A Quiet Man

Groaning, with all the effort in the world he sat up. His stomach took control of the situation, emptying itself onto the floor. Cutting a miserable figure, his naked slender frame looking almost emancipated in his current state, normally well maintained moustache dangled flaccidly. He retched until all that was left to fill his mouth was bile and yet he felt good, years had passed since he had been as deep in his cups if at all, however this time the bitter taste of a life wasted was gladly absent. He looked down at his hands the shakes were gone; they were strong hands, healing hands.

He knew when the invitation arrived what it would mean. Great honour, yes. But also drink and lots of it. He had never let anyone, not even his battle companions, know about his past life lest they judge him too harshly. How were they to understand the full and true transformation Hatsuko had worked upon him, like a butterfly emerging from its’ cocoon so he too had shed his past, the stealing, the deceit, wandering from town to town peddling false cures and minor potions. He had played on peoples’ hopes and fears to scrape together enough moons to get obliterated, at least for a night.

Daisuke sat still, letting the feelings of nausea wash over him, knowing that he could channel his skills and make the pain go away. No, he thought. He needed to remember the ruin that drink could bring, had to live with the reality of what a lapse could mean. He looked around at all that was his, glasses laid on the bedside table, were in theory beyond a man of Daisuke’s station and yet there they lay; a gift for his service from the dragon Takashi himself. His beloved and well stocked medicine chest sat proud, brimming with exotic ingredients from around the Jwar Isles, empire and beyond. Finally his eyes alighted and settled upon his saviour, his very purpose; Hatsuko, she lay pretending to be asleep and he loved her all the more for it. They had talked of his past, reminisced about the way he was when they had met and yet she had trusted him all the same. And now she let him be, she wouldn’t shame him further by looking on him in this state now.

When the men asked why a healer would join the army and fight, he simply smiled. He had learned never to share ones weaknesses with another, even those that he trusted with his life in battle. And that was because Hatsuko was his reason to fight; to keep her safe was more important than the value he placed upon his own life by such a degree as he would never be able to articulate.

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