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Vladimir: Ionian Fervor – 13

13 Aug

As they were being led down to the dungeons, Vlad saw Lee Sin look at him. The Blind Monk nodded almost imperceptibly and in that instant, Vlad knew their plan. At once, Vlad unleashed a torrent of blood upon the two guards holding him, burning them wherever his blood touched. Looking over, Vlad watched Lee Sin smash the ground and send out a small shockwave, putting his two guards off balance. Immediately after, Lee Sin threw an orb of energy, striking one and quickly kicked the other hard into the wall.

In a matter of three seconds, all four guards were incapacitated and the two stopped briefly. Vlad asked, “Well, what now? Did Irelia really betray us?” Lee Sin looked over disdainfully and said, “Come now, is your attraction really making you that blind?” Vlad’s face was shocked and he said, “What are you talking about?” Lee threw him a hard look and said, “We don’t have time to discuss it now, but she was devastated. We need to meet up with those two before they get themselves killed trying to help us.”

The two raced back up the hallway where they had been taken, but Vlad cut them off when they reached the door. The two paused and Vlad peered around the corner. The room was empty, but the lights were still on inside. He whispered, “Let’s go.” Lee Sin followed him and the two quickly crossed the room. Seeing another hallway on the far side, the two decided to follow it. As they went, they heard voices coming from a room on the side.

The Duchess’ voice rang loudly down the hall. “Do it Soraka. You either wake her up, or I kill her.” Vladimir heard a slightly muffled response, and then silence for ten seconds. The two escapees inched closer to the door, trying to hear more. Suddenly, a groan rang out followed by a voice saying, “Where am I?” Vlad was momentarily stunned to hear that voice again, but held his silence. Karma’s voice came through clearly.

“Ah, the Noxian is awake. Fine work Soraka. You and Irelia may now leave.” Vlad held his breath, and there was the sound of a small scuffle before he heard. “Ah, there we go. I was wondering when your true, traitorous colors would come out.” Karma sounded confident and in control, a signal Vlad took to be a bad omen. He tapped Lee Sin on the shoulder and the Blind Monk nodded. They moved and appeared in the doorway, Vlad witnessed a strange scene.

Karma, ten guards, Irelia, Soraka and Riven were all packed into a very small room. Karma was standing against a wall to the left, unarmed, while two guards aimed pikes at Riven’s throat, and four each pressed pikes to Irelia’s and Soraka’s. Everyone in the room turned and looked at the two newcomers, and there was a moment where everyone stood stock still, unsure what to do.

In an instant, Vlad fired blood at everyone he could hit, unable to get to the guards in the back by Riven. All eight guards on Irelia and Soraka recoiled for a moment, and that was all the time the Will of the Blades needed. Her flying knives quickly sliced up the guards around them until only the two by Riven were left. She was sitting up, against the wall, looking scared, but determined. Lee Sin ran over to Karma and restrained her, while Vlad calmly walked up to the two guards.

“Leave now, and you live.” Vlad’s voice was soft, but his tone left no doubt that he would follow through on his threat. The two guards quickly ran away and Riven slumped down, obviously relieved. Vlad quickly hugged her and said, “I’m so glad you’re back.” Riven didn’t say anything, but simply looked confused. Turning back towards the room, Vlad saw Irelia address Karma.

“Would you like to tell me what’s going on? You were a wise and caring ruler! Suddenly you’re ignoring an invasion so you can torture an innocent person solely because she’s a Noxian? What happened?” Karma laughed haughtily and said, “This invasion is a joke, we’re winning it. You yourself went and won the northern campaign.” Irelia’s face looked angry and without moving a muscle, her blades sprang to life and pressed again Karma’s throat. The haughty look disappeared at once and terror replaced it.

“Tell me why. What happened after the Noxian invasion?” Karma looked as though she was debating whether or not to answer when Irelia’s blades pressed harder into her flesh, drawing a small line of blood. Suddenly Karma’s face appeared triumphant and she said, “It matters not what you do to me. My love will win it all in the end.” A manic glee appeared in her eyes, and Karma lunged forward, slicing her neck on the blades.

She began choking, but Vlad just sat back and laughed. Everyone turned to look at him, wondering if he’d gone crazy, but he merely put his hand out. The flow of blood stopped and Vlad calmly said, “Soraka, if you would?” The Starchild smiled at him and before their eyes, the wound closed. Karma looked distressed and Vlad kneeled down, meeting her eyes. “Now, Duchess,” contempt dripped from his voice as he said the word Duchess.

