Hello everyone! This is one of the first fic's I've ever written. Hope you all enjoy it, and feedback is greatly appreciated. My tribute to Swain and all things Noxian.
The Black Rose Letters
5 October, 20 CLE
It isn't an often occurrence when someone at the Institute of War is summoned by a champion. Normally it was the other way around for us summoners, but today was an enjoyable break to routine considering I had an idea of who it was requesting my presence. I was by no means the most infamous summoner at the institution, but my warpath on the fields of justice caught the eyes of many. I knew who our newest member to the institution was today. To my astonishment, I received a missive requesting my presence at his quarters not a moment after he had joined. I didn't know what to make of it all. What would he need from me? No one ever contacted me unless they needed something, but nevertheless I was excited to make his acquaintance.
Every champion had a living space tailored to their needs/likings, Ryze had copies of most of the books and scrolls the league possessed, Karthus had an exact replica of his marsh as per his discretion, and Nunu had some sort of glacial caldera to enjoy with his brother. But his room was the most distinct, as I approached it I could see for myself what it was. Upon inspection, one could easily see how his room was a perfect interpretation of the person living within. However simplistic the door, what remained inside was anything but. I knocked 3 times. I paused momentarily, then 3 times more... and as I knocked only once more; he opened it. I stared at Jericho Swain, the master tactician and a General of Noxus. He stood proudly (despite using a cane) with his raven, Beatrice, on his shoulder; wearing his famed attire of green and gold. Beatrice was a mysterious sort; I didn't know of any other birds who happened to have six red eyes. Both of them took half of a second to look up and down at me as if to evaluate me in an instant.
"What is it? I have important business to attend to."
"Y-You requested my presence. I-" He cut me off as he took the letter from my hand. Taking little time to review the letter he had sent me.
"Yes, I remember you now. League summoner Irannius, you were present at my... 'judgement'." He said with such disdain it made me question whether he did not like my name or that he had to be evaluated to join the institute. "Come inside, quickly." I did exactly as he commanded and wondered if he had asked the others who were present at his judgement to meet him too.
"I did not ask anyone else at my 'judgement' to meet me besides you." He said as he closed the door behind me.
"How did you know-"
"A simple man could look at you and know the question on your mind given the same context as me." Swain's expression hadn't changed since the moment he opened his door, calculating and unwavering. Could this be one of the reasons his soldiers feared and respected him? I assumed as much.
"So why did you ask me to come meet you?" Swain changed his expression to that of slight disbelief while keeping remnants of his previous demeanor intact as he turned his head toward his bird.
"Summoner, you are close to making me regret having sent you a letter to begin with. I was under the impression that someone of your caliber and prestige in the league would understand my intent... especially having witnessed my judgement."
The thought had crossed my mind in fact, that he would be asking me to help him with that reason.
"Well, I guess I could help you with-"
I paused, seeing that his hand was now straining in choking the grip around his cane's handle. It appears I had spent the last of the patience he deemed appropriate to deal with me.
" 'Guess I could' or 'know I can', summoner? I can't afford to have any mistakes made, not by me and especially not by some incompetent abuser of magic, none!"
Beatrice mirrored his distress. After a couple more seconds, which felt like an eternity, he became slightly less irritated with me and said...
"Do you have the aptitude to summon me on the fields of justice?"
"Then it is settled. You will be my prime summoner. All official quarrels of Noxus on the fields, which I am a part of, will have my summoning under your explicit jurisdiction."
"It would truly be an honor to be your-"
"There are conditions that must be met. You must always monitor your actions; they have a direct reflection upon me. Your allegiance is to me and to Noxus, you may no longer summon champions allied with that of Demacia, Ionia, or Piltover. Our ties to Zaun remain, so you may resort to their utilization for... recreational purposes. And as for other allegiances, I could care less for what you would do, as long as them and their politics do not negatively impact me. If your opponents choose to summon for Noxus... you have my expressed permission to defeat them, as well as their unbeknownst permission to do so. And one final thing..."
I already knew what he was going to say, that if I failed to meet the conditions.. the consequences would be less than kind.
"Good, if you weren't at least that insightful then I would never have even considered you." I knew my thoughts must have been apparent on my face again.
"This is quite the undertaking. Might I ask why you selected me? You never mentioned why it was important that I be your prime summoner."
"You're right... I didn't." He said as his bird cawed at me mockingly. "That is all for now, when I need to contact you again the means will be as prior."
He turned his back to me as he gazed at maps of Valoran that were sprawled on his back wall, as if to motion it was time I made myself scarce. I understood that a man of his position would have to keep up his image and that is the only reason why he considered me to be his summoner; it just would have been courteous of him to acknowledge that outright. When I opened the door to leave, I realized something that made my spine shudder... his bird had never blinked once.
6 October, 20 CLE
I awoke. It felt as if something was different in my room, my furniture hadn't moved, and everything remained exactly where I had left it before I slept, but...
I quickly got up and checked my door. It was still locked. I had a feeling only described as that stereotypical, "something was scratching at the back of my head" and yet I couldn't place what was off.
Summoner's weren't permitted to harbor any extravagances in their living quarters, unlike the champion's they summoned. Every summoner had a room at the Institute, and each room comprised of a bed, nightstand, wardrobe, bathroom, lounge, a small kitchen, and the articles that accompanied them such as linens, kitchen utensils, plates, and our traditional purple summoner's robes. Of course, personal effects such as pictures of home and loved ones were allowed.. but ultimately everything had to be kept so simple, that I've heard Ionian monastery cells are luxurious compared to that of a summoner's room. The only way a summoner could acquire additions to his/her room was by performance on the fields of justice, this was the league's way of promoting achievement instead of complacency with mediocrity (which a few summoners were known for). But for all my achievement, I had only acquired a fireplace, a chandelier, and a desk. The chandelier did not accentuate any part of my room besides the fact that it did not belong in the first place.
My gaze shifted over to my desk, and a letter resided. Did I put it there before I went to sleep? I didn't recall conjuring it. I felt my trivial questions would be answered if I just read it. It read:
"All the necessary preparations have been made. Meet me at the inner summoning platform for our first 'game'. Do not disappoint. Wear the proper attire suitable for a summoner of Noxus -J.S."
I should have figured Swain would send me a letter immediately after our first encounter, he's got an agenda... I guess I should feel lucky to be a part of it. The letter was fairly plain except for an ornately inked rose in the bottom right hand corner of the parchment, must be his insignia.
What did he mean by "proper attire suitable for a summoner of Noxus"? Every summoner only has purple robes (except for the founders), and unless I was mistaken, there isn't a way to "achieve my way" to an altered garment. But when I opened my wardrobe I was surprised to see that I had a new robe, it matched Swain's green and gold but it didn't have armor like his did. Why would us summoners need armor anyway when we can summon beings like Alistar to fight for us? On the robes was a note that read: "I'm 5 steps ahead of you." Which cleansed my fears of wearing this "illegal cloth."
I never imagined being Swain's prime summoner would have perks like this. Ryze's summoner definitely had bonuses to his mana efficiency, I had no clue if Annie even had anything to offer, Mordekaiser's had some kind of otherworldly presence that made him impossible to ignore (the guy was a jerk too), but these robes made everything feel slightly slower around me. Would it be cheating to use them on the field? Can't possibly, because the league nullifies any kind of abnormality when transfered to the fields. But enough admiration, it was time to prove myself.
I made haste to the inner summoning platform.
I was early. Always am for the games. To some the fields of justice are battles or political disputes. For others, such as myself, they are games.
The Inner summoning platform was located in the caverns underneath the league. This area made it the most stable summoning platform in the institution because of its proximity to the core ley line the building was erected upon. The marble columns added a nice ambience as well. Swain was here. It was customary for new champions to view the summoning platform they would be linked to for their first "battle". It was unbelievably difficult to get a read off his face. I could never tell what he was thinking about.
"Your competition doesn't look to be troublesome Swain. The opposing summoners look to be in agreement on their champion selection... but your presence here is unnerving them. I sugge-"
"Well look who decided to grace us all with his presence." Of course he is here...
" ...What do you want Magnus?"
"Oh not much, just wanted to congratulate you on your coming defeat at the hand of the Master of Metal and his Prime. Maybe some taunting as well. But not much really."
Swain started moving around, looking for something. Both him and Beatrice were unfazed by Magnus' mocking, and oddly enough.. even his presence.
"Who's the crippled man with the lanky bird? Is that who you're summoning? Pathetic." I could sense slight frustration in his words when he noticed that he might as well been mute to Swain. "And nice robes... green and gold go well on the both of you. Almost as well as how blood will look staining them when Morde and I are done mopping up the fields with your corpses."
I didn't say anything, best to let skill and strength speak for me like they have in games before, but Magnus was still a force to be reckoned with. Mordekaiser was a monstrous being of pure metal and held control over otherworldly vibrations, he even had supporters in the southern regions of Runeterra... I forget how their primitive battle cry went.
Magnus was about to continue his relentless taunting when Swain stopped moving, lifted his cane about a foot off the ground and brought it down on the marble floor of the summoning platform. The reverberations were deafening, echoing throughout the cavern. The summoners on the platform stopped mid-sentence of their conversations, even Magnus did. Swain just turned his head to follow the sound as if to pinpoint where the waves bounced against the rocks. Then he stopped... slowly turning his gaze to Magnus. I don't think I've ever seen Magnus... unnerved before. He did a good job of hiding it but I knew what to look for on his expression. And what he saw shocked me even more, if Swain wasn't wearing cloth in front of his face to conceal his mouth, I could have swore he was grinning.
"Bring your master, summoner." Beatrice cawed at her owner's daring statement.
Magnus' gaze hadn't left Swain's. Swain seemed to have him enthralled by... something, but I didn't detect any magic being used.
"What... are you?"
