Transgression of the Radiant Dawn
Includes: Leona, Pantheon, Graves, and very briefly Ashe.
This was meant to be a short story, not an ongoing project. It's almost finished - all that needs to be added is the end. Let me know if you enjoyed it!
EDIT Conclusion added 9/7/12. I hope you enjoy my short Leona story!
Transgression of the Radiant Dawn
The heavy metallic thud of metal on marble echoed throughout the circular chamber as the armored woman fell to her knees in the center, red hair tousled and hanging across her battle-worn chest plate. It was no voluntary showing of subservience – a circle etched into floor glowed with a faint purple hue, laced with magic to subdue and overbear anyone contained.
Three hooded figures sat on elevated platforms before the kneeling woman, their faces obscured in darkness. The man seated in the middle stood, taking a single step forward, wavering voice betraying his age.
“Who stands before this Tribunal?”
A hollow, magically-constructed female voice answered from above them all, reverberating across the chamber.
“Leona of the Solari, Devotee of the Sun, Mistress of the Light by Day: The Radiant Dawn.”
The woman's eyes focused upwards, burning with passionate heat and defiance at the central figure standing above her. Sword and ornate shield lay directly behind her, merely two paces away.
“And with what crime is Leona of the Solari charged?”
“Political subterfuge amounting to attempted incitement of conflict; Failure to uphold the edicts sworn to upon entering the League.”
One member of the tribunal squirmed slightly in his seat, noticing the purple hue of the runic circle grow brighter as Leona herself started to faintly shimmer with bright light. The magic of the imprisoning circle strengthened to accommodate the rising anger of the woman contained.
“Where did these transgressions occur?”
“On the field, in the midst of battle.”
“Recount the events with particularity.”
The grass stood still and uninterrupted, swaying lightly in the wind before two figures drove violently forward, wind scattering as the pair dashed swiftly across the lane. Leona fought to keep her breath, pacing herself for the battle to come while keeping up with her partner despite heavy armor, sword and shield.
Finally the familiar turret appeared over the horizon, glowing with otherworldly energy. Her partner reached the fortification first, slamming his cloak-covered back against stone and snapping his customized shotgun open, loading a shell in the huge barrel. He spit a cigar from between his lips onto the ground, slamming the weapon closed and offering Leona a wicked grin. “Kind of you to join the party sugar, took ya long enough.”
Leona shot Graves an annoyed stare before moving forward, dashing into a wide patch of tall prairie grass bordering the southern wall. She briefly parted the vegetation with the tip of her blade, nodding for her partner to join her after scouting. The partnership was one of temporary convenience – Graves forged the brief alliance as a means for advancing in order to attain his vengeance against the magical card-wielder, and while neither found the others company particularly enjoyable, the combination of his gun and her shield had proven brutally effective.
Leona and Graves crouched down as they slowly advanced, the top of the enemy fortification coming into view. They reached the edge of their brush, knowing that the enemy likely lay just a few yards away. Leona dropped her shoulder, positioning the large ornate shield across her forearm and lifting the long, heavy sword towards the separated section of overgrowth directly across from the pair. She glanced at Graves, who gave a short, curt nod of understanding, lifting his shotgun.
Her weapon began to glow with the light of the sun, her eyes narrowed as she suddenly willed the accumulated energy straight forward, bridging the gap with a blade of magical sunlight. She felt the tip connect, reaching into the very soul of her unknown enemy as the light sought them out. Her legs left the ground, letting her true blade take her straight to her target into the overgrowth.
She let out a fierce battle cry as she was pulled impossibly fast into the midst of her enemy, but her voice caught in her throat as her eyes widened, sword taking her directly into view of Pantheon's glowing eyes, blade following it's light-charted course directly at his red breastplate.
An image flashed before Leona's eyes – two Rakkor children playing on the mountain they both called home, weapons fashioned from tree-limbs as they laughed and exchanged blows.
