Lore

Added

HashNameDescription
1856262127Something New"Do you ever tire of the work?" asks Eva Levante. Banshee-44 looks up from his workbench. Eva often crosses in front of his kiosk on her walks to and from the Bazaar, striking up conversations with him in passing when she does. He briefly wonders if they've had this particular talk before; he wouldn't put it past her to simply let it play out to spare him the embarrassment of not remembering it. "Can't say that I do," Banshee replies cordially. "Memory's not so great. Every gun feels like a new one." Eva nods as she takes a sip of tea from the mug in her hand. "It's just that I see Guardians deliver parts to you all the time, and you seem to construct the same gun for them repeatedly. Are they not satisfied with what you provide?" Banshee chuckles. "Maybe." He leans on the bench, looking at the various weapon components strewn about his shop. "It's a bit like Solstice, now that I think about it." That seems to pique Eva's interest. "Oh?" she asks, eyebrow raised. "Guardians bring me scraps, pieces of guns they dismantled." Banshee explains. "And I turn them into something new. Not always what the Guardian was hoping for, but they hold onto that hope and keep bringing me parts." Eva smiles. "Same interaction, different outcome." "Yeah. I guess you could say that." "How wonderful," Eva says cheerfully. She raises his cup to him and walks back to the Courtyard. "Definitely had that talk before," Banshee says to himself. But he never tires of it.
598769350Hyperborean Pinion"In a land of endless sun, amidst the mountains tall and old, the noble king of beasts and air guards a treasure trove of gold. With lion's pride and eagle's eye, he soars above the fields of strife, with his companion, sharp and bold, bound by sacred oath for life. And when he meets his end too soon, his loving mate is left alone to guard a hoard of little worth and a cold and empty throne." —Penned by Osiris, in memory of Saint-14, lost in the Infinite Forest
3967067356Candescent HelmShaxx shakes his head as he watches the Crucible match play out onscreen. Bravo Team's Warlock has been revived by their Ghost three times in 30 seconds, and by the look of things, they're well on their way to a fourth. It's a shameful display, and the rest of Bravo seems to be getting fed up with it. "Tough match, huh?" Shaxx turns to see Ikora Rey, her eyes fixed on the screen as well. "Tough for that Warlock's team," Shaxx sighs. "They've eaten a full shotgun blast to the chest, a Hunter's knife to the face, and even got disintegrated by their own grenade." "Mhm," Ikora replies absently. "Bet you 500 Glimmer that they rally." Shaxx tilts his head at her. "Are you serious?" "I'm always serious," she replies with an arched brow. After a moment, Shaxx nods. "All right. I'll take that bet." They turn their attention back to the match. The Warlock is caught in an explosion. Revived. Impaled on a glaive. Revived. Falls off the edge of the arena. Revived. And then… they land a headshot. And another. Then another. They stick close to a member of Bravo, drawing fire so that their teammate can release a fusion rifle burst into their opponent. Shaxx watches in awe as the Warlock shapes their Light into a flaming sword and takes to the sky, raining fire down on Alpha team. When the smoke clears, Bravo ekes out a narrow victory. "How did you know?" Shaxx asks as he hands the Glimmer to Ikora. "That Warlock stayed in the match," she replies. "Never bet against someone who won't quit."
1068450901Candescent GauntletsNamrask moves his four hands near the Loom, though he dares not touch it. He fears that one with skills as paltry as his would sully its mechanisms. He can still scarcely believe that he is allowed to be this close to it at all. "Well?" asks a digital voice from over his shoulder. "What do you think?" He shuffles to the side, making eye contact with Ada-1, the Exo who invited him to view the Loom. "An impressive machine. Difficult to master, I think." "Synthweave can be… finicky," Ada admits. She crosses the small room to look upon the Loom herself. "But the results are well worth the effort." "Why…" Namrask begins, mustering his nerve, "Why did you invite me here?" "It was thanks to your people that the Loom exists at all," she replies. "And Eido tells me you are a weaver." That surprises Namrask. Eido makes a habit of avoiding him, and he had always thought she disliked him. Not that he could blame her if she did. "I am," he says. And then, almost inaudibly, "Now." He bows his head in silence and shame. Ada says nothing for a moment, then turns to glance wistfully at the Loom. "When the Black Armory's forges were lost, I felt that I no longer knew who I was. And so, I had to… reinvent myself." She leaves his side, opening a drawer in her desk and taking from it an object wrapped in cloth. "Here," she says as she hands it to him. "For you to practice." Namrask unwraps the parcel, staring wide-eyed at the Synthweave bolt in his hands. "From one weaver to another," Ada says kindly.
