Riven: A sword mirrors it's owner.
"Champion Riven, you have passed your judgement, and are scheduled for a match in the summoner's rift tomorrow. Until then, you are welcome to explore the institute as you will. Any items or services you may wish for need simply be asked for, and the league will do it's best to accomodate. Welcome to the League of Legends."
Sitting on the steps of a nearby stairwell, Riven found she felt the same level of exhaustion sitting or standing. She'd been offered some food by one of the servers here, and took merely some bread, cheese, and an apple. She might have offended the chef when she had refused his wishes to give her "A feast worthy of the league" but such ridiculous extravagances were for noblemen and artisans. She was used to simpler fare such as this. A soldier did not bother with such frippery, and any commander who ate better than their men commanded no respect and was doomed to fall to his own arrogance.
"But you have no soldiers under your command anymore. You doomed them to fall into an ambush, and then Singed robbed them of an honorable death in combat. Your comrades died without the breath to scream."
Riven threw her apple at the wall, the fruit practically vaporizing itself on the stone surface, leaving little more than a misty yellow liquid. The sound echoed throughout the institute, which was no surprise. Riven had expected the institute to be large, filled with magic, and adorned with statues and monuments around every corner, but she hadn't been quite prepared for how empty the place was. For all she'd heard of the splendor, the main thing the massive fortress of magic made her feel, was alone.
"That's not the institute, Riven. Here, or anywhere, you are alone. Your comrades are dead, and you deserted your country. Where don't you feel alone?"
"You are Riven of Noxus, correct?" a strong baritone voice pulled Riven out of her stupor. "I am-"
"Garen." Riven answered, instantly recognizing the large, armor-plated form of the man in front of her, the man inside being equally large. In truth, the man looked more bear than human, and if not for her own massive rune-blade, the long-sword the man carried would have been the largest she'd ever seen. "Leader of the Demacian vanguard."
"You know of me?" The man asked, honest humility showing in his voice.
"I was told by Noxian intelligence that after our work in Ionia, I was meant to rectify Katarina's failure and defeat you and your vanguard the next time you deployed from demacia."
"Truly, that would have been a clash that would have went into legend." Garen replied evenly. "Fury Company was a strong unit, and you have my sympathies for your loss. To die so ungracefully, not in the valiant heat of battle, but to Singed's gaseous tricks..."
"Either way, they would have died. I'd led them right into an Ionian ambush. We were heavily outnumbered, and in a bad position. My men's deaths are my responsibility."
"I was never informed of the fact-"
"What do you want, Demacian?" Riven cut him off, feeling her patience wear thin. She didn't need the man rubbing her failure in her face like this.
"I'll get to the point." Garen said, seeming slightly annoyed by Riven's dismissive tone. In truth, Riven didn't really care whether or not she offended the man by this point. He was merely a Demacian, after all. "You'll be taking what was to be my spot in the match tomorrow, on the top lane of Summoner's rift."
"So, what? Are you mad they decided I was better for the role than a proud Demacian?" Riven asked, mirthful despite herself. Even if she wasn't truly a Noxian anymore, she still felt some of the nationalistic hatred for them most Noxians shared, and this arrogant man was already beginning to make her regret her decision to join the League.
"Hardly, I meant simply to inform you of the circumstances regarding the match." Garen told her as he grit his teeth. Riven took some small comfort from the fact she'd managed to get on his nerves, at least. "Firstly, you'll be fighting alongside a team of Demacians." Riven raised an eyebrow at that. "Including My sister, our best tracker, and the crown prince of Demacia himself, Jarvan the fourth.".
"And you want to make sure I'll play nice? Don't worry Demacian, I'll play ball." Riven said in a mocking tone.
"That's one issue settled, then." Garen nodded, "But I'm meant to inform you on something that may be of more import-"
"Well, well." This voice came out with a venomous rasp, the tone at once sounding powerful and ravaged. And ravaged he was, as Singed appeared from behind Riven, a man who looked twice his age with a bald head and burnt features, almost his entire body was covered in bandages, his only weapon appearing to be a red-and-gold spiked shield. "Looks like I've found the anomaly, after all this time. I'm going to enjoy our match, tomorrow." Singed said, smirking as he shifted his gaze from Riven to Garen, no doubt about to make some taunt.
