Ashe: The War for Freljord – 12

18 Jul

Ashe ran as best she could on her injured leg, putting space between her and the Noxian assassin. She turned around, slotting an arrow into her bow as she did. She brought it up, ready to fire upon Katarina but gasped when she saw how badly the situation had deteriorated in the last five seconds. She saw Olaf with a knife sticking out of his heart and Katarina calmly walking up to him. Ashe’s arms fell to her sides as she watched Katarina calmly slit Olaf’s throat. She couldn’t think, couldn’t understand how the mighty warrior had fallen.

Katarina turned her attention towards Ashe and the Frost Archer snapped out of her momentary reverie, bringing her bow back up to fire. At that moment, Katarina clutched her side and Ashe noticed the deep cuts left there by Olaf’s axes. She took aim and fired, the arrow flying straight for Katarina’s heart. In that instant, Ashe saw an ursine just to Katarina’s left smash a Winter’s Claw soldier towards the Noxian general. The soldier flew perfectly in front of Ashe’s arrow and it pierced him directly through his midsection.

By the time the soldier had hit the ground, Ashe saw Katarina disappear into a group of Winter’s Claw. A loud shout by the Noxian rang out, “Retreat immediately. Winter’s Claw retreat!” Ashe fitted a group of seven arrows onto her bow and let fly into the midst of the group, hoping to get lucky, but merely took down several foot soldiers. As one, the five thousand soldiers left in the Winter’s Claw army began high-tailing it to the southeast. The yeti had clearly lost all taste for fighting and instead of giving chase, immediately began searching the battlefield for wounded.

The ursine were an entirely different matter. It was clear they were enraged about the toll the battle had taken on the yeti army and many were giving chase. Ashe didn’t see Volibear and wondered if she should take charge of the ursine when she heard his powerful voice radiate across the battlefield, “Ursine! Stand down!” The Queen of Freljord was impressed with the respect Volibear obviously commanded among his troops. Not a single one gave in to the primal urge to chase down the fleeing prey.

Ashe immediately went over to Olaf’s corpse, and collapsed next to it. She shed tears silently over his body, allowing herself a few moments to grieve. After promising herself she would honor his last request, to save Tryndamere, she composed herself. She looked up and saw that there were two other people in just as much pain from losing friends and loved ones. She called out Volibear’s name and found him several hundred yards away in the middle of the battlefield. The snow beneath them was tainted red, and Volibear had a nasty gash across his nose, but otherwise looked unharmed. Ashe was grateful she did not need to bury more than one friend that day.

“Please, give your people and the yeti the time they need to properly bury the dead. We will rest tonight and leave in the morning. Any Winter’s Claw soldiers you find alive should be brought to me and I’d like you there to help me question them. We will find their headquarters, and we will assault them.” Volibear agreed readily before relaying the instructions to his people. Ashe walked back to Olaf’s corpse and began digging through the snow with her hands. It was so cold that it burned, but she did not stop working. Her friend had died so that she may live, and she owed him this much.

After an hour, Ashe had dug a grave past the snow and into the frozen dirt beneath it. She knew that it would be deep enough, for the snow never truly melted in Freljord. She gathered his axes and lay them across his chest, paying her respects to the man who gave so much. As she was replacing the dirt and snow she had uncovered, Volibear came up and began helping without a word. Ashe was pleased that she had someone to lean on right now and the two quickly finished.

“Have your people done what they wanted with the bodies?” Ashe asked. “Yes,” said Volibear gently. “Many fine creatures died here today, and I fear that only more bloodshed will come. I saw a prophecy of a Freljord in conflict, and it appears there was nothing I could do to change it.” The agony in his voice at being unable to help his people hit home hard with Ashe and she patted his arm. “Let’s go get some sleep. We can talk in the morning.” The two wandered towards the yeti and attempted to find who was in charge. The yeti language was similar enough to ursine that Volibear was able to have a rudimentary understanding of what they were saying.

“He says to have my army dig snow caves for the night outside of town, but you and I are to visit the elders.” Ashe was unhappy, but would not disrespect a request from the yeti elders. She had only met them once before, when negotiating the treaty that brought them into the current Freljordian system. Ashe and Volibear had to travel three miles, through the bloody, snow covered plains of the battlefield, and then through the streets of the yeti territory. The streets were empty and quiet, almost unsettling for an outsider like Ashe. She spotted the hillside the elder’s caves were located in, and pointed it out to Volibear. The two trudged up the hill and entered the cave tentatively.

