The Sun had now dulled, darkening the streets of this quaint settlement as the pair walked down the darker alleyways. Garen noticed how Asyria moved, every action was careful and silent, but it seemed natural, as though no one could possibly be suspicious of her. It was a strange look, like she both belonged and even owned these alleys, while at the same time being incredibly stealthy.
“Where is she?” Garen questioned her lightly. Their conversations had been few from the short journey from the league, but she seemed to know where she was going, more so in the sense that she probably knew a lot more than she had been revealing to him.
“They have already left for Noxus I presume” she replied stopping to stare at a certain spot in an alleyway. “I doubt they will stop before reaching there, so neither can we.”
It was odd; Garen had noticed her change in attitude since their arrival in this town. She wasn’t so flirtatious and seemingly cunning as before, almost like she revelled in the situation, but now everything seemed less like a game to her. “What do you mean they, who is she with?”
“I don’t know his name, nor do I care” she replied viciously. “They are trying to stop Swain together, but little do they know, they are walking right into a trap.”
“What do you mean?” he asked his voice stern, but slight concerned contained within.
“It’s part of this supposed ‘finale’” she replied, her voice filled with no sense of urgency. “They figured a daring break out would ensue and prepared against it. False information has been fed to them to get them into the trap. I suppose it’s so they wouldn’t interrupt Swain’s master plan.”
The blade passed quickly through the air, one false move or mishap in calculation and Asyria would have dropped, but the blade point pushed lightly against the back of her neck. “I have had enough of you” he spoke, his voice strong and stern although controlled of rage. “I demand to know everything now. Otherwise I have no qualms about leaving you here with your head detached from your body.”
Slowly turning upon the spot she revealed that smug smile she had proudly worn earlier. She raised a quizzical eyebrow, clearly testing Garen’s conviction or patience, and as he threateningly moved the blade forwards the slightest amount she rolled her eyes and relaxed. “Fine” she sighed. “I was hoping to have some more fun, but very well. From my memories of it was something like...”
“You will not see the matron face to face” Swain informed her, his voice calm, but cold. “However she does wish to look upon you.”
“Is that so?” Asyria replied head casually looking from wall to wall inspecting the deep purple and blue finery lavished everywhere. Her voice retained a faux boredom, but in actual fact she was somewhat excited about meeting this so called ‘matron.’
“Yes, she wants to see if you are capable of the task I have set you” he replied his eyes forward, wearing what Asyria considered his stupid scarf in doors annoying her slightly.
“So, she pulls the strings of this little secret plot?” she asked goading him slightly.
He chuckled for a short a while before turning to her. “Oh child” he began; Asyria’s eye flickered violently with purple at the comment causing him to pause to raise a curious eyebrow. “She is the puppet master” he paused once more. “I create the stage for her to play with the puppets.”
“Very well said Jericho” a beautiful voice applauded from behind a translucent purple curtain. “For what would the stage be without my puppets to play, and what would my puppets be without a stage? So you must be Asyria, how divine you appear to mortal eyes.”
Silence embraced the small passage as Asyria gazed at the curtain. Glancing to her left, she spotted Swain looking at her expectantly and he nodded his head fractionally to suggest she should reply. “Yes, I am Asyria” she answered. “And whom do I have the pleasure of talking to?”
“My followers call me Matron, but you may call me Rose” she replied gracefully, her figure not moving from behind the curtain. “You know your mission Asyria? To be swift and deceiving like the midnight gentleman stalking its prey?”
“Yes, I understand. To capture a summoner, bind him, hide him in one of the league’s library” she began confidently reciting her orders. “To kill... some redhead’s companion, impersonate him. Wait for Garen to appear, sneak away, slit the summoner’s throat. Impersonate another summoner, and claim those two did it. Then sneak away once more. Is all that is required?”
“For now my young one, yes” Rose replied.
Asyria’s eyes flickered once more. “Do not call me young one!” she seethed snapping her teeth together. “I am probably older than the both of you humans combined!”
