The midday sun beat down upon the Noxian company traveling through the relatively dense forest. The soldiers wore dark gray armor over their green clothing and each either a sword and shield or bow at their side. The trees that made up the forest covered the area with roots covering the ground and sticking up from the dirt making horseback impossible.
"Sir!" A Noxian soldier called to his commanding officer. "We've got another one over here!" The officer walked over and stared at the large green mushroom covered in purple dots. The company was on constant alert for these mines which contained and released a highly toxic poison that could wipe them all out.
The company continued on finding more mines spread throughout the forest. The caw of a raven echoed through the foliage and the bird could be seen above the canopy. The company emerged from the forest and beheld the sight before them. A brigade of Noxian soldiers marched up and down the border of the town ahead of them. The Noxians and citizens of the city were pitched in ranged combat but seemed to be at a standstill.
The company was led down to their assigned position as the commanding officer approached a tent encampment. "Captain Mordrid, reporting as ordered, Sir."
"Welcome, Captain." The man before him said. He had a bald head except for three vertical streaks of blue hair. His mouth was covered by a mask and he wore a dark armored robe. The man did not face Mordrid which Mordrid did not mind. He had heard rumors of this man, how he has lead countless expeditions into the Frejlordian wastelands and returns with quantities of spoils. Mordrid had also heard not to get on his bad side in fear of being devoured. "Captain," The man said.
"Have your company push in from the left flank and replace Captain Roak's company."
"Right away, Sir." Mordrid rallied his troop and lead them to the west side of the city. Arrows flew through the air in the distance and the sound of cannons could be heard above them all. Mordrid had his troops take their place in the trenches dug around the city. Upon hearing the order of the general Captain Roak pulled his men back for a well-deserved rest.
Each man in Mordrid's company was given a bow and arrows and were given the order to fire upon the city when they deemed necessary. The company though did not fire as wildly as one would presume of a group of fresh soldiers. The soldiers fired individually and only when they could hit the enemy. Hours passed and the company was replaced by Roak's when the sun fell and the moon had risen.
Mordrid sat by a fire and listened to the gunshots coming from the city. "Captain," Corporal Lancen asked. "When do we get to invade the city?"
"I don't know. General Swain isn't one to rush his plans or an inevitable victory."
"How do you know it's inevitable," Another soldier asked.
"I don't but I trust that Swain knows what he's doing. And if anything goes wrong he can always eat them."
Captain Teemo looked out over the field ahead of them. Noxian soldiers were lined up and down the border of Bandle City and had cut off all supply routes above ground. Reinforcements had been dispatched and should be arriving sometime soon but so far there was no word. Luckily the city had prepared for this scenario in the last half-decade.
An arrow flew by Teemo and hit the Yordle beside him. Teemo ducked as another arrow that would've hit him flew overhead. He ran along the trench and heard another shot of the Grand-Cannon. "Tristana must be happy," Teemo thought. "She finally gets to use Heimerdinger's greatest weapon." A light hit Teemo in the eye and he raised his hand to cover it. At first he thought it was just the sun but then he saw a reflection across the field.
Teemo grabbed a nearby Yordle. "Get Poppy over here right away," Teemo told him. The Yordle ran off and Teemo used his telescope to look at the reflection. It was gone now and he had not seen who had signaled them. Teemo hoped it was who he had called for and set up precise positions for them to take cover in.
"You needed something," Poppy asked when she arrived. Poppy had dirt all over her and a few bloodstains but no injuries herself.
"Have your men ready to attack, I believe our reinforcements have arrived. And tell Tristana to focus on the west flank. They seem to have more troops over there than all the others." Poppy ran off and another blast echoed through the air. The call of an owl sounded from above and a dark brown owl flew down and rested on a box next to Teemo. On one of its legs was a small scroll which Teemo took off. He read over it and wrote a reply on the back. The owl took the paper and flew off into the air.
The sound of gunshots and arrows echoed from the distance at which the rifle lay. Set upon a bipod the rifle sat quietly. The barrel was cold, the stock mild, but overall it lay motionless. The trees swayed back and forth from a gust of wind telling the rifle not to release the seals of death encased within its clip. The rifle adjusted, swung to the right, looking for the perfect shot.
A man was its target, the leader called Swain, but no shot of the man could be found. The rifle turned back and looked out over the city. Covered in steel the city yelled in an uproar, its little soldiers manning the trenches. The rifle swung right and down to look upon the soldiers below. Covered in armor with bows deadly and accurate. If the rifle were to shoot then this would be its last.
The rifle waited silent and cold. Patiently waiting for the perfect time to show. A blast hit the trench in front of them and then another and another. The soldiers in the trenches jumped out and ran forward. The Noxians they shot and many were slain. The rifle unloaded its first shell today. The bullet flew into and out of a man. Soldiers burst forward from an underground labyrinth and began to strike down the enemy before them.
Caitlyn adjusted her rifle and shot again. The bullet hit a man in the back and he fell. Another round hit a man in the side who had a sword brought down upon his back. Caitlyn moved herself to the left and shot at the incoming group of Noxians as they emerged from the trees. She fired her rounds off in quick succession, dropping the enemies numbers. She looked around for a certain Yordle and found him in the middle of the fray. She took her aim and shot. The bullet flew down, a mere inch from the Yordle, and broke the arrow that would have cured him of life.
Caitlyn reloaded and fired again. The enemy was now moving to the west to reinforce their comrades but the Yordles of Bandle City cut through them before they could reach. She zoomed out over the open terrain and saw a man with a large double-barreled rifle. She shot around him picking off whoever got close and heard the poof of a mushroom behind her.
