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New Champion Bios from the Universe page!!!

Hey everyone, Riot has launched a new page called Universe where you can check the stories of every champion (about 7 champions have received new lore)!!!

NOTE: Missing Fizz, seems like his bio has not been updated to remove the references below.

UPDATE: New Color Stories for Caitlyn, Jayce, Orianna and Vi. Updating blog post with new bios and color stories!!!

A lot of champions got their short bios updated and any references to summoners, the Institute of War and the League of Legends were removed. All champions are in alphabetical order. I have compiled them below, old and new:


Retcon

Ahri

Unlike other foxes that roamed the woods of southern Ionia, Ahri had always felt a strange connection to the magical world around her; a connection that was somehow incomplete. Deep inside, she felt the skin she had been born into was an ill fit for her and dreamt of one day becoming human. Her goal seemed forever out of reach, until she happened upon the wake of a human battle. It was a grisly scene, the land obscured by the forms of wounded and dying soldiers. She felt drawn to one: a robed man encircled by a waning field of magic, his life quickly slipping away. She approached him and something deep inside of her triggered, reaching out to the man in a way she couldn't understand. His life essence poured into her, carried on invisible strands of magic. The sensation was intoxicating and overwhelming. As her reverie faded, she was delighted to discover that she had changed. Her sleek white fur had receded and her body was long and lithe - the shape of the humans who lay scattered about her.

However, though she appeared human, she knew that in truth the transformation was incomplete. A cunning creature, she adapted herself to the customs of human society and used her profound gift of beauty to attract unsuspecting men. She could consume their life essences when they were under the spell of her seductive charms. Feeding on their desires brought her closer to her dream, but as she took more lives, a strange sense of regret began to well within her. She had reservations about actions which never troubled her as a fox. She realized that she could not overcome the pangs of her evolving morality. In search of a solution, Ahri found the Institute of War, home of the most gifted mages on Runeterra. They offered her a chance to attain her humanity without further harm through service in the League of Legends.


Unlike other foxes that roamed the woods of southern Ionia, Ahri had always felt a strange connection to the magical world around her; a connection that was somehow incomplete. Deep inside, she felt the skin she had been born into was an ill fit for her and dreamt of one day becoming human. Her goal seemed forever out of reach, until she happened upon the wake of a human battle. It was a grisly scene, the land obscured by the forms of wounded and dying soldiers. She felt drawn to one: a robed man encircled by a waning field of magic, his life quickly slipping away. She approached him and something deep inside of her triggered, reaching out to the man in a way she couldn't understand. His life essence poured into her, carried on invisible strands of magic. The sensation was intoxicating and overwhelming. As her reverie faded, she was delighted to discover that she had changed. Her sleek white fur had receded and her body was long and lithe - the shape of the humans who lay scattered about her.

However, though she appeared human, she knew that in truth the transformation was incomplete. A cunning creature, she adapted herself to the customs of human society and used her profound gift of beauty to attract unsuspecting men. She could consume their life essences when they were under the spell of her seductive charms. Feeding on their desires brought her closer to her dream, but as she took more lives, a strange sense of regret began to well within her. She had reservations about actions which never troubled her as a fox. When she realized she could not overcome the pangs of her evolving morality, Ahri sought out the most gifted mages on Runeterra, in hopes of learning to channel her evolution for good.


Akali

There exists an ancient order originating in the Ionian Isles dedicated to the preservation of balance. Order, chaos, light, darkness -- all things must exist in perfect harmony for such is the way of the universe. This order is known as the Kinkou and it employs a triumvirate of shadow warriors to uphold its causes in the world. Akali is one of these shadow warriors, entrusted with the sacred duty of Pruning the Tree - eliminating those who threaten the equilibrium of Valoran.

A prodigal martial artist, Akali began training with her mother as soon as she could make a fist. Her mother's discipline was relentless and unforgiving, but predicated on the fundamental principle: We do that which must be done. When the Kinkou inducted her into the order at the age of fourteen, she could slice a dangling chain with a chop of her hand. There was no question - she would succeed her mother as the Fist of Shadow. She has had to do much in this role which others might find morally questionable, but to her it is in service of her mother's inviolable doctrine. She now works with her fellows Shen and Kennen to enforce the balance of Valoran. This hallowed pursuit has unsurprisingly led the triumvirate to the Fields of Justice.



There exists an ancient order originating in the Ionian Isles dedicated to the preservation of balance. Order, chaos, light, darkness -- all things must exist in perfect harmony for such is the way of the universe. This order is known as the Kinkou and it employs a triumvirate of shadow warriors to uphold its causes in the world. Akali is one of these shadow warriors, entrusted with the sacred duty of Pruning the Tree - eliminating those who threaten the equilibrium of Valoran.

A prodigal martial artist, Akali began training with her mother as soon as she could make a fist. Her mother's discipline was relentless and unforgiving, but predicated on the fundamental principle: We do that which must be done. When the Kinkou inducted her into the order at the age of fourteen, she could slice a dangling chain with a chop of her hand. There was no question - she would succeed her mother as the Fist of Shadow. She has had to do much in this role which others might find morally questionable, but to her it is in service of her mother's inviolable doctrine. She now works with her fellows Shen and Kennen to enforce the balance of Valoran.


Alistar

As the mightiest warrior to ever emerge from the Minotaur tribes of the Great Barrier, Alistar defended his tribe from Valoran's many dangers; that is, until the coming of the Noxian army. Alistar was lured from his village by the machinations of Keiran Darkwill, General Boram Darkwill's youngest son and commander of the Noxian expeditionary force. When Alistar returned, he found his village burning and his family slain. Bellowing with rage, he charged an entire regiment of Noxus' elite, slaughtering them by the hundreds. Only the intervention of some of Noxus' most skilled summoners checked Alistar's rage. Brought in chains to Noxus, Alistar spent the intervening years as a gladiator in the Fleshing, pitted in endless battle for the entertainment of Noxus' wealthy leaders.

Alistar's once noble soul slowly became twisted, and he would have been driven to insanity if not for Ayelia, a young servant girl who befriended him and eventually arranged for his escape. Suddenly free, Alistar joined the newly formed League of Legends to fight as a champion, hoping to one day exact his final vengeance upon Noxus and find the girl who had renewed his hope. Initially unwilling to cater to his celebrity status as a champion, Alistar has since discovered that there is power in fame, and he has become a vocal advocate for those whom the Noxian government treads upon. He also calls to light things that the Noxian military would prefer remain hidden -- something that has made him very unpopular with Noxus' nobles. His charitable work has earned him several philanthropic awards, which serve as an interesting contrast to the rage and destruction he brings to the League of Legends.

If you intend to grab the bull by the horns as a summoner, Alistar might have something to say about that.


As the mightiest warrior to ever emerge from the Minotaur tribes of the Great Barrier, Alistar defended his tribe from Valoran's many dangers; that is, until the coming of the Noxian army. Alistar was lured from his village by the machinations of Keiran Darkwill, General Boram Darkwill's youngest son and commander of the Noxian expeditionary force. When Alistar returned, he found his village burning and his family slain. Bellowing with rage, he charged an entire regiment of Noxus' elite, slaughtering them by the hundreds. Only the intervention of some of Noxus' most skilled blood mages checked Alistar's rage. Brought in chains to Noxus, Alistar spent the intervening years as a gladiator in the Fleshing, pitted in endless battle for the entertainment of Noxus' wealthy leaders.

Alistar's once noble soul slowly became twisted, and he would have been driven to insanity if not for Ayelia, a young servant girl who befriended him and eventually arranged for his escape. Suddenly free and with no home to return to, Alistar fled, hoping to one day exact his final vengeance upon Noxus and find the girl who had renewed his hope. He did not slink off into the shadows, however, instead becoming a vocal advocate for those whom the Noxian government treads upon. He also calls to light things that the Noxian military would prefer remain hidden – something that has made him very unpopular with Noxus' nobles. His charitable work has earned him several philanthropic awards, which serve as an interesting contrast to the rage and destruction he is known for in battle.


Brand

In a faraway place known as Lokfar there was a seafaring marauder called Kegan Rodhe. As was his people's way, Kegan sailed far and wide with his fellows, stealing treasures from those unlucky enough to catch their attention. To some, he was a monster; to others, just a man. One night, as they sailed through the arctic waters, strange lights danced over the frozen wastes. There was something hypnotic about them; it was something that drew them to it like moths to a flame. Trekking across the frozen waste, they came to a cave covered in ancient runes. The meaning of the runes long lost to them, Kegan led the way inside. There, inside a perfect cage of ice floated a dancing column of flame. There was no way such a thing should be burning, especially not in this place. However, its movement was as hypnotic as a siren's song, captivating and seductive. While the others stayed back, Kegan could not help but approach it while holding out his hand...

That is the last thing Kegan Rodhe remembers, for now his body belongs to Brand. It is a creature of olden times, perhaps even a casualty of the Rune Wars. It is known in ancient texts as the Burning Vengeance. It is a creature of pure fiery hate that exists for no other reason than to lay waste the world of men and yordles. No one is quite sure how Brand found his way to Valoran, but he began his predations at once. Overcome by Demacian forces, he was given a choice: fight within the confines of the League or die. Naturally, he chose to use his destructive powers in the League, for now...


In a faraway place known as Lokfar there was a seafaring marauder called Kegan Rodhe. As was his people's way, Kegan sailed far and wide with his fellows, stealing treasures from those unlucky enough to catch their attention. To some, he was a monster; to others, just a man. One night, as they sailed through the arctic waters, strange lights danced over the frozen wastes. There was something hypnotic about them; it was something that drew them to it like moths to a flame. Trekking across the frozen waste, they came to a cave covered in ancient runes. The meaning of the runes long lost to them, Kegan led the way inside. There, inside a perfect cage of ice floated a dancing column of flame. There was no way such a thing should be burning, especially not in this place. However, its movement was as hypnotic as a siren's song, captivating and seductive. While the others stayed back, Kegan could not help but approach it while holding out his hand...

That is the last thing Kegan Rodhe remembers, for now his body belongs to Brand. It is a creature of olden times, perhaps even a casualty of the Rune Wars. It is known in ancient texts as the Burning Vengeance. It is a creature of pure fiery hate that exists for no other reason than to lay waste the world of men and yordles. No one is quite sure how Brand found his way to Valoran, but he began his predations at once.


Cho'Gath

There is a place between dimensions, between worlds. To some it is known as the Outside, to others it is the Unknown. To those that truly know, however, it is called the Void. Despite its name, the Void is not an empty place, but rather the home of unspeakable things - horrors not meant for minds of men. Cho'Gath is a creature born of the Void, a thing whose true nature is so awful most will not speak its name. Its fellows have been poking at the walls that divide dimensions for a crack, a way into Runeterra, where they can visit their own personal paradise of horror upon the world. They are called the Voidborn, creatures so ancient and terrible that they have been removed from history altogether. It is rumored that the Voidborn command vast armies of unspeakable creatures on other worlds, that they were once driven from Runeterra by powerful magic lost to antiquity.

If such tales are true, then the rumors that follow must be equally true - that one day, the Voidborn will return. Even now, something dark stirs in Icathia, perverting the summoning rituals of the League to allow the presence of Cho'Gath. It is an alien creature of malice and violence, a thing that causes all but the most stalwart to cringe in fear. Cho'Gath even appears to feed on its predations, growing and swelling as it gorges itself. Worse yet, the creature is intelligent, perhaps greatly so, making most wonder how such a monster could be contained. Fortunately, the power of the League's summoning has confined Cho'Gath's presence exclusively to the League of Legends. It is here that summoners use Cho'Gath's Voidborn abilities to help decide the fate of Runeterra. The Terror of the Void knows what fate it would choose for Runeterra, given half the chance.

Woe betide the day when Cho'Gath grows weary of the League.


There is a place between dimensions, between worlds. To some it is known as the Outside, to others it is the Unknown. To those that truly know, however, it is called the Void. Despite its name, the Void is not an empty place, but rather the home of unspeakable things - horrors not meant for minds of men. Cho'Gath is a creature born of the Void, a thing whose true nature is so awful most will not speak its name. Its fellows have been poking at the walls that divide dimensions for a crack, a way into Runeterra, where they can visit their own personal paradise of horror upon the world. They are called the Voidborn, creatures so ancient and terrible that they have been removed from history altogether. It is rumored that the Voidborn command vast armies of unspeakable creatures on other worlds, that they were once driven from Runeterra by powerful magic lost to antiquity.

If such tales are true, then the rumors that follow must be equally true - that one day, the Voidborn will return. Even now, something dark stirs in Icathia. Cho'Gath, an alien creature of malice and violence, causes all but the most stalwart to cringe in fear. Cho'Gath even appears to feed on its predations, growing and swelling as it gorges itself. Worse yet, the creature is intelligent, perhaps greatly so, hinting at the sentient horror of the Void.


Corki

When Heimerdinger and his yordle colleagues migrated to Piltover, they embraced science as a way of life, and they immediately made several groundbreaking contributions to the techmaturgical community. What yordles lack in stature, they make up for with industriousness. Corki, the Daring Bombardier, gained his title by test-piloting one of these contributions - the original design for the Reconnaissance Operations Front-Line Copter, an aerial assault vehicle which has become the backbone of the Bandle City Expeditionary Force (BCEF). Together with his squadron - the Screaming Yipsnakes - Corki soars over Valoran, surveying the landscape and conducting aerial acrobatics for the benefit of onlookers below.

Corki is the most renowned of the Screaming Yipsnakes for remaining cool under fire and exhibiting bravery to the point of madness. Before the League, he served several tours of duty, often volunteering for missions that would take him behind enemy lines, either gathering intelligence or delivering messages through hot zones. He thrived on danger, and enjoyed nothing more than a good dogfight in the morning. More than just an ace pilot, Corki also made several modifications to his copter, outfitting it with an arsenal of weapons which some speculate were more for show than functionality. When open hostilities ceased as part of the agreement surrounding the formation of the League, Corki was forced into a retirement, which he felt cut the engines and clipped the wings. He tried to make do with stunt flying and canyon running, but it was never the same without the refreshing smell of gunpowder streaking through the air around him. When Heimerdinger joined the League of Legends, it was no surprise to see Corki follow soon after, eager to test his mettle against the best the world has to offer.

He is Corki - death from above!


When Heimerdinger and his yordle colleagues migrated to Piltover, they embraced science as a way of life, and they immediately made several groundbreaking contributions to the techmaturgical community. What yordles lack in stature, they make up for with industriousness. Corki, the Daring Bombardier, gained his title by test-piloting one of these contributions - the original design for the Reconnaissance Operations Front-Line Copter, an aerial assault vehicle which has become the backbone of the Bandle City Expeditionary Force (BCEF). Together with his squadron - the Screaming Yipsnakes - Corki soars over Valoran, surveying the landscape and conducting aerial acrobatics for the benefit of onlookers below.

Corki is the most renowned of the Screaming Yipsnakes for remaining cool under fire and exhibiting bravery to the point of madness. He served several tours of duty, often volunteering for missions that would take him behind enemy lines, either gathering intelligence or delivering messages through hot zones. He thrived on danger, and enjoyed nothing more than a good dogfight in the morning. More than just an ace pilot, Corki also made several modifications to his copter, outfitting it with an arsenal of weapons which some speculate were more for show than functionality. When open hostilities ceased, Corki was forced into a retirement, which he felt cut the engines and clipped the wings. He tried to make do with stunt flying and canyon running, but it was never the same without the refreshing smell of gunpowder streaking through the air around him.


Janna

There are those sorcerers who give themselves over to the primal powers of nature, forgoing the learned practice of magic. Such a sorceress is Janna, who first learned magic as an orphan growing up amidst the chaos that is the city-state of Zaun. Janna eked out what living she could on the streets. Life was tough and dangerous for the beautiful young girl, and she survived by her wits, and by stealing when wits weren't enough. The rampant magic that characterizes Zaun was the first and most alluring tool which Janna realized could both protect and elevate her. Janna discovered that she had an affinity for a particular type of magic - the elemental magic of air. She mastered her studies of air magic in a matter of months, almost as if she was born of it. Janna went from a street vagrant to an avatar of the air virtually overnight, stunning and surpassing those who taught her. Such a rapid ascension also changed her physical appearance, giving her an otherworldly look.

Seeking to right the injustice in the world (particularly the insanity that has become the city of Zaun), Janna has brought her talents to the League. She is a voice for the regulation of magical experimentation and a supporter of the development of techmaturgy, making her an indirect ally of the city-state of Piltover and the amazing techmaturgical minds that live there. Janna is also a new favorite of the League's many fans. She is often the center of attention at functions, fan appreciation days, and other celebratory events. There is something untouchable about Janna, however, and her affections can change as quickly as the wind.

Do not be captivated by Janna's beauty. Like the wind, she is one gust away from terrible destruction.


There are those sorcerers who give themselves over to the primal powers of nature, foregoing the learned practice of magic. Such a sorceress is Janna, who first learned magic as an orphan growing up amidst the chaos of Zaun. Janna eked out what living she could on the streets. Life was tough and dangerous for the beautiful young girl; she survived by her wits, and by stealing when wits weren't enough. The unchecked magic that characterizes Zaun was the first and most alluring tool which Janna realized could both protect and elevate her. Janna discovered that she had an affinity for a particular type of magic – the elemental magic of air. She mastered her studies of air magic in a matter of months, almost as if she was born of it. Janna went from a street vagrant to an avatar of the air virtually overnight, stunning and surpassing those who taught her. Such a rapid ascension also changed her physical appearance, giving her an otherworldly look.

Seeking to right the injustice in the world (particularly the insanity of Zaun), Janna uses her talents to influence change where she can. She is a voice for the regulation of magical experimentation and a supporter of the development of techmaturgy, making her an indirect ally of Piltover and the amazing techmaturgical minds that live there. She is often the center of attention at functions, fairs of invention, and other celebratory events. There is something untouchable about Janna, however, and her affections can change as quickly as the wind.


Kayle

In a world far away where an ancient war still rages, Kayle was a great hero - the strongest of an immortal race committed to destroying evil wherever it could be found. For ten thousand years, Kayle fought tirelessly for her people, wielding her flaming sword forged before time itself. She shielded her delicate features beneath her enchanted armor, the sole remaining masterpiece of an extinct race of craftsmen. Though a beautiful, striking creature, Kayle, now as then, avoids showing her face; war has taken a terrible toll upon her spirit. In her quest for victory, she sometimes would try to lift the wicked up from their morass of evil, but more than often she instead purged those she herself deemed beyond redemption. To Kayle, justice can so often be an ugly thing.

Ten years ago, Kayle's war against evil was nearly won... until her rebellious sister Morgana, a pariah amongst their people, suddenly gained powerful new allies: magicians of a hitherto unknown world called Runeterra. Morgana traded servitude to a number of the summoners in Runeterra's League of Legends for powerful new abilities that, if mastered, threatened to bring Kayle and her people to their knees. To save her world, Kayle had no choice but to make a pact with the League herself. She approached the leader of the League, High Counselor Reginald Ashram, with a deal of her own. In exchange for a thousand years of Kayle's service, Ashram halted all League interference on Kayle's world. With Ashram's disappearance five years ago, Kayle has new causes on Valoran: find out who or what caused Ashram to disappear, defeat her sister Morgana upon the Fields of Justice, and bring her own brand of justice to the League of Legends.


In a world far away, where an ancient war still rages, Kayle was a great hero – the strongest of an immortal race committed to destroying evil wherever it could be found. For ten thousand years, Kayle fought tirelessly for her people, wielding her flaming sword forged before time itself. She shielded her delicate features beneath her enchanted armor, the sole remaining masterpiece of an extinct race of craftsmen. Though a beautiful, striking creature, Kayle, now as then, avoids showing her face; war has taken a terrible toll upon her spirit. In her quest for victory, she sometimes would try to lift the wicked up from their morass of evil, but more than often she instead purged those she herself deemed beyond redemption. To Kayle, justice can so often be an ugly thing.

Ten years ago, Kayle's war against evil was nearly won... until her rebellious sister Morgana, a pariah amongst their people, suddenly gained power which threatened to bring Kayle and her people to their knees. To save her world, Kayle had no choice but to turn her fiery blade toward her own sister, disowning her, and drawing the line forever between them.


Kennen

There exists an ancient order originating in the Ionian Isles dedicated to the preservation of balance. Order, chaos, light, darkness -- all things must exist in perfect harmony for such is the way of the universe. This order is known as the Kinkou and it employs a triumvirate of shadow warriors to uphold its causes in the world. Kennen is one of these shadow warriors, entrusted with the sacred duty of Coursing the Sun - tirelessly conveying the justice of the Kinkou.

Kennen was born in Bandle City and it was said that in his first living moments he bolted first from the womb and second from the midwife who delivered him. His parents had thought that he would outgrow his boundless energy, but as he matured his energy found no limits and was matched only by his unnerving speed. Despite his astonishing gifts, he remained unnoticed (or at least uncaught, as he was quite the prankster) until, on a dare, he ran straight up the great outer wall of the Placidium. When word of this feat reached Kinkou ears, Kennen was quickly and quietly brought in for an audience. He found that the role of the Heart of the Tempest suited him, frenetically delivering both the word and the punishments of the Kinkou across the realm. He now works with his fellows Akali and Shen to enforce the balance of Valoran. This hallowed pursuit has unsurprisingly led the triumvirate to the Fields of Justice.


There exists an ancient order originating in the Ionian Isles dedicated to the preservation of balance. Order, chaos, light, darkness -- all things must exist in perfect harmony for such is the way of the universe. This order is known as the Kinkou and it employs a triumvirate of shadow warriors to uphold its causes in the world. Kennen is one of these shadow warriors, entrusted with the sacred duty of Coursing the Sun - tirelessly conveying the justice of the Kinkou.

Kennen was born in Bandle City and it was said that in his first living moments he bolted first from the womb and second from the midwife who delivered him. His parents had thought that he would outgrow his boundless energy, but as he matured his energy found no limits and was matched only by his unnerving speed. Despite his astonishing gifts, he remained unnoticed (or at least uncaught, as he was quite the prankster) until, on a dare, he ran straight up the great outer wall of the Placidium. When word of this feat reached Kinkou ears, Kennen was quickly and quietly brought in for an audience. He found that the role of the Heart of the Tempest suited him, frenetically delivering both the word and the punishments of the Kinkou across the realm. He now works with his fellows Akali and Shen to enforce the balance of Valoran.


LeBlanc

Every city has its dark side, even one whose reputation is already of a questionable hue. Noxus - though its name is already invoked with a mixture of reverence and revulsion - is no exception to this simple truth. Deep within the winding dungeons that honeycomb the earth beneath its dark, meandering streets lies the real underbelly of this sprawling metropolis, a haven for all manner of malevolence. Amongst the cults, covens, and secret societies that call this labyrinth their home, LeBlanc, the Deceiver, presides over the Black Rose, a remnant from a lost, yet similarly unscrupulous time in Noxian history. Ruthless and seemingly ageless, LeBlanc and her ilk were a mainstay in Noxian political affairs during the era before the militarization of the Noxian government. In those days, this guild of powerful magicians met in secret to further their hidden agenda, and to hone a craft more subtle than that preferred by those currently in power.

