Zoey: the daughter of the emperor who wants for nothing. Sophia: the daughter of a simple tribe leader who has struggled his entire life to keep enough food on the table. But can Zoey and Sophia put their differences aside long enough to work together? Or will they destroy each other in the process? My Books. Click on the picture to see their description! Suscribe to my e-mail newletter. Click to Join Newsletter. Void Wielder Series. Star Rising Series. I could hear her song growing fainter. Not yet. A new crippling terror was taking over. I was focused entirely on my fear.
But I had to make an effort. And it occurred to me then that nothing in the universe was more dangerous than human hubris. I still had this Other within? But the human side was what mattered: Weak and foolhardy, sure to fail in the next moment. Then someone spoke. Maybe it was me.
I was trying to focus, and a new thought took me: My soul lay between those two entities. The friction. Built for a long-forgotten struggle, Exos are self-aware war machines so advanced that nothing short of a Ghost can understand their inner functions. They remain ciphers, even to themselves: their origins and purpose lost to time.
Whoever built the Exos fashioned them in humanity's image, gifting them with diversity of mind and body. Many of the City's Exo citizens live and work alongside their organic brethren. But others fight again, re-forged in the Light of the Traveler to serve as Guardians. It doesn't matter if the system thinks with flesh or superconductor or topological braids in doped metallic hydrogen, as long as the logic is the same.
And our logic is the same. Yours and mine. If I am a machine then so are you. If you are not a machine then neither am I. Exo minds are human. It is incontrovertible. You understand? I'm going to take that slack-jawed stare as understanding. Now here's the real question.
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Why are Exo minds human? What's the design imperative? Why does a war machine - yes, absolutely, I am a war machine, built by human hands; and you are a survival machine built by the engine of evolution. Don't interrupt me. Why does a war machine have emotions? Why should a war machine have awareness? These are not useful traits on the battlefield. Don't flatter yourself. They are not useful. So why should the Exo mind mimic the human architecture so closely?
You know what I smell on you? I smell the stink of anthropocentrism. I think you think that there's only one way to think. That's why the Exo mind is so human, you presume. Because all higher thought converges. My friend, you should meet the Vex. There is nothing human in them. This is what I believe happened, back in the time before any Exo can remember.
It explains everything. I think someone wanted to live forever. Thanks for your interest. I'm recording this for posterity. Warlock thanatonauts die and come back with insight. I'm going to attempt the same process to get at buried memories. Specifically, I'm going to fire a charged particle beam into my head and see what comes out.
We Exos have been around a very long time. I want to know what's in there. My Ghost is standing by to repair me. Everyone is on fire. There's a ship above us but it's coming apart just like a flower, alloy and fusion flash, pierced through and through - The voice says Atmospheric interface. Trajectory nominal. Rabid two three you are outside the window. I think I am the voice I can see the whole earth below me and the sky we are falling out of is black without stars.
Ghost, shoot me again. This is elsewhere and elsewhen. There is a mighty aurora and it is reflected in the ice so I walk between two fires although the one below is cracked and full of corpses. I have and am a weapon. Up in the sky there is a hole in Jupiter and it tears at me when I look at it. It tears at me. It is hungry. Maybe the hole is not in Jupiter but in me.
Did I ever suffer exhaustion? Someone asked the question. Or maybe I asked it of myself. Then it looked at me. This moment was real. I was forged by other hands and forced into the role of warrior. According to my scars, I fought and fought. Besides bits and flashes, every battle has been forgotten. But I have this clear, awful sense that others died. In my unit, every soldier was killed except for me. Yet despite a thousand chances to be shredded and scrapped, here I stood, no weapon in my hands, making fists out of habit but with nothing to hit.
That was my sense of things. But our world was collapsing around us, and every soul was doomed. Even cockroaches and microbes would die. And being an expert in the art of losing battles, I saw no ending to this battle but another loss. And I was ashamed. The shame took hold of me. It shook me.
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Shame stole my mass and my resolve. Suddenly I felt like a feather, like a breath, like any small nothing ready to be lost in the first breeze. But in the midst of that despair, a fresh thought took hold. I was cursed. And do you know what a curse is? It is stubborn.
A curse delivered by the gods will hold you when everything else has given up on you. And it was obvious that survival was my eternal curse. A thousand battles and how many were won? Judging by the evidence, none. But despite the horrific losses, I had endured. Closing my eyes, I forced my fists to open.
