A Blade Reforged (A Riven story)

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armonistan

Senior Member

04-05-2012

Ok, so I logged in for the first time onto the LoL forums because my friend wanted me to look at tribunal stuff. I noticed that I was still logged in so I decided I might as well post just one post. I have been following this story since I think the beginning. I play Riven. I love her style, her personality, her lore, just about everything about her. This is the only Riven fanfic that has shown a realistic portrayal of deep and troubled individual capable of great things. Know that what you are writing is a great joy to read. Maybe one day, I will post again, but until then just remember you have at least one loyal follower, even if they are just a lurker.


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Combatheaven

Senior Member

04-06-2012

So... Riven got a new Skin I hear...
...
....
.....
motherofgod.


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Ask Irie

Senior Member

04-07-2012

I'm at chapter 4. Too sleepy T_T


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Grand Viper

Senior Member

04-08-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by armonistan View Post
Ok, so I logged in for the first time onto the LoL forums because my friend wanted me to look at tribunal stuff. I noticed that I was still logged in so I decided I might as well post just one post. I have been following this story since I think the beginning. I play Riven. I love her style, her personality, her lore, just about everything about her. This is the only Riven fanfic that has shown a realistic portrayal of deep and troubled individual capable of great things. Know that what you are writing is a great joy to read. Maybe one day, I will post again, but until then just remember you have at least one loyal follower, even if they are just a lurker.
I know there are a few people who do lurk, and it's alright. It really is! Thank you for writing and making your first post this. In response, I'll give a proper update: As soon as I'm done with schoolwork, roughly Tuesday/Wednesday, I will finish Chapter 10 and have it ready by Friday at the latest.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Combatheaven View Post
So... Riven got a new Skin I hear...
...
....
.....
motherofgod.
Not too sure if or how I could incorporate this in the main story =p. Not even a fun side story, RenektonBot's short story did too amazing of a amazing job for me to even conceive of a better idea. Seriously, be sure to read his Bunny Riven story.That is some cash **** there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ask Irie View Post
I'm at chapter 4. Too sleepy T_T
Sleep is a good idea. I'm not sure I want to know that my story causes sleep deprivation and/or nightmares. It'd be kind of kick ass though...


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Mirage Night

Senior Member

04-08-2012

Thank you for this story. I love the evolution of the characters and their interactions. I get such joy reading about a character blossoming into their own and you have shown this very well. Definitely looking forward to your next chapter.


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TheRattleCage

Senior Member

04-12-2012

CHAPTER 10 WHERe? (╯░□░)╯︵ ┻━┻


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Grand Viper

Senior Member

04-13-2012

I'm way too tired to post the story. I'm gotta go over the entire chapter for one last edit, and then I'm updating it tomorrow. Sorry bout that folks!


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Mirage Night

Senior Member

04-14-2012

Take your time. I am definitely looking forward to it! Thank you!


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Grand Viper

Senior Member

04-14-2012

Alright! Here it is! Chapter 10!

Chapter 10

No scream could be uttered. The Butcher struck so quickly and efficiently. Riven instinctively grabbed at herself, as if she were trying to hold her two halves together from the strike. A body collapsed forward, his brain matter spilling on the ground. Riven looked down and saw a man bisected down the middle. The Butcher shifted her gaze to the emerald fires still dancing in the ruins of the village. Three Noxian soldiers approached her and fell to one knee in supplication. One of them spoke in the Noxian language, “<Commander Riven, quadrants one to five have been cleared, as well as eight to fifteen. Only this one and six remain. What are your orders?>”

The Butcher did not regard them, flicking the blood off her colossal blade. She pointed at one of the soldiers, “<You. Redirect some of the men to quadrant six, have them finish the cleanup. Do not miss a soul, make sure you decapitate the bodies. No stragglers, no survivors. We will assure the destruction of the Nightblade village.>”

The soldier thumped his chest, “<Hail Noxus.>” The Butcher thumped her chest in response, “<Hail Noxus.>” He got to his feet and marched away. The Butcher pointed to the other two men, “<You two: Come with me. One last sweep to check for any more survivors.>”

The two men nodded and got to their feet, following behind the Butcher. Her greaves stepped into the gore, with the sickening sound of metal scraping flesh off bone emitted every other step. Riven watched in horror, she remembered this all too well. The fires danced in the shine of the armor, this was her at her height. This was who she used to be.

A groan of pain, the Butcher faced the direction the sound came from. A young girl, dirtied, bloodied and burned was carrying an old woman on her shoulders with great difficulty. The girl’s leg was bleeding profusely, dragging itself in the dirt. The old woman gasped in pain with every step. The Butcher made a casual swipe at the pair. The strength of her blade wind ripped through the air, throwing dirt up into the air. The old woman saw the Butcher and shoved the young girl away from her, the blade wind effectively tearing her to shreds. The old woman’s entrails rained down on the young girl, who was coughing and clawing at the ground. Riven shook her head in horror. The Butcher’s greaves creaked with every step until she was directly in front of the girl.

The tip of the runeblade rested itself on the girl’s neck, one push and she would be dead. The young girl uttered a simple threat in Ionian, “{I’m going to kill you.}” The Butcher made no sign that she was moved. Riven grabbed at her mouth in horror. That voice was younger, but the tone was so familiar.

