- Highest damage output to expect on a single autoattack is 3,067. Utilizing crit damage runes. , 4 , , and full
- The cast time for Archaic Bludgeon is 1 second.
- The interval between disappearing and reappearing with Runic Redux is also 2 seconds.
- 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.
- 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.
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, 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 asand to exemplify this point of high base damage with some like being also designed for . 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 likeand 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. 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 2,700 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 3,000+ critical strike. If , and potentially , 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 and . I want to encourage the more offensive route of 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 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. However, I balanced it in a way that is not too much over a super armored .
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
"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.
"Zara," he replies, " and you are?"
"." I reply to the sudden introduction.
", 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 "," 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, hands me back my crown. As I don my broken crown, I can feel the chills dissipating until the air no longer feels windy. 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," calls out to me, "Let's go, let's go!"
I rush over to see mana., 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
Examining me and then the scrollarrived at a conclusion, "I knew it." 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?"
"Yes, your blade."probed.
"Well, I'm a king."
"Right, I could guess from the crown."
"My crown has a crack in it."
"So it's ruined."
"Yes, we established that already."
"So that means this blade...""Come on already!"
A deafening silence cuts between the two of us.
"You're joking right?"asks to break the silence.
"Of course I am!"
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."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."reassures me with the grave front he is showing me. "I've seen its power before."
"Well, you can keep your apocalyptic-"
"But..."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, "What do you mean by that?"
"There seems to be a significant connection between you and the World Rune."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,"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'?"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 answerwhile 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."nods his head in self-confirmation. "Unfortunately, I have no experience with dealing with ghouls like you."
"So, you want my crow-"
"YES!"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.
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.
"" 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. "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 seeas he lets go of the crown that is now on my head.
"Don't toss that around carelessly. It may cause another explosion."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,"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?" I ask in astonishment.
"Well, this place here..."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,"states in a disappointed manner. "The simple nature of my ability prevents me from doing so."
"Yes, the World Rune."replies while pointing at my crown. "It protects you with a veil that can nullify all the magic I utilize. Watch." 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."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 asprops his head up in curiosity.
"The worst part is, I think I have done this before."
"What did you do?"asks out of curiosity as he finishes the runes.
"I don't know.""Well, you'll find out soon enough," concludes. "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 followacross 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."
"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."
"From that incident earlier, I noticed something peculiar."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."
"I went under the false assumption that your ghoulish power was the reason why you are physically stable. However, upon seeing that..." mana to quench that ghoulish power."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..." I muttered. "Could that be what I felt?"
"What is it?"probes.
"So, how is a seal going to be good enough for this issue?"
grimaces at the question. "I do not know."
"Ok, you can stop it with that. I'm grasping at straws here."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..."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?"
"This isn't refreshing at all!"
"Never said it was."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."proclaims with a smile soon turning into a heavy grimace. "This is a World Rune."
"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."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.
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."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. 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 monumentalthat 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 thehe 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.
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 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. 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 . 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 ghoulish 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 thethat 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 ghoul 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.
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,
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:, , and ."
"Well,is no longer a part of it anymore." I interject.
"Well, ever since Shurima fell, the production of was not enough."
"So what became of the seal then? Don't tell me the name was changed tonow. That would be incredibly stupid."
"Oh no, they replaced it with another signature item:."
"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:? Ah! That is also another blade from
"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...