Nine years prior to present day, the battle of the Placidium
The council members walked out of the room. Young Irelia lifted her head up. She was wearing her training clothes: a long sleeved, dark red top with a white lining; a pair of full cut pants that rested over a pair of long socks and a pair of boots that were bound in place by cloth cords. She had been sitting in the lobby for hours. She had to know their decision. She waited very patiently. She saw them quietly walk past her, heads hung low. Soraka, now resembling her goat form, trailed out after them with a young woman wearing a black and white kimono by her side.
Irelia looked at them, expecting an answer. None of them looked at her, as they walked by.
"What was the choice?"
None of them spoke. Irelia ran over and grabbed Karma, "What was the choice?!"
"...The council..." Karma drew a breath in. Her voice pained, "In a nearly unanimous vote, have agreed on surrendering."
All the color in young Irelia's face drained. She looked at the council, "You...no. What?"
"Young Lito," one of the councilmen softly spoke. "The Noxians have surrounded us with enough force to level all of the Placidium and our armies. Their war machines will arrive in two hours before they start to open fire. We have until those two hours to let them know of our decision. Not every battle in life can be won. At least this way, less Ionians will die. They have the technology, they have the strength, we...we are at a loss. We cannot fight them."
Irelia was completely silent. She was at a loss for words. This could not be happening. She looked at Soraka and Karma, her tongue looking for sound. The councilmen walked away from her, and left the three women behind. One of them spoke up, "Which of us will tell Master Yi?"
"We will all tell him. Hopefully his anger will be too divided amongst us for him to properly react."
Soraka moved towards Irelia. She reached out to the young girl, who was shaking all over. "Irelia..."
Irelia kept her eyes glued to the ground.
Karma finally spoke up, "Maybe...maybe if they were not so disheartened..." She sighed, and shook her head, "I tried, Irelia. I tried talking to them. They...they refused to listen. We just...we just need..." The young Ionian woman hiccuped. She pressed a hand against her lips. She was crying. "We just need to believe we can win. We just-"
"Stop that," Irelia commanded. "Tears will not solve anything."
Her ears twitched. She heard a loud, piercing wail rip through her mind. Irelia glared at Karma, "I said stop that."
"Irelia...?" Karma raised an eyebrow in confusion. She had stemmed her tears, what else was she supposed to stop?
"Go with the others. I will see the both of you in an hour."
Karma and Soraka looked at one another, completely shocked. Soraka motioned to Irelia, "Are you comi-"
"No. Not yet."
Several minutes passed. Irelia stayed in place, staring at the ground. When Soraka tried to touch her shoulder, the young girl pulled away from her, and continued her stare. Soraka's soft voice barely penetrated Irelia's ears, "Do not stay too long, Irelia. I will be with the others."
The two women walked away, leaving Irelia alone in the flickering candlelight of the lobby. Eventually, she looked up at the doors to the Council's room. On the wall, to the left side of the door, rested that sword.
The sword of her father, the late and great Master Lito. It was a truly fantastic blade. It was six feet in length, with no discernible hilt or pommel. It was a double sided blade, with a sanguine crystal that was seamlessly embedded in the center of the blade. She remembered seeing him use it, it was a living, breathing being in his hands. In its current form, it was useless. In the hands of Master Lito, it was anything and everything. She walked towards it, she could hear something coming from the blade. She could swear it was weeping. She reached up, and touched it. It hummed at her touch.
She stared at the sword for what seemed like days. She made her choice.
Soraka and Karma stood at the podium. Master Yi was between them, his face expressing every inch of his rage. He could barely contain it as the speaker for the Ionian council rambled away into a glowing crystal that amplified his voice,
"...We have put up a good fight, people of Ionia, but we must acknowledge defeat. We look at you, and see the pain, see the suffering you have endured, and you know that we have endured it as well. There is no one here who has lost nothing because of this war. The Noxian and Zaunite commanders are listening to us as we speak. Soon, we will ask for our militia to put their arms down, and for them to open the gates to the Placidium. We are sorry, people of Ionia, but...we have lost. We cannot win. We will always be Ionians, but it will be under Noxian orders."
The thousands of people that had gathered were completely silent. Karma pushed her way forward, and grabbed the crystal. Her voice clearly cut across the air, "Are we going to lay our weapons down? Are we going to give up? Are we going to surrender and lose our identity, our souls, to the war machine of Noxus? If we do not stand and fight, what will stop them from doing as they please? What will stop them from ravaging our lands more? What will stop them from doing this to other people?"
