“Get to the west gate! We can't let them pass!” Irelia ran over to General Croz. “Sir, we're losing the outer perimeter we can't--”
“Pull them back inside to the second line. We'll hold'em there.” Irelia looked at the map the general was staring at. It was a rune map with real-time updates every few seconds. According to it the Noxians were closing on the temple from all sides except for the north which was blocked by a mountain preventing entry or escape.
The area they were trying to defend was mountain terrain. Houses and posts were set up along high steep hills with a main village in a valley below which was guarded by three layers of walls. Irelia put her hand on the general's shoulder and he looked at her.
“I need you to head to the east,” He said. “Sion has just been sighted and a few of the Noxian Sharpshooters have been as well.”
“Yes, Sir. Any word on reinforcements.”
“Whatever reinforcements that had been coming are currently engaged three kilometers outside the eastern gate, which is why you need to hurry!” Irelia ran as fast as she could through the streets of the village as soldiers ran about. A bang echoed and the man next to Irelia dropped on the ground with a hole in his head. Irelia hid behind a building as the soldiers around her began to be picked off one at a time.
Irelia sprinted from building to building as she used them for cover. Shots would be heard but they weren't directed at her. Instead the soldiers running through the streets would drop. Irelia threw her blade out in front of her and jumped on it. She rode it like a board as the shots peppered around her but did not hit her.
She passed through the third wall, then the second, and reached the outer. It was worse than they thought. Parts of it had collapsed, others were collapsing, and the Ionians were fighting the Noxians in close combat. Irelia slashed through the crowd as she would any other time. No feeling, just movement.
She clasped the blades down on a man, severing his body in two. Irelia saw the silhouette of the monster Sion ahead of her and she ran at it. Her blades locked in an 'X' as she fired four blades at it. Sion covered himself as the shots connected and Irelia slammed her blade into him. He toppled back and let out an angry roar.
He charged her, axe in hand, and swung viciously. Even if he missed her he would hit someone. Sion brought his axe down from above his head but missed Irelia as she slammed a foot into his jaw. He toppled back again but Irelia didn't think she was doing any real damage. She slashed at him and their two weapons made contact.
The air around them grew heavy and it took all of their strength to remain standing. Irelia made the next move as she jumped back and fired four more blades. Sion knocked the blades away like paper and laughed. His eyes made contact with hers and Irelia stood petrified for what seemed like a century.
Move, dammit. Move! As she raised her arms Sion brought his axe down upon her. She fell to a knee as the metal of the axe was blocked by her blades. Irelia coughed as she strained to keep Sion from crushing her. Seeing that she would not budge Sion kicked her and she crashed into a nearby wagon.
Irelia shakily stood and immediately felt another one of Sion's hits to her body. She slammed into the second wall which was now under siege. Irelia stumbled to her feet and fortunately blocked one of Sion's attacks. Blood came from her mouth and forehead and her vision was starting to blur. Sion stood before her and brought his axe up again.
Irelia tackled him and knocked him to the ground. She sat on him and raised her blades above her head. The blades slammed down where Sion's head would have been had he not moved to the side. Irelia jabbed at him, trying to cut his neck but Sion hit her face with his head, knocking her back.
She fired more blades at him, none of which affected the monster as he closed in once again. I hope Soraka can bring me back again. She couldn't. A blur flashed across Irelia's eyes as Sion stumbled to the side and a man in a light red Ionian armor stood in front of Irelia.
“Are you hurt?”
“Yes.” Sion was hit by a red blast as Yi's summoner entered the combat with the Ionian reinforcements behind him. Yi turned and caught Irelia as she fell. He took her inside the village to one of the abandoned houses and had her inspected by one of his medics.
“A quick patch up and she should be fine.” Lo said as he tended to Irelia's wounds. He rubbed a liquid on her gashes and laughed as she flinched from the pain. He cooled it with ice and then bandaged it up. “Now hold still.” Lo wrote a glyph on each of the bandages and cast a spell. After he removed the bandages and Irelia's wounds were gone.
“Thanks.” Irelia said as she drank some water. Lo bowed and left Irelia and Yi alone. “And thank you.” Irelia said to Yi who smirked.
“Can't let my wife die before me, can I?” Yi helped Irelia up and they headed back to the battle. Before they could reach the battle a man with a missing arm stumbled down the road and they went to investigate. Irelia held him up as the man gasped for life. “What happened?” Yi asked.
“It... it was... horrible.”
“The southern gate... is lost... We couldn't hold them back... **** her....”
“Who?” Irelia inquired. The man coughed up a lot of blood and Irelia bandaged up his missing arm to try and hold the bleeding. The man would surely die but Irelia wanted to get information out of him first. “Who did this?”
“They're going after... they... they're...”
Caitlyn sat staring at the dirt in front of her. A boom shook the earth but she didn't notice. She just sat thinking. Why? I can't say. About what though is a better question. Another boom sent a Demacian soldier spiraling into the trench and a hand grabbed Caitlyn. She looked up and smiled. He was calling her name but it was faint.
Caitlyn stood up and turned to face over the trench. Noxians were charging forward through the wet, muddy lands. No trees remained where they fought and all the grass had been kicked up. Caitlyn exhaled and shot sending a single round through two targets. She looked to her left and shot again. Fire shot across the ground ahead of her and the Noxians caught in it flailed about. It may have been more humane for Caitlyn to shoot them as they burned but she didn't have the ammo for it.
A Noxian jumped in the trench beside her and stabbed a Demacian in the side. He turned to strike Caitlyn but she disappeared. She stood behind him and shot a round through his back. The Noxians were closing in fast. Caitlyn shouldered her rifle and held her handguns. She shot at the ones approaching her and ducked as a round passed above her.
Devon ran over to her and tossed a fireball into a Noxian. Caitlyn hated this. Losing. It didn't suit her well. Her stomach turned, her mind was screaming at the Demacians for being so weak, and she questioned whether it was right for her to still be here. Don't think like that. Caitlyn blocked a sword and shot the man twice.
A man in heavy gold and silver armor ran along the trench hefting a large sword with which he cut through the Noxians. Caitlyn instinctively aimed at him but thought otherwise. She turned back to the Noxians and unloaded the last of her rounds before reloading. During her reload a Noxian jumped down and raised his sword at her. Caitlyn exhaled.
She appeared behind the soldier and stabbed him in the side with two daggers. The crimson blood slipped out of the corpse and onto her arms. A feeling she enjoyed. The warmth... it was... exhilarating. She turned and stabbed both daggers into a soldier and then slowly retracted them. Slowly. Then... Off with his head.