While their exact motives have always remained mysterious, it was widely believed that the Black Rose was the true power behind the throne while the aristocracy still reigned in Noxus. When raw martial prowess became the ultimate determination of whose will held sway in the Empire, the Black Rose seemed to vanish overnight. Many believed that perhaps their time had simply passed, and that its members had put aside their quests for social and political dominance. When LeBlanc reemerged at the gates of the Institute of War, however, it became clear that these masters of shadow and flame had simply been biding their time, waiting for a new global authority to emerge: the League of Legends.


Every city has its dark side, even one whose reputation is already of a questionable hue. Noxus - though its name is already invoked with a mixture of reverence and revulsion - is no exception to this simple truth. Deep within the winding dungeons that honeycomb the earth beneath its dark, meandering streets lies the real underbelly of this sprawling metropolis, a haven for all manner of malevolence. Amongst the cults, covens, and secret societies that call this labyrinth their home, LeBlanc, the Deceiver, presides over the Black Rose, a remnant from a lost, yet similarly unscrupulous time in Noxian history. Ruthless and seemingly ageless, LeBlanc and her ilk were a mainstay in Noxian political affairs during the era before the militarization of the Noxian government. In those days, this guild of powerful magicians met in secret to further their hidden agenda, and to hone a craft more subtle than that preferred by those currently in power.

While their exact motives have always remained mysterious, it was widely believed that the Black Rose was the true power behind the throne while the aristocracy still reigned in Noxus. When raw martial prowess became the ultimate determination of whose will held sway in the Empire, the Black Rose seemed to vanish overnight. Many believed that perhaps their time had simply passed, and that its members had put aside their quests for social and political dominance. When LeBlanc reemerged at the gates of Noxus, however, it became clear that these masters of shadow and flame had simply been biding their time, waiting for a new global authority to emerge.


Lulu

Perhaps more than any other champion in the League, Lulu marches to the beat of her own drum. During her youth in Bandle City, she spent most of her time wandering alone in the forest or lost in a daydream. It wasn't that she was antisocial; the day-to-day bustle of Bandle City just couldn't compete with the vibrant world of her imagination. She saw wonder in places most people overlooked. This was how she found Pix, a fae spirit, pretending to be stuck in a birdhouse. Lulu's imagination distinguished her to Pix and he seized the opportunity to lure her into his world. He brought her to the Glade, the enchanted home of the fae, which lay nestled in a clearing in the woods. There the rigid properties of the outside world - things like size and color - changed as frequently and whimsically as the direction of the wind. Lulu felt at home in the Glade and she lingered there with Pix, fascinated by this secret place.

She quickly lost track of time. Her life in the Glade was comfortable and natural. She and Pix played fae games together, the sorts of games that she had been told were make believe... and she got exceedingly good at them. It caught her by surprise when she suddenly remembered that she had left a life behind in Bandle City. The Glade had a way of making everything outside seem distant and surreal. Lulu decided to revisit her former home, to share some of the lovely things she'd learned, but when she and Pix returned the world had changed. Time, she discovered, was another property that behaved differently in the Glade, and centuries had passed while she was away. Lulu sought to reconnect to the residents of the outside world but her attempts had unfortunate results. She led all the children off to play hide and seek, temporarily changing them into flowers and animals to spice up the game, but their parents didn't appreciate her efforts. When the yordles insisted that she leave their land, she turned to a vibrant magical place where those with unusual gifts were not just accepted but adored: the League of Legends.


Perhaps more than any other Yordle, Lulu marches to the beat of her own drum. During her youth in Bandle City, she spent most of her time wandering alone in the forest or lost in a daydream. It wasn't that she was antisocial; the day-to-day bustle of Bandle City just couldn't compete with the vibrant world of her imagination. She saw wonder in places most people overlooked. This was how she found Pix, a fae spirit, pretending to be stuck in a birdhouse. Lulu's imagination distinguished her to Pix and he seized the opportunity to lure her into his world. He brought her to the Glade, the enchanted home of the fae, which lay nestled in a clearing in the woods. There the rigid properties of the outside world - things like size and color - changed as frequently and whimsically as the direction of the wind. Lulu felt at home in the Glade and she lingered there with Pix, fascinated by this secret place.

She quickly lost track of time. Her life in the Glade was comfortable and natural. She and Pix played fae games together, the sorts of games that she had been told were make believe... and she got exceedingly good at them. It caught her by surprise when she suddenly remembered that she had left a life behind in Bandle City. The Glade had a way of making everything outside seem distant and surreal. Lulu decided to revisit her former home, to share some of the lovely things she'd learned, but when she and Pix returned the world had changed. Time, she discovered, was another property that behaved differently in the Glade, and centuries had passed while she was away. Lulu sought to reconnect to the residents of the outside world but her attempts had unfortunate results. She led all the children off to play hide and seek, temporarily changing them into flowers and animals to spice up the game, but their parents didn't appreciate her efforts. When the Yordles insisted that she leave their land, she left to seek out a vibrant magical place where those with unusual gifts were not just accepted but adored.


Malzahar

Many men have gone mad beneath the glare of the Shurima sun, but it was during the night's chilling embrace that Malzahar relinquished his sanity. Malzahar was born a seer, blessed with the gift of prophecy. His talent, though unrefined, promised to be one of Runeterra's greatest boons, but destiny plotted him another course; his sensitivity to the roiling tides of fate allowed other, unwelcome things to tug at his subconscious mind. In his dreams, where the veil of separation is thinnest, a sinister thing beckoned. For some time, Malzahar was able to resist its prodding solicitation, but with each passing night the voice grew louder, or perhaps deeper, until he could withstand the call no more.

He ventured into the desert without supplies, drawn by the lure of a specious charm. His destination: a lost civilization to the east, known to ancient texts as Icathia. Few believed such a place ever existed, and those who did were certain that the sands had long since devoured whatever remained. When Malzahar's cracked feet finally failed him, he found himself kneeling at the base of a bizarre crumbling obelisk. Beyond it lay the alien geometry of a ruined city and the giant decaying idols of dark and horrific gods. His eyes, seeing what others cannot, and what none should, were filled with the essence of the Void. His once shifting visions of the future were replaced with the immutable promise of Valoran beset by creatures of the Void. Standing alone, but not alone, amidst the echoing dunes, he noticed the familiar voice escape his own lips in a parched rasp, bearing three words whose weight trembled his knees: League of Legends. Now infused with the power of the Void itself, Malzahar set off to the north to seek his fate.


Many men have gone mad beneath the glare of the Shurima sun, but it was during the night's chilling embrace that Malzahar relinquished his sanity. Malzahar was born a seer, blessed with the gift of prophecy. His talent, though unrefined, promised to be one of Runeterra's greatest boons, but destiny plotted him another course; his sensitivity to the roiling tides of fate allowed other, unwelcome things to tug at his subconscious mind. In his dreams, where the veil of separation is thinnest, a sinister thing beckoned. For some time, Malzahar was able to resist its prodding solicitation, but with each passing night the voice grew louder, or perhaps deeper, until he could withstand the call no more.

He ventured into the desert without supplies, drawn by the lure of a specious charm. His destination: a lost civilization to the east, known to ancient texts as Icathia. Few believed such a place ever existed, and those who did were certain that the sands had long since devoured whatever remained. When Malzahar's cracked feet finally failed him, he found himself kneeling at the base of a bizarre crumbling obelisk. Beyond it lay the alien geometry of a ruined city and the giant decaying idols of dark and horrific gods. His eyes, seeing what others cannot, and what none should, were filled with the essence of the Void. His once shifting visions of the future were replaced with the immutable promise of Valoran beset by creatures of the Void. Standing alone, but not alone, amidst the echoing dunes and infused with the power of the Void itself, Malzahar set off to the north to seek his fate.


Morgana

There is a world far away populated by graceful and beautiful winged beings gifted with immortality, where an ancient conflict still rages. Like so many conflicts, this war split families. One side proclaimed themselves as beings of perfect order and justice, fighting to unite the world under their law and strong central governance. Those that fought against them saw their kin as tyrants, creatures incapable of seeing the larger view, who would sacrifice individuality and freedom for the illusion of efficiency and safety. Morgana was one who fought against what she perceived as the tyranny of her kind, and for that she was branded fallen. Morgana was not innocent, having plumbed forgotten ways to gather forbidden might to become a powerful mistress of the black arts. This goal was driven by her obsession to defeat the general of the opposition's army - her sister, Kayle.

While the two were in fact birth-sisters, Kayle struck the first blow by disowning any filial connection when Morgana refused to join her cause. Eventually, Morgana grew in power enough to not only reach, but challenge Kayle. As the time approached when the two would meet in what could be their final conflict, Morgana was suddenly summoned to Valoran. At first, Morgana made a deal with the League's summoners to fight in exchange for greater power. With the advent of Kayle into the League, Morgana now willingly fights in the League of Legends for the privilege of being able to destroy her sister again, and again, and again. She lies in wait for the day the bonds of the Institute of War no longer hold her, and on that day she plans to destroy Kayle once and for all and return home a hero.


There is a world far away populated by graceful and beautiful winged beings gifted with immortality, where an ancient conflict still rages. Like so many conflicts, this war split families. One side proclaimed themselves as beings of perfect order and justice, fighting to unite the world under their law and strong central governance. Those that fought against them saw their kin as tyrants, creatures incapable of seeing the larger view, who would sacrifice individuality and freedom for the illusion of efficiency and safety. Morgana was one who fought against what she perceived as the tyranny of her kind, and for that she was branded fallen. Morgana was not innocent, having plumbed forgotten ways to gather forbidden might to become a powerful mistress of the black arts. This goal was driven by her obsession to defeat the general of the opposition's army – her sister, Kayle.

While the two were in fact birth-sisters, Kayle struck the first blow by disowning any filial connection when Morgana refused to join her cause. Eventually, Morgana grew in power enough to not only reach, but challenge Kayle. Yet Morgana was never after a fair fight. She lies in wait, growing in power, preparing for the day that will mark their final conflict – for even though Kayle struck the first blow, Morgana would surely strike the last.


Nautilus

Once, Nautilus was a sailor commissioned by the Institute of War to explore the uncharted reaches of the Guardian's Sea. This expedition took him deep into unknown waters where he and his crew found a vast section of black oozing liquid that none of the crew could identify. Though their job was to investigate anything new that they found, no man aboard was willing to brave the murk except Nautilus. Only moments after he donned the hulking diver's suit and climbed over the ship's rail, something lurking in the muck grabbed hold of him. He clung to the side of the ship, but the thing below pulled him fiercely, rocking the entire ship. The other sailors grew afraid and made a terrible decision. As he stared and pled for help, they wrenched his grip free of the rail. He tumbled into the ink, grabbing the anchor in futile desperation. Dark tendrils enveloped him and he could do nothing but watch as the dimming outline of his ship faded away. Then everything went black.

When Nautilus awoke, he was something... different. The great iron suit had become a seamless shell around him, concealing whatever awful truth lay inside. All the details of his memory seemed fuzzy and indistinct but one fact remained clear: he was left here, alone in the sunless depths, to die. In his hands he still clutched the anchor that belonged to the men who had condemned him. Having no other purpose, he took this clue and trudged - too heavy to swim or run - in search of answers. He wandered without direction or sense of passing time in what felt like an eternal dream. By the time he stumbled upon the shores of Bilgewater, he could find no traces of the man he was. No house, no family, no life to which he could return. Terrified sailors who'd heard his tale directed Nautilus back to the Institute, but the summoners refused to relinquish the names of the others they commissioned. By then Nautilus had learned about the League of Legends and there he saw an opportunity to discover and punish those responsible for the time and life he lost.


Once, Nautilus was a sailor commissioned to explore the uncharted reaches of the Guardian's Sea. This expedition took him deep into unknown waters where he and his crew found a vast section of black oozing liquid that none of the crew could identify. Though their job was to investigate anything new that they found, no man aboard was willing to brave the murk except Nautilus. Only moments after he donned the hulking diver's suit and climbed over the ship's rail, something lurking in the muck grabbed hold of him. He clung to the side of the ship, but the thing below pulled him fiercely, rocking the entire ship. The other sailors grew afraid and made a terrible decision. As he stared and pled for help, they wrenched his grip free of the rail. He tumbled into the ink, grabbing the anchor in futile desperation. Dark tendrils enveloped him and he could do nothing but watch as the dimming outline of his ship faded away. Then everything went black.

When Nautilus awoke, he was something... different. The great iron suit had become a seamless shell around him, concealing whatever awful truth lay inside. All the details of his memory seemed fuzzy and indistinct but one fact remained clear: he was left here, alone in the sunless depths, to die. In his hands he still clutched the anchor that belonged to the men who had condemned him. Having no other purpose, he took this clue and trudged - too heavy to swim or run - in search of answers. He wandered without direction or sense of passing time in what felt like an eternal dream. By the time he stumbled upon the shores of Bilgewater, he could find no traces of the man he was. No house, no family, no life to which he could return.


Nocturne

Before Nocturne, people believed that dreams were figments of their imagination, meaningless images that flashed through the mind when one slept. This belief was put to the test when a rash of sleep-related incidents started afflicting summoners of the League. Some would wake up screaming, terrified and beyond consolation. Some could not fall asleep, slowly going mad as the nights ticked by. Some simply never woke up. Physicians were baffled until a Field Architect happened to pass out next to a nexus on Twisted Treeline. Witnesses said he cried out once and then stopped breathing. Immediately after, magical energy arced out from the nexus, and Nocturne appeared.

Nocturne did not take his introduction to this world kindly. He slaughtered everything he could find before summoners were able to magically confine him. After a period of intense study, League experts divined that Nocturne hunted summoners in their sleep, attacking them in a place where their magic was useless. This seemed to be his only purpose. The families of the victims demanded justice, but League officials were concerned that death might only return Nocturne to the place from which he came. They bound him to a nexus fragment, trapping him in the physical world. As punishment for his crimes, they allowed summoners to call upon Nocturne in the League matches, bending his will to the summoners he hates and creating his own personal nightmare. League scholars don't know whether he truly came from the plane of dreams, or whether there are any more like him. Some theorize that the summoning act affected summoners' subconscious minds, luring Nocturne to them in their sleep. Perhaps the most disturbing theory is that Nocturne is a person's nightmare come to life. If this is true, they wonder, who is the dreamer?


Before Nocturne, people believed that dreams were figments of their imagination, meaningless images that flashed through the mind when one slept. This belief was put to the test when a rash of sleep-related incidents started afflicting many throughout Runeterra. Some would wake up screaming, terrified and beyond consolation. Some could not fall asleep, slowly going mad as the nights ticked by. Some simply never woke up. Physicians were baffled until a nightmare-stricken man cried out a haunting name from his unconscious state, then stopped breathing. Magical energy arced from the man, and Nocturne appeared.

Nocturne did not take his introduction to this world kindly. He slaughtered everything he could find before mages were able to intervene and temporarily confine him. After a period of intense study, the mages divined that Nocturne hunted those in their sleep, attacking his victims where they were most powerless. This seemed to be his only purpose. The families of the victims demanded justice, but Nocturne’s jailers were concerned that death might only return the creature to the place from which it came, making him even more powerful. When a weary mage guarding him finally succumbed to sleep, Nocturne vanished into thin air. Scholars have no idea whether he truly came from the plane of dreams, or whether there are any more like him. Perhaps the most disturbing theory is that Nocturne is a person's nightmare come to life. If this is true, they wonder, who is the dreamer?


Orianna

There once was a Piltovian man named Corin Reveck who had a daughter named Orianna, whom he loved more than anything else in the world. Though Orianna had incredible talent for dancing, she was deeply fascinated by the champions of the League of Legends. This fascination compelled her to begin training to become such a champion. It is unfortunate that her sheltered, wide-eyed naivete led her to take unnecessary and dangerous chances which ultimately led to her tragic demise. Orianna's death shattered Corin, driving him into deep depression and an obsession with techmaturgy. He could not stand the void his daughter's death left in his life, so he decided to build a replacement - one that would complete Orianna's dream of joining the League. What was created is the clockwork killing machine that Corin named after his daughter. Knowing that she was destined to be a champion and seeing the way the times were changing, he created The Ball as her pet and protector. This nearly symbiotic creation uses a different type of techmaturgy, relying more heavily on electricity than clockwork.

Orianna and The Ball now fight as Champions in the League of Legends, using her sometimes misguided morality as a compass. She tries in earnest to fit in with those around her. However, no matter how hard she tries, Orianna can never be human and there is always something unnerving and alien about her. Though she attempts social interaction with other champions in the League of Legends, there are few who can get past her exotic nature. To many, it's as if there's nothing inside, that Orianna is just a soulless clockwork shell - a dangerous and deadly one at that. However, all along she remains the perfect daughter in her father's eyes.


There once was a Piltovian man named Corin Reveck who had a daughter named Orianna, whom he loved more than anything else in the world. Orianna had incredible talent for dancing, her every movement was mesmerizing. Yet she was also incredibly sheltered and much too trusting, her wide-eyed naiveté ultimately leading to her tragic early demise. Orianna's death shattered Corin, driving him into deep depression and an obsession with techmaturgy. He could not stand the void his daughter's death left in his life, so he decided to build a replacement. What was created is the clockwork girl that Corin named after his daughter. He also created The Ball to act as her pet and protector. This symbiotic creation uses a different type of techmaturgy, relying more heavily on electricity than clockwork.

Orianna tries in earnest to fit in with those around her. However, no matter how hard she tries, Orianna can never be human and there is always something unnerving and alien about her. Though she attempts social interaction, there are few who can get past her exotic nature. To many, it's as if there's nothing inside, that Orianna is just a soulless clockwork shell – a dangerous and deadly one at that. However, all along she remains the perfect daughter in her father's eyes.


Shaco

Most would say that death isn't funny. It isn't, unless you're Shaco - then it's hysterical. He is Valoran's first fully functioning homicidal comic; he jests until someone dies, and then he laughs. The figure that has come to be known as the Demon Jester is an enigma. No one fully agrees from whence he came, and Shaco never offers any details on his own. A popular belief is that Shaco is not of Runeterra - that he is a thing summoned from a dark and twisted world. Still others believe that he is the demonic manifestation of humanity's dark urges and therefore cannot be reasoned with. The most plausible belief is that Shaco is an assassin for hire, left to his own lunatic devices until his services are needed. Shaco certainly has proven himself to be a cunning individual, evading authorities at every turn who might seek him for questioning for some horrendous, law-breaking atrocity. While such scuttlebutt might reassure the native inhabitants of Valoran, it seems unimaginable that such a malfeasant figure is allowed to remain at large.

Whatever the truth of his history might be, Shaco has joined the League of Legends for reasons only he knows. He is a terrifying figure, typically shunned by both his fellow champions and the media at large. Only the summoners in the Institute of War know why such a creature was allowed into the League, but most Runeterrans suspect it to be a means that allows the power that be to keep an eye on the ever-elusive Shaco. Unsurprisingly, this champion is popular in places where madness can openly reign, such as among the power-hungry summoners of Zaun and Noxus.

Whatever you do, don't tell him you missed the punch line.


Most would say that death isn't funny. It isn't, unless you're Shaco - then it's hysterical. He is Valoran's first fully functioning homicidal comic; he jests until someone dies, and then he laughs. The figure that has come to be known as the Demon Jester is an enigma. No one fully agrees from whence he came, and Shaco never offers any details on his own. A popular belief is that Shaco is not of Runeterra - that he is a thing from a dark and twisted world. Still others believe that he is the demonic manifestation of humanity's dark urges and therefore cannot be reasoned with. The most plausible belief is that Shaco is an assassin for hire, left to his own lunatic devices until his services are needed. Shaco certainly has proven himself to be a cunning individual, evading authorities at every turn who might seek him for questioning for some horrendous, law-breaking atrocity. While such scuttlebutt might reassure the native inhabitants of Valoran, it seems unimaginable that such a malevolent figure is allowed to remain at large.

Whatever the truth of his history might be, Shaco is a terrifying, elusive figure most often seen where madness can openly reign, such as Zaun and Noxus.


Singed

Singed descended from a long line of Zaun's revered chemists. Even in his youth, his talent for concocting potions far outstripped that of his peers, and he quickly distinguished himself from his less extraordinary chemist compatriots. It came as no surprise to anyone when he was selected for apprenticeship by the infamous Warwick, master apothecary on a lucrative retainer with the Noxian military during their campaign against Ionia. Within Warwick's laboratories, Singed toiled without end, rapidly absorbing every detail of his predecessor's deadly craft. Singed had little concern for the death and destruction that was the fruit of his labors. By the time the curse of lycanthropy descended to claim his master, Singed was poised and eager to make the transition from workhorse to innovator; he was ready to share his genius by bringing a new brand of suffering to the Ionian front. His zeal for progress was unquenchable, and when suitable test subjects proved to be in short supply, the eager chemist was often thought to turn his volatile mixtures on his own flesh.

When the uneasy peace created by the League of Legends settled on the world, Singed journeyed to the one place where he was still able to showcase his beloved craft: the Institute of War. By this time he was barely even a man, his body both ruined and sustained by his ingenious craft. A thousand burns - accidents of shadow and flame - mar his ravaged form, and exposure to such harsh conditions has deadened his nerves, hardened his body, and strengthened his physique, transforming him into a veritable juggernaut. This, combined with a formidable arsenal of deadly concoctions, makes Singed a force to be reckoned with on the Fields of Justice.


Singed descended from a long line of Zaun's revered chemists. Even in his youth, his talent for concocting potions far outstripped that of his peers, and he quickly distinguished himself from his less extraordinary chemist compatriots. It came as no surprise to anyone when he was selected for apprenticeship by the infamous Warwick, master apothecary on a lucrative retainer with the Noxian military during their campaign against Ionia. Within Warwick's laboratories, Singed toiled without end, rapidly absorbing every detail of his predecessor's deadly craft. Singed had little concern for the death and destruction that was the fruit of his labors. By the time the curse of lycanthropy descended to claim his master, Singed was poised and eager to make the transition from workhorse to innovator; he was ready to share his genius by bringing a new brand of suffering to the Ionian front. His zeal for progress was unquenchable, and when suitable test subjects proved to be in short supply, the eager chemist was often thought to turn his volatile mixtures on his own flesh.

Soon, he was barely even a man, his body both ruined and sustained by his ingenious craft. A thousand burns - accidents of shadow and flame - mar his ravaged form, and exposure to such harsh conditions has deadened his nerves, hardened his body, and strengthened his physique, transforming him into a veritable juggernaut. This, combined with a formidable arsenal of deadly concoctions, makes Singed a force to be reckoned with.


Sona

Sona has no memories of her true parents. As an infant, she was found abandoned on the doorstep of an Ionian adoption house, nestled atop an ancient instrument in an exquisite case of unknown origins. She was an unusually well-behaved child, always quiet and content. Her caretakers were sure she would find a home quickly, but it soon became apparent that what they mistook for uncommon geniality was actually an inability to speak or to produce any sound whatsoever. Sona remained at the adoption house until her teens, watching in hopeless silence as prospective adopters passed her by. During this time, the caretakers sold her unusual instrument to anxious collectors, hoping to build her a trust. For a myriad of bizarre and unexpected reasons, however, it would be returned, or simply appear again outside the house.

