Date: October 17, 20 CLE
Lux runs briskly into the hallway, almost bursting with excitement. The light plays off of the young girl’s golden hair, emitting a brightness that almost gives her an ethereal air. Her colorful attire and disarming smile would fool any ignorant passerby, but the ease with which she wears her battle armor would give any seasoned warrior pause.
She pauses for a moment to take in the scenery, her intelligent eyes darting around. An intricate baton darts rapidly between her fingers, conveying her impatience.
The truest opponent lies within.
An unimpressed “hmph” spills out of her lips. Striding forward, she pushes firmly with a gloved hand to open the marble doors before her. With an effortless spin of her baton, her body is enveloped in a bright aura. She runs inside, undaunted by the complete darkness that swallows her up.
Garen, the Might of Demacia, her long-lost brother, stood before her. His face was stern, yet kind, and exactly how she had imagined he would look in real life, having only seen him in the League match broadcasts since he had been taken away.
“Why do you want to join the League?”
Lux allowed herself a smile, trying to not seem smug. While anyone who had been subject to a League judgment was forbidden to discuss the trial, Lux had done her research, and she knew that they summoned illusions to extract their answers. It was mere child’s play for her; she could see right through it, and she knew what they wanted to hear.
She straightened and looked the illusion of her brother straight in the eye. “To fight for justice in the name of Demacia.”
“What is the real reason, Luxanna?”
“Victory for our allies, defeat for our enemies, and justice for all.” They were both quotes from The Measured Tread, the handbook that any self-respecting Demacian could recite on command, but they did not make them any less true for her own purposes.
Her brother frowned, and that was the last thing Lux saw before an explosion of light consumed them.
It was happening again. Sometimes, the light would bounce off the glass hall of the Demacian Royal Academy, casting a bewitching display of prisms in every direction. Lux’s skin would shimmer, as if composed from the dust of crystals. Her mood lifted and she let the light envelop her, rendering her invisible in plain sight.
She hadn’t yet gained control over the odd occurrence, which was unfortunate as it would happen at random intervals during the most inopportune of moments. Lux ran off in the direction of her home, heart racing in the hopes that the illusion would stick around long enough for her to show her parents. There was only a fleeting twinge of guilt that struck her for leaving school, but her teacher would count her as absent anyway.
Lux burst into the Crownguard residence. To her delight, she heard familiar voices speaking quietly in the kitchen. She found three military officials standing at attention, speaking to her parents. Her heart skipped a beat as she started to retreat back into the living room; they were discussing important business, and she had been taught better than to interrupt. She would have left the house entirely, except at that one dreadful moment, she heard her name.
“It is the greatest honor you could bestow upon our household to take Luxanna. She will serve you well, just as Garen has before her.” A chair scraped along the floor as her mother stood.
“You are sure, Lilia? Your daughter is at the age where she needs her parents the most, especially after taking her older brother away.”
“It is all in the King’s name. You will provide all the parenting that she will need.” Her father’s tone was dismissive.
“Very well. It is done.”
Lux fell to the ground, the repressed memories unforgivingly rushing back into her mind. Her parents delivering the news. Lux barricading herself in her room. The pain in her arms as they forcibly dragged her away from her home. Her hair draped across her face as she refused to look at her parents. The burn of her tears as she cried herself to sleep every night. The booming voices yelling at her to focus. Her screams as she cursed her family for doing this to her.
Then, her own voice echoing back at her, reciting the Justice Pledge alongside her fellow recruits. The comfort of re-reading The Measured Tread cover to cover countless times. The indoctrination of the new incoming class, led by Lux herself. The pride swelling in her heart as she marched forth under Demacia’s shining banner. The accolades in praise of her exemplary work. The absolute love for her country.
The emptiness of realization of what she had willingly grown to love.
The assault of memories subsided, and she was left slumped in the darkness. She knew the League had retreated from her mind, but the test wasn’t over yet. Someone was standing before her, and she didn’t even have to look up to know who it was.
“Will you admit the real reason why you want to join the League now?”
Her labored breaths caught in her throat just long enough for her to whisper, “Because I have nothing else…”
The darkness shattered around her, falling to the ground in shards. She crumpled to the ground, heaving sobs racking her body.
Garen remained standing, his normally kind face gruff and unreadable as the illusion dissolved around them. “You have just shared your mind with me. To become a champion of the League, you must allow others into your mind, and they will know your true conviction and purpose better than you yourself. If you are prepared, you know what you must do.”
Her brother turned and strode through the hallway that stretched before them to another set of double doors. He did not stop to lend her a hand, nor did he glance backwards to see if she would follow.
He didn’t need to. Lux remained on the floor, composing herself. For a moment, she considered calling out to her brother or running back into the Great Hallway, out of the League’s penetrative gaze. This was the first challenge that ever daunted her, even moreso than when she was being tested by Demacia’s top magicians or sneaking through Noxus’s innermost tunnels. But she was a Crownguard, and she knew that she would overcome this challenge, just as she had overcome all other challenges in her life.
She stood, clutching the baton deftly in her hand. She would prove that her dedication to her city-state was true, and that she had not been lying when she first answered their question.