Glad you like it, Kenson. here's Chapter 4
Ahri willed her orb to zip through the air, and strike at the helms of the advancing soldiers. The glowing ball smashed their head, and cracked the dark obsidian it was crafted from, but the stunning strike barely slowed them. Still the dark soldiers advanced, armed with their cruel weapons. Behind the invaders, Ahri could see champions fighting, and losing, against the flood of attackers.
It was total war in the Insititute’s Grand Hall. Each champion had broken off in combat with ten or fifteen other soldiers, at very poor odds. The Dark Battalion was more skilled than they seemed, able to stand toe-to toe with many of the League’s greatest. One by one, Valoran’s greatest heroes were being overwhelmed, then shackled, and dragged off by the army.
In the far back, Ahri could see a girl, barely three years old, being slowly encircled by men in armor nearly thrice her size.
“Ah…ah…” Annie Hastur fretted as the invaders closed in on her. She had never been exposed to real combat before, her mind was always sheltered from the battle in the League, for few wanted a 3-year old girl to actually experience death on the battlefield. A particularly large soldier, wrapped in the spiked armor of a captain, ordered his men forwards.
Ahri swept her orb in front of her.
“Ahri!” Zilean called, one foot up a winding staircase. “Don’t be stupid! Get back here!” He reached his hand out to Ahri, who gave it a passing glance. Then she ran.
She charged across the battlefield, smacking away as many soldiers as she could with her orb to get to Annie. Many of the soldiers turned, and gave Ahri passing swipes with their weapons. Ahri collected vicious cuts, hard bruises, and terrible wounds running through the gauntlet of weapons that reached out to strike her.
She had to get there in time…!
Annie was backed up against a wall, as the first soldier stepped forwards, heavy chains in hand. The thing grabbed Annie's hand, and slapped the first cuff on.
“T-Tibbers!” The girl held out her stuffed bear, which immediately burst into flame.
And behind the soldier, a fiery shadow bear was summoned. The thing barely had the time to look around before he was mauled by a paw the size of its head.
“Tibbers” charged through the soldiers, burning and crushing them with his enormous strength. But he was not invincible.
“Kill the beast!” Snarled the captain, and the Dark Battalion refocused its efforts to slaying the bear. Their weapons drew fiery wounds on the shadow bear as it moaned, and continued to try and crush as many of them as possible.
“Annie!” Ahri swept in and hugged the little girl, covering the child with her body. Behind them, four soldiers advanced, weapons raised.
Ahri raised her hand to call her orb, but nothing came. Her injuries had sapped her strength.
“I thought I told you,” Zilean snarled, magically enhanced fists flying, “Not to do anything stupid!”
The frail old man smashed the nearest soldier to pieces with his bare hands; though with magic flowing about his palms until they shone. A mace tried to strike his head, but Zilean blew him back with an invocation, and summoned a time bomb of the luckless soldier’s head. The thing grasped feebly at the explosive, before bursting apart in a shower of clockworks and obsidian.
“Ahri! Go!” Zilean turned to face a dozen more soldiers that had charged him. Behind them, Tibbers was slowly being overwhelmed by close to a hundred men. “Take Annie and run!”
The fox gathered the last of her strength to pick up the protesting child, and starting running for the nearest staircase.
“Wait! Please wait!” cried Annie, “Tibbers! TIBBERS!”
They were quickly surrounded, but Ahri was prepared. She ran up the side of an adjacent wall, and started her ultimate enhancement.
“Annie, sweetie, hold on tight!”
She flung herself above the head of the soldiers, wrapped in thunder and smoke. Bolts shot form her body, piercing the bodies of a dozen soldiers. She landed, yet still more came.
No! Not yet!
She enhanced herself again, launching her way towards the stairwell, and again, once they were trapped. Ahri made it up the staircase, and away from the main part of the battle. But still, even though Ahri had managed that, there were soldiers that had followed her up the stairway, their obsidian boots clattering nosily against the stone steps in pursuit.
She was spent. She could barely carry the crying child up the staircase, but still she fled from her pursuers with her waning strength, her vision fading.
They climbed for what seemed like an hour. Several times, Ahri had sped down an adjacent corridor, or tried to slip past the soldiers in pursuit, but the invaders were inhumanly good trackers, and they stuck to the fox throughout the entire chase. What was worse, it seemed like the main battle in the Great Hall below had largely concluded, and now more soldiers joined in the chase for her and Annie.
Zilean, she wondered, are you alright?
The old man had stayed behind for her and Annie. She would not let it go to waste.
But she didn’t know how she was going to f*cking do it. Her mana was spent. Her injuries sustained from her unwise charge into a thicket of foes were beginning to take their toll. And their pursuers were indefatigable, and growing.
She limped down a corridor, and found to her horror, that it was a dead end. The corridor only led straight down to a heavy wood door, bound with iron and dark. Behind her, she could hear the footsteps of the enemy growing louder. She swept up to the door, and pounded frantically on it.
“Please! Anyone! Open up!”
She turned back, and she could see shadows moving in the distance. Annie whimpered, and gripped the fox’s leg. Ahri crouched down, and hugged the child. She would not let it end here.
Ahri got up, to face the intruders.
