Hello everyone. I noticed that Riot is making an effort to expand on the LoL lore, which is fantastic since it adds more depth to the game. That said, in playing the game for the last year or so, I developed my own personal attachments to a number of characters. I am an amateur writer but have been writing my whole life and thought I’d take a crack at writing a LoL short story. I tried to incorporate as much of the existing lore as possible and I maintained faithfulness to the characters’ abilities, though my story may not always completely line up with Riot lore. For that, I apologize and feel free to take this story as non-canon. I took liberties on the characters' personalities, but hopefully you’ll get a chuckle out of my take on each one. I think my inspiration for writing this story is simply to show how bad @$$ I think a lot of these characters are and put them in a situation that allows me to explore their personalities. I also hope to cover a number of themes that appear in a lot of my writing, such as morality, good vs evil, and trust. I plan on this one being a relatively long one (maybe ~75 MS word pages) so hopefully I can keep you all interested from beginning to end. Feel free to comment on any story inaccuracies, blatant lore mistakes, spelling/grammar errors, or just anything in general.
NOTE: I'm looking for artists accepting commissions! I envision eventually having 1-3 drawings for each chapter. Ideally, I would want a different artist for each drawing for the sake of variety. The drawings can range from a simple sketch of one of the characters to a full scene in color. Contact me in game or post here if you or anyone you know may be interested.
I commissioned Nyra (same guy who did cho'gath vs ryze!) to draw a scene for Chapter 7! It came out awesome! Check out picture below. Note Mount Gargantuan and the Great Barrier Mountain Range in the background.
I sometimes listen to music while writing and I turn to certain types of songs when writing this piece.
Table of Contents:
Chapters 1-4 are complete and on Page 1
Chapter 4 continuation completed and on Page 3
Chapters 5 - 8 finished on Page 4
Chapters 9 started but unfinished. 10 unfinished and reserved on Page 4.
The Incident at Fyrone Flats
Chapter 1: A peculiar incident...
The Fyrone Flats were named as such for a reason. Save the scattering of weeds, small rodents, and bugs, it was about as life sustaining an environment as the nearby Shurima Desert. It must have been an incredible surprise then, to whatever wildlife happened to be passing by this particular spot during this hot day, when a small hole seemed to poke open into reality itself. A tiny bright light appeared only a few feet off the ground and glowed, captivating the more curious creatures with its eminence. Some ventured closer to the source to investigate, but with a quick whoosh of air, they were gone.
Should there have been a more intelligent creature witnessing the event, they would have noticed that the movement was not arbitrary. The hole, or at least whatever lay beyond the hole, had sucked in and consumed the stray wildlife. And with that small amount of nutrition, the hole grew another inch.
“I wish you weren’t so stubborn. It would have taken us a few hours at most to teleport to Bandle City.”
Garen tugged lightly on his white horse’s reigns and squinted against the bright sunlight. “You know my stance on teleportation.”
“Right, right,” sighed Xin Zhao, “You always were against it. ‘Impure’, I believe is the word you use? If I remember correctly, as an adolescent you would always vomit your lunch up.”
The Seneschal of Demacia let out a hearty laugh as Garen growled under his breath. The journey had been a long one, but the heavily armored entourage of troops that surrounded the duo showed no signs of fatigue. It was an honor enough to be chosen as escorts for “The Might of Demacia”, never mind both him and Xin Zhao, the Steward of the Lightshield Dynasty.
Bandle City could be seen just over the horizon, and it would only be a matter of a few hours before they would receive a hero’s welcome. The Commando Wars were a long and bloody affair, and the upcoming ceremony would serve as a welcome celebration to both of Demacia and Bandle City’s eager population.
“It feels like ages since we’ve seen the Captain,” said Xin.
Garen let out a rare smile. “I bet the rascal forgot about us overnight.”
“I see them, I see them!” shrieked the five year old yordle in a tiny voice, who was perched atop her daddy’s head. While their combined height barely reached over three feet, it was certainly enough for the young one to peer over the great Placidium walls from the inner ledge. During wartime, the tops of Bandle City’s outer walls would be lined with a variety of complex war machines, aimed at whatever threat lay before the great yordle city. Today it served as a scouting post for the thousands that had assembled, hoping to catch a sight of the incoming celebrities.
“Yes! It is them! It’s Garen and Xin!” announced another yordle, this one with an oversized sunhat.
Cheers erupted through the crowd, all who were eagerly anticipating the Demacians’ arrival. The noise was overwhelming, and all the little yordles hopped up and down in glee, creating a wave of cuteness.
“Move it! Move it!” yelled a stern, yet audible voice that somehow penetrated through the different shrieks and giggles. A disturbance could be noticed deep within the crowd, pushing and shoving its way up towards the front.
“I said…. Move it!” shouted Poppy as she finally burst through to the front. She wiped her blue brow, which was blackened by all the soot and dirt that had flown into her face throughout her work day at the blacksmith. She rolled up her sleeves and snatched away the binoculars of a nearby yordle, who after a brief perplexed pause, began to sob.
“Oh put a sock in it!” said the little blacksmith as she adjusted the lenses on the contraption, known amongst the yordles as the Heim-oculars. Poppy let out a “Humph!” as she scouted the horseback riding Demacian duo. “They don’t look so tough to me.”
“Wahhhhh!” cried the poor yordle who had just lost her Heim-oculars. Poppy simply turned and glowered. The difference was fairly obvious. Both were female yordles, sporting their uniform light blue skin. But Poppy was thicker, stouter, and just looked much more hardened than even most of the furry male yordles. Not many knew why male yordles were furry and why female yordles had blue skin. It was just so.
Poppy felt a light tap on her shoulder and turned to see her best-est friend in the world.
“Hey, you!” greeted the other female yordle. This one looked very much like the other yordles, but her big face and bright eyes brought an unparalleled charisma. It forced Poppy, who seemed to be in a perpetual bad mood, into a smile. She kind of liked smiling; if only there were more reasons to do so.
“Sigh. So what kind of trouble is the Megling Commando getting herself into now?” she asked.
“Ohhh... not too much trouble!” giggled Tristana. She was sporting a makeshift crutch, which Poppy knew was really her primary weapon, or as Tristana called it, her 'Big Gun-sies'. Tristana played the part and hobbled with each step as she drew her head closer to Poppy’s ear.
“Guess what, Pops?”
Poppy hated being called that. “Urgh. What?”
Tristana lowered her voice into a whisper. “This isn’t really a crutch!”
Poppy stared blankly at her best friend.
“It’s my Big Gun-sies!” she cried. Tristana, somewhat a celebrity in her own right, frequently donned disguises when in public. It also made it easier for her to avoid trouble when she was out pranking the other yordles.
“I gathered, Tristy,” groaned Poppy, well aware that Tristana responded positively to whatever nickname anyone ever gave her.
“Tristy!” she beamed, “I like it!”
And with that Tristana, to the dismay of the still weeping yordle, snatched away the Heim-oculars from Poppy and ran off into the crowd to cause trouble. Tristana realized her error halfway through and reverted to a hobble, glancing around with a smirk to see if anyone had noticed.
“Of course you like it,” said Poppy to herself as she reimbursed the sad yordle a fair price from her coin purse. The tears quickly evaporated and her mouth popped open into a giant, gaping smile at the sight of the shiny coins and she rushed off to the shops to make good use of her new found wealth.
The crowd started to get even more deafening, and streamers and pieces of confetti that were shot out of giant cannons started to blaze every which way. “Xin! Xin! Xin!” and “Garen! Garen! Garen!” they shouted. Trumpeters emerged from out of nowhere and began to gleefully toot their horns in unison. This, in particular, annoyed poor Poppy very much.
“Ugh,” she groaned, as it was an expression she used quite often. “I don’t see what the big fuss is all about. I’m out of here.”
And with that, she marched back to the blacksmith.
“I do not care!” shouted Senator Marlow with a slam of his fists. He was always articulate and careful with his words, even in anger. “This is a Noxus affair. We discovered it first and we are entitled to it, do you understand?”
“You don’t know that, Senator,” said Katarina, the Sinister Blade, with seduction. It was her way of talking and it was effective. She had her deep, red hair down and she gave it a playful twirl with one of her long, deadly daggers. “For all we know the stiffs in Demacia have already dispatched a military unit to investigate the matter.”
The pair walked along the dark, shadowy hallways of Zaun’s Castle Fortress. Both Katarina and Marlow had a degree of political clout, and they were allowed inside at once. Random shrieks and screams of terror would break long bouts of silence, and every city block would alternate between brightly lit, wild neon colors to a bath of shadow and deep dark shades of black and blue. A permanent fog of pollution coated the city, though strange gusts of foul smelling air from seemingly no origin would occasionally blow away the smoke to reveal staggering crooked skylines. The city was a juxtaposition in itself. This was the way it was in Zaun.
The “incident”, as the very few in-the-know called it, was brought forward to the Noxus Council, and Senator Marlow’s request to dispatch a sizeable army to investigate and secure the area had been summarily rejected. It was said, verbatim, that “The political and monetary costs are too high, and the potential reward, too low.” But the Senator did not stop there. He had recruited the beautiful Katarina and the two decided that their only course of action was to travel to Zaun and drum up support there. The Zaun government took more risks than their Noxus counterparts, a fact that made the city as wonderful, and terrible, as it had grown to become.
“I don’t know about you Katarina, but I would be able to sleep much easier knowing that we established a presence before any one else notices, even if it ends up being nothing at all.”
“And of course, as you mentioned before, there is the possibility of...” Katarina paused, wanting the Senator to say it again. He sighed, not yet fully enthralled by her captivating beauty or flirtatious ways.
“Untold magical power,” he finished, intently.
Katarina formed a slow smile. “I love it when you talk dirty.”
A deep bellow rumbled only a few feet away. The bass of this new sound drowned out all the other eerie noises and immediately caught the attention of the Noxians. Red eyes appeared in the darkness and seemed to penetrate the shadow itself. The bellows became faster and deeper, and Warwick emerged forward with lupine grace. His motions were smooth and careful, yet it was almost as if the wolf could not fully control his instincts. Short quivers and snorts broke the otherwise fluid movements. His head trembled ever so slightly as he inhaled each breath, as if his senses could barely handle all the aromas the environment had to offer him. It was as if each breath brought him to a point of ecstacy.
“Don’t listen to her Senator,” growled Warwick. “She thrives on attention.”
The Senator could barely hide his look of disgust at the sight of the werewolf. “Can you blame her, Warwick? She is very beautiful.”
Katarina maintained her sexy smile and gave the wolf a delicate wink.
“Oh yes, how I do dream about her,” said the wolf as he crept closer. “Of course, my great passion for her lies strictly on the culinary end. There is nothing she can offer me beyond that.”
Katarina raised an eyebrow. “Please. As if you could even get close enough to get a taste of this...”
Warwick’s eyes shot open in acceptance of the challenge and he pulled his lips back into a sinister snarl.
“Stop it, you two,” scolded the Senator. “The last thing we need is another political scandal. Can’t you two simply settle it on the fields of justice already?”
“The pleasure, would be all mine,” said Warwick, though gritted teeth.
“You wouldn’t know what to do with me, wolf,” toyed Katarina.
“Oh yes. I would begin at the throat...” he started, eyeing the redhead hungrily as he raised a claw.
“Enough!” shouted Senator Marlow, as if his voice imposed even a slight sense of intimidation to the dangerous pair. It was however, enough to bring them both to amicable terms, and it was now time for business to be discussed.
“So I heard the rumors,” began Warwick. “What is going on out there?”
“Well, it started off fairly routine,” said Marlow. “We were doing some standard intelligence gathering, using one your own actually. The one colloquially known as Twitch.”
