Pre-Note: Taking liberties. You'll see. Additional note at the end.
The leaders of the Institute of War certainly had an odd sense of humor, Katarina ruminated as she stood beside her teammates in the Crystal Scar.
None of them interested her, truth be told, save for the yordle, who kept a steady gaze at her the instant they both had entered the preparation area. She was garbed in a deep red suit of armor and a rather fearsome looking hammer slung across her shoulder. While she wasn't cogniscient of all the affairs, she knew enough that this was Poppy Silado, the Yordle Ambassador to Demacia.
She didn't care much for the diminutive race. They seemed too insulated with their own politics to even bother with their somewhat stilted, and at times strained, alliance with Demacia. The yordles she had encountered, both on and off assignment, were of no threat to Noxus, despite that blowhard Darius' insistence that Bandle City be conquered in the name of their beloved country.
When the armored yordle's gaze did not waver, Katarina's patience thinned. Her lips curled into a smirk as she drew a pair of her combat knives from the back of her legs. "Something on your mind, small one?"
Poppy said nothing. Instead, she reached up and closed the faceplate on her helmet, letting only a pair of yellow lights glow from the inside and a slight tint of her blue skin to shine through as the announcers declared the match to begin.
She frowned when the yordle had gone north and she began her journey south. No matter. There was a battle to be won in Noxus' name.
"Come out, come out, wherever you are?!" Fiddlesticks cackled viciously as the minions fell to his dark power, before he made a line towards the bushes Katarine hid in.
She had been overpowered. She had underestimated the animated scarecrow and knew of her folly too late. Her wounds due to her foe's magic were extensive and she was in no position to regroup. Her pride would not allow her to retreat, even if it meant her doom. She tightened her grip on her blades and was about to commit to her Shunpo technique when she heard a new noise in the form of heavy armor approaching from the north.
The noise also drew her foe's attention from his search to see a small red colored blur slam into him and collide with the wall. Before Katarina could act, a large hammer crushed Fiddlestick's head, rendering him defeated for now.
The yordle took a few breaths before turning to Katarina and, to her surprise, found the yordle glaring at her through her helmet before the smaller individual turned back north to assist their allies.
"If you have something to say, peck, then say it!" Katarina snarled, her anger kept in check for longer than needed.
Poppy turned to her and answered curtly, "Later," and scampered off.
A frown developed on her face as she joined her minions to take the power point.
Another one of their teammates had exchanged places with her, as her presence was needed up north. She didn't remember which of them said it, but it didn't matter. The yordle that had insulted her consumed her thoughts as she hopped from rooftop to rooftop to see her allies in a desperate melee against their foes. At the moment, she was fending off the Ionian, Irelia.
While Poppy was not outmatched, she was clearly at a disadvantage. The hammer missed where the blade had skimmed through pieces of the yordle's armor. Unless she intervened, the yordle was done for. She intended to, however, a sphere of light encased the yordle and to both Irelia's and Katarina's astonished gaze, none of the Ionian's attacks did any damage. The Noxian looked up further to see a pillar of similar light encased around the mermaid, Nami, who was across the way, assisting her own teammates.
She looked back to see the yordle charge into Irelia, and like before with Fiddlesticks, crush her against the wall, wind up, and send the blunt end of her hammer into Irelia's stomach, defeating the Ionian as she fell to the ground dead.
Immediately, the sphere vanished and Poppy fell to one knee to catch her breath. Katarina was about to announce her presence when from around the corner of one of the houses, Volibear had emerged and made a line towards the weakened yordle.
The bear would have easily dispatched the yordle had Katarina's shunpo not thrown the ursine warrior off balance and she dug her knives into his neck. With an elaborate twirl, she pulled the blades out and sent more of her throwing knives into him for good measure.
With the bear gone, she turned back to the yordle who only seemed to growl at her. Katarina's own anger returned in force.
"While I appreciate your assistance against Fiddlesticks, I find it unusual that you would take umbrage with me saving you."
"It's because I know who you are!" Poppy shot back as they both turned to see the opposing Crystal explode, putting a seal upon their victory.
Before she could get any more information from the yordle, both of them had been summoned back to the Institute.
To say that Katarina was in a foul mood was understatement. She skulked about the halls as other champions and summoners went about their business. She had to find the yordle. She had to find out whom the smaller person meant, when she said that she knew her. Not a lot of people knew her. The fewer, the better. Such was the life of an assassin such as herself.
Sure enough, she found the yordle alone at the edge Institute's grounds. Alone on a rock amongst the garden, still clad in her armor and hammer at her side. When she approached the table, the yordle turned to her and her own frown returned in force.
"Sollafa Tiredo, Noxan," she said humorlessly, spouting the melodic Bandle language that only yordles spoke to one another or to humans they hated in order to confuse humans that spoke down to them.
"And what does that mean?" Katarina asked with her hands on her hips.
"We don't tell outsiders, let alone Noxans, what it means. You'd taint it," Poppy spat with little pretense how she felt about the human in front of her.
"While I am quite aware that Noxus and Bandle City are hostile, you seem especially belligerent towards me," Katarina shot back, keeping her anger in check. "Not that I care what a hairless rat thinks, given the state of affairs."
