Chapter Two

The Tower was impressive, looming high over the Last City. Dusk was upon them and as far as she could see lights dotted the scenery below. The Traveler was a wonder it itself, reflecting the golden glow of the city in its white surface. Above stars shone brightly in the fading light of day but there was no time to enjoy it.

"C'mon. I have to take you to the Vanguard," Ghost explained, leading the way across the small courtyard and down a set of stairs.

The guardian followed, taking in the sights and sounds around her. To her right a man, at least a couple heads taller than her, stood in full armor, his helmet adorned in bull horns. He spoke in a deep booming voice to a few smaller men around him who seemed enraptured by his stories of something called the Crucible.

"Keep up," Ghost urged, and the guardian trotted to join him at the entrance to a large control room with a table in the middle. Three people spoke amongst themselves but upon seeing the guardian at the top of the stairs the man at the far end raised a hand to quiet them.

"A new guardian?" he asked and the other two turned their attention to her as well.

The woman raised a brow, the hint of a smile curving her full lips as the man across from her crossed his arms over his chest with a curious tilt of his head. The guardian paused for a fraction of a second when she realized the man was no man at all but a robot with glowing blue eyes and a horn sticking out of his forehead.

"Yes, Commander Zavala. I found her in the Cosmodrone," Ghost explained, leading the way down the stairs.

"I see," Zavala said, motioning the guardian nearer. The guardian passed behind the robot, giving him a wide berth as she approached Zavala. He gave her a once over and she felt the eyes of everyone in the room on her. "I'm Zavala, Titan Vanguard. Ikora and Cayde-6 are over the Warlocks and the Hunters," he explained, motioning to the other two at the table. "Well, let's get you sorted into a class and get you outfitted."

"I've seen her fight," Ghost chimed in. "I think she'd make an excellent Hunter."

"Very well. Welcome to our ranks, Hunter. Tell me, what's your name?" Zavala asked, puffing up his chest.

A name? She hadn't had time to consider a name. Her cheeks flushed red, eyes cast down to the floor. It would be too embarrassing to admit she had no name but what choice did she have? "I don't have one."

"It's alright. Guardians don't remember who they were before their death. Take your time and find a name that suits you," Ikora said, sensing the girl's discomfort.

"Oh, can I name this one?" Cayde chimed in. "I've always wanted to name a Hunter."

Ikora cut her eyes at the Hunter Vanguard as if to warn him but he ignored her.

The guardian turned to face him, mouth open to speak, but the words wouldn't come to her. She had no ideas for a name just yet and she didn't trust a stranger to name her, but he was so excited it was hard to tell him no.

"How about Wren? You know, like the little bird?" he suggested with great enthusiasm.

"You don't have to let him name you," Ikora said, planting her hands on her hips. The name wasn't bad; it was actually much better than she'd been expecting from him, but their new guardian seemed to be a little on the quiet side and she didn't want her to feel railroaded into a name she didn't like.

"It's okay," the guardian said. "I can't think of anything anyway."

"Good! Wren it is," Cayde said, clapping his hands together. Wren could swear that his robotic face looked pleased. "Let's get you some better gear and a cloak and you'll be all set."

"Don't take too long Cayde. The Speaker will want to meet her soon," Zavala said as Cayde motioned Wren to follow him.

"Yeah yeah," he waved over his shoulder. "You hungry, kid? You gotta be hungry. I mean, you haven't eaten in likeā€¦ 500 years. What say we go get some food? I know this great little ramen shop. You like spicy ramen? I guess you wouldn't know that."

Wren stared at him, blinking, as he rambled on. What on earth was he talking about? His eyes met hers and she knew she must have had a look on her face because he chuckled and shook his head.

"Sorry. I don't get out of that control room enough. We're Hunters, you and me. We don't belong caged up in here. We're meant to be out there, beyond the City walls with a Sparrow between our knees and wind in our cloaks."

"Sparrow?"

"Oh yeah, no Sparrow yet. Trust me, kid, you're gonna love it," he said as they entered the Vault.

