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The imposing figure of a Titan walked through a crop field. His armor has long since been worn down, scarred, and rusted. His auto rifle was equally worn, but functional, the guardian hoped. The Titan was tall and intimidating, but his shoulders were slumped as if unseen weight rested upon them. The visor on his helmet was damaged to the extent where you could see his eyes, which were tired and weary but filled with contentness – quite possibly a touch of sadness too. His armor may not be as neat and polished as the wares of Guardians aligned with the City, but from its look, you can tell it had a story worth telling. The story is long and arduous, for the titan was there when the City walls were built. He had guarded those walls during the Twilight Gap, fighting endless waves of Fallen and watching as the legendary Shaxx held the wall in defiance for hours. He has journeyed to the Moon with other Guardians, in hopes to reclaim it from the Hive; only to see the attack fall apart right before his very eyes. He remembered watching his brothers die in combat, some resurrected, while some did not. He sighed at the memory of them. He remembers bleeding out while looking at his arm laying several meters away, he grimaced at that painful memory and clenched the fist of that arm, which was now connected to his shoulder, thanks to his Ghost. He remembered going to Mars, fighting the mighty Centurions and Legionnaires of the Cabal and the terrifying robotic hordes of Vex. He remembers seeing Zavala every day, to collect his rewards for each strike and mission well done. Sometimes he misses those days, sometimes he doesn’t.
The dutiful Titan remembers leaving it all behind. The Tower; his friends, whom he grew to call his brothers and sisters; his responsibilities; the Vanguard. He turned his back on all of it. It was the hardest decision of his life, but it was the right one. He had seen enough, done enough, he had given his life for the City over and over to see it grow and prosper. He will never regret his service, but he felt it in his bones that he was done. The City doesn’t need him anymore, he was a relic of the past trying to fit in with new blood. Guardians have grown so powerful that the talk in the Tower was hardly ever about the defense of the City, but rather discussions of acquiring powerful weapons and devastating abilities. It was no longer about honor, it was about power. This unsettling truth left a sour, bitter taste in his mouth as he saw his only family become so vain and shallow. So with a heavy heart, the titan left. Few tried to contact him, mostly close friends. He of course responded and together they would share one last moment of sad nostalgia and remembering, the kind one feels at the drifting apart from loved ones. But besides them, nobody noticed. Not even his own Vanguard. Not even Lord Shaxx – who he grew to see as a father figure. Albeit one-sidedly though, for the Titan was just a face in a sea of a thousand others for Shaxx. Ultimately, he was fine with that. It just made the choice easier for him.
He had his Ghost, his faithful companion, and buddy. The conduit of his Light. She was the only friend he needed.
He traveled aimlessly far and wide on Earth. Through the European Dead Zone, through Old Russia, through what was left of China, and across the vast deserts of the American Southwest. Each Guardian he encountered paid no heed to him, keeping to themselves. At one point he was flying an hour north of the swampy and overgrown Old Chicago. He saw endless forests with no enemies in sight. He immediately recognized it as the place where he was first resurrected. He dropped down and felt the crunch of snow underneath. The gnawing cold immediately hit him, almost as bad as Old Russia, but windier. He wandered the endless and serene forest for hours, taking in the beautiful sights and the peculiar and fresh smells. Suddenly fifteen guns appeared out of the trees and were aimed at him, he strained his eyes to see human men and women staring at him in fear, their rifles trembling from the nerves. The Titan stood still and relaxed to prevent unnecessary conflict, soon his ghost appeared in front of him and each gun slowly fell. In front of them stood a Guardian, The mythic warriors with their ghostly companions, each one fell the enemies of humanity in the thousands. Each survivor slowly approached the man and placed their hands on his armor, almost as if to make certain the warrior before them was real.
He was real, and he was strong.
