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Author's Notes/Updates: Chapter 9 has been added.
Warning: This fanfic will contain blood, violence, some gore, and language in later chapters. Aside from those, this Fanfic is for Xerath and Syndra. Please enjoy.
Chapter One: An Interesting Encounter
The Institution of War and its plaything, the League of Legends, was becoming more or an annoyance than originally thought. The summoners, as they called themselves, were among the largest thorns he had earn had the displeasure of bearing. Were it not for the nexuses, which they seemed to care little for, his time, as invaluable as it was, would not be wasted wearing the metaphorical chains of slavery to such petty mages. The fools had no idea the pyramids of power they held. Worse than they, however, were the two cities who also held access to the nexuses.
Yet, here he was, the mage who had risked his life and that of his people, to purse the greatest calling of his fellow magi: Research. He remembered all to well how it happened. Through his research, his mortal body had been racked and nearly broken. Power was what he had sought, and power was what he had earned with the price of his body. Near what normally would have been his end, he had found a way to give up what was left of his frail, weak, and otherwise useless body for one that would grant him nearly unlimited power, the body to contain such power, and, with it, immortality.
He had found a ritual to transcend his body and mind to one of pure arcane magic. Without hesitation, he began to follow it.
Chaos was what the ritual ultimately required. It was a price he paid without a second thought.
The earth shook with fear as the skies roared with fury. Bolts of both lightning and magic, mixing together into a yet more destructive form, whipped the land, scarring it for centuries to come. Whatever the lightning struck was vaporized in a violent crash, only a burn upon the crusty dirt or cracked stone remained. Anything near it, what was not killed instantly, was horribly burned or caught fire. Too close, and things became glass.
An outline of red was all that marked the grave of an animal or person.
Ripples and surges of power, from where the lightning hit water, sent devastating tidal waves crashing into whatever was in their path. Trees, growing along small lakes, were up-rooted by merciless waves from five to ten, something more, deeper waters. Whatever lived under the water was cooked instantly by the shear heat of power.
From the mage's point, all was going well.
His flesh was painfully burned from his muscles. His muscles were peeled, ripped, from his bones in a bloody mess, each and every drop of his life blood evaporating as soon as it touched the crackling air. His bones were broken into pieces, crushed into dust, and swept up into the whirlpool of arcane. His organs, what remained of his body, were ripped apart, the contents spilling out.
He was only fuel for the ritual. In exchange for his body, his mind would live on in another. In exchange for what he wrought, he would live eternally to continue his research.
It was as if the world was ending.
Finally, as quickly as it had come, the violence, the lightning, the earthquakes, stopped. All around, there were bodies of men, women, children, and animals. Dead, wounded, dying, and blackened stains where life once stood were among the destroyed or crumbling buildings. What structures were spared did not provide true safety for the ones within. Even they were at least hurt, some killed by the shock waves alone.
At the center of it all, stood the one who had caused it all. From the time it started, in mortal, human flesh of a dying body. From the time the chaos had started, his being pulled apart as an offering to the magic ritual. From the deadly silence that followed, his life forever changed with the new body he had bought for himself with years of study and research, unbelievable pain to himself and those around him, and a determination no man had ever held.
Xerath, the mage, stood. His body, looking much like living, blue and white lightning, hovered in place, the point of where his feet should be inches from the stone ground. Amazingly, his violet robes were undamaged, aside from the years of use before.
There he stood, looking over his new body with glowing white eyes and blue pupils. His hands looked more like claws, four points crackled with power whenever he flexed them, the space between cooking the air itself. What was his new legs was separated by a very small slit, yet his feet were points, both hovering off the ground. His whole body, his new, immortal body, crackled with power.
It was unlike anything he had ever imaged.
He had, at long last, become one with his life's passion: magic. He was not a being of magic, with flesh and blood and life. He was, down to his very essence, pure magic given a mind of its own. At his finger tips, he held nearly unlimited power.
However, his victory was short-lived. Days later, he was taught a lesson by his previous teachers: You reap what you sow.
His careless disregard for his actions had caused his fellow mages to see him as a threat. Together, and after a great struggle, they defeated him. He was entombed within a prison that had returned to haunt him. Within his stone tomb, he realized his robe, the threads fused with the magic that was now his life, was imbued with the stone of his sarcophagus. He was trapped, unable to break the enchantments placed to keep him in.
As time went on, days turning to weeks, and, eventually centuries, time had proved to be his ally. The enchantments had weakened, his body and time breaking it down little by little. When he finally picked away at the wall, seeing a stream of light, he unleashed himself at that one spot.
An explosion was the result. Through shear force, his power avalanche across the invisible confines of his prison, he tore apart most of what held him back. Most, was not good enough. The core, a layer of defense beyond the enchantments and his robe, a second layer in case he did escape, bound the outer layer of his sarcophagus to his magical body.
Unlike before, he was bound to this new prison, but he was free to move. He was also free to use his magic, a portion of it anyway, to what he could use. Try as he might, there was no way for him to pick this lock. At least, not without another source of powerful magic to bind it to.
The nexus, an object of pure magical power, akin and much like his body, could be substituted for his magic. If only he could get a few, he could trick the core and bind it to a nexus, freeing himself completely. However, the summoners, the keepers of the nexuses, would not allow him to use them.
If need be, he would wait. Time was, after all, his ally. Those who had imprisoned him were long dead, their descendents driven from the land and not even the same people he once knew. Immortality was still his, yet there was still so much for him to learn and power yet untapped within him.
"My, my. Aren't you a magnificent being." A voice came, waking him from his private thoughts.
Power surged through him, waking him from his slightly dormant state that had become his sleeping, and his eyes meant a new face.
It was a woman, yet no normal woman. Her long, silver hair stretched down to her waist, yet some of it floated in the air. Her attire, black and purple, was of Ionian design. A helmet, almost a crown, rested on her head. Two eyes, purple and full of power, peeked out from that crown, meeting his own white and blue eyes, showed off intelligence and lust he had seen only in his own reflection. She wore a smile with dark red lipstick on her lips, the top front of her pure white teeth, like small fangs, visible. His eyes traveled downward, taking in her full attire, before going back up to her face. Her feet were no the ground.
"I take you are the Magus Ascendant, Xerath." She said, her voice was young, in her early twenties by his estimate, sent a shiver up his spine. Fully awake, he could sense the power that emanated from her body. "My name is Syndra. I am also known as the Dark Sovereign." She introduced herself.
To be so close to him, without fear of what he was and to speak like a student to her teacher, this woman, Syndra, had gained his interest. What surprised him more was where the two of them were.
Xerath had entered the Institution's restricted areas, where they held objects of powerful. Since the events of the Crystal Scar, his services had been requested to examine items, either for his expertise or that he could touch otherwise deadly objects. Through these services, he had gained an amount of trust among the summoners, allowing him privileges others were not allowed. She was clearly new, another champion but still new.
"I am. Might I inquire your reason for being here?" He asked. He was unconcerned with how she got in, even he had to use several tricks to get in at this time. Clearly, she either strong enough or smart enough to get in.
Syndra, as she said her name was, looked him up and down before she began circling him. As she did, his head turned to follow her, much like an owl's, but, unlike an owl's, his neck could turn indefinitely. She was unfazed by this though, as she continued her silent examination of him.
When she had floated and seen his entire body, and now floated in front of him once more, her smile had widened. "I came here because I sensed something of unbelievable power. I never would have guessed it would be you." She answered. Slowly, her eyes came up to his. "You are far more intriguing than I would have ever thought." She added.