“Why don’t you and I get into some specifics?” Karma looked frightened, unsure of what to do, before a defeated look crossed her face. After taking a moment to regain her composure, she told them the whole story, starting with the Noxian retreat.

Hmmmm, interesting stuff. 🙂 Have a good one summoners.

-Tale Master

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Vladimir: Ionian Fervor – 10

9 Aug

They had been training for a week, and already Lee Sin had shown clear improvement. He was strong, fast and knew how to use all of his senses to make up for his lack of sight. Vlad knew that there wasn’t more he could get out of this without the two of them truly fighting to the death. During this time, the two had gotten to know each other quite well and were becoming extremely close friends. After they finished their training for the day, they sat down to talk.

“I think you’ve learned as much as you will from sparring with me. At this point you’ll need different opponents.” Lee Sin smiled and said, “Thank you. It no longer feels as though I am disadvantaged. While I’m not quite the same as I was before, I certainly grew stronger in other ways.” Vlad was glad to hear it and said, “So what now? I need to save Riven, but I really don’t want to assault the compound and kill everyone.”

The two men sat there and considered their options for some time, unable to find a good choice. Finally Lee Sin said, “I really don’t know what else we can do. Perhaps you could try to find somewhere-“ He stopped mid sentence. “Wha-“ Vlad started, but Lee Sin raised a hand and cut him off. He leaned in and whispered to Vlad, “I hear voices. I don’t believe it’s safe here anymore.” Vlad nodded, trusting Lee implicitly and tugged on his arm.

Lee followed, so he must’ve gotten the hint, and Vlad headed west. The voices had come from the east, the direction of the prison, and from what Lee had told him, the western central coast of Ionia was largely uninhabited. As they hurried along, Lee kept his hand up, trying to keep things quiet. Finally, he stopped and whispered, “I don’t hear them anymore.” Just as Vlad was about to speak, a voice called out from behind. “Stop where you are.”

Vlad turned around and was relieved to see Irelia standing there. “Irelia! I’m glad it’s you. We were afraid that you were after us because of the prison break.” He laughed, feeling better and glad to see the woman again. She, however, stood there looking slightly unsure of herself. “Vladimir, I’ve come to take you in.” She looked very awkward, and Vlad was unsure what to say. He looked over towards Lee and was surprised to see he wasn’t there.

Facing Irelia again he said, “Are you sure this is how you want it to be? You know I didn’t do anything.” He sincerely hoped she would reconsider. He liked Irelia and he didn’t want to hurt her. She hesitated, “I have orders from the Duchess, and I must follow them.” Vlad was disappointed but said, “That is… unfortunate. I can’t let you take me.” Before he had even finished speaking, he attempted to hurl a blood bolt in Irelia’s direction, but found he could not sense the blood around him. He panicked, and tried his best not to let it show.

Irelia looked to him and said, “Well, of course I came with backup. That’s what we call being silenced. Soraka focuses all her energy on taking away your abilities to manipulate magic.” Vlad was stunned. He had been in control of blood for so long that he hadn’t remembered what it felt like not to be. He felt naked and vulnerable. Irelia readied her blades, preparing to engage, when they heard a loud scream from thirty yards back.

A horned woman appeared around the side of a tree, who Vlad knew from tales to be the Starchild. Carrying her by the scruff of her neck, Lee Sin followed and said, “I caught something.” Vladimir could feel the blood around him in the air again and was relieved. “As you can see, Irelia, I had help as well. Thanks Lee.” He smiled a cocky smile at her. “Now, if you would; listen to my story, then you can try to take me in if you’d like.”

He told Irelia the entire story, beginning from the time he was recruited by Talon in the Crimson Elite, up until meeting Irelia in the restaurant. She listened attentively but it was Soraka who spoke up first. “Your friend Riven is being held in the Placidium with the Duchess. I tried to go in to tend to her, but was not allowed. They’re essentially trying to blackmail you into complying with them.” Vlad looked angry and said, “She hasn’t done anything, and neither have I.”

Soraka said gravely, “That doesn’t matter to the Duchess right now. She’s been acting oddly ever since the Noxian invasion ended. Talon came to the capital that day to formalize the ceasefire.” This news worried Vladimir, as he knew what an excellent politician and assassin Talon was. He ignored it for now however and said, “Well, what now? You’re not really going to arrest us again, are you?” Irelia looked thoughtful before saying, “I know I should, but it just doesn’t feel right. I don’t understand why Karma is putting you on such a high priority with the Zaunite invasion underway.”