Magnus was released and lost his motor functions. As he struggled to get up he covered his face with his hood and I could hear him gasping for breath as he fled back to his team's side of the platform. Everyone was disturbed, except the master tactician and his bird.
Then the floors lit up as the official warning sign of commencement. The games were about to begin.
I shook off all distractions as my team made their final preparations. Swain stood behind me and looked past my shoulder to view what was unfolding. My teammates were strangers, but they were all hand picked from the institute to guarantee a competitive first game. I became incredibly excited, knowing what approached. Champions and summoners link minds during battle. They speak telepathically to one another and they read each others' thoughts. I knew, once I saw Swain's judgement before the league, that one day I would summon him... but I did not expect to be his prime and be the first to do so for his inaugural battle. What would I see? What does he think about? One by one, questions began to come across my mind. I stopped myself just to scoff in disbelief; hoping that yet another match wouldn't occur when every summoner chooses flash and ignite as their trademark spells.
The link was manifesting itself to Swain's mind simultaneously as our sight became warped to summoner's rift. I could sense Swain leaving behind me as I summoned him to the fountain.
Our minds began to link.
I saw... darkness. Darkness that wasn't cold or terrifying, but calm and curious. Was I in Swain's mind? Everything was black and becomming dismal quickly; I held out my arms but I could not see them anymore. This darkness now threatened to engulf me completely. My attempts to scream out in terror were silenced.
I then saw a figure of a woman in the dark with me. I felt I had to protect her; she needed safety from this blackness. The woman grew pale, and began to wobble back and forth as if she could barely hold herself up. I had to hold her, but the darkness was constricting me as I struggled against it. She spoke to me. Pleaded for me to just let go, but I wouldn't. As the dark wrapped around my mouth... I let go, and sank away into the black. I closed my eyes and felt cold then. Even when the black began to dissipate and overwhelming light surrounded me, I still felt cold. What brought me warmth was when my eyes finally opened I beheld the girl who needed my help. She was lying in my lap with her arms wrapped around me, no longer pale and staring at me with eyes of jade.
My vision faded and I was back at the summoning platform. My teammates had chosen to select Nasus, Master Yi, Ezreal, and Nidalee. I was struggling to realign my link to Swain, who waited patiently on the fountain for my return... he must already know what just happened. Nasus proceeded to the top lane of the rift, Ezreal and Nidalee to the bottom, and Yi took to the jungle. Leaving Swain and I to govern the mid lane. I reconnected my link to Swain, fearing the vision I had moments ago potentially returning, while he waited. Our thoughts coincided again, he knew what was on my mind but refused to acknowledge it.
"The minions have already spawned, if you aren't in shape to lead then I will instead."
Swain limped to middle lane after purchasing Doran's ring, while I did everything I could to regain absolute focus. We would be put up against Mordekaiser in our lane, with their Taric and Tristana in bottom lane, Udyr in the jungle, and Shen against Nasus in the top lane.
"Prove to me that you have the strength on these pitiful fields that Noxus deserves."
"I have what is necessary, and right now we're going to act defensively to evaluate the tactics that Magnus employs."
We proceeded to only use killing blows on the enemy minions instead of whittling them down. When asked by Swain the reason to why we were doing this, I told him that it benefits us to let the little guys do all the work while we claim the reward. In the end, it would bring us to victory. Swain said he couldn't agree more.
As we gave Mordekaiser the impression that he was denying us in our lane, we gained an edge on him... letting Magnus' overconfidence be his undoing. Once he paused to verbally assault us I motioned for Master Yi to begin his attack on him from the flank. Using Beatrice to decrepify Morde, Swain and I were able to land a snare on him... sealing his fate as Yi jumped him with an alpha strike. Morde had been brought low by my ignite and Swain's torment as he futilely flashed to safety. I could hear Magnus' anguished cries from across the platform, who knows what his champion was making him feel for his incompetence.
"Now we need to monopolize on our lead. Morde will not remain down for long. I suggest we recall to the fountain and purchase more items."
"An efficient strategy"
As we recalled, my mind surged back to the images I saw when first connecting to Swain's mind, why was-
"Irannius, a Noxian does not dawdle."
"My apologies Swain... let's get back to the lane then."
As the match progressed, the magical dams that blocked each champion's true potential had begun to wane... Swain always seemed an eerie sort, but what was his true power like? I had to find out. As Morde and Udyr attempted to mimic what we did to Magnus earlier upon us, I unleashed Swain's full potential.
It was a nightmarish display.. his body twisted and writhed until he became some sort of horrifying, raven, monster. From under his feathers he sent forth birds which picked at the flesh of Morde and Udyr as they fought furiously to get to Swain. But each bird brought pieces of the champions' essences back to their master, nourishing him and fortifying his health. I became too focused now to give any mind to Swain's grotesque imagery, fear was a tactic I could use... and as I thought that, I heard Swain begin to laugh. Mordekaiser's attempts to run only served as his downfall. Without a shield to mitigate my assault, he fell... giving Udyr our complete attention we dropped him down as well with our spells. In an instant I reverted Swain back to his original form after the slaughter had ended. Swain regained his composure and grip on his cane while his eyes dilated.
The enemy team realized two of their champions had fallen to only one of ours, the need to support the lane we now assailed was imperative. The enemy fortified the middle lane with their presence and my team rushed to my aid as well. Neither side wished to make a move towards the other, an intangible line had been drawn and this stalemate... bored me.
"I imagine you wish to go back and re-think tactics?" Swain's statement succeeded to goad me.
"I intend on ending this now."
I transformed Swain once again and led the charge through the middle lane, flashing forward into the enemy ranks. I decrepified Tristana and placed my snare under Shen so he would not compel us to fight him. Nasus rushed forth from behind me and withered Tristana, limiting her escape options as my team took her out. Morde returned and the champion himself seemed to have full control over his actions, rather than split with Magnus, and he bashed up into Swain's side with his mace, piercing skin with its spikes. Swain didn't voice any pain but instead held the mace, forcing Mordekaiser to stand still as he was picked away at by the ravens. With their two greatest damage dealers on their team pacified, the battle was a sweep. Ezreal was given an absolute perfect opportunity to fire his ultimate move, the Trueshot Barrage, straight through all of the enemy champions. I glanced over to the enemy summoning platform, and all but Magnus had dropped their hands and left. A twenty minute surrender. With the match ended, I finished my summoning incantations and Swain reappeared behind me.
Distractions finally out of the way, I felt I now had the best chance at asking Swain about what I experienced when tapping into his mind.
"I have to know something-"
"Yes you were in my mind at that time, but prior I happened to be in yours... I believe you felt my curiosity for all of... five seconds."
"Well what was-"
"I have entertained enough of your questions for today. It was... pleasant... to be victorious so swiftly. My trust in you is not unfounded." He began to hobble away, turning his back to me. Beatrice didn't want to entertain my questions either, if its even possible for a bird to do that.
"Who was the girl?"
Swain stopped, Beatrice didn't move as well. Then Swain turned his head as if to say something, but abandoned the notion and continued walking away.
8 October, 20 CLE
The last two night had been restless. All I could think about was the woman with jade eyes. Even now it tore me up how Swain kept her identity from me, yet we would be expected to share our thoughts on the fields. I kept my thoughts open to him and this is how he repays my trust? I had to find out, if not for the sake of my curiosity then for the sake of my sanity. I should go to him and demand answers immediately.
As I opened my door to leave, Swain stood in front of me.
"You are angry... This is good." Was all he said before motioning for me to follow him down the domicile corridors. Beatrice sat reversed on her master's shoulder, eying me as if to gawk at my frustration while we made our way to Swain's residence.
"How long were you standing next to my door?"
He opened his door, entered, and closed it behind me after glancing down the hall for a moment. Swain's room was absolutely astounding. One could get lost in the sense of purpose it beheld. There were bookcases stacked with tomes and scrolls, and parcels lined the bottom shelves which bore the symbol of Noxus. A map of Valoran decorated his back wall, with the accompanying markers to display troop positions. Oddly enough there was a red circle around the mining village of Kalamanda. Swain pushed one of the bookcases and it swung open like a door. Fitting for his room to have secrets. I followed him into it and the passageway ended into a lounge. The lounge was twice the size of the previous room, and it amounted to more of a meeting room than a simple alcove. There were nine seats arranged in a crescent facing the passage entrance, and a circular table resided in the center.
"Why are you showing me all of this? Especially at this hour?"
"I believe Irannius, that you were the one with the intent to come in here by force and 'demand answers' despite the time... am I wrong in that regard?"
"And here I thought that we would become better acquainted, considering we will link minds and all..." He was toying with me now, but I did want to know more about him.
Swain continued as he sat down in the central seat, "Well then, I'll start at the beginning..."
"I was born a cripple, and life in Noxus did not harbor good will towards the weak. I had begun to be mocked by people my age and even by the elderly for my handicap when I was but a young boy, until I could take it no longer. One day I noticed that the other children had found something else to focus their teasing upon and when I went to investigate, I found that a small raven was that 'something else'. I refused to see anyone else be bullied, so I shouted out at the kids to focus on me instead. When they approached, I attacked the closest one, hitting his throat with my crutch. Noxians desperately search to prove themselves at any age, so the others proceeded to attack me in retaliation. I rammed my crutch into one boy's groin while waiting for the third to make his move. He was the prime contributor to both cases of bullying you see... and when he advanced on me... I grabbed him and fell backwards. He thought things were going his way until I rolled on top of him and broke his nose. When the blood began to flow, I heard the other boys scream and run. But a simple broken nose would not suffice for the cruelty of this boy's actions, so I broke both of his legs for him to remember me by. Poetic justice... wouldn't you agree? Afterwards I scooped up the raven and Beatrice and I have been companions ever since.
He talked calmly of how he beat a boy half to death and made him physically impaired as if it were a daily occurrence. Swain terrified me, but I knew what it was like to be bullied and I envied his revenge.