There was a click. Both their heads turning to the sound.
Xerath, moving forward, placed his hand on her shoulder, urging her to follow him. She did not question his actions, but went with him willingly. They went around a corner, hiding from view. "Stay quiet." He warned, his voice crackling with the threat. She nodded, the smile still on her face. She did not show any fear. He was beginning to like this woman.
The sound turned into voices. "Do the sight wards normally expire this early? I thought they should have lasted longer." A man, old by the sound of it, said. Thumps followed by footsteps, echoed from the hall and into the room.
"I do not know. The summoners are always making improvements to their security. Sadly, sometimes there are errors. Once, all the wards exploded, leaving ash, soot, and small holes in the walls. It was a busy week for us." Came another, younger voice.
Peeking out, he saw it was two of the guards, more no doubt arriving by the minute. The older one held in his left hand a cane, the younger one held a flashlight. Xerath did not need lights, a simple change in his magic could make him as bright as the sun, but, right now, he was a dull glow.
He looked back to the Syndra woman, she was watching him with interest. He silently gestured for her to turn around. When she did, he pushed her forward. Both could float, so there was no need to worry of them making noise, save for the crackles of his body.
A light move over the corner they just were, then along the wall. "Like always, it's clear. I'm going to hit the lights." The younger one said. There was a reply from the older one, then both their footsteps sounding.
Xerath and Syndra hid behind the corner, now making their way to the door. Casting his hand out toward the younger one, he tripped the guard with chain of arcane magic. Before he began to fall, he withdrew the chain, then raced toward the guard as he fell. Syndra, silently, was shocked by his speed, able to clear the several yard distance before she could turn her head. Grabbing the man, Xerath's hand over the guard's mouth to keep him quiet, he cast stood the guard up, a glazed look in the man's eyes as the mage returned to Syndra.
She was about to speak, but he put a finger over her opened mouth. Without her doing, her mouth closed, a tingling sensation on her lips. It felt like she bit down on an electric cord, she even felt something like waves traveling from the tops of her teeth to the bottoms, down her throat. It felt thrilling, but, at the same time, frightening. Even when he removed his finger, the effects lingered for several seconds.
He urged her forward again, and she complied once the effect ended.
Along the way out, there were no more guards. Xerath had taken the lead and found it odd. There should be more. There should have been more than two in that other room. Where were the other guards?
It was not until they were close to the public areas that he saw why. Outside, there was a giant, floating step-pyramid of Ionian design. The guards, most of them anyway, were keeping the public, staff, and League champions away. He looked to Syndra, his eyes wide with disbelief. She smiled at the look before going toward the guards.
"That's my home. I did not know where to leave it, so I just left it there." She called out.
Every eye turned to her. By the angle, no one would have seen her leaving the restricted area, never him. By the look, they would have only been passing it.
One of the guards were about to speak to her when a summoner came forward. "There you are... Syndra, was it?" The summoner asked. She nodded. "Come. We are ready to give you audience. This will decide if you will be a champion of the League of not. Are you prepared?" The summoner asked, unmoved by the large, floating building several meters from and above the public.
"I am prepared. Lead the way." She requested.
Xerath "stood" there, surprised. She was not a champion? Only now, was she being considered for the position? And that pyramid was her home? This woman, who had found him in the most restricted area of the Institution and said she had come just because of his presence, could make something so big float? She was merely a child, yet her abilities were this advanced. The Magus Ascendent, in all his years, both as mortal studying and immortal learning to use his new body from his prison, was in awe at the woman he had just meant.
He began moving again, an inner smile in his mind. For once, he was interested in hearing a judgement. Normally, even though champions could attend and cast their vote, he never did. Champions of Demacia, Noxus, Bilgewater, Piltover, and other cities or states supported their own, of course. Ones who did not belong to one, such as Jax, among others, had no powers to support them. This one, Syndra, he would hear her judgement and pass his own. One thing was clear: he would not deny her entry. If anything, he would say nothing.
Chapter Two: Power Overwhelming!
At the Judgement, Xerath listened with interest as Syndra answered the questions the summoners asked her. What he and the others heard were basic information of her life. Where she lived, what people she belonged to, her parents and teachers, and her reason for wanting to be a champion of the League. He could not help but sympathize with her when he heard her leaders had tried to suppress her powers. No remorse was felt for the old mage who was killed. To him, it was wrong to keep such a protege as her from becoming what she was destined to be.
However, this was not enough for him. Instead, it was her last words that: Power belongs to those who can wield it.
His vote was that she join the League of Legends.
As the champions, summoners, and officials began to leave, Xerath remained in his place. He stood there, watching her as both of them waited to hear the decision of those who led the Institution of War. Her judges were having difficulties, so they dismissed her for a time. As they called it "giving her a recess," to sugar coat it.
Despite her obvious displeasure, Syndra complied, leaving the room to await her next summon. Xerath, however, did not like the looks of this. Before he could do anything else, he was summoned by name to the Reflection Hall.
In a flash of blinding, blue and white light, he struck the ground from his place, the physical confines of his body whacking against the floor, yet no damage was done. "Yes, Summoners?" He asked, doing nothing to hide his distaste.
"This is the first time you've passed a vote for a champion candidate. As it stands, Syndra will not become a champion with her lack of control and self-restraint." The lead summoner informed.
Xerath was shocked to hear this. "What? There have been tens of others who you have showed no desire at all to control their powers, yet they have past." He said.
The summoner regarded him with a calm and leveled tone from the cowl of his hood. "The Champions of Ionia were called upon to vote for her, and all of them voted against her. That's seven against, and two for." He said.
Seven against and two for? He took a moment to tally the votes in his head. The three members of the Kinkou, the Wuju swordsman, the living blade woman, the celestial healer, the fallen guardian, and the shadow ninja were the ones he had seen, leaving himself as the nine. One of them had voted for her, but the others against.
As he thought, the summoner spoke again. "We are, however, prepared to overlook these and put her on a trial week, until we know if she can be trusted to not doom us all." Though he was mostly silent, the mage thought it strange the three summoners were silent for a long moment. "Ordinary, she would not be given such a privilege, but, with your guidance, as you may very well be what she desires to become, the others may change their opinions of her." The summoner finished.
It clicked then what they were truly asking of him. "You are afraid of her..." He stated blankly, his head slowly turning up to look at the three. They did not respond. "You do not want her powers to rampage unchecked, and so have chosen to ask me to be her keeper?" He demanded, fists clutched to his sides. Again, they did not respond.
"ANSWER ME!" He demanded again, his rage fueling his magic and causing lightning to lash out of his body, burning the stone of the floor.
Wisely, they finally answered. "Yes. While that is not the way we would have put it, that is what we intend. You did, centuries ago, cause untold damage to your home with a complete disregard to the safety of your own people. We fear that, left alone, Syndra will do the same. In truth, we want her in the League so we may keep track of her, but cannot with the votes against her." He said.
The two other summoners requested their speaker's attention. After a minute of discussion, he spoke again to Xerath. "Xerath. I am asking this as a favor on behalf of the Institution of War: Will you become Syndra's mentor and teach her some control?" The summoner's tone was sincere, if not pleading.
Xerath calmed himself, the magic of his body cooling with his emotions. He was silent for several seconds. Although he held interest with this one, Syndra, he was unsure of being a teacher to her. She seemed too much like himself, yet he knew the truth, not what they believed, she would attempt.
"I will, not as a Champion of the League but as a mage myself, offer my knowledge to her. However, she must be willing to learn." He finally said.
