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Zara, The Cryptic King

1 Growth 18 1 Growth 18
Health 542.64 (+73) 1783.6 Attack damage 100 (+8.824) 250
Health regen. 20.18 (+0.8) 33.8 Attack speed 0.25 (+0%)
Mana 409.52 (+67) 1548.5 Armor 24.384 (+3.2) 78.8
Mana regen. 5 (+0.35) 11 Magic resist. 32.1 (+1.25) 53.4
Attack range 150 Mov. speed 325

Abilities

Ancient Aegis
Golden Aegis

Weight of the World: There is no delay when autoattacking, but Zara cannot increase his attack speed. Killing a minion with an autoattack resets Zara's autoattack animation. Zara incurs a 35% Slow icon slow and caps at 400 movement speed due to the sheer weight of his blade.

Veil of the King: Does not gain damage reduction upon buying armor and magic resistance. Rather, Zara gains up to 20% of his maximum health as a shield that regenerates 4% maximum health every 5 seconds.

Upon reaching the maximum value, Zara also gains a physical damage shield worth (0.8% maximum health per armor) and a magic damage shield worth (0.8% maximum health per magic resistance). Each shield regenerates 4% maximum health every 2 seconds not in combat.


Archaic Bludgeon
RANGE: 500
COST: 200 mana
COOLDOWN: 15 / 14 / 13 / 12 / 11
Hammer Shock

Zara slams the ground with his sword, Suppression icon suppressing enemy units hit for 1 second, then imbuing a glyph on the enemies that Grounded icon ground, Slow icon slow by 20% (+ 8% per 100 armor), and deal physical damage over 5 seconds.

  • Physical Damage per second: 40% base AD

Archaic Bludgeon deals twice the damage against minions and recovers mana for every unit slain by Archaic Bludgeon.

  • Minion Damage per second: 80% base AD

If Zara or an ally autoattacks an enemy with the glyph, the glyph will be empowered--extending the duration to 7 seconds.

  • Mana Recovery: 10 / 20 / 30 / 40 / 50 mana


Might of the Occult
COST: 100 mana
COOLDOWN: 18
Spell Flux

Zara inscribes a sigil that cause his physical and magic damage shields to merge into a total shield. Disables the regenerative portion of the shields. The total shield diminishes by 1% maximum health per second until reaching a 20%, then regeneration of the shields are enabled.

  • Armor Reduction: 10 (+2 / 4 / 6 / 8 / 10% bonus armor)

Casting Might of the Occult during degeneration will drain 50% maximum health from the total shield gain 50% maximum health for the both the physical and magic shields.

  • Magic Resistance Reduction: 10 (+2 / 4 / 6 / 8 / 10% bonus magic resistance)

Zara is empowered for 10 seconds causing his attacks and abilities to reduce the armor and magic resistance of enemy units hit for 5 seconds.


Runic Redux
RANGE: 1000 / 200 (+50% Magic Resistance)
COST: 200 (+ 25% maximum mana) mana
COOLDOWN: 15 / 13.5 / 12 / 10.5 / 9
Realm Warp

Zara casts a rune on the ground and channels for 2.5 seconds vanishing into the ether. After the channel is completed, the rune will bind onto the first enemy champion that steps on it.

「 Magic Damage: 25% maximum mana 」「 Minion Damage: 75% maximum mana  」

A force implodes upon the rune 2 seconds after the channel is completed and Zara reappears with an explosion dealing magic damage and stunning all enemies hit. Runic Redux deals triple the damage to minions.

  • Stun Duration: 0.5 / 0.875 / 1.25 / 1.625 / 2


Blade of the Reborn King
RANGE: 1000 / 1500 / 200 / Global / 100
COST: 200 mana
COOLDOWN: 300 / 225 / 150
Infinity Edge item

Zara calls upon his ancient claymore and sunders all foes with a three strike combo lasting 10 seconds. During this combo, Zara is only allowed to cast Runic Redux and instantly blinks after the channel instead of disappearing. Runic Redux can be interrupted by enemies during this cast. While casting Blade of the Reborn King, Zara cannot cancel Blade of the Reborn King, cannot be interrupted, and will continue casting after reaching 0 health. If Zara reaches 0 health during Blade of the Reborn King, Zara will die after the combo is finished.

The first strike crashes down upon enemies all enemies in a linear path, dealing true damage to all enemy units and structures, Slow icon slowing them by 75% for 2 seconds.

  • True Damage: 100 / 300 / 500

After 3 seconds, Zara's second strike slashes enemies in a conic wave, dealing magic damage and knocking enemies back.

  • Magic Damage: 280 - 880 (based on level)

3 seconds later, Zara's final strike tears the ground asunder launching a tremor that deals physical damage to all enemy units in its path. Upon striking an enemy champion or turret, the tremor explodes knocking up enemy units and dealing physical damage to all enemy units and structures caught in the blast.

  • Physical Damage: 420 - 1200 (based on level)


Patch

1.01
  • Increased movement speed from 100 to 200.
  • Fixed formatting for clarity.
1.1
  • Increased Blade of the Reborn King's cooldown from 200 / 150 / 100 to 200.
  • Increased regeneration of physical and magic damage shields from 2% maximum health per 2 seconds not in combat to 4% maximum health per 2 seconds not in combat.
1.2
  • Archaic Bludgeon
    • Double Damage on minions.
    • Mana recovery per rank. 10 / 20 / 30 / 40 / 50 mana
    • Slow changed from 9% per 100 armor to 25% (+5% per 100 armor)
  • Runic Redux
    • Explosion AOE changed from 130% Magic Resistance to 250 (+100% Magic Resistance).
    • 50% bonus Magic Damage on minions.
  • Blade of the Reborn King
    • Magic damage changed from 300 / 650 / 1000 per rank to 280 - 1000 (based on level).
    • Physical damage changed from 400 / 800 / 1200 per rank to 420 - 1200 (based on level).
1.2.1
  • Conquering the Abyss completed.
1.2.2
  • Added Runic Affinity
1.3
  • Runic Redux stun duration reduced from 1 / 1.4 / 1.8 / 2.2 / 2.6 to 0.5 / 0.875 / 1.25 / 1.625 / 2.
  • Archaic Bludgeon Slow icon slow changed from 25% (+ 5% per 100 armor) to 20% (+ 8% per 100 armor).
  • Cooldown changed from 200 to 300 / 225 / 150.
2
  • Ancient Aegis
    • Killing a minion with an autoattack now resets Zara's autoattack animation.
  • Archaic Bludgeon: Rework
    • Cooldown increased from 14 / 12 / 10 / 8 / 6 to 16.
    • Physical damage changed from 75 - 296 (based on level) to 40% base AD per second the glyph is active.
    • Now Suppression icon suppresses the enemies for 1 second and imbues a glyph, for 5 seconds, after the Suppression icon suppression, that Grounded icon ground, Slow icon slow, and damage enemies with the glyph. Autoattacking an enemy with the glyph extends its duration for 2 seconds.
  • Runic Redux
    • Cooldown raised from 10 / 9 / 8 / 7 / 6 to 15.
    • Explosion radius lowered from 250 +100% Magic Resistance to 200 +50% Magic Resistance
2.0.1
  • Runic Affinity completed.
2.0.2
  • Added Champion Bio.
2.0.3
  • Added condensed lore.
2.1
  • Increased movement speed from 200 to 400.
  • Weight of the World: Named and has gives Zara a permanent 50% Slow icon slow.
  • Veil of the King: Named.
2.2
  • Archaic Bludgeon mana cost increased from 200 / 175 / 150 / 125 / 100 to 200.
  • Weight of the World: Caps Zara's movement speed at 500.
2.2.1
  • Forged from Sand and Runes completed.
2.3 Rocket Grab.png DoublePower Fist.png Slap(-My Page-)(-What I did-)  13:46, December 31, 2016 (UTC)
  • Runic Redux
    • Magic damage changed to 「 Magic Damage: 100 (+25% maximum mana 」「 Minion Damage: 300 75% maximum mana  」 from 「 Magic Damage: 200 - 625 (based on level) 」「 Minion Damage: 300 - 975 (based on level)  」.
    • Minion damage increased to triple from 50% bonus.
    • Mana cost increased by 25% maximum mana.
    • Cooldown reduced to 15 / 13.5 / 12 / 10.5 / 9 from 15.
      • Context: Since mana is a core part of Zara's existence, I decided to give him a tremendous amount of mana synergy so Runic Redux will be more explosive. Given how the ability works, I liked the idea of a mana bomb so now it pretty much is one.
2.4 Rocket Grab.png DoublePower Fist.png Slap(-My Page-)(-What I did-)  19:43, January 17, 2017 (UTC)
  • Base AD per level reduced to 5.88 from 11.47.
    • Context: Still reigning high over the base AD of any other champion. However, with potential issues like tremendous speed boosts from Zilean Zilean, the innate power must drop substantially to prevent max auto damage abuse.
2.5 Rocket Grab.png DoublePower Fist.png Slap(-My Page-)(-What I did-)  21:29, January 20, 2017 (UTC)
  • Blade of the Reborn King Magic Damage scaling reduced from 60 per level to 50 per level.
  • Archaic Bludgeon damage per second increased from 40% to 50%.
  • Archaic Bludgeon cooldown reduced from 16 to 15 / 14 / 13 / 12 / 11.
    • Context: These changes are intended to keep Zara's physical damage over his magic damage due to large potential for mana builds. The sweep in the combo is also extremely reliable due to its range and the lowered base AD took a large hit on justification for building Sterak's Gage item.png Sterak's Gage in comparison to leaving it out for mana builds.
  • Runic Redux channel time increased from 2 seconds to 2.5 seconds.
    • Context: The channel time increase is intended to increase the counterplay for Runic Redux due to how powerful the spell can be in a full mana build. I also want Zara to avoid using Runic Redux precariously so it is an important change overall.
2.6 Rocket Grab.png DoublePower Fist.png Slap(-My Page-)(-What I did-)  22:57, January 23, 2017 (UTC)
  • Movement speed decreased to 325 from 400.
  • Weight of the World
    • Movement speed Slow icon slow reduced to 35% from 50%.
    • Movement speed cap reduced to 400 from 500.
  • Base AD per level increased from 5.88 to 8.823.
  • Runic Redux Magic Damage reduced to 25% mana from 100(+25% mana).
  • Archaic Bludgeon physical damage reduced to 40% AD from 50% AD.
    • Context: The contribution of mana was much greater than anticipated. As such in order to prevent focus on this aspect from being diminished, I destroyed Zara's maximum potential for movement speed and removed the base damage on Runic Redux. It is more consistent with his Archaic Bludgeon ratio this way and I did not want to reduce his mana damage as that would imply he is inefficient with his usage of mana. With mana being one of his vital skills, that would be a major contradiction. I also raised Zara's scaling AD to maintain his innate power. Also reverted his Archaic Bludgeon buff as well in order to keep damage stable.
2.7 Rocket Grab.png DoublePower Fist.png Slap(-My Page-)(-What I did-)  20:32, March 5, 2017 (UTC)
  • Might of the Occult now reverts 50% maximum health from the total shield into both physical and magic shields when cast while the total shield is degenerating.
    • Context: Upon thinking of how the game will play out, I realized that the total shield would be dragged out for an extremely long time. The usage of the physical and magic shield was also completely overshadowed by the extensive duration of how long the total shield would last. So to bring some gameplay to his shield usage, I decided to hasten the degeneration by draining his shield. By transforming the drained shield back into the other shields, this brings back the significance of the separation of damage types.
2.7.1 Rocket Grab.png DoublePower Fist.png Slap(-My Page-)(-What I did-)  19:30, March 10, 2017 (UTC)
  • Massive lore update. Two chapters, The Blue Sea and Pain and Pride, inserted before Lost Homelands.
    • Context: I didn't decide to push back Lost Homelands, it just turned out to be so dang long that I needed to cut it up for the title to even make any remote sense. I decided to cut it into pieces with new titles to better reflect what the pieces are about. Also simply since I managed to create two chapters worth of material without even posting it. About time I did.

Note

  • Highest damage output to expect on a single autoattack is 3,067. Utilizing Trinity Force item.png Trinity Force, 4 Sterak's Gage item.png Sterak's Gage, Infinity Edge item.png Infinity Edge, and full Critical strike icon crit damage runes.
  • The cast time for Archaic Bludgeon is 1 second.
  • The interval between disappearing and reappearing with Runic Redux is also 2 seconds.
  • The transformation of total shield to physical/magic shield cannot exceed the maximum value of the physical/magic shield. This is for the case of vastly differing armor and magic resistance values.
    • The transformation will also not drain the total shield past the 20% maximum health value. This is to prevent instances of overdrain which would not be compensated if both the physical and magic shields were at their maximum values.
  • If Zara's armor or magic resistance is reduced lower than the ratio of his shield, he will diminish his shield similar to the total shield, 1% maximum health per second, until it reaches the adjusted ratio.
  • Returning to the spawn pool will also regenerate his shields. It's balanced by the fact that his slow ass won't be able to take advantage of this and his priorities on levels encourages him to stay in lane for as long as possible.
    • If Zara returns to the spawn pool while his total shield is above 20% of his maximum health, it will degenerate alongside the regeneration of the physical/magic shield.
  • The extended duration of Archaic Bludgeon's glyph only occurs once per glyph.
  • Zara cannot be healed once he reaches 0 health during Blade of the Reborn King, however he can be revived to prevent death at the end of the duration.
  • When Zara is revived, he immediately gains the 20% total shield as well physical/magic shields worth the product of his health upon revival and the 0.8% armor and 0.8% magic resistance for each respective shield type.
  • Landing the rune from Runic Redux will proc the armor/magic resistance shred from Might of the Occult.
  • The cooldown on Runic Redux only starts after Zara is finished channeling or if he is interrupted.

