"Prepare for transmat." Sarah heard Aspen say before she felt the familiar feeling of being weightless, suspended in nothingness, followed by her feet softly touching down on the pale, dusty surface of the moon. As she looked over to her left she could see Fate standing beside her with her hand resting on the handle of her hand cannon which she had checked over many times on the short flight to the Moon. Sarah held onto the Vision tightly, not wanting her most viable form of defence to leave her possession, not here in this place. The guardian duo had landed at the base of a large overhanging cliff that was located far behind the Temple of Crota, a place full of dark secrets that were best kept as secrets. At the base of the steep concave cliff was the jagged, tooth-like maw of a dark tunnel that the Hive had no knowledge of, the path Fate had used to escape from the claws of the Hive when she ventured in to find Marcus. The opening of the tunnel was darker than anything Sarah had ever seen giving its darkness a look of impenetrability. Jagged rocks jutted out from the area surrounding the entrance of the tunnel giving it the look of an Ogers mouth.
Fate swallowed hard as she looked at the opening of the dark tunnel that led into the miles of endless warrens below the surface of Earth's neighbor. Sighing softly, Fate drew the hand cannon with a memorized movement, feeling the gun slide free from it's holster and raising it in front of her, ready to drop the first of the Darkness' minions that dared to attack her. She glanced down to the lower portion of the HUD in her helmet and saw that Sarah was looking to her, waiting for her lead. Fate let out a deep breath and let herself relax, taking in whatever Light she could before they began on their path into the dark below.
"Ready Sarah?" Fate asked, looking over to her for confirmation.
"As ready as I'll ever be." She replied with confidence.
"Well then, let's not keep our victims waiting. It's gonna be tight in the tunnel so you may want to use the fusion rifle, it's much better for close quarters than a scout rifle." Fate warned before beginning into the dark veil that lay before her.
Sarah reached to her back and pulled the beautiful white weapon from its magnetic holster while replacing it's vacant spot with the Vision of Confluence. She checked the charge pack one last time, ensuring it was fully charged before she entered the darkness behind Fate. As she entered the mouth of the cave she could feel the weight of the darkness pull down on her like a weighted blanket. Sarah could feel her connection to the Traveler's Light grow dimmer as she continued down into the oppressive dark that consumed the tunnel. After a few moments of slowly stumbling through the darkness with no hint of direction or knowledge of the obstacles that lay before the two, Fate flipped a switch on her gun and the flashlight that was under its barrel came to life with a bright white glow. Sarah ran her fingers over the tip of her weapons fusion coils and found the same device Fate had on her weapon though the flashlight on the fusion rifle wasn't there before entering the cave. As she turned on the light she was disturbed to find hundreds of bones lying on the white powdery ground beneath her feet. Some of the bones were recognizable as human skulls, femurs, and hands while others were obviously Hive remains, skulls of weak Thrall who had been eaten by their broodlings in a battle for dominance.
Doing her best to avoid stepping on any of the bones, Fate pushed forward through the dark, keeping her gaze ahead of her. The Awoken Hunter was on edge as she noticed the large number of remains that had not been cluttering the floor the first time she had ventured through this dark passage. The sheer number of bones let her know that the Hive had become more active in this part of the tunnels, a fact she decided not to share with Sarah. Fate looked down at the lower left side of her HUD and saw that Sarah's heart beat monitor was climbing steadily as the tunnel began to slope downwards towards an even darker blackness that their lights could not penetrate, a sign of the Darkness' overwhelming hold on the area. Fate stopped before the lightless black that lingered in front of her and stared at it for a moment as she contemplated what lay on the other side. She looked back and saw Sarah staring at the veil too, her helmet camera showing the look of shock and fear that was on her face.
"Hey, don't focus on the dark. Keep your mind on the Light that thrives within you, it will protect you from the dark so long as you don't lose it." Fate said calmly to her through the mental link they both now shared with Aspen.
"Easier said than done." Sarah replied with worry in her tone.
Fate paused, understanding the fear that gripped her partner. "Hey, we're gonna be fine okay, I'll keep you safe as long as you keep me safe. We are a team and teams have each other's backs." Fate said reassuringly with a slight smile.
Sarah nodded slowly, taking a few deep breaths before she gestured to the dark veil before them. "That means Aspen can't revive us in there right?" She asked in a much calmer tone.
"I won't be able to revive you but as long as you don't take too much damage I can heal you." Aspen replied.
"Stay by me and we'll get through this." Fate added before she turned off her light, letting the darkness wash over her.
