2 years prior to present day - Irelia's Induction to the League as a Champion
It was a strange sound to be heard from behind the doors. Laughter. It was a sound she herself had pretty much forgotten. The gates to the Institute of War opened, and the unique sword of Irelia flew through. Irelia apathetically walked behind it, any sign of merriment that was once in her demeanor melted away within a few steps. She was a young woman now. Her black hair now rolled down to her waist, her appearance bore no effort save for her crimson armor which was polished to a shine, with the Mantle of Decorum hanging behind her head as always. Between the sways of her hair, her emerald eyes could be seen. Focused, determined, and cold. She followed her sword down the hallway, knowing her destination already. Her neckline could be seen, and if one looked closely enough, they would notice nothing adorned it.
Anyone who tried to looked at her, or heavens forbid wanted to strike a conversation with her, were quickly deterred. The look she gave them was enough to chill the soul. It was not a look that was of anger, or of spite or any such off-putting demeanor. She wore an expressionless face, just uncaring of others when she had a task at hand. It was stranger to see Irelia to smile than to frown, weirder to hear her laugh than her yell these days. Any Ionian or person who knew her well enough would tell you such a thing.
Only one person had managed to stop her midwalk. Master Yi stood in the doorway to the lobby of the Ionian quarters. His head was adorned with a unique set of goggles, the Seven Lenses of Insight. "You have been inducted as an official champion then, Irelia?"
Master Yi nodded silently. He shifted his body back and forth before speaking again, "When will be your first match?"
“One hour. Introductory match. Will you join me?.”
“Perhaps.” The man sighed, “Any news about the appeal?”
“Refusal to speak about an appeal again. It has not been fifteen years. The League has stated that they are conducting an official investigation in the Southern provinces and will get back to us and our list of grievances, but as it stands there have been none reported from the Southern provinces.”
“That is because they are unable to give any reports. Our own evidence shows-”
“Our own evidence does not matter. We need more than that, we need to hear word from the Kinkou at the very least. You know that, Master Yi.”
“A neutral party, the League, must investigate the matter so it is unbiased. Our reports mean nothing to them.”
“Any news at least on how much longer their investigation will be?”
“When they are ready, they will tell us.”
“And of course, it will be the same answer as usual.” Master Yi let out a snort, and shook his head, “Despicable.”
Irelia shrugged her shoulders. She stared at Yi with an apathetic look as she plainly asked, “May you move out of my way, Master Yi? I wish to relax a bit before I am summoned for the match.”
Yi bowed his head, and stepped aside.
Irelia’s sword floated past, followed by her. Master Yi tilted his sword about, she could feel the guilt emanating from his weapon. She looked at him and said, “Do not dwell on the past, Yi.” The Ionian woman patted her metal fauld. “Promises are broken all the time. No point in dwelling on those that are broken, and try to keep the ones that have not yet been.”
With that, she walked away. Master Yi strode the opposite direction from her, gripping his blade tightly. His thoughts raced, ‘Every promise...I have not been able to keep a single promise to you or to your brother. I could not keep you from harm, I never found the butcher of your village, I could not even reclaim our own land. ’ He glared at his sword, studying it, ‘I am not sure how to aid you anymore, Irelia. I do not know what I can do, except trust in you, and give you my support. You deserve that much and more.’
He silently walked down the corridor. He flicked his blade, ‘Starting with your preliminary match.’
One Month Later
"People of Ionia! I have asked for those of you who can, to come to the Placidium to hear what the League has to say in person! To those who must hear it from others, other sources, other people, know that your voice will be heard!"
Irelia looked behind her. They were on a stage situated in the Placidium grounds, in its fabled Lotus Gardens. There was a robed man sitting with the Ionian Council as well as with Karma, Soraka and Master Yi. A volume enhancing crystal was firmly embedded in the podium, one she spoke into, "They have their investigations. They claim nothing is wrong. Nothing for us to be concerned about. Who here has families in the Southern provinces? Who here wishes to visit them, and see the beaches once more? Who here wishes to step in Ionian land without fear of trespassing Noxian borders? Who here wishes to no longer feel threatened for choosing to stay in Ionia?"
She slammed her fist on the podium, her sword shuddered in response while her voice raised in volume,
"Do I have to mention the clear cutting that is being done? That we are able to see! The unwanted urbanization they are committing on our lands? The forced mining of our land's resources? The dispersal of toxins into our water supply, contaminating their drinking water due to the wasteful byproducts of their apparent 'industrializing'? Do I have to remind you all that one of their figureheads, Katarina Du Couteau, has called us? That their goal is to essentially, 'educate' the masses of Ionia? To civilize and modernize us?! We are not a bunch of backward, uneducated yokels! Summoner, let the people hear you, tell the people of Ionia why you refuse them, refuse us a chance to regain the land that rightfully belongs to us! People of Ionia? Let the League hear your voice!"
The Summoner stood up, dusted himself off, and walked over to the podium. The crowd was a few thousand, easily. They were chanting to demand to know what the League had to say.
"People of Ionia, it quite simple. As you are all undoubtedly aware, the League shall conduct an investigation every three years of the Noxian occupation. It took two years to discern the true extent of Noxian occupation. We see no reason to have the Noxians removed from territory they have officially claimed and won through the League. I am sorry but your champions lost, and you must deal with the consequences of their loss. It will only be another ten short-"
The crowd started to boo him. However, his voice easily overpowered them, "Do not blame me or the League, people of Ionia! We could not intervene during the war because it would have been a gross misuse of power!"
Irelia retorted, "It was more gross of you to not only intervene yourselves, but to prevent the Demacians from intervening! Our very allies!"
"Those who are a part of the League cannot participate in open warfare with another city-state protected and registered under the League or else it can easily lead into another Rune War, Irelia."
She shot him a venomous glare. He had not referred to her by title, in front of her people. He did it on purpose.
"Because Ionia was not a part of the League, we could not intervene, and because Noxus and Demacia were, we had to make sure they did not fight with one another. We cannot endanger all of Valoran with the possibility of another Rune War. Such a war may have meant that the Rune War afterwards would be fought with sticks and stones. Not only does the League not wish to see such an atrocity, but I doubt any Ionian does as well. Ionia is not under Noxian rule, save for the Southern provinces who are being temporarily governed. I am sorry people of Ionia, but do not find fault in the League. Find fault in those that lost that match, find fault in your leaders that agreed upon such clauses and conditions. You lost, they won. That really is all there is to say about such a matter."
He shook his head dismissively, "Another ten years, fifteen in total, must be allotted before an appeal can be made. Those were the stipulations that your leaders and your champions ascribed to, and they will be followed! Ionia is known for their diplomacy, for their love of law and the following of it. The League apologizes, but a contract is a contract, and it was signed by those that represent Ionia. Captain Lito may show her concern now, but why did she not fight back then? She fought for you before, why not when it mattered yet again if she is so zealous in the Southern provinces? We cannot repeal the conditions, we cannot give you special treatment, not when we already gave you the chance and you lost fairly."
He coughed, cleared his throat, and continued,
"If we were to bend to this, then other decisions could be swayed, other decisions could be questioned, and the point of the League is to stabilize balance, and peace. For the sake of everything the League was founded on, we cannot repeal this decision. You must wait ten more years. We are sorry, people of Ionia, but we cannot falter in this decision. For the sake of balance, and peace, we cannot repeal this decision. You have the League's assurance that there is nothing inhumane happening in the Southern provinces and that the conditions are still fit for any form of life. The rivers and water sources are being cleaned as we speak, and such harmful by-products of any Noxian industry will be monitored and watched by the League! Your best interests are with us, Ionia! That is why your leaders joined the League!"
Peace. There was that word, peace. This was peace? This is why they joined the League? Oh no, he did not just say that. He did not. They were strong armed by the League. Those dogs on the Council of "Equity" knew that Ionia would prefer joining over risking more bloodshed. Rather than chance being overrun by other greedy city states, or heavens forbid, a completely foreign entity, they joined the League.
She could see the people yell and clamor, demanding for something to be done all the while the Summoner spoke. Once he finished, unfortunately, the crowd started to fall silent, complying. In supplication. They were told that it was impossible, therefore there was no reason to try. They were faltering. Again, they were faltering. Give them a battle where the odds are against them, and watch them crumble. Irelia clenched her fists. She turned and glared at the Summoner. She wanted to make accusations, she wanted to say every single thought on her mind. She could see the crowd dispersing. Had she failed again? Was she still so weak?
Irelia gritted her teeth. What else could she say? She had tried for five years to convince the League, for five years to have the people readied to fight, yet they faltered. No. She was not done. Irelia slammed her fist on the podium, "You damn well know what is going to happen!"
The Summoner turned around, shocked at her outburst. The crowd froze as well. Irelia glared at the League representative,
"You know damn well what is going to happen! They know it will be three year intervals that you will check on them until the fifteenth year! It took you two years to conduct your investigation, meaning ample time for them to shuffle and to plan! What do you think will happen in fifteen years? Noxus will be ready to leave! They will have no reason to stay once they have stripped the land of everything it may have to offer! You know that they will leave behind a mess, a scar in the face of Ionia, just like the war has left so many! Do I have to even mention that incident? After fifteen years, they will have no reason to keep the Southern provinces! The commanders and puppet rulers of those areas will have made enough money to not care what happens, emigration will happen due to Noxus taking back its people and everyone associated with them, and we will have been thoroughly ravaged! That is why we ask for another chance to reclaim those lands! After fifteen years it will no longer be Ionian lands, it will be a wasteland, dead land set to serve as a continual reminder of what war can and will wrought!"
The people murmured. They were shaky. This was it. It was do or die now, Irelia played her final card. The Summoner spoke with a blunt, unamused tone, "I am sorry for what happened to Master Yi's village, but you cannot-"
"Excuse me! Captain Irelia Lito? Summoner? May I say something?"
Everyone looked for the source of the voice. It was loud enough to be heard over not only the clamor of people, but matched Irelia's in strength. A man stood behind the crowd, in the middle of the lotus garden. The water that supplied the lotus garden flowed about him in seven different channels in seven different directions. He wore the robes of the Shojin monks, orange and white, and had no hair save for a single braid that stretched from the center of his head. Strangely enough, in his hands he carried a potted bonsai tree. However, it was his eyes, and his voice, that were most noticeable about him. His calm yet powerful voice, his warm eyes, they were that of a man who had something he believed in, and something to say.
Irelia nodded, "You may, Master Lee Sin." She looked at the Summoner, the crowd having gone quiet, "May he speak to you, Summoner?"
"If he so wishes, yes."
"Thank you, Captain Irelia Lito. Thank you, League." He did not move from where he stood as he spoke, though he did rest the plant several feet in front of him with a casual toss."I was once known as Summoner Lee Sin! I left the League and became a monk of the Shojin order! I was born in the Southern provinces of Ionia! I stand now before you to tell you that you must reconsider your decision!"
"I am no longer a Summoner! Please, do not call me by such a title!"
"Lee, you must have heard the reasons. We cannot-"
"But you do not deny that Captain Lito is incorrect!"
"The League will-"
"The League could have easily stopped the war by intervening directly! They did not, on the stance that it did not involve League affairs! How did it not, when a war happening besmirches the very foundations that the League stands on? Everyone in life will pay for their sins, it is the natural cycle of life!"
"You cannot say such a thing, Summoner L-"
Lee Sin waved an admonishing finger at the podium as he interrupted, "I believe I said do not call me by such a title! Please, respect me as I respect you!"
"You are responsible for the death of a boy and his entire village, wiped out in a single moment! You then refused participation in the war, leaving thousands of your countrymen to die because you did not act! It is only because your sister, who still lives in those provinces, do you do anything now! How can you stand there and spout such hypocrisy, Lee Sin?"
The monk shook his head, chuckling slightly. He shrugged his shoulders, his eyes narrowed as he spoke with growing vigor, "You make it sound like I am unaware of my sins! And no, I do not speak now because of my family or my birth land, I speak now because of her!"
He whipped his finger out, and pointed directly at Irelia,
"She has given up almost everything for Ionia! She died fighting for Ionia, and came back only through a miracle to continue fighting for Ionia! I am here because of her strength, because of her resolve, because of her love of her people, because she cares so much! My parents, heavens rest their souls, my sister, my brother in arms, my student, and this woman here are my greatest strengths! They are my greatest influences! They are why I realize I must act, and why I must do what I am to do! I am here to right a wrong, to help lighten her burden! If the League does not allow Ionia another chance, then they are truly monsters! Ionia asked for League intervention at the very start to the very end, but because they did not wish to join the League they were refused! They were punished! Now? They joined the League, and followed your rules, and have complied with them! Now they ask for another chance, of course they will give more clauses and conditions to benefit such a match and choice despite the fact that they are owed for your inaction! You refused to help Ionia during the war, can you not say the least you can do is to give Ionia this chance to regain what they lost!"
The Summoner tapped his finger against his chin. He eventually spoke, "Lee Sin, this is not a choice that can be made now. They have already spoken. All that can be done is to wait ten years and-"
"No! Not ten years! One month!"
"...Ex...cuse you?" The Summoner raised an eyebrow. "One month? For what?"
The monk raised his hand upwards, pointing to the sky, "You will have one month on this day, on this hour, in the next two minutes, you will have one month to give your response!" Suddenly, without explanation, a torrent of flames enraptured him.
The crowd screamed and retreated from the burning man. The ground blackened from the intensity of the reddish-orange flames. Hints of blue could be seen flickering where Lee Sin stood. He pointed directly at the Summoner,
"Everyone has their dues to pay! My flesh, my life, is inconsequential to the ones that I have taken! For the ones I am responsible for! I swore I would never practice magic again the moment I realized my sins! I thought it only to be destructive, that I could only harm others with my magic! I realize now its constructive use! The only choice you can make for me to put out my flames, is to give Ionia another chance! We are all but mortal, we all will pay our dues! Let my body be served to right not just one wrong, but all the wrongs perpetrated by the League, by the Institute of War that I had joined so willingly, let the fire of my heart cleanse our sins! One month, to this day, to this hour, to this minute coming, is all that my flesh will be willing to last!" He then pointed at the bonsai tree that was somehow unmarked by the flames, "Let this simple tree be the timer you must observe! Let this tree be the marker for my well being! It will wither the very moment my body falters! Not a moment before, not a moment after!"
At first, the crowd did not know how to react. Lee Sin sat down, took a meditative pose, closed his eyes, and fell quiet while the flames engulfed him. Those closest to his proximity rushed over, stabbing their hands into the water and attempted to throw it on him to no avail. The water turned to steam the moment it left their hands from the sheer intensity of the fire.
Karma, Soraka, and Master Yi made their way over to Irelia, looking at the burning man. They were murmuring to one another about what should be done. A man was on fire, he was going to die. Irelia did not hear them. Instead, she observed the scene around her. The Summoner pointed at Lee Sin and screamed at the Ionian Council, "What are you waiting for?! Put him out!"
He was scared. The League representative was scared. This burning monk was not only seen by the Ionians, but by anyone who could view League matches. Essentially, from the northern Freljords to Demacia and to Noxus, everyone could see this burning man.
Karma looked over at Soraka, and Master Yi. She nodded, and stepped towards Lee. Irelia's hand stopped her. She continued to stare at the burning monk, hearing a new noise: Anger. The anger and indignation of the people. They were angry, they demanded the League announce their decision and put an end to his agony.
"I agree. We should extinguish his flames," Irelia replied.
The Summoner foolishly let out a sigh of relief when she glared at him. Her piercing emerald eyes bore into his soul, he actually stumbled away from her, frightened.
"His flames can extinguish right now; or in twenty nine days, twenty three hours, and fifty eight minutes. The League only has to say the word. The sooner they do, the sooner his suffering stops."
Irelia walked off stage, her sword sprang to life and followed suit.
She could almost feel a shock wave from the Summoner's jaw hitting the ground. Ionians valued diplomacy, Ionians valued the power of speech, Ionians were peaceful people. What annoyed her the most was the fact that her words were not enough to sway the people. Yet again, someone had to make a bold sacrifice to bring Ionia to action.
