Greetings, Guardians, here's part twenty-six of The Journey Home! First of all, I'd like to see if anybody gets the reference in the title; please. Somebody. I'm gonna feel really old if nobody gets it.
In any case, here's part[url=https://www.bungie.net/en/Forums/Post/227916175?showBanned=0&path=0] Twenty-Five 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!
It wasn’t until the noon the next day that Balderiech and his female companion appeared in front of the canyon again. “Come on out!” Balderiech shouted. “Time to talk!”
Erling walked out of the cave, gripping his scout rifle. “What’s changed?”
“Same deal as before,” Balderiech said. “Lay down your weapons and your supplies, and maybe we’ll let you live. Just remember - clock’s ticking.”
Erling nodded. “So you believe me about the Fallen then?”
The woman chuckled. “He means that his patience is wearing thin,” she said. “Only a matter of time before we get tired of waiting, and do things the old fashioned way.”
“That’s right,” Balderiech said, smiling. “I ain’t scared of any imaginary Fal-“
Suddenly, there was a sharp, snapping sound, and Balderiech stopped talking. Then, he felt the ground, a charred hole in the side of his head.
“Balderiech!” The woman screamed. She immediately knelt down next to him, and shook him repeatedly.
Erling soon found the source of the shot - a Vandal, holding a wire rifle. Erling killed it with a few shots of his scout rifle. He grabbed the woman by the scruff of the neck. “Believe me now?” he bellowed. He then dragged her into the canyon, as shots started ringing through the canyon. Her eyes were wide with fear.
Erling slammed her against the rock wall. “Look,” he growled. “I don’t like you, and you don’t have to like me. But if we don’t get out of here - and fast - both of our groups are dead. Understand me?”
The woman stood silent for a moment. “Yeah,” she said. “I understand.”
“Good.” Erling released her. “Call off your dogs. Let us go, and you people do whatever it is you do when the Fallen come your way.”
The woman nodded. “Name’s Brianna by the way,” she said. “I don’t believe I got yours.”
“You don’t need it,” Erling said. “Now go!”
The woman ran off into the canyon. “Make for the stronghold!” she shouted. “Now!”
Erling looked into the canyon. “Come on!” he shouted. “The bandits have the Fallen occupied for now! Let’s move, people!” And with that, he ran into the mountain pass. After a moment’s hesitation, the villagers followed him.
* * *
The sounds of the battle behind them followed the villagers through the mountain pass for what seemed like hours. However, the sounds eventually faded away, and soon the only company the villagers had was each other.
Erling looked behind him. “Let’s rest here for a while,” he said.
Alesha collapsed to her knees, breathing heavily. The flight from the canyon had left her exhausted. Many of the other villagers were in a similar state.
However, their break didn’t last long.
“Time to move again!” Erling barked suddenly.
“We’ve just run the past what, five kilometers?” Oren asked. “We need a break.”
“I don’t want the Fallen catching up to us,” Erling said. “The ones that ambushed the bandits were probably just an advance force, but I don’t want to take any chances. We should -“
Suddenly, they heard a sound from around the corner.
“What was that?” Oren asked.
Erling raised his scout rifle. “Who’s there?” he asked. “Show yourself!” Suddenly, one of the bandits stepped out from around the corner. It was the boy from yesterday! Alesha breathed a sigh of relief.
Erling, however, never lowered his weapon. “Where’s your friends?”
The boy was silent for a moment. “Dead,” he said at last. “Fallen followed us to our stronghold.”
“Really?” Sorenson asked lamely. “You sure they’re not hiding around a corner? Waiting for us?”
The boy flashed Sorenson a look of anger. But before he could respond, Erling cut in. “Why are you here, then?”
The boy looked up at him. “My mother told me to run,” he said. “Just before she died.”
Erling nodded. He walked up to the boy, and looked down at him. “What’s your name, boy?”
The boy was silent for a moment. “Matthias,” he said at last.
Erling nodded. “Well, Matthias,” he said, “you want to come with us?”
Some of the villagers shouted in outrage.
Matthias was still for a moment, and then nodded.
Erling nodded. “Alright then,” he said. He held out his hand. “First, you give me your weapon.”
Matthias reluctantly reached into his jacket, and pulled out a side-arm. He handed it over to Erling.
Erling remained still. “And the other one,” he said.
Matthias froze, and then reached into his boot, and pulled out a knife. He gingerly placed it in Erling’s palm.
Erling nodded. “Better,” he said. “Now. Get with the rest of the group.
Matthias nodded. He walked towards the other villagers, who all gave him a wide berth.
Sorenson walked up to Erling. “These people just tried to kill us!” he hissed. “And now you’re letting one of them into our camp!”
“He’s just a kid, Sorenson,” Erling said. “I won’t turn him away just because of who he was born to.”
“I don’t trust him,” Sorenson replied. “Who’s to say he won’t slit our throats while we sleep?”
“Well, if you’re that worried about it, I’ll allow you to personally guard him during the night,” Erling said. “But until he does, he stays with the group.” And with that, he walked off.”
The villagers continued their trek through the pass into the night. Eventually, Alesha found herself walking alongside Matthias. She hesitated for a moment, and then spoke to him. “Has anybody told you where we’re going yet?”
Matthias didn’t even look at her. “Just so long as it’s away from here, I’m fine.”
Alesha nodded. “We’re going to the City,” she said.
“My dad always said the City was stupid,” Matthias replied. “He said that it was a place for hopeless dreamers.”
“Who was your dad?” Alesha asked.
“He was our leader,” Matthias said. “The Fallen killed him first.”
Alesha remembered the sight of Balderiech’s lifeless body hitting the ground. “Oh.”
“He told me that only he could keep me safe,” Matthias said. “That we had to take what we needed from others, because that was the only way you survived in this world.” He continued staring ahead. “Maybe he was right.”
Alesha blinked. “In my village, everybody worked together. We shared all our food, we helped out with all the work - we never had to hurt anybody to do it.”
“My dad says - said - that that’s weakness,” Matthias replied. “You can’t just rely on other people to help you out. You have to be ready to hurt them, and take what you need from them - because otherwise, they might just take everything from you one day.”
Alesha gaped. “That’s not true!” she said.
“Then where’s your village now!” Matthias snapped turning towards her. “Why are you marching towards the City, huh?”
Alesha blinked. Her mouth hung open wide, and she stared at Matthias. She couldn’t think of a word to say.
Matthias snorted, and continued walking down the mountain pass.
[url=https://www.bungie.net/en/Clan/Post/1371758/228242238/0/0]Part Twenty-Seven: Home is Where the Heart Is[/url]