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[Story] Humble Interaction

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Ryugi Kazamaru

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Well, words fail me, which I find ironic considering I am an author as well. Sometimes we read things that are so...right, somehow, that they fail to be easily quantifiable by words. Your story here is one of them.

What you have done is place a summoner into a relationship with a champion. In the simplest way, this is the second most common thing to do after pairing them with a second champion. But what you do with it is fairly uncommon. Your summoner doesn't start the story pining after the champion in question. He starts it being kicking is the head by the roughness of the mental link with other, less friendly, champions.

You don't force the relationship. It just happens. That's why it feels so natural. The way you describe the feeling of the summoning link, and the closeness the summoner eventually feels with Sona is really, really cathartic. You can feel every emotion that the summoner is feeling, and you can relate to it. Being a summoner is almost harder than being a champion in some regards, and your summoner doesn't man up and fight through it. He suffers, and Sona helps him through that suffering.

In a way, they're the same.

Both cannot talk about how they feel, and the only one who seems to really hear them, is the other. In any case, I am so very glad that I clicked on this story on a whim and read it. You've really made something wonderful here, and it is a d@mn shame you don't have more upvotes and comments on it. Thank you for the great read.

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The First Movement

Zaun is a place of ultimate freedom, some say. If freedom is supposed to smell like burning hair, all the more sweeter. You can feel the freedom burning your eyebrows as you walk the bustling streets. Among the maze of pipes, shacks and small stores that no map can emulate, people work to their own toils and little else. Wouldn't give them much time to dwell on what looks to be like a gigantic shimmering orange-gray vortex in the sky. That color one would associate with a dying sunset. However, there was no sun and it was eight in the evening.

As I was making my way to the venue for this concert, I passed a bronze statue of Singed, standing tall in full armor as champion of the league in the middle of a square. His expression let on no emotion as he looked toward a nonexistent horizon. I smiled and greeted him. It would be wrong to say I hate Singed. He gave me direction through my first years of summoning. Together, or I should say under him summoning was maddeningly fun. So rarely do I hear that word around the Institute, it's sad. If my mental fortitude were stronger, I think we would have been good friends. Really though, thats not saying I condone his crimes during the war. But putting that aside, he's got class. I wonder if he enjoys music as much as the rest of us.

Pentakill was the show that day. A pet project started by Mordekaiser a long long time ago, their music set off a new genre called 'metal'. Some summoners got real excited about it and started to make some crude drawings of Mordekaiser with a bare chest. And that's all I knew about the band until I saw a promotional poster before leaving for Zaun. All I could think about what I saw was,

Wow. How did Sona find that wig?

I guess there's much ground to cover between us. So much left unsaid. Should I tell her about the time I nearly crashed a horse drawn carriage into an orphanage? No joke, that scarred me for life.

In a darkened and ominous back alley, noticeably more dark and ominous than other back alleys, was a small slotted door backed up with people. The air was thick with youthful energy, the spark and crackle of ambitious spirit that fuels this progressive city. It smelled like a bleeding armpit.

Inside was Pentakill's venue. The air of paranoia was inescapable under those green floodlights. The room was relatively small to host a concert for any kind of music. A stage dominated most of the floor, only a single step high. No seats either. The audience was expected, I was told, to stand and mosh together in a crowd. I was surprised to find myself not fearful of this concept. It sounded more enriching than intrusive or harmful.

That couldn't be any further from the truth. I walked in with a clean robe, and the moment I started swimming through people somebody puked on my leg. After another two minutes, I had to smother my robe because a part of it burst into flames. As I examined it amongst the antsy crowd, I realized the cloth picked up a shimmering green ooze off the ground (later I learned that substance was a hallucinogen) so I promptly took it off.

When I finally reached the foot of the stage, my wardrobe underwent a Zaunite makeover. Smoldering holes perforated the lower half of my tunic, and the top was covered in green handprints. I felt dirty in a new sense of the word. The important thing, to a Zaunite, is that it's new.

The concert began with a large fuss. Mordekaiser appeared onstage from an elevator under the deck. Just like in the poster, his hard muscled chest was bare and accented with tribal tattoos. This more human image diminishes his intimidating aspects. Like that neat helmet. In his hands could be best described as a gigantic red axe turned into a stringed instrument like a lute. Does he slay people with it?

