The sun glared through the skies, it's heat radiated across Demacia, and the noise of the citizens as they repaired their homes filled the air. Every Demacian wore light clothing, such as tank tops, shorts, or sleeveless shirts. Most of them were white or blue; the color of the Demacian flag. The repair process of Demacia's bombed districts were going at a slow, steady pace. Jarvan already commissioned the Dauntless Vanguard to work extra by helping in the construction field. A warm breeze blew every now and then, allowing a short respite for the citizens hard at work from the constant construction work that assailed them. Fortunately, no injuries have been reported due to accidents, which just reflected the instilled discipline that each Demacian citizen had, or will have. Despite being eager and hard working, many wonder if there's anything that would speed up this process.
Right as the sun peaked the sky, there came a tall man. He looked neat; his hair combed, his chin shaved, and his clothing was wrinkle-free. He carried a hammer on his shoulders while he dragged a cart, and there was a friendly smirk upon his lips as he approached the entrance to Demacia. The man was accompanied by a short fellow, clad with a scientist's garb and a wrench. His main feature was most likely what seems to be his hair, which looked like a brain. The two were having a nice chat with each other as they drew closer to the entrance, the tall one occasionally laughing when the short one did a backflip or some other fancy stunt. The gatekeepers looked at each other before crossing their spears in front of the gate.
"State your name and purpose!" yelled one gatekeeper.
The travelling duo stopped, and the tall one held his hammer straight up as he pointed his thumb to himself, "I am Jayce, from Piltover," he said in a friendly tone.
"And I am Heimerdinger," the short one replied.
"We're here because we were summoned by Prince Jarvan IV," Jayce explained.
"Well, if it's under the Prince's orders, then you may come in. It may not look too good, but welcome to Demacia," the gatekeeper said, before uncrossing his spear and opening the gate.
"Have a nice day, gentlemen," Jayce said as he entered through the door, then Heimerdinger followed.
"Can you hand me my shoulder armor, please?" Garen asked from across the hallway in his home, as he was situated in the living room.
"Get it yourself, lazy," Katarina replied with the same volume, who was sharpening her knives in Garen's room.
"You're right there, might as well grab it for me," Garen said.
"Nu-uh. I'm too busy sharpening my knives right now," Katarina replied.
Garen sighed. Sometimes, Katarina could be a handful. She would act out like no one's business and expect no comeback from it, such as when she just grabbed an apple from the market and ate it without paying for it. She wouldn't do anything you asked of her when she was sharpening her knives, which she did almost everyday at the busiest time of the day. Garen speculated that she was used to being a kind of princess back in Noxus, for she was the General's daughter and all. Speaking of Noxus, Garen wondered if there would be anything different had he and Darius met on a different occasion. What if they met each other in a bar or something and had a drink or two together while getting to know each other? They both had their similarities. The urge to fight for one's city-state, loyalty, a younger sibling, a massive weapon, they both spin, and they were both the icons of their respective cities. Garen shook his head. He was a hardcore Noxian and would probably chop his head off without a second thought should Garen give him the chance.
Lux emerged from her room and passed by Garen as he went to his room to grab his shoulder armor. Lux took sometime to look for the hairbrush, which she left on the couch last night, and when she finally found it after flipping the cushions over, she went to a mirror and started brushing her hair. It had been rather energetic in the house lately with Katarina living with them. Garen was usually quiet at home. He cooked, did the laundry, cleaned the house, etc. Lux smiled a little. Perhaps Katarina living with them was not such a bad idea after all now that she saw what effects it had on her brother. There was one thing that she didn't like, though. Garen and Katarina were acting like teenagers whenever they were around each other. They would throw things to and fro, yell at each other from across the house, sit on the couch and watch TV, sharpen their weapons, then they get into the lovey-dovey stuff.
"Have you seen my gauntlet?" Garen asked as he suddenly appeared in Lux's vision.
"Annie was playing around with it this morning."