The girl grabbed the blade, attempting to push it away from her neck. The colossal runeblade of Riven was relatively blunt, relying on the weight and momentum of its swings to provide its superior crushing and cutting power when compared to other weaponry. This young girl gripped the blade so tightly that her hand started to bleed. She struggled to pull it away from her neck, “{I’m…I’m going to kill you! I swear it!}”

Her face shot up and stared the Butcher dead in her eyes. Riven recoiled in horror. Her emerald eyes, her defiance, her strength, she recognized who this girl was. This was adolescent Irelia. The Butcher simply stared at the Ionian girl, who climbed to her feet. Young Irelia still gripped the sword tightly, trying to move it further away from her neck. She barely succeeded, her young arms shaking from the effort it took.

The Butcher exerted the slightest bit of strength and pointed it at young Irelia once more. Riven ran forward, attempting to grab Irelia and pull her away to no avail. Young Irelia did not back down from the Butcher, staring her defiantly in her eyes. Riven remembered the girl. She was surprised by the defiance the Ionian showed. Eventually, the Butcher lowered her sword. Young Irelia limped, at a surprisingly quick rate, to the nearby woods. The Butcher looked at the two soldiers with her, “<You two, after the Ionian. I will take care of quadrant six.>”

The soldiers ran after young Irelia while the Butcher walked away. A few moments later the scream of a girl penetrated the air. The Butcher twirled her sword about. None could stand before her or the might of Noxus. This was their might, this was their power personified. Right? The Butcher stopped her march and looked at the green techmaturgical flames surrounding her. This was what Noxus was, right? These people deserved this. Then why did the girl look at her with those hate filled, defiant eyes. Why did she try standing against someone who was clearly superior to her in every way? Noxus is the way, Noxus brings order to chaos, Noxus’ strength is needed in this world. But there she was, this young girl, who stood up against the Butcher. The Butcher shook her head. What a nuisance. At least the girl is dead and gone.

Lee’s voice floated towards Riven, “Have you seen what you wanted?”

Riven was frozen. The little Ionian she spared and then sent to death was little Irelia. But, what happened if she did not die that day? Lee’s voice smoothly asked, “Would you like to know?”

Riven closed her eyes, and slowly nodded. Lee’s voice became but a whisper, “If you want to know, than simply follow her. If you are strong enough…”

Riven made her way towards the forest where Irelia had ran to. She peered about, wondering where she had gone. Riven looked to her left and saw a dead Noxian soldier. His head was firmly pinned to the tree with his own sword, his face twisted with surprise. Riven continued to walk through the forest and heard the sound of flesh being torn, bone being snapped. She poked her head around a tree and gasped. Irelia held one arm across her bare chest, bloodied scratches stretched across her back. Her top was completely ripped as she continued to stab into face of the Noxian over and over again.

Her knife glinted green from the flames of her village, a detailed, water pattern could be seen by a keen observer. A little wooden charm that dangled off her neck and bumped off her collar bone with every stab she made. It was coated with a fresh layer of red with every fresh squirt of blood. In the Noxian’s dead grasp were the remnants of Irelia’s training clothes. Her mad, unrelenting stabs into the man’s face continued with such rage and fury Riven actually backed away in fear. Not a single tear of remorse or regret trickled from young Irelia’s despair filled eyes.

Irelia eventually stopped stabbing the Noxian, clutching her own face. She broke out in low laughter. When she pulled her hand away, it left behind a bloodied hand print. She finally spoke after all this time, her voice half crazed, “{You...you did this. You did all of this, you took my friends away. You took my brother. You did this.}” She looked down, the mess of the Noxian’s face staring back at her. She grabbed the face, hissing at the corpse, “{Your commander…I will remember her eyes. Her disgusting eyes…}” Irelia got to her feet and shuffled her way deeper into the forest.

Riven raced forward, trying to grab Irelia, “No! It wasn’t…No! No!” Riven overshot Irelia by mistake, turning back only to see the young girl’s face contorted with anger beyond reason. Riven buckled to the ground, and started to scream. A literal maelstrom of emotion, Riven screamed. This is what she had done to Irelia. This is what she had done. And Irelia treats her like a friend. How? How could she? Riven grabbed at her arms, tearing fierce gashes into them. Her nails dragged across old scars and reopened them once more. She screamed until she started to cough blood, the only solace her voice found was between gasps. A soft, caring tone eventually wafted to her, “Do you wish to stop now?”

“No!” Riven’s immediate response made the world around her shake. “No! I am facing this! I am not running!” She grabbed at her eyes, tears billowing. “I must do this! I must!” She looked at the young Irelia, still walking away, “Irelia…I’m sorry…” She crawled after the young Irelia, “I’m sorry, don’t go, let me talk to you, I didn’t know.” Irelia disappeared from view. Riven screamed at her, “I didn’t know!”

Riven curled herself into a fetal position, still crying. Lee appeared next to her, extending his hand to her. “I will ask you one more time, are you sure you want to continue?”