The speaker for the council tried to pull Karma away to no avail. She continued her short speech, "That is why we will fight! We need to fight! We must fight! Who will still fight?"
The crowd bowed their heads. She could taste the despair in the air. Her heart sunk. This was it. This was the end. Master Yi's fists clenched, his fingernails dug into the meat of his palms. They even took his sword away, to make sure he would not rush into battle. He started to move forward when a loud voice boomed throughout the crowd,
The crowd turned around, and stared at the source of the voice. She had a vocalizing crystal in one hand, and the ancestral sword of Master Lito in the other. Its tip sank into the ground below immense weight. "I am Irelia Lito, daughter of Master Lito, student of the Hiten blade art! I am not surrendering!"
Soraka started to move off stage, worry and fear in her eyes. She was blocked by the crowd of people from making quick progress, however.
"Who are you people?! Are you Ionians or are you pigs for the slaughter?! Are we just cattle, waiting for the day of our death?! We are Ionians!" Irelia screamed. "I will not be subjugated against my will! Just because they have bigger weapons and more bloodlust does not give them permission to trample over us! We are Ionians! Pick up your weapons! We are now all defending Ionia! Men, women, and children, protect Ionia! Your strength is needed! Use your hands, use your pitchforks and blades and bows or whatever! You are no longer citizens of Ionia! What I see now is a whole army of my countrymen, here in defiance of the impeding tyranny! What will we keep if we surrender? Our lives?!"
She tilted her head back and let out a mocking laugh. It was hard to believe that she was no more than fourteen years of age, "Is that living?! Is giving our freedom, our lives, our well being to these invaders worth living for?!"
The speaker took the crystal from Karma, and spoke in defiance, "It is two thousand against ten thousand. We cannot win, child!"
"Then what, we surrender?!" Irelia shouted back. "You may be content dying in your bed in a year or twenty from now, but would you be willing to trade for all of those days that lead up to your death, would any of you be willing to do such an atrocity, instead of showing our enemies that they can burn our fields, they can take our lives, but they will never! Never crush our spirit! They will never take our freedom! We lived as Ionians! We will die as Ionians!"
With that, Irelia shattered the crystal on the ground, turned around, and ran straight at the sealed gates of the Placidium. Before anyone could react, despite the heavy blade, the young girl started to scale the walls with far too much ease. Karma was frozen in place. She could feel her heart swell with fury, with anger, with defiance of their would be conquerors. Soraka, however, tried running through the crowd, screaming, "Open the gate! Open the gate! Irelia! Do not-"
It was too late. Irelia leaped over the wall and disappeared. Silence fell on the people. They broke apart, rushing for weapons, armor, and whatever else they could find. The council looked around in amazement. The fervor of the Ionian people had been restored. Karma looked at them, "So are you going to stand here and let them kill us, or are you going to fight?"
Sparks of magic erupted from their hands. The speaker for the council spoke for them all, "Duchess Karma, you will not join us. Your wisdom and your compassion is worth all of our lives tenfold. You will stay and look over the Placidium, we will go and fight. Guard it in our stead."
When Karma turned to face Master Yi, to ask him a simple request, she saw that he had already disappeared.
Irelia landed on the ground harshly. The weight of the blade dragged her down to its level. She staggered, and saw all of the Noxian soldiers staring at her. She got up to her feet, hefted her sword, and pointed at them. She was beyond angry, as she asked the opposing legions, "Who's first?"
The soldiers stared at her complete and utter confusion. It was one little girl against thousands of them, not including their war machines that were still rumbling into place. Irelia shouted at them, "You expect a whole nation of people to surrender, and I am not! Which of you think you can stop me?!"
None of them broke rank. Eventually, an order in Noxian was given, and several Noxian foot soldiers walked towards her. They unsheathed their weapons, and pointed them at her. "Kid, you're going to die here."
"No. I am not," Irelia hissed. "Why did you ask us to surrender? Because you know if we fought back, you will lose. Go ahead. Try attacking. I am going to kill every single one of you."
The footsoldiers looked at each other, shrugged, and surrounded her. Her ears twitched. Her father's training echoed in her mind. Her sword hummed in unison with her thoughts, it was as if her father were behind her, whispering the words into her ear, Air is the same as water. You simply must heed the ripples.
