Legacy's Oath Suit (Titan)
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Legacy's Oath Helm
High above the Last City, tucked in one of the Tower's many alcoves, Cayde-6 thumbs through an old book. Plucked from the Speaker's library, it's become delicate with age, or so he assumes, taking extra care turning each page. His sense of touch is good; there's certainly enough circuitry in his metal fingers to pull off the most precise of shots. But even a hair-trigger touch might rip the brittle paper…
Cayde pauses on a page. "If sailor tales and sailor tunes, storm and adventure, heat and cold—"
Suddenly, a gust of surprisingly icy wind nearly rips the book from Cayde's hands. "To hell with this godforsaken ice cube!" he shouts, almost falling from his perch.
He steadies himself and inhales deeply. Hang on there, Cayde. You're not on any ice cube, godforsaken or otherwise. You're on Earth, in the Last City.
But the memory lingers, like the floating neon outlines seconds after a blinding camera flash. The snow-white plains of a distant moon, a sarcophagus of ice and iron.
Yes, that's what Europa feels like to Cayde-1 as he loads crate after crate onto the bay outside the Exoscience factory. Even the sky has turned a flat gray, casting all beneath it in dull, deadening light. A warning sky, he thinks. Sailors had some kinda rhyme for it, didn't they?
Either way, it hardly makes for a motivating work environment. Cayde sits on one of the crates. "I'm taking a break," he announces. "Need to or not, this is when we used to have lunch. I refuse to work through lunch."
Next to him, Knox-4 sighs with relief and longing. "I miss lunch. I miss getting hungry."
Cayde grins as much as his mechanical face will allow. "Hmm…" he intones in his best Dr. Abrams impression, "So you would say… you're hungry for hunger?"
Knox bursts into guffaws. Cayde chuckles weakly. It wasn't that funny. But as his friend's laughter grows, so does Cayde's. Soon, they're both clutching each other and howling.
Then, gradually, their cheer fades. "What do you tell that shrink, by the way?" Knox asks. "You tell him about the whisper?"
Cayde shakes his head. Before he can snark about the uselessness of psychologists, the whisper rings in his metal skull. It's red sky in morning, sailor's warning. But you are no sailor.
A whimper squeaks out from the loading bay. A moment later, a short snowsuitted figure scrambles out, racing for the far end of the factory. Cayde and Knox shout, taking off after the eavesdropper. No sharpshooter yet, Cayde fumbles for his BrayTech-issued handgun, aims shakily and…
Cayde-6 comes back to himself just as he stumbles into his hideout. He rifles through the piles of loot, until… "Aha!" He finds a pen. Cayde-6 isn't done yet. He flips open the book, no longer being careful with the pages, and starts scrawling.
"Spend time with an Exo who's been through it like we have and you'll see all the tells…"
Legacy's Oath Gauntlets
His Ghost materialized beside him in the cockpit. "Yes?"
Suzume spun 45 degrees clockwise and peered closer at the Exo, her equivalent of a raised eyebrow. "You'll have to elaborate."
"Sure. Sure," he said and waved away his Ghost's evident concern. "No, I mean, why the name?"
"It's your name."
"But you could have told me any name when you woke me up, and I'd have believed you."
This time, Suzume executed a slow counter-clockwise spin that Shiro had come to interpret like pursed lips.
"Well, yes, I suppose so. But your name is encoded in you—like how the color of someone's eyes exists in their DNA. You are Shiro-4."
"Huh. Why 'Shiro' then, I wonder."
"Hard to say. In the language of old Japan, the meaning of 'shiro' depends on context. Mostly, it means white, but perhaps castle."
"Don't feel like a castle. White seems odd."
"It can also mean…" Suzume's light blinked. "Innocence or purity."
"I thought that might get a laugh. Why the sudden interest in your name?"
"I've been thinking a lot about everything we're learning from Europa. I've always thought that we're defined by our choices—that we are the good and the bad that we choose to do. But we're also defined by the choices of others. I didn't choose to be a Guardian. And my name, I didn't choose that either. Did I even choose to be an Exo?"
"So…" Suzume bobbed unsteady in the air, unused to so much soul searching. "Does that mean you want a new name?"
"Hmm. No. I guess not…"
Suzume spun 45 degrees clockwise and peered again at him.
"…because I've already chosen what Shiro-4 means to me."
Legacy's Oath Plate
"What was necessary."
Lisbon-13 raised his gun toward her.
"Was it? Did we really—whoa!" Piri cried and dove away as a beam of energy vaporized the tangle of vines through which she flew.
Shards of stone from a nearby explosion suddenly battered Piri's shell. She had hoped she could talk her way out of this. But there was no time to think—just run.
"Listen, Lisbon! Please!" Piri pleaded. Each word was punctuated by a roar from his gun. She dodged the resulting explosions along the terrain. "Honestly, if you want to shoot me, I'll let you! Just stop and tell me why first!"
A grenade whirled through the air in response. Piri had seen this tactic too many times to be fooled. She zipped toward the falling explosive and sheltered under a shelf of rock. The blast rattled her senses, but Piri didn't have time for them to clear. She sped through the smoking terrain, inches above the ground, knowing Lisbon would be looking for her flight to either side of the drifting cloud.
And then in an instant, the feet of Lisbon-13 materialized in the smoke before her. She nearly ran right into him. How did he do that, she wondered, to think like others and anticipate them? She knew she needed to talk. Fast!
"Uh, okay. First thing's first. You want to destroy me. Got it. But why? What's next?" she asked.
Lisbon-13 remained silent.
