Alas, a story of two extremely dysfunctional assassins and their pursuits of...not trying to kill each other. Leave comments & suggestions please!
Chapter 6 & subsequent chapters located on page 3.
(Alternative link: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8018109/)
Chapter 1: The Clash of Two Blades
"A fighter who fights for his heart is the one who truly wins, regardless of the of the battle's outcome."
Those were his master's words, yet Talon had nothing. He remembers no family, warmth, or kindness. His only purpose was to follow his master's orders, like a good dog of the state.
Shadowed and concealed by the many trees of the Noxian outskirts, he peered out of his dark purple cloak to skim the surrounding area. On his right arm was his closest ally: a large, double sided blade that had feasted on the blood of many - and it was never content.
Within minutes, he had caught sight of his target: a red haired woman, clad in leather that exposed her fit body. Each of her hands was occupied with a dagger and wrapped around her thighs were throwing knives. She was fast and soon passed his hiding spot, as if she was blind to his presence in the trees. He began to run after her, but to his careless misfortune, met with one of her flyaway blades.
“She knows I’m around.” The assassin sighed to himself as he yanked out the blade. It had given him a deep stab to his left breast, rather close to his heart, but the assassin paid no attention to it. After all, since his life on the cold streets of Noxus, he had learned to endure anything.
The woman ran deeper into the woods and the assassin had lost sight of her, yet his intuition knew she was around somewhere. Trained to hear the almost inaudible sound of breathing, the assassin threw a barrage of daggers into a nearby bush, forcing the red haired woman to emerge from her hiding spot. She had caught a dagger between her fingers and tossed it back to the assassin.
"Great, you found me, now what?" she stared at him with marvelous green eyes and a sinister smirk.But, no matter how much his blade begged for the woman's blood, he knew he couldn't draw it.
“You're a rather useless training partner. Won't even try to finish me off?" Her voice had no hint of fear, as she assertively approached him. "You're letting my aim get very dull." With a gloved hand, she gave a hard pat to Talon's wound as he cringed in pain. It was only then he knew how severe the stab was.
"Katarina." the name itself boiled his blood.
Just because the girl was his master's favorite daughter, it didn't necessarily warrant a damn from Talon. It was only his loyalty and debt to General Marcus DuCouteau that prevented him from hurting her any further. Any less than that would've guaranteed her death by now. Simply, Talon thought, Katarina was on the good side of Noxian inequality - a brat raised by money. Even her training was purchased from elite assassins, some famed throughout Valorian..She was a proud and patriotic idiot of the state because her daddy, a general and member of the high council, would take care of it all for her as if it was just small bump in the road. All this, while people like Talon himself were on the streets starving and dying.
She lived a good life, but Talon was sure that she didn't deserve one bit of it.
Never once did she have to steal food; just for enough strength to endure the next gruesome day.
Never once did she have to crawl in sewers to escape angry merchants; only to be covered in cold filth for the rest of the night.
Never once did she have to fight to survive.
That lucky *****.
The muscles on Talon’s face became tense and his fist tightened as if her skull was small enough to fit in the palm of his hand. He could only dream of the day that Katarina’s blood could flow between his fingers.
"I don't need you to train, so why do you need me?"
Her pink lips uttered a small, cruel laugh. "Of course you do. You're just a dirty dog that my father found and felt bad for, " Her eyes daggered into his, showing no intimidation of his sudden anger. "Yet, you don't know any tricks. You're pretty much useless."
"Says the arrogant brat," he muttered. In a jolt of fury, Talon forcibly wrapped his arm around her stomach and hovered his blade over her left breast. At this point, he wanted more than revenge for the wound.
"Eventually, my blades will find their way into your heart."
Katarina gave off a smirk and playfully rubbed Talon's tense face. Despite the efforts of war thickening her skin, Talon had found her touch unexpectedly soft. He could feel the pulse of her blood from inside her palm and wisps of red hair tickled his chin. But in an abrupt movement, the body he had grabbed was standing quite a distance away from him – he had greatly underestimated her dexterity. Katarina turned back to him, letting out a sinister laugh. She was obviously pleased with his irritation.
Shunpo. He cursed to himself.
"If you insist, Talon."
Chapter 2: "Apologies"
"Well, I'm sorry daddy," Katarina's tone was full of sarcasm.
