Scholar, Protector, Perserver

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OuttaControl56

Senior Member

05-08-2014

Hey all!

A long while back I asked about titles. Rift Walkin Erryday, Etc etc.

Well I'm baaaaack!

I ended up with "Scholar, Protector, Perserver". I hope you'll enjoy! I'll be more zealous and post-happy on my Fanfiction version, so feel free to check it out there.

Feel free to review or give me feedback!

Without further interruptions, here we go! Enjoy!

Chapter 1
It was routine. Every morning, Kassadin would stir in his cot, awoken by the world around him . Some mornings it was a rooster crowing from a nearby farm, other times it was the howling gale cutting its way through the tundra, or the hooting of wild, unknown creatures in jungles and forests. His eyes would snap open, and he would bolt upright, shaking out the sleep as quickly as possible. Time could not be wasted, there was much to do, lots of ground to cover. This morning, the bell tolls and the sound of humanity pierced his slumber, a reminder of his task at hand. He was in Fayth, an average town in the Demacian provinces, close enough to the Central Cities to suite Kassadin's goals, but far enough to ensure a low profile and more importantly, close proximity to the countryside and beyond. Kassadin would rather have his presence here quickly forgotten, so that his trail would be hard to follow.

As Kassadin stretched, he observed his surroundings. He was currently in an attic that he had entered at nightfall. Below the floorboards were the dwellings of his clueless landlords. Although no one ever knew that the Voidwalker was using their houses as shelter, he did not want to abuse his gifts. An anonymous present was how he typically thanked his unaware patrons.

Walking to an oval window, Kassadin surveyed the town by its first light. The Demacian houses stood silent and massive, their few conscious inhabitants ants within their colossal structures. As the morning grew older, however, activity would be everywhere, echoing off the tall walls and pillars. Kassadin's eyes rested on one of the roofs of these houses, cloaked in the shadow of the massive Demacian Clock-tower that stood in the center of town. The shade would keep his exit secret. Taking a deep breath of dusty, attic, air, Kassadin exhale slowly and brought forth his energy.

A moment later, Kassadin's eyes refocused in the shade of the Demacian monolith. The great clock read 5:30 DST. Yet the chilling morning cold was already melting into a warm breeze, clear and crisp. Turning around, Kassadin made note of the oval window that he was just looking out from, a hundred meters away, near the center of town. "A boar would be a suitable gift " he thought to himself. This town was in the middle of the Fairness province, known for its livestock, famous throughout all of Valoran. A pity that its residence typically subsisted on vegetables since most of the livestock was shipped around the entire continent. Looking downward at the wide, empty roads, Kassadin leaped down from the roof, landing quietly on the cobble streets below, as silent as a Yordle's sneeze. Smiling quietly behind his mask, Kassadin began to walk towards the town square to do business. It was a wonderful morning to wake up to.

Kassadin noticed the eagle long after it had spotted him. As he approached the fountain at the center of the town square, a dark shadow passed over Kassadin's head, landing on the ledge of the fountain. Kassadin paused briefly, almost nodding to the heirloom of Demacian nobility and grace. Valor's deep blue colors made it blend into the statues of the fountain, where brave knights and citizens raised their arms in triumph. Water erupted from the center, constantly rinsing and cleaning the heroes and their weapons from the stains of countless battles. Valor stood motionless, his eyes unflinching as Kassadin walked forward.

"So I take it your are my contact?" Kassadin said out loud, expecting a reply.

"That is correct, Void-Walker" Quinn responded, stepping into sight from the fountain, behind a righteous warrior who brandished his shield in triumph. "Jarvan IV sends his condolences for not being able to show up in person. However, he is confident that you would understand his duties in the Demacian nobility and how it can tie him up."

"Of course." Kassadin replied coolly. "I can wait for the coming match to ask his grace for audience."

"Mhm." Quinn responded, "But tell me, Kassadin, why do you think you are better suited than Luxanna for this occasion?"

"I mean no disrespect to your talented mage, or intend to shake your confidence in her." Kassadin said earnestly. "She is gifted in many ways, from intelligence to morals." Kassadin paused, switching his focus from Quinn to Valor. "However, she is not effective when countering Katarina's fighting style as I am."

"That's debatable, Kassadin, as well as Katarina's role in this match. There are others that could take her place in the middle lane." Quinn shot back.

"But they do not expect my presence." Kassadin responded. "Katarina is best suited to countering Luxanna, and they are betting on Demacia to pick her as their magic professional on this weeks match, especially with the recent rule change that has given her more leeway with her spells."

"You're confident in this." Quinn said.

"I have my sources." Kassadin said confidently.

"We all do. We'd have to send you last, you understand. Noxus could respond by bringing in Talon…"

"Unlikely. He's been hit hard with the latest rule changes."

"That's all nice to know, Kassadin, but what Jarvan really wants to understand is why are you so intent on helping us, handing us a match… at least mid lane… on a silver platter."

"The match determines who gets to appropriate funds towards hundreds of research firms across Runeterra. I am bent on making sure these research institutes are given the protection and backing they deserve, without any tampering in the name of politics." Kassadin said.

Valor chirped. Kassadin didn't know the eagle's language, but he felt as if it was a grunt of irritation or a stifled laugh. Quinn's face didn't give anything away.

"Well then, feel free to show up." She said, approaching the Void-Walker nonchalantly. "If Jarvan looks to you, then you know you have a spot on our team. You can talk more about your 'research' later."

"Thank you for your audience, Quinn." Kassadin said, extending his hand, which Quinn took and shook firmly.

"Thank you for your honesty." Quinn said. "Valor never really got to see you up close like this. He's confused why you always where a skirt."

Kassadin looked at Valor defensively. "It's a traditional garb" he admitted, "Thank you as well, Valor."

Valor cooed. Kassadin could tell it was out of amusement.

Kassadin bowed, took a step back, and walked off into the growing morning crowd. There was a boar to buy, and much more to do.

---
Kassadin's presence, like any other champion of the League, had a profound impact on the populace of Runeterra. Kassadin could only imagine the apprehension and excitement of the butcher as he entered and asked for a boar. The satisfaction of watching people's eyes grow wide and the sudden less of lethargy in the presence of a Champion never got old. The butcher soon hoisted a freshly butchered boar, obviously the best the shop had to offer. Being a champ had its perks.

"Is it satisfactory?" The butcher said, struggling to hide his nerves.

"Its perfect." Kassadin replied. "How much is it?"

The butcher shrugged, as if he was handing off a copper coin. "Pah, for you, Void-Walker, its on the house. Your courage and heroism on the rift is enough."

"That's bad for business." Kassadin said, shaking his head. "Please, treat me as an equal. How much?"

"Nothing. Take it."

"I insist." Kassadin said. "Name your price, unless you want me to."

The man shook his head. With an audience, he would have resisted further, given the champion a real taste of Demacian Hospitality. But he dare not go against Kassadin's wishes. "6 pieces, then."

Kassadin complied, handing over 6 pieces, as the butcher pushed the boar forward. "Are you sure you'll manage?" The butcher asked.

"Of course." Kassadin responded, grabbing the platter with one strong arm, while placing placing down 6 more glimmer disks down on the table.

The butcher shook his head, adamant this time. The boar was worth around 10 gold pieces, and he could not ask so much from a Champion of the league. "Sir, I cannot-"

But too late, Kassadin and the boar were gone. A while later, a young Demacian child would walk out of his family's house and nearly stumble into a present with a note of thanks. In due time, as the sun crept closer towards its pinnacle, people would gather at the butchers shop as he recounted his encounter with Kassadin, the Void-Walker.


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OuttaControl56

Senior Member

05-08-2014

Chapter 2
An hour after leaving town, Kassadin reached the Institute of War. Quietly walking down the halls, Kassadin mentally ran through his list of necessities. A match would occur in two hours, a match that he would be a part of. Until then, Kassadin would spend his time catching up with the times. Grabbing a free copy of The Inquisitor, he made his way to the library, to escape the ever-growing crowd of Summoners and Champions.

"Good morning, Kassadin" Nasus said as Kassadin approached the librarian's desk.

"Hello, Nasus." Kassadin replied. "How are things?"

"Quite typical." Nasus said dryly "However, I believe our explorer is up to no good. Again."

"Thanks, friend." Kassadin sighed. "I'll meet up with you and the others in a bit."

Nasus was one of the few champions who supported him unconditionally. When Kassadin first joined the League, he thought he was in a hopeless position, as no champions rallied to his speeches warning them of the Void. However, visiting the library and speaking with the Demigod, he realized that his words were not ignored by a significant few. Nasus and these comrades were valuable allies, a source of information as champions and others often frequented the Library, where other ears could easily listen in on rumors and bits of information. Nasus, with his canine ears, was especially gifted at picking up information, and their partnership eventually grew into friendship, a scholar that Kassadin could talk to about the dynamics of mana and the nature of countless beasts they have encountered in the past, known and unknown.

"He's in the North wing, been there the whole night. I believe he is still awake."

Leaving the daily papers on Nasus's desk for safe-keeping, Kassadin walked softly towards the North wing. The library was quite popular this morning, as he noticed Ryze leading the Plant-lady Zyra to the botanist section. Kyle was returning books on the highest shelves, her wings barely making a sound or breeze as they effortlessly propelled her levitation. Reaching a cluttered desk, Kassadin stood in front of the dozing explorer, whose face rested upon a tome speaking about the geopolitics of ancient Runterra.

"Ezreal." Kassadin spoke quietly. When the young explorer failed to waken, Kassadin helped the man rouse himself by applying Ancient Civilizations, Vol, 2 lightly on Ezreal's head.

"Ow!" Ezreal yelped, which was refuted by many hushes and shhhhs. Kayle flapped her wings in irritation, warning Kassadin and Ezreal to stop their rukus.

"Oh. Uh. Hi." Ezreal whispered weakly as he noticed who woke him. "I was, uh, just researching Aatrox's potential roles in past wars and such."

"Why are you reading Malnil's account of expeditions into the Shurima Desert, then?" Kassadin shot back in a hushed tone.

"Um. Er." Ezreal said as he stared at the book Kassadin held in his hand. "That just slipped in there."

Kassadin picked up The Mirage, A History of the Mythical Icathia.

