Chapter 1 - “The Clash of the Cache” [Part 4]
“Would you have time…for an offer of cooperation…?” Riven was quiet as she watched The Might of Demacia. Everything she’d done was to get her to this exact moment. She could not enact her plan without someone else to assist her, and the only person within range, outside the scope of her allies, was Garen. She knew he, like her, had to have recently risen again, and like a good soldier, committed to his country, he would move to assist them in the quickest manner possible, down the center of the Rift. With her summoner’s teleportation to move her a great distance, and his knowledge of the layout of the forest, she was counting on him to get her where she needed to be. Garen regarded her with a raised eyebrow, his sword still in hand.
“Exile, you wish to betray your countrymen after they have accepted you back into their fold?” He frowned. “You are truly without honor.”
“No! Not betray!” Riven’s voice exploded from her small frame, tinged with a hint of her inner turmoil. Garen was taken aback for a moment as she continued. “I wish only to end this violence, and stop this needless bloodshed between our people.” To her dismay, Garen laughed.
“Stop bloodshed? Exile, bloodshed is all your people know! Violence, underhanded battle tactics, trickery, subversion, espionage, virtually every vile word in our language can be attributed to an action done within the confines of that blight upon Valoran!” He scoffed. “Yet you stand here, asking me to help you stop this bloodshed?”
“Unwarranted death, needless sacrifice, a blind following of flawed ideals… Those go on within that ‘blight’ upon Valoran, Crownguard.” Riven’s eyes softened as she spoke, and Garen’s features followed suit. “The Noxus I love is not the Noxus I wish it to be. I told you I died once before, Demacian, and I meant it. My former Noxian ideals died with me. It is for that reason that Du Couteau looks at me with hate, and why all my allies keep me at arms length. They do not trust me, and they do not accept me.” She looked to Garen’s eyes. “So, I’ve come to you simply as I am. Warrior to warrior, not as an agent of Noxus, but as one of her people. Please, help me stop this.” Garen was silent a moment, breeze blowing through the trees of Summoner’s Rift, a faint crackle from the turrets as their target remained just barely outside their reach. After a moment, Garen’s brow eased into a calm smile.
“I understand, Exile. I knew from the moment I watched you intentionally save my sister from Du Couteau that you were different. You are not a heartless warrior. You do not kill in cold blood, and you use your sword to protect others, as well as defend your beliefs.” He lowered his massive blade and crossed his arms across the pommel. “I saw it in your eyes when you fought me, and when you defeated me. There was no malice there, simply a sense of duty, and of an unending moral code to do whatever it took to see your beliefs to fruition, whatever they may have been.” Garen nodded and brushed himself off. “Forgive my harsh words. They were meant to test you. I had to be sure.” Riven nodded, understanding completely. “Now then! What would you ask of me, Exile?” Riven allowed a small smile to cross her features as she spoke.
“Both our people are trying to negotiate a solution to the situation in the center of the Rift. I know my people well enough to know they will not back down, especially if they have a chance to get it all through combat. I have talked to my summoner, and I have an idea.” Riven pointed to the massive towers on either side of her. “You and I are very strong, and I believe we could destroy those towers with relative ease.”
“Of course we could, but I do not see your point, Exile.”
“You march down the bottom path, striking down all towers in your wake. I shall strike them down across the upper path. The two of us will gain a great deal of power from felling minions, as well as forging a path to the gates of our opposing bases. By felling towers and getting near the Nexus, our respective sides-“
“Our forces will be forced to split off any combat to ensure the other side does not gain an upper hand. And with the power we shall gain, we will be better outfitted against any threat they attempt to throw our way. Most impressive, Exile. I assume we shall keep pushing deeper into the bases until we can strike the Nexus, yes?”
“Right. However, once the minion forces have been enabled to strike the Nexus, we will pull back, and suggest both sides solve their differences outside the Fields of Justice, as straight up conflict will not be guaranteeing any victories here. That will convince my people to take their offers to the table, as there, at least, they have a more solid chance to get what they want.” Garen grinned and nodded.
“I must say, Exile, this is a very bold plan. There is no guarantee that it will work, but I see no other options other than a long bloody conflict. I will help you.”
“Thank you, Crownguard.” Riven hefted her blade and started back into the forest. Garen watched her go, disappearing into the bushes, talking to himself as he looked to the sky.
