Ginevra Mancinelli

The Path of Repentance

The dried petals of the ruby rose littered the desk where the flower hung low from the dusty vase it was placed in. It was a very small detail, one that had gone unseen by most of the soldiers who stood waiting in the plain, white room on the third floor of the building, but Riven had noticed it. The four walls were bare, and a flickering, dim techmaturgical light emanated from the center of the ceiling, trapped within an oval container. Not a single window was open, and with at least a hundred other soldiers whispering and pacing around her, the entire atmosphere was stifling.

The Poster Child of Noxus gazed at the two doors on each side of the physician’s desk. She had no idea where both led, for she had entered the waiting room using the door behind her after climbing a never-ending flight of stairs. Riven’s crimson eyes lingered on the physician’s face, which was set in a serious frown as the woman scribbled something that was most definitely related to that day’s ordeal. Sighing, Riven let her stare drift to the desk name plate.

Dr. G. Bleak

Senior Founder of the Noxus Bleak Clinic

Board Director of E. Mundo’s Practice of Zaun

One of the doors behind the desk was flung open, and a young woman with shoulder-length, wild auburn hair stomped her way inside. Riven’s lips parted, giving her a look of disapproval. The physician raised an eyebrow at the insolent intruder, and finally dropped her quill pen after nearly an hour of silent reporting. Dr. Bleak nodded at the soldiers that filled her room, and they all began taking off their respective armor and clothes, some of them folding their stuff rather neatly, while others bunched their garments at their feet, like the man who stood next to Riven.

“What is she doing here?” the silver-haired soldier asked, her voice barely above a whisper.

The dark-haired man who was roughly her age shrugged, and chose not to answer.

“Talon?” Riven prodded. “She shouldn’t be here.”

The taller Noxian stopped undressing, his brown shirt halfway up his chiseled chest. “Do I look like her keeper?”

Dr. Bleak cleared her throat, getting the redhead’s attention almost immediately. “Kindly form two rows,” she ordered the Noxians that stood naked in the middle of the waiting room. “Priority is given to Crimson Elite members,” she explained authoritatively. “Men will be asked to undergo a series of tests, while women will first go over a check-up with our surgeons.” Finally addressing the young woman who was unbuckling her belt, the physician crossed her arms under her chest. “Du Couteau, what do you think you’re doing?”

Katarina defiantly raised a scarred eyebrow at her. “I’m here for the tubal ligation.”

Suppressing a snort, Dr. Bleak went back to writing her reports. “Leave my clinic, Du Couteau.”

“Crimson Elite members and any other soldier that will be sent to Ionia are requested to take tests and be prepared for every type of circumstance,” the young woman reminded her with a hint of haughtiness. “I am in the Crimson Elite and I enrolled for the Ionian expedition. I match both conditions.”

Dr. Bleak glanced at her, then folded her finished reports to slide them aside. Folding her hands on the desk, she asked, “Did you magically turn twenty-one overnight, Lady Du Couteau?”

“No.”

“Then leave. Your father forbids you.”

The physician stood up, grabbing a couple charts and eyeing the two perfectly formed rows before her. She called the nurses then, and Riven’s body moved as she was instructed, although her attention was focused on her friend, who stood next to Dr. Bleak’s desk as if she had never been dismissed.

“Du Couteau,” the older woman warned.

“It’s my body,” Katarina protested. “My father may forbid it, but I will sail to Ionia and if something happens to me, his name won’t mean anything.”

The doctor’s face seemed to soften for a split second, until the stern look came back. “It’s not my call.”

Dejected, Katarina turned heels, but not before making eye-contact with Riven, who nearly left her spot to try and run after her, but the glare she received was enough of a hint to make her understand that this was not the right time.

She felt a hand grab her forearm, and a thin, pointed needle pierced her skin. Riven’s eyes shot open, and she finally woke up, only to realize that the night sky had been replaced by a wooden ceiling. Her breath hitched in her throat, and she found herself coughing, her head reeling and her stomach churning. She needed to vomit. Her left hand clutched her torn shirt, and as her eyes darted around, she spotted her shattered pauldron in the far corner of the room.

Warm hands cradled her face and Riven’s body froze at the sight of a purple-skinned female with bright golden eyes. The massive horn in the middle of her forehead caused her heart-shaped face to look oddly intimidating.

“Easy,” the creature spoke. “You’re in a safe place. Take it easy.”