Design

I've gone down the beaten path of trying to make a legitimate Assassin/Tank. I was working on this for a while and came to no avail since a tank that deals damage is simply a beefed up fighter. I've had some debates in the past with tanks in general with Ntoulinho. When I came to the question, "What makes a tank unique?" Upon blueprinting a design for a tank, I remembered this old project of mine.

I thought to myself about the significance of hybrids. Not just the AP and AD everyone thinks of, but also the primary and secondary mixes and symbiosis seen in life in general. On the economic scale, it is done for growth in efficiency through trading. On a biological scale, it is done to avoid hazards and also for efficiency. In League of Legends, it is done to enhance one particular iteration to an indomitable force. One such example is in the typical item build of an ADC. These champions buy massive amounts of AD, attack speed, Critical strike icon critical strike, and armor penetration in order to amplify the one thing that converges from all of them: autoattacks.

Looking in terms of class primary and secondary attributes, mage supports are known for their relentless battering of bursts and utility due to how mana and CDR are where they converge. The mix creates an effect of helplessness from enemies since good reactions from the mage support can allow for much juking due to the frequent level of downtime between abilities. A mix of tanks and fighters, being very apparent, is through the duration of battle due to health being where they converge. Living to fight longer is the main point of the tank fighters which allows them to fearlessly charge into an ongoing battle bringing large momentum in fights to feel like an inescapable truck bulldozing its way through. So what about assassins and tanks? Where could they possibly converge? I concluded it was their base damage.

Assassins are known for getting their penetration. It allows them to handle any counters to their ratios and push their lead as far as possible. However, tanks are also known to forgo their damage options for additional base damage due to their low ratios. Juggernauts, who are mixes of tank fighters, get items such as Sterak's Gage item.png Sterak's Gage and Dead Man's Plate item.png Dead Man's Plate to exemplify this point of high base damage with some like Skarner Skarner being also designed for Sheen item.png Sheen. As such, I found that the only way to truly make an assassin tank work is to take advantage of penetration and throw gigantic amounts of base damage into the kit.

Champions like Kha'Zix Kha'Zix and Rengar Rengar are seen with numbers that only scale with levels, to simulate getting a lead over the enemy. I decided to make this top priority by literally removing all ratios that would increase damage output and instead making the whole damage output scale with levels discarding bonus AD and AP ratios that would increase damage output on his abilities. This causes him to rely heavily on his base scaling and alleviating his costs to become more powerful. That means that if there is no lead, there is no coming back. No turnabout elixirs here, sorry. Q~Q However, I used this as legitimacy for the massive numbers you see on Zara. Having an ultimate that deals a net 2,580 damage is nothing to scoff at. It also loosens priorities a bit. Instead of ranking up an ability to maximize damage, priority shifts towards the utility since the damage will go up through levels anyways.

The visceral aspect of the priority on base damage is massive impact. Tanks are known for having large downtimes and assassins are known for being very vulnerable. By creating a gigantic level of base damage and armor and magic resistance shredding, there is a massive amount of pain able to be dealt with the combination of your own damage and the damage of teammates. The combination also crushes the priority of building damage as there are no ratios for increasing damage output outside of armor and magic resistance for the shredding. However, this brought about massive struggles that I compromised through pushing the boundaries vastly.

The handicaps I placed are all speed related. More specifically: movement speed, attack speed, cast times, extreme mana cost, and DPS vulnerability. I cut down on movement speed, because the last thing we need is a monster slapping every carry with a Critical strike icon 3,000+ critical strike. If Nasus Nasus, and potentially Sion Sion, did not have infinite damage scaling, I would say that this is the most intense form of a juggernaut as you can get. Of such grandiose intensity that it pushes itself from the boundaries of fighter into assassin. As such I needed to completely obliterate attack speed and significantly lengthen cast times to prevent him from being ridiculously overboard. I also gave Zara a mana cost based on his maximum mana on his most spammable ability, Runic Redux, so that if he does decide to spam it recklessly, he will swiftly find himself out of mana and unable to extend the duration of the fight much further.

  • The DPS vulnerability comes with his tankiness. Now, if he is tanky why can't he survive DPS? Well, the method I went about it completely removes the prominence of sustain--such as the potentially insane lifesteal. By completely removing damage resistance, Zara is going to be taking tremendous damage output. Proof is in how we believe assassins are the top notch damage around, when carries obviously have the highest damage output due to consistency.

The compensations I gave back to him were all burst related. More specifically: gigantic base AD, turret destruction, largest mana pool, and burst durability. The tremendous base AD allows him to utilize powerful autoattacks like Jhin Jhin and Graves Graves. I want to encourage the more offensive route of Critical strike icon critical strike since his slow actions make him feel like a traditional samurai due to the tremendous force behind each strike. With this tremendous force in mind, I felt that all this compensation was still not enough to make Zara feel powerful in a unique way. So I gave his Blade of the Reborn King the ability to damage turrets on its true and physical damage portions. I wanted to give a vibe similar to how Sion Sion barrels into a turret with his ultimate as it is an extremely slow ability. Due to how important his abilities are, I made a shift towards having a large mana pool with low capability to regenerate it. I wanted to give Zara the priority of using his abilities carefully to focus on the consumption of mana. Giving him the largest mana pool allows Zara to have a very strong opening will little worries. It also translates into a mana bomb as Runic Redux has mana scaling on it. This allows his investment in mana to be one way for Zara to increase his burst damage.

  • The burst durability is through his tankiness. Since assassins and carries are known for getting penetration, I wanted to create a method that would defend him against penetration. As such, I thought about the concept of EHP. If his EHP was unaffected by penetration, it would be tremendous. I liked the limitations a shield gave so I transformed what was supposed to be EHP into shields. Zara has slight vulnerability to armor and magic resistance reductions in terms of tankiness, but it is over time rather than immediate. This means that in order to defeat him, methods of increasing raw damage is best. However, against burst, the fact he can transform investment in magic resistance into a shield against physical damage and vice versa is very valuable. He also gains the capability to defend against true damage with armor/magic resistance through Might of the Occult. However, I balanced it in a way that is not too much over a super armored Rammus Rammus.

As for the background of Zara, he is actually one of the original characters made in my story. In my story, he is known as the conqueror due to wielding the sword called: the Avenger. He is the rival of another called the guardian, who wields a sword called: the Defender. If this sounds familiar, yes these are both the same as of Lenaieka's sword from Nazareadain. I was very surprised with how well it matched with my own story. Her upbringing was a lot like Don, the guardian's. However since Runeterra has nothing to do with my story, I am transforming Zara into a totally different character which will avoid any clashes.

While he is supposed to be something like a General from the Fire Emblem series, I am instead making him a samurai ghoul to better fit into the lore of League of Legends from my story. Since anger and death are two very prominent themes in my story, the Shadow Isles is a very good place for many of my characters. It's particularly good for Zara though, since he the Shadow Isles is in the Conqueror's Seas. However, runes and glyphs are of immeasurable importance and as such I gave him a title that seamlessly merges it all together, The Cryptic King.

Strategy

Zara specializes in making extremely powerful trades at the cost of his speed. Unfortunately, he is very clunky in doing so as he is extremely slow in all endeavors except his first autoattack. He is especially vulnerable to harassment due to his lack of damage resistance and inability to sustain effectively even with items.

Fortunately, he becomes much more powerful as levels drag on so farming under the turret is more than enough for him to overwhelm the enemy. With Runic Redux, he can set up a very powerful gank with the jungler given it's large range. Successfully stunning the enemy even once with Runic Redux is enough to kill the enemy as the long Grounded icon ground and Slow icon slow duration of a follow-up Archaic Bludgeon will ensure that the enemy cannot escape death.

During teamfights, stay very close to your backline as the sheer power of Zara's first autoattack is enough to obliterate enemy assassins while Archaic Bludgeon allows divers to become managable while Might of the Occult keeps you healthy and the enemies weak. Use Blade of the Reborn King when the enemy attempts to flee. The Slow icon slow will keep the enemies locked down for a swift chain with Runic Redux and the sweeping attack. Aim the tremor strike at the enemy turret to deal massive damage or potentially set up a fight for your allies if enemies decide to block the attack.

Zara's greatest weakness is his ability to be easily kited. Without aid, Zara is completely helpless to the harassment of any ranged abilities. Even though his first autoattack is strong, Ninja Tabi item.png Ninja Tabi will easily mitigate his damage and the large cooldown of Archaic Bludgeon on top of his reliance on farming with the ability makes even melee enemies difficult for him to handle. So skirmish with him during the delay for his next autoattack.

Any % current health shredding is very powerful against him as the vast majority of his defense comes from Veil of the King. Thus he is at 100% current health even when his shield is about to be destroyed. Try to avoid relying on abilities that rely on enemy missing health, as this fact also makes it much harder to execute him since his health is blocked by the tremendous shield. If you can force Zara to use Might of the Occult at high shield levels, simply poking will be enough to drag him down to a point where he can be easily killed. Despite how large his shields may be, his complete lack of damage resistance makes him as easy to kill as a standard minion. Also, penetration will be absolutely worthless against him and armor/magic resistance shredding has minimal effect so rely on increasing raw damage such as Critical strike icon critical strike in order to defeat him.

Item Synergy

Summoner's Rift
Starting Sapphire Crystal item Faerie Charm item
Early Sheen item Tear of the Goddess item Jaurim's Fist item
Essential Sterak's Gage item Boots of Swiftness item Manamune item
Offensive Infinity Edge item Trinity Force item Essence Reaver item
Defensive Iceborn Gauntlet item Frozen Heart item Guardian Angel item
Consumables Elixir of Iron item
Twisted Treeline
Starting Sapphire Crystal item2 Cloth Armor item
Essential Manamune item Banner of Command item Boots of Swiftness item
Offensive Archangel's Staff item Lich Bane item Infinity Edge item
Defensive Iceborn Gauntlet item Sterak's Gage item Locket of the Iron Solari item
Consumables Elixir of Iron item

Items that grants Zara massive burst and increases raw defenses are extremely beneficial to Zara. Sustain of any kind is completely ineffective on him. This includes health regeneration, mana regeneration, and attack speed.

