Because it irritated me that you don't say anything at all to the taunting of the Darkness, even though that was definitely the smartest option- don't engage, don't speak to it, don't listen.
Still. Here we are.
Trigger warnings, because this one definitely needs it; unreality, implied insanity, implied death, mentions of death and dying, descriptions of alternate realities and hallucinations, mild body horror, and I'm probably missing others, so ask to tag.
Story itself under the cut.
Polaris has always been dancing with the darkness, but never has it been so literal.
He is not a Warlock. He is not a Titan. He is not a Hunter, either, although that may be the closest descriptor. He is a Guardian, and he needs no other title, though he has gained many in the short years he has been among the Lightbearers.
'Moon-blessed', they call him, and many other things. Voidgazer. Starchaser. Fatewalker. Shadowbourn. Eternal. Far-seer.
And he has earned these names, and more, because he has always been something other, something different, even in the time-before-now that he cannot remember, the time before the Traveler.
(The only memory of this that he has is a torn scrap of cloth, one that whispers you walk the line when he brushes over it with his thumb in a motion that is both foreign and familiar)
So it is only natural, to him, when he takes the first steps into a pyramid of nightmare and pain, to hold conversation with the creatures within, the ones that try to tempt him into betraying all he holds dear.
It is only natural, then, to smile, and behind his smile there has always been hidden a knife.
Welcome. We've been waiting.
Moonstone is speaking, but Solaris can tell that his Ghost is not in control of themself; something is speaking through them. The Darkness that dwells within this place.
He sees Ghaul. It is a familiar battle. It is a familiar death. He watches the nightmare fade with impassive eyes and a smile that is not a smile at all.
The Red War saw so many lives lost. Saw the Light taken away so easily. In Light, there is only weakness.
"Is that what you see?" he questions, unperturbed. He knows his strength. "Because I see so much more."
This time, it is the Prison of Elders that he sees. He still cannot stop Nova and Elaire from dying, their Ghosts shattered beyond repair before he can break through the glass- so thin, and yet all it takes for him to fail.
He smiles, still. This, too, is familiar, something that plays out behind his eyes each time he sleeps. The connection makes him wonder. He files the idea away for later, and continues.
Your Light let your friends die, the Darkness whispers. The Light promised you forever, and now they are gone.
"The Light promised me nothing, and death is inevitable," he says, stride unwavering and well-worn bow a steady and familiar weight in his hands. "Nothing is forever. Not even you."
Do they not call you Eternal?
"They call me Eternal because they are not me. I know that I am not forever. And I know when my end comes for me, I will be ready."
Nobody is ever truly ready for death.
"I did not say death. I said the end. They are not the same thing."
Are they not?
No. Death is not an ending, not really; death is something other, something new and untamed and free. Something like him.
He does not say this. Instead, he smiles. It is sharp.
"No. But when I die, I will meet it with open eyes."
A brave sentiment. But futile.
"What you call sentiment I call faith, and it has not failed me yet."
He continues. He longs for familiar blue skies. He does not let his stride falter as he walks in the darkness.
He sees Crota. He knows that this is the last scene that will play out around him, and this time, he does not bother to fight. He just stands, and smiles. And smiles. And smiles. And he dies.
He returns in the darkness of the pyramid, and he is still smiling.
One by one, Crota slaughtered many Guardians. The Light stood by and did nothing. And a great disaster ensued. In Light, there is only death.
"Light brings life. The sun brings light to worlds where living things grow, and thrive, and make war and love and all manner of things. Light gave life to Guardians."
Did it? Or are you all dead things, doomed to die again and again?
He pauses. Considers this.
"An old philosopher once said that we are born dying. We are dying from the moment we take our first breaths. Some of us are born already dead, and we are revived, and we continue to die." He tilts his head. "But does this mean that we should simply lay down and die, just because one day our lives will end? No. It does not."
It is a thing he has thought much about, since learning of his own immortality, and one he has written many theories on, but this dark place will not want to hear them, and it will not listen.
So he continues.
There is silence as he walks, now, though what that means he does not know. He simply counts his steps. One foot in front of the other...
Come to us. Do not be afraid. Respite lies ahead.
He continues to walk, but now he looks up at the long hallway before him.
"Am I afraid?" he asks, because he is not, has never been, even in this hellish place that confronts him with all his despair, his regrets.
Polaris has always danced with darkness. He has always lived on the edge of a blade.
...no. You are not. Come forward, then, and take your rest. Your fight is over now.
"It is not," he rebuffs calmly. "I have no wish to rest. I know that if I were to rest here, I would not get up again, and my work is still unfinished."
He is not afraid to state these things, either. Perhaps they are weaknesses, laid out for the dark to exploit; perhaps they are simply facts, things he has known since setting foot on the moon.
He does not stop again until he reaches the dias at the foot of the great statue. The stone is familiar, somehow, like they are someone he knew, once, long ago. He turns away, and eyes the artifact that sits waiting for him.
It is almost certainly a trap.
He reaches out, and touches-
The air is clean, here, and unfiltered by his helmet. He is more afraid now than he has ever been before.
The moment passes. He looks out at the fields of blooming red, looks down the cliff he stands at the edge of, and wonders-
You made it.
He turns around, but does not move away from the edge. Across from him is a reflection of his own face, but it is not his. It is the one he sees in the mirror, a perfect copy across a barrier of glass.
There are no barriers here.
We have heard your cries for help. And soon, we will answer.
"Whose cries? And who are you, to claim to answer them?" He does not mean to ask it, but something about this place strips away the meticulous control he has learned over years of study.
Don't you recognize us?
We are not your friend...
So why do you pretend to be? He wants to ask, but he cannot speak. It is as though he is frozen, trapped in a maze of conflicting timelines. In one, he breaks. In another, he tips back, over the cliff; in a third, he kneels to this creature before him.
In this one, he only watches. He smiles. It hides a knife.
... we are not your enemy.
It is a lie, and blatant, and if only he could do more than smile with hate in his eyes he would say this-
He inhales, breathes deep of the air of this place, and with all he is he reaches out, gathers the shattered timelines around him and draws them against his skin like a shield.
"No," he says, calmly, with eyes like crystal and a voice like the murmur of a stream in summer. He has given himself to this place, and it has taken-
"They call themselves our salvation," he tells Eris, the moon solid and real under his feet. He can still smell sweet, growing things. "They are not. We need to prepare for what could be the end of everything."
Because death and endings are different things.
And just because they survived does not mean they are not ended.
He leaves the artifact behind, and walks out over the surface of the moon, following the song of a bird that has never existed and hiding eyes that are sharp and bleeding because they are no longer eyes but shimmering shards of gemstones-
He doesn't even see the cliff.
When Moonstone returns him, the scent of green is gone from his nose, and his eyes are plain and dull once more.
He has never been so glad to see the sky.
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