To the Edge of Light's Reach (Lux and Katarina)
Somewhat revised chapters 1-11 posted.
Little summary: Luxanna Crownguard did indeed pass the Judgment of the League, though only barely, but what are her true motives for joining the League of Legends? There is more to her than just her disarming smile.. Rated M for very coarse language, descriptive and detailed violence, and adult themes.
1. My Katarina is "old lore" version. I am not changing her after all my planning.
2. This isn't your conventional pairing. It has a plot, which is the focus, not "OMG, let's make out for 5 chapters." There will be some scenes, apparently (my characters just recently decided upon this for me), but it will be used to fuel further encounters in the future. If your looking for a place to bang one out, this is probably not your story. My bad. (Check out WaddleBuff's stuff instead)
3. I despise the useless Lux who needs someone to rescue her. She can be kind, yes, but she's not a child in an adult's body. Given her lore and Judgment, there's so much more to her. If you like your typical "I'm super girly and can't even squish a bug on my own!" Lux, then maybe you won't want to read this. Chapter One is the "softest" Lux will ever be portrayed.
Ch.1: The Welcoming Party
Her body sunk into the supporting back of the chair as fatigue nestled in her bones. Most of her hair was trapped behind her small shoulders, and the skirt of her armor twisted uncomfortably beneath her legs. The thought of moving, though, was far too monumental for her to consider fixing either. She even still clutched her worn-out traveler's bag in her hands, hands too tense to relax their stranglehold on the straps.
Rays of light streamed through the window from the sun which had just passed its zenith. The glass was a piece of unique craftsmanship and worked like a prism, scattering rainbows across the polished floorboards, the plush rug beneath her boots, and on a golden lock that refused to stay tucked behind her ear. The designer had intended for the décor to revolve around the special glass and had made everything white, giving the viewer a crystal clear sight of each radiant part of the rainbow. Every passing moment changed the way the colors danced about the room as the sun made its descent.
With time, her bag slipped from her grasp, tumbling to the floor beneath. She felt so utterly exhausted that retrieving it felt a daunting task. Fatigue weighed down her every muscle. If she could only stay like that, curled up in the comforting velvet arms as warm colors tickled her face, she would have hid there until the end of her days. The soft scraping sounds of boot heels coming and going just beyond her door reminded her, however, that time would not stop just for her. Time is no one's mistress.
"Things won't change if you stay here," she whispered to herself. "Everything seems worse in your head. You can do this," she continued to reason and reassure, and a perfected smile formed. With enough smiling, perhaps she could believe the one she showed on her lips. "Maybe this could be fun."
A booming thud against her door destroyed the tranquility of her loose meditation, and the young woman nearly fell over the side of the chair. Before she could chide herself for being so startled, her head was engulfed by waves of dizziness thanks to the sudden motion as her already weary mind, and rainbows already scattered across the room blurred together across her vision. "Watch where the f**k you're going next time!" a harsh feminine voice hissed from the other side of the door.
"Me? Why not watch where the f**k you're going, b***h, or we'll have an anatomy lesson to explore your entrails!" replied an equally furious young man, hoping to match his opponent's ferocity. Lux took in a deep breath and closed her eyes to combat the images of her dizziness. As a focusing exercise, she attempted to piece together the scenario that was transpiring outside her door while trying to match the voices and behaviors to the many biographies she had memorized during her stay at the Academy.
Thwack! Her eyelids snapped open to see the majority of a steel-tipped weapon had lodged itself in her door. "You won't have time to pull out your books," the female countered.
"You... you- crazy b***h!" he stuttered. "You could have killed me! The League w-"
"Will prevent nothing," the icy voice interrupted, "because they know that if I wanted you dead, whatever friends you have would already be at the funeral." The woman's tone sent shivers down Lux's spine. It was no ordinary threat but instead death's promise. Could it be...? "Come find me when your balls finally drop so we can have a real match," she taunted.
"Save it for the Fields of Justice," intervened a third voice, deep and resonating, from down the hall.
"Oh goodie. He's back," the female growled, and the weapon was removed, giving the door a new peephole. "We'll settle this soon, little boy, but if you cry out for mommy, know there won't be a *** to suck on materializing in front of you."
Light footsteps wandered away, so quietly Lux almost missed them entirely, while purposeful ones strode closer to the scene. "How many times have we asked you to not seek out fights with her outside the Fields, Ezreal?" At the mention of his name, Lux immediately recalled his profile as Piltover's finest explorer. His uncharacteristic belligerence astonished her as she recalled more information, but she had to consider the other in the dialogue. Perhaps that truly was one of her strengths to bring out the worst in anyone, she mused.
