((This the final chapter for "Memories." I know that it got dark pretty fast, and I apologize! Just one more bit of suffering character development and it's over with.
Disclaimer: The writing within the "Memories" series is 100% headcanon. While I try to write within the boundaries of lore, much of this is pure speculation, and completely just character exploration.))
-Time: Close to the Fall of the Allagan Empire-
Amon sat, battling absolute boredom in the back row of the Appointment Chamber. This was the unpleasant place where the so-called justice of the Tower was carried out, usually upon rebels, criminals and other riff-raff in Allagan society.
He had no interest in such goings on. To begin with, he cared very little for any brand of justice, especially when everyone knew it was only a farce. If a criminal walked before the Vote in the Appointment Chamber, it was a rhetorical thing. Execution was all but ensured.
Still, appearances were important, especially to the common people who were growing more and more restless under Xande's heavy hand. It was only a matter of time before something gave. Even Amon knew that. He had his plans and projects... and this unsightly meeting was taking away from his time to work on these much more important things.
Amon wasn't usually included in the day-to-day metes of justice. This was a specific case, however, because it included tracking down and bringing in individuals who were charged for tampering with and backwards-engineering their own clockwork troops. Because he was the lead Technologist, he was roped into having a say in the ordeal. Not that the outcome would be any different whether he was there or not.
All he wanted right now was to get the Vote over with, sentence those responsible to death, and get back to his work.
What actually happened was something far worse.
Amon was jotting some thoughts down on his Tomepad, only half listening to the droning of the lead magistrate. A shuffling on the slick black floor far below indicated that the prisoners were now in presentation. This didn't interest him - they would be dead by sun-fall. There was no need to look them over.
For some reason, he did. And when he did, Amon saw a familiar face.
She was still bent and frail, and most of the russet color in her hair had turned grey. She'd lost an arm completely, and had replaced both legs with mechanical substitutes. But her glasses were still heavy on a worn face lined with care and age.
"Clio..." her name brushed his lips. A name he'd not thought of in so very long.
And then realization fell on him.
So many times, they'd sent their war machines to fight the rebels and the enemy. So many times the security of those machines was compromised and overcome. Time and again, they continued to develop larger and more complex weapons, and every time, they were compromised.
Because all this time, Clio was working on the other side.
Against the Tower. Against the Empire. She was a traitor... and because of that, tonight she would die.
They were signaling for the Vote to begin. Amon felt his whole body tense. Suddenly, a conflict... feelings welled up that he didn't know were possible... that still resided within him... he found himself unable to think clearly.
The prisoners were already found guilty. If he didn't Vote, they would still die - his vote held no more weight than anyone's in the Tower.
And then he would be looked upon with suspicion. Why would the lead Technologist of Xande himself not Vote to smother the rebellion that destroyed their own technology?
Lost so long in his internal struggle, a voice finally spoke and drew him back. "Lord Amon. Your Vote, please."
At the sound of his name, he saw Clio's head turn. She scanned the seats with eyes that struggled to see. But eventually they fell on him.
She could not truly see him, hidden behind his mask and strange finery. But he was certain she knew.
Certain that she'd heard all the stories about him. And certain that he had come to represent everything that she hated in their society.
Amon told himself these things, trying to convince himself that he felt nothing. And that he had gone so far over the edge so long ago... that a little more blood on his hands would make no difference. Even the blood of someone he once loved.
Very slowly, he lifted a shaking hand to the magistrate, signaling his Vote.
Clio didn't look away. Her face was unreadable. And then, she was gone as the group of prisoners was ushered out of the room.
Amon fled the chamber as soon as he was able, leaving a storm of billowing aether in his wake. Void-servants quickly moved aside, shivering as he passed. They were used to his bouts of temperament, and knew when to keep away.
When he finally came to his own private room, he stood there shaking, steeped in the shadows of his own making. Then, with a mangled, inhuman shriek, he slashed his arm across the top of his desk, sending everything against the wall violently. Vials shattered, specimens rolled out of their broken jars as if they still had a life of their own, while books and papers flung about the room.
In the end, Amon was left with only torment and silence.