NaNoWriMo: All That I Have Left

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YSRS

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Senior Member

02-14-2013

This story is really interesting. A touch heavy or dark for my usual tastes but really well written.

I am looking forward to see how this story wraps up.

Also will we ever see Zelos use the language of the dryads?


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Cheruhime

Member

02-19-2013

Grand Viper, you have so many stories and I love them all!!
Including those quirky side stories (Varus' especially)
Riot should give you a title : )


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Grand Viper

Senior Member

02-19-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by YSRS View Post
This story is really interesting. A touch heavy or dark for my usual tastes but really well written.

I am looking forward to see how this story wraps up.

Also will we ever see Zelos use the language of the dryads?
You'll see Zelos using it sooner rather than later actually!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheruhime View Post
Grand Viper, you have so many stories and I love them all!!
Including those quirky side stories (Varus' especially)
Riot should give you a title : )
Everyone loves his lack of pants =p

Heh, me with a title, that'd be the day. I like the thought, and I'm glad you enjoy my stories, though me with a title is a far away thing. But c'est la vie, mon ami, and I'm going to be writing the next chapter up soon after I finish editing the Riven chapter and finish up my Equinox chapter finally!


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Grand Viper

Senior Member

03-24-2013

Chapter 20

The last thing she remembered, when she was conscious, was that she collapsed after promising Zelos that she would see him again in this life.

From that point on, she felt like she was swimming. It was a familiar sensation, though it was incomparable to what she had felt many times on the Fields of Justice. Whenever she died on the Fields, it felt unnatural. It was as though she were attempting to swim through a swamp, or a marshland, rather than the expanse of an ocean.

Muddled words would drift to her ears every now and then. She barely recognized them as words, just sounds. Unlike the last time she was in such a state, she could feel a warmth. She had made a promise, to someone, right? Did it matter?

Stand up.

Was she at peace now? Yes...she was. She was strangely happy. That was the best way she could put it, she was calm, serene, happy. No more responsibilities. No more pain. No more anything. True tranquility at last.

Stand up.

But she made a promise, right? Would she really be faulted for breaking it? No, wait...she made two promises. Three. Wait...how many promises did she make? Did she forget? Were the memories slipping away? She could not leave them like this now, could she?

Stand up.

Despite the peace, the tranquility, she still had responsibilities. Fight for a bit longer, just a bit more, and then she could return here.

Stand. Up.

Irelia’s eyes fluttered open, her breathing shallow. It was not a white room this time, she was sure of that, but she stared up at an occluding whiteness. How odd. Irelia was not wrapped in bandages; whatever was covering her was the only thing covering her modesty. What was it that was covering her? She could barely feel the fabric. Was it a fabric? Should she not check? She squinted her eyes, she was still staring at the apparent ceiling. By squinting, Irelia could see dark shapes start to take form. It was then that she realized her vision was impaired.

Irelia raised herself up, she felt tired beyond reason. A cloth started to slip away, but pressed hands over her chest kept it from falling any further. Irelia assumed the cloth was placed there to help protect her modesty. She winced in pain, and used her elbows to try and rest while sitting up. Her vision was still fuzzy, unable to focus properly. Irelia could make out basic shapes, and hear the distant buzz of people’s tones.

One sounded like Karma who was lost in some sort of trance. Irelia could feel the pulsation of a familiar ki being emitted from what she assumed were Karma’s hands. Many Ionians utilized ki in their art, since it was the most natural form of ‘magic’ to them. However, there were few adept in the manipulation of the actual fabric of the lifeforce from which all Ionian martial arts, all Ionian magic, all Ionian culture rested upon.

Luckily for Irelia, two of the most adept practitioners of this specific art were none other than Soraka and Karma.

Soraka, or who Irelia presumed to be her, was on her opposite side, across from Karma. The Starchild’s hands weaved the air, vermillion strands being plucked, mended, pulled. Irelia tried to speak, but only a whisper of pain escaped her lips.

Karma and Soraka’s eyes snapped open, they stared at Irelia, surprised. The Starchild stuttered, “I-Irelia? You’re awake?”

She nodded, and attempted to push herself upwards, her vision still muddled. She could see some brown shapes, light shining in, but could not really put her finger as to where she was precisely. She assumed it was Soraka’s grove.

Karma’s hands kept her from rising any further, the magic dissipating due to their concentration being interrupted. Karma attempted to soothe the wounded woman, “Irelia, you need to rest more. Do not push y-”


“Where is Zelos?” Irelia feebly struggled against Karma’s hands, only to fall backwards. It was a rare sight, to see her this weak, this broken. “What happened at the dinner? Did I ruin-”

“Irelia, sh sh sh, calm yourself,” Soraka murmured. “You were hovering between life and death for a while.”

“A while?” Irelia shut her eyes tightly, wincing, trying to remember. “How...many days, has it been?”

“Nine days now. You have not moved s-”

“I have duties to attend to,” Irelia interrupted the Starchild. She struggled to get up yet again. “Where is my sword? I need t-”

“No,” Soraka firmly stated. She pressed her finger against Irelia’s nose and pushed it lightly. The young Ionian woman could barely feel her friend’s touch.“You are not going anywhere. The treatment is not yet completed, and even after it is done, we will have to help repair your atrophied muscles. You will let us finish your treatment, and then you will be allowed to move.”

Irelia was surprised by the sternness Soraka was showing. That really only meant one thing. “How long do I have?”

Neither of them answered. Karma bowed her head, and rested it against Irelia’s shoulder. The Duchess of Ionia, reached over and gripped her friend’s hand, squeezing it lightly, to assure Irelia that she was there for her.

Irelia could barely feel the fingers, the sensation of touch. She felt numb, not out of shock or anything. It was an odd sensation, to not be able to feel something so basic as touch. What was the full extent of the damage she had undertaken? Irelia’s other hand slowly shifted over and rested itself on her abdomen. She could easily guess what it meant.

“...I cannot say for sure. Maybe a year, at most,” Soraka answered. “Maybe a bit more, maybe a bit less. The damage is too great, your soul is barely holding itself together. The seams are weakening.”

Irelia heard her words, the taste in her mouth metallic. She knew that Soraka was telling the truth. “...How long has it been since one of you spoke to Zelos?”

“Neither of us have seen him since the dinner,” Karma replied.

“I want someone to tell him I’m alive.”

“Just rest and relax, and you will be able to tell him in per-”

“I want someone, to tell him, I’m alive,” Irelia snapped. Her grip around Karma’s hand tightened. If she were at her full strength, it would have easily crushed bone, but all the Duchess felt was a pathetic squeeze.

Soraka nodded and softly replied, “I will tell him. Karma will stay here at your side.”

Irelia watched the Starchild stand up, lean over and kiss her forehead. Her version was starting to clear, she could see Soraka drawing back from her, smiling at the resting woman. “You feel warmer to the touch. I think you will be able to walk once more within the week.”

Irelia did not reply to this, and remained on her back.

“Is there anything else you would like to tell him?”

She contemplated this request. Truthfully, she was not sure if Soraka should say anything, since there was so much to tell him. So much to talk about. Where would Soraka start? Where would she, Irelia, start? Would she start at the beginning? Would she start with her plans for successorship? Would she tell him why she has father’s condition? How could she tell him without breaking down? Without looking weak?

Irelia had a chance before, she could have told him then and there, but she did not. Irelia did not want to sadden him, her always smiling brother. Her thoughts continued to race, her body growing more and more tense, her muscles tightening.

The gentle voice of Soraka rang out as she started to hum an old, Ionian lullaby. “{Sleep well, oh child. So mother can go to the market to buy an earthen saucepan. If she goes to the southern market, she will buy you a long and bent sugar cane, or if she goes to the northern market, she will buy you a bent and long sugar cane.}”

Irelia’s body visibly relaxed, but her displeased facial expression masked any physical relief she experienced. Her aura, however, to Soraka and Karma, became noticeably more mellow, less intense in its vibrant, vermillion color. “I’m not a child, Soraka.”

“But you’re stressing, dear.” The Starchild cupped Irelia’s face and bowed her head, forcing a smile. “You should not push yourself so hard, not now. You need to relax. I will let him know how you are doing, and I will answer any questions he may have. Will that help?”

Irelia had to tell him herself. She owed that to her brother, she should be telling him what is wrong, she should be telling him what happened. Irelia’s hand shook. An alien feeling was overcoming her. Irelia nodded her head in response to the Starchild’s question.

Soraka rose up from her side, her tone denoting her concern. “Karma, if anything is amiss...”

“I will send out the signal for the Kinkou.”

Soraka smiled at Irelia once more, and started to walk away. Irelia’s head rolled over, staring at the fleeting image of the Starchild. Her vision had mostly cleared up now, and she could recognize that she was in Soraka’s Grove. Her grove had a cavelike structure embedded into a hillside, where the Starchild made her home. Tree roots hung down from the high ceiling resembling organic stalactites, the earthen walls were carved out by the elemental forces of nature over the course of centuries. Soraka had a few pieces of wooden furniture, ranging from tables to cots stuffed with moss and leaves, expressly for the convenience of visitors. She could only stare at Soraka for a few scant moments, the sunlight forcing her to avert her eyes.

