[CHALLENGE] Create a League Judgment - Nephry, the Shattered Crusader

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Silver of Souls

Senior Member

02-08-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by Youso1337 View Post
Yeah, I got booted again, this time for posting links to sites that had mature content. I gave plenty of warnings on them, and even said I would dismantle the topic if I were asked to by Riot, but they didn't even want to give me that chance, it seems, and just gave me the forum ban.

I'm making an appeal on the ban, but no response yet.

The funny thing, though, is that people on this forum have posted links to sites with mature content before, and given warnings when doing so, and yet I'm the only one (AFAIK) who's gotten a forum ban for it. Talk about getting picked on...

Well, if I don't manage to get the ban overturned, I'll have a lot of work to do getting my Champion Concepts operational again. It's such a pain to have to remake them AGAIN.
Dang :/ Was afraid of that.

I think the reason people have gotten away with it in the past is that the links were discreet. This forum isn't very heavily moderated, from what I've seen. Only the people who DO post the huge warning labels get noticed and banned.


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Youso1337

Member

02-08-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver of Souls View Post
Dang :/ Was afraid of that.

I think the reason people have gotten away with it in the past is that the links were discreet. This forum isn't very heavily moderated, from what I've seen. Only the people who DO post the huge warning labels get noticed and banned.
Yeah, talk about irony...

EDIT: Oh well, it all worked out; the ban got lifted. Still, I plan to make use of this second smurf; one account for my PC, one for my laptop.


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Youso1337

Member

02-09-2012

Just as a minor bump, and also perhaps to show some of the changes I'd make to the Observation that PsilonStefanov produced. Think of it as me adding personal touches to polish the final work. Don't worry; if I use your League Judgment and modify it, you'll still be credited, PsilonStefanov.

Quote:
Nephry walks slowly towards the doors of the Reflection Chamber. Her steps show the same pride and discipline that those of all the previous Demacians did, measured and firm as they are. She stands proud and erect, shoulders high, her back not even slightly humped, her hands relaxed, not a sign of anxiety in her.

But there is one difference. Slight, but hard to ignore, for it made the rest of her posture seem grotesque.

While the rest of her is erect and controlled, her head is not. It appears wrong, painful even, upon closer inspection. The perfect line of her back is broken at her neck and then her head, turned downwards, as if she dared not to look forward. Upon noticing this crack in her image, others become obvious as well. Her steps are like those of a Demacian soldier… then, all of a sudden, she almost stumbles forward on one step, clenching her fist as if in pain. Her breathing, while for the most part calm and controlled, sometimes stops for a few seconds without reason, followed by several labored breaths in a rapid succession. Her hand randomly moves to the sword on her hip, as if checking that it is still there. At other times, the hand runs across the pieces of her ebony armor, as if fearing that the plate mail might fail her at any moment.

To any who knew the Holy Shield of Demacia, to see such a disheveled creature as this would be a horrific sight.

She stops at the door and looks up at the inscription on it with empty, doll-like yellow eyes, her mouth opening just a little as she moves her head up.

The truest opponent lies within.

She stands there, gazing at the inscription for a few moments…and then, inexplicably, she screams as she strikes the letters with a balled fist. The doors slam open, and Nephry nearly stumbles through the archway from the momentum. Beyond the doors awaits complete darkness.

Her eyes come alive for a moment, and for the first time her stature is that of a true Demacian. She smiles, though it is a tired and tormented expression, yet it alludes to the beauty she possessed before being transfigured into the effigy she is today.

She looks back, as if to make sure that she isn’t being watched or followed, then takes out a piece of cloth from a pocket of her armor. The fabric is rough and dirty, but one can clearly see a capital 'D', written in blood, housed in the red outlines of a shield. A tear appears in Nephry’s eye as she looks into the darkness before her, clenching the cloth tightly in her hand.

The charade is over, she thinks as she marches into the shadows.
As you can see, it's quite a few changes, but it reads a lot better, huh?

I always seem to work well at editing and adding on to a piece that others have written first, like a proof-reader or... well, an editor.

I hope to see more of your work soon, Psilon.


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PsilonStefanov

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Junior Member

02-13-2012

Hey, YouSo, and thanks for the edit...while I can't see all that many changes in the text itself the modifications to the paragraph do indeed make it a lot more readable, and what's more important separate things in a way that gives much clearer logical highlights. Thanks for the editing work (that I tend to be really bad at).

And sorry about my long silence - I'm a university student in an exam session and for the last few days I was stuck reading psychoanalysis... which killed all and any will to live and write I had.

As for more of my work, I finished the first scene of the reflection a week ago (I haven't uploaded it because I haven't found the time to edit it), and should start working on the second one today.


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Youso1337

Member

02-13-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by PsilonStefanov View Post
Hey, YouSo, and thanks for the edit...while I can't see all that many changes in the text itself the modifications to the paragraph do indeed make it a lot more readable, and what's more important separate things in a way that gives much clearer logical highlights. Thanks for the editing work (that I tend to be really bad at).

And sorry about my long silence - I'm a university student in an exam session and for the last few days I was stuck reading psychoanalysis... which killed all and any will to live and write I had.

