A little note about this. This story takes place some thirty-nine years after the events of Fallout 4, using the Brotherhood ending as cannon. At this time the Brotherhood is very different to the one Arthur Maxson lead in the Commonwealth. They have gone back to a more religious background, as well as have an even greater stress on honor and duty. Now Arthur is seen as a messianic or even godlike figure who is only eclipsed by his ancestor, Roger Maxson, the founder of Brotherhood. They refer to Arthur as the Angle, or the martyr. The Brotherhood has also grown and become much more organized than they were before. There are so many brothers and sisters now that they have formed whole armies, or legions, during their war to retake New York City and other places in the wasteland. They have also enlisted the occasional help of the many militia forces that inhabit the wastes-the Minutemen included-whom they refer to as either militiamen or more formally, the Legiones Ferrum. Latin is used as a sacred language among their numbers, mostly for prayers, chants or blessings. There is quite a deal of Latin in this but I will give the translations below.
Quis contra eius voluntatem?*
The paladin was a bright, shining star in the dimness of the twilight darkened world. His armor, emblazoned with the great bell of the Fourth Legion, was war-torn and weathered from long years of service. The servos in his ankle-bracers creaked as he walked and the arm joints were stiff without a goodly coating of oil; but it still did it's holy purpose. Dust swirled all around him. The last straggling remnants of the Old World were sucked into his oxidizer, filtered out and made into nothing. The ruins were a great jumble of broken rubble and this black ash. Each step he took rocked the floor to it's foundation. Broken furniture, walls caved in, letting the acrid, stale air from the cold wasteland outside. He was glad for the filter in his helm so that he didn't have to smell the horrors of this place.
The place used to be an office building, one of nearly thousands scattered across the island, this one had long ago fallen and crashed into it's neighbor, setting off a domino effect that lasted for well over a month. Now this area of the city was a broken heap of collapsed structures and broken stonework. Nothing but death and broken, crumbling bones. A hulk of it's former glory.
Where once men and woman made their meager living doing whatever it was they did in the Old World, now there was only death and the sink of abomination. He could plainly see them in his sensorium; shuffling, writhing movement in the next corridor, stale breath wheezing through rotten lungs.
"Ghouls." the word was a curse on his tongue.
Over the long years of glorious combat with the Legions he had fought hoards of Super Mutants, Radscorpions, raider filth so corrupted they were barely human; but out of all those horrors of the wastes, he had a deep hatred of the mindless flesh eaters. When he was just a neophyte he had cleared nest after nest of the damn things, often taking the assignments out of hand and for no reward. The blood and stink of battle was all he needed. That, and knowing that more of the filth was gone from the world with each strike of his blade and fire from his laser rifle.
A warning blip appeared on his HUD, night was falling.
Good, he thought. He had waited for this, meditating as long as it would take. He knew the creatures well, knew they feared the light of the sun, but when night came, so did they. He took his steps slowly, measuring out the weight of his armor. He was still unsure if the floor would hold up, but he advanced anyway. When he came upon the opening to the corridor where last his sensors had picked up movement, he readied himself. Waited.
Minutes past like hours and ever still the light grew darker and darker outside. He could see them, knew they were aware of him. They are waiting, just as I am. He gave them one for cleverness. The last strike team that had come were a green squad barely out of the bunker. They'd all been slaughtered or sent back maimed before Captain Theodan saw reason and sent him. He was sure that some of the monsters, the older ones, perhaps, actually learned. If only a little. He'd seen enough of them to know that these weren't going to be simple demons rushing into death. They were waiting, yes. But for what?
As the last light of the sun fell out of few and shadows took the ancient city, he readied his rifle. The movement was the same. The air was the same. His heart beat a steady rhythm in his chest. He focused on it. Calmed his mind. He gave a quick prayer to St Arthur the blessed. The glorious martyr had been dead thirty years now and still he remembered his face. Worn, hard and strong. A man of great conviction and even greater might. He hoped the Angle of Steel would look fondly on him this day. Though he knew He would not.