Riven’s haggard breathing evened into a soft, rise and fall of her chest and that was when she noticed the yellow marks that tainted her upper body. The Noxian soldier paled, only to let out a loud shriek as the horned healer pressed a tool shaped into a crescent moon against her right forearm, drawing blood that poured in an ivory grail.

“What—what are you doing?” Riven croaked out. “Who are you?”

“The poison was successfully drained from your body,” the purple-skinned creature said, wrapping a bandage around the soldier’s arm. “Another night’s rest and you will be healthy. The authorities were looking for you.”

Riven swallowed, groaning when her dry throat hurt to the point she thought she gulped down a bunch of needles. “Did you patch me up for a better execution?” she accused the healer who simply smiled.

“I know who you are. I know what you did,” the female answered, wiping the platinum glitter her skin emanated. “But the fact that you wished harm upon others doesn’t prevent me from healing your wounds.”

Noting the way the Noxian woman licked her dry lips, she reached behind her, and pulled out a small flask. The cool water soothed her throat, and Riven asked her again, “Who are you?”

“You can call me Soraka.” She stood up then, revealing the hooves that replaced human feet. “Rest now. We’re not too far away from the Placidium, but you don’t have to worry about the guards looking for you around here.”

***

The peak of Glaserport was visible even as the one ship that had sailed from High Silvermere floated among a thick, pearl mist that enveloped the Freljordian coast. The thin ship of a charcoal color advanced with elevated difficulty through the nearly frozen waters of the Conqueror’s Sea. The figurehead was a roaring wolf, and the Freljordian sailors wore that same crest on their thick, black and white vests with pride. Only a few passengers boarded the wolfship in High Silvermere, most of them being merchants and traders, or Freljordians hurrying home after the dramatic news that had spread across Valoran.

The Queen of the Freljord was missing.

The only passenger who didn’t wear warm garments reread the scroll that had been sealed with the crest of House Du Couteau, a broadsword shattered by two thinner blades. Talon scoffed at the signature, The Blade of Noxus, and tore the scroll, his honey-colored eyes glaring at the family’s motto. Forged In Steel, Whet By Blood.

Talon fixed the red scarf that covered the lower half of his face and protected his neck from the frosty wind that blew harshly around him. His muscled arms were bare under the thin cloak that slapped against his body, and he could feel his hair tangling into a mass of frozen locks. A mountain-tall man who wore even less clothes came to stand beside him, and Talon eyed the blue marks that jagged his overly built torso and the ridiculous moustache that hid his lips. His belt was as large as his stomach, shielding it completely, and on every piece of garment a goat crest could be seen, accompanied by a frost bow and arrow. He was from Avarosa’s Tribe, the largest faction of the Freljord, the one that had lost its queen.

“They’re serving warm milk on the deck,” the bald Avarosan informed him.

Talon blinked at his strong accent and trilled r’s. “What makes you think I’m cold?” he retorted.

“You’re a tough one,” the older man conceded. “At least, take these.”

The Avarosan shoved a pile of winter clothes in his arms—a cape made of several animal furs, boots with heavy chains that he figured were supposed to help him not to slip on the iced grounds, and triple-layered shirts. Talon raised an eyebrow at his generosity, and simply accepted the garments. He didn’t need to draw unwanted attention, so the garments most definitely came in handy.

The stranger beamed at him, then bent down to pick a ridiculously large shield.

“How far is Frostheld, once we arrive in Glaserport?” Talon inquired in a monotone.

The Avarosan’s smile faded, and a deep frown replaced it. “There is nothing to see in Frostheld.”

“Really?” the Noxian said, smirking. “I thought it was the Capital of the Avarosan Tribe.”

“Why do you want to reach it?”

“Why don’t you?” Talon countered. “It’s odd enough that an Avarosan was in High Silvermere given the current circumstances, but it’s even odder that you seem to avoid your place of residence.”

The giant fighter didn’t even pretend he wasn’t annoyed by Talon’s nosiness and overall arrogance. “I was sent to answer King Jarvan IV’s call and rallied for his cause along with other representatives of Valoran. The King of the Freljord isn’t at Frostheld, so there is no reason for me to travel there.” Dragging his shield as he turned to leave, he added, “If you’ll excuse me.”

“Thank you,” Talon said as the man retreated, although his voice held no trace of gratitude. “For the cloak.”

The Avarosan shrugged. “It’s either that, or a mantle of frost that will drag you six feet under.”

