This chapter was written in collaboration with Scylla.
Amon came to stand beside her, tilting his head to look down at the sign she handed him. Acting as if he was having trouble seeing the rough wording etched on it, he took it as an excuse to lift his visor and squint at the boards.
The Bard knew that Scylla was more responsive whenever he showed his face freely, though he wasn’t sure why. He took the opportunity to appear hurt and dismayed, shaking his head slowly at the message.
“People will always fear the things that they don’t understand, my dear. A solid dose of caution is healthy. But fear is a destructive agent,” Amon frowned and put the sign face-down. “The Warrior of Light ensured that these halls were safe. The Sons spent time studying the secrets they found inside. If ’twas truly something terrible and unsafe within, why did they not seal it instantly?”
The Elezen reached out to trace the metal face of the door before him, closing his eyes. Very distantly, he could feel the thrumming of aether under his touch. A pang of what could only be homesick longing carried through his broken form.
“No, this was a slow and deliberate choice. But an ill-informed one.”
The doors were far more vast than he last remembered. It took him back to the first time he saw these gates and was swept away by the awe of the place.
His voice became nothing but a whisper.
“Don’t you feel it yet? Don’t you sense the call of your people from behind these doors? Focus yourself… cast away these doubts… and simply listen to what the crystals have to tell you. They have witnessed so much more than any of us have.”
The sadness and longing in his eyes were real.
“Amon, I…” Scylla’s voice faltered as she slowly reached her hand upwards, stopping half reach to the stone door. “I just don’t know…”
He peered down at her, his gold eyes bright with a sympathetic, gentle expression.
“’Tis nothing to fear. You’ll understand so much more when you see it for yourself.” Amon gave a soft laugh. “And well, if ’tis all in my head like you seem to believe, what will it hurt to try?”
“But what if… it isn’t?”
She gave Amon a last glance, before she closed her eyes and laid her palm against the door-seal, fingers positioned perfectly in the Allagan style.
Amon caught it. The faint ripple of aether that spread from Scylla’s hand as she came in contact with the door. Something that had not happened for him.
“Yes!” he hissed, almost forgetting himself.
His throat tightened as he stared up at the huge, silent structure, waiting for the tell-tale flow of energies to illuminate the etched designs and signal the opening of the gates.
The Elezen held his breath, shivering with excitement.
And his breath held.
And he was red in the face.
But the doors… did not move.
Scylla thought she felt something… a slight tingle, perhaps a fleeting moment of lightheadedness.
She opened her eyes, watching Amon slowly suffocate as he held his breath.
The doors stood there, as unmoving and dead as ever.
Nothing happened! This was all a delusion!
Scylla almost gave a whoop of relief right there, but was careful to suppress a chuckle as she continued to paw at the door, even pressing on the door with both hands.
“Amon. I’m sorry.” She gave him her most sincere look of concern.
“No…” Amon whispered hoarsely. He placed both of his palms against the door with a moan of despair, just as he had the last time he’d been there. “No… this can’t be! What went wrong?”
This would be the moment for something brilliant to suddenly occur to him. After all, issues like such are often caused by the smallest thing.
Could it be that Scylla couldn’t activate it because she didn’t take it seriously? She obviously was still connected to the aetherflow, and the color of her eyes marked her royal heritage.
So why? Why didn’t it work?
He slumped forward, head down as he balanced, only his two palms against the cold unmoving door holding him up.
There had to be something he was overlooking. Something he was missing. He just needed more time… he could figure this out…
He must figure this out!
Scylla had been trained on how to handle these moments, but she wasn’t prepared to see someone so usually jovial as Amon in such distress.
He’s so upset… almost broken… I have to be careful that his despair doesn’t drive him to the edge.
She reached out and put a gentle hand on his shoulder and stared into his eyes.
“I think it’s best time that we pack up and head back towards Revenant’s Toll, don’t you?” She gave a deep sigh, relaxing her frame. “Perhaps we can talk about this over a nice cup of warm tea… and maybe even that snail dish you like so much?”