The Ancients – Part 3

This chapter was written in collaboration with Scylla.

He could see the gears in her mind moving behind her eyes, but had not exactly expected her to draw such an accurate conclusion so quickly. The tone of inquiry held a hint of warning… that even if he told her the truth, she would grapple to determine if it wasn’t some figment of his own imagination.

“If I tell you that I, in fact, know I am an Allagan, would you even believe me? I’ve brought nothing from that time to prove what I say… aside from the knowledge in my head.” Amon pursed his lips. “My own magics did not survive the transition to this new time, though some of yours seem to have weathered the experience.”   

The bard gave a brief smile.

“And yes, I’m insinuating exactly what you think I am. I told you when I met you that we both served the same ancient royal court, my dear.”

It can’t be true!

Scylla didn’t even remember whether she said the words out loud, simply screamed, or just started to run.  Her legs carried her blindly away from the path, away from the nightmare, away from him.

An Allagan!

She panted, heart-beating against her ribs in panic, giving a half-cry as her boots snapped fallen branches between the entwined forest. The idea was so impossible, incredulous, nothing but pure irrationality.  Born of nothing more than an Elezen’s lost and broken mind.  

Scylla didn’t care that she was straying away from the safety of the path, into the wilderness.  Instinct and drowning anxiety overrode any thoughts of comfort and the security of the well-trodden trail.

I’m not one of them!

She just had to get away from him.  

I’m NOT one of them!

As much as she tried to grasp onto that mantra, a single question welled up and ran through her head. As soon as she was sure that she had put enough forest between herself and Amon, Scylla dodged behind a tree.  She rocked back and forth, hugging herself as she shook uncontrollably.

Then… why do I believe he’s telling the truth?

Amon took in a sharp breath as Scylla responded to his explanation in the most unlikely way. She took off running into the light-knew-what snowscape. He heard himself shouting her name, stunned and incredulous as the last colors of her coat vanished into the frozen forest.

He looked down in a passing of panic for only a moment before he began a frantic flight after her. After all, if anything should happen to Scylla, everything he was moving toward would crumble into nothing. She was the key to bringing it all back, even if she was convinced her own people were the monsters history made them out to be.

It didn’t matter what she thought in the end, he reminded himself. The only thing that mattered was that he took what he needed to gain control over the Tower again. And that was impossible without her.

His breath shot out in white plumes as he followed the trail her feet left in the snow, which thankfully pointed out her direction. He still wasn’t up to par when it came to physical activity, and Scylla proved to have speed he didn’t expect.

Finally, after running what felt like malms upon malms, a combination of sound and sight pinpointed her position – behind a tree? What did she think hiding behind a tree would do for her?

Pulling up short, Amon took a moment to try to regulate his heavy breathing. That’s when his ears caught the sound of something else lurking nearby. The low, guttural snarls of a beast in the snow.

“Scylla! Watch yourself!”

The bard stared past the tree where Scylla took shelter, and gave a hoarse shout of warning as a snow wolf broke from cover. Nocking his bow, he took aim and let his arrow fly. The bolt struck true, and the beast kicked up a howl, its fury turning on him.

Amon pursed his lips, backing away slowly, sending arrow after arrow at the creature as it closed the gap between them. That’s when hungry answering howls broke through the treeline.

The Elezen’s breath caught in his throat as the rest of the pack descended on him in a blurred frenzy, ripping into him with powerful jaws and claws. Pain blossomed and spread through is body as he saw red splash the snow. They dragged him down, a perfect bestial hunting unit, pinning him under heavy, shaggy bodies that reeked of wild canine.

The last thought that flickered through Amon’s mind was…

Figures it’d be dogs.

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