58945355Candescent PlateA bonfire crackles to those around it—friends gathering in need. It trades for warmth what they cast out, And grows to sooth with a brilliant hue. A bonfire roars to those around it—friends cheering the flames higher. It burns away shadows and brightens the night. A refuge: from which to look to the horizon. A bonfire whispers to those around it—friends bonded by revelries now past. Morning ignites the horizon, and dawn makes clear the road. Friends now ride, Sparrows astride, no longer a shadow behind… They vanish into the sun.
2644573111Candescent GreavesAmanda Holliday's Solstice Round-Up! See what the defenders of the Last City think about the new festivities! Vanguard Commander Zavala "Each of us has faced and overcome so much. Sometimes that can feel like a sacrifice, or a price… but it's a lesson to remember and learn. I'd like Guardians to keep that in mind as we celebrate Solstice. What we come to do is only possible because of what we've done. Both the good, and the bad." Vanguard Ikora Rey "Meditation is an important part of understanding not just the Light, but ourselves. We rise in a void, and seek meaning. The Bonfire is a wonderful metaphor for that process; Amanda outdid herself helping with Solstice. Even I don't know how she managed all of this." Saint-14 "A big pyre to lay to rest everything we hold in our hearts. Yes. I could use this now. Celebration. Explosions. Revelry… isn't it wonderful? I might cry." Mithrax, Kell of House Light "Guardian celebrations perplex and mystify, but new beginnings are worthy of what the Saint calls 'partying.' House Light is grateful for inclusion in this occasion, and offers forth many combustible baubles to the sacrificial flame." Lord Saladin, Valus to Empress Caiatl "Once I can see this Bonfire from Caiatl's flagship, I'll be happy." Empress Caiatl of the Cabal Empire "What is the ordnance limitation on these Bonfire contributions? Perhaps the Cabal can assist in creating a larger fire." Ana Bray "I'll support anything Amanda does. Quite a show. I'm always a fan of something fancy with a little attitude." Lord Shaxx "I like to imagine the ignition cores are grenades… that does put a smile on my face." Eris Morn "…The what?"
2710628962Candescent MarkSaint-14 stands in place of the Sergeant at Arms amid a host of New Lights; most had been resurrected near the City walls. He needed the distraction, the work, but most of all he needed to be somewhere he could help. Whispers fly between them regarding the legend that addresses them, and the strange chicken that struts figure eights around his legs. "This area is reserved for Lights without combat training who wish to take part in Solstice. Let's get you to speed." He picks up an old-looking weapon. "This is standard Khvostov rifle. Some of you are familiar with this weapon," Saint says. "For those who aren't familiar, it's very simple." He quickly runs through a few exercises. How to reload quickly, adjust the sights, clear a jam. At the range targets, he demonstrates how to weave Light between bursts of gunfire. Each time, a metallic ping rings out as he strikes a target; and each time, a chicken-cluck response echoes beside him. "Calm and discipline is key. Steady support of your rifle will keep it under control. Steady pressure on the trigger will keep you from pulling off-target. Breathe, squeeze, and shoot." "Bawk." "Yes, yes. Now it is your turn, New Lights!" The group steps forward and focuses on their targets. Several of the trainees' shots miss, but a Guardian in green lands each bullet and cheers. "Bawk." The New Light looks at the chicken now standing beside them, then to Saint-14, who also is focused on the chicken. There is a moment of hesitation before Saint says, "Hm. Good. Run it again." "I did it perfectly," the New Light complains flaccidly. Saint steps forward and puts a hand on their shoulder. "Perfection doesn't guarantee success. Perfection is subjective, New Light. That's why we train." "But I hit every one!" "Bawk… Awk!" Saint-14 nods to the chicken, who stands tall and mighty—feathers sharp and puffed against the waning morning light. "Colonel, the Pigeon Lord, says do it again. I wouldn't argue."
