Nunu: The War for Freljord – 6

13 Jul

Nunu sat there, clutching his brother’s corpse when a large hand reached down and picked him up. A gruff voice whispered, “We must go now, please, I will take Willump.” Nunu looked up and saw his friend Alistar through his wet eyes. Alistar put Willump’s body over one shoulder; Jessup’s over his other and began to walk briskly away. Nunu followed him closely, in shock over what had just happened. ‘How could Willump die?’ He thought numbly. ‘We’ve been joined at the hip since we’ve met, he can’t be dead.’

As they wound through the streets of the Minotaurs homeland, Nunu lost track of where he was. Upon reaching Alistar’s home, they quickly ducked inside and closed the blinds. It was a simple house, made of logs cut down from a nearby forest. Despite only being one room, and Alistar’s enormous size, the room appeared spacious enough for comfortable living. Nunu felt no joy in seeing his old friend given the circumstances, and the minotaur was currently busy tending to Jessup’s wounds.

Nunu looked over to the mat in the corner and saw Willump’s lifeless body lying there. He went over to him and stared. ‘I can’t let this stop us from our dream. We will unite Freljord, and I’ll always remember you.’ He took a second to compose himself and finally looked over to Alistar. “Thank you, my friend. I needed someone to be strong for me.” The minotaur looked solemn and said, “No need for thanks, and no need to be strong yet. I don’t think you need to do anything before the morning. Get some sleep.” Nunu thanked him and curled up on the ground. He was asleep before he even realized he had closed his eyes.

The next morning, Alistar gently awoke Nunu and said, “Unfortunately, the situation is far worse than we feared.” Nunu sat up and groaned. “Well, go ahead…give me a status update.” Alistar walked over to his small kitchen and began cooking some meat on his stove. Nunu realized he was famished and appreciated the gesture. Jessup lay on the couch, asleep but breathing.

“As you know, you were attacked by a delegation of the Winter’s Claw last night. Unfortunately, they did not all die as we thought. I think they sacrificed the soldier’s they threw at you on purpose. The rest of the group immediately went to the chieftain and told their tale of your savage attack. Unfortunately, with no dissenting story to be heard, our chief believes it.” Alistar looked unhappy, and Nunu sighed. The minotaur served two plates of the meat and they ate in silence for a long while.

Nunu finally said, “I need to speak with your chief regardless, I promised Queen Ashe I would.” Alistar nodded and replied, “I have already arranged it for noon, but I warn you, there are several voices against you. I believe they have been paid off, and it does not bode well for a friendly meeting.” Nunu considered his words and said, “Regardless, thank you. Without you Jessup may well have died as well, and I probably would have destroyed half the town.”

They finished eating and they began to prepare for their meeting. Just as they were planning to leave, Jessup sat up on the couch. He looked around wildly, asking what had happened. Nunu walked over and broke the news to him. He sat there a moment before a hard look came over his face. “Let me come with you brother. I no longer trust anything happening around here, and hopefully we can help each other’s odds of survival.” Nunu clapped him on the shoulder and the three friends went off towards the chieftain’s dwelling.

As they arrived at the house, Nunu marveled at its size compared to the buildings around it. It was at least three stories tall, made of polished wood, and looked brand new. Nunu asked about it quietly to Alistar who said, “Things have been very different lately. Minotaurs tend not to care about material wealth, but about a month ago our chieftain demanded a new home. We are not to argue, and made him this place. He has accumulated many opulent things in a very short time, and it is slightly disturbing. Unfortunately, questioning the chief is a sure way to be executed, so no one says anything.”

Nunu was already suspicious from the night before and didn’t like the sound of what he was hearing. He began to get an uneasy feeling and reconsidered his approach for a moment. After debating with himself, he knew that this meeting was his entire purpose for being here, and not having it would mean that Willump had died for nothing. He shored up his resolve and walked up to the large wooden door, knocking loudly. He waited for a long time before a minotaur opened the door and looked down.

