I have some ideas for characters in the next few chapters:
Draven could join alongside his brother Darius to help in the battle against the Void, however, Kha'Zix could join the battle at a critical moment, turning the battle around when it is seemingly won already. Adding these bring more suspense to the storyline. I've read all the chapters so far and I'm really liking your writing style so try to continue!
This chapter was actually released on fanfiction.net on 5/29/2013 and I forgot to post it up here. Sorry for that! But I bet you'll be glad to know that Chapter 18 is already halfway done (I've been trying to beat the wordcount on previous chapters for the new chapters... So far, I'm trying to beat 3999 words. xD)
Ashe opened her eyes to the dim moonlight that flooded the tent. She fell asleep trying to comfort Garen with his recent losses, and she awoke alone. She sat up and stretched, then left the tent to investigate Garen's whereabouts. She passed by multiple tents with people being tended to their wounds inside, or just sleeping. She went to the great bonfire at the center of the camp to see people celebrating. They ate and they danced, they sang songs and they shouted. After all that happened, it was a victory. Ashe knew that her fallen people would appreciate if the living would continue to enjoy their lives, but remember the sacrifices done. As she scanned the surrounding area, she found Lux and Annie singing along some of the Avarosans in a familiar rhyme. At another spot around the bonfire, she saw Jarvan standing up as he observed the celebration. However, there were no signs of Garen or Tryndamere.
Ashe made her way over to Jarvan, the latter giving her a greeting with royalty. She returned the greeting, then asked, "Have you seen my husband?"
Jarvan looked around, as if trying to look for him, then pointed a certain direction, "I saw him walk that way a few minutes ago," he said.
"Thank you," Ashe said, then bowed and went to the direction Jarvan pointed.
She walked with the moonlight illuminating her path, then she heard muffled noises of clanking. It was like equipment being moved. She went to the source and found several men suiting up in their wargear. She could identify many of the men to be Demacian, but what surprised her is that there were many from the barbarian tribes that was under Tryndamere's control. She scowled, then approached the group of men. When they saw her, they all froze as if they saw a ghost, and Ashe raised an eyebrow.
"Tryn?" she called out.
Of course, Tryndamere knew who's voice it was that called his name, and playing dumb would only result in tragedy. He turned around, already geared up, "Yes, my queen?"
"What's going on? Why are these men preparing for war?" Ashe questioned.
"Well, my good friend asked me to go with him to battle. I can't resist," Tryndamere pointed to a big man speaking to a woman.
The man looked very familiar, and it struck Ashe with nostalgia when she realized what she was looking at. The lighting from the bright moon was exactly the same that night. His outfit was the same that night. Rugged Garen.
"...and you're sure about this?" Garen said in a soft voice to the woman he was talking to.
Ashe observed the woman, and found her to be contrasting to Garen's bulky figure. She was slender, quite tall, and had a bird perched on her arm.
"Val can't be mistaken," the woman said.
"Alright, thank you, Quinn. Report to Jarvan when you can," Garen dismissed the woman. She left immediately.
Garen turned around to see Ashe with her arms crossed, an obvious frown on her face. He took a step backwards, but Ashe chased him.
"What do you think you're doing?" Ashe demanded.
"Our scout reported that there was a void outpost nearby Zaun, just at the base of the Ironspike Mountains."
"And you plan on attacking it without letting the others know?"
"It is best if they did not know. They've already seen too much loss," Garen said, suddenly taking a serious tone.
"What about these men with you? Have they not had their fair share of loss and death? What if they die too?" Ashe replied with a serious tone of her own.
"They are willing to sacrifice themselves if it eliminates a threat to Demacia or Freljord."
"Ashe, I know this sounds crazy but this is our chance to show the enemy that we are not a force to be meddled with," Tryndamere said.
"And what? Let them terrorize other people because they can't mess with us anymore?"
"Our scout says that this outpost contains an artifact that is the source of all the void portals appearing all over the world. If we secure it, we can have an advantage," Garen interjected.