  • Sheen item.png Sheen is an overall amazing item for Zara due to his extreme base AD and mana synergy. This item alone transforms his trades into a terrifying force as he can easily be dishing out 480% base AD if he manages to land an Archaic Bludgeon and follow up with an autoattack.
    • Iceborn Gauntlet item.png Iceborn Gauntlet is essentially the best item that Zara could ask for. Given his incredibly low attack speed, being able to attack multiple enemies for 100% base AD is a big deal, especially given just how large his base AD is. The armor ratio also coincides with his own armor ratios which makes his armor feel much more valuable.
    • Trinity Force item.png Trinity Force is arguably the worst upgrade, but it is the absolute most powerful in terms single-target damage. In the situation where on enemy keeps jumping in at him, landing an Archaic Bludgeon an enemy allows him to deal a whole 580% base AD of physical damage to that enemy. This alongside Critical strike icon critical strike serves as a tool for instagibbing Assassins.
    • Lich Bane item.png Lich Bane is useful for the fact that Zara completely lacks AP ratios. It serves as the introductory tool for him to focus on dealing magic damage. While Zara can reduce magic resistance, he is limited to only mana for increasing magic damage on an extremely costly ability. Building it is quite a challenge since the Aether Wisp item.png Aether Wisp and Blasting Wand item.png Blasting Wand gives little to no benefit until he finishes the item, but that is the price to pay for breaking the meta. This is a pivotal item for a mana bomb build as it supports Archangel's Staff item.png Archangel's Staff, which is essential to the mana bomb build.
  • Sterak's Gage item.png Sterak's Gage comes naturally as a good item to Zara due to the ease of setting the condition given his massive damage taken. While the shield is fairly useless to him, the increased base AD is invaluable to him. At level 18, Sterak's Gage item.png Sterak's Gage gives 62.5 base AD casually, which is more than even Youmuu's Ghostblade item.png Youmuu's Ghostblade. When the passive is activated, it can give as much as 123 base AD. A monstrous amount that is incomparable to anything else. This serves very well to his Sheen item.png Sheen items.
  • Tear of the Goddess item.png Tear of the Goddess is as important of an item to Zara as it is to Ryze Ryze. Zara's innate mana costs are exorbitant to unreasonable lengths, the sheer fact that this item reduces this is enough to rush it instantaneously. On top of this, Zara has incredible mana synergy thanks to Runic Redux. The reduced cost actually reduces the maximum mana ratio on the cost which further increases his mana synergy.
    • Muramana item.png Muramana is natural item for him to build. While he has very little gains from the on-hit capabilities, AD is his primary form of damage output innately. As such the increased mana synergy in this regard allows him to much more smoothly build other mana items that aid him greatly.
    • Archangel's Staff item.png Archangel's Staff is an excessive mana item. This item cannot even be considered unless going for a mana bomb build. Although the constraints are harsh, having Seraph's Embrace item.png Seraph's Embrace alongside Muramana item.png Muramana grants 2000 mana right there. This tremendous amount of mana serves very well in the explosive power of the mana bomb build.
  • Frozen Heart item.png Frozen Heart is an incredible item for Zara to build as the overall reduced attack speed allows him to survive much longer than he normally can. Reducing the damage capabilities of the enemy is one of the few ways Zara has to protect himself. Also the mana component of this item serves to aid in alleviating his mana costs while increasing the damage of Runic Redux.
  • Boots of Swiftness item.png Boots of Swiftness is the only boots Zara can consider. Due to Weight of the World, Zara cannot make much gains from the movement speed of other boots. The reduction of the slow from Weight of the World greatly alleviates this burden which makes it much better than the other options for that reason alone.
  • Banner of Command item.png Banner of Command is a stress alleviating item for Zara as missing one minion kill causes him to wait a ridiculous amount of time to kill another minion. A melee minion upgrade will chip down enemy minion help to allow better farming. On top of this, this item has a naturally high armor and magic resistance while also giving mana that synergizes with Zara well.
  • Randuin's Omen item.png Randuin's Omen like Frozen Heart item.png Frozen Heart is terrific for Zara as it reduces attack speed, but this also reduces Critical strike icon crit damage. This definitely makes it a much more defensive item for Zara to consider as it offers health. The Slow icon slow can also be used after the stun wears off from Runic Redux to keep enemies around for longer.
  • Guardian Angel item.png Guardian Angel has a special interaction with Zara. Given Zara's unique form of health and armor/magic resistance interaction, he gains a shield for the health regained from Guardian Angel item.png Guardian Angel. This can serve to be very useful to Zara in a pinch as he can activate Might of the Occult soon after revival to gain a formidable total shield to last longer. Specifically, the shields gained are the 20% maximum health initial total shield, 24% maximum health per 100 armor physical shield, and 24% maximum health per 100 magic resistance magic shield.
  • The Black Cleaver item.png The Black Cleaver is formidable on Zara due to the damage over time functionality of Archaic Bludgeon. Also given that it is % armor shredding, the destruction of armor is tremendous when combined with the flat armor shredding of Might of the Occult. This gives him a strong tool to deal with enemies moderate amounts of armor fairly well. A major concern to consider is how it also amplifies the frequency of spellcasting which skyrockets his mana consumption.
  • Infinity Edge item.png Infinity Edge is an Critical strike icon critical item for him to be dealing nuclear autoattacks. While this doesn't serve as a good item to rush due to his lack of AD scaling on his abilities, his innately large base AD makes this a very difficult prospect to pass up. Critical strike icon Critical strike is very good on Zara to the point in which he could be rushing Cloak of Agility item.png Cloak of Agility to great effect. It also serves as one of the few ways to increase his AD ratios through its increased Critical strike icon crit damage and chance. While it does rely heavily on chance given his inability to effectively gain high levels of Critical strike icon critical strike, this is a testament to the Shuriman faith--as it is a gamble to live in the ruthless sands.
  • Essence Reaver item.png Essence Reaver parallels with Zara's duty as a character. A cool mind, and a lethal blow that sustains it. Given Zara's large innate mana pool, which is further extended through investment in mana, this is a very useful item for farming. While this does not increase the damage dealt by Archaic Bludgeon, it does alleviate its tremendous cost. Weight of the World also greatly helps him utilize autoattacks to kill minions. The large amount of AD can ensure last hits as with any other champion while a chance Critical strike icon critical strike sustains his mana. This can allow him to more efficiently trade with enemies as he can still be dealing large damage with his autoattack and abilities while sustaining himself. However, this should only be considered after Infinity Edge item.png Infinity Edge is built, as the rarity of his Critical strike icon critical strike combined with how slow his autoattack windup is serves to cripple the gains heavily in comparison to something like Tear of the Goddess item.png Tear of the Goddess.
  • Blade of the Ruined King item.png Blade of the Ruined King is a moldy old sword that Zara used to swing around. Now it's completely useless on him since he's lost his arm and became extremely Slow icon sluggish from carrying the Weight of the World.

Zara can be built three ways: a siege fortress against all champions, an incredibly powerful bodyguard against assassins, or a mana bomb. All methods are valid in their own ways.

  • Building with tremendous defensive capability will make it an incredulous feat for anyone to truly destroy him in a single teamfight and his vast control over the fight will swiftly be made apparent. This allows Zara to easily siege turrets making more use of the first strike component of Blade of the Reborn King to chip them down. Fortunately since Blade of the Reborn King is an innately powerful ability, he is able to express his tremendous power even if he goes very tanky and Might of the Occult will allow him to support the damage of his allies too.
  • One extreme component of what makes Zara powerful with his autoattacks is his extreme base AD. This allows him to utilize Critical strike icon critical strike very well, even gaining efficiency from Critical strike icon crit chance runes that swiftly supercedes flat AD runes. Alongside the fact that Sheen item.png Sheen and Sterak's Gage item.png Sterak's Gage are great items for Zara, he has the potential to instagib assassins with a single autoattack. Even so, divers may even have trouble if they are unfortunately struck with Archaic Bludgeon as his physical damage burst transcends to whole new levels. Unfortunately, such investment in AD will significantly weaken his shield given the lowered amount of armor and magic resistance. Guardian Angel item.png Guardian Angel may help significantly with this, but it will make it much more difficult to deal with divers given his low DPS capabilities if he happens to miss Archaic Bludgeon.
  • The mana bomb an even more extreme damage option that would opt for the AP mana items once he gets Lich Bane item.png Lich Bane. Tear of the Goddess item.png Tear of the Goddess reduces the cost of Runic Redux enough for him to dump his entire store of mana onto the enemies if he continuously spams the ability. This leaves him dry on mana very fast, but the large AOE if he gets magic resistance alongside the extremely high possible numbers for mana pool is enough for him to completely go glass cannon for this. As such, he is extraordinarily squishy as he needs to make major sacrifices between all forms of EHP. However, given his innately high mana costs and his incredible mana synergy in this one ability, it serves as the absolute most powerful late game build he could ever obtain. The success with this build relies heavily on the ability for allies to lock the entire enemy team down for a large period of time.

Runes and Masteries

Compared to all champions, Zara's base AD soars high over anyone else at all stages of the game. This allows him to be a special case when it comes to runes. While almost every AD champion will certainly have a much greater early game benefit using flat AD runes at the start of the game, Zara is the rare case that actually gains a tremendous amount of early game power from Critical strike icon crit chance runes. This is due to the fact that his AD at level one is extremely close to the 114 AD threshold where Critical strike icon critical strike becomes more effective than AD. At level 3, Zara is guaranteed to reach this mark which means he can use these runes very effectively early on.

Unfortunately, unlike other champions in the game, his defensive benefits are very poor with flat armor and magic resistance runes. This is due to the fact that he cannot take advantage of the damage resistance which makes the early game Health Potion item.png Health Potion much more powerful. As such, most of his defensive capability early on is derived from health alone as it increases the values of his shields to surpass his lack of damage resistance. Using early game health runes may certainly be necessary as it is impossible for him to merely stick it out in lane if his is bursted too heavily early on. Zara's health is definitely on the low end of the spectrum and while his shields will make him seem like Kled Kled, he is not nearly as tanky due to the lack of damage resistance.

  • Although flat runes are fairly dull, something to note about armor and magic resistance runes is that he does have other ratios in which he can utilize his armor and magic resistance. He has his shields, Slow icon slow, explosion radius, and armor/magic resistance shredding. If any of these traits are desired early on, investing in these runes may still be valuable to some degree. However, know that the ratios are not nearly high enough to gain a visible effect from the relatively low values of armor/magic resistance in runes. In the end, the gains from these ratios are expected to be from itemization. Only per level runes are enough to have even a slightly visible effect on these ratios.

Something else to note is that Zara has tremendous mana costs. These are extremely prominent and difficult to deal with. Of course the large power of the abilities easily compensates for the costs, but it is not something that reduces these costs. Unfortunately, itemization against this is poor given that he is essentially required to invest in Tear of the Goddess item.png Tear of the Goddess to even manage at all. On top of this, his mana regeneration is extremely low on the spectrum so this cannot be merely alleviated by items alone on a long term laning scale. Fortunately, mana regeneration runes are not chained by his base values.

  • Both flat and per level scaling mana regeneration runes are amazing on Zara. While the values may seem small, understand that his regeneration innately is even smaller. What is really important is that it coincides with his priorities of gaining experience. If he is always forced back due to low mana, he will never be gaining the experience he needs to survive the laning phase, even less win it. While player-based mana management certainly is possible given he can farm mana with Archaic Bludgeon, it opens up the avenue of enemy harassment which is an extreme weakness to Zara. Getting flat mana regeneration makes this much less of a problem since it passively aids in this matter from the very start of the game.

Given Zara's high reliance on levels to become powerful, he wants to have tools to maintain his experience. Although there are many limitations that causes Zara to fail to obtain a steady stream of experience, there are times when the stars align and there are no problems in that regard. However, this fact does not change that Zara still wants to get as many levels as possible. As such, boosting this fact through % experience runes is favorable.

  • The gains from experience runes are deceptively low. Thinking about how its gained in terms of experience itself is not accurate to determine the reality of it. The reality is that there is a constant fluctuation for killing champions + gaining assists for experience and being near enemy minions dying + clearing jungle to get experience.
    • The general way it goes is according to the difference between your level and the enemies'.
      • The greater the difference, the better it is to kill champions. Even when you are overleveled, the decrease caps at -20%, it will still be 50% experience from your level and the 1 level above the enemy.
      • In all other cases, the latter options are better since they offer flat experience. In general the reason why experience runes are powerful is ironically how difficult it is to obtain.
  • It takes methodical effort to obtain experience as the act of roaming itself will offer absolutely no experience at all. As such, the leads gained from prioritizing such a thing can be tremendous. For example, a roaming assassin may only gain 60% experience due to a lack of focus on such a regard. However, a siege master who is always at opportune places to get experience may get 80% experience they could have gotten.
  • As such if one plays with that 80% efficiency consistently, the range of bonus experience lead gained from experience runes can be anywhere in the range of 6-41.3% of the enemy's experience. This is the bonus experience from the runes alone. Alongside the experience from being overall efficient at gaining experience ends up with a surging amount of levels over the enemy. This is extraordinarily favorable for Zara in particular due to how much he gains per level.

For those who are investing in Zara's potential to soak up a lot of raw damage, % health runes are invaluable. The scaling potential alongside his shields is absolutely tremendous and can put him to absurdly high levels of raw shields and health. While he still has no damage resistance, against champions who wasted their investment on penetration, the numbers are nothing to scoff at. While the enemies may be able to deal a consistent 1000 damage a second against anyone, which certainly is high and unbearable, what is 1000 damage a second to an entire 4000 health and 13,000 shield? Where most champions would fall in less than 5 seconds, he would fall in 14 seconds.

Strength of Spirit mastery s4.png Meditation is absolutely necessary on Zara for an obvious reason: his mana costs. On top of that, it even scales with mana which is great since he has an innately large mana pool. If he gets more mana, the mana problems can eventually fade later on in the game. Of course it will always be a problem while Runic Redux has that epic % mana cost, but the management at least becomes reasonable.

Stormraider's Surge mastery 2016.png Stormraider's Surge is a great keystone mastery for Zara to use in particular. With Stormraider's Surge mastery 2016.png Stormraider's Surge alone, he can reach his 400 movement speed cap simply, because it greatly reduces the strength of his Slow icon slow from Weight of the World. This mastery opens some avenues for the choices of boots if choosing to act as a bodyguard of sorts, given his extreme bursting potential when someone is an unfortunate diver hopping into an Archaic Bludgeon. Given how extremely overbearing the passive is in the game, (real movement speed ranges around 211-300 without it) that fact is reason enough to use it as a keystone mastery.

Matchups

Zara has extreme potential to become an overwhelming beast. However, alongside this comes an extreme vulnerability to harassment. The weakness that comes with absolutely no damage resistance should not be underestimated. Alongside Zara's inability to do anything about harassment, this is a major crutch that will easily bring him to ruin once more. Although weak as he may be to something universal, persevering through these dangerous times will unleash a monster that can destroy enemy turrets while sitting in the spawn pool.

