Chapter VII: We die young.
"Garen! We need to take you to the infirmary!"
"Ah, a most glorious sight... The mightiest warrior ever to set foot on earth" He said
"He descended uppon us... Leading his massive army... And killed ever last one... "
I couldn't stand a thing of what he said. I tried to help him, but he just pushed me back.
"There's no time! I'm already dead! No magic can heal me!"
"Come on, Garen, don't give up now"
"I ran, so that I could live to give you a message... A message that will be useless if we lose time trying to save one that cannot be saved"
"Yes? Then speak!"
"The rebels are riding hard for the Institue. Olaf is dead. Xin Zhao is dead. Wukong is dead... Everybody is dead"
They say that when a man is about to die, he sees his whole life in front of his eyes, and it isn't just a stupid peasant superstition. I stared into Garen's eyes, and tried to also see his last moments.
And I did.
Taric was leading the expedition. He got ripped apart and mutilated by the javelins, lances, swords and axes that quickly cutted through his flesh, as an army of rebel horsemen attacked.
Olaf jumped into battle with Udyr and Garen. Garen took a sword to the shoulder, and Udyr helped him escape the fight. But when Udyr did this, he also got impaled by the rebel commander.
Olaf went totally berserk and started hacking and slashing everything in his way. Many fell to his twin axes, but then he met the rebel commander.
Both sides were scared of this fierce combatans. The soldiers quickly formed a circle around Olaf and the rebel comander, and witnessed the epic fight between them.
Olaf's mind was totally focused in battle. All that passed through his mind was his enemy's position, and the direction of his attacks.
To evade the enemy's hits, and get in close range. The rebel commander used a spear, so he wouldn't be able to fight without room to maneuver.
It was the right moment. Olaf jumped, and prepared his strongest technique: The reckless swing. He was going to cut his enemy in half. Everything was perfect, the rebel commander couldn't move his spear with Olaf being this close.
"Now you die!!" Olaf screamed his anger, drunk in battle.
But then his severed head fell from his body, and what was left of him ended up as a grotesque mass of mutilated flesh and blood. The rebel commander cutted him so fast that he didn't even realized that he was dead.
The rebel's morale increased greatly after seeing their leader's might, and charged onward. The soldiers of the Institute, on the other hand, retreated, as fear suddenly filled their hearts.
They escaped through a bridge. But two great warriors stood there to stop the enemy, and let their comrades escape. They sacrificed their lives for them.
It was Xin Zhao and Wukong.
Not even a single rebel soldier passed. Xin Zhao fought with great valor, as if the severe wounds on him were just scratches.
But he then realized that his body was starting to fail. That he just couldn't take anymore. So, instead of surrendering to the enemy, he charged onward with a loud battlecry.
A wave of enemies approached him. He rushed uppon them with his great spear, killing tenfold of them, and dying like a true warrior: weapon in hand and his last enemies dead.
Wukong quickly killed the remaining soldiers of that batallion of soldiers, avenging Xin Zhao's death. But, without giving him as much as time to breath, another wave of enemies charged towards the bridge.
Although the bridge was a narrow passage where numbers didn't count for nothing, he couldn't fight them all. He was going to die. Wukong took his staff, and nailed it to the ground beneath his feet. A great explosion destroyed the bridge, ending Wukong's life, and left the rebels without a way to cross it.
The soldiers of the Institue abandoned Garen to his own luck and fled in random directions. Garen then came here, and found me.
This meant that the rebels were trying to attack the Institute, and shouldn't be for Wukong's sacrifice, they would be attacking it already. We gained time, but not too much.
Garen was about to die. He was sitting in the floor, back against the wall. I took his hand, for I'll never let someone die without a friend by his side.
"I salute you, captain... " Said Garen, who then cough blood "We'll meet again... one day"
"Know that you've saved a lot of lives today. Rest easy, my friend, for your death has not been in vain".
"Always so over protective of others, never speaking your real thoughts... He, he... I... Admire that... Ugh-...
