A/N: I came up with this idea August of last year but only just recently brought myself to finish it. I tried to keep with the darker theme of League that isn't shown in the game, but is clearly present in the lore. Welp, here it is! Tell me what you think!
The Maven and the Warden
Ultimately, there was very little she could have done to prevent it. Once you caught his eye, there was no dissuading his interest, or so the stories went. It was unfortunate that she'd been the one to do so… this time.
The halls of the darkened passageways around her seemed to darken at her presence, as if taunting her flight. She spared a glance behind her spotting the ethereal, sickening green light just around the bend. She quickly turned around and continued on her way, leaping over a broken chandelier that had long since fallen from its hoist on the stone ceiling.
It would figure that he would choose this place, the former dungeons beneath the Institute to pursue his prey. Legends spoke of his previous occupation as a terrifying lord of agony, before his so called "demise."
A sharp scrape hit her ears like nails on a chalkboard, causing her to wince. Though the chains he bore made it painfully obvious where he was in relation to herself, it actually grated on her mind. She knew how dangerous he was, and to be honest the fact that he was here made it painfully obvious what his intentions were. Because these were the old dungeons, there were no surveillance lacrymas or patrols anymore, and the few security systems that did exist were either broken or flimsy.
She turned a corner quickly only to halt. Something about this hallway seemed strangely familiar. Indeed, an ancient broken chandelier lay in her path, once again.
She'd been running in circles. She cursed herself and bit her lip nervously. She's forgotten the old dungeons were built like a modular labyrinth; the walls and passages would magically rearrange themselves randomly. In fact, even in its heyday, the cells of the dungeon were notoriously easy to escape from. Their true prison was the dungeon itself. Only the sequential use of key stones could force the dungeon to take you to your desired destination.
Considering the current state of the place, she hadn't expected that the dungeon would still function the way it was meant. But then… he must have known it did, or at the very least it was an added bonus that it did.
Her eyes suddenly widened as he eerie silence met her ears. There was no scratching or scraping of chains across the ancient stone floor, nor the clanging of metal on itself as his greaves clanked together.
But then… why was there still green light coming from behind her?
The thin hairs on her neck prickled as her mind guessed the reason. She turned slowly, realizing her guess was correct. There he was, floating mere inches above her, his sickly green visage seeping evil fumes from his maw.
She quickly leapt back, but kept her eyes hardened on her pursuer.
"Now now, don't be so skittish. I'm not that scary."
Though it was hard to tell what expression he wore, the lightened tone in his voice indicated his amusement.
Sona stood straight and glared at him, her hardened gaze boring as deep into him as his did into her. She raised her left hand beside her and her ever-present etwahl floated beneath her hands. What she was about to do was strictly against the Institute's rules, but then again so was what Thresh was about to do.
"You're wondering why I'm here, aren't you?" His echoing voice resounded through the empty stone hallway. "You're trying to remember all the stories about me and choose one that makes sense, right?" He asked, almost as casually as one might ask a friend over a cup of tea.
Sona guarded herself and made no attempt to communicate an answer. She would not give him the satisfaction.
Regardless, her silence seemed to amuse Thresh even further. "I want souls. Simple as that. But the poor souls of ordinary humans aren't sufficient anymore. I want more…" He raised a hand toward her, the glowing tips of his gauntleted hands held out to her as if welcoming her. "…I want you."
Sona couldn't keep the surprise off of her face. Not from his revelation, but from the tone he used to reveal it. It's wasn't vicious, or vehement… nor did it hold any sort of malice in it. Instead, it seemed almost… interested.
Her expression darkened and she took a small step back, preparing herself.
"I'm not here to hurt you," he soothed in as calming a voice she figured he could muster, his voice dripping like honey. "I've watched you for a long time now from the other side of the battlefield," he admitted as his hand lowered. "…The magic of your music empowering your comrades, stitching their wounds together, and bringing your enemies to a standstill."
