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Clouds gathered over the already miserable landscape of Seattle. Tall skyscrapers with broken glass and misshapen forms were like tombstones; constant reminders of the failures of the past. Once, humans had stalked these homes, these walls, making it a living. Now, an alien breed focused their efforts to revitalize a device long left dormant by Guardian ancestors. Were this device to be truly realized in its purpose, it would surely bring about a whirlwind of change. A storm was rising.

Far away from the eyes of Fireteam Black, the Kell of Veils began to plot; the final phase of his plan was to begin. Arkanz walked with a slight limp, as he had been crippled long ago in a war he barely remembered. The Kell approached an open area, where stone ran for miles, covering the earth for what seemed like forever. In the hundreds of years that Seattle had been left uninhabited, green began to grow like a weed, managing to break forth from the stone in seldom spots. Arkanz’s large feet stamped over tall patches of grass, matting it down against the ground. He came to approach a large structure, what appeared to be something most certainly Golden Age in origin. While Arkanz certainly had a head start to reach this place, his faithful Archon was not far behind. The towering being quickly brought himself to a kneel before his Kell.

“My Kell; the deed is done.” Ernaz spoke.

“So, they march to their doom. It was a rather clever plan, if I must say myself.” Whatever the device was, Arkanz ran his crooked fingers across a rusted, metal hull. His fingers eventually crossed upon a control panel, fitted to operate the device by Fallen designs. It seemed that there was a piece missing, however. “Telling them of the Needle. They blindly marched through with the shortest path.”

“Straight through our forces.” Ernaz replied.

“Exactly. It was no coincidence that they happened upon Uriks, or Iviks. Eventually, their luck will run out.” Lightning rippled through the multi-layered clouds above, creating a bright but brief flash of light.

“As all luck does.” Ernaz nodded.

“Regardless. The plan is to proceed as normal. Have you the key, Archon?” Arkanz turned a cold orange gaze towards the Archon.

“Yes, my Kell.” From a pouch at his belt, Ernaz pulled forth a strange artifact; something covered in dust and rust, shaped like a keycard or something of the like. Ernaz rose from his kneel and ambled forward, arm outstretched to hand off the key.

Arkanz accepted it within his grasp, holding this object with his crooked fingers. He then turned, carefully sliding the key into a fairly small slot located just above the console. The key had an angular design, with a ridged head to prevent it from being lost within the device. Though, as it was pressed inward, something happened that caused Arkanz to step backwards.

The ground rumbled, but brief; machinery sprung to life, as dust was freed from a device that had not operated for hundreds of years. It was remarkable that it still worked, but it would be left to time to see if it functioned with its intended purpose. The device was long, stretching yards into the sky. A central core radiated a fierce blue, enough to cut through the darkness of the storm.

“Finally.” Arkanz began to speak, marveling over a device that had been, suffice to say, brought back from the dead. The device cast a glow across his usually hidden face. “Finally, years of planning have reached fruition.”

“My Kell. What would the other Houses believe of this?” Ernaz asked. If but for a brief moment, he reached for the sheath at his back, but quickly retreated his hand after Arkanz turned to face him.

“Let them believe what they desire. The House of Veils has stood in the shadows for far too long. With this, all of our species will come to realize who the dominant House is.” Arkanz patted the housing of the device. “With this, we would destroy the disease, and the warmongers. Even the time benders.”

“I have faith in your leadership, my Kell. There are more pressing matters to attend to, I believe.”

“Yes. The Light thieves. They will be dealt with, soon. Leave me, Archon. I must finalize our efforts.”

Ernaz bowed once again, out of respect for his Kell. “I’ll see to their destruction.”

Arkanz was left to wonder at his latest accomplishment.

_______________________________________________________________________

Elsewhere in the city...

“It seems as though the only way through to the Space Needle is forward. There appears to be an old bank between us and the Needle.” Vandyn explained. “It was a place where they would store physical currencies. Before we discovered Glimmer, anyhow.”

“That’s heavy Fallen territory.” Providence interjected. “Good. I need to kill something.”

