Part 16: The Taken King, Part 1
Hi, everyone! Did you think we'd be leaving the Taken King without Grimoire cards? If so, you were sorely mistaken! This update is going to be very long and very informative. So much so that I've had to split it into two posts. If you're not into that sort of thing and just want to listen to us idiots blather over things, feel free to skip this. If you are into that sort of thing, let's get started; and what better way to get started than to take a look into the subclasses we unlocked along the way here?
Grimoire Card: Nightstalker posted:"Draw from the Void. Light the way"
A lone hunter stalks the night, firing arrows into the Darkness. There is no hiding, no escape. In the distance, the beast falters, tethered to the void. The killing blow comes without hesitation, without mercy.
There's truth in the edge of Light, and beneath that truth a deeper truth, hidden from all but a few.
That truth is: monsters need not fear the night.
Do not hunt the monster. Become the monster.
Who knew, the Hunter puts on his robe and wizard's hat!
Grimoire Card: Shadowshot posted:Summon the power of the Void to draw back and launch a precision long-range projectile that reaches out and snares enemies with slowing, draining tethers of Void Light. Shadowshot lets a Hunter's dead-eye precision carve a path to new battles.
Grimoire Card: Sunbreaker posted:"Forge the fury of undying suns."
Some Titan orders predate the City, born of a darker time, when Light was an untamed weapon. The Sunbreakers brought honor to the wild, never seeking the safety of the City. Bound by an oath, they live as mercenaries, seeking battles and alliances beyond the Walls. Now the Light of their fire has at last found rank among the City.
Wield the Hammer of Sol with honor, Titan, it is a thing of legend, both past and future.
Sadly, Titans are pretty unimaginative. At least they're really fun in gameplay.
Grimoire Card: Hammer of Sol posted:Forge your Light into a raging inferno of Solar energy, and pull forth a blazing hammer from the fire. Cloaked in flames, launch your hammer at enemies from afar, releasing a devastating eruption of Solar fire on impact. You burn with the intensity of stars, and no shadow is safe from your Light.
Grimoire Card: Stormcaller posted:"Harmony within, hurricane without."
Meditate. Focus. Draw the static from within. The Arc is inside all life.
You must feel it take hold, let it flow through, but not consume you. You are a conduit. Between sky and earth. Electricity and matter. Life and death.
You are a weapon.
I bet you Warlocks are the kinds of people who stick forks in electrical sockets. For science.
Grimoire Card: Stormtrance posted:Focus your Light to call forth a powerful Arc storm, and siphon it, channeling lightning through your fingertips to send it surging between your targets. A Warlock in Stormtrance is exercising such unbreakable focus that the Arc energy they summon draws them off the ground, the air humming and crackling around them. Like lightning you bend your path forward through the air, striking down anything too slow escape the storm.
While we're at story non-critical information, let's also take a look into the Exotic weapon from the expansion that I used in the LP thus far.
Grimoire Card: Zhalo Supercell posted:An upcycled torrent of righteous thunder.
When you’re out beyond the Wall, sometimes you have to take what you can find, and make it work. Though its original makers and their no-doubt-desperate straits are lost to history, the Zhalo Supercell remains a striking example of what a Guardian can do with some outdated tech, a deep command of fundamental Light, and a spark of inspiration.
Yep. Basically some old tech duct taped together with magic that somehow manages to be really goddamn good.
Let's also finish up the stories of a couple other Exotics I've been peppering through these Grimoire updates:
Grimoire Card: Ghost Fragment: The Last Word 4 posted:
Palamon was ash.
I was only a boy – my face caked in soot, snot and sorrow.
I’d assumed Jaren, my friend, our Guardian, the savior of Palamon, would always protect us – could always save us…
But I was a fool.
Jaren, and the others, only a handful, but still our best hunters, our hardest hearts, had left three suns prior. Tracking Fallen, after the bandits had caused a stir.
The stranger – the other – arrived the following day.
