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Lord Saladin Forge is a Titan Guardian and one of two known survivors of the original Iron Lords. He was one of the founders of the Iron Lords and helped end the Dark Age of Risen Warlords to establish the City Age. However, most of his comrades perished in a battle to contain SIVA, causing Saladin to dedicate his life to maintaining a watch on the Plaguelands to ensure SIVA never emerged again while also fighting to protect The Last City from threats. In time, he established the Iron Banner to keep the memory of the fallen Iron Lords alive and train the new Guardians in the ways of old. When the House of Devils uncovered SIVA and unleashed it upon the Cosmodrome, Saladin worked with The Young Wolf to end the threat of SIVA for good and begin a new generation of Iron Lords.
After sitting out of the Red War due to lacking his Light, Saladin watched for several years as the Vanguard struggled against new threats and the Arrival of the Black Fleet. When the Cabal Empress Caiatl arrived and sought to subjugate humanity, Saladin was tasked by Zavala with leading a strike force to keep her from rallying her forces.
Lord of Iron
Rise of the Iron Lords
Saladin was found and raised by his Ghost in Old Russia during the Dark Age, at which point most of humanity was scattered and lived under the ruthless rule of other Lightbearers who had become Warlords. Saladin befriended three other Risen who did not follow the Warlord's path; Radegast, Jolder, and Perun. Together under Radegast's leadership they hid from the Warlords in isolated communities and feared other Lightbearers, and only occasionally struck against the oppressive rulers. When the mining community they were staying at was assaulted by five Warlords, Saladin and the others fought and killed them, but the civilians they sheltered with were all killed in ensuring battled. As they buried the bodies, Saladin listened as Radegast declared they could no longer live in fear of the Warlords and must become Guardians of the people, gathering likeminded Risen to aid them. While Jolder and Perun suggested recruiting Bretomart and Deidris, Saladin told Radegast he trusted only him. Together, they declared themselves the Iron Lords and vowed to bring an end to the rule of the Warlords.
Saving Patch Run
As the Iron Lords began to recruit, Saladin left to defend to the village of Patch Run from a Fallen House that frequently assaulted it. He was unexpectedly joined by Efrideet, a Lightbearer whom he did not entirely trust. As they finished off a band of Fallen on a cliffside near the town, Efrideet declared she was out of ammo and Saladin stated that she could leave the rest to him. He dodged her question about why he did not trust her and rebuffed her interest in joining the Iron Lords by declaring that he was searching for more than just Lightbearers who could shoot. He turned towards the town and informed her that it had forty-three inhabitants, only half of whom were capable of fighting. Efrideet softly said that it was hardly even a village, but Saladin retorted that they lived a noble life. He admitted that they were under constant attack from a Fallen House in a nearby bunker that he routinely assaulted in hopes of driving them away, but so far nothing had worked. As they spoke, a Fallen Skiff roared by and dropped a Walker into the field between the village and bunker. Without ammo, Saladin was at a loss of what to do, with the Walker being out of range of his Light powers and the time it would take to climb down surely dooming the village. However, Efrideet offered to throw him, causing Saladin to laugh until he realized she was serious and declared there was no dignity in that. She pointed out there was no dignity in letting the village die either.
Saladin agreed to Efrideet's plan and began to warn her not to miss as he gathered Arc energy around himself. He was cut off when she suddenly hoisted him over her head, gathering her own Light for the throw. Their combined Arc Light caused the mountain to begin rumbling as she charged forward and launched Saladin through the air, and he teared across the sky and through the clouds as an Arc missile. Efrideet's aim proved true and Saladin destroyed the Walker, saving Patch Run. He was revived by his Ghost as Efrideet arrived at the field and mocked him for thinking she might miss. Admitting he had never seen her miss a shot before as he wondered what had taken her so long to reach him, Efrideet revealed a few Fallen had survived the Arc strike. Alarmed, he asked where they were now, but she reassured him none had made it to the village. With a newfound respect for Efrideet, Saladin admitted that someone with her skills and moral compass would be welcome in the Iron Lords. However, she only agreed to join if he promised she could throw him again if they ran out of ammo once more. He told Efrideet to meet them at Dwindler's Ridge and when she questioned how many of them there were he smirked and answered "a few".
