So it was written, that for their uprising against the Institute of War, that all zones of proper representation would submit a male and female champion as tributes to take place in an annual fight to the death, known as the Hunger Gam...wait what? What do you mean that's copyrighted? Okay...the...Leauge of Hunger, how's that? Good? Okay...yes, the League of Hunger. This battle will have one victor, and one alone. The sole survivor shall be brought back to his home town safely, and both him and his zone shall be showered with prizes, while being taken care of for the rest of his or her life. Best of luck to all.
I felt the breeze run through my hair, felt the air across my skin, enjoying my natural element. The world seemed so peaceful, even if it wasn't. Ever since the uprising...After the Kalamanda incident, Noxian and Demacian forces continued to butt heads, and even without magic being used, the Institute over-stepped it's bounds, and continued to intervene in their political issues. Eventually, Noxus and Demacia came to an agreement, and felt that the Institute of War had become to strong, and could potentially be a threat for their people's way of life. They were however, to late. The Institute's strength had grown further than anyone could have predicted, and the city-state's armies were crushed. The League of Legends had fallen, and the Institute would now micro-manage all political systems across Valoran. However, the Institute had found such joy and fascination in the League of Legends, that they felt it necessary that the individuals continue to put each other to death. However, this time around, Death would be permanent.
The wind this time of year felt...depressing. Sad, blood-ridden almost. Knowing that as the breeze swept across the land, it only brought troubling times. I glided down from my favorite hill towards the town square, where all Zaun champions would have to gather, bobbing up and down to look past the crowded streets. The citizens didn't have a care in the world, only Champions from their associated city-states and minor zones were in danger.
It might only be the first year, but it felt like a million years had passed. As I glode into position it occurred to me that one male and one female would be chosen, and looking between the already present Twitch, Singed, and Warwick, it occurred to me that this first year, I had no choice in the matter. I would be taking part in the League of Hunger. As this realization occurred to me it felt like a punch to the stomach, and I tripped up in the air, temporarily taking foot on the ground momentarily, before regaining my balance. If I was going to fight, so be it. I had the wind on my side.
“Hello and welcome everybody. I will be representing Zaun for the coming years from the Institute of War. I am High Summoner Nikasaur, and before we begin, I have a message that wishes to be played.” She motioned towards a massive screen that had originally been used in order to view the League of Legends matches, but as of now had a new purpose.
“Greetings, and may I say, that this years League of Hunger is going to be spectacular!” High Summoner Kolminye appeared, the replacement for Reginald Ashram after his...mysterious departure. “As you all know, one male and female champion shall be brought from each of the following zones in Valoran: Demacia. Noxus. Ionia. Pitlover. Zaun. Bilgewater. Bandle City. Freljord. Shadow Isle. Mt. Targon. And as...special guests, we shall have two competitors from both the Kinkou Ninja Order, and the Plague Jungles. Good luck participants, lets have a good show.” The image faded out.
“Well now, who's excited? Now I'll explain some rules, that you'll hear once more before you enter the arena. Similar to the League of Legends, Champion abilities will be greatly restricted. In this case, you will be able to use any weapons available on the field, and whatever your secondary ability was on Summoner's Rift. No ultimate’s will be aloud, and that includes transformations. Passive abilities will also remain active on this new battlefield. There is no re spawning, once dead, you're life is terminated. Remember that. Also, there is only one winner, and remember that when you decide to try and make friends. Now then...at this time we will now choose from the available champions the two tributes. I would start with the ladies, but as Janna is our only female, why don't you come on up while I choose the male.” I drifted up, the shock having already left my system, and being replaced with anticipation as I began to go over in my head all the potential enemies I could come across.
Warwick ended up being chosen as the male, but my mind was so focused on potential strategy that I zoned out the rest of the world. The wind wrapped around my ears preventing any sound from passing their barrier, and it wasn't until two hooded summoners began to push me along that I realized the time to head for the Institute had begun. We were moved towards a carriage that would ride out, giving time for other participants to be chosen and make their way to the Institute as well.
“Why aren't we using summoning platforms, like we did for the original League of Legends?” Warwick was glaring at Summoner Nikasaur, who shifted uncomfortably.
“Well for this new event we wanted things to be a little...different. Before the actual combat we've decided to add a few...catches.”
“Such as?” I figured I would let Warwick ask the questions, I wouldn't even know where to begin.
“For example...citizens and summoners who feel like helping out can send you items, weapons, potions, or just general supplies during the battle. We do a whole fashion show, and even an interview.” I could sense Warwick become suddenly uncomfortable about the thought of a dog in a fashion show. The questions stopped and we sat in silence as our carriage headed towards the Institute.
