You might notice as you're reading that I've chosen not to include some background information on champions and other lore. Rest assured I won't leave you entirely in the dark, but if I do, I encourage you to look into it yourself! The League of Legends lore is really quite interesting, and you won't be disappointed. ;)
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Chapter 1 – Dawn
Following her unexpectedly invasive initiation to the League of Legends, Riven exited the reflection chamber, finding herself in the main hall of the gigantic institute. From the raised entrance, she had a full view of the expanse of the room, aside from the parts blocked by the large pillars extending from the floor to the ceiling. The entire building had an eerie violet glow to it, and the walls and floors shimmered in the light. Riven's interest was grabbed by the impressive fluorescent blue details all along the edges of the walls. They vaguely resembled the Noxian runes inscribed into her gigantic, broken sword.
Riven studied the area quickly before progressing; a habit she'd picked up while traveling alone. There were a few hooded figures conversing quietly on the other side of the room. On her right, a lone man stood silently, a large hat obscuring his face in the shadows of the pillars. Several attendants shuffled swiftly through the pathways, their footsteps ringing audibly across the hall.
Riven progressed into the room slowly, unsure of where she should be heading. Her steps down the stairs managed to echo loudly, even though she was only wearing padded boots, only adding to her unease. The hooded figures paused and glanced over, and she froze. Were they hostile? She tightened her grip on her sword.
Continuing her descent slowly and warily, she pretended to study the other areas of the room, her attention still focused on the figures. As they kept looking, she began to feel the need to yell across the hall and challenge them.
'Stop,' She thought to herself, taking a deep breath. 'Just relax. You've been through a lot in the past hour. Your mind is a mess.'
With one further step, they turned back to each other and continued their conversation, leaving Riven in relief. She'd had enough of suspicion and doubt everywhere she went. One of the main reasons she considered coming here was the hope that the League might offer a more positive change of pace.
She arrived at the bottom of the stairs, and took another look around. She then noticed that some of the details on the walls spelled out words in an elegant text. Directions. To her immediate right was apparently the library, and her left the mess hall.
'Speaking of messes…' She continued her thoughts, a hand on her gut. She was starving. She hadn't had much money for food on her journey here, and she could use a full meal. Her goal in sight, she headed towards the archway that led out of the main hall.
The sight that awaited her, however, distracted Riven completely from her hunger. In the mess hall were many people and creatures of mystical appearances, some sitting together in groups, others alone. Other champions of the League, she realized, along with the summoners in their usual robes. There were a few impressive-looking humans scattered about, but the ones that really stood out were the supernatural. A large humanoid tree sat alone along the windowed wall, bathing in the sunlight that leaked into the room, and playfully toying with a small sapling trying to get to his water dish. On the other side of the room was a giant bull, whom she actually recognized as Alistar, a former gladiator from Noxus. She'd also heard that he still held a grudge against them, and made a note to avoid him for now. As far as she knew, there wasn't any fighting allowed inside the institute, and she didn't plan on being kicked out before she had a chance to explore the pros and cons.
Her stomach growled, and Riven remembered the reason she was here. Proceeding towards the buffet on the far side of the room, she passed a small group on ninjas, all of whom studied her curiously. She tried to ignore it. After studying the buffet for less than a few seconds, she quickly filled a plate with whatever was available. At this point, she didn't care whether it tasted good or bad, as long as it was edible. A vacant table nearby caught her attention, and she sat down at it. She preferred to be alone, and the room had sufficient space to accommodate her wish.
Riven began wolfing her food down. It was exceptional, especially compared to how she was used to eating. Almost unfairly delicious. Suddenly, it all hit her at once. The past, the long, seemingly endless journey, and finally the rude awakening at her unexpected destination. Her eyes teared up as she thought about the hardships she'd had up to this point, and now it was somehow all supposed to be fixed just by showing up here. She wondered why she even thought of joining the League in the first place. She'd heard of the noble goals and actions that were expected of League champions. Here she was, without either. She didn't even have the drive to battle she once commanded. Simply a strange need to drift and move on to further destinations, with no clear end in sight.