Yorick lazily grasped a more subtle version of Mordekaiser's. In place of his leather cloak was a denim vest and a grimly adorned top hat which teetered on his head. He focused intensely on his instrument, visibly shutting out the crowd with his gaze locked downward.

Front and center came Karthus in a flamboyant and gruesome red cloak. His skeletal head was smeared with blue and white face paint. A wig of wild and flowing blue hair erupted from his cranium. Karthus held his noble and aloof stance as he floated toward the microphone.

With these characters before me, death seemed strangely exciting and assuring. But I didn't go there to die just that moment. Sona was to play with them, and I resolved to apologize for what I said. Even in the face of death...which didn't really mean any harm in the first place. That's beside the point!

Sona, in her measured grace, caught the audience and their passion. Picking up on this, she put on a seductive smile under her wicked eyes. Just like on the poster. Is this the true Sona? Am I pursuing this woman? All I could do is grip the locket on my chest. And wait, and listen.

Yorick strummed a stomping series of chords, deep and full of fearful burden. The crowd screamed in reverie. Mordekaiser followed with jagged overbearing notes which subjugated the crowd to jump and cheer to the quickening beat. The sound of these instruments can be best described as the essence of a beast's rage, the sheer force of its anger ripping and tearing a metallic string. Karthus grabbed the microphone and in his soprano voice screamed the title of their opening piece.

"Empire in Flames!"

Here's the first verse and the chorus:

Crushed in the dark
The city screams!
A king on his throne
Agony and despair he breeds!

Frozen in fear
Short on his breath
A king on his throne
Waits for a slow death!

The righteous prince
Rides in the dark!
Alone and weak
Searches for the spark!

Fire and rage!
Burns the age!
Climbs the heights!
Lights the night!
Ceaseless and eternal
The hellfire inferno!

It's a long narrative about how the prince finds a sorceress of fire and brings her back to the king and sabe the kingdom from darkness. The king steals her power and burns the entire city in a cataclysmic firestorm. Everyone dies. Great stuff.

Yorick and Mordekaiser masterfully shred sound through the air as the vibrant prince and the defiled king. Sona's etwahl was especially intriguing. The normally delicate tone of Sona's chords were amplified into searing expressions of passion which accompanied the metallic fury of the other two stings very well. In the last verse, the king clashes against the sorceress in a duel of grinds and riffs which really got Mordekaiser into it. In his solo bit the metal man devoted his entire being to violence in harmony.

Sona responded with sweeping wails and sharps. Her eyes were closed in intense focus as she strummed through staggering melodies which exploded and died like fireworks. I stood not caught under a spell, but ignited into flame, head banging with the crowd. Mordekaiser persisted, pressing harder and faster on the assault, absolute like an executioner. Now keeping pace with him, Sona overcame him in a primal rampage of rolling anger and spirit.

And then with a long chord, Mordekaiser silenced her. Now under the king's dominion, the fire exploded through both Sona and Mordekaiser in perfect synchronization. It immolated my eardrums and made me forget why I came to this concert in the first place. Yes, its very painful being near one of those gigantic speakers.

The pleasure of forgetting was short lived. As the music rang to a stop and the audience applauded with fervor, all I could do is stand in contemplation. Sona smiled weakly as the band took their ovation. They left through a backdoor near the stage.

Mordekaiser, Yorick and Karthus aren't the most social of champions. Pursuing Sona means confronting all three of them. Together, maybe even in the same room. Masters of death and undeath. Does Sona even like hanging out with them?

I'd like to think so. And if she can keep them in line, so can I.

Retrieving my robe, I snaked my way through the crowd and slipped into that same door. The hallway was dimly lit, around four feet wide. Small doors ran along the walls with signs on them. A shady figure in a sharply neat vest appeared next to me. He had a thin build and no hair. With a pair of glowing yellow eyes the man examined me. "Ah, a summoner." said he. "I almost flung you out of here on instinct, nobody allowed here without official business. Let me get these lights and..."

The lamps flickered on, and Singed appeared in a black vest and slacks, neatly worn over his bandages. I froze dumbfounded. The tension was so thick I could almost see it. Singed laughed at this. Slowly I sighed and put on a modest grin, accepting this reality with grace. I said hello.

"Hello" said he, all of a sudden disinterested in my presence. An awkward silence prevailed. I asked where Pentakill went. He stared off toward a door at the very end of the hall. "Through the door with the red sign. Don't go in just yet, they're changing."

