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Shin Malphur, referred to by Guardians as The Man with the Golden Gun, was a renegade Hunter Gunslinger and the protégé of Jaren Ward. He carried on his legacy, taking up his mentor's weapon, The Last Word, as his own and used to avenge Jaren's death at the hands of the infamous murderer Dredgen Yor. Decades later, Shin dedicated himself to ending all vestiges of Dredgen Yor's influence by hunting the Shadows of Yor. Malphur would later come into contact with The Guardian, giving them access to The Last Word to aid in their quest to destroy the Hive who created the Weapons of Sorrow. Malphur later revealed to the Guardian that the Guardian known as Dredgen Vale was actually an alter ego created by him as a means of treading the path between light and dark with Malphur representing the light and Dredgen Vale representing the Dark. Malphur also used his Dredgen persona to draw out Guardians who were easily tempted and corruptible so that he could confront and if necessary, eliminate them.
Rise of the Lone Gunman
Shin's parents were killed by Dregs when he was very young, leaving him only vague memories of them and a small spark of light he thought of as their souls. He was swiftly adopted by another man in their refugee group, which soon settled in the heart of a snowy mountain forest and established the town of Palamon instead of continuing the long and dangerous journey to The Last City. The town was eventually governed by Magistrate Loken, who Shin viewed as a good but broken man who gave into becoming a tyrannical ruler after losing too much. One day Shin watched a stranger walk slowly into town from the south and gathered with his father and the rest of the townsfolk as they waited for Loken to arrive and greet the newcomer. They quickly realized the stranger was a Guardian and Shin become mesmerized by him and impatient while waiting for the Magistrate to arrive, so he broke free of his adopted father's grasp and approached the man. The Guardian's Ghost scanned Shin, but his attention quickly focused on the Guardian's revolver and he began imagining all the adventures the Guardian had gone on while wielding it. The Guardian knelt before Shin and offered him the weapon, and after a quick glance back at his nervous father and the other townsfolk Shin respectfully took the weapon and held it in awe. The Guardian stayed in Palamon and befriended Shin, who soon learned that the Guardian was a Hunter named Jaren Ward and that his revolver was known as The Last Word.
During the next several months Shin studied the way Jaren moved and acted and eventually decided that there was something about him that made him "more" than everyone else in Palamon. However, Jaren had earned the ire of Loken by standing up to his corruption and eventually summoned the Guardian and the rest of the town in a courtyard where he declared that this was his town and had nine of his men aim weapons at Jaren. Shin became nervous and pleaded with his father to intervene, but his father remained silent and simply held onto Shin tightly to make sure he did not run into the middle of the confrontation. Looking back at Jaren, Shin noticed the Guardian's hand resting near the Last Word and understood what was about to happen and that his father and the rest of the town knew as well. Jaren drew the Last Word faster than lightning and placed one shot between Loken's eyes, which caused the magistrate's men to quickly surrender and freed Palamon from tyranny.
Over the next few years, Jaren became Palamon's protector alongside its hunters. After Fallen were spotted near the town the Guardian took the three best hunters with him to track them down. The next day, Shin witnessed a new stranger named Dredgen Yor enter the town and was fascinated by him as well, although he noted that Yor was cold and distant unlike Jaren and simply thought him to be a sad and damaged man. Three days after arriving in Palamon, Yor massacred its inhabitants, including Shin's adopted father, and burned the town to the ground. Shin was left alone in the smoke and ashes and watched in terror as Yor approached him, but the fallen Guardian simply smiled at him before leaving. When Jaren and the other hunters returned, Shin told them all that had happened and together the five of them decided to pursue Yor and end his murderous rampage. As they followed Yor's trail of devastation they were joined by four others who had suffered at the hands of Yor.
After years of hunting, they had all become capable warriors, although only Shin was close to Jaren, who became his mentor as a fighter. Eventually, they closed in on Yor, but he gunned down Brevin, Trenn, and Mel before escaping. Their deaths badly hurt Shin and the rest of the group's morale and confidence in stopping Yor but Jaren held them together and they continued their pursuit, although the trail began growing colder. Two months later they camped in a ravine after spotting two Fallen Skiffs flying nearby, which scared Kressler and Nada. Jaren left the group to scout ahead, and during the night they heard a shootout echoing through the forest with the distinctive sounds of Jaren's Last Word and Yor's Thorn, which was the last sound they heard. Shin realized that Jaren had known Yor was close and had gone to face him alone out of fear of getting the others killed. The rest of the group feared Jaren was dead and that they would share the same fate if they remained and despite Shin's protests, they departed by midday. Shin remained and decided that he would either help Jaren if he was wounded or die by Yor's hand. However, Jaren's Ghost soon arrived carrying the Last Word, and Shin knew his mentor was dead. The Ghost scanned him just as it had done the day they met, but for the first time it spoke to him and revealed that Shin carried the Traveler's Light and that he could be a Guardian as well.
