Chapter 23 - A Silent Warning
The moments passed by slowly as the two champions stared at one another. Neither committed to making the first strike but slowly as the seconds turned into minutes Talon faded. As soon as he'd disappeared he was by her side his dagger rested softly against the armor around her torso. He withdrew it slowly and stepped away.
"You're weak, you let emotions dictate how you fight. You think but do not allow time to react, had I wanted to I could have plunged my dagger into your side and through your lungs. You know that you can't hold back, I suggest you start concentrating a little more on where my dagger will land next."
As the words echoed Talon once again disappeared before her, as she glanced around she saw the grass move and positioned herself to counter, as Talons blade lunged forward he was once again revealed but this time Fiora was ready. With a quick swish of her arm she brought her rapier up swiftly and knocked his blade away, she jumped back quickly readying herself for his next move, but he stood motionless. She charged forward the tip of her rapier aimed directly for Talons chest, he grabbed the blade quickly as it sliced through the glove that he wore and cut his hand, but he was not phased. He brought his dagger up swiftly ready to plunge it through her stomach, but once again he stopped.
"If you had been smart you would have ran me through as you countered, on the battlefield there is no room for hesitation, when the opportunity arises take it."
He let go of the blade and let the blood flow from his hand. Fiora looked at him as he stood with an ice cold expression on his face. As she made eye contact with him she saw the look that everyone feared. His eyes were blacker than night itself the eyes of someone who acts on instinct. She brought her rapier up again into fighting stance as Talon leaped forward bringing his dagger down heavily toward her shoulder, she moved gracefully to the side and blocked his blade, withdrawing the small dagger from it's sheath at her side she plunged it into Talon's side. Blood flew from the wound but still Talon did nothing. He looked sideways slightly and smirked as he brought the other dagger around. It rested lightly atop her shoulder point down.
"What you fail to realize is that tactics change when you're not in a duel. You're used to people fighting with a single weapon and your small dagger will do little good against mine. Never lose sight of any weapons your opponent possess."
He lowered his hand slowly grasping hers tightly and pulled the dagger from his side. As he stepped back Fiora's eyes were wide. Why did Talon not injure her, she'd made two clean hits on him and he was not phased, he had the chance to win this duel 3 times now and each time he'd stopped his dagger. He lunged forward with both daggers pointed directly to her chest and she once again gracefully avoided but as Talon missed he swung his right arm back bringing the dagger to her side. His other arm lifted high in the sky as she was knocked off balance and he brought it down quickly upon her once more. When Fiora finally regained he balance she felt the weight of the dagger setting on her left shoulder.
"If I had taken any of these opportunities you'd be immobilized if not dead. Both shoulders, a clean shot through your rips, and one through the stomach. You're to offensive and do not know how to play on the defensive side of the spectrum, and that is your weakness. Apart from parrying my singular lunge you've done nothing but dodged. Countering is your only hope in a fight where you're unsure of an enemies true potential."
He dropped his daggers to the ground and they landed sticking into it.
"We're done here. I had expected more from the Grand Duelist but my expectations have run dry. You require much more training if you ever wish to be successful."
He walked away slowly to the infirmary, he was not phased by the multiple wounds he'd sustained but it was best to have them patched. His daggers rested lightly in front of Fiora and as she turned to remind him Talon disappeared. She stared at the daggers for a second, their jet black form enticed her. She'd never seen the metal before and as she moved slowly toward them she saw the runes begin to glow softly. She placed her hand against one of the hilts and it let out a short burst of intense light that blinded her. As she lifted the dagger she was suddenly aware of just how heavy these weapons were, and she wondered how Talon could guide them with such precision and grace. As she lifted the other out of the ground it to gave off a bright flash of light and as she held them the two runes pulsed in unison. With each passing second she felt the daggers become lighter and lighter.
She placed her rapier back in it's scabbard and collected the daggers. As she walked silently to the apartments she thought. 'It wasn't a duel it was a test. He wanted to see how strong I was, and I'm weaker than what he had expected.' She rounded the corner and opened the door to Talon's room silently and placed the daggers on the wall where they were hung.There was a note resting atop one of the mounts with a singular word written on it's face 'Fiora'.
She took hold of it and opened it slowly reading it's contents. She smiled lightly and turned to walk out of the door. As she left she placed the note in her pocket and thought about what it said.
'Every morning, 6am at the western training grounds.
2 Weeks from today we will fight in the proving grounds.
If you cannot learn to the techniques in 2 weeks then you will surely fail when the time comes for you to be summoned'
She thought about her new training and saw it as a bright opportunity to become stronger, but not only that, it was also a chance for her to spend more time with Talon. As she thought about it she smiled.
Talon lay softly on the bed as the doctor bandaged his hand and stitched the flesh in his side.
"Pretty reckless pulling what you did, you know that champions aren't allowed to fight outside of the arena"
"I had to see what she was truly capable of. She is blinded by emotion, she could have done so much more in the brief openings she had, but she held back. If she'd not held back it's likely that she would be in the bed next to me.
He closed his eyes lightly and waited. When the doctor was finished he stood up and walked out slowly. As he rounded the corner into the great hall he wondered if Fiora had gotten his note, tomorrow he would find out. He walked up the stairs and entered Sona's room silently. She was resting gently on the couch, her breathing steady and her eyes closed. He lifted her up effortlessly and walked into the bedroom to lay her on the bed. He pulled the sheet over her and kissed her lightly on the forehead. He exited her room slowly and walked to his own. Resting atop the counter in his kitchen was a small note with the ever familiar symbol on it. It was the Du Couteau Family Seal. He opened it lightly and read it.
'Times are changing, turn on your television tonight at 8pm, there's something I want you to see.'
The handwriting was that of the generals and Talon looked at his clock. It was still early in the day but he made note to do so when the time came. As he looked around he saw the daggers resting on the wall and the note gone. He smiled softly and began to think of how he would train Fiora. He would try to instill her with something unique, and also deadly. He walked back to Sona's room slowly and laid down in the bed next to her and feel asleep. It was only noon and he already felt tired.
Chapter 24 - An Unparalleled Force
As he awoke from his slumber Talon saw the clock hanging on the wall it was 7:15. As he looked around he noticed that Sona was not in the bed with him and he heard metal clanging in the kitchen. As he exited the bedroom he found her in the kitchen. She wore a finely crafted spring robe and as he stepped into the kitchen she smiled at him.
"How're you feeling? Pretty lazy day for you wasn't it" her voice was childish and teasing
Talon smiled back at her, "I woke up early to do a few things, when I got back you were asleep on the couch so I carried you to the bed and decided to take a nap with you" his lips never moved as his thoughts rang clearly through Sona's head.
"Oh, well now that you're awake you can help me make dinner, it shouldn't take more than a half hour."
As Talon looked at her perplexed he thought about what she had said. He'd never cooked anything in his life, and yet he wasn't sure what to do for the next 45 minutes while he waited for the time the note had said. He walked slowly towards Sona and wrapped his arms around her gently kissing her softly.
"Alright, but I don't know how much help i'll actually be." he laughed as he said this.
"Don't worry I'll take care of the hard stuff."
She withdrew a small pan from the lower cupboard and filled it halfway with water and placed it on the burner. Talon went about gathering all the ingredients that she needed. What seemed like a simple task turned out to be more work than he had bargained for. The list of items was extremely long and he began to wonder what exactly it was that she was making. As he rushed around the kitchen grabbing vegetables and other ingredients Sona simply smiled and teased him. After all was gathered she put him to work with something a little more his style.
"Your pretty good with a dagger, how good are you with a kitchen knife?"
He was set to the task of dicing tomatoes and other vegetables, as he finished Sona took hold of the cutting board and poured it into the pan of water. As she cooked the meat Talon sat waiting for his next chore but one did not come. He watched Sona move gracefully about the kitchen, she'd never cooked before and he wondered why she chosen tonight to start. As she moved her hair would move softly from the motion and Talon stared. The only thought in his mind was how beautiful this woman was. Everything she did amazed him from the music that she composed to the way that she slept. Talon found beauty in everything that she did and as he thought he smiled, and Sona smiled too.
"You know I can hear all of this right?" Sona said childishly turning around and kissing him, "you're not to bad yourself, for a beginner"
When dinner was ready Talon looked at the clock it was 5 minutes till 8. They sat down on the couch beside each other and Talon turned the Television on. As he thought he remembered the note, it had never said what channel was supposed to be tuned to. He went with his instinct and context from the note and turned on the news. If he was correct in his assumption the General had something he wanted Talon to see that dealt with more recent events. A few images of a group of people flashed on the screen and the small caption at the bottom of the screen read 'Group of historical archeologists goes missing'. Talon watched diligently, it was 8 o'clock. As the story continued the anchor went about explaining the situation that was developing and Talon made mental note of the key details of the story. As the pictures flashed through the screen there were 12 in full. He could see how it was odd for 12 people to all go missing without leaving any evidence behind. As the pictures progressed 2 struck him in the chest. He stared at the screen and saw the familiar faces of two of Noxus's top archeologists. Though the world did not credit Noxus for many things other than military prowess there existed a very regular society within the walls with people of all professions.
When the story ended Talon ran through all the notes in his head. 12 Men and Women all archeologists had gone missing in the desert, they were scheduled to return from their expedition a week ago. Of the 12 two of them were of high regard in Noxus. The one thing that Talon had heard that struck fear into his mind was the expeditions location, and as the name rang repeatedly through his head he dreaded the thought of the fate that unfolded the 12.
Sona sensed the uneasiness of him as he watched the broadcast. She tried hard to hear what he was thinking but everything was suppressed.
"What's wrong?" she said in a concerned tone.
"I know 2 of them, not on a very personal level, but I was told to watch this tonight. Something is wrong and I can only imagine the unspeakable horror that befell that expedition. Do you know much about Icathia?" these words were the only words to escape Talon's mouth before a knock came at the door. Talon stood up slowly and as he opened the door the general stepped into the dimly lit room.
Sona recognized him immediately and shivered slightly, but he looked past Talon and waved silently to her and smiled. She smiled back remembering the last encounter they had, and with all the recent developments in the war that Noxus had been engaged in she did not fear the man anymore.
"I assume both of you saw the broadcast." the general said out loud.
"Yes, but why is it that you asked me to watch." Talon asked him softly
"You know them don't you? They are old friends of mine, sent to make ground breaking discoveries in that area, you know what Icathia is don't you?" the general spoke softly
Talon nodded gently.
"What is Icathia?" Sona said quietly.
The general stepped forward and took a seat in the empty chair as Talon sat down next to Sona. And so the general began his story.
"Icathia was an ancient civilization of great power. Even before Noxus or Demacia; Icathia thrived. It's people masters of their work the civilization flourished in relative piece. However there was a price to pay for their knowledge. The people of Icathia were, according to ancient texts, masters of magic. As they tempted fate with their magics and bent the fabric of reality they found themselves enthralled in a power ever greater than them. A rift was opened into the void and the Icathians harnessed it's power to further their magical discoveries. The civilization soon found itself enslaved by the void which they could not control. Eventually the civilization itself collapsed leaving only the capital city behind, constantly locked in it's former glory of alienity. The city does not appear on maps for one reason and one reason alone, throughout the ages our society has forgotten about Icathia and it's demise even with it's vessels participating here. The 3 of them are not to be trusted, we are unaware of their intentions and that's what this expedition was for. Icathia is a city shrouded in myth, a myth that most on Valoran do not find to be realistic, but they are unaware of the ever present danger. I had you watch Talon because we need to find out what happened there. All of this violence and war is not what Valoran needs and that's especially true with the rift growing larger by the day. I'm not asking you travel there, I'm asking you to use your eyes and your ears here in the League to try and figure out what has been happening, lest we repeat the mistakes the Icathians made. We are not equipped to fight the actual creatures that could come through the rift if it's growth continues. Kog'maw is but a Larva and still he is powerful. Keep an eye on the 3 and speak to Kassadin, I'm sure he'll be slow to trust you, but it's of the utmost importance that we learn all we can now, before it's to late to stop what is coming."
The general stood once more and exited the room, leaving Sona and Talon alone on the couch together. Talon's eyes were closed as he thought hard about everything that was said. Sona's eyes soon filled with tears as she tried to digest all of the information that had just been relayed, and with information of her own festering in her mind.
"Talon, there's something I was meaning to tell you tonight, before all of this happened, I'm afraid the mood may be a little bit ruined at the moment now, I should've told you earlier."
As Talon snapped back into reality he realized she was crying and he wrapped his arms around her softly holding her close.
"Don't worry, everything is going to be alright, I promise."
"Talon it's about you and me. It's not just going to be you and me for much longer, I went to the infirmary today while you were sleeping. I've been having been pains the last few weeks and I couldn't take them anymore."
"Are you alright Sona? What's wrong" Talon was concerned for her safety as he held her
"I'm having a baby Talon, like I said it won't just be you and me anymore" Sona began to cry uncontrollably and Talon held her close placing her head against his shoulder and rubbing her back softly.
"It's alright Sona. I told you that I loved you, and we are to married. It's only natural that this happen and I couldn't be happier, it's a little unexpected but we'll be alright, I'm not going anywhere I promise." His words floated gently into her ear as she cried.
As the words sunk into her mind she managed to calm herself enough to look at his face. His eyes were warm as they looked directly into hers. He smiled softly as they stared at each other and as the moments passed their lips met. They sat on the couch holding one another not wanting to break the embrace that held both of them. Talon wrapped his arms around her back gently and stood up walking into the bedroom carrying her. She was asleep and her head rested softly on his shoulder.