Vlad’s surprise must have been evident on his face, because Irelia immediately said, “Oh, you haven’t heard about it yet? Singed and a new general named Viktor have been leading Zaunite forces in an invasion of the southern and northern parts of Ionia. Karma isn’t taking it seriously because we defeated Viktor in the north and she’s assuming that’s all taken care of.” Vlad looked worried before Lee Sin said, “Does this seem too convenient to anyone else?”

Everyone looked over at him and he laughed saying, “I can feel your stares, even without seeing them. But it seems strange that Noxus would have a complete lifestyle change from what we’ve always known. Why would the perennial invaders back off only for their closest allies to begin their own assault.” Soraka asked, “What are you suggesting?” Lee Sin shook his head and said, “Honestly, I don’t even know. I feel like there’s something going behind the scenes that we’re unaware of.”

The four of them stood there, enmity forgotten, contemplating events in Ionia. Finally, Vladimir looked around and said, “Well, I’d like to help Ionia. During my brief time here, I’ve grown to enjoy it. First and foremost though, I want to save Riven.” A curious look crossed over Irelia’s face, but before Vlad could ask what it meant, Soraka cleared her throat and asked, “Do you really want to go back to the capital? Karma will not listen in her current state.”

Vladimir stood there, thinking through his options before suddenly bursting into laughter. “I’ve got it!” He walked right up to Irelia, their faces less than a foot away. Suddenly, he kneeled at her feet, bowing his head and held out his hands before saying, “Irelia, I submit myself to your martial prowess. You may take me prisoner now.” She stood there looking stunned for a moment before he raised his head and looked at her. He winked and she laughed, a look of understanding crossing her face.

“So, you want to submit to me eh?” She gave a wry smile before continuing. “Well, if we want to do something this suicidal, we’ll need a good plan.” Vladimir laughed and the four set about arranging their infiltration of the Placidium.

So, there hasn’t been a lot of action the last few days, but I feel like the story has really come along. Luckily, I can promise you tomorrow is going to be a post of almost entirely action, with a little story tacked onto it ;). I know I’ve already said this, but I’m REALLY enjoying this series so far. It seems like it is the most cohesive, the characters are getting more filled out than before and the plot teasers are just enough to keep you guys coming back for more (I think).

Also, I’d really like to thank anyone who comments, I’ve enjoyed getting to know some of you a bit through your responses :). Have a good one summoners.

-Tale Master

Vladimir: Ionian Fervor – 5

4 Aug

Vladimir sat down on a rock at the edge of the clearing. They had been running through the forest for a long time, and the sun hung high in the sky. As he sat, he realized he’d not slept in two days and his exhaustion hit him like an ancient golem. He asked Lee Sin if he’d keep watch while Vladimir slept. Lee Sin consented and sat down cross legged. Vlad could tell he was meditating and thought it must have been a handy skill in prison. He found a spot in the shade of a tree and lay down, letting sleep fall over him.

He fell into a deep sleep and woke up as the sun was rising. He looked over and saw Lee Sin still meditating in the same spot. The man seemed to come out of a trance and broke into a grin saying, “Sleep well?” Vladimir laughed and said, “Yes, I did thanks. You could’ve woken me up to get some sleep yourself.” Lee Sin’s smile was warm and sincere while he said, “I have no need. Mediation gives me just as much rest, but allows me to remain aware of my surroundings. He pushed his hair out of his face and Vlad saw his eyes for the first time. They were a deep brown color, and clearly he was a man used to smiling. Vlad couldn’t help but like him.

“Alright, well I’ve got one for you. Why did they keep you in prison if you were put there by the Noxians?” Vlad had been wondering this and was interested to hear what his companion’s take on it was. “I’m honestly not sure. The only thing I can think of would be my fighting prowess.” He looked at Vladimir sheepishly and said, “I’m sorry, I do not wish to be boastful. I was trained in a Shojin monastery and I learned to fight quite well. I only say this because I think that’s why I was kept in prison. Ionia has been undergoing some strange changes lately, and it seems that we’re going out of our way to make ourselves vulnerable.”

Vlad thought on his words and was impressed he had a Shojin master here with him. He had heard tales of the fighting style in Noxus, and it explained his impressive display at the prison. He was about to ask if the man wanted to spar a bit so he could get a demonstration when he stopped. A beautiful singing voice came from the forest behind him and he turned immediately, looking for the source. He was unable to see it immediately, but the voice continued to sing. He was entranced, unable to think of anything other than reaching that beautiful voice.

