Iron Forerunner Suit
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Pathfinder's Mask / Helm / Visor
Saladin remembers what it was like to be young. He remembers the exhilaration of discovering the infinite power he now holds in his hands. He remembers the terror, too—his first death and the agony of a ruptured lung. His mouth had been too full of blood to form words or plead with his Ghost, so he tried with his eyes instead.
Saladin remembers his second death because it was quicker than his first: a wrong step in a minefield outside of what used to be a city called Nur-Sultan. He laughed when his Ghost reassembled him. Then, he cried.
Saladin remembers deaths three through sixty-five but does not dwell on them. Instead, he regrets the thousands of hours of sleep lost to nightmares, and how much less vibrant his recollection of that period in his life is compared to his noble centuries spent as an Iron Lord.
Saladin remembers the day he stopped counting deaths. "Something about you is different," Jolder had said, and put her hand on his.
Saladin remembers all this and more when he looks at the Crow. He feels rage form a hot pit in his belly when Osiris tells him about the young Lightbearer's suffering at the hands of his fellow Guardians. Osiris asks him if he can keep a secret.
"I don't like secrets," Saladin says, and that's the end of it.
Pathfinder's Grips / Gauntlets / Gloves
Saladin remembers burying bodies by the dozens. He remembers being thankful that the ground had thawed early that year, so they wouldn't have to burn them. Fires brought light and smoke—and light and smoke brought Fallen Raiders. Fallen Raiders brought more bodies.
"It's a vicious circle," Efrideet had said as she tied off a funeral shroud with great care. Saladin remembers the bundle being very small. "One day, I'm going to break it."
Saladin remembers how easily the body fit in his arms, how light it felt as he laid it in the grave. He remembers, with shame, pretending not to hear Efrideet's words so he wouldn't need to respond to them.
He remembers not having anything kind to say.
Saladin remembers all this and more whenever the Crow talks back to him. Sometimes, he bites down on the inside of his cheek. Sometimes, he looks up to find his Ghost focused on him with a knowing look.
He doesn't say anything to his Ghost either.
Pathfinder's Vest / Plate / Vestments
Saladin remembers losing his connection to the Light. He remembers thinking that the Traveler must have discovered his most secret doubts; the darkest thoughts he shared with no one—not even his Ghost. He remembers the strange sense of relief that had washed over him until his radio crackled to life just moments later.
He remembers hearing a voice broadcast to the world that the Last City had fallen to the Cabal, but he could not tell you whose voice it was—only that it wasn't Zavala's.
"Saladin," his Ghost had said, sounding like it spoke from the end of a very long, very wide tunnel. "You have to move."
Because Saladin stood unmoving. He remembers staring out the window at flurries of snow for what felt like a very long time but could only have been a few minutes. He remembers tracing the outlines of neighboring peaks across the glass with the edge of his knuckle. He remembers the act of remembering: once upon a time, he'd taught their names to Zavala, as their names had been taught to him.
"Saladin," his Ghost said again, and Saladin remembers moving. He remembers clutching his radio and rallying survivors—those strong enough to make the journey—to the Iron Temple.
Saladin remembers all this and more whenever the Crow challenges him on his cowardice during the Red War. He wants to break the young Guardian's back to teach him a lesson about what it's like to feel helpless, but something stops him.
He remembers hearing stories about the Crow's life on the Shore before he arrived at the Tower, and does not raise a hand against him.
Pathfinder's Strides / Greaves / Boots
He remembers Jolder tending the fire with wood cut by her favorite axe: a mighty thing fashioned from steel and embellished with engravings of laughing wolves. It had been a gift from a blacksmith whose son Jolder effortlessly plucked out of the frozen river several winters before.
"Putting an arrow through its heart is the easiest part," she'd teased him. "Now you get to sit back and watch the rest of us do the real work."
Saladin remembers helping anyway, using Jolder's axe to section off a flat piece of juniper to smoke the meat. He remembers the sound and smell of bubbling fat, and how rich the drippings had tasted when he soaked them in bread.
He remembers Radegast asking him to sing the song taught to them by the people of the blacksmith's village, but agreeing only when Jolder and Perun promised to join in. Their voices rose like wolves in the night and were so raw by morning that none of them could speak.
Saladin remembers all this and more when Zavala tells him Amanda has taken the Crow out to drink in the City's streets. He wonders what song they'll sing, if it's anything like the one he's heard everyone humming lately—even though he hasn't tried it himself.
Pathfinder's Hood / Mark / Bond
Saladin remembers the first time he met Zavala. He remembers thinking that the Awoken had regal bearing like the stags he once hunted on the Steppes. His shoulders were broad, and his chin held high. When he moved, he did so with the strength and purposeful deliberation of someone with the power to determine his own place in the world.
"You'll never have a son," his Ghost had said, "but it isn't too late for you to take an apprentice."
Saladin remembers their sparring matches. He remembers how Zavala always got back on his feet, no matter how many times Saladin put him down. He remembers refusing to offer the younger Lightbearer a hand up. Until the day Zavala finally bested him in combat.
He remembers lying flat on his back, left shoulder dislocated and ribs shattered, a strange pressure on his chest that made it difficult to breathe.
"Finish it," Saladin had commanded because that was the way of things. His Ghost would revive him.
Saying nothing, Zavala hauled him to his feet instead.
Saladin remembers all this and more when his former apprentice calls him into his office and tells him about the face behind the Crow's mask. Zavala says he knows that Saladin doesn't like secrets; that it's unfair to ask him to keep one of this magnitude, but there will come a time when the Crow needs someone—the way Zavala needed Saladin.
"You never needed anyone," Saladin insists.
Zavala only smiles.
List of appearances