His floating form lowered, as if he were descending and invisible staircase. "How often I cursed your ability to inspire… to infuse life into others. I, a being whose sole desire is to rip that very life from their bodies…" he trailed off as his empty, emerald eyes narrowed at her, but not in anger…
"I've heard it said that your music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything…" he began, his booted steps echoing ominously in the silence around them. "I wonder if it can do the opposite…" he pondered allowed, as if asking her if it were possible. "After all, life is for the living. Death is for the dead. Let Life be like music. And Death a note unwritten."
The rattling of chains tore her eyes from his, and she saw the silent movement of his sickle slip into his right hand, while the ever-present lantern raise into the grasp of his left. "If music is life, then silence is death. If you can make music, you can make silence," his dreadful expression smiled at her dangerously.
He stalked forward, both of his iconic items in either hand now, sickly green shades beginning for flow from the lantern around him. "I know the truth, you know," he began, his voice confident and daring. "The truth that you, in your silence, are dead. All of your 'life' is poured into your music, which is how you are capable of doing such great things."
Sona ground her teeth. Did he really dare mock her muteness? She'd show him just how alive she was.
Her fingers lowered to the strings of her etwahl. Thresh's eyes narrowed in amusement. "My, that look in your eyes… such magnificent anger!"
Sona snarled and felt her hands pluck the strings harshly, a screeching reverberating from the instrument. Thresh braced himself as he was hit by the terrible sound, a clean slice opening on his cheek.
Sona took a deep breath and grinned at him triumphantly. Fine, she'd admit it; he was right. Unable to make a sound, she'd been dead her entire youth before she found music. And indeed, music was the essence life. In all of her experiences, that was the conclusion she'd come to.
Thresh lowered his arms from in front of him, his eyes narrowed in amusement; his wound seeped wispy green flames before an arc of phantasmal light creeped from his lantern up to his face, sealing it shut in an instant.
He gripped both tools tightly in his hands for a moment before letting the chains connected to them slid through his grasp. With a vicious looking sneer, the chained sickle began to swing around him. Sona let her hands hover deftly over her etwahl, carefully letting the tips of her fingers touch the strings, as if deciding which tune she wanted to play.
The sound of clinging chains grew louder with each swing of the scythe until Thresh released the chain, sending the weapon coursing toward the maven.
Sona swiped her hands across the strings, her fingers dancing across the musical device as the music began to flow, sending the sickle rebounding off a wall of sound.
Thresh pulled the weapon back, though, as if it had a mind of its own, the weapon bent around as if to slash at Sona of its own accord.
She quickly tapped a trio of cords, sending a staccato burst of slicing sound at the warden who quickly recalled his scythe and raised his lantern in front of him.
At his command, a surge of verdant souls spewed from the device and intercepted the attack, where they were quickly terminated from the powerful waves of sound.
Sona grimaced at her own work; she didn't know if the souls would regenerate or not. The remaining souls returned to the lantern, revealing Thresh's terrifying grin. With a raised hand, the walls and passages behind them both were suddenly covered in green. Sona knew this technique well enough. It was Thresh's favorite after all. Once inside it, there was no escape.
"Ever the performer," Thresh commented with a sneer. "I prefer the sweeter tones of misery."
With a twirl, Thresh threw his lantern forward, surprising Sona with the act. Quickly dancing her fingers over her instrument, she quickly conjured a blast of sound to deflect the incoming object.
The lantern hit with full force, its fueling souls smashing right through the hastily made, flimsy defense. With a horrible screeching sound, the lantern hadn't even had enough time to hit the ground before the sickle returned, slashing right through the precious etwahl.
Sona's eyes widened in horror as the device fell in two at her feet. She backed away fearfully.
Thresh let out a little chuckle as the lantern returned to his left hand. With a wave of his right, the chains about him seemed to elongate, snaking forward with a flash of speed, scraping and slashing at the entire corridor.
Sona raised her arms in front of her face instinctively but it did little good. With a shiver-inducing crack, her head, and body, hit the ancient stone wall, the chains wrapping around her body and impaling themselves into the rock around her. She grimaced at the sharp pain in her head and wheezed at the sudden loss of air from her lungs.
