[Sona Romance] Teach me, Maven (Humble Interactions rewrite)

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Farnbil

Senior Member

02-16-2013

Quote:
Almost devoured by self doubt, a summoner reaches out for a Champion to quell his worry. Sona answers in song, the only way she can. They discover that they silently suffer alike from inner demons. Both make a resolution under the new year's moon, but words must equate action. Silence isolates them from the world, and it becomes apparent that silence separates them from each other.
Posted on Fanfiction: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/9019205/...e-Interactions

Humble Interactions was my debut into League fiction, and an important step in improving my skill as a writer. I sort of put it out there with no expectation of feedback and frankly, no intention of returning any praise.

It's been a little over a year since I published the first chapter. I've changed much in a year, but the story I wrote about a strange summoner's journey through despair and eventually romance remains the same...at it's core. I've rewritten it to better reflect my original vision. Now this story show's Sona's journey as well. It shows their life in Valoran. It is a final, grudging admission that Humble Interactions turned into a damned romance.

Some new chapters have been added. Please forgive me, the majority of the story is done but the last few chapters are yet to be revised, and I may add one in between. Each chapter will be released within reasonable periods.


Unlike with my previous stories, feedback will be returned speedily and earnestly!

CHAPTER 1
Where the Stars Are (or The Concert)

Everyone around me is only now escaping the trance of reverie and settling themselves down to sleep. I have not yet shaken off the pull of my memory towards the concert we just attended. The pervading discussion among my colleagues from Piltover always strayed to one singular thought: how does she do it? How does she hold herself up? And who does her hair? This is the discourse we juggled amongst ourselves on the airship from Demacia. What a circus we were. I ponder these questions as much as the next clown, if not even deeper still. The same question that confronted me the morning past is the same I think of tonight in this account. Who is Sona Buvelle?

As a summoner, all I knew is that she is a champion of the League. I am not the best summoner to serve the League of Legends. My skill is not commendable, therefore my name is not known outside the hallowed offices of the Institute of War. For the longest time, I found that circumstance to be most suitable. It's a miracle that I've made it all the way here to become a summoner in the first place. A miracle is what got this mess started. But moreover the factor of my own stubbornness ultimately thrust the ball over the gates. And here I am: a summoner who never had an ounce of charisma to promote myself past the middling junior level is now on track to take on Sona, Maven of the Strings, for my roster of champions. I'm in a fit of anxiety. This is too much! I don't know what will become of me. My career is on the ropes as I see it now. What if I don't make the cut? My most recent acquisition…Singed is his name. The Mad Chemist bears as much poison in his mind as he does in his body-if not more. I've become intimate with all of my champions. This case proves the practice to be dangerous. Even now, I think it would be a better idea to stop now and get to work on my newest liquid landmine project. The concept is so very genius! All one has to do is apply it onto any surface and let it dry. The moment an enemy stands on it…

No. That's a terrible thought and I will not humor it. I am housing the sadistic tenancies of a mass murderer and by my will, this shall be finished soon. Thank you clandestine lovers in business below our quarters! Your excessively loud cries of love making have hoisted me up from madness tonight. It is becoming increasingly hard to keep this a secret when I have to toss out bins of poisoned vermin from my office every week. Ceased will be any more venting on my part.

We set off for Demacia around three in the afternoon. There is an airship port within walking distance from the Institute building for official business. Quickly we were airborne on a rather small Noxian blimp designed for speed. The airship anchored down in a port right next to the amphitheater in Demacia's center after three hours in transit. I visited the city state often in my youth, and I studied there for a while in the College of Magic. That is another, more mundane story of fortune. The concert hall proper is a giant domed building like the rest of Demacia's skyline. All of them collectively represent Demacia's cultural statement to the world. To any good-willed visitors and would be invaders alike, the message is the same: Demacia is your daddy.

Inside the building every piece of architecture seemed to crush you down with their weight. Gargoyles sat in glaring vigilance, flowerpots hung from the ceiling in precarious chains, and the giant murals reminded all of us the familial values of bloodshed and violence. Only occasionally do I spot a mural depicting tamer themes. But a towering portrait of a glaring nobleman brings little more comfort and ease of mind. Especially when sitting in those small theatre seats, the scale of the place looked as if it were to come at you like the bottom of a large drop, which made for good acoustics. This overbearing mood is probably a product of Demacia's culture. I didn't expect the gilded portraits of her art to escape the ironed tinge of blood red.

The place was crowded. As if the patrons weren't rigid enough in their formal wear, everyone struggled to move their arms as they shuffled past each other finding a seat. The Institute must have made much effort in securing the spots for me and the other summoners. I must thank them along with my friends who recommended the trip. The night belonged to Sona, Maven of the Strings. Prior to this first meeting, I never seen or heard of any champion by that name. We all sat down and talked quietly over the trip and its related trifles. When any summoner recruits a champion for his or her roster, they must first acquire an interview somewhat like a judgment. It is a short formality that establishes trust and intimacy between the two parties. They're clean and easy, but require some planning ahead. So at the behest of her convenience, we met with Sona in this brief break in her schedule and talked about dates after her concert.