"Oh come on, Kassadin." Ezreal sighed, taking the defensive, "I can't help it. You can't monopolize knowledge on Icathia."

"Ezreal, if there was anyone who I would want to excavate Icathia with, it would be you." Kassadin said. "But no matter who hard one prepares, you are never prepared for the real Icathia. I thought I was, and look at my fate."

"But you learned so much!" Ezreal countered excitedly. "Your papers on spacial magic revolutionized transportation spells, making them so much safer and economical. Now scientists are going to be creating more efficient teleportation procedures for less energy and cost, all thanks to –"

"That does not change the fact that I made such a breakthrough by observing twisted, inhuman counterparts," Kassadin replied "Icathian technology and knowledge is poisonous and alien. There is a reason I left so quickly. We should make breakthroughs at our own pace. That is why I refuse published anything else other than that rash, foolish article."

"But the potential-" Ezreal began.

"Its dangerous, Ezreal. I do not want Runeterra to be exposed to Icathia any longer. I want it buried in the sands, never to be found again, blasted to dust by that blasted Shurima wind." Kassadin paused for a moment, realizing how bitter he sounded against the quite atmosphere of the library.

Changing his tone, Kassadin continued. "Oh, I know what you feel. I know how inviting and promising Icathia is. I know how confident you are in your ability to resist the madness, the Void. I was a splitting image of you. But the void…"

Kassadin shook his head.

"It is alien, unknown, inconceivable. It will find its way into your mind and body, plain and simple. To even to begin to resist and understand its madness already means you are at its mercy. I don't want a bright, talented young man like yourself to be consumed by it. Please understand. You can't beat the Void."

Ezreal glumly slumped in his seat, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. "Gah, I just wish this Void stuff was a lie. I wish it was some childs story. No offense, Kassadin, but you're pretty much the only guy who ever talks about the Void in Icathia. Even Malzahar doesn't point to where the Void is. I always think that I could just trek in, take a few pictures or rocks, and then arcane shift out. Learn something secret. Something useful."

"I understand, Ezreal." Kassadin said apologetically. "Maybe in the future, Icathia could become benign, untainted. Maybe you and I could go and uncover its secrets together. I have told you much about the Void and Icathia only because you had the interest to listen. I am in your debt for that. But knowledge can only go so far. The best thing you can do is wait and be patient."

"Why expect me to just run off?" Ezreal said, "All I was doing was reading a few books."

"Still, I can't help but be nervous." Kassadin replied "Surely you can understand. A few books can do much to a man. Especially with books these detailed. "

"I get it." Ezreal said. "From now on, I'll ask your permission to research Icathia."

There was a bit of sullenness from Ezreal, Kassadin could tell. "I would appreciate it." Kassadin replied as he handed The Mirage back to Ezreal. "Look, if you can prove to me that I can trust you, maybe I can take you on some of my journeys around the fringe of Shurima, to ensure nobody tries to enter the desert."

Ezreal looked up. "Really?" he asked with a cinch of hope.

Kassadin nodded. "Still, I must teach you to resist the pull. Icathia and the Void still hold sway over mans mind even at the edge of the desert. However, it is bearable with practice. There are many artifacts you can find on the edge as will, thanks to the shifting sands. Maybe that will satisfy your curiosity."

Ezreal nodded happily. "It would be amazing."

"But first, I need to know you understand the gravity of this, the risk it carries. I might be leading you to your doom for all I know." Kassadin said. "No more of geology or culture. Read on Icathian Syndrome and then tell me that you're ready to take the risk, and understand the dangers that you face."

"Icathia Syndrome? No problem." Ezreal said happily, invigorated with the challenge. "Take care, Kass"

"Thank you" Kassadin said, as he started back to the front desk. "Keep in touch, Ezreal."
---

"… and you should have seen Fiora's face! Bright red!" Nasus chuckled.

"Amazing, how champions can be so course and unwieldy with words." Maokai said in a bemused tone.

"Indeed. Their armor is tough, yet their minds are not." Skarner agreed, "But that is true for everyone, no? Whether we admit it or not."

"Well spoken, Skarner." Kassadin added, tossing the morning papers aside. He missed the Journal of Justice, which carried real knowledge, not these pointless tabloids that obsessed over Janna's new haircut. "I laugh but feel sorry for Fiora, slips of the tounge can happen."

"Indeed. I remember when I first boasted about my stinger." Skarner mused. "The awkward chuckles and stares I got. I'll never live that over."

"I think Lux and Ezreal's position is much more embarrassing, especially how badly Garen slipped up." Nasus said.

"In the middle of the cafeteria, no less." Kassadin agreed with a groan. "It was only a rumor but now it's a full blown gossip point."

"Siblings always ruin secrets" Maokai said sadly, and his sapling chirped in agreement.

Sitting in the Lounge, while Kayle took control of the Circulation Desk for Nasus, Kassaadin was enjoying company of his most valuable associates. These people understood and could relate with his position, an outsider to the rest of Runeterra. Even better was their knowledge. Like Nasus, these Champions readily picked up discussions and always made sure that their voices were hushed. This trait was extremely useful in the Institute, where gossip and politics were one and the same, relentless and endless. Summoners filled the halls attending lectures, training sessions, and various other activities. In their spare time, most of them stood by doorways in their little cliques just to observe the champions who took part in battles. Usually, summoners showed respect and kept their distance, but any champion walking the halls alone was almost always followed by a couple of hardcore fans who tried to initiate conversation and impress their role models. Because of this, everyone seemed to listen in on conversations, and the quicker you learned to keep your voice low, the safer you were from unwanted observers. The library was a wonderful location to carry out important discussions, a bastion of privacy that summoners new better than to infringe upon, lest they irritate Nasus, or worse, Kayle.

"So how are your Preservers, Kassadin?" Maokai asked, "Is your group faring well against the cultists?"

"Yes, how are your Preservers of Valoran." Skarner echoed.

"Dead even, I'm afraid." Kassadin replied. "Sadly, my Preservers have been grouped along with Malzahar's cultists. The good people of Valoran are still suspicious and unaware about this underground war, so support is hard to come by. At least Malzahar has similar troubles."

"But you've made progress, no?" Nasus asked.

Kassadin shifted in his seat in apprehension. "Yes, but you know politics. So many promises, so many lies. So many arrogant people, so engrained in their conflicts. Most nations are too busy trying to annihilate each other than to grant me audience."

"You would think the institute would help people reconcile and solve disputes," Maokai said sadly, " However, it seems to have done the opposite."

"Aye." Skarner said. "At least in the Rune Wars, you had two sides. Now you have Bilgewater, Bramble City, Piltover and… Freljord… Don't get me started on Freljord."

"Indeed. It has erupted in the past months." Nasus shook his head sadly. "Poor Ashe."

"However, I may be close on Demacia and Ionia," Kassadin said optimistically. "As well as my match for Piltover today."

"Good luck, by the way." Skarner said enthusiastically. "You know I'd help if it wasn't for my rumble with Vi a month ago."

"What of Noxus?" Nasus asked.

"Noxus is tricky" Kassadin said. "In Demacia, there is an obvious chain of command. Noxus is…. Unstable. A pure power struggle. So many secret groups and hidden alliances, so much sabotage and subterfuge… It's amazing they're able to remain united. Trying to advance my presence there is dangerous. The last thing I want to do is look like I am picking sides in Noxian politics."

"I've heard you've done research on their government, though." Maokai said.

"I learned enough to know its useless to try and get involved. Long ago, I did research was on the Black Rose and its Rival 'societies'. I found more than I bargained for… Didn't publish a single thing, too dangerous. Now that I'm a champion, it is nigh impossible to sneak around like I had in the past. Noxians are very good at politics. Too good for me. I'll still try, but I'm not going to do anything suicidal."

Glancing up at the clock, Kassadin stood up. "And with that, friends, I must go for the Zuan-Piltover match. If all goes well, I might be able to get some momentum."

"Good luck, don't feed!" Skarner grinned.

"I'll save your newspaper." Nasus said.

"Thanks, Nasus." Kassadin said as he headed towards the exit. "By the way, what's Ryze doing?"

"Busy with studies for new items summoners want to push out for the next season. I think he's studying the newly discovered coin artifact."

"Interesting." Kassadin responded. "Well, see you."


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OuttaControl56

Senior Member

05-15-2014

Chapter 3
So. Many. Robes.

Kassadin fumed as he walked towards the Chamber of Selection. Summoners were scrambling to get to the chamber, and their robes were so darn... flowy. Twice he nearly tripped on steps he didn't notice thanks to the enormous purple sea that surrounded him.

And what a noisy ocean it was...

"Hey Kassadin, want some Creep Cola?!"

"Please teach me how to CS with you better... Do you Q minions or E them?"

"Hey, sorry about that training session when I ulted you into the tank, and…"

Too. Many. Fans.

Kassadin loved his fans to death, but for Kalpo's sake, why pile on him in such a busy, nerve-racking time? All he wanted were some quiet affirmations and words of encouragement... not all of this brown-nosing.

Finally, after what seemed like an age, Kassadin stood at the doors leading to the Chamber. The hall way parted into two stairways that led up into the rafters, but the champions walked straight through and descended down past these massive wooden doors. Before the entrance, phalanx of guard summoners parted and let him through, separating him from the crowd. In a moment, Kassadin stepped into a silent, empty bubble, as the senior official checked Kassadin to verify he was fit for a match. Before the proud oak doors, Kassadin felt the gaze of hundreds of summoners hurry towards the balconies to watch the selection occur. The tension was subtle, yet oddly suffocating.

"Not intoxicated, I hope." The official muttered as he sized up the champion.

"Not me, sir." Kassadin surprised that such a question was asked.

"You woud be surprised, Void-Walker." The official said. "I've seen a lot."

"Really? You have my condolences." Kassadin joked, making a note to ask Nasus and the others about drunken champions in the selection. Kassadin could only think of Gangplank or Gragas .

"You are free to proceed." The official gestured towards the entrance, as two guards opened the doors to reveal, the dark, descending corridor behind it.

"Thank you, gentlemen." The scholar replied as he walked forward. The men nodded impassively and quietly shut the door behind him.