Dragons and Warlords
Sometime after Saladin recruited Efrideet into the Iron Lords, they encountered an Ahamkara, which were able to grant wishes. Saladin wished to fight a dragon, which transformed the creature into a giant dragon that breathed fire. While Efrideet stayed back and fired on the creature with her rifle, Saladin closed in with his Iron Battle Axe to fight the dragon like a knight of old. He wounded the creature several times while dodging its flames, but his axe soon began to melt from the heat, although he judged it still had enough edge to cut the beast. Efrideet tried to get him to reconsider his strategy and questioned why he had wished to fight a dragon. Grinning under his helmet, he shouted back that they were knights and he wanted to be a dragon slayer. Leaping at the roaring creature once more, Saladin yelled to his companion that they were what they survived.
With their new recruits gathered, Saladin and his comrades began their campaign against the Warlords. They quickly developed a reputation as defenders of humanity and several Warlords joined their cause, including Felwinter, who donated his stronghold on Felwinter Peak to be their headquarters. Saladin was amongst the most honored of the lords and frequently joined his comrades in combating the warlords by defending towns under their control. Alongside Radegast and Perun, he traveled to a village ruled by Warlord Segoth. They confronted him when Segoth arrived at the village to punish the citizens for sheltering the Iron Lords, holding higher ground as Segoth and eight of his followers arrived on Pikes in a narrow pass that only allowed three to approach at a time. Segoth derided them as "Iron Wolves", causing Saladin to shout at him to cease his insults, although Perun admitted she liked the moniker. Unamused, the Warlord ordered them to leave and declared the people there his, but they refused to abandon the civilians to his rule. As Segoth smiled and shrugged at their response, Saladin raised his shield at Perun's command alongside his two comrades as the hostile Lightbearers opened fire. Although the heavy fire pushed them back, their shields protected them, and the Iron Lords returned fire, quickly cutting down the trapped enemy. As Segoth revived, one of his bullets struck Radegast in the head, and Saladin provided covering fire for Perun to help his Ghost revive the Iron Lords leader. Each of the Iron Lords fell several times, but their shield wall never broke, and Segoth eventually retreated, vowing to kill them and all who aided them as the town cheered Saladin and his comrades.
Amongst the Risen who joined the ranks of the Iron Lords was Silimar, an old friend of Saladin. Saladin and the rest of the Iron Lords were confused by Silimar's constant building of a tower that he rebuilt every time it was assaulted by the Fallen and Warlords. After the eleventh time the tower was destroyed, Saladin met with Silimar in its ruins and upon his friend's revival by his Ghost, questioned him about why he kept rebuilding and calling the tower doomed. Silimar rejected that term, deciding fated fit better, but Saladin suggested indefensible also worked. He declared only a fool would continue to rebuild a tower that kept being destroyed. However, Silimar declared that it was like them, being reborn every time they fell, and that one day it would not fall and they would know the time was right. Saladin asked what they would know, and Silimar declared that it would mean it was safe to build a city to the sky.
The efforts of the Iron Lords allowed the creation of The Last City under the protection of the Traveler. As thousands of survivors and Lightbearers flocked to the growing city, it became a target for the Fallen. Alongside his fellow Iron Lords, Saladin traveled to defend the Last City alongside its Guardians. Saladin commanded the city's southern walls from the Fallen assault, which nearly overwhelmed the Guardian's defenses several times. However, the defenders eventually drove the Fallen armies into retreat. As communications were reestablished, Saladin heard Osiris, Saint-14, and Shaxx declare that each of their sectors were secure. As Shaxx announced he would march to reinforce the southern walls, Saladin informed them that he had broken the Fallen's assault and that the City was saved. As the defenders contemplated their victory, Shaxx joyously mocked the Fallen for believing they would simply wipe out the City, and Saladin joined the others in laughing. Osiris reported all fireteams were accounted for, and Saint credited the Titan Elriq for helping him save eight Guardians during dozens of charges against the Fallen. Saladin was impressed by the young Titan and asked how many times he died in the fight, but Saint revealed that he and Elriq had both survived the battle without falling.
