Bard heard Lulu’s screams followed by a fight and monstrous cries, without hesitation, he rushed to her aid. He warped through his portal to observe the scene from a tree branch where he perched. Hooves underneath him signalled Hecarim’s arrival. Bard saw him come to a halt at the edge of the treeline of the clearing with a sickened look cast upon his face. They were too late.
Thundering footfalls announced the arrival of Maokai and Ivern, both treemen stood over Lulu’s lifeless body. Her distraught fairy flew to land on Ivern’s outstretched hand.
“I am your friend” he consoled. Maokai tenderly plucking the body from the undergrowth.
“To the soil … my sapling” he croaked as he carefully guided Lulu’s lifeless body into a soft bed of welcoming vines with Ivern placing the mourning fairy with the yordle’s body to grieve. Hecarim snatched an abnormally large petal from the brush, and looked at Bard, knowingly.
“Death Blossom weeds!” he roared.
The screams of LeBlanc echoed, splitting the silence and sorrow, their heads snapping to the outcry’s direction. Hecarim and Bard glanced at Maokai and Ivern. “Ride out!” Hecarim yelled.
They broke into a full pelt run, toward the source of the shriek. Prehistoric roars and screeches were heard as they drew closer.
Elise licked her lips in delight at LeBlanc, staring down with a fist full of her captive’s frons, drunk on the power. Kha’zix and Aatrox pinned her arms, while Cho’gath and Kog’Maw gnawed on each ankle. Their weight crumpling Lebanc’s fragile wings.
“There’s nothing to fear. It will all be over soon” Elise hissed, as she broke off LeBlanc’s frons and she threw her head back into maniacal laughter. LeBlanc relaxed, sensing Hecarim’s approach.
“Time to make an appearance” she muttered as she glared and gasped at Kog’Maw momentarily, who bit deeper. She then shifted her gaze to Elise.
“Watch closely” She taunted, with a smirk and a wink.
Elise’s delight was immediately replaced by uncertainty as she raised her hand silencing her minions. The sound of Hecarim’s hooves finally reached her ears, like a booming war drum, emanating from her left. She also sensed an approach from the right. She swivelled around and cocked her head, certain the trees had just moved. Straight ahead of her, Bard’s mystic face appeared, perched high in the trees.
“Weak-willed fools!” Elise screeched, livid that they were surrounded.
She scowled down at LeBlanc with furious wide eyes only to just glimpse her captive slowly hazing from existence, blowing her a sultry kiss as she went. Leblanc reappeared at the treeline. Her ankle buckled slightly from the wounds that Kog’Maw had inflicted, his acid eating into her bark. Hecarim arrived in time to catch her in his arms.
“Classic misdirection” LeBlanc called out as Elise wildly surveyed for where she had reappeared. Elise’s gaze finally fell on the Elderwood black rose, she beared her teeth in rage with her fanged mandible dropping in furious awe. LeBlanc just gave her a seductive wave. “Surprised to see me?” she sneered.
Elise screeched orders in an incomprehensible language to her death blossom minions, who let out primitively terrifying cries and roars, before they leapt into battle.
Kha’zix scanned the enemy, his petals vibrating as though sensing the air, “I sense worthy prey” he declared, lunging at Hecarim.
Bard jumped from his perch, chiming into action as he attacked Aatrox with a missile of energy. Aatrox shifted slightly allowing the raw cosmic energy to barrel past.
“Carnage, my last joy” he contended, with his sword raised to the ready.
Cho’Gath turned to Ivern and let out a bloodcurdling roar.
“You are such…. A …. A hideous creature!” he spat, “You shall not escape”.
Watering at the mouth, Kog’maw caught Maokai’s attention, the dripping acid from his snarling jaw burnt into the woodland floor.
“Time to feast” he gurgled, as he belched acid at the tree-man. Hissing and fizzling, acid ate into his bark as he stood fast.
“You forgot your roots blossom!” Maokai bellowed, charging at the beast.
The two women circled each other, LeBlanc trying her distance.
“Come closer, I don’t bite” Elise teased before she skittered forward.
Heavy blows were traded as the battle endured, between weapon and claw, blade and teeth, bark and thorn, each sustaining devastating bombardment.
Cho’gath was the first fatality, shuddering under Ivern’s entish foot. The creature’s once exquisite petals were bruised and wilted.