Eyes rolled as she followed a large, impressionable man up ornate marble stairs. Katarina's face was a semblance of his, though his face had been worn by age and the exhaustion of war. He donned a crimson cashmere coat that screamed wealth and decorated on the lapel were several military pins. Beneath the coat was a sword, tucked away in a matching crimson scabbard. He had an aura of confidence and authority that could easily stricken fear to those weaker than him. Despite this, those close to him could sense a warm, gentle center; a side almost unknown to the many foes he had ruthlessly killed during battle.
Any average citizen of Noxus would recognize him as General Marcus DuCouteau.
Though The General had loved all his daughters, Katarina was surely her father's favorite. As a young child, he trained and nurtured her natural taste for blood. In battle, they were a fatal combination: The General would distract foes with combat, while Kat focused on getting her knives into their critical points. It was their love of battle and the sweet taste of blood that strengthened their unorthodox familial bond.
"It is not I who you should apologize to," he frowned at his red-headed flower. "You are a DuCouteau. I thought you had more class than to do something like that, especially to our guest!"
Talon. Why her daddy had brought home a slum rat was beyond her understanding.
Katarina thought of him as a disruption of their close knit family life, and unworthy of her father's attention. To add insult to injury, her daddy had also offered him a room in the DuCouteau Manor. This meant that she'd have to eat dinner with him and bare his presence; to her, Talon was more pest than a guest.
"Then why are you protecting him? If he's your assassin, then why does he have to come crying to you when all he has is just a little boo-boo? True Noxian warriors are more prepared than he was!" Her persistence was unmatched, clearly trying her best to refute the punishment her father had.
"Kat, I personally approached him when I heard that he went to the infirmary for an almost fatal stab," His brow wrinkled. "..One that you caused." The general massaged his temples, obviously becoming annoyed.
They walked into a corridor and approached the first room. The general knocked on the door with the back of his fist.
Talon opened, and welcomed the general without hesitation. He was shirtless, revealing a heavily bandaged chest – thickest on the left side. His well-formed torso was also in full view, showing his better overall health since moving in with the DuCouteaus (save for Katarina, of course). He bowed to the general, purposely paying no attention to Katarina behind him.
Modestly decorated with luxury, the room was originally a medium sized guest room. It had a balcony of its own, with a view of the darker side of Noxus where Talon had once lived. Katarina noticed that the closet was left slightly open, showing a vibrant purple vest with a star shoulder pad. Behind it was a pair of worn out jeans. Out of spiteful curiosity, she had surveyed about 11 holes and patches on both items. Save for clothes, not much in the room belonged to him.
Perhaps that's his gypsy costume. She let out a lonesome laugh that the other two paid no attention to.
"Pardon my appearance sir," Talon's head bowed.
The general smiled and patted Talon's back to give him a sense of ease.
"Not a worry boy, though you must heal soon. I have a mission for you two." He took a seat as Talon listened intuitively.
"Recently, our soldiers had a battle with a Demacian camp located just north of the outskirts. Though the casualties were small on our side, they managed to take the life of Sir Sion. I want you both to infiltrate the camp and retrieve his remains, so we..." He paused to reconsider what he was going to say. "…We have plans for the body,".
"Accepted, sir" Talon replied with swiftness, disregarding what the general had originally intended to say.
"Your loyalty is unmatched, Talon," The general grinned. "and before we leave, Katarina has an apology for you."
They turned to Kat who had her arms crossed, and a look of severe indifference.
"I hope your nipple got cut off." She snarled.
Chapter 3: Corpses and Maggots
"Talon, you can distract them while I'll look for Sion's corpse. If you get in trouble, scream like a little ***** and I'll be there as fast as I can. "
A vexed stare was the best he could reply.
The night was fresh, with the moon wide awake over the pond they stood by. It was occasionally rippled by a hungry koi, thinking the moon to be food. The cold air that emanated from the water was enough to make leaves nearby whistle with the crickets. Other than those ambiences, the two were alone.
His redheaded partner looked to him with eyes lit up by passion. "Are you ready Talon?"
"This is no challenge," he assured, lifting up his blade.
Katarina's skin was laminated in moonlight, yet there was a vibrant flush of exhilaration. Her eyes closed, followed by deep, careful breaths that caused her chest to fluctuate. Suddenly, from under her signature blood-red hair, she drew out her sword and rehearsed its lethal movements. This was her ritual to awaken the killer, and Talon had the privilege of watching it.