The hustle of the hallway disappeared, and all that was left was the tension. Every step echoed with anticipation as Kassadin walked down the slanted, marble corridor. The quiet heat of the torches lapped against his skin, and his ears began to focus on the murmurs that reverberated from the end of the corridor. With every step the murmuring grew louder and more rowdy, and the end of the tunnel came slowly into sight. Kassadin took one long, ventilated breath before stepping into the light.

The chatter was jarring, echoing off the massive walls of the chamber. A massive, circular stadium, with a glass ceiling showing off the clear, mid-day sky, the Chamber of Selection never failed to intimidate and amaze. In the center, Kassadin and the other champions stood on a large, elevated podium that was at least 700 meters in diameter. The stands where the summoners took their seats to observe were at least 10 stories tall. Kassadin recalled the soccer games in which the changer was remodeled into a soccer field. It was a marvel of engineering, a testimony to the strength, engineering, magic, and sheer might of the summoners and their Institute of War.

"If only they could spend such resources on something other than stadiums and battlegrounds..." Kassadin thought. He doubted it would happen.

At the end of the podium lay an elevated platform where ten summoners stood, in two groups, representing Piltover and Zuan. Behind them stood the box which held the Summoner Council, the rule makers and the over-seers of the Institute of War. Before the ten selected summoners and the Summoners Council stood a tight phalanx, and one tall, high ranking official with a crys-mike that would oversee the selection.

"15 minutes before the Selection," a loud voice emanated from the mana-powered device. "Please take your seats in an orderly fashion."

Kassadin hurried towards one of the hundreds seats that were set up in the center. The champions were free to sit or stand where they pleased, and by simple sight one could see it was a reasonably important match. Battle lines had been drawn. Closest to the platform were the major players, Zuan and Piltover, and right behind them stood supporters from various other city states. Kassadin saw the Blue-Gold hue of Demacia right behind Piltover and the Dark Steel of Noxus by Zuan. Other members of Freljord and Bildgewater and Brandle City stood present, but farther back and more removed, observatory. These fringe groups had investments in the two technocentric cites and obviously wanted a say in what happened in the Rift.

At the rear, Kassadin spotted the outliers and outcasts. Cho'Gath and Malzahar spied him from afar as Cho'Gath fixated his gaze on Kassadin and belted out a hearty welcoming.

"H͡e͡ll̀o͘ Kass̸ad̢in!͏ ͡How A̷r̕e̢ ͏Ýoų ͝Tod͞a͏y͞?" The monstrosity purred in a disjointed, inhuman manner.

"Well, thank you." Kassadin spat. He loathed the abolmination. Its intellect and good humor was possibly the most horrifying properties it boasted, a force that could not be ignored or insulted, especially ignored. Kassadin did not want to anger the large beast, he wanted it dead and gone. At the very least, it and Malzahar were the only two blights in this stadium. The rest of the Void champions were absent.

Walking stiffly past the Void-Born, Kassadin pushed carefully past various other factions, eventually taking his seat behind Ziggs, and next to Elise, who greeted him with a coy grin.

"Have you made any bets, Void-Walker?" She asked smugly.

"No, I have not, Elise," Kassadin replied as impartially as he could, regretting his choice of seats. Although not Void-Born, Elise he found equally repulsing. A woman who had lost all sense of morality was just as hideous. Even more infuriating to him was the fact that people still flocked to her cult, never to return.

"Mmm." Elise hummed, deaf to Kassadin's thoughts. "You'd be surprised to know how juvenile some champions can be." One of her pointed index fingers rested on her dark lips. "Many say Gangplank and Draven have been putting down money on who's going to come out on top. Hush-hush, of course. Reputations to maintain."

Kassadin found it amusing that Elise was gibbering about immaturity, considering her senseless attraction to beauty was bottomless. "Listening through the grapevines, have you?" Kassadin responded.

"No, through the webs," Elise tu-tuted, as Kassadin spied the dark body of a spider climbing down Elise's neck.

"Well, if I'm ever in the mood to waste some gold, I know who to approach." Kassadin said. "…and to get some bug repellant."

Elise smiled smugly. "Good luck with that," she teased, turning to speak with Evelynn, who appeared out of nowhere. Kassadin nearly fell out of his seat. Stealth. Kassadin hated that.

"Short Fuse here." Ziggs grumbled quietly after Kassadin recovered. "Miss Big Fists wants to make sure you're up to this, Purple Flash."

Kassadin blinked, realizing that Ziggs was addressing him. "Thanks Ziggs, sorry about... stealing your thunder." He quietly returned.

"Meh, its fine. Wasn't too keen on getting laser'd anyhow." Ziggs replied as he flicked a tiny orb onto the ground. The resulting explosion was small, but LOUD. Most champions ignored it, although Graves spat the ground in irritation while Riven rolled her eyes. Vi caught the signal and nearly knocked Jayce out of his chair with a small 'nudge' of one of her giant hex-tech fists. Caitlyn seemed to pay no notice. At such a distance, Kassadin couldn't tell. The detonation was mostly ignored, shrouded in the chaos of the shuffling of seats. Ziggs did this all the time.

"The doors are closed, the stage is set." The tall official boomed, glaring at Ziggs. "With the powers granted to me by the high council and the Treaty of Kalamanda, I hereby announce the Selection of the Zuan-Piltover match to be underway. This match is a regulation 5v5 round in Summoners rift, standard rules, regulations and items. The coin toss has given the first ban to the Zuanite faction. Captain," The official gestured to the first summoner on the right side of the platform. "You may make your first ban within 20 seconds."

The summoner nodded, and engaged in a quick, tense discussion with his fellow Zuanite teammates. Kassadin strained his ears and eyes to understand their mutterings, though at such a distance such an effort was useless. Suddenly, the Summoner turned around and announced "We shall ban Orianna."

Kassadin saw one of the Piltover summoners shake their hood in irritation. Orianna must have been his best partner. The Piltover leader shot back with a ban on Morgana. Zuan eventually banned Garen and Ezreal, and Piltover responded by taking away Zac and Rumble. Kassadin could see Zuan and Piltover wanted to make this an exclusive engagement between themselves, not outside or fringe champions from other city states. However, this focus on the obvious champion pool made outsiders even more effective at throwing strategies astray.

"Zuan, pick your first champion," The official announced.

"I enlist the support of Singed." The Zuanite leader replied. A cheer erupted from the balconies as Singed stood up and walked onto the podium, shaking his summoner's hand and beginning to discuss strategy.

"Piltover, you may answer with two of your own champions." The announcer stated.

"I recruit Vi." The lead summoner responded. A similar cheer erupted as Vi bounded up onto the podium. Caitlyn soon followed as the second choice. Cocking her custom, fire-arm, she gave a nod and returned Vi's fist-bump.

"Zuan?" The official asked.

"I choose Dr. Mundo." The summoner said quietly, quickly drowned out by the roar from the bleachers, excited by the selection of a crowd favorite. Soon after, Graves was picked.

Piltover answered back with Jayce and Janna. The roar of their fans were deafening, girls screaming for Jayce, men whistling for Janna. Kassadin felt his heartbeat rise as the final selections were being frantically discussed.

"The city of Zuan calls on Blitzcrank and Viktor." The last summoner on the Zuanite side said. Blitzcrank eagerly clambered onto the stage, with a quiet, brooding Viktor following him. Viktor's glowing visor flickered menacingly as it sized up Jayce and his summoner, prying them for weakness.

Kassadin mind was flooded with adrenaline, already anticipating the battle to come. The official motioned to the last Piltover summoner, who looked at Caitlyn. A few words were exchanged, and Vi broke into a wide grin as she smirked at Viktor. The summoner nodded, and said…

"I choose Kassadin."
"Go get them, handsome." Elise said, with a hint of surprise, as Kassadin rose to the cheers and walked towards the podium. Zuan expected Piltover to rely on Ziggs or Heimerdinger, unaware that Piltover was three steps ahead of them.

"How nice of you to join us, Kassadin." Caitlyn said warmly. "Thank you for being here to support Piltover in its time of need."

"Yeah Kassawin, good to see ya!" Vi said with glee. "I'm Wi, She's Caitwin, and here's our support Winna. Be sure to shove it to Viktorrible over there."

"What about me?" Jayce asked proudly, straightening a bit. The question hung in the air as Vi gave him an incredulous look.

"Uh… What about you?"

"Forget it." Jayce sighed, resting his forehead on his great hammer.

"Sir, if I may." Kassadin's partner said. "I'd like to know your preferences for the upcoming match."

"I prefer sporadic input." Kassadin replied. Summoners ranged from directly controlling their champions to merely telling them the state of the battle. "Keep me on a loose leash, fill me in when you think you need to, and use your spells at your leisure. If you want to set something up, or have a plan, just tell me."

"Of course sir, I'll do my best."

"More than enough." Kassadin said.

"The champions are selected. The outcome of this match grants the victor taxing enforcement of the Maldorain Sea, as well as patrolling rights. Piltover has been granted the blue side, Zuan controls the purple. The match will commence in 5…4…3…2…"

The blue transportation circles formed around Kassadin as his summoner locked in on his essence and prepared to tether him through the Nexus. The roars grew louder... and louder... and louder...

Then silence.


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OuttaControl56

Senior Member

05-24-2014

Chapter 4
Kassadin did not agree how most people described a League match as a game of seconds, minutes, champions and items. First off, it was no game to the champions. Pain and exhaustion were as sharp of a sensation as they always were , and the experience of death in the confines of the game never failed to unnerve Kassadin. People who compared it to a chess match or some other sport were horribly mistaken. In sports or board games, you had time to think. On the rift, seconds, minutes, hours all seemed to bleed together as the adrenaline turned life into a cascade of actions. Thinking was for the CC'd, the dying and deceased. All one can do is act, not contemplate.

Kassadin hated the first 5 minutes. Although Jayce grabbed first blood with Vi's gank on a worn down Singed, Viktor constantly vented his rage on Kassadin at every possible opportunity. A hail of energy and various other plasmas were flung in his direction as Viktor ruthlessly abused the fact that Kassadin was melee. Bottom suffered a hard start as Mundo always seemed to swing by, and Blitz's presence quickly established a gold lead for Graves. Soon Kassadin was told that Vi would swing by middle to help. Kassadin refused.

