The young girl counted the strands of her hair as each one slid off her fingers. Each thread of platinum blonde shimmered in the light. It was strange to many, but to her, she always thought her hair was reminiscent of flowing moonlight. The young teenaged girl blinked, her bright grey irises shifting from the glare of the sun. She shielded her eyes and winced. She always thought it strange that the sun, the burning orb in the sky, the thing that they of the Solari worshipped, would harm those who dared look at it. She drummed her pen on the desk in front of her, on a rough sketch she had made the previous night, and stared at the wall to her left. The sun shone brilliantly through the window, through a telescope situated in front of the window and cast a small focused circle of light onto the wall, condensing the sun`s brilliance into a circle smaller than her fist.
She had discovered that at certain hours, when the sun was positioned towards her window, she was able to channel the light through a lens and onto a white piece of paper. There, she could observe how the sun moved, the shape, and its brilliance. Yet, she felt that despite its grandeur that it was still inferior. It was too bright, too burning, and too gaudy. It did not let those it deemed inferior to look at it. She was thankful of that chance event for happening.
It was only two years ago when she had experienced the event that changed her life and her thinking. The Solari were cast into dismay and hid inside their homes and temples when this event occurred. She could not help but try to look, but quickly discovered it made her cringe in pain. Through chance, the telescope she had borrowed from one of the Solari elders, the same one she placed on the ground in a hurry, was positioned at the sun. Behind it, a marble white wall stood. She flinched and instinctively looked away, only to see its image projected onto the wall.
She stared at it in awe and amazement. It was the first time she had ever seen a total solar eclipse. The girl was mesmerized, the dark sphere slowly passing in front of it. Out of habit, she had taken out a notepad and started to furiously sketch picture after picture of the events happening. Detailing each phase that it had gone through, it was when the moon completely eclipsed the sun that she wept.
She could see some sort of strange energy encircle it. Darkness covered the Solari lands as far as the eye could see. And yet, it was not a proper darkness, it was not the night. It felt familiar, as strange a thought as that was. She had to know for sure, so she turned around, looked up, and saw that she could stare at the sun without any fear. She was moved to tears for the first time in her life. She stared at the sun, at the being the Solari worshipped, but it was being blocked by a black circle. There was no way to describe the darkness this shape was made of except that it was the purest black. And with it a crown of fire was rested on its outer rims. She knew the shape, she had seen it every night of her life. The young girl could even feel the familiar, comforting chill, the same one she felt every night of every day: It was the moon.
The moon was being crowned by the sun itself, the fire wreathing the entirety of the sphere in a perfect circlet of golden-white flames. She stared at the total eclipse in complete awe and amazement. All her life, she had wanted to stare at the sun, to bask in its glory, but it refused to let her. It refused to let anyone to do so. And yet the moon granted her this simple wish, this simple desire that so many of the Solari held in their heart. After a minute of staring, she broke out of her trance and started to frantically draw what she saw. The Sun crowning the moon. What a glorious sight. She ripped out the paper and tucked it into her pocket, the girl felt a growing pride swell within from her discovery. She was sure the others would agree with her interpretation of what she had just witnessed.
She packed her belongings and rushed towards the nearest building she knew: The Solari temple. The girl burst in through the doors and excitedly called out to them, to come outside, to see the wonderful sight. The Solari Elders moved forward and hissed at her to quiet. She was confused. She pointed and asked them, "Don't you see that?"
"Of course we do. That is an abomination. That is the moon ridiculing the sun, taking away its time in the sky! Get in here, child! Do not bask in its corruption!"
"What? No, no. Don't you see? The sun is crowning the moon!"
For that, she was beaten. She could never forget the bruises and lashes she received for saying such heresy. They even destroyed her notebook with all of her sketches. She was thankful she had hidden that one drawing. They were lenient on her, for being a child and therefore foolish. Still, she did not understand why she was beaten. She had clearly seen it. They all saw it. The more she thought, the more she realized how much more comfortable at night she was. After all, that is why she asked to borrow the telescope in the first place. She wanted to view the stars at night, to observe the celestial bodies that danced above them each and every inky night. So many lights, so many things shining down upon them, and you could look at all of them without fear.
