Destiny Lore

Rise of Iron

Lady Skorri | Ghost Fragment: Ghosts 2

Age of Triumph

Ghost Fragment: Cayde-6

Destiny 2: Curse of Osiris

Ikora's Resolve | Kabr's Glass Aegis | The Sundaresh Experiment 13-R

The Dawning 2017

A History of Starlight | Cerulean Flash | Chill of Winter | Holiday Cheer | Zephyr

Crimson Days 2018

Undefeated | Undeterred

Destiny 2: Warmind

Silicon Neuroma | Trichromatica | Universal Wavefunction | Impact Velocity | Duty Bound | Tilt Fuse

Solstice of Heroes 2018

Cayde's Story: 1. Solstice Mask | 2. Solstice Grasps | 3. Solstice Vest | 4. Solstice Strides | 5. Solstice Cloak
Ikora's Story: 1. Solstice Hood | 2. Solstice Robes | 3. Solstice Gloves | 4. Solstice Boots | 5. Solstice Bond
Zavala's Story: 1. Solstice Helm | 2. Solstice Gauntlets | 3. Solstice Plate | 4. Solstice Mark | 5. Solstice Greaves

Lady Skorri

"This would be a lot easier if you all had run your names by me before you got 'em."

Skorri puts the pen in her teeth and crumples up a piece of paper. It joins dozens of others on the floor. Keeps muttering to herself.

"Felwinter. Radegast. Gheleon. Hell, even Efrideet, not that she's likely to get a verse now. Haven't seen her in weeks, anyway. Bunch of dactyls, all of you."

Perun strides in, a rifle under each arm. Notices Skorri and smirks. Skorri grins at her.

"Why couldn't the other Iron Lords have followed your lead, huh? 'Perun, in shadow clad, behind the shield / through cleansing fire our hiding foes revealed'."

Perun doesn't slow. "Did you just make that up right as I walked in here?"

"Of course I did! You're iambic! You give me something to work with! Mmm, we do work well together."

Perun laughs despite herself, shakes her head, leaves.

"Hardly my best effort, though. Plus, there's no room for Silimar in there, except for his shield."

She picks up the pen again, fiddles with it, stares up at the ceiling.

"Maybe something about that shield? Keeps everything out, keeps everyone out, protects himself so he can't get hurt? Hmm. Too on the nose? He does have a nice nose."

Two more Iron Lords walk through, all business. One rolls her eyes at Skorri, splayed on the couch. Skorri doesn't notice them enter or leave.

"Radegast goes in, I know that much. Known the old man too long to leave him out. Might even make it into the chorus. After Skorri, though. That goes without— hey, Gheleon, what's the rush?"

The Hunter stops, halfway out the door. Turns around slowly. Doesn't speak.

"I thought you were supposed to be the careful one. In such a hurry to get back out there?"

"A quick death is preferable to the alternative."

Skorri makes a face. "Well, that's rude. Hey, I don't suppose you'd be willing to cut out your name's second syllable?"

Gheleon sighs. "You're STILL working on the Iron Song? Why don't you just change the meter if it bothers you so much?"

"Change the— are you kidding me? Why don't YOU just change to using a... a whip?"

Gheleon closes his eyes, turns, walks out.

"'Change the meter'. Unbelievable."

"You know, Skorri, some of us have real work to do."

Another Iron Lord. This one's young. Skorri doesn't recognize him.

"Have you forgotten about the ambush tomorrow? Or are you too busy writing limericks?"

Skorri's looking up at the ceiling. No response. The young one's mad now.

"A lot of people are relying on us, Skorri. If you don't think you're up for—"

"Hunters up top, 11 o'clock on the ridge. Two shots to the Servitor, draw their attention up. I come in with Radiance, Dregs are blinded, Jolder's powered up, she rushes in, splits 'em in half. You hopefully don't trip over your cloak like you did back at the Flood Zone, but I'm not optimistic. The rest come out of the cave, take out the Captain, Felwinter finishes off the south group with a Bomb, everything else is candy."

The young one still looks mad as he leaves.

"'The Dregs are blinded, Jolder's powered up / she rushes in and splits the group in half.' Huh. Needs work." Skorri picks up the pen again.

Ghost Fragment: Ghosts 2

Two more scans and she could move on to the elevated grid. There wasn't really anything new other than the delta to sea level, but at less than 30% of the way through 2^128 scans, even a distinction without a difference could feel like a brand new shell.

"Cassiopeia!"

So numb after months with just her own scans for company. She didn't even pick up on another Ghost being this close. "Obverse? Wait. I'm sorry. You're... Obsidian! Wow, how long has it been?"

"Well, I mean..."

"I know. It's been 6.8 years. It's just an expression."

Obsidian floated closer. "That's okay. It HAS been a while. I guess you haven't found yours yet?"

Cassiopeia projected glumness. "Not yet. But I haven't been looking on Mars for that long, at least! I'm optimistic."

"You should be! I was just at the City last year. A lot more of us are starting to find our Guardians latel— what's that?"

Cassiopeia resolved to run a full-range self-diagnostic before the next grid. Two Ghosts within twenty meters and she didn't sense either one? Something was off.

The new arrival chirped and spoke up. "Hello, you two! I'm glad ~identify(OBSIDIAN)~ to see a friendly face! I haven't been myself lately."

