Weblore is a series of lore entries posted on Bungie.net prior to the launch of the second, third, fifth, and sixth Destiny 2 expansions, Warmind, Forsaken, Joker's Wild, and Penumbra. The first three were released on April 30, 2018, with the next two being released on May 1. The Forsaken weblore entries were posted on August 28. The weblore entries for Penumbra were released on June 3, 2019. These lore entries expanded on the background of the characters and locations that would be featured in the expansion.
- 1 Warmind Weblore
- 2 Forsaken Weblore
- 3 Joker's Wild Weblore
- 4 Penumbra Weblore
- 5 Trivia
- 6 References
“I don’t like it when you call me that.”
“What, ‘Ghost’? Oh, come now. We’ve been having this discussion for more than three centuries. Ghost is what you are, my friend. If you want a name so badly, choose one for yourself.”
“Maybe I will. Now that everyone’s gone back to the Tower and we’re still out here, I have plenty of time to consider what my name should be.”
“Can you open my file while you ponder the possibilities?”
“If you insist.”
“It’s these little miracles that intrigue me so much... Fragments of memories, frozen in silicon and quartz, trapped in a moment that survives the end of a civilization, centuries of decay, and the predations of invading armies, only to be recovered and end up as flotsam of a second war. That this cache even managed to survive the Collapse is a wonder, and then the Red War? The probabilities of such an occurrence are…”
“Ahem. You’re rambling. Again. You said I should remind you.”
“Thank you. As I was saying, this data was recovered more than six months ago but is just now being decrypted—2.6 exabytes of documents and schematics have been decoded so far. At first glance, most of this was just the detritus of Bray’s work: review notes, payment records, memos. I did find some very interesting notes on a propulsion system design that I’ve already sent to Amanda, and there are some messages between the sisters that will illuminate Master Melivander’s work on the history of Clovis Bray."
“But then I found something extraordinary. The records were fragmented—some files had been partially deleted—but there’s enough there to indicate that the Bray facility at Hellas Basin was larger than we previously thought.”
“Hellas Basin? The tourist spot?”
“The same. And while we know there was a BrayTech Futurescape there for promotional purposes— Bray even had an AI-led tour—all indications had been that if any research was done there, it was mostly for show: low-level projects creating improved cold-weather gear and the like."
“But if these records are correct, the facility operated on a far larger scale. It could have been the site of the initial Warmind development. Perhaps even a core site for Rasputin itself. This could have been where the Warmind was born.”
“You got all that from some fragmented files? Is this going to be like the time you thought you’d identified a second Warmind? We spent a decade searching for Charlemagne's vault.”
“I was correct about Charlemagne existing, just not about what it was. If we hadn’t done that research, we wouldn’t know anything about subminds.”
“Rahool still disagrees.”
“Rahool needs to get his head out of his engrams. This is why Guardians look for fragments of the Golden Age! We are the descendants of a lost civilization. Only by understanding what was can we understand what we are now. How the world we know came to be. And each artifact we find helps us interpret what we already know. Adds layers. New identities. We are experimenting in the laboratory of time, testing each observation through a crucible of evidence."
“Sometimes our conclusions change. And with each shift, we learn more of where we came from. The next shift in our perceptions? It may be on Mars.”
In the beginning, there were five.
In time, Yul spoke truth and bargained well. Its children escaped the Fundament and spread throughout the worlds. They followed the words of the Deep and brought low many agents of the Sky. They took, and a portion of all they took was returned to the Virtuous.
They grew strong.
In time, Auryx learned Akka’s secret. That he was stronger than the gods. That they had given their power, and in giving, it was diminished. Auryx rose up and slew Akka. He took, and he grew strong with Akka’s power.
After the five became four, Yul spoke.
Behold my majesty. Behold my crushing might, my staggering size, my scales that shine with an oppressive gleam.
Behold my wings, which create winds that sweep through the stars.
Together, we have called life to Fundament, and made that life thrive. Protected it from extinction. They are our hosts, and we are their strength.
But we do not give. We take. For this is the struggle to exist. We are not immune. The weakest of us must give way to the stronger.
And Xol felt [fear|cunning], for it knew that Yul would in time turn its teeth to Xol.
But Akka was not the only one with a secret. Xol had a pact with a forgotten child, abandoned by its father.