Riven looked at Lee, sniffling, “I…I am sorry for that outburst…” She uncurled herself and got back to her feet on her own. “…Yes. I am sure. But I don’t remember that part of the memory. How did you…”

Lee shrugged, “Perhaps another day. For now, let us continue.” The world shifted. Riven’s eyes widened, she was now fast forwarded. This was the field where her men died. This was where she was supposed to die. Yet the event itself had already happened.

=======================

The Butcher now looked more like Riven, her helmet missing and armor disheveled. She escaped the initial barrage, but she forgot how she came back to the field afterwards. Riven watched her younger self drag each and every corpse off the field. A kilometer away from the site of death was a hill, still full of life save for a gnarled tree and a cracked boulder at its peak. She dragged each corpse here and dug each one of them, Noxian and Ionian, their own grave. She marked each grave with their weapon whether or not they had a corpse to bury. As the sun blistered down on her, she started to remove more and more segments of her black armor. Riven could notice the chemicals already start to ravage her body. Young Riven did not seem to care.

As the skies darkened and the sun started to set, young Riven finished in her task. Her body was covered in the blood and chemicals that soaked her comrades and enemies. She climbed her way to the top of the hill, the graves marking their way all the way to the tree. Young Riven rolled the heavy boulder away and started to dig into the ground. Once the hole was deep enough, she placed all of the remnants of her armor that she had stripped off during the course of the day into it. She looked at her runeblade, her face contorted in anger at it.

Young Riven stabbed it into the ground and placed one foot against the body of the blade. Gripping the hilt as hard as she could, she snapped the stone blade with a clean jerk. The rock fragments rained to the ground like so many drops of blood. Young Riven threw the half of broken blade with its hilt still attached to one side. She knelt down and grabbed the other half of the blade, still embedded in the ground, and yanked it out. She threw this half into the pit, and covered it with dirt.

Young Riven rolled the boulder back into place, her face lined with sweat. She clutched her forehead, she could feel a fever warming up. She overlooked the field, older Riven sighed. She reminisced what she thought that day. Young Riven walked down the hill, already coughing. The world shimmered, and fast forwarded.

It was night time, a few days later. Young Riven crashed into a tree, coughing violently. She had not gotten sleep in a few days, she was sure shadows were chasing her. She had to stop now though, she was finally at her limit. She clutched her face, sweat dripping from it. Spending all that time moving the corpses exposed her to the chemicals that killed them, and were ravaging her body. Young Riven stumbled forward, she was tired, she was sick, she was dehydrated and she was hungry. She buckled to the ground, vomiting air. She was so tired, and so very sick. She rolled onto a tree trunk. Maybe, if she just rested here for just a bit, she would feel better in the morning. Maybe the shadows were just a part of the delirium. Young Riven’s amber eyes closed. Her breathing was shallow.

A shadow flitted down in front of her, and slowly walked into view. It was a young girl, dressed in complete black. Her hair was long, silver and white, green eyes shimmered above a black half mask. A ninja? No, it was a Nightblade. A remnant from the village she had overseen the destruction of, she was told that less than ten had managed to escape. At the time, she had thought it was just her fevered dreams making her hallucinate.

The Nightblade glared at Riven, knife raised and readied to kill her. Young Riven darted forward, throwing the Nightblade to the ground and held her blade against the Ionian’s throat. Her eyes were cold and lifeless, reminiscent of the Butcher. The Ionian squirmed, feebly trying to escape. Young Riven’s eyes suddenly focused on the Ionian. They widened and young Riven drew back, horrified. She shook her head as she cradled herself, “<No, no, you’re just a phantom. You’re not real. You’re not real. No, no no, no.>”

The Nightblade stared at young Riven, shocked. She was unable to understand young Riven, but she saw the state she was in. With great effort she moved the broken sword away from her neck and made her way to young Riven. She squatted in front of her, speaking in Common, “How have you been, Butcher?”

Young Riven was long past delirious at this point. She whispered back in Common almost instinctively, as if she wanted to be understood, “No, not Butcher. I’m not her. She died. I’m not her. Not her. Not her. The blood. The screams. They’re there. They’re always there.”

Young Riven kept rocking herself back and forth, uttering more incoherent horrors until she seemingly passed out. The Nightblade gripped her knife tightly. She shuffled over and pressed it against young Riven’s throat. She saw tears stream from young Riven’s eyes as she leaned in. The Ionian whispered a question, “If you are not the butcher, who are you?”

“I…” Young Riven’s eyes rolled about, “I am…Riven. The…the first exile…of Noxus…The Butcher, she is dead…the monster is gone…I’m Riven…I’m Riven…I just want to be Riven…”

Young Riven looked at the Nightblade, her eyes nearly glazed over, “Is…Is this real? Am I still a monster? Am I still the Butcher?” Young Riven grabbed the Nightblade’s arms, her grip nearly breaking bone, “Am I still a monster?!” She was breathing heavily, tears streaming down her face.

Shortly afterwards young Riven passed out, releasing the Nightblade. The Nightblade sat there for what seemed like hours. She stared at young Riven the entire time. The Nightblade finally lowered her knife and got to her feet. She disappeared into the night, only to return hours later with a gourd and several fruits. She grabbed the gourd and tiled young Riven’s head back, slowly pouring the liquid in. Young Riven was too weakened to do much else, and while half asleep greedily drank it. Young Riven murmured nonsense. Delirious from pain and sickness she was unsure what was going on.