“Victory for our allies, defeat for our enemies…and justice for all.” He nodded, pleased with the situation, before marching quickly toward the bottom path.
“For the last time, Swain, I will not give up mining rights. Our excavators found the site first, we have a right to claim it for Demacia!” Jarvan’s spear pointed accusingly at Swain, whose feathers weren’t ruffled in the slightest.
“Yes, yes, young Prince. You’ve made that abundantly clear. Your penchant for stating the obvious and repeating yourself is testament to your vast knowledge of political affairs.” Swain smirked, his words fraught with sarcasm. Jarvan glared. “However, the vast majority of the deposit is within the Noxian border. Allowing you to mine it would compromise the safety of our borders.”
“And of course Noxus knows all about compromising safety and mining deposits, especially when they’re included in the same acts.” Shyvana growled, remembering the Noxian Soldier found dead in the mines of Kalamanda.
“You should keep your pet on a shorter leash, Prince Jarvan. She’s starting to think she’s a person.” Katarina grinned and admired her fingernails as Shyvana bristled.
“Shyvana, at ease, she’s just trying to provoke you.” Jarvan glanced to Katarina before returning his gaze to Swain. “I don’t want anymore bloodshed assuming we can avoid it, Swain. I’m not being unreasonable here. We found the deposit; we have every right to claim it. I’ve even offered that we limit our mining to the Demacian side of the border to allow you to mine the remaining section. What more do you want?” Swain chuckled, Beatrice turning to look at Jarvan and cocking her head side to side.
“Our surveys show approximately seventy percent of the deposit is on Noxian ground. Therefore, I suggest that seventy percent of everything you mine be given as a gift to the Noxian Government, to show how thankful you are for us allowing you to mine within our borders.” Jarvan brandished his spear as Swain laughed, Katarina and Talon moving in front of him.
“That is absolutely insulting!” Jarvan spoke, outraged. “You would effectively be forcing us to mine the deposit for you, and commit no resources to it whatsoever! Where is the fairness in that!” Swain just smirked.
“Who said anything about it being fair, my dear Prince?” He took a step forward. “Watching your people mine resources for us would bring me nothing but many hours of unequaled enjoyment. Proud Demacia, forced to mine for that which they despise. The irony is so wonderful I can barely contain myself.”
“You never intended to negotiate in good faith, did you, you monster?”
“Sticks and stones, my dear Prince. Regardless of my intention, that is my only offer. If you don’t like it…” Swain nodded to Talon, Katarina, and Warwick. “…We can always settle this the old-fashioned way.”
“Don’t force my hand, Swain.” Jarvan gripped his spear as Shyvana cracked her neck. Lux frowned and Soraka kept a close eye on Warwick.
“Come now, Lightshield. I can see it in your eyes. You want to kill me, and always have. Well, here I am. This is the only time you’ll get the chance.” He motioned to the Rift, the trees, hills, the river, and the turrets. “There is no entourage to hold you back, no League halting your blade. This is what you want. Combat to prove your superiority, to serve your country’s interests. This is your chance to shine!” An orb of magical energy pulsed to life in Swain’s hand as he cackled and stared down Jarvan. “This is your battlefield! And I am your enemy! So follow your instinct and FIGHT!!” As he finished, Swain thrust his hand toward Jarvan, the ball surging towards him. However, before it struck, a barrier of light pulsed around him, absorbing the damage.
“Shyvana, with me! Lux, Soraka, support duty!” As soon as he spoke, Jarvan surged forward, spear in hand, Shyvana bursting into flames and charging after him. Swain laughed, energy pulsing from him as his form grew and distorted into the massive shape of a demonic bird. Katarina and Talon instantly disappeared from view, each one landing near Lux and Shyvana respectively, as Warwick let out a howl and dove towards Soraka. As Jarvan watched his allies fall away from the onslaught, he turned to face Swain as the man’s demonic ravens dove towards him.
“Your battle is with ME, Jarvan Lightshield! Let us finish what we started in the Judgment Hall!” With a roar, Jarvan charged ahead, his spear spinning wildly, cutting down the ravens, a barrier of energy surrounding him as he threw himself into the air, his weapon thundering with energy as he dropped towards Swain.
