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Purpose is a Lore book added in Season of the Deep. Entries are unlocked by progressing the seasonal Triumph "Into the Depths" which is the questline for the seasonal story. It tells of various characters' experiences as Titan returns to the Sol System.
Commander Zavala's voice sounds distorted, as if he were underwater. The chill running down Sloane's spine only adds to the sensation.
She knows she had been gone for a while. For how long, she isn't sure— Síocháin's internal chronometer had glitched out shortly after Titan disappeared and took them with it. Sloane had been left to measure the passage of time by feeling it in her bones.
The universe moved on without her. That was to be expected. But Sloane still can't believe Zavala's debriefing… the words crash into her like one tidal wave after another, threatening to knock her off balance and fill her lungs with brine.
Sloane's thoughts drift back to the wake of the Red War. Call signs and banter as Holliday's Hawk flew overhead. Small talk between sorties. Quiet moments and shared laughter between the staccato of gunfire and roar of jet engines. A friendship chiseled into marble, one stroke at a time.
Amanda was always fearless. The first to stand up, the last to go home.
Why did she always have to be such a damn hero?
"Sloane," Zavala says again.
She realizes she's been clenching her fists. She might have been shaking. Sloane's eyes focus once more, meeting those of her commanding officer.
He looks different than she remembers. His eyes seem older, wiser, and filled with something that catches her off guard.
Is that… pity?
Can he see it? This pit growing in her stomach, this yawning chasm that yearns to swallow her whole. Is he questioning her resolve? Her ability to see this through, to do her duty back on the frontline so others don't have to?
DOES HE SEE YOUR WEAKNESS?
Sloane clenches her fists again.
"Sir," she replies. Her voice holds steady. "Understood, sir."
Zavala's brow furrows. "It's a lot to take in. If you need to—"
A moment of silence passes. Sloane does not let him see anything. Zavala nods.
"Very well," he says. "Dismissed."
Sloane salutes and returns to her station.
She would be the first to stand up.
And the last to go home.
Ikora pinches a thick and vibrant Strand thread from the air and twists it between her fingers with ease. It plies to her influence, but smooths the motions of her hands, tapering her movements to flow in cleaner lines.
The Veil tones in rhythm with the plucks of tension rolling across her knuckles. She focuses on the subtle irregularities in each pulse, the patterns they form. There are a small few plucked reverberations that resonate out beyond the walls of this chamber, beyond the detection of her intuition, and out into the cosmos. Those capture her interest most.
Osiris watches the ripples play out before him and across the fabric of reality, as a wave, then particles, then a wave again. He feels it brush over him. He steps with the cadence of each pulse sent rippling from Ikora's plucking knuckles, basking in Strand's energizing rhythm. Feeling whole again.
"It's stronger… the Veil's signature." Ikora's voice carries a hint of learned suspicion. "Ever since we recovered Titan."
"That is to be expected," Osiris retorts, now within the weave of droning Strand surrounding the Veil. The room around them trembles. "When Titan was torn back, the Veil took notice. It seemed to recognize Titan's arrival."
Ikora tightens her grip on the Strand thread. "We have the Veil, our Ghosts… what are we missing? If we decipher the connection between Titan and the Veil, that connection might be what we need to follow the Witness."
"What of the worm?" Osiris asks skeptically. "Sloane believes she is our best chance."
"You taught me the value of a backup plan." Ikora gives him a stern look. "Titan, Savathûn's throne world, every place we've found egregore… I haven't found the exact threads yet but pull one and they all seem to spin back to Neomuna. To the Veil."
"You're getting ahead of yourself. Following some of my… less favorable tendencies. Nimbus says we must 'flow' to understand Strand; perhaps it is the same with the Veil." Osiris moves beside Ikora and reaches up, palm parallel to the threads drawn taut from Ikora's braid of Strand. "Sol remembered Titan, in a way. The Veil's signal spiked when Titan returned from memory to reality, when the rhythm of the solar system had been restored to order." Osiris drops his hand and looks to Ikora. "Perhaps we must simply find that rhythm before we are able to interpret the beats within it."
"And once we do… then we should be able to reverse that process," she replies. Ikora releases the thread and tracks the rippling points of connection that travel outward, along the fabric-like Strands of existence, to the walls of the containment enclosure. "We're too late in the game for something to mean nothing. It has to connect."
Ikora sighs, then turns to Osiris. "Your flare for educating others is returning. Though I bet some would say you never lost it." She smiles.
