Read it on FF.net!
"When I was little, my father took me to see Demacia's rose garden. There I met Fifi, a local girl my age. We played games among the flowers every time I visited. Fate always had us meet at the same time, same place, and we remembered each other's names as if only days had passed. One day we both got lost during a game of hide-and-seek, and we never saw each other again. Until now."
The story reads straight out of the diary of Amatea Dufarj, Captain of the Demacian Border Guard and a damn good blacksmith. When Fiora Laurent approaches her to learn the smithing trade, she is pulled into a Demacia she never experienced before, where status is measured by kindness and not by coin or heredity. But as the blacksmith and the fencer become fast friends, Fiora grapples with her past. Her father's infamy left fresh scars on the Laurent name. And she herself might taint that name further still...by falling in love with a woman.
I plan for this to be of short length. Please review, critique, and ask questions!
Please read some of my earlier works!
I wish the Demacian army had taught me how to write a diary.
My name is Amatea Dufarj. I am the twenty year old Captain of the Demacian Border Guard, and I have never maintained a personal diary past the age of fourteen. I live on the eastern bank of the Serpentine River, where it sweeps toward Demacia and the Bubbling Bog. The region is a homogenous marshland all around, save for the river. Hard, firm earth is scarce. Most of the landscape remains as it did before Demacian occupation. Soft peat blankets everything past my property. Prison workers drained some of the bog many years ago, but they never got the job done. My father planted our house on the most recently drained plot. He built it when he married mother, before I was conceived. He liked the early morning fog, and the preference rubbed off on me.
I call the place a house, not a home, because my true home is with the Wanderer Company stationed on the other side of the river. The barracks are sometimes visible from my cottage; small mason buildings that always let in a draft during winter. The cold season near the bog is unbearable. A ten day's ride northeast, assuming you avoid the Howling Marsh along the way, is the icy Freljord.
My mother lives in the capital, due south. On any other Monday I would have sent her money. But I'm riding first light tomorrow. Right now, I'm staying the night to finish preparing. Stop and go visits to my house are the norm.
I can't believe my hair still looks alright, even after such an extended lull in my regular grooming. I stepped in front of a mirror for the first time in a week and trimmed it.
Earlier today, on the way to my house I stopped by the home of Pvt. Vyland and his wife Freya. Vyland is a man of no mystery. He is honest, diligent, but a total scatter-brain. With a spear in hand, he could punch through the trunk of a tree. Among the men under my command, he stands out as being the most ravenous eater.
We talked for an hour or so over tea. Somehow the conversation ended on me not being married. It's not like I want to end up a spinster! I...just haven't found anyone yet. I work too much to just settle down and search. Of course, it didn't go exactly like that.
""I feel like I've known you forever, yet we've just met!" said Freya on the tail-end of my story about how Vyland got lost by circling his tent three times while looking for a pair of boots. "I just hope we don't share the same taste in men. Vyland is such a klutz!"
"He's the deadliest and most proficient klutz that ever served the Wanderers" I replied, giving my best impression of an old gruffly general.
Freya and Vyland laughed. "Speaking of men" Freya spat out between heaves of laughter, "what do you like in a man?"
"Like what?" She caught me flat-footed, and I tripped over my line of thought. "Y-you mean my subordinates?"
That pretty much sums up my nonexistent love-life. Nearly all the men I know, I've met through the army. And I outrank most of them! How awkward would it be to have a superior officer make advances on a subordinate? Ugh!
During the barbarian raids, I was really close to doing just that. Joe Pasture was humble, but the kind of humble that shows itself outwardly as noble. Even though I'd always get riled up in the heat of things, he'd be on the reply of my every order with an endearing little "Always there for ya!" I'd outright abandon my rank and fortune to hear his voice again.
