Dominus Ghaul

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Dominus Ghaul
Biographical information

Other name(s):

The Ghost Primus
The Usurper
Gary (titled by Cayde-6)
Dominus of the Red Legion
Annihilator of Suns
Razer of a Thousand Worlds
Slayer of Gods
Conquerer of the Light
The Abdicated
The Arch-Traitor





Eye color:


Political and military information


Red Legion


Primus (formerly)


Gladiator (formerly)

Notable info:

Usurped the former emperor Calus
First ever Cabal lightbearer

Dominus Ghaul
Biographical information




Red Legion




Centurion Lightbearer (forcefully)



Combat information




Projection Rifle


Midair Levitation
Brief Immunity
Solar Slicer Super
Burning Effect
Void Armament Super
Slowness Effect
Arc Wrath Super
Shocking Debuff
Quake Attack
High Durability
Rapid Movement
Summon Cabal

Dominus Ghaul
Radiant form of Dominus Ghaul
Biographical information


Cabal (Corrupted Light)


Red Legion


Lightbearer (forcefully)



Combat information




"You're not brave. You've merely forgotten the fear of death. Allow me to reacquaint you."[1]

Dominus Ghaul[1] was the self-proclaimed ruler of the Cabal Empire, after the exile of its previous Emperor Calus.[2] Upon receiving the distress call sent by the Skyburners during the Taken War, Ghaul traveled to the Solar System with his Red Legion with the goal of claiming the Traveler and its Light for himself.

He successfully carried out a surprise attack against the Last City, capturing The Speaker, destroying the Tower, and severing the Guardians' connection to the Light by isolating the Traveler within a containment device.[1][3]


The Ghost Primus

"I command Legions. Conquered worlds. Waged war across the galaxy to prove my worth. I alone am worthy of the Traveler's Light."
— Dominus Ghaul[4]

Ghaul was born a runt, and was abandoned at birth to die of exposure according to Cabal custom. Instead, he was found by The Consul, a disgraced scholar and aristocrat of the Praetorate, who decided to raise, befriend, train, and teach Ghaul in the hopes that he would one day overthrow Emperor Calus.[5] In particular, the Consul taught Ghaul of the Traveler and instilled in him a belief that the Cabal deserved its power by right. Ghaul knew how the Consul was using him and accepted it as a fair exchange for his upbringing.[6][7][8]

Ghaul first came to Calus's attention as a new fighter in his coliseum. His striking sun-bleached white skin, combined with his singular skill and measured, patient approach to combat, quickly made him the Emperor's favorite Gladiator. Calus would amuse himself by forcing those who had displeased him to bet against Ghaul, while he bet for him. However, Calus began to grow apprehensive of wasting Ghaul's skill in the coliseum, and so elevated him to Primus of the Red Legion, where he became known as the "Ghost Primus."[7] As the Primus of the Red Legion, Ghaul quickly became indispensable to the Emperor not only for his skill in battle but also his wisdom. Ghaul soon found himself as the right hand of Calus, who would often discuss his plans and ideas with Ghaul to refine them and temper the Emperor's passion with discipline.[9] Ghaul grew close with the Calus as well, confiding in him how he believed the adversity he had faced throughout his life shaped and strengthened him into the warrior he became.[10]

Despite the growing friendship between Ghaul and Calus and the close trust and faith the Emperor favored him with, Ghaul's loyalties remained with the Consul and he utilized his position to began plotting a coup against the Emperor with the aid of what remained of the Praetorate and a number of Calus' closest allies and advisers. Among the allies he gathered were Calus' own daughter Caiatl, Evocate-General Umun'arath, Calus' bodyguard Shayotet, and Freeborn Otzot, who feared losing her status should Calus free all Psions from slavery.[5] Calus grew concerned about Ghaul's activities and dispatched a spy to follow him, although he did not know the true extent of Ghaul's plans.[11]

Ghaul as depicted in Calus's journal.

