This chapter was written in collaboration with Scylla.
The first thing Amon was aware of was a dull pounding in his temples, like a fedora of pain ringing around his skull. The second thing he knew was the feeling of the ground sliding by under his body, which was not only bound to the point of unmoving, but also considerably less garbed than before. Someone had not only taken his hat, but also his fine coat.
He heard the whirring of machinery. And felt the sensation of being dragged.
The Elezen’s vision blurred as he squinted, fighting to make out his surroundings. The sky danced in strange electric colors above him, speckled with floating structures and distant mini-islands. Turning his head caused a sharp stab of pain, but also gave him full view of the source of the mechanical sound.
It was a restraining node.
He’d had plenty of experience with those in his past life. Quite useful they were for holding people and clones who didn’t want to follow the lab rules and thought that escape was an option. This was not the first time he’d been subjected to a node’s capture, but it was certainly an unexpected place to find himself upon waking.
That’s when the situation flooded back to him, and he realized…
Scylla had attacked him. Which could only mean one thing…
His eyes watered a bit as he blinked and squinted, trying to catch sight of the Archmage if she was near. Maybe his eyes watered from the pure disappointment of knowing all his dreams were now scattered like aether-dust on the wind. Or the fact that everything had been for naught… his time was quickly drawing to an end.
Scylla knew who she once was. She’d turned the tables on him. And now he was at her mercy.
Amon gave a low, pitiful groan as all of this sank in.
A floating rock smashed against the side of a cliff, sending a rain of pebbles down at Scylla’s feet.
A few half-operating buildings, and floating monuments. This is all that is left of the glorious Allagan Empire.
While the mage reasoned that the aetherophysical connections of the damaged clone form would not allow for the tower to be open, that didn’t necessarily hold for attunement. If Syrcus was inaccessible, there was always the second-best location for aetheric research.
Her family’s ancestral homelands. Along with the second largest science facility in all the realms.
The Aetherochemical Research Facility of Azys Lla. If it is still there.
Her first attempt at connecting with the main aetheryte at the facility had failed, as did her second with the Azys-Homestead-Sector. Finally, the third attempt took; leaving her at the auxiliary transport dock. There were a few scattered Eorzeans about this “Helix” facility, but for the most part, it was abandoned.
With her bright smile, it was easy enough to explain off the passed-out Amon as a colleague with acute teleportation-sickness. After all, she seemed like an expert in the place, when she spoke of it. It was painless to activate one of the “junked” restraining nodes in the corner. Slipping out between the second and third watch was as simple as an easy repose spell.
What was not as easy was the ability to find a way to the research facility, the main teleportation feature at Helix had malfunctioned, and the nearest functioning interface would be on the other side of the quadrant. The long silence of the trek across her ancestral homelands was broken by Amon’s tell-tale whine. Scylla stopped, turning back to look at the contemptible Elezen in her shadow.
“Come now, Amon.” Scylla spoke in a chiding tone as she tightened the bard’s restraints. “You knew it all had to end this way.”
The Elezen grit his teeth. Scylla was talking to him, at least, which meant he had a chance at conversation. She would be wise to his ways, and likely furious at him for his past transgressions… but some talk was better than no talk.
He fought down his own anger and bitterness at the situation. It was easier to hate her when she had that smirk on her face. When she was no longer the innocent lacking memories. Something useful to him.
Now she was an enemy. A dangerous one with all the means to finish the job the alliance of Warriors of Light began.
Amon put on a pitiful face, which wasn’t hard in this situation, head rolling back a bit.
“Azys Lla?” He croaked, his voice surprisingly hoarse. All the better for the part he wanted to play. “I’d wanted to see it again, but had no means to come here. I suppose if this should be my final hours, ’tis as good a place as any to pass.”
“Final hours?” Scylla burst into high pitched laughter as she pranced around, trying to recompose herself. “You really think I went through all the trouble of bringing you to this place to kill you?”
Her eyes turned angry as she stared back towards the teleportation module in the distance.
“Oh no… I have something much more delightful in mind for you.”
“Delightful? I doubt ’tis as blissful as you make it sound, my dear,” Amon groaned again, feeling the slick metal rubbing a raw spot on his exposed elbows. Then he pointed out with a forced grin of his own, “At least you’re laughing for once. Shall my demise bring you that much pleasure?”
He’s baiting me. He’s trying to get me to change my mind.
The white mage closed her eyes as she approached the steps to the teleportation unit, swallowing down a small glint of guilt into the folds of painful memories.
“Perhaps I should ask you? Did my demise bring you that much pleasure?”
Ah, clever girl.
His grin turned a bit pained at her question. If this was going to be the end of the road, he may as well be blunt about things.
“Of course not,” Amon told her. “I earned no pleasure from your transfiguration. ‘Twas all for revenge, Princess. And revenge offers little in the way of pleasure. Cold satisfaction, perhaps, but not pleasure.”