NaNoWriMo: "Death Blindness"

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Larcent

Senior Member

11-24-2011

Chapter XXV

Both Xin Zhao and Prince Jarvan awaited them at the castle.

“The king is consulting with the Council,” Xin Zhao explained. “Lux and Poppy found a prison under Zaun where yordles had apparently been kept. They found another portal.”

“What?” Garen said, worried. “Did they look into it?”

“Fortunately it wasn’t activated,” Xin Zhao said. “Poppy destroyed it, but from what they were told and from what they saw, there are more yordles involved besides the two we saw. There may be more portals and the Institute is informing all city-states to keep an eye out for additional attacks.”

“But why would yordles do this?” Galio asked.

“According to what Poppy and Lux were told by Twitch … ,” Xin Zhao began.

“Twitch?” Garen interrupted. “He is hardly a credible witness.”

“The evidence supported his claims,” Xin Zhao said. “We can’t imagine he’d go through so much effort just to trick us. As I was saying, Twitch claimed the yordles were forcibly exposed to the Void themselves.”

Galio thought for a moment.

“This returns Malzahar as a top suspect,” Galio said. “If he had set up the yordles to do his work, he could advance his Void efforts even while we were fighting in the Crystal Scar.”

“The Institute has finally agreed that this is an issue that deserves their attention,” Prince Jarvan said. “Unfortunately, they are insisting on interviewing Malzahar themselves.
Because other cities might also be in danger, they will not turn him over to Demacia.” The prince rolled his eyes and threw an arm up in dismissive frustration. “Even when we get their support, they can’t give us our due.”

“They have promised us that a summoner will bond with his mind to make sure he’s not lying,” Xin Zhao said.

“And then what?” Galio asked.

“We don’t know,” snarled Jarvan. “They’ve been turning a blind eye to Malzahar’s behavior so far. I wouldn’t expect that to change.”

“Durand’s bats,” Galio said. “I could have them sweep the sewers to look for anything unusual. They are small enough to scout without any problem whatsoever. We can make sure there aren’t any yordles still down there plotting another attack.”

“Thank you, Galio,” Jarvan said. “You are a credit to Demacia. I’m not sure what we’d do without you.”

“I am dying, your highness,” Galio suddenly blurted out. He didn’t know why he did it. Galio never blurted anything out. Jarvan’s simple gesture of appreciation cut him in a place he didn’t realize existed.

Everybody stopped and stared at him.

“What was that?” Jarvan said. Galio looked down, horrified at what had just come out of his mouth. “Galio, what’s going on?”

“The Void has affected me more than what is obvious,” Galio said. “My enchantments are coming undone. In a matter of days I will be permanently inert.”

The three men looked at him, their brows furrowed in concern. They all knew Galio well, not just as a Demacian, but as a fellow champion.

“Is there nothing we can do?” Xin Zhao asked. “I know the king and the council would agree to provide any assistance you needed.”

“There’s nothing we can do without violating the Institute’s ban of furthering Durand’s works,” Galio said. “And Demacia has agreed to follow the Institute’s laws as its own.”

The men all looked at each other and at Galio. They had all dealt with losses in their life -- often bloody and violent -- of the men they cared deeply about. They reacted the way they had been trained to react as leaders.

“Galio, your services to Demacia are of great regard,” Jarvan said. “If we cannot help you, please allow us to honor you properly while you are still with us.”

“There is work to be done, your highness,” Galio said.

“We must,” Garen said. “We do the best we can we honor every veteran as their time comes if we have the chance to do so.”

Galio nodded. He had attended a number of balls in honor of elderly veterans whose days on Runeterra were numbered. They may not know what happened next, but the men were going to know that Demacia truly appreciated their sacrifices before they went. Many of these men died in a matter of days after the celebration, as though this recognition was the last thing tying them to their bodies.

“I beg you,” Galio added. “Not until we know Demacia is safe. Please.”

“I understand,” Prince Jarvan said.


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Eredaar

Senior Member

11-25-2011

moar


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Invictrix

Senior Member

11-26-2011

Man I thought my fanfic was epic yours is a full on bardic tale +1.


