Lore:The Pigeon and the Phoenix

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"And my vanquisher will read that book, seeking the weapon, and they will come to understand me, where I have been and where I was going."
The following is a verbatim transcription of an official document for archival reasons. As the original content is transcribed word-for-word, any possible discrepancies and/or errors are included.

The Pigeon and the Phoenix is a Lore Book introduced in Season of Dawn. Entries were collected by exploring the Corridors of Time, but since the conclusion of the Season of Dawn, all entries to The lore book were made available to players who had completed the Bastion exotic quest. It chronicles Saint-14 and Osiris's journey prior to the latter's exile at the request of the Speaker.

1: Burden Part I

A lone engine rails against the faux tranquility of the Dead Zone, keeping a teetering chassis of metal just within the terminator line of brimming twilight. The carrier dives through needled mountains that perforate low-hanging clouds, cutting them into sheets of stratus and vapor that slide like flattening suds across a dusk ocean. A closed-net comms line crackles.

Marin Oru:
Most of the canopy is too thick to land. We'll be exposed in the clearing.

She will be there. Final transmission lists six refugees; peddled for Ether.

And upward of thirty Fallen.

Marin Oru:
In that case, I'm glad we brought the machine gun.

This Warlord who deals with them… we will have to pay them a visit.

Marin Oru:
Focus on the task at hand. Thirty seconds.

Ms. Lucine's Ghost, Ghost, reports no Pikes. However, there is a covered pit in the camp that drew curiosity. They are going radio silent.

Marin Oru:
Something better left alone, I'm sure.

They plunge into shadow, between peaks, cloud-wake trails as they slow to land. The carrier whirrs and rattles. Engines cut and cool. Titan and Warlock disembark. They wait.

"Well done, Geppetto." Marin Uro's voice emanates from his helmet, visor stiffly fixed on the tree line.

Geppetto blinks code into the gloaming horizon, awaiting response. "Thank you, Brother Marin. It was my first time."

Marin is a statue.

Saint opens the carrier's cargo hold and turns to Marin. "She will be here."

Geppetto blinks. "No response from Ms. Lucine."

"All this worry—it is over nothing. Tyv will laugh with us tomorrow." Saint pats Marin's back.

"Tomorrow." Marin's eyes are fixed on the darkening tree line.

"Yes. Tomorrow. The day after, again after that, and more until a day without armor."

"That's a pleasant thought." Marin straightens, peering at a point in the depth.

A Light blinks from the tree line.

"Brother Saint. I have located them."

2: Burden Part II

Tyv Lucine leaves the tree line with six souls in tow. She spots Geppetto's Light flickering in the twilight. Her Ghost, Ghost, spins and shimmers in the hands of a child who is "navigating" them to their destination. Moonlight creeps into the valley, lifting the arrested momentary pitch between sundown and moonrise. Dew hugs the grass along her boots. They approach. Ghosts dissipate.

Marin stands, poised; a long-barrel armament affixed with a bipod adorns his shoulders.

"Thank you for doing this Marin." Tyv speaks softly. She thrusts a steady hand toward his.

He nods and shakes her hand. "It was Saint's idea."

"Is that what he told you?" She looks to Saint greeting refugees and ushering them into the carrier.

"It does not matter who had the idea." Saint-14 hugs her.

Marin straightens and looks beyond them. Flares loose from the canopy, breathing pale azure revival back into sky. Shrieks and lights whip into frenzy within the trees. Cloud cover casts darkness over the clearing.

Marin's stance breaks. "Tyv, get this heap in the air. Saint, you're with me."

Marin plants a bipod in the grass. Saint spreads his Light into a gleaming barricade in opposition against the tree line.

"Go now. It's a long flight. We will make sure you are not followed." Saint shoulders his rifle.

Tyv nods. She runs for the cockpit.

Saint salutes as the cargo hold shuts.

Howls ring from the brink. Fallen step into the clearing.

Marin racks the repeater. "Come on then."

The carrier engine fires. It roars; bright, bellowing flame. A beacon. A wish.

Cacophony sounds in the distance, splitting heated bends through the canopy pine as a screaming-red shell tears across the clearing.

The carrier is annihilated.

Tyv shatters, her body skids across the grass in ruin.

