Koh opens her book, pen posed for writing. She eyes Amon from over the pages.
He seems a little downcast today. This causes a twinge of concern.
“We don’t have to talk if you don’t want to,” Koh offers.
Amon shrugs, burrowing deeper into his chair. “Let’s just get on with it.”
“If you’re sure?” She sounds almost apologetic. Then, she clears her throat, trying to get back into the research mindset. “Yesterday you said, and I quote: ‘I suppose I always knew that when the breaking point came, my only escape would be to become something less than I used to be.’ Can you expand on that?”
“You mean how I’ve lost much of my power, including my ability to cast magic?” He spreads his hands.
“I’ve seen you cast once.”
“Under great stress. Once. And only a very weak flame,” Amon agrees.
“Then that means your ability isn’t completely gone,” Koh glances up from her writing.
“Maybe not,” he says. “However, the aetherflow remains very distant to me.”
“Mostly because this form is unfit to conduct and contain the kind of aether I used to manage. Years of biological enhancements made what I did possible.”
“So this cloned form… is weaker…” Koh jots quietly. “I see.”
“Well, it also has to do with the clone having been locked in stasis for eras. Even if frozen in time, things become less potent as time passes,” Amon told her. “The same goes for clone augmentation. They are a functioning biological form, after all, and require stimulation to stay strong.”
“Do you think you could ever regain your old power?”
“Did Noah put you up to asking this?” Amon eyes her.
“No! This is just research!” Koh blurts.
He sighs and looks up at the ceiling, mulling over the question. “I won’t say ’tis impossible, but ‘twould be difficult. Much of ‘twould center on re-purposing this form. There are methods, but would require objects that are sealed in the Tower, that allow me to enhance my aether connection again. Since the Tower is locked, ’tis out of reach at this point.”
“If… you had the opportunity to regain your power, would you want it?”
This causes him to laugh somberly. “A man who has drank deep the drought of power must either have a steel will or pure heart not to fold to such a temptation. Sadly, I have neither.”
“Then you would…”
“Likely take the power if given the chance,” Amon flips his hand as if the statement meant nothing.
Something about that stings Koh, though she doesn’t know why. Maybe she thought what they were doing – talking things through – was helping him. Or maybe she was disappointed that he would give in so easily to the past.
“Even after all we’ve…” she hears the words squeeze past her lips, and stops herself, looking down into her book.
Amon is quiet for a moment before he leans forward in the chair. Though she can’t see his face, she can hear a sincere kindness in his voice. “Koh, I know what your aim is. You’re trying very hard to domesticate me and turn things around. A lack of character on my part is not a failure on yours.”
“But you wouldn’t even try?” her voice is hoarse with emotion she didn’t realize she had.
He looks down at his hands, as if pondering their existence. “Sometimes we are what we are, and ’tis no escape from that. I can make no promises.”
“I see,” Koh says shakily, closing her book and getting to her feet. “I… think that’s enough for tonight.”
Amon opens his mouth slightly as if to say something, but thinks better of it, letting her walk away in silence.