Chapter Four: The Commons
“Draven, stop it.”
A petite girl, a little shorter than me but probably a little older, steps up with her hands planted firmly on her hips. She is blonde, wearing a headband to pull back her shoulder-length hair and a shining silver half set of armor over a loose tunic.
Draven, as this Noxian was called, grimaces at her. “I was just bonding with this newbie, that’s all. Is it really too much to ask?”
She steps in front of me and leans on the table menacingly as she prompts him, “We all know you’d sleep with any girl you could here, and we’re all sick of it. Leave her alone. She doesn’t want you. No one does.”
Darius gives a dry chuckle, and Draven is left to his older brother’s mercy. The girl, on the other hand, takes my hand and leads me off to a table in the back, alone, where she sits me down and searches me with concern in her bright blue eyes. Out of the corner of my eye, I can see the two brothers fighting and seeming to be ready to brawl. No one else seems to pay it any mind but me, though, so I turn my attention to the girl.
“My name is Luxanna, but you can call me Lux,” the girl says. “You’re new, aren’t you?”
“Yeah.” I lock my fingers together in a knot, turning my gaze to the oaken hardwood table and its swirling runs. “I’m Sadia.”
I glance up, and see Lux smiling at me. “So, where are you from?”
I hesitate as I meet her eyes again. That face, that smile, that name… I could’ve sworn I’ve heard that before. Lux… She might be Demacian, but I’m not certain.
“I’m from Demacia.”
She smiles. I was right.
“Well, welcome, Sadia.”
“The Summoners told me to go socialize with other Demacians. I’m going to be doing a preliminary match to see if I’ll stay.”
“I see… Well, I could introduce you to the other Demacians if you’d like. Otherwise, you’d be stuck finding them by yourself, and I don’t think you’d want to do that, judging by your face when you were attacked by Draven’s idiotic charm.”
There’s a twinkle in her bright eyes as she does what I can best describe as teasing me, and I frown slightly. Were my feelings about Noxus really that obvious?
“Alright… I guess.”
With my compliance, Lux grabs my wrist and grins cheerfully. “Come on, then!”
She tugs me into the wing labeled with the Demacian crest, and leads me to a room off to the left, a commons of a fancier sort than the group one. It seems almost like a king’s sitting room: the rugs are richly dyed in hues like burgundy and navy, bordered with gold thread, and the room is well-lit by the single crystalline chandelier that sparkles and glistens with a light unto itself. There is a bar, manned by a handsome servant, a couple of tables, and some more comfortable furniture, including a couch. A young woman, rather busty in the chest and fair in the skin, with long, blue hair pooling around her in her seat, strums on a flat, harp-like instrument. She is surrounded by a strange golden aura as she plays. Boisterously engaged in conversation, two broad-shouldered men with their backs to me drink heartily enough that the server is sighing and shaking his head. In yet another corner, a man is quietly meditating in a cross-legged position on a mat he seems to have brought himself, a long spear rested across his lap.
“Guys! Guys! There’s a new Demacian champion joining!”
All eyes turn to see me, and among those eyes… well, mine meet with my king’s. I feel breathless for a moment, for what is one to do when they meet eyes with their king on equal terms? What does one say? So, out of a flustered breathlessness, I manage a curtsy, but I’m incapable of drawing enough breath to address him as “my lord” or even scarcely introduce myself.
When I straighten, he’s smiling down at me with a broad smile. Not a self-absorbed one, like Draven, but it reminds me of my father, and is filled with a certain pride. “Welcome, miss.”
I hesitate a little bit. I am but a simple farm girl! And he addressed me like a lady!
The man standing beside King Jarvan – wait, wouldn’t that be Garen? – folded his arms over his chest. “So does she have a name?” He was clearly asking me, but acting as if he was asking the group.
I falter further. “I… um… I’m Sadia Bladon. I’m… I’m not really that special, but my brother was a Demacian knight, and so was my dad.”
