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 1 
 on: December 26, 2021, 06:11:47 AM 
Started by BEB0P - Last post by BEB0P
Far from the Last City and just beyond the Tower ramparts lay a valley. In earlier days it was a peaceful expanse, quietly healing from the damage done by the Red War. Twilight Gap is not far from here. In more recent months, it is now the resting place of what remains of one of the Cabal’s frivolous doomsday weapons – once called “The Almighty”.

It is not seen as a graveyard to all, however.

In a secluded little spot is a lake well-concealed by evergreens and superweapon wreckage. Before the Dominus’ blitzkrieg and Aurash’s fit of revengeance, it was a hideaway for Tala and Renato Dorian; not so much these days.

A utilitarian-looking jumpship breaks the serenity as it banks into a novice-level landing. Shortly after the engines whine down and the docking ramp lowers, the lovesick Titan steps onto freshly fallen snow. His Ghost materializes over his shoulder and imparts a jovial but well-meaning remark in a frantic, nasally accent. Renato Dorian humours the indignant little drone with a huff as he sets off.

Renato Dorian scans the lake, locked in a memory he can’t quite remember as well as he used to. Was he teaching Tala to skate during that one Dawning, or was she teaching him? Whatever the case, it resulted in them both piling over the other on the ice, making light of their ineptitude.

He smiles at this.

A partially collapsed yurt catches his attention next and he shivers; he misses the insulation in his armour already, beginning to regret his casual wear. Nevertheless, the undying Traveller-spawn soldiers on to the dilapidated structure. He kneels, sliding the dirt-covered door open and dragging a chest from the inside.

Curious.

The cache opens and Renato Dorian exchanges the spoiled confectionary with a new batch of Tala’s favourite pastries, a chunk of glimmer, a bluebell Bond, and what is either the solar system’s smallest rifle or its largest pistol.

Satisfied, Renato Dorian puts the box away and pulls the door closed. He returns to the edge of the lake a final time to think about the first. His recollection is interrupted by the faulty Ghost – one that managed to birth a Guardian from the ashes of another, not unlike the ancient Earth firebird; something to revisit later.

A message from Gambol. It must be important, considering how quickly Renato Dorian’s smile inverted. For all of his effort – his begrudging attempts to leave her where she lay – he simply can’t. His Ghost disappears in his palm and Renato Dorian takes one lasting look at the lake as if it were his last.

Who’s to say it's not, really?

Renato Dorian is not difficult to read, though I suspect he doesn’t try to be. I know this even though our visit lasted a mere seven seconds. He didn't say a word -- nor did he need to.

As he stared up at my crystalline cocoon with a battered, grim-faced burgundy helmet tucked under his dominant arm wondering what I had planned for his precious little love... I learned everything there was to know about him.

 2 
 on: December 25, 2021, 07:44:01 AM 
Started by BEB0P - Last post by BEB0P
PRIVATE KEY 105 012 GAMMA // ZERO // NINE // VIOLET // IOTA
High Priority Message – H.E.L.M. - 03 Commander’s Terminal
EYES ONLY // TWILIGHT PROTOCOL

FROM: GAMBOL-012
TO: RENATO DORIAN
SUBJECT: RECONNAISSANCE COMPLETE

MESSAGE IS:

Today allowed little advancement for our unit. No discernible signs that Archon trusts us, sorry. Crescent-2 offered me prized rifle over missing Ikora's second enlightening debrief; Really excited! Could Ophiuchus make me enjoy nighttime debriefs?

Renato, enjoy combing over Variks' Elder records yesterday? Or perhaps extravagant Riis artifacts? Tonight I'll operate normally.

MESSAGE ENDS

STOP STOP STOP

 3 
 on: December 18, 2021, 04:27:23 PM 
Started by Danny - Last post by Indi
Wren smiled as she took the revolver. This one was smarter. She had to respect that, but it made her all the more wary. "Oh, I'll be watching her. Whether you want me to or not."

