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The Transcendence of Irelia
By Isaac McElwee
Genre: Fiction Level: High School 10-12
Category: UAA/ADN Creative Writing Contest

            Since the dawn of the Third Age, followers of Noxus have fought for dominance over the other nations with the idea that their god will give them the power to defeat their foes. The Noxus armies have been at war for the past twelve years. The first Noxus hoards reached the Ionian borders in the eleventh year. Since then, two of the thirteen great cities of Ionia have fallen. Striking for the heart of Ionia, the Noxus hoards launched a full-scale siege against the capital city, deep in the Ionian lands. Slowly, the Ionian forces have fought a losing battle against the near endless flood of Noxus followers. Now Ionia stands of the brink of destruction as the city's defenses weaken.

The once white and silver streets of Ionia ran crimson with blood. The black and green clouds overhead glowed with the fires in the city. Irelia, captain of the Ionian guard and daughter of Master Lito, stood in the war tent as the cries of war raged just a small distance away. The Noxus invasion had been going on for nine days and the Ionian forces were close to defeat. Irelia's thoughts of the war snapped into focus as she addressed the war council.

            "My lords, we have Noxus forces closing in on three fronts. Our forces are greatly outnumbered and many of our troops are disheartened and ready to flee. I suggest we pull our forces back to the Placidium. We have lost the outer districts, but we can hold them in a bottleneck at the Placidium."

Irelia waited as her idea sank into the minds of the council. A tall gray man stood from his makeshift seat and wiped blood from a wound above his eye.

"Irelia, I agree that we cannot hold the outer city, but we must hold Ionia until your brother Zelos returns with his company to counterstrike these Noxus pigs."

"This we can do without losing thousands more by making a tactical retreat from the lower outer city to the upper Placidium," said Irelia.

            "Captain, do as you see fit. Understand, that if we pull our forces to a bottleneck at the Placidium and we fail to hold our position then Noxus will overrun Ionia and we will all die," said an elderly woman with a white and black robe leaning on the support post of the tent.

            Irelia considered what she had said and replied saying, "It must be done. Contact the other captains and tell them to pull back."

            Irelia bowed to the elder council and quickly exited the tent. She passed by the wounded tents and spoke words of encouragement to the healers that she passed. It was only a few minutes till Irelia reached the Placidium where she could view the battle against the Noxus hoards. A deep chanting erupted from underneath the ground where Irelia stood. The message of retreat was being magically communicated with every warrior in an instant along with orders for individual captains and companies. A small sapphire crystal floated past Irelia's left ear as a high mage began constructing crystal walls for their final stand.

            Within the hour, the defenses had been constructed and a majority of the Ionian forces had made it past the twenty foot high crystal gate. Irelia was resting after a skirmish against a small band of Noxus assassins, dressed as Ionian phalanx, tried to pass through the gate. A sudden shake of her shoulder brought Irelia to her feat with a dagger in her hand in fear of attack. Soraka hastily stepped back from the blade.

"It is I. stay your blade!" commanded Soraka.

Irelia shealthed her dagger, "I apologize. I have not been sleeping well while my dreams are invaded by evil dreams of death. What have you awoken me for?"

"A forerunner scout passed through the gate with three arrows through his back and other severe injuries. He came from the northern side of the city where the retreat has been most difficult. He said he was from the Dragon Company and that they are one of the last standing companies in the northern city, but are being chased by powerful enemies. I am no fighter, but it would be in our best interest to send out a party to assist the Dragons as well as the scattered companies that the Dragon Company now defends." Said Soraka.

"I shall assemble the vanguard to hold the gate," said Irelia. "Bring me 100 able bodied warriors, 40 archers, and at least one of the high mages. Have them rally here within the hour, prepared for both marching and battle. Your skills would also give us an edge against any Noxus servants we met, but I will leave that choice up to you."

Soraka quickly said, "I will come. I will gather as many as I can find and will be at the gate in ten minutes."

Soraka raised her golden staff topped with a crescent moon and sent a blast of golden light into the sky. Irelia jogged to the gate and told the captain at the gate to gather what troops he could find that could still fight and hold until she returned back through the gate. Irelia drew her Hitten blade from its sheath on her back. Its four blades identically beautiful blades connected to a sphere of red metal that incases the wielder's hand fit perfectly as she slipped her slim fingers of her right hand into the orb. Heaving the heavy blades into the air she experimentally spun the four blades around the diameter of the orb like a fan and squeezed the inside of the ball and the blades instantly locked into place with a metallic click. Now Irelia felt ready for battle.

As Irelia left the gate with her small band of fighters she saw the damage the Noxus armies had done. Once beautiful silver and red towers were now broken along the roads. The grand square that held venders of fruits, cheese, beef, and rare exotic meats from other countries in Runeterra was now home to thousands of corpses. The Ionians left next to their fallen comrades and enemies both; nothing more than food for the thousands of large, gray, tainted sewer rats that were the symbol of the Noxus Rat Hoard that had passed this way.

