Today is a special day to me. Today is the day that I started writing Blade Reforged, and so, I will be starting to post its sequel today, the day of its anniversary. In regards to Blade Reforged, I'm going to update it again with the edited chapters and posting them, and I would like people's feed back in regards to how they're liking the edits, if I took something out that is a horrendous mistake on my part or anything. With that said, I'm going to be using this first post as a progress bar to let you all know when you should be expecting the next chapter and so I'll be forced to try and write things on time =p.
Now then...People to thank.
When I first started writing on these forums, I was nervous as all hell. People like Jaykoboy, Cerubois, Senstrae, LancerXXX, LOLZTonyx3, WexAndywn, some of my first commentors, helped me trudge through. Then people like Ryugi Kazemaru came along, then I started meeting more of the fanfiction community. Authors like HuggableZombie, BladeAngelX, Silver of Souls, KobuZero WaddleBuff, Kneesurgery, Haruka Shinigami, Ask Talon, Dorry, MajesticRaven (These are all people who I suggest you look up their stories!) helped me think of ideas and in ways I didn't think before.
I must sincerely thank all of my critics, because without you, I wouldn't have gotten to where I am today. (This includes you Angel Envy, without your correction of my grammar I wouldn't have taken the first steps to becoming better!)
Thank you to all of my readers, thank you to all of the support you guys have given me over the past year, and in the more recent months, thank you KuzAnn for putting up with my inane ramblings and discussions =p. KuzAnn is not only a great writer but she has also become my editor for many of my stories.
Now then, without further ado...
Riven, Book 2: Blood for Noxus
The last few moments of Boram Darkwill's life were perhaps some of the most enlightening in his entire life. The night of his death, on his way to Kalamanda, he slept in his overly lavish and regal tent. His pratorian guard, several members of the the Raedsel unit, slept in their own modest tents in a circle around him. The slightest sound would alert them to almost any presence that dared to tred near them. The field in which they camped for the night had no foliage, nothing to obscure the sight of the watchmen, nothing at all could surprise the highly trained Noxian soldiers.
The eternally youthful ruler of Noxus slept peacefully, his head resting against a silk, gold embroidered pillow while he snored loudly. For no particular reason, save for gut instinct, Boram snapped awake and sat up in his cot. He stared into the darkness that occluded his vision. Boram squinted, then grunted at the corner of his tent, his tone authoritative, "What do you think you are doing, LeBlanc?"
Golden heels soundlessly walked out of the shadows, the black peeling away from the woman's body as though it were a coat as the deceiver stepped into view. She smiled as she spoke, her voice resembled the cascade of shattered crystals, "Was I so obvious, Darkwill?"
"Answer my question."
"There's no rush, darling." When LeBlanc spoke the last word, one could almost taste the hate that flew from her lips. "Let’s have a drink first, shall we?"
Darkwill slid off his cot and walked into a section of the obscuring shadows within the tent. Sickly green, necromantic magic hummed from his body which provided a little illumination for him. Every step his bare, slender feet took, the grass he stepped on blackened and browned, twisted about and died. Wisps of their life force seeping into the ruler of Noxus' body.
The green light revealed a strange, chest-like piece of furniture as well as a decorated oak table and a pair of chairs. He leaned over and clicked it open. The dull shine of glass could be seen, glinting from the green light that shone from him. Darkwill withdrew a bottle of dark red wine and two glasses.
“Do make that four glasses in total, dear. I’ll be drinking for three.” LeBlanc stood in place, patiently waiting with staff in hand which hummed with a faint, purple energy. For some reason though, she was still smiling.
Darkwill shrugged and placed the two glasses on the table. He reached over and tapped the edge of the glass closest to him. “Answer, then I will pour.”
“Always the gentleman, Darkwill. Quite the gentleman indeed!” The mock in her tone bore no effort to be disguised. “You don’t want me to be honest, Darkwill. You honestly don’t.”
“I honestly do,” he retorted, circling his finger along the rim of the glass. “I am a personal believer of making one’s last moments somewhat enjoyable if it can be afforded. I have let you live as long as you have because it worked in my favor. You fight for Noxus, you have successfully furthered my agenda yourself, you volunteered for the Ionia versus Noxus rematch. I let you live, because you could do nothing to stop me if you wanted to, and we both let the sleeping dog lie.”
Boram looked over at LeBlanc, his voice low. “So why waken the sleeping dog, LeBlanc? I know you are not Emilia. Perhaps you are Josephine? Maybe Mona? Or was it Evaine whose body you have hopped into now? Why take such a risk when I am still Darkwill, and you are a shadow of your former self? Tell me the truth, I am quite curious and we both know that even you grow tired of the game at times.”
“Me? Tired of the game? Never. But very well, Darkwill. I shall tell you the truth.” LeBlanc leaned ever so slightly forward, her smile still evident. “You are going to die tonight, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
“Mhm. I see. Well, thank you for telling me, LeBlanc.” Darkwill half filled the glasses with the red wine. “What’s changed to make you so bold? I’m still Boram Darkwill, the Raedsel guard surrounds us, the first twitch I make will have them descend on you and cut you to ribbons.”
Before Darkwill could grab the wine glass it started to levitate. It quickly floated over into LeBlanc’s open hand who still had that same, damn, smile on her face. “Why should I tell you, when my associate can do a much better job?”
Out of the shadows, a new figure emerged. An old man with a cane, wrapped in the gold and dark green robes, stepped forward. Three pairs of red eyes glinted and stared at Darkwill from the darkness, and was soon revealed to belong to a raven that sat perched on the shoulder of the man.
The older man, Swain, nodded. A scarf covered the lower half of his mouth, his red eyes looking about the room. “It is a nice tent, High General.”