Ashe furrowed her brows and balled her hands into fists, then sighed. She kissed the tip of her fingers and put it on Garen's forehead, then gave Tryndamere a kiss on the cheek, "There's no stopping you now," she said, then smiled softly at the two.
Garen and Tryndamere led their band of 50 men Northeast, to the base of the Ironspike mountains. Ashe stood at the edge of the camp, watching the two men that shared her heart. She held her arms, as if keeping their warmth close to her. With their backs turned and their figure growing smaller as they got farther, Ashe felt a sense of loneliness. It was like when children cry when their parents leave, but she continued to watch until they disappeared in the distance, and Ashe turned back to the camp.
Upon returning, she found that the celebration was still happening, and it was lively. She noticed a few Noxian soldiers mingling with the others. Apparently these few snuck out of Noxus to join the festivities, for they had no inherent hate for the Freljordians, but have a small distates for the Demacians. Ashe sat down on a log by the bonfire and rested her chin on her hand. She stared into the fire and thought about how Tryndamere and Garen would be. In the meantime, she smiled for her people.
The next day was spent burying the dead, and the sun rose and set many times before the joint army disbanded and returned to their homes. The Demacians are now sending multiple search parties for Garen, and Ashe told her people to rest easy while Tryndamere was away. Noxus felt relaxed now that their borders were free from the foreign armies. Jayce decided to stick with the Demacians for a while longer, and he kept Lux and Annie company in Garen's absence.
The heat of the glaring sun made the walk back to Demacia difficult. Jarvan led the remaining Demacians on horseback, and once the guards saw the Demacian contingent, they opened the gates. Demacian citizens gathered in the streets to greet the returning soldiers, and some are presented a harsh truth after seeing that their loved ones did not return. Jarvan returned to the palace with Shyvana, and Jayce escorted Lux and Annie into the Crownguard home. Lux was rather worried for her brother, since he disappeared without saying goodbye to her. The last she saw of him was when he was being patched up. However, she resumed her duties in the Academy a few days later. She got Annie a badge which she could use to access Demacian facilities.
As Lux gave Annie a kiss on the forehead before leaving the house, Jayce sighed as Annie would stand at the door until Lux disappeared around the corner then go watch some television.
"She's like a single mother," Jayce commented. He wasn't really talking to anyone but himself.
Jayce stayed at the Crownguard residence to watch Annie until Lux got back. Sometimes, Annie would help Jayce as he tinkered around with his hammer. He noticed that Demacia was in perfect condition, and the robots and Heimerdinger had already left for Piltover. Jayce would sometimes call Caitlyn and let her know how things were in Demacia, but she would always ask when he will come back. Jayce would say that she should count this as his vacation.
One night, Lux came home with a bag of food she got from a restaurant, and they would all eat at the table as if Jayce was Demacian, and not from Piltover. Jarvan even gave him a complimentary suit of armor from the Dauntless Vanguard, just in case Jayce had any intention of serving in the Demacian Armed Forces while he was here. Of course, they wouldn't force it upon him since he was not a Demacian citizen. As they ate dinner, they would crack jokes or just talk about their days. Jayce felt the feeling of family with the two girls, and he started to have the notion of wanting a family of his own. Everything was fine, but when the city slumbers, Jayce could sense Lux awake, just looking off into the distance as she awaited her brother's return.
Meanwhile, in Noxus, Darius and Katarina were sitting at a bar, taking shots and talking to each other. In the background, Talon was playing darts with Draven. When they were done with a round, Draven went to his brother and nudged him with his elbow.
"Hey, bro, did you hear?" Draven asked.
"What?" Darius replied.
"They say that Garen's missing."
"Good. We don't need him in this world," Darius said before downing a shot.
"You're not about to go out there and look for him, are you?" Talon asked Katarina.
Katarina remained silent, thinking about Garen's current condition until she noticed that all eyes were on her. She scoffed and took a shot, "Of course not. He's a big boy. He can take care of himself."
Darius and Draven laughed, then proceeded to wrestle each other as to who would get to play darts next, and Talon sat beside Katarina. All in all, everything was back to normal, or so it would seem.
On a cloudy afternoon, Jarvan received a letter with the seal of Freljord. He opened the letter and began to read it, but the contents shocked him to the point where his grip ripped the parchment. He grew furious and ripped the letter apart, then threw them on the ground. Shyvana inquired what seemed to be the problem, but Jarvan gave no reply. He just stormed out of the palace. Shyvana picked up a piece of the paper and read what was on it.
"...were found dead," Shyvana recited. That was all on the piece of paper. Shyvana worried that Garen might have been the subject of that sentence.
A few days passed and Jarvan arrived with Ashe at the site where they found Garen and Tryndamere's band of 50 dead. They were grotesquely mangled, their blood splattered across the ground. There were very distinct symbols drawn with the fallen people's blood, and there was only one explanation for them. Void. Jarvan took a few moments to comprehend how this could have happened, and it was Ashe's scream that broke his trance. He ran to her and saw why she screamed. On a tree was Tryndamere's body pinned with his sword, and a blood trail nearby. The trail seemed to have stopped at certain parts, but it stretched to about 10 meters from Tryndamere's spot, and there lay Garen propped up against a rock.
Jarvan sighed then closed his eyes as he knelt beside Garen's body. He checked for a pulse, but found none. Jarvan carried Garen with all his strength and laid him down on the clearing where they lined up all the dead bodies. Ashe tried to hold back her tears, and her shoulders trembled as she looked at the dead bodies of the two men she held dear, as if expecting them to rise and pretend it was all a prank. Jarvan's face showed his sadness and his anguish. His eyes trained at the pale and lifeless body of his childhood friend and closest comrade. Quinn stood towards the back with Valor perched on her arm, and though they were not very close with Garen, they still felt sadness for the death of one of their own. Jarvan stood up and assisted Ashe in holding her own weight. He then wrapped his arms around her. Even though both were royalty, they were still people, and they were still subject to emotion.
The Avarosan people gathered with the Demacians as they watched the two League Champions, Garen and Tryndamere, be placed into stasis to preserve their bodies. This acted as their funeral, and each champion returned to their homeland. Ashe would stay up late just sitting by Tryndamere, and Lux would do the same for Garen. They spoke to no one, and spent most of their time just being around their beloved dead. The two would shed tears, and mourn for days. In Freljord, Ashe's mourning put a detriment to her power as queen, so Anivia acted as a regent while Ashe was mourning. In Demacia, Lux would hug her knees and cry into her lap. Jayce and Annie would comfort her, and Jayce now took care of Annie.
Jarvan took Shyvana as he stormed the Institute of War and demanded everyone's attention. He pointed out that Void monsters have been going rampant around Valoran, and Void champions were present in their ranks. He also pointed out that two League Champions have died, and there was still no intervention from the Institute of War. Kayle tried to calm the furious prince, but Jarvan would take none of it.
"I am sick of your delay! If you could intervene between Demacia and Noxus, surely you could intervene against a threat that is destroying without preference, am I right?" Jarvan said.
"Yes, but being mad and screaming at us about it is not getting you anywhere," Kayle replied.
Jarvan suddenly grabbed the collar of Kayle's armor and shook her once, "My lifelong friend and most trusted ally died trying to stop this menace and you're telling me I shouldn't be mad?!"
Kayle sighed, then lay a hand on Jarvan's wrist, "It's not that we don't want to intervene. It's that we cannot intervene. Our researchers gathered a strange artifact, and it is blocking anything magical from entering or exiting the Institute. Have you noticed there hasn't been a battle at the Fields of Justice for a while now?"
Jarvan released Kayle, "Where is this artifact?" he asked.
"It's at the center," Kayle said, showing Jarvan the way, "We can't touch it for some reason. It turns ephemeral once anything gets near it.
Jarvan walked up to a small podium where the artifact was located, and it was levitating in a ray of light. He noticed that the artifact looked like a part of Valoran, and it was broken in a fashion where it required two more pieces to be complete. Jarvan had the artifact that Garen kept with him and he held it up to the artifact on the podium. As if drawn with magnetic force, the artifact flew out of Jarvan's hand and began levitating where it fits the broken circle. Suddenly, the ground shook and dust fell from the ceiling. Jarvan, Shyvana and Kayle walked outside and saw hordes of Void monsters, much like what the Demacians and Freljordians fought at Noxus. They were storming in the direction of Freljord.
"You must hurry. Gather every man you can spare and chase after those vile creatures," Kayle advised.
Jarvan promptly left and returned to Demacia with Shyvana. Upon their arrival, they called out what was left of the Dauntless Vanguard, as well as a majority of the Elite Guard. They all were ready to fight within half an hour, and they all made haste to leave for Freljord. Jarvan had requested Jayce to join the battle as an honorary member of the Dauntless Vanguard, and Lux was in charge of the defenses in Demacia.
Xin Zhao and the Honor Guard made the Palace secure in the absence of the Demacian army, and the Academy acted as the guardsmen of the city-state. Jarvan has executed total war against the void, and has promptly moved all the manpower he could spare.
Up in the North, at the Avarosan defense line, Ashe led her people against the rampaging void army. They had come from the south, and it was evident that these were newly spawned creatures, as a majority of them were never seen before. Ashe flipped her hair and fired the first arrow, which signified the start of the icy rain of arrows onto the invaders. Luckily, the Winter's Claw agreed to help the Avarosans. If they did not fight off this menace, then what would remain of their homeland? The past mattered not in this current problem, and Sejuani led her forces alongside Olaf and Volibear as they charged head on into the creatures of the void. The ferocious, battle-hardened warriors proved a surprise to the void, but they soon learned to adapt, and began to fight on equal terms.
"Ashe!" Sejuani called out from outside the barricade.
"What is it?" Ashe replied, leaning over the wall to see Sejuani.
"Where are your foreign friends?" Sejuani asked, almost in a sarcastic tone.
Ashe was silent for a bit as she ordered another volley into the enemy ranks, "Let us rely on our own strength," she said.
Sejuani rode off with her boar after those words. It was their key to go wild, show these invaders what true strength was. The power of the Iceborn flew through the Winter's Claw as they ripped and chopped apart their enemies with fervor, but they were too fired up to notice they have been receiving heavy losses in their numbers. They were few in numbers, but they were strong. Their Avarosan counterparts are not as strong in fighting. The battle waged on for a few hours before the Freljordians had to retreat, and their first line of defense was broken.
Meanwhile, in Ionia, Irelia led many of her people against the invading void presence. Irelia had asked Karma for the full support of the island, and many have already fallen. Soraka's healing abilities saved as much as she could, and Lee Sin protected those in need while driving back the enemy. Irelia was in the frontlines, and Varus picked off enemy by enemy with his arrows, occasionally sending a more powerful arrow through multiple people. Udyr attacked with the strength of nature, and Karma assisted in defense. The blood of their people soaked the ground, and each comrade who fell inspired the Ionians to fight back with more zeal. The Kinkou order was there to fight as well. Shen ensured that the enemies focused on himself instead of the weaker countrymen of his. Akali used her shroud to stealthily attack key targets in the void army, and Kennen unleashed heavy lightning storms on the enemy. Zed and his shadows acted independently, fighting away from the main Ionian force and killing for himself. Syndra also fought independently, seeing the void invasion to be an opportunity to use her abilities at her current maximum potential, so she may improve and be stronger.