When a wealthy Demacian woman named Lestara Buvelle learned of the instrument, she immediately embarked to Ionia. When the caretakers showcased the instrument for her, she rose wordlessly and explored the house, stopping outside Sona's room. Without hesitation, Lestara adopted her and left a generous donation for the instrument. With Lestara's guidance, Sona discovered a deep connection with the instrument which Lestara called an 'etwahl'. In her hands, it played tones which stilled or quivered the hearts of those around her. Within months, she was headlining with the mysterious etwahl for sold-out audiences. She played as though plucking heartstrings, effortlessly manipulating the emotions of her listeners - all without a single written note. In secret, she discovered a potent and deadly use for her etwahl, using its vibrations to slice objects from a distance. She honed this discipline in private, mastering her gift. When she felt prepared, she went to the only place which could offer her a fitting recital: the League of Legends.


Sona has no memories of her true parents. As an infant, she was found abandoned on the doorstep of an Ionian adoption house, nestled atop an ancient instrument in an exquisite case of unknown origins. She was an unusually well-behaved child, always quiet and content. Her caretakers were sure she would find a home quickly, but it soon became apparent that what they mistook for uncommon geniality was actually an inability to speak or to produce any sound whatsoever. Sona remained at the adoption house until her teens, watching in hopeless silence as prospective adopters passed her by. During this time, the caretakers sold her unusual instrument to anxious collectors, hoping to build her a trust. For a myriad of bizarre and unexpected reasons, however, it would be returned, or simply appear again outside the house.

When a wealthy Demacian woman named Lestara Buvelle learned of the instrument, she immediately embarked to Ionia. When the caretakers showcased the instrument for her, she rose wordlessly and explored the house, stopping outside Sona's room. Without hesitation, Lestara adopted her and left a generous donation for the instrument. With Lestara's guidance, Sona discovered a deep connection with the instrument which Lestara called an 'etwahl'. In her hands, it played tones which stilled or quivered the hearts of those around her. Within months, she was headlining with the mysterious etwahl for sold-out audiences. She played as though plucking heartstrings, effortlessly manipulating the emotions of her listeners - all without a single written note. In secret, she discovered a potent and deadly use for her etwahl, using its vibrations to slice objects from a distance. She honed this discipline in private, mastering her gift, that she might be prepared should a fitting recital require the harmony of her talents.


Swain

The earliest account of Swain's existence comes from a Noxian infirmary doctor's notes. According to them, Swain limped into the ward without cry or complaint; his right leg was snapped in half, with bone protruding from the skin. A small, scowling bird seemed affixed to his shoulder. The doctor gawked in horror as the young adolescent answered questions about his health and age with a calm, even stare. Even behind the echoing crack as the sand counterweights reset his tibia, Swain's measuring gaze never flickered, nor did his eyes twitch from the pop of his fibula. He refused the doctor's recommendation of magical treatment for the leg's inoperable damage, requesting only a spare crutch before shuffling away. He next surfaced in documents from the Noxian military, although it is evident that they are incomplete. Normally a crippled boy would be turned away in shame from Noxus' proud legion, but the records indicate his first designation was that of a ranking officer.

The men who've served under him (and survived) have remained in his charge with unshakable faith and loyalty. He leapt through the High Command's hierarchy, often ascending when superiors requested demotions to join his unit. A cunning strategist, Swain was decorated after every battle he fought, regularly hobbling in contemplation at the front of the assault. His rise to power seemed unceasing until he was suddenly relegated to inactive status prior to the Ionian Invasion - a bewildering decision which reeked of bureaucratic subversion. If Swain was upset by the events which unfolded, he never belied it. His face was so implacable that it was popularly rumored to be a mask, disguising something utterly inhuman beneath. More controversy surrounded the bird that never left his shoulder, whose name he whispered only to it. When Demacia escalated its presence in the League, Swain was immediately returned to active duty.


The earliest account of Swain's existence comes from a Noxian infirmary doctor's notes. According to them, Swain limped into the ward without cry or complaint; his right leg was snapped in half, with bone protruding from the skin. A small, scowling bird seemed affixed to his shoulder. The doctor gawked in horror as the young adolescent answered questions about his health and age with a calm, even stare. Even behind the echoing crack as the sand counterweights reset his tibia, Swain's measuring gaze never flickered, nor did his eyes twitch from the pop of his fibula. He refused the doctor's recommendation of magical treatment for the leg's inoperable damage, requesting only a spare crutch before shuffling away. He next surfaced in documents from the Noxian military, although it is evident that they are incomplete. Normally a crippled boy would be turned away in shame from Noxus' proud legion, but the records indicate his first designation was that of a ranking officer.

The men who've served under him (and survived) have remained in his charge with unshakable faith and loyalty. He leapt through the High Command's hierarchy, often ascending when superiors requested demotions to join his unit. A cunning strategist, Swain was decorated after every battle he fought, regularly hobbling in contemplation at the front of the assault. His rise to power seemed unceasing until he was suddenly removed from the order of battle prior to the Ionian Invasion - a bewildering decision which reeked of bureaucratic subversion. If Swain was upset by the events which unfolded, he never revealed it. His face was so implacable that it was popularly rumored to be a mask, disguising something utterly inhuman beneath. More controversy surrounded the bird that never left his shoulder, whose name he whispered only to it.


Teemo

Teemo is a legend among his yordle brothers and sisters in Bandle City. As far as yordles are concerned, there is something just slightly off about him. While Teemo enjoys the companionship of other yordles, he also insists on frequent solo missions in the ongoing defense of Bandle City. Despite his genuinely warm personality, something switches off inside Teemo's mind during combat so that the lives he must end while on patrol do not burden him. Even as a young recruit, the drill instructors and other trainees found it a little disconcerting that, while Teemo was normally charming and kind, he turned deadly serious and highly efficient the minute combat exercises began. Teemo's superiors quickly steered him toward the Scouts of the Mothership, which is one of Bandle City's most distinguished Special Forces unit alongside the Megling Commandos.

While most yordles do not handle solo scouting missions with a great deal of finesse, Teemo is remarkably efficient at them. His record of success in defending Bandle City from infiltrators easily makes him one of the most dangerous yordles alive, though you'd never know it by having a cup of honey mead with him at his favorite inn. Bandle City chose Teemo as their first champion for the League, and he has taken to it like a duck to water. His signature weapon - a blowgun - uses a rare ajunta poison he personally gathers from the jungles of Kumungu. To help cope with his lengthy periods of isolation, Teemo recently struck up a friendship with Tristana, a fellow League champion and fellow member of Bandle City's Special Forces. This connection is healthy for both yordles, though now Valoran's voracious media outlets circulate rumors that the friendship is turning into a romantic relationship. Regardless, Teemo is a crowd favorite in the League of Legends, and a pint-sized foe that many have come to fear.


Teemo is a legend among his yordle brothers and sisters in Bandle City. As far as yordles are concerned, there is something just slightly off about him. While Teemo enjoys the companionship of other yordles, he also insists on frequent solo missions in the ongoing defense of Bandle City. Despite his genuinely warm personality, something switches off inside Teemo's mind during combat so that the lives he must end while on patrol do not burden him. Even as a young recruit, the drill instructors and other trainees found it a little disconcerting that, while Teemo was normally charming and kind, he turned deadly serious and highly efficient the minute combat exercises began. Teemo's superiors quickly steered him toward the Scouts of the Mothership, which is one of Bandle City's most distinguished Special Forces unit alongside the Megling Commandos.

While most yordles do not handle solo scouting missions with a great deal of finesse, Teemo is remarkably efficient at them. His record of success in defending Bandle City from infiltrators easily makes him one of the most dangerous yordles alive, though you'd never know it by having a cup of honey mead with him at his favorite inn. His signature weapon - a blowgun - uses a rare ajunta poison he personally gathers from the jungles of Kumungu. To help cope with his lengthy periods of isolation, Teemo recently struck up a friendship with Tristana, a fellow member of Bandle City's Special Forces. Teemo is a pint-sized foe that many have come to fear and whose small size belies his fearsome resolve.


Veigar

To most, thoughts of yordles do not conjure images to be feared. The easygoing half-pint race, though fierce, is often regarded with some degree of joviality. Their high-pitched voices and naturally cute forms inspire something of a protective instinct in the larger races, or at least bring to mind images of children playing at being adults. Every now and again, however, a yordle turns so bad that even at its small stature it strikes terror into the hearts of others. Veigar is one such twisted yordle. As a master of the magical black arts, as well as a corrupter of cosmic energy, he is one of the most powerful sorcerers on Valoran.

As a child, Veigar was a normal yordle with one small exception - he had a deep curiosity for the world beyond Bandle City. The young yordle spent much of his time studying the rest of Valoran, and he jumped at the chance to join a business that traded with other major city-states. Unfortunately for both him and the world, a deal with Noxian trader turned into shady business and went bad; Veigar and his companions were subsequently set up to take the fall. Arrested by the authorities, he was imprisoned within the walls of Noxus for years. Such isolation is very dangerous for yordles - undoubtedly why his cruel jailers did such a thing - and Veigar was slowly driven mad.

He eventually escaped, having become a twisted version of his former self. Instead of returning to his people and Bandle City, he sought tutelage from dark wizards across the land. With his demented will focused on one task, he quickly became a dangerous and powerful wizard in his own right. Now he seeks to end all conflict on Valoran by bringing all of the city-states to their knees, regardless of their affiliation. The League of Legends is the perfect tool to help him meet his ends - for now.


To most, thoughts of yordles do not conjure images to be feared. The easygoing half-pint race, though fierce, is often regarded with some degree of joviality. Their high-pitched voices and naturally cute forms inspire something of a protective instinct in the larger races, or at least bring to mind images of children playing at being adults. Every now and again, however, a yordle turns so bad that even at its small stature it strikes terror into the hearts of others. Veigar is one such twisted yordle. As a master of the magical black arts, as well as a corrupter of cosmic energy, he is one of the most powerful sorcerers on Valoran.

As a child, Veigar was a normal yordle with one small exception - he had a deep curiosity for the world beyond Bandle City. The young yordle spent much of his time studying the rest of Valoran, and he jumped at the chance to join a business that traded with other major city-states. Unfortunately for both him and the world, a deal with Noxian trader turned into shady business and went bad; Veigar and his companions were subsequently set up to take the fall. Arrested by the authorities, he was imprisoned within the walls of Noxus for years. Such isolation is very dangerous for yordles - undoubtedly why his cruel jailers did such a thing - and Veigar was slowly driven mad.

He eventually escaped, having become a twisted version of his former self. Instead of returning to his people and Bandle City, he sought tutelage from dark wizards across the land. With his demented will focused on one task, he quickly became a dangerous and powerful wizard in his own right. Now he seeks to end all conflict on Valoran by bringing all of the city-states to their knees, regardless of their affiliation.


Viktor

Early in life, Viktor discovered his passion for science and invention, particularly in the field of mechanical automation. He attended Zaun's prestigious College of Techmaturgy and led the team that constructed Blitzcrank - a scientific breakthrough that he expected to vault him to the top of his profession. Unfortunately his triumph was usurped by Professor Stanwick, who stole credit for developing Blitzcrank's sentience and later used Viktor's research to revive Urgot. Viktor's appeals for justice fell on deaf ears, and he sank into a deep depression. He withdrew from the College and barricaded himself in his private laboratory, cutting all human ties. There, in secret, he conceived a project for which nobody else could claim credit. Desiring both to revolutionize his field and to eliminate the jealous human emotions which festered inside him, he engineered parts to replace and improve his own body.

When Viktor re-emerged, almost no trace of the original man remained. Not only had he supplanted the majority of his anatomy, but his personality had changed. His previous hope to better society was replaced by an obsession with what he called the glorious evolution. He saw himself as the patron and pioneer of Valoran's future - a future in which man would renounce his flesh in favor of superior hextech augmentations. Though Viktor's initial appeals were met with heavy skepticism, scientists were confounded by the sophistication of his machinery. By integrating his mind with techmaturgical devices, he had been able to drastically accelerate the progress of his research. His transformation had stripped him of what he perceived as his emotional weaknesses, but there was some lingering residue of resentment against the Professor. Viktor joined the League of Legends to pit his inventions against the greatest opponents Valoran could offer, and to correct any weaknesses or inefficiencies that remained.


Early in life, Viktor discovered his passion for science and invention, particularly in the field of mechanical automation. He attended Zaun's prestigious College of Techmaturgy and led the team that constructed Blitzcrank - a scientific breakthrough that he expected to vault him to the top of his profession. Unfortunately his triumph was usurped by Professor Stanwick, who stole credit for developing Blitzcrank's sentience and later used Viktor's research to revive Urgot. Viktor's appeals for justice fell on deaf ears, and he sank into a deep depression. He withdrew from the College and barricaded himself in his private laboratory, cutting all human ties. There, in secret, he conceived a project for which nobody else could claim credit. Desiring both to revolutionize his field and to eliminate the jealous human emotions which festered inside him, he engineered parts to replace and improve his own body.

When Viktor re-emerged, almost no trace of the original man remained. Not only had he supplanted the majority of his anatomy, but his personality had changed. His previous hope to better society was replaced by an obsession with what he called the glorious evolution. He saw himself as the patron and pioneer of Valoran's future - a future in which man would renounce his flesh in favor of superior hextech augmentations. Though Viktor's initial appeals were met with heavy skepticism, scientists were confounded by the sophistication of his machinery. By integrating his mind with techmaturgical devices, he had been able to drastically accelerate the progress of his research. His transformation had stripped him of what he perceived as his emotional weaknesses, but there was some lingering residue of resentment against the Professor. Viktor’s work is never done, for he is ever searching for weaknesses or inefficiencies in his inventions to perfect and evolve his creations, and thereby the future.


Wukong

During the chaos of the Rune Wars, an enormous runestone was lost deep within the Plague Jungles. It remained there, untouched for centuries, emanating a potent magic which infused nearby wildlife with sentience and vitality. A group of monkeys who were particularly empowered by it came to worship the stone, and their leader - a wise sage - became convinced that he could harness its power to make the monkeys immortal. He performed an elaborate ritual, but things didn't go as he expected. The runestone was destroyed, and instead of granting immortality, it produced Kong, a monkey who carried in his heart the strength and power it had contained. Kong was driven by an unquenchable desire for greatness. He sought out every beast and monster the Plague Jungles could offer, eager to find a worthy opponent, but none offered the challenge he craved. He asked the sage for advice, and learned about a legend of hairless monkeys to the north who, with wits and might, had bent the world to their will.

Kong left, journeying north, determined to discover if the legend was true. He crossed the Southern Wastes and then the Great Barrier. On his way, he happened upon Master Yi, who was deep in meditation. Kong asked him who the strongest warrior in the north was, and Yi told him about the League of Legends. The tale intoxicated Kong, a place where he could battle the strongest fighters in the world was, to him, paradise. Kong asked Yi to introduce him to this League, and to teach him the ways of humans, so that he could be a fitting champion. In return, he would honor Yi by using Yi's Wuju style to become the greatest warrior Runeterra had ever seen. Admiring his passion, Yi agreed, but under the condition that Kong would one day teach the lessons of Wuju to a pupil of his own. In the spirit of this agreement, he renamed Kong Wukong, and gave him a weapon suited to his unusual nature - an enchanted staff that the young Doran had crafted. The weapon was an unrivalled masterpiece. Guided by Yi, Wukong joined the League of Legends to prove himself as the best, and to show the world the true power of Wuju.


During the chaos of the Rune Wars, an enormous runestone was lost deep within the Plague Jungles. It remained there, untouched for centuries, emanating a potent magic which infused nearby wildlife with sentience and vitality. A group of monkeys who were particularly empowered by it came to worship the stone, and their leader - a wise sage - became convinced that he could harness its power to make the monkeys immortal. He performed an elaborate ritual, but things didn't go as he expected. The runestone was destroyed, and instead of granting immortality, it produced Kong, a monkey who carried in his heart the strength and power it had contained. Kong was driven by an unquenchable desire for greatness. He sought out every beast and monster the Plague Jungles could offer, eager to find a worthy opponent, but none offered the challenge he craved. He asked the sage for advice, and learned about a legend of hairless monkeys to the north who, with wits and might, had bent the world to their will.

Kong left, journeying north, determined to discover if the legend was true. He crossed the Southern Wastes and then the Great Barrier. On his way, he happened upon Master Yi, who was deep in meditation. Kong asked him of the strongest warriors in the north, and Yi told him. The tales intoxicated Kong. Kong asked Yi to teach him the ways of humans, so that he might rival these famed warriors one day. In return, he would honor Yi by using Yi's Wuju style to become the greatest warrior Runeterra had ever seen. Admiring his passion, Yi agreed, but under the condition that Kong would one day teach the lessons of Wuju to a pupil of his own. In the spirit of this agreement, he renamed Kong Wukong and gave him a weapon suited to his unusual nature - an enchanted staff that the young Doran had crafted. The weapon was an unrivalled masterpiece. Guided by Yi, Wukong would show the world the true power of Wuju.


Ziggs

Ziggs was born with a talent for tinkering, but his chaotic, hyperactive nature was unusual among yordle scientists. Aspiring to be a revered inventor like Heimerdinger, he rattled through ambitious projects with manic zeal, emboldened by both his explosive failures and his unprecedented discoveries. Word of Ziggs' volatile experimentation reached the famed Yordle Academy in Piltover and its esteemed professors invited him to demonstrate his craft. His characteristic disregard for safety brought the presentation to an early conclusion, however, when the hextech engine Ziggs was demonstrating overheated and exploded, blowing a huge hole in the wall of the Academy. The professors dusted themselves off and sternly motioned for him to leave. Devastated, Ziggs prepared to return to Bandle City in shame. However, before he could leave, a group of Zaunite agents infiltrated the Academy and kidnapped the professors. The Piltover military tracked the captives to a Zaunite prison, but their weapons were incapable of destroying the fortified walls. Determined to outdo them, Ziggs began experimenting on a new kind of armament, and quickly realized that he could harness his accidental gift for demolition to save the captured yordles.

Before long, Ziggs had created a line of powerful bombs he lovingly dubbed hexplosives. With his new creations ready for their first trial, Ziggs traveled to Zaun and sneaked into the prison compound. He launched a gigantic bomb at the prison and watched with glee as the explosion tore through the reinforced wall. Once the smoke had cleared, Ziggs scuttled into the facility, sending guards running with a hail of bombs. He rushed to the cell, blew the door off its hinges, and led the captive yordles to freedom. Upon returning to the Academy, the humbled professors recognized Ziggs with an honorary title - Dean of Demolitions - and proposed that he demonstrate this new form of yordle ingenuity in the League of Legends. Vindicated at last, Ziggs accepted the proposal, eager to bring his ever-expanding range of hexplosives to the greatest testing grounds in the world: the Fields of Justice.


Unusual among yordle scientists. Aspiring to be a revered inventor like Heimerdinger, he rattled through ambitious projects with manic zeal, emboldened by both his explosive failures and his unprecedented discoveries. Word of Ziggs' volatile experimentation reached the famed Yordle Academy in Piltover and its esteemed professors invited him to demonstrate his craft. His characteristic disregard for safety brought the presentation to an early conclusion, however, when the hextech engine Ziggs was demonstrating overheated and exploded, blowing a huge hole in the wall of the Academy. The professors dusted themselves off and sternly motioned for him to leave. Devastated, Ziggs prepared to return to Bandle City in shame. However, before he could leave, a group of Zaunite agents infiltrated the Academy and kidnapped the professors. The Piltover military tracked the captives to a Zaunite prison, but their weapons were incapable of destroying the fortified walls. Determined to outdo them, Ziggs began experimenting on a new kind of armament, and quickly realized that he could harness his accidental gift for demolition to save the captured yordles.

Before long, Ziggs had created a line of powerful bombs he lovingly dubbed hexplosives. With his new creations ready for their first trial, Ziggs traveled to Zaun and sneaked into the prison compound. He launched a gigantic bomb at the prison and watched with glee as the explosion tore through the reinforced wall. Once the smoke had cleared, Ziggs scuttled into the facility, sending guards running with a hail of bombs. He rushed to the cell, blew the door off its hinges, and led the captive yordles to freedom. Upon returning to the Academy, the humbled professors recognized Ziggs with an honorary title - Dean of Demolitions. Vindicated at last, Ziggs accepted the proposal, eager to bring his ever-expanding range of hexplosives to greater Valoran.


Zilean

In the wastelands of Urtistan, there was once a great city. It perished long ago in a terrible Rune War, like most of the lands below the Great Barrier. Nevertheless, one man survived: a sorcerer named Zilean. Being obsessed with time, it was only fitting that he dwelled in the city's Clock Tower. As the havoc of the war neared his home, Zilean experimented with powerful temporal magic to divine all possible futures, hoping to discover a peaceful solution. But Zilean's enchantments affected his perception of the passage of time, and he was in a contemplative stasis when Urtistan was set upon by an entire phalanx of dark summoner-knights of unknown affiliation. By the time he realized his error, Urtistan was nothing more than smoldering debris. The summoners who were responsible for its destruction had wisely left the Clock Tower unharmed, both to avoid drawing Zilean's attention and to torment him for his oversight.

Zilean barely had time to grieve the momentous loss before he learned that his dangerous research had a cruel side effect: chrono-displasia. This mystical disease granted him immortality, but detached his consciousness from its anchor in the present time. He now mentally drifts through time, from any point he has already lived to the present, unable to impact the events which unfold. The most torturous aspect of this curse is that Zilean sometimes experiences Urtistan as it once was and the rest of the time resides in its lonely ruins. Only the powerful summoning magic employed by members of the League of Legends has been able to treat this condition, and Zilean has joined in hopes of finding a cure, and thereafter a way to save his people.


In the wastelands of Urtistan, there was once a great city. It perished long ago in a terrible Rune War, like most of the lands below the Great Barrier. Nevertheless, one man survived: a sorcerer named Zilean. Being obsessed with time, it was only fitting that he dwelled in the city's Clock Tower. As the havoc of the war neared his home, Zilean experimented with powerful temporal magic to divine all possible futures, hoping to discover a peaceful solution. But Zilean's enchantments affected his perception of the passage of time, and he was in a contemplative stasis when Urtistan was set upon by an entire phalanx of dark knights of unknown affiliation. By the time he realized his error, Urtistan was nothing more than smoldering debris. Those responsible for its destruction had wisely left the Clock Tower unharmed, both to avoid drawing Zilean's attention and to torment him for his oversight.

Zilean barely had time to grieve the momentous loss before he learned that his dangerous research had a cruel side effect: chrono-displasia. This mystical disease granted him immortality, but detached his consciousness from its anchor in the present time. He now mentally drifts through time, from any point he has already lived to the present, unable to impact the events which unfold. The most torturous aspect of this curse is that Zilean sometimes experiences Urtistan as it once was and the rest of the time resides in its lonely ruins. Zilean quests for a cure, and thereafter a way to save his people.


New

Alongside the bio update, 8 champions have received a new lore, here they are:

Caitlyn

A determined and skilled investigator, Caitlyn is one of the sheriffs of Piltover, the City of Progress. She is a fiercely intelligent woman with a strong sense of justice and a resolute devotion to the law. Armed with a magnificent hextech rifle, Caitlyn is a patient hunter and the bane of criminals throughout her city.

Born to a wealthy and influential family of hextech artificers in Piltover, Caitlyn swiftly learned the social graces of city life, but preferred to spend her time in the wilder lands to the south. Equally adept at mingling with the moneyed citizens of the City of Progress or tracking a deer through the mud of the forest, Caitlyn spent the bulk of her youth beyond Piltover’s gates. She could track a bird on the wing or put a bullet through the eye of a hare at three hundred yards with her father’s Bilgewater repeater musket.