He rarely spoke. Took a room. Took our hospitality.
I was intrigued by him, as I was Jaren when he’d first arrived.
But the stranger was cold. Distant. Damaged, I thought.
But I wasn’t afraid. Not yet.
Only a child, I knew the monsters of our world to walk like men, but they were not. They were something alien. Four-armed and savage.
The stranger was polite, but solemn.
I took him for a sad, broken man, and he was. Though, at the time, I didn’t understand how that could make one dangerous.
As with Jaren, father made an effort to keep me away from the stranger.
It wouldn’t matter.
As the silhouette approached, fear held tight.
The dark figure towered over me. Looking into me – through me.
He smiled. My knees weak. All lost.
Then, he turned and walked away.
Leaving ruin and a heartbroken, terrified boy in his wake without a second glance.
I’ve been chasing that stranger’s shadow ever since.
We stood silent, the sun high.
Seconds passed, feeling more like hours.
He looked different.
He seemed, now, to be weightless – effortless in an existence that would crush a man burdened by conscience.
My gaze remained locked as I felt a heat rising inside of me.
The other spoke…
I gave no reply.
“The gunslinger’s sword… his cannon. That was a gift.”
My silence held as my thumb caressed the perfectly worn hammer at my hip.
“An offering from me… to you.”
The heat grew. Centered in my chest.
I felt like a coward the day Jaren Ward died and for many cycles after.
But here, I felt only the fire of my Light.
The other probed…
“Nothing to say?”
He let the words hang.
“I’ve been waiting for you. For this day.”
His attempt at conversation felt mundane when judged against all that had come before.
“Many times I thought you’d faltered. Given up…”
All I’d lost, all who’d suffered, flashed rapid through my mind, intercut with a dark silhouette walking toward a frightened, weak, coward of a boy.
The fire burned in me.
The other continued…
“But here you are. This is truly an end…”
As his tongue slipped between syllables my gun hand moved as if of its own will.
Reflex and purpose merged with anger, clarity and an overwhelming need for just that… an end.
In step with my motion, the fire within burst into focus – through my shoulder, down my arm – as my finger closed on the trigger of my third father’s cannon.
Two shots. Two bullets engulfed in an angry glow.
The other fell.
I walked to his corpse. He never raised his cursed Thorn – the jagged gun with the festering sickness.
I looked down at the dead man who had caused so much death.
My shooter still embraced by the dancing flames of my Light.
A sadness came over me.
I thought back to my earliest days. Of Palamon. Of Jaren.
Leveling my cannon at the dead man’s helm, I paid one final tribute to my mentor, my savior, my father and my friend…
“Yours… Not mine.”
…as I closed my grip, allowing Jaren’s cannon, now my own, to have the last, loud word.
Grimoire Card: Ghost Fragment: Thorn 4 posted:The Shadow and the Light
PARTIES: Two . One  Ghost-type, designate [REDACTED] [u.1], One  Guardian-type, Class [REDACTED] [u.2]
ASSOCIATIONS: Breaklands; Durga; Dwindler’s Ridge; Last Word; Malphur, Shin; North Channel; Palamon; Thorn; Velor; Ward, Jaren; WoS; Yor, Dredgen;
[u.1:0.1] Such Darkness.
[u.1:0.2] Far from it.
[u.2:0.2] To each their own.
[u.1:0.3] His Light is faded.
[u.2:0.3] His Light is gone.
[u.1:0.4] You are an infection.
[u.2:0.4] I am that which will cleanse.
[u.1:0.5] You are a monster.
[u.2:0.5] Heh. An old friend once saw me as the same. He was right, and, had we met earlier, so too would you be.
[u.1:0.6] You’d dare defend yourself – all you’ve done – as anything but monstrous?
[u.2:0.6] No more than a hurricane.
[u.1:0.7] Then you’re a force of nature?
[u.2:0.7] I am all that is right. You may not see it – for lack of looking, or blind ignorance – but I am all that is good.
