Author's Note: This is a complete short story. Constructive criticism is welcome and appreciated. Although I've done some research before writing this piece, I understand there may be discrepancies with canonical lore, which I apologize for in advance and will gladly amend if someone points them out. I've taken liberty with some of my interpretations, of course, and will likely retain them. I hope you will enjoy reading this as much as I had writing it.
Note: Due to the 3000 character constraint, the entire story couldn't be pasted into one post, so please scroll down and read the remainder of the story in the 4th post in this page. Sorry for the inconvenience.
Ezreal came to a halt in a wide clearing outside the crypt, scrutinizing its details under the waning light of the setting sun and the eerie crimson glow of the full moon. Judging from the faded stone walls cracked open on numerous spots and covered copiously with moss, this crypt was old indeed. The edifice was similar in size and shape to an average mansion the nobles of Demacia liked to reside in, but it had no windows and supposedly no other entrances save for the marble door towering ominously in front of Ezreal, blocking his path.
Built in a forest outside Demacia, the crypt of Morello, who was an ancient sorcerer of the black arts, was a testament of Demacian righteousness. Morello had plagued Demacian villages with his curses and experiments, preying on the weak to further his own grand designs. However, he was also a Lord, a black sheep in a long line of Demacian nobility. So when the Elite Guards of Demacia had killed Morello after a long bloody battle, King Jarvan I decided to honor Morello’s disgraced family by embalming Morello’s body in a crypt, like most nobles are treated. Clasped in the arms of Morello’s corpse somewhere in the crypt is his Evil Tome, a volume coveted by Summoners and other magic wielders alike. Naturally, the prospect of retrieving the tome beckoned Ezreal to his current venture.
Ezreal carefully placed the lantern he had been carrying on the ground and sat down cross-legged on the grassy clearing leading to the door. To prepare for the treacherous traps likely to deter his trek inside, he removed the leather bag strapped across his shoulder and began rummaging through its contents. Out came a miner’s hat with an orb affixed to it; the orb was powered by magic and could direct a beam of light straight ahead. Ezreal tapped the side of the hat, the metal ringing and shredding the silence of the evening. After a few more taps, the orb came to life and illuminated the area ahead. Smirking, Ezreal replaced the goggles on his head with the hat. It took a while to get adjusted to the coldness of the metal and its weight sinking onto his skull. He adjusted the angle of the beam with both his hands so that he would be able to see clearly a few steps ahead.
Next, he checked his bag for the vials of potions he had brought with him. The search made him groan and curse under his breath. Only one vial of vitality remained in his stock. He had used up the rest on his way here, a journey he had underestimated far too much for his own comfort and safety. He picked up the vial and carefully raised it in front of the light from his hat, marveling in the properties of the scarlet viscous liquid cascading and bubbling inside. Ezreal hoped that he would not have to resort to this by the end of the night.
A breeze swept across the clearing, ruffling the crisp brown leaves on the ground and carrying them with the wind like confetti. The river by the crypt flowed calmly, reflecting the moon light. Piltover’s Grandmaster Explorer took a deep breath, ready to delve inside, and heaved himself off the ground. Ezreal grabbed the hem of the gauntlet on his left hand with his right and pulled it towards his arm, affixing it better on his fingers; the magical amulet attached to the gauntlet hummed in response. The bag would slow him down, so he decided to leave it behind. His focus shifted on the lantern, the very one he had extracted from the expedition to Kumungu and recently borrowed from the Institute of War for this quest. Ezreal picked up the lantern, its handle worn and edges sharp, its glow penetrating the fading light. The legendary lantern in hand, the prodigal explorer approached the marble door and said to himself, “All right, time to get our hands dirty.”
Ezreal raised the lantern to study the door. It was almost twice his height and about six feet in width. The hinge wasn’t visible and there were no handles on the outside, so he would possibly have to push it in himself. The marble surface sparkled in the combined light of the lantern and the orb on his hat; it was somehow still smooth and grand, betraying the age of the crypt. At first glance, there appeared to be no traps, but Ezreal wasn’t an amateur explorer.
Stepping back a few feet, Ezreal brought his left arm to shoulder level, his gauntlet fisted and aimed at the door. The orb on the gauntlet started glowing as the prodigal explorer started channeling magic through it. After a few seconds, he let loose a bolt of low level energy towards the marble surface, testing for any reactions. The energy bolt hit the door and dissipated into a thousand sparks. The door remained impassive. Ezreal smiled and walked towards the door again.
