Amon had come to dread the sleeping hours, which due to the sedative that Koh readily dosed him with, had become more common than his waking hours. The cat-girl continued to decipher his illness desperately, with no help from him – not that he was all that coherent to offer that kind of information anymore.
Even the Elezen had come to accept that his state was not improving, and likely would not, unless he finally divulged what Koh needed to know. But his mind was so fuzzy and his dreams bled into the waking hours until he couldn’t parse one from another.
He found himself once more at the Crystal Tower – the only hint Amon had that this was a dream. However, this time, he stood outside the gate, at the base where the Tower met the Labyrinth. This puzzled him until he heard a pair of familiar voices hail him.
Amon turned, observing the two figures walking towards him in the distance. They spoke in unison, to an eerie effect, using the same words and expressing the same thoughts. Created things, they were. The clones of Unei and Doga.
He knew their features all too well – how many copies had he made for experimental purposes? He’d lost track a very long time ago. Being of the royal Allagan line, their genetics had been ripe for testing procedures that went into reviving Xande and unlocking the secrets that led to the desired immortality.
Not all of these experiments were successes. Time after time, he’d watched the clones take the brunt of his failure. Often, this led to terrible physical manifestations which rendered them unusable and forced him to eliminate them.
Some might have claimed that this was a form of murder… but clones were not people. That was something he always stood by. They were a stand-in and the best alternative next to experimenting on real people.
In the end, clone experimentation was the most humane way to progress Allagan society. And when the clones expired, he just replicated more.
This particular pair of clones, however, was different. They watched him with an unsettling awareness in those blood-red eyes, gifted with a lucidity that clones did not typically have. These had been imbued with a knowledge and purpose that he had not placed within them.
“Your path continues to bring you back to Syrcus Tower, it seems,” they spoke with an unemotional factuality.
Faced with his own creations, ones that apparently wished to chit-chat, Amon wasn’t sure what to say. It was an awkward meeting.
He instinctively took a polite, but pretentious tone, “Indeed. And you as well. Why are you here?”
“Why… to see what’s become of you, Maker.” They both smiled a vacant smile that sent shivers through him.
“Don’t do that,” he muttered.
This appeared to cause them to smile all the more. As if purposefully defying him.
“You were involved in unsealing Syrcus Tower, I take it.” If they wanted chit-chat, he would give it to them.
“Indeed,” they answered in unison. “’Twas the purpose we were intended for. We lacked the strength to directly facilitate your downfall, or that of Xande’s, and break the covenant with the Void. However, we found those with the power who could.”
“Murderous little clones,” Amon crossed his arms with a scowl.
“We admit that humor is often lost upon us, but we recognize the irony of that statement, Maker.”
The Elezen cracked a grim smirk, “Yes, of course.”
“We also come with a question of personal curiosity.”
“Mmm?” This took him by surprise. But not as much as the question that followed.
“What does it feel like to be one of us now?”
Amon grounded his teeth, biting off the words in response. “Whatever do you mean?”
“A clone, Maker. A clone like us.” They observed his reaction with something akin to malicious delight. Or maybe that was just his imagination attributing actual emotion to their blank faces.
“I’m not a clone. I simply have…”
“You are an awareness and aether entity transferred into a cloned body. That still makes you a thing created, and not naturally born.”
“And created by your own hand, too.” The clones pressed on, taking no heed of his rising unease. Or maybe they knew. Maybe this was their intent. “The Maker has made himself. So what does that make you?”
“This conversation is at an end,” Amon said sharply.
“By your own definition, that insinuates you are no longer a real person deserving of the rights that real people have. The rights we, as clones, were never granted,” their crimson eyes bore into him, unforgiving and intent. “But then, how long has it been since you were an actual real, feeling person?”
He took a step back, hissing. “I said stop.”
“You are now merely a tool of your own creation, just like we were. You have no authority over us anymore. You have no authority over anything anymore.” In one motion, they both turned to indicate the gates that were closed to them. “Even the Tower rejects you. The signature of its modified aether courses through you and threatens to tear your construct-form apart, does it not?”
He knew this was true. Words were beyond him now.
“Our dear Maker, your time is growing short. But then, such is the existence of a mere clone,” Unei and Doga spoke evenly, and unwavering. Behind the words, hovered just a hint of pity.
The irony of clones feeling sorry for him was not lost on Amon. His whole universe had turned inside out, it seemed. Why not this one more thing?
His gold eyes flicked to them. “Unless?”
“We are creatures of Purpose and Intent, like our Maker,” they told him, almost gently. “Without a Reason, we are nothing. And you are a clone who has not found a Purpose.”
Amon laughed somberly at this, joking, “Are you telling me to get a job?”
The clones just looked at each other, puzzling.
Seeing his humor was lost on them, he sighed, “Nevermind.”
Unei took a step towards him, then unexpectedly reached out and took one of his hands. The motion was so unlike a clone that Amon almost pulled back. When Doga did the same, for his other hand, he was overcome with an emotion he could not describe.
These clones… these lesser creatures… were expressing actual kindness. Towards him. The uncaring Maker who saw them as nothing but fodder to feed his endless desire for knowledge.
Surely, this kindness came from the spark of their Originals. Unei and Doga – the real Unei and Doga – were perhaps some of the most rare and gentle Allagan royalty, with a true concern for humanity. They had instilled that when gifting these clones with awareness.
“We have fulfilled our duty,” Unei told him, speaking on her own now. “We broke the covenant and protected Eorzea from the Darkness that the past would see devour it.”
“You remain because your duty is not complete,” Doga added. “The Tower yet exists, though in slumber. There are other places… other means you can utilize.”
Then they spoke together again. “We cannot tell you what your Purpose is, for that is something you must seek yourself. But we do know that without that search, you rob yourself and others of what might be.”
“You know that I have never been a bringer of light,” Amon said somberly. “The things that I made… they all grew corrupt by one means or another.”
“Not all of them,” Unei and Doga smiled, a true smile. They both slowly withdrew their hands, placing their fingers upon their chests, indicating themselves.
The Elezen drew in a sharp breath of realization, his eyes widening.
Even if indirect, even if he could not take credit for it, something he created had gone on to stop the madness that he begun.
And as if that very thought was the point of it all, the image of the clones wavered, shimmered and broke apart into capering lights, their aether scattering through the chamber. Amon watched silently, and in the presence of such virtue, displayed by lowly clones of all things… the weight of humility – a very strange feeling to him – dropped across his shoulders.