The Journey Home, Part Twenty-Three - End in Sight
Greetings, Guardians, here's part Twenty-Three of the Journey Home! As usual, if you like it, give it a bump, and I'll get more out soon! Here's [url=https://www.bungie.net/en/Forums/Post/227516720?showBanned=0&path=0]part twenty-two 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 next morning, the villagers awoke on top of a ridge, overlooking the forest below. Alesha stretched, and yawned. Then, she noticed that Erling was staring out at the horizon. She walked up to him. “What is it?”
Erling shook his head. “My ghost did some flyovers behind us,” he said. “Trying to see what the Fallen are up to.”
Alesha nodded. “And?”
Erling shook his head.”The Fallen are closing the gap,” he said. “Yesterday, they were around two hundred kilometers behind us. Today, they’re one hundred and forty.”
Oren walked up to them, and frowned. “How’d they catch up so fast?”
“Their commander must’ve had them march through the night,” Erling replied. “My guess; he found out what happened to his scouts.”
Oren furrowed his brow, but nodded. “We can’t go any faster than we already are,” he said. “A lot of the elders and most of the children are already having trouble keeping up as it is.”
Alesha grimaced, and rubbed her blistered feet. “So, what do we do?” she asked.
Erling was silent for a moment. “Pray,” he said. “Pray to whatever the hell it is you believe in that we get to the City before they do.”
The villagers continued their march across the land, always wary of the ever encroaching Fallen. Erling continued to assure them that they were making good time, but all that Alesha saw was a never-ending forest, with the occasional ruin here and there. However, eventually the unyielding forest ended..
Alesha walked out of the forest, and gaped. In the distance, she could see what looked like enormous triangles rising out of the earth. They were rough and crazy, and their tops were covered in white. Snow, she realized. They’re covered in snow! But that was impossible! It was still early fall - far too early for so much snow to have fallen!
“What are they?” she breathed.
Uncle Tom walked up to her. “I think. . . I think they’re mountains,” he said. “Kaz told stories about them, I remember.”
“You’d be right,” Erling said, walking up to them with a smile. He pointed at the distant triangles. “That right there is the Tien-Shan range. We’ve made good time.”
Alesha stared at the mountains. “How’d they get there?”
Erling smiled. “Like all other things; they grew there.”
Alesha gaped. “What?” How could stone grow?
Erling looked at her face, and chuckled. “The cryptarchs and warlocks are going to have a lot of fun with you,” he said. “They love hearing themselves talk.”
Alesha looked back at the growing stone, and saw something that she hadn’t quite noticed before. Just beyond the mountain range, there was a round, white circle in the sky, partially blocked by the mountains. At first, Alesha thought it was the moon, but then she realized that the moon had just begun to rise in the eastern sky, still a faint white circle in the still blue sky. “What’s that, then?” she asked.
“That,” Erling said. “Is the Traveler.”
Alesha looked up at the orb with newfound wonder. So this was the thing she’d heard stories about all her life - the thing that had brought humanity its Golden Age. The place where -
She suddenly looked up at Erling. “And underneath it -“
Erling nodded. “Is the City.” He looked down at her. “We’re almost home.”
The villagers skirted along the edge of the mountain range for another week. They made their way through the foothills of the mountains. Slowly, the Traveler grew bigger and bigger in the sky. Eventually, Erling started leading them to the west - straight into the mountains.
“What’s up with the new route?” Oren asked him. “I thought you were leading us around the mountains?”
“I was,” Erling said grimly. “But there’s a pass in the mountains - it leads straight towards the City, and we’ll emerge out towards the eastern wall. The Fallen are probably grouped over on the western side of the City, so it’ll make getting inside a little easier. Additionally, that group of Fallen behind us probably won’t follow us in - he’d have to lead his walkers through some pretty narrow ravines, which would put him in an extremely bad tactical position.”
Oren nodded. “Alright then,” he said. “Why didn’t you mention this sooner?”
Erling pursed his lips. “It’s dangerous,” he said.
“Dangerous how? Are there landslides or something?”
Erling shook his head. “No,” he said. “The pass itself is fairly easy to traverse - but there are other dangers.”
Oren frowned. “How do you mean?”
“I mean,” Erling said, “there’s a group of bandits in that pass. We don’t know how many or how well armed, but they’ve massacred entire groups - some of them with Guardian escorts. We’ve tried to clear them out, but overtime we lead a sortie, they disappear into the mountains. My hope is that they’re laying low while the Fallen are attacking, but. . .”
Oren shook his head. “Isn’t there any other way?” he asked.
“I wouldn’t be doing this if there was,” came the reply.
Oren nodded. “Well then,” he said. “Into the mountains we go.”
Tyksis looked out on the horizon. A dreg approached him. “Sir,” he said. “Our scouts have returned.”
“What news do they bring of the humans?” Tyksis replied.
“They have turned east,” he replied. “They go into the mountains. Scans show that they are heading for a narrow pass.”
Tysksis stared ahead. “Is it wide enough for the Walkers?” he asked.
The dreg nodded. “Barely,” he said. “We will have to travel in single file.”
“Baron!” Piksis shouted. “We must not deviate from our orders.”
“I wrote the plan,” Tyksis growled. “Now quiet your tongue before I cut it out myself.”
Piksis growled, but related.
The wheels began turning in Tyksis’s head. He looked back on the force of Devils and Kings behind him. He had eleven walkers under his command, along with close to 1500 battle-hardened Eliksni. It was a paltry force, compared to the army that was attacking the City.
However, it with the Guardians’ attention focused on their Western flank, it might be just enough to breach the City walls, allowing the Eliksni to at last recover the Great Machine.
“We make for the mountain pass.” he said. “Now.”
[url=https://www.bungie.net/en/Clan/Post/1371758/227826635/0/0]Part Twenty-Four: Ambush[/url]