Chapter 3: I Watch a Play with Tryndamere
I let the red blade fall, retracting it before Riven could see the source. Reluctantly, her broken sword was taken away from being pressed against my neck. I rubbed the spot where the blade had been making contact with my skin.
“So, he spoke to you too?” I whispered. Many of the champions there were asleep and waking them after such a strenuous day would only be cruel. Riven nodded her confirmation to which I silently sighed. “What did he say?”
“He told me that Ezreal had told you about healers,” She said. I nodded.
“Yeah, he told me Taric and Soraka were still alive, that they escaped from the institute’s infirmary out of a window,” I replied. For what seemed like hours the two of us stood in silence before Riven finally said something.
“We need to go find them. Three healers are always better than one,” Her voice was soft as she spoke. I was shocked at her words. Was she really planning on keeping me with the group? That would change a lot of things.
“I’ll go find them,” I said, but before I could finish, Riven was already shaking her head. “What do you mean no?”
“They need you here in case someone gets hurt. If you go with us, then finding Soraka and Taric would be a useless errand,” She explained. I had to agree with her, but I couldn’t let my teachers simply stay where they were without any help from their former student, that wasn’t right. I needed to go, I wanted to go.
“I could teach a few of the people some basic first aid,” I said quietly, hoping the suggestion would help with my decision to go find my two friends. “It wouldn’t be much, but it’ll keep them till we get back.”
“That’s the thing healer; we don’t know when we’ll be back. What if we don’t find them right away? What if everyone here begins losing hope after we’re gone for longer than a week?” I could see her eyes begin to glisten with the threat of tears. “It’ll be my fault again…My fault they’ll all die,” She was speaking more to herself than me at this point. For a moment, I was stunned to see Riven in such a vulnerable state. I paused, contemplating what I should do. I decided to do the only thing I could think of.
Slowly, my arms wrapped around Riven’s small, but wiry frame. Taken back by the sudden human contact, her muscles tightened, but as it became apparent that I was of no threat, she relaxed and mimicked my action. “Thanks healer,” she said quietly. The wet drops from her tears began to stain the jacket I wore. As I held Riven, I could see the black bracer staring at me straight in the face. It was mocking me, laughing at me. Anger boiled within me, but I figured getting worked up at this moment wasn’t the smartest decision.
“Tomorrow you start teaching what you know to whoever you think is best for the job. I’ll try and put a group together of anyone who wants to travel with us. We’ll leave the next day after a good night’s rest,” She explained, releasing herself from my grip. She gave me one look over before smiling. “You know, you aren’t such a bad person.”
If only you knew…. I thought to myself, but of course, I merely smiled. Riven headed back to her spot and laid down on the ground. Almost instantly she fell asleep.
Of course, I had no such luck. My body twisted and turned on the ground, but my eyes stayed wide open. I wanted to sew them shut, make them bring the darkness everyone had found rest within, but no, the darkness wouldn’t bring me comfort. Finally sleep came and I was in another dream.
I was sitting in a booth at a play with Tryndamere sitting next to me in his usual barbaric clothing. He was holding a pair of opera glasses and looking at the stage. “Oh I just absolutely adore this part,” He said, his voice deep and intimidating. It occurred to me pretty quickly Nocturne wanted to speak again.
“What is it this time?” I asked half-heartedly as if I was getting bored with my current situation already. Tryndamere threw a venomous look towards my way. I knew how unwise it was to insult Nocturne in his domain, but I wanted to see how much rebellion I could get away with. It was sort of my way at getting back at him for dragging me into this mess.
“I have certain tasks I want you to fulfill. Sejuani, the so called ‘true queen of the freljord’ is going to strike a deal with you. Accept it,” Nocturne said to me as he watched Romeo stab Juliet to death, all the while laughing at the rather cruel jokes Romeo was making.
“It would be nice of you to tell me what it is I’m in for and why I should accept it,” I told him. The barbarian nodded as if he understood my reasoning for making such a proposal.
“She wants you to kill Ashe, and so do I. She’ll offer to make you king of the freljord if you succeed in your end of the deal,” Tryndamere said before laughing as Romeo began peeling his own skin off.
