This chapter was written in collaboration with Scylla.
The Adder’s Nest.
The headquarters for the Gridanian Grand Company. This was where Ben was instructed to bring his Allagan charges once they were retrieved. Amon and Scylla weren’t to be taken into custody just yet. But, the mage knew that those whom he would report to shortly weren’t going to take any more risks at this point.
The Gridanians wanted the Allagans right where they could be observed and restrained… in case any malarkey did come up. Honestly, Ben didn’t blame them. From what he sensed in both Allagans, they could tip one of two ways: Extremely dangerous… or quite helpful.
It all depended on the choices that were made that day. And a lot of it rested on his ability to talk through the situation as he saw it.
Ben motioned Amon and Scylla into the barracks. It was a homey little wooden room, with tables and training equipment for new trainees. It was now silent and devoid of recruits. Instead, two members of Amon’s Free Company were there, having been informed of his capture and return.
The Miqo’te girl alternated between looking relieved and staring daggers into Amon’s face. The Lalafell – Mocho – remained stoic and quiet, observing the procession with the air of aged wisdom.
“Well, here they are,” Ben told Mocho. “I hope you can keep them out of trouble while I make my report.”
The Lalafell frowned grimly, quickly catching the seriousness of the situation. Then he nodded. “Do what you deem best, Master Benjamin.”
The mage nodded, just as grim. As Ben headed out of the barracks, he recited what he would need to say silently in his head over and over again. Despite all of his intentions, even he wasn’t sure how this would turn out in the end.
Scylla sat down, leaning back in the old scuffed wooden chair with no sign of grace that would befit a princess. Her eyes turned down focused on the swirling knots of the table, though she was partially relieved that Koh’s angry gaze was mostly focused on Amon’s face than anything else in the room. The other man – a Lalafell, spoke nothing, though his visage did not look impressed with either of the Allagans and all of their glorious exploits of late.
Her eyes sported to the door on the far side of the room, and then dropped down to the bandaging around her ankle. Normally, she felt that she might have a chance to run for it, but her wounds had left her at the mercy of Ben, these strangers, and of course, Amon.
Scylla scratched her nails into the knots in the wooden table, back and forth as a cat sharpening claws.
Why him? Why did it have to be Amon? Everything would have been perfect had he not come back and ruined my life… For a second time!
The white mage gave a huff of frustration as she looked over to him, before turning her gaze back to the table.
Amon knew he was in trouble.
It was a feeling he hadn’t had for many, many years… not since he was a grad student who was starry-eyed and wet-behind-the-considerably-long-ears. Back before he’d gained fame among his peers and the technologist community… back before people stopped looking too closely at the right-and-wrong of his outcomes, and more at the success of his outcomes themselves.
Suffice to say, that when he saw the… pure disappointment… etched on Koh and Mocho’s faces upon his entry into the room, Amon wasn’t quite sure how to hold himself. Normally, this was the point where he’d put on the actor’s air, cut a few jokes, lighten the room, and spin something to put himself in a better light.
But something told the Elezen that his companions knew exactly what he did. And no tale he spun would override the breach of trust he’d created with his actions.
Amon sat down at the wooden table at some distance from Scylla, finding nothing to say.
Thankfully, Koh’s attention and curiosity turned away from him, though not with a flicker of expression that told him clearly – We’ll discuss this later. The cat-girl’s eyes drifted to Scylla, the way someone would observe something that had just stepped out of a story book.
“You are… uh…” the scholar stopped talking as soon as she caught sight of Scylla’s royal red Allagan eyes, understanding what she saw. As usual, she’d tried to gather a brave approach, and in her typical way, didn’t get far with the delivery. Instead, all she managed to say was, “Scylla..?”
“Koh?” Scylla answered back, eyes darting up to the Miqo’te’s nervous face.
“Ahh, I now understand why you didn’t recognize me when I first came to your door.”
Scylla frowned, before looking down again at the table, continuing to trace her finger along the knot pattern.
“You would certainly be expecting a six-headed dog monster speaking in High Formal-Allagspeech, compliments of your friend over there.”
The white mage nodded her head over to Amon, before looking back at the two company members before them.
“The truth is, I don’t know who I am.” Scylla explained. “Unlike Amon, I had a life and identity here before being rudely lied to, kidnapped, and forced to recall everything… Every torturous memory so that he could reclaim his rightful place as the puppeteer of a void-tainted society.”
“So yes.” She closed her eyes, taking a deep breath. “I remember everything now. All that was lost.”
Her breath seethed between her lips, enunciating every syllable of the following words from her mouth. “I remember every second of torture -he- put me through until I fell to the sword and spell of the Warrior of Light and companions.”