He was unsure of the events to come but felt genuinely happy to know that Sona was alright. He'd never known his parents and it scarred him even now, and as he thought he knew that he did not want to be the man his father had been. No matter the cost he would be there for his child.
Chapter 25 - The Voidwalker
Days passed by in relative silence. All through the League an eerie silence drifted unbroken by any, and as Talon watched he worried. It was not normal for this place to be so silent. On a daily basis hundreds of summoners and champions alike roamed these halls and no where you went was ever silent, and yet now not a word was spoken. He mulled over the information that the general had relayed to him and as he sat he thought about the monster they called Kassadin. He found it hard to believe that he would even think Kassadin a monster, he'd neither taken life nor hurt anyone. He served to protect the world from a power that they couldn't overcome, and yet the people looked on him in relative fear.
It has always been said that man fears that which it does not understand and as Talon thought he realized it was the truth. On the rare occasion that Kassadin ever came out of his room for business the halls would clear quickly and all around would be the faint whisper of those who could not understand his presence. All sanity lost from his glowing eyes he wandered. The other beings from the void were like wise in manner, and the League found no place for them in their social ranks. Talon thought strongly about how he would approach the creature; always remembering that beneath his hardened exterior there existed a man of the worst misfortune.
He exited the courtyard and stepped into the halls to find them empty, a faint purple glow casting a light all around him. He walked slowly towards the door covered in strange markings. All of the other doors in the League looked identical but this door was something completely different. It was not made of wood but a rock hard black metal, twisted by powers that mortals dare not experiment with. The door was Ice cold to the touch and jagged spikes protruded from it in every direction, it was for all purposes a deterrent to those who would seek passage. As Talon stared at the door silently it opened slightly but no one stood in it's wake.
"Enter" the inhuman voice startled Talon as he stepped into the darkened room.
All around him sat books of mysterious origins, scrolls that were tattered and torn. On the walls the same symbols as on the door and in front of him sat the creature himself. His jet black exterior was turned away from Talon as he seemed focused on the texts in front of him. With each passing second Talon could hear his breathing grow louder until finally he turned, his glowing eyes staring directly at Talon.
"What have you come for mortal?"
Talon did not fear this man that everyone else shunned. He looked upon him with a blank look and spoke sternly.
"I would imagine that you of all people would know of the purpose to my visit. I've not come to chat, I've come for information. Information that you and only you possess."
"And what makes you think I'd be willing to give up such valuable knowledge to a mortal such as you? A man only worried about himself. A man who would seek such knowledge to only strengthen himself." Kassadin's voice became louder and he stood.
"I do not come on my own accord, I come with a much more real threat, something that you're ever aware of. You know what is happening and I need your help, I don't expect you to trust me, but either way what's going on needs to be stopped." Talon said this blankly rising to his feet standing face to face with the behemoth.
"That which happens involving the rift is not your business, nor shall it ever be. It has been proven centuries ago that mere mortals such as yourself and those you're associated with only wish for power, like wise those of the rift only seek power as well, you do not possess the power to overcome the power that lies dormant on the other side."
"I don't wish to control the power that you speak of, I only wish to stop it's growth. Everyday the rift grows larger and if you have any awareness to anything outside of this room than you're aware of the recent events. Every time they gain a human vessel it accelerates that growth even more correct? In the last decade only 3 vessels have been brought upon this world, and now there are another 12 possibly, I don't know much about this stuff, but just how long do you think it will take for it to be large enough that we can't stop it's growth." As Talon said the words he walked silently out of the door leaving Kassadin standing in the center of the room.
Thoughts raced through Kassadin's mind as he calculated the possibilities. He was aware of the disappearances but in one regard Talon was wrong. The rift had not accelerated in growth, and it was the one thing that Kassadin could not understand. Talon was correct in saying that each time a new vessel manifested itself on Runeterra the rift would grow exponentially in size, but by his measurement the rift was growing at it's normal rate.
"Sit and we will speak" the words were harsh and commanding as Talon reached the door. He turned around silently and sat in the chair that sat on the far end of the room.
"Thank you." Talon extended his gratitude.
"You're wrong about what you say, and there have been no more vessels, the rift does not grow faster now. I'm unsure of what fate those archeologists hold, but they are no longer in this world. You wish to stop that which you cannot understand, but far from being a scared human you look upon one of it's vessels without fear in your eyes, and I respect you for that reason. Do not take this information as a sign of trust but if what you believe is to be true then you and your associate are correct to be scared. So I will give you this information and this information alone. What has begun already cannot be stopped, and if the expedition return they will no longer be human. In the past the rift has grown each time a new manifestation has taken form on this world. If those 12 are made to be vessels and are put back on this plane than my rituals will not hold, and rather than grow in size slowly like it has in the past, the rift will tear apart the dimensional plane. There is no stopping what is coming, all that you mortals can do is prepare for your worst nightmare." With his last words Kassadin disappeared into a glowing purple light in front of Talon.
He exited the room slowly shutting the door behind him. For the first time since his fight he felt the familiar sensation of fear rise in his stomach. He could not imagine the horrors that awaited the world, but he knew what had to be done, and as he walked he thought of how he would achieve this. This was not a war that one city-state alone could win, no matter how powerful, and in order to protect their home each would have to collaborate on a frontline basis against the very thing that would tear Runeterra to pieces. So he walked and thought about the future. There wasn't much time remaining, and it would take a monumental effort to get the city-states to agree to this. But what had to be done had to be done, or else there would be no Valoran left to call home.
Chapter 26 - No Rest for the Weary
As the sun made it's way across the horizon Kassadin sat and watched. It was unnatural for him to be found outside of his living chamber but on this evening he sat in the courtyard alone, and watched the sun inch it's way out of existence, at least until the morning should arrive. As he watched he remembered a time in his past when he was not the hulking behemoth he was today, and he remembered how he'd use to watch the sun set with his friends. Before his encounter with the rift and the unspeakable horror it instilled him with, before his transformation he was just an ordinary man, with ordinary dreams and ordinary hobbies. He lived his life on a day to day basis studying the texts and longing for something more in life, he was in a relationship with a young woman from Demacia. He remembered the night he watched the sun set with her and the stars light up the night sky, and he remembered the way the moonlight reflected off her hair, casting it's light directly into his eyes. He remembered her smile as he held her close and her giggle when she found something funny.
The reality of his world was no more extravagant than any other persons, but he did not realize at the time that his reality would soon crash down on top of him, and when the rubble had been pushed aside, and he finally stood on his feet again he would not be the same man that he was before. He remembered his old leather jacket with the small red velvet box resting in it's pocket. The box contained nothing more than a small ring with a diamond in it. When he saw the ring in the market he knew it was perfect, because as he looked at the small stone he remembered her eyes. Small and precious, full of brilliance and joy, and everything about that stone radiated with the same aura that she radiated with. He had intended to propose to her after he took his journey. In the latter portion of his days as a man he had become obsessed with the texts that he read and with each passing day the desire to see the place that only legends told of burned in his chest. He knew that he could not propose with his state of mind at the time, and decided that he had to see it for himself, and when he returned he would be ready to settle down into whatever life fate would bring to him. But fate had other plans for the curious man.
As he made his way across the desert he kept a journal of everything he did and saw. The texts he'd read spoke of a mythical location, and there were no documents that verified the existence of the legendary city Icathia. He had intended for his journal to become the map to all who wished to gaze upon it's divine glory, the first published work to prove the city existed, and so each day he mapped his progress with words and drawings. He set off alone, knowing that this was a calling only for himself. The night before he left he kissed her softly, he remembered the way her hair danced in the wind, and as he looked into her precious eyes he knew that she was the one that he'd always been looking for. He said his goodbye and promised to return soon. He was unaware those were the last words he would ever speak to her, and even now as he remembered he felt the pain sink into his chest. Where there used to be a heart there only sat and empty feeling.
Each day he traveled through the deserts he felt himself loose his grasp on reality, and as he poured over the texts he would not give up in his relentless search. Each day he began to lose his mind more and more, the solitude that encompassed him only served as a catalyst for his decline. His feet were cracked and dry, his mouth parched and his body abused. He had run out of supplies by the second week of his search, but he would not turn back when he felt he was so close to achieving his goal. As he walked he felt his legs crumble beneath him and the dark grasp of despair poured through his veins. Every thought in his head told him that this is where he would die, and he would never be found, but as his mind played tricks on him his heart kept him going. He saw her face, and her beautiful eyes, her long hair dancing in the wind, and his heart forced his body to move forward. With what could very well have been his last breath he spoke her name softly "Maria" and then there was darkness.
When his eyes opened he looked upon a large stone obelisk that he had not seen before. The markings it held resembled the ones in his texts and as he looked he saw the moonlight reflect off of it softly. He'd achieved his goal and he had found what no one else could. Hot tears filled his eyes as he realized the implications of his discovery, but his joy was short lived as the voices moved in on him. Taking advantage of his severely weakened mind they drove their lies into his head like stakes. His madness turned to insanity at the urging of the voices and as he listened to them he saw the obelisk shift slightly. The moonlight cast it's light onto it and it emitted an unearthly purple light. Without ever realizing he inched his way towards the light in front of him. As he reached the obelisk the light engulfed him and what followed was a transformation that not even he could have imagined. The horrors before him filled his mind as he looked upon the baron wastelands of the void. There appeared to be no life in sight, everything was burnt and shattered, but as he looked he noticed something familiar. It was his apartment and as he looked around he realized what he was seeing. The city had been burnt to the ground and everything around slaughtered. The voices filled his head with a tremendous force, urging him to give up all hope and join them.
In his final moments of being a man he said the name once more "Maria" and her face filled his mind. Perhaps it was his commitment to that woman that helped him manage the tremendous pain of what was happening, as he let the energy of the void enter his body it twisted his form into something completely unrecognizable, but when the transformation was finished he still held dear the memories of his past. It was then that he knew that the power must be concealed or those wishing to exploit it would only serve to strengthen it. So he swore a solemn oath to protect Valoran from the horrors that he had witnessed. He was no longer a man. He relinquished his emotions knowing that nobody would ever see the man he had been again, and as he remembered her face he felt as though his heart disappeared. He took his journals and the small velvet box and hid them, not wanting to keep the relics from his past, for they would only serve as a reminder of what could have been.
"Are you alright?" a voice entered his head softly startling him
He turned around quickly and saw Sona standing before him with a concerned expression on her face.
"This is the first time I've ever seen you outside of the Rift. I just wanted to say hello" her voice was kind and welcoming
"It reminds me of the past. The sunset. People would never choose to believe that I was actually a man once." Kassadins voice was solemn
"I believe you. No person would ever wish to be put in the position that you've been put in, and whether you choose to believe it or not there are some of us who appreciate all that you do for us. But it isn't a burden that you must bare alone." Sona smiled softly at him
Kassadin looked at the sun once more as the last bit of light disappeared behind the horizon.
"You can never forget the beauty that each day holds, in it's own way. People neglect to recognize the beauty that exists all around them, and I am no exception. It's funny, you remind me of her." as he spoke he stood and disappeared into the purple ball of light again.
Sona sat looking at the night sky, the light reflecting softly off of her hair. As she looked she felt a certain sadness rise in her chest, and looked behind her but nobody was there. She couldn't begin to imagine the strain that isolation had taken on the man that sat here a few minutes before, and as she thought she remembered his words.
"It must have been extremely difficult for him to let her go." the words ran through her head and tears formed in her eyes.
In the darkness on the other side of the courtyard Kassadin stood watching, and wondering why it was that this woman would shed tears over him. As he wondered he sat once more with a more grim thought on his mind. Would this be the final sunset that Valoran would ever witness, or was it possible to stop the impending doom that seemed to overwhelm everyone.
Chapter 27 - As Daylight Dies
With each passing day the sun would make it way up high into the sky, but it seemed that it resented it's position and with each passing day the light would last for shorter and shorter durations. Many in the league took this behavior as an omen for tragic events to come, and as each day passed they began to grow more and more antisocial. Each of the leagues members took up the habit of staying in their rooms not wanting to risk the omen being of a personal origin. As they walked the halls Talon and Kassadin spoke quietly so as not to draw attention to themselves. The days were growing fewer and with each passing one they lost time. With the city-states not agreeing on a joint effort to combat the powerful force that drew closer by the second the two were lost. Talons mind raced through all the possibilities on these short days until he came to a final conclusion. It was not his word that the other city states would trust, it had to be the voice of their own people, and as he rushed down the hall way he thought of how he would explain this to the others.
He knocked on the door softly and a feminine voice answered from inside, opening the door Lux's eyes opened wide at the sight of Talon in front of her.
"Well this is odd, you've never visited before." she said this cheerfully and giggled.
"There's a new development from Noxus, surely you've seen all the news on TV and the recent explanation of military actions of Noxus, we are becoming more open with what little information we have and I wish to pass this information to you, so that you can pass it to Demacia. I've spoken to your king and he refuses to listen to me, but what is happening cannot be ignored." as Talon wove his tale of the impending tragedy to befall all of Valoran Lux's eyes became more serious. "and you see that's why each of the city states must do their own part. I want you to take this information to your King and convince him to join the effort. Noxus has pledged it's part to the fight, but we alone cannot do this."
Talon stood silently exiting the room as Lux sat in disbelief over the information that had just been passed to her. But her mind could not be fooled into believe this was simply a lie. She was one of the few who dared exit her room and each day she saw Talon and Kassadin roam the hallways. She had never seen Kassadin leave his chamber in his entire time in the Institute, and she knew that something had happened. As she packed a few of her belongings she made her way out of her room and to the Train. If what he had said was true she had no time to waste in delivering the information.
