Update: 5/4/2012 - Chapter 2 has been updated, Chapters 3-5 have been removed until further notice. Currently working on Chapter 3.
Classes have been putting a bit of a block on my original writing, so to keep in practice I'm writing a fan fiction for League of Legends. It's actually helped me a lot already in getting me into the habit of just getting stuff on the page and worrying about the editing and perfection later. The chapter length is going to vary quite a lot, and though the title might not make sense now, it will later. I also might be adding a few illustrations if I'm feeling up to it. If I manage to finish it, this fan fiction will be very long, so early kudos to any who follow it all the way to the end(if we get there, I will try). This will also be prone to editing as I re-read and notice mistakes or hiccups in the writing. Constructive criticism and comments in general are greatly appreciated!
Anyway, this will mostly follow Twisted Fate around, but quite a few champions will be making appearances as well.
Reserved for Chapter Links
Chapter 5(Found on Page 2)
Fan Fics that I Like
This Skin, by RedYume
Renekton decides to tank, by IMTOOJUICY
Chapter 1: Intrigue
Four summoners sat comfortably behind their ornate table. The table itself had been placed upon a four-foot dais, which allowed the summoners to tower over all but the tallest creatures even when seated; it was befitting that they should, given that they were three full ranks above the average summoner, and the League felt they deserved recognition as such. A white radiance shone from high above the dais, bright enough at its source that it should illuminate the entire room, but on its journey down it was filtered somehow, so that it settled only on the summoners at their table and on whoever might be standing before them, silvering their robes like a fine dust and leaving the rest of the room lost in shadow. The mythical beasts and legendary heroes that had been carved into the table and chairs gleamed eerily in the silver light, seeming to watch anyone who stood before the summoners with their dead, wooden eyes.
The Institute investigator tried to ignore the unnerving table carvings as he stood before his superiors. “Another summoner has gone missing,” he reported, standing sharply at attention as the summoners looked down on him.
“An apprentice again?” one of the four drawled from his position to the left of the table's middle, leaning on the arm of his chair as he looked down at the investigator. Like most summoners he wore a large hood that obscured the upper half of his face in its shadow, but from the twist of his mouth and neatly-trimmed mustache he seemed somewhat disinterested in the whole affair. It was nothing new to lose an apprentice now and again, as they had been known to drop out without warning due to the workload or accidentally destroy themselves with magics that were far too advanced for them to practice.
The investigator shook his head. “No, one of our regulars,” he said, using the term for a summoner who was repeatedly chosen for matches due to his or her skill at handling most champions. The man pulled the messenger bag he had slung over one shoulder to his front, where he could get into it more easily, and spent a few moments searching through it. After what felt like an embarrassingly long time—the Investigator had almost forgotten which pouch he'd put the object in—he retrieved a long, triangular tooth made of hardened earth and held it high for the summoners to see. “This was discovered in the area where the missing summoner was last seen. It appears to be of magical origin, but we haven't been able to identify it yet.”
All four summoners sat up at attention when the tooth was presented, and the one who sat furthest to the right beckoned the investigator over. “Give it here,” she said, extending one slender hand to accept the tooth. The silver light settled on her delicate lips and small nose, showing that she was likely a beauty under her large hood. Those same lips were tense and slightly pursed as she watched the investigator approach her with the fang. Once it was in her hand, the summoner examined it for a few moments, then looked up. “You may go. We will handle the rest.”
The summoners waited for the Investigator to be safely out of earshot before they began talking amongst themselves. “Do you think it was the animaturge?” one summoner's voice was fearful as he turned to his fellows from the left end of the table. He was heavier than the other three, a trait given away by the lack of definition to his chin and the fullness of his cheeks.
“No doubt,” the first said, accepting the tooth as the second passed it to him. He was fully interested now, and the corners of his thin mouth were tugged downward in a worried frown. “And he's going after bigger targets, it's only a matter of time before he starts coming after our champions, or worse...” The word “us” hung silently in the air, and the other summoners nodded their heads in agreement.
“There must be some way to draw him out and trap him,” the second summoner mused, tapping her fingers against the tabletop as she thought, each of her long nails producing a quiet click as it connected with the polished wood. “Otherwise he will continue to grow stronger until he can destroy us in a head-on attack.”
The fourth summoner, seated near the left side of the table's middle, raised a boney hand to her chin, causing it to disappear under the shadow of her hood—unlike her fellows, she kept her head down most of the time, leaving her face entirely lost in shadow. “You have to wonder what he is planning,” her thin voice was grave as her hood turned slightly from right to left, taking in the looks of her fellow summoners. “The initiative to eliminate animaturgy began at the League's formation, but he doesn't seem to be trying only to preserve the art, I believe he has something bigger in mind.”
“For all our sakes, I hope you're wrong,” the first summoner propped his chin in the palm of his left hand, the orderly curve of his mustache upset by his scowl. “In any case, we should be extra cautious. Perhaps he has left something we can use to find him and put a stop to his antics before he gets any further out of hand.”
“Perhaps,” by her glum tone, it was clear that the fourth summoner did not believe her mustachioed associate. The animaturge had been careful to keep himself concealed for twenty years, and the League had been careful to keep his continued evasion under wraps in order to avoid alarming the public. Though their enemy had been only openly preyed on apprentice or weak summoners, she worried that he would soon choose to go after civilians in order to boost his power much more quickly, as animaturges were characterized by their nasty ability to assimilate the bodies and souls of anyone they defeated. She sighed, “I wonder who it was this time.”