Caitlyn’s greatest assets, however, were her intelligence and willingness to learn from her parents, who reinforced her innate understanding of right and wrong. Though the family’s engineering skills had made them wealthy, her mother always warned of Piltover’s seductions, of how its gilded promises could harden even the kindest heart. Caitlyn paid little attention to her mother’s warning, for Piltover was a city of beauty to her, a place of order she would cherish after each trip into the wild.

All that was to change one Progress Day, five years later.

Caitlyn returned from one of her long forays into the woodlands to find her home ransacked and empty. The family retainers were all dead, and no trace could be found of her parents. Caitlyn secured her home, and immediately set off in search of her mother and father.

Tracking quarry that does not want to be found within the confines of a city was very different from hunting in the wild, but, one by one, Caitlyn located the men who had invaded her home. None of these men knew the true identity of who had hired them, only that they had acted via a proxy with the initial “C.” The trail eventually led Caitlyn to a secret hextech laboratory where her mother and father were being forced to work for a rival clan under pain of death. Caitlyn rescued her parents, and the wardens, acting upon Caitlyn’s information, arrested the clan leader behind the kidnapping. She and her parents returned home and began to rebuild their lives, but something fundamental had changed in Caitlyn.

She had seen that Piltover could be a dangerous place, where ambition and greed were as deadly as a cornered beast. During the course of her investigation, Caitlyn had seen beneath Piltover’s veneer of progress and science. She had seen people in need of help, a host of souls lost and alone. And she had seen that she could help them. Though she loved her parents, Caitlyn had no desire to follow in their footsteps as an artisan, and looked for a way to earn a living in the sprawling metropolis. She established herself as an investigator of sorts, utilizing her skills as a superlative hunter to act as a finder of lost people and retriever of stolen property.

For her twenty-first birthday, Caitlyn’s parents presented her with a hextech rifle of exquisite artifice. The weapon was a thing of beauty, with specialized shells that enabled it to shoot with greater accuracy than any rifle she had ever owned. The weapon could also be modified to fire a variety of different ammunition types, and went with Caitlyn whenever she took a case.

Caitlyn knew Piltover’s nooks and crannies as thoroughly as the forest paths of her childhood, and turned a tidy profit in a profession that brought her into contact with the many and varied layers of society. Her profession exposed Caitlyn to a great deal of strange encounters that taught her, first-hand, the dangers of untested hextech and rogue chemtech development. Over the next few years, she quickly made a name for herself as someone to go to for help in matters both mundane and esoteric.

One particularly traumatic case involving a missing hextech device and a series of child abductions led to Caitlyn working closely with an agent of the Piltover Wardens; one who, like her, had developed something of an affinity for stranger cases. Caitlyn refused to give up, even when the trail grew colder with every passing day. She chased it like a dog would a bone, and eventually, broke the case. Caitlyn and the warden rescued the children after a battle with a host of rogue chimerics in the employ of a lunatic chem-researcher driven mad by his own concoctions. As she and the warden shared a celebratory drink, he offered her a job as a sheriff. At first, Caitlyn refused, but eventually came to realize that, with all the resources the wardens had to offer, she could potentially get closer to discovering the identity of the mysterious “C,” the only person involved in the attack on her family home she had yet to apprehend.

Caitlyn now works as a highly respected officer within the ranks of the Piltover Wardens to keep order in the City of Progress - particularly in areas where overzealous hextech artisans cross the line of what is acceptable in Piltover. She has recently partnered with a new recruit from Zaun, the brash and reckless Vi. How such an unlikely pairing came to be, and has proven to be so effective, is the subject of numerous wild rumors and tavern speculation among their fellow wardens and those they haul away to jail.


Even three bells after the Sun Gate had closed, Piltover was still full of life - life that was currently getting in her way. Caitlyn sprinted down Mainspring Crescent, weaving a path between midnight revelers strolling down the fashionable promenade of cafes and bistros. The supper clubs were emptying, as were the nearby theaters inside the Drawsmith Arcade, so this street was going to get a whole lot busier. If they didn’t catch up to Devaki soon, they were going to lose him.

“Do you see him?” shouted Mohan from behind.

“If I could see him, I’d already be drawing a bead on him!”

The hextech rifle slung over Caitlyn’s shoulder was loaded and ready to shoot, but she needed a target, and Devaki was more nimble than a spooked doe. He’d robbed three clan workshops (that they knew of) in the last five weeks, and Caitlyn had him pegged for two others. Working a hunch that something big was in the works, she and Mohan had been keeping watch on one of House Morichi’s workshops, and sure enough, Devaki had shown. Though they hadn’t known it until the city lighters had worked their way down the street to ignite the glow-lamps and Caitlyn caught his reflection in the glass of the cafe across the street. Devaki had seen her in the same instant, and took to his heels like a startled wharf-rat.

Caitlyn skidded to a halt at the next junction. The caged flames atop the fluted lampposts bathed the dozens of surprised people staring at her with a warm, amber light. Her pale blue eyes darted from person to person, seeking Devaki’s distinctive silhouette.

A young man crossed the street toward her, his cheeks ruddy with a night’s enjoyment. He waved at her.

“You looking for a man on the run?” he asked. “Fella with a big hat?”

“Yes,” said Caitlyn. “You saw him? Where did he go?”

The young man pointed left and said, “Down that way at a good clip.”

She followed his gaze and saw cheering theater-goers spilling from the Drawsmith Arcade, a vaulted structure of colored glass and ironwork columns. They mingled with stall-holders selling refreshments and promenade-girls looking for a wealthy mark. Mohan finally caught up to her, sweating and breathing hard. He bent at the waist and propped himself up with his palms on his knees. His blue uniform coat was askew and his hat tipped back over his head.

“Figures he’d try to lose himself in the crowd,” he said between gulps of air.

Caitlyn took a moment to study their public-spirited helper. His clothes were finely-tailored and must once have cost him a pretty penny, but the cuffs were frayed and the elbows worn. Her eyes narrowed as she took in last season’s colors and a collar that hadn’t been in style for a year.

Wealthy, but down on his luck.

Mohan turned toward the busy street and said, “Come on, Caitlyn! Let’s go or we’ll lose him.”

Caitlyn dropped to one knee to look at the street from a different perspective. The cobbles were slick from the evening rain and were well trodden. From this angle, she saw the scuffs of heel marks on stone that only a running man would leave. But they weren’t heading left, they were heading right.

“How much did Devaki give you to tell us that?” said Caitlyn to the unfashionably dressed young man. “If it was less than a gold hex, you were swindled.”

The young man put his hands up and said, “It was five, actually,” before turning tail and running toward the crowds with a laugh.

“What the...?” said Mohan, as Caitlyn sprinted in the opposite direction. She’d lost valuable seconds, but knew exactly where Devaki was going now. She soon left Mohan behind, her sometime partner a little too fond of the sugared pastries the District-Inspector’s wife made for her husband’s officers.

Caitlyn ran a winding path through the city, along seldom-traveled alleyways and crooked paths between the gables of tall, brick-fronted warehouses. She cut across busy streets, drawing cries of annoyance from those she barged out of her way. The closer she came to the great canyon bisecting Piltover, the narrower the streets became, but she was betting she knew the shortcuts of Piltover better than Devaki. After a dozen twists and turns, she emerged onto a crooked street of undulating cobbles that followed the jagged line of the cliff. Known locally as Drop Street thanks to the wheezing hexdraulic conveyer at the end that ran late into the night, it was deep in shadow.

The iron-framed cabin hadn’t yet opened, the lozenge-patterned grille still in the closed position. A group of fifteen Zaunites, a great many of whom were intoxicated, gathered around the ticket booth. None of them were the man Caitlyn was looking for. She turned and dropped to a crouch, resting the barrel of her rifle on a packing crate bearing the brand of Clan Medarda. Stolen property, no doubt, but she didn’t have time to check it.

Caitlyn thumbed the rifle’s primer switch to the upright position. A gentle hum built within the breech as she worked the action to ready a shot. She pulled the butt of the rifle hard against her shoulder and slowed her breathing. Her cheek pressed into the walnut stock and she closed one eye as she took aim through the crystalline lenses.

She didn’t have long to wait.

Devaki swung around the corner, his long coat billowing out behind him and his hat a tall silhouette. He appeared to be in no hurry, but then, he believed he had shed his pursuers. He held a heavy brass-cornered case in his metal-clawed hand; a crude thing Vi said he’d had done in one of Zaun’s ask-no-questions augmentation parlors when he was a foolish youth.

Caitlyn focused her aim on the pneumatic monstrosity and squeezed the trigger. A searing flash of orange-red exploded from the weapon’s muzzle and Devaki’s hand vanished in a pinpoint blast. He cried out and fell back, his hat toppling from his head as the case fell to the ground. Devaki looked up, his eyes widening in pain and surprise as he saw Caitlyn. He turned to run, but Caitlyn had been waiting for that. She toggled a thumb-switch on the breech and pulled the trigger again.

This time the beam struck Devaki in the back and exploded in a web of crackling energy. Devaki’s back arched and he fell, twitching, to the ground. Caitlyn powered down her rifle and slung it over her shoulder as she walked toward the fallen Devaki. The effects of the electro-net were dimming, but he wouldn’t be getting up anytime soon. Caitlyn bent to retrieve the case he’d dropped and shook her head with a tut-tut sound.

“H-h-h...how?” said Devaki, through the spasms wracking his body.

“How did I know where you were headed?” asked Caitlyn.

Devaki nodded, the movement jerky and forced.

“Your previous thefts were meaningless in themselves, but when I looked at them as part of a larger scheme, it seemed like you were gathering components to build a version of Vishlaa’s Hexylene Caliver,” said Caitlyn.

She knelt beside Devaki to place a hand on his rigid body.

“And as we all know, that weapon was outlawed as being too dangerous, wasn’t it? No one in Piltover would dare touch that kind of banned hex, but someone, maybe in Noxus? They’d pay handsomely for that, I imagine. But the only place you could get something like that out of the city is through one of Zaun’s less reputable smugglers. This is the only quick route down into Zaun that’s still running at this time of night. Once I saw you weren’t going to try and hide out in Piltover, all I had to do was get to the conveyor before you and wait. So you and I are going to have a long talk, and you’re going to tell me who you’re working for.”

Devaki didn’t answer, and Caitlyn grinned as she reached over his prone body.

“Nice hat,” she said.


Cassiopeia

Cassiopeia is a terrifying creature - half woman, half snake - whose slightest glance brings death. The youngest daughter of one of Noxus's most influential families, she was once a beautiful and cunning temptress capable of manipulating the hardest heart. Transformed by the venom of an ancient Shuriman tomb guardian, she continues to serve Noxian interests as she always has, just in a more... visceral way.


Cassiopeia reclined against a crenulated rooftop and gazed over the winding alleys and crowded streets of Noxus. Untroubled by the cool night air, she wore a shift of translucent silk, which revealed the transition at her hips where soft skin merged into overlapping scales of sinuous snakeskin.

The scent of roasted meat wafted up to Cassiopeia’s hidden aerie, but it could not mask the vile stench of thousands of people living on top of each other. Her mouth burned as noxious venom mingled with her saliva. She flexed her muscular tail, cracking the stonework and sending crumbled fragments to the streets below.

Rats scattered from the falling stone. Filthy street urchins dashed around street corners as hooded figures whispered in the shadows and burly soldiers staggered in and out of taverns. All were oblivious to the predator lurking in the darkness above.

Cassiopeia brushed a taloned hand against her scaly side, her serpentine figure concealed by the shadows. These days, she emerged only under cover of night. Once, she had been a powerful figure in Noxus: assassins killed at her slightest whim, soldiers spilled their darkest secrets, and generals willingly followed her counsel in the hopes of patronage. Cassiopeia sighed. No longer was she an influential voice in Noxian society, not since she had been reduced to this grotesque abomination in hiding.

Upon her return from Shurima, Cassiopeia had hidden in her family’s crypt, fearful of her transformation. She remained alone in the cold, dank vault for weeks, filled with disgust for her serpentine body and mourning the loss of her aristocratic life. Eventually, a growing desire to hunt overwhelmed her, and she ventured out to roam the city by night as her family slumbered.

Cassiopeia put aside her reverie as a broad shouldered soldier in a leather breastplate stumbled from a tavern, drink in hand. Finally; this was the man she’d been waiting for. She trailed his movements from above, following him silently over fortress walls and archways, until he entered an empty courtyard. Perfect. Cassiopeia slithered onto an adjacent roof, eyes glinting with predatory thrill.

Her figure cast a shadow across the soldier. He turned, drunkenly defiant.

“I know you’re there! Show yourself!” he said.

Cassiopeia’s tail twitched in anticipation. Her forked tongue extended, tasting the air. She drew the sweet scent of his blood into her lungs, then exhaled with great satisfaction.

“Fight me face to face!” he shouted. “I ain't gonna be stalked like some animal.”

Cassiopeia let out an angry hiss. By the time the soldier looked up, she’d slid to the opposite side of the courtyard and perched directly above him, remaining out of sight in the shadows.

“You consider yourself better than an animal, do you?” she said.

The man’s head turned abruptly, trying to pinpoint the sound of her voice.

“How’d you get across so fast?” he said, his wavering tone betraying false bravado.

“Even beasts are nothing to your savagery” said Cassiopeia.

Breathless, he edged away, looking for an escape. He hammered his fists against every door, but each was bolted shut. Cassiopeia imagined his mind racing to solve the riddle of who was hunting him and why.

He unsheathed his sword, turning on the spot, unsure where to direct his threat. “You don’t want to cross me. I’ve gutted worse enemies than you.”

“Not just enemies” Cassiopeia replied. “I’ve seen your handiwork. You’re not the only one who creeps about in the dark.”

She spat a bilious wad of venom as he turned toward the sound of her voice. The man howled in pain, coin-sized holes burning through his armor and into his skin. She inhaled the satisfying sear of burning leather and flesh.

The man brandished his sword. “Who are you? Why’re you doing this?”

“I’ve been watching you” replied Cassiopeia. “I know what you are, what you do…”

“What I do is no business of yours.”

“I know you’re murdering children for drake meat. I hear it’s quite lucrative.”

The man tried to pry open the shutters of a nearby window with the flat of his sword, but they too were bolted shut.

“Then there’s the three tavern wenches” said Cassiopeia. “Sarmela, Elmin, and Lyx. They were found in the river yesterday. Their faces were hardly recognizable once you’d finished with them.”

She relished the thought of sinking her talons into his flesh.

The man readied his stance. “You can’t fight me from the shadows. Show yourself!”

“Very well” Cassiopeia said.

She slithered down to the courtyard and rose to her full height. The man’s eyes widened in horror, his hands trembling. Cassiopeia stood head and shoulders over the man, glaring down with narrowing eyes.

“Monster!” he cried.

“Monster” murmured Cassiopea. “Not the worst I’ve been called.”

She slid left and whipped her tail across his legs, effortlessly knocking him to the ground.

Curling her tail around his chest, she squeezed his ribcage tighter and tighter, sensing his pounding heart straining beneath her grasp. She heard bones crack. She resisted the urge to break him completely, and released her grip. He crawled to his sword, grasping it in desperation. She so enjoyed watching him tremble.

She circled him slowly. He met her gaze and stared in slow recognition.

“I know your face. The Lady Cassiopeia!” he said. “Look at you!”

Point to the ground, he pushed himself onto his feet with his sword.

“You chase drunkards like me through the filthy gutters of this city now, is that it?” The man spat a wad of blood. “From such great heights we fall, eh?”

She hissed, exposing dripping yellow fangs.

Cassiopeia’s gaze bored into the man’s eyes, locking them in a cold-hearted bond. She screamed, pouring all her rage into the cry; fury at the unfairness of her current state, anger at the loss of her privileged life, resentment for her failed ambitions. She channeled it all into the screeching, mind-shredding wail.

As she screamed, her fury was replaced with joy. It felt like she was floating, her potential for greatness infinite. Every fiber of her being sang with ancient power.

Searing emerald light blazed from Cassiopeia’s eyes. The man’s final panic was outlined in silhouette as he petrified from the inside out. His stare hardened, greyed, and stiffened, his last cry of terror stifled as her curse transformed his flesh to stone.

Cassiopeia slithered up to the statue and softly caressed its hard cheek. What was once skin fractured into a grisly pattern resembling a dried riverbed.

“Once, I had to manipulate, bribe, or otherwise... persuade people to orchestrate my schemes” she said. “But now... now I simply take what I want.”

She whipped her tail forward, smashing the statue to the ground. She smiled, eyes glinting, as it shattered into a thousand pieces of dust and rubble.

Cassiopeia flushed with pride as she considered her handiwork. Her life as a noble was over, yes, but never had she felt such boundless power coursing through her veins. She slithered back onto the rooftops, her mind awhirl with ideas.

Her next victim would offer her a far greater challenge.


Ekko

A prodigy from the rough streets of Zaun, Ekko manipulates time to spin any situation to his advantage. Using his own invention, the Zero-Drive, he explores the branching possibilities of reality. As well as experimenting with multi-dimensional probability, Ekko spends his days running wild with the other “lost children of Zaun.” To outsiders, Ekko seems to achieve the impossible the first time, every time. Though Ekko revels in this freedom, when there’s a threat to his friends, he’ll do anything to defend them.


It had been a weeklong sort of day.

For Ekko, this was both literal and metaphorical. Everything went wrong and it took forever to put it back just right. First, Ajuna had nearly gotten himself killed trying to climb Old Hungry. The younger boy wanted so desperately to be like Ekko that he vaulted up the side of the clockwork tower at the heart of the sump before any of their friends could stop him. It was the first tricky jump that nearly did the kid in. Good thing Ekko had triggered his Z-Drive. Eighteen times he heard the blood-curdling scream of the boy falling to his death before he figured out how and where to arrest the fall and save his life.

Then, while pillaging a scrap heap with ties to Clan Ferros for bits of tech, a particularly aggressive gang of vigilnauts surrounded him. Big ones, too, covered in augments that made the ugly even uglier. Ekko was surprised at their speed, but less surprised at how they shot to kill. Pilties and their backup didn’t care about the lives of sumpsnipes like him. Good thing the Z-Drive existed to get him out of seemingly inescapable encounters like that one. After a few dozen rewinds, he changed tack and pulled out his latest toy: the Flashbinder. It was meant to explode in a dazzling flash and pull anything not bolted down in toward its center.

But the Flashbinder didn’t work. Well, at least not as intended. It exploded. And that’s when things got interesting. Unlike most of Ekko’s inventions that exploded, the blue-hot magical detonation froze in mid blast. Columns of billowing blue energy fanned out from the epicenter. Bits of the disc’s shrapnel twisted at a snail’s pace along what, at normal explosion velocity, would be a deadly trajectory. Even the spherical blinding flash itself was frozen in space.

And then it got even more interesting. The explosion imploded, reforming itself into the palm-sized Flashbinder, and rewound back toward Ekko, landing square in his palm, as cold as the wind.

Cool, Ekko thought. He rewound the moment so he could throw it at the vigilnauts a few more times. For science, of course.

When Ekko finally got home, his body was tired, but his mind was alert. The apartment was functional – the furniture sparse and with little flourish. Ekko’s room was a little curtained-off nook filled with discarded books, bits of scavenged technology, and hiding spots for the Z-Drive and Flashbinder. Today was one of the rare days both his parents would be home early, and he had something to tell them.

“Mom, Dad.” He practiced to his reflection, which stared back at him from the Z-Drive’s shiny cylindrical surface. “I’m not going to apply to any of the Uppside clans or a snooty Piltie school. I’m staying here with you and my friends. I’ll never turn my back on Zaun.”

The words were filled with the confidence that comes with being alone in an empty apartment, with only walls and reflections to respond. And their response was silence.

He heard the jingle of the keys, muffled by the front door. Without a second to spare, Ekko tucked his Z-Drive under the table and draped a black cloth over it. He didn’t want them worrying about his escapades with an unstable hextech time-manipulation device.

The door opened and Ekko’s parents returned for the first time that night. They looked like strangers to their own son, their jobs aging them even more in the weeks since he’d seen them last together. Their routine was predictable. They’d shuffle home, supply a meager meal purchased with the day’s wages, save the rest of the money for taxes and bribes, then fall asleep in their chairs, chins resting on chests, until Ekko removed their workboots and helped them into their beds.

The bags under their eyes carried enough weight to pull their heads down. Tucked under his mother’s arm was a small paper-wrapped bundle, bound at the ends with twine.

“Hello, my little genius.” His mother expended energy she couldn't afford in an attempt to make the words come alive. Yet her expression in that moment of lightness when she saw her son sitting at the table, waiting, was something no one could fake.

“Hey, Mom. Hey, Dad.” The three of them hadn’t sat at a table as a family in such a long time. He quietly chided himself for not saying something substantial.

His father beamed with pride; then he mock-scowled as he brushed his fingers through his son’s mohawk. Ekko struggled to remember a time when his father didn’t look so old, before the prematurely thinning hair and the deep wrinkles in his brow.

“I thought I told you to cut that hair” his father said. “It’ll make you stand out in the Piltover academies too much. The Factorywood’s the only place you can look like that. They’ll take anyone. And you are not anyone. How are your applications coming?”

This was the moment. Ekko felt the words he’d practiced swimming up to be spoken. The hope in his father’s eyes gave him pause.

His mother filled that empty moment before Ekko could.

“We have a treat for you.” She set the brown parcel down on the table. They pulled their chairs close to watch as Ekko reached over and untied the knotted twine, straightened both strings, and laid them next to him. He unraveled the butcher paper without a single rip. In the center lay a small loaf of fragrant sweetbread, its crust glazed with honey and candied nuts. The cake was from Elline. She made the finest pastries in all of Zaun, and charged a pretty penny for them too. Ekko and his friends often pilfered her desserts from the rich folk who paid the hefty price without even a tiny hesitation.

Ekko’s head shot up to see his parents’ reaction. Their eyes were beaming. “This is too much” he said. “We need meat and real supper, not sweets.”

“We would never forget your name day” his father said with a chuckle. “Looks like you did, though.”

Ekko had completely lost track of what day it really was. Still, the gift was too extravagant. Especially since he was about to shatter their hopes for him. Guilt rose in his throat. “The landlord’ll have our heads if we’re late with rent again.”

“Let us worry about that. You deserve something nice” his mother said. “Go on, you can have cake for dinner once a year.”

“What are you going to eat?”

“I’m not hungry” she said.

“I ate at work” his father lied. “Cheese and meats from Piltover. Real nice stuff.”

They watched Ekko take a tiny bite of the cake. It was sweet and buttery and the crumbs stuck to his fingers. It was so rich, the taste stuck to his tongue. Ekko went to divide the cake into three pieces, but his mother shook her head. Her soft voice hummed the name day song’s playful melody and he knew they wouldn’t partake. It was his parents’ gift to him.

His father would have joined in singing the name day song if he hadn’t already fallen asleep, slumped in his chair, chin dropping to his chest. Ekko glanced over to his mother, her eyes fluttered closed as the melody was swallowed by her own encroaching slumber.