Once Soraka was gone, Irelia’s body started to shake. Her grip on Karma’s hand tightened. The Duchess grew visibly worried, and stood up, healing ki flowing from her hands.

“K-Karma?” Irelia stuttered.

Karma’s face became a ghostly white. She had never heard Irelia nervous in her entire life. Not when they were young, not during the war, not during the worst throes of her condition, not ever. “Yes, Irelia?”

“I...” Irelia took a harsh swallow of air, reining herself in before speaking. She needed to retain her dignity, for her own sake. “I....I don’t want to say it outloud...”

Karma let out a breath of relief, shuffled over closer to Irelia and pressed her friend’s hand against her chest. “You don’t have to. I know.”

Irelia nodded, and closed her eyes. Her breathing was shallow, the metal taste in her mouth still prevalent. If it were not for Karma and Soraka’s magic, she would have been dead by now. No water, no food in all this time, she was in a delicate state.

“Should I recite some poetry until Soraka returns?” Karma asked in anxious tone.

Irelia gave no response. The Duchess decided to do so anyways, softly chanting old poems.

Roughly two hours later, Irelia felt a strange pang in her chest. It was not one of pain, but one of...calmness. Reassurance? That was the best way to put it. She could almost hear someone say, “I will see her at home.”

It was not Karma, who was still reciting whatever prose came to her mind, but it was familiar all the same. Whatever it was, it brought a smile to Irelia’s lips.

It felt she waited for an eternity. when Soraka finally returned. The Starchild sat down next to Irelia, using her knees as support, and rose her hands over the Ionian woman once more, channeling her magic.

“How is Zelos?”

“He is well.”

“Did he ask?”

“He did.”

“How...” Irelia stopped in mid sentence to take a strange, nervous swallow. “How did he react?”

Soraka closed her eyes, breathing slowly but evenly. She gave herself a few moments to recollect herself before replying. “He...took it better than expected, to say the least.”

“Oh.” That was all Irelia had to say about the matter. She would ask Soraka about the details when she was able to stand again. Irelia turned her head upwards, fatigue already overcoming her. “Will I see him when I go back?”

“I believe you will, yes.”

Irelia nodded, her eyes fluttering close. She had stayed awake too long, she had overexerted herself. She mumbled out, “M’gud...I’ll shee...home...”

The Duchess released Irelia’s hand and stepped out of Irelia’s view. She could hear her friend’s footseps, but she was already dozing off. Karma soon returned, and Irelia felt something be pressed into her hand. Her fingers rubbed the object, instantly realizing it was her wooden talisman.

Irelia’s hand tightened around it. Although she quickly succumbed to sleep, she remembered that she had to get up again. She had one of many promises to keep.

-----------------------------------------------------------

“{Look Riven! Look!}”

A group of children had surrounded a table, where a young girl excitedly held out a block of wood, messily carved to resemble a person. White fur was messily glued via pine resin atop the figure. The Exile was sitting at a table, eating her modest lunch of rice and vegetables. She looked over, her serious demeanor breaking into a smile when she saw the doll.

“{And who is this supposed to be?}” Riven asked. “{Can it perhaps be...your brother?}”

The girl shook her head, her friends giggling and laughing at her. A puzzled expression came across Riven’s face, as she tried again. “{Hm...perhaps it is...The Thunder’s Roar, Volibear?}”

The girl’s face dropped, she seemed almost crushed.

Riven reached over and gently brushed her hair, softly laughing. “{It is wonderful, Hikari. It looks just like me...except for one thing.}” The Exile reached over and pointed at the messily painted on smile. “{Should I not be frowning? I think Ichigo has called me, ‘Miss Grumpy-Pants’, no?}”

The boy, the one she singled out, blushed profusely and looked away, whistling his innocence. Hikari held the doll out to Riven once more, “{It’s a gift!}”

Riven took the doll and placed it next to her bowl. She nodded and softly replied, “{Thank you, Hikari.}”

She laughed and one of the other children chimed up. “{Are you going to be on break much longer, Riven?}”

Riven tilted her head, not sure why such a thing would be important. “{For a few more minutes, yes. Why?}”

The children looked at one another, excitedly whispering some sort of genius plan they had, and were about to say something when Riven stood up.

“You.”

The children turned around, looking at the source of the voice. Zelos was standing scant feet away from them. He was dressed in flowing robes that encompassed his body in emerald, turquoise and sapphire colors. His long black hair was tied back into a ponytail, his expression on his face alarming to others. On one shoulder, he rested a straight edged blade. The diamond shaped base of the thin blade, the lack of a large hilt guard, it resembled a standard Manamune given to the Placidium’s elite guards and members. On his belt, a dagger in its sheath hung. Zelos pointed at her with his chin, his voice lacking any sign of his usual cheer. “We need to talk.”

Riven nodded and got up from her seat, leaving her half-eaten meal behind. She made sure to grab the doll and quickly placed it into a satchel she had hanging off her belt. The Exile pointed at a homestead, “We can talk there. Naa-nii is tending to her fields, and everyone else is working. I took my break late.”

“{Riven...}” Hikari was worried. The last time someone wanted to talk to her, the Exile and many of the townspeople were nearly killed. The Ionian archer, Varus, had set the village back on its repairs a lot. The arrival of Udyr on the scene did not help in this regard when he clashed with the archer.

A firm pat on her head silenced the girl, and Riven walked towards the home. Zelos followed behind her, keeping at a proximity too close for comfort.

Once inside, his voice was no louder than a whisper. “You destroyed my home.”

“Yes,” she admitted in a pensive tone. Riven turned around, folded her hands on top of one another, rested them in front of her, then looked him in the eye. If she had a weapon on her, it was nowhere to be seen. She was unarmed.

“You hurt Irelia.”

“I did, far worse than anyone ever could.”

“You killed my people, slaughtered my friends, annihilated my village, and left nothing behind.”

Riven nodded once more, her tone not wavering. “I did.”

“Why should I not kill you, for all that you did?” Zelos pointed the Manamune at her. With his speed, he assumed he would be able to close the gap and easily inflict a wound, if not kill her on the spot. Despite this fact, he could see in her eyes that she remained calm.

“I will not convince you not to kill me, because I deserve death,” Riven replied. “I will not argue that. I am here to try and make whatever amends I can. I want to help build, not destroy. I want to create, not kill. I know what I have done, those sins will never leave me. I am the person who inflicted all of those horrors. I am Riven the Butcher, I am Riven the Exile, I may even be called Nevir at times, but the truth of the matter? I am still her. I am still Riven.”

She lowered her arms, and stared at Zelos. “I have not wronged anyone worse than I have wronged Irelia. You are her brother. If you think this will aid her, if you think this will aid you, if

this will right all the wrongs I have done, then kill me. Do not involve anyone else, strike me down, here and now.”

Zelos’ grip tightened around the blade. He whipped it forward with a broad swing.

The soft slurp of metal parting flesh could barely be heard.

-------------------------------------------

Part 1/2


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Grand Viper

Senior Member

03-24-2013

“What do you mean he’s not in the Placidium?” Irelia glared at the guard who told her the news. “What you mean he has not been seen in nearly two weeks?”

Private Kenji was the unfortunate soul who was chosen to speak with their captain. He and all the other guards were standing before her within their barracks. All of his friends, comrades, were watching him like a hawk as he stood in front of Irelia. They even drew straws to choose who would talk to her, with the one who drew the shortest being granted that honor. And as usual, he drew the shortest one. In fact, now that he thought about it, he always drew the shortest straw. Every single time. Like it was rigged, but how? They would let him pick first, and he always went for the one that stuck out...the...most...Oh those cheating-

“Private Kenji!” Irelia barked. “Explain!”

He looked at her and snapped to attention. His bow was jerky, nervous, almost like a doll being forced to do so in his place. “He disappeared shortly after he attacked Private Himura, ma’am!”

“Himura?” Irelia’s eyes actually softened with concern, for a split moment. Her voice quickly returned to its usual firmness as she bombarded the guard with questions. “Why did he attack Himura? Where is he? Is he alright? Was there any sign of provocation?”

Kenji knew how much their captain cared for her guards, and it pained him to tell her that one was harmed. “Himura is recovering in the medical wing from a minor concussion. He was struck behind the head, and we found a note pinned to his armor written that had an apology, with Sergeant Lito’s signature. It also said that he apparently owes Himura a night of drinks, something on those lines...?”

“And the why?”

“Well, apparently, he wanted a Manamune.”

Silence fell upon them. Irelia broke the stillness quickly enough. “What?”

“He stole Private Himura’s Manamune, ma’am.”

“That is a ridiculous reason. Why would he do that? He would have been granted his own in a month, once he was fully reinstated as a sergeant.”

“We don’t know, ma’am.”

Irelia knuckled her forehead and let out an exasperated breath. “Was anyone else harmed?”

“A Kinkou ninja, when the two collided midair.”