[u.1:0.8] You’ve just murdered a good man.
[u.2:0.8] He shot first.
[u.1:0.9] Yet you stand.
[u.2:0.9] Guess he missed.
[u.1:1.0] He never misses.
[u.2:1.0] First time for everything.
[u.2:1.1] His cannon? Nice piece of hardware.
[u.2:1.2] Well-worn, but clean. Smooth hammer.
[u.1:1.1] It was his prize.
[u.2:1.3] Guess he put too much faith in the wrong steel.
[u.1:1.2] Is that where you’re faith lies, in steel?
[u.2:1.4] Not for some time. My steel is only an extension. My faith is in the shadow.
[u.1:1.3] Then my Light is an affront to all you are. I am your truest enemy.
[u.2:1.5] One of many.
[u.1:1.4] Would you end me?
[u.2:1.6] Not you. Not now.
[u.1:1.5] The shadow knows mercy.
[u.2:1.7] The shadow knows no such thing.
[u.1:1.6] Then what?
[u.2:1.8] The other.
[u.1:1.7] What other?
[u.2:1.9] The dead man’s charge.
[u.1:1.8] The boy?
[u.1:1.9] You’d end him as well?
[u.2:2.0] If it comes to that… We’ll see.
[u.1:2.0] I won’t let you have the child.
[u.2:2.1] Been long enough now, think maybe he’s a man.
[u.1:2.1] You cannot have him.
[u.2:2.2] Not yet.
[u.1:2.2] I won’t let you.
[u.2:2.3] That you could stop me is an amusing thought.
[u.2:2.5] Take it.
[u.2:2.6] Give the apprentice his master’s “sword.” It is a gift.
[u.1:2.4] You cannot have him.
[u.2:2.7] You fear for his Light?
[u.2:2.8] …is special.
[u.2:2.9] I am aware.
[u.1:2.7] You’re trying to tempt him. You’re feeding his anger.
[u.2:3.0] The gun is a memento, nothing more.
[u.1:2.8] You claim to be a vessel, a hollow shell where once a man stood, but that is just a lie. The man is still in you.
[u.2:3.1] There is no man here, I am now, and for the rest of time, only Dredgen Yor.
[u.1:2.9] “The Eternal Abyss?”
[u.2:3.2] So, not all the forgotten languages are dead.
[u.1:3.0] Hide behind whatever titles you wish, it is all still a façade. No force of nature would play such games.
[u.1:3.1] The cannon. You wish to tempt the boy. Too spur him on and fuel his rage. There is intent there. The actions of a man, monstrous, mad or otherwise… you are nothing more.
[u.2:3.4] And what value does your conclusion bring, flawed as it may be?
[u.1:3.2] That a hurricane can only be weathered, not stopped. Not redirected. A force of nature is uncaring and without intent, but a man…
[u.1:3.3] A man is none of those things.
[u.1:3.4] A man can be killed.
[u.2:3.6] And there it is…
[u.1:3.5] There what is…?
[u.2:3.7] A sliver of hope.
There you have it. The ends of Jaren Ward and Dredgen Yor, but not of the Last Word and Thorn. Next up, some stories about our friends out in the Reef. You know, the ones that are kinda dead.
Grimoire Card: The Coven posted:On the Eve of War
The chamber was dark. The seven of them were rarely in a room together anymore, but this was the eve of their greatest journey, a plan that overcame death and spanned universes.
They were all connected in trance, communing as the ancients did. Speaking would tip their hand to the Harbinger Minds they kept here, trophies from an ageless war, and weapons in the right hands.
“Oryx could kill her, if she holds on too long.” Sedia offered through the silence, fearing what was to come.
“We took an oath long ago, obedience even in the face of defeat.” Nascia despised fear.
“Only a defeat here, now. Not there, then.” Illyn wandered between the two sides of three. The amulet around her neck marked Illyn as the coven’s mother, granting her visions beyond the veil, places only the Queen could go.
