“The brace is a bit heavy, I’ll admit that,” said Slim as he fastened the last of the clasps that secured the large metal and gem covered mechanism on my stump. “It will take some getting used to but it’s nothing you can’t handle.”
“Well handling things has become a challenge as of late,” I said as I raised my only hand. Slim smiled at me.
“Good to see you can still find the humor in this,” said the asura. “It’ll come in handy.” With that comment Slim raised the prosthetic that he was about to mount on my brace. I couldn’t help but laugh at it all, I groaned shortly after from the wounds on my chest. “Perhaps we should refrain from jokes for the time being.” I nodded at that.
“So how does the arm work?” I asked as Slim placed the shoulder of the arm next to the brace. I gazed at the intricate design, light frames of metal with a few gemstones lodged into slots. Slim said the metal was an alloy, made for being light yet durable, he said to avoid combat with it however, and channeling magic to it.
“The brace connects to the nerve endings on your shoulder,” began Slim. “The back area connects to your vertebrae for more accurate readings, the brace itself sends the signals and the arm responds accordingly. So in theory you can switch out any arm designed for the brace. Adapting your brain for the brace will take some time however.” Slim switched on the brace, the gems within it came to life and began to generate emerald sparks that leaped out in all directions. “The brace has an internal battery of six hours of average use, however the more you use the arm the more energy you use. As an emergency however you can use your own magic to charge it, it will take quite a bit out of you however.”
Slim moved over to the arm and flicked a switch on it, it sprung to life and it shot towards the brace. The gem where the armpit should be slammed into the brace’s slot. It clicked in and I immediately felt the link be established. I glanced over at Slim and he looked at me expectantly.
“Go on,” said the asura. “Let’s see how much you can move it.” I felt a pit at the bottom of my stomach, I made an effort to move the arm as I would move my old one. It shifted…slightly. I tried to jerk it to a different position but it would only move a few centimeters, and very sluggishly. I made an attempt to close my hand, but only a few fingers of the metallic hand would move. All but the middle finger and my thumb closed into my palm.
“At least I can still make rude gestures with this hand,” I said.
“Ha!” Slim was barely able to contain his laughter. “I would say it is an essential skill to have.” I stood up and resisted the urge to wince at my wounds, I leaned on the nightstand next to me to keep myself standing. I hadn’t been on my feet for weeks now and my legs were already begging for respite. “Eventually the arm will become more responsive,” said Slim. “Just ease into it.” The asura helped me don my robes, helping me slip on the longcoat over my shoulders and buttoning it up without my arms in the sleeves. It felt more like a cape at this point.
“This will definitely take some getting used to,” I said pivoting my prosthetic arm.
“You have the secros to help you,” said Slim.
“Half of them at least, the other half wants to turn me in to the fringe.” I said. “Essentially I am single-handedly ripping the secros apart.”
“Was that meant to be a pun?” Asked Slim.
“No, but its best if I go with it,” I shrugged. “Too much gloom as of late, we need more jokes.”
“Couldn’t have said it better myself,” said the Asura. “Do try to remain subtle, however. Until you recover all your memories at least. From there we will see what our next plan of attack is.” With that the Asura made his way to the door, he lingered for a moment. “I do hope we all make it out of this mess alive,” said Slim. “Would be a shame if we didn’t… Anyway, you should go see Daniel down stairs once you’re done testing the arm. He can’t seem to get enough of you.” The asura smiled at me, not with his usual grin but with a smile that knew of what Daniel and I were going through, in some sense at least. “Hold on to him Anavari, love like that isn’t common, especially for our line of work.” With that he left, I was alone now, just me and the room I had been in for several weeks.
I stumbled towards the door, giving the room one last glance before leaving it behind. I remained on the top floor of this building, there was someone I needed to find before going to Daniel. I saw her attending to a patient, unconscious from the looks of it. Another charr, it looked like he had been attacked based on the scars around his neck.
“Will he make it?” I asked leaning by the entrance of the room. Astrid looked at me startled, she calmed down immediately after noticing it was just me. Our relationship had developed quite a bit since we had met. She made it clear that she was uncomfortable around me due to my condition, but that discomfort was quickly brushed aside with the regular physical examinations. We started talking a bit and eventually became something close to friends.
“Yes,” said Astrid with a sigh. “He won’t like it though. Fixed him up but his voice box was destroyed. Won’t be able to speak a word for the rest of his days, or at least until the Asura can make something.”
“Was it a fringe attack?” I asked. Astrid nodded.
“He was the only survivor of his party,” said the norn. “Good thing they’ve stopped ripping out hearts, however. Now they know it’s you they’re after, it’s more of a message if anything. Ironically the death toll has decreased while the frequency of attacks has increased.”
“And it will only continue while I am around,” I said sitting down next to Astrid. The norm said nothing in reply. She knew it was true, and wasn’t about to deny it. I knew for a fact that she even felt the same as many of the secros did, she wanted to give me to the fringe. Her opinion changed when we got to know each other. I could sense she was still conflicted over the whole ordeal, however.
“So how’s the arm?” Asked Astrid as she wrote down some notes on her patient.
