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How The Loss of Limbs Affects the Image of the Self

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Knife missed the feeling of warm sand beneath her foot more than she expected. The hunk of metal where her leg used to be was heavy and unwieldy compared to her remaining leg. She looked to her master, whose left arm was also made of steel and wire, but didn't seem bothered by it, no, she embraced the fact that she was less than human now. Knife didn't understand this, and her young mind was full of questions.


"Master?" asked the one-legged girl one night, the fire crackling between her and her master.


"Yes?" responded her master, sharpening one of her swords.


"Your arm…how does it feel?" Knife asked, careful to keep her tone level as to not offend her master. Her master sighed, and set down her blade on a piece of oilcloth.


"Child, not a day goes by that I don't mourn the loss of my arm; I feel its absence every time I feel the eyes of a stranger look at this..." she gestured with her robotic left arm, clenching and unclenching its fist, "... thing hooked onto me," she stared at her robotic arm for a few seconds before continuing. "But then I remember how I lost it, defending a fellow slave from the sword. My arm was severed in punishment, and we escaped the same night. I see this arm as a symbol of my freedom from the Okranites, and my transformation into something they truly revile: a strong woman with the arm of a Skeleton." She stared deep into the fire for a moment, smiling at the memory of the life she lived and had yet to live. "Child, would you rather I had left you to die in the desert after you lost the leg?"

"No, master," said Knife, who caught herself staring at her master in awe.


"Then don't see it as something you're stuck with. Your leg means that you overcame an injury that most people don't come back from, and fewer still keep walking the path we do after losing a limb, let alone a leg. It's a symbol of your survival, child. Remember that."