"How many reports does it take to get her out of here?" he countered. "She's the absolute worst!"
"Clearly not enough with either case. Get moving before there is an official report that includes your role in the matter." Ezreal shuffled away and muttered things under his breath, things Lux could not quite catch but was no fool to not have guessed.
The door then opened without as much as a knock, and in entered a man befitting of his commanding voice. Finding one to match his height was quite rare but to also match his muscular physique was unheard of. His bulky armor added layers to his broad chest, causing him to seem far larger and more intimidating, which might have been part of the plan. This did not mean he was undeserving of the illusion, though. He was a seasoned warrior who carried himself tall both on and off the battlefield and had been named Captain of Demacia's elite regiment of soldiers, the Dauntless Vanguard. Even she found herself ever so slightly shrinking from his presence before she shook the notion away as she stood up to greet him.
"Not even a little knock? How rude," she dared to joke to ease her discomfort.
"I see you finally collected yourself from the floor and relocated here," Garen returned harshly.
"...that was a bit far, don't you think?"
He closed his eyes and sighed, taking a moment to recollect himself. "Perhaps," he acquiesced. She stepped away from the velvet white armchair and gestured for him to take a seat, and after a moment's consideration, he accepted. He knew from experience that towering over people did not make for easy conversations. "You have been accepted into the League of Legends. I offer my congratulations."
"I offer my appreciation of your acceptance," came her stiff reply. His words did not actually offend her, but she had to present herself in a different light.
"Please. Do not make this any harder than this has to be."
"Harder than what? Than what has already happened?" she asked. It sounded innocent enough to pass undetected, but she was phishing, easily playing the man through her game. A small pang of guilt voiced its opinion in the back of her mind, but she needed to know. Were her efforts, her aching muscles, her lightheadedness all for naught?
"No. Harder than what is already expected to come. While your Judgment took time to have a proper ruling, that was a meager test of what will be asked of you. As a member of the Crownguard family, you will be expected to serve as an icon for Demacia that all can look to for guidance and strength. You will be under the vigilant eye of the public. You will not disgrace the crest that you wear with your actions. Is this understood?" Her head reeled with the implications and information her had let slip between his words but disguised her pleasure from her brother. Instead, she had to continue her role.
"Can't you say something sweet like you're proud of me or happy to see me, Garen?" she asked, and it was honest enough, manipulation ceasing momentarily. She had missed him in the long years they had been apart, and a small part of her hoped that perhaps they could grow close again, as they had when she was a child…
The warrior sighed again, and she noticed the deep lines of exhaustion etched in his face. Or were those the passing years? "Luxanna, of course I am proud of you and all you have accomplished. Not only because of the honor you have brought to the Crownguard name, but also as a brother happily watching over you as you make a name for your own. And of course I am overjoyed to see you standing here with me, but I cannot show that. We have a name to uphold, and we cannot allow others to spread rumors of favoritism. If you for some reason received special treatment, what would that suggest? "
"That I had a brother that adores me as much as I love him?"
Garen shook his head stubbornly, as predicted. "No. It would show that we are just as corrupt as the rest of them, and how would that reflect on Demacia? If you keep your nose clean, then I do not have to make a call about what to do with you. Two minions with one dagger. Surely a tactical mind like yours can understand, right?"
"I just don't understand why you think I'm going to screw up," she pressed the point a bit further, sifting through his mind without his knowledge. "If you keep telling me I'm going to, then I'm probably going to. I thought I was doing well."
"And you are. Relatively speaking, of course. This is just... a pre-emptive measure." She nearly sighed aloud with relief, but naturally her face remained neutral. "A gentle reminder that, even though you are miles from your home, you are still bound there. Just as I am. I cannot be the warm and gentle brother we both wish I could be to you. My duty is to push you to always strive for excellence, even if we do not enjoy the methods." He rose to his feet and made his way towards the door. "I will see to it that the hole is repaired swiftly. I will have to file a report on the incident anyway due to the property damage. Someone will get to it soon."
"I offer m- Thanks, brother," Lux said, purposefully relaxing her speech again.
"I'm sorry, my dearest Lux." He closed the door behind him.
"Not as much as I am," she whispered to the empty armchair, then she shook the feeling away.
