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December 01, 2022, 12:38:56 AM

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Author Topic: Hunted, pt. 1  (Read 334 times)
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« on: February 27, 2022, 08:04:33 AM »

It’d only been an hour since Renato was forced to put his jumpship in the brush; the rotted, fetid marshland surrounded the crash site for what seemed like dozens upon dozens of kilometres. But in the distance, the weary Titan spotted a massive structure – just about the size of his palm at this range.

Renato took stock of what remained: which nothing, really. He still had his loadout: a Khvostov rifle, Lucid Melody hand cannon, Blissful Ignorance shotgun, his – or rather, Amara’s – Warmind Khanjali, and a greataxe gifted to him by Lord Saladin. It was at times like this that as Renato watched the swamp protractedly devour his spacecraft that he took comfort in the fact that, as a Guardian, he would not die permanently from starvation. He also couldn’t get tetanus, but that was neither here nor there.

First impressions of Savathûn’s Throne World were nauseating, to say the least. But something gnawed at his perception, as if triggering some innate sense of presence.

“For what it’s worth,” Pendleton materialized over Renato’s shoulder, arcing into view as they navigated the mess of dead foliage. “I think we might have miscalculated with the Wayfinder. Just a little. Maybe… a lot.”

Renato glanced at him. He wasn’t angry, or too prideful to admit his handiwork. If anything he agreed.

Still, Pendleton took a hint and stifled the topic. Both of them were equally disappointed in losing Tala’s trail, having put all of their proverbial eggs into one navigation component. In turn, they lost Pendleton’s bond to her Ghost and the means of tracking its owner. On the flipside, it inadvertently saved the Titan from a final death when it ripped open a portal in proximity to Savathûn’s ship. Silver linings and all that.

The tell-tale thrum of a Hive tombship signalled the end of the pair’s break. Both looked to the source, equal dismay turning to concern. Renato turned to his Ghost and outstretched his palm; Pendleton instinctively landed in it, dematerializing into the ether.

“Not even an hour into our vacation into a Throne World and we managed to get spotted by the only patrol out here.” Pendleton’s voice sounded in Renato’s head, like a second conscience. “That’s just – that’s tremendous.”

Renato drew his Khvostov and pulled back on the charge handle. “I’m open to options.” he said, expectant.

“I ah… Okay, let me just –” Pendleton droned, muttering options to himself. “We don’t have the firepower to take that thing down, but glass half full it hasn’t fired on us just yet!”

Immediately eating his counterpart's words, several Hive acolytes deployed with a peculiar-looking knight. Renato ducked behind a fallen tree trunk as they began to investigate the area.

“Pendleton –”

“Oh!” he chirped. “You know what? I have a bold, bold plan and you’re gonna have to hear me out for this one.”

Renato propped himself on one knee and looked over his cover. His jumpship had at last been taken by the swamp, leaving the Hive to disperse. The knight turned around and spotted him, prompting its acolytes to open fire. The red Titan ducked back into cover and scowled.

“I’m all ears, buddy!” he shouted, wincing as a chunk of the trunk exploded next to him.

“Well, not to brag but I think you’re going to like this: we run!”


“Listen, we keep true to that definitely-not-ominous stronghold in the distance and we’ll be there in no time – there’s got to be reinforcements further in.”

It was, admittedly, an excellent point. They may have shown up in the early stages of the skirmish above the newly re-emerged Mars (only to be shot down by the Cabal.), but they were certainly not the first Guardians to arrive on-scene.

Renato conceded. He tossed a suppressor grenade over his shoulder and conjured a wide, rectangular barrier to buffet the blast. Renato broke into a sprint in the appointed direction, hurdling over terrain with his rifle in his subordinate hand. The marsh seemed to ebb and bend in his peripheral vision, as if playing with his sense of space. A trivial little conjurer’s trick put in place by the Witch Queen, he was sure.

It mattered little right now.

With a Hive patrol on his tail and a vast distance to cover, Renato would have to play Savathûn’s twisted games… just as he did when Caiatl’s refugees emerged, just as he did when the Vex bespelled the City, just as he did when she was held captive by the Awoken. It tired him; all he wanted more than anything in the universe was to reunite with Tala. But at every turn he was indisposed, detoured, or just shy of an opportunity altogether. He wondered why she hadn’t sought him all these years after the Red War.

But even now, with Gambol’s reports of Tala succumbing to the Witch Queen’s or some other malignant force’s thrall he could only chase dead leads and loose threads with wishful thoughts and good intentions. He was paving the road to his own personal hell.

Renato stumbled; betrayed by rotted wood which caused him to lose momentum. His leg ached now and a reasonable person would stop and tend to the sudden hyperextension – surely Pendleton could mend it in a pinch.

But there was no time. Renato couldn’t afford to stop. Not now, not ever.

Not while Tala was still out there… somewhere.

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