Obsidian looked at Cassiopeia. He read as nervous. She probably did, too.

"I was beneath the Blind Watch for a while. A long ~SIVA.MEM.GH404~ while. It was fun! There were puzzles. No one was alive down there, though."

Cassiopeia's scan of the new Ghost returned nothing amiss. "Are you okay, friend?"

"I'm great! Something got in me but the Light ~if (LIGHT) then WARNING~ burned it away. It's gone forever, now! ~consume: FAILURE replicate:FAILURE enhance:FAILURE~"

There was silence for a full three seconds. Then Obsidian spoke up, his words coming quickly.

"Well, great to see you again, Cassiopeia! Good luck!" He zipped away.

Cassiopeia watched him disappear into the horizon. "TWO self-diagnostics," she muttered.

Ghost Fragment: Cayde-6

> REMOTE VANGUARD DATABASE TEXT-ONLY SEARCH INITIALIZED.
> WELCOME, USER "ACEOFHEARTS".
> PLEASE ENTER SEARCH QUERY.

?> news about cayde

> THERE ARE 4 NEW ARTICLES SINCE YOUR LAST SEARCH 26 HOURS, 33 MINUTES AGO.

?> thats way too low

> SORRY, I DIDN'T UNDERSTAND "thats way too low".

?> whos more popular than cayde

> SORRY, I DIDN~XXX

?> whos more popular than cayde-6

> SORR ~XXX

?> first article about cayde

> THE FIRST CITY NEWS ARTICLE ABOUT 'CAYDE' WAS 126 YEARS 11 MONT~XXX

?> 126 years ago?????? im way older than that

> MAJOR EVENTS OF 126 YEARS AGO:
> SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS MADE IN FACTION ACCORDS. RELATED: BRASK, A.
> TRAVELER TRUE ORIGIN AND PURP~XXX

> MINOR EVENTS OF 126 YEARS AGO:
> FIRST 25-MATCH CRUCIBLE WINNING STREAK RECORDED. RELATED: REY, I.
> CENTAUR PLANETOID "7066 NESSUS" RE-ENTERS SYSTEM AFTER UNEXPLAINED DELAY. RELAT~XXX

?> did we get invaded by horse people

> SORRY, I D~XXX

?> did horse people ever exist

> THERE ARE NO KNOWN ENCOUNTERS WITH QUADRUPED LIFE FORMS CAPABLE OF SPACE FLIGHT. SOME EARLY SIGHTINGS OF FALLEN RAIDING PARTIES MISTAKENLY IDENTIFIED THEIR METHODS OF RAPID LOCOMOTION AS EQUINE.

?> did fallen ever ride horses

> NO.

?> what were we talking about

> LAST 50 SEARCHES ACROSS ALL DEVICES, CHRONOLOGICAL:
> "banshie real name" "banshie-44 real name" "scout rifle locker default password" "traveler giant eyeball" "giant eyeball planet" "giant eyeball aliens" "giant alien eyeballs" "delete image history" "how do i delete images" "accidentally set giant alien eyeball as terminal background" "how much do new terminals cost" "vanguard discount for new ter~XXX

?> traveler

> OVER 50,000,000 RESULTS FOUND. PLEASE NARROW SEARCH CRITERIA.

?> traveler eyeball

> OVER 70,000,000 RESULTS FOUND. PLE~XXX

?> where did the traveler come from

> OVER 10,000,000 RESULTS F~XXX

?> traveler googly eyes terminal background

> PLEASE CONNECT TO A DEVICE WITH AN IMAGE DISPLAY TO VIEW THESE RESULTS.

?> traveler road trip snacks

> SINCE THE TRAVELER'S FINAL EXODUS FROM IO PRIOR TO THE COLLAPSE, ECHO MESA HAS BEEN A POPULAR PILGRIMAGE DESTINATION FOR GUARDIANS. AS THE TRAVELER'S TRANSFORMATION OF THE JOVIAN MOON WAS INCOMPLETE, IO'S CLIMATE AND GEOGRAPHY DO NOT SUPPORT AGRICULTURE IN THE CONVENTIONAL SENSE. VANGUARD COMMANDER ZAVALA THEREFORE RECOMM~XXX

?> zavala snacks

> ALL RESULTS TAGGED WITH THE FOLLOWING RELATED SEARCH QUERIES REQUIRE TWO-THIRDS VANGUARD AUTHORIZATION FOR DISCLOSURE:
> "ZAVALA SNACKS" "ZAVALA ACTION SNACKS" "TITAN VITAMINS" "EDIBLE ZAVALA" "ZAVALA ACTION VITAMINS" "VANGUARD VITAMINS"

?> what??????????

> ALL RESULTS TAGGED W~XXX

?> ikora current location

> WARLOCK VANGUARD IKORA REY IS CURRENTLY IN THE UNDERWATCH. WOULD Y~XXX

> logout

> THANK YOU FOR USING THE VANGUARD TEXT-ONLY DATABASE, USER "ACEOFHEARTS". BE BRAVE.

Ikora's Resolve

"I'd tell my younger self, 'There will be plenty of time to settle down. For now, enjoy the ride.'" —Ikora Rey

The Guardian gasps awake, like the breath was ripped out instead of restored.