The evening was pleasant and warm, the sort of night that drew lovers out for leisurely walks and elders out to the yard for drinks and long chats. Piltover gleamed in the darkness, competing with the stars and moon themselves for brightness. It was known as the City of Progress, and the inhabitants ensured that it looked the part; each building had been augmented with the very technology Piltover was so famous for, and the streets held a polite bustle of pedestrians and techmaturgical vehicles known as techarriages.
Caitlyn strolled down Academy Avenue, waving at civilians who greeted her and briefly talking with others. The elders who remembered the tyranny of organized crime which had once thrived in Piltover raised their glasses to Caitlyn in solute as she walked past, while any children or teens who happened to still be out and about stared at her in admiration. While the recognition was nice, what Caitlyn truly enjoyed was that sense of triumph over the crooks who had ruled Piltover, and being able to watch the citizens progress on their own terms once the streets had been made safe. Caitlyn's rifle was stowed in a special holster on her back, designed to allow for a quick draw if the situation called for it, and its weight was a comfort even on a peaceful night like this—you never knew what trouble could be brewing. The cold case she had been reviewing earlier, mixed with the strange report she had received that morning, also served to put her slightly on edge.
The Sheriff smiled as the Sharpshooter Tavern came into view and stepped up her pace. This was the place where she enjoyed meeting up with her civilian friends for a chat and drink, and she knew the owner quite well, having personally caught a gang who had robbed him some years before. The sign that hung just over the double doors was carved in the shape of a rifle with multiple scopes placed down its length—a wooden replica of Caitlyn's own weapon. Theo would be arriving soon for their talk, and she wanted to beat him there simply for competition's sake. The inventor's son had been a friend since childhood, and was always happy to chat with Caitlyn on various topics, be they law-related or otherwise.
The usual clamor of the tavern guests diminished somewhat when they noticed Caitlyn standing in the doorway. “Good evening Sheriff, how've ya been?” one of the tavern's customers, a short man with tousled gray hair and a bushy beard to match, called from his table. Caitlyn had rescued his daughter after she'd been kidnapped by a crime lord, back before she'd had cleaned them out of the city, and he had never forgotten the debt he owed to Caitlyn and her men.
“Very well, thank you Arnold,” Caitlyn smiled and walked further into the tavern, so she was standing at the nearest end of the bar. “How has business been? Doing well I hope.”
“Better than ever,” Arnold was grinning from ear to ear, happy to be able to speak with Piltover's protector. “And my daughter Emilia is getting married next week! Never would've been possible if you hadn't saved her.” He stood and raised his mug, “Three cheers for the guardian of Piltover!”
A loud cheer went up throughout the tavern's common room as most of the other guests chimed in, raising their glasses to Caitlyn and the peaceful times her hard work had produced. All save for one, who stayed silent in his seat at the bar and pretended not to notice the noise everyone else was causing.
Caitlyn laughed, feeling slightly embarrassed at the overwhelming praise. “All in a day's work, Arnold,” she waved a hand nonchalantly, as if saving kidnapped daughters was nothing big. Compared to trying to track down the master thief who had practically been the bane of her existence ever since his first appearance, it really wasn't.
“Oi Arnold, keep it down. Am I gonna have to cut you off already?” Max chided from where he was cleaning shot glasses behind the bar, though by the grin on his face he wasn't entirely serious. He was the owner of the Sharpshooter Tavern, and held a great deal of appreciation for Caitlyn as well.
“Aw don't be such a downer, Max,” Arnold called, though he took his seat all the same. “I'm just letting the Sheriff know we appreciate her hard work.”
“Something I'm very sure she knows already,” Max called back, stifling a laugh as he turned to Caitlyn. “Evenin', Sheriff. Will you be having the usual?” he set the shot glass he had been cleaning down as he awaited Caitlyn's answer.
“Yes, thank you, Max,” Caitlyn replied with a smile. She cast a quick glance around the bar and noticed someone she had never seen there before.
The man was slight, of much lighter build than most of the male champions Caitlyn saw on the Fields of Justice, and he perched easily on the bar stool, one boot braced against its metal frame while the other leg dangled freely. His hair was glossy black and slightly wavy, with the front portion allowed to fall around his face while the back was tied at the nape of his neck. He wore a black satin vest over a long-sleeved blue denim shirt, with blue jeans to match and cowboy boots made of fine brown leather. In all he seemed like an average visitor from the southwestern portion of Valoran, but it was his black hat, with its triangular rim and gold band, that gave him away.
“Is that Twisted Fate?” Caitlyn leaned a bit closer to Max as she asked the question to avoid being overheard by the stranger.
“Hmm?” Max glanced over his shoulder at the man, then looked back to Caitlyn. “That's right. Bit hard to recognize when he's out of his usual costume, aye?”
“I thought the hat was familiar,” Caitlyn replied. She hadn't seen Fate all that often on the Fields of Justice lately—Summoners tended to pass him by for more popular champions whenever they held their matches. Her eyebrows lowered slightly, and she felt herself already becoming suspicious of Twisted Fate's motives for coming to Piltover. “Any idea why he's here?”
“He wasn't very chatty when he ordered his drink, but he did mention that he was having a look at the way they use magic at the Academy for curiosity's sake,” Max spoke quietly as he prepared Caitlyn's black watch, easily pouring the correct amounts of each component without looking down. “Seems a bit subdued, if you ask me. Got something on his mind.” He placed Caitlyn's finished drink on the bar before her. “There you are.”
“Thank you,” Caitlyn picked up her drink and strode down the bar toward Twisted Fate. Her stance widened slightly and she raised her chin so she was looking down her nose at him, unconsciously taking on a more aggressive posture as she prepared to address this unexpected visitor. “Twisted Fate.”
