This is a League of Legends fanfiction, featuring Talon.
Where the Blade goes:
The naming of the Blade
Several years ago
Talon bit into the apple. It flowed juices so sweet that Talon almost dropped it from shock.
It was a far cry from what he was used to, of course. Sure, the vendors and sellers on the streets had some good stock now and then, but never had Talon and his friend been able to reach that stock. Never did they skirt those streets. No, they skirted the streets from where they came from, streets full of those whose fruits were uncertain, whose names were stolen and self made, whose words were as poisonous as their stock sometimes. Even so, stealing from these people was better than another hungry night, and stealing from these people escaped the sight and cares of the Noxian High Command. There was no point in risking their sights. He’d rather try and steal and starve for another night than be seen.
Now, though. It was different. Before him was a dining hall, filled with food. Not just any food, all the food that he could desire. More than he was able to imagine. There were plates with beasts he hadn’t seen or heard of, there was a stack of vegetation placed in a rather unorthodox manner, there were things that he imagined he could steal and live a week off of. So many choices before him, he could not imagine what to eat first.
So, Talon decided to eat what he knew, and he had chosen an apple, and it had tasted…
“Delicious?” The voice was commanding, as deep as the shadows to which Talon hid in. From behind him came a rumble of armor, shaking and heavy. A cape flowed from the man, his magnanimosity defining him before his words. He sat, and Talon then stared into a man whose eyes had seen much. “These apples were harvested but a day ago, from the one of Noxus’s best plantations. They are usually served to the High Command, and the old dingbats in there barely eat them sometimes.” The man picked one up, and bit into it, practically devouring it in half, three times the amount Talon could fit into his mouth. With his mouth full, the man continued, “They never finish their food, those dingbats, Swain worse of them all, and so they usually give it to me and my barracks. As you can imagine, my men are quite grateful.” The man chewed and raised an eyebrow.
Talon kept his eyes still, never leaving the man’s face, never leaving his surroundings, but he gave a small curtsy. “As am I,” Talon said, “for this pleasure, Sir Marcus.”
The man seemed to ponder for a moment. “I never did tell you who I was, did I?”
Talon slowly shook his head.
The man named Marcus laughed, booming and deep. “Ah, what a wonder. I am Marcus Du Couteau, part of the Noxian High Command, High General of the Noxian army, and…” Marcus took out a small blade, simple and dull, marked and used, and pointed it between Talon’s eyes. Talon did not blink, and Marcus grinned. “The one who defeated you, Talon of the Noxian Slums.”
“Give me no title,” Talon replied. “Dead men have little need for names.”
“Do they?” Marcus said, eying the young man before him. The clothes were abysmal, scratched and cut, holding back the cold as much as toilet parchment. The face was almost emaciated, dark hollows instead of cheeks, hair brittle and falling apart. The general bit into his apple once more, looking thoughtful. “Do dead men walk and breathe, Talon? Do they stare with eyes that continue to watch the environment, never dropping guard for a moment? They do they eat the most delicious red apples that have been scorned by men who care not of other men?”
“What do you want, Du Couteau?” Talon asked. He wanted to get to the point already. He gave a gave a glance to the dagger held in Du Couteau’s hand. He gave his many daggers no names, as there was no reason to hold such meaningless sentiment. However, he knew which dagger was which, and the one dagger held in Du Couteau’s hand was his oldest, most used dagger, which had tasted the blood of thieves and innocents and even a friend, which Talon kept close as his final, desperate defense. A defense which had failed to the man before him. “Kill me, enslave me, do as you must. But hurry and tell me.”
“What if I were to employ you?” Du Couteau mused aloud.
Talon did not respond immediately. Rather he stared at the man before him, who ate an apple with one hand and played with a dagger in another. “What do you mean?”
“What if you were to work for me, Talon of the Worn Dagger? Take missions that I command, undergo the words that I say, work for me.” Du Couteau leaned back, his armor heavy and uncomfortable. “In return, I offer you training of your blade, I offer you food and nourishment, and I even offer you a room in my own house, in the House of Du Couteau, and…”
And it was that moment that the two heard a thump. Something fell, something in the corner of the room, a yelp. Immediately, Talon snatched the dagger from the very fingers of General Du Couteau, before his very eyes. The corner of the room was dark, unlit by the candles that gave light to where Talon and the General sat, but that was no issue for Talon. He was born in such darkness, and his aim was perfect; the used dagger flew across the room, and landed solidly where he had aimed, embedding itself deep.
