Ch. 36 The Beginning of Crota's End.
Sorry this is late, most of it is because I had mountains of ideas that it gave me a severe case of writer's block and it took a while to even begin this chapter. Still I am happy with it and hope you all are as well. Dovahkiin is next for those who have been patient!
Also, I read that Wizards could reproduce either sexually or aesexually...hmm...decisions, decisions for the next chapter.
-Two days prior-
Despite the constant checking, it still took more than a day for the first report to arrive and as expected it wasn't much. Some telemetry and atmospheric data was prevalent along with a set of rough coordinates which gave the Vanguard some measure of relief that they had an idea of a location of where their wayward Guardian was.
Unfortunately, the small bit that was of concern to one of the Vanguard was the status of the Guardian in question, and what little he had wasn't comforting in the least. Wound wise he seemed to be fine, possibly some bruises and minor damage internally despite his long fall but that wasn't what made Cayde worried.
"Nothing solid but a decent start." Ikora stated as she read the reports. "When we get a second report then we can start putting a picture together of what we need to prepare for."
Felix was calmly studying what he could send to Lakshmi while Galva was trying to draw some sort of conclusion that apparently only she could see. Zavala, on the other hand was fighting a lengthy internal battle of what to do next. "But how long until the next report comes in?" Zavala asked as he showed a rare moment of worry.
"That part is unknown, I am surprised it took this long to get the first report." Galva said as she leaned back from the table. "Still we need more if we want to plan a raid on the Hellmouth."
"So it's another waiting game." Felix mused while Cayde clenched his fists and wanted to pound something into dust. "Cayde, calm down; there's nothing we can do about the situation except wait for Fireteam Spirit to deliver their findings."
"Screw the findings!" Cayde all but shouted as the four Vanguards took an unconscious step back. "I want my Guardian back from whatever Hell he is in right now and yet here we are standing around waiting for something that might not come at all!"
"Oh shut up for once Zavala, if this was a Titan then we wouldn't even be having this conversation and you know it." Cayde shot back as Zavala bristled. "As tough as you are, you have a soft spot for your Titans and would be trying to do everything you can to retrieve them!"
"CAYDE ENOUGH!" Ikora shouted as Cayde snarled but said nothing. "Cayde, getting angry will not change anything nor will it help the situation right now."
"Maybe we should do what Felix suggested and look at this from a different angle." Galva began as she looked around the table. "Cayde, you are probably correct if the roles were any different and it was a Warlock or Titan held but you must also view this from the Class perspective. Hunters are, in essence, information gatherers and scouts for the most part while Warlocks are support and plan-makers while Titan's are the front-line defenders.
"Hunters are important to us and we rely heavily on their eyes, but the specific Hunter in question however..." Galva trailed off as Cayde was close to throwing his knife into her last human eye. "He is what most of us consider...expendable in the eyes of the Vanguard.
"If we needed a full Fireteam in a pinch and he was available then I would have full confidence in his abilities to perform as he should but I would not give him a solo scout mission and expect him to collect any meaningful information and leave silently. His skills are below average and his abilities are some of the lowest the Vanguard has ever had; I am not saying this to be mean or hurtful, merely stating facts." Galva finished as Cayde still fumed but he couldn't deny what she said and that tempered his anger and replace it with a bit of hurt.
"So what are you saying then?" Felix asked as he felt a lump form in his throat and it wasn't from a cough.
"We have sent unprepared Guardians on many failed missions with disastrous results, most notably with Warden and the Vault of Glass...and here we have almost the same scenario." Galva began and around the table became very heavy and tense. "There is only one difference between the two: Warden, despite what happened, had the ability and skill to make it out, albeit changed but still come home; Gabriel, however, is being held by one of our most deadly foes in his own maze and none of us have any faith in his abilities to come out."
"What are you suggesting Galva?" Zavala asked heavily even though his brain had already figured it out.