Lee Sin was speaking in the background, but Vladimir heard none of it. The voice was calling to him, telling him to come chase her. ‘Well, there’s nothing else I’d rather do in the world,’ he thought to himself and took off sprinting into the forest. Lee Sin yelled behind him, but he didn’t care. He ran a few hundred yards, dodging in between trees and chasing down the source of the beautiful voice. He rounded a thicket of bushes and when he turned, he saw her.

She was a beautiful woman, if a bit unusual looking. She had short cropped burgundy hair with ears poking out of the top. She wore what looked like a leather leotard with furs attached to the belt. The most unusual part of her appearance however, were the tails. From her lower back she had nine beautiful, bushy tails that glowed red as if they were on fire. They swayed back and forth, holding Vladimir’s attention completely.

She giggled and said, “Let’s have some real fun.” She winked at him and blew him a kiss. It almost seemed to strike him physically and Vladimir wandered forward, intoxicated by the strange woman’s presence. Just as he was about to fall into her arms, something flew from behind him and struck the woman in the chest. She flew backwards, hitting a tree hard and slumped to the ground. The trance wore off instantly and Vlad looked over at Lee Sin.

“What on earth just happened to me?” Lee Sin laughed and said, “It appears you’ve fallen victims to the charms of Ahri, our Nine-Tailed Fox.” As he finished speaking the woman stood up and seemed to be clutching an orb of energy. Her voice was suddenly much harsher and she screeched, “Yes, and now playtime’s over!” She charged at the two quickly throwing her orb at Lee Sin, forcing him backwards. She quickly changed direction and dove directly at Vladimir. Three small fires were circling her and she quickly threw them at Vlad.

He managed to jump out of the way of the first one, which evaporated upon hitting a tree. The next two struck him squarely in the chest, causing him to feel as though he was being boiled from the inside. He focused himself and found her blood in the air, pulling some to him. She cried out in pain and fell backwards. Lee Sin then threw out his own orb of energy, striking her firmly. She attempted to dash away again, but as she did, Lee Sin jumped towards her and kicked her directly again. She wobbled backwards, and fell again, hitting the ground hard.

Lee Sin looked over at Vlad and said, “You ok buddy?” Behind him, the Nine-Tailed Fox had already gotten on her feet and had the little fires floating around her again. Vlad shouted a warning out, but it was too late. The first fire struck Lee Sin in the stomach, making him double over. This motion caused the next two to strike him directly in the face. He yelled in agony as the fires raged on him. Vladimir fired a bullet of his blood at Ahri, but the fox had already retreated, giggling as she ran away.

He quickly ran over to Lee Sin and tried to put out the fire. He tore off his cape and threw it on him, patting it out where he could. Lee Sin’s cries were muffled and he thrashed about. Vlad felt awfully for him, and took off the cape. While his face looked raw and torn up, it was Lee Sin’s eyes that made him pause. His eyes had been burned out of the sockets, and Vlad knew there was no reversing that. Horrified, Vlad picked him up and carried him back to the clearing. He set him down and said, “If you can hear me, I’d go into the deepest trance possible. We need you to heal up as much as you can.”

Though Lee Sin didn’t acknowledge that he heard, the grunting stopped and he became perfectly still, sitting up straight. Vladimir sat down against a tree next to him, wondering how his time in Ionia could’ve gone so badly.

Alright, this may be the ballsiest move I’ve made so far in writing League Tales. I am indeed changing Lee Sin’s lore, but mainly because I had to. Lee Sin was supposed to be blinded during a protest of the Noxian occupation of Ionia. Thanks to the intervention of Noxus’ new leader Talon, there is NO protest to be had. I had a couple of different choices to go with here:

  • I could pretend he had been blinded earlier, in a different protest.
  • I could have made him Lee Sin, the Monk.
  • I could have just skipped over it and taken for granted that you all know he’s the blind monk.

In the end, I went with this because I thought it would be fun, and as you guys know by now, I like using different skins as plot points. This gave me the chance to use Foxfire Ahri, as well as telling Lee Sin’s story slightly differently :). In my opinion, this is the best one yet from the Ionian series, and hopefully I’ll be able to live up to this one from now on!

Since I wrote this one late last night, you guys get it nice and early today.

On a final note for today, I have added a new section for new readers! If you’ve been here for a while, don’t worry about it, but I’m hoping this can make the site more accessible for everyone.

Have a good one Summoners.

