====December 23, 2013
====Cerise, Jiamoth
====The paw has to come off.

Who Cerise, Jiamoth
What The paw has to come off.
When There are 0 turns, 4 months and 24 days until the 12th pass.
Where Dragon Infirmary, Southern Weyr


They had offered fellis, fellis enough to drown out not just an awareness of pain and blood and screaming, but the world, of Thread coming, of the mute and agonized or guilty or grim or uncomfortable looks she had become accustomed to seeing in the past seven days. She refused it. To sleep through what was coming seemed a sin larger than having gotten them into this. Jiamoth had urged her to take the fellis too but only once; of course her own heart would understand why she refused. Others were less understanding, or perhaps simply more educated on what was to come, and continued to press the cup on her. Stubbornly, patiently, she’d turned them all down.

She thought she could comprehend what sort of pain they both faced, going into this. They’d faced the initial Threadscore together, after all, and yes, it had driven them to hysterics but they’d landed safely. They would land after this as well and then Jiamoth could properly begin to heal.

That conviction lasted all of two seconds after they placed the serrated bone saw against Jiamoth’s forelimb and began to drag the blade back and forth. Not just drag. Drag and grind down upon. Muscles were straining across trained shoulders, tendons were popping into stark relief along wrists. The hitching, catching shudder of metal teeth against bone was something Cerise felt in her very soul.

Jiamoth was pinned under the strict force of countless other draconic minds. They couldn’t let her thrash or wail. They couldn’t even let her scream. Someone had draped a thick section of leather between her teeth to give her something to bite against but she was held so firmly that the leather was barely punctured, even as they began to saw.

Cerise was under no such compulsion. She’d begun this with the determination that she would remain by her lifemate’s side to share every second with her. As the pain spread, sizzling, leaping from one mind to the other, she felt herself convulse and her throat close around a garbled cry. Hands seized her shoulders; she thought she was pulled away and thought that perhaps she fought against them, but perhaps that was just the spasms that claimed her limbs. Her heels beat against the floor, her back arched, something was shoved between her teeth to pry them apart, to press her tongue down and keep her from carving chunks out of the inside of her cheeks. Even so, she tasted the penny tang of copper, of blood in her mouth.

One second.



How long was this going to take? Chips of bone flung from the green’s leg, dust and ichor mist lifted into the air. There was no spray, their tourniquet had made certain of that. But surely they must be almost through now. She wasn’t a large dragon. She didn’t have the mountain-root bones that one fully grown would have.

She had two hearts, and both were beating fit to burst. Surely one or the other would burst. The saw caught; halfway through now but they had to wiggle it.

She was going to die. Both shes. Why hadn’t she died yet? Why hadn’t she at least blacked out? Fucking Harpers making up stories about that. Bastards.

She’d scream it at them if she weren’t trying desperately to fight free of the invisible hands pinning her body to the cold stone. Her shoulders ached with the need to throw out her wings; if she could just curl her talons, sink them into the floor and push off, she could escape this if she could-

Something gave. At first it didn’t register that it was the last of that long, thick bone separating from itself but it sent a jolt through her when the saw broke through.

Cerise and Jiamoth moaned in unison through their mouthfuls of leather.

It went quickly after that, or she simply greyed out. There was more cutting, the application of redwort, numbweed, hide pulled over the stump and stitched in place around drains. Ingenious idea, those. She felt herself lifted; she felt herself released; she felt herself brought together again, hands to hide, smaller body to larger one. There were hands stroking her hair; stroking her browridges. There was water help to her lips, a cup, a bucket, something bitter mixed into the liquid. She drank.

She dozed. It was done.

It would never be done.

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