Deafening shock breaks the night. In it, one lone call:


3: Burden Part III

Saint looks to the twisted scar where the carrier had been. "They are gone…"

"SUPPRESSING FIRE!" Marin sends their response clear into the tree line. The Fallen charge against his lead rebuke. "MOVE!"

Saint catches sight of Tyv, newly breathing. She stumbles several paces away, posture crooked among the wreckage. She leans against a shard of the carrier's hull, out of sight while Ghost busily spins Light. The hand of her good arm sinks to a sheathed blade. The night air hangs still.

The Exo's eyes lock to the tree line. His will: solid iridescence. The air around him bends into infinite density. Violet shimmer ripples across his plate and bows outward against the horror, consolidating into a luminous shield. He meets the Fallen charge with Void Light doom. Machine gun fire rips overhead, cutting down Dregs and splitting the front in two. He takes ground with every step, shattering each challenger. He breaks through to the tree line and flings his shield, severing one of the Walker's limbs.

He is at the brink, face to face with death. The Walker's field gun teeters to match his verticality. Saint-14 braces. He is an incandescent Ward of Dawn. A just retribution. A violet wall that stands to refute the night, but the Dawn does not follow. A second shell rings from the Walker's cannon. It collides, apocalyptic. The Ward shatters against the blast. Only darkness.

A steel hand, limp and flat, slowly clenches into a fist. They are dragged. Saint grasps at consciousness. His vision is fire and wreckage. Timbers shatter against the Walker's frame as it emerges before them, shrouded behind smoke. Fallen mouths shriek in muted deaf-tone emptiness as they fill the clearing. Saint blinks. The world races back to him.

"Skas veskirisk." The remaining Fallen ranks part to reveal a hulking Captain. "Skas volasusk!" Chitters and trill runs from the Vandals down to the Dregs as he roars.

Marin is at his back. Breathing and bleeding. "Faster… Tyv…"

"Kapsok aps vankemraptalirask; kapsok aps vamesaqeptosirulosk." The horde raise their arms. "Meliksnisk. Monequin." They unleash a storm of bolts.

Tyv meets the bolts in the air, crackling with lightning that snaps at the ground beneath her. She whisks away the storm with a keened discipline, scattering a hail of Arc-bolts around the fireteam. Dirt hisses as the bolts sear into the ground and billow clouds into the air. She slides into the obfuscating dust and sweeps Arc purity through the Fallen in the confusion.

Marin takes the distraction. He distillates all his will, all the Light he can muster into one point. Color drains around him, and the point grows dark. He casts it from him, a pale iridescence that rips reality endlessly into itself. The sphere of Void strikes the Walker true, twisting the crumpling metal into oblivion.

Not one Fallen remains.

They stand alone in the wreckage.

4: Moths to Flame Part I

Cinders spit, washing faint light over Osiris's lone face. The woods behind him formlessly melt into midnight nothing. Sagira moves across his shoulders. Distant serenity. She is a small diamond. Instilled isolation. A playful flitter blinking among thermal plume. Pensive focus sloughs the physical.

He is alone in the void.

Intrusions no more.

There is a point in the depth.

It cannot be directly viewed.

Delve. Dive. Deeper.

"The fire is going out."

Cloying worldly noise rushes back.


"Aren't you cold?"

"I wasn't." Osiris rubs his brow and stirs the fire. "Thank you, Sagira."

"It's not going to get any clearer just because you want it to, Osiris. You need time."

Osiris clenches his jaw. He feels himself standing in wide shallows, gaping at an unrecognizable profundity. "Why did you choose me?" Osiris's voice is hollow. He flattens a palm for Sagira to perch.

"You have a spark." Her voice is warm air. The fire pops.

"A spark?" Frustration lines his face. "This world is dying. Over and over again."

"So were you; I dragged you back." Sagira allows Osiris's hand to cradle her shell. "I raised you until you could stand on your own. You'll do the same for them, in your own way."

Her words linger in his ears with sweetness.

"I don't have your patience, Sagira."

He takes in a slow breath and lets it out.

"Someone's coming." Her voice sharp.

"Conceal me." His serene.

Sagira dissipates as Osiris closes his palm. He dims.

5: Moths to Flame Part II

A small band of humans emerge from the woods at Osiris's flank. Some carry rust-laden firearms. The one who leads them jaunts forward.

"Stand up, old man." The words are slung over his shoulder, wet and heavy.