Devon grabbed a soldier's arm and the armor melted. The man's skin boiled and popped, revealing muscle, then bone. Devon slammed his palm into the man's chest and a hole opened in the body. There's nothing I wouldn't do for you. Caitlyn smirked. The boy she had met seven years ago was now something that nobody could contain. Nobody but her.
“Power isn't the only thing I desire,” Katarina once said. “I just don't like it when someone else has it.” Too true.
Caitlyn slid on the ground and cut through a Noxian. A drop of blood hit her face and she couldn't help but let out a laugh. She jumped up and Devon released a stream of fire down the trench. Caitlyn landed outside of the trench and charged into the enemy. The Noxians confidently ran at her with roaring battle cries.
That was a mistake nobody should make one time and never will a second time. Caitlyn threw her dagger into a man, catching him in the shoulder and jumped. She grabbed the dagger and kicked off of him. An arrow flew under her and she appeared behind the shooter. She dug the dagger into his back and the other into the man behind him.
Caitlyn took out her handguns and shot at the Noxians until she had to reload. When she did she holstered one and reloaded the other. She held the gun with one hand and took out her dagger with the other.
“Don't let them live. No one can know of the skills you posses.” Caitlyn sighed and stabbed a Noxian. She shot another in the helmet and then the chest. Caitlyn caught a glimpse of Garen across the field wrestling with a few of the Noxians. She cut a few of the Noxians and unslung her rifle with her left hand. She took aim with it and shot. Caitlyn shuddered from the recoil and fired the rest of the clip into the soldiers around her.
The Noxians were being more cautious now but that was of no use. They only gave Caitlyn distance between them. She shot and as soon as she had to reload they rushed her. Smart. A ring of fire encircled Cait and fire shot up from it. She stood calmly in the center unaffected by the heat. When the fire ended all the Noxians around her were gone and ashes drifted through the air.
Devon stood panting and Caitlyn walked over to him. He looked at her and smirked. “No survivors.” Caitlyn nodded and held his hand.
“Thanks.” The Noxians were in retreat now even though their numbers were still greater. “We better go. I don't want to have to talk to that clown.” Devon smiled and nodded as he followed her.
“Hold!” Garen's voice called after them but Devon and Caitlyn continued on. “Hey!” Garen ran after them. “Caitlyn!” Despite his size Garen was fast and had managed to catch up with them. Still, he wasn't that smart. “Wait a minute!” He reached for Caitlyn but Devon caught his arm. Caitlyn stopped and turned to look at the angry stare of the Demacian against the cold eyes of her summoner. There was no denying what would happen should a fight break out.
“Don't hurt him, Devon.”
“You think this kid can hurt me?” Garen said condescendingly.
“He's already started.” Garen looked at his arm which was starting to smoke. He jerked his arm away. The metal gauntlet he wore had burns in the shape of Devon's hand print. “What do you want, Garen?” Caitlyn had no interest in what he would say so she began to adjust her glove.
“Where you are planning to go next.”
Caitlyn laughed. “That sounds like an order.”
Cait sighed and finished adjusting her glove. How annoying. “You can't order me to do anything.”
“Why can't I?”
“Because I can still kick your a**.” She was doing this purposely. Egging him on. Every now and again everyone needed a little fun in their life. This was how Caitlyn got her fun. “I'm leaving.” Caitlyn began to walk away and Devon followed.
“Caitlyn!” Garen was angry. His voice boomed but did not shake Cait. Not with Devon there. Again Garen chased after them but made sure not to make the mistake of reaching for Caitlyn. Either way, Devon didn't let him get close. Garen stomped after Caitlyn but Devon held his hand out. He touched his chest and Garen glared at him. “Do you challenge me, boy?”
Garen raised his sword but Devon didn't move. The large blade crashed down and the ground around Garen exploded up. Caitlyn stopped and turned around. Not because she was worried but to show Devon that she still cared about his well-being. Garen spun around after seeing that where Devon stood he no longer was. Unfortunately that didn't change what would happen next.
Devon already made his next move. His hand grabbed Garen's face and an electrical shock sent Garen flying. He crashed down into the dirt and his Vanguard rushed over to help. “No!” Garen yelled at them. The soldiers stopped. Garen stood and ran at Devon who flung fire at him. Garen dodged and evaded each shot and jumped into the air.
He slammed his sword down where Devon stood but missed. Devon conjured a ring of fire around Garen which he barely had enough time to get out of. Garen rolled onto his feet and ran at Devon. “Too slow.” Devon slammed a burning fist into Garen's shoulder, only because Garen managed to move his head. Garen tumbled across the field as Devon slid on his feet and went in for another attack
Garen raised his sword and blocked Devon's fist with the flat of his blade. “**** you, Summoner!” Devon showed no emotion to this. He tried to hit Garen with his other hand but missed. Garen ducked under Devon and slammed his free hand into his gut. Devon was tossed through the air which he quickly recovered and landed on his feet. “Do you honestly believe you can defeat me?”
Caitlyn smiled at his arrogance. Don't be so quick to judge, Demacian. You just may be surprised. “Ma'am.” One of Caitlyn's Sharpshooters saluted to her. “We have just received word that Talon is in search of you and is near the Nursery.”
“Has he found it?”
“No, but it seems that he is in search of it.”
“Thank you. Devon!” Facade. Caitlyn put on the appearance of a happy, ignorant girl who was in love. Devon stopped mid-strike and stepped away from Garen. Caitlyn wrapped herself around Devon's arm. “We have to go. There are a few... things that we must attend to. I do hope we meet again, Garen. Until then, farewell!”
Hey, Delta here. So I've been writing/typing a lot and adding to these stories. Unfortunately I have come to a standstill or in better terms "writer's block" but to a lesser extent. I know where I'm going and where this will end but I don't want to get there just yet.
My friends and I have been talking and they have been pitching ideas (mostly my friend Shadow) and they said to add sort of a side story to all of this. We came to the conclusion of putting all of this on a temporary intermission and start on another part. This part will tie into what you have all been reading but from someone else's perspective.
So, without further a due...a dew?... adeu?... whatever (I take Italian not French so go ahead and correct me) here is Picture Perfect Chaos: Part 2
“Let's go!” Trace stared at the rune visual amplifier in the center of the town square. They were currently watching the battle between two of the leading teams in the League. “Come on! Just kill him!” Vladimir drained Yi from a portion of his health but Yi struck at Vladimir and a good amount of his lost health was gained back. Trace walked over to one of the statistic stands that the League had setup.