"It's because of your ability. I've seen it before." Poppy said as she stood up and hopped off the rock beside her.
"Of course you have, yordle. We've fought alongside and against each other in the Institute of War," Katarina said back, more annoyed than angered.
"No. This was before the institute of war. I thought you looked familiar and today has only confirmed it," Poppy snarled back, the hate in her eyes apparent.
Annoyance turned to confusion and amusement. "We have never met before, yordle. I assure-"
"We have, Noxan," Poppy cut her off, "ten years ago. The Howling Marsh."
"Poppy, quick!" Blomgren hissed quickly, then shoved the helmet into her smaller hands. "Go to the bushes and don't make a sound!"
Obedient, the smaller yordle dashed between the trees and into the mud and tall grass, which concealed her location.
Blomgren, hoping that his daugher was not discovered as she hid, then turned and readied his own hammer. A switch on the handle opened up a set of spikes on the head. He exemplified the saying; Yordles maybe be small, but never harmless.
A moment later, two figures emerged from the shadows. A young woman, wearing the unmistakable leathers of a Noxan fighter, pulled back her hood and smirked at her prey. She then turned to her companion and hissed, "Find that other rat. She can't have gone far." The other one nodded and ran around Blomgren to search for Poppy.
Or so he thought.
From the head of Blomgren's hammer, a metal stake shot out and pinned the other assassin to a tree not far from Katarina. Try as he might, the assassin struggled before he eventually fell silent.
The yordle then glared at Katarina and announced, "You will do no such thing! The King of Demacia will hear of this!"
Angered that a Noxus assassin, especially one she had worked with before, was dispatched by a yordle of all things, smiled venomously, "Oh really? Tell me, rat, how do you intend to get to Demacia to deliver your package..."
It was then she had vanished and appeared right behind Blomgren and stabbed him between his neck and shoulders from above.
"...when you and your spawn will die here?"
Her sadistic glee was cut short when Blomgren grabbed her wrist and said with no fear in his eyes, "like this."
Another switch on his hammer sent the sharpened fragments at her, shredding her armor and placing several pieces of shrapnel into her arms and torso. Blomgren was about to run the other way, when Katarina roared and with several turns, despite her injuries, flung more knives at him.
The yordle's own armor, as light and tough as it was, was not prepared for the assault as the knives pieced the metal and eventually, one went through his throat. The yordle dropped to the floor without a sound and Katarina fell to her knees and looked to the wounds Blomgren's desperate attack had done to her. She was starting to get weary and being no stranger to injuries, could only come to one conclusion.
She had to give the rat credit. He had caught her off guard and she would not be able to continue her mission like this. However, one of the things she had learned was that the better generals and leaders knew where and when to pick their battles. This was not one she was going to win and she would be damned twice before she'd let word get out that a Yordle had killed her.
Mustering her remaining strength, she dashed back to the shadows.
"You showed your face, Noxan. You showed your hand. I've been waiting years for this, but now I know who killed my father! Misol Dotirefa!"
Katarina was stunned. She was sure the Marsh would have eaten the rat alive. However,not only did she survive, but she became an ambassador. As easy as it would have been to kill the rat right then and there, she had diplomatic immunity. And she would have faced trial against the institute of War if she did.
"How... serendipitous," Katarina said, trying to hide the surprise in her face. "However, if you truly do hold such a grudge, peck, then you're wasting your time."
Poppy never gave her a chance to retort as she charged again and slammed her into the rock the yordle had sat upon only a moment before. With her breath knocked out of her lungs, Katarina collapsed and was about to get up when a small metal boot stomped on her chest and forced her back to the ground.
Poppy then loomed over her, blocking the sun as the sun as she snarled, "No, Noxan. I can wait. I've waited ten long years for this. I can wait a little longer. And despite the faith you have in the Institute of War, there's only so much the Summoners can do. One day, the League of Legends will not stay the hands of the heads of state from declaring war."
With her breath back, Katarina spat back, "and I suppose you'll hunt me down and kill me?"
Poppy raised her hammer and slammed it into the ground right beside her head.
"No, Noxan," Poppy growled, the hatred in her eyes all the more clear,"that's because that's what you want. You want to die in battle, because nothing would be greater. No, I'm going to take that from you. I'm going to take EVERYTHING from you, just as you took everything from me! I am not going to kill you, Noxan."
Poppy then reached down with her free hand, grabbed a lock of Katarina's hair, and yanked her head upward until she and the yordle were face to face. "I am going to find you... and I am going to break you! BONE! BY! BONE!"
The yordle then let go, took her hammer and went back to the Institute, leaving a spooked Katarina to star at the Ambassador.
Fear was something Katarina always claimed was a trait of the weak. However, given that the yordle was more than able and willing to make good on her threats, and given how she had almost lost her life at the hands of her father...
...she had to reassess what fear was.
Fear, was an enemy who had nothing to lose. And she had stared it in the face.
Now, before you boys get your boxers in a bind and your jimmies rustled, this is fanfiction. Gameplay balance has no place here!
That being said, what do you think?
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