Irelia patted at her metal fauld, feeling the metal press against a small leather pouch that was tied securely to her belt. She was doing what was needed. She knew that, they knew that, he knew that. He had to. No matter the cost, she would keep her promise.
The only thing that truly frightened her, was how easily she was able to give the word to let a man burn to his death. Irelia put such thoughts out of her head. She could not allow them. She needed to be strong. She still had work to do.
***Author's Note: Freaking finally! Hopefully I can pick my momentum back up!
Two weeks later - Day of Celebratory Feast for the Monk’s Protest
(One year, eleven months, two weeks before present day)
A bamboo sword whiffed thin air. Irelia floated over the strike and leaped off the head of her attacker. Once she landed, she chastised the soldier, “The arc of the strike was sloppy and it had no power behind it, private! Do not be afraid to strike me!”
“Apologies are not needed!” She ducked and weaved away from several more bamboo swords that attempted to strike her. “Private Kenji, your stance is off! Private Ryu, right hand needs a softer grip while the left needs a tighter! Private Samara, watch that shoulder!”
“Yes Captain!” They called out in unison.
Irelia’s ear twitched. She arched her back and flipped over a sword strike that was meant to hit her spine. She reached down, disarmed the man who attacked her and smacked his head with the bamboo blade, making him cringe in pain, “And you, private, need to control your breath more.”
“Gah! Yes, Captain!”
She tossed him the sword, and looked around her. She was surrounded by five of her own guards. The rest of her guards were preparing for the feast, making rounds about the Placidium, helping where they could. It had nearly been an hour since they started training, and she could see them start to tire. That only meant they can train harder to her.
Irelia dashed forward towards the man she called Private Kenji. She gripped his hilt, struck his nose with a palm strike, and used the leverage of his grip on his sword and tore it out of his hands. She seemingly blinked out of existence as the other four guards gripped their heads in pain, red marks appearing on their faces. Truth be told, the little toy soldiers the League spawned for their matches, their “minions”, were only slightly less proficient than these people. She had to train them better, she had to assure they were capable of fighting for Ionia.
“Never take your eyes off your opponent, no matter who your opponent is! Is that understood?”
“Yes! Captain!” They cried out, rubbing their faces tenderly. Private Kenji, a man in his mid twenties, rubbed his broken nose tenderly, whining from the pain and blood, “Mah dose...freaging...”
Irelia walked over, grabbed his nose, and snapped it back into place. “Sorry, Private.”
“It cannot hurt that bad.” She looked around, her firm yet cold voice commanding, “Practice is done. Help where you are needed. Except you, Private Kenji.”
He went white, thinking to himself, ‘Oh dear gods what have I done this time?’
“You will go see Soraka and have your nose healed. Whatever she suggests for you to do, follow it to the letter.”
He nodded his head vigorously. Finally, someone to give him a break that did not involve his nose. Now that he thought about it, he never realized how true that statement was until now.
The guards walked away, breathing heavily and beyond fatigued, while Irelia made her way towards the burning monk. She crouched down in front of the bonsai tree, and stared at him. “Lee? I know you can hear me. Today is a day in celebration of you and what you have done. The League will yield, and you will be brought out of those flames before this tree withers. This is not in vain, your endeavor. We will regain Ionia. I give you my word.”
Six days later - 8 days remain
“Why are they so late?”
Katarina Du Couteau, the crimson haired assassin, sat at a large table. Other occupants included robed Summoners, Karma and Irelia who both sat directly across from her, as well as an older man sitting at her left. A six eyed raven sat on his shoulder, his blood red eyes scanning the room with disinterest.
Irelia shrugged, “Hopefully they will be here soon. What are you so agitated?”
“Me? Agitated? Oh let’s see, let’s go over this one last time. Humor me.” Katarina raised a pile of papers up into view, “These conditions. I still don’t understand them.”
“Are they unfair?”
“What’s the catch?” Katarina snapped.
“Bull****.” The assassin let out a forced laugh. She smiled viciously at Irelia, “Did you get hit in the head recently or are the signs of brain damage from all that bleeding finally showing?”
“What my esteemed colleague is trying to ask...” The old man next to her grunted, “Is that these conditions essentially say that if Noxus wins, we gain these lands and we can govern them as we see fit. They become a part of Noxus. If you win, we return them, and you will be allowed to remove all unwanted Noxian presence. This is a double or nothing deal. Is this actually the deal, or is there something else to be expected?”
Karma nodded, “That is a correct assertion, General Swain. It is as you read.”
“Duchess...” His bird cawed suddenly cawed. He quieted her with a soothing pat to the head as he rasped, “No need for formalities here, if that is alright. You may simply call me Swain.”
“I will call you by title, General Swain, as I wish for you to refer to me and my companion, Captain Lito, here. Let us be professional.”
“As you wish, Duchess.” Swain had an almost bored look to him, “What makes you think we would agree to such conditions, as apparently favorable as they may be?”
“We already are gaining what we want from the land. We’re educating you poor ijits in things like electricity, why would you risk it all if you cared so much for your land?” Katarina crossed her arms, her smugness nearly dripping off her person, “I mean the last time we fought in this match it was more of an atrocity to not end it as quickly as we did, rather than say let a man burn to his death.”
Irelia drummed her fingers together. When she spoke, all smugness disappeared from the assassin’s demeanor. “Du Couteau. The Sinister Blade. I did not participate in that match due to extenuating circumstances. I want you to know that the difference between that match, and this match, is that the stakes are even higher. Five years. Five years have gone by. I know what your people are planning, Lee made it very clear. His thoughts echo mine. There is nothing to hide, we both know this to be true. And I assure you, if my people wish for me to fight for them yet again, I will fight for them again and a thousand times more. That is where you and I are similar, as much as it pains me to admit. With that in mind, though, think of how hard I would fight for my homeland. You have firsthand experience of such an event. How many Noxians did I kill that day, Du Couteau? How many Noxians fell by my hand alone? And think, if you stand in the way of me regaining my homeland, something your people tried to take away for no reason save for complete selfishness, what will happen this time? You remember what happened when we fought the last time. You may have won the League match, but let the war be a reminder that only the battle has been lost. History will repeat itself.”
Irelia’s deadpan eyes bore into Katarina’s blue eyes. The staring contest was broken by the assassin herself, who looked away and let out a disapproving grunt.
Swain sighed, “...I see. Well then, what is stopping us from simply waiting the ten years and letting this monk burn to death?”
The Duchess looked over at her companion, who simply nodded. Karma replied, “We thought you would say that.”
The doors opened. A tall, muscular, regal man wearing brilliant, gold armor decorated in dragon scales thundered into the room. His long onyx hair flowed like a majestic mane behind him. Soon after this regal figure entered another man, clad in the armor of Demacia’s Dauntless Vanguard, blue plates identifying their city-states’ colors, walked in. His short chestnut hair matched his eyes that seemed to be chiseled into his rugged, clean shaven features. The moment he noticed Katarina, their eyes locked on one another in a piercing glare.
Swain, however, went from a hunched old man to a bristling old man. He grabbed the arms of his chair, his red eyes narrowed and resembled a predator having found his prey.
The golden armored man sneered, “Greetings oh mighty and powerful Noxian general. Hail to you, General Swine.”
“So clever, princeling. Have you finally come down off that high horse or are you still tumbling down the cliffside face first?”
The man and Katarina simply stared daggers at one another, remaining silent. Jarvan walked over, screeched a chair back and sat in it. “You have, no doubt, read that Demacia will not stand by any decision other than yes you will take the rematch?”
“You will not strong arm Noxus or any other-”
“Oh, but I think we will,” the prince interrupted. “You see, Swine, your people wronged Ionia in more ways than one. If you let that monk burn to death, while they are in the League, it is going to cause such an uproar that no city-state in their right mind would not think in pulling any and all support from you. Demacia is willing to risk its good relationship with the League, and to step in ourselves in order for you to have this match. If you refuse, we will make you accept. We will risk such a thing”
“No. You read the documents.”
“Yes, even daddy will let you take such a suicidal endeavor. It’s a bluff. They can wait ten years and-”
“No. They cannot,” Jarvan crossed his arms. “What’s wrong, Swine? Scared you will lose such a fight? Even you can appreciate the tactical value of such land. Go ahead. Try taking it. Let’s see what happens the second time you vermin try and take something that is not yours.”
Swain glared at Jarvan, “...I see. We were called here not to negotiate the terms, you needed witnesses from all three city-states and the League to show that we have seen the documents and conditions. This is the roundabout way to assure that someone in Noxus has seen and read the terms, and is willing to delegate them to Darkwill himself. Hm. How boring. I thought there would be room for discussion.” He tapped his cane while speaking in his raspy voice, “We all know how that would fare, Jarvan. Two minutes and you would bash your club on the desk, asking for bananas and requesting me to stop pontificating with such large words. Katarina. Your thoughts?”
“...We can win. Easily.”
“Is that not what you said the first time you came to our land?” Irelia asked. “Remind me what happened, how did you get your scar.”
Katarina’s eyes flashed with anger, and even fear, in them for a split second.
Jarvan nodded, “Excellent. Then just sign-”
“Me? Sign?” Swain let out a laugh.
“What’s so funny, Swine? You are Darkwill’s representative. Go ahead. Sign.”
“Oh, nothing. I may be his representative, but I do not have the power of attorney. I will have to simply let him know that this is something that must be done. He will delegate with the other generals, and we will come to an agreement and alterations to the conditions.”
“You cannot be serious. Those conditions are more than fair!”
“They must be looked over, and truthfully, this is not something on my head. I am not the ruler of Noxus, just in case you needed to be reminded. My name is not Darkwill. Du Couteau and I were asked to discuss the terms on which this match would be set. We have, and now we shall go back, and see if we can amend these conditions more in our favor.”
“What makes you think-”
“You do not get it, do you?” Swain sighed. “Essentially, we are in a stalemate. Noxus does not agree, that means we are are seen in a worse light. What this leads into, though, is for us able to adjust the conditions on which the terms were made. Ionia made what they want very clear and evident with very well placed wording and jargon, might I add. I commend you, Duchess, for your writing powers. However, that means we know what you expect out of this deal. Theoretically, we can put a clause in here that says if we win you have to pay a fee of a billion valors due to the time, effort, manpower, et cetera, that was put into this and the impact it had on Noxus’ economy and the damage that the image of our city-state suffered and will not recover from in quite some time.”
He pointed at one of the robed Summoners, “Of course, they will not allow such an unfair condition to exist, and they would have to analyze it, but the matter of fact is once we say we will agree only to these prescribed conditions that Ionia wants if the conditions we want are met and signed for. We would look like we are willing to negotiate, while you? The blame for the monk’s death would suddenly fall on you. We were willing to agree, and you would be the ones who have officially priced the life of a man. The axe would then not fall on our heads, and the blame would be swerved.”
The General bobbed his head, “Unfortunately it will take some time, perhaps a few days, maybe a week, for the Summoners and the Noxian council to look over and come to agreement upon. And when they do? Ionia will have to agree, so long as their conditions, are met. If they try and add any more after this, it will be too late, and the monk will die and it will be completely out of our hands. Such is life.”
Jarvan’s fist cracked the table from the might of his strike, “You feathery fiend!”
“No, princeling, I am not a fiend. That? That is called politics.” Swain looked around, and asked, “Are we done here? Time is wasting, that monk may burn out sooner rather than later.”
Swain got up, grabbed his cane, and started to shuffle out of the room. His raven loudly cawed at Jarvan as they walked by. Katarina and the Demacian man stayed a little longer, staring at each other when the General’s voice snapped her out of her trance, “Du Couteau! Time to go.”
She sneered at the Demacian man, and promptly disappeared. The Summoners walked out after the Noxians, and asked for the others to stay until they were at a safe distance. While they waited, Jarvan coughed and cleared his throat, “I’m sorry for my outburst there, Captain Lito. I cannot believe that monster would be willing to negotiate with a man’s life in such a horrendous-”
“It is no trouble.”
Irelia repeated herself, “It is no trouble. They will make whatever conditions, and we will agree to them. The League will oversee they are not too far fetched and the match will be underway.”
The other Demacian spoke up, “You are not concerned, then? They can make as many absurd conditions as they want and expect you to sign them.”
“My only concern is if Master Lee Sin dies before the month is over. They will agree to the match, and he will not falter. I trust him.”
Karma’s eyes shimmered. She had not heard those words or even their implication since the last match. She looked away, hurt, though she knew that her friend had not meant to harm her. Irelia did not seem to notice, or to care how her friend felt at that current moment in time.
The other Summoners in the room spoke up, “They have left. Shall we escort the rest of you?”
Jarvan cleared his throat, “Garen? Perhaps you should help the Duchess to the Ionian quarters with the rest of the Summoners, to ensure her safety. I wish to discuss some matters with Captain Lito before she leaves.”
Garen nodded, cricked his neck, and motioned to Karma to follow. The Duchess slid out of her seat and silently followed. “Do not delay too long, Ir...Captain Lito. There are other matters to attend to.”
The moment the rest of the occupants left, Jarvan straightened his back, emboldened his voice, and asked Irelia, “Captain Lito, would you accompany me for dinner sometime? I wish to speak about some political matters with you.”
“Dinner?” Irelia looked over at him, her deadpan eyes scanning him. “We can talk here or in a council room.”
“I would like it to be a bit more private, admittedly. I wish to speak to you about certain matters. One such matter would be me asking your opinion on whether or not you think it is a good idea to send out another search party for your brother.”
Her shoulders twitched. Her eyes instantly narrowed with rage, “You think if you can discuss my brother you can wine and dine me? How dare y-”
“You misunderstand!” Jarvan raised his hands up defensively, “I have been pushing to send another search party out for him for over a year now, and have only come recently to a good route of combing! I wanted to discuss the details with you but I could never get a hold of you, and this was the best time to do so! I thought it would be more personal and more meaningful if I were to ask you in person rather than by letter or some other absurd means!”
Irelia fell silent. She tapped the table a few times before replying, “After this match is over, after we regain Ionia, then I will consider it. My brother is most likely dead. There is no rush to find a dead man, no rush at all.” She got up, her chair screeched back, and she quietly walked out of the room.
Irelia paused halfway down the hallway. She leaned against the wall and let out a squeak of emotion. She patted at her fauld, where a leather bag pressed itself onto her belt as she whispered, “I’m sorry Zelos...I didn’t mean to...I didn’t mean to say that...I misspoke. I just...You’d be home, right? You would be home by now. I...I have to face facts. I have to face them...”
She shuddered. She straightened herself, smoothed her hair back and continued walking, “But not yet. Just a little longer. Ionia is almost ours again. Just a little longer, Zelos, and then I can face facts. Just a little longer...”
Little did she notice the cut in the strings of the pouch, caused by the somewhat sharper edges of the dulled plates of her metal fauld.
Author's Note: I'm aware of how the new Katarina got her scar, but I just don't think it makes a whole lot of sense. The old Katarina was a participant in the Ionian war and gained her title due to her actions in it. It makes more sense to me for her to have gained the scar in Ionia in a slightly more personal manner rather than nameless dude who managed to aim a sword that barely nicked her face in a straight line. It's not 300 so she wasn't even wearing a helmet for even the slightest bit of plausibility.
Two hours until Lee expires
(One year and 10 months before present day)
Lee Sin was nearing his limit. He knew this. If he could open his eyes, he would see the bonsai tree was nearly withered. Only one green leaf remained. His muscles were atrophied, he could barely breath, but he knew his life at least held meaning. They had spoken to him, they had come to congratulate him for doing something that he should have done so many years ago. As he contemplated, he heard thunderous footsteps approach him. To anyone else, they would be unfamiliar. To Lee, they sounded familiar.
A gruff voice regarded the monk, “Your soul burns brightly.”
The voice, however, was all too familiar to the burning monk.
“These people, these Ionians...They do not deserve such a worthy man. You do not deserve this.”
Lee could not speak. Even if he wanted to speak, his throat had been burned beyond recognition. A burly hand reached into the vicious flames, seemingly undisturbed by the heat. The hand patted the monk’s shoulder comfortingly, “We will find those responsible for making you do this. We will make them pay. You will have vengeance, we...I swear it, my friend. You and I, you and we, we will fight again. In this life, or the next.”
