The Hard Truth
It was the hardest year of Xenograg’s life. Even harder than the one spent running for his life and grieving over his murdered first wife.
He had been seriously injured several times before. He was much younger then, though. Furthermore, this injury was three wounds suffered simultaneously.
The shallow but wide puncture in his back was the least injury because it was just physical. No internal organs had been damaged, but the muscle and tissue damage meant a long (natural) recovery.
The second injury was sorcerous fleshburn. Xenograg had channeled too much arcane power too quickly. His skin tone became blacker than night as the magic had burned through his body. This wound was more magical than physical. No magical healing ever worked for it; it would only abate naturally—if it did at all.
The third injury was exposure to whatever energy was released by the explosive death of the Chalkotu. This was still completely unknown to everyone in both effect and treatment.
Teleperien tried but failed to heal either the first or third wounds. It was thought that the latter prevented the Queen’s expected total success with the former. She was embarrassingly apologetic about it to Xenograg. He was forced to admit that he had become accustomed to her near-miraculous skill. This time, only time would bring improvement.
It took a year.
Severe fleshburn brings fever-like sickness and bouts of pain throughout the body. One early, minor infection in the puncture wound worsened the feverishness with the genuine article. Xenograg was completely bedridden for two months. By the end of it, he was very underweight and weak as a newborn kitten. His hair became almost completely grey and white, and had noticeably thinned.
He had to almost learn to walk again. His physicians supervised a diet and light exercise regimen that slowly strengthened his body. Progress was suspiciously below all expectations, however.
Lifting a weapon was beyond him for six months. Attempts at sorcery were not even contemplated that first year. He spent much of it sitting in a chair placed in the first-floor training hall of Xenodar’s donjon tower. He was left instructing students with only words and gestures. It was extremely frustrating.
For the first time in his life, Xenograg felt his true age of 64 years. He had to accept the hard truth:
He was old.
He was not going to fully recover.
( Originally posted in the Red Dragon Inn web community forum. )