A painted Ghost whips in front of Osiris's face. "Warlord Reich demands you stand."

"You're on my turf. Burning my wood. That's stealing. That's an arm."

"Given immortality, and all you can think to do is grab at what's around you. What a waste."

The Warlord laughs. The Ghost quickly laughs in step.

"You're a disgrace." Osiris peers over his shoulder. "Leave. Rethink your path."

"It's your arm or your life. Those are the rules."

"Make your decision." Osiris leaves the words to hang around the Warlord's head.

"I have half a dozen guns at my back." The Warlord puts pitted iron to Osiris's hood.

"I have a spark." Flame engulfs Osiris, erupting into wings that cast back the shadows of the night. A white-hot blade extends from his hand. In one swift motion, Osiris cuts the Warlord down into a sizzling heap and snatches his stunned Ghost from the air. His gaze shifts to the people to catch sight of their backs as the lot retreat into the woods. His attention snaps to the Ghost.

"Why this man?" Osiris douses his flame.

"Get off me!"

Sagira compiles herself back into existence.

"You! Sister. Help!"

"Okay. Hey. He's not going to hurt you. Talk to me. Pretend like he's not here." Sagira aligns herself directly in front of the Ghost. Their irises lock and twitch erratically in sequence.

"Oh. Let him go."

Osiris releases. The Ghost dissipates. "Sagira?"

"He needed someone strong. A fighter."

"Nothing more?"

Sagira pauses.

"The Traveler was… wounded when it created us. That pain echoes. Some of us make choices we shouldn't. Some of us are scared. The process isn't streamlined."

"Flaws." Osiris shrinks against the forest's aphotic density. If there are flaws in the Light, then it could be corrupted. It is not indomitable, and so in time would be challenged.

"We're pieces of a whole, but distinct. Unique. You're not Mr. Perfect yourself."

He would need to learn patience.

"Where will he go?"

"To reunite with the Traveler. To find someone new. Someone better."

6: Foundations Part I

What would be the Last City looms over Osiris. Ramshackle barricades bend around it miles into the distance. He strides through half-formed steel-rust walls and across flattened earth foundations pocked from small-arms fire. He passes dozens of citizens welding fortifications, making repairs, and disassembling thin battle-scorched hovels to repurpose the materials into permanent homes.

Lightbearers dot the landscape, heaving great loads of metal to the burgeoning walls, melting beams together with Solar Light, or scanning for distant threats all along the many watchtowers that border the City like lighthouses guiding the lost into safe harbor. Ghosts project diagrams and schematics to steer the hands of each worker. One man pulls a crude cup from a bucket. It drips clean water as he lifts it to his lips and drinks deeply while the bucket is ferried away on pulleys to quench another group elsewhere.

"I've never seen so many Ghosts before. Will we be staying long?"

"The Traveler is here, Sagira. Where better to find the answers we seek?"

The smell of tea and spice flow through the air, bouncing punctually to the senses over aging smoke and fumes. An aroma of peppered meats draws Osiris toward a central square full of scattered materials and low cinder-chunk walls propping up scrapyard rifles. An armored Exo shuffles between cooking grills inside a ring of rubble.

"It sounded… grander," Sagira muses, surveying the tent city remnants in the distance.

"Rumors always do. It's not quite the foothold oasis Felwinter spoke of, but it is a start."

"What could be grander?" The Exo chef clatters half a dozen wooden plates of food onto a rough stone counter. "This is hope, Guardian. Quiet days like these… soon there will be more."

"I'm no Guardian. Just meeting a friend." Osiris looks to a far Tower jutting above the encompassing construction. Solitary; in the shadow of an osseous-white orb.

"I will be your friend. Come. Sit. Eat. There is enough for you to join us. I am Saint-14."

Osiris eyes the plated meat and the smoky grill before glancing back at the distant fortifications. "You could do the work of twenty on that wall."

"It is their wall. Should they require assistance, they need only ask." Saint-14 extends a plate of food toward Osiris and arranges his faceplates into a smile.

"Since he's not going to introduce us… this is Osiris, and I'm Sagira. It's nice to meet you, Saint!"

7: Foundations Part II

"It is nice to meet you too, Sagira! Osiris, please." Saint-14 gestures to a flimsy wooden chair.

Two Ghosts zoom past them and sweep plates from the counter before scooting off.

