This chapter was written in collaboration with Scylla.
Amon’s pensive expression was replaced by something a little more unreadable as he found himself unsure of how to respond to her. Two things made this complicated.
First… he was absolutely not used to having this kind of… positive and concerned… attention draped over him by Scylla. In fact, it was almost disturbing… though he was certain that was not her intention.
She had been taken in by the healer’s guild and she was acting her part. She thought he was ill and responded as a healer would. Nothing more.
So why did it grate on something in the caverns of his soul to accept behavior that almost was… kind… and so uncharacteristic… from this woman who looked like his old rival?
Second, was the question she posed. The last thing he wanted her to know was that his form was broken and didn’t fully work the way it should. But she’d been observing him more than he realized.
Gritting his teeth, the bard cooked up a quick reply, his face forced into a sad smile that he hoped would match the sentiment.
“Ah, this? ‘Twas an incident and now my motor skills aren’t quite what they used to be. Interferes with my performance. Some days are worse than others, I’m afraid.” He noted that even to his eyes, his hand was more shaky than usual. “But I’ve been working on it – I’ve learned some methods in Yanxia that have been helping. I’ve just been a little lax with it lately. This ship pitches so much.”
“Incident?” Scylla raised an eyebrow.
This might be indicative of neurological damage. He might have really taken that blow to the head.
She suddenly was worried that she was taking a hopeless journey with a lunatic that had escaped from the Gridianian Sanatorium.
But he did know who I was… and even as scrambled as he might be, there may be clues hidden in that head to my past.
With that resolve, the white mage pulled on her shirt, and took Amon’s hand by the sleeve, starting examining the health of his fingers.
“Perhaps you could explain this… incident?” Scylla started wiggling his fingers back and forth while motioning to her face with her free hand.
“And take off that silly visor, will you? I need to examine your eyes.”
It took every ounce of Amon’s resolve not to yank his arm free from the White Mage’s grasp. He thought that offering her a little bit of the truth would pacify her. But true to the Scylla he once knew, she wouldn’t settle for anything but the whole shebang.
Being touched and handled was bad enough, but when it came to her final request, his whole body grew rigid. He was taken too much off guard to find a passable excuse. As he grew more anxious, the first thoughts that came to mind slipped from between his lips.
He silently cursed himself, knowing two little hasty words were going to cause him more trouble than anything he’d done so far.
Scylla had half a mind to reach up and remove the visor.
And the hat.
Possibly the head attached to it.
And send them all flying into the sea.
But then she remembered the ‘extra-special-individual-class’ on patient compassion that Brother E-Sumi-Yan had with her in the glade. Three times over he had mentioned that her skill with healing was excellent, but that tying down the patient or knocking them out with a repose enchantment was not an acceptable way of getting compliance.
“Why can’t you remove the hat?” She inhaled a deep breath as she examined his other hand. “Do you need me to help you?”
It would just be so much easier just to put him to sleep!
Amon straightened, having a bit more time to formulate a response. He peered down at her with pursed lips and spoke quietly.
“Are there no rules for patient confidentiality amongst healers the conjurer’s guild? If we must discuss the… incident… I’d much prefer to do that in private.” He gave a glance at the crew who strode up and down the deck, paying them no mind. But it didn’t matter. “Same for the visor. I can remove it. I just prefer not to… in front of other people.”
Scylla just shook her head.
“Confidentiality? There is no confidentiality anywhere on this tiny little ship, Amon.” Scylla frowned.
“Can’t you see that I am not the type of healer that you see holed up in a cushy treehouse in Gridiania. We don’t have time for these luxuries out in the field. I can’t have you dying on me out there in the wilderness, because I ignored a little symptom here and there.”
She gave him a pointed look, laying out her concerns in a blunt fashion.
“And lately, you’re acting as if you don’t trust me?” She narrowed her eyes, speaking her mind. “Perhaps some other, unpleasant memories have floated to the surface?”
Scylla poked the end of his fingers with a pricking-probe.
“How do I know that you aren’t my greatest enemy?”
“Your greatest wha– ow!” Amon jerked back as she poked his fingertips with a device. “You’re not supposed to make the pain worse, my dear!”
He finally did withdraw his hand with a soft huff.
“I’m not ailing, and I don’t think I’m going to die from this. If I do, then perhaps it’s long overdue,” the Bard muttered. “The self-same incident that took your memories is the one I’m referring to. Let’s just say ’twas a near-death incident for me. I was treated in much the same way you were, by those of the Conjurer’s Guild in Gridania. Kan-E-Senna herself gave me a clean bill of health.”