Riven Riven's Runic Blade.png Runic Blade is no match for Zara's titanic blade. Unlike Riven Riven, Zara has attained mastery over the runic arts and uses mana exclusively to power his blade while Riven Riven has no knowledge of mana at all. In truth, both blades are very strong in their own right. However, Zara has one special form of control that tears Riven Riven asunder: Grounded icon ground. Archaic Bludgeon completely obliterates Riven Riven and prevents her from using most of her signature abilities. On top of that, Wind Slash.png Wind Slash scales off of the missing health of the enemy, but given how monumentally difficult it is to actually reach his health at all, it goes to waste a vast majority of the time. She may be slippery enough to handle most enemies who rely on autoattacks, but never has she encountered one that has autoattacks equivalent to burst right at the very first level. Riven Riven reforged a broken blade. Zara reforges a broken spirit.

Renekton Renekton is known to shred through and bully enemy laners to subjugate and weaken them through immense consistent burst. Ironically, due to the nature of Zara's power, despite his weakness to harassment overall: Zara is one who instills fear into this foolish crocodile. Renekton Renekton is rarely afraid of his foes because they are either weak in defending against burst or weak in instant burst. Zara is the unholy combination of both strengths. Playing his cards right, Zara can offer no opportunity for Renekton Renekton to simply dive in and dive out with Archaic Bludgeon. Even then his autoattack is too might for him to handle. Even if Renekton Renekton decides to get Ninja Tabi item.png Ninja Tabi to mitigate this overwhelming strength, Renekton Renekton already lost because his sole duty is to win the early game, and Zara's power is only getting stronger.

Hecarim Hecarim charges and barges with lethal force. Hecarim Hecarim brings death to all, but unfortunately for him: Zara is already dead. Unlike the other dead, he already knows lethal pain all too well and does not take any more damage from it. As such the factor that gives the horseman such immeasurable strength is deemed laughable in the non-existent face of Zara. Zara may be slightly spooked by the steed charge, but he stands firm and will strike Hecarim Hecarim down with a graceful strike and a sundering Slow icon slow--after all, he's done it once before.

Captain Teemo Teemo is an utter monstrosity. The little badger known to make the manliest of men fall to their knees. Part of this is due to his Blinding Dart.png Blinding Dart. Timed well, he can completely waste Zara's extremely important autoattack, very frequently as well. Given the pain of Toxic Shot.png Toxic Shot, he can very well whittle away at Zara with extreme ease. He can do it safely, he can do it painfully, and worst of all: he can drop a Noxious Trap.png Noxious Trap on the rune for Runic Redux.

Zara has denied his passing, so as one would imagine, death does not take too kindly to that. Kindred Kindred comes to serve as an indomitable duo that Zara will have immense troubles with. While Kindred Kindred is subject to all the pains of being a squishy marksman that could get bonked by an Archaic Bludgeon, what they have that the others don't is Lamb's Respite.png Lamb's Respite. As easy as it would be to kill them, this allows the duo to freely barrage Zara with massive amount of health shredding. The combination of Wolf's Frenzy.png Wolf's Frenzy and Mark of the Kindred.png Mark of the Kindred serves as the inevitable downfall to Zara as he is affected more by % current health shredding than anyone else would.

Zara's overwhelming might simply doesn't compare to grandmaster's brass. Who wants a piece of the champ? Jax Jax is one of the most dangerous melee fighters that Zara can encounter. As ruthless as Olaf Olaf and as barbaric as Tryndamere Tryndamere, Jax Jax can easily dodge the one autoattack that matters to him Zara most. While Archaic Bludgeon will stop him from running, Jax Jax does not need to flee. Jax Jax's Relentless Assault.png Relentless Assault ensures that Zara will never be able to win a duel against him and he even has Grandmaster's Might.png Grandmaster's Might which nullifies the reducing in armor and magic resistance with sheer power. This makes him the one diver that he actually cannot handle, which completely ruins his purpose in teamfights. Perhaps the biggest thing that makes Jax Jax scarier than Tryndamere Tryndamere, is that he can start this barrage right at level 1.

Lore

I lived two lives, and died two times. A mark upon stars, to herald my crimes.

To find my answer, I lost a lot. To save the people, I left to rot.

The queen was my pride and joy you see. But she is a cause I should have left to be.

Was it worth the struggle, pain, and strife?

No. Not for my wife.

I sought to atone for the grief I made. I swore it by soul, by crown, by blade.

My will was my own, and my will is shown. By leaving my throne, my throne all alone.

I kept it this way, by dying that day. The day that I slayed, the Phantom Brigade.

Here I lay, in a plane filled with mana. Resting in peace, as I reach Nirvana.

The rift calls to me, every now and then. To take up my blade. To fight once again.

--The Cryptic King, by Bard Bard

A Distant Memory


"Gracefully..." With elegant agility, a slice cuts straight through a tree. The lumberjacks holler in approval as the tree begins crashing down.

"Thanks chief! We couldn't even be able to cut em down with a battleaxe--let alone a hatchet," a worker expresses in gratitude for taking down the largest timber in the forest.

"The key is in the form." Zara expresses as he sheaths his sword. "It's our most prominent weakpoint. Practice that and while you are at it, practice calling me King. This is a kingdom afterall."

Returning from the foothills of the Ironspike Mountains, Zara gazed upon his kingdom. Curved in a horseshoe fashion to match the bay jutting between it, Zara hardly could believe that he inherited this at the speed that he did. Building upon the remnants of a war-ridden dominion, Zara was in the process of expanding the grounds of a fallen faction. Not too long ago, Zara was but only the chieftain of a neighboring village. However, after a long series of internal disputes within a fallen empire, one of the factions nearby sought to Zara's village for help.

Zara sprung into action with magnanimous zeal, commanding every villager to gather resources and assessing the efficiency of their labor. It was not long until Zara gained such a large reputation within the faction of the empire that they decided to merge territories and declare him as their new king.

Zara's niece was happier than she could ever be as she could finally utilize her skill with the spear in ways other than hunting. Suddenly Zara rushed back to his castle, as he remembered that she was scheduled to see him. She was going to show Zara a new trick using the weight of her spear to propel herself in any direction. He knew it was possible to propel oneself forward, but backward was something that piqued his curiosity.

"How's the city folk?" Zara asked as he passed a lieutenant of the Iron Order.

"At ease," he grunted in reply.

Stated contradictory to how the lieutenant felt. A large portion of the Iron Order were remnants of the fallen empire. The lowly were ruthless, the great were warmongers. After the great chaos of anarchy, the peaceful times was a large contrast for the knights. Too disparate for some to handle.

While Zara found his work to be grand, others knew that the empire was moreso. An expanse stretching along the eastern borders of Valoran was all the domain of the lost empire. While some were appreciative of the kind acts of Zara, others found he pushed too far. Some thought him a great king, others believed him a weak replacement. With that, the story fades into darkness. A darkness I cannot remember.

Conquering the Abyss


Light shimmers and refracts upon my gaze...

Where am I?

It is cold and heavy. Drifting toward a dark place.

This place is wet and flowing. Is it the ocean? No, no. I would be drowning. Unless...

Mana? No way, I would be rising rather than falling as mana is heavier. Much heavier, I would know. Falling? Ah, yes it is I who drifts toward the abyss. I'll wade in these waters soon enough, but I can't.

My arms? I move, yet I do not move. I gaze around me. Fish. Yes, I must be in the ocean deep. However, that is a big fish. A really big fish. In fact, it's almost as if-

"Holy shit! A fish is on my arm!"

I yell, but I cannot hear. Nobody can hear. I'm alone. Well, except for this fish.

Is this how I die? Drowning into the abyss, with a fish.

No. I'm in the ocean, deep within. Yet I do not drown. I had a fish gnawing away at my flesh. Yet I did not notice. Thus I cannot die, I will not drown, and I cannot lose. Especially when-

"I eat fish like you for breakfast!" Clamoring to reach my sword as an explosion of light fills the expanse of darkness with a blue luminosity, I look the fish dead in its dead fish eye.

Wait, dead fish eye? This fish is dead, yet it is alive and gnawing as I bash it ruthlessly with my sword. Slicing it's fins, tearing its cartilage, making sashimi from this dead fish until finally, it lets go.

The fish crashes into the abyss as I stand beside it. Bubbles soar towards the surface as I let out a sigh. I stare upward at the fading light, my newfound destination. Stuck in a crevice, the only way to go is up. However, it will not be easy.

I'll need to conquer these seas to rise up. That won't be hard. I did not die. I did not drown. I did not lose.

So I take up my sword, tip my broken crown to the shark that challenged me, and I move forward--toward the accursed fish that I see in the dying of the light.

Runic Affinity


"Accursed fool..." I muttered to myself, as I set up runes to cross the Serpentine River. "Thinking that the World Rune would protect his tribe forever." Glancing over at my glowing satchel I let out a sigh. "This kind of power will only backstab anyone who tries to tame it."

Completing the inscription, I grab my satchel to place the World Rune in a place where nobody can find it. However, as I held the satchel, I could not help but remember those I have left behind as I look back, towards the Freljord. Looking ahead, I see the river and think, "This crossing would only be able to fit five anyways. Plus, I cannot have anyone stealing the World Runes during the pass."

Before I can get into position, I feel a rumble. The rumble grows louder each passing moment.

"An earthquake, in Kaladoun? No, that's impossible. However if it's coming from the ocean-" I panic and scramble to set up a barrier. If a tsunami truly was coming, it would be coming fast and there would be no time to run. As I finish my barrier and step inside, a wave of dread fills my soul as I see the surface of the ocean resonate with a circular expansion. I take my stance as the head of a leviathan breaks the surface.

"By the scrolls, what is a leviathan doing this close to the shore?" I exclaim as I blast an arcane bolt at the leviathan, but the leviathan continues to rise with an amplifying quake each passing moment. As I barrage the monster with a flurry of my arcane prowess, I cannot help but wonder, "Why does this leviathan not recoil?" As I ponder upon this, I find that the leviathan is lying on top of another rising object. Trying to discern what it is, the quaking amplifies as I finally bear witness to a massive clouded eye.

"A whale?!"

I fall in complete awe as I see the corpse of a whale rising alongside the leviathan. Upon further examination, even the leviathan was long been dead. Beyond the whale, I witnessed the crushed remains of sharks, giant squids, Kraken, etc. Once the stacked remains rose to as high as a mountain, it crashed upon the shoreline. A crater was formed on the marshland in its wake. I could not help but barf in utter disgust of the putrid flesh that lied before me.

"Where could I sell these?" An unknown voice asks. I look around me to see that a ghastly being snuck up behind me. I scrambled into a battle stance as quickly as possible, but- "Woah, woah! I don't mean any harm." the ghoul interjects. "I just want to know where I could sell these... fish."

Composing myself I replied, "Sorry, but I highly doubt anyone would buy those things."

"Ah..." The ghoul releases with a disappointed sigh. "I figured as much. Who would even want to eat this junk?"

"Eat?!" I exclaim in total surprise. "I thought you were going to sell this as game, trophies for collectors."

"Oh, right," the ghoul affirms. "I could have done that couldn't I?"

As the ghoul examined the fishes, I took time to examine his form. The ghoul bore a broken crown alongside a sword he began poking the fishes with, I assume both eroded from the ocean. Despite his absent-minded disposition and rugged clothing, an aura of regal might emanates from his ghastly outlook. It comes to at no surprise to me due to the mighty strength I stand witness to, as he rummages through the flesh, carrying whole sharks with one arm as the other dangling arm fell off. Wait a second.

"Hey." I call out to the ghoul.

"Yeah?" he replies.

"Well, your arm..."

"What about it?" he questions further.

"It fell."

"Fell?"

"Well, fell off."

"Oh!" the regal ghoul chortles. "Don't worry about that, it's useless anyways."

Silence in disbelief, I can only shake my head. Suddenly, I notice something peculiar--something dangerous.

"Hey-"

"Zara," he replies, " and you are?"

"Ryze Ryze." I reply to the sudden introduction.

"Ryze Ryze, I see. Okay, go on."

"May I have a look at your crown?"

A sharp silence cuts between us as he ponders. Did I push too far? To incur the wrath of this being would be the end of me. Despite my worries, Zara removes his crown. "I don't see what could spark your interest about this rusty old thing, but go ahead."

Zara passes the crown to me and I touch the jewel within. It is faint, cold, but alive.

"If it does not trouble you, I would like for us to go to my study," I offer to Zara to further examine this crown.

"That's fine with me, I don't have a destination anyways." Zara accepts as he tears away a freshly killed shark. "Can I bring this?"

I nod as I change the destination of the runes to the Freljord. Beckoning Zara inside, I begin the channel to the other realm. I must verify the integrity of the crown. Zara may be a mighty foe, but if it comes to it, I will face him head on. Else the World Rune, that is his crown, may spark another disaster.


Following the strange blue man as we crossed into another dimension, I could not help but wonder who he may be. In any case, he is the only lead I have for understanding this predicament. My head starts pounding as I come to realize, I've transformed. I am no longer the man I once was, but what does it matter if I cannot remember? If only I could remember...

