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Team Dark are some of the best of the Headhunters, mercenary assassins who pursue bounties left by the United League of Nations and Noxia in their endless war against each other. After a decisive ULN victory, their team is contracted to finish off the Lord of Admirals Marcus De Couteau of the Noxia fleet after his flagship, The Ravenous Hydra limped away from the last battle. But on The Ravenous Hydra is something terrible that will spark a slaughter. And on the cold steel floor of the ships, a Dark Angel of Death will be born. And it's hungry.
Table of Contents
The Next Day, Firing Range Theta, ULSS Infinity Edge, 1020 hours
"Focus, focus, focus..." She muttered to herself.
A young woman stood in one of the firing booths in an expansive, yet empty indoors firing range. She was a sloppy sight to look at, even by military standards. Her messy white hair was clipped back with a cheap purple plastic pin, her grey eyes were shielded behind scratched yellow marksman sunglasses, and she held a pistol in between her small hands. Her thick, bulky hearing protection was a size too large and slipped awkwardly onto the girl's head as she struggled to aim.
Private First Class Rook Riven inhaled deeply, trying to time her aiming with the rhythm of her heartbeat. She leveled her pistol at the target ninety yards downrange. Despite her effort, the target seemed to blur and sway at such a distance. It was impossible. Sighing in frustration, Riven lowered her gun. She closed her eyes in meditation, and blew out three quick breaths.
Hooo! Hooo! Hooo!
She stood stock still for a moment, gathering her focus again. Then she opened her eyes and pulled up her gun. The private tried lining up the pistol's iron sight with the target, but her unsteady grip swayed fiream's sight to and fro; so much that the target downrange seemed to be trying to actively avoid her aim.
Riven took off her glasses, annoyed, and flung them angrily onto the bench in front of her; the plastic sunglasses bounced a half-foot off of the wood paneling, followed by her ear protection, which clattered off of the deck to fall at onto the steel floor at her feet.
Riven frustratedly raised her pistol again, this time ignoring any sort of firing technique like line of sight, breath control, or even a second hand to hold the pistol with. Griting her teeth, she fired the pistol haphazardly with a single hand, rapidly emptying the clip. Stars shot across her field of vision, afterimages of the muzzle flash polluted her eyes, and the target soon melted into the background from the smoke filling her firing booth. The last of the bullet casings fell tinkling to the ground. Riven, squinting and coughing in a thin cloud of smoke that she created, looked up to admire her work.
Bullet holes littered the self-healing impact foam around where she was aiming, but the target sheet itself was untouched. The smooth unblemished surface of the piece of paper seemed to be mocking her. Growling, Riven loaded a fresh clip into her gun to teach that damn piece of tree sh*t a lesson-
Then she closed her eyes and moaned in frustration, tilting her head back. She let her arm drop. It's not like she could hit it, anyways. How could she still be this bad at target practice?
You could always go back to using a sword, a tiny voice said in her.
"No!" Riven shook her head furiously at the thought. "I won't go back!" A warm hand clasped her shoulder, and a calm, soothing voice drifted in from behind her.
"Won't go back to what, Rookie?" Riven looked over her shoulder to see who it was. A tall, thin man with long black hair was behind her, with a thin face and a kind smile. He wore his faded ULN auxillary's uniform in a perfectly loose, slovenly manner that suggested he'd follow the rules, to what little extent he cared for them. But by far the most striking feature of the man behind her was his occular mask that completely covered his eyes and the crown of his skull, shrouding much of his face from the world.
Still, despite the mask Riven knew the man was no enemy. In fact, despite her being very new to her Headhunter Team, she knew the man quite well. Because Lieutenant Commander Yi was her second-in command boss.
She spun around, but her movements knocked over some clips of ammo she had stacked up, and the collaspe of one item led to another, a water bottle, a towel, her communicator, all falling to the floor in some demented chain reaction of clumsiness. "Ah..." Riven stared horror struck at the mess she made in front of her superior officer.