“So we hope.” Kalli had long sought the power of the amulet, but Techeuns are taught not to desire.
“Our Queen awaits.” Lissyl attempted to end the challenges. There was little time and a war to fight.
“So now the decision is nigh. The Harbingers, which to prepare?” Shuro was determined to see this all through. Excitement was taught to be kept at bay.
“We cannot send them all.” Portia reminded.
“All but one, the oldest. It stays with us. Sedia, Kalli, Shuro, take the children, tell her they are to be planted into a dead thing to have children of their own.” A plan hid behind Illyn’s eyes, but Techeuns do not share their eyes with others.
“What if they are not wise enough for the Dreadnaught?”
Illyn turned back to the source.
“Sedia, do you not have faith in our Queen?”
TL;DR: Awoken are weird and secretive space elves, dude.
Grimoire Card: The Aftermath posted:Do not fear, brother. This was the only choice I had."
The sound of her voice ripped him from sleep. He jumped up; his ship was still contained in its protective sphere. He tried to retract the shield, but it was locked to its initiation time. He couldn’t remember activating it. Then he remembered the battle. That blast.
What that ship fired was ancient, not bound to anything the Origin Libraries even sought to describe.
He tried to calm down. He thought of her, searching for her pull. He couldn’t find it, but he was not calm. She always told him she would always be there behind the calm.
All he could hear were echoes of that sound.
It began as soon as they hit the ring plane, ringing in the old glimmer of his long-buried self. Before she showed him who he was—in the before and the after.
The Techeuns should’ve known what the Dreadnaught could do. Must’ve known. Did they not feel what he felt? Hear what he heard? And that damn Ketch, it wasn’t protected. They had to know that. All to deploy the Harbingers. They barely got a foothold before the weapon was fired. He thought of Petra and how overwhelmed she must be, forced to hold her post, and watch her people perish.
He tried to calm himself again, forcing long breaths. He realized where he was: Mars. Athabasca. The Candor Isles. He hadn’t been here in so long, not since he found the Black Garden.
The countdown to the shield’s deactivation pulsed. He tried again, to home in on her, to find if she truly gave herself for this battle. He felt close to something, a hum of starlight, then shield deactivation broke his focus.
He climbed out and saw the damage to his ship, and the truths of the armada’s devastation sunk in.
He turned in despair to find hundreds of his Crow drones, deployed on Mars long ago, circling his ship, waiting.
“Welcome back, Master.” The one closest to him spoke first, and the others followed, a wave of salutations echoed throughout the dry sea.
And with that hope returned.
“Begin repairs on the ship immediately. Something has gone missing and you will help me find it.”
Keep this one in particular in mind. It may become important later.
Grimoire Cards: Mystery: The Vault of Glass 1-3 posted:The image clears of dirt and dust as a hand wipes the lens clean. A figure holds the Ghost up, looking into the lens. Harsh light from an unfamiliar sun backlights the four-armed creature, making it impossible to see its face. Its massive head turns, and a clicking and chittering voice can be heard speaking to something off-screen. While the noises themselves are harsh, the tone and content seem almost gentle. A curious creature, not a violent or angry one.
The lens refocuses beyond the creature’s head as it talks, and a startling landscape climbs to the horizon. It’s a paradise. Carefully tended lakes and rivers, water everywhere, wind their way between fields of lush iridescent crops and into groves of starkly colored trees. Every inch of the land seems engineered, brushed by a sculptor’s hand for form and function both.
The sky is a light pink, spotted with clouds and crowded with ships. Thick lanes of aerial traffic soar through the air, tightly managed and seemingly endless.
And beyond it all, above the clouds, hangs a perfect alabaster sphere. The image wobbles, shaking, flickering as if the Ghost is blinking. And the fragment ends.
Images flicker in and out repeatedly over its length. The result is a series of tableaus, moments in time captured by the Ghost’s struggle to see what’s going on:
– The face of an Exo, staring impassively down at the Ghost from very close. He appears to be confused, unsure what he is looking at.