All at once they came.
Bursting through the opening in surprising speed. They fell upon one another, clawing out their way towards the strange metal giant. He let out a fury of laser fire, renting ancient flesh, burning through the old walls far behind them. Fire erupted on their withered skins. They ran, shouting guttural screams and lighting their alleys aflame even as they tried to get to safety.
He screamed his own chorus as even still they rushed on. The fire caught the walls, raced up to the ceiling. The ghouls cared nothing for the conflagration. They charged as fast as they could, demons fighting against every sense any man might have.
The paladin was not amused. Taking his reaverblade he charged in with a battle cry. Let the blood of a thousand dead things cover his holy armor in his rage.
Viscera flew everywhere with each slash he made. It was like cutting through mud. Dead sinew cut as swiftly as muscle and bone. These were weak, fleshy things. Strong enough to walk and feed and spread their ilk through all corners of the burned earth but nothing to a paladin. Magnificent red rage filled his veins, suffused his very being in a glorious exaltation of battle. For a brief moment in the carnage he thought he saw the face of the Angle in the gore. He brushed that off as an illusion of the battlemind.
He severed the head of the last of them, it fell with a dull thud to the red painted floor. The head rolled for a moment, it' muscles still twitching.
He stood in a sea of gore. The fire still burned all round him. He could feel none of the heat. His armor scratched, the paint had been covered in a thick coating of blood and viscera. He was fine. Their claws and jaws were nothing to steel. Praise be, he folded the reaverblade, put it back at his waist. Discharging a fusion cell, he checked his rifle for any damage. He found none. "Praise steel." he said at last. His sensorium showed no more movement anywhere in the ruins. The labyrinth of demons seemed to have been exhausted. At least for now.
"Command, this is Paladin Costain. Come in." he said over his communicator.
"We copy you, Paladin. Angulus enim sanguis viresque ferri."** came the distorted response. "Report."
"Abominations have been purged. South fell clear of the scourge."
"Benedicite sancti et omnem domum patris sui.*** Squad Rhys reports the same. Captain Theodan has commanded us to send a lancer unit to your location for extraction. Over."
A new location blip appeared on his HUD, showing the extraction point in bright blue. "Copy, command."
"Fortitudo ferrum, et ex Maxson."****
"Et voluntatem est praecipere."***** he answered.
He made his way out, cursing at the cinch in his ankle servos.
The MK-ZX7 vertibird was a beast of a thing. Five times larger than the standard birds, it had a cabin that could fit at least twenty brothers as well as a handful of militiamen. Now though, Paladin Costain was alone in the hold. He held his old helmet cradled in his hands. His head resting wearily on his chest.
He sighed heavily.
All the hot blood in his body had seemed to rush out of him the moment he stepped onto the great flyer, so that now he felt a complete wreck. His armor, which usually felt like little more than a feather on his shoulders, now weighed a thousand tons.
He was not a young man anymore, not as strong as he could have been. Each quest sapped the energy out of him in streams once it was over. His withered, angular face, now streaked with sweat felt worn and tired—more so then ever it had before. His bones felt brittle and his stomach heaved as the lancer made a tight turn to avoid a skyscraper. It would do him good to be home. He tried to remember when last he had been out of his armor. He lost count at three months. He knew his skinsuit would be foul as bile by now. He might have to burn it for all he knew.
The war for New York had taken so much of him. He had come here a green knight ready to serve the brotherhood, and ended up a hard old paladin who was quickly losing the way of things. He had known High Elder Maxson. Arthur, he made everyone call him. The Great Reformer, he was called in his day. The Saint, he was called now. Back then the Elder had been a man of great worth. A man that had, with the help of Sentinel Gaunt, it must not be forgotten, had destroyed the Institute itself. Saving certain scientists such as Dr Lee, the now venerated Dr Virgil and scores of other, useful men and women. They had designed and built the mates of the noble Prydwen; the Hercules, the Nauda and the Camelot. Still, with all those accomplishments, the great Elder had kept himself humble, honorable.