The man, named "Ryze Ryze," threw his satchel into the unknown plane which seemed fizzled out of existence and at the very next moment, the blistering winds bombards us relentlessly. Just when I was getting used to the warmth of the bogs, I now have chills coursing through my soul. Suddenly, Ryze Ryze hands me back my crown. As I don my broken crown, I can feel the chills dissipating until the air no longer feels windy. Ryze Ryze gives me a strange look and then continues forward to what seems like an out of place library.

Escaping the from the cold blizzard and entering with the rune wizard, I fathom the architecture of the vast library. From the outside, it did not seem like much. However entering inside, the whole mountain the library was enclosed in was the library itself. Shelves expanding all around the cavern and rising as high as the peak. The regal beauty reminded me of home, wherever that is.

"Zara," Ryze Ryze calls out to me,
Ryze.spellR5
"Let's go, let's go!"

I rush over to see Ryze Ryze, surveying a large scroll that he laid onto the table. It contained elaborate constellations, painted stories, branching paths, cogent equations, etc. The formatting of these scrolls give fond memories of lessons about mana.

Examining me and then the scroll Ryze Ryze arrived at a conclusion, "I knew it." Ryze Ryze's gaze fixated on a constellation of a broken crown, warped by a mysterious mist.

Looking back at me he asked, "For further confirmation, can you tell me the name of your sword?"

"My sword?"

"Yes, your blade." Ryze Ryze probed.

"Well, I'm a king."

"Right, I could guess from the crown."

"My crown has a crack in it."

"That's right."

"So it's ruined."

"Yes, we established that already."

"So that means this blade..."

Ryze.attack6
"Come on already!"

"Is the Blade of the Ruined King item.png Blade of the Ruined King."

...

A deafening silence cuts between the two of us.

"You're joking right?" Ryze Ryze asks to break the silence.

"Of course I am!"

Ryze Ryze shakes his head in a display of extreme irritation.

"The point I'm trying to make is that this is no magical sword." I explain in an attempt to ease his frustration. "It's simply one of the many ornate swords from my kingdom. Outside of looking fancy, which it does not even accomplish anymore, it is just a brutish weapon."

"Well, even so. There is more than enough proof with the crown itself." Ryze Ryze proclaims, "This crown has a World Rune."

"What in the world is that?"

"It is a very dangerous artifact." Ryze explains. "This has cataclysmic power that has the potential to reshape, no, destroy all of Runeterra."

"WOAH! Are you sure this crown can do all of that?"

"I'm positive." Ryze Ryze reassures me with the grave front he is showing me. "I've seen its power before."

"Well, you can keep your apocalyptic-"

"But..." Ryze Ryze interrupts me as I began removing my crown. "I fear that it may come at a great sacrifice to you."

Downtrodden by the might of the crown, I release my hand and ask Ryze Ryze, "What do you mean by that?"

"There seems to be a significant connection between you and the World Rune." Ryze Ryze explains as he studies the scroll. "Normally, ghouls become insane after their revival. Which is why I have been very cautious on our first encounter."

"Oh, I apologize for that."

"No need for apologies, you were not insane so that is a good thing," Ryze Ryze assures me. "However, that is exactly what is peculiar. You should have gone insane, but it is as if the World Rune is protecting your sanity."

"What is so strange about that? If the World Rune is protecting me, it would obviously protect my judgement."

"That's what YOU think..." Ryze mutters with as he closes his eyes, as if he was reminiscing on disappointing events. "What actually happens is a corrupt hunger for power overwhelms the user. It causes the most sane minds to plummet into insanity. I was thinking your wild strength came from the combination of the World Rune and being a ghoul, but you could carry that fish of yours perfectly fine without the crown." He states as he points at the huge shark I have been nibbling on throughout the whole conversation.

"Yeah, I guess you could blame it on a primal instinct."

"What do you mean 'primal instinct'?" Ryze Ryze asks to probe for more information.

"Well, I was alive when I should have been dead. So, I knew I needed to live. It's as simple as that." I answer Ryze Ryze while gazing into the dead fish's eye. "Even I couldn't believe my strength. It was as if my will to live became power on its own."

"That's a ghoul's might alright." Ryze Ryze nods his head in self-confirmation. "Unfortunately, I have no experience with dealing with ghouls like you."

"So, you want my crow-"

"YES!" Ryze Ryze exclaims abruptly. "I mean, yes, that would be very helpful."

...

I cannot even reply. My head is pounding with a furious force. The total lack of respect over my belongings, well he did ask first, but now he wants my stuff? My crown of all things? The gall, the impudence...

No way. Did he say what I think he did? You knew I would go crazy, become an insensible monster with this monstrous power of mine. Oh, oh no. Oh, he wants me dead? No. No, he does. Yes. You want me dead. I- no, I don't understand. Why? Wait...

They want to kill me before I become insane? Oh my. No. No! NO! I cannot die. No. Not here. Not now. I cannot, I will not, I am not dying. No, I am dead, how can I die? Did I die? How? Why? Where? I do not understand. Can't wait, must act, must...

Eviscerate the enemy. They want me dead? I'll have their head. No, their heart--their will. Grasp their will in my hand and crush it. Then they will fall. Heartless, bathed in the blood wrought by their own hands. The blood within their own hands. Gouge out the eyes that belittle me. Disembowel those who spat at my feet. Scald those who wish me burn. Then do it all over again. Do it for you? Do it for me? Do it for him? Do it for her.

Her?

Opening my eyes, clouded by the black mist that shrouds this cavern. I bear witness to the ruins of the ancient temple. The temple of knowledge, the library. I gaze up at the crumbling shelves and tumbling books from on high. The flickering flames that illuminated this place have long burned out. The lone light comes from above me. I look up, and it still comes from above me. No, my crown? Yes, my crown. This broken, old thing. A bead of water streams down my cheek as I realize how broken this crown truly is. It is ruined, just like I ruined this place.

" Ryze Ryze" I call out, into the darkness. "I know you can hear me..."

I call out once more, but there is no response. Only the fluttering of pages as they fall from the ceiling. In response, I toss my crown into the strewn pieces of literature along the ground.

"If you want my crown, take it," I holler out into the darkness. "I am no longer a king. I do not even remember the name of the kingdom I ruled any longer."

With a deep breath, "However, before you claim my crown. You must kill me." I request from Ryze Ryze. "The stars and scrolls themselves state that my life would end in ruin. There is no peace for me here."

Coughing hoarsely, I lose my balance and fall to the ground. My hands, chest, no, my entire body is erupting into a black mist. I can clearly see my limbs crumbling before me. I guess this is how it ends. What a pitiful ending, uneventful and melodramatic, although it is an end fit for someone such as myself: The Ruined King.

I close my eyes and await the eternal slumber that befalls me. However, it does not arrive. Rather, I did not arrive. As I slowly peek at what is going on and notice that the mist has ceased its expulsion, the crumbling as well.

"Was my will to die not strong enough?"

"No." A voice from behind states. "My will for you to live is too strong."

I turn my head and see Ryze Ryze as he lets go of the crown that is now on my head.

"Don't toss that around carelessly. It may cause another explosion." Ryze Ryze scoffs at the scene I made. "I must say though, your selflessness is admirable. Everyone I've dealt with so far has given into the power of the World Runes."

"Well, you were right," I stated in reply. "The World Rune definitely does not help with sanity."

"However, you could read the scrolls," Ryze Ryze rebutted as he set up some runes. "The scrolls have always saved me from the influence of the runes, so its no surprise you were saved too."

"Its the one of the reasons I changed my mind."

"Wait, what do you mean Ryze Ryze?" I ask in astonishment.

"Well, this place here..." Ryze Ryze states while directing attention to the entire cavern "Is a very powerful place for someone like me."

"So this was a trap?"

"Yes, but then I realized I could not take you on no matter how hard I tried," Ryze Ryze states in a disappointed manner. "The simple nature of my ability prevents me from doing so."

"The nature?"

"Yes, the World Rune." Ryze Ryze replies while pointing at my crown. "It protects you with a veil that can nullify all the magic I utilize. Watch." Ryze Ryze throws an arcane bolt at me. I flinch as it approaches me, but then it abruptly dissipates.

"As you can see, this is the main reason why I changed my mind." Ryze Ryze bluntly states as he continues to work on the runes. "So, why did you change your mind?"

"What do mean change my mind? Letting this crown go was my original intention," I asked out of confusion.

"Well, it must have been a struggle fighting against both the instincts of a ghoul and the desire of the World Rune simultaneously."

Thinking about it again, it truly was difficult. I normally would have fallen easily into the desires of the World Rune, but...

"I did not come back to life on a conquest for power. I am sure of that. I know how dangerous messing around with power can be." I gaze at the destroyed architecture of the library. "Ah, the magnificence of this shelter from cold air. Something I would expect out of my kingdom."

Downtrodden, I take a deep breath and continue, "Sullied, by the force I possess. I have ruined the one place that feels like home. However, that is not the worst part." I state as Ryze Ryze props his head up in curiosity.

"The worst part is, I think I have done this before."

"What did you do?" Ryze Ryze asks out of curiosity as he finishes the runes.

"I don't know."

"Well, you'll find out soon enough," Ryze Ryze concludes.
Ryze.spellR3
"Come. The runes beckon."

I step into the rune warp without hesitation. I do not know where it goes, but going anywhere is better this mess of a place.

Forged from Sand and Runes


I thought we were going to a better place. How wrong I was. Traveling from blistering winds to scorching sands, the fish is completely baked. I quickly devour the fish as I follow Ryze Ryze across the vast expanse of endless sand dunes. As hot as it may be, it is bearable. Perhaps it is due to this fractured crown I've got on my head. Nevertheless, I grow skeptical as I do not see our destination anywhere in sight.

"Where could you possibly be taking me in this desert wasteland?"

"We're going to the Oasis of Dawn."

"Ah, an oasis! That's refreshing."

"Well, this is not your average oasis. It has rejuvenative and hardening properties for swordsmithing."

"Awesome! I guess this sword of mine won't be so useless after-"

"We're not using that sword."

...

"What?"

"The main goal is not to forge a sword, but rather contain a portable seal."

"A seal? A seal for what?"

"A seal for you."

...

"What?"

"From that incident earlier, I noticed something peculiar." Ryze Ryze states as he turns to me. "In a way, my first hypothesis was correct. You are being protected by the World Rune."

"How is that possible? I went insane!"

"That you did, but it's not your sanity that is being protected. It is your physical form."

...

"What?"

"I went under the false assumption that your ghoulish power was the reason why you are physically stable. However, upon seeing that..." Ryze Ryze shudders for a moment. That was a terrifying experience after all. "I concluded that the ghoulish power within you is voraciously transforming you into a monster. When you utilize your might without the crown, it is extremely draining on your body. As a response, the World Rune gathers mana to quench that ghoulish power."

"Mana..." I muttered. "Could that be what I felt?"

"What is it?" Ryze Ryze probes.

"So, how is a seal going to be good enough for this issue?"

Ryze Ryze grimaces at the question. "I do not know."

...

"What?"

"Ok, you can stop it with that. I'm grasping at straws here." Ryze Ryze lashes out at me. "I just want to avoid a cataclysm and the solution is not as simple as I thought."

"So, what made you think of coming to this bland place?"

"Well..." Ryze Ryze stands on top of a dune and asks, "Would you believe me if I said we are already here?"

I look around and see the same exact barren wasteland. An endless stream of sand dunes supported with the vast white sandstorm that surrounds us.

"You mean, the Oasis of Dawn?"

"That's right."

...

"This isn't refreshing at all!"

"Never said it was." Ryze Ryze states as he slides down the sand dune. "However, does this sandstorm seem peculiar to you?"

"Now that I think about it, this is a fairly white sandstorm," I reply looking him in the eye. "Heck, even though it is raging this much, I can still see you clearly."

"Right you are! That's because this is not a sandstorm." Ryze Ryze proclaims with a smile soon turning into a heavy grimace. "This is a World Rune."

...

"WHAT?!"

"I already told you to stop it with that. This is a World Rune, the only one I let slip past me."

"How could you let this giant slip past you?"

"Simple." Ryze Ryze lets out a sigh and asks, "Can you think of a way to capture this thing?"

I look again at how huge the sandstorm is, engulfing as far as the eye can see.

"Nope."

Ryze Ryze shrugs when I reply. "Neither could I."

"Fair enough." I nod as I scout around. "So this is the Oasis of Dawn, huh?"

"Yes, well specifically that." Ryze Ryze directs my attention to a shallow basin, devoid of any liquid.

I walk to the center of the basin. I finally have a grasp of the situation, and I have a plan.


Zara stood in the center of the basin, pondering on something as he examined the surroundings.

"Mana." Zara mutters as he looks down on the cracked dusty basin with a crestfallen gaze.

Looking to me, Zara asked for reassurance, "So, you said that to quench the thirst of this curse I bear, my crown gathers mana to control it?"

"Well, not so much as control." I replied to the notion that whatever forces he holds could ever be controlled. "Rather, appeasing it so it does not go rabid." As harsh as it sounds, I am relieved that Zara believes it to be a curse rather than a blessing like the others I have encountered with World Runes.