Her head hung as she tried to regain her breath, the chains keeping her from doubling over. Though the pain in her skull was strong, it didn't dull her senses to the sound of Thresh's form stepping up to her.
"Now you are silence. With no way of making a sound, you have no life to spare." His right arm reached out, cupping the maven's chin gently; much gentler than Sona had expected him to.
Raising her head to meet his gaze, he narrowed his eyes as his grin widened. "I wonder… if silence is death… do you even have a soul?" The lantern floating by his side raised up, glowing a brighter and brighter shade of jade. The hand that once held said lantern reached forward towards her chest, the sharp, emerald fingertips meeting her flesh. She bared her teeth at him, refusing to break their locked gazes. Thresh's eyes squinted humorously before he thrust forward.
Sona's eyes shot open, her breathing stopping just as suddenly. A cold unlike anything she'd ever felt on her skin coursed through her veins, chilling her muscles and freezing her to her bones. She hesitantly looked down to see Thresh's hand disappearing inside her body.
The warden chuckled as he slowly retracted his hand, bringing with it a pale green orb of light. Sona stared at it in disbelief, unable to believe what she knew it was.
"Well, it looks like you do have a soul after all," he said mirthlessly. "…though I'd never expected such a light color from someone as 'strong' as you." He held the small light gently in his hand as the lantern rose beside them. "Such a hypocrite you are… trying to give life to others when you barely have a life of your own. Or perhaps you've simply given so much of it away…" he trailed off quietly, his deep green eyes staring at the soul of the woman he now held captive.
Sona could only watch as the terrifying creature called Thresh held her life, literally in his hands.
At last Thresh shook from his silent musing with a laugh. "Hmhm… it doesn't matter. A weak soul like this could hardly sustain me." He opened his hand and the light began to rise, Sona's eyes following it as it appeared to travel back to her body.
It sank into her chest with a short glow, the warmth stolen from her before now returning to her stiff, bound limbs. With a sudden scraping, the chains around her fell to the floor.
She fell to her knees with a gasp, he hands shooting to her chest, as if her soul might fly out of her body if she didn't hold it in place. She breathed deeply for a few seconds before a familiar green hand lowered down to her. She raised her eyes to see the creature in front of her… offering her his hand?
She narrowed her eyes and slapped it away. Thresh didn't retaliate. Had she been able to growl at him, she'd have done it. As it was, she settled for trying to make the saying "if looks could kill" a reality. But what really angered her was not only did Thresh rip her soul from her body, insult it, and then give it back, it was as if he was simply toying with her, like a hunter with its prey.
She was nobody's prey. However, if Thresh held some sort of grudge against her for always healing those he tried to kill on the Fields of Justice, he should be mature enough to leave that grudge on the battlefield, though she supposed a being like him didn't have the same kind of morality as a mortal being.
The walls around them both were absent their greenish hue, meaning they could leave at any time. She glared at him before turning to leave. She gasped in surprised as she felt a sudden tug on her insides. She halted immediately, turning back to the monster behind her. What she saw was a series of ethereal chains wrapped around Thresh's hand, all of them leading back to her, and inside her.
"You've heard me say 'wretched mongrels get the leash,' yes?" he asked as he gave the chains a light tug, causing her body to jerk towards him. "I'd say the same but 'wretched mongrel' doesn't quite fit…" he twirled the chains around his fingers as he trailed off, contemplating… something. Sona meanwhile, couldn't bear to try to resist, the sensation that her soul might be ripped out again if she pulled away a terrifying thought. She'd seen what happened when Thresh stole the soul out of an innocent being.
"…How about 'pitiable creature?'" he asked after a moment, stepping closer to her.
Suddenly she felt as if her breath had been taken away, even though neither of them had done anything. He was standing directly in front of her, his back straight, standing at his full height looking down at her. Once again his right hand lifted up to her chin, his grip so light, she barely even realized it was there.
