The Albino Rhino
He was born deathly pale with glowing red eyes, never crying out once at birth. This was the border of the Scything Crag, and being different here inspires fear and invokes superstition. The babe was seen by the village elder, Noxus, as a terrible sign of the Scything Crags’ march south. Despite his parent’s pleas, he was to be cast into the Pyre of the Sinister, a sacrificial altar built to appease Nurzhan. Noxus believed the sacrifice would prevent Nurzhan’s armies from encroaching and their village would be safe from the doom this child brought.
As Noxus lifted the infant over his head above the roaring fire, it was the babes mother who attacked from behind. Sinking her fingers deep into Noxus’ left eye, he let loose the baby. Sprinting, she had made it to the edge of the village before she felt the sharp pinch on thigh. Barbspitter. A weapon so despised the very name made the villagers taste bile. Its poison was infamous; there was no known cure, but it could take days to claim its victim. She turned to see Noxus on one knee, gripping his face with one hand and Barbspitter in the other. Blood streaming through his fingers, she knew he could not make chase. She fled into the Athrandir forest.
It was Ranger Lord Darius Stonefist who happened upon them while on patrol. Stonefist although hard in appearance was a kind man. Darius did not hesitate to end life when necessary, but first worked to preserve it. When Stonefist saw the two laying together on the wet ground, the baby clutched tight to the woman’s chest, it was as though someone had poured salt into his still fresh wounds.
He had seen that same pale skin and loving embrace just two months prior in his beloved wife, Leona. The birth of their son Jax was a joyous occasion, but the days after left Leona weaker and weaker. It was Darius who found his wife in bed, Jax laying in her cold arms; eyes closed, mouth slightly smiling, she cradled their son tight to her chest. It was the day after her burial Stonefist was forced to depart on patrol, leaving Jax in the care of the Rangers.
Stonefist took the babe as a sign from his departed Leona. Although he never spoke of what he perceived the meaning to be, some guessed she sent the child to replace her love, others guessed that she wanted Jax to have a brother. Wrapping it in his cloak, he guarded it fiercely until his patrol ended. When the rangers arrived back to the halls of Endamos Keep, the baby was declared a true son of Ranger Lord Darius Stonefist, and was given his name, Jarvan.
Jarvan and Jax were raised as brothers, and although everyone knew of Jarvan’s past, Jax considered him blood. Jax, like their father, was a true Stonefist. Kind, handsome, charming and a skilled fighter, Jax was effortlessly perfect in Jarvan’s eyes. Jarvan had grown far larger than Jax, but remained just as quick and nimble. He grew his white hair long and let it drape over his face, attempting to hide his deep red eyes. His eyes. They seemed to be the source of so much fear. Most of those who managed to make eye contact with Jarvan held it for mere seconds before darting their eyes away. Standing tall and broad with his head sunk towards his chest, Jarvan would let Jax speak for the both of them.
The boys practiced fighting. Somedays they would fight each other. Somedays they hunted small beasts in the wild, bringing fresh meat to their fathers table. Somedays they fought the sons of those Rangers bold enough to question Jarvan’s right to the name Stonefist. It wasn’t long before the brothers of Endamos Keep were known as skilled brawlers, and if one wanted to confront one of them, they would need to deal with both. When the time came for them to start patrol with the rangers, they welcomed it.
It was shortly after Jarvan’s 22nd year that he would earn infamy across Temir. His patrol had been ambushed by three ogres along the banks of the Kingwater. His patrol scattered and dying, Jarvan stood in battle without his brother Jax for the first time.
The ogres had gathered in formation across a small clearing, slowing encroaching on the few patrol survivors trapped against the raging Kingswater river. Jarvan, knowing there was little hope left, readied himself for death. But his despair quickly turned to rage. How dare they attack a Stonefist? Do they really believe killing a son of Darius would be this easy? Their audacity boiled inside him. He began to run.
He was well into the clearing before the ogres even noticed him. For Jarvan’s size he had built up a tremendous amount of speed, dirt flying from his heels as he tore the ground with every stride. His white hair flew behind him as he sprinted, his red eyes glowing brighter than hottest of embers on the darkest of nights. Just feet from the first ogre Jarvan reached behind his back, and while drawing his greatsword he lept far into the air. Spinning, his sword crashed down in in a magnificent crescent.
The middle of Jarvan’s blade met the first ogre on its right shoulder, cleaving through its chest and exiting at its ribs. The swing followed into the next ogres hip, through its bowels, and wedged on its pelvis. The second ogre fell backwards along with Jarvans blade. Leaping backwards he drew a javelin from his back and threw for the third’s heart. It missed. However the hail of arrows from behind Jarvans back did not. It was enough to soften the swing of the ogre’s club as it crashed into Jarvan. The earth and trees spun and blurred, and then nothing.
What remained of Jarvan’s patrol came roaring out of the woods and into the clearing. Surrounding the ogre, they skewered and stabbed it with their lances and and swords until it collapsed into a bloody mound.
When he awoke in Endamos Keep, he was no longer Jarvan amongst the Rangers. He was given a new name he would grow to both love and hate. A name he would one day use to replace his own. The Albino Rhino.