Suddenly, Talon was aware of what he was doing. He had been on edge since he had entered the streets of House Du Couteau, had been wary of the servants that stared at him, of the guards that scoffed at him, and of the man that had defeated him. The sound had surprised him, and he had reacted before he could think. A familiar feeling set into Talon’s stomach, one of fear.
Talon stared into the shadows, ready to flee at any moment. From the darkness where the blade entered glared two eyes, emerald and sharp and absolutely angry. There was a flash of red hair, long and flowing.
“Katarina!” General Du Couteau shouted, getting up immediately. He waved his hands at the candles, and the corner was lit, revealing a young female whose hair flowed like passion and whose eyes shined just as bright. Katarina Du Couteau was her hand, and her shirt was stuck into the wall where Talon’s daggers pinned her.
She dodged my blade, Talon realized with a beat. He had aimed at the area between the collar bones, right below the neck or so, and she had dodged, managing for the blade to only sink into her shirt and into the wall. Not only that, she was unbalanced when he had aimed at her, and still managed to escape as well as she did.
She was very good, Talon understood.
“What do you mean, a room in House Du Couteau?!” Katarina immediately exclaimed. The General stood before her and grimaced. She stood up, a bit awkwardly, and pulled the blade from where it pinned her into the wall. “Why are you letting someone like that into our house?”
The General could only sigh. “Why are you here, my dear Kat? Where were you?”
Katarina glanced up, where a structure of a dragon’s head was mounted on the wall. “Nowhere,” she replied, suddenly thinking about the reality of her situation.
“You were eavesdropping,” the General said. He glanced at where she had hidden herself, and shook his head. “You prepared this before hand.” A thought struck him. “You’ve done this before.”
She blushed, complimenting the red of her hair. “I haven’t,” she said, not really clarifying anything.
Where Talon lived, one had to be either strong or clever. Not necessarily smart, but clever. Clever minds brought clever tongues, and clever tongues learned to lie. The great minds could coordinate their entire bodies to lie with them, and any tale they spun would be believed by the unaware. Talon had learned how to deal with these men, beyond the blade, and he could see through clever tongues quite well.
Clearly, Talon thought, she did not have a clever tongue.
As if hearing his thoughts, Katarina stared daggers at him.
The General knelt down to meet his beloved daughter. “Katarina, please go back to your mother, to your sister. I’m dealing with something right now,” the General said.
“This deals with us as well!” Katarina exclaimed. She pointed to the boy sitting at the table. “Why are you offering a room in our house to a slum rat like him? Talk with us about it first.”
The General only sighed. “Please, my dear Kat. Go.”
Katarina shook her head, but her feet followed his orders. She walked in front of her father, towards the exit.
As they passed, Kat threw his knife into the table, embedding it deeply. She scowled at Talon, and Talon only stared back. Her noted her green eyes, and suddenly realized he had rarely looked into people’s eyes before, at their faces. Certainly, none as passionate as those of Katarina’s. He wondered how much this would change in the future.
Closing the door behind her, the General sat in front of Talon once more. “I’m sorry about her,” the General said, “she’s around your age, I guess, and she’s rather… passionate about things, to say the least.”
Talon stared at the door for another moment before looking back to the man. “Why are you doing this?”
The General blinked. “What do you mean?”
“You left me alive,” Talon said. “And you tell me to come here, trust me to do so. You offer me a job, thinking that I would not slit your throat the moment I have the chance. Tell me, Marcus Du Couteau, why you do so.”
Du Couteau sat there for a moment, wondering how he should answer this. He noticed that there was only one apple on the table, the one apple that he had not finished. There was a knife that was embedded there, courtesy of his daughter. There were plates of food. Du Couteau had a nagging feeling that something was missing.
Ah! That was it. The apple that Talon had bitten into. It was gone. Du Couteau glanced to Talon’s lips. There was a wetness there.
He grinned. The young man was rather deft.
“When the guilds sent me, I did not know what I was expecting,” the General started. “It was an odd request, rather unfit for one of my position, to be honest. Assassins were dying, left and right, the best and the brightest, to some… unknown kid in the streets. They were rather… hesitant to share too much information with me, Talon, about what was happening. I chalked this up to just guilds being guilds, and decided to accept the request, to see what was it these guilds were searching for. They blamed you for the death of these men, and so I wanted to see exactly who could beat the blade masters of the guilds.
“And, what did I expect to see? Certainly not what I saw, Talon, certainly not this. Do you recall the encounter, but several days ago? I was wearing much different things, definitely better than this heavy and useless armor. But there I was, ready to fight for my life against the assassin of assassins, and then I see… a child. A boy. Dirty. Emaciated, maybe starving, looking into the light from whence I came with the same look that blind pups have when searching for their mother’s teats.
