A cold breeze swept underneath the oaken door creeping into the small room. Derrick tends to his ailing wife curling her struggling arms and wrapping thick leather straps around her wrists. Writhing in pain she screams in anguish, her body moves violently from side to side throwing herself off the side of the bed only to dangle haphazardly over the floor. Held by a few straps Derrick tied to the bed posts earlier when she looked like the puppets she was so fond of. Derrick takes a slow breath then sighs. The cold chill brushes along Derick’s arms as he gently places his beloved wife back on the bed doing his best to ignore her scratching at his arms and her teeth etched into his shoulder repeatedly. The only warmth in the room it seems comes from his blood.
“She’s dying Derrick”, the young midwife said from across the room clutching onto his newborn son in the corner, shielding him from the savage kicks and violent movements of his mother.
Derrick struggles with his wife’s flailing arms and legs for a moment then quickly jumps on top of her on the bed pinning her two arms down with his left arm trying to get her straps tied tighter to the bed with his right. A feat normally easily accomplished by the seasoned smith over his petite wife is becoming more and more difficult as time passes; her strength increasing in power with each passing moment the void enters her body.
“I know Karen,” he says calmly and quietly as he tries to stabilize his wife’s movements barely heard by the young midwife a few feet away.
His wife’s screaming and cackling gurgle with the foam flowing from her mouth.
“The void will take her and turn her…”
“I know Karen. I know.”
The newborn child begins to fuss and the young midwife turns her attention away from the scene.
A small boy, tiny and wrinkled: Rurik is half the size of a normal newborn. Derrick knew the weakling child would have little hope of surviving in the harsh Acadian landscape. He knew that without a mother to feed and guide him, it was only a matter of time. “Perhaps that’s why he named him so,” she thinks to herself, “if he’s ‘powerful’ in name maybe he can survive.”
“Take the things for the child and wait for me in the forge,” he yells over the screams of his wife interrupting Karen’s thoughts, “That will be our new home. Karen. Karen! Did you hear me?”
He’s looking at her now. A man twice her size and strong enough to carry a dire wolf Derrick struggles to keep a woman at bay that couldn’t weigh more than a couple bags of coke: the same kind he pours into his forge daily.
“I…” Derrick’s wife kicks him off her and he quickly leaps back onto the bed before she can rip the straps from her wrists.
Karen knew better than to question Derrick. She knew what had to be done. She understood what happened when a soul was being torn into the rift. She saw the broken straps, the strained muscles and veins, heard the urgency in his voice, and she knew he had lost control.
“Do it Karen! I don’t want you to see this. Go! Now!”
Karen ran from the home clutching the young newborn boy to her chest stopping near the forge. She takes a deep breath and turns, watching the burning home she had come to know so well over the past few months tending to the ailing pregnant wife of Derrick The Great Smith of Valoran. She had reveled in the opportunity to serve such a powerful man and his wife jumping at the opportunity when it was offered. Even her father was proud of her and what she was doing. She had done what they asked she thought, "I laughed with them when Derrick made bad fish jokes, tried to choke down the burned food he cooked, and cried with them when the family found out Derrick’s wife was infected. I had done what they asked." Now all she could do was stand there watching the home envelop in flames holding the child she had come to know as their greatest joy and hope while the unholy screams of the child's mother pierced her ears - then disappeared in an instant. She waited there next to the forge. Waited for Derrick to come out bursting through the fiery door of the home, or a side wall engulfed in flame, running to her side and clutching the child to his chest crying and saying something like, “w'ell live well my son. Everything will be alright. Everything will be alright now Karen.” hugging her close, teaching Rurik Derrick's trade like his father before him, and his father, and so on.
“Not like this,” she says, “not like this,” she yells, “not like this!” she screams. “I’m too young to be a mother! Too young!” She screams at the home, but only the crackling of wood and the roaring of the fire answers her.
She waited. She waited. She waited until the home had turned to Ash and the first flake of snow fell on that cold Autumn night. She waited, but only the ash came to comfort her with the wind: nothing living. The burden of a child is now on a child's hands.
Some say Rurik was born of fire; watching the burning home he will never know consume his mother and father slowly that cold Autumn night. Some say it was the forge where the baby grew into a man. Raised by his father’s apprentice and the young maiden. “Born with a hammer in his hand forging like his old man” he said. "It was fate for fame follow the child smith into his adulthood - and fate holds all the keys."
Many know the story of Rurik The Forge Master. Born in the mountains in the season of fall to the once Smith of Valoran that chose to sacrifice himself to save his weakling son. Many know the story of Rurik the boy who slay the Great Red Dragon and infused his left arm with the heart of the dragon when he pulled it still beating from the beast’s chest. Many. But few know the quiet smith's reason for entering the League. Few know he slay that dragon to win a raven haired maiden’s love and prove his worthiness of her. Even fewer know he is the only one to pass her tests of love. But there is only one man, if you can call him that, who knows the truth. The truth behind Rurik’s power. The true reason for his love. The true reason Rurik fights in the League. Only one.
Kassadin stood in the shadow of his father's forge watching his brother’s home engulfed in flames; watching the last of his human family burn away into ash. His void nephew’s crying barely noticeable over the unnatural screams of his mother. There would be no better time to finish the act his brother could not perform. Helpless, under the care of a mere girl, it is the perfect time to act. Yet, Kassadin hesitates. His arms quake, his fingers tremble, his heart begins beating against its normal rhythm, his breathing shortens.
“I warned him that the child must not be conceived,” he says barely audible through his mask careful to not let the girl hear him only a few feet away. “I warned him that the balance must be maintained. There cannot be a child of the void born into the world. I warned him…I warned him. He did not listen. He refused to listen! Have I not traveled the void? Have I not become this...thing! To be ignored!”
Kassadin reaches up to his mask removing it. He tries to remember what his father’s home looked like through the eyes he once held as it burns with an orange hue. What human eyes saw like, what human lungs felt like, human legs that once ran through the trees in the mountains, human hands that once caught Red Trout and tiny Red Tail Pincers in the stream. Human ears that heard his brother giggling at him when one red pincher grabbed his nose. He squints through his watery solid yellow eyes and tries to breathe in the air of this world cleanly once more to feel its coolness in his lungs, but only burning and coughing ensues and he is forced to his knees. Quickly, before the young girl notices the sounds his hand returns the mask to his face. He begins to rise, “Christopher is dead,” he says between sputtered coughing, “Only Kassadin remains now.”
“The balance must be restored."
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