“Is he alright?”

“Yes ma’am. He only suffered a sprained ankle and will make a swift recovery.”

She nodded and fired a salute to them, “Thank you for telling me. Continue with your morning training routine, all of you.”

Irelia turned around and left the room, her trademark sword not at her side for once. It was odd, seeing their captain like that. Sure she wore her ceremonial armor, but she seemed almost naked without her weapon.

Kenji whistled, relieved, “Well, that didn’t go nearly as bad as we thought it would.”

The others murmured in agreement. Kenji spun around and glared at his fellow guard, growling, “So who wants to tell me why they’ve been cheating me every single time we draw straws?!”

-----------------------------------------

Irelia walked with a heavy step in deep thought. Where had he gone? Where could he have possibly gone? Soraka did not know, none of the guards seemed to know, and the Kinkou were not here. Where were they? She let out another sigh, walking down the hallways. Irelia wobbled slightly and braced herself against the wall.

Both Soraka and Karma suggested that Irelia should spend more time recovering. She had managed to start walking a bit before the Starchild’s suggested day, but that was a feat in of itself. Every step made her feel physically drained.

Irelia could not let it hold her back, she had duties to attend to. She would try taking matters a little easier, after she did two things: First was to find Zelos and ask to have dinner with him, so they could talk. This ultimately failed, since he was not here at the Placidium. Fear and worry started to grip her heart, so she decided to complete her second task.

The door to her room swung open. Like a patient dog waiting for its beloved master, her sword surged to life. Vermillion energy crackled as it soared over to her side, bouncing excitedly. Irelia smirked at the sight, and gently brushed the blade’s surface. “Hello, Chō.”

Upon touching her blade, her fingers twitched. Something filled her mind. The same voice, the same message as before, ‘I will see her at home.’ Irelia drew back, somewhat surprised. She pressed her hand against her sword again. Perhaps there was more to this message? ‘You understand me. I am one half of the successorship, the sheath. You will relate this to her: I will see her at home.

“...Zelos?” It sounded alot like him, but there was a key difference: He sounded serious. Overly serious, it could not have been him, could it? Yet, this was her only clue to his current location. Home? He was not here at the Placidium, so what could he mean by....home...

Home.

Irelia sprinted out of her room, her sword trailing quickly behind her. She screeched to a halt when she turned a corner and nearly bodychecked Jarvan.

“Lady Lito, you’ve returned,” he calmly replied, his arms outstretched and readied to catch her if need be.

Irelia stopped in time and quickly composed herself. She gave the prince a quick formal bow. “It is nice to see you, Prince Lightshield, but I am needed elsewhere. Do forg-”

“Does it require your immediate attention? I have been concerned, and-”

Jarvan was quickly silenced by a quick, informal hug from Irelia, who then drew back and bowed once more to the prince. “Jarvan, I am sorry for my rudeness and thank you for your concern. I am fine, but this business must be attended to as soon as possible. I will return within the week, before you depart for Demacia. I promise.”

Jarvan’s lips broke into a small grin, and he gave her a small nod of his head. “I understand, Irelia.”

Irelia took off running once more. Despite the distance of nearly eighty kilometers, she needed to go somewhere where she had not been in over a decade: Home.

------------------------------------------

Nearly ten hours later, from arriving at the Placidium just shortly after the crack of dawn, to roughly four in the afternoon, Irelia slowed her pace to a walk. She had taken a sporadic break, knowing that if Soraka and Karma were here, she would have had her ear talked off about having to be careful and look after herself. And of course, they were right. Irelia knew they were right, but now was not the time for rest. Still, she did try pacing herself, just so she could say that she did.

Her boot crunched onto charred ash. Despite all these years, the grass still had not grown back, not on this field. Irelia looked around at the destroyed village. Skeletons of houses, blackened, charred, barely stood in place. Another step and the sharp sound of bone cracking under her boot echoed throughout the dead landscape.

This was the result of war. Nothing living remained. At least, nothing living should have remained. Burnt to the very bedrock, it was a scar upon the land.

Yet her senses told her that someone, something, was here. She stepped through the eerily quiet village. No birds chirped. No insects buzzed. It was only the sound of her boots, softly crunching on the broken stones, bones, and weaponry of a once thriving village.

Everywhere she looked, the memories raced. Irelia stopped at one building, most of its structure collapsed. This was where they used to buy their bread. The old woman used to smile at her. She had taught Irelia how to bake her family’s secret red bean bun recipe.

Irelia remembered her entrails raining down on her.

A voice sounded like the whistle of wind hissed in her mind.

What is this? Is there anything left?

More quiet steps, more memories flooded her senses. This house had a family, the boy had a crush on her. She had one on him too, she never admitted to it, and really, it was too late to do so. She knelt down in front of the door that was ajar. Irelia saw at its base scratches, as though fingernails had maniacally tore at the wood. With a quick brush of her hand, she found the remnants of fingernails embedded in the dirt.

Why do I feel broken?

She stood up after a few moments of silence and continued to walk about the village. This street was for the vendors. Once spices, cooked meats filled the air, handcrafted pottery were strewn stall upon stall each with their own unique creative style. Now nothing but old decay could be smelled, burn marks where the stalls once were.

Irelia stopped at one spot, staring at the dirt. She reached up and touched her baos that were clipped in her hair. They were expensive, even back then. Irelia wanted them, but she wanted to buy them herself. She had done extra training, more chores, even asked for some odd jobs from the other villagers, refusing to use her father’s position as the village’s head to purchase them. The day came, and they were gone. Someone else had bought it. She was crushed at the time, but did not show it until that evening, when Zelos gave her the baos as her birthday gift. She had never seen her father laugh so much due to the scene that ensued. Zelos, on the other hand, was completely stumped as to why she was so angry. He thought she wanted them.

What was the point of this? What is my purpose?

Irelia chuckled at the memory, quickly being brought back to the present by the disembodied voice. Fragments of carbonized wood were stuck in the ground still, old support stakes for the stall.

Nothing more to reminisce here about, and she still had a little ways to go.

Eventually, she finally made it to the front doors of her old home. One could barely call it lumber, never mind a home. Nothing remained of it. Despite being burnt down to its very core, she could see where their animals used to be stabled, she could see where their kitchen used to be, where her room was, she could even see the flower garden that her father tended to so much. It was one of the last remnants of their mother, now reduced to cinder. Irelia did not bother looking at their fields, it would not change what would be found.

My home. My calling.

Here was home, so where was he? Was she wrong? She could still sense the presence, but being in this destroyed village started to unsettle her. Even her sword started to mirror her discomfort. It seemed to whine, wanting her to move away from this place.

She obliged, and started to walk once more, though this time it was aimless. Where could he be? There were not many hiding places here, and why would he hide from her?

Irelia stood in place, trying to solve the statement that had brought her here. Where else could she look?

The lake.

Irelia’s lips moved, uttering a quiet laugh. When they were children, they used to call it their home away from home. They could relax there, play there, not worry about training there. It was their sanctuary. She started to make her way towards the lake, the last location she could think that had any meaning to him and her.

It did not take long. Half an hour of walking at most. She stopped at the top of the cliff that extended over the lake itself. The hill leading up to this precipice gently sloped down to a secondary hill, which had a much steeper incline towards the lake itself. She used this route out of habit more than practicality. Irelia did not peer over the side as of yet, taking in the memory of her time here, soaking in it.

Here, the first time Zelos brought her to the lake, he jumped off the cliff into the lake. She followed him afterwards, despite how frightening the drop was. When she hit the water, she thought it would be a funny joke to stay submerged, swim behind her brother and surprise him. Never in her life had she ever seen him so scared. Looking back at it, Irelia could easily guess why, though she did not understand at the time.

With a single step, she was at the edge of the ledge. Irelia peered down, and saw at the bank of the murky, disgusting body of water, there was a man looking out at it.

Irelia quickly raced down, memories flooding her mind.

After they had gone for a swim, she found an irelia blossom. The trees they grew from were a rarity, and only seen around the Placidium due to the Nexus empowering the soil’s fertility there. They had gone to investigate, when young Irelia found a gosling.

Irelia slid down the steep hill. She could see patches of grass was still growing here, some foliage here and there, as well as a few skeletons stripped of flesh.

The memory continued to play in her mind.

The gosling’s mother found her and attacked her. Not quite sure how to react, young Irelia tried punching it to no avail. Loud screeches, honks and squawks filled her ears, feathers and wings covered her eyes and she was not sure what to do. That was when Zelos peeled it off of her and threw the goose away. Instead of being deterred, it flew back at him and attacked him once more. Back then, they called it the “battle of the bear cub”. It was because Zelos was too embarrassed to admit that he got beat by a goose, and told that lie to their father. Still, she remembered the look on his face, his smile, despite the blood that flowed from behind his ear. The young boy, holding his bruised wrist as the flustered goose waddled away, satisfied with her physical victory, and he satisfied with his own personal victory.

“Irelia? Is that you?”

The disembodied voice rang out again. ‘I am whole.