Blue: Towers: 4 13 Kills 18 Deaths Assists
[Gareth Dron] Master Yi: 4 1 3
[Vera Tor] Cho'Gath: 1 4 2
[Mator Norsh] Ryze: 3 6 5
[Daren Vas] Ashe: 5 4 4
[Bale Margoril] Janna: 0 3 4
Red: Towers: 5 18 Kills 13 Deaths Assists
[Virgil Daz] Vladimir: 3 3 4
[Ra Lucius] Talon: 6 2 7
[Nathaniel Cross] Sion: 2 4 5
[Ericka Vrays] Sona: 0 3 8
[Devon Lier] Caitlyn: 7 1 3
“He's going for it!” Trace heard the announcers say and looked up at the amplifier. It showed Talon teleport to a ward in the bush to the tri-bush in the Blue's top jungle and ran out to attack Cho'Gath who was in front of the first top Red tower from behind as Sion attacked head on. Cho'Gath was stunned by Sion whose shield erupted taking out a 400 of Cho'Gath's 2837 hp. He started hacking away at Cho'Gath and slowly brought Cho'Gath's health lower.
Talon closed in but stopped as the ground underneath Cho'Gath ruptured and spikes shot up, sending Sion into the air. As soon as it popped Talon ran at Cho'Gath who used his Feral Scream to silence Talon, keeping him from activating any of his abilities. Even so Talon charged at him and began to strike, quickly depleting his health.
“And here comes Ryze from the river bed!” Ryze ran in and Talon used his ultimate, sending blades slashing through his enemies around him and making him invisible. Ryze in turn turned on Sion with very little magic resist began to cut his life down. Cho'Gath also attacked him and used his ultimate. Sion dropped extremely low on life and used his stun to get away.
Talon jumped onto Ryze and cut his life down to half. He sent out blades that cut through Ryze and dropped him down to a third but Cho'Gath's Rupture sent him into the air. The crowd in unison sent out a chorus of “awww's”. “Come on, Talon!” Trace cheered. “Get him!” Ryze activated his ignite on Talon and sent out a combo leaving Talon to Flash away with just 200 of his health remaining while Ryze had just barely 315.
“It seems that Talon has just barely gotten away. But look! In the northern riverbed a battle between the remaining champions has ensued!”
The screen switched over and saw Janna pop her ultimate sending the champions around her in away from her as well as healing her and her allies. Caitlyn slid to a halt and fired away. Janna's life quickly drained to nothing and she fell into the waters. “Caitlyn takes down Janna.” Vladimir who had only half his life at the start of the fight was then dropped by Ashe and Yi. “Ashe takes down Vladimir leaving a 2v2 of Yi and Ashe versus Caitlyn and Sona.
“It is not looking good for Red team. Caitlyn is pinned off in front of the Baron Nashor pit while Sona is on the other side on the path leading down to the Red team's Golem Buff and Cho'Gath is coming down as well as Ryze heads back to base.”
Trace believed that Caitlyn would be able to take Ashe down but in the end succumb to Yi letting Sona-- “What is this? Caitlyn is running into the Baron pit!” The audience gasped and watched intently at what was going to happen. Caitlyn catapulted over the backside of the Baron pit into the Blue top jungle. Janna used her Clairvoyance on the first tower in the top lane which had not been taken down yet and was catching Ryze as he based. Caitlyn activated her ultimate and locked onto Ryze.
What seemed like an eternity as the ultimate channeled soon ended. A large round shot from Caitlyn's rifle and impacted Ryze relieving him of life. “The shot went off!” The crowd cheered except for Trace. There is still the other three. The ward in the tri-bush showed Cho'Gath passing by and Caitlyn Flashed over the wall back into the Baron pit. “And she's back in the pit!” Caitlyn ran out of it and towards the top tower. “And she gets away! Leaving the battle with a 2 for 1 kill/death ratio!”
Now not only was the crowd going berserk but Trace as well. They jumped up and down and cheered like madmen.* Caitlyn based and ran back to the bottom lane. The game ended with Red winning.
Blue: Towers: 5 22 Kills 29 Deaths Assists
[Gareth Dron] Master Yi: 4 3 10
[Vera Tor] Cho'Gath: 1 4 5
[Mator Norsh] Ryze: 3 7 7
[Daren Vas] Ashe: 5 6 8
[Bale Margoril] Janna: 0 9 7
Red: Towers: 7 29 Kills 22 Deaths Assists
[Virgil Daz] Vladimir: 4 5 6
[Ra Lucius] Talon: 8 5 7
[Nathaniel Cross] Sion: 5 5 9
[Ericka Vrays] Sona: 0 7 17
[Devon Lier] Caitlyn: 12 1 5
Trace walked back to his home with a large grin on his face. This was Team Harbinger's fifth ranked win in a row and Trace couldn't help but feel excited. One day he hoped to join them as a Summoner. For now he just hoped to survive until then. His village was relatively small but many considered it a trading post. Travelers passed by to stay at the inns like the one Trace's family owned. Trace would ask of what outside the borders of Noxus were like.
As well as being a Summoner, Trace dreamed of being an ambassador for the Noxus. Traveling to the frozen lands of Freljord. Seeing the bustling Bandle City. Stopping a war between Noxus and Demacia. Or even visiting the grand city of Piltover.
Trace walked into the inn with a smile on his face. “You're late, Trace!” His mother threw him a backpack and duffel bag. “Your aunt and uncle have been waiting!”
“Waiting? Waiting for what?”
“Are you not heading to see Nor tomorrow?”
*: If you don't understand (probably due to my bad writing skills) how enthusiastic this town is about the League matches think of the Spanish/South American/Hispanic/Latino/European at a Soccer/Football game.
“Thanks again!” Trace waved goodbye to his aunt and uncle and shouldered his packs.
His coat was thick and relatively heavy but it would keep him warm as he made his way to his destination. He had been dropped off near a village south of the mountain that loomed in the distance. The forest around him was light but wolves constantly prowled through the tree line.
Trace adjusted his packs and took out a short-sword. He turned it a few times to look over it and smiled. He readjusted his packs and began his travel through the forest. The village Trace was heading to was about ten kilometers ahead of him which should take him a few hours to reach should he not be distracted. He thanked his aunt and uncle for being smart enough to drop him off at dawn so he would have enough time to reach the town before sunset even if he was distracted.
Trace would spend a night at a local inn and then make his way up the mountain. After a few hours Trace stopped for a break. He looked around the area to make sure that no one was near and then climbed a large tree. No one knew what type of tree this was but it was said to have been hundreds of years old since it was so large. Many times before had Trace climbed this tree and taken refuge in its branches.
