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That Silent Moment

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Thing about a battle is, it's loud. And you know you're still alive because you can still hear it. Things get quiet all of a sudden, you're a dead man. As far as he knew, Dogberry has been a dead man twice in his life.


He stirred awake now to a dark room. His eyes tried to focus, but all he saw were vague shapes and shades of grey. No idea if there was someone in his room beyond him. Really, he had no sense beyond himself. His legs itched. He tried to scratch them, but they weren't there anymore. He rolled in bed, hoping that would help. It didn't. He buried his face into a pillow and screamed in frustration.


"Alright, y'bastard, let's talk," Dogberry said when he was last a whole man. A tentacle, or a whisker or a tail, or something too quick for him to perceive whipped up and pulled him from the deck of the Maelstrom's staging platform. This was the audience he sought with the Lord of the Whorl.


The encounter was too much for Dogberry to take in. Words were too simple things to convey the things communicated. Not with Leviathan in the state he was in, fading back into aether. Dogberry got only this impression: He was merely a piece of flotsam in the eye of a god. Nothing more, nothing less. Now, though, he had the Lord's attention. He was amused by Dogberry's arrogance. A lesson must be taught.


And with that, The Lord of the Whorl took Dogberry's legs below the knee.


Silence followed. Dogberry was, again, a dead man for sure.


Back on deck, he was oddly authoritative for what he had just been through. He didn't know why. Things just needed to be done. Chaos would surely kill him, so he had to make order somehow. Now, though, in his bed at night, was finally time to feel.


He screamed into his pillow again and again. He grabbed at the clean linens of the bed he was in and ripped at them in anger. He finally rolled on to his back, a more difficult task now, and stared up at the ceiling in the dark.


Silence now, and Dogberry wished he'd been a dead man for sure.

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There were plenty of idle moments, but not a single quiet ones. It had been grating on Dogberry for days now. Boredom was overtaking him, and with now well on the road to reovery, he was a wellspring of energy.


Dhemgeim was a great help. She was constantly keeping him occupied and engaged one way or another. When she wasn't around, Dogberry found himself reading, mostly philosophy these days, or exercising using whatever pieces of furniture in his room he could climb on or use to weigh him down. He seemed to have a steady parade of visitors, which he enjoyed, but dreaded. He was glad to know how concerned others were for him, but he felt humiliated for others to see him like this. He was aware of how vulnerable he was like this, and it embarrassed him. Still, the days seemed long, their visits short, and the nights took forever when it's just him and his thoughts. Nothing Dhemgeim could do could take even the the slightest amount of panic away.


Dogberry looked at the pouch she had given him, from "the twins". She advised him to eat and have water handy. He requested a pitcher of water and some bread and cheese from his hosts, and when it arrived he made a small ritual. The bread, the cheese, and a pipe full of "hypna", he had been told, from the pouch. He was warned it contained somnus. He puffed idly, and sipped at the water. A wave of euphoria washed over him. Everyone told him somnus was dangerous. Nobody told him it was this amazing. His body relaxed in spite of himself, as he rested the pipe on the table next to his bed. As he drifted, he thought for a moment about the deal with the devil he had just made. No doubt, the first of a few.


Then, finally, a brief moment of silence, bought at an expense only the desperate could pay.

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