There is only one way to forge The Last Word and I now have mine. Each one of these weapons is different and none are worth the price we pay to get them. I am Hunger Speaks and my Hunter’s voice was taken in the final forging of the weapon as is tradition with those of my order. We are silent composers of the grave, stalking our prey both night and day. We have no common speech but the presence of the weapons we share always makes itself known to others of the Order of the Last Word.
Three forges, that’s what it takes. The first from the worst enemy of your life, alive or dead. You start with the frame of the weapon that will become your Last Word and you hunt that enemy until they smoke beneath your barrel. For me, this was the Fallen Captain Frigoris who lead the raid on what remained of my father’s factional tribe as they gathered spin metal in the far outreaches that ring the Tower on Earth.
I watched Frigoris rip the head from my father’s body and throw it at my young feet, a scream metered into a ball of meat that I could no longer hug or pester for the answers to the questions I had in life. The Fallen monster started to advance on me and I ran and someone shot at him and he forgot all about me, leaving me to grow in my rage and dream of his death. And grow I did, in the all the ways I could.
At 14 I could shoot the eye out of a running dreg at 100 yards. At 17 it was 300. At 19 I first heard about the Order of Silence, a rumor in a bar, a story of a gunslinger gone bad and the way he was taken down.
At first I thought The Last Word was just one weapon, a myth and my obsession with the hunt for it waned. I was a killer, not a treasure hunter. But The Last Word is as much philosophy and ritual as it is a murderous projection of projectiles. I saw a flash in a crowd at a ship port in the Reef. I was frantic, chasing down that Warlock and before I could grab his wrist, that beautiful weapon of his was pressed into my forehead and all I could do was stare at it in awe, arrested in the wake of its pulchritude. The Warlock did not pull the trigger but tilted his head to the right, looking into my eyes and I was able to break my gaze away from his weapon to meet his eyes and recognition passed between us. He lowered his Last Word, holstered the weapon, reached into his tunic and produced what looked like a small white paper card with no writing. Paper is a commodity from the Golden Age; one sheet is worth more than family’s monthly meal rations. But that card was not made of paper, it was made of light from the Traveler and it was the first light that infused me, the first time I realized that my history did not begin with I believed to be my birth, that we are each meeting the past we hide or run from without knowing. I was a Guardian and I had been given a mission and set on the path to find my Last Word.
That card evaporated as soon as I touched it and I fell to my knees in that crowded space port, nearly trampled by the masses in transit. I was pulled to my feet by an Awoken guard, one of the Queen’s clan who eyed me suspicious and finally pushed me back into the crowd on my way to further my transformation into a Silexian Thrax, the secret name we in the Order of the Last Word give to those who wield our weapons of light.
The night of my encounter with the Warlock, I was given a vision during sleep. In my vision, I saw a cave on Mars near a Cabal outpost. I stood outside that cave in my mind and a cool muted light seeped out from its darkness. It was revealed to me that this was the place the Forging Ritual would take place and my vision also revealed to me the Path of Silence I would need to follow in order to bless my weapon with light and forever encase the voice I wielded in that life to the recoil of the hand cannon I would wed myself to at the end of this quest.
I will tell you the story later of how I found the weapon I would forge into my Last Word because time is short and I want to tell you about how I tracked Frigoris down in the bowels of the Hive’s chambers on the Moon. The renegade Fallen Captain had taken a platoon of his soldiers into the ritual chambers of the Hellmouth to try and gain a foothold for the Fallen on the Moon, no doubt a feeble attempt to gain favor back, luster he had lost since his failure to assist the House of Wolves when they fell to the wrath of the Awoken Queen. But again, that’s a different story.
The chrome of my hand cannon caught the dull lighting in flashes as bullets ripped into Frigoris and brought him to his knees in that circular chamber that would become his tomb. I cleared the room of enemies while he lay critical on the floor. To his credit, he did not beg for mercy while I spoke the incantation of my Order over his dying body. And later as I cut the hearts from his corpse, my weapon sat silent by my side, waiting for me join it with the blood of my enemy in that soundless cave on the Red Planet.
Three days later I ducked my head as I passed into the red walls of this cave, carrying the bloody remains of the heart of my enemy in a satchel. I placed the weapon that would become my bride into the Quickening Pit dug in the floor of the cave. I dumped the remains of my enemy’s hearts onto my weapon in bloody glops, spoke the words of my Order which shall remain secret through the telling of this story. I’ve told you too much already.
And the light of that cold fusion flooded the cave as the First Forging of my weapon took place. I could feel my vocal chords thickening into a new throat as my silencing began, passing my voice from my body into the firearm I picked up from that pit. And when I walked out into the cold Mars night, I was confronted by a Cabal on patrol. The sound of his head exploding filled the universe but I was already on the path to my next victim, the sacrifice who would provide the fuel for the Second Forging of my Last Word.
But that is another story.