One future Ekko briefly considered was the Factorywood life and barely living wages for some other city’s benefit, for someone else’s glory. He couldn’t stomach the thought. He remembered fragments of conversations, snippets heard through the filter of infant ears, of his parents’ whispered dreams of inventions, and entrance to the clans. Ideas they hoped would change the world and contribute to a future unwritten by the birth of their son. Ekko knew they saw him as their only hope. But he loved life in Zaun. If he did as they wished, who would take care of them or his friends?

He couldn’t dash their dreams. Not tonight, on his name day. Maybe tomorrow.

Ekko didn’t finish his cake beyond the first bite. Instead he primed his Z-Drive. His home shattered into swirling eddies of colored dust. The thrum of the everyday fell to absolute silence. The moment splintered and encircled him in a vortex of light.

When the fragments of the future reassembled into the past, Ekko’s parents were coming home for the second time that night. It would be followed by a third, a fourth, a fifth, a sixth, and so on.

Each time he went back, Ekko didn’t change a single thing; the light in his mother’s eyes, his father’s proud smile as he nodded off. But Ekko fought the edges of sleep to hold onto those stolen moments forever, until finally, he let his mother’s soft voice, and the warmth of their little apartment lull him to sleep.

It had been a weeklong sort of day.


Ezreal

A self-assured explorer with the uncanny ability to find his way out of trouble, Ezreal traverses Runeterra in search of adventure. Armed with a magical gauntlet procured from the ruins of ancient Shurima, he tempts fate daily by seeking out treacherous, uncharted places and daring to untangle the world’s most cryptic mysteries.

As the child of two renowned traders whose work often required journeys to dangerous and remote destinations, Ezreal was left in Piltover under the care of his uncle, Professor Lymere. The Professor did not enjoy having to wrangle such a rash and unruly child, and to ease his burden, assigned the strictest tutors to teach him subjects like techmaturgy, hextech mechanics, and archeological history. Ezreal had a knack for absorbing information, and found laborious study a waste of time. He passed assessments easily with little or no preparation, which infuriated his uncle.

Ezreal’s appetite for exploration was irrepressible, and he took great pleasure in evading authority figures to roam the grounds and uncover its hidden places. His extraordinary spatial awareness allowed him to easily navigate labyrinthine tunnels beneath the university and cross its rooftops, allowing access to the most secluded vaults filled with strange and mysterious treasures. Ezreal polished his lock picking skills by sneaking into professors’ offices to rearrange their belongings for his own amusement.

The boy’s parents returned to Piltover periodically to sell whatever remarkable wares they’d acquired from afar. In his quest for increasingly rare and magical treasures to trade, Ezreal’s father was determined to discover the location of the lost tomb of the mage Ne’zuk, an ancient Shuriman whose head was crowned with twisted horns. The tomb was rumored to contain a magical gemstone that allowed the user to jump instantly from one place to another. If Ezreal’s father could obtain the priceless relic, he joked that wherever he was traveling, he would simply drop into Piltover for dinner each night.

Ezreal longed to embark on adventures with his parents, but they cited the many dangers they encountered daily. As the boy grew older, the time between his parents’ visits grew longer and longer until one year, they did not return at all.

Professor Lymere heard that the couple had ventured deep into the ruins of Shurima, and were never seen again. He told Ezreal his parents had most likely perished, but Ezreal was convinced his family was still alive somewhere, trying to return to him. He would often prolong dinners as long as possible, hoping his father and mother would appear bearing the magical stone of Ne’Zuk.

Though he told no one, Ezreal was determined to find his parents, or at least learn what had happened to them. His only clue to their whereabouts was the last place his father had searched for: the lost tomb of Ne’Zuk.

Over the years, Piltover had become Ezreal’s playground, with no workshop or laboratory closed to his exploits. Ezreal spent weeks collecting supplies from the university; celestial diagrams, translations of runic sigils, detailed guides to burial practices of Ancient Shurima, and a pair of protective goggles. After leaving a note of farewell for his uncle, he snuck onto a supply ship bound for Nashramae, a harbor city in Shurima.

Halfway through the voyage, the ship’s steward discovered the stowaway, and the captain threatened to throw Ezreal overboard. While balancing on a wooden plank, Ezreal told the captain he planned to abandon ship anyway; his chances were better in the ocean than aboard their doomed vessel. He revealed his star charts, showing that they were headed for a perilous rocky shoal notorious for dashing ships to pieces. Ezreal was instated as the chief navigator, the ship's drunken navigator cast into the sea in his place.

After the ship docked in Nashramae, Ezreal began his search for the tomb of Ne’Zuk. For months he ventured deep into cavernous ruins and lost temples that had been sealed for centuries. He relished in the boundless freedom of the unknown as he mapped out routes through ancient catacombs and escaped from untold horrors guarding hidden chambers. With each step, Ezreal imagined himself following his parents’ path, growing ever closer to solving the mystery of their disappearance.

In the underground crypt of a long-deceased emperor, Ezreal noticed the mosaic tiles covering the floor were perfectly smooth, as if they had been added only recently. He eagerly chipped away at a corner of the floor, revealing the edge of a portrait which had long faded from its original bright colors.

Ezreal removed each tile with growing excitement. He uncovered an enormous fresco of a man with Ne’Zuk’s characteristic curling horns protruding from his head. The mage’s gaping mouth opened to a sinkhole of churning sand. Ezreal secured a rope and dove in, blindly feeling his way around the tomb as his lungs begged for air. He emerged wearing a heavy bronze gauntlet with a bright azure amulet inlaid at its center.

As Ezreal pulled himself from the tomb, the walls around him shook with powerful tremors and began to collapse inward. Though he could no longer see his escape route, he visualized himself standing in the cavern entrance just above. He felt power build in his gauntlet, and as the amulet glowed he was instantly teleported to the location he had just envisioned.

The gauntlet, which retained potent energy within its crystalline core, proved to be the perfect escape tool. Ezreal learned it could channel beams of magical light after he mistakenly destroyed the foundations of a stone bridge. With the glove, he broke free from a band of nomads convinced he was the reincarnation of an Ascended warrior, survived a brutal desert storm which buried him beneath crushing layers of sand, and blasted a horde of Xer’Sai into oblivion. The relic was not without its limits, however; it took long moments to recharge its power and only allowed for teleportation between short distances. Worse, Ezreal could not help but feel that if his parents were still alive, he would not have found the gauntlet at all. Unbeknownst to him, the glove had a twin that had been excavated from the tomb years before. Ezreal vowed to carry on his parents’ tradition of exploring the world and chasing thrills of the unknown.

Armed with his magical gauntlet, Ezreal tempts danger with nail-biting, narrow escapes. He fearlessly seeks out the most exciting and perilous corners of Runeterra, trusting in the luck that has favored his travels thus far and never failing to answer his true calling: adventure.


After hours of trekking through the stiflingly humid jungle, the cool air of this underground crypt is sweet bliss. Sure, potential death awaits at every turn, but so does certain glory.

I step through a stone archway and clouds of dust rise like phantoms, revealing a pathway of circular patterns carved into the rock. This tomb is rumored to be impenetrable, uncrackable, and deadly. No explorer has yet escaped with their life, but then, none of them have been me.

So far I’ve infiltrated miles of labyrinthine tunnels, navigated spike-filled sand traps, crawled beneath swinging blade-pendulums, and wrestled hissing pit vipers. Nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live here.

Dozens of lidless stone eyes leer at me from the walls. Well, I’d leer too. I doubt they’ve seen anyone this astonishingly handsome since the last Rune War.

At the center of the room, a crystal vial rests on a pedestal. It shimmers with lambent fluid, casting tiny rainbows on the floor. That’s what I’m here for. Many will dismiss a grandiose tale of bold adventure as pure fiction, but there’s no denying a physical artifact. Collecting legendary treasure proves beyond doubt you’ve conquered the impossible.

The Elixir of Uloa is sought after by cults hoping it will imbue them with immortality, withered dynasties looking to reclaim power, and pilgrims seeking wisdom beyond belief. Quite a lot to promise for a vial whose contents wouldn’t fill a teaspoon.

I know every trap in the book will trigger as soon as I lift it from the pedestal. That’s the nature of places like this. I flex my fingers and the gemstone at the center of my gauntlet glows a satisfying cerulean blue. Now the real fun begins.

I approach slowly. A stone trembles underfoot and I step back to avoid activating a trigger. I pick my way across the room, only stepping on the most immobile stones. As my fingers close over the Elixir, deep cracks split the stone floor of the chamber. I activate my gauntlet, charging it with magical energy. Swirling rays of light overwhelm my vision as I teleport to the archway fifteen feet away. Not a second too soon. Hundreds of knife-sharp stakes cascade from the ceiling, missing me by a hair’s breadth as the entire room collapses into a shadowy crevasse below.

My gauntlet’s power is perfect for tight spots, but doesn’t lend itself to crossing great distances. And takes longer than I’d like to recharge.

A thunderous boom shakes the walls and echoes down the corridor. Sounds like the ancient foundations of this tomb won’t hold much longer, so it’s time to speed things along. I prefer my ground strictly solid, with a generous helping of reliability, so I sprint down the tunnel as widening cracks obliterate the floor behind me.

I chase the directional marks I chalked when I entered the tomb, sliding beneath collapsing archways, leaping over boiling quicksand, and dashing around colossal boulders rolling in to block this ever-narrowing passageway.

The wall to my right splits apart and a barrage of colossal insects tumble through, giant pincers snapping and venom dripping from their jaws. Thousands of red spider eyes gleam with hunger while scorpions scuttle forward with stingers poised. Jungle vermin are a damn nuisance, but I’ve got just the remedy!

I close my eyes for a split second. Energy flows down my arm, jangling my nerves with a pulsating beat as I concentrate power into the gem. I steady my gauntlet and aim it at the largest spider. As the monster opens his jaws I unleash a blazing ray into its mouth, blasting it back into the crawling horde. The smell of burned chitin stings my throat and my stomach churns.

I turn and run, firing blinding beams of light behind me at every twist of the passageway. A slab of rock the size of a house breaks from the ceiling directly overhead. My gauntlet recharges just in time and I reappear ten feet ahead in a whirling spiral of light as the tunnel behind me collapses.

Two toppling pillars fall toward each other and I slide between them a moment before they smash to dust. I dash into a chamber with a floor angled toward the surface.

A sliver of sunlight shines ahead, and I grin as I bolt for it. Freedom is close. The ground shakes with a deafening rumble and I stumble mid-run as the chamber falls apart in front of me. Freedom was close.

Then again, backup plans are a particular specialty of mine.

I ready my gauntlet and concentrate all my energy into the gem. I feel it drawing power from me. My vision blurs and the world seems to tilt as the gem fills with magic. The gauntlet pulses the blue of a clear sky.

I open my hand and a brilliant arc of golden light as wide as the tunnel bursts from my palm. The force of the blast staggers me, but I maintain my focus. The light blazes in a continuous glowing channel, gleaming brightly as it disintegrates everything in its path, leaving a precariously narrow gap. My favorite kind of gap!

I close my hand into a fist and the tunnel darkens once more. The ground lurches unpleasantly, sending me to my knees. I’m so spent I can barely move, let alone stand. Inches from my face, cracks spread across the floor faster than I can track them. Not good. The tomb won’t hold much longer, so I muster my remaining strength and rise, sprinting to what I dearly hope is safety.

I’m losing sight of the sunlight. Another crash - the walls crumble around me. I close my eyes and dive through the hole. Nothing wrong with hoping for a bit of good luck, and I am exceptionally lucky. I hit the ground, roll to my feet and inhale the sweet air of the jungle.

Behind me, the entrance to the tomb caves in completely, releasing a billowing cloud of ancient dust. I brush the dirt from my clothes, toss my hair out of my eyes with a well-practiced flick and walk away.

Another impossible ruin traversed. Another treasure to prove the truth of my daring tales.

And all before lunch.


Fiddlesticks

A ghastly living scarecrow, Fiddlesticks is an abomination who stalks the darkness, wielding a scythe and preying upon the unwary. Aided by a savage murder of crows, Fiddlesticks relishes terrorizing his victims before claiming their lives amid a flurry of feathers and blood splattered beaks.


Niram and his fellow brigands readied their horses beneath the noonday sun. He fastened the buckle of the last satchel on his horse. Each was filled with an assortment of ornately carved daggers, snowfox furs, and cured meat. The stolen wares weighed his horse’s saddle down so significantly he decided to walk her back to their camp.

Minesh slowed his horse to walk by Niram’s side.

“Why aren’t you riding?” he asked.

“A man who is kind to his horse receives kindness in return” answered Niram.

“Maybe she’ll reward you with a fine trade at market” said Minesh. “She’s too swaybacked to ride anyway.”

“Not at all. This old girl’s got many a mile left in her” said Niram. Minesh rode past, shaking his head.

By the time the men reached the barren field before their cave hideout, the setting sun was casting its rosy glow over the horizon. A hollow, whistling wind blew through rotted stalks and choking weeds. Moldy bales of hay were strewn about like corpses on a battlefield. Watching over this abandoned land was a crude scarecrow of cloth and straw balanced on two legs of thin willow. Its tattered rags fluttered in the wind, and a rusted scythe hung limp from one arm.

The brigands passed through the field and into the ragged thicket at its edge, where they approached the mouth of a cavern with stalactites protruding like bared teeth.

After hobbling his mare with the other horses near the entrance, Niram joined the bandits who were kindling a fire beneath its lofty stone ceiling. Rimeal, a man with a scar bisecting his face, nodded to him. Niram reached into his pocket to examine his most prized treasure: a shining red amulet hanging from a delicate chain.

Niram recalled the moment he saw the necklace around the noblewoman’s neck, framed by lavishly embroidered curtains in the window of her carriage. He and Rimeal had halted the travelers under pretense of warning them about an approaching pack of raiders, when in fact their men were already lying in wait.

It had only taken the guards a moment to spot the trap, but it was enough. Niram had silenced the first with a slash to the throat, while Rimeal gutted the second. Their compatriots slew the others in a hail of arrows. Niram entered the carriage, demanding the necklace, but the woman held it tight to her breast. The stubborn wretch had slashed at him with a concealed knife before he plunged his own dagger into her neck and ripped the necklace from her grasp.

Niram held it now as tightly as he had then, wiping away a spot of blood from the amulet until it reflected the rising moonlight. He replaced it in his pocket as a whinnying cry drew his attention to the horses near the entrance.

“Rat in their meal again?” Niram asked.

“They’re jumping at shadows! Some brave horses, eh?” said Rimeal.

“Not shadows” said Minesh. “It was a ferocious bird, the great and fearsome… crow!”

The men guffawed.

Sure enough, a black winged bird flew over the brigands in the cave, but as its cries echoed, a slow dread crept into Niram’s stomach. He watched the bird as it circled overhead — it wasn’t searching for a place to roost. Silence fell upon the cave.

Earsplitting shrieks broke the quiet as hundreds of crows erupted into the cave in a cawing hurricane of snapping beaks and tearing claws. The men screamed as the birds pecked and clawed at open skin. Ebon talons tore into Niram’s shoulder, drawing blood before he smashed the bird away.

Niram dropped to the ground, crawling on all fours to the mouth of the cavern. Outside, the crows shrouded the cloudless sky and smothered the hunter’s moon. The cave amplified each sound tenfold, creating a cacophony of shrill shrieks and inhuman screams.

He looked up to see Rimeal staggering forward with blood pouring from the ruined craters of his eyes. Niram scrambled through the rough brush outside the cave. He would not die to a flock of birds!

Just beyond the thicket, a maelstrom of crows flew around a figure at the edge of the field. The crude scarecrow stood with its arms spread wide, embracing the violent chaos of the storm. Its mouth was a ripped and jagged smile. All around it was mayhem: faces were torn open to reveal webs of tendons and teeth, as crows ravaged throats.

The scarecrow turned abruptly and stared straight at Niram. Its eyes burned with wild green wychfire. Terrified, Niram clambered to his feet, running through the thicket and into the bare field in a mad sprint. The creature followed, loping after him on its tall wooden legs with unnatural speed. The stench of rotted hay caught in Niram’s throat as he fled.

Niram glanced back and was horrified to see the scarecrow catching up. It sliced Niram’s legs out from under him before he reached the first hay bale. Blind with fear, Niram screamed as he fell in a tangle of limbs. Heart pounding in his throat, he tried to stand up, but his ruined legs collapsed beneath him. He scrambled away on his hands and knees, desperate to escape the nightmarish creature behind him. But the scarecrow stepped on his back, pinning him to the ground.

The monster reached down and pulled Niram’s head back to slice his neck, as if butchering a hog for a feast. Cold terror overwhelmed Niram as the scarecrow loomed over him, bending so their faces were inches apart. Bile filled his mouth, and he gagged on the rank stench of a corrupt soul.

“You crossed my field” said the scarecrow, its voice muffled as if it spoke through a mouthful of damp grave soil. “And all that grows here is mine.”

The murder of crows engulfed Niram, talons bared and beaks wide.


Jax

The self-styled Grandmaster at Arms known as Jax is a mysterious warrior and sometime mercenary renowned for his prowess in combat and biting sarcasm. While exceptionally skilled with virtually every conceivable weapon, he often chooses to fight with a mundane implement, such as a lamppost, in order to give his opponents a sporting chance.


Jax sat cross-legged at the center of the bridge with his long-hafted polearm resting on his knees. Demacia had not changed much since he had last traveled this way, but that didn’t surprise him. Its people zealously protected their borders, which had turned them into pretty decent fighters. Well, some of them anyway, he thought, wiping a spot of blood from the softly glowing head of the lamppost. He flicked the droplet over the parapet to the river below and reached into his robe to pull out his third hard-boiled egg of the day. Tapping it on the cobbles, he slowly peeled the shell as he heard the warriors at the end of the bridge try to decide which one of them would face him next.

Jax lifted his mask and bit into the egg. He took a deep breath, tasting sun-ripened crops on the wind and freshly turned earth from the expanse of farmland stretching to every horizon. Jax sighed; to see a realm at peace made him homesick for a land that no longer existed. He shook off the chill of memory, knowing thoughts of Icathia would only distract him. His robes were heavy, but the sun’s warmth didn’t reach the mottled and oddly hued skin beneath. No part of his flesh was visible, which was probably just as well. He wasn’t even sure what his skin looked like anymore.

A cold wind scudded over the snowcapped mountains to the north and a distant storm disgorged rain over distant fields and settlements. Where Jax came from, there was little in the way of clouds, and even less rain. Perhaps the storm would come south and make the cobbles of the bridge slippery. That might make this more challenging for him.

It would also make things more difficult for his opponents. And perhaps that was no bad thing. After all, a warrior worthy of fighting at his side in the battles against the monsters from beyond would need to be adaptable. He heard the clatter of armor and the whisper of a blade cutting air.

“Stand and face me” ordered a powerful voice.

Jax held up a finger while he finished his egg. He licked his lips then settled his mask back over his face before looking up at the warrior standing before him. The man was powerfully built, broad of shoulder and thick of arm. Armored head to foot in gleaming warplate of burnished steel, he carried a double-edged, hand-and-a-half sword.

And looked like he knew how to use it. Jax approved.

“You seem like a man who can hew ironbirch trees all day and still have energy left for a tavern brawl” said Jax. “I’ll not waste words on you, monster” said the warrior, assuming the same fighting stance all the others had. Jax sighed, disappointed the defeat of the fifteen men before this one hadn’t taught them anything.

“Monster?” he said, rising to his feet in one smooth motion. “I could show you monsters, but I fear you wouldn’t live long enough to tell anyone what a real monster looks like.”

He swung his lamppost around to loosen the muscles in his shoulders. Not that he needed to, but he’d been fighting, on and off, for the last four hours and it might make the man facing him feel like he at least had a chance of winning this duel.

“For Demacia!” shouted the swordsman and he attacked with the same tired, predictable strikes all the others had. The man was fast and strong enough to wield his sword in one hand. Jax swayed aside from the first blow, ducked the second and parried the third. He spun inside the swordsman’s guard and hammered his elbow against the side of his helmet. The metal buckled and the man went down on one knee with a grunt of pain. Jax gave him a moment to still the ringing in his head. The man tore off his helm and dropped it to the bridge.

Blood matted the side of his head, but Jax was impressed at how the man controlled his anger. Demacians had always been sticklers for discipline, so he was glad to see that hadn’t changed. The man took a steadying breath and attacked again, a series of blisteringly fast cuts that went high and low, a mixture of sweeping slashes, lighting thrusts and overhead cuts. Jax parried them all, his lamppost in constant motion as it deflected the Demacian’s blade and delivered stinging, bruising ripostes to the man’s arms and legs. He feinted left and hooked his lamppost around the opponent’s legs, putting him flat on his back. He jabbed the butt of his post into the man’s belly, doubling him up and leaving him gasping for air.

“Had enough yet?” asked Jax. “I can swap hands if it makes it easier.”

“A Demacian would rather die than take succor from an enemy” said the warrior, lurching to his feet. The man’s stoic facade was crumbling in the face of Jax’s mockery, and when he attacked again, it was with a ferocity untempered by discipline and skill. Jax ducked a risky beheading strike and switched to a one-handed grip on his lamppost. He spun his weapon under the man’s sword and rolled his wrist. The Demacian warrior’s sword was wrenched from his grasp and flipped through the air. Jax caught it deftly in his free hand.

“Nice little weapon” he said, spinning the blade in a dazzling series of master fencer’s strokes. “Lighter than it looks.”

The Demacian drew his dagger and rushed him. Jax shook his head at his foolishness. He threw the sword from the bridge and sidestepped a series of blisteringly fast thrusts. He ducked a sweeping cut and caught a thunderous right cross in his open palm. He nodded toward the river.

“I hope you can swim” he said, and twisted his wrist, lifting the armored warrior from his feet and flipping him over the bridge’s parapet. The man splashed down into the river and Jax planted his lamppost on the cobbles.

“Who’s next?” he said.

“That would be me” said a woman dismounting a gray gelding at the end of the bridge. Her horse’s flanks were lathered with sweat, her cloak dusty from a hard ride. She wore a silversteel breastplate, and a long-bladed sword was scabbarded at her hip.

She marched past the men at the end of the bridge and strode toward him, moving with a perfect economy of motion, utterly in balance and supremely confident in her skill. Her features were angular and patrician, framed by dark hair streaked with crimson. Her eyes were cold and unforgiving. They promised only death.

“Who are you?” asked Jax, intrigued.

“My name is Fiora of House Laurent” she said, drawing her weapon, a dueling saber that gleamed with a perfect edge. “And this is my bridge.”

Jax grinned beneath his mask.

Finally, an opponent worth fighting!


Jayce

Jayce is a brilliant inventor who has pledged his life to the defense of Piltover and its unyielding pursuit of progress. With his transforming hextech hammer in hand, Jayce uses his strength, courage, and considerable intelligence to protect his hometown. While revered throughout the city as a hero, he hasn’t taken well to the attention it brings. Still, Jayce’s heart is in the right place, and even those who envy his natural skills are grateful for his protection in the City of Progress.

A native son of Piltover, Jayce was raised to believe in the principles that made the city great: Invention. Discovery. Not going to Zaun if you could help it. With a knack for understanding machinery, Jayce earned the honor of being the youngest apprenta to ever be offered patronage by Clan Giopara, one of Piltover’s most respected ruling clans. Utterly unsurprised, Jayce took the offer, and spent most of his early years constructing potential hextech devices and designing transformable multi-tools for Piltover’s working class: a wrench that transformed into a prybar, a pickaxe that could morph into a shovel, a hammer that could turn into a demolition beam, if only it had a sufficiently powerful battery. Everything Jayce touched put his contemporaries to shame.

