Solstice Armor Lore

July 18, 2018

Titan Rare Set

 

Solstice Helm (Rekindled)

 

Stare into the sun and get burned.

 

"Zavala, we did it! The shields are down!"

 

The Titan Vanguard looked to the sky. That Ghost was right: The topaz glow of the Cabal command ship's shields flickered and disintegrated. Zavala wasn't a man who smiled often, but there were a lot of firsts today.

 

"All friendlies, focus fire on that capital ship! The Tower does not fall today!" He launched himself from behind cover, weapon snapping to his shoulder, the not-smile still curling his lip. These Cabal were going to learn—

 

Severed.

 

It was like lava on his chest. Shock, pain, anger, emptiness. The breath rushed from his lungs, and his weapon clattered to the ground. The sounds of war buzzed into quiet. But no matter—he'd been lower than this. And his fists of thunder were more dangerous than any rifle. He drew upon the Light, and... nothing.

 

His eyes widened. He froze for an instant... and a Cabal slug took him in the side.

 

The Light is gone, he thought. Over and over. The Light is gone. Then: You're their leader. They need you. Now more than ever. Get up. Get up!

 

He roared in defiance, lurching back to his feet. He would see them all safe. Even if it meant his life.

 

Solstice Gauntlets (Rekindled)

 

Sometimes the battle burns you up.

 

Amanda was quiet, but Zavala could still hear the anger before her voice came back over the comms. "Due respect, Commander, I ain't got time to come be your chauffeur. There are thousands of people like me stranded down there in the City."

 

"The City is lost." He hated saying it, but he knew it in his bones. "And we're all the same now, Holliday. The Light is gone. We have to regroup."

 

"You mean run." Even angrier now. It was infectious.

 

"I mean live to fight another day. We don't have the luxury of rescue flights anymore. The longer we stay here, the tighter the noose."

 

"Then go! What's stopping you? You know how to fly a ship."

 

"Not like you. You're the best pilot in the system, Amanda. And you're the only one who can keep our ships in the air once we're away from Earth."

 

"Dammit, sir, we can't just leave them here."

 

"I've already made my decision. If humanity is to survive..." He'd leave the betting to Cayde, but he knew the odds were slim. "This is the only choice we have."

 

Silence. For a few seconds this time. "All right." Her voice cracked. He understood.

 

Solstice Plate (Rekindled)

 

Memories of the City burn in your heart.

 

He made himself look at the numbers. Seventy-three ships lost in the exodus. Seventy-three ships full of people looking to him for guidance. Guardians and civilians alike. All Zavala could give them was a noble death.

 

Almost none of the vessels had been outfitted with weapons. Transports and supply skiffs, barely holding together outside Earth's atmosphere, trying to punch through a fortified Red Legion blockade. Like prey animals limping through a pack of lions. It was a massacre.

 

The only reason the fleet made it past the Moon was because the Red Legion focused so heavily on Earth. In that, they seemed like the Cabal Zavala knew. Single-minded. Incapable of thinking more than a few moves ahead. But he knew this Dominus Ghaul wouldn't give up that easily. So they kept moving.

 

But what next? Zavala had a plan, of course. He always had a plan, Titan Vanguard or no.

But what he really needed was information. He needed—

 

"Deputy Commander Sloane, reporting for duty, sir."

 

Zavala closed his eyes. And for a brief moment, he relaxed.

 

Solstice Greaves (Rekindled)

 

Go swift as a steed newly awakened.

 

"Guardians: The City is lost. If there is any Light left in the system... we rally on Titan. Be brave."

 

Zavala released the record button and looked to the two of them again. Sloane's face revealed nothing, as usual. Amanda was faking an encouraging look. He sighed. "You don't like that one either."

 

Amanda looked at Sloane, then back to Zavala, clearly not sure what to say. It was Sloane who spoke. "Sir, you want your message to inspire this new resistance. The language you use is..." She was trapped between her usual loyalty and her usual bluntness.

 

"You make it sound like we've already lost." Amanda said, her hand hovering over the delete button. Zavala raised an eyebrow. She wasn't trapped by anything.

 

"Holliday's right, Commander. We're not burning the bulk of our fuel supply to get to Saturn and turtle up. You said it: We're going there to rally. People need something to rally to."

 

He looked down at the recorder for a long moment. When he spoke, his eyes were still downcast. "They need to know the truth. I owe them that. Activate the beacon."

 

Solstice Mark (Rekindled)

 

Battle scars may burn and leave a mark.

 

"Confirmed, sir. Nearly one hundred percent of the Arcology is infested. And... we lost both teams."

 

Zavala didn't turn to face Sloane. He just stared at the rise and fall of the methane oceans.

 

"But we know our enemy now, Commander. We may not have our Light, but we have the advantage. Give the order, and we'll storm the place. Burn it all down if we have to. The Hive deserve nothing less."

