The most difficult time for Paign was when Zarentil pressed on his ribs. All the prior sensations swept over Paign, but with a breathlessness he found hard to tolerate. Paign quickly discovered, to his regret, that squirming only made the healing process hurt almost as bad as the original injury.
When Zarentil was finally finished, so was Paign. Although the outcome was tremendous—for which Paign was exceedingly grateful—his healing didn’t come without a cost. Paign was exhausted, falling asleep even as Zarentil was saying something about leaving on an important trip.
Of course, when Paign woke up, he had no way of telling what time it was and, thus, how long Zarentil had been away. Taking a long and luxuriously deep, pain-free breath, Paign rolled onto his back. Staring unfocused at the ceiling, his thoughts went again to his situation. The more he thought about all that had happened since his argument with Anders, the more deeply his mood sank. It was as if, with a newly healed body, all of his attention could finally focus on the emotional pain he felt.
With surprising and sudden vengeance, the feelings surging through Paign in the moments before he killed Rance-Dahl erupted from deep within him. Like the agony that comes with a freshly shredded scab, Paign convulsed from the throbbing waves of loss and betrayal. His friends, his family, even his best friend—he was abandoned by them all.
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