"But you wish to know who the woman is more than anything... don't you?"
"I cannot deny it, she has been on my mind ever since your inaugural battle."
"She should be. She has been the subject of my thoughts for a long time now. She is not a person, but a place... come now Irannius. Think hard." At the mention of how she was a place, it became utterly clear to me who she was.
"Yes, I admit I was enthusiastic, to say the least, once I saw the hatred in your eyes when you opened your door not long ago. Proof enough that you would stop at nothing to know her identity, even if you had to confront me. Tell me, would you still go that far for her now, knowing who she is?"
"Without question." I believe Swain was truly surprised at my answer.
"And why is that?"
"Because I feel as you do Swain, that she is sick and that I have the power to save her." He rose and placed his hand on my shoulder. Beatrice seemed to finally accept me.
"We have much work before us to bring that goal to fruition."
"I am willing to do whatever it takes."
"Good. Now the other representatives of Noxus will need to back my decisions as well, and you are going to be the one to... persuade them. Those parcels in the other room that you undoubtedly noticed contain letters, and on each letter is the name of a Noxian whom I want you to deliver it to personally. You will find them all here at the institute, but not necessarily at this moment in time."
"So some will be joining at a later date?"
"Precisely, and now I feel I have kept you long enough. I urge you to return and get some much needed sleep, you have many long days ahead of you."
Only this miraculous turn of events would be able to change my outlook of him so quickly. I went from despising his conceited attitude to understanding why it was he was so proud. Swain was by all means physically impaired, and yet he didn't let that stop him from defending himself and others. I feel my life would have been different if I had acted similarly to him. That is why I was eager to begin, together Swain and I were going to change the world and bring Noxus to the glory it deserves. If he can change his destiny, then I can help him change the world. I hurried back to my quarters, parcels in hand... thoughts racing with what's to come.
"I refused to see anyone else be bullied? Hahahaha... oh Swain, how you never cease to captivate me with your cunning. I of course do not need to be the one to remind you-"
"That everything you and I have ever worked for rests upon his shoulders.."
"Hmph. I advise you keep your new pet on a tight leash, Jericho."
"It has begun Evaine, and no one will be able to stop us. Noxus will rise."
13 October, 20 CLE
Swain and I have won more games in the last few days than I have in months! His passion for victory is unrivaled and I grow more fond of him day after day. It appeared his success on the fields had also drawn the gaze of many a Noxian official as well. Our dream of a strong Noxus is beginning to bloom, and he tells me that every game won is a step closer to its fruition. Ever since five days ago, we have been almost perfectly synchronized during summoning. Two days ago, Swain taught me military tactics that I would never have dreamed of... they made perfect sense and in yesterday's games they had resulted in a 10 victory sweep. That man was a genius! He had barely been a part of the league and yet he knows it in and out like he's been here for years.
Today's games, however, were to be put on hold. I received a letter stating that he would not be able to attend any battles for the day, and that he would request my presence in his room later in the evening... I was to be notified of the exact time when it was deemed pertinent. He also recommended that I see to my own personal associates, "The greatest politics are of the company you keep, not just country." Signed with his initials and the ornate black rose in the bottom right hand corner.
I donned my green summoning robes and made my way to where all the other summoners typically lounged: the cafeteria. I had been a recluse of late, perhaps it was time to see if some old friends were willing to chat.
The cafeteria wasn't a social hub for just summoners; many a champion made their presence known from time to time as well. It was always a treat when Morgana could be found baking in the evening, but not even heaven could help someone if they dared criticize her food. I envied the champions that walked the halls of the institute, they were all celebrities. Each had at least hundreds of fans and followers. Men and women have lusted after them, the mere utterings of some champions have caused mass faintings, and if imitation is the highest form of flattery... then there were enough imitators to flatter them 10x over. But I wasn't here to seek out champions, only to find the "company I keep."
Upon entering the room, the sense of awkward silence became palpable. It was not difficult to pick me out of a crowd with my robes being a color other than purple after all, and I knew that Swain's reputation didn't just extend to Noxus only. I scanned the room for familiar faces when I noticed the part of the cafeteria that harbored fellow summoners of Noxus had stood up and applauded me. The opposite side of the room which, one may accurately guess, harbored the Demacian summoners... did not share greetings.
"Irannius! Over here!"
I looked for the one that called out my name and spotted all of my friends standing up to come make me sit with them.
"Come with us dork, we've got catching up to do."
Seeing Toxic, Nina, and Skorne all together at the same table with me brought back memories of games played before I met Swain. Win or lose, we always had the greatest of times because of our humor and good will. Nina acted like she hadn't seen me in years, when in fact the last time we teamed together was only about two weeks ago. Toxic had blonde hair and she typically was known to summon champions from Ionia and Demacia. Skorne was her boyfriend; he had short brown hair and a goatee. He generally stuck to the more monstrous creatures of the league, like Kog'maw and Cho'gath, but he played champions of all alignments... as long as they were guys. Nina was the shortest of the bunch. She had black hair, tan skin, and almost always summoned Noxians.
"Where have you been buddy!? Spill it, I want to know exactly what's been keeping you from your dearest friends."
"I've been really busy; undoubtedly you have heard that I am the prime summoner for Swain and titles like that involve working hard and sleeping even harder, Nina."
"Yeah, but still... you can team with us instead of having to go solo."
"I guess you're right Toxic. I'll ask him if that would be alright to do in the future."
"You have to ask for permission to play with good friends? Sounds like this guy has you on a leash bro" Skorne muttered under his breath.
"Its not like that at all, he has an image to uphold. I expect you, whom doesn't use female champions, of all people to understand the importance of image firsthand."
"Are you saying that we're not good enough for some old, crippled man's look!?"
"Now now you two, we're all friends here."
"Yeah. Let's just respect Irannius's position in all of this, ok babe? We should be happy that he's achieving so much."
"Alright Toxic, I'll calm down... Still, don't let 'the master tactician' keep you from your friends alright?"
"Now back to what I was about to say-"
I heard the stomping of feet and the sliding of chairs cut off her words and when I turned to see the cause of it... I beheld a very angry Magnus on his way over to me. Why could I not be left alone with my friends for today?
"Irannius! I'm going to take those slimy green robes of yours and wipe my ass with them after I'm done making you wish you were never born!"
"What seems to be the problem Magnus?"
"The problem is you and that damnable bird man that joined the league! When I lost that game, I lost my title with it and now I'm going to make you pay for what you did!"
"Calm down Magnus, there is no need to-"
"Shut up Skorne! This isn't about you. This is about me and your wimpy friend here. 'For my cowardice' I was discharged from Mordekaiser's service. I worked hard to get to where I was! And I'm not leaving until I make Irannius suffer."
I didn't want to fight Magnus, by all accounts my body wanted to run away. But what would Swain think of me then? It would end up being the same thing that happened to Magnus, and if a handicapped little boy can fend off three bullies in the defense of another... then I could stand up for myself. So, I threw the first punch.
As soon as I made contact with his jaw, everything got much slower. The robes must have been the cause, it made dodging his next attacks much easier. After I dodged blow after blow he was in too much of a rage to remember to be on the defensive. Once he raised his hands above to bring them down upon me, I punched him square in the adam's apple. Nina and Toxic gasped when Magnus went down, and I quickly turned to apologize to them for what should have been a pleasant reunion. The robes' slowing sensation ended.
The summoners at the Noxian table all stood up and saluted me before they dragged Magnus' spasming body away to the infirmary.
"You have strength, league summoner Irannius. Perhaps we might see more of each other in the future." One of the Noxians said to me.
Why could I not be permitted time with my friends? I should have made Magnus regret his actions. I should have hurt him more, as Swain hurt the boy who picked on him and Beatrice. I should have... no... What I did was in self defense. I may have inadvertently ruined his summoning status, but I was not about to ruin his life. And so I left.
It felt good. I had stood up for myself; it made me feel powerful. I walked down the hallways of the league, wondering when would be the "pertinent time" for me to meet Swain. By now I had been walking for three hours. My adrenaline was still racing from before as my mind replayed every detail of the fight between me and Magnus. I heard a cawing sound from behind me and before I could turn to face the noise, Beatrice had already landed on my shoulder. Did Swain ever go without her by his side?
"I take it, its time then?"
The raven nodded at me, cawed, and then took off of my shoulder to return to her master. I was excited to tell Swain of what had happened in the cafeteria, I knew that he would be able to respect what I did."
I arrived at his room and knocked, but instead of seeing Swain answer the door, it was the Noxian summoner who complimented me after I had beat Magnus.
"What are you doing here?"
"I was invited, alas my presence here isn't as important as yours is. The master tactician waits for you in the other room."
The first room was crowded with the other summoners of Noxus I saw earlier in the cafeteria; they stood at attention and saluted me like they had done before, once I entered the room. What was this all about? Swain must have something big in mind, maybe the story of my earlier conquest should wait. I pushed on the bookcase to enter the next room. There were men gathered with Swain, who I believed to be officials of Noxus, and they spoke of what appeared to be the status of the war. Beatrice flew past me and sat upon her master's shoulder.
"Demacia acts as if it is idle, but yet our scouts have reported that they amass their armies and rest on the resources they acquire from the mining village of Kalamanda." There was that name again, I had seen it on Swain's map.
"We must act now Jericho! Every moment we spend fighting Ionia, is a moment that Demacia has to plan when to strike us. How much longer until Demacia breaks the league's concordat and destroys us?"
"General, I'm sure all of us would agree that a new course of action is required. Why do you say nothing while Noxus hangs in the balance of a two-front war?"
"Ah, Irannius. I'm glad that you could join us." Swain seemed to already be aware of what the officials were talking about, and chose not to pay attention to them.
"Yes, you requested that I be here."
