The day after Zelos came back to the Placidium, he went and asked the scribes of the Placidium to give him all death records in regards to the Hiten successors, and if there were any other records in regards to them. He managed to find thirteen generations, including his father. In thirteen generations of Hiten successors, only two died before fifty. Five of them lived well into their seventies, who all died of natural causes, though it was only the furthest back in the ancestral line that had managed to do so. One died as early as twenty five, his great, great grandfather. His death was the most thoroughly noted for two reasons: One being that his death was due to the Kinkou taking action. Secondly it was because he did not die until his head was cut off, despite the rest of his body having been dismembered.
There was no other case of this sickness that afflicted his father or currently afflicted Irelia. On the other hand, in thirteen generations of Hiten successors, their father died at the earliest age of forty two years of a "disease" no one knew how to cure. Not even Soraka could help him...but how then could she treat Irelia? He would have to ask her about that directly.
After this, he looked at the cause of death. In thirteen generations, only one died apparently due to decapitation. The other twelve? Died due to natural causes, even their father. Their father was one of the few people in Ionia who allowed an autopsy to be performed post mortem, to help try and decipher what it was that ailed him. His organs resembled that of a geriatric rather than a man his age, it had no traces of being magically induced. For all intensive purposes, it was natural.
Next came the death records of their spouses. The oldest one of them lived was his great grandmother, who died when she was eighty years old. The youngest to die was surprisingly not his mother, who died when she was only thirty one years of age, but the wife of the decapitated successor. She died when she was Irelia's age due to a bandit attack.
The birth records showed that they had a child before their deaths, meaning the art of the Hiten style was barely salvaged and saved by their great grandfather. The birth records also showed that in thirteen generations of Hiten successors, none of them had a sibling. Strange coincidence.
That was all he could decipher from those sets of records before he was dragged away by a slightly irate team of nurses. They had been taught by Akali to use sharp instruments to persuade unruly guests to stay in bed. It was successful for the most part, luckily for them.
Luckily for Zelos, today, there was only one nurse to try and stop him.
"Zelos, sir, what are you doing out of your room?!" a woman's panicked voice called out. She was dressed in white robes, which denoted her status as one of the many official healers employed at the Placidium.
"I'm bored!" He replied out in a whiny tone. "I'm fine now! I got stuff to do, sooo...Later!"
"Sir, you had several blood clots in your shattered arm from waving it around! It's a miracle you're not dead! Please, rest and-"
Zelos shrugged his shoulders, "Eh, it was totally worth it!"
"Go back to bed!"
"Pft, I'm fine! I've had worse!" He looked back at the exasperated woman and gave her a grin, a flirting wink and a wave as he walked down the hallway, "Later, beautiful!" When his sleeve fell back, one could see the hideous scars that danced up his arm.
He could not stay in place if his life depended on it, not since his time with those Dryads. Those horrible, horrible, although beautiful, Dryads...
Zelos shook the memory of the Dryads out of his mind and made his way to Irelia's room. He pushed the door open and walked in. They had not fixed the door's lock, but they had cleaned the mess and unbarred the door. The room was spotless. The only thing that seemed out of place in the room was their father's sword that rested on the wall. He dragged a chair in front of the weapon, sat on it, and stared at the sword. Today was the day he decided to try and decipher its secret.
The sword was lifeless. It was dull. The crimson gem in the center of the weapon seemed darker than blood. How did it move like it did in Irelia's hands? How did it do what it did? He could not figure it out. How did Irelia do it? Was he actually no longer worthy to be the heir? How did she do it? How?
He reached over and touched the sword. It did not react. The coldness of the blade surprisingly permeated throughout his fingertips. He thought he could no longer feel the cold, but the sword gave him the same feeling of absence he felt during his voyage.
What was the secret, to bring the sword to life? It looked unwieldy for it had no true hilt to grasp onto. How did she do it? How did his father do it?
The only thing that came to Zelos' mind was that before their mother's death, he did not remember the sword moving the way it did post mortem. Before she died, his father carried it in his hands, albeit awkwardly, but he carried it. Zelos rapped his knuckles on the dull ruby heart. He could not help but note that the crystal was only a bit larger than his fist.
After she had died, the sword seemed to take a life of its own. It seemed almost like an organic, living thing in his father's hands. It would blitz and crackle with energy, and the two seemed to speak to one another in an unspoken language. Their father always carried the sword with him wherever...he...went.
That was when a question dawned on Zelos to ask no one in particular.
"...Where is the scabbard?"
Zelos looked about the sword every which way. The more he thought about it, the more he realized that the blade had no sheath. He had never seen one worn by his father nor was there one ever produced that he could remember. No sheath, but not a single scratch or blemish tarnished the ornate sword.
"...Is it the user?"
Zelos looked behind him. A young man, a guard, stood at the mouth of the ajar door. Zelos waved at him, "'Sup?"
