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Shattered Suns is a Lore book added in The Witch Queen which follows the origins of Rhulk, Disciple of the Witness and his recruitment into The Witness's service. Entries are unlocked by listening to audio logs in the mission Preservation, while the remaining five can be unlocked through completion of a puzzle within the Sunken Pyramid. Once all ten entries are unlocked, the Imperious Sun Shell is awarded.
What have I done?
(Chaos—Lubrae convulses. The sky shatters.)
This was the cost of justice?
(An enclosed cell. Introspection. Subjugation incoming. Life, upended.)
You made me do this. You made me do this. I made me do this. You made me do this.
(Father's face. Mother's face. Empty. Clan, broken. Blood, pouring. Silence, eerie.)
It was them versus us. Then it was us versus them. I ignored who "us" was. I forgot who "them" was.
(Our City. An abyss surrounds. Lubraean-made. Infinite. Or just empty. Divides. Silently conquers.)
Ignorant contentment. Love… I… was… cared for…
(My clan, safety. Dual fire in the sky. Blue light. Salvation. Dark light. Death. Safety, my clan—my family.)
—-And who cares for you now?—-
…There are none left.
—-Do you desire it still?—-
Once. I did once.
—-And you returned it?—-
(A father. Him. A son. Me. His arm on my shoulder. Assurances of a collaborative future. A teardown of "us versus them." Love, shown.)
(My anger flares. I move to confront the Stalkers. Father's hand holds me back. We lock eyes. His communicate sympathy, pain, regret. He won't let me reach the Wanderers. Their blood spills.)
(A lesson in inaction. Father wants me to see what he's seen. To feel the powerlessness he's felt. To feel insignificant. To accept the status quo.)
—-You were never capable of returning it.—-
(Slaughter. Our eyes meet again. Father's saddened. Apologetic. Afraid. Not of the Stalkers returning across the bridge, but of me. He sees not the same in my eyes. Only confusion. Anger. Anger at everything.)
You have your answer.
—-It's not our answer to have, but yours to embrace.—-
—-And what more of this family of yours?—-
They're gone. Dead. All of them. They don't matter anymore.
—-Is that so?—-
What do you even want to know? You want to know more about my father, the Lubraean traitor? Or perhaps my mother, another Lubraean traitor? I should have seen it coming. I could tell you about my clan, and my clan-father and clan-mother. Also Lubraean traitors. They were all City dwellers once, loyalists to The Regime before exiling themselves. Do you see now what I see?
—-We see unfinished business… We see a child seeking validation… We see great loss.—-
(Content. Together. A fire burns bright. Our cavern is alight. We hide within it to keep safe—the hazy sky is outside, and surely there are some without shelter this night. Those who will be torn apart. By the wild. By the Umbral Sun. By those Lubraean guards who call themselves Stalkers, pursuing us on behalf of a brutal regime.)
(Long ago, there were only Wanderers, surviving a harsh landscape covered with shifting, bloodthirsty flora. Surviving wildlife can flatten themselves until they are practically invisible—perfect at going unnoticed until they've split your skin and organs apart.)
(We are divided. Split by a shimmering orb that appeared briefly in our sky, as if having two suns isn't already crowded enough.)
—-What of this shimmering orb?—-
It was before my time. It came. We evolved. It left. Left us with a mess—those who believed in good progress. Those who didn't.
Those who believed dwelled in the City. Controlled it. Filled it only with the light of the Sapphiric Sun and endless day to keep the horrors of night away, revealing the horrors among us. They pushed progress for the sake of the few while the rest of us took our chances under the alternating suns.
—-And this shimmering orb you now see before you?—-
(There it is. Shining like silver in the sky. Like the stories told.)
Providing hope, then leaving everything to those who desire control but lack commitment and understanding.
—-Look at them now.—-
(Bodies. Limbs. Vaporized remains. A shattered sapphire. Lubrae irreparable. An Umbral sun, still shining darkness.)
…What have I done?
—-What was necessary.—-
(We survive. We give back to the land. We help those in need. They come for us anyway.)
(The Regime raids our camp. No logical explanation for those they kill. Clan-mothers. Clan-fathers. Children. They kill us without purpose. A red spattering courtesy of a Stalker spreads across my face. Goodbye, Fhent. Goodbye, clan-uncle.)
(I am covered in red. It's all I see.)
(Father is carried off, not killed. Not yet anyway. Not many of us are left. Mother and the others look at me with concern. Not for my injuries, but for those who suffered at my hands.)
—-They disrespected your power.—-
They were weak.
—-And yet you still saved them when you could.—-
(The Stalkers attack us under the Umbral Sun, during a migration. They know how to find us—they know we move at twilight—the space between when the Stalkers hunt and the planet kills.)
(We barely survive. At the safehouse, they dance and sing, not in celebration, but in admiration of their continued existence and in memoriam for those lost. I sit in anger. I hunger for revenge.)
Loss meant little to our kind. It was too rampant.
—-Are you sure it wasn't just you?—-
You know not what you ask.
(I'm a boy. I hold the furry little Yhadt in my hands as it wriggles before pulling it apart. It separates from its skin with ease. What is this worthless, pointless thing?)