She had made her way to the bank of the lake. Zelos turned around, and for a split moment, she saw the young boy looking at her, grinning , asking, “Are you alright, Irelia?”

The disembodied voice and Zelos sounded oddly-

Irelia blinked. Her brother’s robes were darker, more crusted. The once emerald, turqoise robes were now a muddled, dark sanguine. A strange coating was evident, as though his clothing had been soiled by some viscous liquid. In his hand he gripped a Manamune, caked in dried blood. He was looking at her, dead pan facial expression save for the strange grin plastered on his face. “Are you alright, Irelia? The trip here wasn’t bad?”

Zelos’ Manamune hissed at her, ‘A foe. Kill her. Aim for her neck.’

That was the source of the voice.

Let me taste blood once more. Spill hers. No hesitation.

Irelia’s sword violently reacted. It started to crackle with vermillion energy, as though it were responding to the voice.

Zelos nodded and looked around, observing the scene about them. With a heavy sigh, he planted the sword into the ground in front of him. The voice was stifled. Eventually, after clicking his tongue slow succession and staring at the sword for far too long, Zelos looked her in the eye.

It unnerved her.

“Zelos?”

“So, I guess we have some things we need to talk about, eh?”


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Kenson

Senior Member

03-28-2013

I demand a conclusion!


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Novakiller13

Member

03-29-2013

o.o I'm not sure what happened but i'm hoping riven isn't dead.


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AngryGyarados

Member

03-31-2013

Unfortunately, it appears that she is either dead or hideously mutilated. (my sympathies, Riven's not a bad champ.) And I believe Zelos is trying to create a Muramana for some twisted reason, believing it will save Irelia's soul. Not exactly the smartest move there.

Viper I command you to bring a conclusion!


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Grand Viper

Senior Member

04-06-2013

The conclusion isn't coming yet, but it is in sight!

Chapter 21

“Zelos,” Irelia’s tone lowered, nearly a growl, her eyes wide open and focused on her sanguine stained brother’s clothing. “Whose blood is that?”

Zelos grinned and shook his finger at her as he started to pace. “Does that really matter, Irie? Blood is blood, after all. Does it matter whose blood it is?”

“Zelos. Whose blood?”

“Doesn’t matter,” he replied. “The point is that it’s blood, right?”

Irelia balled her hands into tight fists. “Zelos, I will not ask again. Whose blood stains your clothes and your sword?”

Zelos clicked his tongue a few times, and then looked at his sister, a large grin on his face. “I spoke to Riven.”

Her face drained itself of all color. No, he couldn’t have, could he? Not Zelos, not to her. She made a good impression on him, right?

“Quick question, Irie,” he rolled his head about, almost satisfied with what he had said. “When were you going to tell me?”

“I was going to tell-”

“Too late now!” he chirped. Zelos burst into a fit of laughter. “I spoke to good ol’ Riven, Riven the Butcher, Nevir, whatever. She had quite a lot to say, Irie, quite a lot! So! The woman who destroyed our village, the woman who did yadda yadda, and you befriended her! I mean, I always wanted your sense of humor to improve, but...” He took a break here, wiping a tear away from his face due to his merriment. “Befriending a monster? Pretty stupid.”

A crackle of vermillion energy tore across the face of Irelia’s sword while she kept her usual stoic composure.

This earned another bout of laughter from Zelos. “Oh no, Irelia’s mad! What’s going to happen if I make her too angry?”

“She was my friend, Zelos...” Irelia’s emerald eyes lost their liveliness. They became dark, cold, staring at her brother. “How could you? H-”

“Have you seen this lake?” Zelos’ attention span was seemingly sporadic, he was still grinning, still laughing. “Look at it, a complete mess. I see some dead fish floating riiiight over there!”

He pointed and true to his word, fish carcasses floated about. They were barely fish, preserved by whatever chemicals that seeped from the village into the body of water.

“Let’s go for a walk, huh, Irie? This is way too depressing.”

Zelos grabbed his sword and took off sprinting.

‘Butcher her, slaughter her! Blood! More blood! Always more bl-’

He stabbed the rock face of the bluff they had leapt off of so many years ago. Zelos quickly climbed, using the sword to pull himself up the rocks. The Manamune could only spout the occasional threat as it was stabbed repeatedly to help secure his ascent.

“Zelos, what are you doing? You’re being ridicu-”

“Of course it’s stupid!” he fired back a wild laugh at her. “That’s life, Irie! Life is ridiculous! Life is one long, ridiculous, awful joke!”

Irelia decided to ascend the way she came, the steep hill. By the time she ran up it, she saw Zelos already running towards the village. She took off in a sprint after him.

“Come on, come on!” Zelos taunted as he ran backwards, staring at her with that same grin. Despite not seeing the rotting, broken wagon, he jumped up and evaded the obstacle with ease. “No reason to lag behind!”

“Zelos!” Her voice cracked. Something started to churn in her stomach, an unfamiliar emotion. “What is wrong with you?!”

He finally skidded to a halt in front of their old home. Zelos waited for some scant seconds for Irelia to catch up. He rested the Manamune against one of the few still standing support beams for the house, whistled and nodded at the feat his sister performed. “You’ve gotten much faster, Irelia. Amazing. Really, it is.”

“Zelos! Why did you hurt Riven?” Irelia was hunched over, her brow knitted, her lips drawn back into a snarl. “Why would you do that?”

“Why wouldn’t I? Isn’t that my duty?” Zelos snapped his fingers and pointed at Irelia, crowing at her. “My turn for a question, sis: Why did you make that promise to Riven?”

Irelia stepped back, blinking a few times. “Promise...? You, asked her? She told you?”

“Of course she did, why wouldn’t she in our final moments?” Zelos waved a disciplinary finger at her face. “Ah ah ah! You’re avoiding the question! Why’d you make that promise to Riven?”

Irelia’s emerald eyes bore into Zelos, who seemed so happy and so giddy with himself. “Because I believed in her. Because she became something better than what she was. Instead of being a monster, she became a person. I made that promise because she would no longer be the person whom I had grown to respect and care for as a friend.”

“Grown to respect and care...Irelia, are you mentally damaged?” Zelos’ voice took a sharp turn, nearly screeching at her. “She slaughtered our friends! Our neighbors! Do you respect her because you can hold hands and go la la la we killed a lotta people together?!”

Irelia blinked. She was taken off guard, and so, she reacted out of emotion. “How...why would compare her to me like that?” She screamed at him, her swords roaring to life and pointed at her overly calm brother. “She realized what she was doing was wrong and wanted to make things right! How dare you?”

“And you haven’t? That wasn’t what I was insinuating, Irie, sheesh. So, that high horse? Off of it, shoo sh-”

“STOP! MOCKING! ME!”

Irelia was breathing heavily, staring at Zelos with empty eyes, her swords nearly enveloped by her vermillion chi. “Stop it! Stop mocking me! Stop making light of this! You killed my friend because she did something atrocious?! What did she do so wrong?! She killed our friends and neighbors, yes! I killed hers! I killed mothers, fathers, aunts and uncles! I killed their children and cousins and whatever gods damned label you can put on them! I killed them all! No mercy! No second chance! Nothing! I painted the entire field in their blood! Is killing the only reason she deserves death? If so, then so do I!”

------------------------------------------------
Battle of Placidium

A young Irelia walked towards the battlefield, the sound of wood crunching underneath her heel reverberated through the still air. The Ionians were being pushed back despite their gallant charge. The Noxians were advancing when both sides saw a this young girl walk towards them. She was the one who had killed one of their necromancers. She could hear a gruff order be given, and a hail of arrows were fired at her. She was to be made an example by the sun blocking barrage. Irelia could hear each and every one of them scream for blood. Many of the arrows landed, though not one harmed Irelia. The arrows that did not land were suspended mid-air by an invisible force, creating a pathway for Irelia to walk through. A flick of her wrist sent them flying back to their owners, pointed end first. The first screams of pain made the Noxians rush this young girl en masse.

Spears and pikes were stabbed at her in an attempt to kill her before she could come any closer. Irelia glided by them effortlessly, flowing like a coursing river, and as she flowed past them she felt Noxian blood splash her face. She did not retreat, she did not relent, she continued her walk down the battlefield, twenty men decapitated and dismembered in her wake.

Noxian cavalrymen charged, lances aimed to pierce her chest. Her sword split apart, chi energy blitzing around it, and cleaved horses and riders in twain as she continued her advance unabated. Gore splashed on her, Irelia still walked forward, not bothering to wipe it off her face. She barely even noticed. The Noxian cohorts were now thoroughly perturbed by the sight of this young girl butchering them without raising a hand, and with the pressure from the Ionian forces, they were not sure what to do now. That was when the Zaunite war machines rumbled into view and into position. They had finally come, the promised tanks that would annihilate the Placidium. Not even this deterred Irelia. Though they belched hellfire and smoke at her, she continued her advance.