Despite Garen's other words, he had brought her the most crucial bit of information she had sought for many long hours. And Garen still cared for her, but she quickly brushed that thought aside. She had succeeded! She, Luxanna Crownguard, had been accepted by the League of Legends. While she was not entirely thrilled about becoming a champion, she had passed the summoner's in-depth test without raising alarm. Not only that, but they also now welcomed her within their halls. It gave her a new position of power. With the confirmation that escape would no longer be necessary, the little remaining adrenaline pulsed out of her veins, and the overpowering weariness completed its control over her body. Ordinarily, she would have scouted the grounds of this new territory, but her body demanded a thorough investigation of the hills and valleys of her bed instead. Besides, she knew enough that her safety was (mostly) guaranteed in these halls. After changing into more comfortable clothes, she began her inspection the best way she could: by closing her eyes and enjoying the feeling of soft sheets against her skin.
Without surprise, Lux drifted off quickly. Her muscles relaxed for the first time in many days as she had accomplished an important step. The worry, the anxiety, the edge was washed away by waves of sleep. Her mind, however, continued to buzz furiously, and she ran through memories of the last few hours…
…until she found herself standing before the plaque again. "The truest opponent lies within," it read, and Lux halted to ponder the line. She almost pressed the doors open, curious about the enemy that waited within, when the pun came to her attention. A smirk graced her lips. Fearless, she continued forward through the doors, confident that no one she could face was a terrifying enough opponent than her own mind. The darkness enveloped her, but she felt at home. As a master of light, she had to understand the dark just as well. She refrained from using any spells to light her way, for she knew the summoners wished to remain mysterious.
As she approached the center of the room, a pinprick of white floated in the air and swelled, revealing her brother standing mere paces away. Joy flushed her face at seeing him again after so long, and she nearly raced those last steps to embrace him before she remembered her place. She had a role to play.
"Why do you want to join the League?" he asked expectedly. Lux paused for what she pegged to be an appropriate amount of time for it to seem as though she had no foresight of this conversation.
"To fight for justice in the name of Demacia," she answered calmly, flashing a brilliant smile at him.
Garen's stony face remained composed. "What is the real reason, Luxanna?" he pressed. Just as she thought would happen. She shrunk her smile by a few molars, then completely. Enough to seem vulnerable.
Reciting the Measured Tread, a book she had memorized since childhood, she replied, "Victory for our allies, defeat for our enemies, and justice for all." She tossed in a satisfactorily nod upon completion and quickly glanced at her brother's expression. Rather than enacting the hoped upward turn of his mouth, Garen frowned. Lux opened her mouth to continue her statement, but the light illuminating the room surged, whitewashing everything within. This must be it! Lux felt a foreign presence, multiple presences, forcing their way around the fortress of her mind. They were searching for the "secret reasons" that each would-be champion flocked there would have. Money, power, information, revenge… Anticipating this very move, she gently guided them to the best memory she had to offer as a distraction from other scenes that did not need to be brought to light. She summoned images from that day but hastily, and poorly, attempted to conceal from the watchers. They saw flashes of her selection and latched on tightly, thinking themselves brilliant.
The light of the room converged toward the center and took form, rounding about the edges until it became spherical. The summoners chanted words for a spell she had never heard before, and soon the sphere of light shimmered a rainbow of colors, crystallizing into the image of a young Lux sitting at her assigned seat at the Academy. Her memory was literally playing before everyone's eyes! How she wished she could spend more time analyzing how the spell worked, but she had too much to contend with as it was. She had to convince everyone to live in that moment, and she projected every thought and feeling she had experienced during that time.
The sphere revealed her younger self quietly listening to her classmates, waiting for the lecture to begin, when it happened again. Her skin shimmered for a moment, and she inhaled sharply. She still had no control over when it would happen or the extent of the phenomenon, and before too long, her skin ceased to reflect light. With no light to reflect, the human eye would receive nothing. With no warning, she disappeared entirely. Rather than panic, the young mage was delighted and slipped out of her seat. Guilt pricked her for entertaining the idea of skipping her lesson, but she simply had to show this to her parents once and for all. They never believed her tales, and now was her chance again! Far too long had they dismissed her efforts and only looked to Garen and his military achievements. For once, she, too, wanted to prove she was worthy of the Crownguard name. She was not simply a trickster, but a true mage, for crying out loud, and she would have a place of honor.
She snuck through her front door, knowing exactly how to swing it without letting it creak, and crept through the house. Fantasies of surprising her parents, scaring them with her supposedly disembodied voice, filled her mind as she poked from room to room. A slight anxiety voiced itself in the back of her mind that the illusion would wear off before she found them, but she heard their voices soon enough… along with a couple unfamiliar ones. As she entered the living room, she overheard the conversation she was never supposed to have heard.