The silence probably would have become unbearable, if it weren't for the sudden appearance of a rampaging Mundo beside the carriage. “Dr. Mundo? What are you doing?”
“Mundo goes where he pleases, and Mundo under orders to deliver message to all participating pairs.” He tossed in a folded up piece of paper, before I could have sworn I heard him use Ghost, and he sprinted off away from our carriage.
“Well...let's see then...” Nikasaur unfolded the paper and read around. “In order to give our participants a fighting chance, we are giving each pair the detailed information about who they are fighting from each of the chosen areas. For Demacia, we have Garen and Lux. For Noxus, we have Swain, and Katarina Du Couteau. For Ionia, we have Master Yi and Karma. For Piltover, we have Heimerdinger and Caitlyn. For Zaun...well...you two of course. Umm...for BandleCity we have Lulu and Teemo. For Freljord we have Sejuani and Tryndamere. For the...” Nikasaur shivers a bit. “For the Shadow Isles...we have Evelynn and Yorick.” The two didn't seem to scary in the League of Legends, but without any of our powers they could be an extremely deadly combination. “From Mt. Targon, there will be Pantheon and Leona. From the Kinkou Ninja Clan, we have Kennen and Akali, and lastly the Plague Jungles, we have Nidalee and Rammus. Okay?” She giggled at her own joke but I payed no mind to her. I just went over the list repeatedly in my head. Who was a threat, who would be a joke.
“Many Yordles are going to die today...” Warwick was getting excited and licking his lips. Apparently his instincts were kicking in and all he could think about was killing.
“Now then...down to business. When we arrive at the Institute you will be separated into a your own individual rooms to receive a makeover, we're going to make you prettier than ever, and somewhat...presentable.” Nikasaur looked doubtfully at Warwick, wondering how they could ever make him a crowd pleaser. Then again, it wasn't her job, so she returned to her spiel. “After your first impression, you'll be changed into formal attire and sit down to have an interview with High Summoner Phreak. The point of all of this is to make the citizens of Valoran, as well as the summoners at the Institute, have some sort of favorite among you. The more popular you are, the increased odds of something being sent to you inside the arena.”
“I don't care about my popularity. If someone has higher popularity then myself, I'll just slaughter them and take their precious gifts.” Warwick growled at Nikasaur who scooted to the other side of her seat in the carriage so she was across from myself. “Do you understand? We're almost there.” She pointed behind me and I peeked my head out the window to see the Institute of war approaching.
“Yeah...I got it all...” I became nervous once again. The last time I'd become popular was over a photo scandal that had gotten out of hand. However that was all in the past. At this point I'd just have to...go with the flow that the wind provided. My wind.
"You just have so much...hair dear!" A summoner was brushing my hair and changing it to a silver color, feeling it matched more appropriately with my attire. A silver dress with several sparkling ribbons, the idea that being during windy times I would become a glorious streak through the world of shimmering wind. The silver would represent the literal wind. "It must be difficult to be maintain it, but it sure is beautiful." I would feel complimented, if I didn't feel like a corpse already. Being prettied up for my viewing, where the people of Zaun and any friends I had would look at my flowing hair and beautiful dress. At least i wouldn't die in these clothes.
“Now then, after your presentation, we go straight to interviews, for the sake of time.” Nikasaur was looking at a list of names. “You'll be going after the female champion of Piltover, so you'll have plenty of time being you have to present yourself. You and Warwick will walk through the halls of the Institute, presenting yourselves to any and all viewers, and remember to make them like you.” She closed her folder and looked up at my. “You shouldn't have any problems my dear.” Smiling at me, I could tell she was feigning every moment. She might have been one of the few summoners who had grown attached to the champions of the zones. Seeing them die permanently would be a big loss.
I left the room and followed the directions given by Nikasaur, and saw Warwick in a Tuxedo and a top-hat. He looked like a gentlemen...even with all the hair, which had been trimmed down an insane amount. Warwick growled as I approached and looked towards the doors. Infront of us stood the Demacian, Noxian, and Piltover champions. Behind us stood the remainder of the champions, all in various outfits complimenting their style, or just attempting to make them presentable. Garen and Lux both wore uniforms of the Demacian military, with matching designs across the plates. It looked like they'd be representing Demacia as a team. Behind them, Swain and Katarina also wore militaristic apparel, and Swains back plate had two massive opening in it, most likely for his wings.
