“So, you are the Warrior of Light from the Allagan age,” Amon recapped quickly, like pulling off a painful band aid all in one go. Then he inquired, “But that still doesn’t explain how you’ve come to be here in the current age.”
“Aye… aye… I was getting to that,” Tad gave a mock-huff at the question. “’Tisn’t all that easy to work out, even for me.”
“Let us try, then.”
“Princess Salina pulled together a group of what I took to be trusted advisors, including myself, and we set into motion a risky plan,” he began to explain. “First, we had crews working around the clock to excavate the area around where the Tower used to stand. We knew we’d not likely get into the Tower itself this way, but the Princess had need of the massive amounts of aether still trapped within. Most of all, she needed a direct connection to the Tower to make things work.
“Much of the machinery of the time went down with the Empire, so we were salvaging the last of our fuel, parts and technology to pull it off. I had my doubts, but Salina remained steadfast. Then, one day, the impossible happened – we uncovered the topmost part of one of the Tower’s crystal spires. ‘Twasn’t much, maybe half the length of a man, but ‘twas all she apparently needed to move forward.”
“Ah, of course,” Amon mused half to himself, half out loud. “Being of the royal line, she meant to tap into the Tower and control it. ‘Twas a fleeting fear I had when I put us into stasis – that the Tower should be thus controlled from the outside while we slumbered. So, why did she just not bring everything to a stop there?”
“I’m not sure that she could,” Tad answered. “Salina may have been of royal blood, but not every member of Allagan royalty had as much control of the Tower as you. Especially for something as complex as unweaving a spell that you’d cast.”
“Mayhaps,” the bard shrugged a bit. “I think you underestimate the royal bloodline. But ‘tis neither here nor there.”
“Aye, well,” if Tad was miffed at his cousin’s rebuke, he didn’t show it. “She had other things in mind. ‘Twas all risky business, but she’d already proven that she could oversee part of her plan in uncovering a piece of the Tower. And I had pledged myself to her cause, so I was not in a place to back out at that point. Not with so much on the line.”
“So what exactly did she propose to do?” Amon tapped his chin, observing the other Elezen carefully.
“Salina meant to trigger an event that would take place if and when those within the Tower woke again,” came the slow answer. “We knew we didn’t have the means to take Xande down on our own – we hardly had the means to see that our people survived the next winter at that point. But entrusting this to a future generation without preparing those people with the information and access required to enter the Tower would only lead to failure.”
Amon could see where this was leading now. “And so she sent the clones of Unei and Doga to act as guides to whomever would lead the charge against Xande in the future.”
“More specifically, she tasked me to ensure the clones found their way to the right place at the right time and connected with the right person – namely, this era’s Warrior of Light.”
“But that would require…”
“A spot of time travel, aye.” Tad flashed a grin. “I’ve never been much for magic, but I’ve gotten the hang of this way-walking, so I like to call it.”
“How?” Amon was leaning forward, hanging on to every word in fascination. They had uncovered the one aspect of the Tower that he’d always felt was possible, had heard whispers of, but could not touch himself.
“Similar to how you were modified to interact with the Tower, Salina placed upon me a kind of Royal Gift to commune with Syrcus. Not enough to control the Tower on a wide-spread basis, but enough to harness the potent aether within and turn it to our task,” Tad answered inadequately. “And mayhaps ‘twas a bit of whatever mystic unknown the Warrior of Light has mixed in there.”
Amon doubted his cousin knew or understood enough of the inner workings of all that he had just related. While Tad was just as clever in some ways as himself, it was not his interest to seek after the unexplainable. So casual was he to explain such a thing that scholars, including Amon himself, would have yearned to explore and experience.
“Don’t give me that grouchy look,” his cousin quipped, reading the bard’s expression. “You know better than to ask me how things work.”
“Mmmm….” Amon made a noncommittal sound in the back of his throat. Though he trusted Tad to be fairly accurate about the tale he told, something felt as if he wasn’t giving everything up front and straight. “So you were able to use the Tower to transport yourself and the two clones forward in time to the exact point needed to introduce them to the current Warrior of Light and get the raid on Syrcus Tower put in motion.”
“Well, ‘twas some trial and error, of course, but ‘tis the long and short of it.”
“You were successful,” the bard intoned grimly. “So why are you still here?”
Tad gave him a soft look. “Because I always intended to help you survive.”