1840892693Candescent HoodShaxx shakes his head as he watches the Crucible match play out onscreen. Bravo Team's Warlock has been revived by their Ghost three times in 30 seconds, and by the look of things, they're well on their way to a fourth. It's a shameful display, and the rest of Bravo seems to be getting fed up with it. "Tough match, huh?" Shaxx turns to see Ikora Rey, her eyes fixed on the screen as well. "Tough for that Warlock's team," Shaxx sighs. "They've eaten a full shotgun blast to the chest, a Hunter's knife to the face, and even got disintegrated by their own grenade." "Mhm," Ikora replies absently. "Bet you 500 Glimmer that they rally." Shaxx tilts his head at her. "Are you serious?" "I'm always serious," she replies with an arched brow. After a moment, Shaxx nods. "All right. I'll take that bet." They turn their attention back to the match. The Warlock is caught in an explosion. Revived. Impaled on a glaive. Revived. Falls off the edge of the arena. Revived. And then… they land a headshot. And another. Then another. They stick close to a member of Bravo, drawing fire so that their teammate can release a fusion rifle burst into their opponent. Shaxx watches in awe as the Warlock shapes their Light into a flaming sword and takes to the sky, raining fire down on Alpha team. When the smoke clears, Bravo ekes out a narrow victory. "How did you know?" Shaxx asks as he hands the Glimmer to Ikora. "That Warlock stayed in the match," she replies. "Never bet against someone who won't quit."
516735972Candescent GlovesNamrask moves his four hands near the Loom, though he dares not touch it. He fears that one with skills as paltry as his would sully its mechanisms. He can still scarcely believe that he is allowed to be this close to it at all. "Well?" asks a digital voice from over his shoulder. "What do you think?" He shuffles to the side, making eye contact with Ada-1, the Exo who invited him to view the Loom. "An impressive machine. Difficult to master, I think." "Synthweave can be… finicky," Ada admits. She crosses the small room to look upon the Loom herself. "But the results are well worth the effort." "Why…" Namrask begins, mustering his nerve, "Why did you invite me here?" "It was thanks to your people that the Loom exists at all," she replies. "And Eido tells me you are a weaver." That surprises Namrask. Eido makes a habit of avoiding him, and he had always thought she disliked him. Not that he could blame her if she did. "I am," he says. And then, almost inaudibly, "Now." He bows his head in silence and shame. Ada says nothing for a moment, then turns to glance wistfully at the Loom. "When the Black Armory's forges were lost, I felt that I no longer knew who I was. And so, I had to… reinvent myself." She leaves his side, opening a drawer in her desk and taking from it an object wrapped in cloth. "Here," she says as she hands it to him. "For you to practice." Namrask unwraps the parcel, staring wide-eyed at the Synthweave bolt in his hands. "From one weaver to another," Ada says kindly.
2566083804Candescent RobesA bonfire crackles to those around it—friends gathering in need. It trades for warmth what they cast out, And grows to sooth with a brilliant hue. A bonfire roars to those around it—friends cheering the flames higher. It burns away shadows and brightens the night. A refuge: from which to look to the horizon. A bonfire whispers to those around it—friends bonded by revelries now past. Morning ignites the horizon, and dawn makes clear the road. Friends now ride, Sparrows astride, no longer a shadow behind… They vanish into the sun.
