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For those who brave the harsh seas of Runeterra, attaining one's own ship and crew is the pinnacle of success.
Sarah Fortune, a well-respected (some would say legendary) bounty hunter from Bilgewater, was able to achieve this feat just after her sixteenth birthday, etching out her name as the go-to gal for resolving special troubles.
No bounty was too difficult or too dangerous for her feminine charm and her renowned use of her twin pistols, 'Shock' and 'Awe'. Her success gave her the means to legitimately purchase her own ship - with a little flirtatious haggling, of course.
Things weren't always so fortunate for Miss Fortune, though. When she was young, trade ships began to dot the horizon of her quiet home along the northern shores of the Blue Flame Islands' largest chunk. Trade routes brought piracy, and the inhabitants soon found themselves caught in a frenzy of pillage.
One day, young Sarah returned home to hear gunshots and screaming. Her front door was smashed open; inside, she saw her mother lying in a pool of blood. A sudden blow to her head made her collapse next to her slain mother. The last thing she could remember were her attacker's red eyes, as his face was blocked by a rogue's bandanna.
Miss Fortune has a strong distrust for pirates and she finds herself constantly bickering with the infamous Gangplank (the only captain to resist her charms) over the direction of Bilgewater politics. Her two goals: to unite the people of Bilgewater, making them into a strong and independent society, and to find the pirate who killed her mother.
- 31 August, 20 CLE
Miss Fortune spills into the Great Hallway with the same tenacity that she spills into her silk blouse, both taxed to contain her. She is cramped inside any structure not bobbing across the salt ocean. Her eyes pan across the recessed ceiling's filigree with disdain, the toil of Valoran's finest artisans a pitiful substitute for the night sky's celestial collage. The disapproving shake of her head would be imperceptible, if not exaggerated by the wag of her ornamented tricorne, the defining accessory of a captain. An avalanche of cherry locks tumbles from the hat, engulfing her shoulders in scarlet waves. Her every feature seduces attention, a weapon as – or perhaps more – potent than the enormous gilded muskets clinging to her hips.
She bounds across the tiles. The impact of every footfall ripples up the curves of her figure; the distraction of her beauty magnified in motion. One can practically see the hearts of those who've beheld her trailing in her wake.
An inscription looms overhead: The truest opponent lies within.
The corner of her lips twitch, almost a smile. With uncanny grace, she plucks a musket from its holster, twirls it once round her finger and brings it to rest with the word 'opponent' in its crosshair. Her lips mouth a silent pop, and the firearm is re-holstered. She dawdles no longer.
Hands on her hips, Miss Fortune tapped her foot impatiently in the dark. This was a juvenile tactic. If the League resorted to gimmicks like black smoke for its trials, perhaps she never should have made landfall. Her foot sank mid-thought. She intended to recoil, but a familiar sensation pressed her on all sides.
She didn't hear herself cry, but she watched bubbles carry the sound away. Water? She flailed, her limbs searching for something solid. Yards above, she saw the surface's dancing prism of light. She paddled furiously, but the light remained distant - something was wrong. More bubbles. The skin of her leg crawled, begging attention. Precious air waning, she risked a glance and found the problem. Rooted seaweed clutched her ankle tightly, apparently aware of its catch. She tore at it, but its slimy grip would not relent. Out of time, Sarah Fortune watched the last bubbles drift merrily upward, growing smaller and smaller, until salt stung her lungs. She felt strangely peaceful when her vision faded.
I'm on my way, Mom.
Sarah's sides wrenched in misery. A torrent poured from her mouth. Expecting entrails, she pried her eyes open. She grasped for focus; the escaping deluge lacked the visceral color she'd expected. Blurry vines framing her field of vision coalesced into defeated strands of hair, dangling limply around her face. Her hands dug into the sand. Her mind filled the gaps: she was kneeling on the beach and the puddle in front of her consisted of frothy seawater, as opposed to innards. Her lungs, battling her stomach, forced an inhale before the next heave.
"A sure ugly sight ye be fer a young wench. Thought yeh might be shark bait fer a turn."
A sputter of briny droplets was the best retort Sarah could articulate. Her eyes locked on the source, a garish boy, and she fell backward. His onyx hair and leering grin were unmistakable, but he was too young.
"Ye be a lucky one. I was huntin' fer mermaids. Fancy me letdown when I spied yer kickers."
Her breath found rhythm. "They don't disappoint many."
"They got some shape to be sure, but I seen better."
Sarah stumbled to her feet, wet clothes matted to her body. "There are none better."
The boy chortled. "So what be the reward fer fishin ye from the drink?"
"A fine thanks I'll wager, but no reward I assure ye." He pointed at her head. "How bout 'at?"
She touched her hair, and her fingers grasped a smooth object. She extracted a pearlescent comb, fashioned from a conch. Mother's comb? She examined it dubiously; an epiphany clawed at the back of her mind. She opened her mouth, but before she could speak, the boy closed the distance and stole a lingering kiss. Her nagging subconscious burst, realization surging forth.
This beach, this boy... the day her mother died.
She'd wandered from her house, drenched in her mother's blood. Wading into the surf, she was vaguely aware of the crimson wisps stretching from her garments. She dipped below the surface and screamed, attempting to shock her mind back to rationality. Beneath the waves, her tears either joined or comprised the ocean around her, she couldn't tell.
That day, the boy was waiting on the banks. Under other circumstances, she'd have wondered how long he had been there; she may have even blushed. But she only stared, too exhausted to ponder his presence. His mouth moved, but her ears denied the sound. Then he joined her amongst the waves and kissed her, a confounding loop added to the dizzying course of her emotions.
He pulled away with her mother's comb in hand, cackling. One day he'd make a ruthless pirate. Prize in tow, he sauntered off, jack boots stamping the sand. He turned once, comb held high, and bellowed, "Come an' get it!" He then laughed, disappearing beneath black sails which dotted the distant shoreline.
Strangely inspired, Sarah welled with new found purpose. Once she'd buried her mother, and burned her house to the ground, she would enjoy getting her comb back.
As the memory receded, Miss Fortune jerked away from the boy's embrace.
"Who are you?!"
"Why do you want to join the League, Miss Fortune?" The seadog timbre was gone.
"Why do you want to join the League?"
"I... for power and plunder." She doubted her own words.
"Why do you want to join the League?" Frost bit every syllable.
Crashing waves filled the silence.
"I need to find him."
"How does it feel, exposing your mind?"
Miss Fortune let his inquiry hang in the air. Drowned and drained, questions brimming, she felt somehow revitalized.
Light filled her view, and the hallway beckoned. The marble doors behind her offered retreat. She laughed at the thought. No matter what, Miss Fortune always gets her man.
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