Original Draft: Life After Death

Going back to sleep was not happening, so Amon decided to take a walk to clear his head. It was still dark outside, but he knew the hovel of Gridania was as safe and well-guarded as a backwater place could be.

He didn’t escape the notice of the tavern keeper, Miounne, as he stepped out of his room.

One has to wonder if she ever sleeps.

“Is everything okay, Amon?” she asked, peering over the top of paperwork she was sorting.

Amon had been around there long enough to be on a first name basis with a few of the locals. Her concern for him was genuine, as it was for all travelers who passed through.

She’s quite a dear, really.

“Yes,” he answered smoothly, offering a half smile to accent the lie. “Just decided to take in some morning air, if that’s alright.”

“By all means,” Miounne responded quickly. She was used to this sort of thing. “Let me know if you need anything.”

“Thank you,” Amon gave a very slight bow before heading out.

The sound of rushing water passing through the creaking waterwheel was lulling. The wind shifting through the ancient trees cast about the fragrance of flowers and life. Though the moon hung heavy on the horizon, the rustic peace of Gridania was still in every breath Amon took.

Things were fuzzy after the battle in the Tower. He wasn’t fully certain how he’d ended up in Gridania, but a part of him was grateful for it.

It was a good starting point for someone who’d lost his way. A larger city might have been too much for his new body’s senses to acclimate to. Sometimes the smallest, easiest things he used to take for granted were now an imposing challenge.

So many bugs to work out.

Amon was starting from nothing in a land that had changed so much that he no longer knew it. Allag, the empire he’d lived in his whole life, was now nothing more than legends and history to excavate. In fact, from what he gathered, the Allagan Empire was thought to be nothing but a fairytale until only just recently.

How could everything glorious we built… all we accomplished… amount to nothing more than a bedtime story for the people of this future?

Not knowing what else to do, Amon chose to embed himself into the local culture. He knew nothing about these primitive people or their nations. But he had to learn if he was going to survive.

Maybe Xande was right. It is all for nothing…

Amon stopped that train of thought quickly, pressing his hands to his temples. He gulpled in warm air, a reminder that he was alive.

No… I can’t let…

The sound of creaking armor from an approaching Wood Wailer was loud in his ears, warning him that he wasn’t alone. He forced himself into a more casual stance as the figure rounded the corner. The guard simply walked by, ignorant of Amon’s internal meltdown, even giving the Elezen a nod as his patrol took him down the cobbled paths.

Amon nodded back, fighting to keep his expression neutral. He couldn’t let any of this show. The last thing he could afford was to raise warning flags among the populace.

That’s right… I’m nothing but a common, average adventurer… just looking to live hand to mouth.

That, at least, had a slight ring of truth to it.

Seeing that there were plenty of jobs for adventurers in this town, Amon took the opportunity to blend in. The people were used to travelers moving about, as long as those travelers provided some benefit for the town. That seemed fair enough.

Though his options were limited, Amon chose to take up training at the Archer’s Guild. There, he found a chance to physically hone his mind-body coordination through a rather focused and relaxing sport.

Once he worked up to it, he took on odd jobs. There were plenty to go about. From basic hunting to culling to reinforcing the guard… Amon managed to make enough to survive and pay his room and board. In the meantime, he was earning a name with the right people, learning how to function in this new society… and was even… possibly… moving towards applying to the Grand Company.

Yes, this was all a huge fall from grace for someone like him. He couldn’t say that he was pleased with this station in life. But Amon was alive. And until he got his head on his shoulders, he didn’t have a lot of options.

And now, this happens…

Dark dreams. Darker future. The past closing in on him, dragging him back into the grave. There would be no making a new, better life for Amon.

That was not the justice of this world.

The past doesn’t forget wickedness of my sort…

No, Amon didn’t deserve a quiet life among the peasants. Or even the life of someone who worked up to greatness again.

Deep down, he knew he hadn’t really changed. If he saw an opportunity to transcend, he’d drop all this common-folk stuff in a heartbeat. It never mattered who he had to step on to get the things he wanted… why was that any different now?

What am I doing here… trying to fool these people… and fool myself? Just waiting in my quiet inn room for madness to come and rip me apart?

One fist balled at his side, a motion his body made on its own.

Even you agree with me, don’t you? We’re made for things so much greater than this.

A deeper perspective fell into place as the last of the fireflies began to fade into the oncoming morning. Amon breathed in the air one last time. He knew what he had to do.

If there’s to be a curtain call, I’m going to make it a show this world will never forget.