2022821262Candescent BootsAmanda Holliday's Solstice Round-Up! See what the defenders of the Last City think about the new festivities! Vanguard Commander Zavala "Each of us has faced and overcome so much. Sometimes that can feel like a sacrifice, or a price… but it's a lesson to remember and learn. I'd like Guardians to keep that in mind as we celebrate Solstice. What we come to do is only possible because of what we've done. Both the good, and the bad." Vanguard Ikora Rey "Meditation is an important part of understanding not just the Light, but ourselves. We rise in a void, and seek meaning. The Bonfire is a wonderful metaphor for that process; Amanda outdid herself helping with Solstice. Even I don't know how she managed all of this." Saint-14 "A big pyre to lay to rest everything we hold in our hearts. Yes. I could use this now. Celebration. Explosions. Revelry… isn't it wonderful? I might cry." Mithrax, Kell of House Light "Guardian celebrations perplex and mystify, but new beginnings are worthy of what the Saint calls 'partying.' House Light is grateful for inclusion in this occasion, and offers forth many combustible baubles to the sacrificial flame." Lord Saladin, Valus to Empress Caiatl "Once I can see this Bonfire from Caiatl's flagship, I'll be happy." Empress Caiatl of the Cabal Empire "What is the ordnance limitation on these Bonfire contributions? Perhaps the Cabal can assist in creating a larger fire." Ana Bray "I'll support anything Amanda does. Quite a show. I'm always a fan of something fancy with a little attitude." Lord Shaxx "I like to imagine the ignition cores are grenades… that does put a smile on my face." Eris Morn "…The what?"
3851917393Candescent BondSaint-14 stands in place of the Sergeant at Arms amid a host of New Lights; most had been resurrected near the City walls. He needed the distraction, the work, but most of all he needed to be somewhere he could help. Whispers fly between them regarding the legend that addresses them, and the strange chicken that struts figure eights around his legs. "This area is reserved for Lights without combat training who wish to take part in Solstice. Let's get you to speed." He picks up an old-looking weapon. "This is standard Khvostov rifle. Some of you are familiar with this weapon," Saint says. "For those who aren't familiar, it's very simple." He quickly runs through a few exercises. How to reload quickly, adjust the sights, clear a jam. At the range targets, he demonstrates how to weave Light between bursts of gunfire. Each time, a metallic ping rings out as he strikes a target; and each time, a chicken-cluck response echoes beside him. "Calm and discipline is key. Steady support of your rifle will keep it under control. Steady pressure on the trigger will keep you from pulling off-target. Breathe, squeeze, and shoot." "Bawk." "Yes, yes. Now it is your turn, New Lights!" The group steps forward and focuses on their targets. Several of the trainees' shots miss, but a Guardian in green lands each bullet and cheers. "Bawk." The New Light looks at the chicken now standing beside them, then to Saint-14, who also is focused on the chicken. There is a moment of hesitation before Saint says, "Hm. Good. Run it again." "I did it perfectly," the New Light complains flaccidly. Saint steps forward and puts a hand on their shoulder. "Perfection doesn't guarantee success. Perfection is subjective, New Light. That's why we train." "But I hit every one!" "Bawk… Awk!" Saint-14 nods to the chicken, who stands tall and mighty—feathers sharp and puffed against the waning morning light. "Colonel, the Pigeon Lord, says do it again. I wouldn't argue."
1529773610Candescent MaskShaxx shakes his head as he watches the Crucible match play out onscreen. Bravo Team's Warlock has been revived by their Ghost three times in 30 seconds, and by the look of things, they're well on their way to a fourth. It's a shameful display, and the rest of Bravo seems to be getting fed up with it. "Tough match, huh?" Shaxx turns to see Ikora Rey, her eyes fixed on the screen as well. "Tough for that Warlock's team," Shaxx sighs. "They've eaten a full shotgun blast to the chest, a Hunter's knife to the face, and even got disintegrated by their own grenade." "Mhm," Ikora replies absently. "Bet you 500 Glimmer that they rally." Shaxx tilts his head at her. "Are you serious?" "I'm always serious," she replies with an arched brow. After a moment, Shaxx nods. "All right. I'll take that bet." They turn their attention back to the match. The Warlock is caught in an explosion. Revived. Impaled on a glaive. Revived. Falls off the edge of the arena. Revived. And then… they land a headshot. And another. Then another. They stick close to a member of Bravo, drawing fire so that their teammate can release a fusion rifle burst into their opponent. Shaxx watches in awe as the Warlock shapes their Light into a flaming sword and takes to the sky, raining fire down on Alpha team. When the smoke clears, Bravo ekes out a narrow victory. "How did you know?" Shaxx asks as he hands the Glimmer to Ikora. "That Warlock stayed in the match," she replies. "Never bet against someone who won't quit."