And no way would I just fall for anyone with an alluring voice and a strut! He could bandage a wound better than any of our trained doctors. He knew the family of everyone in the company two generations back. He was one of the few men under me who noticed when I did my hair differently, or when I brandished a different blade, or noticed what I saw when I looked out on the horizon. He noticed when I held back tears from the rest of the company. And he'd try his damnedest to brighten me up with a smile. We lost some great men and women like Joe Pasture during the Freljord conflict.
Great. Now I can't sleep. Thanks, diary. Perhaps this isn't such a fantastic idea after all.
I'm sleeping in the Marlboro inn, my last stop before making a straight ride to the city. Representing the law around these parts, I did my best not to get in any trouble with the rough types passing through. The effort didn't come without a close call or two. I had to break up at least one bar-fight. A band of mercs from the Ironspike Mountains gathered themselves around the hearth. Among them I saw Porfry, the kindly slow-spoken sell-sword who helped us fight off the barbarians. "Amatea! Come here and help me drink this ale!"
I asked him "Porfry! Is that your white charger hitched outside?"
During the conflict he mused about the horse he'd buy after killing so many barbarians. We paid him by the hour and he was good at it.
"Yes, that horse is mine. Her name is Darya" said Porfry, his voice gurgling like a hearty stew on the fire. "She is a brave horse. I am traveling to see my lady friend in the next town. Sweep her off her feet and go see Piltover.
I couldn't help but be visibly jealous when I said "How romantic! You'll be her knight in shining armor."
"You are enough of a shining knight yourself, Amatea. But what man yearns to be swept off his feet? To be tripped up in battle means death, you know! Haha!"
"Real funny Porfry." I slumped over the table and reached for a mug.
So that's how he started our little exchange on the lonely human heart. "Tell me, what do you find in her, uh...I forget her name. It's been so long."
He gave me a slanted look, far from tipping into a glare. "Her name is Swan. Do not feel bad for forgetting the name. I will never grow tired of saying it. What do I find in her? She is, eh, beautiful and docile." Slyly, he leaned back and said "That question makes me think you are desperate, Amatea."
I came out explicitly. "Yes, Porfry. I am. Kind of desperate for love, or romance, or, uh, at least a date. I've felt more alone than ever. Being a captain...it sort of pushes everyone away on a personal level. Sure one of my subordinates let me in for tea the other day, but the affair was nothing but awkward."
It felt really good to let my angst bleed out like that, real slow, in front of Porfry. But at the same time I was really embarrassed. He'd never seen this side of me before. I gave Porfry a job interview to fight with the Wanderers, and I tried being a real stoic hardass. Now he knows for sure it was an act.
"I mean it's like I'm afraid of all the men in Wanderer company. And that's saying a bunch. They're the closest thing to family I have. The debacle up north with the barbarians and Freljord waned off long ago. We're all on a mandated vacation, you know. Everybody's gone their separate ways."
Porfry sort of flashed a frown. At that point I hunched like a gargoyle over the table. I just wanted him to hear it, and I was about to say as much. But he talked before I could finish.
"Swan used to say this, before we fell in love: 'Love is always in the air. One needs only to breathe.' I was so moved by these words. Maybe you too, eh? So lift your head and make your spine straight."
I had to smile. "Those are some pretty words, Porfry. Your girlfriend is nothing short of a poet." I obliged him, sitting up and taking in a deep breath. I didn't smell love in the Marlboro Inn today.
Then we switched subjects. Porfry told me about the breeder from whom he bought his horse. I stopped drinking (but had a good time regardless) and retired some hours after sundown. Despite all the stops I've made, I'm making good time toward Demacia.
The capital is as big and grand as the day I first entered her big steel gates 15 years ago with mother and father. The city is very bright under the sun. I can't turn my head without running into some glare from a white concrete pavilion or a bug shiny dome. Humungous domes. Four story buildings as wide as they are tall. With working bathrooms! I'm still awestruck, even when nothing's changed from then to now.
