Truthtelling - Part 1Date Posted: February 10, 2022
Amon was reclining next to the babbling stream that ran through Gridania when Zuri found him. Though the town was bustling, especially at this time of day, there were still plenty of quiet places to sit and reflect if you knew where to find them.
And Amon did.
Apparently, the Elezen did all too well. Because Zuri’s face reflected concern when she discovered him.
“Here you are,” the AuRa greeted, trudging across the slick rocks that lined the shore.
“Have you been looking for me?” Amon asked, though he knew from the sound of her voice that this was the case.
“Just curious where you get off to lately.”
That was a telling statement coming from Zuri. Something was on her mind.
“Just enjoying the peace,” the Bard told her, knowing that playing it off would prompt her to be more frank with whatever she came to discuss.
“Is everything okay, Amon?” she asked, settling down on her haunches. Not quite sitting. Not quite squatting. It was something he’d noticed she did, and wondered if it was an AuRa thing.
“Why wouldn’t it be?” He well knew he wasn’t fooling her – or anyone. He merely asked the question to hear her answer.
“You’ve been keeping to yourself a lot,” Zuri responded. She wrapped her arms around her knees before continuing. “You hardly busk anymore – and I know how much you enjoy it. You’ve changed your clothes…”
“Changing one’s clothes is good hygiene,” he joked.
“Not like this,” she glanced over at him with a serious expression, cutting to the chase. “Where’s your hat?”
“Ah?” She imitated with furrowed brows. Then she looked aside and sighed. “I should have known you wouldn’t answer me straight.”
Zuri wasn’t trying to be harsh – the girl didn’t have a mean bone in her body – but her words sparked a pang of guilt somewhere deep inside of him. She was right. In all this time, she was the only one who didn’t know his truth.
Or maybe, with all this talk of Amon floating around Gridania, she’d started to guess, and this was her giving him the opportunity for truthtelling. He knew she was perceptive when she wanted to be.
“Are you disappointed with me, Amon?” Zuri asked, sudden and out of the blue.
“Mmmm?” His head jerked up and he didn’t even attempt to cover the surprise he felt. “Why would you think that?”
“When we first met, I wanted to be a bard – like you.” She began to trace patterns across the top of the rock where she crouched, visibly gathering her next words around her. “Even though I wasn’t very good at it, you always believed in me. You tried to teach me, and I tried to learn. It meant the world to me that someone like you – obviously knowledgeable and skilled – would spend that time and effort on someone like me.”
Amon just sat there, at a loss for what to say. Teaching Zuri had just been something he’d done to pass the time – something to maybe help her survive and make her better, of course – but without any thought for reward or thanks. He’d not realized it had meant that much to her.
“When I stayed behind to help with the Doman restoration, that’s when I first saw the dancers. They came all the way from Thavnair!” Her eyes sparkled with the thoughts of faraway places as she spoke. “I’ll never know what brought them to Yanxia, but when I saw what they did – merging the love of music with the motion of battle – I knew I’d finally found something I could succeed at.”
Amon smiled at this. A genuine smile for youth that discovered new dreams and sought them out.
“But,” Zuri looked down and away from him. “I wondered if you were disappointed that I gave up being a bard. Maybe you felt like I didn’t appreciate everything you’d done for me… and I haven’t talked to you about all this because…”
“Ah, Zuri,” he breathed softly. Then reaching out, he put a hand on her knee, hoping to shape his tone as gently as possible. “One never ‘gives up’ being a bard. ‘Tis always part of us, even if we go on to do other things. And going on to do other things ‘tis no crime, my dear.”
“Then…” she exhaled, a sound of relief mingled in a quiet laugh.
“No, I’m not disappointed in you,” Amon reassured the girl. “I’m happy that you’ve found a path that inspires you.”
Zuri broke into one of her beaming smiles, uncurling to reach over and hug him. There was a time when he would have recoiled from her affection, but given everything that weighed on him at the moment, the Elezen felt almost comforted by the gesture.
Comforted by the idea that maybe, even a clone of Amon, could still do some tiny bit of good in the world.
Then, the comfort turned once more to guilt as he thought of all that he’d need to explain to come clean to this girl. The first person who found him and tried to befriend him when he was at his lowest point in the past.
Once more, he was at a very low point, and again, she was here. It was time to repay her dedication.
“I always thought I was Amon of Allag,” he told her before she’d even had a chance to stop hugging him. Committing himself to the truthtelling. No turning back.
He felt her shift next to him, just the slightest bit of surprise tensing her frame. But she didn’t let go. “What do you mean?”
“I know that you’ve heard the tales of the Allagan Technologist, Amon,” he said quietly. “That Amon ‘tis I.”
Zuri peered up at him with questioning eyes. Not eyes of fear. Or eyes of rejection.
Amon knew he had a lot to explain and a small window of acceptance to do it in. So, he began to tell her his tale.