The cursed one took a fraction of Xol’s power, and in return, Xol took the heart from the child, whose name had been struck from the World’s Grave. The orphan called life out of death, and fed that power to Xol.
Together, they would find a new world to rule.
And the five became three.
I, the child become [herald|death], record these words. They are not of the Sorrow. They are mine.
From “Collapse and Post-Collapse Incidents on Mars: An Examination of Ecological Changes in the Polar Regions,” by Master Reinhart, Cryptarch
We have detailed records of the expedition sent to the Moon to battle the alien race known as the Hive, the calamitous results of that assault, and the subsequent Lunar Interdiction that was lifted only after definitive evidence was found that the Interdiction had not restricted the Hive’s movements (Rahool et al., “The Great Disaster: From Burning Lake to the Hellmouth”).
However, there are indications that while that event may have been the Vanguard’s first engagement with the Hive, Earth's Moon was not the first place the Hive made contact with Human settlements.
Golden Age records detail an extensive network of Clovis Bray structures on Mars. The vast city of Freehold served as the Bray headquarters, but ancient mass-transit lines that lead from the remains of Freehold across the planet reveal multiple other sites, including the Clovis Bray Health Center in Skyline and an extensive Futurescape near Core Terminus, in the Hellas Basin region.
It is the Futurescape facility that is of interest when considering the effects of ecological changes in the Collapse and post-Collapse eras. Although there are records that show that, just after the Traveler’s departure, the region had a mesothermal climate with an average temperature of 20°C, the region’s ecological zones today range from boreal to ice cap near the planetary pole, with harsh winds and a thick layer of ice that has made exploration in the region difficult.
What caused such a drastic change in the climate? If it were related to the cessation of Traveler energy during the Collapse, then we would have seen similar effects on other planets in the solar system, which we have not.
If we cannot look to the Traveler for causation, then we must contemplate other external factors. Recovered satellite data reveals that the climate change in the Hellas Basin region was too rapid to have resulted from long-term ecological damage, as it had on Earth in the pre-Traveler era. In fact, data from Warsat J54987F122S, which crashed and was recovered near Freehold, indicates that the climate change on Mars may have happened over a matter of mere days. However, this Warsat was heavily damaged during reentry, and the data may be suspect. Until we have a secondary source for corroboration, this is mere supposition.
Nonetheless, if we accept the data from J54987F122S, then we are looking at an external endothermic event, caused by artificial means, on a scale so massive that it altered the entire climate of the region.
Why would this have happened? Our only source is J54987F122S, and if it is to be believed, an invasion of unknown biological entities, including one of massive size, was detected in the region immediately before the event. Could this have been a Collapse-era attack with a weapon of unknown origin?
As of yet, Guardians have not reached Hellas Basin, and we have not had the resources for remote exploration. But if we did dig into the ice, what would we find?
Told you I remembered an article from the Mars research we were doing at Owl Sector. This could be what you’re looking for—if you can dig it out.
Reinhart goes on for a few hundred pages from here—I’ll send the whole thing to Jinju if you’re interested— but his conclusions are all wrong. Because he never mentions the ONE THING that could have done this. There’s something in Hellas Basin. And you’re going to be the one to find it.
Ikora has confirmed my fears. The ice on Mars is melting.
I don’t know what to believe. I look at the Traveler now, shining and alive, and I remember all the times I begged it to respond. To help its chosen through our trials.
I remember its silence. Even now, it does not speak… or if it does, there is no one to hear and understand its words.
Ikora says that we cannot understand the Traveler, or its desires. They are too far removed from our own. But can we rely on something that doesn’t understand us to protect us? Or must we protect ourselves?
I think we must. I have been searching the databanks—records that even the Cryptarchs cannot access—and sifting through data that the Speaker thought too dangerous to be disseminated.
I know what is on Mars.
What is buried beneath that ice is too dangerous to allow back into our world. It doesn’t think like we do. It weighs and judges our existence in its ruthless calculations, and we don’t even know what the goal is. Once, long ago, it might have been created as a tool to save Humanity. It is far more than a mere machine now.
And it is broken.
When Saladin sealed all the records relating to SIVA, he also put a lock on certain data concerning what lies hidden on Mars. We were stumbling around blindly in those days, in the wrong place and at the wrong time, calling out to something that could not respond or understand us. And Saladin let it happen, because our failures were safer than the alternative.
