• Published 19th Mar 2015
  • 5,311 Views, 301 Comments

Light of Harmony - GjallarFox

The Traveler has felt the victory of its Guardians at the Black Garden. With this decisive victory comes a new decision: take the fight to the Darkness. With a set of six Ghosts sent to the far reaches of the Sol system, what is it expecting to find?

  • ...

Denounced House

The ponies arrived back in the Tower and docked in their assigned spots. But with Applejack having a Fallen Captain with her, only five of them left their ships to go speak to the Vanguard and collect the reward for their accomplished bounty. The few Guardians who had seen the group on a regular basis knew that there were meant to be six in their party. When they saw the group of five pass, they tilted their heads down, refusing to make eye contact with any of them. Pinkie just kept bouncing as usual, a bright smile on her face, the high of a new friend and a successful mission too good to bottle up and not share with the war torn Guardians of the Tower. Rarity kept a hand on her belly, remembering the feeling of the shrapnel piercing her body, remembering seeing the blood on her gauntlet, remembering seeing that metal shard sticking out of her. Her breath was shallow and shaky. Fluttershy kept both Rarity and Twilight close, knowing they needed the comfort more than she or Rainbow did for their injuries. Rainbow just kept preening at her wing, which had been injured just an hour or so ago. The tip of her tongue was pinched tightly in the right corner of her pursed lips. Fluttershy had to physically herd Rainbow to follow her and lead everyone to the Vanguard Headquarters.

There was something disconcerting about the way some Guardians turned their heads down as they passed, but on its own, the gesture was not terribly odd. But when those who didn't bow their heads to them watched the older Guardians do so and mimicked them, Fluttershy couldn't help but feel like there was something they were missing. Even Master Rahool, who at first smiled upon seeing them before it faltered, bowed his head low. She had a sneaking suspicion of what it could be, but she would wait for Twilight or Rainbow to call someone out on it. Down in the Vanguard offices, Arcite 99-40 watched the Guardians pass. Though emotionless, the robot had fought alongside many brave Guardians, and watched many of them lose their closest friends. It knew how to respect Guardians, and it too, bowed its head to the passing group of five.

"Ah! Twilight and company return!" Cayde-6 said, catching the attention of the other Vanguard leaders. "Wait. Isn't there supposed to be six of you?"

"Your Striker Titan is missing," Commander Zavala observed. "Applejack, was her name?"

"Yeah, she's in the hangar right now. We encountered some complications on our mission to intercept the Fallen extraction crew," Twilight replied.

"What sort of complications?" the Titan representative asked.

"The extraction crew brought a fucking Walker, and the bounty said shit about that," Rainbow hissed, turning back to fixing the feathers on her wing just as quickly as she'd snapped.

"Rainbow!" Twilight growled. "Show some respect!"

Cayde-6 turned to the fellow Hunter. "She's perfectly fine with being pissed about that. We only give the information we have. We had no reason to suspect they'd bring a Walker. However, you will be more than well-compensated for it."

"We also brought a defector with us," Fluttershy added.

Silence filled the room. Cayde-6 turned to the pegasus, his cold mechanical gaze burrowing into her. Zavala brought a fist up to his chin as he began thinking. Ikora Rey's arms folded across her chest, and her hips shifted left, putting all of her weight onto her right leg. All of the frames and other people in the room noticed the change in demeanor in the three leaders, and went quiet to see what would happen next.

"I have a recording to show you, which can provide some context," G-Evs said, appearing over Rarity's shoulder.

/What do you mean?
/You. Strong... You. Protect. Friend. Before. Self. I... Respect. You.
/I respect you too. Do you have a name? My name is Applejack.
/I. Am, called, Shirska. Now, we, friend.
/Guys, I think we can find the Stranger with this...

The Exo stared at the Ghost. "You guys are insane."

"Being dead will do that to you," Pinkie countered without missing a beat. "Shirska's pretty cool! He even gave up his weapon and his cool cape! I did bring the cape to liven up our quarters."