"She will serve you well, just as Garen has before her," her mother said, nodding her consent.
"Your daughter is at the age where she needs her parents most!" a soldier tried to reason, but another man interrupted them with a voice full of authority.
"It is all in the King's name. You will provide all the parenting she will need." Without any means to argue, the men glanced at one another uncomfortably before "agreeing" with the decision.
The scene was replaced with thousands of other fleeting shards that Lux had prepared, most particularly the grudge she had forever carried against her family. She was forced to relive that moment when she locked herself in her room, refusing to leave until the soldiers were ordered to kick down her door. The beatings she received in the name of discipline. The sneer of her professors and squad leaders alike daily for dealing with a "noble brat." The unbearable loneliness that soon gave way to a love of her country. Lines of the Measured Tread comforted and reassured her, like countless soldiers before her, for that was what she had become. A soldier. Her country could be her family, one that would love and protect her, and was it not her duty to love and protect it in return? The summoners devoured the juicy details with glee, probing deeper in her mind, and with each replay, Lux changed her visage to grow more and more distraught. The summoners eventually backed off, taking far more information than perhaps had been necessary, and the room grew still for an eternity.
Garen approached from the shadows again, and she dazedly glanced in his direction. "Will you admit the real reason why you want to join the League now?" he asked once more.
"Because I have nothing else," she answered sorrowfully, and she fell to her knees. She bit her tongue viciously, and her eyes stung with tears. She focused on the pain, and the tears streamed down her face, completing the look. The summoners quietly whispered back and forth, her name mentioned more than once, but she pretended not to notice. Garen walked away from her broken form, not even bothering to see if she would be okay. Heartless, she thought, but she hoped it would further sell her performance.
To read more from the beginning:
I'm posting this here because I'd like to hear what people think. I don't need compliments or praise (though I'll never say no :D). Just some constructive criticism. Or maybe the "Uh... what i don't even *copy/paste line from story*" and allow me to fix it XD
Thank you for your time, and I hope to hear from you!
Note: Feel free to friend request me. I'm really nice. If you want a game, understand from the get-go that my internet is the worst (and it's why I write more than I play; also how I got screwed for chapter 20). Play for lols and fun only, sorry.
Edit: It's okay to greet me in-game. I've parted ways with most of the people that made me feel like sh** :3
Dude, I just read the little preview that you have here, and you have my attention. Carry on, I love it already, I'll post again when I'm done reading the full chapter.
*Happy first post dance.*
I dropped everything I was doing the moment I saw this.
Love it already. Please do more. I really can't wait.
Edit: Saw that you wanted constructive criticism. Umm... Just a slight correction needed in the second sentence. That is all. ("Her most of her hair...")
^ Beat me to it. Dropped everything as well. MOAR.
I think I peed when I saw the last reply came from Silver of Souls. Read your stuff about a week ago and am eagerly waiting updates.
But then to see Cerubois too???
BRB while I change pants.
Edit: Now that I've got new pants, KobuZero, thank you for being my first comment. I'll remember you with a tender heart ;)
Thank you so much for noticing that error. A lot of times, I write something that I don't like. I then don't delete the whole way when rewriting... XD
I've got chapters 2 and 3 already written, but I want to have the opportunity to write something later, then look back and maybe set up for it, if that makes sense. What I'm trying to convey is kinda hard without out-right saying it, but I got tired of saying "Don't try." Here we go.
Actually, figured I'd say one more thing before picking stuff back up.
It's a bit short. I mean that in a writer's way, not as a 'zomgneedmoar' new fan way. The development you've got already is great. I love the interactions, the description, everything. But I think it needs a bit more interaction between Lux and Kat already. Something in the first chapter to set off the whole thing, rather than Lux simply overhearing Kat yelling in the hallway.
I'm sure you've got an idea in mind for their first meeting and all. My humble suggestion would be to add it to the first chapter, rather than make it a new chapter. Give the reader a taste of what's to come, and ensure you've got their attention grabbed. At present, Garen's stealing the spotlight, which is never a good thing. ;P
I had that feeling that the reader would not like the first chapter, which is why I asked for help. Their actual encounter is chapter two (spoiler).
I also thought Garen was "stealing the spotlight" as well, but he is a major focus for this story.
Spoiler: This is not your typical mushy-gushy, I-love-you-to-the-end-of-the-world, I'd-take-the-Blitzcrank hand-grab-for-you-any-day story. There is romance, rest assured, but it isn't the main focus of the story. The story is the main focus :P
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