-Tale Master

Vladimir: Ionian Fervor – 3

2 Aug

He charged up the steps for the second time in the last day. As he neared the top, he saw guards posted outside this time. His shoulders had begun to ache from carrying Riven, but he didn’t feel safe leaving her anywhere. He slowed to walk and the guards called out, “You there, this area is closed. What is your business here?” Vlad hesitated for a moment, knowing his plan could backfire. After taking a deep breath he said, “I believe I have information about the temple’s attackers. Please let me in.”

The guard narrowed his eyes and his partner leaned over to say something quietly to him. Vlad felt tense, not liking their reaction. He began to back away slowly when the guard yelled “Don’t even bother. We have men stationed at the bottom. Now, our Duchess would like to see you.” Vladimir considered running for a moment, but knew he would not have the energy thanks to Riven. He walked up slowly and the guards pointed their pikes at him.

The doors opened behind them and they marched him in, always looking ready to strike. The chamber was well lit, and Vlad’s breath was taken away by its beauty. The room glittered with gems placed throughout and the sparse furniture was all a dark colored wood. Standing in the middle of the room was a severe looking woman dressed in an elegant black gown. Her headdress held her dark hair up in a bun and two unusual looking fans swayed at her side.

Vladimir walked up to her and bowed, attempting to be formal, but as soon as he took his eyes off her he was smacked by the flat side of a pike blade. He fell to his knees and dropped Riven over his head. She hit the ground with a thump and he felt a tinge of guilt, but knew there was nothing he could do about it now. He waited until he was addressed, thinking this woman looked like someone not to be trifled with.

She gazed down on him with obvious dislike, and Vladimir did not like the situation. “Who are you, and what are you doing here?” The woman’s voice was regal, but cold. Vladimir answered “I am Vladimir. I met Irelia earlier today at a restaurant south of here. She told me to meet her here so I could have my friend healed by the Starchild. When I came here earlier, I saw the bodies of several people lying in this chamber.” He stopped for a moment, knowing this would sound bad, but opted to tell the truth anyway. “I ran because I did not think it would wise of me to be found in such a spot.”

The Duchess had kept her face impassive throughout his tale, but now broke out into a harsh looking smile. Vladimir was concerned about her expression. He had heard the Ionians were enlightened and open-minded. This Ionian leader seemed cruel and calculating. “If that is true, why do you come back to us now? Have a change of heart, Noxian?” Her smile became triumphant and Vlad knew he did not have much chance.

“I came back because I found a Zaunite general back at the inn where I was staying. I wanted to come warn you. Please, you must believe me. Find Irelia and she’ll tell you!” The Duchess looked as though she had won another victory and Vlad’s heart sank further. “Irelia was found attacked and unconscious earlier this afternoon. I think it was you who attacked her.” Vlad immediately asked, “Is she alrgiht?” The Duchess did not answer and merely said, “We have no time for the trouble you bring Noxian. Your people are no longer at war with us thanks to your new leader Talon. You cretins should all follow his example.”

With that she began to walk away. On her way out she paused by the back door to relay a command to the guards. She walked out the door gracefully and Vlad knew he was in trouble. He was planning how to disable his guards when one of them suddenly pressed his pike to Riven’s throat. “You try anything buddy, and she dies. You got it?” Vlad nodded meekly, his anger rising inside of him. “Good. We’re taking you to a prison outside of town. Any trouble at all on the way and we’ve got orders to execute your friend first, then you.”

They left the temple together with Vlad leading and five guards surrounding Riven. The Duchess had clearly sensed that he was more concerned for her life than his own. They marched straight on through the night. There had been no moon that night, so the way was very dark. There wasn’t much Vlad could see beyond the trail directly in front of him, so he stayed on it. Just as the first touch of color was returning to the sky, a large building loomed before them.

Every building he had seen in Ionia so far had been very aesthetically pleasing. This building was a lump of concrete that had been built without beauty in mind. At the gate, Vlad was handed off to the new guards. He waited for them to hand over Riven, but the five guards who had traveled with him turned away and carried her with them. “Where are you going with her?” Vlad demanded with a shout. They did not respond and he was preparing to attack when he felt a pain behind his right ear. He went down and got smashed again in the head before blacking out.

He woke up inside of a dark windowless cell. There was a dim torchlight in the hallways, but it only served to give the entire room an eerie glow. Vlad looked around attempting to get his bearings, but realized he couldn’t see much. He sat up and realized he sensed another’s blood in the cell with him. “Hello? Who’s there?” Vlad called out to the darkness. A voice from the far corner replied “You have nothing to fear from me. I can tell you are a kind soul, and are here because of something you did not do.”