Exploring the city today, I revisited places that touched me as a child. The café, where father bought me my first taste of coffee, is still there. The garden, where father told me how he proposed to mother next to a wall of hanging poinsettias, grows the same flowers. I found the spot near the roses where I always played 'grown-ups' with a particular city girl named Fifi. No matter how much time passed in between our excursions to the city, we would always somehow meet each other at the same time, same place, and we'd remember our names like it had only been a day. Fifi must have been a pet name. I haven't met anyone with a name like that.
Mother is doing fine. She enjoys her book-learning with the hextech scientists from Piltover. Our forge, where mother lives, is in the commercial district, between a cheap inn and an apothecary. The most striking thing about this two-story stone mushroom of a building is how the chimney loops around the domed roof like a coiled snake, expelling puffs of black smoke out the top. The ground floor is all storefront. I never liked stocking its racks of swords and horseshoes because I was prone to misplace things
When I first sat down with mother in six months, she gave me a tiny metal box that sparks and burns oil to make a flame. "I surmise you'll find benign applications for this instrument" she said over lunch. "We call it a 'lighter'. It's a popular device among the gentry in Piltover. Take care not to burn your hands."
"Did you make this, mother?" I asked.
"It was a collaborative effort between me and the crew. Your excursions out into the wild are too frequent not to hold a lighter on your person." She produced another lighter from the pocket of her work-pants, lit it, and blankly watched the tiny flame flicker close to her spectacles. "We've moved so far ahead of flint and stone, hm?"
She had to explain to me how to use it, but the method is much simpler than the mechanism. All you have to do is flip open the top and poof! Fire! Mother has a knack for machinery, and I let her show it off to me. We really do value our time together. As a normal family, we've much time to make up after the barbarian raids.
I told her about my romp around the city. I've thought so much of father, all the things that had happened and what he might think of me. Sitting in mother's well-kept study, I admitted "I miss him so much; it's unhealthy."
Mother reached into her mahogany desk to dig for something. "These sentimental gyrations are mutual, Amatea. But for myself, less frequent. I find solace...and distraction in probing the earth's scientific mysteries. Because you've been away from active service, the idle mind dwells on unpleasant things."
When she said that, mother presented me with a letter from the army, as they knew I'd be visiting her. I am to report to the nearby barracks for a council on winding down operations in the Freljord. It's about time they've caught up to the situation. Wanderer Company got the orders to back off months ago, and everyone's better off for it. Still, perhaps I don't have the big picture in mind. I'll be ready to go back into that frozen hell if they will me to.
Captain Fiora Laurent will come representing the City Guard! I follow the League of Legends only because of her, the best and prettiest fencer in Demacia! If you look at the kind of swords all those other champs lug around, they're all gargantuan! And that's not mentioning the rest of the champions! It's nice to know that a rapier can compete. She keeps her cool composure even when staring down giant crocodiles and spider legged robots, and I admire that.
And I get to meet her in the flesh! I'm so excited; I might rush to meet her right this instant! I want to shake her hand and say 'Captain Laurent! It's an honor!'
There are many men in my company who'd be jealous if I told them I had a date with Fiora Laurent. I may or may not take some slight pleasure from the fact. I like to think myself above that.
I'm so off topic! Tomorrow the army is discussing troop withdrawals from the Freljord. Official business! That means keep your hands to yourself Amatea!
Good day, June 6th!
I woke up early to find a tailor that could fix my uniform, then hurried to the big fancy barracks on the edge of the city. After the meeting, I spent time at the café filling out paperwork.
Quinn led the assembly under massive stained glass windows depicting the Crownguard family crest. She set up a map of Northern Valoran bigger than my bed sheets, crowded with numbered dots. Her bird, Valor, sat perched right next to me and nibbled my hair. Those two know more about the Freljord and its people than any officer in this army. She has a plan to settle things quickly in the region, and I like it.
