Freebie Mondays: The Legend of the One Armed Commander – Part 2

Freebie Mondays: The Legend of the One Armed Commander – Part 2

Here’s part two of the story I started two weeks ago. If you missed the first installment, it’s over here! Please leave a comment and let me know what you think!
. . .

“Lieutenant Vesvertan?”

“Uh… It’s Landon,” he replied as he blinked free of the stupor that had claimed him during the quiet hours of evening. It was becoming an automatic response, but he couldn’t blame someone who hadn’t been to see him before for not realizing the preference. And despite Domerin Lorcasf, the head of the company, proclaiming he was still quite firmly a member less than twenty-four hours ago, Landon still wasn’t sure how comfortable he was with his old title.

It remained to be seen whether he could still maintain his duties.

When the fog cleared from his brain, he had to blink a second time. The woman standing over his bed was the spitting image of the company’s commander. If not for her smaller stature and obvious gender differences, she could have been his twin.

“If that’s what you prefer,” she said with a shrug. “The commander sent me down. Said you might be interested in bionics rather than straight cybernetics.”

“It was more that he mentioned it,” Landon said as he used his good arm to push himself into more of a sitting position. He still hadn’t really regained his bearings, since he hadn’t been in the best state of mind before the younger Lorcasf stuck her head through the door. “And don’t you mean your dad?”

Robin Lorcasf cracked a lopsided grin that was easily a match for her father’s and snorted. “He is, but when I’m working, he’s the boss first. If you think being the company owner’s kid ever made my life any easier, you’re way wrong. I probably had to train twice as hard as the rest of you just to get accepted.”

Robin swung around the bed and lowered herself into the chair the nurses kept pressed close. Landon watched her, still trying to catch his breath. His head felt like it was spinning a mile a minute.

Despite the surge of determination and optimism that accompanied being visited by the legendary Domerin Lorcasf himself, owner and operator of the White Dragons since its inception, it hadn’t taken long for the adrenaline rush to wear off. When it did, cold, harsh reality reasserted itself. Domerin Lorcasf was a man who had worked for decades after the loss of his limbs to regain his combat prowess. He hadn’t gone straight from the hospital bed to the head of a company. And while that wasn’t exactly Landon’s goal, he doubted he would be commanding a unit any time soon. He’d be lucky to go on jobs sometime in the next decade. And his lifespan wasn’t half as long as Domerin’s, which meant that he’d probably be too old to remain in service by the time he mastered his replacement limb.

In other words, the prime of his life would be wasted in hospital rooms and in physical therapy trying to recover the acuity provided by his natural limbs. And while he appreciated the commander’s offer to cover the medical costs, Landon didn’t know how long that would stand if he wouldn’t be able to repay any of it when the procedure was finished.

He had been feeling particularly low this evening. He had even composed a small note asking if the commander might be willing to come back for a bit before he settled back to listen to the ambient sounds provided by the holoprojector that made his hospital room look like a beach.

It had only been about two hours since he sent the message, but the lack of response made him doubt Domerin had been serious about keeping a line of communication open between them. Probably he had just said that to be nice. Probably he was too busy worrying about the able-bodied men that filled out his divisions to bother with an ultimately hopeless case.

So the appearance of his daughter in full lab gear, with a pair of goggles perched on the top of her head, was a difficult surprise to measure.

Unlike Landon, who was still trying to get his wits about him, Robin seemed perfectly relaxed. She pulled a tablet from one of her deep pockets and tapped her passcode in to unlock it.

“Now,” she said without preamble, “I’ve already spoken with your doctor and taken a look at your arm-“

“They still have it?” Landon exclaimed, his voice caught halfway between shock and horror. Shouldn’t it be a lump of goo by now?

“Well of course they have it,” Robin replied, glancing at him as though he had just grown a second head. “They froze it as soon as they removed it in case there was any way to salvage it. Even before bionics, there were sometimes options for reattachment.”