The Card Master looked up at the mention of his name, and noticed that it was Caitlyn who was speaking to him. Twisted Fate merely smirked and turned back to his drink; the Sheriff of Piltover was nothing special to him. “Evenin', Sheriff. What can I do for you?” his voice was cool, as usual, but Caitlyn could swear she heard the slightest hint of dislike in his tone, particularly when he said the word sheriff.
“Stay out of trouble,” Caitlyn's smile was gone now, and she could feel the eyes of everyone else in the room on her as she continued. The normal clamor of the other guests quieted as they waited to see what would happen next. “I work very hard to keep this city clean, it would be a shame to see you make a mess of things.”
“Heh. Wouldn't dream of starting trouble in your town, Sheriff,” Twisted Fate used her title as if it were an insult this time; he was well aware of the fact that Caitlyn couldn't justify arresting him for something as trivial as his tone of voice, and he was sure Caitlyn knew it too. “I've seen how rough you can get, I'll behave.”
“See that you do,” Caitlyn didn't like his tone, but she was careful to keep her annoyance from showing; letting Fate know that he'd gotten to her would only reward his rudeness. After watching Fate for a few more moments, Caitlyn turned to see that Theo had just walked in, and she waved him over to the bar before taking a seat just two stools away from Twisted Fate. She brushed one of the lenses attached to her hat, as if to get it out of her face, and in doing so bumped it into a position that allowed her to watch Twisted Fate while she talked. Caitlyn wanted to see if he had the gall to eavesdrop on her conversation, and maybe call him out on it later just to be a bother to him. “Evening, Theo,” she said as he sat down. “How have you been?”
“Been doing alright,” Theo replied. He was thin, with short brown hair and neat clothes, the son of a wealthy inventor. He looked up as Max approached from the other side of the bar. “The usual, please,” Theo said politely, and turned back to Caitlyn. “And you?”
“The same, though I was looking through our cold case files today and found one that was really... Disturbing,” Caitlyn had one elbow propped against the bar surface as she spoke, her back turned to Twisted Fate. She could see him become a bit more still as she spoke—he was listening in.
“Disturbing?” Theo wrinkled his nose, wondering at how bad it could be to make Caitlyn use such a strong word. “How bad was it?”
“Do you remember the Dragonrock Massacre from twenty years ago?” Caitlyn's eyes flicked to the mirror again to check Fate, who was still pretending to be interested in his drink, then roved around the room a bit before returning to Theo's face. Theo didn't pay it any attention, he was used to Caitlyn habitually scanning the area for possible threats.
“Yeah, a whole band of gypsies slaughtered in one night. They never found who did it,” he raised his eyebrows. “Did you find anything new?”
Caitlyn shook her head. “Sadly no, but what's more interesting is what led me to review the case,” she frowned slightly as she looked at the mirror now—Twisted Fate had turned his back to her, but it seemed he was trying not to listen this time. The sudden disinterest was a surprise, but Caitlyn continued all the same, “This morning a local group of game hunters reported something strange to us—an entire meadow full of animals was cut to pieces and left to rot, just like what happened to—” Caitlyn saw Twisted Fate's arm waver slightly as he lifted his drink to take another sip, and a split second later she heard the sound of a glass breaking on the floor. She spun around on the bar stool and looked down at Twisted Fate, who was now kneeling on the floor as he picked up the shattered pieces of his glass.
Fate looked up to see her staring and gave Caitlyn a crooked smile. “Looks I've already had too much to drink tonight,” he said, his casual attitude fully recovered.
“Sir, please! Let me clean that before you injure yourself,” Max was already hurrying around the end of the counter, broom and dustpan in hand. Twisted Fate stood and moved aside for him, and Caitlyn noted that he was too sure on his feet to actually be drunk. The patrons whose attention had been drawn by the incident returned to whatever they had been doing before, and the temporary silence generated by the breaking glass was dissipated by the sounds of general conversation.
“Guess I should get back to the hotel before I cause any real trouble,” Fate said as the bartender stood with a full dustpan. The gypsy kept his head down now, doing his best to avoid looking Caitlyn in the eye. Fate's calm composure had returned for the most part, but Caitlyn knew it was an act after what she'd seen, and she watched him keenly as he paid for his drink and left the tavern.
He knows something. I might be able to solve this case after all. Caitlyn thought, pursing her lips slightly but otherwise allowing her expression to remain neutral. Her eyes lingered on the door for a few moments after Twisted Fate had disappeared into the evening shadows, then she glanced briefly at Theo. “You know he was listening to us the whole time?” her eyes flicked back to the door.
“Really?” the young man looked genuinely surprised. “So he didn't drop that glass because he was drunk?”
“I talked to Twisted Fate before you came in. He was completely sober then and he didn't have enough to drink while we were talking to even be tipsy,” Caitlyn lowered her chin slightly and gave her friend a sly smile. “We can still catch him if we hurry.”
Theo gave her a cheesy grin and held his hands up in a gesture of surrender. “I'll just get in your way. Have fun!” he said, chuckling.
Caitlyn shrugged, looking slightly disappointed—she could never get Theo to join in the fun. “Fine. But you don't know what you're missing.” Her drink quite forgotten and the thrill of the chase coursing through her, Caitlyn hopped off her stool and strode to the door, disappearing into the evening shadows just as quickly as Twisted Fate had just a minute before.