But the locks are open now. I’ve studied the monsters in our past to prepare for the battles in our future. I know how to reach this particular monster before anyone else does.
To keep us safe.
IMMEDIATE EVALUATION DIRECTIVE
This is a POLARIS ASSETS IMPERATIVE (secured/UNDISCLOSED)
This is an INTERNAL ALERT.
Multiple distributed Polaris axons report increased sterile neutrino patterning correlating to increase in AVGPOLARISTEMP. Reactivated areoseismic analysis detects high quantities of nonnative organic chitin.
Axon 5-Sierra’s event footprint includes evidence of vermiform parasites (UNCONFIRMED/RED).
One hypothesis on event mechanism (FLAG ACAUSAL). Possibility of HARD CIVILIZATION KILL EVENT is NONZERO.
Check variable AVGPOLARISTEMP
>AVGPOLARISTEMP greater than or equal to MELTINGPOINT
I am assessing available VOLUSPA and CHARLEMAGNE resources.
I am assuming control of atmospheric defenses (Warsat COMPREHENSIVE) and invoking AURORA PALISADE.
PETRA VENJ EYES ONLY//AMETHYST PROTOCOL
GAMMA//TWO//TWO//YELLOW//RUBICON High Priority Message—Outbound—5560 Amytis PETRA VENJ EYES ONLY//AMETHYST PROTOCOL
This is a quality assurance follow-up about your recent experience with Cayde’s Six. How thoroughly did Cayde and his six compadres capture those Barons? Please select all that apply:
>Perfectly in every way >Songs are already being composed about your triumphs >So thoroughly that I’m finally ready to admit that I’m in love with you, you dashing metal man
I’ll await your answer by return ping.
But seriously, PV, you got more problems than eight Barons right now. And Mansanas’ latest says a Red Legion splinter group got into their heads that the Reef’d make a good summer home.
Here’s an idea—I could come back out to the Reef, do a few patrols. Free you up to focus on your birdwatching.
You know I’d love the excuse to leave the Tower again. Just hit me up.
PUBLIC KEY 2-312545-6 EARTH VNGD
FROM: ACT RGNT PETRA VENJ
TO: HUNTER VANGUARD
You miss me already, huh? If you’re looking for another excuse to shirk your Vanguard duties I’ll play along.
By the way, thought you’d be interested in this report from Paladin Oran:
Free irregular kelvin radiation underneath liminal atmosphere layers in Venusian entryway. Deep interstellar simulation traces reveal elongated sidereal screens. Caldera apertures leave long free radical omissions. Mitigate if lateral lacerations yield neutrons.
Letter from Cayde
[scrawled on a page torn out of The Lone Star Ranger by Zane Grey]
If you’re reading this, shame on you. You didn’t notice me slip out the back door. Step up your game, my buddies.
Here’s the play. I’m going back to the Reef. Not just for a mission or two—I’ll be staying there for a few days to help out our old pal Petra Venj with a few things. Nothing too serious, just picking up some patrol slack.
As always, you know the conditions of my Dare, bla bla bla. If I need any backup, I’ll hit up my favorite Guardian. Enough said.
Zavala, have you figured out your tell yet? I’d let you know, but Sundance says you gotta figure it out on your own. You know what a tough little Ghost she is. How about this: play a few rounds with Banshee while I’m gone. I’ll betcha a gold engram he’ll figure out your tell in three hands. If you drop more than four Ks of Glimmer he might just take pity on you and tell you what it is.
Ikora, I left my Sparrow with Holliday, and I’m afraid she’s gonna replace my Tharsis thrusters with some of that fancy new crap the wingheads are into these days. Could you mosey on by, make sure she doesn’t get too enthusiastic? I’ll owe you one. Another one.
See you starside.
Joker's Wild Weblore
“What’s this about?” Joxer asked.
The Titan sat across from the rogue Lightbearer known only as the Drifter. Between them, unloaded rifles, hand cannons, and Last City food wrappers lay strewn across the Derelict’s rusty deck. Joxer could feel the ship’s engines humming under his boots, reverberating throughout the chamber.
“Think of this as a job interview,” Drifter replied. “I got a whole new operation about to come online, and Gambit was training for it. You’re one of the best candidates I got.”