"As Felix said yesterday, he is compromised beyond what we consider safe but he has no knowledge that they would wish to extract nor any special skills that would be considered needed." Galva explained as Cayde went to retort but she silenced him with a hand. "We have done just fine without his heightened senses for over a thousand years Cayde, it is no great loss to us if he were to disappear now. He is not needed to keep the Fallen in check nor is he needed to fill any special role, he has no use to us in any normal sense. That is why I wish to bring this to a vote. We keep him where he is and allow him to do some good as is his duty as a Guardian."
"Absolutely not!" Cayde shouted as his processors overloaded at the mere thought. "I have gone on with a lot of stupid decisions and even made a few of my own but this is it. Under no circumstance will I-"
"Cayde, it's time we put this to rest." Zavala said finally. "We will have our vote."
-Present Day with Alex-
"There's no way we can get to these coordinates from the Hellmouth." Seth said as he set his ship for auto-pilot towards the Moon. "At least not in any time sensitive manner." He amended after a moment and was rewarded with a grunt from the channel.
"Options?" Alex asked as they followed the three Fallen Skiffs. "I don't like breaking rules unless I have to so we need options or we all are getting Exiled when we return."
"You will need to go into the deepest part of the Moon, a place where not even the Light can penetrate. A place where Darkness will be at his most difficult to conquer." Eris replied softly with a hint of remorse in her tone. "I can guide you as much as I can but I worry that we must be prepared to face Crota himself if we are to succeed." And there was the heavy weight on all of their shoulders.
"We aren't anywhere near prepared for that Eris." Seth replied as he heard Eris sigh on the other end.
"I know...but to pull one of us from the dark. We must be prepared for the worst." Was all Eris said before she went silent.
"So why did you decide to come along?" Alex asked Seth as the Hunter double checked his ammo stock behind his seat.
"Who else would you bring to track a Guardian?" Seth asked in return as he finished his ammo count. "Besides, every time this kid is involved there's bound to be some fun."
"What you call fun is what we call a nightmare." Alex muttered before turning back to the ever-growing moon.
"Alex, we're going to bring him back right?" Cyrus asked suddenly through a private channel.
"You know we are Cyrus, why are you asking?" Alex questioned curiously as Cyrus went silent for a moment. "Either we come back with him Cyrus or none of us come back at all; you know that right?"
"I do...it's just...what if not all of him comes back?" Cyrus asked worriedly as his tone went lower towards the end. "What if he's...too far gone?"
"That's what we are trying to prevent Cyrus, have some faith in your friend; he's made it this far and we haven't let one Guardian die in our Fireteam yet." Alex said as he gave the worried Warlock an unseen grin despite his own nerves. "I made a promise to Eddie...we'll get him back." Alex finished, though Cyrus's words poked at him internally. "Kid...for all our sakes, don't be too far gone."
It seemed like an eternity now, this endless march into the growing depths of the dark of the Moon. It seemed to be crawling up his skin like thousands of little bugs that he couldn't scratch off. Bit by bit he was dragged deeper into the dark...into the unknown.
Every movement closer made the voices louder; their promises of warmth and comfort more soothing to his ears, their willingness to embrace him when others would cast him out.
They promised safety...a place where he wouldn't be cast aside like trash.
Or at least he thought.
"He is not broken like you promised he would be." He heard a raspy voice say from somewhere around him. "Omnigul, I lost much of my army and for one Guardian and you even failed to break him?!"
"He is almost mine."
"They are coming for him and you have led them here. Chain him to the Shard and leave my sight." Was the last he heard before the sound of portal closing reached his ears. He barely had the strength to lift his head but he tried...
And came face to face with the entity he never thought he would see again. The bone-like face contorted into a permanent scowl and eerie glowing blue chitin covering the body...and a large sword stuck in the ground only a foot away.
Crota was looking at him...and he felt pure unadulterated fear.
Then the Acolytes drug him away towards a shrine at the front of the chasm, where a large shrouded Shard hovered a few feet from the ground.