Having made sure that contact with the outside surface wasn’t going to trigger any fatal accidents, Ezreal leaned forward and pressed his ear against the marble. He tapped the door with his gauntlet, the orb resonating again, releasing a pulse of energy. He listened. Nothing. No magical traps went off inside. This suddenly seemed too easy to be true. In all of Ezreal’s expeditions, he had never come across an entrance that didn’t test his abilities at least once.
Tentatively, Ezreal lowered the lantern and placed both his hands on the door, and pushed at it, one knee bent and both feet firmly planted on the ground. Of course, this door would not yield to normal human strength, so he had to send a surge of magic through his gauntlet to help him. A low rumble carried over the wind as the marble slab scraped against the floor, a narrow slit of darkness opening where the door had slightly parted. Ezreal withdrew a few steps instinctively, expecting something to hit him from beyond. Again, nothing. He scratched his chin and murmured, “This is strange.” Two possibilities seemed apparent: either the Demacians had been too lazy to protect Morello’s Evil Tome, or someone had already broken in. Neither prospect seemed appealing to Piltover’s Grandmaster Explorer.
Flexing his shoulders, Ezreal shoved the door again, this time throwing caution to the wind and pushing it all the way in, the marble slab giving away easily to the prowess of his magic. Darkness loomed inside, illuminated faintly from his light sources. Picking up the lantern, he stepped onto the threshold. Disappointment scarred Ezreal’s features. All this trekking, and there seemed to be no challenge.
The explorer found himself in a narrow corridor with brackets lining the wall on each side, devoid of any candles. The air inside was musty, but the wind blowing through the entrance was overwhelming it. Ezreal examined the grimy floor and walls, looking for traces of fine lines that may hint at trapdoors or arrow volley contraptions. This time, he found something. There were broken arrow shafts and tips scattered everywhere, but a few steps ahead he spotted a few blotches on the floor. Blood. Someone was here, which explains the lack of hindrances. But how long ago?
Ezreal approached the spot cautiously, and bent down, holding the lantern close. He gasped. Fresh blood, crimson and liquid. Someone was here, right now. They had taken an arrow and were wounded. Evidently, that person was not a professional explorer, which could mean that Ezreal was dealing with a thief. He rose and followed the track of blood droplets. A few paces ahead, he noticed a bloody stain on the wall in the crude shape of a hand. However, further ahead, Ezreal was befuddled. The track ended.
There were no more droplets on the floor. Even if the wounded thief had managed to bandage themselves, it didn’t make any sense that the vivid trail concluded so abruptly. A vitality potion, perhaps? But, it would take much longer to regenerate. Ezreal stopped to think, removing his miner’s hat to relieve his scalp of the weight. He scratched his flattened hair and began talking to himself, “What are you?”
Eager to find out, Ezreal trotted ahead through the corridor. After some time, the corridor ended and he found himself in an enormous chamber. The walls were so far away that the feeble light from the lantern and his miner’s hat wouldn’t reach them. The floor was dusty and the air was stifling. Ezreal suppressed a cough with the back of his hand.
He could make out tracks on the floor this time. There were no distinct footprints, but judging from the pattern of disturbances of dust, the thief was wearing a cloak or a cape, a long one, so that it dragged along behind him, erasing his footsteps. The trail led towards the center of the hall, where a sarcophagus rested on an elevated platform. There was no silhouette of a figure standing by the sarcophagus, however, troubling Ezreal even more.
Before advancing, Ezreal collected his thoughts. So a cloaked thief had entered the crypt before him, activated the traps, survived, healed themselves in surprising time, and then disappeared from his tracks? The more Ezreal pondered on the facts, the more confusion melted into curiosity. Taking a deep breath, the prodigal explorer prowled towards the sarcophagus, his ears pricked and eyes focused. The thief was obviously aware that he was here, so Ezreal may as well try to draw them out. If they were dangerous at all, Ezreal knew how to handle them.
The square platform was raised about one and a half feet from the floor and Ezreal cautiously climbed it, his pupils expertly scanning the surroundings. He realized that a narrow opening somewhere in the ceiling allowed a beam of moon light to faintly illuminate the entirety of the platform including the sarcophagus. The lid was untouched, the tomb lay undisturbed. So his adversary had not been to this part of the crypt yet. Ezreal averted his eyes from the dust ridden tomb and looked around, pointing his light sources across the room. Why wasn’t the other raider revealing themselves? Quite surely with the lantern in hand, Ezreal was shining like a beacon amidst a storm in that crypt.
Very well. He thought to himself. He would recover the tome and simply walk out then. Maybe the thief was too scared to confront him after all. This prospect did dishearten Ezreal somewhat, as he had anticipated an exciting adventure when he had set out to retrieve Morello’s Evil Tome.
Ezreal laid his gauntlet on the lid of the stone coffin, applying a gentle pressure. Gingerly he began dusting off the polished stone as solid black stone revealed underneath.
There was a creaking noise overhead followed by the twang of numerous thick strings. The air screeched. Ezreal had less than a couple of heart beats to look up and eye a torrent of bolts hailing down on him. His heart did a backflip and his eyes widened. Concentrating all his will on his amulet, Ezreal manifested himself about ten feet away from the sarcophagus, calling on arcane powers to shift him away from imminent death.
What appeared to be a hundred metallic bolts bounced off the tomb and the platform, clattering onto the floor harmlessly. Ezreal let out a long audible sigh, shaking his head. A smile crept on his face finally as a surge of adrenalin pumped through his veins.
“Too close for comfort, Ezreal,” he told himself and began walking towards the platform again.
Ezreal halted. Any average person would not have felt it. Ezreal, however, was acutely aware that one of his footsteps had just caused a small portion of the floor to recede about half an inch into the ground. Another trigger. What now?
It took a fraction of a second to realize that a gigantic log was zooming towards him from the left, swinging from ropes he could not see. The air whooshed behind him as he lunged forward, delicately rolling off the ground before climbing back on his feet. The lantern spun away from him and clanked to a halt on the floor several feet away. The log swung a few times in both directions before resting where Ezreal was a few seconds ago, hanging from two thick cords. His smile widened. This was what he lived for.
Taking a deep breath, the explorer composed himself. What a spectacle this must be for whoever was watching him. Ezreal wasn’t an adventurer to disappoint. Adjusting his hat, he moved on, nearing the tomb without any more incidents and picking up the lantern on the way.
He stepped on the bolts as he climbed the platform again. Had he not shifted in time, a good number of these would be sticking out of his body right now. The thought sent a chill down Ezreal’s spine.
The prodigal explorer rested his gauntlet on the dusty lid of the sarcophagus. A small wave of energy emanated from his gauntlet and penetrated the tomb, searching for any reactions.
Silence and stillness greeted him. Laying the lantern on the platform, Ezreal grabbed the edge of the lid and, planting his feet firmly on the ground, began pushing it. The huge hall grumbled as the cover of the tomb slowly gave away.
A sickening stench infiltrated the air around Ezreal. Instinctively he covered his mouth and nose with his forehand, drawing back a few steps. The crypt stank of rotten flesh and made Ezreal wretch. Had the Demacians been lazy or vengeful?
Covering his nose with his right hand and a grimace on his face, the explorer proceeded to push the lid further with his gauntlet. He would have to do this quick if he wanted to breathe again. Moon light shone on the inside of the crypt and illuminated a fairly well preserved body. The corpse had blackened and shrunk, but the ornate robe it had been garbed with appeared quite robust still. The coveted volume rested on its chest, clutched in skeletal hands. Even in death, the evil sorcerer seemed to hold on to his secrets with a zealous posture.
The corpse seemed to grow blurry. Ezreal blinked. His head swam. The explorer gripped the stone edge of the sarcophagus. It was then, he realized. The stench was not entirely due to the corpse. He had uncovered artifacts from crypts before, but never before had a preserved body stank in this evil manner. Poison.
His thoughts immediately traveled to a small vial outside the crypt, tucked safely in his satchel. How much time did he have? How could he have been so careless?
Demonstrating superior will and rather irreverence to the dead, Ezreal thrust his gauntlet inside the crypt and forcefully pushed aside Morello’s hands. Gripping the tome, he heaved at it, expecting the entire mausoleum to come crumbling down on him. It did not. Ezreal lacked the wits to feel thankful at the moment. All his concentration was focused on making a beeline out of here and drinking the last bit of vitality potion he had. The thief in the room could rot in the Shadow Isles for all he cared.
Piltover’s Grandmaster Explorer coughed violently, spitting what unnervingly seemed to be blood onto his sleeves. As he clutched the tome to his chest and prepared to turn, vertigo washed over him, making him struggle to maintain balance. He needed to breathe. Gritting his teeth, he dared to inhale a small amount of air. The putrid gas had diffused into the hall but still lingered a tad strongly there.
“Let’s do this,” he rasped.
“Let’s not,” came a voice from behind, cold as a winter breeze and smooth as silk.
Ezreal felt talon like nails digging into his throat.
From the tone of his adversary and the way he moved his fingers, Ezreal knew there wasn’t going to be any room for conversation. The moment Ezreal felt those nails move ever so slightly preparing for a slash, he closed his eyes and summoned the arcane to shift him away. He reappeared several feet behind his adversary, and swayed on his feet, the tome still hugged to his chest. Squinting he looked ahead at his enemy.
The light from the lantern and moon illuminated enough to reveal a person who turned and walked in a regal manner, clothed in extravagant attire fit for a noble. Red robes flowed behind him as he casually walked towards Ezreal. The smirk on his face and the gleam in his eyes poured evil into the room, filling it with a stench far more malevolent than the poison running through Ezreal’s veins.
“Parlor tricks? Wonderful,” the adversary said.
No negotiations. No tarrying. The man in red approached Ezreal with lethal intent.
The explorer raised his left arm to shoulder level and let fly a bolt of energy. His enemy reacted with reflexes of a seasoned duelist, summoning a small glowing sphere in front of him that blocked his mystic shot. The sphere twirled and pulsed, and as Ezreal gazed at it, he realized that it looked like blood floating in air.
Ezreal staggered back and released a series of more energy bolts, the hall lighting up and the air cracking every time he did. Some of the shots weren’t even true, missing his enemy by feet. The ones that were on the mark were easily deflected.
The man in red shook his head, his strides casual and deliberate, the smirk on his face giving away to laughter. “Pitiful creature.” The crypt boomed with malice.
They were now only a few feet away from each other. Ezreal could not summon the energy for another arcane shift. The poison was working through his blood, weakening him by the second. The sphere of blood seemed to stare at him, taunting him. The explorer needed to defend himself.
The lantern! It wasn’t on him. Only if he could shift to it right now. But there was no point lingering on what could have been.
The man in red drew his hand in front of him and swung at Ezreal’s face with a forceful backhand. Everything went black for a few moments as his surroundings spun in front of his eyes. His hat dislodged from his head and landed away from him, rolling on the ground. Ezreal lost his footing and dropped to the floor like a rag doll, his eyes following the light of his hat.
For a moment, he thought he was hallucinating. He could swear that the light from the hat which was pointing at the corridor that led to the crypt threw a shadow against the walls. Behind him, he felt his soon to be murderer drop to a knee and grab his hair, pulling his head back. Again, Ezreal felt those cold talons scratch at his throat, digging deep, preparing to lacerate him.
“No blood for you tonight, foul monster,” echoed a strong confident voice from the corridor.
Ezreal’s consciousness careened on the edge of a knife as he tried to peer at his potential savior.
The air sang as a bolt zoomed towards the man in red. Ezreal felt his face slam against the floor as his adversary released him to dodge the bolt. Where were these people coming from?
Ezreal heard scurried footsteps, bolts cracking the air, robes billowing, grunts, laughter, and bodies rolling on the floor. They composed a cacophony of battle he could not witness. After a few moments there was silence. Blissful silence like honey mead served on a pleasant afternoon.
Someone rolled him over onto his back. Grabbing the back of his head they hoisted his shoulder up.
“Drink this,” said the new person. Ezreal was keenly aware that it was the voice of a woman, but her touch was rough and vigorous. She prodded the opening of a vial against his lips. Ezreal tried to open his eyes and see this person, but the insides of his head burned in agony. “Drink this now **** it,” she shouted, jerking his head.
Ezreal parted his lips, letting the liquid flow into his mouth. It tasted bitter and he winced, instinctively trying to turn his head away. The woman gripped his hair tightly and held him in place. He was forced to drink the entire contents of the vial, the liquid washing down his throat, sending a warm reinvigorating sensation through his body.