"Indeed I did. You're going to help me explain the situation of the war to these fine gentlemen."
"But I hardly know the situation myself to even-"
"Nonsense, let's analogize it... shall we?"
"Jericho this is no time for games, this summoner hasn't any right being present at a briefing of the war."
"He has just as much right to be here as any of you! And unlike you, he is able to understand the obvious course of action without having to come to me for counsel. Now, Irannius... let's say you were just victorious against a particular summoner, let's say this summoner would harbor thoughts of revenge against you and intend to enact those thoughts at a later time. And let us also assume on the same day this particular summoner were to enact his revenge, you were preoccupied with dear friends of yours..."
Chills went down my spine. Was this all about me? Did he know about what happened in the cafeteria earlier today or was this just really an analogy to the war?
"...you would be forced to make a decision choosing which one to focus upon, am I correct?"
"Which choice seems to be the most obvious course of action?"
The room was filled with murmurings from the officials. They knew where this was going.
"To deal with the summoner who would do me harm."
"What reasoning could you give to explain this action Irannius?" Swain faced the officials as he spoke.
"The disgruntled summoner poses an immediate threat to my safety, whereas my friends can be dealt with at any moment and at a later date."
"Precisely. This is why, gentlemen... you are all going to have to make a decision now. If this did not stand on ceremony then we could all simply leave this room with the next course of action firmly seeded into our minds, but because this is an official briefing... it will have to be put to a vote. I do not doubt your capacities for understanding when it comes to these regards, as the most obvious choice is to pull our troops from Ionia and focus on the more immediate threat: Demacia."
"We can't just abandon our foothold in Ionia Jericho-"
"We can and we must. Just as Irannius could not deal with a threat to his safety and catch up with acquaintances simultaneously... we cannot fight to control Ionia while the fist of demacia lingers above us. Our focus and our troops would be split... united we stand divided we fall, as it is said."
The room became dead silent.
"In favor for withdrawing our troops from Ionia say I."
All of the officials unanimously agreed.
"Good, as I said before I do not doubt your capacities to understand. This is why I have taken the liberty of already recalling half of our forces from Ionia two days ago. We will make the Ionians believe that they can fight for their independence by making them issue another league challenge to us, where if they win... we pull out all of our troops. If we win, they fall under the banner of Noxus. I do not have to explain to you how even if we win, we lose. Our military could not remain over on Ionian soil to enforce laws and quell rebellions when we have Demacia to consider. This is why Ionia will win. And when they do, they won't pursue us because of the league's political protection. I will not be one to publicly admit that Boram Darkwill's plan to usurp Ionian government was foolish... but the outcome of that war has always been decided for us. There is much for me to consider regarding Kalamanda and you will all receive letters detailing my decisions when I am ready. Dismissed."
Swain astounded everyone. He had already developed the perfect plan and executed it before anyone else could realize what he had done. The officials were speechless, their egos were bruised, and they left without saying another word until all that remained in the once crowded room was Swain and myself. We did not need to continue talking about the situation of the war, it was understood. His analogy also helped me put the reason why I couldn't be with my friends today into perspective.
"How did you already know about what happened to me earlier?"
"There is little that goes on in this institute that I do not know about. I know Magnus has been admitted to the infirmary and that he has lost the ability to speak, albeit temporarily. Good work."
"I did not intend for it to go that far."
" 'If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared.' I believed this at a young age, and I still do. You earned respect from the summoners in the other room, and you also earned my respect. You should be proud of yourself. Your friends must undoubtedly see you in a new light as well."
"Speaking of my friends, I was wondering if I might ask you something."
"My friends have suggested that we battle with them sometime."
"I'm afraid... I can't do that Irannius..."
"Because your colleagues are known to use champions from Ionia and Demacia."
"That hasn't stopped us from teaming with Ionians and Demacians before!"
"Yes but, we don't have control over who the league groups us with, in this regard I do have control. My apologies, it must be difficult for you to understand but-"
"I understand Swain, speak no more of it... I'll still be able to see them yes?
"Yes. Do not be loathsome, I have good news for you. Those summoners in the other room are to be your personal followers. I will not let my summoner be the object of someone's vengeance, and that is why you are going to get along just fine with them as your bodyguards."
This genuinely excited me. I felt that Swain cared about my well being, and I felt that I would be like one of the champions of the league. The sting of rejection on my previous idea no longer fazed me. I would have my own followers, and would be a somebody and not just a face in the crowd. I wouldn't be able to team with my friends, but that was a sacrifice I was willing to make. All of Noxus needed me. Swain needed me. I couldn't afford to be selfish.
"And before I forget, you undoubtedly remember those letters... I will need them to begin being delivered now. Your new companions have their orders, I suggest you become better acquainted with them. Off you go."
"Thank you for everything."
And with that I left to mingle with those who were to be my followers. By helping Swain to achieve his ultimate dream of a strong Noxus, I have gained his favor in helping me achieve dreams of my very own. Attending Swain's judgement was the best decision I had ever made.
"He will come to hate you."
"Doesn't it tear at you Jericho?"
"Politics have no relation to morals."
"Hah, you truly are a heartless man."
"I would be... if I held any remnants of humanity."
16 October, 20 CLE
A summoner could get used to the lifestyle of a champion. Someone who has people that follow him/her around is approachable, and often times envied. Of course, one must always remember to be humble... and that's why I discredit any compliments I might receive, only to ask that Swain be the recipient of such admiration. I ran into Magnus the other day. He was wearing a cast around his throat but before I could apologize to him, my "bodyguards" had shoved him into a wall and threatened to end his life if he approached me again. Why should I apologize anyway? He planned on humiliating me in front of my friends. My friends... I must go to see them again soon. Maybe then we could have the reunion I had hoped for. But for now, there was work to be done.
"Let's see who is first on the list..."
Sion made his refuge in the armory of the league, his room was behind a barred and locked door located next to the sparring targets. Ever since the tragic and daring escape from Demacian custody... his body has been less than responsive to feelings. He spends his days perfecting his immunity to pain, hence why he can be found amidst the targets of the armory... daring any and all challengers to "make him feel." It is in there that I found him, hard at work with Jax. I ordered my followers see that I was not disturbed while on official business as I approached the two titans of the league.
"Do better than that Jax, at this rate I'll fall asleep."
Jax was not holding back as he brutally attacked Sion with his lamppost. Striking key points of the undead's physique repeatedly and without prejudice.
"It takes a while to get into the swing of things, give it a bit. Then you'll be sorry you threw down with the grandmaster of arms."
"Greetings league champions Sion and Jax, I-"
"Don't distract me! Can't you see I'm trying to-"
"That is enough Jax, take five... this 'arm-waver' and I have words to exchange." Sion abruptly interrupted, it appeared that he was expecting me for some time now. "Arm-waver" was code for summoners and magic users of the league... Considered to be a fighter's insult because of the lack of respect for honorable combat that mages displayed.
"Fine. I'll be practicing in the next room so I don't slow down." Jax's weapon of choice was sprawled across his shoulders, the foreboding light dulled from the tip of it. Once Jax had left the room I felt at ease, the institute had gone 27 days without a lamppost incident and I did not want to be the one to break that streak.
"I bear a letter from General Swain-"
"No doubt he asks me to do something."
"If you would read this letter then-"
"No. Why should I read his letters? The 'arm-waver' sends his dog to bring forth the undead champion? He expects me to heel as well no doubt."
"I thought you'd be more than willing to accept orders as a soldier of Noxus."
"The last time I was under military orders, I was SLAIN! Do you know why it is Jax and I spar? It is because we agree. He wishes to better his strength, and I wish to perfect my resilience. I respect his tenacity and we use each other to reach our goals. Tell me, what has the 'General' done for me? I know nothing of his strength and even less of what he has to offer. I will humor you and read the letter... but know this puny summoner: I do not follow orders blindly as you may do."
Sion's decrepit hands snatched the letter from me and tore it open. All was quiet as he read it, only the sound of Jax's furious strikes in the next room remained the least bit audible. How dare he imply that I blindly follow orders! Swain does not order me to do anything, he asks of me... and I am only too happy to oblige.
"Leave me... it appears the General does have something to offer. Tell your master that the undead champion will heed the call."
I left as to not anger him. Swain must have promised him something grand for him to change his mind so quickly.
Singed and Warwick
Both the mad chemist and the blood hunter isolated themselves to a laboratory not far from the league's medical ward. Rumors speak of how patients in the infirmary disappear mysteriously during the night and return by morning, looking like they've been through hell. If such rumors were true, then one needn't venture far to suspect the chemists' hands at work. The letter's directions brought me to an unmarked door with a bell hanging from its frame. I rang the bell while my followers stood at attention.
"Just one minute if you please..."
I must have waited five minutes before ringing the bell again. I had other champions on the list to attend to, and was hoping to get them all dealt with before the end of the day.
"Must be a summoner, your lot is always impatient." Singed opened the door, took one look at me, and let out a hacking cough in surprise.
"Excuse my rude behavior Irannius, how might this humble servant assist you?" Singed's body may have been enbalmed in bandages... but his voice must have been lacquered in honey.
"An invitation inside would be a nice start."
"Heh, are you sure about that? Well if you are, I best warn my former master... wolves have problems with intruders, and between you and me... his screws are a tad loose."
"Ironic, coming from you 'the mad chemist'..."
I walked into the room and tried to refrain from exposing my inner horror. Singed sprinted forth through the labyrinth of machines, Tesla coils, test tubes, and bloodied operating tables to bring back Warwick. The entire room had death written, painted, and plastered all over it. It didn't take long for someone as fast as Singed to track down his former master, and I could tell he found him by the bloodcurdling sound of the werewolf's howl echoing throughout the immense building. They returned to me moments later.
No amount of mental preparation could assist me though, when I saw Warwick. His fur was spattered with blood and he spoke calmly while extending his metal gauntlet towards me. I was terrified out of my mind and wished I had brought my bodyguards in with me.