“Swain, what are you doing here?” Darkwill picked up his glass and swirled it about, staring at the general.
“Is it not obvious, Darkwill?” Swain waved his fingers at LeBlanc, “I believe the Matron has told you the truth already.”
“...So I was right. You are a traitor.” Darkwill tapped the side of his head, “I have not yet been wron-”
A ridiculously loud cackle, along with the cawing of a raven, ripped through the tent. Darkwill’s eyes darted about, none of his guard apparently heard such a loud sound.
“You were wrong the very moment you were made the leader of Noxus.” Swain hobbled over to one of the two chairs, pulled it out, and sat on it. His raven flew off his shoulder and rested herself on LeBlanc’s outstretched forearm. The raven’s claws firmly secured itself onto the golden armband. “What you wanted to do, was to reclaim Demacia as part of what rightfully belongs to Noxus, yes?”
“Yes. Your point?”
“Where are you going now?”
“To Kalamanda,” Darkwill took a hearty chug of his wine, nearly finishing it in a single gulp. He nodded his head about while saying, “To reinforce the peace treaty with Demacia. Because of the prisoner’s death, too many discrepancies have been brought up. Too many events, too many oddities, I have to make sure for the future of Noxus that the peace we have managed to maintain remains. I will have to...be...”
Swain stared at Darkwill, who seemed to slowly put things together in his head. The ruler of Noxus stared at his general, the sickly, necromantic magic surging out from him. “You.”
“It took you this long to realize such a plan. Do you know why? Because you are an idiot.” Swain’s voice rose in volume. “You are not only an idiot but a lunatic. You started the war with Demacia, you were the one who led Noxus through two Rune Wars against the Demacians, you were the one who wanted to claim Demacia through blood. You spent centuries, time and time again, trying to do accomplish a simple goal. It took you several centuries to realize the futility of your actions, and what is your answer?”
Swain slammed his open palm onto the table, letting the sound boom forth, “Supplication!”
The general settled his temper and himself before speaking again. “Essentially what you’ve been doing is going one plus one equals three for several centuries, trying to make it fit. You are a lunatic for trying the exact, same, formula for every single conquest. It rarely worked yet you continued to use it as the ultimate solution to every, single one of your aspirations. The moment I’m in charge, I win your battles, your wars, your efforts. Give me any task and I succeed. The moment I am not included in something? Abysmal failure. Look at Ionia, you fool. If I was in charge, I would have those pacifists licking my boots in mere moments. My only failure was the one time that I had Jarvan IV, in Noxus, in my grasp, ready for execution. In all of your centuries, the closest you got to a Lightshield was when you let Jarvan III sneak in and release dozens of slaves from the heart of Noxus. You are never aware of the consequences of your actions. All you are is an outdated hedonist, a man who should never have been in the position that you are in. You are an abysmal, worm of a man with too much strength and too little brain power to rule, and it is an atrocity that you have for so long.” The general chuckled and pressed his fingers against his forehead. “You have no idea how long I have wanted to say that.”
Darkwill did not seem impressed with Swain. “So that is why you are going to try to kill me? Because you don’t want peace with Demacia?”
“Are you that dense? You do not deserve to rule Noxus, Boram.” Swain tapped his chest, “I do. The Black Rose shall bloom once more. We will put things as they once were, with the Rose’s connections and my genius, we will take back what rightfully belongs to us. Unlike you, smashing your metaphorical head into the wall until you give up, I can see that you can walk around the wall.”
Swain leaned his head onto his knuckled fist, staring at Darkwill with his red eyes all the while. “Any last words, Darkwill?”
“Yes, what makes you think you can possibly kill me? I am High General Boram Darkwill, I am the strongest fighter in all of Noxus, the most powerful necromancer in all of Runeterra, and you think an old man with a bird and an illusionist can kill me? The moment my guards awake-”
“They’re dead.” LeBlanc sipped at her wine, still smiling.
“They’re dead. The moment I walked in their hearts stopped. They’re all dead. Unfortunate, but necessary. Their throats are now being slit by two of our members, dressed in typical Demacian armor and wearing the standard Demacian army boots, and they will leave. Their corpses will be burnt to assure no identification can be made, but better safe than sorry. We are being as thorough as possible. All that is left, is you, me, the bird, and my dear Jericho.”
Darkwill poured himself another glass of wine, handing the bottle over to Swain. He took a drink from the glass and shook his head, “And what makes you think that the two of you are even close to a match to me?”
Swain’s raspy voice answered, “First: You are nowhere near a Nexus, meaning you cannot tap into its magic for anything. All of your magic must be conducted through your body which significantly weakens you. Second: This is the first time you have left Noxus in centuries, and you are now currently in the middle of literally nowhere. Third: You have no other bodies in which to power your necromancy, as we have effectively surrounded your tent with temporary glyphs that will not permit your power to escape the bounds. Fourth: You let us settle in as deep as we have, and for your ignorance you will have to die.”
Darkwill snorted and let out a light chuckle. “That only means my power will be concentrated on the two of you. This will be but a moment.” He polished off his glass and shook it at the deceiver while staring at his general, “Now then, shall we dance?”
“We?” LeBlanc looked over at Beatrice and nodded her head. The deceiver reached up at the circlet that adorned her brow and took it off. “Why would we dance? I never said we were going to kill you, I said you’re going to die tonight.”
The high general blinked, trying to make sense of what was just said. “If not you, then who-”
“BoRAm. It hAS bEEn toO LOnG.”
The glass fell from his hand. Necromantic magic roared from him, concern and even the slightest hint of fear crossed his features. “...No...You, I killed you. You’re dead.”