As for more of my work, I finished the first scene of the reflection a week ago (I haven't uploaded it because I haven't found the time to edit it), and should start working on the second one today.
No worries, take your time. Heck, I've got 1 midterm and a test this week. But Reading Week is next week, so WOOT!

Glad you liked the edit. My English teachers in high school were sticklers for neatness, and it shows why.


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PsilonStefanov

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Junior Member

02-15-2012

Okay...it's been too long since I've gotten feedback, and admitedly it's too late for me to exhibit self-control. Hence, here goes the first half (scene) of Nephry's Reflection, only subjected to a very quick and nasty edit. Feedback would be highly appreciated. And sorry about it being so long, like I said my page discipline failed me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reflection
But then the world goes insane. She feels something in her mind…like an itching feeling…no like pain…intense pain…hot…iron…screams…broken bones…boots…chains…all in a space of time so small she can’t steel her mind…she screams, to try and stop it, but the feeling only gets more intense…the cycles of torture only get closer together and more intense…Swain’s looking at her…then his raven bites her…his cane strikes her undefended face…something breaks…the taste of blood in her mouth…hot iron…Jarvan in another’s arms…Sebastian’s dead eyes!


She screams trying to jump back on her feet. The pain with which her body answers the very idea is overwhelming and two hands push her down on the cold floor. Her elbow strikes against something iron that burns it, spilling something that might as well be near-frozen water on her.

“Hush Nephry!” A voice from above spoke to her, making her freeze. “Don’t make any rapid motions this soon.” Nephry relaxed on her back and took a deep breath.

“I’m sorry.” She whispered to Eva.

“Reliving the torture?” Her cellmate asked, empathetically.

“Yes.” The Shield of Demacia replied, easing her head on the crotch of the other woman.

“What was it this time?”

“You know I’d rather not speak of that…” A nod.

“What would you rather speak of?”

“Of my prince.” A bitter laugh escaped Eva’s lips and attracted Nephry’s eyes.

“You really should stop repeating that.” A slight smile appeared on the Noxian’s face and that surprised the Demacian noble. “Or I might just start believing it.” Despite the pain all over her body this made Nephry’s eyes widen with surprise, and brought a smile to her face. If there was one thing that had never changed in her cellmate it was her resistance to the idea that they could be saved – the product of long years spent in this dungeon.

“But he’s going to come! He loves me, and would never let me wither away in this accursed place.” The Shield of Demacia rose to a sitting position despite the protest of her body, invigorated by the thoughts of her soon to come salvation. “And I’m sure it’s going to be soon... I mean I must have spent more than enough time here for him to learn of my capture and start preparing his own rescue operation.”

“We have.” The woman nodded.

“You…believe me?”

“Maybe I do…I mean…what do I have to lose?” A laugh. Nephry couldn’t believe her eyes –the woman that had held her hand as she had lain beaten on the floor so many times with the deepest of care, even if she had nothing to win, and no hope to live was for the first time letting just a little hope into her life. “Plus…your prince does sound like he’s of the heroic variety.”

“He is, and once he comes here these Noxian dogs are going to regret everything they’ve done to us…what’s wrong?”

“You know…I’m a Noxian dog too…” Eva answered, looking at the floor.

“Oh…I didn’t mean that…”

“I know…but what if he does? Or even more likely one of his men?”

“I…I hadn’t thought of that…” she answered, and silence followed, as Eva’s face slowly started growing dimmer. And despite herself, for the first time since she had been captured Nephry had a moment of doubt, if her fairytale would end the way it was meant to. Horrified at this experience she looked away from her friend’s face and at her own, badly hurt hands, and blood soaked rags. Then her eyes unwillingly fixed on one specific cut on her wrist – one that had been made with the sword of her Lieutenant, Sebastian, just moment before the same blade had been plunged in his heart. How many good men had died while waiting for their prince to come…how many more would follow…was he really coming? Was there anything, worth risking his life for, here? There were many other women in Demacia after all, and soon she would be the only subject he had left in this dungeon. A tear drop fell down from her eye and she looked down at it, trying to escape the horror of the situation she was in, knowing full well that there was nothing in it that could relieve her.

She was wrong. For in the dents of the cobble under her, the tear followed the natural curves of the stone to form a little n. Instantly, she got an idea, and before she had to spend another painful moment in her head she struck her wrist in the sharp stone of the floor. A silent whimper escaped her lips, but she ignored it, and feeling the pain too blunt to indicate something was severed scraped her hand along, with a lifeless expression on her face.

“What are you doing?!” Evaine almost shrieked, trying to catch Nephry’s hand. The Demacian was quicker, and pulled her hand up, as soon as she was sure she had seen something red and wet on the floor. Her cellmate looked up, baffled and scared, and again tried getting a hold of the other woman’s hand. The shield of Demacia didn’t try to get away this time, and let her friend inspect the wound she had reopened. “Don’t tell me you’ve given up!” Surprisingly…this time her voice didn’t sound as compassionate as it had up to now, but this fact went unnoticed, as Nephry just shook her head and smiled.