"How do you do Irannius? What manner of business do you grace us with this evening?"
"Warwick, why don't we keep our paws to ourselves for the moment. I'm sure Irannius is not used to seeing a werewolf, especially not one who just finished eating."
"Perhaps you are right Singed, very well then. I'll let you do the talking."
"As he so grimly suggested, you do have business for us... do you not?
"Y-yes I do. Here are letters addressed to the both of you from General Swain."
"Do you know what this is about?"
"No, but I do know that the letters are tailored to each individual."
"I take it you didn't read them then..."
"No I haven't, I wouldn't betray Swain's trust in me."
"And why not?"
"What do you mean?"
Singed and Warwick turned to face each other and laughed hysterically. I couldn't understand what was so funny.
"Heh, perhaps its just as well then. Let's see what's in these letters."
Both of them took ample time to absorb the content of their letters, how ironic that their minds pace themselves yet their bodies sprint across the battlefields of the institute. Singed was the first one to show a response, his eyes widened immensely followed by Warwick's excited drooling.
"Test subjects as well..."
Singed and Warwick glanced at each other again before extending both of their hands to me in agreement.
"You've got yourself a deal!" I was unable to discern whether or not Singed's hand trembled because of the agonizing experiments he performed on himself, or because of what he had just read.
"Always a pleasure doing business with our most generous benefactor!"
After they agreed, my hands were covered in sweat and blood. They became quite eager to be rid of me, and so I was hurried out the door... the last thing I heard from them was what had been described as their "unbridled, joyous laughter."
I had to work fast, only three champions left and then I wouldn't have to worry about contacting them later. If they were all going to be as pleasant as the three I had just dealt with, I wanted to get them over with quickly. Next on the list was Vladimir, the crimson reaper. His quarters weren't far from Singed's and Warwick's. Vladimir's room was built directly underneath the institute's infirmary so the blood from above would drain into his possession. Being gruesome and terrifying weren't required traits of being a champion of Noxus, but they definitely were common ones. One of the nurses told me where to find the entrance, it was a trap door of sorts. She said that I wouldn't need to knock, and that he was always eager to meet "new blood." This time I didn't have to tell my followers to stay back and wait for me, they were only too happy to oblige.
For being a dungeon underneath the infirmary, the interior was quite suave. Red was a reoccurring theme: red carpeting, red curtains, red upholstery... but the only non-red thing in the room was a golden basin that lied beneath the infirmary grate. It was filled to the brim with blood. Fighting back the urge to gag, I scanned the room for Vladimir. I was about to give up and leave when I noticed that the blood in the basin began to churn.
"Often the most obvious of locations is also the most overlooked."
Vladimir rose from the blood, it drained away into his figure as he stood up from the pool, naked. I cursed myself for not being accustomed to stranger occurrences.
"Don't be afraid, I wouldn't dare bring myself to harm a summoner."
"U-hm, nice... decor."
"Thank you, it was white when I first came here. But you're not here to just compliment my fashion sense, are you?"
"I'd probably be able to remember better if you were decent." As I said this, Vladimir's clothes manifested upon him. They apparently were made from blood as well.
"You could say, that I wear my heart on my sleeve. Distractions aside, you were saying?"
"I bring a letter from General Swain."
"Oh? Now what could he possibly want to do with me?"
"That's for you to read, each letter is specifically detailed."
I handed him the letter, the blood in my fingertips felt like bursting out of my skin to reach him. When he opened his letter, I noticed that half of it was bloodstained. I wondered if I might have accidentally wiped my hand on it after the meeting with Warwick and Singed. Vladimir pressed his hand to the letter and the crimson disappeared into him. He gasped alarmingly.
"Yes... yes I would like more of that. Please relay to Swain that I will have little difficulty with the task... and that I joyously await his end of the bargain. Perhaps you might be interested investing in me as well Irannius?"
"No thanks Vlad."
And with that I left, what did he mean "investing in me as well"? Surely Swain wouldn't barter his own blood to Vladimir. I didn't feel like asking him, every moment spent in that room made my pulse race. What was this all really about?
As a preference, Urgot requested that his room be stationed near the dorms of the Demacian champions. Something about keeping a close eye on his personal interests. This was definitely an excellent time to have bodyguards. Walking through the Demacian wing of the institute would have been a suicidal venture if not for the handful of followers I had in tow. Urgot's mechanical voice beckoned us all inside when we reached his door, it appears he was expecting us. The room was comprised of cables and metallic piping which led to computers and a platform marked "Bed." The menagerie of man and machine that Urgot was might have disturbed other summoners, but to summoners of Noxus he was a war hero. His refusal to give in to death was the aspect of strength itself. Both Urgot and Sion were revered by Noxus for their inability to accept defeat, and many Noxian summoners saluted them both.
"Deactivating defensive countermeasures. Uploading behavior protocols 1-17... Uploaded. Running offline weapons diagnostic."
"Urgot, Noxus needs your assistance."
"Voice-pattern recognized. What does Noxus require of me, league summoner Irannius?"
"Your General has asked that you read this letter."
Urgot's robotic claw quickly grabbed the letter and brought it to his eyes.
"Scanning... Authenticity acknowledged, I am prepared to do what is necessary required by the High Command regarding the current military status."
So that's what all those letters were for? I felt dumb for not asking prior, but what could Swain possibly be asking from these champions regarding the war? He had the letters days before I was even invited to the meeting...
"I have my orders."
"What did Swain offer for your compliance?"
"He didn't offer me anything nor should he. I am Noxus' faithful headsman. A chance to see the destruction of Demacia first hand is all I could ever desire..."
"Thank you for your patriotism Urgot, your people thank you."
"...and a chance to be the one to butcher Garen will bring this soldier much honor as well."
Some summoners asked if we could stay longer so that they might revel in Urgot's hex-technology, but he maneuvered towards his "Bed" and put himself on hibernation. Besides, we only had one more champion to visit and I told them they could do whatever they wanted to after we finished.
We arrived at Katarina's door. But before I was even permitted to knock, I already had a knife to my throat.
"Having so many 'bodyguards' only gives you the illusion that you are secure when, in fact, it was the easiest way for me to get close to you. We're going inside now." She had disguised herself as one of the summoners charged with my protection. Katarina has been following me the entire day... and perhaps maybe longer. We went into her room alone, while the rest of my guards bottled up their failure.
"I already know why you're here, Swain needs me to do something..." She snatched the letter from my hand and lowered her blade from my neck to begin reading it.
"...I wonder as to what he plans on bribing me with. Mountains of gold? The essence of great magical beings? Or how about-" Katarina stopped mid sentence, her jaw dropped, and her hands began to tremble. She surged forward and pinned me up against the wall, blade tightly pressed to my neck.
"What do you know about my father!?"
" I- I don't know much about your father, he's a General like Swain isn't he? Katarina, please put me down."
The look of absolute rage, confusion, and worry was apparent on her face. Her blade pressed harder to my neck until it drew blood.
"Katarina please... you're hurting me!" She dropped me to the floor. She could see that I hadn't a clue of what she was talking about.
"I... I will do what he asks of me." Her face was filled with repugnance and distraught.
All I could do was breathe heavily and rub the wound on my neck. I didn't bother saying anything more. She got her message, she agreed, and that was all I was concerned with. My followers rushed to me once I left the room; their cries of concern did little to comfort me. I was puzzled by the events of the entire day, but decided to keep it all to myself. Each champion had wisdom to impart on me, and I would need to rest on it all. One letter remained, and I would deliver it to him/her when they joined the league. The name "Leblanc" was unfamiliar, but I was sure Swain had a plan for them too.
29 October, 20 CLE
I had been dwelling on the events of the 16th. Besides the fact that I was close to losing my life to Katarina twice, the words of the other champions of Noxus haunted me. It seemed there was something to learn from each of them. Swain and I haven't summoned for a while now, and in fact he sent a letter stating that he would be off grounds with important business today but that I should still drop by his room in the evening. Whatever it was for he never said but today another champion, known as "the deceiver", was to join the league. I wasn't permitted to view the judgement of this particular person because all of the viewing seats were reserved but I'm sure I'll know all there is to know in due time. Word reached me that Magnus' condition hadn't improved and the infirmary fears that he'll never be able to speak again. But those are just fears, I doubt that I was strong enough to cripple his speaking capabilities with only one punch to the throat... He had it coming anyway.
Today was to be the day that I finally get the reunion, I planned before, with my friends.
I entered the cafeteria and was relieved to see they were all gathered at the usual spot. I had given my followers the day off, nothing was to distract me this time. All three of them were astonished to see me, like previously, but before they could say anything I grabbed Skorne by the arm and started dragging him away. Toxic and Nina both followed close behind until we reached my room. I tossed Skorne down onto my couch and closed my door once the girls entered.
"A simple, 'Follow me' would've worked."
"Yes, but this was more fun." We all looked at one another and laughed hysterically, sometimes the best way to get Skorne somewhere was to literally drag him there.
"Hey, he's my boyfriend! Only I get to drag him around places." Toxic smirked at him while she spoke.
"Why do people feel that its necessary to do that anyway? I have legs..."
"So buddy, how have ya been?"
"Really tired, Nina."
"Is 'you know who' working you to death?"
"No, its just... I don't know. I'm tired all the time. It can't be Swain because he's not even on grounds today."
Toxic and Nina both brightened up immensely and smiled at each other. Skorne put his hand in his palms.
"You know what we should all do?! Come on hun, we're going to play a game with Irannius just like old times."
This time Toxic grabbed Skorne off the couch and started hauling him out the door.
"I have legs!"
