Games In The Shadows (Chapter 1) + bonus poem

Chapter 1: an unexpected encounter Tahm Kench examined the leftovers of his last meal; a dozen plates waited on the top of a thick, rough wooden table. He licked his slimy lips and clicked his fingers. Immediately, a huge number of beggars, slaves and servants stormed into the room, accompanied by countless clinks and crashes as the plates were heaved off the table, only to make room for new ones, which were loaded with dishes of a king's luxury. The serfs politely bowed to their lord before marching off to continue their ardous work somewhere else. The demon made sure that he was alone before heartily chuckling: he knew he'd have the slaves for dinner some day. After all, signing a contract with a figure like him usually didn't do any good, especially if loss of freedom was part of said contract. The river king scanned the rich food on the table, there was a shark stuffed with smaller fish and lobsters swimming in ale. However, he didn't have such a large appetite today; he wanted to take a stroll by the beach and watch the sun go down. In addition, he may find a human there and corrupt him by greed and gluttony. After putting on his stylish top hat, he swaggered out of the house like a gentleman. Luckily, his house (or to be more exact, is victim's house) wasn't a great distance away from the shore and it would take about ten minutes for a fit man to get there. Tahm Kench wasn't exactly quick on his short legs, so by the time he got there the shining sun was replaced by the silver moon. The glutton's legs gave him more problems than just being slow, when he walked, he stumbled a bit. Of course, no one dared mention that to him, since one mistake could mean being pulled into the timeless abyss that is the river king's stomach. Two-coats wasn't alone on the beach though: a young girl aged around eight or nine crouched in the sand. She was a pityful sight, dressed in muddy rags which looked like they've never been washed. Her face was sunken and starved, the bones on her body were easily visible through whatever skin she had left. The girl turned around to face Tahm Kench, staring emptily into the demon's face. "Hello", she mouthed out with her miniscule lips. Tahm Kench raised his hat: "Good evening, young lass" quickly followed by "it is dangerous for a child like you to be out so late, where do you live?". The girl eyed two-coats for a second then gave her reply: "my home is this very earth!". "great", Tahm Kench thought, fools are easy to trick. "Aye, but where are your parents?", he went on. "My parents were devoured by the abomination that is the river king". The answer surely made an impact on the demon, but he decided to use the moment to get out more of the girl's story: "how did that happen?" he asked. " I had a father once, he was a big gambler, mind that. Anyway, the problem was..." the child exhaled with sorrow before continuing her story, "he always lost, soon, he had to pay a lot of debts to the men he borrowed money from. However, he had nothing to pay with, so he resorted to borrowing off someone he named Tahm Kench. The payment was small, but it increased, firstly, it was a fingernail, then the tip of said finger. It increased to the entire finger, then to a hand, an arm and finally... his heart." The girl paused, a tear running down her pale cheek, "then, the river king took my mother. I was little back then. I only heard this story recently from my father's friend." The river king smirked a little, but deep in his heart he felt incredibly sorry for the child. "Well, the local folk do say that I'm a wish giver". A spark of hope and joy ignited the girl's heart, until pure hope was flowing through her veins. It wasn't all finished yet. "So, does that mean you can send me to my parents?", the girl questioned. "Indeed", two-coats replied. "There is only one way.". "I know what it is and I am ready", the girl burst with courage, finally, a peaceful smile lit up on her face: all her problems, sorrows, hunger and thirst were gone, rubber off from her mind for eternity. "Ain't no place I haven't been, ain't no place I can't go again!". And with these words Tahm Kench whipped out his tounge and sent the girl tumbling off into the spirit world. Bonus poem: an ode to Swain: I heard that there was once a land of heroes strong and brave, ruled by a puppeteer's cruel hand, the king was then a slave. A woman with a thousand faces, each one is a lie escaped the mighty clink of maces, indeed, she didn't die. You think you spot her pale face in the middle of the fight, but she is dashing in a race through the murky noxian night. One king and then another, their power did she thieve, but then there was a special man who she could not deceive. He is the one who brought the three and made all noxus free! And when the bright red sun shall set, the silver moon shall wana. Oh let the city be beset with the grateful cries of "Swain!"

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