Date: 27 October, 19 CLE
The very moment Kassadin enters a room, his presence completely saturates the entire volume of space. The hair-raising tingle of the void energies which he commands could be one source of this phenomenon, and his grand, stately posture and stride could be the other. Despite his apparent transformation and removal from office, Kassadin still commands the air and respect of a proper Demacian Senator.
His critical gaze washes over the entire length of the League's halls before stepping foot noiselessly inside. His footfalls seem more akin to levitation, giving the illusion of a man silently floating across the floor, which may or may not be closer to the truth than one would like to believe. As he crosses the large hall, his eyes behold those fateful marble doors behind which many champions before him and many champions after him have and will pass.
"The truest opponent lies within." Kassadin read the words aloud.
His hand reached out for the door, but hesitated and stopped short. A chill ran visibly up his spine, and it looked as if he might collapse. If that which Kassadin claims to herald is indeed true, I indeed would not want to be in his place.
When he had collected himself, his hand pressed against the ominous doors ushering them to open.
The doors opened to reveal first the inky blackness of the Reflection Chamber, to which Kassadin stepped into like a man walking to his own execution. The malefic visions which plagued his mind during the day and his dreams during the night seemed to amplify in the black stillness of the chamber. Kassadin stood still, and waited.
A snap to the left, like a twig being crushed underfoot. Kassadin's head jerked towards the noise, but nothing was there.
Silence and blackness persisted.
A slimy brush to the leg. Kassadin's nether blade hummed to life and swiped downwards, only to whiff harmlessly through the air.
The gentle hum of the blade and it's eerie glow were all to keep Kassadin company.
An inhuman roar, absolutely deafening to the senses rang out through the blackness. As Kassadin jerked in fright, a heavy clawed hand grasped him by the torso and slung him through the air. Before blade could be brought to bear, his body collided with heavy stone which cracked and crumbled under the force of the impact. Kassadin screamed in pain, his vision blurred from the concussive blow to the head.
As he came to, he looked into the eyes of a beast more horrific than his mind could even fathom. Holding him prone to the ground with it's massive claws was a blackened seething mass of flesh and hair, oozing with tiny creatures which scurried about the beast's exterior. The beast's spawn were four-legged insect-like creatures with a body about the size of a human fist. Their abdomens ended in elongated stingers which flailed about wildly as they moved, and six piercing beady eyes sat recessed into their heads above a gruesome mass of pointed fangs and mandibles which no doubt made up their mouth.
The beast itself was a behemoth of a creature, sporting nine appendages each tipped with a sickly sharp seven-taloned claw. Each appendage connected to a central mass of teeming flesh, which hung about loosely on it's body like rags. A central circular mouth roared down at Kassadin, vomiting viscous yellow liquid which burned at his eyes and flesh. Protruding from that central mouth were rows upon rows of gnarled teeth, bent out of place in every-which direction and a sickly pale tongue which flapped aimlessly in the void.
In moments, its spawn began to crawl down from its long claws and swarm Kassadin, who writhed and screamed and swung his blade wildly as the spawn dug their fangs into his skin tearing out chunks of his flesh and swallowing it whole down their gullets. One spawn found his screaming open mouth and forced it's way inside, filling his throat with a shower of gore as it tore into the back of his throat.
And just as Kassadin was about to pass out from the pain, everything was gone. He was lying on the floor of the Reflection Chamber in a cold sweat; his breath escaping his lungs in heavy, hoarse heaves. The sensation was over just as quickly as it had begun, but the taste of his own gore and the spawn still lingered in his mouth.
Kassadin slowly rose to his feet. The doors to the chamber sat open and ajar, with a soft orange glow flickering into the chamber itself. Kassadin stabilized himself against the door and looked out.
Fear gripped his heart once more.
The marble halls of the League were torn apart, chunks of marble bathed in blood thrown haphazardly across the ground. Gigantic holes in the ceiling cast pools of moonlight into the hall itself. Stepping noiselessly into the hall, Kassadin saw the bodies which ushered forth their crimson markings.
