As the horses walked along with the three travelers, only Irelia thought of a way for them to talk. The Ionian called out to Riven. “When we get there, where would you like to go first?” She looked back at the both of them and smiled politely, hoping she didn’t interrupt them. Irelia slowed her horse to ride beside both of them. When she was about to repeat her question, Talon butted in.
“She’s asleep for some reason even though it’s bumpy.” He released a sigh and looked straight forward.
The Ionian lady tried to brighten the mood. “Maybe because she felt comfortable with her arms wrapped around you, Noxian.”
“You think so, huh?” Talon formed a small smile.
Irelia looked queerly at him. “I expected a different response.”
“What?” Talon’s head shifted to her.
“Pardon me, I only thought that you’d tease her again.” She chuckled. “So, you do like her?”
“Woah, woah. Let’s not jump to conclusions.” He growled, but deep inside he felt guilty he denied.
“I do not know how to put it but usually when you’re alone you always act cold and disinterested with the world. Yet, when you’re with her you seem more…” She paused, finding the right words.
“Alive.” He mumbled.
“Yes, that’s right. Don’t worry, I won’t tell that you like her.” Irelia grinned as if she would tell Riven.
“You Ionians are too damn noisy or maybe it’s just you. Either way shut up.” Talon growled once more out of annoyance which seemed to disappear when Riven moved to pull herself closer to him while unconscious. The look on his face seemed almost priceless.
It only made Irelia laugh. “You really do like her.” Now, Talon hatefully ignored the woman, resisting the urge to stab her. “But in all seriousness though, why did you like her?”
“If I tell you, can I stab you in the head?” He said, his face blank and serious.
“If only I wasn’t captain of the Ionian guard and an elder, you may.” She smiled.
“You don’t scare me, lady.” He scoffed.
There was no noise after the short conversation between Talon and Irelia, which relaxed the assassin.
After an hour of galloping and silence on the trip to Ionia, Irelia halted and asked them for a rest. Riven already woke up, she and Talon agreed and took a rest as well, they too went down their horses after Irelia did. They tied their horses on a nearby tree that was dry without leaves, took off their things and sat down for a while.
“I brought some bread. It’s not much but I hope it will do.” Irelia carefully reached inside the bag and took three pieces of bread, which she gave two of them to Talon and Riven, the other for herself.
“Thank you.” Riven gave a light smile at the woman as she took the bread and nibbled on it. The flavor was just right and it was enough for just a quick rest.
Talon also took the bread with hesitation. “This better be clean.”
“Just eat, Talon.” Riven added.
“Fine, fine.” Talon sighed and took off his hood then took a bite.
He hasn’t changed at all, Riven thought as she stared softly at Talon, carefully looked at his brown hair tied up behind his head, the eyes that looked at her before were still as red as blood. All in all, he looked mighty fine. She imagined women approached him all the time like before, wondered if he has someone he held dear. Just then, she lost herself when they locked eyes for a second.
“What are you staring at?” Talon looked displeased, thinking something bad rested on his face.
Riven went back to reality, and she shook her head and did not reply. Somehow the thought of him with another woman was saddening, yet she did not know the clear reason why. “Anyway, Irelia. We are at the Howling Marshes, if I am not mistaken?” Her head turned to Irelia who already finished her food.
“Yes but it is best not to linger. It is rumored that the Howling Marshes are filled with undead.” Who seemed uncomfortable with the place. The horses looked restless as well.
“I’ve only been here twice dues to missions and I’ve heard the rumors. Have you actually seen the undead?” Riven looked around for signs of life but the place itself looked dead.
“No but somehow, I feel their presence.” Irelia stood up, she too looked around. “I suggest we go.”
