Aether Sick - Part 3

Date Posted: December 9, 2019

This chapter was written in collaboration with Scylla.

Amon took all of this in silently. He tried very, very hard not to let the cold chill of fear show on his face. After all he’d done, all the death he caused, both intentional and not… did he have a right to fear his own demise?

And yet, he did. Deep down, he had the same reaction any creature who desired life had.

The Elezen tried to school his reaction, dipping his head and scrubbing his fingers through his already scraggly hair. Should he laugh? Should he cry? After years and years of suppressing everything, he didn’t even know how to properly respond.

“Sounds like an awful lot of trouble to go through to save my lousy tail,” he finally said, voice more choked with feeling than he wanted it to be. “Save your efforts for someone who deserves it… ‘tis unlikely there are any proper tools or resources to create something to make for a safe aether release in this time and place.”

Amon cast his gaze out the window, his voice somber. “You’ll not have to worry about fighting with me anymore, aye? You’ll be the last of our people left, and with Allag forgotten, no one will be any the wiser.” 

“That’s it?” Scylla suddenly broke from her calm demeanor. “After all the trouble you caused in your efforts to save your own tail, you just give up like that?”

Amon’s eyes widened. “After all the trouble I’ve caused in efforts to save my own tail, I’d expect you to be happy to see me lose it.”

Scylla gave him a deep gaze. “If I wanted you to die, I wouldn’t have made the choice to tell you anything.”

“As for the old Empire….” The woman put her hands square on the sides of her hips. “You and I both know that I am not the last Allagan. There were others asleep in the Tower… they cannot sleep forever. They’ll wake up to another world. Maybe a better world without us complicating matters.”

“I know…” Scylla turned away with a sigh. “I shouldn’t have brought that up.” 

“This decision does not come lightly… and should not be made now in the presence of someone like myself.” Scylla frowned. “Talk with the others… Koh, Zuri, Mocho… maybe even Ben.” Scylla stared Amon in the eye. “People that matter in your life, your friend… maybe they can give you better guidance than your most hated rival.”

“I… can’t talk to them,” he murmured. “Koh is fairly aware of the basic situation, and apparently so is Ben. But Zuri knows nothing of my past or my troubles. Besides, she’s on her own journey right now. And Mocho… well… who knows what that spy knows.”

Amon sighed.

“They’re not really my friends. They’re just people who… happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and got wrapped up in my situation. I’ve mostly tried to keep them out of it, to be honest.”

He pursed his lips.

“You know that if I had a choice, I want to survive. I don’t know why I’d be successful in surviving the fall of the Tower only to self-implode here and now like this. It doesn’t make sense. But perhaps that’s the hand I’ve been dealt.”

“They are really not your friends?” Scylla put her hands down on the bed. “What makes a friend to you, Amon? Do they have to live up to an impossible standard? Or are you just too afraid to simply admit that you are close to them.”

The woman closed her eyes. “Sometimes I have to remember that about you. You know, I shouldn’t get angry at the way you bluster, because you are simply trying to push people away… maybe because you don’t want to feel the pain of losing them again.” 

The white mage looked away. “That is something I can understand.”

“Or maybe I just know that I’m bad news for anyone I get involved with,” he grumbled. “This was never supposed to be a long-term situation. If what you want me to say is that I care about these people, then aye. I care about them enough not to expose them to all this Allagan nonsense.”

Amon threw his hands up.

“What do you think they’ll feel knowing this? If they care at all about me, which I… do not know their hearts… then ‘twould only put worry and strife they don’t need to carry to know my illness. Not that long ago, I didn’t exist to them. Why should it matter for them to know that I may not exist to them again, very soon?”

“Because just maybe they deserve to know what is happening with you… they are the only family that you have left.” Scylla frowned at Amon. “To think that you are just a fleeting memory to those who care about you… that is to dishonor their hearts. My father remembered you to the day of his death.”

The white mage bit her lip, wiping the sides of her eyes quick.

“I’ll not break my oath as a healer and tell them… You have time to think about this. It is up to you to tell them the truth.”

He took note that she did not include herself in that statement of people who cared about him. Not that he blamed her.

Scylla was trying very hard to be business-like in her dealings with him, he could tell. But at the mention of her late father, she couldn’t help but show a hint of emotion.

“I… have a lot to think about,” Amon finally said.

He didn’t know how he felt at the moment, dealing with the news, or if he could deal with the feelings of others at this point.

“I’m not sure what to do about myself, much less them… but I can’t waste time twiddling my thumbs. That much is for sure.”

He grit his teeth.

“If only I had access to the Tower… my lab… everything I need, I could build from there…”

The Elezen propped his head against his palm.

“Where can I get such materials for such a delicate procedure here?” 

What a rotten situation.

“I don’t know. Ben has some thoughts of where to start.” Scylla sighed, looking towards the outside into the hall. “I’ve never tried anything this big… or complex even in Allag… but…”

The white mage paused for a moment, before taking his hand. “Amon, you may have done some terrible, terrible things…” She closed her eyes once more. 

“But no, I don’t want you to die.”

With that, she left Amon alone to think.