Day 796 – Finale

If Heaven and Hell decide that they both are satisfied
And illuminate the “NO’s” on their vacancy signs
If there’s no one beside you when your soul embarks
Then I’ll follow you into the Dark

Death Cab for Cutie, I’ll Follow You into the Dark

I was up to to my knees and sinking in oily muck the consistency of mud. The wind was black and thick with Blight, whipping through the joints and plates of my frame. I had lost my armor some time ago, and my cloak long before that. I clutched the broken hatchet I had found weeks before as I slogged forward. I couldn’t see the Tower anymore…in truth I didn’t even know if it was still there because the wind obscured everything beyond a few meters. There were still bodies, their fingers and the tops of their heads poking through the sludge. I couldn’t remember which had been there and which I had killed. Maybe I had killed them all.

I could hear her laughing. It was louder now, a cacophony.

“Hunter! We have unfinished business!” Each word was a thunderstorm, every syllable a rumble of thunder that buried whole litanies and sermons inside it, a never-ending echo-chamber of spells and power that descended into some unseen depth.

I had to get to the Tower. I had to cross the field. I was so close. So close.

Claws, shining with Darkness, pierced the Blighted mist and wrapped around my skull. I was hauled free of the muck to stare her in the eyes. Blight dripped from her fangs.

“WE HAVE UNFINISHED BUSINESS!” Her scream warped sound and color and heat and cold and death and time…

I struck at her, burying the broken hatchet in her crest. She screamed, but it was a scream of laughter, and I felt her claws dig deeper the more I fought, plucking at my memory and my inner self. Something buried deep in that inner self knew to fight was to worship, to worship was to surrender to the Deep, the Law of these Spaces that had invaded my space, my mind-

Light, wholesome and clean and bright charged my circuits. It wasn’t much Light, but when a person has spent a long time in a dark room even a little illumination can be blinding.

“Up!” a familiar voice said. I tried to place it. Hands spun me around, pointing me down the thoroughfare. “Run! We’ll catch up. RUN!”

I tried to run and felt something clutch at my ankle: the Centurion’s big fist was wrapped around my leg. He was shattered, his armor and body broken as if he been caught beneath a falling cruiser. Even as pressure gel pumped mercilessly into the red sand he clutched at me. I pulled my sword free from his mangled forearm and gave him a swift soldier’s death. Then I disentangled myself and ran.

The Cabal were in disarray. The Interceptors were smoking ruins, the Harvesters  were raining fire from the sky. Troops hunkered in the nearby buildings and behind shields, firing into the battle zone. I ran. I didn’t even have enough Light to channel into my sword for protection, but my armor did the trick. Once clear of the slugs I summoned my Sparrow and gunned it.

“Ebony?” I asked, //fearful of the answer.

“Here.” My Ghost sounded exhausted.

“Blood of the Traveler, I thought you might be dead.”

“Nearly.” He fell silent again.

The moment I was clear of the Blight it felt like the sun had risen. Light coursed through me again, charging everything. I slowed the Sparrow and turned.

My rescuer pulled up on her Sparrow, and I recognized the orange cloak and leather armor. “Arianna, it’s nice to see you.”

“Morc; you’re welcome for saving your life,” said the other Hunter. “If you had a death wish you could have least let us all know first.”

“I trusted the Traveler would help me out, though I admit you cut it close.”

Arianna took off her helmet and smoothed her red mohawk. “Sure you did.” The Awoken Hunter dismounted and took my hand cannon out of her belt. “You’ll want this where we’re going.”

I took the gun. “Where’s that?”

“I’ll explain when my backup gets here.”

I holstered my weapon. “How did you find me?”

“I had help.” As if on cue a winged ship in Dead Orbit colors cut through the sky overhead. It banked sharply and came around, then settled next to us, kicking up sand and dust.

A Titan transmatted out to the surface. He was dressed in black and green, his armor resembling a shirt of chain mail more than the common cuirass of plate. His helmet was off, revealing a human with a shaggy mane of blonde hair, but he seemed unaffected by the thin air.

“Hello! You must be Morc-35!” he said to me. “I’m Findlay! Pleasure to meetcha!”

I stared at the cheery Titan as he approached and stuck out his hand. He looked no more than 20 years old. I looked at Arianna, ignoring the proffered handshake. “This doesn’t answer my question.”

“The help I meant wasn’t him.”

“She meant me.” Emma Ericksson had come up behind Findlay. He stood aside, looking a little flustered as Emma approached. “You told me I could tell them where you were in an emergency. Well, they said it’s an emergency.”

I dismounted my Sparrow and walked over to Emma to give her a hug. She buried her face in the edge of my cloak. “It’s been 8 months. You haven’t even called. I’ve…Father Ericksson has been worried.”

“I’m sorry,” I said, feeling a twinge of //guilt.

Emma pushed me away. “Save it. At least you’re OK.” She crossed her arms and glared.

I looked at Arianna. “So, this emergency?”

“It’s a big one!” Findlay interrupted before she could speak. Arianna closed her mouth and rolled her eyes so hard I thought her skull might crack. “The Fallen have breached the Wall!”

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