The Ancients – Part 1

This chapter was written in collaboration with Scylla.

Amon had never been so glad to step off a ship as he was when they arrived in Limsa. It had been suns and maybe even sennights of nothing but ocean surrounding them. And while the weather held fair, he’d been subjected to Scylla’s helpful regimen.

Ever since the talk they had, she’d made herself more and more available, mostly in terms of treating what she saw as his ailments. She assigned him physical procedures, well as best as one could do confined to the deck of a ship, and ensured he carried them out to her liking.

Amon wasn’t sure if it actually helped anything, but his sore muscles spoke to the fact that he was, indeed, working parts of his form that rarely saw this kind of motion.

They spent very little time in Limsa – just enough for him to determine the next direct stop for them was an airship to Gridania. Neither of them wanted to show face there for worry of being identified, so they made little display of departing the ship and making double-time for North Shroud.

As the air around them grew more chill, he knew they would soon be entering the snow-swept lands of Coerthas. He glanced at Scylla with a word of warning, “How are you in cold weather? We’ve got a frigid stretch of area to cross before we get where we’re going.”

“Hmmm?  Don’t tell me your mystical castle is in Coerthas, Amon.”

Scylla looked up the sloping trail to where Amon stood.  She had spent a fair amount of time in the North Shroud, though she had not ever really ventured far into the Elezen-held mountains.

“Is this where you came from?”  Scylla questioned as she kept pace with the bard. “They say that a fair amount of Elezen live around here.”

Amon shook his head. “No, I hail not from this part of the world. My homeland is no longer named, but would have been once been located somewhere in the Shroud, I expect. I spent most of my life living in what’s now called Mor Dhona. But ’tis merely a shadow of the place that it was before.”

His voice held a hint of true regret.

“Time and battle changes everything… and strips the beauty away, I’m afraid. But you shall see that for yourself when we get there.”

“Mor Dhona?  Is that where you are taking me?”

Scylla shook her head as she hiked up the route, waving her arms in front of him.

He really has gone off the deep end. Everyone knows that there is nothing there other than Revenant’s Toll.  Just a pile of a few broken down stone hovels, and termite ridden-bars with half distilled moonshine.

“I’ve let you get away with your cryptic temperament all the way across the ocean.”   Scylla stood firmly on the road with a hint of defiance in her eyes. “But what could possibly be in the ‘Toll that could be considered so ancient and important?”

She poked her finger in his nose.

“And don’t you try to tell me that you’re a Scion of the Seventh Dawn.  You don’t look the part of one of their ilk, and you certainly don’t act it.”  

Amon laughed out loud at that accusation. “A Scion? I doubt the Scions would want much to do with the likes of me. Or, if they did, it probably wouldn’t be wholesome for me.”

The bard grinned widely and motioned with a sweep of his arms.

“You discount Mor Dhona too soon and too easily, my dear. It holds a wealth of ancient magic, secrets to the minds of modern man… but directly connected to ones such as you and I. Did those in Gridania never speak to you of the Tower that slumbers among the crystals there? It wouldn’t surprise me if they did not.”

Amon’s mask hid the sly side-glance.

“Even though ‘tis a place linked to your blood by birth.”

“Who hasn’t heard of the stories of the evil creatures of the crystal tower, Amon?” Scylla recounted as she kicked some of the shaded piles of snow.  “The civilization of the Allag… and how they were so terrible, that they blotted themselves out from the pages of history.”

Scylla threw her traveling coat over her shoulders as the wind grew brisk along the ascending trail.  She was shivering, but not all together from the cold.

“The Allagans were monsters.”  The girl opened her palms as if reading an invisible script. “The tales say that the Warrior of Light explored the halls, and only found monsters and rabid beasts… nothing of treasure… or any living intelligible creatures.”

The girl shook her head.

“Besides, the tales say that the Warrior of Light sealed the tower away for all time.”

Amon was stricken wordless, uncertain how to direct the conversation after such a turn. If that’s truly what she believed, the information she’d been fed, continuing to share the truth would only turn her away.

“Mmm… is that truly what they say of Allag? Is that what you believe without looking for the answers yourself?”

He sighed softly.

“The stories are but one-sided, my dear. Surely, not all Allagans were monsters. There had to be citizens… innocents… just like any Empire would hold,” Amon spoke somberly, spreading his hands conversationally. “Perhaps there was corruption, but perhaps there was more than what history wants you to believe. It couldn’t have been all bad. And if harnessed properly, the relics left behind could be a boon rather than a threat.”

The Elezen tossed out a line of thoughts, shrugging off snow that desired to nestle in the crook of his hat.

Troubled thoughts started to brew in Scylla’s mind.  

What is he trying to say?  The tales say that every last one of them were corrupted by evil.  Worse than any beastman nation.

Allagans were fairy-tale creatures of a lost time.  Many frustrated parents would tell stories to naughty children of the ghosts of the Crystal Tower that would wander about.

Does he believe that he is one of them?  The tales said that they stood like exaggeratedly tall ogres… with multiple heads and great fangs and teeth.

She walked quietly, eyes furrowed, trying to reason to herself why this Amon, this bard used such defensive words about a long-lost mythical nation.

He’s tall, and his table manners can be a bit off, but he’s not one of them.

She pulled her coat tightly around her chest as the snow started to lightly float from the clouded sky.

It’s not possible!

A pit formed in her stomach.  The same pit that moved her to start on this senseless  journey in the first place.

I keep telling myself that this isn’t true… That he’s completely insane!

She took a quick glance to the rolled-up map at her side.  Fallgoard Float was less than a day’s journey away, and a caravan could have her home to the Conjurer’s Glade in Gridania a day more than that.  The broken-down bard could surely not stop her from turning around and doing the sensical thing.

Why am I doing this?  What is compelling me to follow something so crazy?

Yet, she continued to another foot forward, as if compelled by an enchantment that she could not quite understand.  Even the most powerful wave of homesickness could not stop her journey onward.

But what if…

The question slipped from her mouth so suddenly, that she could not believe that she asked it.

“Amon, do you believe that you are an Allagan?”

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