It was clear that the thrill and rush of fighting a Demacian was already fueling her blood with excitement. Somehow this eagerness to fight made her quite radiant, Talon thought.
As despicable as she could get, he could respect a woman who had no fear of bloodshed. Especially one who could kill as precisely as she could - Talon was sure his own injury was a bluff. To top off her elite skills, she possessed such distracting beauty. As much as he could deny, he knew she was the perfect partner.
"Let the bloodshed begin."
The scent of smoke became strong as she moved deeper into the outskirts. It was a distance away, but Katarina had a sure guess of who it was; to camp out there would be unthinkable to most.
To her surprise, the camp only had two tents and at the center was a dwindling fire. There were no hints of anyone around, meaning that the occupants must have gone out to get supplies or food. Quietly, she entered the camp and approached the fire. There she saw a lone, bodiless head seated by the heat. Beside it were bone fragments, hinting that the other parts had been cremated in the flame. She grabbed the head by the hair and identified the ghostly face almost immediately– even in death, Sion had that creepy grin. The ground it had sat on revealed maggots, giving Katarina shivers of revulsion.
"Hmph. So apparently we lost a few soldiers to a duo of Demacians." She sighed, but was quickly interrupted by something quite sharp poking her back.
"Halt." A large voice boomed from behind her.
With the head in her hand, she took a step forward and examined what she could. Judging by his uniform, she concluded that he was a Demacian soldier, possibly of a very high rank. His body was of a large girth, almost triple of Katarina's size.
"What are you doing here?" he spoke again.
The solider moved closer to the fire, lighting him up from the shadows. He had a masculine yet handsome face that had grown a bit of stubble from camping. His bushy eyebrow rose at the sight of a red-headed beauty holding a corpse.
"And what's a pretty lady like you doing with that head? Are you a dark sorceress?"
She snickered, "Well, I just wanted my dead boyfriend back,".
"Oh that's a shame, but he's property of the Demacian military now, so just kiss him good-bye and please leave," he was unmoved.
Kat tossed the head off to the side and pulled her sword from its sheath.
"Then I'm just taking him away from you and…" She stopped to flick off a maggot that had found its way from Sion's head to her arm.
"DIGUSTING, little pieces of sh.."
His sword collided with hers, dropping it to the ground.
"That's why beautiful ladies like you shouldn't be playing with decomposing heads," he chuckled.
In a pinch, she jumped far behind him and grabbing her fallen sword in the process. As usual, she was prepared with her tactics.
"Bring it big boy," a sinister smile grew on her face.
Valiantly, he lifted up his sword and charged at her.
Katarina was rather swift in dodging his powerful swings, but in turn, the soldier was full of stamina and well armored, weakening her attacks. The two were rather evenly matched, to the point where the solider would set his sword down to breathe and Kat's movement had slowed significantly.
"GAAREENNN!" A panting, male voice came from the woods, running toward the camp.
"I told you idiot we stayed too long now those stupid Noxians…" He paused the rapid speech to look at the scene before him. His warning was too late.
"Xin!" The exhausted soldier shouted to his arriving comrade, signaling for help.
The other solder was a man of Asian descent, with long and thick black hair up in a ponytail. A bit smaller than Garen, he was also dressed in Demacian armor. He wielded a spear, decorated with the Demacian flag and pointed it to Katarina.
There's no way I can fight these two alone. Enough play time. She ran toward the fire to retrieve Sion's head then proceeded to escape. Fatigue was still afflicting her speed.
"DEMACIA!" Garen charged from behind causing her to run forward a bit more, to her mistake.
There was a sharp slice to her face then an impact of steel to the back of her head.
"Heartless Noxians. Don't even have any respect for their own dead," growled Xin.
With that, Katarina was out cold.
A huff of breath finally came, but through the smell of her own blood, Katarina knew that she was greatly injured. For some reason, her left eye would not open, causing her vision to be more distorted. She was able to make out men fighting nearby, though the details were a great blur.
The last thing she could remember was being carried away from the scene, by a pair of two strong arms.
Chapter 4: Comment Te Dire Adieu
In the home of DuCouteau, a strikingly beautiful woman sleeps.