“YoU ANd I boTH KnOW ThAt In NoXus, death is a promotion.” Vile purple magic shrieked out at the High General, all reaching out to pierce his chest. “But FoR You, DEAth is An ETERNITY!”
Darkwill’s eyes went wide. He raised his hands up in defense, the souls of the damned flying to his aid.
A horrid screech was then heard, followed by a surge of green magical energy exploding from within the tent. If the glyphs were not in place, as they brightly shone, the blast would have been easily seen for miles around and was quite thoroughly dampened. Some sort of magical darkness quickly covered any light that tried escaping the tent, and the faintest traces of purple could be seen dissipating into the night.
Swain rose up from his seat and hobbled over to LeBlanc who was affixing her circlet back onto her head. “How much time has passed?”
“Time?” The deceiver laughed and grinned. “Time is relative to someone such as me. I would say...a minute has passed in total. Go on back to your meeting, my most handsome swain, and prepare to mourn for the loss of our leader tomorrow morning.”
“I will come with a patrol, concerned for the safety of Darkwill’s only to discover the tragedy that has befallen him at the hands of the Demacians.”
LeBlanc caressed Swain’s cheek tenderly, “I will clean up and meet with you in a bit, darling. Hail Noxus.”
Beatrice flew over and settled herself on Swain’s shoulder, preening her feathers. A hint of red liquid could be seen dripping from her beak, quickly snuffed by her black feathers.
Riven could barely see. She was in an ocean of red. Taking a step forward gave her absurd amounts of resistance. The liquid was too thick to be water. She reached down and scooped up a handful of the liquid, a human ear resting on her palm. She was in an ocean of blood. Riven took another step forward and felt a hand grip her ankle. With a hard tug, the exile saw the hand belonged to an Ionian she had killed. Instead of yanking it away, she allowed the grip to stay.
More hands started to grab onto her arms, her legs and her neck. Arms started to wrap themselves around her body as she walked knee deep in gore. Her right hand tightly held her sword, reformed and brimming brightly. All the corpses, all the dead whispered to her the entire time, “Why...Why...Why...”
Riven continued her trudge, various skulls and dismembered limbs floating by her. She remembered when this would bring her low, when she would cow and weep for the atrocities she had committed. Not anymore. Riven shrugged her shoulders forward, firmly securing the grasping corpses onto her as she continued her slow walk. Eventually, she came upon others standing upright. Men and women dressed in the armor of Noxian infantry. Riven raised her sword up, stared them in their face, and sliced through them. They fell before her, falling apart like ragdolls. Once they fell into the gore, she could feel them grip onto her and add onto the weight. She continued to cut a path through the soldiers until a child stepped in front of her.
Riven stopped. She tightened her grip on her sword and raised it up. She stared the child in her eyes, Riven’s piercing gaze making the little girl quake at the prospect of death.
A soft voice seemed to waft throughout the landscape. Oh...My-lit-tle-sun-lit child so near so dear to, my, heart...
What strange lyrics. So foreign, yet so warm. So memorable. It almost sounded like...a lullaby, from long ago.
The sword was lowered. Riven walked past the little girl when she felt a sharp pain in her side. The girl had unsheathed a knife and stabbed Riven.
The exile gripped the knife, pulled it out of the girl’s hands, and kept walking towards the groaning gates of Noxus, where a monstrous raven was perched. Their eyes met, and Riven continued to walk forward. More cuts, more lacerations, more of her blood spilled, she staggered from fatigue, but she kept walking.
Oh my child do not forget that even in the dark,
Riven took her first step on solid ground before Noxus, a human skull underneath her boot. She looked at its empty gaze and knelt down. Her fingers brushed the eye sockets while tears streamed down her face. Tightening her grip on her sword, she got back up, and took a second step up the stairs. Then a third step, and then a fourth step.
Riven’s eyes opened. She blinked and let out a breath of annoyance. She had finally woken up, and felt like her entire body was numb. The exile sat up in the bed, thoroughly annoyed. She could hear voices from outside her door, though not what they said. Riven looked over at her side, seeing Irelia by her bed but asleep on a chair. Irelia’s sword rested on the wall closest to her, humming as though it were snoring.
The door creaked open, and the smell of baked goods permeated the air. Irelia blinked awake and looked at the approaching figure. A thick miasma could be felt approaching them. Irelia snorted and wiped at her eyes, her hair a mess but her tone as authoritative as ever. “Morgana.”
“Hello, Ionian. I decided to come by and bring these.”
Irelia pointed at Riven who was staring at her, “She’s still asleep. Go away, angel. Leave her alone.”
“Riven, are you asleep?”
Before Irelia could reply, Riven said, “I have awakened. Am I needed?” The exile woman looked around for a trace of her sword. She did not have to look far as her leg shuffled and was prodded by a heavy object. The sword laid in bed with her, underneath her bed covers as though it were a sleeping babe. How odd, she had not even noticed its presence.
“Riven, you’re awake!”
“...Yes? I am?”
Irelia’s sword flew up behind the Ionian while she got out of her seat. “I was starting to get worried. Are you actually awake, or...?”
Riven raised an eyebrow in confusion at the question. “...I’m awake. Why?”
Irelia nodded. Her tone betrayed the concern she had for her friend. “You have been in bed for more than a month. The venom, the loss of blood, the broken bones, the internal bleeding, you had pneumonia from the hypothermia you experienced. You would sometimes speak as though you were awake, but you would not always make the...most of sense.”
Riven reached up at her head. It felt itchy. Actually...her whole body felt itchy. She focused her eyes and stared at the white blanket that covered her. It was a fur pelt. She tilted her head in confusion, trying to figure out why a pelt would be here. Riven scratched the side of her face, making an orange bandana to flop down in front of her eyes. She pulled the fabric off and stared at it. The little gem it had pinned on it showed it belonged to a Shojin monk.