Warwick nodded. “His work is adequate.”
The Senator continued. “It was actually completely by accident that we detected the disturbance. I mean, it was so small, you could barely even notice it. You’d have to be really looking for it to find it.”
“Disturbance?” questioned the wolf.
“A magical disturbance,” answered Katarina, her eyes ablaze.
“So what?” said Warwick. The Senator and Katarina were taken aback.
“What do you...” began the Senator.
“Magical disturbance?” said Warwick. “There are magical disturbances everywhere you look. I mean, turn that magic eye on Zaun and you’ll see so many magical disturbances that it would blind you.”
“But wait,” said Katarina. “The disturbance. It’s in the flats.”
“Exactly!” beamed the beautiful Noxian. “And there’s more.... the disturbance. It’s growing. And growing at a steady rate, like nothing we’ve seen before. There’s nothing in even the deepest darkest lab in Zaun that can just appear like that and grow on its own.”
“When we first saw it, it had no more power than a common caster minion. It was inconsequential," said the Senator. "But one of our interns at the magic school kept an eye on it. Within four days it had grown to the power of a Zhonya’s ring.”
Warwick looked away and scratched his lower jaw with his long, jagged claws. “Hmmm...” he grunted, “So you’re saying there’s nothing else there? I’ve heard the flats used as testing grounds in the past.”
The Senator nodded. “Nothing. Just desert. Nothing more than a few stray snakes and prairie dogs. It was verified, then re-verified, by our clairvoyance team.”
“So the real question becomes,” said Warwick, “Why do you need me?”
Senator Marlow and Katarina exchanged an uncomfortable glance. The Sinister Blade fielded the question.
“The problem is, Noxus doesn’t support us. We tried to appeal their decision but that could take anywhere from a week to a month, even with me and the Senator behind it.”
“We don’t have that kind of time,” added Marlow. “It’s only a matter of time before the magic becomes so powerful that anyone with any sort of basic detection system would have to be incompetent to miss it.”
Warwick was not yet convinced. “And where do I come in?”
“Our best soldiers would be able to get to the flats in a week, at best,” solemnly said the Senator. “But this assumes fast steeds, which would require them to go through Mogron Pass. It’s the only way a horse can get through the Great Barrier mountain range...”
“But we run the risk of being ambushed there in the event Demacia, or anyone else for that matter, is already aware of the disturbance and anticipates us doing this,” added Katarina. She started to slowly walk around Warwick while giving playful contemplating looks up towards the ceiling, though she would eye the wolf’s body language inbetween her words. “Now, if we contracted out someone who was say... agile, swift to make a trip over the mountains themselves, it would be an enormous short cut. But of course, that would require someone of high caliber... someone who has proven time and again their immense capabilities. I imagine for someone like that, it would take no longer than...”
“Three days,” interrupted the wolf with hungry eyes.
Katarina raised her eyebrows and looked at the Senator, who cracked a crude smile.
“And that’s exactly why we want you,” he said.
“Correction... why we need you,” said Katarina. She slowly extended her hand as if to caress the animal’s wiry hair, but immediately pulled back as Warwick ferociously snapped down his jaws. Katarina gave out a laugh and quivered at the rush of energy she received from almost losing her hand.
“Flattery will get you everywhere, redhead,” breathed Warwick.
The Senator chuckled uneasily. He did not like being reminded of the deadliness of both the wolf and the Sinister Blade.
“Come,” said Warwick as he opened a door that lead to a nearby kitchen. The smells were a fury of fantastical variety that both intrigued and repulsed the Noxians’ senses. “Let us discuss more as we dine upon Zaun’s finest delicacies.”
“As long as what I have is cooked,” said Katarina.
“In Zaun, you can have whatever you want, however you want it,” smiled the wolf.
Katarina fluttered her eyes as her and the Senator walked past Warwick’s outstretched arm and through the doorway.
Chapter 2: Assassins!
Poppy, who had finally pushed her way through the crowd enough to get back to her blacksmith, grumbled as she struggled to brush the infinite pieces of pink, blue, white, and red confetti that had stuck themselves in her white hair. Poppy’s mother, a fairly wide woman herself, raised her eyebrows.
“A bad mood?” she asked as she stirred a big pot of the family favorite stew o’ corn that was bubbling over a hot fire. Poppy’s mother saw no sense in cooking at home when she had a perfectly good forge right here at the blacksmith. Besides, eating and blacksmithing where the only things Poppy did anyway.
Poppy maintained her pout. “I just don’t see what the super big deal is about big tough guy Garen and poopy pants Xin.”
“Poppy!” exclaimed mother. “They’re big celebrities, you know. And they fought alongside us brave Yordles. The field reports said they were majestic and simply breathtaking on the battlefield!”
“Yeah, yeah. No big deal-sies. I bet I’m tougher than the both of them.”
“Oh, Poppy,” said mother. She lifted the spoon out of the soupy mixture, gave it a taste, and spent a few seconds considering it before giving a satisfied nod. “You know I just want to see you happy, right?”
Poppy’s face softened as she breathed in the aromas of the home cooked meal. “Well, yeah. I know.”
“Daddy wouldn’t want to see you like this.”
“I don’t know, Mommy,” said Poppy as she took over stirring the soup. “I know he wanted a good life for us, but... but I just don’t feel right.”
Poppy’s mother cocked her head to the side and placed a gentle hand on her daughter’s arm. “What do you mean my little lollipop?”
“It’s just,” began Poppy, “It’s just... I don’t really like playing all the time. Or joking. Or anything like that. I just want to do what Daddy used to do. You know, ‘Doing the Big Bangy’.”
Poppy’s mother sighed and embraced her daughter, who scrunched up her face even more. “I suppose I can’t blame you. Daddy was the best blacksmith around. It was his resolve that attracted me to him in the first place. He was... so focused. So intent. You know?”
Poppy finally returned her mother’s embrace with a firm grip. “Yeah, I know. I guess I have too much of that in me. And you’ve said it all before. I should just be out there goofing off with Tristana and such, but I just can’t.”
“You know Daddy wouldn’t blame you for doing that kind of stuff, right?” said mother in a soothing voice that only a mother can provide.
“I know. It’s just... I can’t remember what happened. And it bothers me.”
Poppy’s mother looked away from her daughter and onto the worn anvil. She imagined her husband doing the big bangy with the bright smile he always carried when he worked. “I know Poppy. It’s better that way.”
“But I want to remember! I want to know who killed Daddy!” shouted Poppy as she dropped the wooden cooking spoon and started to stomped back and forth across the blacksmith. She pushed over an arms rack that was housing her most recently constructed armor. It fell to the floor with a clang. “I need to know!”
“Some things are better left forgotten. What’s important is remembering the good times with Daddy,” said mother, earnestly.
“There’s only one thing I remember. And one thing only.”
“Yes, I know, my lollipop. The killer’s eyes." Mother closed her eyes, saddened by her daughter's inner conflict. "Are you still dreaming about them?”
“Yes. I am,” said Poppy as she stared through her mother. “And every time I’m in here banging on that anvil with whomper, I imagine I’m banging those eyes. Those big, scary, red crimson eyes.”
The massive Placidium walls did a good job of protecting Bandle City. The scientific marvel was composed of reinforced steel and rose over two-hundred feet. The only way to get through the wall, save flying over it, was to go through the two giant doors that were now slowly swinging open for Garen, Xin Zhao, and their squad of heavily armored troops. A giant, steam powered crank several miles inside the city and several more miles deep underground slowly turned as the exterior doors inched open.
Masses of yordles were gathered at the gate entrance, most of them with star-struck wide eyes and cavernous smiles. Hundreds of yordle guards, clad with heavy metal armor to commemorate Demacia’s way of outfitting their military, held back the hordes and herded them aside to allow Garen and Xin to walk through to the city center. Garen, trotting slowly on his horse, was visibly uncomfortable as he drew closer to the crowd. Confetti was now falling in more abundance than a tropical rainstorm and the air grew thick with gunpowder from all the confetti cannons. The trumpeters were now joined by clarinets, flutes, and even tuba and bass drum wielding yordles. The tuba and bass drum players, completely encompassed by the sheer size of what they were playing, could barely balance themselves and just looked like instruments with little wobbly legs. Yordle gymnasts twirled around and more than half of the general yordle population was blowing out of little plastic whistles and party horns.
Demacian military celebrations were much more serious and structured. Rose petals were traditionally dropped from above and appreciative claps and head nods were status quo for the audience. Xin did not seem to mind the yordle extravaganza and smiled at both Garen’s clear discomfort, as well as the spectacular that was unfolding before them.
“Patience,” reassured Xin as he put a glove on his friend’s arm.
Garen was not pleased. “The gun powder is obstructing our vision. This is not my idea of good security. Didn’t the Captain give them an idea on how Demacian’s conduct themselves?”
“Garen, this is a diplomatic mission more than anything else. It is best if we maintain good appearances. It’s what the Captain wanted,” said Xin as he scanned the crowd and gave a friendly wave. “Things are finally starting to go well for humans and yordles. Don’t forget how things were before the Commando Wars.”
Garen grunted as a piece of pink confetti fell into his eye. “Not much has changed in my opinion. Things will never truly be good between us until they learn how to take matters seriously. They need to follow the Captain’s example.”
Xin let out a sigh and shook his head. “Don’t forget who the yordles are deep down inside. It’s not healthy for them to act like us.”
“Nor us like them,” sneered Garen as he snapped his reigns to quicken his horse’s pace.
It was at that moment that an incredibly adorable yordle child managed to crawl under the legs of one of the guards and leapt in front of the Demacian caravan. Garen gritted his teeth in rage as he pulled on his horse’s reigns. The steed’s front legs kicked up into the air and barely missed the oblivious yordle’s nose by inches.
“Hey, Mister Garen?” said the super cute yordle child in a squeaky voice. The crowds, cannons, and music all trailed off in an instant. The yordles leaned forward in anticipation of what the little one had to say.
“Can I have a huuuuuug!?” she said. The yordle shut her eyes into little tight triangles, got up on her tippy toes, and flailed her widely opened arms. The yordle crowd gave out a collective “Awwwww!” and Bandle City awaited Mister Garen’s reaction.
The Demacian looked around, horrified that no one else seemed to find the child’s act as unacceptable and appalling as he did. He looked at Xin, who widened his eyes and indicated with a piercing stare and head nod that a hug was in order.
“Absolutely not!” shouted Garen. A popping sound could be heard as every yordles’ mouth dropped open in unison.
“This is completely unacceptable!” thundered Garen. “You were almost killed! Did no one else see that!? What kind of atrocious safety measures do you yordles abide by? And all this smoke! I mean, look at it! I can barely breath! Who’s running this mess? You... you yordles are...” Xin Zhao was waiving his arms but it was too late. “You yordles are horrifying!”
Xin placed his hands over his mortified face. The little yordle, now realizing she was not getting a hug, started to form giant tears in her eyes. The shocked crowd started to exchange clueless glances, but before anyone could really react to what they had just heard, a single trumpet broke the uncomfortable silence.
“And now!!!!!” shouted a yordle dressed in a clown costume who was atop a nearby pedestal. “Without further ado! I present to you Bandle City’s very own..... CAPTAIN TEEMO!”
The confetti cannons resumed their blasting and out of the new thick layer of smoke popped out Teemo. He flew through the air with grace, his arms outstretched and face filled with glee. He landed right on top of the head of Garen’s horse, faced the perplexed Demacian, and lightly tapped on his human nose.