“No, it’s just that I have an idea. Now let go of my hand and relax.” Reluctantly, the other woman complied, giving in to the authority of the noblewoman. The latter put a finger in her wound, both hands trembling a little, as she strived to get some blood on the tip of her finger. Then she gently touched the robe of her friend and slowly moved her finger down, leaving a somewhat straight line in the fabric, though for only a part of the distance that the finger had passed. Revelation shone on Eva’s face, and she didn’t resist any more. When her work was Nephry finally spoke again, tired but content, the despair replaced with fresh hope. “When Jarvan’s men come here, if you’re not with me just shot them this, and tell them Nephry gave it to you. They’ll never touch you knowing that.”

A tear appeared on the Noxian’s face as she just jumped and hugged her friend. Before either of them could speak, however the cell’s door swung open, and Swain and two of his uniformed goons walked in. Instantly the two women were pulled apart and Eva was taken up to her feet. For the first time, however she looked Swain straight into the eyes, rather than trying to turn away, as they silently took her away on another torture session. Looking at her walk away pride swelled in Nephry’s chest. Pride that she had given hope to a human that had been stripped of all of it at the hands of her prince’s nemesis. However, when Eva was thrown back in the cell a few hours later, her heart sunk. The woman had been beaten much worse than she had ever been, there were several terrible whip marks on her face, as well as what could only be a sword cut. And her body wasn’t in a better condition.

Quickly, the Shield of Demacia crawled to her friend and tried to pull her away from the door that almost closed on her ankle. The Noxian woman was breathing heavily, on irregular intervals, and her eyes were filled with tears.

“What…what did they do to you?” Was all that the crushed Nephry managed.

“Everything…” was all that followed a long pause.

“Why…” she asked whatever god was listening, rather than her friend.

“The d…” For a moment she didn’t know what was spoken to her…and then it came to her. All the blood left the face of the woman who hadn’t lost her spirit over the months of torture.

“I’m…I…” For the first time, she found herself speechless, not able to find the strength to say anything.

“Why…did… you… make… me… hope.” A reply came after several seconds, each word followed by a long pause for several chaotic breaths. There was nothing the noblewoman could say. Speech was beyond her state of mind and soul. The only thing she could do was tremble, and cry, while stroking the other woman’s face, as if washing the blood away could save her. But it couldn’t and Eva’s head slowly relaxed, as her breaths became ever further apart. “I…won’t…see…” The Noxian became a little lighter as she exhaled, and the weight never came back. She melted away in Nephry’s arms.

“Soon there will be nothing left to save.” Were the last words she managed to say to her only friend in these terrible times.

Then the world spun around and changed abruptly, as it often did in her memory of the timelss existence her Noxian captives had reduced her to. As this happened the feeling that something horrible and painful had happened passed through Nephry and made her scream again. This time the fleeing images were of a body being dragged away, of Swain mocking her that she was to blame, and that all that had come to the dungeon with her had given in and faded away. But before all of that she had torn the ‘D’ from her friend’s rags, so she never forgot. What exactly she wasn’t to forget fled her mind at the moment though…


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Youso1337

Member

02-15-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by PsilonStefanov View Post
Okay...it's been too long since I've gotten feedback, and admitedly it's too late for me to exhibit self-control. Hence, here goes the first half (scene) of Nephry's Reflection, only subjected to a very quick and nasty edit. Feedback would be highly appreciated. And sorry about it being so long, like I said my page discipline failed me.
*claps* That was good stuff. I like your touch on how Nephry's belief that Jarvan would save her ended up harming another. That is some dark stuff, but I'd be lying if I said it was bad.

Although I'm suspicious of "Eva"...

Looking forward to the second half.


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PsilonStefanov

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Junior Member

02-16-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by Youso1337 View Post
*claps* That was good stuff. I like your touch on how Nephry's belief that Jarvan would save her ended up harming another. That is some dark stuff, but I'd be lying if I said it was bad.

Although I'm suspicious of "Eva"...

Looking forward to the second half.
It seemed only fitting that I make it dark, considering that she had been tortured.

And as for the second part...without further ado, I present to you, and anyone else who might be reading this thread...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reflection, Part Two
What exactly she wasn’t to forget fled her mind at the moment though…

Jarvan’s smile erased it. He was looking at her as he pulled the oars of the boat they were both in. Relaxed on her back she didn’t care for anything but that smile and the face that it graced. Gently she touched him, just to make sure he was there. And he was. Without another thought, feeling as though she had just escaped from a nightmare she jumped on him and embraced him, relaxing on his chest, where his heart’s gentle beat made her forget there was a world around them. And if there was his hand holding her was protecting Nephry from it. The tenderness in it showed that it was something more than the cage that her previous suitors had offered. She ran a hand across his hair, to reveal the rest of his face, and to again feel that he was real. Again he was, and he kissed her hand, looking in her eyes, because he respected her, rather than just wanted her. This meant she could trust him and hold him even closer. His heart started beating even faster, trying to catch up to hers, that was racing…

But was it beating with joy? It didn’t feel pleasant anymore – and on top of that she was sweating. Yet he was still here, alive and smiling, protecting her with the mighty arm he normally held his spear in. Why was she fearful? The reason was in her pocket and she took it out…only to see a blood stained piece of dirty cloth…and still he was real, and smiling. As if everything was going to go perfectly. But it hadn’t, and now his smile made it seem like there was another reason for it. Neprhy pulled away from the prince and looked at him, feeling herself wet with sweat, and dirty. Her hands hurt, and when she looked they were covered in cuts and bruises, trembling.

