Weblore:Season of the Hunt
From Destinypedia, the Destiny wiki
Weblore is a series of lore entries posted on Bungie.net prior to the launch of, and during the associated seasons of, most Destiny 2 expansions. These lore entries expanded on the background of the characters and locations that would be featured in the expansion.
The Season of the Hunt weblore entries were posted on November 13, 16, and 17, 2020. An additional entry not transcribed on this page was posted on November 13 and contained the pages missing from the Mysterious Logbook included with the Beyond Light Collector's Edition.
Immolant Pt. 1
Commander Zavala stands behind his desk riddled with documents to greet Osiris. Through a cloud-covered shroud, the reforged Traveler fills the office with a delicate glow. "Osiris. I am glad to see you safe and with us again. Please, sit."
Stress draws trenches in Zavala's face: battle lines between worry and hope, duty and friendship; between survival and annihilation. Osiris meets Zavala's eyes. They do not scream traitor, exile, heretic. Instead, they seek wisdom—to confide in another who knows burden.
"This won't take long," Osiris states, remaining on his feet. "Something is communicating across the forces of the Darkness. Do not let Eramis blind you to other threats on our borders." His disquieting voice prickles.
"I can provide operational support for you, but that is all. The Vanguard's focus is on Europa. We won't abandon immediate threats to chase cryptic omens."
Osiris scoffs in disbelief. "Since when has the Vanguard been capable of only one task?" He steps toward Zavala, thrusting a finger at him like a spear. "How do you not see the tactical advantage of tapping into their communications?"
"You know me better than that. We don't have resources to launch a system-wide investigation. I put my trust in Eris..." Zavala inhales deeply. "Fifty-seven Guardians did not return to the City. Dead, or otherwise unaccounted for. The Consensus factions have their own agendas in light of our losses. And frankly, I didn't expect to see you answer the call either."
"I came, and now you tell me there is no plan. Perhaps it would have served me better to—"
"I won't be hounded by absentee Guardians and armchair tacticians." Zavala slowly places his hands on his desk, as if restraining himself from destroying it. "The information you've brought me is worth investigating. If you want to help, I will give you full authority to pursue this loose end. The City's archives and support systems are at your disposal, but I cannot allocate additional ships or manpower to your cause."
Osiris nods, realizing he had no right to demand action. "I apologize. Thank you." He motions toward the windows' reinforced glass. "The Traveler's reforging was a sight to behold." His words have a faint reverence to them.
Zavala turns away from the Traveler's pale light, his face dimmed. "Indeed. I wish it was more than just that."
"These events were beyond us all, Zavala. I should have seen it… I just want to correct my error."
"I'll help you where I can, Osiris. Remain in contact, and if it is dire, I will point every gun at whatever fiend you uncover."
A siren has long wept over Io, mourning the death of a once-lively world.
The life left sleeping lay deep in the Cradle, awaiting a wish to waken the grove.
On wings of flame and golden skein, the Phoenix settled to deliver,
buried deep with flaming beak a seed to blossom and draw Watchers hither.
"That's pretty good. I mean… it could be a little less narcissistic, but you've only had decades to practice," Sagira pokes.
"It isn't finished," Osiris grumbles. "Stop reading my private drive."
Fractals of color scintillate and split across Osiris's jumpship as it slips through space toward Io.
His mind is still taxed from his last visit. He remembers—camouflaged against the rushing atmospheric bands of Jupiter—how he drifted alongside its evergreen moon. He remembers the deep wedge that sunk between the two bodies, dividing them.
The Pyramid before him, lascivious tendrils of wildfire hue flowed from it like a grasping hand across the Cradle. The image as clear as relived trauma. Io had been dwarfed against the black angular pit seated in its atmosphere. His eyes could not leave it then; even now, he feels himself falling into its gravity as they approach again.
"Have you sent it to Saint yet?" Sagira flitters into view. She brings him back to the present, soaring across space.
"No. I told you, it isn't finished."
"Have you told him you're writing poetry again? He's going to have so much to say about that."
"Enough. You don't need to be involved. He badgers me enough as it is," Osiris barks half-heartedly, his face softening as the words leave him. "We have work to do."
They lurch out of their jump. Jupiter's depth fills the canopy with pyrographic incandescence. Dozens of moons arc around the giant in careful, patient grooves—cut into space over millennia of gravitational friction. Io is not among them. Osiris checks and rechecks coordinates. Sagira assures him they are correct. They stare at the disparity together.
The orbital readings of Sol's bodies are intact, gravity unaltered. But the system is gutted, four globes plucked from the skies. His eyes sink into the maw of eternal depth lurking in Io's place. An anomaly of Darkness. Osiris stares as if looking into the pyre-flames of a funeral; the corpse's uncanny familiarity. A stranger you half-remember.
There is only the gouge of Io's absence. A reckoning whispered and left.
Saturn grieves the loss of Titan. The cerulean jewel that once was had sunken into the gullet of the abyss. In its place, an anomaly, dark and rimmed in gravitational lensing. Osiris tears his eyes away and fixates on its sibling cavity: a swath cut through Saturn's rings by Oryx's blade during the Taken War. Within the rings, the Dreadnaught sails in solidarity with the anomaly's orbit, whispering back in harmony.
"Do you hear that?" Osiris asks, turning to Sagira. He turns the ship's scanning array toward the anomaly. "Like the tones Vance described. From the spires, and then the Pyramids. It was coming from the anomaly that replaced Io as well."
"I don't hear anything, but I can feel it." Sagira cringes and constricts her shell flaps. "Like a shiver down my metaphorical spine." Osiris lowers his gaze. He does not want to see their failure or believe the Cradle's Tree, the Forest, all the Golden Age treasures so many had died to preserve—were gone. All their victories: usurped and meaningless in the face of the enemy.
For all their power, all their heroism, they had invited this fate. And when it came, they were not prepared. Phobos and Deimos orbit the grave of Mars where a roiling depth festers, hungry and reaching out to the little moons caught within its influence. The Warmind buckled, and yet somehow, it ekes out existence in hiding, a survivor again.
