Without further ado, the second half of that business up there ^
She didn’t know why she said it. The electricity sparking in the air made her body numb in shock by her own outburst. She didn’t know why it came out. She looked to each of the people within the circular chamber, the tall windows reflecting light on the smooth curved tables that each tribe situated themselves on. The light reflected the mental recoil of the surprise on their faces as they looked at her with an expectant explanation.
It wasn’t like outbursts like these weren’t common. Discussions would easily grow to tensions like these and it would indeed need the summoners’ intervention to stop them from doing anything drastic. They would mediate to the best of their ability to come to terms with solutions between the tribes, making deals and sacrifices to better the meeting before each went their separate ways. However, Ashe was not a summoner nor made an outburst that anyone could even begin to fathom.
Now the very summoners that managed the meeting stood in awe in the background, watching Ashe with utmost interest and utmost astonishment. Ashe felt her mind blank in the sudden heat of the moment. She couldn’t possibly support her outburst with ease, but she couldn’t back out now. She had to let it out.
“Please,” she finally spoke, shifting her stance as she cooled herself. She had to maintain. It wasn’t like her at all of have suddenly lost her control; in fact, she figured it was the very reason why everyone was so appalled other than the sentence itself. She began to stroll around her table professionally, stopping just to the side of it with her hand grazing the side. She continued. “For decades we’ve been fighting and warring, and now even bickering, but for what cause? We’ve sought to rid each other from this land since the days we were put into our roles as leaders of our own tribes. But why? Why do we all insist on continually battling for something that was never our fight? Since birth I had no quarrel with any of you until we were told that different tribes meant alienation from one another. Why do we continue such childish behavior, bickering like babes against each other?”
Sejuani was the first to speak up, giving a hearty chuckle as she stepped into the makeshift stage. “Ashe, have you gone mad?” she outburst with a powerful tone of narcissism. “You dare even suggest that we tribes forget the years of bloodshed and tyranny done and simply come together in a peaceful utopia? Do you even grasp the severity of what you ask?”
She turned to look at all of them. “You don’t understand what it is to uphold your tribal name. Our ancestors fought and battled because they were all fighting for their own causes. We all continue to fight for the cause of our own brave leaders so that one may reign in the end.” She looked to Ashe again, but addressed everyone. “I will make this clear right now to end the foolish comment. The Winter’s Claw will never search to join so long as our strength prevails. This is and should be known-“ Sejuani held her cold gaze piercing against Ashe, “-by everyone. There cannot and will not be union. There can only be one leader of Freljord and a peace between us cannot grant the rightful rule through such ways. The Winter’s Claw is supreme; we were bred to turn the tides of war to the cold.”
Ashe furrowed her brow, stepping down into the stage as well. “Sejuani, with all due respect, you’ve not known peace because you do not know how it works. Peace does not come from overcoming obstacles through force and through bloodshed. It only fuels a fire that seeks to encompass everything around you, hoping it will quench you, but it makes you thirst more. Political leadership is much more than tossing your mace around.”
Sejuani narrowed her eyes at Ashe. “With all due respect, Frost Archer, if I were coming to your tribe with my mace swinging there would be an undeniable leadership.”
One of the Elders from the Winter’s Claw piped up. “And if this union were to even be considered,” the man spoke, “the same issue that has been fought over for years will still be poignant: who would lead a united Freljord? Sejuani is right, there can only be one leader with one ideal. We cannot satisfy everyone and that has been that since the beginning.”
The room fell silent as they all looked to Ashe for the answer. She could feel an intensity quickly rise. If she told them what she knew, they would surely accuse her of downright bull-headedness and over-confident in herself. If she told the truth, there would indefinitely be some hostility.
“A… yeti visited me on a hunting expedition,” Ashe replied. She had to tell the truth, despite the bewildered gazes. “It stopped a few yards away and began to write something in the snow, in the old yeti writings. It gave a message about Freljord and its circumstances.
“It wrote that Freljord must be united. Apparently, something grave is coming that will take Freljord by force. It said that I should rally the tribes to prepare ourselves. I am to be tested in some way to prepare-“
“Wait,” Sejuani outburst, “You say a yeti visited you with a message that you must unite and lead Freljord against some opposing force..?” Sejuani seemed to contort between a scowl and a condescending smile. She turned to the other Elders. “I think we’ve all had enough of this. Ashe has suddenly come forth to say we must rally behind her and unite under one banner to destroy an opposing force. I don’t know what point you have with this ridiculous story, but I want to hear none of it.”
Ashe continued. “Look, it matters not anymore what ideals were looking for. All of us will be in danger, and a separated countryland will be much easier to defeat than a united kingdom. We’ve never tried this union before, so there is no impossibility to the claim that we can’t work together to appease all.”
Some of the Elders nodded in agreement, giving whispers to one another. “Yeti are mystical creatures,” one of the Elders from the Frost Archer tribe spoke, “any writings from them have been fairly accurate according to Freljordian history. And what Ashe says seems logical; whatever is coming ahead, we do need to prepare and forget past conflicts in order to bolster this land from all angles.”
One of the Winter’s Claw protested. “But who’s to say she is teling the full message, or even the full truth for that matter? The only force to be reckoned with in Freljord is the Winter’s Claw and we do not acknowledge to rally behind any other.”
“Stop your condescension you savages!” one of the Ice Dervish blasted. “Freljord is not to be taken by force like wild animals. There are higher powers and, probably surprising to you, they are more powerful than anything the Winter’s Claw can bring. Whether or not Ashe speaks the truth, there is some points to be made. We can start with how the Winter’s Claw lacks humility.”
“Apparently you know little of what you talk about, hag,” Sejuani countered the Elder with ferocity. “We were born into pain and humility. Your sheltered life keeps you ignorant and arrogant. We are who we are because you see the people reborn from these two things. The Winter’s Claw sustains itself.”
Another of the Ice Dervish rose, opposing his fellow Elder. “We are all separate for a reason. We cannot simply drop our conflicts at the whim of a princess who strings a strange tale. I on one hand cannot fathom sharing space with any of the Winter’s Claw and cannot work well with wily Frost Archers.”
Sejuani’s finger struck out and pierced Ashe with a blame of fire. “Exactly. She is as much a liar as any lowly being that walks Valoran. Yetis have not approached humans for years, let alone to bring prophetic messages. She is damning herself for her treacherous lies toward all of us.”
Sejuani turned to Ashe fully, fire blazing in her soul. “You are pathetic to make such a foolish tale. One speaks of savagery to my tribe and yet you speak to unite everyone beneath you. I do know that union isn’t under the boot of a manipulative princess.”
Ashe returned her gaze at Sejuani and ignored the Elder, keeping her voice as even as possible. “I speak only truth since the day I gained title of my tribe,” she proclaimed, looking to everyone. “I have spoken and do speak truth even now. I have been confronted and I read the message and as foolish as it sounds it is as truthful as any record found. Whether or not it is under mine or another’s rule, I was obligated to unite Freljord. I will not let any other force destroy my homeland and I ask that neither of you let it do the same. A storm is coming, Freljordians, something that I cannot let sweep across and kill our people. I know that as a surety and stretch out my hand to everyone. I care for all.”
There was a moment as Ashe’s words sunk in before Sejuani looked to her Elders. “We are leaving now,” Sejuani announced. She brushed off her attire as if she had been stained with something, repositioning the fur underneath to more comfortable places to warm. “We no longer wish to discuss anything so long as Ashe spits out nonsense. We will return with actual discussion when she has given up this charade.”
With that, the Elders of the Winter’s Claw stood and began in a single line toward the door. The summoners quickly jumped in. “Ok, this was an… interesting meeting!” Graddam exclaimed, clasping his hands together as his robe fluttered with his movements. “We bid the Winter’s Claw farewell. It looks like this session has closed early!”
Ashe took a deep breathe. As she turned to her Elders, she was met with surprising ferocity. Her Elders looked at her with not only shock but shame; she had riled tensions and had ceased the meeting they were going to use to find diplomatic solutions with the Winter’s Claw. Ashe felt a bile rise in her throat as she felt the flames of their thoughts degrading her.
She knew what they were thinking; with a new fire between the Frost Archer and Winter’s Claw tribes, more villages would indefinitely be pillaged in the coming months. Every aggression in each session between them and Sejuani always ended up in Sejuani releasing her “Diplomacy” on her people. Despite the countless battles to hold them off, the Winter’s Claw were wily people; they not only fight ferociously, but secretly.
“I know what I have experienced and I stand by my words,” Ashe assured them, keeping her stance tall and proud. The Elders, however, were not impressed. They all began to pull themselves up and shuffle their way to the doors, following the Ice Dervish out. Randym looked at Ashe with a neutral expression before looking to the ground disappointedly. He pulled himself out of his seat as well, wordlessly walking with the rest.
Ashe felt her heart drop. As the room cleared, she was left to her thoughts. Had she caused an unnecessary conflict? She drew a hand to her forehead as she soothed herself. Things had to work out in the end, or this message wouldn’t be true. Why did she believe this message anyway? She might as well have stabbed herself in front of everybody. With the reactions, she began to feel her confidence sink.
Feeling a tap on her shoulder, she immediately jumped and thrust her arm in the very direction of the feeling. Stopping a centimeter from the girl’s head, Ashe restrained herself immediately as she looked upon the innocent gaze of the blonde-haired girl.
“I-I’m sorry,” Ashe apologized, quickly retreating her hand and taking a step back. The woman regained her breathing as she stroked her hair a few times.
“I-It’s alright,” she replied, “I shouldn’t have surprised you like that.” The girl then looked away nervously, still touching her blonde hair in distraction.
A long moment of silence passed. Ashe looked at the girl curiously. “I apologize but… was there something you needed?” she asked.
“O-Oh, yes,” the girl remembered, “I… I believed you.”
As Ashe gave a blank expression toward the young woman, she continued hesitantly. “I believed what you said, about uniting Freljord. Although I don’t know too much about yetis, I know about their spiritual capabilities. I know for sure this was a message from other powers. But I know not just because of yetis but I also feel there has to be some sort of change around here.”
Ashe smiled, although it wasn’t on purpose. “Thank you,” she gratefully told the girl. The young woman smiled, revealing perfectly white teeth barely underneath her soft pink lips. Ashe then realized she never knew this girl or why she was here. “Are you… an ambassador of Mauvole?” Ashe finally asked.
The girl seemed to jolt out of a memory. “Oh, no no, I’m Lissandra,” she said. “I’m her daughter.”
Ashe’s mind froze in shock. “Mauvole birthed a daughter?” Ashe exclaimed.
Lissandra hesitated. “Y-Yes, my mother never married…” she said, looking at Ashe directly with an implicative expression. “But uhm, my father, he..” she stuttered over the words, hoping Ashe would quickly catch her message before she could say them.
“You need not say anymore,” Ashe commented, placing a hand on the girl’s shoulder. Quickly her face contorted to relief as she let out a sigh. Although Ashe held back a grimace, she couldn’t help but feel like she had found out something horrible.
“Well uhm… I know the news will come out soon anyway, which is why I told you,” the girl guiltily commented, “and I think my mother wishes it so as well… it is why I attended in her place.”
Now that Ashe had thought about it, it did seem strange Mauvole had sent this girl in her place. “Is... Mauvole alright?” Ashe asked. Although she didn’t care too much for the secretive princess, it seemed stranger that the woman was willing to simply release her hidden daughter to a meeting with the other tribes. Why now would Lissandra be sent to start learning to be the princess after Mauvole? And why would the news come out soon?
However, Lissandra quickly shut up. “I’m.. not allowed to speak about her,” she replied quickly.
Ashe nodded slowly. “Very well… a Princess to her own then.” Ashe then noticed the time passing by, looking out the window to the sun’s position. The tribes would have quick separate banquets hosted by the summoners and sent back out to their areas. “Well Lissandra, we must be going,” Ashe pardoned, nodding and beginning to walk to the doors.
“W-Wait,” Lissandra spoke up again, hand outstretched. Ashe stopped and turned, awaiting the girl to speak.
Lissandra approached. “Because I believe in your message, I also believe in you. I know, we’re supposed to be warring and everything… but I’ve looked through the archives and nothing’s come from war except the loss of generations to pointless disputes. I don’t care about rivalries, I care about the people I am destined to lead. You were entirely right, we shouldn’t be fighting past grudges. I just.. Just know that I will support your decision. Whether or not you are telling the truth, I can feel a storm coming as well. I will trust in you when the time comes.”
Ashe felt her lip twitch into a thin smile. She nodded to the young woman. “Thank you, Lissandra,” she replied. “I hope we meet again soon.”
Lissandra nodded in return. “Goodbye.”
As the sun curled itself into a cocoon of clouds near the horizon, Ashe leaned back into the cabin of the carriage as they carefully traversed the tundra-frosted terrain. They’d be moments into reaching Southern Freljord where they would stop by a nearby village to check on their wellbeing. With Sejuani’s declaration ringing in everyone’s ears, no one was safe for the time being. Hopefully the carriage rider would find the way through the mountainous terrain quickly enough that she could get the word out to her people to prepare for anything.
Suddenly, the carriage stopped abruptly, followed by the sound of something galloping away and the carriage slamming violently against a hard surface. The Elders quickly held to something and looked around in confusion. They were completely stopped. Ashe immediately drew her eyes to the windows on either side. Something was terribly wrong.
And in moments it was proven correctly. One of the windows burst into thousands of shards of glass, a powerful mace swinging through and cracking the wood on one side of the carriage. It quickly retracted, the sound of cold steel chains clacking together sending shock through Ashe’s body. Immediately, Ashe reached for her door, only to have a large protrusion strike straight through it. As it pulled away, the door came with it.