"Its better for Vi to help top or countergank Bot Lane. I'll have fair footing once I get my Ultimate."

By the 10th minute mark, Caitlyn and Janna faced an over-equipped Graves who eventually surprised Janna to even the Kill score. Jayce reported that neither top would be holding an advantage anytime soon, as Singed teleported in with a host of defensive items despite the beating Jayce had given him trying to deny him gold. Vi responded that she had her Ultimate and was coming mid, whether Kassadin liked it or not. Kassadin, reserving his mana, began to check for Dr. Mundo with his vision and relaying with the rest of the summoners above. As Vi worked her way closer from the Jungle, Kassadin began to apply pressure to his opponent, firing off multiple Null Spheres that tore into Viktor's defenses as Kassadin weaved through the skirmishing minions.

"Vi's almost in position." Kassadin's summoner's voice echoed inside his ear. "Get ready!"

Kassadin surveyed the situation. Viktor had just pushed back, cutting through minions with his laser and moving forward for a stronger position. Letting his remaining mana surge, Kassadin felt his spells leap to his finger-tips and his blade hum with sudden anticipation. It was a great opportunity, despite the fact that he was weakened.

"Go!"

Kassadin ran, breaking through the ranks of melee minions, heading straight towards Viktor. At the same time, Vi dashed out of the gap between the purple forest and the river.

"Open wide, Icky-Vik!" VI hollered as her gauntlets began to store energy for a burst of power.

Even with the horrible name calling, Viktor gave nothing away, quickly firing a disk towards Kassadin before turning to run towards Vi and his turret.

"Not so fast!" Kassadin growled, gathering his energy and letting the Force Pulse erupt from his fingertips. Caster minions in front of him keeled over as their wooden frames were broken by the power. Viktor shuddered and stumbled as the wave of energy crippled his frame. Just as Kassadin fired off his spell, Viktor's device slammed into Kassadin, winding him but not stopping his momentum.

Vi hollered in triumph as the energy in her gauntlets were released, propelling her forward with unnatural velocity. Vikor disappeared in a burst of light before the metallic knuckles touched him. Viktor's partner must have used his Flash spell to salvage his champion. Or tried to.

"Screw that!" Vi yelled, "Lets go Kass!" Breaking out into a massive sprint, Vi barreled down towards Viktor, right into range of his tower.

Ignite him. Kassadin relayed to his summoner, as he focused intently onto Viktor. In a moment, Kassadin stood still….

...and then he was there. Kassadin wheeled around, flashing out with his Nether blade, cutting Viktor's third hand clean off. As fire erupted from inside the metallic caster, Vi collided into him, knocking him up clear into the sky and crashing him down to the earth in a fluid motion.

"Get dunked!" Vi cried triumphantly, as Viktor tried to recover and limp away, before Kassadin's Null Sphere sent him to the ground for the final time. The announcer immediately proclaimed that the kill has been procured, Vi and Kassadin retreated to the safety of their turret. As their summoners each channelled a recall, Vi offered Kassadin a fist-bump. As he returned the gesture, Vi grinned and said "I knew ya could take him. Atta boy."

"Couldn't even use his Chaos Storm." Kassadin remarked, as they appeared at the fountain. Energy flowed into Kassadin's limbs, stitching wounds and breathing life into his core. Kassadin swiped a Rod of Ages at the shop while Vi scooped up a Giants Belt. Both grabbed a ward and Kassadin picked up 2 more health potions for insurance.

"I'll come to support you as soon as possible, Caitlyn." Kassadin thought out.

"Take your time, Kassadin. Its best to shove middle with Vi and take the turret. We can hold the line well enough." Caitlyn responded.

Kassadin nodded, making his way back to his turret while Vi returned to the jungle to plant her ward. Soon Zaun would be forced to pull Mundo from the Jungle to protect their mid laner. Without jungle presence, Vi and Kassadin could roam as they pleased in complete secrecy. Zuan's defense was in jeopardy.

The match soon spiraled farther into Piltover's advantage. Dragon was secured and Kassadin managed to incapacitate Graves with Vi long enough for Caitlny's Ace-in-the-hole round to secure a kill and Zaun's bottom outer turret. Jayce consistently slammed away at Singed's spiked exterior, in an endless back and forth exchange that slowly whittled down each other's turrets. Caitlyn was able to siege down the middle turret with Vi's help and wards were placed even further into the Zaunite jungle.

The decisive fight came soon after, as Zuan pitted all of its might on one major engagement at Baron. They lost. Vi pushed straight onto Graves, and Kassadin followed up, taking the gunslinger down. Jayce and Caitlyn were able to weather Vikor's storm and focus him down, and quickly take care of Mundo at the same time with a well-timed ignite. Soon Singed was retreating into the fog of war with hardly health, and Baron was quickly secured. Kassadin took the time at the fountain to get a brand new Rabadon's Deathcap. But before he had the chance to apply his amplified power, a load roar echoed from the Zuanite base, and Summoner transportation spells materialized around Kassadin, Jayce and Janna, who also took the blue pill to purchase new items.

"A surrender?" Janna asked, "My my, what a way to go!"

"They didn't want to give us the pleasure." Jayce laughed.

And just as the match started, it had finished. The cascade stopped.

Kassadin could think again.

Theywere back in the Chamber of Selection. The cheers of the crowd nearly drowned out the announcer's voice as he declared Piltover the victor of the political match, as a result of a unanimous surrender vote passed by the Zuanite team. Hopping down from the platform, Kassadin and the victorious champions were led to the doors underneath the Council's stand. Kassadin looked back at the sullen Zuanites, who were walking away in the opposite direction, separate and in their own worlds of thought. The doors opened.

After walking through a long corridor, Kassadin and the others entered an ornate room where a summoner stood behind a table, flanked by diplomats from both Piltover and Zuan.

"Welcome, champions, and congratulations on your victory." The official said, "I am Clovois, the summoner who organized this event, as well as the author of the Maldorain Treaty. You have been granted permission to see the fruits of your labor." He gestured to the two documents placed on the table. "You will stand witness to see your city-state sign the bill of its choice, and discard the opposing bill. Be seated, if you may."

Vi responded with a resounding thump as she sprawled on one of the couches. Janna effortlessly settled down on another couch next to Jayce, while Caitlyn chose to sit on an ornate chair embroidered in gold. Kassadin chose to sit next to Caitlyn in an ornate chair of his own.

"Flavin." Clovois said, "Make your decision."

"On behalf of the Government of Piltover, I choose this draft." the Piltoverian ambassador replied, brandishing a document with the Piltover standard present at the top.

"Very well. Gentlemen, will you please sign as representatives of your city states?"

Quietly, Flavin and the Zuanite diplomat flipped through the document signing at intervals and checking the document and the amendments one last time. After fifteen minutes of scribbling and grumbling from the Zuanite diplomat, the document was complete. Both diplomats angrily shook their hands in a faux arm wrestle as Clovois took the document and passed them to a summoner behind them.

"Copies of the signed document will be distributed throughout Runterra," Clovois declared. "The law will take effect in 96 hours, the same time every city state in Runeterra will receive its copy."

Flavin Eagerly walked over to Caitlyn and shook her hand with vigor.

"Congratulations, Sheriff! You and your team have valiantly defended Piltover and its citizens! I beg you to come over to my office and have some tea."

"You know my weakness, Flavin." Caitlyn responded warmly. "We would love to join you."

Kassadin could see the ambassador's disappointment when he realized the rest were joining Caitlyn, but he hid it quite well. "Wonderful! My office is right by here."

Flavin moved towards the double doors at the end of the room, leading the Piltover squad. Clovois and the sullen Zuanite ambassador stayed behind in discussion. Kassadin sat still for a moment until Caitlyn caught his attention.

"You are welcome to join us if you wish, Kassadin."

"It would be an honor, Sheriff" Kassadin said as he rose to follow.

End Chapter 4

Author's Note: Piltover would be the best nation Kassadin would fit in with, with its academics but serious laws and restrictions. As a person who has realized the full effect of wanton ambition, Kassadin would like Piltover much more than most other city states.

With that said, we'll be seeing Kassadin everywhere and how he feels about each city-state. He's already made some of his opinions clear, I hope, and it will only make more sense as I try and explain and detail his character more.

I hope you enjoyed this chapter! Until next time!


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commando2341

Senior Member

05-24-2014

Excellent fanfic thus far.
Keep it up.


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OuttaControl56

Senior Member

05-26-2014

Glad to hear it! I'll do my best!


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OuttaControl56

Senior Member

05-28-2014

Chapter 5
Soon, Kassadin settled down in a less ornate office, as Flavin scrambled to heat water and prepare tea at the table behind his desk. Various memorabilia of the Clockwork town lay scattered around the room or hanging on the walls, giving the office a copper glow. Definitely what one would expect from a Piltoverian.

"Straight out of Ionia." Flavin said proudly, "The merchant recommended that one drink it without milk, like Ionians do."

"Interesting." Caitlyn mused, as she accepted the first cup Flavin produced. "I've seen clear tea like this before, but I've never tried."

"Do you have any coffee?" Jayce asked rudely, only to be 'shoved' by Vi for a warning.

"I've shared some with Karma once," Janna said as she accepted her cup, ignoring Jayce and Vi's antics. "It was very unique, like Ionia. I should visit again, it's a nice change of scenery."

"With different people, as well." Flavin said, as he handed the last cup to Kassadin. Kassadin could sense that Flavin didn't like his presence by the slight edge in his voice, and how he looked at him. Kassadin did his best to ignore the subtle hostility. It wasn't easy.

"Yes, Ionians are such wonderful people." Janna agreed. "So thoughtful, so unique."

"So loony." Vi scoffed. "I can't stand any of the Ionia champs. 'Cept for Irelia, but the rest and their 'holier than thou' crap… psh!"

"Still, they can be quite friendly if you manage to ignore that attitude." Kassadin said. "I remember how Kennen showed me around the Placidium."

"Try having Shen show you around." Jayce countered with a chuckle. "Better yet, Syndra or Varus."

"Well, there are a few... passionate personalities in Ionia." Kassadin admitted. "But you have your fair share of that on Valoran as well."