"Would you mind helping them bring food to the people, Sagira?"

"Sure, let me just load up my service protocol." The joke hangs. Saint-14 expresses genuine thanks. "Okay! I'll be right back!" She delicately balances a plate and floats away.

"Are you not hungry?"

"You could be patrolling with the Iron Lords." Osiris pulls the plate closer.

Saint sits. "Is that what gives you purpose?"

A gaggle of Ghosts zoom across the ground, kicking up tiny clouds and chirping to each other. They glide up the rubble, leave clean plates, scoop up new ones, and are gone again.

"There are monsters out there—the kind a Lightless being could not hope to overcome."

"Life is hard." Saint stands to line the grill with shaved pork. "Those of us who can help, should."

"I worry about wasted potential." Osiris sneaks a small piece from his plate.

"You should see the [Speaker. Perhaps he can help you find your path."

Osiris scoffs. "I don't think he has my answers."

"You want to bet?" Saint-14 flips the mound of pork with his hand.

"I don't gamble." Osiris pauses. He glances over his shoulder.

Sagira twists in formation with the other Ghosts. They dance through the air, scooping empty plates from improvised tables.

"Is he a good man?"

"I would give my life for him."


"All this," Saint-14 gestures to the borders of the City, "it is a breath. People are better if they have a moment to breathe."

"You think so?"

"I do, and I think you will come to see I am right."

Ghosts make the loop. Sagira laughs.

"Maybe. Thank you for the food, Saint-14."

"You're welcome."

The two eat.

Osiris's shoulders slacken. "Does this taste burnt to you?"


8: Observer Effect

Saint-14 barrels through drifting wool tufts, dyed in now-dispersed polychromatic patterns.

A detachment of the Firebreak Order had overextended their hold in the valley and, when pressed, refused to give ground. Their valiance was swept away in futility. Eight downed. One missing.

He emerges at a ridgetop on the Western border, ribbons of wool still clinging to his armor like kaleidoscopic streaks. Munitions detonate against the open sky behind him. Lightning crashes down in response. The City is not lost yet.

Eight Guardians lay Lightless, their bodies back to back in a field of broken enemies and scorched earth. Fallen circle them like vultures. In the chaos, their Ghosts had fled toward the ridgetop without detection. Saint-14 watches them glide fast and low. He maps the route up the sloped ridge toward a small crater at the lip where he could meet them.

His attention snaps to the crater. The ninth. Elriq. She was safe, and alone, and burrowed into herself.

Saint slides into the crater next to Elriq; her surprised terror fades to relief.

"Are you okay?"

"Yes." Her Ghost is wounded, but alive.

"We will clear a path, and they will all stand again."

The air bursts open above the Fallen. Those closest are incinerated; in their place shines Osiris's brilliant golden Light. The blast ruptures a nearby Captain's barrier, sending them careening across the dirt. Hissing and roars erupt. Shock rifles sling bolts skyward.

Flame rains and scatters them. His movements cut aureate ribbons through their ranks. Disorientation turns to panic, and one after another are consumed by his conflagration.

"Give them hell, you crazy bastard." Saint turns to Elriq. "Are you ready?"

"I can't."

Osiris cheats his sight to the fleeing Ghosts for a moment. Click. They had almost made the ridge. Click. He spun back; palm alight. Click. The Captain, now standing, sends the full fury of his scorch cannon. The blast rips through Osiris's image in shimmering fashion, scattering Light across the valley, traced in molten glass.

More Fallen flood the valley.

"We need you, Titan."

"I can't die again."

"Then we will not die." Saint checks his magazine.

Several tiny Lights blip over the lip of the ridge. "Guardians!"

She sits up. Counts them all. Eight lives. Eight that would carry so many more.

"I couldn't…"

"This is a new choice." Saint-14 steps out of the crater. "You are only what you want to be."

Elriq stands. "Hide now, little ones. We're going to get your Guardians back."

9: Thin

Osiris burns; a roaring visage against the sky-soot firmament. Compressing, endless night. Skeins of light twist and hum; charged sinew stitch through his muscle and bone. Myriad shimmering-gold marionettes scramble to reinforce gaps across the City's defense at his behest. The East below him, breached by waves of frenetic clamoring Fallen. The front had not broken, only moved. He focuses his projections there.