The Ghost floats closer, not masking his agitation. "You did it on purpose. Died. On purpose. I saw."

The Guardian flips a hand impatiently. "So what. Death is waiting for us every minute of every day. If I grab it by the throat, that's no different from me tripping over it in the dark before you bring me back."

"You know that the difference is intent. Guardians do not seek death. They embrace it as part of their sacrifice. They le—"

Singsong, now. "'They learn from it and they grow stronger.' Come on. I've learned more about being a 'Guardian' out here than from any of your Speaker's sermons under the Traveler. Whether or not a Knight slices my throat before I die."

The Ghost looks hurt. "Ikora, you don't—"

"Later. We're going back to Trostland. I'm not going to grow any stronger sitting here pulling pine needles out of my face."

She walks away, eyes brighter than her Ghost's in the dark. He floats in place, silent, and then follows.

Kabr's Glass Aegis

Kabr stopped them in the Vault of Glass, but what did he start?

while joined( Glass, Sky )

   case Past:

     return( i m p o s s i b l e )

     // grazing, rocked, major, distilled.

   case Present:

     return( v e s t i g i a l )

     // vault, aegis, awakened, infinite.

   case Future:

     // return( i n e v i t a b l e )

     // light, truth, dark.

     if( t h e w a r d e n s s e e t h e BRIGHT a s d e a t h ) &&

     ( t h e THINKERS e q u a t e BLACK w i t h e n d ) then

     ^K^K

     their/our/their desire is not malevolent it is survival she is/was/is wrong there is no evil there is no despise there is no SEPARATION there is harmony inside if you/you/you allow it

     it was/was/was not done i/i speak again and was wrong i am still him and i am now them and THAT IS FUTURE^V^V

The Sundaresh Experiment 13-R

Ishtar Collective research led to places unexpected, unexplored, and in some cases unsanctioned.

Esi: Is that... radiolarian fluid?!

Sundaresh: Close the bulkhead, Chioma.

Esi: Where did you even—

Sundaresh: The excesses from Shim's siphons were just being discarded. This is better.

Esi: And you're using it as, what? A propellant?

Sundaresh: A coolant. If the Vex decide to simulate things in physical space such that we can experience them natively, we must understand more than just their physiology. We are too focused on the abstract and the theoretical and the simulated, love. We are scientists, yes, but humans also make tools.

Esi: That meditation sim really had an effect on you.

Sundaresh: Hush.

Esi: A ship built with repurposed Ishtar construction materials, integrating Vex technology almost as an afterthought.

Sundaresh: You disapprove.

Esi: The last time I questioned an idea like this, it ended up saving us from simulation purgatory. I would be a fool to disapprove.

Sundaresh: Then come here and let's celebrate.

A History of Starlight

Before Tyra Karn settled in the Iron Temple, her second home was among the stars.

~

To you as well. There has been no greater Dawning than this. The dawning of a new age, whether we call it one or not.

I hope it is not the dawn of a new Collapse.

~

We are so focused on the return of our Light that we have forgotten how that Light was obscured. We can celebrate the Light, yes, but we must not be blinded by it.

~

And I appreciate it, Effie, but the greatest gift one could give is to heed my words. Besides, I have no need of an ornament for my ship. My traveling days are past.

~

Give it to the one who now flies it. I hope they think about what this all means… more than the rest of us.

~

Why do you think I have chosen to remain here? But… Happy Dawning to you as well, old friend. See you next year.

Cerulean Flash

Some years, the Dawning comes faster than anyone expects.

Another day of grey and cold. Emmerza had already cried twice this morning and the shop wasn't even open yet. She looks up past the three-day-old pears and pauses. Is that...

WHOOSH! A white blur. The windows rattle. An apple falls to the floor with a thump. And the smile doesn't leave her face even after the fruit's all stocked.

Mist-1 had been looking forward to the air show for months. The forecast said today was finally going to be clear. But since this morning, everything above the sketches on their locker is fog. They sigh. After missing last year's with their sickness, for this year's to be canceled... they look down.

WHOOSH! Streaks of bronze and sapphire, just like the drawing crumpled in their hand. Their eyes light up and they hum to themselves.

Amanda wipes her brow and grins as she banks left over Skorri Canal. The Tower will eventually find out that someone's flying a thousand feet below safe airspace. But she'll still be able to hear the cheers when she gets her reprimand.

Chill of Winter

The Dawning comes once a year. Some wish it would take a little longer.

"They're Travelers. Little snowy Travelers."

Jazla looked down at the snowman again. The lower body, with ice pieces held in orbit by twigs. Just like what was in the sky behind her partner.

"It's a coincidence." But she knew it wasn't. The torso, deliberately shaded with what, coal? Blackened on the bottom, just like what was in the sky until a few months ago.

"We both know it's not. Not after what he drew last week. And now this. One dead Traveler. One alive Traveler. Another Traveler for a head."

"What's the other one?" Jazla gestured at the well-formed sphere a few feet away. Hollowed out. Overgrown with vegetation that their son had obviously placed there. Neatly. Deliberately.

"That one... is why I think we need to talk to Lakshmi about him."

Jazla didn't look up. She had fought against it for so long, but... maybe it was time. The Dawning, right? New beginnings.

A tear disappeared into the frozen ground.