"Sure, but they're different. They're so… impassionate about their passions. To them, what they believe is so obvious that they're indifferent to it." Vi complained. "Its weird how they can just be so dedicated, but so… quiet about it, you know?"

"Like you, Kassadin." Caitlyn said suddenly, taking control of the conversation. "You always warn us about the Void. Yet at the same time, you are so tongue in cheek, offering no physical proof whatsoever."

Kassadin shifted in his seat, trying to remain impartial. He didn't think Caitlyn would be so… insulting. With such a harsh statement, he could feel the entire room become motionless with tension.

"Well, that's because-"

"Save it Kass." Jayce blurted out, "We know you joined us for a reason. Helped us win a match for a reason. Spit it out."

Kassadin's mind was abuzz, trying to figure a way out of this corner. He hadn't expected Caitlyn and the rest of the Champions to be so critical... So hostile. Their collaboration was supposedly built off of trust, and now they were trying to incriminate him?

"Well now, Jayce." Caitlyn said lightly, "You don't have to be so cross about it. Still…" Her eyes narrowed on Kassadin. "We all would like to know the request that you had in mind."

This was not going well.

"Please. Don't mistake me for a manipulator." Kassadin spoke with as much control as possible. "I didn't offer my services for my own gain."

"Really?" Vi said in a patronizing tone, delicately pushing her tea onto the table with one of her mechanical gloves.

"Really." Kassadin said earnestly, despite his growing anger at Vi's cynicism. "Piltover does not recklessly pursue improvement and enterprise that harms its inhabitants. That's reason enough. Sure, I have other things I would like done, but I never planned-"

"Tell me, what do you have in mind?" Caitlyn said indifferent tone, ignoring Kassadin's attempt to steer the conversation away from himself.

Kassadin repressed the urge to sigh. It was clear that Caitlyn had decided he wanted something in return for helping Piltover. It was useless to pretend that this was an act of charity. The best thing to do was to be honest.

"This Maldorain strait. Air and Sea travel occurs frequently across this body of water when people want to travel towards the center of Valoran." Kassadin said, "What matters to me is the Institute and Mount Targon."

"Why?" Janna asked out of curiosity. It seemed that she was the only one in the room that didn't know what Kassadin's motive was.

"Well…" Kassadin said nervously, "In the future, I had hoped that you could help me stem travel to such an area."

"Because of Shurima." Caitlyn continued, leaving Kassadin struggling to catch up.

"Icathia, yes." Kassadin said. "I apologize, my presence wasn't very popular with Piltover, I know. But I had no intention of abusing your trust in me. You def-"

"Kassadin, don't forget about your tea." Flavin interrupted with hidden satisfaction of watching this humiliation play out, " Not very polite, you know."

If Kassadin wasn't in front of so many champions, he would have sworn, and knocked Flavin out for good measure. Swallowing his anger, he carefully undid the safeties of his visor. Pulling it back slightly he put the cup up to his lips and swallowed the hot water. Quietly returning the empty cup to its plate, he carefully readjusted his visor back over his mouth. The liquid burned down his throat, bringing his body into a silent simmer.

Humiliating. If he ever met Flavin again…

"I'm… Sorry." Kassadin said feebly, struggling to control his unnatural impulses. "I am being terribly rude."

"Its quite alright." Janna said quietly, sympathy in her eyes. "I must get some of this tea next time I visit the ports. What is it called?"

"We call it green tea." Flavin said.

The pause that followed was a nightmare. An epoch of pure agony for the Voidwalker. The anxiety of losing his good relations with Piltover was too painful and horrifying to bear. Worse still, with no reason behind it. What a waste.

"So, lets get this straight, Kassadin." Caitlyn said finally, "You want me, the Sheriff of Piltover, to use the powers granted to me by the Treaty of Maldorain to manipulate air and sea travel across the Maldorain Strait to restrict people from traveling towards the Great Barrier and the Shurima desert."

"…Yes." Kassadin said, "Bu-"

"Even though this manipulation of travel will make me very unpopular in Freljord, Ionia, Noxus, Zuan and possibly in my own city." Caitlyn continued.

"Well…..possibly." Kassadin admitted.

Silence. Caitlyn's gaze was unrelenting.

"And your reason for such a request," the Sheriff concluded, "Is because you fear people will discover a mystical city controlled by some malicious force you call the Void... Without giving an ounce of proof that the city or this 'Void' exists."

"Now look, Caitlyn. You've seen the monstrosities. That's proof enough!" Kassadin began defensively.

"Not if you're exaggerating their threat."

"Exaggerating?! " Kassadin growled angrily, control slipping from his grasp. "You think I am a fear monger?!"

Vi shifted forward. Flavin disappeared behind his desk, pretending to shuffle around some papers. Jayce was sizing him up. Janna put her cup on the table. Caitlyn's stare never faltered.

Kassadin felt his energy ebb away as his consciousness fought back against the fire in his stomach. Vu'sela. He had no heart for what would happen next.

He stood up, trying to retain his composure.

"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have violated your trust like this. I'll leave you be."

"No. We aren't done here."

Kassadin nearly fell back into his chair, and massaged his forehead in his fingers. What a day. Things had been looking so good, now this.

"What's the limit?"

The Void-Walker was confused.

"How many trips are we talking about? 5? 10?" Caitlyn clarified.

"Uh.." Kassadin said dumbly.

Caitlyn sighed. " The restrictions, Kassadin."

Kassadin finally understood. "You're considering it?"

"A restriction on luggage is also probably on your mind, correct? We could put in a cost for luggage and enforce a maximum limit as well... But, I'll have to work out the details later." Caitlyn said, nodding to Vi who kicked her legs up once again.

"What?" Flavin and Kassadin responded in unison.

"It just irritates me how reserved you are about this, Kassadin." Caitlyn continued, "If you're wanting find allies, you can't hold anything back. You have to trust us. And you didn't, which is quite insulting."

"I'm… I'm sorry." Kassadin stumbled, "I'm just not one to be so…"

"Frank?" Jayce scoffed. "Yeah, that's why we started to like you, being all formal and respectful of our practices. But you gotta know there's a time where honesty and speaking your mind counts more."

"I misjudged you." Kassadin said. "I was so caught up trying to appeal to Demacia, Noxus and the rest of Runeterra."

"That's Runeterra, man." Vi drawled. "We're different. Ever since you helped Jayce stop Jinx from blowing up that power plant, you've been our amigo. "

Kassadin groaned out of relief. "You didn't have to do this to me. I just finished dealing with Demacia. Really tedious and formal stuff, I didn't realize things were so good between us."

"Dude, you saved half of our power grid when you were 'in town'. You are sooo much better than, like, half of the champs out there." Vi laughed, "You gotta realize trust when its handed to you Kass. What, you want me to kiss you and give you roses?"

Jayce's plate rattled for a split second as he shifted. "Not only the power grid. You helping me and Ez in the libraries, finding Janna books on meteorology, giving Heimerdinger lab help, you gotta give yourself credit."

"A measured, kind man." Janna added, following Jayce's tempo. " I remember when you helped Amumu find Annie's backpack at the Institute."

"Alright, everyone," Caitlyn said, waving her hands, "Enough. This is still a Piltover matter. Your recommendations will be taken seriously, Kassadin, but the details I'll have to decide later on. I can put you in the schedule so we can discuss this later this week."

Kassadin nodded. Too much of an emotional rollercoaster for him to think of a dignified response.

"Now, then, since that's settled," Caitlyn said warmly. "How has everyone been liking the weather?"

End Chapter


Author's Note:

This scene is a bit corny in my opinion, but something I could see Caitlyn doing. She's the prudent sort, the one who is cruel to be kind. Giving Kassadin a near heart attack and then making her point afterwards is what I'd see the sheriff do.

Kassadin is a very innocent sort of guy, really. VO's and lore in line, he's very much a bookworm who doesn't fit in with the rest of Runeterra. He can always try to be some master politician but he's far from perfect... Knowledge can only go so far when compared to experience. Caitlyn caught him, but luckily he was given a pass.

...Question is, will that luck hold? Thats basically my hook for the rest of the story, lol.

...Or is it?


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OuttaControl56

Senior Member

05-30-2014

Chapter 6
It was a relief, having another group of friends. Fellow humans, no less. For so long Kassadin had kept his distance from his own kind, aware of their fear and prejudice towards him. It shook him deeply that he was finally able to walk into a town knowing he had people willing to spare some time with him.

Kassadin left with a whole new list of obligations: Jayce wanted an extra lab hand, Vi wanted to take Kassadin on some patrols to "dunk evildoers and donuts", Janna insisted that Kassadin help her at one of the charities she had planned and Caitlyn wanted him to show up to her famous tea-time discussions.

That filled up his schedule quite heavily. Friendships can take their toll on one's freedom. But the possibilities seemed endless. As Kassadin walked towards the Library, he reminisced on the last few words of their discussion.

"So… Ionia and Demacia. I wish you luck, Kasssadin. If it helps you I think you should know Vi and I have tracked you and Malzahar, along with your organization, quite carefully. As a result, I do believe that Malzahar has spent some time in Ionia lately. Best be light on your toes."

Kassadin frowned as he saw the flash of white-papered notebooks and glowing rec-crystals as the Media descended on him. New friends, Malzahar in Ionia, schedule changes… Couldn't they wait for 10 minutes?

"Sir SIR Mr. Kassadin Sir Excuse sir me SIR Hey What should Runeterra *click* expect due to the outcome of the Zuan Piltoever match?"

"People who… *click* People who are worried about this recent treaty have no reason to be concerned. I trust in Piltover's sense of responsibility and their commitment to organized a fair travel for all travels *click*, and I am confident the Maldorain treaty will only result in a safer, friendlier environment to travelers and tourists."

100 meters from the library, Kasssadin thought glumly. I'll never make it.

"Sir Mr. Kassadin SIR does this sir imply that you believe Zuan is unfit for such responsibility?" *click*

"Of course not. Zuan is responsible enough, but I feel *click click* that Piltover currently has the infrastructure in place to handle the bureaucracy of record-keeping and enforcing such a growing realm of travel. *click*"

"Sir Does that Mr. Kassadin Do you Sir What is *click* Some people have accused this as a power grab by the Piltoverian police system. Others even accuse your 'Preservers of Valoran' have infiltrated the Piltoverian government. *click* What would you say to these allegations?"