Volibear called out, and the elders rushed down from their throne. The three began bowing at the feet of the two friends and they exchanged a look of surprise. Volibear barked something and the elders responded in kind. The meeting between them was very short, but at the end the elders came up and touched her hand gently, and she had the impression they were thanking her. She nodded her head and smiled, weary though she was. After a few more moments Volibear said, “Let us go.”

The two left and he spoke to her, “From what I could understand, we are free to stay here as long as we want and they give us their thanks. ‘Without us, no victory was possible’.” Ashe looked over at her new friend and said, “I fear we may not get any sleep tonight, friend. Let’s not impose upon any of the yeti, they’ve been through enough today. We will go back to the ursine army and discuss today’s events.” Volibear and Ashe slowly made their way back to the battlefield, Ashe having more and more difficulty with her injured leg. Eventually, Volibear simply scooped her up and sat her on his shoulder, giving her a faster, if less smooth, ride.

When they reached the battlefield, one of Volibear’s most trusted lieutenants came up excitedly. Ashe let Volibear speak to him in their native tongue before asking what had made him so excited. Volibear grinned and said, “We have a live prisoner.” Ashe realized this was good news and the two followed the excited lieutenant. They quickly reached the snow cave he had built up, and Ashe was impressed. The hole had been built upwards slightly and actually functioned as a small room, comfortably fitting the two ursine and Ashe.

On the floor, unbound, she saw a soldier bearing the Winter’s Claw mark on his armor. He looked terrified, and Ashe realized the appearance of the ursine probably seemed like a bad dream from his perspective. There was no reason to expect it would’ve happened, and they’d only stumbled upon the battle due to sheer luck. She composed herself, knowing that this man would be easy to break. Smiling, she asked, “Why did you attack us here today?” The man was shaking, probably from cold and fear, Ashe surmised. His voice was weak, and squeaking. “Our orders were to take the yeti by surprise, leave none alive.

Ashe was disgusted, but pressed on. “Are you of Noxus or the Winter’s Claw?” The soldier looked surprised, but said, “I’m originally from Noxus. I’ve been living with the Winter’s Claw over the last two months.” Ashe was pleased he wasn’t lying to her yet. “Where have they been hiding out?” He hesitated here and Volibear stepped in perfectly, “It would not behoove you to lie to her.” The menacing way in which he was standing on his hind legs seemed to make the soldier shrink even further. “I can’t tell you, or they’ll kill me! Promise me you’ll let me live and I’ll tell you whatever you want.”

Ashe looked to Volibear the two stepped outside for a moment. She said quietly to him, “We can turn him over to the yeti to face justice, does that seem fair? We will ensure they don’t kill him.” He laughed softly and said, “We owe him no such honor, but that is fine.” The two went back in and Ashe said, “Deal. If we don’t find them however, I will make sure you die a slow and painful death. One of my closest friends was slain on the battlefield today, and that does not bode well for any who should incur my wrath.” The soldier looked horrified and quickly blurted out, “They are in the minotaur’s forest! We’ve been working with the minotaurs for a few months now and we built an underground lair in their forest lands. Please don’t kill me!”

Ashe left him there whining pathetic and alone. Volibear ordered his lieutenant to take the prisoner to the yeti and return when he was done. Ashe and Volibear sat down alone and discussed the day’s events. “Well, now we know how the Winter’s Claw is getting so many soldiers and materials. They have full Noxian backing. We’re in trouble Volibear. Once we retrieve Tryndamere, we’re going to need to reach out to the nearest city states.” He nodded and said, “This is indeed displeasing, as well as hearing that the noble minotaur have fallen under their rule.”

Ashe agreed with him, and was now worried about how Nunu had fared. She had sent him directly into the enemy without even realizing it. ‘Nothing I can do about it now,’ she thought to herself. “Well, tomorrow we finally know where we’re going and nothing can stop us. Sejuani will not disrupt this new peace we are working towards.” The ursine chieftain grunted his agreement and the two friends began planning their assault on Sejuani’s fortress.

I like this one. I wrote it last night at 3:30 am (couldn’t sleep so thought I’d get one out for ya) but I like the outcome anyways. Not too much to say about it other than have a good one summoners!

-Tale Master


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