The young Nightblade left the fruit at Young Riven’s feet. The Ionian looked one last time at young Riven and spoke aloud, “I do not see a monster. What you are, I’m not sure. But…I can’t do it.”

The Nightblade shuddered, “Your eyes are not the one who destroyed my village. You’re…” The Nightblade’s voice became full of emotion, “…I…I do not see the Butcher. Goodbye, Riven.” That was when Riven realized who it was. She covered her mouth in surprise.

Morning broke, young Riven woke up. She felt considerably better, as if she had managed to drink something. She looked down and saw the fruit at her feet. She must have gathered it yesterday and forgot to eat. She palmed at her face, the chemicals were afflicting her quite severely. She slowly ate the fruit despite feeling no hunger. She got to her feet and started walking again. She needed to find somewhere to wash the chemicals off. The longer they stayed the worse her affliction became.

The memory faded, Riven cocked her head at the scene, “That’s…we met again? I thought she was a phantom caused by the fever.”

Riven looked around at the world shimmering, she walked slowly about it, “How are you able to do this? My judgement had me experience things more…personally. This is…” She was out of breath, at both her memory and what she saw around her.

“Simple, that is Judgement. They tap into your memories and make you relive them and take roles to try and gauge your reaction. It is quite the feat of magic that the Summoning Council has, but this level of magic takes skill and craft known to very few these days.” Lee chuckled, “I was told that I was quite good at once upon a time. I’d argue against such an idea, but I know what I am capable of. I now know my limitations.”

Lee quietly let Riven take in what she had just seen and heard. He eventually spoke, “May I show you something?”

Riven looked up and around. She slowly nodded.

Part 1/2


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Grand Viper

Senior Member

04-14-2012

Chapter 10: Part 2/2


The world fast forwarded some more time ahead, Young Riven looked like she had finally bathed but the chemicals ravaged the insides of her body still. She dragged herself through the forest when she came across a little dirt trail. She took several steps to it and promptly collapsed on it. The sound of a wagon being pulled perked her ears, she got to her feet and tried running away to no avail.

Two robed men, faces uncovered and shaved heads, were in front of her. Back then she could not understand what they said. The other Noxian commanders and soldiers used to call the Ionian language “moon talk.” She was not sure if that was the case, but now she could understand what they were speaking about. One monk raised his hands in front of him, speaking slowly, “{Are you alright miss? Do you need assistance?}”

The other monk pointed at her shoulder pad, “{The symbol of Noxus, brother.}”

Young Riven stumbled away from them. She swung her sword wildly in an effort to dissuade them, but it only made her look inept. The first monk stepped towards her, hands still raised, “{Perhaps, but she has not tried to kill us on sight. Something is different about her. Perhaps she speaks Common.}”

“{That sounds like a wonderful idea. I have no idea how to speak Common, brother. Do you?}” The other monk stood back, trying to gauge young Riven.

The first monk shook his heads, “{No, but Brother Lee should be able to speak with her. We need her to calm down. She looks sick. If she flees she may die from whatever ails her. We may have to do something drastic.}”

Young Riven’s eyes were wide with fear, swinging her blade wildly at them. She tried stepping towards the woods behind her so she could make her escape. The other monk disappeared and reappeared behind her. At the time she was too ill to react as he wrapped his arms around her. The first monk moved forward and trapped her hands in an attempt to stop her from striking him much more, “{Miss? Please, we are not going to hurt you.}”

“<Get away!>” Young Riven screamed, “<Get away! I don’t want to kill you! Get away!>” She struggled in his grasp, still screaming, “<I don’t want to kill anymore! Just! Just get away!>”

She tried breaking the monk’s grip to no avail. They let her struggle and bloody them until she fell unconscious, the effort being too great on her. They loaded her up in the little wagon they were carting, and pulled her towards a mountain.

Young Riven woke up several hours later. She was in a bed with clean sheets. She shot out of the bed and looked around for her sword. She found it only a few feet from her. Once she gripped it she decided to analyze her situation. She was still wearing her clothing. That was a plus. She was indoors. That was disconcerting. A man’s soft voice spoke in Noxian, “<Are you alright?>”

Young Riven buckled to one knee from weakness, facing the direction the voice came from. A young man with a shaved head, save for a braid of hair, looked at her with warm eyes. He looked distinctly Ionian. Young Riven aimed her blade at him, shakily speaking, “<You speak Noxian? No, no it’s a trick. You’re Ionian. Get away! I don’t want to hurt you! I don’t want to! I don’t want to hurt anymore!>”

The man stood up and walked over to her. She swiped her sword at him, a swipe he easily dodged. He rested a calming hand on her shoulder and spoke gently, “<You are safe here. Calm yourself.>”

Young Riven fell to the floor, clutching her sword, “<Go! I need to…I need to go! I need to get out!>”

“<Out of where?>” The monk questioned, “<Where do you think you are?>”