Twisted Fate had almost been able to disappear on Caitlyn, but she was able to follow him when she caught a glimpse of his boot disappearing around a corner. The tailing bit was mere child's play to her, and Caitlyn kept pace with him easily without being seen, despite the fact that Twisted Fate was constantly glancing over his shoulder to check if he was being followed. Ten minutes later, Twisted Fate arrived at his hotel. He paused on the threshold for a few moments and looked around, prompting Caitlyn to duck into the nearest alley to avoid being seen.
A sudden movement in the alley startled her, and Caitlyn looked up just in time to spot what appeared to be part of a reinforced poncho as its owner darted around the corner. She recalled seeing the faded red of that garment just recently in a League match. “Graves,” Caitlyn muttered as the sound of the Outlaw's footfalls faded into the distance. It made sense that Graves would show interest in Twisted Fate as well, given his vow for revenge on the Card Master, but Caitlyn didn't need someone she considered to be a reckless gun monkey complicating things.
Caitlyn fumbled with a few of her hat lenses, configuring them to allow her to see around the corner without putting herself out in the open, and checked Twisted Fate's position again. He had just entered the hotel, and Caitlyn left the alley she had been hiding in to dash to the front entrance of Pendulum Suites. She used her lenses to watch Fate without being seen; he gave the attendant on duty a careless wave as he passed, and disappeared up the stairs at the back of the lobby. Caitlyn waited a full minute to ensure that Twisted Fate wouldn't spot her from the stairs before entering herself.
“Sheriff Caitlyn!” the attendant beamed at Caitlyn from over the desk. “What can I do for you?”
“Notice anything strange about Twisted Fate this evening?” Caitlyn placed one hand on the desk as she spoke with the attendant and briefly scanned the lobby before focusing on her again.
“Oh,” the attendant blinked, then took on a thoughtful expression as she tried to remember the details. “Well, he seemed sort of... Melancholy when he first came in, but other than that nothing out of the ordinary.”
Caitlyn nodded; the attendant's observations were in line with what she herself had noticed. “Yes, I saw that too,” she started to turn away from the attendant, a hand slipping into a belt pouch to retrieve her League calling crystal.
“Did he do something wrong?” the attendant asked, looking worried; he thought of having an active criminal in her hotel was not a pleasant one.
“Oh,” Caitlyn paused with her hand still in her belt pouch and looked back at the attendant. “Not that I can prove, but I'll know for sure soon enough,” she pulled the calling crystal—a small flawless sphere of enchanted quartz—out of her pocket as she tried to reassure the attendant.
Knowledge that the Sheriff of Piltover was on the case gave the attendant no small amount of relief. “Oh, good,” she relaxed visibly, and fell silent when she noticed the calling crystal in Caitlyn's hand.
Caitlyn held the crystal in her left hand and tapped its smooth surface with her right index finger, causing the spell it contained to activate. She strode to a far corner of the room as the crystal searched for an open connection at the Institute of War, in order to avoid being overheard. A summoner answered her call request soon after she reached the corner.
“This is Summoner Errol,” the male summoner's voice emanated from the small crystal, just loud enough for Caitlyn to hear it clearly. He sounded bored. “How may I be of service, Sheriff Caitlyn?”
“It's about Twisted Fate,” Caitlyn held the crystal up a bit more as she spoke down to it. “I believe he might be involved with the Dragonrock Massacre. I would like permission to take him to the House of Law for questioning on the matter.”
In his office on the Institute of War campus, Summoner Errol sat up. “Dragonrock, you say?” He pushed his own fist-sized communication crystal aside, causing a few documents to fall off the desk, and thumbed through a few of his files. Errol's neatly-kept mustache mirrored the dissatisfied frown he wore as he pulled a different communication crystal toward himself. “A moment,” he said.
“Alright,” Caitlyn leaned against the wall as she waited for Errol to get back to her.
Summoner Errol muted Caitlyn's crystal and activated the other, one that would put him in direct communication with the head League Archivist. “Warren, wasn't that animaturge connected with the massacre at Dragonrock twenty years ago?” he asked once Warren had accepted the call.
There was a pause as Grand Archivist Warren summoned a few tomes and records to verify his answer. “Mmmyes, traces of the corresponding magic type as well as a few partially-destroyed rune circles were found at the site.”
“Good, thank you Warren,” Errol deactivated the second crystal and pulled the first over to himself again. “Permission granted,” he said formally. “Send any new information you are able to gather directly to us.”
“Good night, Sheriff Caitlyn. We eagerly await your findings,” Errol severed the connection before Caitlyn could reply.
Caitlyn frowned. Though the League had given her leave to take Twisted Fate, their eagerness for information on the Dragonrock Massacre bothered her, and it seemed very likely that there were more than a few important details on the case that they were keeping from her. She made a mental note to ask them about that later, then tucked the calling crystal away in its pouch and returned to the front desk, where the attendant was currently organizing room keys.
The attendant noticed Caitlyn and turned to face her again. “What can I help you with this time, Sheriff Caitlyn?” she gave Caitlyn another charming smile and waited for whatever request she might have.
“I need to know what room Twisted Fate is staying in,” Caitlyn replied. “We require him for an investigation.”
“Are you sure that's okay with the League?”
“I just got permission from them, as a matter of fact,” Caitlyn said, a little surprised that the attendant would think of something like that.
“Alright, then,” the attendant reached under the front desk and presented Caitlyn with a rune-engraved key. “This is the master key, he's in Room 387.”
“Good, just let me get a couple officers over here,” Caitlyn fished in another belt pouch, this time retrieving a short-range hextech communicator that would allow her to connect with the House of Law.
The signal was picked up and answered only a few seconds after Caitlyn called. “How may I help you, Sheriff Caitlyn?” the operator asked.