Caitlyn fired blindly into the brush and moved. An arrow flew behind her at where she had been. She heard an eruption and looked back at the shock of lightning. She slid under a fallen tree and shot at three following Noxians. Each fell with a single shot and Caitlyn continued on. She moved deeper into the forest to a position where she could cut off any fleeing Noxians but also assist the battle. A wind hit her and did not stop. The wind would make it harder for her to shoot but she could manage.
She found the spot in between two trees and a patch of brush. The spot was perfect. Caitlyn reset her rifle and fired upon the enemy. She reloaded and turned to block a sword from coming down on her. She kicked the man back and shot him in the chest. The man fell on the ground and Caitlyn slung the rifle onto her back and took out two handguns. She fired wildly into the brush and heard multiple faint voices.
Caitlyn slowly crawled down the cliff that she was positioned on and jumped to a nearby hanging root. She caught it and lowered herself down into the canopy below. The area was quiet except for the sound of battle in the distance. She climbed down from the tree she stood in and made her way through the forest.
Something sparked in Caitlyn and she rolled behind a tree. A knife hit the tree and she moved. She shot back behind her in case they were following and took cover inside a hollow tree. Her breathing slowed and calmed but inside her heart was racing. In the past half-decade tensions between Noxus and Demacia risen and war had broken out. Caitlyn had decided to join the resistance to combat the Noxians and their way of life.
The grass in front of her pressed down but she could not see anyone. The grass kicked up and whoever it was left. Caitlyn moved slowly out of the tree. As soon as she was out she spun on her heel, crouched down, and held her handguns at the man behind her. The man stared down at her, unflinching, with a blade at throat while her guns were at his. Caitlyn slowly stood up and the two stared at each other, unsure of who would make the next move.
The next few seconds of silence felt like an eternity. A silent conversation passed between the two and in two seconds a hundred questions had been asked and answered. But they spoke so they could hear the other answer it for themselves.
"Hello, Caitlyn," Said the man. He wore black clothing with silver pads on his shoulders, elbows, knees, and shins. His eyes were dark green and told the story of a person who had seen and done things no one should experience. Caitlyn wore a green jacket and armored skirt with plates on her shoulders and legs. Her eyes were green as well but told a different story. A story of one who stood for justice and peace and had ignored the fact that she too was a murderer.
"What are you doing here," Caitlyn asked. Her voice was angry and cold.
"This is a battle. It is only fit that I should lead my people."
Caitlyn laughed. "Lead your people? Your a street-rat, Talon, you killed, stole, and murdered all for yourself. Not your people."
Talon smirked, impervious to Caitlyn's insult. He had heard it many times before so hearing it another would make no difference. "How is Amelia," Talon asked.
"Don't you dare talk about her!" Caitlyn shot but Talon moved his head and lived. He jumped back and Caitlyn shot at him.
"Why," Talon asked as he stood perched upon a branch. "She is our daughter after all." Caitlyn shot again but Talon moved. He blinked and Caitlyn was an inch from his face with a knife. She sliced at him but missed. Talon kicked her away but Caitlyn kicked off of a tree and back at him. This time she cut him in the arm. Caitlyn landed back on the ground and so did Talon. "Nice moves," Talon casually commented as if they were just two friends who had coincidentally run into each other. "I'm glad you still remember something I taught you."
"Speaking of the past," Caitlyn said with a grin on her face. "How is Katarina? And that eye I took out?"
"She's well... constantly says she's going to make you pay for what you did." That brought a sense of satisfaction to Caitlyn. "Anyways..." Talon appeared behind Caitlyn, turned her around, kissed her, and disappeared. "I'll see you around. Maybe we could get together next time. And maybe you'll come to your senses."
"Remember to keep your head low. This isn't Summoner's Rift anymore." Irelia crept along behind the hill as the Noxian troops passed by. There were about three hundred Noxians but the Ionians outnumbered them. Waiting for them to spring the trap was making Irelia's heart race. Waiting meant less time fighting and wasting time as more Noxians arrived on the shores and scourged her home. Luckily the wait was over.
The first line of Noxians pressed forward and fell into a long trench filled with spikes. Arrows shot from behind a hill and rained down upon the Noxians as they slowly backed away. Irelia exhaled and jumped from her hiding spot. Her blade floated around her hands as it tore through the Noxians. On each side Ionian soldiers ran down and collided with the Noxians.
The feeling that Irelia felt never changed. Her body went numb, her mind blank, everything, her hand movements, the blade cutting through a body, reacting to another, all of it was... natural. She didn't have to think about it. There was also no second thought about who she was attacking. The Ionians saw this as a thing of beauty. Seeing her tear through their enemies so easily. To the Noxians this was hell.
Irelia ducked as a sword was swung over her head and pierced the soldier with her blade. She spun and blocked a spear from hitting her. It broke from her sword and the blades closed on the man's neck, severing his head from his body. "Is this wrong?" Irelia thought. "To feel nothing?" Yi had told her it was fine. That it was better that she felt nothing.
Soon the Noxians were no more. "How many did we lose?" She asked her lieutenant.
"We're still tallying the total, Ma'am, but it's not many."
"Good." Irelia sighed and looked to the sky. It was blue. Not a cloud in sight. During the times of the League she could relax on days like this. She never stopped moving now. The Noxians were powerful. They didn't let up any of their fronts, only advanced it. The Ionians were slowly losing. Slowly but surely. The Freljordians could not push to the Noxian capital due to Piltover and the Demacians were being intercepted on all fronts. There was no support for Ionia.