After the shock wore off they beckoned him to their village, and of course, he followed. When they stopped he saw nothing that indicated a settlement, it was just more dense forest. But soon there was movement in the trees, doors opening, with people of all walks of life staring down at him. He was astounded. To both the naked eye and even thermals, the entire place was invisible. Soon all the townsfolk crawled down the trees and there was a crowd bearing upon him, studying him.
He looked into this crowd of desperate and weary people and he knew he had found his new calling. For the first weeks, the town was intimidated by him and worshiped him like a god, but over the years his presence gave off a sense of security and he was no longer worshiped, but rather loved for the man he was. He helped them build their houses and secure their food, he smiled as he watched his talkative Ghost tell the children tales of the titan’s glory and adventures. He watched as the children grew into adults, and as the elderly drew their final breath. He became their silent protector, and he finally felt at peace. He was no longer a Guardian of the City, but the Guardian of these people. He was needed, and as the decades went by that never changed. It was a simple life.
The Titan remembered patrolling Old Chicago for resources, stepping deep into the muck and clawing away large vines, cursing at every minor inconvenience. His ghost was rambling on about something scientific, and as per usual the titan wasn’t really listening until the ghost abruptly stopped. He looked behind him only to be hit by what felt like a wall. His knees buckled and he fell into the mud gasping, he felt weak and powerless as he writhed on the ground in a struggle to stand up. Eventually, he managed to regain his footing, only to be hit by a newfound panic – his ghost was gone. He fell to his knees in a panic, frantically searching through the mud for his little buddy. She was his family. She has been his companion for all of his resurrected life, and now she was gone and nowhere to be found. He stopped and sat there on his knees. He now realized that the Light he had was gone. If he died now it would be his final death. He suddenly felt alone and vulnerable, and for the first time in centuries, he cried. He then heard muffled cries that weren’t his. He found the general area of the sound and clawed through the swamp muck. Joy and relief swept over him to find his frail ghost laying there. He held her protectively in his hands until she found the strength to float again. The elation he felt was swiftly replaced by rising fear and panic. He had fought in darkness zones were self-resurrection was suppressed, but this was different. He had no Light. No abilities. His only weapons were his old faithful rifle and his fists.
He had no access to his ship anymore and soon found it was shot down on the outskirts of the city. The flight up north may have only been an hour, but the trek up there took days. It was a long and treacherous road, with sleepless and cold nights – for he feared a fire might alert dark creatures stalking under the moon. Despite such harrowing peril, he made it back. Hungry and starving, he could barely walk. The townsfolk took this opportunity to show the man the same kindness he has provided them for many years. They nursed him to health and soon he was able to walk again. Adjusting to life without his Light proved difficult, for he could always rely on it, but now he was only a man. A terrified man. Terrified for himself and his people if an attack ever came, but it never did. He spent what seemed like ages without his Light. Each night he would lie awake, wondering if he would ever be given his Light back, but during the day he stood strong for them. As the days piled up, he feared it to be gone; but as suddenly as it was lost, it was regained, and all was good again.
Two years later from that day, the Titan walked through the crops harvesting the food as the chills of fall were nipping at his unprotected eyes and nose. Every fruit he picked hissed as a sweet-smelling gas erupted from the broken stem. It reminded him of the satisfying sound the Fallen made when shot in the face. A very fond memory. His large muscular frame made this labor-intensive work a short and easy task, and soon he was done. All the fruits and vegetables were collected into a large sack that he hauled over his shoulder. He made his first steps towards home when his ghost suddenly spoke in an alarmed voice.
“Movement coming from the south,” the ghost exclaimed over the comms, “Hostile!”
The Titan turned calmly to see around thirty human bandits walking towards him with guns in hand, looking for trouble. The Titan dropped his sack and reached for the rifle on his back, dirt crumbling off his armor as he did so. He gave a deep, regretful sigh as he reluctantly readied the rifle, and soon tore through the bandits with controlled, short bursts.
The sound of gunshots and muffled screams filled the field and beyond, for it had been a century since the world heard the crackling of his old, reliable rifle.
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