“I’m assuming someone would have mentioned if that were possible by now,” Landon muttered. His stomach dropped when Robin nodded. Knowing that his arm still existed and simply wasn’t accessible anymore was like a kick in the gut. Beside his intact left hand, he felt the ghostly tingle of his missing right one laying right where it should be in his lap. He tried to ignore or dismiss it, but the tingle lingered.

The doctors had explained phantom limb sensations, of course, but that didn’t make them any less creepy.

“The good news is you’re a great candidate for bionics,” Robin went on, taking his silence as an invitation to continue. “We’d have to replace most of your arm’s skeletal structure. The elbow is going to be the hardest part since you basically shattered the joint. But your hand is pretty well preserved. If we don’t have to fiddle with the wrist joint, you might be able to keep all five of your fingers.”

She sounded excited as if she were announcing that he had won the lottery.

Landon tried to remember how many fingers the commander still had on his right hand. He didn’t have it at the moment, but even when he did he wore black gloves that concealed the blue glow beneath his artificial skin. People talked, though, and he was pretty sure Domerin only had two real fingers left on his right hand. Or maybe it was three.

Landon should have been excited about getting to keep all five of his, but he felt instead like Robin had offered him a third of his arm back. How was he even supposed to use his hand without the rest of it?

“So… how does this work? You build me a partially robotic arm and… stick my hand on it?” It sounded like something out of a horror movie.

Again, Robin snorted. “No, no, nothing like that,” she said around a chuckle.

Landon cringed at first, but it instantly became clear that Robin wasn’t laughing at him; she simply didn’t seem the least bit daunted by the topic.

“Your situation is actually a lot like my dad’s. Er, the commander’s,” she corrected, catching herself acting too casually. “We would build a shunt onto your stump.” She illustrated by sliding the fingers of her right hand along her left arm just beneath the shoulder. “We build a similar one onto your arm after we’re finished repairing it. It will be able to clamp back into place. If something went terribly wrong, we could use the shunt to get you a cybernetic replacement instead. But it won’t come to that, trust me. My da- Er, Domerin’s bionics were really terribly built the first time around. We know a lot more about how to make them work now, so you shouldn’t have any of the troubles he has.”

“Like losing more fingers?” Landon ventured.

Robin nodded. “And the integration should be less painful. But don’t let talking about it scare you, Landon. I’m going to be working with you personally every step of the way. Whatever adjustments you need, you just ask and I’ll tend it right away. I’ve been doing this for more than a decade. I know my way around bionics.”

Landon supposed if Domerin Lorcasf trusted his daughter with his wellbeing, it was probably a good idea for Landon to trust her too.

“So… what do we do?” he prompted when she didn’t speak further. “How do we start this process?”

“I’ve already drawn up some rudimentary schematics.” Robin flipped her tablet toward him. It displayed a diagram of his missing arm with equations and arrows drawn along the edges.

Landon didn’t understand any of it. He stared somewhat helplessly at the picture and eventually decided he should nod.

Robin laughed lightly and set a hand on his good arm. “Don’t worry, I’m going to make a better one. Basically, you just approve me getting started, then I go to my workshop and start building the joints and bones and connectors you need. Most of the work will be with your arm. Once we have everything set up and prepared, we’ll arrange for you to transfer to Uncle Seibel’s medical facility where we’ll perform the surgeries. There’s even a physical therapist there who will be able to walk you through the initial stages of your recovery.”

Landon swallowed hard. “And how long will that take?”

Robin drew a deep breath and released it slowly. Her blue eyes rolled toward the ceiling and her lips moved as she made silent calculations. “Well, the neural connector is the most intense part because we do have to open your skull for it. But, we don’t actually have to do anything to your brain, so with access to medical regenerators, it’ll probably only take a few months to recover. Then you’d have to start re-learning how to use your arm. That is what it’s going to feel like; learning to write and eat and lift all over again. But, it doesn’t take years.