Young Riven cupped her face with her hands, tears streaming, “<Can’t you see them?! The chemicals! The barrage! They’re dying! They’re all dying! Their faces! Their horrifying faces! They’re melting! They’re burning! They’re staring at me! Their charred lips asking why! Why did Noxus do that?! Why?!>”

She swung her sword in an overhead slash, the monk barely dodged out of the way as her blade shattered the stone floor. She continued, “<I can’t…I don’t…why did I do that? Why did they do that? Why did Noxus betray me? Why would Noxus do that to us? Why? Why did I hurt all of those people? For what?>”

Young Riven was openly weeping at this point, cradling herself. The monk made his way over and sat on her bed for the next hour as she continued to rock herself. She continued to utter more horrors of war until she eventually tired and fell asleep. She still gripped her sword tightly. When she woke up once more the monk was still there, seemingly asleep with a tray of food in hand. There was a bowl of rice, a bowl of soup and a glass of water. Her stomach gurgled from the many days she went without food. At the sound of her stomach the monk opened an eye and looked at her. He smiled as he lowered the tray to the ground and gently slid it closer to her. He spoke once more, “<Where do you think you are, young one?>”

Young Riven was quivering, what a strange sight. She was actually quivering like a frightened animal, though she was not scared. She looked at the food, then back at the man. The monk chuckled, shaking his head, “<I am not going to hurt you. My name is Lee Sin. You are in the Shojin Monastery. What is your name?>”

“<…Ah, it’s…it’s…>” Young Riven swallowed nervously. She was not sure if she should tell him her real name. Who knows how far spread it was? Lee smiled and chuckled once more, “<You do not have to tell me if you are not comfortable yet. Eat, relax, you are safe here. My brothers and I will not harm you.>”

Young Riven peered at the door to the room, she could see half a dozen curious eyes looking at her. She pointed at them, “<You are all related? How many brothers do you have?>”

“<Pardon me?>” Lee cocked an eyebrow before responding in good humor, “<Is it so shocking to have so many siblings? Our mother was a large woman.>”

Young Riven didn’t know if that was a joke or not. Even then, she’s never laughed before. Lee’s soothing chuckle was emitted once more, “<No, we are not related by blood. Yet we are. They are my brothers because I care for them. Just as you are my sister, despite us never having met before.>”

Alright, this man was clearly insane. Young Riven shook her head, “<I was a Noxian commander. I killed your comrades, I killed your countrymen without care and without mercy. I am not your sister. I am a monster. That’s all I will ever be.>” She raised her sword against him, “<Release me or kill me. Those are your only choices.

“<Truly? Yet…>” Lee started, shuffling his body weight about him, his smile never disappearing, “<A monster wouldn’t know what they are, unless they were human. A human with sin and regret does not make a good monster. Right? And why do I only receive two choices when I can see more? Why am I not allowed to do something else, something I wish to do?>”

Young Riven drew back, what strange…reasoning. This monk made no sense. Not in the Noxian way of thinking, of course. Not blood related yet siblings? A monster is what? What nonsense was this? She was weaker, mentally and physically at the moment. Why was he helping her? Lee got to his feet and made his way to the door, “<I will let you eat, drink and rest. The door will be unlocked, you are free to leave whenever you want.>”

Young Riven watched Lee leave the room, leaving her alone with the food. She slowly gained the courage to eat it. The first proper nourishment she’s had in nearly a month. After she ate, she shuffled to the door. All the monks were busy walking around, carrying books, chanting, doing whatever these strange Ionians did. But they did not seem to notice her. She walked past them with some difficulty. She still felt incredibly weak, but paranoia and suspicion gave her strength. She made her way to the monastery’s exit, not one of the monks hassled nor harassed her.

Young Riven peered outside and saw how high up they were from the ground, and how many steps it would take to enter and leave the temple. These monks carried her all the way up here, but why? They had nothing to gain. They were stronger than her, they could have killed her, yet they aided her. What strange people. Foolish, but strange. And that one, Lee Sin, he could speak Noxian almost perfectly. Why was that? She looked down the steps, then back at the temple. Perhaps after she recovered a little more, she would leave.

The memory fast forwarded a few months, Young Riven was in the library trying to read a book. She wore strange robes alongside the remnants of her Noxian armor. The chemicals had almost run their course. She was still recovering, but there was very little she could do in the monastery aside from meditating. She took it upon herself to read some of the literature the monks had to offer. This failed miserably as they were all in Ionian. Lee silently leaned over her shoulder and smirked, “<Ah. Good choice of philosopher. His words are fantastic.>” He grabbed the book and turned it right side up. Young Riven drew back, startled. He chuckled, “<Trying to read Ionian, young one?>”

Young Riven nodded, looking at the book, “<Trying is an understatement. All this moon speak is so difficult…>”

She covered her mouth and squeaked in embarrassment. Lee burst out laughing, “<Moon speak? Why do you call it that?>”

“<Er…>” Young Riven’s eyes quickly shifted away from Lee, “<That’s…that’s how the other Noxians referred to it as. I…>”

Lee looked at her with a smirk, “<What do you think? Do you think it is ‘moon speak’?>”

This monk for the past few months has been asking her opinions, her ideas, what she thinks and so forth. There is no I or we in Noxus. There are only the strong. There are only those that you crush, or are crushed by. You serve the stronger or you are crushed to serve them. It took Young Riven much longer than one would think to answer, “<…No. I don’t.>”