The summoners appeared to relax, letting out heavy sighs. Discussions and terms were next on the menu to be discussed, but, to Xerath, he was looking forward to this endeavor.
The only true limitation was that he could not teach her any dangerous spells, such as the one that caused him to gain his body, among others. All and all, he was surprised with the limitations and how much he was allowed to do with her. Basically, for lack of better wording, he just could not kill her.
Of course, he had to put a few of his own limitations and conditions. Summoners, other champions, and etc. could not watch him while he and Syndra were together, her floating home would be left alone, Demacia and Noxus would be informed of the two being together in case they need to get supplies, and, for his own amusement, both he and Syndra would be given permission to enter the Institutions vaults of magical items.
The summoners, given the alternatives, allowed all of them with little debate.
Nearly an hour later, she returned to the hall. "That was a rather long recess. Have the three of you reached a verdict?" Syndra, floating inches from the ground, dark orbs circling her, asked into the darkness.
Instead of one of the summoners, Xerath answered. "It is good to see again. I believe we have not been properly introduced." He said.
Oddly enough, she was not surprised as he moved into the light. Instead, she greeted him with a smile. "It is an honor to meet you again as well." She said.
She looked around, a questioning frown on her face. "They are not here." He said. Her eyes turned to him. "I have been asked to act as your teacher and instructor in the arts and help you learn control." He said.
Before she could protest, he ignited himself, lighting the room in a chaotic display of mastery. Not only light filled the room, but sounds of sizzling and heating air and wind whipping all around. Lightning of blue and white struck the ground, walls, and ceiling. At the center of it, Xerath's form fought against the stone core of his former prison, sparks flying off it and crackling to the floor.
After only a few seconds, the display ended. The ground and walls were blackened, a small fire burned where once sat a chair and table, and the ground around Xerath appeared to have melted somewhat. "I have no intention of teaching you control, but helping your powers grow and you grow with them!" He said.
Syndra, amazed, stood silent a moment, then slowly turned her head to him. "You want to teach me?" She asked.
"Not want, was asked to and am duty bound as another mage. However, you must accept me as your instructor. I will promise, should you accept, that I will not hold your hand. You will be worked hard, tested, and brought to your limits many times." He explained, making a fist at the end of his speech. "The one thing I will not do is bind your power. That is your own, not mine nor anyone else's to do anything with, power to use." He added.
It was almost too much for her to believe. Once again, people were trying to control her, saying she lacked control over what was rightfully hers. Then again, the one they had assigned to her was more than willing to not restrain her, encouraging her in fact. Maybe, perhaps, she could give this one a try. At worse, she would leave and return when she was strong.
Finally, she smiled a dark smile, one that went well with her Ionia-style clothing, the colors, her crown, and a beautiful attention to the dark red lipstick she wore. "I would be honored to learn from one such as you, Magus Xerath. First, I will warn you, and you alone." She began.
In her own display of power, her dark orbs circled around her body, moving at her mental command and arm gestures. With a grunt, she flung her arms downward, each orb crashing to the ground, a small crater left in each. She then brought up five, each connected with to one of the fingers of her left hand by a black and purple tether.
"If I am restrained again, my power kept from me, I will show no mercy to those responsible. Even if they only follow orders, the mere fact they carried them out will be enough to condemn them." She warned, her tone like venom. She clinched her fist, forcing the five orbs together. The resulting effect caused a void to appear above her, one threatening to consume everything within the room.
Then, it was gone.
He looked to her eyes. Had he his human body, he'd have to remind himself to breath. Her glare alone could stop a dragon's rampage.
Inwardly, he smiled. "I cannot vouch for others, but I meant what I said. Should you chose to leave, but wish to remain my student. I will go with you." He said.
Outside, Xerath and Syndra made their way back to her home. He was already instructing her in arcane magics and how they were used in ways she had never dreamed of. Alternatively, she informed him of spells she was able to do, by her own learning alone, and how her orbs worked. Ahri, it seemed, was a novice when it came to the use of hers. Compared to Syndra, she was a child with a ball against an adult with a ball and chain.
"By the way, what did you do to that guard earlier?" Syndra asked.
Xerath considered for a moment, then grabbed one of the novice summoners as they passed. The young man struggled until the mage put his hand over the youths mouth. A moment later, his eyes glazed over. Xerath stood the summoner up, fixing his position. "Notice the eyes." He began. "This, is arcane immobilization. The Summoners refer to it as a "stun', but that is far to simple." He said.
The mage adjusted the youth again, bending him forward. "When he awakens, usually ten seconds later, he has no memory of ten seconds before. I, effectively, shut down the mind's ability to retain memory for twenty, or more, seconds." He said, then stood back as the young summoner became active again.
Without staying to chat, Xerath gestured for Syndra and him to move along. "Marvelous. I do not suppose you could teach me that trick?" She asked.
"It would be a pleasure, but first comes the League and what the Institution wishes. While I do not share their views on restraint, it would be easier to teach you here, where I can freely connect to sources of magical power." He explained.
Though pouting, Syndra accepted this term. "When do we start?" She asked, almost gleeful.
Xerath paused. All of a sudden, he turned to her. His feet planted himself firmly into the ground, then four chains shot out of his body, further anchoring him to the ground. He held his arms to his sides, an arc of magic stretching from one to the other over his head and shoulders. His voice crackled with power. "Now! Show me the extend of what you can do!" He demanded.
Outside, in a field she did not know, Syndra smiled, dark orbs surrounding her. "You, are already better than my last master... Teacher." She said.
Little did she know that he had led her to the Summoner's Rift, and ideal place to begin training and teaching her. Due to his confines, his immortality was limited, and so his power could be disrupted, equal to him dying. Likewise, he could impact his powers onto her, sundering her very body and only killing her temporary.
Here, with the League's permission and the Summoners and champions forbidden to interfere, the two of them could clash without restraint. The ritual that had gained him this body would be a drizzle compared to the tempest about to be unleashed.
Warning: there is some blood in this one.
Chapter Three: Pain for Power
Lightning scarred the ground, water boiled from the intensive heat, trees and brush burned as the flames consumed them, and the ground was littered with craters. Xerath and Syndra, unleashing their powers against one another, had only been fighting for ten minutes, yet neither showed a hint of tiring.
Xerath had to unchain himself from the ground whenever she moved out of his range, allowing her to strike with her orbs. Whenever she did, he knocked them aside, with great effort, and they crashed into the ground. The craters were a combined effect of him deflecting them and she sending them at him. While his spells were harming her, none were direct hits. She was escaping with burns and singes. To him, she was doing far better than he had expected.
Syndra, using her orbs to grant herself vision of him while maintaining a safe distance, was forced to rethink her strategy again. She had intended to overwhelm him through force, but she had quickly found out that was impossible. When he was rooted to the ground, he was able to override her control and dispel her orbs, turning them into weapons of his own that he used to fire at her and explode; most of the fires were from that. When he was free to move, as she was finding out, he could simply move them aside with a grunt of great effort. There was no telling how difficult this was for him, but she would not stop to ask him. She did not know if he was really trying to kill her or simply testing her.
She had discovered a small enclosure with four ghost-like beings in it. After making quick work of them, she waited as she thought of a new tactic to try. It appeared her teacher would not allow it. As soon as she stopped to rest, a bolt of magic lightning burst through the trees. She let out a scream, feeling her insides cook as the hole in her chest was burned by the same bolt that had caused it.