“What is the point of being king of a broken country?” I asked in an icy tone to show the pointlessness of the deal. Surely the undead had reached the frozen country. “Besides, how do you know she’ll do this?”
“I told her to do it,” He replied before answering my first question. “Just stop and think for a moment before asking your stupid questions. If Ashe and Tryndamere are killed, the pact with which the barbarians are held by will fall and soon, war will begin one way or another. This is where Sejuani will make her move, uniting the broken freljord. Now your part, with YOU as king, you will spread my name by killing your queen, showing that even those within power are no longer safe from me,” Nocturne explained.
“So you want me to kill them both?” I asked. Tryndamere shook his head.
“Of course not. Both king and queen dying at the same time would only untie the freljord further. They would see this as a way to fight back the undead, get vengeance for their loss. No, I want Tryndamere to die by another cause,” Nocturne elucidated.
“If you can kill Riven, then why not kill Ashe yourself?” I questioned.
“Haha, I’ve been waiting for that question,” Nocturne replied. “Ashe is determined, headstrong, and confident. All of these things give her certain strength of spirit which repels my intrusions. Riven on the other hand is insecure, submissive, and a nervous bomb just waiting to go off. I think you’ve seen an example of this. These things make it easy for me to enter her mind. Once my name spreads again and people begin to fear me, then I will be able to handle things on my own and even the most stalwart of people cannot keep me away. Until then, you are my champion.”
I started to understand how things worked with Nocturne. I knew what I had to do to keep Riven alive, but I still had a few more questions. Nocturne sighed. “Ask away,” He said grumpily.
“First off, why did you pick me?” I asked. Nocturne simply smiled. The goatee he had spreading like the devil himself was smiling.
“Why don’t we have a look?” Nocturne asked.
Suddenly I was in my home of Noxus. I had just signed up to the military as I busted through the door. “I did it mother!! I joined the military just like you wanted!!” I was excited mostly because my mother would stop scorning me for being a ‘coward’. When I ran to her room to show her my papers, I saw a horrid visage. My mother had taken her own life.
A note lay upon the small table in the corner of her room. I picked it up, reading it aloud.
I regret ever giving you a life. I should have killed you before you were born you pathetic sack of disappointment. Giving birth to such a coward is only punishably by death, and I look forward to departing from a world in which you breathe air.
I remember upon seeing the note, I broke down into tears, falling to the ground and staying there for an entire day straight as my mother rotted in my home. It wasn’t until a few of my friends came to check up on me. They found the door to be unlocked and walked into the room in which I was sitting, curled up in a ball. The immediately called guards and my mother’s body was whisked away.
“Such a shame…Your mother took her own life because of you? What about your father? What happened to him?” Nocturne was playing with me now. I had to get out of this dream, I needed to wake up. But Nocturne would not let me go until we were finished. I had to play along with his stupid game.
“You’re a monster,” I said, my voice quiet and distraught from having reliving the most depressing event in my life. All will to fight back Nocturne and be rebellious were void. He had control over me, had me in his palm as he fiddled with my emotions. Nocturne replied only with a laugh.
The curtains close, sealing off the stage from the audience signaling the play was over. I had forgotten we were even in a theatre. Many of the occupants of the theatre began standing up and walking out. “Over already? Well this was fun, maybe we can do this again some time,” Nocturne said, only now it was a female’s voice rather than Tryndamere. I turned over to see Riven smiling at me in her red dress.
It was then that I felt a large pain in my side. My vision blurred and I awoke with Sejuani standing over me, kicking me. “Wake up!!” She said angrily. Groggily, I looked up at her, rubbing the sleep out of my eyes.
“What do you want!?!?” I snapped back. This made Sejuani recoil in surprise. It didn’t take long for her shocked expression to change into a rather wicked smile.
“Guess this’ll be easier than I thought,” She commented before giving me a quick look over as I stood up, stretching my joints free of their tired state. “I have something I want to tell you,” She whispered after pushing me into a dark corner away from everyone else. Surprised by her actions, I stiffened up.
