It took alot for Zavala to leave the Tower, it took even more to get him angry. With all the war he’s seen, with all the battles he’s fought in, there was little that got under his skin. The one thing that did was someone breaking protocol, and what was even worse was an unranked and unknown Guardian doing it. For days he sent Guardians to retrieve a newly resurrected Titan from Bannerfall, one of the old Towers at the edge of The Last Free City. All that came back to him were reports that she refused to fall into line with the rest. Thus, the Titan Commander took it upon himself to confront her about the insubordination.
The flight was merely a few minutes if that, landing in the courtyard next to the red leafed tree. Flanked by two other Titans Zavala made his way inward though he didn’t have to go far. A lavender Ghost flecked with rose gold came floating out of the shadows, stopping them where they were.
“Can I help you?” the Ghost asked in his Eastern European tinged words, little blue eye blinking.
“Where’s your Guardian?” Zavala demanded, sounding none to pleased.
“Where she’s always been,” he answered, “In the library of the New Monarchy.”
Veering to the left Zavala stormed his way over, the two Titans doing their best to keep up. The doors slid back just fast enough to not be nicked by his shoulder plates, the Commander scanning over the library in search of the woman. Behind a stack of books piled on top of a table was the top of the Awoken’s head, nose buried in a book. For a moment Zavala thought he found a child since her feet didn’t even touch the floor as she sat in the chair. Two stacks of books were parted as he came up to the desk, peering down at the tiny little Titan.
“I’m Commander Zavala of the Vanguard. Name and rank, Guardian,” Zavala demanded, clasping his hands behind his back.
The woman looked up for a moment with an unenthused look on her face, her Ghost hanging off her shoulder. A single gloved finger came up, pressing it to her lips for a second, “Ssh…”
The expressions of shock and rage came across the Commander’s face, his two flanking Titans trying not to bust out laughing. The little mini Awoken had just shushed the highest ranking Titan in the entire world just so she could read her book in peace. There was almost a growl in his voice when Zavala spoke next, “Name and rank. Now.”
“I’m afraid she’s a bit busy, sir,” the Ghost spoke up, “I’m Garret, her name is Vee. She was the Captain of the Ethereal Ravens during The Collapse. She was one of the first to settle The Last Free City, it was here she died of her wounds after a battle on The Wall when the Fallen tried to breach the line. I brought her up to speed on Earth’s situation.”
“And why won’t she address me? Or come back to the Tower?”
“You haven’t earned her respect, sir,” Garret answered, “Back in her day Titans fought it out on an individual basis so only the strongest were leadership.”
It wasn’t far off from what happened now, Cayde and Ikora Rey had gained their position for being the best of their class just as Zavala had. It all made sense to him now, he couldn’t be mad at her for it. He set his finger to the top of the book’s spine, pushing it down so she’d finally pay attention to him.
“Alright, I’ll oblige. When I beat you, you have to come to the Tower.”
“And if I beat you?” Vee asked, setting the book aside.
“You can be queen for a day.”
Slipping her helmet on Vee slid off her chair, walking through the grouping of Titans to head out to the courtyard, “No fighting in the library, I don’t want the books harmed.”
Leading them out she took up a spot with Zavala only a few feet from her. Of course the two other Titans stood off to the side to merely spectate, one of them addressing Garret who floated between them.
“How badly was she injured?” the Titan asked, “If she made it back here she would have been surrounded by people to help her.”
“From what I could tell when I was piecing her back together she had a shattered knee, a collapsed lung, a crushed eye socket, and internal bleeding,” the Ghost answered, “This was before the Traveler made us. She’s one of two known veteran Ethereal Ravens.”
“Who’s the other one?”
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”
The conversation died when Vee threw the first punched, closing the distance to aim a quick jab at Zavala’s chest. Sweeping an arm he deflected, throwing a right hook for the side of her head. Due to her short stature she easily ducked, stepping to the side to ram her first into his side. As a result Zavala doubled over, bringing his left fist up to slam into Vee’s chin. It sent her backwards to the ground, recovering with a quick somersault, shaking her head to get rid of the spots in her vision.
“What’s the matter, your highness?” one of the Titans taunted, “Is the little queenie not awake from her centuries long sleep yet?”
“She’s the only person I’ve seen land a hit on the Commander,” the other stated, “So shut it.”
Zavala let her recover but it was his mistake to do so. In a rush she aimed another punch towards his head. When his arms came up she switched her attack, throwing a snap kick straight into his gut. Reeling backwards he tried to get the air back into his lungs, Vee backing off to give the same courtesy of recovering.
In retaliation Zavala rushed forward, driving his shoulder in a charge which threw her backwards into the short garden wall in the middle. Cracking her helmet against the edge she dropped to her knees, the Commander barreling down on her with another fist towards her head. Springing off the wall she ducked under his arm, sliding on the concrete tiling. Her right fist punched the back of his right knee, her left hand getting a grip on the Titan mark that hung from his hip.
In a crash of armor he landed on his back, momentarily dazed. The next thing he knew was that the tiny little Titan had both fists raised, Arc energy coursing down her arms as her fingers locked together. The Fist of Havoc was within inches of slamming into his visor, not even moving since he knew it was too late. Just before the connection he closed his eyes, expecting the absolute worst. When it seemed too long of time he blinked up, seeing the Arc charged fists millimeters above his nose. In the next moment Vee moved away, letting the lightening dissipate and Zavala come to a stand.
“You could have killed me just now,” the Commander commented.
“It wouldn’t have mattered, your Ghost would have brought you back,” she answered, Garret returning to her side.
“Why didn’t you?”
“You’re not worth that much effort.”
Now the two Titans off to the side couldn’t help themselves, bursting into laughter. First he had been shushed, now he was being told he wasn’t good enough. No one spoke to Zavala that way, not even Cayde.
“I still expect you at the Tower,” Zavala huffed.
“When I’m done here, I have alot of reading to catch up on,” she waved him off, moving back to the library, “I still expect my ‘queen for a day’ prize.”
“A deal’s a deal. Report to me when you arrive, Vee.”
“No, not Vee,” she stopped for a moment, “This is a new life, a new war, so I’ll go by a new name.”
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