Vlad was leery of trusting someone in a prison cell, but assumed it could not hurt to just speak. “I am a visitor from Noxus, and during these times I’m not trusted because of it. Why are you here stranger?” The voice chuckled and said, “I am here because I spoke out against the Noxian occupation before they backed off. When it came time for me to be released, someone higher up said no and I was put back here without a trial.”

Though this didn’t sound like the Ionia he’d heard of for many years, although it did sync up with the events of the last day. “It would appear something is very rotten in Ionia,” Vlad said quietly. “Worry not,” came the voice from the shadows. “I believe that you are already forming a plan to escape. I’d like to help.” Vlad was taken aback at how sharp this fellow was. “Actually, I already have a guaranteed method of escape, though you will likely find it morbid and gruesome.”

He didn’t know why he was saying this, but for some reason, he trusted the man already. “I will need you to help me grab a guard’s attention. I need blood for this to work.” The two spoke in hushed tones, hashing out a plan for half an hour before they were satisfied. “I have abilities that they’ve likely only heard of in their nightmares,” Vlad said. “Let’s use it to our advantage.”

The man began by yelling out that his cellmate was bleeding. Vlad lay on the ground and allowed blood to seep from his pores, creating the illusion of injury. The guards came rushing down and as soon as they got there, Vlad forcefully absorbed their blood into his. They fell to the ground dead and Vlad formed blood runes on either side of the cell door. “Now, this may be a little unsettling,” He warned his new companion.

Vlad gathered the blood from the runes back into his body, knowing he’d not need them again. They ran down the hallways of the prison, with Vlad clearing the path in front of them rather easily. He had known he could do this, but didn’t want to risk it with Riven’s life in the balance. At this point, he had no control over it and gave in to his bloodlust. By the time they reached the wall of the prison, Vlad was controlling a large orb of blood that did not belong to him.

He was debating how best to handle this when his new friend stepped forward and said, “May I?” Vlad nodded and watched as the stranger threw a different ball of energy into the excess blood. It began to glow and pulse before his partner kicked the sphere into the wall in front of them. It exploded with a powerful force and a gaping hole was left in its place. Impressed, Vlad rushed through with him and they found themselves on the edge of a forest.

Charging in, Vlad took stock of his companion for the first time. He was a powerfully built man wearing nothing but the tattered remains of black pants. His hair that had grown so long it covered his eyes. A large tiger tattoo adorned each shoulder, and he ran with a grace that suggested martial arts training. They ran for a long time, changing directions randomly in the forest until they came across a clearing. The sun was burning brightly overhead, and they stopped to rest.

“So, what’s your name partner? I’m Vladimir.” The stranger smiled and said, “Pleased to meet you Vladimir. I’m Lee Sin.”

This one was long. I almost made it two parts, but in the end I decided to turn it into one. I gave you guys a short one yesterday, and looking back it may have made more sense to put yesterdays and the first half of today’s together, but oh well. Too late now xD.

I enjoyed it, and hopefully you will too! Have a good one summoners!

Tale Master

Vladimir: Ionian Fervor – 2

1 Aug

His head was on a swivel, taking in all of his surroundings. He had just arrived at the base of the mountain, carrying Riven on his shoulders, her body draped around him like a shawl. It was not the most graceful way to carry her, but it was certainly the most effective. He figured she’d understand even if she woke up a little bruised. He was not wearing his Crimson Elite armor, figuring that would make him stand out in a crowd. He simply wore a red tunic with silver buckles, on top of crimson and white streaked pants. His boots crunched loudly on the ground beneath him.

It had just reached twilight, and the sun sent an orange glow cascading over the mountainside. As he trekked up the mountain towards the temple, his thoughts strayed towards his journey to this place. He had left Noxus in a hurry, and after taking Riven to his home he had hastened to Ionia. The trip proved uneventful, which Vlad had been thankful for. He’d gotten several weird looks hauling around a woman with him, but no one seemed to want to ask. He’d hitched a ride on a fishing boat and set off for the capital.

Upon arriving on the outskirts, he’d been told to ask at that restaurant about Soraka. His advances had been rebuffed for weeks before earlier today when he snapped. He was glad he did, and he was intrigued by this Irelia he had just met. He had felt her blood pulsing through her body and felt intoxicated by her vitality. There was something unusual about her, ‘Plus,’ he admitted to himself, ‘She was easy on the eyes.’

