Alas, it has been FAR too long since my last update. So, I hope this is more to your liking. In this, we get a glimpse into Riven's inner world and the turmoil she lives with. Anyway, I'll stop blabbering and let you all enjoy this since you've waited long enough for it.
Chapter 2 - “Negotiations” [Part 2]
Trees whizzed by, blurred by the speed as footfalls and cracked twigs echoed through the forest. Her chest burned, but she couldn’t stop now. Faster and faster she went, as the branches seemed to close in from every angle. Icy droplets pelted her face and soaked through her clothes, freezing against burning hot flesh. Her vision blurred from the water as she blinked, hard, to clear her sight. All at once, she was falling, a sickening thud reverberating through the ground as she tumbled end over end, cuts and gashes opening across her arms. Instinct took over, however, and in a flash, she’d rolled onto her back, the sound of metal on metal screeching through the freezing blackness as blade met blades. With a ferocious cry she threw the blades aside, leapt onto her feet, and was off once again.
Whizzing followed in her wake as a hail of thrown knives embedded themselves in her back and trees to either side, a whimpering cry of pain coming from her lips. Red blood stained the ground below, bright against the dull brown and green mess, but still she kept moving. Over fallen logs, through bushes thick with thorns that cut deep scratches into her bare legs, she continued running as fast as her legs could carry her. A howl tore through the dark as claws burst from the underbrush, clashing with her blade as it pulsed with green energy, bisecting the clawed hand and removing the arm associated with it. Hot blood stained her white tunic as she spun around to face her attacker, seeing nothing.
Wings descended upon her as shrieking calls echoed through the tree limbs, black shapes ripping at her flesh even as she roared out a challenge, slashing wildly. Black feathers fell around her as talons burst from the ground, holding her in place and pulling her to her knees. Pain shot up her spine, screaming at her brain as she mirrored the cry. Frantic, she scanned the area. Gone were the trees. She was left in a clearing, still anchored to the ground as blood mixed with freezing droplets. As she watched, the figures approached. Swirling masses of black, as if darkness itself had solidified into bodies of shadow and smoke, circled her. Twin blades spun in the hands of one, a wicked smile smeared across the inky blackness. Yellowed claws graced the ground below another as the hulking form growled, a sickly tongue dragging across the maw. Another was cloaked in shadow, indeed made of it, save for the single blade upon its arm, and piercing white eyes of flame. A swirling mass of black stood above them all, six flaming, blood red eyes, gazing down upon the crippled form below.
Riven struggled against the binds at her legs, feeling her flesh starting to give way as she inched free, bit by bit. However, it was of no use. The six red eyes nodded in the direction of her, and as her eyes opened wide, a storm of blades, claws, talons, a bolt of blood red and black energy, and knives stuck her. She felt every strike, and she felt every strike miss lethal damage. The agony was indescribable, and she cried out as she forced herself to rise through it all, her sword still thundering with crackling green power as she swung, blades of emerald slashing at the shadows. All but the mass of black with red eyes faded, seemingly felled by the torrent of power. A raspy, echoing laugh came from it as Riven cried out to it. “End it already!! That is what you want, isn’t it!?”
“No…” It replied in a hollow, otherworldly voice. “It is what – they- want.” A clawed arm rose, pointing behind Riven as she turned. Sprawled across the clearing were bodies. Bodies, burned beyond recognition, some clothed in armor, others in nothing at all, others still hobbling from missing limbs, stood before her, numbering in the hundreds. Men, women, children, fallen soldiers, they all began marching toward her, the smell of rotting flesh, acidic chemicals, copper, and mud reached her nostrils as Riven backed away. Her legs weakened, however, and she fell backwards, dragging herself away as the horde grew nearer. Tears and guilt wracked Riven’s form as she crawled through the muck. This was the testament to her sins. The lives she had ended were cast before her, plain for all to see. As they neared, she could hear them speaking. Some cried out for loved ones, others cursed her name.
“You should have died with us, coward!”
“You are weak... And the weak must perish…”
“Mommy? Where are you mommy? Mommy, please say something!”
“I will end you, Noxian, like the dog you are.”
“You will know true suffering…”
“My son! Has anyone seen my son? Please!”
“No more, please no more! Get it off of me!!”
“Your arm… Give it to me…”
Riven’s eyes were wide as they reached her, hands pulling at her hair, her arms, her sword, her clothing, everything. They pressed her down into the muck, eyes boring into her as the sheer mass of them closed in, suffocating her in their stench and their presence. Fingers clawed across her skin, chemicals etching red lines across her skin as well and violating any possible zone of comfort she still had, driving her even more over the edge. She screamed. It was unlike any she had ever heard before. It was bloodcurdling, filled with sheer, unbridled terror.