***

The velvety tips of her deep purple cape grazed the floor of the memorial’s central room. The five cracks that had been made around the now open coffin were glowing with a dull red light. Even from where he stood, Grand General Jericho Swain could hear the hemomancer’s chant at the feet of the statue, surrounded by the highest masters of Noxus Prime’s Bleak Academy. Crimson eyes glared down at the remains laid before him, ignoring the woman who slowly approached him and rested her thin hands on the rim of the coffin. The black feathers that covered her hips and shoulders contrasted the paleness of her skin, and the emerald stone in the middle of her horned crown shone into the darkness of the pit they found themselves in.

Sion’s remains were only bones and rotten flesh, a few worms still crawling in hopes of feeding themselves. The stench was mostly gone, and the armor plates that once covered the body had been retrieved by the mages of the academy for the purpose of the ritual that had yet to be completed. Only the crown of King Jarvan I remained around the skeleton’s neck.

One clawed hand traced the dirtied crown, and Swain whispered, “Drink deep of the blood of your killer, son of Noxus, and live again.” Turning to face the woman who had betrayed him, the Grand General straightened his back, standing only a couple inches above her.

“For someone who has been waiting for so long,” she said in a hushed tone, resting the palm of her hand against his cheek, “you could use some more enthusiasm.”

Swain was quick to grab a hold of her wrist, his fingers clenching around it to the point he could leave a bruise. Pulling her closer, he snarled, “Why did you do it?”

“And here I thought you wanted us to be closer,” she mocked, her amethyst eyes glinting with malice.

“Evaine,” he threatened.

Slipping from his grasp, the Matron of the Black Rose smirked in appreciation. “Aren’t you overreacting, Jericho?” she asked him calmly. “The Institute of War is no more, you are the Grand General, and what you are is safer with me than with that raven.”

For the first time in his life, Swain was at a loss of words.

LeBlanc laughed softly, turning her back to him as she leaned over the remains, the red hues surrounding the coffin glowing a bit brighter. “No man would ever be able to go through the same things as you,” she commented. “I know all about your leg injury, Jericho,” she added. “Allegedly, Noxus Prime is your place of birth, yet no transcript can be found.

“The first medical record mentioning your name was signed when you were already a teenager, and as they reset your tibia after an unknown accident, you didn’t even bat an eyelash,” LeBlanc reminded him, her eyes still focused on Sion’s remains, particularly on a worm that found its way out of the fallen soldier’s eye socket. “And what happened with Keiran Darkwill,” she sighed out. “Let’s not even talk about it. Even the extra help from the Black Rose cannot explain your total recovery.

“It took me a while to figure it out,” LeBlanc eventually confessed, the slight tension in her shoulders disappearing. “The sustain, the superhuman strength, the transmutation—but most importantly, the order that was given to remove you from the battle that led to the Ionian invasion, nearly a decade ago.” She glanced at him, licking her lips. “I now know you well enough to assume you were behind the bureaucratic subversion, half-breed.”

Tightening his fists at his sides, Swain kept a cool demeanor. “You are not answering my question, Evaine.”

“You are a Vastayan landwalker,” LeBlanc concluded, avoiding his question once again. “And Beatrice was your daughter,” she added with a bright grin. “How sad it must be,” the silver-haired mistress went on, her tone void of sympathy, “to realize that a half-breed cannot bring to life a human child nor a Vastayan one. Only deformed birds that can, at best, form thoughts and have enough wild magic in them to telepathically bond.”

At her last sentence, Swain’s control snapped, and his fingers tangled in her hair as he fisted it at the nape of her neck. LeBlanc felt several strands being pulled out, yet her own fingers pulled at the collar of his coat to reveal the lower half of his face. Scars marred his chin, and his lips were set in a straight line.

“Is that what you wanted, Evaine?” he asked her with spite marking every word. “You wanted to possess wild magic?”

Pointed fingernails embedded themselves into his rough skin, and LeBlanc brought her lips closer to his, her breath tickling him as she replied, “I want everything in this world.”

Swain’s own lips parted, rage causing his blood to boil. The utter disgust he felt for the woman who had been chained to the world he lived in so many centuries ago mixed with the anger that originated from her betrayal. He had been played like an instrument from the very beginning, he realized, and the assistance of the Black Rose was not the bet that he expected; it was a service that required an appropriate payment. Yet, the more he pondered the options that were left to him, the Grand General couldn’t remove the most important thought that occurred to him.

Evaine’s mind was a maze designed by ambition and structured by illusions. And the human in him had strongly believed in the illusion that she was by his side.