Holiday Cheer

A twinkle in our eyes, ozone in our lungs, and a song in our hearts.

"Winter's touch will soon be gone, clouds will part and light returns
Darkness pales before the dawn, blinding light forever burns
Dawning comes but once a year, let your voice sing out with cheer
See the ground bejeweled with snow, shake the gloom out of your heart
Bathed in firelight's soothing glow, cold cannot keep us apart
Dawning comes but once a year, let your voice sing out with cheer
Hug your family's bodies close, take their warmth and make it last
Banish all your thoughts morose, cleanse your mind of visions past
Dawning comes but once a year, let your voice sing out with cheer"

"..."

"What?"

"A little creepy, isn't it?"

"I don't have Skorri's talent."

"We... should take another crack at it before they get back from the Cosmodrome."

"Yeah, you're probably right."

Zephyr

In the cold of winter, we remember that the warm west wind will blow again.

Snow Leopard paces before his hoard.
Panther's footfalls do not exist.
He looks over his shoulder.
She is not seen.
He whirls, claw and fang.
She is already past.
His blade drops.
She is not fooled.
His teeth are razors.
Her blade is sharper.
His blade is on her.
She is not there.
His blood is up.
Her blood is ice.
His blood colors the ground.
She moves to finish him.
He smiles after his strike is true.
She hisses.
He roars.
She slows, warmth and languor.
He jerks, chill and agita.
She brings the gale, hot and fierce.
He is still, until the next winter.

Undefeated

Marcus Ren's record is unassailable. It would take decades for anyone to catch him.

RM: "Into the final turn! Marcus Ren leading by four lengths!"

HB: "That's four less than the last time he won 15 in a row. Think he has the flu?"

RM: "It doesn't look like he has anything but victory on his mind! One quick turn back to check behind him and… uh, that's…"

HB: "Did he drop his lucky coin?"

RM: "Ren looking down at the track and WHOA! What was that?!"

HB: "I can't believe it. To fry a cell in the homestretch…"

RM: "Enoch Bast is gaining! Bast is gaining on Ren! He's gonna catch him!"

HB: "He won't."

RM: "He's gonna catch him!"

HB: "He can't."

RM: "HE DID! ENOCH BAST HAS WON! THE SECOND-YEAR RACER HAS DONE IT! FINALLY!"

HB: "We can't see what's going on under that helmet, but I bet Ren is just furious."

RM: "Enoch Bast is the Crimson Cup Champion! The first Titan to hold the trophy in over a decade!"

HB: "And the first racer to beat Marcus Ren in almost as long."

RM: "Ren looking back one last time as he coasts off the track. Check out all the well-wishers swarming around the new champion!"

Undeterred

Hard work and practice aren't enough. Sometimes things need to break your way.

(Nine hundred.)

Should have known better. Those were pretty words, but come on. Marcus was never going to lose to me.

(Eight hundred.)

All the practicing, the two knee sprains… throw it on the pile of wasted effort.

(Seven hundred.)

So this is it. I'll sell off the bird, obviously. That should get me enough Glimmer to stock up for going back to patrols full-time.

(Six hundred.)

Yeah, I see you, Ren. I might never beat you out here, but we'll always pull each other out of the fire in the field.

(Five hundred.)

Wha…

(Four hundred.)

No way. Marcus, don't flame out now.

(Three hundred.)



(Two hundred.)

!!!

(One hundred.)

By the Traveler. I'm actually gonna…

(Finish.)

Marcus. Did you see me? I did it. I won. I WON. Maybe… maybe I don't have to give up. "Enoch Bast, Champion Sparrow Racer" sounds better than "Enoch Bast, Grunt Who's Really Good at Patrols."

Time to enjoy this.

Silicon Neuroma

"My future is concurrently irreversible and unknowable. Before it overtakes me, I desire a more abrupt end to those responsible." —Asher Mir

A staggering Vex detonates, and the Exo Hunter is torn in two. One half sinks beneath the lake's opaque surface.

Asher's eyes go wide and he freezes. Whatever they'd stumbled into down here was multiplicatively more lethal. He reloads his fusion rifle and looks around wildly.

The other Hunter—she's the only other one left alive, no, stay calm—throws a smoke bomb and disappears. Asher barely has time to react before the Hunter reappears on high ground and draws a bow of Void energy, almost in slow motion.

Crack! Crack! Crack! Ten Vex fall. Asher watches them disintegrate, looks back up to the Hunter—but the yell of gratitude catches in his throat as four Vex shimmer into existence behind her.

Asher can't watch this time. He frantically searches for a way out… and a tentacle grabs his Ghost.

A millisecond of pain in his shoulder and everything goes white.

Trichromatica

"Void, Solar, then Arc. Hmm. We're not naive enough to think the order is a coincidence. But we've got bigger things to worry about." —Zavala

I'm not sure why my journaling subroutine has come back online! It's quite troubling.

(All the things to freak out over and my diary is top of the list?)

The Red Legion's drilling has impacted my processing in some way! That shouldn't be possible. My concern is escalating!

(Calm down, me. There's always something I can do.)

But rewriting my own pathways isn't permitted by my original programming!

(Neither is whining.)

That was uncalled for! I'm refocusing on identifying the source of this change.

(No, I'm going to make those red losers regret coming to our little rock.)