“I can barely move it, but Slim says it will become easier the more I use it,” I answered as I raised the metallic arm to the norn. I moved the index finger slightly, she looked at the finger critically before returning to her notes.
“Let your mind rest if you get frustrated with it,” said Astrid. “The last thing you need is more stress.”
“I will keep that in mind…” I was hesitant to begin my next question, but I needed to at some point. “Astrid, I need to ask a favor from you.”
“I look after you while you were unconscious, changed your sheets, kept you clean, changed your bandages and now you want more?” Scoffed Astrid in mock disdain. “What do you need?” Her gaze softened.
“I need you to teach me about using my magic to heal,” I said. She was taken aback to say the least, she placed her notes aside, now giving me her full attention.
“You already know a bit of healing magic don’t you?”
“I do,” I said. “I can fix cuts, a few poisons but that’s it. I want to learn more so I can actually save someone who is seriously injured.”
I glanced at the unconscious charr. “He’s laying there because of me, let’s face it Astrid, I’m not about to throw myself at the fringe. The least I can do is help the injured.” Astrid leaned back on her seat, skimming through her notes. She rubbed her temples and released a sigh.
“Well, It’ll be different since you’re a necromancer, but I should be able to teach you a few things…”
“Thank you, Astrid,” I said smiling at her.
“Come back tomorrow,” said the Norn. “I’ll have some things set up for you and we’ll work our way up from there.”
“Certainly,” I nodded. “I should be on my way now, I’ve kept Daniel waiting too long.”
“By all means go,” said Astrid. “I’m still figuring out how to break the news to this guy once he wakes up.”
I began to make my way down out of the re-purposed warehouse, it took a bit of effort but I was finally able to balance myself and be able to walk several steps without stumbling. It felt odd to be walking with the fake arm, the connection with it was present, but faint. It did not feel a like a part of me, and as a result I kept bumping it against things. Finally I found myself outside, and my eyes met with Daniel, who was perched at the very edge of a bench by the warehouse. His glance locked with mine and he ran to greet me with an embrace.
Daniel opened the door to our house and held the door open for me as I walked in. Everything seemed the same, but it felt so void of life. It had probably been several days since Daniel had been here, and even then he most likely didn’t stay long. I would just have to help him liven things up a bit.
“So are you hungry?” Asked Daniel. “I can go get some things for you from the market.”
“That won’t be necessary,” I said drew closer to Daniel and rubbed my muzzle against his neck. “I just want to be with you right now, let’s think about food later.” Daniel squirmed playfully in my one armed grasp and released a nervous laughter. Truth be told I was quite bold with my advances with him, and while he seemed embarrassed about them he never objected. Besides, I enjoyed the face he would make whenever his face flushed.
I guided the human to our couch and we both sat down, the human in my arms and his left hand being held by my own. Not much was said between the two of us, we found the silence enjoyable. Eventually we decided to stir up conversation, talking about past jobs, stories of our friends, enjoyable memories room the past few years.
“Yes, Daniel?” I responded as breathed in his scent.
“You’ve changed quite a bit ever since the fringe first attacked us,” The human turned so that he was facing me now, leaning on my chest. his emerald eyes glowed in the dim light.
“Have I?” I asked almost nonchalantly. “In what way?”
“Well you used to be grumpy all the time,” he said. “A few weeks ago you seemed to be keeping a good attitude despite everything that was happening. Almost a complete turnover in a few days. You’re a lot more daring too. I mean, it’s not bad, but it’s just sudden, you know?” Normally something like this would give Daniel a bit of joy, yet I was not registering that from him. He had always been the one to tell me to see the brighter side of things, but something was bothering him.
“You sound worried,” I pointed out.
“Well… what happens when you get all your memories back?” asked Daniel. “Will you be the same?” Daniel sat up and and I followed suit, the concern in his eyes was evident to me.
“What are you worried about, love?” It was the first time I had taken the step to call him that, he did not seem to respond negatively to it. He smiled at me as his eyes watered. My hand moved to his face to wipe away the building tears. “You can tell me.”
“That guy I saw fighting Salus,” he said fighting back a sob. “That wasn’t you, it was someone else. And I don’t want you turning into him!” I pulled the human closer to me.
“You don’t need to worry, Daniel,” I reassured. “That was just a side effect of me forcing my memories. I won’t turn into that person, I’m not going anywhere. When I get all my memories back I’ll still be here, just like I am right now, and we’ll beat the fringe.”
“Promise?” Asked Daniel as he looked up at me. I responded by kissing him.
“I promise,” I smiled. It seemed to make him feel better. “Now how about we go get something to eat, then head to bed afterwards?”
“Okay!” Said Daniel excitedly. “But you wanna sleep so early? Even after eating the sun won’t be down yet.”
“I never said anything about sleeping, love.” Like I said, I love seeing him blush. Despite my reassurance however, Daniel did have a valid concern. If all my memories did come back, there was no guarantee that I would be the same person. I needed to find Garfas and talk about it with him, I needed to know what I would become. My memories were returning more rapidly now, which meant it was only a matter of time until I would get them all back. What was the occasional drop was now becoming a delicate and subtle flow. Did I want the flow to continue though?