“When we fixed Daddy’s implant, it took about two months for him to get the hang of walking again. And that was mostly because he had been off his legs for at least a month before that. By the end of three months, you’ll probably have a pretty good handle on the new arm. After that, you’ll just need to apply some patience. It might take some time to re-build your muscle mass and develop grace. But I’d say by the end of the first year, you won’t notice much of a difference.”

“A year?” Landon breathed. “That’s it?”

“It’ll probably only take that long because I didn’t get started sooner,” Robin admitted somewhat apologetically. “But I’m here now and you’re my top priority. By next year at this time, we can have you back on active duty. The commander’s familiar with this process so he can draw up a training regimen for you, and you’d be able to run drills during the later months. I’ll bet six months after you’re back to work, you’ll be up for promotion.”

Robin winked.

Landon glanced at her drawing and swallowed hard. He didn’t want to allow himself to believe in such good fortune. A year until he was himself again, a year in which he could be training and working with the company. A year until he put this all behind him.

It seemed like a fantasy, a dream, something that happened in stories but never to real people. At least, not to people like him.

Yet, he had to try. Even if it took two years, or three or five, it was better than nothing. It was a chance.

“Miss Lorcasf-” he started, but she raised a hand to cut him off.

“Robin,” she insisted, squeezing his arm gently.

“Miss… Robin,” he corrected, “I would very much like to see where this goes.”

“Great!” Robin grinned as she slid to her feet. “I’ll get started right now!”

*   *   *

By the middle of the next morning, Landon still hadn’t received a response to his message. He tried to cling to the hope provided by Robin’s timeline, tried to imagine what it would feel like to be reunited with his missing arm, but it all felt even more like a dream this morning. If it hadn’t been for the nurse mentioning it when she came to offer him breakfast – which he refused – he might have believed the meeting never actually took place.

He glanced at his personal tablet and sighed. There was no way to know if the commander had even read his email. There was a possibility that he had simply gotten off duty too late last night to come visiting, but then where was he this morning? Maybe he didn’t want to wake Landon up, but more likely he had other duties to attend.

Or the message had simply gone to his junk pile and was never likely to be seen.

He sighed and adjusted the holoprojector that covered his walls in colorful images. He had tired of the beach and the rainforest, so he decided to try a star-studded panorama instead.

Almost instantly he regretted the choice. This reminded him too much of the life he used to lead, tracing through the stars with the White Dragons, waiting for the next battle to present itself.

He was about to change the image when there came a soft knock on his door.

“I already said I’m not hungry,” he grumbled, though he doubted it would be enough to deflect whatever nurse waited outside.

The door popped open a crack and a pale face framed by bright gold hair peeked through the door. “Aww, are you sure?” a strangely familiar voice protested. “I stopped by the kitchen and asked for your favorite.”

Was that…?

But it couldn’t be!

“Crescent?” Landon exclaimed, rocking back against his pillows as he tried to comprehend the third high-profile visitor to enter his hospital room in three days.

Grinning, Crescent opened the door enough to pass through and let it slide closed in his wake. “I hope you don’t mind. Domerin mentioned that he might not be able to make it today, so I thought I would drop by just in case. When he was in the hospital, he was always more likely to eat when he had company, so I thought I could be yours.”

He crossed the room and plunked a small Styrofoam container onto the tray that covered the lower portion of Landon’s bed, then slid it up to where he could easily reach it.

Most everyone who served on the Heart was aware that Crescent was actually a shifter – one of those Kattar things most people thought were pets. Landon had even seen him adopt his natural form a handful of times, though today he looked like an ordinary human. He hummed lightly to himself as he opened a second container and settled it in the center of his lap.

Landon leaned over to peek inside the container. There were strips of pancakes inside, cut and set beside a small container of syrup for dipping. There was also an omelet cut into squares accompanied by a few strips of bacon and wedges of toast.

