Heavy chains jangled softly as Grand Maester Pycelle came up to Ned. "I will do all in my power, my lord, but the wound has mortified. It took them two days to get him back. By the time I saw him, it was too late. I can lessen His Grace's suffering, but only the gods can heal him now."
How long? Ned asked.
By rights, he should be dead already. I have never seen a man cling to life so fiercely.
My brother was always strong, Lord Renly said. "Not wise, perhaps, but strong." In the sweltering heat of the bedchamber, his brow was slick with sweat. He might have been Robert's ghost as he stood there, young and dark and handsome. "He slew the boar. His entrails were sliding from his belly, yet somehow he slew the boar." His voice was full of wonder.
Robert was never a man to leave the battleground so long as a foe remained standing, Ned told him.
Outside the door, Sir Barristan Selmy still guarded the tower steps. "Maester Pycelle has given Robert the milk of the poppy," Ned told him. "See that no one disturbs his rest without leave from me."
It shall be as you command, my lord. Sir Barristan seemed old beyond his years. "I have failed my sacred trust."