The air was thick with smoke and ash that stung the eyes. The battle raged all around her, but Evelynn could barely register it over the roar of thunder in her ears. Sar'ach, the monstrous beast from the sands, swung its massive limbs with unrestrained fury, crushing PALADIN robots and resistance fighters alike. Lightning flashed across the darkening sky, illuminating the devastation in brief, stark moments.
They had been fighting for months, but all sense of strategy or tactics had long since disintegrated. The forces of Crux Dynamico and the Edhelleri resistance had devolved into a desperate scramble for survival. Bodies littered the cracked earth - friends, allies, enemies - all mingled together in death. Evelynn was exhausted, both physically and mentally. She had witnessed too much death and destruction.
Surveying the weary, desperate faces of her comrades, she saw the last flickers of hope dying in their eyes. They had given everything to this fight, sacrificing so much, and it still wasn't enough. Sar'ach was unstoppable, ravaging the land and slaughtering indiscriminately. Lukius and his PALADIN army kept pushing forward relentlessly. How much longer until they succumbed? This couldn't be stopped, she realized with dawning horror.
In that moment, she spotted Julius across the battlefield, locked in fierce combat with several PALADINs at once. Julius' unique existence proved to be the secret weapon against these impossible enemies: his lack of magic prevented the PALADINs from locking onto his numen frequency, rendering him invisible to their targeting system. But even the legendary Grim was showing signs of fatigue, his movements growing slower. If Julius fell, what hope did any of them have? She tried to fight her way over to assist him, but her feet felt like lead. Communication had failed under electromagnetic interference. For the first time, facing down this infernal apocalypse, Evelynn felt utterly alone.
Was this how it would end? All their struggles, all the lives lost along the way, amounting to meaningless fuel for Sar'ach's unrelenting rage. Evelynn shuddered to think of the countless dead, friends and foes alike, strewn across Synead's scorched plains, bodies torn and broken by the monster's savage onslaught. Had it all been for nothing?
A deafening crash made the ground shake as one of Sar'ach's massive appendages slammed down near her, sending chunks of hard, caked earth through the air. Evelynn shielded her face as sharp debris pelted her techwear. When the dust cleared, she stared up in horror at the hulking beast. It had returned to continue its torture of Lukius.
As the dehumanized man began his shrill screams, the resistance fighters nearby tossed down their weapons, covering their ears, their eyes wide with madness. Some stood staring empty-eyed at the raging monster, while others fell to their knees in prayer amid the carnage, begging any gods that might be listening for deliverance. But if the gods still existed, they had long since abandoned this forsaken place. Even the Shatari elite, who had held the line so valiantly, now shuffled back step by staggering step.
Sar'ach paid them no heed, consumed by its fury. But in its wake, a terrible truth was dawning on all who witnessed its unstoppable wrath: We had brought this upon ourselves. Through our wars and tyranny, our violation of the planet's balance, we awakened this ancient destroyer and doomed our world. Thunder rolled across the land in grim portent as the first fat raindrops began to fall, and Evelynn understood.
Julius appeared in a blur and tackled her out of the way of a PALADINs cannon blast. They rolled to a stop, breathless and bleeding. Around them, others had given up fighting and simply embraced one another in their final moments of solace. Loved ones said their farewells, fathers held dying children, and lovers spoke whispered words of parting.
Evelynn looked into Julius' eyes and saw the same hopeless resignation she felt in her own soul. This was the end. All their struggles and sacrifices had only hastened the final ruination. Sar'ach would not stop until the whole of Eivrall lay beaten flat, every last man, woman, and child crushed beneath its feet. And who could say it would end there? Would the beast slake its rage on their lifeless husks, or carry on spreading annihilation to whatever other poor worlds might lie in the void?
Thunderous footsteps heralded Sar'ach's approach once more. This time, Evelynn did not rise to challenge it. She leaned against Julius wearily as the beast drew near. At least she would not face the end alone. Evelynn let her rifle fall from her numb fingers, the deluge soaking through her clothes. So, this was how humanity's age would close - not with a bang, but under the lash of a darkness their own hands had unleashed. The thunder rolled on, a death knell for their doomed race. She closed her eyes, letting the rain wash away the last forlorn hope from her tears. It was finished.