To this enemy, to myself. To the wind threatening to carry me away. Built from machinery and the Traveler's Light, Ghosts guide their Guardian companions in the quest to reclaim our solar system. Every Ghost seeks out its Guardian among the ancient dead. The Ghost serves as scout, librarian, and mechanic, waking ancient machinery and cracking alien codes. In the right situations, a Ghost can even save a Guardian from death. But Ghosts are not immortal.
As far as Guardians know, every loss is irreplaceable. Battered and drained of their Light, these Ghosts are nevertheless valuable for the information they preserve. Their recovered memories may well prove vital to the City's survival. The problem of dead Ghosts troubles the City's scholars. Are new Ghosts still being born? Or is the number of Ghosts dwindling?
Will there come a day when no more remain - an end to the rise of new Guardians? If that day is coming, then the City faces a desperate race against time to heal the Traveler before attrition takes its toll. It is a place, a place casting shadows and emotion. It's a real place, I know. One hot blue sun, say.
And other suns too. I like seven better. What I'm recalling is a giant star with a family of six smaller suns, and you could spend days and nights counting all of the planets circling those suns Not anymore. The powers in charge have carved up all of the worlds, and maybe a brown dwarf or two for good measure. With that rubble, they fashioned a topologically creative enclosure, a twisting of space and time sealed behind doors that admit only those who know the magic words. The bones of a hundred planets have been cut smooth and laid out like a floor, a polished and lovely floor creating vast living spaces.
A floor bigger than ten thousand worlds, catching the fierce glory of the seven suns. For light, for food. For beauty. And nothing escapes. Not heat, not gravity. Not even the faintest proud sound. It could be anywhere. It can live in the cold between galaxies, or folded up inside matter, near enough to touch right now I remember it and maybe it's exactly as I describe it.
Seven suns wrapped inside magic. Or it's something else entirely, perhaps. A place still fat with life. An abundance of sentient souls, some decent, maybe a few of lesser quality, and everybody stands about or floats about, or they bounce between dimensions. The point is that the residents of this hidden realm live inside a bottle so perfectly hidden that they can't see beyond their own borders.
Which shapes a mind in very specific ways. But, Beyond is their name for a mysterious, doubtful realm that they can't see. Which is us, of course. Two more scans and she could move on to the elevated grid. She didn't even pick up on another Ghost being this close. I'm sorry. Wow, how long has it been? It's been 6. It's just an expression. It HAS been a while. I guess you haven't found yours yet?
Wielder's Fate (Wielder, #3) by T.B. Christensen
But I haven't been looking on Mars for that long, at least! I'm optimistic. I was just at the City last year. A lot more of us are starting to find our Guardians latel— what's that? Two Ghosts within twenty meters and she didn't sense either one? Something was off.
The new arrival chirped and spoke up. I haven't been myself lately. He read as nervous. She probably did, too. It was fun! There were puzzles. No one was alive down there, though. It's gone forever, now! Then Obsidian spoke up, his words coming quickly. Good luck! Cassiopeia watched him disappear into the horizon. Only Guardians have the gift of the Traveler's Light - the ability to channel its energies to project vast power into the world. Even without a firearm, a Guardian is a radiant engine of destruction. While these abilities rise from within, Guardians master their power in different ways.
Titans understand the Light as a force to hone through practice and strict discipline. Hunters roam and explore in order to learn, using dangerous methods to survive the wilds. And Warlocks study the Light and its inner mechanisms, confronting unfathomable mysteries in the search for transcendent might. Nothing born is born strong. I know I began weak, the same as you. I don't care if you're an Exo, staring at that number and wondering where you've come from. Or a Human hungry to understand the ancient world that left you for dead. Or an Awoken reborn in the very essence of what your people hide from.
Together, we're the pointed end of a long stick of happenstance. Change one ripple in an ancient ocean and we would never have been granted the Light within us, or the good Ghosts that want to help us. Humble origins. Every world begins as a big pebble lost among trillions of pebbles. Every worthy sun was once cold hydrogen spread thin across the vacuum. Even the universe, this cosmic garden that surrounds us and awes us And everything that's splendid and great stands at the end of incalculable chance and mayhem.