Ghaul's plans were complicated by the surviving members of the Praetorate, who sought greater control over him and tried to delay his coup for a more advantageous moment. Ghaul ignored their efforts and rejected their attempts to rule over him, and chose his own time and place to remove Calus from power.[5] Alongside the Consul and the Red Legion, Ghaul personally invaded Calus' palace on Torobatl in the middle of a late-night court celebration and arrested him, with the aid of Caiatl and Shayotet ensuring that Calus' was caught off-guard and unable to resist. Under the cover of darkness, the Emperor and his remaining military supporters were marched into The Leviathan, sealed within, and exiled far into space along a pre-programmed course, as he was too popular to openly execute. Ghaul found himself unable to look into Calus' eyes during the coup and exile, although Calus was unsure why and thought it could be due to shame.[12]

With Calus gone, Ghaul titled himself Dominus and declared himself the leader of a new Cabal regime, where there would be no more emperors and where everyone could attain greatness if they worked hard for it. Under his direction, the Cabal militarized and became a conquering, expansionist empire, and the Praetorate regained little of the power it had held before Calus, although the Consul remained Ghaul's advisor.[5] Ghaul eliminated much of the decadence of the Empire in favor of perfecting the Cabal into what he viewed as an ideal war-driven form.[13] Knowing that Calus remained alive and a potential threat to his rule, Ghaul took steps to hide his movements from the exiled Emperor in an effort to keep his plans secret.[14]

Along with his efforts to hide his movements from Calus, Ghaul had also employed the use of Psions to mask his fleets from the Hive in his conquest of their War moons on the fringe of Cabal space to ensure a "buffer" against invasion.[15]

Skyburner's Distress Call

Skyburner's signal sent to Dominus Ghaul.

"It came from the Emperor Himself. I'm ordered to board and capture the Hive flagship. At any cost."
— Primus Ta'aun

Centuries after taking power in the Cabal Empire, Primus Ta'aun of the Skyburners legion sent a report to the Cabal High Command detailing the destruction of Fleetbase Korus on Phobos at the hands of a Hive fleet led by Oryx, the Taken King. This report reached Ghaul who gave Ta'aun explicit orders to board the Dreadnaught and eliminate Oryx. Following the taking of Ta'aun and the deaths of Valus Mau'ual and Valus Tlu'urn, Cabal forces on the Dreadnaught sent a detailed distress signal to Ghaul. While a Guardian managed to stop the signal,[16] The Dead Orbit found evidence that the signal had reached its intended target.[17]

The Red War

Fall of the Last City

Dead Orbit's assertion was confirmed two years later, when Ghaul led his Red Legion in an invasion of the Last City, instigating the Red War.[18] In attacking the City, Ghaul sought to show the Traveler the error of its ways in choosing humanity over the Cabal and establish a new order of Guardians from within the ranks of his own species.[1][19]

Ghaul's assault was carried out flawlessly. Taking the City by surprise, the Red Legion rapidly overwhelmed it and destroyed the Tower while his cage device latched onto the Traveler. Ghaul's forces took particular care to capture the Speaker alive, Ghaul being interested in his connection to the Traveler. In a desperate plan to kill him, The Guardian boarded his flagship, the Immortal, and destroyed its shield generator in advance of a concentrated attack. This attack never materialized, and Ghaul personally stepped out to confront the Guardian. As the two faced off, the Cage activated its suppressive shield and stripped the Guardian -- all Guardians -- of their Light. His victory assured, Ghaul beat and mocked the Guardian before kicking them off of the Immortal.

Discussions with the Speaker

Dominus Ghaul confronts The Speaker.

"Beneath my mask, Speaker, is the face of devotion and sacrifice. I will not take the Light by force. To do so would be to admit failure, and I never fail! Now, do you see why I would be chosen?"
— Dominus Ghaul

Days later, aboard the Immortal, Ghaul implored the Traveler to choose him and join his empire. The Consul, in contrast, only viewed it as an advanced machine, and advised Ghaul to simply seize its Light by force. Ghaul disagreed with the Consul's approach and had the Speaker brought to him.

In addition, he sent his prized warship, The Almighty, to the system's sun to destabilize it and cause it to go supernova should the system resist any further. His remaining forces have been sent to the European Dead Zone to hunt the remaining Guardians, to Io to mine the remaining energy from the Traveler and to Nessus to study the Vex. Ghaul also met with Bracus Zahn to acquire advanced weaponry for the Red Legion. He questioned the rogue arms dealer if he had brought all his weapons, who claimed he would not have made the journey to the Dominus' "throne room" without them. The flippant nature of Zahn prompted a rebuke from the Consul, but Zahn suggested that they not waste the time of their only weapons supplier. Ghaul, the Consul, and the other Legion personnel present were angered by this response, but had no choice but to deal with him.[20]

The Consul informs Ghaul about the Almighty.

