“There is no room for cheaters in this contest.”
Brotaster rolled himself upright, stumbling and falling as he managed to stand. He became acquainted with the floor. Laughter filled the hall but for a moment, then noise was absent once more. He flopped over to lie on his back. He could feel the slow discontinuous heartbeat, a sharp pain with every stutter. His lung pressing feebly on his chest in hope that it may rise. He had felt worse pain. He had been right. To a degree. He had prepared the shadow as a shield. Not a physical one as she was used to, but a spiritual one. He choked out a laugh. One spent on mocking their combined misfortunes.
“The issue at hand,” he began righting himself and to clamber upwards “is that a ‘divine’ being just attempted to rip away my immortality.” He began to consider motivation for such an act. To kill him to eliminate him from these proceedings. “No, I am a part of this, no matter its strength I doubt it could end my life.” Then a warning for him to leave. “No I have paid the fee as it were, I cannot be evicted only glory awaits now; I’m sure there is more to that saying.” Perhaps then a reminder, an act to hurt him, not the most pain he has felt but enough to make him realise the stakes, to ensure his cooperation within the rules. “Yes.”
He studied the empty launching bay he stood in. Nothing of note. Not to his eyes at least. Though he couldn’t see her, generally he couldn’t, he knew he was alone. There was no soul to reach onto. No essence to view. So she was gone. Deserted was the first thought, quickly disregarded. Taken without her permission, stolen away, away from him. “Ah I am limited somewhat now.” He turned toward the elevator. The 26th one in this district. Assumed dysfunctional. In truth it was merely stuck, the machine spirit held hostage to limit the number of ambushers that could easily reach him. A simple gesture and a low resonating hum decreed it was back in operation. Towards the bridge. He would have to rely on the somewhat more conventional means of transport in this case. An imperial armada was a little grand but it would have to do. “The admiral will be an obstacle.” He had been a pleasure to serve thus far. A small frown creased his expression upon thinking of Haarlock. A brief thought that brought far too much discomfort. The traitor of dusk’s residue stuck to him no matter the years that passed or the distance he travelled. The admiral’s failings and corruption were nothing in comparison to that man. Brotaster considered his dabbling. Minor and inconsequential; always bitter. He thought of the vice-admiral, her waivering loyalty, need for command. The Commisar, her monstrous hunger. They all lust for power. He thought on Imperitrice. Her violence, cruelty and belligerence. He smirked. He reminded himself of her loyalty, her unwavering heart, her sincerity. He remembered her face. Every detail etched, for the moment at least, into his memory. His teeth clenched. He remembered what he did to her. The fact she died prematurely, without his consent, not the wishes of herself. Scared, running, not a warrior’s death. Not a death befitting her at all. He remembered the contract he forced. The kiss. Not of desire, nor as pure of love but that of desperation. She had shown misguided interest, he had to distract her and it was the most clear and obvious move. It had marked the decay in their relationship. All he said up till that point. The promises between friends unravelled at that moment. She did not seem to see that. He always understood the possibility, no the likelihood it would occur. The ultimatum shattered the balance. He wondered if he tasted of death. He realised he was progressing down the path of making her a symbol. No longer human but a representation of his weakness, failings and decline. He was distorting her. She didn’t deserve that. He thought of his failures. Too many to count. He wondered if he could go back. Redeem this in some way. No. He wondered if he could be broken. Beaten. He wanted that. He thought back on her person. “What a waste.” he shed silent tears “She might have been the one.” His mind screamed back at him, a backlash of the spirits of the dead. He was alone. He opened his eyes to see he was alone. He knew that it suited him.