The swords came down on her. She barely lifted the blade in time to block the simultaneous strike. One of the Noxian blades sliced her forearm open. She did not notice. She shifted the weight of the weapons, and dragged her sword along the blade of one of her attackers. In one strike, she cleaved him in half, including his armor and shield. Her father's blade was disgustingly sharp.
For every ripple is the messenger of something yet to come.
She could feel some sort of strange intent from behind. It was a gross, vile feeling. It turned her stomach. She could feel their want to kill her, their killing intent. She remembered her father talking of it many times. However, she had never felt it. She tumbled forward, barely evading the attacks as they advanced on her. She needed to react quickly.
She dashed forward, gripping the middle of the sword near the crimson jewel, the only place where the blade were wrapped with bandages. She drove it through the stomach of one man, ripped it out in a fluid strike and sliced the arms of her nearest attackers clean off. She tumbled forward yet again, and cut at the legs of the final man still standing. His shins were bisected by th strike. He screamed in pain as he fell forward, clawing at the ground.
Irelia rose back to her feet, readied her blade, and glared at the Noxian soldiers staring dumbly at her. She growled, "Next."
One of the men, dressed in black robes stepped forward. She could taste the death that hung off his shoulders, the miasma that surrounded him: A necromancer, their commanding officer. He shrugged his shoulders and laughed, "Impressive, young one. Impressive, but foolish."
Dark magic ripped the air, he waved his hands for a bit, then fired it at the young Irelia. She awkwardly evaded the magical blast and she stepped towards him. The magical blast twitched and reversed course, striking her back. She could feel the inside of her body tear at itself. Blood spewed from her mouth and nose. She staggered, and sank to her knees. The necromancer tugged at the dark stream, and made it race back towards him. She could feel her soul draining out of her body, and race towards the necromancer.
"You said that we can never break your spirit. I assure you, we can take it."
Irelia disappeared. The soldiers that were in front of him that were meant to defend the necromancer did not have time to scream as blood spurted out from the new gashes in their bodies. Before the magic returned to his fingertips, the necromancer was impaled at the end of her sword. He gurgled a bit, grabbed at the blade, and crumbled to the ground.
Irelia's body shook. She was wracked with pain she never thought imaginable. She wanted to scream out and cry, she wanted to tear at her boiling skin, she wanted the pain to end, but she knew she had to keep fighting. She vomited a thick pool of blood and bile. Her body was going cold already. She could feel her life slipping. She looked around her, and the dozens of armed men pointing their weapons at her.
Her father's blade was at her feet. She could see the doors to the Placidium slowly open. They were coming. She had done her role, she moved them to action. She looked down at her feet, she could feel her life slipping quickly. Whatever the necromancer had tried, he failed, but it was still killing her. She could rest.
Irelia clenched her teeth. She made a promise.
She picked the sword up, readied it, and glared at the soldiers. She breathed in, breathed out, and said, "Next."
Their heads flew off. Twenty makeshift fountains of blood gushed their contents around her. She heard a stern voice speak to her from her side, "I apologize it took me this long, Irelia, I needed my sword."
Irelia breathed in and out, and looked over, and saw Master Yi. He flicked his sword and spoke pointedly, "You have moved them, Irelia. You have moved their hearts to action. They come. You have done well."
He looked about, his eyes narrowing from the absolute rage burning in him, "May I go ahead and complete your work?"
"Yes..." She nodded. "Go, Master Yi, plunge the art of Wuju through their hearts. I will catch up..."
"You have grown up exceptionally well, Irelia. If Zelos were here, he would be proud."
Master Yi disappeared from view. The only tell of his existence was the path of corpses that dictated where he once was. Irelia's hand violently shook. Blood flowed from her mouth, staining her clothes. She slowly reached to her neck, and with a shaking hand, pulled up a wooden talisman. She examined the characters on it, she could barely see anymore. She clapped it to her chest, exhaling a mixture of air and bloody mist. The gates to the Placidium fully opened. Armed men and women rushed out with whatever weapons they could get their hands on, the Council of Ionia marched with magic lining their bodies. The parapets were lined with archers and their longbows, firing into the Noxian forces. Irelia pointed at the Noxian legions, and screamed at her fellow Ionian, "Push forward, Ionians! Push forward! For Ionia!"
The men and women rushed past her, following the direction of her blade's point. The moment they rushed past her, she gripped her talisman tighter. She pitifully called out, "...Zelos? Where are you, Zelos...? Did I do right...? Where are you...brother...I can't...I can't see..." She fell to her knees, another dribble of blood flowed from her lips. "Where are you...? Are...are you proud of me...? Did...did I keep my promise...?"
Irelia slumped over, her body draping itself atop the sword of her father, her blood flowing onto it. Soraka rushed out of the gates and grabbed the still form of Irelia. She rested the young girl on her lap, soaking it in blood, and allowed her tears to fall on the young girl's face. While she wept, she wished, and prayed to the stars and to the heavens, and allowed her magic to flow from her corrupted, celestial body as best as it could. She wanted with all her heart and all her soul for this young girl to remain, for in her opinion, such strength had never been seen in anyone else before.
A crimson shadow prowled the top of the Placidium walls. A vicious smile curled about the Noxian assassin's lips. The Starchild was a target she had never been able to have a clear shot at. The honor she would receive for killing a being such as her. Now? Now would be the best time to strike.
The crimson shadow flew at the unsuspecting Starchild. Her daggers raised, and aimed at her back. A pair of emerald eyes fluttered open, staring straight at her. The sword that rested near the two Ionians flew to life, and pinned the assassin to the ground. Irelia got back to her feet, Soraka astounded at what was happening. Irelia looked over at Soraka, her eyes looking more like that of a doll's rather than the liveliness of a person.
After confirming Soraka's safety, Irelia looked over at the would be assassin, and asked her, "What were you intending to do, Noxian?"
The Noxian woman pulled her hand free, dagger in hand, and attempted to slice at Irelia's neck. Her blade cut into the Ionian girl's collarbone, and sliced off the talisman that hung off her neck. It clattered to the ground and away from her. Irelia looked around and saw the blade of a fallen Noxian soldier nearby. She picked it up, and shoved it through the offending shoulder of the assassin. She hissed in pain, "Ah **** you, Ionian!"
The Noxian struggled to try and take the sword out to no avail. It was firmly embedded into the ground. When Irelia spoke, not even Soraka could detect emotion in her tone, "What is your name, Noxian?"
"It's 'I'm going to kill you when I take this sword out!'"
An eerie smile crept onto Irelia’s face. Irelia raised her foot up into the air and thundered down with a powerful axe kick. The force of the strike shoved the sword so deep that the hilt kissed Noxian skin. The assassin grimaced, biting her lip in pain but refusing to call out. Irelia beckoned to her father’s swords. They rose up around her, poised to strike. Irelia's toneless voice calmly spoke, “Watch me, Noxian. Watch the despair you inflicted on us, and see what it has done to dampen our fervor.”
Soraka wanted to reach out and stop Irelia, but the young girl's presence was too disconcerting. She had never seen anyone, never mind Irelia, in such a state. What had she prayed for just now? Was this another punishment from the Stars for her selfish wish?
Irelia turned around and walked towards the heart of the battlefield, the heart of madness. The sound of wood crunching underneath her heel could be barely heard amongst the clatter of weapons and the screams of pain.
The Ionians were being pushed back, the Noxians were advancing when both sides saw a the young Irelia walk towards them. The Noxians reacted first. The sky darkened inexplicably. Irelia had to look up to see that it was a barrage of Noxian arrows that blocked the sun. She could hear the arrows themselves all scream for blood, uncaring for their target. They landed shortly, promptly, and precisely. Many of the arrows firmly embedded themselves into the battlefield, yet Irelia was unharmed. An entire pathway of arrows stayed suspended in midair, creating passage for Irelia to walk through. They hovered only inches above her outstretched hand. A flick of her wrist sent them flying back to their owners, pointed end first.
The first screams of pain from the lips of Noxian soldiers finally broke the silence that had fallen amongst the soldiers. The Noxian soldiers faced Irelia, and rushed straight at her. Her father's sword split apart once more, vermillion energy crackling from it as she walked towards her attackers.
She would not retreat. She would not beg. She would not quit, for this was the beginning of the end of the war. She would make sure of it, no matter the cost.
Just had to comment here even though we've been chatting about this constantly...
Epic chapter, very well done. The prose needs some work here and there, but it's NaNoWriMo. No time for proper edits, right? My skin was crawling with chills throughout the whole thing, I can't imagine this battle being represented in a better way than you have here(aside from you getting the chance to apply the necessary edits and polish, of course ).
I had been worried with how strangely in the past you have described Soraka. Goat this, horn that, opera the other. In the first paragraph, you have "Soraka, now resembling her goat form..." which just sounds.... odd. So as I read, I figured Soraka was just there until she could heal Irelia. Don't want it to sound too deus ex machina like. However, I was surprised and pleased that you gave her a moment of depth and development with the line "What had she prayed for just now? Was this another punishment from the Stars for her selfish wish?" followed by Irelia's intense rampage. Super thrilled with that. That and, y'know, the new chapter in its entirety.
Keep up the good work!
Seven years prior to present day - Ionia vs Noxus, League Match
"Why are you arguing with me on this, Karma? The match is still in a few days, I can still fight."
"Irelia, you are not well. Please, leave this to Soraka and Master Yi. You have done more than enough."
The adolescent Ionian girl, now sixteen years old, stared at Karma angrily. She was clad in crimson armor, while the Mantle of Decorum hung behind her head. It was the highest honor any Ionian can receive, and one she wore proudly. Typically, it was meant to be outfitted onto the armor itself, soldered in place. She had no need for such a trivial thing. It floated in place because she willed it so. Irelia's long black hair covered her emerald eyes, somewhat disguising the anger in her face as she demanded Karma, "Then let me finish the paperwork and let me be a League champion."
Karma shook her head, "Irelia, you are not well. Please, do not push-"
"I am fine!" Irelia yelled back at Karma. "The Southern provinces, I can get them back! You trusted me before, trust me n-"
She violently coughed. Her knees buckled. The sword of her father whined as it floated over to her, making sure she did not fall over. Irelia braced herself on the sword for support while Karma spoke, "It is not because I do not trust you, Irelia. Please, I am speaking to you as a friend, I will not permit you to fight."
Irelia shuddered, eventually breathing again. She looked at Karma, "...And what if we lose?"
"We will n-"
Karma looked away, "...Then I am not sure. The Southern provinces would be kept under Noxian control, and unless we were given permission, we would not be able to cross the border for any reason."
"Let me fight, Karma. Please. Trust me."
The Ionian woman shook her head, "Irelia, I cannot in my conscience let you fight. You are too ill, not even the League thinks you should fight. "
The young Ionian girl laughed, and shook her head, "Karma, you and I both know that I am-"
Irelia fell silent.
"Two years, Irelia, you have shown the same symptoms. Soraka and I are doing our best, but not even our efforts have helped. We do not wish for you to die, Irelia, not like this. I will not permit you to push yourself any further. You have done your part."
"Not yet. Not until all of Ionia has been freed from those tyrants," Irelia sharply replied. "I was dubbed the 'Will of the Blades' by our people, I am the captain of the guard, a little cough will not stop me. Please-"
"Please trust Soraka, please trust Master Yi, please trust me, Irelia. We want this as much as you do. Please do not push yourself further, you have done enough."
Irelia sighed in defeat. She nodded and walked towards a comfortable couch nearby, "Fine." She tenderly sat on it, and reclined into it.
They were in the Ionian quarters at the Institute of War, the small city-like structure where the League of Legends was hosted. The League was a sort of government for the entire continent of Valoran. This was where the most powerful mages, Summoners, resided. Here political debates could be solved, war could be prevented, and the city-states could be monitored. It was because Ionia was an island to the northeast of Valoran that they refused to join the League. They were fairly self reliant, trading occasionally with some of the city-states, but otherwise they kept mostly to themselves. Because Noxus was not allowed to war directly on Valoran, they came with the Zaunites and their war machines to Ionia. The League refused to let any other city-state to intervene, and even barred them from joining in the fight. After the war with Noxus, Ionia was strong armed into joining the League through implication: Join the League or this can happen again.
However, the Ionians also saw a positive in joining the League. The Noxians had managed to solidify their control on the Southern provinces. Perhaps by participating in the League, they would be able to regain their lost territory. This was their best chance to do so with minimal bloodshed. A match was organized. If Ionia won, the Southern provinces would be returned and the Noxians kicked. If Noxus won, they would retain control of the provinces, and a repeal could not be requested for by the Ionia for fifteen years. The stakes were high, but it was their best chance.
