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With the demise of Iviks, it had seemed that the Veils’ prison would remain an empty relic, corridors filled with nothing but phantoms. Still, it would be a place that the House of Veils could use to their own ends, committing endless acts and atrocities for whatever ambitions they possessed. In days past, it had been a place of horrid experimentations for the Hive. When Arkanz came to Seattle, he saw a place of stone and blood and rot and he used it for his own ends. It was a place where he would conduct his own hells, killing his own kin, all with a Cheshire grin. Knowing well of the horrors that kept in the prison, Syrakis would never allow it to befall another again. Never had anyone witnessed a place, hewn from stone and blood and rot. Never would they again witness a place such as this.

Gears whirred, operating an ancient elevator that somehow was still functional. In the most likely scenario, it had been mostly repaired by the Fallen forces. It was the only way in and out of the prison. Now, Fireteam Black and Syrakis used it to rise from the depths. Days had passed since their imprisonment. It felt like so much longer, but it was as it was. The elevator eventually reached the apex, and Fireteam Black was once more bathed in the morning light.

“Sweet, sweet sunlight. I didn’t think I’d see it again.” Brian remarked, stepping off the elevator platform. Around them was a heavily fortified Veils encampment, with House banners hanging from custom-built ramparts and imposing guard towers. The joyful Hunter breathed a sigh of ease, feeling that the worst of it was now over. Though Providence was quick to remind him that there was still much to do.

“Don’t get comfortable yet.” The Exo Hunter stepped out into the sunlight. Crouching a short ways, he lifted off into the air with a jump, before kicking off the air in a second jump. Providence landed on one of the guard towers, and used his vantage point to survey the area. As it seemed, much of the Fallen presence in the area had been consigned to the prison interior, and Fireteam Black had killed most of them. All Providence could see was distant patrols, barely seen behind decayed buildings and desolate traffic.

“Just let me relax for once, geez.” Brian retorted, glancing up at his Exo compatriot.

“We’ll relax when we’re done.” He responded, coldly.

Vandyn and Emperor emerged from the elevator, and Vandyn was caught in awe of the Golden Age architecture that was around him. It was often that he felt as such; mainly, his presence here was one of dual nature, with focus on the mission and of researching relics from the past. Emperor eased himself away from the group, still feeling a faint iota of rage towards Syrakis. He could never quell his feelings, though he felt partially responsibility for the foul things he had said before. It made him ill to believe he felt that way, but that was how it was. He would not take it back now.

“This is it.” Arxus remarked, speaking towards Syrakis. “You have your freedom now.”

Syrakis wandered away from the elevator platform, and was promptly blinded by the sun’s rays. He had spent so long underground that he hadn’t remembered what the surface even looked like. The sun was so bright, hanging low on the horizon, casting reflections across glancing window panes that lined along the street level. Were he to have the capacity for it, he would be crying. A long period of agony had ended, at last.

“What’s wrong?” Arxus asked, noting Syrakis’ silence.

Syrakis remained silent for a few seconds longer, before mustering up the words to speak. “Syrakis has not seen sun in years… forgotten what it looked like, yes?”

“Well, you will have plenty of time to explore the world. As far as things are concerned for you, it’s all over.” Sylus remarked, for he too was happy to see the sun again.

“Is not over yet… Kell still lives.” Syrakis turned towards Sylus and Arxus. “Syrakis too old to fight… Guardians must continue on, defeat Arkanz for good.”

“This is what we came here for. We will complete this task for you, Syrakis. Believe in my good word, old one.” Sylus responded, and Arxus nodded in agreement.

“Syrakis feels honored by your promise… perhaps, will rebuild House once again. Farewell, Guardians… safe travels to you.” Syrakis parted with these last words. He ran to the wilds and left to the wind, breathing again the fresh air. Syrakis was free once again, and he swore to never fall under the thumb of a ruthless Kell again. Perhaps someday, he would find alliance with the Guardians, and ensure the safety of his House for many generations to come.

“It’s kind of sad, seeing him go.” Arxus commented.

“You did well with your choices, Arxus. Not many of us would have been willing to make friends with the enemy. I suspect that Syrakis will make a good Kell one day.” Sylus patted Arxus over the shoulder.

“I appreciate it, boss.” Arxus responded.

“Sirs! I believe we are in quite a spot of luck!” Vandyn could be heard now, which gathered the fireteam’s attention. Off in a guard house near the back of the fortifications, Vandyn spotted something that would prove to be quite a relief to them; their weapons.