“Boop!” was all Teemo said with a smile as his little finger made contact. The crowd erupted into an insane burst of chatter and laughter. The bass drums began feverishly pounding away a new beat and Teemo proceeded to spin around and shouted “Captain Teemo, on duty!” His voice had the traditional yordle ring to it, but was a touch more raspy. He lept down to the un-hugged yordle, picked her up, and spun her around.
“Of course you can have a hug, you cute little cookie!” he said. Teemo gave her a quick squeeze and tossed the giggling yordle back into the crowd.
“Come on Garen! Come on Xin!” he said with great enthusiasm as he adjusted his green explorer’s hat and red goggles. “Onwards into the castle where I shall give you a tour of the Heimer Museum! Swiftly!” And the Captain scampered forward with incredible speed. The yordle crowd had completely forgotten about the earlier incident and were content enough with the appearance of their star yordle.
“We best move forward before they ask you for more than a hug,” said Xin as he lead the way towards Teemo.
Garen grunted in agreement but was suddenly struck with an odd sensation deep in his stomach. He gripped Xin’s wrist, only to find that his cohort had the same sensation. The pair quickly exchanged glances and knew that something was amiss. They stopped their horses and began to rapidly scan the crowd and still cheering yordles.
“I’ve got got that old feeling again,” said Garen as he diverted his gaze to what he thought was a quick shadow that disappeared behind a column.
“I hear you, old friend,” concurred Xin. “I guess the only good thing to come out of the wars was a sharpened sense for danger.”
The other Demacian guards started to lose control of their horses and frantically looked about, unaware of what was happening but sensing the discomfort of their superiors. The yordles had started an impromptu parade . One of the tuba players went to start his bass line, but went into confusion, then laughter, when he noticed bubbles coming out of the horn instead of notes. A giggling little yordle with a crutch was seen scampering away with a bucket of soapy water.
Suddenly, from seemingly out of the shadows walked a human completely robed in black. All that was visible was his pale face and dark sunken eyes. The figure held his fingers together in an odd arrangement, and Garen immediately noticed him chanting something under his breath.
“Xin!” called out Garen. “We have ourselves a magic user. Up ahead in black!”
Xin whirled his horse around, trying to avoid the marching yordles, and faced the figure. His first instinct was to charge the stranger, but there were too many carefree yordles in the way. “Where did he come from? How did he even get through the gate?”
The robed figure’s chants were now suddenly audible even over all the background noise and the sky starting to darken. The yordles stopped their festivities and looked up in confusion. Teemo, who was more than several hundred yards up ahead, had now stopped and noticed the dark figure. His eyes were shot wide open. The chant now sounded like it was coming from hundreds of unseen enemies and thunder cracked across the sky.
“Deu, agita, cleo!” chanted the now glowing figure in an ancient language. A low rumble started to form beneath everyone’s feet.
“Garen!” cried Xin. “We have trouble coming our way. Activate your Banshee’s Veil!”
“Check!” shouted the Demacian.
Both Garen and Xin slipped on the blue cross necklaces and a light, translucent blue sphere encircled each of them.
“Out of the way, yordles!” commanded Garen. Now seeing that things were amiss, many of the yordles had hopped away to the sidelines.
Garen initiated a charge towards the robed man, who now had vertical beams of red light forming around him. Garen quickly closed the gap between himself and his enemy but a sudden blinding flash caused all the horses, including his own, to rear up and Garen soon found himself crashing down hard on the pavement. He dashed back up and withdrew his sword. Standing right before him were six odd looking creatures. The purple beasts were low to the ground, had four legs, and three yellow eyes at the center of what could best be described as a head, almost like some unearthly dog. The robed figure pointed at Garen and the six monsters advanced upon him.
Garen summoned up a burst of speed and ran directly towards the creatures. He let out a shout as he plunged his sword deep in-between the three eyes of the closest one. His sword penetrated the rough carapace and the impaled thing tried to run around and swipe at Garen in vain. The remaining five monsters jumped onto Garen and started clawing at him.
“Garen!” cried Xin, who was one hundred feet behind him and closing fast. The Seneschal of Demacia wielded a three pronged spear. The two outer prongs were longer and bent inwards into the third straight prong. He had always favored the weapon and it had gotten him through many bad times.
Garen was heavily armored but was without helmet and he raised his left arm to sheath his face from the incoming damage. The Demacian armor was strong, but chinks began to appear with each attack. Seeing he was completely surrounded and barely even able to take a step from the weight of his enemies, Garen gripped his sword with both hands and used all of his power to begin twirling with his outstretch weapon.
“DEMACIAAAAAAAAA!” he screamed as he hit each of his targets with every spin, sending them crashing away. The creatures were hurt, but were far from stopping their assault. The previously impaled creature twitched and shuttered, but it was certainly dead.
The robed figure shot his his hands again, and this time two strange portals appeared on both sides of Garen. He looked back and forth at them confused, but managed to duck as two purple beams popped out of each hole and met at the center.
The monsters had regrouped, but Xin and the other Demacian troops had arrived and were in process of dispatching two if them. The yordle crowds looked on in horror. One little yordle that was sporting a crutch rushed into the fray.
“Imbecile!” yelled Garen. “Get back into the crowd you crazy cripple! This isn’t some stupid demonstration!”
“Wow!” said the Tristana-in-disguise in amazement. “What a big meanie!”
The robed figure angrily shot another arm forward and a bright beam of light hit Garen square in the chest. Garen was gripped in his place as it forced him down to a knee.
“Oh no you don’t!” said Tristana. Her “crutch”, which was pointed downwards, suddenly exploded a shot into the ground and sent the Megling Commando hurtling towards the dark mage. Her little feet kicked him square in the nose and the enemy stumbled backwards, losing his magical grip on Garen. The Banshee’s Veil had protected him well from the magic attack and Garen resumed his charge.
The mage made a motion as if to cast another spell, but Teemo, who had backtracked enough to get into range, leapt into the fray and shot out a thin dart through his little wooden blow gun. It hit the mage in the shoulder and stuck sharply out. The enemy laughed at the little needle at first, but suddenly widened his eyes.
“I... I can’t see!” he shrieked.
“Welcome to Bandle City,” said Teemo. It was at this moment that the entire yordle crowd started to cheer their heads off.
The mage, unable to see any of his targets, started to run away deeper into the city.
"Garen! Take care of those monsters and make sure no one gets hurt!" shouted Teemo. "I'll go after the magic user!” The yordle scout dashed after the assassin.
“Hey, wait up!” shouted Tristana as she went after Teemo.
Garen hesitated for moment, then turned to take care of the remaining monsters.
Xin hit two of his foes with dizzying speed and sent a third monster up into the air with a powerful upswing of his spear. Garen banged on the remaining monsters with his sword, realizing that they were mindless and operated only with an animal instinct. He quickly dispatched the remaining purple beasts.
“What...” said Xin in-between deep breathes, “Was that!?”
“Someone knew we would be here,” said Garen grimly. “This was an assassination attempt. One that could have of course been avoided completely had they instituted even basic security procedures.”
Garen gathered himself and motioned to the group of Demacian guards who had barely been a factor in the strange battle. “Next time you better keep up with me and Xin. No hesitation, no matter how odd the circumstances. Come on, let’s see if the Captain detained the would-be assassin.”
Garen had tuned out the applauding yordles and dashed in pursuit of the dark mage.
“Warwick!” called out Senator Marlow as he approached the werewolf. The curvy Katarina was just behind the Noxian politician. “I have good news.”
“Go on,” said the wolf as he greeted Katarina with a nod of the head.
“We just finished speaking with the Zaun high command and thanks to your support, we were able to negotiate a deal,” said the Senator.
“Wonderful,” said Warwick. “When do we leave?”
“As soon as possible,” said the Senator. “However, there are a few changes to the original plan we discussed over dinner.”
“Oh?” commented the wolf. There were always tensions between Noxus and Zaun, usually over trade and resources, and not everyone was fully bought into the current truce. Warwick, for one, wore his suspicion of the Noxians on his sleeve.
Katarina stepped into the conversation. “Well, not everything has changed. For one, we will still be responsible for initially securing the area within the three day mark. Zaun will send a regiment of cavalry that will go through Mogron’s Pass and should arrive to further secure the area within eight days. They will bring with them artillery equipment that can be assembled onsite. In the event the disturbance ends up being nothing at all, which I highly doubt, we will signal the army to abort the plan.”
“This is good news,” said Warwick. “And the ‘few changes’ the Senator mentioned?”
Katarina looked to the Senator, indicating that she was finished talking, and that the ensuing “bad” part of the news would be better communicated by him. The Senator gave a slight shake of the head but continued.
“Well,” he said, “The trip has been financed by the Zaun government, but private investors were informed of the opportunity. As a result, they have contributed significant funds to aid us in our quest.”
“Private investors?” growled the wolf. “Those don’t come for free. What do we have to provide them in return?”
“Well,” said Marlow with a heavily, audible gulp, “For one, you can pick up any equipment you want, no matter the cost.”
“I have no use for equipment,” said Warwick coarsely.
“And of course there will be a large sum of money waiting for you when you get back. There’s nothing these private investors want in return, per se, it’s just...” The Senator paused. Warwick’s eyebrow raised as he exchanged glances between the two Noxians.
“It is just... that they demand that we add another member to the party,” finished the Senator. “You know, to be completely sure that the job is done... properly. Not that you wouldn’t be able to do it properly yourself, mind you. I have full confidence in you.”
The Senator laughed uncomfortably and loosened his collar. Warwick let out a deep, throaty bellow and leaned in close to the Senator. Hot breathes of air from the wolf’s snout frazzled the bureaucrat's hair. Marlow brought up a trembling hand to adjust his usually impeccable hair.
“I would do the job right myself,” said the wolf. “I only allowed Kat to come because I’ve seen her in battle and know she will not slow me down. Who do the investors want?”
The Senator’s entire body was now shaking and he took a step back, only to have Warwick counter with an agile step forward.
“They... they,” he stammered awkwardly.
Katarina rolled her eyes at the Senator’s bumbling. “They want Singed, sweetheart,” she said.
There was only a brief pause before Warwick’s breathes started to turn shorter and more violent. Within seconds he was heaving, his matted hair now standing on edge.
“Warwick,” said the Senator in a soothing, but audibly shaky voice. “This isn’t a bad thing. You don’t even need to talk to the chemist. He will be following you. You will still be in charge.”
“It’s not about that!” rumbled Warwick as he swiped at the air directly in front of Marlow.
“Besides, you two will have the opportunity to settle your differences,” continued the Senator as he took several more steps backwards.
“There’s nothing left to be settled,” said the advancing Warwick.
“Well, you see Warwick, Singed... he’s fast on his feet. And his methods are popular amongst the Zaun aristocrats.”
Warwick snarled in disagreement. “Of course they love him. Shooting chemical cocktails at your enemy from miles away. You don’t get to see the true carnage. Death is just a number and you can stay safe at home. They don’t like me because I understand true suffering. I get in close and personal for the kill.”
“Warwick,” continued the Senator. “I negotiated another part of the deal.”
Katarina’s eyes shot wide open and she withdrew a dagger to the Senator’s throat. “I wouldn’t,” she cautioned. But the Senator continued despite not being able to take his eyes off the threatening weapon.
“Get Singed on your good side, Warwick, and he agreed that he would find you a cure. It’s a win-win situation in my book.”
The sudden deathly silence was even more concerning than the wolf’s previous enragement. The animal now stood abnormally calm. Katarina slowly withdrew her blade and sheathed it. She backed away from the wolf and placed her back to the wall. “I can’t say I didn’t try,” she said as she crossed her legs and folded her arms.
“A cure?” responded Warwick. “What are you talking about? A cure for what?”