Each passing second the thought festered in Talon's mind and he could not stop his relentless pursuit for support. But going to a ranking official of each city state would take time, and time was something they had none of. He'd only spoken the High Council once, and it was during his induction to the League when he was judged. As he saw the events unfold before his eyes he had no other choice than to trust them with the information and hope that their influence would cut the required time for partnership down. As he walked through the corridor the lights flickered into existence. It was very rare for anybody to meet with the High Council, but he was running out of time. As he pushed the doors open heavily the men sat before him, as if knowing that he was coming.
"Sit Talon, you have information for us. Present it quickly and we shall do what we see fit."
Talon spoke all the information he had gathered from Kassadin and from the General to the men as they sat and listened. They did not interrupt and asked no questions. As Talon finished speaking one of them motioned towards the woman standing near the door and she opened it. Kassadin's form appeared in the center of the room as the men began to speak with him silently. As they finished speaking Kassadin appeared beside Talon and said only one thing.
"He is correct in everything he has stated. I live an immortal life, but that can hardly be said for the likes of most people on Valoran. So if it is not the man that you trust than trust your instict. The light each day grows shorter and shorter as the 2 planes draw closer and closer together. The other 3 have gone missing and you ignore it. What has been said here is fact, and without a combined effort of this entire continent that the only thing that awaits the survivors is horror beyond the best comprehension."
With Kassadins last words he and Talon walked away, leaving the council to reach a decision. With every fiber of his being Talon hoped that the men in that room would use their best judgement and help them in their conquest. One of the council followed behind them hastily and stopped them where they stood.
"You will have our support, but know that this does not come at it's own cost. Talon, we know of you and the Ionian, and we know of her condition. We will speak about this in good time." the man walked away silently.
Talon felt a weight lift from his chest but just as one was lifted another was set and he began to worry about what Sona had to do with all of this. The High Council knew of her pregnancy and as Talon thought he swore that he would allow no harm to come to her or the unborn child.
"Do not worry, she will be ok. As for you, we have more important matters to attend to." Kassadin spoke this as he began to move forward.
Chapter 28 - A Whole New Tactic
The group of men sat around the table silently, each looking at the others with eyes filled with hatred. They'd been summoned here due to their superior intellect in the matters of strategy, but each one despised the thought of what was happening. As the 6 men sat around the table they were aware of the threat facing Valoran, and as each thought about the circumstances they came to realize that the danger must be monumental, if it called for a war council with the heads of so many different military minds.
General Du Couteau sat at the head of the table looking over everyone as he felt their eyes glued to him. The hatred in the room was almost tangible as so many sets of eyes cast their fiery glare on him. He was not phased by unbreakable silence in the room, and he knew that these men would never listen to him as things stood now. He'd not made a public statement about the war as of yet, and the time was drawing near. On his right Swain sat waiting for someone to break the silence.
Beside Swain sat a large man wearing a tattered black suit, all along the edges it was frayed and burnt, chemical stains and fading were present as well. The man was a general from Zaun, they had initially considered seeking the council of the likes of Singed, but reconsidered their plan given his mental state. The man sat silently waiting for his turn to speak.
Amongst the others in the room there sat the general of the Demacian Military, a representative from Bandle City, and a young man from Piltover. The 6th member that sat in this room was unbeknownst to everyone. The seat appeared to be empty but as the general looked in the direction of it he saw the subtle movements of the papers that sat in front of the seat.
"If everyone here is present I believe that we would like to begin." The general finally broke the silence standing up and tossing a small piece of chalk towards the empty seat.
As the men in the room watched the chalk fly they saw it stop in mid air and as the figure that sat in the seat began to fade into existence they looked at him with apprehensive eyes. Nobody in this room knew who this person was. His hair hung over his right eye and was as white as snow. His eyes were warm and blue but behind his young appearance his eyes told the truth. They were the eyes of a man of unspeakable years, and everyone in the room recognized this immediately. This man although appearing to be in his mid 20's held the eyes of a man well into his 80's. As they looked at him apprehensively he set the chalk down lightly on the paper and stood.
"Why do all of you insist on simply staring? I am fully aware of all the questions floating through each and every one of your heads, but silence will not answer them. So ask or expect to gain no information at all." he said all of this swiftly and sat back down, his blue eyes fixated on Du Couteau.
"Just who the hell does this kid think he is?" The gentleman from Zaun stood up and smashed his fists onto the table in anger "speaking to us as if we are children. He can't be more than 25 years old. I don't appreciate the disrespect from infants such as yourself."
"Sit down. There is to be no progress here if all we do is argue. Each of us has our own thoughts about working with one another but I don't think any of you really grasp the reality of the situation at hand." General Du Couteau spoke kindly and the man from Zaun retook his seat.
"And you speak as though you are the head authority on the matter, when in all reality, you can't full grasp the reality of the situation either General. I mean you no disrespect but I don't think anyone in this room other than myself can grasp the situation that is unfolding" the young man stood again with his eyes fixated on the general. He pulled his sleeves up revealing tattoo's that had been worn and faded over the years. The marking were magical and yet seemed as though they had been lost to time itself. As the men in the room stared at his body they could not decipher the ancient markings his skin shone.
"Just who are you in the first place?" The general spoke the words calmly.
"My name has been lost to time itself, but I'm your greatest ally at this point. None of you can grasp what the void actually is, because none of you have witnessed it. Kassadin has been there and it's horrors are trapped in his mind and are not shared. I've seen the void as well, but it was a long time ago. The truth of the situation is, that I hail from the city that the ages has forgotten, from the very place that this ordeal started at. I am the last of the Icathian's. I have lived for centuries in solitude biding my time cautiously, I've seen the entire expanse of this world. I've watched it flourished and I've watched it fall. With each passing year you all hope to make progress, but you're all blind and unwilling to seek the advice of one another. It is for this reason alone that I came here today. I was not called to help all of you, not even the League of Legends knows of my existence. I suggest all of you air your opinions and work past them, before you try and make a meaningless strategy that will never work. If you wish to fight the power that you don't even know then you'll need actual cooperation, and not just a fake agreement." the man sat once again as the eyes around him stared on.
Icathia had been lost to the void centuries ago, and everyone in the room felt like laughing over the words of this one man. The markings on his skin glowed with a certain alienity that none of them could describe. As he looked back into their eyes they shone with bright light. Each man in the room could not decide whether to believe him or to label his speech as a falsity.
He stood once more not speaking and raised his hands slowly. His shirt began to blow in the wind that seemed to generate from a point over his head. The very fabric of his clothes began to fray and shred and as his shirt disappeared they saw all the marking on his arms and chest, each one glowing with a majestic purple light. Over his head raised a portal of pure blackness and small bolts of electricity arced out of it and into his body. As he focused all of his power on the one point objects in the room began to be sucked into it. Papers and pens became missiles as they traveled toward the point at tremendous speeds.
"That's enough" General Du Couteau spoke these words sternly and the man sat down once more
For an hour the men in the room asked their questions, probing the mans mind for all the information that they sought out. After they were finished questioning him they disbanded the meeting, setting up another council for the following day.
As the men re entered the room they'd sat in the day before each of them was instilled with a new sense of the consequences at hand. The questioning of the young man the day before had lent much insight to each of them about just how real the threat of the void was. They were dead set on stopping the threat no matter the cost. The least of the cost was cooperation between so many city-states that had vendetta's with one another, but with no cooperation Valoran would surely find themselves massacred by the void.
As the general stood he held in his hands a small chunk of black metal, and as he explained what the metal was each of the men looked on in shock. Not many people in Valoran today knew of the metal that he possessed but anybody with any military background was sure to know. Starcry, the very metal that had combated the void so long ago. The general directed his attention to the man from Piltover.
"It's Piltover's responsibility as scholars to track down the remaining deposits of this metal. It's vitally important that we have weapons made of it."
As the man looked at the general his own disgust was laid aside by the information presented the day before. He took hold of the piece of metal noting all of it's properties.
"With some more scientific inspection we should be able to figure out a way to map out it's possible locations, and from there we will send teams to survey as quickly as we can."
The general shifted his eyes looking directly at the Demacian general that sat before him.
"I know that most of you dislike me, and dislike is an understatement. I've arranged for a public statement tomorrow but all of you are deserving to hear my words before the entire world does. So I will tell you the truth of my disappearance, and my war. I'll tell you the truth of my life, before I reveal it to the public"
Over the course of 3 hours General Du Couteau stood and revealed his entire lifes ambitions and faults to the men in the room. As each men let the words enter their mind they felt the anger inside of them die down, and with each passing minute they saw the purpose behind all that the general had done. Each one of them found a renewed sense of cooperation, and as the council was finished they set the next to take place a week from that day. Each of the men had their own tasks to prepare and as each left they were already busy putting their efforts in. With time running short none could be lost.
Chapter 29 - The Last Icathian
The walls of the surrounding buildings were white and glossy. In the heat of the day people would seek refuge in these sturdy structures, and at night the light from torches would cast it's glow softly from their sides. There was not a place in the city that was never illuminated and the people that lived in this city were peaceful. They went about there research in what would appear to be a responsible manner, though the forces they tampered with were undeveloped. As the years past the people of this city would bring rise to a greater force; awakening the true power that they fretted over every day.
There were those who detested the use of these magics, seeing the physical symptoms of their uninhibited uses, and also the mental toll. The magics the Icathians researched and loved came from a far off place, another plane of existence outside of Runeterra, and outside the confines of anybodies imagination. Many of the time believed that the gods have given them this magic as a reward for their praise and good deeds. They were unaware of the gruesome fate that they brought upon themselves.
Those people who had achieved an advanced understandings of these magics were easily visible to everybody in the city. Their skin covered with alien markings and bearing strange scars. The limit of their power was unknown at this point, but the use of such magics by the Icathians held it's own prices. Physically speaking those who used such magics were more susceptible to disease and bone damage, as though the magics themselves sucked the strength from their bodies, but that was a small price to pay considering the other effects.
Many a night he would lay awake in his bed listening to the screams of agony from the large building that stood on the outskirts of the city. It was here that it was forbidden to enter, though each day more and more people were taken into the building and never seen again. Nobody doubted that the men that resided inside the building were those who had been driven mad by the power that they tampered with. It had no windows, and the only door was protected by a complicated locking mechanism, ensuring that no one would be able to go in or out without proper clearance.
His eyes held the warm blue color of the water in spring time, his hair snow white bleached by the hot sun. Each day he practiced his craft and each day he knew that his continued research only brought him further down. Unlike the other men of the city though he did not bare the mental madness of those who overused the magic. His body was covered with the markings, and in his eyes you could see that with every bit of strength he could muster he fought the mental decline. The voices in his head grew louder and louder with each passing day, but as he worked tirelessly he knew he was on the verge of a breakthrough.
The people of Icathia continued with their daily business never noticing the man that would one day be the only one of them to survive. All of their effort strove to use the magic to gain power over smaller and less sophisticated governments, but in the warm blue eyes of the man there was a higher calling. As he worked his fingers to the bone he found his answer. By manipulation of the basic magic that almost anybody on Runeterra could understand and infusing it with that of the void he managed to bring himself into a form of magical stasis. His body did not change, he did not age. As the sky turned black on the night of the ritual the voices in his head came to silence. The last thing he heard before he blacked out were the words of the most prominent voice in his head, and it's statement was plain and simple. "We're on our way"
The next day realizing that he'd tampered to much with the forces of nature he packed his belongings and left the city. As he traveled he heard news of the decline of the city. Odd reports of alien lifeforms emerging from a rift that had formed near the obelisk in the center of town. As he thought he knew that what had happened was directly his fault, for he had done what was thought unachievable. As he poured over his research he realized why the voices had stopped, and as he brought his hands to his face hot tears flowed down his cheeks. He had become one with the energy of that foreign realm. The tattoos on his skin glowed purple and his eyes did the same, and as he stared at the sky he knew the world was not safe for him. So he adopted the life of a lowly hermit, wandering from place to place but never becoming attached.
As the wars raged over time he sought refuge in the wilderness that spread across much of Valoran. He was unsure if there was any documentation that would lead military leaders to try and recruit him, and he wanted no part in the wars. As he lived his life time passed, and with each passing year he did not grow older. Centuries passed in relative solitude as he honed his powerful skills, and when he learned of the manifestation of Cho'gath, and the other reports concerning the void he started off on his journey. With his mind set on a new task he made his way across Valoran in hopes of finding the help he had not sought so many centuries ago, and with new found determination he swore to be the one to close the rift.
Chapter 30 - Final Preparations Pt 1.
As he stared once more at the stars Kassadin once again relived his past life. He hated the fate that had manifested itself upon him, and with each passing day he thought of the unspeakable act. In a heartbeat he could end his own inward suffering, and his passing would go relatively unnoticed. He was not held in social regards by anyone here at the League, and his only purpose was to oversee the growth of the rift. With the fate that appeared to be at Valoran's doorstep he wondered if now would be the correct time to do so.
He remembered her eyes once more, and as he saw the mental image it appeared as though the eyes were piercing directly through him. His hardened and twisted exterior held no resemblance to being human, and yet the eyes seemed to cut directly past all of it, and they were fixated on a point that at one time was occupied by a heart. He was unsure of whether his heart still existed, or if he was what he appeared to be. The visions he'd seen began to invade his mind and the familiar pains of loss rose in his chest. He had already lost her in one regard, and now with death coming closer everyday he resented the thought of losing her in the other way. As he thought he realized that this could very well be his final opportunity. If tears could have been conjured by the darkened form he held now they would have flowed down his face, but all that he felt was the same grasp of despair that was ever present in him.