"I-I'm sorry for the mess!" Private First Class Riven flailed about, frantically picking up her items left strewn accross the firing booth. She snapped off a sharp, if distracted salute while grasping for her water bottle.
Damn it, she cursed silently. She was new to their team of Headhunters and she could not afford to screw it up by antagonizing her bosses.
"Heehee." Another voice, this one a woman's, drifted into her firing booth. An elegant, mature voice that suggested sophistication, yet kindness at the same time. "Is she really one of yours, Yi? She seems far too cute for that."
Riven looked up from mopping up her water bottle to spare a moment for the other person watching her. The woman was of slightly taller than average height for women, with beautiful shoulder length hair tinted a deep blue-black. She was getting the slightest bit plump, but the grace with which every move she made granted a natural sort of health to her appearance. And her eyes. The clearest, sharpest, deepest eyes Riven had ever seen.
Riven didn't know her, but she recognized the hat that the woman wore. It was the Fleet Admiral's hat of the ULN's Second Expeditionary Battle Group. And only one person ever wore it.
The elegant woman smiled at her.
"Hi there. I'm Lito. Admiral Irelia Lito; I'm captain of this ship." The woman's smile grew wider, and the comfort she radiated grew warmer. "Please excuse my teasing."
Riven scrambled up to salute again, knocking over half the items she cleaned up in the process. One of the items, the stainless steel water bottle, clattered noisily onto steel floor.
"M-my apologies, ADMIRAL! MA'AM!" Riven nearly shouted. Admiral Lito covered her mouth to hide her smile. Her water bottle lightly tapped her foot.
"No need to be so formal, private." Irelia gazed at Riven and the private could feel her laughter through her eyes.
"You're not even under my command... was it...?" The admiral bent down to pick up Riven's ID card from the floor. "Riven. Private First Class, Rook Riven. How nice. You Noxians always have these such short, pretty names."
"The admiral and I were just talking," Yi cut in, picking up the firearm that Riven had knocked over, inspecting it with his lense-augmented eyes. "And we happened to come across you. Sorry to say, but your marksmanship hasn't improved." Yi raised the pistol, and balancing one hand on his other elbow, he empty-fired it at the target. The pistol gave a clear, sharp click. Though no bullet came out, even a poor shot like Riven could tell that he would have hit the target dead center.
Irelia clapped sincerely and enhusiatically, which just made her next words all the more caustic.
"An excellent test shot, Lieutenant." Irelia pointed her finger at him and made an imitation pow! with her hands. "You even managed to not shoot your own toe off. An empty gun helps, doesn't it?"
"Heh." Yi laid the gun back down on the firing table. "And if you get any fatter, admiral, you won't be able to shoot at all. I doubt those technicians of yours will let you cut off the triggerguards just so you can squeeze those flabs you call hands into the guns."
"Hmph!" Admiral Lito pulled off her hat and smacked Yi with it. "My technicians will do whatever I WANT them to do! And you NEVER talk about a lady's weight like that!" The admiral faked a few sniffles. "We're delicate flowers like that. Aren't we, Riven?"
Irelia grinned at Riven. The private took an involuntary step back from the admiral. For a lowly private like Riven, being stared at so intently by such a high ranking superior was like being inspected by a firing squad made up of hungry lions.
"But you're different, aren't you? I can see it already. You're much better with a close range weapon than a gun. I'm not shabby myself. I'd love to spar with you. Maybe we can cross swords sometime in the war games-"
The private balled her hands into fists. Before she knew it, she was shouting-
"NO!" She yelled out loud; her high voice echoed a few times as it bounced off of the far walls of the firing range. The private's heavy breathing was the only sound that could be heard in the ensuing stunned silence.
"...oh." Admiral Lito tipped her hat down respectfully. "Alright then."