Irelia turned and saw Sona approaching her. "Are you hurt?" Irelia asked her. Sona shook her head no. Irelia found it odd that she had asked to come along to the front. She definitely was powerful; she could cut through objects at distance with her instrument and she could play different notes to incapacitate them. Sona was fitted with gray armor. It fitted her, made the mute peaceful girl that they all knew look slightly threatening.
The Ionian soldiers moved through the hills as they made their way to the next town. In the past years a third of Ionia had been taken by the Noxians. Even after the Ionian war the provinces still remained separate. The provinces were now beginning to realize that they could not stand alone and had to unite to defend their land. The balance of power had been in constant flux. Nobody knew who their leader should be and many spent most of their time arguing over it instead of focusing on the war.
In a drastic and desperate attempt at bringing the remaining provinces together Irelia had married Master Yi, the Wuju Bladesman. To many this was a shock. To Irelia it was only duty. Master Yi became an Elder for his province and Irelia to hers. Their marriage united the two provinces and soon others fell into it to form a single government.
"Get the archers to the west forest." Irelia approached Lee Sin as he gave orders to the soldiers. "Irelia."
"Good work on defeating the Noxians."
"You can tell me that when this war is over."
"One step at a time." A man walked over and Irelia hugged him.
"Hello, Vas." Vas was Lee Sin's summoner in the League. He had decided to join them to defend Ionia and has been quite helpful. He, like many of the summoners, had very good magical skills that had been proven useful in combat. Vas was a tall, buff man. Irelia believed that even if he could not use magic he would still pose a definite threat to the Noxian numbers. "I have good and bad news." Vas said.
"Bad news first please."
"The Noxians are having three companies converge on this town. We're trying to divert as many troops as we can to help defend but we don't have enough to have the upper advantage."
"Okay." This worried Irelia but not too much. They knew the area and would have the strategic upper hand. The rule of invading was to have a 10-1 soldier ratio or ten invading for every one defending.
"Now the good news. The Noxians won't be reaching here for a few days giving us time to reinforce and what not... and more bad news...." Vas's eyes moved to Lee who stood unmoving with his arms crossed.
"The reinforcements," Lee Sin continued. "The reinforcements are the Noxian defects."
"Defects? I don't... You don't mean."
"No! I'd rather hold the Noxians off without them if she's--"
"Irelia, we can't--"
"No, Lee! I won't have her this close to our capital!" She was referring to that wretch, that murderer, that traitor Caitlyn. She had helped siege one of the province capitals. Had it not been for her-- "Had it not been for her Karma would still be alive!"
The halls of the Institute of War were large. Crowds of people stood in it and there was still more than enough room for other to pass. Devon passed through with his eyes down and a blank expression. Devon was considered a young summoner and had recently graduated from the summoner acceptance course. Though he had just graduated he had already gained a reputation as a skilled summoner on the fields of justice. He scratched his black hair and avoided the stares. It wasn't everyday that he would be found by himself. Most of the time he would be beside his champion. Even now he worried where she was and what she was doing.
"Hey, Devon." A girl not much older than him with blonde hair and blue eyes ran up to him.
"Hi, Luxanna." She was shorter than him and always clung to his arm when she was with him. Devon had known Lux since her first day in the league. She was always smiling and happy and would bug Devon that he was really, really, really depressing. They continued on their way and now drew even more attention. Especially from the Noxian supporters.
The Institute of War housed summoners from all over, Demacia, Noxus, Ionia. There were high tensions among the groups and every now and again there was a fight or two. Devon was a born in a small village near the Institute of War making this his home but he being friends with Luxanna, sister to Garen, the Might of Demacia, had placed him more on the Noxians' black list. Still, the Noxian summoners and champions spoke to Devon and held him in high regards as one of their own. Devon believed that this was due to--
"Caitlyn!" He and Lux walked over. She smiled at them and looked to her side. Devon couldn't see who she was talking to but whoever it was left before they could see. "Welcome back." Devon said full of enthusiasm. "How was Piltover?"
"Doing well. Crime still very nonexistent thanks to me."
"Hey, Cait." Caitlyn looked at Lux who had a smile on her face.
"Luxanna." Caitlyn's smile faded and so did Lux's. Devon could tell that she had been talking to Katarina again. Caitlyn represented the city-state of Piltover which bordered Zaun, a very close ally to Noxus. The outer villages of the Piltover area had recently been attacked by rumors of Zaunite thugs which wasn't uncommon but these attacks had been coordinated and planned out. Devon didn't think that Caitlyn believed these to be just ordinary attacks either. The attacks had been focused on the southern tip of the city-state borders and on minor ports.
After the attack on Kalamanda the tensions had been at an all time high between Demacia and Noxus. Devon could see what was being played. Zaun had been organizing the attacks but had been making sure not to hit key points. They attacked the southern villages so if things turned sour with their plan they could invade Piltover and take it for themselves. They didn't attack the ports or the western villages so if their plan did work they would have control over the ports in which Ionia gained their resources and the border against Freljord would still be strengthened.
"Caitlyn!" A little girl with red hair and a small bear in her hands ran over to them. "Caitlyn, Heimerdinger's being mean to me again!"
"Alright, Annie, let's go." Caitlyn walked off with Annie and left Lux hanging onto Devon's arm. Devon watched her disappear into the crowd and sighed.
"Better tighten the leash on her, boy." Devon turned and looked at the man behind him. He wore a leather jacket, his skin charred and black with bright lines of fire running over it. "Or else you're going to lose her," Brand finished.