Her wrist twisted, blade grazing against Pantheon's side as she flew past him, digging the weapon into the soil to slow her forward momentum. She turned, eyes wide with horror at the sight of the enemy, Pantheon equally startled for a brief second. Graves' keen eye took advantage of that moment, and Pantheon let out a muffled grunt of pain as a smoking dent suddenly appeared in the middle of his armor, the loud sound of a shotgun blast filling the air. Pantheon swiftly retreated from the brush, stepping onto the grass of the open lane.
Leona stepped out, watching Pantheon stumble before feeling an arrow strike against her shoulder, the force of the shot sending her heels digging into the dirt, the dented spot frosted over and cool to the touch. The Frost Archer's eyes narrowed, calm and collected as her trained hands reached towards her quiver, stepping out from the opposite end of the dense prairie grass.
“Woman?! Fight!” Graves shouted in confusion from behind, cocking his weapon and taking aim at the archer, firing a shot only to be deflected by a swift shield, Pantheon darting into the line of fire. The wounded soldier leveled his spear directly at Graves and charged, a deep battle roar escaping his lips. Leona focused her eyes on Ashe, dashing forward and slamming her shield against the Archer, interrupting her next attack but receiving a swift elbow to the cheek in the process. The pair exchanged blows, Ashe skillfully using the back of her bow to guide Leona's sword away before quickly pulling the weapon back, letting a single arrow fire at close range. Leona cried out in mingled rage and pain, the shot bouncing from her breastplate but leaving a deep dent and a faint crack, forced back a few feet as a spider web of hoarfrost spread across her damaged armor.
Focusing, she swiftly imbued herself with the light of the sun, faintly glowing as she charged. Once Leona reached the Archer the energy expended, exploding directly before Ashe and singeing her cloak with heat. The blinding light gave Graves an opening – he detangled himself from Pantheon, shoulder bleeding as he lifted the gun and fired. Ashe grunted and her shoulder snapped back, the shot having connected. She started stepping backwards, falling back but firing a few warning shots at both Leona and Graves, trying to grant Pantheon the opportunity to retreat.
Pantheon dismissed the chance, roaring as he charged forward once more. Graves managed to deflect the spear with the barrel of his shotgun, but Pantheon shifted his arm, slamming the butt of the spear across Graves' face. Leona stood nearby, eyes shifting back and forth between the battling pair as Pantheon began to gain a slight advantage, forcing Graves to engage at close range.
Years of sparring together had given Leona insight into Pantheon's battle technique – she noticed the subtle shift in his stance as he gripped his weapon tighter, preparing to thrust forward for a killing blow. “Pantheon!” She yelled for the first time, the reason for her outburst lost even to her. The sound of her voice caused him to falter, spear lowering. Graves rolled to the side, snatching a red shell from his belt and jamming it into his shotgun, leveling it straight at Pantheon.
“NO!” Leona called out, rushing forward as an explosive round blasted large metallic chunks from Pantheon's armor, his body flying back and skidding against the dirt, spear falling from his fingertips. She reached him, kneeling and glancing into his eyes, some of the bloodlust having faded from his gaze.
“I don't know....what's going on....” Graves wheezed as he stumbled forward, bleeding and bruised, “...but take the shot or stand aside.”
Leona glared upwards at Graves, her body shimmering faintly with sunlight as anger began to boil over. “No.”
“We both knew....of the possibility....” Pantheon grunted from the ground, glancing up at Leona. “Better you than him.”
“No. I won't. Not my own kind, and never you.”
Graves spit on the ground, leveling his weapon straight at the wounded Rakkor warrior. “This is touching and all, but I've got a battle to win.”
Leona stood, positioning herself between Graves and Pantheon, the light surround her body growing brighter. “I said no. Stand down.”
Graves snarled before darting swiftly to the side, quicker than Leona expected in his wounded state, and cocked his shotgun, prepared to land a killing blow.