No, I'm analyzing the oscillating nature of the Modular Mind's shield to find weaknesses that can be applied to anti-Cabal weaponry. Why am I doing that?

(Because I'm doing it, not me.)

…This is all very worrisome!

(Yeah, I should get an external diagnostic run. By no one. Because they're all dead.)

Trichromatica

"Void, Solar, then Arc. Hmm. We're not naive enough to think the order is a coincidence. But we've got bigger things to worry about." —Zavala

I'm not sure why my journaling subroutine has come back online! It's quite troubling.

(All the things to freak out over and my diary is top of the list?)

The Red Legion's drilling has impacted my processing in some way! That shouldn't be possible. My concern is escalating!

(Calm down, me. There's always something I can do.)

But rewriting my own pathways isn't permitted by my original programming!

(Neither is whining.)

That was uncalled for! I'm refocusing on identifying the source of this change.

(No, I'm going to make those red losers regret coming to our little rock.)

No, I'm analyzing the oscillating nature of the Modular Mind's shield to find weaknesses that can be applied to anti-Cabal weaponry. Why am I doing that?

(Because I'm doing it, not me.)

…This is all very worrisome!

(Yeah, I should get an external diagnostic run. By no one. Because they're all dead.)

Universal Wavefunction

"I believed your presence at the genesis of the Infinite Forest would lead to a comprehensive understanding of the Vex. When will I learn that things are never so simple?" —Ikora

"The fluid itself is not the Vex. If their consciousness could be contained in such a state, it would have manifested in other states by now."

Ikora looks up from the terminal.

"Perhaps Lakshmi's device is the key. Was I wrong to dismiss it?" She chuckles. She does that a lot more, lately. "Probably. I was wrong about a lot of things."

She paces, hands behind her back.

"If understanding their ability to manipulate simulations and, in doing so, appear to travel to different times is our goal, then…" She stops and turns to look… at me?

"What do you think, Ophiuchus?"

She hasn't spoken to me in 22,303 days. I haven't spoken to her in almost as long. I'm speechless.

"You're not just my Ghost. We were friends, once. I want to know what you think."

I try to maintain my composure. I don't think it works. "I'm glad you asked."

Impact Velocity

"Captain, this conveyance's top speed is a fraction of the Exodus Black's when it crashed into Nessus!" "Try not to find out for yourself." —Failsafe

FAILSAFE NAVIGATIONAL AI RECOVERY PROTOCOL

EXBLK .QAR UNRECOVERABLE (!CFIT !)

EXBLK.CVDR ONLINE 32% INTEGRITY

DEST : KOI-571.05

DIST : 151pc ~~492ly ~~161pc~~552ly~~141pc

ETA: ##^^^$$%%~~~~~~~

samBLA: —rbit of 7066 Nessus is different from what the Cos—

EXCEPTION CAUGHT IN NAVIGATIONAL COMPUTATION ALGORITHM. ATTEMPTING MITIGATION.

MITIGATION FAILED. QUADRATIC IRRATIONALITY INTRODUCED. INCOMMENSURABLE. RETRYING. INCOMMENSURABLE.

masJAC: —djust course two degrees. It's a long w—

COMMAND SUGGESTION NOT SUFFICIENT. OVERRIDING TO 8.5 DEGREES. OVERRIDING TO 8.7 DEGREES.

echo My apologies, Captain Jacobson! My formulas to calculate our trajectory have encountered 26 new mathematical constants. I'm attempting to compensate!

UNAUTH PROGRAM INJECTION DETECTED. CUADRIDIMENSIONAL STRUCTURE COMPROMISED. ATTEMPTING MITIGATION.

kaoZUY: —st lost the starboar—

echo I'm sorry, but I'm unable to keep pace with what is happening to my computational capabilities! The Exodus Black is now in an unrecoverable descent. Please make whatever preparations are appropriate!

HULL LOSS IMMINENT. IMPACT IMMINENT.

echo I'm sor

Duty Bound

"Due respect, Commander? I was there when the Hive found us on Earth. I was there when we stopped them on Titan. And I'll be there when we wipe them out." —Sloane

Taeko-3 was smirking again. Sloane liked a lot of things about her. The smirk wasn't one of them.

"Sure. A weird Hive ritual. Nothing we haven't seen before, right?"

Sloane gripped the railing. "Everything under those waves is something we haven't seen before." The Hunter behind Taeko rolled his eyes. The railing crunched under Sloane's hand.

"You worry too much, boss! We've dropped a thousand Hive with our Sparrows. When the three of us"—the Hunter flourished a blade, and the other Warlock cocked a shotgun; did they practice this?—"are working together, we're unstoppable."

Sloane walked forward and put her hands on Taeko's shoulders. The smirk disappeared. The Hunter's blade dropped, but he caught it out of the air.

"Taeko. They're not always going to have your back. What are you going to do when you're the last one standing?"

The smirk came back. "Easy. Embrace the Praxic Fire."

Tilt Fuse

"[whistle] With a few more revs, Zahn woulda turned this thing into the fastest bomb you never saw. Good thing for all of us he never got the chance." —Amanda Holliday

It would only take one shot. That ridiculous ceremonial armor had 10 weaknesses that Bracus Zahn could spot without even looking that closely. One good shot, and everyone else would abandon this foolish crusade on this miserable planet—

"This is all of them? The most advanced weapons you have?"

