Chapter 14: Into the Shadows

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A thin crack of light broke through the darkness. Before that, there was only pain and emptiness. Donald Calvin forced his eyes open, and the thin crack grew to a dim light that nevertheless burned his eyes. Awareness seeped into him. He had fallen and broken himself. He remembered that much.

He tried to shift and cried out as a searing pain raced up his leg, and another in his side when he called out. With great effort, he kept himself somewhat quiet and forced himself into a reclined sitting position. Summoning a deep breath, he focused this thoughts. A scan of his body using what little mana he had left revealed it was broken, bruised, and scraped badly in several places, though he also noted a few poorly mended injuries to his vital organs. They were crude and would need to be redone properly or they would cause him trouble soon, but they had saved his life.

He cast his out to take in his surroundings. He was in a small cave on the cold, damp ground, though somehow he was filled with warmth. Danna sat near him, regarding at him with stark worry apparent on her face. The only light and heat within the cave emanated from her, her skin glowing softly with archonic light.

She waited, tensely, just staring at him.

"Danna..." he began, but the agony from speaking cut him off and compelled him to grit his teeth. So instead he waved her closer to him.

She crawled over within reach.

Donald touched her hand and drew the light she shed away from her and placed it into a nearby rock. It became a temporary light source for them. In time, she would need to learn that skill for herself. It wouldn't do to have her shining light from her entire body whenever she needed it.

"Mana," he managed to gasp, and held out his hand.

Danna opened herself up and let her energy flow into him, as she had so often done before. Soon, Donald swelled with the means to enact his own healing. She so desired to aid him that she pushed the mana into him, forcing his body to convulse from the flood, before she realized her mistake and cut off the stream.

"Sorry," she said.

"Look. Closely." He implored her to use her seeker sight and observe how proper healing was performed.

The light surged through him, first correcting the shoddy healing that must have come from her. His organs were made whole with only minor scars upon them. Delicately, they were torn anew and then stitched back together in the appropriate alignment. Though he could not see them with his eyes, she could and followed along with the procedure, but Donald did not need sight to operate on himself. He performed these self-surgeries countless times before and could repair the most grievous wounds by a sense of preternatural touch alone.

Next he mended the most severe of his broken bones. He found the fibula in his lower leg almost completely shattered and the tibia fractured. His right foot was mangled so badly it would require several sessions to restore properly.

He sighed.

If she was practiced with archonic healing, Danna could restore him in mere minutes, but for him it would take hours, perhaps days. He wasn't sure if he had hours, let alone days. Sarah and the others would be hunting for them.

He shook those thoughts away. He needed to concentrate on the task at hand. He continued to go through his body, healing what harms he could. He reforged his cracked ribs and mended most of the internal bruising. The work was difficult and drained him. By the time he was done, he felt weak all over again.

So weak, he slipped from consciousness again.


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