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Jrvil’s boots hit the ground with a jarring thud. He had jumped from the third story of a ruined skyscraper. Undaunted, the Marine continued on his way.
He had been here so long, that the desert had made its way into the abandoned city streets. The once magnificent royal purple of his power armor was caked with sand and dirt, as well. Though, parts of the silver trim still held some shine, even after all these years.
This world, Gehrta Tertius, was nothing like it was when he first laid eyes upon it. Massive cities, one after the other, lined several enormous rivers that made a spiderweb of the continent. He had checked several of these rivers. Some still had running water, which had helped keep him alive. The fish and vermin had helped with that, too.
He looked up around him, taking it all in.
Familiarity struck hard, as he recognized this place. He had fought here, a battle, years ago. He chuckled lightly to himself in amusement, and amazement. He had searched seven of these infinite cities, their various levels, the floors of their buildings, their alleyways, shadowy depths, and hidden corners. He had traversed the expanse of land between them, walking on the sand strewn roads and bridges. Until now, he thought he was in city number eight.
There, he pointed for his own benefit, he had gunned down one of the traitors with his bolter. The holes in the side of the broken grav-car were still noticeable, though widened as the metal was thinned from corrosion and weathering. The sound of his heavy armor lumbering around the road bounced off the buildings beside him. There, he pointed again, silently, was where brother Farva had met his end. By that building’s corner, behind that fallen chunk of building. An enemy had been laying in wait around the corner, and stabbed his brother like a coward, pushing a blade up through the side beneath his chest armor.
He made his way over, slowly, and his eyes widened to see that Farva was still there. The armor was, at least, and the bones. All of it grey and covered in dirt. No one had ever recovered him. Jrvil’s face curled with a mixture of outrage and disappointment, but he didn’t know where to aim the emotion. Was he more resentful at the enemy for this, or his allies?
He knelt down, resting his knee in the sand, and picked up the helm that had been mag-locked to his brother’s waist. It had rolled away from the rest of the remains, connecting instead with the fallen building pieces beside him, the suit’s power supply having run dry long ago. For his own armor, he had found various means of keeping it functional over the long weeks and months.
He turned the helm over in his hands several times, noticing a few traces of purple yet to be erased. It did not feel right to set it back down. He took his gladius from the hip, and scratched his brother’s name into the side of the now grey MkVII Helmet. Then, he attached it to one of his own maglocks before moving on, recalling more scenes from the battle.
His entire chapter had come here, to this world. He had traversed the skeletal remains of two of his Chapter’s fallen strike cruisers, that had crashed into the vast desert. There were oceans on this world, and other continents. The rest of the fleet could have crashed anywhere, if they had fallen as well. He could still hear the fading sounds of war; the last gun shots that echoed through the streets of one of these massive cities.
As far as he knew, the war was still on. He had never received confirmation that the war was over. To that end, nothing was certain. He had never stopped walking, searching, hunting for any enemies that had survived. Whether or not he was the only Marine of his chapter left changed nothing for him. He was still here, still alive, and his mission of exterminating the enemy forces on the ground had not changed.
What was certain, is that he would die, one day. It was always certain he would die, even after he became ‘immortal’.
Ironically, he thought, he became immortal to age and disease only to be sentenced to death, flung into the most dangerous war zones the Imperium could offer. He had already lived so much longer than he ever would have before his transformation into an Astartes, but that time was only used to tear more down and take more lives away, rather than to use that extra time to build something greater.
Perhaps he could. Perhaps all his brothers and brother-cousins could, if the tides would finally cease their relentless crashing. The waves of traitorous uprisings, xenos invasions, demonic incursions...they never stopped. They hadn’t for thousands of years. Their hands were forced to use their immortality in the service of defense. If they stepped down from their martial place, humanity’s death wasn’t a question, it was certain.
“My choices ensure certainty of life and death, but little else.” he said to himself.
“I suppose it's appropriate then, that mortal men label me a god.”
Maybe, just maybe, he continued thinking, death was no longer a certainty for him . Maybe he had become the only Space Marine to ever really get the chance to not die. If he was the only living thing left on this planet, and age was nothing to him...what could he do with so such time and freedom?
He shook his head, worried about how long it had been since the guidance of a Chaplain or another Brother. His mind was wandering, and had been, for far too long.
His chapter symbol had faded so much, but his memory never would. He stretched his neck and shoulder to try and see it again. Frustrated at barely being able to see it, he took a deep breath and yelled his Chapter’s name at the top of his lungs, hearing his powerful voice echo on forever into the city, “The Warriors of Mayhem!”
He paused in his tracks to listen, hoping the echoes would remind him of his Company shouting it together, hoping to reawaken the pride he once held dear.
A crunch, in the dirt, as he began his steps anew.
He would use his immortality here. Something would come of all the time spent here. He would begin something, build something. Of this, he was certain.
Word count: 1099… take that Myen