A Drifter’s Gambit, Part 1

We all knew, or at least should have known, that a character like this was coming. We have been so blindly obedient to the Light, with only a handful of Guardians warning us against such strict, unquestioning faith. What we didn’t know was that this character was going to come in the form of some Pirate Radio DJ whose fan base includes The Nine. 

The Lore Book, A Drifter’s Gambit, follows the life of the man we know only as, “Drifter”, and how he convinced a very staunch critic why he should be allowed to carry out his Gambit, and why it may be our best hope against the Darkness. 

In part one, we are introduced to this confirmed liar and why he is worth watching. Very closely.

This is Videogame Crosstalk, and I hope you enjoy this Destiny Lore video.

In the first entry, Uneasy Feeling, we learn that this book is written from the perspective of an unknown narrator who is truly, extremely concerned about Drifter’s presence in the Sol System.

Not much is actually discussed in this entry, even considering how short it is. What it does do is set up how, literally, uneasy Drifter’s presence makes other guardian’s feel. They don’t know what his motives are, they don’t know where he’s been, they don’t know why other, older guardians don’t trust him. It’s like, a new guy shows up at a social gathering that you’ve never met before. He’s got this odd swagger to him, and he’s cheerful and friendly enough, but all the veterans and old timers are like, “Don’t trust that one.” 

The next entry, Justified Means, is the entry that completes the foundation for Drifter and what Gamit means. Clearly, there are some dark implications for what you’re doing when you play a round of Gambit. Destiny veterans already know this, but for those of you who are newer to the franchise, make no mistake: those are motes of DARKNESS that you’re depositing into a bank for ol’ Drifter to collect. As you go around producing motes of Light for your teammates to pick up that charge your Super, these are literally their antithesis. 

Anyway, what we learn here is that while he may be a Light Bearer, he’s no Guardian. He makes that abundantly clear in past interactions. Even when you visit him in the Tower, his description is, “Rogue Light Bearer”. The man is too independent to blindly swear allegiance to that floating marble ball in the sky, no matter how benevolent it may appear. The narrator, who currently goes by simply, “A Renegade”, continues to explain that he still doesn’t trust him. Not completely, anyway. And then there’s this little bit:

“There was—so we’re clear—a time I’d call him a threat. There was a time I’d look to end him as punishment for the paths he’d tread. But things aren’t quite so simple these days. Ghaul taught us that. And while I still plan to punish those who have transgressed, I can also see the value in certain… risks.

This passage simultaneously states that the Renegade actually warms up to Drifter after a time, as well as his game of Gambit. He acknowledges that it isn’t the safest of methods, far from it, actually, but he still sees value in it and what it may bring. 

In the entry, Step IntoThe Shade, we once again hear the Renegade state that he does not trust him. But now, we get to see why that is. Drifter is deliberately playing an extremely dangerous game:

“This con is a long one, friend, but if any are built to see it done—and see it done right—the Drifter is our man. So, we see it play out—his Gambit and ours. It may not be ideal. In fact, I’d say far from. It’s just that…

“I don’t see another way forward. The Light is fragile but quick. The Dark, dense and slow. If we want to control the balance, tip it in our favor… if we want to confront those shadows who would see it shift further toward the night… we must play in the gray in-between. We must draw them out.

What Drifter wants to do is draw out Guardians who like to dip into dark practices, play with darker powers. Clearly, the Vanguard wants absolutely no part of this. It goes against just about everything they stand for, everything they promote and praise. The Traveler is good, and our Light is proof of that. Anything that has to do with the Darkness is evil and bad.

But it is not like Drifter is telling us to commit to the Darkness, not fully, anyway. He just feels that there’s is untapped power there, and for the Vanguard to be honest with itself: Guardians are already experimenting with the Darkness:

“The Oryx slayers and their like have danced within Ascendant Realms. The nightmare legends of bonewalkers and nether worlds have been cast into the Light. Old fears are now trampled beneath enduring triumph. Now, if ever, is the time to step proud into the unknown and bathe it in our Light.

Moving on to Artifacts and Old Friends, we get a brief look into what Drifter is all about. Or rather, what he wants us to see. No one can really tell what is fact or fiction with him. Here, he tells the renegade that as soon as he was ready, he left to go exploring after he had been risen. He does not state explicitly where, just that he had been “Drawn to the Outer”. 

“He says he’s seen the deep side of Jupiter. Been to the Core Mines of Saturn. Name drops old myths no one’s heard—the Luvial Crux, the Shift Chasms Below Elios, the Fourth Tomb of Nezarec. Goes on about the Idols of Lower Sul, the Treasure of Exodus Prime, the Solar Engine of Dead Star-Six.

So this guy has got tales and stories to spare, that’s for sure! But, as a guy who won’t give his real name, and in various other lore sources he demonstrates why he’s got reasons to lie and obscure the truth, it is tough to take anything at face value. Basically, we’ve got every reason on every imaginable checklist to call this man out as a liar everytime he opens his mouth. However, in the very next paragraph:

…he’s got relics and etchings. He’s got materials not of this system—odd metals, obsidian flames, thought engines, edible null cakes and a stuffed something that looks like a rabbit bio-fused with a cephalopod. He keeps all this stuff to himself—his ‘gets,’ he calls ’em.

