Chapter 4:

Riven Pulled her blade close to her body, leaping forward with her blade pointed squarely towards Singed's neck. Singed, however, used this opportunity to step forward and Grab Riven's off-hand, his other arm – shield and all – used to grab her throat, before he put his leg behind hers, and smashed Riven Head-first into the ground. "So it seems Singed knew a little about fighting after all..." Riven thought to herself. She recognized the style – Noxian Zahkwat, a form of hand-to-hand combat primarily focused on grappling, and the quick breaking of bones through the usage of various holds. From what she'd seen of Singed's well coordinated movements, showing little waste of energy, he likely had spent some time becoming a master of the style.

Unfortunately for him, Riven spent a lot of time learning Zahkwat as well, and she knew that the moment Singed shifted his weight, intending to use his knee to further subdue her...

Thrusting her sword-arm quickly to the left, Riven used the massive blade's weight to allow her to shift to the side, the weight advantage giving her enough lift to pull her other arm away from Singed, and continued the arc of the weapon so that the blade's hilt made a satisfying "pop" on Singed's knee that Riven knew from experience meant at least a minor fracture for Singed. Springing back onto her feet, she swung hard with the side of her blade, smashing Singed into the side of a nearby tree. As Riven dashed forward in chase, Singed thrust his shield forward, managing to stop Riven's first slash with his runed Bulwark, pushing back the blade with his shield. Singed momentarily grinned, but his satisfied face gave way to a shocked widening of the eyes as Riven's body suddenly began glowing with energy. "Aaaaah!" Riven yelled, A green blast of Energy erupting from her in all directions, blowing away anything not tied down and smashing apart anything that was – Singed included.

Gasping for air, Singed managed – after a few failed attempts – to prop himself up on one hand, his body smoking from the effect's of Riven's Ki surge – and the surrounding environment looked no better, as Riven now stood on a barren, smoking patch of earth, the arid heat of the air around her matching the fire burning in her eyes.
Riven's stare did not waver, a glare that promised only death for Singed. "So, it seems you're still an anomaly... My toxins still hardly phase you." Riven blankly looked behind her, noting the trail of evaporating purple gas that she'd hardly noticed in the midst of attacking Singed. "What is it, do you think, that keeps you immune to them? Perhaps something in your genetics... though given my mixes of poisons, that's quite a broad immunity... Or maybe you're simply not fully human." Singed said. "But my poisons are made to account for even that drastic a mix-up of DNA, so why is it that you, of all people..."
Riven charged forward, angry that for all the beating she'd given him, she still hadn't even managed to shut him up. Charging forward, her own anger caused her to miss Singed's next movement, as he threw a specially designed grenade. Exploding into a tan mess that resembled glue in texture, Riven didn't notice the projectile until it was too late, her legs sticking suddenly as she could hardly move

"Fortunately, I've more than just poisons. This happens to be my mega-adhesive gel. It expires quickly, but for it's duration it severely inhibits movement." Singed bragged, a feral grin on his face, as a blue light appeared around his body,
"All you're doing is prolonging your death, Singed!" Riven yelled, the man's tactics infuriating her, as she tried to rush forward as quickly as she could, fighting the adhesive every step of the way as she tried to interrupt what she knew to be a summoner's recall spell.

"Too late, Girl!" Riven heard from behind her, from an all-too-familiar voice.

Riven blocked in front of her with her blade, instinct from sparring sessions in days long-past serving her well, as she felt herself pulled back by the massive axe that threw itself in front of her. Still, she'd lost her footing, and a punch from spiked gauntlets knocked her off her feet.

Spinning to her feet only a few inches away from the massive fighter, she looked up only to see what she'd hoped she would not, a man clad in full plate armor and sporting a red cape. She saw that, for the most part, he'd changed little from when they'd last seen eachother, though his black hair had a few more shades of grey in it, and his face seemed to be beginning to show it's age. His axe, on the other hand, seemed to be in pristine condition, and she assumed that he was still taking just as meticulous care of it as he had in times past.