The thunderous footsteps walked away, resembling more the pitter patter of rain than anything else. Lee moved for the first time in all this time and touched his face. He was crying. Despite all the fire, and all of the heat, he was crying.
Nine minutes until Lee expires
The doors burst open from Irelia’s sword pushing at them, nearly ripping them off their hinges. She sprinted out of down the hallway, made a turn, and crashed into one of her guards. The young man flew off his feet and tumbled to the ground. He winced as he tried getting back up, when Irelia’s strong hand grabbed his arm and pulled him back to his feet.
“C-Captain! I’m sorry, I-”
He did not have time to finish his apology. She looked over, saw the open window and leaped out it. The guard raced over and watched her fall three stories with ridiculous grace. A brown leather pouch caught the corner of his eye, and he reached over to pick it up. He noticed that a piece of the string had been cut. When he opened it he saw wood splinters all bundled and snugly fit in the leather pouch. He leaned over to the window, attempted to call out to Irelia but she was already gone.
Irelia sprinted down the Placidium grounds, out another set of gates and leapt down a flight of stairs. Once she turned another corner, she nearly bowled Soraka over. The Starchild blinked, “Irelia? What is wrong? Did-”
“The League has agreed! We have agreed to Noxus’ conditions! The match is on in a month from today! We need to see Lee, now!”
Irelia took off running once more. Soraka trailed behind her, trying to keep up to no avail. They had scant minutes before his allotted time had truly expired.
Later that night, Irelia finally entered her room. Sweat dripped from her face, her knuckles were bloodied and bruised, and her arms hung limply at her side. She rubbed her knuckles tenderly, muttering aloud, “Increase amount of sets tomorrow...”
She craned her neck, “Today was a long day, Zelos. Noxus was almost too late in signing the conditions. I was barely teleported back to the Placidium in time. But, at least the match has been scheduled.”
Irelia reached up at her hair, and held it up while her crimson breastplate unclasped itself and made its way to a mannequin. The armor promptly affixed itself onto it while she slipped on a loose shirt.
“And then I was asked by people to participate in the fight. They would not listen to me when I asked them to let the League hear their voice, to not give up, and they ask me to risk myself again?” She let out a hollow laugh, “Is it strange that I find such a thing ridiculous? That words cannot move the Ionian people, the very words they pride themselves so damn much on? It has to be action to move them. Karma...”
Her laughter increased as she shook her head, “Poor Karma. They didn’t listen to her. Even the Noxian commander with the hostages listened to her, but our own people? No, tsk tsk, that’s far too farfetched. The more I think about it, the stupider it becomes. The war required me to jump headfirst to death to get their asses moving. This time? It took a man to set himself on fire to get them and everyone else to move to action. How ridiculous is all of this?”
Irelia sighed, and patted at her fauld, “It doesn’t matter. Soon Ionia will be back in Ionian hands and no one elses. I’m sorry I’m complaining so much, Zelos. I’m just a bit...stress...ed...”
She tore off her fauld. The metal plates noisily clanged to the ground as she scanned her belt for the leather pouch. Her eyes went wide, she started looking about in the room in a panic, “No no no, no no, no no no, I didn’t lose him, not again. I didn’t lose him, he must have fallen somewhere, no no no.”
Irelia’s sword skewered her bed, mattress and frame, and easily lifted it into the air. She scrambled underneath bed, trying to find where the pouch had gone. She rolled way, slamming the bed onto the floor. The sword split apart into four separate blades and started screeching about the room, the edge of the blades tearing into stone, wood and anywhere else she thought suspect.
Outside her room, several men were walking towards her door.
“You sure asking the Captain now for a day off is a good idea, Kenji?”
“Oh sure, did you see the mood she was in? The mood we’re all in? Come on, we can take day off from training. I’m absolutely posi-”
A loud, piercing scream of absolute frustration erupted from her room. They could see the oak door bend and groan from something striking it within the room. The three guards looked at one another, and shoved the man named Kenji down the hallway, “Go get Duchess Karma. We’ll stand guard.”
In her room, Irelia cupped her face, violently shaking and shuddering. How could she be so stupid and lose him? How could she lose him again? Where was she earlier? What had she done? She ran so far and quickly, he could be anywhere in the Placidium. He was tied securely to her belt though, she had been in League matches with him for heavens’ sake. It didn’t make sense, she didn’t lose him, she couldn’t, not now, he couldn’t leave now, he wouldn’t leave her. Not again.
She barely heard Karma knock on the door, and ask, “Irelia? What is wrong?”
“Where is it?!” Irelia’s armor had been scattered about the room, leaving her to wear essentially only her long shirt and a pair of modest shorts. Her furniture was all but destroyed, her bed was quartered, her desk torn apart, her armoire shattered with any clothing shredded. Irelia’s blades continued to slide about the room, probing and seeking for her lost object.
“No no no, where is it?!”
Irelia punched the marble floor, the target of her strike shattering from the sheer brute force of it. “No! No! I didn’t lose it!”
With one large sweep of her hand, her blades swept away any fragmented furniture away from her as she continued to comb through the wreckage, “Not again! I can’t lose it again!” It almost sounded like she was panicking, “It’s here, right? It’s right here! I know it is! So why can’t I hear it? Why can’t I hear him?!”
Irelia did not hear Karma walk into the room, nor did she realize it was her. The moment the Duchess touched her shoulder, Irelia shot to her feet, spun around and grabbed Karma’s hand. She raised her own hand back, clenched in a fist, ready to strike in a moment’s notice. Her face was contorted with absolute anger. Karma simply stared at Irelia and waited for her friend to calm down. Irelia eventually complied, and slumped down to the floor.
For over an hour, neither of them spoke. Irelia broke the silence, “I...I lost it.”
“Yes. You did. What did you lose?”
Irelia cast her hand around the room, her tone dispassionate, “I wanted to tell Zelos what happened today, but....I can’t find him. I can’t hear his voice...” Irelia’s shoulders started to shake with emotion. He was gone again...except, he never left a second time, or a third time even, now did he? He was never here in the first place. In all of these years, and he was still not here. Perhaps this was for the best. What point was there holding out any more hope? He was as good as dead. He is not here for her, or for Ionia or for anything or anyone else. Maybe she should follow her own advice, face facts, and stop holding out such bleak hope for his return.
It was Zelos. He would do anything to come back to Ionia, to come back for her, anything at all. Yet...it was nearly a decade. To hold such a childish idea, such a silly attachment, was not befitting the Will of the Blades, the symbol of Ionian fervor. That little girl was not needed. Ionia needed a fighter, they asked for her for them, to regain their land. That is who they wanted, that is who they needed. They needed the Will of the Blades, not Irelia Lito. There was no point for hoping for something so selfish. She had to focus on what she currently has and what she needs to do. She still had work to do.
One week later
Irelia’s lifeless eyes scanned the documents before her. Her black hair was smoothed back behind her as she looked through page after page of forms. They were from friendly city-state and neutral city-state Champions who formally requested to help represent Ionia in their rematch against Noxus. She had a rejected pile, and was going through the other applicants. She was making sure this time that those who represent them will not fail. She knew that Master Yi and Soraka would not only be insulted, but devastated if she did not ask them to represent Ionia. Irelia herself would also represent Ionia, which meant that the only other Ionian champions that could participate were the Kinkou. She put no faith in them, since they did not aid the Ionians during the war. Why should they help now?
Irelia muttered aloud, “Alistar the Minotaur...He has a grudge against the Noxians. That will work.”
“He is also a capable fighter and a bull of strong conviction,” a monotonous voice said.
Irelia looked behind her to see three ninjas. One was a man dressed in a blue uniform from head to toe; the other was a woman with long, black hair and a kunoichi outfit that was as green as her eyes; the third was a yordle dressed in a dark violet. The three elite members of the Kinkou: The Eye of Twilight, the Fist of Shadow, and the Heart of the Tempest.
“Shen, Akali, Kennen. What do you want?”
The blue ninja, Shen, flatly stated, “I am letting you know that Ionia has the support of the Kinkou in this rematch.”
The yordle, Kennen, blinked in surprise, “Scuse me? Uh, why not? Isn’t that good?”
“I asked why because this is not Kinkou affairs. The war was not Kinkou affairs, why would the rematch be of any concern?”
“Because the Noxian occupation is disrupting the balance. The Kinkou have spent the past two years investigating the territories ourselves. Unfortunately, due to the status of the Kinkou being based in Ionia, our reports would count as null and void. With the evidence gathered, I have deemed that for the sake of balance, Ionia regains what it lost.”
Irelia stared at Shen, matching his expressionless, almost lifeless, demeanor bit for bit. It actually made Kennen silently whistle in more surprise. “You did not aid Ionia when it needed it most. You did not help during the war.”
“No. The Kinkou did not. There were other affairs that had to be taken care of.”
“Then the war was according to balance?”
“People die. That is life. That is natural. The chemical weapons to elicit mass destruction? Those were not. Ionia won and that is the only reason our ineptitude was not capitalized upon. You know how much the Kinkou have contributed to the rebuilding efforts. Analysis of the Southern provinces shows an imbalance, and with this rematch underway, you have our strength at your disposal, Captain Irelia Lito.”
Irelia nodded her head, and looked at the three ninjas. “All three of you are in agreement then?”
“Yes,” they replied in unison.
Irelia wrote their names down on a ledger and nodded her head, “That makes six Ionians representing Ionia. The announcement for the champions will be in a day at the Lotus gardens of the Placidium. Thank you for your support, Kinkou.”
The three ninjas bowed, and disappeared. With Kinkou support on their side, and her own strength, she knew they were assured victory. She was right in choosing to fight.
Several kilometers away, in the nearby forests of the Placidium, the three ninjas ran. Akali asked, “Shen. May I ask why all three of us were required?”
“What do you mean, Akali?”
“I mean why not just me and Kennen? Why are you needed?”
“That is simple: Irelia is pushing herself too hard, to become something she is not, and veering off her path.”
That seemed like a fairly ambiguous answer. Akali nodded in agreement, “Nothing short of death is going to stop her, though. She will be assured to be in the match.”
“That’s why all three of us are gonna be in it!” Kennen chirped. “All three of us will make sure she’s fine, Akali! Don’t worry so much!”
The green ninja stared at Shen during their run. Despite his neutral expression, she knew there was something he was not telling them. She knew better than to question him, though. She trusted his judgement. Always. He said this was to help Irelia? Fine. Let it help her cousin.
Nearly three weeks later. Night before the Ionia vs Noxus Rematch
“I am going for a walk,” Irelia stated plainly.
Soraka attempted to speak to her, “Do not strain yourself, Irelia. Tomorrow is-”
With that, Irelia walked out of the Ionian quarters, her sword trailing behind her. The Starchild sighed and shook her head. She felt Karma’s hand pat her shoulder, “Get some sleep, Soraka. I will wait for her return.”
The two women exchanged a worried glance. They had tried to convince Irelia not to participate in the match, they were scared of what may result with her participating, but Irelia insisted. There was no way to dissuade her once she has chosen something. The Starchild could not help but silently laugh at the affair. She could not help but think of how much Irelia reminded her so much of both Irelia’s mother and her father. Stubborn to a fault. Very few things could convicne her of otherwise, and he was not here.
Outside the Institute, Irelia strolled through the moonlit forest. Thoughts hummed through her head. On the Ionian side, it was her; Amumu, the Sad Mummy; Kennen, the Heart of the Tempest; Ashe, the Frost Archer; and Soraka, the Starchild, against the Noxians.
Her sword hummed as it twirled about her, as if trying to form a barrier around her. The Noxians chose: Morgana, the Fallen Angel; Miss Fortune, the Bounty Hunter from Bilgewater; Singed, the Mad Chemist; Sion, the Undead Warrior; and Vladimir, the Hemomancer.
It would be a tough match, that much could be said for sure. She clenched her fists. It did not matter. She would wipe them from the face of Runeterra if she had to. She would regain Ionia back.
Her ear suddenly twitched. The slightest sound of a cracked twig alerted her to an attacker. A beastial man rocketed his fist forward, aiming at her jaw. He was occluded by the natural shadows of the forest, despite the moon shining down on them. He had waited for her to venture to the darker side before he decided to strike.
Irelia barely dodged the fist that flew at her. While she regained her composure, the man chuckled, “You will be able to put up a decent fight, swordswoman. Come.”
She narrowed her eyes to better see him. Now that the moon shined down on him, she could discern who he was. The bear pelt that enveloped his head and his back, the black gi and hakama, his tanned skin, his dark beard, and his primal blue eyes said it all. “Udyr. What do you think you’re doing?”
Udyr rolled his shoulders, sending out a wave of harsh heat, “We have waited for this moment. We wish vengeance on you. You will fight us.”
“Funny! You want vengeance!” She let out a very abrupt, mock filled laugh at him before speaking again, “How about you take your petty vengeance out on me tomorrow evening? I have a match to fight in a few hours. Good night.”
Irelia turned away from him and started to walk away. She felt a vice-like hand grip her shoulder. She was not supposed to exert herself so she heaved the large man over her head and backed away from him. Udyr landed easily on his feet, stretching his muscles casually.
Irelia became more abrasive, “Go away Udyr. You tried to embarrass me in front of all of Ionia, demanding you be a part of the Ionian representatives, and then you embarrass me when you do not even show for a single meeting. I have too much at stake tomorrow morning to pander to you and your stupidity. Good. Night.”
“You will pay for what you did.” Udyr clenched his fist, “It is because of you that he will never see again.”
“It is because of me that…” It clicked in her head. Irelia raised an eyebrow, Wait, you mean Master Lee? What did I-”
A fist unexpectedly struck her in the stomach. She was not able to sense him. The strike sent her catapulting through the air from the ridiculous force. Her sword raced after her and managed to barely catch her before she fell to the ground. Irelia coughed from the blow, recovering far quicker than any mortal was meant to. She could feel a presence approaching, but could not see it. She just had to bide her time and...Now.
Irelia caught the hand that attempted to grapple her from behind, she felt Udyr’s hand dislocate from the forceful twist she gave him. “Enough of this, Udyr! I will hurt you!”
“We will kill you!” Udyr leapt at the young Ionian woman, his hand snapped back into place. He was clearly intent on ripping her to shreds.
If he wanted to die so much, then Irelia would oblige him. In a few scant hours, she should be in a match to help regain the loss land of Ionia. Yet here she was, having her own countryman attack her. It mattered not. She would not let anyone take away Ionia from her, no matter who it was. Only she can protect Ionia, only she can reclaim it.
Her lifeless eyes flashed with anger as she blocked his attack via her weapon. The metal of her sword vibrated from his strike. Through her willpower, the weapon split apart into four separate blades and blitzed with vermillion energy. She was not too weak to defend Ionia, she will never be weak again. Never again, no matter the cost.
Night before Ionia vs Noxus rematch
(1 year 9 months before present day)
In Ionia, in the sleeping quarters of the Placidium guard units, a young man was still awake. The candles on the desk burned brightly. He had a pair of tweezers in hand, retrieving a splinter of wood within its pincers from a small leather pouch. A bowl of glue was near his left arm. His left hand was holding a small horse hair brush, one dipped in the adhesive. He carefully placed a drop of the blue onto the wood. With a steady hand, he placed the splinter in place. He placed the brush into the bowl and sighed. He rubbed his face from fatigue and stress, this was a tiresome process. He still had about a quarter of the talisman to repair, but at least some of the writing that had been carved into it was legible enough to read, “`ゼロ”. A character seemed to be missing.
He put the tweezers down and made his way back to bed. “Hopefully the Captain isn’t too angry about this. When it’s done I’ll just leave it in her room, she can’t figure out it was me, right?”
The young man was too tired to think. Besides, there was more drama for him and the rest of Ionia in the morning.
The two fighters stopped, panting heavily from their wounds. Blood flowed from Irelia’s nose and lips, while Udyr’s forearm was sliced so deeply that the bone was exposed. This did not seem to deter the beast man as he cracked his neck in anticipation of the next attack.