No! Why was he smiling if she was so hurt? And if he was the one guiding the boat why didn’t he ever look forward? How could he steer it right, if he didn’t know where it was going? The pain got even more intense…she looked away from him and turned her back to the prince, unable to bare his meaningless smile. Unfortunately what was behind them was even harder to bear witness to. For the clouds were dark behind them, the waves were wild, and lightning fell from the sky silently but powerfully. And while Jarvan had been holding her and smiling he had let it almost catch up to them.

“Hurry!” She shouted, quickly turning around to see him rowing quickly, with that smile still on his face. Knowing what he was looking at…she decided that the storm was the better thing to see. And so she watched it, catching up to them, as if the boat wasn’t moving at all. More so than it should, the view made her heart pound with horror, and the sweat gather even more intensely on her unwashed body.

Then she saw another boat, sailing after them, catching up with impossible speed. For a moment she saw the woman on it, Evaine…then the lightning fell down, and the boat was set aflame, with a scream stronger than the roar of thunder. She wished to look away from the body inside the burning boat, as it slowly turned darker and darker, and struggled hopelessly to extinguish the flames without jumping in the hungering water. But it was beyond Neprhy’s strength, for the lighting had made her see that the clouds were shaped like a raven with six eyes looking straight at her.

Then she heard something crack and looked behind, trembling madly. Still smiling, Jarvan struck the boat with the oar, sending cracks through it. The Shield of Demacia tried to say something but it felt like her throat was too dry to let her speak, and the air was too little, from her mad breathing. She tried taking another breath but as she did the prince struck again, and the boat broke in two, her love sailing away, as the storm caught up to her. Horrified, yet knowing, she looked up, just as the lightning went down towards her, illuminating Swain’s face in the clouds…

A scream escaped her lips as she woke up, chains holding her up against a wall. Then another one as Swain’s face didn’t change much between her dream and reality. The guards behind him stepped back, surprised, but all he did was raise an eyebrow, before he took her face in his scarred hand, and looked straight into her bloodshot eyes, coming so close to her that Neprhy could hear his breath, despite his robe’s tall collar. She tried looking away, feeling as though he could see the dream’s remains in her eyes, but his grip was much stronger than her malnourished body could resist, so he had his time. It was an unpleasant time, his proximity and worse yet physical contact bringing a strong feeling of disgust and weakness in her, that was coming too soon after the dream of Jarvan.

In fact, just thinking about her prince stacked his image upon that of her torturer, and for a moment she felt like it was her beloved holding her in such contempt…the way he had looked at her in the dream, before he split the boat. She tried pulling away even harder, whining a little despite her wish not to do so. Worse yet, she realized she was starting to cry, tears falling down her cheeks, her psyche buckling under Jarvan’s dreamt betrayal and the long torture she had been exposed to.

Then suddenly he just let her go and turned his back to her, letting her relax confused on the chains that kept her from resting. “You saw what I have to tell you coming.” She heard his rough voice and froze, her mind instantly locking onto the idea that the one she loved had betrayed her. Any other day, she would have just dismissed the words, but now she couldn’t help but imagine it true, even if just for a few moments. “Unchain her.” Without a word, two Noxian guards removed the restraint that held her hands up. Exhausted and weak her legs failed to support her weight at first and she fell on the rough, cold stone paved floor.

“What do you mean?” Nephry asked as she tried to push herself back to her feet. The Noxian didn’t answer, instead leaving with the guards. They didn’t even bother closing the door behind them, leaving her completely baffled as she struggled to get up.

Vaguely she was aware, that if she managed to get up this was the best chance she would ever have to escape, but what burned bright in her demented mind right now was instead the urge to find out what he was talking about. No…what she wanted to find out was that he was lying to her, torturing her mind the way he always did. But there was a voice in her head, faint and weak, that was telling her that she wanted the exact opposite. She wanted irrefutable evidence that she was being told the truth, because if she was, there was nothing more to hold her from giving up, giving her captors the pleasure of knowing they had broken her so they could finally let her die. There was nothing to keep her loyal to Jarvan and her tattered love for him anymore, and she could be free to start a new life, serving the darker city-state…

“No!” She shouted the voice in her head that told her so, and concentrated completely on getting up. Trembling on her feet she walked out of the cell, and holding onto the wall followed the only light she could see in the dungeon. It led her beyond a door, where she saw her prince, holding a strange woman of an unhealthy skin color by the hand, near the remains of a stone structure… “No…” was all that Nephry managed to say, as she saw the two of them walk away together, much closer than she and Jarvan had ever been, leading a whispered conversation that made the prince blush. “No…” she thought as she heard a man with an unmistakable Demacian accent speaking about how Jarvan and Shyvana seemed to always know what the other was thinking on the fields of justice. “No…” she said to the revelation that her mind came to without her having to help it at all. And “No…” she answered Swain, when he asked her if she was still fighting him for this prince.

Only that wasn’t what he had asked, and feeling like something was wrong she looked up at Swain. Who was this time trembling visibly in front of her, with a tear in his eye. Confused Nephry realized that this was a memory, and there was something wrong with it.

“Wh…why…” Swain tried to say again, but his voice failed him and he looked away, sobs coming from him, in a way that was completely uncharacteristic. Calmly a pale skinned woman that had also been in the room, and that she now knew was called LeBlanc walked up to her and offered her a hand.