Fall of the Iron Lords
Eventually, Saladin and his comrades discovered SIVA, a self-replicating nanotechnology created during the Golden Age. They believed it could be used to aid them in protecting humanity, but it turned against them. Unable to destroy the techno-virus, the Iron Lords sealed it beneath the earth. However, the virus claimed the Iron Lords, and Saladin was one of the only two to survive.
Battle of the Twilight Gap
When an alliance of the Fallen Houses threatened the safety of the Last City, Saladin was selected to lead the City's defense during the upcoming battle alongside his students Lord Shaxx and Commander Zavala. The Fallen concentrated their assault on Twilight Gap, throwing wave after wave of soldiers towards humanity's last stronghold. As the battle turned against the Vanguard, Saladin ordered all fireteams to retreat to the Ridgeback District and to halt all advances, believing that the City was lost. However, Shaxx did not acknowledge the fallback order and instead advanced with his fireteams. Saladin angrily demanded that Shaxx fallback with the rest of the fireteams and told him that the battlefield was not his stage to win glory upon, but his student cut off their comms feed. Shaxx and his fireteam were able to hold their position on the Wall at Twilight Gap long enough for Saladin and Zavala to regroup the rest of their forces for a counterattack that drove the Fallen back and saved the Last City. Despite the City being saved, Saladin remained furious with Shaxx for disobeying his orders during the middle of battle. Their relationship became strained, although Saladin continued to remain on good terms with Zavala.
The Iron Banner
Saladin eventually began to host Iron Banner events in the Last City's Crucible as a memorial to the sacrifices of the Iron Lords and to remind Guardians of their legacy. He was forced to cooperate with Shaxx at the behest of the Consensus to coordinate these events due to his former pupil having become the head of the Crucible in the aftermath of the Twilight Gap. However, Saladin handled most of the logistics on his own and stayed far away from Shaxx. Others in the Tower tried to get Saladin, Shaxx, and Zavala to sit down and talk about the events of Twilight Gap to repair their friendship, but none of those efforts worked due to their stubbornness.
One year after the events of the Taken War, the Fallen and the House of Devils managed to unearth SIVA, and their Splicers tried to harness the technology. Unable to defeat the mutant Devils on his own, Saladin began seeking out Guardians to help him form a new generation of the Iron Lords to end the threat of SIVA once and for all.
After guiding the Guardian into the Plaguelands and deep into Site 6 in order to shut down SIVA, remnants of the Iron Lords twisted by the technovirus attack in defense of the SIVA production chamber. After destroying the remnants and the chamber, the Guardian returns to Felwinter Peak, where Saladin gifts them a newly forged sword and names them the first of a new generation of Iron Lords.
Return to the Last City
After the Red War, Lord Saladin would return to the new Tower to once again host the Iron Banner tournament, having previously tasked Efrideet to do so during the SIVA Crisis. Saladin recently also displays distaste for Osiris due to his infamous exile of the Last City, and also further explaining that it was Ikora Rey who reformed the Warlock order, not Osiris. After Rasputin was awakened on Mars and declared itself the guardian of humanity and the solar system, Saladin expressed deep concern for the situation. He told the Young Wolf that if it were up to him, the Vanguard would destroy the warmind.
After the arrival of the Black Fleet and the embrace by some Guardians of the Darkness infused powers of Stasis. Confronting the Young Wolf, Saladin criticized them for being among those using Stasis and Zavala for not punishing those who did. He insisted that the Light and the Traveler were the only allies they needed. Let his anger and frustration slip out, Saladin noted that Drifter claimed that nothing could kill a Guardian quicker than another Guardian, a fact he agreed with, and noted with disgust how the Last City had tried to rely on Rasputin before it failed against the Black Fleet and they meekly watched as the Darkness took four planets away from them. Leaning forward, Saladin issued a warning to the Young Wolf to ensure that they did not fall prey to their own hubris while using Stasis, or it would not be the Darkness that came for them.