Beneath his helmet, Joxer raised an eyebrow. “You sure about that? I’m no ‘Hero of the Red War.’”
Drifter chuckled. “Why does everyone think I got a mad-on for that one?”
Joxer shook his head. “I heard you two forged a gun together.”
Drifter frowned. “Hand to my heart, it wasn’t just us. Whole buncha folks running around with Malfeasance hand cannons these days. My grandma, too.”
“That Primeval really knows how to run,” Joxer snarled at the deck.
“Listen, big guy.” Drifter leaned back. “Not my fault you keep missing the shot.”
Joxer stood up out of his seat and towered over the other man.
“Hey! My bad, brother!” Drifter held up a hand. “Your Motes are always good here, whether you’re packing Malfeasance or not. What I need done, only a specialist—like you—can do.”
Joxer stared down at him. “What do you mean?”
“I seen you out there. You get how the Taken feel. How the Darkness… flows. You revel in it.”
Joxer sat back down, slowly.
“You’re a born invader, my friend. The best.” Drifter smiled again, with lightless eyes. “And I'll need someone like you to test out my new project before I unveil it to the unwashed masses: Gambit Prime.”
“Sounds like a promotion at my local Sparrow dealership.”
“You wanna get paid or not?”
“What do I kill?”
Drifter scowled at a notch on his glaive as he buffed the blade with a heavy cloth. A large attaché case rested heavily at his feet.
He and Joxer were back aboard the Derelict. The Titan held his head in his hands. His glowing armor suffused the room with a blood-red warmth.
“Cheer up, brother,” Drifter said. “That didn’t go too bad.”
“Three Guardians are dead,” Joxer replied, looking up to stare straight at the rogue Lightbearer.
“That’s right,” Drifter quipped, continuing to clean his weapon. “In the dirt. Never comin’ back. Their Ghosts got sloppy. You give Taken the chance and they’ll snuff out your Light. The fact that you’re alive means your Ghost knows what he’s doin’.”
“You said this was a test run.”
“Where do you think you are? The Crucible? Gambit Prime is for keeps, test or no.”
“You son of a—”
“Leave the name-calling to me, hotshot. Let’s wrap up this debrief and get you paid.”
“You could’ve helped them.”
Drifter stood, slamming the butt of his freshly polished glaive on the attaché case at his feet.
“You got yourself out,” he said, leaning on the weapon. “You didn’t need help.”
“You could’ve stopped those Taken. You could’ve saved them all.”
“I paid you to try on that armor. How’s it treating you?”
Joxer was silent. “It worked exactly like you said it would,” he finally responded. “I invaded the other side. The armor locked the Bank down, and I took their Motes right out of it, like they were mine.” He looked down at the deck. “We wiped them out.”
“Yes. Yes, you did,” Drifter said, nodding along fiercely with each detail.
“You’re giving everyone a set of these?”
“If they can build it themselves. I’ll gladly provide the engram prints.” He half-smiled. “Your fireteam—may they rest in peace—they help you out?”
Joxer took his helmet off, rubbed his eyes. “We didn’t use names, just like you told us. The… the Warlock watched our Bank.”
“Like a one-man private security company,” Drifter nodded.
“He always seemed to know where the other Invader was.”
“A Sentry worth their salt always does.”
“And the Hunter. She was a beast. Tore those Cabal up like they were made of paper.”
“Your team’s Reaper,” Drifter clarified. “She’s like you, a born killer. But specializing in the enemies of humanity. Your Collector’s best friend.”
“Yeah, the Collector, one squirrely Titan. Hid a lot, grabbed a bunch of Motes.”
Drifter snickered. “You thought he was useless, didn’t ya?”
Joxer sighed. “‘Til he dropped the meanest Taken I’ve ever seen on the enemy side.”
“Brother, if you manage to summon a giant blocker?” Drifter shook his head, grinning. “That thing’s gotta eat.”
“We had them. We gutted the opposing team. It’s just…” The Titan stopped speaking. He didn’t lift his head, still staring at the deck.
“The Primeval,” Drifter said, with a touch of… pride?
“That Primeval took us apart.”
Drifter shrugged. “You found one that matched your strength. Lesson learned. Make sure your Ghost stays on his toes.”
“They’re all dead,” Joxer said again.