Riven stared at the ground, fixated at her feet. Her breath was quick and her skin cold and sweaty. Her head was totally blank from fear of having displayed such insubordination to an admiral of all things, from the intensity of the leftover emotions still bottled in her chest, and of her past.
Her bloody, sword-filled past. The past she ran away from when she left Noxia.
Her bloody memories jumped on her once more, and before she knew it, she was running; sprinitng as to where was as far away from her past as possible. Lieutenant Yi and Admiral Lito were calling after her, but Riven didn't want to hear it. She would never go back to that past. Never.
As the private's rapid footsteps faded into the distance, the two officers stood in something like stunned silence. Admiral Lito tipped her hat down further. Her eyes disappeared from the florescent lights above to beneath her visor.
"Strange girl, isn't she?" Yi threw out, sighing, and scratching his head. He had to try to break the ice. "I wonder why she-"
"...Yiiii" Admiral Lito's voice came out low, harsh and cold now. Her eyes were narrowed into razor-sharp slits, darkened by the shade of the visor of her cap.
"Don't even try..." Her eyes narrowed even more, as her words came out more like a hiss, "...to lie to me!" Admiral Lito slowly turned her head to stare Yi in his augmented lenses. her dagger-like eyes drilled through the occular augments and into Yi. Any other man would have taken a step in retreat from Admiral Lito's relentless stare.
"You're not going to tell me who that girl really is?" Admiral Lito circled the much taller man, staring into his skull, her hands clasped behind her back. "I saw it when she was scrambling to pick up her stuff. No mere rookie has those kind of calluses on her hands!"
Irelia lifted her own hand thrust into the face of Yi.
"Those are sword calluses, Yi. You don't think I wouldn't have recognized them?"
The Lieutenant said nothing. He merely stared into the unnarturally rough, patched, cracked hand of the admiral in contrast the graceful, soft look of the rest of the woman. Irelia's eye twitched as she gleaned only continual silence from Yi.
The admiral seemed to give up.
"Hmph!" The admiral turned away, tipping her hat up. Her walk was brisk, punctual and annoyed. "Fine. I'll trust you on this one, Lieutenant. You're lucky we're friends." Irelia stopped for a moment to glance at the still-perfect paper target that Riven had missed completely.
"But if for love or country or any damn fool reason, that Noxian girl gets in my way of killing Du Couteau..."
Irelia's flexed her hands, and a flood of half-foot long blades floated out of sheaths hidden in her sleaves. They trickled around her arms and wrapped themslves in floating chains around her chest and face. Soon the admiral was standing admist a cloud of floating, razor-sharp daggers.
One sweep of her hands, and the daggers shot off like demented birds, streaking towrads their unfortunate victim. The paper target was engulfed in a storm of swords.
"If she gets in my way, I won't hesitate." Irelia turned to leave, along her dozens of dagger swords that slipped themselves back in her sleeves, and trailing in her wake was a thousand pieces of paper that was once Riven's target practice.
Irelia gave on last parting shot as the doors closed behind her.
"Good day, Lieutenant!"
Rookie... Yi thought, as he slowly bent down to pick up the stuff that the foolish private had left behind.
For your own sake... Yi pondered, picking up the water bottle. A few more shreds of paper target floated in front of his face. I hope I'm right about you.
Officer's Ravenswood Lounge, HLS The Ravenous Hydra, 0145 Hours, Darkwill's Time
Lord of Admirals Marcus Du Couteau stood at the end of a long round table with his general and captains who were passionately discussing the approach of their next tactics. It was all a farce, though of course. Even if the generals he fielded still thought they could win this next battle, the Lord of Admirals had different plans. On the bright side, he might finally get rid of these damn generals. He smiled softly as one of his inferiors told a joke drawing rascous laughter from the men at the war council. The Lord of Admirals wondered if any of these men were going to survive the next fight given how he planned to use them.
Then his personal communicator started beeping rang. The Lord of Admirals answered immediately.