Irelia raised a hand defensively, stopping him from attacking as she questioned, “Before we continue this stupidity, why are you attacking me? What had I done to Master Lee to anger you so? I’m surprised you know him at all, I would not imagine him associating with a beast like you.”
Udyr jabbed a finger directly at the young Ionian woman, “He and we fought each other when we were young. We met at one of those monastery tournaments and he became our greatest rival. Only he had given us a challenge, he was the only other person save for our master who had defeated us so handily. We swore to slay him in honor of his strength over the years. Unfortunately, he always wished to seek some purpose though, to fight for something other than himself. He wanted more than to ‘live’, as he used to phrase it.”
Udyr snorted, shaking his head, “What ignorance. Then he started listening to you. You, with all your speeches, and all of your talking and all of your passion for vermin that deserved to die. All of that, and the ineffectiveness that resulted from it. The lone fact that you tried to move worms to action is completely laughable. We do not know how it moved him. Because of you, he set himself aflame. Because of you and your stupidity, he has lost his eyes. What now can the greatest student of the Shojin monastery offer us when he cannot see his nose? Where is the challenge?”
Irelia bowed her head, her shoulders quaked with anger. “...That’s it? That’s why we’re fighting? For such a stupidly thought out reason like that?!”
Udyr raised an eyebrow as translucent vermillion blades started to circle Irelia. Over twenty blades now spread out from her, crackling with vermillion energy, and all of them were pointed at Udyr.
“You dense pig. Do you know what I have given up? What I have lost?”
“No.” Udyr snorted, waving her off, “Nor do we care. You use your strength to help these fools to no avail and you wounded Lee. We will not forgive you.”
“Forgive me? Forgive me?!” Irelia roared at him, her physical blades shot towards the beast man.
Instead of piercing Udyr, he managed to catch all four blades with a single swift grab of his hand and threw them back at Irelia. Instead of impaling her, they stopped in midair and returned to her side complacently.
“You selfish, heartless scum of man! You are mad at me? You want to kill me because of what Master Lee chose to do?! I did not influence his choice! He chose to do what he did! It is only because of his sacrifice that we were granted another chance!”
Udyr shrugged his shoulders, his condescending tone thick in his speech, “A chance you should not have had. Your people lost, the strong won. That is life, that is how life works and you must accept such conditions and overcome them rather than trying to circumvent them like a child.”
Irelia’s eye twitched once out of sheer anger. She suddenly disappeared from view. The beats man could barely keep up with how quickly she was moving. His only choice now was to catch her and launch a counterattack. He readied himself as she moved to strike him. He would strike first. His fist tore forward, aimed where her diaphragm should have been. His knuckles met only steel, as her sword reformed itself and blocked his strike. The sound of flesh hitting metal crisped the night air.
Udyr could see it in her eyes, burning with such anger at him. This fight was going to come to a close, and quickly. He was going to strike down the very daughter of the legendary Master Lito himself. It mattered not, she was weaker. She would fall, and then Lee’s eyes, his pain, would be avenged.
A door to a bedroom was ajar. From within the darkness, Karma stared out of the room. It was strange to have Irelia gone for so long. If she was not training, then her walks lasted twenty minutes, maybe thirty minutes at most. She was punctual with what she did. The Duchess anxiously balled her hands into fists, resting them on her lap. There was nothing she could think of that could help Irelia. How had they managed to let things get this bad? How had they managed to let it get this bad?
The Duchess silently waited in the dark, knowing that there was almost nothing that could be done to deter, or help, her friend. She would do her best to guide her, as she always did, but she was not sure what tomorrow would bring. Win or lose, they would lose her.
In the next room over, the Starchild lay in bed. She had not slept a single wink, similar thoughts coursing through her head.
Shen stood in the darkened hallway, barely lit by the moonlight that shone through the window. His eyes were closed, if one were ignorant they would think him asleep. Thunderous footsteps made him open his eyes. He casually looked in the direction of the noise, and saw a bloodied beast man storm towards him with a young Ionian woman bleeding in his arms. At least she was bandaged, as poorly done as it was, to help stem the flow of blood. Meanwhile four blades were poking and prodding Udyr, eliciting superficial wounds amongst the other deep wounds that covered his body.
“Stay here, Eye of Twilight. We shall return momentarily.”
“You slayed her then?”
The beast man stopped. He let out another growl, “No. She defeated us. The only reason we live is because she spared us.”
“Ah.” Shen’s monotonous voice droned on, “Humor me: why is she unconscious if you were victorious?”
“She will not fight tomorrow. We have made sure of it.”
“Who then will fight in her place?”
Udyr glared at Shen, “We shall. Find where her Summoner is-”
“We already know.”
“Good,” Udyr grunted. “We will be back momentarily.”
“What of your vengeance?”
“None to be had.”
Shen watched the beast man rumble away. He spoke to the shadows near him, “Does that answer suffice, Akali?”
The green ninja slinked out of the shadows. She nodded in response.
“She will not fight tomorrow. Ionia will win, and some of her burden will be relieved,” Shen stated. He then looked over at Akali and commanded, “Awaken Guardsman Bob. We have some changes to the tactics we had intended. I will rouse and speak with the others. Kennen, go with her.”
The yordle dropped down from the ceiling and took off running, becoming a ball of pure energy, “See you there Akali! Whoo ha!”
The two ninjas disappeared, leaving Shen alone in the hallway. As soon as they were out of sight, Shen disappeared as well. By the time Udyr had come back in the hallway, the ninja was standing there, as if he had not moved in the first place. Not even the dust at his feet seemed disturbed.
10 days after Ionia vs Noxus Rematch.
A young man ran out of Irelia’s room, dressed in the crimson armor of the Ionian guard. He paused once the door clicked close behind him. He was half smiling half completely confused as to what happened. Originally, he did not want to risk her wrath for withholding her possession for as long as he did, despite his good reason to do so.
His complex plan was to leave it tied to her door knob when a large, burly man grabbed him by the nape of his and threw him to the ground. The young guard could barely figure out what was going on as the beast of a man yelled at him for being, apparently, a completely inefficient and very stupid assassin. He eventually realized it was Udyr, for forced him to speak with Irelia in person about the fact that he had her pouch.
The young man wondered how things could get worse. Truthfully? He managed to see the always serious Captain Lito smile, hugged him, invite him to have dinner with her, and got away with only having to run two laps around the entire Placidium. All...of...the... The thought just clicked in his head. True, it was not city sized, but it was still essentially stronghold that could house several thousand people within its walls without the issue of overcrowding. He groaned and started running, his armor clanking noisily. At least he had until six thirty in the evening to finish these two laps.
Besides, it could have been worse. He could have gone with his first gut feeling and spelled out Zebos instead of Zelos.
‘Lucky you, Himura. Lucky, lucky, lucky you,’ he thought to himself.
In her room, Irelia cradled the repaired talisman. She caressed the wood, ignoring the hairline fractures in it. She did not notice the green shadow that seemed to hang from her windowsill, she was too focused on the object before her. It was repaired. It was actually repaired. She stared at the talisman for what seemed to be like years, until she spoke. Her voice cracked with emotion, her emerald eyes flooded with tears, “Hey Zelly. I’m sorry it’s been awhile since we’ve spoken, but a lot has happened.”
She let out a sigh and shook her head, “To think...that such a crass, brutish, pig headed, annoying, muscle bound... Ha ha ha, sorry sorry, getting off topic. I...I didn’t participate in the match, Zelos. Udyr did. In my place. You probably know him better as the beast man of Ionia, the one who used to pick off travelers when they traveled to his part of the forests in the northeastern reaches. He made sure he took my place, and did he ever. He tore them apart. I almost felt bad for them. But to see Kat’s face? I don’t think I’ll ever see that expression again. I admit...I didn’t understand at first. I didn’t understand why they were all so concerned about me, but I understand now. I am not the only one needed, there are others who will take my place, who are willing to do what is needed. I should have realized that with Lee Sin’s sacrifice, but I was just too stubborn to acknowledge it. Too stubborn, or...too prideful. Too hurt.”
Irelia let out an abrupt fit of laughter, “I still can’t believe I didn’t see it. It took all of his questioning, his prodding until I finally realize what Karma and Soraka were so concerned about. I...I almost forgot that I’m human. I almost forgot that. I’m not going to limit myself, but I’ll remember that I’m not alone. I’m really not. I have Karma, I have Soraka, I have Master Yi, I even have the Kinkou supporting me, surprisingly I see Akali now and then and now I have...Ex-excuse me, I’m sorry I’m crying, Zelly, I’m just, just overwhelmed. I’m not sad, I’m just overwhelmed at the moment. Don’t worry, I’ll get over it soon. I already apologized to Karma, Soraka, and to Master Yi, which means I need to ask...are you angry at me?”
She pressed the charm to her chest, as if she wanted the wooden talisman to hug her, “I...I protected Ionia, as best as I could. I really did. I was successful. I may not have gotten the Southern provinces back, but they have been returned. Yet truthfully...That’s not what I’m asking if you’re angry at me for. That’s not what I realized. I...I should never have doubted you, Zelos. You kept your promise: You never left.”
Irelia’s shoulder shook a bit before she continued,
“You never left me in your heart. I blamed you for leaving me when you did, then I blamed the Noxians for taking you away from me. I blamed them, and I was so angry and I was so hurt. It took a long time, but I want to say I’m sorry. I’m so sorry that I broke my own promise. I did not mean to have you leave me, I really didn’t mean to hurt you. I know my mistake now, and you are in my heart once more. I abandoned you for a while, but I still remember your warmth.”
Irelia raised the charm to her face, she placed a soft kiss atop of the wooden charm where one would presume a man’s forehead would be, “I will look to the stars once more, every night. I will continue praying for your return. Ionia is safe now. I can wait for as long as I need to. Whether it’s another nine years, nine hundred years, nine million years it does not matter. I will pray. I will pray and I hope. I do so because you have never broken a promise. I know you will come back to me, in this life or the next.”
She drew the charm away and let out a mischievous laugh, “But first thing’s first, you and I? I am going to ask the League to give me a much stronger string, hopefully enchanted for extra durability. I’m not losing you again.”
Irelia slipped the talisman back into the pouch, her cold eyes now shimmering with sparks of warmth. She was about to leave when she heard something thump on her desk. She turned around, and saw rolls of paper stacked upon one another, with an assortment of paints and paintbrushes resting next to it. She rolled her eyes, muttering aloud, “Akali, I haven’t painted in years. Haven’t had the time. I need to train, to make sure...”
She stopped. She put a finger to her chin, “...Ionia’s safe now. I don’t need to train as hard as I-”
Her body shuddered. Irelia nearly fell to her knees, her sword flitting to her side. She stood back up on her own. “And Soraka and Karma are going to want me to go through therapy. I have been neglecting it...”
Irelia walked back over to the desk, and looked at the various tools. “Do you have a pen and ink? I would not m-”
A pen and a bottle of ink appeared in front of her.
To anyone who was not used to such a thing, to detect the ninja’s movements was nothing short of impossible. Irelia picked up the pen and started to play with it. “I feel like I’m going to be a bit rusty.” The young Ionian woman smiled, “I suppose I have some training to do, hm?”
The green shadow that seemed to hang from the windowsill promptly disappeared.
***Author's note: Still going strong! I may have to take a break tomorrow and Thursday but I should be able to pick up the slack Friday and Saturday!
10 months later - 11 months prior to present day
Another League match scheduled for Ionia. Irelia read the schedule and saw it was Ionia versus Demacia. It was a friendly sparring match, and it truthfully did not warrant her presence. Today, she had other things to do, such as paperwork.
"The joys of bureaucracy..."
She was gathering her papers when a gentle voice called out from behind her, "Irelia?"
Karma tapped the young Ionian's shoulder, "Are you going to-"
"I am not going to fight today."
"Good," the Duchess affirmed. "Try your best to relax. If you do not finish with the papers, do not worry. I will take care of them. I do not want to hear you yelling about blue triplicate forms when form A-29b-g is needed."
"That only happened once..." Irelia grumbled.
Karma smiled at her friend, "It is alright. I dislike form A-29b-g myself." The Duchess bowed to Irelia, "Take care, Irelia. Today, you can relax."
Karma walked away, leaving Irelia alone in the lobby of Ionian quarters at the Institute. Irelia's sword hummed, tapping at the metal plates of her crimson ceremonial armor. Each tap made a light ring echo. "I suppose I can dress in something a bit more comfortable..." She looked towards the window, seeing it was a bright and sunny day.
"And Fall will be here soon...Might as well."
Half an hour later, Irelia was walking the forests outside the Institute. Instead of wearing her armor, she wore a dark red kimono. Her bare feet were slipped into comfortable, traditional sandals. Her sword flew at her side as always, except it was floating sideways on a horizontal plane. It was carrying for her various paints, inks and brushes, as well as a folder stacked with the legal work she needed to do as well as several sheets of hot pressed paper as well as a thick plank of wood on which she could paint on. Amongst all these items a leather pouch snugly and securely rested.
It was a warm day, like she expected. Although truthfully, it did not matter to her. It was hard for her these days to sense hot and cold, and not from just fighting in the League. She had steadily become number to such sensations every year for the past decade, and it was only in the recent months that this phenomenon had stemmed and stopped.
She made her way down a dirt path, knowing where she was walking to. Eventually, she came upon her destination: an ancient oak tree that overlooked a lake. Because it was Fall, the trees all around her were a carnival of colors.
Irelia made her way over to the oak tree and carefully slid down the trunk into a sitting position. She lifted her feet out of her sandals, and propped the wooden board and paper on her knees.. Her sword hummed as she set herself up, and decided that bureaucracy can wait for a bit. She felt like painting.
Irelia became lost in her painting, not realizing that the hours flew by or that she was singing to herself. As she neared completion, she suddenly sensed a foreign presence. She did not recognize it. It was as if it were trying to stalk her. Nothing felt hostile about the being though, which was most confusing to her.
Then a bodiless voice whispered in her head. It was not a true whisper, it was more...feelings, that were not as abstract. They were asking why they were here, who the Ionian was and why she was here, and if she was able to face the woman now. She wanted to run, but she could not make up her mind.
Irelia did not show any sign of her noticing. She continued to paint as if she had not heard the voice. She recognized it. Irelia had not heard that voice in nearly a decade. Although the thoughts were more coherent than that last time they were still confused. Unsure.
The voice settled on coming over to see what Irelia was painting. Just a peek, maybe she can avoid a direct confrontation. She needed more time before she could directly confront an Ionian.
Irelia decided then and there that they were going to meet face to face. Irelia's sword split apart into four blades, her paints properly covered and capped as she finished her final brush strokes. One of the blades quietly floated away and in the direction of the voice.
"If you wish to speak to me you only need to come into view. I almost skewered you."
Irelia could feel the person look at her blade and instinctively react to it.
The voice prepared to defend itself, trying to figure out what its next plan of action was. She was unsure how she was supposed to fight a user-less sword. It was strange, to hear these thoughts in the tone of a woman, but it only cemented Irelia’s assumption as to who this person was.
Irelia's blade flew back to her side and rejoined the rest of her sword. The presence stepped out from the woods behind her. Irelia could sense anxiousness, paranoia, and a trained alertness seen only in soldiers.
When Irelia turned around, she locked eyes with the person before her. Her emerald eyes examined the familiar amber eyes belonging to a white haired woman, decorated in the Noxian armor remnants. Her face had a scar on her left cheek, her left thigh with a few more scars, she presumed more scars were hidden under her clothing. Then she saw the source of the voice: a colossal broken blade. As black as the darkest obsidian with one complete rune etched into it followed another rune that was was incomplete due to the broken blade. Its point forked at the top, showing the cracks in its body.
After all this time, it was her, the Butcher of Noxus. It was Riven. Irelia recognized the voice of the weapon. It had been some time, but not many weapons spoke to her like Riven’s had all those years ago. In her experience, few weapons had thoughts beyond their basic instinct. The better question now was why she was at the Institute of War. Was she seeking her old life back?
Irelia placed her painting down to one side, slipped her feet back into her sandals, and stood up.