"Shut up, Brand." Lux tightened her grip on Devon as she glared at Brand. "You can't talk to Devon like that--"
"It's fine, Luxanna." Lux stared up at Devon with a confused look. For the past few months Devon had been taking private lessons with a few of the mages at the League; a few being Brand, Xerath, and Viktor. He had been asked by his peers why it is that he wanted to learn but he couldn't officially answer. He just wanted to be ready.
Garen stormed through the Demacian castle heading towards the throne room. Men and women in the hall stared at him in his large blue and gold armor. They had all heard the stories of the "Might of Demacia", as he was called, but barely any of them had actually seen what he could do. Only a few days ago he was on the battlefield charging into Noxian lines with his Dauntless Vanguard and crushing any enemy before him. Now he was back here, back home.
The large set of doors leading to the throne room was heavily guarded by the king's elite but upon seeing Garen approaching they immediately opened it. Garen entered and dropped to a knee.
He said, "I have come as you have requested, my king."
The king turned from his conversation and waved them away. A woman in another conversation turned to see Garen and hurried over. "Welcome," Jarvan Lightshield IV, the King of Demacia, said. "I trust the battles were in your favor?"
"They were, Sir. No enemy stood before me as we returned."
"Very good." The room had emptied and left only the king, Garen, and queen. Garen looked at the queen and nodded and she did in return. "I do presume that you want to know why it is that I have called you here?"
"I have a mission of the up most importance for you. One that could determine the fate of the Ionian provinces."
That was important. Ionia played a much larger role than most thought. The Ionians and Demacians were allies in this war and the fact that Ionia was to their east and Demacia to their west they had Noxus boxed in. If the Ionians fell then they would lose that advantage as well as a number of lives.
"What was it that you had in mind?"
Jarvan inhaled and put his hands behind his back. The two were close childhood friends and had been in countless battles together. Garen had once even saved him from his doom on one occasion. But since the death of the former king, Jarvan's father, their bond had grown ever stronger.
"I need you to distract the Noxians," Jarvan explained. "Lead your forces to Bandle City. Help them hold it at any cost. While you complete this-" Complete? Garen didn't know if it was arrogance or the belief that Jarvan truly trusted that Garen would hold them. "-We will send a group of our own to smuggle resources through Freljord and to a Piltover port and transport the supplies to Ionia."
"I understand, Sir. May I ask who is leading this team?"
"I am." The queen said. Garen grimaced and stared at her, at his sister. "Shyvana, Xin Zhao, and I will lead the group and help the Ionians battle the Noxians. The Ionians are battered so I do not believe that we will be strong enough to make a push but we will be able to buy time and have forces diverted to Ionia so that you may take a few of the southern ports."
A risky plan but should it work the war would end in their favor. This war was starting to drag on too long for the Ionians. It was a miracle they had lasted this long, considering the losses they have sustained. Still, the queen understood that the Ionians could not win and if Garen failed then it would only be a matter of time before they fell.
"Is that all?" Garen asked Jarvan.
"Then I better be off."
"Be safe," The queen said as he left.
"Worry about yourself, sister. You'll need it more."
“Let's keep moving. The sooner we can get to Freljord the better.” Rain poured down on Caitlyn as they moved through the trees. Lightning occasionally lit up the sky, revealing the silhouettes of the troops. Devon was a few meters off to her right while Graves was on point at the head of the group. There were still a good number of them left, about three hundred, give or take a few. It was a wonder how they hadn't been seen yet but Caitlyn wasn't going to press their luck.
She had only decided to move through the storm so that the rain would erase their tracks. There were a few faults with that idea but no plan was perfect. A few days ago word had been sent out that Garen had pulled his Vanguard from the front lines so that Jarvan could explain their plan. It had been a while since Caitlyn had seen Ionia or even Freljord for that matter.
“Ma'am.” A soldier ran up to her as the rest of them stopped. “A Noxian company has been spotted moving through the forest.”
“Where?” The soldier looked to his right and Caitlyn followed his gaze. Lightning struck and gave them the brief glimpse of the Noxian armor traveling parallel to them and in the same direction. Caitlyn put her hand on the soldier and he laid flat on the ground. Caitlyn went to Devon who was doing the same to the soldiers.
“Thoughts?” Caitlyn asked him as they laid next to each other.
“We could take them. Nobody would know and it could be days before they are found.”
“Unless their rally point is close.”
“It just might have to be a risk we have to take. I'd rather fight these numbers than when they reach their destination.” Caitlyn nodded. She cupped her hands and made a bird call which was answered by others. Seconds passed and Caitlyn had concealed herself in a light canopy so that the rain didn't fall in her vision.
“When you're ready.” She said. Devon slowly exhaled and stood up. He moved his arms and a pillar of fire erupted from the ground in front of them. The screams of men being caught in it pierced the night and gave way to a barrage of arrows flying through the trees. It was hard to see their targets but they definitely hit.
Lightning struck and Caitlyn shot at the first figure she saw. The body dropped and she heard a boom as Graves fired one his bombs. The sound of a tree cracking and collapsing echoed and Devon fired off a few blue shockwaves. An arrow hit the tree beside Caitlyn but she didn't move. It wasn't an accurate shot so she believed that the Noxians still didn't know from where they were being attacked.
A Noxian stumbled at them and Caitlyn dropped him in a single shot. Another volley of arrows shot past and more yells were heard. “Light it up.” Caitlyn said.
Devon took out a blue crystal from his pack and tossed it into the sky. The crystal exploded and a bright flare slowly fell to the earth. The Noxians stared up at it and Caitlyn rapidly picked them off while they were still dazed. The Noxians soon regained their focus and took cover but didn't know from who.