Soldiers bearing both the Demacian and Noxian emblems lay strewn across the floor in various states of dismemberment. From the ceiling, a wretched creature held a man still writing from its claws as it stripped the man's flesh from his bones with its beak. Its sickly gray skin clung to it's emaciated bones, and upon noticing Kassadin's entry, screeched and took flight on leathery wings carrying it's meal with it.
This is what would happen. Kassadin thought to himself.
He exited the great hall and stepped outside. Gnarled trees expunged a noxious green ichor all over the cracked and parched ground. Somewhere off in the distance, large hound-like creatures flitted through the trees on ghastly paws. A blackened fog tinged with purple had blanketed the entire landscape, casting terrifying shadows from the flickers of flame that covered the countryside destruction. Weird, fantastic, terrifying creatures watched him perched from tree branches or from burrows in the ground. More of the wretched beasts from earlier sailed the skies above, occasionally swooping down to catch a wriggling meal to which Kassadin could not distinguish if it was human or not. The weird place held Kassadin transfixed as he walked down the charred path.
He had been here before.
This was the Void.
This is Icathia: a perverse mockery of the lands of Valoran, twisted and warped by the malevolent powers to which the Void served. A predatory ethereal phenomenon which sought to devour everything that stood in it's way. Terrific, macabre-
"It's no more evil than something like, let me think for a moment, fire."
Kassadin turned with blade to bear to meet a strange humanoid creature standing behind him. Before he could react, it spoke again.
"Yes, fire is a good comparison. It consumes all that it touches if left unchecked, but fire in and of itself is not good or evil. It just is."
The creature was about as tall as Kassadin. Its physiology, however, was indeterminate as it was cloaked from head to toe in tattered yellow robes. It's face was concealed by a featureless white mask, and upon its head sat a dirty crown of what appeared at a glance to be gold. The back and sides of it's head were covered by the hood of the robe.
The disconcerting part of the creature was its voice. It was a hauntingly soothing voice, like one you would expect from a caring grandfather. When it spoke, it called forth a small buzzing like an insect in your mind which seemed to slowly bore deeper, and deeper as it kept talking. It was a task just to keep focus, nonetheless listen to the words it was saying.
However, I know you. I've met you before.
"That may be true, but if a fire is threatening one's home, one's natural reaction is to extinguish it." Deja vu flooded Kassadin's senses as the words escaped from his mouth.
The mask's mouth contorted into a twisted smile. That smile! "Fair enough."
The smile! That awful, awful smile!
It was the smile that plagued Kassadin's nightmares.
"Why do you wish to join the League, Kassadin?" The creature called out mockingly.
Kassadin did not need time to think. "Because I must protect everyone from you, just as much as I must protect myself. As you said, you are like fire; if left unchecked you will devour everything."
The creature laughed. It was a piercing laugh that grated against every nerve in Kassadin's body. "Come now, am I all that bad?" Another laugh, as it raised it's arms to gesture at the surreal surroundings. "Is this all that bad?"
Again, Kassadin did not need time to think. "Anything is better than this. Even if I fight for those that do not believe me, even if I might die without anyone suspecting what I've done, it is a much better fate than this. I will fight you at every turn while I still draw breath, and curse your very existence from the grave when I'm gone."
Anything less is unacceptable.
The creature stood motionless for a moment before speaking again. "How does it feel, exposing your mind?"
"My mind is already blanched from the horrors of this realm. If there was anything left to expose it has since withered away."
Kassadin suddenly fell backwards, as if his feet were jolted out from under him from a powerful impact. As he fell, he could feel the Reflection Chamber reverting to it's usual, blackened self. When he finally made contact with the floor, the thin crack of white light casting it's rays across him was the only assurance he needed.
He was home. And if need be, Kassadin would be it's martyr.