Plotting to kill Taniks with magnets
12/1/2020 4:20:32 PM
Ruthless Winter, Part 12
[url=https://www.bungie.net/en/Forum/Post/254979692/0/0]Table of Contents[/url]
“Here they come.”
Beladona says it so casually that it takes me a moment to realize what she means. I look up towards the wreckage of the City Hawk and see the Fallen are on the move. They’re advancing at their leisure, not even bothering to shoot at us. Their ranks part down the middle as the long strides of the massive Winter Kell carry him to the front line, leading the pack.
I turn and remind myself of the cratered earth not far behind us. The sight of Elta’s corpse gives my heart a squeeze. The Ketch’s guns will annihilate us if we try to run. We have no choice but to face the Fallen.
“Looks like we’re stuck here,” Elena mutters, voicing my fears as she moves to stand between us and the pirates, “Hendal was right about the Ketch.”
Beladona breathes deeply. Blood from the gash in her chest plate has already formed a small puddle in the snow beneath her. “Well, I was plannin’ on heroically stallin’ them. Take out a few before gettin’ stepped on.”
“Hm,” Elena hums to herself, inserting a new magazine in her rifle, “Mind if I steal your glory?”
“You’ll have to fight me for it,” the Huntress replies jokingly.
“Then walk over here and stop me,” Elena challenges dryly. I can’t help but glance at Beladona’s scorched leg.
Beladona is quiet for a second, then retorts, “You’re talkin’ a lotta smack for someone with two perfectly good legs.”
The Warlock chuckles at that, but it sounds forced. None of us are in a position to laugh. I wonder if such lighthearted talk is normal for Guardians when they face death. I can’t imagine being accustomed to constantly dying like they are.
“Give the kid a gun,” Beladona coughs.
Elena nods, “Good idea.” A second rifle materializes in her extended hand and she offers it to me. I reluctantly accept the firearm. She hesitates, looking between Beladona and me, then turns away.
“Hey,” Beladona calls, and the Warlock stops. “You’ll see your friends soon.”
Elena says nothing. Instead she rushes to head off the Fallen. I only watch, too numb to say anything. Maybe it would have been better if she’d stayed by us to fight and die together.
“Show me the handle,” Beladona instructs, severing me from my thoughts. Confused, I hold the gun down for her to see. She studies it and let’s out a satisfied grunt, “The safety’s off.”
Alien howls reach my ears and I jolt, looking up. Elena is close to the Fallen now. She shoots at the hoard, but is immediately answered by a volley of Arc bolts. There’s no hope of avoiding the barrage.
“Don’t look at them.”
My stomach churns as Elena collapses. The four-arms cheer, barely slowing down as they close in to finish her off. I don’t see her Ghost.
“HEY!” Beladona barks, reaching out to grab me with her good arm, “Don’t look at them!”
I force myself to focus on the Huntress.
“Sit down, now,” she commands. I don’t understand, but I obey and sink to my knees. “Not kneel, sit. On your butt. Fast.”
I hurriedly correct myself, confused but too scared to question her and waste time. The House of Winter catches my eye again as they converge on Elena’s corpse. Her Ghost still hasn’t shown itself. Some of the pirates wait while others resume the charge. Draksis comes closer to the Warlock, carefully-
Blinding Light erupts in an inferno around Elena. Suddenly she is on her feet, wreathed in raging flames that spread behind her like wings. The Fallen unlucky enough to be closest to her catch fire. She raises one hand, concentrating her Light into a miniature star and-
Beladona cries out in anguish, retaking my attention. She pushes herself up with both arms, completely disregarding her wounds even as they cause her pain. She drags herself right in front of me and grips my leg. “Don’t move.”
With one more sharp gasp she twists her body and drops into my lap. Her back falls against my chest and her helmeted head comes to rest on my shoulder. Shocked, I just sit there while she catches her breath. When she’s gathered herself she resumes as if nothing had happened, pulling her sidearm from its holster to demonstrate, “Point, shoot. Don’t hold the trigger. Short, precise bursts.”
“W-why-“ I begin.
“I’m coverin’ you again,” the Huntress interrupts, guessing my question and belting out sentences in rapid succession, “Runnin’s no good and I can’t stand. I’ll take the shots for you. That way you can live a little longer. Take off my helmet.”
Barely managing to absorb her explanation, I carefully slide her helmet off her head and let it fall to my side. She sighs and leans into me. For the first time today I see her eyes. They’re a beautiful color, but dull like stones. She seems so tired as she speaks, “Sorry, kiddo. We’re out of time.“
Light passes through us. Elena’s Ghost, the last one. Only Beladona and I remain.
“Pick up the gun,” Beladona mumbles, rolling her head to be cradled against my neck as I lift the weapon Elena had given me, “You know how to shoot it?”
I swallow hard, feeling the ache in my dry throat, “Yes.”
“Good,” I can feel her chest expanding and contracting with each labored, shallow breath, “You won’t need to know how to reload.”