Summer: 14 years at the Monastery, Spring, the day after attempting to fly
Sunar woke slowly, despite his best efforts. He tried to bring his mind to alertness, but found himself groggy. He lay on his stomach, and everything hurt. Was I knocked out sparring again? No, I am on something soft. Could I have gotten sick? I hope not. Gorshun and the others would never let me hear the end of it if I allow an infection to get out of control. He forced himself a little more awake and regretted it instantly. Pain. It seemed his entire body had become pain.
His breath caught. Pain is just the body’s warnings. Hear the warning, let it flow through you. Pain is just the body’s warnings. Hear the warning… The mantra let him, slowly, rise above the pain enough to breathe. He felt something press down on the pillow beside his head, and forced one eye open.
He saw his sister’s nose first, almost touching him. She looked worried, and sad, and apprehensive, all at once. She whispered with intensity, “I am supposed to get Mamma when you wake up. But first, I tell you: I did not tattle. I don’t know how Mamma knew. I don’t know why she made you hit the wall.” She began to tear up a little, “I am so sorry, but I didn’t tell. I wanted to see you fly! I know you will! I…”
Sunar found that his jaw, at least, did not hurt, “Shhh, it is OK Little Tail. I know you didn’t tell. No Two Tale would rat another out. Mom did not hurt me, I hurt me. Mom protected me. She knew because she is mom, and that is what mom’s do. They know.”
She sat back a little, the shift in the bed caused his back to protest, and she smiled, “Mom is smart, we should have known she would know! I will get her now.” She filled her lungs and shouted, “MO-O-O-O-OMMMM! HE’S AWAAAAAAKE!!!” She then looked at him and winked. Laughing hurt.
Mom came in quickly, put her hand on his head, and smiled sympathetically at him. “I know you still hurt honey, try to lie still. Doctor Soren did a thorough check on you. You pulled a lot of muscles and tendons, but nothing that you won’t be able to repair, given time, medications, and meditation.” She gave him a stern look, “Promise me, though. Promise me you won’t try another fool stunt like that! Tell me you won’t try again until we agree you are ready.”
He tried to nod, but that made pain blaze up and down his neck. He spoke instead, “I promise. Not until we agree. I need your help, I see that now.”
She raised an eyebrow at him, and tried to keep a stern look, but it softened quickly. “I know, son. You are a good boy, if vexingly headstrong sometimes.” He then saw what she held in her hands: gonjish cream; painkiller and muscle relaxant all in one. His mother and sister went to work on him, rubbing the cream carefully into his wings and back, while she talked to help distract him.
Their ministrations did not take the pain away, but did lighten it considerably, and his mother’s soothing words lightened his mood.