Ana still holds on to a dead hope. She should be out in the field as a paragon of the old age. Charging forward to lead unsteady neophytes. Like he has. Instead, she retreats to the City and lays her worries on Zavala's brow, promising a Rasputin perfected to rebuke the assailing horrors of the night. But the Warmind did not stop the Pyramids, and unkept promises make Osiris weary. At least Sloane and Asher confronted the onslaught themselves, one last time. How he longs for that assured aplomb.
"To know the way forward, one must bear the torch," he murmurs.
Sagira is silent. Osiris can feel the weight of each lost world shackle her hope to a blistering reality. There is no reason to linger here. The ship drops into Sol's mighty star-wind, the brilliant flames of the Sun at their backs. Osiris's hope tells him he could find a subdued Mercury here, laboring under the angular shadow of a Pyramid. But he knows his hope is a lie. The wound is all he can see. A pit ringed in flame. He remembers the vast nothingness he had witnessed in the Infinite Forest. He laments the loss of his clairvoyance within its coded halls. Perhaps there, he would have had the answer to the question he wants to ask Sagira, "Have I led us down this path?"
He tells himself that his last visit was driven by anger. Sagira had chided him for storming the Lighthouse and ransacking Vance's possessions. "They're my relics," he said to silence her protests. In truth, what drove Osiris to Mercury then is the same as what drives him now: fear.
"Why didn't you tell Zavala about the Lighthouses? About the Tree?" Sagira asks. Osiris is silent. "There are people that will help. This isn't the Dark Ages. You don't have to do this alone."
"When I have something to show them, I will. Right now, all we have are questions." Osiris watches analytical data stream up his monitor.
"So where does that leave us?"
"Mara began this escapade with her message, and I did as she asked. I can only hope the Awoken can provide more answers."
Rain falls in the Dreaming City. From within a hollow amethyst cavern, Osiris watches the amber droplets pepper the ground and burst into misty vapor. Their subtle impacts echo off crystalline walls and meld together in escalating, chaotic resonance that rings through the cavern. He could feel the sting of momentum dragging him to an unforeseen end. A million possibilities, and only a single chance to move through them.
"It's beautiful. I've never seen it rain here before." Sagira's words pluck Osiris from his stupor.
The rain's tawny sheen fades from the wet ground. He thinks for a moment to ask her what she was saying but airs his own thoughts instead. "Petra was useless."
"She doesn't know you like Mara does," Sagira says wistfully as she buzzes back into the jumpship. "Oh good. Back in the ship. Again."
"You saw the look on her face when she read our data. She knows something she isn't telling us."
"Maybe she's just being cautious."
"We don't have time for the Reef's suspicions."
"They haven't seen you in years, Osiris."
"The same could be said for their queen," Osiris scoffs and raises himself into the cockpit. "Unruly Hive activity is all the intelligence Petra had to offer. When are they not?"
"I can try talking next time. That might help."
"If we return, you're more than welcome to. For now, we're Tower-bound."
"That sounds AMAZING. I can finally stretch my shell for a bit." Sagira flexes. "Speaking of the Tower, Geppetto keeps asking if you've checked under your seat." She jabs a tiny shell point downward.
Sagira locks her iris on Osiris as he begins preflight checks. "You're putting more effort in avoiding it…"
"I'm really not."
"I'll do it." She flutters past his shins and dives under the pilot seat. A muffled "Found it!" sounds beneath him. She emerges with a crumpled note tied in lavender frill and sealed by a crude wax stamp of a flaming bird.
"He made us a stamp!" she says, excitedly shaking vibrato into her voice.
"What does the letter say, Sagira?"
"Oh, now you want to know what it says?"
"You just didn't seem interested. I can read it to myself—"
"He will ask when we get back."
"Well, if you want to know that badly... It says he likes your new poem."
"SAGIRA!" The Tower crowd is dense and boisterous at dusk. Outside Zavala's office, Osiris can hear Ikora's cool tone clearly pierce through the thick doors. Her words are considerate, crafted. Osiris contemplates interrupting them. But they have enough on their shoulders. To the Hangar.
"If you're headed to see Saint, I'll tag along. Otherwise, I'll meet you back at the ship," Sagira says.
"First Ana, then Saint."
"Why do you always see him last?"
"He is the most patient." "You've been busy." Osiris takes in Ana's hastily assembled workshop located within the partition between the Tower and the City. Tools and schematics litter the room.
"Talking to me or yourself?" Ana asks and rolls out from beneath a disassembled Exo chassis. "Hard to tell sometimes," she says, standing.
"It's been too long, Ana."
"You don't visit often." She glances over her shoulder. "Except to point fingers."
"I suppose we've both been busy. I'm glad to see you back in the Tower."
Ana rolls her jaw. "I guess we have to stop running sometime."
Osiris looks at the Exo chassis. "Do we?"
"What are you here for, Osiris? Looking to make another mess for me to clean up?"
"When the Warmind was overtaken, did you notice a resonant tone in the Darkness's attack? Like this?" Osiris asks and plays a waveform recording of the Lighthouse's song.
"I was a little preoccupied. But I didn't hear any suspicious… tones."
"You experienced the Darkness's assault firsthand. Instead of using that experience, you're dredging up the dead."
"Osiris, content only if he alone can play god." Ana swipes a welding torch from a nearby workbench. "You should meet up with Calus. You two would get along."
"Run the tones through your database. If your pet project has any related information—"
"I'll run it." The words sarcastically fall out of Ana's mouth as she slides back under the Exo and ignites the torch with a Solar finger-snap. "Next time you want to drop in, use the Ghost-vine instead." The Tower Hangar is still, its ships grounded. Gearheads and pilots alike wait in tense reticence. Scramble speakers buzz with static anticipation of orders from Vanguard High Command. Osiris turns back to a lone point of Light shining through the gloom.
"I do not understand all of this code. This is Geppetto's specialty," Saint-14 says while standing bent over a wide desk covered in data tablets. Holographic images of the Lighthouse shimmer in the Hangar lights. "We could use the Crucible right now. Your trials. This will be very helpful. You mean to stay, yes?"
"I will. Long enough to show you how to implement the simulation; but tonight, I must disembark," Osiris says.