The massive red drapes before us were closed and the lights dimmed together with the dense ambient noise. I looked up intently, seeing the stage washed in a grassy yellow. With loud steps echoing from her heels, Sona rolled her way in as a gaseous blue brushstroke, outlined with gold. Carried aloft by magic, her twin tails radiated an otherworldliness. Her face was bold and beckoning with an aspect of young wisdom. In fact, everything about her is iridescent and flowing. Awe inspiring, heart stopping, etcetera, etcetera. Forgive me for indulging in this language, but for a presence like Sona's what else could do her justice? I was nothing more than infatuated, but deeply so. Normal man must have felt something of the sort at one point when going to her concerts-but that magic behind her music, it's so alien to me. Is it of the nature born in our animal blood that she manipulates, or a lustrous mineral that drives men to climb mountains and conquer the seas? I want to know why I am drawn to it so that next time...she will not have the best of my senses!

I am compelled to write of her song in great detail. It's a shame I'm not musically trained and cannot scribe it in the proper notation.

I heard that she improvised the whole show that night, but it sure didn't feel like it. I use the word 'feel' because 'sound' is only part of the experience. Sona plays an 'etwahl', a large stringed instrument, a bridge of strings with no frets, a beautiful instrument in its own right. She started out with a contemplative tone. The etwahl reads off the exposition to an incoming stream of music. My mind was gently prodded into a state of intrigue. Then she opened a trapdoor under my feet with a single deep and resounding chord. The progression that followed left me battered, thrown out of a strange home she only just showed me. Stuttering notes slashed at my arms and legs with a tingling sensation, leaving me helpless to react mentally. After a bit of this, a tune started to form, hesitant and hopeful. She led me up a ramp, slowly but surely and…picking up speed. Dissonance began to burst outward from within the structure. Defiance, rage, desperation, I remember gripping the armrest and sweating profusely at this point. And then suddenly it dropped, very loudly, on a very deliberate and booming arpeggio. Laying on the ground, broken, I was lifted by a misty wave of impressionist color, just inches off the ground. The last notes trailed off like light does in a thick fog. And then silence settled into the architecture, a jarring movement in its own right. I took in the air. Needless to say we applauded with great fervor.

In a room backstage the four of us summoners were to have our audience with the maven herself. We were nothing short of excited. While waiting for Sona to appear, I learned from one of my compatriots, Lucid is his name, that he was learning how to play the etwahl himself. I still wonder to what end he aspires. How could he hope to attain a power and mastery like Sona's? Besides, our duties as summoners of the League consume us, and as it should.

It does consume me.

She sat so immaculate on that stool. I could be satisfied just by being in the same space to marvel her. However, the conversation didn't amount to much because of her stoic silence that persisted the entire time we were there. Sona never uttered a single word as she sort of took in all our voices, reading our language like sheet music. In the back of my head I could feel an unpleasant tinge of guilt, wondering if we by our own fault had stifled her being under us.

I was surprised to learn that she is mute. Apparently that was news only to me, for I had marked her initial silence for an attempt at cordiality. Whatever she expressed in her performance could be taken for a voice not unlike my own. And as music, she told us a story, passing down everything we could want to know about her. I'm a little envious of her. The weight of being helpless for words my brain as I stumbled between pleasantries and jotting on a calendar rolled out on parchment. It distressed me greatly. Nothing came to mind in terms of making this exchange interesting. In retrospect, most of my nervousness was ridiculous and based on nothing more than a favor of my eye. We established dates for our individual meetings. My interview will occur next week. The summoners and I expressed how we were moved by her music. With a warm smile, the League champion shook our hands as we departed. Awkwardly, I gave her a thumbs-up as I walked out of the door. There was a slight bewilderment on her face as I ran to catch up with the others.

The rest of the night we set about finding food and drink. There was a classy place right across the street, which we quickly skipped in favor of the pub a block over.

And then we made it back to the Institute without complication. And I'm still nervous over trifles like a mundane interview. And I'm looking at my scribbling about atrocities of science from earlier. And I'm repulsed even more. Something could go wrong on the scheduled day. I might make an even bigger fool of myself. A slip of the mind could ruin the spells required of me. Worry rules all sights and sounds of tonight.

I am measuring myself on the day. Can I keep this summoning game up? Am I good enough to decide the fates of nations? Good enough for Sona?


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Farnbil

Senior Member

02-17-2013

CHAPTER 2
Poinsettia in Winter (or The Snowdown)

We're back at the Institute again, and I am slinking off the tail end of the second to last Snowdown party. The night is cold, and all the guests have long since retired. I am one of a suprisingly large majority of summoners here without a family to return to for the holiday. With all of us, the champions, and the local populace up in reverie, the party here is no half-assed affair.

Tiredness, I plead you leave me. I can barely write after all of today's festivity. Lucid, the summoner turned musician from earlier, just came into my room with two mugs of cocoa. It's a strange thing. We're all coffee drinkers here at the Institute. It was a tough change from tea to coffee, but I've taken it in stride. Let's see if I latch on to liking cocoa as well.