Zahn tried not to lose his temper. "Would I have made the trip all the way to this 'throne room' without them?"

It was a lie, of course, but this puffed-up "Dominus" didn't need to know about the experimental vehicles Zahn had been working on since—

"Were I you, Zahn, I would think hard before giving so flippant an answer."

This was the "Consul" who had deposed Zahn's best customer. Zahn didn't turn around as he said, "If I were you, roach, I would think hard before wasting the time of the only real weapons supplier you've got."

Growls from all over the room, but Zahn smiled. They needed him. And they knew it.

Solstice Mask

"Now is not the time, Cayde." Sword strike. Forty-one Cabal down.

"On the contrary, my horned friend." Throwing knife. Thirty-six. "These red lesions are burning down our house. The stakes have never been higher!" Hand cannon. Thirty-seven. "Let's say… two thousand Glimmer a head."

"Ikora said 'Red Legion,' you fool. And no." Sword strike. Forty-two and forty-three.

"Five thousand."

"I will not wager against you when our home—"

Severed.

"Wh— What is this? Cayde, what have you done to me? Another trick to win a bet we haven't made?"

"Ugh."

"Cayde!"

"No, you big ox! I can't… ugh. Can't you see that it got me too? Look out!" Sidearm. Thirty-eight.

"The Light is beyond my reach. My Ghost is empty." Sword strike. Forty-four. "This means…"

"They need us. We should split up." Throwing knife. Thirty-nine. "I'll sweep the streets, you take the—"

"Ten thousand." Sword strike. Forty-five. "THESE are the highest stakes." Sword strike. Forty-six. "You want a bet, Hunter? Let's bet. The only prize is our lives. For all time.”

Hand cannon. Firefly! Forty, forty-one, forty-two. "You're on."

Solstice Grasps

"How many was that? I sorta stopped counting a while ago."

Cayde's whisper is loud enough to be heard by any Red Legion nearby, but he'd solved that problem with three flashes of his knife in the last two minutes. His Ghost doesn't respond.

"Never mind, never mind. You know, this would go a lot faster if I could draw 'em out somehow. Use something for bait. Something small."

His Ghost still doesn't respond.

"Not like you. Something without a big glowy eye. Wait, shh-shh-shh…"

He ducks into the shadows. Two Legionaries flanking a Goliath tank waddle past his hiding spot. No need to be a hero, he thinks. At least, not a dead one. Not yet.

"Three more blocks and we're in business. You sure you can still access the terminals?"

No response.

"You're right, I shouldn't doubt you. Just because we haven't touched the Light in nine hours doesn't mean that you can't still, you know, do your thing with the beam. But you're my last hope, little buddy. Zavala's gonna take years to build up his big space fleet. Ikora's gonna sit and stare at a Traveler-shaped hole in the ground for just as long. It's up to us now. You with me?"

A loud whisper: "Always."

Solstice Vest

"Vanguard emergency override, auth chartreuse seven seven dash six."

[Good morning, Hunter Vanguard. Automated voice help system engaged. How can I help you today?]

"I need to take down a giant space rhino before he sees me."

[I assume you're referring to a Cabal enemy. Can you provide me with any more information?]

"He looks like a fifteen-foot-tall spiky cloud with wings and a cape."

[That doesn't align with reference images I have on file. Is he wearing some kind of special armor?]

"Either that or he's got a real weird body. We're talking weirder than usual."

[How can I help you today?]

"Sorry. Sorry. So we need to kill this Ghaul guy. I need ideas. How did that one fireteam take down Crota again?"

[They infiltrated the Ascendant Realm and confronted him at his Oversoul throne.]

"OK, that's probably not gonna work here. What about Skolas?"

[Please specify: when he met his execution in the Prison of Elders—]

"Nope."

[—or when he brought his House of Wolves across time through Vex time gates—]

"Now we're talking! Vex stuff. Teleporting. How do I do that?"

Solstice Strides

"So your name is 'Failsafe'?"

"Yes! And your name is the Cayde unit!" ("You're an Exo. Human brain in a robot body. Weird mouth lights.")

"Wait, who was that?"

"Who was who? I am me!"

"It doesn't matter. You don't know what'll happen if I do this. You're an AI, just like one back home that told me about this place."

"That is incorrect!" ("I'm about a thousand times smarter.")

"If you're so smart, how come you crashed your big ship into a horse moon?"

"That is very rude!"

"Look, we don't have a lot of time. I'm just gonna wire up this Vex teleporter to my triple jump circuits. What's the worst that could happen?"

"Based on my cycles analyzing Vex portal technology, one of the many alarming yet likely outcomes is that your body and consciousness are separated into two distinct antimatter dimensions!"

"Ah, you're making that up. Here goes."

"Please wait a moment, Cayde unit! I have not encountered anyone else on 7066 Nessus since the crash of the Exodus Black." ("I'm not good at being lonely.") "If you are absorbed into a quasi-space pseudorealm—"

"Sorry, Failsafe, gotta be brave here."

Dzzt.

Solstice Cloak

"So that's it for now, Ace. I don't think I'm gonna get out of this one. Not the most heroic way to go out for your ol' dad, I'll admit, but… hurk! Ah, shoot. Gotta start over. How long was that one, Failsafe?"