"It's been a long time comman-" She stopped herself. If he'd reverted to "girl" there was no way she'd name him by title in return. "Darius."

Darius roared in anger, Slashing at Riven with Wild abandon with his Axe, Riven barely blocking them with the flat of her own weapon.

"You've become weak. Worthless. Pathetic." Darius spat at Riven's feet, as Riven merely fought to stay on them from the flurry of strikes. "When you left behind Noxus, did you also leave your strength behind too?"
Riven grit her teeth at that, realizing he was probably right in at least one sense. Even before she'd left Noxus, the Ionian campaign was both harsh and under-funded, and soldier's rations were the first thing to be cut down on. Now, with so much time in Exile, her lack of active combat and food was showing in her strength and her reflexes.

Darius, on the other hand, was even stronger than the last time Riven and he had crossed blades.

"Come on, then. I do not tolerate cowardice."
Riven readied her blade. "you don't get to talk down to me, Darius. I'm not one of your soldiers anymore."
Darius's face showed, for a brief second, the slightest bit of pain, as though he'd been suddenly jabbed with a needle, and Riven, despite herself, almost felt like taking her words back...

But there was no chance to do so, as Darius's expression changed again to one of unbridled rage, and Riven charged forward with her head down, barely dodging his attempted decapitation. One thing was certain, her weapon had less reach now, and she needed to make up for that right now. Stopping Darius's next strike by catching his blade in her handle, she Smashed him across the face with a well-aimed punch.

Darius grinned at that, the blood coming from his mouth a chilling sight. "Is that really the best you can do by now, girl?"

Grabbing Riven by her Neck, Darius brought back his Axe into her shoulder, the metal pauldron shattering as the tip of the Axe-blade went through Riven's shoulder, before smashing her away with the handle of the weapon.

Riven's vision went blurry, as she just barely managed to stop his next series of attacks, the Axe hounding her at every angle, every turn. Her blade, somehow, managed to meet and stop most of those strikes, but eventually Darius chipped away at her defenses, cuts managing to appear on her legs and a reasonably deep cut causing her already-damaged other arm to go completely numb. Riven knew she was outmatched in this confrontation, but she also knew she needed to keep on her feet if she had any chance of winning this battle. The one thing she did know was how predictable rage made Darius, and if she could just hold on a little longer, she'd see her opportunity, however small it might be.

If she was going to lose this fight, it wouldn't be without her giving all she had first.

Darius snarled at that, bringing his axe to a neutral position "Let me show you the price for leaving Noxus!"

Darius leaped high in the air with a Roar, intent on cutting through Riven's body like a knife through butter with the force of a Guillotine. Had Riven attempted to block such a strike, she wouldn't even slow her demise, and the pure speed of the strike didn't allow Riven to dodge.

It was exactly what Riven was waiting for.

As Riven put all of her focus on Darius, time seemed almost to slow. Darius brought his Axe forward, the weapon screaming through the air with a sickening whine, almost seeming to rend the wind itself in two as he struck downward. Fear sank in Riven's stomach as she saw the all-too-deadly blade move towards her head, but dismissed it as she summoned her Ki to her. Pushing her good arm up and aiming, not at the axe, but at the arms holding them, She concentrated on her ki, the energy force that kept her alive, and she once again felt the sereneness of her energy fill her and focus her. Summoning as much of the energy as she could into her hand, She then concentrated on causing it to suddenly, violently erupt, as the energy pulsed green in her hand.

The glow shrunk inwards as Darius's axe grew ever closer. His face changed from one of anger to one of shock and surprise, realizing Riven's gambit.
The energy spread from Riven's hands, churning outwards in all directions...

The Axe-blade brushed the top of Riven's hair, coming close enough to cut off individual strands...

suddenly, time shifted back to normal for Riven, as Darius was flung from the air and landed on his back several feet away. Stay down, stay down, Riven thought to herself. But she knew better, and Darius's slow, return to his feet proved just how fruitless such a hope was.

Fortunately, Riven didn't run on hope.