I will see to it that I gather a hoard of this stuff for the coming months. It feels great to talk again. A bad strain of muteness had afflicted me since we came back. I don't recall eating anything suspicious, so the problem must have been mental. Fatigue must be the culprit, for I refuse to believe the notion that I simply chose not to talk for so long.

Definitely not possible.

For now, I recall my homecoming from Demacia.

Us four summoners touched down at the Institute just in time for the Snowdown. The fatigue of the shenanigans from earlier weighed me down so much I could have sworn the airship was struggling to stay afloat in the snow laden air. We were yanked off the craft and thrust into the holiday spirit with great haste. The Snowdown was to reach its climax in six days, and some work had to be done clearing snow and setting the scene for it. Every year without a rune war on our hands is worth celebrating. Today arrived very quickly, the penultimate party to the big one tomorrow.

From the grounds outside, the action moved into our auditorium. It was more of the standard Snowdown fare, save for Sona's gig. Being audience to Sona in the Institute of War is a big deal. As a musician first and foremost her visits to the Institute are sporadic and infrequent. There was much fanfare on her arrival, and rumors of a performance were spread around the building some time before. I watched among a large crowd as she glided through the main entrance in a distinctively festive and homely red cloak. Duchess Karma and Swain were present for a small welcoming ceremony before returning to their routine of exchanging cordial nothings and steely glares amongst eachother.

By that point I had not recovered my speech. Among the whirring noise of conversation and reverie, the alienating effect of muteness was most uncomfortable. Especially with such personalities like the champions and celebrity summoners dominating the scene I felt passed over like furniture. Perhaps if I ran around flinging tables over my head I could have started a pleasant conversation with someone while holding back fits of maniacal laughter.

Terrible idea. I do enough of that on Summoner's Rift. Here I would have ended up in a straight jacket. Trade one set of shackles for another.

When Sona got on the stage at the end of the entrance hall, everything slowed to a stop. I was so elated my heart skipped a beat (followed by an aching chest pain-don't eat too much during the holidays!) We recognized the song as a familiar Wintersday tune. "The glitter of snow" is a Freljordian love song known by most of Valoran. It's sad, slow and romantic. The melody is full of a folk spirit that characterizes the solitary Freljord very well. It goes something like this:

In the night is a chill that cuts deep through my skin as I call for a sign of love that burns within.

Now the earth spins a death that no lover should know, time goes on, and my love is lost to the storm.

Climbing high on a mountaintop, in time to see the sun. Left behind is a world where my words failed to show my heart.

This voice will cry in pain as I stand grasping for your hand. But no sound will heal my hidden wounds deep inside.

And now, while I gaze at the snow, I see your eyes twinkling brighter than stars. I'm yearning for warmth.

Where, where on this callous earth is your embrace? How can I tell you I love you?

About halfway through the audience began to sing along. I can't remember if I did so as well, as my voice could have very well come back to me thanks to the Maven. What I do remember distinctly, if anything was to become ingrained into my memory of that evening, was a single tear on Sona's smiling face. In a sort of irony, have we provided her with a voice with which she could speak to us? And did I fall right in with the rest? Or is it just me getting used to singing again? People tell me I have a nice voice.

The song ends, we're done partying, and everyone retired to their offices for a short nap before we start again. This time I couldn't catch up with her, and a part of me is thankful for that. What would there be to say? She's more than likely busy, and I am more than likely tired to the bone. Enough writing. I've a coming interview with Sona, and whatever needs to be said will be expelled so thence.


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Farnbil

Senior Member

02-17-2013

CHAPTER 3
First Chair (or The Interview)

Today I am one of the many summoners to proudly host Sona in their roster. My selection is fairly small. I'm the new guy around the Institute, as my friends will tell others. During the new year party, a familiar sense of revival filled my lungs and all I could exhale was brash optimism. Sona has an army of fiercely devoted fans among the summoning community. A division of their troupe of endorsement happened to be celebrating with the rest of us at the stone garden. As we marveled at fireworks and ate fried vegetables, I brought up the subject of my coming interview. They all immediately showered me with congratulations and reminisced of their own interviews. "It's like you've known her all your life" one woman acclaimed. "If I could, I'd hang out with her all the time. But then she's mute, so I don't know."

I didn't know either, until just today. Four days after today, Sona's visit to the Institute was to end with my interview. We met for the second time outside the reflection chamber at 6 am.

Outside the room Sona and I exchanged smiles. I felt no need to explain the procedure again-she had her time with another summoner some days before and the process is straightforward enough. Caught off guard by my silence, the musician raised an eyebrow offering a queue for me to start talking pleasantries I coughed nervously and remembered why I was there. Trying to be prompt, I stuttered something like "If you're ready, Ms. Buvelle." To be honest, I sounded like an absolute tool. Still, Sona was humanely considerate after all and, to my relief, nodded her head in confirmation as if nothing was out of place. My mind was clouded in anxiety, yet felt light and airy. Like in many instances before, I kept running out of things to say. So really, my head wasn't in a fog. I was the fog, if that makes sense. Fog is the stuff clouds are made of. Up close, the sun shines through better.