Irelia tilted her head back, and let out a sigh. "So...Do we know who the Noxians are sending to fight?"
"Who are they?"
"Some strange clown, Shaco, as well as..." She took a deep breath in, "Both Warwick and Singed."
The sword jolted, expressing Irelia's opinion in her place.
"That is why Soraka and Master Yi are not here, they wish to prepare themselves mentally. They will succeed."
"...That is only three. Who else?"
"There is also Morgana, who is reportedly a fallen angel. And..." Karma sighed, "Leading them is...Katarina Du Couteau."
Irelia's eyes snapped open. She glared at Karma, anger lit in her voice, "Katarina? Katarina?" She would have said more if she did not start coughing again. She grabbed her stomach in an effort to calm herself.
Karma quickly walked over and sat next to Irelia, rubbing the small of her back, "It is alright, Irelia, it is alright...Calm yourself."
Irelia took several deep breaths in, gasping and coughing all the while. She looked at Karma and let out a very soft laugh, "The council honoring you with the title of Duchess, as well as admittance in the ranks of the government...Never expected to see you there now. You deserve it, you really do."
"I can and I do say the same to you and your achievements, Irelia."
Irelia shrugged and hung her head, "...And what of us? We only have Master Yi and Soraka representing us. Who else is there?"
"There is also a noble, but humble, rock creature Malphite, as well as Janna."
"Janna...Janna..." Irelia scanned her memories. "Isn't she the wind mage whom you meditate with?"
"Yes. She and I have grown better acquainted over the time we have joined the League," Karma replied. "She is an invaluable teacher and friend."
Irelia nodded her head while Karma continued to rub the small of her back.
"Then we have Ashe, a woman from the Freljords."
"The Freljords?" Irelia eyed Karma, "This sounds like..."
"A group of people whom Noxus and Zaun have wronged. Janna was an orphan in Zaun, who was subjected to their cruel lifestyle and has since gone on to better endeavors. Ashe is the ruler of her tribe, and was fought against the Noxians in the war of the Northern Barbarian-Pacification campaign. Malphite is a creature who has an innate sense of justice, and it has decided to aid us."
Irelia smiled at Karma, "Perhaps...I can relax."
"Yes. You can. Just as we trusted you, please, trust others, trust your countrymen. They will not fail you or Ionia."
A woman's voice loudly chimed, "AN ALLY HAS BEEN SLAIN!"
"Hee hee hee! Y'know, I never reaaaally thought about it till now, but! How do you stab something which has no back?!" Maniacal laughter erupted from a clown. "Seriously, he's a pile of rocks! I pick up rocks all the time! There's NO spine to sever, no tendons to cut, no muscle to dig through, nothing! So how exactly am I crippling him?! Or killing him now that I think about it! Seriously, anyone? Anyone at all?!"
"Stop questioning frivolous things, Shaco," a voice snapped at him. "And get going. Master Yi is cutting through the bushes."
"Oh pleeeaaase Morgana, you make it sound like he can get away! Upsy daisy, now you see me, now you-!"
In a puff of smoke, the clown disappeared. Morgana, a woman with purple skin, torn wings and a dark demeanor, casually tossed her hand towards thick shrubbery. A surge of black magic ripped out from her and entangled whoever was in the foliage. The very ground itself seemed to twist and blacken, becoming corrupted. Morgana spoke in an uninterested tone, "I can sense your soul in there, Soraka. There really is no point in trying to run or to hide."
She stretched her hand out, only to have a werewolf barrel past her and into the push, roaring for blood. "Sorakaaa! Ah ha ha! Caught you again!"
Soraka's screams of pain could not be uttered in time, due to the wolf man tearing her jugular out.
"AN ALLY HAS BEEN SLAIN!"
Another voice muttered from behind the fallen angel, "Shall we get moving, or should we just dawdle here some more? No no, take your time, sir, it's not like we have more important things to do today."
A bandaged man walked into view, his bored demeanor evident on every aspect of his person. He jerked his bald head down a path, "The esteemed commander wants us to push towards the tower and the inhibitor. Janna and Master Yi are-"
"AN ALLY HAS BEEN SLAIN!"
"Toldja I can catch him!" Shaco's voice rang clearly across the fields. "There can be only one!"
All of this was being shown throughout Valoran. In the League, and any large city-state, numerous crystal screens were viewed to show the events of a match. In the Ionian quarters, Irelia and several other Ionians watched via such a screen.