"My organization is non-profit, non-violent, and does not force their believes on others. *click*" Kassadin shot back. "As for Piltover, as I have said before, *click* I am confident in their sense of responsibility. They will not abuse this treaty in any way *click*. Please, one more question. I have an appointment in the library."

So close!

A frantic surge of questions bombarded while Kassadin searched the crowd. He picked a summoner with a The Inquisitor badge.

"Your entry into this match was a stunner, Kassadin, and one that has got the populace wondering. Will we be seeing more of you in political matches?"

"I honestly have no idea. That answer is beyond me and everyone *click* here ," Kassadin said evenly. "Though I hope people understand that choosing sides is not my intention. *click* Thank you gentlemen, I hope I was able to satiate your appetite. Have a good day."

Quickly, Kassadin strode away from the clicks and the whirs and sir!'s and vanished into the Library. Approaching, Nasus at the Circulation Desk, the wise curator looked at him with calm apprehension.

"You have an appointment." Nasus said calmly.

"I have an appointment?" Kassadin echoed quizzically, "No I was just getting the reporters off of my back."

"No, it seems you actually have one," Nasus insisted. "Go to the West wing, to Section R."

"Oh. Okay…" Kassadin responded, still confused. "Who's the person I'm talking too?"

"An anonymous, I'm afraid." Nasus said. "I was slipped a note. Congratulations on the victory, by the way."

"Thank you." Kassadin responded.

Making his way to Section R, Kassadin observed the library in its prime. Many Summoners sat studying and cramming on various subjects, writing down reports of today's match and crafting theories on various aspects of the match. Champions appeared sporadically as well. Kassadin spotted Vayne speaking quietly to Lucian, over musty old books focused on Cults and Dark creatures. Miss Fortune was carrying Oceanic Empires Vol. 3 and Ballistics Vol. 4 , while Nunu was spotted carrying Flora and Fauna of Mount Targon. Kassadin stopped and asked about the peculiar selection.

"Well, me an' Willup wanna go there next, of course." Nunu replied indignantly.

Finally, Kassadin arrived at Section R. The section was dedicated towards Geology and was hence a quiet, unpopulated area. A single cloaked summoner sat t a desk near the end of the hall. Walking down the aisle towards the studying trainee, Kassadin's head buzzed with caution. He couldn't shake the specter of apprehension.

"Excuse me?"

"Mmm?" The summoner responded in a curt, Bilgewater-esque drawl. She was female, attractive, and holding Healthy Pastures and the Minerals Within.

"Are you… Did you want to speak with…"

"Kassadin."

Kassadin spun around to come face to face with the Eye of Twilight.

"Oh." Kassadin said. "I'm sorry,"

"S'okay." The female summoner said, gaze never leaving the book, oblivious to what had occurred.

"Shall we-"

"No, this shall suffice." Shen interrupted quietly. "Please, walk down the aisle with me."

"What news do you bring, Shen?"

"I want to discuss your role in the Ionia/Freljord Match."

"Role? What rol-" Kassadin started.

"The Kinkou order is aware that you plan to fight for Ionia. We believe it is necessary to inform you that Anivia may not be the magic professional for the Freljordian team. Because of this, we ask you to step down with your offer to be Ionia's potential magic professional."

"Shen, you know I can't do that. I made a promise with Karma, and I will fulfill that promise."

"Is that it?" The masked man asked curiously.

"I…" Kassadin felt the same cold tone before, when Caitlyn drilled him just a while before.

Iln'mil shelter me. "No, Shen. That's not the whole story. Taking part in helping Ionia win this match… will grant me a better position with Karma and the Ionian elite and as such I can begin to convince Ionia to take steps against the Void."

Shen was silent, but his presence overbearing.

"And.. I need the Kinkou Order as well. Your organization and disciples would be priceless allies in stopping Malzahar and his Cult's threat to Valoran… And I may even say a threat to balance, which you hold so dear."

"Only I can be the judge of that." Shen responded strongly. "The Kinkou order is not some organization you can enlist or lobby, Void-Walker. Unlike the Ionian government, we are not open for negotiation."

"I understand that," Kassadin responded. "I just hope that you see it through my eyes."

Shen did not respond. His bright irises yielded nothing.

"Well, wether you like it or not," Kassadin concluded, "I shall fight in the match, as part of my promise to Karma. I will not let Ionia fall if I am given the honor."

"Thank you for your time, Kassadin."

"One… One question, if I may?" Kassadin asked.

"Speak."

"I have been informed that Malzahar has been spending time in Ionia. Can you shed any light on this for me?"

Shen shook his head ever so slightly. "I'm afraid I have no comment on the matter."

"Alright then. Thank you for hearing me out. Take care."

For a moment, Shen nodded… and in another… he was gone. Kassadin had not blinked, coughed, or looked away from the Eyes of Twilight, but their glow simply vanished, along with his form. Ninjas Kassadin thought weakly. Why do they have to do that?

Kassadin returned to the Lounge to speak with his fellows.

"Your thoughts, Akali." Shen said quietly.

"He was honest, I'll give him points for that." Akali responded.

"Very wise of him," Shen returned. "I hope he shall continue to… facilitate things."

"Agreed. If Kassadin continues to show promise, do you think we should tell him about Malzahar?"

"It is impossible to judge someone for their deeds or crimes that he has not yet committed." Shen responded. "We continue our surveillance, and not contemplate such actions. Yet."

A pause.

"May I speak… a bit recklessly?" Akali murmured.

Shen considered it. "You may."

"…Well, I don't know if this 'Void' phenomena is real or not… but I'm worried to face the reality of its existence… The fact that we can't even comprehend how bad it is."

Shen thought for a moment.

"Kassadin knows, Akali. He truly understands the scope of its nature. In due time, the more we observe him and his plight, the more we will understand the Void. If it is real, or if it is fallacy. If it is benign, or a threat."

"And… if it is a threat?"

"Balance will be restored, of course." Shen said quietly, his words carrying for miles. "Now, we shall depart to Ionia…. Job well done."

"As always." Akali said with a smudge of satisfaction. "Apologies, but I have one more question…"

Shen turned to what Akali displayed in her hands.

"I'd like to check this book out. Quite fascinating."

"Of course." Shen said lightly, without thinking.

End Chapter 6


Author's Note: Okay, okay, I admit it: The whole reason I had this chapter is because I just love writing up fictional titles for textbooks. You got me guys.


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OuttaControl56

Senior Member

06-08-2014

Chapter 7

Walking back to the lounge, Kassadin spied Skarner, Malphite, Nasus grinning at a muttering and brooding Maokai. The time was 3 PM DST, and Kassadin needed to leave soon, but he couldn't help but immerse himself in some banter.

"What's the story?" he said as he approached the group.

"Maokai was badgered by Zyra a while ago." Skarner chuckled.

"Apparently, she's invited him to help her create a new plot in the gardens of the Institute." Nasus added.

"Again." Malphite rumbled, trenchant and monotonous as always.

"Oh, be quiet, you metamorphic hunk." Maokai snapped.

"Again?" Kassadin chuckled, talking a seat. Out of the corner of his eye, he spied the dark-haired young summoner approach Ryze at the Circulation Desk to check out the book on Minerals and Pastures.

"Yes, a couple times." Maokai grumbled. "Stop gossiping like humans… er… Sorry Kassadin."

"No problem."

"Why not, Maokai? Your sapling already likes her." Skarner laughed.

"Really now? My sapling likes anyone. Runs at anyone. And then it detonates."

The sapling on Maokai's shoulder squeaked in protest.

"I see nothing wrong with enjoying companionship. Your situations are very similar, and a collaboration could help you deal with stress." Nasus added.

"Look here-"

"Heehhhh." Malphite rumbled, enjoying Maokai's discomfort.

"LOOK! I don't like… that… that dicot." Maokai hissed defensively.

Gasps of shock and dismay.

"How can you say that about her?" Skarner said, horrified.

"Out of line." Malphite thundered in agreement.

"Be reasonable, Maokai." Nasus said, shaking his head, "Even you know that's not right to say."

Maokai sighed and shifted in his seat. "I just don't like her… I mean, you guys keep on poking at it like I have no other option and…"

"We're sorry for that, I'm sure, but that was… excessive, to say the least." Kassadin shook his head.

"I know, I know, I shouldn't be saying that… its just… She's so happy about things I just… hate."

"Your existence." Skarner said.

"Yeah!" The Treant cried. "She thinks its such a joy, all hunky-dorey and wonderful to be…" he shuddered. "...walking. And using magic no less!"

"Now now, did she ever say that?" Nasus said "I think you're jumping to conclusions."

"I am not." Maokai huffed. "She's brimming with joy. And you guys jump in trying to make me hang out with her."

"Dude, just talk to her about it. We don't expect you guys to be the best of friends, I just thought that you guys have more in common than you think." Skarner said.

"'m sure she's not as bad as you think, Maokai. But of course, don't take any of what they say personally." Kassadin said as he rose up. "Sorry gents, but I have to leave now."

"So soon?" Malphite asked.

"Yes. I want to get to Ionia as quickly as possible. I have an appointment tomorrow morning."

"Take care then, and congrats on the victory!" Skarner said, and the other champions echoed their goodbyes and congratulations.

-------

Traveling as a Void-Walker was a very efficient way of travel, unsurprisingly. Passing into the fabrics of reality and clawing one's way back into the fore-front of existence left many interesting avenues of exploration. Without the restraints enforced in the Institute of War, Kassadin could make hour long trips in a matter of seconds, without a drop of sweat. Kassadin never boasted much about his prowess, but he was confident he could disappear from the Northern shores of Ionia in one moment and appear in the Halls of the High Demacian Court in the next.

If one asked Kassadin what Void-Walking was like, he would compare it to Pantheon's Grand Skyfall. In a moment, he could feel himself detach from Runeterra, from reality completely, and could survey the entire world from afar. Looking closer, Kassadin could pull himself closer and closer to a location, and at a whim, materialize. Such a process seemed long to him, but in the discrepancy was merely a second or two. Obviously, such an ability had benefits. Magical essences, energies and the mages who harnessed them pulled at Kassadin more-so than their energy-lacking counterparts, providing the VoidWalker the ability to check for powerful foes or spies. Kassadin could also simply focus on a spot and will himself there, from a base of a mountain to its summit.

