Well! Here’s the thing I’ve been trying to write since October. Very special thanks to @kirbychan234 who helped me write it, both in indulging me when the idea came to me, and then in the actual process itself. Thank you so much! Thanks to @providentially-demonic for proof-reading it for me too!
“Gosh, this place sure is ominous, isn’t it?” Vivi asked, stars
in her eyes as she stepped over one of the ash-black tree roots. The tree
leaves were all a dull yellow to orangey-red, though it was difficult to see in
the dimming light of the evening. “Like Halloween isn’t over, and the
woods are still celebrating!”
Mystery chuckled as he padded at her side, the corner of his
jowls curling up into a wry smile. Arthur rolled his eyes and pointed his
flashlight towards her. “Don’t remind me, Vi.”
Her response was to stick out her tongue. “Hey, you were the one
who asked to come here. Might as well enjoy the creepy factor!”
Warning: This fic contains content of harassment and rape, DO NOT READ if you are sensitive to this kind of content. Also contains mild language
Why are nightclubs considered fun? I wonder as I snake through the crowds of drunks, wannabe thugs and girls in such short dresses they may as well be naked. The beat of the techno music throbs in my head and the air stenches of alcohol, sweat and vomit. Or maybe blood. Honestly, it could easily be both.
After a strenuous and difficult journey across the wild plains of the dancefloor, I collapse onto a stool at the drinking hole - aka the bar. I order a shot and look around at the people here. Although they’re all different in appearance, they’re all here for the same reason; they’re all desperately single and hoping to find someone they have some kind of compatibility with tonight. I can’t say much, that’s pretty much why I’m here. I’m also here because my best friend dragged me along.
Speaking of which, where is she? I scan the dancefloor, the bar, the lounge but she’s nowhere to be seen. Probably exchanging saliva with a random stranger, downing too many shots and seeking out a victim to take home tonight. She’s good at being single, in a way. Unlike me, who has to be forced out of my apartment to a club and when I’m here I just sit by the bar alone until Y/F/N turns up or I assume she’s left with someone, and then I leave shortly afterwards.
Staring down at the three empty shot glasses in front of me, I feel like someone is watching me. Sure enough when I look across the bar there’s a pair of eyes focused directly on me. He’s youngish, has black hair and is wearing the “playa smirk”. I notice something shining on his lip and see a small stud on either side of his mouth, kinda like snakebites. He winks at me before turning back to the skinny blonde next to him, who appears to be hanging onto his every word. Poor girl.
In a strange way, I almost feel jealous. In a strange way, I want him to come over to me and flirt with me, put his hand on my back and smirk at me again. Not that I’d go home with him if he did, but an offer would be nice.
With a sigh, I turn back to the bartender and get served straightaway despite the obvious queue waiting - thank the Lord for boobs!
Four in the morning isn’t the ideal time to stagger home, especially when drunk, but I can only blame my own stupidity for staying out so long. Even though I knew Y/F/N had long left I still stayed at the club, clinging onto the hope that someone might approach me. No luck, and I’m not surprised.
Even though the streets are well lit and I’ve chosen the safest route home despite my current state, I still hate walking home like this alone. But I’m just paranoid. Right?
As I’m hobbling along in these Godforsaken shoes, I hear footsteps behind me. I don’t dare to turn and see who it is, and I’m suddenly wishing more than ever that I wore flats out tonight instead of four inch heels. I try and quicken my pace but as I do the steps behind me quicken too. My mind is racing and I’m praying it’s just a harmless old lady out for a 4am stroll.
I turn, regretfully, into a smaller street. It’s still lit up and would seem safe enough if there wasn’t someone following me but it’s the only way home so I have to go down it. The steps sound like they’re about to trip my heels up now, but as I’m about to spin round the figure grabs me around my middle and a hand swiftly covers my mouth, hard. There’s no point trying to yell for help; even if my mouth wasn’t covered who would be here to help? The birds nesting in the trees around us?
