…the walls of our city…

It my early days, after I crossed the great mountain range and caught my first glimpse of the Traveler, the Wall amounted to very little. Its most enduring feature was the streams and tributaries that marked the very beginnings of the heart of the City. In many places that’s all the wall was. Natural obstructions in the land that slowed the crossing of ground bound Fallen. In a few other places, there were actual walls. Entrenched choke points made primarily of wooden posts and stakes. In the best of places there was barbed wire or metal sheeting or electrified fencing energized by solar powered fusion batteries. Watching a Fallen Captain’s shields spark and pop as he tried to scale my section of the wall is one of my earliest memories of defending the City.

Slowly, brick by brick, casting by casting, our City’s great walls inched forth. What had been the smallest remnants of our last civilization gradually transformed into a wonder of our present and future. From the Battle of Six Fronts to the Battle of Twilight Gap, our walls were tested and at times were even strained, but they held. When the Hive and the Vex and the Cabal’s expeditionary forces came to our system, they challenged us on many fronts and took from us entire planets and moons worth of territory, but never once did they challenge our wall. INdeed, for more than five hundred years we were the last unconquerable City, in large part thanks to our walls. In our Age of Triumph we felt secure. And that was almost our end.

When the Red Legion came, our walls were turned from one of our most important assets into one of our gravest mistakes. Vanguard doctrine, my doctrine, called for civilians to take shelter within the spaces and bunkers we designed into our walls while our unkillable Guardians dealt threats in the sky. The Fallen had long learned the hard way what a group of determined Guardians would do to any who threatened our City. But Ghaul and the Red Legion had bigger, better plans. When they came and suppressed the Traveler’s Light, suddenly there were no Guardians to clear the skies. All we had were civilians all in highly visible, easily discovered spaces. Many of those spaces no longer exist, or if they do, they are still smoldering from aerial bombardment.

What we learned, what I learned, is that the walls and Guardians of our City are INdeed formidable, but they cannot be our only defense and they should not be a thing that only serves to limits the freedoms of the people we claim we want to see thrive and prosper. Perhaps we will always need walls of a fortress to shield us in our darkest times, but now I see that our people also need to be free to spread far and to achieve their Destiny.

– Zavala

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