Of course, every time Kassadin left his world, he saw... felt... the Void calling. Beckoning. Tempting. The swirl of boundless energy and the seductive pull of chaos and madness was tangible every time. Every time Kassadin looked away, disgusted.

He started his journey at the steps of the Institute. In a moment, he was walking on the Noxian borders in a field of shrubbery and grasses. Kassadin didn't approve of going straight to his destination. The journey, the sight-seeing, the interaction with the world was much more precious and worth the time lost.

After walking for thirty minutes, Kassadin came across a Noxian highway leading into Zuan, Kassadin happily walked amongst the people, taking in the country side and the banter of the travelers. Naturally, the populace kept their distance from the VoidWalker, be it out of fear or out of respect. After an hour, Kassadin sped things up by appearing at the Piltoverian docks, walking amongst the orderly and tech-savey populace as they unloaded various goods from the docked ships. The time was 5 PM DST. Looking out at the cool, salty ocean, Kassadin closed his eyes and saw Ionia.

Minutes later, Kassadin was walking into a restaurant in Ionia's capital, The Placidium. Ordering a modest meal, Kassadin sat down and ate his fill, quickly and deliberately. After he was finished, Kassadin walked to the edge of the city, observing his fellow humans from a distance. His throat felt raw; his lungs stung; his jaw was tight. It was the food, as always. Taking deep, calm breaths from his visor, Kassadin savored the golden Ionian sunset.
-----

Kassadin woke up to the sound of chickens. First he visted Karma, the duchess and de-facto leader of Ionia. He met her in her garden which overlooked a grand view of the Placidium, from the valley hub to the grand temples that climbed their way up to the peak of fog-shrouded mountains. Karma spoke with a warm, passionate and amiable tone, bringing him up to speed with the situation.

"Much has changed since your last visit, Kassadin." Karma said warmly. " I'd advise you to seek out Master Yi during this visit."

"Is that so?" Kassadin asked.

"Yes. Master Yi has been busy. He and his disciple Wukong have experienced a surge of popularity in the last few months. The Art of Wuju looks like it will survive. Many people seek it out because of its near extinction during the Noxian occupation. It is an icon of Ionia's spiritual majesty and idealistic resilience."

'So how has Master Yi taken to his newfound influence?"

"Excellently." Karma responded happily. "He and I share similar beliefs regarding Ionia's future. He is currently getting more involved with other clans and groups, especially with Irelia's Hiten Academy."

"That's good," Kassadin agreed. "How is Irelia?"

"Rambunctious, to say the least." Karma responded. "She is eager to push for more… aggressive policies. A little too eager, by my standards. But at least she does not let her passions guide her blades. She knows what is best for our people, although she can be frustrating to deal with at times."

"Not like Varus." Kassadin reminded her. Karma shook her head and sighed.

"Yes… he worries me." Karma said sadly, "His group is small, but zealous. The Pallus Temple is no longer a haven for defenders. It is now a source of battle-hungry fanatics, full of fury and eager to strike back at Noxus. Fortunately, their numbers are few, but that's hardly a reason to ignore them."

"Hopefully, then, it stays that way." Kassadin agreed, thinking of the Pit of Pallus and the corruption that lay within.

"That depends on Noxus and the steps it may take in its diplomatic actions towards Ionia." Karma said. "The more respectful they are, the less we have to worry about Varus. But with every account of a ship getting raided, his influence grows."

"Tell me about the Kinkou Order, and the Shadow Clan."

Karma stopped at a flowering plant, picking off a bright, violet flower. She absentmindedly twirled it close to her nose as she continued.

"The pits, I'm afraid. I approached Zed to discuss his use of the Kinkou Order's lands and he simply laughed in my face. The Shadow Clan are notorious troublemakers, performing crimes from robbery to assaults… and a number of kidnappings and murders have risen ever since their arrival. It's a stalemate if I ever saw one."

"And the Kinkou?"

"Crippled, but always performing above the bar in just about everything. Their wounds are raw, but clean. They shall recover in time. Riddle me this, Kassadin, what do you think of this garden?"

"Well, its good." Kassadin said, taking a moment to glance around the colorful terrace. "It is very well done."

"Maokai and Zyra helped me." Karma proclaimed with pride. "Apparently Zyra's started all sorts of gardening plots across Runeterra. I asked her and she was happy to help."

"With Maokai?" Kassadin asked in a bemused tone.

"Yes, he clears the plot and spreads the fertilizer, Zyra plants and sets up the irrigation." Karma confirmed. "Quite the team, as you can imagine."

"I never knew they were doing it as some sort of business," Kassadin continued. "I thought it was a one time project in the Institute gardens."

"Well then, surprise! They were able to do it all in one day as well," Karma said, "Zyra does all the talking, Maokai just tries to keep his little sapling from tackling her."

Kassadin chuckled.

"Well, its nice, isn't it?" Karma laughed. "Everyone needs a side job or hobby to clear one's head. For me, its literature and debate, along with caring for this splendid garden."

"Sometimes, I read." Kassadin replied. "Sometimes I write. But I feel content by simply being around others and playing the observer."

"You don't like talking?" Karma said "What a pity, after all those speeches you made, I thought you were the philosophical sort."

"I'm sorry to disappoint, but no I don't have time to ponder such deep subjects."

"You may be forced to when you have a chat with Lee Sin." Karma mused. "He and Udyr love to reflect on their principles and how they apply them to the world. They would love to discuss your experiences and ideology."

Kassadin nodded. He already felt the headache that would cause.

"Regarding Udyr. He is currently residing in his old monastery. You should go and have a chat with him. I've currently done my best to keep him from backing Freljord, but his loyalties are hard to pin down. As an outsider, maybe you will have more success."

"Seems simple enough."

"Not so, Kassadin." Karma said, wagging her finger. "You must be careful not to pick any sides, nor speak of any other clan. Many groups are suspicious of Master Yi's sudden success, and Varus and Irelia's Hiten Academy have sporadic confrontations. While Lee Sin and Udyr shun the rest for their violence, everyone glowers at Udyr for his ties to Freljord, and Lee Sin for his 'cowardice'. Individually, you will not have a problem. But whenever you are talking about politics, you walk a fine line. Appear as neutral as possible."

"I understand. Are there any stand-offs, events, or specific disputes I should be doubly aware of?"

"Not really. As of now, I have been able to keep things… stable. But the silent animosity remains, and that is the hardest to purge."

"Thank you Karma, I owe much to you."

"No, Kassadin, I… Ionia is thankful to have you. Without your presence people would not understand this menace that is the Void, and its threat to Runeterra. Even with Cho'gath and his vile brood, people are blind to the threat. I am powerless in arguing about the Void, people would think of me as insane and unfit for a political postion. But you, Kassadin, scholar of the… I'm sorry, I can't pronounce it."

"Quidokal'vin." Kassadin corrected.

"Yes. But you yourself are proof. No one can dispute that. With your diplomacy, and your role in our match, I'm sure the elders and the majority will agree to limiting travel to the Maldorain province. Which Caitlyn has agreed to supervise, I presume?"

"Yes, they have decided to be undecided no longer. I was relieved."

"I'm glad. I was expecting that. Caitlyn never misses in anything. Still, she could have been nicer when she grilled you."

"How do you know?" Kassadin asked in surprise.

"Oh, she had that planned long before the match, Kassadin. She forced me to swear an oath of silence, you see. For a sheriff she loves taking matters into her own hands."

Kassadin shivered. "Aye. She saw right through me."

"You can't fool that woman, Kassadin," Karma teased. "Remember, accountability and transparency have their merits."

"I tried that once," Kassadin said glumly "We know how that went."

"It worked. Nasus, Ryze, Leona, Caitlyn and I, we all have taken your warnings seriously. It was the best way you could have joined the league. I'm sure many other champions know your intentions to be pure."

"Really."

"Positive. Otherwise, you would have no allies. You wouldn't have us on your side." She smiled. "I always want to be on the winning side."

Kassadin grinned nervously. Underneath that peaceful façade, Karma had ambition. "Confidence is fine, but isn't that a bit too confident?"

"Well Kassadin, we have no other option." Karma said. "Either we win, or the Void does. I prefer to place my bets on the former. Now," Karma started to walk back towards her estate, "I must depart. Envoys from Bilgewater are here to discuss shipping boundaries… again."

"Good luck, then." Kassadin called out as he started after her. "I'll be here for the week, I'll keep you updated."

"I would appreciate it, Kassadin." Karma replied, "Now, please enjoy Ionia."

End of Chapter 7
A bit humorous and OC in the first part, but lets be real, we could all see Skarner, Nasus, Malphite and Maokai as their own little gang, teasing and joking about one another.

So now, Ionia. Looks like the plot is moving as quick as a snail, right? All of Chapter 1-6 and the first part of chapter 7 was a single day. Fret not. We'll be seeing a number of faces soon enough, some good, some bad, some ugly!


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OuttaControl56

Senior Member

06-11-2014

Chapter 8
Malzahar glided up the steps of the Temple of Pallas quietly, full of barely contained fury. He could sense Kassadin enter the city, feel the unnatural reverberations created by his RiftWalk .

He would not risk losing what he had created here. Suppose Kassadin figured out, asked too many questions and someone had the idiocy not to keep their mouths shut. Imagine what his masters would say. Imagine their rage, echoing within the confines of his skull.

No. The risk was much too high. Measures needed to be taken.

"Varus."

"Malzahar? Why are yo-"

"No time for patter," The Prophet hissed malevolently, "Kassadin has entered the Placidium. I fear for our secrecy. If the VoidWalker finds out..."

Varus growled, massaging his arm as he stared down at Malzahar. "What am I to do about it, puppet?"

Malzahar simmered, irritated. "I want you to kill him, Varus. If our secrets are imperilled I want you to take his head off. How is that not obvious?"

Varus shook his head. "Get someone else. I did not agree to this."

"I'm afraid the terms of our agreement have changed, Varus. You do it, or our deal is off."

