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Hello, folks! I've been working on this fic for months, and decided to post it here! Hope you like it! Please comment if you do!
Chapter 1 - Kassadin
The carriage moved with difficulty on the road full of mud. The rain made the visibility even worse, and the coachman and his horses struggled to move. Several times the wheels sank into the mud and Kassadin had to help the driver to remove them. It was a bad day for such a long journey, but it had to be today. The meeting at the Institute of War would soon start.
Kassadin was wiping the mud from his face when Chancellor Smith Sorr asked:
“Will Jarvan III and Darkwill be there?”
“Yes, my lord.” Confirmed Kassadin “As the Lead Chairman of Zaun, Magnus Dunderson.”
Supreme Chancellor of Piltover nodded. He opened a bit of the velvet curtain of the carriage to observe the outside world.
“Looks like we're in a real storm, worthy of the Bluewind Bay.” The chancellor was a pleasant and young man, and enjoyed nature even when in a hostile state like that.
“Yes, sir. It's a shame that it is falling upon us, right in this day we need to get as fast as possible to the other side of Ironspike.”
The chancellor smiled.
“Do not worry so much, Kassadin. We left Piltover with three days notice. I assure you that we will be the first to arrive.”
The carriage lurched, and made a sudden turn. Kassadin looked out the window. They were approaching the mountain pass through Ironspike. Storm clouds loomed over the iron peaks.
“I hope there are no landslides” said Kassadin “I intend to come alive to the Institute of War."
The chancellor laughed.
“You are my favorite senator, Kassadin. Hope you survive the Ironspike.”
They both laughed, and did not talk more. The carriage began to rise, giving increasingly frequent bumps. Here there was no mud on the road, but many jagged iron ores. The driver should be especially careful not to destroy the wooden wheels of the vehicle.
Lightning lit up the sky and thunder boomed shortly thereafter. The rain increased in intensity, and the carriage was increasingly slow in its ascent. Hours passed before they reached the top. The driver stopped the coach and suggested to wait to go down the mountains when the rain passed.
“From the time we get ...” Kassadin began, but the chancellor interrupted him and said to the driver:
“We shall wait here. And you better get inside. The rain is very strong.”
The driver kindly thanked the Chancellor and settled there. And there they waited, talking, chatting and napping when the matter ended.
Their travel wasn’t purposeless. Valoran was in crisis, with a full-scale open war happening between the city-states of Noxus and Demacia. Beyond the carnage that always happened in wars, this specific conflict was bringing destruction to the continent’s nature. All the fighting was for crystals. Not ordinary crystals, but giant, colorful and powerful ones found in deep caverns. These minerals could energize factories and war machines, cities, transports, almost everything. Even nexuses, the altars mages used to make their spells. Crystals were rare and when huge mines were discovered in some places through Valoran, the war for the crystals began between Noxus and Demacia. Zaun, another city-state, insisted that it had nothing to do with the war, but witnesses had already seen zaunites receive crystals extracted by Noxus, to use as fuel to their huge industries that polluted Valoran even more.
Piltover, a city-state close to Zaun, used ecological and sustainable sources of energy, so it had no need for crystals. But their worries about Valoran’s well being made senator Kassadin convince chancellor Smith Sorr to restore an ancient temple and use it as an Institute of War. The purpose of such was to bring peace to the continent, and Kassadin himself wrote a letter to each governor of the involved city-states: King Jarvan III from Demacia, Grand General Boram Darkwill from Noxus, Chief Executive Chairman Magnus Dunderson from Zaun and Supreme Chancellor Smith Sorr from Piltover. The governors accepted the invitation, and the meeting would soon happen in the Institute of War. Kassadin and Smith Sorr had left Piltover right away. The chancellor preferred to travel without guards, as Piltover wasn’t in the war and wouldn’t shed blood.
When they woke up by the morrow, the journey kept going. The descent was slower and more dangerous than the ascent, but eventually they found their way down. When the mountain pass was over, Kassadin left the carriage for some minutes to take some pure air. Then the travel continued, going south and south as it goes.
Below the Ironspike mountains there were verdant plains dotted with orchards, and the chancellor had lunch with Senator underneath a cherry tree. After the meal they resumed their journey. Near the end of the afternoon, arrived at the Institute of War.
The cave where it stood was huge, being nearly a quarter mile tall. The temple inside was a true monument to the greatness of the magic of Valoran, with its rows of columns showing the opulence of the wizards who built it centuries ago.
"It's a beautiful sight," said the chancellor, "I see that my investments have paid the penalty. Congratulations, Kassadin. The first part of your campaign for peace has been completed."
"Only the first part," Kassadin said, "The meeting tonight is to define its destiny."
The carriage went to the temple in the cave. When they got there, they were met by two senators that the Chancellor had sent to inspect the quality of the temple, and all the servants who worked in the cleanup.
"Supreme Chancellor," Reginald Ashram curtsied, "Kassadin."
"Hello, Reginald." Replied Smith Sorr with all his joviality, "Vessaria, beautiful as always."
Senator Vessaria Kolminye thanked with a reverence.
"Hello, senators." Greeted Kassadin, "Is everything ready for the meeting?"
"Yes, Kassadin, the room where it shall be held has already been cleaned and furnished." Said Vessaria, "The delegations of the city-states approach. Jarvan III departed Kalamanda in this morning, and will soon be here. Chief executive Magnus Dunderson from Zaun went by ship to Noxus and now is coming along with the entourage of Boram Darkwill. "
"Excellent," celebrated Kassadin, "We need to resolve this issue as soon as possible."
He was nervous for the meeting, but trusted that everything would work. He had rehearsed what he would say for many days, and now he was sure he was ready. He walked to his quarters inside the temple and waited there. Supped there, and when the time came, dressed up with no senator clothes, but with a beautiful blue tunic. He wanted to demonstrate that there had not acted beside a city state or another, but beside Valoran itself.
The meeting room was already crowded with the four leaders and their bodyguards, except Chancellor Smith Sorr who had traveled without guards. Kassadin sat in his chair at the roundtable as moderator. The King Jarvan III exchanged dubious glances with Boram Darkwill, and Magnus Dunderson stared Smith Sorr in disgust.
"You are all very welcome." Hailed Kassadin, "For we are all gathered here in peace. Ignore the wars that happen out there ... Here we do not belong to neither faction, but to our continent. Valoran. "
"Ignore the wars?" Boram Darkwill repeated, "I thought we were here to negotiate a truce. If we ignore the wars, what shall we discuss?"
"Exactly," agreed Magnus Dunderson
"The welfare of Valoran." Kassadin said, "The truce is only the first step."
"If we keep destroying our continent with the misuse of magic and technology, we are doomed," said the chancellor of Piltover.
Magnus Dunderson stared Smith Sorr with his ugly face, but said nothing.