Just then she caught something in the corner of her eye. She quickly wiped away the tears and focused on the spot. There it was again. On the other side of the room, an occasional strange glimmer in the sunlight occurred near one of the tables. She kept staring, but it didn't happen again. She was about to brush it off as another oddity of the institute, but as she blinked, a young woman appeared at the table. A petite, fragile-looking girl with beautiful golden hair that shone brightly in the light. She seemed captivated by the sun, a faint smile showing on her face. Her clothes were casual, but sparkled with elegance all the same. Riven couldn't help but stare at her in wonder, and was only awakened when the other girl slowly turned her head to look back. Riven quickly averted her eyes, but noticed that the girl's smile had turned into somewhat of a mischievous grin, and just as suddenly as she appeared, she vanished. Riven looked to the spot where she'd been, and then around the room. She was nowhere to be seen.
Riven turned back to her food, only to find the girl sitting across from her. She jumped a little in her seat in surprise, causing her to bang her knees loudly against the table. As Riven grimaced from the pain, the girl sat there, until finally breaking the silence.
"Hello, Noxian." She stated simply, smirking. Her tone of voice was high, cheerful.
Riven immediately took the words as a challenge. "Former Noxian." She corrected, glowering. At least, that's the term she would use whenever someone challenged her identity.
The girl shrugged, "A Knock will always be a Knock."
"And you're obviously just another blind Machee." Riven countered.
The girl giggled, "Well you sure looked blind a few moments ago looking for me, didn't you? Oh, and they call us Shinnies nowadays. Where have you been?" She added, almost as an afterthought.
Riven opened her mouth to respond, but stopped. She had to keep her emotions in check. "Why are you here?" She asked instead.
The girl paused for a moment, and her smile faded. Riven realized she'd hit a sore spot somehow.
"I could ask you the same question," Came her solemn answer.
Riven turned back to her plate and shuffled her food around the plate, reminded of her lack of direction. "That isn't what I meant."
"I know. But it is what I meant." The girl replied quickly, leaning on the table, her voice back to its normal, cheerful tone.
Riven looked up and met the girl's blue eyes with a cool stare. She knew she was being played with, and she really didn't want to play along.
"Please go away." She said flatly. In her experience, that line usually sent people away, regardless of what they wanted.
As expected, the girl stood up suddenly and turned to leave, but stopped and looked back.
"Aren't you at least going to ask my name?" She asked.
"Why would I-" Riven stopped short when she noticed a strange blue glow surrounding the girl. She squinted to see it more clearly. 'Another trick?' She thought cautiously.
The girl smiled again and held out her hand. Riven looked at her own, and noticed the glow was surrounding her too. She reached for her sword, but as soon as she grabbed it, she was in darkness. She was weightless, in limbo. She was terrified. Just what the hell was going on? Was this the girl's doing?
Let's see what you're capable of. A man's voice spoke inside her head. Only then she realized what was happening.
She was being summoned.
Just as soon as she got used to the strange feeling, Riven was back in the real world. But she wasn't in the League. She was standing atop a platform overlooking a large base-like structure. She took a step forward to get a better view. In front of her was a giant crystal surrounded by statues. Further out, she could see rows of towers extending in three different directions.
'This must be Summoner's Rift,' She realized.
Correct. The voice came again. My name is Falnic, and I'm the summoner in charge of you for this match. Please do me the favor of following my commands.
Riven frowned. She already wasn't a fan of this. Or the summoner.
Before she could continue, a few figures ran past her. A giant dog-like creature (Nasus, she remembered from seeing him in a broadcast) ran past her towards the left lane. As Riven watched him leave, a shadow came over her. A light snow landed on her shoulder as a great ice-bird flew by towards the center lane. She watched it in marvel, and was bumped slightly by a little mummy as he shuffled past. He didn't look up, and kept going towards the center lane as well.
'I suppose that leaves the right lane.' She figured. Just as she was about to get moving, she felt a tap on her shoulder. She turned to see who – or what – it was.
And there was the Demacian girl from before, standing casually like nothing had happened. Only she was now wearing a typical set of light Demacian armor, and carrying a glowing baton. Someone else might have been impressed by the look of it, but after seeing these fantastic creatures, Riven thought she looked quite normal.