"She must have been extremely important." Sona stood behind him with Talon by her side.
"She was." Kassadin stood and turned around looking at both of them.
Talon's arm was wrapped closely around Sona holding her close to him. As Kassadin looked on he recalled the times in his life when he was fortunate enough to have held Maria in the same way. With each passing second his mental image of her became more and more clear, and as he let the pain sink further and further in he dropped to his knees. As he looked at the stars above his head the thoughts of him ending it all only grew stronger. He'd lived for a decade since his transformation, and each day he thought about her. Each day the memories would bare their weight down on his shoulders and each day he would bare the misery in silence. As he looked in front of him he did not see Talon or Sona, he saw only himself and the woman he still loved.
Sona began to move forward as soon as Kassadin feel but before she could take more than a single step he vanished into the glowing purple orb.
"Something has been bothering him this entire week, but he tries to be strong and not speak. I can't imagine the toll that memories take on him. He's given up an entire life because of what happened to him. I can't imagine what that life held for him, but it had to have been something much more appealing than what he is stuck with now." Talon's words were calm and solemn as he stared at the orb in front of him. He turned his attention to Sona and lifted her up easily, "but it's nothing for use to concern ourselves with, if he wanted other people to know he would tell. This is a demon that he has to face on his own time."
As he spoke Talon to remembered his past, and all the demons that existed in it. As he watched Kassadin he was frighteningly aware of just how he felt. With so much bad in his past he was unsure of how he would ever make up for all of it. For the moment being it didn't matter though, and the only thing that drove him forward was his will to survive and protect Sona.
As he sat in his room Kassadin reached under the small bed. He withdrew a large wooden box and opened it slowly. The tan color of the leather had faded over the years, and as he grasped the jacket he could only imagine how dried out it was. It was not the leather that he was worried about though. He reached in the right side pocket and brought out the small box that was concealed. He did not open it but merely held onto it. As he walked out of his room he realized exactly what had to be done. As he walked the misery in his chest only grew, and he was unsure of the words to say when the time finally came.
Deep within the walls of Demacia there lived a young woman. Her eyes were warm and blue, her hair soft and silver. On the nights where the moon shined bright the light would reflect itself softly from her hair and all of the men in Demacia knew her name. She was one of the most beautiful women within it's walls. Over the years though, no matter how many men she dated, she could never fill the empty spot inside of her heart. With every passing day she thought about the man that she used to nuzzle up to on the coldest of nights. The man who would hold her close when she was sad, and who would protect her against anything that should threaten her. He'd disappeared 10 years ago, but her hope never died, and neither did her love.
As he made his way down the grand staircase and into the train the thoughts still raced through his mind. He didn't know how he would find her, or whether or not she would want to see him. It had been 10 years and he assumed that she'd forgotten about him long ago. She was beautiful as she was popular and he was sure that she had found a husband by now. With each thought that he forced himself to believe he drove the pain further and further in. He did not want to think that she had waited for him, he didn't want to believe that he had abandoned her. He had taken the most logical choices that he could at the time, not wanting her to see what he had become.
As the train left the station people on board stared at him in shock. As he sat quietly he once again hated the fate that had come to him. The people stared at him as though it were his conscious choice to appear this way. The cruel reality of the situation was that he believe this is the way she would look at him when he finally found her. As he clutched the small box in his hand he considered his options. He could simply leave the box on her doorstep with a note, it would save him the look of disgust that he dreaded seeing. He decided that this is what he would do. It was already dark and the train ride to Demacia was a short one. He would ask around and find out where she lived, and then place the box on her doorstep, and leave. He did not want to see her face again, it would be to much for him to bare.
As the train came to a stand still Kassadin exited and entered into the city with gleaming walls. It was hard to believe that it was night time with how well the city was lit. As he tried to remember where her house was he found himself completely lost. He couldn't just ask any person where she lived, his appearance frightened most. As he wandered through the streets he noticed a familiar face, but it was a face he had never spoken to. Lux walked through his line of sight looking around for something that he couldn't place. As he approached her she turned around in shock.
She had never seen Kassadin outside the field of justice. His presence here in Demacia was shockingly out of the ordinary. She looked at him with indifferent eyes, not afraid of the mysteries that his experiences held. As she looked at him she spoke.
The glowing purple eyes remained fixated on hers for a few moments as Kassadin tried to figure out what he should say. How should he ask if she knew where Maria lived? What would Lux think if Kassadin asked such a question? As he turned to walk away Lux laid a gentle hand on his shoulder and spun him around.
"Are you alright, you look like you're lost. Can I help you find something" Lux's voice was warm and welcoming.
Without ever meaning to Kassadin began to explain why he was in the city, revealing more than just his current purpose. He told Lux of his life before his transformation, and of the woman he had planned to marry. How his dreams had been cut from his grasp, and even of the dark and demented thoughts that had plagued him for the last decade.
"So, you're looking for her now, huh?" Lux said sadly
"Yes. I want her to know that I never forgot about her."
"What did you say her name was?"
"Maria" Kassadin spoke the name softly
"Well that's a little vague but given your description and how old she is I think I know who you're looking for." Lux said cheerfully, "but I'll only tell you on one condition."
Kassadin looked at her knowing that whether he liked the condition or not he would have to do it.
"You have to talk to her. She's never married you know. She's dated plenty of guys but she has never married anybody. People always used to say she was saving her heart for the man that had disappeared, and I guess you're the one she's been waiting for." Lux said all of this solemnly and led Kassadin through the streets.
He knocked on the door softly, and inside he heard the same gentle and familiar voice from all the years ago.
"Be there in a minute" the voice yelled out
As the door opened slowly Kassadin recognized her immediately. She hadn't changed one bit over the years, and he wished he could say the same for himself. Her eyes were still warm and welcoming, her hair still it's beautiful silver color. Her voice had not changed and she still stood at the same height, as though she had been frozen in time. As she looked at the behemoth in front of her, her eyes widened and as she opened her mouth wanting to scream she stopped herself. With an outstretched arm Kassadin bowed softly and placed the box on the ground, attached to it a small slip of paper. He turned around slowly and walked away.
"What is it?" her voice rang through his head.
"Something that was meant for you a long time ago." He tried to make his voice as human as possible but it was a wasted effort.
Maria bent down slowly and lifted the box up. She opened the small note and read it's contents. Before she spoke she opened the box slowly, and the small ring glistened in the light. Kassadin turned around slowly seeing the ring for the first time since his transformation, and despite all the years the stone still held it's glow, and as he looked at her holding it an inward smile spread through him.
"Who are you?" Maria's voice cracked as she began to speak with tears forming in her eyes.
"I'm the man that you once loved. I'm the man that abandoned you all those years ago for a foolish dream. My ambitions were noble but my actions were not. This is the price I paid for going on my journey. Despite my outward appearance I'm still that same man, though I don't expect you to believe me. Just know that I have never stopped thinking about you, for the past 10 years. I've never stopped loving you." Kassadin said all of this solemnly not wanting to admit how wrong he had been.
"If that is the case than why have you waited until now to give me this? Why didn't you come back to me? I've waited 10 years, despite all the others telling me that you died. I've been waiting and hoping that you'd come back to me someday, what took you so long?" as she spoke her voice developed into a yell as tears burst forth from her eyes uncontrollably.
As she looked at what her love had turned into she did not care. All she had ever wanted was to know that he wasn't dead. Before she realized it she felt the stoney skin of Kassadin wrap it's arms gently around her. As she cried she remembered the feeling that she used to get when he held her, and now as she stood with the behemoth holding her close the same feeling was ever present. She brought her head up and kissed him lightly on his cheek, but it didn't matter. Kassadin couldn't feel what she had done, but as he stood there with his arms around her he felt happy.
Chapter 31 - Final Preparations Pt. 2
As he exited the room slowly he realized just how fast the time had moved. Two weeks had gone by in a heartbeat and as he made his way slowly to the training grounds he was pleased with the progress Fiora had made. She was no longer the warrior that would let an opportunity go, and as each day progressed her killing instinct fought it's way through her flesh. She'd began to learn stealth, but Talon was aware that she would never be able to use it correctly. There were certain people who could use it and others who couldn't, and although she poured her heart into it, she could not learn to conceal herself.
Aside from her being physically stronger, and more mentally able to fight even against vastly outweighed odds she had learned to be less defensive in her efforts. Now using the small dagger at her waist to antagonize the enemy. She had picked up all of Talon's teachings quickly, and as the final days training started Talon knew that it was time to tell her why he'd been so busy, every champion in the league had the right to know what was unfolding.
As he reached the Training Ground Fiora was already there standing silently in the middle of the large field. As he approached her he told her to put her blade away and sit. She did as she was instructed and sat softly on the grass and Talon sat beside her. As he began to explain the situation Fiora's eyes grew wide.
"Will you fight?" Talon said this while looking up at the clouds overhead.
"I'm not sure, do you believe I'm strong enough?" she said softly
"It doesn't matter what I believe. The creatures from the void are vastly unknown here on Valoran, so in all honesty I don't have the slightest clue if any of us are strong enough to turn them back. It's been done before, and I plan to my part as well." Talon said sternly.
As she stared at the man looking at the clouds her heart sunk. She looked at him and his eyes were cold and grey. As she looked at him she recognized immediately the look that the Demacian's had spoke of. The face of a man who has given up all hope, thrown caution to the wind, and intends to do whatever it takes to reach his ultimate goal. As she stared she began to cry. He'd just said that he wasn't sure if anybody were strong enough to fight the void creatures, and yet here he sat, completely willing to play his part and die.
"Are you going to die?" she said with a cracked voice.
"It's an ever present possibility, and I'm ok with the idea of it. If I die doing what I think is right than do I have anything to regret?" Talons voice was hollow and empty and as he spoke he thought of his past.
Everything in his life had all been leading up to this one point in time. Where he sat in the middle of the training ground and finally came to grips with the fact that as long as he did what he thought to be right, then each step he took was a step in the right direction. If death should claim him on the battlefields he would die true to his own wishes.
The clouds overhead turned dark and gray. Thunder boomed in the distance as Talon stood up retrieving a package from a man that was running out onto the field. He walked slowly back to Fiora placing it on her lap.
"I don't have time to explain but consider this your invitation." Talon said this an disappeared.
Rain began to fall from the sky and lightning struck down all around. Fiora was not phased by the weather around her and slowly began to open the package laid before her. As she retrieved the object from inside she thought at first it was only a new scabbard for her rapier; but as more and more of the object came out of the box she realized what it was. At the hilt of the small and sleek blade rested a blue stone with a strange marking on it. It glowed brightly as she clutched the blade in her hand. As she withdrew the blade from it's scabbard the stone's glow intensified as sparks shot out from the blade. As she looked down at the box she grabbed out a small dagger, with an identical stone in it's hilt.
As she remembered Talon's weapons and their glowing white stones she realized what this was. The blade of her new rapier was jet black. Everything about this weapon screamed with power beyond anything she could imagine. As she held the dagger and rapier in her hands the stones glowed in unison. She raised the rapier high into the sky and a bolt of lightning came crashing down atop the blade. As she lowered her arm she knew that this was no invitation, it was a promise. She couldn't allow Talon to try and fight a war on his own, and as she walked back to her apartment she began to think of the unspeakable horror that was to come.
"Will she fight?"
"She cannot refuse now that I've given her the tools she needed"
"And what of her fighting prowess?"
"I've instructed her to the best of my ability, and she has grown much stronger over the allotted 2 weeks. She will do well."
"Or so we hope. We both know the consequences of what is about to unfold. We need the very best that Valoran has to offer. You will fight as well Talon, the glow of those stones tells me so. Since giving you those blades I've made it a point to look into the runes that they possess. They are the runic symbols for Wind & Torrents. I don't think you've properly put them to the test yet, and this is the training that will take place starting tomorrow and lasting for the remaining week. You must train yourself to control the power that those runes possess, and I do think Fiora will be joining you." with his last words the General grinned as Talon looked at him.
"You mean? You added something to her weapons didn't you? They were only meant to be made of Starcry, but you've made another set haven't you." Talon said all of this in shock.
"Lets just say that she has a certain electricity about her that sparks my interest. Her runes are those of Lightning and Storms. Did you notice the weather begin to change as the package was brought to you?" the general spoke in very vague expressions and as the final words left his lips he smiled.
"How many more?" Talon asked sternly.
"As the days countdown the runes are being recollected. We are unaware of the power of these beasts, and although outlawed, what good are laws to a world that doesn't exist?" the general once again smiled.
As Talon turned and walked away he knew what was happening. The General had made a push through League to have the runes that were lost so long brought out of hiding to be used once more. As Talon gripped his daggers in hand the light they emitted grew in strength as the blades became weightless. He had always thought this to be their true power, but now as the general had spoke to him he realized he had something much more powerful at his disposal.
Chapter 32 - An Untapped Energy
As the two stood side by side the large cloaked figure looked back at them. He was one of the original creators of the League of Legends, and there was no one more well suited to instruct them than he. He and his associates had created the League of Legends to stop the harmful use of magic on Runeterra, lest it be destroyed by the resulting cataclysmic events. In his years he'd seen the height of the wars, and the power that the runes possessed, but he also knew how they worked.