So as wild and ridiculous all his claims are, that crazy fool actually has proof! Real, tangible proof! So clearly, he’s been out far beyond our Sol System. Drifter’s seen some stuff, man, and he’s brought back the receipts! So, unfortunately for those who seek absolute truth, we’re going to have to believe at least half of what he tells us. Even if we don’t know which half. 

And then there’s the REAL treasures, the ones that EVEN HE does not fully understand. They’re not Vex artifacts, not Hive, just “Other”, and maybe they might be powerful. When pressed to explain why the hell he would bring something that unknown anywhere near our system, not knowing if it’s powerful or random space junk, his reply is so perfectly him:

“‘Brother… maybes are where the real treasure hides.”

In the entry, Shadow on a Wall, we suddenly establish a connection to some key lore elements from Destiny 1. Everything, of course, is written in code, and unless you’re familiar with some older lore you probably would just read right over it as some grim sounding explanations and descriptions. But trust me, what is implied in a few lines of seemingly insignificant text brings the story to a very dark place. 

This entry is written from the perspective of the Renegade, recounting a past event to the reader. This tie back to older lore begins with the very first line:

I knew Callum by another name — a hated name.

This “hated” name is a reference to the title that so many Destiny 2 Guardians acquire as their first title, which is also centered around Gambit: Dredgen. The first Dredgen was Dredgen Yor, which in an old, dead language means “Eternal Abyss”. Dredgen Yor was once known as the hero, Rezyl Azzir. That was, until he was one of the first to explore the Necropolis under the surface of the moon, come face to face with the absolute horrors of the Hive, and eventually return an utterly changed man. After that encounter, the Hand Cannon that he had always considered his Rose, protecting him with it’s brilliant bloom, he then saw was nothing but jagged edges of hate and despair. And thus was the creation of arguably the most evil weapon in the Destiny universe, Thorn. Despite the evil that Rezyl Azzir succumbed to in his transformation into Dredgen Yor, he still managed to create his own kind of Cult following after his death, losing a duel against the legendary Shin Malphur. This cult was called The Shadows of Yor, and it’s members referred to themselves as “Weapons of Sorrow”.

Interesting….The followers of one of the most hated men in the Destiny universe refer to their group as Shadows, the same title applied to the Champions of Calus…

In this entry, we learn that the Renegade had been hunting Callum and his crew for quite some time, and that Drifter was a part of that group. The members of this group were careful, weighing out the pros and cons of traveling as a group or as separate individuals. 

“Drifter told me Callum had a spot—a hold he used all his own. Said his crew been runnin’ separate jobs to keep me off their trail. Said they knew one-to-one they’d have a hard time walking away, but rolling together only increased their footprint, made ’em easier to trail.

“Made sense. With the six of ’em—Callum’s crew, I mean—spread out, each runnin’ their own search for whatever it is they’re searching for, gave me crossed signals. I’d hear conflicting stories of their deeds from one end of the system to the next, and I had a hard time keepin’ up.

“But this info—Callum’s safe space—it was a lead worth a look.

This is where things start to fall into place.

The renegade made his way to this safe place that Callum used, and waited. Waited a long time, in fact. Callum eventually entered while arguing with his ghost. Remember that at the beginning of this entry, the Renegade noted that he knew Callum by a DIFFERENT name, a HATED name. This implies that Callum had joined the ranks of the Shadows of Yor, and taken the title Dredgen. However, the fact that his ghost still referred to him as Callum told the Renegade that the ghost still had hope for him. A hope that was sadly misplaced.

And then…

“I drew and stepped into the light.

“Callum had his Ghost in his left hand. It was silent. With his right, he had stabbed her through the optics with a sickly dagger—a tool carved from the jagged spikes fired from a weapon I shall not name.

“The Ghost was dead, and Callum just laughed. I think because he knew what came next.

“He and I had words. Told me I’d never kill ’em all. Then he dropped the shell and went for his shooter.

“I lit my fire and painted him on the wall without another word.”

You see, without a Ghost, a Guardian cannot be revived. It guarantees a final death. The fact that Callum saw the Renegade and immediately stabbed his ghost with a projectile from Thorn tells the reader that he knew this was the end and he was going into the Abyss willingly. Another lore reference in here is when the Renegade states “He and I had words”. This is a reference to the Destiny 1 grimoire card, Thorn 2, where the man that becomes Dredgen Yor has an, ah, altercation with some nosy civilians. And in the final line, “I lit my fire and painted him on the wall without another word” simultaneously references the antithesis of Thorn, the exotic hand cannon of Shin Malphur, “Last Word”, and the fact that the renegade activated his solar Light to blast Callum away.

Are you beginning to see the connections now?

And THAT concludes the video! If you enjoyed this video, please let me know and drop a like. If you would like to support this channel but can’t think of anything to leave as a comment, write the word, “Risks”, because in the next video we learn the intent and process of Gambit, and why it is so very, very risky.

Be sure to hit that subscribe button if you want to hear more lore explained in this fashion and keep up to date with my regular podcast, Videogame Crosstalk, the monthly podcast of gamers talking Tech, Science, and whatever else comes to mind. Until then, I’ll see you in the Tower!

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