“For Demacia!!” The impact threw huge chunks of debris into the air as walls of earth surrounded the two, cutting them off from assistance for the moment.
“Miss Riven! The negotiations have broken down, and both sides have begun fighting! You’d better hurry!” Riven’s summoner’s voice pulsed through Riven’s mind as she cut down more minions, nearing the first outer tower once again.
“How much energy do you have stored up?” Riven spun through the air, bisecting a minion in half as she followed it up with a wide sweeping blow, felling three more. She’d been at it for quite some time by now, and there seemed to be wave after wave as she neared the tower.
“Enough to grant you an additional enchantment of great power, but I would suggest you strike down at least a single tower before you return. The teleport spell is nearly ready, and by the time it is, we can return quickly and push forward.”
“Understood.” Riven leveled her gaze at the tower before her, a massive stone knight with a scepter, surrounded by purple-clad warriors and casters, each with glowing yellow eyes. As her blue-clad minions pushed ahead, she shot into battle once more, absorbing a great deal of the damage herself to spare her magical warriors the initial brunt. However, she allowed them to soak the powerful blasts from the tower itself to buy her time to dispatch the minions fighting back and defending the point. As they struck her, green energy pulsed from her blade, cutting down all who would stand against her strength as she ducked and weaved between strikes, her powerful resolve shrugging off strikes from her enemies. As she threw herself into the air, she spotted enemy reinforcements inbound, marching down to defeat several more of the magical constructs.
As her minions began to blast chunks from the tower using their own attacks, Riven shot forward, intercepting the incoming ranks, cutting them down with every aspect of her abilities. Well-aimed slashes cut down the fragile casters in the rear, as she turned to intercept the bigger, stronger melee fighters after the softer targets had fallen. Her increased damage and strength from the enchantments allowed her to become an unstoppable force against the waves of minions. They would never be capable of defeating her in her current state. As the reinforcements fell, Riven turned back to the tower.
The massive construct was well made, but the bombardment of the minions had weakened its supports significantly. As she approached, she spun into the fray, the sharpness of her blade shattering and cleaving through the rocky body of the tower with terrible force, and after several well-aimed strikes, the massive body of stone and magical stones cracked and rumbled, falling to the ground below. The first tower had been destroyed.
“Miss Riven, Garen has just destroyed his first tower as well. The other summoners are alerting their champions to the news. They’re still fighting, however.” Riven sighed as her mass of minions made their way across the fields to the second tower mostly unopposed.
“I didn’t think a single loss would faze them. Get me back to base, and let us collect that enchantment.” Her summoner nodded, or at least gave a strange affirmative feeling through the link, and the blue light surrounded Riven as she was recalled back to the base. The familiar dizziness passed soon enough, and as she stood on the platform, she felt a massive surge of energy pulse through her body. “Summoner?”
“The ‘Bloodthirster’ enchantment. It increases your attack power, and gives you additional attack power for every minion you strike down, in addition to absorbing some of the damage you deal as strength. With this, you’ll be able to accomplish your goals more easily. Not only that, but it will make you even more resilient.” Riven nodded.
“Good. Now, send me back into the fray, and we’ll take down that second tower.”
In a flash, Riven was back on the field, and spun into the task of destroying the advancing minions before her own subordinates could meet them, guaranteeing they would be the most effective when they struck the tower. Her summoner was correct. As each new minion fell, more power seemed to gather, and she felt more refreshed. Strikes made against her seemed to fade away with each counterstrike, and she continued to gain more strength. Finally, after more and more fighting, she reached the second tower, far deeper into enemy territory. As enemy minions approached, they would see a virtual army of blue spreading out across the path, with a woman leading the charge. Each new wave was decimated faster than the first, and soon, the minions, and a final strike from Riven, brought the second tower crashing to the ground.
Jarvan raged as the talons sprung from the ground, holding him in place, the walls of his strike falling away. He struggled to free himself as Swain approached, roaring with mad laugher as his pets dove towards the defenseless Prince. However, a cry quickly came from one of his subordinates.
“General! My summoner reports that Garen Crownguard has felled two of our outer towers, and he has amassed a great deal of enemy minions to press the assault!” Talon appeared beside Swain as Shyvana roared, wondering where her prey had gone as the blades circling her form suddenly slashed into her.