Osiris smirks. "Come, walk with me. We will discuss this unifying theory of yours."
A soft, simulated whimper echoes through the workshop as Archie rests his head on Ana's shoulder. They sit together in front of the harness holding up Rasputin's erstwhile Exo frame, a lifeless effigy of cables and steel.
"I know, buddy," Ana says quietly. "I miss him too."
After Rasputin's sacrifice, Ana had arranged for the Exo frame to be transferred from the H.E.L.M. to her workspace in the Tower. At the time, she had told herself that keeping the frame in storage would have been a waste; that its technological advancements could prove useful to other Exos in the future. Honestly, though, she simply wasn't ready to let go.
Nevertheless, she signed herself up for a new task, and what better way to cope with grief than by staying busy? So she had made good on her word, tinkering with the frame to reverse-engineer its more convoluted components.
That was, until she heard that Titan, like Mars before it, had suddenly reappeared. And Sloane along with it. A warrior in need of a war; a weapon in search of a target. Not unlike the Warmind. The thought kept Ana from fully burying herself in her work.
For now, she wraps her arm around Archie as her thoughts drift to all the detritus left in Rasputin's wake. Rasputin had assembled an arsenal of unfathomable scale. Remnants from thousands of Warsats strewn across the solar system, prototype weaponry never to be completed, stratagems and simulations forever forgotten.
And yet, sitting here in the shadow of his sacrifice, Ana finds that she wants to remember him by the one thing not built for war. A canine AI, created for no other purpose than companionship. One that has made a home for himself in the Tower, greeting everyone he meets on his daily walks.
In the end, Rasputin's legacy was not the war he waged, but the lives he sought to protect. The notion brings a smile to Ana's lips. It's what distinguished him from Xivu Arath. And Ana hopes that Sloane can realize the same holds true for her.
Ana looks to the Exo frame one last time before rising to her feet and pats the dog on his head. He happily wags his tail in response.
"Come on, Archie," she says as she reaches for her comms unit. "Let's go for a walk."
Eris let her eyes wander over the interior of the Derelict, wondering if Drifter had hastily tidied it before her arrival. Unprecedented, but he could still surprise her. They sat together as they always did when she came to speak to him face to face.
Drifter sighed and shook his head, flicking his coin absently between his fingers
"Sloane's in a bad way," he said. Eris nodded.
"And you believe my speaking to her will be beneficial," she replied. Drifter shrugged.
"Helped a few people already, didn't it?"
Eris considered this.
"It should be you," she finally answered. Drifter laughed at this but fell silent when her expression remained unchanged.
"Me?" His confusion was genuine. "Why would she trust me?"
"Trust is built, Drifter," Eris said, "and you have taken the first step."
He was pensive. The movement of the coin over his knuckles stopped. She continued.
"I have found," she said, her words measured, "that one is grounded by honesty. Not only in oneself, but with those around you."
He heaved a slow, hard breath.
"I don't know if I can," he said, his voice small.
"Yes. Honesty is a supplication," Eris said. "We ask to be seen. We are made vulnerable… but it is necessary to be treated with care."
Her explanation was met with one of his rasping chuckles. Drifter leaned back in his seat, arms crossed. He held his coin tightly between a thumb and forefinger.
"You always make somethin' so easy sound so freaky, Moondust," he said. Eris ignored this.
"Tell her what you told me," she said more simply. "The Deputy Commander's trust will not come without reciprocity."
Drifter fell quiet, looking down. She could hear his breath and see the strained shiver of his fingers where he clutched the coin. Eris reached out and placed a hand on his arm. He was tense to trembling, but her touch was light. Quiet. Comforting.
He placed his hand over her own.
"Y'know, some days I still wake up scared," Drifter said softly. "Even when I can't remember my dreams."
"That is what it is to survive."
There was a gentleness to Eris's voice. He nodded, then looked up and met her gaze.
"Hey," Drifter said. "You find that joy yet?"
"Soon," Eris answered. "Joy is built… but I have taken the first step."
Drifter withdrew his hand. After a moment, she did too. Eris stood, and Drifter's eyes followed her.
"Consider my counsel, Germaine."
She knew he would. Drifter let the silence linger.
"That's not my name," he said at last.
"That is what you let them call you."
It was a small link to his past. A link to a life he had picked for himself. He nodded slowly, holding her gaze. He would let her call him that too.
"I don't know what I expected."