Devon was now on his stomach and had taken out a crossbow. It was hard to use magic on your stomach, or at least for him. He shot and hit a Noxian in the neck. Shots from Graves made the Noxians move to Caitlyn's left which revealed them as they moved from cover. She got a few of them but had to reload. Devon stood and unleashed another pillar of fire, igniting trees around the emergence point and making the Noxians scramble in terror.
The Noxians didn't move for a while. Caitlyn scanned the area from her stomach and saw a man stand with his hands up. Others did the same and Caitlyn and her soldiers got up to police them. They were gathered in a single spot and Caitlyn had her soldiers set up camp.
“What's your name?” Graves asked the now leader of the Noxians. They were inside a tent and had the soldier they were interrogating tied up and on his knees. The soldier was young and his eyes were shaking. His skin was pale and no scars or bruises covered it. “Answer me.”
“Where's your commanding officer, Resev?”
Graves looked at Caitlyn and Devon. “Hmph... Sir... Where were you heading, Private?”
“We were supposed to be heading to the Tempest Flats to meet up with the other forces.”
“Yes, Sir. Three brigades total.”
“God...” Graves leaned back against a tree. He looked at his rifle cartridges and sighed. “I should have enough, but just barely.”
“I don't think it would be wise to take on three Noxian brigades.” Devon commented. “Considering we have just barely three hundred.” Caitlyn sat staring at the soldier. He had given up all this information so willingly. Their company had dropped so easily. Even with the night on their side and the element of surprise there should have been some casualties on their side.
“Who was your commanding officer?” Caitlyn questioned Resev.
“Major Tys, Ma'am.” Tys... Tys...
“It's a trap.” Caitlyn said. “Congratulations Resev you and your company were used as bait.”
“If I remember correctly Tys was a failure as a commanding officer. He had one arm, correct?”
“That is because Talon cut off his over for his failure. You remember don't you, Devon?”
“Now I do. He lost his entire brigade in a single battle. He was disgraced for that.”
“This group is new and had been ordered to travel through this forest with the orders that they would meet up with another Noxian company. You believed that was us?”
“Yes, Ma'am. They said look for a woman with a rifle for clarification.”
“So what now?” Graves sat down with his rifle on his lap. “They'll be expecting us. In fact they're probably setting up right now.”
“We have to get through to Freljord.” Devon interrupted. “The Ionians can't last much longer.”
“Devon,” Caitlyn looked at him with cold unblinking eyes. “I understand that you want to help the Ionians as fast as you can but there will be no help if we all die.” Devon cursed but calmed down. Caitlyn continued to stare at him as he sat.
“I'm fine.” He said as he avoided her gaze. “Caitlyn, I'm fine!”
She looked away. “Send a message to Demacia. We need some way to get out of here. We'll hold off near the eastern border of the Shurima Desert.”
“And the prisoners?” Graves asked with a smile. Caitlyn sighed and buried her face in her hands.
“Tell them the situation and ask if they want to join us. If they do, Devon I want you to mark each of them so that we can distinguish them from ours. If they don't you can kill them. We move in fifteen minutes.”
“To your right!” Sona struck her instrument and blood splattered on her face as the soldier was cut in half. She flinched at it but quickly wiped it off. Irelia stabbed a Noxian in the side and then the chest. The Noxians had attacked earlier than they had thought.
Sona floated back as a soldier struck at her. She sliced a gash across his leg and then his neck. She spun and blocked an arrow from hitting her. Two soldiers closed in on her but she quickly struck three notes. The air around her hardened and the soldier's swords slammed against an invisible shield protecting Sona. Sona hit two chords and shot a hole into each soldier's chest.
“Sona!” She played another note and cutoff a soldier's arm then head. Irelia blocked a sword with her blades and Sona cut the man. Sona backed up as a giant axe was brought down where she had stood. In front of her stood a large green monster. Scars and cuts covered his body, his head was shaped like that of a skull, and his eyes were deep red and focused on Sona.
Sona whipped away at her instrument and sent attack after attack at the creature. Sion took the hits and only laughed, even as Irelia began to strike at him. He raised a large fist and hit Irelia, knocking her onto the ground. Sona played a few notes and briefly stunned Sion but he continued on.
Ionian soldiers stood to guard Sona but Sion only cut them down like paper. Sona tried to call out for help but made no sound. Sion was getting closer and closer and there was nothing Sona could do about it. Sion raised his axe and Sona closed her eyes as she made a final attempt to protect herself.
A sound of broken wood and metal pierced Sona's ears. She fell on the ground and collapsed in tears. Sion stood over her, axe in hand, and smiled. “You should not have come, Maven. Now you will die. Shame though, Swain really liked your music.” Sona stared up at Sion, accepting of her fate. There was nothing more she could do.
Sion raised his axe and Sona again closed her eyes. “This is it,” She thought. “The end? No. Just the beginning.” Sona opened her eyes and smiled up at Sion.
Sion stared down at her with a confused expression. “Why do you smile, Maven? Do you still believe you have a chance at survival?” Sona shook her head.
“I don't believe.” She said in her head. “I know.”
A figure in red fell from above and hit Sion. Sion crashed into the ground and Lee Sin helped Sona up. Lee Sin guarded her as the Noxians turned on them. He blocked the attacks and struck back at the soldiers, killing them in one blow. Sona stood silently and watched as he fought with a smile on her face.
