Date: 10 December, 20 CLE
Cassiopeia glides along the marvelous hallway with unnerving grace, the scrape of scale on marble announcing her passing to the empty corridor. Her elegant curves and stately posture combine to form an appalling juxtaposition to her serpentine body. The exquisite features of her face, wreathed in a cobra’s hood, bears a look of chilling determination, while a serpent’s tail conveys her expediently onward towards her destination.
She pauses for a moment before a pair of grand double doors, the relief of a panther marking each one. Above the doors, carved on the stone archway, is an inscription: “The truest opponent lies within.” Her eyes narrow as she reads the engraving.
Cassiopeia stretches a taloned finger towards the door. It parts effortlessly at her touch, swinging open into blackness. She peers hesitantly into the black for a moment before composing herself and gliding inside.
She found herself in her chambers in the Noxian estate she called home. An elegant curtain ran across the center of the room; a shroud against prying eyes. There, through the lace, stood the unmistakable figure of her father, General Marcus Du Couteau. She stared at him longingly, admiring everything about him, from his stately military garb to his perfect soldier’s posture.
He stepped forward, extending a hand towards the partition. There was moment of panic. No matter how many times she allowed her closest family to see her, she was always overwhelmed with anxiety and revulsion.
“Don’t look at me!” Cassiopeia lamented.
The General froze for a moment. Then his voice took on a sterner character. “You are my daughter, Cassiopeia. And you are beautiful.”
“Liar!” she hissed, turning away. She could hear the rustling of curtains as he approached.
“Daughter, look at me,” he implored. Reluctantly, she complied, wiping away her tears with a viciously clawed hand. She did not speak.
“Cassiopeia,” he went on, taking a step forward, “I have been summoned. It is a grave matter, but one that I cannot refuse. “
“Take Sister with you. She can keep you safe,” she sobbed.
Marcus shook his head, “Katarina cannot return. The matter with Ionia has not yet been settled, and her duty to the League compels her to stay.”
“Father, if you do not return, I will be alone,” she stated.
The General reached out to touch his daughter’s face and she recoiled, turning her back again. His voice turned colder than iron. “You are a Du Couteau, Cassiopeia. You have served Noxus, and she cares for her children. You will never be alone.” He paused. “One day, you will remember your duty.”
General Du Couteau took her hand and pressed a sealed letter into her palm, crumpling it slightly. “Should I not return, Cassiopeia, this will guide you and Katarina.”
Hearing her father turn to leave, Cassiopeia panicked. She spun about, but found herself alone. She examined the letter in her hand. It was marked in a wax signet that she did not recognize, but the seal was already broken. She unfolded the page.
In blood red ink, someone had penned: “Transcendence Way, the Ivory Ward, 5:00 PM.” Below it was a stamped image of a black rose.
The peals of a clock tower caught her attention, followed by the sounds of bedlam. All around her the household abruptly became chaos. Each passing footfall and gossiping whisper filled her with ire. There came a hesitant knock at the door. She already knew who to expect.
“Enter!” she commanded, her rage overcoming her revulsion at the thought of being seen. The door swung open, revealing one of her father’s bodyguards. He entered slowly, staring intently at her silhouette on the other side of the curtains, his face a mixture of fear and shame.
“Mistress Cassiopeia,” he began, “Your father has…”
She cut him off, “Spare me your excuses, fool! How did it happen!”
“We were in the market,” he stammered, “Your father slipped away.”
“And I ordered you to shadow him, did I not?” sneered Cassiopeia. She drew closer to the partition. The soldier looked away in shame. He did not answer. Cassiopeia sunk her talons into the hanging fabric, ripping it from its moorings in one swift motion and laying bare her monstrous body. “Speak, coward!” she commanded.
The bodyguard backed away in horror, blanching white in shock.
“What’s wrong?” Cassiopeia teased, drawing one of her wicked hands to her face in feigned surprise. “Don’t you find me beautiful?”
She advanced, fastening her claws securely around his neck. She lifted his worthless body and suddenly,
a shattered pocket watch fell out of his pocket. The watch’s hands stopped dead at a quarter past five. “This was all we found,” he croaked.
She caught her quarry’s gaze in hers, his body shaking as she choked the life from him. His face was white as snow, but for some reason there was no fear in his eyes. Realization washed down the length of her serpentine body. Cassiopeia sneered. “Charlatan,” she muttered, venom dripping from the words. “You force me to relive the moment I lost my father for your own sick pleasure?”
The bodyguard’s face turned as implacable as his eyes. “Why do you want to join the League, Cassiopeia?” he inquired.
“My father is dead,” she spat, “One of you knows something. And I will have justice.”
The soldier nodded. “How does it feel, exposing your mind?”
Cassiopeia’s looked him dead in the eye. “Curse you,” she muttered emotionlessly. The figure dissolved in her grip, leaving only the darkness. The doors to the League swung open.