A ninja man clad in cobalt blue clothing, as well as a ninja woman clad in emerald clothing, watched the screen. The blue ninja flatly commented, "Ionia is losing. Their inhibitor tower will fall shortly, followed by their inhibitor. If they are wise, they can destroy the Nexus turrets and solidify their victory."
Irelia's fists were firmly clenched at her sides. Her fingernails dug into the meat of her palms so harshly blood dripped from them. Her entire body shook, her teeth gritted against one another. When the ninja spoke, she bit down on her tongue to stop her from saying anything inappropriate. She simply stared at the screen, while the blue ninja passively watched the slaughter this entire time. The green clad ninja looked over at Irelia, sensing her rage. She regarded the blue ninja quietly, "Shen? Perhaps-"
"No. Akali, look. This battle has been lost. The Southern provinces will be theirs. This is fact, not opinion."
The doors to the Ionian quarters swung open. Karma burst into the room, out of breath. She looked at Irelia, at a loss for words. Irelia continued to stare at the screen as a loud voice announced,
"NOXUS HAS DESTROYED IONIA'S NEXUS! VICTORY FOR NOXUS! WE HAVE BEEN TOLD THAT KATARINA DU COUTEAU HAS REQUESTED IN THE CASE OF NOXIAN VICTORY, TO BE ALLOWED TO SAY A FEW WORDS!"
The screen zoomed in on the crimson haired assassin's face. A long, thin scar ran down her left eye. She smiled and started to speak, "No no no, I didn't say in the case of Noxian victory, I said when we achieved victory. This was an expected victory for Noxus. We had rightfully conquered the Southern provinces, and just because those backwards Ionians wanted to try and claim our territory did not deter the Noxian spirit. Where was Irelia this time to try and hinder us? Nowhere to be seen, which really, goes to show how confident they were in their own position! With this victory, we-"
Irelia stormed out of the room, her body shaking and quaking with absolute rage. She pushed past Karma while her sword trailed behind her, blitzing with vermillion energy. Karma had no words to say to her friend.
A soft knock on Irelia's door could be heard. Soraka's muffled voice could be heard, "Irelia? Can...can I come in?"
A sword embedded itself into the wood of the door. Soraka stepped back out of reaction, seeing a quarter of metal impaling the door at chest level. The door knob clicked, and swung open. The sword dragged the door open, and flew back into the darkness of the room. Soraka peeked her head in, "Irelia...?"
That tone. She had heard it only once before. Soraka's blood went cold. She stepped into the room, and reached over at a switch. She flicked it on. It was strange to see such technology, a flick of the switch and the entire room lit up. Irelia sat on the foot of the bed, staring at the ground. Only when the lights came on did she regard her visitor. She stared at the Starchild with those hollow, doll eyes, saying nothing.
Minutes ticked on by. Soraka eventually tried speaking, "Irelia...I...I am sorry..."
Irelia got up. Her hands were stained red, and when she spoke one could see the blood that collected between her teeth. She stared at Soraka, and shook her head, "You would not have lost if you were sorry."
She stepped towards the Starchild. Her sword crackled with vermillion energy and split apart, poised and aimed at Soraka. "How could you lose? How could Master Yi lose? To them? How could you?"
Soraka actually stepped back. She had only seen Irelia like this once before. "Irelia...I...we just...we were not strong en-"
"Then why did I not fight?!" Irelia screamed. She slammed her hand against her chest, "Why did I not fight?! Why did I think I could trust you, or Master Yi, or Karma?! Why did I think I could trust any of you?! I should have fought! I should have joined as a champion! I should have been in the match! "
"You are ill-"
"I can be dead for all I care!" Irelia's voice cracked. "You made me stand by and watch Ionia lose! You made me stand by and watch our chance to reclaim all of Ionia gone with the ashes of our people! You made me watch!"
Irelia's body started to shudder as she stepped closer to Soraka, "The south of Ionia is now under Noxian control! Why? Why did you not let me fight?! Why did I think I could trust you or any other Ionian?! I am needed! I am needed!"