After an eerie pause in discussion, Zara took his crown and said, "Good enough for me," as he laid the crown in the basin. Almost instantaneously, black mist spewed out from Zara's visage and then from the rest of his body.

"Woah! What do you thi-"

I cut off my own statement as I saw the stalwart poise that seemed to emanate from his figure. Zara's figure reminded me of the exaggerated stature of heroes from Demacia, yet his calm disposition in the face of his crumbling life was equivalent to that of an Ionian monk enduring the harsh trials through meditation. This calm manner was further magnified as he took a seat within the dusty confines of the basin. Zara is meditating in the midst of all the chaos. However, I finally could see what he was doing as I looked past the basin and into the storm that surrounded us.

As the storm spewing out of Zara grew violent, the storm enveloping the entire desert regressed into a calmer state. I try to make sense of what is going on, but it is all happening too fast. The sands are shifting, the mist thickens, the basin overflows, but Zara sits still.

"RYZE!" Zara roars with a booming voice that echoes across the dunes.

"Bear witness to a World Rune in its true form."

I have no idea what Zara means, but I can swiftly see something building on the crown. A blue light emanating from the crown with a flowing stream of sand from the storm converging into a crystalline state. A gem of pristine Sapphire Crystal item.png sapphire. It swiftly grows larger, expanding to heights greater than monuments.

"Is this the true form of a World Rune?"

In response, Zara took his moldy ornate sword in the arm he still had and began to chisel the monumental Sapphire Crystal item.png Sapphire Crystal that laid before him.

"What are you doing? You will break the World Rune within!"

"FOOL!" Zara bellows with a sundering voice that caused the dunes to shift.

"Are you too blind to see it? You are well versed with mana are you not?" Zara hollered as he continued to chip the large crystal piece-by-piece.

"I am, but-"

"Then you should very well know this fact." Zara interjected as he cracked a massive piece of the crystal. "The World Rune does not simply gather mana."

With one final blow on the crack Zara proclaimed, "IT IS MANA!" as the tremendous chunk crashed into the ground.

I am completely taken aback by this huge piece of information and how Zara was even aware of it before I ever was, but then I had a terrifying realization.

"Wait, but why are you destroying the World Rune? It prevents that force from overtaking you, why would you go out of your way to destroy it?"

"Destroying? Do you really think that is what I am doing?" Zara asks with a disgruntled tone.

Upon further inspection, all of the Sapphire Crystal item.png sapphire he chipped off disappeared. The only one I saw was the gigantic chunk and it seemed to be shrinking, as if it was dissolving into the basin. Wait, dissolving?

"You are offering your World Rune to the Oasis of the Dawn?"

Zara nods in response, but I cannot understand his logic.

"Why would you do such a thing?" I asked and Zara's visage grew grim. "We are not even sure if the Oasis of the Dawn can even aid you, we don't even know how! Why would you risk your life when we came here to try and save your life?"

Zara ceases his methodical chiseling and a deafening silence cuts between us.

I can't help but feel anguish as I witness what Zara has become. The mist has completely overtaken him. His body is pitch black, and the outlines of his face was not even present--as if the mist devoured his entire head. Zara would not even be able to don the crown that was important enough to be a constellation deemed worthy of the scrolls' recording. I could tell that Zara pinned all of his hopes and dreams into the success of this endeavor. I could tell that Zara is willing to throw his life away for this oasis. I could tell that there something about this that was very important to him. I couldn't tell you what his reason was at the time. However, his answer was something too noble for me to fathom before this event.

"Why would I deny my water to the dying?"

Taken aback by Zara's response, I could only listen as I saw his mist slowly consuming him.

"You said that travelers came to sharpen their blades and heal the wounded." I nod in confirmation. "Where are they now?"

Upon further thought, I did not even think to question why the Oasis of the Dawn became inactive. There were no reports of vandalism and from what I've seen it does not seem like anyone ruined this place but time. It was just the mysterious storm that enveloped this entire land that crumbled the entire nation.

"You may not hear it, but I can." Zara knelt down and pressed his hand on the basin. "The numerous cries of the fallen who have resided here long ago.

"It is horrifying," Zara utters as his stature seems to shudder for a moment.

If I remembered correctly, a vast metropolis used to reside in this area. The scrolls have shown it enveloped in a great storm, could this be what it was referring to?

"However..." Zara carried on, breaking my train of thought. "All of their cries converge here. To this dried up oasis. They are reaching to me, clinging to this basin. Clinging to the one thing that I know very well."

"What is that?" I ask, awaiting his response. Turning to me he says a single word that I expected all too well.

"Hope."

Raising his ornate sword once more, Zara continues to chisel the crystal before him. "Mana may quench my thirst, but mana will sustain their life."

Despite all my worries, I take ease in his bold reason. It is something that I myself have avoided for far too long. Suddenly, I witness perhaps the most divine thing I have ever seen in my entire life. Mana began pouring from the skies above. Drops of light crystalline spheres enveloped in a droplet of liquid mana descending from the sky like Tear of the Goddess item.png tears from the angels above lamenting in the selfless resolve that I have had the fortune to bear witness to. This play that is cast before me reminds me of the resolve I had for my master a long time ago. No, this far transcends that resolve into a need for complete devotion. I would have never expected to find such strong will in a being of the underworld.

As the teardrops fall, I notice something peculiar. They slow down and dissipate into an ethereal vapor until it vanishes from the naked eye. While it may be hidden from my view, I can sense its presence. It surrounds us, filling this shroud with mana in an ever growing density. Soon, the droplets cease their appearance and mana permeates this entire space. I feel a gentle wind brushing against my back, pushing me towards the direction of an exceedingly violent torrent from the converging sandstorm. I bury my feet in the sand to remain steady to cast a spell to root myself in place.

I look towards Zara to see if anything major has changed, but he is still chiseling away at that Sapphire Crystal item.png sapphire. However, it is significantly narrower than before. He is grinding an edge out of it as if it were a blade. I turn back to witness an awe inspiring sight. The storm was converging into a blade jutting out of a gigantic hilt hovering 10 yards above the ground. I bore witness to the same phenomenon in two instances: World Runes being forged into swords. Zara was forging a blade from pristine Sapphire Crystal item.png sapphire. The gods were forging a blade forged from the sandy rune. However, the black mist seemed to dissipate as the behemoth of a sword was being built. The blade stretched from the hilt to the sands below, casting a shadow that could whether a storm for a small caravan. Upon its fuller, I was surprised to find engravings appear on the sword. Ancient engravings that I've seen before. No way. The tremendous blade shone with rune engravings representing a sword of infinite power. It was unlike any other infinity rune I have ever seen. Rather than a blade with infinite precision, this blade focused on the sheer might in size and in scripture.

"Woah, it cleared up in here." Zara commented as the black mist engulfing the basin disappeared.

I almost smiled, but I soon found that Zara was still missing his head. In replacement, a revenant flame resided with no expression. His whole body was tattered and felt transparent as the the eerie light from the flame coursed through his entire body. Zara was even less alive than he was before. Nobody would be able to recognize him, let alone see him as a king. It pained me greatly to discover this. As soon as I find that royalty in Zara as a king, he looks less like one. It reminds me of the sacrifices I needed to make to carry out my quest.

Deciding to inquire his health, I asked, "Are you okay Zara?"

"More or less," Zara swiftly responds as he waves his arm through the flames that now engulf where his head used to be.

"This is actually kind of neat."

I'm disturbed at the relief I get in those words. It is fortunate that Zara doesn't see this as a burden, but it makes me wonder whether or not he realizes that these reckless actions are inching him closer to the beyond. I don't even know why I'm even concerned about his survival when I have no reason to. At least, not until he presents the Muramana item.png blade of pristine mana that he forged.

"Well, are you going to take it?" Zara asks, pushing the sword onto me. "You need to handle this thing right? This big one too. It's kinda heavy though."

As I see the revenant handing me his blade and leaning on the colossal one, I can only imagine his genuine phantasmal smile on his nonexistent face beckoning me to free him from these chains that bind him to this world. To set his soul free. There are many things I do not understand about him. How does he know so much about World Runes? How can he read the scrolls? What kingdom does he hail from? Why did the World Rune of the Oasis of the Dawn come to him? Zara was chosen for this task, but I do not know why. I cannot let him go, not yet.

"You do realize that if I take both of these things, you'll crumble into dust?" I probe in a snide manner.

...

"What?"

While I normally would have chastised him for this, I could not help but burst into laughter upon hearing this response. Zara seemed perplexed, I wish I could see the look on his face. As my laughter subsided, I gazed upon the titanic sword. It is brimming with an extremely tremendous mana densely permeating the claymore.

"How are you even going to handle this thing?" I asked Zara knocking on the sword to verify it filled with extremely dense material.

"Well, it certainly is heavy." Zara states as he walks towards the blade. He grabs hold of one of the sharp ends and raises the blade above the sand. Suddenly, he flings the tremendous sword skybound. As the sword spins in the air it descends upon us like a meteorite. With his arm still raised, Zara catches the blade by the hilt as it crashes down on him, sending a shockwave that blows a crater in the sand and knocks me to the ground.

"It's nothing I can't handle though."

Zara's strength never ceases to amaze me. "Well, I'm pooped so I think I'll do you a favor," I tell Zara as I skim through my ancient textbook.

"Oh and what are you going to do?" Zara asks as he tries to figure out a way to hold his that gigantic sword in a more suitable manner.

As I find the text on the cosmic realm, I answer Zara. "I'm going to show you how I travel through dimensions."

...

"WHAT?!" Zara suddenly drops his the titanic sword, causing a torrent of sand to rise.

"Be careful with that thing! We're going to need it for the trip." I yell as I vigorously rub sand out of my eyes.

"We are leaving already?" Zara asks in a distrodden manner.

"Yes of course we are." I reply, but contrary to my expectations I see Zara gazing back at the Oasis of the Dawn. He examines his the sword he chiseled out of his crown. Then walks towards the basin.

"Wait what are you doing?" I ask in fear of what he's attempting to do with his transformed World Rune.

"I'm making my final offering." Zara replies as he stabs the crystalline sword into the center of the basin.

As soon as he does this, the sword dissolves and the Oasis of the Dawn springs to life as it is filled with mana. Trees and other vegetation grows spontaneously and structures start rising from the sands. Pillars and walls surround us and restructure themselves into ruins adorned with a gigantic circular monument that resembled the sun floating in the air. A wave of fear floods me as I remind myself of the chaotic force of a World Rune.

"What have you done?" I ask as I edge closer to the basin, bolting into a swift hunt for the World Rune that escaped my grasp. I wade through the place where Zara dropped his hand crafted blade to try and find traces of the World Rune, but none were to be found. In my endless despair of chaotic nightmares, with a roar almost as loud as Zara's voice, I yelled in fuming rage,

"WHY?!"

...

"What?"

Locking him down with arcane force I pull him towards me sneering in response, "What? Really now? Did my warnings not permeate through to your head? Not that you have one..." Zara looks at me with a blank face. Too soon. I let him go while undoing the binds. "Don't get me wrong, I came here to protect you, but I did not say you could just throw away a World Rune for another."

After a brief moment of reflection, Zara finally responds, "I am aware."

"So why?" I interject. "Why did you do something this stupid? To save these dead souls? To raise an empire you don't know? To give them a chance that you didn't have?"

"To follow what the scrolls told me."

What? The scrolls? I take a look at the scrolls to grasp what he even means, then I swiftly see the connection. I was traveling through the Freljord to try and decipher the purpose of these constellations after hearing of what occurred at the Mountain Shrines. However, with the events surrounding Zara, it must mean that the World Runes must appear in a reversed order from what is shown in the scrolls. This means that the resurrection of Shurima must be in order. I am completely taken aback by Zara's awareness of this.

"When did you glean this knowledge?" I inquire Zara with curiosity.

"During our time at the library, looking at the scrolls." Zara responded. "The patterns were very familiar to me ever since I was shown this from someone else."

"Who exactly?" I probe even further to try and grasp where he obtained such vast knowledge.

"Hmm..." Zara taps his feet as he raises his arm to his nonexistent head in a very awkward fashion before giving up and then placing it on his hip. "That would be an enigma." He finally responds pointing at me with complete faith in his answer.

...

I was not satisfied. "What?"

Zara laughs and slaps his knee before saying, "Looks like you're saying it too. Well, he claimed to be a prophet for one of the Three Great Kingdoms."

"Wait, you don't mean-"

"It's exactly what I mean. The alliance that brought all of Runeterra together: Shurima, Ionia, and Targo. To commemorate their alliance, they forged a seal crafted from their finest weapons: Zeal item.png Zeal, Sheen item.png Sheen, and Phage item.png Phage."

"Well, Zeal item.png Zeal is no longer a part of it anymore." I interject.

...

"WHAT?!"

"Well, ever since Shurima fell, the production of Zeal item.png Zeal was not enough."

"So what became of the seal then? Don't tell me the name was changed to Trinity Force item.png Duo Force now. That would be incredibly stupid."