Upon standing, she saw the the most telling feature of this woman: her amber eyes. Irelia had seen them twice before. Once they were hollowed, dead things seeking to make others like it, then scared and frightened. Now? They were unsure. They had tones of despair, sadness, and confusion, but the sparks if a great fighter and her conviction flickered into view. She was scared, unsure, but still willing to press on. Her eyes and her sword together showed Irelia who she was now.
Irelia was not quite sure how this came to be, or who Riven would strive to become, but to see her like this and not the Butcher? Maybe she could hope a bit. There was only one way to find out though, and the only way this could be started was by taking the first small step.
And so, she did.
“To whom do I speak to?
Roughly 2 weeks later
Irelia was making her way back to the Ionian quarters. Her sword bobbed at her side as she walked, humming with a sort of tired contentment. Riven had missed their lunch. Irelia rushed her League match and went to find the exile. Their discussion was enlightening to say the least. Irelia smiled, she also found out that Riven had a surprisingly decent singing voice. Her tone was amazing for someone who apparently only killed their entire life.
The moment she opened the door to her room, Irelia's thoughts were interrupted by a familiar, gentle yet operatic voice,
"Irelia? Are you well?"
"Yes, I am," she replied softly. "Why do you ask?"
Soraka walked in front of Irelia and leaned over. She pulled away some stray hairs away from Irelia's face and pressed her lips against Irelia's forehead. "Hm... You're not sick, no fever... What is wrong, Irelia?"
"Wrong? Nothing is wrong."
Concerned features were prevalent on Soraka's face as she replied, "Your spirit seems to be weighed with a bit of melancholy, you are becoming a bit more absent minded with your scheduling and have missed a League match as well as dinner. Also, it is nearly nine at night and I have not seen you since breakfast where you were somewhat more chipper. Now? Now you speak as though you yelled too much. What is wrong?"
Irelia shook her head, her voice returned to its normal strength, "Nothing, Soraka. You are worrying too much. I was supposed to meet with a friend for lunch, but when she did not show, I was concerned. My presence was not required in the League match so I prepared the rest of the bureaucratic nonsense for tomorrow’s meeting, went out for a run and some training, then I found her and spoke with her. After that I went to do some more training and now I’m back. Really, it is no concern.”
"Her?" Soraka raised an eyebrow, "Who is her?"
"The new champion, Nevir," Irelia started. "I-"
"Nevir?" Soraka incredulous glare stopped Irelia before she could get another word out.
"Nevir, the fisher from Zaun. She joined the League because...ah..."
Soraka crossed her arms, her incredulous demeanor becoming more and more prominent.
“...You don’t believe me, do you?”
“Not for a moment. You are a wonderful person, a terrific swordswoman, an amazing orator, but you are a terrible liar. Who is she, or he?”
Irelia sighed, “It’s...Riven. Riven the Exile.”
The two women stared at each for some time. Soraka motioned to Irelia to follow her. The young woman did so, until they were outdoors and under the night sky. The Starchild then asked with a gentle tone, “I have to know, did you really think I would be fooled by the name?”
“Why then do you speak to her? Why do you take the time to socialize with her?” Soraka raised an eyebrow, “Do you still harbor that...anger? You did not call her the Butcher, what does this mean?” She took Irelia’s hand into her own in a comforting manner, waiting for the woman’s response.
Irelia let out another sigh and rubbed the back of her head awkwardly with her free hand. “I’m...not angry at her anymore. The Butcher...I can’t forgive...I really can’t, but her? She’s different.She’s not the Butcher anymore. She’s not the monster back in Ionia, she really isn’t.”
“What do you mean?”
“She’s a good person now, Soraka. She’s actually a good person now. She...” Irelia tried finding the words to best explain herself. “Her eyes, they’re alive. She wants more from life, she wants to do things, she doesn’t...pft...how to say this...”
She stared Soraka dead in her eyes, Irelia’s emerald eyes shimmering, “She doesn’t enjoy killing. Riven doesn’t find joy in it, she doesn’t kill for anything else other than when it is needed. That’s the only time she harms, the only time she kills. She’s different now. I think...I think she deserves this chance, Soraka. She can be so much more, she can be herself! She has the choice, to be what she wants to be. I just...Maybe...”
Irelia swallowed, “Maybe...something did come out of the war, maybe something worthwhile was created because of the war.”
The woman let out an awkward, sad laugh, “It’s just, nothing good came from it. All of it was taken, and taken, and taken. Things were made necessary, but nothing good came from it. Nothing good came from so much death, so much pain and so much agony. Is it selfish of me to think that someone can change and become a better person, that they can be something greater than what they were before? And if they can, they deserve the chance?”
“Irelia...You know that she has a match tomorrow, against Ionia? Against Karma, Akali and Udyr. We were unsure how to tell you. Akali said it was best if the match was had, victory was achieved, and then we told you to soften the blow. The matter of fact is that Riven is aiding the Noxians and Zaunites. She is dubbed and listed as Riven, the Butcher of Noxus. Are you sure this is wise of you?”
“It must be either a mistake or someone is trying implicate her or manipulate her or something. I am not sure, I am really not. But I know it is not of her own accord.”
“Is she aware of her listing?”
“I don’t know.” Irelia shook her head, “She did not bring the subject of a League match, but...I trust her, Soraka. Is that strange, despite such evidence? I trust her. She is not that person she used to be, not that monster. She is more than that now. Am I wrong to think so?”
Soraka was at a loss for words. It was not the Will of the Blades before her now, it was not Captain Lito of the Guard, it was Irelia. What a strange sight. She had only seen this woman in small bursts in the past months. Before the rematch, she was completely absent.
Whether it was as friend or foe, Soraka knew better than to advise on either side. “Irelia...If you think this is the best path, then I trust in your judgement, and I will support you. I cannot say yes or no in this case though. I will have to watch the match tomorrow to gain a better understanding of the situation.”
“Alright, Soraka. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.” Irelia released Soraka’s hand and started to walk away, “I will go for one last run before I-”
“I know you will be busy in a few scant hours with that meeting. You should sleep now if you do not wish to get agitated with them,” the Starchild replied. “The Ionian-Noxian people do appreciate you representing them on their behalf. They will need your words tomorrow.”
“It’ll just be a quick run-”
“Go to sleep already,” Soraka laughed. “You have had a long enough day as it is.”
“...Yes, I suppose you’re right.”
Irelia looked up at the night sky, apparently thinking of something. “...The guiding star is bright tonight.”
“Yes, it is.”
Irelia reached to her fault and at her belt, feeling the pouch. “I have not said my prayers yet. May you join me?”
Soraka was shocked for the second time that night. She had not prayed with Irelia in years, not since the first Ionia versus Noxus match. How odd, for one person to be able to do this in only two weeks of knowing her? Irelia needed to do this, whether it hurt her or helped her, she needed to confront the person she once blamed for taking away everything from her. She needed to confront these facets of the past, Soraka could see this clearly. If it helped her, if it helped bring back more of Irelia, then she would support it.
Roughly 3 months later
The Lunar Festival had come and gone. Irelia was in Ionia, along with all the other Ionians celebrating the festival. Once it had finished, however, they were expected to return to the League within a few days.
However, they of course, had other matters to take care of as well.
Irelia smoothed her hair back, her sword bobbed behind her. Karma and Soraka stepped in stride with her. She was in a bit of a bad mood, mostly because of the meeting they had just finished. “Stubborn. They are all so stubborn...”
“You cannot blame them, Irelia. Not everyone is like you. Some people will not let go of their grudges,” Karma assured. “You just have to talk to them and keep presenting the points.”
“I know, Duch...Karma, I know. Pft... So who are we meeting with next?”
Soraka spoke up, “Some of the contractors in the rebuilding efforts. Demacia wishes to donate more in regards to said rebuilding efforts and we will be looking at what has been accomplished in the past month.”
“Good, good. After this meeting we’ll have time to ourselves, yes?”
“Yes,” the two women said in unison.
Before any of them could say more, they turned around a corner where some of Irelia’s guards patrolled. They looked in Irelia’s direction and gave her a quick salute, “Greetings, Captain!”
“Continue your patrols,” she commanded. The guards nodded and went back to their work.
The three continued their walk as Irelia said, “I want to ask your opinion in inviting Riven to come to Ionia.”
Karma and Soraka looked at one another, slightly confused.
“I would like to extend an invitation to Riven to come to Ionia, to help with the rebuilding efforts.” Irelia exchanged a quick look with the two women, “I think it would be good to offer her the chance. I had an argument with her, not a fight to the death. No reason to hold a grudge, yes?”
The two women smiled back at Irelia. They walked in silence for a bit more when a guard, out of breath, ran up to them, “Glk...hah..Gree...greetings...Captain!”
“At ease. Private Kenji, I thought I gave you a few days off?”
“You...*wheeze*...did, Captain.” He fell to the floor, completely out of breath, “I got here as quickly...as I could. Pfew...” He took a deep breath, composed himself, and saluted Irelia, “Captain, there has been a disturbance. I got here as quickly as I could, I rode all day and night.”
Another deep breath in, and Private Kenji continued, “I was outside, helping ploughing the fields, and the sky went dark. When we looked up, there it was! A floating building! A castle in the sky! I thought it was a trick on my eyes when a rock fell and...well, the other reason I am here is to let you know that Private Ryu will not be able to attend duty for a few days. He has a concussion.”
Irelia raised an eyebrow, “A castle in the sky?” She looked at Soraka and Karma, “Does that mean anything to either of you?”
“I am afraid not, Captain.”
Soraka shook her head, “I do not think I know. What did the building look like?”
Private Kenji shrugged, “Ah, I’m not very sure. All I know is that the land well...landed, and a loud, commanding voice said that we should prepare our allegiance to her.”
“It sounded like a woman’s voice except...amplified. Strongly amplified. She said that she is our ruler to be, our new Sovereign. She went on about how the Elder council of Ionia will pay for their crimes against her, and those who wish to follow her, will be rewarded. Those who did not, would be crushed. She is the power that is needed to rule Ionia and...well..”
‘Soveriegn?’ Irelia bowed her head and sighed, “Well what?”
“Well...she...asked who was willing to join her or suffer the consequences later. She then...crushed Ryu’s house.”
“...She crushed his house. What do you mean she crushed his house?”
“I mean, it was there one moment, the next moment...? Poof. Splintered. A big black ball of...stuff just flew out of her house and smashed it in a single blow. No remains of the magical ball, but the house? Obliterated. A few people were terrified, they didn’t know what to do. When I got on my horse, I saw her levitate a few houses and the very ground for them, and add them to her own terrain. She was almost...shuffling the architecture around at a whim.”
The three women were completely confused.
Kenji finally finished, “After the land...well, up and left, the Kinkou emerged. The Eye of Twilight told me to tell you to ask the council about ah...her name...the name, the name...Ah! Syndra.”
“Syndra?” Irelia raised an eyebrow. None of the women knew who Syndra was. She had a feeling that it would only be the beginning of trouble.
Roughly two weeks later
Irelia rubbed her eyes exasperatedly. Her sword whined with an angry pitch. She was fulfilling the roles of Karma, Soraka, and herself. She had sent Karma and Soraka to the Institute for their safety while she figured out what to do with this new self titled Sovereign, Syndra. It had been millenia since Ionia had a Sovereign, and with the pattern that the line of Sovereigns followed, Irelia was slightly worried for the safety of her friends and people.
Every day for the past few weeks, she sent messengers to try and speak with her. They all came back to Irelia within a day or so of being sent, and told her that Syndra refused audience with them, saying she will not speak to the lapdogs of the Elders.
This time, however, Shen arrived. He was holding a messenger who was shaking uncontrollably and caked in blood. Irelia’s guards rushed the man to the infirmary while she questioned Shen, “What happened? Where is the second messenger?”
Irelia raised an eyebrow, “What?”
“He is dead. We were tracking the floating fortress’ trajectory when we saw this man being thrown from several stories in the air. We managed to catch him, and we spoke to him while he was still lucid. Your guard, Private Kenji, was correct in his assertion that she crushed the house. According to this man, Syndra crushed the other messenger into a plate of cloth, flesh, bones and whatever else. He was compressed quickly and efficiently, killed in an instant. She told this still living man to tell the Elders that she will come and she will speak with them in person when she wants to. Not sooner, not later.”
Irelia groaned and threw her hands up, “Well that is not ominous! Who else has she killed?”
“Aside from this man, who admittedly hit the trees first before we caught him, and the other messenger, she has harmed no one else, never mind killed.”
“...Will you kill her?”
“No. Life and death are a part of the natural cycle. She is naturally attuned to her powers, and she can see them as she see fits so long as she does not disrupt the balance. She is as much a part of the balance as anything else. She is the yang to the rest of our yin. It is unfortunately not so simple a matter.” He shrugged his shoulders, his monotonous voice droning on, “ And truthfully? Even if we wanted to, we would not be able to reach her fortress. She is too high up for even me to attempt to leap to. As long as she stays in the sky, she is untouchable.”
Irelia sighed and shook her head, “So we have to sit and wait.”
“You will give us fair warning, yes?”
The young woman nodded, “I will return to the League as soon as I can then, after assuring this man’s health. I undoubtedly have many things to catch up on, including that match against Bilgewater being scheduled in a few weeks. Shen, I have a favor to ask of you.”
Irelia looked around, scanning for something, “Do you have a paper, a pen, or-?”
Shen handed to Irelia a paper and a calligraphy brush, dipped in ink already. She knew better than to ask where he had gotten either item from. She quickly painted on it, her strokes quick and efficient, then handed the paper to Shen, “Can you give this to Riven as soon as you can? I wish to see her, I need to talk to her about some issues.”
The ninja nodded, “Of course, Irelia. Akali, Kennen, and a dozen more Kinkou members are following the floating land. Rest assured, you will not be caught by surprise.”
With that, Shen disappeared. Irelia cracked her knuckles. This Syndra had killed one of her own countrymen and wounded another. From what Irelia inferred, she did so callously and with very little reason.
She looked at her floating sword. She whispered to it, “We must prepare for the worst, right?”
Irelia patted her fauld, feeling the pouch securely in place, “All three of us.”
Author's Note: In a bit of a rush, will format it better when I return!
Several months later - Present day
It was early in the morning, dawn had just barely broke. Irelia was already dressed in her ceremonial armor, the Mantle of Decorum and all, and was heading towards the gates of the Placidium. Her sword bobbed next to her, flitting about in a somewhat energetic mood. The gatekeeper opened the large doors for her, and let her exit. She woke up earlier than usual because the Demacian embassy would be coming by the afternoon.
Prince Jarvan IV had insisted on taking the long, traditional route with his embassy. He insisted that he had something for Ionia, and that to give it any less presence than this would be nothing short of a crime. It had to be done traditionally. He was not one for such theatrics, and it was strange he wanted to take such a route, but he must have had his reason for doing so. If that were such the case, then the embassy would most likely take up the whole afternoon and the next few days. Dinners, speeches, discussions, so on and so on.
The last time she met face to face with Jarvan outside of the Fields of Justice, now that she thought about it, was a little less than a year ago over dinner in regards to searching for her brother. She left it up to his discretion. He was always with her, she would not forget that again. However, Ionia and Demacia have tried before, and it bore no fruit. If he was offering, however, why would she refuse? Zelos may be in her heart, but to have him in person once more would be nothing short of a miracle.
She stretched her arms, then her legs, then took off running towards the nearby forestry. Her sword easily kept up with her pace, keeping at a safe distance from her to assure she would not trip on her own weapon. Irelia would only be gone for an hour run, an hour of training, than an hour run back.
Several ninjas, including the triumvirate, flitted through the trees, a dark shadow covering them. It was not from the forest they were in though, it was from the land that floated above head. It was flying quickly to the direction of the Placidium.
Shen stated his orders, “Kennen, you will come with me to the Placidium. You will reassure the guards and calm them, I will speak with the Council, Akali? You will find and tell Irelia. Tell her that Syndra is coming. The rest of you, prepare for the worst. On my signal you will act.”
He looked up, seeing the land move even faster. It was hard to believe that such a large landmass could move as quickly as it did, the ninjas having trouble keeping up with the pace. On the other hand, once someone had had seen a fully engorged Cho’Gath outrun Rammus not much else was hard to disbelieve. One thing that he and any good ninja knew though was that nothing was faster than a ninja, not even light.
