Vladimir: Crimson Elite – 15

3 Jul

Vlad felt uneasy as he reappeared in the castle. ‘Riven should not be out there alone!’ he thought. He looked towards Talon and said, “Who’s next?” The leader looked uncomfortable for a moment before saying, “Surely you get it by now Vlad. We need someone to blame for this ordeal. It’s all well and good that we succeeded, but surely the populace won’t accept this unless we have an enemy to present to them.” Vlad’s face remained blank, but inside he was seething. Talon continued on, nonplussed, “In this case, Riven is believable, and already there. Thanks to Katarina and Cassiopeia, everyone already believes that this whole sequence of events was accomplished thanks to Riven. This is the best possible thing for Noxus.” Vlad considered his words carefully before saying, “You’re no different. I thought I was fighting for a Noxus where things could be different, and instead you give me the same thing. You’re sacrificing loyal people to further your personal agenda. I’m leaving.” He turned away from his leader and began to walk back down the hallway towards the runes.

“Where will you go Vladimir? You know I can just as easily turn you in like I did Riven. Stay with us while you still have a chance.” Talon spoke these words beseechingly, and Vladimir was impressed with the depth of emotion he was capable of fabricating. “Talon, congratulations on your rule of Noxus. I warn you, if we meet again, it will not be as friends.” He turned and saw Katarina lifting a knife to throw at him, but he was already melting into the runes beneath him. The last thing he saw was Talon’s face, staring at him with an intensity that frightened Vlad. ‘Yes, Noxus has found a true ruler,’ he conceded. Upon appearing back inside the attic, he heard a shriek reverberate across the ground. He knew that would be Cassiopeia starting the attack and he hurried to the town square. He could hear war cries and death gasps in equal measure as he ran down the streets. He was pleased Riven wasn’t going without a fight.

As he rounded the corner and came within view of the square, he saw a peculiar sight. The fighting had stopped, and Riven was on one knee, balancing herself on a completed blade. He realized she had somehow managed to reforge her rune blade and was impressed; that was not an easy skill. Cassiopeia had writhed up in front of her and he saw Riven stagger to her feet. He began running towards her, wishing to help when he got close enough to hear “-you are beyond redemption.” With that he watching in awe as Riven lunged forward and managed to slice Cassiopeia’s body in half, just between the stomach and the chest. Her body slump to the side and Riven landed on her feet briefly. As she was falling down, Valdimir was crestfallen and hoped he was not too late. The soldiers, stunned at the death of their commander, stood there for a moment before a lieutenant shouted them forward at her. Vlad shouted, “Pitiful creatures. Leave now before you find your precious city in ruins!” A few hesitated, but did not run, so Vlad launched bloody projectiles at them, killing three men instantaneously. During this confusion as the Noxians backed away frightened, Vlad picked up Riven’s body, quickly created a set of blood runes on the ground and disappeared into the blood.

He had teleported them back to his temple home and he could only think of one thing to try. He could still feel her blood pulsing, but barely. The wounds at this point seemed both spiritual and physical, making this very difficult to heal. He rushed her down to the pools beneath his home and attempted a last gasp effort. He had never thought of this before, never having given a care to anyone but himself. He was going to try the same healing technique he used with blood for Riven. He placed her in the pool and concentrated on the blood. He could feel it pouring into her, revitalizing her injuries and wounds. He could feel her physically becoming healthier and knew it was working. After a few minutes in the blood he pulled her out and lay her down on the steps. She was breathing, although she had not yet awoken. He knew they could not stay here; Talon would be looking for them as quickly as he could. Unfortunately, he had no blood runes outside of Noxus, and had to carry her with him on foot.

He quickly set out, not wishing to be caught, and walked the rest of the night and all of the next day before collapsing in the woods. Now that he finally had time to sit and reflect, he gazed over at his companion. They were an unlikely pair, and it was the first taste of friendship Vladimir had ever really enjoyed. As a boy his fascination with blood made him an outcast, and Dmitri had always been more of father figure than a friend. This realization only served to make the hemomancer more determined to save her life. Unfortunately, he only knew of one living creature who could heal such deep scars.

At daybreak, Vladimir gathered up his courage and set off east towards the sea. He was headed to Ionia to get Riven the help she required. He would not rest until he found the healer. As he trudged on, weary, hungry and wanting to give up one word kept going through his head, pushing him on. ‘Starchild.’

Epilogue

Talon sat on his throne, considering how quickly the last month had flown by. He had made a mistake by letting Vladimir go, but since then he had acted flawlessly. With the entire country looking for the two fugitives, there was no chance of his involvement being leaked, which suited him well. Although Cassiopeia had died, there was talk that a combination of necromancy and techmaturgy may be able to save her, similar to Urgot. A grateful Katarina was the most dedicated second in command he could ever have asked for. He had pulled the Noxian troops out of Ionia, deciding instead to focus on training and preparation. This made the world think that they were safe, that the new leader was going to be a different breed from the previous administration.

Unfortunately for them, he had other plans. The Blade’s Shadow smiled, thinking to himself ‘Shortly, our plans for global domination will be set in motion. By the time they come into play, it will be too late to stop us. All will be united under the Noxian banner.’ With that, he stood up and began to walk towards the war room. He didn’t want to keep his new subjects waiting.

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