We made our way to the outer summoning platforms; they tended to be frequented by the more adventurous champions such as Ezreal and Corki, to name but a few. The grounds of the league seemed boundless, one could marvel at the intricacy of the institute not only in its halls but also through the tranquil fields surrounding it. The irony was poetic, in that the source of politics, war, and bloodshed.. was encompassed by its own garden of Eden. Flowers were in constant bloom and trees never lost their deep shade of green, no matter the time of the year. Tryndamere and Ashe were sitting around the league's fountain memorial to the beloved champion Urf the manatee, undoubtedly conversing about their recent marriage. Skorne had been dragged the entire length of the yard up to the cobblestone of the platform by Toxic. Nina and I quickly followed behind.
It was early in the day, and we played five games before we all became too exhausted to lift our arms any longer. They might have all been practice games against the league's sentience instead of actual summoners, but that still didn't stop all of us from having fun. Finally, I got the reunion I wanted and I wished every day could have been as enjoyable.
But it was now noon and I had been requested at Swain's abode earlier. I bid farewell to my friends before leaving for the task at hand. Not all summoners of the league could simply teleport around. Special sanctions had to be reserved and only the most notable of aspirants were given the privilege of that kind of power, thus walking became a regular means of transportation.
Life felt great. I had renown, followers, purpose, and a flourishing social life... I might as well have been one of the champions but yet... I still felt empty. I didn't know why. It was an emptiness I had known very well in my life, and that was during the days before I decided to be a summoner.
I arrived at Swain's room and entered. There seemed to be no sign of his presence, Beatrice almost always was the first one to greet me... but there was no sign of her either.
"He must still be on official military business." I closed the door behind me and began perusing his maps. Kalamanda looked to be quite the pivotal focus of the war. Why haven't I heard news about it?
"The inquisitive type... although, maybe not inquisitive enough. I can see why he chose you."
The voice emanated from behind me. I turned to face a very attractive woman, wearing a gold and purple outfit, sitting in one of Swain's chairs. The clothes didn't leave much to the imagination. Was she there the entire time? I approached her cautiously, but also abound with interest.
"And what is that supposed to mean?"
"Only that..." The voice came from behind me again, I turned to face the sound again and found the woman standing within inches of me. I quickly glanced back at the chair and she was no longer there.
"... you're intelligent, eager, strong... insatiable..." She leaned in closer to me with every spoken adjective, whispering the last in my ear. I was quickly forgetting about the maps.
"And who might you be... miss..?"
"Leblanc. Just... Leblanc." I was aware of the name and what it carried with it. Leblanc the deceiver, it was her who had champion's judgement held today. She silenced my next attempt at speech by placing her finger on my lips, it smelled like roses.
"Jericho asked that we become better acquainted, something about you 'seeing much more of me in the future' and that he 'didn't wish to entertain your questions'. So here I am summoner... but... I'd rather talk about you. Word reached me of your confrontation with a certain... Magnus character..."
Every word she spoke enchanted me.
"A very brave move you made... a very... strong move." She encircled me seductively, hips swaying and high heels melodically stepping about me. "When I found out that Jericho's partner had displayed true Noxian justice... needless to say it was... breathtaking."
I was referred to as Swain's "partner"? This new-found knowledge coupled with Leblanc's admiration of me left me blushing.
"Better yet that he can no longer agitate you with his voice as well..." she purred.
"Wait, what do you mean?"
"A mighty blow such as the one you dealt, would leave a lesser man to death... but alas all that became of Magnus was a permanent impairment to his speech."
Did I cause Magnus to become mute? I couldn't have. Wouldn't that be impossible?
"Do not concern yourself with rabble such as him, the world is better for it." She leaned in closer than before, her lips but inches away from my own. But the thought of ruining Magnus' life distraught me. I broke from her gaze, my heart was heavy with remorse.
"It is true... can't you feel that yourself?"
"You're lying. I should expect as much from the deceiver."
"Come now, your words sting. Did he not tear you from your closest friends? Did he not seek to embarrass you in front of them and the entire institute?"
The remorse that filled me but seconds ago began replacing itself with lethargy. Leblanc moved in close to me once again, I felt tired.
"I believe you have something for me..." She slid her hand down slowly into my robes' pocket and withdrew the last letter I had to deliver, which was to her.
"...Jericho and I want what's best for you and for Noxus. Accept this as a token of my admiration, Irannius."
Leblanc pressed her lips to mine, the lethargy became over-encumbering, I blacked out.
31 October, 20 CLE
I was surrounded by them. They taunted me and tormented me. Made me believe that I was inept. Picked away at my soul until nothing remained... it was that emptiness again. I wished someone would take it all away but no one ever came. No one made things right. "Never again" I said then, but why did I feel it again now?
I woke up and I was in my room. The last thing I remembered was that I was talking to Leblanc and then... I passed out. What day was it? I checked my clock, today was the harrowing. The league put on celebrations all year round, never having to prepare for them because magic handled matters instantly. I glanced out of my room. Pumpkins, candles, and torches were everywhere. I can't believe I slept in an entire day. I slumped down on my couch.
"I'm sure everyone is enjoying themselves today... except Magnus..."
I stood up and donned my robes. I would not become like Urgot... I had a mind of my own and my heart was not cold steel. I would not become them.
"I'm going to make things right."
I knocked on Magnus' door, no answer. I was about to knock again when he opened it. His eyes immediately filled with dread as he frantically glanced at me. No doubt wondering why I was there, and whether I had my followers with me or not. I haven't required their services for multiple days now, I was sure they were off enjoying the harrowing with everyone else.
"How are you doing Magnus?"
He said nothing.
"So it is true huh?"
He nodded his head in reply.
"I know you have no reason to listen to me, but what if I told I could make it all right again?"
He opened his mouth as if to speak the word "hah" at me but nothing came out. We both looked down and away from each other... the feeling of undeniable guilt returned to me.
"Please, give me a chance to at least try."
I couldn't have been more sincere with my actions, and I believe he saw it in my eyes. His mouth began to tremble and he clenched his fist shakily at me, but then he started to cry and replied with a mouthed "ok".
We both arrived at the destination I intended. I knocked lightly. Please be here. Light strumming was heard playing on the other side, progressively getting louder until the door opened.
Sona, the maven of the strings answered it. She looked astonished to see me and Magnus at her door. She was known as one of the few champions whom used the time of holidays to create her music. The air of the festivities translated directly into her art. I extended my hand to greet her politely. Her voice hummed melodically in my thoughts.
*Shouldn't you be with everyone else summoner?*
*What would mean the most to me right now would be to introduce my friend here to you.*
I quickly explained what I had unintentionally done to Magnus for Sona and begged her to let us in. I could feel her heart mourn the loss of his voice, the rage she held towards me, and her understanding of my actions all at the same time. She agreed to let us in. Magnus was oblivious of the mental conversation we were having.
*Thank you Sona.* She let us inside, her room was overflowing with music sheets and stringed instruments of all assortments. Her famous etwahl lied at the end of her bed.
"We would both very much like to hear one of your pieces Sona. In fact, we would be honored if you would play for us." She blushed slightly and nodded, her etwahl floated towards her and it rested in her lap as she sat down. She began to play.
Sona's music was unlike anything ever heard or experienced. I closed my eyes, and felt as if I was running through a forest of ice. Autumnal leaves fell down from the sky and as she continued playing... my friends joined me. We were all leaping jovially through this crystalline meadow. Magnus was there and picked up some leaves and they turned to snow, he was the first to begin a snowball fight with all of us. I noticed he could speak and he was laughing and cheering, we were all happy... but after a while there was a bright light and my eyes opened. Sona's song ended. I was deeply moved.
I looked at Magnus and he had broken down crying; he knelt down before Sona and kissed her hand. I believe they began speaking mentally to one another and as she patted him on the shoulder gracefully, he suddenly hugged her. She began to cry as well and returned his embrace. I was close to tears myself. Her music touched our souls, and gave him his voice again. I decided to use this time to take my leave. Everything had gone better than I could've dreamed of. I heard Sona's voice hum in my head once more.
*Won't you stay?*
*I must go, but... if you would please do me another kindness. Play another song for him.*
She smiled as more tears fell from her eyes, and nodded. I left.
All had been made right. I looked forward to Swain's return, for nothing bore itself down on my conscience now.
I made my way to the Institute's bar, halfway there I could tell I was heading the right way because of the drunken bodies that littered the hallways. The smell of pumpkin and alcohol polluted the air. I was already drunken with happiness and decided that it would be a good idea to be drunken with spirits as well. I found an open seat at the bar. The summoner tending it had his sleeves rolled up and appeared as if he had been drinking a bit, himself. I could barely make out a word he said but made a safe bet on that he was probably asking me what I'd like to drink. The robed figures on either side of me were having a conversation (equally as undecipherable as the bartender).
I was about to order a drink when the two summoners beside me were pulled backwards off their stools. Warwick and Singed now sat next to me.
"You're not an easy guy to find." Warwick snarled at me.
"I would suggest no sudden movements Irannius. You, of all people, should be aware of how adept we are at pursuits and I know Warwick's just looking for an excuse."
Beads of sweat formed on my brow. What could they possibly want? They both leaned in closer to my face, so close that I could feel their damp and musky breath exhaling on me. Warwick's claw slashed into the wooden counter slowly, making a shrieking noise. I was on the verge of involuntarily doing something I'd regret.
They both started laughing uncontrollably, and slapped me on the back. My heart was beating faster than a racehorse.
"You should've seen the look on your face, truly a moment I will cherish forever." Singed gawked.
"Bartender, bring something grizzly for our friend here." I glanced at the bartender and he looked just as I did moments ago, eyes wide and gripped with fear.
"Y-yes s-sir Warwick. Right away."
I had to regain my composure, undoubtedly the two of them had a reason for finding me. The bartender placed my drink in front of me.