She does not sleep out of fatigue, but rather despair; sleep is the remedy to keep her reality away. The life she had lived in consciousness was its own nightmare.
Her resting place is shrouded with curtains, and there seems to be no mirrors or any other sort of reflection. In the closets, hang shreds of once stunning garments and on the floor are scattered diamonds and pearls. There are signatures of fortune throughout, but only darkness and chaos dominate the room. This is just as she prefers.
But hard knock intrudes in her solitude.
“HSSSSSTTT” she shouts, rather menacingly. Her eyes dart open, focused on the accursed door.
The visitor is unnerved and enters regardless of her warning. The woman rises from her coiled position to examine her pest. But beyond her hourglass shape, where her legs should be, is the body of a scaly green snake. A forked tongue escapes her mouth as she continues to hiss.
From what she could see through the curtains, the intruding figure was actually comfortingly familiar to her: from his crimson garb, the military badges, and even his brooding steps. She ceased hissing and emotion began to engulf her once more, as tears began to roll from her cheeks and to her scales.
“Cassiopeia,” a large hand parted away the curtains that concealed her from the world.
“Daddy... Don’t look at me, please.” She sobbed, turning away from her father. This was the anxiety she felt whenever anyone would look at the beast she had become.
“You are my daughter, Cassiopeia, and you are beautiful.” A warm smile grew, his eyes becoming soft toward her.
Her father’s hand warmed her coldblooded face, wiping away her tears.
“Even your mother would be so proud of how beautiful and talented our daughters have become. I know she would be. ” he paused, tears ready to fall from his blue eyes. It was very uncharacteristic of him to be as vulnerable, though Cassiopeia knew that the subject was always touchy to their household.
“I have raised you to be strong, but Cass, listen to me. That time has come for you to be at your absolute strongest,” his voice began to quiver. “I’ve been summoned for a rather grave matter and I absolutely must depart.”
It was intimidating enough to Cassiopeia to hear of her father’s battle feats, but hearing his voice in such a weak, unconfident manner was unbearable.
“Then take Katarina and you guys can keep each other safe,” she wrapped her sharp fingers around his wrist, tears muffling her voice.
His head shook in denial, blue eyes watching her with remorse. “That would be a too dangerous for her, and she has other duties. I could not live with myself to risk her like that. You see, I do not guarantee my return. ”
Cassiopeia took silence, trying to savor the last moments she had with her father: his masculine features, the scars on his face, the truly kind hearted man amongst Noxian elites, and even the wedding band he wore so proudly each day. She finally let go of his wrist and slowed her tears. All this would soon be a devastating memory for her.
The General reached into an inner pocket inside his coat and pulled out a letter. “Should I not return, this will guide you and Katarina. Tell her I am sorry for all this.”
“Father do not go... please.”
He embraced her a final time and kissed her forehead. A teardrop had fallen from his face to hers.
“I love you and Katarina both, remember that,” the general took a final glance at his beloved daughter and turned to leave.
“I love you too daddy.”
Chapter 5: The Sleeping Beauty
“What have you done, Katarina?” A deep sigh filled Talon lungs with the sterile smell of the room.
Cautiously, he moved a strand of red hair away from the resting woman’s face. Instead of her usual impeccability, it revealed a deep scar on her left eye. His hand carefully moved down from her cheek to the top of her décolletage. He managed to detect a pulse, but it was far too faint for comfort.
He expected a punch or at least a snide remark, but her muscles remained still and her soft lips were almost devoid of color. Even their usual disputes would be enough to alleviate his worries at the very least. The bed she had slept on was not her own and on the table beside her were prescribed medicines to alleviate the pain. Weapons she usually carried were now in Talon’s possession, and her clothes had been washed and neatly folded by the nurses. In that cold, small hospital room was the first time he had seen her so weak and vulnerable.
Thinking back to the events of the earlier night, Talon had been nearby shadowing her, but instead he encountered Xin by chance. Cowardly, Xin had gone back to their camp to warn Garen of the attack. It was then that Katarina was forced to battle both Demacians. Unfortunately for her, she was too fatigued to escape and allowed herself to get cornered and struck down. She suffered several stabs and a large bruise to the back of her head, leading to a severe concussion. With no choice left, Talon revealed himself, his blade battling for the life of the very woman that he had detested so much.