Lee tapped the book, “<Would you like to learn Ionian?>”

Young Riven drew back, not sure how to respond. “<Is…is that right? Do I deserve to?>”

“<Everyone in this life deserves a second chance, young one.>” Lee’s eyes became heavy with emotion, “<It is up to them whether they wish to seek it or not.>”

“<Even...>” Young Riven turned pale and swallowed nervously, “<Even if they are Riven the Butcher?>”

Lee drew back, mockingly mortified, “<You are her? Dear Gods. I better flee now rather than two weeks ago when I slipped, fell down the stairs and winded myself. The horrible and merciless Butcher helped carry me up all eight hundred steps of stairs.>”

He stopped being sarcastic and smiled at Riven, “<You are who you want to be, Riven. Titles are quite meaningless despite the force some people put behind them. It is up to you in the end who you wish to be. Though people will judge you, I have no reason to. If you feel you are in the right, do what you wish.>”

Young Riven furrowed her brow, “<So if I wanted to kill you right now you would not judge me? That is all I know. All I know is how to kill and how to do so effectively. It is my nature.>”

“<Perhaps it is, perhaps it is.>” Lee shrugged, “<I would not hold it against you if you won. I would be too dead to care. If this is what makes you happy in life, if this is who you are, if that is your true nature then I cannot argue against that. Friends, colleagues, countrymen, they are meant to help shape you and your ideas. But never forget one thing.>” He patted her shoulder, “<It is your choice in the very end. If you think all you can ever be is a killer, then that is all you will ever be.>”

Lee got up and was about to leave Young Riven alone, who spoke aloud, “<Wait. Master Lee.>”

The man stopped, Young Riven nervously asked, “<M…maybe I can read these books one day?>”

Young Riven looked down, she was not sure how to ask him. Lee came back to her side and pointed at the book, “<This is a little advanced for most native Ionians. After dinner, we will start with the basics.>”

He pointed at the book, speaking in Ionian, “{Kal-lou-she-us.}” Young Riven looked at him, speaking back in broken Ionian, “{I know what say that. Me knowledge bad not so. Monks I hear and watch write letters I did.}”

Lee chuckled. He rubbed her shoulder tenderly and looked at her with his soft eyes, “<Look at that. You are more than just a killer after all. The Ionian language is one of the harder ones to grasp, yet here you are. You managed to pick some of it up only by hearing it. Look at that intelligence.>”

Young Riven actually blushed. She had never been complimented in such a manner. She was only congratulated once, the day she received her runeblade. The incentive to becoming better in the Noxian army training was that if they did not, they would die. If they said they wanted to achieve something, by that assigned day they better be prepared or else they would fall. Even to this day she remembers how she killed one of the grandchildren of Boram Darkwill himself. It was to gain the position of commander in the Noxian army. She was only eighteen at the time, ten years younger than the usual legal age of a platoon commander.

She wanted to further serve Noxus, and there was only a set amount of commanders chosen each year. If she wanted to be employed in the upcoming war, she would have to prove her strength. She was coincidentally matched up against the blood of Darkwill himself, and killed him with efficient ease. After much deliberation she was granted permission a few months later. She was given her runeblade the same day she was given her title. Darkwill himself gave her the blade, his pride beaming from his entire being as he handed it over to her. His speech fell on deaf ears, she was focused on how strangely happy this man was. She was employed to Ionia shortly afterwards.

Young Riven shook herself of the memory, looking at Lee with saddened eyes, “<Why…why are you helping me? How can you bring yourself to do this?>”

Lee patted her shoulder, “<Because it is my choice to.>”

He left her alone in her thoughts, the world faded away. Riven looked around, smiling at the memory. Lee drifted into view, “Well?”

“Why did you show me those…” Riven looked at the blank scape before her. She smiled all of the sudden. A memory popped up. She was sitting with her legs crossed and meditating in front of Lee. Lee was shifting his hands back and forth, letting Ki flow from his hands. Young Riven was trying to do the same to no avail. She saw months pass by as they continued the same exercise, then a year. Finally Riven was able to surge out her Ki and control it. She lost her concentration the moment she did, laughing and smiling at her progress. Lee congratulated her, they stood up and had what the monks considered an extravagant meal.

The memory faded. Another surged, she was fishing and Lee helped her cast her line. Something so simple, yet it was something she could not do for the longest time. She either snapped the rod in half from her tight grip or let the fragile stick fly from her hands because of how loose she held it. It faded. Another memory surged just as quickly, her slowly reading and speaking in Ionian with Lee helping her.

Smiling at her, looking after her, being with her, Lee always made sure to congratulate Riven. He made sure to not downplay her achievements but to correct her with good humor when need be. Riven had drill sergeants, she had tutors, she had commanding superiors and officers all which educated her in the ways of Noxus and of fighting, how to kill and how to do so effectively. How to survive in the harshest conditions, how to suffer through pain, to have the courage to kill one’s self if captured by the enemy. All for the glory of Noxus. What a strange contrast between them and this single, warm man.