“Sona,” Lee said. “I will make a path to Irelia where you can get her out of here.” Sion was now getting back up and undoubtedly with a vengeance. Lee blocked a spear and hit the soldier in the chest then in the head. A blue orb shot out of his palm and slammed into another Noxian. Sona stayed close to Lee Sin as he cut through the enemy. Irelia had been moved to inside a defensive phalanx where she was being treated.
Vas was keeping the Noxians at bay but they were slowly closing in. Vas unleashed a few spells which caused the ground to rupture in certain spots. Lee Sin threw another orb at a Noxian and flew toward him sending his foot into the man's skull and slammed his palm onto the ground. A shockwave knocked the enemy around him onto the ground and the Ionian phalanx charged forward.
Sona ran over to Irelia and knelt beside her. She was unconscious and had shattered ribs. Sona looked around and tugged on a Ionian soldier. She moved her arms in a lifting motion and eventually the soldier understood. He gathered a team and they set Irelia in a cloth to use as a stretcher. Sona looked around for Lee Sin but he was engaged with Sion.
Vas was fighting off the Noxians so Sona had to leave without telling them. She tugged on the soldier again and pointed away from the battle. He nodded and their team left.
“Where is he?!” The Feral Guard stood unmoving but their eyes followed the woman walking down the hall with a bit of fear and interest. The woman wore black leather pants, blouse, and coat. On her belt were four daggers as well as smaller knives with two inside her boots. Her hair was a dark crimson and her right eye was a brilliant green while her other was covered by an eye patch.
The woman stormed into a large room which was filled with military officials and politicians. They all stopped their conversations and stared at her. “Where is he?!” She yelled at them.
“Who, Ma'am?” Captain Dravis stepped forward and she turned to him.
“Who else?” The inhabitants of the room looked from one to another knowing who she was inquiring about but not how to answer. They did not know where he was and that would surely only make her rage greater.
Dravis cleared his throat and with all his courage answered, “We do not know where he is, Ma'am.” Even with his courage his voice was still rather weak and he did not look at the woman while he spoke. The woman scowled and left the room.
Katarina cursed as she walked back down the hall. The guards stared at her as she passed which made her angry. After the disappearance of her father the status of the house of Du Couteau soon came into question. With the lack of war their notoriety of being dangerous, bloodthirsty killers began to slowly diminish. Until the event at Kalamanda. That had sparked the battle between Jarvan IV and General Swain and with the Institute's intervention had caused each side to return their forces.
Even with this the fire of war could not be stopped. Soon after the king of Demacia, Jarvan Lightshield III, had been assassinated. The thought made Katarina smirk, for she was the one who did it. War was inevitable, first the Institute tried to quell the fighting but in the end only sealed themselves underground. The Noxian government was in confusion, trying to decide on what course of action to take, who to focus first and where.
Talon and Katarina had seen the lack of order and had used it to their advantage. With the help of the Revenant, General Du Couteau's personal force, General Swain and his army, and as well as the reemerging Black Rose they had staged a coup d'etat and taken the Noxian government as their own. They had overthrown the Noxian High Command, letting those who supported them remain in power and disposing of those who did not.
With the death of General Boram Darkwill, the former Grand General, the one who controlled all power of Noxus, a new Grand General had to be selected. The one chosen was General Du Couteau. Unfortunately the General had been missing for some time and that left the seat still empty. They had elected Swain as their temporary leader but in the end the power fell upon the shoulders of Talon.
This had sent many leaders into question of this new order but many fell back into line as the reasons as to why he had been chosen became clear. Talon not only had the Revenants, Swain, and Black Roses under his command but Piltover as well. Piltover was key to their victory against Ionia as well as Freljord. They were the most advanced city-state of Valoran in techmaturgy and all other sciences. Their weapons and knowledge could be the reason why any side won. But even more so, Talon had Caitlyn at his side.
During the past years Caitlyn had proved to be more useful than thought. The advantage of her rifle skills made assassinations even more effective and during battles she could sit back in a safe spot and pick off the archers and mages that would stay back at long range. She even killed one of the most important icons of Ionia.
When she disappeared she left Talon with their child. Katarina filled her spot and bore Talon a son not long after. Still, Katarina sensed that she had done something no one but her father had done before: she hurt Talon. Talon was still as dangerous and ruthless as ever but when he left he would be in search of her. Katarina was more afraid that with his absence a coup would happen, though she believed it would utterly fail, it was the kind of spark they could not let happen.
“Mistress.” Katarina turned to Tally, her summoner in the League.
“I want you to find Talon and--”
“I have, Ma'am. Our agents report he was near the battle at Bandle City. A few days ago.”
“And?” Katarina was hoping she wouldn't hear about him finding her.
“He spoke to Caitlyn, Ma'am.”
Katarina grimaced and stabbed a knife into the guard to her left. The others straightened themselves and stared forward. Katarina huffed and cursed more than anybody should in one sentence. “What do you mean he spoke to her?”
“They spoke one-on-one to each other.”
“No, Ma'am. They were in the forest during the battle when he had spoken to her.”
“I'm surprised her pet didn't stop him.” Katarina smirked and looked at the blank face of Tally. She had long black hair and silver eyes. Her brother was Caitlyn's summoner and now they were enemies. Katarina wondered how that felt. To fight your family. They had done it before. Near the Piltover border their blades and spells clashed. Katarina's mission was to find and capture Caitlyn but during it she hadn't thought at all of capturing her. To make sure that she never came back and would never be in Talon's mind again.
“Le Blanc.” The woman with dark purple hair appeared behind Katarina. “Find Talon. I'm sure he's following his *****.”
“And me, Mistress?”
