This chapter was written in collaboration with Scylla.
“Amon grew careless at the end of his tenure, not tending after his servants… or their loyalty. He stopped checking on me, allowing me to accomplish my own activities in relative anonymity.”
The dog-creature spread out her human arms, causing lights to stream up from the floor in the corner in what to be a capsular chamber. A silhouette of a shape floated in suspension in a stream of green aether.
“Behold, the power of Allag!” The creature looked down at her in expectation as the guards released their hold.
Scylla squinted at the chamber in the corner, she was free once again. Behind her, she could see the stone-doors, which now stood open.
“Yes, the doors are open.” The creature stood still, as if demanding a choice. “You can still leave, and this will be nothing but a fleeting dream.”
She took a glance around, knowing that she should make a run for it. But something compelled her forward. She wasn’t even scared, though something told her that she should be.
Scylla! What are you doing?
It seemed like an eternity before her hand touched the glassy surface of the pod as the shadow of the wolf creature stood behind her. The cloudy aetheric surface spread away from her hand. What she saw made her cover her mouth in shock.
A perfect copy… no-not copy… clone.
It was a perfect reflection of herself, no doubt – straight down to her red eyes, and Azys Lla tanned complexion.
But it wasn’t completely perfect. Scylla knew that in her haste, that mistakes were made. Not everything was encoded quite right – and she had to improvise with some magery where she couldn’t quite understand that damned Amon’s scrawled handwritten mess. No wonder he was having trouble opening the tower.
The white mage blinked, confused at a memory that wasn’t hers.
Or was it?
Scylla felt sick to her stomach as the world begin to twist. The tower began to rumble and crackle apart as she clutched her head.
He lied to me.
Images flashed before eyes, a childhood romping amongst floating islands, her first casting at the academy, her father’s proud scarlet eyes at her graduation, the solemn ceremony at her acceptance of the mantle of the Archmage. But he was there – always there… bony, sick face and jaundiced eyes, stalking her, coming at her as the memories flashed by.
HE LIED TO ME!
She screamed hysterically, writhing on the floor, clutching her head as it threatened to explode, as she watched it all fall apart. Her father’s death, the war against the Mercydians, an empire clawing itself apart, the tower sinking in blood as the voidsent descended upon them all.
HE USED ME!
Once again, Scylla found the boot in her chest as the Houndmaster-no-Amon…. stood over her. Except this time it was the new-Amon, youthful and lithe, digging his heel in as he leaned forward. On his belt, dangled a six-collared harness.
“My dear, it’s time for the hunt.” He reached down with a friendly grin as if to pet her.
Six pairs of red untamed eyes stared back from the darkness. There was wild satisfaction when she saw the abject fear in his face as the first head sunk its teeth in and tore muscle free from his bony calf.
Scylla woke up, sitting up suddenly from her bedroll. She looked drearily at the rising sun as stretching her arms out with a bright smile.
“Good morning, Amon!”
Scylla was awake – the Elezen could hear her surprisingly cheerful greeting as he made yet another round of pacing in front of the silent doors. Something about it gave him pause, and he turned to find her smiling at him.
Amon wasn’t sure why, but something about the look on her face gave him an uneasy feeling. He returned her smile just out of habit.
“So, I’ve been thinking that maybe we need an extra boost of energy from the sunlight to help get the doors moving. If you’re not adverse to trying it one more time, that is. Morning will be upon us soon.”
“Why of course, Amon… “ Scylla chuckled softly.
This is too easy…
She waited for him to turn his back, preparing once again to light the runes up.
Almost too easy…
The white mage spun her hands around her form, drawing the earth into compacted stone. He turned to her just to see the first of the rocks impact his stomach, sending the Elezen crashing to the ground.
Amon’s instant delight at her easy compliance overrode his normal cautious mindset. In retrospect, all sorts of alarms should have been going off. But he was letting important things slip in this fluffy, soft new world. And now it would cost him.
Everything sank in at the last moment, his eyes growing wide as the aether stone crashed into him. The tables had turned and it was time to face the music.
…as in face down on the floor…
…where the Elezen crumpled instantly under the onslaught of magic.
Scylla gave a bright laugh as she walked up to the prone form on the ground. She took her foot, and kicked him over to the other side. The white mage looked down with a sinister smile, speaking in the Allagan tongue.
“Poor, poor Amon… Looks like your time is up. I think it’s about time that we went home, don’t you?”
Her face turned predatory as she swung her staff around into the bard’s face, knocking his mind into darkness.