Blood and ash [A Shyvana and Jarvan short story]
First, a few words
Back in the day, before the rework on Shyvana's lore, there was a thread on Lore Discussion about how bad her background was and how could it be improved. I wrote a little story that time and posted it there, and now I'm bringing it back here for you guys to enjoy (I sincerly hope)
The cries came before the smoke. Two score of common folks rushed to the soldier’s column, screaming, without breath, that they were all in danger. “A monster! A monster! Please, save us!” they yelled between sobs and reddened eyes. One of the common folks tried to grab a soldier by his lance when this one ignored him, and the poor fellow flew and rolled on the floor before he stopped moving.
“What’s happening?” asked Jarvan Lightshield, the Forth of His Name. He had heard the commotion from the rearguard and had urged his mount to the vanguard. “What is this nonsense, lieutenant?”
Lieutennt Valen came next to him, bowing. “My lord. Is the villagers from Andras. They blocked our way and started assaulting us and scaring our horses with their cries and violence.”
Jarvan was not impressed. “This is Demacian territory. Such offenses can’t be tolerated…”
“Jarvan,” a voice interrupted. Jarvan looked back and saw the Captain of the Kingsguard, Xin Zhao, closing in rapidly on his horse. “Andras is under attack. The outriders have seen the smoke and heard the cries and came to me with the report. They were ambushed by the villagers. They don’t want to fight. They want protection.” The voice of the captain was cold. “They said a monster attacked, burning and killing men and women and children alike.”
Jarvan sniffed the air. It tasted slightly of ashes, and sulfur. When he raised his eyes, he saw a grey and tall column of smoke, far away, almost invisible. “Captain. You came with me. Valen.” Valen looked at him and rose. “Find me Garen and order him to go to Andras. We will wait him there.”
“We?” asked Valen.
Jarvan snorted. “Captain Zhao and I, lieutenant. I will not have a slow army hindering my hunt. Bring the soldiers and the common folks to Demacia. You’re in charge.”
Valen’s face betrayed him first. Then his words. “But… but… I can’t. If my lord would be so kind as to choose another for the task. I’m no good with commands.”
“Then I will have to take your head,” he said, cold eyes, colder words. “Find me Garen Crownguard. Come, captain. We’re leaving.” And with that, Jarvan and Zhao rode towards Andras.
The center of the town was a nightmare. Jarvan saw the fire and heard the screams and smelled the burned corpses. “A dragon!” someone called. “A demon! There’s so much fire!” another joined as they run. “Cowards!” a woman screamed at them from behind. “Bring water or the flame will burn our house and son!”
Jarvan jumped from his mount, and this reared and neighed. When Jarvan went to comfort him, the horse raised his legs and tried to attack. As Jarvan took a step back, the horse ran in retreat. He can smell the monster too, Jarvan reflected. I’m not late, he smiled. The anger was everywhere.
An old woman saw Jarvan and ran to him. “My dear prince.” She was breathless, shaking. “A monster. A red beast engulfed our town in flames. Our houses and fields. The water… We… I lost my son. And the son of my son too.” She was kneeling now. “I beg you. Please. Help us.”
Jarvan’s silence was his answer. He raised his hand and called for Zhao. “I need you to gather the survivors, then…”
“My lord.” Another villager approched. “We have sized the beast! Please. Come with us.”
Jarvan draw his weapon. This he had not expected. “Lead the way. Zhao, you wait.”
The place where Jarvan found the beast had been a house not so long ago. The flames had died out, but the heat and ashes still prevailed. “Where is it?” Jarvan inquired.
“There,” the person who had escorted him said. “Under the long, black sheet.”
Beside the house there was a huge bed sheet. Big and black and angry. Under it, a silhouette could be seen, rising and lowering as it drew breath.
“What happened?” Jarvan inquired, sensing a trap. “Why did it stop attacking?”
“I don’t know, my lord.” A young woman replied. “The monster saw me and tried to kill me. I saw the black sheet on the clothes line and tried to block the monster’s vision hiding behind it and then running. The monster tackled the sheet and the sheet landed all over it. Then the monster stopped moving.”
“Quit the nonsenses and tell me what happened!” Jarvan demanded. That was just stupid. The beast stopped attacking, they said? The villagers were taking him for a fool.