But in that instant, a flash of bright green energy exploded outwards from Riven in every direction, as Singed was knocked off his feet, the stairs breaking beneath him and Riven both. Riven took this opportunity to go for a quick but powerful slash at her opponent while falling, Singed's bulwark nearly breaking under the strain.
Riven's body glowed with green energy, as she went for a spinning slash at Singed's body, the Attack pulling sparks from the shield as Singed attempted to gain footing for a proper stance. Following up with a swift slash to his right side, she let the motion of the blade guide her into another full rotation, pushing her momentum forward as Singed's bulwark was nearly knocked from his hand by the force only for Riven to score a smaller hit on the other side of his body.
Singed's eyes turned to terror as Riven jumped into the air, any thoughts of fighting back swept from his mind, as she brought her blade down on his guard, the mystical bulwark breaking in two as she hit the shield. Singed was knocked into the wall by this last hit, just barely standing of his own accord, as Riven dashed forward, ready to cut him in half.
"Stop." a strong hand grabbed her sword-arm, leaving her unable to budge the blade forward despite her effort. Riven tried her best, but garen's armored hand refused to give an inch.
"Vanguard, this isn't your fight. Let me finish-"
"Look up at the statue!"
Riven glanced at the statue next to the stairwell, only to see the purple gem she originally thought purely for decoration, glowing bright purple with condensed energy. She'd seen these sort of statues before – but normally only in the capital of Noxus itself! They were massive structures built purely for summoning magical power, unleashing it in a condensed beam of yellow light on anyone foolish enough to trigger such defenses. She'd had the chance to see similar defenses in Noxus, and she'd also seen them drill through dozens of feet of hard steel like a sword through flesh. She had no allusions that she would have fared better if she was struck by anything that powerful.
Singed laughed a sickly, mocking laugh, as Garen explained "when the summoners forbade infighting within the institute of war, it was not a request. Similar towers adorn the rest of this facility in order to keep the peace. They will utterly eradicate any who disturb the peace and cause death within the walls. Had you gone one step farther, you would have been fired upon."
Riven simply glared, first at Garen, then at singed, before wrenching her arm out of Garen's hold. "Got it." She simply said in response.
Though Singed's mouth was covered in bandages, his tone betrayed his smirk as he said "So, able to do that much even with a broken hunk of metal. Interesting."
"A broken blade is more than enough for the likes of you!" Riven spat.
Garen stepped between the two, glaring at Singed. "Enough! If you keep badgering her in this manner, I will report it to the summoners, and allow them to judge your actions."
Singed merely laughed. "If I recall, she was the one who just attempted to cut me in half. But fine, Vanguard. I got all I came for, anyways – my opponent's now shown her hand early, after all." Singed laughed, casually walking away from the situation, a slight lean towards his left side the only thing that seemed to betray the fact he was just in a fight – well, that, or the small trail of blood he left as he walked.
"That was an... Impressive show of force, Lady Riven." Garen said finally after a few seconds.
"Who else is in the match, Vanguard?" Riven asked, knowing the answer before he said it.
"The mastermind Swain is taking the middle lane, Darius, the hand of Noxus-"
"Please, I don't need to hear titles, just tell me without the flowery speech." She cut him off.
"...Very well, Darius is patrolling the jungles, and Morgana and Draven are paired in the lower lane."
Garen quickly added with "It's normal for them to pair Noxians with one another, they generally work well together-"
"Thank you." Riven cut him off, gritting her teeth. For all of Garen's somewhat-competent attempts to assuage her, she knew exactly what this team meant. Noxus was bringing its A-game, but it was also grouping her with the demacians – this entire match was merely meant to snub her, to call her a traitor without saying it aloud.
Riven hadn't cared about this match until now, but given these circumstances... She planned to win this match with all her strength. Walking away from Garen without a word, she held her blade so hard it shook. Turning back around just as Garen was almost out of sight, she finally managed to say. "I'll do everything in my power to win the next match. You have my word."
Garen nodded at that, though Riven turned back around so quickly she didn't see it. Not that Riven would have acknowledged it in the first place.
The only thing on her mind was winning the next match – and pounding Singed into a bloody pulp.