"Looks like we're on the same team, huh?" She smirked as she walked by towards the right lane, "Lucky you."
Riven simply looked at her, unamused. She couldn't figure this girl out. Her bubbly personality didn't match her frank remarks.
"You might want to check out the item shop before you go." The girl called out as she left, "I guess I'll be seeing you soon."
She turned and ran, twirling her baton in one hand. Riven watched her go with an unsettling feeling in her stomach. She was forced to not only side with a Demacian, but stay in the same lane as one? This might be more difficult than she thought.
She turned towards the shop nearby, and saw a large, strange creature looking back at her. It silently beckoned towards what looked like rows of badges displayed out front. They each had their own individual symbol on the front, and were arranged in a simple, organized manner.
Pick up a Doran's Blade. The voice in her head said. Her hand was strangely guided towards a badge with the image of a small purplish blade. She set aside the disturbing feeling of being possessed, and picked it up. She immediately felt a small aura of power surround her. It felt good. She stuck the badge on her sword instinctively. The shop automatically completed the transaction, and displayed her 'money' balance on a counter out front.
'Zero. A good place to start from,' Riven thought sarcastically. She gripped her sword tightly for a moment. She suddenly felt excited, and nervous. She didn't know exactly what to expect out of this, and was eager to find out. Being on the same team as a Demacian didn't seem like such a big deal after all. And if all else failed, she could simply do the same thing she'd always done. Rely on herself, and herself alone.
Riven started off towards the right lane. As she passed the Nexus, a young woman's voice resounded through the area.
"Minions have spawned!"
Riven glanced back at the giant crystal to see small animate dolls being formed with a small 'whip' sound. She allowed herself to be distracted and watch the process. As soon as the minions were able to walk, they started moving towards the lanes in a straight line. Riven was familiar with this procedure of the League matches, but seeing it in person was something else. She was never adept at magic, and everything here was at an astounding level.
And that is simply the basics of magic. The summoner's voice came again. Imagine what one could accomplish as a master of it.
Riven didn't need to imagine it. She'd been in the area of Kalamanda, or what was now called "The Crystal Scar". She'd seen the beginning of what could have been the largest war in history, and how it was all prematurely stopped by the League with ease. If a handful of summoners could halt time itself in that large an area, she felt uneasy about what the entire League could do if provoked.
The minions passed Riven, which brought her back to her senses. She ran to catch up, her excitement returning. She passed the first turret in the lane and began the journey past what was called 'the jungle'. She could peer in through some openings in the trees, but a deep, mystical-looking fog shrouded what was contained within.
Riven disliked fog. It only reminded her of the past. She kept her distance from it, and continued on with the minions. They waddled along quickly despite their size, and Riven needed to stay at a light jog in order to keep up.
Finally she reached the outer turret of the lane, where a familiar figure waited. The Demacian girl uncrossed her arms and gave her baton another twirl. The glow coming from the ends of it made a peculiar pattern in the dimly lit Rift. Riven braced herself for another sarcastic remark from the girl. But instead, she gave Riven a neutral look and asked "Are you ready?" Riven looked back, surprised, but didn't answer. She studied the area in front of her. There was a large expanse ahead, with some long grass to the right and an opening to the river that divided the Rift to her left. Straight ahead was the enemy's tower.
Riven nodded, but not in response to the girl's question. It was a habit she had after locating her objective. It was the beginning of her focus, something she was known for in Noxus. Any existing worries were erased. Doubt, fear, anxiety, all of it gone. All that was left was her, and her target. This was where her true strength came from, and the reason she'd made it this far.
She nodded again. She was ready now. The minions had reached the middle of the lane and started fighting. The enemy champions were nowhere to be seen, which meant…
Riven bolted for the long grass. A purple flash appeared, and Riven quickly dodged the projectile with a graceful jump. She continued the movement into a second jump, brandishing her sword, and landing precisely at the edge of the grass. It cut through the grass, but didn't make any contact. Riven didn't hesitate. With a large leap forwards, she brought down her sword in front of her. 'Clang' came the rewarding sound. But when Riven realized what she'd hit, her eyes widened. A giant, humanoid crocodile stood before her, holding a massive half-moon-shaped blade against hers.
