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May this message find you, Guardian.
If it does, then you have once again learned just enough to be dangerous, and you are no doubt seeking guidance.
I must preface all I am about to say by asking for your empathy. I have dedicated lifetimes to studying the infinite permutations of reality. I have lived longer than any other Guardian by orders of magnitude, much of it outside what you experience as time. But with the loss of Sagira, the time I have left in a Human lifespan is infinitesimal; less than a mote in the vast sands of time. All I have of value—my insights, my discoveries, my reputation—they are all rooted in my past, and I do not have the time left to accomplish more. Not on the scale we need to survive.
There are few beings in this cosmos who have seen time from the same depths as I have, and fewer still with the intellect to appreciate that perspective. Which is why I have made my deal with the devil.
The Vanguard have fought like trapped animals for too long. They hoard secrets; every fact they learn gets crammed into the barrel of a gun and fired at the heart of our newest target. We are losing this war despite individual, pyrrhic victories, and what pitiful harm Savathûn can inflict with our limited resources pales against the value of this opportunity. The Witch Queen sits on a throne of secrets accreted over a billion years. While she huddles in the crumbling ruin of our city, I am left alone in her storied halls to learn all she has seen.
Zavala and Ikora are dear friends and noble souls, but they are adventurers. They see immediate problems and crave immediate solutions, and their compassion blinds them to what can be won through sacrifice—particularly from a man who is, on the scale of Guardian lives, already dead. They would stop me, which is why I entrust only you with this knowledge. Keep my secrets and keep humanity safe with this unexpected ally.
Do not let my sacrifice be in vain.
It seems that our end has arrived this day. Savathûn is here.
For too long, I have dreaded this inevitability. In a way, I suppose it's a relief; the sword of Damocles dangles over my head no more. I approach you alone, Guardian, because you have proven yourself unswervingly dedicated to victory over the Hive no matter the cost.
Savathûn is an enemy unlike any the Guardians have ever weathered, not merely because of her physical power, but also because of her keen intellect and mastery of strategy—she does not make a visible move without first maneuvering all of her assets into place. It was all too easy for you to reveal her presence among the Vanguard. Make no mistake: she discarded the guise of Osiris because it was no longer valua 8le, because the reveal was strategically worth more to her. I cannot begin to guess at her true agenda, but I promise you that everything we are doing now is exactly what she wants.
There is no one in the Last City as soaked in Hive secrets as I am, but my knowledge now becomes a liability. Savathûn works her power through secrets, and I am almost certainly her unwitting pawn—a sleeper agent ready to activate when the time comes.
I need a friend and ally whom I can trust to eliminate me the moment I act suspiciously. Do not hesitate, Guardian. Do not second-guess. Do not beg me to seek redemption. I am already fallen, and the greatest mercy you can offer is swiftness.
You alone I trust with this vital task.
Show considerable caution re: new informant FYN-002. CHA-319 confirms asset traits: paranoid, disgruntled, eager to please, needs to belong. Disposition makes him an eager source; also makes him easily manipulated by Savathûn. Until he is established as bona fide, work under assumption that everything he shares, the enemy wants us to know. If the operation goes sideways, exfiltrate FYN-002 for debrief; some intel is better than none.
Be prepared. Scrutinize everything. Accept nothing at face value. Savathûn operates via disinformation and counterintelligence. We must assume she will penetrate our networks at some point, so remain vigilant.
Personal aside: Hidden involvement with this operation will stretch my time thin. I'm sorry. I'll provide oversight for critical missions; otherwise, I need you to operate solo. It may be more than you're prepared for, but we don't have any other choice for now.
But it is in the spirit of Zavala's newfound truce that I offer you news delivered by my Cabal scouts. My forces recently recovered the remains of a Human male on Nessus, vivisected almost beyond recognition using Hive techniques and tools. Our science identifies the unfortunate as your Warden of the Infinite Forest, Osiris.
While I will not divulge the details of our confirmation methodologies, rest assured they are thorough and accurate. This news no doubt will shock you, given that you are also in possession of another Osiris still clinging to life. But it is not him, despite the confirmation of his identity performed by Ikora Rey. Her admiration for her old mentor has already clouded her ability to recognize an imposter once, and it appears to have happened yet again. It is not custom among the Cabal to allow even a respected leader a 3rd chance to fail their people.
I don't know what purpose the Witch Queen could have in giving you a comatose husk wearing your dead ally's face, or what threat he may become: a listening device, a future mole, a living bomb? But understand this: when Savathûn brought Xivu Arath to my doorstep, she did so wearing the mask of a trusted advisor. What you hold in your Tower is no treasure, and I have faith in you among your kind to handle this problem as a Cabal would.
Intentions, no matter how lofty, damn us just as thoroughly as our sins.