After days of brutally interrogating the Speaker, Ghaul began to accept that to earn the Traveler's favor he would need to learn devotion and self-sacrifice, but his interrogation of the Speaker was interrupted by a furious Consul. His old advisor informed him of the Guardian's efforts to humiliate the Red Legion's forces across the system using their restored Light, their disablement of the Almighty, and the plan to use the City's remaining forces to launch an attack to liberate the City and the Traveler. With this, the Consul angrily informed Ghaul that they had failed for the first time in the Red Legion's bloody history due to Ghaul's fixation with an "inert machine" and a "creature who claims to speak to it". This angers the Dominus.

The Consul demanded that Ghaul take the Light by force to defeat their enemies but Ghaul remained adamant that he should prove his worth. This led the angered Consul to kill the Speaker. He reminded Ghaul of how he took him in and raised him for greatness, not the Traveler, and how he had risen from a lowly runt to the most powerful warlord in history. The Consul declared that Ghaul dethroned the Emperor Calus and reshaped the Cabal's society, and thus he should take what is his, as the Cabal have always done. Convinced by the Consul's argument but angered by his insubordination, Ghaul throttled his old friend to death and took his warship to the center of the Traveler Cage device to drain the Light by force.

Confrontation with the Guardian

Ghaul rises as an ethereal figure of Light.

"Look upon me. Dominus of the Red Legion. Annihilator of Suns. Razer of a thousands worlds! Slayer of gods and conqueror of the Light! I AM GHAUL! And I have become legend."
— Ghaul, after stealing the Light

At the top of his warship, Ghaul faces off against the Guardian he defeated before but this time infused with some of the Traveler's Light, having successfully stolen it and becoming a Lightbearer. However, the Light that was bestowed upon him was corrupted. After a fierce battle between the two Light-infused warriors, Ghaul was nonetheless defeated. With his death, Ghaul attempted to use Radiance, and is resurrected as a massive ethereal figure due to his corrupted Light, and he declared himself immortal as he speaks to the Traveler directly. In doing so, the Traveler wakes from its slumber, destroying the device that was harvesting its power and then destroyed Ghaul himself, sending a massive shockwave across the planet and system, restoring the Light and ending Ghaul's threat forever. For the first time in history, the Red Legion had known true defeat and the leader of their people, their strongest warrior and Dominus, is now dead.[21]


"Even simply a visage of Ghaul is unacceptable. The Pyramid knows this. It feeds off this. Do not let it win."
Eris Morn, speaking on Ghaul's Nightmare.

Since Ghaul's death and the liberation of the Last City, the Red Legion have maintained a foothold in the Sol System but have become seriously weakened and demoralized at the loss of their leader. Eventually, command of the Red Legion was usurped by Val Ca'uor, who sought to revitalize the legion by acquiring energy and supplies from Mars and Mercury respectively. However, such campaigns led to further conflicts with the Guardians, the Vex and the Grasp of Nokris Hive faction.

Despite continued setbacks from the Guardians, Val Ca'uor decided to further empower the Red Legion by stealing the massive spaceship, The Leviathan, the personal pleasure-craft of Ghaul's predecessor, Emperor Calus. Ca'uor gathered a large fleet and managed to storm the Spire of Stars to assume control of the vessel. However, Calus called upon the Guardians to repel the Red Legion in exchange for riches and rewards. Like Ghaul, Ca'uor would fail against the Guardians, leading to a crippling defeat for the Red Legion and the end of the Red War.

With Ca'uor's death, the Red Legion was leaderless for a time, although its remnants were still active across the system. Eventually, a trio of Psion Flayer sisters would rally these remnants on Mercury, finding and exploiting The Sundial of Osiris in an attempt to alter the timeline and reverse Ghaul's defeat in the Red War. However, the sisters had their own motivations in doing so, desiring to use their knowledge of Ghaul's failures not just to win the Red War, but to puppeteer Ghaul so that they might find freedom for the Psion race from the Cabal. Their failure at the hands of Guardians caused a fourth sister, Amtec, to launch Ghaul's prized weapon, the Almighty, at Earth, though it would be destroyed by Rasputin. In the ensuing power vacuum, Ghaul's fellow co-conspirator and daughter of Calus, Caiatl, the Princess-Imperial, has begun rallying the Red Legion once more, proclaiming that she will surpass Ghaul's weaknesses. As of Season of the Hunt, her emissaries have arrived in the system and begun to interact with the remaining Red Legion troops.

