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This scene is set 20ish years before the beginning of Behind the High Walls.

He woke up and immediately regretted it. The drug haze had lifted for the first time in days, and the memories were as agonizing as his injury. He lay on sheets of cotton woven so tightly it felt like silk, the material caught on his calluses, the rough skin of his elbows. The sun shone through the lattice on the windows, the rays cutting through the gloom. The accommodations were a far cry from his hammock in the hold of his father's ship.

“Ah, boyo, you're awake.” He recognized the voice as the crone who'd performed his operation. He had faint memories of her washing him and changing his dressings, before pouring more opium down his throat. “Good, you should eat.”

She had a bowl of porridge, spooning up a mouthful and offering it to him. He turned his face to the wall and closed his eyes.

“Now, now, none of that, my love.” She clucked to him. “You've got eat if you want to grow strong again. No sulking now. I did a fine job with the cut and the wound show no signs of putrescence. You should be grateful to be alive.”

He snorted at that, tears were pooling behind his eyelids. “They should have killed me.”

“Keep up like this, lamb, and they still will.” She shook him a little, the movement sending a fresh spike of pain through his groin. “Now eat or I'll have to force you, and that wouldn't that be a shame, my pretty one?” He accepted a bite of the porridge; she seemed kindly now, but she'd bring in the slaves to hold him down and force food down his throat if he wouldn't eat on his own.

The porridge had been heavily sweetened with honey, to help him regain his strength. The sooner he recovered, the sooner he could go to the slave block. “There you are,” she murmured, pleased at his acquiescence. “Don't think about what you've lost; think about what you've gained. A face that pretty, you'll be sure to wind up in a wealthy House. You'll live in luxury, wear gold and silver, have fabulous things to eat, sleep on silk pillows. There are many who would give up a lot more than you did for the opportunity.”

She lapsed into silence as she finished spooning the porridge. “There, lovely, all done.” As though he were five and not near to sixteen. “Is there anything else, you'd like?”

“Opium,” he managed.

She laughed and nodded. “All right. But don't grow too dependent on the juice of the poppy.” She retrieved the vial and laced a glass of wine. “Here, my flower.” She helped him raise his head and he gulped the wine, a trickle escaping down his chin. The drug worked through him blessedly fast and the pain receded. So did his concern for it. He sank back against the pillow as the woman continued to croon to him, his eyes drifting closed. “There you are. Forget now. Forget, my pretty poppy.”
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