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YamiBelgarath

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Senior Member

11-26-2011

Good work. This is one of the rare literary works on the internet to which I can find no criticism. Character use and language are all exquisite. Keep posting!


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Larcent

Senior Member

11-26-2011

Spent the day at Disneyland yesterday with a bud. A couple of chapters still to be posted and then I have to catch back up on word count again.

Glad you guys are liking it.


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Larcent

Senior Member

11-26-2011

Chapter XXVI

Back in his tower, Galio whistled to his bats and gave them new orders. There was still a bat who hadn’t returned to the tower. One of the flaws with the bats is that they will continue to try to carry out their orders until they have an image to show before they return. The only way to cancel the order is to track the bat down, which could be a problem. It must not have seen a yordle, so it hadn’t taken an image or return. The sewers were pretty extensive and Galio hoped the five bats left could do a good job sweeping them for intruders.

Galio finished his orders and the bats fluttered out of the tower, heading to the sewer entrance the yordles left from.

His eyes were drawn to a uniform hung neatly on a peg drilled into the wall of the tower. The city guards, the military, and the Dauntless Vanguard all had special ceremonial uniforms worn for attendance in the city’s social events or the many parades. After a year of service with the city guard, Captain Ironwall surprised Galio with a uniform of his own, carefully tailored to accommodate his size and his wings. The guards’ uniforms were different from the mlitary’s (which were different from the Dauntless Vanguards’). The uniform vest was a deep, rich blue, with gold buttons and trim on the epaulets. The pants were black (as were the shiny boots). A gold sash served as a belt, but the end, which was decorated with Demacia’s seal, hung from the right hip. A gleaming brass helmet and a darker blue cape completed the uniform.

“You’re one of us, mate,” Captain Ironwood said when he gave Galio the uniform. “You gotta look the part if you’re gonna join us in parades!” And that was it. No big deal about it. They just let him know it belonged. It meant a lot to him, but of course he didn’t make a big deal about it either.

He ran a stone finger along the jacket, feeling the metal buttons. He would have one more chance to wear it anyway. Perhaps he would try to be wearing it when the time came. He knew Demacia well enough that he knew they would honor Galio by putting him on “display,” perhaps at the entrance to the Hall of Heroes, the crypt where they buried the city’s greatest leaders and defenders. He wouldn’t mind, though perhaps that was a bit too much attention. He fumbled around on a nearby table for a quill and a strip of parchment. He wrote a note and shoved it in a pocket of the jacket.

He was startled by a knock on his trap door. Nobody ever came to see him in the tower. It was too awkward. He always went to visit them at the guard barracks or the castle. The table was still set aside now that It was a little too dangerous to fly out of the tower. He pulled the door open to see Lux and Poppy on the stairs. He was the looks on their faces. No doubt both Carowen and Jarvan had told them about what he had learned.

“I’ve been briefed about the other yordles,” Galio said, turning away as the two women joined him in the small tower. “My bats are scouting the sewers for them. How did the other city-states take the news?”

“Fairly well,” Poppy said. “Most are taking measures to scout and guard their cities. The Noxian emissary just laughed at us. It would serve them right if they were attacked next.”

“We came here to see you,” Lux said. “Carowen is devastated. Even Garen is upset, though he does his best not to show anything. He’s not as good at hiding his feelings as he thinks.”

“You know then that you cannot help me,” Galio said.

“Don’t be so sure,” Lux said. “I learned in Zaun how to examine your enchantments! I can determine what is going wrong with you. It may be that we won’t need to dabble in necromancy to fix you! We don’t know which enchantments are unraveling.”

“Luxanna, I’m being besieged by the memories of the man Durand use to bring me to life,” Galio said. “The logical conclusion is that the necromantic enchantment is falling apart.”

“Magic is a lot more complicated than that,” Lux said, folding her arms. “It could be a simple binding spell. Just let me cast the spell and look you over. It’s not forbidden magic! It’s just augury.”

Neverthless, Galio backed away.

“No, Lux,” he said, “It’s time to let go.” He turned to look out the window over the city.

“Why?” she pleaded.

“Because even if you can fix me, I can’t bear the thought that I’m a necromantic creature. There’s a man’s soul inside me that deserves to be at rest.”