"There had better be a good reason why you are disturbing your Lord this late at night, cadet,"
"Y-Yes, M-Milord!" A shaky young man's voice cam tumbling out of the communicator. The man-boy's high pitch was grating enough to want Du Couteau to order the man shot already. "It's about Specimen Six! We fed it more humans like you ordered us to and- it- it..."
"What is it?" Du Couteau was already getting annoyed, and his generals could sense it. Those closest to him started to edge nervously away. "Spit it out!"
"I- milord i-It started TALKING!" Du Couteau shifted his communicator a few more inches away from his ear, like the boy's pathetic existence was contagious. The boy's gasps for breath bled their way through the comms network, and wormed thier way into the Admiral's head. Apparently the idiot had decided to pointless run to the nearest comms station. He would definitely then, make sure that the boy was sho-
"First started copying what the people we fed it to said, and then it started putting those words together! It's saying stuff like 'more' and- and 'hungry'!"
The Lord of Admirals rose suddenly, causing those nearest to him to fly back in panic. One general even managed to topple over his chair in his attempt to put distance between him and the Lord of Admirals.
"I'm going over there now." Du Couteau grabbed his coat while striding quickly out of the conference hall doors. He was in admiral mode now. "Standby and don't touch anything." The Lord of Admirals footfalls were soon the only trace of him left in the room, and the rest of the generals all sort of fidgeted around, not knowing what to do.
It would take a very long time for one of the men at the council to later realize that the Lord of Admirals had never really participated in this time's strategy session. A strange occurance. The Lord of Admirals was normally quite the micromanager. If he wasn't discussing with us over the battle plans for the upcoming clash between the ULN and the Royal Noxian Navy's largest fleet... that must mean whatever we did, it didn't matter.
The captain realized this with a pit in his stomach. He could tell the other generals now. Maybe take it up with the Lord of Admirals and have him share what he's got planned. But the captain's courage waned, and he decided instead to retire to his room in his ship that had a soft bed, a warm shower, and a 50-year old brandy waiting for him.
Being a smart, practical subordinate he decided to keep his revelation to himself. A fatal mistake for the captain of The Bloodthirster.
That Same Dark Wet Room, HLS The Ravenous Hydra, 0210 hours
It was the size of a large dog now.
The Lord of Admirals strode confidently, flanked by two of his praetorian guard, the Crimson Elite, through the piles of bloody bones that now littered the floor of where Specimen Six had made his first kill. The creature now was happily munching on the skull of a man with a particularly juicy brain. Despite the fact that Specimen Six had no qualms killing the last three humans who dared approached it so closely, the Lord of Admirals walked up to within two feet of it's now massive scythe-like claws.
Specimen Six looked up, gurgled happily at the thought of more meat, and decided he would have the three fresher humans after he had finished devouring the juicy-brain-man's brain.
The Lord of Admirals spoke first with a calm, yet assertive voice.
"Hello. You are called Specimen Six, do you understand?" The Lord of Admirals crouched down to face Specimen 6. He stared into the creature's animal eyes with all of his aura and authority. "You are called, 'Six'. Do you understand?"
The thing turned to the Lord of Admirals. Specimen Six tilted his head curiously. The man was not offering food. The thing's jagged, blood-stained mouth opened for speech.
"You are called Six."
"hELLo..I...aRe..." The creature struggled with these definitions of new words. Maybe he needed more brains?
"No-!" The Lord of Admirals started, "You're-"
"kHaLL..." The thing rolled the word over his barbed tongue. Specimen Six began experimenting, mentally wrestling with this new concept... the concept of a name. "kHaLL ZIx... "
The creature started hopping from one leg to another, singing in it's horrid voice happily. It hapazardly swung its scythes every which way, even though a wrong swipe of those claws was sharp enough to take off DuCouteau's head off about thirty seconds before his decapitated head would expire.