Now a Guardian, Shin continued to pursue Dredgen Yor by himself and eventually confronted him at Dwindler's Ridge. Shin noted that Yor looked different somehow, as if he was weightless and completely unburdened by all the crimes he had committed. As he felt rage beginning to rise in him over all that Yor had done, the murderous Guardian began speaking and claimed he had left the Last Word behind with Jaren's Ghost as a gift to Shin and tried to goad him into responding. Yor stated that he had been looking forward to this confrontation for a while and had feared that Shin would give up but that today would mark an end. At this, Shin let his rage merge with absolute clarity of thought as he unleashed two shots from the Last Word enhanced by the Light into a Golden Gun. Yor fell dead to the ground, having been unable to fire Thorn in response. As he stared at the body of the fallen Guardian, Shin felt only sadness at all he had lost and for those who had suffered Yor's terror. Paying tribute to Jaren, Shin declared that this was Yor's end, not his, and fired one last shot from the Golden Gun into Yor's corpse to ensure his final death.
When Shin became aware of Guardians that had a morbid curiosity in Dredgen Yor's exploits, Shin saw that Dredgen Yor's toxic legacy was at risk of continuing. Therefore Malphur undertook his most ambitious task yet: he followed in Yor's footsteps and became someone else. Shin Malphur adopted the persona of "Zyre Orsa" and approached another Guardian, Teben Grey, whom he had noticed was interested in Yor's past. Together the two founded the Shadows of Yor, with Malphur using this as his way of determining which Guardians were in danger of following in the footsteps of Dredgen Yor. When the Shadows of Yor began emerging in the Crucible, Shin approached Ikora Rey to express his frustration regarding the Vanguard's lack of response to the cult's worship of Yor and their use of Thorn replicas. While Ikora shared Shin's concerns, she noted that he might be too close to the situation to see it objectively. Shin argued that he had seen videos of matches from Widow's Court and warned that the Shadows were playing with death.
His Ghost later questioned if he would fight the Shadows, and Shin noted that others were hoping that they would use the power they wielded more carefully than their inspiration had, but admitted that he doubted that would prove true and that the Vanguard's observation would likely not be enough. His Ghost asked what he would do, and after contemplating for a moment, Shin declared he would do what needed to be done.
At some point during his hunt for the Shadows, he encountered the Drifter.
Using intelligence from the Drifter, Shin was able to track down a man named Callum Sol, who was part of the Shadows before they all separated to keep Shin off their tracks. Confronting him after he had just murdered his own Ghost by stabbing it through the eye with a dagger carved from a projectile from Thorn, Shin warned Callum that 'they should not have followed him'. Callum argued that he and Shin are the same; that they do the wrong things, for the right reasons. Demanding any last words from the Shadow, Callum replied that Shin would never kill them all. In an attempt to kill Shin, Callum reached for his weapon, only to be incinerated by Shin's Golden Gun, his ashes burned against a rock, with a hole in the center indicating where Shin landed his shots. In truth, Callum knew the reality of Shin's secret identity as Dredgen Vale and believed in their cause so strongly that he was willing to die for it. Shin and Callum, otherwise known as Dredgen Cull, made a plan: Callum would announce to the other Shadows that he would be going farther than any had gone before in following Dredgen Yor's example and inviting any who were willing to do the same. Callum did this, then traveled to the Ascendant Realm from the Dreaming City. He swapped out his Ghost's shell with that of an already-dead Ghost and stabbed the dead one through the eye with a Thorn bullet to make it seem like he'd killed his own Ghost. Callum and Shin acted out their "confrontation" and Shin killed Callum, marking the end of the hero known as Dredgen Cull.
Later Shin interacts with the Guardian for the first time when he gifted the Guardian his famous weapon, the Last Word. Later Shin would contact the Guardian again, wherein he would let them in on the fact that he was secretly Dredgen Vale. He explained his ultimate motives of founding the Shadows of Yor to weed out the weak and corruptible from the ranks of Guardians by using the Shadows to expose those who would consort with the Darkness itself for power, much like Dredgen Yor did, and eliminate them.
List of appearances