The woman gasped. “My lord. All I said is true, I swear. Petyr and Sansa and Eddard saw it as well. Ask them. I swear. I swear.”
“Have you seen under the sheet yet?” Jarvan asked again.
“No, my lord. We waited for you, since we hear you would come,” the woman said.
Jarvan readied his lance and went to where the monster was. As he got closer and closer, the lines under the sheet become more notorious. The monster was small, it seemed. It was lying with its belly against the soil and hiding its head behind its talons. It was alive. It was breathing.
The point of the lance came first. Jarvan poked the beast through the sheet and the beast did nothing. He tried again. He wanted the beast to wake and rise; to see him face to face. He wanted the beast to jump at him and die as fast.
After three pokes, Jarvan was displeased. “I’ll finish you quickly, then,” he whispered. And he removed the sheet.
“Oh, gods!” a villager screamed. “It can’t be!” said another. “I knew it! I knew it!”
Under the black sheet, there was a naked girl. Lean, small, not more than twelve, sleeping in such peace. Jarvan kneeled in front of her; his armored hand touching her red strands of hair. It smelled of fire and ashes and sulfur; her body was warm. He touched her chin and raised a little, to see her face.
“It’s her! The girl who survived the fire! She is a changeling!” the young woman said, and other joined. “She used to beg at my shop for food. When I said no, she looked at me with eyes full of anger,” and old man added. “An abomination! Kill her!”
But before the voices died down, the girl opened her eyes.
“… Ah…” she managed, with big, yellow eyes. “…What happened?”
“Kill her!” another called. “Kill that animal!”
The girl looked at Jarvan in the eyes, then she saw his lance on his feet. “… Please… don’t…”
Jarvan stood frozen. Yellow eyes. The scent of sulfur. The warm and scaled skin. She was a half-breed. A half dragon. “Abomination.”
The girl crawled a few steps back. “No… please… no…”
“Let me at her.” One on the mob screamed. “She killed my sister!” And Jarvan saw a stone bounce near her.
“Yes. Grab a stone. Kill her when she is weak!”
Another stone flew. And another. And Jarvan rose and walked away and saw how the rocks approaching. “Die!” Someone screamed. “You killed my father! My mother and my animals!”
“Please… don’t.” A stone hit the girl’s head, and the blood started to flow through her face. “Please… someone, help me!”
“She is asking for help! More changelings will come if we don’t finish her!” A man grabbed a long stick and charged. “I will avenge my family!”
“Wait!” Jarvan said. He walked in front of the mob. “It’s not a man’s place to do justice for his family. It’s the king’s duty.”
“But, my lord. She is a beast. A monster. A half-breed. You saw the destruction.”
“I see no monster. Only a girl.” Jarvan drove the tip of the lance against the earth. He crossed his arms. “I will have no stones. No sticks. No curses… She deserves a clean death.”
“Yes, my lord,” the man said, retreating. “Please. Kill her and give us the body.”
Jarvan nodded. “Very well.” He then turned and addressed the girl. “Rise.” She looked at him again, but said nothing. She did as she was commanded. “What’s your name?”
She was a normal girl, Jarvan saw. When she stood naked, he could see she wasn’t even a woman. So fragile. So scared. So lost. “You don’t have a name?”
The girl shook his head, trembling.
“All men should have a name. All men should be born before they die.”
They girl looked down, and saw her nakedness. She made a sound, and covered her breast and intimate place with her arms. When she met Jarvan’s eyes again, she said. “… My… mother… was called… Shyvana.”
Shyvana, the Goddess of Justice. How ironic, thought Jarvan. “Very well, Shyvana. I, Jarvan, the Forth of his Name, Crown Prince of Demacia, as justice commands, I sentence you to die for your sins.” He spoke with the voice of the law; cold and hard and just.
Shyvana grasped. “… No…. Please… Don’t.”
Jarvan drew his lance from the ground, his weapon answering with a mechanic sound.
“No… please… I beg you…” she added, tears flowing. “…Please… The blood…”
“The blood?” He asked in a lower voice.
“The blood of my father… It boils so much it hurts. I didn’t do anything… Why would you want to hurt me?” she replied, in a whisper so soft that only Jarvan could hear.
“You know who you are, don’t you?”