"The runes that rest in your weapons are ideally suited for you personalities." he began, "Fiora, you are of a noble family and yet your name has been tarnished through deceit, you wish only to prove that you are what you are because of hard work. The spark of battle and the electricity of dueling is what drives you. Everything about you screams with a power that not even you have realized yet. You're an unrelenting force much like the lightning in our skys."
He paused briefly and looked at her face. Her eyes were fixated on him, soaking in all the words that he spoke. A smile was spread across her face from the praise she'd received from the man. As he looked to her side Talon stood silent, his face stone cold and expressionless.
"And as for you. Talon, the Blades Shadow. Despite your past you like the wind do not allow anything to stop you. You push with all of your might to reach a point in life where you can be at peace. Those that stand in your path feel the flurry of your blades, and much like the raging torrents of the wind nothing can stop you from your ultimate goal, not even death itself. You try with all of your strength to move on, and you try to carry the burden silently, protecting the people around you. Like the air that we breathe you wish to keep the ones closest to you alive, and it is for that reason that these runes have been placed in your weapons."
As he paused once more he looked back at Talon. His face had not changed in the slightest but there was a glimmer in his eyes that let him know that he'd heard all that was said. Fiora looked at him silently as he stood at arms. His daggers grasped lightly in his fists.
"Whether these runes are ideally suited to your personalities and unique fighting styles is true or not it does not tip the scales in your favor. Know this, if at any time you begin to resent the energy that these stones emit, if for a single second you begin to question your own abilities as both a warrior or a person the runes will make no distinction. Such an enormous energy takes a toll on their wielders, and if at any time you show any sign of mental weakness they will not hesitate to drain you of what energy you have. With that all said we'll begin your training."
As Fiora drew her rapier the clouds in the sky turned dark grey and blanketed as far as the eye could see. She looked at the tip of the blade and saw the small sparks arc off of it.
"It knows it's master, and it knows it's place. It does not know it's purpose as of yet but it will soon enough. The runes are praised for their ability to amplify the specific energies that they encompass, and although there are multiple runes for any given energy you two are special. The runes that you possess are one of a kind, having no others still in existence. In order to control the massive power that these runes possess you must train your mind as well as your body. When you fight do it with your heart and the runes will not fail you. Use your mind to command the energy that surrounds both of you. Under the correct conditions they will serve as your shield when you are compromised, and will act upon your greatest desires. There is no textbook for what I am teaching you so I will allow you two to train on your own, my sole purpose was to provide you with the building blocks for an entirely new way of fighting. A way to tap into the hidden potential that exists deep in both of your hearts. Think about what you want most in this world, and let it flow through you, put your heart into every attack, and you will no fall." the old man looked at both of them with unblinking eyes.
As he began to walk away slowly Talon crouched lightly to the ground staring solemnly at the glowing runes on his daggers. The emitted their soft glow and he smiled. As he began to take all he'd been told to hear the light intensified and the wind kicked up around him. The grass and leaves began to move in a torrent around him as he harnessed the lessons. As he thought about all he'd done his desire to set things right only intensified as the wind howled at his command. He felt the daggers in his hand become weightless and his body filled with a new vigor. He brought his right dagger into the air slowly holding it above his head. The wind circling around him shifted now focusing itself around the blade. As he moved his arm effortlessly the wind manifested itself across the blade flying out from it and cutting through a nearby training dummy like a razor. As Talon looked on in awe he felt the energy fill him, and as his hopes rose so did the power that flowed through his veins.
As Fiora watched Talon she wondered what could be running through his mind. She's witnessed all of his actions first hand and stood in shock at the power he possessed, and as she through she remembered that she possessed a different power of equal or greater strength. The clouds in the sky grew darker as she focused on her past. She remembered all of her hard work she'd done and her fathers downfall. She had promised to never become the same person he was and it was this Iron Resolve that kept her moving forward. Lightning rained down from the sky surrounding her. As it fell it arced and struck her, but there was no pain. As the electricity flowed down from the heavens and into her body she felt renewed. As she focused harder she manipulated the lightning in front of her into a barrier, and as she let the barrier fall the lightning manifested itself on her rapier. As she swung the nimble sword around with ease the lightning would arc off of it striking things at a distance. She smiled and knew that it would take practice to command the power in a real situation, and as she resolved to work tirelessly to master it's power the stones grew brighter. One last bolt of lightning raced down to the earth striking the tip of her rapier with a crash.
As they stood side by side both breathed heavily. The runes that they commanded fed off their own energy, and being relatively unskilled in their usage they were not aware of how to cope with the physical drain it took on their bodies. They decided to rest for a couple of hours, and then practice more. Their plan was simple and logical, in order to master the power bestowed unto them they would pace themselves carefully. When they began to feel the physical drain was to much they would rest for a few hours, and when they woke they would repeat the process.
"Quite a show they are putting on out there don't you think?"
"It's only fitting, they've been locked away for so long, and now they return. It's only natural that we be awestruck by the power they truly possess."
"And what of the Voidwalker?"
"He's not been here for days."
"Have you any idea where he's gone?"
"Demacia. To the place that he once called home, to the girl he once called his own. You must remember that we aren't all blessed with a human fate. A lesson that many tend to overlook."
"That is true indeed. He intends to sacrifice himself."
"And just how do you know that?"
"I've been pouring over the texts for days now, and all of his rituals have tapped into his own void energy to try and conceal the rift. With what is coming the rift will expand far to much for his current rituals to take any effect. He intends to call upon every last bit of energy that pulses through his body to try and close it when it's at it's weakest point."
"Then for now we can only let him have his time. He is a man of few words, and yet his actions speak the loudest of all. He's had no home here for a decade now. He's had no contact with the outside world, or with the friends he used to know. For now let him be surrounded by those that he lost all those years ago, because for them, he is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. For us he would give his life."
Chapter 33 - Words for the Worried
As the sun rose in the morning sky Talon was already awake. He stood at the side of the bed watching Sona sleep with a smile spread across his face. He leaned down and kissed her cheek softly and she turned slightly looking up at him. As he looked into her warm blue eyes he felt a strange sensation pour over him. She leaned up and kissed him lightly pulling away and wrapping her arms softly around his back.
"Training again?" she said solemnly
"Yeah, but it needs to be done. I won't allow any harm to come to you, and for now that is all that I'm worried about. There's a real danger coming, and I won't allow you to come to harm. I swear it on my life." Talon spoke the words sternly and looked down at her.
Her eyes were filling up with tears slowly as she clutched tightly the back of his shirt. She nestled her face softly against his chest and cried softly before he pulled her away gently.
"What's wrong?" he said softly
"I worry about you. I was here when he described the horrors that would come, and it's not as though I'm oblivious to all the odd events happening. I don't want to lose you, I don't think I could bare it. I don't want you to fight, but I know that I can't stop you, I just wish there was some way I could keep you safe."
"You don't need to worry, that's what all of this training is for. I promise you that I'll come back from this, and when I do we'll be married, and we can start our life together with the blessing that has been given to us."
"It's a girl." Sona's voice was cheerful and she smiled
Talon smiled back at her lifting her up softly from on the bed. She wrapped her legs softly around his waist with her arms around his neck. He kissed her softly and spun in place a couple of times and laid her back down.
"I'm happy. I promise that I will always be here for you, and for her. Nothing is ever going to take me away from you two."
Sona smiled once more laying her head back softly on the pillow. Talon looked at her once again and walked out of the room silently after tucking Sona in. As he made his way down to the training grounds he thought about his unborn child, and what being a father entailed. He'd never had a father so he was unsure of how he would do, but he knew that as long as he tried his hardest and as long as he was with Sona they would raise the child the right way.
As he sat in the small house Kassadin was overcome with the sense of joy that had been given back to him. Each time he looked at her now he felt the old love wash over him, and each time she would giggle he would feel the emptiness in his chest slowly melt away. But in the back of his mind rested the cruel reality of his visit. This was his last chance to ever see his love again, and with each passing day the reality would set in more heavily than the last.
He'd been in Demacia for only a few short days, but in the eyes of Maria it was as if nothing had ever changed. Despite his exterior she managed to find some way of looking past all that had befallen him, and to her, he was still the same man he was 10 years prior. She would hug him the same way she had before as if the time had never passed. He was overwhelmed with the joy that this place brought to him, and being here only strengthened his resolve to protect the one that he cared about the most in this world.
It was true that he still loved the woman very much, but the time had not been kind to him, nor had fate. No matter how much he wished he could stay here and have a life with Maria he was aware that it would never work out. With the danger of the war drawing closer he only became more and more protective of the woman that he had lost, and he didn't intend to lose her to the war, and he hoped that in time she would come to grips with the reality of his final action. To ensure her well being, and the well being of the entirety of Valoran he would end the rift the way it was started. With a burst of energy capable of mending the broken fibers of the dimensional rift. For 10 years he'd stored his energy, building it up for the moment that his fate would be realized, but he never imagined it would be so soon. But for Kassadin there was no turning back, and there was no compromise, he would do what had to be done, even if it meant his life.
As he looked on at the beautiful girl doing her daily chores he felt happy, to know that she was alright after all of the years. He was happy that he'd gotten to see her for one last time. With his final breath he spoke.
"I love you Maria, and I always will, no matter what"
As she turned around to see him he disappeared into the glowing purple orb. Her eyes began to fill with tears, but she already knew the truth. She fell to the floor softly and began to cry.
Chapter 34 - The 12 Pillars of Creation
The final days before their departure passed by in utter silence. There was no time to talk, and there were no words to be said. Each and every champion of the League knew what was coming, and all of them were equally worried. Talon stepped into the halls donning his large black daggers. As the inhabitants stared at him the nervousness of the area was palpable, but Talon stood alone, his eyes ice cold and determined. He had no use for nervousness that would inhibit his fighting abilities. In his week of training to use the runes to their true potential he'd lost all doubt in his own ability, and if battle led him into death than he would do so with his head held high, and with every fiber of his being.
As the others stood in silence they watched his movement. As he walked down the hall they watched intently. The times had changed only a few short months ago, and now it seemed as though everything were the same. The assassin struck fear into the hearts of each champion that stood in the halls, but for new reason. The runes on his daggers glowed steadily as he walked. There was no hesitation in his movements despite all the eyes that were fixated on him. As he walked out of the front door and onto the grand staircase the light from the sun was no visible. The clouds cast their shadow upon the ground and with one final breath Talon faded into the blackness.
Fiora sat in her apartment gathering what few belongings she had brought with her, as she looked out the window she saw as Talon faded into the blackness and smiled gently. She had never forgotten the night in Noxus. She found it hard to believe that such a strong individual had been brought to the brink of death, and she dreaded the thought of it as well. In terms of combat experience Talon was rivaled by few, and yet she had found him moments from death on the streets of Noxus, and as the imminent war drew closer she found herself wondering if she would see the same thing again, or if she would end up in the same place. As she stared at the rapier that was hung on the wall she expelled the thoughts from her mind. She couldn't have any doubts, she had to be strong, or else there was no point in her fighting at all.
She left the room silently closing the door behind her. She was going to the same place that Talon had departed for. It was the final war council before their departure to Icathia. Unlike the previous meetings this meeting would be broadcast in every city-state in Valoran. She walked slowly down the grand staircase and climbed into the small carriage that waited to take her. As she shut the door in silence she looked out and saw the faces of the other champions. Though many had volunteered to fight there were still many who only watched as the others departed. Their eyes visibly worried, tears forming in the rims. She looked away and lay her head back to catch some rest before the meeting.
"I call this meeting to order" The General's voice boomed over the talk in the large room, "now if we are all done wasting time I'd like to get down to hard facts."
The noise in the room quieted and it's inhabitants looked at the general standing at the podium.
"A few short weeks ago an expedition left in search of the ancient city of Icathia. To spare you an extremely long tale I will state it simply. Icathia is location on Valoran where the void resonates from. A rift exists in it's ruins and we believe the 12 men and women of the expedition were abducted. There has been no contact from that area since the departure, and we believe the worst to be true--"
"You're wrong, they aren't dead." the young man rose from his seat, his body showing the ancient markings again, "they aren't dead, they were not fortunate enough to simply be killed. With the absence of the voidwalker I've taken it upon myself to monitor the rift. Your real worst fears have been recognized, and they have returned. The 12 await us in my home, and they will not be friendly. The blackened sky, the strange omens are exactly the same as the last time."
As he sat the other people in the room looked on in awe. They'd heard the stories about the last Icathian's return, but they never imagined him to be so young. His words struck their hearts and once again the room was filled with chatter.
"Silence!" The general once again asserted his authority, "whether what he has said is true or not we leave in 2 hours. Use your time wisely, because I ensure that not all of us will make it back alive."
The grim words of the general did little to calm the people in the room, but each was aware of the risk they took by leaving. Talon stood in the back listening the entire time and as the general final words rang through his ears he left. With his back turned he exited the room unseen by any and made his way to the caravans that would carry them across the Shurima Desert.
The hours passed by in a hectic commotion. There were those who now wished to withdraw from their service, but in the end all of them boarded the caravans, and they set off across the desert.
The wind whipped violently against the caravans. The heat of the afternoon son beat down hard on. The sand was hot and those on foot soon found themselves dehydrated. It was unthinkable to everyone that this place gave rise to a civilization the would prosper for centuries, and yet they saw the exact reason why. This place was brutally inhospitable and covered thousands of square miles. Anyone wishing to attack the city that rested in the heart of the desert would have been strongly demoralized and weakened by the journey, but the thoughts of the place didn't last long.
