NaNoWriMo 2012: "The Stars Below" (Soraka)

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AerithRayne

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Senior Member

11-09-2012

For some reason, I love the way you've described Warwick's torment when he encounters her on the Fields of Justice. Interesting perspective. It makes me curious if some part of Soraka is still "there" in that moment while Warwick turns her to shreds... *shudders*

(also, bump)


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Larcent

Senior Member

11-09-2012

Gah, I hate to do this, but I'm going to have to drop out of NaNoWriMo, but I will keep working on this story and get it up to 50,000 words and complete it.

Blame the election. I'm doing a tremendous amount of writing, analysis, did a couple of television segments today and now have to work on a magazine piece by the end of the month.

That probably sounds terribly glamorous, but it actually isn't. Anyway, if it weren't for the election, I'd be able to give this a lot more focus, but I'm going to have to put the story off for just a bit.

My apologies to everybody.


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Grand Viper

Senior Member

11-09-2012

It's okay mate. That only means that I'm going to have to finish this for the both of us. Take your time, but I hope to see you finish this story. It's just getting good!


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AerithRayne

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Senior Member

11-10-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by Larcent View Post
Gah, I hate to do this, but I'm going to have to drop out of NaNoWriMo, but I will keep working on this story and get it up to 50,000 words and complete it.

Blame the election. I'm doing a tremendous amount of writing, analysis, did a couple of television segments today and now have to work on a magazine piece by the end of the month.

That probably sounds terribly glamorous, but it actually isn't. Anyway, if it weren't for the election, I'd be able to give this a lot more focus, but I'm going to have to put the story off for just a bit.

My apologies to everybody.
That's such a shame, but NaNoWriMo really does take a lot out of a person, and when you already have a massive work load.....

Good luck on taking care of stuff. I will eagerly await any words you can spare, but no rush at all. Quality is worth the wait


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Larcent

Senior Member

11-01-2013

Chapter 7

Phanh wasn’t large enough to have a mayor (they made decisions through pure direct democracy – the adults simply all voted on community policies), but it did have a records keeper, an elderly gentleman named Fo Hang. He was among the dead now. Soraka, Li Pan and a couple of the Novari province guards carefully sorted through Fo Hang’s records at his home.

“How frequently did people leave this community?” Soraka asked.

“Not often,” Li Pan said. “If children show signs of magical or political aptitude, they may be invited to the Placidium or the School of Transcendentalism. If they show remarkable discipline, one of the monasteries may take an interest. But mostly they grow up to be fishermen like their parents.”

“This appears to be a full census list here,” Soraka said, pulling a carefully rolled scroll out of a small case. Most communities would need to store these records in a tome. Phanh just needed a single scroll.

“I will take a guard with me and we will identify each victim,” Li Pan said. “Anybody I cannot recognize we will set aside.” Soraka nodded.

“And we will try to determine who is missing,” Soraka said. “Maybe the heavens will smile on us and there will be survivors who were not here at the time of the incident.”

“I’m not sure any survivors will feel as though the heavens are smiling on them,” Li Pan said. “Not when they see what has become of their kin.”

“Do you feel as though the heavens don’t smile on you, Li Pan?” Soraka thought to herself after he left with a guard. Soraka was terribly, intimately familiar with “survivor’s guilt.” In the years following the war it plagued Ionia. It was an illness she was not able to heal. It’s not as easy to embrace philosophies predicated on “harmony” and “balance” when a brutal war mocked it at every turn. There were many suicides. These suicides were a source of shame for many Ionians and never discussed. To lose one’s place in the world so thoroughly as to choose to leave it behind – it was considered a great weakness.

She slipped out of Fo Hang’s home and made her way toward the docks. This is where all the bodies were being carried by guards, after the location and position of each body had been thoroughly documented.

She would choose a healthy male in his mid-30s she thought, if at all possible. He would be less likely to have physical ailments to interfere with her attempts to track down how he died. Having ruled out disease, she was in for a challenge. Poisons and venoms were used and transmitted in so many different ways. She couldn’t rely on what she knew about Runeterra from her centuries as a cosmic force, because the world (and the people who inhabited it) was in a constant magical evolution. New knowledge and new creations brought forth new dangers. In the height of the war with Noxus she saw horrifying chemical weapons she didn’t realize were even possible, not even after centuries of observing human behavior.

She transcribed a letter to Duchess Karma to Lanti, who trailed behind her, documenting Soraka's findings. She would have a horseman ride back to give Karma the update.

"Do you think the Institute of War will get involved?" Lanti asked.

"I do not know," Soraka said. "It will be Duchess Karma's decision whether to ask. They may decide to intervene if whatever caused this slaughter originated from another city-state."

"What will be your recommendation?" Lanti asked. Soraka nodded but didn't answer immediately. What happened was indisputably a horrible tragedy, but that didn't necessarily mean it was a concern beyond Ionia's borders or for the Institute of War.