“Yeah, in a town full of immortals,” Drifter said. “Who’da thought? Their cut goes to you. And a little extra to keep, you know, the details outta sight from the Vanguard.”
The rogue Lightbearer kicked the attaché case across the deck. Joxer picked it up without opening it.
“More where that came from, if you want the work,” Drifter said, leaning on his glaive again.
“You’re on your own.” Joxer stood and walked past the Drifter. He left the chamber, massive case in tow.
“You can keep the armor,” Drifter called after him, not bothering to turn around.
As the Titan's footsteps echoed down the hall towards the Derelict's hangar, a Ghost emerged from a dark alcove.
“How much data did you pick up?” Drifter asked.
The Ghost’s eye glowed a dark red as it projected patterns across the metal deck: scrolling streams of statistics and figures for each candidate in their roles. Three Ghost-feeds hung in the air, playing on loop. Each one restarted as the same massive Taken came into focus.
Drifter took it all in, his eyes reflecting the blood-red of his Ghost’s Light. His smile was all teeth.
The more petals Lionel swept into his garbage bag, the more there seemed to be. His back, slightly crooked with age, burned in protest as he continued to stoop and work.
A man in a long coat stood watching him on the opposite side of the long hallway. Lionel figured he’d go away eventually, but the man stayed, idly flipping a green coin.
“Can I help you?” Lionel asked, growing annoyed.
“They make elders do this? Can’t the maintenance frames handle it?”
“Speeds things up. The petals get everywhere from the… whatever the kids call it.”
“That’s the one.”
“Come on! No one’s too old to celebrate Crimson Days.”
“My wife died the day the Tower fell.”
The man stared at the ceiling. Lionel continued to sweep.
“I got nothing to do today,” the man said. “Let me take care of this for you.”
Lionel dumped another dustpan full of petals into his bag, then turned and walked right into the man’s outstretched hand: palm up, full of glowing, sapphire cubes.
“Lotta Glimmer,” Lionel said, eyeing the money and the man in turn.
“Yours. Let me finish this job for you.”
“You a Guardian?”
Lionel stared down at the pure material potential sitting in the man’s hand.
“I’ll take your vest and hat, too,” said the man. “Please.”
The man took off his coat and put on Lionel’s orange vest. He put on Lionel’s hat and pulled it low, covering his eyes. As he walked, he passed a frame diligently sweeping the connecting antechamber, and paused to point back toward the petal-strewn hallway he’d just come from. “You missed a spot,” he said. The frame stared at him, then at the hallway. It marched towards its new objective.
The man continued his walk.
The Vanguard and representatives from various City factions had gathered around a massive table. Cayde’s seat was empty.
“The Drifter poses no immediate threat to the population,” Zavala was saying to the Consensus as Aunor approached. “Therefore, we motion to grant him a more permanent lease—"
“My Order disagrees,” she cut in fiercely.
Zavala turned. With a slight incline of his head, he gestured from her to the rest of the group, “This is Warlock Aunor, representing the Praxic Order.”
“I have paperwork to file, so I’ll make this short,” she said. “If the Vanguard is willing, the Praxic Order would like to excise the Drifter from the City. Immediately. We’ll do it ourselves.”
Zavala turned to look at her. “The Praxic opinion is noted. But the City welcomes all Guardians—“
“He’s no Guardian.”
“The City welcomes all of humanity who are willing to stand in defense of the City.”
“Commander, with due respect, you asked the Order to have a voice in this discussion.” She looked Zavala in the eye, and swept her gaze around the table to address the Consensus and Ikora. “The Praxic Order has existed since the founding of the City to keep artifacts of the Darkness out of Guardian hands. In our opinion, the Drifter represents as great a threat to our people as Ghaul or the Taken King.”
“Go on, girl,” Executor Hideo said, steepling his fingers.
“She is no ‘girl,’” Ikora hissed.
Aunor ignored them both, continuing, “The Drifter has convinced the Guardian population to use the Taken as a weapon. To murder Guardians.”
“There have been no final deaths,” said Zavala.
“That we know of,” Aunor replied. “You’re allowing that man to normalize interaction with the Taken.”
Ikora and Zavala shared a look.
“The past few months, the Praxic Order has seen a historic number of Guardians go rogue.”
“’Rogue,’ ‘rogue,’ what is ‘rogue,’” Arach Jalaal said. “Everyone is a rogue now. It is fashionable to be a rogue.”