A small fireteam holds the line. Osiris twists. Golden defiance moves to stanch the Fallen's momentum. One projection locks eyes with a Titan. She nods, and with fluid elegance, the projection lifts her skyward. She brings down a tempest that rolls thunder across the City walls and scatters the advancing force. Shaxx bellows in the distance.

Multiple skeins snap. The sky stretches into starless night; an oblivion crowds the borders of Osiris's mind in suffocating omnipresence. The margins. Light thinly stretched. Under duress. Never enough.

The West is bending.

The transfer, instantaneous.

Osiris weaves Inferno. Ether and flame engulfing each other into ashen wake. He spots eight Lights climbing the ridge. Click. A lone Guardian crashes onto the ridgetop horizon. Click. They will survive. Click. He turns, palm alig—

The North is bending.

Nerves burn. The City's golden hue falters. Only a moment of exhalation.

The North fractures. Field guns rip into the Wall.

He is there. Two Hunters hold. One snap-fires beams of sunlight from her rifle, wreathed in flame. The second dances through challengers, her blades Arc purity. None would pass them.

His projections move to fill the gap.

Bodies in the rubble.

Evacuees from the Eastern breach caught in the blast.

Their deaths filled his mind through twenty gilded eyes, capturing the scene in its totality.

Osiris would scour the Northern front in golden Light.

He looked to the shattered wall. Through the gap, mind inutile, overshadowed by the eternal precipice. Crowded with menace. Eyes peering down, seeping over, hungry, waiting to flood this last hope with plunging depth. Even now, as Fallen lines break against the Light, others stand watching from deep starless hollows. If not this, another. The dam will fail, as all do in time.

But for now, the South bends… and it can still be cleansed with fire.

10: War Stories

Coms frequency no longer jammed. Re-establishing. Hello OpCom. Welcome to—


The Northern walls stand—
I am needed.

Shaxx? Hello? Western Fronts are clear. This is Saint-14.


The Fallen's southern approach has broken. The City holds.

Silence hangs for but a momen—


The group laughs.


All fireteams accounted for. No casualties.

Thanks to you and my friend Elriq. You should have seen her. She saved eight little Lights. Charged dozens of Fallen with me. Lightning, bullets—it was quite impressive.

You're too kind. It was an honor to fight by your side.


I'm impressed, Saint. How many deaths did your charge cost you?

I did not die. Elriq provided wonderful cover fi—


Is that because you died, Shaxx? I heard the Fallen broke your horn.

Where did you hear that?

I can vouch for Saint. We didn't die.

Saint bursts out laughing.


As I said, I had excellent cover.

I don't know how many times I died.
I witnessed the battle through the eyes of the City.
Balanced on wire.
We were spread thin.

My Brother, you have fought hard.
You should be proud. Without you, we would have been lost.

Some were.

11: Breathe

At the perimeter of the risen walls, sectioned off from the rest of the City, tiny farms sprout from war-rich soil and sow green dashes across ploughed patties. Snake-weave vines trellis up war-husk remnants, long-since abandoned. The weeks since Six Fronts had left the City in a rare lull. Wildflowers bud in the Light of the Traveler.

The rains would come soon.

Loose summer fabrics that dance colors against the Sun gave way to textured wool and wrapped layers deeper in hue. Emerald tassels ripple in the wind atop iron poles, creating a wide seed row for tomorrow's festivities. Ikora leads citizens from the City core to partake in the Remembrance. Saint lifts the yoke from his shoulders, and they smile to each other. He did not expect so many to walk the seed row with them before the Festival. He greets each passerby as they enter the grounds. Some shake his hand, some thank him. Some present violet ribbons that lace through his metallic frame.

Birds perch on the higher points of the walls.

Zavala drives the final tassel poles to form a Wardclash circle. Shaxx stands monolithic over a swarm of children, their entire being transfixed on him as he recounts moments of heroism in theatrical detail. Ana coaxes Solar firecrackers into lanterns and sets them at the fore of the seed row for revelers. Osiris is absent; preoccupied with insatiable predilections that drive him to worry.

The world had grown around him.

Saint watches citizens take their turn through the seed row. Seeds scatter over each of them, and the wind carries their lanterns across fields and over the walls. Fiery glow bursts against the encroaching dusk as the people complete their circuit and return home. Guardians finish preparations and filter to their nightly posts. Activity wanes into stillness.