He shook off the thought and focused on the matter at hand. He saw the waterfalls off to the side and admitted that Ionia was a beautiful place. He felt peaceful here, something he’d never felt before. Reaching the temple door, Vlad stepped in and froze. There was a musty quality to the air, and it didn’t feel right. He gently lay Riven down against the side of the door and ventured forward. The room was dark and Vlad’s sense of foreboding grew.

He opened all of his senses and could find no fresh blood in this place. He continued forward cautiously, keeping an eye out for anything unusual when he stumbled slightly. Looking down, he saw the corpses of five priests, all with the same slightly consternated look on their faces. He quickly turned and began to walk back to the entrance. This did not look good for him. He grabbed Riven and quickly slung her over his shoulders again.

“Hey, you there, stop!” A voice cried out from behind him and he began to run. Bursting out the front door, he began sprinting down the mountain as fast as he could. ‘I really need to establish a blood rune network,’ he thought to himself wistfully. He could not hear any pursuers, but he didn’t stop until he reached the base of the mountain. He slowed down just enough to check over his shoulders and didn’t see anyone.

He walked briskly, heading back to the inn. Contemplating what this all meant, he knew he was in trouble. He was a Noxian in Ionia, shortly after the Noxian invasion ended. He had shown up at their most sacred temple and found bodies there. Yes, he was in trouble. Upon reaching the inn, he opened the doors and nearly dropped Riven. Sitting there at the table was Singed, the Mad Chemist of Zaun. His mouth was covered in rags, as always, and his shield was propped up against the table. Vladimir didn’t see his trademark bottle anywhere, but remained wary nonetheless.

“Ahh, Vladimir, I presume? I was hoping I might find you here. Come, sit down and have a drink with me.” Singed said in his deep, hypnotic voice. Vlad looked disgusted and said to him, “I’ll stay here, thanks.” His blood was boiling with hatred. Riven had told him during one of their nights together about this monster. He had been the one to send the chemical attack that had decimated Riven’s unit and begun her exile. Vladimir hated this man with every fiber of his being.

“I’m very sorry to hear that Vladimir.” He stood up, and calmly picked up his shield. Vlad set Riven down by the door and realized that he was making things very dangerous for her. “How about you and I take a walk then? We can discuss why you’ve been looking for me and why you’ve come here.” Singed chuckled and said, “No, I don’t believe I’ll be doing that.” He made a sudden lunge toward Riven on the ground and Vlad shouted.

Before he had time to think he was already firing a projectile of his own blood and it burned the flesh on the back of Singed’s head. The Mad Chemist let out an odd gasping sound and Vlad used a torrent of blood to draw Riven to him. As soon as he had her he flung her onto his shoulders yet again and sprinted out the door. Thinking through his options while he ran, he decided he would go back to the temple. Hopefully, if he explained himself, they’d see reason and know that Singed being here was not a good sign.

‘The Ionians are famed for their higher learning,’ He thought to himself. ‘Hopefully their compassion and intelligence lives up to its billing.’

Well guys, he’s back! Mister Vladimir will indeed be one of our stars of Ionian Fervor. We’ve got a new antagonist for the first time in my writing career (Talon we hardly knew ye), and I’m really excited for the overall shape of this story. Not sure I’ve quite hit the high gears yet as far as writing goes, but I’m happy enough with these two so far. Hope you’re enjoying them and have a good one summoners!

Tale Master

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.

Vladimir: Crimson Elite – 11

29 Jun

The pain was agonizing. It felt as though his world was spinning around, nothing like the sensation blood travel normally gave him. This was supposed to be a place of peace, where he felt centered. This burning had violated his sanctuary and he could think of nothing else. After a few seconds that seemed like an eternity, Vlad appeared inside the dining room of his temple home. He threw the box of armors he had retrieved off to the side before staggering to the staircase that led to the basement area. Though no sunlight reached these rooms, it made no difference to Vladimir, whose eyes felt as though they were simply dark holes in his once fine visage. He was barely able to stay on his feet as he made his way down the stairs to the pools of blood that adorned the depths of his home. The blood of every sacrifice ever made for the cause of the hemomancers lay down there, for just such an occasion. He collapsed as he hit the bottom of the stairway, knowing he only had moments left before he would die if he did not make it to the pools.