As the caravans made there way through the dunes the thought on all their minds was the same. 'What can we expect to see.' The thought was something that most weren't used to. Each person in the ranks had seen their fair share of combat, and they had all witnessed things that would scar weaker persons, but as they made their way through the baron wastelands the thought festered in their minds. As they approached the coordinates that Kassadin had provided they saw the place for the first time.
A large stone obelisk stood in front of them, the sun glaring off of it brightly into their eyes. As they drew closer and closer the glare receded giving them sight to the true size of the object. It was massive standing as tall as the walls of Demacian Palace. As they brought their eyes down from the top of the object they saw their fears realized. A visible purple glow emanated from the ground in lines and symbols. With the obelisk as the center lines came out drawing a star that existed inside of a large circle. Within each of the 5 open quadrants the star left existed a different symbol. On the outer edges of the circle there were drawn 12 lines outward, connected to circular stones that had been engraved. As their eyes followed the lines they counted, and as their eyes reached the outer stones their eyes opened wide.
Atop each of the 12 stones stood a figure, dark and twisted, their eyes glowing bright purple. As the caravans neared the stones the circle lit up more brightly releasing a pulse of energy that threw the caravans over onto their sides.
"Everyone get down." Kassadin's voice was the only sound to be heard, "stop your ritual or be killed, these are your options."
As he spoke the 12 figures simply continued. They knelt down on one knee lowering their head to the obelisk and it began to glow.
"There is one among you who does not belong." A voice originating from the obelisk pierced the ears everyone. "Ezeacha, step forward, or will you show cowardice to those who gave you power."
The young man with white hair stood and stepped toward the obelisk. The markings on his flesh began to glow once more with the arcane energy.
"Do not threaten us with a display of power. Even with the numbers you have brought you cannot succeed. Give into the power in front of you, and we shall make you kings of the new world that we will make."
"Quiet yourself, because none of us will believe that for a second. You wish to give us power at what expense? Our homes, our families, our friends. You want nothing more than to strip us of our lives and use us as tools for your own demented reasons." the young man yelled all of this at the obelisk as the markings turned bright white under his power.
The sky turned black all around them, and lightning began to crash down to the surface.
"You've grown strong over the years Ezeacha. You make us proud, after all it was you who contacted us in the first place, or have you already forgotten. Why don't you tell them the entire truth Ezeacha, stop hiding behind your own false reality and tell them what really happened, and who you really are, or would you like me to enlighten them?" the voice teased
"You're right, I haven't forgotten the mistake that I made centuries ago, but I won't allow them to suffer the same fate as everyone else did. I won't allow them to be slaughtered by you mindless monsters." as he spoke his words the hatred overwhelmed him and the lightning rained down harder.
"That's it Ezeacha, give into the madness, let it overcome you. Your transformation is long overdue. You see, without you we would have never found this plane. Back then you were just a young man seeking greatness, and you spent so much time working at it. Immortality is something that any man wishes for, and your experiments provided a successful result correct? With our help, and our power you managed to do what everyone thought impossible. The thing about our help is that it comes with a price. As soon as you achieved your ultimate goal you left this place to fend for itself, all the friends and family that you ever knew were killed, and you were no where to be found." the voice continued tormenting the man that stood before them.
The champion looked on in awe as the lightning struck down in front of Ezeacha and his eyes turned completely white. He raised his hands into the air focusing his energy.
"That's quite enough at your feeble attempt to terrify us." as the voice spoke a bolt of energy flew from the obelisk striking Ezeacha in his chest. It tore through the flesh and exited his back, "and one last thing. You're not immortal if we don't wish you to be, consider your gift revoked, and may you rest in peace old friend."
The body of the young man lay on the ground, the sand underneath him stained red, the markings on his skin still glowing brightly. He moved slowly pushing himself back to his feet. Blood ran from the side of his mouth and as he spoke he spat often to clear his throat.
"I don't need your gift to end this. By the end of this night I swear you will cause no more trouble on this world."
"Then so be it, the ritual is almost finished."
Everyone's eyes once again focused on the obelisk. The glow from the ground was incredible. As the seconds past the glow exited the ground and floated softly into the air. As it hovered it began to fill it's own empty spots in with it's luminescence. As the moments passed by the circle turned solid purple and began to open.
"You see the fun thing about this ritual that makes it so much more different from previous ones, is the fact that it will make this rift permanent. In the past we've never had so many worthy vessels to perform such a task, but these 12 will act as pillars for us. Against their will they channel all of their energy into this obelisk to ensure our arrival. They will die just as all of you will. There is no stopping us, so enjoy the light show while it lasts."
Ezeacha once again brought his hands over his head and began chanting in an ancient language. As he chanted the sky began to glow bright white. As the final words left his lips a massive bolt of black lightning struck the top of the obelisk splitting it in two. Ezeacha fell to his knees slowly and the markings on his flesh turned black.
Fiora rushed over to his side and laid a hand on his neck. His flesh was ice cold and as she flipped him over and looked at him his eyes were rolled back. The ground beneath him was soaked red with his blood.
"Such a brave individual. Throwing his life away for no good reason, it just goes to show you that he never deserved a life in the first place."
Fiora felt a slight tugging on her sleeve and looked down to see Ezeacha's lips quiver slightly. She lowered her head onto his chest so he could speak to her without seeing.
"The obelisk is broken, the gate will not become permanent, but it will last for a short while. You must kill the 12 of them to drain it's energy. At that point it can be sealed for good." his body went limp and fell back to the ground.
Chapter 35 - No Time for Doubt
As the scene of the young man lying lifeless on the ground enveloped the area a certain palpable spark was emitted by the mass of soldiers that stood on 20 yards from the now shattered obelisk. As they watched they expected him to rise once again as he had the last time, but after 5 minutes his body still remained in it's same location. Tears filled the eyes of many of the soldiers. Although no one here had ever known the man that had given his life they felt the overwhelming sadness grip their hearts.
As Talon stared at the body his expression did not change. In his line of work he'd seen much more gruesome blood shed than what had just unfolded in front of him. It was just another dead body lying helplessly on the ground, and yet as he stared he felt a strange sensation grip his heart. As he looked at the young man who appeared no older than he was he felt a certain respect for him, and he was unsure of why.
Fiora rose quietly from next to the body and laid her outer jacket over his face. She looked back at the obelisk and the 12 vessels now stared back at them with glowing eyes. She looked at them with no remorse and what little doubt had existed in her heart now turned to pure hatred. She had never witnessed a more valiant act in her life, and now as the body lay directly by her side her eyes changed. Talon was the first to notice the change. Her eyes were no longer soft and welcoming, they weren't the eyes of a kind individual. Her eyes narrowed to mere slits and as the anger within her rose lightning found it's way down from the sky and onto her blade.
Everyone looked at her in awe as the lightning surrounded her, as if feeding her more and more power. Her rapier began to glow with an electric blue color, the runes shone their color brightly in the darkness of the place. As Talon watched her intently he knew the time had come and he brought his own weapons into fighting position. The wind kicked up around him throwing sand in every direction. As he brought his mind into and even deeper focus than ever before the winds manifested into a raging torrent that spun chaotically towards the 12 vessels. It met them with a crash and blood flew in every direction staining the ground underneath them. Not a single one of them faltered, and as the winds died down they stepped forward.
Without ever realizing her movement Talon found himself in a desperate situation. A faint purple smoke enveloped one of the vessels and only a split second later the figure of Katarina appeared next to it, her dagger piercing directly into it's armored skin. As he rushed forward he saw Katarina shoot him a glance and he understood. She'd always hated the fact that Talon had watched over her, and this was her time to prove herself. Talon backed away respectfully and eyed one of the other vessels. It was not the largest of them by far, but the ground around it glowed with an immense amount of power. Talon knew that despite it's small stature this would be his opponent.
As he rushed forward he caught the figure by suprise landing a clean blow into it's right shoulder, as he pulled his dagger heavily it split the flesh and exited. As he stood looking at the figure it's arm hung on by a few strands of alien flesh, but as he examined more closely he saw the ever familiar purple glow and the damage he had inflicted seemed to be mended in a split second. As he watched intently he never allowed anything to cross his mind, he was constantly formulating his strategy. With the body of Ezeacha laying softly on the blood soaked sand his eyes turned deadly. Fiora glanced at him and saw the eyes that everyone had feared. As the rage inside Talon was converted into sheer force of will the stones grew brighter and brighter Talon's daggers became enveloped in the raging winds. He brought his right dagger to his side in a fluid motion and charge forward once again connecting with his opponent.
As the dagger made contact the wind exploded outward tearing off the figures arm at the elbow. As the other half dropped to the ground it turned into a puddle of purple ooze and once again Talon found the arm regenerating on the being. As he lowered himself into a fighting position he lost sight of his enemy. He turned around on his heals quickly and the figure appeared behind him, but it was to late to counter. The blackened figure brought it's hand down with tremendous force crushing down on Talon's shoulder. As he dropped to one knee he yelled out in pain, but even with the pain he felt he capitalized on his position. He brought his left dagger around and struck the figure in the back heavily. As he regained his footing he felt the blood flow quickly from his shoulder down his arm.
Fiora watched Talon intently as he went about his fight. As the crushing blow came down on his shoulder she caught sight of one motion that she would never have seen without his intent training. As he feel he glanced to his side toward her and let one of his smaller blades fly. As she followed the path of the dagger it struck the figure behind her hard in the chest and it stumbled back. As she became aware of the shadowy figure that stood several inches taller than her she brought her rapier around quickly striking the figure in it's leg. As it began to regain balance it brought it's arm to it's back quickly, and as the arm came back around it held a hammer of ridiculous proportion. The head of the hammer was just as large as the figures body, and it was held in one hand. 'The bigger they are the harder they fall' Fiora chuckled under her breath as she remembered the phrase. She jumped high into the air bringing her rapier down across the figures shoulder, it was a clean hit that cleaved the skin apart. Blood flew out from the wound and the figure staggered back slightly. Regaining it's balance it lashed out with it's open hand connecting with Fiora's abdomen and throwing her sideways. As she fell the hammer came down swiftly as she narrowly avoided it.
She clutched her side heavily and felt that her rips were broken, but it didn't matter. She had no choice but to continue fighting. As she focused all of her energy into the fight at hand lightning struck down hard on top of her opponent causing it to crumble quickly to it's knees. She lunged forward driving her rapier directly through it's chest. With a quick flurry of her weapon she struck the target 8 times in the chest before it began to get up. As it stood she ran directly at it once more striking it once more. The hammer came around it's back more slowly this time, as she traced the path of the weapon she jumped nimbly into the air landing atop the head for a split second before leaping off of it. She brought her rapier down across the figures face splitting the skin violently.
Katarina brought her blades to her side as she stared at the opponent in front of her. As with so many of the other champions that took part in the battle her weapons to contained runes. She had not taken any formal training to learn how to use them correctly, but as she stared at her opponent her own sadistic smile spread across her face.
"Try to keep up, or you might just find yourself missing a head" she mocked the being in front of her.
She charged headlong at the opponent with incredible momentum. As she brought her dagger forward it connected with her opponents chest causing it to fly back uncontrollably. As Katarina looked at her weapons she saw the stones glowing faintly. As she realized that she had drawn a response from them she felt her fighting resolve strengthen. Her body filled with a new energy and her daggers began to glow red in her palms. She withdrew one of the small throwing knives from her side and threw it in the direction of her opponent. The first thing that she noticed was how much faster the blade moved than usual, the second was that upon impact the knife disintegrated into an explosion of shrapnel.
"What are the runes for your daughters weapons general?"
"A rather curious set if I do say so myself. Everything we know about them right now leads us to believe that they are meant to harness speed. Vastly increasing the stamina and vigor of their master. However I have a feeling that she'll be better able to explore the possibilities as soon as she comes to terms with the stones."
Katarina looked in the direction of her opponent as it brought itself to its feet slowly. She ran through all the information she'd been given about the runes and she realized the true answer. She was far from a scientist but she still knew what had happened. She'd been told that the runes were meant to increase her speed in combat, and she basked in the idea of being even more deadly. As she looked now though she realized that it wasn't just speed. It was energy in itself. She drew the conclusion quickly and smiled widely at her opponent. 'Kinetic Energy', that's what they do. As the thoughts ran through her mind all the pieces of the puzzle fell into place and as she drew her conclusion her blades began to glow even brighter red as they stored the potential energy from their host. With a quick flurry of her hands she unleashed 3 more blades that ripped through her opponent exploding into shrapnel. She disappeared into a cloud of purple smoke appearing directly next to her opponent once more.
"Sorry to be a buzzkill, but I do believe this is the part of the fight where you drop dead." she laughed maniacally as she drove her glowing red dagger into her opponents side. Upon impact the light exploded into being tearing a hole into her opponents side. As she spun around on her heels the image of her body became a blur as she released the remainder of the knives in her belt at her enemy. All 10 blades struck the enemy directly, each one ripping massive wounds into it's flesh. As the smoke cleared and Katarina came to a screeching halt she looked back. What lay on the sands did not resemble a corpse at all. It's chest torn apart by multiple high velocity explosions, a large portion of it's side completely missing. She leaned down slowly and spat directly onto the body and walked away slowly.