Riven sighed, looking at Lee, “I will never be able to thank you for all you did Lee. All of your patience, all of your guidance, they helped me so much. But why did you show me these memories?”

Lee shook his head, “You will see, Riven.” He clasped her shoulder, “Did you know that you humbled me the moment you left the monastery?”

Riven drew back, shocked at his statement. “What? How? Why?”

Lee chuckled, and with a wave of his hand the world reformed itself.

========================

Young Riven’s hair was now bundled up in its characteristic fashion. Her sandaled feet tapped through the monastery. She looked like how she currently did, save for the pristine white robes tailored to her taste and a new shoulder guard to accompany her Noxian shoulder plate. It was carefully covered with tanned leather. She looked at the steps leading out of the monastery. She spent many quiet minutes contemplating what she should do. The moment young Riven took her first step outside Lee’s voice called out to her, “{You have finally decided?}”

Young Riven turned and faced Lee, who was standing no more than four feet away from her. He was quiet and he was fast. She nodded, “{It’s time I left. The war is over.}”

“{So?} Lee shrugged, “{You are more than welcome to stay here. This is a safe place, one free from persecution, one free from bigotry. You will not be judged for your actions here. You will be accepted for the lone fact you seek redemption. Why leave?}”

Young Riven looked at Lee with sad eyes, “{I wish I could stay, Master Lee. I really wish I could. But…}” She looked outside, “{The longer I stay, the more I wish to leave. I can’t find all of my answers here. I can’t hide the fact that I’m still alive. The blood doesn’t wash, Master Lee. It never does. You of all people know this.}”

Young Riven closed her eyes, “{Every time I close my eyes, every time I sleep, I see them. I see their faces. Staying here will not solve this guilt, it is only compounding it.}” She opened her eyes, twin tears dribbling, “{And I am scared. I am so scared of going out there, of what I will find. What am I going to find? What am I going to do? I’m not sure, but I will never know if I don’t find out. I can never thank you enough, Master Lee. But I need to do this. I need to know why I survived, if I am meant for redemption, or death. Thank you, for everything.}”

Young Riven gave him a quick bow and then turned away from Lee. She started her descent down the stairs. Lee watched her the entire time she walked down those stairs. She did not look back.

Riven watched her younger self walk away from the monastery that had taken her in, that had provided safety for her. Lee’s voice spoke up, “Be sure to keep your eye on me.”

Riven nodded and observed the younger Lee, who continued to stand at the door of the monastery until young Riven completely disappeared from sight. One of his monk brothers came by and acknowledged him, “{Brother Lee? She left?}”

Young Lee nodded, “{She did. She actually did. What an astounding girl.}” He waved absent mindedly, “{May the Celestials look after you, young one. Wherever you go, whatever you decide to do, may they watch over you.}”

Lee turned away from the doors, going back deeper into the monastery. He stopped and looked at the doors one last time. He snorted, shaking his head, “{Maybe one day I will have her strength.}”

The scene did not fade this time. Riven drew one hand to her mouth in quiet shock. She looked around, “Lee? What did you mean by that?”

“Exactly as it sounded.” Lee’s voice was light hearted. Riven and Lee stared at one another for a few more moments when he spoke again, “I would like you to see one more thing if that is alright?”

Riven nodded. She trusted Lee’s judgement.

=========================

Riven watched the scene fall away, white blanketing the room. “Lee? What memory is this?” She heard the sound of armored footsteps approach her from behind. Her own voice called out. It had a hollow ring to it, “Do you think you have changed for the better, Butcher?”

Riven looked up, scowling, “Lee, what is this?”

“What you wanted.” Lee stated, “You said you wanted to face yourself, to face your memories. This is what you asked for.”

Riven stood and thought for a bit. She turned and stood face to face with her old self: The Butcher. Riven furrowed her brow, “Yes. I have, because I am not you. Not anymore. I hate you. I reject you.”

The Butcher nodded her head, “Really now? How quaint. I suppose all of your philosophical quandering made you reach such a conclusion.”

Riven readied her blade as it reformed itself. The Butcher and Riven looked at one another. They ran at one another, swords crashing against each other’s blades in perfect tempo. Riven would destroy the monster and pursue her own path, free herself of this burden. The Butcher stayed true to her name, each strike was relentless, each strike was with determination and ferocity she had long forgotten. The Butcher easily overcame Riven, throwing her to the ground. Each step the Butcher took the screams of Ionians followed. Blood oozed from her very being, but none of her own. The Butcher traced her fingers along her own jawline, the blood trickling from her fingertips. “Magnificent, isn’t it? The strength of Noxus."

Riven snorted and got back to her feet. The Butcher shook her head, “You still fight? Why do you fight? Penitence?” The Butcher casually swung her blade. Riven attempted to block it only to collapse from the impact. The Butcher twirled her sword, “Talon was right, all you want is for the Ionians to forgive you. What gives you the right to make them forgive you? What can you do to make them forgive you?”

“I…” Riven got to her feet, readying her blade, “I don’t want forgiveness. I want penitence. I -” The Butcher shrugged her shoulders, the blood drenching her armor, “And what does penitence mean? Hm?” The Butcher raised her free hand, “How do you plan on making it up to Irelia and the Ionians by crawling in the ground?”