When Crescent lifted one of the pancake strips and nibbled at the edge, Landon’s stomach rumbled. He cautiously popped the top of his container to see what was inside. He had long since learned that meal times involved a lot of waiting for the nurses to cut things into pieces he could manage.

His breakfast was nearly identical to Crescent’s, except the muffins were blueberry and the omelet was smothered in cheese. The cheese had been folded into the egg, though, so it was still easy to lift and eat with his fingers.

Landon nearly sobbed with joy as he lifted the first square and savored a bite.

“I did this for Domerin when he was in the hospital,” Crescent said, clearly pleased that Landon had accepted his gift. “I thought he was going to throw the container at my face the first time.” He chuckled. “But then he saw I had cut everything into nice little squares. I actually like eating this way. It kind of makes the meal fun.”

“I guess it does,” Landon admitted with a small laugh. “Before this, I hadn’t eaten a finger-food breakfast since I was a kid.” But it made perfect sense, and none of the food suffered for being prepared like this. He let a few minutes of pleasant silence pass before he added, “So… the commander is busy today?” That would explain why he hadn’t answered the message.

“He’s always busy,” Crescent retorted in a tone that suggested disapproval. “Even when he really shouldn’t be. But I’m sure he’ll come to see you as soon as he can. Please forgive him. He loses track of the time.”

“Oh, it’s fine,” Landon insisted, though it couldn’t have been farther from the truth. “I just really don’t want to be a bother to him.”

“You’re not a bother to anyone,” Crescent said sternly. “But especially not to Domerin.”

Landon didn’t know what to say to that so he shoved a strip of pancake into his mouth. It was easier to forget about his problems with the sweet tang of blueberry and syrup on his tongue.

“I know I’m not your first choice for company, and I can’t be as sympathetic to your situation as Domerin is, but I’d be more than happy to lend an ear,” Crescent said cheerily as he finished his breakfast and set the container aside. “If there’s anything you need, I can fetch it for you. A book, maybe? Or a game? Or perhaps some illicit booze?” He chuckled at this last.

“Oh… well I wouldn’t argue with any of those,” Landon admitted. His friends had scavenged some activities from his room during his first week in the hospital, but he had long since grown bored of them and no one really seemed sure what to offer him anymore.

“Just a moment,” Crescent replied with a grin. He disappeared into the hallway but returned within moments, dragging a small sack in his wake. He pulled it to the base of Landon’s bed and started unpacking it onto the tray and bedside table.

“Your friends asked me to bring these books,” Crescent said as he made a small stack. “I ran into them in the cafeteria and they each donated something.”

Landon suspected this meeting had been pre-arranged, but he was so touched by the things Crescent pulled from the sack he wasn’t about to complain.

Games followed the books and, at the very last, Crescent drew out a few small bottles of whiskey and vodka. “I didn’t think I could get anything bigger past the nurses,” Crescent admitted. “These are least easy to hide.”

“I… don’t know what to say,” Landon admitted as he scanned the small hoard.

“Tell your friends thank you,” Crescent insisted. “They put together most of it. They all expressed regret over how busy they’ve been lately but they, too, plan to come as soon as they’re able.”

Landon wasn’t so sure about that. Visits had been few and far between and those who wanted to make time had  probably had plenty of it. But he wasn’t going to say that to someone he hardly knew. Instead he said, “Well thank you for delivering it. You don’t have to stay too long if you don’t want to.”

“Nonsense!” Crescent exclaimed. “We should at least try one of the games.”

Landon noted that all of them were fairly easy to play one-handed and most didn’t have big boards that would be awkward to prop across the bed.

In the end, since he didn’t have much else to do, Landon played a couple rounds of a simple dice game with the commander’s boyfriend. He was surprised to learn that Crescent wasn’t familiar with the rules, but he picked up on them quickly. He even seemed greatly enthusiastic about the advice Landon gave him.