Garen may be acting like a teenager, but having Annie with them at home brought out the parent within him. Annie was wearing Lux's old clothes from when she was her age, and she didn't look too shabby. Garen found her in Lux's room, toying around with his solid gauntlet and making it some sort of helmet for her bear, Tibbers. Annie squealed when Garen took his gauntlet and put it on, wiggling his fingers as he pulled down on it to get a better fit. He gently pat Annie's head as he left Lux's room, then whisked his sword from the back of his room's door. Katarina was dressed in her usual outfit, with daggers primed. Lux called Annie from her room, and Annie came carrying Lux's staff. Lux smiled, then looked at Katarina and Garen.
"Ready to go?" Garen asked.
"Yup!" the three resonated.
Garen nodded and took the lead by opening the door. He took a few large strides forward, only to stop dumbfounded.
"What is it?" Lux asked.
"There's machines... everywhere," Garen said with wonder.
The view right in front of them was filled with citizens working alongside floating balls of metal with arms the size of a human head, which helped them with the construction. There was about four or five balls per house, and it seemed like they were working nonstop. The methodical movements of the machines made the repair process shorter, and the people could see that they should be done rebuilding by the end of the week if the repairs continue at this pace.
"Amazed?" A voice asked the group.
Garen turned and saw Jayce, with his hammer on his shoulder.
"Yeah... You must be Jayce, from Piltover," Garen said, then extended his hand for a shake.
"The famed Garen Crownguard. Your reputation as commander of the Dauntless Vanguard has reached all the way to my hometown," Jayce replied, then shook Garen's hand. He looked at Lux and Katarina and charmed them with a smile before nodding, "Ladies."
"Did you bring all of these?" Garen asked, pointing to one of the balls.
"Yep. Hextech Workers, I call them. They're originally Heimerdinger's machines, but I infused them with a little bit of my innovation and the products are these."
"That's a big hammer..." Lux commented, her eyes dreamy while staring at Jayce.
"Ah, this! This is my prized possession. The Mercury Hammer. Unfortunately, I can't tell you too many details, but it's really a handy tool," Jayce said.
Garen clasped Jayce's shoulder and shook him a bit, "We're glad you came."
"The pleasure's all ours," Jayce replied. He leaned a little to the side to look at Katarina, and his eyebrows raised as his eyes widened, "I did not know Noxus and Demacia had a peace treaty already."
Garen looked at Jayce then traced his view until he saw the frowning redhead, "Ah. She's just staying with us."
"It must have taken a huge amount of persuasion to make her stay, though," Jayce commented.
"You could say that," Garen said softly.
Jayce nodded slightly then observed Garen's group. He noticed Lux, her dreamy eyes looking onto him. Jayce flashed her a smile before he felt his coat being pulled on. He looked down to meet the gaze of Annie. Jayce's eyes turned from calm to alarmed, then snapped his attention back to Garen.
"You can't possibly be bringing this child into battle," Jayce said. Even his own voice sounded ludicrous at mentioning child and battle in the same sentence.
"You should know that she is extremely skilled. We could use her on the battlefield," Garen remarked, bearing no concern on his face.
"I know she is remarkable on the Fields of Justice, but we're talking about a full-scale battle here."
"She knows what to do when things go wrong," Garen then glanced at Annie, "Right?"
Annie nodded, "Run as fast as I can!"
Lux approached Jayce and gave him a light tap on his shoulder. Jayce turned to Lux and smiled, firing off a signal at Garen that he should probably leave the two alone.
"Hey, Jayce," Lux started.
"Yes, ma'am?" Jayce asked.
"Would you like to share your age to me?"
Jayce let out a chuckle, "How old do you think I am?"
"Hmm... 23?" Lux guessed.
Jayce mocked a wince, "Do I look that old?"
"You're 27?" Lux asked with disbelief.
"No, no. I'm 26."
"Really? You're a year younger than my brother," Lux said.
"Then that makes you 24, am I right?" Jayce said with a grin.
"Yes," Lux affirmed.
"You look younger than you really are."
"I bet you say that to all the girls," Katarina interrupted.
"What?" Lux asked Katarina.
"This guy's dating the Sheriff of Piltover," Katarina stated.
Lux turned to Jayce, her eyes searching for confirmation from him.
"Well, yes. I did," Jayce admitted.
"You did? What happened?"
