What Three Keys Are The Nine Looking For?

The lore behind the Relentless which is the pulse rifle for the trials of the nine, Involves someone being told by an unidentified thing that refers to themselves as “we” to bring them “three keys” and I thought maybe it was referring to the three queens referenced by Toland in Ghost Fragment:Darkness 3, I at first thought that Toland was using this as a metaphor in that one instance of trying to explain the “Truth” but it pops up again in the arms of the FWC across all classes Infinite Lines Grips so you’d think that it’s just not relevant but it pops up with a group of people who aren’t as relevant to the Hive as Toland so it makes you think. On a sidenote I’ve never really been sure of who the Three Queens are, I thought that the Queen who “Builds a high tower and her people climb it to see the stars” would be the Traveler but I don’t think there is any set definition so to speak, so any insight or personal opinions on that would be much appreciated

The weird thing about this whole thing is it kinda seems like they’re talking to Toland because of the way they describe the person they’re talking to “YOU WANTED POWER - It is not for you.” and I thought this would be referring to when Toland met with Ir Yut the Deathsinger and died to learn the song out of “Terrible curiosity” and after dying from the definition of death and being sent to the overworld in the Ghost Fragment: The Hellmouth he says “This is the shape and the point of the tooth: nothing has ever lived that will not die.” and this is somewhat reminiscent of the line used in the lore tab of the Relentless which reads “EVERYTHING DIES. THEY ARE NO EXCEPTION.”

Near the end of the Relentless lore tab there is a line which I think is widely open to speculation which reads “And yet, who dies more than they do? - N O N E” which had me pretty lost on who this was referring to as it could be referring to Oryx, Savathun and Xivu Arath as they are some of the most prominent practitioners of the sword logic and all originally heirs to the Osmium King and females who one could refer to as princesses, to them death is but a folly. Before it says “EVERYTHING DIES. THEY ARE NO EXCEPTION.” it says “E M P H A S I Z E I T” which I think could be a subtle reference to the VIII: Leviathan grimoire card, to when Xi Ro protests
"You are huge and old! Our lives are short and desperate. If that’s the way the world’s supposed to be, I won’t have it! If people like Taox are supposed to win, I won’t let them! I’ll beat the world until it changes! I’ll kill anything in the way!"

At this point Xi Ro is rejecting fate and pledging to mold it to favor her and with that I think the nine are like an unchangeable part of the universe that they can’t beat or kill. However I’m pretty sure the conversation between the Leviathan and the three sisters was long before the time of the nine so that’s pretty out there in its own right. It could also be referring to a Guardian of each class as we die, revive and die again but I couldn’t think of much to back this up as not all guardian classes can be referred to as she and can’t be called queens.

Lastly at the end of the Relentless lore tab after stating “who dies more than they do?” it says “only when they accept this can they be born anew” and I thought should this could mean that all the queens need to become queens thus meaning that they are something less that need to ascend to the status of queen. I earlier mentioned the fact that Aurash and her sisters were all heirs of the Osmium King and could be referred to as princesses because of this so there is a possibility that one or all of them could be or become a queen and considering the events thus far it is highly unlikely to be Oryx. Another thing I think could be a candidate is the Traveler whose inside is said by Fenchurch Everis to “Smells faintly of vanilla”. It is popular belief that the Totonac people were the first to cultivate vanilla and according to Totonac mythology (Quote from wikipedia)
"The tropical orchid was born when Princess Xanat, forbidden by her father from marrying a mortal, fled to the forest with her lover. The lovers were captured and beheaded. Where their blood touched the ground, the vine of the tropical orchid grew."
and with this you could make a faint connection between the Traveler and a Queen as most Princesses become Queens
With this the nine could be said to be trying to bring the “great players” to face each other. For what reason I do not know but from what we know from their decision to release Skolas the victory of the light is not their greatest priority.

I’d love to hear thoughts about this if anyone could add to or disprove anything I’ve said it’d be much appreciated.


