The Guardian was resplendent. Their armor gleamed, even in the dull gloom of the Europan night. The golden scrollwork of their breastplate glowed, as if the Light itself imbued the metal. It was beautiful.
The broken forms of dead and dying Eliksni littered the battlefield, each bearing the symbol for the House of Salvation. Blood and Ether seeped across the ice, freezing into rich stains. The Guardian strolled casually from body to body, searching for ammunition and weaponry.
Eido had watched the battle through a viewfinder from atop a far-off ridgeline. Even at this distance, the brutality was hard to countenance. She glanced quizzically at Misraaks, who crouched beside her. These were the Guardians her father trusted?
As if sensing her reservation, Misraaks spoke. "The Guardians are capable of mercy, though they seldom show it."
"Then why does the Great Machine bless them?" Eido asked. "Is it not better to be merciful?"
"The Darkness is coming," Misraaks replied wearily. "Nearer now than ever before. Perhaps mercilessness is exactly what the Great Machine needs."