“Don’t worry,” LeBlanc reassured him, her thumbs tracing soft patterns on his cheeks. “Now, I will forever be by your side,” she snickered coldly.

Swain’s hold on her tightened, pulling her hair until the silver strands were stained with blood. “Don’t read my mind,” he growled before he made a strangled sound and brought his lips against hers.

LeBlanc was quick to respond, her teeth raking across his lips, pulling and biting, until her tongue slid inside to find his. She didn’t think the Grand General would match her fervor, until she felt his other hand hold the side of her head, tilting it so he could be granted better access. The roof of her mouth, the underside of her tongue—there wasn’t a corner his own appendage didn’t explore. LeBlanc gasped for air, her slim fingers traveling down to his shoulders and gripping the soft furs of his coat. She could hear the loud chants echo through the night and from the corner of her right eye, she noticed that the scarlet hues had turned into a bright, blinding light. Her lips circled Swain’s tongue, sucking gently at first, then harder when she felt his claws prickling against the back of her exposed thighs. Her left leg curled around his injured limb, the way she pressed her calf against his knee nearly sending him tumbling backwards.

Swain broke their kiss, his swollen lips aching more than his right leg. He glared at the woman who just tried to assert her dominance, and swiftly turned her around, the hand that previously fisted her hair pushing her face first against the open coffin. His other hand reached for his cane, and it wasn’t long until LeBlanc felt the curved hilt nest itself between her legs, pressing against her barely covered womanhood. Her face was only inches apart from Sion’s skull, and the crimson lights nearly blinded her on the spot. She could smell the mixture of dirt, bones and ground as if she had been buried herself, but all of it disappeared the moment the pointed part of the hilt was shoved against her small bundle of nerves.

LeBlanc writhed, trying to crane her neck and look behind her, only to be pushed forward until her left cheek was pressed against Sion’s skull. “Look at it, Evaine,” Swain ordered her, the hilt of his cane now rubbing in circular motions. “I wish I could see the day you turn into this,” he spat in her ear, the weight of his chest crushing her back.

The round part of the hilt was prodding her entrance, the flimsy garment that covered it soaked and transparent. LeBlanc’s short breaths were rhythmed by strangled moans, and her legs progressively parted wider. Her heels slipped on the surface of the floor, and her hips were moving on their own accord as the cold metal pushed inside, coating her underwear since it wasn’t torn away.

“That’s not quite the way I imagined it,” LeBlanc gasped out, feeling her outer lips swell and her clitoris throb.

“Did you imagine it often, then?” Swain replied coldly, his own chest heaving with short breaths.

“With the lack of feminine company,” the silver-haired woman shuddered, “I almost thought you preferred males.”

Swain withdrew his cane at that statement, his crimson eyes turning a darker shade at the sight of the hilt coated in juices and glistening in the dark. His sharp claws scratched down the fabric that covered her lower back, and he wasn’t mindful in the least when it came to the feathers he tore away. LeBlanc let out a scream, blood spilling and covering her flesh as it ran down her bottom. With one hand, Swain parted her cheeks, the other bringing the wet hilt to her anal ring.

LeBlanc’s fists curled around the edge of the coffin, her hair getting soiled by Sion’s remains. She arched her back the moment she felt the hilt of Swain’s cane slid inside, round and slick, while the pointy part scratched the tender skin between her anal ring and her core, drawing more blood. Her womanhood was dripping to the point that her inner thighs were as wet as the tool that violated her, and one of her hands slipped. She was sent face first into the remains, and she coughed, trying to push herself up. Her hands trembled and broke several bones, the grime and dirt sliding underneath her fingernails.

The Grand General felt his blood rush south, and his ragged breath intensified at the feel of his transmutation slowly taking over. Beads of sweat covered his forehead as he fought the transformation, spiky emerald feathers protruding from his neck and ears. His thick eyebrows knitted together, and he let go of the woman’s hair, licking his blood-coated fingertips before tearing the front of his robes apart. Swiftly, Swain curled his fingers around his member. The tip was covered in moisture and swollen to the point it was red, but not as red as his eyes. His stare fell upon his Evaine again, bent yet unbroken, bloodied yet alive, on top of a soldier that could rise at any point. The lonely worm still crawled out of the skeleton’s eye socket, only a couple inches away from LeBlanc’s soft face.