Karma was barely decent when a blue ninja appeared in her room, “Duchess Karma. Your presence is required.”
Startled, she spun around with fan in hand, pointed at Shen. She tilted her head in confusion, “What is wrong, Shen?”
“Syndra approaches. She will be at the Placidium within the hour.”
With a quick nod, Karma started to bundle her hair upwards, “Tell the rest of the council that I will speak in place for them. If she attempts to do anything violent, it will only be one of us who will suffer.”
“You will not be alone. Kennen is assuring the guards do not intervene. He will defend you if need be.”
Karma shook her head about to protest when Shen continued, “Syndra would have to be foolish to try and fight both the Heart of the Tempest and the Enlightened One. Hopefully it will be enough of a deterrence. The Kinkou will not be allowed to intervene directly unless she tries something foolish.”
“I should go alone. She would feel threatened-”
“Kennen will only be by your side unless she decides to act. I will be acting judge and be issuing crowd control alongside him.”
“That sounds to be a tad much.”
“With all due respect, Duchess, she is able to make a floating piece of land along with a building structure fly at nearly one hundred twenty knots per hour. We do not know how powerful she is, or how willing she is to simply crush you. I am assuring safety.”
The Duchess zipped her dress up from behind, “And where is Akali?”
“She is finding Irelia to let her know of the current situation.”
“Irelia? She went out to train in the forests.”
“Then she will finish her sweep, follow her tracks, and find Irelia in the forest. Where would you like to meet Syndra?”
“The veranda that stretches out from the Council of Elder’s room. If she is civil, then we can discuss with the others as quickly as we can. If she is not, then there are the colonnades which can be broken and used to block her path. Less civilians would be involved and-”
A burst of electricity rushed into the room. Kennen knelt before Shen, “I can’t convince them Shen! They say we either kill them ourselves or let them fulfill their duty as guards of the Placidium!”
Karma sighed and shook her head, “She will feel threatened. I will not-”
“And she is about to land!”
Shen raised an eyebrow, “...You should have said that first.”
“She upped her speed and is heading towards one of the lower rooftops!”
“The one with the covered courtyard! Where Irelia usually has the guards doing their morning sparring! About a cohort of men are up there! I’ll just rush on back and tell them to leave! She should be here in about ten min-”
A loud, thundering crack could be heard.
“Scratch that! Let’s move!”
Shen unceremoniously scooped Karma into his arms, and the three of them disappeared.
The guards were busy sparring with one another to really notice much. The scaffolding above them provided enough shade, so when a bit more darkness occluded their view they thought nothing of it. It was only when the roof was literally torn off and flung over into the forests that the guards noticed something was wrong.
A large piece of land floated several stories high and crossed the Placidium’s walls and fortifications. From this floating island, a small woman could be seen floating downwards. Dark magical spheres encircled her. Her long white hair, that flowed down to her upper thighs, resembled snow and similar albedo. Her forehead bore no attire save for her long mane of hair. Her eyes were a dark violet, the same color that seemed to crackle about her in magical energy. Her clothing was a combination of the same violet and the same black that compromised her spheres. Aside from color choice, her clothing made sure to accentuate her womanly curves, a short cut top that propped her large bust upwards while a short, thin skirt to wrapped around her wide hips. Her thigh high boots ended abruptly at her feet, where a thin, almost stocking-like material, seemed to cover her toes and heels.
She levitated a foot off the floor, slowly the cohort of armed men and women before her. She flicked her hair behind her, sneered at the gathered people and spoke, “None of you are the Council, are you?” When she spoke, her voice seemed to echo and magnify itself with a strange magical energy.
She yelled, stomping her foot in midair, “What are you all still doing standing here?! Bring me the Council!”
The guards responded as they were expected. They grabbed their armaments and pointed it at her. One of them called out, “Who asks?”
“Asks?” She let out a laugh. A twitch of her finger brought the offending man screeching across the courtyard and to her feet, “Your Sovereign demands it! I want to see the Council, now! It is time I took my place!” Syndra looked around, smiling broadly, “Rejoice, fellow Ionians! Your time of oppression by the ignorant Council is at an end!”
The guards tightened the grip on their weapons as the poor man she grabbed attempted to crawl away from her. Syndra sighed, “I suppose if I don’t let you up on your feet, you can’t get them, can you?”
She crossed her arms as her release on the guard disappeared. He stood up and pointed at the Sovereign angrily, “You cannot command us, nor do you have the authority to treat us in such a way! How dare you-”
Syndra’s eyes narrowed, she screamed at the man, “I dare because I am stronger than you! My potential is limitless while all of yours are underwhelmingly realized! Now go, get them, and bring them here! Their time of rule is at an end!”
Her scream made the guard literally fly off his feet. He sailed through the air, smashed against another man, and the sound of bones snapping could be heard. Both men died upon impact, one from a shattered spine, the other from their xiphoid process breaking. This forced the armed men and women to action. Several dozen rushed at Syndra, weapons raised while another dozen aimed longbows at her.
“Those who draw a weapon against me will die.”
She slammed her hands together, eighty soldiers suddenly crashed into one another. Violet and black energy sparked from the ball of soldiers, and an eruption of blood could be seen from the literal gravitational squeezing they were experiencing. Bones snapped, armor was sundered, and with only enough time to utter a short scream they were killed. One of her dark spheres hurtled forward and slammed into this amalgamated ball of flesh and steel.
“To scatter the weak is to scatter sand: all too easy.”
The corpses were launched with terrifying velocity in a large fan. Any living guard that was touched by the dark sphere was instantly obliterated. Unrecognizable fragments of armor, flesh and bone flew from the lucky few that were killed so quickly. The corpses of their own countrymen were hurtled with such force that it sent them flying into the colonnades, the stone columns cracking from the force of impact.
In less than a minute, over three hundred men and women were dead. Syndra smiled at the rest of the living guards, “Will my playthings run, or will they do as their Sovereign commands and get the Council?”
“Enough of this, Syndra. I am here.”
Karma stepped forward. The guards quickly looked at her and cried out, “Duchess! Get away!”
She walked past the corpses, glaring at Syndra the entire time. In both hands she gracefully held a pair of fans, opened and readied for their usage. “Why have you hurt these people?”
“They were questioning me. I am not to be questioned. I am flawless, I am the Sovereign of Ionia.”
“I highly doubt that was what happened. What-”
Syndra barked at Karma, “Who are you to interrupt me?!”
“I am Duchess Karma, a member of the Council.”
“A Council member!” She clapped her hands energetically, “Excellent! You’ll be the first of them to die!”
In the forests near the Placidium, Irelia was practicing katas. Her sword flew with the movement of her hands and feet, mimicking her strikes as she continued her practice. Akali appeared in front of her, “Irelia, it is-”
That was when a section of the Placidium’s rooftop slammed into the ground a few meters away from them, shattering trees and rock alike. Irelia blinked, and looked at Akali. The ninja jerked a thumb at the destroyed architecture, “Syndra.”
That was all Irelia needed to hear. She took off running, her sword barely able to keep up with the pace she ran at.
Karma glared at Syndra, “Tell me why you think I deserve death. I am not much older than you, so therefore I am not the one responsible for what happened. Your training-”
“Training? Training?!” Syndra spat. “It was incarceration! All of you, all of you pigs were limiting me! Me! How dare you?! I will not be constrained! I will not be dug under the heels of worms that fear my power!”
The Sovereign smiled, “My power is simple! If you deserve to live, I will let you live. If you oppose me, I will kill you! My strength can bring Ionia to unprecedented heights it has never seen before! Instead of all of this backstabbing passivity and all of these lies, we show and are not ashamed of our strength! You are all the same! My ‘master’ was one of you talking people who thought what he was doing was best for me! He wanted to limit me! He wanted to hinder me! He had to go! With my limitless potential, under my rule, I can show all of Runeterra the true strength of the Ionian people! No more lies, no more backstabbing, no more words! Just strength! My strength!”
Syndra pointed behind her at the floating terrain,
“Do you see that? I had that built from the foundations of my old temple thanks to workers that work for me! If you come inside, you will see the people follow me! They listen to my commands! They listen to what I say, and why? Because I can protect them! I am something that they have never seen before! Their allegiance is able to change so easily from someone so overwhelming and overpowering! You think you are the government fit to serve such spineless worms? People are scared of power, they are scared of what they do not understand, and they will do things to try and quell it! They will try and silence the voice without understanding the foolish consequences! Why should a government of old doddering fools be in place when even they are jealous and fearful what they do not understand? All that is needed to guide these people is power! Power without limit! They may fear me, but they respect me! Power, fear, and respect all go hand in hand! And do not say that they do not! That is the point of punishment! That is the point of law! You do something against the law, you get punished! Really, all I want to do is establish a more organized and more apt ruling system than yours! Yours has failed!”
The Duchess did not skip a beat in her reply, “Yet if anyone disagrees with you, you will simply kill them, yes? There is a very good reason as to why the system of Sovereigns failed in Ionia’s past. I have faced tyrants face to face before. This is not the first time nor do you impress me with your theatrics. Calm yourself and let us talk.”
Syndra’s yell ripped up several tiles from the ground, sending them hurtling towards Karma, “You will not! Insult! Me!”
Karma calmly stood in place, the tiles seemingly hit a barrier and flew over and around her as she spoke, “What you have said, I would like to make a comment. I have a good friend who also believes in the idea that might makes right, he believes in the idea that the strong will survive, the weak will die, and that is the rule of life. Do you agree with such a sentiment?”
“Yes! Of course! At least you understand that much! It’s almost a pity I have to kill you!”
“Then you would not enjoy meeting him. He knows far more than you do. He knows more about life than you do. He too killed his master, but he realized something that you did not: He realized that he was the big fish in the pond, and not the fish in the ocean. To gain true strength, one must know more than the pond they were born in, and seek bigger and better things, no matter how frightening it is. That is why he joined the League, that is why he fights. He wishes to see more than the pond he was born with, he realizes his folly now. That is where his true strength comes from. It is strange, how such subtle differences can differentiate people so much.”
Syndra’s shoulders quaked with anger, “Frightened? Are you implying that I am frightened? Of what?! There is nothing that can compare to me! I now have a whole word to toy with!”
“I am saying that you are looking at the pond, Syndra. The first Sovereign of Ionia may have unified our people and established many of our orders, but that is because he was a special being. The Sovereigns afterwards became more and more corrupt with power, and that there is the flaw of the Sovereign idea: One cannot account for the actions of descendents. One Sovereign or two Sovereign may have been just and wonderful people, but the others that followed were so horrible and so terrible that Ionia fell into a far greater recession than ever seen in its history. With that said...”
Karma sighed and shook her head, “The only thing I can apologize for, is the fact that you were not given a choice. The fact that you were simply hidden away and not told the truth of the matter is what I apologize for, on behalf of the council. We have no reason to fight. I know you are angry, and up to a certain point, you have the right to be. Let us discuss-”
“That is the true injustice that was done to you, and I underst-”
“I said shut up!”
Syndra motioned at two columns. They were promptly torn out with a simple gesture, magical energy crackling from her. She slammed them towards Karma who did not move.
“Duchess!” The guards called out. They moved forward to try and save her when a blue blur stopped them.
A bolt of lightning seemingly struck Karma, and before the two stone pillars collided she was several feet in front of them. Kennen appeared out of the bolt of lightning next to Karma. This made Syndra squeal in delight, “What is that adorable little thing?!”
Even the hyper Kennen paused and tried processing what she had just said. “...What? Me?”
“Yes! You! You are so cute and small and fluffy! I want you as my pet!”
“I am not a pet!”
“Yes you are. Look at you, a little electric mouse!”
Kennen looked over at Karma and pointed at the Sovereign, “What is wrong with her? Doesn’t she know I’m a Yordle?”
“A Yordle? I read about them, but...” Syndra tapped her lips in contemplation, “But I’ve never seen one! You look so cuddly! You will be my royal pet!”
Kennen looked over at Shen, who was standing in front of the guards, “Shen, can I slap her?”
Without warning, the Yordle was jerked off his feet and sent hurtling towards Syndra, “Come here, pet!”
Kennen exploded into a burst of electricity, roaring towards Syndra. A jolt of lightning lashed out and struck her finger.
With a casual wave of her hand, she flung him several dozen meters into the air. She started to suckle on her burnt fingertip while Kennen flew. If he had not turned himself into a bolt of lightning, he would have continued flying. The lightning bolt struck a spear that was sticking upwards. Kennen reemerged on the ground, his fur crackling with energy. “Oh do not make me come over there, lady!”
Syndra smugly spoke, “If you are not my pet, then you are dead.”
Before the two could react, Syndra let out a sigh, “Bored now, too much talking.”
She stretched her hands out and slammed them downwards. A dark sphere flew above one of the various sections of the Placidium and tore through it. The structure cracked then promptly collapsed on itself and its multiple layers. Screams of pain ripped through the air. Syndra randomly pointed from place to place and sent out more dark orbs, ripping and tearing through the Placidium on a whim, “If I were you, I’d be more concerned about those people’s welfare rather than me, yes? The longer you try and stop me, the more people will die.”
Karma’s eyes narrowed. She started to fan herself quicker than usual as she walked towards Syndra.
Shen looked at Kennen, and then at Akali who appeared behind him as he commanded, “Kennen, alert the Kinkou to start evacuating maneuvers and aid them. Akali, get these guards out of here and secure this building, then you will help guide people out the front gates. I will take care of the council. Minimizing casualties are needed more than a confrontation. Duchess, you are coming with me.”
“No. I am going to deal with-”
Syndra looked over at Karma a smile on her face, “Run plaything, run.” She pointed at Karma, and an entire barrage of dark spheres rocketed at her.
Several guards ran out in front of the Duchess and took the initial brunt of the blow while Akali started herding the rest away. Shen stood in front of the Duchess, the blood of their countrymen on him and on her. He barely seemed phased, since the guards had managed to block most of the initial damage.
Karma knelt down, fanning the dead and wounded guards. A healing wind softly flowed from her fans. “You should not have-”
“It’s our d-duty, Duchess. W-we will die for you, and for the Capt...” He coughed out a thick pool of blood, gasping for air.
“Captain...?” Karma had not sensed Irelia until now. She looked behind her at the entranceway to the courtyard.
Irelia stood there, looking at the mess of mangled bodies. She walked out into the open, her eyes seemingly glazed over. No anger, no fear, no emotion in them. Her sword hummed and crackled with vermillion energy.
A hand gripped her ankle, accompanied by a soft voice, “C-Capt...I’m...I fail...ed...”
Irelia looked down at the woman who was crawling towards her. “Samara, you have done well. You have all done well. At ease, soldier.”
The Captain of the Ionian guard walked over to the soldier, who was missing her lower half. Irelia rested her hand on her forehead, and waited for the life of the woman to ebb and drift towards the heavens above.
Syndra snorted, “Are you a member of the-”
Syndra blinked, her voice incredulous, ‘Ex-cuse me? Did you just-”
“I said shut up.”
Irelia stood up, and looked at Shen, “Find Soraka, have her heal the wounded, get my men out of here. Akali, you will not touch her. She is mine. Karma, ensure the safety of the others, please.”
“I am doing my duty. You do yours,” Irelia calmly stated. She looked over and pointed at Syndra, “You are dead.”
The Sovereign raised an eyebrow and burst out in a fit of hyena laughter, “Me? Dead?! Please! As if you can think of harming the Sover-”
“I do not care who you are,” Irelia shook her head. Her lifeless, emerald eyes staring at Syndra the whole time, “The only reason I know your name is because I was told it. You do not deserve a name. These men and women did: Samara, Xiu, Hiksugen, Chizuru, Hokgin, Damajkin, Seneto, Kaibu, Rei-”
“Get to the point, please. You’re talking way too much. Tell you what, if you surrender now, I’ll let you live. Honestly, you are nothing to me alive or dead so if you want to live, shut it.”
“Kinkou. Evacuate the Placidium. Assure others live. Find Soraka, perhaps something can be done. Karma, heal the wounded and look after them.”