– A landscape, from a position a few feet off the ground, moving laterally to the point of view. The Ghost appears to be clipped to the Exo’s belt. The image is of a battlefield, and over two dozen Exo soldiers can be seen marshalling for battle.
– A chaotic scene of Vex and Exos fighting a titanic battle. The backdrop is a pitted and scarred landscape, a planet unidentifiable from present context. Vex energy bolts hang in midair as the frames click by, teeming masses of constructs surging towards an entrenched line of Exo soldiers.
– A metallic leg and boot, belonging to a Vex Goblin. The Exo goes down.
– The horizon of this battle-scarred world, the Ghost kicked free of the Exo’s body. Most details are obscured by dark and shadow, but one detail is easily made out: a massive crashed spacecraft. The last image: a sigil of Golden Age Earth, emblazoned on the side of the ship’s prow.
A starfield. The stars swing slowly across the Ghost’s field of view, just darkness and the blazing fury of distant suns as the Ghost tumbles through empty space. Hours of this before, with a wash of power, a huge convoy of ships drops into reality from warp.
A convoy of Guardian craft, hundreds strong. Ships of all sizes and shapes can be seen, from venerable craft that have been salvaged from the Golden Age through to City designs to vessels that have yet to emerge from the Shipwright’s hangars.
The ships are battle-scarred. Many are barely spaceworthy. As warp drives wind down several seem to lose power and begin to drift. Some of the largest craft bear imagery familiar to frequent visitors to the tower: Dead Orbit symbols, the simple icon of the Vanguard. The New Monarchy and Future War Cult as well, though fewer examples can be seen. Others bears symbols never seen in the Tower to date.
Every single ship, from the largest cruiser to the smallest personal craft, carries shards of stone, remnants of the City and the Tower. Banners too, tattered and worn from entering and leaving warp.
The fleet is only visible for a few breaths, less than a minute. Then, with a massive flash of light, the fleet jumps on. The craft that have lost power are left behind, spinning and whirling away from the etheric wake of their powered fellows. The Ghost spins on, and soon enough only stars fill its field of view until the fragment ends.
Personally, not quite sure what to make of these. Something yet to come? Something averted? Guess we'll all find out soon enough.
Grimoire Card: Mystery: Praedyth's Door posted:Praedyth opened his eyes.
The receiver sputtered to life. It had taken him the better part of a decade to get his crude comm scanner working. And another few years to get it transmitting. Now, in the brief windows of time when the door to his cell opened, he would call for help. He sighed, a deliberate act that caused him to cough roughly. He had no idea how much longer his body would hold out. But then, that kind of thinking was all relative here, wasn’t it?
Praedyth stared at the sprawling mass of metal and wires, listening to the tinny sounds coming from his makeshift speaker. Before he spoke, he always made a point to listen. The words, the concepts that flowed into his mind confused him. Timelines and potentialities that might have already happened, might happen, might never happen.
A pattern was ever dancing in the edge of his vision. At times like this, when the world rushed past him, he had to hold tight to the fact that he was still breathing. He would often focus in on the intake, output, inbreath, outbreath, breath, breath, breath… hours later, he blinked. Refocused. The static had stopped. He had missed a window.
Once, he would have cursed and spat. Now, he just shook his head. A weak movement of the neck.
The Vex had decided their end. The Guardians had interceded. The Vex were fallible.
If the Vex can be wrong… if they can make mistakes… someday he could be free. Someday he might leave the Vault, might see again the Traveler.
Until then he would listen, he would observe. He would be the man on the outside looking in, a viewpoint into the consciousness of Minds that spanned galaxies. He would try to understand the Vex.
Praedyth closed his eyes.
Poor Praedyth, cursed to a loop in time in the Vault. What a way to go out. We'll get back to his quest at some point in the future; we're not quite done there.