“Why do you want to join the league of legends?” She asked, calmly, in a voice that very slightly resembled that of Evaine. At first Nephry didn’t understand the question, but then, half-knowing what was going on she said the words she suddenly became aware she had been ordered to say.

“To serve Noxus.”

“No!” Swain shouted again…and then he just disappeared.

“But there’s more to it than that isn’t there?” LeBlanc asked.

“To bring those that betrayed me to the justice they believe themselves above.”

"How does it feel, exposing your mind?" She continued.

“It’s been exposed for too long for me to care now.” Was Nephry’s simple answer, as the memory of what she was now came back to her, slowly but surely. LeBlanc nodded and a door swung open, where the screen on which she had seen Jarvan had been only a moment ago. Alone she passed through the door into the institute of war. And in the meantime the young Demacian summoner that was supposed to lead her reflection contemplated taking his own life, for breaking the Shield of Demacia again, with his lack of skill, while the Noxian overseeing the procedure allowed himself a slight smile at how well everything had gone. And at seeing LeBlanc’s art in action again.
And this concludes our regularly scheduled program. Again, tell me what you think, and whether your suspicion strengthened after what you read


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Youso1337

Member

02-16-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by PsilonStefanov View Post
It seemed only fitting that I make it dark, considering that she had been tortured.

And as for the second part...without further ado, I present to you, and anyone else who might be reading this thread...



And this concludes our regularly scheduled program. Again, tell me what you think, and whether your suspicion strengthened after what you read
Now this was some dark sh*t, man. Freaking awesome. And I was right about Eva, or should I say Leblanc. Nice touch.

A few gripes, though. First is how you said the apprentice Summoner got thoughts of offing himself; to me, that doesn't feel quite realistic. Sure, he'd be horrified of what he saw, but I don't think that'd immediately turn him to thoughts of suicide. It's a little too abrupt. Also, seeing "Swain" tearing up doesn't quite do the Master Tactician justice (even if it was just a Summoner impersonating him), considering his own League Judgment.

But you let me worry about those details when I do an edit of your parts. Consider this Judgment SELECTED!!!


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PsilonStefanov

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Junior Member

02-17-2012

Selected? So quickly? And here I was, with my last hope that someone else (atleast you ) would join this challenge, and show me another take on the topic.
About the gripes...hmm...I beg the right to argue, unjust as it may be. About the first part - it wasn't so much about what he has seen, but about the fact that his own clumsiness lead to this situation. What you said makes it seem like that is unclear, so I'll explain, because I admit I couldn't shed as much light as I wanted on the issue, without leaving Nephry's point of view.
In general, the situation was such that our heroine had indeed chosen to turn her back on Swain as soon as the league let her join and she once again appeared in the public eye (as seen at the end of her observation). However as we saw in the start of both scenes things got messed up and there was some static, meant to indicate the fact that the sumoner didn't have an easy time probing her mind (I saw this as possible, because of Vayne's judgement, and indicative because we had never seen anything of the kind before (I think)). As a result of his problems his choice of scenes was subpar and damaging, while Nephry's still shaken from the torture mind couldn't tell that these were memories (this I think was quite obvious). The sumoner, being in her head became aware of the damage he had done (this was seen in the last few lines, both that he had made a mistake and that he was aware of it) and that was why he wanted to give his life up, rather than face judgement (internal or external), for this failiure on his end.
As for the second part, while I agree that a sob, let alone colapsing in tears, isn't something we can expect from him, thing is that there is no Swain there, just an image of him, in Nephry's memory.

Edit 1: I'm also ading the entire judgement for clarity's sake. (with your version of the observation)

Quote:
Originally Posted by League Judgement
Observation
Nephry walks slowly towards the doors of the Reflection Chamber. Her steps show the same pride and discipline that those of all the previous Demacians did, measured and firm as they are. She stands proud and erect, shoulders high, her back not even slightly humped, her hands relaxed, not a sign of anxiety in her.

But there is one difference. Slight, but hard to ignore, for it made the rest of her posture seem grotesque.

While the rest of her is erect and controlled, her head is not. It appears wrong, painful even, upon closer inspection. The perfect line of her back is broken at her neck and then her head, turned downwards, as if she dared not to look forward. Upon noticing this crack in her image, others become obvious as well. Her steps are like those of a Demacian soldier… then, all of a sudden, she almost stumbles forward on one step, clenching her fist as if in pain. Her breathing, while for the most part calm and controlled, sometimes stops for a few seconds without reason, followed by several labored breaths in a rapid succession. Her hand randomly moves to the sword on her hip, as if checking that it is still there. At other times, the hand runs across the pieces of her ebony armor, as if fearing that the plate mail might fail her at any moment.

To any who knew the Holy Shield of Demacia, to see such a disheveled creature as this would be a horrific sight.

She stops at the door and looks up at the inscription on it with empty, doll-like yellow eyes, her mouth opening just a little as she moves her head up.

The truest opponent lies within.

She stands there, gazing at the inscription for a few moments…and then, inexplicably, she screams as she strikes the letters with a balled fist. The doors slam open, and Nephry nearly stumbles through the archway from the momentum. Beyond the doors awaits complete darkness.