"And who is this to grace my shrine? A tasty morsel for my song?" Looking up, Gabe saw...Omnigul? No this Wizard was different, the cloak was the same but the height and voice were different. Omnigul stood taller than most Wizards and her voice was low and raspy, this one was sultry...almost like she was trying to get some reaction from him.
She floated down to his level and reached out a clawed hand to graze his face. "No more fight in this one? Not even worth singing even the shortest verse of my beautiful song for."
"He is not for your amusement Ir Yut, he is the Will of the Dark. The one that will bring all that the Light touches into despair." Crota said calmly as he watched the Acolytes chain the Guardian to the Shard. "If he survives after-wards, then you may do as you wish with him."
"You reward well my lord." Ir Yut replied as she moved closer to the chained Guardian, who shirked from her cold touch. "Don't worry little Light, we will have our fun...I haven't had a Light one yet, I wonder how you taste." Taste? What did she mean by taste? "I want to have lots of fun with you, please try to make this enjoyable for me."
He is not worth saving.
But he is my friend!
He is not worth your talents or your time.
He is still my friend!
He will abandon you...they all will in the end.
Maybe they will...but not him!
He is like the others...he knows what you are...he will think you a monster.
I WILL NOT LEAVE MY BROTHER!
Cyrus felt the voice retreat without another word back into the recesses of his mind and steeled himself with a heavy sigh. He needed focus for the coming storm and he needed every bit of courage to pull through.
But he would pull through...even just for this once he would set aside his hatred for her. The one who was at fault for all of this.
Gabe would walk through the Dark for him, now he would walk through it to save him.
That's what it meant to be brothers.
"Fireteam Spirit, get ready to drop!" Alex called over the channel as Cyrus take a heavy breath and grabbed his weapon. Their ships alighted on a small plateau over a very deep pit, in the center of the pit was a levitating platform and at the end of the plateau was a circular platform.
"Stand on the circle Guardians, and open the way to the Dark." Eris said as a Skiff dropped Rilix off next to them then went to the other side of the chasm. Alex threw Rilix a quick glance and received one in return.
"They will find another, safer, way in; rest await landing zone further in." she replied before giving a soft huff. "If there is one." she finished lowly and even Cyrus did a double take at her tone. She sounded...afraid?
No, surely she couldn't be...right?
"Then we need to find one." Alex replied before moving towards the platform. The rest of Fireteam Spirit followed suit.
"Easier said than done...Damn it Gerald, did you have to stay on Mars this once?" Seth said before following Fireteam Spirit. He seriously needed to have a talk with Eddie when this was over.
Rilix looked on at the Guardians before turning her attention to the stars. She was afraid, afraid of not coming back, afraid of not arriving soon enough. If she failed; if he was too far gone for recovery...
No, they would reach him.
She would reach him.
She would guard him as is her duty for now.
She vowed to not let this happen again.
Even if it meant her death.
And I think I'll end this one there. Now I have a serious question and I want some feedback on it.
I am debating about ending A New Destiny as Book 1 after we do the Crota's End Raid and Gabe's subsequent rescue. After that I will start a Sequel or Book 2 with a time-skip and have the in-between as standalone chapters in the New Destiny Files archive.
The reason is because this story could go 50 chapters or more before I even get it where it should have been at this point but I can't say it is bad at all. I didn't stick to my outline but I did actually surprise myself with how it went and I do actually think I did a decent job; plus it will give me the ability to get some more plot points in motion if I didn't have to cover every single day of Gabe's life as a Guardian.
I have seen other authors do this and some have done well while other's have done...not so good but at this point I think you all are getting tired of looking at every single second and so many open-ended plots that I started earlier and haven't touched since last year and that will give me the ability to set a stage for them to kick off.
This is where I am leaning but as fans, you all deserve to have your say and I want to listen. Please vote on the poll and let me know your thoughts in a review.