By the third game, their scores were pretty close. Crescent spent the entire time in high spirits, chatting lightly about simple things whenever there was a lull in the game. He might not have understood what it was like to lose an arm, but he did turn out to be pretty good company.

“Sorry,” he said when they wrapped up the third game in a tone that indicated he truly meant it, “I have an afternoon duty shift so I’ll have to run. But I’d be more than happy to come back, if you like.”

“Any time,” Landon replied. Though he suspected, like the commander’s visit, this would be a one-off.

Even so, Crescent left all the goodies behind when he left, and some of these games were easily played alone. Glad of something to do other than stare at a computer screen, Landon happily indulged, all the while trying not to think about the forgotten message.

*   *   *

Domerin is always busy, Landon reminded himself while he counted the stars still splayed across his ceiling. Even when he shouldn’t be.

That’s what Crescent had said, and Landon had no reason to believe it wasn’t true. But it had been a full day and half of another one since the Kattar’s visit and the message in his inbox was still unanswered. Probably somewhere it was sitting unread in a digital pile, if it hadn’t already been deleted.

In fairness, it wasn’t the commander’s responsibility to maintain his happiness, or even care about his condition. They barely knew each other outside of an employer – employee relationship. And since Domerin had already promised to foot the bill for his new bionics – which he hadn’t heard much about either – he couldn’t complain he wasn’t being well cared for.

But there had been something about the commander’s visit that raised his spirits better than anything else. Perhaps because he admired the man so much for overcoming the challenges thrown in his path. And for a brief time, while the commander’s presence had lingered in his hospital room, Landon had felt special, like he was worth something even now that he was irreparably damaged.

He sighed when the knock at his door caused him to lose count of the stars for what was probably the fourteenth time. He supposed it was about time for dinner. He pushed himself into a sitting position then called permission for the caller to enter.

At first he thought Robin had returned, but it soon became clear the man in the doorway was taller and bulkier than she was. That, and he was missing an arm. He held a tray in his remaining hand and grinned when Landon blinked dumbly at him.

“Sorry it’s taken me so long to get down here,” Domerin Lorcasf said in a tone that carried genuine regret. “But I thought you might like some dinner.”

“I would,” Landon agreed, his heart soaring to see the man standing again in his room. “But wouldn’t you rather spend it with your boyfriend?”

“He’s got a duty shift this evening,” Domerin replied with a shrug as he set the tray on the one perched across Landon’s bed. There were two plates on it and two sets of silverware, including an odd little knife blade with a grip in the middle that looked very easy to use with one hand.

“Your daughter?” Landon insisted, though he couldn’t stop eyeing the little knife tool.

Domerin laughed. “She has her own boyfriend. We have family dinners once a week. You’re not interrupting anything, Landon.”

Landon finally tore his eyes away from the knife as Domerin settled into the chair Crescent had occupied the day before.

“I… wasn’t sure you’d actually come,” he admitted as Domerin reached for one of the forks. “I thought maybe you sent the others to distract me.”

“Sent the others?” Domerin paused with the first bite of his dinner midway to his lips and arched an eyebrow in confusion.

“Oh yes… Robin came just after I sent that message. And then Crescent came yesterday morning.”

Domerin grinned. “That’s why he was so smug with himself last night!” He shook his head and finally swallowed the bite that had been hovering near his lips. “I didn’t send anyone over,” he admitted after he swallowed. “Robin keeps her own schedule and I didn’t even know Crescent had stopped by. I did mention your situation to him but… Well, we do share things with each other.” He shrugged.

Landon felt fire creeping into his cheeks. He had spent so much time convincing himself he couldn’t possibly matter to the man sitting across from him, he now felt guilty that the man had come.

“I told you, I would try to meet with you whenever you needed to talk,” Domerin went on, scooping another bite of food from his plate. “And I promise next time I’ll try not to let it take so long. What do you need?”