Her eyes come alive for a moment, and for the first time her stature is that of a true Demacian. She smiles, though it is a tired and tormented expression, yet it alludes to the beauty she possessed before being transfigured into the effigy she is today.

She looks back, as if to make sure that she isn’t being watched or followed, then takes out a piece of cloth from a pocket of her armor. The fabric is rough and dirty, but one can clearly see a capital 'D', written in blood, housed in the red outlines of a shield. A tear appears in Nephry’s eye as she looks into the darkness before her, clenching the cloth tightly in her hand.

The charade is over, she thinks as she marches into the shadows.

Reflection

But then the world goes insane. She feels something in her mind…like an itching feeling…no like pain…intense pain…hot…iron…screams…broken bones…boots…chains…all in a space of time so small she can’t steel her mind…she screams, to try and stop it, but the feeling only gets more intense…the cycles of torture only get closer together and more intense…Swain’s looking at her…then his raven bites her…his cane strikes her undefended face…something breaks…the taste of blood in her mouth…hot iron…Jarvan in another’s arms…Sebastian’s dead eyes!

She screams trying to jump back on her feet. The pain with which her body answers the very idea is overwhelming and two hands push her down on the cold floor. Her elbow strikes against something iron that burns it, spilling something that might as well be near-frozen water on her.

“Hush Nephry!” A voice from above spoke to her, making her freeze. “Don’t make any rapid motions this soon.” Nephry relaxed on her back and took a deep breath.

“I’m sorry.” She whispered to Eva.

“Reliving the torture?” Her cellmate asked, empathetically.

“Yes.” The Shield of Demacia replied, easing her head on the crotch of the other woman.

“What was it this time?”

“You know I’d rather not speak of that…” A nod.

“What would you rather speak of?”

“Of my prince.” A bitter laugh escaped Eva’s lips and attracted Nephry’s eyes.

“You really should stop repeating that.” A slight smile appeared on the Noxian’s face and that surprised the Demacian noble. “Or I might just start believing it.” Despite the pain all over her body this made Nephry’s eyes widen with surprise, and brought a smile to her face. If there was one thing that had never changed in her cellmate it was her resistance to the idea that they could be saved – the product of long years spent in this dungeon.

“But he’s going to come! He loves me, and would never let me wither away in this accursed place.” The Shield of Demacia rose to a sitting position despite the protest of her body, invigorated by the thoughts of her soon to come salvation. “And I’m sure it’s going to be soon... I mean I must have spent more than enough time here for him to learn of my capture and start preparing his own rescue operation.”

“We have.” The woman nodded.

“You…believe me?”

“Maybe I do…I mean…what do I have to lose?” A laugh. Nephry couldn’t believe her eyes –the woman that had held her hand as she had lain beaten on the floor so many times with the deepest of care, even if she had nothing to win, and no hope to live was for the first time letting just a little hope into her life. “Plus…your prince does sound like he’s of the heroic variety.”

“He is, and once he comes here these Noxian dogs are going to regret everything they’ve done to us…what’s wrong?”

“You know…I’m a Noxian dog too…” Eva answered, looking at the floor.

“Oh…I didn’t mean that…”

“I know…but what if he does? Or even more likely one of his men?”

“I…I hadn’t thought of that…” she answered, and silence followed, as Eva’s face slowly started growing dimmer. And despite herself, for the first time since she had been captured Nephry had a moment of doubt, if her fairytale would end the way it was meant to. Horrified at this experience she looked away from her friend’s face and at her own, badly hurt hands, and blood soaked rags. Then her eyes unwillingly fixed on one specific cut on her wrist – one that had been made with the sword of her Lieutenant, Sebastian, just moment before the same blade had been plunged in his heart. How many good men had died while waiting for their prince to come…how many more would follow…was he really coming? Was there anything, worth risking his life for, here? There were many other women in Demacia after all, and soon she would be the only subject he had left in this dungeon. A tear drop fell down from her eye and she looked down at it, trying to escape the horror of the situation she was in, knowing full well that there was nothing in it that could relieve her.

She was wrong. For in the dents of the cobble under her, the tear followed the natural curves of the stone to form a little n. Instantly, she got an idea, and before she had to spend another painful moment in her head she struck her wrist in the sharp stone of the floor. A silent whimper escaped her lips, but she ignored it, and feeling the pain too blunt to indicate something was severed scraped her hand along, with a lifeless expression on her face.

“What are you doing?!” Evaine almost shrieked, trying to catch Nephry’s hand. The Demacian was quicker, and pulled her hand up, as soon as she was sure she had seen something red and wet on the floor. Her cellmate looked up, baffled and scared, and again tried getting a hold of the other woman’s hand. The shield of Demacia didn’t try to get away this time, and let her friend inspect the wound she had reopened. “Don’t tell me you’ve given up!” Surprisingly…this time her voice didn’t sound as compassionate as it had up to now, but this fact went unnoticed, as Nephry just shook her head and smiled.

