This chapter was written in collaboration with Scylla.
“You weren’t an actor back then, hound-ears.” The white-mage shook her head, wiping her nose. “You were just a scared child, fresh from the wilderness sector.”
“I grew up with you, remember? I remember when you were embarrassed after I blew up your skiffboard… when you were sad after Clio chose not to go to the dance with you.” She followed the bard over to the corner, continuing the conversation.
“But then you just stopped…feeling. I don’t know if it was the fact that you were so aether-jacked… or power hungry… She said that you had changed when I saw her after your breakup.”
“And I don’t know whether now you aren’t aether-jacked… what you regret… or what you don’t?” Scylla asked. “You instead turn to the mistakes in the process… but what about the people we’ve left behind? Do they matter to you?”
“Aye…” Amon spoke slowly. “Of course they matter. That’s a reason I’m trying to open the Tower again. There might be something… or someone… left there. I don’t know. But to imagine that everyone is just gone..?”
He closed his eyes and let out a long sigh.
“…That you and I are the only ones of our kind left in this world? That everything else was just… erased by calamity and time and fear?”
Then he shook his head.
“I cannot believe that until I see it with my own eyes.”
“Do you hear yourself?” The white mage threw her arms up. “Amon, the empire you remembered… isn’t ever coming back! It’s gone, along with my family, your family, Clio! Everyone we loved! Whoever these agents of destruction were, they succeeded!”
Something within him knew she was right. But he still didn’t want to believe. He couldn’t believe!
That Allag was completely gone with no chance to revive it. That he’d never be able to fix what his mistakes had caused? The downfall of his entire nation?
That something unknown had driven their people to the point of self-destruction? And where apathy didn’t succeed, his own attempts to revive his Empire had only twisted back upon them to destroy it instead.
Yes. Amon knew a lot of people died in that calamity. People he knew. Likely his own family – the mother and father he’d sent away to protect… when things looked too dangerous to keep them near the Tower.
“No…” he whispered hoarsely.
To believe it meant he accepted that he had the blood of his entire people on his hands. The people he strove to serve… the people he sacrificed himself for and dedicated his whole life to nurture, even if it meant disfiguring and corrupting himself.
“No. I cannot… ”
His hands were shaking again.
Scylla grasped his hands around the wrists and held them in front of him.
“See. Not acting?” Scylla sighed and looked up at him. “Your ears also droop a bit. You never did quite grow into them, did you?”
“I suppose not.” Amon murmured, then peered at where she held his wrists. He knew he was asking for trouble, but the words came out of his mouth before he could check them. “What is this? Is the Princess actually not angry at me for once?”
“Why did I have to be stuck here with you?” Scylla put her hand to her forehead, nursing the beginnings of a headache.
“That’s one of the few mysteries of the universe that I cannot answer, I’m afraid,” the Elezen told her.
Perhaps… just perhaps… there was an unexpected hint of humor to her voice. If that was even possible.