- 31 May, 21 CLE
The workshop is a disaster. Parts lay haphazardly among the fabrication equipment. Mystical substances and materials are strewn everywhere. Plates of half-eaten food grow mold in the corners.
If there were mirrors, Corin would probably be frightened by his own reflection. Disheveled, wild-eyed, and manic, he puts what appear to be the finishing touches on his creation. It is beautiful and intricate, a facsimile of a girl in elegant clockwork.
All that remains is to give it life. However, the enchantment of an Infinity Gear is purely theoretical. Corin is the first to come this close to making it a reality. He gently removes the Gear from the catalyst fluid. It pulses with energy. He smiles a too-wide smile as he places it inside of his creation. The reaction is immediate.
The gears inside the clockwork girl begin to turn, slowly at first. His creation begins to jerk, as life floods to every end of every limb. It is like watching a death spasm in reverse.
Corin clutches a picture of a pretty young girl to his chest as he watches, tears in his eyes.
The clockwork girl was not the first created being to have entered the halls of the Institute of War. The Great Steam Golem had done so years before. However, there was something noble about Blitzcrank, something alive in the way he moved and expressed himself.
This thing seemed dead inside. It seemed like an automaton, trying to act like as if it was alive. The effect was unsettling.
Senior Summoner Montrose appraised the thing that had introduced itself as Orianna. She reached behind her back, unnaturally flexible, and wound the giant key in her back. It's not that she didn't have facial expressions - they were just wrong. There was something in everything she did that was just a little bit off, off enough to be just this side of completely alien.
Then there was The Ball. One might assume that it was her pet, but the relationship was deeper than that. It was as if the two were symbiotically linked. The Ball was just that - a floating ball, equal parts clockwork and some kind of electrical techmaturgy. From time to time, a strange eye on a stalk would emerge from within the sphere, examining the surroundings.
"I wish to be a champion. It will be fun", said Orianna, in a voice that was some approximation of human.
Summoner Carin looked at Senior Summoner Montrose. "Is this even going to work?"
Orianna's body turned, while her head stayed riveted on them. "Of course it will work. I will be a good champion."
Montrose responded. "Orianna, in order to admit you into the League of Legends, we must explore your mind. We are wondering if you have the kind of mind we can explore."
Back in the right orientation, the clockwork girl's skirt began to tick. "My father says yes. I have a mind. Do so. If The Ball is okay with it." The Ball chimes and clicks, but makes no hostile move.
There was a rush of what felt like wind, and then darkness, and then light. There was a young girl dressed like a ballerina. She danced in front of an audience. She was quite gifted. However, this memory was muted, disconnected emotionally.
Colors blur. The Institute of War comes back into focus.
"Orianna, are those your memories?" asked Senior Summoner Montrose.
The clockwork girl laughed. It wasn't playful. It was cold and mechanical. "Those are Orianna's memories. I am Orianna. My father says so."
The younger summoner looked to Montrose for his cue. His composure unshaken, he nodded his head. "Then we'll try again."
Shadows, lights, colors. Someone had constructed what appeared to be a lane from Summoner's Rift. The young girl was much older now, and quite agile. She seemed to be training as a champion. There was a tower and it appeared to be fully armed.
The one-eyed trainer coaxed her on with a gruff voice. "Come on, Orianna. Time to learn how to tower dive. I've goosed the power down, but it'll hurt if you get hit."
The girl smiled naïvely. She readied herself, the picture of agility and poise. She began the run as the tower fired bolts at her. It was immediately clear that something was wrong. The blasts from the tower did not seem benign, as they chewed up the ground around her. Her natural grace kept her one step ahead, for the moment, as they began to come more and more frequently. The trainer mashed his controls, trying desperately to turn it off, yelling at her the whole time. However, Orianna was too engrossed in her exercise to notice.
The first blast took her off her feet, knocking her into the ground. Winded, she attempted to get up. The second blast wasn't far behind. She tried weakly to get up, blood trickling from the corners of her mouth. After the third, she didn't get up.
Colors blur. The Institute of War came back into focus.
"Yes, I died", offered Orianna.
Carin, ever the one for formality, replied. "We have entered your mind, Orianna. How did this make you feel?"
The clockwork girl giggled in an inhuman way. "It was fun. I like memories. Don't you?"
Senior Summoner Montrose cleared his throat. "Why do you want to be a part of the League of Legends?"
"Because it is what I have always wanted. Because my father designed me to do so. Because The Ball is impatient to play on the Fields of Justice." As if in answer, she turned to pet The Ball, which began to crackle with energy.
Montrose continued. "And you understand the conditions of such admission?"
"Yes", replied Orianna. "I will play by the rules of your Institute. I will be a good girl."
The Ball whirred and clicked. Orianna added, "And The Ball will, too. Be a good ball, that is."
Clearly uneasy by the experience, Summoner Carin remained silent. Senior Summoner Montrose, however unsettled himself, maintained his air of authority. "Then you shall be a Champion, clockwork girl. The arrangements will be made."
Orianna made a sound that was supposed to be a girl's squeal of glee and hugged The Ball. While it might have been touching, it was unfortunately only horrifying.
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