Charging forward, Riven began her counter-attack, her blade becoming a blur as she struck at Darius's defences, pushing him back inch-by-inch as he used the handle to block each strike. Darius used a diagonal chop to Riven's left, only for her to dash forward, her sudden spurt of speed landing her behind Darius before the older man could even react, and before he could turn Riven used her brief window to slash into and through his breastplate, the Noxian-made armour the only thing keeping the resulting wound from being mortal. "I!" Riven growled, blocking his next slash with his Axe as he whirled. "Never!" Riven smashed the axe-blade away from her as she rushed forward, "Left!" Riven slashed for Darius's chest, her strike knocked aside by Darius's gauntlet as he stared at her dumbfounded. "Noxus!"
Riven heard the whistling sound the Axe made through the air and stopped it with her own blade, the two weapons clashing so hard that a shower of sparks briefly obscured the both of them. "Noxus died in Ionia! What you serve just happens to be what crawled out of it's husk!" she growled.

"Foolish child! Noxus has never been stronger!" Darius growled, pushing Riven back.

"With melters and werewolves? With troops treated like tools and murderers treated like gold?" Riven yelled back, managing to push his axe away, bringing her blade back for one last strike.

"Strength requires change and sacrifice!" Darius roared.

"Strength also needs effort and experience, fearlessness and valour! It's something you forge for yourself!" Riven yelled, and Darius briefly lost the grip on his axe.

"Isn't that what you taught me?" Riven shrieked, "Darius!"

"Riven!" Darius yelled, his frame shaking with anger as he shifted to a one-handed grip on his axe, his other hand clutching the sword-wound on his side

Both champions ran forward, each screaming their own battle cries, intent on ending this confrontation with one blow...

Darius roared, leaping into the air with his axe at the ready, only for him to suddenly disappear, a small yellow orb of light briefly appearing in his stead, before he reappeared closer to the river.

"..." Darius's expression was one of confusion, as he seemed to stare at his hands. "U-understood." he muttered, before turning.

"You're running?" Riven yelled at Darius, and the man bristled at that, his expression that of one that clearly wanted to resume the battle.

"...I have my orders." Darius replied finally, before turning his back on Riven, walking as best he could despite his injuries.
"Damn it..." Riven nearly tripped simply from exhaustion, her leg just barely catching the ground beneath her again, and she realized she was in no condition to give chase.

Feng's voice, for the first time in what she supposed was probably many attempts through the course of that battle, managed to reach her. "It's probable Singed left the lane to heal and get new supplies. We should do the same before he comes back, fully healed and with extra boosts to boot..."

Riven barely acknowledged his statement with a "hmm" her mind in a state of confusion. It wasn't the fact Darius had attacked her that truly shocked her, it wasn't that she couldn't make him see it her way, it wasn't that she couldn't win – it wasn't even that Singed got away.

It was the fact that she knew Darius held back.

The soft blue light encapsulated Riven, but her piercing hazel eyes never left the path away from the river.

Won't take long for these author notes as just writing them might end up putting this on a Saturday release. I'm finally finished a chapter that's technically on-time, though, so that's a plus. I wish I'd managed to go for a mid-day release, but apparently when all your friends are gamers, bored, and don't have a fan-fiction to take up their time with, they get pretty vocal when you don't come play a game of league or two... or three or four as they keep saying "just one more"

As far as the chapter itself, I'm a lot happier with this chapter than I am chapter three, but my writing skills, particularly my fight scenes, are showing their limit in this chapter, and it frustrates me that I have so much issues conveying these images and battles to you people properly like you deserve. I'll try to do a better job at that on chapter five, I promise!
This chapter was actually meant to be a much shorter confrontation that would be the first half or even quarter of chapter five, but ended up growing to be far more than that. Actually, in the first draft of this I more or less just forgot about Singed given how enveloping the Riven-Darius conflict was, and had to go back and give a more concrete explanation on why he wasn't there for a good amount of the chapter on the 2
nd try. That's okay, he'll get his moment, Singed fans. Those exist, right?