When it stopped, she fell to her knees, blood running from her mouth to drip off her chin. When she looked down at her chest, she had to cough up blood. The wound, a large hole the size of her head, was there, strings of blood connecting the top half to the bottom and running down her front and back. What remained of her upper organs, held by fragile, breaking threads that then dropped into her lower half with wet, splosh sounds.
Slowly, she turned her head, tears of pain streaming out of her eyes, and peered through the hole in the stone she had taken cover behind. There, approaching her, was Xerath. As her eyes rolled back in her head, she heard him speak. "Round one is over. Come back when you-" He was saying, but she could no longer hear him. Losing strength, she leaned forward, gravity pulling her down. When she hit the ground, her head bounced once, then she closed her eyes.
She opened them again, after a moment, and saw Xerath. She felt his arms over her back. "W- why... did... you... kill me?" She asked, her voice echoing in his mind as her eyes began to watered.
He shook his head. "I did not. Wait and see." He said.
She did not understand, but could no longer hear anything. The last words she heard where his, the last sounds those of the fires burning, and the last thoughts of pain... and failure.
Seconds later, Syndra opened her eyes wide. Her breathing was rapid, and her senses made her head pound. Her vision was blurry, her own breathing made her ears hurt as she took in rapid breathes, and everything she touched made her body sting. She felt alive, yet in pain. It was as though life was pain, to live was to be in pain.
Thankfully, it did not last. After a few seconds, she no longer hurt. Quickly, her hands went to her chest, pulling her clothes back. There was no hole in her chest. Not even a scar. It was then she noticed, too, that her clothes were repaired. She looked straight ahead, then saw the blue color of Xerath's pointed head. He was coming toward her.
Frightened, she began to look for a place to hide or somewhere to flee to. Near her, she saw a little fellow, a yordle, with a large bag of weapons. "Please! You have to help me! He's going to kill me!" She stammered.
The yordle looked at her, then turned to the approaching Xerath before looking back at her. "Might I recommend a Null-Magic Mantle for 400 gold, or perhaps a Negatron Cloak for 740." He said.
"What!? No, no. He's going to kill me! What would clothes do to save me!?" She asked, panicking.
"They are not clothes, but items." She tensed, slowly turning her head to see Xerath there, floating before the two.
The yordle regarded him with a blank expression. "I'm sorry Sir, but you'll have to talk to the other merchant." It said.
The magus shook his head. "I am not here to purchase, nor should you be here. I thought the League had agreed to not interfere." He demanded, his tone with annoyance rather than anger.
The little fellow scratched his beard, thinking it over to himself. "I apologize, Sir. The League is a business partner of mine, not my boss. I am not a part of it, nor do I talk to my partners about my customers." It said.
Xerath looked at him for a several seconds, the yordle staring back with his blank expression and uninterested. Finally, he turned to Syndra, who was still shaking with fear. "This, is the Summoner's Rift. It is one of three Fields of Justice." He said, spreading his arms out to indicate the whole of the area. "We can not die here, the nexuses bind us here. We will feel death here, but it will not last." He explained.
Placing a hand on her chest, where she had been mortally wounded before, Syndra took a deep breath, the air filling her once destroyed lungs. She let it out slowly, then took another. "Is that why... you were fighting that way?" She asked.
He nodded. "Yes. I'm more of a hands-on teacher, and did not see the point in telling you of the undying effects here. Now that you know, you must realize why I find this place more favorable than anywhere else." He said, then pointed to her chest. "I could have just as easily hit your head or a limb, but I did not want you to die instantly nor linger for too long. Truth be told, I was worried I had missed." He said.
A nervous chuckle escaped her lips. By the way she saw it, he had hit her heart dead-center, tearing it apart where she thought she was safe. "Really? So I can kill you to make sure it does not effect just me?" She asked.
Xerath shrugged his shoulders. "If you must, then do so. After, we will continue the lesson." He said, placing his hands behind his back. His calm demeanor uncomfortable.
"I can kill you? And you will not try to stop me?" She questioned, making sure she had heard him right.
He nodded once more, then moved his left hand in front of his face, looking over his claws like they were finger nails. "Proceed when you are ready." He said.
Now in control of herself once more, Syndra discovered she did not have any of her orbs with her. In her emotional and frightened state, her power had been dormant. She took a breath, three orbs gathering around her, and looked at Xerath. He still stood silent and calm, looking over his claw, glancing at her to see what she was doing. He was growing impatient.
With anger and wrath flowing through her, she brought her arms back, arching herself backward. Then, with a cry of fury, she launched her three, dark orbs at him. The first hit the shoulder of his left arm, breaking it off his body. The second struck the rune at his chest, breaking it away from his body; it and the orb bouncing on the floor. The third and final orb struck his head, shattering the stone. Each blow brought a grunt from him, and the final one a shriek of utter pain that faded as he died. At the end of the shriek, his body collapsed into itself before exploding outward. Stone chips rained down as sparks of blue and white dissipated in the air.
Horrified, she wondered if she really had killed him. A glance took in the merchant yordle. She bend toward him. "Where is he?" She asked.
The yordle scratched his beard, thinking of something. "Your enemy? He's at his base. This is the blue base, and down the lane there leads to the purple base. Is this your first time here?" He asked. She nodded, gesturing him to go on. "I see. Well, just go down this middle lane here and you'll eventually get to him. The towers have been deactivated, so you don't have to worry about them attacking you." He said.
"Thank you." She said, not fully understanding but went along with it anyway. She did not get far when the yordle called her attention back to him. "What is it now?" Her tone made it obvious she was annoyed. She had more questions for her teacher.
The merchant was not phased by her attitude nor her display of power. "You have a little over 900 gold, might I recommend buying yourself Boots of Speed, an Amplifying Tome, and a few health potions before you leave?" He asked.
Gold? And so much of it? She patted her pockets, trying to find this gold. She could not. The yordle told her to return, so she did, and was shown a small coin purse. "The gold is collected over-time and whenever an enemy is slain, a common thing on the Fields of Justice. To keep things simple, and not weigh down the champions fighting, my brother and I keep tabs on the gold, with the help of a few others should we make a mistake. Since it is just the two of you, keeping track is simple. Here is your profit so far." He said, showing her a parchment with her name, a small portrait of her face, and other symbols. The purse of coins was clearly his.
Over the next minute, the merchant explained things to her. Gold collection while in the fields, killing sprees, what each enemy was worth and at what stages the bounties changed, the other symbols, and items. She had went with his recommendation of items after he finished, feeling her magic power increase and speed quicken. By this time, Xerath had returned.
"The League restrains us." She declared, anger heating her tone. Her fists were tight as she turned to him. She was not floating, yet she appeared far more threatening. "Did you truly mean what you said!? Or are you lying to me about more?" She yelled, her face red with rage.
Xerath, as calm as the colors that made up his body, spoke softly. "You would rather die as you just come into your power?" He asked. Almost instantly, she cooled, visibly and emotionally, turning her head away from him. When she did not speak, he continued. "If you wish to be a Champion of the League, you must accept these temporary limitations. Right now, many of them have been disabled, save for the merchants and death preventions." He began, glancing at the yordle.
"Custom matches, like this one, are of profit to us as well." He explained.
The magus looked back to Syndra. "Our powers are limited here, yes, but it is a mere fraction of restraint compared to that of the true limits." With a hand, he turned her face back to his. "What you see during this match, as it is called, is my power, restrained only by the stone of my former tomb. I could do far worse, but am unable to. You, on the other hand, are limited by your experience and lack of refined teaching. I do not know what you learned with your former master, but I intend to bring out your full potential." He said, releasing her. She did not look away, but her eyes had a hard edge to them. "Time is my ally. There are only two ways to be rid of me. The first is that you no longer desire my instructions." He said, holding up a finger.
