The term Ascended refers to an order of intelligent anthropomorphic beings of exceptional power, originating from and dedicated to the defense of Shurima, an ancient empire over one thousand years dead. The Ascended were once humans who underwent a transformative ritual that granted them near-immortality and demigod like powers in order to safeguard their nation in its darkest hours.
It is currently unknown how many Ascended ever came to be, with only four among their number being known by name. Despite their small numbers and Shurima's collapse a millennium ago, the Ascended remain among the most powerful beings on Runeterra.
In ancient times the rite of Ascension was a ritual usually decided upon by Sun Priests, who were a clergy of specialized dignitaries devoted to an all powerful sun deity. Using an enormous artifact known as the, the priesthood would decree which noble citizen had selflessly served their empire and granted them the chance to do so even after what would normally be their time to die. Because of this many warriors of the Ascended Host were once, if not common, then at least much more prevalent during this era.
Eventually two brothers namedand underwent the Ritual of Ascension. Described as 'even ancient then' by Nasus, it bathed the brothers in its arcane energies and transformed them and Nasus and Renekton were elevated into legend.
But over time however, the ritual has become less successful as more and more folk being offered it weren't surviving the ceremony, becoming deformed by the process. By the time ofsuch a ritual had not been undertaken for centuries.
- The Fall of Shurima
Approximately a thousand years ago, an adolescent emperor named Azir ruled Shurima. A benevolent and well-meaning ruler ― if overconfident - Azir believed the entire world would benefit from Shurima's culture and way of life. The Imperial Magus,, consulted Azir, and presented to him the prospect of Ascension. With the power of the Ascended driving Shurima's expansion, Xerath said their great nation would further flourish and grow to influence the world at large - a prospect ambitiously seized by the young emperor, despite ancient warnings against Ascension in all but the direst times of need.
The ritual went underway soon after.
Atop of the ritual platform, Azir awaited his Ascension as thecollected the morning sunlight and began focusing it onto him. The allure of power quickly incited dissension within Azir's ranks: Xerath befouled the ritual at a critical stage, shoving his emperor aside and taking the power of Ascension for himself. The outcome would be either immortality or self-destruction. The violent magics obliterated them in an instant and wreaked destruction across Shurima, but when the dust settled, Xerath re-materialized as an aberration - a being of raw arcane energy.
Free of flesh and bone, Xerath held nearly infinite power at his command. In the wake of his actions, Nasus and Renekton sensed something had gone wrong, rushed to the, and confronted Xerath, fearing his careless disregard for life would bring further ruin to Shurima. A terrible struggle ensued, and though they could not destroy the Magus Ascendant, they managed to seal Xerath within an enchanted sarcophagus. It was not a permanent solution, for Xerath's vast power was already tearing away at his confines, so Renekton bore Xerath into the Tomb of the Emperors, and told Nasus to seal the door behind him. Nasus reluctantly complied, and entombed his brother with the madman.
Bereft of its emperor and devastated by Xerath's folly, Shurima collapsed and its empire turned into dust.
- The Intervening Years
With Shurima's collapse, the whereabouts of the Ascended have remained unknown for centuries. The only one known to have been active during all this time was Nasus, who spent years wandering the wastes, hoping to find a way to save Renekton from his imprisonment while also looking for a means to deal with Xerath. Xerath spent that time tormenting Renekton, hoping to twist him in to something that may be of use. The warrior's mind was poisoned by Shurima's bane and was driven to madness, having come to believe it was his brother Nasus who had brought about his torment.
- Rise of the Ascended
In time Shurima's history would become myth, but some were bold enough to explore deeper, to uncover the mysteries of the fallen empire for themselves. When the Noxian noblewoman Du Couteau began her search for the Tomb of the Emperors, she hired the Battle Mistress to be her guide, knowing full well her jeweled crossblade was the key to open the tomb. Upon arriving at their destination, Cassiopeia struck Sivir down, snatching up the weapon and opening the tomb for the first time in centuries. While she was attacked by the tomb's stone guardian for her intrusion, Xerath and Renekton were able to finally leave, and set about on their own individual goals of freedom and fratricide.
Asstumbled away marching to death's door from the wound her Noxian benefactor had given her, her blood sparked an ancient magic within the city, resurrecting Azir. His first thoughts were drawn to Sivir, and he immediately remembered how she could live. Picking her up in his arms he carried her to what remained of the Oasis of the Dawn, and prayed that it was not too late for the pool's healing powers to save her. Sivir's wounds were healed, and this act granted Azir his Ascension. With his newfound power, he raised the ruined Shuriman Capital from the sands.
With thefloating above the city anew, and with the Ascended walking the sands once more, a new era has dawned on Shurima.
Blessed with incredible strength and speed, the Ascended are are virtually immune to pain and their lifespan dramatically increased. However they are not immortal. These transcended beings can bleed, be crippled, or even killed with the right weapon and enough bodies to over power one.
Most resemble anthropomorphic versions of animals and even gain the unique attributes of such creatures. However each individual who rises to Ascension are shaped after who they were when human; those with more resolve would retain a human appearance while others with more of a ferocious nature could become more bestial. Regardless their gifted powers elevated them to demigod status as a result.
- Those Ascended by the Sun Disc of Shurima can live for thousands of years.
- Thus far, each known Ascended has displayed unique abilities the others cannot replicate.
- , who studied the cycle of life and death, has and life .
- , being a guardian and gatekeeper, has largely received but can also use some . The unseething he built up over a millennia of imprisonment with and torture by has turned him even stronger and deadlier.
- , once the emperor of Shurima, can and its ancient soldiers as well as both some of its ancient artifacts as well.
- , Shurima's greatest mage, manipulates a wide degree of together with ways to while entirely lacking a physical body.
- Those who survived a failed Ascension ritual are known as the Baccai, who became physically twisted and malformed as a result.
- The extreme example of Ascended like , lost his physical form entirely, thus becoming of pure Celestial energy.
- In the Short Story Where Icathia Once Stood, God-Warriors (presumably the Ascended) were described as 'an awful blend of human and animal', and 'inhuman monsters that defied belief'.
- Setaka was foremost Warrior Queen of the Ascended Host.