Trying to kill a fictional character

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I'm writing a story where one character accidentally causes another one to die slowly, and I need a clear connection to that injury and the death. The setting has no antibiotics or invasive surgery. They do have herbs and primitive treatments. Midwives are trained with generations of trial-and-error knowledge.

I'm thinking that he punches her in the stomach to incapacitate her, but accidentally does it too hard. What would that injury look like and feel like? How long would it take to show up, how long would it take to kill her after that, and would she spend any time unconscious?

The other scenario is that he accidentally scratches her with a blade that he wears on his wrist, and it had blood on it already. What signs would they see that she probably won't survive? How long would she remain coherent after they think she might die?

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  • Posted

    The first scenario is highly unlikely as a punch to the stomach doesn't usually do any internal damage. The scratch scenario is much more believable as it could very well get infected. Very common in the old days, especially with no anti-biotics. First signs of infection are redness, swelling and lots of pus at the site of the infection. It really looks ugly if left to fester, you could really use your imagination here. The more important sign of infection is a fever. A high fever can cause dellirium (a great device for a story teller-anything goes!!) . This delerium can last up to 3 days and then the patient succumbs to the infection and dies. The patient is often coherent at first then goes in and out of consciousness and delerium until the end or they miraculously recover. Hope this helps.
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  • Posted

    I'm having a little trouble with the time-scale on getting a few of the other characters to trust her before she succumbs to either of these problems.

    Is it possible for a broken bone to seem fine once it is set, but then develop signs of infection a few weeks later?  Would a twisting fracture that doesn't break the skin show risk of that?

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