He leaned close, his head inches from hers. "The second, you die." A second finger went up.
Syndra, the hair of her head floating with the energy being right in front of her, stared, wide-eyed, into his seemingly endless eyes. During that time, she could see the one thing she had always longed for most in the world: unbridled power.
He leaned away from her, her hair settling, then put his hands under her arms, hoisting her up. "Come. The lesson is not over." He said.
Syndra swallowed as she followed. "What is your passive?" She asked as she followed.
"Ascended Form. My magic power, ability power, toughens my body, increasing my resistance to physical harm." He said. His head turned a complete 180 degrees to look at her. "Why do you ask?"
She was not concerned with his action, already guessing he could do that. "The merchant told me about it. I do not know what my "passive" is." She answered. "Do the Summoners chose it when I become a champion?" She asked.
Xerath was silent a moment as they reached the area they had clashed. He turned and started toward the left, following a path through the trees and bushes. "I do not know how they chose that. Some, I have seen, are simple enough and make sense, while others do not. You may think of your own passive if you wish." He said.
She intended to.
When he stopped her, she looked up, seeing a large golem with a set of blue spheres rotating around it. Two lizard men, about a third its height, sat next to it. They seemed to be waiting for something. "This is the Ancient Golem. We are going to use it for practice." He said, then pointed at one of the lizard men. "Try to pick that one up, like you do with your orbs." He ordered.
She was confused, but did as asked. She had lifted small objects and creatures before, this was no different. The other lizard man and golem turned aggressive, moving toward her. Xerath, standing in front of her, threw out a small ball of magic, hitting the lizard. It took a step back, sparks flying off its body, before advancing again. It charged a spell, a fireball by the look of it, but Xerath was quicker, casting a spell that send a bolt of lightning-like magic at it. The bolt passed through the golem, knocking off a size-able piece of it, but not slowly it, and all but vaporized the lizard man.
"Wait for my signal, then hit it." He ordered, turning his attention to the golem. With three swift, blinding strikes, he attacked the stoned monster, clips, shards, and chunks falling off it with each strike from above. "Now!" He said.
Using the lizard man she had captured, Syndra threw it at the golem with such force that it shattered. She paused, feeling a sudden increase in her vitality as the blue spheres that were around it now circling her. "W- what is this? It feels amazing! I like I can take on all of Ionia and Noxus alone!" She said, a maniacal laugh escaping her.
She suddenly felt a hard hit across her head. Angry, she turned to see Xerath, shaking his head at her. "That is the blessing of the golem. It feels the one with it with energy and allows the constant replenishment of stamina and vitality, for a time. There are two golems in this field, one for each team." He explained. He tilted his head, looking over her shoulder. "Over there is where we entered, not from the summoning platforms as is normal." He added, turning her to show her.
Once he had, he put his hand over her shoulder, urging her to follow once more before he removed his hand. "Now that that is finished, and you know what to expect, do not hold back this time. Waiting for you to recover is not part of my les-" The sound of ground being destroyed interrupted him as he was forced to get away.
Syndra, her orbs back and she floating in the air, smiled as she flung another at him. "I'll keep that in mind!" She yelled as she attacked.
Xerath was forced to go on the defensive, the golem's blessing and her new knowledge proving to inspire her violent side. Not that he was complaining, he would be praising her for getting the upper hand so soon, but now he really had a fight on his hands. Both of them knew they could go all out, but she had the advantage of the blessing.
This was going to be fun, if not painful for both.
After an hour of unrelenting battle, both Xerath and Syndra, tired and panting, lay on the ground. Xerath's body, weakened in a more mystic sense of the word, shimmered and jolted, his form difficult to maintain. Syndra, her chest heaving with each breath, wore her now sweat and blood stricken clothes like a second skin.
"Well... that was a workout." She said in between tired breaths. Her head rolled over, seeing her teacher on the ground as well. "So, did I pass?" She asked, finding the strength to let out a soft laugh.
He rolled his head to face her, his voice, while not as tired of hers, did not have the same strength as it did before. "It was a lesson, but you did well. It's been a long, long time since I've been able to use that much force." He said.
She rolled her head back, looking up at the sky. "Do you truly want me as a student? I can't help but feel the difference between us is too great a gap." She sadly said.
"Do not question your abilities so soon. Within you, I see myself, only older." He said.
When she sat up, her arms feeling like lead, she gazed down at him. They were only a foot or two away, yet she stared as though from miles away. "Yourself only older?" She asked.
"When I was your age, I could never hope to achieve what you can do. Making a building float, and then leaving it and thinking nothing of it, would have been impossible. I'd say I was ten years older when I could do such a thing, nearly forty at the end of my mortal life." He said, a hint of sorrow in his crackling voice. Then, his body stopped shimmering, regaining its former form and his tone returning to normal. "I am beyond your power now, but, were we the same age and creatures, you would be my superior." He said.
Syndra smiled at that and looked away, a blush touching her cheeks and making them red. She had never before been complimented or praised for her abilities, only feared by those weaker than her, or threatened by those stronger. She jumped when she felt a hand on her shoulder. "As to your becoming a champion, that will take time, dedication, and, worst of all, knowing when to hold back." He said.
She turned her head, looking at him. His other hand was over his face as he shook his head. "What do you mean?" She asked. "I will make the time, I desire nothing else but to become stronger, and I know how to control myself!" She exclaimed, the fight, if only a small portion, back in her tone.
"I did not say you lacked control, but you lack the knowledge of when and how much to hold back." He explained.
She stood, shrugging his hand from her shoulder, and glared. "What. Do. You. Mean." She said again, each word carrying a threat.
Xerath, appearing as ready as he once was to do battle, scanned her body with his eyes. Her legs were wobbly, her chest heaved, she was could not breath calmly, and she still had wounds over her body. She could barely stand, yet she was ready to fight again. "You have the will power, but not the knowledge. That is what I am saying. I will teach you to hold back, when to do so, and how much force to exert. The world may be against you, but surprise will keep you alive." He said.
He held out his hand, a force of magic pushing her and knocking her over. "You've felt what I am capable of, you've died at least five times during this lesson. What if we had not met until just now? Would you have guessed me so powerful?" He asked.
She was silent, thinking over his question. Finally, she let out an agitated sigh. "I see what you mean." She said. Her eyes turned hard once more. "I am eager to learn." She added.
For the first time since he was human, among those he called apprentices under his wing, he was proud to see someone grasp his lessons. "Your next lesson is tomorrow morning. Rest tonight, and be ready. It will not a test of strength, but endurance." He said, then held out a hand. She grasped it.
As he helped her up, Syndra could feel a surge of power from him into her body. It felt amazing! When she was on her feet again, she was able to float once more. "Thank you, Teacher." She said, a pleasant, truly happy, smile brightening her otherwise dark features.
"Teacher? I am going to need to get use to being called that." He said, smiling inwardly again.
Chapter Four: Practice, Acquaintances, Childish Fun, and Plotting
"How was that?" Asked a slightly annoyed Syndra.
Xerath looked up from what he was reading and looked at what remained of the target. "Too much force." His eyes turned to something else. "You are improving, however." He added.
She smiled, some of the annoyance fading from her features. It was soon replaced by a frown when she looked at their guest. "Will you be stopping that sometime soon? It's difficult to restrain myself with all that insentient writing." She growled, glaring at him.