“Tell Officers Stonewall and Morrison to meet me at Pendulum Suites immediately with mage capture equipment,” she said promptly. The extra hands would be effective in ensuring that Twisted Fate would be surrounded before being caught, and Stonewall and Morrison were two of Caitlyn's most loyal lawmen, able to keep delicate information to themselves if need be. Caitlyn didn't want too many details on what was going on leaking out; she had already decided not to report to the League until they had given her their information in turn.
Caitlyn waited just outside the front entrance of the hotel, noting that it was well into the evening given how few people were out and about. Ten minutes passed before Caitlyn heard the clank and whir of one of the House of Law's techarriages coming down the street. She winced at the high-pitched squeal the brakes on this one made as the vehicle slowed to a halt—it would have to be looked at by one of their mechanics once it was taken back to headquarters.
Officers Stonewall and Morrison jumped down from the police techarriage as soon as it stopped and stood at attention before her. “Evening, Sheriff,” they said, almost in perfect unison as they spoke. They wore purple uniforms and top hats of a similar color to Caitlyn's own outfit, with brown leather belts and holsters to match.
“The target is Twisted Fate, I have permission from the League to capture him for an investigation,” Caitlyn clasped her hands behind herself as she addressed them. “He is currently in Room 387 at this very hotel, and I would like for us to be as discreet as possible while we extract him. Though we will hopefully have his magic suppressed when we take him, do not underestimate his non-magical abilities. There is a reason he was never caught before joining the League.”
“Yes ma'am,” the two officers replied, nodding to indicate that they understood her orders.
“Let's go,” Caitlyn helped them to unload the dart guns, magic-dampening shackles, and null-field generators—hextech devices that would suppress the magic of any mage within their area of effect—before leading the two inside. She grabbed the master key from the front desk as she passed, smiling when the attendant gave her a double thumbs-up and went back to her work.
The three lawmen approached Room 387 as quietly as possible, as they knew full well that Twisted Fate would likely teleport away at the first indication of an attack. Caitlyn removed her hat and pressed an ear to the door, expecting to hear some sort of movement from within. There was none. As far as she could tell, Twisted Fate had either already left or he was sitting still. She knew there was a chance that they were setting up a capture attempt on an empty room, but Caitlyn decided to go through with it anyway—if Twisted Fate was already gone, there was nothing she could do about it now.
Caitlyn used the master key to open up the rooms on either side of 387, easing their doors open as quietly as possible—any suspicious noise might spook their quarry. Stonewall and Morrison readied the null-field generators, which would be placed at the corners of the other two rooms in order to nullify any magic used inside Room 387.
Luckily the doors had been well-oiled and barely made a sound as they swung open, and now the trio just had to ensure that their footfalls were quiet enough to go unnoticed. Caitlyn placed the two generator pieces in Room 386, carefully setting them beside the walls closest to Room 387. She stopped Morrison in the hall once the field generators had been placed. “Morrison, position yourself beneath his window in case he tries to escape that way,” Caitlyn's voice was barely a whisper as she leaned close to Morrison. “You have three minutes.”
FanFiction.net link for Chapter 1: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8019189/...Will_of_Legacy
Constructive criticism and comments in general are greatly appreciated!
Chapter 2: The Falcon
Inside Room 387, Twisted Fate shuffled a deck of cards. Green and gold motes of his magic whirled around the cards as they danced between his hands, awakening the spells stored within them and giving them the power they needed to work. It was a deck of oracle cards, a tool that had been used by gypsy mages since long before Twisted Fate had even been born. He had bargained long and hard with a member of the Wolf band for the instructions to make his own set, and once acquired, it had taken half a year to complete the entire deck. In an instant he could recall the smell of the paint he'd used to make them, and of the times he'd shown up to a match smeared with it—there had been more than a few.
Each suit corresponded with one of the five main gypsy bands—Coyote, Fox, Wolf, Raven, and Serpent—and most had meaning only to one who had been immersed in gypsy culture, something that outsiders had little access to. Fate himself had forgotten much of this culture through the years due to long isolation from others of his kind, but the gypsy who had given him the instructions was also kind enough to provide a small book detailing most of the picture meanings. He was grateful for that, and had memorized the book during his spare time, but he would still be unable to understand what the cards told him in the fullness that a culturally-immersed gypsy would.
Even now, after having used the cards over a dozen times since making them, Twisted Fate still wasn't entirely sure how their magic worked. He'd noticed it even as he'd painted the cards; when he messed up and was about to trash the card and start over, somehow it would alter when he left it alone and would then look almost perfect when he returned. It was probably the fact that the enchantments to make the cards infused them with magic and such, but he still didn't know for sure and likely never would. His ignorance bothered him, but at least the deck gave him accurate results, and they weren't wiped blank every time Fate used them for peering into his own future as had happened whenever he tried using regular tarot decks for such a task.
Twisted Fate collected the deck in his left hand, drew the topmost card, and set it face down on the tabletop. The cards were a comfortable weight in his hand; they were an accomplishment as well as a part of him, since they were infused with his magic. He smiled at that thought, then cut the deck three times and selected the topmost card again, and repeated this for the third card as well. Magic hovered over the three cards, illuminating their painted backs with a faint green glow as Fate flipped the first card. This would tell him what the near future—within three days of the reading—would most likely hold.