"I think we can discuss this after the lives of the demacian soldiers slain by Noxus are avenged." Said Jarvan III, "I understand your purpose, Kassadin, but Darkwill’s dogs must be punished."
"Why, you idiot peacock!" Darkwill exclaimed, "Like if Demacia had not killed any of Noxus’ brave men!"
"Please, gentlemen, calm down," Kassadin asked, "Let's think of the greater good. It is what Valoran needs. Let's stop the holdings of crystals, and propose an armistice between the city-states involved in the war. So we can have peace! "
"Peace? What do you know about peace, Senator?" Darkwill raised his voice, "Do you bothered to study history before deciding to organize this meeting? Between Demacia and Noxus there can be no peace. Since the beginning of time we face on the battlefield. Thousands die, yes, but so that thousands others may live, and obtain glory. That is the natural order of things, and you cannot change it yourself. Give it up."
At that moment, a messenger came in and handed a letter to Darkwill. Another came, and delivered a message to Jarvan III. The same happened to Magnus Dunderson and Chancellor Smith Sorr. After reading the letter, the governors of Noxus, Demacia and Zaun stood and asked permission to withdraw. Only Kassadin and Smith Sorr were left the room.
"What happened?" Kassadin asked in astonishment, "What's in that letter?"
Chancellor Smith Sorr looked up to Kassadin.
"A crystal thirty feet high and fifteen wide was found in Ironspike. And, by all indications, the armies of Demacia and Noxus will soon be marching there.”
Kassadin could not believe his ears.
"Marching? That cannot happen, it cannot. Demacia and Noxus would sacrifice their entire armies by a crystal of this size. "
"Yes, Kassadin." Said the chancellor, "What do you suggest?"
"We need to stop them. Somehow. "Said Kassadin.
"It would take someone very powerful to stop two armies going into combat. A legend." Said the chancellor.
"Not only a legend. Several. A league." Said Kassadin, "A League of Legends."
Chapter 2 - Swain
Again the guillotine fell, and another head rolled over the sand.
"This is getting monotonous," Swain expected more of a spectacle known as "The Carnage".
"Monotonous, you say. Wait till they loose the lions. Oh, look there, now comes the demacian prisoner, the soldier who tried to resist arrest. Shin Min, is this his name? ", General Urgot was not a person with a good memory.
"Xin Zhao, general," said Swain, "We captured him in the Mogron Pass.”
"Ah, yes, now I remember, Jericho.", General Urgot ordered a servant to bring more tarps because the day was hot and cloudless in Noxus, and the heat was unbearable, "Cannot wait to see him being devoured."
The traditional beheading ritual in honor of the Great General Boram Darkwill ended, and the stadium cheered with the prospect of watching the bloodbath. From one end of the arena walked a soldier with dirty and damaged demacian armor, and without any weapon.
"There he is," Urgot chuckled, "Death to the demacian with a weird name! You heard his name, Jericho? Ming Lao! That’s rough!"
"Xin Zhao, sir," corrected Swain, "Okay, let's see what this show has to offer."
To the opposite extreme of the demacian came a noxian knight, riding a ferocious-looking black stallion. The rider wore a charcoal-colored armor, shining in the sun, and was greeted with cheers and celebrations from the audience.
"Ah, there he is, Porkrigde, my regiment! Another with an ugly name! But it is a mountain of a man, that is. He’ll crush Xing Kao." Urgot laughed.
The Black Knight replied to the cheers from the crowd raising the spear arm. The demacian did not move. He was not carrying a weapon; it was an execution, not a fight. Swain was not as thirsty for violence as Urgot, and came to the stadium expecting to watch a good fight. Perhaps he misread the name "Carnage."
The knight turned to the demacian. He closed the visor of his helmet and his heels sank into the stallion’s belly. The mount whinnied and galloped, and the knight’s spear pointed forward, like in a fair. He approached the demacian more each second, who did not move, as still as a statue.
"Yes, kill him!" Roared Urgot.
Closer, closer... The spear targeted Xin Zhao’s head. Swain watched everything carefully. He saw things that others did not see, he could feel the heavy breathing of the horse and its rider, and the serene demacian who just watched. This one is different from the others.
The rider reached the prisoner. The spear hit the ground... but not the target. Xin Zhao was gone, had clung to the saddle of the horse and now climbed the animal nimbly. He stood up in the saddle, drew the Knight’s sword from its sheathe and beheaded him right there. The head flew away, leaving a trail of blood in its path. The crowd roared. This one is different from the others.
Urgot was terrified. Xin Zhao got off his horse and hit its back, causing the animal to gallop out of the arena. Then the demacian took the spear of the black knight, broke it in two and measured their weight. Once he approved it, he positioned himself toward the end of the arena and waited, still as a statue.
"I want to see demacian blood on the sand of this arena!" Protested Urgot, "Throw all the prisoners inside. Who kill that Zang Zao wins freedom!"
General Urgot had great influence in Noxus and his request was granted. One day I will be like him, thought Swain, who was only a soldier of the military forces of Noxus, One day everyone will obey my orders. That day will come.
Thirty-odd prisoners were released in the arena, each carrying swords, axes or maces. Xin Zhao only stared, waiting their attack. When they advanced, shouting, the demacian finally moved.
Limbs flew and dead prisoners fell as Xin Zhao performed his dance of death with the spear. Soon it was over, and the sand was red.
"Impressive." Swain turned to Urgot, "He does very well against inexperienced prisoners. How about putting a squad of Noxus against him?"
Urgot loved the idea, and after an order a group of ten highly trained soldiers of the armed forces of Noxus entered the arena. Xin Zhao seemed surprised.
"Let's see if this demacian dog survives this." Said Urgot.
The soldiers raised their shields and slowly advanced towards Xin Zhao. This one waited, and only when he was cornered he decided to move.
He raised his spear and jumped, cutting off the heads of three enemies at once. Fell behind the others, and with quick movements he pierced their spines. Soon, Xin Zhao finished executing them and returned to his spot.
This one is different from the others. Swain watched Xin Zhao intently. He realized that the demacian constantly glanced to a certain point of the bleachers. Swain grabbed his binoculars to try to figure out what attracted the attention of Xin Zhao. And when Swain saw it, it was too late.
In a single and sudden movement, dozens of watchers revealed swords, axes and spears and attacked the stadium guards. Then they threw a rope to Xin Zhao, who scaled the wall of the arena and climbed into the stands.
"But what is this?", Urgot yelled.
"I know what it is. A demacian trap, within the walls of Noxus!" Swain turned to Urgot, "Sound the alarm!"
Swain then saw to his sheer terror that right beside them one of the servants of Urgot revealed a sword with the insignia of Demacia and was preparing to attack the general. But Swain was faster. Drew his own blade and pierced the attacker's torso. The other servants also proved themselves traitors and attacked. Swain quickly defended himself and killed them. Then he looked around and saw that the chaos had settled. Downstairs in the arena demacians and noxians clashed, and everywhere the crowd tried to flee the conflict. Swain ran to Urgot.
