Riven: Crimson Elite – 12

30 Jun

Riven was the first one back to cave. She steeled herself, ready to confront Talon, but she already knew that she would be staying with him. He genuinely seemed to believe that Noxus could be a power, and Riven believed he could do it. She only had to wait a few hours before she heard Talon climbing the cliff, talking to someone. She was immediately on alert, knowing that if were Vlad he would have come in by blood travel. When he finally got to the mouth of the cave, she saw Katarina walk in behind him. “Riven!” He exclaimed, “So you succeeded.” He was smiling, but faltered when he saw her expression. “Ah, you’ve found out. Listen –“ “Look, I understand why you did it,” Riven interrupted, “but that doesn’t mean I agree with it. I have chosen to follow you because I want to unite Noxus. I want us to be the power in the land. What I don’t want is to have a regime change just for the sake of it.” Talon looked at her and said seriously, “I completely agree. It was not an easy choice for me to make, and I lied to you because I needed your full cooperation. I’m sorry it had to be that way, but I could not have you hesitating. It needed to be done” His expression lightened slightly and he said, “Now, we just need to wait for our friend Vladimir to get here. He has presents for each of us, so in the meantime, rest up!”

Talon went on to explain the details of his mission, answering Riven’s questions about their extra member. After several hours, Talon went hunting out in the forest, leaving Riven and Katarina sitting there. They did not speak to each other, Riven preferring to sit in silence. Just when she had started to drift off, she heard an odd squelching noise in the corner and saw Vlad teleporting in. She was excited to see him, but saw him getting ready to attack Katarina. She quickly stepped in to stop him from hurting her, and Talon walked in right then. She sat there as Vladimir repeated the process she had just gone through of catching up on events and Vlad handed out armor. She liked hers, but refused to wear the helmet. She didn’t like the gaudy ornamentation on it, and felt it would narrow her field of view. After all the niceties and catching up happened, the group gathered around the table and began planning their infiltration of Noxus.

“Normally,” Talon began, “I would be telling you all your parts separately, so you would not be able to break under torture. For this mission, however, if any of us were to fail, the whole thing fails. This means we need to work together closely, and there can be no mistakes.” “The participants agreed, and Talon pressed on. “Now, for first stage, we have Katarina. She is going to go back and report that I ambushed her, exactly as I did. The difference will be, she will report my death at her hands. I will have fallen off the bridge and because of this, security will be much more lax than it has been.” Katarina nodded her understanding and then said, “This is true, and I have complete control of the guard. I will be moving them to the square in the center of town, based on a rumor that I will have picked up.” Talon smiled and she continued. “That will leave a token group of guards actually surrounding Darkwill, although I’d be surprised if Darius wasn’t there. General Swain is out overseeing the defensive preparations in southern Ionia, so this is a fine time to strike anyways.”

Talon switched his focus to Riven and Vladimir. “You two will be directly escorting me, pushing our way in. Vlad, I know you have blood runes around the city, so you will be our main method of transportation. There are ten floors that we’re going to have to make our way through, though as it stands we will only really find opposition on three floors. The ground floor should have a rather large security contingent to prevent anyone from entering. The ninth floor is where the sleeping quarters for higher ranking warriors are held, and it’s probable we’ll have to deal with them there. The top floor is where Darkwill’s chambers are located.” He looked back and forth between the two of them. “Obviously, this is going to be dangerous. I may have to leave one, or both of you behind to deal with whatever is in our way, because our only goal here is Darkwill. With him gone, the way to the Noxian throne is open. It’s very possible that some of us will die here. Do we all understand this?” Riven nodded her agreement, feeling confident that she would not fall. She looked over to Vlad, and was surprised to see him looking uncomfortable. “Yes, I understand,” he said softly. Riven was intrigued and wanted to ask what was troubling him, but decided it would be better to wait.

“Perfect. We begin at midnight tonight, so make certain you are prepared.” With that, they realized they were dismissed and Vlad and Riven got up. They left the cave together and began to take a walk through the wilderness. “So, what happened with you and the food storage facility?” Vlad asked as soon as they were out of earshot. “When you went to retrieve the armors, I was told I was going to destroy a weapons facility. As you know, it ended up being food storage. I’m still uncomfortable with the damage this will bring to Noxus, but I must admit, rumors of hunger and tension are already spreading. Talon created the perfect climate for a coup.” Vlad looked over at her, “Yeah, this plan is pretty fantastic from a logistics point of view, but I can’t help feeling that something is off. His pulse quickens whenever he starts talking about this plan. Maybe it’s just excitement about a big operation, but it just feels like there’s something more.” His voice trailed off and she could tell he was worried, but she smiled reassuringly at him. “Well, as long as you and I watch each other’s backs, there should be nothing to worry about right?”

She looked over at him and playfully grabbed his arm, “Now what about this? When you left you looked like you weighed less than a hundred pounds, and you come back as the most ripped man in Noxus?” He laughed sincerely, and the sound was good for Riven to hear. She hadn’t been truly happy since her country had betrayed her, and being with Vlad was like being back with her squad. “Oh, you know, a little of this, a little of that… a little of the blood of a thousand souls empowering me.” His teasing grin was the same as ever, and Riven knew that he’d only changed physically. He caught her eye and said with a straight face, “Care to make a donation?” Riven burst out laughing and all the tension of the meeting and their upcoming plan drained in one instant. They wandered for another hour until they came upon a tree that had a low hanging branch, perfect for sitting on. They collapsed down next to each other and sat there in silence, enjoying their surroundings.

“Do you trust him yet?” Riven asked after a while. “No.” Vlad said quickly. “He is a man who is loyal to himself alone, but nothing has changed. He needs us. Plus, we have both showed him loyalty, which he would be stupid to discount.” Riven nodded and thought to herself, ‘Do I trust you yet?’ She knew the answer was yes. She would trust Vlad with her life at this point. “And what about Katarina? What’s your take on her?” Vlad considered a moment and then said, “Surprisingly, I think she was the only one in that meeting without any doubts. She fully believes in Talon, but you know what they say. Converts always make the biggest fanatics. I don’t think we have anything to worry about from her.” They sat there for a while longer in a comfortable silence until the sun started to set.

“We better get back so we can prepare properly,” said Riven. Vlad got up and walked beside her, and the two friends walked back towards the cave. Now that they had a plan, the air seemed charge, ready to burst. They had reached the calm before the storm.

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