The figure, wearing the traditional robe of a high-ranking summoner of the League of Legends, looked up from his notepad at her before pausing from his righting. "As I have said before, I was sent to ensure you and Champion Xerath do not cause anymore harm to the Institution's grounds." He said, a warning in his eyes.
Syndra huffed at him, then turned her attention to her teacher. "And what do those reports say, anyway?" She asked.
The magus, placed the stack of papers down, stapled together into small packet, and placed his head in his hand. "I did not know at the time, but it seemed your lesson caused a bit of harm to the Rift." He said.
The summoner turned an angry glare on the champion. "A bit!? The Baron's been on a rampage, the dragon's been hiding somewhere, the jungle creatures have been fighting one another, and a fourth of the Rift was on fire until we manged to get the other champions to help us contain and put it out!" He let out, his face red with rage.
Xerath and Syndra looked to one another. A smile sat on her face and, she imaged, he was as well. "Baron? Wasn't that the large, purple worm?" She asked.
He nodded, then went back to reading the small packet. "I told you about the Baron and its blessing, but we did not see it. I made sure it, and the dragon, would not appear. There must have been some magical residue left there." He said, causally and calmly.
The summoner still appeared mad, but finally cooled. "The Institution has ordered I make sure the two of you do not cause harm to anything else." He said, then sat down, letting out an angry sigh.
Syndra turned her head to a small group near them. "Could I have another giant bug?" She asked.
"Voidling. They are called voidlings." Came the voice of Malzahar. Reluctantly, he did summon another voidling and ordered it to crawl onto a small platform in front of Syndra. "You do realize that this is a blatant misuse of my powers." He said.
Xerath shrugged his shoulders. "When the Void rips its way into the world, and we are overrun, then it will be a misuse. Until then, they are free moving targets." He said. His gaze turned to a second member. "How would you say she did in terms of accuracy?" He asked.
Ashe, the Frost Archer, had already made her judgement. "Her aim is nearly perfect, but I cannot tell for certain." She said. It would be strange if she said otherwise, considering the archer specialized in arrows, not orbs.
Truth be told, he had been eager to find Caitlyn for her expertise in hitting moving targets, rather than the patient Ashe who relied on still targets or predictable ones. The sheriff was busy with her duty of keeping Piltover under control, and could not be bothered to help him in this. Ahri would have been a better choice, as she too used an orb as her weapon, but was able to get her either. Though he was able to speak with her, it was during one of her mating rituals with another of the champions. Needless to say, both were not pleased with his intrusion. Was he like that when he was mortal? It was such a long time ago...
Shaking his head, he returned to the present. The voidling was already moving, jumping and climbing over the multi-layered platform. Syndra's control had improved, before she was destroying the platform, but now she was smashing the voidlings rather than doing what he asked. "Once more: stun it with one of your orbs without killing it. Hit it, knock it out, but do not apply too much force. It must be alive." He reminded her.
After rolling her eyes, pleased with her last performance, conjured an orb and sent it at the moving bug. She pulled back a second later, withdrawing the orb. The voidling stood stone still, looking frightened. Her smile turned wicked. "Don't count yourself lucky." She warned, letting her orb spin above her index finger.
Xerath glanced over. "Ashe?" He asked.
"She pulled back her orb just as it touched the voidling..." She said, her eyes wide in surprise. She had never seen anything like it.
"Stunned with fear does not count. It has to be knocked out or dazed." He said, turning the packet to the next page. "Summoner. Are we allowed to borrow one of the Fields of Justice?" He asked.
The summoner shook his head. "No. The Fields are off limits until the two of you can control yourselves!" He nearly yelled.
Xerath, unconcerned as he had been, looked up. "Power has a limit. Find it, and one can manipulate it. Failure to control the limit, the power, results can vary from harmless to cataclysmic." His blue and white eyes stared into the summoner's green eyes. "Cataclysmic events are what I am trying to prevent." He reminded, his tone deep and full of authority.
The summoner opened his mouth to speak, but the magus' stare left him speechless. He swallowed past a lump in his throat, mouth agape, and sat down. The matter settled, he went back to reading.
"I think I killed it again..." Syndra said, looking at the alien bug. "If it's legs are twitching, does that mean it's dying?" She asked, poking at the bug.
Ashe and Malzahar, watching, did not speak as Xerath looked over. The bug's legs twitched, but it was still alive. "It's alive. Take it from me." Tryndamere proclaimed. The barbarian king had insisted on coming along with Ashe, the two of them talking now and again about some political matters. None of them minded, but the group had grown to an impressive side. Hopefully no one else would join.
After a few seconds, the voidling began moving again, only it ran to Malzahar and hid behind the prophet. Xerath handed the summoner the packet. "I suppose that's all we'll be able to do on that. Remember that control, it will prove invaluable in a few days." He said, reminding her of the reason he was helping her.
Syndra nodded, glad to finally be done. As fun as it was to kill the insects, every time she killed one Xerath would zap her. She had been asked to wear something without sleeves and a short skirt. She wore such an outfit now, the colors a dark purple and blue. It was not until they started she realized why. The burns on her arms and legs were equivalent of swats from a ruler. He was her teacher, with his own teaching methods, but his method of punishments left her unwilling to indulge her masochistic desire to squash the large bugs.
The summoner had caught them with an escort of guards as they met in the Institution to begin the day's lesson. After their "arrest", and one of the guards was gotten out of the wall, the two had been informed of the damage done to the Summoner's Rift. Xerath was impressed, Syndra was annoyed, and the summoner, after failing to demonstrate threaten them, began following the two. The magus was not impressed with the damage, but the way the mage had tried to subdue them. Syndra's annoyance lay with her teacher taking all the fun out of the arrest by stopping her from throwing more guards, and the mage, through the walls. She did admit, however, that the "summoner spells" were interesting.
The first stop had been Malzahar's room, asking the prophet to provide the use of his voidlings are target practice. At first, he had been unwilling, but, after some private talk, he became willing, even pleased. After failing to find Caitlyn and walking in on Ahri, the four had run into Ashe and Tryndamere, both of whom agreed to help them without a cost.
Syndra, pleased with herself, lunged for Xerath, hugging his energy body to her physical body. Ashe blushed and looked away, Tryndamere scratched his head in confusion, Malzahar was busy trying to calm the voidling, and the summoner merely stared. Her head close to his, she whispered. "Can we go back to private training now? Just the two of us?" She asked.
Since yesterday, he had found that his body let out waves of energy that she found enjoyable. By the way her hair stood out, most would thing it similar to static, it was the power emanating from him. She could feel it in a way no one else could, almost draw it out. "In time. For now, this vulture is circling over our heads." He said, not even attempting to keep his voice down, unlike her.
The summoner coughed into his hand, clearly annoyed. "I can hear you, and I will have you know I am a high-ranking member of the Inst-"
"Institution of War sent to ensure we do not cause anymore harm and to keep tabs on us until the day of Syndra's final evaluation." Xerath and Syndra, both, spoke along with the summoner. "We know." He said, clearly annoyed after hearing the same speech for, what seemed to him, many times today. He turned to the three fellow champions. "Thank you for your times." He said.
The other three informed they were happy to help, rose, and began to leave.
Once they were gone, Syndra removed herself from her teacher, her hair settling down and she smoothed it out. "Do you think that will spread any rumors?" She asked, ignoring the summoner as she had for most of the day.