...-Good... Bye... "
Last breaths. No matter how many I see, it always makes my emotions go crazy.
We had to tell this to everyone. Prepare a defence, or give up this stupid fight and run. It didn't matter anymore. All I cared about was Katarina's safety.
The notice spread in seconds, and we all gathered at the main hall. It was the right time to make a choice.
It was the time to fight... Or run away.
Chapter VIII: The five battles.
Pt.1: The four monsters of the League
I'm NOT going to make this stupid tale any longer. You knew from the start what would happen: Everybody was going to die.
Coward summoners, champions and maggots alike flew from the institute. Our defeat was eminent, and re-organizing the league in a "later date" after they "gathered enough strength" was a better option than dying for naught.
But there was a problem, as always. Cho'Gath, Nocturne, Brand and Fiddlesticks are not like us. They do not fight in the League because they want to. They are prisioners, manipulated by the summoners, who are too weak to destroy them.
So, a number of champions had to stay in the institute and make sure this horrors didn't escape to destroy mankind. Nine volunteers offered for the suicide mission: Kassadin, Irelia, Kayle, Rammus, Karma, Lee Sin and the Kinkou trio, Akali, Kennen and Shen.
And while they stayed at the institute to die for us, we fled. That wasn't right. I was fleeing again, like I did in Freljord. I was allowing my comrades to be sent to their deaths, like I did with Riven in Demacia. I was refusing to help them, like I did with Olaf.
No more. I will not fail twice.
Outside the institute, late at night
I left Katarina and the group of summoners and champions. I wasn't going to take a part in this exodus; My body is getting old, and I tire of living. I wish for a honorable warrior's death, not for a shameful retreat.
While I was on my way to the Institute, I knew someone was following me. I had left the group silently at night, so the odds of being seen were little --And no matter if I was seen, because almost no one cared if I went lost. But it wasn't convenient for me to have followers, even less if I didn't knew if they were allies or enemies. I stoped my march.
"Show yourself" I commanded, in a tone that made my followers feel chills through their spines.
"Sorry to bother you, captain" Calmly said a shadowy figure "We are here to assist you"
Talon. He almost never talked to anyone, and most of the time he just remained in the shadows, focused in his missions. I knew that such a person wouldn't come here for nothing, so I decided to trust him.
As Talon left the shadows, other two came from the bushes. It was Singed and Jax, both of them close friends to me. They tried to explain me why they decided to come with me to assist the champions who remained at the institute, but I didn't hear them. I just kept walking, and they followed my lead.
The desolated Institute of war
The hallways and rooms are abandoned, and our footsteps are the only thing that sounds within this walls. As we approach the main hall we see Lee Sin's group, who have gathered around a magical fire, warming their bodies in the cold winter night, and planning their strategy for tomorrow's battle. As we appoached them, they asked why did we decided to come.
"My reasons are my own" I replied, as serious as ever "I want to help you, and that is all you need to know"
Although the confusion caused by our decision troubled them a little, they gladly accepted our help. Now it was the time to focus on battle.
Our objectives were four, and we had to kill them all in one day, before the magical barriers banished and allowed them to escape.
The weakest of the four was Cho'Gath. He hasn't eaten anything since the League combats stopped, and Kassadin had some kind of advantage against him. We prepared to fight him.
We passed the magical barriers, and sealed them behind us; If we failed, at least we would delay their escape.
"You think that you can kill me? Fine... " Cho'Gath's loud, terrible voice echoed through the whole Institute. We stared at ourselves, thinking if he really was as weak as we thought. But there was no looking back now: We HAD to fight him.
The monster was... Giant. Like nothing I've ever seen before. He ran toward us, trying to cut us with his immense and multiple claws. Kassadin shooted at him a null sphere and then dissapeared. In a blink of an eye he appeared behind him, and stabbed the monstruosity with his nether blade.
Taking advantage of the pain Cho'Gath felt for this, I attacked. I maimed one of his arms with my great halberd, and then Irelia send her flying blades to pierce Cho'Gath's eyes, blinding him.