I nodded and rested my back against the wall. Singed did the same. I looked at the door and waited for the band to emerge. After a few minutes I was debating if I should (could) ask him what he's waiting for. Thankfully Singed took the initiative.

"I am waiting for Pentakill just like you. This is what people do right? Congratulating the band?" I nodded in reply. He took a flask out of his vest pocket and folded down his bandages to drink. "What is your name, sir?"

Turning to him, I stared into his eyes and stated my own identity.

"Oh?" His interest was piqued slightly. "I remember you."

There was another period of silence.

"You are a stubborn fool to still be wearing those robes, after what you've made of yourself." said Singed half-jokingly. "The worst summoner I've ever met."

I sighed and agreed in a low tone.

"And...the most tolerable."

Right on cue, the door burst open. Mordekaiser emerged first in his more traditional metal shroud. He stopped short of us on his way out. "Mordekaiser!" said Singed with genteel enthusiasm. "Welcome back to Zaun!"

"Yes." said Mordekaiser. "We are eternally drawn to the pestilence that afflicts your city. Zaun is blessed by our disease"

"Pentakill is always welcome. Your music embodies the Zaunite spirit wholly. "

Mordekaiser, after a brief exchange of their unusual pleasantries, relieved himself of Singed and bore his menacing gaze down onto myself. I gave him a reserved bow and a greeting.

Without a fit of unconsciousness, I remarked that the show was very enjoyable. The fear which clutched my chest did not escape my countenance. This required a superhuman strength-I'm not trying to boast here. Summoning him is an obstacle twice as large.

"I am puzzled as to why your ears are not bleeding at my very presence, summoner. But know that your tribute has been received."

I joked that he was just sending out good vibes.

"I recall a certain songstress making that same remark." Mordekaiser said with a weight on his voice. He strode out through a door leading out into the streets and was gone.

Shortly after Yorick emerged from the room, leather hooded cloak over his denim vestments and his hunched form. Behind his long hair and its shadow was an expression of accomplished fatigue. He smelled bad, but spending the better part of the day in Zaun prepared my nose for anything.

Grim on every word, Yorick greeted us with reluctance. "Best wishes to you." he said to nobody in particular.

If death is sleep, Yorick really is living the dream. He trudged out the exit with his lantern lit brightly.

Karthus floated out of the room with his regular shadowy vestments and his face clear of makeup. The air chilled immensely, like he had just opened the door to a blizzard. Singed appeared unfazed as he greeted the lich with a buffering forwardness. The exchange progressed quickly, almost in the same manner as Mordekaiser. Karthus gracefully crept through Singed's queries and reacted in concise yet earnest rasps. Mentions of Sona topped off the conversation. The lich began to float out toward the exit, but stopped to turn his cryptic gaze to me. His skull was fitted into a horrific frown.

"You." he pointed. "The one in deep consort with our Sona. She has told us much of your damaging actions."

It made sense that our relationship was not much of a secret, but hearing this confirmation from the deathsinger still impressed me with baseless fear. Kartus floated a little closer. "Her mental fortitude is impeccable; she has no use for companionship beyond Pentakill. That is why she is a champion of the League. You are nothing more than a savage and illogical wreck of a summoner." I stood my ground, somehow overcome with a need to give him a piece of my mind. Speaking may not have been my strong suit, but this was a critical moment. His robes flapping vicariously, Karthus looked down at me, expression unchanging. "Why do you pursue her still?" he demanded softly, without breath.

I closed my eyes and breathed, holding back a lump in my throat. The Innervating Locket began to pulse very strongly now, detecting something nearby. It was comforting, I felt connected to something familiar and empowering in my unconscious self.

I told him, plainly, with finality. As much as Sona and I both thought otherwise, through all the blissfully comforting moments we shared together, and the affection she has shown me in my suffering, it pains me to know that...

"I don't think I understand her."

I turned my head in contemplation, staring at the exit. My eyes ached. "With everything Sona has done for me, I owe her my life. But if things won't work, then I can at least give her this much-an understanding of her. That's why I'm here."