Through the night, with the blooded, bruised woman in his arms and a corpse head dangling from his fingers, he had managed to stealthily escape the scene and return to Noxus.
Talon turned away from the bed and began to analyze the severity of her situation. It was almost pitiful how her own father had raised her to become the relentless killer she was, carelessly risking her to death each day. Although Marcus was a respectable man, only a Noxian would be low enough to do as such to their own blood. It was for reasons like this, Talon was glad to not have a family to fight for. To live off his blade for survival, and to die by it, was enough for him.
Talon turned back to the suffering woman. Katarina was obviously wordless, but she had a sad expression on her face, as if the pain was beginning to be too much. A tear had begun to form on her eye duct but never grew enough to fall. Talon was unsure why he had felt such pity for her just then, but pressed his hand on hers, quietly watching her steady breaths.
“Stay strong, I’ll come back for you.”
He arrived at the DuCouteau home, his heart already sunken by the news he’d have to give to the General. Though sympathetic, the general wouldn’t be happy with such news of his beloved daughter. It was a rare occasion whenever his master was displeased with him, but punishment would surely be in order.
Nonchalantly dangling the requested corpse head as he entered, Talon noticed a lack of activity in the household. Morning had quietly broken while he was with Katarina, so the maids should’ve begun cooking by this hour. Yet there seemed to be an inexplicable silence that dominated the home. Regardless of the maids’ incompetency, Talon didn’t seem in the mood for food and continued his way up the marble stairs.
He approached two large doors, engraved with the insignia of Noxus. The General’s personal office was at the center of the manor, and possibly its biggest room. Out of respect, Talon knocked before intruding. There was no answer. After a moment or so, Talon knocked again, but still to no reply. Was the General still asleep? It was unlikely; he usually rose before anyone else in the household. A further look revealed that the doors were slightly ajar and unlocked, something else rather suspicious. Ignoring his original manners, Talon allowed himself inside to investigate.
“Boy, what is your business here?” An unfamiliar voice startled him.
Talon turned to see a man, standing by DuCouteau’s desk. The man had a strange appearance; a medium sized man, probably older than the general. He was dressed in a green and gold uniform with a dominant, gold chest piece. Perched on his shoulder was an abnormally large crow, its feathers were unruly and its eyes directly looking at Talon. The man face was hard to make out through his face mask, but his red eyes had a look of hatred and disorder.
The man approached Talon, an obvious limp afflicting his walk. Looking closely, his right leg was obviously misshapen and required assistance through a cane.
“DuCouteau’s bailiff, are you not?” His voice was loud and regal.
Talon nodded his head, but not without a look of puzzlement on his face.
“Sir, this is the office of General Marcus..” The bird’s squall interrupted Talon.
“Have you not been informed yet? Your monsieur shall no longer need your services.”
Strange. Talon’s eyebrow rose in disbelief, but remained still in position
“I only take orders from General DuCouteau himself. Where is he?”
“Stubborn one, you are. Well long story short, he disappeared during a mission to the bazaar, and has yet to be located. ”
A mission? Talon’s mind played with the thought. Usually DuCouteau would have himself or Katarina shadow him during more riskier missions, though he had already sent out both the night before. This story was too peculiar for Talon’s tastes.
“Are you lying to me?” The crow squalled once more, flapping its wings as if it was disturbed.
“How obnoxious you are. Perhaps you’re a mentally challenged one. Do you not know who I am?!” The man’s face became red from shouting.
Talon shook his head in disagreement, almost intimidated.
“I am Jericho Swain, Master Tactician for the Noxian army. I am here on official matters boy, so I do not need your senseless interference!”
Another ****ing Noxian. Talon muttered to himself, his hand gripping on to Sion’s hair even harder.
“Where’s Katarina? She must know at once. ” Swain continued.
Talon’s uneasiness of her condition returned.
“She is unavailable right now. “ He quickly muttered, trying to hide his own incompetence.
Swain’s eyes locked deep into his.
“Then I trust you with the duty of informing her, as I have other matters with the upcoming Institute of War,” Swain said, as he limped toward the door. “I’m sure she will need to make the proper preparations, for the funeral.”
There was a strange chord in that Swain’s voice, something else that contradicted itself.
“My bird is hungry…” Swain said to himself as he walked out.