“Lee made sure your core body temperature was moderated while Udyr insisted to give you the pelt if you needed to be kept warm-”
Morgana interrupted in a mocking imitation of Udyr, “We think her strong enough to live, she only need bear rug and bare hands to live. She good, she need more meat, recover more fast like.”
Irelia rolled her eyes in annoyance. She still found the fallen angel incredibly distasteful, but Riven respected her. She would tolerate Morgana for now. “He said it a bit more intellectually than that.”
A faint grin played across Riven’s face. She looked over at Irelia, her lips moving to apologize for causing so much trouble for them. It was a chance she did not receive due to the Ionian pressing her finger against Riven’s lips. “No, no apology. We, the Ionian people, chose to do this.”
Morgana’s lips parted, showing her fangs in a wicked smile. “Does she know yet?”
Irelia shot a dirty glare at Morgana, her swords humming and pointing themselves at the fallen angel. Of course Riven did not know, she was delirious or unconscious nearly this entire time in the recovery ward.
Irelia continued to stare at Morgana, scowling at the angel for being so blunt. She eventually answered, “...That Swain defeated Keiran Darkwill, and is now the ruler of Noxus.”
Riven let out an aggravated sigh. She shook her head and closed her eyes.
“So what now, Riven?” Morgana crossed her arms, a wicker basket hanging off her left elbow. “Gonna give up?”
“No. Never.” Riven’s eyes flashed open. She stared directly at the fallen angel, her tone confident, her demeanor exuding with conviction. “I had expected such a thing, and it only makes matters more difficult. It does not change my path or what needs to be done.”
Irelia shuddered at the horror that Morgana would commit in response to Riven’s reply: The fallen angel gave the exile a true, honest and warm smile. “Good answer. Have a cookie.” A black tendril snapped into the basket and took out a large, chocolate chip cookie.
“She just woke up, don’t give her a cookie. She needs proper food.”
“It’s a divine cookie, sweetie, relax.
Irelia pointed at the cookie, her brow knitted. “That is chocolate chip, not magical nor divine.”
“Are you saying my culinary confections are not divine in taste?” Morgana’s smile disappeared. A sneer now evident on her face.
“I could not say so, since I have not ever eaten anything of yours.”
“You’ve...” Morgana tilted her head, processing what Irelia had just said. “Well, you’re not lying, but I’m surprised. You eat the cookie then, I’ll give her a sticky bun.”
“No pastries! She needs...” Irelia stopped and thought of what she was about to say. “Their soup is pretty horrible. And the nurses won’t be back for a while...”
“Yesss...Give in to temptation. Do it.” Morgana playfully waved the sticky bun in the air.
Irelia winced and looked at Riven, shrugging. “It’s your choice: Soggy rice soup and proper recovery or a cookie, or a sticky bun, or whatever.”
Riven’s answer was a soft chuckle and a shake of her head. She leaned back onto her pillow, her right hand tapping against the hilt of her sword. “So that is my first choice, hm?” Riven smiled, staring out the window before her, the sunlight spilling into the room. She would have to appreciate this moment for as long as she could, before she started off on her path. Riven would not forget her experiences, not now, not ever.
Her hand tightened around the hilt of the sword. Noxus will be reformed, into the city that it was meant to be.
Awesome! A sequal! Very well written, I must say. Have a cookie!
(One small thing, in the part where it is said, and this is a quote: "Go on back to your meeting, my most handsome swain, and prepare to mourn for the loss of our leader tomorrow morning.”
"Swain" needs to be capitalized.)
Just thought I'd link to A Blade Reforged for the 6 people who haven't read it yet
hmm I actually like this so far I love the beginning to, a bit questionable for me due to him never being found, as far as I know I may be mistaken. I don't know why but I think I left something bad in the previous story which is confusing to me but oh well I like this and will have to creep back to the first one to read through it since I have no clue what happened before aside from certain things..... I think there was an OC in it I'm not sure though oh wait ye there was but it was a blind super power house old man I think.... eh I don't remember anyway good job.
"All hail Grand General Swain."
Sixteen men dressed in the garbs of a Noxian general stood up in respect. The table they sat at was made of ancient acacia trees from the Plague Jungles, the few they had managed to bring to Noxus before the jungle's guardian started to pick them off. The chairs were made of Noxian maple trees, inlaid with ivory and gold. On the south wall, a large slab of transparent crystal rested on a series of bolts and screws. There were fewer occupants of these chairs than people themselves. Depictions of Boram Darkwill's campaigns still hung on cloth and picture frames upon the walls. Such remnants of Darkwill's tastes still littered the room, making his presence palpable. The room, to say the very least, was elegant.
The large mahogany doors were already ajar, and under their frame stood the new Grand General. Swain was dressed in the traditional red robes of Noxus' leader. The dark armor that adorned his body was finely polished to a high shine, and the helmet that rested on his head masked most of his facial features save for his piercing red eyes. On his left shoulder plate his raven, Beatrice, was perched on the modified armor piece. The bird would stare at everyone at least once with her the red-glowing sets of eyes. In his right hand, instead of his cane, he carried a long golden staff that ended in a masterfully crafted raven's skull at the top. Upon closer examination one might notice a green gem placed within the cranium of the skull. Atop its head, multiple prongs helped crown the staff with another emerald-colored crystal.
The Grand General walked toward his chair with long, confident strides, no sign of his characteristic limp at all visible visible. General Darius followed behind Swain, massive axe in hand, his eyes fixed on the Grand General.