Irelia looked at one of the machines, green fire churned from its engines. It was the same kind of machine that destroyed her village. She pointed one finger at the cockpit, and a single blade materialized into existence in front of her. It was a vibrant, glowing vermillion. Her first chi forged blade, dubbed the Transcendent Blade technique. She did not know how she knew it, but the memories of its process raced through her mind as if it had always been there, as if she had always known. It shot forth. Instead of clanging off the protective hull and glass, the blade flew through as though nothing tried to hinder its path. Irelia could feel the life of the driver slip away, and the machine veered towards the other Zaunite war machines. It crashed, spewing the emerald flames everywhere. Irelia finally stopped walking when she was well behind the Noxian lines, having cleaved a pathway through the middle of them. The green fires of the hextech tank danced behind her as her doll like expression changed to one of absolute determination.

Then she charged.

The Noxian infantry did a knee jerk response and rushed towards her in their attempt to overwhelm a young girl with sheer numbers. Noxian men and women were dying so quickly they barely had time to scream before they hit the dirt. Blood ran freely, creating a river of gore, crimson and metal shrapnel from shattered weaponry and armor. Some of the Noxians and Ionians actually stopped their fighting with one another and watched in awe her four blades cut into Noxians and Zaunites alike with deadly precision. Irelia’s empty hands were just a ploy, as she caught any blade or weapon that came close to her and impaled their owners with fluid techniques and skills. Irelia vaulted herself over the enemy forces and rained death from above. Their own Noxian forged, Noxian owned weaponry had followed her to the skies and were now used to slaughter their forces via a rainstorm of metal, blades and death.

Once she landed, chi forged blades started to encircle her as she drove deeper and deeper into the cohort. Each stroke was expertly executed, each strike flinging crimson onto the field like a master artist stroking his brush onto a canvas.

In less than five minutes, an entire cohort of Noxians lay dead.

Irelia took a moment to calculate where her next target was when a blade was plunged into her side. She did not react, a simple glare was all that was needed to stop the sword from cutting any deeper into her. A single twitch of her eyes and the weapon promptly withdrew and embedded itself into its owner’s heart. The sword had despised its master, for using it the way it did, she decided to grant the sword its burning desire.

Irelia was constantly surrounded by enemy blades. It was strange how each of them missed her by just a hair, as if they were guided by an invisible hand while she continued to cleave through them.

The Noxian forces were in complete disarray while the Ionians started to push forward. Seeing that they were being pushed back by a lone little girl slaughtering their army, and all of the Ionian forces, the Noxians attempted to flee. The Zaunite war machines were nearly spinning in circles, trying to avoid their contractor's armies. They were clearly unsure of what they should do. This was quickly rectified by the familiar face of Master Yi. He leaped from Zaunite war machine to Zaunite war machine, killing the crew in quick succession. The confusion Irelia provided was all he needed to strike efficiently at the muscle of the Zaunite/Noxian army.

Eventually the Noxians decided to try to retreat, but Irelia pursued them still. They would not escape her. No, they did not deserve to escape, they did not deserve to live. One man, missing his arm, writhing on the ground in agony and his own blood managed to catch sight of Irelia. He gurgled a plea, his eyes overflowing with tears. "Please, don't-!" his head flew off in mid-sentence.

Irelia continued running after the remnants, stabbing into the backs of the Noxian cowards that dared to flee. A man stopped and turned to face her, a voice cried out, "Dad! No!"

"Go!" He stood his ground for a full second. Irelia ran by him, the sound of a circular saw ripped through the air as the man, his shield and his armor were torn to shreds.

The man's son turned around, charging and screaming bloody murder at Irelia, his weapon raised above his head. The young man, full of sound and fury, cried out in pain as Irelia ran him through with his own weapon. His head fell to the side, his body convulsing as his death rattle escaped his lips.

Irelia paid no attention to him, stepping onto the corpse and walking over him. She could see that there were more Noxians running, and so she took off after them yet again. Irelia was not done yet, not with them. They would all pay.

------------------------------------------------

Zelos’ grin instantly disappeared. His eyes burned with anger, his voice matching his expression. “Now I know you’re being stupid.” He crossed his arms, any sign of his relaxed composure now gone. “So what if you did? They were invading. They were the aggressors. They were the ones who wronged us. What you did was necessary.”

“That’s all it was!” Irelia yelled back. Her voice lost any sense of her usual formality. “That’s all it was, Zelos! Necessary! Here I am, the war hero! Here I am, the woman who slaughtered them! The one necessary!”

“So why Riven, hm?” Zelos tilted his head, staring at her. “I’m not sure still, really. Help clarify things here for me, Irelia. Did she save you in the war? Did she buy you some great pastries, are you in love with her? Or maybe, you think the two of you are similar in some way? I think it’s this. If so, what is it that makes you and her so similar that you can relate to her on such a level? You did what was necessary, what she did was aggression. What she did was cause, you reacted. If they had not caused the war, you would not have reacted. So why did you befriend her out of every Noxian, hm? Why her?”

A hard swallow. Irelia was not sure how to respond to Zelos. She had only seen him this angry once before, the day their father died. She screamed at him, she yelled and cried, she wanted to see their father but Zelos would not allow her. Irelia, in a fit of emotion, called him heartless. That was the first and last time she had ever seen him truly angry.

Was he angry at her? It did not feel that way. Her sword quietly hummed in her mind the same words he had said before, he was the sheath. If that was the case, then what was going on? This did not make sense. She would have to play whatever game he had in mind a little longer.

Irelia gave her head a quick shake, her blades whining ever so slightly as they reassembled themselves behind her. She attempted to maintain her composure once more. “...Do you know what we gained from the war, Zelos? Do you know what Ionia gained from the combat, the bloodshed, the destruction, the losses?”

“Obviously not you. You were already there, right? In Ionia, in mind and in spirit. I know that much, my geography isn’t that bad.” Zelos shook his head. His left eyebrow twitched three times before he spoke. “Do you care, Irelia?”
Irelia raised an eyebrow, she was confused by the sudden topic changing question. “Care? About what?”

“About anything,” he shrugged. “Honestly, do you give even the faintest damn, Irie? You only did what’s necessary, right?”

“What...are you insinuating?”

Zelos whistled, went quiet as though he fell into deep thought, and eventually replied, “I’m saying maybe you enjoy this.”

“Enjoy what?”

“I really have to spell it out for you, huh? I’m being that cryptic?” Zelos swiveled his finger about the entire field. “This. All of this. This death, this destruction, you enjoy it, right?”

A burst of laughter roared from Irelia. She nearly fell to the ground, half sobbing, half laughing at such a statement. “Why would you say something like that? How dare you?"

“Correct me if I’m wrong, sis, at any p-”

“YOU ARE WRONG!” Irelia closed the distance between the two of them and grabbed Zelos’ gi. She could feel the crusted blood snap and crackle on her fingers. “I do not enjoy this! I did not enjoy doing what I did! I do not like killing, I do not like hurting, I am not a sadist! I am not a sociopath! I did what was necessary, I won a war that made absolutely no gains and with all of my strength I could do nothing to move the Ionian people to win back our territories! I never knew our mother, I lost father when I was ten years old, you disappeared, presumed dead, and I couldn’t defend our own village! Look at this, Zelos! Look at it! I failed, Zelos! I failed! I only succeed when I’m necessary, and am I necessary anymore? There is no war! There is no fighting! I’m going to die soon anyways, so why not use me to my fullest purpose?! If it were up to me I would have killed Syndra and tried to give our people a semblance of peace instead of a looming threat, not because I enjoyed a single moment of harming her! If you had not shown up, I would have done what is necessary!”

“And you would have hated yourself for it, more so than you apparently do. Not the point, at this time. If you’re not a sadist, if you do not enjoy harming others, then why are you hurting me?” he asked in a calm tone. Zelos reached over and grabbed Irelia’s hands. She flinched, they were as cold as death. “Is it necessary? Irie, answer me this, please: What do you want for me?”

“I want you to be happy you idiot! That hasn’t changed!” she yelled back at him. Her sword inched closer, hovering near the two siblings. “I want you to be happy!”

“And is this making me happy?” Zelos tilted his head, confusion evident in his tone. “Is the fact that you’re willing to let the lineage die with you making me happy? How would you be able to train a successor within a year, Irelia? I assume this is what you thought, because I certainly don’t have the same knowledge you do of the Hiten style, its skills and techniques, yet you want me to have a family. What then, will happen, when you die, and I have a family? My knowledge, let’s be honest, it’s not as-”

“You’re Zelos!” she cried. “You’re my brother! You trained with father far longer! You could carry some form of-”

“Some form,” he interrupted. “Not the true art. It would be changed, shifted into something different. It wouldn’t be the Hiten style anymore.”

“Good! Then no one else will have to suffer like we do!” Irelia was shaking. Anger? Frustration? She was not sure. She tended to keep herself calm, collected, but he was making it increasingly more difficult to do so. “Then-”

“You don’t get to make that choice, Irie, only the successor does.”