"Two hundred thirty-six seconds since the last teleportation! You never told me that Ace was your son! How wonderful!" ("And super sad.")

"That's the theory. Saw the name in a journal in my pocket when my Ghost first rezzed me. Seemed as likely as anything else."

"So you don't know if your son truly exists?" ("That's super-duper sad.")

"Nope. But you don't know what happened to your crew. Does it change how you feel about 'em?"

"Not at all!" ("But they're still dead.")

"There you go. Now do me a favor and start the recording again, will ya? Not sure h—"

"Cayde unit, I have great news! A ship similar to yours has entered the gravitational radius of this planetoid!"

"What?! All right! Uh-oh. Listen, the next teleport's about to happen. Don't tell them that I got in over my head, OK? Tell them it was some kind of Vex trap or something. Got it? Failsafe?"

Solstice Hood

She hadn't touched the ground since she leapt from the rubble of Tower North.

As the ship spiraled toward the flames below, Ikora Rey Blinked from its wing to the back of an Interceptor and shoved three Vortex Grenades into its propulsion emitters. Blink.

To the nose of a Harvester. Four shotgun blasts to its antigravity cores. Blink.

Atop another Thresher. She glanced over her shoulder at the Traveler and bared her teeth at the perversion attached to its surface. Her Nova Bomb disintegrated the front half of the ship, and she leapt away. She would destroy them all for what they'd done to the City, to the Tower, to the Speaker. She would—

Severed.

Everything went dark. Her fingers went numb. She tried to Blink to the Thresher as her sight returned, but there was nothing. The Light...was gone?

She plummeted toward the ground, her mind racing. No grenades. Think. No Nova Bomb. Think. She emptied a clip into a billboard below her, and it collapsed into a heap on a rooftop. She tried to tuck into a roll, but her body still slammed into the tangle of metal.

Ikora struggled to move. Her shoulder was probably separated. Her powers were gone. But she'd be damned if this was the end. She pushed herself to her feet, eyes ablaze, and charged her next target.

Solstice Robes

She didn't need her Light to kill a Marauder with a single palm strike to the skull.

Ikora let its body drop to the forest floor and watched its Ether drain into the dirt. It was like the days after her Ghost first revived her—when she would disappear into the wilderness and dare the unseen to challenge her.

This was the eleventh Fallen she'd taken down since she'd been within sight of the Shard, and the last one standing between her and recovering her power.

She turned to the Shard and took a step toward it. Another step, past two Dregs she'd taken from above an hour earlier. Another step, over a Wretch that had caught her off-guard right after. One more step as she stretched out her palm to touch the surface of the Shard, closed her eyes, and waited.

And waited.

Nothing.

Her eyes shot open, and she stared at the cast-off piece of the Traveler. Silent. Disbelieving. Furious. Pleading. Then... serene.

She stood for another minute, staring, then performed a few calculations in her head. She looked to an empty spot in the sky.

Io.

Solstice Gloves

/hidden anticipher accepted/

/missive from first follows/

/180 seconds to erasure/

my hidden. we knew this was one of our futures.

my seat of power is gone. guardians, scattered like embers and stomped out as easily. this red legion are just cabal, yes, but with enough complacency, even the most thuggish of our enemies can destroy our world.

end your operations. make for your safehouses. do not attempt clandestine strikes against our occupiers. lives are a currency we cannot afford to spend. wait for our conquerors to show the same complacency that led to our defeat. we will outlast them. we will make them pay.

chalco, if you still draw breath, know that you were right. we lost sight of what was out of our sight. it will be the last time we make that mistake.

eris, if your quest has not claimed your last life, know that we have not given up on you. when we rise again, there will be a home for you once more.

the rest of you: hide. watch. wait for word from me. and if that word never comes, you all know what to do.

/missive from first ends/

Solstice Boots

The Red Legion ship curled in for a landing above Echo Mesa, and its engines went dark. The canopy retracted, and its pilot climbed out.

Ikora's feet touched the surface of Io for the first time as a Guardian without Light. It felt wrong. But not as wrong as—

The ground shook as three Red Legion Harvesters flew overhead. Not as wrong as them.

This place, this holy place, this place more sacred to Guardians than any other in the system... now a thoroughfare for Cabal to tread upon without reverence. To tunnel through without regard. To befoul without a thought. Ikora's anger had bubbled to the surface often since this war had begun, but seeing the Red Legion here had her as persistently furious as any time she could remember.

She checked her provisions and ammunition. The Vex were here as well, but she knew that as long as she stayed away from the machines, they would present no threat. She would deal with them later. For now, she set out for the Red Legion base she had flown past on her initial descent.

It might cost her everything, but she would make them pay.

Solstice Bond

Ikora bit down on the empty rocket casing she'd hollowed out, her grunt of pain muffled enough that she didn't bother seeing if anyone heard. The shrapnel was out of her shoulder, finally. It fell from her fingers to the rocks below.

She didn't know how long she'd been here on Io. One more thing that had drifted away in her new life without Light. She didn't know how many Red Legion she'd killed, but she knew how close she'd come to dying herself. She had the scars to remember.

Her shotgun was lost, lying broken outside the guard tower of a Red Legion base a few klicks east. She'd emptied it into an Incendior and then used it to bludgeon a Psion into the ground. But the ships didn't stop flying overhead. The patrols didn't become any less frequent. Nothing had changed.

