Introduction: The Fall of Ashram

"It's decided. The final allegiance of the border town of Cylica will hinge upon this match. The victors will claim both Cylica as a subsidiary of its nation, and the land that sits in a 3 mile radius from the edges of the town. Representing Noxus, we have Quint Overseer."

Five figures in purple robes stepped forward, forming a polygonal shape over the platform. Holding their hands out, they all chanted momentarily, each forming an identical transparent bubble of arcane magicks in their hands as the platform glowed softly with white light, casting strange shadows throughout the sealed stone room.

"And representing Ionia, we have Quint Farcry."

In an identical sealed room, five figures in blue robes took up their positions around their platform. One stumbled a bit in getting in position but quickly righted himself, his fellow summoners giving him annoyed looks at his lack of decorum. Holding out their hands, they too formed transparent orbs. The platform lit up, its brilliance highlighting, for a brief moment, the face of the clumsy summoner. Bearing a regal appearance, enhanced by his fair, ice blue eyes and aristocratic facial structure, the summoner was clearly nervous, his eyes roaming and his teeth worrying at his lower lip.

"Calm yourself Gamma, you are well prepared for this moment." Said another of the purple robed figures, the voice identifying this figure as a female. Another summoner nodded.

"Besides, you have to get your feet wet sometime. Be glad that both Alpha and Kappa were otherwise occupied. Most are not so fortunate as to have their first foray into the Diplomatic Draft be an issue as important as this. Ha! Why, I remember my first diplomatic draft match. A Demacian noble's son had went out hunting, and got himself gored by a stag from the Howling Marsh. The noble raised hell over it, citing the lack of regulation of the various creatures of that place. The League placated him by having a few of us fight at Twisted Treeline, with Karthus leading the charge. If he lost, he was to be executed. Which he was. Only to return, angrier than I've ever seen, a month later, freshly resurrected by the Hidden Marsh." The circle laughed as one, an eerie cacophony of wavering pitch and volume, bounced around by the stones.

"Executing the Deathsinger. The epitome of pointless action. Why they were…" The conversation halted instantly as the white light below the platform, started thrumming, indicating its connection to the Mediator.

"Both Quints are in position, queued for battle. Is the Adjudicator primed?" A middle aged man, with spectacles perched on his crooked nose and a parchment and quill clutched in his hands, closed his eyes and when he opened them, they shone with a pale light. He nodded at the Mediator who nodded back. "Witness locked. Siphon, engaging."

Forming his hands into a seal, he chanted in a low tone. As he chanted, runes beneath his feet started lighting up, softly at first, then growing brighter with each passing second. He extended his arms to either side, a sphere within each hand. One pulsed lilac while another thrummed cerulean. He let his hands fall onto two nexus' that were set up on either side of him.

Gamma gasped as his team's spheres grew opaque, indicating they were to commence with the summoning. He swallowed but focused his magic, calling forth his champion. As his presence and consciousness melded with the champion, he heard a voice

'Noobie huh? Don't worry. I'll handle it.' He felt the champion's confidence radiate upward, bolstering his shaky resolve and causing him to subtly straighten.

The Mediator sent out his mind through his connection to the summoners and, by proxy, their champions. As he prepared to start, he heard a door open behind him. Turning, he saw Lord Summoner Heywan Relivash. Narrowing his eyes, the Adjudicator said

"Despite your status, Summoner Relivash, intruding at this time is most unwise. We cannot afford to have any undue magical disturbance within this space during the summoning. Surely you are aware—"

"I am perfectly aware of the risks associated with my presence and I assure you, precautions have been taken, Adjudicator. Now, proceed. Act as if I am not present." As they were already under way, the match could not be stopped to address the intrusion. With a twist to his lips, the witness again focused on the match and its summoning, which was now under way. The Mediator closed his eyes as he felt the arcane connections flow through him. The light from the nexuses grew brighter as each summoner sent forth their avatar into the Fields of Justice.

Relivash smirked as the Mediator and Adjudicator became absorbed in focusing on the summoning. As the light in the nexuses reached its peak. Relivash moved. With speed that would impress the Wuju Blademaster himself, Relivash drew a runic dagger from his robes, stabbing the Adjudicator through the back. He gasped as blood drained down his front and the magical light left his eyes, closely followed by the natural light of human life. He fell forward, the dark blade thrumming in time to the failing heart beat of the Adjudicator. The Mediator opened his eyes, still focusing on the summoning, despite the bleeding body before him on the floor.

"Your time has come, Ashram." Stated Relivash, as he walked towards the High Councilor. Ashram's expression was stony, but his mind was working furiously, trying to figure out a solution to this most unexpected disturbance. It was a credit to his mental fortitude that he was still within control of the various magicks flowing through his being. As the Siphon, he was the key to the entire summoning. He was responsible for directing and focusing the various essences of twenty different beings, for ensuring that the champions found themselves on the Fields of Justice safely and that their connections to their summoners remain unfiltered and separate. And Relivash had picked the most delicate part of the summoning to stage this unsightly disturbance.

The summoner in question chuckled as he stepped towards the High Councilor.

"Careful there, Ashram. A slight misjudgment and you'll kill us both, not to mention the unpredictable damage you'll wreak upon the summoners and champions involved."

