[DAY 402] YOU WEAR MY BANNER. —Xivu Arath, Hive God of War
Sloane knelt, unable to stand. All the weight of Titan's ocean around her was nothing compared to the pressure of Xivu Arath's will pinning her down.
A horde of gnashing Hive bore lipless smiles around a single Taken Knight. He stood tall before her, brandishing a gleaming blade that anchored an oppressive terrace of sharpened obsidian. The terrace loomed over their heads. A voice cut through the gnashing—eager-toned, like running blood.
SOLDIER OF THE SKY, YOUR STRENGTH WANES, YOUR STRATEGY TOO OBVIOUS.
YOU TOOK WITHOUT CLAIM, AND NOW I CLAIM YOU.
THE SKY, DRAWN TO FALL ONCE MORE, PINNED BY NIGHT'S BLADE.
SUMMON YOUR MEAGER LIGHT, YOUR SKY TETHER, YOU ARE DEFEATED.
Xivu's voice rose from her projection, booming from the Black Terrace with laughter like screaming fear.
YOUR BEARER NEEDS YOU, GHOST.
Sloane felt needles of intent thread between the gaps in her armor, hook into her muscles, and slowly peel away the power suit's deep-set rivets from inset bone. A violent unraveling to a slow and painful end.
Síocháin watched the torture from rocky concealment, razors extended, waiting for an opportunity to strike. Minutes felt like hours, but Sloane clung to life in a cloud of crimson-tinged mist.
Delirium and agony fogged Sloane's mind, but an offer pierced through the cacophony of War. She heard it in her mind as if she had thought it herself. A broken promise:
She considered the offer.
Síocháin rushed forward, unwilling to watch any longer, and whirled through a swarm of Thrall with her blades. If she could reach Sloane, if she could just cut her free—
Xivu Arath shrieked with whetted laughter.
THIS MORSEL IS MINE TO CONSUME.
Lances of pure onyx thrust through the sea to impale the little Light. The Terrace bulged and surged forward, swelling, as if to burst. For a moment, Síocháin believed Xivu Arath would burst through the Black Terrace herself, wielding a blade in corporeal hand; War's presence emanated with such strength.
Instead, a gargantuan serpent crashed through the projection and snatched the Knight into its cavernous jaws as it surged by, shattering the Terrace's connection to the Knight. Eruptions of soulfire swallowed the Terrace and branched through the methane as the projection imploded on itself. The serpent dove, its enormous form overtaking and dwarfing the crumbling Terrace projection. It twisted above them, unfurling a portion of its tail to sweep aside scores of Hive with ease and sending plumes of sediment into a thick, obfuscating fog.
Sloane collapsed, and Síocháin rushed to her side, cutting through an Acolyte before it could raise its shredder. "We need to go! Get up!" Síocháin exclaimed and began stitching Sloane's gushing wounds and mending bones where she could. All around them, the Hive fired wildly into the sea, the soulfire pops of their deaths spurring tiny, muted explosions as it reacted with liquid methane.
Before Síocháin could get Sloane to her feet, the serpent slammed down in front of them, belly first, and shielded them from retaliatory Hive salvos. Síocháin darted in front of Sloane, razors ready against this giant beast, but the serpent simply looked at the Titan, its massive eye spanning more than three of her, shoulder to shoulder. Once more, Sloane heard the promise in her mind.
And so, they struck an accord.