"Come on, General, we got to go. I will escort you out there!" Swain rose Urgot from his seat and began to lead him towards the exit.
A sea of people panicking blocked the way, and Swain had to kill two men to open space for the general to pass. When they finally reached the exit, Swain gave the general a group of soldiers of Noxus, which took him away from the stadium.
There chaos reigned. Hundreds of people ran out of the arena, while troops and more troops of noxian soldiers struggled to get into the stadium. A conflict has raged inside, but Swain knew the demacians were infiltrated in greater numbers.
A soldier of Noxus came to Swain.
"Jericho", he exclaimed, "There are demacian troops attacking the city gates! Where is General Urgot?"
Swain knew without Urgot Noxus’ troops would be disorganized, but the general was wounded during the escape and could not fight.
"Right," said Swain, "The General is currently disabled. I will take care of the situation. Send all those troops who are trying to enter the stadium to the city gates. Meanwhile, all the exits of the arena must be blocked. Nobody gets in or out. When the external attack is settled, we'll take care of demacians inside the arena. "
The soldier moved away quickly, leaving Jericho alone amidst the turmoil. Right. My main target is Xin Zhao. I may not let him escape. Swain headed for the smaller exits of the stadium, which were being blocked by noxian soldiers.
“Wait!”, commanded Jericho, “Let me in!”
The soldiers were confused, and Swain entered before they could ask any stupid questions. He walked some steps in a tunnel that ended inside the own arena. There was blood and death and fight everywhere, but Jericho Swain had only one target, and started searching for him right away. He saw then that Xin Zhao and some other demacians had managed to escape through one of the blocked exits. Angry, Swain ran to the closest way out and in seconds he was outside the stadium. Xin Zhao and his footmen were running towards the gates of Noxus, which, for Swain’s horror, had been breached. Then Swain heard a loud noise coming from behind him, and turned to see dozens of demacians coming out of the arena towards him. Jericho Swain ran to the gates, having to kill anyone that stood on his way. Kill Xin Zhao. Kill Xin Zhao. Kill Xin Zhao.
Swain’s target was already at the other side of the walls when he managed to get to the gates. There were men fighting everywhere, and Xin Zhao used the turmoil to run away safely. No. You won’t escape.
Full of anger, Swain cut through the enemy lines, leaving the demacian soldiers frozen in astonishment as he left a trail of corpses behind him. Kill Xin Zhao. Kill Xin Zhao. Kill Xin Zhao. Kill Xin…
The blow came before Swain could even realize that he had already gotten to his target. And then, in a second, Swain fell, a terrible pain coming from his left leg. What leg? Xin Zhao loomed over him, his spear red with Swain’s blood. The bottom half of Jericho’s leg was flying, almost in slow motion. All around him the world was spinning.
This one is different from the others.
Chapter 3 - Ryze
Stared the wolves indulge in the flesh of the elk. His stomach rumbled and his mind was slowly being dominated by hunger. But Ryze was not a fool; he knew how to control himself. He had hunted that animal for two days, until the wolf pack emerge and devour his prey. The rogue mage did not feel hatred for the wolves; he knew the balance of things. But hunger was yielding him little by little, and that moose was the only potential prey that he had found in the ruins of the Summoner's Rift.
A flock of birds flied over Ryze. But they were small and very fast, not allowing time for the wizard to try and hit them. Ryze knew he would die if he stayed one more day without eating. He had an idea when he saw a little wolf cub away from the group. The mage needed to feed, he had no alternative. But he could never escape with the booty without fighting the entire pack. In the end, Ryze would have to kill everyone. He prepared his spells, and analyzed the best way to start. There were five wolves, four were young and the fifth was a huge female with red hair. He decided to defeat her first. Then, he jumped out of his hiding place.
The female quickly rose from the carcass, and opened her teeth to attack. Ryze fired a stream of spells on it, who whined to be pushed back. The young wolves jumped on him, who was thrown to the ground. One of them bit his left arm with voracity, and the other was already inches from his throat when Ryze shot of lightning over the wolf. The small ones were already moving away, frightened, but the female had not given up the fight. Gigantic, toppled Ryze with a kick and then stood on the magician. Again in the ground, Ryze had no energy for new attacks. He picked up a rock with his right hand and struck the wolf, which yelped and bit Ryze’s hand. The rogue mage was already running out of alternatives, when he felt a reserve of energy flowing through his body. He used his spell flux a second time, and then another lightning overcharge. The wolf fell, unable to move, but still did not give up the fight. Those were her puppies, and she would die before letting Ryze touch them.
The magician felt a pang of dismay to learn that he had disabled the single life expectancy of those puppies. Without their mother they will die, he thought. He would not be responsible for their death, he did not want it. He approached the wolf, which growled fiercely, but did not budge. Then, he slowly removed the offensive energy that he had struck on it, draining it back to the runes tattooed on his purple skin. Within minutes ended, and the wolf was healthy again.
Ryze quickly rose and prepared to flee with a piece of the carcass of the elk, but he did not need to do it. The wolf did not attack. Only approached him, licked his forehead, and then pushed him towards the dead moose. Ryze knew what she wanted. She was offering him the flesh.
At the end of the day, a well fed Ryze rested under the shade of a ruined tower. After the incident, the wolves let him leave with a piece of meat, and Ryze had left them alone. Sitting at the base of the old building, he brooded about the undecipherable parchment in his back.
Ryze was studying it for many, many years, but could not decipher the runes that had been written on it. But the magician knew that parchment contained unimaginable power locked inside, so great that Ryze would not risk letting it fall into the wrong hands. That was why he took the thing on his back to wherever he went, to be sure that no one would ever have it.
Night had fallen on the Summoner's Rift. The old place was in ruins, infested with wolves and other creatures in the forest, but there in the tower Ryze considered to be a safe place to spend the night. A full moon lit everything as well as torches, and the magician had a broad view of the surroundings. He rolled out his sleeping bag and prepared to rest.
That was when he heard a scream. He got up instantly alert. The sound had come from the forest, acute. Ryze examined the trees and the darkness between them, without moving. He saw nothing. Then he heard the shout again, and ran into the woods. He ran among the trees, the branches hurting his face and exposed torso as he passed. Here there were no trails; Ryze was making his own way among the trees. As he ran, the screams seemed closer. Until Ryze finally arrived at a clearing in the woods.
In the center of the open space there was an extinguished fire, and beside it a dead horse. And devouring the entrails of the horse, there was a wraith. Ryze stared the creature with disgust, which withdrew its long claws of bone from inside the horse and lifted up, floating just inches off the ground. The body of the wraith was almost completely hidden by the torn black cloak he was wearing, but his long arms ended in long, sharp fingers were visible. They were dripping blood and pieces of organs of the horse. Ryze could still hear the screams, but they were more distant now.