"Request a summoner from Ionia to join us if possible," Soraka said. "I know there are several who planned to attend the congress on the Shadow Isles."

"Do you think one will come?" Lanti asked.

"Probably not unless we're unable to solve this mystery ourselves," Soraka said. Summoners were very busy focused on keeping the peace in Valoran. As the Institute of War and the League of Legends grew in success as an avenue for the powerful to resolve conflicts without open warfare, the summoners found less and less time for themselves. And then they had their own intrigues and crises to deal with. When the league was young, she had time to get to know the summoners and actually learn how magic flowed through them – very different from her own ability to tug at the strings of nature to make things happen. And they, too, eventually learned how to access her magic during battles on the Fields of Justice. It was a struggle at times, as Reginald Ashram had warned, but she eventually found her place among the champions. Now, though, sometimes the Institute of War seemed as hectic as the streets of Zaun.

Her posture stiffened suddenly as she felt the call.

"Are you being summoned to the fields?" Lanti asked.

"Yes, a battle beckons," Soraka said. "While I'm gone work with Li Pan if you could to consolidate all our knowledge."

"Yes, Mistress."

"If the stars are in my favor, there will be other Ionians on the battlefield, and I'll be able to spread information about Phanh more quickly," she said.

Then she began to glow and disappeared in a burst of golden light.


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Larcent

Senior Member

11-01-2013

I have not forgotten.


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Grand Viper

Senior Member

11-02-2013

Yay! Nice to see you here again! I'm not going to be doing any LoL stuff for NaNoWriMo this year, but I'm gonna be rooting for you!


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Larcent

Senior Member

11-02-2013

I'm not officially "participating" this year, because commitments make it a challenge, but I do hope to try to finish the book through November.


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AskUdyr

Senior Member

11-02-2013

That's alright, Larcent. It's good to see that you still pop around the forums every now and then at the very least. Best of luck!


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Larcent

Senior Member

11-03-2013

Chapter 8

Upon arrival at Summoner's Rift, Soraka found that she was, indeed, teamed up with another Ionian champion. Unfortunately that champion was Syndra, an extremely powerful young sorceress devoted to the destruction of the leaders of her home country, angered by years of deliberate suppression of her chaotic magic. The Institute of War permitted her to compete as a champion in the hopes combat would help her burn off her rage. She, however, participated in order to demonstrate her superiority over the Ionian champions and drive fear into the hearts of the Ionian people that her wrath will someday fall upon them.

She lumped Soraka in among the other elders and noted leaders of Ionia. Soraka had actually counseled against trying to suppress Syndra's magic, foreseeing what would happen should Syndra realize what was being done to her. Soraka's worst fears proved to be true. Syndra murdered her suppressor and used her great magicks to uproot a temple into the air and make it her floating home, casting dark shadows across Ionia, waiting to strike.

Soraka had tried to reach out to the woman to no avail. She shared with Syndra how she, too, found her powers weakened outside of her own control. But when Syndra discovered Soraka had voluntarily chosen to give up her immortality to help another, she laughed directly into the Starchild's face.

"You gave up cosmic power for these people?" Syndra spat back. "Your foolishness amazes me. Your own people are better off without you."

Syndra would be of no help to her now. She might even be a suspect, though in all likelihood poisoning Phanh was far too subtle a tactic for Syndra. If she were to destroy Phanh, she would have done so in person, and Li Pan and Hanto would have encountered the woman, hovering over the wreckage, laughing.

Syndra ignored Soraka entirely, arrogantly floating out onto the battlefield.

Soraka's team also included Jayce, the dashing inventor from Piltover. He was relatively new to the league but developed a following quickly among both summoners and citizens. Especially the ladies. Sejuani, a combative northerner, headed into the forest astride her massive boar. She would assist the team by charging into fights to try to catch enemy champions off-guard, giving Soraka and her allies battle advantages.

The final champion was the one Soraka would be charged to protect so that he or she could safely grow stronger as the match progressed. In this match, it was the terrifying little creature called Kog'Maw. She clutched at her staff and stared at the dog-sized monster. It made her nervous in a way even the undead monsters serving the League did not. It was otherworldly, which shouldn't matter to Soraka, given her cosmic origins. But he wasn't from any world in Runeterra's skies and Soraka felt the wrongness of his presence. He was from an elsewhere place known as the Void, and its existence was a huge source of debate among summoners. Soraka knew it was real just by being in the presence of creatures like Kog'Maw – she could feel it – but unfortunately she knew nothing about this place other than interactions with other champions connected to The Void, including former humans like Malthazar and Kassadin, who had been twisted by exposure to this alien dimension.