 4 
 on: December 14, 2021, 04:27:20 AM 
Started by Danny - Last post by Spartan-777
While Waste was weary of the notion of picking up yet another stray, he did ultimately still need someone who could watch his back well enough to keep him from waking up with his throat slit. He also considered that if she was half as capable as she said she was, she had to be at least marginally more trustworthy than his wayward raider. He cast a glance back at his fidgety companion before taking the scavver's handgun and flipping open the cylinder. "You're right," he replied as he dumped two lonely cartridges into his hand, pausing to drop one into his pocket before slotting the other back into the chamber. He handed the rusted revolver back to the younger woman barrel first.

"If you try to shoot one of us, the other one will jump you. But if you're sticking around, you get to watch her."

 5 
 on: November 27, 2021, 11:16:56 PM 
Started by Danny - Last post by Danny
The raider smirked. Yeah, I'm fuckin' with you. You'll die before I do you pretty little cunt.

She looked back again at the loner, her head resting on her own shoulder, "Would you look at that. She's an expert. Feels cruel to leave her out here alone, feels worse letting those skills go to waste. Assumin' she ain't lie'n. What do you say... bring her back with us?"

 6 
 on: November 27, 2021, 09:34:07 PM 
Started by Danny - Last post by Indi
"You're fuckin' with me." Wren almost spat in the raider's face, but the pain in her stomach made her think twice. This wasn't a fight she could win, either. That much had been made clear. "I've been on my own for seven years. I don't need anyone." Except for now. "But sure, I can do it all. Except for making chems. Chems make you stupid. I can't afford to be stupid." She was still shaking, from fear or hunger, she wasn't sure, but she hoped they didn't notice.

 7 
 on: November 27, 2021, 09:10:39 PM 
Started by Danny - Last post by Danny
"Wait."

The raider felt a sting in her heart. Not compassion for the scavver; but self perseverance. The soothing, mind-dulling effect of the jet brought on a revelation; she wasn't ready for Draven to find her... and opening that cache was a breadcrumb leading right back to her.

She turned to the loner, "She's just a kid, ain't she? What harm can she really do?"

The raider moved to Wren's front, lifting the blindfold, "Don't worry, girly, I ain't really gonna eat ya." What she really needed was another body between her and that deranged prick that was undoubtedly heading to the Commonwealth to confirm her death.

"Hm... young, ain't ya? Clean..." She looked over her shoulder, back at the loner, "I say you could use some more company." She winked.

Bringing her attention back to Wren, she asked, "Can you cook? Hunt? Mix chems? What good are you?"

 8 
 on: October 26, 2021, 08:13:45 PM 
Started by Danny - Last post by Danny
"Don't you see!? Everything you touch dies!"


Tala stood alone on the landing pad of the monastery with an echo in her ear. She had hoped Del would be beside her, or at least Cami to greet her, but there was no one.

Each step forward felt uncertain but she couldn't detect why. She did exactly what she set out to do- stop McManus and put him behind her for good. Why did she feel this way? She should be proud or at the very least happy. Why was there an emptiness?

Pushing through the entrance she was reminded of Cami and Del's meeting- seeing him again for the first time in months. She couldn't help but smile then... but not now. Her bandaged, crippled hand began to burn.

The doors slowly shut, blocking out the ambiance of the Dreaming City and leaving her in silence. Not a sound to be heard in the halls of the monastery, not even her own footsteps. Just that echo- the soft tone singing to her.

She wandered, but somehow not aimlessly, as she tried to see into her clouded mind. Dreams of the future and nightmares of the past were colliding to create a strange sense of numbness.

It felt like hours passed before Tala was broken from her trance. Her feet were tired and she was a little out of breath. A small bench was close by so she sat. 

She looked down and opened her palm for her Ghost. Maybe he would have something uplifting to say. But instead they wordlessly looked at each other before he fizzled away.

Maybe she'd feel better if she removed her helmet. Placing it in her lap- she took a deep breath. The air was thin and tasteless. Unrewarding.

Feeling heavy, she lowered her head and shut her eyes.
 







[What's the matter?]

Tala pondered the question with her eyes still shut. Her bandaged hand ached.

[You can tell me.]

She opened her mouth to speak but words weren't forming. She could only let out a dull yet aching sigh.

[The mission to Europa was a success. You stopped McManus without killing him. I'm impressed, and glad.]