The wraith gave a squeal. Stretched his claws, slowly approaching Ryze. He intended to scare Ryze, not fight him. But the magician would not leave now. A huge mass of energy was being accumulated in the palm of his hand since entering the clearing. Now was the time to use it.
Ryze fired the lightning ball on the wraith. The creature evaded it easily, and with incredible rapidity floated to the magician, talons outstretched. Ryze dodged the first blow of the wraith, but was not fast enough to evade the second. Three long bone claws pierced Ryze’s left shoulder, rising him to the wraith’s height, which gave a squeal of delight. The blood flowed from Ryze’s wound, red, mixing with the horse’s blood. The magician was in pain, but he knew he had to endure it. Focused on his runes, he left energy flow through them. Then, at once, a pulse of lightning shot through his skin, throwing the wraith away. Ryze fell to the floor of the clearing, wounded. He had to backtrack now. Fighting injured like that would be suicide.
He ran back into the woods, bewildered. The pain was leaving him dizzy, nauseous. He did not know the right direction to take. And the cry was much higher, penetrating his mind like daggers. Ryze screamed in pain, falling to the forest floor. He felt cold: the wraith approached. Ryze stood up to run, trying his best to ignore the pain. He felt that the ground was doing a little slope. That's when the forest ended suddenly, and Ryze found himself standing on a riverbank. The Serpentine River. The magician plunged into the icy waters, hoping to find some relief for his pain. He walked to the middle of the river, going up about ten feet away from the shore.
Then the water seemed to grow cold. Ryze came back slowly because it caused terrible pain in the shoulder. And he saw. The river water was freezing because a dozen wraiths now approached, hovering inches from the floor. Their yellow eyes were visible beneath the hood.
I'm going to die, Ryze thought. They are too many. And they were. Came screeching, ever closer, claws outstretched. The one which had fought with Ryze was among them. The full moon cast a ghostly light over the frozen river, and Ryze felt the terror grow inside him. It’s over.
One of the bigger wraiths gave a squeal that startled even the others. That was not a sound of pleasure but of pain. The creature was being stabbed by someone, but Ryze could not see who it was. Soon afterward, the person revealed a torch, which fire kept the wraiths away from her. The man ran to Ryze.
"Are you hurt?" He asked, "I need you."
"I understand that need," said Ryze, "Try and break the ice with this dagger."
The man punched the ice around Ryze several times while with the other hand kept the hungry wraiths away. After many furious blows in the ice, Ryze could rise. He stood on the frozen surface along with the man.
"I'm hurt, but I will kill as many of them as I can." Ryze shot lightning from his palms, which hit two wraiths. The man threw the torch into the hood of another, who fled immediately. The others came forward with rage. The man stabbed one while Ryze electrocuted another two, and still immobilized another.
When all were dead, the river water returned to its liquid state. Ryze staggered to the sidelines and sat on it. The ice had numbed his injury enough that he could fight again, but now the pain returned more poignant because his wounds had opened even more during the fight.
"Thanks for helping me," said the man, approaching Ryze.
"I thank you," replied the magician, "I'm Ryze"
"I know it. It’s because of you that I’ve come here," the man said, "I'm Kassadin, Senator of Piltover. I’ve come to invite you to join a certain organization..."
Chapter 4 - Xin Zhao
A soldier offered him a piece of cloth to wash the dried blood of his armor. Xin Zhao gladly accepted, and began cleaning at the same time. After all, he would not have much to do during the long and exhausting journey back to Demacia.
The escape from Noxus was difficult and violent. After taking control of the arena, the demacian soldiers seized the distraction caused by the attack on the citadel gates to escape. But the noxians were being commanded by a general smarter than they had imagined, and they had to fight to make their way out. Many died, but in the end, they came to the gates. There, however, a soldier who apparently commanded the others tried to attack Xin Zhao. The demacian had no trouble defending himself, and with a quick strike he cut off one of the soldier's legs. He would kill him, but there was no time. He ran out of the city followed by several soldiers, who stole horses and coaches from Noxus’ stables and fled at full speed.
Xin Zhao had no doubt that the attack had been planned to rescue him, but he did not understand why sacrificing many men to save only one. He sat in the wagon always attentive. A belt of demacian knights was formed to defend them from any attack, but Xin Zhao did not believe that the noxian men would give them chase. Surely they were dealing with the turmoil caused by the attack.
They had already left Noxus three days ago, and were approaching the halfway to Demacia. The journey from one city state to another would last four days if alone, but the big group was slowly. Xin Zhao believed that there would come another three days if they kept the pace. The demacians who rescued him did not know the reasons for having done so, claiming they had received orders from the Military High Command of Demacia. Xin Zhao had done everything possible to try to discover the reason for his rescue, but apparently his rescuers did not know or could not say anything.
Xin shared the cart with three other soldiers, called Muir, Swyft and Collins. They were good men in the same position in the demacian military hierarchy as Xin Zhao. Muir did not talk much, but Swyft and Collins liked to talk about their deeds and battles. Xin Zhao was amused to hear Collins boast of having done three conflicts in Kalamanda and Swyft proud of having been a bodyguard for Jared Spiritmight, a member of one of the most prominent houses of Demacia.
"Why did you left your post beside Spiritmight?" Xin Zhao remembered asking Swyft.
The soldier blushed and said nothing, leaving Xin Zhao and Collins laughing.
The demacian squadron was now passing near a huge cave at the base of a lonely hill. Inside the cave Xin Zhao could identify a huge temple with rows of columns. There were people walking around, and an entourage with demacian flags approached.
"King Jarvan III's there." Said Muir, "Here you go down, Zhao."
"I go down?" Xin Zhao was confused, "I thought we were going to Demacia."
"We, not you," said Muir, "The King Jarvan III, who imbued us to rescue you from Noxus, commanded us to hand you over directly to him, here in this place."
Muir got off the wagon and invited Xin Zhao to do the same. After the latter fell, the first returned to the vehicle and moved on. It was all very fast, Xin Zhao does not even had time to say goodbye. He saw that the royal party stopped right beside him, and a carriage opened its doors for him. Xin Zhao got in quickly. He could understand why everything happening so quickly and without explanation: it had to be secret.
Inside the spacious carriage he was greeted by a noble-looking man wearing a golden robe. His eyes were a deep blue, and his long beard as white as snow.
"Your Majesty, delight of my eyes," Xin Zhao bowed to Jarvan III.
The king rolled his eyes.
"No more bull****. Sit, Xin Zhao. I did not sacrifice dozens of men to listen to your flattery. I want you to hear me,” commanded the king of Demacia.
Xin Zhao sat.
"What do you want from me, Your Majesty? ," he asked.
The king examined Xin Zhao's face for a moment before answering.
"I wanted something different before what happened today." Said the king, "I sent them to bring you out of that mouth of hell that is Noxus because I had something else, something more selfish, in mind. But let it go. I want you to perform a task of utmost importance. "
"I'm all ears, Your Majesty," said Xin Zhao.