Once Swain was arrived at his seat, he looked about at the High Council with slight turns of his head. In a low, commanding tone, he said, "Forever strong."
"Forever strong," they chimed their reply in unison.
Swain nodded in acknowledgement, keeping unnerving eye contact with the person on the opposite of the table while he quietly sat down on his seat. Darius took his seat to the right of the Grand General while the chair to Swain's left remained empty. The Hand of Noxis growled inwardly, fully aware of who would have been seated there, had they been present.
"Grand General," one of the councilmen decided to start the meeting. "What will you address first?"
Swain removed his helmet, revealing the black cloth that covered his lower half of his face. He placed the helmet on the table, leaned forward and tapped on the wood with his gauntleted index finger. "Reorganizing the High Council."
The men murmured to one another and nodded. "You have found worthy replacements that even our esteemed colleague, Darius, will not question?"
Beatrice let out a loud caw, making the large doors swing open once more as a train of men quickly filtered into the room and occupied the once empty seats. The original members of the High Council murmured and nodded their approval. One of these seated people was unfortunately tapped on the shoulder by one of the newcomers. He looked up at the man, then at Swain in absolute terror.
The Grand General pointed at the doomed man and stated in his raspy, even tone, "No one takes from Noxus, General Pousse. Embellishing financial records will not be tolerated. Your estate now belongs to Noxus, your family will be evicted from their home, you will be stripped of your rank and you will be executed for your crime."
"B-but Grand General, I d-"
Beatrice pushed off of her perch, her wings unfurling as she soared over to the man, her talons outstretched until they met the flesh on his face. Once she was snugly secured, her beak snapped down when his mouth opened to utter assured screams of pain, allowing her to grab his tongue and stare at the squirming man with her beady, crimson eyes. Swain reached out with his left hand, turned upwards in askance, to his side. He showed no care for the trickles of blood that fell from Pousse's face and was now staining the table. A familiar deceiver stepped into view holding papers, not entering through any discernible door or any visible entrance, as though she had materialized from nothing but air. She handed them to Swain before taking her seat as well.
"Thank you, Advisor LeBlanc."
"You are welcome, Grand General. Forever strong."
Swain passed the papers to Darius, whose lips, upon reading them, cracked and fractured into a hateful scowl. He glared at the accused general. He reached out for his massive axe that, despite leaning against the wall behind him, was within arm's reach. Darius grabbed it slowly and dragged it closer to him with a loud, foreboding screech, setting it upright as he stared at the accused man. The papers were passed around the table in complete silence.
"Does anyone disagree?"
None of the other generals moved or spoke. With a sharp rap of Swain's staff, five Raedsel guards stormed into the room. Beatrice released the man's tongue and fluttered back to her perch.
"Grand General, I swear, those documents are falsified!"
"As the evidence stands, Pousse, you know the law. You will be given a week to compile evidence that says otherwise."
The man nodded, shaking all over. The Raedsel soldiers lifted him out of his chair and escorted him toward the door. As soon as General Pousse was parallel to Swain, he paused for a moment, violently sweating. He had no time to react when the blade of an axe was placed against his throat.
"Grand General Swain," Darius grunted. "Who found that evidence?"
"Your word is absolute, Grand General. This man is guilty, yes?"
"Yes, he is. I however, am forced to follow the law."
The Hand of Noxus pulled his axe back and gave a violent kick to the man's chest, shattering his ribcage as well as sending him skidding to the wall. "Then I see no reason in delaying matters for this cowardly pig."
Pousse attempted to speak, but the words came as painful gasps and tears.
"On your whim, General Darius."
"The weak are not needed." With a broad, horizontal sweep, Darius' axe firmly embedded itself into the wall, leaving a sizable hole in the wood and stone frame, and decapitating the councilor.
Darius looked at Swain, who have him a silent nod of approval. The Hand of Noxus made his way back to his seat while the Grand General commanded the Raedsel men, "Take his body to the crematorium."
The soldiers quietly obeyed the command and dragged the corpse away. Swain motioned for the man he had designated in Pousse's spot to have a seat.
"With those dramatics out of the way..." Swain leaned forward, staring at the committee before him. "The Bilgewater match against Ionia. It is within the month, yes?"
"Yes sir, it is. Why?"
"Have the Noxians been chosen to help represent the match?"
"Not as of yet sir. With the delay, we saw no reason to rush the decision, considering the turbulence we were undergoing. The League has a proposed list of champions-"
"We will send them Katarina Du Couteau and Vladimir," Swain firmly stated. "Any opposed?"
The council shook their heads, they could see the reasoning behind such choices. And the efficiency with which he hammered these simples matters out was a breath of fresh air, especially when compared to Darkwill.
"Next issue: the Exile."
Darius' brows knit above his nose, his nostrils flared at the mere mention of her title. The word Exile to him was synonymous with the word "traitor".
"What of her?"
"She will be fighting alongside the Ionians for the Bilgewater match."
The entire council started to murmur with one another. "How should we react? This oversteps far past even her current crimes."
"We cannot, yet," Swain admitted. "I am simply letting you know that she will be in the match, and I want to assure Bilgewater's victory. I want only our most competent Summoners available for that day. Win or lose, I want preparations to be done in order to react then and there."
"Yes, Grand General."
"Now..." Swain leaned forward. He stared everyone in the eye, each for no more than three seconds, as his gaze circled the room. "I wish to speak of Demacia."
"What of Demacia?" One of the councilmen asked. "You nullified our peace treaty with them, Grand General, but the League will prevent war with them. They stopped us at Kalamanda and they will again. What can be done that will not put us into the line of fire for every city state who would stand against us?"