“I SAID NO!” Leona roared, aiming her sword straight into the air as a column of sunlight fell from the sky, blinding and searing heat dropping across Graves' body, enveloping him. His body flew back from the force of the magical sunlight, an angry roar of pain escaping him as Leona immediately grasped Pantheon's arm, hoisting him up as the pair stumbled into the dense vegetation of the adjacent jungle in an attempt to escape the stunned Outlaw.
Leona all but dragged Pantheon to a nearby tree, setting him at the base. “What are...you doing? You can't....Just end it. Take your victory...” Pantheon mumbled. Leona ignored him, listening for any sounds of pursuit and stepping away from Pantheon, retreating into nearby brush and waiting.
Graves was less than subtle. “LEONA!!!” He yelled as he stumbled into the jungle, body steaming from the heat of Leona's blast, adding to the injury of the previous battle. “I won't let you keep me from my win, you traitor!” Graves roared, limping forward, getting closer to the hidden pair, following the tracks of dragging feet. He finally came upon Pantheon's body slumped against the tree, having lost consciousness. “Heh...well this makes things easier...” He muttered, aiming the weapon straight at the unconscious, wounded warrior.
Leona charged from the brush, slamming her shield directly into Graves' back. Air forced from his lungs at the strength of the blow and gun falling from his fingertips, he fell at Pantheon's feet. He turned, glancing upward at Leona with rage filled eyes. “Consider our partnership over.” she spat down at him, turning her blade to the side and striking Graves across the side of his head with the blunt side of the weapon, knocking him instantly unconscious from the force of the impact.
The hollow construct voice finally receded, last traces of her emotionless tale echoing across the high circular room. Silence hung heavy in the air for a moment, interrupted only by the magical buzz of Leona’s runic prison straining under her defiant will.
The elder figure seated in the middle rose once more, taking a single step forward. His feeble voice quaked as he spoke, hood still obscuring his features. “The charges have been levied. The facts recounted in detail. Before private deliberation begins, the accused may speak in her defense. Have you anything to say?”
Leona’s gaze lifted to the elevated platform above her, eyes blazing with rage at the shadowed figures – her very life in the hands of three faceless strangers. One palm pressed into the glowing etched circle beneath her, faint purple hue of the runes growing brighter as she moved to a kneeling position. The two cloaked figures seated behind the old man exchanged nervous glances beneath their hoods, though the standing elder simply watched. She shoved upwards with her gauntlet-covered hands, trying to stand, ornate armor feeling heavier the more she struggled – doubling in weight, tripling in weight. Finally her legs straightened, shoulders hunching forward from the magically-induced strain. The bright purple of the runic circle imprisoning her turned to a deep crimson as her eyes stared into the darkness under the elder’s cowl. “Nothing,” she spat upwards in defiance.
The old man flicked his wrist in minor annoyance and a sharp cry fell from Leona’s lips, her knees slamming downward into the stone circle once more. He muttered something under his breath, and Leona realized that the elder alone was the source of the impressive magical energy of the room. Glowing runes suddenly began to lift, peeling from the ground, wrapping around her wrists and chaining her to the edges of the confinement. Suddenly the circled portion of stone began to rise from the marble floor, sword and shield left on the ground below, body bound to the lifting stone circle as it flew straight upwards into the air. Leona managed to glance upwards at the nearing marble roof, a perfect circular opening apparent. The stone slammed roughly into the open hole, fitting seamlessly and leaving her suddenly bound and chained on the roof of the compound, unable to listen as the Tribunal discussed her fate.
The cruelly-constraining magical binding relented slightly – a showing of mercy from the elder below – allowing Leona to shift and move slightly within the circle, attaining some small degree of comfort. She glanced at the mountains surrounding the isolated compound, light from the receding sun shimmering over the distant treetops. Her perception of time faded as her comforting sunlight slowly disappeared. Two hours? Three? Slowly Leona’s fiery red hair began to fall across her face as her chin lowered towards her breastplate, the strain of the hard-fought controversial battle of the previous day, a sleepless night, and effort of fighting against the old man’s overpowering magic taking their collective toll. Her eyes slowly closed, and the tenseness faded from her body.