Chapter 36 - The Ultimate Sacrifice
As Talon moved to evade his pursuer he felt the sensation grip the left side of his body. As he focused his attention his eyes lost sight of his enemy, and when he regained his sight he screamed in pain. The figure stood at his side, its arm diving dangerously through his side. He fell to the ground heavily as blood poured from the wound. He breathed heavily realizing the outcome of the battle if he kept this up for much longer. As he stood back up his enemy stared at him, no visible damage showing on his body. Talon focused hard on everything that had occured, and no matter where he struck his opponent his body would simply regenerate. As a last ditch effort he decided to go for the place that anyone would. He dropped his left dagger to the ground and held the other defensively. His opponent stepped forward slowly and Talon charged. His opponent matched his move, as the figure closed in on Talon its arm grew brightly and morphed into a long spike. As the distance became less and less Talon spun to his side quickly, the figure thrust it's arm forward completely missing Talon. Now that he had the advantage Talon focused all of his will into his dagger and drove it heavily down into his opponents head, it split the armor like skull easily. As the blade cut down through the body the winds exploded outward shredding the internal organs of the vessel.
Talon watched intently as his opponents body dropped lifelessly to the ground. He watched for several moments yet the figure did not move. As he looked around he saw Fiora still in combat and the other champions engaging the vessels as well. Kassadin stood near the obelisk silently waiting for his moment. Talon picked up his other dagger and rushed to Fiora's aid. As he arrived the behemoth that stood in front of him knocked him to the side effortlessly and his hammer came down heavily striking Talon in his injured shoulder. The sound of bones breaking was easily recognizable as Talon crumbled underneath the momentum of the weapon. Fiora looked at him in dismay and jumped nimbly striking the giant in his chest and kicking him backward. Talon stood once more with the same cold expression in his eyes. As Fiora looked at him he darted in front of her. As he reached his destination he fell back heavily as the projectile connected with his chest. Fiora knelt down by his side placing her ear over his mouth, but the sound of his breathing was not present. She placed her hand on his neck as she'd done the night in Noxus, and his pulse was absent. She stood once more with the fire of anger burning deep within her eyes. She withdrew her smaller dagger and threw it with great force directly into the giants chest. As it connected the dagger began to glow with it's electric blue aura and Fiora brought her rapier over her head. The clouds in the sky began to churn overhead and a loud crack was heard even before the lightning struck down. As it moved quickly to the ground it found her dagger embedded in her enemies chest striking it heavily. Fiora rushed forward while her enemies was off guard and brought her rapier across it's throat quickly as it feel backward lifelessly.
She rushed to Talon's side placing her hand once again on his neck. His skin was ice cold and as she opened his eye lids all that was visible were the whites of his eyes.
"I'm aware, but he did it for a reason that none of us may ever understand. That's the thing about that man. With all of the silence, and all of the observing, no one would ever guess that he's come to care for most of the League's inhabitants, and he would never admit it to anyone. However, he just proved it. He put himself in the line of fire willingly and knowing that his body couldn't handle it."
"And what of the sorceress?"
"She is ready. Summon her."
The sky above Icathia suddenly took on a faint blue glow. In the back where the carriages still rested on their sides a woman appeared, a white aura surrounding her. Her bright blonde hair flowed smoothly down her neck and over her shoulders. As she grasped the horror of the scene in front of her the smile gently faded from her face and was replaced with a look of nervousness. She glanced to the side seeing the young man with Fiora's jacket over his face, and as she examined the rest of the seen she saw many people lying helplessly on the sands. The blood shed became to much for her to bare. As she let the sympathy that was ever present in her body flood through her body her staff began to emit a faint white glow.
"Believe it or not he's still alive, but barely. They say that a person can live for up to 5 minutes after the heart has stopped beating given the correct circumstances. It is all a matter of how fast the brain becomes inactive. I have faith that even in death Talon will not give up easily."
"Then why have we summoned the girl to the battlefield?"
"Because she possess the key to our success. When we began bringing the runes out of hiding I knew that I to had to do my part. In those times there was a healer named Artemis but known better by her title 'the Prophet of Charity'. Do you recall the old tale?"
"Yes I do, but you're being rather vague general, just what are you trying to say."
"The story that you've heard is in fact of a true person, a very powerful young woman blessed with immense magical potential. It wasn't just that which gave her the title that she held but a small stone that existed in her staff."
"You mean a rune?"
"Yes indeed. The rune that Luxanna Crowngaurd now possess. The stone of charity. I have the feeling that even without proper instruction she'll be able to use it, she's a remarkable young woman. Kind, generous, caring; I only saw it fit that such an angel be blessed with a power that does not bring harm."
"What do you mean? The stone has no offensive uses at all."
"Not in the least. One cannot battle with the Light of Life, but in the correct hands such a power can heal even the most fatal of wounds, and protect against the most powerful of attacks. The lives of the men and women that risk themselves on the frontlines now rest in her hands."
Lux stood motionless over Talon's body. She looked at him and felt disgusted. She had never imagined that she would ever see the man in such a sorry state of being. The ground under him was dyed pure red with the fresh blood. Tears began to form in Lux's eyes and the stone in her staff began to grow more brightly. 'He can't be dead, not like this. He just can't be, he's not the type of person to die this way. He's still got so many things left unfinished, and a woman who will never see him alive again. He can't be dead, I have to fix this.' Lux struggled frantically to control the thoughts racing through her mind as she wept over the Noxian's corpse. The light that her staff emitted continued to grow in intensity and her tears fell directly onto Talon's chest. As if knowing the desires of Lux's heart the light manifested itself off of the staff enveloping Talon's body. Lux's eyes were held shut tightly and she did not see the miracle that was taking place. Strands of light formed off of Talons torn flesh as the wounds began to tie themselves together. After a few minutes Talon's body laid completely intact on the ground. Lux opened her eyes and placed her hand on his neck, but his pulse was not there.
The fight still raged in the background. Of the 12 vessels only 5 remained standing. Across the sands bodies of soldiers lay helplessly. There was no time to tend to the wounded though. As the purple gate began to glow brighter figures began to appear below it. In only a few moments the soldiers looked out and saw an army of Kog'Maw like creatures charging forward. Everywhere around them living artillery rained down from the sky.
As the voidlings charged forward the soldiers saw a lone champion stand in front of them. Seeing the bravery of the one they stood at his side ready to turn back the horde of void creatures.
Galio stood in the front of the ranks with his wings spread open wide. As he stared intently at the charging wall of voidlings he beat his wings heavily causing the wind to kick the sand up. As the motion of his wings grew faster and faster a small torrent began to form in front of him traveling quickly towards the wall of enemies. As it connected the voidlings were thrown out of ranks and the soldiers behind Galio rushed at them. As the enemy was spread out amongst a great distance they were weak. As the blackened metal of swords pierced through their larval bodies the strange acidic liquid poured out.
As the final voidlings were slain the men once again looked at the gate to see the next wave beginning to form. Galio leaped into the air directly towards the gate. He landed heavily smashing down and bringing his wings heavily around him. As he sat in his same position the wind began to kick up around him and the voidlings began their assault. Shielding his body from the brunt of the attacks the soldiers charged in. As Galio absorbed the entire assault his body was covered in large gashes, but he paid no mind to the wounds. As the voidlings continued to pour out of the portal it was visible that Galio was becoming weak, and as the last artillery shell struck down directly on him his wings erupted outward knocking all of them away. His eyes glowed blood red in anger, his voice almost demonic. He brought his arms down heavily seizing one of the voidlings and tearing it in half effortlessly. As Galio began his relentless rampage the corpses began to pile up around him. The soldiers seeing his sudden outburst fought harder to turn back the hordes of the void.
During all the commotion nobody had seen the body move. Now as he stood in his concealed position he waited. He watched Kassadin intently, waiting for his moment to help. As the final few vessels were brought down he saw Kassadin disappear into his glowing purple orb and rushed after him. Kassadin appeared next to the giant stone obelisk where the gate was beginning to weaken. He brought his hands out in front of him placing them mere inches from the enormous portal that sat in front of him. As he began to focus his own purple glow intensified as a decade of stored energy raced through his body. All the while he chanted in a long forgotten language.
Reaching Kassadin's side he quickly grabbed his arms and pushed Kassadin back heavily. With his right arm outstretched toward the portal and his left resting on Kassadin's chest the energy poured through him. He began to chant the same as Kassadin had been and the markings on his skin once again began to glow.
"This is not your place to die. This is my doing, and I will end this the way that I started it." Ezeacha yelled back as Kassadin struggled to get up
With his final words the glow of the portal encased Ezeacha and exploded. All eyes turned to where he had stood before and as the smoke began to clear he stood motionless with his arms outstretched. As the champions moved to go and praise him a soft breeze blew through, and his body began to disappear into it. As they surveyed the scene they saw an unfamiliar looking man laying on the ground.
"Who are you, and how did you get here?" one of the superior officers approached the man slowly.
"What do you mean who am I? I came here with all of--" the man paused briefly as he brought his hand up to gesture to the carriages, "what's happened? Everything has changed."
"Where there was once flesh fate turned to stone, I have returned the flesh to it's rightful place." Ezeacha's voice echoed through the battleground.
"Kassadin." the man said softly as he looked at his flesh for the first time in 10 years.
He looked silently across the body littered sands and found the man he was looking for. Motionless and cold Talon lay helplessly in a pool of his own blood. Kassadin stood silently and walked towards him. He brought his body down low placing his hand over Talon's face and shutting his open eyes. He placed his hands beneath the body and lifted it up effortlessly and laid it in the back of one of the carriages.
"He's not dead. Not just yet, but it's very possible that he will never move from the position he is in right now. His brain is active, his pulse is weak, his breathing shallow. Take care of him." Kassadin's words escaped his lips solemnly as he tried to grasp the reality that was unfolding before him.
Sona sat in her room silently thinking about Talon. She looked down at the bracelet that hung around her wrist and saw the shimmer of light fade away. Tears formed slowly in her eyes as she felt the sudden emptiness in her heart. She fell to the ground softly weeping as the shadowy figure entered the room.
"The look is not befitting of you. Do not cry over those who are lost, when they are not lost in the first place. Whether living or dead the man will always be part of you, both in your heart, and the baby girl to be born. So rest for now, and the sun will come out tomorrow, I promise you this much. He won't give up that easily, he won't make the same mistake his parents made." as the general spoke Sona drifted out of consciousness. He lifted her up silently and placed her in the bed and covered her up. He bent over and kissed her softly on the forehead as tears gently streamed down his own face.
As he looked at the woman resting in the bed he was only reminded of the time in his life when he'd seen the same sight in his own home. As the image of his wife came to mind the tears flowed more quickly down his cheeks, and in his mind he prayed that Talon would come back from wherever his mind was lost too. The reality of the situation gripped him heavily as the thoughts of losing his pupil became more and more likely.
Katarina stood by the carriage silently looking at the fallen assassin. Inwardly her heart sank deeply as she fought back the tears that struggled to break loose from her eyes. As the champions gathered around the fallen warrior the general infantry gathered their wounded. Galio lay wounded next to the obelisk, his wings torn apart from the assault they had endured. Garen, Jarvan, and Xin Zhao rushed to his aid and lifted him onto one of the empty carriages.
Everywhere across the battlefield the bitter sweet reality weighed down on their shoulders heavily. Victory but at what price?
Chapter 37 - The Dirge of 1000 Tears
The large oak box was lifted high into the air. By looking at the object many would believe it to be heavy but the 4 men on either side of the box lifted it with no trouble. As it made it's way down the aisle the eyes looked on it heavily, tears bursting from many eyes. The box was adorned with Ivory carved into intricate patterns, the dark black color of the finish further augmented the bright white of the ivory. Although the box did not contain a body as it was justly made to it was still carried to a small hole dug 6 feet deep at the front of the crowd. A top the overhead door to the casket was a small golden name plate with the young man's name on it.
Although his presence at the League only lasted for a few short weeks he'd impacted nearly every champion with his valiant sacrifice. As they sat dressed in black they watched the box sink further and further into the hole in front of them. Fiora stood silently walking to the end of the aisle and placing a single white rose on the box as it was lowered. A lone tear streamed from her eye and down her cheek. She raised her hand slowly wiping it away and returned to her seat, her eyes glued to the casket as it became completely hidden beneath the wall of dirt.
As Sona plucked the strings of her etwahl the sound was cold and solemn. She was visibly focused on the casket that had been lowered into the ground, but as she played her mind could not escape from it's own nightmare. As she played she simply prayed that she would not have the responsibility of playing such a dirge for her own husband. She recalled the night before as broken down carriages made their way to the front steps of the Institute. It was late in the night but as the carriages came near there was a large commotion that woke her and as she stared out from her window she saw him. His face was covered with a black blanket, but as he was moved into the infirmary she saw the signature gauntlet that he wore on his arm. As she looked on in desperation she felt the cold reality creep into her mind, and as she looked down at the bracelet that hung from her wrist the glow did not return. Tears rolled softly down her cheeks as she thought about making her way to the infirmary. As she brought herself to her feet she walked slowly stumbling often.
No longer paying attention to the place that she was she treaded dumbly through the halls, completely encased in her own reality not wanting to accept what had just presented itself. As she walked the halls of the League blindly she cried harder and harder, and finally with a final step she collapsed. As she began to fall the shrouded figure stepped out from her hiding spot. She caught Sona's body softly as it came to the ground. As the female looked over her for any sign of harm she could not find any. Silently she brought the woman into her arms and struggled to lift her.
"Allow me, I do not doubt your strength, but she deserves to be treated with the utmost care." Shen's figure emerged from around the corner.
"What's happened?" Akali's voice was soft and reserved as she stared at the woman crying softly in her arms.
