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!”