Osiris tenses his jaw in forced silence. He twiddles with code. "I'm worried about what Vance found."
Saint places a heavy hand on Osiris's chest. "Let go of your obsession. Do not leave chasing phantoms again."
"Phantoms… You think the Darkness is satisfied? This is just the first move. I need to know the next before it's made."
"If there is something you fear, let me help you. We face this together."
Osiris's mind drifts to the Dark anomalies. Saint doesn't need another burden.
"The safest place for you is the Tower, Saint. Time... tends to renege on its gifts."
"So, your mission is dangerous?"
Osiris considers lying. "Potentially."
"Then do not go. The Vanguard already scouts Europa. The Forest is gone, my fiery bird." Saint gives an uneasy chuckle and bats Osiris on the shoulder with his palm. "You don't need to disappear and go looking for another."
Osiris smiles faintly. The Forest is gone, and all the simple pleasures in existence could not replace it. Sagira had told him once that life ebbs and flows. And in that ebb, he is still lost. How long will it last, until purpose rushes forth to find him again?
"Me, disappear?" He gives Saint a tilted look. "I won't. I'll be back, and I will continue to keep Zavala abreast of my travels."
"And me." No number of tethers would keep him.
"Yes, and you."
"And you will answer my letters."
Osiris skirts the promise. "If I am able."
"Or I will send you with more of this candy corn, and Sagira will make you eat it."
"Do not be ridiculous. It is delicious."
Osiris fails to contain a chuckle. Saint embraces him. His mind is starside, but Osiris still feels himself relax. Someday, this will be enough.
Immolant Pt. 2
BORN OF WRATH
"Huh." Sagira patches a strand of Light into the jumpship's control deck as they tumble through the black-drop, stars twinkling out beyond reach. "Something's in the static out there…"
"What is it?" Osiris asks.
"Some kind of subspace transmission. Hang on." Sagira boosts the jumpship's comm receiver. "It's Cabal."
"From?" Osiris absentmindedly pushes a sack of candy corn aside with his foot and leans forward.
"Somewhere outside the system. Some pretty heavy encryption at work, but… there's a repeated phrase. A name. Caiatl?"
"How many Cabal leaders still vie for dominion atop Ghaul's grave? Let them grind each other into dust."
"There are responses from Nessus, the Reef, the EDZ. She's calling the Legion home… or, no… back to her bosom? She wants them to capture Calus to prove their loyalty, but it sounds like the Leviathan is missing."
"Their bloody feud continues. If Caiatl is stirring up the Legion, the Vanguard will want to know their plans."
"One of the response signals is offering Caiatl tribute from somewhere near Sorik's Cut. Some other weird noise too."
"This message here," Osiris says and points to the on-screen readout of Sagira's scans. "Caiatl sends an emissary to receive their tribute."
"The Shore. We're not far behind," Sagira says. "Eavesdropping or crashing?"
"We'll hit them after the offering is made. I don't want the Cabal Empire to know we're tapping their communications."
A horde of Cabal crowd into a crude shelter, assembled from several decommissioned drop pods. Green light shines through the cracks. A royal blue banner of Cabal make lay cast in squalid bubbling mud. Sagira and her Guardian survey the scene, perched on Fallen ruins high above the Boil. The bulk of the evening is spent silent. The only exception: Sagira's repeated affirmations. "They're still just huddled around that rock."
"Patience is a virtue, Sagira." Osiris closes his eyes to the Reef sky and waits for signals to guess at the Darkness's plans. The stars watch, all the weight of jet-black space upon him. He is extinguished among their lightyears.
Screams in the night.
Osiris stirs awake. His eyes open to the nebulous drift of the Shore. "Sagira, report."
"They're all still in there. Eighteen life signs. No shots. No one's even moved. I don't like it."
"They're on the move!" Sagira leers over the edge of their perch. The escape latch on the frontal pod dome bursts open and slams against the pod wall. Ten leave: nine unsteady forms in dull red, one vivid blue. They disperse out into the Shore.
Osiris rubs his eyes. "Finally." Through the cracks he sees them; the remaining ring of Cabal kneel in a tightly wrapped circle. A stony protrusion centers them.
"What is that stone's constitution?" he asks.
"Pretty stoic, I'd say."
"Sagira… this reeks of suspicion."
"You're right, and I hate saying that." A moment passes as the tiny Ghost directs long-range sensors to the stone. "Oh, it's not a rock. It's Hive; biological."
Osiris floats down to the acrid pools on feather-Light; Sagira follows close behind.
He bounds through the open pod door. A celestial flame dances in each palm. Eight Cabal sit dormant. The Cabal huddle around the protrusion. Their massive bodies form a bulwark of trembling flesh. A soulfire pitch blisters through their turgid pressure suits. They are fixated—bulged eyes rabid and screaming of rancor. Frontal plating blighted by Hive barnacle growths. Hands tightly grip their throats. Slug Rifles lay prostrated before the idol.
Osiris steps among them without their notice and lowers his hands. Sagira breaks the Cabal perimeter to scan the protrusion.
"Creepy. They don't even notice us. Keep those spitfires ready." She turns to Osiris. "This is the most vascular rock I've ever scanned."
Osiris peers into the Hive protrusion. Metallic flecks shimmer, and he sees a long and empty road. Meandering. He wishes to plant a great banner over it, so that all may see. A beacon, alight with Phoenix flame. Looming in the nascent flamelight hangs the terrace of blades. The terrace dominates the road; its precipice at his throat. He raises the Dawnblade to meet them. Rupturing cacophony ravages his senses.
I AM THE WAR YOU CRAVE. PURPOSE ETERNAL. A LEGACY IN BLOOD.
"It's full of soulfire veins." Sagira's voice is wind to Osiris. She nudges him.
WHEN YOU DRAW BLADES, YOU DRAW ME.
"Do you hear the whispers?" Osiris's words slur.
YOU CANNOT RESIST WITHOUT INVOKING MY BANNER.
"You're hearing something?" Sagira floats near him.
EMBRACE ME, LIGHTBEARER, AND BE A GOD OF DEATH.
"Whispers." His mind clouds.
One of the Cabal stands and turns to Osiris.