Giving her no warning, Swain pushed himself all the way in, letting out a groan that bounced against the walls as hotness engulfed him. She was so slick he slid out the moment he slightly pulled back. LeBlanc moved her hips backwards with a small wiggle, and his clawed hands gripped her shoulders, then her hips, and finally her bottom, shaping her into the position he wanted to see her in. LeBlanc coughed into the remains, one of her calves bending as the ground shook from the ritual that was being performed around the memorial. Her cries mixed with the noises of skin slapping and bones cracking, especially when her hips were being hammered into the wooden coffin.

Swain’s hand abandoned her body for a moment, shoving away the cane that had been parting her forbidden canal. She was moist and nearly widely spread, and his clawed fingers wasted no time. Pointy nails prickled against her flesh, causing LeBlanc to thrash and bend at an awkward angle when she tried to push him off her. His fingertips thrusted at a fast pace, pressing against the front wall. He could feel the bulbous head of his penis against his fingers as he hit the backwall of her vagina, and LeBlanc screamed, shoving the coffin from underneath her, the remains littering the floor. Her heavy breasts collided with the cold stone of the altar, but Swain didn’t relent. His free hand pushed her legs wider apart, and she soon found her right knee resting on top of the altar. The half-breed let his entire weight crush her upper body, and with the way she was spread underneath him, he thrusted in until he was sheathed inside from the tip to the base. He felt the entrance of her womb, and his teeth grazed his lower lip. Swain gave another push, adding another finger inside her back entrance, and his swollen head repeatedly hit her womb.

The blinding pain caused LeBlanc’s stomach to churn, and tears spilled from her eyes as she cried out. Her anal ring was burning, and she could feel the blood he drew with his claws coating her insides, but it was nothing compared to the feel of her womb being prodded and hit continuously. She screamed with every thrust, but refused to ask him to stop. Her inner muscles clenched around his thick member, but failed in their attempt to grasp and pull him in as she was too slick with arousal. Groaning faintly as her voice died out, LeBlanc’s eyes rolled back, and she let her head hit the stone surface. A droplet of saliva rolled out from the corner of her lips, but she was quickly brought back to consciousness upon feeling a sharp tug on her breast. Her back immediately arched, her throaty moans sounding closer to a mounted bitch’s sounds than to a woman’s vocal pleasure. Swain’s other hand pinched her clitoris, and his hot breath fell over her ear, sending shocks of electricity down her spine.

He rolled his hips in a different motion, at a slower pace, earning a delicate moan from her lips, and her amethyst eyes gazed at him. Her shaking hand tugged at the dark, fine hair at the back of his head, and her neck hurt from the way she was facing him. Her tongue darted out to find his lips, but his middle finger coated in her juices rubbed her fast, up and down, and the vibrations emanating from the ground added to her climax. She released a high-pitched shrill that was only covered by a deeper roar, her amethyst orbs widening in horror as a burly figure rose from the ground before her. Swain didn’t stop ravaging her body even at the sight of a soldier being reborn, and instead left the welcoming clench and unclench of her womanhood to let his penis stretch her anal ring even more.

LeBlanc’s limp body fell on top of the stone altar. Her ribcage was pressed against the surface so harshly she could barely breathe, and small sobs rocked her chest as her body silently pleaded for rest. Swain’s claws pierced the skin of her bottom cheeks, and as he groaned into her ear at the feeling of her walls sucking him in reflexively, hot semen poured from his swollen head, painting her insides and mixing with her fresh blood.

Soft sighs escaped her bruised lips as she lied unmoving, her purple eyes open and staring into space. Shadows moved around her, probably casted by the figure that just rose from the dead, but all Evaine could feel was the tender caress of the Grand General’s hand against her arms, back, and thighs. Stop, she thought firmly, yet felt him brush her hair with his fingers.

“I’m,” she croaked out with difficulty, “asking you to stop.”

Swain’s voice was clearly audible, contrary to hers. “If you haven’t yet lost the ability to ask, you may not yet ask for relief.”

***

Glaserport was smaller than Talon expected. Chained wolfships casted a series of shadows along the harbor, and even though the sun was shining high in the skies, the thick clouds coupled with the mist that never seemed to fade held the city in hostage. Every ten feet, pyres burned tall as the Freljordians sought warmth while they dragged heavy chains for the wolfships that arrived or exited busy taverns and pleasure houses.