The first time he had made the mistake of traveling at night and the wolves had caught scent of him. Trace climbed up the tree and stayed in it for three days. He managed to survive on whatever fruits were in the tree which actually was a wide assortment. It contained oranges, apples, and many others but the sweetest ones that Trace wanted were near the top of the tree. The fruit were a dark purple, in an oblong shape, and smelled as though it were rotting. Despite the horrible smell and shape the taste was magnificent. No other fruit compared to this and many times Trace had caught himself daydreaming of eating another. He never took any home or in his sack because is he did and someone were to find out what they taste like they would question where it is that Trace got it and his secret haven would be lost.
Trace picked one of these fruits from a branch and took a bite. He had never heard of any stories of fruit like these so Trace had given the fruit the name of “Sweets”. Generic but no one understood what he was talking about when he said it. Trace leaned back and hung upside down from the branch he sat on. He was currently eleven stories in the air and could easily fall and die but he had done this so much that he didn't worry.
After he finished his break Trace dropped back down the branches, grabbed his packs, and continued on his way. The sun was just about at its highest point in the sky, maybe a little to the west. The heat was agonizing due to Trace's coat so he took it off. The town soon came into view and the sun was close to setting.
Thoughts of a nice bed and warm food filled Trace's thoughts but so did the day after. Oh well, He thought. It won't be the first time. In fact he sort of welcomed it. A bush rustled behind him and Trace turned with his sword raised as a wolf jumped from the bush. Trace evaded its claws and dropped his packs. The wolf turned and came at him again. Trace swung his sword and knocked the wolf to the side. It crashed into a tree but stood up again.
Trace ran at it and the wolf jumped at him. Trace blocked its claws with his sword and kicked it in the jaw. The wolf stumbled back and the sword struck through the top of its skull. Trace quickly grabbed his two bags and ran down the path towards the village as howls echoed through the trees.
Last time the wolves had attacked Trace had killed a large dark wolf before he had made it to the village. Maybe now the others wanted revenge or something but Trace didn't want to find out. He sprinted down the path as the howls grew closer until he could hear snarling around him. A wolf leaped out at him and Trace reached out with his sword cutting the wolf near the lungs.
Trace ran again and made another thirty feet before the wolves attacked again. This was abnormal behavior. They hunted in packs and there were reasons for that. Wolves teamed up and surrounded their target. Trace knew that these weren't regular wolves. They were smarter, stronger, bigger. They wouldn't underestimate Trace a second time.
The path leading to the town sloped down a steep hill. Trace tossed both his bags down the hill hoping that nothing in it would break. He turned to face the wolves which had appeared. Now they were working together. They had Trace surrounded except for the tree line to his left. They were probably trying to get him to fight their current leader 1v1 but he didn't have time for this.
Trace turned and ran at the wolves down the path. They attacked him and he slashed the first one. The second one jumped and Trace spun to avoid it. The third one jumped and the last stayed right behind it. Trace ducked and stabbed the third wolf with his sword and held up his other arm to block the last wolf's jaw.
He pulled the blade from the third wolf and struck the one running at him. There still five more, not counting the one chewing on his arm. Like the flavor of metal huh? Trace tossed the wolf off of his arm and stretched it out. The wolves were now rethinking about whether or not to attack. Trace slammed his foot on the ground and the wolves scrambled off.
“Trace!” A group of men with weapons ran up the hill. “Are you hurt?”
“No, but-” He moved his false arm. “-I might have to make a few repairs before I leave.” Trace went with the group to the inn that he normally stayed in. He had passed through enough that the townspeople thought of him as their own, especially the innkeeper and his wife.
Trace sat in the inn listening to the stories that the men told as he adjusted his arm. A few bolts had come loose and one of the wolf's teeth was lodged in the metal. Gonna have to patch that up before I leave. “Hey, Vascal!”
“What?” A large man with a gray beard called from across the room.
“I need a patch up before I leave! Can you do it?”
“Those techmaturgists in Piltover sure know their stuff. What is this thing made of?”
“Don't know. I haven't had to replace any of the armor since the first day I had this three years ago.”
Vascal sighed and looked through a closet. Trace leaned back in his chair and looked over his arm. Three years ago was when he had first stumbled upon Mount Targon and had foolishly attempted to climb it. He had managed a good distance until he reached the point where snow began to form. Even then he continued on. He got lost in a storm and fell unconscious.
When he awoke he was in a small hut. A Rakkor family had given him refuge and amputated his arm. The next day he was taken down, not to the village, but a group of Rakkor had brought him to Piltover where the mother of Caitlyn had given him a new arm. Since then the Rakkor have treated Trace like family. They found his ability to survive in their harsh conditions admirable and Trace spent a lot of time training with the family who had took him in.
“I don't have any of that material,” Vascal said. “But I can cover than hole for you.”
“Well, it's too small for me to individually patch but if I were to cover the arm with another layer it would work just as well.”
“But my arm would be heavier.”
“That is one of effects.”
“Show me the plate.” Vascal took out a small chest and placed it on the table. He grabbed a key from underneath a desk and opened the chest. In his hands he took out a slim glimmering plate. Barely an inch thick and yet stronger than steel. “How much ya pay for that?” Trace questioned as he inspected the plate.
Vascal smirked. “Nothing.”
Now for the better question; how much will I have to pay for it?”
“Really? Why's that?”
“Because...” Vascal reached into a cabinet and took out a flask. “I believe you are the only thing that keeps us from being torn apart by the Rakkor.”
Trace stopped his inspection and exhaled. “What happened?”
“One of the townsfolk dared to try and steal a Rakkor weapon--”
“Idiot.” That was a taboo no one should dare attempt. Their weapons were the heart and soul of the Rakkor people. To steal one was... “Put it on. I've got to meet with Nor.”
Worst possible chance of starting a treacherous journey ever. The winds blew cold freezing rain into Trace's face. He wrapped another piece of cloth over his mouth and forehead and just barely leaving enough space to see. The snow was a foot deep making it hard for Trace to go any faster than he currently was.
The weather was fine until he had reached the snow point. Once he did the sky turned gray and rain poured down on him. He had survived times like this before and he believed he would once again but like the others; just barely. Must... reach... shelter... Around... somewhere... Freezing... Thinking in... weird...voice...
Trace looked around him for some kind of shelter but found none. Where am I? Trace took a few steps forward until his foot hit something hard. He reached down and wiped the snow away as best he could. A symbol etched in stone became clear. You have got to be kidding. This was the halfway mark he and Nor had made.
Trace stepped on it and continued forward. He trudged through the snow and looked for anything that could shield him from the weather. Luckily he did. A large stone stuck out of the ground. It wasn't much but it would have to do. Trace made his way over and hid behind the stone. The weather didn't seem to be letting up. Soon Trace was feeling the tell signs of being frozen. He struggled to his feet and kept moving.