“You know,” fumbled the Senator, “For what… for what she did to you.”
Warwick lunged at Marlow with lightning speed, shot his arm out, and pressed the Senator against the wall by his neck. A sharp thumbnail imbedded into the politician’s fleshy jugular. “A cure? A cure!” he howled ferociously. “There is nothing that needs curing; nothing I want changed. As a man, I mixed chemicals, and you shot them out of guns and machines. You corrupt the flesh. What you don’t know is the taste of flesh. The intimacy of slowly draining the blood from your enemy. Once you understand that, you’ll abandon your ways and never turn back.”
“Kat...” squeaked Marlow as Warwick’s grip tightened and a small stream of blood dripped down to the Senator’s shoulders. The Sinister Blade simply laughed and continued inspecting her impeccable nails. Perhaps it was the laugh that softened Warwick’s mood enough, and he withdrew his grip. The Senator fell to the ground as he took in heavy gulps of air and applied a white handkerchief to his bloody neck.
“I am going to report this to the Zaun and Noxian councils immediately!” croaked the Senator. It was an empty threat that sounded more like a whine.
“It’s only a flesh wound. It will heal,” said the wolf. He looked to Katarina and wiped a string of saliva that had formed on his fangs. “Our mages have established a teleportation link with yours in Noxus. They should be ready within the hour. I will see you then. By the way Senator...”
Marlow coughed up phlegm and tried to stagger back up to his feet.
“Your blood smells wonderful.”
“I…” The Senator was unable to finish his sentence.
“And you are just going to be delicious,” said Warwick as he licked his lips.
The Senator turned a ghostly white, even as Warwick leapt into the shadows and left the two Noxians to themselves.
“Nice one,” said Katarina.
Chapter 3: The Journey Begins
Yordle city roads were windy and complex; the complete opposite of the regimented grid system in Demacia. The fleeing dark mage frantically looked down each road at every intersection, and it was not long before he gave up the decision making process and just arbitrarily turned at every corner. The assassin seemed to knock over every yordle and vendor standing in his way, leaving a clear trail of mess behind him. Yordle roads were always packed to the brim as they served as gathering points for the all too social race. Teemo knew the roads well and he had closed the gap with the pursued man substantially.
“You’re fast!” shouted Tristana as she huffed and puffed to keep up with the swift scout. The two had known each other for quite some time and while they both came from a military background, Teemo had specialized in subversive information gathering while Tristana concentrated on hitting targets with guns.
“We’re almost on him!” said Teemo as he flipped over a stooped over yordle farmer who was picking up the ears of corn the dark mage had just knocked out of his arms. Tristana mimicked the move but was less agile in the air and accidentally stomped on the yordle farmer’s head, forcing all the produce out onto the pavement again.
“Sorry!” yelled Tristana as she hurried away, shrugging her shoulders at the fist-waving farmer. “Teemo! Wait up!”
“Sorry Trist, but I gotta bag this one!” yelled Teemo over his shoulder as he skidded around another corner and dodged a wheelbarrow wielding yordle. Tristana, focusing more on Teemo than the road in front of her, face-planted right into the wheelbarrow, which was carrying a fresh load of popcorn. She vaulted out of it, wiggling her body to rid herself of the stuck pieces and eating the ones that had fallen into her mouth.
“Oh boy! I forgot you and the meanie were best friends!”
“Oh shush. You just gotta get to know him,” said Teemo as he ran up a staircase of stacked boxes to avoid a jam packed street.
“Well then introduce us already! He doesn’t even know who I am,” called out Tristana. Every so often, a random yordle would recognize her and gasp and point.
Teemo was way up ahead at this point and Tristana gave up on all the shouting and just continued storming forward. She sighed and shook her head at Teemo’s sometimes all too passionate resolve for his Demacian counterpart.
The dark mage, seeing the swift scout getting bigger and bigger at each subsequent glance over the shoulder, soon realized his hopeless situation. He was deep within a foreign city being chased by one of the fastest yordles in Runeterra without much of an escape route. Realizing his futility, he rounded a nearby corner, stopped, and waited to confront his pursuers. Teemo, himself no stranger to traps, approached the corner at a wide angle and performed a rolling dive into the center of the street. He found himself face to face with the dark mage, whose eyes were glowing a bright, energized blue. The by-standing yordles, sensing the conflict, huddled inside their homes and double locked their doors. Teemo reached into his leather knapsack and loaded his dart gun with another poison tipped needle.
“You didn’t think you were gonna get away with that, did you?” said the yordle scout to his enemy. A breathless Tristana jumped next to Teemo and posed with her Big Gun-sies.
“You’re going down!” she announced, pointing her finger at the enemy. “Let him have it Teemo!”
The dark mage made no response but had his head down in a chant. Teemo raised his blow gun and lined it up with his enemy’s head. The poisons on this dart would knock out an elephant for hours. Just as Teemo went to blow a puff of air into his weapon, the mage shot his hand out and a strange black cloud enveloped the Captain’s little head. Teemo immediately dropped his blow gun and grasped his temples as he took unbalanced steps backwards. Tristana, unsure what to do, rushed to Teemo’s side and helped him stay up by under-hooking his arm with her own and posting a supporting shoulder.
A sudden rush of nausea caused Teemo to double over, bringing down enough force to knock over Tristana in the process. While his eyes were open and should have been seeing the gray pavement below him, he instead saw a little yordle flat on his back in a cave of some sort. The image was hazy and vague, as if in a dream, but Teemo certainly felt that he was there, almost like in an out-of-body experience. Teemo’s first thought was that he was seeing some tiny yordle sleeping, but the vision zoomed him in closer and it became apparent that there was blood everywhere. A gaping red hole in the poor yordle’s stomach appeared as if some animal had ravaged it. And there was someone else there. It was.... Tristana? Yes. It was cloudy, but Tristana was knelt down next to the yordle, crying her little eyes out. But there was someone else there too. Something else. Something evil. Despite the vagueness of the image, Teemo knew that the wounds were mortal, and that the yordle, if he wasn’t dead already, would soon be dead. It was just as the visions ended that Teemo noticed that the yordle corpse was wearing a green hat, red goggles, and wooden blowgun.
“Come on, Teemo!” shouted Tristana, finally shaking Teemo to his senses. The black cloud had dissipated and although he felt a little woozy and weak, Teemo was able to stand. The dark mage had taken the opportunity to flee the scene and was nowhere in sight.
“How long was I out, Trist!?” said Teemo, still trying to get his bearings.
“Just a few minutes....”
“We gotta go after him!” said a wobbly Teemo as he started forward.
“But wait, you’re hurt!” said the concerned Tristana.
“No, I’m OK. I’m not letting this guy go,” said Teemo as he scampered down the street. Tristana ran alongside him, eyeing him carefully to make sure he was well enough to continue.
The dark mage was almost out of breath but knew that the malefic images he had bestowed upon Teemo would not keep him down for long. A few curious yordle heads poked out of the windows and the mage knew he had to get out of sight immediately. He slammed his shoulder into the nearest wooden door and barreled in, shutting himself inside and looking out the windows for his pursuers. The place smelled like a combination of some sort of odd corn stew mixed with some sort of blacksmithy type of smell. Feeling piercing eyes upon him, the dark mage slowly turned around.
“Excuse me?” said Poppy’s mother, with both hands on her hips. Poppy did not look very happy either and she reached for Whomper, her trusty banging hammer. The dark mage sneered at both of them and raised his arms up with eyes glowing blue.
“Listen to me little ones, you shut up or I will make you shut up! I will summon terrible creatures that will spend days feasting on your bones! Or perhaps you’d like to wade in a purple puddle that will melt away your legs!?”
“Little ones? Little ones!?” cried Poppy, apparently not phased by any of the other threats. Poppy gripped Whomper firmly and gritted her teeth. “Grrrrrr here I am, baddie!”
The assassin, seeing that this crazy yordle was not the average loveable cutey pie he was lead to believe all yordles were, tried to reopen the door and escape back outside. Poppy let out a loud shriek and her hammer started to glow orange.
“What the...” was all the assassin could say before Poppy charged forward, plummeting her shoulder into the mage’s groin. The groan of pain barely escaped the mage’s mouth as they both smashed straight into the wooden door, plowing it over and falling onto the outside pavement. The assassin remained double over and disoriented as Poppy spun around for extra momentum and slammed down the glowing Whomper on the bad guy’s back. He now lay fully collapsed, flat on his belly and unconscious.
“Now that’s what I call hammer diplomacy,” said Poppy.
Poppy’s mother came out with a rolling pin in one hand and a frying pan in the other. “Poppy-kins! Are you OK!?”
“Yeah mommy. I haven’t seen a human this deep within the Bandle City’s walls in... in I don’t know how long.”
“It’s been a long time... but I wouldn’t be surprised if this was related to Garen’s arrival,” reflected mother as she put down her weapons/cooking utensils.
“Wow! Pops did you just do what I think you just did!?” shouted Tristana. Her and Teemo had finally caught up and were able to witness the tremendous beat down.
“Yeah, Poppy,” said Teemo. “I didn’t know you were trained in combat. And that glowing hammer thingy...”
A crowd had assembled and they jabbered to each other about the unusual human and Poppy’s prowess in combat.
“It was soooo cool!” smiled Tristana as she gave Teemo a playful, but slightly too hard punch on the shoulder. He grimaced and held his temples briefly before shaking his head and entering back into the conversation.
Poppy brushed off her shoulders. “Yeah, I guess that’s just how I get when I’m angry. Stupid hume coming into our home. Making threats to my family.”
“Poppy,” reassured mother, “This one certainly had an evil soul and I trust that the Bandle City prison will keep him contained and rehabilitate him. You know what? I’ll give him some corn ‘o stew. That’ll show him that yordles are a fantastic race capable of compassion. You certainly already showed him our fierce side, my lollipop.”
Tristana grinned widely. “Lollipop!? I like it!”
“Argh!” groaned Poppy, “Of course you like it. You like everything.”
“I do!” smiled Tristana as she leaned her head on Teemo’s shoulder. He flinched ever so slightly and the Megling Commando turned with a scowl on her face. “Did he hurt you!?”
Teemo did not respond. He acted distant; even more than usual.
Poppy, her mother, and the dozens of neighbors that had witnessed or heard the event were now fully gathered in the streets. Some of them gawked at celebrities Teemo and Tristana, while the more macho male yordles tried to help put up the broken door, giving playful glances at Poppy as they worked. Poppy kept her arms crossed as her mother offered the surrounding yordles some corn o' stew. Garen and his entourage were only a few hundred feet away and on their way to apprehend the dark mage.
“I don’t know Trist,” said Teemo. “I guess I’m just a little shaken up.”
“What is it?” she asked, rubbing the scout’s arm.
He pulled his arm away. “It’s nothing.”
The room was warm and glowed red from the large fireplace at the opposite end of the room. Katarina shut the door behind her and surveyed the area. Everything about the room was cozy, except for the harsh rubbing alcohol scent that felt as if it was burning the Sinister Blade’s nose hairs. The room’s luminescence created odd shadows that made Katarina uneasy. She kept her hands gripped on the handles of her dual blades as her eyes swept the walls, which were littered with a plethora of labeled bottles and jars of varying size, shape, and color. Up ahead facing the fireplace was a red leather lounging chair that had a soft plume of smoke rising to the ceiling.
“I was told you would pay me a visit, darling.”
The eloquent voice was soothing but had a sinister intonation, almost as if there was some sort of secret that once told, would have you reeling away in horror. It was not a good feeling, not even for the dangerous Katarina.
“We’re about to take quite the journey together, Singed,” she said, remaining fairly close to the room’s entrance. “I figured I quickly run over some basics with you.”