 

"I was a fool to come here. In the shadow of our worst enemy." He looked up to the hole in Saturn's rings, his back still to her. "I thought the strength of our resolve and the treasures of the Golden Age were more powerful than whatever fuels those... demons."

 

Sloane hated hearing him talk like this, but it was the only way he seemed to talk these days. "You weren't wrong, sir. It may be the only place in the system the Cabal won't go. A perfect launching pad for us to strike back. We'll suppress the Hive, and—"

 

"Pull them out. All of them. Get them back to safety, and post guards on our side of the bridge."

 

"Commander—"

 

"Dismissed."

 

Titan Legendary Set

 

Solstice Helm (Resplendent)

 

Sometimes you have to become the weapon.

 

"Bah." The Red Legion invader said something in its unknowable language. It gestured with its right hand toward a Guardian who lay still, groaning and trying to get up. Even from his perch on the balcony above, Theus-7 knew mockery when he saw it.

 

Below him, chaos. Crowds cowered in the archways of collapsing buildings. Cabal rampaged around the open courtyard, shooting and throwing and overturning. Nothing, no one in their way was untouched. The Cabal closest to Theus drew his sidearm, aiming at the still-sputtering Guardian beside him.

 

Theus drew his hand cannon and got the shot off before it could, then got a clean shot on another Cabal terrorizing a group of children. It wasn't long before the Red Legion focused fire on the balcony—he was a Sentinel, though, and he knew what to do.

 

He leapt down, drawing on the power of the Light to form his shie—

 

But the Light's gone out.

 

The air left his body. The ugly face of the Red Legion got closer. Nothing left to do.

He shouted at the crowd to run as he primed a grenade.

 

Solstice Gauntlets (Resplendent)

 

If you can't have a blast, make one.

 

Beneath a dead tree, Esta Tel scanned the bridge above her as she hurried to fasten the wires at the end of the cable to her detonator. Looked good. Bare road on one end of the bridge, buildings in the way on the other, but everything looked clear from down in the ravine.

 

The Cabal would be making a run in exactly three minutes. Time to go.

 

She watched the buildings up above, listening. Heard engine sounds.

 

When she saw a vehicle come into view, she clicked the detonator. Ten seconds.

 

But it wasn't Cabal. It was a medical vehicle. Moving fast onto the bridge.

 

Five seconds. All the blood drained from her face. She decided before she knew what she was doing.

 

Shouldered her sniper rifle. Aimed for the junction of her wire and the explosives under the bridge. Shot it out. The wire fell as the medical vehicle crossed.

 

In the distance, she heard the Cabal coming. Finally.

 

Shoot the explosives.

 

Click. No more rounds. No time to think.

 

Solstice Plate (Resplendent)

 

Finish what you begin, at your own pace, with a focus unmatched.

 

Lyria Graemer shoved herself further into the nook underneath a cable support and looked down, waiting for Mattox-9 to make his way up. As he climbed using the fasteners she'd driven into the wall of the Tower, he met her eyes and gave a thumbs-up.

 

Eight more stories and they'd be right below the Speaker and the Cabal brutes who held him. Just a little further.

 

Graemer heard distant popping and saw puffs of smoke from below. Looking down, she saw Red Legion troops on the ground, firing up at them.

 

She looked to Mattox. He nodded.

 

"Climb!" she said, drawing her rifle. He reached her ready to crack a joke—she knew that face—but the clang of metal on metal interrupted him. Mattox's head shot forward, and as it snapped back up, the red light of his eyes flickered to black. Graemer's rifle fell from her hands as she hauled his body up—they could still finish this together.

 

Shots all around her. She snarled as one caught her in the side. The Cabal weren't letting up.

 

Graemer activated her grenades and loaded them into Mattox's rocket launcher. Then, clutching the body of her oldest friend, she dove down.

 

As they reached the enemy, the world exploded to black.

 

Solstice Greaves (Resplendent)

 

Stand your ground until you're the last one standing.

 

Daimos-22 whipped his free arm as he called to the crowds of Humans, pleading with them to hurry. The compound must have been their home for years—that was his guess based on the armfuls of possessions passing him. But it was flooding now. Sinking.

 

The tunnel—the only one that hadn't flooded, made of cracked, rotten wood and brittle metal—was barely big enough to stand in, but it would get them to the surface. "Come on!" the Titan called as they streamed past him.

 

Children and old folks crying. "I know," he said, straining not to shout. "But we have to move."

 

A woman dropped her enormous suitcase, and he kicked it aside. She looked back at the bag, and then she was gone in the crowd.

 

The whole structure groaned. Daimos looked up, scanning up and down the tunnel. It didn't sound right at all.

 

The section of roof above him split open, and the whole tunnel buckled. He could hear the tension grinding in his arms as he pressed on the roof. Hold.

 

He kept calling out, and they kept running past.