Strangely, the happiness of the creature was far more terrifying than anything else it had shown to the observants yet.
"kHa'Zix! KhA'zix! I aRe Kha'ziX!"
The room rang with the echoes of the creature's demented laughter. The Lord of Admirals left, equal parts intrigued and frustrated. This weapon was going to be a handful. From then on, Specimen Six would only call itself by it's mistake of a label, "Kha'Zix".
Even the God of Endless Space and the Heavens of the Infinite Galaxy must have shuddered for a moment then.
For the Angel of Death that Crawls Among Man had just given itself a name.
Wow! What a thrill it was to write something like this again! First of all, thanks. Thanks to Viper of Grand (GrandViper, author of A Blade Reforged) for lending me his ear on how to make this story awesome. Thanks to CaptainEllipis of DeviantArt who drew this awesome image! You all should go check out his profile on DA. Like now. Think of it as paying him back for helping out on the story.
Now, I haven't given up on Phoenix Sun. Far from it. I hope the energy I get from here can transfer over to Pheonix Sun and make them both mutually better. And I will still keep updating both storys. As... as best I can. Damn college.
Anyhow, hope you enjoyed this first chapter. I certainly put more effort into this one than a usually do and I hope that translated into improved quality.
Thanks again for supporting my work; comments, praise, and ESPECIALLY critiscm I value greatly. I hope this will be an exciting ride for both of us as I try and flounder between balancing this, school, and having a life. Maybe in that order. Anyhow, enjoy, and watch out for Chapter 2!
Wow, this has certainly evolved (see what I did there?) since you posted the prototype, and I thought that was amazing. Oddly enough your demented, almost Shaco-like Khazix scares me more than the official one. And I can't help but feel like Kha's personality at least somewhat mirrors Du Couteau's: evolve, kill, eat or be eaten.
I'm a huge fan of Dragon Rising/Phoenix Sun btw; I just lurk like a ninja because my reviews mainly tend to consist of "omg dat awesomeness @_@ ...canIhazmoar?" But anyway, I'm glad to hear you're not giving up on Phoenix Sun for this new fic. Take as long as you need updating. If it means we can look forward to writing like this, it'll be well worth it!
Why don't you change the picture background to fullmetal Jayce? I think it would've been fitting :/ Also, the creation of Kah'zix was a bit too much like a Xenomorph.... then again, he kinda looks like one... Either way, I really like the way you wrote this. 9/10 (cuz the infection is too much like Prometheus, or Alien, etc.)
Well... Jayce... doesn't... really.. show up. Anywhere. In here at all. It'd be misleading. Also, there's already a fanfic on FF.net that has Full Metal Jayce as his cover, and I didn't want for people to get confused. Finally, I feel like I can go a little further than just cropping official art and calling it a day. The Phoenix Sun picture, for example, was a few hours of playing around with GIMP from someone else's pic of Ahri. Having an awesome cover is essential in the LoL fanfiction section on FF.net. (a practice which I take credit for :P suddenly people started putting a lot more effort into their covers after I released Dragon Rising on there)
Making it eye-catching, high quality, and mood-setting is no easy feat let me tell you. There is a criminal shortage of sci-fi LoL artwork out there, and most of it is the wrong mood for my story. I had a few pictures in mind that either didn't fit the mood, was not of utmost quality, or just wasn't eye-catching, and I very nearly decided on some of them, but in the end I chose a something that was all three, if not neccessarily drawn for LoL.
And lol, Kha'Zix is supposed to be a Xenomorph. :P He's the Alien to Rengar's Predator. That's the entire point of this series; to bring an Alien versus Predator horror story with LoL characters.
fu uck. I thought I fixed those errors. I know I did in the FF.net version. Thanks for the catch.
Oh, and Irelia's not fat, just getting a little curvy. That's just Yi and Kayle screwing around with her. Too much ice cream, too much sitting around, not enough excercise.
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