Hours passed and Trace believed he was no closer to his little safe haven than before. The weather was still as harsh if not harsher and he believed he was getting frostbite in his toes. Despite all this no sense of regret or lament crossed Trace's mind. This only made him want to survive more. If I have to go through this I better make it out alive or I swear to god, Nor, your a** is haunted.
“It will be will it? Quite an odd part of the body to choose if I do say so myself.”
Great now I'm hearing voices in my head.
“No, you're not. You're just thinking out loud.”
Trace looked to his right and saw Nor walking beside him. The sky was clear, the sun was shining, and the snow reflected it painfully back into Trace's eyes. And now I'm delusional.
“No, you're not.” Nor hit him in the back of his head and Trace fell in the snow. “Believe me now?”
“...Yeah.” Trace removed the cloth from his head and pulled down his hood as he and Nor walked into the village. The Rakkor moved around like any other but there was a distinct difference between them. The Rakkor men were large, rigid, muscular men and the women were strikingly beautiful in appearance but within them were cold, dark hearts that may be even more dangerous than the Rakkor weapons.
Nor tapped Trace on the arm and pointed to hut*. A woman walked out with her young daughter. Trace handed Nor his stuff and crept over. The people around them looked in curiosity as Trace grew closer and closer. The two had their backs to him and as soon as Trace was close enough--
“I gotcha!” Trace tossed the girl into the air and caught her as she came back down. Her mother turned around in shock but relaxed when she saw it was only him.
“That's not funny!” The five year old Lina scolded. “You could have killed me!”
Trace said sarcastically, “Oh, what a shame that would have been.”
“Welcome back, Trace.”
“Thanks, Mrs. Vira.” Vira was Nor's mother. She had dark red hair and eyes while Nor had blonde hair and red eyes and Lina had light red hair and blue eyes like her father. “Not gonna lie, it's good to be back.” Trace picked Lina up and carried her on his shoulders as he and Nor went through the village.
“How long are you gonna be here, Trace?”
“A few weeks, Lina. I need to talk to Chief Thron about a few things.”
“You mean your Rite of Kor?”
“I told you; I can't got through the Rite because I am not a Rakkor.”
“But Daddy said you would a useful asset.”
An asset? I thought by now he would see me as more than just another tool to exploit. “Who was he talking to when you heard this?”
“Chief Hark and Chief Razem.”
“Trace.” Nor tapped his arm again. “During this week we'll be heading with the others to the higher slopes to train with the Solari.”
“Don't know. Usually the Solari don't want anything to do with us but I think our father has persuaded them otherwise.”
“Has he predicted anything?”
“I don't know. A few of the other tribe's kids have been looking around here. Bullying our trainees, messing with our elders, etc.”
“Need me to teach'em a lesson?”
“I like your enthusiasm and that's exactly what I want your help with.”
“Your father put you up to this didn't he?”
“How much longer 'til your Rite?”
“Same as you: two years.”
“Hmph.” Trace saw a woman with light brown almost red hair pass in front of him. She stopped to talk to some children but something seemed odd and familiar about her. Nor must have caught Trace staring because he started snickering. “What?”
“You desperate fool.”
“What'd I do?”
*: I have no idea what it is that the Rakkor live in so I decided to go with a hut.
“Wake up.” Trace opened his eyes and stared into face of Phira.
“Shut up. We've got a patrol near the river.” Trace laid on his stomach and peered through the scope on his rifle. There were four Freljordian soldiers approaching the river. They stopped near the bank and began to fill up their water flasks.
“I must say, your luck with choosing perfect sniping spots has come to be very handy.”
“It's not luck you're just stupid.”
Trace looked above the patrol and through the tree line. “One... two... three... five...”
“What is it?”
“This is much more than a patrol. Have Hendricks send word to Captain Len.” Phira slowly crept out of their hiding spot. Trace kept aiming at the patrol and counted however many more he saw. Trace knew it was not luck that Phira had chosen such an excellent spot and it wasn't that he was bad at choosing either. He played the fool but he was not one.
Lady Caitlyn had called him the “Master in Disguise”. Before she defected Trace was one of her top Sharpshooters and had earned earned notoriety among the Noxian forces. His sponsor, Phira, was equally as notorious. Together they were known as Death and the Angel of Death. The thought made Trace smirk. He was excellent at shooting a rifle but he found it more fun to wield a sword.
The patrol moved on and by the time Phira returned Trace had counted over a hundred others. He and Phira packed up and moved through the trees. Trace slid down a hill and stopped Phira from falling into the snow. “Where to?” He asked her.
“Don't know yet. Let's just travel parallel to the Freljordians.” The Freljordians traveled rather slowly and had already stopped twice to rest. The sun was setting and they were now setting up camp and so did Trace and Phira. The river had stopped but in between them and the army was a snow filled ditch.
The two could fight here but it wouldn't be in their best interest.
Trace took the first watch as Phira slept next to a tree. Trace seemed to watch her more than he did their surroundings. She was shivering and exhaling in her palms to keep herself warm. “You're never going to fall asleep,” He finally said. He took off his coat and placed it on her.
“Take it back. I don't want both of us to freeze.”
“It's fine.” She could hear the strength in his voice and didn't argue. He never yelled at her. Never had, hopefully never will. To those outside of the Sharpshooters Trace was a dark, cold killer and murderer. To those in it, he was an older brother. He helped the weaker links and made sure they stayed alive. He had one of the shooters stay with him for five months just to teach him how to properly get the job done. Ironically, Trace was also the youngest of them.
Trace didn't wake Phira for the next watch and not even until the Freljord had started moving again. Of course she scolded him for this, saying that he needed his sleep and if he slipped up it would be because he was tired. Trace though didn't feel tired at all and this was just child's play.
“Lieutenant.” Hendricks crawled under the brush. “Take this.” Phira took the map and looked over it. The company had set up on the hill five miles away and were waiting to ambush the Freljord. “The trees on each side are thick so arrows would be practically useless in this scenario. That being said it would be wise if--”
“The key word you said was arrows. Not bullets. Stay with us; we'll attack from behind.”
Trace fired off another shot and hit a man in the back. He moved his cross-hairs to the right and shot another man. A Freljordian soldier with a sword ran up to a Noxian to stab him but Trace put a round through the side of his head. Trace yawned and shot another. He moved his sights around looking for anyone important but couldn't tell.
He fired off three rounds and killed three men. He heard yelling and looked slightly below. A man was giving orders to some soldiers from behind a tree. Trace kept his sights on him but didn't shoot. The man sent the soldiers off and peered from behind the tree. Trace shot and hit the back of his head.
“Why wait, Sir?” Hendricks asked.
“What?” Trace fired off another round and hit a soldier as he ran.