"Wait. Cape?"

"Yeah!" the bubbly Hunter pony giggled. "Silly! He pledged loyalty to a house, but he took off the cape when he surrendered! That means he denounced his house and now he's free to do what he wants!"

"That Fallen was a Captain!" the more experienced Hunter exclaimed in disbelief. "Bring him in! If he's really your friend, I'll boost you an extra level for it, and train him, and provide him with all the ether he'll ever need."

"And how will the Guardians outside react when they see a Fallen Captain taking a leisurely stroll through the Tower?" Fluttershy interrogated sharply.

After a brief moment, Cayde-6 replied, "Yes I now see the error in my logic. I shall come with you to se–"

"In just a moment. We also found something in a chest where the seventh ship had been in Hangar 1," Twilight interrupted. She plucked a small piece of metal about the size of a thumb from a pouch on her belt, and tossed it to Ikora Rey. "Our Ghosts can't read it. But J-Ami says you have computers that can."

A voice filled the room, a male and female voice layered over each other six times.

This is a message for the Element Bearers. All others who attempt to listen to this message will hear only static. I have information you will need. I have left the Arwing one hundred meters into the jungles of Venus at the bottom of the crags below the Ishtar Collective research station where the Vex gates lay. I have left beacons to guide you from there. You would do well to be there at your earliest opportunity.

"Huh. Just static," Twilight's Ghost mused. "That was just a waste of time."

"No it wasn't. Girls, did you hear that?" Twilight asked the others. Sure enough, all of them nodded.

"I don't know what you're all on about but you can explain it after you introduce me to your Fallen friend," Cayde-6 said.

"Our next destination is Venus," Twilight continued, ignoring Cayde-6's impatience to meet their new Fallen comrade. "What information do you have on the Ishtar Collective?"

"Plenty. That region is frequented by Guardians, so we get field updates from there every fifteen minutes or so," Ikora Rey replied, tapping at the surface of the holo-table. A map was pulled up showing the entirety of the area. "Where exactly are we looking?"

"They said something about Vex gates and crags," the unicorn answered quickly. The Warlock representative focused the map on an area where the terrain seemed to become a bit more artificial, the rocks and things there forming perfect cubes and rectangular prisms. Off to one side of the map, there was a sharp drop off where the ground just stopped existing. "What should we expect out there?"

"The Fallen House of Winter has been playing around out there, scavenging old tech like usual. We still don't know if they're after something specific. And that's where you'll start seeing Vex," Ikora Rey informed. "You've seen what the Fallen are capable of, but you have not faced the Vex yet."

"What are they?" Rarity asked.

"Machines. Advanced enough to exert some control over time and space. They have the ability to warp short distances. It's only a couple meters, but it's a distinct advantage in combat," Cayde-6 answered. "From what we've gathered on them thanks to Yu's incursions against them, they have biological minds, but are also linked to each other in a sort of hive-like network. What one sees, all see. They will try to learn about you so they can beat you."

"They won't be a problem," Rainbow huffed. "What should we do with the seventh ship should we find it?"

"Give it to your Fallen friend," the Exo said. "Now. If you don't mind, I'd love to meet this Fallen friend. Do they shake hands?"

If anything was more unsettling than seeing the Guardians of the tower bow their heads to them, it was their stares at seeing Cayde-6 anywhere outside the Vanguard offices. The raised eyebrows they saw as Guardians internally wondered why the Hunter representative was in the group of ponies troubled Fluttershy, and made her shrink a bit. As she shrunk down, Titans made hmphing noises of disapproval, which made her feel even more self conscious and shrink even more.

"Hey, Titan. Don't shrink. Their culture revolves around making yourself bigger and stronger than everyone around you," Cayde-6 whispered to her. Though she said nothing in response, she did manage to return to normal size, which made the Titans they passed stop watching her. "Just remember that and they'll leave you alone for the most part."

