Dour Diagnosis – Part 1

This chapter was written in collaboration with Scylla.

Beams of light broke through the bouts of restless sleep that had taken Scylla.  Scarlet eyes opened to the deep orange rays of the setting sun tickling the edge of her bedroom.  She sat up, examining the bandages and bruises that dotted her arms.

Memories of the day came flooding back as she brushed off the few grains of sand from her now dirt and blood-stained shirt.

“Ugh… Amon…”

“I know we look somewhat similar, but this is the first time I’ve been mistaken for Amon,” Ben chuckled from where he sat across the room. He seemed relaxed, sitting on the couch with a book in one hand, jotting notes with a pen in the other.

His look turned a bit more serious.

“How are you feeling? I didn’t realize your node would respond so strongly.” 

“Ahh!”  Scylla jumped an inch in place and clutched the quilt on her bed, eyes wide in surprise at her unexpected visitor.

“What are you…?”  She didn’t finish her question, but instead gave a dejected look at Ben with a sigh.  She couldn’t hide the fact that she started the violence.  There was something about the mage – something that told her that he already knew most of the details.

“I started the fight.” Scylla answered. “I would suspect that the node was programmed to protect loved ones from deadly harm.  My father loved Amon, so it was only behaving as it was made to.”

She clenched her fist into the folds of the linen.  “Are you going to lock me away in Tam-Tara?”

“No, of course not,” Ben wrinkled his nose with distaste. “I’ve been there. Not a pleasant place for anyone. Besides, this was never about locking anyone up.”

The mage closed the book with a grim expression.

“I’m not going to say what you – or Amon – did was right. But I understand why you both did what you did. I think there’s a lot of things that you’re both overlooking at the moment. But that’s probably because you, and him, have too many things you’re working through individually. When those things collide, something is going to give sooner or later.” 

“What am I missing, Ben?”

Scylla empathetically shook her head back and forth.

“He tries to act halfway pleasant to others, passing about with charm and demure.  I try to help him… and he starts again on how he will regain his powers and rule this world with the might of a dead empire.  You may say that he is impossibly weak… but he was feeble as a child as well, and look at what came of it.  A man that caused the sundering of an empire.” 

The white mage felt a shiver going up her back, as she crossed her arms in a hug over her chest.

“Back in the Tower, there were long discourses towards his enemies with the same arrogance and malice.  I was his enemy.  Look what happened to me.”

Her voice grew weak, trailing almost to a whisper. 

“Now you know why I fear him.  Because I believe that he could become Amon of the Tower once again.”

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