Wren stood in awe at the massive room; rows upon rows of helmets, boots, chest pieces, and gauntlets. Weapons of every type hung up on the walls, tags dangling from their trigger guards. Chests were pushed against the walls on all sides and each was labeled according to its contents. Cayde-6 poked through some crates and walked the isles picking up gear as he went before finally returning to Wren.

"This is the Vault. We keep all our gear here when we're not using it. Everything's labeled and organized so you don't have to worry about losing your stuff. Sorry I don't have anything better for you but you'll find plenty of stuff out there in the wilds," he explained. "What type of gun do you want? I'm surprised that rifle you're carrying got you though any sort of battle. You should turn it over to our gunsmith, Banshee, before you take it out there again. Hate for you to end up with your head on a pike because your gun jammed."

"Go ahead, Wren. Find something you like," Ghost said.

"What about that one?" she asked, pointing to an unlabeled gun beside Cayde's head.

"Hand cannon? A woman after my own heart," he said, pulling it down and twirling it in his hand before shoving it in his empty holster. "It's got some nice weight and it'll get you through, but I would keep my eyes open for something better," he said. "You go ahead and get changed and I'll take your rifle and this hand cannon to ol' Banshee. Just leave your old gear on that bench back there so it can be fixed up and used later."

"Thank you," Wren said, arms full of the gear he'd handed over.

"No problem, Dove," he said, leaving her alone in the Vault.

"Dove?" she asked, glancing up at her Ghost. "I thought it was Wren?"

"You'll have to ignore Cayde sometimes," he said dryly. "He likes to play around a lot."

"I see. He's a talker," she grinned, ducking into a side room to strip off her old gear.

"That's an understatement," Ghost chuckled.

Wren laid her gear on the bench, straightening her new cloak before catching a glimpse of herself in a broken mirror. Wavy black hair framed her face, contrasting against her pale blue skin. Black paint streaked her face around her eyes, accentuating their vibrant blue. She felt confused and a little afraid, but she looked like a warrior. What was she doing? Everything was happening so fast. A few hours ago, she'd been dead; just a skeleton laying in a car somewhere in the Cosmodrone. Now she was a guardian? What did that even mean? Her stomach rolled, and she covered her face with her hands, pressing her palms into her eyes and exhaling shakily.

"Are you alright, Wren?" Ghost asked, hovering before her.

"I need some air," she said, stepping back out onto the courtyard. Banners fluttered gently in the breeze from a ship that had docked nearby. It helped to ease her stomach some, but her nerves were still on edge. She had so many questions about this world she had been brought back into. Why was this the only last safe place? What was the Traveler and what did it mean to be a guardian? Was she worthy of it? Could she even do what they wanted from her?

"C'mon kid, let's go get some ramen," Cayde said, rubbing his hands together as he trotted toward her but a stern voice from across the courtyard stopped him in his tracks.

"Cayde, get that Hunter to the Speaker ASAP," Zavala ordered.

"Dammit," Cayde huffed. "We've been caught.

"It's alright. If you need to get back, I'm sure Ghost can show me the way," Wren said.

"And go back now? No way. I'm taking advantage of any little bit of freedom I can get," Cayde said. "Besides, if we're lucky the Speaker won't take long and we can get dinner."

"Is food all you can think about?" Wren asked, immediately regretting the words as she blurted them out. "Sorry, that came out wrong."

"Hey, you okay?" he asked, throwing out an arm to stop her when he noticed the shaking of her hands. It was hard for him to tell when the color left the face of an Awoken, but she did look paler than she had before.

"I'm fine," she said, avoiding his gaze.

"Look, I know this is a lot to take in, but the Speaker will explain everything. Just relax, okay?" he said, giving her a hearty pat on the shoulder. "It's going to be fine. Now get in there," he said, pushing her toward the bridge that connected the main walk of the North Tower to the observatory where the Speaker waited. He watched her go, peeking over her shoulder to see if he was still there, her blue eyes glowing in the dim light. He flashed her a thumbs up and she disappeared around the corner. She needed encouragement but seeing the fear in her eyes, he wasn't so sure the Ghost had made the right choice. Only time would tell.