Darius grunted. Back then, that was when he started taking notice of Swain, when the current Grand General was just another general. Swain took the initiative after Darkwill's untimely death. Instead of that cowardly treaty, Swain was willing to fight against the murderers of the Grand General.
Swain tapped the table, his voice firm, "Demacia will fall within due time. Leave it to me and I w-"
Before he could say more, the crash of metal upon wood was heard. The stench of rotting flesh filled their noses. Although some of the men reasonably turned their faces away, most like the Hand of Noxus, the Grand General and the Deceiver seemed unperturbed by such a smell. The doors opened, Raedsel guards peeking in as a fat, gluttonous man lumbered into the room, a loud metallic clang heard with every step he took.
His obese belly was held up by spidery legs, his arms changed into horrific, disgustingly sharp weapons that were mechanical in nature. His bald face was barely held together by metal plates, a ventilation grill acted as his mouth which amplified the sound of his breathing, as well as making it easier for others to hear his constant pain.
"Yes, Urgot?" Swain motioned to him to step forward. "You are among fellow Noxians, Executioner. Speak your mind."
"You...You nullified the treaty...with Demacia. Will we...announce war with them?"
"Not yet, Urgot," Swain leaned towards Urgot. "That will come in due time, as I was saying. Demacia must be deconstructed first."
'Deconstructed...?' Darius did not betray the thought. He was unsure what Swain meant, but he trusted the Grand General without question.
"Will Demacia fall...by our hands...?"
Swain nodded in response.
"Will...Will I..." Urgot's right hand clicked, and shifted and changed appendages into a chainsaw. "Will I be given Garen...?"
Swain nodded once more.
Urgot's wheezing eventually accumulated into cacophonous laughter between coughs and gasps. "Good...Good...I like you better than Darkwill already..."
Urgot's lower half slowly swiveled about, making the process of him turning around look like a daunting task. He eventually was able to turn around and leave the room, his spider legs making a distinct thud sound with every heavy step he took.
Swain watched the undead creature leave, then regarded the council once more. "Back to the topic, then?"
Riven's broken blade impaled a pirate onto his own turret. He grunted, grinned and raised an orange into view. He took a solid bite of the citrus fruit while shooting Riven point blank. Only through a knee jerk reaction did she evade the fatal gunshot wound to her head, instead her armored glove coming up and absorbing the bullet. Blood poured out from the wound, but Gangplank knew when he was sunk. He let out a defeated sigh, quite surprising due to the fact that his diaphragm was pierced, and motioned to the Exile to hurry this up.
Riven twisted her blade, and with this twist both the turret and the pirate were cut in half.
"BLUE TEAM MEMBER HAS BEEN SLAIN!" A loud voice announced.
She looked over at the other Nexus turret still standing, aiming at the toy minions that surrounded them. A gentle, blue skinned hand reached over and rested itself on Riven's arm. A surge of magic issued forth and the gunshot wound disappeared.
"Riven, we will take care of this tower," Soraka said. "Do you wish to make your address?"
Riven nodded. She looked up and around, as if she was gauging where she would be most visible. She took a step forward, rested the tip of her blade on the ground in front of her and started to speak. "Demacia. Noxus. Piltover. Zaun. The Freljords. Bilgewater. Ionia. Everyone, everywhere, hearing me, from the Howling Marsh to the Voodoo lands, from East to West, South to North, I want you to listen to my words."
The Exile spun around, blade in hand, staring at the face of a familiar Noxian assassin, Katarina Du Couteau. The red haired woman, instead of lunging forward for an attack, motioned to Riven to keep talking. This was followed by a strange change in her facial expression, one of bored tedium to forced aggression as she jerked forward. Riven raised her blade, ready to attack her countryman when a minotaur stepped in the path of the assassin. Alistar pinned Katarina's face into the ground, cracking the stone she struck. The stoic minotaur gave a silent nod to Riven as he kept the assassin in place, despite the lacerations he was suffering from her attempts at breaking free.
"As most of you know, I am Riven the Exile. I exiled myself from Noxus during the Ionian war for the Zaunite chemical attack done on my own squadron, commanded by the Noxian generals in charge at the time. I committed many crimes, but the only one that Noxus will charge me for is desertion. How horrid, for all the people I killed, my crime in Noxus' eyes is that I deserted them. I deserted Noxus because I thought Noxus deserted me. For using such a disgusting tactic, for not letting the Ionians win the fight that they deserved to win, I deserted Noxus. Doing some of my own research, which I will compile, some interesting information came to light."
In Noxus, in the council room, the High Council watched and listened to the speech via the crystal slab. They looked at one another, knowing what she said was true, but this was meant to be one of Noxus' secrets. There were efforts to keep her from talking put forth by Swain, especially after her first speech, it was successful. They were at ease. Now? Now they would have to do a lot of damage control, but at least they had anticipated this. They had propaganda ready to combat this. Swain watched quietly and with some disinterest.
Darius frowned. He hated to admit it, but he did agree with Riven's point about the cowardly tactic the Noxian Generals used. They went against High Command's direct orders, and they thought to sacrifice good men and women in such an abhorrent manner. His axe shone, as though reminding him of what happened to those generals that did come back from the war, and how he dismissed them.
The fact of the matter remained: She deserted Noxus. It was not High Command's fault, but that of a few men. If she had come back, then he would have gladly joined her in the execution of those at fault.
"It was under High Command, under Darkwill's orders, that these self attacks were conducted."
Darius slammed the arms of his chair. She was lying. He knew that. Darkwill was many things, but he was not a traitor, he was not a spineless coward, and yet...he was willing to make peace with Demacia. Could it be that she was right? Her speech started to grate on his ears, her voice unbearably annoying despite the strangely warm, firm tone it carried.