The Falcon—one of the Raven suit—soared across a forested horizon, eyes focused on the ground below as it searched for prey. It meant someone would be hunting him, and it made sense given that Caitlyn had taken an interest in him after he lost his cool in the bar. Graves was always stalking him too, now that he thought about it. Not that it mattered, Twisted Fate was leaving Piltover soon anyway. He drew another card from the top of the deck and laid it beside the Falcon. The Tempest of the Serpent suit now lay above the Falcon; it meant turmoil and pain in the near future, likely caused by the hunter that was pursuing him. Fate fidgeted in his chair, and began to hurry—he wasn't too eager to stick around and wait for the hunter to find him.
The next card would tell Fate of the more distant future—up to three months away. The Caravan faced him now; it meant there would be a long journey ahead. Fate cut the deck, drew the topmost card, and laid it by the Caravan—it was Coyote the Trickster King, and it meant there was power to be had, with work and cunning required to attain it. He didn't know why, but this card in particular always filled him with an acute sense of resentment, and Fate could never pinpoint exactly what caused these ill feelings—the card had been easy enough to paint, since he'd seen plenty of symbolic pictures of Coyote when he was young, it looked nice, but he couldn't shake the bitterness he experienced whenever he looked it. Maybe it was that Coyote had always had such an easy time with anything he was faced with during his adventures, while Twisted Fate had to struggle just to keep up with other mages in power. Fate laced his fingers and stared down at the card for a few moments, eyes half-closed. The power gain was a promising prediction, but he had to wonder what the journey would be, and why he would be taking it. With a quiet sigh, Fate lowered his hands and prepared to flip the last card.
Twisted Fate was reaching for the third and final card when he felt his magical power suddenly waver and weaken—someone had put a null-field around his room while he was busy, and he knew that such equipment was readily available to Caitlyn and her men. They would probably be coming in soon; time was short. He shoved back the small twinge of apprehension that entered his mind and flipped the last card to find the Giant, of the Coyote suit. There would be a great enemy in the indistinct future, one that would require a great deal of skill and power to defeat.
The spell would no longer work properly with his magic dampened as it was, so Fate didn't bother with the final draw and instead swept the cards up and put them back into their box.
The null-field generators were active, which meant that Twisted Fate was aware of their presence. Caitlyn wasted no time in opening the door to Room 387 with the master key and bursting in with Stonewall, dart guns at the ready. They found Twisted Fate seated behind a coffee table, legs crossed and fingers laced with his hands resting on his knees. His eyes were hidden from view by the shadow of his hat, as usual, and Caitlyn could see that typical smirk he was known for. She frowned; that smirk meant he had something planned.
“I need your help for an investigation, Twisted Fate. Are you going to come quietly?” Caitlyn's voice was calm, but her body practically hummed with tension as she waited for whatever Twisted Fate might throw at them.
Twisted Fate's smirk widened, showing his teeth. “Don't think so, Sheriff,” he chuckled, and leaped to his feet.
Caitlyn brought her arms up in time to block the coffee table as Twisted Fate hurled it at them with one strong kick, but Stonewall had been caught by surprise—he had underestimated Fate despite Caitlyn's warning. She could hear Twisted Fate as he lunged forward, following the coffee table toward the door, and she tightened her core muscles for any blow he might try to land while escaping.
The coffee table struck Caitlyn's forearms, bruising them painfully, and a split-second later one of Fate's fists connected with her stomach, throwing her back to the wall beside the door while the Card Master dashed out into the hallway. Stonewall was down and gasping for air from the blow he'd received, but Caitlyn's split-second preparation allowed her to shrug off the punch for the most part, and she rolled out into the hallway to see Twisted Fate almost at the stairwell. She brought the dart gun up and fired.
Twisted Fate was halfway to the second floor when he lost his balance and slammed against the railing, bruising his hip on its hard wood surface. He pressed a hand against the wall to steady himself, swaying slightly as he stood there. A small, sharp pain twinged in his leg and he reached down find a tranquilizer dart buried in the back of his right thigh. Fate scowled and pulled the dart out; Caitlyn had gotten him good this time.
The tranquilizer was making his vision blur now, and Twisted Fate looked up to find Caitlyn at the third floor railing, looking down at him with a calm expression on her face. He tossed the dart to the floor and allowed himself to fall backwards onto the stairs as he lost consciousness.
Caitlyn watched as Twisted Fate toppled over and landed on the carpeted stairs with a dull thump, his hat falling to the ground beside him. She always got her man in the end—well, almost always—though she wished he hadn't made such a ruckus in the process; she could hear people talking in the hall behind her as guests poked their heads out of their rooms to see what all the noise had been about. Stonewall could be heard as well, reassuring the guests and telling them to return to their rooms, and Caitlyn holstered the dart gun and walked down the stairs to where Twisted Fate lay.
Though he was unconscious, the Card Master wore a slight frown on his face—he was obviously unhappy about Caitlyn darting him, but the apologies would have to wait until later, once the business with Dragonrock had been sorted out. With how difficult Fate always acted around her, there simply had been no other way to get him to come along. Maybe she would find out about his reluctance soon, too. It always felt like it wasn't the fact that she was Sheriff alone that bothered him.
As Caitlyn knelt to put the magic dampeners on Twisted Fate, she idly noted that he was not all that bad-looking under the hat. It was a wonder he didn't have another girlfriend after Evelynn had dumped him; perhaps he was still hurting from that, since he'd seemed to like her so much. Though Graves joining the League had tarnished Fate's already bad reputation, there were always women out there who liked the bad boy type, and he'd been true enough to Eve back when they were still dating. Caitlyn lifted Fate from where he had fallen and draped a limp arm over her shoulder; he certainly was an interesting case, when you got down to it.
“Sheriff Caitlyn?” Stonewall stood at the railing above, looking down on her and Fate. “Orders?”