Ashe swiftly gripped the side of the doorway and thrust herself out, quickly tossing herself onto the being with the door stuck to his weapon. The brute and Ashe fell into the snow with a thud, white frost thrown in all directions as the two struggled for a moment. Ashe finally thrust her palm under the man’s chin, the man ceasing movement almost immediately.
Ashe held her palm against the man’s chin a moment before retracting her arm rigidly, revealing cold steel thick with blood. The blade protruded from her leather gauntlet from a hidden area. Ashe quickly turned in time as a sword came down on her. The metal clashed with a loud cling, causing both to pause from the recoil before repositioning. Ashe quickly twisted to the side and pulled herself up as the man pulled his blade up in retaliation. The two stared at each other for a moment, quickly analyzing each other for weaknesses.
Ashe froze as a yell nearby shook her body. Almost instinctively as she heard the sound of wind breaking from a large solid object, she ducked and twisted on her heel, bringing her blade around in a horizontal arc. The mace-wielding man stopped in his place as his stomach split, blood tossing out of his leather clothing. Ashe heard the second man hit the ground as well, turning to look. However, she quickly looked away at the mace caught in the man’s face.
Pulling herself up slowly, she looked at the carriage. All the Elders had watched, wide-eyed and terrified in all aspects of the word. A sliver of sunlight peeked out from one of the clouds, giving an orange illumination to the area and allowing her to see everything. The carriage driver’s body lay nearby, half-hidden in the encasing crimson-colored snow. The men that had attacked her wore armor that were distinctly familiar, built purely for savage combat.
Suddenly, Ashe felt herself thrust to the ground, pulled against the cold frost as she heard a blade unsheathe. Quickly reacting instinctively, Ashe thrust her legs up and caught her assaulter with her feet under their chin. With a strained haul, Ashe forced her assailant back as she pulled herself away. The assailant had recovered in no time, lashing out at Ashe in a stumbling effort. Ashe let out a pained yelp as the being’s blade dug into her leg in hot agony.
Ashe turned and kicked the being in the face repeatedly, forcing him back despite him trying to continuously stab at her. She pulled herself further back, creating distance between her and the man trying to take her life.
“Catch!” Randym’s voice split Ashe’s raging thoughts and causing her eyes to focus on the elderly man. A crystalline bow flew through the air toward her, glimmering in the orange light. The man pulled himself completely up, his wicked dagger gleaming with her blood as he charged.
Ashe quickly gripped her bow and pulled the ethereal string, not bothering to pull it all the way. The man thrust his knife to her face just as she released the quickly condensing arrow. The assailant and Ashe tumbled backward in a mess of white and clothing. The two lay silently for several moments, the whispering of a breeze the only sound that crossed the area.
Ashe looked at the man a moment before taking a few calming breaths, shoving him off as his lifeless head bobbed. An icy arrow protruded from his forehead. Ashe pulled herself to her feet in the next moment, wincing as she felt a singing burn run up her leg. The cold breeze worsened the open gashes in her leg, causing her mind to reel a moment as she accepted the gravity of the pain. Gripping her thigh, she stumbled over to the man that had almost taken her life, looking down at him with a cold, analytical gaze. Immediately, her eyes locked onto a very familiar tribal symbol sewn into the man’s leather chestplate.
Ashe then looked to her hand as she felt another pain in it, seeing the blade in her gauntlet was still there and was digging into her fingers that gripped her crystalline bow. It was definitely an awkward way to hold a bow and was sending unnecessary pain. Quickly pulling out the dagger, she tossed it on the ground and approached the carriage.
The Elders looked at her in silence, still taking the full brunt of almost being assassinated. Ashe looked around and found the door still attached to one of the weapons- a war hammer with a large spike on the back. Quickly retrieving it, she placed the door back in its original slot to prevent the Elders from getting cold. She gripped her thigh as she relaxed against the carriage, her mind sifting through hate and pain and sorrow.
She cursed Sejuani’s name.
Finalleh, teh next chapteur! Woot woot! I finally accomplished this and the first battle scene has arrived, so enjoy some ackshun finally! I hope you've enjoyed it so far because you will enjoy it even further from here on! The plot begins!! ^^
Also, please post comments about your thoughts and such. I really do want to hear everyone's opinions or comments, especially since I am hoping to succeed in creative writing. Am I hitting the characters right? Am I making a clear picture? Has the writing progressed over the chapters? Should I go back and rewrite the old ones because they suck really bad? Do you like waffles? Do you like pancakes? Do you like-
well anyway, I can't wait to get a mouthful of your guys' thoughts! Please post and share any ideas you have! I'm willing to accept anything you through at me, except highly toxic acid and radiated uranium! ^^
(PS: I don't know how to change the title of my thread. Is it possible? I finally came up with a better name but it won't change even though I edited the first post!)