"Snap out of it; they're waking up," Sagira says and decompiles out of danger.
CONSUME OR BE CONSUMED.
The Cabal trundles forward. Osiris billows incineration. The blaze cooks the interior of the pod. Kneeling Cabal break free of their trance and stand in the scalding air. Of the remaining seven, two fall immediately to a hail of celestial firebolts. Osiris grounds himself and unleashes a cascade of Arc across the mass of lumbering Legionaries. Lightning bends inward against the pod's magnetic shielding. He holds the storm on them until pressure gel hisses and spits from their suits.
Osiris exhales. Their smoldering bodies invade his nostrils. The scene clarifies. Horror, scorch, and char.
"You ready to tell me what that was all about?" Sagira asks. She hovers just above the jumpship's control deck, piloting.
"I wish I could. I remember tracking Caiatl's emissary. Finding the Cabal. The night sky. Then… flame and rage. It took everything in me to push those thoughts from my mind." Osiris slumps in his seat. "There is one clear memory. I felt the Dark whisper that we've been chasing. Like a needle in my spine. It must be at the root of all this."
As his thoughts fixate on senescence, old iron words from the past ring in his ears.
"Soon the City won't need men like us. Lone wolves, Osiris. We die. Make sure when your end comes, it's something worth your Light."
"Okay," Sagira says. The concern is thick in her voice, but she buries it. "I sent out scans. Long range, short range… anywhere that has a prominent Hive presence. There's no way this is isolated to the Reef."
"Petra, how were we so blind?" Osiris muses. "The Hive swell in Darkness as Guardians run to Europa. The warning fell between her words, and I did not see it."
"That's enough moping. We're on this early. Maybe it's a good thing."
"I can't pull the Vanguard's eyes from Europa with hazy recollections and guesses. They have just begun to see me again, and trust is so thin."
Resonance pings blip onto the ship's monitors, catching Osiris's attention. "Signals from your scans."
"The Moon. That's a much stronger signal than the one we found near Sorik's Cut."
Osiris shifts and raises his head. "You may be right about our timing. We can end this before it begins. Open a channel to Eris."
"I've been trying. She's uh… well, she's not answering."
"Then we go to her."
"Oh no. First that, and then it's a suicide mission into the Hellmouth. You're in no condition. Recuperate and we'll talk."
Osiris stews in thought. Sagira's words are true. He is bleary from lack of sleep. "Then turn around."
"Osiris, I already sent everything we have to Petra and the Vanguard. I'm taking us to Earth."
"Whatever we are dealing with is spreading through the system's underbelly. There is one on the Shore who knows those pathways. Surely, I'm not too fragile to have a conversation, Sagira."
"I'm sure there are plenty of people in the Tower who would be just as helpful."
Osiris glares at her. "I am not some doddering invalid!" He grabs the flight stick. "Turn around, or I will."
"This Spider guy better have answers," Sagira says.
"From what I've heard, it's just a matter of how persuasive we are," Osiris says and follows an Eliksni Associate through plum curtains and into the Spider's abode. The massive Don of the Shore lounges before them.
"Welcome, most esteemed Osiris. Though you have not graced my chamber before, your reputation precedes you." Spider trellises his eight fingers together as his voice breaks into a series of gaseous staccato slurps. "The literature you sent me… very interesting, but behind the times."
Spider chuckles. "I already have top men working on these… cryptoliths. But I'd never, what is it? Ah yes, 'look a gift horse in the mouth.'"
His Associates rush around the edges of the room. Cargo exchanges hands at a frenetic pace. Osiris follows their movements. A decorated Associate approaches the Spider and waits at his side.
"What is it, Arrha? You know better than to interrupt our guest's audience."
Arrha glances to Osiris before quickly speaking in Eliksni. Spider slams down a meaty fist. "Then go find it!"
Spider turns back to Osiris as Arrha scuttles away. "Apologies. Business interruptions in the aftermath of these…" he gestures half-heartedly upward, "… trying times." He stifles a cough and clutches at his Ether rebreather.
"Cabal aren't the only ones having troubles, eh?" Sagira asks and jets in front of Osiris. "You know I speak Eliksni, right?"
She plays snippets of Cabal distress transmissions and orders from Caiatl's scouts to lock down encampments; she displays images of slaughter, graves, and empty Cabal fortifications. "If it's hitting them this hard, your Associates must be, what's the phrase? Dropping like flies."
"Wise Osiris and his brilliant little Light," Spider muses.
"Sagira," the duo corrects.
"Of course you are. I see no reason why this… can't be a mutually beneficial partnership."
Osiris steps forward. "What matter do you need addressed, Spider, sovereign of the Shore?"
Spider giddily laps up the title. "I know the cryptoliths are of the Hive. I know the broods here burn Oryx's banners. And I know his Worm's skeleton, the one in Saturn's rings, is awake." Spider throws his four arms into a shrug. "My jurisdiction ends at the banks of the Shore, of course… but not yours."
Osiris impales a Wizard's head upon a stunted spike, surrounded by a freshly bloodied Hive sigil. The Dreadnaught console sputters to life, accepting his tithe.
While Cayde's old transmat zone is no longer in operation, the massive breach left by the Dantalion Exodus VI's impact remained agape. Entry had not been difficult despite the halls crawling with newly spawned Thrall. They were young, and nearly a century of navigation through the Infinite Forest had honed Osiris's ability to remain unseen.
The Dreadnaught's systems present as living memory —chronicles and hymns recounting histories. It is a rat king of fading ideas, wracked with failing connections and dying interpretations as Akka suffers a slow, final death, damaged beyond repair. But there is knowledge to glean here. Osiris directs Sagira to rip spokes of data from the console for Vanguard High Command.
"You found the most disgusting one; I'm not touching that. Dictate it to me."
Osiris sneers and grasps the head. He navigates the recounting of the Hive from Oryx's death. They are fractured, broken by internal power struggles. It leads into a recounting of Savathûn: banished, branded as heretic and set to burn. Many Hive turned to her when Oryx fell. Many of those same broodlines defected as the Darkness invaded Sol, sending Savathûn into hiding. She is still hunted by the hounds of war. Her pursuer has no local story to recount here, for it is yet to be written in blood. War's Celebrant rides to wrest Crota's lost foundlings from the Witch Queen's schemes. To bring unity. To bring reckoning. To bring glory. Luna will be reformed in her image. All tithes to Xivu Arath. All tithes to the black edge of her singing blade.