Most things came easy to Jayce, and he could never understand why his peers had so much trouble with what, to him, were simple concepts. As a result, nearly everyone who worked alongside Jayce found him arrogant, dismissive, and unwilling to slow his pace to help his colleagues catch up. As time went on, his patience became shorter, while at the same time, a chasm grew between decorum, charm, and Jayce’s natural demeanor.

Only one person ever managed to match Jayce’s intelligence while also maintaining a healthy indifference to his superior attitude.

His name was Viktor.

The two met at a mandatory Progress Day party, and immediately bonded over how little either of them wanted to be there. They started working together shortly after. Viktor expanded Jayce’s intellectual horizons and challenged many of his assumptions. While Jayce sought to improve humanity via versatile technology, Viktor sought to solve problems inherent to humanity itself, such as physical decay or illogical prejudices. They constantly argued with one another, but their conflicts never got personal – though their methods were different, the two colleagues knew their ultimate goals were very much the same. More than that, they both knew what it was like to be ostracized by their colleagues: Viktor because of his unconventional thinking, Jayce because of his rudeness.

Together, Jayce and Viktor invented a mechanized construction suit for Piltover’s dockworkers – something hearty enough to enhance the wearer’s strength, but light enough that its wearer wouldn’t immediately drown upon falling overboard. However, the two reached an impasse when Viktor’s design for the next version of the suit included a chemtech implant that would increase the wearer’s strength output by tenfold, while also preventing them from getting tired, panicking, or disobeying instructions from their superiors. While Viktor considered this feature a brilliant means of reducing the frequency of construction accidents, Jayce found its indifference toward free will immoral. The two nearly came to blows over the design and ultimately, after Jayce warned the academy of Viktor’s invention, Viktor was stripped of his honors and ostracized from Piltover’s scientific community.

Viktor was the closest thing Jayce had ever really had to a friend, and distraught over their falling-out, went back to working on his own. He grew more insular. His patience toward others grew even thinner.

As Jayce studied in solitude, Clan Giopara’s explorers discovered a raw, blue crystal deep within the Shuriman desert. Though Jayce volunteered to experiment on it (specifically by suggesting the clan’s other scholars wouldn’t be smart enough to get anything out of it), his lack of tact in doing so prompted Clan Giopara to give it to their better-mannered scholars as a form of punishment. Yet, after many months, the scholars reached a unanimous conclusion: the crystal was worthless. A power-drained hunk of rock. The disappointed clan leaders finally handed the crystal over to Jayce, assuming that even he, with his remarkable intelligence, wouldn’t be able to learn anything from it.

Something inside the crystal called to Jayce. No, more than that – it sang to him. He couldn’t explain why, but he knew the Shuriman gem still held mysteries yet to be discovered.

He spent many months running every variety of test on the crystal. He braced it into a cogwheel centrifuge; he superheated it and deep-froze it; he tinkered, and observed, and hypothesized, and beat his head against his copper pantograph. Quite simply, Jayce wasn’t used to working hard: this damned crystal was the first thing that had ever resisted his considerable mental aptitude. For the first time, he realized how his peers must have felt, trying so hard to solve a problem, only to bump against your own limitations. It felt frustrating. It felt unfair.

And it probably felt much, much worse if you were working alongside an arrogant inventor who dismissed your every effort.

Jayce realized that despite how dismissive he’d been toward his fellow scholars, none of them ever gave up. None of them ever stopped seeking the very things that defined Piltover: Progress. Discovery. If they wouldn’t give up, Jayce decided, he wouldn’t either.

And maybe he’d try to be nicer.

Maybe.

Jayce approached the problem from a completely different angle. Rather than trying to experiment on the crystal as a whole, he wondered, why not run more invasive experiments on a smaller shard? Jayce chiseled off a piece of the crystal and suspended it in a liquid alloy. As he sent a voltaic current through the liquid metal, Jayce’s eardrums nearly shattered from the booming baritone note that blasted from the shard. Heat radiated from the crystal and, with a flash, it glowed bright enough to nearly blind him. This was unexpected. This was potentially dangerous. But this was progress. Jayce couldn’t erase the smile from his face as he worked well through the night, into the dawn. The next day, Jayce was surprised to find his old friend Viktor on his doorstep. Alerted by the massive power spike from the crystal shard, Viktor had a simple proposition.

Since his expulsion from the Piltovan scientific community, Viktor had commenced work on a secret project in Zaun. He’d finally learned how to achieve his dream – how to eradicate disease, hunger, hatred. If Jayce joined him, the two would accomplish more than anyone from Piltover or Zaun could have dreamed of: they’d save humanity from itself. Jayce had heard a monologue like this before from Viktor. He never liked where it led.

Viktor told Jayce that he only needed one thing for his Glorious Evolution – a power source like Jayce’s crystal. Jayce disagreed, informing Viktor that what he truly needed was a moral compass. Viktor, who had long grown tired of Jayce’s rudeness, leapt upon him, grabbed the crystal and knocked Jayce unconscious with it. When Jayce awoke hours later, he noticed that though the Shuriman crystal was gone Viktor hadn’t seemed to notice or care about the smaller shard.

Jayce knew whatever Viktor was planning, he would only resort to these measures if he were close to completion. Even though he didn’t know what Viktor’s Glorious Evolution consisted of, it probably didn’t have a lot of respect for the free will of others. Without wasting a second, Jayce retrieved the suspended shard and installed it into a massive, transforming hammer – a demolitions invention he’d abandoned years ago for lack of a strong enough battery to power it. Though he had no idea where Viktor might have taken the crystal, he could feel the hextech hammer vibrate, pulling him not north, south, east or west, but down, toward the undercity of Zaun.

The shard, eager to be reunited with the crystal from which it was chiseled, eventually led Jayce to a warehouse in the depths of the sump. Within the cavernous building, Jayce found something horrifying. Dozens of corpses, their skulls sawed open and hollowed out, their brains transplanted into an army of immobile metal soldiers, hooked up to the now-pulsing crystal.

This was the first step in Viktor’s Glorious Evolution.

Jayce’s stride grew less confident as he approached Viktor. He and Viktor had not always seen eye to eye, but this was something else entirely. For the first time, it occurred to Jayce that he might have to kill his old friend. He called out to Viktor, flinching as the army of robots stood to attention. Jayce asked him to look around – to see what he was doing. Whatever this was – this Evolution – wasn’t the progress they fought for in their youths. He even, to Viktor’s surprise, apologized for acting like such a jerk.

Viktor sighed. He had only two words in response: “Kill him.”

The automatons sprinted toward Jayce, breaking free of the wires connecting them to the crystal and introducing Jayce to another new emotion: panic. He gripped the hammer tight, realizing he’d never actually used it before. When the first golem was within reach, he swung as hard as he could, feeling the shard’s energy surge through his muscles, accelerating the hammer’s movement until Jayce was worried it might fly out of his hands.

It slammed into the automaton, all but exploding it into a hail of metal. Despite the obliteration of their comrade, the other machines didn’t even pause as they rushed at Jayce, trying to pummel him into unconsciousness.

Jayce analyzed the formation of the mechanical wave coming at him and attempted to quickly calculate how to take out the largest number of them with the fewest amount of swings. It was pointless; they were on him before he could swing even once. As he fell to the ground under a storm of their blows, Jayce saw Viktor looking on, not with triumph, but with sadness. He’d outsmarted Jayce and ensured humanity’s future, but he knew that future came at a cost: he couldn’t let his old friend live. Jayce vanished under a sea of swinging metal limbs.

That’s when Jayce, for the first time in his life, decided to stop thinking and just break stuff.

No longer caring for his own safety, Jayce used every last bit of strength he had to break free from Viktor’s automatons. He sprinted to the glowing crystal, and struck it with all of the hextech-enhanced force his hammer could muster, crushing the mystical object.

Viktor cried out in horror as the crystal shattered to fragments, the shockwave blasting them all backward as the army of automatons collapsed lifelessly to the floor. The very foundations of the warehouse shook, and Jayce barely managed to escape before the entire building toppled.

Viktor’s body was never found.

Upon his return to Piltover, Jayce informed his clan masters of Viktor’s nefarious plans. Soon, Jayce found himself a topic of discussion in both Zaun and Piltover alike. Hailed for his quick thinking in a time of crisis, Jayce became a beloved figure (at least, amongst those who hadn’t met him), earning himself a nickname: the Defender of Tomorrow. Jayce cared little for the adoration of his fellow Piltovans, but took the nickname to heart. He knew that Viktor was still out there, plotting his revenge. One day – maybe someday soon – an awful lot of trouble was headed for Piltover.

And Jayce would be waiting.


Any fool could have predicted that Viktor would strike back at some point. If one weren’t a fool, one might predict the exact date and time of an attempted counterattack.

Jayce was not a fool.

He stood in his workshop, bathed in sun rays from his skylight, surrounded by dozens of artifacts of his own genius: Gearwork boots that could cling to any surface. A knapsack with articulated limbs that always kept the user’s tools within easy reach.

Greater than all these inventions, however, was the weapon that Jayce now held in his hands. Powered by a Shuriman shard, Jayce's transforming hextech greathammer was renowned throughout Piltover, but he tossed it from hand to hand as if was any other tool from his workshop.

Three sharp taps echoed from Jayce’s door.

They were here.

Jayce had prepared for this. He'd run experiments on Viktor’s discarded automata. He'd intercepted the mechanical communications. Any second, they’d beat down his front door and try to rip away his hextech hammer. After that, they'd try to do the same with his skull. “Try” being the operative word.

He flicked a switch on the hammer’s handle. With an energetic sizzle, the head of Jayce’s masterpiece transformed into a hextech blaster.

He took aim.

Stood his ground.

Watched the door open. His finger tightened on the trigger.

And he almost blasted a seven-year-old girl’s head off.

She was tiny and blonde and would have seemed adorable to anyone who wasn’t Jayce. The girl pushed the door open and walked in with shuffling, tentative steps. Her ponytail swished to and fro as she approached Jayce. She kept her head down, ever avoiding his gaze. He had two hypotheses regarding why she might refuse eye contact: she was hugely impressed to be in the presence of someone so acclaimed, or she was working for Viktor and about to surprise him with a chem-bomb. Her blushing indicated it was likely the former.

“My soldier broke,” she said, proffering a limp metal knight, its arm bent backward at a perverse angle.

Jayce didn’t move.

“Please leave or you’ll probably die.”

The child stared at him.

“Also, I don’t fix dolls. Find somebody with more time on their hands.”

Tears began to well up in her eyes.

“I don’t have any money for an artificer, and my muh–,” she said, stifling a sob, “mother made him for me before she passed, and–”

Jayce furrowed his brow and, for the first time in quite a while, blinked.

“If it’s so precious to you, why did you break it?”

“I didn’t mean to! I took him to the Progress Day feast and somebody bumped into me and I dropped him, and I know I should have just left him at home–”

“ –Yes, you should have. That was stupid of you.”

The girl opened her mouth to speak, then stopped herself. Jayce had seen this kind of reaction before. Most everyone he met had heard the stories of his legendary hammer and his unyielding heroism. They expected grandeur. They expected humility. They expected him to not be a massive jerk. Jayce inevitably disappointed them.

“What is wrong with you?” she asked.

“Most facets of my personality, so I’ve been told,” he replied without hesitation.

The child furrowed her brow. She shoved the broken doll into his face.

“Fix it. Please.”

“You’ll just break it again.”

“I won’t!”

“Look,” he said. ”Little girl. I’m very busy, and–”

Something flitted across the skylight, casting a quick shadow on the two of them. Anyone else would have assumed it was nothing more than a falcon passing overhead. Jayce knew better. He fell silent. A wry smile spread across his face as he yanked the girl toward his workbench.

“The thing is,” he said, “machines are very simple.”

He lifted a large, thin sheet of bronze and began to hammer its corners with sharp taps. “They’re made of discrete parts. They combine and recombine in clear, predictable ways.” He beat the sheet over and over until it took the form of a smooth dome.

“People are more complicated. They’re emotional, they’re unpredictable, and – in nearly every case – they’re not as smart as me,” he said, drilling a clean hole into the top of the dome. “Now usually, that’s a problem. But sometimes, their stupidity works in my favor.”

“Is this still about my doll, or–”

“Sometimes, they’re so insecure in their inferiority – so desperate to take their revenge – that they make a foolish mistake.” He grabbed a shining copper rod, and screwed it into the center of the dome.

“Sometimes people fail to protect their most precious assets,” he said, nodding at her tin soldier before holding aloft the newly-formed metal umbrella. “And sometimes, that means instead of assaulting my workshop through the more obvious front door, they try to take…”

He looked upward, “...the more dramatic approach.”

He handed her the umbrella, which took all of her meager strength to keep aloft.

“Hold this. Don’t move.”

She opened her mouth to respond, only to yelp in surprise as the skylight shattered above her. Glass bounced off the makeshift umbrella like rain as a half-dozen men leapt down to the floor. Tubes of bright green chems protruded from the base of their necks, connecting to their limbs. Their eyes were dead, their faces emotionless. They were definitely Viktor’s boys, alright: drugged punks from Zaun’s sump level whom Viktor had pumped full of hallucinogens and hypnotics. Chem-stunted thugs who would follow Viktor’s every whim whether they wanted to or not. Jayce had been expecting to see automatons, but Viktor likely couldn’t have gotten so many through Piltover unnoticed. Still, these chem-slaves were just as much of a danger. They turned toward Jayce and the girl.

Before they reached the pair, however, Jayce’s hextech blaster exploded with voltaic energy. An orb of hextech-powered lightning shot out of its core and detonated in the middle of the group. The chem-slaves slammed into the workshop's immaculate walls.

“So much for the element of surprise, huh, Vikto–”

A hulking brute of a machine leapt down amongst the pile of unconscious chem-slaves. It looked, Jayce thought, like a cross between a minotaur and a very angry building.

“Watch out,” the girl yelped.

Jayce rolled his eyes. “I am watching him. Stop panicking. I have the situation well in-ow!” he said, interrupted as the metal beast rammed him in the chest.

The beast sent Jayce hurtling backward. He landed on a rolling cart, his back cracking from the impact.

Grunting, he pulled himself to his feet as the beast charged again.

“That’s the last time you touch me,” he said.

Jayce swung his hextech weapon as hard as he could, transforming it back into a hammer mid-swing. The minotaur lowered its head to ram Jayce again, foolishly ignoring the weapon’s arc.

The hammer found its mark with a resounding crunch. The minotaur, its head caved all the way back into its metal neck, collapsed to the floor. A cloud of escaping steam hissed from its carcass.

Jayce pulled back the hammer again, readying for another attack. He watched the skylight. A few minutes passed. Soon enough, he seemed satisfied the assault was over.

He tried to step back toward his workbench, only to double over in pain, grasping at his stomach. The girl rushed to his side.

“Still hurts where he tackled you, huh?”

“Obviously.”

“Then maybe you shouldn’t have let him,” she said. “That was stupid of you.”

Jayce raised an eyebrow at the kid. Her eyes widened, unsure if she’d crossed a line. A slow smile crept across his face.

“What was your name?”

“Amaranthine.”

Jayce sat at his workbench and grabbed a screwdriver.

“Gimme the doll, Amaranthine,” he said.

A massive grin broke out on her face. “So you can fix it?”

Jayce smirked at her.

“There’s nothing I can’t fix.”


Lee Sin

Once a promising mage from Ionia, Lee Sin is a blind monk who sought redemption at the Shojin Monastery for a terrible mistake that cost innocent lives. In the midst of the Noxian invasion, his power became one with his flesh in a way none could have foreseen. With burning fists and inhumanly powerful roundhouse kicks, he fights those who dare despoil his homeland.


Ancient roots, sinuous trees and thickly-leafed vines clinging to the rocks all but obscured the path through the lush jungle. Three men sweated as they hacked their way onward, driven by hearts filled with greed and dreams of untold wealth. For six days the jungle had defied them, but now the temple reared from the undergrowth. Its facade was carved into a colossal stone outcropping, with blossoms of red and blue spreading around its base. Serene statuary filled golden alcoves and garlands of golden orchids were entwined around its eaves.

“You see, Horta?” said Wren. “Didn’t we tell you the temple was real?”

“So long as the treasures inside are real” said Horta, tossing aside the blunted hatchet and drawing a freshly sharpened sword. “You both staked your lives on that, remember?”

“Don’t worry, Horta” said Medra, with a rasping cough. “You’ll be able to buy your own palace after this.”

“I’d better” said Horta. “Now draw your blades. Kill anyone who gets in our way.”

The three brigands approached the temple, weapons glinting in the setting sun. Horta saw its corners were not sharp and defined; every edge flowing together instead of meeting at angles. As they made their way inside, they passed between two magnificent Ionian Whipwillows, their trunks curved to form an entranceway, with bark so white it seemed painted.

“Why aren’t there any guards?” he asked, as he stepped inside.

The question went unanswered as his eyes adjusted to the sepulchral gloom of a chamber hewn into the rock. The arched roof was carved with bas-relief, and every wall glittered with colored chips of glass to form a mosaic of vivid landscapes that rippled with light and life. Ivory tablets engraved with ancient Shojin parables were situated upon pillars of carved bronze, and gem-studded idols of jet stood watchfully in sunken alcoves. Statues of warrior-gods, each trimmed with gold, stared down from plinths of porphyry and jade.

Horta grinned. “Take it. Take it all.”

Wren and Merta sheathed their swords and flung open their packs. They began filling them with everything they could reach: statues, idols and gemstones, whooping with glee as they dragged a fortune in gold behind them. Horta circled the chamber, already planning their deaths when they got back to civilization, when he noticed that one of the statues was moving.

At first glance, he’d thought it to be a painted idol of a warrior monk, seated with his legs crossed and his hands resting on his knees. His back had been toward Horta, but now the man stood and turned on the spot with the fluid ease of a coiled snake. Lean and powerfully muscled, he wore loose-fitting trousers and a red bandanna across his eyes.

“Not so empty after all” said Horta, flexing his fingers on the leather-wound grip of his sword. “Good. I was hoping I’d get to cut someone up.”

The monk cocked his head to the side as though listening to sounds only he could hear and said “Three men. One with a blighted lung, another with a weak heart that will not see out the year.”

The sightless monk turned and stared directly at Horta, though there was surely no way he could see him through the thick fabric bound across his eyes.

“You have a twist in your spine” he said. “It pains you in the winter and forces you to favor your left side.”

“What are you, some kind of seer?” demanded Horta, nervously licking his lips.

The monk ignored the question and said “I am Lee Sin.”

“Is that supposed to mean something?” asked Horta.

“I give you this one chance to put back what you have taken” said Lee Sin. “Then leave this place and never return.”

“You’re in no position to make demands, my blind friend” said Horta, letting the tip of his sword scrape across the stone floor. “There are three of us and you aren’t even armed.”

Wren and Merta gave nervous laughs, wary of the monk’s confidence even in the face of their advantage of numbers. Horta gestured with his free hand, and his two companions moved to flank the monk, each drawing a curved blade from leather sheaths.

“This is a sacred place” said Lee Sin, with a rueful sigh. “It should not be desecrated.”

Horta gave the others a nod. “Put this sightless fool out of his misery.”

Wren stepped forward. Lee Sin was moving before his foot hit the ground. The monk went from being utterly still to a blur of motion in the blink of an eye. His arm whipped around and the hard edge of his hand struck Wren’s neck. Bone crunched and the bandit dropped, his head twisted at an unnatural angle. Lee Sin swayed aside as Merta slashed with his sword. The blow was wild, and the reverse stroke flashed over Lee Sin’s head. The monk dropped flat, twisting as he fell to sweep his shin out and scythe Merta’s legs out from under him. The bandit collapsed, his weapon skittering away over the tiled floor. Lee Sin sprang to his feet and hammered his heel down on Merta’s sternum.

Merta gave a strangled cry as his ribs cracked and the splintered ends were driven into his weak heart. Stolen gemstones spilled from his fallen pack as his eyes bulged in agony and he fought for breath like a landed fish.

“You’re fast for a monk” said Horta, slicing his sword through the air in a series of blindingly swift maneuvers. “But I’m no slouch with a blade.”

“You believe you are fast?” asked Lee Sin.

“Trained by the best, so you won’t find me as easy to beat as those two idiots” said Horta, nodding toward the bodies of his former companions.

Lee Sin made no reply as they circled one another. Horta watched as the blind man tracked his every motion. The monk’s steps were fluid and precise, and Horta had the uncomfortable feeling that every passing second was revealing more of his own abilities to his opponent.

He roared and threw himself at the monk, attacking in a blistering series of high slashes and lunges. Lee Sin swayed aside, moving like a wind-blown sapling as he dodged, deflected and spun away from Horta’s desperate strikes. He kept his blade in constant motion, forcing Lee Sin back with every attack. The monk hadn’t even broken a sweat. His impassive mouth, covered eyes and casual disdain infuriated Horta.

He gathered himself for one final attack, drawing on every scrap of training, fury and strength he could muster. His sword cut the air around the monk, but never once made contact.

Lee Sin spun away one last time and bent his knees, his body taut.

“You have speed and not a little skill” he said, sinews pulsing beneath his skin “but anger colors your every thought. It has consumed you and has led to your death.”

Horta felt the air in the chamber grow warmer as streamers of energy coalesced around Lee Sin. A fiery vortex engulfed the monk and Horta backed away in terror, his sword falling from his grip. Lee Sin was trembling, as though fighting to control energies more powerful than he could contain. The chamber reverberated with the sound of a rising wind.

“Please” said Horta. “I’ll put it back. I’ll put it all back!”

Lee Sin leapt, propelled by the blitzing hurricane of energy. His foot hammered into Horta’s chest, hurling him backward. Horta slammed against the wall and stone cracked under the impact. He fell limply to the floor, every bone in his spine shattered like broken pottery.

“You had a chance to avoid this, but you did not take it” said Lee Sin. “Now you pay the price.” Horta’s vision greyed at the edges as death approached, but not before he saw Lee Sin return to his seated position. The monk’s back was to him, and, as his posture relaxed, the vortex of lethal energies began to dissipate.

Lee Sin bowed his head and resumed his meditation.


Orianna

Orianna is a technical marvel comprised entirely of clockwork, but it was not always so - she was once a girl of flesh and blood. As a young child in Piltover, Orianna fell ill, and her dying organs were replaced with elaborate prosthetics until she became the first fully mechanized person. Her closest companion is the mechanical ball she created to serve as her protector and friend. Introspective and curious about her place in the world, Orianna seeks her true purpose.

Growing up in a wealthy district of Piltover, Orianna was sheltered from the cruelties and injustices of the outside world by her father, renowned inventor Corin Reveck. His elaborate designs were so beautifully detailed that even those without a medical need sought his clockwork and mechanically powered augmentations. Patrons swore his work had an uncannily lifelike quality, as if he wove magic into his creations amongst the cogs and gears.

Eager to learn his craft, young Orianna trained tirelessly as his apprentice. Her father was brilliant, but reclusive, and relied on Orianna to interact with his customers. With her inquisitive and friendly nature, she soon became the face of their business.

