the golden lotus was formed post-noxian invasion. they are a group of highly trained warriors tasked with protecting the elders of ionia and carry out their tasks. they serve as “hands” and “mouths” to the elders, often delivering messages in their stead– in order to reduce the risk of an assassination at the hand of noxian threats. so, if needed, they do tend to serve as ambassadors of sorts, should a situation be too dangerous to risk the life of an elder.
what they really are;
the golden lotus is actually a front to mask their true purpose. they are, in fact, the cabal’s assassins. highly trained criminals whom have been “reformed” (read ‘brainwashed’). they are handpicked from various institutions (such as tuula prison), their murderous impulses curbed and honed to something practical. essentially, they have been broken down as people and remade into killing machines with a new purpose.
This is a commission piece for @masked-outlaw , acting as if she needs to pay me money to have her Jhin creep the fuck out on a poor innocent woman.
In the palace of her stage, you are her most esteemed guest.
It has been ten years since you last looked at her in full. Ten years, withering and molding in Tuula. Ten years, hand-fed a vast expanse of nothing in the face of your calling. Ten years since the day your understudy got rowdy and attempted to upstage you (stopped as he was). Ten years since she ran, because she couldn’t understand – no, refused to understand – that you were her everything. The dove that walks towards you now, then about to kneel on the precipice of the end in the reel of your head, is ten years older and no wiser.
“Maia,” you whisper.
She barely hears you.
Looking you up and down, she offers nothing more than a small greeting. “Hello.”
“I watched your performance,” you say, meeting her gaze. “It was wonderful.”
“I would imagine everyone behind the set did,” she says, sounding distant. “Are you an agent? Don’t accost me before I even have a chance to get changed, please.”
“No, not an agent,” you clarify, still studying her eyes. Jade, just as you remember. It’s always so striking when left against the brightness of her skin and the darkness of her hair. “An admirer. But I’ll wait for you.”
“Okay.” She leaves and turns past the curtain. You doubt she’ll come out at the same angle, but use the time to look around. Dancers and musicians pass you without much notice, maybe thinking you a stage-hand. It isn’t as if your knuckles and fingers aren’t callused with some sort of work, but you wouldn’t ever bother with that rabble: not anymore. So you stand and you wait.
“The murderer is in my province, you say? How have we not sent him back to Tuula yet?” the Lady asks, tension tying the cords of her throat in knots. She avoids biting her lip, fer for her own lives and the lives of her constituents evident. The shinobi sworn to her salute her, their trembling evident beneath their light armor.
They had already seen one body.
“It isn’t that simple, my Lady,” the shinobi says, voice wavering in his defiance of her terse words. “There are actually people who would imitate the real killer, those who would want to be like him… we have detained one man who raised our suspicions most… he has not spoken a word but your name.”
Karma interrupts him with a hand raised. Her eyes widen for a second, and she swallows a limp in her throat. “Does this criminal really think speaking to me will solve anything?” She receives naught but a shrug. “Perhaps he will only speak to me. If anything, it is another criminal removed from my streets. Let me don the mantle. I would let he who dares disrupt my peace know the flames in which he stirs.”
Karma dons a mantle of gold and jade, glittering within the sunlight of the day. The prison of her province looms, a dark stain on a bright scene. She has chosen to ascent the steps in a getup accompanied by armored sabatons and small pauldrons holding her mantle to her body. She tucks a stray hair behind her ear as her eyes light themselves with a combination of fury and determination. The great doors open and close for her and her guard, and she descends into the darkness of the dungeon, any hint of the bright day forgotten in this god-forsaken place.
A flame is lit in her palm, guiding her through to a small cell, enclosed completely for interrogation. The guard stands at the door as she walks in. The prisoner is held, battered and beaten with a sack covering his face. He stays still as the Duchess strides in towards him. The fury builds inside her, fuming over the fact that any man would dare harm one of her people. Her lips curl into a snarl as she rips the burlap from the man’s head. Before her sits a man burned and bruised, looking up at her as if he’d seen an old friend.
Karma pauses as she carefully examines the man, noting the all-too-familiar jaw, his good eye holding a tone she had only seen once before in her life. Her heart flings her into the past, where stage lights and orchestral music cloud her eyes and ears. She remembers the rose in her hand, the twinkle of the lead actors smile as he takes his final bow.
She remembers the nights spent climbing down the trellis below her window, stealing away to meet with almost kisses and gentle caresses, a wily man who stole her heart and took it across the seas.
My heart is with you now. I pray you return it to me one day.
Tears well up in her eyes as she realizes that man is this one before her, and she raises a hand to slap him across the face.