He was young, hardly older than Alistar and Nunu was taken aback. He had assumed the chieftain would be an elder, like the yeti clans. He looked up and said, “I am Nunu, the Yeti Rider. I am an emissary from Queen Ashe of the Freljordian capital city, and I came to speak with you about joining us in our goal for peace.” The minotaur, a deep blue that almost looked black, stared back before saying, “Yes, come in then.” He brought the three guests inside and they all looked at each other uneasily upon entering. There were many golden figurines and treasures that seemed very expensive.

“Your home is lovely,” Nunu commented a little timidly. He was worried by the opulence on display, wondering where he had accumulated such wealth. The chief answered, “Thank you. I recently began to realize that I enjoy the finer things in life, and have been outfitting myself accordingly.” He seemed very smug upon saying this, and Nunu looked over at Alistar. His friend appeared to be uncomfortable, and Nunu’s sense of foreboding was growing. The chieftain disappeared up the stairs and called down, “Follow me, my office is on the second floor.”

Nunu slowed his walk and whispered to Alistar, “Are you sure we can trust him?” The minotaur hung his head before softly saying, “I honestly do not know. The chief is acting suspiciously and I’ve never seen such a disgusting display of wealth by a minotaur. Proceed carefully.” Nunu nodded and headed up the stairs. Jessup stayed as close to him as he could, and Alistar brought up the rear, keeping his head on a swivel. They found themselves in a hallway as they came to the top of the stairs, with four doors around them. Only one was open, and Nunu headed towards it.

As he opened the door, he saw the chief standing behind a large wooden desk, and a figure standing next to it. It took Nunu a moment to realize what he was seeing, but gasped when it hit him. Draven, the glorious executioner of Noxus, was readying his throwing axes. He looked wicked standing there with a chilling smile, spikes protruding from the armor at all angles. His armor was a dark blue, tainted with glowing skulls and imbued with a claw in blue warpaint on the front of his breastplate.

Nunu had no time to think of the implications and shouted, “It’s a trap!” before diving behind the door. He heard a battle axe hit the side of the hall right where he’d been standing and quickly clambered onto Jessup’s back. They ran down the stairs, Alistar leading the way by a fraction. Two guards tried to step in their way, but Alistar sprinted towards them and dove forward, headbutting the two back against the walls. The trio took advantage of their momentary opening and sprinted through the door, out into the streets.

“To the forest, it’s the only way!” Alistar shouted and bounded towards the woods behind the chief’s house. As they wound their way through the trees, Nunu kept using his blood warming magic on his brother and his friend to aid their getaway. They ran for most of the day, only resting as it grew dark. They found a small clearing and collapsed, exhausted from the effort of the day. Even though it was risky, they built a small fire to keep warm and gathered around it to discuss the day’s events.

“It was Draven.” Nunu said bluntly. “As in Noxian Draven, standing there, complete with Winter’s Claw armor. That’s why they’ve been hiding in the shadows. They’re biding their time, supporting a revolution. Just by turning Freljordians against each other, they can essentially come in and conquer the region without much risk. As long as we all turn on each other, we’ll be easy pickings for a Noxian conquest.” He looked downcast and for the first time since he could remember, he felt like a child. His brother was dead, his country was in peril, and here he was out in the woods with a yeti and a minotaur. Things were not looking good.

Alistar filled him in on the things happening around the minotaur lands lately, and Nunu was distressed to learn that popular opinion had already turned towards the Winter’s Claw. Apparently, they had been bringing gifts for months now, telling tales of Freljordians persecuting and attacking them. None of this was true, and Nunu was appalled at the accusations. “Nothing we can do now but get a good night’s sleep and assess our options,” he said to his companions. “Rest up, and we’ll discuss it in the morning.”

This one is the longest I’ve written yet, but I feel like there’s a lot to get to. Hopefully you enjoyed it, and the background didn’t spoil it too much ;). You’ll be getting another one later in the day (I hope!) and from there we should be back on the regular schedule!

-Tale Master

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