This caused the insect to be even more enraged. He shaked his body, forcing Kassadin to back up. He then blindly tried to devour one of us. I managed to evade his attack, but Kayle couldn't, she got distracted by Kassadin's fall.
Blood. Blood everywhere. Cho'Gath's teeth first met the metal of Kayle's armor, and then cutted her flesh like a hot knife through butter. The kinkou quickly attacked Cho'Gath with their combined super-coordinated special techniques and finnished him, but it was too late. Kayle was already dead.
In the outskirts of Zaun
"Morgana! What's wrong?" Said Katarina, scared by her companion's repentine laughter.
"It's nothing" Morgana answered, with her typical all-hating and feeling-less attitude "I just imagined a form of execution fitting for my... sister"
Katarina sighed, and kept walking, wondering why did the captain left her alone last night.
The Institute, easternmost summoning chamber
There was no time to grieve. We had to exterminate Fiddlesticks.
Although he has never moved from this chamber, the summoners fear that is he remains alive with no one to keep watch over him, he'll eventually do. Most people says that he can't be destroyed, but I know better. I've fought against him countless times in the fields of justice, and while he doesn't bleed like us, he can be slain.
"I can feel... Your fear" His voice sounded loudly, but no one of us could say from where did it came.
And then, all of a sudden, a crowstorm. We started to feel as our life force was depleted, and for a second, I thought it was all over. But Shen remained strong, and protected us. He used his powers to absorb all the damage done to us, distracting Fiddlesticks. Rammus then grabbed him to save Shen, who was wounded from the harbinger of doom's attack.
Following this we attacked, killing him almost instantly. Rammus threw away the lifeless scarecrow as we rushed to Shen's aid.
The eye of twilight was almost killed in this battle, but his great might and determination allowed us to live and defeat Fiddlesticks. Luckily, he was still alive. Really weak, but alive.
"We must go on, captain" He said, without even as much as doubt or fear on his eyes. The near death experience didn't affect his judgement.
"You cannot fight no more. We'll take care of Brand and Nocturne without you"
The trio was displeased with my choice, but everybody else agreed with me. Kennen and Akali stayed behind to take care of their leader, and we moved on.
The heat was unbearable. The burning vengeance is a power you should not trifle with... But right now, we had no choice.
Irelia and Karma got hit by the initial flames. Lee Sin skillfully evaded him, and then used one of his amazing flying kicks to get close up on Brand.
I stared at the burned, dead bodies of the two Ionian women. They had no chance to fight back, he just killed them in one swift strike. There was no time to shed tears, so I attacked.
Rammus started stomping the ground, and Brand lost his balance. The armordillo then grabbed him by the back, allowing me to stab his chest. Somehow he felt no pain, and tried to burn me alive, but Lee Sin protected me. Talon suddenly appeared on his back and stabbed him multiple times, while Jax smacked his head with his lampost.
At last, he died. Rammus had his hands burned, but when I asked him how did he felt, he just said "Ok".
Only Nocturne remained. But we didn't knew how to kill something that knew our deepest fears... It was an almost impossible task.
As we advanced towards Nocturne's chamber, the halls started to be covered in a dense mist. I lost sight of my companions, and then saw Nocturne in front of me.
"Let me show you how your companions fight their own fears before I dispose of your miserable life"
"Oh, this just won't do" Said the chemist "How I'm going to kill something I can't see? Hmm... "
He heard the howling of a wolf. His life passed through his own eyes, as he remembered his training with his master, Warwick.
"Grrr... Mmm... Looks like I've got something... FOR DINNER!" Said the werewolf.
"But how could your dinner be something that hasn't been coocked yet? Master, your lacking of taste suprises me"
Warwick dashed forward and tried to tear Singed appart, but instead of flesh, his teeth clashed with a metal protesis. Singed smashed his master's face with his shield, knocking him back. He then threw his signature glue uppon the werewolf, making him unable to move.
"Urrnn... What... IS THIS?!!"
"Oh, it's just my latest recipe for super mega adhesive, master! It guaranties 34.33% more adhesivity"
Singed laughed, and then started to unleash his poison, intoxicating Warwick, and eventually killing him.