"I have received letters. People ask me why have I not come back to Noxus." Riven let that hang in the air for a bit before clarifying herself. "Why have I not rejoined? Because I want Noxus, and Zaun, to answer questions. I want them to answer questions such as this: Was the Ionian war wrong?"
Darius' eyes narrowed, his nostrils flared. He was personally responsible for the final push for the Navori province, good Noxians died that day but they had won. They were victorious. His legion never failed.
"I think, and I believe the war was wrong. Not just the conduct of it, the actual war itself," Riven stated. The cries of battle and clash of weapons were audible in the background as she continued talking.
"We should never have attacked Ionia, and why? Because we gained only one thing: Enemies. What is the point of having strength? Is it to rule over all? Is it to become the indomitable champion, the slayer of the weak, the butcher of voices? Is that what Noxus is? How many allies does Noxus have? Zaun is a mercenary city-state, Bilgewater are allies by convenience, and now what enemies does Noxus have? Demacia, of course. Tch." The Exile shook her head, "How sad is that? I have to say that it is common knowledge. How wrong is that? Do we have more enemies? Ionia now, the Freljords, Mount Targon, and Piltover. We have enemies West, East, South and North of us, What is our response? To crush them? How successful has that been? How stupid."
Darius rose from his seat, he reached over and gripped his axe firmly. He was being insulted, Noxus was being insulted. By her, the poster child. How dare she!
"Let me ask this of Noxus," Riven said while moving her hand, pointing at the field. One could hear the return of the pirate, followed by thundering gunshots and cannon fire. The Exile dashed forward, barely evading the falling rain of iron death as she kept talking.
"If you are so strong, if Noxus is so strong, then why does it have the weak under its rule? Under its care? Why does it care about its soldiers in the slightest? If you are so strong, Noxus, if Grand General Swain is meant to be the ruler of a nation, why does he need soldiers, generals? Why must those we apparently dominate become enslaved? Why are they not Noxians, and instead are considered animate tools? Is that what being a Noxian is? Am I right for drawing such a comparison, that slaves are slaves and soldiers are soldiers? You may say no, but I think that is the common conception. I was an animate tool once, and I was called the poster child of Noxus. For me to have things like 'emotion', was to admit weakness, yet there they are!" Riven let out a sorrowful laugh. "Every single sentient being, they have emotions. Whether it is anger, love, sorrow, anything, they have emotions. Was I strong back then? No. I was strong in a different way, but not truly strong. Yet all the generals, the leader of Noxus himself told me, told us, otherwise. How awful."
Soraka backed away from Miss Fortune, who was advancing on the healer. A gunshot wound on her thigh made the Starchild limp while she focused on healing the more grievous hole in her stomach, the flesh quickly knitting together thanks to her magic. The bounty hunter cocked her guns, widened her stance, and started to laugh maniacally. Soraka winced, this was going to hurt. A gloved hand grabbed the Starchild's shoulder and flung her backwards, albeit harshly. The ensuing bullet hell that erupted from the pistols flew every which way, though Soraka herself did not suffer any wounds. Any bullet, stray or aimed, that should have hit her did not. Riven stood in front of the healer, her broken sword held out in front of her, attempting to use the flat side of the blade as best of a shield as she could to minimize the damage. The Exile panted heavily, her arms and legs missing bullet sized chunks of flesh that were cauterized from whatever magic coated the projectiles.
Before Miss Fortune could move, a kama flicked out and pierced her thigh. The woman could only let out a gasp of pain before Akali silently appeared behind her.
"BLUE TEAM MEMBER HAS BEEN SLAIN!"
Riven took a breath in and pulled her blade free from the ground. She continued to speak while Soraka made her way towards the Exile, preparatory healing magic seeping from her hands.
"How does this hypocrisy work? How is Noxus able to stand, to fight, to breath, when its very foundations are laughable? When the people in rule don't care for the people who helped create Noxus and that it drives people away? The Grey Order was driven away by Darkwill, and I have no doubt that Swain will not welcome them back into the fold because they are 'traitors', like me. I am not a traitor of Noxus!"
Darius emitted a low snarl. A traitor and a liar. Soon it would not matter, he could see the positioning of the demonic jester that was quickly advancing towards her undetected. He would put an end to her nonsensical drivel.
"What is the meaning of strength?" Riven allowed this question to hang in the air for a bit before clarifying her question. "I love Noxus. I love its ideal, the strong deserve to rule, but what then do you do with that strength? Strength, in the face of adversity. Courage in place of what should make the strongest being cower in fear. Who deserves this strength? Only the select, worthy few? I am here, and I am saying that the Ionian war was wrong. I am saying that how Noxus was ruled, is currently ruled-"
A jack in the box appeared in front of Riven without warning. She took a step back, feeling the healing magic from Soraka wash over her but knowing what would come next. Riven would not turn around in time, she knew that, Darius could see she knew that, but she tried to retaliate anyways.
A cackle of laughter. The whistle of wind. The thud of a body.
The crackle of hungering frost.
Shaco fell face forward, completely encased in ice as his characteristic smile stayed plastered on his face. The clown was unable to move, but Riven could see the quick salute that Ashe gave her. She nodded to the archer and drove her blade down into Shaco's chest.
"BLUE TEAM MEMBER HAS BEEN SLAIN!"
Fizz, a short fish-like creature, hopped towards Riven with a smile on his tricky face. He held his hand out where a fish materialized. He chucked the smelly fish directly at Riven, only to be intercepted by the Minotaur. Alistar took the fish to his face while dragging Katarina with him, who was still attempting to break free of his grip.
Riven glanced at Alistar, who returned her look with a thumb's up. He had this under control. Katarina finally one of her hands broke free of his grip and started to enthusiastically stab into her captor, but his thumb did not waver.