“What is it?” I asked even though I had already knew about the deal she was about to make me.
“I want to make you a deal. Ashe, Tryndamere, Volibear and I want to go back to the freljord. This is an opportunity I cannot pass up,” She whispered.
“Then get to the point!”
It seems like my aggressive responses to her were beginning to make this an enjoyable experience for her because again, a wicked grin spread across her face. She whispered to me the entire plan Nocturne had already told me. I acted intrigued as if I really cared.
“Yes, I’ll do it,” I said to her. Her grin widened.
“First, we have to make this believable,” She said before planting her lips on mine. At first, it felt faked, but as the long kiss progressed, it started to fill with passion. Her cold, full lips on mine made up for the fact that it was a completely fake situation. Minutes passed before she finally pulled away. My legs wobbled slightly.
“Wow,” She whispered to herself, “That was…better than I was expecting,” She said before putting her hand on my shoulder. “We leave tomorrow, get what it is you need today before we head off,” She said before walking away, throwing a wink my way. I thought nothing of it and began the duties I had promised to Riven.
I figured Nidalee would be the easiest to teach. Our session wasn’t long considering she had known a bit about basic first aid. I couldn’t teach her everything I knew because of how long it would take me to teach her. We were on a short schedule and I couldn’t spare the time. Though that wasn’t the only thing that cut off my teachings. As the sun began to set again on this rather boring day, finally something exciting happened.
The three ninjas Akali, Shen and Kennen entered the institute door hurriedly, shutting the large stone door behind them in a rush to keep the undead from getting inside. Pantheon, Jax, and a few other champions had assisted them. They looked tired, exhausted from their travel. I assumed they were on a mission when the undead attacked and figured this would be the safest place. I wanted to say they were wrong, but I couldn’t imagine what it was like everywhere else.
The three of them entered and almost immediately fell to the ground. Exhaustion and possible dehydration if I had an opinion from where I was standing. “Umm…Nidalee, can you excuse me for a mininute?” I asked quietly. She nodded, not even bothering to look up.
I could feel my stomach churning as I approached Akali where she sat against the wall, taking deep breaths to calm herself. I reached for the canteen I had gotten from Pantheon the night before and kneeled down in front of her. “Water?” I asked, handing the canteen to Akali. I could see that her skin was glistening with sweat.
“Thank you,” She said before taking it and drinking from the canteen greedily. If I had to guess, I would say it had been a while before any of the trio had drunk anything.
“Any wounds? Lacerations, broken bones?” I hesitated to say the last word but managed to get it out. “Bites?”
Akali looked at me with her gorgeous brown eyes and shook her head. “No, I’m fine. Shen has a few injuries that may need tending too,” She said before handing the canteen back to me.
“Alright, I’ll go take a look at him and come back. You can tell me what happened,” I stated before departing and going over to Shen to examine his wounds. Overall, he wasn’t too badly injured. I patched him up pretty quickly and then hurried over to Akali.
She looked much less tired and relaxed than when they had first entered the institute. I sat next to her, eager to talk to her. “So, what happened?” I asked without much of starting a conversation or introducing myself. “Err…my name is-“
“I know who you are,” Akali cut me off before taking a deep breath. “We were sent to suppress a very dangerous target.”
“Another day at the office I suppose,” I replied.
“Not in the least. If you can recall all of the rumors of the necromancer going around then you’ll understand who we were after,” She said, taking another drink from my canteen. “Necromancy was outlawed from Valoran soon after magic was discovered. There have been many necromancers who have tried to bring this whole mess on Valoran. Though usually the rituals were too hard to hide and the entire process could take above 10 years.”
“So, what was different about this necromancer?” I asked. Akali looked down at the ground before sighing.
“He was a Kinkou,” She said sounding disappointed.
“Well if he was one of you, why couldn’t you find him?” I inquired. It hardly seemed reasonable that the kinkou couldn’t track one of its own members.
“He knew all of our tactics. Not a single one of us could find him. He was like a ghost,” She replied before making a dismissive gesture. “I really don’t want to speak of this. It’s making the sting of failure only stronger.”
