This chapter was written in collaboration with Scylla.
The first thing Amon was aware of was a dull pounding in his temples, like a fedora of pain ringing around his skull. The second thing he knew was the feeling of the ground sliding by under his body, which was not only bound to the point of unmoving, but also considerably less garbed than before. Someone had not only taken his hat, but also his fine coat.
He heard the whirring of machinery. And felt the sensation of being dragged.
The Elezen’s vision blurred as he squinted, fighting to make out his surroundings. The sky danced in strange electric colors above him, speckled with floating structures and distant mini-islands. Turning his head caused a sharp stab of pain, but also gave him full view of the source of the mechanical sound.
It was a restraining node.
He’d had plenty of experience with those in his past life. Quite useful they were for holding people and clones who didn’t want to follow the lab rules and thought that escape was an option. This was not the first time he’d been subjected to a node’s capture, but it was certainly an unexpected place to find himself upon waking.
That’s when the situation flooded back to him, and he realized…
Scylla had attacked him. Which could only mean one thing…
His eyes watered a bit as he blinked and squinted, trying to catch sight of the Archmage if she was near. Maybe his eyes watered from the pure disappointment of knowing all his dreams were now scattered like aether-dust on the wind. Or the fact that everything had been for naught… his time was quickly drawing to an end.
Scylla knew who she once was. She’d turned the tables on him. And now he was at her mercy.
Amon gave a low, pitiful groan as all of this sank in.
A floating rock smashed against the side of a cliff, sending a rain of pebbles down at Scylla’s feet.
A few half-operating buildings, and floating monuments. This is all that is left of the glorious Allagan Empire.
While the mage reasoned that the aetherophysical connections of the damaged clone form would not allow for the tower to be open, that didn’t necessarily hold for attunement. If Syrcus was inaccessible, there was always the second-best location for aetheric research.
Her family’s ancestral homelands. Along with the second largest science facility in all the realms.
The Aetherochemical Research Facility of Azys Lla. If it is still there.
Her first attempt at connecting with the main aetheryte at the facility had failed, as did her second with the Azys-Homestead-Sector. Finally, the third attempt took; leaving her at the auxiliary transport dock. There were a few scattered Eorzeans about this “Helix” facility, but for the most part, it was abandoned.
With her bright smile, it was easy enough to explain off the passed-out Amon as a colleague with acute teleportation-sickness. After all, she seemed like an expert in the place, when she spoke of it. It was painless to activate one of the “junked” restraining nodes in the corner. Slipping out between the second and third watch was as simple as an easy repose spell.
What was not as easy was the ability to find a way to the research facility, the main teleportation feature at Helix had malfunctioned, and the nearest functioning interface would be on the other side of the quadrant. The long silence of the trek across her ancestral homelands was broken by Amon’s tell-tale whine. Scylla stopped, turning back to look at the contemptible Elezen in her shadow.
“Come now, Amon.” Scylla spoke in a chiding tone as she tightened the bard’s restraints. “You knew it all had to end this way.”