This chapter was written in collaboration with Scylla.
Scylla rushed into the room, only to have to dive away as the giant heel of the bloated technologist’s boot nearly stepped into her.
This is real enough. I could die in here with him.
Even though the floor was an illusion, it hurt just the same as if it were real. She held her side, as she stumbled up to the vision before her. It was Amon.
Not the Amon of present, the Amon of a painful past, covered head to toe in costumed garb. He was grappling with something, someone, who even towered over Amon’s masked form. It was only when Elezen turned slightly did she see the blank eyes of her long dead ancestor.
Xande. Emperor Xande.
She wasn’t sure if he was real, or just an apparition of Amon’s aether-addled mind. But as the gaze of the Emperor turned to her, she knew it was trouble.
Scylla looked up, hiding behind Amon’s garb, voice reduced to a small croak.
In the midst of Amon’s struggles with the shadows that threatened on all sides, a small sound came to his ears. Small as it was, it somehow managed to rise up above the myriad of raging blame and guilt.
He didn’t know how he recognized her voice – or why – but he turned his head to look for her. And found her nowhere.
“Scylla?” Amon croaked, coughing through the thickness of the air.
No! She shouldn’t be here! She is in grave danger!
He called her name again, wondering if it had just been a trick of the mind, like everything else was there. Another small sound caught his focus, and Amon glanced down.
To his shock, he saw her there – a tiny Scylla caught up in the vast darkness of the room.
Or no. She wasn’t tiny. It was him who was large.
Amon stumbled, realizing he was once more himself – the Technologist of old, dressed in his glorious finery of the past. Given back his powerful form, just as this shade of Xande had offered.
Could there be something to this? Could he actually have summoned up the power of eld that he so longed to find within the confines of the Tower? Had it been within him all this time?
-We can give you all you desire and more. Allag will be yours!-
Scylla stepped back and shrieked at his voice and form. This was the same masked figure who towered over her in his scarlet laboratory coat so long ago.
“No!” She cried out, the memories of the towering figure looking down at her over the bindings. The same face that laughed and mocked her as she cried out in howls and madness from the experimental Syrcus cages.
She fell to her knees screaming in terror, not noticing that her hands were fading away as fear frayed at the thin connection between her mind and his. But the shadow was not ready to let her go.
The dark aether wanted her as well.