In the days that followed Quria's defeat, the sky lightened, and so did the City's mood as the Endless Night began to slowly lift.
Lakshmi-2 stood high on the City walls, watching adventurous citizens mingle with the Eliksni. She focused her attention on an Eliksni peddler, who had fashioned several small robots from discarded scrap. A small gaggle of children stood across the way, clearly interested in the robots as they moved aimlessly, but too frightened to approach. Lakshmi knew that the peddler would sell one of the robots, but none of the scrap, and end the day discouraged.
It's a bright new day, she thought.
"It's a bright new day," a deep voice called out. Lakshmi turned to see the former Warlock Osiris striding along the wall toward her.
"What a strange choice of words," Lakshmi answered. "The Darkness is closer than ever." And in the darkness, it's sometimes difficult to tell friend from foe. She remembered this conversation from her time in the Device. Many of the potential futures it showed her led to this moment. Osiris was growing predictable.
"It is," Osiris said. "And in the darkness, it's hard to tell friend from foe."
Lakshmi smiled inwardly. They were still well within the standard deviation. "I'm surprised to hear you say that, Osiris. You are normally blessed with such uncommon clarity."
"My perspective has changed since I lost the Light," Osiris began slowly. "Time is suddenly finite. It makes everything seem more… changeable. And if my perception can change, perhaps my enemies can as well."
"The folly of mortality." Lakshmi gestured to the scene below. "Those people could never understand time as we do, Osiris. You've peered behind the veil. You've seen the Vex simulations stretching endlessly. You understand that history is changeable… but also inevitable."
"I used to be certain of that," he agreed. "But now I have to wonder, if history is inevitable, why am I constantly surprised?"
Lakshmi chuckled. She had heard his comment before, of course, but her premonition had not adequately conveyed his fatuousness.
"And what do you think, Osiris? Will this bright new day last?" She nodded toward the Eliksni settlement. "Are we meant to share the Light with the Fallen?"
As if you would know, she thought. You no longer deal in predictions.
"I've given up on prediction, Lakshmi. I put my fate in the hands of the Traveler now more than ever before." He gave her a sidelong glance. "And what do you say? Is this a new dawn?"
Lakshmi recalled the vision she had so fervently sought within the Device. The realization of her righteous victory over the Eliksni—historical and preordained all at once. Her life's work, crawling minute by minute from the future into the present.
"No," she replied. "This is just a flash of lightning before the coming storm."