Why show me this?
—-This you have already seen… experienced. Surely you can handle it again?—-
(This worthless, pointless thing… it dies so unceremoniously—did it ever matter at all? The children weep for their lost pet, but I feel… powerful. I feel—)
—-You know what you are. You always knew.—-
(Mother and the others look at me with concern. Not for my injuries, but for those who suffered at my hands… and they are right to do so. Tearing their bodies to pieces brought only joy. What… am I?)
I am a monster. I knew it then, I know it now.
—-Not a monster. A savior.—-
(Father… it's been a year since you were taken. But we have not been attacked since. I know the Stalkers still watch the clan, but I survive alone these days—ousted for being the only one brave enough to act. A liability, they called me.)
(We will see what they say when I bring you back. If you still live.)
(Every Umbral Sun, I walk the Abyssal perimeter with the help of the Sapphiric Converter's attunement to our great sun, providing me light in the dark. The Stalkers don't expect me, so they don't see me. And the Glaive, a tool of The Regime, which I have named after you—Rheliksward—makes eviscerating them that much easier.)
(I kill many looking for a sign of you. Wash my hands with their blood in the hopes of your continued existence. I have been lost without your guidance. Unsure of what I am. Who I am. What I am meant to do.)
(And now, as you stand before me draped in the insignias of the very Regime that took you, I am confident that you have no answers.)
(As you call your fellow Stalkers to overwhelm me, to bind me, to carry me into the dense, unending city of Lubrae, I am confident that you are a coward.)
(As you testify at my trial that I should not be put to death for what The Regime claims are immeasurable crimes, but should instead serve alongside the Stalkers—alongside you, killing Wanderers, annihilating clans—I am confident you are an opportunist.)
(What about Mother? Our clan? What about "down with The Regime"? What about biding our time? Or is this another lesson in inaction—in sparing ourselves from the absolute worst so that we can barely live? Barely survive?)
(I am confident, Father—you will die by my hand.)
—-The Regime took all that mattered to you… and yet, you blamed your father?—-
The Regime never lied about who they were. They were brutal, yes. But honest.
—-Honesty meant something to you?—-
It meant everything.
—-Interesting. And so, in the face of your father, the hypocrite, you leaned on The Regime that enslaved you both instead. That killed so many of your kind.—-
The Regime did not enslave me. It freed me.
(The Regime puts the Glaive back in my hand, the one I named in honor of you. I have renamed it—Rheliksbane—and no matter how you try to hide it, this scares you. Just as I knew it would.)
(I'd be lying if I said I didn't take pleasure in this. But I do. Just as I take pleasure in the constant Sapphiric light. And the roof over my head. The consistency in regular meals. The Regime lives well, comfortable.)
(The city may be overcrowded. The laws may be strict. The few may have all of the power. But at least we're not out there trying fruitlessly to survive. At least we're not out there scared, cold and alone, wondering if we'll live to see the next rise of either sun.)
(But most importantly, Father—nobody denies me my thirst. My lust for blood. They encourage it. Feed it. And they have begun to show me truths. About the Wanderers. About what the glimmering orb encouraged.)
(You always claimed the hands of The Regime were stained red, but you never showed me yours—until now.)
(How dare you stand before me now and confess your disloyalty to The Regime. How dare you lie to me again.)
(You may have overwhelmed me this time. Escaped my grasp. But I am coming for you. I will end this.)
I don't want to do this. I don't want to relive this.
—-Most would die for the opportunity to retread their greatest moments.—-
…Great moments end in triumph, not mass extinction. In the end, what mattered?
—-The end? No, no. We are so very far from the end. You are not yet ready to taste true glory. You may not yet be familiar with the concept of metamorphosis, but we assure you, you are experiencing it right now. You were once free to roam your little box but lacked wings to fly out of it. And so you grew them —the little larva that you were—wrapped in a cocoon. Now, you need only cut yourself from it. But to do so, you must leave behind that which made you weak, retaining only that which makes you strong.—-
But my world…
—-Recreated here, for you.—-
(Reformed. All around me.)
—-Every painstaking detail.—-
(The suns. The Abyss. The Regime. Lubrae.)
—-Every painful memory.—-
—-Love for them made you weak. Power over them made you strong. Upon reflection, you are filled with regret. Believing yourself to be under the spell of the Regime. Believing your actions in their tenure to be wrong. But morality, oh dear Rhulk, is subjective. And now that you are all that remains of Lubrae, isn't it time you made the rules? Isn't it time you looked back upon your life with pride? After all, your actions brought you to us. And only we can help you emerge from your cocoon.—-
We…? What even are you?
—-We are your salvation. We are your judgment. And soon we will be… your Witness.—-
—-Your father, he feared your anger. Feared you.—-
Because he knew what I could become. He knew what burdens flowed through my veins. He too felt them, lived them.
(I am a boy. My father skewers three Stalkers in front of me. His eyes are crimson, his sharpened teeth bared as he moves to bite their heads off.)
For a time, my father embodied what I felt inside. I looked up to him, believed I could confide in him. He felt a bloodlust and he despised The Regime. But as they did with me, the others began to see him as a liability. So he softened and softened until, in my opinion, he degraded to the Lubraean equivalent of fetid rot.