1535334771Candescent GripsNamrask moves his four hands near the Loom, though he dares not touch it. He fears that one with skills as paltry as his would sully its mechanisms. He can still scarcely believe that he is allowed to be this close to it at all. "Well?" asks a digital voice from over his shoulder. "What do you think?" He shuffles to the side, making eye contact with Ada-1, the Exo who invited him to view the Loom. "An impressive machine. Difficult to master, I think." "Synthweave can be… finicky," Ada admits. She crosses the small room to look upon the Loom herself. "But the results are well worth the effort." "Why…" Namrask begins, mustering his nerve, "Why did you invite me here?" "It was thanks to your people that the Loom exists at all," she replies. "And Eido tells me you are a weaver." That surprises Namrask. Eido makes a habit of avoiding him, and he had always thought she disliked him. Not that he could blame her if she did. "I am," he says. And then, almost inaudibly, "Now." He bows his head in silence and shame. Ada says nothing for a moment, then turns to glance wistfully at the Loom. "When the Black Armory's forges were lost, I felt that I no longer knew who I was. And so, I had to… reinvent myself." She leaves his side, opening a drawer in her desk and taking from it an object wrapped in cloth. "Here," she says as she hands it to him. "For you to practice." Namrask unwraps the parcel, staring wide-eyed at the Synthweave bolt in his hands. "From one weaver to another," Ada says kindly.
3876588445Candescent VestA bonfire crackles to those around it—friends gathering in need. It trades for warmth what they cast out, And grows to sooth with a brilliant hue. A bonfire roars to those around it—friends cheering the flames higher. It burns away shadows and brightens the night. A refuge: from which to look to the horizon. A bonfire whispers to those around it—friends bonded by revelries now past. Morning ignites the horizon, and dawn makes clear the road. Friends now ride, Sparrows astride, no longer a shadow behind… They vanish into the sun.
1270288709Candescent StridesAmanda Holliday's Solstice Round-Up! See what the defenders of the Last City think about the new festivities! Vanguard Commander Zavala "Each of us has faced and overcome so much. Sometimes that can feel like a sacrifice, or a price… but it's a lesson to remember and learn. I'd like Guardians to keep that in mind as we celebrate Solstice. What we come to do is only possible because of what we've done. Both the good, and the bad." Vanguard Ikora Rey "Meditation is an important part of understanding not just the Light, but ourselves. We rise in a void, and seek meaning. The Bonfire is a wonderful metaphor for that process; Amanda outdid herself helping with Solstice. Even I don't know how she managed all of this." Saint-14 "A big pyre to lay to rest everything we hold in our hearts. Yes. I could use this now. Celebration. Explosions. Revelry… isn't it wonderful? I might cry." Mithrax, Kell of House Light "Guardian celebrations perplex and mystify, but new beginnings are worthy of what the Saint calls 'partying.' House Light is grateful for inclusion in this occasion, and offers forth many combustible baubles to the sacrificial flame." Lord Saladin, Valus to Empress Caiatl "Once I can see this Bonfire from Caiatl's flagship, I'll be happy." Empress Caiatl of the Cabal Empire "What is the ordnance limitation on these Bonfire contributions? Perhaps the Cabal can assist in creating a larger fire." Ana Bray "I'll support anything Amanda does. Quite a show. I'm always a fan of something fancy with a little attitude." Lord Shaxx "I like to imagine the ignition cores are grenades… that does put a smile on my face." Eris Morn "…The what?"