I decided it was best to just stop talking about the necromancer and related things with Akali. Instead, we talked about normal things. Music, art, anything that wasn’t about the undead scratching at the walls of the institute. Despite the fact that she had barely known anything about me only hours ago, we had become quick friends. Soon, I was comfortable talking to her, but I still had to prepare for our departure the coming day. In the distance, I could see Riven motioning me to go over to her. I excused myself from my conversation with Akali and headed to where Riven was standing.
When I got there, she was standing with a group of people. Pantheon, Ezreal, Tryndamere, Ashe, Volibear, and Sejuani all stood in a circle. I turned towards Ezreal with a confused look. “Why is he coming?” I asked.
“Navigator,” Riven replied nonchalantly.
“Besides…Taric is my friend too. I can’t just let him die out there,” Ezreal added almost angrily.
“We leave tomorrow, so everyone, get what you can’t live without before we go. I’ll tell Jax to distract the undead before we leave. Pantheon, when the doors open, I want you to jump and carry healer far out of danger. The rest of us are capable of fighting off the undead,” Riven explained.
“With pleasure,” Pantheon said, but I could sense the annoyance in his voice from not being able to fight the perfect army and instead, having to take care of me. I didn’t want Pantheon to be upset.
“I can take care of myself,” I stated towards Riven. I could see the anger bowl in her eyes. She already knew my relentlessness in arguments and probably decided she’d save herself time by just agreeing with me.
“Fine,” She said coldly before turning around and walking away. I merely stayed there with the others all looking at me. I turned away from them and headed in my own direction, heading for my corner. When I got there, I began going through my bag. I didn’t have a lot of things I wanted, but I was grateful for what I had. Besides, if things went bad, I had health potions. I looked at the tiny glass bottles and wrapped them in bandages to keep them from breaking on each other. I counted five in total. Five chances to save someone were all I had in my bag.
When I laid my head on the ground, I discovered how fearful I felt about sleeping. I didn’t want to sleep, but I had too. If I wanted to be rested enough to travel, I had to sleep. Closing my eyes, I forced the darkness upon me. As I began to force my body to rest, I found it was becoming increasingly difficult to slumber. Perhaps it was a side effect of Nocturne’s visits.
“It seems the rules of the game have changed,” Nocturne’s hoarse whisper echoed loudly in the darkness of my mind. “It seems my hold on you is not as strong as I thought. It’s too bad the sting of failure burns deep with Akali. Her sense of pride has dropped a few levels. Ha ha ha.”
I wanted to scream for Nocturne to leave her alone. I reached towards my mouth and touched it. To my horror, I couldn’t feel lips. “MMMMM!!!!” I shouted behind flesh. Nocturne’s hand grabbed my throat and with ease, he lifted me up.
“Now listen here you little Noxian whelp! I do not take kindly to worms holding secrets from me. If you EVER hide another thing from me again, I will personally deliver Akali’s head to you….express,” Nocturne’s hoarse whisper was now an angry snarl. “Do I make myself clear?” he hissed.
“Mhm….” I nodded before Nocturne dropped me on the ground.
“Get out of my presence…” He growled.
As soon as he turned away from me, I awoke from my sleep. In the dream world, you lose all traces of time. Things that seem short could last hours, while things that lasted hours could only be a few minutes. When I peeled open my eyes, I saw the entire group sitting not far from where I was lying. Ezreal was the first one to see me.
“Hey, he’s awake,” Ezreal told the rest of the group.
“About **** time too,” Riven said clearly upset. She turned to the Grandmaster at Arms and nodded to him. “Ready?”
“Let’s do this,” He replied. The entire group stood up, I included. We walked towards the front door and all stopped at it, knowing the danger that was lying before us. “Are you sure you want to do this?” Jax asked. Riven nodded
“Soraka and Taric would be invaluable to us at the moment,” She replied
Before Jax could open the door I felt a hand on my shoulder. When I turned around I was staring Akali in the eyes. She hugged me tightly and I hugged her back. “Come back alive,” She said quiet enough for only me to hear. I didn’t want to say I would because I didn’t know myself, so I just hugged her tighter, showing that I would try.