The three keys might be that of what the Speaker mentions in the Fury Mission while aboard the Immortal:

Ghaul: Tell me again, Speaker. What makes your Guardians worthy of the Light? What is the price for such power and immortality?
Speaker: Devotion. Self-Sacrifice. Death.

Devotion. Self-sacrifice. Death. This sounds exactly like what the Emissionary in testing us in Trials of the Nine. As the Speaker says, this is the reason we are worthy of the light but the Red Legion aren’t.


Here’s my two cents on some of it.

I find the lore tabs on the Trials of the Nine gear so confusing to read, but imo, if you read it as if all members of The Nine are talking as a collective consciousness then it make a little more sense… To me, all nine of them (or at least a few) seem to be continuously chiming in and using different tones for each sentence.

The Three Keys
As far as the three keys go, I think @Phoenixfiend has the right of it. The Emissary says you need Judgment, Death, and Perfection to bring about change.


The three keys are named in the Emissary’s dialogue at the Third Spire:

One is judgement. In all its connotation. The weight of it as a weapon. Another is death. Inevitable. Relentless. A third is perfection. Flawless destruction.

The three queens are not actual people; the third queen is a metaphor for the Sword Logic:

The third queen raises an army and conquers everything.

This explains everything, understand? This is why the universe is the way it is, and not some other way.

The first and second queen describe gentler people, democracies and law and exploration. Toland’s point is that these methods, these races, will fall to the Sword Logic. He also draws a direct connection to the Last City:

Of course, it might be that there was another country, with other queens, and in this country they sat down together and made one law and one tower and one army to guard their borders. This is the dream of small minds: a gentle place ringed in spears.

The Nine’s mention of “who dies more than they do” is a reference to the Guardians. The Emissary says a similar line within Trials matches. Additionally, the Nine only turned their eye to the Tower in the wake of the Red War, when we were without Light:

Now, when you move, you can actually FEEL the weight of the world.
This weight is a gift.
you finally have our attention

The Nine simply seem to be referring to us and our deaths and un-deaths.


Thank you! The lore for The End makes so much sense now.

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Seems like the three queens together make up The Shield Logic.

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So when they’re talking about the three key’s, are they referring to the three stages you need to reach in The Third Spire? Are they trying to tell us that going flawless will help us be born anew as when you go flawless you essentially just avoid death to prove yourself to the nine. Judging from the text of Relentless and what with the awesome input from you guys it’s likely that the nine are talking to the Emissary but is it possible that they are talking to Xûr seeing as he is one of the first people connected to the nine that we interact with.

The three keys are what is needed to progress from platform to platform- judgement at three, death at five, and perfection at seven. We don’t know the significance of these keys, outside of the fact that the Nine consider them important. Obviously, death is a large part of the Trials, and perfection goes hand-in-hand with going Flawless, but in-game the reason that these are the keys isn’t known.

There are a variety of people being spoken to in the Nine lore, even with the vagueness that surrounds most of it. The End is talking to ‘us,’ basically, in the aftermath of the Red War; The Long Walk is Orin talking to the nine Ghosts. The pronouns switching in the other entries also seems to point toward several people being spoken to, or talked about:



And, given that one of those pronouns is ‘she,’ it’s unlikely that Xur is the subject here. Alongside the Emissary theory is the text from Relentless:

It is not for you.
three keys
Show them.

Considering that the Emissary is the one who guides us through the Trials, it’s not unlikely that she is being spoken to here.


What is the shield logic?

The opposite of The Sword Logic. The Sword requires you to constantly test yourself and others, purging weakness wherever you find it until only strength remains. The Shield, meanwhile, requires you to protect the weak because they cannot defend themselves. Imagine a Hive who are altruistic – that would be the Shield Logic. Or, more obviously, just look at what Guardians are doing. That’s the Shield at work.


Thanks for that :slight_smile: