Fanfiction Link: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8122201/...led_by_Emotion
It was a frosty night in Freljord, and Queen Ashe was holding a feast for her people. Sitting on one of the thrones was King Tryndamere, who was looking on as the people cheered, drank, ate, danced and sang to their hostess's health. Queen Ashe was walking in the midst of her people, greeting them in lieu of Tryndamere, who handled the invitations and preparations for the feast. The hall was warm despite of the icy walls, and the smell of mead and meat permeated the air. Everyone was in high spirits, but the hall went silent when they spotted someone in the crowd. Queen Ashe turned to where everyone else was looking; even King Tryndamere stood up and walked to Ashe's side.
The fabled Might of Demacia stood at the entrance, but his front was only a shadow for the moonlight shone upon his back. With a wave of her hand, Queen Ashe signaled the feast to continue. Everyone returned to their original state in respect for their queen, but they were a bit confused as to why the Might of Demacia would be here. Some of the drunk ones thought he might be here to join the feast and be merry. Someone even mentioned that Garen might be a secret suitor of the queen or the king himself. Many rumors have been floating about the Might of Demacia, but one struck true. He's been harboring feelings for the Sinister Blade of Noxus, and it's been said that Jarvan IV had caught wind of it. Whatever reason Garen had, he did not approach any further. Perhaps in respect of the King and Queen for he did not want to intrude.
Tryndamere approached Garen and clasped his shoulder in greeting. "Greetings, oh Might of Demacia. What brings you to our feast tonight?" he said.
Garen made no response. Tryndamere looked at Ashe. Ashe returned the look with the same amount of confusion found in the King's eyes. Feeling somewhat hospitable, Ashe approached Garen as well.
"Maybe a word in private?" suggested Ashe.
Garen nodded. Tryndamere and Ashe had a moment of staring at each other, and they somehow concluded that Tryndamere would talk to Garen and Ashe would supervise the feast. Tryndamere watched his queen walk off back into the crowd, and Tryndamere led Garen into a guest cave (since the home of Tryndamere and Ashe were a large series of icy caverns) and made Garen sit down on the cot. Garen had an empty look in his eyes, and Tryndamere couldn't be his usual self when an esteemed League Champion such as Garen was acting like an empty shell of the man he really was.
"What brings you here at this hour, Garen?" Tryndamere asked.
"I come to seek refuge..." replied Garen, devoid of emotion.
"Refuge? From what?" Tryndamere inquired, now curious.
"I'll tell more details when you and Ashe are able to hear it simultaneously," Garen said, then removed the magic spell that held his sword to his back and leaned it against the wall near the cot.
Tryndamere thought he could respect the man's decision, so he nodded and left the guest cave and returned to the feast. A few hours later, when everyone either went home or passed out in the gathering hall, Ashe and Tryndamere went to where Garen was sitting. Ashe had been briefed by Tryndamere along the way of what Garen told him. When they arrived, Garen was exactly the same when Tryndamere left him.
"I'm here, Might of Demacia. Perhaps you'd tell us why you are seeking refuge?" Ashe mentioned, sitting beside the seemingly depressed champion. Tryndamere leaned his back against the wall, listening in. Ashe always had a way of getting information.
"First of all, I apologize for appearing unannounced to your home," Garen started.
'Hmm... So he's not here on behalf of the Institute of War...' Ashe thought. She then said, "Oh, it's not a problem."
"I come here to seek refuge... for I have been exiled out of my home, Demacia," Garen said. "The Prince ordered it himself, after discovering that I had some affection towards the Sinister Blade, Katarina."
"The Sinister Blade? Why, I'd banish you too-" Tryndamere started but was cut off with an icy glance from Ashe.
"So the rumor is true, then, that you have feelings for Katarina," Ashe mentioned.
"It is true, but I do not let it get the better of me on or off the Fields of Justice, nor in Demacia or anywhere in Valoran," The Fields of Justice is a special place where League Champions do battle and settle fights.
"Except here," Ashe said smartly.
"Yes, that is true..." Garen admitted.
Hoping that she could give a fellow champion a modicum of hope, Ashe gave Garen's shoulder a pat before saying, "Well, you can call this your home as long as you do not bring trouble to us, o' Might of Demacia."
As soon as he heard that, Garen smiled, then looked at Tryndamere. Tryndamere gave a nod in agreement, and Garen returned the nod.
"I thank you, King and Queen."
"Oh please, I prefer to be called by my name, not title," Tryndamere stated. Ashe tilted her head with a shrug, showing how she has mutual feelings with Tryndamere.
"Well, now that this issue is settled, we must get rest. Don't run away in the middle of the night, Garen," Ashe said, and started walking to her own room.
"If any trouble stirs and it's not of your doing, you can handle it while we're not there, right?" Tryndamere said to Garen, trying to raise Garen's self-esteem. Garen nodded, and when the two exited his cave, he removed his armor and lay down on the cot, closing his eyes to get some rest. The Might of Demacia really hadn't gotten any sleep since his exile.
It was a hazy field of tall grass, and Garen found himself in the middle of it. He tried running out of the field, but to no avail. It seemed like the tall grass ran for miles and miles on end, and there was just no end to it. Garen defiantly kept walking, knowing that he'll eventually get out of this field of grass. But then, Garen had the great idea of just clearing out a patch to be able to lay down on or to set up waypoints so he won't walk in circles. Every now and then, Garen used Judgement, spinning around with his sword for three seconds while moving forward, cutting tall grass in his way. When he was finally exhausted, Garen hid in the tall grass and rested, but a haunting voice started to fill his head.
'Garen...' The voice called. 'Garen...'
Upon further investigation, he saw Katarina with her red hair and black outfit standing in a clear patch of grass that he had just passed. He approached her with his sword lowered, and when he was in front of her, he saw Katarina vanish in a flash, and the next thing he knew was that he was staring up at the sky. The night sky was nebulous, filled with plenty of stars which reminded Garen of his home, Demacia. Soon, Katarina approached Garen from what would have been behind him, and she knelt down by his head, a dagger's blade resting on his throat.
"Nice to see you again, Garen," Katarina said, putting a little pressure on the blade upon his throat.
"You caught me off guard once again, Sinister Blade," Garen mentioned casually, but he raised his sword and lightly bopped Katarina's head with the flat of his blade. Katarina released Garen and helped him stand up, despite Garen wearing his heavy armor and all.
"I heard you were exiled," Katarina said while throwing a few daggers at Garen.
Garen blocked the daggers with the big width of his sword and answered, "Yes, and you had a hand in it."
The two danced around with their blades, clashing and hitting and ringing of metal filled the field of tall grass, until eventually, Garen was exhausted. Katarina went over to Garen and lifted his chin up, while placing her dagger's tip on his throat. Garen grabbed Katarina's wrist and fought hard not to make Katarina plunge it into his windpipe.
"Tell me, why haven't you killed me when you've had so many chances of doing so?" Garen inquired.
Katarina gave it a bit of thought, "I wouldn't have a fun rival if I did," she retorted. The two eventually stopped struggling with the dagger and Katarina held Garen's cheek. "If you die under someone else's hands, I'll never forgive you."
"Garen..." the haunting voice called again. "Garen...!"
Garen slowly opened his eyes and found Ashe and her white hair tucked behind her ears as she was bent over, shaking his shoulder, as well as her green eyes staring down at his face. Ashe sighed.
"Good, you're awake..." Ashe said, standing back up straight and put her hands on her waist, "Breakfast is ready, and it doesn't get any better if we saved it for later, so I figured I'd wake you."
"Many thanks for your consideration..." Garen said, getting up out of his cot and standing up. As he stood up, Ashe had to tilt her head a bit upward as Garen was a tall man.
"Follow me," Ashe said, before starting to walk to the gathering hall.
"Ah, the great Might of Demacia! Come, come! The food is perfect!" Tryndamere greeted Garen as he and Ashe entered the gathering hall. It was obvious something had happened for him to be so happy. Garen sat down on Tryndamere's left, while Ashe sat on Tryndamere's right. The three ate, conversing every now and then. Tryndamere and Ashe took special care not to get on the topic of Garen's exile. They talked about their prowess on the Fields of Justice, and eventually they drifted into more personal topics, such as rumors of Ashe being pregnant or how Garen liked tall grass. It was true, for Garen, because he always utilized the element of surprise on the Fields of Justice. However, Ashe didn't quite like the rumor that she was pregnant.
It was already late morning when they began eating, so by the time noon came around, the trio had just finished eating and a courier approached Garen and Tryndamere when the latter was training Garen better on how to "spin2win" while Ashe watched. The letter that the courier sent mentioned that Garen was to be summoned in a battle in the Fields of Justice in a blind pick. Garen geared up and was ready to go by afternoon, and he was conversing with Tryndamere and Ashe while waiting to be summoned. As soon as blue rings of light appeared around Garen, he clasped Tryndamere's shoulder while Tryndamere did the same, and Ashe gave Garen a hug as best as she could, for she couldn't completely wrap her arms around the big champion. Tryndamere and Ashe watched as Garen got summoned to Summoner's Rift.
"Say, don't you think we make good parents?" Tryndamere asked.
Ashe lightly pushed Tryndamere's arm and smiled, "Well, it's best if we spectated on our 'son's' battle, right?" she said, pulling on Tryndamere's leg.
Tryndamere blinked as his own plan to make Ashe feel somewhat flustered backfired. He shook his head and the two sat down on their thrones, setting up a magic ward that displayed the Field of Justice.
There were five champions on each side. There was Garen, Annie, Tristana, Warwick and Pantheon on the one team. To be honest, Garen wasn't close to any of them, and he could tell there was only one way to win; communication. As the champions stood in a circle in their base, they all started buying their starting items, Garen going for Doran's Blade. He noticed that the girl named Annie kept staring at him wide-eyed, and he couldn't help but wonder if there was something on his face. He held respect for her, because she was only a child yet she could destroy other champions in the Fields of Justice. He was happy that the people on his team were on his team, mainly because Tristana has the urge to shoot something every 5 seconds, while Warwick can dress up as your grandma and lie in her bed waiting for you to come, and Pantheon looks like a guy who led 300 men and destroyed an army with them. Garen had nothing to boast as for other abilities, but maybe he can be a water sprinkler and cast Judgement to sprinkle water while spinning. It works, he's tried it once already.
While heading down towards the bottom lane, Garen was tailed by Annie. She mostly followed him out of sheer curiosity or something, because she still had this sparkle in her eyes. Garen thought she was in awe because of his fame, but really, fame has nothing to do with what goes on in a child's mind. Well, maybe a little. Garen would turn to strike up a little confidence booster for the child, but every time he saw that look on her face, he just couldn't form a sentence without feeling full of himself. It felt like forever, but minions started spawning. Garen sighed and waited in the bushes. Once opportunity came, he used Judgement and came out of the bushes to farm. He repeated this cycle until finally, he had enough to stack two more Doran's Blades and Boots of Speed. Surprisingly, he hadn't encountered any champions down his lane, but he noticed that the minions were disappearing without obvious cause, and the enemy minions were able to push into their tower. At once, he did more farming with Judgement and took Boots of Swiftness to run faster.
Annie was on Garen's tail the whole time, stealing a few of his minion kills to rack up some gold herself. She'd been out on the lane for quite a while, but she knew who was causing the push on the bottom lane. Garen had a hunch, but he never knew until he saw her. For a moment, the minions' battle was equal, and the fighting was between the two towers from both teams. Garen just returned to get a B.F. Sword and was in the process of completing Infinity Edge when he returned to the lane and saw what he thought wouldn't happen. It was Katarina. Once the two saw each other, they froze in their spot, but Garen ran away from Katarina's field of vision and hid in a bush. A dagger was thrown at him and his shoulder armor took it. He moved slowly, thinking it was just coincidence, but another dagger hit him again a few seconds later.
"Have you seen my bear Tibbers?" Annie asked Garen.
"What?" Garen retorted, looking at Annie.
"My bear! Have you seen him?"
"We don't have time to look for a lost toy," Garen remarked, then looked back at the farming Katarina. He was amazed by her beauty and grace in the field against the minions.
Annie pouted and started whining, but when Garen "shushed" her, Annie started to cry. Katarina heard the little girl cry and immediately ran to the bush, her daggers primed. She jumped up and aimed her daggers down at the bush, like fangs from an incoming predator, and Garen had to pick up Annie - who was silenced by the sudden lift - and ran away with the boost that Decisive Strike gave him. He retreated to the tower and put Annie down.
"Have you checked your backpack?" Garen inquired, looking behind him to see if they were being chased.
Annie took her backpack and unzipped it, rummaging through it until she pulled out a stuffed bear, "There he is!"
Garen gave a sigh then prepared for the incoming wave of minions, with the possibility of Katarina right behind them. Suddenly, a flurry of pings started erupting and Annie bolted towards the mid lane. Garen was now all alone in the bottom lane. Once the minions were visible, Garen used Judgement and plowed through the minions, but was met by a random blade that hit him and the minions behind him. He could tell that he took the brunt of the damage, and when his rival appeared, Garen activated Courage to provide him a damage reduction and charged headlong into Katarina. He silenced her with Decisive Strike and hit her a few times with his blade, but Katarina's superior attack speed proved her to be a harder adversary.
They danced around once again with their blades, parrying, slashing, stabbing, jumping, clashing, and finally, it came to the point where Garen had sensed it was time for Demacian Justice. Right when he was about to use it, however, he hesitated, and Katarina was about to deal the final blow when Warwick came along from the jungle and started dashing towards Katarina. Katarina stood frozen, awaiting the rampage of claws that would arrive and closed her eyes, but to her surprise, nothing came. When she opened her eyes, she saw Garen with his arms outstretched, protecting her from
Warwick's move. Confused, she targetted a ward that she placed near her tower and used Shunpo to escape.
"Why would you do that, Might of Demacia?" Warwick asked after he was done with his combo.
"She's my rival. Only I may defeat her," Garen stated, then started casting Recall to return back to base.
"She's gonna kill you. You know that, right?" Warwick huffed, quite bewildered that his move was wasted.
"If she manages to kill me, that would only mean she is the better belligerent. I have to make sure I am the one that defeats her to settle the score," Garen mentioned, the rings starting to
close in on him.
"Indeed, I am," were Garen's last words before he was teleported back to base.
Upon returning to base, Garen completed his Infinity Edge and also completed Force of Nature, and he felt like he could take five battles worth of damage in one go. However, something terrible just happened.
"Your turret has been destroyed," the female announcer broadcasted.
Garen looked over his shoulder to see Jax, Master Yi, Katarina and Akali attacking the inhibitor in the mid lane.
"What is 'Sparta' (referring to Pantheon) doing...? He should've asked..." Garen remembered when Annie bolted to the mid lane earlier, "...for help."
Annie summoned Tibbers and started fighting Akali, while Pantheon just respawned and jumped straight into battle with Jax. Warwick came from behind them and started attacking Master Yi, and that left Garen with Katarina. An intense battle went on, and when he saw that everyone looked tired and fairly injured, Garen used Judgement and spun around the area, killing Akali. Pantheon was chasing Jax away from the base, and so was Warwick with Master Yi. Annie managed to kill Katarina, and Garen was just about to go to her body when suddenly a random flying kiss hits his lips. His mind went black and he started walking away from Katarina's body. He tore his gaze from Katarina and saw the Nine-tailed Fox, Ahri, beckoning to him with her finger and a sly smile. Garen couldn't control his actions and moved as if naturally drawn to her, and when close enough, Ahri passed one of her tails under Garen's chin.
"Well, hello there, handsome..." Ahri chanted.
"I bring justice," Garen responded.
Meanwhile, the female announcer broadcasted that Pantheon and Warwick were slain, and Annie was off at the bottom lane farming to save up for an item. He found it uncanny that in crucial moments, he is left alone with no one to depend on for back-up. Ahri's tails wrapped up around Garen's body, and Garen attempted to fight back. Ahri giggled.
"If you'd like to play with me, you'd better be sure you know the game," Ahri said, landing a kiss on Garen's cheek. Garen scowled. He knew he could fight back, but something wasn't right. It feels as if... something painful and burning was at his chest. When he looked down, he saw Ahri's hand, glowing blue with fox magic, resting on his chest.
"Let go of me!" Garen demanded, trying to shake off Ahri's tails. Every time he'd get one off, another would come back and wrap around his body or maybe his arms and legs.
Ahri giggled, "Tell me a secret," she said delightfully, making one of her tails pass by Garen's chin again.
"I'm not going to tell you anything, fox," Garen retorted. He then felt a painful pulse as if a ball of magic was just launched at his chest at point blank.
"Don't you trust me?" Ahri asked.
"No, not at all!"
"Should I make your pulse rise? Or... stop?" Ahri said with a giggle as she launched another ball of magic at Garen's chest. Garen grimaced.
"I swear, if you don't let go of me, I will make sure you are punished!" Garen threatened as he started struggling with Ahri's tails again.
"How tempting..." Ahri whispered, continuously launching balls of fox magic into Garen's chest. Garen's color slowly faded as his skin turned pale, and when Ahri used her ultimate at point blank, Garen died in Ahri's tails, and Ahri released Garen as he plopped to the ground, his sword following shortly after. Before she could turn back, however, she got ganked by Annie, Warwick, and Pantheon, and she soon died as well.
Several minutes pass, and Garen and team managed to push the enemy's mid lane and destroy their inhibitor as well, but once again, they were met in combat with the other five champions. In the midst of the battle they managed to push and destroy one nexus tower and bring down a few champions. In the process, however, only Garen was able to survive. He retreated to a bush and waited for the perfect opportunity, and when he heard someone approach, he prepared his sword and activated Decisive Strike.
"DEMACIA!!!!" Garen yelled as he activated Courage as well, but as soon as he landed Decisive Strike, he saw Katarina. Since she was silenced, she ran away, and Garen chased her with Judgement. When Judgement was finished, Katarina disappeared from sight, only to appear right behind Garen and she plunged her daggers straight at Garen's back. Garen yelled out in pain, but he swung his sword behind him, which Katarina deftly avoids.
Being the only one so far into the mid lane, Garen was surrounded by the enemy champions. He retreated back towards his own base, using Judgement to cancel slows and Decisive Strike to get a movement speed bonus. He traveled through the jungle, where Garen and Katarina found themselves alone. The same events as the dream he had with the endless field of tall grass happened, and Garen was slightly scared of the repeating events. When Katarina held his cheek, he was bleeding everywhere from her cuts, and she had a sword wound on her arm. The two stared at each other for a while, until Garen turned around and broke their eye contact. There was a vote for surrendering on Garen's team, but his vote would determine if the surrender would be successful or not. While the vote ran, Garen's teammates eventually found Garen and surrounded Katarina. Before they could unleash fury on her, Garen stepped in front of Katarina and blocked any incoming strike. When his teammates stood there, confused, Garen turned to Katarina and stared into her eyes. The distance between them was so close, that Garen could see Katarina's beautiful eyes clearly.
After a big sigh, Garen dropped his sword and knelt down in front of Katarina. "I surrender," he said. Soon after that, Garen's Team's nexus exploded. All the champions started warping out of Summoner's Rift, and Garen looked at Katarina as the blue rings started closing in on them.
"Why?" Katarina asked.
"Because I-" Garen started, but then he figured he must not be so straightforward.
Katarina hinted at what he was going to say, and she scoffed. Garen? The Might of Demacia? Fall in LOVE with herself? What were the odds? Katarina was going to say something when Annie started cheering behind Garen.
"Well, aren't you a huggable bear? I've been staring at you since I wanted to give you a hug! You look a lot like Tibbers, you know." Annie commented before her teleportation spell was finished and she warped out.
Garen turned back to Katarina, and she immediately retracted a smile that was evident on her face while Garen wasn't looking.
"Were you smiling?" Garen asked.
"No." Katarina responded, then warped out of Summoner's Rift.
Garen sighed, then closed his eyes for a few seconds. When he opened his eyes, he was back in the Freljord with Ashe and Tryndamere in front of him, as if waiting for him. Tryndamere patted Garen's shoulder and Ashe held Garen's hand. They both looked worried for him.
"You'll do better next time," Ashe encouraged.
"After all, you showed them how to 'spin2win'! You'll win your next battle for sure!" Tryndamere added.
Garen smiled at Tryndamere and Ashe, and he gave Ashe a big hug that lifted her off her feet.
"Hey, what's the big idea? That's MY wife!" Tryndamere exclaimed, then Garen put Ashe down. Ashe looked flustered.
"I'd do it to you too, but I doubt I can lift you," Garen said, smiling.
"Well, you sure look happy despite surrendering..." Tryndamere commented.
Katarina sat down atop a tree, staring at the night sky and all the stars present. She dwelled on the events that happened a few days prior, when her battle in the Field of Justice with Garen occured. She couldn't help but dwell on what Garen had sacrificed for her sake. He blocked Warwick's ultimate that was supposed to be for her, he once had the opportunity to use Demacian Justice, but targetted a minion in front of her instead, he also carried her dead body as close to her base as he could while withstanding the magic balls that the turrets launched at him, and finally, when she was cornered and surrounded, he surrendered. They would have won, if not for his surrender. Then, there was the "almost" confession at the jungle when the champions were leaving Summoner's Rift.
"Next time, I'll... I'll..." Katarina couldn't find it in herself to say "kill him". Something in her heart just didn't want to kill him anymore. "...hurt him... Next time, I'll hurt him really bad."
((Feedback and suggestions for the story's flow is welcome!))
6/13/2013 - Chapter 17 released on LoL FORUMS.
5/29/2013 - Chapter 17 released on FANFICTION.
5/10/2013 - Chapter 16 released.
2/5/2013 - Chapter 15 released.
9/25/2012 - Chapter 14 released.
7/11/2012 - Chapter 13 released.
6/11/2012 - Chapter 12 released.
6/5/2012 - Chapter 11 released.
6/2/2012 - Chapter 10 released.
5/31/2012 - Chapter 9 released.
5/28/2012 - Chapter 8 released.
5/26/2012 - Chapter 7 released, Fanfiction.net link added to first post.
5/24/2012 - Chapter 6 released.
5/22/2012 - Chapter 5 released.
5/20/2012 - Chapters 3 and 4 released.
5/18/2012 - Chapter 2 released.
5/16/2012 - Chapter 1 released.
A few months have passed since the fateful loss at Summoner's Rift, and Garen had grown very accustomed to Ashe and Tryndamere's hospitality that he felt like he was born in Freljord. But, even though he was very situated in Freljord, his love for Demacia hasn't vanished, and he still keeps his home close to his heart. He missed the streets of Demacia. The marketplace, the fountain at the center of the city, and his old home. There has been word that the Dauntless Vanguard have been working hard day and night trying to find a replacement for Garen, but there just isn't any candidate that would fill Garen's shoes that was from Demacia. Therefore, the Dauntless Vanguard is now under Jarvan's control. For several weeks, a courier would come bringing an issue of the Journal of Justice, and it brought Garen, Ashe, and Tryndamere up to speed with what's going on down South of them.
Garen did not spend his few months of inactivity, "inactive" per se, for he has been training with Tryndamere and hunting at night with Ashe. Of course, all Ashe did was reinforce Garen's love for tall grass and how you must surprise your targets, and there was barely any in the Freljordian wilderness. There was one incident when Ashe fell from an icy cliff, and she was seen being carried by Garen back home. Everyone in Freljord felt more sympathetic to Garen at that point, because despite his rugged look, he was still a nice man deep down. One day, Garen decided to visit Ionia and confront the Nine-tailed fox for her performance in their battle, but Tryndamere said no. Defiantly, Garen sought out Ashe and asked her, but she also said no. When it came to Garen, Ashe's word is always final, but never Tryndamere's. Perhaps it was just preference, but Tryndamere felt a bit jealous that Garen was developing a deep attachment to Ashe.
Darkness came, and the moon and stars filled the night sky. Garen lay down on top of a snowcapped rock near his cave. He stared up at the stars, and the moon. He was thinking of what would happen if he came back to Demacia, or if he'll even be able to see it again. Perhaps they'd be happy to see him again, or perhaps they would shun him away? Garen sighed. There was really no way of returning unless he manages to convince Jarvan that he was not falling for Katarina. That in itself was a hard task, almost impossible. But now that he started thinking about it, Garen couldn't take his mind off of Katarina. What was she doing now? Was she taking care of herself? Is someone giving her a hard time? Is she in danger? All these thoughts raced through Garen's mind, but he only got them off of his head when he started walking. He was walking, yet not paying attention which direction his feet took him. He just wandered.
Katarina was sharpening her knives when suddenly she heard a loud thud and metal clattering on the ground. She stood up and covered her eyes with the shadow of her hand as the sunlight bore down on her. She was in the Ironspike mountain range, seeking some sort of artifact that she was going to return to Noxus. She went to check out what made the noise, and was surprised to see Garen, lying face down, on a slight slope at the entrance to some cave. She walked slowly over to Garen's unconscious self with her knives out, and nudged his head with her foot. When he didn't respond, she grabbed his sword and started dragging Garen into the cave. She was about to head that way anyway, and Garen just managed to pass out right in front of the entrance.
"Geez, you're heavy..." Katarina complained as she dragged Garen a few meters before carelessly dropping his head onto the ground. She saw some sort of lever and pulled it, then a secret door opened not too far from Garen. "You're turning out to be some sort of pointer to my objective," she commented. She left Garen and his sword by the entrance of the door, and walked in herself. She took her daggers out and got prepared for some sort of trap system, and surely enough, there was. She jumped, spun, ran, rolled and vaulted over any kind of trap, then when she was finally at the chest that held the artifact, a claw came down and barely missed Katarina from behind a wall. Bursting through was Cho'Gath, who seemed to have been looking for the same artifact as well. Katarina did a backflip and opened the chest, and she found a broken piece of what seems to be a circular plate with drawings of part of Valoran in it. Another claw comes down at Katarina and she crosses her daggers to block the attack. Cho'Gath looked ferociously driven by the desire of getting that artifact, and Katarina couldn't help but wonder if it's part of a multi-piece artifact.
Katarina and Cho'Gath's fighting soon brought the foundations of the secret room down, and it started crumbling. When part of the pillars that held the ceiling up fell, Katarina darted towards the exit, but the debris covered up the entrance. She last saw Garen lying down by his sword, just where she left him. Now that she was trapped with Cho'Gath in the room, Katarina used her superior agility to outrun and flank the beast and give a few attacks here and there.
Garen woke up after a few pebbles hit his forehead. He sat up and looked around, and saw the entrance to the secret room blocked off by debris, mostly rocks. However, he saw one of Katarina's daggers outside the room. He picked it up and grabbed his sword. There must be some other way to get to the room where Katarina was in. Swiftly, Garen headed towards the cave. He raced through a series of tunnels and dark corridors in a rush to find a second entrance. While running in the dark, he stepped into a ditch and fell on his ankle. All his weight went down on his ankle and he sprained it pretty badly, but he refused to falter, and continued running, although in a slower pace. Many times, he would smash his face straight into a wall, and he'd have to feel around him for the next turn. He judged how far he is from the room by taking note of the shockwaves that came from the battle between Katarina and Cho'Gath. He hoped she was doing alright. Surely, she could handle herself, but for how long?
"**** it... if only I could see..." Garen muttered. In his rush to save Katarina, he forgot about getting a torch or something similar. After a few moments, Garen felt a draft and went to the source, and he found an exploitable crack in the wall which he could bust through. Grabbing his sword and placing the tip at the crack, Garen moved back a few paces then walked up to the sword and kicked it into the crack as hard as he could. The force managed to break the frail stone wall and light poured out from the new doorway that Garen created. He activated Courage and came sprinting in, but he was only met by one of Cho'Gath's claws hitting him hard on the side of the head, and he was sent flying into a wall. Nearly unconscious, Garen looked up at Cho'Gath. In his claw was Katarina's neck, and he was choking her off of her feet. Katarina was struggling as hard as she could, but eventually, she went limp. When Cho'Gath felt no more resistance from Katarina, he threw her to the side and she violently rolled along the floor. Cho'Gath started looking around for the artifact.
Garen, on the other hand, was crawling over to Katarina slowly, dragging his body and his sword with him even though his vision was cloudy. Upon reaching Katarina, Garen checked if she had any heartbeat, and when he heard none, he snapped. Immediately, his vision cleared as adrenaline pumped through his body, and he started performing CPR on Katarina, doing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation as well. Katarina revived soon enough, and she slapped Garen hard right when he was about to blow into her mouth again.
"What do you think you're doing?!" Katarina exclaimed. She noticed the thick stream of blood that oozed from the side of Garen's head that made him look even more rugged.
"I was saving you!" Garen retorted, then picked up his sword and offered his hand to Katarina, "You look beautiful, by the way."
"I always look beautiful," Katarina said, accepting his hand and pulled herself up, "You're tanky. You should charge in like an idiot."
"I don't see you getting enough bravery to charge headlong into a Voidborn monster."
Katarina decided to use Garen's own reasoning against himself, "So you'd rather watch me get hurt while I charge in?"
Garen scowled, "Of course not. What would I do without you?"
"You can have your citizenship back if I was dead. That's all Jarvan wants to see anyway," Katarina said, watching Cho'Gath rummage through some debris, facing away from them.
"Well then, I guess I'll have to remain exiled."
"You sure got your priorities misaligned."
"Oh, don't you worry. My priority is you," Garen said, looking at Katarina's eyes.
"Hmph. I don't need a bodyguard," Katarina said before kicking Garen in the back to get him to move forward to Cho'Gath. Garen prepared his sword and started to charge in, but Katarina used him to Shunpo over to Cho'Gath and start attacking him. Garen used Decisive Strike to silence the monster, then followed up with Judgement to keep Cho'Gath's attention on him. He activated Courage again to be able to withstand more attacks from Cho'Gath. Katarina unleashed a few swift attacks before jumping away. She used her ultimate on Cho'Gath, and Garen used Demacian Justice right after. Cho'Gath started running away, and he stumbled over to the portal where he came from. However, he also barreled through a few pillars that supported the room, and the room started collapsing completely. Garen quickly grabbed Katarina's wrist and dragged her to the entrance he found, and he threw her out to make sure she made it, because if Garen kept dragging her, Katarina would have been crushed by falling rocks. Besides, he ran faster without having to drag anything. Once the room completely collapsed, and now Garen and Katarina were stuck in a dark tunnel inside the cave, they had to pat along the walls to know where they were going.
"If I ever touch you in a place you don't desire to be touched, I apologize before hand," Garen said. He really didn't want to be stabbed in the dark, literally.
"Just don't touch me, ever. I'll stab you if you do." Katarina responded, her voice echoing off the walls of the tunnel.
They spent about half an hour walking and feeling around the place until they saw some sort of clearing in the cave. It was still in the cave system, but at least there was a wide open area with plants growing on the side and the ceiling absent, letting in the moonlight through the hole. It seemed as if the hole was intentionally placed there, for it was the perfect angle to watch the moon traverse the night sky. Garen sat down at the center of the clearing where there was a nice flat rock that resembled the headboard of a bed, and put down his sword beside him. He took a quick check on himself and noticed the blood on the side of his head. The wound was still open, and it was surrounded with dirt and dust, and small pebbles that got stuck because of the blood in his hair. He became oblivious to his surroundings and his eyes started to close, and his head started leaning forward. He felt a slight sting where his wound was which caused him to wake up. He turned his head and saw Katarina with part of her sleeve ripped, and she was using that ripped cloth to tidy up his wound. Garen felt too tired to argue, so he looked in front of him to expose his injury to Katarina. As soon as he did so, he felt the sting again and he winced.
"Oh, don't be such a baby," Katarina said, wiping off the blood off of Garen's wound first.
Garen sighed and resisted the reflex of wincing whenever Katarina touched his wound. She WAS pressing down pretty hard on it. Garen heard another ripping sound and when he turned to look at Katarina, she was now sleeveless.
"You shouldn't have done that, you know. We are exposed to the mountain winds with this hole on the ceiling," Garen said, but Katarina took her cloth and started wiping Garen's cheek and ear.
"Well, you couldn't clean up for yourself so I figured I'd do you a favor. I like you looking rugged, but not THAT rugged," Katarina said.
Garen sighed, then let Katarina do what she wanted to do. She cleaned the blood from his head completely, then tossed the cloths away. Katarina gave a sigh, and started staring at the stars. Garen did the same.
"Why did you help me?" Garen asked.
"Do I really have to answer that question?" Katarina retorted, not taking her eyes off of the stars.
"I don't demand an answer, but I'd really like to know," Garen said.
"Well, I don't-" Katarina stopped herself. Garen looked at her, and she stared back at him, "...I don't want you to die from an infected wound, that's all."
"Why did YOU save me?" Katarina inquired.
"I can't admit it, but you're precious to me. Something tells me I can't lose you," Garen said casually, as if he didn't realize how touchy his words were. Katarina blinked a few times, looking at Garen's eyes that were staring at the stars to see if he was lying.
"What exactly did I do to warrant such attitude from you?" she asked.
"Our little rivalry."
"You mean you think I'm precious because I'm your rival?"
"Well, not exactly, but that's what you think, right?" Garen took his eyes off of the stars and looked at Katarina.
"Umm... Ehh... R-Right..." Katarina said, almost muttered.
"Then that's that," Garen said. There was an awkward silence between the two as they stared into each other's eyes, but Garen took initiative and tore his gaze from Katarina's eyes and up towards the moon. They didn't utter a word after that, and they spent a few hours just staring at the stars.
"Where's Garen?" Ashe asked Tryndamere, who was spinning around, practicing his skills.
"I don't know. You mean he's not with you?" Tryndamere replied after finishing a spin.
"I was going to take him out hunting tonight, but I can't find him anywhere!" Ashe exclaimed. Tryndamere spun again and Ashe put her hands on her hips, "Can you at least pretend to be worried?"
"He's a man, Ashe. He's bound to go roaming around the place someday. If he's hungry, he'll come back here."
"Let's hope you're right," Ashe said, then went off to hunt.
"The stars... they're beautiful, aren't they...?" Katarina said, sleepily looking up. It took a while for Garen to respond.
"Yes, yes they are," Garen said, then looked over to Katarina. She was already sleeping, her head leaned against his shoulder. Garen stared at her sleeping face for a while, then shook his head, "If Jarvan saw this, I'd never be forgiven..." Garen muttered so he won't wake Katarina. He placed his hand on the hilt of his sword to make sure he's ready to strike if a threat decides to come up, and his other hand touched Katarina's hand. It was unusually cold, so Garen took out his old blue shoulder cape and put it up Katarina's shoulders to cover her arms from the cold breeze that passed by every now and then. Garen started thinking of the next day, and how he's gonna get home to Ashe and Tryndamere, and if Katarina and himself would separate paths before he even wakes up.
All these thoughts eventually wore Garen's mind down and slowly he fell asleep, his head leaning gently on Katarina's head. The two slept beside one another, taking comfort in each other.
Katarina woke up as sunlight bathed her face. She felt warm, and she felt something leaning on her head. She carefully pushed the thing on her head and was a bit surprised when she touched hair. She looked up and saw Garen's sleeping face. The great Might of Demacia, who slept soundly beside the Sinister Blade of Noxus. Katarina found it a bit comical for some reason, but she sighed and carefully leaned Garen's head back on the stone behind them, before she stood up and stretched. She checked her pockets if she had the artifact, but there was none. Cho'Gath must have taken it when she dropped it in the fight. Katarina put her hands on her hips and stared at Garen's sleeping figure.
"All that work and I get stuck with him," Katarina said. She got somewhat upset that she will be coming back empty-handed, but she couldn't help but smile faintly while Garen was sleeping. Katarina took out her daggers and slowly approached Garen. Right before she got to him, however, she was struck by the feeling of failure. It would hurt her reputation if she was to return with nothing, so she figured she'd take home at least something, and what else is better to bring but the Might of Demacia himself? She stood over Garen, and was about to reach out when Garen placed his sword by Katarina's neck.
"And just what are you planning, Sinister Blade?" Garen questioned as he stood up.
"I'm taking you home with me, to Noxus," Katarina stated with a straight face. She really meant what she said.
"I was planning to do the same thing with you," Garen said as he lowered his sword.
"You're bringing me to Demacia? That seems like a bad idea," Katarina said.
"If I brought you back to Demacia, I wouldn't be able to lay a single gaze at you," Garen explained.
"And why is that so important?" Katarina asked.
"I'm sure you've heard the rumors floating on about us."
"I have, yes. And you're telling me it's true?" Katarina's heart started beating a bit faster.
Katarina closed her eyes and smiled while shaking her head.
"Haven't you noticed? Every time I want to hold you in my arms, you shunpo away," Garen said.
"Yes, I've noticed. How about this, if you can beat me in a duel, you can bring me home to where ever you stay. If I beat you, you're coming with me to Noxus," Katarina proposed.
"Are you falling for me, Sinister Blade?" Garen asked, confused by Katarina's change in attitude.
Katarina looked at Garen's eyes, a smile evident on her lips. "I'll answer that too if you beat me."
Garen smiled, "No skills."
"Drop all your Doran's blades then."
Garen dropped all of his inventory and started circling around Katarina. However, she wasn't gonna let him get her into his own pace, so she started circling around as well. After a few seconds, the two jumped at each other with their blades, Garen striking with an overhead attack while Katarina blocked as she crossed her daggers in front of her. Garen backed up a few before he swung his sword horizontally. The Sinister Blade jumped over the blade and used her momentum as she tried to plunge her daggers into Garen's shoulders. Garen pushed one of Katarina's hands out of the way and the other hit his shoulder armor. The two attacked each other repeatedly, exchanged blows, blocked attacks, avoided fatal attacks, and it finally came to the final stage of the fight. Garen and Katarina were facing each other, and Katarina ran at Garen. Garen prepared to block, but Katarina used his knee as leverage to do a backflip. In the process, she kicked his chin, and that caused Garen to stagger a few feet, but he regained his balance soon after and hit Katarina's stomach with his shoulder, and she tumbled backwards from the force. She gained footing while rolling, and ran around Garen while he tried to completely restore his focus from the kick to his chin. At once, Katarina dashed forward when she was behind Garen and aimed her daggers onto his lower back. Garen heard her footsteps and turned around in time to be able to lock blades with Katarina.
"I see you're weak from attacks from behind," Katarina commented with a smirk.
"And you're weak being confronted up front," Garen retorted.
"Well, of course. I depend a lot on my skills to earn kills, you know. You have insane attack damage."
"Actually, I spin to win now. So I guess we're even on that."
The two pushed away from each other and landed what they thought would be their winning blow, but Katarina's daggers had Garen's throat in between them, like a pair of scissors, and Garen had his blade on one side of Katarina's neck. The two stared into each other's eyes for a while, before Katarina leaned forward gradually. Garen thought he knew where this was going and closed his eyes. Katarina smirked as she thought Garen fell for her trick, and when she tried to disarm Garen, he leaned forward as well and the space between their lips were sealed in a kiss. Katarina's eyes widened and she tried to pull away, but Garen's hand shot up to her head and prevented her from breaking the kiss. Katarina slowly applied pressure on the daggers on Garen's throat, but he wouldn't budge even though her daggers started cutting his skin. Garen decided to release Katarina's head after several seconds, and Katarina slapped Garen hard shortly after.
"Jerk," Katarina said as she wiped her lips on her arm, but she felt cloth touch her lips instead of skin. She looked down at her arm, and saw Garen's lightweight shoulder cape which hung on with a magic spell. Katarina realized that Garen kept her warm through the night. She took a step forward and pushed Garen hard, making him take a few steps back.
"Forgive me. I was not taking into account your status in Noxus," Garen apologized, with a look of regret on his face.
Katarina felt a pang of guilt in her stomach. All this time, Garen's been so considerate of her. He even allowed her to have fun by having a duel every time they met, just because she liked violence a lot. Katarina sighed, and made up her mind. She decided to change for Garen. She walked over to Garen and propped his chin up with the tip of her dagger. "Listen to me. I'll settle for a tie on this duel..."
"So no one's bringing anyone home, and I don't get an answer to my question?" Garen inquired.
"You kissed me and I cut your neck. That should be enough of an answer," Katarina said, putting her daggers away.
"Mind if I got another?" Garen asked, taking initiative.
"I don't mind, as long as you don't mind risking your neck being cut off," Katarina retorted before facing her back on Garen, and blue rings started surrounding Katarina.
"Wait," Garen pleaded as he grabbed Katarina's wrist. The blue rings slowed down.
"What do you want?" Katarina demanded.
"Come with me."
"I need you," Garen said.
Katarina stared at him for a while, and sighed, "I have to return to Noxus."
"You can always return some other time."
"Fine. Fine! I'll stay with you... but only if you get on your knees and beg."
Garen, almost immediately, dropped down to his knees and held up his hands, "Please, I beg of you."
"Well, if you're willing to go that far, I don't see why not," Katarina said, dispelling the blue rings around her, "But don't expect me to hold your hand or anything like that."
"Trust me, I won't," Garen replied. He got up and grabbed his sword, then placed it on his back. "How about actually getting out of here?"
"That's what I was doing until you begged me to come with you," Katarina said.
"Well... Let's follow the draft, then..." Garen said, and started walking.
Katarina was faced with a hard choice. Now that Garen had his eyes off of her, she could recall back to Noxus and get away, but at the same time, she didn't want to hurt his feelings. Not anymore, at least. However, she couldn't be seen with Garen. She would receive the same fate that the Might of Demacia had faced, and that would be a disgrace to her family. Garen turned around, and he caught a glimpse of Katarina's teleportation. When she was gone, Garen looked stoic. His face void of any emotion. One couldn't tell if he was angry or sad, but he was definitely not happy. He continued to follow the draft, and he would continue to do so for several days until he got to the exit. He did not know how much time has passed since Katarina teleported, but he was back at Freljord when he regained his senses, and the first thing he saw was Ashe rushing over with her arms outstretched, as if she was running to greet her child that had returned from war.
Garen's vision was hazy due to dehydration and lack of food, and he stooped forward, and started falling to the ground. Ashe caught him in her arms and she stepped back a few times because of his weight, and Tryndamere came out and helped Ashe carry Garen. They brought him over to his cave and laid him down on his cot, then Ashe started wiping Garen's face to tidy it up a little, and applied some salts to his wound at the side of his head. Tryndamere stood there, watching Ashe take care of Garen and he looked at Ashe's face. She was very worried about Garen's well-being that she sent a courier to send a letter to Demacia and let them know that Garen was in a terrible situation. Tryndamere adviced her not to send the letter, for he was an exile and they have little time to worry about an exiled man. Ashe argued it was important since Garen was from Demacia and he still had his sister, Lux, that needed to be informed of his situation.
"Poor man..." Tryndamere said. Ashe kept still, sitting on Garen's bedside and nursed him by propping his head up so he could take in some water. Tryndamere sighed, then added, "You're such a mother to him, Ashe, you know that?"
"He's been exiled from his home city, and he turned to us in his direst moment. Who do you think should take care of him when he can't take care of himself?" Ashe asked Tryndamere.
Tryndamere was silenced by Ashe's response, and she looked at him with a cold stare. Tryndamere went over and held her shoulders, "I'm just saying that you're even more beautiful when you're around Garen. Your motherly nature really comes out when he's around," he stated.
"Well... On the day he appeared on our doorstep... I just couldn't help but feel bad for him. He's so dedicated to Demacia but their zero-tolerance rule got him exiled just because of a rumor."
"Didn't he say that the rumor is true?"
"But the people of Demacia don't know that for sure. They don't have proof of it, yet the continued to exile him..."
Tryndamere sighed. There was no way he could get Ashe to leave Garen until he woke up, so he gave Ashe a kiss on the forehead and a pat on the shoulder, "Just make sure you don't wear yourself out too much."
"I won't," Ashe said. She stayed in Garen's room all day and all afternoon, nursing him, and when nightfall came and she fell asleep, Tryndamere came over to Garen's cave and put a blanket over Ashe's shoulders.
Tryndamere looked at Garen and whispered, "You better wake up soon, Garen. I can't have you stealing all of my wife's attention," he chuckled at his own joke.
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