"Where's Nasus?" He snarled, his eyes burning with rage. He swung the blade outwards, forcing Riven to jump back. He looked past Riven, then up the river. With another growl, he took off towards it. Riven was about to give chase when he stopped abruptly midway through the lane. Slowly, he turned back around to face her. However, his face was now calm, the fury faded from his behavior. He readied his blade. Riven knew he was about to charge, and got into a defensive stance, ready to counterattack. But she didn't need it.
A blade of surreal, shifting light came soaring across the lane. It hit the crocodile precisely and wrapped around him like a cage. Riven looked over to see the Demacian girl swinging her baton like a sling, sending small bursts of compacted light at the crocodile.
"Now!" The girl yelled. Riven acted immediately. She dashed out of the bushes and lashed out at the crocodile, who was busy trying to block the light balls with his blade. Riven's sword slashed through him with a blue flash. The crocodile roared. Riven didn't waste any time. She followed up with another quick slash. The crocodile turned to swing back, and Riven moved back to avoid it. However, he was barraged by more blasts of light, and was forced to keep defending himself. Riven noticed the light was fading from the cage, and knew this was her last opportunity. She jumped forward with a majestic flip and brought her sword down heavily on the beast. It sliced clean through with another blue flash, leaving the beast bisected and frozen in a state of apparent agony.
"Renekton has been slain!" The announcer's voice declared.
Riven took a deep breath and watched as the crocodile named Renekton was surrounded by the blue light and dissolved away. That was a little eerie. Riven realized she'd never paid attention to the intricacies of the League, and she would need to start now.
She looked to the Demacian, who smirked back.
"Really," She said, "You ought to wait for me instead of rushing in like that. You're lucky the summoner lost control of Renekton for a moment there."
"Lost control…?" Riven repeated. She suddenly realized what had happened. When Renekton had rushed away, he was doing so of his own will. The summoner had stopped him, which created the opening. She almost felt cheated of a fair battle, but to be honest, she was relieved it happened the way it did. It had given her a low-risk initiation to battles in the League. But Riven had noticed something felt off from the beginning.
"You waited for me to go in, so you could 'rescue' me, didn't you?" She questioned the girl.
"I have no idea what you're talking about," The girl replied with a carefree shrug.
Riven eyed her for a moment more. She was at a loss for words. She was a little irritated, but she was still indebted to this girl somehow. "Thank you for the assistance," She forced herself to say.
The girl giggled. "And?" She said playfully, taking a step closer to Riven. Her face was just a foot or two from Riven's. Riven leaned back. She wasn't used to being this close to other people. But still, she noticed the other girl's eyes were still sparkling, even in this dim, fog-infested place. She had the fleeting thought that they were beautiful and comforting.
Riven looked away with a slight blush. She put the thought away, and she had gotten the hint. "And… Could I ask your name?"
The girl swung her baton, sending a beam of light past Riven quicker than she could react. With a glance, Riven saw it hit a minion that had managed to sneak up behind her. The minion toppled over and stopped moving, then promptly dissolved with a blue glow, just like Renekton.
The girl brushed by, catching Riven off guard. "I am Luxanna Crownguard of Demacia," she said as she strolled ahead. "But most people call me Lux."
"Luxanna-" Riven started.
"Lux." The girl interrupted.
"Lux, then…" Riven continued, "… Just what is your deal?"
Lux looked shocked for a second, and then burst out laughing. Riven frowned and crossed her arms, sighing. This girl Lux was definitely an oddball. However, Riven's attention turned abruptly to the far bushes of the lane. A small purple glimmer soon turned into a large magic blade, and flew across the lane straight towards Lux.
"Watch it!" She yelled as she jumped in front of Lux. The bolt hit her directly with the force of an arrow. Riven flinched, and glanced down to inspect the wound, but instead only saw that the ground had transformed into a bubbling black goo. It gave off a searing heat, and Riven could feel it burning through the aura that surrounded her body. She tried to move, but the bolt had snared her in place. She was about to panic, when something large flew past her from behind. She felt the wind from it as it passed, and suddenly the heat wasn't as intense. She looked up to see what had passed her, just in time to duck as it came flying back.