 

He held and held. And when he let go, he knew he was the last one left.

 

Solstice Mark (Resplendent)

 

Birds fly in formation so they do not lose their way.

 

"Anokai Tai, checking in."

 

The Titan listened for a response as he throttled the Wayfarer Z over the rubble of a collapsed building and onto what had once been a busy road. He watched for activity.

 

Nothing yet.

 

"Tai, we see you," the voice on the radio came back. "About twelve klicks to the rendezvous point."

 

The Titan accelerated, staying low. He was picking up a pair of Guardians—two more just like him who had been passing information to an offworld ship when their vehicle was destroyed. Just a few weeks ago, he would have scoffed at putting three people on a Sparrow. Now pickups like this were almost normal.

 

A large Legion ship—he didn't know what kind—lay strewn across his path. He pulled back on the stick to rise over the wreck, but something within the Sparrow sputtered.

A second later, that something caught fire.

 

No no—

 

The Sparrow slammed down onto the cratered road. Plasma bolts flew past Tai. Ambush.

Tai leapt off the Wayfarer Z and ducked behind it, firing as a platoon of Red Legion emerged from the wreck. He managed to get two before the Sparrow exploded.

Hunter Rare Set

 

Solstice Mask (Rekindled)

 

Hide your true face from the sun, lest you get burned.

 

"Now is not the time, Cayde." Sword strike. Forty-one Cabal down.

 

"On the contrary, my horned friend." Throwing knife. Thirty-six. "These red lesions are burning down our house. The stakes have never been higher!" Hand cannon. Thirty-seven. "Let's say… two thousand Glimmer a head."

 

"Ikora said 'Red Legion,' you fool. And no." Sword strike. Forty-two and forty-three.

 

"Five thousand."

 

"I will not wager against you when our home—"

 

Severed.

 

"Wh— What is this? Cayde, what have you done to me? Another trick to win a bet we haven't made?"

 

"Ugh."

 

"Cayde!"

 

"No, you big ox! I can't… ugh. Can't you see that it got me too? Look out!" Sidearm. Thirty-eight.

 

"The Light is beyond my reach. My Ghost is empty." Sword strike. Forty-four. "This means…"

 

"They need us. We should split up." Throwing knife. Thirty-nine. "I'll sweep the streets, you take the—"

 

"Ten thousand." Sword strike. Forty-five. "THESE are the highest stakes." Sword strike. Forty-six. "You want a bet, Hunter? Let's bet. The only prize is our lives. For all time.”

 

Hand cannon. Firefly! Forty, forty-one, forty-two. "You're on."

 

Solstice Grasps (Rekindled)

 

Hold too tight and it could all slip away.

 

"How many was that? I sorta stopped counting a while ago."

 

Cayde's whisper is loud enough to be heard by any Red Legion nearby, but he'd solved that problem with three flashes of his knife in the last two minutes. His Ghost doesn't respond.

 

"Never mind, never mind. You know, this would go a lot faster if I could draw 'em out somehow. Use something for bait. Something small."

 

His Ghost still doesn't respond.

 

"Not like you. Something without a big glowy eye. Wait, shh-shh-shh…"

 

He ducks into the shadows. Two Legionaries flanking a Goliath tank waddle past his hiding spot. No need to be a hero, he thinks. At least, not a dead one. Not yet.

 

"Three more blocks and we're in business. You sure you can still access the terminals?"

No response.

 

"You're right, I shouldn't doubt you. Just because we haven't touched the Light in nine hours doesn't mean that you can't still, you know, do your thing with the beam. But you're my last hope, little buddy. Zavala's gonna take years to build up his big space fleet. Ikora's gonna sit and stare at a Traveler-shaped hole in the ground for just as long. It's up to us now. You with me?"

 

A loud whisper: "Always."

 

Solstice Vest (Rekindled)

 

Memories of lost loves burn in your heart.

 

"Vanguard emergency override, auth chartreuse seven seven dash six."

 

[Good morning, Hunter Vanguard. Automated voice help system engaged. How can I help you today?]

 

"I need to take down a giant space rhino before he sees me."

 

[I assume you're referring to a Cabal enemy. Can you provide me with any more information?]

 

"He looks like a fifteen-foot-tall spiky cloud with wings and a cape."

 

[That doesn't align with reference images I have on file. Is he wearing some kind of special armor?]

 

"Either that or he's got a real weird body. We're talking weirder than usual."

[How can I help you today?]

 

"Sorry. Sorry. So we need to kill this Ghaul guy. I need ideas. How did that one fireteam take down Crota again?"

 

[They infiltrated the Ascendant Realm and confronted him at his Oversoul throne.]

"OK, that's probably not gonna work here. What about Skolas?"

 

[Please specify: when he met his execution in the Prison of Elders—]

 

"Nope."

 

[—or when he brought his House of Wolves across time through Vex time gates—]

 

"Now we're talking! Vex stuff. Teleporting. How do I do that?"

