Greetings, Guardians, here's part thirty-five of The Journey Home! Unfortunately, this is the end of the story. Our Journey has come to a close at last. But before you look away,[url=https://www.bungie.net/en/Clan/Post/1371758/229023342/0/0] here is[/url] a little message from me to you. In any case, here's [url=https://www.bungie.net/en/Clan/Post/1371758/228931878/0/0]part thirty-four[/url] if you missed it, or, if you're looking for a different part, here's [url=https://www.bungie.net/en/Forums/Post/222615264?showBanned=0&path=0]the table of contents[/url]! Stay classy, Guardians!
Alesha leaned back in her chair, and stared in the mirror. She began braiding her red hair.
It amazed her that she could be sixty years old, and still have red hair. She’d expected it to be graying and mangled by now, but here she was, looking like she wasn’t a day over thirty. Uncle Tom had said something similar to her about it the other day. “A hundred years old!” he had laughed. “A hundred years old, and I don’t feel a day over fifty!”
Alesha smiled. The slower aging process was one of the many miracles of the City - thanks to a combination of the Traveler and medicinal advances - many of them taken from old Golden Age texts - most people in the Tower would live well into their second century. Their doctors put healers like Trisha to shame!
Alesha heard a noise behind her. She turned around, and smiled. “How are you today, Erling?”
The toddler advanced up to her, and smiled. “Ma-ma!” he said.
Smiling, she grabbed the baby, and held him in her lap. She heard some stumbling footsteps behind her. “Sorry,” came a voice. “I took my eyes off him for a single second.”
Alesha smiled, holding the baby. “It’s fine,” she said. She turned around, and stared at Matthias.
The villagers had been reluctant to accept him into the fold at first, but his persistence, along with the fact that he had saved Alesha’s life, had gradually made them trust him. Alesha had married him twenty years prior. And just three years ago, they’d had their first child.
She put Erling down. “Stay here with Daddy,” she said. “Mommy’s got to go to work, okay!”
Matthias quickly scooped the Toddler up. “Be careful out there,” he said.
Alesha smiled. “Aren’t I always?”
* * *
Alesha soon arrived at the edge of the wall, and entered a tall, gray, nondescript building. She went into it, and quickly reached the locker room. She walked to her locker, and opened it up. She reached in, hesitated a moment, and took out a charred piece of wood.
Sometime after joining the FOTC, she, by pure chance, had found herself near the site of her hold village. Curiosity got the better of her, and she’d decided to look at her old home - one last time.
It was nothing like she’d remembered.
The orderly farms had long since been reclaimed by nature. Only the occasional potato or stalk of grain occasionally poked up out of the earth.
The palisade itself had been largely knocked over. Many of the wooden poles had fallen down, and lay rotting in the earth. Only a few lone sentinels still stood, marking the border of what had once been her little town.
The village was similarly destroyed. None of the houses were left - all of them had been burned to the ground.
However, she could still make out the outlines of the buildings, just barely visible beneath the grass. Navigating both by those and by memory, she found her way to the place where her old home had once stood.
As with the other buildings, there wasn’t much left. A few charred logs marked the walls of the old cabin, but other than that, her childhood home had been completely destroyed.
Alesha grabbed a piece of wood. It was about the size of her fist, and had been charred by the fire. But there was enough left to see that it had once been a part of the old rafters.
She had tucked it into her pocket. No matter the distance, no matter how much of the village had been destroyed, she would carry a part of her hold life with her wherever she went.
As she left the village, she noticed something in the grass. A pale skeleton lay there, its hands clutching a rusted old rifle.
She kneeled down next to it. “Kaz,” she whispered.
The skeleton did not answer, but simply stared at her, grinning at its new companion.
She wrapped the body up in a tarp, and dragged it back to the old cemetery. She dug a shallow grave, and buried her old friend in it. Kazinsky would’ve appreciated the gesture, she thought. Then, she’d found a decent-sized rock nearby, and, using a laser-cutter from her dropship, written some words into it.
Here Lies Rudolph Kazinsky
Last Resident of This Village
May His Memory Live On Forever
It was a fitting epitaph, she thought. Then, she’d gone back to her ship.
Now, looking at the piece of wood, all those memories came flooding back to her, all at once. She took a deep breath, and put the wood back in her locker. Then, she’d changed into her FOTC uniform.
She then went to the top of the building, where a dropship was waiting for her. As was an unexpected visitor.
She smiled. “Erling!” she shouted.
The old titan smiled, and the two of them hugged. “Good to see you too,” Erling said.
She smiled at him. “What are you doing here?” she asked.
“I guess I’m going with you,” he said. “I got a message about some sort of distress signal. I guess we’re both heading there now.”
Alesha nodded, smiling. And so the wheel turns. “Glad to have you with us!” she said.
“Glad to be here,” the titan replied, smiling.
She walked to the dropship ramp. She took one last look at the City - her home.
And then, she climbed aboard.