Shurima Desert is an arid territory in the southern half of Valoran.
A thousand years ago, the glorious empire of Shurima shone like a second sun across the desert. After a flawed Ascension ritual, the gleaming capital city was reduced to ruins. Now the region, known for its hot climate where many have been known to go mad beneath the glare of the Shurima sun, has become nothing more than desert. Besides humans, Armordillos are one of the few known creatures that are capable of surviving on its difficult terrain.
Shurima was once a great and mighty civilization. The denizens of the empire skillfully crafted enormous sandstone walls and statues that rose from the floor to the ceiling. The regal figures clasped scepters to their chests, and their eyes, plated in gold, would gaze eternally down upon those below them. The empires's most renowned structures were the Temple of the Falcon, where all the mages of Shurima practiced their craft and the Sun Disc, towering above the capital city and a source of the Empires power. Young magicians would spar beneath their Magic ancestors. They threw fire and ice and twisted magic into the shapes of blades, honing the arcane into weaponry. Such was the charge of mages: the greatest masters of magic would stand victorious over Shurima's conquered foes. For their lessons, the mages were taught that magic was chaotic, and without a mage's guiding hand, the arcane would bring destruction to everything around them.
The current inhabitants of Shurima's desert are mainly descended from the survivors of the fall of Shurima's empire. The origin of their culture reaches back to Azir's time, but has evolved as they eke out an existence in their harsh environment . For centuries they have given birth to many Seers who were blessed with the gift of foresight. Currently, the Seer that is said to have the most power and potential is Malzahar, the Prophet of the Void.
The Floating Pyramids
Large pyramids can be found floating in the sky above the Shurima Desert. The origins of these structures is steeped in mystery and entering them is said to be extremely dangerous. However, there are those who believe that the pyramids house untold treasures. Whether for profit, knowledge, or simply for the thrill, many adventurers make the attempt to discover the pyramids' secrets.
While exploring one of these pyramids the adventurer Ezreal, the Prodigal Explorer, uncovered an ancient artifact - an amulet of inestimable power. He barely managed to extract it from its sandy abode due to its sheer magnitude (it was made for a being easily twice Ezreal's size). After fervent investigation, he found that the amulet allowed the wielder to control and shape magical energy - provided there was a source of magic nearby. This has permitted Ezreal to tap into his latent magical abilities with minimal effort.
The yordle known as Amumu, the Sad Mummy, awoke alone inside another of these pyramids. How he came to be there remains unknown... especially to Amumu himself. He was entwined in mummy wrappings and he could not feel his heart beat. Though most assuredly undead, he harbored none of the evil characteristics typical of undead beings. Furthermore, he felt a deep sadness that he could not entirely explain; he knew he missed his parents, though he could not remember who they were. Dropping to his knees, Amumu wept into his bandages. No matter what he did, it seemed he could never stop his tears or sadness. Eventually he stood up, determined to wander the world to discover his past.
The Xerath Calamity
In the ancient civilization of Shurima, an ambitious mage practiced magic with undying passion. He believed that with enough magical power, he could gaze into the heart of Runeterra to know the secrets of history and the universe beyond. Such magic was beyond the limitations of a mortal body, but he obsessively pursued a path to infinite power nonetheless. With every breakthrough he grew more and more powerful, yet not without consequence. His increasing arcane abilities wrought havoc on his physical form. Desperate, he undertook a dangerous ritual to transcend his dying body. The outcome would be immortality or self-destruction. Violent magic unleashed during the ritual caused devastation throughout Shurima, but when the dust settled, Xerath, the Magus Ascendant, emerged as a being of pure arcane energy.
Free of flesh and bone, Xerath held nearly infinite power at his command. However, in the wake of his chaotic ritual, Nasus and Renekton, brothers and legendary Ascended heroes, stopped Xerath – but at a high cost. At Renekton's urging, Nasus entombed his beloved brother with the magus, to keep Xerath doubly contained in the buried ruins of Shurima for all eternity. Or so he believed...
Fall of the Empire
Azir’s hubris proved disastrous. As the Sun Disc focused the dawn rays into a transformative beam, Xerath betrayed Azir, shoving his emperor aside and stealing its power for himself.
In an instant, Azir was obliterated – and Xerath remade as a spectral being of pure, malevolent energy – as the city around them was swallowed whole by the desert.
Nasus and Renekton, Ascended heroes of Shuriman legend, sensed in an instant that something had gone terribly wrong and rushed to the Sun Disc. They hurled Xerath into a chained sarcophagus – but the magus shattered it into shards.
Renekton dragged Xerath into the Tomb of the Emperors and shouted to Nasus to seal the door. With a heavy heart, Nasus entombed his brother with a madman in the buried ruins for all eternity.
Or so he believed…
The Amulet DiscoveredPiltover's Grandmaster Explorer, Ezreal, has explored some of the most remote and abandoned locations on Runeterra. During an expedition to the buried ruins of ancient Shurima, he recovered an amulet of incredible mystical power. Likely constructed to be worn by one of the Ascended, the enormous talisman nonetheless fit snugly upon his arm, amplifying his raw sorcerous skill to such an extent that he's gained the reputation of a hero, much to his embarrassment.
Descent in to the Tomb
- Narrated by Nasus,
"The tragic fall of Shurima was nothing comparing to the tragedy of its rise from the grave.
In a market at the edge of a desert. A stranger appears. Cassiopeia, a noblewoman from Noxus looking to hire a guide to take her to the fabled lost city. But not just any guide, she hires a owner of a legendary blade, the mercenary called Sivir. Sivir gathers her band of sell-swords and set out in to the desert to find the very bones of Shurima.
Five days beneath the broiling sun a scout spots towers juddering upwards and a stairway leading underground. They climb down, into the darkness.
Ancient treasures gleam in the torch-light, even Sivir is astonished of the grandeur of the ruins. Her men head deeper in only to stumble into traps and be eviscerated. Sivir is stunned with horror, but Cassiopeia does not flinch. She sees only the statue of a huge serpent silently guarding the door to the tomb of the Emperors and smiles.
The ancient weapon is a key. Cassiopeia betrays Sivir. She picks up Sivir's blade, puts it into the lock. The guardians curse is triggered. The stone serpent comes alive. It pins Cassiopeia in its jaws - the venom sears her flesh like acid.
Sivir drags herself away, life blood flooding from her wound and then succumbs to darkness..."
Rise of the Ascended
An often-repeated legend stirs in the desert of Shurima. The swirling sands carry rumors of the ancient emperor Azir, somehow returned.
Once a mortal man blinded by his own hubris, Azir has recently returned as an Ascended being with unmatched dominion over the burning sands. He seeks to restore Shurima to its former glory, but some dispute his right to rule them. Azir's power, however, is undeniable.
- Lissandra mentioned in the lore of the Howling Abyss that Shurima was not a desert during the Era of the Three Sisters.
- For some people, Shurima is like an Atlantis to them - they believe it's only a myth.
- Riot employees have talked about Shurima as a place with a really thriving culture - a place with not only a strong military and a powerful emperor, but a place with a sense of personal identity (art, music, literature, trade, magical technology etc). Azir's motivation to bring the golden light of Shurima to other nations was/is not really a "conquering" aim - it's that he truly believes that Shurima was the height of civilization, and could only continue to grow more wonderful. After Xerath's corrupt ascension, everything was more or less buried beneath the sands and left to ruin, but Azir definitely doesn't think that's the end of things .
|Ascended Theme (with effects)|
|Azir, the Emperor of the Sands||Birthplace; Ascended being; Emperor of Shurima|
|Nasus, the Curator of the Sands||Birthplace; Ascended being; brother of Renekton|
|Renekton, the Butcher of the Sands||Birthplace; Ascended being; Nasus's brother and enemy.|
|Sivir, the Battle Mistress||Birthplace; mercenary and tomb robber|
|Skarner, the Crystal Vanguard||Residence; guardian beneath Shurima|
|Xerath, the Magus Ascendant||Birthplace; Ascended being; imprisoned in a sarcophagus for eons|
|Amumu, the Sad Mummy||Point of origin|
|Cassiopeia, the Serpent's Embrace||Accompanied Sivir on a tomb raid. Said to have set in motion events that changed both the huntress's life and Shurima's forever.|
|Ezreal, the Prodigal Explorer||Origin of powers|
|Kassadin, the Void Walker||Probable Birthplace; leader of the Preservers|
|Malzahar, the Prophet of the Void||Birthplace; Shuriman seer; seeks to open the Void to Runeterra|
|Mordekaiser, the Master of Metal||Where he get his Numero Uno, a legendary guitar, also is an indestructible axe made of metal and made for metal.|
|Rammus, the Armordillo||Birthplace|
|Places in Runeterra|
|Field of Justice|
|Continents and Dimensions|