Yes, you have talents. Enormous, wondrous powers. But you should put the smirk away. Do you know what a Guardian is? Your name is another pebble. You are a cold apple seed. But you will grow. Striker Titans charge into close combat, armored in Light and wielding fistfuls of thunder. Striker tactics depend on shock and disciplined aggression. They must awe and scatter the enemy, or risk being overwhelmed. Fellow Guardians prize their ability to draw fire as they shatter the enemy line. Defender Titans are immovable anchors, trained to absorb punishment and control the flow of battle.
Armed with unflinching conviction and an armory of Void techniques, Defenders block the enemy's movements, shrug off their fiercest weapons, and rally fellow Guardians to strike back. Some Titan orders predate the City, born of a darker time, when Light was an untamed weapon. The Sunbreakers brought honor to the wild, never seeking the safety of the City. Bound by an oath, they live as mercenaries, seeking battles and alliances beyond the Walls. Now the Light of their fire has at last found rank among the City. Wield the Hammer of Sol with honor, Titan, it is a thing of legend, both past and future.
In the end, doesn't it all come down to you and your gun? Don't see much else to say about it. That's just truth. There's something to be said for the blade.
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A knife won't jam. A knife won't run dry. A knife is very, very quiet. Leave the noise and fire to others. There's work to be done, out there in the dark - monsters that deserve death, delivered quickly, silently, and without mercy. A lone hunter stalks the night, firing arrows into the Darkness. There is no hiding, no escape. In the distance, the beast falters, tethered to the void. The killing blow comes without hesitation, without mercy.
That truth is this: monsters need not fear the night. Do not hunt the monster. Become the monster. The Traveler came out of the void that surrounds all things. Thus we know that the void is full of power. Thus we enter the void without fear. Small minds will call your abilities blasphemous. They will compare you to the abominable Wizards of the Hive.
But you will not be held back. Gifted with the Traveler's Light, armed with the secret physics of a lost age, you will tear reality asunder. You will fear nothing, and nothing will not fear you.
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These are dark times. Humanity stands on the brink of extinction. We will carry fire into that darkness - a beacon to guide the way, and a pyre to consume our great enemy. The Light saved us from death and forged us into weapons. We seek to understand it, to embrace it, to consume and be consumed by it. We hope to become radiant. Our fellow Guardians need our power. Our civilization needs our strength. Draw the static from within. The Arc is inside all life.
You must feel it take hold, let it flow through, but not consume you. You are a conduit. Between sky and earth. Electricity and matter. Life and death. You are a weapon. With their finely tuned reflexes, Hunters are naturally gifted with knives. The make and shape of the perfect knife is a matter of endless debate. Curiosity gets a Warlock into trouble, and force of will gets a Warlock out.
Even novices can shear reality with a single deadly gesture. An explosive grenade that disorients the enemies it damages, leaving them vulnerable to gunfire and close combat. A grenade that periodically damages enemies inside its explosion radius. An effective tool for area denial. A grenade that attaches to enemies and explodes twice. Designed to crack the armor of hard targets. An explosive grenade that sticks to surfaces and detonates when enemies pass through its laser trigger.
Bend momentum to jump again in mid-air. Leap to even greater heights, or make a quick adjustment while airborne to disorient your foes. Break the bonds of gravity and convert your jump into a long, smooth glide. Cross dangerous terrain and float from perch to perch to keep the high ground.
Rip a hole in space and leap from point to point. Master the Blink, and you will be a fearsome killer - a spectral force, hard to evade and impossible to pin down. Leap into a powered jump. The long, slow arc makes you a target, but used carefully, it's a superb way to break contact, gain control of the high ground, or set up devastating ambushes. Leap forward and smash the ground, obliterating everything nearby. You will be a thunderbolt - but use your fury carefully. If there are survivors, you will surely draw their wrath.
Open a pocket in the universe, an impregnable fortress for you and your allies. The mighty Ward allows Guardians to hold key points and gather their strength in the face of overwhelming opposition. Forge your Light into a raging inferno of Solar energy, and pull forth a blazing hammer from the fire. Cloaked in flames, launch your hammer at enemies from afar, releasing a devastating eruption of Solar fire on impact. You burn with the intensity of stars, and no shadow is safe from your Light. Draw a hand cannon burning with Solar Light and loaded with three rounds of sunfire.
