This chapter was written in collaboration with Scylla.
“Scylla…” Amon spread his hands as she turned her grief on him, uncertain if she’d act on it or not.
She had every right to be upset – he was upset, too! The same cover-up they’d fed to the rest of the Tower had been dropped on his plate, as well. And he was supposed to be the Emperor’s advisor! The one who knew everything in order to provide the best possible council to their leader!
Only… it seemed as if someone else had been providing council when Amon was not aware of it. Of course, he had suspicions – many of Xande’s aspirations were not ideas he provided. Certainly not the creation and launch of Dalamud. Not the opening of the void gate to the World of Darkness…
“That’s what they told me, too.” Amon didn’t know how he could convince her, but he tried anyhow. “I swear to you, Scylla. I didn’t know anything more than you did about this!“
“You let him die… why him!” Scylla collapsed in a pile of tears, pale with grief as she mourned her father all over again. She held to Amon’s shirt, pounding him weakly in the chest as she wept hysterically.
“He loved you, Amon! He loved you more than even his own daughters… you were the son that he never had! Wasn’t it bad enough that you let everyone else die? Even in his last thoughts, he only thought of you, and you let him fall at the emperor’s sword?”
The white mage was too weak with despair as her past crumbled around her. She put her head on Amon’s shirt, and wept – half-heartedly hitting his chest.
Amon didn’t know how to respond to her outburst. He felt a trickle of his own grief as the old, painful wounds opened. But in the face of Scylla’s absolute breakdown, his was of no compare.
He felt he had no right to grieve before her. Not with as much as he’d done to hurt her, now weighted further with the pain of knowing the truth behind her own greatest loss.
No words would convince her that he cared about what had happened to her father, he knew. So he didn’t try to explain.
The Elezen let her take out her agony on him in silence, not flinching as she struck him. The blows deserved to hurt, but they didn’t. Her plaintive cries expressing his once-mentor’s devotion and care for him stung far worse.
Amon knew the crimes he’d committed. Maybe he had nothing to do with Lord Diokeles’ death… but had the scientist known of Amon’s betrayal to that family… the torture he’d carry out on Scylla in the name of vengeance…
…His own hypocritical grief had no place here…
When Scylla wobbled a bit, looking to become unsteady in her boots, he put a hand at the back of her shoulder to steady her. And he remained silently resolute.
“Maybe it’s pointless, maybe you never really cared…” Scylla weakly spoke into Amon’s chest. “Maybe you still think it’s all a simple accident. Father, Clio… everyone…”
“Enough,” Amon finally snarled, feeling wounded by this accusation.
He tried – he really did try – to withstand her abuse… because he felt he deserved her bitterness. But some things went too far. He didn’t realize he was gripping her shoulders, his hands shaking more than they normally did under the pressure of so many raw emotions.
“J-just because I don’t…” He stopped himself from explaining, yet again. “No, I’ll tell you what’s pointless. Trying to change your mind. I don’t even attempt because you’ve told me it’s not going to happen. So why should I show thoughts and feelings you don’t even believe exist?”
Amon released her and walked away to the other side of the room with a sad laugh.
“Ironically, if I did provide you with the emotion you crave, you’d just accuse me of acting. No matter which way I go, I’m condemned.”
“You weren’t an actor back then, hound-ears.” The white-mage shook her head, wiping her nose. “You were just a scared child, fresh from the wilderness sector.”
“I grew up with you, remember? I remember when you were embarrassed after I blew up your skiffboard… when you were sad after Clio chose not to go to the dance with you.” She followed the bard over to the corner, continuing the conversation.
“But then you just stopped…feeling. I don’t know if it was the fact that you were so aether-jacked… or power hungry… She said that you had changed when I saw her after your breakup.”
“And I don’t know whether now you aren’t aether-jacked… what you regret… or what you don’t?” Scylla asked. “You instead turn to the mistakes in the process… but what about the people we’ve left behind? Do they matter to you?”
“Aye…” Amon spoke slowly. “Of course they matter. That’s a reason I’m trying to open the Tower again. There might be something… or someone… left there. I don’t know. But to imagine that everyone is just gone..?”
He closed his eyes and let out a long sigh.
“…That you and I are the only ones of our kind left in this world? That everything else was just… erased by calamity and time and fear?”
Then he shook his head.
“I cannot believe that until I see it with my own eyes.”
“Do you hear yourself?” The white mage threw her arms up. “Amon, the empire you remembered… isn’t ever coming back! It’s gone, along with my family, your family, Clio! Everyone we loved! Whoever these agents of destruction were, they succeeded!”
Something within him knew she was right. But he still didn’t want to believe. He couldn’t believe!
That Allag was completely gone with no chance to revive it. That he’d never be able to fix what his mistakes had caused? The downfall of his entire nation?
That something unknown had driven their people to the point of self-destruction? And where apathy didn’t succeed, his own attempts to revive his Empire had only twisted back upon them to destroy it instead.
Yes. Amon knew a lot of people died in that calamity. People he knew. Likely his own family – the mother and father he’d sent away to protect… when things looked too dangerous to keep them near the Tower.
“No…” he whispered hoarsely.
To believe it meant he accepted that he had the blood of his entire people on his hands. The people he strove to serve… the people he sacrificed himself for and dedicated his whole life to nurture, even if it meant disfiguring and corrupting himself.
“No. I cannot… ”
His hands were shaking again.
Scylla grasped his hands around the wrists and held them in front of him.
“See. Not acting?” Scylla sighed and looked up at him. “Your ears also droop a bit. You never did quite grow into them, did you?”
“I suppose not.” Amon murmured, then peered at where she held his wrists. He knew he was asking for trouble, but the words came out of his mouth before he could check them. “What is this? Is the Princess actually not angry at me for once?”
“Why did I have to be stuck here with you?” Scylla put her hand to her forehead, nursing the beginnings of a headache.
“That’s one of the few mysteries of the universe that I cannot answer, I’m afraid,” the Elezen told her.
Perhaps… just perhaps… there was an unexpected hint of humor to her voice. If that was even possible.