This chapter was written in collaboration with Scylla.
“It didn’t matter what you wished or not!” Scylla slammed the tip of her staff into ground, cheeks flush with anger as her composure quickly slipped away.
“Don’t tell me that you didn’t just brush it off when your damnable little pet Emperor went around killing technologists one-by-one!” She stabbed a finger in his ribs, yelling in his face. “And how DARE you blame me for your ex-lover’s spat!
“I didn’t always see eye-to-eye with Clio, but I wouldn’t hunt her down in cold-blood!” The white mage snarled.
“You had your little secret voidsent hunt her down, I’m sure! Because that’s what you have always been… just a little man behind a mask, too afraid to confront your failures, too afraid to fight your own battles, to the point that you would murder those who loved you!”
Scylla continued forward, pulling Amon forward towards the entrance doors of the Research Facility. She knew that she should just leave it at that- that talking to Amon was pointless. Justice required respect, and she knew that Amon had very little for her. The fact that he blamed her for his own shortcomings with Clio was final confirmation of this.
“There are better things to spend your last moments of clarity than comforting yourself by making up stories and involving ME in your guilt-complex driven plots!” The girl murmured, pressing her hand against the door as they responded by drawing up lines of runic light.
“Your emperor sentenced her. You led her to the termination chamber. You killed her because she wouldn’t join you in your drug induced voidsent-ridden hells-hole! It was easy, wasn’t it? People’s lives were but worth a simple motion, hmmm?”
With a flourish and a bow in mockery, she twisted her wrist, pointing her thumb down in the Allagan way – as if replicating the vote that would send prisoners to death.
His rage and frustration had grown so vast behind his eyes that it was almost physically painful to endure.
THIS. This was another reason he’d crowned the princess’ head with mutts. That know-it-all sneer and tone of disdain when she knew nothing at all.
“‘Tis false!” Amon snarled. Over and over again. Those were the only words he managed to spit out, given the fevered pain that overwhelmed him.
It wasn’t often that he worked up into a flurry of emotion like this. It was enough to consider maybe… even maybe… finding a way to remove his choker and taking her down in a blaze of uncontrolled furious aether… even if it would consume him as well.
Finding his strength, he dug his heels into the metal of the ground and pulled back against the restraining node. He may not have a lot of dexterity, but his cloned form did hold some of the natural strength of his youth. Though Amon was usually non-aggressive, Scylla had pushed enough of his buttons to unlock that rare, unseen belligerence that hid under the surface of his normal calm demeanor.
“Oh no you don’t!” Scylla’s eyes widened, as she rushed to increase the hold-level of the restraining node, but watched as his anger kept up. She could see the load-indicator increasing, first from yellow… and then to red as the bonds began to creak.
Seeing Scylla’s panic felt good. Real good.
Amon curled forward slightly, managing to bring his finger to touch the gem on his choker. The one thing that regulated his aether and kept it in check. He didn’t know for certain what would happen if he attempted to tap into that flow — he’d never tried, shying away at the idea of self-consumption.
But all that was moot at this point, knowing that Scylla had ideas that were probably far worse than a simple demise.
As he concentrated, sparks of energy leapt from the Syrcus shard. A stone of the Tower itself… that had been polished down by Noah’s knowledge, to look like a normal gem. It gave off a pulse of light, reacting to his rage… his will to live… his desire to break free… The energy traced brilliant blue lines over his hands and up his arms, as if his mind was redrawing the runes that had once existed on his previous form, but not on his cloned body.
The energy reflected in his golden eyes as his snarl curled up and fixed on Scylla with pure, intense hate.
“NO! NO!” Scylla’s eyes widened in fear as the thin blue, telltale lines of aether whipped around the clone form. She stepped back, clutching her staff in hand, beginning to weave her aetheric energies of her own.
Through his time at court, Amon was never one to lose control. But she had borne witness to his destruction the few times he let emotion get the best of him in his younger years. Her father often warned him about his aetheric potential, and how much destruction he could cause if he lost it. He had been careful in her presence… most of the time. But all his composure was lost to rage, and a truth that he never could accept.
But he still hadn’t broken loose, and she had a few precious seconds. Enough time, if carefully used, to disrupt his own weavings with a spell of her own.
I have to be quick! I have only one shot to stop him!
Scylla drew on her own reserves, letting instinctive knowledge take over as she spun the curling light streams of energy around her form in perfect motion, focusing the energies straight at Amon’s blue-traced form.
The Archmage was casting.
Amon’s skin prickled as he felt the other-aether gather and release at him. Though he had not worked much of his own aether free, and certainly hadn’t given it any sort of form, his instincts threw what he could command at the incoming blast.
Any mage worth their salt knew not to throw conflicting aether into aether… unless you wanted a dangerous energy reaction.
Fortunately, that’s exactly what Amon wanted. And he cast everything he could muster forward. Unfortunately, his cloned body was still not a good conductor of large amounts of aether.
Amon could feel his stunt sapping his own life-energy as the lines of blue on his form grew dim and eventually faded. He couldn’t sustain it, and lost his balance as the energies met with a backlash. The Elezen was thrown back, dropping to his knees. Breathing hard, he was drained of both emotion and ability to defend himself further.