The chamber is dimly lit in a familiar purple-bluish shade. In the center of the room are two seats sitting back to back. Miscellaneous plaques and notices can be read for reference if one were to switch on a few more lamps. They are purposely left dark to increase concentration. Summoners and champions use these rooms for practicing summoning magic in a safe environment. That is a relative term, for particularly volatile champions must be restrained in some way or another. Me and my colleagues jokingly observed days before that Sona wouldn't be of any danger. And to a slight hint of disheartenment from me, we were right.

We both sat on the two stone seats facing back to back. Looking over my shoulder I noticed that same perfect posture from the concert. I straightened my back and shoulders. It felt good, empowering. Try working on your posture sometime, reader. With this, I concentrated on my magic. While incantations are part of the manual, verbalizing them only serve to help one focus. It rarely worked for me-I always had trouble articulating them.

In no time, the spell was complete. I had encompassed my mind in the swirling ball of blue energy we call a 'client'. I parsed for a signal, sending rings of magic across the room pulse after pulse. When a summoner does this, they are briefly at the mercy of any mind in the general area, as they can 'catch the wave' for themselves. Sona grasped it with a surprising eagerness. This business I assumed was so mundane to her, as I supposed was with any champion of the League. At this point I precariously started to lose my physical self. Talk to any summoner about out-of-body experiences because they can describe it better than I can. You become distant psychologically, losing the body's sensation along with the sentimental care for it.

As I met with Sona's mind I expected pain. After summoning Singed so many times the sensation of scarred flesh is familiar. However, this experience was something very, very alien.

I was assaulted with an enveloping awareness of sound. What came at me first was Sona's heartbeat. Rhythmically her body acted as a metronome to a softer beat, washing in and out like waves on a beach. The walls reverberated everything, and I discovered that Sona can see it happening. As heat distorts light, so does sound distort the still air. I tried to identify that beat which ticked so harmoniously with hers. It was water, a thick liquid, passing through something muffled and coarse. Her heartbeat. I felt her voice. My mind couldn't comprehend hearing a voice, but I felt it like a dream resurfaced in memory. What she said comforted me overall, yet unsettled my nerves with a haunting familiarity.

"I hear you."

Thumping now was the sound that played alongside Sona's heartbeat. I sensed she was grasping something warm and coarse. It was my own limp hand, pulsing with assurance.


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Theamp4

Senior Member

02-18-2013

>Walls of Text

>READITALL!

It is good. /thread


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Farnbil

Senior Member

02-18-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Theamp4 View Post
>Walls of Text

>READITALL!

It is good. /thread
I would thank you for reading it all, but the story is not even half way published! No worries, the rest will be released in due time.


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Farnbil

Senior Member

02-18-2013

CHAPTER 4
Stream of Consciousness (or The Performance)

I'm back from our trip to the Serpentine River. This cold January afternoon, our fight for the old man's shop was hard fought and won. His granddaughter sent me flowers from her town near Demacia's border. A bouquet of poinsettias sat on my windowsill to welcome me as I came home. Honestly, I've never had anyone give me flowers since I moved to the Institute. Seeing so much of the girl's own cheerfulness disappoints me that I haven't got the chance to meet her grandfather personally.

He's a watchmaker, and his granddaughter is a metalsmith. The latter is in close contact with the Laurent family and supplies Fiora with both artisanal and practical fencing blades. However, a case was made that the forge counted as a military installation and therefore should be subjected to the appropriate League imposed tariffs on arms and weapons. These taxes extended not just to the swords leaving Demacia, but the old man's watches and lockets. That didn't sit well with the not-so-well-off family, so the legal battle quickly percolated through Demacia's courts (because of the League's involvement) and within two weeks I met with the young lass in need, her name is Amatea, to set up a skirmish to settle it once and for all.

Both contesting parties met a day after that, all ten summoners selected their champions, and notices were sent out. A month later, today, I fought alongside Sona on the Serpentine River for the first time.

And so it was that I joined countless other summoners who can call Sona their own. Not in a possessive fashion-that would be demeaning. I can write another one thousand words about her beauty, her grace and what other superlatives come to mind. But I must not forget where my obligations lay. The Institute of War is such a fanciful place. Deciding the fate of nations on the line of gladiatorial battles is a very Utopian very dystopian concept that I support with my feet on the ground.

I felt so relieved that today I, for once, wasn't fighting for a cause so dire to spill blood over. I wish this were the case every match.

War and violence is a nightmare, a gag forced on a nation's people while they are deafened by a horrid dissonance, a very tired song and dance called hate. The champions who volunteer to be a part of this ritual I must commend for their inhuman conviction. It takes a champion's conviction to surrender yourself to this punishment. Among this League of Legends here is a musician. And she's mute! Who has time to appreciate music during battle? Who has time to sing, let alone have the voice to sing while it's not talking?

Of course we try to listen to the abstract ideas coming from the peace-mongers of the world. That's what I've been trying to do whenever I'm close to Sona. But my feelings are thus: she's not mute. We're all nothing but deaf. Deafened by the noise of talk. At least, I felt quite a bit like I was deaf some time before match.