Karthus raised his head slowly, deliberately. His movements pointed to every emotion and none at all. Singed took out his flask and stared into it, searching for a feeling. The locket was still beating, to a slower tempo now. Thump, thump, thump…

Five notes were plucked to this beat, and then quickly stifled in afterthought. Sona was standing in the doorway watching. G sharp, G, G sharp, C, F. These are deciding notes, an invitation to solemn examination. Free of her grim black dress and wig, she was almost back to her old self. Her mouth was slightly open, and her hands were clasped over her chest. Those subtle high class chastities in her body language were gone. Her etwahl floated aside her thigh. The three of us turned to her.

Karthus bowed, motioned to leave, looked back at me and said "The choice is yours as much as it is hers, summoner. So too is the burden." He floated away promptly.

Singed nodded to both of us. Thoughtfully, he muttered "Yes, do that. Find out." before walking back the way we came.

And then silence. We stared at each other for another while longer, both of us locked together in this gaze. She really is beautiful. Her blue dress was slightly creased and worn. It's cut pretty low, revealing her delicate shoulders and chest. It's not modest at all. Her robe is a lighter blue with gold accents, wispy and flowing like her ponytails. Her hair falls over her right eye, adding to the seductive, mysterious, alluring quality of her face. Yet I feel also that its guarded in equal force. Sona keeps a well proportioned figure, overtly organic and natural. I realize that she wouldn't look half-bad painted in some abstract brushwork.

Sona finds the lock that binds us, and smiles with reservation. I smile back. She invites me into the modestly furnished room before sitting on a red couch, noticeably unused. I follow her in, putting ample space in between our bodies.

From a table in front of the couch, she produced a pen and a tablet of paper. She wrote and handed both tools to me.


I looked at her. She still wore her smile, unsure and absent of its seductive charm. I wrote a similar greeting.

"Hello, and thanks again. Your show was very memorable. Pentakill and the League has a great songstress in you."

As Sona read this, her smile faded. We were school children again, passing notes. But this is an acceptable pace for now. The silence can stay for a bit longer. I was still afraid.

For the first time in a very long time, we were both ready to experience something we hadn't tried yet. Dialogue. We sat side by side on the couch, passing back and forth that piece of paper, thinking very hard on what we would write. Sona did a good number on me with that endearingly downcast face. I struggled to look at her for more than a moment each glance. The maven handed me the paper delicately.

"I'm sorry I deceived you. Somehow it felt wrong to let you in on my past. I wanted to keep it out of the way, forget about the pain."

I sighed in deep thought before writing carefully.

"I'm sorry for being a fool who didn't care to ask. I was just a reckless cripple who ended up being a burden to you. Just something to be protected. I got frustrated and depressed. I wanted to show people that I could think for myself. But I'm still out of tune with the world. Anything I manage to think and communicate comes out wrong. Now I want to walk away from it all, go and disappear. Somehow I couldn't resolve to do even that. Always was a burden-to you especially."

Sona hesitantly wrote her response, a hint of shame in her eyes.

"You don't realize what an impact you've made on this Runeterra. Even within your limits, a great many people were touched by your efforts. Some you may have not even met."

"That's being optimistic." I said aloud. "A career...a life of failure isn't worth your time to fix."

Sona forcefully gave me a piercing stare. She looked into my very soul, as the cliché goes. My chest fluttered under her gaze. I bet she would be yelling right now. With expediency Sona looked downward and took the paper. Her motions were oddly fierce.

"You are no failure in any sense of the word. You are, to put it simply, a kind person. Believe it or not this sympathy, this empathy you and I share between us is powerful and sincere. That's the reason why I chose you. You were that someone-" Here she stopped writing and chanced a glance at me. "Someone I could share things with. "

I blinked, a conjecture coursing through my mind. On account of her being mute and a celebrity, she mustn't experience often the spontaneous aspects of a heart-to-heart conversation. Everything is measured and composed beforehand. People and ideas pass over her like she's invisible, running too fast to stop and listen, perhaps reluctant to even get that close. To her admirers she is a distant star, beautiful from a distance. We were alone. Both of us, in our own way.

Giving up some ambition to keep my distance, I shuffled over to her and handed her the paper with my reply.

"Why did you send me the locket? After all the pain I caused you?"

"Because you were a comfort to me." she wrote with a look of helplessness. I terribly miss hearing a voice. I want to measure her tone. "Remember our first time in that dark room? How our hearts beat as one? That was the first time I felt at home since my time with Lestara. She tapped into my being and showed me what speaking really is. After her passing I never experienced it until you came along."