Clash of the Chosen
Disrupting the Rites
Following the arrival of the Imperial Cabal, led by Empress Caiatl, in the Sol System, Saladin was asked by Commander Zavala to be the field commander of a taskforce dedicated to keeping the Cabal from reorganizing and starting a new war against humanity. Saladin eagerly agreed, regretting not having participated in the Red War, and was determined to wipe out the Cabal once and for all to prevent them from ever harming humanity again. Joining him on this task force was Vanguard Advisor Osiris, now Lightless since the loss of his Ghost Sagira, a new Hunter known as The Crow for reconnaissance, and Amanda Holliday to fly mission support.
Contacting the Young Wolf at the H.E.L.M., Saladin briefed them on their first mission. He complimented them on their first victory over Caiatl's forces on Nessus and noted that Osiris had informed him that they had interrupted a Cabal ritual known as the Rite of Proving, which Osiris had compared to the Crucible, although Saladin did not see the similarities. He noted that the remnants of the Red Legion sought to earn Caiatl's favor through the Rite and that that would exploit that by challenging every contender for the Empress's War Council and prevent any seats from being filled, preventing the Cabal from reorganizing and starting another full-scale war. Thanks to a report from Crow, Saladin had their next target lined up: Basilius the Golem, who was seeking Golden Age relics on Europa to offer to Caiatl in hopes of augmenting Cabal forces with cybernetic and Exo tech. Saladin ordered the Young Wolf to stop this plot and prevent the Cabal from creating an army of Exo-Legionaries. After Basilius's elimination, Saladin sent a message to the Young Wolf complimenting them on their efforts, but expressed frustration at Zavala's determination not to enter into total war against the Cabal. They would thus continue targeting other commanders vying for a seat on the Council and deal a death of a thousand cuts to the Cabal.
Saladin soon learned that Val Ma'rag was leading a Cabal assault against the Hive in the Cosmodrome in revenge for the Fall of Torobatl to the Hive God of War Xivu Arath. Briefing the Young Wolf, Saladin ordered them to eliminate Ma'rag before he could achieve his objective and earn a place on Caiatl's War Council. Saladin was concerned that a victory by the Imperial Cabal in the Cosmodrome would lead more Cabal there to establish a Firebase, threatening a region which regularly produced new Guardians from Ghosts searching the ruined shipyard. After Ma'rag's elimination, Saladin sent a message to the Young Wolf informing them that Caiatl's push into the Sol System had been halted thanks to their counter-assaults and Crow's intel gathering. He again noted that Zavala would not authorize a larger scale conflict and that there were still more commanders seeking to join Caiatl's council, advising that they keep hitting them until the Cabal could not regain their footing.
Crow soon reported that the Psion Ixel, the Far-Reaching was leading incursions into Vex territory on Nessus seeking to use their prediction engines to gain knowledge of the future and offer it to Caiatl for a spot on the War Council. Consulting with Osiris on the Vex, Saladin came to understand that the Cabal gaining Vex technology could end poorly for humanity. Saladin briefed the Young Wolf on the situation and was concerned that Ixel could give the Cabal the advantage over them or possibly unleash destruction on everyone by messing with Vex technology. He ordered them to hit the Cabal hard to ensure they never attempted to steal from the Vex again. Although Ixel was eliminated, three other Psions escaped with Vex data. Saladin was angered that the Cabal had managed to steal data on his watch and was concerned about what Osiris was doing with the information they recovered from the mission. He warned the Young Wolf to stay on guard, as he was sure the Psions would hit them soon with whatever they stole.
The following week, Saladin briefed the Young Wolf once more, noting that the Cabal had returned to the battlegrounds on Nessus, Europa, and the Cosmodrome and that they would be there to meet them. Crow was working to discover the Psion's plans for the Vex prediction engines but needed help to remain undetected, so Saladin ordered the Young Wolf to serve as a distraction by disrupting more rites conducted by the Cabal to ensure Crow remained undiscovered. He also ordered them to claim any Cabal gold or treasures left behind in the aftermath to deprive their foe of resources and strengthen the Vanguard's own forces. Saladin noted that without their home system to resupply them, the Cabal could no longer wage war as effectively and continue resistance against humanity. Thanks to Crow's investigation and the Young Wolf's fieldwork, the task force discovered the Cabal had crafted miniature devices based on the Traveler Cage used by the Red Legion to cut off the Light from the Guardians that could be attached to Ghosts, allowing them to easily kill the Lightless Guardian. Saladin was outraged at this underhanded tactic and ordered their efforts redoubled against the Cabal in revenge.