“We don’t know that for sure,” Lux said. “Necormancy is complicated. You’ve fought with Yorick on the fields of justice, yes?”

“Yes, so?”

“He can duplicate a champion’s soul for a brief period and create a spirit to help fight,” she said. “But you’re not his slave and it’s not permanent. There’s a lot about necromancy we don’t know.”

“We’re not supposed to know!” Galio yelled. “It is forbidden!”

“Galio, please just let me examine you,” Lux said. “I promise I will not do anything forbidden to you.”

“Are you doing this for me, or for you?” Galio shot back. Lux recoiled from him.

“What do you mean?” she asked.

“Does it make you feel important?” Galio asked, nearly snarling. “To know more than everybody else. To be able to do things with magic that others cannot. The lady of luminosity, here to save us all. More people bow to you than to King Jarvan!”

“Galio!” Poppy snapped. Lux’s face darkened and for a moment she looked as though she were going to burst into tears. Instead she got angry.

“How dare you!” Lux yelled. “I have given my life for this city, the same as you.”

“And you soak up the praise like a lizard on a rock on a hot day.”

“I do not! Our family gives the citizens hope! So do the Lightshields. So do you!”

“I will not have this evil magic drawn out so that people can find new ways to praise you,” Galio said.

“I am doing this for you,” Lux hissed at him. Galio didn’t respond. She squared her shoulders and angrily muttered “Fine,” and carefully made her way back down through the trap door.

Poppy stood there with her arms folded after Lux left.

“I’ve never seen you this cruel,” Poppy said. “Not even on the fields of justice. What was that about?”

“You should go, too,” Galio said.

“Nope.”

“You are going to lecture me now,” Galio said. It wasn’t a question. He knew Poppy too well.

“You’ve learned to be manipulative, haven’t you?” she said. “Treating Lux that way. You know full well she isn’t trying to help you for the glory.”

“It is better this way,” Galio said. “The other champions understand. But Lux would not want to let go because she believes she can stop it.”

“Did you do this for her or for you?” Poppy shot back.

“What?”

“The sentinel’s sorrow they called you at first,” Poppy said. “It was guilt over your failure to protect Durand that drew you here. The need to make it right. I thought that meant that you would serve and protect Demacia as a champion. But now you have a chance to make a martyr of yourself after all.”

Galio said nothing.

“Lux remembered what you said at the Institute of War,” Poppy said. “You told her you were to die, rather than anybody else.”


“Yes.”

“Let me ask you something,” Poppy said. “How many lives have you saved?”

“How could I calculate something like that?” he asked

“Oh you can, if you try,” Poppy said. “How many times have interceded in an incident that you were able to survive that a human would not have?””

Galio said nothing.

“Remember the armory fire? If anybody else had been in there when it reached the gunpowder but you made sure… .”

“I was just doing what I was made to do.”

“When one of Heimerdinger’s experiments malfunctioned at the east gate you were there to protect him and everybody else from the explosion.”

“What is your point, Poppy?”

“You are obsessed with the idea of self-sacrifice,” she said. “But really, you are able to protect people without having to sacrifice yourself! If you weren’t here, human guards would probably have tried to assist in these situations and gotten killed!”

Galio said nothing.

“That’s why the guards adore you, Galio. They protect Demacia, and you protect them.”

“That time is coming to end,” he said.

“It doesn’t have to!”

“Yes it does,” Galio said. “It is wrong to subvert nature, even to protect others. That path leads to dark places. The right thing must be done the right way, or it should not be done.”

Poppy sighed. Galio noticed that she was close to tears as well. He hadn’t seen her this way since they first met, in that field where Durand had been murdered.

“The palace is rushing to put a ball together,” she said. “Tomorrow night, can you believe that? The city cares about you.”

“I care about it as well,” Galio said. “I will see you there, yes?”

“Yes.” She reached out with her hands. Galio gently took them in his own. It felt like time stopped until she pulled away. Without saying a word, she disappeared through the trap door and left.


