This is a serial the first part is HERE
Chapter 56: Unworthy of Life, Unworthy of Death
Corpseflower, corpseflower. A flower that is a corpse? A corpse that is a flower? Flower follows corpse. Many things are known as corpseflowers across the varied dimensions. A plant that grows on the dead? Most plants feed on the soil and the soil often contains the dead, indeed burying the dead under plants is said to speed the growth of the plant.
A corpseflower is not a plant grown from seed placed in dead flesh.
The corpse itself is the seed, and the flower buds and blooms from this. From simple red leaved plants with no remarkable attributes, to living beings with power comparable to a dimensional divinity. Apart from the single note of being a plant that has the corpse as a seed, the origins and natures of corpseflowers indeed differ greatly.
Doctor Bones’ horn shone, protecting him as it did before, the brambles stirred but a little when he alighted upon them. Now that he was on one, it was easier to get an impression of the scale of the brambles. They were truly massive, thick serpents the width of several whales. With how they obscured everything… it was easy to forget he was in Necrobyssal.
-So large and yet no bud nor blossom- Doctor Bones stoked his chin.
He had the knowledge of many corpseflowers, indeed, the knowledge of ones that bloomed from undead and even the ones that were an affliction, a sickness.
While the dead flesh possessed by spirit might be beyond poisons and diseases, the spirit was not. In many ways the spirit of an undead being was far more vulnerable. Unlike a spirit formed without body, a spirit that lost its body once tends not to have as resilient protections. That was what the body was partly for after all.
Walking carefully, avoiding deadly thorns the side of small buildings and many smaller ones, Doctor Bones felt it was almost like he was inside some ghastly creature. This corpseflower was a fairly ghastly thing even if it was a mindless plant. For an undead, most corpseflowers, disease or not, would spell their true end. With budding, weakening of spirit, with blossoming, new life and true death…
Onward Doctor Bones walked, as long as he followed the briar he was on, he’d eventually reach the origin. The undead who yet suffered under the corpseflower. For all the life there was in the brambles, it was such a desolate scene. Another thought arose in Doctor Bones’ skull, but with this, came… it was not quite another memory.
He collapsed into a heap of course.
A shadow of a young boy, form obscured, hornless but bearing wings, of leather or feather none could tell.
Its an old question isn’t it?
He could not speak, he could only hear, he could not understand, he could only see darkly.
The classic question that many doctors wonder about ‘should I heal this guy, regardless of who or what he is?’
The edge of life and death, one might die and lives be lost that could be kept for a time, one might live and lives be lost that could be kept for a time. Was there no escape from death?
It isn’t much of an answer ‘we all die’ you might well just use that to not bother healing, after all, they’ll all die. Even if one avoided the limits of limits, dimensions die do they not? It isn’t an answer. It wasn’t the answer you came to.
Is a healer a judge? One with command over life and death?
The patient that should live can die, the patient that should die can live. Is there a treatment that cannot fail? Still not a answer, come the question is simple. Many answer it promptly, without delay.
Some never answer.
The answer can change.
It will not. You will not. You believe it still. Remember?
To judge the dying, to do nothing, to let a person die. To judge them unworthy of life.
Yet we were not so judged.
Yet, knowing we should not be, you continued. Such judgement for others, but not for oneself.
If I could heal all wounds, cure all evils, it would not matter.
Failure, for you could not cure all evils, not even one. Mending spirit, flesh and bone, but not one evil in all the dimensions that exist did you cure. So in the end, we have our answer. Such that it is.
No Miracle lies in my hands. Heal, and hope for justice. Not heal and hope for justice.
A Doctor’s job is to heal, justice isn’t part of the picture.
Yet I cannot bear to heal a monster.
Because a doctor dared to heal what should not be healed, a monster was born, because you cannot bear to heal a monster you failed.
I do not understand.
Yes, we don’t, do we.
Doctor Bones picked himself up, glad that he hadn’t been crushed while… whatever that was happened. As for tending to the patient… Doctor Bones almost laughed. He worried about if he should heal the patient or not, but apart from that accursed question, there was a more fundamental issue. Truly, wanton thoughts draw the cart before the horse. Shaking the over abundance of thoughts, Doctor Bones continued on his way.
The brambles became denser and denser and smaller brambles appeared. They parted way on contact with the light of Doctor Bones’ horn. Like a waterfall in reverse the brambles spilled out of a large basin, for some reason the density of the brambles was lesser in that area. Doctor Bones soon saw the reason.
A figure tightly wrapped in thorns, seated on a throne of brambles. From the head of this figure the brambles extended. All of the brambles had their source in this head. All the brambles a crown of an unrelenting king.
A man who refused to let go of the last dregs of his limit of limits.
From the will of this man the corpseflower grew, but from this will, it could not bloom.
…and around that man, on that man. The sigil that had led Doctor Bones all the way to Necrobyssal.
The sigil which Doctor Bones was now sure awoke him.