"Okay." the King straightened, "A crystal of unimaginable proportions was found in the mountains Ironspike. I know that Noxus is watching this cave where the crystal is, but we must have it before them. You must lead a small group of soldiers up to this cave, escorting a group of miners. You must protect the cave and the miners until the demacian army gets there. When it arrives, your mission is complete."
"But why me, Your Majesty?," asked Xin Zhao.
"You are one of the best warriors of Valoran. I had another mission for you, but I'll leave it for later. Demacia is more important. We need that crystal." Said Jarvan III.
For a few moments silence reigned until Xin Zhao asked:
"Your Majesty, forgive me boldness, but I need to know... What is this place? Why was Your Majesty waiting me here? "
The king was silent, and Xin Zhao thought he would not answer his question. But after a moment, he spoke:
"It's called the Institute of War. A small group of piltovian senators decided they would kill all the world's problems in a meeting, but failed. I think that was a good lesson, I hope they return to their city-state and not meddle in Demacia’s matters anymore. I knew I'd be here after you was recovered, then commanded them to leave you here on the way back to Demacia. "
Xin Zhao thanked the answer.
"Now go," said the king, "There is a cart where food is being transported. You’ll find clean and decent clothes in it, and a spear, I know you like to fight with spears. Take what you need, and leave immediately. The soldiers who will make the company shall reach the cave a bit after you, wait for them there. That's it. You may go. You are excused. "
Xin Zhao left the carriage in motion and went to the wagon that the King had mentioned. He took the clothes, the spear and a bag of supplies and separated from the group. In the bag was a map, and with it Xin Zhao was able to locate himself. He knew where he was going, and then moved on.
He arrived at Ironspike at the end of the day. The cave was difficult to locate in the darkness, but the full moon helped Xin Zhao to find it. The cave was a few feet above the vision of those who passed through the base of Ironspike but up there Xin Zhao could see all around. It was a great vantage point.
Xin Zhao was about to sit down to await the arrival of the rest of the group when he noticed a broken lamp near the cave entrance. There was something stuck to the lamp, but it was difficult to identify what with only the moonlight. Xin Zhao got up and approached the object, curious. He took the lamp and held it up.
Then he saw what was stuck to it. It was a bloody hand, still clutching the handle of the lamp. Xin Zhao was startled and dropped the object. At that moment, he felt something... A breath, deep and loud, coming from inside the cave. The demacian readied his spear, fearing some kind of wild animal. The heavy breathing seemed to increase in intensity. Xin Zhao approached cautiously. He took a few steps into the cave, not knowing what kind of creature was waiting for him inside.
That's when he saw it. A pair of yellow eyes glowing in the darkness. Seconds later, a gigantic creature jumped on him, knocking him to the ground. The animal looked like a huge insect, and his front paws were terminated in long scythe-shaped claws. Xin Zhao quickly rose and attacked the beast with his spear. The animal blocked the attack with his claws, but Xin Zhao turned the spear from up the animal’s claws to under his defense, making a huge cut on the creature’s torso.
The animal squealed and opened two pairs of insect wings, flying over Xin Zhao out of the cave. There, under the moonlight, the demacian could see how the animal was monstrous. It opened its mouth dripping blood and let out a guttural sound:
"I'm weak now, human, and I cannot beat you. But soon I will be strong again, and then you shall know the terror. I will come back to hunt you down ... And they will all fear Kha'Zix!"
Then the creature took flight, disappearing into the cold night air.
Chapter 5 - Veigar
Bandle City was considered a great place to live. With its green hills and fragrant orchards, the city was a haven for any yordle.
But not for Veigar. The yordle with unnaturally black hair was an exception to the group of worshipers of Bandle City. Not that he did not like the city, he even liked. Only for Veigar the world was not just the Bandle City. The world went beyond her, beyond the Sablestone Mountains that surrounded the Yordle Lands. There was much to be explored, and Veigar wanted to know all these places. But this was a wish he did not share with any other yordles, who preferred to live their ordinary lived in Bandle City.
On the morning of the first day of the summer festival of Bandle City, Veigar was not as excited as the other yordles. He had seen many parties and celebrations in his ten years of life, and was tired of so much sameness. He sat on the porch of his house, watching the street. Teemo, his best friend, was running alongside other happy yordles towards the party. When he saw Veigar, he approached, smiling.
"Get up, Veigar!" Teemo called, "The festival is starting on the main square! Are not you coming? "
"I do not know, Teemo. I'm tired today. I think I'll stay around here”
Teemo was not satisfied with the answer.
"But you’ve always loved the summer festival! What happened?"Asked the yordle with cream-colored hair.
"I wanted something different, Teemo, that's all," replied Veigar, "Something new."
Teemo did not quite understand what Veigar said, but the black yordle did not care.
Nobody understood him very well in the Yordle Lands.
In the end, Teemo gave up convincing Veigar to join him, leaving the black yordle in peace in his home. As the crowd of excited yordles passed through the streets toward the main square of Bandle City, Veigar felt increasingly out of place. He did not belong to the Yordle Lands, did not belong to Bandle City. Gazed dreamily into the Sablestone Mountains, wishing he could one day cross them. He stayed there for so long that not even noticed when the street was empty calmed down and the confetti on the floor being the only traces of the party that had been there. Veigar took advantage of the lull to leave the city for a little bit. He walked through the deserted streets, going towards the hills surrounding Bandle City.
Near the entrance arch of the city, Veigar encountered a human. He'd seen humans a few times in his life, but it was always a surprise to encounter one. The man also saw him and called him.
"Come on, buddy!" He called out, "I need some help here."
Veigar initially hesitated, but then decided to approach. The man wore a leather overcoat with gold rivets, and in his head laid a tricorn hat following the same pattern as the jacket.
"Very nice, dear yordle." Said the man, "You can call me Twisted Fate."
"A beautiful name," praised Twisted Fate, "I think you'll be able to help me with what I need. Have you seen the caravan of merchants that stopped outside the town? "
Veigar denied; he had not seen it yet.
"Okay, but there is a caravan here in Bandle City." Said Twisted Fate, "Traveling all the way down here is expensive, but the leader of our caravan insisted that we came to negotiate with you Halflings. But nobody wants to come to our caravan because of this summer festival. Since we cannot go into town to sell, could you pick up some products and sell them for the yordles there at the festival? "
Veigar was not the least bit willing to help, and Twisted Fate realized that. Before the black yordle denied though, Fate held him and said:
"How about I show you our caravan? Maybe it'll help you think better. "
And before Veigar could deny Twisted Fate was already dragging him out of town. The black yordle tried to pull away, but Fate had no trouble in controlling him. Soon they arrived at the caravan, which was camped really just beside the city walls. There was a fire lit, cooking the contents of a pan, and a thin old man with a long white beard was sitting beside it. He wore a turban and a purple tunic.
