The air up on the wall was thin; Lakshmi was right about that.
Mithrax stood in silent observation of the memorial above the main concourse. He leaned against an iron railing, watching Guardians and citizens alike moving below, Eliksni with them.
A Dreg approached the memorial and led his child to stand among the mourners. Urged forward by a gentle nudge, the child gingerly placed a gilded eggshell at the memorial's base. Gold soldering sealed a myriad of fractures, making a once broken egg whole again. Mithrax's throat tightened at the sight. It was a memorial for a child. Lost.
The walkway behind Mithrax groaned as Saint-14 cut a large silhouette against the clear sky. Shoulder to shoulder, they stood. Neither spoke.
They watched as Ikora and Zavala conversed with departing mourners. The Dreg and his son approached, and with a bittersweet smile, Ikora made certain to introduce them to Zavala. Big, stern, stoic Zavala took to one knee and spoke to the child, eye to eye.
"I never thought I'd see the day," Saint finally said, unable to look away.
Mithrax responded, not with words, but with a fluttering purr-like rumble and mirrored Saint's posture.
"Do you think this will hold? An alliance, fragile like glass, held in a fist?" Saint asked.
"Only the Great Machine knows what will come from over the horizon. We must be content with our own limited perspectives," Mithrax said with conviction.
Saint nodded. Down below, Amanda Holliday drew their attention as she knelt before the memorial to light a candle. She stood and stepped back, lingering. Mithrax and Saint watched in silence as she rose up on her toes and began scanning through the crowd. As if she were looking for someone.
She gently pushed through the throng of people and reached out to another mourner in a white cloak. Both recoiled in surprise, Amanda seemingly apologizing to the cloaked woman at some misunderstanding. They exchanged brief words, awkward laughs, sympathies. When Amanda caught sight of Lord Saladin, however, she took her leave and disappeared into the crowd.
Mourners parted around the Iron Lord, respectful of his space and reputation as he laid a handful of spent shell casings at the memorial with reverence. The offering's meaning was lost on Mithrax.
When Saladin rose from the memorial, he turned and looked up at the pair on the overwatch, his face cast in shades of doubt, remorse, and uncertainty as he quietly departed.
"I do not know that one," Mithrax said with a look to Saint. "He seems… unhappy."
Saint slowly shook his head. "Lord Saladin," he clarified. "He has lost many. Lost his heart, his hope. Lost so many, he believes he stands alone, even when surrounded by others. I understand his pain. I see…" Saint thinks on how Osiris would describe it. "…his cautionary tale."
Mithrax heard the ache in Saint's voice. "And how are you?"
Saint tensed at the question. The railing in his hand creaked as his grip tightened and bent the metal. "I am fine," he lied.
"Indeed," Mithrax said with his best affectation of sarcasm, then placed a hand on Saint's shoulder. "It is not above a warrior's station to feel pain. Not above a warrior's station to express spirit-wounds." Mithrax's grip firmed on Saint's shoulder; reassuring, stabilizing. "Not above a warrior's station to break."
Saint nodded in half-hearted agreement. "I should go," he said in a tone Mithrax didn't quite understand. "Thank you, Kell of Kells. You are true friend."
"Go well, Saint," Mithrax said with concern. "Find your lost phoenix."