“We’re going to have to pass through there if we want to reach the Kell. Fireteam Black, move out.” Sylus added. It was to their understanding that with the Kell’s passing, should they be able to do so, they would destabilize the House well enough to prevent any further plots. Like their Vandal friend had explained before, perhaps it was also important to stop whatever schemes they were currently planning.

Sylus stepped over a large slab of concrete, completely up heaved from the road and upwards facing. Ahead of them was the old and defaced front entrance to a bank. Though some of the bank lay in ruins, the central foundation seemed mostly intact, and a few letters were hoisted up over the front. Mainly, the letters “N”, “S” and “B” were proudly displayed in large, gold letters. Now, much of the bank’s appearance was dashed with purple, with massive banners drawn across buildings and supply crates scattered all over the place. It was clear that the House of Veils had a heavy presence here, but there was no telling how much of a presence they had.

On Sylus’ orders, Fireteam Black made their advance towards the bank’s front. Clouds had rolled in from above, dark and ominous; any presence of Fallen was impossible to see. Not that there were any to begin with; the entire front end of the bank was abandoned, eerily so. It left some of the Guardians a bit unnerved. The entire environment was enough to make one anxious.  Fireteam Black moved up the front steps of the bank, which were nothing but crude stairs formed from ages-old stone.

Rain began to fall over the dark city. Millions of these tiny pellets of water splattered across various surfaces, creating a cacophony of endless noises. Said noises would not persist for too long, as soon enough, Fireteam Black entered into the old, decrepit building that now belonged to the House of Veils. The interior was none much better than the exterior; broken skylights allowed rain to scatter itself across a tiled floor pattern. Small crystals were set into metal frames, hoisted onto pikes that served as crude lanterns, and did little but provide a dim light to the pitch black of the bank’s interior.

“Be careful, Black. I don’t like the looks of this.” Sylus whispered. He gestured that everyone follow him in, and keep their flashlights off, to not alert any sort of presence that might be waiting inside the bank. There had to be some sort of presence within; it seemed not likely that the Fallen would just abandon the place. It wasn’t until a message from Brian that Sylus’ suspicions were confirmed.

“Boss… I got movement.”

“Where?”

"… Everywhere, Boss.”

Much to Sylus’ horror, he soon came to realize what Brian had meant. As they stepped into a more open area of the bank, they were greeted by a whole army of the House of Veils. Captains, Vandals, Dregs, Shanks and a pair of Servitors had all set up within the center of the bank. It seemed like one hell of a fighting force, and most likely, it was intended as an ambush. It was something to stop Fireteam Black’s advances. While much of the force remained towards the back of the room, the two Servitors remained at the center, connected to some sort of device by a set of wires. A white fluid was being pumped through these wires, which made the Servitors glow a bright white instead of their usual purple.

“Get down. We can’t let them see us.” Sylus took cover immediately, and ordered the rest of his fireteam to do the same, which they did. The odds were immensely stacked against them.

“Oh… oh no. I don’t like this looks of this at all.” Vandyn said. “That device looks like it might be pumping pure ether into those Servitors. I’ve never seen anything quite like this before.” Vandyn seemed genuinely afraid. Emperor was much less of the same mindset.

“We destroy these leeches. Simple enough.” He still held some contempt that his fireteam had sided with the Vandal from before, but he had calmed down since them. It was clear that not everyone among them trusted him just yet, given his outburst back at the prison.

“No, Emperor. We need a proper strategy. We can’t just go in there and hit everything. Look how that worked last time.” Sylus reminded Emperor what happened when he tried to kill the Warden.

“Hmph… come up with a better strategy, then.” Emperor replied.

Captains patrolled around the back of the bank, where a tunnel had been hallowed out in the building, and led towards the other side. This tunnel was heavily guarded, both by the Captains and Vandals placed in strategic positions around the bank interior. Dregs moved around at the ground floor, accompanied by Shanks. All at the center, there were the two Servitors, hooked up to some machine. Whatever the machine was doing to these Servitors, it was something important. It had to go.

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