They heard the Dragon Company before they could see them. The stench of blood was overpowering and the clang of metal on metal could be heard well before they crested the hill to see the Dragons fighting desperately against a powerful necromancer and at least a thousand undead warriors in various stages of decomposition. Irelia's heart quickened and her mind sharpened as she shouted out, "For Ionia!"

Irelia left her company as she sprinted down the hill to meet the battle. Dodging a sweeping blow from an Ionian soldier she sliced his arm off and then noticed that his weapon had been his other arm.

"I shall face this necromancer." She breathed as she put another of her allies back into eternal slumber. Irelia surged forward, clearing a path toward the tall hooded figure who stood amidst the strongest of the undead creatures. His raspy voice could be heard across the field as he called out his challenge.

"You are foolish to face me! How could one so young ever hope to defeat one who is already dead?"

Irelia made her final blade dance around two of the largest undead and vaulted into the air, spinning her blades to make her strike harder to block, and slashed diagonally across the body of the tall man's dark robe. As her blade sliced through the ribs of the sorcerer like butter she knew she had won. Once the sorcerer died, all the souls inhabiting the dead would return to the other side and the fighting would cease, but the souls did not fade and the fighting continued. A slow evil laugh echoed out of the dark hood of the sorcerer and, faster than Irelia would have thought possible, struck her across the chest with a blast of dark magic.

"Behold! Your champion falls and will soon rise again to serve me." The sorcerer shouted to the now faltering Ionian warriors.

Meanwhile, Soraka knelt next to the fading Irelia as the dark curse sapped the color from Irelia's skin.

"Transcend the darkness Irelia!" Soraka cried. And with those words Soraka drew upon her wish of the stars. A flash split the dark skies overhead and pure starlight rained down on the battlefield. The undead screamed as their flesh burned in the holy rays and Soraka sealed the fading soul of Irelia into the Hitten blades that had fallen by her side. Irelia's eyes slid open, glowing with silver light, and her skin was no longer tainted with the dark plague. Rising to her feet, Irelia reached for her quadruple blades, but the blades knew her will and levitated to her hand, stopping inches before her outstretched palm. Irelia's voice cried out, "Death cannot stop the will of the blades!"

The dark mage watched as the starlight revived the fallen champion. Bewilderment filled his mind as he considered the child standing beside the Ionian woman. Bewilderment changed to fear as the Ionian captain split his forward ranks with her strange star point blades. With a strike of his staff, the necromancer raised a pack of dire wolves to stop the charging warrior. A blast of wind erupted from the center of the field and the sorcerer stumbled backward. As he steadied himself with the butt of his staff the first blade struck his arm.

Irelia's hands never touched her blades, but the sphere of four blades danced around her, slashing down the last and largest of the black ghostly wolves. Filled with fury, she willed her blades to destroy the smug Noxus champion. The orb of blades separated and, with all her might, Irelia hurled her toward the cloaked villain. The first blade caught him in the arm, the next his shoulder, then thigh, and finally point first into his chest. Irelia reached the dying magician as he fell to his knees, her blade holding him up from the ground. A thought sent the blade through the rest of the body and the entire battle field stopped as all the undead monsters fell in unison with the crumbling body of their master. Irelia reassembled her blades back into their original form and she staggered back to her company, entirely exhausted.

"Captain at the Gate! Captain Irelia has returned! The Dragon Company is with her!" cried the watchman in the highest of the crystal turrets.

The guards scrambled to open the gate for their captain and comrades. The noise of the gate increased as the healers swarmed the gate, relieving many of the soldiers of their wounded companions. Irelia leaned heavily on the shoulder of Soraka as she passed through the gate and made her way to the command tent to report. As she stumbled through the tent flap she was greeted by cheers and merry faces. The first to greet her was her long awaited brother, Zelos.

Zelos embraced his little sister, held her at arm's reach and said, "My sister Irelia! I have heard bold tales of your deeds while I have been away and now I believe you have another to share with us, but first you will want to hear of the news I have brought to the elders."

Zelos paused for dramatic effect before turning to the elders and continuing.

"While I have been gone for many weeks it has not been in vain. I have found many allies during my travels. Even as we speak, a grandmaster swordsmen leads an army of five thousand strong against the rear left flank of the Noxus armies. Along with him, a Demacian commander and his king sallied forth from their strongholds to assist our plight. As I returned home, I met a ferocious predator in the deep forests and promised him whatever he wished of our kingdom if he would slay any Noxus forces in or near his forest. He said he would hold me to my word and that he would slay any prey he came upon in his trees. We have won! This siege is over and Noxus must retreat or face utter destruction from their flanks."

Irelia heard this wonderful news and wondered at the cost of her actions. Soraka had saved her, but at a price she did not know. All eyes turned to her as she realized it was her turn to report.

"Our troops fought bravely against a powerful necromancer, Soraka saved all of our lives and brought me back from certain death, and I managed to defeat their champion." Irelia stopped speaking and the council broke into cheers again before she could say that she was now bound to her blades or describe anything else of the battle.

For the best perhaps, Irelia thought to herself and she let herself be swept into the festivity of the council at the news of their victory and of their future peace in the land.

 

The End

 


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