Varus winced in pain. "Bah. Fine. How would you like me to proceed?"

"I leave that up to you. Just leave no trace."

-----------

The next morning, Kassadin woke up to the cry of a rooster. After bathing in a brisk stream in the wilderness, Kassadin made his way to the fields where Master Yi and his congregation had taken residence. The sky was checkered with small, white tufts of clouds, and a cool, swift breeze wound its way from the mountains and into the plains that Kassadin was transversing through.

The Wuju clan was awake and busy long before Kassadin approached them. He could see some people meditating, others sparring or going through one of the many Wuju forms. Kassadin spotted the master himself, inspecting and teaching people at his leisure. At one moment, he was adjusting a man's stance, and in the other, he was fixing a girl's grip on her weapon. Kassadin' couldn't tell when Yi would be done with his rounds, so he sat down on one of the many stone blocks deftly cut from boulders, probably by the master's own blade.

After 10 minutes of observing Master Yi's disciples at work, Kassadin noticed Wukong approaching him.

"Good morning, Kassadin." The monkey said calmly. "Sorry, you may have to wait a bit, we weren't expecting you."

"I thought Karma had informed you I would be visiting." Kassadin responded quizzically.

"Yea, that's true, but we didn't expect you to visit us so early!" Wukong replied. "Right now, Master Yi is taking care of the students. We'll switch positions eventually, so you'll be able to have your chat."

"Thanks, Wu." Kassadin said. "You're a teacher now?"

"Not quite." Wukong shrugged sheepishly "Yi still whips me in most of our sparring matches."

"Is that it?" Kassadin asked. "Surely Wuju isn't about winning matches."

"Yeah, well… he also is a little peevish on my meditation… its nothing. Just gotta focus more. So what about you?" Wukong shot back "How's your whole 'save the world' stuff workin' out?"

"Well, not too good, but not too bad." Kassadin said. "Its… complicated."

"How could it be complicated?" Wukong pushed curiously.

"Well..."

"Greetings, VoidWalker!" Master Yi announced as he approached the two champions. "I hope my students have made a good first impression."

"They have, Yi." Kassadin agreed. "Thank you for spending some time to chat with me."

"Anytime." Yi said. "Wukong, I believe you should observe and correct everyone for about 30 more minutes, and let them break with meditation."

"Of course."

"That includes you as well." Yi reminded Wu.

"Yes, master." Wukong said soberly, bowing deeply, then returning to the ranks of trainees.

"Come." Yi announced, gesturing with his hand, "Let us walk along the river bed."

-----------

Along the river, Kassadin spotted more of Yi's pupils. Some where balancing on an arm or leg, others squatted in place, gripping their swords tightly and their eyes gently shut despite their strenuous concentration. Yi spoke fondly of his students, explaining to Kassadin the basis of meditation.

"To become proficient in meditation, one must be put in situations that restrict your attempts to find tranquillity. Only by finding peace and serenity amidst strain and distraction can one truly learn the art of reflection." Yi lectured.

"Interesting. When do you decide they are prepared for these activities?"

"As I said, Kassadin," Yi chuckled, "This is basic training. Those who you saw meditating in less strenuous positions have already passed this regimen. Are you interested in trying?"

"...Not really." Kassadin admitted. "I'm amazed by their resilience."

"Don't be. The monks in the Hirana Monastery and Shojin Monastery use much more radical methods to practice their meditation. The Wuju tenants are much more moderate than you think."

"Do you think that is why Wuju has had such popularity lately?" Kassadin inquired.

Master Yi paused. "Why?"

"Ideology, teachings, regimens. Its less absolute than many other clans here."

"Ah. For a moment I had thought you meant in the physical aspect." Yi laughed.

Kassadin mentally slapped himself. Don't be a fool and insult Wuju.

"In that case, yes. Wuju is not a way of life, it is a perspective. Much like our fighting style, we focus on fluidity, harnessing all aspects to the best of our sense and abilities. By following the tenants of Wuju," he tapped his spectrum goggles, "we are able to see things in completely different ways, in completely different spectrums."

"That was-"

"Something I've said so much its engraved in my skull." Master Yi laughed. "I don't want to bore you with philosophy. Please change the subject."

"Its fine," Kassadin responded. "How is Wukong progressing? I've seen him do much on the Fields of Justice, and now I see him leading your disciples."

"Oh, he's doing alright. Its just his meditations that are a bit, well… he's not the one to sit alone with his eyes closed, motionless… especially when when she's around." Yi muttered the last part.

"Who?"

"Ahri. The vixen has got Wukong eating from the palm of her hand. He does his best to show off if she's nearby, and they always chat during Wukong's meditation periods. Quite the snag in his practice."

Kassadin nodded.

"So, tell me about your quest." Yi said, switching to a lighter tone. "How do your Preservers fare against the Void Cultists?"

"Nothing much can be said. Since both groups are branded as cults, its hard to get any support. Have you had any first-hand experiences in Ionia? Ever come across Malzahar?"

"Luckily, no. I have heard of congregations and meetings of Malzahar's followers, but I haven't seen them with my own eyes."

"They generally sing praises to Malzahar and the Void-born monstrosities. By candlelight, however, they do much more grave deeds. They mutilate themselves, others, perform sacrifices…" Kassadin shook his head. "Nothing good."

"But I wonder." Yi mused. "Why are you wasting time speaking with Ionian champions? We're not the easiest to convince."

"Still, I must. I need to understand other people's opinions, how other champions view the quarrel between Malzahar and I."

"Honestly, I'm not concerned about the threat. As long as you can keep Malzahar in check, nothing will happen, and Valoran is safe. I don't understand why you're so panicked to get support from everyone who is alive and breathing. Seems like a waste of time, burning the barn to get rid of fleas. Is there something I'm not aware of?"

"I'm afraid so. Its no stalemate, Master Yi. Did you read about the riot in the Bilgewater Docks?"

"No."

"I guessed not. Malzahar instigated the riot in order to break into the shops and warehouses there. 48 people dead. I could do nothing and neither could my Preservers."

"Why not?"

"Because my group is not a cult. It is not a brainless group that promotes violence in the streets. We can't stoop to the Void's level and fight them hand to hand. My people are not murderers or vigilantes."

"So you aren't resisting him?"

"Because we believe in our institutions, our governments, our populace. We know that all of the City-States could easily end this drama if they worked together and made simple adjustments."

"City-States. Cooperating?" Yi smirked, shaking his head. "Tall order."

"Not so. I believe it can be done. Treaties have been honored, many times."

"And yet, things haven't improved, and conspiracies are more numerous than fish in the oceans."

"Call me naive, but I believe it can be done, and although problems will not magically disappear between the nations, I am certain the City-States will eventually realize that their small actions do so much in my struggle to keep Valoran safe, without having to sacrifice any of their power."

"Well, Kassadin, I wish you luck in that mission. I would love to see you succeed in such an endeavor. It would speak much for the future of Runetera, should co-operation occur… But, pardon me when I say I have my doubts."

"If I asked you to stand by me in such a quest? I know accepting co-operation is hard… especially after the Noxian occupation."

Yi nodded, smiling to himself, observing the flow of the water curl over rocks submerged in the stream.

"Although I am pessimistic, I would never pass up on an opportunity to work with other nations for the greater good. I have lived a part of my life without that knowledge, blinded and near-sighted, and I would never forgive myself for living like that again."

"Well spoken. Tell me, I'll be in the Placidium for a week. What are the best restaurants that you know of?"

Yi laughed. "Well," He started, "'The Den' is a good place to start..."

A while later, Kassadin left Yi and his clan with a whole list of restaurant and delicacies that Master Yi told him to try during his stay in Ionia. As he approached the outskirts of their encampment, Kassadin saw Wukong meditating underneath the shade of a tree. Careful not to disturb the disciple, Kassadin walked onwards, cutting through a grove of trees, towards the road to the Placidium. But Kassadin ran into Wukong a second time.

With company.

"Wukong? Weren't you…"

"Uh. I. Um…"

Kassadin didn't take long to realize.

"That was a clone."

"Yeah."

"…Ahri, are you here?"

The empathic fox appeared from behind a tree. "Oh, Wu, I knew this was too close." She stated in a light tone.

"I can't go far from my clone," Wukong admitted. "Please, Kassadin. Me and Ahri were just, ah, catching up."

"He was just about to tell me about how he took on an Ionian leopard all on his own." Ahri stated.

"Darn right I did!" Wukong proudly announced suddenly full of bravado, "Just me and that overgrown housecat. The sucker thought he got me since I din't have my staff…heh." He flexed his right bicep. " I didn't need it."

"Oh my, you just took it down like that?" Ahri responded in surprise.

Kassadin sighed, rubbing the edge of his visor with a hand.

"Of course. It wasn't easy, obviously. I mean, this was a pretty healthy specimen. Must have been, say…. A 500-pounder. Maybe more."

Ahri gasped as she covered her mouth with a hand. "Seriously?"

"Yeah, I had a hard time keeping my cool, but I've dealt with worse. I just jumped when he jumped and caught'im in a headlock."

"Woow~" Ahri marveled. "No kidding… Did you get hurt?"

"Yeah, he clawed me good. Took a good 3 months to heal. Now I never go anywhere without my staff nearby. Now, for a real scarring, I'll never forget my run-in with a Freljordian Shark."

"Really?!" Ahri asked excitedly.

"Oh yeah, those 1 tonners. Rough skin. Rows of teeth. Whole nine yards."

Kassadin shook his head. "Alright, alright, I give. Don't sweat, Wu. I won't tattle, but try to follow your masters orders."

"Thanks Kass!" Wukong cried in relief, "Just one more story and I'll get back to my post."

"Awww… Don't do that!" Ahri whined "These stories are crazy good!"

"Yeah, well, I'm a lucky guy." Wukong muttered nervously, with a huge, proud grin on his face.

"Take care, you two." Kassadin sighed. "We gotta compare tales some day, Wu."

"Oh, you two must." Ahri sparkled. "Take care, Kass~"

"See ya Kassadin." Wukong piped.

Kassadin was still chuckling as he approached the outskirts of the Placidium.

End Chapter 8

See! SUSPENSE! More conversations!


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