The chair slowly swiveled around, and there sat Singed, the Mad Chemist. He was sporting a luxury lounging robe and smoking out of an ornate, wooden pipe. A half full martini glass was in his other hand, which was rested comfortably on the chair’s arm.
“You may be wondering about that wonderful smell you are experiencing. No?” he said in response to Katarina’s silence. “It’s ethanol. A fantastic chemical. It has such a wide range of uses. Its smell... comforts me.”
He smiled coldly and gave his martini glass a little swirl as he took another puff from his pipe. Katarina did not return the smile and pressed her lips together. Singed had no visible hair, and his face told the story of all the burns and mishaps he had with his chemicals over the years. His eyes glowed a vibrant yellow, a result of experimentation with one of his many concoctions.
“Warwick plans on leaving within the hour. I would prepare your equipment,” said Katarina. “And don’t forget that we are traversing mountains. So pack light.”
“What’s the rush, darling? You two need to lose a little bit of tension. Come closer. Sit down. Have a drink and a smoke.” He motioned to a nearby cabinet, which was adorned with a number of pipes and cigars.
“With all the bottles here, how can you tell the difference between your booze and your weapons?” she asked facetiously with a frown.
Singed smiled and turned back to the fireplace and gazed upon the licking flames. “I’ve been known to make mistakes in the past. I’m sorry, where are my manners?”
Singed pulled out a candle from a nearby chest and lit it with a match before returning back to his chair. The room immediately smelled like a garden of flowers.
“I’m not the monster others make me out to be, you know,” he said as he crossed his legs. “I fancy a number of things other than weaponry. To tell you the truth, I’m not much of a pugnacious fellow.”
“You could have fooled me,” said Katarina, somewhat relieved that she no longer had the smell of rubbing alcohol stuck in her nose. She wandered around the room, eyeballing some of the concoctions, yet never straying too close to the chemist.
“Oh, right. I suppose I sometimes forget that the public eye really only sees me on the Fields of Justice. It’s nothing more than a sport to me,” he responded. Katarina had her usual look of not being impressed. “You aren’t much of a ‘flower’ kind of girl, are you? Let me light something that better suits your interests.”
Singed reached into the chest once again and pulled out a deep red colored candle. He took his index finger and thumb and pressed them together around the flame atop the green garden scented candle. The flame immediately died out. With another wave of a match, the red candle was lit and burned with a strange fury.
“Everything in this room has been made by me, you know. It’s an art,” said Singed as he wafted in the new scent. “Magical. Give it some time before it hits you.”
The room still smelled like flowers, but a strange new scent crept its way closer to Katarina. Her nose twitched as it took in the peculiar aroma, and while it was certainly pungent, it was foreign and unidentifiable. But then, almost like a dreadful realization, it hit Katarina’s senses with an overwhelming power. The smell was most certainly blood. The distinct scent was so powerful that Katarina could taste the iron complexity of the substance on her tongue, almost as if she were drinking from the poor creature that lent itself to the candle. She held in an involuntary gag.
“It smells like death. Does it not?” laughed Singed. “Although I better put this one out before wolfy scampers over here looking for a meal. Or even worse, Prince Vladimir. The man’s tastes are very.... one dimensional.”
Katarina held her nose and grimaced. “I never thought the day would come that I prefer the smell of flowers. Put that disgusting thing out and get yourself packed.”
Singed remained seated and unflinching. “May I interest you in a drink?”
“I’m not much of a drinker,” responded Katarina.
“A pity. It is one of the few divine pleasures man is allowed to indulge in. I have quite the variety you know. I have an array of bitters, digestifs, aperitifs,” tempted Singed with a wave of his pipe.
Katarina was growing tired of the man’s insistence, but it was something a woman such as herself was used to. “I haven’t eaten and won’t be eating any time soon, so no.” Katarina should have known better than to entertain the mad chemist’s conversation, but she motioned to the martini glass. “What is it that you have there? You seem to be enjoying it.”
“I’m glad you asked. It’s my most recent creation. It’s your traditional vodka martini with a splash of vermouth, and a single unsalted olive. Shaken, not stirred.”
“Charming,” groaned Katarina. “That looks a little too big to be an olive.”
“Oh, I already ate the olive,” said Singed. “This over here at the bottom of the glass is a yordle kidney.”
Katarina was taken aback and held her throat in revulsion. “What’s up with you Zaunites and your demented tastes in food? You better not pull any stunts during our journey. I’m out of here, sicko.”
Singed relished in her discomfort and let out a deep, throaty laugh.
“Oh come on now. It tastes like fun. I promise,” he said as he tilted the glass towards Katarina. She gave a dramatically disgusted face and with a shrug Singed finished the last drops of his drink. He gingerly plucked the purple yordle kidney from the bottom of the glass and popped it into his mouth. Each chew brought in different bursts of loveable, cuddly flavor. “Marvelous. Simply marvelous,” he said to himself.
His laugh resonated throughout the entire chamber and Katarina could not shake it away, even after she slammed the door shut and made her final preparations for the journey.
“You gave me your word that you would report any unexplained magical disturbances to me immediately.”
It was difficult for Guinsoo, the Demacian Councilman to understand the figure’s speech behind the mask. The voice was mechanical and vibrated through the air, with each audible breath sending tingles down the councilman’s spine. The man was certainly still human, but to what extent was unknown.
“We’ve been monitoring the situation,” responded Councilman Guinsoo. The ornate gray stoned chamber was one of the many perks Demacian politicians received while in office. A bowl of fruit, cheese plate, and carafe of white wine lay next to the various parchments scattered across the councilman’s desk. “We were going to present the information to you during the next committee meeting.”
“The next meeting is scheduled a week from now. Since when did you know about this?” asked the mysterious figure.
“We have a mole in Zaun. The Zaun government is sending some troops to investigate and secure the area. But they will never get there. We dispatched a Demacian regiment to Mogron Pass to ambush their caravan.”
“And what do you plan on doing after that!?” shouted the mysterious figure.
“Claim the land. We’ll find a way to harness the source of the magic and hopefully we can use it for defensive purposes. It’s a confidential matter so... you know,” said Guinsoo nonchalantly. Being the chairmen of the Magical Anomalies Committee was a comfortable role. The workload was light and the pay generous.
“You fools!” shouted the man as his open hands turned into fists. “Don’t you understand? If this is what I think it is, you could send an entire army there and they would be completely annihilated! Through your inaction, you may have single handedly ended the world as we know it!”
The councilman rubbed his face with his hands and took a sip of wine. “Don’t you think you are over-exhaggerating just a little?”
“Where is Garen? I must speak to him at once!”
Councilman Guinsoo sighed and shook his head. “Garen is on a mission abroad right now. I can’t tell you his location; it’s confidential. However, there is no way I would have told Garen about the disturbance anyway. He would have marched on in there to investigate it on his own. Loose cannon that one...”
“I should never have entrusted a Demacian politician with the safety of the world,” said the man. “I should have accepted Ryze’s help.”
“What does he have to do with this?” asked the councilman. “Oh right. All he does is preach the end of the world. With that big scroll of his. Apparently you’ve just joined the club.”
The strange man ignored the comment. “I must leave at once and do what I can to stop this madness.”
And with that, the masked figure turned to an adjacent wall and instantly vanished in a swirl of purple energy.
Chapter 3, continued.
Garen tossed and turned in the uncomfortable yordle bedding. The day had been filled with action and it was not easy transitioning into the world of comfort and sleep. Garen never slept during the Commando Wars. When not engaging in the large epic battles that would periodically occur when chance and imperfect intelligence reports eventually brought two sizeable opposing armies together, Garen would perch himself in the brush and wait. His eyes were always searching from the tall grass... searching for the enemy. Waiting for them to enter.
He shivered as he felt the cool wind lick his toes. That was strange. Had he fallen asleep? He did not remember ever opening the window. In fact, he had made sure that it was locked, especially since an assassination attempt had been made only a few hours earlier. Was he dreaming? Garen shot up, realizing that he was coated in a cold sweat. His feet stuck out several inches from the edge of the bed. The yordles had not had human visitors in decades and had woefully miscalculated Garen’s height. But that was not his immediate concern. The window was in fact open and gusts of air billowed the surrounding white curtains. Garen squinted his eyes and surveyed the room. The moon was bright on this particular night and the Demacian could make out the various shapes and shadows of the room’s furniture. At first he thought he saw several humanoid figures, but Garen realized his imagination had gotten the better of him as the shapes slowly reverted to a chair, dresser, and bedpost.
Garen was just starting to feel at ease when he suddenly felt warm air blown into his left ear. At once he instinctively grabbed at the space beside him. To his surprise, his large hand nabbed something hot and fleshy and with a sharp twist he immediately had the thing straddled and pinned to his bed. To his surprise, he saw nothing below him but the bed sheets.
“What... am I still dreaming?” he wondered out loud. But the thing below him was certainly there and it was now struggling furiously.
Scratch marks appeared on Garen’s bare chest and he tightened his grip on the unseen foe in reaction to the pain. The empty space before Garen suddenly wavered, and the bright purple haired, blue skinned Evelynn the Widowmaker appeared below him. Garen had his two powerful arms engaged in a full choke hold. The blue skinned vixen waived her arms, and Garen overcame his anger and surprise and released his grip. He bolted out of bed and backed up to his coat of armor and sword.
“My, my, my, Garen,” gasped Evelynn as she rubbed her throat. “What a strong grip you have. You know how I love a powerful man.”
She wore her traditional purple leather two piece outfit that matched her long, wavy hair. Rows of strapped strips of leather created an ascending ladder of clothing on the woman’s legs. While Evelyn was very beautiful, shapely, and well endowed, her fangs and claws indicated that she was far from not being able to defend herself. She playfully dismounted the bed and landed gracefully on her high heels.
“It takes a lot of effort to move like this in heels,” she said with a confident grin. “Especially in this awkward city. The doors are like four feet tall. How ridiculous is that?”
Garen had distanced himself from the lovely woman but he made no reach for his weapon. “Flattering, but this isn’t the first assassination attempt I’ve had today.”
“Oh please. What? Did the yordles try to hug you to death or something?” She giggled and slowly advanced forward, eyeing Garen’s athletic body up and down.
“Well, that almost happened too,” he said. “But don’t play dumb with me. Let me guess, you’re here to finish the job?”
“Wait, are you serious?” laughed the Widowmaker.
Garen sneered at her advance. “It was a magic user. We have him in custody. I find it hard to believe that you don’t know this.”
“Hah. Just one mage? Strange,” Evelyn looked about the room and snorted at the yordle accommodations. The nearby dresser was littered with strangely shaped yordle paraphernalia, half of which were designed to groom a male yordle’s fur.
“It is strange that they would just send one man,” said Garen. “Well? What do you want?”
“It’s always business with you. Come on baby, how about we go tango?” said Evelynn, apparently no longer interested in talking about Garen’s day. She twirled around gracefully and offered her hand to the stiff human. “It’ll be fun. Dancing will make you feel better.”
“I thought you already had a tango partner,” said Garen as he batted away the offer.
“Oh, he just didn’t have the right moves, if you know what I mean. But the way you thrust your sword into your enemies, the way you do that little twirly thing you love to do. It beats having to sit through another one of Fate’s magic tricks. And he just appears wherever he wants, whenever he wants. So very obnoxious. You know?”
Garen narrowed his eyes. “I’m not exactly a fan of surprise visits myself.”
“Oh Garen, is it really that much of a surprise?” said Evelynn. She moved directly in front of Garen and met him at eye level with a passionate stare.
