Hello, everybody, here's part Fourteen of The Journey Home! Sorry that this is a bit short, but it was originally supposed to go with Part 13, but was too long for the character limit. Also, the next few weeks are looking pretty busy for me, so parts might not come as often for the next few weeks. I'll try to write whenever possible, but my schedule is pretty busy right now. In any case, here's [url=https://www.bungie.net/en/Forums/Post/224818203?showBanned=0&path=0]part thirteen [/url]if you missed it, or, if you're looking for a different part, here's the[url=https://www.bungie.net/en/Forums/Post/222615264?showBanned=0&path=0] table of contents![/url] Stay classy, Guardians!
Erling looked around. “Everybody ready?” he asked.
“Not exactly,” came a voice.
Alesha turned around, and saw Kazinsky, standing alone in the middle of the road. The old man had a look of contentment upon his ancient face.
Erling nodded. “You’re not coming, are you?” he asked.
Kazinsky walked up to the palisade. He felt it with his hands. “I’ve lived my whole life in this village,” he said. “I’ve always intended to die in it.” He turned towards Erling. “I’m an old man, Guardian; too old to start a new life. Too old to leave this place.” He looked to the villagers. “But them? They need a second chance at life. They deserve it.”
“I take it I’m not going to talk you out of this?” Erling asked.
Kazinsky stared at him. “You can try,” he said.
Erling nodded. “I see. Ghost?”
“On it,” Ghost said. There was a flash of blue light, and a weapon appeared in Erling’s hand. The Guardian handed it to Kazinsky. “Tempest,” he said. “Suros made. Finest weapons the Tower Vanguard has to offer.”
Kazinsky inspected the weapon, and nodded. “Thank you,” he said. He shook Erling’s hand. “Keep them safe, Guardian.”
Erling nodded. “I will.”
Kazinsky nodded. The villagers all gathered around, somberly saying their goodbyes. Alesha grabbed the old man around the waist, and pressed her face against him. “I’ll miss you, Kaz,” she said.
Kazinsky gave her a hung back. “And I you, little one,” he said. Then, he let her go.
Alesha looked up, and saw Tom’s hand on her shoulder. Without saying a word, he guided her out of the village, towards the back of the palisade. Eventually, they came across the graveyard that had served the village for six or seven generations. Aunt Beatrice was already kneeled over one of the graves - several of the other villagers had also gathered around some other tombstones.
“I’ve always told myself, ‘I’ll always be able to find him now,’” she said. “No matter what, I’ll always be able to know exactly where he is, and I can come to him and tell him how much I love him.” She shook her head. “Not anymore.”
Tom kneeled down next to her, and wrapped his burly arms around her shoulders. “It seems strange,” he said, “having to say goodbye. All over again.”
Alesha stared down at the grave before her. It was scarcely distinguishable from the grass around it, save for a small stone with some weathered lettering chilled into it.
It felt strange to think that her own flesh and blood had been so close to her, all this time, but that she’d never once known that he was there.
Beatrice fingered the tombstone. “We love you, son,” she whispered. “But we have to go now. Is that okay?”
There was no sound, save for that of the lonely wind, blowing through the surrounding trees, ever on its way, only taking mere moments to observe the spectacles around it, but never once slowing down for them.
Alesha looked around, and saw another tombstone nearby. It read “Jacob and Marianne.”
Her mother and father.
Alesha sat down in front of the tombstone. She touched the grass in front of it, grabbing it with her hands and twirling it around her fingers. “I’ll miss you, Dad,” she said. “I’ll miss you, Mom.” And strangely enough, she really would. The village was, in some ways, her connection to the parents whom she had never grown old enough to know. Loosing the village would, in some ways, be like loosing them, all over again.
Alesha felt a reassuring hand touch her shoulder. “Alesha,” Uncle Tom’s voice said, “it’s time to go.”
Alesha nodded, and walked back towards the village entrance. But as she walked, she spared one last glance back at the graves.
When she arrived at the entrance, the villagers were slowly filling out of the gate. Then, she saw that Oren and Erling were talking once more. “How did you find us, exactly?” Oren asked.
“We picked up your distress signal four days ago,” he said. “The Tower sent me to check it out.”
“Distress signal? What distress signal?”
Erling frowned. “You didn’t activate one?”
“No,” Oren said.
“Didn’t find some old piece of technology lying around?”
“No,” Oren replied, “what’s going on?”
Erling looked out at the woods, and sighed heavily. “We may have to make a slight detour,” he said.