“Why wait to kill the man? You had a clear shot and--”
“If he was behind the tree the Freljords would suspect that we were behind them as we are. They could have turned and one of them may have gotten sight of us. I didn't want to take that risk.”
“I think you overestimate them.”
“And I think you underestimate them.” Trace shot and sighed. Hendricks was a sergeant, twenty-nine years, nine years older than Trace. Hendricks was not a shooter nor a sponsor. Just a simple infantryman under Len's command. “I would rather overestimate them and live then underestimate them and die, Sergeant.”
“Yes, Sir.” Trace had no clear rank but his notoriety spoke for itself. When Caitlyn was in command he was in her inner circle. He had fought alongside her and her Summoner and had assisted in the battle where they had killed Karma.
The Freljords began to retreat but Trace didn't let up. In fact he began to speed up. Each shot rapidly fired one after the other. Hitting each soldier in the torso and dropping them in a single shot. The Freljords disappeared into the forest and the Noxians began to gather their dead into a pile to burn.
“Good shooting.” Phira said. “Too easy, huh?” Trace didn't respond. He didn't take to killing like Phira did. The Noxians believed in survival of the fittest as did Trace but he also believed in helping those that needed it.
Vira had said, “You're a very easily influenced person, you know that?” He really was but at some point something must have stuck.
Trace shouldered his rifle and they made their way down to the captain. Phira stayed close to Trace as they passed the soldiers. The Noxians nodded to them as they passed. It was a sign of respect and praise. Had it not been for Trace the casualties would be much higher.
“Lieutenant!” Len approached them and asked to speak to Phira in private.
“Sir.” A soldier in light gray armor and clothing ran over and saluted. “Word from the southern front. Lady Caitlyn has been spotted heading towards Bandlecity.”
“And Lord Talon?”
“Close behind, Sir. Lord Lucius has not been seen but it is confirmed that Lord Lier is with Lady Caitlyn.”
Trace smiled. “Of course. Where else would he be?” The soldier didn't respond. “Have you told anyone else?”
“The message has been spread through the inner circle.”
“What of Lady Katarina? And General Swain?”
“Swain has been ordered to the siege of Bandlecity and another messenger has been sent to Katarina.”
“Very good.” The messenger saluted and ran off. The messenger was one of Lord Talon's elite soldiers. They ran about doing his missions, delivering messages, killing high priority targets. Even now many felt a sense of loyalty towards Lady Caitlyn. Those that did believed that it would be better that Caitlyn and Talon reign together instead of Lady Katarina and would be willing to stage another coup to make it happen. Trace didn't care. It concerned him but not as much as one would think.
Another messenger, one with the northern uniform of General Swain's personal forces, approached Trace. “Priority message, Sir.” Trace took it.
“Phira!” She turned from her conversation with the Captain. “We've got to move. Now.”
“Ma'am!” Trace followed close behind Lady Caitlyn and Lord Devon as General Argra chased after them. He was trying to requisition some of the Sharpshooters for an assault on the northern front but Caitlyn was denying him. Even if she did the Sharpshooters had an undying loyalty to her. They would not perform to their full abilities for someone else.
“Ma'am!” Argra caught up to them. “Please reconsider. With your shooters we will be able to—”
Trace turned and grabbed the general. “She said no.” Trace let go of the general who walked away.
“That was unnecessary, Lieutenant.”
“Apologies, Mistress. You seemed angry.”
“Thank you for your concern, Lieutenant, but please try to refrain from violence against our own.”
“Apologies.” Devon dropped back to walk beside Trace. “She's still mad about yesterday, huh?”
“Yep.” During Trace's enlistment he and Devon had become good... friends just may be the proper or appropriate term. They each were both deadly soldiers, had an unequally matched loyalty to their commander, and would do anything to keep her safe. Trace had told Devon of his training with the Rakkor and how he was an expert with a blade as well as rifle. In turn Devon told of his days as a summoner. How he and Caitlyn met and their odd, confusing relationship. Trace's most famous quote on their relationship was, “Sucks to be you.” Which in fact it did.
Devon though could say the same for Trace. His family had been killed in a Demacian attack near the start of the war. Caitlyn and Devon had taken him under their protection and he repaid them by being one of the elite Sharpshooters. After that he has never been back to Mount Targon and never seen the family that had sheltered him for so long. Unlike the Noxians that surrounded them Caitlyn nor Devon used Trace as a tool. They respected him as a soldier and as a person.
“How's that girl of yours?” Devon asked Trace who smiled.
“She's just a friend, nothing more.”
“Is that right?” Caitlyn put her arm through Trace's. “Please, do tell more.” Trace blushed and looked at Devon who rolled his eyes.
“Her name is Carina. Her father is a respected Noxian captain and her mother is a servant to Lady Katarina.”
“How cute,” Caitlyn mocked. “You have a thing for a servant girl.” Caitlyn skipped ahead and rounded a corner. Trace looked at Devon who was glaring at him.
“I hate you so much right now.”
“Oh boo hoo. Cry me a river, lover boy.” Devon punched Trace in the arm but they laughed it off. Trace wouldn't try anything with Caitlyn. He wasn't in the mood for dying. Yesterday the three of them were passing through the underground Noxian city. A regiment of soldiers passed and they stared at Caitlyn. One whistled at her and one even stopped to flirt. That set both of them off. Trace though made the first move. He told the soldier to back off, he didn't, in the end seventeen soldiers were killed. Caitlyn was angry with the two of them but Lord Talon thanked them.
The two turned the corner and stopped dead in their tracks. Lord Talon had their back to them and he was speaking to Caitlyn. She had those weak, almost teary eyes again. She feared him. They all did. During the League he was classified as an attack damage assassin. Since then he has learned much more than just physical fighting. He could easily be the strongest man in all of Valoran.
“Yes,” They heard Caitlyn say. “I'll see you tonight.” Talon kissed her and Trace saw Devon's expression change to anger. Talon left without turning around and Caitlyn stood there looking at the ground.
“Cait?” Devon walked up to her. “Is everything alright?” She gave him a fake smile and the two of them knew it.
“Everything's perfect... just perfect.” She turned around and the three continued.
Trace trailed further behind as Phira caught up to him. “Need something?” He asked her.
“Yes. Lord Talon has grown weary of this war. He wants Lady Caitlyn to be more... active in the fight.”
“Anything in particular?”
“The southern front has grown particularly difficult to hold. The Demacians are reinforcing the lines and the Yorldes have their machines that cause problems.”
“I'll talk to Lady Caitlyn.”