Zelos shoved Irelia off of him. The only reason she did not lose balance was because her sword caught her. Irelia did not know how to react to this scenario, it was surreal to her. Zelos reached over and grabbed the Manamune. “Funny thing, Irelia, very funny thing. In about ten minutes, the Kinkou will descend, and they will see who the winner is between us.” He cricked his neck. “Now it’s my turn, Irelia, to say something. What I want, is for you, to be happy. Now, how can I do this? I of course, have to ask you this: Who are you, Irelia?”

“...What?” Irelia’s face went blank. She was not sure how to react. That was a stupid-

“Who are you, Irelia?” he pressed again. “Who is Irelia to you? Me? Who Zelos is to me, is an older brother who cares about his little sister, who will do anything and everything for her, to make her happy. Who is Irelia to you?” Zelos drummed his fingers on the flat of the Manamune, each strike making it scream at its wielder for teasing it so. “Who did you want to become? Is this what you wanted to do with your life? Are you where you expected you wanted to be in however many years? What do you want, Irelia?”

Irelia could not continue eye contact. She actually gave in and allowed her gaze to fall down to the ground. “...I want you to be happy.”

“What else?”

“...I...”

“What. Else? I would like a girl with some wide hips and thick luscious hair, I’d like a few million coins, I’d like to travel around Valoran a bit because I’ve been everywhere else but there. I’d like to see if it’s possible to go flying! Who are you, Irelia? What are your desires? Do you want to die? Maybe you do, which of course, would mean you’re laughing in the face of everyone who tried helping you.”

Irelia’s head snapped upwards. She re-established eye contact with her brother. “Does it matter what I want anymore? I want people to be happy. I want my friends to be happy, I want you to be happy, without me. I don’t want to die, Zelos...but it’s going to happen. It’s-”

Zelos sliced the air, a blade wind actually pushing her long hair away from her face. She could see a few strands float down in front of her. “Of course it will happen, but you do not need to accept it in such a way. Besides, that’s not all that you want, is it? Come on, Irelia, tell me the truth. What do you want? What was it that Udyr fought for? Was that a lie as well, hence what happened to the charm I made you?”

Irelia’s hand instinctively fell to her fauld, the metal plate protecting the bag she carried it in.

“Why’s it broken, Irie? Don’t think I didn’t see when you first showed me. I can see more than you think, I know more than you think, and I saw how someone repaired it. So! Was it a fit of jealousy? Maybe you had what you wanted all this time, and didn’t tell anyone.”

“No...It’s-”

“Was it a fit of anger because I wasn’t there? I can’t blame you for that, but does that mean you hate me Irelia?”
Her eyes sharpened. Her tone was angrier.“Stop putting words in m-”

“Then talk, tell me, what happened to the wooden charm, Irie? What happened after the battle, Irelia?” Zelos tapped the Manamune on his shoulder, staring at her all the while, his left eyebrow twitching three times. “Akali asked me to ask Soraka, but I want to hear from you. What happened after the battle, Irelia? What was it that broke the charm? What could have caused you to break it? Was it because you wanted me to be happy? Did it make you happy? Was that your goal?”

Part 1/2


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Grand Viper

Senior Member

04-06-2013

-------------------------------------------------

Battle of Placidium

Finally, the Noxian forces retreated. The Ionians continued to pursue them, and Irelia made her way back to the assassin and Soraka. The two of them watched Irelia advance. Almost every inch of her body was soaked in blood, from her gore covered boots to her long, once dark, hair. The assassin looked around, trying to find a countryman that remained, someone who could possibly aid her.

All that was left alive on this field was the assassin, Irelia, and Soraka.

Soraka moved to stop the advancing young woman. She spoke in a calm voice. "Irelia, you have won the day. Let us return to the Placidium and have you washed and prepared for the assured celebration."

Irelia looked at the crimson haired assassin still on the ground. "No. There is one Noxian left to take care of."

"Irelia, that is unnec-"

"What? What is it? This is war. She is a casualty."

Soraka drew back. Irelia's eyes were burning with such hatred that it visibly shook Soraka. Irelia stepped towards the assassin, Soraka stood her ground. Irelia did not say a word, she shoved the Starchild off her feet and onto the ground. Her father's sword suspended itself in front of Soraka, stopping her from trying to interfere with what was going to happen next.

Irelia knelt down and grabbed the hilt of the blade still embedded in the Noxian's shoulder. With one fluid pull she tore it out, a crimson trail following the entire length of the blade. The Noxian grunted in pain, she clutched her shoulder in agony. Irelia grabbed the wounded shoulder and pulled the Noxian to her feet. Shoving her backwards, Irelia started a new assault with a punch to the Noxian's abdomen. The sound of ribs cracking echoed in the air. Irelia kicked the Noxian's kneecap, feeling it dislocate under her boot.

Irelia fired fist after fist at the Noxian's face and abdomen. The Noxian tried fighting back, but the blood loss from before was too much, and the clumsy swing she made resulted in having her forearm snapped. The Noxian woman staggered back, trying not to black out. Irelia grabbed her opponent’s head who had blood freely flowing from her lips and swollen eye. Irelia's face and tone were expressionless. "Have you had enough?"

"Is that what your dad used to ask you after special hour every night?" the Noxian said before spitting on Irelia's face.

The bloodied spit on Irelia's cheek barely mattered in color. Irelia touched the spit, looked at the Noxian, and promptly broke her jaw. The Noxian fell backwards onto the ground, Irelia reached down for one of the many knives strapped to the Noxian. Her fingers danced from one blade to the next, as though she were searching for a particular dagger. Eventually her fingers brushed across a knife that screamed for the death of the Starchild. Perfect. Irelia unsheathed it and tested its weight in her hand. She then looked at the Noxian, the same toneless voice and blank expression. "Why did you want to kill Soraka?"

The Noxian smiled as best as she could, "'CuzI was toldto. Thisiswar."

Irelia nodded, her thin lips parting into a smile. "That's right. It's just war. No one is hurt in war, no one is at fault in a war. Just soldiers, just peons, killing because someone told them to."

Irelia mounted the Noxian, who was chuckling at the Ionian girl all the while. "Y'gunna killme anytime soon or areyou tryin'to kissme?" Her jaw really inhibited her ability to speak, though it spoke volumes of her pain tolerance for her to be able to speak at all.

"The moment you ask for it, I will kill you."

Before the Noxian could react, Irelia made a long, vertical incision from the left side of the Noxian's forehead and down past her cheekbone, taking special care to miss the eye. The knife just trailed over the eye, a millimeter or two lower and it would slice the iris. She wanted the Noxian to see all of this. The Noxian snorted and grunted in pain. "Isthatall? ****you."

Irelia made the same incision again; she could feel the knife scrape bone. The Noxian gasped in a mixture of shock and pain.

Irelia cocked her head at the Noxian in confusion. "Did that hurt?"

Soraka was standing up now. She tried to move forward to no avail, the sword had now split apart and pointed at her threateningly. No matter where she moved to, the blades stopped her. Any plea the Starchild made fell on deaf ears.

Irelia sliced into the Noxian's face again, same wound, same length. She could feel the bone grind away under the edge of the blade. "You deserve this, you gods damned Noxian. Do you know what you people took from me?"

Another incision, deeper this time. The bone flaked into the wound. The Noxian squirmed in sheer, unrelenting agony, "You come here and you take my brother. You destroyed my village. You killed my friends. You killed my neighbors. You killed almost everyone I know." Irelia made another brutal incision, her tone unchanging. "And you were going to kill Soraka. And for what? For war? Because you were told to, right?"

The Noxian woman's body writhed in agony. She gritted her teeth, tears forming at the corner of her eyes despite her best efforts to withstand the pain. "Yes."

A small smile crept on Irelia's face, "That's all the reason you had to try and take everything away from me. We did not provoke an attack. You people got this idea that we would be an easy victory, show us your big weapons and we would let you walk over us. When that failed, you torch our homes, burn our families, torture our friends, enslave survivors! And for what reason? Because we said no to your rule? If I died, you would have killed Soraka. Ionia would have fallen, you would have killed the Elders, and you would have killed Karma. All because we said no to you. Is that right? The lives of those already fallen weren't enough, you had to try and kill more. You people wanted me dead because I wanted to fight back, right?"

Irelia deepened the incision. She lifted the fleshy edges of the wound, exposing the bloodied skull underneath it. She let the flesh fall back into place. She tapped the side of the Noxian's face with the flat of the blade. "Am I right?"

The Noxian struggled, tears forming. Irelia violently slashed at the wound, making the Noxian scream.

"Tears aren't going to solve anything. Yes, or no?"

"Yes!"

Irelia patted the Noxian's head, her tone not denoting her condescending words. "Now, that wasn't so hard, was it? I know how much that must have hurt." Her voice quivered in pitch, becoming low and threatening., "I have only one last thing to ask of you."

The Noxian was breathing in and out heavily, looking at Irelia, waiting for her request.

"Scream for me."

The Noxian tilted her head at Irelia, shocked. Did an Ionian really just say that?

"Katarina Du Couteau, the Sinister Blade. The reports do not lie. You said that statement to my countrymen before you killed them. Those you caught, you made sure their death was slow. They say you looked them in their eyes before you killed them, to see the last bit of fear in their life."