What was he up to, she wondered. What was his ultimate goal for pursuing her, or for binding her soul instead of just getting rid of her? Suddenly Thresh's head lowered down to hers, their faces so close, she could have sworn she could see the images of all the souls he'd consumed dancing behind his empty eyes. Perhaps she did actually. More importantly, as soon as she saw his eyes, she realized what his real goal was.
Her mind reeled. Was he serious?! He really did have to be insane! There was no way she would… not with a creature like Thresh. She narrowed her gaze at him and turned her head away, smacking his hand away harshly.
It only amused him further. "It puzzles me how someone with a soul like yours can be so strong willed and defiant," he admitted. "But it doesn't matter..."
Suddenly his grip on her face increased and he drew her back towards him. Before she could even react his head mashed up to hers.
Her eyes shot open in shock. She back-pedaled and made to smack him again, when his left hand clamped around her right and pinned it to the wall once again behind them. The shock stunning her body, she could only stand there as he forced his makeshift kiss onto her.
But although she thought that it would be makeshift if he kissed her, it actually wasn't… A face like Thresh's wasn't exactly normal, nor human… in fact, she didn't even think he had lips. But as he continued, she couldn't deny the strange, skin-on-skin sensation that was undoubtedly a kiss, just like one shared between ordinary humans.
She didn't count the seconds they were like that, though she realized only all too late that she didn't resist after the first few moments. But even realizing that, she couldn't bring herself to do so…
Finally he pulled away from her. She examined his face, seeing nothing had changed since before. And yet the sensation… It was just like a kiss, she mused, an ordinary kiss.
"…Nothing matters." Thresh continued as he lessened the space between them even more, his imposing form suddenly all the more commanding in her eyes.
Sona's mind was breaking. The unnatural care and softness of Thresh's movements and tone left her unable to fully process what was going on.
"You know why your soul is so small and frail," Thresh said suddenly, snapping her from her strange delirium. It was less of a question then a statement. However, before he could continue she simply nodded, cutting him off. She knew very good and well why.
She gave it away. With every tune, with every note, she gave a part of her soul to her music, and from the magic of her music she affected others.
"The more life you give to others, the more satisfying they are when I consume them," he continued with a self-serving smile. "So I can't have you dying on me, not with so many more delicious souls to be had."
With a deliberate slowness, his left hand released her arm slightly, leaving a loose grip on her wrist as he lowered his head again. "Relax… Just let go…"
This time, for a reason she couldn't explain, she didn't stop him.
"Sona Buvelle, Thresh…" the harsh voice of the mage echoed through the halls. The two Champions halted, Sona's hands clasped around her precious instrument and Thresh's arms idle at his sides.
"Problem?" was the Thresh's simple question.
The mage looked over the both of them suspiciously for several moments before speaking again. "Some old alarm systems were set off a little while ago. You two wouldn't happen to know what might have caused that… would you?" The Summoner's eyes narrowed at them hard, clear that he had a good idea in his mind what had set them off.
Thresh let out a delightful chuckle. "Now why would we have any knowledge about that?"
The guard gave a short snort and glared at the ethereal being knowingly. "Combat is prohibited outside the fields of justice. Any evidence supporting a conflict will result in severe punishment-"
"Mind your tongue, dog," Thresh bit out dangerously. "Do you see a single hair harmed, or spec of flesh marred on the woman?"
The guard almost stepped back reflexively at the creature's tone, but comprehendingly looked the woman over with trained scrutiny. After several long seconds, he spoke. "No… No I do not," he begrudgingly conceded.
Thresh's grin widened smugly, his head held a little hire as he towered over the guard and his entourage. "Then there's nothing to discuss."
The jailer's boots smacked against the floor as he passed by, the silent steps of the maven following behind.
The mage turned to his cohorts. "Report this incident to Judiciary League; false alarm."
A/N: And there you have it! This is only a one shot, so I'm not doing a new story or anything. I just happened to finish it and though you all would like it. Leave a nice little review about what you liked, or what you didn't. Just a little something to tide you all over until my next major update to my other stories!
'Till next time! :D