Though Ghaul failed in his goal of claiming the Traveler's Light, his actions in the Red War and nearly destroying the last bastion of humanity would remain a bitter memory for the Guardians and survivors of the initial attack. As a result, Ghaul's form would be used as a Nightmare in a newly emerged Hive fortress on Luna, leading to the events of Shadowkeep where it would be repeatedly defeated and eventually banished, weakening the Lunar Pyramid's influence. Ghaul's Nightmare would later be resurrected once more by the Lunar Pyramid through Empress Caiatl's regrets during Season of the Haunted. The Nightmare of Ghaul would torment Caiatl until near the season's conclusion where she worked with Eris Morn and The Guardian to instead of banishing the Nightmare once more, to turn it against the Lunar Pyramid as a memory of Ghaul, seemingly putting his presence within the Sol System to permanent rest.

Ghaul to this day is seen as a hero, a champion, and a sign of potential for any and all Cabal. Many Cabal Deserters fight still in his name and goal of destroying the Last City and its Guardians.

Personality and traits

Dominus Ghaul

"Do you see all that I have done?"
— Dominus Ghaul to The Speaker.

Ghaul was adorned in large white armor with red and gold detailing, and was often seen without a helmet, sporting a metal facemask instead. He also had albinism, given his pale skin and deep red eyes. Ghaul appeared to be an adept strategist, choosing to launch his invasion during a severe thunderstorm that concealed his warships from visual detection until it was too late. Ghaul also managed to accomplish, in the span of several hours, what the other races could not do in centuries, to conquer the Last City and scatter the Guardians.[1][3] Thousands of years prior, Ghaul also managed to lead a united military coup against Emperor Calus single-handedly, demonstrating his adept skills and charisma toward his people.

On the battlefield, Ghaul was a ruthless and domineering warlord, taller than most of his kind, going as far as to conquer an entire civilization at the behest of his people's benefit, demonstrating a cold lack of care and sympathy for other alien races outside of the Cabal, excluding the Psion and War Beast races. Ghaul was also incredibly physically strong for a member of his race, being able to effortlessly send a fully armored Titan flying into the air just by kneeing him. Ghaul was able to throw fully armored Guardians around as if they were mere toys, even putting a lone Titan onto the ground in seconds, a physical testament to his might.

Ghaul also viewed himself with high esteem to the point of arrogance, condescendingly calling The Guardian a "creature," telling them to not to look at him beforehand. In addition, he believed that he alone is worthy of the Traveler's Light and its gifts. Therefore, he felt that the Guardians don't deserve the Traveler's Light as him and his people do, displaying traits of megalomania. Despite this, he originally wanted to prove that he was worthy of the Traveler's Light rather than simply take it. He stated to the Speaker that in taking the Light by force, he would have admitted his own failure in proving his own worth. In a cutscene, he spoke about his fascination with the Traveler and how he studied it and its movements across the stars. He was intrigued by its ability to bestow the light upon species and how it gave immortality, through the Ghosts, to the Guardians. He questioned the Speaker on how to be deemed worthy by the Traveler and gifted with immortality, wanting to put the knowledge to his own use. He was disappointed however, when the Speaker told him that the Light can only be given to him through death.

However, Ghaul was not always like this, as Calus' journal revealed that Ghaul was once an innocent orphan, who was adopted by The Consul, meant to be used as a proxy to usurp Calus and the Empire. The Consul instilled ideals of hatred and rage into Ghaul and taught him to become a powerful warrior, one without mercy. However, though Ghaul was intended to be a puppet to the Consul's group, he proved to be far more strong-willed than anticipated. In time, the group that elevated and used him, the Consul included, learned to fear him and follow his creeds.[22]

Ghaul seemingly went insane after the destruction of The Almighty, possibly due to mounting pressure upon him from his failures during the Red War, going as far as to kill his long-time teacher and friend, The Consul, after he simply questioned his objective. In his last moments, he displayed psychotic traits and tendencies, gloating and shouting crazed taunts and challenges at The Guardian as he fought them.


Dominus Ghaul is the main boss of the Story mission Chosen. He mainly attacks with a one-handed Projection Rifle for long-ranged fire and will summon a Quake shockwave when faced up close, but will constantly shift through different Light-based attacks. The first is Solar Slicer, where, like a Dawnblade, he rises up into the air and throws flaming swords at the player, which inflict a burning effect upon a direct hit. The second is a Void shield, where he will be immune to damage as he charges up the attack shortly before releasing it, creating a giant dome that slows the player down when trapped inside. The third is Arc Wrath, where he hurls Arc energy spheres, which leave behind a shockwave that deals damage over time. This constant shift in attacks makes Ghaul a dangerous foe.