The Ionians had just taken their spot, two places in front of us, when the doors swung open, and they began to march. Garen and Lux started out first, as a roar of applause echoed through the building. The hallway had turned into a massive arena, stretched further than I could see, and through some magic the summoners must have been working on, bleachers and rows upon rows of seats had appeared on either side of the walkway, every seat filled to the brim with hooded summoners and high-class citizens alike. As the Piltover pair walked forward, Caitlyn looked as steampunk as ever, and Heimerdinger twirling his wrenches, shooting them like pistols at cheering fans, a guard at the door waved us forward.
Warwick began to walk uncomfortably forward, looking up at the crowd who almost seemed shocked by his change, and then it happened. Feeling my need to impress these people, who might determine my fate, wind swirled around my body, and the ribbons fluttered outwards, sending shimmering sparkles through the air, as my silver hair flowed behind me.
Gravity held no power anymore, and I was twirling and grinning, blowing kisses to whomever I happened to be facing. I noticed a special booth on either side, one holding the High Summoners, and another holding the remaining champions. Their glances had no effect on my actions, and soon enough I was exciting the doors at the end of the massively long hall, and turning a corner, the adrenaline flowing. All the champions were seated along a bench, where a screen appeared that showed a stage with two seats. As Rammus and Nidalee, Rammus in a holey suit, and Nidalee dressed in a very revealing and tribal outfit, took their seats, a summoner walked through the exit of the arena, and closed the doors, before walking to another pair of doors at the end of the bench.
“Momentarily these doors will open, and you will each have a time of interview with High Summoner Phreak. During these interviews you will be asked a series of questions. Your answer could determine your fate in the League of Hunger. Remember this.” On screen an introduction was being given, and High Summoner Phreak walked out on stage, doing a little introduction. I guess I felt a little lucky being a later interviewee. The adrenaline was wearing off, and I started to think about the questions that could be asked, and how I would answer them. What kind of person would I be? As I questioned, Phreak called out for Garen to take the stage. After smiles and a hand-shake, they took their seats.
“So Garen, Might of Demacia, how does it feel to be representing the city of Demacia in the first League of Hunger?” Phreak leaned in towards Garen, as did I, silence fell over everyone as the first interview began to take place.
“Well, it's a true honor to serve my people. I was a crowd pleaser back in the League of Legends, summoners of all ranking knew my name, and I was a force to be reckoned with. It's only fitting that I make a name for myself once again, as the first winner of the League of Hunger.” Garen raised his fist to the air and the crowd went wild. Easy modes had such a popularity attached it hardly seemed fair.
“Big talk, considering you have 23 opponents. Do you have a strategy in mind?” Garen let loose a laugh.
“Well, I think I'll do what any smart champion would do, and rush into battle getting a Trinity Force as soon as possible, for...say it with me!” The rang out simultaneously. “TONS OF DAMAGE!!!” It made me sick.
A buzzer went off signaling the end of his interview. With a massive bow he exited the stage. Swain went on next, discussing something about being a Master Tactician, but Swain was never someone I payed attention too. Suddenly I felt like I had been snapped to an alternate reality when I suddenly noticed the Manatee sitting on the bench, his fin on the floor and a spatula in his grip. I raised my eye-brow, as his name was called and he hopped awkwardly on stage.
“Urf, you've recently been revived to take play in the League of Hunger, and should you win, and then given a chance to re-build from where you left off.” Phreak leaned in for Urf to respond, and dressed as a cook, sitting their awkwardly. Warwick got up and howled from beside me, and it echoed into the main room. Urf, who's mouth was open to respond, froze in terror, and he sat there silent for the rest of the interview. The crowd was dead silent as Teemo took the stage.
“Well, we appear to have another crowd favorite, Teemo the Yordle, representing Bandle City! How does it feel to be here?” The crowd's dead silence didn't phase Teemo in the least.
“It feels good knowing that all the young yordle's in my scout troop will get to see the true power of the Scout's Code!”
“So I asked Garen this, do you have a strategy you plan on using?” The crowd leaned in, curiosity peaked. Suddenly Teemo faded from sight. “Teemo?”
“Boo!” Teemo jumped out towards the crowd and made a silly face. After the initial shock wore off, the crowd went ballistic, whistling and shouting for Teemo. “Oh, I have a few tricks up my sleeve.”
“Well that's good to hear! Ladies and Gentlemen, Teemo!”
The interviews continued, each Champion doing their best to make an impression on the citizens of Valoran. Tryndamere discussing the union of Freljord, Rammus answering every question with OK, regardless of it made sense or not. Katarina came up, bloodthirsty as ever, almost putting the crowd back into shock, and soon enough I found it to be my turn.
“Janna, Mistress of the Wind, Goddess of the Skies, welcome to the stage, how does it feel?” Phreak's eye showed a minor expression of pain, smiling non-stop like this must be straining his cheeks.