“Get everything cleaned up and meet me down at the techarriage,” Caitlyn looked up at him, and frowned. She had time to be disappointed in Stonewall forgetting about her warning now that Twisted Fate had been subdued.
Stonewall's forehead colored slightly, and he tried to hide his face with the rim of his top hat; he knew why she was frowning like that. “I'll get right on that, Sheriff,” he said, voice wavering slightly. Like most of Caitlyn's lawmen, Stonewall hated to disappoint her, and he hurried out of sight.
Caitlyn swept up Twisted Fate's hat from where it had fallen and carried him down the rest of the stairs and out to the techarriage, where she set him on one of the seats and stood guard outside, rifle at the ready. She looked to her right when she heard the sound of heavy boots approaching—she'd been expecting Graves to show himself sometime soon. “Graves,” Caitlyn said quietly, eying the Outlaw from the shadow of her top hat.
Graves wasted no time on meaningless pleasantries. “What's he done?” he asked, gesturing to the techarriage.
“Nothing,” Caitlyn turned to face Graves now, her grip on her rifle still somewhat relaxed. “I need him for an investigation, but Fate's always been a bit touchy around me so we were a little more forceful than usual.” She watched Graves's face carefully, alert to any odd expressions that might reveal that the man knew something of Fate's possible involvement with the massacre.
“What kind of investigation?” Graves's voice held a hint of suspicion as he took a step closer; evidently he thought Caitlyn wasn't above taking bribes for helping ex-conmen get away with their schemes.
“It's a twenty-year-old homicide case, if you must know,” Caitlyn said, her voice sharp; she didn't appreciate people calling her crooked in any sense of the word. Though she didn't want much news about this case getting out just yet, Caitlyn was sure Graves wouldn't be able to connect Dragonrock with a description as vague as that, so she wouldn't have to worry about him telling the League anything important.
“Homicide?” Graves sounded puzzled.
“It means murder—”
“—I know what the damn word means,” Graves snapped, his temper flaring. After a few moments he sighed, and slung his shotgun onto one shoulder. “Twenty years ago's longer'n I've known Twisted Fate, so I got nothin',” he had himself back under control now, and was calm as he spoke.
“I expect there are very few who knew Fate twenty years ago, save for family,” Caitlyn said, feeling a little sorry for implying that Graves was unintelligent. She still didn't like him, since he was an ex-conman and a ruffian even now, but she felt she could sympathize at least a little with his having been betrayed by Twisted Fate and locked up by one of Zaun's crazy officials.
“Right,” Graves let his shotgun fall from his shoulder and into the opposite hand, then glanced at the techarriage again. “I'll come along if ya need help. He's a handful.”
“No, we'll manage him just fine ourselves,” Caitlyn was careful to keep her face and tone neutral as she spoke. Graves and Twisted Fate were enemies, after all. She didn't want Graves to complicate things because he had his own agenda.
“Right,” Graves said flatly. Caitlyn guessed that he would follow them anyway, but she didn't need to worry about him bothering them at headquarters; someone like Graves wouldn't even be allowed inside the building. “I'll jus' leave you to it, then,” he turned and walked back up the street, eventually leaving Caitlyn's view via a corner.
Caitlyn watched the corner for a few more moments after Graves had gone from her sight. She knew that wouldn't be the last she saw of him, but at least she could prepare for any trouble he tried to stir up.
Morrison, who had been on his way back around to the techarriage, emerged from his hiding place and trotted over to Caitlyn. “What did Graves want?” he glanced over his shoulder at where the Outlaw had disappeared to, probably wondering if the man was somehow listening in on them even now.
“He wanted to know what we were doing with Twisted Fate,” Caitlyn gave Morrison an unworried shrug. “I expect he'll be following us around now that we have him, we'd best alert the guards when we get back to headquarters.” She looked to the entrance of the hotel and spotted Stonewall, who had cleaned up their equipment and carried it out with him.
“Ready when you are, Sheriff,” Stonewall said, avoiding her eyes; he was still embarrassed about messing up earlier.
After stowing their gear in the back, Stonewall climbed into the driver's seat of the techarriage while Caitlyn and Morrison rode in the cab with Twisted Fate. The clank and whir of the hextech vehicle was one of the few noises that echoed through the streets of Piltover.
Mirrors of all shapes and sizes hovered throughout the darkened room, refracting and magnifying what little light had been allowed in to produce a soft ambiance of gray and black twilight. Here and there among their reflective surfaces, the faces of hundreds of people appeared briefly before vanishing again. Some wept. Others stared blankly off into the distance. It was difficult to ignore their comings and goings, but the animaturge who sat among them felt completely at home.
To Nyra it was creepy. She had never liked her leader's particular type of magic, but she would have been a fool to pass up the promises he offered in exchange for her loyalty. The gypsy warden knelt before the animaturge, her Water Element Staff holding much of the weight of her upper body as she leaned against it. Hundreds of years ago the staff itself had been the bough of a massive weeping willow, its exposed heart stained blue with plant dye and its length carved with the forms of rolling waves, some excited and others subdued. The majority of the ornamentation was concentrated in the tip of the staff, where the waves had been inlaid with glass orbs that shone like iridescent bubbles and draped with strings of pearls and small white sea shells. All wardens favored a serviceable duster trench coat as their main attire, not much different from the one Nyra wore now, though each tended to customize any they owned; Nyra's was dark blue, with various shells, small pearls, and wave-worn glass beads hanging from it in long strings, causing her to make quiet clacking noises with every movement. “Greetings, my Lord,” her deep, husky voice echoed eerily throughout the chamber, bouncing and refracting off the mirrors as the light did.