“You should be fine. Stay down,” she commanded and let go of him. His head thumped against the floor yet again. Ezreal groaned as the woman dashed off towards the corridor leading to the exit.
Footsteps died slowly, leaving him in silence.
It took a few minutes for the explorer to feel like himself again. Whatever the woman had made him drink was counter acting the poison. He groped around the floor. The tome! It was gone. He heaved himself to his feet to fetch the lantern and his hat. Nervously he looked around with the light sources. The tome was nowhere in sight. The man in red must have taken it.
Ezreal broke off in a run towards the corridor, but realized that the antidote was still doing its work and his organs ached inside him. He slowed down and limped towards the light at the exit, trying to gather his thoughts, to compose himself. He had come too far and gone through quite an ordeal to lose the artifact.
As he neared the exit, he began feeling weaker again. “No, no, no, no, please not again” he muttered.
A burst of fresh air from the nearby river greeted Ezreal as he descended to his knees outside the door to the mausoleum. He dropped the lantern, removed his hat, and clutched his chest, breathing in handfuls of sweet night air. As he collected himself, he realized that in the clearing ahead, the man in red and the woman circled around each other with calculated steps. The woman had a small crossbow affixed to the back of her right hand and had it pointed at her enemy. The man in red moved with a limp, one bolt protruding from his left shoulder, another from his right thigh; droplets of blood splashed the ground in his wake. Ezreal’s eyes however widened at the sight of the tome, clasped in the arm of the man in red.
“Have you not tried enough times, Shauna?” The man said.
“It will never be enough until you have been purged, vile hemomancer,” the woman retorted. Ezreal noticed another crossbow, much bigger, slung across her back, one gigantic bolt notched in it.
The woman named Shauna twitched. The hemomancer did not react, catching the feigned attack.
“We know how this ends,” taunted the man, brushing back his groomed hair. “But I’m impressed that you’ve found me this time.”
“Even a fool knows to enter Morello’s tomb only in the full moon,” said Shauna, feigning another dive. “You are too predictable.”
“A harvest moon,” the man leered, licking his lips. His injuries seemed not to trouble him much. “Yes, so aptly named.”
“No, tonight’s is the hunter’s moon, Vladimir.”
That laughter, again, making Ezreal shiver. Never before had he faced a foe like this. The lights were going out again. Ezreal locked his jaw, concentrating. But he stumbled onto the floor with a thud.
They both turned towards Ezreal.
“You fool,” shouted Shauna. “The antidote hasn’t run its course yet.”
Condescending laughter seemed to weigh down on Ezreal.
The satchel. Ezreal noticed it lying on the ground about twenty feet away from him. He began crawling towards it.
“Stay down, half-wit,” Shauna yelled at him. Ezreal dug his nails into the ground and dragged his body towards his satchel.
“Is this what the fabled night hunter gets off on then? Frail dying boys?”
Droplets of blood came rushing towards Ezreal from Vladimir’s floating sphere. With the warrior’s reflexes developed in his times at the Institute of War, Ezreal kicked the ground and rolled away, not wishing to experience anything to do with that mad man.
At the same time, Shauna tumbled onto the ground ahead, regaining her footing almost immediately and letting loose a bolt.
Vladimir screamed in pain and staggered back. But it was only momentary. The bolt had hit him square in his abdomen, but he seemed to shrug off the pain. The gaze he returned to Shauna was as menacing as ever and boiled with hatred. He let loose another torrent of blood at Shauna, the droplets flying like daggers towards their target. The night hunter tumbled left and right swiftly, dodging the attacks.
Ezreal averted his eyes away from the action and heaved himself towards the satchel. When he was only a few feet from it, stray blood daggers hit Ezreal’s legs. They cut through his flesh, making him scream in agony. Fresh blood leaked out, pooling beneath him.
Vladimir must have heard him, because his focus shifted to Ezreal. Ezreal could not see the lustful eyes of the hemomancer, who had his hands extended out towards the explorer.
Ezreal felt his vitality being sapped from him as though someone was sucking the blood out of his body. Weakening. Is this how it ended? Would there be a flash of light where he recalled all his adventures, his mischief through the secret passageways of Piltover, his battles on the Fields of Justice, the wonderful times spent with loved ones?