I struggle and kick and bite and lash out with all my strength, but it’s no use. The figure is too strong. Adrenaline pumps through my veins and I manage to rip their hood down to reveal the man from the club. The one staring at me all night. The one with the snakebites. I claw at his face, a weak attempt at escape but it’s all I can do. He grips my wrist and wrenches it away from his face as he wrestles me to the floor effortlessly, and I feel my dress become shorter and shorter as his hand travels further and further up my thigh.
Suddenly I hear someone yelling and running in our direction. Thank God. The man is roughly and easily pulled off of me, as if he weighs nothing. His attacker punches him mercilessly in the side, fist colliding with his gut until he’s groaning. Despite his attempts to fight back he falls to the ground and I’m sure I hear him whimpering as he clutches his head. I crawl away from the fight, if it can be called that. The other man kicks him in the side and delivers one final blow to his face, and his head falls back. I can see the bruises already forming around his eye and there’s an alarming amount of blood around his lip where his piercing was partly ripped through the skin.
“Are you alright?” The other man makes his way over to me and holds out his hand. I grip onto it and shakily stand on my feet, nodding. “Monsters these people. Should all be locked up,” he spits, his tone harsh. But when he turns to me and I see his eyes, I see the concern and the kindness in them.
I don’t realise I’m crying until he brushes away the tears with his thumb, hushing me like I’m a baby. I stare at the monster on the floor wide-eyed.
“Is he dead?” I whisper, still clutching his hand tightly.
He smirks. “Unfortunately not. He’s just unconscious. However tempting it was to pummel him to death,” he adds grimly. Concern washes over his face. “Look, you’ve had a long night and a frightening experience. I’m glad I was walking along here, or God knows what would’ve happened…” he trails off and hands me his jacket. I refuse to take it but he wraps it around my shoulders anyway. “I’m walking you home,” he announces.
“No it-it’s alright, you’ve already done so much,” I stutter, but he won’t take no for an answer.
“I’m walking you home,” he repeats, “No ifs, ands or buts.” I cave and give him my address. Normally I’d be apprehensive about giving a stranger my address, but he saved me from being raped and there’s a very trustworthy element about him. And besides, all I want to do right now is take off my shoes, collapse into bed and try and forget everything that’s happened tonight.
He escorts me home in silence, only speaking to check which way to home. He walks slowly so I can keep up in my ridiculous heels. I am never wearing these again. I am never going to a bar again. I am never going out at night again. I debate whether I should tell Y/F/N or not, since the first thing I’ll hear is guilt and “I’m never going to forgive myself! I should never have left you alone…”. I’m not sure if I can face that. But I have to talk to someone about it, and who better than my best friend?
Once we arrive on the front step of my apartment, once I feel somewhat safe again, I take a good look at the man. He’s got dark hair, probably brown although it looks almost purple in the silvery light of the early morning. His eyes have lost their angry, sharp glare that I first saw and are two dark orbs looking straight at me with concern and kindness. Something reflects off his mouth from the yellow street light and I see a silver ring glimmering on his plump bottom lip. He’s of slender build, but still athletic. Pretty handsome, if I’m honest.
He holds out a hand to me. Damn his hand is beautiful, long fingers and shaped so perfectly I question whether it’s even real. But why is he holding his hand out to me? Does he want to shake my hand now? Confused I put my hand in his and he laughs.
“Your phone,” he giggles.
“Oh.” My cheeks burn and I drop his hand like it’s a hot-stone, scrambling in my clutch for my phone which, considering the way my luck’s gone tonight, I miraculously haven’t lost. I hand it over to him and he taps something into it.
“My number,” he says, placing the phone back into my palm but not withdrawing his hand. “Let me know you’re okay.” I nod, suddenly feeling too tired to think straight.
“Thank you…for everything,” I whisper. I don’t even know his name but he saved me from God knows what tonight. I shudder at the thought of what would’ve happened if he hadn’t have found me. He releases my hand and brushes my cheek. What is he doing?
It takes me a second to realise he’s brushing away tears. “It’s okay. You’re okay.” I nod and he smiles. Ugh, his smile is so sweet. “Now go inside and get some sleep.” I nod again. Who am I, Noddy?