 

Solstice Strides (Rekindled)

 

Jump not from the pan into the flames.

 

"So your name is 'Failsafe'?"

 

"Yes! And your name is the Cayde unit!" ("You're an Exo. Human brain in a robot body. Weird mouth lights.")

 

"Wait, who was that?"

 

"Who was who? I am me!"

 

"It doesn't matter. You don't know what'll happen if I do this. You're an AI, just like one back home that told me about this place."

 

"That is incorrect!" ("I'm about a thousand times smarter.")

 

"If you're so smart, how come you crashed your big ship into a horse moon?"

 

"That is very rude!"

 

"Look, we don't have a lot of time. I'm just gonna wire up this Vex teleporter to my triple jump circuits. What's the worst that could happen?"

 

"Based on my cycles analyzing Vex portal technology, one of the many alarming yet likely outcomes is that your body and consciousness are separated into two distinct antimatter dimensions!"

 

"Ah, you're making that up. Here goes."

 

"Please wait a moment, Cayde unit! I have not encountered anyone else on 7066 Nessus since the crash of the Exodus Black." ("I'm not good at being lonely.") "If you are absorbed into a quasi-space pseudorealm—"

 

"Sorry, Failsafe, gotta be brave here."

 

Dzzt.

 

Solstice Cloak (Rekindled)

 

Mistakes can burn, even in the dead of night.

 

"So that's it for now, Ace. I don't think I'm gonna get out of this one. Not the most heroic way to go out for your ol' dad, I'll admit, but… hurk! Ah, shoot. Gotta start over. How long was that one, Failsafe?"

 

"Two hundred thirty-six seconds since the last teleportation! You never told me that Ace was your son! How wonderful!"("And super sad.")

 

"That's the theory. Saw the name in a journal in my pocket when my Ghost first rezzed me. Seemed as likely as anything else."

 

"So you don't know if your son truly exists?" ("That's super-duper sad.")

 

"Nope. But you don't know what happened to your crew. Does it change how you feel about 'em?"

 

"Not at all!" ("But they're still dead.")

 

"There you go. Now do me a favor and start the recording again, will ya? Not sure h—"

"Cayde unit, I have great news! A ship similar to yours has entered the gravitational radius of this planetoid!"

 

"What?! All right! Uh-oh. Listen, the next teleport's about to happen. Don't tell them that I got in over my head, OK? Tell them it was some kind of Vex trap or something. Got it? Failsafe?"

 

Hunter Legendary Set

 

Solstice Mask (Resplendent)

 

Knowledge is power. Seize it all.

 

Dax Etono moved through the darkness of the Red Legion storehouse as quietly as he could until he reached the control panels at the far end. He looked around, hoping the towers of equipment and storage containers would keep him hidden.

 

Lit the panel up.

 

This panel would generally be used by its owners just for inventory on this one unit. After the Cabal had seized the buildings here, however, the Guardians realized the Legion had unlocked the network to such a degree that if you could access any panel, you could get in almost anywhere in their systems. Dax pulled the buckle from his belt—a mag-hack. He let it click against the panel, and it started to copy over information. Tons of it.

 

The lights came on. Dax cursed, turning around. Footsteps echoed from both entrances. No enemies were visible yet. He drew his weapon and retrieved the mag-hack. Flicked a switch on its smooth metal side. At least he'd get the Vanguard some of the data.

 

Three Cabal rounded the corner, firing. Dax took aim to defend himself as information began blazing across the galaxy.

 

Solstice Grasps (Resplendent)

 

Do more than survive. Change your reality.

 

"You can make anything sound like no big deal if you say it the right way."

 

Gemma Nixx knew that from very early on, and yet it still never ceased to bother her. You could say, "The Red Legion is wiping out innocent people all around the City," all matter-of-fact. But now, as she led maimed and hollow-eyed stragglers through ridges of junk and cratered earth, those words swelled and distorted until they were her entire reality.

 

You could say, "You've lost your regenerative ability, but you're still able to fight." But saying it didn't get her new feelings across. The pressure of the rebar she grabbed to steady herself was not pain; yet, like every sensation now, it stung in her brain.

 

"This way!" Gemma located a hatch and held it open, watching as the survivors filed in.

 

Then she slammed it shut, and a few seconds later, the hidden transport the people had crawled into revved its engine and burst from a pile of debris. Gemma watched them go.

 

She waved and saw a puff of smoke in a burnt-out building a quarter mile away. Then she saw a hole in her hand. And then nothing.

 

Solstice Vest (Resplendent)

 

Adrift in a blazing sea, heroes become memories.

 

He was floating just about one meter off a comms satellite. I know, 'cause I was talking to him. Not in person—I was manning about 30 weather drones, so I had this array of camera views and readouts. I see him drifting there, drill in hand, by an open panel.