Kog'Maw was both incredibly dangerous, able to somehow twist reality itself and consume creatures far bigger than him, but also friendly and curious, just like a puppy. He wasn't "evil" in any human sense. He was an animal of sorts, though she had been told by a summoner he was able to communicate with them in human tongue through their mental connections.

Soraka followed Kog'Maw as he happily waddled out onto the fields of justice to look for enemies to kill with his spitting acid and consume them. It struck her, thinking about Kog'Maw, that she also needed to consider the Void as a possible source of Phanh's destruction. Not Kog'Maw, of course. If it had been him, he would have dissolved and eaten the bodies. If the Void was involved somehow, any attempt to reason through the mystery could fail. Magic didn't have limits, but it had rules. If you were smart enough and studied enough, you could grasp how magic worked – even if you lacked the capability to tap into it. Some of the most knowledgeable magical academics in Ionia lacked any sort of eldritch talent themselves.

But whatever magic was produced by creatures connected to the Void didn't just alter or manipulate reality – it tore at it, shredded it and replaced it with something indescribable and alien. If something from the Void was responsible for what happened in Phanh, she wasn't confident she'd be able to figure it out.

"Soraka, are you feeling well?" asked the voice of her summoner in her head. She felt slightly embarrassed that she couldn't recognize his voice. There were so many new summoners these days. "Your mind feels unfocused."

"We have a crisis in Ionia I was dealing with when you summoned," she said. "My apologies."

"Well, this is an important match to resolve a shipping lane dispute between Piltover and Zaun," the summoner said. "Please focus on the fight if you could."

Soraka thought about saying something more, but decided against it. The incident at Phanh would come out soon enough and he would likely apologize to her later. Summoners tended to believe what they were doing was more important than what others were doing. But in Soraka's experience, pretty much everybody thought what they were doing was more important than what everybody else did. She tried not to judge too harshly.

She and Kog'Maw were facing off against Caitlyn, the sheriff of Piltover, here to defend her city's interest. She and Kog'Maw were good matches for each other. Kog'Maw could spit his corrosive acid quite far, but Caitlyn had equally good range with her rifle. She was assisted by Taric, the gem knight, a close friend of Soraka's who was accidentally brought here from another world and now called Runeterra his home. He was a healer and protector like Soraka, but he drew his magic from the gems and metals of the world, not from fabric of the cosmos like her.

There were no Ionians on the enemy team, so there was no alternative option for her to pass along news of Phanh's destruction. She focused her attention on protecting Kog'Maw from Caitlyn's sniping gunshots while using her magic to silence Taric when the opportunity arose. His gem magic included the ability to stun Kog'Maw in his place, allowing Caitlyn to quickly destroy the little beast. It was her job to try to keep that from happening.

It was a sloppy battle. Her summoner was right; she was not well-focused. He wasn't able to develop a strong bond with her and her magic suffered as a result. Taric eventually managed to stun Kog'Maw and Caitlyn took advantage of the opportunity to riddle it with bullets. The monster died quickly, and Soraka retreated, as did her foes. That was because Kog'Maw never died quietly. Reality-bending void magic allowed his dead corpse to waddle around the battlefield for a few seconds before exploding in a vicious pool of acid. The creature managed to catch Taric in the blast and killed the knight in return.

But death was always temporary on the league battlefields. The summoners were able to draw on the magic of the powerful nexuses on Summoner's Rift to turn back time for any champion killed and restore them to life after a few seconds. The process, however, did nothing to ease how it felt to die in the first place, and Soraka spent much of her time trying to research the impact of these frequent deaths on the mental states of the champions. She'd have to set aside her work for now.

The match didn't go well. She could feel her summoner getting upset with her and did the best she could working with him. Unfortunately she kept getting distracted watching Kog'Maw fight and wondering what sort of creature might be able to kill an entire town's worth of people and disappear without a trace.

Her team lost, ultimately. She apologized to her summoner, who didn't appear to be taking it well. He had a financial stake in a shipping company originating from Zaun. She stared again at Kog'Maw as she waited to be returned to Phanh.

"You'll never be able to pass along what you learn about The Void, you know," she heard inside her head. This wasn't her summoner talking. This was the voice of Warwick. Not the beastman he had become. It was the voice of man Warwick once was – the man who had tricked her into surrendering her immortality.

"It's delicious, really," he said. "You come across a threat that your people should know about, something outside our cosmos. It's what you starchildren are for, yes? But because of me, you'll never be able to pass along anything you learn here. When you die, that knowledge will have no way to return to the stars. It will die with you. And then who will know about the Void?"

He was the voice of Soraka's failures. He was the opposite of her conscience. Ever since she became mortal, any doubts or fears in her mind were spoken in his voice, like a form of punishment she inflicted upon herself.

She tried to set the thoughts aside as she felt the teleportation spell take hold to return her to Ionia. She really couldn't spare worries for her siblings in the stars. There were people here who needed her more.