Sarah let out a breath and flipped her light off, letting the darkness resume it's hold on the tunnel, returning it to its pitch black state. Sarah watched as Fate stepped through the dark veil and waited a second before she too stepped through. As soon as she was on the other side her body began to tremble as a cold feeling came over her. Sarah felt the fear eating away at her stomach and pulled forth an image of Traveler to her mind, doing her best to push the fear from her thoughts. Slowly but surely, it worked. Sarah could see blue energy crackling across the image of the Traveler she saw with her mind's eye, that was her power, her Light, her weapon with which she would battle the Darkness till she drew her final breath. The feeling of renewed confidence warmed the Warlock as she felt the Arc energy within her grow in intensity, she was ready for whatever jumped out to strike her or her friend.
Fate smiled slightly as she watched Sarah's heart rate slow to a normal rhythm, her confidence in her rookie companion bolstered as she felt the presence of her Light push upon her own Light. She took a few more cautious steps forward into the dark before she stopped and held up her hand to stop Sarah from moving. There was something wrong here, she could feel it in her bones, all of her instincts told her to turn and run but her will overpowered their pleading. Fate moved her feet around herself for a moment before she realized what was wrong, the trap they had stumbled into. The ground beneath her was hollow, waiting to cave in at the slightest change in pressure, a change Fate and Sarah had already caused. A low rumbling began to echo through the tunnel they were in and groups of three glowing green eyes began to come to life all around the Guardians, they were surrounded. Fate felt the ground continue to rumble as she flipped the safety on her hand cannon off. The low pitched whine of Sarah's fusion rifle charging up began to come from behind Fate as she felt Sara press her back against her own as her trigger finger moved to fire the weapon.
Just before the Guardians could fire their weapons at the Hive that surrounded them, the floor beneath their feet collapsed and sent the pair tumbling down into a pit full of black, sticky liquid that reeked of Ogre vomit. Fate landed with a splash on her back and quickly rolled into a standing position as she raised her weapon up to the eyes that peered down into the hole and readied to fire at them. Sarah landed face down in the pool of liquid and pushed herself up onto her knees, grabbing the gun from the liquid and shaking off the fluid before she too stood and aimed up at the large group of Hive acolytes that stared down at them. Neither of the Guardians fired at the Hive above, both confused by the Hive's lack of weapons fire. Sarah glanced over to Fate looking for a sign of what to do, upon finding none she looked back up to the unblinking eyes.
"What do we do?" She asked without pulling her eyes away from the enemy.
"We be very careful, smell the air." Fate said calmly as she too kept her eyes locked on the Hive.
Sarah breathed in through her nose and almost retched into her helmet as the rancid odor stung her nostrils. "What the hell is that?" She said as she held her breath.
After a moment of hesitation Fate replied. "It's Ogre vomit. Behind us there is an Ogre, above us, a squadron of Acolytes."
"How do we handle this?" Sarah asked with a slightly nervous tone as fear began to chew away at her confidence.
"You shoot the Ogre, I'll handle the Acolytes, if that fails," Fate paused and shrugged nonchalantly. "Well lets just hope it doesn't." She said with a grin.
"When?" Before the words could echo in the pit Fate pulled the trigger and split the ugly head of an Acolyte in two as a blinding flash exploded out from the body causing the Ogre to howl in pain as it was momentarily blinded.
Sarah wasted no time in turning around and letting a volley of purple energy fly forth from the fusion coils of her weapon. She watched as they illuminated the large Ogre in a purple glow that caused it's features to look much larger and more exaggerated than they really were. For a moment the fusion rifles shots stuck to the Oger's face and whirred before they exploded in slightly offset detonations that caused chunks of the membrane that covered the Oger's eyes to fly outward as they dissolved with a purple glow. Sarah paid no mind to the screeching of the Acolytes above her or the thunderous shots of Fate's weapon and instead focused on placing her next volley of energy projectiles into the now exposed eyes of the Ogre. Before her shot could finish charging, the Ogre roared as a bright purple beam shot out from its eyes, missing Fate and Sarah by no more than a few inches. Sarah rolled to the side and stood up with her next shot already charging and aimed for the Ogre's exposed eyes. With the release of the trigger the spray of sticky purple explosives hit their target and remained in place for a second before exploding in a bright flash of purple light. Sarah watched in awe for a moment as the Ogre's head dissolved in a beautiful purple glow that brought the remains of its body down to the ground with a large splash.