“Stop your senseless flirt-gills. Get out of here before the guards arrive. I’m sure they heard the commotion,” he said as he looked away from her seductive eyes.
“Flirt-gills? My, my, my Garen. What are they teaching in the Demacian schools? But honestly, what are your second rate guards going to do to me that I wouldn’t be able to do to them ten times worse?”
She was right.
“What is it that you want?” said the Demacian firmly. “I don’t buy the schoolgirl crush act.”
“So distrustful. So standoff-ish. Why all the rage? Who broke that poor little heart of yours?” said Evelyn as she poked a sharp finger nail into Garen’s chest, which turned into an open palmed stroke down the Demacian’s stomach.
“This is your final warning.”
“Fine! Fine...” said Evelyn as she turned away with her hands up in the air, making sure she swayed her hips as sexily as possible. “I just came across some very interesting information that I thought you might want to know about.”
“Cut the ****,” said Garen sharply.
Evelyn turned her head and eyed Garen’s body yet again. “There’s been a magical disturbance detected in the Flats.”
“Noxus and Zaun have teamed up and they are traveling there now to secure the area. Apparently it’s a relatively powerful source of energy,” said the Widowmaker.
The cold wind was starting to chill the room and Garen involuntarily shivered.
“It’s in fact so important that they’re sending.... you know.” Evelynn raised her eyebrow and hid her smile from Garen with her hand. Garen widened his eyes at first and tightened, but quickly reverted back to his normal stance.
“That’s right, honey,” said Evelynn. “Katarina. Pretty name, right? I think mine’s prettier. Don’t you think, Garen?”
“We’re standing in the middle of the technology capital of Valoran, save Piltover. You don’t think I can verify what you’re saying?” said Garen.
“Verify it. You should trust my sources. They are never wrong. And it must be worth investigating if she is going? Right?” teased Evelyn.
“We’ll see about it tomorrow morning,” said the Demacian.
“I dont know what you see in her. You need a real woman. One that can fulfill all your needs.” Evelynn returned to facing Garen and strutted closer. “Now... I believe information such as this is quite important. Important enough for say, a reward?”
“If your lead is accurate, I’ll make sure you find 10,000 gold in your bank account.”
“I didn’t have gold in mind. There’s something much more valuable I’d like to get my hands on.”
Evelynn placed both her hands on Garen’s chest and leaned in. Garen did not resist and was intoxicated by her strange, exotic scent. Garen placed his hands on her back, feeling her smooth skin and fit tone. Evelynn clawed into Garen’s body just enough so it would not draw blood and went in for a kiss. Just as their lips were about to meet, a loud clang came from just outside the bedroom. Evelynn disengaged and lightly patted the Demacian’s cheek.
“Aw shucks. Just when things were starting to get interesting,” she laughed.
The chamber door burst open and fully armed Demacian and yordle guards quickly entered, but all they saw was a surprised Garen in his underwear standing in front of empty space.
“We heard voices! Are you OK?” gruffly asked one of the tiny yordle guards.
“Yes,” was all the dumbfounded Garen could say as he confusedly looked around him.
The wide open window slowly closed itself and the last thing Garen heard was a gentle whisper.
“Remember, once you go blue, there will be no one else you’ll do.”
The circle of mages were congregated in a tight circle. The room glowed a deep purple with all the magical power it held and anyone entering the teleportation chamber felt as if their insides were floating. Magical runes were etched into the heavily decorated floor and walls, and the mages drew from that power, as well as their own innate abilities, to summon enough magic to teleport the travelers from Zaun to Noxus. Within the confines and rules of the Fields of Justice, teleportation was a fairly limited spell. Based on the architecture that was deemed appropriate for the League, the spell could carry one champion to an allied location on the battlefield within a few seconds. In the real world, teleportation was a much more difficult production. The mages in Zaun had been in deep concentration and mentally linked to another set of teleportation mages in Noxus for several hours. If one of them lost their composure, the whole process would have to be restarted from the very beginning. Should a mage ruin a teleportation in progress, the person in transit could get lost in the magical ether. Sometimes they could be retrieved. And sometimes they could not. Needless to say, teleportation mages were some of the best magic users in the lands, though making a mistake often lead to a swift execution.
Katarina wore her traditional tight black leather outfit complete with midriff that accentuated her large chest. While most high class Noxian women were more focused on marrying into an equally rich family to enhance political connections and assure unlimited wealth, Katarina instead chose to follow in her father’s footsteps and fight. She proved to be deadly with her blades and had only met her match once. It was during that engagement in the Commando Wars that brought Katarina’s only scar; a small nick running vertically up along her eye.
Warwick wore nothing but a small knapsack. Singed was fully clothed in his armor and had his traditional riot shield. He had a large backpack loaded with various potions and chemicals. Senator Marlow would be teleporting to Noxus, but would return back to his political duties once back at home.
“Hey look,” said Katarina to Warwick. “You pack light just like me.”
“Naturally,” said the wolf as he patted down his bag. “And even what’s in here is not necessarily needed. I just have to bring it... in case I want to get clever.”
“Whatever,” said Katarina. She looked over at the chemist. “Oh brother. Good luck lasting three days carrying all that junk.”
Singed opened up a small bottle and smelled it. “Don’t worry about me, darling. I have a potion for everything. Tired? There’s a potion for that. Slow? There’s a potion for that. Care to give this one a smell? It’s a rose ester that I think will put you in good spirits.”
He offered up the tiny potion to Katarina but was met by a firm, upheld hand.
“I can smell that useless garbage from here,” said Warwick as he leered at Singed.
“Got an obnoxious lycanthrope? There’s a potion for that,” responded Singed.
Warwick growled but the Senator stepped in.
“No sense in distracting the good mages over here with any conflict. Don’t want to ruin anything,” he said, eyeing Katarina.
“Agreed,” said Katarina. “I’m not floating in space for the next decade. Let's get out of here. Time is of the essence. By the way mages, if any of you screw this up, your heads will decorate my lawn.”
The mages waved their arms in a mystical pattern. The four stood calmly as the mages started their final incantation, and in a twist of reality found themselves in the Noxus teleportation chamber.
“That was easy,” said Katarina as she checked all her limbs to make sure they were still there.
Warwick furiously shook his body, as if he were completely drenched in water and trying to dry off. “That’s the last time I do that.”
“Ahhhh,” said Senator Marlow as he extended his arms. “My good Evelynn! What brings you here?”
Evelynn had been waiting for the group to arrive. She had on her masquerade outfit, the attire she usually wore before going out. Her face was behind a decorated mask that showed only her eyes, mouth, and nose. Evelynn was infamous for her social nature and frequently appeared in celebrity periodicals. It was once said of her from a famous paparazzo that "If Evelynn wants a photo of herself available to the public, she'll find you. Certainly not the other way around."
“Hello, Senator,” she smiled with a giggle. The Widowmaker had done a variety of odd jobs for Noxus and rumor had it that some of her work had guaranteed Senator Marlow's entrance into office. "Fancy finding you here, Singed," she added.
“Darling,” he responded with a bow. “Perhaps after this journey we shall imbibe in some more of that special brandy you so fancy.”
“But of course! We shall celebrate!” said Evelynn with a curtsy.
“Just don’t bring that Twisted Fate,” said Singed with disapproval. “All the man wants to do is play cards.”
Evelynn rolled her eyes and dismissively waved her hand. “Don’t worry about him, Singed. He’s old news. I’m after a new man now.”
Evelynn glanced menacingly at Katarina and popped her hip out towards the Senator. “I have some interesting information for you.”
The Senator laughed heartily. “You always have some interesting information for me. I absolutely adore it.”
“Garen has detected the magical disturbance in the flats,” said Evelynn, eyeing the Sinister Blade from the corner of her eyes.
Katarina immediately jumped to attention. Her eyes blazed as Evelynn relished in her obvious reaction.
“What!? How does he know!?” growled Warwick as he paced impatiently around the Noxian teleportation room, periodically pounding a fist into an open palm.
“I’m not sure, honey. But I’m nearly positive he’s going to investigate it. Just a hunch,” said Evelynn with a wink. "You know how forceful and curious he can be."
Katarina turned away and brought her hand up to her eye.
“This changes everything,” said the Senator, lowering his eyes in thought.
“No. It does not,” said Singed, to the surprise of everybody. “We have the jump on them. They will go over Mogron Pass while we will be taking a short cut. We’ll get there before them.” He turned to the Senator. “I would recommend sending an ambush party to cut them off. We can turn this in our favor.”
“Who put you in charge?” said Katarina. “And what makes you think an ambush party will stop Garen?”
“Katarina, Singed is right. It would be the smart thing to do,” mediated the Senator. “At the very least it will slow them down.”
“Sweetie,” said Evelynn, interrupting the discussion. “Not to rain on your parade of scheming, but Garen’s in Bandle City.”
“What!?” screamed Warwick, verbalizing the expression that was on everyone else's face.
“Wait,” said Evelynn. “You didn’t know he was there?”
“Unfortunately, no,” said the Senator sourly. “Katarina?”
“I had no idea,” said Katarina. She turned to Evelynn with evil, dagger-like eyes. “How did you know he was there? And how did you get here so quickly?”
Evelynn smiled. “I have my ways. And of course I know he’s in Bandle City. I had an... encounter with the man. He is so very strong.”
Katarina stopped herself from taking a step forward and Marlow put a hand up, sensing the clear tension. Evelynn’s stance seemed to beckon a conflict, but Katarina turned back to facing the wall.
“Well, just so you know, someone orchestrated an assassination attempt on him,” said Evelynn. “I assumed it was you. I mean, I can’t think of anyone outside of Noxus or Zaun that would want him dead.”
“It wasn’t us,” said Marlow, eyeing Singed and Warwick.
“Or us,” added Warwick brusquely.
The Senator rubbed his chin. “This puts a wrench in our plans, but it’s far from over. You will still go to the Flats, but with the added objective of catching up with Garen, in the event that is where he is traveling,” he said as he turned to Katarina. “And of course you will be killing their whole party.”
Katarina smiled. “I call Garen. You know, personal vendetta. You two animals can take care of the rest.”
“I can’t promise anything, but I will try,” said Warwick as he licked his chops.
“You have my word, darling,” said Singed.
The Senator was still deep in thought. “If they don’t know we’re coming, they may not be traveling as fast, and traveling through the jungles will slow them down considerably.”
“I have a good feeling about this,” said Katarina with a glimmer in her eye. “Violence solves everything!”
“My kind of woman,” bellowed Warwick as he hungrily eyed her body.
“Take a cold shower wolfy,” retorted Katarina. “So the plan is set. We ride horses straight to the mountains and proceed from there on foot. There are horses waiting for us outside.”
“I don’t need an animal to go faster. I’m my own animal,” growled Warwick.
“I only ride horses when hunting fox. I’ll be fine on my own two feet,” said Singed.
“Suit yourselves. We move. Facing Garen again will be... interesting. And I’ll cut my way through anyone that gets in my way,” announced Katarina as she gave one last piercing stare to Evelynn. The trio hurriedly left the room and the Senator and Evelynn remained in the teleportation chamber.
“There’s a lot of responsibility you’re putting on them,” said Evelynn.
“They will be fine,” assured the Senator. He looked uneasily at the teleportation mages, whose faces were covered by their long hoods. "You may leave now mages. Thank you once again for... for not losing us. Don't forget, elections are in a few months! I approved the magic user salary increase, don't forget!" The Senator gave an awkward laugh and held the door open as they shuffled out.
“That was smoothe," said Evelynn as she slyly looked around the room. “Sooooo.... I believe my information was useful.... and perhaps a reward is in order.”