Why were they so frightened, so judgmental of something that let you look at it? Why praise that which hurts and burns you, while the other lets you bask in its glory but is not so presumptuous as to not let you look upon its splendor? No one would tell her. They refused to tell her. And so, she took it upon herself to discover the truth. Was that not the point of the Sun? To illuminate the truth? She would not be faulted for doing such a thing, right?
Yet she was. They judged her, they insulted her, they punished her constantly. Which is why when she heard the lock on her door click and unlatch she nearly made a mad dash to leap out her window. This was not the time to be caught, if she was, then all of this, all of her research, her sketches, even the telescope would be lost. Not noticing the ink from her pen spilling onto her right hand in her mad dash to shove everything away, she screamed at the door, "Indecent! One minute!" With her research and sketches into multiple desk drawers she had to figure out where her telescope could go. It was strange for someone to check up on her, she never gave them reason to do so. The telescope had been lent to her originally, months ago, but she had never returned it, and feigned ignorance of its despite the Elders demanding for it to be returned back to them. Under the bed it went.
"Hurry up!" the voice snapped from the other side of the door.
Dusting herself off and straightening her toga, the young girl said, "Come in!"
The door knob turned and the door swung open. A tall, older man stood in its frame, glaring at her, "Even you deserve to come out of your room for this occasion."
"The Avatar of the Sun herself has arrived."
The girl blinked. The avatar? That's impossible. There hadn't been an avatar in centuries. Rather than let her waste any more time, the older man grabbed her shoulder and started to drag her, snapping her out of her thoughts in an instant. "Come. Even you will greet her."
An hour later, they were outside. The entire cast of the Solari Elders, including the man who had dragged her here, stood at the top of the staircase. The girl shielded her face once more. She swore the sun was burning brighter than usual. It was then she realized it was not the sun that was burning so brightly. Ascending the stairs, two older men walked side by side and were accompanied by a girl, whose long bright fiery hair reflected each ray that shone upon it. Her stride was that of determination. There was no sign of fear in her step, no sign of nervousness or even anxiety. Just pure determination. Instantly the young girl felt herself shake at the new presence, she had to look away from the brightness that exuded from this new person, who she assumed to be the new avatar. It was then the yong girl saw saw that almost every Solari was here with her, and that they too watched this fiery haired girl ascend the stairs. Except, they were not watching. They were shielding their eyes from the brightness themselves.
The men bowed towards the Elder who had dragged the platinum blonde youth here. He pointed at the brightly lit girl, "What is your name, Avatar?"
"I am Leona." Her voice, firm yet soft, commanding yet comforting. What a strange dichotomy. She looked around, her hazel eyes scanning everything before her. "This is where I am to stay?"
The Elder gave her a silent nod in response. The awe in his face could not be hidden.
However, the blonde youth tried shirking away, her eyes watering from the strain of the sunlight that threatened to blister her eyes. One of the men with Leona flatly commented, "I see you could get your daughter out."
"Yes. Not even she will miss the ascension of the Sun."
Leona stared at the grey eyes that squinted at her from behind the Elder. They made eye contact for the briefest second.
The older man, the girl's father, looked down and barked, "Introduce yourself."
The girl shook her head, covering her face with her right hand. It was really hard to see, the Solari avatar shone brighter than before. The man snorted, "State your name." Once more, silence. The man raised his hand up and slapped her upside the head. He looked over at Leona, "My apologies, Avatar. She is rude. Her name is-"
Everyone blinked. Leona stared at the man, "She will tell me her name on her own."
The Elder raised an eyebrow, "You dare-"
"I do. You will not force her, nor harm her, in my presence ever again."
The Elders looked at one another and murmured. The girl's father spoke up once more, "You think you can come here and make demands, Avatar?"