The binding magic wore off, and Riven dashed out of the goo to escape any more damage. She lay on the ground, gasping in the cool air. She looked up to see Lux walking closer to her, baton back in hand. Her smile was gone, and her gaze was held on the bushes until she was sure there was no more threat. Finally, she looked back to Riven.
"Sorry, sometimes it's a little hard to control." Lux smiled meekly.
Riven shook her head, "Thanks for saving me."
"Likewise," Lux said, holding out her hand. This time, Riven grasped it, and allowed Lux to help her up. Riven brushed herself off and picked up her sword.
"What was that?" Riven asked, back on guard.
"Morgana," Lux said with distaste.
Riven didn't inquire further. She had heard of Morgana back in Noxus. An immortal, highly skilled in dark magic, whose sole goal was to destroy her sister, Kayle. Needless to say, she'd have fit in well in Noxus, had she chosen to.
Riven kept an eye on the bushes, but didn't see any more movement. Lux had gone back to attacking the minions. Riven watched as Lux specifically targeted the ones which had taken more damage, usually resulting in a finishing blow. Lux noticed Riven's gaze, and explained.
"Defeating minions increases your gold. But you need to find a balance between gaining gold and pushing out away from your tower."
Riven nodded. She was beginning to get a better idea of how to strategize in this unconventional battle. She looked towards the enemy purple minions, and noticed one taking a beating from her team's blue ones. She walked over and gave it a light swat with her sword. It toppled over and lay on the ground for a moment before disintegrating with the familiar blue light.
Riven looked towards the enemy's tower. It was still partially shrouded in fog. The next wave of minions was coming into view, along with a larger, lumbering cannon minion. And behind that, an even larger figure. Riven recognized the shape of the weapon it carried. Renekton was back already. A chill ran down her spine. She wasn't sure if it was just the atmosphere getting to her, or the idea of facing an enemy she'd just killed. Either way, it simply reminded her of the past. How long had it been since she'd been forced to relive that horrid memory? Less than an hour? She shuddered in an attempt to get rid of the chilling feeling. It worked. A little.
She took a deep breath, and tried to get back into focus. Morgana was still concealed in the brush, and Renekton was drawing steadily closer. She began analyzing the best routes to attack through the crowd of minions.
"Hey," Lux called, breaking Riven's concentration. She sighed, and gave the girl a slightly irritated look. Riven wasn't used to having a distraction on the field of battle.
"What?" She replied, letting a bit of her annoyance seep into her voice.
"That magic blade Morgana uses," Lux continued, unphased by Riven's tone, "It can only affect the first target it hits. You can effectively use a minion as a shield."
Riven grimaced. Now she saw the real purpose of the minions. They were simply the front line. Why she didn't see this before actually surprised her.
Lux caught the look on Riven's face, and giggled. "They're only minions."
Riven understood Lux's point. These were indeed lifeless dolls, but the idea of it still irked her. That was where it all began, when it came to actual war.
'They're the first line, they know the risks of friendly fire.'
Which led to things like 'They're only Ionians. They don't believe in death anyway.'
Riven silently worried if this game the League had created was going to end up brainwashing champions into this dangerous philosophy of superiority complexes and desensitizing of death.
She tried to put the thought behind her and, once again, get back into the fight. Renekton was keeping his distance, pacing back and forth across the lane. Every so often he'd attempt to attack a minion, but Lux made sure to make him pay for it by shooting a ball of light his way. Morgana was still nowhere to be seen. It seemed Riven's team was in control of the lane.
Despite her earlier outlook on the minions, Riven made sure to keep one between her and the bushes. She may not have agreed with the philosophy, but it wouldn't be the first time she'd put her survival before her morals.
I believe I've let you run around on your own for long enough. Came the Summoner's voice again. Riven had nearly forgotten about him. It's my turn now.
She didn't understand what he meant by this. She didn't get the chance to think about it. With a loud rustle a wolf-like creature burst through the river bushes to her left and pounced on her.
'Warwick!' The thought rushed through her mind in the instant she was hit.