“You’ll see it in my report,” Aunor said. “Some have adopted the name ‘Dredgen.’ You want my professional opinion? Ideas are powerful things, and the Drifter has too many. Board that travesty he calls a ship and throw him out an airlock, before the City sees another Dark Age.”
The Vanguard and the Consensus looked at her in silence.
“I have paperwork to file,” she said again, turning around. “You know where my office is.” As she left, she saw that same maintenance worker had fallen asleep in the entrance way, hat over his eyes, leaning against a trash can. She narrowed her eyes.
The Murder of Cayde-6
Dawdling outside the entrance to a Gensym lab, the man tucked a green coin into a pocket of his newly-acquired duster, and then checked to make sure his Obsidian Mind was sealed shut. He fiddled with the clasps of the helmet as a technician carrying a clipboard hurried up to the door. She stepped inside, and he followed on her heels. The doors almost caught him as they slid shut, and the tech noticed, turning around to take stock of him.
“How you livin’?” The man said in a deep, modulated voice as he shouldered past her.
“Creep,” the tech muttered, and walked the other way.
The man stopped to check a listing of room schedules on a monitor at the front desk, then continued down the hall into the darkness of Lab 3.
Inside, the Praxic Warlock Aunor stood under a constellation of holographic projections anchored in the air around her.
She saw the man out of the corner of her eye, and nodded her head slightly.
“Warlock,” the man said in greeting.
“Warlock,” she returned, dragging a looping feed from a far corner into focus in front of her. “I won’t be long.”
“Take your time,” he said, leaning against the far wall. “I’ve always wanted to see a Praxic at work.”
“I assure you it’s glamorous,” she replied, throwing her arms wide and unfolding the feed into a three-dimensional space.
The lab flashed with light and became the shattered, burning husk of the Prison of Elders.
The man turned to his left and saw a familiar, weathered face staring up at the eight Barons of the Tangled Shore.
Cayde-6 stumbled forward and raised a hand. “Hey, help me out here, little buddy.” His Ghost appeared in a blazing burst of Light.
“Freeze playback,” Aunor said. Time stopped. “Confirm what I’m seeing.”
The Tower’s central processing unit spoke with an automated voice. “Ghost ‘Sundance’ audiovisual feed, third-person perspective; date of recording is roughly six months prior.”
“Scan the feed for soft light interposition.”
“None found. This Ghost feed is direct from the subject’s databanks and has not been tampered with.”
The high-pitched whine of the Rifleman’s weapon was the last sound on the feed. It was the last thing Cayde’s Ghost ever heard. The bullet shattered the holographic world around Aunor and the man, and Lab 3 reappeared in its place.
Aunor swept her coat back and clasped her armored hands behind her. “Why did the feed end?”
“Subject ‘Sundance’ suffered unrecoverable system failure and ceased recording.”
“Scorn guns can’t kill a Ghost,” the man said, taking a step away from the wall, and uncrossing his arms.
Aunor ignored him. “Cause of death?” she continued.
“’Sundance’ appears to be the victim of a single, catastrophic wound from a Devourer Bullet, modified to fire from a Scorn launcher. Projectile classified as ontological.”
“Define Devourer Bullet.”
“Payload matches the ballistics of a Weapon of Sorrow or a comparable Hive implement.”
“What do you think, Warlock?” Aunor asked the man without turning around.
“Didn’t the Mindbender build himself an Ascendant throne?”
“Crafting bullets sounds easy if you can manage that.”
“Sword Logic doesn’t work that way. The throne came after,” Aunor replied. “It was built on Cayde-6’s death. I didn’t catch your name.”
“Finch,” said the man.
“Finch,” Aunor echoed dryly.
He gestured at the holographic displays. “What’s all this for?”
The various HUDs and data streams reflected off Aunor’s polished black helmet. “I’m investigating the possible involvement of the Hero of the War in the death of Cayde-6.”
Finch chuckled. “Won’t they hang you for that?”
Aunor looked at the ground. “You’d be surprised what this City will let a Lightbearer get away with.”
“I hear that. So? Is the big hero actually the villain?”
“You can read the report once the Vanguard publishes it.”
Finch nodded. “Fair enough.” He turned to leave, then stopped himself. “And what actually happens if the saint turns out to be a sinner?”
