The Fifth Month
His fingernails were broken things, his wound was a red, inflamed, burning coal of pain and fever that dripped pus everywhere. His teeth were black nubs, his flesh was gaunt against his bones and muscles and distended belly. He could not stop shaking and every few seconds he giggled uncontrollably, which turned into a hacking cough.
Once he had been able to climb back up into his dirt stairway, he'd found the soft dirt above the packed dirt to be easy to move. He just kept up digging with one hand, constantly in motion, until his fingernails peeled back and bled and his hand became a leather, callused thing, more unfeeling scar tissue than flesh.
Exhaustion was a thing he'd come to know as a close companion in his time since waking to a hacked off limb. He had become an animal since then. A beast with no time or ability to worry or mourn his fate. He just dug. He had become a pale and wasted cave creature in this hole and when his mangled claw-hand finally pushed through to the surface world, the dim light of the moon blinded him.
Blinded and blinking, his digging became frenzied, he began lunging upwards on the sliding slope of dirt, clawing like mad beast, froth flecking his dry lips. When the hole above him was wide enough, he wriggled through it like a pale grub creature and lay in the cool night air. He was gasping, his lungs burning and his heart pounding in his chest.
He looked around as he lay there, and a grim laugh choked its way out of his throat. He saw the grey stone of the traveler's roost to his left, downhill. The spot he'd chosen to dig his way out had been beneath a hill. He cried then as he lay there aching and wanting to scream, what should have been fifteen feet, had turned into forty or fifty because of mere random chance. When he choked down his sobs and had the strength to sit up, he did so, and began looking at the night sky.
As he gazed at the night sky, his thoughts turned to revenge. He was weak and wounded, but he was alive and could find food and marks and a way to torment those that had forced him to become this thing of pain and despair. Looking at the night sky, the moon bright, he could see the faint yellow glow of Gorelon peeking out from behind the moon.
His thoughts slowed to a halt and he laughed, a mirthful, if a bit frenzied, laugh. He closed his eyes and smiled, suddenly realizing that everything he had experienced had had a purpose. His thoughts turned inwards and he was suddenly struck by the thought that his tormentors had not been such, they had bestowed a gift upon him, a gift he did not fully understand in that moment.
He dragged himself up off the ground, eyes open and staring at Gorelon, and the pus filled stump of his arm suddenly itching like crazy. He absentmindedly itched the wound and a scab flaked off, revealing smooth grey flesh that felt like rubber to his callused fingertips. He decided that regardless of the cost, he would find a way to thank his benefactors. He would find a way to bestow the gifts that had been given to him this night, on them.