"We had to break up. She works from sunrise to sundown, and most times she goes out at night to do some patrols around Piltover. I spend most of my time in my laboratory working on new innovations. We really didn't get to see each other that often."
"Oh, I see. I'm sorry that you had to break up," Lux said, putting her hand on Jayce's shoulder.
"It's okay. We're still good friends. She's a flirty one, and I don't really mind that," Jayce said, smiling at Lux.
"Well, if you need anything, just ask," Garen said to Jayce.
"Of course," Jayce responded.
The sun peaked and now began to sink behind the sea. The wavy waters were painted with an orange hue, and up in the sky were the stars accompanying the moon. The clattering of shields, swords, and spears engulfed Demacia, along with the farewells that each soldier gave to their families as they stood near the gates, ready to leave. Leading the Elite Guard was Jarvan on horseback, and adjacent was Garen, who made sure the Dauntless Vanguard were ready. A quick blow of the horn signalled the soldiers to line up to formation, and they did so crisply. Jayce left some items with Heimerdinger who opted to stay and improve the infrastructure to better withstand pressure. Shyvana was first among those who followed Jarvan, while Lux and Katarina were in the first rank of the Dauntless Vanguard. Jayce, as an honored guest, stood beside Garen. Everyone had said their goodbyes, and with Jarvan raising his lance, the soldiers marched out, through the gates, and into the twilight.
A two-day march with fleeting breaks for the bathroom or refilling flasks of water. The Demacians ate and drank while they marched, and they had no sleep. Perhaps the one who found it unusual was Jayce. Demacian soldiers were trained and drilled to go for long periods of time without sleep. Sure, Jayce would pull all-nighters working on his projects, but two days straight? That was a different story. The Defender of Tomorrow pulled through, however tired he was.
The sight of Freljordian camps on the outskirts of Noxus was a comforting sight. The feeling was mutual when the Freljordian forces saw the Demacian banner flying high. As the Demacian forces set up camp beside the Freljordians, Jarvan ordered the soldiers to build camaraderie with their rare ally. It would do well in the battlefield. Ashe and Tryndamere met up with Jarvan and Garen, and began discussing tactics in the War Tent. Many people in the Freljordian forces were inspired upon seeing several Demacian champions such as Shyvana and Lux. It gave them hope that they would have an advantage against the enemy.
Unfortunately, the Noxian commanders had refused to reply to the messages that Tryndamere had sent to them. Swain refused to set sight upon Jarvan and his "little band of hooligans", let alone be in the same tent and be discussing strategy and tactics. This upset Jarvan, who then sent a message to the Noxian gates himself. He held the parchment in his hand, and demanded the guards to present Swain immediately.
"I always knew Jarvan was a hothead, but this? He's voluntarily offering his neck to the guillotine here," Tryndamere stated to Ashe.
"Well, what can you do? They've been enemies for a very long time," Ashe replied.
"And to think he was the one that proposed to me that a permanent peace treaty could be forged after this battle..." Garen muttered.
The gates opened, and Swain presented himself with Beatrice, his crow, on his shoulder and Darius slightly behind him. Swain was rather surprised that Jarvan had not kept a bodyguard within close proximity.
"What's stopping me from killing you right now?" Swain asked.
"If you kill me, let alone leave a scratch on me, those 6000 soldiers camped at your outskirts will storm this city along with the Void army that we know is about to come," Jarvan threatened.
The two glared at each other, and Darius held his axe, ready to chop Jarvan in half. Swain snatched the parchment from Jarvan's hand and turned his back, limping back to the safety of his gates.
"I'll send out a message detailing what my forces can do. But I'm not about to give you any layout or how many we are," Swain said, before the gates closed.
Jarvan frowned, and began walking back to his camp. Suddenly, the ground shook.
Jarvan scowled, "What is that? Noxian troops?" Jarvan looked at his camp, "My soldiers aren't causing it..."
Then several spikes popped out of the ground below Jarvan, and he was luckily in a position where the spikes wouldn't impale him. Off in the distance, the growls and snarls of the void creatures became louder and louder. Jarvan hastily returned to his camp and did not pause when confronted by Garen and Tryndamere.
Jarvan ordered his audience, "Ready the soldiers. The fight is here."