Riven did not argue and quickly rose on her feet and went to the horses. Talon sat for a while, the place never intimidated him, he could just dispose of whatever comes in his path. He found himself looking at Riven, who tended the restless horse by patting it on the head and embraced it. Seeing her like that pained him, knowing he could never call her his, kiss her or embrace and feel the warmth of her body. Finally Riven called out to him. ”Talon! We must leave now. Get up already.” With that, he stood and went over to Irelia and Riven who waited for him. They rode their horses they began to move through the marshes quickly, their horses running. The atmosphere of the place really was dead and from time to time they saw figures moving near the water and tall grasses. It certainly gave the impression of being haunted. Stories were told about foul creatures located in the Howling Marshes and travelers disappearing at night. Daylight was the most precise way to travel for them, though they did not fear whatever lurked on the marshes. They could easily take them down.
At last, they made it out of the marshes and in front of them stood the Ironspike Mountains, as if it was a wall that blocked their way from the other side. Another danger awaits, thieves, bandits and bounty hunters are located on the mountain which reminded Talon something he should have told Riven the moment they met again after the tragic thing that happened to her. The Crimson Elite ordered him to take her down, to take Riven down, to kill her. But; the thought of it just tore him apart so he declined and convinced the head of the Crimson Elite that she meant no harm. Sadly, he failed at convincing them and he knew they’d send someone else but also failed to know who it was sent to eliminate her and why has the one sent to kill her not made a move. He looked behind him and saw Riven gazing somewhere else, her hands still wrapped around his waist. The woman noticed the eyes that looked intently at her, she replied with a questioned look, her amber irises stared back at his.
“Is something wrong?” She asked, wondering why, she felt anxious. Was there something at her face? Why does she care what he thought about her?
He said nothing in response but thought to himself that he still didn’t know anything about her after what they’ve been through. After a few seconds, he spoke. “Hey, remember that time we last saw each other in the Crimson Elite?”
“Well…” She uttered.
“Look out!” Irelia, who suddenly yelled, quickened the speed of her horse. “Bandits!”
Arrows were fired towards them but Talon’s senses were too quick for them to hit. The two were startled heard her and without hesitation, Talon kicked his horse to run. He knew it would be possible for it to be bandits but when he caught a glimpse of them, they looked like Noxian soldiers. Whilst they ran away from the place, Talon suddenly heard a groan. Irelia was ahead so it only left Riven.
“Are you alright?” He spoke calmly and looked behind.
“Watch where you’re going!” Riven shouted.
Before he knew it, boulders being rolled from the side of the mountain, towards them. It was obvious she was hurt and Talon could only grit his teeth for now. Swiftly, the horse evaded every huge rock that came from the sides. It was a two-hour ride to the other side of the mountain, 4 hours or more if you climb it to the other side. The route they took was a creak at the mountain. Talon stopped the horse and quickly went down from it and said “Riven, take the reins, I’ll be fine. Just don’t miss me while I’m gone.” He smiled faintly and left.
“Wait, Talon!” She said, but was too late. He was already gone and she had no choice but to follow Irelia.
Meanwhile the so called bandits stopped their schemes and went back to their hiding place. Little did they know that Talon was behind and followed them. They hid within a cave and rested.
“Sir will be furious that we failed.” One of the men said.
“It was that Ionian, she sensed us coming even though we’re highly trained in stealth.” Another one replied.
“We’ll catch them soon. It’s twenty to three. They’re no match, besides I heard Riven was a coward and fled from battle. She’s probably too scared to face the Ionians and was more scared to come back.” A third voice said and laughed.
“What about that other one? He looks awfully familiar.” The first man said.
Suddenly a different voice echoed throughout the cave. “You mean me?” Talon spoke and stared at them, eyes looked almost thirsty for blood.
They were startled. All of them drew their weapons and pointed them at Talon. “You were the third one with that coward Riven! Wait a second. Sir Talon?!”
“Oh so you know me. You’re foolish to tell my name. You’re also foolish to be wearing your uniforms.” Talon drew his blade and pointed it at them.
“You are foolish because there are twenty of us.” Another voice in the room said.
“We’ll see.” Talon unleashed a rain of blades, he disappeared from their sights as well.