Bodies fell away in an instant, screams echoing up into the ashen sky as a thunderous force cut them down. Cold blood spattered across Riven as a single black form surged overhead. Flashing metal splayed open the bodies as a sound tore through the screams: laughter, joyous laughter. Flashes of green burned away bodies left and right as the numbers fell away, one by one. Their screams continued, wailing out in pain and terror. This wasn’t a fighting force any more. This was a slaughter. Riven shuddered, pulling herself upright, weak from blood loss and simple shock. Her body was numb from the cold, the drops feeling like icy needles against her ragged wounds. “…Stop…” Her voice was weak, barely above a whisper as the screams and laughter continued.
“So weak! You’re NOTHING against me!” Any attempt by Riven to rise any further was halted as the voice came from the figure. Ice water flowed through Riven’s veins as the figure stood, sneering, and a lone body running from it. Riven recognized it immediately as it looked back to the figure, a look of terror across its face. It was the Ionian girl who had started everything that day.
“No…!” Riven cried out as sickly green energy splayed the girl in two, carving a trench through the earth. The figure with the sword turned to look at Riven, and began walking towards her as Riven spoke. That voice, she knew it. It was her voice, and as Riven watched, the figure stepped closer. Blood and gore stained the black and green form of her blackstone rune blade, the Noxian armor tarnished from wear and tear. A thick brown cloak covered her shoulders and most of her face, leaving only a pair of amber eyes, a few strands of silvery hair, and that same sneer.
“What’s the matter? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.” The gore-covered Riven spoke, her voice silky smooth and hardened, calloused from the years of killing. “I wouldn’t worry too much though. There’s only one more weakling to dispose of before this is all over.”
“No… I’m not… I’m not this…” The other Riven laughed as Riven tried to defend herself, stabbing her sword into the ground and crossing her arms across the hilt.
“Oh please. This is what you are. Don’t deny it. The feel of flesh rending from bone as it slides across the blade, the sound of the blood being freed, you know it, and deep, deep down, you felt that euphoria.” The other Riven bent down, staring directly into her face, only a couple inches apart from the bloodied Riven, still sporting a smirk colder and more self-satisfied than even Katarina Du Couteau. “You’d ended a life, snuffed out another weaker than yourself, and every time you did, you relished in it a little more. But, you’re right. Someone like you doesn’t deserve anything but pain, and death.” A finger trailed along Riven’s cheek where blood was dribbling from a head wound as the other Riven pulled back away. “You see this? This is the sign of your weakness.” Blood smeared between her fingers as she continued to speak. “Now look at yourself. You’re covered in it. Weakness!” A foot swiped forward and kicked Riven in her chest, drilling home agony as she was pinned to the ground. “Weakness! Weakness! Weakness! Weakness!!” Each repeat of the word caused the foot to stomp down harder than the last, Riven feeling her ribs give under the power of the woman standing in front of her. The other Riven licked her finger clean of Riven’s blood, giggling, before she took her blade in one hand, raising it high above her head. Her final words echoed as the blade dropped. “Only the strong survive…”
Chapter 2 - “Negotiations” [Part 3]
There were a surprising number of bodies in the eating area this early in the morning. The sun was only beginning to peek over the horizon and cast its light against the mountain within the Institute was built. Of course, being a mostly underground facility, the Institute had no direct route to bring in sunlight. This was accomplished by the enchanted ceiling. The view above Riven was one of dawn, with the great Mount Targon in the distance, and a soft morning breeze even blew from the edges of the façade. It was certainly impressive. It gave all the appearance of eating outdoors within the comfort of the building. She glanced around the tables as she took a seat with her meal.
In the corner were two rather strange individuals. One was shirtless and massive, carrying a huge barrel of something with him under his arm. The other wore a strange mask, and carried a brass lamppost. The two were talking excitedly about something and laughing a great deal as they enjoyed a beverage of some kind. These two were obviously other champions like her as they stood out like sore thumbs.
“You may be th’ champion of beatin’ faces, but I can still beat ya at th’ game of drink, Jax! Ain’t no one that can drink me under th’ table!”
“There isn’t a table big enough in all Valoran to put you under, Gragas.” Jax laughed and guzzled more of his drink.
“Oi! It’s a might cold in Freljord you know.” The big man chuckled. “’Sides, it just makes me all the more jolly don’t ya think?”
“If all that makes you jolly, I don’t think there’s a happier fellow in Runeterra!”
“Well, if business keeps up like it is I think I just might be.” Gragas lifted his barrel and took a long, loud, series of gulps. “That Lunar Revel hubbub is still goin’ on, and my profits are through the roof!”
“Just like your blood alcohol level.” Another laugh was shared between the two.
“Exactly! That’s ‘ow ya know I’m ‘aving a good time!”
Riven turned her attention elsewhere as the two men continued to talk. Summoners were all around: some tall, others short, some fat, and still more were skinny. It seemed that there were more summoners than one would ever know. Out of the corner of her eye she spied a man, with a gauntlet on his hand, quickly looking away from her as she turned to face him. Apparently he had been watching her. She silently wondered if he was one of the many summoners that had attempted to woo her with those irritating love notes. Granted, the attention was flattering. But enough was enough. She sighed and quickly went about eating her breakfast, which consisted of some grilled fish and eggs and a small helping of stir-fried vegetables. After such a rough night, a little comfort food would help her feel much more on the money.