Though she seldom ventured beyond her neighborhood, Orianna often stole away to the theater, where she watched dancers portray stories through leaps and pirouettes from lands beyond Piltover. Epic adventures unfolded before her eyes: an ageless mage who wandered the desert in search of a spell he'd lost a century ago, a maiden who disguised herself as a rock in a magic-infused jungle, a pilgrim who longed to climb an impossibly tall mountain that healed all who ascended its peak, and dozens more stories of faraway places that thrilled her imagination.

Entranced by the dancers’ tales, Orianna dreamed of one day visiting these strange and distant lands. From the theater balcony, she’d study every movement and detail, then return to her father’s workshop to create miniature figurines that recreated the dazzling show.

One quiet day in the shop, after Orianna fitted an elderly woman’s mechanical hand, the patient mentioned a terrible accident that had occurred in Zaun, the city over which Piltover had been built. An explosion had released a cloud of noxious fumes, poisoning the air in the surrounding streets. Left untreated, the chemicals would cause organ failure and a slow, lingering death. Those infected were sequestered to a medical encampment in the heart of Zaun.

Thinking their skills could help those suffering from the foul air, Orianna urged her father to descend into Zaun and aid the victims. Corin knew exposure to such toxicity was too risky and forbade his daughter from visiting such a dangerous place. But Orianna was not to be dissuaded, and just before dawn, she snuck from her home. She bore as many respirators as she could carry, and donned a protective mask before riding the hexdraulic descender into the depths of Zaun.

Orianna was shocked at the devastation; debris filled the streets at the site of the explosion, and Zaunites walked through thick pooling clouds of toxins with their faces covered by no more than oily rags. Never in her life had she witnessed such suffering. Orianna joined a group of volunteers tending to those most affected by the fumes. She returned, night after night, to repair broken breathing equipment and install esophilters in her patients, allowing them to breathe the noxious fumes safely.

After giving away all her respirators, Orianna noticed a young child with deathly, labored breathing. Without a second thought, she removed her own filtration mask and gave it to the child, donning a handkerchief to cover her own face. Within days Orianna fell ill herself, and soon struggled to breathe even the clean air of her home. Every breath was anguish as her lungs deteriorated from within, and she was forced to face her own mortality.

Devastated at his daughter’s failing health, Corin threw all his efforts into developing his most ambitious project yet: replacing Orianna’s dissolving lungs with automated replicas. Corin used the finest bio-mechanical filtration materials, normally reserved for his highest paying customers. After weeks of sleepless nights developing an exquisite device of clockwork, Corin embedded it within Orianna’s chest. Wanting to prevent Orianna from exposing herself to danger again, Corin installed a mechanism to power her lungs with a key only he could wind. The artificial lungs worked perfectly, and soon Orianna was back to tinkering in the shop.

Sadly, Orianna’s fortune would not last. After a few months of good health, her condition worsened as the blight spread to the rest of her body. Orianna and her father worked feverishly to develop clockwork replicas of various organs, and as each body part failed, it was replaced.

As her anatomy was inexorably altered, Orianna grew more uncertain of her own identity. Over time, more and more of her body was exchanged for whirring cogs and gears. She retained most of her human memories, but felt a peculiar distance from her former self. Her father, too, noticed the change; Orianna sometimes heard him crying late at night. He bought her tickets to the Piltovan theater to cheer her up, but Orianna insisted on leaving halfway through, saying she had already learned everything she could from the show. Devastated at the gradual loss of his daughter’s personality, Corin tried to help Orianna recall her old memories and former demeanor, correcting her when she strayed too far from her past behavior. Orianna followed his instructions, but increasingly grew to resent his interference, wishing she could simply be herself.

Within a year, Orianna was almost entirely mechanical, save for her heart, which remained miraculously untainted by the creeping toxins.

During the years of Orianna’s decline, Corin had focused solely on his daughter, neglecting many of his wealthy clientele, and losing most of their patronage. Without funds to keep their business afloat, Orianna and Corin were forced to sell what possessions they could and move down into Zaun. They set up shop above a chemtech lab halfway down the canyon wall, and soon found work modifying breathing devices to filter the infamous Zaun Gray.

Orianna’s skill in crafting mechanized clockwork was better than ever, for her hands no longer tired under the meticulous work and her inhuman mind needed little rest. She had no need for measuring devices, for she could glance at a gear and immediately know its exact dimensions, and was able to solve complex formulas that would normally take hours in a matter of seconds. Orianna learned to maintain her own body, greasing cranks, replacing worn parts, and fixing jammed clockwork as needed, though she relied on her father to wind her whenever her gears slowed.

With wheels and gears ticking endlessly within her body, Orianna often became frustrated that time never seemed to move forward - at least not for her. As the months passed, new creases appeared on her father’s forehead and gray hairs grew at his temples. But Orianna’s gears maintained their constant rotation, and she experienced little change. She wondered if her life would continue forever on its steady, immutable course, and felt the loss of all the things she might never experience.

With most Zaunites accustomed to breathing chem-rich air, people visited Corin’s workshop only occasionally, and business slowed. Compounding that problem, Corin had developed agonizing chest spasms since their move to Zaun and was forced to rest often.

One day, Orianna noticed a young sumpsnipe who frequently passed their shop, and spent an afternoon crafting a mechanical figurine for him. The tiny clockwork gentleman tipped his hat and bowed when his key was wound. The child was delighted. Thinking that life in Zaun could use more joy, Orianna designed a series of elaborate figurines. In a place where most objects were purely functional, her wondrous creations brought smiles to many Zaunites. The figures sold faster than she could make them, and the renown of Corin’s workshop grew. Once again, they could afford more expensive materials, even a rare hextech crystal.

With notoriety came more visitors, but not all of them were welcome. Thugs employed by Petrok Grime, a formidable Chem-Baron, stopped by one day to offer Corin their unwavering protection from thieves, scoundrels, and general mayhem in exchange for coin. Corin turned them down, believing it better to stand up to criminals than appease them. But that night, Corin’s shop was raided and all their money was stolen. Orianna spent the next month developing a tool to serve as their protector: a brass sphere that could radiate powerful energy, causing its target tremendous pain. Corin noticed that the ball assisted Orianna in her work automatically, as if they had some unseen connection. As Corin’s health continued to deteriorate, Orianna was forced to obtain costly tonics to treat his pain. She tended to him as best she could, but a Zaunite sawbones confirmed that the chem-rich air had infiltrated Corin’s bloodstream and poisoned his heart.

Despite their advancements in bio-mechanical clockwork, neither Corin nor Orianna had yet developed a mechanism elaborate enough to reproduce the intricacies of the human heart. Her own live, healthy heart had proven especially resilient throughout her illness. Yet it was also an unbreakable link to her past, freezing her in time.

Orianna knew her father loved the daughter he once had, but she no longer felt like that girl. Perhaps giving her heart to her father would keep his daughter’s memory alive, since she no longer could. If she could create a mechanical heart for herself powered by hextech, her lungs would no longer need a winding key. Maybe then, time could move forward.

Orianna slipped her father a sleeping draught and crafted her new clockwork heart using the hextech crystal they recently obtained. The bespoke organ hummed with delicate machinery that drew power from the ever-renewing gemstone. It was beyond the scope of anything she or her father had ever created. With help from the ball, she removed the key from her back and installed the new device, knowing her hextech-powered heartbeat would never again depend on someone else. She then cut open Corin’s chest and replaced his failing heart with the last remnant of the Orianna he had known and loved.

Orianna listened to her father’s steady heartbeat through the night, and at dawn, she left for good. Though she still loved him, she wanted to see the world. She had become something entirely new, a lady of clockwork, and now that she was entirely mechanical, she was free.

Corin woke to find his workshop filled with hundreds of miniature figurines: clockwork people who could balance upon a string, sing folk tunes, or even juggle tiny silver balls. With such a rich inventory he could return to Piltover in no time. But there was one figure he vowed never to sell: a golden dancer with no winding key, who pirouetted in a dance without end.


Orianna walked through the fairground, empty and still in the evening gloom. Sir Feisterly’s Fantastical Fair opened its gates to delighted crowds of Zaunites but twice a year, and Orianna did not want to miss her chance to see its wonders. She had waited until everyone had left for the day, and the rowdy laughter and accordion tunes had fallen silent. Only the low hum of nearby pipelines pumping steam through the chem district disturbed the quiet. Detritus lay strewn along the ground; colorful streamers and bright balloons mingling with crumpled wax paper that once held sweet jam pastries.

Orianna’s clockwork ball hovered beside her as she passed a stall overflowing with roses, which according to a sign, smelled like each day of the week. She walked by a wind-up monkey holding a pair of cymbals, and a cart laden with sugared apples. None of these Zaun-born delights piqued her interest; Orianna had eyes only for the glass cabinet tucked into a secluded corner at the far edge of the grounds.

A glimmering wink of metal flashed in the moonlight. It came from the mechanical boy sitting behind the glass. Orianna had seen nothing like him, and drew closer, intrigued. He was clad in a midnight-blue suit and a silk hat. His skin was a shell of pure porcelain that masked the delicate clockwork gears below, and his eyes shone with glints of silver thread. As Orianna approached him, his lips rearranged into a smile.

“Can you keep a secret?” the boy said. His voice reminded Orianna of softly chiming bells.

“Hello,” she said. “Of course.”

“What say we make a trade. My secret, for your name.”

“That seems fair. I am called Orianna.”

“Or-ee-AHN-uh,” he repeated. “Such soft sounds.”

Orianna could have sworn his porcelain cheeks blushed.

“I suppose it’s my turn. My name is Fieram. My secret is that I fear the outside world, though I long to see distant shores and far-off mountains.”

“Is that why you live in a cabinet?” she asked. “Because you are afraid?”

“From here, the world visits me,” said Fieram. “Behind the glass, I am safe. I’m very fragile, you see.” He pointed to a hairline fracture on his forearm. “There it is. I’m getting old.” Fieram’s mouth opened into a lopsided grin. Orianna giggled and shrugged her shoulders, a gesture she had recently acquired, though she wasn’t quite sure if she had used it correctly.

“Oho! You haven’t seen my tricks yet,” said Fieram. He reached into his sleeve and produced a bouquet of daisies with a flourish.

“Ta-Da!” he exclaimed. “And...”

Fieram removed his hat and dipped his head in a nod. A half-dozen mechanical pigeons fluttered from beneath the brim. He brought his hands together in a clap and the entire cabinet filled with opaque red smoke. By the time it dissipated a few seconds later, the pigeons were gone.

Orianna applauded in delight. The ball whirred, impressed.

“Wonderful!” she exclaimed. “Like magic.”

“And that wasn’t even my best execution. Fumbled my sleeve a bit,” he admitted, folding his hands. “But small miracles are my specialty. Like you finding your way to me, in this great city! You, above all others.” “You winked at me.” said Orianna. “Why?”

“We are kindred spirits, you and I. But you already knew that,” said Fieram. “It’s why you’re here, isn’t it?” He shuffled his feet. Orianna marveled at the subtlety of his movement.

“It is just that I have never seen another like you,” she said.

“I’m one of a kind, aren’t I? Same as you,” said Fieram. He gestured toward her mechanical frame, and winked again.

Orianna smiled. Fieram leaned in against the glass.

“Your smile is—”

“Fabricated?” she said. “Yes. I am still mastering certain expressions.”

“... beautiful,” said Fieram.

“Well now you are going to make me blush.”

Orianna’s ball, hovering at her left shoulder, nudged her gently.

“Not now,” she told the ball. She lifted the mechanical monkey from its stall nearby and turned its key. It scuttled about the floor, eyes lit with a red glow, clashing its cymbals together at every third step before slowing to a halt.

“You are not like him, are you, Fieram? All wound up at the turn of a key?” she said. “You have a mind. You have thoughts.”

“I may be comprised of cogs and wheels, but I have dreams, like anyone.”

“I know you dream of leaving this place. Surely you are lonely behind this glass. Come with me. We could leave now, together,” Orianna said.

“Leave?” Fieram’s expression fell. “I’m afraid I don’t know what you mean.”

“You have no doubt listened to the restless bustle of Zaun, or heard of the grand marvels in Piltover?” Orianna asked.

Fieram cocked his head.

“I like to ride the Rising Howl at dusk to catch the last of the day’s golden rays,” Orianna said. “From the very top you can see the harbor beyond the sea-gates, and the endless glistening ocean. From up there, you can imagine the smell of faraway lands.”

Orianna’s ball whirred as it spun in the air and nudged her again.

“I suppose now is as good a time as any,” she said. “Fieram, would you like to see the world? We could leave together, right now. I can protect you.”

“I can’t think of anything more wonderful,” he said.

Orianna circled the glass cabinet in search of an opening. An iron padlock secured a small door at its base. She raised a fist and brought it down upon the lock, smashing it open.

A watchman approached them.

“Hey! Stop that!”

With a glance from Orianna, the ball shot toward the watchman. It clanged upon impact with his helmet, then hovered in the air as if waiting for a command. Orianna nodded and the ball radiated waves of coruscating power. Caught in the energy flux, the watchman raised his baton and bashed it into the ball, which spun in midair before returning to his target.

A second watchman ran toward Orianna. She tried to pull Fieram through the door but his chair jammed in the opening.

“Fieram! Can you repeat your trick?”

The ball reverberated with energy as it whirled around the first watchman. His metal helmet fizzled with sparks.

“My tricks?” Fieram reached into his sleeve and pulled out the bouquet as Orianna spun away from the watchman.

“No, the other one!”

Fieram replaced his bouquet.

“The very last trick,” she said. “Quickly!”

The mechanical boy drew the bouquet from his sleeve once more.

Orianna spun toward the watchman, her metal dress fanning out in a flurry of sharp blades until the man backed away, baton raised.

“Get away from him, you!” said the watchman. “That’s our property you’re tampering with!”

“From here, the world visits me,” Fieram said.

He tipped his hat and pigeons poured out. The watchman aimed his baton at Orianna’s head, and she ducked just as Fieram clapped. The baton shattered the side of the glass cabinet and crimson smoke poured from the opening, obscuring all movement.

The first watchman had responded to the ball’s galvanic attacks with rageful abandon, throwing all his weight into every punch. The ball was relentless, however, and shot a final blast of energy toward his helmet, and the watchman fell down, unconscious. Whirring in satisfaction, the ball flew to Orianna. It unleashed voltaic waves toward the second watchman, rendering him motionless.

Orianna stepped into the smoke-filled cabinet. She lifted the mechanical boy from his chair but his legs would not flex to stand.

“Fieram! Fieram, we must leave.”

“Leave? I’m afraid I don’t know what you mean.” A pair of metallic pigeons flew through the broken glass, but dropped to the ground a few feet from the door.

“Fieram, stand up so we can go,” Orianna said, her face falling. “Please.”

“Oho! You haven’t seen my tricks yet.” He pulled the bouquet from his sleeve.

Orianna ignored Feiram’s attempt to tip his hat and dragged him, still fixed in a seated posture, from the glass enclosure. Outside, her ball had cornered the second watchman, who had collapsed in a buzzing heap.

“And that wasn’t even my best execution. Fumbled my sleeve a bit,” said Fieram.

“You are not... your voice is... repeating?” Orianna said. His head lolled back awkwardly and she held it upright.

“My secret is that I fear the outside world,” he said.

Orianna noticed the embroidery lining his jacket.

Sir Feisterly’s Fantastical Fair Friendly Fieram

He was nothing more than a simple automaton, a spectacle for the crowds.

“I was certain you had a mind. Had thoughts. Like me,” she said.

Fieram looked up at her with eyes that glinted with silver. “I’m one of a kind, aren’t I?” He shuffled his feet nervously, though they were in midair. “Same as you.”

The ball returned to Orianna and whirred gently.

“We should go,” she whispered. She set Fieram back upon his chair, which she placed just outside the shattered glass cabinet. “I wish you well.”

“Small miracles are my specialty,” he said. “Like you finding your way to me.”

“Goodbye, Fieram,” said Orianna softly. The two watchmen lay unconscious on the ground. The ball hovered at her side as she walked away.

She did not look back until she was clear of the park’s towering gates. As she turned, she thought she saw a glint of metal winking in the distance.


Rek'Sai

The largest and fiercest of her species, Rek'Sai is a merciless predator that tunnels through the earth to ambush and devour her prey. Her insatiable hunger has laid waste to entire regions of the once-great Shuriman empire. Merchants, traders and armed caravans will go hundreds of miles out of their way to avoid these vast areas, though cunning bandits have been known to lure the unwary into her killing grounds. Once Rek'Sai detects you, your fate is sealed. There is no hope of escape; she is death from below the sand.


Six boys and a camel, and the boys were cheaper to replace. Some were orphans and escaped slaves, but most were off casts — teenagers abandoned by families too poor to keep them. When Shahib offered him the work, Jaheje hadn’t eaten in days.

Only the desperate would try crossing the Sai Kahleek, but those with any meager possessions bartered for Shahib. Jaheje looked across the cooking fire at the older boy. A few small tufts of facial hair had sprouted on Shahib’s cheeks, and his voice no longer cracked when he spoke. Few boys survived crossing the desert for more than a couple seasons. No one chose to do it after earning any money. No one except Shahib, who had walked the Sai Kahleek for almost ten years.


Shahib whistled and the other boys ran to his side. He showed them how to cut the callouses from their feet.

“Feel each step” he instructed. “Start with your big toe, then roll outward until your whole foot touches down. Only then do you shift your weight from your rear foot.” He stood and demonstrated how to move with long, silent strides.

“Practice” he explained. “If the camel walks too slowly, it will reveal our presence. You must be quiet, and you must be swift.”

Jaheje’s feet bled badly the first day; he nearly fainted from the pain. He practiced long after the caravan stopped and the ground cooled. By the fourth day, the pain was so intense, he used a bit of leather to bite down on. Shahib complimented him on his technique.

Shahib laughed as he indicated it to the other boys. “Watch” he said. “Jaheje is quieter than me. Copy how he moves. Each step as soft as a mouse, each stride as long as a gazelle. Yes, this is how you survive Sai Kahleek.”

Longing as much for the older boy’s praise as the training he needed to survive, Jaheje soon followed him everywhere. He saw how Shahib rested with one foot raised and wrapped around the pendant spear. He saw how Shahib retied the spear’s pendant every morning, making sure the flag’s cut-cloth always flowed like the leaves of a desert palm. He saw how Shahib’s eyes searched the desert in a pattern, over and over, stopping only when he closed them for sleep.


After the second moon, they arrived. From the top of the dunes, Jaheje looked down at the skeleton of the dead god. No one knew what the monster had been when alive, but its huge ribs raked into the sky, each casting a shadow that engulfed the caravan as they passed. Its bones meant they were entering the Sai Kahleek.

Northerners called Sai Kahleek the “Bone Sea” but this was a mistranslation. The Laaji tribes had never seen an ocean. Sai was the word the Laaji used for plains of sand and loosely packed rock, which were slow and painful to walk on. It meant the land was pockmarked with tunnels. It meant the Xer’Sai preyed here. It meant death lurked beneath the sand.


Dragging the old camel behind them, the team of boys left before dawn, a half day’s march ahead of the caravan.

Jaheje found his first burrow on the second day, and waved his signal flag. Shahib soft-stepped over to him. They approached the burrow cautiously and stopped a dozen yards from it. Its opening was no larger than a melon, but from it, the poisonous vapors of activity brewed. Shahib sent one of the boys back to redirect the caravan.

Jaheje looked back and asked Shahib “Can we kill a Xer’Sai that large?”

Shahib scratched his chin, responding “Their skin gets harder with age.” Slowly, a grin appeared proudly. “Last season I killed one the size of a jackal. We lost the camel, but I killed it.”

Jaheje smiled, enjoying his mentor’s boast. But he found himself asking “Does Rek’Sai exist?”

Shahib chilled, his mood suddenly bitter. “I have seen her.” But before Jaheje could ask about the famous beast, Shahib stood and told Jaheje to keep moving. They crept away from the burrow, listening, waiting, scanning the horizon for any movement.


When Jaheje heard the first gong of a sounding bell, it took him a moment to process what it meant. Something was coming from behind them, to the east. He had been so focused on looking for hidden burrows, he had forgotten to watch the horizon.

The camel brayed, and Jaheje looked for the signal spears of the other boys in his crew. At the edge of his visibility, he could see their three flags.

The bell sounded again. The boy who had sighted the Xer’Sai would now use the sounding bell to confuse the beast. Jaheje had to chase the camel away from the path of the caravan and toward the lookout. Assuming the lookout wasn’t killed, the Xer’Sai would follow the camel away from the caravan and allow the lookout a safe path to retreat.

Jaheje could see Shahib running toward him. The bone-thin teen had abandoned silent-stepping, racing as fast as he could toward the camel and Jaheje. Shahib dropped his spear as a cloud of dust suddenly appeared behind him.

Jaheje ran to the huge king-bell attached to the camel. He dragged it down to the ground and struck it with all of his might. Even muffled by the earth, the sound battered his ears. He kept hitting, but the cloud of dust pursuing Shahib didn’t change course. Each second it gained ground.

At the moment, it seemed certain to overtake Shahib. Instead of running or dodging, he froze and screamed “Don’t move!”

The other boys stood as motionless as their bodies would allow. At the exact instant, the old camel began running.

And then, before a word could be spoken, an energy crackle hit them like a wall. The hair on Jaheje’s neck stood on end.

“It’s close” Jaheje whispered.

“No” Shahib warned. “It’s not close. It’s big.” And for the first time Jaheje saw real fear on the older boy’s face.

Shahib scanned the desert, looking for a fin, a dust cloud, anything. Then he judged the distance. “The caravan’s too far. If it heads for the camel we can make it to the rocks.”

Jaheje desperately turned, looking for the hidden creature. “Where is it?!”

In the distance, they heard the camel bray in pain. The animal’s screams ended suddenly.

“What could kill a camel that quickly?” Jaheje asked.

Shahib pushed them forward. “We have to reach the rocks” he insisted.

And with that, they began to run.

When Shahib told them to stop, they stopped. When he indicated for them to silent-step, they did so. Jaheje could only hope Shahib saw what he did not.

But the black rocks seemed to run away from them. No matter how many steps they took, they never grew closer. So they ran as clouds covered the sun and the desert became black. They ran as the wind swept away their trail. They ran knowing the Xer’Sai was behind them; knowing it heard every misstep, every stumble. They ran knowing that it followed, and that every mistake led it closer.


When Jaheje saw it, it seemed to be a giant mouth cut into the rock, vapors hissing from it menacingly. The burrow’s entrance was so large, even standing upright, he would be able to walk into it without lowering his head.

“Rek’Sai” he whispered in terrified awe. As he turned, he realized that all around them, the black stone was pockmarked with the creature’s giant tunnels.

Young Xalee gave voice to the horrible realization that they all understood: “She can tunnel through rock.” The cliffs they had thought to be their salvation were instead Rek’Sai’s lair.

“We should go back, try and reach the caravan” Xalee suggested.

“Try if you like” Shahib answered.

“We can silent-step.”

“A day’s travel” Shahib cautioned. “Can you travel soundlessly for a whole day?”

“What will you do Shahib?” Jaheje asked.

“If we go back, we will die in the Sai Kahleek. I will go forward and pray a guardian watches over me.”

Xalee asked “Where does this valley lead?”

“It doesn’t matter where it leads. It is our only choice.”

They moved cautiously along the cliffs, entering a wind cut valley, and hoping it would lead to water soon. Avoiding the monstrous burrows was impossible. Each boy silently prayed Rek’Sai had heard, and pursued, the distant caravan instead of them.