We parted before anyone could comment on the odd event. I prepared myself as Akali left for her two partners. Taking a deep breath, I prepared to fight the undead again. A shock of nervousness surged through my body as Jax’s hands pulled away the only protection we had from the undead.
Jax was the first one who ran out, bashing a few of the undead and calling them over. “Who wants a piece of the champ?!?!” he yelled while he ran away from the institute, coaxing the undead into following him.
“Ok, now!” Riven yelled. Like a bunch of released prisoners, we ran through the doorway and into the open air. It felt odd being on the outside once more. For the past two days I had been inside the institute. The warm sun and cold air seemed almost alien to me, but that was the least of my worries.
The group ran out, killing a few rogue undead. I could see Jax running even further from the institute doors and was beginning to worry about how he would make it back. I didn’t trouble myself and the institute doors closing snapped me into attention. I found myself in the back of the group as we ran.
Like hell I sprinted, but a hand grabbed the back of my jacket, sending me falling to the ground backwards. An undead stood over me, eyes white and empty, mouth dripping moistening with drool, skin decaying and falling from its face. I screamed in terror and began to try and stand up, but my attempts were feeble. The undead had me in its grip. I kept telling myself that this was the end.
But almost as if on cue as the undead’s jaws began to reach me, it was pulled away. I looked up to see my savior to be Pantheon. Easily, he slew the monster and pulled me up. “Get up!” he commanded. He grabbed my arm and crouched down. After a short delay, we were flying through the air. My shoulder began to hurt as Pantheon ascended with great speed. As we peaked, time seemed to slow down and for a second, we both hung in the air before beginning to descend. With greater speed we feel and soon hit the ground far from where the undead were gathered.
The rest of the group caught up with us and a few of them were covered with coagulated blood. I didn’t see anyone missing so I assumed everyone was ok. They all began taking deep breaths as soon as they reached Pantheon and I. “What happened Pantheon? I thought you were behind us,” Riven inquired breathlessly.
“I went back for the Noxian,” he said motioning towards me. “The undead almost had him.”
Riven nodded her head before walking over to me. I knew what was coming and wasn’t surprised when her fist caught me straight in the jaw. “Do you know how close we were to getting surrounded?!” She snapped. I was too busy clutching my pained filled mouth to look up and answer her. “Ezreal almost got bit!!”
Another shock of pain struck the side of my chest. “WOULD YOU STOP ALREADY!?!?!” I shouted from the ground now holding my rib. “I screwed up! I’m sorry!”
“You’re starting to become more trouble than you’re worth,” She spat before grabbing my arm and lifting me up. “Let’s go.” Riven began leading the way with Ashe and Tryndamere trailing behind her and Pantheon at her side. Volibear and Ezreal walked alongside each other while Sejuani stayed in the back with me.
“Was it really that close?” I asked Sejuani after we had been walking for a while. I was thinking that if she was angry at me that perhaps she had cooled off.
“Yes it was. Without Pantheon watching our back, the undead easily attacked us from behind,” She explained her voice cold and unforgiving. I figured she was still upset at me for causing such a problem and was only speaking to me because of the plan.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t think that I-“She cut me off by raising her hand.
“No one got hurt, don’t begin to trouble yourself,” she said harshly before walking faster to get ahead of me. As we walked, I turned back to look at the institute. It was barely visible in the distance. I began to wonder if Jax had made it back safely and figured that he didn’t become The Grandmaster at Arms for no reason.
Very few undead were spotted, and the ones we did saw, we avoided. The thing was we had no sense of which way Taric or Soraka were. They could be ANYWHERE in Valoran.
“They went that way,” Ezreal said, pointing towards The Serpentine River. I hate being corrected.
“How can you tell?” I replied a little more harshly than I had expected.
“Taric’s magic leaves….traces. I can pick these very faint traces with the amulet. It’s very weak, but it’s there,” Ezreal responded.