Fate grinned wickedly as she opened fire on the Hive, taking more than great pleasure in ending their miserable existences. Shot after shot met their respective heads and flash after flash illuminated her next victim but no matter how many she killed, more kept firing their shredders into the pit. Fate flicked her weapon to the side and popped out the expended ammo cartridge with the smoothness of muscle memory, easily slapping in the next pack of ammo and continuing to fire at the seemingly endless horde of enemies. The sounds of the fusion rifle shots cooking the air as they traveled through it sounded like a melody of death to her ears and she let out an insane laugh as she flung an explosive knife at an Acolyte, causing its body to fly into several pieces as the knife exploded. As the knife detonated the Oger's final cries reverberated in the chamber they were pinned down in. Worry was only a distant memory in her mind even as a black, boomer wielding Knight peered into the pit and fired a large blue shot at Fate. She jumped to the side and let the shot explode under the dark black liquid her and Sarah were standing in. Fate turned her attention to the Knight and fired three rounds into its heavily armored head to no effect except the rocking of its skull. The Knight let out a bellowing roar as green Hive energy began to swirl around it, empowering its attacks and health.
Boomer shots began to rain down upon the trapped Guardians and much to Fate's surprise, the Knight's target had shifted from her to Sarah who was gliding through the air in an attempt to dodge the knights shots. Fate held out her hand and focused the Light into creating an incendiary grenade which she lobbed into the air, waiting until it was directly above the pit then shot at it with deadly precision. The grenade exploded and set many of the Hive ablaze with the flames of the Light, burning away at the very darkness that consumed the Hive's souls, though Fate doubted that the Hive possessed such things. Fate watched as her enemies burned to nothing but ash that blew down into the pit as Sarah landed back down into the liquid with a heavy exhale over her coms. For a moment Fate and Sarah both watched the opening with anticipation, waiting for the next unfortunate Acolyte to poke its head over the edge only to lose it in a firestorm of lead and energy projectiles, but nothing looked over, nothing moved.
"I'm not detecting any movement and the levels of Darkness have fallen by a considerable amount." Aspen paused and let his voice linger in the darkness for a moment, listening for any sounds of movement, nothing. "I think we're safe, for now." He said with a relieved tone.
Sarah let out a long breath that she felt like she had held onto the whole fight. "I think I like this gun." She said as she replaced the charge pack of the fusion rifle with one that Aspen had materialized upon watching her eject the spent pack. "Thanks Aspen."
Fate looked up to the opening of the pit they had fallen into and sighed as she realized it was too high for them to jump out of. The steep, black liquid oozing walls of the hole made climbing out an impossibility. She turned around and looked to Sarah who was looking up at the opening with a contemplative look residing on her face over the helmet cam. In her mind Sarah was running through ways to get out of the trap they had fallen into, her thoughts finally deciding on a single solution. Smiling, she looked to Fate who was waiting for Sarah's input on the situation.
"Any ideas on how to get out of here?" She asked.
"Yeah, I got one. If we do it right we can stand on the Ogre and hold onto each other, you use your jumps to get us up as high as you can and I'll glide us the rest of the way." Sarah said confidently.
"You sure that will work?" Aspen chimed in from inside their helmet comms. "Jumping with the weight of two people will decrease the height of Fate's jumps by a significant amount. Plus the drag on your glide will bring you down more than it will up." He noted.
"If you're saying I'm fat, I'm offended but that's where her boots come in handy. If we increase the power to the hydraulic boosters it should compensate for the added weight and I can avoid adding drag to my glide by activating it when Fate's momentum is at its highest. The momentum will carry us up at a forty-three degree arc which will get us just far enough to grab onto the edge at chest level." Sarah stated in a tone similar to Ikora's when she stated facts.
"Sheesh, Warlocks am I right Aspen?" Fate asked Aspen in a sarcastic tone.
"She's right. That's actually pretty impressive, even for a Warlock." Aspen replied with a slight chuckle.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Sarah asked defensively, the joke sailing over her helmeted head.
"You'll understand if you talk to any Warlocks about Hunters." Aspen responded.
Fate sloshed through the pool of rancid black liquid that enveloped her feet, hiding her boots beneath it's dark surface, with a disgusted expression until she approached the corpse of the Ogre. Sarah followed behind her and was the first to climb up onto the back of the large, putrid, vessel of Darkness, it's flesh squishing and leaking puss as her boots weighed down onto it. She had to fight every urge she had to not throw up in her helmet, knowing the consequences of that would be much worse than getting her boots dirty. Reaching out a gloved hand to Fate, Sarah helped her partner up onto the back of the Ogre and looked up to the opening where light from the still smoldering bodies of the Hive trickled down into the pit. Fate kneeled down with one leg extended in front of her while the other held her up, and began to adjust the power supplied to the hydraulic booster in each leg before she stood up slowly.