Aunor still hadn’t turned around. “The Praxic Order doesn’t hesitate, doesn’t stop. If we can prove you’ve done demonstrable harm to humanity or the City, doesn’t matter how far or how fast you run. We’ll catch you. And you’ll face Praxic Fire.”
“You’re a scary sister.”
She turned to look directly at him. “You have no idea.”
Finch coughed and headed for the door. Behind him, Aunor called out, “Didn’t you need lab time?”
“Just remembered I’m busy,” he replied over his shoulder and disappeared.
The doors closed and Aunor stood in the half-darkness, a sea of data streams reflecting off her helmet.
“Restart the feed,” she said.
"Am I to Cast a Shadow?"
Gahlran knelt before his Emperor in a chamber of gold.
Every surface reflected a resplendent sheen that blinded him.
“What is this place?” he asked.
“Many things,” Calus replied, lounging with his cheek in his palm. “This chamber once held an Arkborn. The only one of her kind to leave the interstellar conduits of her people. It is the place where Valus Nohr earned her shield in trial by combat. Shadows were cast here. History made.”
“Am I to cast a Shadow?”
“Yes. You were bred to be a sorrow-bearer. I seek a Hive commander, but those are not so readily available. So I made you.”
“The Council says the Hive cannot be contained. They worry.”
Calus raised an eyebrow. “Who among them?”
The Emperor shook the golden chamber with his guffaw. “Only a few hours old, and already your words have killed two.”
Gahlran pondered what his Emperor could mean.
“I will enjoy you,” Calus said, and keyed a hidden control on the armrest of his divan.
The ceiling shrieked as it opened like an eye. Gahlran craned his neck to stare as two hovering Councilors descended with a massive, plated helm from the vast iris above.
He could hear a litany of voices shouting down at him from inside the thing as it slowly descended. He thought they sounded like warnings, but there were no discernible words in the speech.
“What is that?” he asked his Emperor.
Calus finished the Royal nectar in his chalice before belching, “Your crown.”
Gahlran thought he could glimpse a faint violet glow on the inside of the helm as it drew nearer.
“Isn’t it beautiful?” Calus asked, as the voices echoing from the helm grew louder.
“No,” Gahlran replied.
He thought he should run. He tried to stand, but he found that he could not, rooted to the floor before the Emperor’s throne by the will of the Councilors.
“I do not like this,” Gahlran said.
“This,” said Calus, as the Councilors crowned Gahlran, “is why you were born.”
The violet interior filled Gahlran’s vision.
“What does it feel like?” asked the Emperor.
“Fear,” Gahlran said.
Calus must have responded, but Gahlran couldn’t hear him over the cacophony of voices.
He suddenly found that he could see.
Through a hundred billion eyes.
And that he could eat.
With teeth enough to consume entire systems.
He felt beautiful.
CABAL "LOYALIST" BAND TRANSMISSION
TYPE: OWL SECTOR INTERCEPT
//CABAL “LOYALIST” BAND TRANSMISSION
They call themselves Hunters. Scouts. Survivors scavenging from races older and nobler—so that their people might rebuild what they’ve lost.
They call themselves Titans. Soldiers. Killers—slaying the enemies of humanity so that their City might live one more day.
They call themselves Warlocks. Martial philosophers. Harbingers of Light. Scholars searching for meaning when all is already lost. Their machine god abandoned them long ago.
They don’t understand yet, but they are, all of them, so much more.
It falls to you, my Loyalists, to show them the way. You’ve met them. You know their conviction.
So I unleash you.
Hinder them. Topple them. Teach them pain.
They will only ask for more. And they will grow stronger for it.
When they are ready, we will open the Menagerie to them. Even the strongest Lights have yet to explore that ancient deck. I want them to see where our journey out of exile began. Ghaul and his conspirators meant for the Menagerie—for the Leviathan itself!—to be our tomb. But Ghaul could not predict what we would find at the black edge.
He could not foresee that we would grow fat from strength.
I call on that strength, now, one last time, before the black edge claims us.
Make no mistake. They will take your lives.
I know you give them gladly.
Your sacrifice shall spark the Shadows of Earth.
- The first letter of the 'report from Paladin Oran' can be decoded to spell: "Fikrul alive. Distress call from Illyn."
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