"This is Misraaks." A name without title.
"To those who renounce the violence of House Salvation and seek refuge in the House of Light, I will be landing a Skiff near Asterion Abyss. Bring only what you need. We must prioritize survivors over their possessions. Trigger message repeat."
"Astiirabis," Turrha says. "I know that place. We can hide in the nearby caves."
"Fine," Namrask says. He seizes his loom. Everyone stares and he realizes: survivors over possessions.
"I am nothing without it," he protests.
Oeriks and Eoriks pull it from him. "Yriks did not die to save a loom."
They have been in the cave for two days when Namrask sees that their heat is sublimating the ice. Curious, sluggish with Ether-lack, he crawls over to the nearest wall and stares.
Namrask looks into another cave. And another, and another. The infinite caves reveal an infinite number of Namrask, Oeriks, Eoriks, Turrhas, hatchlings, and survivors—only—here, they are frozen dead to the ice—here, they are cooked by Cabal—here, they spill in panic from the cave as Guardians gun them down.
"Get out," rasps Namrask.
"Up!" he bellows. "GET UP! WE HAVE TO GO!"
At the raw fear in his voice, they bundle up the hatchlings and run. As if the Light has arranged it all and the Great Machine truly does watch over them again, they hear a transmission: "This is Misraaks. I approach under stealth. I will be at Asterion Abyss in five minutes. If you seek sanctuary, come to me. If you still swear to House Salvation, then in the name of the old laws, I ask safe passage. This is a mission of mercy."
Namrask hunts for the twinkling distortion of camouflage against the black sky—there! Misraaks comes from Jupiitr, using the planet's emissions as backdrop.
"We should disperse," he tells Turrha. "It is unwise to crowd together at a landing zone—"
Their radios shriek—a horrific emission. A Vex maser beam catches the incoming Skiff, smashing it onto the ice. Propellant, air, and Ether burst into flame.
Namrask is not surprised. The Light does not reach them; the Great Machine does not watch over them. "We need to move," he says. He reaches out to Turrha, to touch her. "We should go to—"
A white mist envelops her. Tiny electrical discharges cover her armor. She looks up at him and gasps. The Vex teleport delivers a Goblin inside her, shattering her body. The machine, with its indifferent red eye, raises its weapon to fire.
Oeriks dies almost instantly, shot by slap fire. Eoriks leaps to him and tries to capture the escaping puff of Ether—what old faith would call the passage of his soul—as if this will keep Oeriks alive. But Eoriks is killed too.
Namrask puts himself between the hatchlings and the Vex. If he can only buy them one more moment, one more breath, then that is a better legacy than he ever hoped—
"TO ME!" a young voice cries. "Eliksni, to me!"
Misraaks comes after all. And he is not alone. The Light is with him.
And a Guardian.
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