This is another 1000-worder for the monthly competition over on the Bolthole.
I must say, I wish this one had turned out better, but RL has been relatively time-consuming as of late and I only finished it 30 minutes early.
The theme for this entry was 'Judgment.'
Thousands of tonnes of rubble, of shattered stone, pressed upon him from all sides, suffocating him. He was pinned, incapable of the slightest of movements. The weight was incredible, a pressure that he had never known, but it paled in comparison to the rage and frustration that he felt burning within him.
That word kept him breathing, that knowledge fuelled his will to live. Any lesser being would doubtlessly have perished beneath the deluge of rubble that had fallen around him and become his tomb. Any lesser being would have given up days ago, without food or water, giving his body up to the galaxy. Any lesser being would have submitted to the... darkness.
He was no lesser being, no normal human. He was an Astartes, the son of a legacy that had seen Mankind’s implacable advance across the stars, the very will of the Emperor given form. Never in his prolonged had he felt despair, and he refused to give in to its plaguing whispers now.
A rune inside of his shattered helm flickered dimly; his armour’s power source was nearly dead. Straining his damaged and concussed mind, he recalled the meaning of the symbol.
His life support systems were failing. Soon, his armour would no longer be able to recycle his bodily by-products and he would asphyxiate. While his superhuman physiology would prolong this process, it would still be a drawn out and painful death.
He snarled at the though. Pain, he could deal with the pain. It had been his constant companion for hundreds of years of constant battle. No, the pain was not what sorely tempted his thoughts, and pulled him irrevocably towards the precipice of despair.
An ignominious death, trapped beneath a ruined building, unable to move or fight, this terrified him.
be,’ he stated, casting his words into the galaxy. A glimmer of hope, faith in the Lectitio Divinitatus, sparked into a flame.
Frustration overcame his anguish. His limbs, cool and stiff with rigor mortis, filled with an inner fire that he thought he had lost. Hatred of his... brothers
conquered his turmoil.
He curled his gauntleted fingers into a fist, crushing the stone to dust. He had been betrayed by his brothers, been judged by them and found unworthy of their cause. They had cast him aside, thrown his life away, and then sought to exterminate him, to hunt him like a dog.
‘This cannot be!
he spat. Stones creaked as the wind across dry bones as his armour’s devastated servos strained against his tomb.
They had hunted him and his comrades, to the last man they had hunted them.
He clenched his eyes and pushed
. Tears streamed down his face while his muscles strained to the tearing point. The throbbing ache that had become his constant companion was replaced by a sharp, intense pang. But still he pushed.
The bastards, he had fought with them, bled with them, been loyal
to them. He could see their faces now, clearly, each of them taunting him, laughing at his feeble attempts at escape.
‘You have been judged and found wanting! Your pathetic life is at an end, you fool! Follow your False Emperor to your doom!’
He could see them as clearly as if they were standing before him now.
Exhaustion started rearing its ugly head again, threatening to prematurely end his struggle for freedom.
they to judge me?
Traitors and whoresons, oathbreakers who turned their backs on all they had ever known. On what they had sworn and died to protect and preserve. On the purpose of their existence
The tremors intensified. He could hear it now... is it really happening?
Rocks against rocks, movement
. Although there had been several earthquakes and tectonic disturbances since his entombment, all had been minor. This was something completely different.
Straining his hearing, focusing on the individual sounds, he could hear more boulders tumbling down into a rock slide.
‘My Emperor!’ he cried, his voice hoarse with exertion, ‘I give myself to you! If you can hear me, your loyal Son,’ he called, struggling against the unrelenting crush of the rubble, ‘move these rocks! Free me from this prison! I will bring your,’ he halted in his pleas, unsure of the word to use, hesitant to give it voice, ‘Holy Judgment to those who have defied you!’ His roar faded to a whisper, all effort focused on moving the rocks encasing him. ‘To those who have betrayed
His last reserves of strength, fuelled by his final combat stimulants, exploded outwards in a release of energy. Without warning, the overwhelming weight vanished and he found himself standing knee deep in the rubble.
Around him, stretched as far as his occulobes could ascertain, was a vista of utter devastation. Once proud towers, shining and elegant in their grace, lie crushed and strewn about the landscape. While the fighting here had been apocalyptic, on a scale he had not seen since Ullanor, there were no bodies. No sign of the immense betrayal that had been revealed on these streets.
His fists tightened, as he thought of the... how long has it been? Weeks? Months?
He did not even know anymore, none of it mattered.
All that mattered was vengeance.
He fell to his knees and ripped off his helmet. Casting a longing look into the heavens, charred black with the fires of the death of the Choral City, he gently touched his pauldron..
‘My Emperor, your Traitorous Sons have turned their backs on you and renounced you,’ he said, ‘There are none present to witness my words, to hold me to my Oath.’ He paused, closing his eyes against the intense glare of the sun through the soot-filled skies. ‘I have no weapons to swear upon, as I have lost them in the shame of my defeat.
‘I am broken, but not beaten. Although my fellows have administered their judgment upon me, I know that I have not been found wanting in your eyes. I swear to you, from this moment, from this rock, that I will not rest until I have brought these traitors, your trusted sons, to justice. I will administer your judgment upon them, without mercy and without respite.’
He stopped speaking and struggled to his feet with a groan as his broken bones ground against one another. He cast his eyes again around the desolation.
‘Now how in the hells do I get off of this rock?’ It would not be easy, but he had been given a second chance. A chance that Garviel Loken would not squander.