“Actually…” Landon scratched at his chin, “I’m not entirely sure anymore. Your daughter answered my questions about the bionics and the recovery period. Your boyfriend brought me a bunch of stuff. I… I suppose I just wanted to see again what I might one day be able to accomplish. It’s hard when you’re cooped up in here all day.”

“Well, maybe I can secure your release papers,” Domerin replied with a conspiratorial grin. “But I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make it sound like you needed a grander purpose just to speak with me.”

“I wouldn’t bother you over nothing!” Landon insisted horrified by the thought.

“Doubt isn’t nothing,” Domerin said softly, laying his good hand against Landon’s arm and squeezing it gently. “Fuck, you think I don’t know how hard it is to stay positive when there’s a long and involved process between where you’re sitting now and what feels like your normal life? I was ready to check myself into a retirement home so no one would have to deal with me for the next several centuries. If it weren’t for people like Robin and Crescent insisting I could be me again, I’d probably still be wallowing in a room down the hall.”

“But you’re Domerin Lorcasf,” Landon insisted, allowing his frustration and despair to show at last. “You’ve already proven you’re not broken.”

“And you’re Landon Vesvertan,” Domerin retorted, undaunted by Landon’s statement. “You’re still on my short list for the next group of rank promotions after you get back to regular duty. And I didn’t build any of this company while I was missing an arm. Bionics or not, I had four working limbs when I did all this.” He waved at the room surrounding them, currently engulfed in the star projection.

“The truth is, Lieutenant – no don’t protest – none of us do anything in isolation. I’m not the owner of this company because I picked myself up by the bootstraps after life dumped me in the mud. I had people working with me, pushing me and depending on me, but also contributing their efforts and their knowledge to our endeavor. I might get all the credit because my name is on it, but the credit isn’t all mine.

“One day, not very long from now, you’re going to become one of those people who pushes yourself because you’ve got this far, damn it, and you’re not going to give up. And when you get that far, you’ll understand what I’m saying now. But until then, there’s nothing wrong with leaning on people who seem stronger or more knowledgeable or who just make you feel better about yourself.

“You might be able to convince yourself everyone else is talking out their ass, but I’m as armless as you are.” Domerin tapped the part of his sleeve that turned flat to emphasize this. “And if you need daily reminders, I’ll sure as hell do my best to get them to you.”

Landon was momentarily at a loss. Part of him was deeply relieved to hear Domerin say all of the things that lingered in the back of his mind that he kept pushing aside because he had nothing to provide proof of their truth. But half of him was awash with despair that he had dragged a man as important as Domerin Lorcasf all the way down here to tell him things he already knew.

If he wasn’t so pathetic, he wouldn’t need constant and simple reassurance.

It took several minutes to force these thoughts out of his mind, time during which he focused on the taste of his food and allowed it to anchor him back in the moment. Domerin sat in silence beside him, eating from his plate. He waited until Landon seemed to return to himself, then showed him how to use the knife. It was built in something of a crescent so he could lean his weight into it as he pushed it through his food, allowing him to cut it without needing to hold the food with another implement.

Seeing that he could function better with just the one arm boldened him enough to speak again. “Commander-“

“Domerin,” he corrected gently.

Landon was about to protest that the man had addressed him with his rank, but decided better of it. As Robin had said, Domerin was the boss. “Domerin… wasn’t it easier for you to deal with all of this because you were already familiar with the process?”

Domerin pursed his lips as he considered this and Landon was somewhat relieved that he hadn’t pinched a nerve that caused the man to go off on him. He still didn’t really know the commander on a personal level, and doubted he ever would. Domerin had clearly given him permission to speak about things he wouldn’t with others, but he didn’t want to push that boundary too far.

“After Robin fixed my implant, it did get easier,” he admitted at last. “Once my bionics were working again, I knew it was only a matter of time until I’d be back on my feet. And I knew about how much time and what the process would look like. Still don’t know how long it’ll take to get my arm back, but that’s a different matter.