—-And so you treated him as such.—-
(I stare into the face of my father, his severed, shattered head held in my hand, dripping with what once stayed within.)
A consequence of weakness. His own.
(In search of my father, I reach the final hiding place of my clan. Devoid of active life, as were the rest. But filled with tokens, trinkets, heirlooms. They left in a hurry, all who remained. And I know where desperation takes them.)
The same place it took me.
(The Abyss. The artificial crack in Lubrae, separating the desired from the undesired. A crevice devoid of all but a strand of concrete to connect the halves.)
(There, amongst the brush that conceals those approaching, I find them. Trembling, unsure of what would come next regardless of encouragement from Father. He seeks to ferry them into the city of Lubrae unnoticed, through the tunnels below. How he plans this, I do not know. But I do not intend to find out.)
(My emergence from the deep forest was not unexpected, or so my father claims. Mother is here. Clan-mother is too. I do not see many other familiar faces. They have been worn down. Beaten. Broken. In search of a forever home. I must give it to them. I must… )
(But they plead. They reminisce. They appeal. They claim to love. To care. Mother brushes my arm, touch designed to evoke my inner goodness, one I am supposed to have forgotten. She apologizes for my exile.)
(Then Father apologizes—for everything. For the furious example he set. For earlier inaction. He wants to do right. He wants our clan to live a comfortable life. I see sadness. I see truth. I see regret. Perhaps this is the way. Perhaps my time with The Regime has clouded my judgment.)
(And perhaps my tumble into this Abyssal chasm is the result of my own overwhelming catharsis.)
(Or perhaps it is the cost of naivete.)
(Their faces grow smaller as I plunge deeper, but I can still make out their expressions. No longer do any of them—the adults, the children—no longer do they show regret or pain or sorrow—)
(Their faces show relief.)
I should have died.
—-And yet, it was there in the darkness of the Abyss that you became truly alive.—-
(I lie amongst swamp and rock and ruin. The Abyss is not unending after all. The wrathful sounds of unchecked nature draw close. Down here, it is dark. And in the dark, they thrive. I am… broken.)
(—-And now, you are unbroken.—-)
(I am… unbroken. I see your Luster. Disarming the beasts who dared to approach, their flesh melting in your presence.)
(—-And we see yours.—-)
(I rise. Broken and then unbroken. What is this thing that grants life?)
(—-We are opportunity.—-)
(And I am?)
(And what am I meant to do?)
(Your voice subsides, but your Luster remains—it is a familiar one. Like that of our Umbral Sun.)
(Rheliksbane lies nearby, broken in two. You mend it with your Luster. It is whole, again. But even more so than before, as if imbued with the wrath of vengeful gods.)
(Miles above, I see the axis that sits between our bright city of Lubrae and our shadowed Wildlands. By now, my clan must be inside the city.)
(I pocket your Luster before I thrust my Glaive into the sheer wall that separates me from my vengeance. I lift myself with one hand gripping the slate. Then another thrust of the Glaive, raising me ever closer towards my goal.)
(No more chances. No more wavering. No more weakness.)
I know what happened next. I do not need to see it again.
(I rend Mother's flesh.)
Do you not hear me?!
(I remove Father's head from his neck.)
This is madness!
(None escape my wrath. Not even the little ones. Not even civilians. The city watches in horror. They know what I am.)
This must stop!
(Their faces inform only of relief.)
(Their faces inform only of relief.)
I COMMAND YOU!!!
(Their faces inform only of relief.)
(The Sapphiric Sun implodes.)
(Lubrae is cracking. Lubrae is shattering. Lubrae is upending. What have I done?)
(Your Luster. My Glaive.)
(They've turned against me—my Regime. They've perished by my hand—my clan. They call me a monster. They put me in a cage. They seek my execution. But your Luster—I see it, even though they took you from me.)
(You guide my hand. You free me of these chains. You find me again. You return to me my Glaive—no longer Rheliksbane. Serving only one final purpose: Lubrae's Ruin.)
(A shattered sky. A planet convulsing. Our existence, upended.)
(Their folly was their intended salvation. Siphoning light from the Sapphiric Sun itself. I use your Luster. Turn their technology against them, like a backfired pistol.)
(After serving them. Protecting them. Fighting for them. Suffering for them.)
(A shattered sky. A planet convulsing. Tearing apart.)
(One Lubraean remains—me. But not for long. What have I done? I stare into the Abyss. It has opened—truly opened this time—to show me what lies beneath: death. I drop your Luster. I drop Lubrae's Ruin. I let myself fall in. And then I… I… and then I am… )
Here. With you. My… Witness.
—-And what do you feel now? Devoid of family. Devoid of The Regime. Devoid of Lubrae. What do you feel here, in our embrace, now that they are gone and you are left?—-
Rhulk opens his eyes. Crawls forth through the blackened solution that engulfed him all this time. Emerges from the wall of obsidian-like miasma to find his Luster. To find Lubrae's Ruin. Taking them, he rises to his feet.
—-What do you feel, my child?—-