Yesterday I was wrapped up in a humor of ineptitude and anxiety as I consulted Lucid, now thoroughly embedded in his etwahl practice. Over his repeating of basic chords, he told me to not worry and have fun summoning. This is from the man who swears by a philosophy of mystic fate. I nearly pushed back with the observation that I am fated to worry. Thankfully the Maven of the Strings silenced this notion in earnest.

I experimented with simply letting go and focusing on my sight. She wears her blue hair in ponytails to match her sky blue dress. Every day the noise builds on her as it does to all of us. Everyone gets tired of talking and conversation sometimes, even politicians. Sona and I went together to Summoner's Rift to breathe in the clarity of exercise.

I entered Sona's mind soaked in past tears, a mangy helpless thing. That time she took me in with a great deal of hesitation. Noting my jumpiness, she picked me up and shook me off, murmuring assurances into my head with her etwahl. The anticipation was nerve wrecking still. I stood over my conjuration, concentrating with the ten other summoners in the Institute's circular Summoning Chamber, while Sona and the other participating champions arrived at Summoner's Rift in rings of blue light. As soon as she touched down, her fingers ran across the strings on her instrument. She started an idle melody, a song of noble strength which honed our senses. On our blue glowing platform was the silent armor-dillo Rammus, the indomitable iron man Mordekaiser, the large and intoxicated Gragas, the instinctual voidling Kog'maw, and Sona. She closed her eyes and sighed contently. Quickly gearing up, everyone headed out to their lanes. A pang of fear froze me for a moment while Sona floated on, a fear for her well being, a dangerous sympathy. As I shivered in this panicky fit, Sona reached out with her mind and grasped my hand in the same manner as before. Like setting time on a metronome, she stilled my pulse with hers. With hands like those, everything is an instrument that can be tuned.

Kog'maw's summoner lengthened his leash, and the void creature merrily followed behind Sona with what looked like a smile. And then we heard the most peculiar thing to escape the mouth of the void-he began to sing! Yes, the mouth of the abyss began to gurgle out notes alongside Sona's song as we walked together. "Laaa la la la! Largh garr gaah!" No audience could be more heartwarming to perform for. Sona led him along as she played. Kog'maw began to sing quieter as we reached the outermost turret, turning into a content humming as the clock ran down seconds. Briefly exiting Sona's mind, I turned to my teammate next to me and got a glance at his face. The summoner was blinking sharply as if something were in his eyes. They were bloodshot-probably from lack of sleep. The disparity of calmness between Kog'maw and his summoner puzzled me. Behind us came the blue minions marching without a sound. They clashed with the purple minions up ahead. We could see a grizzled walnut of a man emerging from the fog of war, a soft talking gunslinger named Graves. Kog'maw eagerly began to spit at the purple minions, felling them one by one as he was bade by his summoner. I was obligated to simply wait for an opportunity to strike at our opponents. Graves fired a buckshot round at us-there was a distinct blast of sound which distorted our vision. It caught on Sona's arm and on her instrument. The pain was sobering, yet not acute. Sona's face didn't chage one bit while I frowned in concentration.

We responded by forcefully strumming a chord on the etwahl. Her mind guided me through this maneuver, and I yielded quietly. Dialogue would put us off timing and serve no end. A cone of blue magic honed in on Graves, and he staggered backwards. Sona took this opening and fired a high note that pierced his gut, causing him to bleed. His summoner backed off while Graves growled to himself. At first I thought this power was unreal. To inflict that much damage at such an early point in the match astounded me. Other summoners tell me that this ability is a major strength of hers and advise me to use it frequently. But its potency falls off later as the other champions gain power, so one must abuse this advantage early.

Graves was escorted by Soraka, a pious mystic with an extensive knowledge of healing magic. Her summoner liberally cast these spells on Graves to keep him standing. It seemed that their endurance would win out against us. Thankfully Kog'maw had brought healing potions to keep himself healthy (and to quench his thirst). We managed to push them back to their own turret, securing our small victory in the early game. Both of us teleported back to the summoning platform to recover and prepare. Kog'maw idly bobbed his head to Sona's envigorating tune. I still wonder why a ravenous being could react in such a way. We sensed his own heartbeat keeping time to a different drummer. He is a slave to instinct-yet the creature sings and dances. Is this an exertion of Sona's enchantments? Or does that same instinct drive him to take pleasure from her song?

Our dominence was felt sorely by the other team, and appreciated by our allies. Things seemed to be going well. I hope Amatea and her old man were watching today.

Then the beat changed. Baron had emerged from his slumber in the river, and both teams were eager to fell it and gain his power. As everyone grouped up in the forest, a flurry of alerts and talking took shape. Earlier Mordekaiser's summoner and that of Gragas began to spout insults to eachother. The former got royally irritated that the latter had let Gragas die one too many times. Sona expressed her annoyance through her face, and played louder in a vain attempt to calm them. They started to yell over her. While this was going on, Mordekaiser himself boomed in an echoing voice so that everyone heard. "Stop bickering like fools! Let us strike in tune to the Maven's music and not your c cacophonous squawking!" His will subdued the two summoners like with his metal fist. Vocally grabbing them by the neck, he shook them violently and threatened menacingly "We have the advantage! You will not squander our victory by making our ears bleed!" Sona retreated backwards cautiously. She stopped playing, thinking it a futile effort.