"Look, Malzahar," said Twisted Fate to the old man, "A charitable yordle offered to help us."
The old man stared Veigar so deeply that the yordle almost froze.
"Great." Malzahar said, "We need to sell."
The old man motioned for Veigar to approach.
"Veigar" he said, but Veigar did not remember saying his name to him, "You shall help us."
Veigar did not answer. That old man had a frightful presence, mysterious, wise.
"You will not, will you?" Said the old man, "Never mind. I did not traveled to the world’s end to sell. I saw that in Bandle City I would find an existence as powerful as mine. Found it."
Veigar did not understand anything. The old man invited him to come into his tent. Veigar came in, not knowing what to do. Malzahar came soon after. The tent was filled with pillows, rugs and incense.
"I'm a seer, Veigar," Malzahar said, "Blessed with the gift of prophecy. I saw that if I came here I would find you. I would not have traveled so far if not for an important cause. I sent Twisted Fate into town today because I knew he would find you. And you have abilities that nobody else has."
Veigar was completely confused, but remained silent.
"You have the ability to learn an art that is almost disappearing because few are those willing to teach it, and even fewer who are able to learn it. I will teach this art to you, Veigar."
Veigar understood nothing. He did not know that old man, and now he was saying that he would teach him a black art. Veigar wanted to run away, run away from that tent.
"You fear. No need." Malzahar said,"I know your deepest desire is to leave this place.
You want to win the world, Veigar. And you shall. I'll give you this opportunity."
Saying that, Malzahar cupped hands. Among them arose a map composed of some type of translucent purple particle.
"The world is yours, Veigar, if you accept." Malzahar said, "And I'll teach you to corrupt the cosmic energies to bend reality. You are one of the few that can."
Veigar was speechless.
"I, I do not know ..." he begun, but Malzahar interrupted.
"You know, Veigar." He said, "I know you know. Come here, I want to show you something."
Malzahar left the tent, and Veigar followed him. The old man begun to walk up the hills. Veigar was behind, and only when they were ten minutes away from Bandle City, Malzahar stopped.
"Here’s a fine place."
He raised an arm, pointing to the sky. For a moment, nothing happened. Then, suddenly, lightning fell from the clouds at the very fingertips of Malzahar. The connection lasted several seconds, and the light was so strong that Veigar had to cover his face. The beam then stopped, and now a ball of energy danced in Malzahar’s palm.
When Veigar saw it, the last chains that still kept him bound to Bandle City were destroyed by his thirst of knowledge and adventure.
"I want it; I want to have that power." Veigar said, "Teach me, Malzahar. I'll go with you. "
The old man smiled, and Veigar too. The black yordle hardly knew that this choice would condemn him forever.
Chapter 6 - Kassadin II
"You've come from afar," commented Ryze, "How long did it take to get here?"
"Five days," said Kassadin, moaning in pain to clean the wound on his hand with an ointment given by Ryze," And I was attacked when I arrived here. It's a really wild place, this Summoner's Rift. "
After the fight with the wraiths, Ryze brought Kassadin up to his camp near a disabled Nexus so they could rest and treat the wounds.
"These are just ruins. The beings that live here were not here from the beginning," replied Ryze, "But I do not think you came here to discuss ancient temples. Tell me, what is this organization that you mentioned? "
Kassadin put the ointment pot away and wiped his hands on a towel.
"First of all, I wanted to clarify that everything I will tell you now is confidential. Only I know that, and soon you will know too.” Began Kassadin, but that was not entirely true, because the piltovian Chancellor Smith Sorr also knew it all, "I am a senator from Piltover who is unhappy with the current situation of Valoran. This war is changing the face of our continent, and it has to stop. I've tried a truce, but it did not work. I decided that the only way to end the conflicts is to end their motive. A meeting to discuss the truce was interrupted by a huge energy crystal found in Ironspike, and now Demacia and Noxus are in a race to see who gets to it first. This will cause a long and bloody struggle, and to prevent it, I decided to convene the most skilled warriors of Valoran to destroy the crystal and form a peace organization called League of Legends."
Ryze heard everything and said:
"Only the destruction of a crystal will not end the war."
"Obviously not!" Kassadin said, "But will call the attention of the great city-states to our organization. When that happens, I'll do whatever it takes. I already have a hundred plans to create a strong, independent institute for peace of Valoran. The League of Legends will start small, just enough to complete its first mission, and after that we will grow to become a system of peaceful dispute between the city-states, and very cheaper than warfare. "
Ryze pondered and said:
"I think I have an idea of what you are planning. But I have my doubts. How much credibility do you think the great nations will give to a small group of individuals who just destroyed their object of desire?"
"Credibility enough so we can invite them to a second meeting, this time dealing with the official League of Legends and the Institute of War." Concluded Kassadin.
Ryze was thoughtful.
"Your plan makes sense, Kassadin, but is too optimistic. If just one of these conclusions is wrong, nothing will go right."
Kassadin was impatient.
"Too optimistic?! Optimism is the only thing we have left, Ryze. Time is short, and this is the only plan. Or would you rather sit here in this ruins and just watch while your continent is destroyed by a vain war?"
Ryze got up, serious.
"That's not what I meant, Kassadin. I just want you to be very careful. From the moment we spoke for the first time, I feel a bad foreboding hanging over you like a storm cloud. "
Kassadin rolled his eyes.
"Keep your superstitions to yourself, Ryze. Tell me, shall you come with me or not? "
The purple skin scholar put his thumb under his chin thoughtfully.
"You said you will call more people. Who are they?" Ryze finally said.
"They are ... Wait! May I interpret this question as a yes?" Kassadin smiled.
"I need this continent intact so that it can complete my research. I shall help you, Kassadin. But I demand something in return."
"What, besides peace?," asked the piltovian Senator.
"The Institute of War you mentioned. I think it's an appropriate place to settle. These ruins are getting too dangerous." Explained Ryze.
"Ah, yes, you'll be very welcome there, Ryze. And as for these ruins, I have a good role for them in mind. But that's a topic for later. Now we go to go south, to the village of Kalamanda. There we shall find the next champion of the League of Legends. "
"Who, I wonder."
Kassadin smiled as he rose.
"Sivir, the Battle Mistress."
The journey south took them a whole day. Ryze did not say a word for all the way, leaving Kassadin with his thoughts. The senator had never traveled such a distance by foot, and now he regretted not bringing another horse. His delicate piltovian garments were torn in several places, and by the end of the day his skin was bruised and sunburned. But when they finally reached Kalamanda, Kassadin forgot all discomforts. For Sivir was right on the main street of the village, and was irritated.
"Give me my money!" She yelled to a man who was a few feet away.
"I'm sorry, but no, ma'am. You lost the game!" The man replied, "Next time, pick another hobby. You're terrible at playing cards."