Riven took the opportunity to continue talking, watching Ashe advance towards Alistar while Gangplank fended off Akali near the Nexus. "-is wrong. That they are not representing what Noxus is supposed to be. What will the people think of me then for saying such things? One person, fighting, struggling, against all who say I am wrong, not backing down, not surrendering, and stating the truth of the matter for once?"
A gigantic shark appeared, seemingly out of nothing, and swallowed Alistar whole. The bull responded by uppercutting his way to freedom, showing how unbreakable his will truly was and shattering several of the megashark's teeth. Katarina, unfortunately, was flung off of Alistar and was catapulted towards the platform past the Nexus, often dubbed by Summoners as the "spawn point" for their champions.
This did not deter Fizz as he jumped on top of his trident and propelled himself into the air, expected to meet with the minotaur midair. Instead a shadow of death crashed down on him. The monolithic blade of Riven blotted the sun out as it met flesh and slammed him down onto the ground, cracking the stone bricks that composed it. Fizz groggily got to his feet and stabbed forward, piercing her abdomen.
When he attempted to pull away, Fizz quickly realized he could not. Riven grabbed onto his trident and yanked it towards her. This not only pulled the Tidal Trickster off his feet, but made a spurt of blood jet out from her stomach. He could see her sword now clearly brandished. The broken blade had changed, transformed. It wouldn't be right to call her sword such a term, for it would insinuate that it was meant to be handled by man. It was more of an obelisk of darkest obsidian firmly gripped by the Exile. As the blade came down onto him, Fizz could feel a harsh wind slice into his skin, through flesh and bone far before the slash itself actually touched him.
"BLUE TEAM MEMBER HAS BEEN SLAIN!"
Riven stepped around the corpse of the fallen Trickster, and slowly pulled out the trident that was still embedded in her. A jet of blood, a flinch of pain on her face as hook on the trident's prong ripped through vital organs and flesh, followed by the sound of the weapon clattering to the ground was all that was heard while she made her way towards the Nexus.
Darius took broad strides towards the crystal screen, gripping his axe in his beefy hand. He almost mimicked the stride Riven stepped with.
"I love Noxus. I love its people. I have never stopped loving Noxus, for it was not She who deserted me, it was those in charge. To show my sincerity..." Riven stopped in front of the Nexus. She looked to her right and saw the other tower still standing. Alistar rumbled over and swung his fist back. With one mighty punch, he sent the defensive tower crumbling to the ground, an explosion of magical energy signaling its fall. The minotaur then made his way towards Soraka, who winced at the sight of the various wounds that decorated his body.
"I wish to remind you all of my first speech. About Ionia, and my views on that. To show my earnest, my honesty, my conviction, I will be going to Ionia. I am going to help with its rebuilding efforts. That is one of the many wrongs I will try and make right, as much as I can. I am going to help Ionia rebuild, I am going to help the Freljords as well, and in both places, I am going to speak with the Noxians left behind, discarded by Noxus, and I promise you all here and now..."
Cracks in the crystal screen could be seen forming from Darius' titanic grip alone, yet the broadcast still played.
Riven made it to the Nexus, only scant feet away from it. When she spoke once more. "I am going to rebuild Noxus. I asked you all what the point of strength is. The point of strength, for me? Let me answer that. Look at this field, look at what has been done." The sound of a deep bellow filled the air, followed by the whistle of artillery fire. Cannon balls dropped from the sky all about Riven. She would have to retreat away from the Nexus if she wished to minimize the damage, the advance of Gangplank and Katarina towards her evident.
Instead, she raised her sword above her head, and stabbed it into and through the wall of the Nexus. She used it as a makeshift cover for any of the metal spheres that wished to crush her, but offered no protection from the shrapnel that exploded about her, ripping and tearing into the sections of clothing and flesh that her armor did not protect. Riven kept her large, gauntleted right hand resting behind her head to ensure that no stray shrapnel would instantly kill her as she spoke, "Was I alone in achieving victory? No. Without these people, without comrades, without the weak, without the strong, without people, you are worth nothing. Without Soraka, Alistar, Akali, Ashe, I could not have achieved this victory. It was not my strength alone, it was and always will be the strength of the many that anything in life will be achieved. Noxus as it stands, should be the ruler of nothing. It should have no citizens, it should have no people following Her leaders because they do not deserve Noxus. They wish to embody personal strength? Let them fight by themselves in the League, what use are teammates if you are so strong? What use is an army when you can wipe out city-states with your power alone? I am strong enough to admit that I do not know everything, that I do need others to speak to, to converse with, to fight alongside with in order to attain victory in battle and in life."
Riven staggered, the damage now palpable from the amount of blood that flowed from her wounds. By the time Gangplank rounded the corner, he met the skull of a minotaur charging at his stomach. He sighed once more and braced for impact, which made the salty pirate sail through the air. Katarina flitted behind Alistar, sticking her tongue out at him when Akali stepped in her path and glared at her, effectively stopping her advance.
Riven turned away from the Nexus, facing apparently nothing but the Fields of Justice that sprawled out before her. Soraka made her way over to the Exile, healing magic seeping from the Starchild's fingertips once more. Riven gave Soraka a silent nod of thanks before focusing her gaze at the fields once more.
Whatever magic that was used for recording the match zoomed in for a portrait shot of Riven as she spoke once more. "I was a part of the Noxian-Ionian war, which served no gains and only losses for both sides. I chose to fight with the Ionians in this match because I am no longer a tool, no longer a weapon unable to think. I am stronger now than I have ever been because I fight for my beliefs. Tell me if I am wrong, in assuming this, but..."
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