Luxanna looks as if she is preparing to yell at Garen for his callousness, but she pauses as she hears what I have to say about myself.
The king looks at me with a doleful sigh, shaking his head softly. “Miss Bladon, we are all brothers and sisters in arms on the battlefield, and if the Summoners allowed you this far, you are here for a reason, and I have no doubt that you have potential. On that note,” he said, pulling a small piece of paper from his interior pocket in his jacket, “I heard of someone joining the League for Demacia from the Summoners this morning, and there is to be a match with Demacia against Noxus… These will be your teammates. It would do you good to speak with them, and get to know them.”
I unfold the page.
Demacian Team, League of Legends Official Match no. 8,953
Top Lane: Garen Crownguard
Jungle: King Jarvan Lightsheild IV
Middle Lane: Luxanna Crownguard
Attack Damage Carry: Quinn and Valor
Support: new Demacian champion
Luckily for me, this means thatI only have to get to know one person on this list. While I really could use some social time with Garen, I did know him, and I would much rather take part in discussion with him when he’s more sober. So, this left me talking to a pair known as Quinn and Valor, whoever they may be.
I figure the best plan is to ask Lux.
“Where might I find Quinn and Valor, do you think?”
Lux’s face went thoughtful. “Well, if they aren’t inside, they’re probably playing in the garden, since it’s not late enough yet for the sun to be down.”
I don’t ask for help getting out to the gardens. I can practically smell outside blindfolded. It’s my home; most days there aren’t many times that I’m not outdoors. Now of course that might change, but for now, I must absorb all the late afternoon sun I can.
The courtyard is large, sweetly smelling of different wildflowers and trees. Birds cheerfully call in the trees, and the place seems alive, all covered by its blanket of grass and clover.
Suddenly the courtyard falls silent, and a shrill call rings out and echoes through the enclosure. I look up as a shadow passes over me, winged, longer than my arms are long. I follow it with my eyes. In moments, it lands: a long bird crooning, trilling… then I meet her eyes. She is a fair-skinned young woman, about my age, with feathery dark hair and very profound features, but what strikes me is her golden brown eyes.
“Who are you?” she says, her tone dry. “I’ve never seen you before.”
“I guessed that. I’m no fool.”
“King Jarvan said that we’re gonna fight together tomorrow for my preliminary in something called the Bottom Lane.”
The girl, who I assume is Quinn, gives a gruff sigh. “I’m Quinn, and this is Valor.” She scratches the bird between its eyes and it trills a little. “We’re the only reason you’re going to be alive. Knowing our king, he’s gonna set us against Noxians, and without Kayle… I don’t think I’m gonna do well at all. Morganna’s gonna be pissed.”
She sighs. I can already tell she doesn’t like much change... if any at all.
“I’m Sadia.” I try to offer a smile in hopes of bringing up her opinion of me.
“What do you have? Skills, I mean.”
She completely disregards my attempt to be pleasant and moves straight on to business.
“A stun… I’m okay with a blade too. And I don’t feel physical pain.”
Quinn raises her eyebrows at me. “Don’t feel pain? Can I…?”
I shrug. “Sure. Go ahead.”
She lashes out with a punch and hits me square in the gut, her battle face hardening her features slightly as she does so. I think she expects me to flinch, but I don’t, and a slight breath escapes me simply because of the force of the blow.
Her face drops. “Well then.”
“Didn’t believe me?” I ask, surprised.
“I don’t tend to believe people I’ve just met, but I guess there’re exceptions. You seem nice enough, but sometimes that equates to naivety on the battlefield.” Her tone makes it sound like she was speaking from experience, and I decide not to question it. “I’m gonna have to show you the fields at some point before the fight, okay? I don’t want us getting a gank or being ganked for that matter and have you not be prepared.”
I don’t know what a gank is. I’m pretty sure I’m going to have a lot of learning to do.