Xerath, rising to his full height minus the floating, turned his head in the direction of the Institution. "Not likely. Those three are not the types to spread rumors, true or false." He informed. His eyes then turned back to the tree and the platform that had been used for target practice. "Now is the time to clean up. After, I will show you to the League's dining hall." He added.
"Alright." She said, then turned to the tree. She enclosed the platform and the remains of dead voidlings, about twenty or so, in a large, dark orb. Slowly, she brought her arms together in a practiced motion, her hands making a circle at her stomach. As she brought her hands closer, closing the circle, the orb began to shrink, its round edges causing the platform to be crushed. Finally, it began as small as a soccer ball. Her head came up, followed by her arms spreading outward from one another, and the orb became a flat disk for just a moment before vanishing, a sharp crushing and alien sound echoing in the silence.
Syndra turned back to see what reaction the two of them would give her. Xerath appeared more interested than amazed, his hand resting on his chin. The summoner gave her the expression she had expected: one mixed with shock, awe, and a hint of fear. "Do you normally eat at the dining hall Teacher?" She asked, her tone had changed to a more pleasant one as apposed to her usual irritated and suspicious one.
"I do, but not for the same reason as you or others would. The need for physical nourishment has long since become a task rather than a daily habit." He informed. The times he did eat were rare, only in times of festivities or for formal meals. Snowdown and Hallow's End were two such rare occasions, either for people to see him sampling their dishes or so as to not make people feel uneasy. Whenever he did eat, the food was simply absorbed into his body, being broken down into energy within a matter of minutes. He did gain energy, yes, but he lost more through the actual process as he was not use to it. "Will you be coming as well, Summoner?" He asked.
The mage shook his head. "No. I must give a report to my superiors, but I will return within the hour or another will replace me." He said, then rose. He gave them both a hard, warning look. "Until next time." He said, then walked off.
When he was out of hear shot, Syndra wrapped her arms around his. "Finally alone, for a time." She said, her tone taking on a lustful and seductive tone.
Xerath nodded his head, watching the direction the summoners had left. His gaze then turned up, a faint sound going off. He held up the hand she was not clinging to and shook a finger at the sky, then unleashed a bolt of magic laced lightning. A cry of pain echoed in the background, as soft as the wind blowing. "Irritating mage." He muttered.
His attention was draw to his student, who was giggling like a little girl. Their eyes met and she smiled up at him. "You're going to have to stop this..." He said, his tone blank of any emotion.
She released him then. "It will take some time. You're like a drug I've become addicted to." She informed, then leaned her face to his. "I may need help." She added, a hint in her tone.
Xerath stared at her for a long moment. Finally, he spoke. "How long does it take you to travel in that floating home of yours? Say from here to Bilgewater?" He asked, his tone without emotion, even lacking that spark of curiosity and interest he once held.
Syndra frowned and took a few steps away from him. She was silently, carefully calculating whether or not to tell him. She at last did. "Two days, a little less if the weather is right. I could travel there on my own power within a day." She said. Her face turned to one of suspicious. "Why do you ask?" She asked.
He turned his head to look off in the direction of something she could not see, then his body went silence. "I believe a field trip would be best to further your training." He said, still looking out toward his intended destination.
Syndra looked where he did, trying to recall which direction it was. The sky did not tell her, it was noon and the sun was resting in the middle of the sky. "What good would going to Bilgewater do?" She asked. This was sounding very strange to her.
Xerath finally turned his head to her, his eyes regaining that spark that so captivated her. "Power derives itself from study, research, and emotion. You are studying with me, my research will aid you, but your emotions are scattered." He said, his tone back to normal. She began to object, but a raised hand silenced her. "You act like a child; throwing tantrums, responding well to praise, a desire to break things, and attachment to things you like. At Bilgewater, there live two another champions, Sarah Fortune, or Miss Fortune, and Graves. Both grew up without their parents and were forced to survive on their skills and minds alone. There two may be able to help you." He explained.
She was silent, glaring at him. She looked on the verge of throwing a tantrum, but managed to keep herself in check. She took a calming breath before speaking. "Alright. I will mature, something I am quite able to do on my own, from these tutors." She said.
Xerath began moving, gesturing for her to follow him. She did. "First you eat while I speak with the League. After, if they allow it, we will begin traveling tomorrow." He said.
Little did she know that Bilgewater was not their intended destination. Having grown up in a community that encouraged one's magical growth, he had never suffered oppression from those who thought they were too powerful. Syndra had come from the opposite environment. If there was any hope for her to become a champion, or a powerful sorceress, she would need to face the ghosts of her pass. There destination was to the northeast.
Whatever happened, however, happened. If things went well, she would grown and become a better person. If things went as he expected, she would mature. If things went bad or worse, he could lose his student in a fit of rage. Worse case, he'd be forced to kill her. This time, the Fields of Justice would not return her life...
Chapter Five: The Sovereign's Past
"Five days. That's all the time you have." Came the authority heavy voice of the high summoner spoke.
Xerath's eyes lowered, as menacing a glare as he could muster. This was the summoner who had been present at Syndra's reflection and took the tally of votes. He had also been the one to name the requirements for another vote and, potentially, override any negative votes. "And if we are late? Say a day or two?" He asked.
The summoner leaned back in his chair, fingers tapping against one another as he thought this over. "The champions of Ionia, the Kinkou especially, believe her a threat to themselves and others around them. When they found you were teaching her and I had given her the chance to come before again, they were not happy." He informed, a sigh escaping him after he had spoken his piece. After a brief time, he spoke again. "You may have less. There is the chance the Kinkou will get to her first." He warned.
The magus' eyes became wide. This was a surprise! If the Kinkou were after her, the trip was a bad idea.
He knew, better than anyone, that this was the only way to help her. If the Kinkou did interfere, they would have to be dealt with. At least, as far as he knew there was Zed, the leader of the shadow clan and Shen's rival, who could help. While he was not a champion of the League, the shadow ninja was a major power in the land, iron fist or not. It was the reason he had been able to judge Syndra, and the magus knew it was he who gave Syndra her second vote.
Xerath's eyes returned to normal, the surprise replaced by a burning determination. He would have to take her to Ionia. "I understand." He said, rising from the chair he had sat himself in. "We will see you in five days then. Good day." He said, giving a polite bow.
A thought occurred to him and he sat back down. "Could you do me a favor? To help with Syndra's training." He asked.
The summoner gestured for him to go on. "Her joining the League is important to us. While her ideas are not what we would call popular among the Institution, her abilities are what interest us. Should the shaky truce between Demacia and Noxus be terminated, we hope she would be an ally." He informed.
-That was no surprise- he thought to himself. If the woman could improve her abilities, she could be of use in a number of things from evacuating residence to separating key figures from their supporters. "I need Shen, Akali, and Kennen, the three Kinkou members here, to remain within the Institution until after Syndra's reflection. I feel a trip to Ionia is needed, and I would rather not be responsible for their deaths, injuries, or the reason they must retire from the League. Also, I have nothing against the Kinkou, and so do not wish to wipe them from the world." He explained.
The summoner was speechless. He, as well as many others, did not know the extent of Xerath's powers when not on the Fields of Justice. Based on the reports he had heard from his and Syndra's lesson, as he called it, he did not reveal his limited powers. He shuttered to think if the magus grew tired of League and tried to take what he wanted from them: the nexuses. "I will see what I can do. Perhaps you should seek assistance from the Order of the Shadow. Their leader, Zed, spoke of your student. It was clear he had far more interest in her than we." He offered.