"If my legs get ripped off please shoot me quickly." Fate said as she wrapped her arms around Sarah.
"Excuse me what?" Sarah asked with worry and shock in her voice.
"I'm just saying, it happened to Marcus a few times while he was testing these." Fate warned before she leaned forward and jumped once, lifting her and Sarah into the air without the aid of the booster. The second jump followed quickly and lifted them higher than the first causing Sarah to hold onto Fate tighter. A loud cracking sound followed by a pained scream from Fate carried them past the halfway point. Sarah concentrated and blocked out Fate's cries as she waited till the momentum reached its peak then activated her glide, sending them at the predicted upward arc that threw them at chest height into the edge of the pit.
Sarah let go of Fate just before she hit the edge and grabbed ahold with one hand, letting the other fall to grab onto Fate's as her pain caused her to miss the ledge. The two dangled over the pit on a slipping grip while Fate tried desperately to hold onto Sarah's hand, the weight of her armor pulling her slowly downward while Aspen tried to repair the broken legs. Sarah felt her fingers slipping slowly off the edge and forced herself to grip the loose ground tighter, sending a cramping pain up her arm as she strained all of her muscles to support their combined weight. Sarah let out a slow breath as she focused all her thoughts to the light that resided within her, then with striking calm, she let go. Just before they fell back into the pool of dark liquid she reached out with her free hand and grasped the air and pulled, feeling a cool sensation wash over her with a dull flash. For a moment Sarah and Fate were surrounded in crackling, blue arc energy but she breathed in and it faded leaving them to fall down heavily onto the ground above the pit.
Sarah gasped as her lungs burned with the arc energy she had channeled in order to use blink, a draining skill, to those unused to the ability she should have only been able to use while in her Stormtrance. She lay on her back staring up at the darkness as cooling air soothed the burning in her chest that rose and fell in quick succession. Fate lay beside her shivering from the unexpected blast of Light that washed over her as Sarah blinked both of them out of the pit. As she directed her blue eyes to the lower left of the HUD, she could see that Sarah's heart was racing, it's beats nearly double Fates' own. Once Aspen had repaired her legs well enough, she rolled over and placed her gloved hand atop Sarahs and squeezed it gently as she tried to calm the panicking girl.
"Hey, it's okay. Take slow deep breaths. You did good, we're out of the pit." She cooed as she held Sarah's hand which twitched from the residual energy that arced strands of blue across her body.
"Wh-what was t-that?" Sarah managed to stutter over the involuntary muscle movements that painlessly attacked her body.
Fate let out a soft sigh of relief once she heard Sarah speak and let her head hang as she herself tried to relax. "That is called 'Blink'. It's a short range teleport normally used by Void Walkers and Blade Dancers. I didn't know Stormcallers could use it too. Do your lungs burn?"
"Y-yeah they d-do." Sarah replied slowly as the arc induced twitching gradually stopped.
"That's because you breathed in Arc energy. That used to happen to Marcus when he would Blink places." Fate said with a lingering fondness in her tone.
Slowly Fate pushed herself to her feet and bent over, adjusting the hydraulic booster back down to their normal levels before she fixed a fold in the cloak on her back and offered a hand to help Sarah to her feet. The human reached up slowly, half expecting her muscles to twitch once more or for her to be plunged back into the crackling web of arc energy she had just torn through. A jolt of electricity discharged as Fate's hand made contact with Sarah's though the weak shock was hardly noticed by the Awoken Hunter. As she pulled Sarah to her feet, she noticed a grimace of pain on Sarah's face as she stood and held her shoulder where the shredder had struck. Fate took hold of Sarah's shoulder and turned her around as she began to examine the wound from the shredder with the light Aspen provided through his optic. The shot had left a jagged shredder needle embedded into Sara's shoulder blade that jutted out almost three inches. Without a moment of hesitation, Fate grabbed the needle and pulled it out quickly causing Sarah to bite down hard onto her lip. As the taste of blood filled her mouth Sarah felt Aspen healing the wound and mending the hole in her robes and soon the pain was gone from both her shoulder and lip.
The Warlock whirled around on the heels of her boots and shot a glare at Fate who returned the look with a pleased smile. "Next time warn me before you do something like that again!" Sarah chided.