Leona’s eyes snapped open as the magical buzzing in her ears suddenly increased, preceding the stone shifting below her knees. The magical constraints tightened once more as she was slowly lowered back into the chamber, managing to catch the faint glimmering of sunrise before her vision was obscured. The elder slowly came into view, no longer accompanied at either side by robed figures, and his own cloak pulled back. She glanced at his short, white hair and battle-scarred face, his eyes almost shimmering with ethereal blue and silver wisps hanging from his chin and hard jaw-line. The loud sound of the heavy, etched-stone circle falling back into the marble floor boomed throughout the chamber.
The old man stared at Leona for a moment, his eyes emotionless, betraying nothing.
“Ours is a fragile peace, Solarian. The world has been ravaged by the rage and power of its inhabitance far too many times. We have pushed it to the brink with war and chaos, and threatened to tear it asunder in our battle-lust. Irreparable harm has already been done, and the Fields of Justice are our last hope for continued existence. Simply put, you fight so that the world may live.”
Leona’s hardened gaze softened slightly at the sincerity of the Elder’s voice, having expected cruelty and pain.
“That fragile peace, so vital for our magically-scarred world, is threatened when the edicts are violated. You are not Leona on the battlefield – you are the physical embodiment of an ideal, a country, a political party, the manifestation of isolated conflict to resolve disputes. This is what you swore to, and in your most recent fight you broke that oath. You did not fight for others; you fought for yourself. You could have shoved us over the edge into outright war by disrupting the balance of the League and the Institute. You could have indirectly traded the entire world for a childhood friend. The reality is harsh, but it is true.”
His tone hardened, voice laced with admonition and authoritative chastising. Leona did not avert her eyes, but her defiance faded. She understood.
“Despite this all-important purpose, the Tribunal also acknowledges that the Field of Justice serves another end. It has become a source of inspiration for the inhabitants of Runeterra, watching the conviction and skill of our Champions. They see the spectrum of character in its most vivid extremes – ruthless cunning, overpowering strength, unfathomable knowledge and, from time to time….”
The old man offered a faint, gentle smile.
His palm raised and the purple hue slowly faded from the stone, Leona’s armored body no longer bound. She glanced upwards at the kindness in the elder’s face, having spent a large portion of the night preparing to face unimaginable cruelty and pain.
“You are free to go, Devotee of the Sun. That is the decision of the Tribunal.”
The elder took two steps back, sinking down into the middle seat once more as Leona slowly stood to her feet. She hoisted her shield once more over her arm, taking her sheathed weapon into her hand and offering a slow, appreciative nod towards the Tribunal leader before turning, exhaustion weighing down each step as she started to exit the chamber.
“Leona…” the old man called out, voice soft as she reached the open exit of the compound. She turned, glancing back at him.
“The number of battles on the Field are many, and the amount of champions small by comparison. You need to prepare yourself for the inevitable. I cannot guarantee the outcome of a second transgression.”
Leona paused, glancing down at the marble floor in thought before slowly looking up and nodding again. She walked through the narrow marble hallway, stepping back out into the light of early morning. With a deep, invigorating and grateful breath, she slowly began to follow the trail leading from the mountains.
Magnificent, best thing I've read in some time.
needless to say love it but also we'll probably change when the ending is shown for better or for worse I look forward
I'll finally get the conclusion done in the next day or so. It will be a resolution of Leona's 'trial.'
Shameful, self-serving bump.
Incredible. You certain deserve those bumps sir, I've rarely read anything as good as your first chapter right there. Your sentence direction is spot on, and in particular, the flow of your language was very professional. I rarely did I ever feel like I was reading a fanfic. Don't know why you haven't gotten more replies, (jealously, maybe?) but I'm looking forwards to the conclusion, any other works.
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