Not all of Us Are Heroes Part 1 “Guardian.” My ghost says, fluttering about as it watches me carve something into my left gauntlet. The blade of my knife etches a memory into the metal. I’m lost in thought, too busy to acknowledge it. “Guardian” it starts to say again “How did you—” “Dink. I've already told you. My name is Scythe. What do you want?” Dink, my ghost pauses for a moment, floating in front of me to look up into my visor with its glowing blue ocular sensor. “. When I found you where I did, you were little more than ash clinging to a skeleton... How did you die?” I raise my head and stake my blade in the dirt. My eyes peer up at the ghost.[i] Persistent little thing he is[/i]. *** My name is Valais Antwerp DuSade, but these days I go by “Scythe”. The Traveler chose for me to be a hunter; a wandering guardian who searches the wastes. We roam the outskirts of decaying cities from one dead world to the next. Things weren't always so dire though. A Golden age granted humanity the keys to the stars, the Traveler's light allowed us to flourish and explore. Centuries after the Traveler arrived, peace was ripped from our civilization... The Darkness had found Earth, war and death followed in its wake. The Fallen weren't the first of the Darkness' minions to try and extinguish the light of the Traveler, but they were the only ones we couldn't be rid of, gun toting roaches.[i]Vermin[/i]. I may be an awoken, but Earth is still my home. My race thrives out on the Reef at the edge of our solar system and my mother told stories about fleeing from the Darkness' power. She spoke of how my father sacrificed himself so she could escape while I was still an infant. Earth felt remote, tucked away and defended, a much better world to raise her child. My mother raised me to live off the land and hunt whatever beasts roamed the wild. Life seemed peaceful: tracking Fennec, planting with silt, and learning to shoot helped me to survive after she was gone. I will never forget her words though, what she used to tell me each night: "Valais, our world is one of chaos and mystery. There are dangers here more terrifying than the nightmares you face in your slumber. These terrors, will take your life and those of everyone you love. Your life is precious, don't throw it away for a glory that will outlive you... Walk away if you can, but fight only if you must." We lived in the desert, far away from the last great city, out in a place so hot even the Darkness dare not tread; [i]so we thought[/i]. Being in a remote area made things difficult, but there was a reason we chose to live out here. Metropolitan areas may have held heavier defenses, they were still under constant attack, which worried my mother. This didn't save us, Fallen still found our home. We made our home near a delta where two mighty rivers met, A clay house baked by the sun and shaped into a dome with a palm tree growing out of the center of it for support. This was our oasis nestled in a sea of sand. The rivers’ names may have been lost to history, but it didn't stop my mother from making fables about them. The one to the North she called the merciful sister, because she was the one who brought our crops. But one to the south she called the wayward brothers; miles north they forked into twins. I'd never been there as a child, but she told me that she remembered passing over it whenever our star ship still flew. It had stopped working because we had no way of powering it after its fuel cells depleted. The desert swallowed it years ago anyway. When I had reached the peak of my adolescence, Fallen raiders overtook our homestead. On that day, the mid-day sun caused the horizon to curdle into invisible ripples of heat. They rode out of the desert, at least two dozen of them, on the back of metal bikes that crossed a merciless ocean of sand. The wind whipped up, but it was not from the weather, no… The gusts came from their alien hover bikes. They screeched by, shouting and firing recklessly into the clay walls of our dwelling. Sunlight bled into our home through each crumbling orifice. This chaos fueled something in me that my mother was quick to snuff... I remember trying to go for her rifle, the one she taught me to hunt with, but she snatched it from me before I could lay my hands on it! She took cover behind one of the more fortified walls of the doorway and I crouched at her feet. I wanted to see for myself the Hell that had landed at our doorstep. I wanted to fight for our home with her. I saw them outside swarming like ravenous locusts as they made passes at our dome. One of them lunged from the back of his bike, the largest of the bunch... A Fallen Captain wearing a steel blue cloak brandished a pair of swords, marveling at his underlings and the discord they wrought. “Mother, please, I can help you defend our home.” “Valais, there won’t be anything left to defend, there are too many. You must forget about me now, but remember everything I taught you.” “Moth—“ “Take these. These are your family now.” From her hands came a knife, one with a wrapped handle. She told me only Hunters carried this knife. It used to be my father's. In her other hand was a copper colored revolver, the hand cannon she never touched, the one whose conviction fueled the wielder's rage for every life it took; a rage that allowed the wielder to strike harder with their fists without any inhibitions for a period of time.