They were both aware of this, but Relivash said this regardless, enjoying that Ashram was in such a vulnerable position. Ashram's mind still toiled behind his apathetic expression, but there was nothing to be done but complete the summoning. As long as he did that, he could disconnect from the nexuses without causing harm to anyone involved, although the summoners would all be abruptly removed from their connections to their champions, and a retrieval team would need to go to the physical location of the Fields of Justice to retrieve the ten unbound League warriors. He needed more time.

"Why do you do this Relivash? The League is founded on maintaining peace and order, and you've sworn yourself to the Summoner's Code to adhere to this. Killing an Adjudicator, intruding, without warning or permission, on the Mediator's Chambers, during a Diplomatic Draft match no less! What possible motivation could you have for endangering the twenty one individuals involved in this and signing away your life?"

"You are a fool if you think my life ends here Ashram. Perhaps you are seeing your own future."

"To kill a summoner, let alone the High Councilor! You will not be forgiven for this act of treason Relivash. You will be stripped of all that you possess, and your body's remains scattered to the end of Valoran, never to find a peaceful rest. This I swear!"

Relivash chucked and stepped towards Ashram.

"It's a bit late for swearing, Ashram. This is bigger than you, or I, or even the League! You have no idea of what's coming. While we've been focusing on Valoran's earthly issues, repairing the injured pride of the host of independent sovereigns we have on this continent, and smoothing over political allegations, the effects of the Rune Wars have spread even farther, growing and multiplying as we speak, beyond the bounds of this simple mass of land we call our home. All of that unfettered magic can be put to great use, be it good or evil, while we sit here, twiddling our thumbs in the Institute of War! We do not have time for these petty squabbles, we need to band together as one, if we are to weather the coming storm. I have been stating this for months, yet no actions have been taken. Emissaries sent to Ionia, Noxus, Piltover and the other city states have all come back, to convey disregard at best, mocking at worst, if they come back at all! And even my fellow summoners are content; feeling as if the League has settled all of our problems. Well I tell you, when I am High Councilor, things will change. I am sorry, Ashram, this could have been prevented but both you, the League nay all of Valoran is responsible for the fate I prepare for you today. "

The High Councilor gritted his teeth as his grip on the magic of the summoning grew even more intense. It was approaching its final climax. The physical bodies of the summoners were on the battlefield, now the true delicate work, the reason a Mediator was needed, in case a summoner flagged or any other issues rose. The transference of the champions' soul, consciousness and magic to Summoner's Rift.

Relivash smiled as he saw the light from the nexuses grow even brighter and start pulsing in time to, what he knew to be, Ashram's heart rate. The final climax. This is what he'd been waiting for. Giving the High Councilor a grim smile he stated,

"I wish I could enlighten you further, but it appears it is time. Goodbye, High Councilor and know that your death will lead to a new era across Runeterra."

Relivash stepped back to the room's entrance, pulling a vial from his robes, grimacing as he did so, "To think, I'm about to sacrifice a year of my life in seven seconds. Alas, it cannot be helped."

He downed the potion in one swig. At first nothing happened but then Relivash grimaced even further and his body started vibrating, faster and faster, until it seemed as if he would come apart at the seams. Then it stopped.

Relivash disappeared as a gunshot was heard. The High Councilor watched the bullet come at him from thin air, after watching Relivash down a concoction that resembled the elixirs utilized on the Fields of Justice. He knew that mundane methods could not hurt him within this room, but he was positive Relivash had taken precautions with this particular bullet, as he sensed dark, twisted, heavily concentrated magic flowing through it. He watched the bullet come closer, and dared not move, hoping that the final climax concluded in time, pouring all of his being into accelerating the process. If he was to die, he would ensure that his fellow summoners and their champions did not perish as well.

The projectile entered the High Councilor's forehead, piercing through swiftly and cleanly but rather than passing through as other bullets would, it rested within the center of Ashram's head, reacting to the abundance of magic present. It absorbed this magic, twisting it and sealing it within itself, the internal pressure building until it released the built up magic, sending it through Ashram's being, sending out a pulse of energy that incinerated the body of the High Councilor.

The resulting backlash of so much magical interference ricocheted throughout the nexuses and, as a result, the summoning. The final climax was disrupted, jumbling the cacophony of souls and consciousness. For a time, it appeared as if it would progress as normal, to the Fields of Justice but after a struggle between the consciousness of the summoners and the wild nature of magic itself, the energies were redirected randomly, sent across the ethereal plane, acting as nature does, attracted to the closest point devoid of magic.

In the blue team's room, the light from the platform and the spheres suddenly started flickering chaotically, growing brighter and brighter, much brighter than normal. The gathered summoners opened their eyes after sensing the disturbance, only to close them in pain. They felt their magic being distorted and rent apart by the sudden chaos, and they all tried to reel themselves back in.

Gamma cried out as he felt his connection to his champion abruptly severed and his sphere shattered in his hands, sending him flying back off of the platform and onto the floor. The other summoners suffered a similar fate, although one was unlucky enough to be thrown into a pillar. They all looked at each other, mirrored looks of confusion on their faces, which dissolved into panic, as they thought about the implications of such a magical outpouring.

The Mediator's chamber was barren. The stone walls were tarnished, chipped and blackened, as if a bomb had gone off. The bodies of the Adjudicator and Reginald Ashram were no more. The only thing left was a pair of skeletal hands, still clutching either nexus, a testament to the High Councilor's commitment to his duty and his final act as a summoner.