Dour Diagnosis – Part 3

This chapter was written in collaboration with Scylla.

“Well, the first step is to give him this news. I know he suspects that the situation is dire. But this only confirms what he fears most. I’m not sure what his response will be,” Ben told her quietly. “But in the end, where it goes from here is up to him.

“I am no aetherologist. I’m afraid there’s not a lot I can do for him, or I wouldn’t have recommended outside expertise. Nor does it seem the ones we contacted were jumping at the chance to get involved. They wanted their hands washed of it as soon as they realized what they were handling.”

The mage looked down at the book in his hand and idly flipped through a few pages without looking at the contents.

“Amon may be alone… in both making a choice and facing the aftermath of whatever he chooses. I hope it won’t drive him to do things beyond just putting on airs and spinning big words.” 

“I thought you just said that he wasn’t a threat?”  Scylla frowned at Ben. “If he’s going to hurt others, why even tell him? Why even give him a chance?”

He arched an eyebrow in response. “If this was your situation, would it be right for me to hide the truth from you? Do you think I could live with that knowledge, and merely stand by to watch it happen? And now that you know, can you?

“If there’s a chance that something can be done, shouldn’t he have the option to try? True, it seems the procedure to fix it is just as dangerous as his diagnosis… but do you really feel Amon has no right to know?”

“If it were anyone but him, I wouldn’t be questioning my oath to try to heal him.” Scylla exhaled deeply, looking over at her healing staff. “But this is Amon, the same man who delighted in sewing me to a mass of demon hounds… the same man who found laughter in my terror-filled screams every night.”

Scylla looked up at Ben, arms bracing herself in the bed, speaking with a calm, matter-of-fact voice.

“You think he is changed?  This was the same man who was about to use me to open the tower, only to discard me for later.  And even after he found out about my father, and about Clio… he still has the courage to threaten me with the same power-hungry attitude that he was famous for in the times of Allag.”

She turned her visage to the floor. 

“Do you think Amon is capable of feeling true remorse?  If not, why should I save him so that he can threaten the world later?”

“Sometimes in life we do things not because someone is good or deserving, but because we have to choose to do the right thing,” Ben told her quietly. “If you act, do it because you are a good person. Not because of what Amon is or isn’t.

“Still, to answer your question, yes. I think Amon can come to understand. He might just need someone to be that example for him. From what I’ve seen, he is highly reactant to his environment. If he struggles to understand emotion, it might be partially because he’s closed himself off from seeing it in others.” 

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