They made it to the hangar, where the six's ships were docked and being maintained by an assortment of Frames. When they got to Applejack's ship, Rainbow knocked on its hull and beckoned her out. A moment later, the hatch at the top of her ship opened and up came the Titan, helmet off and wearing her prized Stetson. She knelt down on the hull and reached back into the ship, an action that made any watching Guardians reach for their weapons. Up came the Captain, his helmet distinctive to every Guardian there. Cayde-6 heard the hangar fill with the sounds of weapons being raised and ammunition being chambered. He raised his hand, everyone in the hangar seeing the signal to hold fire. When the Captain had fully emerged, a single shot was fired from somewhere near the back corner of the room. Luckily, Twilight was on her toes and threw a barrier around the Fallen before the shot could make contact.

"Everyone in this room put down your weapons, and let ye who fired step forward," the Exo Hunter called out for everyone to hear.

For a moment, silence filled the room, followed almost reluctantly afterwards by the sounds of weapons being put away. From where the shot rang out, the sound of footsteps approached. A young man with pale skin who looked to be no more than twenty years old soon stood next to Cayde-6, a hand cannon at his hip and a knife strapped to his chest. Beneath his hood, there was short and messy brown hair. When the Vanguard leader turned and faced the young Hunter's pale face lost any color that had been in it.

"What's your name, kid?" he asked.

"Thomas Hardy," the young human replied.

"Well kid, while shooting at a Fallen is usually a bad thing, I gave a direct order to not fire on it. Had that Warlock right there not been on her toes, you'd have just killed the best chance at diplomacy we have," the Exo said. "Go ask the Quarterkeeper if there's a room next to the room registered to Twilight. After that, meet me in my office. Go."

With the departure of the frightened human, the Exo turned back to the Fallen Captain, who had since climbed down from Applejack's ship and was standing at about two and a half meters tall, as compared to Cayde-6's two meters with his horn. The Exo asked, "How did you befriend him?"

"I guess I earned enough of his respect that he wanted to join us," Applejack shrugged.

"I've been in a similar situation with a Fallen on the moon, but I never managed to befriend her," he huffed. "Do they shake hands?"

"I, respect, her. I, shake, hand," Shirska answered, "I, bow, and, leave, house. Now, we, friend."

"He knows a bit of English, I see," he observed. "As promised, I will train him and provide him with as much ether as I can get my hands on. I'll also get him his own quarters and notify every Guardian we know to be alive that this one is friendly." The Exo looked up at the Captain and held out a hand."Shirska, welcome to the Tower."

"I, want, learn, your, language," Shirska said to him, shaking his hand with his top right hand. "Speak, better, faster, accurate."

"I'll have someone teach you," Cayde-6 assured the Captain. He then turned and addressed Twilight, "Congratulations on hitting Level 13."


This was the first time the ponies had been down in the City below the Tower. Partially because they were told to wait a while before going on their expedition, and partially because they were completely exhausted in both mind and body, they decided to go down and see what they were fighting so hard to protect. For the most part, it was Applejack's decision to do so. She said she needed to see the civilians, to see how they lived, to try to understand why she was fighting. When asked about why, she told them about how she'd felt so angry when she flipped the Walker. Twilight immediately understood, and chose to go with her, even if no one else would. When everyone else agreed that they would like to see the City, they changed into their civilian clothes and left.

The streets were made of compacted dirt, the sidewalk of grass. Twilight had expected the streets to be paved or made of stone, like in Canterlot or Manehatten, or other major cities from back home. But she couldn't say she didn't like the environmentally conscious design. Since the city was built on a major river, as she'd seen from the Tower, the dirt roads and grass sidewalks would keep flooding to a minimum by keeping runoff down and infiltration up. Most of the buildings she saw had trees planted on the rooftops, most of them being fruit trees. The buildings looked to be made of concrete which made Twilight question how the taller ones were standing. Concrete, after all, was a heavy material, and would collapse under its own weight unless reinforced somehow.

