Greetings, Guardians, here's part Twenty-Seven of The Journey Home! Here's part [url=https://www.bungie.net/en/Forums/Post/228036057]Twenty-Six[/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!
The March through the pass went on for another hour. All the while, the Traveler loomed in the sky, growing larger and larger. Alesha couldn’t help but wonder what the City would look like - would it be like her village, with all of its wooden buildings and farms? Or would it be like the Golden Age ruins, except shiny and new?
Suddenly, Erling held up a hand, indicating for the villagers to stop.
Alesha frowned, and walked up to him. “Are we making camp for the night?” she asked.
Erling shook his head, took off his helmet, and smiled. “We’re here,” he said, and gestured at the ground in front of him.
Alesha looked forwards, and gasped.
The mountain pass faded away before them, winding down to a forest floor below. However, soon, the Forest Floor gave way to a city - sparkling and shining in the night. It was surrounded by a massive, circular wall - one that was at least four or five stories high. And above it hung the Traveler, a perfect sphere in the sky.
“I’ll be damned,” Uncle Tom said, “we made it.” He clutched Aunt Beatrice’s hand, and they stared at the City together. Even Matthias looked somewhat wowed.
Erling turned back towards the Villagers, and smiled. “Welcome home,” he said. He began to walk in the direction of the City, leading the villagers down the narrow pass.
The sound of the explosion echoed through the mountains.
Suddenly, there was a massive explosion on one side of the City walls. Even from the great distance, Alesha could feel the heat from the massive jets of flame on her cheeks. She watched as masonry from the walls was thrown up into the air.
“No!” Erling shouted. He ran towards the City, panic on his face. “No!”
Then, she heard the sound of Fallen screeching. She saw what looked like a massive, black mass, moving along the forest floor towards the hole in the wall.
Fallen, she realized with a shock. The mass was made up of thousands upon thousands of Fallen.
In the distance, she heard the sound of people screaming in the City. There was the sound of gunshots, and even more explosions.
Then she looked at Erling. The mighty Titan had fallen to his knees, and was staring at the burning city, a look of pure shock on his face.
It was the look of someone who had lost everything.
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw something moving. She turned, and saw Matthias moving back into the mountain pass. Acting more out of instinct than anything else, she followed him.
Alesha scrambled over rocks, following Matthias back into the pass. “Wait!” she shouted.
Matthias turned towards her, surprised that she was following him. Then, he frowned. “What?” he asked sharply.
She blinked, and then took a deep breath. “Why are you running away?” she asked.
“Why aren’t you?” Matthias asked. “You saw what happened - the ‘City’ will be destroyed within a few days, and everyone in it will be dead!” He turned around. “My father was right.”
Alesha blinked. “You can’t survive on your own!”
“Watch me,” Matthias replied, walking into the pass.
“You’re just going to go?” she asked. “All on your own?”
“Why aren’t you?” Matthias replied. “The City’s gone! The Fallen are coming! What’s left for you?”
Alesha stared at him, aghast. Suddenly, a sense of calm came over her. She closed her eyes, and took a deep breath. “Home,” she said.
Matthias frowned, and turned towards her. “What?”
She opened her eyes again. “Home.”
“What are you talking about?” Matthias asked. “You’re home’s destroyed, remember?”
“Home isn’t just where you sleep,” she said, her eyes blazing. “It’s not just where you spend your time, and live from day to day! It’s where everyone you know lives! It’s where you belong! It’s where you’re surrounded by people that you know and love! It’s where you know that you belong!” Her heart was beating fast, and images of Uncle Tom, and Beatrice, Michael, Sorenson, Oren, and so many of the other villagers filled her head.
Matthias gritted his teeth, and walked up to her. “Attachments make you weak,” he growled. “Love makes you weak!”
Alesha fixed his gaze. “No,” she said calmly. “It makes you strong.” She took a deep breath. “I know where my home is, Matthias,” she said. “But where’s yours? Think about it; have you ever really had one?”
Matthias flinched, and, for a moment, stood frozen like a statue. Then, he shook his head, and took a deep breath. “You should run,” he mumbled, “if you know what’s good for you.” And with that, he walked back into the mountain pass.
This time, Alesha didn’t even try to stop him.
Alesha quickly returned to the Villagers. Uncle Tom grabbed her with one arm, and held her close. Erling had barely moved, but was sitting at the edge of the cliff, staring at the burning city. Oren walked up to him. “What do we do?” he asked.
Erling shook his head. “I never . . . I never thought that they could actually. . .” Erling sighed, his face ashen. “We can’t get down there. The Fallen would rip us to shreds.”
“Then what do we do?”
Erling didn’t have an answer. He just kept staring at the burning City.
Erling’s ghost popped up next to him. “We have to do something about them,” he said.
“I know!” Erling snapped. He returned his gaze towards the City. “Honestly, I’m not sure that there’s anything we can do. We can’t go forwards, and we can’t go back.” He shook his head. “We’re trapped.”
Alesha shook free of Uncle Tom, and walked up to Erling. “You can’t give up now,” she said.
Erling looked up at her, his face ashen. “What?”
“You’ve brought us this far,” Alesha said. You can’t. Give. Up. Now.” She took a deep breath. “I can’t give up now.”
Erling stared at her for a solid minute, his face blank. Then, he nodded, and stood up. “You’re right,” he said. He turned towards the mountain pass, and nodded. “Alright, everybody gather round!” The villagers quickly packed in around him. “This is what we’re gonna do.”
[url=https://www.bungie.net/en/Clan/Post/1371758/228332656/0/0]Part Twenty-Eight: Striking Back[/url]
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