“Well then we better get a move on. We can get to the Serpentine River in a couple days travel if we don’t stop much,” Riven said, leading the way in the direction Ezreal had pointed.
The majority of the day we spent walking. The undead didn’t seem to wander alone. They gathered in clumps and migrated into larger groups that were capable of destroying a city. Luckily, we didn’t see any clumps of undead as we headed for The Serpentine River, yet. I could hear Riven and Pantheon talking, mostly about things that didn’t matter to me. They seemed to be getting along well. Sejuani and I merely spoke of the plan and made our act look real. At times we kissed to show the others that we were affection even though we both knew it was a lie.
“It will be night soon,” Riven noted as she looked up at the darkening sky. “We need a place to stop for the night.”
“In Mt. Targon, we were taught to set up defensive strategies if we ever found ourselves to be in a lasting conflict. It would not be hard to set up a protective zone for the night,” Pantheon said while pointing over towards a forest. “Two of us will take watch at a time for two hours before waking up the next group.”
“So who is taking the first watch?” Volibear asked, cracking his knuckles.
“Riven and I will take the first watch, Tryndamere and Ashe will take the second, you and healer will take the third, and Sejuani and Ezreal will take the last watch,” Pantheon replied before pointing towards the forest. “Let us find some cover. I do not want to sleep out in the open.”
We followed Pantheon till we were a reasonable distance into the thick brush of the trees. Almost immediately anyone who wasn’t Pantheon or Riven fell to the ground including myself. I couldn’t blame the group for being tired. The trip was long and tiresome.
When I closed my eyes, I didn’t dream, to which I was fortunate. Instead, everything was dark. I did hear Nocturne’s hoarse whisper say “Remember what you must do.” I wanted to pretend that Ashe didn’t have to die by my hand, but I knew Nocturne couldn’t (or rather wouldn’t) do it. I was his puppet and this was my test. Akali and Riven’s life balanced on my actions. Two lives for one…seemed like a good trade.
When Volibear and I took the watch, I found myself staring down at Ashe. The black bracer began to itch for blood but I couldn’t do it in front of Ashe’s ally. “Deciding which queen is more to your liking?” Volibear asked me after he caught me staring at the white haired woman. Feeling embarrassed, I peeled my eyes away from her and stared at the armored bear.
“Uhh…No! I was just…thinking. Ashe was just the first person I looked at,” I said, fumbling with my words and mentally kicking myself for making my actions look the wrong way. Volibear only laughed, which was haunting.
“Ashe is a great woman but Tryndamere is too convicted to the barbarian’s treaty to allow you to intervene in their marriage. Though they are not romantically involved, they won’t allow such a thing to happen,” Volibear explained before yawning loudly.
“I don’t think he has to worry, I don’t really care much for her,” I replied. He laughed again and I could tell he was itching for more rest. “If you’re tired, I’ll take the rest of the watch alone,” I said, patting his shoulder. It was pretty obvious that he wanted sleep and I had to act on that itch of his to allow myself to finish my deed. Though, Volibear shook his head.
“Do not worry about me healer. I will endure till our time is up,” He said before yawning again. As far as I could tell, we had only been on watch for an hour. I wanted Volibear to fall asleep on his own, let his heavy eyelids shield my crime from him. And soon, they did.
Volibear was fast asleep and I found myself standing over Ashe. I looked down at her and finally began to appreciate her beauty. She was a gorgeous woman, but her life was now about to end. The red blade ejected itself from my bracer, giving me an edge to cut with. I leaned down, my lips almost touching her ear.
“I’m sorry,” I whispered. Her eyes opened slightly but she didn’t have time to scream before the blood began to spray.
Author's Note: Healer is NOT a good guy.
Sejuani the wench, plotting to kill a lot of people and claim Freljord for herself. A man who is forced to murder his companions or suffer terrible consequences. A tragedy disguised as a funny and comic tale. Where have I seen that before? :B
LUV IT, when I imagined Tryndamere watching opera, I just couldn't stop laughing. Can't wait to see what happens next. Please give us MOAR of this.
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