Institute of War
A boot crunches in the cracked and broken dirt outside the grand entrance to the main hall. The ground here was as dry and brittle as desert, but the air was always saturated with the overwhelming stench of uncontrolable magic. The Institute of War, once a proud and majestic testament to the level of society Runeterra had advanced to, now lied in absolute ruin. The winged figure made his way up the broken stone steps and under the archways of the hall, not stopping to look at the crumbled stone statues that once resembled Runeterra's most prestigeous summoners and mages. Nor did he check for any contacts within the grounds as he walked, he had surveyed the Institute from the sky and seen no signs of life save for the various magical disturbances that covered the buildings. For any normal being, staying in a place like this without magical protection for too long was dangerous, after an hour or two the magic would start to affect him.
He picked up the pace and stepped lightly, keeping an eye out for any unnactivated traps the summoners had left in their absense. He had travelled to these crumbling ruins to get information, although he wasn't entirely sure if what he was after was still intact. He leapt over a gap in the floor, spreading his wings to pass over the vast black expanse left in it's wake. The Institute of War lay it's foundations upon a mountain filled with a system of caverns and tunnels, he'd been told. Several of the pillars holding the grounds up had broken due to attack or disrepair, leaving gaping holes in parts of the Institute. Without the activity of mages and guards, and the now constant flux of magical energies, who knew what horrors had taken up residence in the tunnels below.
It had been a long year for Fenix, starting with the summer they had known was coming. Hiding himself in the dank Howling Marsh with the being he knew as The Witch, while the continent descended into chaos was no easy task for him. But it had been fortold that the Institute of War would not last, that eventually they would lose their grip and be poisoned by their own kin, and die at the hands of men and women with hatred and vengeance in their hearts. They had weathered the storm together, waiting in that small cottage of hers, protected by the hundreds of magical artifacts and wards she coveted. She had always been fond of keeping her privacy, locked away from the eyes of Runeterra's mortals. But Fenix had known it could not last forever, eventually even the immortal and mysterious Witch had to go into hiding, to a place that only she knew about.
"This broken world is at a crossroads" she had told him. "One path will lead the Human race to rebirth and quell their hatred of eachother, though it will be built upon the bodies of the broken and the slain. And like all things, it will eventually end and the cycle shall continue. The other path leads to destruction and ruin, the eventual end of this world and all it's inhabitants. Go to the Institute of War, you will find what you need to begin your journey in it's ruins. Make sure the cycle is not broken." With that he had left, flying South as the home she lived in dissapeared. It was not often that The Witch moved house, it troubled him greatly. He was now alone with the single direction she had pointed him in, with two purposes in mind. Unite Valoran under a single banner, and survive.
He came to a halt outside one of the gilded doors of the Institute, a private section of one of their great libraries. The entrance had been blasted open, the locks and enchantments defeated by brute force and even more brutal enchantments. Slowly wiping dust and grime from the plaque next to it, he smiled. Hall of Records, he had found what he was looking for.