He heard another tumble on the ground near him and a twang. The air whistled and Vladimir screamed out yet again.
Shauna must have done something, because Ezreal felt free to move again. Even though he was losing a lot of blood, that feeling of life being sucked out of him had vanished. Finally his hand found his satchel. Fumbling through it, he withdrew the vial of vitality. Removing the stopper with shaking hands, he drank the liquid in one gulp and rolled over on his back, looking up at the sky. The hunter’s moon, as Shauna had called it, stared at him, beautiful and deadly.
Life began flowing back into him. He could feel his wounds close slowly. As he felt the tug of the arcane once more, he whispered a silent thanks to the potion makers at the Institute of War. The fight between Shauna and Vladimir went on while Ezreal had his eyes closed. The few minutes it took for Ezreal to regain his senses and strength again seemed like hours to him. He jumped up and scanned his surroundings.
The two combatants were dancing around the clearing, throwing their projectiles at each other. Child’s play. It was time for a true display of skill. Ezreal willed the arcane, drawing the mystical energy around him. His amulet resonated in response. The air in front of him glowed with an effervescent light as he charged up multitudes of energy bolts together, stacking them into one gigantic missile that would fire true.
He had to be careful. Vladimir still held on to the tome with dear life. Ezreal dared not risk destroying it.
“Over here,” he challenged.
Vladimir noticed him and for the first time, his eyes betrayed him, shock etched across his features. He took on a defensive stance, eyes twitching nervously from Ezreal to Shauna and back.
Ezreal waited. His attack was charged. Shauna retreated back a few steps. But Vladimir was clever.
“Oh? Why hesitate, boy? Go ahead, do it,” retorted Vladimir, malicious smile marring his face as he glanced at the tome, and then back at Ezreal.
It happened in the blink of an eye. Ezreal released the barrage of energy bolts with an audible grunt. The air hissed and crackled. A bright flash of light erupted. Ezreal counted on this. Summoning the arcane, he shifted himself in space, appearing right behind Vladimir. Gauntlet connected with the back of the hemomancer’s head, allowing Ezreal the opening to snatch the tome from Vladimir’s hand. The next instant, he dived away, leaving a dazed Vladimir to confront the full force of his energy missile.
Stench of burning flesh filled the air as Ezreal’s true shot barrage left a wake of destruction. Vladimir stood there, most of his clothes burned away, his skin scorched, his hair singed. He was groaning in pain, his body still as a statue, smoke billowing from his charred skin.
Before Ezreal could gather himself from the effort, he heard Shauna break off in a dash. In one fluid motion, she tumbled ahead, rolled on the ground, unsheathed the gigantic crossbow from her back, rose to sit on her knee, and aimed the bolt at Vladimir, its tip inches away from his chest.
“Time for reckoning,” said Shauna, a sense of finality in her tone.
There was a dull thud as the crossbow loosened the giant silver bolt. It pierced Vladimir through his heart and flung him far back in its flight, impaling him against a tree. A howl rendered the night, dark and ominous. Vladimir’s hands tugged at the bolt, trying to pull it free, but it wouldn’t budge.
Ezreal took deep breaths as he watched Shauna do the same. Their eyes met before shifting their gaze to the writhing body as it struggled against the bolt. Shauna adjusted her glasses with a finger and ambled towards the dying Vladimir, whose movements seemed to weaken with every effort.
Standing a few paces away from the near lifeless body, Shauna said in a practiced tone, “Vladimir, you have fallen to the practice of the black arts. You have willingly harmed others. You are condemned.”
The words seemed to hold great power, as Vladimir stopped moving entirely as soon as she finished. Shauna let out a long resigned sigh and dropped to the ground.
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Hunter's Moon continued...
Ezreal made his way towards the satchel as he watched all this with curiosity. His grip tightened around the tome before he placed it safely inside his bag. Slinging the bag across his shoulders he approached Shauna, who was still catching her breath.
“The poison could have killed you,” she said, her voice bitter.
Ezreal rolled his eyes, exasperated. “You’re welcome.”
Shauna turned and gazed at Ezreal, her eyes incredulous.
“Boys,” she mumbled.
“Excuse me? I just totally blew that guy up. All you did was giving your condemned black arts speech. A little appreciation would be nice.”
Shauna rose to her feet, and slung the crossbow onto her back, adjusting the strap in front of her.
