4 Hidden Dead Ghosts

Rezyl Azzir – Before These Walls

Rezyl Azzir was a man.

In time his kind would be called Titan. Mountains of muscle and might and metal. His collar was fur and teeth. His person clad in ornate, golden-etched plating, trophies upon his shoulders.

This was before the City was The City.

This is before the walls. Still in the shadow of the fragile giant above, but before.

Salvation seekers came — survivors; weary remnants of a people on the brink.

These were the days before reason took hold. Before study was merged with belief.

The giant was looked to as one would a God. Maybe it still is.

Factions grew from the huddled masses. Like minds coming together to provide support, comfort. Over time these loyalties demanded loyalty. Differences that used to inform — viewpoints that when joined granted a larger understanding of the whole — became points of conflict. The sanctuary became divided. The shadow of Light grew darker. This, humanity’s last oasis, slowly fading to a mirage.

Great, powerful men and women, The Risen, stood at the Factions’ sides. Protection. Enforcers. Misused possibility.

Misery crept into this false paradise. Yet hope lingered.

Seeing the cracks in this society born beneath the giant’s fractured shell, some among The Risen challenged the dissolution of all that could be. They would no longer serve as instruments of oppression. They would be more.

Thus began an unnecessary war made necessary by greed, ambition… fear. And, in the chaos of this struggle, came the scavengers — aliens with appetites. A common enemy.

In the end, the scavengers were repelled and the Factions fell, their grip broken, though their beliefs remained. This was the earliest days of the Guardians, when might found purpose. Prosperity was in reach.

Rezyl had been a champion of these wars. A leader. Against the alien pirates he had been more. If the giant wasn’t a God, then maybe Rezyl was.

As the first walls formed — built of hard work and sacrifice — Rezyl and the Guardians stood against the alien plunderers time and again. More survivors arrived. More warriors.

The Guardian ranks swelled.

The City grew.

Hope blossomed. To Rezyl it was a currency. Hope bought tomorrow. Tomorrow bought the effort needed to survive today.

Yet Rezyl grew weary. Stories haunted his nights. Old stories. Those no longer told. Those locked behind tight lips for fear of what they may invoke. Whenever the sun dropped below the horizon and the moon rose high, Rezyl’s thoughts wandered. How safe was safe? How long could they fight with the Darkness still writhing?

So, every day Rezyl would fight and build and protect. And every day a city grew beneath the giant. And every night he would think about all that was never said and stare intently at the moon above.

Ghost Fragment: The Ocean of Storms 2

Last known Records from Lunar Station: First Light.

The tunnels were geologic in nature, or had to be. That’s what we thought until twelve hours into the second sub-lunar expedition, when we found the bones. A single long rib cage, the size of an aircraft fuselage.

The living creatures themselves, we found a hundred meters down. They might have been worms, if worms had scales and teeth and moved more quickly than a man could run.

Jun died first. And then Luli. Bad deaths. Deaths not worth thinking about, and so I don’t, as I wander these tunnels, lost, waiting to run out of oxygen.

Will it hurt, I wonder? That final sleep, when it comes. The sleep that isn’t sleep.

But then everything on the Moon is named for what it’s not. Have you noticed? The Sea of Serenity.Ocean of Storms.The Sea of Rains. It’s only fitting.

In the tunnels though, we found things that were exactly what they were, and so now I name them thus. Mark them well, if this recording is found.

The Circle of Bones.The Chamber of Night.

One does not walk amid those dark tunnels and not lose something. They say that to look out upon the ocean is to feel small. But to walk in these caverns is to feel your grasp on reality slipping.

There is no returning to what you were before: a believer of science, and the fundamental rationality of the universe. Not after seeing those worms.

But here now, at the bottom I have found the other side of the nightmare. Like waking from a dream only to realize you were still asleep. Perhaps my oxygen is getting low. Yes, I can see it is. Hypoxia already setting in. The thing before me is like myself—partly alive, and partly not. An ossified afterbirth. A pulsating tumor.

It lays in a crater of its own making. Dark and jagged. So here I’ll sit, and lay me down. I see a doorway, and within, the death-white egg cases of nightmares yet to come.

And glad I am to miss it.

Vision 47

The first comes in a shadow.
A window becomes a door.
An ebb becomes a gulf.
The second comes in bones.
Tithes offering feasts, carrying laws.
A path torn, minds shattered.
The third does not come alone. It cannot.
Our truths woven into their being, desires beyond our own.
The first needs the second to fail, the third needs the first to succeed.
The second will never cease, yet the first always prevails. The third is born of all outcomes.
Unless, all ends flow from the same pit.

Ghost Fragment: The Exo Stranger 2

[Scattered field notes captured on an archaic transmission band]

RECORD 084-BRIDGE-10.7

Right When this time, wrong Where. The world so big on the horizon — wasn’t expecting it. As it happens, something’s here that’s not supposed to be, other than myself. Will return.

RECORD 092-BRIDGE-08.1

Configuration worked, mostly. Arrived under the surface, surrounded. Too slow to return, barely fought to a vantage point. Yes there is dark evil here, and not the one we chase. Suggest no other attempts without more care.
RECORD 120-BRIDGE-05.3

They are feral on the surface but their intent is complex behind the teeth and claws. More is shared with the machines than common enemies alone.

RECORD 142-BRIDGE-07.4

An unexpected extraction. These Guardians stopped some dark ritual before I could reach it. Tearing the Light away… like the Garden. Too similar to go uncharted.

RECORD 142-BRIDGE-08.1

This attempt was precise — landed meters and minutes from prior ritual. Confirmed the extraction was extinguished. The Little Light mentioned Venus, we may have another.

RECORD 167 – BRIDGE – 5.2

Successfully observed Guardian discovery of Hive on Luna. No evidence today of knowledge past Vex breaches here. Delay in return command is a liability to solve before engaging this close again.

RECORD 312 – BRIDGE – 3.3

Watching Guardian-Hive engagements confirms a trajectory toward Earth. This Moon is theirs — a breeding ground, their black heart, perhaps. Different from that we know, but seems to be that same dark end I see us fall to over and over.

RECORD 472 – BRIDGE – 2.1

I’ve followed this Light as far back as it goes. Let the Little One guide me through Fallen as I puzzle out what the Hive want in the bones of this broken Cosmodrome.

RECORD 473 – BRIDGE – 1.2

Back to the Temple, again, but this time the Little one knows I’m here. I have seen the failures of so many, but none have been as interesting. Preparing to engage…

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