  • "Welcome to a world without Light."[1]
  • "Humanity never deserved the power you were given."
  • "Do not look at me, Creature!"
  • "I was born an outcast, left for dead."
  • "Rejection. Ridicule. Torment. It made me stronger."
  • "Your "Light" is mine."
  • "They call it the Traveler."
  • "Your journey ends... here."
  • "Beneath my mask, Speaker, is the face of devotion and sacrifice."
  • "I will not take the Light by force. To do so would be to admit failure and I never fail!"
  • "I will do what I swore, old friend. I am Ghaul. And I will take the Light."
  • "You won't escape me again!"
  • "Your Traveler should have chosen me, and now it is too late!"
  • "Look at your dead god! it wont save humanity a second time!"
  • " I am Ghaul! I claim what is mine!"
  • "More...I NEED MORE!"
  • " You failed your Traveler. You let your city die. Give up! You've got nothing to fight for, nothing to die for."
  • " I pity you. You know nothing of sacrifice, nothing of worth!"
  • "Traveler, Do you see me now!"



  • The name "Gary",[3] as Cayde calls him, has quickly evolved to a memetic status amongst the community.
  • Ghaul is the first Cabal character to be observed fluently speaking English, and the fifth overall antagonist to do so. How he has learned a human language remains unknown.
  • Luke Smith has compared Ghaul to Hans Gruber from the Die Hard series.[23]
  • Dominus Ghaul is voiced by Neil Kaplan.[24]
  • Ghaul was once known as the Ghost Primus.
  • Ghaul shows a resemblance to Darth Malgus from Star Wars: The Old Republic.
  • Ironically, Ghaul's insistence on the validity of a "might makes right" philosophy to gain access to the Light more closely aligns with The Sword Logic, and thus the professed aims of the Darkness. This would explain how his Light appears to be corrupted during his fight against the Guardian.
  • Ghaul is the first known Non-Human to become a Lightbearer, albeit forcefully. The second being Savathûn, the Witch Queen.
  • Ghaul's appearance bears resemblance to the Unggoy, also called Grunts, from the Halo series and is seen as a common joke in the Destiny community.

List of appearances


  1. ^ a b c d e f YouTube - Destiny 2 – "Gameplay Premiere Livestream (US)"
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c YouTube - Destiny 2 – "Destiny 2 Gameplay Premiere Livestream (US)
  4. ^ YouTube - Destiny 2 – Official “Our Darkest Hour” E3 Trailer
  5. ^ a b c d Cabal Booklet
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b Bungie (2017/8/9), Destiny 2: PlayStation 4, Activision Blizzard, Ghost Primus
  8. ^ Bungie (2014/9/9), Destiny 2: Playstation 4, Activision Blizzard
  9. ^ Bungie (2017/8/9), Destiny 2: PlayStation 4, Activision Blizzard, Bond of the Emperor's Minister
  10. ^ Bungie (2017/8/9), Destiny 2: PlayStation 4, Activision Blizzard, Gloves of the Emperor's Agent
  11. ^ Bungie (2017/8/9), Destiny 2: PlayStation 4, Activision Blizzard, Conspirator
  12. ^ Bungie (2017/8/9), Destiny 2: PlayStation 4, Activision Blizzard, Midnight Coup
  13. ^ Bungie (2017/8/9), Destiny 2: PlayStation 4, Activision Blizzard, Sins of the Past
  14. ^ Bungie (2017/8/9), Destiny 2: PlayStation 4, Activision Blizzard, Boots of the Emperor's Agent
  15. ^ Bungie (2017/8/9), Destiny 2: PlayStation 4, Activision Blizzard, Lore:Confessions
  16. ^ Destiny (9/15/2015): PlayStation 4, Outbound Signal
  17. ^ Destiny (9/15/2015), PlayStation 4, Outbound Signal
  18. ^ Destiny 2 - Lead Creators Discuss Story Direction
  19. '^ engadget - Destiny 2' tackles the original's biggest problem: storytelling
  20. ^ Bungie (2017/5/12), Destiny 2: Curse of Osiris, Playstation 4, Activision Blizzard, Tilt Fuse
  21. ^ Bungie (2017/8/9), Destiny 2: Playstation 4, Activision Blizzard, Chosen
  22. ^
  24. ^ Twitter - I. AM. GHAUL. #Destiny2