"My name is Leona. And it is you who wanted me here. If you want, we can return to the Rakkor and we can go right back to my execution."
At first, the young girl wanted to laugh at the idiocy of such a statement. It surely must have been a poor joke, from the tone and the casualness Leona spoke with. Yet, she would not say it unless it had truth to it, right? She is supposed to be the Sun, the source of truth. With this realization, the girl's jaw nearly dropped. No one spoke to an Elder, never mind her father, in such a manner. And they were going to execute the Sun? What nonsense is this? The Elder stroked his chin, "I see…you are truly a benevolent girl, Leona. You would cast your brilliance even upon my daughter. Very well, we shall respect your wish."
It was then Leona locked eyes with the girl. She did not see determination, or ferocity, or courage or anything of the sort. She saw warmth, so much warmth in those hazel eyes. She shied away, and was taken back inside once more.
Night came. The girl opened her window and positioned her telescope. No one was awake during these hours of the night. They were all asleep by now. The moonlight flooded her room, illuminating her and all of her notes. A faint candlelight flickered from her desk. She adjusted the telescope slightly to the left, and counted the stars that made up that constellation. She did not notice her door knob turn, and the door swung open. She was so caught up in her stargazing that she did not hear the footsteps that walked into her room, and then sat on her bed. She did blink upon noticing that the room seemed to become brighter. The light from the candle must be stronger than she originally thought.
For a full hour she continued looking at the sky, and continued sketching and recording her findings. She rubbed her eyes out of fatigue, she had stayed up much too late. She murmured to herself and starting shifting the papers. She looked up at her desk and saw the candle had gone out. Strange, if it had gone out, then the room should not be nearly as bright as it…is…
She gasped, spinning around and knocked her telescope over. A hand quickly surged forward and caught it before it hit the ground. That hand belonged to Leona, the Avatar of the Sun. The girl looked around, her eyes wide with fear. She felt her pen in her grip. She was caught. She was caught by the worst person possible, with all of her heresy. The avatar would tell the Elders, and then everything would be lost again. She had to do something, something had to be done. The avatar could not talk or else everything would be ruined.
The pen in her hand felt mightier than any blade, if she stabbed the avatar's jugular than she would be safe. She wouldn't be punished. The sun crowned the moon, it could be beaten. The sun could be subjected. It was not impossible, she could do it. Just one stab, that was all that would be needed.
Leona spoke, "You did all of this yourself, didn't you?"
The girl nodded, inching closer to Leona. Just a few more feet and she would be in killing distance.
Leona questioned, "Why are you still awake?"
No response. She inched closer.
Leona placed the telescope gently onto the ground and ran her fingers along one of the notes, "…What are these? Numbers? And these are…stars?" She pointed at one of them, "Which one is this one? I haven't seen this one before."
The girl froze. The avatar was asking her questions. Should she respond?
Leona looked over at her and smiled, "I'm not your enemy."
Those same, warm eyes pierced her. The girl started to shake once more. She managed to squeak out, "N…No…you're…you're lying. You just…you're going to tell them…"
"Tell them what?"
"Tell them about this…about all of this. I'm not wicked, I'm not! The moon, it calls…it calls to me! You…you hate the moon…you hate me."
Leona snorted and lightly chuckled, "Why would I hate the moon, or you?"
"Because you're the sun-!" She nearly screamed. She clamped her hand over her mouth and quivered, "…Because you're the sun."
Leona looked out the window, then back to her, confusion on her face, "So what if I am?"
Was she serious? "You don't know about the Solari?"
"Sort of, somewhat. Not really," Leona shrugged. "Rakkor do not pay much attention to such things. They leave that to the acolytes of the Solari while we fight and we war in their name. That is how it's always been."
"You're…you're Rakkor? Then how are you-"
"The Sun came down, and smote those who were going to kill me."
The girl blinked. "…Why…Why would they want to kill the avatar? That's…that's really stupid."