“Nyra. Do you have anything to report this time?” the animaturge's voice was a smooth tenor as he addressed her, cool and emotionless.
“One of the members of the Raven band was beaten almost to death by a group of Noxian villagers just yesterday,” Nyra attempted to keep the disgust from her voice, and failed. “They blamed him for the theft of a few apples, only to find that one of the local troublemakers had been the real culprit some hours later.” Her green hazel eyes were dark with hatred as she raised her head to look her master in the eye. “This is the third incident in this month alone. We have suffered long from their persecution, how much more do you require us to take before we strike?”
“I understand your impatience, Nyra,” the animaturge leaned toward her slightly, revealing more of his face and shoulders. He was handsome, with a straight nose, high cheek bones, brown eyes, and short-cut black hair; he wore the same type of coat as Nyra did, though his was completely black and lacked any extra ornamentation. “As you may have noticed on your way in, we have almost reached our desired quota of war golems. All that it needed is to prepare our mages for battle, and perfect our tactics.”
“I am glad to hear it, Lord,” Nyra's face was ugly with the malicious smile she now wore. She looked up at the sound of someone whimpering just above her head.
A young man hung among the mirrors, suspended from the ceiling by a pitch black tether.
“Who's that?” Nyra asked, sounding almost like a group of small stone wind chimes as she gestured to the man with her staff.
There was the barest hint of anger in the animaturge's eyes as he glanced up at his captive. “A former apprentice. He has disobeyed me one too many times and must be punished,” he said simply.
Nyra didn't need to ask what the punishment would be; she knew too well what the animaturge did to disobedient subordinates. She rose, placed her right hand over her heart, and bowed to him in respect. “I must return to my band. They are passing through Demacian territory this week and will require more protection than usual.”
The animaturge waved a hand at her, granting permission to leave his presence. “Those dogs will learn to fear us soon enough,” hatred and sadistic joy mixed evenly in his voice—no city-state would escape his wrath once the plan was finally set in motion. He watched Nyra fade into the shadows as she strode out.
“Pardon, my lord,” the voice came from the mirror cluster to the animaturge's left, where a black-hooded mage stood.
“You did as I requested, Orlon?” the animaturge turned to look at his subordinate.
Orlon nodded. “As you expected, the Night Hunter and the Kinkou have taken interest in the butchered meadow, and Piltover lawmen were all over the scene just this morning.”
“I see,” a hint of anger resonated within the animaturge's voice again; it was clear that he did not care to have the Kinkou or Vayne mixed up in his affairs. Not yet, at least. “Tell our League agents to keep them under observation, but remain unseen,” he waved a hand at Orlon; he was dismissed.
“Yes, sir,” Orlon inclined his head in farewell and disappeared into the shadows.
The animaturge's eyes lingered on the space where Orlon had been for a few more moments before he lifted his eyes to his former apprentice. He retrieved one of the staves that hung at his back; it was the largest of the set, carved from a single piece of ebony wood and engraved with baffling patterns that seemed to shift even as one stared at it. Blackened teeth, feathers, and pieces of glinting obsidian hung from its top, which was shaped like the talons of a twisted eagle's claw. With a firm, swift movement, he waved the staff between himself and the young man, commanding the bindings to release.
The bindings loosened, then dissipated like smoke, allowing the former apprentice to fall to the floor with a loud thud. He twitched slightly, the jolt of the landing and deactivation of the bindings having awakened him. With a groan he tried to lift himself in order to get a better look at his surroundings, and fell back to the floor after rising only a few inches. He settled for looking around from the ground, and it was clear from his terrified expression that he knew exactly where he was. “M-master?” he called, almost afraid to look up into the animaturge's face.
“You are no longer my apprentice,” the animaturge's voice was cold, merciless, enough so to send chills up the young man's spine. “That stunt near Piltover was the last straw. Your rash actions could have exposed us and brought the attention of both the Kinkou and the Night Hunter upon us, but since you know too much already I cannot simply let you go,” he rose and stepped down from the throne-like seat, black staff still in hand.
“No, please,” the ex-apprentice pleaded, beginning to shake uncontrollably; he knew what would come next. “I'll never disappoint you again, I promise.”
“Funny,” the animaturge stood over him now, mouth turned downward in a dissatisfied frown. “That's what you said the last time you disobeyed me.” He flicked the staff again, and the bindings returned, this time covering the young man's mouth as well. “Don't worry,” his voice was almost soothing as he started toward a door behind his seat, the magic contained within his staff dragging the hapless youth along with him. “You will still be a part of our plan... Just not in the way you hoped to be.”
The figures in the mirrors vanished as the animaturge left the room, and hours passed in silence before he returned once again. A faint glow hovered around the dark mage as he passed the seat on his way out, and the people followed him through the mirrors, flitting through the reflective surfaces like so many minnows. Among the faces the former apprentice could be seen, wearing a haunted expression as he moved with the other souls the animaturge had consumed.
Chapter 5 is taking longer than the others since it needs more work done to it than the first four...
If anyone could drop some advice on what I can improve in this, it would be great. Like, is the beginning not exciting enough, is there not enough tension, am I not handling the characters correctly, am I going too slow... I want other people to have fun reading this too, and there's obviously something wrong with it by the lack of replies. Knowing how I messed up here will help me to improve my future writing as well, so input would be greatly appreciated.
In my humble opinion, this is the best story I have read on the fan-fiction forums.
I think it needs more character development - at least in the romance department, as it is going it bit slow.
Don't despair about no replies: we like to read without being identified as the type of people who read this stuff (no offense to you)
Keep up the good work.
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