"Anyone you want to remember?" Ana hands Saint an empty lantern.

He turns it in his hands. "What will you do when we beat back the Darkness? When there is peace?"

"I don't know." She sighs. "You ever wonder about the other thirteen? I think about that sometimes."

"I am happy with fourteen."

Ana grips his shoulder. "Me too, Saint-14." She sprinkles a handful of seeds over him. "Make sure you walk the row. It's getting dark." She smiles.

"Thank you, Anastasia."

Ana nods. "You know it's Ana," she says, and makes her way back to the City.

Saint-14 fills the lantern with Void Light and walks the row. "For Marin."

He sits. Pigeons perch on him, picking out seeds. He watches the lantern until he can no longer distinguish it among the stars.

"Good birds. I am glad you found a home here."

12: Margins Part I

Osiris sits in the small stone garden beneath the Traveler; his attempts at communion unsuccessful. He had seen the Speaker stand here for hours.

Ikora had begrudgingly agreed to appear in his place at the Remembrance. Her words were stern, but deep down, she knows victories have lulled in complacency.

There is an imminent, daunting pressure.

A noose awaiting a misstep.

A delicate game.

Braziers cast shadows; distracting shades flickering across his eyes, breaking his concentration.

Osiris breathes.

The stone gardens are endless space. The skyline is razed horizon.


He is alone in the void. Intrusions no more.

There is a point in the depth. It cannot be directly viewed.

Delve. Dive. Deeper.

Still, only a point in the aphotic depth.

The nothing. Expansive.

Osiris sinks to gain new perspective. The point remains.

It is so faint. Distant. Though he knows he can see the Light.

His reach stretched thin. Clarity, in the space between his hand and the point. The osseous-white point. Dim now.

The omnipresence was.

Hungry acknowledgement.

Vast. Himself against the enormity; an endless unfurling midnight. And a lone point.

13: Margins Part II

"I am pleased to see you here. May I sit?" he spoke.

Cloying noise. The stone garden is present. He is present.

The Traveler, a monarch against bleak crepuscular ink.

"You may." Osiris stands.


Osiris halts. He turns toward the Speaker; the Light of the Traveler washes against the bone-white hue of his mask. "Is something needed?"

"There is so much activity in the City. I feel it has been too long since we last spoke."

Osiris hangs silent. He looks to the Traveler.

There is a daunting pressure.

"What troubles you?" The Speaker steps toward Osiris.

Osiris inhales sharply. "You have read my reports?"

"Of course." The Speaker loosens his posture. "I value your council."

"We were so close. A moment in the wrong place." Osiris looks to the Speaker.

The Speaker nods. "Yes. But the Light guided your path."

A noose awaiting a misstep.

"I did not see the Traveler on the Six Fronts."

The Traveler dwarfs Osiris. "But you did, my son. It was in the fire that saved your brothers and sisters. It was in the Arc bolts that ripped through their armies. The violet shields that held the line—"

"Do not romanticize this burden. We wield a weapon."

The Speaker shakes his head. "The Light wields you, Osiris. You are what you make of it. A glorious extension of its majesty, in many directions."

Osiris paces at cadence with his words. "Then it would do well to speak clearly. To better direct me."

The Speaker cocks his head. "Without will? Then it would be no better than the Darkness."

"I am asking only for guidance; it is a delicate game we are playing." Osiris's voice, distressed.

Regal again, the Speaker motions to the stone garden. "Will you sit with me?"

14: Patron

Stone-laid roads lead Saint-14 through the City. He walks them most days when he is home. When time permits.

The people wave. They cheer.

They bring offerings of their support and adoration.

Breads. Tokens. Wonderfully spun tassels and bands of royal purple hue.

His name had become synonymous with the Guardians.

An image to be adhered to; to be revered.

He smiles and shakes their hands.

He smiles and accepts their gifts.

Their joy is his.

He feels the weight of their royal ribbons around his neck, drawn tight by expectation.

His armor is faith. It slips and loosens in transit.

They sing together. He shares bread with the chorus of voices. He ties ribbons in their hair.

His joy is theirs.

They sing him a new song.

Their voices shine bright.

15: Shepherd

Father and son stand atop the Tower.

