• Published 2nd Nov 2021
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An Iron Sunset - Dragon Angel Knight

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Side Story 1

Side Story 1

A story of Loyalty

Warlord Shaxx sighed heavily as he watched the Crucible match ending in front of him. It seemed as if there were Guardians who lived and breathed the Light versus Light training ground he had set up, but that couldn’t be helped. Guardians just seemed to be drawn to the bloodsport that was the Crucible and it helped hone their Light for when they were forced to go out into the field by Vanguard Ops or the dungeon crawling and spelunking some of them had gotten up to in their down time.

As had become the norm, of late, Sunset trotted up to the handler and sat down next to him, watching the screen as it went to black.

“Another blow out match?” the pony asked curiously, her Ghost flitting about her head.

“Yes!” Shaxx replied loudly, “It’s like these rookies don’t know how to hold a gun!”

“Maybe because they don’t?” Philomena muttered softly, to which Sunset shushed the little drone.

“Maybe a story will get your mind off of it?” Sunset asked, “Daddy usually feels better about things when he’s told me a story.”

Seeming a bit caught off guard, Shaxx mulled the question over for a moment before turning to his arms master, Arcite 99-40 and said, “The Crucible is closing down for a little while. Those Guardians that want to fight something can take their fight to the Darkness for a little while.”

“Understood,” Arcite replied before turning to the terminal at his desk and sending a few messages to the next lineup of Crucible games.

“Come here,” Shaxx said, sitting down at his own desk and pulling up the dossier on an incredibly beautiful rocket launcher, “and let me tell you about the Battle of Twilight Gap… and the first of the Gjallarhorns.”

`~`~`~`~`~

It was quite a while ago now, long before Lord Saladin found you on Felwinter Peak. The Fallen House of Kings had felt that attacking the City would be their best chance at taking the Traveller… Word from the Reef at the time was that the House of Wolves were eager to join the attack as well, but some new upstart Kell felt that tossing his lot in with the Awoken and Queen Mara’s forces was a better choice. Good for us since we didn’t have ALL of the Fallen Houses arrayed against us, but still bad since we wouldn’t be able to call on Awoken aid if necessary.

In any event, the Houses of Winter, Devils, and Kings were all allied against us, the Fallen using probing attacks on our walls to try and get through, find a weak point and punch through…”

`~`~`~`~`~

“Did they find it?” Sunset asked with worry in her tone, even fear. A few Guardians on their way to report their findings from patrols or turn in bounties for the rewards they were after had also stopped and started listening, but Shaxx paid them no mind, only gently stroking the mane of the pony on his lap. (Shaxx would later deny that this had ever happened, but Sunset would always assure the Warlord that it was alright and it took far greater strength to be kind and gentle than to be rough and mean.)

“Yes, they did,” Shaxx replied with a heavy sigh, “Twilight Gap. A small abandoned military base just outside the City walls. That the Crucible now holds the territory and Guardians fight where heroes fell and Legends rose is a privilege and an honor.”

`~`~`~`~`~

When the Fallen offensive finally came to Twilight Gap, they outnumbered us by the score, but as always we had the Light. Holborn’s Host kept the Fallen houses off our backs while my fireteam and I did what we could to defend the outpost itself. Aerial bombardments were fairly close, however the Fallen had their own artillery. The fearsome Walkers….

After arriving in the solar system, Fallen began scavenging technology from everywhere they could, cobbling it together in to the weapons and armor they use to this day. This includes their tanks, Walkers. Large, heavily armored and armed with compartments for their Shank drones, a small rocket launcher, and a massive cannon, they are weapons to be feared. Though, not in the same way a Guardian defending their home is.

Before long, your father took a look at the situation from a tactical stand point and ordered a retreat. Instead of following his order, I looked to my fireteam, those brave loyal souls and their ghosts and… I refused. My fireteam and I pulled back to a gap in the Wall of the City, just enough to force a choke point…

Anastasia Bray. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Hunter more fierce than Cayde-6 before or since. Her Golden Gun was resplendent with the fury of her Light. She fell that day.