“It feels like the winds of the world will carry me to victory. Not that they'll be given a choice.” I giggled, it was a corny joke, but it got the crowd laughing and loosened them up after the past few bloodthirsty interviewees.
“I guess they won't, but you've never really been much of a solo fighter now have you?” I still didn't have much of a strategy, so I'd just wing it.
“I wouldn't say that. I've had my fair of one on one's in the past, but that was under the restrictions of summoners. Without someone commanding me, the very air that everyone else is breathing in will be under my control.” This wasn't necessarily true, we'd still be under the League's restrictions, but this at least made me look confident.
The crowd was cheering as I stood up and pointed out to them, looking individuals in the eyes as the ribbons began to rise and twinkle around me. “All those who feel I'm an underdog, be careful, because I might just take your breathe away.”
The crowd went crazy, and Phreak stood beside my, raising my arm upwards. “Ladies and Gentlemen, representing Zaun, Janna!” I took a bow as I continued to sparkle leaving stage, headed to a waiting area for the remainder of champions to finish their interviews. Warwick could be seen sitting on the bench, but Urf seemed to have vanished.
As Nidalee entered the room, being the final interviewee, we all rose and were escorted down a hallway by yet another summoner I didn't recognize. “You will each be given a final preparations room. A timer will be announced, and when time ends, you will be summoned to a randomized platform in the special arena designed specifically for the League of Hunger. You will wait there for 60 seconds. Should you leave you platform, be it stepping off or even gliding,” the summoner's eyes turned towards me, “ then special explosives designed by the yordles of Bandle City will detonate, and immediately take the life of whoever leaves to soon. Now, you'll find your designated rooms at certain intervals along this hallway. Head out, and good luck to you all.”
With that, everyone departed into separate directions, and I entered my chamber. A jacket, pants, and boots, almost like apparel Ashe would wear, or some type of hunter. I changed from my dress, and sat, waiting...
As the timer entered it's final numbers I stepped onto my summoning platform, and as soon as the countdown hit zero, I felt that ever so familiar surge of energy, signifying my teleportation to the Fields of Justice. I embraced it, knowing that it could very well be my last. The light blinded me momentarily, and I stood on a small metal ring. Around me, flashes of light signified the summoning of the other champions. In front of us, was a massive Nexus, with an enormous opening. Inside was almost every item we could think of. Trinity Force, Bloodthirster, Deathcaps littered the ground. Even items we had never seen before, generic swords, armors, and various medical supplies and potions could be seen strewn across the ground. Closer and closer to the platforms the item quality decreased, to dorans items and poor quality blades. Camping supplies also were spread about.
As I started to look around me, at the forest, and an enormous mountain top, I had to decide where I would go. The precious items in the middle would certainly do me the most good, but the question was whether I could beat champions like Garen or Rammus once I got there. I saw a small survival kit, with first aid supplies, a warm looking coat, and a bottle to store water, and decided I would head for that first and head towards the Mountain.
“Welcome to the League of Hunger!” All the Champions had been successfully summoned, to my left was Kennen, eye-balling the Nexus. To my right...nobody? I guessed Teemo's passive had kicked in. “60 seconds until the explosives are disabled.” I looked down the line as the countdown dropped. 55...54...53...when I noticed Urf. Upright on his fin, he seemed to be wavering from side to side. I guess without feet it must be hard to balance yourself. 49...48...47...and then it happened. Waving his flippers wildly in the air, Urf was unable to maintain leg-less balance any longer, and fell forward off his platform. Before he even hit the ground, explosives sent shockwaves through the air, threatening anyone else off balance to potentially be knocked off their platforms, but as blubber and manatee chunks rained from the sky, no other Champion fell prey to the explosives.
I returned my focus to the survival kit, and the countdown reached it's final seconds. 3...2...1.
“Greetings and Hello all you summoners and champions viewing this bloody spectacle! For today's events you will have two fine commentators, myself being Shaco, and my partner, being...Shaco!” The red and green Shaco pair laughed maniacally behind their booth, with papers in front of them they paid no mind too. “As you can clearly see, we've had our first death before the countdown even began! Something I'm somewhat an expert on.” He laughed again before a video replay of Urf's explosive finish covered the screen.
“At least he's consistent with the way he dies. Enter the fields and give a permanent first blood!” The green Shaco laughed at his own joke as he watched the replay again, in slow motion. “Alas, I will not know the joy of slicing up his blubbery body. Warwick how I envy thee. However, the carnage has just begun...” Both the Shaco's vanished, and the cameraman could be heard screaming in terror before the video was cut, and the screens returned to the arena, where Urf's body parts had taken rest on the ground.