"What's this? Are you trying to poison my friend with swill?" Singed seemed genuinely upset with the drink, and hopped the counter and pushed the bartender over. "If Irannius is going to be poisoned, it shall be me who does it." And with that, Singed grabbed various types of alcohol, juice, and glasses to mix a concoction. Warwick spoke to me again.
" 'Now what would a werewolf and a chemist want with me?' you'd ask. We're just here to keep an eye on you is all."
"So I need babysitters, is that what you're saying?"
"You act surprised! I thought that's what those 'bodyguards' of yours were for, you would think you'd be used to the idea of being watched by now."
"Those summoners follow my every whim, and I can dismiss them whenever I feel like it... even now they aren't-"
"Even now they aren't what? Carefully glance behind you, who do you see at the back table? To the untrained eye it appears to be a group of drunk summoners, undoubtedly laughing in their stupor. There are no drinks on their table, and there haven't been for the last four hours. Look closer Irannius, recognize any faces?"
Warwick was right, the summoners pretending to be drunk were actually my guards.
"Whether its sheer coincidence or not I leave to your interpretation."
Singed placed his masterpiece in front of me after knocking the previous drink down to the floor. The blue-hued elixir simmered and smoked; it yearned to be tested. Singed had many more glasses filled with the fluid and set them before every person at the bar, one of which happened to be Gragas.
"It is filled to the brim with potential. Go ahead and douse the flames of shameful regret." I looked further down the bar and noticed that Gragas drank his already and immediately uttered a guttural "YEEEEAAAAAH!" at the top of his lungs. I would be remiss to not try Singed's efforts myself.
"Bottom's up... I guess." *thud*
"Fantastic Singed, you killed the poor sop."
"Not killed, merely incapacitated. Now we can see about getting him out of here before-"
"Before what, gentlemen?" Leblanc placed her hands upon both Warwick and the incapacitated Irannius. Warwick let out a frightened yelp.
"Uh before... he wakes up and spills his guts out in public, mistress Leblanc." Singed covered for Warwick as the latter regained his demeanor.
"You don't expect him to just walk his own comatose body back to his room now do you?" Warwick hoped that she would not have a response to his question.
Thinking they had succeeded, both the chemist and the blood hunter got up to haul Irannius' body away.
"Oh that won't be necessary boys, I'll handle things from here." Leblanc smirked at the two of them and watched their smug expressions dwindle from their faces. "It's the least I could do for our good friend here, after all." Leblanc pulled the limp summoner close to her body and they disappeared. Singed and Warwick both looked at each other in disbelief.
"Great... now what?"
Singed dejectedly lowered his hands.
"There's nothing we can do... we now know that not only does Swain put all of his eggs in every basket, but that he watches them unblinkingly."
"That ***** never relents. I'm heading back to the lab, you coming?"
"Maybe later, Gragas said he would like to exchange words with me over more of the drink I made. Something about a business proposal."
"We were so close!"
1 November, 20 CLE
The headache was unbearable... I had to go see a nurse. I pulled my green robes off. If I remember correctly... and if what Warwick said was true... I would probably do best to only wear my normal robes for the day.
I stumbled my way to the league's infirmary. The day after harrowing always garners high traffic in the medical ward, drunken fights were a common occurrence on holidays and the league seeks to remedy the carelessness that summoners displayed. After shuffling past bandaged bodies in the hallway, I arrived at my destination. Nurse Akali was on duty.
"What seems to be the problem?"
"Killer headache the size of Cho'gath."
"I'll be with you shortly. Shen is busy with more serious injuries..."
"What about Kennen? Isn't he a doctor too?"
"Kennen would be that 'serious injury' I just mentioned."
"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. What happened?"
"Whoever it was slashed him up real bad. Before we put him to sleep, he mentioned something about howling."
Howling... Warwick wouldn't have done that to Kennen, he was in a fairly jovial mood when last we spoke. What could have set him off so much? Akali started to walk away to tend to the other patients, I could hear the sorrow in her voice when she spoke of Kennen's condition.
"Oh Akali, do you happen to know if Vladimir is here?" She looked at me as if I wasn't making any sense.
"Yeah, he's right behind you..."
I turned around and beheld the crimson reaper within stepping distance of me. The pain in my head throbbed violently, it was impossible for me to feel astonished at the moment.
"You look terrible Irannius." He said with a smirk.
"Nice to see you too Vlad. How did you recognize me?"
"Your blood gave you away. Permit me to fix your current condition... just looking at you disgusts me. Suffocated blood is always a shame to see."
"What do you mean-" Before I could finish my sentence, let alone give him my consent, he pricked my hand with his nail. I felt the rush of his blood enter into the wound and immediately my headache subsided.
"How droll. I never took you for a heavy drinker, Irannius."
"Wow! I feel much better! What did you do to me?"
"I merely... persuaded... your hemoglobin to 'head' in the right direction." He couldn't help but chuckle at his own joke.
"What are you doing here anyway? Aren't there finer reserves to be tapped than the liquor drenched veins of hungover summoners?"
"There are, and they can wait. There is a particular patient that underwent a most gruesome accident..."
"Accident? Are you talking about Kennen? I don't think whatever maimed him did it accidentally." Vlad glared at me and I felt drained.
"Yes, as I mentioned before... a most unfortunate accident. One which I tend to personally." My strength slowly returned to me.
Vladimir strode through the medical ward, hands clasped behind his back. No staff member, not even the ninjas of the league, dared to ever tell him where he couldn't go. I followed behind him, anxious to see both Kennen's wound and Vlad's reaction. We arrived at the recovery wing; the patients there were all concealed by curtains to keep their privacy. Vlad didn't bother checking the clipboards, it was as if he already knew where Kennen was. We paused to enter one of the makeshift cells. Kennen was bandaged from head to toe. I wouldn't have known it was him if I didn't read the clipboard myself. Vlad let out a long drawn-out sigh.
"A lesser man might take advantage of such a delicious morsel... luckily for all of us, I have self-control. Having seen it for myself, I can honestly say that one should never piss off Warwick."
"Warwick couldn't have done this..."
"He could, and he most apparently did."
"That can't be true, I was talking to him last night and he seemed fine to me."
"The wounds don't lie... I better get to work."
Vladimir slashed his hand open above Kennen's sleeping body. The crimson dripped out and onto the wrappings causing the heart-rate monitor to pick up its pace. Vlad continued healing and was being severely weakened for it; the process must've been taxing to say the least. Kennen opened his eyes when the deed was finished and uttered a weak "thank you" to him.
"Take my essence and choke on it. I need to get back to my font summoner... and I regret to say that I can't do it alone now." He didn't need to say anything more, it was the least I could do since he helped me with my own issue. I took his arm over my shoulder and assisted him back to his quarters.
"Why did you do that for him? I thought you were the crimson reaper... not the crimson mender."
"You'd have gall to say that to me under any other circumstance... alas, I am bound to the letter I agreed to."
"The one I gave you? What does that have to do with this?"
"My, you ask many dumb questions. It has everything to do with this. I wouldn't be using my own life to heal some mortally wounded weakling if I wasn't under contract. The letter from Swain detailed that I would be granted many a delectable fluid in exchange for obedience, and handling of particular accidents."
We reached his abode and I carried him on my back down into the cellar.
"I'm counting on the fountain to be full... just toss me in and leave me be. Speak no more summoner... come to me oh sweet sanguine respite!" I did as he asked and brought him next to the golden basin, trying to suppress a gag when he splashed into the pool of blood and disappeared. Not a single drop stained my clothes, either by greediness or thoughtfulness he had done so.
Now I had to deal with Warwick.
It just didn't make sense. Why would Warwick go berserk? Last time we were talking he was even giving me a heads up on how I was still being watched... I'll have to look into that further at a later time, but for now I had to see him.
The door to the laboratory was barely hanging by a single hinge, there were claw marks and slashes in the wood. Before I could enter though, Singed had already rushed up to the dilapidated entry way and stood with arms outstretched to prevent access.
"Now's really not a good time summoner."
"Don't you recognize me Singed?" He carefully took in my facial features and he realized who he was talking to.
"Irannius? You're not wearing your normal attire. Makes no difference if you were Malzahar, Lux, or Mundo though now's not a good time to be poking in our neck of the woods."
"I heard about what Warwick did to Kennen..."
Singed rolled his eyes at me before pulling me inside the room. Obviously the matter at hand was of a tender nature.
"The little fellow had it coming you know, he always traipses around like he owns the place. Warwick was an agent of public service by doing what he did."
"By nearly killing him? I want to know exactly what happened after I got knocked out... and what was in that drink you gave me anyway?"
The mad chemist sighed, there wasn't any way he was going to get out of this.
"Alright well... how do I put this... you're..."
"You're... valuable to us. It was my idea, believe me. We were only going to keep you company for a couple of days and see where that led us."
"Wait what are you talking about? That I was going to be your ransom?"
"After we saw how much Swain was willing to promise us for our cooperation, we thought that if you were worth anything... we'd undoubtedly lace our pockets with it. No harm no foul and its all in the past now, should've figured it wouldn't work considering you have a certain mistress watching you..."
I was willing to forgive him for the attempted kidnapping only because I was recognized as a prize. I wonder how much I would've fetched from Swain... my mind raced with justifications of how I no longer was just like "any other summoner" at the institute.
"I always had a feeling that Leblanc kept her eye on me, luckily for me she did."
"Yes... lucky for you and unfortunate for Kennen. I know Warwick wasn't upset over missing out on a ransom but he was, however, agitated by how things didn't go the way he planned. Once he sets his eyes on something, he usually gets it. On his way back to the lab here... Kennen was alone and Warwick was furious. You're no scientist but I'm sure you can finish the equation of what happened next. I was busy at the bar still, talking with Gragas about a business proposition, when I heard anguished screams and cries for help. It amuses me to no end to see the suffering of others firsthand so I told Gragas that we would talk later and I rushed after the source of the carnage. When I saw Warwick putting Kennen under duress, I acted quickly as to not violate our other term of agreement in the letter. Placing my own safety in harm's way I flung him off of Kennen, which only served to anger him more seeing how things didn't go as planned again. He ran off back to here, and I took the bleeding mess of a 'champion' to the infirmary. Vladimir happened to be there and asked me what I was doing, I filled him in."