"Now that was easy, master. Hope you come more prepared next time!" Singed laughed again, as the mist created by Nocturne's illusion started to dissapear.
The grandmaster at arms couldn't be distracted by this cheap mind-deceiving trick. He knew from the start that Nocturne was going to attack him in the form of his deepest fear, and prepared himself.
"Bring it on" He said, knowing that Nocturne was hearing him.
He then saw strange figure, aparently multi-eyed, with only three fingers in his hand. It was Jax, the grandmaster at arms, before the league had sanctioned him. It was himself, back when he was totally unbeatable.
The fight went on for hours. It just didn't end. The real Jax was driven insane for being trapped in an endless battle in his own mind.
The void. He saw it again, in all it's maddening terrible form. He then appeared back at the institute, and saw Malzahar and Kog'Maw.
"It is time!!" The prophet said.
Kassadin then saw his own daughter, being sent to the void. Again and again. Until he went mad.
The figure of Cho'Gath appeared, not dead, but not quite alive. He, Malzahar and Kog'Maw started to laugh, as a portal to the void was opened in Kassadin's chest, unleashing all kind of horrible creatures. At the end, his daughter appeared, transformed into a grotesque monstrousity. Kassadin looked at his daughter with tears in his eyes, as she started ripping away his flesh and drinking his blood.
Nocturne dissapeared. The main hall suddenly became the ruined streets of Demacia. Houses aflame, corpses rotting in the streets. And then I saw her.
"It's been a long time... I didn't thought I would see you again"
I stared at the woman, and fell to my knees as my heart started beating with love.
"Don't feel bad, captain. We're togheter again" Riven said, with her usual sad, whispering tone. "You don't have to keep fighting. You can make it all end right now"
Nocturne had bent my will. This wasn't an illusion I could fight against. To hear her sad, painful voice again. To see her beautiful, undoubtful eyes once more. It was all over.
The blind monk saw us fell asleep, and knew that Nocturne had used his fearing power. I don't knew why, maybe he had a stronger will than us, or maybe because he was blind, but Nocturne's mind-trick didn't affect him.
He focused his senses, trying to find the eternal nightmare. Nocturne emited almost no sound when he moved, and fighting him alone was a difficult task for Lee Sin.
Silence. From where would the first attack come? Nocturne always used the dark mist to empower himself. Any place filled with the smoke from his duskbringer would be a fitting place for him to attack.
Lee Sin then struck the ground with his tempest palm, and the mist dissipated, revealing Nocturne. Without giving the nightmare a chance to defend, Lee Sin used on him his special technique, Dragon's rage, sending Nocturne away flying.
The nightmare's back was smashed against the wall. Talon, who had dissapeared from Nocturne's sight, reapeared and gave him the "coup de grace".
Outskirts of the institute
It was done. Jax and Kassadin felt dizzy from their hallucinations, as well as I was still touched by Riven's image, but we managed to survive. We met outside the Institute with the Kinkou. We buried Irelia and Karma's remains, as well as what was left of poor Kayle.
I stared towards the horizon. I knew that it wasn't all over.
The massive force of the rebels found a way to the Institute. Leading them was the great commander that killed Udyr and Olaf.
The champion of the rebels and responsible for the war. The fifth battle was uppon us...
... And we knew that we weren't going to win this one.
Chapter VIII: The five battles.
Pt.2: The one monster of the rebels.
I walked uppon the desolated battlefield. I saw Jax's corpse near the ground I walked, still holding his lampost. The rebel commander approached, his great spear had impaled Kassadin, and it still carried his severed upper body. He disposed of the corpse, and looked at me, with a bloodlust grin painted on his face.
"Oi, captain. How you doin'? Not too bad, I hope"
"Hello there, master. Long time no see"
We both wielded our polearms and jumped into battle; Let our weapons do the talking.