For the first time in the entire match, there was total silence. "Now...if you please my dear Sona, let us shred." Mordekaiser said, as if he expected us to find the keys and emerge from our prison of paralysis that quickly. Sona and I did so, thankful for his strong pep talk. Metal is receptive to sound, and we felt his entire body resonate with musical energy. He gave it a deep and oppressive accent. Sona smiled as she and Mordekaiser walked side by side towards Baron's nest; occupied already by the other team. I caught a sense of companionship between them, although I do not know how any specifics. Her pulse becomes slightly labored in his presence. I directed her behind Mordekaiser as we dove in headfirst to strike the final blow against the giant worm. Kog'maw and his summoner expertly did so with a single blast of his 'Bio-arcane barrage' technique, stealing the kill and sealing our victory. With absolute power flowing through us, we turned to the enemy and engaged. A parental side of us elated when Kog'maw proceeded to mercilessly pelt all of them with his caustic spittle. Mordekaiser lumbered about, practically executing each champion one by one with his gigantic metal mace. We scored a total wipe, an 'ace', in that battle. And with that the match was won in a quick stroke afterwards.

I had a brief moment to thank Sona before we broke the link, in words this time. The metalsmith Amatea was in an adjacent room watching the match with other League observers and fans. I said very little as she shot toward Kog'maw's summoner and kissed his cheeks. In no time we had to leave to hear a verdict by the League. I expected no showy displays of gratitude. These red poinsettias are all I could ever ask for. For a summoner of my skill level, it's more than I deserve.

But if Sona and I can save an old man's trinket-shop, maybe I am still of some relevance to the affairs of Valoran. Granted, the pay I received from Amatea and her grandfather amounted to only a week's worth of groceries, but what's important is that I got to test my bond with Sona. And things feel smooth.

There will be another concert later in the month, and I'd like to meet her again, one more time, just to make sure I'm not dreaming.


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Farnbil

Senior Member

02-19-2013

CHAPTER 5
Callback (or The Lunar Revel)

Can't be bothered to use a lamp, so I'm sitting in front of the big hearth in the lobby. Not wanting to appear as if hogging the space, I abstained from planting myself here for as long as I can remember. But I have to take care of myself now. Just take up a few habits to keep my mind focused.

Need to stay alive and warm. For her, if no one else. Last week's trip to Ionia did nothing less than substantiate my entire life's purpose.

I came home and immediately went back to work filling out legal papers.

The day after that, I helped Lucid lift some furniture into his office next-door.

For the rest of the week I assisted with the Preseason Qualifiers as a referee.

Fun week. But the trip before was a nice break.

Everyone looked up that night. To every eye that did, it was a clear sky. The vertigo was stronger than ale, intoxicating and invigorating. While the Institute celebrated the Lunar Revel on the mainland, dozens of summoners like me made the long trip to Ionia to immerse ourselves in an authentic experience. We flew out to the coast by airship, and then hopped on a commerce vessel to cross the sea. A tailwind backed us the entire journey, cutting travel time by nearly half, turning a week long voyage into a short three day sail. Out on the ocean the stars envelope your being. I climbed up the mast and saw them all close in. I should have jumped to catch one at random, ask it to speak to me in the absence of its friends. What would happen if I had taken it along with me to Ionia? We could have sat under the full moon and basked under its light so we could experience some spiritual fullness ourselves. Then I would release the star; let it join all the others in the night sky while it shines brighter than it did before. Perhaps that one star would ignite other stars nearby and begin a chain reaction, so that one could see the entire population of stars glowing each as its own moon. They might have aspired to shine with the sun so that sailors could navigate even during the day. Those lost and world-weary could always find their bearings when blinded by a searing truth.

Stepping off the boat, I was dealing with a few searing truths beaming down onto my shoulders like a wet cloak.

The Serene Gardens is a sprawling complex of carefully pruned bushes, gnarling trees, contemplative stonework, and the most admirable wooden architecture I've ever seen. Every piece beckons you to examine its narrow intricacies through a spyglass as they isolate your awareness and suck you in for hours. The snow reflected the red hue of the lamps hung all around so that the ground took on the color of old parchment. On the edge of the gardens were vendors selling food, antique weapons and enchanted novelty toys. But the real magic worth minding was staring down at us from the sky above. The moon shone through the branches of the Great Tree, a gigantic cherry blossom tree whose bare branches were lit up by lanterns. Examining it up close, Lucid and our party walked with me as both of us shuffled through a large crowd around the tree. It sat in the center of an open circle, next to a low red building which hosted a stage. Constant performances were lighting up the night more than the lanterns. Right when the moon's arc was to cross directly over the tree, there would be a finale, presented by a special guest. Sona is arguably the face of the Lunar Revel with her traditional red dress and natural brown hair. She was half the reason I sailed to Ionia, the other half being the snow.