He felt the blood pulsing around him, and managed to crawl his way to the narrow walkway. With the last of his strength, he threw himself off the side, into the pool. For days, the chamber was still, with no discernible movement. Finally, a broad shouldered figure began to float out of the pool. His eyes glowed red, burning embers in the otherwise pitch black room. “Excellent.” The voice that came out of the large man was deep and self-assured. Vladimir lifted himself onto the walkway using a pathway of blood and admired his new figure. Inside the pool he had opened every pore in his body, inviting the blood of thousands to mix with his. It had transformed him, and made him stronger physiologically and magically.

The Crimson Reaper stood there a moment, feeling better than he could ever remember before heading back upstairs. He lit a fire and the room was bathed in an orange light that cast long shadows upon the floor. Vladimir looked towards the box he had thrown away and went to pick it up. Even his walk had matured, his arms swinging powerfully and his strides seeming purposeful. He examined the armor that had been meant for him and was pleasantly surprised. He quickly tried it on and realized that the armor had adjusted itself to fit him. He was impressed. The blacksmith who had crafted these was clearly a master. ‘I should find out his name in case I ever need anything else,’ thought the Blood Lord. He walked over to the large mirror hanging on the wall to examine himself.

He saw a black body suit, made of the same diamond material that somehow flowed perfectly with that other plates on him. It allowed for unrestricted movement, which Vladimir was thankful for. Set on the body suit was a skeletal looking metal coating that culminated in a ruby focusing crystal on his chest. Sprouting off of this were metal plates covering his shoulders. The pauldrons sported wicked looking spikes and a large red cape flowing out of the back. Vladimir was pleased with the armor and the transformation in general. He made a point to remember to thank Cassiopeia the next time he saw her, even if it was right before he killed her.

After he had viewed himself thoroughly, Vladimir gathered the rest of the armor back up and walked over to his blood runes. He hoped that everyone would be at the cave, and he was looking forward to the reunion with Riven. He had bonded with her during their short time together and was pleased that she was not disgusted by his abilities. He again began to melt into his oblivion and was delighted that the old sensation had returned. As he regained corporeal form in the cave he looked around. Sitting there at the table he saw Katarina and he dropped the armor where he was. As he was preparing to attack a voice yelled from the side, “Vlad, NO!” He looked over and saw Riven lunging toward him, trying to stop him from attacking. “What the hell is she doing here?” Vlad asked incredulously. “We’ll explain in a minute, just calm down!” Riven looked worried, but the hemomancer relaxed a bit and said, “Ok. This oughta be good.” He walked over to the table and intentionally sat on the other side from Katarina, never taking his eyes off her.

At this moment Talon walked in and a grin spread across his face when he saw Vladimir sitting there. “Vlad, welcome back. Judging from the armor you’re sporting, I take it you were successful?” Vlad indicated towards the dropped armors and Talon retrieved them quickly. He laughed gleefully, “These are even better than I could’ve hoped for!” He immediately took his out and began to put his on when Vlad interrupted, “Not to kill your thunder, but why is she here?” He nodded towards Katarina and Talon said, “Of course, let me fill you in.” Vlad learned of what his partners had been up to, hearing of their movements in detail. When Riven’s deeds were being discussed she looked grim, but when he looked over at her, she almost imperceptibly shook her head. He took his queue and stayed silent, merely impressed at the entirety of the plan.

Once their small meeting was done, everyone went to get their armors on and Vlad was impressed. That Talon had possessed the foresight to order one for Katarina long before she had joined was astonishing, and she looked ravishing in her new smooth black armor. Talon looked at her and remarked, “Well, High Commander Katarina, what do you think?” She looked slightly taken aback at the name and then smiled. “I think that you’re frighteningly good at knowing how people react, but excited. I believe this is simply more proof I’m on the correct side.” Talon looked smug at this and Vlad had to admit, she had a point. “And you, Riven? What do you think?” Talon looked over expectantly at her. Riven’s armor was simple, a black set of armor with a little ornamentation on the chest and shoulders. She wore a red shawl over it that managed to cover what she was doing with her arms until it was too late for an enemy to react, and she looked moderately pleased with the outcome. “These will be effective, but I have no desire to wear that helmet.” She pointed at the remaining piece on the ground and Talon winced; no doubt thinking of the cost that had gone into its production.

He quickly recovered and said, “That’s fine, no need to make you uncomfortable. As I’m sure you can guess, our last piece here is for Cassiopeia, who has rejoined us now thanks to our new ally.” He smiled at Katarina who nodded her acknowledgement. “Now, the seeds of rebellion have been sown. Let’s make sure that we’re the ones who can reap the benefits.” With that, the Crimson Elite sat around the table and began planning their assault on the Noxian High Command.