All in all, the City was quite similar to Ponyville. People smiled at each other as they passed, be they human or Awoken or Exo. However, many people looked at the ponies oddly. To be fair, they had never seen the ponies before, and it was reasonable for them to be wary of things they did not immediately know to be friendly. However, Fluttershy smiled to people as she passed, and that seemed to set most of them at ease.

At a corner, they were stopped by a small human child. It was a little girl with bright red hair and a small white rose tucked behind her left ear, who had shaken free of her father's hand and dashed over to them and asked if they were Guardians. The girl's father picked her up but a moment later apologizing for his daughter's rudeness. But Applejack denied the need for an apology, as the girl was simply curious like any child her age. The Titan asked the girl her name, to which the answer was Rosie. With a smile, Applejack introduced herself and said that she liked Rosie's hair, as it reminded her of her little sister. The girl asked her father to let her down, which he did promptly. And that was when the girl did something that no one expected. She pulled the flower from her hair, and reached up, handing it to Applejack saying, "This is for you."

Applejack knelt before that child, and let her put the rose in her hair, tucked behind her left ear like Rosie had worn it. When the girl was done arranging the flower just so, she giggled and said, "Thank you."

Applejack smiled, feeling her heart melting, and tears pressing at the corners of her eyes. She gave the little girl a hug and thanked her for the flower. When she let go, Rosie said she had to go because she would be late for dinner if she stayed too much longer. Applejack said goodbye to the child, and did not stand until she and her father had disappeared around another corner.

"I needed that," Applejack murmured, more to herself than anyone else. But they understood that Applejack had needed something like that. She had lost her family, which she usually had constant contact with. Her family was a huge part of who she was, and to have that big a piece of herself just stop existing... The others couldn't imagine how much that had been hurting her.

After a bit more walking around, they came across a small pub that a few Guardians seemed to be hanging out in, telling war stories and trying to one-up each other. Deciding to eat there, they walked in and were greeted by an Exo who immediately guided them to a table for six. As they sat down, they noticed that among the other Guardians at the tables around them was Amuro. Silently, the ponies agreed to stare at their Titan friend until he noticed them. It took about three minutes, in which time an Awoken waitress had come by and started them all off with some water and told them the specialty for the day, for one of Amuro's friends to notice and start staring back at them, which made Amuro turn around to see what the Hunter was looking at. "Well look who decided to join the elite for some drinks!"

"I'm not exactly feeling up for much drinkin'. Maybe I'll have one," Applejack sighed in response. "It's been a long day."

"Tough mission?" Amuro asked after slamming down his now empty tankard.

"You have no idea," Rainbow answered as she looked over her menu. "Oh hell yeah! They've got apple cider here!"

"Welp, looks like I'm gonna taste the competition," the farmer complained as she started looking over her own menu.

"So what was your mission?" Amuro's Hunter friend asked.

"We had two in the same area. One was to find any information on where the Stranger went, and the second was to eliminate a Fallen glimmer extraction crew in the LAX Cosmodrome," Rarity replied, setting her menu down and taking a sip of her water. "We were caught off guard by their... zeal."

"Stranger?" the Hunter asked.

"Long story," Twilight dismissed.

"Isn't that House of Devils territory?" the Warlock in the group asked.

"It was until yesterday. We killed a Devil Archon there day before. Now it's Kings turf," Applejack answered, setting her menu down.

"Well, if it was only an extraction crew, then it couldn't have been that bad," Amuro huffed. "Have I told you the story of how I accidentally killed this bastard by punching him into a wall?"

"No no, if we're doing story time, then they should hear about how I killed that one Ogre on the moon with a crowbar," the Warlock argued.

"Fuck that, they should hear about the time I killed four Wizards with one shot of my Golden Gun," the Hunter bragged.

"Or, I can tell you about how I flipped a Walker on its back," Applejack said with a smirk.

