Author's Note: In response to the pitifully small number of fanfics within the Eternal Darkness category, I am pleased to announce my personal contribution: a 50 theme challenge. For those of you who know what that is, fantastic, you know the drill. For those of you who don't, these are 50 short stories responding to a category in a list I found at h t t p : / / a l a y a r a y e . d e v i a n t a r t . c o m / j o u r n a l / 2 8 5 9 8 4 5 8 / (sans spaces, of course.) Alexa Bleach will be doing the same project, but with a different list. So go read hers too.

I'm kinda 'meh' about this one.

They defied gravity. They floated above their pedestals, and Pious felt his heart leap in his chest. Not once had he questioned, not once had he thought to defy his master, no matter what vivid fantasy he thought to believe. His lord had been right- he had been right, in all but one fact.

There were several artifacts- not just one. What would his lord think, in receiving his prize threefold? The centurion stepped to the center of the pedestals, and regarded the object before him. Blue, with claws dripping from it- and yet it hovered above its resting place. If Pious had been an artistic man, he would have admired the intricate patterns atop the figure. If he had been a scientific man, he would have marveled at its ability to defy gravity. Pious had already pledged his eyes and mind to his lord- it was not his place to marvel or to wonder. If it were, perhaps he would not have so eagerly gripped the Artifact.

The moment he did so he felt a searing pain through his arms and chest. He released it instinctively, but this did not stop the Artifact from latching itself to him, no, burrowing inside of him. In his agony he fell to the stone floor, writhing and gasping.

The change happened swiftly. The skin peeled from his body, leaving the red, pulsing muscle exposed to the stuffy, ancient air. But his great muscles soon began to shrivel away, becoming less and less the great muscles of a trained soldier, and more the lean muscles of the starved. They began to turn the sickly, moldy blacks and browns of the rotting dead. Perhaps, in fact, Pious did die. He could have sworn he felt something light inside of him give way and vanish.

His armor hung loosely upon him as he struggled to pull himself to his feet, and he cried out in pain as he realized that those, too, were was not long, however, until he shoved that to the back of his mind- he never focused on his pain for long. That was how you died on the battlefield.

It was not long until he met his new master, Ulyaoth. Pious offered no argument- his master offered no release. "Through your own suffering, you set an example. Through your own suffering, you serve to empower me, Augustus." Always the good soldier, Pious offered no argument.

Every step the centurion took was pain, every motion, torture, but two thousand years makes one grow accustomed to the feel. His disguises were only that- the skin he wore to placate his former race served no protection against the elements. It was all little more than hallucinations and trickery that he tossed before their minds.

Sometimes, he'd catch a glimpse of himself in the water or, in later years, a mirror. It was when he saw himself, the molded muscles drawn taught about his face, the hollow eyes and the singed remnant of the armor he could never bring himself to replace, he truly felt himself cursed.