Tala nodded, slowly.

[Did you want to kill him?]

Tala shook her head, slowly.

[No, of course not. You are not like him. No matter how desperately he wanted you to be.]

Her head lifted slightly.

[Yet something still bothers you.]

She ran a finger around her helmets visor.

[Oh. I see. Your bleeding heart.]

Her eyes opened. Her helmets visor reflected a disappointed expression.

[Classic Tala- never thinking too far ahead.]

She starred deep into her own eyes.

[Take my advice- let Delmar-3 return to his bunker and keep Renato Dorian in his tower. That way you can focus on what's really important.]

Tala's head stayed down but she glared upwards. She was finally starting to feel something again, but it wasn't earned.

[Ah, there she is. I was beginning to worry those silly old bones had gotten to you. Tell me- what did you wish for?]

Enraged, Tala shot up and her helmet went on. 

[Hope it was worth it... O Guardian Mine.]







Her eyes opened again. Still in the monetary, still on the bench, still alone.

But now angry.

 9 
 on: October 21, 2021, 10:45:27 PM 
Started by Specs - Last post by Specs


The Pum are a simple folk found in primarily in Tyrene.  They tend to live in small rustic farming communities of around thirty families.    Once a community starts to get too large, Pum, typically the unmarried, seem to naturally set off to join new communities or found their own.    At the end of every harvest season there is a major gathering of Pum for Erntedankfest, to celebrate the harvest of the year and also trade for goods and arrange marriages.     A Pum community is usually led by a Church Minister or is elected from the community at beginning of Winter to begin preparations for the next years planting season.    The Pum are known for their special pumpkin cider that is tapped from the strange Pumpkits, which are living pumpkin live stock that the Pum tap for the cider, and Pum settlements in the more tropical colonial holdings of Tyrene produce special pumpkin flavored coffee.      

Pum communities tend to not have any electricity due to their rural nature, and electrification projects have been often been denied by the Pum preferring their simple lifestyles and traditions.       The communities tend to have one motor vehicle, if any at all, for transporting produce to other towns to sell or bring back goods to the community.    These trips are also done with livestock driven wagons or carts as well.  

It is rare for The Pum to work metal, preferring to either buy or use alternative materials.      

 10 
 on: October 19, 2021, 01:34:06 PM 
Started by Danny - Last post by Danny
Time for this to end. McManus's grip tightened on his Thorn; finger curling around the trigger. He couldn't bare to look at Tala so he stood with her mangled body behind him. "I'm sorry, my girl... this isn't how I wanted things to end. I wanted so much more for us..."

He slowly turned, prepared to end the life of his child, his love, his protégé... but inexplicably, Tala stood before him. Completely healed. Not a word, or even a sound, could leave his mouth, only a shocked expression cemented on his face as her stasis staff cut off the hand that held Thorn. She pushed him back and directed a stasis glacier the grow from the ground and encapsulate him up to his neck. His eyes darted around wildly, unable to comprehend how this was possible.

The javelin suddenly broke apart, freeing Del. He initially collapsed onto the ground, but he too had unexplainably healed from his wounds.

Sawyer rolled over with a relieved sigh as the dagger-like rounds were rejected from his body.

McManus... laughed. His guttural, chaotic laugh echoed throughout the entire cave system. To Del and Sawyer, it was pure insanity. But to Tala, she understood this was brought on by a revelation. With her staff, she directed the ice imprisoning him to tighten. Soon all the air had left his lungs and none could replace it. Tala looked on, pleased, as his face turned blue. This could kill him, but even after all he had done, death was not the fate she wished for him.

With a keen eye, she waited and watched. His ghost soon appeared and attempted to make a mad dash. She, however, was ready and grabbed hold with a terrifying swiftness.

His ghost, also decorated in bone and emanating Hive soulfire, desperately tried to escape, but quickly accepted its fate. It tried to speak, but before Tala let a single word out, she closed her vengeful hand; destroying it to prevent resurrection and severing McManus's connection to the light.

To save him, Tala broke the ice and allowed McManus to crumble with it. In-between desperate breaths, the maniac continued his pained laughter without breaking eye contact with her.