I AM THE DIN OF RAPTURE. I AM THE HERALD OF PEACE. MY BANNER IS KNOWN TO YOU.
"Xivu Arath," Osiris says. Words spoken on compulsion. He takes his hands from the Wizard's head as emerald smoke wafts from its orifices.
Osiris slumps to his knees. "This must be the echo we've been chasing. An omen of her voice, resounding through the Darkness, heralding war."
"A Hive war god. This is bad," Sagira says.
"The third sister. She has finally come for us, and her champion seeks to supplant Crota's remaining daughters on Luna. That is where we go."
He stands at the face of it for what feels like hours. The Great Angular Thing —the edge of night that plays behind his mind.
"Speechless?" Sagira teases. "Maybe they're not so bad." Her chuckle is thin.
They press on.
Osiris swipes away silken threads of webbing above the shadow of Luna's Pyramid. Braziers illuminate a synod of Witches and Wizards deep in the chasm. All point in alignment toward a monolithic sigil of Xivu Arath set atop a cryptolith adorned in blades: her will, projected from some far-off, unseen cosmic hollow. At the base of her visage—a monstrous Knight, adorned with tapestries charred by scorching brands.
"There it is," Osiris whispers.
"Along with the entire Scarlet Court," Sagira's voice crackles.
"Crota's remaining children, and their spawn, can be destroyed in one fell swoop."
"What is it with you and suicidal ideas? We can't transmat out of here, and they won't just kill you. They'll rip out your Light, Osiris."
"They're all here, Sagira. In one place."
"You're worth more than a bunch of Hive nobles. Wait for backup. Let me go topside and call for help."
"No. We stop this now. Halt her here." Osiris looks to the convocation below. "It is decided."
"You can't just decide that!"
Osiris turns to Sagira. "Go for help, but I can't wait for the Vanguard. I'll see you soon with reinforcements." "If you're going, I'm going." She decompiles safely beneath his armor. It is decided. Together they make war on the Hive.
Solar wings combust from Osiris's back. In each hand, he wields a blade of dawn. The calamity of his inferno sends Hive scattering in every direction. Voshyr and her two daughters, Yishra and Ayriax, turn to confront the Phoenix. They are ashen before their first incantations complete. He paints the scene apocalyptic. Fifteen noble-brood are reduced to cinders before a defense is mounted.
LAUGHTER LIKE CLASHING SWORDS.
Osiris sails through the air as daggers of dark power whistle past him. Golden echoes split from his body to cut down fleeing Hive and soak reprisals. Kinox, last daughter of Crota, scurries through cracks between the rocks as her son, Ulg'Urin, and his cohort of lesser Knights raise shields to defend her. Osiris extinguishes a blade into his palm to form a singularity of Void and hurls a Nova Bomb that consumes them. With his other blade, he dives. He drives it into the ground, erupting a Well of Radiance surrounded by a phalanx of gilded echoes.
Nobles shriek for their Thralls to charge. Bolts of flame and Arc tear through them as Osiris blinks through the Void from one echo to another. Their advance breaks. He steps over their smoldering husks and turns the blaze to their masters.
Osiris revels in the slaughter. Xivu Arath's sigil drinks in his fervor and the nobles' deaths.
LAUGHTER LIKE SCREAMING FEAR.
Her visage emboldens. The Celebrant waits at the foot of Xivu Arath's cryptolith, unburnt.
Osiris's echoes reconvene into him. "FACE ME!" he exclaims and steps forward.
Xivu Arath's visage emits a shockwave that thunders through the chasm. It rips away Osiris's Well and throws him across the stone floor. His back slams against the cliff face behind him.
"What is this?" Shock punctuates the question. He pulls against an unseen force to no avail.
YOU BURN OFFERINGS; I ACCEPT THEM.
Xivu Arath's will crushes the pressure of his Light. Seals the flames into his flesh. Stakes his body to the stone on paralytic pins. Her image distorts in a concave canvas around him, the Celebrant at its core. Shadows encroach, dousing the borders of his power.
Osiris focuses his mind on the spark at his core. Flames billow from within. Countless gilded echoes ripple from him, testing Xivu's hold, pressing vulnerabilities. The Sun sings to repel the shadow. He finds a moment, wrenches a hand free, and unleashes the Reach of Chaos. The beam of Arc tears through Xivu's sigil. Soulfire shards rocket away as cracks fork through Xivu Arath's projection.
Unfazed, she does not relent.
RESIST ME, LIGHTBEARER.
Her will overcomes him, stronger than before.
The Celebrant steps forward. A massive cleaver dangles from its hand, weightless. The beast carves a rune into the stone on either side of Osiris, its eyes locked with his. It nods to him, and then turns to the sigil.
"All tithes to Xivu Arath. War Dominant. Endless." Its tone is soft rasp and soot.
The runes kindle in harlequin gleam.
"Osiris." Sagira's voice statics in his ear. "One of us has to make it out; warn them."
"I'm sorry, Sagira… Run…" His words are thin from duress.
The Celebrant drives its sword into the cliffside stone above Osiris's head. The cryptolith erupts in neon flare.
"Die well, Osiris." The Celebrant bows and withdraws from sight into Luna's depths.
Wisps of Light hemorrhage through his skin, trimmed in blood and drawn around the blade embedded above him as if it were a nostepinne spike.
Sagira's voice is a whisper. "I'm not letting them take you."
YOUR STRENGTH LIVES ON THROUGH ME.
"Give Saint… my private drive," Osiris exhales and closes his eyes. He sees himself in a million permutations. Each path: a life in glimpses. He takes what he can from them. Not enough to savor, but enough to be immortalized in nostalgic haze. In one, he is a blazing warrior, driving back the horrors of the longest nights. Another, a vigiled gargoyle atop the Infinite Forest. A grizzled elder overseeing keen disciples.
In so many, he is dead.
