This chapter was written in collaboration with Scylla.
Scylla thought she heard the Allagan’s voice. What followed was more yelling and the faint snap of an arrow leaving a bow. Then came the howling of a half-starved pack of snow wolves. She knew these creatures well. They would come down from the mountains to Gridania to feed on the unwary during lean times.
If she wasn’t scared for Amon, she should have been at least cautious for for herself. But her mind was lost in a distant landscape painted of anxiety and confusion. She didn’t move, even as the pack brushed by, quickly leaping up upon the lone bard.
Her vision of reality grew more narrow, as a new voice… a new mind started to fill her thoughts.
Red splattered across the sea of white snow as Amon quickly fell under the pile of fur and claws. She turned and watched from around the tree as the wolves ripped away, trying to eat him while he was still alive.
Half-dazed from her panic, a small chuckle left her lips. A voice tickled her consciousness, one that didn’t seem to be her own.
Serves him right to die as a meal of wild pack of dogs.
She leaned back, staring at Amon with a drunk, stupefied smile.
I’m going to enjoy watching him die.
She leaned back, untangling her healing staff from the branches of the tree, reveling in a revenge for a sin that she couldn’t quite touch on. But while she was smiling, she found her eyes drifting to her healing staff intently.
He deserves to die!
It was a staff gifted to her from E-Yumi-San himself upon her completion of studies. She pictured his face, but it wasn’t one of congratulations.
I’m going to let Amon die.
It was one of disappointment.
I’m going to let him die?
Her smile faded away along with the foreign, cruel thoughts, bringing her mind back into frame of reality. Guilt and a sense of sin filled her chest.
What in the Four Hells is wrong with me? I can’t let him die!
“Amon! Hang on! I’m coming!” Scylla called out as she slid down the hill, barreling down from the woods. There was a half-dozen animals on the bard, jaws clamped on his wrist and hat, attempting to snap his bones apart as they shook their heads around. Yellow, crazed pairs of eyes met hers as she swept her staff around, slamming the jeweled head into several fur-covered noses.
I don’t have time for this. He’ll both freeze and bleed out if I don’t get him away from here.
She wasn’t sure how alive Amon was, but the first matter at hand was to get these creatures away from him. Several of the wolves were scattered by her first move, but it was clear that they were hardly afraid of the girl that was half the size of their stolen prey. They regrouped, circling around herself and the injured bard.
Scylla clenched her fist, calling her inner light forth in a flourish. The energies came easily to her, raising her from the ground as they collected. The girl looked down at the Elezen for a split moment, before she released the gathered purifying energies into a bright blinding dome. The monsters were blasted from their feet, burning away into black soot and fur.
The white mage gave a sigh as the rest of the pack scattered away, before turning her attentions the business of her tattered companion. She channeled the healing magics into his injuries, focusing on the deepest wounds first.
“Amon?” She called with a tinge of guilt in her voice. “Amon? Please? You have to get up?”
“You can’t die on me.” She cradled him as they sat in the snow, her hand channeling the warm mending energies into his chest.
“I’ll take you to your Allagan tower. I promise.”
A roaring rush filled his ears as pain strove to drive the consciousness from his mind. This time, death would be final. There were no clones or Allagan trickery to save him. And just like his first death, he would fall giving his lifeblood for another Allagan of the royal line.
Maybe his story would end here, but if nothing else, he could take comfort that Scylla would survive. Rival or not, any living Allagan was better than none to carry on the legacy. Perhaps she’d find her way to reviving their people on her own someday.
All these pulse-thoughts flashed through his mind in the brief last moments before… he heard someone – Scylla – yelling his name. Between the flanks of the beasts, a blast of light-without-heat pierced his vision, a massive dome of holy aether rippling through the air and sending the pack scattering. Those who didn’t make it far enough from the epicenter simply vanished into the light, leaving Amon lying, a lone blot of red on the snowbank.
His mind reeled back from the magnitude of the spell. Scylla appeared in the midst of the aetheric tempest, in full control of magic he didn’t know she’d retained. If he wasn’t already drained of all color, he would have paled to match the snow.
Then, much to Amon’s surprise, she was at his side, channeling healing energies into his battered body, begging him not to die. This was almost enough to make him faint by itself.
Instead, he squinted at her, trying to hide the concerned awe that rippled through him as he felt the pain lessen and his wounds begin to mend. Within that moment, he realized two things:
1- Scylla had just saved his life.
2- Scylla could hand him his head in a jar if she wanted to.
Oh… he was really, really playing with fire this time, wasn’t he?
And yet, here she was, face full of concern and care for his well-being, actually holding him. She was like a completely different person – the shimmer of healing aether a backlight for a softness he’d never seen in her features before.
She’d saved him and healed him.
Though he’d so shamefully fell to pathetic creatures who would have never posed any trouble for him in his previous form. Though she had no reason to want to save him, not after the terrible things he’d done to her. Even if she didn’t remember.
In fact, he almost felt guilty as he grimaced and peered up into her worried face. Almost. Allllmost.
“I’m not dead,” Amon rasped, trying to calm her concern with a slight cough and wince. “But I thought I was for a moment there. You’ve got some fireworks at your command, my dear.”