Sawyer initially shared Del's astonishment. But as Del thanked the traveler and his ghost, Sawyer replayed the final moments of the fight that should have resulted in all their deaths. He analyzed Tala, who stood before the defeated McManus. One hand held her staff, the other tightly clenched.

McManus, holding onto his bleeding wrist, looked up at Tala with an ear to ear grin. He opened his mouth and prepared his final attack, "Sure hope that was-" Reflexively, Tala jabbed him in the throat with her staff. He fell back, choking, and Tala took a deep, victorious breath.




***




The trio gathered up McManus' belongings, including his Thorn and the Ahamkara bones, and evaporated them with coordinated holy fire. They dispersed the remaining Fallen with the destruction of weapon caches, but left their ether and Vex power source. Sawyer would report this location to House of Light, perhaps some would join. With him as their captive they headed for the surface- no words were exchanged as they climbed out of The Pit.

Once topside, they spent some time basking in the bright midday sun and tired to calm themselves and gather their thoughts after the horror they had experienced below. It was over once Tala pushed McManus into Sawyer's care. He saw through the apparent miraculousness of their healing and Tala knew it. With his ship inbound he gave her a grateful nod- he understood the unknowable burden she now undertook to guarantee their survival. 

Del was oblivious. He approached Sawyer with an open hand- extending his gratitude for his assistance in the most immediate way he could think of. Sawyer shook his hand as the shadow of his ship overtook them.

As they departed, Tala looked on, waiting to feel... anything. She couldn't even feel the cold. The ship roared away, heading to the nearest Vanguard outpost, leaving Del and Tala at the overlook.

Neither could find the words. Del was angry with her- he felt tricked, like she understood he felt more than a debt to her. The fight almost killed him, and her, and another estranged Guardian she convinced to join them. She was selfish. The veil finally lifted.

Tala was racked with guilt- she didn't anticipate the brutality of the fight, or what she had to do to stop it. Her actions almost caused Del's death, and Sawyer's, and for that she was deeply disturbed. What could she even do or say now?

"Have you spoken to it?" The resentment in Del's question delayed her answer.

"To what...?" Tala knew to what.

The Europan winds howled between them- neither could stand to look at each other.

"No." She finally answered. "The Queen won't let me."

Del said nothing else. He turned and started to walk away, his own ship descending from orbit.

Tala blinked, feeling a rush of desperation. She turned after him, slightly reaching. "Hey, wait."

He stopped.

"Do you... do you want to-"

"I'm going back to the bunker." Del answered, sternly, and not turning to look at her. What could she even do or say now to make this any worse? As his ship lowered, he waited.

The answer was nothing. With a heart weak from perceived deception, he transmatted aboard and without delay fired his engines. As his ship rocketed upwards, he punched the dash above the controls.

Tala watched on as he ascended and once again she waited to feel something. But she couldn't. She won... and she lost. But no joy or sadness. Just a strange sense of dullness- of thoughtlessness and denial.

She slowly turned once she could no longer see Delmar-3's ship. She sort of staggered back towards the mouth of The Pit, aimless and emotionless. Staring into its maw, she briefly considered going back in. Maybe she belonged down there.

Her Ghost appeared. He didn't say anything, just hovered around to her front. Tala looked right through him. Ghost blinked its dim eye a couple times, before turning its shell downward, seemingly pointing to something. Tala looked to see her left hand, clenched and shaking. She hadn't noticed. Lifting it up felt weightless but like she wasn't in control of it. Now aware, she realized she was in pain. Wincing, she tried to uncurl her fingers which dug into her palm. It took her free hand to open her captured one, revealing the two bloody fragments. Whispers filled her head as her broken fingers tried to close again. Ghost observed, unable or unwilling to help.

With a snap decision, Tala's wrist rotated, letting the two fragments fall. She jumped back from The Pit, completely disoriented as her surroundings appeared different. She took her own labored breaths and held her crippled hand close to her chest. Her Ghost, whose eye shun a little brighter now, scanned her hand. He shook his shell, before silently disappearing.

Tala felt herself coming back, but her mind remained clouded. As she approached her ship, cradling her hand, she realized why things around her looked different. It was night now.

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