A seductive but patronising laugh arose from behind the silky material that hid the charmer from view. A slender hand slowly pulled the curtain back across revealing a beautiful woman, young yet an aura of maturity and total sophistication hung from her. “I do not believe that to be so my dear. Thinking me to be young, would be a classic misdirection for you. Looks can be quite deceiving.” The smile that held upon her face was a confident and alluring one, the age was clear in her stature, her chosen words, even if not on her appearance.
The curious glance Asyria had given Rose was quickly replaced as she changed in appearance. After a few short moments it was like Asyria was stood in front of a mirror, terrifyingly accurate in appearance, although the personality was somehow different. “Interesting” was all that she could muster in reply as she turned away stepping down the hall. She gave her shoulders a shrug, loosening the cloak that previously was attached quite firmly to her arms and head.
“Oh Asyria, before you leave, could you just clarify a query I have developed since you arrived?” The voice was unrecognisable yet familiar. It was her own. She allowed silence to be her answer and after a short pause the matron continued. “You are one of the nylphare correct?”
A quick shrug of her shoulders straightened her cloak once more, it again hanging tight upon her arms and shoulders. Pulling her hood down slowly she revealed her hair, although it wasn’t her hair, the purple was lighter and the light blue was no longer visible. It retained a different style than it was previously before, matching that of the woman she had just met, Rose.
Turning to show the confident and enticing smile that she had witnessed moments ago, she raised a playful eyebrow upon her Rose disguised face. Her pointed ears that usually poked out of her hair were longer visible and neither was the ice of her eyes, instead they glowed a dull, but deep purple. “Well” she began in Rose’s voice. “What do I look like to you?”
The smirk grew wider upon Asyria disguised Rose. “Interesting” was all that she replied with, before giving a gentle nod to Swain and walking away from the two further down the opposite corridor.
“That went well” Swain stated calmly after he escorted Asyria, now back to her usual self, outside, in the heart of Noxus.
“If you are going to keep me entertained, I suggest you tell me the purpose of all these theatrics. Why am I being given this task, and better yet, why are you trusting me with it?” Her words were quite harsh, almost distrusting to the Noxian tactician who merely gazed back, his eyes a terrifying sight to any lesser individual. They commanded respect, as did the posture he took.
“The desire to rule, is why you are given the task. If you wish to have something then you must earn it. I know you have no liking for Demacia, or even Noxus for that matter. I am offering you something the Demacians have not. So why shouldn’t I trust you?” He replied, although not visible, she knew an arrogant smirk was apparent upon his flawed face due to his almost flawless logic.
“Why would doing this help you to rule?” She asked staring back, her gaze focused.
“If you intended to steal a gem that was surrounded in a protective glass case, how would you do it, assuming you were stood before it?” He asked slight patronisation in his voice.
“I would remove the glass case and take-“
“Exactly!” He interrupted. “You remove the protection first.”
“If the gem was really valuable, it would have more than a glass case protecting it” she argued.
“All obstacles will be overcome” he said confidently his eyes turning to the full moon that hung over the dark city state. “However that does not concern you, you have been given your task and I will be waiting at the appointed time.”
Her gaze was intense for the shortest of moments; reluctantly she gave a small nod and headed into the deeper dark of Noxus.
“That is basically everything” she finished adding an exasperated sigh, to show her false annoyance.
The information was hard to digest. This Noxian plan was clearly deep, it wasn’t going to stop at him and Katarina, it was going to spread like an infection, from Noxus to Demacia, devouring all the light from his beloved city state. The league had to be informed, but returning now would mean Katarina would fall bait to this plan, that and he would most likely be placed back into holding for his escape. Demacia, his king, his prince all had to be warned. Swain plans for the throne, and the Noxian high command. He wants to rule it all.
Rose. It was an illusion. Like the many she birthed and lived by. LeBlanc, the Deceiver. She was behind it all.
“Thank you” Garen said softly, his concern still clear upon his face however. “I know you hold no allegiance to Demacia, but by telling me this, you have definitely helped us.”
Her face betrayed her shock, even if Garen wasn’t looking upon it. She gave a small smile before it was quickly wiped away. “Are we going? We still have to catch them up before they get there.”
Garen nodded and the two of them continued upon their journey, towards the city state of his sworn enemies, the Noxians.
Here it was, behind this very door was what she desired more than anything. It had been a long time, but she finally was in reach of him, the one she missed. Talon was stood further down the straight corridor keeping watch, his piercing eyes scanning left and right for any signs of movement. Her gloved hand reached out slowly for the handle, the door itself seemed clear of any Noxian traps, which actually worried her somewhat, she thought they would have at least tried to trap it considering who was being kept, chained, inside.
Applying the smallest amounts of pressure she moved the handle down and silently pushed the large metallic door open. The room was dark and the polluted fumes of filth among other unsanitary conditions struck her nose like a well placed arrow and she involuntarily shifted her head in disgust. A ragged figure sat, his arms lifted by chains on the wall with all look of hope and happiness stricken from his starved face. His head slowly lifted and his vibrant green eyes, the only colour on this man, fell upon Katarina who stood look of pity and sadness over taking her.
“This... must be, a dream” he whispered and Katarina’s sorrow rose more as she saw him wincing between words, clearly parched enough for speaking to be an issue.
“Father...” she whispered stepping forward and kneeling in front of him, putting her face close to his. “I can’t believe... we are here to save you.” Quickly she grasped at the manacle around his wrist, and using her well honed skills began to pick at the lock.
“How long-“ He began.
“A few months” she interrupted, not wanting to strain his throat much more.
“How did you-“
“Talon is here as well, we finally managed to find out where their main hideout is” she replied her eyes not leaving the manacle at which she worked. As soon as the clasp was unlocked his arm weakly fell out of it and to the floor. Clearly he was sapped of energy and would probably not even have the strength to move himself.
Mouthing words that his voice could not speak she placed her slender finger against his lips. “Father please be silent, save your energy” she pleaded. “Talon” she whispered back. “I need your help.” His footsteps could not be heard even by her keen ears but he soon appeared in the doorway and his straight face did not waver in concern, sadness or even pity.
“Very well” he replied as he stooped down to pick up the General. “This will make things more difficult.”
“The plan is unchanged-“
“My, my, my, look what pair of birds I have caught in my cage” a voice called from down the corridor. It was unmistakably the arrogant, strong voice of Jericho Swain. Instinct kicked in and the swift assassins both went for their blades and as if to insult both of them the tactician chuckled in reply. This wouldn’t be the first time Talon and she had fought on the same side, he always moved in first and she would follow up, but why hadn’t he moved yet? The emerald of her eyes glanced left and she realised with horror a violet sigil had appeared beneath his feet and daemonic birdlike talons slowly made their way out.
Although he didn’t say a word, she knew he was snared to the spot, such was the magic potency of Swain. It didn’t matter, the blade in her hand would end his life and bursting forward she sped down the corridor.
She fell to her knees.
A golden chain lashed into life around her feminine neck from behind, slowly squeezing, restricting her movement and pulling her back, away from the tactician who gave a patronising head tilt. With great force upon the chain she was span on the spot to face where her father was, only he wasn’t there anymore.
Holding onto the end of the chain, with a small satisfied smile upon her face was the great deceiver, the enemy to her and her father, LeBlanc. Her blue eyes shimmered in the darkness from the ethereal shining chains that bound Katarina to the spot. “Oh I’m so sorry my dear, did you think I was someone else?”
Speaking proved to be difficult for Katarina so she relaxed and gave up resisting the chains. After a moment of staring she did the only thing she thought the witch in front of her deserved. She spat. In true defiance, for the cruel deceiver was not even worth her words.
“My, my, how barbaric. This performance for your act is the kind of behaviour that we wish to eradicate from the land. Refinement my dear Katarina. Everyone deserves a chance” her head tilted towards Talon who remained constricted by the talons which now engulfed all of his lower body and clutched his arms to his side. “Well, maybe not every individual, a woman needs her toy for when things don’t go quite her way. Especially since the other one is getting a bit old and lifeless.”
The Deceiver’s eyes returned to Katarina’s emeralds and the look she gave told her who this other toy was. However, it did not enrage her, nor did it sadden her, it restored hope. Her words proved that he was alive, unless of course she was being deceived once again.