The Kinkou knew better than to argue with Irelia now. Karma looked at the injured, but still living guards. As quickly as she could spot them, they disappeared. She could see them being gathered in the corridor just past the entrance. She could stay and help Irelia, or help those who needed it more. Irelia would not forgive her if Karma did not let the Captain tend to her duty, as she would tend to her own.
Karma walked towards the entrance to the courtyard, which made Syndra yell at her, “Where do you think you’re going?! You are staying, council member! You deserve d-”
“I am going to kill you.” Irelia interrupted. Her voice was flat, compeltely devoid of emotion and tone. It was eerie even for Shen to hear, a voice no one had heard in nearly a decade. “When I close the distance, I am going to choke you. You will die a death befitting a rabid dog.”
Syndra’s eyes sharpened. “I am untouchable. I am your Sovereign, you are a jealous fool. Die, fool.”
One of the stone columns were torn out of the ground and flung at Irelia. Her sword flicked over to the middle of it, and cleanly bisected it. A burst of vermillion energy assured it was cut down the middle. the two halves flew past Irelia who continued to glare at the Sovereign.
In an act of spontaneity, which made her body language unreadable, Irelia burst forward at Syndra at breakneck speed, her sword keeping pace with her easily. In the split of a moment, Irelia managed to almost close the distance between her and her opponent who floated with her arms crossed and the most smug look on her face.
Irelia’s sword split apart into four separate blades while Irelia herself stretched her hands out and aimed at the Sovereign’s throat, mere inches away from her target. She, unfortunately, found herself and her blades stopped short of her opponent. Irelia was straining against the force that kept her away from Syndra, it was as if she were being slightly levitated into the air to assure no traction.
“Ah ah ah,” Syndra shook a mocking finger at Irelia. “Peasants don’t get to touch the Sovereign. You will learn your place.”
A twitch of Syndra’s finger slammed Irelia into the ground, crunching her armor into her flesh. The young woman could not help but cough out a mist of blood from the impact. She could feel an invisible force push down on top of her while her blades refused to budge midair.
The Sovereign moved away from Irelia, to create distance between the two combatants, while the young woman struggled to her knees in her attempt to stand once more.
“Now now, supplication won’t get you any mercy...” She giggled and waved dismissively at Irelia, “Alright, maybe it...will...?”
Syndra’s violet eyes locked with Irelia’s emerald eyes. Syndra’s beautiful face drew back into an ugly scowl, “What’s with that look? Who do you think are?”
Irelia stood back up, her emotionless eyes staring into the depths of Syndra’s soul.
“Stop staring at me like that!”
A sudden wave of pressure tore off the metal plates on Irelia’s fauld, embedding it into the ground. Along with the belt, a leather bag clattered to the ground. Irelia’s eyes flicked quickly to it, to assure its safety, then focused back on Syndra. Her blades came to life once more and flew at Syndra. They had split formation in an attempt to attack the Sovereign from different angles.
The Sovereign, however, flew upwards and dodged the initial strike. While doing this, several corpses flew in front of her to create a literal meat shield. Before Irelia’s blades could pierce her or the bodies of her countrymen and women, they stopped short once more.
A burst of laughter emitted from Syndra as she tossed the corpses with frightening force at Irelia, “What use are the dead?! The dead are dead! They are worth nothing if they cannot serve me!”
Irelia barely managed to dodge the corpses that were thrown at her, she still felt an invisible weight that pressed on her entire body, as if she were giving Cho’Gath a piggy back. Upon impact, each cadaver exploded from the sheer force they were thrown with.
“Honestly, why do you keep fighting? Do I really have to put forth an actual effort?”
Irelia’s response was her hurtling her blades at Syndra once more. A stone column was torn from its foundation and used to parry the blades with ridiculous speed. Syndra successfully blocked all four blades, smirking all the while. She did not expect for the hundreds of swords, spears, arrows, anything that resembled a metal weapon to fly at her. She did not seem concerned as the stone column was spun around her, deflecting almost every single weapon thrown at her.
“It’s all very fut-”
Syndra let out a gasp. A sword had managed to slice her thigh cleanly open, half a centimeter deep but several centimeters long. A torrent of blood poured forth. She clutched her leg and screamed in pain, “Gah!!!”
Her scream managed to literally crush anything that was close to her proximity flying. All of the weapons that Irelia had used were made useless as the weapons became twisted and contorted, breaking into unusable shapes. They clattered lifelessly to the floor, save for her own blades which floated back to Irelia’s side.
“How dare you?!”
Irelia did not verbally reply, and simply stared at the Sovereign with those same eyes.
“Say something, worm!”
“Fine! Then die quietly!”
Irelia was dragged towards Syndra, several meters in the air, and could not fight against it to the best of her ability. Syndra lifted a balled fist and pushed her palm towards Irelia’s blades which were about to intervene. The force of the push sent them pinwheeling into the Placidium itself, easily tearing through the walls and ground.
“Now you have nothing to fight me with. What are y-”
A lob of bloodied spit hit between Syndra’s eyes. She glared at Irelia for a moment or two when the young woman was sent rocketing to the ground. Irelia hit the tiled floor so hard that the stone tiles cracked. Irelia did not have time to breath when she was catapulted into one stone column, then into another, and then into another. This process repeated itself for an entire minute, Irelia was essentially being tossed around like a ragdoll.
Eventually, Irelia was slammed into a corner of the courtyard while Syndra landed on the ground. The dark spheres that danced about Syndra started to multiply in number. More than thirty of these spheres were now at her command, while the flying terrain in the backdrop of the battle started to falter.
A twitch of the Sovereign’s finger sent the entire payload of these dark energy spheres thundering at Irelia in rapid succession. The force they struck with annihilated the corner and anything that was residing in that corner. Stone could be seen crushed into a chalky dust from the attack.
Syndra smoothed her hair back and sighed, “Can’t believe she made me put effort into this. Now then...” She looked around and pouted her lower lip, “So...where should I start?”
“You’re not starting anywhere!”
Syndra cast a bored look at the entrance. Four armed guards stood there. They must have not been here before, or maybe they were? She could not bother to remember. She watched them passively while one of them barked orders,
“Kenji, get to the Captain! Ryu, Shin, with me!”
The one named Kenj raced over to the corner Irelia was in while the three others advanced towards Syndra.
A haughty laugh escaped her lips, “A legion couldn't stop me! What chance do you have?”
“Shut up!” The guard yelled, “You’re not hurting the Captain anymore! Not with us here!”
She palmed her face, “Wow, I’m speaking to idiots. Why fight a losing battle for her, when you can join me and live? She is not worth-”
“I said shut up you gods damned power hungry jumped up tw*t!” The guard yelled once more. “She’s not worth it?! You are worth nothing! You’re not worthy to even lick her boots never mind look at her! She saved Ionia from the Noxian invasion! She trained with us, she grew up with us, she is family to us! She is our friend and our superior! She’s lost more than you’ve ever had! She deserves more than a spoiled, egotistical bi-”
The guard’s neck suddenly tightened. His breastplate crunched into his throat as it started to suffocate him, “You dare talk to your sovereign like that?”
The guard gurgled feebly while his two comrades rushed at her.
“You are all going to d-”
A vermillion blade, forged from chi energy, raced at Syndra’s head. With a simple thought, a chunk of a stone column flew up with the intention to defend herself with. Instead of the expected resistance, the blade flew through as if its obstacle were inexistent, slicing cleanly through. The vermillion blade continued on its trajectory that was Syndra’s face.
Out of reaction more than anything else, the Sovereign jerked her head backwards while attempting to float away. The blade then sharply changed direction and cut cleanly into her forehead, tearing away a chunk of skin down the center of her head.
“Muh...My face..” Syndra reached up at the blood that billowed from the wound. She brought her fingers into view at the slick, red liquid that now stained her hand. She screaming in pain, “Aaaaah! Y-you cut my face? You dare cut my face?!"
Syndra clutched her face, reeling in pain from the wound. The floating terrain faltered once more.
While the Sovereign flailed about, the guards turned to the direction the blade had flown from and cried out in unison, “Captain!” The guard who was choking could feel the pressure relieve itself around his neck as the metal straightened itself out.
“Kenji, Himura, Ryu, Shin. Get out of here. Aid the Kinkou in evacuating, that is a direct order.” Irelia’s voice calmly commanded.
They fell silent the moment they saw her.
Irelia walked out of the rubble, her sword reformed and crackling with vermillion energy as it led her way. Three more of the vermillion energy blades floated above her head, it was her Transcendent Blades technique. Her armor was severely dented, her Mantle of Decorum bent out of shape, but if one inspected her sword they would see many scuffs on it. Her head was twisted slightly out of place, her right shoulder was dislocated along with her collarbone being obviously broken, her left forearm was turned backwards and her left foot faced backwards. Gashes littered her arms and chest, as well as a few lacerations on her face which all flowed with blood. She did not look like she should be alive never mind fighting.
She snapped her head back into place, jerked her shoulder upwards and promptly relocated it. Bones popped which acknowledged her success. With a quick rotation to test its range, she reached over to her left arm and snapped that back into place. She pressed her foot on the ground hard, and twisted counterclockwise. She had done all this without making a sound. The dents in her armor smoothed and straightened themselves out, along with the Mantle, which allowed her to breathe a little easier.
Himura regained both the ability to breath and his senses, ran over to where Irelia’s fauld plates were. He reached to the belt, untied the leather pouch and ran it back over to Irelia. He pressed it into her hand as he spoke, “You’re not in any condition to fight, Captain. We’re staying-”
“No. You’re not. Only one more is dying today.” Irelia pointed directly at the still flailing Syndra, “Her.”
“You...You gods damned zombie. What are you? What in the hells are you?! You’re supposed to be dead!”
Irelia quietly and calmly affixed the leather bag around her neck. She looked behind her, “Shen, assure that they aid you and the others. Protect them.”
With that, she walked towards the Sovereign. With every step she took, the vermillion blades multiplied. First they were three, then six, then twelve, then twenty four, then forty eight. They fanned out behind her, akin to wings save for the fact that they were all pointed and aimed at Syndra.
Several columns, as well as some of the trees that was planted there to help liven the rooftop, were ripped out simultaneously which effectively tore down an entire section of the building. These stone columns and trees were flung at Irelia while Syndra fired another barrage of dark spheres.
The guards disappeared in a blue blur despite any intention they may have had, while Irelia walked towards certain death.
In a random act of spontaneity, Irelia ran and slid underneath the first column to avoid it. Upon seeing the first hail of dark spheres, her sword clashed with them. It crackled with vermillion energy, and instead of being crushed by the gravitational fields they emitted, it absorbed them. Blood flowed from Irelia’s nose and ears upon the absorption of the energy, but she did not let it deter her. The next stone column that crashed towards her, she vaulted over. This was quickly followed by a third one, which she should not have evaded if it were not for her sword. Her sword flew under her and gave her solid ground from which she could push off of. She leaped over the third column and landed atop the fourth one that spun towards her.
She ran along it without losing momentum, slid underneath the fifth column which collided with the one she was standing on which made her leap off of it and landed onto a thin tree. She slid down the thin trunk and plummeted towards the ground. The barrage of dark spheres had mostly been blocked by her weaving through the columns themselves. But upon her becoming airborne, the last volley raced towards her. Her sword flew caught her feet and allowed her to stand on it and effectively absorbed this next attack as well. Another spurt of blood erupted from Irelia’s nose and ears, as well as her mouth, as she stared at Syndra with that same look.
The Sovereign observed the woman, who was floating even above her, was curiously missing the vermillion wingspan. That was when it clicked in her head, and in a panic flew away from her location. Several vermillion blades tore at the ground she was standing on. The other forty or so blades, however? They continued to fly directly at her.
Once more, Syndra attempted to shield herself with the corpses of the guards, which dissuaded many of the blades from piercing her as they were forced to change directions. Unfortunately for the Sovereign, several of these blades nicked her legs, her arms and her chest. They could have killed her then and there, but instead they settled for slicing into her with superficial wounds. Syndra quaked with an unfamiliar emotion. She had never been hurt before never mind cut like she had been.
“Just die already!”
The Sovereign, her face slick with blood and sweat, let out another barrage of dark spheres, six in total, at the offending woman.
Irelia’s sword split apart and let her plummet to the ground once more. She twisted out of the way of the first sphere with ease, but that only meant the next sphere would surely connect. This was proven false as one of the blades flew up behind Irelia. She pushed off the flat of the blade and sailed over the dark sphere. The next sphere should have connected, but she repeated teh same process. She used her blades like makeshift platforms to grant her absurd feats of agility and mobility whilst midair.
Irelia quickly landed behind Syndra, and dashed towards her. Irelia was only three feet away from the Sovereign when she took to the air.
Syndra, in a panic, attempted to lift Irelia off the ground. Stone tiles were ripped out and flew up to her while Irelia herself stayed on the ground. She gripped the blunt ends of her blades and kept herself firmly in place. Syndra’s magic was working though, the leather pouch around the woman’s neck flapped wildly in an attempt to be freed to no avail.
Syndra then tried crushing Irelia once more. The pressure was so great that the ground collapsed and fell to the lower floor underneath it, yet Irelia did not move.
“Why...why won’t you die?” Syndra closed her eyes in frustration as she screamed, “Why won't you die?! Why won't-"
A strong uppercut silenced the Sovereign. Her head snapped back, and she could see Irelia ascend above her. As she plummeted to the ground, she saw four blades that helped create a series of platforms for which the woman could use to her advantage.
The back of Syndra’s head cracked on the ground, which completely dazed her. Her floating terrain followed its master’s lead, and plummeted as well.
However, instead of crushing the fortification, on a rooftop that would be the terrain’s the center point of balance, two men stood across from one another. If they looked closely, they would see one man was covered in animal hides and a thick beard while the other one was blind folded. The two grinned at one another as they held the terrain in place. Magic surged from the blind man and into the ground, as if to give them more solid footing to stand upon.
When Syndra came to, Irelia had already mounted her. She had waited patiently for the Sovereign to wake up. Syndra’s blood ran cold. Finally, the look in her eyes had changed, but not for the better. Instead of lifeless eyes, they bore absolute and complete hatred for the Sovereign underneath her.
Irelia wrapped her hands around Syndra’s neck, “Try and stop me, Sovereign.”
Her hands tightened into a vice grip. She started strangling the Sovereign. Syndra squirmed and writhed, she did her best to try and escape. That feeling she felt before was stronger than ever, she was panicking: She was terrified. Dark magic surged from her fingertips, only to fizzle. There was nothing she could do, she was going to die.
Syndra let out a fearful grasp, choking and crying all the wihle, “St-st-glk...!” Her legs convulsed, her feet scraped against the ground as if she were trying to run away. When she tried to breathe, speak or yell, only spittle came out of her mouth.
Syndr reached up and tried prying Irelia off of her, which earned her more punishment. Irelia’s sword split apart into two separate pairs of blades, which stretched her arms out and pinned them firmly to the ground. If she tried to move, they would cut into her wrists. One last time, she tried to call out in a fearful gurgle to no avail.
"Irelia...That is enough."
Irelia did not respond. She heard Karma speak to someone else for a moment, but it did not concern her. The Duchess called out again, "Irelia, release her!"
“No. She dies.”,
"Irelia, do not kill her. She-"
"Deserves to die."
Syndras convulsions started to quiet down as the tears from her eyes mingled with the blood that poured from her forehead. Maybe another minute, and the woman will have been strangled to death.
"Irelia, do not do this," Karma pleaded.
"Balance in all things. She killed Ionians. She dies."
Suddenly, Soraka’s panicked voice yelled, "Irelia!"
"Irelia!" Soraka tried again.
"Irelia, please, you are angry now. Do not-"
Irelia tightened her grip around the Syndra’s neck. When she spoke, it reminded Soraka of the Ionian war.
"This self deemed Sovereign, this vile, egotistical power hungry child, came here, killed my people, my friends, and she thinks she can get away with it, and why? Because apparently she's strong, because she's powerful, because she is supposed to be power without limit. Our home was destroyed because I didn't have the strength to protect it. I will fight to the bitter death before I let something like that happen to Ionia again."