But there is one where Osiris finds happiness. He finds a time away from strife. He finds Saint—a dream of warm serenity. The peace to his purpose. With Saint, there is a future that could have been enough.
So many unlived moments lost between calls to action. He wishes Sagira had not come to watch him die. His faithful companion. His guiding starlight. His hope, his humanity. "Sagira. For as many lives as we had… you were always my better."
His Light is breaking.
"Osiris, why don't you ever listen to me?" She compiles in front of him.
"What are y—"
"Shut up! Listen to my words!" Her iris is bright with Light. "There are great things still left for you; don't lose hope in the darkness." She is luminant.
Osiris breathes the word, as if he could hold it back: "No." He would understand in time. She had seen it.
Blinding Light erupts from Sagira's core as she splits apart. A wave of Light surges and tears across the chasm. Her sacrifice cleanses every trace of Xivu Arath's presence. The sigil: erased. The cryptolith that supported her projection: destroyed.
Osiris draws breath. Alone.
The aegis of Sagira's Light stands strong in the shadow of the Pyramid for days.
The crowded room fell uncomfortably silent. The Eliksni server placed a metal cup of liquid on the table as though issuing a challenge.
Crow raised the drink and sniffed at it. If it was poisoned, it was mild. He took a swig, grimaced at the bitterness, then took another.
Across the room, the big Eliksni Captain slowly brought his lower arms up to rest on the table, leaving his weapons holstered. He clucked in approval and the tension drained from the room. The Eliksni who brought the drink scuttled back behind the bar, and soon the air filled once again with the series of staccato clicks and thumping that passed for music in the Empty Tank.
Glint flitted out of Crow's hood and scanned the contents of the cup. "It certainly isn't good for you," he said, "but this much won't kill you. What does it taste like?"
Crow took another sip. "Hmm. I'd say engine coolant, paraffin, and a kind of smoky chalk at the end." He stood, smiled, and raised his cup to the Captain. "It's terrible!" he shouted over the noise of the bar.
"Cro-oww!" the Captain barked back, his harsh voice unused to human speech. He pounded a fist against the Spider insignia on his own chestpiece before returning to his drink.
"Surprised he knew my name," Crow said to Glint as he sat back down. "Getting on my good side won't get him on Spider's, but at least I get free drinks."
"Word about your heroics on the Moon traveled quickly," Glint said.
"I would have killed the High Celebrant if Osiris hadn't gotten in the way," Crow grumbled. "Then we'd see some real gratitude. Still…"
He swirled the foul drink in his cup. "I saved Osiris—the Osiris," he said. He seemed pleased with himself. "That ought to count for something with those Guardians in the City. Is he one of their leaders?"
"No," said Glint. "Osiris's relationship with the Vanguard appears to be complicated."
"Why doesn't that surprise me," sighed Crow. "What about that Guardian? Are they anyone important?"
Glint thought for a long moment. The Guardian hadn't said anything yet, but if Crow was going to work alongside them, he would be one errant comment away from learning the truth—and from the worst possible person to tell him.
"They have several notable achievements," Glint said carefully.
"Well, that's something," nodded Crow. "And now they've both heard of Crow."
"You've certainly taken to the name," Glint said. Despite the noise in the bar, he kept his voice soft.
Crow shrugged. "I've been called worse."
"You really have," Glint said. He was silent for a moment. "You never heard the things they said to me while I was reviving you."
Crow saw the single scuffed panel of Glint's shell, bulging with wires, and looked away. He wiped his hands on the rough fabric of the cloak Spider had given him. They had suddenly become sweaty.
"It's just a name," Crow said dismissively. "You told me before you'd had other names."
Glint didn't move; he hung in the air above the table. "Not like this."
Crow leaned forward. "I don't understand," he said. He gave Glint a gentle nudge. "Explain it to me. Please."
Glint tensed in the air, then acquiesced and hovered closer to Crow. His voice was soft and kind.
"I never truly had a name," he said. "There were things people called me, but you named me. So when I hear 'Glint,' I think of you."
Crow nodded, then realized what Glint was about to say next. His face twisted in anguish.
"I didn't get to name you," Glint said. "Baron Spider did."
"Oh, Glint—" Crow blurted, and reached out with both hands as if he could smother the very idea inside the little Ghost. Glint blinked rapidly in confusion.
Crow cupped Glint in his hands and exhaled, long and slow.
"Glint," he said calmly. The Ghost cocked his head.
"Spider picked my name, yes. It's probably a jab at who I used to be, some cruel little joke—maybe I was eaten by crows." Glint started to speak but Crow held up his hand. "I know, you can't tell me. But I don't think he meant it as some grand compliment."
Crow looked down, his voice low. "When you came along, I was dead. Before that, I think I was even worse."
"Then you found me. Chose me. And early on," Crow took an agonizing sip of his drink and was grateful when it made his eyes water, "it was hard. I wouldn't have made it through that without you—and I don't mean because you kept bringing me back to life."
Crow spread his hands wide above the grimy table. "To me, all of this—this place, this cloak, this terrible drink—is because of you. You're the reason I'm here, Glint. I don't need a name to remind me of that."
Glint's eye flashed rapidly as he processed the new information, then glowed steadily. "I understand," he said.
A crash shook the walls of the Empty Tank. The blast doors at the entrance tore loose from their housing and a massive Cabal Centurion stormed into the bar, weapon drawn, severed Eliksni heads hanging from his waist as bounties.
"Where is the Crow?" he bellowed.
"Right here," shouted Glint, and Crow stood, pushing his chair away.
After the smoke cleared, the Eliksni Captain clucked again and waved, making the universal gesture: another drink for him—on me.
A Play of Shadow and Light
In a small stone garden at daybreak, Ikora Rey meditates, her attempts at communion with the Traveler unsuccessful. Her mind is fraught with worry over the variables, decisions that must be made, and the margins.
Above her hangs a cloud-swept Traveler: an ivory island in oil. Mute. Bereft. Its acts untimely and oblivious.
Ikora remembers the many times she watched Osiris sit here in frustration. The gardens represented serenity to her then, and he was the brazier's flame—brilliant and illuminating. The world was clear in those early days, but clarity was shallow and easily altered by the painful nuance of time.
