She reached out a gloved hand, somehow hoping that one final gesture would bridge the howling abyss that stood between them.
“It doesn’t have to be like this,” she said quietly. Even if she poured all of her anger into some kind of scathing admonition wouldn’t change his decision.
“True. You could chose to come with me,” the Warlock replied simply. The winds of Titan pulled at his black and silver longcoat. Even now, even though she knew what he was becoming… still he wore the Bond of the Iron Banner. She could still see its soft glow in the darkness of the storm.
He held up his hand, forestalling the case he had heard her make what felt like a hundred times already. “Aeon… don’t. You know there’s no going back for me. The only way now is into the Darkness.”
“You’re wrong!” she couldn’t help but shout as the swells of the liquid surface of Titan caused the platform to duck and dive. “There has to be another way. I miss him as much as you do, but this isn’t the way! This warlock ‘know thy enemy, know thyself,’ bullshit has gone too far. You’re as likely to bring him back by becoming Vex and changing time as you are thinking the Darkness is going to give him back to us. He’s gone, Kriss. And it wasn’t your fault.”
The warlock shook his head. “You keep saying that as if doing so will make you right. And even if you were, this is about more than that now, Aeon. Chai would understand. Kriss too.”
Now the Arcstrider got genuinely mad. “Don’t you dare invoke her name to justify what you are doing. She is on the front lines as we speak. I didn’t have the heart to tell her. You were one of us… Wasn’t the Watch enough?”
He sighed. “Yes… for a while. I thought so. But, collecting all those ghosts… bringing the lost home for the final time? So what… so they could rot, forgotten, in Cayde’s weird little ghost cemetery? As if that would ever be tribute enough? How many lives is enough, Aeon? How many deaths? We, who never end… what happens when we do? When that final measure of light is finally stolen? Is that service really worth nothing more than a space on a self that no one outside of the Last Watch even knows about? The Traveler doesn’t give a shit about us. It never did.”
“And us? We made a family, Echo. We have stared into the Abyss and screamed back. We have slain Gods! Together. Not the Traveler. Not our Vanguard mentors. Us. Me, you, Chai, Kriss and the others. We have done that. And damned right it was worth it. Every ghost we bring back, every memory of every single Guardian who came before us… It has always been worth it. How can you have forgotten that?” Her voice sounded so small, even in her own ears, over the howling of the winds around them. “It wasn’t ever about the Traveler. Or saving the world. It was about our promise to one another. Whatever nameless Gods that may or may not listen… whatever the hardships, the disappointments, the pain… We’ve had us. Can you really just walk away?”
The tall warlock paused before answering and a chill ran up her spine when she heard the cold smile in his voice when at last he replied.
“You still think this is about any of you, don’t you?” He chuckled over the coms and it was an unsettling sound. Worse still, it sounded nothing like her comrade of thousands of battles. She readied her Uriel’s when two transmat patterns materialized behind him, Titan and a Hunter. Both were clad in the same midnight black and silver. Only now did she notice that Echo, like these others, had a glyph on his right pauldron, however… the same sickly green she knew so well from years fighting the Hive.
“This is not about the Watch, the Vanguard, or the Traveler. This is not about some grasping effort to make a family and pretend that any of us are still human anymore. Whatever we may have been when we died… we arose something else. I’m sick of wasting that second chance, that rebirth, on fighting someone else’s pointless war. We’ve brought back hundreds of dead Ghosts, Aeon… and there are thousands more that will never find their way back. Those Guardians are gone. No one cares. I am done spending this second chance fighting entropy.”
“Then what is it? What is worth betraying everything you stand for?”
“We stood for nothing!” He screamed. “Our lives meaningless! Our deaths… even more so. I’m done. If we are to be consigned to the Darkness anyway… then I will embrace it. There, at least, I have seen the face of my end. The Hive… they are beasts. We… are not. But with the power of the Darkness we will rise to so much more and wash away the old Order. We will make a new Earth from the ashes of the old.” He paused. “You can still come with me, Aeon. We are more than your Vanguard can imagine.”
And there it was. Months of suspicion, watching. Whispers in the City, echos in the places few dared to walk. They spoke of Guardians who had turned away from the light, sick of nothing ever getting better, tired of feeling as if they had no choice. They hadn’t asked for this second life, had never volunteered to become soldiers in a war the future had wrought. And so, they chose to embrace the Darkness. To them, better the damnation they chose for themselves than that which was ordained to the purpose of another.
“Is there anything I can say?”
“Say you’ll come with me.”
“You know I can’t do that.”
“Ah yes… you never could leave your precious brother and sister. Bring them along. It would be a kindness.”
She just stood across the broken bridge from him, trying to decide if she could take out all three before they could snuff out her light.
“Not gonna happen, Echo. Last chance.”
He shrugged and turned his back on her, as if daring her to take her shot. The unknown Titan and Hunter, however, seemed to be staring her down, eager for some sign that they could strike. Echo raised a hand and waved over his shoulder. “See ya, ‘round, Aeon. You’ll see our way is the only way for Guardians eventually. Everyone will.”
“It’s only in the Light that we live, Echo… without it...”
He turned back, “Is that so? Are you sure of that Aeon? That the Traveler alone can bring the dead to life once more and grant eternal rebirth?”
And then it was all clear. She knew why Echo had turned, forsaken the Light.
Too late, she saw the Hunter glow. Not the gold of a Golden Gun, but that horrid poison green. The force of his shot ripped through her and she sank into the black of nothing.
Uh... darn, that... that's not gonna fly.
[spoiler] permission to join your fight?[/spoiler] I'm not and won't be part of the last watch, nor do I stand for the vanguard, but this... this is part of why i stuck around, the good fight needs to be fought and I've got ample reason to fight it.