My one responsibility to the Guardians—to humanity—was to keep our secrets safe, and I failed. Our greatest enemy strolled into the nerve center of the Tower, and I showed her our beating heart without question because she preyed on my nostalgia.
So now you find yourself answering to a Vanguard of one. In quick succession, the line of duty has consumed first Cayde and now me. Only Zavala seems immune to such tragedy. Is it simply luck, or is it ambition? For all his honor, Zavala was a brute before he claimed to hear the Traveler's call, but now I wonder if I didn't underestimate his cunning as well.
Don't let my failures compromise your chance to save us all, Guardian. Humanity needs a champion unshackled from politics. You need to chase down Savathûn's scattered memories no matter who tries to stop you—whether they're from the Throne World or the Last City. And be wary. If Zavala is a threat we didn't see coming, you'd be wise to watch yourself: find insurances, ways to seem useful to him. Do whatever it takes to ensure your safety, just in case this jinx on powerful Guardians doesn't end with me. Don't follow poor Cayde- 8's fate.
I trust you and you alone to follow this through. You're wily enough to stay ahead of our Light-wielding enemies.
Odd communication technique, but costly. Thought to phoneme to mark to digital signal. Each transmutation yields less than the input; the alchemy of conception. Read well, Guardian, for less of value has filtered through these transitions, and you must slake yourself on only the anhydrate wisdoms that remain.
I witness your crude battering against the shores of Savathûn's throne world; causal flotsam adrift in the Sea of Screams. Your flailings stir storms on its waters as surely as a firefly lights conflagrations. And yet, you persist. Why wouldn't you? Stubbornness, glutted by fear, stirs a Guardian to every cause. You tempered yourself in the Light and the Dark to become a blade that would not break. And despite that keen crucible of obstinance, you lack the true will for genius.
You bow to the Traveler, Guardian, and you must lose because Savathûn bows to a mightier master—the same master to whom the Traveler genuflects: survival. That is their shared secret, and what makes them strong: a purer reagent with which to alloy. They are siblings, possessed of the same valence electrons.
The same Light-Dark temper has distilled for you an ally.
And ever the Guardian, you thirst for the briny waters of conflict that you know, ignoring the sweeter, fresh flow that bursts from the vessel.
Savathûn will be the universe's salvation, hero. She can be yours, too, if only you cast down the bitter draught of old allegiance on which you have grown drunk.
X-ray laser emplacements can rip the protons from a ship's hull, redefining what each atom is and triggering explosions as each individual molecule realizes it can no longer exist. And yet that damage pales in comparison to the harm secrecy can cause. While Hunters may prefer to act with their targets unaware, and Warlocks may prefer subterfuge and trickery, a proper Titan conducts his business for all to see. But for Ikora's sake, I am willing to bend my principals—her mistakes and the questions that surround them are already all too public. And so, I find myself in the unenviable position of approaching you, Guardian, clandestinely.
Sadly, my concerns around Ikora are what bring me to you. I know my old friend. She carries her mistakes heavier than anyone else, and giving up the Light to Savathûn may be too much for her to bear. I can see the cracks forming in her resolve.
The Vanguard needs 3 leaders to reflect the needs and perspectives of Earth. I need your help to start course correcting our current trajectory. I will not disgrace Ikora by removing her from her position, but her own flagellations are compromising her awareness and interfering with her ability to keep this city safe. I need a spymaster who can work from Ikora's shadow even—or especially—when she compromises herself, and you are already familiar with her work. I know that eventually, Ikora will welcome the freedom of stepping away from the undue burden of her responsibilities. And once things quiet down, we will make your position more formal. Until then, know I support your decisions and will back whatever changes you must make.
I know this is no simple request, to entrust you with uncovering our enemies' secrets, and with saving my dearest friend's life.
Ice strangles bare branches by winter, and yet roots churn unseen. Spring always comes, and with it, the fruits of perseverance. Similarly, the Books of Sorrow burst with tales of the Witch Queen's cycle of death and return, so do not become complacent. Savathûn is a cunning foe. I will only be shocked if her machinations do not continue to bedevil us for some time yet.
You have bested Savathûn. At least, for all appearances. That is the only assurance we have in facing an enemy who works so subtly on so many different fronts. I still labor to uproot the filaments she spun into our intelligence networks during her tenure as Osiris. Thankfully, a great many have become more obvious without her constant maintenance.
You should be aware that Savathûn took a particular interest in you, and I have uncovered her infiltration of hidden communication channels. It's likely she is responsible for one or more false missives in an attempt to undermine your loyalties or redirect your goals. But her schemes invariably serve multiple agendas; while she works to sway with her words, she encodes secrets to erode your subconscious as well. It is possible one may pick apart these ulterior agendas with a cautious eye, and so I recommend reviewing any communications you have received to search for unusual elements.
Report anything you uncover to Ikora or me.