Greetings, Guardians, here's part twenty-one of The Journey Home! Here's[url=https://www.bungie.net/en/Forums/Post/227272409] part twenty i[/url]f 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!
The villagers trekked across the land for the next week. They only rested for brief bits during the day, ever wary of the Fallen behind them. One day, as the sun beat down on their backs, Alesha looked up at Erling. Today, he’d exchanged his cannon and shotgun for a scout rifle and a rocket launcher. “Better for the open,” he’d said.
“Do you think that we’ll be able to keep ahead of the Fallen?” she asked.
“Hopefully,” Erling replied. “If we can make it to the City before they do, we’ll make it out of this alive.”
“And if we don’t?” Alesha asked.
Erling didn’t answer. Suddenly, he cocked his head to one side. “You hear that?” he asked.
Alesha frowned. At first, she heard nothing but the sound of the wind rustling through the trees. And then, she heard it; an indistinct humming, worming its way through the air. A sound the villagers knew all too well.
“Pikes!” Erling shouted. The villagers scrambled to ready their weapons, but they knew it would be a paltry defense against the Fallen vehicles.
“There!” Erling shouted. He pointed in the direction of a small hillside. A cave was clearly visible among the trees, staring at them like an open maw. “Get into the cave!” he shouted. “Into the Cave!”
The villagers needed no second warning. They ran into the blackness, eager to escape from their encroaching foe. Erling grabbed Oren by the arm. “Spread the word,” he said. “Don’t fire unless I tell you to.”
Oren blinked. “But -“ he began.
“Just do as I say!” Erling snapped.
Oren nodded, and ran into the cave. Erling and Alesha followed him.
The cave was just large enough to hide all of the villagers from sight. Unfortunately, it didn’t leave them with much room. They wound up crammed into the back, about forty feet from the entrance. Alesha was packed in with the other villagers, shoulder-to-shoulder. “Quiet!” Erling hissed. He readied his scout rifle.
Alesha listened as the pikes drew closer and closer. She squeezed her eyes shut. Just pass us by, she thought. Just keep moving.
The noise grew louder. . . louder!
Then suddenly, it stopped.
Alesha opened her eyes. The pikes had stopped - right in front of the cave! There looked to be eight in total - four dregs, three vandals, and a Captain. Half the Fallen wore red cloaks, and the other half wore yellow.
The Captain disembarked from his pike, and shouted something at one of the red vandals. The vandal lazily slid off his own pike, and said something back to the Captain.
The Captain shouted again, and the vandal replied, more angry this time.
“Come on, just move,” Alesha whispered. Suddenly, someone stepped on her foot, and she let out an involuntary yelp of pain. She quickly put her hands over her mouth, but it was too late. The Fallen were already turning towards the cave!
Kevik looked behind him, and saw that the four Devils under his command had stopped their pikes. He scowled, and stopped his own. He quickly got off of his pike, and confronted their leader, a troublesome vandal named Kelis. “Get back on your pikes, scum!” he snapped.
“I’m tired.” Kelis lazily stretched out her two upper arms. “How about we rest in that cave over there?”
Kevik growled. Beneath that calm exterior, Kelis’s lean muscles were ready to pounce. She wasn’t tired; this was a power play, pure and simple.
“We rest when we’re dead!” Kevik snapped. “You’ll be lucky if I don’t have you docked when we return!”
Kelis looked at him angrily. “You have no power over me, King,” she spat. “The Devils serve none!”
I knew this was a bad idea, Kevik thought. The whole idea of a joint-patrol was to build unity between the two houses. But Kevik had quickly discovered that the Devils would’ve rather been docked again than serve him.
Fine. They didn’t have to like them; he didn’t like them either.
But their loyalty - that was something that he simply could not do without.
“We Kings are the strongest of all the Eliksni houses!” he shouted. “When the Whirlwind came and the Great Machine was stolen, we held the Eliskni together! We are the ones who even now, lead the assault on the accursed City to reclaim the Great Machine - not for us, but for all Eliksni!” Kevik felt a tinge of satisfaction as his fellow Kings muttered in agreement.
Kelis was unfazed. “You seek to reclaim the Great Machine?” she said. “Tell me. Why should the ones who lost it in the first place be the ones we trust to reclaim it?”
The insult stung, and Kelis smiled with satisfaction, knowing she’d landed a hit. The Kings had been the leaders of the Fallen before the Whirlwind. As such, the Great Machine had been their responsibility. It’s loss had been their failure.
“And come to think of it,” Kelis said, “you won’t be the ones doing the reclaiming at all!” The Devils chittered in consent. “Even know, our Devil brothers and sisters fight for the Great Machine while the rest of your house lags behind! Our house will bear the brunt of the punishment - as we always have!”
Kevik snarled. “I am the nest-mate of Baron Tyksis himself!” he shouted. “Do you truly wish to challenge me!”
“I will be ground under your heel no longer, King!” Kelis spat.
Kevik drew his shock blades, ready to eviscerate the smaller vandal. Suddenly, he heard a noise come from the nearby cave - it sounded like an animal of some sort.
Kevik kept his eyes fixed on Kelis. “Velik! Kalkis!” he barked. “Check out that cave!”
The vandal and dreg broke formation, and walked through the dark opening.
Suddenly, Kevik heard the sound of something shouting, and all Hell broke loose.
[url=https://www.bungie.net/en/Clan/Post/1371758/227516720/0/0]Part Twenty-Two: Baron's Vow[/url]