“What!?” Swain roared and turned to the captured Jarvan. “Was this your plan all along, Lightshield? Delay us with talk of negotiation and strike down our defenses behind our back?” Jarvan could only laugh.
“I wish I could claim such a thing, Swain, but The Might of Demacia is acting under no orders of mine…” Jarvan’s face was smug as Swain raged, until Soraka called out above the din of battle as well, Warwick being held in place by a prison of light as Katarina was slammed to the ground by a falling burst of purple energy.
“Two of our towers have been felled by the Noxian Exile as well, Prince Lightshield!” Jarvan’s face contorted into surprise for a moment before he laughed even harder.
“So, what’ll it be, Swain? Continue this battle until Crownguard decimates your Nexus? Or will you go to stop him?” Jarvan watched as Swain stood silently, his flock of ravens circling him, before he growled and barked orders, motioning to Katarina, Talon, and Warwick.
“You three, put a stop to that oafish brute. Destroy him! I’ll handle things here…” He cackled and turned back to Jarvan. “Besides, I’m not through with you yet…” Jarvan only chuckled through a grin.
“Luxanna, assist your brother. Soraka, keep them alive.” The two of them nodded before charging after the other three champions. As they left, Jarvan turned to Shyvana. “Shyvana, deal with the Exile. Use everything you have.” However, instead of acting immediately, Shyvana protested.
“My lord! I will not leave you to fight alone… Allow me to fight by your side, please.” The Half-Dragon’s eyes softened as Jarvan’s hardened. He could see the worry seeping into her features.
“That is an order from your commander, Shyvana. You would not allow the base to be overrun, would you?” Jarvan could see the hurt in the woman’s eyes and hear it in her voice as she bowed her head, hiding them from view. However, the hurt faded from her tone as quickly as it appeared and she sighed.
“Yes, my lord. As you wish.” Flames pulsed to life around her as she took off towards the Demacian base. “Be careful…”
“Dismissing your pet and all your comrades to fight me alone, how noble.” Swain scoffed, his ravens cackling along with his laugh. “So foolish… You’ve just made this too easy.”
“I could say the same thing about you, Swain. Now then, let’s finish what we started...” Jarvan grinned, spinning his flag around his arm before stabbing it into the earth beside him. In a flash, he shot towards Swain, the Noxian’s ravens diving toward him, but a glowing barrier of energy surrounded Jarvan, their attacks dealing little damage as he thrust his lance ahead, piercing Swain as he attempted to move aside, red staining the feathers, but not before a burst of energy shot from the Noxian’s clawed hand, striking the barrier and dismissing it.
Jarvan dove to the side as Swain took a swipe at him with his claw, the talons leaving deep scratches across the golden armor of his shoulder as the Demacian lifted his spear in a wide swing, slashing against Swain’s unprotected back. The demonic bird howled and squawked with rage, growling as he spun, a torrent of power surrounding the ground around Jarvan as Swain tried to root the prince in place, talons rising to attempt to grab hold of his legs. However, Jarvan’s lance pulsed with energy, extending again, striking his Standard. The prince surged forward, slamming into the massive bird with all the might he could muster, riding him through the air before both of them crashed to earth. Swain flailed his arms, trying to recover, but as he did, Jarvan brandished his standard and stabbed it straight through Swain’s shoulder, pinning the demonic bird in place as his six red eyes glowed blood red, howling in pain and anger.
“I’ve slain dragons, and destroyed many of the most vicious beasts throughout Valoran, Swain.” Jarvan lifted his spear over her head as he stared down at the pinned creature thrashing about. “Their horns and fangs adorn this armor, representing the challenges I have overcome. Compared to them, you’re nothing…”
“We’ll see about that!!” As Swain spoke his raven swooped in from above, a blast of energy surging forth from it, striking Jarvan as he stood there, causing him to stumble back. With ire in his six red eyes, Swain waved his hand, fire pulsing to life, a blast of flames striking the dazed Demacian champion as he fought to defend to no avail. The prince was thrown off his feet, the flames surging over his body as he recovered on all fours, pulling himself to a knee with his spear, blood dripping to the ground below. A “Deathfire Grasp” enchantment, Jarvan realized. Swain’s summoner knew him far too well. Jarvan estimated close to half of his strength had been sapped by the single strike. He cursed under his breath. He’d been too confident. Swain was not incredibly durable, but with that power, he did not have to be.