Much to her surprise, the food was rather tasty. She’d heard rumors about the League’s cuisine being passable at best. However, everything was quite good. She had to admit it wasn’t as good as fresh food gathered and cooked the same day, but it was easily one of the better meals she’d had in a while. There was little else to do other than listen to all the summoners talking to one another and focus on eating. Her eyes scanned the small groups. People laughed, smiled, and socialized. A pang of loneliness drifted across her chest as she ate, and she sighed. Friends were simply casualties waiting to happen. She had been told such during her training. They were liabilities and ways to weaken you, and to open yourself to weakness was to invite failure and weakness unto yourself. All were destined to die on the battlefield. It was better not to grow close to any one of them, lest you be adversely affected by their demise. ‘But then…why do I want it so much…?’ Riven shook her head and rose. Her meal was finished. As he neared the doorway, the summoner with the gauntleted hand moved after her and stopped her with his voice.
“Excuse me, Riven, um…could I talk to you a minute?” She eyed the man. He appeared to be in his late twenties, tall, with dark reddish-brown hair. He spoke with a Piltoverian accent. Riven sighed and nodded. He was a summoner after all. She could give him a moment of her time.
“Am I needed for a match, Summoner? I wasn’t made aware of any, and I am very unprepared.” Riven cursed herself for being careless. Her casual dress and hair only seemed to show she was a novice, and it frustrated her. The summoner, however, continued and shook his head.
“Oh, no no. Nothing like that. I just…well…you see…” The man seemed to fumble for his words as Riven watched him closely. “Well, I know of this very nice café in Piltover, excellent biscuits and bacon, and, well, I was wondering if you might want to—“
“No, thank you.” Riven shook her head, stifling the urge to push past the taller man without letting him continue. She didn’t want to outright offend him. However, instead of giving up, he insisted.
“Yeah… I guess that was a little forward, but, you see, I’d been thinking about summoning you recently and I thought that maybe if I got to know you better you might—“
“Well, how about—“
“No, Summoner.” Riven’s eyes were quite stern, however she suddenly felt very uncomfortable. Her heart started pounding in her chest as the same feeling that had enveloped her a few days ago in the springs with Lux began to rise again. Quite obviously he was one of those summoners fawning over her, and at the moment she wanted absolutely nothing to do with any of that.
“Okay okay, I understand. At the very least, maybe I could watch you train with your swor—“
“I said no!” In the blink of an eye Riven had the man’s collar in her right hand, and was pulling him down to her level. Her amber eyes were fierce and she trembled, both with anger and fear. “Now you listen, and listen good, because I’m not going to say it again. I’m sick and tired of you lovesick mages seeing me as some kind of ‘lost puppy!’ I’m even more outraged by the fact that some of you see me as a… What was it? Oh, right. A ‘hot piece of ass’ and nothing more, so, get it through your thick skulls!” Riven jerked around, hauling the man with her tremendous strength, spinning so her back was towards the door and she was facing the eating area with the summoner in front of her. She was so panicked and angry she didn’t even notice that the entire cafeteria had gone silent, and all eyes were on her.
“I don’t care how honorable your intentions are, and I don’t care how much you want to pamper me! I am simply not interested! So take your love notes and romantic intentions and shove off!!” With a powerful movement of her arm, Riven hurled the man back away from her, causing him to stumble backwards nearly a dozen feet before he fell on his rump near a table. “I don’t want any of it!” Riven trembled and shook with emotion as she scanned the cafeteria. Only now did she realize the many pairs of eyes looking at her. Her face flushed and she turned, leaving the eating area as she felt her lip quiver. With Riven making her exit, the eating room made its way back towards an active state, albeit very slowly. The man continued to sit where he’d landed.
“Man, all that and still nothing. I thought I really had a shot.”
“Perhaps, next time, when a lady says ‘No,’ you will listen.” A summoner with a royal blue robe, hood drawn, was sitting near the edge of the table and replied to the man on the floor.
“All it means is that I have to try harder to impress--hey!!” The seated summoner sputtered as the other summoner poured out his drink across his reddish-brown hair.
“You need to cool off, Jay.” The blue-clad summoner turned to glance at the man on the floor, the other man at the table with him laughing, before turning his red-eyed gaze to the exit. “It’s clear she doesn’t want your kind of attention.”
So do I. In my college classes, I was told that my fight scenes were very fluid and dynamic when I wrote them, and received high praise for them from my professor and classmates.
Of course, some problems were that I was TOO descriptive at times, sometimes repeated myself, and had a tendency to make people smile, smirk, grin, and sigh a lot. But, I do those things fairly often when I speak, so, I don't know.
*Plays a bot game with Yi to get a feel for him*
Well, it's been 10 days, I owe you guys a bit of an update. Things have been a little hectic, and that, combined with a slow-going process of writing less-than-action-packed events has slowed my writing to a crawl.
Rest assured, though, that I am still working as diligently as I can on this. I've much I want to do with this story.
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