Sweat crawls down Geralt’s face. Four weeks have passed, and he’s finally moving on his own again, a rate the healers examining him consider amazing. Despite their compliments and attempts to reassure him, Geralt is racked with anxiety and self doubt, all the confidence and pride he’s built over the past six crumbling away, leaving emptiness. The healers end the therapy session, and a pair of medics help Geralt dry off and escort him to his tent, where he sends them away.
As Geralt opens the worn fabric separating his tent from the outside, a familiar face is there to greet him. Lough, Geralt’s second in command, a half mix between a human and one of the scaled races. She slowly raises a hand, almost as if apologizing, to greet Geralt, “Hoi, boss.”
Overcome by shame from appeaing in front of his second in this state, Geralt quickly takes a seat and returns the greeting, avoiding eye contact, “Hoi, Lough… Wasn’t expecting you.”
Lough casts her eyes down, “I’m sorry I haven’t been here, boss. I’m your second in command, it’s my duty to support you, and I haven’t-”
Geralt cuts her off, “It’s fine, Lough, stop apologizing. How are the others?”
Lough shifts uncomfortably before responding, “Mostly good. The older members are waiting for your return, but… The newer ones are questioning your authority.”
Geralt leans back in his seat and stares at the tent’s ceiling, “Yeah, I suppose they would, huh?” A long silence fills the tent before Geralt speaks again, “Lough, I’m going to tell you something important, listen close.”
Lough looks up, and for the first time in four weeks, the two make eye contact, Geralt’s eyes empty and cold. “Sir.”
“I can’t use magic, the ties to my source have been severed somehow.”
Lough lets out an exasperated “Bwah?!” as she jumps out of her seat.
“Furthermore, I’ve been discharged. I’m allowed to stay at this camp until it mobilizes, or I complete my physical therapy.”
“Sir, when were you planning on telling us this?!”
Geralt breaks eye contact, and after a moment, Lough falls back into her seat, processing what she was just told. “Sir, just how much longer will you be with us?”
“I can’t say. The healers are guessing that at the current rate, another four weeks for a full recovery, maybe less.”
Not knowing how to react, Lough rushes out of the tent without another word, and Geralt is left to himself. He lays down to rest and recollect on the past two years, but before long the fond memories of time spent with his subordinates fades into insidious whispers of his weakness. Waking in a cold sweat, Geralt takes a chair outside and gazes on the night sky.
Thanks for reading.