Irelia grabbed Katarina's neck, dragging her face towards her own, holding the bloodied Noxian a breath's away. Katarina stared at the cold, hate filled eyes of a young Ionian girl. "I will make you scream."

Irelia released Katarina's neck and went to work on the wound once more. Soraka tried calling out to Irelia, but the blades held her back from intervening once more. Her pleas fell on deaf ears, and she was forced to watch the scene unfold.

Irelia remained quiet as she deepened each cut ever slightly more, Katarina was screaming in complete agony by the tenth incision. By the fifteenth incision the Noxian girl asked for enough. Irelia stopped, looking at Katarina with a confused expression. "Did you stop for my countrymen?"

Katarina was breathing heavily she was barely holding on to consciousness. Irelia's voice was oddly the only anchor the Noxian had to the waking world.

"If you can name one countryman that you spared of mine when they asked for mercy, I will release you."

Katarina was panting too heavily to respond, her body convulsing and trying to escape Irelia to no avail. Irelia's lips parted into a smile once more as she hacked another incision into Katarina's face. Bone shards puffed out of the wound. "I thought so."

Seventeenth. Eighteenth. The nineteenth incision made Katarina scream out, "Youwin! Killme! Killme!"

Irelia cocked her head in confusion. "What? Did you say cut me? Cut me?" Irelia flipped the knife and let the tip drag deep into the incision.

Katarina half screamed, half sobbed, "KILL ME!"

Irelia burst out in a fit of disturbing, giggling laughter. "Oh! Kill you!" She leaned in close to Katarina, "Not yet. I'm not done yet."

"Doit! Youwin!" she cried.

Irelia looked at Katarina, tracing the knife along her body. "That is only one hundredth of the pain you Noxians made me feel. I'm not done yet." Irelia tapped the side of her own face thoughtfully; she rested the knife at Katarina's breast. Using one finger, she rotated the knife ever so slightly, not hard enough to penetrate the leather armor but hard enough to let Katarina feel the pressure of the tip. As Irelia tapped her cheek, she felt a new moisture precipitate on her face.

She moved her hand into view. The moisture made the blood run off her fingers ever so slightly. A tear? No, it was spit from the Noxian. Had to be spit, she had no tears left in her. That is all, just this Noxian's insolent spit. Irelia wiped her face, the droplet smudging the blood on her face. She would not shed tears. Why was she questioning herself? She was doing what was right. This Noxian deserved this, and if she couldn't have the Butcher then this Noxian would supplement for her. They all deserved this. They all did this. This made sense, this was reasonable, she was not wrong. Right, Zelos? She reached to her neck to gain some confidence, but felt nothing there.

Irelia shot off of Katarina like a bullet. She fell down to the earth and started to wildly scratch at it. Katarina didn't care to ask why Irelia released her. She took the opportunity and reached down with her good arm, snapped her knee cap back into place and promptly disappeared. Irelia's blades pulled away from Soraka, letting her finally approach the young Ionian.

Soraka had tears running down her face, she moved to try and reach for Irelia but stayed back for her own safety. Her blades were furiously stabbing the earth, tearing soil out in large, frustrated clumps. Irelia was in near hysterics, her breath hiccupping. "Zelos! Zelos? Where are you Zelos?"Irelia's fingernails scratched at the earth so hard that they started to tear off. Irelia crawled in the dirt, still pitifully calling out for her missing brother. "Zelos? Zelos!"

Soraka watched the pathetic display as Irelia crawled through the battlefield and the gore, screaming her brother's name. She finally stopped when something cut her finger. Irelia looked down and saw little wood fragments stuck in the earth, a leather string mashed underneath a boot print. Irelia dug at the earth and retrieved every piece of the wooden charm, from the smallest splinter to the largest chunk. She rocked her body with it, "Zelos…don't leave me again…You promised you wouldn't leave me…You promised… Zelos…I won…you can come back now…Don't be angry, please don't…Don't leave me again…Just come back…"


------------------------------

Irelia looked away, not meeting Zelos’ eyes. “Some people think that I died that day when the Noxian necromancer tried to tear my soul out. That I ceased being Irelia, and became a puppet to the will of my blades.” She shook her head, still maintaining eye contact with Zelos. “Only a part of me died that day, the day the Will of the Blades was born.”

He was not sure how this pertained to his question, and waited for her to continue. His left eyebrow twitched three times.

“When I fell, I heard a voice. It...it sounded like you. Whatever Soraka did, it sounded like you. Father was there...Mother was there, wherever I was. They were there, and they were smiling at me. Maybe it was the afterlife, but it didn’t matter. I was at peace, Zelos. I was content. But, I wasn’t done, not yet. Father wanted me to go back, and he said if I did, he would show me the true form of the Hiten style. I...I didn’t, at first. I thought maybe, maybe it was alright to rest. My countrymen needed me, I could hear their screams. I decided I would try, and so, I did, and nearly failed.” Irelia’s shoulders quaked. Her eyes actually brimmed with tears, ones she brushed away with the back of her hand, quickly drying her eyes. “Then I heard your voice. You were there, or so I thought. I open my eyes, and I see Soraka, and some shadow falling down on her. You weren’t there. You weren’t there...”

“I don’t know when it broke. I had it on me on moment, the next moment it was gone. After the battle, I went back for the assassin that attacked Soraka. I beat her nearly to death, pinned her to the ground, and I scarred her face. I carved the same wound twenty times over in the same place. When I moved on to another section of her, I could feel...feel tears, forming at my face. It...it wasn’t me, it wasn’t who i wanted to be. But she deserved it, yes? She deserved what I was doing to her. I needed to reassure myself, to make sure that you would approve of it, of what I was doing. I reach up, and you’re missing. You’re not there.”

Irelia held her hands up, and showed at the ends of her fingernails, lightly discolored scar tissue could be seen. It meshed so well with the rest of her skin tone, that it was barely noticeable. “I lost your charm. I scrounged in the dirt for it, looking for it, I was screaming the entire time, ‘Zelos! Zelos!’ as though you could hear me. My life’s goal was not to hurt you, nor forget you, Zelos. I did not break your charm on purpose. That was an accident, and one I can never take back no matter how hard I tried to fix it.” The Ionian woman wrung her hands, seemingly ashamed of the confession she was about to make. “I...I just wanted my brother back. I wanted him to be there. I wanted to show him that...that I didn’t fail him. I kept my promise. What I wanted...all my life, what I wanted, was for my brother to be proud of me. To walk beside him, and have him see me as his equal.”

Zelos nodded and extended his right arm out. His left hand was free of holding the weapon, and he gave her a quick pity clap via slapping his right forearm. His left eye twitched three times. “Irelia, you could be a serial killer and I’d be proud of you. I’d help you bury the bodies. However, what I’m not proud of, is the fact that you’re lying to me.”

Before she could reply, he clarified himself. “You didn’t see the afterlife or whatever.” Zelos pointed at her floating sword. “Odayakana Chō told you, didn’t it? A Hiten user was needed once more. That’s how you figured out half the **** about the Hiten art, that sword told you. It told you and you were able to unlock its potential, even at that age. Truly amazing.”

Zelos pulled his arm back and started to spin the Manamune in hand. “So! It spoke to you, right? Come on, don’t act like I’m crazy, no point in hiding it now!”

“Don’t....don’t be silly, Zelos. Swords can’t talk,” she blatantly lied.

“Yeah, knives can’t either. So what has the sword told you, Irelia? Hm?”

The young woman looked at her sword, then back at Zelos. “Does it matter?”

“Yeah...it does.” Zelos’ voice and entire demeanor softened. “I’m sorry, Irelia, for doing that to you. For disbelieving you. That is one thing I wish to apologize for, among many others. I’m sorry for leaving you, I’m sorry for that time I struck you, I’m sorry I ate your cookie that dad had reserved for you, I’m sorry I didn’t realize all of this sooner. I’m sorry you suffered this long, but I can end it. I can make you happy. I can finally make you happy.”

‘Attack already, go for the throat.’

“We never said that you were the successor. That choice was never made. So, what do I want? The big end result, what will fulfill my life? I want you to be happy. Therein lies our problem. How do we do settle this? You want me to be happy, you want to be happy, we’re both successors, and so I offer you a proposition!” He tapped his forehead with the flat of the blade.

‘So familiar...need new blood.’

“Make me the successor, and you can live the rest of your life in peace, as Irelia Lito, the woman who is combating an illness instead of Irelia the Will of the Blades, the Captain of the Ionian guard, the League champion and so on. You can find a nice hubby, have a kid, maybe live a bit longer than a year, and be at peace. No more fighting, cause fighting, that’s not who you are, are you? I can live with that.” Zelos flashed a grin at her. “A fairly simple deal, yes? You’re happy, living a longer life, I’m happy that you’re happy, and we all win.”