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Eredaar

Senior Member

11-26-2011

its soooo sad


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Larcent

Senior Member

11-26-2011

Chapter XXVII

Hey lay in his bed, covered with fur blankets. He was weakening. He could feel every breath weighing on his chest. Guards would come and go, furrowing their brows with concern as they looked at him. A nurse sat by the bed, feeding him broth the best she could. He barely had any appetite.

The door creaked open, but he couldn’t turn his head to look. He was too tired. After a moment, Dederick appeared by his bedside. He was a man now, blond hair slicked back, and a well-trimmed darker mustache and beard. He was smiling the brittle smile of somebody trying to show courage in the face of tragedy.

“Feeling nice and warm?” he asked.

“They’re doing the best they can,” he rasped haltingly through labored breaths. “But the infection is too deep.”

Dederick’s smile faltered. He murmured to himself and gestured. The room glowed with a magical green rain that drizzled over the room, though nothing got wet. The nurse gasped in surprise. And while it was beautiful to look at, nothing seemed to change.

“Told you,” he joked, and then coughed.

“You can’t … it can’t end like this,” Dederick pleaded. “After all you’ve gone through, an infection and some swamp-borne fever?”

“You aren’t going to lecture me now that this wouldn’t have happened in Demacia, are you?” he asked. “I’ve heard that enough.”

Dederick frowned at him.

“When one of the Demacian guard captains came to me at the Academy to tell me your were sick and getting worse, he took me aside to tell me everything. Everything you had done just for me.”

The man nodded quietly.

“Why didn’t you ever tell me?” Dederick blurted out as he collapsed into tears. “All this time here. I thought you were just being stubborn! I had no idea you were leading a war just to protect me!”

“I was serving Demacia,” he said.

“Stop that,” Dederick said. “Why did you do it?”

“Because you are important.”

Dederick folded his arms.

“That’s not a real answer,” he said. The man struggled to sit up in the bed. The nurse leaned over to help prop him up.

“They told me your magic helped at the Eastern front to hold back Noxus’s latest assault. You saved the lives of dozens of guards. If we hadn’t done all we could to protect you here, if the barbarians had found you, what could have happened? Who knows? I made sure.”

“So that’s your argument? It was a selfless act to protect Demacia.”

“Oh no,” he shook his head back and forth weakly. “No, I was very selfish.”

“I don’t understand.”

“You … you gave it all meaning,” he admitted. “I was … not important. And not especially useful. I didn’t … I didn’t even care what happened to me when I first arrive in Gorjic. There was a part of me that might have been looking forward … to being cut down by the barbarians.” He paused and coughed for several seconds. “You made me be useful. I don’t think … I don’t think I would have lasted this long on this world had I not found you.”

“I didn’t understand why you pushed me away,” Dederick said. “I thought I was a nuisance to you.”

“I love you very much, Dederick,” he said. “You are a hero for Demacia. It’s more than any father could ask for. I wish I could have made my own father half as proud.”

He was too weak now. The nurse helped him lay back down.

“There is a boy at the orphanage who shows talent” Dederick said. “I have asked for permission to adopt him.”

“Good. Good,” he wheezed. “Be useful, not just important.” Dederick couldn’t help but smile at the command.

“I was hoping he would get the chance to meet you,” he said sadly.

“It’s okay,” he said. “Seeing you one more time makes it all worthwhile. Promise me you will serve Demacia well.”

“I wish I could save you!”

“Oh you did, boy. You don’t realize it, but you did.”

He held on for a few more hours after the Dederick left, after he awkwardly crawled into bed with him, insistent on giving him a manly hug goodbye.

But night fell, and the chill began to descend. His breathing began to slow. The nurse prepared a warm wet cloth for his forehead. He tried to push her away but he could barely move.

“It’s okay,” he whispered, his voice rattling off at the end.

“Are you sure?” she asked.

“I have done … what was needed,” he said. She pulled the cloth away, rested a warm hand on his cheek and give him a smile.

“Rest with the heroes,” she said, as his vision began to blur. Tears, finally, at the end.
“You deserve it.”

Darkness descended.


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Eredaar

Senior Member

11-26-2011

O.O a whole entire chapter of memories?


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Larcent

Senior Member

11-26-2011

It seemed awkward to shift back to Galio after that. It will make sense next chapter.