He remembered the first time he saw Arthur. It was aboard the new flagship, Camelot; he had called for Costain himself. He met him in the command deck, standing before the observation window, his hands clasped behind him, watching the sunrise over the desiccated corpse of New York City.
"Knight," he'd said. Even then his voice sounded oddly powerful. The Voice of Maxson. Some called it. Said it was a trait of that noble line.
"Elder Maxson," I said my voice faltering even as I rose from my kneel.
"I have brought you here today because Sentinel Gaunt sees potential in you, soldier. In his exact words you were—" he took up a piece of paper, "'Fairly good.' Very high praise for that bitter bastard, wouldn't you say."
"I would never disrespect the Sentinel like that, sir."
He laughed. "Nor I if I were in his presence. That doesn't matter. What I needed to talk to you about, soldier, was this," He bid him closer, pointed out the window. "Do you see it?"
He strained his eyes to see what it was. Through the mist and fog of the morning he could just make out the tip of some great skyscraper rising in the distance. Though, the longer he stared, the more he realized that it wasn't a skyscraper, but a hand, a hand holding a torch.
"What in the name of..."
"Yes, soldier. That is the colossus that the natives talk about. Though it had a much different name in it's day; Lady Liberty." he leaned on the railing lining the window. Costain could see a fire growing in the whites of his elder's eyes. "We need it"
The vertibird accelerated, flew into a climb.
"Fucking hell!" Costain shouted as they rode the face of a building for a long moment. The lancer, he could see, was unfazed. Then again, he had a seat belt. The paladin had to hold onto whatever he could for purchase. When they leveled out a voice broke on the comm system,"Still there, Paladin?"
"Just nearly," he shouted back. "Warn me next time." It was all he could do not to vomit where he sat.
"We're almost home, sir."
He shook his head. His overly long, once black hair hung in clumps near his shoulders. His scarred face was covered in grease, dirt, congealed sweat and bits of ash that had gotten through his filters. I must look quite the waster, he thought with a chuckle. It had been years since he thought of himself as a simple survivor. He glanced over at the window, saw the city in stark silhouette down below. In the dimness he could just make out the sudden flashes of gunfire in the narrow city streets. An explosion boomed out of a building and even this high up he though he could hear the battle cry of his brothers. Another victory.
Ever since that day aboard the Camelot Costain's life had been nothing but battle, loss, and hard won victory. The Annals had recorded twenty good brothers and sisters had died during the battle for Liberty Island. He had lead that force. Elder Maxson had made sure of that. He trusted him...
It was a simple assignment. The island was not large, nor was there a much of force there—or so the intelligence had suggested—just a small group of lightly armored raiders that had made Fort Wood their home. He was given a battalion of soldiers, just in case, as well as a light gunship equipped with miniguns and a small auxiliary of militiamen at the ready. They landed calmly enough. Weren't greeted with fire as they came into sight, always a good sign. He ordered his men to divide into two teams, to surround the statue platform as best they could. They were approaching the entrance when all hell broke loose.
Team One was advancing when a volley of grenades rained down on them. Costain had just enough time scatter before a bundle burst at his feet, his men weren't so lucky. Knights Lambert, Ross, Engle and Burner had all been hit hard, shrapnel burst through their power armor like it was nothing. The others had survived the volley, tried to strike their own. Suddenly sniper fire poured out from the colossus' torch, killing six members of Team Two in an instant. The rest of the team flew into a rage. Knight Voss launched a mini-nuke, his squad mates let out a stream of laser fire. The nuke hit the balcony of the torch, shattering it into a thousand pieces that fell down on most of Team One, crushing them all. The paladin lost control of his men, lost control of the battle; he was frantically calling in support but the gunship had veered off to escape the nuclear blast and was out of range. Blindly he rushed in, rifle blazing, hoping to god that he lived. He made it into the fortress, and then minigun fire raged outside, and the militiamen dropped down in force to take out what was left. In the end he was sitting at the ruined top of ancient statue, his helmet on the floor, his head in his hands.