Strewn across the entirety of the room were various weapons, all belonging to the fireteam; some had tools nearby, suggesting that the House of Veils sought some way to use them. It seemed like they had no luck. Worthy of note among the weapons was Sylus’ Gjallarhorn and Voidwatcher, Arxus with the Mida Multi-tool, and Emperor’s Invective. Arxus, Sylus, Providence, Emperor and Brian all entered, gathering up their old gear so they might be better prepared for whatever was to come for the future. Many of them, mostly Brian, were overjoyed to reunite with their old weapons.

“Oh, I’m so sorry, I’m never going to let you go ever again.” Brian rubbed his sniper rifle against his face, treating it like it was his own child.

Sylus grabbed his Gjallarhorn, and holstered it upon the maglocks at his back; taking Voidwatcher into his hands, he made sure the void battery was properly functioning. Void energies flared down the center of the weapon in a form of exhaust, signifying that it was perfectly operational. “Fireteam Black, saddle up. We’re going to find a way to sink this prison, and then we’re dealing with Arkanz.”

“I looked about the compound while you two were saying your goodbyes to Syrakis.” Vandyn began, holstering his pulse rifle on his back. “Since this place used to be an old cistern, it seems that there is a control station for the subterranean floodgates. I figured that you might want the honors, considering that you are our fearless leader.”

“Good work, Vandyn.” Sylus nodded. “Let’s make sure they never use that prison again.”

Fireteam Black relocated themselves to the control station, on the other side of the Veils encampment. It was old and barely looked like it worked, though likely kept in good condition by the House of Veils. Levers and buttons and meters covered across a central console, modified several times beyond its original purpose. Right beyond the console, there was a viewing window blocked off by jail bars. One could see into the prison below, which lay barren and empty, populated by the few dozen corpses of slain Fallen. Sylus wondered what would possess them to maintain such a hellish place like this.

“Here it is, Mr. Marx.” Vandyn pointed out a lever mounted on the floor, right next to the central console. It specifically showed which direction to pull and what its function was.

Sylus stepped over towards the lever, and laid Voidwatcher down upon the console next to it. The rest of Fireteam Black watched as the Titan slowly wrapped his digits around the metal object, and began to pull down upon it. Simultaneously, obnoxiously loud metal creaks filled the air, and as Sylus pulled the lever further, rushing water was added. Fireteam Black bore witness as water began to quickly fill up the prison, causing bodies to float across the muddy liquids. Water rushed forth in a lion’s roar, desperate to fill the hopeless chasm. The Guardians watched as water filled this prison, until it was entirely filled, and the water level remained just below the control station they stood in.

To finish with this task, Sylus pulled the lever down further and suddenly snapped it off, rendering the floodgate control useless. Tossing the broken lever aside, he returned his hands to his auto rifle, and sighed. “I doubt they’ll ever make use of this prison anytime soon.”

Sylus turned towards his fireteam once again, seeing the many faces of the Guardians he had called his allies. “I know we’ve had our differences and certainly our arguments, but the end is in sight. The Kell of Veils is waiting for us up at that Space Needle, and we’re going to damn well meet him. We all know that if we fail here, he’s going to put forth whatever crazed schemes he has and our people will suffer for that. We can’t allow that.” Sylus grew silent for a few seconds, looking towards his fireteam. “Fireteam Black, we’re moving out.”

_________________________________________________________________________________

Elsewhere…

“How dare you!” Arkanz screamed in anger. His upper left arm swung outward, bashing into the presence of one of his own Vandals; it was tossed across the room like a ragdoll, before being crushed against a pillar.

“I apologize, my Kell… they had advanced further than we had expected.” Kneeling before the Kell was his second-in-command, the Veil Archon Ernaz. Ernaz bowed his head, watching in his peripheral as Arkanz threw a Vandal across the room as if it were a mere toy.

Arkanz growled, though his anger quickly quelled. He sat back upon his throne, staring towards his Archon. Arkanz’ eyes cut through the darkness like a predator’s eyes in the jungle, waiting to strike. “So. Iviks has been slain. The fool was always too possessed with his work. Explain to me, my Archon. Explain to me how these light-thieves managed to escape their binds and kill the Butcher.”

“Scouts say it was the Houseless one.” Ernaz responded.

“Syrakis. Ever defiant, even when in chains.” Arkanz slouched into his throne, resting his head against his upper right hand. “What of our prison?”

“Flooded, my Kell. It would take months to drain it. Should I send the Unseen to reclaim it?”

Arkanz waved his hand dismissively. “Never mind it. The prison is not critical to the plan.”

“My Kell, if I may suggest something…”

“Speak, Archon.”

“We may direct the light-thieves through our nearest checkpoint. Arviks-9 and Orviks-7 have just been stationed there.”

“Very well… I will allow this, Archon. Do not fail me again, or there will be dire consequences.”

“Yes, my Kell.” Ernaz stood and bowed, before hurriedly leaving Arkanz’ presence.

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