One hour before the battle
"This is it" I told everybody "The final time I'll meet the rebels in battle. Those of you who don't want to die this day should leave now, and join up with the rest of the League in Zaun"
The kinkou trio offered their help, but I refused. Shen wasn't in good shape, and their strategies wouldn't be of much use without their leader. Talon gave one step forward.
"Captain" He said "I was capable of helping you without being offered money. But I do not give my life away in sacrifice. I'll leave that to you"
Talon dissapeared in a cloud of smoke, and the kinkou trio followed him. Rammus coulnd't use his hands, and Lee Sin was in really bad shape after protecting me from Brand's flames. I told them to go.
It was only Kassadin, Jax, Singed and me.
Four champions of the league against an elite force of rebels... In a battle to the death.
The chemist's epic charge
Singed entered in a estate of total extasy when he drank his potion. He runned, releasing his poison and throwing his adhesive as many times as he could. No one could stop him.
Many troops fell to him, intoxicated by his trail of poison. Singed continued running through the battlefiend wreaking havoc among the enemy lines.
I lost sight of him, as Kassadin, Jax and I joined the battle.
The grandmaster at arms' downfall
Jax jumped, spinned and danced around the battlefield, knocking unconscious anyone stupid enought to get on his way.
He then found himself surrounded by enemies, for his passion for battle had separated him from us. Without fear, Jax continued smashing his enemies' skulls, devastating their lines while no one could even leave him a scratch.
Broken bones. Cracked teeth. Blood. Although Jax enthusiasm for battle was great, he was soon taken down. For the one who risks too much gains a lot or loses all.
"Ha! If only I had used... A real weapon... "
Jax crumbled on a pile of dead soldiers he had killed just minutes ago. The grandmaster at arms had his great moment of glory, and before he fell, at least a thousand maggots knew his true strength.
Glory in death. That's all I need.
Jax was finaly taken down by the enemy, and Singed's whereabouts were unknown to us. My halberd cutted tenfold dozens of the rebels, as Kassadin's powers devastated the enemy lines. Back against back, we prevailed against the imposible odds.
The enemy was almost defeated. Only their leader remained. The great champion of the rebels.
And then we saw Singed, fighting against the rebel commander that killed Olaf. He matched our strength, and we only had a chance against him if we fought togheter. But Kassadin didn't listen to me, and used his teleporting skills to assist Singed.
The rebel commander knocked Singed against a giant rock, leaving him unconscious. He then quickly impaled Kassadin with his spear, instantly killing him. He then disposed of the voidwalker's corpse, and stared at me.
Zaun, the new Institute
"We had no other choice, summoner" Ashe stood over Sejuani's dead body "She was responsible for Tryndamere's death, as well as Volibear and Nunu's"
"And now she tried to kill us" Added Anivia
"I don't have time for conspiracy" The summoner said "We'll clear this out tomorrow. For now, you'll be under domiciliary arrest"
"Such a shame" Soraka appeared, watching the scene "She came to the infirmary a couple of days ago. She was pregnant, but whom was the father, she didn't say... "
"Looks like tragedy follows the League around" The summoner then had Ashe and Anivia brought to their chambers, and returned to his duties.
The dog and the jackal
"Well now, boy. You sure have lots o' fightin' in ya. Me is impressed" My master stared at me, as we both took a time to catch our breath and analize our enemy "You remember the ol' tale, boy? About the fighting and the needs?"
"I do, master" I instantly knew what he was talking about "How was it's name? 'The dog and the jackal'?"
"Ye' boy, dat's right" My master spat on the floor, and then kept talking "The dog eats trash every day and lives in the streets, fighting against the cruel world he lives in... "
"... And the jackal is just a coward scavenger, driven by his lust and wishes... "
"... Caring for nuthin' but his own needs and things... "
"... While the dog grows strong his family little by little... "
"... One day they fight, and although the jackal is pretty strong, rich and well-fed, the dog has a lot of friends by his side. In the end, the jackal is killed, and the dog togheter with his family eats the jackal's flesh in celebration for his triumph"
The meaning of the tale was pretty clear to me now. Back then, when I was just a brat, I insulted the old man's stories and focussed on my training. One day, he told me that story, and said that he wouldn't teach me anything until I understanded it's meaning.