Xerath nodded his head. "I will do as you suggest. While I've never spoken to this Zed before, I have the feeling the three of us will get along well." He said. It was then he noticed the look in the summoner's eyes. "We will keep the activity to a minimum. Peace is far better for research than war, no matter who is fighting." He said.
The summoner relaxed, leaning back into his chair. "Try not to kill anyone, if at all possible, and there will be no problems. Good luck to you." He said, and then took a folder of reports from his desk. "Good luck, to both you and Syndra." He said.
And with that, Xerath bowed before exiting the room. It was good to have the League cooperating, for what few times they did, and even offering ideas. Hopefully, with luck, there would be no body count. Then again, it was the Order of the Shadow acting as a distraction to prevent the Kinkou from interfering with what he had planned.
Outside, Syndra was waiting for him. She smiled shyly at him, placing a hand on her hips as she watched him. "Planning our field trip?" She questioned, leaning toward him.
The magus only continued to move, thinking to himself and barely hearing her. "Yes. Just last minute preparations needing to be put into place. How was your morning practice?" He asked.
The woman did not answer, but followed him in silence. When he stopped and turned to her, only then did she answer. "What are you talking about?" She asked.
He was silent, floating there motionless, then placed his head in his hand. "My apologizes. I was thinking back to a time now lost." He informed. He began moving again, hoping to change the subject. "The Kinkou may turn into a problem. Have you encountered them before?" He asked.
"No. Having a floating home gives me an advantage for staying out of trouble." She said with a smirk. "Ninjas are agile and powerful warriors, but they do not fly very well." Her grin became dark, something she wanted to say but kept herself from.
Xerath thought of this, nodding slightly to himself. "We will be leaving today. I will teach you during the journey." He said.
A thought occurred to her. "We aren't going to Bilgewater, are we?" She asked.
"The Kinkou give it away?" He asked. She nodded. "Ionia is what is keeping you from becoming a champion. As such, a few good deeds will help to brighten their appearance of you." She huffed. "Or we could decimate some Noxian outposts." She applauded at that one. "Are you ready to move at any time today?" He asked.
"Of course. We can leave right away." She said, moving in front of him. She turned a smile back at him before disappearing behind a corner.
Xerath, still thinking to himself, began his slow move forward. There was so much to think on and prepare. Syndra dealing with her past; forming an alliance with the Order of the Shadow; keeping the Kinkou out of the picture; and there was still the matter of Syndra's second judgement, which was the most important of all.
So much to do, and so little time to get it all done. Ironic considering he normally did not care about such a mortal problem, but now, with a student, he had to factor in the otherwise useless factor.
An hour later, Xerath and Syndra were on in her home, floating off the ground and toward their destination. As she could keep the building floating, and moving, he had time to act as a teacher in magic. It quickly became evident that his field of mage was quite different from hers.
"Syndra? Are you there?" He asked, lightly tapping her forehead with the back of his stone-covered hand. "It's been twenty seconds..." He added, muttering to himself.
Syndra, her eyes with a glossy look like she was in a trance, finally snapped back into reality. She blinked several times, looked around like she did not know where she was, before finally speaking. "Wh... what happened?" She asked.
Xerath let out a crackling sigh of relief. "You said you wanted to learn that arcane stun technique of mine. Unfortunately, we may need a volunteer to assist us." He said.
She frowned at him, then remembered what she had said a little while ago. "Oh yes! Of... of course." She said, appearing saddened.
"What's wrong?" He asked.
She was silent for several seconds before she swallowed past the limp in her throat. "I'm just nervous about returning to Ionia." She said. Her bright, purple eyes appeared to lose much of their shine as she went on. "I did not leave on graceful terms." She added.
His face unreadable, Xerath gestured toward a stone bench sculpted out of the wall. She nodded, letting him pull her toward it and saw down when he did. She barely noticed the soft cushions she had, at one time, sat on with enthusiasm as a young girl.
"Do you want to talk about it? As your teacher, I would love to hear of your upbringing to better teach you, but I do not wish to force a painful past unto you." He assured her, giving her hand a gentle squeeze, sending a pleasant shock through her body unintentionally.
After recovering from her shutter, she took a deep breath, preparing herself. "I was five years old when I first began my self teaching. As the days turned into weeks, my parents, at least one of them, were gone most days. It was not until a year later that I found out they had been speaking to the elders of my village." She paused, then went silent.
Patiently, he waited, as silent as her.
She continued. "They told me I was going to be a great sorceress one day, like Starchild Soraka, and they wanted me to learn from a great mage. He was old, but he only taught the most gifted. He even gave Soraka lessons." She said, an emotionless giggle coming from her. It was almost scary how such an innocent thing could be so empty. "He did teach me many things, my ability to make orbs was one of them. For eight years I called it home, and he teacher. I had no idea, until then, my powers had ceased to grow and found out why."
"I killed him, smashed his fragile, aged body into the wall until he was so disfigured I did not recognize him, and only stopped when I could not long pick up his body." She said, a sad smile on her face at the reconnection. Again, she was silent, a pained expression on her face.
Xerath's hand moved to her shoulder, causing her to turn her head. When she did, their eyes met. "You can stop if you need to." He began.
Before he could continue, she was shaking her head, then went on. "After that, I felt a surge of power, my power, welling up inside me. It felt incredible! All those years I was suppressed by that old man suddenly came back to me, empowering me." She stood, holding her arms out to indicate the whole building. "I did not wait for them to find out, or even dispose of the body. Using all of my powers, I pulled this place, my prison, from the ground. It was easier than I thought, as the stone rose with my rage. After a time, I got away to the opened sea, then disposed of the body by throwing it over the side, watching his dead body fall into the blue waters. I left everything behind that day. My family, friends, village, beliefs. Everything!"
"The only thing I could trust was my power. No one could be trusted." She finished.
Syndra was went silent again. It was evident that she was not going to speak again.
"I will not ask you to trust me, nor say that you can, but I will not betray you. You have my word." He said.
She did not respond. Trust was, needless to say, something she would give only to those who truly, without question, earned it from her.
"I am not your friend, however. I am your teacher and your superior. Keep that in mind." He said. He then began to make his way to the door, but turned back halfway. "Your haunted by your past. I can only help to put them rest now. There is such a thing as too late." He turned to start again. "I know. My past will always haunt me, because I was too late to put those spirits to rest." He added.
As he opened the door, he paused when he heard a sound. "What do you mean?" Syndra asked.
He did not turn back to her. "Everyone I knew back then, friends, family, colleagues, former teachers and mentors, everyone, died long before I was able to get out of my prison. -ha- I say I got out, but it still lingers, containing me." He said, a light chuckle in the middle of what he was saying. "I do not want you to live with what I do. Stone and magic bind me in a physical sense, but the mental bars around me will never go." He added.
With that, he stepped through the threshold, closing the door behind himself.
Alone, Syndra sat back down on the bench. She laid down, her legs causally over the side, and put her head in her arms. In the crushing silence and loneliness, with her troubled past brought back to the surface, and all the mistakes with it. Syndra, the self proclaimed Dark Sovereign who would one day become one of the most powerful women in the world, cried like a child who had just lost her family.
Hope everyone enjoys this chapter. Next one will be a kind of time-skip so they are in Ionia. Prepare for some action in upcoming chapters and I wish everyone a Happy New Year.
Shadows, Balls, Pure Energy... with all these paths to limitless power, I'm a bit surprised the name Ryze has yet to make an appearance. Looking forward to seeing the scenery of the uprooted land in Ionia and how the ninja trio react to Syndra's presence and I offer a commendation on keeping the personalities and dialogue in character so well!
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