“No, it’s just that I have an idea. Now let go of my hand and relax.” Reluctantly, the other woman complied, giving in to the authority of the noblewoman. The latter put a finger in her wound, both hands trembling a little, as she strived to get some blood on the tip of her finger. Then she gently touched the robe of her friend and slowly moved her finger down, leaving a somewhat straight line in the fabric, though for only a part of the distance that the finger had passed. Revelation shone on Eva’s face, and she didn’t resist any more. When her work was Nephry finally spoke again, tired but content, the despair replaced with fresh hope. “When Jarvan’s men come here, if you’re not with me just shot them this, and tell them Nephry gave it to you. They’ll never touch you knowing that.”

A tear appeared on the Noxian’s face as she just jumped and hugged her friend. Before either of them could speak, however the cell’s door swung open, and Swain and two of his uniformed goons walked in. Instantly the two women were pulled apart and Eva was taken up to her feet. For the first time, however she looked Swain straight into the eyes, rather than trying to turn away, as they silently took her away on another torture session. Looking at her walk away pride swelled in Nephry’s chest. Pride that she had given hope to a human that had been stripped of all of it at the hands of her prince’s nemesis. However, when Eva was thrown back in the cell a few hours later, her heart sunk. The woman had been beaten much worse than she had ever been, there were several terrible whip marks on her face, as well as what could only be a sword cut. And her body wasn’t in a better condition.

Quickly, the Shield of Demacia crawled to her friend and tried to pull her away from the door that almost closed on her ankle. The Noxian woman was breathing heavily, on irregular intervals, and her eyes were filled with tears.

“What…what did they do to you?” Was all that the crushed Nephry managed.

“Everything…” was all that followed a long pause.

“Why…” she asked whatever god was listening, rather than her friend.

“The d…” For a moment she didn’t know what was spoken to her…and then it came to her. All the blood left the face of the woman who hadn’t lost her spirit over the months of torture.

“I’m…I…” For the first time, she found herself speechless, not able to find the strength to say anything.

“Why…did… you… make… me… hope.” A reply came after several seconds, each word followed by a long pause for several chaotic breaths. There was nothing the noblewoman could say. Speech was beyond her state of mind and soul. The only thing she could do was tremble, and cry, while stroking the other woman’s face, as if washing the blood away could save her. But it couldn’t and Eva’s head slowly relaxed, as her breaths became ever further apart. “I…won’t…see…” The Noxian became a little lighter as she exhaled, and the weight never came back. She melted away in Nephry’s arms.

“Soon there will be nothing left to save.” Were the last words she managed to say to her only friend in these terrible times.

Then the world spun around and changed abruptly, as it often did in her memory of the timelss existence her Noxian captives had reduced her to. As this happened the feeling that something horrible and painful had happened passed through Nephry and made her scream again. This time the fleeing images were of a body being dragged away, of Swain mocking her that she was to blame, and that all that had come to the dungeon with her had given in and faded away. But before all of that she had torn the ‘D’ from her friend’s rags, so she never forgot. What exactly she wasn’t to forget fled her mind at the moment though…

Jarvan’s smile erased it. He was looking at her as he pulled the oars of the boat they were both in. Relaxed on her back she didn’t care for anything but that smile and the face that it graced. Gently she touched him, just to make sure he was there. And he was. Without another thought, feeling as though she had just escaped from a nightmare she jumped on him and embraced him, relaxing on his chest, where his heart’s gentle beat made her forget there was a world around them. And if there was his hand holding her was protecting Nephry from it. The tenderness in it showed that it was something more than the cage that her previous suitors had offered. She ran a hand across his hair, to reveal the rest of his face, and to again feel that he was real. Again he was, and he kissed her hand, looking in her eyes, because he respected her, rather than just wanted her. This meant she could trust him and hold him even closer. His heart started beating even faster, trying to catch up to hers, that was racing…

But was it beating with joy? It didn’t feel pleasant anymore – and on top of that she was sweating. Yet he was still here, alive and smiling, protecting her with the mighty arm he normally held his spear in. Why was she fearful? The reason was in her pocket and she took it out…only to see a blood stained piece of dirty cloth…and still he was real, and smiling. As if everything was going to go perfectly. But it hadn’t, and now his smile made it seem like there was another reason for it. Neprhy pulled away from the prince and looked at him, feeling herself wet with sweat, and dirty. Her hands hurt, and when she looked they were covered in cuts and bruises, trembling.

No! Why was he smiling if she was so hurt? And if he was the one guiding the boat why didn’t he ever look forward? How could he steer it right, if he didn’t know where it was going? The pain got even more intense…she looked away from him and turned her back to the prince, unable to bare his meaningless smile. Unfortunately what was behind them was even harder to bear witness to. For the clouds were dark behind them, the waves were wild, and lightning fell from the sky silently but powerfully. And while Jarvan had been holding her and smiling he had let it almost catch up to them.

“Hurry!” She shouted, quickly turning around to see him rowing quickly, with that smile still on his face. Knowing what he was looking at…she decided that the storm was the better thing to see. And so she watched it, catching up to them, as if the boat wasn’t moving at all. More so than it should, the view made her heart pound with horror, and the sweat gather even more intensely on her unwashed body.

Then she saw another boat, sailing after them, catching up with impossible speed. For a moment she saw the woman on it, Evaine…then the lightning fell down, and the boat was set aflame, with a scream stronger than the roar of thunder. She wished to look away from the body inside the burning boat, as it slowly turned darker and darker, and struggled hopelessly to extinguish the flames without jumping in the hungering water. But it was beyond Neprhy’s strength, for the lighting had made her see that the clouds were shaped like a raven with six eyes looking straight at her.