Realization dawned. Piri bobbled in the air, shocked by her own conclusion. "…You want the secret to die with you. No… no, no, no. You can't kill yourself. You can't! Lisbon, there has to be another way."
Lisbon-13 looked up from his Ghost and through the wafting smoke. "She's right. This is not the way."
Lisbon-13 was not looking at his Ghost. "It's not that the power is too terrible to wield. It's that the burden is too great to bear."
"Burden?" Piri asked. The Ghost dodged as Lisbon-13 suddenly stepped forward and brushed past her.
And stood, facing himself, once again.
The doppelganger—this other Lisbon-13—reached out and put a hand on the shoulder of the Lisbon-13 that stood a few paces behind Piri.
"You never doubted yourself. Not for a moment. The others revealed their weaknesses: their pride and self-absorption. But you remember what Rekkana said," it stated.
Lisbon-13 nodded. "If anyone can handle the responsibility of this power—"
"It's you," the doppelganger finished. "What you fear now is not the responsibility you have assumed. It is the burden…" the doppelganger said, glancing back at the Ghost, "…of having all this power and never getting what you want."
Lisbon-13 had seemed distant and cold to his fireteam and his Ghost. The arguments since the Black Garden, the fighting—oh, how she had pleaded to stop the fighting! All nails in the coffin of something dead within Lisbon-13—something killed by this doppelganger in the garden's grotto. But now, some of the old Lisbon's warmth blazed white hot as he shook off his double's hand. "You did this! You ruined everything," he said.
"We are all responsible for our choices. You chose this path. They chose theirs. Now is the time to select a new path. Together. We can help each other. We can free you from what you wanted. We can lighten your burden."
Piri knew what would happen next. She braced for the explosions and readied herself to leap to Lisbon's aid.
But none came.
"…Can you make me forget her?"
Lisbon-13's shadow-self embraced him. "Yes."
Legacy's Oath Greaves
A pack of Ghosts trails behind her, their little blue eyes blinking over the landscape. Micah has helped many a Ghost in their search—it's much easier to find a Guardian while someone else looks out for Fallen scavengers—though she privately wishes they would help her for once. How hard can it be to find a functioning ship?!
Very hard when you need said ship to make it far out of the atmosphere, even possibly all the way to the Jovians. Because while her little companions seek out their futures, Micah has her own glowing eyes set firmly on the past—on the Deep Stone Crypt.
She once thought it was hidden on Earth, buried underneath the snow drifts of Siberia, but now she suspects it's further out. In a much darker, lonelier place. Somewhere very cold, that she knows for certain.
She's dreamt of it thousands of times, fought thousands of battles on the golden field beneath the black tower. And every fiftieth instance, in the midst of the chaos, an older man puts a paternal hand on her shoulder and says, "You just need to get acclimated. It's colder here than on Mars." Every hundredth time, she makes it into the tower and finds a different man sitting in an armchair, writing on a notepad. "Dreams are messages from deep inside your mind," he reminds her, "Until you figure out the message, the dream will repeat."
Every single time, no matter whom she sees or what she hears, Micah-10 wakes up, feeling something in her tug towards space. She tells herself some internal magnet must have gotten knocked loose, then curses the ones who made her. In humans, bodily sensation is a form of communication, the connection between the mental and physical. But in Exos, it's all a lie. Cold, heat, hunger, exhaustion, pain—the signals aren't connected to real lack or breakage. For the most part, her body is impervious. On the rare occasion she does break, she won't know it unless someone else tells her.
So, in that sense, the Ghosts do help her.
Legacy's Oath Mark
Saint-14, like most Exos, dreamt of the Deep Stone Crypt often. The golden field. The looming black tower. The battle below, surging with faces that were eerily familiar. He was used to these dreams, like many of his mechanical kin, and resolutely uncurious about any deeper meaning. It couldn't be anything good, he reasoned long ago. Besides, his waking life kept him more than occupied.
However, since his return from the kaleidoscope depths of the Infinite Forest, the dreams had increased in frequency and in eeriness.
For the first few weeks, instead of battle, he faced single opponents in duels: Osiris, Marin, Zavala, Ana—even the Guardian who rescued him from the Vex. No matter whom he fought, he would use all his energy and Light in the fight and lose every time. Flat on his back, he would look up at the tower and know that someone was watching from within.
The night before Rasputin alerted everyone of Pyramid ships entering the system, winter fell on his dreamscape, forcing him to charge through pillowy snow drifts at a massive winged Vex, unlike any he'd seen. He lost that night as he would for many more nights, watching as an iridescent liquid—almost like Vex milk, but different, contaminated—flowed from his every joint, sizzling in the snow.
During the waking day, he maintained his usual exuberance, taking great satisfaction in helping Guardians hone their craft in the Trials of Osiris. After all, the fights happening in reality were the ones to focus on. Why worry about what he can't control inside his head?
But then, the night before a new vacuum of grief was opened in the system, a woman appeared at the threshold of the tower. Her clothes were black; her hair prematurely gray. She watched, arms crossed, as Saint hurled grenade after flaming grenade at the Vex with little effect.
"You'll blind yourself with all that bright fire," she tutted. "Maybe then you'll finally learn to look instead of see."
In one mighty swipe, the Vex cut the Exo down. The woman sighed as Saint crumpled to the ground.
Silence fell, followed by the crunching of footsteps in the snow. "Just like your father," she said, kneeling by his head. "All of you."
She laid a hand on the fore of his helm, as if feeling for a fever. "In your next life, you should take more after me."
With that, her hand slid down to his eyes and, for the brief moment before he woke up, all was dark.
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