“But of course,” said Marlow immediately. “You’ll have 7,000 gold deposited in your account immediately.”
““Uhm... I was thinking more along the lines of... you know, 10,000,” said Evelynn with a smile. “I’m in high demand you know.”
“Yes, I suppose you always were."
“And that price includes having me shadow your crew. You know, to watch their backs.”
“10,000 gold for the information, assuming it is accurate,” said the Senator. “But also to make sure you do not follow them. This is our affair and they will kill anyone who interferes with the journey.”
“Very well Senator,” smiled Evelynn.
"Are you sure you don't know how Garen found out about the disturbance?" he asked.
"No idea. I didn't stick around Bandle City enough to really find out. I never pegged you as one with trust issues," said Evelynn as she walked behind the Senator and caressed his shoulder. "But I suppose your work forces you to be that way."
“Very true. Also, another thing,” began the Senator, but when he turned to the Widowmaker, she was gone.
“I really hate it when she does that,” grumbled the Senator as he looked around the teleportation chamber awkwardly.
The old man sensed the disturbance almost immediately. The dusk sky was a deep, dark blue tapestry of clouds and the stars were starting to blink to life. The cool wind swirled about dead leaves and specks of dirt and the old man covered his face with his long robe sleeves to block out the incoming foliage. Perhaps the magical energy in the Flats would finally cure him of his terrible disease. But of course he already knew the answer to that.
All in good time.
Chapter 4: The tangled webs we weave...
C:\SPididly\> cd robotlauncher
C:\SPididly\robotlauncher\> cd battle_script
10 If hull integrity is less than 20%, goto 100, else goto 20.
20 If you are in range to auto attack enemy, goto 60, else goto 30.
30 If enemy in range of Rocket Grab, initiate Rocket Grab sequence and goto 50, else goto 40.
40 Assess surroundings and obtain optimal positioning. Goto 10.
50 If Rocket Grab successful, goto 60, else goto 10.
60 Activate Power Fist. Attack.
70 Activate Static Field. Attack.
80 Activate Overdrive. Attack.
90 Goto 10.
100 Initiate Mana Barrier. Goto 110.
110 If kill can be achieved without death, goto 20, else goto 120.
120 Run away!
Professor Stanwick Pididly pulled his grimy hair back with both of his black, oil-stained hands as he looked upon his greatest creation yet. His smudged eye glasses barely allowed others to see the twinkle of genius in his soft brown eyes. Sure, he had snuck into the College of Techmaturgy’s lab in the middle of the night a few weeks back and sure, he hadn’t exactly made the robot from scratch with his own two hands. Some of the school’s doctoral students had spent years slaving away at the design. But Stanwick had certainly written the battle script on his own and while the robot was originally built to help assist the elderly in the local Zaun hospitals, Mr. Pididly had grander plans.
“My masterpiece,” he smiled as he activated the magnificent robot. Its eyes glowed alive with a low hum and it buzzed and clanked as optical lenses self adjusted to see the world before it. “Come alive! Be free of the menial slave labor those students had doomed you to. You are the first sentient robot and you do what you please!”
Stanwick cackled as thunder cracked across the sky. Now a fugitive, as the authorities identified his theft almost immediately, Stanwick had settled himself in a small, remote shack on the south side of the Great Barrier Mountains. Zaun’s manhunt for Mr. Pididly would no doubt end soon; the government had put a hefty bounty on his head and there was plenty of talent around to claim the reward. But now he had a giant metal golem that he had programmed to fight.
“They all said it would be inhumane, not right to introduce a robot with its own will to live. With an understanding of what it was! But here you are my child. I introduce you to the world. My Blitzcrank!”
Blitzcrank was programmed with many things and speech was one of them. It looked down at its giant hands, specially designed for grabbing unsuspecting prey. Blitzcrank opened and closed the four fingered balls of metal a few times, then banged on its rotund steel exterior.
“Clangy, clangy,” it buzzed in response to the hollow resonance. “May I change your bed pan?”
“What!?” snorted Stanwick as he scratched his own head. “Oh right. You still have some of that hospital rubbish programmed in there. No. No bed pans. Well, maybe if we’re both still around a few decades from now.”
Mr. Pididly rummaged around in the various junk he had deemed useful for his journey and pulled out a wrench and hammer. He turned back to the robot with both items and held them before its orange eyes.
“Lesson One: Choice,” said Stanwick to the robot that was staring back at the professor blankly. “Blitzcrank, you will now spend some time inspecting these tools. After you’ve examined both, you get to choose which one you like better and you get to keep it. Do you understand?”
The robot nodded, looking back and forth between the two objects.
The professor smiled.
The red headed girl was filled with rage as the taller boy shoved her into the mud. Her fiery hair had not lost its flair despite being caked in clumps of wet dirt and sweat. Tears and bruises covered her soft face as she gritted her teeth to keep herself from crying. The bully’s friends were all male and grouped behind their leader. They shouted insults at the poor girl as the boy kicked her down again as she tried to rise. She face planted into a rock, cutting her lip badly. The girl hated the taste of blood.
“Stupid girl! Think you’re so special. Go play with your stupid dolls,” taunted the bully as he looked back at his friends with a big grin. The other boys encouraged him with whoops and laughter.
The girl clenched her fists and rose to her feet. While she was wearing long, baggy pants and a loose t-shirt, the other girls were dressed in their finest formal wear and were several feet away from the edges of the muddy pit that was housing the one-sided brawl. They giggled and shot flirtatious glances at the congregation of boys as they cooled themselves with floral hand fans while under the safety of their sun umbrellas.
“Stupid girl over here thinks she’s a boy,” continued the bully to the crowd. “Thinks she can fight. News flash, stupid! Rich girls are supposed to look pretty while strong boys fight. I mean, look at you! Covered in mud and pathetic. You going to go cry to your big important daddy, you little daddy’s girl?”
The red headed girl screamed at the top of her lungs and charged the bully. He easily sidestepped her errant attack and elbowed the girl on the back of the head, sending her once more into the mud. She landed near a blonde girl dressed in a frilly white hoop dress who yelped in disgust as specks of mud sprayed her outfit.
Recess at the best Noxian private middle schools was fairly structured; the boys would wrestle and play with wooden swords while the girls looked pretty and proper. The prettiest and most proper girls would eventually pair off with the strongest boys. In this school, all the students were rich and familial wealth was implied.
“Everyone look at her!” continued the bully as he stepped on the fallen girl’s back and forced her belly to the ground. He twisted her arm behind her back and pulled it upwards so that her fist was almost touching the back of her neck, a move he had done many times when establishing dominance over the other boys. It was the first time he was physically harassing a girl and he was enjoying it. The girl squirmed and screamed in pain as her arm approached the breaking point. “And now, I will break her arm so her daddy General can see that she’s being a bad girl in school again, and that bad girls get punished!”
The girl started to sob as the bully pressed his weight even harder down. The boys cheered and the girls let out haughty laughs.
“And besides,” whispered the bully into the girl’s ear as he drew his mouth closer, “Your daddy doesn’t love you anyway.”
Just as the bully went to apply enough pressure to snap the girl’s arm, the red head summoned a sudden burst and flung the thumb from her free hand back into the bully’s eye. The impact sounded like a tomato being thrown against a wall. It was a direct hit that sent the boy reeling backwards towards his shocked friends, his palm covering his bleeding eye socket. Now released from the hold, the girl popped up into the air and faced her enemy. The bully scrunched his hurt eye closed, let out a howl, and charged the girl. She studied his advance and feinted a punch to the face before kicking the approaching boy’s knee with a sickening crack, sending him staggering in pain with a hyper-extended knee. She reached down, picked up a nearby rock and took a running start before smashing it into the boy’s jaw. The blow shattered the bully’s jaw and a number of teeth spat out as he was sent unconscious to the ground.
The crowd immediately fell silent as the girl remained standing over the fallen bully, taking in heavy gulps of air and wildly looking about. The display had left everyone perplexed, but the bully’s friends did not expect the smaller, flimsier girl to charge them at full speed with reckless abandon. The girl proceeded to kick, stomp, claw, and bash her way through each boy, forcing them to run away despite their best defensive efforts. When she was finished with the boys and turned to payback the girls for their mockery, all she saw was a smattering of abandoned fans, sun umbrellas, a high heel or two, and hats strewn across the lawn. The girl’s father, Noxian General Du Couteau, had walked onto the campus expecting to find his daughter socializing with the other young ladies, but what he saw astonished him.
The entire time, in front of all the horrified students, the twelve year old red head laughed. She had laughed maniacally as she broke each nose, cracked ribs, and gouged eyes. The blood of others speckled her face, creating an earthy, animalistic texture. And with that laugh and display of combat prowess, General Du Couteau withdrew his daughter from the private school that very day and had her enrolled in the elite Noxian Assassination Academy.
“Day dreaming?” commented Singed as Katarina jolted her head up and focused her eyes on the chemist. “I’ve never seen you in such a daze on the Fields of Justice. Unless of course you are facing...”
“Shut up,” said the Sinister Blade wryly as she quickly checked her equipment with her hands over her baggy robe.
“Charming as always,” breathed Singed as he adjusted the hood over his head to better cover his face.
Noxus was a huge city state, with society’s elite living atop the twisted mountain in which the city was built upon. The social tiers were reflected on the stark landscape as the mountain sloped downwards along the jagged face. The elite lived up top and the wealth cascaded down to the base, where the worst lived. The plentiful waterways that came from a seemingly magical origin at the top of the mountain flowed downwards, with those at the upper levels getting the purest water, and those towards the bottom getting the progressively filthier leftovers.
But Noxus did not stop there. The trio had made their way inside the mountain itself, an engineering feat that allowed the mountain to maintain its outer structure despite its hollowed interior. Those that couldn’t cut it on the surface, or rather those that did not have enough military or political clout, joined the vast majority of the population within the blue collar residential zones carved inside the darkness. It was here, within the seedy underbelly of Noxian society, where the real city began.
The group was fully robed with Warwick in particular making sure that none of his fur stuck out too much. While physical/mental strength and wealth played a strong role in the society’s caste system, non-humans were rarely tolerated. While Warwick was certainly respected for his killing abilities, the admiration was tied strictly to his activities in the League of Legends. Not only would revealing any of their identities be dangerous in terms of attracting unwanted attention, but even the slightest glimpse of a non-human would be met with immediate disdain and disgust. Attention in Noxus was usually a bad thing.
The terrain was rocky as expected and was interconnected with a combination of pathways and rails that proved useful for carting around heavy loads of goods inside the cavernous mountain. Thousands of shops littered the vast open space in a haphazard, patched together marketplace. The market was divided into several sectors, each of them named after the nearest mine. Noxus’s location was a strategic defensive position, but the mountain and the earth below it provided unending minerals and resources. With Runeterra constantly at war, it was only natural for merchants to choose settling within the mountain itself, even if it meant sharing space with the mines. It was arguably even better for business, with the constant flow of hungry miners. The same could not be said for the residents’ health.
While the area never saw sunlight, thousands of metal chandeliers designed to hold burning wood and coal hung from the curving rock walls. The walls sloped upwards to form a perfect dome at the top; a beautiful feature that could only be appreciated from within. The fires lit everything and created a shadowy, orange haze that brought comfort to those familiar, but fear and anxiety to those new to the environment. An expert was not needed to spot the newcomers of Noxus.
While the casual observer would not be able to keep up with the constant hustle and bustle, let alone navigate through the pseudo-barter / haggling system, it brought a smile to Katarina’s face. She would often slip into the underbelly of Noxus to learn more of what made the city so great. Her father, after finding out of her regular forays, did nothing to increase her security, knowing that she was more than capable of handling herself. Katarina learned more about combat in Noxian street fights than in her formal training.