I went with Lucid, his daughter, and two other families whom I knew well. All twelve individuals had extended family in Ionia.

We encountered a big cast iron bell in the gardens, or it encountered us. It was stout and cylindrical, housed under an ominous wooden roof. A myriad of small studs protruded from its surface. Even in the still winter air I could feel it vibrating eerily. I knew this bell to be haunted by benevolent spirits. But what had not occurred to me is that, firstly, a catastrophic war had taken place in Ionia less than two years ago, corrupting said spirit with hate and anger and, secondly, there was a posted sign warning visitors of the previously stated fact on the shrine's entrance.

Being the inquisitive fool I am, I tapped a fist on it. A deep and resounding ring bashed my head, retaliating against my idle tampering, with a savage blow to the temples. And that is when I collapsed.

The Serene Garden is not a bad place to fall asleep in. However, going into a short blackout does not feel good anywhere. And the cold bit me harder than an angry Knocked out by the ring of a bell! This should be funny in retrospect, and in a crude sense of slapstick it is.

I had a nightmare then.

It took place in the Demacian concert hall where I first saw Sona. I was sitting in the frontmost seat. Everything was darkened by something more powerful than an absence of light. The place was afflicted with an overbearing dull red toxicity. Onstage was Mordekaiser, his glowing red eyes and noble stance pinning me down with fear. Resting atop his shoulder was the gigantic metal mace inseparable from his iron body. His voice came out slow and with a great deal of bellowing sadism.

"Suffer, then die."

Without my knowing, Singed was next to me the entire time. He laid a hand on my chest as a syringe sunk into my arm. I started to convulse violently, my skin began to burn.

"You will not take him from me." Singed snarled in response to the intimidating Mordekaiser behind him. "This world must be silenced! We must fill their lungs so they will cease their absurd screaming! I want quiet, and this man will bring it upon the whole world!"

Mordekaiser quickly raised his free hand. A metal mace like the one he wielded rose up from the ground and smashed into Singed from under his legs. The chemist let go of the syringe as he was engulfed in metal shards. He wailed in agony while writhing on the ground. In the same tone as before, Mordekaiser repeated hauntingly to me "You will suffer, then die." A sanguine red fog enveloped my head and my eyes rolled back in pain. "You will suffer, then die…" As he trailed off, my vision blackened. Slowly the pain died out, so thoroughly that the only sense of physical self left was in my hearing. It was that ringing you get in your ears when the brain has nothing to listen to.

The melody was slow to come. It was mournful, simple and unadorned. The notes tell you not to weep, but just wait and look on. I felt like I was being lifted out of a hole as the song only lasted for about a minute. When it ended, Mordekaiser finished his last statement. "Die…" Suddenly I was thrust upward into a chilling wind.

"And be reborn."

I woke up laying on a small wooden couch inside a dimly lit cabin. Tools were neatly hung on pegs and laid out over a single small workbench. A lamp glowed over a rake and a sickle. The spade smelled of old dirt and rust. I had just been born in the egg of, perhaps, an earthworm or a wasp. I lay under a window the size of a portrait frame. Outside, night blanketed the sky, and the stars were visible. I got up on my feet and felt the ground beneath me. I felt the earth spin on its axis for a moment before finding a door.

Stumbling out the door with as much dignity as could be mustered, I noticed I was still in the gardens. Red maple hung over us like a second sky. Lucid, kneeling over me, grabbed my hand and checked my pulse. He stared at me with a worried frown on his face, then turned to a man behind him and said something. Together they helped me up on my feet as another pair of hands dusted off the snow on my back. I looked to my left and saw a bun vendor hoisting my arm over his shoulder. In front of me was Lucid's daughter, the two other families, and a few robed mystics looking on.

These four bearded old men have seen their fair share of possessions recently. During and after the Noxian invasion, cases like mine spiked in frequency. Mystics dispel ghosts from the mind and body using magic very similar to summoning. Many of this profession, in fact, take summoning as a side job.

The vendor smiled when I looked at him as he asked "How much did you drink? The alcohol is pretty strong here, too much to handle for most tourists."

In a half dazed state I asked how long I was out. Lucid spoke. "For a while. Maybe three hours. We couldn't wake you up at all, so we hauled you out here to see if the fresh air would help."

He continued on to describe how I began to shake violently some time afterwards. I exhibited no sign of physical illness (one of our party was a doctor), so it was deduced that I was under spiritual possession. For a time I rested in the groundskeeper's shed.

Three hours I was under. That killed me. We missed Sona's performance! The trip was ruined! And I have to bring back that horrible nightmare to! I felt weak. My head was cloudy and empty of judgement. I couldn't be sad or angry or even disappointed. Lucid told me I had someone looking for me. Instinctively, I turned my head around.

Sona stood there smiling, her red robe speckled with white snow. The etwahl floated before her as she laid both her hands on it. Our eyes were locked. It's that intimate stare which most people try to avoid. It clobbered my chest and knocked the breath out of my lungs. This subtle expression is a hook. One can cast it out into the sea and hope for a bite. A smile in response. She caught all of Ionia together that night.

