From far away I heard a voice I thought I recognized. “Liam, Liam can you hear me?”
In a way, I could, but something was wrong. Nothing seemed to work right. I couldn’t see. I couldn’t seem to move. I felt like I should be in pain, but I felt little or nothing at all.
“Come on, Heather. We’ve got to go. Bring the girls if you want to. They may not be safe here with Connor the way he is right now, but this is our chance.”
“Patrick, we can’t just leave him here like this. He looks like he’ll be dead in a few minutes; he’s loosing so much blood,” said the woman’s voice.
Detached like I seemed to be now, I could analyze what was happening around me. I now thought I understood what Haines was up to. He had been having an affair with the emperor’s wife and now he wanted to take her away. That’s why he hadn’t wanted me here.
I reached up and a hand gripped my elbow. “Take it easy, man. Heather, call the emperor and have him send the doctor. Tell him most of what happened and then we must go. If we don’t go now, we’ll never be able to get away. And Heather, I never came here; do you understand.”
Vaguely I heard the empress speaking in the distance, but I was tired and wanted to sleep. I tried to reach out to him again.
“Lay still, Liam. You’re hurt really bad. Let your magic heal you.”
My magic. I was having trouble thinking, but I could do that much I guess.
The next thing I felt was a cool cloth on my face (my face hurt so much) then I heard a female voice call the doctor. “I think he’s awake, doctor.”
“Good, I’m glad to hear it. Liam, you have to let the emperor go. No one can get into his room. Can you open the emperor’s door from here?”
Could I? I didn’t know. Normally I’d say, ‘no problem,’ but everything felt so different somehow. I tried anyway. It felt like I was hanging onto a live snake by the tail. I don’t know if I succeeded. The drain was tremendous.
The next thing I became aware of was the bandage being changed on my arm and it stung. I must have flinched, because I then heard the doctor’s voice.
“Liam, you’re awake; how do you feel? Can you talk to me?”
I reached up to feel my face and discovered for the first time, and rather painfully, that I didn’t have a hand to feel my face with; I banged my raw wrist bones into my chin. As I realized what I had just done, I began to shake.
“Take it easy, Liam. You took the main blast of that bomb.”
“Tell me . . . .” I said. My throat was raw and I was surprised that I made any sound at all.
“Oh Liam, you’re in bad shape. I had to take your right arm off at the elbow and your left hand just above the wrist. Well really, there wasn’t much for me to take; all I did was make it a little neater. The concussion ruptured almost every organ in your body. Frankly, Liam, I’m astonished that you are alive; every breath you take is a miracle in my opinion. What I don’t understand is why your magic isn’t healing you like it did the last time you were injured.
“Something’s wrong,” I whispered. I tried to make something - anything - and I felt a brief tug and a drain of energy, but I’m fairly certain that nothing happened. I reached for a source of matter to draw on and found nothing so I searched for a source of energy, nothing. “Something is very wrong. Why can’t I see?”
“Shards of stone have riddled your face. The leather you were wearing protected the rest of your body from all but the biggest pieces, but even so, there were some I couldn’t remove, especially in your face.
I’m blind. I’m scarred up. I lost both of my hands. Now it seems like I’ve lost my magic. “I want to go home.” After all what good was I here now - like this - useless?
“You’re in no shape to go anywhere. Not for a long time. Without your magic, you’re on your own and it’s going to be a long haul.”