The scene of Irelia and Riven’s first meeting played behind the Butcher repeatedly. The Butcher did not bother to face it. Irelia’s scream tore through Riven’s mind each time it replayed itself. “She calls you friend, and you are bothered by it. Because guess what? You got what you wanted.”

Riven staggered to her feet, the Butcher readied her sword, “She’s given you a chance. What are you going to do with that? What does the chance she has given you mean?”

“That chance is to let me make my own choices. To let me be me.” Riven’s shoulders shook.

“I’m you. What does that mean? Hm?”

The Butcher circled around Riven, a predator viewing her prey. “You’ve killed so many, and for what? For Noxus. You have admitted that you never lost the love of your country. You love Noxus. But not their Noxus, oh no. That’s so vastly different. What can you do? What has all of your wandering done for you? Are you any closer to your penitence now than you were before?”

Riven’s body quaked. She could not respond.

The Butcher stretched her free arm and pointed accusingly at Riven, “You keep harping about repenting, about wanting to better yourself! And yet here you are! You realize you are no closer to your goal than you were all those years ago, right? In fact, you’ve regressed!”

The Butcher leaned in to Riven, “Just like I am here, that little girl who swore to kill you? She’s still there. You know that, you know she wants your blood. Give Irelia an excuse and she will cut you down. I’m willing to bet she’s just waiting for an excu-”

“Shut. Up.” Riven slammed her monolith of a sword into the side of the Butcher’s head. She spoke up, “That may be true, but if that is the case…then I won’t give her an excuse. I fight now because I want to, I fight because I choose to.” Riven got to her feet, staring at the dissipated form of the Butcher. “I fight because I’m no longer a tool.” Her sword had simply passed through the Butcher as if she were cutting mist. The Butcher quickly reformed, “You think you can claim independence by killing me? Oh sweet, innocent, na´ve you.”

The Butcher shook her head, “You don’t get it, do you? You can’t kill me. You can’t beat me into submission. If you fight me, you will lose. Watch.” The Butcher motioned to Riven, “Go ahead. Try running. Watch what happens.”

Riven cocked an eyebrow at the Butcher. She pushed Riven, “Go on. Run!”

Riven made several casual steps. As she glanced back, she noticed the Butcher had not taken a single step, but was still right behind her. She had not moved from her original position. The Butcher clapped her hands, “Let’s see if she realizes it. I’m guessing… yes. You have. But…!”

“But I’m not you.” Riven finished her own sentence. She shook her head, “I am not you. I reject you. You are dead. You…” She grabbed at her face, “You are a monster. I’m not a monster. Not anymore.”

The Butcher walked over, sword readied and aimed at Riven’s throat, “Not you. Not we. Me. I. We do not exist independently of one another. We are the same. I am your past. I am you. I’m never leaving. I’m always there, I’m always in the back of your mind. Just like that little girl is in the back of Irelia’s mind.”

Riven shook her head, “No. I’m not you. I refuse to be you ever again.”

The Butcher removed her helmet, showing Riven’s young face. “Really? Explain this: How did you do so well against Yi?”

Riven’s indignation died, “Because…”

“You gave in. Ever so slightly, you gave in. You accepted me for a brief moment.” The Butcher stated bluntly. “Tell me how it felt.”

“I…I…” Riven shook her head, “It felt…”

“Say it!” The Butcher roared at Riven. “Say it! Say those words for all to hear!”

Riven grabbed her face, tears streaming, “It…it felt…”

Riven shook her head and fell silent. The Butcher strode forward and yanked her hair back, “Oh no! You’re going to say those words! Say them!”

Riven choked out, “It…felt right.”

The Butcher released Riven and slowly clapped her hands, “Yes! Finally!”

Riven dropped to her knees. “What…what does it mean?”

“I’ve waited for years for you to realize that. Years. And you ask yourself that?” The Butcher started to fade away, her armor peeling away to reveal the soft body inside the iron casing. “You are an idiot.”

“Heh…” Riven shook her head, “Maybe. But that won’t stop me. I’m not giving now, not now, not ever.”

The Butcher smirked at Riven before disappearing. Riven was left alone in the mindscape and was quiet for quite some time. Lee eventually spoke up, “Riven. You may think of this as harsh, but-”

“Lee.” Riven interrupted him. “I know. This is what I wanted.”

Riven looked around, searching for Lee. He appeared before her, bowing to her. “Are you satisfied?”

Riven made her way over and bowed at Lee, “I am. Thank you Lee, for everything.” She looked around, “I think we are done here. I…I have things I need to think about.”

“If you say so.” Lee disappeared from view, “However, I hope you stay to have some more tea. And maybe share some more of those baked goods. They are quite exquisite.”

“Lee?” Riven looked around. He slowly responded, “Yes, Riven?”

“If…” Riven fought to say the words, “If I were to accept the Butcher again, would you hate me? Would I become a monster again?”

Lee was quiet, the mindscape slowly darkening to show the slow, gradual process of ending the link. He responded, “I am not sure. It matters what you think acceptance means. I cannot answer that, Riven. And besides, should it matter what I think? Should that influence your decision?”

As the mindscape faded, Riven had one final question left on her mind: What now?