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Xander's head pounded. His mouth was so dry his tongue scraped his mouth raw, his teeth hurt. Everything throbbed in time to his heart. His breathing was rapid and shallow. The guards ignored his requests for water some even laughed. His muscles and joints ached, and he would get cramps in his feet, hands, and legs. He realized it had been days since Trune had last given him any Dragon's blood. He felt feverish and dizzy. Sometimes he thought he heard screams, other times the place was eerily quiet. His lips had begun to chap and peel. He knew licking his lips was futile but habit overruled his knowledge and set in motion a new kind of pain. He had no voice to cry out with nor the tears to spend. He heard movement outside his cell and two guards entered and lifted him. He could barely stand on his feet. His head hung and lolled around with their movement of him. 
 
"Did no one think to give him water?" Trune sounded extremely upset. The guards did not answer with words that Xander could hear.
 
Xander fell to the floor because the guards were now upright and limp in some field of power and screaming in pain. The fall barely registered among everything else that his body was feeling.
 
"I have spent too many valuable resources on this particular prisoner for your stupidity and callousness to ruin my results," Trune released the screaming men and they ran from the room as fast as they could go. 
 
"My apologies," Trune then said to Xan as he waved his hand and Xander levitated gently from the floor and hovered behind him as they moved down a hallway and into the main room. He looked but saw no sign of Naseem or Marta.
 
"Oh don't worry, they are fine and have rooms of their own," Trune said happily as if he read his mind. Xander was not convinced. But could make no sound to indicate it. Trune gently put Xander down on a medical table.
 
"I am going to release your collar, you are to only heal yourself, then I will replace the collar, understand?" Trune sounded as though not following his instructions would be unwise and Xan agreed, barely nodding his head.
 
Xan could feel his magic sluggishly heed his call. He fought hard to concentrate on the green healing light he had felt when this all started. Everything was weak. He was weak. He coughed and bit back a cry of pain. The healing was slow and drained him more than he thought possible. He felt his mouth and throat and lips all become somewhat moist and healthy again. The collar was slammed shut on Xander, and he felt the blow in his body and soul. A woman walked in smiling and holding a tray with various pots and other things on it. She put it in front of Xan on the table and bowed to Trune. Then she swiftly stepped back out of the room.
 
"Drink and eat," Trune encouraged Xander.
 
Xander did not completely trust Trune, but readily and quickly poured the cold water into his mouth foregoing a cup of any kind. Trune laughed. It was not a warm laugh, nor a friendly one. Xander shivered. He stopped drinking and then removed the top on a pot. Soup.
 
"I did not want to make you ill with something that would not sit on your stomach, after so long," Trune offered him a spoon but Xander instead tested the heat of the crock it was in and then tentatively grabbed it and drank straight from it. Trune put a hand to the crock to force it down, "Not too fast and not too much."
 
Xander gulped down the rich thick liquid. He took a breath and held it. Why was Trune playing the nursemaid, he had never seen this thing express compassion. No, everything about Trune was a calculation, a meticulous plan set in motion. He had never seen Trune do anything that could be considered wasteful. 
 
Trune could wield power that did not answer to the natural world. No limits to what he could do or how evil he could be. Xander watched Trune as he busied himself with a stack of paper on the nearby desk. Xander took another swig of the thick liquid, unspiced but still rich in texture and taste. He cleared his throat. Trune looked over at him.
 
"Are you ready then?" Trune asked quietly. 
 
Xan did not trust himself to reply at all. His throat still felt raw in places. He did not nod or shake his head. He had no idea what was in store for him. He had lost track of the days, and hours. It all blended into the torture he endured. Repeated injections by dart of the dragon blood. Whose blood, he thought. It was not a pleasant idea that stuck in his head.
 
Trune readied a dart in his hand and approached Xander. Trune stuck him with the dart and the contents emptied into Xander's body. He shivered involuntarily. There was a deep need in him that was satisfied by the blood. This time Trune did not remove the collar so that he could heal the caustic wounds of the dragon blood, and it stung, eating away tissue, skin, and blood. Xander flexed his arm. He marveled at the heat in his skin wherever the wounds began to eat away at him. He lay down on the table unable to hold himself up through the pain and knocked off the food by accident. Then he rolled to his side and lost the soup from his stomach onto the floor and on the tray. He passed out from the pain.
 
 
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