Garen gulped hard and readied himself. Rather, he held his breath and hoped that fear would not strike him. He could not prepare for it. And when it did, when Lilia Crownguard finally entered the foyer of her palatial home, diamonds and lace sparkling about her form, Garen shook in his skin. The Might of Demacia, Point Man of the Dauntless Vanguard, Paragon of Demacian Justice and Morality- yes, that Garen. He tried to not look too hard at his accolades. They were on the walls beside him, hidden partially in the shadow of the accumulated trophies and decorations of the entire Crownguard lineage.
Lilia glared, her silver hair and well-worn face striking him like no blade could. He wished she would speak just to break the power of her silence.
He wished she would never speak.
"It wasn't a question. I was merely expressing my disappointment. A proper man can attract a proper woman, or at least a woman."
She examined the stone on her ring, musing for a moment about Garen's noble father. The respite only lasted until she remembered her disappointment. The fear returned.
"Jarvan tells me your latest assignment is dangerous."
Lilia never took social situations slowly for her son. She would not wait for his answer. Garen swallowed and learned to breathe.
"Deep strike. Behind enemy lines. The extraction is complicated. I just came to say goodbye."
He was not honored with a response. Lilia's grim smile had no definite meaning.
"Just in case," Garen mumbled.
"I will pass your worries on to Luxanna when she gets back, dear."
Garen glanced around the foyer, confirming her absence.
"I thought... Where is she?"
Lilia's grim smile said much more now. Her cutting tongue added precision.
"Noxus. Behind enemy lines. The extraction is complicated- oh Garen, do try to keep up with your sister's accomplishments."
And just as he was about to protest, she added, "she's almost ten years younger than you, you know." He wished she would never speak.
Garen clenched his jaw. It never felt as masculine in his mother's presence. She sighed, her features softening.
"Now tell me you love me, and go be a good boy for your country."
Garen nodded, humbled.
"I love you, mom."
No answer. But Lilia was satisfied. She turned and left for whatever a socialite's work entails, adding over her shoulder, "Kill as many Noxans as you can, darling. I hear they're outlawing war soon and I wouldn't want anyone thinking you didn't do your part."
Garen remained alone in the foyer, worried for his life, worried that he hadn't earned his mother's love, and worried for the fate of his sister. He didn't need another woman to worry about.