A Little Light Orchestration - Part 1Date Posted: May 4, 2022
Tad was partway through lunch when Amon came upon him, the elder of the two cousins inviting himself to sit at the table most promptly. The younger opened his mouth to protest the intrusion – all in good fun – but stopped the moment he saw the grim look upon the bard’s face.
“Something wrong?” Tad asked tensely, putting aside his half-eaten sandwich and taking a long drink instead.
Amon did not beat around the bush. “How long have you known about Fandaniel?”
Tad took another long drink, leaving his cousin to muse about the content of the mug. Then he answered, “Not for very long, to be honest.”
“’Tis what brought you here.”
“Aye,” he said. “I knew if I was starting to hear the rumors and connections, they’d make their way to you eventually. Even in Gridania, news comes and goes.”
Amon looked down at the table, lightly scratching the surface with the nail of one finger. He didn’t like to be so harsh with Tad, but sometimes direct was better when dealing with members of his family.
“You said when you told me about the… clone… situation that you wanted me to hear it from you first,” the bard spoke slowly. “So why didn’t you tell me everything? Why did you leave me to hear this elsewhere when this was…”
Worse? Was it worse? Or equally as bad? It was hard to measure.
“I’d hoped you’d have more time before it came to this,” Tad replied. Though his face was stoic, that only meant he was holding in how troubled he really felt. “The first part was a big enough blow as it was. To add to it…”
“I was just trying to look out for you.”
“I know,” Amon let out a long sigh.
“Not to mention, you probably have a million questions built up, none of which I have an answer for,” Tad went to take another long drink, only to realize his mug was empty. He set it down with a sigh of his own. “I know as much as you do about the Fandaniel issue. I did have some preemptive warning – this was somewhat foreseen.”
“Foreseen? What? That I… he… whatever… am an Ascian?”
“No, moreso ‘twas deduced that Ascians were interested in you long before even Xande’s resurrection, and perhaps even manipulating the situation. Still, I don’t think you, in particular, are one.”
“And how can that be?” Amon muttered.
“You weren’t created with that knowledge,” Tad reasoned. “You were made to be Amon, and Amon only. I feel that might have even been on purpose.”
“Aye, because to do anything else would have risked the discovery that I was a clone. Even I couldn’t know about—“
“Not just that,” Tad interjected. “Call it a hunch. Intuition. Whatever. I feel like ‘twas on purpose and for a purpose beyond just what was planned.”
Amon just shrugged at that, not interested in hunches. “So who made this wild guess that Ascians were interested in me?”
Tad pursed his lips, hesitating.
“Oh, come on. You already hid this much from me. You owe me this information, at least.”
Though he spoke the name quietly, it reverberated in Amon’s ears, leaving the bard feeling almost queasy.
“After the fall, when Princess Salina found me, she told me--” Tad trailed off, eyes inspecting the despair written on his cousin’s face. “Mayhaps we shouldn’t discuss this.”
Amon reached across the table and grasped the other Elezen’s wrist tightly. “No… I’m done being sheltered. I need the truth.”
“I see.” He looked at where the bard’s hand gripped his arm, then seemed to gather himself and his words before speaking again. “Salina told me that she felt Clio had spent much time searching for answers outside of the box – much of it surrounding you. She also felt that Clio was coming too close to the truth, so much that whoever was pulling the strings made sure she was silenced. Hence…”
Amon swallowed and finished, “Hence, her capture and sentence to death as a traitor of the Empire.”
“You… still had feelings for her, didn’t you?”
“Aye.” It was the bard’s turn to look away as he muttered. “Her blood is on my hands for doing nothing to stop her execution.”
Tad let out a soft breath. “Look, I know that this doesn’t make it less painful, but… If Salina was right, then Clio’s death was part of a bigger plan that was somehow connected to Ascians. They were orchestrating things around you. This was meant to be beyond your control. It was meant to crush you.”
“Well, they did a good job in that,” he grumbled, leaning back in his chair. “So tell me, how did Salina know these things?”
“She had copies of documentation. They weren’t complete or very good copies, but she did let me see some of what she’d saved.”
“What kind of documentation?”
“My best guess is that they were Clio’s writings, likely brought in when she was captured.”
Amon’s golden-eyed gaze shifted to his cousin at that statement. “So, ‘tis possible that those documents are still sealed somewhere within Syrcus Tower’s vaults.”
“If they weren’t destroyed, aye. Mayhaps.”
“’Tis a shame they’re out of reach.”
“Out of reach?” Tad repeated.
“Aye, the Tower is sealed. No one but that blasted cat can get inside,” he frowned in frustration.
“Nevermind. ‘Tis a moot point.”
“Wait. Not so,” Tad’s face lit up slightly as he pressed his palms down on the table top. “I have access to the Tower.”