"Oh no, they replaced it with another signature item: Stinger item.png Stinger."

"Stinger item.png Stinger? Ah! That is also another blade from Shurima. Well, I'm glad that I'm not completely outdated~!" Zara chortles and I alongside him. The historical knowledge Zara has is completely astounding. It is as if I am speaking to a living scroll. Filled with the purest intent and otherworldly duty, I resolve myself to say:

"Zara, how would you like to learn the arcane arts? I'm going to show you how to travel through dimensions after all."

Zara shoots me a quizzical look and asks, "Aren't I learning just that if I'm learning how to travel through dimensions?"

Forgetting that I suggested that before, I brainstorm an excuse for teaching him, then I reply "Well, I never said I would teach you how, but since you need to learn how to control mana to survive, learning all the arcane arts will help you the most since it directly utilizes mana."

Zara shrugs, "Fair enough. So where do I begin."

"Certainly not in these barren lands, I'll first take you to where I learned the arcane arts myself." As I draw from the Oasis of the Dawn's pure mana to create a monumental rift to the cosmic realm.

"Why so big?" Zara asks. I simply point at his new sword on the ground and he replies. "Oh, right." Before Zara comes into the rift with that monstrous sword of his, he looks back at the large circular monument and says, "I wonder if your empire will be as great as mine." He bolts into the rift before I can respond, so I decide to let the question pass as we go to back to where it all began for me: home--if I can call it that anymore.

The Blue Sea


It's heavy. The whole place is heavy. A realm of cerulean blue where I ride the currents that surround me.

"Going through here never took this long."

"Well this is a special occassion," he answered in reply. I couldn't see the blue man, but I could tell he was somewhere ahead of me.

"Where the heck are you?"

Ryze Ryze popped his head out of the edge of my gargantuan weapon. "I'm over here." As he hangs himself on the edge of my sword, he asks, "What are you all worked up about?"

"Nothing really," I replied, "I was just wondering what you meant about 'special occasion.'"

"Well, let's just say you are my first pupil so to speak." Ryze Ryze declares as he swims towards me. "Somehow I think you may know a bit more than me on some topics. However, I doubt you know about this place at all."

"What is this place anyways?" I ask in response. I feel like I've been through here before, but it was for less than a second.

Ryze Ryze stops to spreads his arms and asks, "Well what do you think this place is?"

"It's blue that's for sure," I answer almost immediately. "However, it's not exactly wet nor is it difficult to breathe."

"You still do that?"

"HAH! I don't even know to be quite honest." I take a second to relish this whimsical feeling and lively energy of this empty blue space. Then it hit me.

"Mana."

"That's right," Ryze Ryze replied almost immediately. Looking upward at the faint vortex in the distance, he continues, "This is a whole expanse filled with nothing but mana."

"So, it's an ocean of mana?"

"Not quite. I'm sure you know that mana is very dense for a fluid, right?"

"Of course, dense enough that almost anything would float straight to the surface."

"Indeed, but tell me, where are we going?"

"We're going up, wait no down. Now, lef- I mean right..." Now that I think about it, we are moving fairly erratically for being in a calm part of this expanse.

"What?"

"Figured you would say that. Essentially, there is no surface here to float to."

...

"WHAT?"

"The traditional expectations of the world simply don't apply here. There is no falling down to the ground, because there is no ground. Also there is no rising up to the surface as there is no surface."

"So what the heck is this place then?"

Ryze Ryze looks at the growing vortex and responds, "I guess I would call this the dumping grounds for mana."

"Where does all this mana even come from then?"

"I'm not quite sure." Ryze Ryze looks at me and continues, "but if I had to guess, I would say it comes from the World Runes."

...

"What?"

"Here is the thing..." Ryze Ryze starts as he is glaring at the raging vortex we are approaching. "I collect World Runes to keep them from harm's way."

"Yep, noble cause if I do say so myself."

"Thanks, so I need to put these World Runes in a safe spot."

"Fair enough."

"However, someplace where I can't entirely understand myself. So I don't have the urge to go out and use that abuse power myself."

"Wait, what place could possibly be out of your reach if you can get- Oh wait."

"This place."

...

"You dumped all the World Runes..."

"Yep."

"In this place."

"Yep."

...

"Wha-ooOAAAHAHHHHHH!!!!"

Pain and Pride


We got caught in the vortex and was flung into a volatile current that resembled a broken spiral attached to a chicken eating orange juice at the lemon barn, crumbling into foreign staves fashioned in oblique fires of coconut bastions of furry portals. At least, that's what I thought when I came to. I found myself in a woodland slope as I stared at a bear that was staring back at me.

That's not good.

I reach for my sword as the bear comes charging towards me. I have no idea why the bear is charging towards me. I also have no idea why I can't reach my sword. I turn around and see trees and rocks. I look the other way and see Ryze Ryze slapping the bear with spells that do little to stop this bear. So I decide to get one of these trees and wack it across the face.

I don't know where the bear went. I don't know where my sword went. I guess I still have this old thing though. Not like it compares to a tree at all.

"What?" Ryze Ryze suddenly says. It appears I am vastly underestimating the ability to just pick uproot a tree.

"Well, I didn't have my sword so I had to use something," I answer to try and explain myself.

Dumbfounded, Ryze Ryze replies, "I wouldn't have thought a TREE was an option."

"Well that's just you. Why did a bear even charge at me though?"

"Oh..." stated in disbelief. A leaf falls as a moth brushes past it. It lands on a rock rolling over to a patch of brown grass. The scarce brown grass was surrounded by green grass that rustles in the wind which causes another leaf to fall on a muddy red puddle.

The moth rests on a log for a moment, but it quickly flutters to a rock as the log is not smooth enough. However, it soon soars over to a leaf deciding the rock was not flaky enough. When the wind blows a bit harder, the moth flies off of the leaf deciding it was not stable enough. The moth simply can't make up its mind, so it rests on a sticky, calcified object alongside a fly that buzzes around eccentrically.

I catch a glimpse of a bead looking at me in the patch of brown grass. Looking under me, I see a large muddy pool of brown grass and what looks like worms and fur. I also see a red puddle right under me.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

The bead looks at me.

I reel back disgust towards Ryze Ryze wiping the guts off my clothes. Completely dumbfounded, I turn towards Ryze Ryze for an explanation.

He can only shrug and say, "You don't mess with family."

I know that all too well. That profound despair mixed with anger, transforming into a vengeful spirit.

Why?

Why do I know this extreme feeling? Perhaps it was because I lost my kingdom. I lost my friends. I lost my family. I lost everything.

"Yeah, that would do it."

"What would do it?" Ryze Ryze asked curious to my thoughts.

"Well I piledrived into a baby cub. I would imagine this would bring an instinctive animosity against me wouldn't you say?"

"No need to complicate it." Ryze Ryze expresses as he turns and walks away from the cliff face. "You killed a bear cub and mama bear got pissed. Simple as that." Ryze Ryze stops suddenly as he stares that the large Utopian city before us. "Then again, I kind of feel for the mama bear."

While scrubbing the congealed blood off of my garments, I walk towards Ryze Ryze to get a better view of this utopia. It is mechanized beyond my comprehension. Back in my day I knew the smiths were working on some interesting little gadgets, but there are gigantic balloons with what looks like people inside. The gears that would fit in the palm of my hand were the size of monuments and buildings that tower towards the clouds. Then again, that came at no surprise to me given Targo easily achieved that with its mountain library. What really surprises me are the foreign things I just can't understand. I would need to get closer to even get a grasp of what these things are.

"So, this is where you learned your magic."

"Technically, yes." Ryze Ryze responded monotonously. "This used to be my home."

"Well then, I'm impressed. I didn't expect your home to be this technological. Then again, I guess you do study quite a lot with all the scrolls and tomes. It would make sense for you to have come here. However, I have yet to see an actual... Um, what do you call it? Ah, gadget! I haven't seen you use any gadgets so I just thought that you came from a standard vill-"

"This isn't my home."

"...age?" I'm stumped. "I thought you said this was your home?"

Ryze Ryze takes a deep breath before replying, "Yes, this used to be my home."

I watch the mechanical balloons soar as I wait for his response. I am getting the vibe that this is a fairly sensitive topic. When Ryze Ryze processed what I said, he finally replied, "You weren't wrong you know."

A bit caught off guard, I ask "Not wrong about what?"

"I did come from a small town village."

Hold on now. I look to the city. I look back at him. I look at the gigantic balloons. I look back at him. I look at the elaborate metropolis. I look back at him.

"I don't know about you, but that..." I abruptly point at what looks like a person floating in the sky within a spherical vessel with gears spinning at the speed of typhoons before I continue by saying, "is not small town."

Ryze Ryze looks at the spherical vessel I am addressing, that now is struggling to keep afloat, but somehow seems to stay in the skies. Ryze Ryze nods before blunting replying with, "I know."

I think my brain just exploded. I don't know for sure though since I haven't got one. Not anymore at least.

Ryze Ryze points at the same vessel and continues. "That-" suddenly the vessel loses its lift and starts wobbling towards the ground. Ryze Ryze is tracking his finger in its path, but not for long.

BOOM!

Okay, I'm positive. My brain just exploded. Cringing a bit, Ryze Ryze awkwardly puts his accusing finger away and continues. "Is not a part of my home."

"Okay, so what the heck is this place then?"

"It's Piltover, a place where magic and technology combine."

"Heh, you didn't need to tell me that. I figured that out out on my own." After all, it's pretty obvious just by looking at it from the mountainside. Ryze Ryze gives me a distraught glare as I finish scrubbing the gore off of me. "Now that the gore is gone, I'm feeling gore-geous!" I could feel the cringe Ryze Ryze felt from that joke as I laughed away. "So, shall we begin our training."

Ryze Ryze shrugs and turns to me in reply, "Sure, let's go."

We move downhill, trying to find a flat cliff we can work with. We settle with the grassy hills due to how jagged these spiky rocks are on all parts of the mountain. Ryze Ryze gives me some Faerie Charm item.png charms. I don the charms, across my body given my lack of a neck to wear as intended, while Ryze Ryze browses his Amplifying Tome item.png book.

"Try this spell," Ryze Ryze suggests when giving the book to me. Browsing it, I see a lot of familiar things.

"Glyphs?" I ask. Ryze Ryze looks a bit flabbergasted when I make this observation. "These, are glyphs right?"

"Yes, yes they are, but how did you know this?"

"The prophet showed me these things," I reply. "However, I never got to use them. As much as I admired mana, I was just not adept to his form of magic."

"Fascinating..." Ryze Ryze states with a gleam of awe from his eyes. "I wish I could have seen this prophet myself. Actually, what was he like?"

"I'm not sure."

...

"Eh, what do you mean you are not sure?" Ryze Ryze implores with great disappointment.

"I mean I don't know much of anything. There are a couple passing memories, but not enough for me to describe to you any personality."

Ryze Ryze gives me a menacing glare and declares, "I highly doubt that."

...

"What makes you say that?"

"Her." Ryze Ryze responds instantaneously, "That was what you said at the library when you came to. So..." Ryze Ryze points a finger at me and asks, "Who is she?"

...

"Not going to talk? Well, I'm sure you can get a grasp of her personality even if you don't confirm it with me. You would not have calmed your ass if you she wasn't at least important enough to understand."

...

"So tell me, why are you hiding these facts from me?" Ryze Ryze probes onwards. "Why do you not trust me?"

...

Why? Huh.

A gentle wind rustles the grass that I step on as I inch closer.

An eagle soars through sky and turns back around, but soars away while I draw near.

Clouds gather round as I come around.

With a thunderous cry, from the skies, I ask Ryze Ryze, "Do you want to die?"

...

I must look a lot more menacing than I intended, given I have a volatile flame spewing from my head and this titanic sword just suddenly crashed behind me. Although Ryze Ryze was just as intimidated as when he first met me, with the load of fishes, he stood strong with a fire in his eyes and proclaimed,

"No, I do not want to die!"

I don't know if the fire from his eyes was a reflection of the fire that is my face, or if it was the fire that represented his spirit.

"I showed you something that I never showed anyone else. I showed you the realm of all World Runes. A source of power that is enough to destroy all of Runeterra. A source of power that can even destroy the moons surrounding us. Do you have any idea why?"

Piquing my curiosity, I ask, "Why?"

"Because I believe in you!" Ryze Ryze declares as he points at me. "I believe in Zara, the reverent revenant who will save the world. Through will, through merit, through destiny. There is only one thing I ask of you..." He jabs his thumb to where his heart lies. "Believe in me. Believe in me, who believes in you."

I don't know if the fire from his eyes was a reflection of the fire that is my face, or if it was the fire that represented his spirit. I was satisfied either way. As it is the fire in his spirit ignited by the flame that is me.

"Good. Good! Yes! I like your resolve, and I have acknowledged it." It's about time I tell him all the things I have hidden. Even from myself.


"So, if you truly desire to know more about me. I require that we be on the same page. So I must ask you some questions before I begin, is that fine with you?"