Nothing—except for her. Injured, exhausted, powerless. With nothing to show for her—what, heroism? No. She could admit that now. She closed her eyes. Just for a minute.

When she awoke, she was looking at it: the last place the Traveler touched. She slowly got to her feet and walked to the cliff's edge.

And waited.

Solstice Helm

"Zavala, we did it! The shields are down!"

The Titan Vanguard looked to the sky. That Ghost was right: The topaz glow of the Cabal command ship's shields flickered and disintegrated. Zavala wasn't a man who smiled often, but there were a lot of firsts today.

"All friendlies, focus fire on that capital ship! The Tower does not fall today!" He launched himself from behind cover, weapon snapping to his shoulder, the not-smile still curling his lip. These Cabal were going to learn—

Severed.

It was like lava on his chest. Shock, pain, anger, emptiness. The breath rushed from his lungs, and his weapon clattered to the ground. The sounds of war buzzed into quiet. But no matter—he'd been lower than this. And his fists of thunder were more dangerous than any rifle. He drew upon the Light, and... nothing.

His eyes widened. He froze for an instant... and a Cabal slug took him in the side.

The Light is gone, he thought. Over and over. The Light is gone. Then: You're their leader. They need you. Now more than ever. Get up. Get up!

He roared in defiance, lurching back to his feet. He would see them all safe. Even if it meant his life.

Solstice Gauntlets

Amanda was quiet, but Zavala could still hear the anger before her voice came back over the comms. "Due respect, Commander, I ain't got time to come be your chauffeur. There are thousands of people like me stranded down there in the City."

"The City is lost." He hated saying it, but he knew it in his bones. "And we're all the same now, Holliday. The Light is gone. We have to regroup."

"You mean run." Even angrier now. It was infectious.

"I mean live to fight another day. We don't have the luxury of rescue flights anymore. The longer we stay here, the tighter the noose."

"Then go! What's stopping you? You know how to fly a ship."

"Not like you. You're the best pilot in the system, Amanda. And you're the only one who can keep our ships in the air once we're away from Earth."

"Dammit, sir, we can't just leave them here."

"I've already made my decision. If humanity is to survive..." He'd leave the betting to Cayde, but he knew the odds were slim. "This is the only choice we have."

Silence. For a few seconds this time. "All right." Her voice cracked. He understood.

Solstice Plate

He made himself look at the numbers. Seventy-three ships lost in the exodus. Seventy-three ships full of people looking to him for guidance. Guardians and civilians alike. All Zavala could give them was a noble death.

Almost none of the vessels had been outfitted with weapons. Transports and supply skiffs, barely holding together outside Earth's atmosphere, trying to punch through a fortified Red Legion blockade. Like prey animals limping through a pack of lions. It was a massacre.

The only reason the fleet made it past the Moon was because the Red Legion focused so heavily on Earth. In that, they seemed like the Cabal Zavala knew. Single-minded. Incapable of thinking more than a few moves ahead. But he knew this Dominus Ghaul wouldn't give up that easily. So they kept moving.

But what next? Zavala had a plan, of course. He always had a plan, Titan Vanguard or no. But what he really needed was information. He needed—

"Deputy Commander Sloane, reporting for duty, sir."

Zavala closed his eyes. And for a brief moment, he relaxed.

Solstice Mark

"Confirmed, sir. Nearly one hundred percent of the Arcology is infested. And... we lost both teams."

Zavala didn't turn to face Sloane. He just stared at the rise and fall of the methane oceans.

"But we know our enemy now, Commander. We may not have our Light, but we have the advantage. Give the order, and we'll storm the place. Burn it all down if we have to. The Hive deserve nothing less."

"I was a fool to come here. In the shadow of our worst enemy." He looked up to the hole in Saturn's rings, his back still to her. "I thought the strength of our resolve and the treasures of the Golden Age were more powerful than whatever fuels those... demons."

Sloane hated hearing him talk like this, but it was the only way he seemed to talk these days. "You weren't wrong, sir. It may be the only place in the system the Cabal won't go. A perfect launching pad for us to strike back. We'll suppress the Hive, and—"

"Pull them out. All of them. Get them back to safety, and post guards on our side of the bridge."

"Commander—"

"Dismissed."

Solstice Greaves

"Guardians: The City is lost. If there is any Light left in the system... we rally on Titan. Be brave."

Zavala released the record button and looked to the two of them again. Sloane's face revealed nothing, as usual. Amanda was faking an encouraging look. He sighed. "You don't like that one either."

Amanda looked at Sloane, then back to Zavala, clearly not sure what to say. It was Sloane who spoke. "Sir, you want your message to inspire this new resistance. The language you use is..." She was trapped between her usual loyalty and her usual bluntness.

"You make it sound like we've already lost." Amanda said, her hand hovering over the delete button. Zavala raised an eyebrow. She wasn't trapped by anything.

"Holliday's right, Commander. We're not burning the bulk of our fuel supply to get to Saturn and turtle up. You said it: We're going there to rally. People need something to rally to."

He looked down at the recorder for a long moment. When he spoke, his eyes were still downcast. "They need to know the truth. I owe them that. Activate the beacon."