Ikora murmurs to herself. "We are adrift. Our foes know their bearings and we…"
There is an imminent, daunting pressure.
Ikora holds her breath.
She is not alone; something is wrong. She feels an intrusion and tension draws tight around her heart.
A shadow moves over her.
She breathes again; familiarity anchors her.
"Osiris… would you care to join me?" She recognizes his robes, his voice, and that is all. His face sinks between dancing shadows cast by the garden's torchlight. He is smaller, worn, and devoid of the magnificence she remembered. A monument of embers, defined by what once was.
Osiris scoffs and peers up at the Traveler. It bears down upon him—a pressure building in his brain. He looks away and shakes his head. "I do not. I came to deliver something to you. A message I recovered, from Sagira."
"Sagira. If ever you wish to… I know you don't, but if you do…"
"Of course." Osiris hands her a small data-slate. "I have not read it."
"Oh?" A wry smile touches Ikora's face. "Privacy and sentiment… who are you and what have you done with Osiris?"
They chuckle together for a moment. Osiris meets her eyes. "In times of change, those who stay the same are often swept away."
There is comfort in his words, in the tone of mentorship. His honesty is refreshing against the careful tiptoe dialect of plumage and phrasing required in City conversation.
"Thank you." Ikora runs her fingers over the slate. "I was glad to support your reinstitution… and to see you return." She could not help but offer him this scrap of recognition. It is deserved. He was worth more, and she would not let the broken pieces before her reshape his image.
Ikora's eyes slide across the Traveler as if it were polished. "Do you still feel it?"
"I think not, but I am drawn to it just as I was drawn here. Memory and habit."
Ikora nods. "I lost my Light during the Red War. I don't think I ever told you. I kept feeling something. A hook that wouldn't quite catch. I was hoping you felt the same."
"You believe you felt the Light even while the connection was broken?" Osiris steps toward her, his shadow wavering in the flame-cast glow of the fire. "Interesting."
"I feared the call was not of the Light."
Osiris looks at her quizzically.
"Eris believes we all harbor Darkness. That it is only a matter of tapping it, as if it is a resource to be spent without cost." Ikora looks to the Traveler again, awaiting judgment for her words; recognition, anything.
"You fear its accessibility?"
"Not for the sake of hoarding, I would hope?"
"No. I fear what reckless hands would do with that knowledge." Ikora has seen it: anger given voice through power, and she has lived long enough to know fear flows freely in the absence of reason.
"Now is not the time to be concerned with gatekeepers." Osiris's words ring with truth. Denial and ignorance would become the cornerstones of their prison. To be wielded, to be properly resisted, Darkness must be understood.
"The power it offers is a pathogen," Ikora says, "virile and ravenous. We must inoculate ourselves against its temptations." But the doubt does not leave her. "Still, the mere hint of Darkness has already corrupted so many."
Osiris looks at his open palm. "Yes, and they were strong, but it is possible they were not strong in the right way. A wall does not keep out the rain."
To some, the Last City is alive. During the hours of light and dark, it breathes in rhythm with the traffic flow of vessels in the skies and citizens walking its streets. And it cries out in their shared fear and uncertainty about the future and times ahead.
Saint-14 came to hear those cries. To immerse himself in them and understand.
The sun is setting when Ikora Rey finds him in a plaza beneath the Traveler's shadow. There were crowds here, not all that long ago. Crowds of citizens flinging praise and accusations in equal measure. Like a Titan, Saint endured. But when the eyes of the City are no longer on him, Saint takes the time to tend to his wounds. Even if they are merely metaphorical.
"If you need the space, I can come back another time." Ikora announces her presence, standing beneath an arch trellis fragrant with lavender and heather. Sitting on an old concrete bench, Saint looks to her from across the plaza. His permission to approach is as simple as a beckoning gesture.
As Ikora enters the plaza, she can see the fatigue wearing down on him. Never does a Titan's shoulders show such burden as they do when they bear the weight of others.
"Hello, Ikora." Saint greets her and straightens up, as if in defiance of his earlier slouch.
"Saint." Ikora sits beside him on the bench.
"Is peaceful here, especially when the sun is setting. So many shadows at this hour, but see that?" Saint motions with an armored hand toward a corner of the park bathed in warm, golden glow. "Always a little light, no matter how dark."
Ikora doesn't even realize she's smiling at first, choosing to temper her expression in light of what she'd come here to talk about. Saint can already tell.
"You have come to ask after Osiris, yes?" He keeps his focus ahead on the play of shadow and light.
"I just want to know if he's..." Ikora pauses; she doesn't know which words to use.
Saint nods, then folds his hands in his lap. "You know Osiris," he says with a hint of a good-natured jab in his tone. "Private, even among friends. Cloistered."
Ikora remains silent, but lays a reassuring hand on Saint's arm.
"But… he has changed." Saint's shoulders slacken. "Ever since the Young Wolf dragged him off the moon, it feels like a part of him stayed there." Saint shakes his head. "He is both obsessed and empty."
Then, quietly, he adds, "He would not even let me comfort him."
"Osiris has never handled grief well." Ikora gives his arm a squeeze, but leaves her hand there in reassurance. "You know the roads that can lead him down."
"Yes," Saint agrees. "He is already planning. Researching old records of the Speaker, Cryptarch texts on Ghosts. I worry so much, but I cannot tell him so. You know how he would react."
Ikora squeezes Saint's arm again. "Saint?"
The Titan turns to regard Ikora; wordless acknowledgment of her question.
"This isn't easy to ask, but you know Osiris better than anyone." He already knows the question by the palpable concern in Ikora's eyes. "Is… Osiris a danger to himself?"
Saint looks away. He can't bear to see that look in her eyes. He can barely give her his honest answer.
"I do not know."
Because it hurts too much.
"High priority… cause for concern…" Cold electronic light flickers over Zavala's face as he scrolls. "Investigation ongoing… results unclear…" None of it registers; at this time of night, the words all blur together. An indecipherable stream of endless worry.
In a blip, the screen goes dark. "Thank you, Targe," he murmurs, rubbing his eyes. His Ghost, silent and steady as a rock, nods. Forcing the commander to power down is part of the routine these days.