Pinned by Hecarim’s hooves Kha’zix squirmed. Hecarim swung his axe which bit deep into Kha’zix’s chest, causing it to lie still. Its radiant foliage started to brown.
“Begone, vile spirit!” Maokai roared launching a summoned cluster of brambles at Kog’Maw, who was crushed into the ground. The creature gurgled and sputtered, as it struggled against its confines, only to have the brambles tighten with each wheezing breath. The monster’s thrashing physical form perished, its beautiful petals blemished with bruises.
“The woods…” Maokai gasped, his life slowly faded, as the acid liquefied his main trunk.
The area around Aatrox lit up, as Bard sent spirit energy arching to where he stood, chiming as Aatrox succumbed to a momentary stasis. Bard played a tune, seizing his opportunity, he called forth a monumental amount of cosmic energy unleashing it on his captive.
“You think you can kill me?” Aatrox yelled arrogantly, having just been released from stasis, he endured the full force of the blow. Petals and foliage exploded in all directions, his thorny blade being all that remained, landing where he’d stood.
A brilliant pulse of magic prowess from Leblanc snuffed out the writhing Elise.
“I know the true path. There’s nothing to fear” she said softly as she expired, an evil smile smeared across her face.
Her pointy arachnid legs curled inward towards her carapace as her lower foliage blackened. The earth engulfed her body up to the petals lining her neck. The petals around her neck flourished and curled up, as her head mummified, shrinking into the centre of a brazen bud. The party gawped at it, intrigued by the green glowing of the flower bud, as Ivern approached it.
“At least some good came from her” he reflected. “Though some buds need a little push to blossom” He advised, brushing the bud’s tip. As if on que the bud’s glowing petals gracefully floated out. Ivern took a step back as the flower came into full bloom. In the centre, curled up on the stamen was a lamb-like death blossom.
Ivern picked up the masked bundle infant, which grew at an exponential rate in his arms. He eyed the group quizzically as Hecarim brought his hind end around, Ivern lifted the now fully grown masked figure onto his back. Ivern left as the others surveyed Maokai’s sizzling remains. “Malice is afoot! Do not linger here” he muttered.
The slain blossom creatures decayed before them, wafting a dank rotting leaf smell momentarily before each flower-creature disintegrating to dust, which blew away on non-existent winds.
The rest of the gang departed the clearing, Hecarim came to a halt and turned after hearing Bard crash to the ground. They turned to see a wolf-mask form hovering over him. It cast an eerie glow over Bard’s twitching body as he silently reached out for help. The wolf, formed of petals and thorns, seemed to be sucking a yellow glowing wisp from Bard’s torso. His limbs fell lifeless by his sides, his leafy beard detached drifting to the dirt in abscission.
The similarity of the two newly discovered deadly blossom-beings was unmistakable. A crunch of twigs brought a fully grown lamb-blossom to the groups’ attention. The creature reached out to them with delicate petals.
“Stand firm …. Or flee” it said in a ghostly, little girl’s voice. “Though he would prefer you choose the latter” she divulged, head tilting towards the wolf.
“Go easily” she suggested, welcoming open arms still held out.
A harsh, rasping voice spat “NO! Thrash! Flee!”
The wolf-blossom silhouette lunged at Leblanc, who teleported, as its green glowing body streamed into Hecarim. He reared, dropping the masked creature off his back, which gently slid down his leafy tail landing gracefully. Hecarim bolted deep into the woods, LeBlanc in toe, as fast as she could follow on foot.
“They race from us!” the canine-blossom exclaimed, its voice deep and foreboding. “Only to find us sooner” the childlike lamb reassured. The death blossom child-lamb and wolf-figure turned to Ivern.
“We know your name” the rasped voice stated. “We have always known it” the girl’s voice cooed. “Your time has come”, they chorused. Ivern fell to his knees “The end of life is filled with life, hello dear Kindred” he whispered as he was embraced by the lamb’s reaching touch. Ivern’s bulk crashed down, felling nearby trees as his ebbing forest green life-force entered the Lamb’s palm.
The Blossom-Kindred look in the direction of the fled in unison. The wolf turned to the lamb,
“Mine?” he begged. “Ours” she responded. They launched into the chase….