“Also-” Phira handed him a letter. Trace opened it and stopped as he read. “Fitting isn't it? A Sharpshooter and Darksider being married? As soon as it is announced it will be the talk of the Inner Circle and Noxus.” Phira took the letter from Trace. “Lord Talon expects great things from you.” She kissed him on the cheek. “He's even reserved a seat just for you.”
Riven dropped down from the roof and stabbed the man. Behind her another dark hooded figure silently touched the ground and stabbed his blade through another man. Riven quickly turned and slashed her sword across a third man's back before he could do anything. The two ran off silently and took cover in an alleyway.
Riven exhaled and felt the one with her push himself against her as a patrol of Noxian soldiers ran by. The figure with her backed away and leaned against the wall behind him. “Getting a little touchy there, Havec?”
“Sorry.” Havec checked the street and motioned Riven to follow. He ran up behind a guard and stabbed him as Riven cut down the partner. They moved on and looked up at the large building hovering over the rest of the city-state.
“Where are we meeting?” Riven asked Havec once they had found shelter in another alley.
“We're supposed to meet on the north side of the capital building.” Riven cupped her hands over his mouth and pushed up against him. The building beside them opened and the shadow of a man standing in the doorway appeared. Riven had her hand on her sword and was ready to kill him. They could not be seen here.
A man peered around the corner and Riven almost cut him. The man had his hands raised in the air and when he saw that Riven had stopped he gestured for them to follow him inside. With uneasy minds the two did.
It was a bakery where the man lived with his family. The family lived on the second story while the first was the actual bakery. Upon entering the scent of fresh bread and cakes hit Riven making her mouth water and her eyes close for a brief second. Havec put his hand around her and she snapped back. He closed the door behind them and kept his knife out as Riven hid her blade in her coat.
“Apologies,” The baker said. “I do not mean any harm. Are you the two contacts?”
“Maybe,” Havec answered.
“I have a message for you.” The baker shuffled through a drawer and handed them a letter. Havec looked it over and threw it in a fire. The baker offered them a tray of loaves which they thankfully accepted. It had been a while since they had fresh bread. They had mostly been living off any game they could hunt, which was rather difficult considering they didn't have a bow, and whatever they could manage to steal.
The baker said. “Your contact has also postponed the date for three days since you have decided to stir a commotion with the deaths of the soldiers.”
“Now what?” Riven looked to Havec.
“Pardon me,” The baker interceded before Havec could answer. “If you need you can stay here until then. I have an extra room that can accommodate you.”
Havec looked at Riven and shrugged. “Thank you, Sir.”
“Anything to help end this war.”
Riven fell onto the bed and let out a sigh of relief. Finally something soft to sleep on. They had been on the move for nearly a month now. It wasn't easy getting to Piltover from Freljord. Many would call them lucky but luck had nothing to do with it. They were just too good for the Noxians, even the Darksiders. Riven almost included the Sharpshooters in the statement but she remembered that they held their loyalty to Caitlyn who was on their side.
She laid on her side and watched Havec as he looked out the window. The room was dark and the only light was from the moon. Havec caught sight of her and tried his best to ignore her eyes. “What?”
“Nothing. Just thinking.”
“Luxanna and Jarvan's marriage.” Havec rolled his eyes. She had been saying this too much even though he knew she was only kidding. They had promised each other that after the war they would marry but in case one of them were to die. Actually it was Havec who had said that. Riven suspected it had something to do with Devon and how he hated to copy him.
Riven didn't really care too much. She was an optimistic person, or at least now she was. Before she could only focus on the grim side of things. During battle she would only think of how many they would lose and how they could have prevented it. In the League Havec had stopped her from killing herself. The pain of what Singed had done was too much for her and the fact that she wasn't allowed to take revenge drove her crazy.
“Get some sleep,” Havec told her. “I'll wake you in the morning.”
Havec stayed awake through the night, constantly looking out through the window as Noxians checked from house to house. They had earlier checked this house but he had hid their weapons by placing them between the roof boards*. Riven shivered again and he walked over to her. He pulled the blankets up and wiped the tear from her eye.
This was normal. She had nightmares of that day in the Ionian war. Havec couldn't imagine what it was like to experience something that gruesome and hoped he never did and that she never again. Unfortunately it seemed like they would. After they reached their contact they would board a ship bound for Ionia and assist them as best they could.
The news about Ionia was terrible. They were slowly being defeated but were doing much better than before. This could be called more of a resistance than an extermination. But it was said that the eastern sea territories were the first to go and less than two weeks with no survivors.
Havec opened the door and walked down to the stairs. The baker was sitting in a chair by the fire. “Mind if I keep you company?”
“Not at all.” Havec pulled up a seat. The warmth was nice. He hadn't had a chance to start a fire while they were making their way here. The light was too risky. He and Riven would just cuddle for warmth. “How old are you, boy?” The baker asked.
“Still so young...” The baker offered Havec a loaf of bread which he gladly took. “Why entangle yourself with this war?”
“You could go get an education. Start a bakery like me-” Havec shook his head. “Then why?”
“Because-” He took a bite out of the loaf. “-Those Noxian *******s outside... they threaten my queen. I can't let that go unanswered.”
“Half-Freljordian.” Havec didn't like telling his story but it didn't seem to matter. He didn't say anything useful yet other than his reason for fighting and if he did say something important he would just kill the baker.
“And what of her? The girl with you. What does she play in all of this?”
Havec stopped eating and stared into the fire. “I don't know. In fact I never wanted her to get involved. She chose on her own.”
“And her? What is her age?”
“Not much older than me. A few months.”
“How sad.” Havec nodded in agreement. It was sad but there was nothing that could be helped. One way or another everyone played a role in this war. Havec flipped a coin through his fingers once he had finished his bread. The coin was a glimmering silver, obviously polished and well taken care of. “That?”
“A memento from a friend.”
“Where is he?”
“Hell if I know.” Havec laughed.
“Shouldn't speak like that.” The baker told him.
“No, it's good that he's in hell. It means he's still alive.”
“Hurry.” Trace ran across the gap between the trees and Phira followed. Below them was a company of Freljordian soldiers. Captain Len and his troops were about twenty miles away and in the opposite direction that the two had to go. Trace's mind was boggled. He had been given a report with the news of the most idiotic idea. Even with the circumstances there was no way anyone should dare attempt this.
Trace stopped to a crouch as a few Freljords walked over to join some of their allies by a fire. Phira was behind a tree concealed by the night. An owl sounded and the soldiers' voices could barely be heard. Trace rushed forward through the trees and Phira followed. He stopped behind a tree and watched the patrol ahead of them.
