Chapter 3

Give Uldren Sov the chance to torment a Guardian, and he will take it faster than you can shout, "Rasputin shot the Traveler," an opinion he lobs into Guardians' minds whenever he can. He hates the Traveler's horseflies the way anyone would hate an infant godling issued with coloring-book morality and a whining, know-nothing paperweight; they are self-righteous, cocksure, callously instrumental intruders in a system they don't need to understand. He hates that most: the ability to move through the world without caring about how it works.

So he's done everything to Guardians he can think of—shot them up, shot them down, sent them on doomed quests, dunked their Ghosts in intolerably stinky selenophenol, drilled holes to bury their obnoxious patrol beacons inside solid rock, tricked them into disassembling mighty weapons.

But every time he gets into a gunfight, he wonders what it must be like to do this without any sheer raving terror.

"Jolyon!" he hisses, as the Goblin downslope lobs another slap grenade his way. "Jolyon, where are you?"


The grenade detonation pops Uldren's ears and pushes ozone up his sinuses so hard that he sneezes. The Goblin fires at the sneeze. Glassy shards of melted sand ricochet off his cover and shatter into chiming airbursts. He is three hundred meters upslope. Guardians, armored Cabal, and fearless Vex may fight at point-blank range; mere mortals still hang back so far they can barely see their targets. The infernal thing about Vex is that they teleport. Uldren's not sure if he's pinned down by ten Goblins or one.

A bullet cracks past.