It was almost noon when the suns rays finally hit Noxus, the state of morning was never a daily routine in the city state but rather, an afternoon event if anyone bothered to look up. Even if curiousity got the better of you though, gazing upwards you would only see the toxic fumes of the Noxian industry; otherwise, the only other thing clear beyond the smoke was the massive fortress of the Noxian Headquarters and its looming skull carved mountainside. Yet you wouldn't need to be within the walls of the city state to be affixed by the structure, and as simple as it was to view, it remained an overwhelming sight to take in fully. Something about the architecture instilled great power, from the pillars and plates to the grand design of each gateway entrance into the keep. Each runic carving into the building was undiscernable by any Noxian citizens, but it was clear what was written in common above each passage.
The dark robed guards would announce to the passing public, the motto was not to be defied as a cheer but neither a rally. It was simply a quote, a message passed from each and every humanoid that served in the ebony region; militaristic as Noxus was, this code was a tool of enormous influence. With the fluctuating unease of the population during the crowning of Jericho Swain as general, much commotion was reckoned with the nobility and Noxian High Command; yet the two words kept Noxus together in its difficult time of political control. With Jericho Swain promoted, many of the nobility that had assisted the newly deceased Boram Darkwill, were in fact vulnerable to criticism and in turn death by the risen power. Deceit, manipulation and cunning all played in the role of survival for the doubted and unfortunate individuals. If it was not the blame by one another for one more breath, it was the most feared consequence of decapitation by Noxus's Hand, Darius.
It was not justice that was delivered in Noxus, it mattered not if the guilty survived while the innocent died. Strength attained strength, and it was this process of thought that kept the city state flourishing in the vile secrecy it had witheld. Change was coming however to this value, without any opposition to his absolute power and control over Noxus; Jericho Swain was determined to crush the other city states indirectly, if not directly- and in failure, drive the ruined foundation of Noxus into the ground with his possible defeat.
The mans voice was low, but against the faint candlelight it was clear he was more than a man. Teal feathers rippled off his shoulderblades, and clusters of straight tipped hairs leveled off his olive and fuchsia raiments. The thick brass additions to his outfit shined, they were cleaned recently and gave off a distinct glow against the torches reflection. He wore a helmet of light steel, the same material that remained on his chest and shoulderpads yet with an elegant pattern of lifted curves and points. The cape of dark turquoise blended well with his feathered linings, he had a clear taste for avians and how they appeared; yet the way he masqueraded as one was not in particular, weird. It was as though, he was a bird himself yet manifested in a humanoid form.
A ruffle of several winged shadows merged into one spot, like an illusion or shadow art coming alive against the lit background of marble. With a gloved palm of tea jean tint, his bare fingers bent inwards together as though clutching something, the lengthy nails sharpened as talons pressed into a ominous violet glow. Then it appeared, an insect-like bird that glared with six red pupils, its fluctuating image materializing from the harnessed shadows in the palm of the feathered wizard. It broke the silence of crackling flames with a caw, communing with its summoner as its talons perched onto the scaled carapace of the robe. Whatever news it had delivered, it was easy to see that it had pleased the man who began to tread down the hall at a slow pace.
"Good... Then I can begin the operation soon."
The man flinched as his march down the aisle had been paused, his left pupil turned to identify the plausible threat. It was all but a shadow, a thin figure perhaps female that had watched his movement past the pillars. His cautious behaviour was short lived however, as revelation came to his view when he turned to view the female guest before him. The first thing he noticed was the cursive headress of gold embedded with a ruby gem, and no sooner the navy blue flow of hair below it. She smiled slighty, the sides of her lip elevated and the glimmer of topaz in her eyes met the mans gaze. She had not changed much since their last meeting, and her appearance was unmistakable.
"Jericho, you decided to change after all."
"Evaine... One shouldn't be wandering these premises without identification."
"Pfft, my identity is my own- and, do not call me Evaine. Regardless of your status, I am Emilia to all."
Her topaz eyes glared towards Swain as she clutched her staff tighter, the invisible veins seemed to pour out from her hand before she exhaled. Sighing, she stretched as the vulgar dress she wore made purposeful intimidation towards the man, she probably intended to strut her appearance before him. The beige leather belts bounced against her waist, the light metallic bindings clacked against each other and the violet skirt seemed to sway with it. The gold rimmed cloak of royal purple swished behind her, trickery or not, the design mimicked live flames, swaying against the wind and Swain's eyes seemed to be caught by its illusion.
"As the general now, you realize the duty and danger of your role now, no?"
"I do, yet that of my safety does not concern me."
"Well... Keep a watchful eye regardless, there are more enemies within this nation than there are outside of it."
"I'm sure nobody will test my power, you were there at my demonstration of Darkwi-"
"Freljord is a lot more colder than him, know that."
Her expression was distasteful, had she not enjoyed his confidence she would have been much more cursing. She was worried indefinetly, yet in a regular way as a comrade would worry about an injured ally. Her struggle for power was unlike his though, she had it in her grasp like fire and air, though her political influence was limited compared with Swain who had the military in his grasp. While he manuevered whole armies, she traded and hired those of the blackest art and magic. While he conquered clans and villages, cutting off supply routes to cities; LeBlanc was eliminating key targets in both their plans. She was the true maiden of the Black Rose society, and incapable of replacing within beauty, style, grace and deadly efficiency.
"Where do you intend on going, Emilia?"
"I have my own errands to achieve, you have your own."
The golden bracers were the last thing Swain saw before a flourish of violet butterflies, they surrounded her original area before stopping in place, shattering like glass no later. She was gone, or in fact was never there in person. Her illusion had taken care of communication, yet the lady herself was probably with other underground commerce making a movement in utter secrecy. One thing was clear though, the Black Rose had made their choice steps and it was time Noxus under new leadership, would do the same.
"Beatrice... It's time."
The insectoid bird lifted its rested head, the beak prodding the air as Swain halted at the balcony of his chamber. Flapping its wings, the creature gave a loud caw into the empty sky; the Noxian warmachine was slowly dying down with the smoke it gave off. Finally pushing off of Swains wrist, the creature was again merged with onyx flames just like the shadowy effects from before. Entering the distant horizon just as the puny orange star lowered, painting the magenta sky black unto pure night.
Meanwhile far off to the north, a crystalline bow fires a signal into the sky.
To Be Continued...
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