Katarina looked back at Tally. “Make your way to Freljord. I'm sure you'll find your brother there eventually.”
“And what of you, Ma'am?”
“Me?... I'm going to pay my dear old friends in Ionia a visit.”
Devon sat next to Tally as they ate in the dining hall of the Institute. There were no windows but crystals positioned on the ceiling and around the room made it seem as though sun light was filling the room. With them sat Katarina, Talon, his summoner Ra, and Caitlyn. Katarina was rambling about how she hated Luxanna and how she was always smiling while the rest of them sat quietly.
A tap on Devon's shoulder made him turn around. The boy standing behind him was two years older and had dark-blonde hair with blue eyes. He gestured Devon to follow and he did without saying a word.
“What is it?”
“Zaunite have been spotted near the eastern border of Freljord.”
“Are you certain?”
“Dead certain. Riven and I engaged a few of them the last time we visited Queen Ashe.”
“Dammit all.” Devon sighed and crossed his arms. His earlier suspicions were growing ever more true. The Zaunite were trying to contain Piltover but he didn't think that they would reveal themselves near the western border, especially with all the Freljord patrols and agents. “Did you report it?”
“Of course.” Great. “I don't want this war to break out, Devon. You shouldn't either.”
“I don't. But if Caitlyn--”
“If Caitlyn what? If she fights you will?” Devon stood silently. “I understand where your coming from but our first mission, as summoners of the League, is to preserve the peace. Our champions and feelings come second.” He was right. He was always right. Devon met him four years ago at the academy. His name was Havec, summoner to Riven, the Exile, and honored friend to the Freljordian Queen Ashe.
Havec wasn't a summoner like the others. He didn't specialize in magic and runes. He preferred close-combat where he could wrap his hands around a cold, steel blade. Along with his deadly skills as a swordsman he was also an expert tracker. Havec was raised in the harsh frozen tundras of Freljord before applying for the academy. His father was a Noxian soldier and his mother a Freljordian making Havec a half-breed, which was looked down upon in almost every city-state.
Havec had actually told Riven of the Institute. Before becoming a summoner he had just graduated the academy and found Riven on the side of the road, collapsed and unconscious. He took care of her, listened to her history, and her quest for revenge. Havec sympathized with her but instead of the path that she sought he asked her to join him in applying to the Institute. Since then they had been inseparable.
“So, what will you do?” Havec asked Devon.
“I'll talk to Cait. I'll watch her, I'll keep her mind off of the Noxians, and do everything I need to so that the war will not happen.”
“Good.” Havec patted Devon on the shoulder. “On a lighter note, you better make your move fast.”
“I think Talon has his sights on Caitlyn. You better do something about it. In the end it may benefit not only you, but keep the peace.”
Tally sat quietly as she ate her food which eventually disappeared. She listened to Katarina speak but soon just tuned it out. Devon had been gone a long time. Maybe she should search for him. Tally turned around and saw Devon enter the hall but without Havec. Talon must have noticed this as well because when Tally faced forward she saw that his eyes were watching Devon and he had moved closer to Caitlyn.
Funny, She thought. How even someone like Talon can feel love. Or maybe he just wants a new toy. Tally smirked at the thought as Devon took his seat.
“What did you talk about?” Katarina questioned. The entire table focused on him.
“He was just asking if Cait and I would like to join him the next time he and Riven visit Freljord.”
“And he had to do that in private?”
“Well, he didn't want to be rude.” Devon quickly finished the rest of his food. He was nervous. Tally could always tell when he was, must be a twin thing. Caitlyn got up to leave and Devon did as well but she told him to stay. Tally examined the expression on his face. Worry, fear, angst, and confusion. His eyes were wide and he didn't speak as he slowly sat back down.
Caitlyn left the room and Talon followed soon after. “I've got to go.” Devon said and quickly stood up. He headed for the exit Talon and Caitlyn had exited but Ra stood and blocked his path. Ra was a year younger than Devon but just as talented and possibly stronger. Tally didn't know much about him other than that he was apparently revered by the Noxians as a powerful summoner as well as a warrior.
“Move, Ra.” Devon demanded but Ra stood still. He moved his coat back just enough so Devon could see the blade in its hilt. Tally saw the look on Devon's face turn from shock to rage. “I said 'move'!” He yelled that. Now the whole room was staring at them. Tally stood up but Katarina only sighed and picked through her plate.
Devon unfortunately made the first move. His hands lit on fire and Ra unsheathed his blade. Devon shot a ball of fire at Ra which he evaded. The fire hit the table behind him which but luckily it was empty. Ra made a slash at Devon but he caught the blade in his other hand and the steel began to melt.
Ra jumped back as Devon tried to slam a fiery fist into his side. Devon shot at Ra all of which he dodged. The room now had spots of fire around it and the inhabitants were clearing out. Tally asked Katarina to follow her out but Katarina didn't.
“I want to watch the fun.” She answered. “It's been a while since I've seen a good fight.”
Devon now had lost all sense of control. He was hurling fire at Ra as he ran and ducked behind cover. Devon planted his feet firmly on the ground and with the flick of his wrist the location where Ra had been hiding was engulfed in flames. The fires around the room died down and Devon's temper did as well. At least until Ra jumped him from behind.
Ra caught Devon in a choke-hold and Devon struggled to get him off. Ra kicked off of him as Devon reached for his arms, his hands infused with fire. Devon began to charge a large ball of fire in his hands and Tally grabbed Katarina. They ran towards the exit but Katarina was still looking back at the sight. Devon unleashed the flame and a stream of liquid fire trailed after Ra. Tally and Katarina ducked behind a fallen table to avoid the fire's path. They heard the fire bounce from object to object, twisting and turning after Ra as he dodged it but they heard something else as well.