Liu Feng. A Sunbreaker, an exile from the City. Her Hammer of Sol left pools of burning sunfire in their wake, incinerating her enemies, but leaving her allies unscathed.

Nkechi-32. A Sentinel Titan. Her Barricades and Ward of Dawn kept us safe enough to resurrect our allies when we fell. She is a damn good shot with a rifle too.

Idil Abdi. The only Sunsinger I met who could literally sing with the Solar Light he commanded. His strength was our strength. He was much like the bards of old in that respect.

Truce. A Stormcaller. Groups of Fallen were annihilated the moment they came in too close. With his aid, we were faster, more responsive than normal.

Final Deaths were dealt. We kept the bulk of the Fallen forces from entering the City, shattering any hope they had of coming together to fight us ever again, but there were still some civilian casualties. My Loyalty to the City and the people who live here are what gave me the strength to stand and fight. That decision I made that day saved countless other lives and made it so children could sleep a little better at night.

That decision also almost cost me two great friends. My loyalty to the Light, the Traveler, and the people we protect caused a rift to form between Lord Saladin, Zavala, and myself. They kept spouting something about insubordination, though I tuned that out fairly quick. ‘If the people are safe,’ I reasoned to myself, ‘then my decision was not wrong. I offer no apologies.’

It wasn’t until you came into Saladin’s life that he and I even began to speak again. And I am greatful for that, Sunset.

After the battle, an armorer named Fiezel Crux felt that some sort of commemoration should be done. He took a team out to the battle site and collected the armor scraps left over from our forces. He worked tirelessly to craft… Gjallarhorn. To wield one is to wield honor against any attempt at our extermination. Or so Crux said at any rate.

`~`~`~`~`~`~

Sunset listened in awe as Shaxx told his story, Zavala, Cayde, and Ikora having joined the small crowd of Lightbearers also listening in on the story. As the story wound down and a Guardian from the middle of the group brought forth his Gjallarhorn to show an awed Sunset, Shaxx looked to the crowd and nodded to them all.

“Loyalty,” Shaxx said softly, catching Sunset’s attention once more, “Can be a heavy burden. And it can lift you up to heights unimagined. Trust your allies, trust your Ghost, trust your Light, but most of all, do not be afraid to remain loyal to yourself, even if the world around you seems like it will burn if you do.”

“I will, Uncle Shaxx,” Sunset said as she hugged the Titan, “I promise.”

`~`~`~`~`~`~`~

Deep within the European Dead Zone, far from the story a foal had asked for, there was a Shard. This Shard was filled with incredible power, so much so that it warped the landscape around it and caused all kinds of anomalies to form near it.

One such anomaly was a simple tree at its beginnings. For a time the tree lived and grew as all trees do, taking in the air around it and purifying it to produce breathable air for the world around it.

When the Traveler’s Shard landed near it, the tree became something more… Harmonious. Light filled the tree, causing it to take in any surrounding Darkness and make it something different in the same way that the tree made air. The tree became more and more crystaline as time went on, its trunk reflecting ambient light sources back in a myriad of colors.

On this tree grew five great branches, the tree looking as if it were a hand reaching to the stars.

At the very top was a dull red crystal. If one were to watch closely, however, they would have noticed the crystal flicker for a moment before a steady radiance shone from within it. It grew brighter and brighter until at last the cavern the tree had formed around itself was bathed in a warm red glow.

“….Loyalty….”

Author's Note:

A sort of side story/world building thing I've had in mind for a while now. And some foreshadowing! There are some names here I had to confirm with other sources, but I couldn't find which classes Nkechi-32, Idil Abdi, or Truce were, so I tried to make the fireteam as well rounded as possible.

As always, let me know what you guys think! I like hearing the questions some of you have about things!