Talon’s boots left big prints in the thick snow as he pushed against the wind and elbowed his way out of the busy crowd that seemed to never thin out around the ship he had traveled on. He recognized some of the goods that were being taken to the nearest carriages and shelters, and a faint wave of nostalgia hit him when he smelled the rich scent of beet wine. As much as he wished to shrug it off, the moment a tavern sign came into view, the brown-haired man pushed the doors open and sighed contentedly when he spotted a free stool at the bar counter.

Drunks stepped on his feet and whores tried to grab his arms—sometimes his bottom—and he realized his self-control had improved a lot when he managed to reach the counter without shoving anyone into the nearest wall and breaking their noses, among other things.

Talon rested his elbows on the wooden surface, grimacing at the sight of crumbs mixed with dust, and he was squeezed by the other patrons who chugged down their drinks.

“Name your poison,” a toothless bartender said casually, throwing a brownish rag over his shoulder.

“Surprise me,” the Noxian answered with a shrug, still eyeing the dirt on the counter. “How far is Frostheld?”

The bartender chewed on the inside of his cheek with his gums. “I’d say two weeks, if you find an ursine to ride,” he answered, serving him a pint of Graggy Ice. “Whachu hafta do?” he slurred, finishing a drink himself. “Frostheld is deserted.”

Talon swallowed half his drink in one go, and soon realized his head was full of cotton. The Graggy Ice was rather strong, unlike when it was served in other Valoran cities. “Frankly,” he sighed out, “I don’t know myself.”

The alcohol dulled his senses for a couple hours, which Talon spent glaring ahead. At some point, he ordered mutton when the smell of roasted meat reached his nostrils and caused his empty stomach to growl, but even as he ate in silence, his mind kept going over the recent events.

After Marcus dropped orders on him in Demacia City without explaining anything, Talon rode back to Noxus Prime with Katarina, whom he expected to either follow him or nag him about looking for her father or her sister. Surprisingly enough, she packed only a few clothes and weapons, and requested that he accompanied her to The Drakengate, where she boarded a ship headed to Bilgewater. Years had passed since she last sailed on a whim to a destination he never quite comprehended, but if her aloof behavior hadn’t been enough to dissuade him from asking what was going on, her mood swings had. The whole ordeal had caused him to waste a lot of time since he had to ride back to Demacia, and eventually find a ship to avoid climbing the Ironspike Mountains, which would have taken way longer and delayed his mission.

Talon nearly stumbled over his own feet as he stood up to leave, dropping some coin on the counter and figuring he would have to hurry if he wished to find an inn to stay at for the night. As much as he preferred to get things done while the thick coat of the night enveloped the lands, the Freljordian weather was hostile and snowstorms way too frequent around that time of year. His light-brown eyes spotted the toothless bartender near the doors, talking to a blonde that seemed to have skipped puberty. He was pointing at him.

“You’re the one looking for a ride to Frostheld, right?” the bartender asked, his clear speech indicating he had sobered up faster than Talon.

The Noxian assassin nodded, his eyes narrowing at the shorter male whose blonde hair stuck to his scalp thanks to the wet snow outside.

“I just found an ursine ride,” the blonde said excitedly, his strong Piltoveran accent making it hard for both Talon and the bartender to catch his words. “I’m not short on coin, but I heard someone else was on their way to Frostheld, so I figured we could split.”

Talon examined his features, and concluded that the guy couldn’t have been older than twenty-five. His blue-green eyes gleamed and beamed, which Talon immediately found suspicious, and he was clad in black and blue clothes that seemed to have been sewed for that journey. Goggles peeked through the unruly blonde hair as the young man wore them as some sort of headband, but the most ridiculous trait was certainly the face paint on his cheeks.

“We could,” Talon whispered, although he was half-tempted to just walk or steal a carriage.

The blonde clapped his gloved hands together. “Perfect. We will leave at dawn. You know,” he kept talking as he tossed a bag of gold at a scrawny man behind him who must have been the ursine owner, “for an Avarosan, you don’t have an accent.”

Talon glanced down at the front of his cloak and the tip of his boots, figuring his new clothes did the trick indeed. Either that, or the blonde was just slightly naïve.

“Ah,” Face-Paint suddenly said, rubbing his forehead. “Forgive my manners. I haven’t even introduced myself. My name is Ezreal Lymere.”

Talon watched as the blonde extended his right hand, offering a handshake. He slowly reached out, grabbing the guy’s hand and returning the handshake, thinking in the back of his mind that the ride was going to be a long one, if that person kept on blabbing.

“What’s your name?”

Without a hint of hesitation, Talon replied, “Caleb. My name is Caleb.”

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