I begin to shrug his jacket off my shoulders, but he shakes his head. “Keep it,” he smiles again, eyes staring straight into mine. I smile back, and slot my key into the door I’ve been leaning on for five minutes. I turn the key in the lock and the door clicks open. I step inside, and turn around to thank him again but he’s already walking back up the street. The lightening sky creates a silver silhouette around him as he paces back to wherever his home is. As he’s about to round the corner, he turns to me and in the shadow of his face his lip ring glints at me, catching the light as the sun begins to creep out. Then he’s out of sight. I mouth thank you, to no one in particular, and look up at the ombre of colours painting themselves in the sky. Dark greys and purples in the far West, whilst pink and yellows spread through the clouds opposite. I breathe in the chilly air and step back, closing the door behind me.
Staggering into my bedroom, I fall onto the edge of my bed and claw these ridiculous shoes off my feet and glance at myself in the mirror opposite me. I look a mess; raccoon eyes where my makeup has smudged, hair looking like I’ve been dragged backwards through a bush and, even though the light in the room is grey, I can tell I’m paler than I usually am. I wonder what he thought of me? I probably didn’t make a good impression on him. What is his name? I fumble around for my phone and go into my contacts, looking for a name that wasn’t there before. “Baekhyun,” I mutter as I see his name and number on the screen. Baekhyun is the man who saved me. Baekhyun is the man I will forever be grateful to.
I’m too tired to change, so I crawl underneath the bed covers and drag Baekhyun’s jacket under with me. Although leather, it’s incredibly soft. I lean my head on it and breathe in the scent. Obviously it smells leathery, but beyond that there’s an unfamiliar smell which I assume is Baekhyun’s scent. I fall asleep inhaling this new comforting smell, falling in love with it instantly.
Late 2013, we gave a super early preview of an eastern-inspired, serpentine storm dragon named Ao Shin that was in the first phases of champion creation. Then, in the two years that passed (aside from a few comments in low-key conversations) we went silent. Totally a mistake on our part, and the mystery around this dragon has only increased over time. We’ve seen the question of “Ao Shin where?” pop up all over the place, including being one of the most asked questions in our recently hosted preseason Q&A in China.
Now that 2016 is upon us and production schedules are being finalized for early this year, we finally have an update: the dragon that we previewed in 2013 has evolved tremendously over time. As such, we will not be releasing the champion that you know as Ao Shin, but in the first half of this year we will be releasing a dragon champion. His name is (tentatively) Aurelion Sol.
We can’t say much more about Aurelion Sol, but we did want to share some of the challenges we faced and lessons we learned. While the major news is out of the bag, you can still read on if you want hear how the dragon formerly known as Ao Shin evolved over the course of two years.
First: Ao Shin’s kit just didn’t pass muster. This is a pretty common problem we run into in the initial stage of champion creation, and while sometimes we can adjust on the fly (a useable ‘paper kit’ might have two or three core abilities that make things click), other times we need to shelve the entire concept and take a step back. Internally, we call this ‘ice boxing’ a champion until we can revisit with a fresh perspective.
Second: delivering on the unique shape of a serpentine dragon’s body - long and powerful - in a game where instantaneous turning is key presents some unique technical challenges. Given enough time, we were confident we could solve the turning problem, but because Ao Shin’s abilities weren’t coming together we were reluctant to commit to engineering work that might just end up scrapped.
Finally - and this was the big one - we committed too early to Ao Shin’s premise without really developing his thematic roots. Around the time we announced Ao Shin, we were in the process of slowing down our champion pipeline to figure out how to continue delivering resonant characters that feel unique to the League universe. We learned a lot during this time (still learning!) and when we examined Ao Shin with these new lessons - Why was he in Runeterra? What were his motivations? - we unearthed a fresh thematic that really set us off running.
So in the end, while we’re sorry to have hyped up the idea of a serpentine, storm-wielding dragon for so long, we’re still very excited to deliver a dragon champion this year that we hope you’ll love. Aurelion Sol’s got some big shoes (claws?) to fill, but we still like surprises so stay tuned - any of our next few champions could be him!
everything about fenris’ armour is just amazing, the black and green tunic, clawed gauntlets, open shoes and everything else make it into what i would consider the best looking armour in the series. I think all fenris could do with would be a few piercings and he’d be perfect