Then she heard something crack and looked behind, trembling madly. Still smiling, Jarvan struck the boat with the oar, sending cracks through it. The Shield of Demacia tried to say something but it felt like her throat was too dry to let her speak, and the air was too little, from her mad breathing. She tried taking another breath but as she did the prince struck again, and the boat broke in two, her love sailing away, as the storm caught up to her. Horrified, yet knowing, she looked up, just as the lightning went down towards her, illuminating Swain’s face in the clouds…

A scream escaped her lips as she woke up, chains holding her up against a wall. Then another one as Swain’s face didn’t change much between her dream and reality. The guards behind him stepped back, surprised, but all he did was raise an eyebrow, before he took her face in his scarred hand, and looked straight into her bloodshot eyes, coming so close to her that Neprhy could hear his breath, despite his robe’s tall collar. She tried looking away, feeling as though he could see the dream’s remains in her eyes, but his grip was much stronger than her malnourished body could resist, so he had his time. It was an unpleasant time, his proximity and worse yet physical contact bringing a strong feeling of disgust and weakness in her, that was coming too soon after the dream of Jarvan.

In fact, just thinking about her prince stacked his image upon that of her torturer, and for a moment she felt like it was her beloved holding her in such contempt…the way he had looked at her in the dream, before he split the boat. She tried pulling away even harder, whining a little despite her wish not to do so. Worse yet, she realized she was starting to cry, tears falling down her cheeks, her psyche buckling under Jarvan’s dreamt betrayal and the long torture she had been exposed to.

Then suddenly he just let her go and turned his back to her, letting her relax confused on the chains that kept her from resting. “You saw what I have to tell you coming.” She heard his rough voice and froze, her mind instantly locking onto the idea that the one she loved had betrayed her. Any other day, she would have just dismissed the words, but now she couldn’t help but imagine it true, even if just for a few moments. “Unchain her.” Without a word, two Noxian guards removed the restraint that held her hands up. Exhausted and weak her legs failed to support her weight at first and she fell on the rough, cold stone paved floor.

“What do you mean?” Nephry asked as she tried to push herself back to her feet. The Noxian didn’t answer, instead leaving with the guards. They didn’t even bother closing the door behind them, leaving her completely baffled as she struggled to get up.

Vaguely she was aware, that if she managed to get up this was the best chance she would ever have to escape, but what burned bright in her demented mind right now was instead the urge to find out what he was talking about. No…what she wanted to find out was that he was lying to her, torturing her mind the way he always did. But there was a voice in her head, faint and weak, that was telling her that she wanted the exact opposite. She wanted irrefutable evidence that she was being told the truth, because if she was, there was nothing more to hold her from giving up, giving her captors the pleasure of knowing they had broken her so they could finally let her die. There was nothing to keep her loyal to Jarvan and her tattered love for him anymore, and she could be free to start a new life, serving the darker city-state…

“No!” She shouted the voice in her head that told her so, and concentrated completely on getting up. Trembling on her feet she walked out of the cell, and holding onto the wall followed the only light she could see in the dungeon. It led her beyond a door, where she saw her prince, holding a strange woman of an unhealthy skin color by the hand, near the remains of a stone structure… “No…” was all that Nephry managed to say, as she saw the two of them walk away together, much closer than she and Jarvan had ever been, leading a whispered conversation that made the prince blush. “No…” she thought as she heard a man with an unmistakable Demacian accent speaking about how Jarvan and Shyvana seemed to always know what the other was thinking on the fields of justice. “No…” she said to the revelation that her mind came to without her having to help it at all. And “No…” she answered Swain, when he asked her if she was still fighting him for this prince.

Only that wasn’t what he had asked, and feeling like something was wrong she looked up at Swain. Who was this time trembling visibly in front of her, with a tear in his eye. Confused Nephry realized that this was a memory, and there was something wrong with it.

“Wh…why…” Swain tried to say again, but his voice failed him and he looked away, sobs coming from him, in a way that was completely uncharacteristic. Calmly a pale skinned woman that had also been in the room, and that she now knew was called LeBlanc walked up to her and offered her a hand.

“Why do you want to join the league of legends?” She asked, calmly, in a voice that very slightly resembled that of Evaine. At first Nephry didn’t understand the question, but then, half-knowing what was going on she said the words she suddenly became aware she had been ordered to say.

“To serve Noxus.”

“No!” Swain shouted again…and then he just disappeared.

“But there’s more to it than that isn’t there?” LeBlanc asked.

“To bring those that betrayed me to the justice they believe themselves above.”

"How does it feel, exposing your mind?" She continued.

“It’s been exposed for too long for me to care now.” Was Nephry’s simple answer, as the memory of what she was now came back to her, slowly but surely. LeBlanc nodded and a door swung open, where the screen on which she had seen Jarvan had been only a moment ago. Alone she passed through the door into the institute of war. And in the meantime the young Demacian summoner that was supposed to lead her reflection contemplated taking his own life, for breaking the Shield of Demacia again, with his lack of skill, while the Noxian overseeing the procedure allowed himself a slight smile at how well everything had gone. And at seeing LeBlanc’s art in action again.


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