 

This was a Guardian, with a capital G. I mean, it makes me laugh now. I was thinking, I've seen that guy win ten in a row in the Crucible. Why is he fixing a satellite?

 

He told me, all casual, that the comms had been acting up, and he was saving the regular maintenance crew a trip into orbit in the middle of a storm. I even asked myself at the time, wow, do Guardians do that?

 

Anyway, I came to find out, the second the sensors beyond the Wall started going dark, he'd suspected sabotage. Came straight to investigate. He didn't want to freak me out.

 

He was one of the first that we lost during the invasion. The screen just filled with orange and white. Gone.

 

Solstice Strides (Resplendent)

 

Flames lick at your heels but you are too fast.

 

Do you know what it takes to keep moving when you're so afraid—SO afraid?

 

In the EDZ, we were starting to mount an organized defense. It was still Cabal territory. She and I drew the short straw to hit a rolling transport: a fat Cabal train on wheels coming out of a munitions depot and heading for the Farm.

 

So we're waiting behind a ridge and the carrier approaches. She blasts it with her Grenade Launcher. The shell slams into a tread on the carrier and it just… sticks. Doesn't blow up. I look at her. She's gritting her teeth.

 

While I'm still in shock, she leaps to her feet, hops on a Sparrow, and zips about a mile down the road. I watch through the binocs. She pulls out a sidearm and aims from behind a bunch of steel girders. Shoots at the shell in the transport tread. Takes another shot. Three. Five. It's unlike her to miss.

 

Then I see why: her whole body is shaking with fear.

 

Finally she detonates the shell. And I mean, I have never seen a blast like this. An orange dome that reaches almost all the way back to me. It melts the rubber on my goggles.

 

It was the right move. You don't come back from that, though.

 

Solstice Cloak (Resplendent)

 

Let the fear in your bones drive you to resist.

 

Before they took the Traveler away, we thought we were tough. All of us. But man, without the Ghosts, we became real vulnerable for a while. At least I did. Ghaul absolutely had us pegged.

 

A bunch of Fallen were trying to establish a base of operations near the old Nessus crash site after the boss left. When Trake and I arrived on Nessus to help organize resistance against the Red Legion, we engaged the Fallen—we couldn't let them build up their forces.

 

So the ground trembles when one of the Fallen transports blows up, and I lose my grip on my rifle—it slips right down the ridge we're taking cover behind. I've never felt so stupid, and I… I couldn't move.

 

Trake shakes me out of my stupor, and we scramble over the ridge to get my rifle. I slide down and grab it while he covers me. It feels like the world is frozen in place. I can still picture him shooting round after round as we head back to safety.

 

He's right on my heels, but… I'm sorry. No, he, uh, he was hit in the neck and, uh, that was it.

 

The fear—I can't describe it at all. But I remember it in my bones.

Warlock Rare Set

 

Solstice Hood (Rekindled)

 

Beloved cities burn in your mind's eye.

 

She hadn't touched the ground since she leapt from the rubble of Tower North.

 

As the ship spiraled toward the flames below, Ikora Rey Blinked from its wing to the back of an Interceptor and shoved three Vortex Grenades into its propulsion emitters. Blink.

 

To the nose of a Harvester. Four shotgun blasts to its antigravity cores. Blink.

 

Atop another Thresher. She glanced over her shoulder at the Traveler and bared her teeth at the perversion attached to its surface. Her Nova Bomb disintegrated the front half of the ship, and she leapt away. She would destroy them all for what they'd done to the City, to the Tower, to the Speaker. She would—

 

Severed.

 

Everything went dark. Her fingers went numb. She tried to Blink to the Thresher as her sight returned, but there was nothing. The Light...was gone?

 

She plummeted toward the ground, her mind racing. No grenades. Think. No Nova Bomb. Think. She emptied a clip into a billboard below her, and it collapsed into a heap on a rooftop. She tried to tuck into a roll, but her body still slammed into the tangle of metal.

 

Ikora struggled to move. Her shoulder was probably separated. Her powers were gone. But she'd be damned if this was the end. She pushed herself to her feet, eyes ablaze, and charged her next target.

 

Solstice Gloves (Rekindled)

 

Heat can burn as much as it warms.

 

/hidden anticipher accepted/ /missive from first follows/ /180 seconds to erasure/

 

my hidden. we knew this was one of our futures.

 

my seat of power is gone. guardians, scattered like embers and stomped out as easily. this red legion are just cabal, yes, but with enough complacency, even the most thuggish of our enemies can destroy our world.

 

end your operations. make for your safehouses. do not attempt clandestine strikes against our occupiers. lives are a currency we cannot afford to spend. wait for our conquerors to show the same complacency that led to our defeat. we will outlast them. we will make them pay.

 

chalco, if you still draw breath, know that you were right. we lost sight of what was out of our sight. it will be the last time we make that mistake.