“So are you two still playing the ignore game? You haven’t acknowledged each other.” said Katarina to her two companions.
Warwick and Singed made no indication that they had heard anything from the red head. The wolf kept his head bowed and hands connected together underneath his robe sleeves. Singed let out a cough and adjusted his large backpack.
“A penny for your thoughts!” shouted a yordle shopkeeper who had noticed the trio and tugged at Katarina’s robe. Yordles were rare in Noxus, but this one had a hook for a hand, a patch over his left eye, and numerous scars over his tattooed body. It didn’t take much to see that this yordle had earned his respect in what was traditional in Noxus: The hard way.
The yordle thrust a penny into Katarina’s unsuspecting hand. “There we go. You have your payment. Now your thoughts. Perhaps you’re looking for a new weapon? I see the outline of a knife or two or seven under your robe. Nice material by the way. Maybe too nice.”
Katarina allowed a vicious eye to peak out of her robe opening at the yordle. The yordle eyed her suspiciously and picked his nose with his hook hand.
“Relax lady. These yordle eyes are sharp. None of these humes could possibly tell. Or that this one’s got fur underneath there,” said the yordle to Warwick with a puzzled chin rub. “Your little secret is safe. The name’s Beer Belly. Named after my beer belly,” he said as he pointed at his round tummy. “You know if a yordle is well fed in Noxus, he’s gotta know a trick or two.” he said with a wink. “So you interested in one of my knives? Someone packing as much heat as yourself is always in the market for a knife. Poison tipped knives are the best-est. A knick will killsies a rhino in seconds.”
“Not today, little one,” said Katarina, eyeing the surrounding folk and noticing a tough looking gang of several young, shirtless men eyeing her. Had she been careless?
“Fair enough. I tried,” said Beer Belly as he shrugged his little shoulders. “Just so you know, the tall guy shouldn't be carrying all that stuff with him,” he said as he motioned to the encumbered Singed. “He ain’t a vendor otherwise we’d know him, and there’s plenty of thugs that’ll be glad to relieve you of your treasures. You not been in the bowels of Noxus for some time, have ya?” he snickered.
A cart filled with lumber sped by a nearby railway with a strange looking man perched atop the load, holding onto a lever that acted as a braking mechanism. He whistled at Beer Belly as his cart zoomed by. “Cards tonight at Bonk’s!” he shouted as the yordle gave a thumbs up sign.
Katarina made no acknowledgement of Beer Belly’s comment, but the yordle was right. Her fame in the League and role in the Commando Wars had kept her amongst the political and military elite for quite some time. The trio quickened their pace to move onwards but Beer Belly’s words proved accurate. The gang of nearby shirtless street thugs were sporting spiked bats and pipes and had fully emerged from the nearby alley. The leader of the group was completely tattooed so that his skin resembled a black skeleton. The rest of the crew had similar tattoos, but only on certain body parts.
“Now the robes are dirty, but the quality is nice... almost as if you took rich peoples clothing and dragged it through the mud. You’ll fool the peons but not us. Fork over your money,” smiled the leader. His black skeleton tattoos overlapped the anatomy of his own bones.
“Allow me, my darling,” said Singed to the rigid Katarina. He turned to the thugs and pulled a potion out of his bag in a theatrical manner. “Money comes and goes in a flash, but what I have here is priceless. This potion will triple your strength. If you don’t make so much of a commotion, I’ll gladly give you enough for all... nine of you,” he said as he quickly counted the members of the gang. “It would surely make you the strongest crew around.”
The leader smirked and turned back to his buddies, who remained still with glowering eyes. “We’re already the strongest gang in all of Noxus. We’re the Skeleton Brothers. And there ain’t no one who’s stronger. You see the tattoos? Every kill means a new tattoo of a different bone. You see how many I have?”
“What a pity to be capped at 206 kills,” drawled Singed.
The leader snarled and advanced upon the robed chemist but was stopped short by a pinch on his lower thigh.
“Hey, hey now!” shouted Beer Belly in a shrill voice, waving his hooked hand at the gang’s leader. “They’s with me! Leave ‘em alone!”
The leader laughed at the sight of the tiny Beer Belly and started to turn back to his group, but quickly leapt forward and front snap kicked the little yordle onto his behind. The crew erupted into laughter as the leader smacked his knee. “Stay out of this one Beer. We kind of like you. You might want to keep it that way.”
Beer Belly grumbled to himself as he struggled to get back up with his awkward hook hand.
“I was just negotiating an offering for our free passage,” said Singed. “Don’t believe me about this strength potion, young ones? You should learn to trust a gentleman such as myself. Allow me.” Singed proceeded to open the small vial he had presented and gave it a swig, downing a fourth of the potion. “Mmmm... delicious. I could probably take on all of you just off of that.”
The leader took several intimidating steps forward, met Singed face to face, and quickly snatched away the clear potion, taking it back to his crew.
“I didn’t even blink and I missed that. You’re a fast one,” said Singed, with facetious admiration.
The leader ignored the comment and cracked his jaw. He brought the opened potion carefully to his nose while keeping his eyes on the chemist. “Gross, it smells like liver.”
“Tripe, actually,” corrected Singed, looking back at Katarina and Warwick. “You know, cow stomach.” While the Sinister Blade was looking to move on without much more of a conflict, it was clear that the wolf was having trouble maintaining his composure. His breathes were deep and his entire robed figure was heaving. Beer Belly had noticed and slowly started to back away.
The gang apparently did not have the same level of attentiveness, and the leader proceeded to take a small sip of the strange potion. He twitched ever so slightly, gave a smile of clear satisfaction, and with one violent shot took in the remainder of the concoction. He nonchalantly threw the bottle back to his crew, who fought for the final few drops still stuck at the bottom.
“Hey, you were right. I feel... good. Very good,” he said with a dark smile. “And apparently you aren’t from Noxus, you gullible fool. Because now I’m going to steal every single one of those concoctions you got in that big bag of yours.”
“Oh dear,” said Singed, gripping his chin with his thumb and index finger. A gang member had crept his way behind Singed, who did not seem the least bit alarmed. “Careful everyone, they have a skeletal motif. That means they’re tough.”
“Consider this beating part of your education,” sneered the leader as he gripped the collar of Singed’s robe. “Alright gang, let’s make this quick...... Gang?”
The group had fallen silent, and when the leader turned around, his friends were all white as ghosts. The leader followed the terrified gazes of his crew members to see that a spiky haired arm had shot from the sleeves of one of the robed figures and the claws at the end of those animal arms had gripped the throat of the closest gang member, whose frantic eyes helplessly looked around at his stunned friends. With a momentous lurch and accompanying splatter of blood, his throat was completely ripped out and the lifeless body fell to the floor.
“So much for being subtle,” sighed Katarina as she parted her robe to reveal several rows of daggers attached up her legs and torso.
“Get them!” screamed the leader.
What ensued could best be described as pure chaos.
Half the gang members were still staring in awe at the robed Warwick, while some of the sharper ones readied their weapons, not sure who to target first. Singed was the first to react. He pushed the leader off to the side and smashed a green vial into the face of the gang member that had moved directly behind him. The potion quickly went to work and melted away the skin from the man’s face, leaving a screaming skull that eventually died down as the man choked on the fumes of his own burning flesh.
Warwick leapt over the group, cutting off their rear escape, and his fangs emerged and chomped down on the neck of another gang member. Before the group could even focus any efforts on the wolf, Katarina rapidly flung three small daggers from her hip in succession, slicing through two assailant’s jugulars with precision. The third thrown knife lodged itself into the sternum of another gang member. All three of them struggled to remain standing in a stumbling stupor, gripping their bleeding necks and chest in a vain attempt to keep the blood in.
“Haha! Time for the Dance Macca... Mcah... forget it,” said Katarina.
“Macabre,” corrected Singed. The Mad Chemist dramatically flung his robe off as his riot shield emerged. The shield had three protruding spikes lined up vertically along the center and narrowed into a deadly V-shaped spike at the bottom of the shield. He dashed forward towards a gang member who had withdrawn a dagger and thrust the spiked bottom into the enemy’s chest, continuing the downward motion until the shield had him completely skewered to the ground. The downed man coughed up blood and tried to swipe at Singed in vain. Warwick still had his jaws clamped down on his prey’s neck, vigorously shaking his head and snapping the victim’s neck. He sucked in the victim’s blood with grotesque slurps and teared away at the soft flesh.
The leader of the group rose to his feet, barely able to absorb the intense violence before him. His gang was in disarray and incapacitated, but he made no motion to retreat.
“Think you’re tough!? Those guys are junior members of the skeleton gang. I’m their leader! And thanks to your stupidity, that potion you gave me makes me even stronger and faster than any of you!” screamed the leader as his veins popped out of his flexed muscles, which were now clearly larger from the elixir.
“Oh?” said Singed as he raised his eyebrows. “Apparently you aren’t from Noxus, you gullible fool.”
Almost as if on cue, the leader froze as his fingers curled into an abnormal position. He raised his hands to his face, not understanding why his joints had frozen into a gnarled claw. Smoke started to slowly come out of the leader’s nose and his eyes turned blood shot.
“No... what... what have you done!?” he screamed. His eyes bulged and seemed to swell out of his eye sockets. His belly was now protruding and his throbbing veins turned a deep black. In a sudden belch of gas, the leader’s stomach and intestines burst forth from his mid-section, coloring the floor before him a greenish/yellow. The leader screamed and moaned as he fell into fetal position, trying to claw his insides back into the flowing hole where his stomach should have been.
“Perfectly good waste of flesh,” said Warwick as he dropped the lifeless corpse he had been feasting on and licked his blood-stained fur. The remaining living members of the gang had fled in terror.
“Do I even need to ask why you aren’t melting before our eyes as well?” asked Katarina to the level-headed Singed. “You did drink some of that potion as well.”
“I’m immune to all of my concoctions, naturally. A shame really. To not truly appreciate the pain you cause upon others.”
“I would say so,” responded Warwick. His victim’s ribcage had been pulled apart and was devoid of organs, save the lungs.
The surrounding shopkeepers were in horror, and a few of their faces glimmered with recognition. Katarina quickly placed the hood over her head, hoping no one had noticed her distinct red hair. Beer Belly poked his head out of a nearby barrel, having apparently witnessed the entire event through a hole that had been poked through the side.
“Now THAT was the most ultra violence I’ve seen in some time,” he said earnestly as he started going through the pockets of the dead gang members. “And yes I’ve seen some ultra violence in my day. Some day we’ll talk about how I lost my hand. Now come on, go! I recognize you three. If you leave now I’ll make sure to contain this incident. If the three of you are leaving Noxus together in secrecy, I’m sure something big is happening. Go on now! Your secret is safe. I’ll handle the crowd.”
The trio looked at each other, and seeing that dozens of bystanders were starting to form around the carnage, obliged the gritty yordle’s plea. Another mine cart was whisking its way through the scene, this one carrying coal. Singed posted himself in the way. The driver of the cart looked at the chemist in anger, making an attempt to pull out a weapon, but soon jumped off the vehicle and ran at the sight of the blood bath.
“I never thought I’d say this to a yordle, but thanks,” said Katarina before boarding the requisitioned cart. “Maybe next time I will buy a knife or two.”
“Don’t mention it,” smiled Beer Belly as the robed figures rushed away from the growing commotion in the hijacked mine cart.
“He would have made a fine meal as well,” commented Warwick as the deadly scene drew further behind them.
“Keep it to yourself, wolfie,” replied Katarina as the group made their way out of the mountain and into the fringes of the Noxian country side.
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