There were some who fought that were aspiring champions, but have either been deferred by the League or have been rejected. One was Tachi, the Sword of Spirits. He was a veteran of the Noxian invasion, and he had been called upon once more to aid in the defense of Ionia. He fought alongside Irelia, slaying monster after monster. His blades were coated in the blood of his foes, and his feet submerged in the blood of his comrades. It was a bloody battle, almost as chaotic as the Noxian invasion with everyone around him dying, and the screams of death or the yells of encouragements filled his ears. His only shining light was the spirits that flew around him, as well as Irelia's voice as she called out orders throughout the battle. As in Freljord, the battle lasted several hours before the Ionians had to retreat.
In Noxus, Darius and Talon were in the thick of the battle, and Katarina deftly maneuvered around the battlefield to eliminate enemies. Swain was morphed and was stealing the life essences of the creatures with his flock of birds. Draven threw his bouncing axes with joy from the backline, and it seemed that the Noxians had help from Zaunite mercenaries, just like the invasion of Ionia. Singed and Warwick lay waste to the void ranks with their unorthodox way of fighting. So far, Noxus had been the most successful in warding off the void rampage from trampling on their city.
However, in Demacia, Xin Zhao and the Honor Guard fought desperately to keep the Void creatures from breaching the walls. Lux and the Academy magicians enchanted Demacia with a magic barrier to help Xin Zhao, but without the bulk of Demacia's Army, they were fighting an uphill battle. Many volatile, self-destructing creatures were hurled at Demacia's barriers, and the resilient magicians reinforced the barrier more than they thought was necessary. The Honor Guard formed a phalanx and held the line against the overwhelming monsters.
Demacia had the worst results out of all the city-states. They had to call everyone into the keep, and placed all the women and children in the underground caverns that served as the last safe haven on Demacia. Jarvan III had ordered all able bodied men to take up arms and help in the defense. The Academy's magicians were relocated to the caverns for remote defense and magic barriers around the cavern system. Vayne and Sona stayed with the people in the caverns, Poppy led a whole regiment of the militia in fighting on ground level.
As Xin Zhao thrusted his spear into an enemy, he found that someone was fighting off the void. The figure was did not look Demacian, and resembled the dark sky at night. His sword was as dark as obsidian, and the white fur that covered one his pauldrons gave off the aura of a high rank. His observations were cut short when the sudden roar of a void creature made his eardrums ring. His heartbeat echoed throughout his body, and everything moved in slow motion as he dodged the enemy's claw. He responded with a deft stab, and the Honor Guard moved up to reclaim lost ground. Xin stood back to look at what had happened to Demacia. Many of it's buildings were in ruins, like the bombing not too long ago. The ruins were degrading as some acidic liquid was splattered onto them, and the corpses by their feet made walking difficult. As Xin looked at the sky, he felt droplets of rain hit his face, and soon a downpour followed. The raindrops clanked as they collided with his metal pauldrons, and his feet became submerged in the mixed substances of rain and blood.
As a bright flash came from the sky, Xin looked up. To his surprise, it was not lightning. Rather, an extremely large sword came falling and destroyed the infrastructure in the area it landed. It may have caused damage to the city, but it also prevented the void onslaught from marching straight into the keep. Xin knew that there was only one person capable of doing such a reckless maneuver, but that man was supposedly dead. As the smoke from pulverized buildings faded out, Xin saw the hulking black armor and the pale white skin of Garen. His footsteps voided life around him while his presence was close, and the feeling of death enveloped his body. Garen took a cursory glance at his handiwork, then turned his frosty gaze to Xin. The Honor Guard captain stood in awe, however he quickly made the Honor Guard retreat and ensure security. As Xin approached Garen, a sudden pool of dark energy appeared on the ground and arose Morgana from behind Garen.
"Splendid work, my dreadknight," Morgana said, before wrapping her arms around Garen. The latter kept a straight gaze, "Now, let's get you more things to kill, hm?" Morgana spread her wings and flew into the clouds, Garen in tow.
Xin did not quite comprehend what had just happened in front of him, but he knew that Demacia was safe... for now.
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