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Изменено (Azidamadjida): 6/1/2017 5:14:32 PM

REEF MOB, Ch. 78: The Speaker

If you missed the last chapter of REEF MOB, you can find it [url=]here[/url], or if you need to find a previous chapter, you can find them all in the [url=]Table of Contents[/url]. Please give a bump or leave a comment if you enjoy this and any other chapter! *** What does it mean to serve the Light? Are we, as the Vex claim, merely dead things spreading death? Are we usurpers as the Fallen accuse? Are we merely the opponent of the Dark, as the Hive wish us to be? Long have I pondered these questions in the solitude of my inner sanctum, away from the myriad questions of the Vanguard, secluded from the necessary violence of the Crucible and its combatants. Once, long ago, I pondered these questions with another, my disciple Osiris, but as with all things, that relationship was destroyed by the unspoken enemy, the true enemy: [i]Time.[/i] I look up from the selected papers scattered across my desk to gaze at the Vitalis, turning like clockwork before me. I’ve heard the Guardians muse about its purpose, though none but Osiris was ever able to guess the hidden meaning behind its seemingly endless rotations. [i]“The pattern is designed to run until it fails, correct?” Osiris had asked me. Curious, I could only answer his question with one of my own: “What do you mean?” “It’s designed to eventually fail,” he explained. “To run as long as it can, but it can’t run forever. Nothing can.” “You’ve been speaking to the Arachs too much,” I countered evasively. Osiris had smiled at my attempt. “And why would I waste my own time listening to cowards describe their escape plans?” In my silence, Osiris had cast his eyes again to the Vitalis. “It’s entropy,” he continued. “Everything runs down, everything dies. Time destroys all.” “Time is created,” I’d tried to explain, but the headstrong young Vanguard had shaken his head insistently. “I don’t think so,” he’d countered. “Just as the true purpose of the Crucible isn’t to prepare us for the Darkness. It’s our campaigns against the Darkness that prepare us for the Crucible. Perhaps that’s why the whispers persist that the Darkness isn’t what we’ve been led to believe it is, nor is the Light.” He’d fixed me with a calm gaze, but it felt as though his sharp, penetrating eyes bore right through me, as though he could see every line of worry etched behind this mask that I’ve worn for so long. “That’s what this really is, isn’t it?” Osiris had continued, pointing once again to the Vitalis. “It’s a reminder, for those who can see, that our true enemy doesn’t lie beyond the stars – it’s right in front of us, where it’s always been, where it always will be.” I’d considered the young Guardian shrewdly for several moments before finally submitting. “Come,” I told him, beckoning him to follow.[/i] I feel tears pooling and bow my head, squeezing my eyes shut to quash them. [i]Just as with everything,[/i] I think sadly, hiding behind my mask. [i]Time destroys all.[/i] “Does the Darkness fear time, as we do?” I ask the shadows knowingly. “Or is the Darkness time itself?” Eris Morn steps purposefully forward, approaching me pensively. “Everything that moves fears the day when it will cease,” she answers in her familiar, cryptic manner. “The Darkness is no different from the Light in that regard.” “Do they then pit hope against inevitability, as we do?” I ask her pointedly. “Does the Darkness know hope?” Eris looks away, gritting her teeth. “Yes,” she answers, bowing her head with the weight of her memories. I seek to alleviate her burden by changing the subject. “You bring word from the Reef?” Eris nods. “My Queen has confirmed the dilation and relayed its properties.” “You can bring them back then?” I ask, trying to quiet the edge in my voice. Eris nods. “Good,” I answer, distracted as I look to my papers once more, gazing at the horrifying images of the Hive upon them. We will need every weapon available at our disposal to have any hope of pushing back the new horror that I’ve been warned is coming. Eris looks down at the papers and seems to shiver. “So many will be lost,” she whispers sadly. “So that hope may live on through those who survive.” Eris reaches up to her face, to the glowing eyes she keeps hidden behind her gauze. “Hope….and scars.” I reach out and gently rest my hand on her shoulder. Eris instinctively recoils, but seems to force herself to stillness. “We’re all born with scars,” I tell her gently. “But when the Light chose us to serve the Traveler, it didn’t choose the living, or those who’d sought to avoid their scars – it chose those who had died to defend something. It chose those with the greatest scars to be its champions.” I drop my hand from Eris’ shoulder and look back at my papers. “The way of the universe has always been of inevitability, of conflict and suffering. Our enemies are multiple and endless, all wearing different masks to hide their true nature: the Fallen, the Hive, the Vex….all obscuring our true enemy: time. But you know as well as I – we must never stop fighting.” Eris nods seriously, silently, as I feel a shiver run through me. [i]“If the end of the universe, the end of time, is inevitable,” Osiris had once asked. “Then doesn’t that mean that the Darkness is destined to win?” “No,” I’d countered vehemently at the time. “It means that the fight is destined to never end.”[/i] I push the memory away, clasping my hands behind my back as I watch Eris quietly. “Then I believe it’s time to bring our friends home.” Eris nods as I cross the bookshelf and open the door behind it, leading the way to the hidden chamber. The door closes behind us, plunging us into darkness as Eris’ mysterious green light glows to compensate, her arms twirling rhythmically as she begins her spell, chanting mystically, her voice echoing around the small chamber. As the incantation reaches a fever pitch, a howling, tearing sound rips through the fabric of our reality, until finally with a crashing, screaming shriek, the bodies of three Guardians collapse onto the floor. Eris drops her arms and the green light fades, everything falling mercifully silent. I light the candles around the chamber as the Guardians groan, stirring on the floor. Resuming my place beside Eris, I watch quietly as they slowly rise, regaining their feet and looking around in complete confusion. “Where….” the Titan begins groggily. The other two meet my eyes and look at me in awe, completely confused. “How….” the Warlock asks. “Welcome home, Guardians,” I simply reply. “I’m sure you have just as many questions as we do.” The Hunter begins sobbing uncontrollably. “What the hell….” she manages to choke out in between her wracking cries. “What the bloody hell…..” “Are we dead?” the Titan asks. “I mean, I knew we were dead already, but are we….[i]dead[/i] dead?” “It was the Collapse,” the Warlock tells me, panicked. “We were in the Collapse, in the Reef….but there wasn’t a Reef, it was just….” “It’s okay now,” I tell him, kneeling down. “Tell me everything. We need to understand everything that happened.” “Why?” the Hunter whimpers, sniffling. “What does it mean?” [i]“What does it mean to serve the Light?” Osiris had asked. “What does it really mean?”[/i] I look back to Eris, who nods dispassionately before turning away. “It means there’s a new enemy to fight,” I answer, knowing that this is and always will be my role. “And we must be ready. We must always be ready.”

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