This was irreversible, and would sow the first seeds of dissent against the Vanguard, the City and the Consensus. Seeds that perhaps could still be felt to this day, seeds that perhaps have dwindled and died. But regardless, Osiris’ cult would leave a mark. There was however little time for this disunity amongst the people and the Guardians of the City. A foe on the horizon that was all too familiar was beginning to raise its ugly head, and all of the forces of the City would need to muster in order to face it. The Fallen Houses were starting to coordinate and gather their forces. Whilst this would sound innocuous to some, this would be correctly identified by the Hunter scouts in the employ of the Vanguard as all too terrible an occurrence. The Fallen Houses were normally fiercely territorial, and would fight amongst themselves to maintain the status quo. But for them all to be collaborating meant that they needed to unite under a common cause, and this could only be one thing: The Great Machine. Having seen the House of Devils so firmly rebuked by the City at the Battle of the Six Fronts. It was clear to the Fallen that it would take the forces of more than just a single House to have any chance of breaking the City and claiming the Great Machine for their own. And so, the 4 greatest Houses in the system came together with a united purpose-to reclaim their heritage lost in the Whirlwind by right of war. The House of Devils, Kings, Winter and Wolves collected their forces and made plans to converge on the City as a united armada that would blot out the stars with their numbers. Millions of Fallen were assembled for what was quite possibly the most colossal battle in the history of the City.
It was believed that with their combined might, the Houses would be unstoppable. And that united under a joint banner, they would not only reclaim the Great Machine, but also destroy their bitter human rivals once and for all. The battle for the City that would take place that day would be known as the Battle of the Twilight Gap. The City prepared for the attack, and the defense was organized by 3 Titans: Lord Saladin lead the defenses, and was in command of all deployments of the forces of the City. His 2 commanders would be given specific forces and would be able to assist in holding the wall from the front line. The fighting was ferocious, and it appeared as though the Fallen had humanity backed into a corner. As the forces of the Devils, Winter and Kings pushed hard against the Twilight Gap, a small segment of fortifications that was being quickly overrun. Saladin saw this and was dismayed, calling for all forces to fall back to the next district. Lord Shaxx, who was at the Twilight Gap, saw this and could not abide by such a notion, for he knew that falling back could very well mean the doom of the City. He was left with a choice: he could either obey orders and fall back to the City, or he could hold his ground and defend the Twilight Gap with everything that he had left. In that moment, Shaxx held the fate of the last safe City and of all of humanity in his hands. And luckily for us, he chose to disobey his orders. He called his fireteam, including the fabled Gunslinger, Ana Bray, the Sunbreaker weapons crafter known as Liu Feng. And three other Guardians known as Nkechi-32, Abdi and Truce. Together, the six of them fought back to back, side by side, dying over and over. Defending the very soil for the hallowed place that it was, for this was the last bastion of hope, and they would defend it until the last of their Light was spent. The Firebreak Order would have been proud. They had stood their ground and chosen a place upon which it would be worthy for them to die. But they would not fall, and after enough time had passed, the other defenders were able to reorganize and create a counter-attack. The reinforcements included Andal Brask, the Hunter Vanguard, and Commander Zavala, the other sub-commander of the City’s forces. Now reunited with their fellow Guardians, they would begin to sweep back the tide of Fallen. And with that, any chance of the Fallen claiming the Traveler was snuffed out for good. Lord Shazz, with his decisions in that split-second, had saved the last safe city.
This represented a landmark moment for the City. Not only was it truly a stellar victory for the forces of the City over the Fallen, but it set into motion a spirit of indominable confidence within the Guardian orders. The Fallen had gathered the full measure of their might to contest for the City, and in spite of those close odds, the attack had been squarely repelled. Shaxx, however, would feel repercussions of this day. Him, Zavala and Saladin would never quite be friends again, thanks to his insubordination on that day. Regardless, Shaxx would gain a level of prestige that was unparalleled, and would go down in the history of the City as a living legend. But the cost of this victory would also be immense. Many legendary Guardians had fallen that day, and the ranks of those that remained were stretched thin. Amongst those lost was Ana Bray, who had been seen by Zavala falling from the City after being assailed by a Fallen Captain. The City mourned for the losses, but in a way, it also made the City stronger. As the loss brought a series of actions from the City’s citizens and Guardians that proved its own resolve. Many attempts were made to honor the heroic Guardians that had fallen that day. But the most notorious of these attempts was not some statue commissioned or a bank of flowers left in the tower. Instead, it was the creation of 2 genius inventors known as Feizel Crux and Victor Lomar of the Crux/Lomar foundries. They were responsible for creating much of the City’s heavy ordinance, and with this goal of honoring the Guardians that had fallen that day in mind. There was a pure intent that they had realized, and they saw to the development of a new weapon through what would be known as Project Heimdall. This would involve the melting down of the armor of those Guardians lost at the battle of Twilight Gap. They would then see that armor reforged into one of the most infamous weapons in the history of humanity, The Gjallerhorn shoulder-mounted launcher system. Not only did it contain revolutionary technology in the Wolfpack rounds. But it also howled with the fury of the Guardians that had fallen that day, fighting back not just with the explosive fire that one would expect.
Mara Sov’s Role
But also with the Light of those Guardians that had fallen. Others still honored those that had fallen that day with actions that were more direct. Saint-14 was the most notorious amongst them, and took it upon himself to personally conduct the Great Crusades. These were attacks against the Fallen that he undertook alone. These campaigns were incredibly successful, and as time went on, each of the Houses were beaten back. Eventually, the Crusades were so successful that Saint-14 found himself dueling with Solkis, the Kell of the House of Devils. Solkis eventually hald the Titan in a choking grip, and it was almost at the point where Saint was defeated. But the Titan rolled back his shoulders and head, with every ounce of strength remaining, and used it to headbutt the Kell of the Fallen House of Devils so hard that the Kell’s skull caved in, killing him instantly. Saint-14 stood, alive and victorious. Saint was then contacted by the Speaker, and although the Speaker wished him to return home, having heard news of Osiris being spotted on Mercury, Saint headed out there to find him, and was never seen again. However, what is overlooked by some is that the glorious victory at Twilight Gap. Would have been impossible without the intervention of another infamous figure within the system. Namely, the Awoken Queen of the Reef, Mara Sov. She saw the Fallen communicating with each other across the system, and it was the House of Wolves that had disturbed her. Their fleet had gathered from the Jovian Moons and was making a resupply run at the asteroid of Ceres, which lay squarely in Awoken territory. The Queen had 2 possible choices: either she could allow the Fallen to pass by and keep the Reef a secret from the rest of the system. Or she could engage the Fallen Wolves at her door, and destroy them whilst exposing the Reef to everyone in Sol. A choice between secrecy and publicity. A choice between peace and war. And Mara chose war. What followed was a series of campaigns and skirmishes that involved both the Awoken of the Reef and the various fractions parts of the House of Wolves. It would culminate in a battle between Mara’s forces and the newly appointed Wolf Kell, Skolas the Rabid. The war might have been yet bloodier and might even have been lost, but the Fallen were betrayed by a House of judgement scribe, known as Variks the Loyal. He was in service to Skolas, and allowed the Awoken a critical advantage, which let them capture Skolas, finally. He was set to languish in the Prison of Elders, along with many of his truly faithful Fallen Wolves. But in the Prison of Elders, there was no potential to grow, and so some of the Wolves swore loyalty to the Vestian Dynasty of Mara Sov. They would eventually, of course, betray her, but for a time, the Fallen and the Awoken lived together in the Reef in harmony.