exos at the rate they disappear from the main cast.
Thanks for coming to my TED Talk.