1043609040Candescent CloakSaint-14 stands in place of the Sergeant at Arms amid a host of New Lights; most had been resurrected near the City walls. He needed the distraction, the work, but most of all he needed to be somewhere he could help. Whispers fly between them regarding the legend that addresses them, and the strange chicken that struts figure eights around his legs. "This area is reserved for Lights without combat training who wish to take part in Solstice. Let's get you to speed." He picks up an old-looking weapon. "This is standard Khvostov rifle. Some of you are familiar with this weapon," Saint says. "For those who aren't familiar, it's very simple." He quickly runs through a few exercises. How to reload quickly, adjust the sights, clear a jam. At the range targets, he demonstrates how to weave Light between bursts of gunfire. Each time, a metallic ping rings out as he strikes a target; and each time, a chicken-cluck response echoes beside him. "Calm and discipline is key. Steady support of your rifle will keep it under control. Steady pressure on the trigger will keep you from pulling off-target. Breathe, squeeze, and shoot." "Bawk." "Yes, yes. Now it is your turn, New Lights!" The group steps forward and focuses on their targets. Several of the trainees' shots miss, but a Guardian in green lands each bullet and cheers. "Bawk." The New Light looks at the chicken now standing beside them, then to Saint-14, who also is focused on the chicken. There is a moment of hesitation before Saint says, "Hm. Good. Run it again." "I did it perfectly," the New Light complains flaccidly. Saint steps forward and puts a hand on their shoulder. "Perfection doesn't guarantee success. Perfection is subjective, New Light. That's why we train." "But I hit every one!" "Bawk… Awk!" Saint-14 nods to the chicken, who stands tall and mighty—feathers sharp and puffed against the waning morning light. "Colonel, the Pigeon Lord, says do it again. I wouldn't argue."

Unclassified

HashIconNameDescription
2419786602Icon of "VI. Propaganda"VI. Propaganda//RECORDED TRANSMITION VIA: HDN-SPLICE-332410205// //SIGNAL ORIGIN: UNKNOWN// //SIGNAL TERMINUS: WIDEBAND_OPEN_CHANNEL// //FROM THE AUSPICE OF CALUS, DEPOSED CABAL EMPEROR// My loyal subjects. The Guardians believe they have defeated your glorious emperor. How foolish. They look at the bodies left in their wake and assume victory, at the blood and oil that runs from the battlefields they have ravaged and assume the territory conquered. They are like the old Cabal, sweeping over planets with no mind to the subjects that resist them. But I am not so cruel. The worlds I brought into our fold were showered in riches, given everything for their service as Cabal… as you are now. As you will be each time you serve me. Some of you were born here. You are young, blessed by my hand with a life of celebrated battle and luxurious feasting. You fight with the voracity of veteran gladiators. You fight for your home—our home. I swell to call you my children. Others came to me from my traitorous daughter, who calls herself empress even while I still draw breath. Such arrogance. Such disrespect. You've seen her tuskless plans fail Torobatl. You've watched her cast aside Cabal tradition to bow to the City and their Light. She fights alongside the very soldiers who slaughter your brethren, while I bend them to my will. Who is the true leader? The answer is clear. If only she had followed me as you do. Finally. Exalted most of all, you elite few who have stood with their emperor from the beginning, who grew fat with strength in exile: we are blood. As you have shed for me, I will shed for you. My flesh, my riches, my goblets of royal wine. They are yours. You are honored above all, and when our new Cabal stands before eternity, you will be among the first. I have heard the rumors whispered between you, my subjects. Rumors fed to you by our enemies. Your hope that I have not been vanquished is well placed, for I am so very much alive. You fear that we are defeated, but nothing could be further from the truth. You wonder if I am a spirit, if I have become something beyond Cabal, if I have ascended like Acrius did when he cradled the sun in his grasp. Allow me to soothe your curiosity: yes, I have become all you have imagined, and so much more. The Guardians believe they hold victory, but soon, they will see the truth they have ignored with such determination: this road is long, but it only has one end. They served to set my plans solidly in the foundations of the universe. Their petty attacks, while tragic in their costs to my dear crew, cannot halt our purpose. So, my soldiers… I leave you this task: hold the Leviathan. Show no quarter to those who would walk the halls of your home as invaders. It is your final task before you may be uplifted to sit beside me at the end. I do not promise that every Cabal standing on the Leviathan will survive this journey, but under my loving watch, you will live and die in nothing less than greatness. What more can a warrior desire but an exciting life and a good death? Have I not given you both? -From the mouth of Amsot, High Scribe to the unbound emperor, Calus, who none can contain: Rejoice! Praise Calus, who ascends. For he keeps you in his mind, and there you will never die.