That question took her by surprise. “I’m a human. Like you.”
Folly. Folly, he wanted to scream! That was ridiculous. She was a half-breed. A life that was not meant to be… But she wasn’t lying, he saw. She was shaking, but her eyes did not. Her eyes were telling the true. All her body was telling the true. “No. I’m a human. The people in front of you are humans.”
“No. They’re monsters." The girl looked more confused than afraid. "They burned my house, they burned my mother. They have a different blood, that’s why they’re monsters. But my father and mother and you and I, we're different. We have the same blood. I’m human. So do you.”
No. No. No. It can’t be. “I don’t have your blood.”
She smiled a little, and drew her naked body closer. She wasn’t shaking anymore. “You are the same as my mother. You don’t have the blood, but you smell of the blood. I smelled you when you were close. A fragance so sweet. I was happy. I sensed you when you were with the other armored monsters. You were leading them to your city.”
“You knew me from that far?”
“Yes!” Her lips showed a radiant smile, so unnaturally beautiful. “I knew another human was going to see me. I was so happy… but then father’s blood got angry. He asked for my body and I gave it to him. I knew he wanted to kill the monsters before you came to see me, so you would not be displaced by their presences.”
Dragon’s blood. He did have dragon’s blood. He did smell like a dragon. All the dragons he had killed. All the blood that had stained him. “Was your father…?” Jarvan fought with the words. A beast? A dragon? A murderer? “…kind? To you and your mother?”
“Yes. He was. He taught me how to read the stars, and follow the wind and let his blood flow when I’m angry. He said I should welcome anyone who has the same blood as him; the same blood as me and mother, you and I. He taught me that was the rule of humans. That all we must do is protect each other.”
Dragon’s blood. All the dragons he killed could be fathers? All the dragons that attacked him were drawn to the blood of their brothers? All what the dragons wanted was justice? Revenge? “…It’s my fault.”
Shyvana made a confused look. “What fault? Why?”
He knew. He knew already. “I killed those people. I killed them when I walked near here…” Shyvana’s blood didn’t want to welcome him. It wanted to kill him and let loose the rage of her brothers; to avenge its kind. “It's all my fault.”
Shyvana smiled. “Why are you so sad? When my father was sad, my mother did this.” Shyvana extended her arms and brought Jarvan’s lips next to hers. Her mouth tasted like ashes and fire and strawberries, dry and wet at the same time. “This is called a kiss,” she said, when she finally let go. “My father liked it a lot. How about you? Did you like it? Are you still sad?”
So much was on his head. So much… He could not think…
I killed your kind. I thought of them as merely beasts; merely challenges. I may have killed you for no reason. You’re so innocent. Your blood wanted only justice, just as we Demacians do. Yet I basked in your kind’s blood with a smile on my face… I… I… “I’m going to save you from the monsters…” he said, only for the two of them to hear. “Just do what I tell you.”
“I will. I trust you. But don't be sad again. Would you promise me that?” she whispered, and kissed him again.
Very well written!
I really like your portrayal of Jarvan and Shyvana. This is well written and well thought out, I'll be looking forward to seeing more short stories from you!
Edited: I promised to take it out and wabam!
I've never seen anything like this. It...It's amazing.
Well done, sir.
but I have a question , I mean you mention shyvana having not more than twelve and then she kissed jarvan, are you implying that this shyvana is the same age as the ingame one or "not more than twelve"...
LOL Game of Thrones reference!
I love you for that.
Of course, champion Shyvana is way older than the younger one.
!!!! Soooooooo well written !!
Before I saw your article, I didn't like the 1st version lore of Shyvana, as I thought that it's not so moving as the 2nd and 3rd one. But now I've changed my idea. Can I translate this into Chinese and share it on forums in China? I'm from China and I hope that my friends can understand this article and like it. :3
Thank you very much for the kind words. I don't deserve them.
Also, you have all permission you need to translate and post. And if you already did and you're still around, can you tell me what the your guys thoughts on it? (Good or bad, I don´t care)
This is really well written...I always wantede to do a fanfic about Shyvana, but ended up writing one about Kayle. Kayle X Brandon is the name of it if u wanna read it. Also i've never really read the lore for jarvan or Shyvana but I absolutly loved reading this! :D
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