“Where did he go?!” They panicked, four of them were already dead.
“Let’s make this easy.” The last words they heard from Talon. One by one, they had no chance and ended up lying on the ground as cold, dead bodies. The last man standing trembled and saw the corpses of his fellow men. Talon was in front of him, blade pointed to his stomach.
“What do you have against us?! We’re going to kill a traitor who left her people and you’re with her? Be loyal to your country!” The last soldier said angrily and tried to fight back, but was worthless.
“Let me tell you something after I slit your throat. She’s been nothing but loyal, capable of throwing away her emotions and her life for Noxus. And; I believe her.” Talon replied coldly and with it, he put his blade on his neck and with a slash, the man fell down, blood gushing out of his neck. His blade was red, the mixed blood from his enemies. Talon was left with minimal wounds and cuts, he also left the place before the ground was filled with a pool of blood. How could he show up like that to Riven and Irelia. “Nobody’s a saint.” He said, and walked to the direction Riven and Irelia headed. The wounds and cuts didn’t bother him, as if they’ve gone numb. While he walked he couldn’t help but think what happened to Riven, he only saw where the arrow pierced her. “What was I thinking?” He groaned in frustration, thinking he shouldn’t have left her.
Riven and Irelia already stopped to rest. Irelia went down her horse and ran to the wounded Riven. “Riven!” She said and helped her down the steed. They sat near a rock and Irelia brought cloth to wrap the wound. “Please stay still. I’m going to pull the arrow out.” Riven didn’t speak and only responded with a nod. Irelia went behind Riven and held onto the arrow, she already groaned when Irelia touched the arrow. Without hesitation, Irelia put great force in taking the arrow out, the sound of her flesh when it was pulled was heard, so was a loud groan from Riven. “I’m sorry.” Irelia apologized.
“Don’t mind me. It’s just an arrow.” Riven said.
“What do you mean? It could have pierced your heart. Did you see the arrow coming?” Irelia, with a look of worry took water from her gourd and poured some to her wound.
The wound stung Riven when the water was poured but it was for the best. She did not complain, and she was also used to things worse than just an arrow to her shoulder. “I saw it…” She muttered, voice was tired.
“Then why didn’t you dodge it?” Irelia slightly tilted her head to the side.
“Because Talon will get hit if I did.” She smiled.
“Hmph, you never cease to amaze me.” Irelia laughed.
“You don’t mind looking for Talon, do you?” Riven asked. “I’ll do the bandages on my own. I know how to care for my wounds.”
“Who know what he did to those bandits—“ Irelia paused when she saw the tip of the arrow. Her faced looked suspicious. “Well, if you insist. I will look for your partner.” She smiled.
“Partner?” Riven asked, a hint of nervousness in her voice.
Irelia didn’t reply but simply laughed once more and went to her horse, leaving Riven behind. Lost in thought she ended up thinking if there are Noxians like Riven. It seemed silly but it felt as though she was the only one like that. While she wondered in her thoughts, she passed by the rocks that fell towards them from earlier and found some sort of pathway that lead her to a higher ground. Her eyes and ears were open for anything, attentive for the bandits from earlier as well. Who knows if they’d come back. She went further up and finally saw Talon, heading the back down. “What happened to you? Nevermind. Hop on.”
“Where’s Riven?” He asked as he went on the horse as told.
“She’s resting. You won’t believe this if I told you.” Irelia smiled.
“What is it, woman?” He frowned and stared down as she spoke.
“It seemed like you have a heroine by your side.” She replied and led the horse back down to the lower part of the mountain.
“I’ll stab you if you don’t stop speaking riddles.” Talon growled.
Irelia sighed. “I meant Riven saved you from that arrow earlier. It seemed like she saw it coming but rather than you, she took the arrow.”
“I see.” Talon said, and tightened his fist.
“Ah, so you understand? You believe me?” Irelia replied as they passed the rocks that fell.
“Of course not. I don’t deserve saving.” He chuckled.