Ryze Ryze sits on a rock before he answers with, "That is fine."

"Have you ever had a massive loss in your life?"

"I have."

"Did you bear witness to something horrifying so as to cause great calamity with its existence?"

"Indeed, I did."

"Were you the cause of this calamity?"

The vibe changed very swiftly. It's a shame that this is where we differ.

"No."

"Have you ever abandoned those you cherish in order to save one you loved."

"No, I have not."

"Did frustration manifest into a malevolent force that gnaws away at your very life?"

Ryze Ryze cringed a bit before replying, "No."

"So," with I deep sigh I continue by saying, "It seems you can't grasp my scenario very well."

"So it seems." Ryze Ryze replied while scratching his head.

"Now to clarify, I cannot learn how to use the portal unless I tell you some history?"

"Well, I hate to be stingy-" Ryze Ryze says, "Actually that's a lie. It's moreso abusing my rights to satisfy my curiosity."

Well then. I can only shrug and say, "Fair enough. I'll try to be as brief as possible. My kingdom was more like a village transformed into a kingdom."

"Is this why you are..." Ryze Ryze mulls over a thought for a bit and finally states, "Gregarious?"

"HAH! That's rich. Everyone in my village was 'gregarious,' but I was defined more as zealous."

"Zealous. I can see that."

"You better. A long time ago, when I was was not a king, I was dubbed 'Zealous Zara's you know."

"You serious?"

"Nope, but I like to think that." I laugh off Ryze Ryze's menacing glare. "This is where he comes in."

"He?"

"The prophet guy." It's best to just cut to the chase. "Rather I barged into his life. Even when the tribe was settling in, I would see him on occasion. Though, he would really only talk to me."

"Eh, why is that?"

I merely shrug at the question, "It's fairly simple, I was the only one who actively looked for him. He seemed a bit suspicious so I decided to talk to him."

"I wouldn't just go out looking for strangers." Ryze Ryze comments in disbelief.

"Not many would," I affirm. "But I did. Fortunately, he turned out to be a pretty interesting guy. He explored many places and told me extensively about all of them. Most importantly..." I take out my rusty old sword. "He taught me how to strike."

"What? How to strike?"

"Yeah."

"Wouldn't that just mean he told you how to use a sword."

"Eh..." I ponder on it a bit and it didn't really seem like that was the case, "I wouldn't put it that way. What he taught me was fairly basic."

"I see, but what makes it important then?" Ryze Ryze continues asking. I think back to fish.

"Well, I wouldn't be here if I didn't remember this much. Do you remember where you first met me?"

"Yes, it was on the coast of the swamps."

"You did see all the fish I brought, didn't you?" I ask again.

"Obviously, it was towering like a mountain. I can't believe you just left it there."

"Keeping them was secondary. The main point is I killed all of them and dragged their bodies across the entire ocean. Now as you know..." I wave my hand across where my arm should be. "This kind of shut down a long time ago. As such, I had to beat all those colossal monsters with this dinky piece of metal."

"I've heard legends of people doing that, so it's not all too strange."

"Well it's one thing to be fighting them on the surface of the ocean." I state. "It's another thing to be fighting in the abyss, with one thousand tons of water above you. Everything was heavy: swinging that crusty sword, the corpses of fishes I dragged along, and that boundless rage that egged me on."

"You talking about that darkness?"

"Hmm?" I had to think for a second what he was referring to, then I saw that black mist which was seeping out of me. "Yeah, I guess so."

"It seems to seep out every time you think about the past."


"Nah, it's more like whenever I think about that moment," I take a gander at the concern look on Ryze Ryze face. "That darkness, I cannot quite remember."

"How could you not? If it affects you this much that is."

That's a very good question, but "It's because it affects me this much that I cannot remember. Most of the things I do remember are subjective with little context."

"What do you mean by that?"

"Just a bunch of incoherent, emotional trash. A bunch of animosity, guilt, and malevolence. Again, it's way too vague for me to even describe." It was nothing worth discussing just a bunch of voices of antsy vague accusations that are completely baseless. "If I had to describe it, I would say it is something chaotic enough so as to not know anything that's going on."

"Hmm..." It seems that Ryze Ryze is pondering on an idea. I have no clue what could possibly help me organize these chaoti- "Have you tried meditating."

Have I? Actually, I think I haven't. "Well dang, I didn't. I already know how to meditate quite well so just hang on for five seconds."

"Okay, one..."

Dive into the cold void. Rage, rage against the dying of the light. There was nobody "two..." rely on. She was gone. A curse I was holding to try and delay the inevitable. A curse I was holding, as I was holding her arms, trying to stop her from bleeding. It was to no avail. The curse was in her blood, she let me know this. This was too much to simply heal off. Even though I knew this, I had to try.

I had them gather all the sapphires we had. It was time for me to put what he taught me to the test. I closed my eyes as I began the most powerful meditation the universe would probably ever see. Heavy. Extremely heavy. The burden of a thousand tons of mana poured into these gemstones. I opened my eyes and saw these streams of mana seemingly appear from thin air as they wrapped around Ryze Ryze and me. It was beautiful, but not be enough. I could feel it. So "three..." of my finest staff to work on the long term solution.

The little one would go to see if there was a way to cure the poison. A lieutenant stood by me to aid me in nourishment, both for myself and her. I greatly appreciated his work. I knew he did not care at all for the work he was assigned, as I could tell he was more enticed with action, but I'm sure he decided to bear with it to marvel at the magic show I was putting up. The chieftain, who I appointed to maintain our old traditions, would keep the town running. This was all so I could bury all my focus into healing her.

Too much time has passed...

Days became weeks while weeks became months. Time kept ticking and the poison kept striking. I grew weary, very weary. Though not nearly as weary as she. Her health was debilitating by the hour. I could not sleep, I was both restless and devoted to fixing this mess. My only hope was that the little one would return. I hope she returns soon.

cough cough "Zara?"

In what seemed like ages, her consciousness was coming back. Through the exhaustion of this accursed poison, she has yet to utter a single word.

"Hey, what is it dear?"

She looks at me for a few seconds and utters, "You look like shit."

...

"What?"

"I said, you look like-"

"I heard you the first time."

"SHIT!" She yelled anyways. "What you saying, 'wut?' for?"

"Well, you're in worse shape than me in all honesty."

"Hmm..." she ponders on the the thought as she observes all the sapphire crystals strewn across the floor and the hundreds of Rejuvenation Bead item.png beads she is adorned with. "I guess you are right about that at least."

"The queen is awake?" The lieutenant asked as he arrived with more sapphire jewelry.

"Oh, is this that rowdy soldier I keep hearing about?"

He dropped the jewelry and declared, "That's LIEUTENANT as a matter of fact!"

"Hey now, know your manners!" I yelled, but she slaps my hand and says.

"Settle down you bumbling fool. I guess that confirms it though." She looks at him for a couple seconds and says, "I heard from Knight Commander, Demacia, that you are quite harsh in the field."

"Hmph," he snorts, "The fools deserve it for making themselves enemies of the kingdom."

She looks at me. I don't know what to say, so I just shrug. "Hah! Hahahaha. Wow, he really is as crazy as they say."

The lieutenant flushes from embarrassment as she continues laughing at his brash demeanor.

"Okay," she states while chuckling a bit. "Okay, okay, okay. It's okay to be confident. In fact, I encourage it. You know that man keeps going on and on about being bold, brave, and-"

"Just." the lieutenant interrupts. "I heard that too many times to count now."

She nods and continues, "It is a very good moral code, but I don't expect you to forget your roots."

He gave her a quizzical look. I guess I really do need to give a bit of context here. "You see, we care about all of our people." I look at her for confirmation and I affirm when she nods, "Of course we do, it's our duty. We may be masters of this monarchy, but our power is only in our command. So it would make little sense not to care for everything under our command. However, what makes us different from the other kingdoms out there is that we care the most about troublemakers."

"Troublemakers like you." She states towards the lieutenant for emphasis.

"As such, we did a background check and know a bit about your history. Your parents were in the Old Iron Order, weren't they?"

There was no response from the lieutenant and this silence was swiftly becoming eerie.

"While they were alive that is..." She stated. I got her signal that this was a fairly touchy subject so I backed off "four..." now.

"We kept the name, because of them you know: The Iron Order." She coughs a bit, so I clamber across the floor to gather all of the jewels the lieutenant dropped, scrambling to remove the sapphires in order to aid in the healing. "I heard it was a vast kingdom. You know, I can't even imagine it. Ruling over the entire eastern coast. Perhaps I could before, but now that I'm a queen... Well, I just can't imagine how anyone could manage all of that land. Like, holy cow!" "Perhaps it was their steady supply of milk," I suggested sarcastically.

She tilts her head and looks at me quizzically. "What?"

"You know, their milk. From the holy cow."

We all glare at each other for a few moments before I suddenly get a weak punch to the arm. "I heard it is quite divine."

She barrages me with punches until I actually drop the amulet I was attempting to desocket.

She expels a melodramatic sigh as I pick up the amulet. She then directs her melodrama at the poor lieutenant.

"Oh woe is me! Who married he. Who is thee? This clown, this flea. The king is he, the king: crappy."

"HAH!" The lieutenant jeered. "She called you crappy," the lieutenant sneered.

"Don't listen to this banshee. Listen to pappy-

"Listen to pappy? You aren't my pappy! My pappy was strong, unique, and almighty. You are just wrong, too meek, and blighty."

"You think it is okay talk to me that way?"

"It's colloquial I say, for one flamboyant and gay."

I drop my amulet once more. As this Pantaloon chuckles under his breath.

"AHAHAHAHA!" she hollers.

"I'm done."

"He called you GAY!"

"That- That doesn't even make sense," I retort as she struggles to contain herself. It's to no avail as she merely bursts out yet again, slapping her knees to hyperbolize her boisterous demeanor.

"HAHAHAH! *cough* My spleen. *cough cough* Hah... I am dying here." *COUGH COUGH*

"My queen?" He was killing her, in more ways than one.

"Oye! Get some water."

The lieutenant rushes out hurriedly while I pick up the amulet and force the sapphire out.

"Zara..." she mutters while I am trying to resume my meditation and healing. "I really appreciate how much you are helping me."

"It's no probl-"

"However, you really do look like shit," She suddenly interjected. "You should rest, my love."

"What are you talking about..." Before I could reply to her blunt assessment, she is already unconscious. An anchor weighs on my soul. My head sinks as I gently brush her bangs away to rest my head on hers.

"There is no rest without you dear."

"Queen?"

I turn around to see the lieutenant dumbfounded, hands shuddering as he holds a glass cup of water.

CRACK

"Damn..." he says as his hands bleed and the broken shards of glass fall to the ground. "Gods damn it!" He punches the glass shards on the ground. "Why the hell- I was gone for 5 fucking seconds. Fucking, fuck man. I- I-."

"Hey dumbass." I yell to stop his stupid antics. "Get your ass over here."

The lieutenant pauses for a moment and takes a while to collect himself as he slowly edges towards me.

"Come on now. Let me see your hand."

He rushes over and takes out his arm towards me. It twitches in pain as he brings it towards me and I stare at his wounds for a bit.

"Woah," the lieutenant comments as he notices his wounds healing by merely being in my presence. I directed some of my magic towards him. I can't focus all of this magic on her anyways given the sheer volume of the mana flowing around.

"Boss..."

"Call me King," I swiftly correct him.

"Well, King. I'm sorry."

"It's alright," I assure him. "People aren't really used to thinking of me as a king."

"No, not that."

I glance over at him as he averts my gaze by looking at her. "Well, what for then, the broken glass?"

"No- I mean, well that too I guess."

I find it quite strange. Although I have seen this lieutenant quite a bit, never have I seen him like this before.

"I guess..." He finally continues. "I'm sorry about a lot of things."

He looks fairly downtrodden, as if he is encumbered by the burden of guilt. I guess there is a lot going on in his mind, especially with what happened now.

"Don't worry too much about it," I try to cheer him up. "Knight Commander."

He looks perplexed, "How did you know?"

"I actually heard from a while back. When the Demacia fell under siege, you took the initiative to command the ranks."

"Why didn't you mention it then?"

"Well..." I look at her pained expression as she sleeps. "I didn't want to mention it, given how you seemed to be hiding it and she has no idea he joined the martyrdom."

The commander's expression grew even more grim when I said this. "You know I didn't mean it right? I didn't mean any of it."

"Any of what?"

"Well, those insults and well..." the knight commander hesitates to say this. "Calling you gay."

"Heh," I smirk at his meager attempt at an apology. "Don't sweat it, this is the norm for me and her. In fact, I'm glad you caught on. What I don't appreciate is how you are using gay in a negative manner. We have some fine men in our ranks that are gay after all."

...

"You do realize how gay that sounds right?"

"Shut up."

Soon, I fully healed the knight commander's hand and he clenches his fist to see if it's fine, but also in an overbearing sense of guilt and disappointment. "I wasn't gone too long, was I?"

I close my eyes and respond, "No, not at all." I couldn't blame him, it really did feel like...

Lost Homelands


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