The Psions soon made their move with the device and attempted to assassinate Commander Zavala in the Last City, but the Titan managed to fell his assassin. Saladin sent a message to his former pupil in the aftermath berating him for allowing the Cabal to continue living so that they could carry out attacks like that within their own wall, warning him that the Cabal were like the Warlords and could be given no quarter. He encouraged him to respond in kind and show the Cabal there were consequences for such acts and to remind their own people why they should have faith in the Guardians. If he did not, Saladin believed that the next attack would cost them someone else and that guilt would weigh on Zavala and crush him. Saladin spoke with the Young Wolf about the failed assault, bemoaning how an assassin had infiltrated so easily and that luck would not be on their side next time. He angrily declared that they must channel their Light into burning the Cabal Empire to ashes and that Zavala's hopes for a peaceful resolution would not come to fruition. Declaring that he was still an Iron Lord, Saladin promised to be in the fray himself to exact retribution and hoped to see the Young Wolf on the battlefield doing the same.
A captured Psion was soon brought to the Last City for interrogation, which Saladin was asked to take over once Osiris's more subtle approaches failed. Saladin conducted his interrogation in a cell within the City's wall that overlooked the wilderness outside the City. He disparaged the Psion race as cowards for their continued servitude to the Cabal and Empress Caiatl, noting that while he understood their initial subservience to the Cabal, the deposing of Calus and death of Ghaul should have been their opportunity to rise up and free themselves. The Psion stayed quiet but attempted to retaliate with its psychic powers, causing Saladin to quickly grabbed them by the throat and dangle them over the edge of the wall. As his prisoner struggled, Saladin demanded to know more about the data they stole, how they had crafted the Light-dampening tech, and where the rest of the Psion cell was. The Psion inflicted a sense of vertigo upon him, but Saladin steadied himself and warned the Psion that they would find their comrades eventually but that they could save their own life now by answering. Osiris cut in and noted that he of all people should recognize stubbornness, causing Saladin to relent and begin to admire the Psion for their bravery and refusal to betray their people. Nodding in respect, Saladin threw the Psion over the cliff edge, but as they began to fall Saladin saw his reflection in the eye of the Psion and felt their last thoughts of terror but also their ancestors reaching out to welcome them and a mixture of emotions he could not feel as a human. Saladin felt strangely at peace for that moment, but it faded as the Psion plunged to their death below.
In the aftermath of the failed assassination, the brutality between the Vanguard and Cabal increased on the battlefields as the Cabal's supply lines stretched thin and the remaining officers vying for Caiatl's favor began to lose faith in her leadership. Briefing the Young Wolf on the progress of the conflict, Saladin admitted that he did wish the situation was not as it was, but that he had seen similar scenarios play out too often in the Dark Age. He compared Caiatl and her commanders to the Warlords of old, using honor as nothing more than currency for fear, and that they could not trust or negotiate with anyone with such a mindset. He ordered the Young Wolf back to battlefields to prove that true honor rested with the Vanguard.
After several more victories, Saladin met with Zavala, Osiris, and the Young Wolf in the H.E.L.M. to discuss their next steps. Although he nodded in polite greeting to Osiris, Saladin began berating Zavala the moment the Commander transmatted into the room, demanding to know why they were not engaging in a full-scale war with the Cabal after everything that had happened. His former pupil reminded him this was not an easy decision, but Osiris noted it might be an inevitable one due to the proud nature of the Cabal and that further escalation could put the City at risk. Saladin advocated eliminating Caiatl so that they could simply mop up the remaining Cabal in the resulting chaos, but Zavala believed that would lower them to their foe's level while Osiris doubted the Empress would fall so easily. However, Osiris the proposed that they use Caiatl's reliance on old traditions against her once more by challenging her to a final Rite of Proving between her champion and theirs, with the winner dictating terms. Zavala was unsure that all of Caiatl's followers would accept such a challenge, but Saladin warned that they might also lose and warned that he did not believe Caiatl would thank them for their diplomacy while holding a knife to their throat. Saladin listened in despair as Osiris convinced Zavala to go through with the plan by placing their faith in the Young Wolf and their fireteam. He tried once more to convince the Commander otherwise, but Zavala interrupted him and thanked Saladin for his cooperation before departing. Dejected, Saladin hung his head in anger before casting one last look at Osiris and transmatting out of the H.E.L.M.