The man turned and walked away, heading for the Kalamanda tavern. Sivir exploded with rage and threw her boomerang blade. Within seconds the weapon cut the man in two, spilling his guts on the floor. Sivir ran to the front of the tavern, where her blade had stuck, and recovered it. Then, with a single spin, the men who were with the one were decapitated. Then she quickly searched their bodies and took their gold coins.
"Are you sure it's her?" Asked Ryze dumbfounded, "She is a ruthless killer, not someone who cares about the fate of the continent."
"I'm aware of that. Sivir may be a bounty hunter, but rumors about her legendary deeds often travel the continent. I'm willing to pay for her services, if they are charged." Replied Kassadin, hoping not to offend Ryze. If the magician wanted, the Senator could even give him a reward in gold. But Ryze did not seem offended, and Kassadin decided to approach the woman.
But before he gave a few steps, Ryze grabbed his shoulder.
"You'd better announce yourself before coming close. If she thinks you’re one of the card players, she’ll kill you." Advised the magician.
Kassadin hesitated for a moment, then nodded.
"Lady Sivir!" He exclaimed, "Please, I know you're a little angry, but I need your attention."
Sivir turned to Senator with a relentless gaze.
"You want to hire me?" She growled.
"Wait, wait, I'll explain..." Kassadin moved closer.
Sivir raised her blade and pointed it at Kassadin. Ryze immediately stood next to the senator.
"I see you already have a bodyguard." She said, "You do not need me. So do not approach, or I will kill you both."
Kassadin knew that convincing Sivir would be more dangerous than doing the same with Ryze, so he’d came prepared. He lifted a bag full of gold and showed it to the mercenary.
"I can pay you, Battle Mistress." He added.
Sivir's gaze shifted, and she lowered her blade boomerang.
"What is the service?"
Kassadin pointed to the tavern.
"Could we discuss this after sitting and drinking something?"
After a few glasses of beer and promises of gold, Sivir accepted the proposal of Kassadin.
"But if you fail to pay my monthly salary, I will kill you," said the mercenary before signing the document that Kassadin had offered her.
The senator left the bar several bags of gold poorer, but still glad to have been able to add one more champion to the League of Legends. But there was something he needed to do at the Institute of War: Reginald Ashram and Vessaria Kolminye, the senators who had helped him found the Institute of War, did not know about the League of Legends. Kassadin knew he had to warn them, so decided to send Ryze and Sivir in search of the next candidate for champion so that he could return to the Institute of War.
"Ryze, you and Sivir must go north to the forests south of Freljord, where you will find the next champion of the League of Legends." Said the senator, "I have business to attend to at the Institute of War."
"What is the name of the person we seek?" Asked Ryze.
"Ashe, the Frost Archer." Replied Kassadin
Chapter 7 - Swain II
Every step echoed by the black marble hall, reverberating through the walls and gothic stained glass to eventually disappear. Swain never expected that someday he could enter the Blackcrow fortress, home to the Great General of Noxus and the rest of the nobility. But it was happening. Swain was finally recognized for his obvious talent to lead.
But of course, this had not come easily. He had almost died during Xin Zhao’s escape, but some noxian soldiers saved him from the demacian lines. He had lost a leg during the process, and now hobbled with a wooden prosthesis. He ordered a cane to help him walk, and now he was getting used to the new way of walking. An ordinary man would have given up the noxian military forces, but Jericho Swain was no ordinary man. He was ambitious, and having only one leg would not ruin his ambitions.
The hall ended in the black throne of Boram Darkwill, Great General of Noxus. It was empty, and a herald waited beside it.
"Jericho Swain?" Asked the Herald when Swain approached.
"Please follow me." Asked the Herald.
The man took Swain through several corridors and staircases of the black fortress. After a few minutes they reached Darkwill’s office where Swain entered after being announced.
Boram Darkwill was much older than he looked. He was alive since taken command of Noxus in a military coup that had happened three hundred years ago, wiping out the organization known as the Black Rose, which previously ruled the city-state.
He had been a fearful knight in his youth, but since becoming Great General he had acquired an acid and sedentary personality. He loved the power above all, and hated the weak and cowards who refused to enlist in the noxian military. Jericho Swain had never seen him so close, nor ever thought this would happen. But there he was, scowling and sitting like a gargoyle at his black marble desk.
"Sit down," he commanded without looking at Swain, who immediately obeyed.
For a few minutes, the monarch just read and signed some papers and documents that were on his desk, as if Swain were not there. After he ended, he finally looked up to Jericho and watched him for a moment before speaking.
"I could command the executioner take your head off."
Swain's eyes widened in surprise.
"Forgive me, My Lord, if I displeased you in some way." Swain quickly knelt.
"Get up!" Darkwill commanded, "You have been very bold in taking command of noxian troops without the appropriate title. You're just a soldier.”
Swain could not believe Darkwill was dissatisfied with his performance.
"But," continued Boram Darkwill, "I cannot afford to reject a natural talent like you. The only general who is still worthy of this city is Urgot, and he is getting old and incapacitated. I need someone to replace him, and I see this someone in you, Swain.”
Jericho Swain took a few seconds to realize what the Great General wanted.
"But not everything is perfect here, Swain. Nobody would accept if I promoted you for disobeying a rule. Even being Great General of Noxus, I still need the trust of my men. Therefore, I am sending you on a mission. If you complete it successfully, and return alive, you will be General the same day. "
Swain was increasingly happy and satisfied.
"And what would that mission be, My Lord?" He asked, excited.
Boram Darkwill stared Swain for a while with a serious face before answering.
"You must kill Jarvan IV, heir to the throne of Demacia."
They gave him a bag of gold, a good horse, a map of Demacia and a hextech crossbow loaded with poisoned darts. On the evening of the same day, Jericho Swain of Noxus left to complete his mission.
You must kill Jarvan IV, heir to the throne of Demacia. You must kill him, Swain.
Every minute Swain became more anxious and nervous at the prospect of his fate. The chances of him dying were high, and very small to succeed. Jarvan IV, a boy of fifteen, Crown Prince of Demacia, twenty-four hours protected by an escort of the best knights of Demacia. Swain had no idea how to kill him, but Darkwill told him that the prince’s birthday would happen in a week, and in that day he would make a public appearance. A trip to Demacia from Noxus lasted half a month, so Swain knew he had to hurry. He spent the whole night galloping faster than the wind, and when dawned he stopped at a noxian fort on the plains to get a fresh mount and eat something. He remained there for less than an hour.
On the second day of the journey Swain passed by a place he had never seen before: a gigantic temple in a completely hollow hill. He did not know if it was safe to stop there, then moved on. At night he slept only three hours, enough for the horse to rest and he could resume his journey.
In the fifth and final day of travel, he stopped at noon in the city of Kalamanda. He traded his horse for a fresher one and when he was doing so he couldn’t help noticing a picturesque scene: a man dressed in fancy clothes, probably coming from Piltover, negotiating with the famous mercenary Sivir. Swain didn’t come close because he could not be seen so close to Demacia, so he just continued on in silence.