Zavala sets down a datapad on his desk, watching Ikora pace back and forth across his office. "I don't know," he sighs. "Maybe we should have."
Ikora stops pacing. She turns to look at Zavala with an accusatory stare.
"Every single enemy we've fought was brought here by the Traveler," Zavala says, slouching back into his chair. "The Hive, the Fallen, the worst of the Cabal." His attention drifts down to the datapad, Sloane's report on the origins of the Witness. "What's one more group of people chasing it?"
"This isn't the Traveler's fault," Ikora says, doubling back on Zavala's desk. "You read the same report I did. We are at war with an entire civilization condensed into an individual. Multitudes of resentment and hatred crushed into a singularity."
"Resentment toward the Traveler." Zavala grumbles. "I'm not saying the Traveler is at fault. I'm saying… it's a harbinger of ill-omen. Everywhere it's gone, nothing but death has followed. Does it realize that? Does it care?"
Ikora approaches Zavala's desk. "Does it matter?" She challenges him. "It is obviously outgunned and running. For all the Traveler's strength the Witness is the greater power. It never came to us to uplift us. It came to us for help."
Zavala is silent. He looks up from the datapad to Ikora, then sighs and slowly rises from his seat. Ikora follows him with her eyes, watching him move to the window where he would gaze out at the Traveler in the past. Now a fleet of allied vessels struggle to fill that void.
"Were they really that unified?" Zavala asks, looking at Ikora's faint reflection.
"The Witness's people." Zavala stares past Ikora's reflection to the City. "Were they truly of one mind, united in a desire to become this… thing? Or were they forced? Compelled into action by the guidance of a few." She can feel the doubt in his words. Not in his wonderings about the Witness's origins, but in the Vanguard, in what he sees as a parallel.
Ikora steps to Zavala's side, briefly touching his elbow. "We'd never become that," she says softly. "Not in all of Elsie's journeys through time, not in any hypothetical future. We stand together because—"
"Because we believe what we're doing is right." Zavala interjects, looking Ikora in the eye. She sighs, turning to face the window. Her shoulders sag, and she is lost in the details of the cityscape.
"I don't know what I expected either," Zavala says. "But you're right. It wasn't this."
Xivu Arath's claw wraps around a hiltless, slender vantablack blade impaled into the spine of a prostrated Knight, whose own sword clatters to the ground, inches from its grip, defeated.
She twists her blade, and the Knight's roars echo within the Dreadnaught. Xivu's will soars through the Ascendant Plane and crosses the barrier between this world and the next to find communion with the Witness.
Within a distant hollow, they converse.
"They resist." The Witness's many voices cascade over each other.
LIKE WOUNDED PREY. ALL TIRE IN TIME.
"If they do not?"
Xivu Arath sees the hidden thrust of its question. She knows it doubts her but does not understand why. No matter the outcome, they stand at the precipice of the Final Shape.
THE SWORD WILL DECIDE AND BE FORGED STRONGER FOR IT.
"It is beyond that now."
She does not want to fall before the end. She is so close now. She saw her past failures as blood-penance, paid for strength; notches where blades and Light met her carapace were legends given form. But it is not hers to decide, nor the Witness's. The logic is a perfect, deterministic sequence of causality, built into the experience of conscious existence. None can usurp it.
Struggle within the finite is eternal.
"To deny the blade is heresy"—her sister's words played in her thoughts like fingertips plucking dissonant chords.
The Witness enters the solace of Xivu's mind. Her inner throne. A salt flat sliver extending eternally into darkness. Armaments of all fashion sleep, partially sheathed between the cracks of a battlefield, where there is no place to run.
And from Its gaze, there is no place to run.
"They hold the worm; they will pursue her knowledge." The words echo throughout the desolate realm. "The Final Shape remains to be hewn."
THAT I MAY WIELD IT, GLORIOUS, AGAINST THE SKY.
"Not as you are. Weakened by defeat." The echoes slither over her mind but find little purchase.
[LAUGHTER LIKE SCREAMING FEAR]
MEAGER VICTORIES OF NO CONSEQUENCE; BLURRED BATTLES LOST WITHIN MY GREATER WAR.
"No victory is of no consequence. They scheme."
WAR IS FED, REGARDLESS. THE SKY CAN GRANT NO PASSAGE.
"That time will soon come to an end. Show her your love, Xi Ro."
She is alone again.
Her blade: buried in spent ash.