2419786603Icon of "VII. Legacy"VII. LegacyCalus sees her as he remembers her. Young and precocious, energetic and ambitious. A mind full of dreams larger than his own. Her intensity intimidates him. She imagines accomplishments he dares not entertain for fear of failure. The Nightmare knows this fear. Its adolescent eyes meet his and bore into his soul, laying all his embarrassments bare. It sees him for what he is: a deposed ruler, entombed alive in a golden sarcophagus and left to rot in exile, replaced by one more beloved than he. "Always seeking the adoration of others," seethes the Nightmare wearing his daughter's face. "Even from the Witness." "Silence," Calus grumbles. He instinctively reaches for his chalice, but it has long since left his side. "It will abandon you. Just like the Cabal, just like the Ghost Primus." The Nightmare of Caiatl smiles, sweet and crimson and full of hatred. "Just like your daughter." "I said be silent," Calus sputters. His daughter's laughter is a knife between his ribs, as it always has been. "No one hears your edicts. No one obeys." Her voice fills his chamber and seeps into every crevice of his mind. "She is empress now. You are nothing." "I made her," he bellows. "I, Calus, the greatest emperor since Acrius. All that comes before me is a prelude. All that follows is my legacy. I am the sun itself!" "A dying sun for a dead world. A legacy of ashes, soon to be swept away by the wind that is Caiatl." "She will never surpass me!" he roars. "She already has," the Nightmare sings. "And soon, you will be forgotten." Calus's withered face contorts in anguish and angst. The Nightmare is wrong, he thinks. Caiatl will never be a greater leader. He will make sure of it. Even if all that exists must pay the price.
1866406133Icon of "RRHEXIS"RRHEXISZavala lays Hakim down on his bed, supporting him so that his head comes to rest softly on the pillow. Safiyah pulls his blanket up, trembling, stopping short of drawing it over his face. When she reaches for her husband's hand beside her, she realizes she is stained up to her elbows with her son's dark, blackened blood. The blood of a deep, interior wound. Zavala reaches for the edge of his son's blanket, adjusting it to cover Hakim's shoulder, carefully, as if he is afraid to wake him. *** "What will you do now?" Amani has a way of cutting to the heart of things. Hakim has been buried for a month. Flowers on his headstone. The sisters sit, overlooking the graveyard. The night air is thick with summer warmth. All is silvered in the moonlight. The cicadas sing. The world does not stop and witness her grief. Safiyah shakes her head, silent. Her sister puts an arm around her shoulders. "You will have to decide." The silence grows heavy. She feels Amani draw her into an embrace. "He was a good boy," her sister says, and Safiyah hears the quaver in her voice. "Stubborn and brave, like his father." They part, and Amani clasps Safiyah's hands in hers. Her sister gives a sad smile; Safiyah does not return it. Her grief is solitary. Inward. She cries when she is alone. "Zavala is at Hakim's grave most nights," Safiyah says at last. But not tonight. "Sleep," her sister says. "Sleep, and think about your future. Here, or elsewhere." "You want me to leave?" Safiyah asks. Amani shakes her head, squeezes her sister's hands. "No. Never. But I want you to find your joy again. I don't believe you'll find it here." *** "Bring him back." Safiyah hears Zavala's voice when she returns home. She follows the sound to their bedroom. "Bring him back," he demands again. There is a tremor in Zavala's voice. Safiyah peers through the slip of space offered by the unlatched door. Her husband faces away from her, speaking to his Ghost. "I can't," Targe says. Targe stares up at Zavala. She can see the Ghost shivering. "Take my Light and bring him back." He struggles at every word. "You know I can't." "Would you?" Zavala asks, something clawing into his voice. "Would you bring him back, if you could?" If Targe speaks, Safiyah doesn't hear it. But she hears the scrape of Zavala's gun on the nightstand. "Find a way. Bring him back," Zavala pleads. Safiyah doesn't hesitate when she sees Zavala raise the weapon. She swings open the door. Her husband flinches, turns, sees her standing at the threshold. Careful, she walks to him, puts a hand on his arm, lowers his gun. Zavala falls to his knees, the gun clattering to the