[Eris Morn] I do not blame you, Shaxx. I never blamed you.
[Lord Shaxx] I ought to have done more.
[Eris Morn] No. Less, maybe. Perhaps if we had done less. Hated less…desired less.
[Lord Shaxx] How many dead? Thousands. I should have made Zavala listen.
[Eris Morn] Enough. It was our choice to follow her. My choice. Wei’s fall consumed her - just as her death consumed me. There is always a cycle. Wei Ning, dead upon Crota’s blade - that was what broke Eriana, you know; just as her death broke me. And Crota himself - shattered upon his own sword.
[Lord Shaxx] All light casts a shadow.
[Eris Morn] Nothing has ever lived that cannot die.
[Lord Shaxx] That is…the sword logic?
[Eris Morn] It is truth.
[Lord Shaxx] Toland’s truth.
[Eris Morn] His? No. The Universe’s.
[Eris Morn] They are a nice metaphor, you know. Your swords.
[Lord Shaxx] Are they?
[Eris Morn] Mm. Re-forged in Light, as are we all. And born of something Dark. Given new purpose.
[Lord Shaxx] I want nothing of Toland’s truth.
[Eris Morn] Want has very little to do with it.
[Lord Shaxx] I shall will it, then: we will be the species to prove the adage wrong. The Collapse did not extinguish us; nor will the Hive; nor the Vex, nor the crawling Dark itself. We have been tempered, strengthened. We are the blades, Eris. We shall inscribe our will upon reality in all its facets. We shall become the very definition of Light, and nothing will dull our brilliance.
[Eris Morn] Ah, my friend. Now you’re starting to understand.
Patroclus is nobody special. He is lanky, has knobbly knees and dark eyes too big for his almost waif-like face.
They call him Owl here and it is almost always a term of endearment.
He is not popular, hated by his father and pitied for his mother who stares at the barren walls of a mental hospital.
He is Patroclus Chironides, adoptive son of the doctor who is believed to have magic singing in his veins.
It is summer, the sun is blazing, with scorching fingers it caresses the ground and makes Patroclus’ limbs hot and heavy and tired.
And on this very day, on which the sun is most brutal, the school is hosting its annual athletics tournament.
People are buzzing around, several lie in the shade and talk to each other in loud, boisterous voices and from where Patroclus is sitting in the shade of an olive tree and handing out bottles of water, he can see the sudden flash of burnished gold dipped into sun-fire that is Achilles Pelides’ hair.
Achilles is everything that Patroclus is not. He is gentle fingers on a harp or a guitar where Patroclus stumbles like a deer on ice; he is swifter and more nimble than Patroclus has ever seen anyone move and he is walking right up to Patroclus, his usual gaggle of admirers watching them with interest.
Patroclus swallows and the water bottle nearly falls out of his hands, slippery with heat and nervousness.
He looks at the young man, whose sun-bronzed face looks as if carved by the masters and swallows again.
Eyes the colour of moss and the sea fixate onto Patroclus face like a hawk would fixate its prey and then Achilles opens perfectly arched, pink lips.
“You are Patroclus. And I have come to get a bottle of water.” he finally says after a silence that makes Patroclus’ fingers shake and his voice is a honeyed blade that wraps around Patroclus’ ears like an unsung melody.
“How…,” Patroclus’ voice stumbles as does his heart when their fingers touch. “How do you know my name?” he croaks, cursing his rapidly pattering heart that feels like a rampaging bunny.
“Your father knows mine.”, Achilles replies calmly, his face showing no emotion but something glints in the depths of his strange eyes. “Will you cheer for me today, Patroclus?” he asks, suddenly.
Patroclus falters and nearly says no because the boy… the young man sounds too sure of himself and he should be, he is the champion of all sports in this school.
But then he sees the foot nervously shuffling on the ground and nods.
“I will. And I will be the one to crown the victor in the end.” he explains.
Achilles nods and clutches the bottle of water like a lay-line, still watching Patroclus avidly as if Patroclus’ eyes hold all the secrets.
“I will not have you sacked for being partial.” he states as if he is king.
“We will see each other after the tournament.”
And with that he is off.
And Patroclus is left staring and almost mindlessly eating a fig he has packed from their own little garden at home.
The tournament begins and before Patroclus knows it, he is cheering with them, louder than he has ever dared.
Some watch him with interest, some with rage and some even grin and cheer with him.
Achilles wins every single game, scoring point after point and he his the last one on the field but Hector Priam, resident champion of the rival school Spartan High.
They will be racing each other.
The whole school is there and they are all shouting for Achilles and Patroclus finds himself joining them.
For one short moment green holds brown in a lockdown and something akin to a smile blooms on Achilles face and then they race.
Patroclus’ blood pounds in his veins. He can taste the excitement, can feel the almost electric buzzing of adrenaline in the air and in his very bones.
There is a distant roar.
Everybody is off their seats and cheering like mad.
Achilles has won and the school rejoices.
Patroclus steps down to crown the winner with a wreath of laurel on his golden hair.
Achilles kneels before him and their fingers and eyes meet.
“I have met you before.”, Patroclus whispers. “When the world was still young and there was war looming overhead.”
There is something in Achilles’ eyes.
The shadow of light, the shadow of a sword. The shadow of love.