I dashed from my post towards Kennen, who had ignored my presence completely and headed towards the Nexus in the center of the field. An obvious trap, but at least it would narrow down the list of champions, increasing my odds. I picked up a bottle of water, a small pack with three healing potions, and a jagged piece of metal. Not quite a knife, but it was better than nothing at all. With my Zephyr floating around my body, and a tailwind at my back, I floated quickly towards the mountain region without taking a second glance behind me.
The trees whipped by, but years of jungle battles on Summoner's Rift and Twisted Treeline had trained my body to easily dodge in and out of the trees and brush. First step, to find a water source. The bottle I had picked up ended up being completely empty, but headed towards the mountain I imagined there had to be a spring or river somewhere near the base, and then I could head upwards and have a vantage point over the entire arena.
Sure enough, after about 10 minutes of gliding I neared the edge of the mountain, and found a small pong, with a stream headed up towards the top. If I was lucky, there would be a spring at the top pouring out this water, but in the mean time I bottled as much as I could and began the trip upwards. Considering I wasn't actually walking, the uphill battle wasn't to difficult, yet another advantage I would have in this area. Anyone who did make it up this high would be extremely winded by the time they reached me, making them weaker than if we fought at ground level, not to mention the weight of any gear they'd bring with them.
Finally the ground began to level out, and I found a small spring bubbling up from the mountain , almost boiling. A hot spring...at least I knew the water would be free of contaminants. I hovered slowly outwards, not wanting to take an unexpected plummet to the world, and was briefly blinded by the sunlight. For a brief second I felt fear, as if Leona would come crashing into me at any moment, before the world revealed itself.
The Nexus was in the distance, bodies strewn across, but several moving around still...the fighting had ceased. I hadn't really thought about an alliance. Teaming up just seemed silly, with only one winner any alliance would have to fade eventually. I raised my hand to block the sun from my eyes to try and make out who was dead, and who was still standing. The only clear-cut pair was Garen and Lux, one bulking beside the other, and a tiny corpse I could only assume to be Kennen's lay at the mouth. The others were impossible to make out, until I could see Rammus waddle outwards covered in thornmail and a sash over his forehead. That would be problematic... Pantheon was nowhere to be seen, his shield given to him for the sake of his abilities, unfair in my opinion, but I didn't make the rules, would have made him obvious. Along side the trio were two other figures, but as the sun began to sink my sight was all but gone, and I moved back to the safety of the trees.
The temperature decreased along side the visibility of the arena, and I began to shiver. Keeping warm was no problem though, I began to increase the speed of the wind around me, the friction of air particles heating up the area around me, and I moved towards the hot spring, wondering if sleep would be possible. I still had plenty of energy, and perhaps I should be hunting fatigued or tired individuals, but a bright light illuminated the sky as Shaco and his clone appeared, covered in blood.
“Greetings surviving champions, we are here to give you an update on the casualties so far! First we have Jim, the camera man...” The green Shaco smacked the red Shaco.
“Wrong list! We're supposed to list casualties in the field, not the filming booth.” The red Shaco looked down at his sheet and ripped it up.
“Well that was a waste of time! Let me see yours!” He began to list off the names in unison with his partner. “First, and obvious to all, is Urf the Manatee. Bet Warwick is upset he didn't get that kill.” A howl in the woods could be heard, but it was far enough that I maintained concentration on the screen. “Other casualties include Sejuani, who without her mighty boar seemed unable to comprehend combat. Next up, Karma! Be carful whoever killed her, that one might come around to bite you.” The pair laughed at their own joke yet again. “Then we have... Kennen, Yorick, Akali, Tryndamere, Heimerdinger and finally Miss Fortune. Now then...I think I saw the lady who delivers the coffee just a moment ago...” The screen went dark and the world once again became black.
So nine casualties left us with Leona, Pantheon, Swain, Katarina, Garen, Lux, Nidalee, Rammus, Caitlyn, Warwick, Teemo, Lulu, Master Yi, Evelynn, and myself. Panic struck as I realized Evelynn had been given her stealth abilities, making her even more lethal than nearly all of my opponents. I stood up and spiraled some wind to some of the lower branches, where light hadn't quite given their leaves life. They were dry and crunchy, and I scattered them in between all of the trees. If this worked, I could move about freely without giving away my position, but anyone that walked by unprepared would leave a loud crunching noise in their wake.
Nine down, fifteen to go. I lay down on a soft patch of grass beside the springs, their warm waters keeping the cold at bay. My stomach growls, and in the morning I begin my search for food.