The ravens dropped down upon Jarvan, tearing away chunks of his body with each clawing talon and ripping beak, and transferring it all to Swain. Talons rose from the ground, latching onto the kneeling prince as he cried out in agony. Pulling from his reserves of strength, fueled by his pain, Jarvan pushed against his binds, but as he did, Swain waved a clawed hand and he felt his strength drain away, exhausted by his summoner’s spell, and more talons rose to trap him in place, followed by a blast of power that tore away his life force. As Jarvan cried out, the demonic and twisted voice of Swain taunted him.
“What’s the matter, Demacian? Get up!” Swain’s raven shot a blast of power into Jarvan once more, bringing forth another roaring cry of pain. “Where’s your spirit now? Your talk of superiority? I’m waiting Demacian!!” With a thunderous strike, Swain’s clawed hand slammed into Jarvan’s form, tearing him from the ground, causing even more agony as he struggled to rise. His attempts were halted, however, as Swain pinned him to the ground with a clawed foot. “Pathetic creature…” Then, he aimed his arm towards Jarvan, sickly energy glowing around it, just as a massive shadow blotted out the sky above him.
“We’ll see who’s pathetic, demon!” With a roar, Swain was thrown from Jarvan as the transformed form of Shyvana thundered overhead, tearing through the tree line, and throwing Swain across the ground as the dragon’s teeth ripped a massive wound across the demon’s body, flames surging around her. In the same instant, every raven descended upon Shyvana, tearing at her, but she was undaunted, her claws ripping into Swain, draining his life-force from her ‘Bloodthirster’ enchantment, even as Swain’s own power drained it away. For the moment it was a complete stalemate. As Jarvan watched, pillars of light fell from the heavens all across the rift, his strength flowing into him, his wounds healing from the power of Soraka’s Wish.
He rose to his feet, green energy surging around him as his summoner’s healing spell sealed even more of his wounds as he began to run towards Swain. The demon bird was thrown across the field and baked in the heat of Shyvana’s burning breath as Jarvan threw himself onto his comrade’s back, running along its length. Swain backed away, throwing his raven minions towards the pair, even as they burned in Shyvana’s flames. With a final thrust, Shyvana cast Jarvan into the air with a whipping motion of her head and neck, propelling him into the sky, sunlight glinting off the tip of his blade as he plummeted towards Swain.
“DEMACIA!!” The ground exploded upward as the added momentum of Jarvan’s fall increased the damage as Swain was impaled in the center of the crater, his demonic form fading at the last possible second. As the blue light of defeat pulsed upward around Swain, the Noxian Commander could only laugh.
“You may have defeated me once, but you still failed to protect your base. Even now the Exile is pushing down your Nexus turrets!” Swain faded from view, but his voice was quick to offer a final taunt. “Relish in the taste of your failure, Demacian!” Cackling laugher faded away as Swain’s raven took off towards the Noxian base. With Swain gone, Jarvan turned to face Shyvana, who shifted back into her human state, her yellow eyes looking apologetic.
“My lord, I-“
“Silence, Shyvana.” The half-dragon stiffened. “You disobeyed a direct order from your Commander. You know what that means.” Shyvana’s eyes looked away.
“I do.” Under normal circumstances such an action was grounds for a court-martial and a dishonorable discharge from the Demacian Military. Her heart sank.
“However…you did save the life of your prince.” Jarvan’s voice softened. “I was foolish, and charged in without thinking. You, however, tried to warn me against such things.” He chuckled. “You…do know that if I fell, I would have been re-summoned, right?” Shyvana looked sheepish, the faintest hint of a blush crossing her cheeks.
“It would have meant a loss for our team, and an advantage to the Noxians. I could not allow that to happen.” She looked to him. “You have your honor to keep intact, after all.” Jarvan laughed.
“That I do. A prince must lead his people to greatness. His follies are hard pressed to be forgotten.” Jarvan nodded in the direction of the Demacian Base. “Come. We need to peel the Exile from the turrets. If Swain was telling the truth, we must hurry.” Shyvana nodded, and together, both began to recall back to the Nexus.
Despite their victory against Swain, the battle continued to rage…