Irelia jerked the woman's head back, lifted her body and readied for the final push, "Not ever again."
A man’s worried voice called out to her, "Irelia...!"
Irelia stopped. She dropped Syndra onto the ground and looked up in front of her towards the entranceway. Her leather bag bumped off her chest, now dyed crimson in her own blood. Irelia stared at the source of the voice. It was a man wrapped in blue silk. She stared at him for a few moments, shook her head and went back to strangling Syndra.
He called out again, “Irelia, don’t!”
Irelia froze. Her shoulders quaked, her blades ripped out of the ground and reformed itself. She started laughing, shaking her head, “I...I failed, didn’t I? This is the afterlife, right?”
She got to her feet and walked past Syndra. Her body convulsed and twitched, her left leg finally showing its damage as she dragged it useless along. A half smile was evident on her face, “I only wish...I only wish I could apologize to Karma, to Soraka, to the people of Ionia, for failing them...At least will see them soon. I tried, I tried so hard...” Her smiled widened, “Oh well. It doesn’t matter anymore. At least I can see you again...”
Syndra coughed and gasped for air. She rolled over and nearly vomited from how close to death she was. Her bloodied and tear stained face looked up at the slowly walking Irelia. Her back was turned to Syndra, completely ignoring her. Complete and utter rage filled her heart. No one, no one dishonors a Sovereign in such a manner. No one does so and lives. She will die.
Syndra’s hands whipped out to her sides, and grabbed the remnants of two stone pillars. She slammed her hands together, and made them race at the delusional Irelia who was still laughing and smiling in an almost insane manner.
The man ran forward, wrapped his arms around Irelia, and held her close as he waited for the resulting impact which...never came.
A forcefield stopped the pillars easily. The man could feel a gust of wind shield them while Karma walked past the two.
The Duchess fanned herself far quicker than someone should ever fan themselves as she made her way to Syndra. The Sovereign breathed heavily, “You...I am going to kill all of-”
Syndra received a hard slap across the face from one of Karma’s closed fans. It left a considerable red mark, considering the fan was made from some of the finest steel in Ionia. The Duchess’ irate tone could be clearly heard, “I am going to talk, and you are going to listen.”
This time it was with the back of her hand that Karma slapped Syndra with, “You will not talk while I am talking! If you wish to act like a child I will treat you like one! I will bend you over my knee and I will spank you if I have to! I did not ask Irelia to spare you just so you can try killing her! You will not repeat the same mistake you made before!”
Karma raised her fan at Syndra, which made the Sovereign instantly go quiet.
“I said the only mistake that the council made was not giving you a decision in what should be done! What they did, however, was merciful! What do you do with an orphan child who has such amazing power and uses it to uproot trees, fling cattle about and whenever you threw a tantrum the village doctor would be booked for weeks? How do you react to that?”
“I. Am. Still. Talking!”
Syndra cowed once more.
“You have to make a choice! You were hurting people because you did not get what you wanted, and your power was without check nor limit! No one could do so! What could be done? They had two choices, kill you, or train you! They decided that because you were a child, to have you killed would be a terrible thing! They decided to have you trained in your abilities, nurtured, something you never had before! How did you repay him? You killed him the moment you found out he was limiting your abilities so you can gain control of them!”
“He was an ignorant fool! He was scared of me, of my potential!”
“And rightfully so! The moment you found out your potential, you killed him! Does that warrant fear?”
“If he hadn’t-”
“If he hadn’t, then you would have possibly killed more people than you had today! I am going to run a few things by you, alright? First: Those that follow you? They’re scared of you! They do not respect you! I regret that they did not see what transpired here so they would know what true strength is! Secondly, you did not kill a legion of soldiers: you nearly killed a cohort of guards and a few thousand civilians and monks you spoiled child! That’s who you killed because of your absurd amounts of pettiness! Thirdly, you fought the successor to the Hiten style! What made you think you could possibly win against her?”
“The...the Hiten...? What is-”
“The Flying Heaven technique, also known as the Sovereign slayer! The Hiten style was used to end the reign of tyranny of the Sovereigns! His sacrifice was made known since the Kinkou had to kill him for the chaos that ensued due to the collapse of the government system that was in place for so many years! He knew of the consequences, and he took responsibility for it! Sounds familiar? I don’t think so, since you do not know what taking responsibility means! The books that you read from are outdated, your common sense is completely lacking, you are inexperienced in more ways than one and you do not even know what a Yordle is! What makes you think that you deserve to rule a kumquat never mind a country? Strength? Please, stop being so childish! That was just proven ineffectual! Do you know economics? Do you know the law system in place in Ionia? Do you know how to manage the country’s treasury? Do you know the current political issues in Ionia? Do you know Demacia, Noxus, Piltover, Zaun, Shurmia, any of these places? Probably only from books! Do you know of the League of Legends? Do you know the political games that must be played with the Summoners? I highly doubt that!”
Karma glared at Syndra, not waiting for her to respond before firing her next question, “How about the Ionian-Noxian war? Do you know that?”
Syndra moved her lips to answer but stopped herself in the case it would earn her another slap.
“No, you don’t! You were sheltered the entire time! You were kept safe! Your safety was made paramount over your master helping in the war! Did you know your master assured your safety by deterring Noxian forces himself? He killed more Noxians than people you did this day, to make sure you were kept safe! He loved you, but he was terrified of you and not your power! Oh no, he understood your power, but it was your temper! All of his reports always talk about your temper! You do not deserve to rule ants, never mind people if you cannot do something so simple as keep your temper under control!”
Karma pointed at the floating terrain, “Now go back to your castle or your fortress or whatever, go away, think about what you have done, and when you come back, we will talk! If you do not want to talk, you will deal with all of Ionia directly. Irelia will be the least of your worries if you try a stunt like this again! You are powerful, you have a lot of potential, you are the yang to the yin of the majority of Ionia, hence why you have so much power condensed in you! Do not, and I repeat myself, do not waste this second chance!”
The two women stared at one another until the Duchess pointed again at the floating terrain, “Go!”
Syndra breathed in and out angrily, she pointed a finger at Karma, “How d-”
“Oh you better not be thinking of trying anything else. I will resort to Noxian diplomatic techniques if I have to!”
Syndra snorted and flew away from her, cursing under her breath. Karma called out, “And you better wash your tongue next time you visit! It is unfitting for a Sovereign to have such a vulgar vocabulary!”
With the Sovereign floating away, Karma turned her attention back to Irelia and the man who held her tightly. Irelia’s body went limp, a smile on her face as she passed out.
Syndra pushed past every one of her servants and serfs who stopped and questioned why she looked the way she did. She reached her inner sanctum, where she had a specially crafted throne for which she could sit on. It was incredibly comfortable. She screamed aloud, “Smith! Tailor!”
Her scream echoed throughout the entire complex. Several minutes passed, and two men ran into the room. They bowed before her, fear alit in their eyes. They spoke in terrified unison, “Wh-what is it S-Sovereign?”
Syndra covered her injured forehead, her tone was near maniacal, “Tailor, I want you to make me new clothing. These ones have too much peasant blood on them.”
“Smith, I want a crown.”
“A crown,” Syndra hissed. “I want it with a purple gem, the darkest amethyst, embedded in the center, I want it to be silver colored, and I want it to be large and exquisite. I want it to cover my forehead and let my hair flow out from behind it.”
“B-but why would you want it to cover your beautiful foreh-”
“Go!” She screamed.
The two mousey men scurried away, leaving her alone in the dark room. She breathed in, breathed out, and muttered aloud, “They will pay. They will all pay. I am power without limit.”
“Everything has its limits, Sovereign.”
Syndra shot out of her seat, wildly looking around, “Who speaks?! Who’s here?!”
“I am Shen, the Eye of Twilight. I am one of the Kinkou’s ninja triumvirate. I am the judge.”
The blue ninja walked into view from the shadows.
Syndra snorted at him, “I saw you before. You were with that Yordle thing.”
“Kennen, the Heart of the Tempest,” a chipper voice said. Kennen appeared next to Shen from a bolt of lightning.
“What do you two want?”
“I am going to do two things: One, reinforce what Karma said. Next time you meet her face to face in Ionia, or anywhere else that is deemed out of League boundaries, you will be civil or else-”
“Or else what?!”
Shen did not show any displeasure upon being interrupted, “Or else the League will imprison you and confine you. You will become their puppet and be used in League battles against your will.”
“The League?” Syndra waved a dismissive hand at Shen, “The League means nothing to me.”
Kennen palmed his face, “Do you even know what the League is?”
No response came from Syndra.
The Yordle sighed and gave his explanation in a single breath, “The League of Legends is a place in the center of Valoran in which political issues and debates that cannot be settled peacefully are done so via violence meaning it has become a stage on which beings can gain fame for themselves or a cause or simply try bettering themselves by pitting themselves against strong fighters or gain more knowledge in regards to cultures since it is a melting pot of every culture in Valoran and even alien cultures.” He looked over at Shen and muttered, “I feel like I give that explanation waaay too often.”
“This does not interest me,” Syndra scoffed. “They are nothing to me.”
“Irelia, the woman who just defeated you, is not the strongest champion in the League. There are Summoners who are much more powerful than her, and you would be made a puppet if you give them the chance.”
Syndra’s eyes went wide. She started quaking at the thought.
Shen continued, “We do not want that to happen. That is the second reason as to why we are here: You will follow the Balance, or you will be cut from it.”
“What do you mean, the Balance?”
“If you fall into the hands of Summoners, if you become their plaything, you will be killed. That much power at their fingertips, with you having no control over it, is far too dangerous. You will be killed. You will also neglect from dropping entire pieces of floating land onto building structures. Your magic may be a natural aspect of your being, but dropping large land masses on people and buildings is not unless you return it from whence it came. You are incredibly lucky that two of the most physically and spiritually gifted men in Ionia had decided to visit the Placidium this day.”
Syndra’s eyes narrowed, “What makes you think you can threaten-”
Two blades wrapped themselves around her neck and pulled her towards her throne. She felt the same sensation as she did before: Fear. She was too frightened to react properly. Syndra was firmly secured on her chair as a third voice spoke,
“Akali, the Fist of Shadows. Our concern and our duty was to assure the safety of the Ionian people at the time. Irelia’s duty was to assure you were stopped. We do not threaten, we state fact. If you do not follow the balance, you will be removed in order for Balance to be restored. You have officially become an issue for the Kinkou to observe and to deal with if need be.”
Shen nodded, “We will be keeping an eye on you, Syndra. Always.”
With that, the three ninjas disappeared. Syndra let out a frustrated scream which tore apart any nearby furniture and dented the walls. She grabbed at her bloodied face,
“The League, huh? The League is able to do all that? They think I’m weak? I’ll show them...I’ll show them. I’ll get stronger, I am limitless. The League can do that for me? It will let me kill them? I must find them, must talk to them. I will kill them. I am in control. They will pay.”
Irelia’s eyes slowly opened. She stared at the ceiling above her. White, nothing special. She looked over to her right, there was an empty chair and a nightstand that had a bouquet of flowers. A few roses, a few lilies, and one Irelia flower, flattened and almost withered beyond recognition. She patted what she was lying down on to see what it was. It was a mattress. Who knew the afterlife would be so barren? She sat up and rubbed her face. Upon second look, she realized this was her room. There was her desk and its drawers, her mirror, her mannequin dressed in her armor, her armoire, so...the afterlife was the Placidium?
She shuffled over the side of the bed, and gasped out in pain.
‘Definitely not the afterlife.’
She grabbed her chest, she could feel her bruised and broken ribs. The covers slid off her, showing the multitude of securely wrapped bandages that encircled her body from the neck down over where all of her open wounds were. She could clearly see the leather pouch that still adorned her neck.
‘I almost resemble Amumu,’ she thought to herself.
Her sword hummed to life and floated over to her. She steadied herself on the flat of the blade and stood up. She walked over to her desk, and saw a white smock that had been laid out there. She looked in the mirror, she could see the gashes on her face that had been healed, though red lines marked where they once were. Under Soraka and Karma’s care, they would disappear soon enough. She rarely scarred.
She put the smock on and looked around for some footwear. A pair of sandals waited patiently at the foot of her bed. She slipped into them, and walked towards her door. She could hear arguing. Arguing? That was odd.
“She’s hurt at the moment you ijit! She doesn't need you, me, and the dragon lady to visit all at the same time!”
“Did...Did you just call the Prince of Demacia an ijit?”
“Yes, yes I did! Let her rest, all of your yelling will wake her up, so stop it and walk away! I'm seeing her first!”
“My yelling? My yelling?! You’re the one who’s yelling! I’m just concerned for her safety!”
Irelia’s eyes went wide. She stepped out into the open and looked at who Jarvan was arguing with.
His long, black hair flowed down his back like a river. His emerald eyes was complemented by the red tint in his face as he argued with Jarvan. His lithe body was covered by traditional Ionian clothing. A wooden charm that had childish carvings on it read, いれりあ. Save for the ridiculous stubble that adorned his face, she recognized him instantly.
“Oh you’re concerned, huh?! Let me tell you who should be concerned-”
He looked over at her, any sign of anger disappeared. He smiled meekly, “Hey, Irie! ...So, ah, I had something planned to say, but...”
He looked over at Jarvan, motioning with his head to walk away. The Prince nodded and smiled at Zelos, “I will come back later. I see you are fine, milady.”
Jarvan and Shyvana left the siblings alone in the now silent hallway.
The two stared at each other for what seemed like an eternity. Zelos whistled, “Soo yeah, you musta seen the flowers in your room. They’re not mine, truth be told. That one, the little one, is. Friend of yours came by, River? Regis? I think her name was Riven? Ah...”
He awkwardly clapped his hands together, “So, I’m back! Surprise?”
Irelia burst out into a fit of laughter. She laughed so hard she intermixed gasps of pain and laughter with one another. She almost fell to the ground when Zelos rushed over and attempted to catch her again. This time her sword flew over, caught her and helped prop her back up.
Zelos smirked at her, “Hey hey, don’t strain yourself now! I mean I wasn’t gone that long, was I?”
A sharp glare from Irelia made him wince, “Too soon? Yeah, too soon. Totally inappropriate. Trying to be funny, ah...”
“You are such an idiot,” Irelia laughed. She stood back up and smiled at him. It was strange, they were almost the same height. That only meant it was easier to hug him now as she wrapped her arms around him.
He hugged her back, “I’m sorry it took so long, Irelia, I’m so sorry. We have a lot to catch up on, like...That.”
Zelos pointed at the floating sword that hummed with excitement, “Why is dad’s blade, y’know...floating like that? I mean, for him, it wasn't exactly like that, and who was that chick with the purple and black dress? And what is-”
“Right now, I just need some rest, Zelos. I’ll explain it to you when I am better.”
“Alright, alright, I’ll just pop in and make sure you're bundled-”
Irelia shook her head, “I don’t want you to see me like this. Please. I am alright. I can take care of myself.”
Zelos nodded, “Yes yes, right...Right. I’ll...” He pointed about the hallway, “Make myself familiar again. I got lost for like an hour when I was trying to find your room, had to be guided by that Riven woman here. Get well soon, Irelia. We have a lot to catch up on.”
Irelia smiled broadly at Zelos, not very sure how she should properly react. She went with what first came to mind. She reached into the pouch, and withdrew from it a small wooden charm. It read, "ゼロス." She dangled it in front of her, smiling as she spoke,
“Welcome home, Zelos.”
Author's Note: That's right, double whammy!
Awesome so far. Will syndra redeem herself later on? Hope so. Btw since you are taking her dresses into account and if she is to redeem herself in the end do you think you could be able to bring her up in her judicar syndra outfit. I always though it brings a completely different look to her( light instead of darkness, her mask switches from the inverted mantle of decorum to a mask that cover half her face yet giving her a serene look,etc). I know that you must have this story planned out but since I saw her skin i thought about its potential, which could be like this: after realizing her mistakes syndra becomes ashamed of herself and tries to live a new life away from her sins while still helping and protecting the ionians in their time of need (at first i thought about a secret identity but hell who else can cast spheres of pure energy and float?).
Anyway thanks for the story and the updates and keep it up .
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