 

eris, if your quest has not claimed your last life, know that we have not given up on you. when we rise again, there will be a home for you once more.

 

the rest of you: hide. watch. wait for word from me. and if that word never comes, you all know what to do.

 

/missive from first ends/

 

Solstice Robes (Rekindled)

 

Even the warmest light can sometimes burn you up.

 

She didn't need her Light to kill a Marauder with a single palm strike to the skull.

 

Ikora let its body drop to the forest floor and watched its Ether drain into the dirt. It was like the days after her Ghost first revived her—when she would disappear into the wilderness and dare the unseen to challenge her.

 

This was the eleventh Fallen she'd taken down since she'd been within sight of the Shard, and the last one standing between her and recovering her power.

 

She turned to the Shard and took a step toward it. Another step, past two Dregs she'd taken from above an hour earlier. Another step, over a Wretch that had caught her off-guard right after. One more step as she stretched out her palm to touch the surface of the Shard, closed her eyes, and waited.

 

And waited.

 

Nothing.

 

Her eyes shot open, and she stared at the cast-off piece of the Traveler. Silent. Disbelieving. Furious. Pleading. Then... serene.

 

She stood for another minute, staring, then performed a few calculations in her head. She looked to an empty spot in the sky.

 

Io.

 

Solstice Boots (Rekindled)

 

Courage sometimes requires standing still.

 

The Red Legion ship curled in for a landing above Echo Mesa, and its engines went dark. The canopy retracted, and its pilot climbed out.

 

Ikora's feet touched the surface of Io for the first time as a Guardian without Light. It felt wrong. But not as wrong as—

 

The ground shook as three Red Legion Harvesters flew overhead. Not as wrong as them.

 

This place, this holy place, this place more sacred to Guardians than any other in the system... now a thoroughfare for Cabal to tread upon without reverence. To tunnel through without regard. To befoul without a thought. Ikora's anger had bubbled to the surface often since this war had begun, but seeing the Red Legion here had her as persistently furious as any time she could remember.

 

She checked her provisions and ammunition. The Vex were here as well, but she knew that as long as she stayed away from the machines, they would present no threat. She would deal with them later. For now, she set out for the Red Legion base she had flown past on her initial descent.

 

It might cost her everything, but she would make them pay.

 

Solstice Bond (Rekindled)

 

The brightest lights sometimes burn out fastest.

 

Ikora bit down on the empty rocket casing she'd hollowed out, her grunt of pain muffled enough that she didn't bother seeing if anyone heard. The shrapnel was out of her shoulder, finally. It fell from her fingers to the rocks below.

 

She didn't know how long she'd been here on Io. One more thing that had drifted away in her new life without Light. She didn't know how many Red Legion she'd killed, but she knew how close she'd come to dying herself. She had the scars to remember.

 

Her shotgun was lost, lying broken outside the guard tower of a Red Legion base a few klicks east. She'd emptied it into an Incendior and then used it to bludgeon a Psion into the ground. But the ships didn't stop flying overhead. The patrols didn't become any less frequent. Nothing had changed.

 

Nothing—except for her. Injured, exhausted, powerless. With nothing to show for her—what, heroism? No. She could admit that now. She closed her eyes. Just for a minute.

 

When she awoke, she was looking at it: the last place the Traveler touched. She slowly got to her feet and walked to the cliff's edge.

 

And waited.

 

Warlock Legendary Set

 

Solstice Hood (Resplendent)

 

In the blink of an eye, life can turn from sweet to bitter.

 

From the cockpit of her jumpship, Kanmu mouthed words in almost perfect sync with the voices behind her. She'd spent most of this assignment ferrying Cryptarchs from planet to planet, and these scholars always had the same conversations over and over again.

 

She pantomimed a deep belly laugh right on cue.

 

Something was wrong this time, though. That laugh didn't sound right. Looking behind her, she realized one of the Cryptarchs was choking—probably on one of those hard candies they always seemed to have. She freed herself from the cockpit and hurried back to them, finding the afflicted scholar doubled over and gasping.

 

She positioned herself behind him, and time slowed. As her arms wrapped around the form in front of her, she made a fist with one hand and grasped it with the other, trying to pull up into the abdomen.

 

Don't break the ribs. Hands up higher. Pull up faster. More force. Not that much force! Don't break the ribs! Don't—

 

And then it was out. A hard candy. Of course. Kanmu laughed, relief coming over her.

 

Putting a reassuring hand on the recovering Cryptarch's back, she turned back to the front of the ship just in time to see an orange ball of energy soar into view from beyond the horizon. It was headed straight for them.

 

A sharp inhale as she rushed to the cockpit. They had to leave. There was still tim—

 

But there wasn't.

 

Solstice Gloves (Resplendent)

 

Shoulder the weight of time and keep going.