I'd rather not write what the exact plan is, lest a spy gets hold of my journal. What it means for me is that I'm staying in the capital for longer than I anticipated. Most of us are rotating out of active duty, including me and Fiora Laurent.
Some people are proud to a fault. No amount of idolatry can blind me from the fact that Fiora Laurent is one of those people. Gosh, I didn't expect her character to be perfect...okay I kind of did. Kick me. I set myself up for a letdown.
She was so difficult to talk too. Like we all know she's the best in the army at fencing. But that doesn't mean it's nice for her to belittle everyone attending the council! "You do not work hard enough!" she said to a marshal from Aegis Company after the council. "Why do you not even make an effort?"
Things like that she says at every opportunity. The atmosphere around the meeting room didn't give her a good spot to yell too much at all, but elsewhere I hear Fiora nonstop, vehemently lecturing other officers like a pastor.
But Captain Laurent is deserving of all her pride, no doubt. I think she's just misguided. Like her ego is just maybe a shell? I could be wrong.
And once, after a biting talk to one of the younger guys from a base in Ionia, she put on a certain smile and looked into his eyes. "This hurts me as much as it hurts you, friend." I was very much comforted by that smile. It was so genuine, and I can't get it out of my mind all day.
We planned another gathering for tomorrow. The Crownguards are hosting a dance for all the visiting officers. I'm going to try warming up to Miss Laurent and figuring out the kind of person she is.
NOBODY TOLD ME I POSTED THE SAME CHAPTER TWICE
This entry will be long. The best night of my life deserves as much.
Setting off at around noon, I walked on foot because I couldn't afford a carriage. Soon I met up with two brothers, one Major, one Lieutenant and their wives, all younger than I am. The eldest sibling, Cpt. Morgan Lenon, wore a sash bearing a heavy load of medals and honors. Lt. Owen Lenon, the younger, also had his sash.
"This is for that void portal thing in Uristan two years ago" said Morgan, pointing to a small baby-blue shield badge. "Every soldier that was left alive got one." That was a nasty one, I hear.
When we arrived at the Crownguard Estate, all the men and women in uniform had their honors like the Lenon brothers. I felt so self-conscious about my lacking of badges.
Not only that, there was dancing to be enjoyed and I hadn't brought a partner! Luckily I found a friend of my late father, old honest Gawayn. He's a self-taught fencing legend with a record to rival that of Fiora and her father. He achieved his greatest victory in his early youth-at 21 years old he defeated Fiora's father three times in a row before he tore his left tendon while lifting a crate of pomegranates, before he could ever join the long list of those left victim to a now infamous cheater. He looked as old as he did last time I saw him. And his beard was just as short and trimmed too.
"Oh hello Sunny! Did you miss me?" he said with a soft gruff, like an old dog sighting his master.
"Gawayn!" I returned, hugging him tightly. "I'm so glad to see you! Yes, it's been too long!"
The music started before we could talk more. Both of us lit up at the sound of strings and bustling. Giddying with more enthusiasm than warranted, I asked him in concern "Are you fit for a dance?"
Gawayn smiled back, defiant to his old bones. "Are you fit to keep up, child?"
We danced a jig that almost all the enlisted men and women know. When officers host parties for their men, it's tradition to teach them the steps. It's called "Menagerie", more of a round-about game than anything. When you watch it happening, it looks like a bout of musical chairs without the chairs. Super fun!
Gawayn and I were out of breath by the end, as were the rest of the participants. I think I got to lock arms with Luxanna Crownguard a few times during the dance. Strange to say, yes, but I think we have exact the same laugh. Her brother isn't one for dances, unfortunately. What a shame,
Gawayn and I took places at the bar and caught up with each other. He's been taking it easy in a cottage in the countryside with his wife.
War stories were the topic of our exchange. I knew he could relate on a personal level because he served in the Royal Navy for twelve years, ending his career as an admiral only 5 months earlier. War is in his blood.