I didn't care for his last teachings, and departed. Shortly after, I joined up with the League.
"Now you understand, boy? How those who don't care about others end up?" My master pointed his spear at me "I'm a dog, that has always suffered and endured. And you're a jackal, that has scanvenged as much as he could, and abandoned me when I had nothing more to offer"
"Master" I replied, while adopting my combat stance "I've done a lot more than just scavenge. My needs have always come first than that of others"
"That just makes you even worse, boy. But I made a promise, and now that you know the meaning of the story, I'll give you one last lesson"
My master dashed forward with his spear. I knew all his moves, while he did knew only few of mine. I had enough time to create my own.
But then I remembered how he killed Kassadin and Olaf. He moved so quickly, that he couldn't even be seen. Maybe that technique was the one I didn't know.
Realizing my master's true power, I backed up, and started thinking about a more defensive approach. If I was to defeat him, I had to observe and learn.
"You know how the story ends, boy. The dogs kill the jackal. Those of lower status kill their lords and become the new rulers" My master smiled, and prepared for another attack "Do you really think you can beat me, boy?"
The battle went like that for a lot of time. I looked at my arms, and realized that my master's blade had already tasted my blood a couple of times. I was injured, and if I kept on like this, I would be dead.
What was Olaf's error? Too straight forward. Same for Kassadin. Same for the jackal.
How do you defeat one that cannot be seen or heard?
"You're a jackal, 'Captain'. And little ol' me will make sure the dogs eat your flesh"
I closed my eyes and prepared my halberd.
"Don't worry" Soraka said, while washing her hands "The pains you felt early were a negative reaction caused by the Singerin Morphine, which you shouldn't use again if you want to keep living"
"I see... " Katarina sighed, dissapointed "I... I thought I was pregnant"
"Oh" Soraka turned her back to see Katarina "You and the captain... ?"
"That is no secret. But I prefer we never speak of it again"
Katarina left the infirmary. She felt a strange chill around her spine, as a thought of her lover being killed passed through her mind.
"Sinister blade" Whispered Talon, who had silently heared Katarina's conversation with Soraka.
"Hmph" Katarina turned her back, and stared at him "What do you want?"
"I grow weary of the League's limitations. I'm departing for Noxus, where I can earn a living with my skills. Would you come with me?"
Katarina didn't like the idea at first, but somehow Talon convinced her. The sinister blade saw Talon's eyes, and somehow, she knew that a great, profitable relation awaited her by his side.
The two left the League. Katarina somewhat forgot about the captain, and lived the rest of her life with her new-found mate. They were never seen again.
I'm a jackal. You're a dog.
"I'LL KILL YOU, AND DRINK FROM YOUR MISERABLE SKULL!!!"
But who are you to say what's wrong and what is right? And who am I to say the same?
"DIE, C... "
You couldn't even say my real name, master. My eyes were closed, but my instincts can't be deceived. It was all an illusion, and it didn't trick me while I was focussed. My halberd pierced your heart, and nailed you to a tree trunk.
"Ha... Ahaha... So, the apprentice beats the master" He then drew breath, for he knew it would be his last "But the remaining dogs... Will eat your flesh...
... And by the way... You've passed the lesson... Hehe"
I looked around me. So much death. My friends, they all died in battle. This war was pointless, as all wars are. That was the objective of the League that people couldn't see. They just thought of their own good.
The jackal defends what is his, and the dog does the same. But to wage war wasn't the right way to solve their differences.
But nothing mattered now. It was all over. I was badly injured, and I could hear the death calling for me.
"It's been too long since we've last met... " Her mind was full of burdens, and sadness could be sensed in both her face and voice.
Riven. I love you, more than what I'll ever be able to explain. Take me to a better place. Make the pain go away.
Already dead, I fell on a pool of my own blood, with a smile on my face.
"My love?" She said "Are you hurt?"
"It's okay" I answered "We're togheter now"
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