The Technologist and the Tower - Part 5Date Posted: December 2, 2022
“So are you going to tell me how you know this Exarch and of this place?” Amon asked as they waiting outside a chamber for an audience with the Beq Lugg. Apparently, he was a bit of a hermit, and was taking his time in getting around to meeting them.
“”Twas an accident I ended up here,” Tad responded. “”Tis a long story.”
“Everything is a long story with you.”
“’Tis,” Amon echoed in a mock-Tad tone. Then he pressured. “I’m a bard. I live for long stories.”
His cousin crossed his arms, leaning heavy against the wall. After a moment of thought, he responded, “I will tell the full story when we have a proper time and place. Neither of which is here and now.”
“Fair enough,“ came the chuckled answer.
It was more important for him to focus on the roadblock ahead of them, Amon decided. His cousin would spill the story when he felt good and ready.
Finally, after far too long a wait, the door opened. One of the stranger creatures that the Allagan had seen – and that did say a lot – poked its head out to inspect them. It looked something like a cross between an aardvark and a dog, though half the height of a Hyur and hunched like a Hrothgar.
From the moment Amon saw it, he didn’t like care for it. Something about the way it held itself spoke of immense self-importance, as if it was looking down its nose at them. When it finally spoke, there was not a hint of cordiality to it.
“Who are you?”
His cousin stepped forward with a polite motion to himself, “I am Tad Kouris and this is—“
“State your business,” the creature interrupted bluntly.
Tad shifted gears to respond instantly. “I was told that you knew the state of the Exarch.”
“Hmph. Mayhaps. Who’s asking?”
“As I noted, I am Tad Kouris and--”
The creature rolled its eyes acting as if it was on the verge of shutting the door in their faces.
Tad reached out and grasped the door, sensing this and proclaimed, “A friend of the Exarch’s.”
“Is that so?” it lashed it’s raggy tail. “If I was to give out information to anyone coming here to be a friend of the Exarch’s then I would be fool.”
“You can ask the guard!” the Elezen retorted quickly. “Do you think they would have allowed me here if my story has no merit? I owe the Exarch much and just want to know what happened to him. Is he alive and well as I’ve heard tell?”
The creature went as far as to tug on the door a few times, but seeing that Tad was not giving up so easily, and that it couldn’t budge the door, it finally gave a huff. “Fine. Come inside. But don’t expect to stay long.”
Amon wondered if the color of the tips of his ears reflected the frustration he was feeling. His cousin was a saint for putting up with this kind of insolence, merely for information on someone who was of no importance to them here and now.
The two Elezen made their way inside – with Amon taking a good look around to ensure there was nothing waiting to spring upon them – and was offered no hospitality within. They stood, awaiting the creature’s words. When it spoke, it reflected just as much frustration in return.
“I assume you’re aware that the Exarch’s origins were not of this world.”
“Aye,” Tad responded, then added, “Nor is this Tower’s.”
The creature didn’t bat an eye at the Elezen’s show of knowledge. “Well then, you’ll be glad to hear that he has gone back to his world.”
“Gone back? How?”
Little clawed hands made gestures, as if dismissing the question.
“The guards spoke of sending the Exarch’s soul back with the Warrior of Darkness,” Tad threw it all out there, seeing that asking small questions got no answers.
“Indeed,” it stated shortly. “We crafted a container that captured his soul and returned it to his original body in the Source world.”
“He had a body in the other world?” This was Amon’s first query of the situation.
How could someone have a body here and there at the same time?
Was that much different than the Tower being here and there at the same time?
A structure was one thing, a person was another.
“He was someone called by another name,” the creature answered to Amon’s surprise. “Some Grahah fellow or such.”
“G’raha Tia?” the bard lowered his brows, feeling his body tense.
“That seems right,” was the answer.
This set Amon adrift with his own mulling thoughts, thinking how this Exarch person claimed the Tower, but was somehow G’raha Tia. The same cat whom he’d seen perfectly awake and walking around in Mor Dhona. The same who had joined the Scions after leaving Syrcus Tower locked away in stasis once more.
Shaking himself out, he managed to catch the end of whatever conversation was being had around him.
“—successfully melded his soul back into his original. As far as I’ve heard tell, it was seamless and without any side effects. Truly a marvel and an unexpectedly good outcome.”
“That is incredible,” Tad was working to humor the creature now that he’d managed to get it to talk a bit.
“I had a fair good hand in the designs myself,” it said with a lift of its chin. But then, it seemed to realize who it was talking to and closed down again. “I hope that is sufficient enough information.”
“’Twas, thank you for easing my worries.”
It just made a “humph” sound in return. Then waved that stumpy claw again, “You may see yourself out.”
“Wait…” Amon frowned, taking a step forward. Swallowing his dislike of the beast, he put on as much charm as he could for the moment. “As a fellow scholar, I would ask--”
“You do not look the part of a scholar,” it interrupted.
The Allagan was not put off, and swallowing all of his pride, spoke quickly. “I would ask access to the knowledge banks of the Tower. We came to speak to the Exarch for this permission, only to find that you are the keeper of such now.”
“No,” it said without even a moment’s thought.
“No?” Amon echoed, the tips of his ears starting to twitch.
“You heard me. The Exarch may have known you, but I know you not from a wart on a sin eater’s hindquarters.”
The Elezen felt his teeth grinding at this point, making to step forward.
That’s when Tad quickly intercepted, placing a solid palm on Amon’s chest to stop his advance. “We’ve taken up enough of the good Beq Lugg’s time already.”
It was hard not to glare daggers, but he once again choked back all of his pride to accept being schooled by his younger cousin. Freshly composed, he responded, “Aye, of course.”
“Thank you,” Tad turned to it, giving it a slight bow. More than it deserved.
All they got was a dismissive claw as the door closed behind them.