She dropped her sword as she was knocked to the ground. The wolf continued his attack, slashing at her with vicious ferocity. She struggled to get him off, but it was futile. She reached around, looking for her sword. Her hand found the tip of the blade. She quickly snatched it and swung it at the wolf with as much strength as she could muster. The hilt hit him sharply in the jaw, causing him to flinch. Riven brought up her legs and kicked him off.
She quickly did a backroll and ended up on her feet again. But something was off. She knew she'd taken some serious damage, but this was something different. Her reflexes seemed slow. She wondered if the wolf had done something to her. Her vision was getting a little blurry, and everything had a bluish tint to it.
The wolf had regained composure, and was charging again, along with Renekton. Riven tried to get into a defensive stance, but her body wouldn't respond. All she could do was watch as the enemy closed the gap. For the second time in her life, Riven felt genuinely helpless.
A blade of light flew past her. It hit the wolf and ricocheted onto Renekton, snaring them both in place. The mummy from earlier appeared, followed by a giant beam of light from behind. Morgana finally stepped out from the bushes and began attacking. While fighting her own battle, Riven couldn't keep track of all the chaos. She tried to look around, but couldn't move her head. Slowly, her right arm rose. It wasn't Riven's doing, but she was too distracted by what she was seeing to notice. In her hand, her sword was in its fully restored form. If she could have gasped, she would have. Suddenly, her body was moving again, but Riven wasn't in control. She watched as she leaped into battle, her sword glowing bright green with each swing, as if enjoying the mayhem and reliving its former glory.
The wolf went down first. He had received so much focus fire that he simply fell to the ground before he could escape Lux's trap. Renekton's snare had worn off, and he made to dash at Riven. He was stopped short by her Ki Burst, an explosive ability she had created using the stored power of the Noxian runes inscribed in her sword. An orb of light flew at him and exploded violently, knocking him to the ground. The mummy kept his attention on him.
Morgana saw the tides turning, and moved to escape. Riven's body attempted to cut her off. With a quick dash, she caught up to Morgana, and managed to strike her twice, but just as she was about to land a decisive third blow, Morgana instantly vanished and reappeared a short distance away, well under the cover of the tower.
'Missed her,' Was Riven's thought.
Not yet. Came the summoner's reply.
Riven's body was pulled into the tower's range. The large crystal at its apex glowed ominously.
'Wait,' Riven thought, 'I can't.'
The tower fired a bolt of magic towards her. Riven dashed ahead, and the bolt hit the ground just behind her. The shockwave was enough to cause her to stumble a little.
'Stop!' Riven cried out in her head. The scene playing out before her was too careless! 'I won't make it!'
Shut up and watch.
The fear building up in Riven's mind was reaching an unbearable level. She was being controlled against her will, and not only was she unable to do anything to stop it, she was forced to watch it, unblinking.
The tower fired another shot. The close proximity ensured a hit.
'I'm going to die,' The thought ran through Riven's head.
But instead of taking the blast from the tower, the summoner made Riven jump forwards just as the magic exploded, catapulting her ahead. Morgana looked back to see Riven flying at her with a surprising speed. Before she could react, she was given a sharp slash across her side. Riven landed in front of Morgana, her blade held back, ready to swing again. It glowed fiercely, its runes charged fully. She recognized this ability. With a swift determined swing, Riven let loose the magic her sword had built up. It sent out a torrent of piercing magically-enhanced wind in front of her, striking Morgana ruthlessly. Morgana let out a cry of pain, and slumped over. But just as she was about to fall, she fired another purple blade towards Riven.
'Move!' Riven thought desperately. But something was different again. Her vision wasn't blurred anymore. She could feel the weight of her blade.
She was back in control of her body. But far too late.
The magic struck her and snared her in place. She looked to Morgana, who cackled darkly before falling to the ground. Then she looked to the tower. It was nearly done charging its next shot.
'I'm going to die,' The fear washed over her anew. This was all too foreign to her. This place, these people, these feelings. She just couldn't keep up. Her mind was being overwhelmed.
The turret fired. The bright purple shot grew in size. Riven helplessly watched, wide-eyed as it closed the distance. It took up her whole vision. It was all so bright.
"Riven!" A voice called out.
And then it was dark.