And then Fiora showed up behind Gawayn to talk to him. Immediately I sat up on my stool and prepared myself for a scolding. Her force of personality does that to people. It's the kind of feeling when you suddenly realize your leg is bleeding after getting grazed by a musket minutes after the fact.
"Good afternoon Admiral Gawayn" she started. "It's an honor to have you."
Gawayn swiveled around to stand up and shake her hand. "Well met, Miss Laurent. How's the shoulder?"
"I am in top-shape, thank you." She looked at me. Her uniform was tight and snug around her body. Fiora's body complements the Demacian colors. Gosh, I wish I had her thighs. I'm not self-conscious of my body, but I won't deny myself the pleasure of dreaming. "And Captain Amatea, is it?"
I got up and saluted her. "Yes ma'am. From Wanderer Company" Gosh I was so nervous! I wanted to keep my cool and sound like I wasn't intimidated. But I couldn't. Humiliating, especially for a captain!
"A pleasure to see you again" she said tersely. "Gawayn, do you remember our last bout of swordplay last week?"
The old man laughed a little. "You held up somewhat better than the Shurmian sultans I crossed swords with during my treasure-hunting days. Amatea here knows that story."
"I have dwelt on it for some time, and I think I will do as you suggested." Fiora sat herself on the stool next to him. "It is time for a new blade. But Shepard, my old supplier, passed away two weeks ago, and I can't find any smiths not under an exclusive contract..."
From that point, I had that sinking feeling that the conversation would eventually lead to my father being a great blacksmith, and me being his apprentice. And when the question came up, I laid out the answer with more confidence than I'd ever had while in Fiora's presence.
"My father and I have a history in the trade" I told them. "I had connections with Django before both of us joined the army. He was at that void portal thing in Uristan and didn't make it back. But we get by with a military contract."
"Django had promise" Fiora mused. "I miss him as my kin." She pulled back her hair and widened her eyes which had turned steely earlier. "But I digress. You have a forge?"
"Kind-of. It's at my mother's house." I said without thinking. Half a second later, embarrassment punched me in the gut. But before I could start panicking, Gawayn stepped in.
"She has that utilitarian quality in her work, like Doran. You don't find it in Demacia's weapons these days." I have to wonder: did he mean before or after the accident that crippled him?
Fiora looked into my eyes and let on a disconcerting, piteous smirk. "You would go so far as to endorse this girl, admiral? So be it. I am in an adventurous mood." Her hand curled around a glass of white merlot while her eyes didn't leave mine. As an officer, I should be used to this much singular attention, but Fiora has those eyes! Augh!
"So I'm to make you a foil?" I asked.
Fiora took a sip of the merlot. "More than that. I want to see it happen. I make it a habit to refresh my understanding of your trade every now and again. It is no bother to you?"
"Of course not!"
"Fantastic. Before you go slaving over an anvil, I must get to know you better."
I must have been drinking heavily, because everything after that was a blur. Like I remember what I heard, just not what I said. She likes gardening, arithmetic, and romantic songs. She can't stand an out-of-place ascot or feather. She has a favorite spot in the public garden near the roses. Gawayn had to leave early due to his sleeping pattern.
An hour or so passed. The stars were out. I was standing outside on the front steps. Fiora was fixing my ascot. People passed us by or waited some distance away to say goodbye to their hostess Luxanna.
"This was bothering me all night" she said in an uncharacteristically easy tone. "Do not let me catch you with this undone ever again."
I saluted playfully before saying goodbye. Tonight, she was a different person than what I first saw of her. The dissonance is a little scary. I bet it's because she's just more comfortable while off-duty.
We're to meet three days from now. Gosh, I wrote so much tonight! Tomorrow morning will be tough to hit.
© 2013 Riot Games, Inc. All rights reserved. Riot Games, League of Legends and PvP.net are trademarks, services marks, or registered trademarks of Riot Games, Inc.