“Delusional,” she began walking away. “Next time someone gives you an antidote, take it like a man and lie still.”
Ezreal threw his hands into the air. “Thanks for the advice. It was definitely my fault I didn’t trust a stranger to be holding on to the precise antidote to a mysterious poisonous gas wafting from the ****ed crypt of an ancient sorcerer.”
Shauna stopped on her tracks, turned, and smiled. Ezreal reasoned that she did not smile enough, because it looked strange and forced on her countenance.
“You couldn’t possibly know what antidote to give me,” Ezreal went on. “Could you?” That last bit was less certain.
Shauna’s smile devolved into a frown as she cocked her head to the side. She drew a bolt from her belt and notched it on the small crossbow at the back of her hand. She aimed ahead.
“Whoa whoa, I didn’t mean to offend you. Easy now.” Ezreal threw his hands up, palms facing Shauna.
“Move aside,” she yelled. “Now.”
Ezreal did as she asked, following her gaze. He was not prepared for this. Vladimir’s corpse was melting away, but it wasn’t natural. A dark puddle began gathering beneath him, widening as more and more of his body transformed into what looked like a pool of fresh blood.
For an instant, the hemomancer’s eyes opened, shining in the moonlight like twin pearls. His deformed lips curled into the most unnerving smirk before his entire body turned into liquid blood, pooling on the spot beneath the silver bolt pinned against the tree.
Shauna fired a bolt at the ground. Nothing happened. The entire pool seemed to move. Ezreal had no time to think. He began firing bolts of energy at the abomination, but nothing happened. The sanguine pool simply cascaded away, unfazed.
It didn’t take Ezreal and Shauna long to realize what Vladimir was doing. The pool of blood was advancing towards the river by the crypt.
Shauna reloaded her small crossbow as fast as she could and fired her remaining bolts at what remained of Vladimir, following it, while Ezreal let loose mystic shots, but their efforts were in vain. Eventually, the blood pool seeped into the river, mingling with the water and washing away.
“No,” Shauna screamed into the night. “I had condemned you, Vladimir. I had you.” She dropped to her knees, slamming her fist on the ground, nostrils flaring.
Ezreal approached her and tentatively laid a hand on her shoulder. Shauna shoved it away.
“I had you, monster. I had you.”
The prodigal explorer did not really know how to console her, so he simply stood there.
After several awkward minutes, the night hunter took a deep breath and rose to her feet.
“Shauna Vayne,” she said, extending a hand, her face stoic, devoid of the emotions pouring even a few moments ago.
“Ezreal.” He took her hand and shook it.
“What you did back there, Ezreal, was rather impressive.”
“Thank you, Shauna,” he nodded, smiling. “You weren’t too shabby yourself.”
This time, Shauna Vayne laughed, and she looked quite beautiful in the moon light when she did so. She lifted her hand and ran her fingers through Ezreal’s hair, ruffling it.
“Good luck on your journeys kid,” she said as she walked away into the shadows.
Ezreal smiled and touched his hair. As Shauna disappeared into the trees, he remembered the true nature of his journey. Fumbling, he withdrew Morello’s tome from his bag and for the first time was ready to appreciate it. The black cover was rather dull. Not even leather. He opened it and gasped.
The pages were blank. And they did not look old at all. In fact, he was sure that there weren’t even pages of this quality back in those days.
“No, no, no,” he muttered again, scratching his hair. He dropped the tome on the ground and turned its pages hastily. There had to be something. Some magical word to reveal the contents perhaps?
Ezreal’s eyes rested on the only page with writing on it. In pretty flowing letters were written:
“You did not really think I would let Morello’s Evil Tome fall into anyone’s hands, did you? – SV”
Shaking his head, Ezreal looked up and laughed. The hunter’s moon, she called it.
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Thanks for the comments and upvotes fellow summoners.
I'll be honest. I didn't read through the whole thing, as I'm not really a fan of Ezreal.
But from what I saw, your description writing is excellent. And you seem to have a good idea of when to break the flow with a quote or thought to make it more exciting. I'd like to see more.
Hey all, I had totally forgotten about this piece as I got busy with school. But I have finally gone back to it, and here's the finished product. Let me know how you like it. I have plans of writing a short story of similar length on the origins of Pulsefire Ezreal.
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