As the sunlight crept over the edge of the valley, it revealed the desolate obstacle they faced. It was impossible to walk silently in the canyon, for bones were scattered underfoot. The sound of each footstep echoed with a hollow lifelessness.


She launched from an unseen hole behind them, which had appeared dead. For Jaheje, everything became a blur. “Back!” Shahib screamed to the others. “Get downwind!”

The warning was already too late for Xalee. The creature brought down the boy like a wolf taking a mouse. Her huge fangs snapped Xalee’s spine, killing him before he could cry out.

Rek’Sai loomed above Jaheje, twice his height. Her powerful forelimbs stalked left and right. Her leech-like tail, many times the size of an alligator, dragged behind her body. Her long tongue rose, then swayed like a dancing cobra, sniffing the wind.

Jaheje could feel every muscle in his body aching to move. He stood transfixed as the huge Xer’Sai turned toward him. Gore covered the beast’s eyeless face and armored beak.

Rek’Sai was so alien and perfect in her deadliness, Jeheje felt his mouth open in awe. The boy gripped his spear staff, certain he wouldn’t be able to pierce her armored hide if she attacked.

“Down!” Shahib barked.

All the boys ducked flat to the earth as Rek’Sai’s “fin” pulsed a sickly green color. Jaheje could feel the invisible energy crackling above him.

The Xer’Sai turned, facing the distant caravan. Her tongue sniffed the air again, and considered the distance. Suddenly, the fin returned to its original violet color, and Rek’Sai pulled Kall’s body down into her burrow.

Save the pool of thickening blood and Xalee’s absence, no evidence of the great beast remained.

Shahib whispered to go. The survivors silently retreated, deeper into the canyon.


No one spoke. The dark stone, pockmarked with burrows, robbed them of the ability to speak, to cry, to mourn.

Breaking free of the spell, his exhaustion cast over him. Jaheje looked around the canyon walls. He realized in an instant the enormity of what stalked them and why Shahib had decided to press on. Since Omah ‘Azir’s time, when stone was clay and Shurima built itself to the sun, Rek’Sai had fed here. This valley was hers alone. And all believed the Xer’Sai existed only to eat.

“But why do they stay here?” Jaheje said aloud.

Suddenly, the monster appeared. She burst out of the ground in front of them, diving at Jaheje. Jaheje ducked as Rek’Sai soared past him, her mass blocking the sun. As she landed, her forelimbs ripped apart the ground and she disappeared beneath the surface.

Hidden in the brush, VezKah, the youngest boy, motioned Jaheje closer. Just then, his mouth opened in horror. A pulse of dark energy ripped from Rek’Sai’s fin, tearing apart the earth as she rushed toward VezKah. The earth cracked apart as Rek’Sai ripped the ground up and threw the boy into the air. VezKah landed in a heap as the huge fin rushed toward them.

Together, Shahib and Jaheje ran out of the gully as quickly as they could.

The creature lurched forward, then slowed a rhythm, which matched the swerving pattern of her pursuit. She pushed them even further into the valley, blocking any other road of escape.

Silent-stepping was meaningless now. Rek’Sai was too close. All that was left was to run.


When Caleeb lost his breath, Rek’Sai took him. Seeing this, Shahib stopped. He collected Caleeb’s spear and waited. All around him, the air churned and bent like a reflection in the water.

“What are you doing?” Jaheje whispered.

“I will be the camel. Go silently.” Shahib acknowledged the walls around them. “Tell people what you have seen here.”

Jaheje followed Shahib’s eyeline. Behind him, the stone cliffs had been cut apart by burrows into a pattern of intersecting circles. From them, a bizarre connection of ink-black energy flowed and dripped like a sticky liquid. And through this matrix, an incompressible reality bent and twisted as someplace else prepared itself to enter our world.

Hidden in this isolated valley, the true lair of Xer’Sai was a half-constructed tunnel. A tunnel to the nightmare place where these creatures had been born, and fouler things waited hungrily at this unfinished gateway to our world.

“Keep going, Jaheje” Shahib said with a tired smile. “Each step as soft as a mouse, each stride as long as a gazelle. You must survive the Sai Kahleek.”


Jaheje made it to the far cliff before he heard the scream. Turning to look, Jaheje rolled his foot down, then slid his heel to the ground just as Shahib had taught him.

He did this as his teacher was reduced to the sound of bones snapping, and the great beast chewing.

Jaheje watched as Rek’Sai opened her maw and pulled a sticky ball of dark energy from Shahib’s ruined body. The ball rotated as tendrils dripped to the ground, sticking and stretching as Rek’Sai manipulated it into a pattern, which she attached between two of the burrows.

Jaheje looked away, then turned silently and soft-stepped out of the valley.


Jaheje ran out of sweat the next day. He felt his dry eyes scratching against his eyelids. His lips swelled, then split open bloodlessly.

When his calf muscles locked in a cramp from dehydration, and he was no longer able to soft-step, only then did he fall to the ground to cry. He cried for the days of hunger he’d suffered before joining Shahib’s caravan. He cried for knowing his parents off cast him instead of his brothers. He cried for Shahib, the first person who’d shown him kindness. And it was those last tears that dragged him back onto his cramped legs and made him stand. Knowing each shaky and tired step revealed his position to any Xer’Sai nearby, Jahejbe stumbled onward.


When Jaheje reached the great river Renek and told his story, few believed him. But soon, those who tried to cross the Sai Kahleek with any meager possessions left, bartered for Jaheje. And Jaheje taught off cast boys how to cut the callouses from their feet and how to soft-step by rolling their heel. He taught them how to survive the Sai Kahleek, and he warned his students of the monster named Rek’Sai.


Tristana

Greatness comes in all shapes and sizes, as proven by this diminutive, cannon-wielding yordle. In a world fraught with turmoil, Tristana refuses to back down from any challenge. She represents the pinnacle of martial proficiency, unwavering courage, and boundless optimism. For Trist and her gun, Boomer, every mission is a chance to prove that heroes do exist.


The fire was crackling away nicely, spreading a warm glow throughout the forest clearing. Tristana lay on her back with her head pillowed on her pack, watching a comet streak across the starlit sky. The winking lights glittered prettily through a swaying canopy of birch and oak leaves. The humans liked to name the patterns in the stars – she’d seen some in an old book in Heimerdinger’s laboratory – but she decided it would be more fun to give them names of her own invention.

“You can be the Growling Badger” she said, pointing to one group of stars. “And you can be the Cheeky Changeling. Yes, that’s much better than boring names like The Warrior or The Defender. And anyway, I can’t see those ones anymore.”

Her stomach rumbled and she sat up. Hunger was still something surprising to her, even though she’d ventured beyond Bandle City more than most of her kind. A pair of spitted fish were roasting nicely over the flames and the smell of them was making her mouth water. She’d shot them in the stream to the west of her campsite with a single, exceptionally carefully-aimed bullet from her cannon. Not a bad feat of marksmanship, even if she did say so herself. Too bad no-one was around to see it! She leaned over and patted the polished drakewood stock of her exquisitely crafted cannon; a weapon any sensible observer would say was far too large for someone of her diminutive stature to even carry, let alone shoot.

“Let Teemo have his cute little blowpipes, eh, Boomer?” she told the cannon. “I’ll stick to something with a bit more oomph, thank you very much.”

The fire crackled in a ring of stones, burning with cerulean flames, thanks to the pinch of her custom powder she’d sprinkled on the kindling to get it started. She knew now just how little she needed to use after her first time in the Upplands had cost her a perfectly decent pair of eyebrows. Sometimes it was hard to remember that things were so different in the human world compared to back home.

Deciding the fish were ready, she slid one from the spit onto a wooden plate she removed from her pack. She unwrapped a golden knife and fork from a rolled dreamleaf and cut the fish into slices. She might be on a mission, but that didn’t mean she had to eat like a savage. She took a mouthful of fish and rolled it around her mouth, savoring the taste and licking her lips in satisfaction. Mortal food was usually bland and tasteless compared to the smorgasbord of flavors she was used to, but the fish in this part of the world – Ionia, she’d heard it was called – wasn’t half bad. Perhaps it was the magic saturating every element of this landscape that made them extra tasty.

Tristana heard the crack of a twig. One of many she’d laid in a circle around her camp. The sound and type of twig told her exactly how far away the humans were and from which direction they were approaching.

She cleared her throat and called out “I have another fish if you’re hungry.”

A man and a woman emerged from the forest in front of her. Both were tall and lean, with fidgeting hands and cold eyes. They didn’t look friendly, but she was still learning how to read human expressions and she’d been taught to always be polite. Human languages were so unsophisticated that she often wondered how they managed to communicate at all.

The man took a step forward and said “Many thanks, old one, but we are not hungry.”

“Old one?” said Tristana with a playfully indignant grin. “I’m a young slip of a girl!”

The man blinked and she saw what might have been a look of puzzlement cross his face.

“The old crone’s insane” said the woman, looking sidelong at her, as if not quite sure what to make of what she was seeing. Whatever it was, it certainly wasn’t her true form…

“You’re sure you don’t want a bit of fish?” asked Tristana, taking another bite. “It’s really tasty.”

“We’re sure” confirmed the man. “But we’ll take any coin you’re carrying. As well as that gun of yours. I suspect it will fetch a pretty penny at auction.”

“You want to steal my Boomer?” said Tristana, sensing movement to either side. “You know, I just don’t see that happening.”

“No? You’re alone and there’s two of us” said the man. “And we’re bigger than you.”

“Size isn’t everything” said Tristana. “And there’s four of you. Why don’t you ask your two bandit friends to come out? Maybe they’re hungry?”

The woman shook her head. “He told you, we’re alone.”

“Oh, come on” said Tristana. “What sort of commando do you think I’d be if I didn’t know you had two friends in the bushes with arrows aimed at me right now? You came in from the north and split up a hundred yards out. There’s a fat man to my left and a man with a limp to my right.”

“Good ears for one so old” said the man.

“I told you, I’m not old” said Tristana. “I’m actually pretty young for a Yordle.”

The man’s mouth dropped open in surprise as something of her true nature became apparent to him.

Finally! An expression she had no trouble in reading.

Tristana ducked and rolled to the side as a pair of black-fletched arrows slashed from the undergrowth. They passed harmlessly overhead as she swept up Boomer and chambered a round. She fired into the bushes to her right and was rewarded with a cry of pain.

“Blast off!” she cried, vaulting toward the nearest tree and bounding higher. Tristana landed on a branch halfway up its trunk. Another arrow flashed toward her, thudding into the bark a handspan from her head.

“Hey, you’re pretty fast for a human” she said, racking Boomer’s crank and priming the barrel with a bunch of shells. She sprang away to another branch as the archer rose from the bushes – the fat one, which almost made it too easy. Tristana somersaulted from tree to tree and fired twice more. Both shots caught the man in his meaty thighs, and he fell back with a wail, loosing his arrow high into the air.

“Oh, don’t be such a baby” she laughed. “I barely grazed you!”

Tristana landed by her fire as the two humans she’d first seen rushed her with drawn swords. They were likely fast by human standards, but to her they moved like lumbering giants.

“Time for some up and over!” shouted Tristana, unloading the rest of Boomer’s barrel in one almighty blast into the ground. She gave a wild, whooping yell as she sailed over their heads. Even as she arced through the air she was reloading. She pushed off from the trunk of a tree and spun back to the ground.

She landed right behind the bandits with a giggle.

“Boom! Boom!”

Tristana fired two blasts, and both humans cried out in pain as they each took a wound to the rump. The woman fell flat on her face, beating her britches as powder burn set them alight. She managed to pick herself up and flee into the bushes with her backside on fire. The man twisted as he dropped to the ground, scrambling away as she cranked Boomer’s loading arm.

He was making hand gestures he probably thought were some form of magical protection.

“You’re no old woman” he said.

“I kept telling you that” said Tristana.

The man opened his mouth to answer, but before he could speak the arrow loosed from the fat man’s bow finally came back down to earth. It thudded into the man’s chest and he fell back with a look of intense annoyance.

The other bandits were dragging themselves away as fast as their wounded limbs would carry them. She let them go, grinning as she gathered up her things before stamping down the fire.

“I was just trying to eat my dinner and have a quiet night” she said to herself. “But I guess four bandits who won’t trouble anyone again soon isn’t bad going!”

Tristana slung Boomer over her shoulder and set off once more, whistling a jaunty tune as she looked for more stars to name.


Vi

Once a criminal from the mean streets of Zaun, Vi is a hotheaded, impulsive, and fearsome woman with only a very loose respect for authority figures. Growing up all but alone, Vi developed finely honed survival instincts as well as a wickedly abrasive sense of humor. Now working with the Wardens of Piltover to keep the peace, she wields mighty hextech gauntlets that can punch through walls and suspects with equal ease.

Vi remembers little of her childhood, and what she does remember, she wishes she didn’t. Running with the sumpsnipe gangs, she quickly learned to use her wits, as well as her fists, to survive. Developing a thick skin was just as important, and everyone who encountered Vi knew her as someone who could punch or talk her way out of trouble. More often than not, she chose the former.

None of the old timers from Vi’s youth could tell her anything of her parents, with most assuming they had simply died in one of the industrial accidents that were, sadly, all too common in Zaun. A few vaguely claimed to remember her as one of the brats from Hope House, a crumbling orphanage cut into Zaun’s cave-riddled cliffs. On his deathbed, a notoriously mad sump-scrapper claimed to have found Vi adrift in a bassinet large enough for two in the ruins of a collapsed chem-laboratory. In the end, Vi gave up on any notions of learning anything about her parents, figuring some things were better left unknown.

Wilder tales than that soon came to surround Vi as she garnered a reputation among the undercity’s gangs. With her wild pink hair, Vi was a distinctive sight on the streets of Zaun; hightailing from angry shopkeepers in the glittering arcades of the boundary markets, swaggering through the colorful bazaars of the Lanes or hitching rides up into Piltover aboard the hexdraulic conveyors. Wherever there was a scrape to be gotten into or a scam to be run, odds were, Vi was in the thick of it. Despite her reputation as a troublemaker, she followed a code that meant she never stole from those that couldn’t afford to lose what she took and never hurt those that didn’t deserve it.

As she got older, the capers of childhood became more audacious and daring, with Vi forming a gang of her own. Brash and quick to anger, she still liked to use her fists a little too much, and though she was usually the last one standing in any dispute, her eyes were frequently black and her lip split from fighting. Over the years, Vi formed a friendship with the owner of a bar on the edges of the Lanes, and he was able to temper some of her more self-destructive tendencies. He reinforced her code and showed her how to fight with discipline, as well as teaching her ways to better direct her simmering anger.

Despite his steadying influence, Vi’s gang ran riot across Zaun, with the Chem-Barons tolerating their antics only because they knew she and her crew were sometimes useful. Vi became known as someone who got things done, no questions asked. Despite her life as a lawbreaker, Vi’s sense of morality began to trouble her ever more frequently as she saw the damage she and other gangs were leaving in their wake.

The final straw came when she worked alongside another gang on a smash and grab heist at a chemtech facility that had just struck a rich seam. Listening in on miners’ chatter in the bars, Vi learned when payment for the ore was being delivered, and hatched a scheme to relieve the mine’s owner of his gold. The plan required extra bodies to pull off, so Vi reluctantly brought the Factorywood Fiends in on her score. The job went to plan until the leader of the Fiends used a chem-powered mining golem to kill the owner with its oversized Pulverizer Gauntlets. His men drove the workers into the mine as he started demolishing the opening, driving the golem into an overload. This wanton slaughter and destruction infuriated Vi. It had been a perfect score and now these psychotic idiots were ruining it!

Grabbing their share of the gold, the Fiends made their escape, but the miners were now trapped below ground and would soon run out of air. Vi could not leave them to die, and swiftly donned the overloading golem’s powered gauntlets before it tore itself apart. The wrist mechanisms clamped down on her arms, but Vi endured the agony long enough to smash a path through to the miners and save them from certain death.

With the miners free, Vi and her gang fled with the rest of the gold. And the following day, Vi paid a visit to the Factorywood Fiends. Still wearing the powered gauntlets, she administered a beating to the entire gang that is still spoken of with awe by the gangs of Zaun to this day. The debacle of the mine robbery was the last straw for Vi, and she swore never to work with anyone she didn’t fully trust. She kept the Pulverizer Gauntlets, and had them modified so as not to burn her whenever she used them to break into supposedly impregnable vaults or ambush heavily armed convoys of gold, tech, or whatever else she decided to steal.

Vi disappeared from Zaun during a time of great upheaval, a time when tensions between the two cities were at an all-time high. Rumors circulated between the gangs that she had been killed in a huge explosion in the heart of Zaun, but so too did stories that she’d struck out for distant lands. The truth finally came to light when Old Hungry’s Scars, a vicious gang whose murder sprees had spread to Piltover, were finally brought down by the Sheriff of Piltover and her new ally... Vi. The former gang leader of Zaun was now in the employ of the wardens, and she’d had an upgrade. She’d replaced the chem-powered gauntlets with a pair of prototype hextech gauntlets. She also seemed somehow older, as if she’d seen and done things that had changed her forever. The Vi from the streets of Zaun, who’d use her fists before her wits, was still there, but she’d grown up some and seen that the path she had been on had only one ending.

No one yet knows how Vi came to be working alongside Caitlyn, but whatever secret binds them together can only be guessed at. Given the personal nature of a recent crime wave sweeping Piltover, speculation runs rife that it involves a certain blue-haired hellion from Zaun...


Vi stifled a yawn as she moved through the gilded chamber at the heart of Piltover’s Hall of Law. Dawn was less than an hour old, and the place was quiet. A few drunks were sleeping it off in the shaming cells, and she’d heard there were a couple of chem-augmented thugs in the deeper, more secure lock-ups. She’d ask around later, see if she could provide any insight as to what they were doing up in Piltover.

She rolled her shoulders, the muscles there stiff after a hard night’s work. It had been a long shift, and her forearms were aching from the pressure of her powered gauntlets. All she wanted to do was go back home, get them off, and bathe her fists in ice water. Maybe throw back a few glasses of something strong and sleep some, but the pnuema-tube from Caitlyn had been full of imperatives about getting herself down to the district house on the double. Vi had cocked an eyebrow, tossed the message and given it an hour before leaving her cramped home in the dressmakers-quarter to answer Caitlyn’s summons.

“Hey, Harknor,” she said to the desk-warden when she reached the cells. “What’s so important Caitlyn has to drag me from an erotic dream about—”

“Ah, ah, stop right there,” said Harknor without looking up from his elevated desk as he ran a finger down the list of prisoners brought in during the night. “I’m not in the mood to hear another of your lurid fantasies.”

“You sure?” grinned Vi, leaning on his desk and blowing a loose strand of pink hair from her eyes. “This was a good one. Had a plot and everything.”

“Quite sure,” said Harknor, looking away and holding out the charge sheet. “Caitlyn and Mohan brought in a hextech thief last night. He hasn’t said a word to anyone, but she thinks you might be able to get him to talk.”

Vi arched an eyebrow as she scanned the page.

“Devaki? You’ve been a very naughty boy,” she said, rolling her eyes and curling her metaled fingers into a fist.

“Yeah, Devaki and I knew each other back in the day. I’ll get him to talk.”

Harknor shook his head, saying, “Listen, Vi, I don’t want to have to call the surgeon back here again. Caitlyn wants this fella to able to speak when he goes before the procurator.”

“Where is she anyway?” asked Vi. “She isn’t even here to say hello?”

“Chasing down a lead at the docks,” said Harknor. “Said she figured you could handle this one on your own. She wrong about that?”

“Nope,” said Vi, turning and sashaying toward the cells. “Which cell’s Devaki in?”

“Number six. But remember, he’s got to be able to talk!”

Vi nodded and said, “Yeah, yeah...”

She reached cell six and slid back the locking bar. Normally, another warden would secure the door, but Vi didn’t need anyone at her back. She knew Devaki from the old days, even worked with him a few times before the job with the Factorywood Fiends went bad. Devaki was a thief, not a fighter, and if she needed backup to restrain his scrawny frame, then it was time to find a new line of work.

Devaki was sitting on the edge of the chipped hunk of stone they called a bed with his back to the wall and his knees drawn up to his chest. He cradled one arm close to his body, the limb ending at a bandaged stump where his hand ought to be. He looked up as she entered, and his eyes widened in surprise.

“Vi?”

“Piltover’s finest,” she said with a petite curtsey that, despite where he sat, made Devaki smile. “What happened to your hand?”

“Your damn sheriff shot if off,” he said. “What happened to yours?”

“I got an upgrade,” said Vi, holding up her hextech gauntlets. They hummed with a low buzz and she turned them around to let Devaki see just how powerful they were. “Fully customizable with variant levels of hurt. I can punch through walls with these babies.”

“Yeah, I heard what happened to the Ecliptic Vaults,” said Devaki with an easy smile, as if he was talking to the old Vi, the Vi from the Lanes. He wasn’t bright enough to know that Vi wasn’t the one standing in front of him.

Devaki held up the arm ending in a stump. “I’m gonna need an upgrade too. This was a high-end augment from Bronzio’s. That sheriff didn’t need to shoot it off.”

“You can bill her,” said Vi, closing the distance between them in two strides and lifting Devaki off his feet. She threw him against the opposite wall, rattling his bones and sending plaster dust billowing into the air.

Devaki slid to the floor, shocked and gasping for breath. “They’ve been playing nice so far, but now they send you in? What gives?”

“I’m the one they send in when asking all polite doesn’t get you anywhere, cupcake,” said Vi, letting the power build in her gauntlets. “I’m the one who’ll go to town on you with these beauties. Unless, of course, you tell me what I want to know.”

“Whoa, wait! Vi, what are you doing?” spluttered Devaki, holding his remaining hand out before him as he scrambled to his feet.

“I’m interrogating you, what’s it look like?”

“But you haven’t asked me anything!”

Vi cocked her head to the side. “Yeah, I should probably get on that.”

She reached down and hauled Devaki to his feet, applying a growing pressure to his shoulder.

“So, who was gonna buy that stolen hextech?”

Devaki winced in pain, but didn’t answer.

“Come on, you’re tougher than that,” said Vi, releasing his bruised shoulder. “You want to see what happens to a face when I don’t pull my punches?”

“No!” cried Devaki.

“Then tell me what I want to know.”

“I can’t.”

Vi tapped a finger on her chin, as if weighing whether to punch him again. She smiled, the expression worrying Devaki more than the thought of her fists.

“Be a shame if word got round the Lanes that you’d been informing on all your criminal friends for the last couple of years.”

“What?” said Devaki, spluttering in pain and indignation. “That’s a lie!”

“Of course it is,” said Vi, “but I know all the right people to talk to down there. A lot of folk’ll listen if I let it slip that you’re in the wardens’ pocket.”

“I’ll be dead in a day if you do that,” protested Devaki.

“Now you’re catching on,” said Vi. “Tell me what I want to know. I’ll make sure it gets about you resisted arrest. Even give you a black eye so it looks like I beat it out of ya.”

Devaki’s shoulders slumped, knowing he had no defiance left in him.

“Fine, I’ll tell you what you want to know.”

“Excellent,” said Vi, “Now we’re getting somewhere.”


And that should do it, let me know what you guys think. There will be more in the future but that is all we have for now.

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