Chapter IX

The plate was looming ever closer as the companies moved onwards. Its massive circular frame dominating the landscape as it towered hundreds of feet into the sky. The Headtails darted back and forth from the scouting group to Garma’s company to communicate the safest route forward.

Every movement Garma made was uncomfortable in the heat, he could feel the excessive amount of sweat forming under his leather cuirass and his legs were starting to hurt. With every passing minute his senses dulled, his vision lost focus and shapes mingled with one another. Voices and other sounds became dull, echoed and impossible to decipher. His breathing was too laboured to be able to smell anything; every ounce of the wasteland was against Garma’s advancement but he was determined to reach the plate. He felt pushed and pulled towards it at the same time, like the most important, undeniable thing he could do was reach it.

“Captain.” The voice of Vorku was strong as ever. Garma turned to see the blurred vision of the Headtail behind him; its frame was upright and strong despite the days spent in the sweltering desolation. He nodded weakly in reply.

“It’s Harken sir. He’s delirious from heat exhaustion. He can’t go any further.”

Garma struggled to process what he had just been told whilst trying to stay upright. He was as fatigued as all the men.

“The plate.” Was all he could choke through his dry, soar, dust filled throat. Every syllable was excruciating, like swallowing a serrated knife.

The Headtail turned and made a series of hand gestures at his soldiers. The Headtails all began to lift the weak and defeated men over there massive powerful shoulders, they took two each and began to march swiftly forward.

Vorku then turned to Garma and lifted him over his own shoulder and began to run behind the other Headtails. The scouts had decided on a reasonable destination they could reach before nightfall and now, with almost no food or water, time was of the essence.

Garma’s head lolled from side to side as he struggled to remain conscious. He strained his water starved brain to keep ticking, he tried to think of Horus but he couldn’t picture him. Then he tried to picture his hometown of Diseria but that was a blurry mess. He still felt the pull of the great plate however, that was unmistakable, despite the fact that he couldn’t think clearly about anything else.

Suddenly Garma heard a faint noise. A deep roar. It was a monstrous noise that he recognised from hearing it in the building before. The thing Horus mentioned. He looked up to see a sea of blurred greys and browns but in amongst it he thought he saw something else. A small green blot in his blurred, exhausted vision. It stayed for a moment then disappeared.

“What was that?” The Captain whispered.

“What?” Vorku replied, no answer came. When the Headtail looked over his shoulder he saw that Garma was now unconscious. He had to hurry.

The End

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