 

Pain. Just… just pain. The word banged around his skull, crept down his body, echoed through his bones. There'd been a time before the pain, but Kalumet Ziv couldn't remember it now. He leaned harder into Aiza-3, who nearly buckled at the unexpected weight shift. She steadied herself quickly, and they carried on.

 

"Do you need help up there?" From behind them, Ivola's footfalls were uneven, owing to the hole in his right thigh. Ziv wasn't sure he could help if he wanted to. Aiza must have felt the same way.

 

"No, just had to readjust." They continued in exhausted silence toward the extraction point, staying among the rubble as far from the road as they dared get. They'd traveled this way for hours—the only survivors of a Cabal ambush—and had covered almost no ground.

 

Far in the distance, a familiar sound—vehicles. Several of them. A Cabal convoy appeared over a far-off ridge, and the last granules of hope Ziv had been hoarding away left him. They had no chance like this.

 

Not if he stayed with them.

 

He let go of Aiza and slid to the ground. The Exo reached down and grabbed his arm. "You have to try, Ziv. We can't stop here. Not now."

 

He twisted out of her grasp. "YOU can't." Understanding, Ivola shook his head. Looked about to speak. Ziv interrupted. "I can buy you time."

 

Aiza and Ivola looked at each other. Back at the convoy. They knew he was right.

 

A brief goodbye, an embrace, and they were gone, ducking behind debris and rubble at already twice the speed.

 

Crawling closer to the road, pain screaming through each movement, he waited for the others to be far enough that he could draw the Cabal past them.

 

From there in the dirt, he shouldered his rifle and started shooting.

 

Solstice Robes (Resplendent)

 

The right perspective can give you the perfect advantage.

 

Nethe Pav breathed, tried to find time within time. She was cut off from her exit, the path in front of her blocked by rubble from her own blast. She had taken out three Cabal—they'd fired on her nonstop for what felt like hours but was surely minutes—and now there was one left, wounded, still behind her. She figured she could just leave it.

 

She was wrong. From behind her came sounds of the lumbering beast. Turning, she fired.

 

Nothing. Her weapon was dead or jammed or—it didn't matter. She threw it down and crouched behind a pillar with her blade as the Cabal fired. Once. Twice. Click.

 

The clatter of its rifle hitting the ground. Nethe peered around the pillar in time to see it advancing with its own blade drawn.

 

Leaping from cover, she went for the neck. So did he.

 

They both connected.

 

Solstice Boots (Resplendent)

 

Time flies with the speed of birds on their way out of winter.

 

Serrano laughed as he walked, listening to Cayde-6 on his headset. The Exo was bragging about a distraction he'd used on a Cabal that involved—did he hear that right? A chicken? And more than once? Seemed the Red Legion had weaknesses, and some of them were odd.

 

The story took his mind off his aching legs. His ship had blown up miles outside the City, but he finally saw the Tower coming into view. He was deep into a daydream about napping when he heard a crash up ahead.

 

Serrano picked up speed as he approached a curve in the road, and when he rounded it, he saw the dust cloud first. As it cleared, he saw the overturned Sparrow and, worse, the Guardian underneath it. His heart sank as he ran toward them, but as he got closer, he could tell it was too late. He touched the Guardian's shoulders, bowing his head for a moment.

 

His gaze turned to the Sparrow. A guilty pang made him hesitate, but this Guardian didn't need it anymore. He righted it and climbed on.

 

Flying fast around a curve, Serrano spotted a troop of Cabal firing and closing in on an encampment. The cowering civilians managed to get a couple good shots against the invaders as he watched, but they wouldn't get enough before the Cabal surrounded them.

 

Then he saw the Incendior among the beasts. That was the answer.

 

Serrano turned the Sparrow, aiming straight for the flamethrower in the Cabal's oversized hands and cranking the thrust.

 

He had just enough time to appreciate the surprised Incendior's face.

 

Solstice Bond (Resplendent)

 

Clarity of purpose is a moment that comes but once.

 

It wasn't fair.

 

Marlenx-3 hated to think in those terms, but that was the truth. She was deep in the Inverted Spire looking for Cabal security, and there was only one reason. Some Guardian—who had allegedly gotten their Light back—was trying to make it through this place to find whatever it housed. She was just here to help clear it out, along with several other Guardians who weren't so blessed.

 

If she bought it now, there was no coming back.

 

She ducked into a stairwell and whipped around. Nothing. "Got an empty stairwell here," she said into her headset.

 

Marlenx ran up the steps and pushed through the next door. Swept left, then right. A corridor stretched in both directions.

 

Footsteps down below. She shut the door behind her and went down the left hallway, toward the closest door. As her hand touched the doorknob, she heard a sound behind her.

 

Gun at the ready, she spun around. A door had opened down the hall, and another Guardian was staggering through. No weapon. Wounded.

 

In that moment, everything became clear. This was why she was here. She held up her hand. Stay there.

