This chapter was written in collaboration with Scylla.
Amon left the befuddled Koh to her own devices as he went to his chambers to change into something more… daunting. He carefully hung up the Far Eastern wear that Zuri had given him, including the straw hat, and looked at it for a long moment of reflection.
Everything he was about to do… was completely the opposite of all the things he wanted to be while he was in Yanxia.
Still, he turned and opened a package that had been delivered while he was away. Inside, wrapped carefully in tissue, was a different hat. A large and colorful hat. One that he knew very well – from the wide ornate brim to the far oversized feather.
It was a replica of his old hat, one that he’d special ordered before he left for Yanxia. It wasn’t exactly perfect – how could it be, not having been crafted by Allagan sensibilities – but for an Eorzean re-creation, it would certainly do.
Amon placed the hat on his head, and it fit with the perfection of belonging. Ironic that this had arrived just as he had to make this very confrontation.
He spent some time pondering – visor up… or visor down…
If this really was Scylla, she’d not be intimidated by a mere visor. She’d already seen the worst he could be, so there was nothing worth hiding from her.
If it wasn’t Scylla, rather just a woman of the same name, then she would merely get a look at his face. And he’d come to feel a bit more confident about that after Yanxia.
Visor up, it was.
With all that sorted, Amon strode out of his quarters, to the room where this woman had taken up residence, and knocked at the door with a solid, purposeful sound.
Scylla was napping quite soundly when the sharp rap came upon the door. It was not late yet in the evening, but the journey and followed uncertainty left her worn.
She had fallen asleep unsettled, ambivalent about her position in this new world.
So uncertain was she of her stay, that she just simply found a little corner in one of the abandoned dusty storage rooms. She didn’t want to ruffle anymore feathers… or frazzle any more tails… by invading private scholarly quartering, even if her stay was to be brief.
Only after three sets of pounding, did Scylla finally rouse from her sleep. She pulled herself upwards, letting the book on her chest tumble down.
It must be Koh… I wonder if she’s coming to tell me that -I do- have the wrong place?
Scylla stretched and moved to the door, gingerly opening the lock and peering out.
Amon wasn’t certain what he’d see when the door opened. Someone who wasn’t Scylla? Someone who was Scylla, but who tried to disguise herself as someone else? Either way, he certainly didn’t expect this.
What stood before him was an absolutely perfect representation of the Scylla he’d known from his youth. From a time so long ago… before life in the Tower became completely twisted and convoluted. Back before everything he once was had fallen apart in an obsessive fever to chase the secrets of immortality.
The visage of this woman jolted him to the core. His eyes locked on hers – Elezen gold sharpening, growing narrow in focus on her blood-red gaze – the tell-tale inheritance of Allagan royalty.
Ah, yes. He remembered now. She did always flaunt that above him… until the day the hounds contorted her arrogance into a chorus of mangled, feral voices. In hindsight, it may not have been the best idea to give her more than one head…
Amon felt his fist ball at his side. A torrent of memories, thoughts and emotion swelled around him, threatening to break through the fragility of his calm façade. If it shattered, he wasn’t even sure he’d care at this point.
Not with Scylla here. Standing in the house that belonged to his Free Company. In this new life he was trying to forge for himself.
A place this despised specter of his past was not welcome.
Every instinct in him wanted her immediately removed from his sight. …Maybe dropped from the highest point of Azys Lla into the yawning void below. That would be pleasing. But required further planning to execute.
And yet, he tempered his response, voice rasping through clenched teeth. Subtle hints of rage still flickered across his expression, shifting like a dark mist in contrast with his cold, measured tone.
“Scylla. Why are you here?”
The man with the golden eyes.
There he stood in front of her, complete with the large rimmed hat and long prismatic feather, much like the one that the nightmare-master donned upon his brow. But something is wasn’t quite right with the picture.
“So you are Amon…” Scylla’s voice trailed off, the last consonant almost silent.
For a split-second, fear began to rise within her chest. But where she expected panic, another emotion began to rise behind it.
Scylla couldn’t pinpoint where it started – maybe from the facsimile hat, the stone-cold expressionless face, perhaps the condescending voice, or just the void that represented her lost self. What stood before her was nothing to fear… rather, it was a mockery.
It isn’t right… he doesn’t look like the nightmare at all… this is all someone’s elaborate joke!
It made sense… several of the Wailers made no secret of their disdain for the Padjal’s special little cupcake, and this would be the icing on the proverbial cake to send her off on a final farewell.
Someone must have told him about my dreams. Oh, to think the Wood Wailers would stoop this far in getting back at me for what happened! And this one, he’s complicit in the whole scheme!
“I don’t know why I’m here. But I know where I’m not wanted!” Her voice was sharp as she looked aside towards her belongings.
“That’s all this is to you, isn’t it? Just like Wood Whiners to think this is all a joke.” Scylla almost shouted as she haphazardly dunked her books into large pouch.
“All fun and games for you. Just another case of making fun of the Padjal’s-little-project and her nightmare fits.”
She found herself snarling at Amon as she swept the last of her trinkets into her sack and slung it on her shoulder, standing face to face with the bard.
“I was hoping that you could help me.” Scylla narrowed her eyes, almost standing on her toes as she continued on. “Somehow, I knew your name, Amon. I don’t know exactly how you fit in with my only real memory, but I thought maybe you would know something about it.
“Seeing that you were a trusted member of the Gridanian community, I thought maybe you would care enough to help.”
Scylla tried to look for a way around the massive man at the door.
“But I was wrong. It seems that you are content to mock me, just like all the rest of them.”
Once more, expectation did not line up with reality as he watched the woman who looked and sounded like Scylla… act nothing at all like Scylla should. Sure, she droned on and on non-stop in that scolding, chiding, overbearing tone while talking of things she had no clue about – some things hadn’t changed – but…
She acted as if she didn’t know him at all.
The deep-brewing anger fizzled as he watched her rant and pack her stuff, accusing him of being in on some mundane Wood Wailer prank – like he’d prank her with anything less than a full-facial makeover – and acting like they’d not grown up as rivals in the Tower Academy.
Or rather… she had thought to find him as one thing, and what she saw now did not live up to her expectations. This was nothing new, either.
Then, she said the one thing that turned the whole situation on its head: “I was hoping that you could help me.”
That… was not something Scylla would ever say to him under any circumstance. Not after the things he’d done to her.
Something was very wrong here.
His anger became confusion, which slowly flushed into curiosity.
So… if she looked and sounded like Scylla, but didn’t seem to remember or act as Scylla… what was the meaning behind this? How was she here, and why had she come… apparently looking for him (?) Remembering his name, if nothing else.
With a shrewd glint to his eyes, Amon leaned with what could have been construed as a casual stance, but actually served to block the exit all the more. One hand on his hip, he looked down on this strange conglomeration of the past, and measured his next words carefully.
“Mock you? You must be mistaken.” The Elezen spun one hand in the air, taking on a flighty tone. “While you’re incorrect about me being a trusted member of the Gridanian community, you were not mistaken that I am, indeed, Amon.”
With a smooth motion, he tilted the brim of his hat downward.
“Now, if you could calm yourself a moment, and elaborate… with what are you seeking my help? You spoke of your only real memory?”