"Ah...well... I saw Ire...I-I mean the captain's room opened and I thought maybe she came back. I wanted to make sure she's alright, she's missed a week of training with the rest of us. We're worried."
"Ah don't fret," Zelos laughed. "Your capt will be back soon!"
"I hope so. I want to see h...Er, we want her to be back soon."
"Can't agree more with you."
Zelos fell quiet, looked over behind him and stared at the now flushed man. "How well do you know Irelia?"
"Come on, how well do you know her?" Zelos asked again.
"She's my captain, our captain. She's my friend, she's our friend. She's-"
"I was asking your opinion, buddy. Come on, no need to be shy!"
"...she can be harsh, commanding, she has a serious demeanor about her but see her in a good mood and, well...she starts singing." The guard started to smile dumbly, "Her singing just...nothing else matters, y'know? She reminds you what in life is worth fighting for. We just...hope for the best. She hates worrying us, but then she disappears and...we...worry sometimes."
"Would you do anything for her?"
"In a heartbeat, sir." The guard answered with absolute confidence.
Zelos nodded, his tone cordial, "Same. You're a good one, y'know that? What's your name?"
"Private Himura, sir."
"Himura, we're getting a drink when she comes back, in honor of her good health. 'Kay?"
"Yes sir. I...we just worry at times. Do forgive me, I mean us." The guard bowed and disappeared. His footsteps echoed in the hallway.
Zelos looked at the sword once more. He tapped it and sighed. He had no idea what to do. He decided to go for a walk, see where it would take him.
When Zelos walked outside to the courtyard of the Placidium, the glittering armor of Jarvan caught his eye. The prince of Demacia was still here at the Placidium? The prince was sitting on a bench outside, apparently staring wistfully at the skies. His lance rested on the bench within his reach.
"Oi, Jarv? What are you doing here?"
"Mm?" Jarvan muttered in a tired voice. He had his eyes closed. He looked over in the direction of Zelos without opening his eyes. "Meditating. I am here for another week or so. I needed to relax."
"Yeah, sure, 'meditating'," Zelos laughed. "Not asleep. Something bothering you?"
"Shyvana left today."
"Shyvana? Your guard?" Zelos looked around as if he were expecting to find her, "Where'd she go?"
"The Hirana monastery with that flea bitten... Excuse me, with Udyr."
"Udyr?" Zelos raised an eyebrow, "Isn't he...y'know, a bit old for her? Isn't that kinda-"
Jarvan's eyes opened. He looked over at Zelos with a disgusted look on his face, "What?! Her and...No! That's...no! I would skewer him before that thought could pierce his brain! She went to visit the Hirana monastery for training purposes and he escorted her! He is some sort of...master to her or something. Not sure how, seeing as he's an arrogant, egotistical, conceited...do forgive me, I am rambling."
"Uh huh," Zelos nodded, not paying full attention.
"And she did not wish for me to come with her, for I have responsibilities I still need to attend to here at the Placidium, which is true."
"So I am taking a moment to meditate. When she returns I should be done with everything, and then I will return to Demacia."
"So you're not staying out of concern for Irelia?"
"Concern for Irelia? Why should I be concerned?" He looked over at Zelos, "You said we should not be concerned at the banquet, yes?"
"As a general all purpose not to be concerned, yes?"
"Then I trust your word," the prince replied. "I may not have seen her for a few days, but if there was something amiss, why would it be kept secret? You would not do something that would be detrimental to your sister."
"Well, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, right?" Zelos laughed.
Jarvan did not seem particularly amused by this transparent half joke. "I know that all too well."
"Eh, it's nothing to fret about!" Zelos laughed once more. He clapped Jarvan's shoulder, "Have fun 'meditating', alright? And for what it's worth...thanks for bringing me home."
The prince nodded, "You are welcome, Zelos. It was worth it to see her smile." He closed his eyes and went back to his meditation.
Zelos walked out through the gate and started to head Southwards.
Jarvan, on the other hand, sat on the bench. Between work, festivities, worrying about Shyvana and all of the restoration efforts and the bureaucracy behind it, he certainly needed the rest.
As Zelos walked, the thoughts of his family's lineage, Irelia, and their father's sword raced through his mind. He was not sure what to do, he had nothing else he could do, he would have to sit and wait for Irelia to return before he could piece any more of the puzzle together. What was he to do? That was when an idea dawned on him, perhaps he should see that Riven woman and...talk to her. About stuff. He was walking southwards incidentally anyways, why not kill two birds with one stone? But what stuff would he talk ask her? Well, destroying their village was a definite question to ask, but what else?
Perhaps she was to blame for Irelia's current state? Maybe she wasn't? He had to speak with her, although truthfully he was not sure what to talk about. What should he ask? Should he kill her? If Irelia hadn't yet, then why should he? First thing's first, he would have to speak with her again. She was polite last time, she was helpful, and in all honesty, he would not have suspected her if it were not for Yi. Her eyes were not killers. Now, Irelia's? When that Syndra woman was in her grip? Hers were.