"The assassin has fallen, and it doesn't look promising." Shen's voice was indifferent as he spoke, but in his mind he felt the sadness grip him. He was not sad at the falling of the assassin, but as he looked at Sona he felt an odd sadness.
"Such a warm hearted and kind woman does not deserve to feel the pain that she now feels." Shen spoke the words wrapping Sona softly in his arms and lifting her effortlessly.
He walked back to Sona's room and laid her in her bed softly and covered her up. He closed the door silently as he exited and Akali stood in front of him.
"I want you to stay with her tonight. If she gets up again don't let her leave. The last thing she needs to be doing is wandering the halls this late without any form of protection. I'll go see what information I can gather."
As he left Akali laid gently on the couch and rested her head against the arm. As she lay she couldn't sleep as she heard the woman in the other room crying softly. After 15 minutes of listening Akali stood up and entered Sona's room. As she looked at the woman crying softly in her sleep stepped closer. Softly she wiped the tears away with her sleeve. Sona's warm blue eyes opened softly to see the assassin but she was not startled.
"Everything is going to be alright, just try and get some rest." Akali spoke the words solemnly.
Sona looked at the woman in front of her and without meaning to she leaned in closer wrapping her arms around her. She nestled her face against Akali's shoulder and cried softly. Not knowing how to react Akali sat motionless before bringing an arm around Sona's to hold her closely.
As quickly as Sona had woken up she was back to sleep and Akali once again covered her. As she sat in the silence she listened and heard Sona's gentle breathing, it was almost rhythmic and she had stopped crying. She resumed her position on the couch and as her head hit the cushioned arm her eyes shut and exhaustion overtook her.
As daylight broke through the windows of Sona's room she opened her eyes. She didn't remember the majority of the previous evening and as she rolled over softly she noticed something, or rather someone, who had not been there previously. Laying softly on the other side of the bed, curled up into a small ball lay Akali. Sona was not startled by her presence and as she climbed out of the bed she placed the blanket over Akali. She exited the room quietly not wanting to wake Akali and as she entered the foyer she saw yet another unexpected guest.
"I do not wish to intrude, but was simply looking for my acquaintance." Shen stood courteously in front of the door, "I left her here last night to keep an eye on you. Do you remember anything?"
"I remember being woken up in the middle of the night, and I know that's not where it ended, but past that I can't remember anything."
"You're fine, but I cannot withold information from you of all people. Where is Akali?"
"She's in the bed sleeping." Sona's thoughts rang through Shen's head as he thought.
"Then she will not mind us going on a short walk." Shen gestured to the door opening it for Sona.
As they exited her room Shen took the lead walking down the stairs to the main level of the Institute. He was on his way to the infirmary so that Sona could see Talon with her own eyes. After he had left the previous evening he had sought out the knowledge of the High Council and had been turned down. As he made his way back to his own living chamber though General Du Couteau caught him and told him everything that he knew, and it was now Shen's responsibility to tell Sona.
"I know that you're aware of where we are going, and you know the reason, but I'll lend you my insight. He's not dead, but he is weak. Weaker than he has ever been before. His pulse has returned, and his brain activity is off the charts, but he will not wake. They don't believe he will die, but they can't account for the unexplained brain activity. What is clear is that something is going on inside of his head, but he will live, as long as he will there is a way. You'll see your husband again, I can assure you of that."
With his final words Shen and Sona came to stand by a window that shone through to Talon's room. Shen stepped away silently leaving her beside the glass. As she looked through she felt her heart sink once more but as she stood and looked at the man in the bed she remembered Talon's promise.
"I'm happy. I promise that I will always be here for you, and for her. Nothing is ever going to take me away from you two."
She entered the room slowly and stepped closer to Talon's unconscious body. She leaned over gently and kissed his forehead. Pulling up a chair she sat down beside the bed. The hours passed by in silence as she maintained her steady watch over him.
Chapter 38: A Feeling Beyond Time
Treading softly through the streets of Demacia he was over taken by it's beauty. Being a former inhabitant of the city had not made him any less aware of the beauty that was housed inside the cities walls. Ten years had gone by slowly and now as he looked upon his flesh again Kassadin smiled. He turned his head slowly towards the sky, staring into it's infinite depth.
"May you rest in peace." He gently whispered the words before resuming his walk.
As he came to her doorstep he began to wonder what he would say. How would he explain to her all that had taken place, and how would she feel about all of it. He rang the bell and Maria opened the door. She stood frozen in place as she looked back at the man she used know, looking as if not a day had passes since their youth. Tears began to form in her eyes as she threw her arms around Kassadin heavily. She tried to speak through her sobs but nothing came out comprehensible. Kassadin brought his arms around her back softly holding her. As she dug her head into his shoulder he placed his hand behind her head.
"I thought you were gone, again." She pulled her head away from him quickly looking over him once more.
"I thought I was as well." Kassadin spoke solemnly
"What happened?" As she began to think she became suddenly worried.
"It's over. The void is sealed, I've been given my body back." Kassadin's voice still held it's solemn tone.
"You sound really sad for someone who's just been given a second chance. You're not telling me the whole truth, what happened?" Maria began to get angry as she knew Kassadin with held the details.
"He's dead." these were the only two words to leave Kassadin's mouth before his own eyes began to fill with tears, "it was my place to close the portal. I would have given my life willingly if it meant protecting you from the danger. He did to me, or rather for me. 'Where there was once flesh fate turned to stone, I have returned the flesh to it's rightful place.' " Kassadin spoke the words of young man
"Who was he?" Maria stood in front of him with a confused expression on her face.
"He was a friend, and a savior. A hero, and a fiend. He is what brought the void upon us, and yet he was the one who ensured it's downfall. He was the one who had to bare the guilt for centuries. He's the one who gave me back my life, at the expense of his own." Kassadin once again looked up into the sky, searching for a sign that the man heard his word.
He wrapped his arms around Maria once more picking her up and stepping into the house.
"But that's enough about that. I believe we have some catching up to do." He smiled softly looking at the beautiful woman nestled softly in his arms.
As she sat at his bedside Sona waited. She could have easily waited in her bedroom but as the doctors and nurses came in she turned each of them away stating that she wished to be by his side. It had been 3 days since Ezeacha's funeral and now Sona waited, praying that Talon's would not come soon. As she sat in her chair a sharp pain erupted in her stomach causing her to cringe. One of the doctors outside the window saw the motion and entered.
"Is everything alright Lady Sona? Are you in pain?" he wore a very concerned expression
"It's fine, just an upset stomach."
She had not lied for she hadn't eaten anything in the last few days, but as the doctor left the room she placed her hand on her stomach and felt the soft kicking of the child. She smiled and looked back at Talon.
"I don't know if you can hear me Talon, but I'm here by your side. Me and the baby are both here, and we always will be. So please come back to us, we need our man to watch out for us." Sona's thoughts drifted through the room falling on deaf ears.
His vision was black. The pain in his body was intense but as he tried to move his limbs would not respond. He tried to speak but the words would not come, and as he tried to open his eyes there was no response. He remembered the fight and being hit in the chest by the blade. He remembered falling heavily to the ground and his vision going black. From that moment his eyes would not open. He wasn't sure how many days had passed since the fight, or where he was. He wasn't sure if he was dead or left for dead. As his mind scattered through the possibilities he began to fear the worst. Had he truly been labeled dead and buried? He was unsure of anything that was taking place around him, and as he lay in horror he was unaware of the warm blue eyes watching over him.
As she walked through the halls she tried to occupy her mind. She didn't want to think about Talon being in the hospital, or the tears that came from the funeral a couple days ago. She'd cried the entire night of the funeral. She had made it out alive when some many others had fallen. Now as she walked towards the infirmary she tried not to think. She passed by window that looked into Talon's room but didn't as much as steal a glance as she passed.
As she exited the medical wing she was happy that she'd maintained her composure. She continued slowly up the staircase to the living quarters. As she came down the hall she stopped slowly in front of Talon's door. Tears began to form in her eyes as she stared at the door and began to wonder how the man was doing. She considered going back downstairs to check on Sona. As she turned around to go back down though her eyes met another woman's.
Katarina stood in front of her staring intently. As Fiora looked at her their eyes locked. As the tension rose between the two Katarina stepped forward never breaking eye contact with the duelist. She felt a soft hand grasp hers and as she looked down she saw Fiora holding onto her right hand.
"Talon did train me you know. Even for an assassin as skilled as you, your movements are far to slow for me to not notice when you're withdrawing a knife." Fiora said and smiled childishly at Katarina.
As she brought her hand back Katarina tried to come up with something to say, but no words came to mind. From the moment she had stepped foot into the hallway she found herself awestruck. As she watched Fiora walk she couldn't help but be intrigued by the woman's prowess. She was of a very small build, and yet she was hailed as one of the best duelists in all of Demacia. As Katarina followed behind her silently she caught herself looking over the females body, not for fighting purposes, but out of sheer curiosity.
As Katarina stared at the other woman she found herself lost in the duelists eyes. As they looked at eachother the tension once more rose. After several moments that felt like hours of staring at eachother Katarina opened her mouth. As Fiora expected some snide remark to come out Katarina wrapped one of her arms around the duelists back quickly pulling her head closer to hers and kissing her softly on the lips.
Fiora recoiled like a spring pulling away from the assassin who simply stood in front of her smiling.
"What do you think you're doing?" Fiora screamed at Katarina.
"Not really sure." Katarina said calmly, "just sort've felt like it."
Fiora looked back at the other woman glancing from side to side. Nobody else was present in the hallways and Fiora stepped closer to Katarina.
"You just felt like kissing me?" Fiora's faced turned bright red
"Yeah." Katarina stood coolly answering each of her questions calmly.
Fiora looked at the other woman in front of her and wondered how she could be so calm about the situation. She'd only ever kissed one person and that was Talon and now she stood with Katarina in front of her, staring at her intently.
"And just when did you feel yourself wanting to kiss me?" Fiora questioned further.
"Not sure sometime between you turning around and you freaking out over it." Katarina laughed at her
"And what is so funny?" Fiora yelled at her.
"Nothing, it's just cute that you're embarrassed about something as small as a kiss." Katarina once again laughed.
Fiora stood silently looking at the other woman. She felt herself blushing again under Katarina's gaze and turned away quickly. She felt Katarina place a hand softly on her shoulder and spin her around. As her eyes met with the assassin's once more she began to shake.
"Calm down." Katarina said childishly.
As Fiora managed to regain her composure she backed away looking into the assassin's eyes. As she stared she found herself moving slowly towards the other woman. Her eyes closed hard as her lips opened slowly, and once again the two kissed.
"See wasn't so bad was it?" Katarina looked at Fiora with softened eyes.
"Why all of this now?" Fiora's last question fell from her lips.
"Seemed like a good time. I've been watching over you for quite some time now. I wasn't sure at first what it was that made me so interested in you. As I watched you I began to plainly recognize all of your wonderful characteristics. Your eyes, your hair, the natural curves of your body. Before long I found myself staring at your lips and wondering what they tasted like." Katarina began very calmly.
"So you have a crush on me?" Fiora said with a giggle
Katarina's eyes turned to flame as the other female laughed at her.
"I never said that!" Katarina yelled out loud
"I think you just did." Fiora said in between laughs
Katarina turned slowly preparing to walk away when Fiora laid her hand on her shoulder.
"Don't be such a fun killer, I never said I didn't like it." Fiora's eyes met hers once more and Fiora kissed her softly on the cheek, "i'm just not used to so much, romantic, attention. Back in Demacia I was always so busy training, and now I have an abundance of free time. Please don't go."
Katarina turned around slowly and saw the other woman smiling. She noted the way the smile looked so natural on the duelists face, and also how beautiful it was.
"Would you like to come in?" Fiora opened her door slowly gesturing for Katarina to enter.
Katarina walked into the room slowly hugging Fiora as she passed by. The door closed silently behind the two of them. Inside the room Fiora removed her jacket and laid it on the back of one of the chairs softly. Katarina sat awkwardly on the couch not sure of what to say. Fiora retrieved a small bottle from the rack in her kitchen and brough it out along with two glasses.
"Do you like wine?" Fiora said silently as she poured the red liquid into one of the glasses
"I guess so." Katarina was still unsure of what she was doing.
It was true that Katarina had watched the duelist for some time now, and that in secret she had developed a sort of crush on her. It was true that she had enjoyed kissing Fiora and that as she sat her now she wished to do it again, but as she sat in the woman's apartment she couldn't help but feel out of place.
"I should probably go, I don't want to be a bother." Katarina stood up attempting to leave.
As she stood Fiora also stood clasping her hand softly. Fiora brought her head close to Katarina's kissing her once more. As seconds melted together the kiss drew longer, after what seemed like hours the two broke apart. There breathing was shallow and quick as they looked at one another. As Fiora ran through the thoughts in her mind she had never seen anything like this ever happening, but as she looked at the woman in front of her she felt the warmness creep through her body. She sat back down pulling Katarina down to her side. The two sat side by side and Fiora poured the wine into the small glass in front of the assassin.
"One drink never killed anybody." Fiora said with a small laugh and lifted her glass into the air.
Katarina matched her movement and the cups came together with a clang while the two females drank. As the hours passed by Katarina lost track of time enjoying the company of the duelist. As she looked at the clock she stood up quickly.
"It's late I should probably go and let you get some rest." Katarina said all of this quickly but Fiora once again grabbed her hand.
"Or you could stay over here tonight, If you'd like." Fiora looked at the assassin with gentle eyes.
As Fiora stood up she took Katarina by the hand and led her into the bedroom, closing the door silently behind them.
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