Although Saladin disagreed with the plan, he was pleased that at last they had found someway to potentially break the stalemate and take decisive action. Briefing the Young Wolf, he ordered them to continue disrupting Cabal operations after the offer was transmitted to Caiatl, who had yet to respond. Saladin and the other commanders hoped that by putting additional pressure on the Empress they would force her to accept the challenge. The plan ultimately worked, and Caiatl's champion Ignovun fell to the Young Wolf and their fireteam. Zavala and Caiatl signed an armistice ending hostilities between the Vanguard and Cabal Empire, with any Cabal who continued to fight humanity becoming outlaws in the eyes of the Empire. Saladin remained angry at how the conflict ended and was convinced the armistice would be broken by Caiatl. As the taskforce continued mop-up operations against Cabal dissidents, Saladin questioned Osiris about his true goals for proposing the armistice, suggesting that perhaps he only did so to placate Zavala while other more decisive options were explored behind the Vanguard's back. The former Warlock indicated that might be the case and asked if Saladin would have such a plan contingency plan prepared. The Iron Lord promised he would and hoped that Osiris would support him when it came time to enact it.
Personality and Traits
Stoic, serious and experienced yet somber and grim are the best words to describe Lord Saladin. From the day he became a Iron Lord, Saladin takes his purpose and duty in protecting the survivors of the Collapse with complete dedication, becoming a pillar of a what a Titan and Guardian should be. Saladin believes in the code the Iron Lords stood for in using their Traveler-given abilities to protect and serve, not to conquer as the Warlords did. However, as a result of his experiences and losses, Saladin has been hardened from them all. Despite being famously serious, Saladin does have moments of humor, mostly with old friends like Efrideet.
Beneath his stoicism lies a deep sadness and guilt over the deaths of his fellow Iron Lords at the hands of SIVA. He was particularly close to the Iron Lord's leader, Radagast, who became his mentor while Jolder became his closest companion among the Iron Lords. Upon their deaths, he hoped to that he would never have to revisit his past but continued to honor their legacy with the Iron Banner tournament and with the threat of the Devil Splicers, he realized that the danger was greater than keeping the full story of the Iron Lords and SIVA a secret. However, with the help of the Guardian, he was able to make peace with what had happened and relieve centuries of burden.
With the Guardian, he at first saw them as a promising student that needed training but of course he makes sure that they stay humble and focused. Saladin's respect and praise for the Guardian would grow throughout the SIVA Crisis, dubbing them the first of a new generation of Iron Lords, the title of Lord Guardian and the name of Young Wolf. The relationship between Saladin and the Young Wolf became strained when his pupil began utilizing Stasis, as Saladin was adamantly opposed to any wielding of the Darkness. He threatened to kill the Young Wolf himself if they ever became corrupted by their use of it. Further, Saladin did not approve of how the conflict with the Cabal was handled, ending with an armistice, nor how the Vanguard allowed the House of Light to be granted sanctuary within the Last City, as he didn't trust either the Cabal or the Fallen. Despite these views, Saladin refused to be swayed by fears and political schemes, as he refused Lakshmi and Hideo's offer to become the new leader of the Vanguard as he still trusts the judgement of Zavala and Ikora.
Much like his own students, Saladin has a prideful, stubborn streak, as he normally doesn't back down from a fight and doesn't apologize easily. While he maintains a friendship with Zavala, Saladin has a shaky relationship with Shaxx at best for both refuse to make amends over the Battle of the Twilight Gap. However, like Shaxx, Saladin respects all the classes of Guardians.
He used to be found in the Traveler's Walk area of the Tower, and sold gear in exchange for Glimmer and Iron Banner Reputation. He re-forged weapons for Motes of Light. The Weekly Bungie's actual weapons and armor available tend to change from each event. His duties was taken over by Lady Efrideet, and the Iron Banner was at the Iron Temple on Felwinter Peak. Saladin himself would return to take charge of the event after the Red War.
List of appearances