It was during the night of the fifth day that he arrived in Demacia. Due to the war, there was a strong contingent of soldiers at the gate, searching everyone who wanted to enter the Golden City. Swain could not help but gaze at the city for a while, full of disgust.
The opulent symbol of the arrogance of these nasty people.
While driving his horse towards the gates, Jericho saw that he should prepare a distraction so that he could enter without being searched. After all, the hextech crossbow hidden in the folds of his cloak would earn him a death sentence. Seeing that most people in the crowd that was lining up to enter the city were poor and peasant, Swain took his gold purse from his belt. He pulled a handful of coins and threw them in the crowd. When it heard the clink of coins into the ground, the crowd immediately panicked, groping in the dark. Swain threw more gold along the way, until the situation reached a point where the demacian soldiers themselves were looking for money.
Slag. In Noxus, this would never happen.
It was not long until he was inside the city. He used the map of Demacia given to him by Darkwill to reach the city's main square. Once there, however, he found that the prince's birthday celebrations had finished, and now the royal family was waving at the population from the balcony of the Golden Hall. Swain had an idea when he saw this. All the buildings in Demacia were tall and full of windows, and it would not be difficult to shoot from one of them. He entered into a nearby building and went upstairs to a considerable height. When he found a great point to shoot, Swain drew his crossbow and loaded a dart.
He had trained a few times along the way to Demacia, and hoped he could shoot accurately. A few feet away from him, the royal family was waving from the balcony. The boy Jarvan IV was smiling, the queen his mother also, and King Jarvan III was clearly seriously concerned about the issues of war.
He told me to kill the kid, but why not kill everyone?, Swain thought for a moment, but quickly eliminated the idea to remember that crossbows took a long time to recharge. He aimed a dart in the boy prince, and his trigger finger approached. Every inch of Swain's body was drenched in sweat due to nervousness, but he struggled to maintain control. That's when something unexpected happened. Jarvan IV raised his head from the crowd and saw Swain. The boy watched him curiously for a few moments.
Swain was unresponsive. His finger hovered over the trigger, but without touching it. The crowned prince then turned to his mother, pulling her skirt to get her attention. He would tell her he had seen Swain!
The crossbow made a huge noise and a kick that knocked down Swain. The noxian could hear screams, which confirmed the death of Jarvan IV. I have accomplished my mission. He stood up, satisfied, and risked a glance on the balcony before fleeing. Then found to his dismay that he had not killed the prince, but his mother the queen. The javelin had reached the heart of the lady of Demacia, and the poison killed her instantly.
"He is there! The killer!" Swain heard someone scream.
Within seconds, dozens of arrows rained down on the window where Swain was. From that time the noxian had already fled, running down the stairs in panic. But he still was not fully accustomed with his prosthesis, so he ended up tripping and rolling down the stairs. He felt a sharp pain in the chest, and feared to have broken his ribs. When he finally stopped rolling down the stairs, he had no strength to get up. He heard footsteps approaching, and felt that his end was near.
That's when someone got him up, and with a female and commander voice said:
"Come, Jericho. I'll take you out from this place."
When Jericho Swain woke up, he was laying on the wet floor of a huge damp cave. A stream passed close to him, only to disappear in a crack in the cavern’s limits. And there was a woman standing close to him.
“Who are you?!” Swain’s pain was diminished, but had not vanished, so he did not dare stand up.
“Your savior.” The woman replied, waving her cape while turning away from Swain to sit on a rough throne made of rocks. “Is that enough?”
Swain slowly sat, sweating.
“What is this place?”
“A safe one.” The woman replied softly.
Jericho Swain took some time to gaze at her. Her body was covered in a black cape with golden adornments; a black staff lied on her hands, many crystal shards suspended over it. Her face was perfect, beautiful and puzzling; Swain could not say if she was happy or sad, angry or calm. It was like looking at dark waters: he couldn’t know what was lying in the deep.
“Don’t be shy, Jericho. Stand up and approach.”
“How do you know my name?!” Swain raised his voice, “Who are you?”
The woman rolled her eyes. The shiny crystal that adorned the circlet on her head apparently changed its color from pink to purple.
“I am Emilia LeBlanc, Matron of the Black Rose society.” She answered.
“Black Rose? Nice try, but I know they’re all dead for three hundred years. Now, where’s the exit of this place?” Swain looked around.
“There’s none.” Answered LeBlanc “Or perhaps there is. Who knows?” She chuckled.
Swain turned to the woman, angry.
“My patience is draining out. Where am I?”
“Oh, calm down, take a seat.” LeBlanc waved her hand and a comfortable chair appeared from thin air. “We have much to talk, don’t we, Jericho Swain? Hmm, you have got such a charming name.”
If that was some stupid fetish of a crazy witch, Swain decided to play along so that he could find the way out. He sat at the chair and stared at LeBlanc.
“Oh, we’re getting somewhere, don’t we? You’re so lovely, Jericho Swain. But now let’s talk about business.” Her voice changed from soft and innocent to commander and heavy.
“Are you aware, Jericho Swain, of what happened to the Black Rose, long ago?”
“They were all wiped out.”
“Yes, they were, but I survived, Swain. And it was tough. Do you know how it is, to stay hidden in the shadows for three hundred years, feeding from the other people’s youth and happiness? Last week I invaded a demacian family’s mansion and killed them all. I was weak, and needed their souls to survive.”
Swain did not like that conversation.
“But now Swain, I found you, and you are exactly the person I needed. Together with you, I shall accomplish my objectives.” Continued LeBlanc “Do you trust your Grand General, Boram Darkwill?”
Swain had never thought about it.
“Yes, I think.”
LeBlanc gave a slight smirk and a mirror appeared from nowhere. However it was not an ordinary one, as it was showing a scene that was not happening there. It was Boram Darkwill, naming Marcus Du Couteau general.
“Darkwill sent you on this suicide mission to kill you. He wanted you to die, so that he could keep his relationship with the noble families good by naming a Du Couteau general. Do you still trust your Grand General?” Asked LeBlanc.
Swain couldn’t answer. He was so angry his face was getting red.
“I know you don’t.” Continued the Matron. “But, if you help me, Darkwill’s reign of lies and betrayals shall end. Together, we shall build a better Noxus. Do you trust me, Jericho Swain? Or do you still think I am a charlatan?”
Swain’s eyes went from the mirror to LeBlanc.
“What’s your plan?”
“Ahh, I like this answer. Here, take this as a token of the Great Crow God of Noxus, the only true god, and the only god I serve.”, From inside the mirror flew a black crow with three pairs of red, shiny eyes. The bird landed on Swain’s shoulder.
“How will you name her?” LeBlanc’s voice was soft and innocent again.
A distant memory came to Swain’s mind, of blood and oaths of revenge.
“Beatrice. Her name’s Beatrice.”
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