floor. Safiyah reaches for Targe, and he floats to her. She holds him in her hands. There is a thrum, a warmth, in her palms. The Ghost's singular eye, pale blue, looks up at her. She remembers all the times he hovered just out of Hakim's reach, teasing him, playing with him. In that moment, she knows that Targe loved him too. "We cannot change what happened," she whispers to her husband. "This will not change who we are." She thinks he will turn to her and ask, Who am I? But he doesn't. Targe leaves her embrace to hover beside Zavala. "I can't stay here," she says. He says nothing. He knows himself—and he knows who she is too. She is certain. Safiyah searches his face. She sees Hakim when she looks at him. She sees her own pain, reflected in his eyes. And she sees his pain as well, just as endless as the years he will suffer beyond her own. Safiyah looks away. "I can't understand eternity," she says, sadly. "I don't know if you can either. But you will live it. I will not." Zavala takes a hard breath, and the sob drags itself from his body. She looks at him again. "Don't forget us, Zavala." Her voice breaks. "For all your years. Please." "Never."
1866406132Icon of "LYSIS"LYSISThe village is behind them, faded into the colors of a late summer sky. When they departed, Amani had held fast to Safiyah's hands until she promised to come home again, in time. To Zavala, Amani gave only a nod and a sad smile. Soon, the stone structures of the Iron Lord encampment rise on the horizon. Zavala and Safiyah pass where they first found Hakim. The bodies are gone, the blood long soaked into the earth. The burned trees have new growth around their wounds. But the fragments of rusted wreckage along their path, picked over for any useful pieces, are still half-buried in the soil. At the gates, Safiyah presses her knitting needles into his hands. "To keep you warm," she says. He nods his head and thanks her, his voice small. "You will survive this," she tells him. She knows he has no choice. Safiyah departs to find the people who need her. She feels Zavala's gaze cling to her until the gates of the Iron Lords disappear into the horizon. *** The gates of the encampment open for Zavala, alone. Saladin says little, passes no judgment, tenders no admonition. All he says to him is this: "Love is a moment in time. We are not." Zavala wonders, for an instant, if Saladin speaks from experience. He does not ask but simply takes a breath and follows Lord Saladin. *** It is decades until a message arrives from Amani—half crumpled and discolored from the uncertain journey it took to reach him in the Last City. "Come quickly," it reads. "Before it is too late." But he arrives too late. Amani stands at the grave among the mourners, stooped, old. He nods to her, catching her eyes for a moment. A sad, familiar smile crosses her lips again before she returns the gesture in silent thanks. He waits until most have left before he approaches the headstone. He holds a flower, picked on his journey. It was fresh when he found it, but its petals are bruised now as he gently places it on the churned earth of her grave. Zavala rises and sees a woman standing beside him. They have the same eyes, warm and kind. Her daughter. "How did you know her?" she asks. His breath catches, unsure of how to answer a simple question from one mourner to another. "I'm an old friend," he says, unable to keep the weariness from seeping into his words. The woman looks at him askance; he wonders, briefly, if she knows of him, his history. Her brother. But she simply nods and thanks him, and nothing more is said. Years later, he visits the woman's grave. Then her son's. Her son's son. The graveyard grows thick with headstones. He makes the journey each time. They do not come to the Last City for 10 generations. The Hidden tell him when they are born, when they are sick, and when they die. He never speaks to them when they are alive, but at each grave, he leaves a token and a question: Can you forgive me? The Red War does not claim them, but when the City grieves for those lost to the Vex and the Endless Night, Zavala grieves for the last of Safiyah's descendants. This time, there is no body for a grave. Now, Zavala sits at his desk. The knitting needles are worn with use. He holds them carefully, remembering how she had placed his fingers so that he could follow her movements. He casts on a length of yarn and begins again.