I finally get to answer why Rutejìmo can take so much damage and still be walking.
One thing I've mentioned before, there is not a lot of healing magic in Fedran. The reasons are many but it really came down to that I view magical healing as a “cheat” when it comes to games and writing.
From a character's point of view, knowing that magical healing is waiting for them back home or even after the fight (common in D&D games), they make different choices than a single blow could mean the end of their lives. There isn't a risk that “one more fight” could be the last one.
Likewise, having healing between scenes means there is less struggle over the long run for them. It reminds me of dungeon adventures where the party headed back to the camp every other fight, got completely healed up, and came back with a fresh set of spells. The adventures, of course, were relatively stagnant so it was just more of a “can we survive this fight” struggle instead of “will we survive the dungeon.” If you can't tell, I like the latter struggle.
For the reader, on the other hand, it sharply reduces tension. Magical healing, safe bases, and time to recover mean that the threshold for getting through a scene or fight is the limit of tension. On the other hand, I love the long journey that resembles the The Oregon Trail video game (which I loved as a teenager) and less like most modern RPGs.
Fedran is based on anime troupes. This is an opposing section to the magical healing, the characters can take a lot more abuse than the average person and survive relatively unharmed. A punch across the jaw is a love tap and being thrown a quarter mile would result in serious injuries instead of death.
Even with all those rules, occasionally I cheat. One of the frequent comments from readers is that Rutejìmo is a damage sponge. He takes an incredible amount of abuse and manages to walk away from it only a few scenes or chapters later. He doesn't know why or even question it because, from his limited education and point of view, there is nothing that could allow him to survive.
There is. One of the few beings who can heal is Mifúno, the desert spirit. The ability to heal is a power her clan has, though it is almost entirely “self only” in HERO terms. They have no control over it, though, only that it happens reflexively. Rutejìmo, as part of her clan even from the very beginning, has taken advantage of that healing without realizing it.
So, why is this important. Like most healing magic, you can exceed its limits. In this chapter, which is one of my favorite, his injuries bring him almost to the brink of death. The desert, though, needs him alive to finish his job, so she had to choose between hiding her healing or letting him die.
Rutejìmo frowned. He had never felt resonance from Gichyòbi before, but the rumble set off itching inside his joints. He ducked his head and winced at the pain from his movement. The blood seemed to have stopped, though he didn’t know why. He reached up and touched his cheek. It came back covered in bloody sand.
His breath came out in a shudder. More sand blew across his skin, kicked up by a breeze he hadn’t noticed before. It clung to his finger and stuck to his face. He could feel it gathering along his cuts and injuries.
I'm very aware of third person limited. Because he has no reason to think about magical healing, he wouldn't know what was going on. The reader, on the other hand, could infer that the desert is healing him at this point. She is because she is also hitting the limits of what she can for him.
Sand and Bone just got sent out to the editor for the last round of edits. This will make the third round (second with the last editor). Once it gets back and I integrate the changes, I should have the final version of the novel up on my website.
I'll still continue to release it chapter-by-chapter to the public with patrons being able to read the entire thing for $1. The $4/month patreons can get a print version of the novel “at cost” (printing and shipping).
Sand and Bone 23: Asylum
Rutejìmo finally made it to Wamifuko City. For a man running alone with the most powerful clan chasing after him, a crowded city would be the worst place for anyone to go but his brother knew that he had more allies in the city than anyone else.
That doesn't mean enemies aren't waiting for him. His last-minute rush to reach the gates is halted by mercenaries hired to ensure he never makes the safety of the city and the protection of the Wamifūko.
This is a longer chapter than average, filled with proper anime violence, mind-controlling snakes, and stone magic.
Read the chapter at https://fedran.com/sand-and-bone/chapter-23/. If you like it, please become a patron or review one of my previous books. Subscribers get access to all my novels, including the first book of my next series and my high-society romance novel.