"Captain Costain, the Camelot approaches." someone told him over the comm, he didn't notice. They moored the airship and Arthur came to find his captain. He found him where he sat, unwashed, his armor still bloody and burned. He held his head in one hand, the holotags of the fallen in the other, and when the great elder came to him, he seemed to be weeping.
"Pull yourself together, soldier." the strange voice of the Elder was like thunder in his ear, commanding, demanding.
With a will, he rose, saluted his elder. "Elder Maxon, Liberty Island is ours." he reported, his voice stark, distant.
Arthur clapped his hands on his pauldrons. Hugged him. Costain was shocked. "You did well, knight. We will never forget the sacrifice of those brave soldiers. The Brotherhood never forgets" he gently took the holotags from him, gave them to a waiting scribe, who took them with a solemn pride. "Know, however, that what you did was just. Never forget that, brother."
"The Brotherhood never forgets." Costain said, almost a prayer.
He was never truly sure of that.
They finally made their way out of the ruined city, came upon the dark waters of the Hudson. A sea of bile and waste from the Old World turned harsh and irradiated, if it wasn't before. Costain gave it no more than a fleeting glance, he was searching for the lights. The lancer made a graceful turn, allowing the paladin to see the great fortress. "Warms my heart every time I see it," he said over the comm.
He wished he could say the same.
Liberty Island shone in the darkness like second sun. all over the isle and up the length of the old statue, lights were hung and blazing bright. All about it the water was alight, and all about it could be seen virtibirds flocking to it like so many swallows returning home. There were brothers and sisters down there, he knew, doing their drills, practicing their maneuvers, firing round after round on targets and dueling one another—but to him it all seemed a peaceful place then. Vaguely, as if by whisper, he could hear the chanting rising ever higher as they approached. It started low and quiet, the hushed chorus of a thousand heavenly voices rising in gentle ascension. He focused on that beautiful sound, and soon the horrors and failures of the past melted away. The darkness of night fell before him and he drifted, long and weary, into the arms of their sanctified canticle.
When they landed and he was helped out of the flyer by a hooded scribe, the sound had enveloped his entire being. All around him were gathered the men and women of the Brotherhood. Hundreds of them, crowded shoulder to shoulder, listening to the chant and greeting an old paladin. One of them took his hand, ushered him to the fort. When he fell out of his armor, and his squire Barnabas caught him, laid him down to rest his muscles, he felt as though sleep was creeping upon him; a wonderful, holy kind of sleep that he hadn't felt in so many long months. He opened his eyes, looked up and saw the face of the Angle staring down at him. His hard, scarred face and intense eyes were blazing and clear in their purpose. He was arrayed in his power armor, He held a laser rifle in his hands. He was waiting. He was watching this man whom He had made captain. Whom He had tasked to take this place that was now a holy sight in His name.
"What does he wait for?" he said weakly.
The Brotherhood never forgets. Came his answer, clear and beautiful in his mind.
"I'm going mad." he told himself as the chant rose to a crescendo. The angle—Arthur—had been disappointed with his performance. He always knew it. He held the guilt of all those lives and now many more on his old shoulders. It was all so much to bear.
He found himself singing along with the canticle here and there. "Benedictus Dominus angelo, qui vitam ut vivas." he said trying to match the rhythm. "Benedictus Maxson, quem ostendit viam ferro." blessed be Maxson, whom showed us the way of Steel. "Beatus homo, qui bellum concupiscit." blessed be man, who lusts for war. "Benedictus fraternitatem custos omnium." blessed be the Brotherhood, who protects all men. And finally, "Benedictus invictis legionibus." blessed be the Invincible Legions.
He slept in a strange mire of blood, sweat, shame and guilt.
*who would stand against His will?
**Blood for the Angle, strength of Steel
***Bless the saint and all his fathers
****Strength of Steel, and of Maxson
*****His will is my command.