The three men looked at her incredulously, and Amuro's face then there looked as though he'd fallen in love. The Warlock deflated and pulled a small book out of his pocket. The Hunter just picked up his tankard and finished the remaining half of the alcoholic beverage in it. After the ponies placed their orders, Applejack began recounting the events of the day's long battle. When she told Amuro of the fist fight with a Captain, he started muttering something about being able to end it in one punch. But he really perked up when she told him about how she'd slammed her fists into the ground and created a wave of arc energy. Once she got to the part about that being how she flipped the tank, he smirked and stood up, stepping over and patting her shoulder. "It's about fucking time you discovered your super power."

"Super power?" Rarity asked. "And what do you mean, 'It's about time?'"

"Every Guardian has a super power, depending on what they are. Hunters can either be Gunslingers or Bladedancers, depending on whether they draw the Golden Gun or the Arc Blade respectively; Warlocks can be either Sunsingers or Voidwalkers, depending on whether they can ascent into Radiance or create a Nova Bomb respectively; and Titans can either be Strikers or Defenders, depending on whether they can use the Fist of Havoc or make the Ward of Dawn respectively," the tipsy Titan replied. "I am a Striker, and it seems your friend Applejack is too. What Level were you when you used that? Seven? Eight? I discovered mine when I was four. What did yours feel like?"

"Pure righteous fury," she answered.

"Literally same." He sat back down at his table to get out of the way of the ponies' waitress coming around with the food they'd ordered while Amuro's friends bickered about which story to tell. Behind him, another brawny Titan and a pair of Hunters were stumbling out from another room of the pub, more than likely hammered out of his mind. But then he laid eyes on Fluttershy and decided to walk over and check her out. To be fair, 'check her out' was a bit too generous a term to be used for his actions. 'Make an ass of himself,' would be much more proper.

"I ain't seen no one 'round here like you. Y'ain't Awoken, n'y'ain't human, an' sure as hell ain't Exo," he slurred, focusing his attention on Fluttershy. "What are you?"

"Um... We're ponies," she replied, a bit anxious from the drunk Titan's obvious display of dominance. "Could you ple–"

"A pony?" he guffawed far too loudly, drawing the attention of almost everyone in the pub. "I'd certainly like to ride you!"

"Exfuckingcuse me that is my friend you're hitting on and you are making her uncomfortable," Amuro growled, standing up and forcefully turning the other Titan to face him.

"You can fuck right off," the drunk Titan said, shoving Amuro back.

"What did you fucking say?!" Amuro roared, winding up a punch.

"Amuro! Sit down!" Fluttershy said, standing as best she could with her legs between the table and the booth seat. "Rarity, would you mind letting me out for a moment?"

To everyone's surprise, Amuro sat down, grumbling about being able to take down the drunkard, and Rarity stood up and stepped out of the booth, letting Fluttershy step out and stand in front of the drunk Titan, who was smiling victoriously. She smiled at him innocently, her eyes gleaming with the plans of mischief that reminded everyone else of Discord. She said to him, "Listen, it's been a long time since I've gotten any action, and the last guy I was with was much bigger than you."

"I'm bigger where it counts," the drunkard said, not knowing that he was playing into her trap.

"Hold out your hand," she said.

The drunk Titan looked at his Hunter friends, who shrugged in response. Thinking himself funny, he groped her breast, smirking as though he'd won some sort of contest. That was what she was waiting for, one more excuse, one more unwanted advance. She took his hand off of her chest and punched him with a solid right hook, which sent him spinning and flying back about three meters and slamming into a wall where no tables were. The Hunters, after watching and seeing their friend still moving, turned angrily to Fluttershy. She said to the Titan, "I suggest you brush up on how to treat ladies, you degenerate, useless pile of fermented cabbage."

"Fluttershy!" Rarity gasped.

"Nice punch!" Amuro complimented. He stood up, and placed his hands on the shoulders of the two Hunters who were with the rude Titan. "Now, are we going to have some trouble, or are you going to leave quietly to avoid sexual assault charges?"

"Fuck right off," one of the Hunters said, spitting on Amuro's boot.

"I was really hoping not to get shat on by Zavala three times this week... Guess that's a pipe dream."