She suddenly staggered. She fell forward, violently coughing. Her sword did not move in time to catch her, her hands hitting the ground. Her back arched as she coughed a crimson mist onto the floor. She was shuddering, shaking, barely able to hold herself up, but she still tried yelling, "How could you lose?! How-"
Another series of violent coughs ripped through her. She fell face forward, barely able to hold herself up from the intensity of her coughs. Soraka's eyes went wide. She could see something strange, and not just the coughing. This reminded her of a very similar scenario, one she had not seen since before the war. "No...not again..."
Irelia slammed her hands on the ground, stood back up, and walked over to Soraka. Her voice was now toneless as she fell into the Starchild's arms, "I...I failed Ionia...I failed...Zelos. I failed them...Why? Why did I let you...Why did I let Yi? I...I should be stronger...If only I wasn't...If only I wasn't so weak..."
Irelia's wet coughs hit Soraka's dress, staining it with her blood. Irelia's eyes rolled back as she lost consciousness. Her blades flew over, touching and probing both Soraka and Irelia. Eventually, they clattered to the ground. Young Irelia still breathed, but was limp.
Soraka stroked the length of the Ionian girl's hair, shaking her head the entire time. Karma stepped from around the corner, worry on her face. When she saw the scene of Soraka and Irelia, she rushed over as quick as she could, worry clearly seen on her face. "Irelia! Is she..."
"She is exhausted, because of us."
"I know what must be done," Soraka shut her eyes tightly, tears streaming from them. "I think I know what ails her."
The Starchild stood up, and motioned with a jerk of her head to Irelia's sword that rested on the ground. She carried Irelia back into her room and rested her on the bed. The young girl curled up into a ball instinctively, brushing at her neck, muttering for something. Soraka walked over to the desk, and saw the fragmented pieces of wood laying on it. If reassembled, both Karma and Soraka knew it would resemble a wooden talisman.
"What is it that ails her?"
The Starchild took a breath in, and looked at Karma, "I am not entirely sure yet, but I have a theory. It works, and it would correlate with the evidence I had just obtained. I think I know why our healing barely makes any impact. In other words, I think I know what causes her sickness, and I think I know how to treat it."
"So what is the ailment? What is the treatment?"
Soraka fell quiet.
Karma prompted her for an answer, "What are they?"
"...First, I must let you know, that the only way she will not succumb to her illness, is if she never fought again," Soraka plainly said.
"She can never fight again. If she wishes to live to old age, she cannot fight anymore."
"...I do not see the humor in this, Soraka," Karma replied.
"I am not joking. Karma, I want you to listen to me: She cannot fight anymore. It is tearing her apart."
A moment of silence passed the two. Karma eventually spoke, "Soraka, you and I both know that she will never-"
"I know," Soraka nodded. "I know. That is why we must help her. I failed her today..."
The Starchild's shoulders shook, "I failed her and Ionia today. We all did. If she wants to keep fighting...the least I can do, is make sure she can. She will never forgive me, or the others, for today. Hopefully, there is a next time, and hopefully, she will be able to regain the Southern provinces. With her strength, nothing is impossible. With ours...all we do, is fail her, fail Ionia...Fail ourselves..."
"It is not your f-"
"Yes. It is," Soraka interrupted. "Maybe all of Ionia does rest on her shoulders. Maybe without her, Ionia is doomed."
"...So what now? How do we help her?"
"First thing is first," Soraka replied. "I want you to find a small leather pouch, able to fit around her neck."
"She needs him now more than ever. She needs everyone. She needs the Ionian people, us, and him," the Starchild gestured at the fragments on the table.
Karma nodded, "I will be back. You will tell me what is making her suffer and what we can do when I return. Please."
As Karma turned to leave, she stopped and looked at the Starchild, "And for what it is worth, Soraka...you tried. You tried, Master Yi tried, you all tried. You did your best. That is all that was asked of you."
Soraka nodded as Karma left the room.
Once the two of them were alone, Soraka walked over and sat at the edge of the bed. She reached over and started to stroke Irelia's hair.
Soraka softly spoke, "Our best was not good enough for Ionia. Hopefully, it will be enough for her."
Someone decided to turn off my laptop when I wasn't home and not save the work I had on it. The chapter will be up later today after I retype it and seek vengeance on my brother.
It will involve stern words and cookies.
(I'm actually really upset, 3.2k words POOF)
Life...Does not...want me...to finish...chapter!
Power went out, have been without power for about 8 hours now, couldn't write on laptop. Let's try this again, today, and see how far I can get after I get back home!
I need to figure out how to give the power company cookies now. And cement shoes.
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