“Seperate them please Jericho. Make sure you put them into the special cells, now these two are captured, are plan can go ahead unhindered” she said her voice filled with delight. Walking past Katarina she dropped the chain into Swain’s hand. “After that is done come join me for a celebration.”
“As you wish Matron” he nodded in reply. As she stepped further away out of sight, Swain stepped closer to the snared pair.
“You’re going to have a hard time getting us to those cells” Talon spat. “Soon as you try to move me, I’ll gut you.”
The bird upon his shoulder began cawing incessantly and the servant of LeBlanc chuckled loudly. “Dear man, you are in our house. Our power here is greater than what you see at the league, allow me to demonstrate.” His voice was as clear as crystal even amongst the bird calls and suddenly his eyes turned a vivid red and they widened to a great extent staring terrifyingly at the male assassin.
“What... are you?” Talon muttered, staring at awe into Swain’s now bird like eyes.
A hellish energy surrounded the tactician and it gave him a horrible red hue that began to glow within the small cell. The bird continued to call as though it summoned whatever beast was being unleashed inside of Swain. “I. AM. TERROR!” He roared and Talon’s eyes widened in shock, the very room began to shake at the magic energies that Swain unleashed, the hellish glow that surrounded him began to spread, creating a line of mist that struck into Talon’s eyes and after the arcane manifestation had reached its overpowering climax, Talon’s head lulled.
Katarina continued to kneel, watching in horrid shock at the pure power that Swain has at his command, she knew he was a monster, the fields of justice proved this to be the case on many occasions, but this power, truly made him a creature of darkness. After the aura had vanished, the purple sigil surrounding Talon disappeared along with the avian feet that bound him to the spot and his body crashed to the ground.
Closing his eyes the red aura quickly dissipated and turning his head calmly to her he gave a short nod. “Do you wish to be dragged, or escorted, Miss Du Couteau?”
Her deathly gaze would be terrifying, if it wasn’t for what she had just witnessed, which truly defined the word terror. Her choice was faux, it didn’t matter what she would say now and so she waited, her eyes however not turning in submission from the general.
His cheeks shifted, giving her the impression that he smiled. “You are quite right” he stated. Suddenly she was heaved forward onto her front by the speed and strength of the pull from Swain on her golden chain and quickly and painfully she was dragged. It was the most excruciating journey she had ever physically experienced, her face cut across the stone floor, despite her best attempts to shield her face the chain around her neck involuntary forced her hands to the ethereal object that choked her.
Stopping occasionally he allowed her to regain what little breath she could, but after the pain had subsided he yanked her once more. Throughout the dragging Swain remained silent, it was like he calculated every move, the most precise way he could inflict the highest amount of pain, although he never once showed any sign of enjoyment or sadistic pleasure.
Finally she was pulled into a room and left, the clearly metallic door slamming shut leaving nothing but darkness like her end had been signified. She felt the blood from her face, arms and knees begin to pool on the floor where she lay. Her breaths slowed and she gradually brought her knees to her chest, the will to keep her eyes open any longer faded and darkness claimed her.
“Isn’t this suspicious?” Garen asked examining the hooded cloak and robes Asyria just handed to him. They were fairly ordinarily looking, but the sheer weight around the shoulders and hood, gave them a nefarious look.
“You’re in Noxus... everyone is suspicious” she replied a small smirk upon his face. “Besides I do not think you would last long walking in as you normally do. You are famous.”
He sighed in annoyance, but slowly placed the robes on. They were certainly large enough to fit him, even with his armour on and they flowed down to his feet, allowing him to hide the hilt of his blade. “Do you know what building they reside?”
“Of course” she nodded confidently. “Since stealth isn’t your forte, getting in may be difficult. However since we haven’t met them on the way, I can only assume they are in trouble.”
Silence was Garen’s reply as he stared coldly upon his enemy’s home city. Noxus, it was a dark place, even the gates would seem foreboding and somewhat dangerous to normal outsiders. Judging the dark gates and the few buildings that peeked above the high walls of the city, he doubted this city was home to many visitors.
“Let’s go” he determinedly said to her and began a forceful walk towards the gates that opened into the very heart of Noxus.