Not since the first time I met her in person did I ever hear her voice. So when she spoke to me in that untainted sound of hers I listened intently. Her mouth did not move.

"I felt the pain you were going through, yet you were silent inside."

Everyone looked around to discern who she was looking at. They were disenfranchised.

"Don't be afraid to speak, for you are not alone. You must express your love to others. Speak through the ones around you like you did through me."

By now, all eyes were on me.

"With no pride to shelter you, with no anger to raise your voice, no fear of failure or rejection to stop you. Nothing else, not I, not them, no magic in this world will ever own you again. And I am here to walk beside you toward success. Are you ready?"

I stepped forward. I had so many things to say, yet no words that I could ever conjure up to do it. So instead of offering a thank you or some profound something to tie our exchange together, I cried silently. I cried for thrusting myself into a sea of defeatist talk, going out into the storm with only a parting wave to my friends before I nearly sunk into despair. I cried for all the stars I dropped and let die in the distant past. I cried for the people who yell at everything, drowning out every conceivable form of voice that could calm them. I cried because I couldn't do anything about it.

Words did come to mind. I put them forth, as best I could through a trembling throat. "I don't know, Sona. I don't know if I can! Why me? Why pursue me? You're insane...you're misguided...you're...so beautiful."

Drained of strength, I fell into Sona's arms. Her hands embraced my head, and I felt her pulse again through her chest. The etwahl floated beside us and plucked out a tune. It was the same one from my dream, picked out of my brain by Sona's delicate hands, and it repeated for a long while. Gradually I regained my senses.

I slowly looked back up to her eyes again with my own pitiful face, lined with tears. This was supposed to be a professional relationship? Romance like this is mundane to her, I hope. Many summoners need this. Lots of champions in the League can do what Sona did for me. But am I deserving of it?

People sighed tenderly. Someone started asking around who this summoner was.

Over the commotion, I suggested we should all enjoy the full moon that night before it's gone. Turns out we had the best view of it right where we were, so we all sat down and bathed in the pale light.

We were free to say whatever we wanted. I could have tried to coax Sona to speak again so that everyone else could hear. There was so much more I should have asked. But the crowd on the snow was already openly content.

News of this event, I think, has been slow to circulate around Valoran. I am thankful for the respite.


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Dregen

Senior Member

02-19-2013

This is the review I posted on FF.net:

It's difficult to write a compelling story in first person because of the need for a strong and unique voice, but you definitely pull it off. The narrator has a quirky voice that manages to keep me interested. Your style of writing is very different from mine - almost the exact opposite - but I still enjoyed reading it.

One part did throw me off though. Writing "Demacia is your daddy" just seems a little odd, and pulled me out of the story. It resembles a very modern slang phrase that just seems out of place here.

Overall, this has the potential to become one of the best stories I've read so far on the forums.


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Farnbil

Senior Member

02-19-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dregen View Post
This is the review I posted on FF.net:

It's difficult to write a compelling story in first person because of the need for a strong and unique voice, but you definitely pull it off. The narrator has a quirky voice that manages to keep me interested. Your style of writing is very different from mine - almost the exact opposite - but I still enjoyed reading it.

One part did throw me off though. Writing "Demacia is your daddy" just seems a little odd, and pulled me out of the story. It resembles a very modern slang phrase that just seems out of place here.

Overall, this has the potential to become one of the best stories I've read so far on the forums.
I totally agree about that one bit, but I'm hesitant to change it right now. Hopefully it won't deter anyone from reading the rest!


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Farnbil

Senior Member

02-21-2013

CHAPTER 6
A Letter

From Ms. Buvelle

I have been keeping watch of your recovery in the groundskeeper's shed for some time now. The concert is long past, and I can spare the time for a friend in need. I regret not seeing you there. Forgive me, too, for taking space in your journal. It must have fell out of your robe as your friend Lucid unceremoniously dragged you in here. I asked him for some time alone with you.

This shall be between only you and I for now.

What I've observed of you, unassuming Summoner, compels me to consider a dramatic change of pace. You are almost as reserved and shy as my childhood self. I hear so much song in your head, but speaking is not your strength yet. Expression hard for many people, even for artists. True expression eludes us all, I think. Music and speech both fall short in their own ways.

I cannot say I know what true expression is. I am mute after all. Sometimes I wonder what it is like to converse in speech, in a different tongue from music.

We both come from the same world, thrust into a strange new one. If you would, let us try to make our lives here. Some small steps come to mind. Take risks, embark on adventures, feel for what works and what does not. At times various situations may become awkward, and we may end up misunderstood by our peers. On the way, disappointment may hinder us often. But I have a feeling you would make a great partner in this endeavor.

I know you yearn for a chance like this, as you mused so idly to me after out last match. So do I.

There is time enough I can spare to escape my regular schedule. News of where we go will be a pleasant surprise for you. Perhaps this destination shall take your mind off of your inner tormentors for a while.

I wish it does distract me from mine.

When you wake up, more particulars shall be presented to you. Hang in there!

Forever yours,
Sona Buvelle


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