There were four. Trace didn't want to have to engage in any type of combat but they were in a hurry. He unsheathed a knife and ran forward. He slit the first one's throat and stabbed a second one in the back of the neck. Phira tossed a knife and hit the third in the side of the head as Trace wrapped his hands around the fourth's neck. The Freljord tried to pry his hands off but did not succeed.
Trace and Phira ran through the trees and stood at the top of a cliff. “Oh my,” Phira said as she took in the sight of easily one-thousand camped Freljordian soldiers. “This may complicate things.”
“It changes nothing.” Trace began to run around the encampment but slowed as the patrols grew thicker and more numerous. He crawled on his stomach through the snow and would stop when a patrol neared. Luckily the brush was covering the area giving enough cover to hide.
Trace slowly crouched behind a guard and wrapped a thin wire around his neck. He pulled on the wire and severed the man's head from the body. Phira touched his shoulder and he followed her. They climbed a tree and watched as a patrol rushed through the forest.
“They found the other bodies,” She whispered to Trace. “We'll have to take them out as we move forward.” Trace dropped down and ran with Phira behind him. A patrol passed in front but Trace cut through two while Phira finished the others.
He slid under a fallen tree and Phira slid next to him. Another patrol passed but they let them go. They assumed the entire encampment was on lookout and the guards were doubled. We'll never make it past. Trace backed out from under the tree and checked around them. Phira came out and they ran deeper into the forest.
“We'll have to wait it out,” Trace told Phira once they had gained some distance from the Freljordians. “I'll take first watch again.”
“No, I will.” Trace looked at Phira who didn't look at him. She tossed him his coat and they climbed into two separate trees. Trace did sleep but awoke when Phira didn't wake him. He didn't tell her to sleep in case of anybody hearing them but hoped that she fell asleep on her own.
The sun rose from the horizon but the Freljord were already on the move. By two hours before midday the entire encampment was gone and it seemed as though they were never there. Trace hit the ground with his rifle raised and scanned the area. Nothing. He checked the area himself and went back to awake Phira.
He heard rustling in a bush and took cover behind a tree. A soldier in Freljord armor came out and looked around. He had a sword on his belt but no shield. Trace got ready to shoot but Phira dropped from her tree and cut the man. “Down!” Phira turned to Trace's voice. He shot and the bullet missed her face by a fraction of an inch.
The round hit an archer and Phira ducked as an arrow flew over her head. Trace looked for the archer but when he couldn't find it he hid below the brush. Phira had done the same and apparently so did the archer. Trace crawled along the ground slowly so he didn't give away his position.
Phira had disappeared from his sights and he hadn't yet seen the enemy. Trace dug into the snow and found a rock. He tossed it above the brush and it hit a tree. An arrow flew into the brush but he didn't see the archer through the trees but the arrow had come from his right.
“Will you risk it?” A voice in his head asked. “If you do... go for the kill.” Trace stood up and ran forward, rifle raised. He took a few steps forward when the archer sat up and fired. Trace shot and saw the bullet hit the archer before he braced for the arrow. He fell to the ground as the arrow slammed into his arm.
The shock only lasted a second before he was on his feet again, scanning the area. Nothing more. Phira stood up and ran over to him. “You idiot!” She sat him down and checked his arm. “Where did it hit?”
“The fake one.” Phira glared at him.
“Don't you dare use that trick again!”
“I won't.” Phira stood up. Trace smiled at her but she only gave him a silent glare. His arm had taken no damage. Not even a scratch. They policed the bodies. He took a bow and the arrows and gave them to Phira. The Freljords had a few packs of food on them as well as weapons. Trace grabbed the food ,three knives but left anything else.
Three Days Later
“I've got another over here.” Trace knelt next to the burnt scorched body of a Noxian soldier. Phira looked around but there was nothing but silence. There was no wind, the sky was bright and clear, and the bodies of over a hundred Noxians littered the snow.
“Yeah.” Every body they had seen had been scorched, burnt, maimed, or all of it. Only one person came to mind who could or would do this. But how could he? He was several thousand miles away. No, there was also the half-dragon. Even still there was no indication of a dragon attack and Trace had fought against Shyvana times before.
Trace stood up and looked in the distance. An echoed boom sounded across a field of open snow from the trees on the other side. Phira and Trace quickly crossed to investigate. Smoke began to rise from the forest and as they got closer they could hear screams of pain and horror.
Once Trace and Phira reached the treeline they split up to search. Trace moved cautiously through the forest. He kept his breathing low and his ears open. The yelling continued to be heard but Trace didn't rush to help. It would be no use if he were to be killed as well.
He knelt on one knee and peered through his rifle's scope. In the distance he saw a figure in armor but then fire engulfed it. A roar almost sent chills up his spine but he moved toward it. An explosion of fire erupted in the distance and Trace moved slower and between the trees. Trace reached the sight of the explosion and another corpse.
The area around him was burnt as well but not on fire. Trace heard the sound of cinders popping and then it dawned on him what was going on. He rolled forward to avoid the enormous foot from crushing him. He turned with his rifle raised and fired three harmless rounds into the creature behind him.
It swung its arm at Trace and missed but shattered the tree behind him. Trace ran from it but not too far. He was looking for someone controlling it. He shot at the creature and dropped on the ground as fire was shot over him. Trace raised his rifle and stared in awe at who it was. A girl, age seventeen, light red, almost pink hair, stood with a ball of fire in her palms. The creature she controlled rushed over and slammed its paw into where Trace stood.
“Stop!” Trace dodged another blow and another fire blast. “Wait!” He evaded the creature again and held his hands up. The creature raised its arm but stopped. The girl kept her hands raised and aimed at him. “I don't mean you any harm!”
“I don't like liars, Noxian.”
“Please, Annie, I am telling the truth.”
“How do you know my name?”
“It's kind of obvious.” Annie still kept her eyes on Trace. She didn't believe that he wouldn't hurt her. Trace dropped his rifle and all the weapons on him. The giant shadow bear loomed over Trace still. He could feel the heat radiating off of it like an aura and was beginning to sweat and the snowy area around them began to melt.
Behind Annie Phira crept closer and closer without her or Trace's knowledge. Phira armed herself and lept out. Annie turned but Phira had the upper hand. She lashed out with her blade as Annie formed a shield of fire around herself. Phira lept off of the ground as Annie shot a fireball at her and missed.
Phira threw a knife which bounced off of the shield. Trace tried to intervene but the shadow bear had begun to attack him. Annie threw another fire ball and barely missed Phira. Phira closed in and evaded a stream of fire from Annie's hands. She dug a dagger into the shield and tore a hole in it. Annie ducked as her next blade swept over her head and prepared an attack that could not miss and Phira knew it.
Phira braced herself for the hit that would surely kill her. But just as Annie released it Trace stepped between the two and took the shot.
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