The woman sat alone at her table. She was in a dark, dingy tavern on the edge of Noxian territory, hunched over a half finished drink. Despite looking absorbed in the bottom of her glass, her eyes panned around the sparsely occupied establishment. With barely a dozen tables, she had been long convinced none of the patrons meant her harm. She wanted to keep a low profile, having just escaped extermination at the hands of her own country’s weaponry. Assumed dead, she was hoping to have a while to think through her life before deciding how to proceed. She was a slender woman of average height, donning a tarnished silver breastplate slightly hidden under a ragged traveler’s cloak. She wore a faded teal hood low over her face, matching most of the clientele and blending in well. The only thing unusual about her was the sword that hung on her belt. It was far larger than an average sword and was broken only a few feet from the hilt. The runes embedded in the blade looked valuable, but the shattered weapon no longer had the range of a knife, much less another sword.
The door opened ferociously, wind howling in the frame, as two uniformed figures walked into the pub purposefully. They moved strongly, and with the gait of men used to the military. The unassuming looking woman was immediately on high alert, but made no outward movements, hoping that the soldiers were there on other business. The men walked over to the barkeeper as she listened as best she could. “We’re looking for a woman, military type. She’d be traveling alone, possibly carry a black stone rune sword. Have you seen her?” “Now, I think I would lose half my patrons if I kept track all their names and whereabouts. Sorry fellas, I can’t help you, “ replied the bartender. The soldiers leaned in closer to the bartender and whispered something inaudible. She noticed the bartender surreptitiously glance over at her out of the corner of her eye and knew she was in trouble. Her taut muscles tensed as she prepared for action.
The soldiers nodded to each other and began to approach the woman cautiously, clearly thinking they had the drop on her. She smiled grimly into her drink before asking, “Can I help you boys?” The men stopped abruptly and hesitated before saying, “Commander Riven I presume? We have orders from-“ “Yeah, I know who your orders are from, and why you’re here,” the woman interrupted. By now the entire tavern was silent, watching the impending altercation with detached interest. Clearly, fights were nothing new to the patrons here. “So, if you know who I am, you must know that I’m not going to go with you,” the woman stated with a quiet determination. “I’m sorry commander, but we’re bringing you in, by force if we have to,” however, his voice quavered a bit as he spoke.
“That is… unfortunate.” Then, as quick a flash, the inconspicuous woman had drawn her sword, gotten up and started diving towards the soldiers all in one fluid motion. The soldiers, taken aback, attempted to draw their weapons, but the former Noxian commander had already swung the hilt of her sword into the temple of one, dazing him. As he crumpled to the ground, knocked out cold, the elegant warrior dashed away again, assuming a stance that was light on her feet and ready to pounce. The soldier looked resigned, but determined, and stood his ground against her gaze, waiting for her to make her move. She laughed, and then lunged forward, swiping across her body, which the soldier managed to block well, however, she was already well into her second swing. As she swung for the second time, the man was late in bringing his sword up, having it knocked slightly away from his body. Sensing her opening, the woman made her last sweeping swing and this time, the truncated blade found its mark, penetrating the soldier’s armor to his spine.
He slumped over dead, and the woman glanced around. The entire bar attempted to look as though they were minding their own business, not wishing to incite this Valkyrie’s wrath. The barkeeper looked terrified as she walked over, knowing he had just sold her out, and contemplating his likely fate. The woman grabbed his collar, pulled him towards her and said “I should kill you for that, but you’re in luck. I’ve got a message I want passed along to that soldier down there when he wakes up. Think you can do that for me?” The coy smile on her face indicated that she knew she would get her way, and the bartender nodded while tears streamed down his face. “Tell Talon that if he really wants to get to me, he’s going to have to come himself.”
With that, Riven walked back to her drink, and toasted ‘For those who were lost’. She drained the mug, left a gold coin on the table and walked calmly out the tavern, knowing her life in exile was going to be much rougher than she had hoped.
If this is your first time here, welcome! This story will span through fifteen chapters in the Crimson Elite saga, and will continue on well past that in other stories. They will all eventually tie in together, and I hope you enjoy them.