"What was in the drink?"
"Oh right, well... a bunch of items you wouldn't understand the name to but I can tell you that I slipped something special in just for your enjoyment...
I believe he's having a fit again, its best if you're not around here for a bit... wouldn't want another accident." Warwick could be heard howling from the deepest recesses of the lab, Singed didn't have to tell me twice. I left as quick as I could.
"Please tell Swain that everything is under control and that we still look forward to our negotiation!"
I wondered why I didn't read the letters in the first place. I'd have clarity of the actions that were expected of all of them if I did. Why didn't Swain just tell me ahead of time? I kept thinking over possible explanations when I spotted my followers in one of the hallways. If Singed could barely recognize me at point blank then I would have no issue listening in on them unnoticed. I casually followed the mob around.
"I haven't seen Irannius around since last night at the bar. Do you think he's asleep in his room?"
"Who knows where he could be."
"I'm just worried about him. We're given the task of protecting him and more than once we've failed. Here he could be the greatest of all Noxus' summoners and we fail to assist him in his time of need."
"I heard a body was committed to the infirmary late last night around the time he disappeared. Do you think it might've been him?"
"We best go there and check, and relinquish our pride if it is."
My suspicions of them were disproved. I could trust them, fool that I am for ever believing Warwick anyway. He more than likely tried to keep me isolated from my followers so I could be abducted more easily. I should be thankful for the devotion they displayed in following me even though I dismissed them. Tomorrow I'd wear my green robes again, and start figuring out the content of the letters.
2 November, 20 CLE
I needed to get all the Noxians in the same room, it would save me time and effort to get to the bottom of everything that way. I made haste to the cafeteria, where I knew I would find my devoted followers. Sure enough they were there, and happy to see me.
"I've got orders for all of you today. You are to tell Sion, Urgot, Katarina, Singed, and Warwick to meet me in Vladimir's room as soon as possible. Its about the letters they were given."
"What about Vladimir?"
"I'll be speaking with him myself."
I thought about whether or not I should invite her already. She seemed to make Singed and Warwick uneasy, and the last thing I wanted was hesitated responses from all of them.
"This concerns the others... not her."
"Understood, right away sir."
I arrived at Vladimir's room shortly after giving my guards their orders. It was important that I got his consent, although I believed he'd agree with me anyway. I knocked and the voice within permitted me entrance. He lounged waist deep, and presumably naked, in his basin lost in relaxation.
"Could I ever just get a day to myself?"
"I needed to talk to you Vlad, it has to do with the letters."
"I told you already all that mine said. What's more of there to say?"
"Everyone else's letters. I would appreciate it greatly if you would host a meeting here for all the champions so that the details of their letters might be known to all."
"Hmmm... well... I guess it would save me time from not having to clean up their messes if they knew what my conditions were. Fine, but remember... my house, my rules. I would ask that you leave now, appearances are everything you know... I must make myself ready for company."
I left. Meeting all the champions one on one was exciting enough, but to have them all in the same room together... I was incredibly nervous and filled with Noxian pride at the same time. My followers now started to return to me saying they got through to all the champions I specified, and that they had agreed. Apparently they must've been as eager to know each other's terms as I was. Vladimir called again from inside his room, telling me that everything was now arranged. I told my followers to make sure that we would not be interrupted, and that they were not to enter under any circumstances.
Vladimir's room looked exactly the same as before only now there were seats arranged in a circle around the pool of blood, the central one was more prominent than the others. Vladimir (now decent) held his hand out to greet me as I entered the room.
"Greetings Irannius, so good to see you again." I shook his hand.
"Do you forget that we talked only moments ago?"
"No, just making sure to be a proper... 'host' hahaha."
Vlad stayed at the entrance, waiting to greet everyone. I took the seat to the left of what appeared to be Vladimir's chair. Warwick and Singed arrived first.
"Greetings Warwick, Singed. I take it no one's appearing before Tribunal?"
"Thanks to you Vlad, we owe you one."
"Come now, I might make good on promises made if you say that."
They took their seats to my left, naturally they sat next to each other. Like-minded individuals, colleagues, friends, former master and apprentice... the two could normally be found together wherever they went, and up to no good. Sion arrived next.
"Salutations Sion, how goes the quest for bodily fortification?"
"It goes. The sooner this starts, the sooner I can get back to it." He took the seat opposite of Warwick. Urgot arrived now, only one more to go.
"Welcome headsman-" Vladimir stopped suddenly in his sentence to giggle upon greeting Urgot. "- it seems you would do well to stand on my right side for the evening."
"What is the meaning of your laughter?"
"Oh nothing, please do make yourself comfortable..."
Finally Katarina arrived after ten more minutes of waiting.
"I trust nothing too serious caused the delay, madame Du Couteau."
"I had other matters to attend to."
"Apparently... I believe there is an open seat between Singed and Sion. Take it and we may begin." She did as he instructed and he closed the door behind her.
Vladimir casually strode to his chair beside me and lied horizontally across the arm rests. He spoke first.
"Now that we're all here we can begin. Our friend Irannius here has voiced his concern over recent events of the past few days. Events that have shockingly been beneath the stature of our demeanor. The cause of which have derived question on motives and whether or not we stand to uphold contract with Swain. It goes without saying that to prove our intent, we must now disclose the terms of our agreements with each other to avoid treasonous implications upon ourselves. We live by Noxian law and are bound by the words we say. You may think to say 'leave honor to Demacians and Ionians' but I will not have any of you jeopardize my contract... I'll start...
My letter asked that in return for complete obedience to the war effort and handling of 'accidents' created by any of you, I would be given the blood of many powerful creatures... and it is with genuine joy that I say that there is one of you among us that is not who they say they are."
The champions looked at each other in disbelief. Had a spy entered their midst? Warwick and Singed were confident that it wasn't them and spoke up.
"It most assuredly isn't us."
"And how can the rest of us know?" Sion spoke as his cryptic gaze forced the two back into their seats.
"Quit wasting my time with games Vladimir, just tell us who it is so we can dispose of them and continue." Katarina wasn't in any mood to be toyed with.
"I could tell you it isn't myself or the summoner here, and... I would consider who has yet to speak..."
All eyes fell on Urgot.
"Don't take me for a fool Leblanc, I knew it was you when you walked in... you may disguise your appearance but you'll never disguise what's on the inside."
The room was quiet, Urgot began to laugh... not the mechanical laugh one would expect from the hextech cyborg, but the laugh of an older woman with an air of aristocracy. Urgot's form writhed, transforming, until in his place Leblanc stood... smirking at Vladimir.
Warwick got up from his chair and bolted across the blood pool for the woman. I barely caught the rage in his eyes when he ran by me. Vladimir lifted his hand and the blood seized the werewolf, constricting him in place.
"Tsk tsk, can we all not be civil? Now Leblanc, I'll politely ask you to leave seeing how you were not invited here."
"What makes you think I'd want to leave?"
"Because it truly would be a shame for my concentration to suddenly break, now wouldn't it? I'd hate to have to visit another body upstairs." Leblanc eyed Warwick as he breathed restlessly.
"Indeed." And with that, Leblanc vanished. Sion was growing very impatient.
"Enough time has been wasted, control yourself wolf. In exchange for a particular suit of armor, I was only to be devoted to the war effort. Speak now Singed." Warwick was released from his liquid bindings and he left the room, no doubt still enraged by Leblanc's visitation.
"Ahem.. on behalf of Warwick and myself, I say that our agreement with Swain was the same as yours Sion. We, however, were promised a great deal of funds and test subjects. Katarina?"
"I wasn't promised anything, I was threatened." No one bothered to ask her for more details. Sion spoke again.
"Then this meeting is done." He got up and left, Singed left shortly after... followed by Katarina.
"Glad it is all settled then, no one is to make anymore mistakes and I won't have to play janitor. You have your answers now Irannius."
Nothing made sense, it seemed like they were all lying. I expected much more to be said. I left with more questions than I had started with... Katarina was standing outside, apparently waiting for me.
"You need to come with me, alone." I did as she asked. Figuring that there's nothing to fear, I dismissed my followers for the evening and thanked them for doing as I asked. How did Leblanc know about the meeting anyway? She led me to the outer summoning platforms, by the Urf fountain.
"I never said everything that my letter asked me to do."
"Doesn't surprise me..."
"In the event that you ever rebelled against Swain... I would be instructed to..."
"Let me guess, report it straight to him? Tell Leblanc? What would you be instructed to do? I'd very much like to know seeing how the only truthful people I know are Swain and Vlad."
"Hahaha good one Kat, didn't know that Noxians had such a twisted sense of humor. How dare you imply that Swain would want me dead!"
"Listen you pathetic, sniveling worm! You should feel grateful to me-"
"Grateful that you would lie to my face? Grateful enough to believe you after twice you've nearly killed me... you just want to mess with my head. You're sick Katarina, come up with one reason why I should believe you?"
She fell silent.
"That's right! You don't have anything to say! Deep down you're the one who's pathetic... getting enjoyment from inspiring doubt in others-" She pulled out her daggers and pressed them both to my throat.
"You would try this again Kat? Do it. I dare you." I looked her dead in the eyes, I wasn't afraid. She struggled to match my gaze, ultimately lowering her blades. Hatred no longer expressed itself on her face, all that was there was pity.
"You aren't worth it... serve your tyrant. I'll be there when he turns his back on you." She left, leaving me alone in the illumination of the now rising moon.
Tomorrow Swain would return, and things would be as they were before. Finally I could put all this business about the letters behind me.
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