“Before that though, when my implant was busted? It wasn’t any better than the first time. In fact it was worse. There was a part of me that couldn’t help feeling like I had wasted all the time I got after my first set of bionics. I kept thinking I was going to spend the rest of my life in bed regretting my decisions, wishing I had done more meaningful or important things with the time and mobility I had.

“I’m sorry if I gave you the impression that I expected this to be easy-“

“You didn’t,” Landon interrupted, his cheeks heating again when he realized what he had done. “I just… I don’t know. I can’t seem to hold on to the concrete idea of me being me again.”

“You’ll always be different,” Domerin said softly. “Not as different as you think you’re going to be. But you’ll feel different and you won’t be able to stop feeling that way. Landon… what you’re going through is normal. I’m not trying to convince you otherwise. I’m just hoping you’ll trust my faith in your ability to recover.”

“It’s just that… I’m nobody. I thought I would have a chance to make something of myself, but now I feel like I ruined it. Like you said. If I had been stronger or smarter just a few years ago, I might have been able to achieve something before the rug got pulled out from under me. But now I have to start all over and I don’t think I’ll have to do anything I wanted to.”

“Landon, you aren’t going to have to start over. I know it feels that way, but your job will be waiting for you when you get back. Maybe other people will have moved a year ahead while it feels like you stood in the same place, but I’m sure as hell not going to hold that lost time against you. And fuck, if you come back in six months and start catching up to everyone else, think how much they’re going to kick themselves because you’ve been through so damn much and didn’t let it stop you.”

“That’s a nice thought,” Landon agreed. “But it’s all just hypothetical. I’m not like you-“

“I’m not special,” Domerin insisted, his tone fierce. “When that explosion happened, I was basically just a kid. Hell, I didn’t even have any understanding of the greater universe outside the haven where I grew up. I didn’t understand war. I didn’t understand combat or tactics or the implications of anything I was asked to do. I just wanted to fucking walk again.

“Yeah, sure, it’s easier to be the one armed general now that I’m the head of a military company. People already respected me, so it’s easier to keep them respecting me. But what you see is the end of a very long and arduous process. I started out less than you are now. You’ll have to take my word on it, but it’s true.”

“I just can’t stop comparing myself to you. You’re the biggest and best example in front of me,” Landon insisted.

“Well, I’m glad I can be an inspiration,” Domerin replied after a moment of hesitation. “But I’m not exceptional and I’m sorry if that disappoints you. Banish the idea that there are extraordinary people. There are just people. Some of us deal with more extraordinary situations than others. Someday there might be some young kid born without an arm or who lost one who looks at you with stars in their eyes. Because you’re damn sure not going to give up. Not while I’m around.”

Again, Landon felt that burst of determination spark in his gut and swell until it exploded throughout his chest.

Domerin was right; he hadn’t gone straight from losing an arm to leading a military company. It might seem that way because of his recent relapse, but the White Dragons were about fifty years old, and Domerin had a storied carrier before he ever started it.

What Landon needed to do was stop comparing his start to Domerin’s end. He needed to look at the bigger picture; where he could go when he was done with this ordeal.

“Thank you,” he said when he could manage to speak past the lump building his throat again. “I promise I’ll try not to forget all this in a day this time.”

Domerin chuckled, his good humor easily restored. “I’ll come down and remind you again if you need me to. Or get better at replying to your emails.” He lifted the tray with their empty dishes on it and set it aside. “I see Crescent brought you a portable chess board. Want to give it a try? It’s fairly easy to play with one hand.”

“I expect you’ll trounce me,” Landon replied with a snort. “But why not. I’m sure I could stand to learn a thing or five.” And if Domerin wasn’t in a rush to leave, Landon wasn’t exactly going to toss him out the door.

2 Replies to “Freebie Mondays: The Legend of the One Armed Commander – Part 2”

    1. Domerin’s novels are still a ways away from release (as they’re total trainwrecks right now XD) but part 3 of this one will be up July 13th! :D

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