“Stop!” They heard the fire explode and shards of burning cinders flew over Tally and Katarina. Tally stood up and saw Caitlyn standing behind Talon with his blade raised, charred and smoking. Devon took a step back in shock and stared at the frightened Caitlyn.
“What happened?” Tally asked as she ran up to her brother. “Devon, what happened?” He didn't answer. He just stood petrified. “Devon?”
“He attacked her.” Talon said. “That's what happened.”
“No-” Devon spoke. “-I didn't... I didn't mean to... I...” He fell to the ground as Ra hit him in the back of the head, knocking him unconscious. Tally knelt down next to her brother and wiped the tear running down his cheek.
Luxanna moved from tree to tree as she avoided the sights of the Noxians. They had met up near the border of Demacia to assist Colonel Kyr. The battle was already ugly before they had arrived now nothing could make it better. Bodies of Noxians and Demacians littered the ground as Luxanna tried to move from cover to cover.
She sent an orb of light into a tree, had it explode, and the tree came crashing down. She heard a few men yell and sent a bright laser through the woods. Lux moved to the next cover and ducked as the sound of a rifle went off. Whenever she heard one of those Lux would shudder. It brought back too many painful memories.
The Noxians they were currently facing were equipped with some of the Piltoveran rifles. The rifles would only go off every so often due to the slow fire rate but it was undoubted that when shot that the shooter's target would drop. Thanks a lot, Cait. Luckily the rifles were not like Caitlyn's which could fire off a number of rounds before needing to quickly be reloaded.
Lux ran from her cover and threw another orb from her baton into the distance. Soldiers within the vicinity of the orb ran from cover and she picked them off .A hand grabbed her and pulled her behind a tree as a spark shot past her and into the tree behind Lux.
“Thanks, Xin.” Lux said as she gave a sigh of relief.
“Shyvana's coming around the side. Their shooter is one of Caitlyn's former personal snipers.”
“Great.” Lux composed herself and sent out a laser blindly into the forest, hoping she hit something. Xin Zhao ran to the right as she ran to the left they dodged another shot from the shooter and engaged the Noxian swordsmen.
Lux ducked as a sword swung over her and sent a blast of light into the soldier, knocking him onto the ground with a whole in his stomach. She cartwheeled back as another soldier stabbed at her and Xin Zhao cut him down. Another shot rang out and in the distance Lux saw a large lizard-creature crawl through the forest, unleashing a breath of fire in front of her.
Xin Zhao swung his spear and slashed through a few soldiers as Lux blasted them as they approached. There were hundreds of them. How many were they fighting? They couldn't keep this up for long. Shyvana burst from the trees and caught a Noxian in her jaws. The Noxians backed away from her but faced with raised weapons. A shot from the shooter hit her in the neck but she only shook it off.
Lux couldn't make out where the shooter was. It was starting to rain making the already cold night worse. Shyvana knocked the Noxians away who soon began to retreat as the Demacian forces pushed forward.
“Ma'am.” Shyvana said to Lux in her human form. “We must leave.”
“We've wasted enough time here. We have to make our way to Freljord as Kyr has the Noxians on the run.” Lux nodded and the three went to rally their group. They made their way through the forest, encountering enemies along their way and cutting them down. Lux fired a laser ahead of them and heard the screams of a few men.
The laser had carved a path for them and they exited the forest into a clearing. From here, Lux thought, We should head to-- The group stopped and took in the sight before them. Hundreds of Noxian and Demacians were engaged in combat. Lightning flashed which gave them a glimpse at the champions who stood on either side. Lux saw Riven in the midst of the battle shredding the ones who had betrayed her with her summoner beside her.
On the Noxians she saw Mundo with his cleavers, dicing them as though he a butcher and they his meat. “Xin Zhao.” Lux said. “Should we--”
“No.” Shyvana interrupted. “No, Ma'am. We have to leave now. Before word gets out that you are here on the front lines!” Lux understood she was right but wanted so desperately to fight. But she couldn't help but question why. Why did she want to fight? She didn't feel anger, she didn't feel hate, she just wanted to fight.
“Go, Luxanna.” They turned and faced the man standing behind them. His cloak was dark like all the others but his blade and voice were unforgettable.
“Talon!” Shyvana's hands lit in flames as she got ready to face him. “Get down here so that I may kill you!”
“Not today, Shyv.” Talon disappeared and reappeared behind Shyvana where he hit her a few times in the back and knocked her to the ground. Xin Zhao lunged at him but Talon easily and lazily avoided his spear. He knocked the spear down and kicked Xin Zhao in the face. Xin stumbled to the side and then fell on the ground as another blow hit him.
The others in their group struck at him but all felt the same result. Talon stared at Lux who shakily held her baton at him. She sent out a blast but Talon appeared behind her. Lux gasped as she felt the cold blade rub against her neck. “I'm not going to kill you.” He said. “Even though I could easily slay you and your companions. As well as your army down there.” Lux was shaking now. “Just relax. All I want to do is to place one of my own among your group.”
“Why?” Lux said with as much courage as she could muster which wasn't much but just enough for her to speak.
“I want to find Caitlyn. I know you are going to meet with her.”
“How? How do you know this?”
“Please, I have moles everywhere. Even ones my wife doesn't know about.”
“And if I refuse you kill us all?”
“Precisely. Same goes if you intend on telling anyone of our deal.” Talon removed his blade and then all that Lux saw was black.
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