She pulled her hands up into an imitation of what she thought she saw Jax and Yi do. Some kind of close-combat stance, something!
How she wished he was here. He would solve everything.
But he was out there, defending the League. And she had to do her part, here.
The soldiers were advancing.
“Annie…. I won’t let them have you!”
Inside, a man stirred. From the hearth of his fire, he had first heard pounding, and worried that his home-made kiln was improperly made, and blown a chamber. The huge man hurried over to check his clay stove. But when he got there, he found his precious kiln to be perfectly safe. Which left the question of what the devil was that noise? The man rose, groping for his helmet in the low light. As soon as he found his trusty helm, he stepped towards his door.
Ahri fell back, dazed from a swift blow to the head. She had been struck in the temple by the hilt of the nearest soldier’s sword. The dark blade had drawn blood over Ahri’s face. Blood tricked down her forehead from her lush black hair, and into her eye, blinding her a bit.
Panting, she wiped away the blood from her eye.
“I… won’t let them!”
She charged at the soldier again, who just kicked her back. The metal foot had caught Ahri in the gut, and knocked the wind out of her. The fox lay on the ground, stunned by the blow. The soldier advanced.
The man collected his weapons, and opened his door. To his surprise, little Annie sat crying at his doorstep. At his appearance, the little girl looked up. Her mouth opened slightly.
She pointed down the corridor.
The man looked down, and in the shadows, he could see the same dark soldiers beating on what looked like a girl, enwrapped by nine tails. She was putting up one hell of a fight, but was being overwhelmed.
Something else caught his notice. The soldiers' form, their style… was all ugly, and clumsy. To have to see such a shameful display of martial combat… annoyed the man greatly.
The man turned to Annie, and gave a single nod.
Ahri fell back, bruised and bloodied. Her blood stained her beautiful red and white clothes, and half-her face was swollen by the blunt strikes. The soldier in front of her raised his mace in what looked like a finishing blow.
The man was caught in the neck by a flying something. With a start, the missile lurched the soldier off and to the right, sending him crashing into his fellows, a spear clean through his neck. His mace clattered to the floor.
“Who…” A sharp, clear voice cut into the corridor. “DARES DISGRACE THE ART OF WAR?!”
Pantheon leapt into the fray, gripping an enormous shield, and already drawing his next spear. With a ferocious swing, the Artisan of War smashed the skull of another soldier with his massive shield, shattering the obsidian helm like glass. A soldier charged him with a pike, but the Rakkor easily caught the point on his shield, and deflected it upwards. With a mighty swing of his spear, Pantheon slashed with his point like a sword, cutting deep into the man’s armor, and shattering everything beneath.
The huge man strode forwards. His skull was enclosed in a large, imposing Greek helm that shrouded his face completely. Strapped to his chest was a pure bronze plate that was shaped to look like it he had the body of a god. And in his hands, was an enormous shield that covered nearly his entire body, and in the other, a huge spear. Finally, a crimson cape marking him as the absolute elite of all warriors, a Rakkor hoplite, was clipped to his shoulders.
There were still three left. The soldiers glanced at each other once, before all bum-rushing the man at once.
“Cock-sure, arrogant virgins!”
Pantheon swept his spear forwards, and thrust a hundred upon a thousand times in front of him.
“Your fate is sealed!”
The soldiers stumbled back, dozens of holes in their armor from the attack. Yet Pantheon did not let up, he continued thrusting, until the obsidian armor of the soldiers were crushed into nothing more than glass, and black blood oozes eagerly out of what was left of the enemy. None of them looked even remotely human anymore.
The Artisan of War sighed, and set his spear down.
“Th-thank…” Ahri mumbled, but she was cut short. Pantheon picked her up by the belt, and carried in his hand like a package.
“Enough. You’re hurt. Into my quarters.”
Ahri sighed, and hung as restfully as she could in her clothes. She was placed more gently on a stone bed than she expected, and as she did, Annie crawled up to her and hugged her waist. The fox opened her eyes a crack, and patted the child’s hair.
A good smell wafted in.
She took the opportunity to look about Pantheon’s quarters. It was extremely Spartan, bare and practical. A single table was set in the center. They were seated on a stone bed that looked like it was chased into the corner. In the far side, there was a clay furnace, which was burning bright and warm; Ahri could even feel the heat from here. It seemed like the good smell was coming from there.
She closed her eyes, and smiled.
“Is something cooking? It smells good~”
Pantheon, who was busy pulling out some dusty old bandages from a drawer, gave a start.
“Hm?” The Rakkor seemed nervous.
“Well I have this hobby, for, and I, uh…” The man trailed off. The man scratched at his helmet.
“I know! Practicing the holy art of war makes a manly man like me hungry! So I hunt and cook my own meals like a real man should! Except, not hunt. Well... I mean, I cook my own food so no coward cowering with skinny arms could ever poison me! Yeah! Let’s go with that!”
Ahri and Annie stared at the man fumbled with his words with mild interest. The Rakkor glanced at them, and then cautiously edged to a cupboard. He slowly pulled out several soft white loaves of bread, fresh from the oven.
He edged to the ladies, and held out the baked goods.
“W-would you like to try some bread? I baked it myself.”