I can’t help but laugh.
I shake my head and smile a weary smile through cracked lips. The hopelessness of it all keeps the grin on my face a moment longer. I tie up my hair and wipe away the blood from my cheek. I stand up from the burnt stone I rest on and peer out into the black. No other soul resides here. All have been snuffed out. Lives extinguished by them. A red star pulses; it wavers in the pitch dark sky. At its sight my grin fades.
My hand is broken. I flex my fingers and I feel the bones churn. They were broken against metal. They were broken in a vain attempt to continue living. I guess pain is something to feel at least. I check my bolt pistol but I know it’s empty. I throw it across the ruined courtyard. It’s all black. The ground, the ashes of my home and the sky. One red orb still clings to life floating overhead.
This is the last one. They took the rest.
We were amazed at the speed those ravenous machines snuffed out each of them, multiplying and crafting their sun-eaters. We always thought the bugs would come for us. But the bugs need meat and meat needs light. So the Necrons ate the suns.
I see them in the distance. Their damned King’s task is almost complete. We, the Sororitas, held true to our Faith. We fought. We beat back what had claimed most of the galaxy. Our Brothers and Sisters joined us across countless worlds, holding line after line until the lines grew too thin. It was all for naught. Our Faith still held as the communications stopped coming in. Our Faith held when our Aeldari allies, an alliance of desperation, sent their last message and told us it was all over. Our Faith endured when we saw the nearest system’s sun blink from existence. Our Faith kept us fighting, it gave us Hope.
Our Faith lasted only as long as He did. We felt Him awake. A moment that should have been marked as a celebration was one of grim stalwartness and desperation. His presence gave us Hope. His sons and daughters pushed back and humanity was given a brief moment of interlude. Yet He came back only to be culled like the rest of Holy Terra. The Necrons cleansed the planet just like any other. Terra was special to us. The birthplace of humanity was a beacon of Hope. It was nothing to the reapers. The metal tide swept through our birthplace like a farmers plough, destroying all in its path and planting seeds of death in its wake.
Those seeds were insects. Smart and single-minded creatures that replicated. Their sole purpose to create monstrous machines. Each planet and moon they had claimed became a barren waste. After the surface was nothing but a teeming mass of miniscule replicated Scarabs, they got to work. Their process of extermination had them cover each star, store the vast energies they gave off then extinguish the star so no other could feel its warmth. This process was a marvel to witness. The first time at the outer edges of the galaxy it was deemed a one off occurrence by the Mechanicus. When a few minutes later a second sun blinked from existence: fear set in. As each light went out in the night sky, we looked up at a ticking clock. The sky ticked down to our doom.
Though I held true. We all did. The Sacred Rose vowed He would come back. We told ourselves this lie. Repeated it until it calmed our worries. Until the voices that plagued our thoughts ceased. The God Emperor of Mankind could not be slain. He would turn the tides. His Sons would rise up and pull our race back from the brink of death. There was no doubt in our minds.
His Sons died.
They were gone.
And, without them, we perished all the quicker.
Faith and Hope were all that kept this galaxy alive. Faith that there was a plan and a benevolent One to enact it. Hope that it was enough to save humanity. Faith kept the strong in check and Hope helped the weak fight on.
I have no Faith.
I have no Hope.
I watch the last sun darken and the red star slowly shift colour; it burns a sickly emerald now. I look into the inky gloom and see the wave of green and silver pour toward me. I hear their incessant tapping and I feel the end. Not just mine but the end of everything.
My convent is ashen ruins around me. As strong as my sisters were; they needed their Faith. It went hand in hand with Hope. Each of us needed guidance and each of us needed belief. Without them we turned from the light. Putting a bolt hole through my fellow sister’s chest was the last step on my road to Damnation. Fighting my own kind, my sisters who had lost their way after we felt Him die, was soul-crushing. Watching our abbey burn, as the metal reapers made planet-fall, broke what was left of my fragile soul. My mind has faded. This gloom all around me mirrors the gloom within me. A deep darkness hangs heavy and there is no light left.
I pull free my sword and let the scabbard fall to the blackened stone. I try to light the cracked power-blade but it has long been spent. They are close now. Their feet and claws ring out on the burned rock. Once the only light I saw was golden and warm. Now it glows green and cold. It wanders toward me and I am Hopeless. I am Faithless. So why do I still fight? Is there anything left to fight for?
I cry out in hopeless defiance.
The last light of the last sun blinks out. And with it so does humanity.
About The Author
Sam loves to write fiction. It just so happens the 40k universe has been his favourite setting to write in for over 18 years now. He live in snowy Sweden with his wife. Originally from England, he still enjoys a good cup of tea along with a plate of meatballs and pototismos. If he is not rock climbing, he’s repairing elevators and if he’s not painting miniatures, he’s cooking something delicious.