“But then you launched those daggers from the shadows, but then our blades were drawn, and what a fight that was, boy, matched only by nostalgia I have of that prodigy prince or of family Crownguards. Your body looked like it was about to fall apart, still does, really, yet your movement was like wind… like shadow. It was only through a dozen and a dozen years of fighting that dodged a slash that would clearly have severed the tendons in my hands. And a thrust that would have left me limping for years. And a stab that would have pierced my heart. You see my point.”
Du Couteau grinned. Talon almost scoffed. The man says it like the man didn’t reciprocate just as much as Talon did.
“When I finally knocked you down, and finally held your last dagger, the last of a hundred, and held my own blade at your throat, I realized how young you were. Maybe as young as a dozen winters, maybe as old as two dozen summers. The same age as my own Katarina, and forcing me to fight with such seriousness. Even today, you amaze me. I may be wearing useless armor, but you still manage to snatch a blade from my very hand before I react. I wonder, Talon where you plan to be in five more years. Or ten.”
Talon didn’t know why he answered. “Not starving after five years. Maybe not dead after ten.”
Du Couteau nodded. “Admirable aspirations, and as I suspected. But maybe there can be more than that. You are very strong, Talon, as talented my own Katarina. Mayhaps you train together, but that is for another day. I offer you a chance to escape the slums and underbelly of Noxus. I offer you a chance to not starve, to learn like a scholar, to be something of a soldier.”
Talon was silent as he stared at the man. Finally, he said, “Why do you trust me?”
“You could have killed me.” The answer was laughable, but there it was. Talon waited for Du Couteau to elaborate. “I offered you many chances to kill me today, Talon. I turned my back on your to tend to my dear Kat. I wear this meaningless armor to slow myself down. I left you in here, and you could have pointed my food, or run away forever. Yet, you came to this house, simply by trusting my words that I would not kill you. I know you never let go of the environment, Talon, and you had all these chances.” Inside, Du Couteau thought about how quickly and silently Talon ate a simple apple, and grinned.
Talon shook his head. “You should know. The stupid heralds and soldiers of Noxus say it every day. The strong rule the weak, so it goes, and it is one of the rare truths of this world, Du Couteau. We both know it.” Talon paused, staring at the food. “I have… a debt to you. You could have killed me. I owe you, for letting me live, since I am no longer a dead man walking.”
Du Couteau raised an eyebrow. “Is that honor of the battle that guides you?”
Talon spit on the floor. “Only fools pledge their lives to honor. Allegiances do not feed mouths, only blades do.” Talon looked at Du Couteau. “I live and die by the blade. Let me live, Du Couteau, and I shall be your blade, your shadow.”
Du Couteau paused. “It is true,” the man slowly said, “that the strong rule the weak. That is a truth of this world. Maybe, though, that is not the only truth.” Talon stared at the man, as he is wont to do. “Just keep that in mind, the Dark Blade of Shadow, Talon. Perhaps you can learn more than you’d think as you serve me.”
“Two conditions,” Talon said. “The first is that I will obey your words, and only your words. Do not put in the treacherous military. No lesser or greater man shall rule me. Promise me.”
The General gravely nodded.
“The second is that you better dare not give me such a tasteless title.”
Du Couteau grinned, but Talon’s face was dead serious. “I agree to your terms. Welcome to my employ.”
The General removed the blade in the table, and cut the palm of his had. Red blood flowed. He handed it to Talon. Talon looked at the man, and then reciprocated. They then shook.
“Outside, my dear Kat is probably waiting and eavesdropping. Tell her I have employed you, and follow her to the guest room at House Du Couteau.”
Talon nodded. He grabbed his dagger, turned, and walked away. Or slinked away. Something about the way he walked and moved made the shadows embrace him. That was where he grew up, Du Couteau knew, and that was where he belonged.
Walking to the window, Du Couteau watched as Katarina bickered and yelled at Talon, but led him to the house anyways. Talon did not respond. The boy probably did not put much weight into words. The night took over as the two disappeared, Talon first of all, and Katarina later.
Talon would have much to learn. He would be strong, Du Couteau knew, stronger than he is right now. On the other hand, Du Couteau could see the grays in his hair. He could feel the weight of his armor. Du Couteau knew his time was now, and it would soon be gone. He would need help, not a successor like his dear Kat.
He would need a blade. Someone who would be his blade, and the shadow behind it. Talon, The Blade’s Shadow.
Marcus Du Couteau grinned. The boy would never suffer such a tasteless title.