The City blooms as they watch, radiating outward into a lively sprawl beneath the Traveler. Six Fronts was a rallying cry, ringing out to call Humanity to its next great cause. Thousands made their way to the Last City's gates, looking for credence to the many promises their hope had whispered during dead long nights.

"Did you imagine it would be like this when we first arrived?" Saint-14 leans against the Tower railing.

The Speaker looks over the bustling City streets. "Not in so little time, but I always believed we were capable."

"Do you remember when I first awoke?"

"I do."

"You told me that I would be an example for others to follow. How did you know this?"

"I didn't know; I believed in your potential."

The Traveler dominates a wash of blue, beams of light cascade across its surface into a twinkling dome against the lonesome far-off mountains.

"I often think of the choices we make. Whether they are the right ones. Whether those we have lost would agree. I try to honor their memories."

"We are fragile beings. Exos as well. It is good to question, to look within yourself." He grips Saint-14's shoulders and pulls his stance straight. "While I cannot begin to know the sacrifices you have made for us, I can tell you that loss is a part of life's sweetness."

Saint nods. "It has taught me many lessons." He raises his head.

They watch the City shift and flow.

"What will you do when we have won?"

The Speaker patiently stitches the words together in his mind.

"Geppetto and I searched many barren miles before we crossed the Cosmodrome. She had almost given up hope." He turns to face Saint-14. "That little Light knew exactly where to find you, once she was given the proper place to look." The Speaker chuckles. "There is no before or after, my son. We try, we doubt, we grow. It is all one path."


"Osiris, I'm sorry. Ikora cannot assume your role."

"Ikora, leave please."

She turns to him with a keen tone, "Is it rude for the subject of the conversation to be present?"

"She may stay if she wishes. She deserves to hear why." The Speaker nods to Ikora.

She responds, "I agree."


"Good, now. Osiris—

"Let her stand before the Consensus." Osiris composes himself. "She is more than capable of assuming my duties, and…" hushed now, "she's in good hands here."

The Speaker leans forward. "Osiris. You cannot be allowed to elect your replacement; it took many conversations for us to reach where we are. The Consensus has expectations of the Vanguard. There are duties to be met."

"Speaker; I understand." Ikor—


The Speaker straightens his posture. "Agreements that keep the peace, so that we may fight for a future, together."

"Ikora would be my best representative. She is not a replacement."

"You must be present to perform your duties."

Osiris's eyes bore into the Speaker's mask. "What is my duty if not to protect this City? We are a point in the darkness. We cannot wait for the threats to arrive. Someone has to meet them."

The Speaker stands. "We will. In time, together."

Osiris sighs, "Be patient…" A lick of malice bled from the word.

17: Transient

Hello Sagira, Brother Osiris.
Please maintain this open communication channel.

Oh, good idea. Make us a sub-net.

I will miss my next rendezvous.

Is that so? I suspected this would happen when your trip suddenly became longer. I will tell the Vanguard that your ship was damaged and has caused delay. Do not make me lie for you again. I do not like lying. It upsets Geppetto.
Additionally, tell Sagira that I remember her promise and that I am owed a debt if she does not keep it.

Sagira does not gamble.

It is not gambling. It is different from gambling. She cannot be nagging you enough. Your response time on our letters is terrible.
Please try my suggestion. I believe it will help.

Is Ikora well? Are you?

We are both disappointed, but we will live.
Father cannot defend you any longer.

I will speak for myself.

That was quite the show.
Where are you?

Finding answers.
We will speak soon.

Where are you?

18: Blame

Solar Wind
The sand sweeps weeping
Across a stone.
It breaks on glass in keeping
With its own.

You were right.
It helped.

19: Reunion

Saint-14 watches vessels dip in and out of the hangar. The cadence of docking and disembarking ships finds rhythm in the busy city. It is routine. Practiced. Peaceful.

A visitor steps aboard the Gray Pigeon.

Geppetto turns to welcome them. "Greetings, Brother Osiris. You are a welcome sight. Is Sagira with you?"

"Hello Geppetto. Sagira visits Ikora." Osiris sits on the gangway of the Gray Pigeon. He runs a ribbon through his fingers. "Hello Saint."

"Osiris? I wondered if this meeting would be with one of your projections."

"I would not…"


"Quite the shrine they've made for you. Are you dying?"

Saint-14 laughs.

"It is good to see you again, Brother."