Zelos pondered and spoke aloud to himself, "You know who I am, so why the...No, that won't work. I want to know why you killed everyone and why I shouldn't kill you aand I already get into violence. Ah, pft...Should I be blunt? Maybe I should be cordial at first and then go into the questions, does she deserve that? Maybe I should..."
He stopped in his tracks and slapped his forehead, "Oh hells, I should bring a sword just in case! Argh! And I've been walking for hours and it's all the way there and...ahhh damn it all. That is so annoying. And I just realized she said the Navori province. What am I going to do, walk to every village and go, 'Is a woman named Riven here? No? Next one!' Oh gee Zelos, you are a genius amongst men! Your intellect is unfathomable! What's your next brilliant plan?"
Before he could degrade himself any further or make a concrete decision, Zelos spotted someone down the dirt path he was walking. The man seemed to be aimlessly wandering about, from this distance Zelos could make him out to be some sort of monk. He called out to the man, "Hey, buddy! You okay? You lost or something?"
The man looked over at Zelos' direction. Zelos could swear he saw an orange bandage wrapped around his eyes, but otherwise he could not make out much else. The man waved at Zelos and started walking closer towards him. Zelos decided to help close the distance quicker and stepped towards the apparently blind man who had a strangely sure step to his stride. Once close enough, Zelos could fully
The man was dressed in the colors and some of the robes of the Shojin monastery monks. His dark, ivy pants, the white and orange bandages that wrapped around his ankles and bare arms resembled that of the Shojin monks, even his belt and his shoes, but he was bare chested. His bare chest showed muscles that seemed to groan with every breath he took. Even then, he looked completely at ease. His chest had long, black, intricate tattoos that flowed along his muscles and his skin. One could see the tattoos snaked down past his waist, where they ended one could only assume that path, while other tattoos could be seen on his shoulders and uncovered biceps. Even the man's head had some of these markings on his right side. His head was shaved save for a single braid of hair that wrapped itself around his neck several times. The only other hair on his body was the finely trimmed goatee on his face. Last, but not least, his blindfold was orange. In its center a brooch was neatly pinned, from it a small, smooth sapphire hung. This brooch was usually worn only by the master of the Shojin monks.
Zelos waved, out of habit, at the man as he asked, "You lost, sir?"
"Me? No. Are you?" Despite his voice being masculine, it was gentle, soothing even.
"Me? No, I'm not lost. I just figured, well...you're blind," Zelos replied. "You need help?"
Zelos sighed, "And now you're being cryptic. Wonderful. It's yes or no, man. I don't have all day."
The monk replied in his calm tone, "No, I am not lost. I may not be where I want to be, but I can see that I am where I need to be. What is your name, sir?"
"You're not where...Ah, it's Lito. Zelos Lito," he quickly replied. "You're not where you want to be? Where do you want to be?"
"Why, home of course," the man chuckled. "I would like to be home, but I should go to the Placidium first. Am I walking the right path?"
"Yeah, you are."
"Excellent, I did not mean to trouble you. Have a good day, sir," the monk replied. He suddenly started walking southwards.
"Hey?" Zelos blinked in confusion, processing the fact that the monk was walking the opposite direction. "Hey! That's the wrong way!"
"It is?" The blind monk 'looked' over at Zelos, "How so?"
"The Placidium is north!" Zelos pointed to emphasize his statement.
"This is not north?"
"Are...right, you're blind," Zelos groaned. "You're not making this easier on me, y'know that?"
"The man with eyes said to the man who can see. What troubles you? Where are you going?"
"Yeah, just thinking. Why?"
The monk smiled at Zelos, "What are you thinking of? Perhaps I could be of help."
"Nah..." Zelos shook his head, "I'll be fine. I can figure things out myself."
"Mm? How well has it worked so far?"
Zelos stopped and thought for a bit. He winced as the memories went through his head. "...So you want to go to the Placidium?"
"I see no reason not to."
"Alright, I'll take you there. You won't mind me talking about my woes?"
The monk softly laughed. It was a warm, comforting laugh. "Not at all. Everyone is troubled by something sometimes, no one is immune to it."
"Yeah, you're right," Zelos admitted. "I mean hell, it's not like I'm b...uh..."
"Would you like to know how I became blind?"
"...Will it make this conversation less awkward?"
"Absolutely. It is nothing to be ashamed of for me to retell."
"Alright, in that case, let's go...er..." Zelos palmed his face at his sudden realization. He forgot to do even the most basic of courtesies. "I forgot to ask your name. That's not rude of me. What's your name?"
"I am Lee Sin. Come, let us walk," the monk pointed northwards, as though he knew where he had been going the entire time. "Tell me who you are, and why you are distraught, and I shall tell you who I am, and why I wear these bandages."
Author's Note: I got really sick last week and I've been mostly useless. I've got a lot of things to catch up on in terms of school, writing this story and writing other stories, as well as planning for more stories out of the butt, but I will be caught up sooner rather than later! Sorry about the wait!