Your God Has Failed You
Drin pushed forward, even though he had doubts. He was in the midst of the fight. There was nothing he could change. He rounded a street corner and, this time, the Sekarans ran from him. Drin gave chase, using his armor to leap beyond the fleeing enemy. He passed them, sliding in the dirt street to halt his advance and cut them off.
Fear filled the eyes of one of the Sekarans before him. The man had no weapon, nothing that could put up a true fight against Drin. But he had been part of the horde in resistance against the Templars. It was his choice. He could have laid down his arms before, repented, and accepted the mercy of the missionaries to follow. Instead, he chose death in the name of his false god.
“Eltu enswa,” the Sekaran muttered, and then said it again. My God will fell my foes. It wasn’t so different from the Templars’ battle cry.
Drin hesitated. He should strike down this heathen. But he couldn’t. Not a disarmed man who shivered in fear and called out for his god. What would be the point? “Go. The true God will have mercy on you. Repent and you’ll be saved,” Drin said.
The shaking Sekaran stared at him as if unsure. He likely didn’t understand the Elorian language, but he certainly understood he’d been spared. He took off running in the opposite direction.
“You spared one of the faithful. Perhaps Eltu will show you compassion in the next life.” A deep voice, speaking in Drin’s language, came from behind him.
Drin spun. A battlemage loomed before him, the most dangerous of all the Sekarans. These were the ones who led the holy war against the Elorians, driving his people from their own world in ancient times. They had their own techno-magic, a Sekaran counter to the strength of the Templars.
The battlemage didn’t look to have any armor. His eyes were dark, without pupils, as the foul magic he wielded consumed everything about him, to the loss of his eyes and his soul. He had no hair, head shaved as some sort of sacrifice to Eltu. The metallic implant above his right eye bestowed the battlemage with his powers. He wore long, purple robes, with a repeating design of a star, and a long V drawn down the back—the symbol of his false god.
Drin wouldn’t cower in fear. He willed his nanites to change his light sword into a burst of energy. He pushed his hands forward to direct the energy. Bright and deadly light shot from his hands toward the battlemage.
The light spread across some invisible shield in front of him. The attack dissipated. The nanites reformed into their little metal components, dropping to the ground as if they had been poured out of a salt shaker. The battlemage grinned. ”Your powers are nothing. Your God has failed you,” the battlemage said. “You should have learned your faith meant nothing when you lost Eloria to my people. The rest of the galaxy will soon follow, but you won’t be here to see it.”
The battlemage conjured his own energy, a blue ball that grew in his hands. He waved his arm and it pushed forward like a wave.
Drin braced himself, willing his energy shield to strengthen. The wave hit him, causing him to stumble back. His energy field held. No damage. He pushed forward, but as he did, his energy monitor blinked in his visor. The nanites’ energy drained. Ninety percent. Eighty. Seventy. It kept going down. The attack had an effect after all. This was a magic he hadn’t encountered before. Drin’s armor flickered into nothingness, leaving him naked.
The battlemage grinned. He stepped forward casually, as if about to greet a friend. When he came close, he reached out and grabbed Drin by the neck. The Sekaran pulled him in close to where they were face to face. “The superiority of Eltu’s warriors will be the last thing you remember, infidel.”
Drin squirmed. He tried to strike at the battlemage, but an invisible shield stopped him. He hadn’t been prepared for the spell that drained his nanites, and he was going to die because of it. Please, forgive my sins. I pray my fight has been pleasing to you, o’ Lord. He hoped his life hadn’t been wasted.
Another ball of energy formed in the battlemage’s free hand. It grew in both size and brightness until it became a force large enough to knock Drin’s head clear from his body. The battlemage cocked his arm back.
Then the battlemage gasped for air. His grip around Drin’s neck went slack. The ball of energy dissipated in his hand. He fell to the ground.
Drin fell as well. His knees slammed on the hard dirt. Without the armor, it hurt, but not as badly as it would have if he had been hit. He looked up.
Jellal stood less than a meter behind the battlemage, with a Sekaran laser-repeater in his hands. With the battlemage distracted by Drin, he’d been defenseless against an assault from behind. Jellal moved forward and kicked at the battlemage’s body. It didn’t move. “You have to be more careful against battlemages, brother,” Jellal said. “Head-on assaults rarely work in our favor.” He offered his hand to Drin.
“Thanks,” Drin said. He took Jellal’s hand and struggled to his feet.
The street in front of them was clear of Sekaran soldiers. Bodies littered the road ahead. Dust still filled the air from the orbital assault. “The Justicar reports the sector is secure. This battlemage was going to be their last hope. Good work distracting him,” Jellal said. “It’s ready for the rebuilding missionary team. We won. Glory be to God.”
“Glory be to God,” Drin said, still in a daze. He’d almost died. And for this? He wished he believed the words he just said.