A blue flash, a change in air pressure. The day isn't done yet. Zavala looks up just as Ikora lands in his office's threshold. "Is now a bad time?"
A silly question—Ikora can see the weariness hanging on Zavala like mist on a mountain—but it feels right to ask. A habit from breezier times.
Zavala gestures for her to sit, but Ikora shakes her head. "I have a request," she says, moving towards the vista behind his desk. "It's a favor, really."
The view is especially stunning tonight: the City's streetlights glowing amber under a purple night sky, the Traveler gleaming over it all. Usually, this scene would fill Ikora with fierce pride and protectiveness.
Right now? Nothing but envy for the citizens sleeping below.
"Managing the Hidden has never been a simple task," she begins as Zavala joins her at the window. "And now that we need them more than ever..."
"They need you." His immediate affirmation is firm and reassuring despite his own exhaustion. "Of course. I'll handle the rest."
But she can't accept it. "In all your spare time?" She chuckles softly. "Let's face it, Zavala. The Vanguard was never meant to be a two-person operation."
Zavala looks at her, bewildered. Is she seriously suggesting that now is the time to…?
"I don't mean filling Cayde's seat. Not with everything that's going on. I think a better plan is for you to take on an assistant." Ikora fights to keep her face neutral as she presses on. "One who has experience in times of war. Who understands the Vanguard's role intimately, especially when it comes to making decisions that may be… unpopular."
Now it's Zavala's turn to chuckle. "Not many candidates with those qualifications. Saint-14, perhaps. And…" He stops short, the faint smile evaporating from his face. "You're not asking me to make Osiris my assistant, are you?"
Ikora clears her throat, briefly overtaken by the urge to transmat far, far away. Landing in a nest of angry Hive would be preferable to finishing this conversation. "Advisor is probably the title he'd prefer."
"I take it you haven't discussed this with him, then." A gentle admonition. Ikora can't bring herself to meet Zavala's gaze, but his sigh tells her enough. "Can he be relied on?" Zavala asks finally.
She wants to answer, to say "Yes, of course," but the words have lodged themselves in her throat. Her vision swims with a thousand pinpoint lights shining in the City that night, each one connected to a life she's bound to protect.
"A wall does not keep out the rain," Osiris's voice rumbles in her head. She closes her eyes, back in the stone garden earlier that day. They had been talking about the Darkness and the strength to keep it at bay.
But before that, Osiris had handed her a message. One he couldn't bear to read, which was just as well because it contained, amongst other things, an all-caps indictment:
HE IS NOT AS STRONG AS HE THINKS.
Ikora had smiled upon reading that. Even in death, Sagira couldn't resist taking her Guardian down a peg or two. The rest of the message was not as amusing.
I know you know that, Ikora. But I'm telling you here because he will try to strong-arm you and everyone else into leaving him alone. Please don't let him. Without me there to harass him into asking for help, I don't know what he will do. Something self-destructive is my guess.
You're the same that way: you've got hungry minds. Needing constant challenges to occupy you. My death is one of those puzzles that cannot be solved. He'll try though. He'll try until he burns out completely… only this time, I won't be there to sweep up the ashes.
"Ikora?" Zavala's voice draws her back to reality.
"He wants to help." Ikora forces herself to look at Zavala. Let him see her disquiet, her desperation. Anything to convince him. "He needs to help."
Zavala meets her gaze. For a moment, neither of them say a word. They simply look into each other's eyes, into the eyes of the only other being with the weight of the Sol system bearing down on their shoulders.
At last, he breaks the silence. "Very well."
One Exile to Another
"I wish I still had the bottle from that Warlock. I've never been drunk before—that I recall, anyway." Crow scuffed his feet, leaving wide trails amidst the dry pine needles on the forest floor.
"You can drink all the ethanol you like once we're in the Last City!" Glint chirped. "I'm sure it's readily available there." He whirred quietly, cross-referencing all mentions of alcohol in his database. "Hmm. On second thought, I advise caution."
Crow snorted. "You usually do."
The new Guardian and his Ghost watched the sun set over the rugged tree line of the EDZ. In the pine-scented stillness, Crow was suddenly anxious. He imagined the great throngs of people in the City. Hundreds of thousands of people. So many people, all armed with the secret of his forgotten past. If they learned what Crow himself didn't know, what would they—
"What else do you want to try?" Glint's tone was light, but his shell flaps were furrowed in concern. "We deserve to celebrate. We can do anything you want, as long as—"
"I know, Glint. I know. 'As long as nobody sees your face.'" Crow imitated the chipper digital voice of his Ghost, and then smiled ruefully. "I wouldn't even know where to start. Food, maybe? I'm tired of everything tasting like gun oil and Ether." "I know just the place." A deep, languid voice floated out of the forest behind them.
Crow whirled, hand on his Sidearm, ready to draw. He relaxed as the grizzled Warlock, Osiris, stepped forward from the shade of the pine trees.
"It's called the Drunken Noodle." Osiris's normally dour tone bordered on levity. "Order the Long-Boy Special. It's delicious."
"I've seen pictures of noodles," Crow said doubtfully. "They look like worms."
Osiris smiled beneath his cowl. "We need to talk about how you're going to get into the City. Our first priority is getting you some new clothes."
Crow looked down at the sigil of the Spider emblazoned across his chest. "Probably a good idea."
"I have new gear for you aboard my ship." Osiris beckoned the pair back into the forest. "You can change while we wait for nightfall."
As Crow followed in the Warlock's footsteps, he once again imagined the crush of the Last City. He could feel the weight of humanity pressing in around him. The mass of flesh and accusing eyes. The looming walls closing in around him...
Crow's rumination was broken as they stepped from the trees into a clearing with a beat-up jumpship parked in the center.
Osiris paused at the foot of the loading ramp and turned to face Crow. "There will come a time when your identity, your past, can no longer stay hidden."
Crow felt a tightness in his chest as he imagined the whole City, all of humanity, staring at him.
"And when that time comes," the Warlock continued, "remember this moment. One exile to another. You can trust me."
They clasped hands, and for a fleeting moment, Crow wondered if he might find acceptance after all.