"Eniana." The wind brushed past her, tugging and tickling at her hair as she wandered through the deep forest. The trees were old, and giant. They all looked the same, and she had no idea which way to go. She heard the whisper again, "Eniana." She had thought it merely the wind before, but each time the wind came she heard her name clearer and clearer.
She stopped walking, turning a full circle around herself in hopes to see whomever was calling her. She saw no one, and yet again, heard the voice. "Why...?" It sounded like her son, and she felt pain in her heart and wished to cry. She let her defenses lower, hoping that if she let her emotions overwhelm her that she could be rid of these tears that would not flow. But she did not cry. She let out a shaky breath, and turned to keep walking. Immediately as she turned, she saw the face of her son sinking into the bark of a tree. "No!"
She closed her eyes, taking deep breaths as she slowly reassembled the fortress in her mind. The mantra her sister had taught her as a child poured over and over from her lips, "I will feel nothing, and nothing shall come to pass. If I feel nothing, there will be no pain." After what felt like at least an hour of meditative speech, the emotions had gone. She opened her eyes, and began to think logically. She was lost, no doubt. The easiest way to ensure she wasn't going in circles would be to leave some sort of mark on the trees, or the ground, so that she could see if she'd passed such a way. She was a fugitive, however, and she knew someone was hunting her. The previous night she saw her pursuers in a vision whilst meditating, and she knew immediately she couldn't outrun them. And that very moment, she left the road and headed towards the forest.
The voice came unexpectedly, jolting her from her thoughts. The sound reverberated through the forest, and for a moment she thought she could see the very soundwaves in the air. After it left, everything seemed silent except for an incessant beating on the ground. It was a thumping that grew, and grew, and at the very thought of what it might be Eniana's throat tightened. She took a breath, and ran straight for one of the trees, leaping and running a few steps up the bark just high enough to grab a branch. She swung into the trees, and waited. She focused on an energy deep within her, and exhaled. Her eyes flickered a slight violet for a single second and her vision was tinted the same color. Afterwords, she knocked on the trunk of the tree. It made no sound. She sighed in relief.
She watched from above as a group of seven to ten highly armored Noxians on giant eyeless ostriches burst through the undergrowth, tearing it up by the roots. The beasts sniffed, squawking loudly and furiously as they ruffled their black and green plumage. A few men dismounted and began checking the bushes. Eniana pressed herself closer to the bark of the tree, holding her breath despite the spell of silence she'd cast. "They either lost her scent or she's here. The beasts seem to think the trail ends, but we can't find her, sir."
"You have looked for less than five minutes and you report? Unprofessional." She gawked, closing her eyes as the man's head was cleaved from his shoulders in but a second by a huge axe. The axe's owner placed the weapon on his back, his gruff features settled on a frown. His hair had been gelled back, although it sagged from sweat. He ran a leather-bound hand through his hair, raven color all-throughout aside from a small ashen tuft to the right of his widow's peak. One might, upon first glance, think it the mark of age, but truthfully the mark had been there since his birthing and the discoloration was his birthmark. A friend had once told him that the mark was because he'd be born an old soldier in a young man's body.
"Was that really necessary, Darius?" A woman's voice, cold and sharp.
"I suggest you mind your tongue, Deceiver."
"Until you grasp a title of higher authority, I suggest you watch yours."
"I don't need authority to rip out your trachea."
The conversation paused for a long moment, and Eniana was struck with an idea. If she set the forest on fire and ran, she could be rid of her assailants and get away alive. But no sooner than she had thought the idea did a violent gust of wind blow, and almost dance around her. You will do no such thing. Eniana shook her head, unsure of what voice had entered her mind. It did not matter, she had to get away from this place. She slowly began climbing higher in the tree, looking down every so often to see if she'd been noticed. While looking down, she grabbed a branch a bit too far out, and its movement sent a shower of leaves down onto the group below. "Oh. He wasn't wrong." Eniana heard the woman's voice and started to climb faster.
"Don't worry, dear Darius. I shall fetch her." The woman stood from her mount, removing the heavier pieces of her armor. "I do so hate steel." Darius looked down upon the heavily make-upped face, with its auburn eyes and blue-black hair, as she pulled a small cube from her pocket and pulled outwards from either side, her staff flourishing in a purple spark. It was just a bit over half her height, a shaft of black-grey metal with gold and silver ornaments. A mysteriously glowing crystal hovered at its tip, between a crescent-shaped head. She's almost as thin as her staff, and curvier. Darius remarked, silently, as he looked her up and down.
"Are you sure?" Darius had already begun to dismount, his axe ready.
"I usually detest doing things for myself, but I feel as though... I ought to stretch my legs." She raised her staff and disappeared in a blink of dark energy, reappearing on a tree-branch a few feet below Eniana. "Good evening. I trust you're doing well?" Eniana looked back, getting a good look at the woman's face. The Deceiver pointed her staff at Eniana and what looked to be a word in some ancient language became visible on the staff's crystal. With a flick of the staff, the sigil shot at Eniana with alarming speed. She jumped, trying to avoid it but it followed her and slammed into the back of her thigh with an arcane crackle. Eniana felt pain and heat rush through her body as if her soul had been set aflame. She stifled a scream by biting into her lip, climbing higher. She muttered as she climbed,
"I will feel nothing, and nothing shall come to pass. If I feel nothing, there will be no pain."
The sorceress was preparing another sigil in the staff, and it seemed more powerful, hissing with a more virulent power. Eniana stopped running, turning as the runic energy hurtled towards her once more. She spat out the blood from her lip, and thrust her hand towards the attack, reaching for the energy inside herself once more. She felt the energy take the shape of the Deceiver's spell from before, and then morph to some strange cold power. She let it fly, and the Deceiver let out a curse as she saw the counterspell cut through her own attack and slam into her. Her body went entirely numb and she lost her footing, plummeting straight downwards. Eniana turned, running along the thick branch she found herself on and leaping across trees to get away. It was all she could think. "Get away."
She grew tired as she sprinted through the trees, and eventually came back to the forest floor, coughing and spitting more blood into the brush. She touched her lip, wincing as she realized how badly she'd bitten it. She went to a tree and tore off some moss, holding it against her wound. It wasn't much, but it'd have to do. She closed her eyes, as the sting in her lip intensified and found that instead of blackness, she saw a river. The river ran towards the center of the forest and as her vision traveled with it she saw it stop at the foot of a large boulder. When she opened her eyes, she had a goal. She knelt down, sitting back on her heels to meditate.