 

She hurried back into the stairwell and shot off the handle, then turned to face the coming sound.

 

Fair had nothing to do with it.

Various Cosmetics

 

Estival Excursion

 

Returning home is never as fast as you want it to be.

 

The silence from the radio was deafening. Uncomfortable, Ghost outlined a figure-eight in the air.

 

"Why don't we… do an after-action report? The radios will come back on. I'm sure of it." Ghost cleared his throat.

 

"Report ALPHA SIX FOUR BLUE PHI. Visual inspection and scans at Mount Esja confirmed the debris came from the Reef." He paused.

 

"We attempted communication with Awoken allies. Signals to the Queen's Wrath, the Trials beacon, and even intel source GREENRAVEN went unanswered."

 

He sighed. "That likely attracted the enemy attention that followed. For the record, I'll take the blame—trying to call Petra was my idea."

 

"The site was under observation by remnants of the House of Winter. Unlike many of the Fallen we've seen lately, they bore the crests and colors from one of the original Eliksni factions. They were starving and desperate. But none of them tried to flee."

 

Ghost let the words hang in the air for a moment. "Returning to the Tower for a debrief."

 

They flew in silence for a long moment before Ghost activated the comms again—and despite the static, spoke into the void. "Tower Approach, this is City Hawk 7-2-3, please respond."

 

Blacklight Razor (Sparrow)

 

Mounted with harmonized twin pulse engines for a blazing attack.

 

Hey hey hey—

 

Hoping this finds you well, buddy! I gotta say those twin cutters do exactly what you said they did, pulling against each other and whipping the Sparrow forward constantly. It's like being on a slingshot. The thing vibrates constantly, but you get used to it after a while.

 

Here's the coolest thing, though—a few days ago, I had to move off a cliff and dive down 11,000 feet, and the thing literally cut the clouds, leaving swirls of mist around me as I went. It was beautiful.

 

Tell the guys at the shop that I'm happy and to take care of my little brother. He may have some other ideas for you.

 

Sail on, Rafael Rizz

 

Gray Hornet (Sparrow)

 

This Sparrow zips and dives and comes in for the sting.

 

"Does that thing fly?"

 

"Why would you ask that?"

 

"I'm telling you it looks heavy."

 

"Don't be ridiculous. It's not heavy. You have triple-redundant shielding, sure, but that's because of the power under the hood. You put in an engine powerful enough, you can make a boulder fly. But this ain't no Boulder. You'll be zipping around the enemy so fast they'll wonder if you're even there. Try it. I'm telling you."

 

The Right Choice (Ghost Shell)

 

"And… thanks. You know. For being my Guardian."

 

The Light was gone.

 

He drifted in and out of… something, and saw a ship hanging from guidewires in a Cosmodrome warehouse. Fields of flowers amid alien canals, stretching to the horizon.

 

He realized he was muttering. "I have to find… my Guardian."

 

Where had he said that before? His own voice answered him. Confident, and in control. "We don't know what they look like. Not on the outside, anyway."

 

He was beneath a bridge now, somehow. Cabal searchlights lit the puddles on either side. He didn't want to look at what was under the surface.

 

"On the inside. I'd always known who you were." He blinked. He wished he could cry. "Together, we could be something… more." It started raining again.

 

Drift. A masked woman with black tears streaming down her face.

 

"Everything we've seen."

 

Drift. Red braids of nanotechnology around the throats of angry scavengers.

 

"Everything we've done."

 

The Cabal continued their grim work, and the last safe place on Earth cracked beneath their booted heels.

 

"I made the right choice."

 

Ghost opened his shell to cast back the darkness. He was alone.

 

And in the night beyond, the rain came down.

 

Comrades in Arms (Sparrow)

 

None of us can do it alone. And none of us should want to.

 

In his head, the commentary was enthusiastic.

 

"Ren sideslips the burning tank and punches through the back wall!"

 

The racer redlined and the machine beneath him screamed in protest.

 

"The Cabal has the City on the brink but he's at the top of his game! He heads for Peregrine district at top speed. Can he make it?"

 

Damn right he'll make it. Just three more blo—

 

An explosion split the sky, and the Hunter distantly heard Didi screaming a warning as the bike disintegrated. A pile of debris rose to meet him.

 

His next memory: a pitted Cabal mask and the shouts of a Centurion. It had Marcus by the neck. His vision tunneled. Everything hurt. His leg was broken. "Been a good run for this racer, folks, but looks like…"

 

A shoulder charge took the monster off its feet, and Marcus dropped to the ground. He heard more than saw the brutal hand-to-hand battle that followed.

 

After, the other man dropped to a knee at his side. His shadow fell over Marcus.

 

No words, just a hand on his shoulder. Then a lightness. The Hunter felt himself borne up into the familiar arms of a Titan.

 

Enoch Bast strode away through the end of the world, carrying his partner to safety.

 

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