Leona smiled and shrugged her shoulders, "Because I went against the Rite of Kor. I refused to kill my friend just because I was asked to."
The Rite of Kor. She knew about it. No one ever questioned, no one ever asked. They simply went along because tradition is tradition for a reason: It works. The avatar, no, this girl before her went against tradition. She went against it. The girl loosened her grip on her pen, could she relax? Leona smiled at her, "I'm lucky some of the others knew where to find you. Even luckier that the door was unlocked."
The door was locked. She knew that. She heard the locks click into place. Her father would not let up on her so easily while she was grounded. "Why…Why did you come?"
"Because I wanted to talk to you." Leona leaned in towards her and whispered, "Because I saw that you're scared, like me."
"You? Scared? No. Of what?"
"Of…This." Leona pointed outside the door, "Of everything out there. It's all so new. I'm told that I'm the Avatar of the Sun and I must come to the Solari town and to its temple. All of my friends, my family, they watched me leave. They were waiting for me to die, my parents looked at me with disgust. And now, I'm here. I'm…I'm scared."
The red haired girl slightly shook, "I'm actually scared. I still haven't gotten over the fact that I was supposed to die. The Rakkor do not fear death, but my own people, those who trained me, who I grew up with…they wanted to kill me. The others? They looked on, and they watched. They were going to let me. And I accepted it. And now, I'm here. I…"
Leona looked down and shuddered ever so slightly. She was different. She understood. Silence grew between them for next minute. The girl shuffled over and looked at the constellation the avatar was looking at. "The numbers… Those ones are degrees, those ones are minutes, those ones are seconds. If you adjust the telescope, you can see the group of stars there."
Leona looked at her, her face clearly depicting her confusion, "…Why would you need to know the time?"
The girl blinked, then burst out laughing. She held her hand up to her mouth to try and stifle her laughter. The avatar was legitimately confused. She smiled and shook her head, "No, no, those are the more precise degrees needed. You have three hundred and sixty degrees, sixty minutes and sixty seconds. These help give a more precise reading when looking at the sky."
"Could you use these in the day as well?"
"Mhm. Sailors use them to navigate the sea. They use the sun during the day, and the stars and the moon at night."
"So no matter what, no matter what time of day or night, you could never get lost?"
The girl smiled and nodded, "Yes, no matter the time." She looked at the telescope quietly. She flicked her glance at Leona, "Do you want to see how it works?"
Leona shuffled off the bed and made her way towards the girl, nodding.
The girl reached down and repositioned the telescope, pointing it out of the window. Adjusting the dials, she decided to ask, "How did you know I was going to be awake?"
Leona was quiet. She looked confused once more, "I…I'm not sure. I just had this feeling you would be."
She grabbed Leona's shoulder and pulled her towards the eye of the scope, "That's the constellation of a Rakkor warrior king, the one who he and only three hundred other Rakkor held off an entire invading army of Noxus."
"Yes, I remember him." Leona looked into the telescope and smiled broadly, "I never knew there were stars named after him though. Those are so beautiful…" The avatar exchanged looking through telescope and out the window in the span of seconds. Her smile still evident, she looked at the moon, "I never really looked at the night sky. It's a pity, how so many beautiful things can only be seen in the night."
The girl smiled back at her, and nodded. She leaned over, resting herself on Leona's shoulder. She pointed at another section in the night sky, "Want to look over there? It has the brightest star in it."
"Does it have a name too?"
"Mhm! It's the lone star, the one closest to the moon."
"The lone star? What do you mean?"
"It's the lone star. The star that shines with none others, the one that is by itself. It is called the hunter. I…I was named after her, because of her courage and her steadfastness." The girl looked away, her lower lip trembling.
Leona reached over and encapsulated her arm around the girl's shoulders, "What is your name?"
"Her name?" the girl said in her attempt to deflect being directly addressed. "Her name is-"
"No. Your name."
"My name?" With a deep breath, the young girl gathered up the fragments of her courage and stated with absolute confidence, "My name is Diana."