“That’s not what I want, Zelos,” she said without hesitation. “I want you to be happy. I don’t want you to be sick like me, I don’t want you to become bar-”

“Hey, here’s some news for you, Irie, you can’t tell me what to do,” he snapped back. “You want me to be happy? You’re giving up! You’re throwing in the towel! You’re saying this is it, I’m dying anyways, what does it matter? Have you thought of all the people you’d be hurting if you died so soon? All your guards love you, Irelia. I love you. Soraka, Karma, Master Yi? They love you. Even the frosty Akali loves you. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if Wukong dumped me for you, and Udyr wanted you to be his greatest student while Lee asked you to be his pupil. They all love you, Irelia, in their own way. And here you are, saying that you want me to be happy, and that’s it. You’re done. It’s over. You can relax finally. How is your death going to make me happy?”
“Death comes for everyone, Zelos, there’s no way to prevent it. So what if I lived another year?” Irelia chuckled and shook her head, her tone becoming morbid. “I’m a dead woman walking. I can’t have a family, I can’t act on my feelings, I can’t do anything for myself. I tried, oh I did. I tried, people tried for me. Udyr tried, to let me be me. Akali did, Soraka, Karma, they all did. In the end, it doesn’t matter. If I could sit by and watch, and see others trample over us, then maybe I could have lived a longer life.” The young woman threw her hands up in frustration. “Others may be content dying in their beds decades from now, but would you be willing to trade for all of those days that lead up to your death for the price of an atrocity? I will not. Karma, Soraka, Yi, my guards, my soldiers, all of them will be able to live on without me. They’re strong, I know they are, but you...You’re my brother. You need to be strong, and I need to know you’ll be alright without me. I need to know you’ll be happy. I’m so...so happy you’re home, Zelos. That’s the only reason why I can find any peace in this.”

Irelia took a step forward, which earned her a blade pointed at her throat. “You have the same cracks as I do. You’re...you’re so like me, Zelos. Put the sword down, there’s no point to this. You...you can avoid my fate. You can be more. You can be h-”

“Make me successor and I assure you, I will put the sword down. If you don’t, then first to draw blood is the new successor.” Zelos’ grin disappeared once more. “You will live. No matter the cost. That’s all that matters to me.”

“Zelos...They love you too. They-”

“They can all go head first burning into a ditch and die screaming,” he sharply replied. “No one, absolutely no one is above you, Irelia. You. You are all that I have left, and all that I have. All of Ionia could have been slaughtered but if you lived, I would have been just as happy. You are not going to die in a year, Irelia. Do you hear me?”

Irelia stepped back. That look in his eyes...that tone...what was this? Who was this person before her?

“What’s wrong, Irelia?” Zelos slapped the blade down on his left palm. He sliced it cleanly open and wetted the crimson crusted metal with fresh blood. “Have I said something weird?”

‘More. More!’

“Last chance, Irelia, name me successor, or I will be named successor by right.”

Irelia closed her eyes, taking a breath in. When she opened them, they lost all emotion, all life. “Then make it by right.”

Zelos slammed the Manamune into the ground in front of him, making Irelia jump back in preparation of a strike.

“One thing I learned, in all my travels, what a wise Lokfaran man said to me?” Zelos twisted the blade, a surge of vile, violent chi encapsulated the blade. It burned bright with orange, then quickly changed into some strange, bluish flames that settled onto the surface of the metal. “The good that men do? Is often interred with their bones...”

The blade of the Manamune shifted, changed. It started to become thicker, more viciously curved, more elongated. Irelia grabbed her head and screamed out in pain. Pain? What was this? It was not physical.

“But the evil that men do?” Zelos stared at the transformed blade with bored eyes. It was not a surprise to him. “That, lives on.”

It was voices, all yelling, all screaming, all thirsting for blood. What was this blade? What was this? She...remembered this sensation. Many years ago, many many years ago. She felt something like this, right? How come this was so familiar? She knew this sensation. It was a single burst, a single death knell for thousands.

Irelia’s sword split apart and surged forward with vermillion energy, aimed at Zelos. Before she could react to stop them, Zelos raised his hand and the blades stopped. The faintest amount of orange energy started to emanate from the weapon towards his fingertips.

“Sh sh sh, it’s alright. It’s between me and her, swordy. Alright? No need for you to get involved.”

The blades tilted every which way, then drew back to Irelia. Zelos chuckled and pointed at her sword, “Y’see that? Dad’s blade knows that it can’t attack another would be successor. So, you’re already handicapped. I’ve got this in the bag.”

Irelia straightened her posture, the voices constantly ringing in her ears, she could barely hear her own thoughts. The whistle of wind, and a dagger was thrown to her feet. Her eyes focused on it, trying to make sense. “Since..when can you-”

“Your old training dagger, Irie! I brought that here just for you. Come on, let’s make it like old times, when we were young. The only difference is that the stakes are higher.”

Zelos paced around Irelia, humming aloud. “No secret Hiten techniques, Irelia. I’m not going to shorten your lifespan or I really screwed up.”

Irelia grabbed the dagger and pointed it at Zelos, barely able to stand. The dagger’s warm emotions ran through her fingertips. They felt familiar. She could swear she smelled sap on its edge. That did not matter at the moment. “You...You already did.” Irelia hated telling him the truth, but she had to let him know his hypocrisy. “By making me angry, by making me yell. By making me-”

Hyena laughter interrupted her. He shook his head and tapped the side of his head, yelling at her. “That’s not what’s killing you! Emotions? Are you serious?! Look at you, Irelia! Look at the facade! Tell me this is you happy! Tell me this is you content with yourself! Tell me this is what you wanted to do when you got older! You never answered me, Irelia! What were your aspirations? Is this how you viewed yourself at this age?”

Zelos swung his blade down at her unprotected back.

Irelia spun around in time and easily caught his blade with her hand. Her eyes were lit with life, focused like a hawk on him. “You want to know, Zelos? What did I want in life?” Her fingers held the steel easily. “I wanted to run alongside you, Zelos. I wanted you to look at me as your equal for once.”

His left eyebrow twitched three times. Zelos pulled the blade back and leaped away from her. “That’s it? Pft!” He burst into a fit of laughter, his left eyebrow twitching wildly. “Alright then, come on. Go ahead. Prove you’re my equal. Dagger, against the Muramana. Younger sister, older brother. I’m not going to hold back on my next strike, Irelia.” He shifted his feet, took a stance and stared at her. “Next st-”

Zelos was barely able to parry the blow Irelia made. In fact, he outright failed to do so. Irelia had struck his sword arm so hard that the blade nearly flew out of his grip. Only by leaping away did he manage to escape her vertical slash at his exposed flank. Unfortunately, it still caught his leg.

“I have won,” she stated in a flat tone. She sounded like an automaton, no life, no care. This hurt her worse than it hurt him. “I drew blood. You’re acting strange, Zelos. Please, talk to me, we don’t have to fight about this. You just...you just need to accept it, brother.” Irelia closed her eyes, her tone resuming its usual cold formality. “I am still going to die, this fight was meaningless. If you had taken me seriously, then I would not feel as insulted as I do now.”

Zelos whistled back at her, drawing his torn hakama to the side. “Better take a looksee, Irelia. I’m not bleeding.”

Her eyes snapped open. She stared at the wound she thought she made. His hakama was torn open, only to reveal makeshift armor on his legs. Made from carved wood, Irelia’s strike elicited a deep gash on the carved shin guard. “Knowing that you could probably hear the metal from armor better, I thought to myself, ‘how can I make myself less readable, less bulky but have some protection?’ Well, then the good ol’ memories of dryads made me go, ‘why not wood?”

Zelos grabbed his gi and whipped it off, making Irelia’s eyes go wide. His body was lacerated with vicious cuts, barely sealed by stitches and some odd looking gel substance. The scars from frostbite were most clearly evident on his pectorals and his abdominals, his nipples completely missing and most of his skin discolored. His forearms were both covered with wooden arm guards strapped together by cloth. Irelia’s keen eyes and memory would recognize the cloth as the same color as the one Riven wore the last time she was at...the...Placidium...

“Come on, Irelia, it’s only fair. You came armored, I protected myself, so let’s go!” Zelos took a stance yet again, staring at his sister with a sinister smile. His sword, that grotesque blade, was screaming for her blood, for the deaths of many. Man, women, children, it wanted to feast on them all. Was this who he was now?

“...This is not what I want, Zel-”

“Since when did you ever get what you ****ing wanted, Irelia?!” he screamed back at her in a half manic voice. “Since when did you get what you wanted, Huh? When?!”

“...I had a friend, that I wanted. She gave me hope...” Irelia actually shed tears. She hastily wiped them away. “But you took that away too, didn’t you?”

“You tell me, Irelia! Do you think I did? Do you really think I would do that to you?”

Silence fell on them. Irelia’s lips moved to answer him, ‘no, you would not.’

Before she could, Zelos fell upon her again, smashing his sword in a wide horizontal arc which made her leap away. “No time to think, Irie! You can just say the words, just say I’m the successor and this will be over!”

“...No.” Irelia readied herself, inhaled, exhaled, and surged towards her brother, dagger in hand. “I will not.”