Aim steady and keep your wits about you. You are a Gunslinger, and this is what you live for. Set aside your weapons and lose yourself in the blade trance. Arc Light galvanizes your armor and hastens your movements, and when your knife finds a target it discharges a snap of annihilating current. For as long as the trance lasts, you are the very shadow of death. Summon the power of the Void to draw back and launch a precision long-range projectile that reaches out and snares enemies with slowing, draining tethers of Void Light. Shadowshot lets a Hunter's dead-eye precision carve a path to new battles.
Channel the Traveler's Light into a bolt of energy with the power of a collapsing star. The devastating Nova Bomb scours the battlefield with ethereal fire - but be careful in its use. It takes precious moments to summon, and it must be aimed precisely to avoid obstacles. Open yourself to the Light.
Glimpse, for a few rapturous moments, the truth beyond the powers you wield. A Warlock in a state of Radiance threatens to slip beyond the bonds of the material, shrugging off physical harm, channeling a torrent of abilities. Some may learn to elevate nearby Guardians, gifting them with power. Others, entranced by the Ghosts' power to reach beyond death, may learn to pluck themselves out of nothingness like the phoenix of ancient myth. Focus your Light to call forth a powerful Arc storm, and siphon it, channeling lightning through your fingertips to send it surging between your targets.
A Warlock in Stormtrance is exercising such unbreakable focus that the Arc energy they summon draws them off the ground, the air humming and crackling around them. Like lightning you bend your path forward through the air, striking down anything too slow escape the storm. All-purpose weapons of war, the standard Auto Rifle is ideal for a number of combat scenarios.
Stability is key to controlling fully automatic weapons. Suros engineers designed the Regime using recovered Golden Age schematics. Forced out of production by a crippling shortage of smartmatter, the few remaining models are cherished by those Guardians fortunate enough to wield them. As the City's understanding of Golden Age methods expands, foundries continue to push the cutting edge of tactical armament.
The Hard Light prototype is a showcase, built with the rarest recovered materials and the most computationally demanding design methods. The design team included several specialist Exos and at least one Warlock thanatonaut. In its current iteration, the Hard Light design fires a superheated polymer round with exotic capabilities. Originally designed as a showpiece, the Monte Carlo's sleek demeanor and intricate firing system make it more than a fashion statement. In the right hands, this beauty puts all the risk at the wrong end of its bayonet. The Weapons of Sorrow were believed to be nothing more than a myth.
But even the darkest myths are born of some truths, and whispers of the Necrochasm have long filled the Light with dread. Any Guardian who comes across the weapon must ask some very simple questions with endlessly complicated answers: Is your Light bright enough to stand, even briefly, in full gaze of the Hive's abyss?
Can it handle what has died and been reborn in those shadows? When you're out beyond the Wall, sometimes you have to take what you can find, and make it work. Though its original makers and their no-doubt-desperate straits are lost to history, the Zhalo Supercell remains a striking example of what a Guardian can do with some outdated tech, a deep command of fundamental Light, and a spark of inspiration.
Actually, I had a bit of difficulty today. Or even when the events described by the writer take place. Encoded Mid-Golden Age, allegedly written by someone named Plutarch, a historian who in turn is writing about someone named Fabius Maximus. But who were they? When did they live? In what kind of warfare was this 'Fabian Strategy' applied?
It apparently involves attrition tactics and avoiding direct conflict until an enemy makes a mistake. I think Where are you going? The preferred weapon of seasoned marksmen, the Scout Rifle is a single-shot precision firearm. Favoring accuracy above all else, the Scout Rifle packs increased stopping power to counter its low rate of fire.
Few weapons are balanced this precisely. Once you get a feel for the Multi-Tool it will sit weightlessly in your hand. Firing it will feel less like an action and more like an extension of your will. The weapon gathers data on the target from the impact and spall of solid body shots, setting up a devastating final hit.
Here am I, with the power to craft from my enemy's darkest secrets a weapon that could wound them at their core! So what stays my hand? When I behold the interiority of these cold, cold fragments, I see blind, squirming creatures. Every wound they give, they feel also upon themselves. Every bite they tear from the Light only deepens, never fills, the raging emptiness behind their terrible mouths. The voices are as loud as ever.
My nightmares just as bitter. My coal-black hatred burns as hot. But I feel something else now. Could it be I refuse it. I will build this weapon. Like many weapons of the Dark Age, the Jade Rabbit was created from hastily reassembled—and often poorly understood—Golden Age technology: in this case, kinetic low-atmosphere propulsion systems in use on Luna settlements.
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