"What would have been the purpose of delaying the inevitable?" Fate asked teasingly as she began to continue down the path they had started on, her hands holding onto her hand cannon tightly, awaiting the next threat to leap out from the oppressive shadows.
"To give me time to prepare!" Sarah whined as she loaded a new charge pack into her fusion rifle with a satisfying click that was followed by the faint whir of the weapon powering up once more.
"Try to keep your voice down, we aren't the only ones in these tunnels." Fate said in a successful attempt to hush her complaining companion.
For a few minutes Fate enjoyed the silence that was only interrupted by the cracking of the bone they walked upon, but after a while the lack of conversation began to put imaginary sounds into her ears. The sound of a Thrall growling in the empty shadow, the whispers of a Wizard preparing a ritual, the groans of a Knight shifting its sword around in anticipation. Finally Fate spoke up.
"So what are you going to name it?" Fate asked curiously as she stepped over a skull that lay on the floor.
"What am I going to name what?" Sarah asked in a moment of confusion. "The fusion rifle?"
"No, the laces of your boots. Of course the fusion rifle," she said with a chuckle at her sarcasm. 'If Cayde had heard that he would have laughed.' She thought to herself.
Sarah gave the weapon a contemplative stare, the dim light being cast by Fate's weapon made the magenta plexiglass look like Amethyst crystal. As she stared down at it she heard a man's voice from deep in her mind call out a name that made her heart skip a beat though she didn't know why. "I think I'll call it the Telesto," Sarah finally said firmly.
Fate gave an agreeable nod of approval as they continued their way down the winding path. "I like it, it's mysterious yet holds a certain power to it. Where did you come up with that?" She asked while sidestepping the complete corpse of a Knight, previously run through by another Knight's blade.
Sarah shrugged and returned the weapon to the pocket of her shoulder. "Honestly? I heard a man say that name while I was thinking about it." She said with a strange feeling of being watched creeping up onto her.
Fate passed an unseen glance to Aspen who rotated his shell in confusion. "How far until we reach the room Aspen?" She queried, doing her best to push Sarah's words out of her mind. Her explanation was unsettling and made Fate wonder just how deep their mental link went. That was what Marcus had called the weapon too and Fate was thinking about that when Sarah named it once more.
"We're almost there, just around these two bends. I'm picking up something moving in there. Whatever it is it is very small," he reported to the pair with the calmness of a machine despite the hope that threatened to spill out of him at any moment.
"Could it be her?" Fate asked as she hurried her pace, forgetting that Sarah was following behind, nearly blind in the dark without the Hunter's uncanny ability to sense surroundings in pitch blackness.
"I can't tell from here but I can't think of anything else that small," he paused and stopped himself in front of Fate, turning to look at her with his optic. "If it is her, I must warn you all I sense in there is the Darkness and its denser than normal." He warned but she did not heed the message and instead pushed past him into what was revealed to be the same chamber where Marcus was found.
The room was mostly circular with a roughly dome like roof above. Glowing Hive runes were etched in a ring surrounding a dark black pedestal, atop which rested the crystal coffin of Marcus Ren. Inside the dark green crystal, Fate could still make out the look of pain and agony on his perfectly preserved face. Her eyes had to be pulled off the crystal but a brief flash of light in the corner of the room. In a smooth and silent motion, Fate raised her cannon and began to cautiously approach the flickering blue light which came from behind a small boulder.
"No no no no no, it isn't riii-" the female voice was cut off by a shrill, electronic jumble of unintelligible words in various languages. "Where is he!" The voice cried out in agony.
"Pine… Pine, is that you?" Fate asked with a hopeful tone as she slowly crept out from behind the rock.
"F-f-f," she glitched the first sound of Fates name out repeatedly.
Fate swallowed her fear and stepped into view of the voice and instantly felt the hot tears streaming down her cheeks. Her eyes found Pine, her once deep green shell now severely chipped, scratched, now dusty white. Her optic was dark and sparking at random, the once white eye no longer in its socket. Without hesitation Fate reached out and stopped the Ghost up with one hand and pulled her into the best embrace she could give one so small. Aspen was right however, no trace of the Light remained inside of the little ghost but it didn't matter to Fate. A piece of Marcus still lived and that was more than enough for her.
"Sarah, we're moving out." Fate said aloud, not yet realizing that Sarah was no longer with her, her own blues locked onto the poor ghost in her hand.
"AHHHHHHHH!" An ear splitting scream filled the room around Fate and the ghosts.
"Sarah!" Fate gasped as the realization dawned on her, Sarah was in danger.