A feeling of grief crept over me as I read. Sona's composure slowly deteriorated at the sight of my apparent resignation. I averted my eyes from hers and looked down at the floor for a long while.

"...That was the music overpowering me. Your enchantments." I said solemnly, unsure in thought. "I haven't the strength to comfort anyone ..."

"No!" Her inner voice burst out of her being, full of dread and anxiety. She felled her whole body weight on my frame and grabbed my shoulders forcefully while I instinctively rode into this motion. "Lestara was the only one who would accept me-the real me! Now she's gone, and while I made this life for myself, the hole is still there! If anything, I surrendered myself to you! I need you, just like you need me!" Silently, she breathed heavily as her telepathic voice ebbed into a painful moan. "Just stay with me. That's all I ask."

The gravity of this moment set in quick. I embraced her tightly, finally realizing how much I wanted to hear those words. That must be how we both made the summoning link moments earlier, by sheer force of will. Slowly, I distanced my mind from my physical self in rings of blue energy. With the last of my nerve I let my hand lift Sona's face from my chest. Her tears were dried off thanks to my robe, and her eyes were deep and expectant. I finally did it, I found my star and I won't let her fall again.

I whispered to her weakly the summation of all our endearment.

"I hear you."

Sona closed her eyes and breathed, smiling more earnestly than I've ever seen her smile before. She began to tear up again. "Now, let's get started." she whispered. "We'll go the whole way this time, no secrets. Keep me close. Just like this."

It's not like I can promise forever. Mortality will see to that. But for as long as I possibly can, her light won't ever be far from mine. A song began to emanate from the etwhal beside her as our faces drew closer. The melody rang with sweet conclusion, a swinging emulation of swaying grass under a starlit night. It encircled us and caressed our souls in a soothing finality as our minds converged completely, coupled with equal parts joy and pain, in a dance of exploration. But this does not imply an end to our struggle for understanding. With a long delicate kiss we made our first steps toward a future of progress, our new song and dance, the reemergence onto a brighter, grander stage, waltzing forward one step at a time, rocking across the limitless sky to the slow beat of her etwahl.

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Thank you all for reading and commenting, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. I managed to fix up a few trivial errors in past chapters as well.

Fight the good fight, for progress and understanding!

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free bump

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I want to get this off my chest.

I feel like I've taken a misstep here like any person would trying a craft for the first time. While I do think that there were flaws in thematic choices and the genuine humanity of the characters during the first couple chapters, I can't change the past. They fell in love no matter how hard I tried to stop it. That's right, the last thing I wanted to write was romance. There is a dangerous pride in writing romance. It's like trying to talk to god.

So what I started with "A Place Between War and Murder" is another try at focusing on human truths. To reveal the grander struggle of finding true friends, a theme I failed to portay that well in "Humble Interactions".

Again, thank you to who read my works, another thanks to those who comment, and eternal gratitude to those who criticize my writing.

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The sound of Sona's breathing was all there was to take in as I awoke. Her flowery scent and the senstion of her backside against my chest veiled the outside world more completely than any dream. I could linger here for a long while, but then nothing would change. There would be no dance, no music. So I resolved to get to waking her up, shifting my arm over her shoulder and running a hand over her cheek. Slowly, her breathing became more audible. She sighed heavily. The link between our minds washed over us shortly after. At first, there was nothing. I knew she wouldn't allow any words this time. Then came a soft note from her etwahl which sat on a distant table which sounded miles away from the couch. I echoed that note in my mind, and responded with a series of five more taken from my own imagination. Sona rolled to face me, eyes still closed. I could feel through my palm still caressing her face that she was smiling. So this sequence continued back and forth. Just notes in our head. To know that I could sing with her, finally, with mutual effort. Tears flowed down onto the red fabric of the couch. We had crafted a song that morning, and by three days time it was heard by an audience in Demacia where we first met. This song and the many others composed in our collaboration are proof to the world that we are alive together.

Along my travels as one of the League's Foreign Correspondants I hear whispers, rumors of the identity of Sona's secret lover, across all of Valoran. Some say he is a sightless man who fell victim to Sona's entangling song. Others say he is a chivalrous bard that swept Sona off her feet long ago and has returned to save her from the depths of despair. In truth he is and is not both of these things. To put it simply, he is a summoner who she met after a concert. And they just started talking.