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A dull, throbbing ache woke him from his sleep, through he clung to the fleeting edges of his dreams as hard as he could. Not that his dreams were any more pleasurable than reality, but at least if they were dreams, they would be over with when dawn came. Now, despite his best efforts, he became aware of the real world in sections- first the pain in his muscles, then the burns and scabbed-over cuts on his skin, then the pounding in his head, and finally the tingling sensation all over that wouldn’t go away.
He rolled over with a groan and unwittingly turned face-first into a sunbeam. He groaned even louder now, expressing his displeasure with a weak attempt at shielding his squinted-shut eyes with a hand. He vaguely remembered a window being the cause of this sunbeam, and did not appreciate its existence.
With the memory of location came the events of the night previous. The Windshear captives, the boat to Theramore… Theramore. By the Spirits, that really happened.
The same hand that tried to blot out the sun now slapped his forehead, slowly dragged down his face- an actor, blanking his expression for a scene, hoping the world would follow suit and reset itself. But no such miracle would be coming; no matter how long he laid in bed and wished it hadn’t happened, Theramore would still be a pulsing crater.
He pushed himself up out of bed, gingerly placing his feet on the wooden planks of the floor, and shuffled over to the washbasin. The mirror, cracked around the edges and run through with hairline fractures, showed a face that was largely the same. Another death avoided, he thought, pulling his skin back towards his ears until it was taut, smoother like it had been in his youth. But even with that, the thousand miniature scars from a half-forgotten sand-blasting could still be seen. He forced a grin and stuck his tongue out. Still got it.
He sighed and released his grip; his face and his mood returned to their weary realities. He cast a sidelong glance at the pile of clothes on the floor, his gear draping the chair. Outside he could hear the sounds of a city waking to a new reality- war.
War. No matter how many times he said the word it still seemed foreign.
He pulled his shirt down over his head, wincing as a jolt of pain went down from his shoulder.
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