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Previous Lore

"You didn’t destroy us all. And that mistake will be your undoing." - VarusSquare Varus

One of the ancient darkin, Varus was a deadly killer who loved to torment his foes, driving them almost to insanity before delivering the killing arrow. He was imprisoned at the end of the Great Darkin War, but escaped centuries later in the remade flesh of two Ionian hunters—they had unwittingly released him, cursed to bear the bow containing his bound essence. Varus now seeks out those who trapped him, in order to enact his brutal vengeance, but the mortal souls within still resist him every step of the way.

Arrow of Retribution

The mortal mages of Runeterra wielded wild magic, heedless of the consequences beyond their own world. Their reckless use of magic attracted the hunger of the darkin, who sent their fiercest warriors to conquer this new world. Varus traveled to Runeterra with the second wave of invaders, and with his crystalline bow, he assassinated enemy commanders and champions, helping the darkin defeat the mortal armies with ever greater ease.

Soon after Aatrox’s fall, Varus was cornered by vastayan moon-stalkers and human mages in service of a golden-armored warrior queen. They bound him within his crystalline bow, leaving him to howl with impotent rage. By now, the corrupting influence of the darkin was known, and the warrior queen alone wielded the deadly bow in the final battle of the war, loosing the last bolt that broke the bridge to the darkin world forever.

At the end of the Darkin War, the queen carried Varus’s bow to a land that would become known as Ionia. Her last act was to imprison the bow deep within a lightless cell sunk deep beneath a mountain temple overlooking the village of Pallas. There it remained, imprisoned by the natural magic of Ionia and the ritual ministrations of its guardians. The bow remained hidden deep underground for centuries, unknown, untouched, and all but forgotten until Noxian invaders attacked Ionia. Two beast hunters - Valmar and his heartlight, Kai - fought the first wave of these invaders at the Temple of Pallas. Though their courage was great and drove off the attackers, Kai was mortally wounded. A grief-stricken Val carried him inside, praying the temple’s magic would restore him.

But the temple held only damnation, and both hunters were consumed by the unleashed power of the darkin. The very matter of their bodies was unraveled and bound together in a warp and weft of new flesh to craft a perfect body, fit to bear the soul of Varus. What emerged from the temple was a gestalt creature, pale and inhumanly beautiful, part human, part darkin, Varus was reborn as an entity with a war for supremacy being waged in its soul.

The human and darkin elements of this newborn body are in constant flux, with each element sometimes managing to wrest control of the body for a short time before being reined in by the other. Varus fights to overcome Val and Kai’s resistance once and for all so that he may wreak vengeance on mortals for the destruction of his race. But Kai and Val fight on against his malevolent influence, hoping against hope that their love can overcome the darkin’s baser urges.

How long Val and Kai can keep Varus fully at bay is anyone’s guess, but should this sadistic and egotistical darkin killer come to fully dominate his new body, it is certain he will seek to reunite with the survivors of his race in hopes of reducing Runeterra to an ashen wasteland.

Dark Kin

Varus lore 01

Varus followed a river running through the desert. Its water was gritty, but drinkable. The new body he had wrought to bear his bow was beautiful, fast and strong, but it came with the weaknesses of flesh. It hungered. It thirsted. Days earlier, a crook-backed creature with a withered arm and birdlike features had told him this was Shurima, but that couldn’t be true. The Shurima Varus remembered had been a desolate wasteland.

“Was I imprisoned for so long?” he wondered.

He despised the human noises his new mouth made. It sounded bestial and primitive, but at least he could speak aloud once more. As to how long he had been imprisoned... it was hard to say. He retained no concept of how mortals measured time, and the bird creature hadn’t recognized what he was. She had no idea how far back the Darkin War had been fought.

“My kind all but destroyed this world,” he said. “And now we have been forgotten? How is that even possible?” With enough time, even the greatest horrors can fade.

The voice echoed in his skull, impossible to ignore. Which one was it? Kai or Valmar? He suspected Val, but mortal minds were so simple and muddy that it was hard to tell one from another.

“Any race that can forget staring into the abyss of its own extinction does not deserve to live,” said Varus. We don’t forget. This was Valmar, decided Varus. Horrors become myths so we can bear to hear them, so we can learn from them and not go mad.

Such a notion was ridiculous, and Varus knew he would never allow the doom of his species to fade from memory. He was about to say so, when he heard noises from around a bend in the river ahead; shouting voices, braying animals and the sound of tools on stone. He darted forward, into the shadow of a toppled obelisk, and scanned ahead. The new river had exposed the sunken ruins of some ancient structure comprised of pillars and statues of animal-headed gods. Yes, this was the source of the magic he had sensed. Old magic. The kind the flame-haired queen used to enslave his kind.

The kind used to imprison him beneath the rock of Ionia.

Tanned, wolf-lean men worked the ruins, digging out hidden reliquary chambers as thick-limbed beasts of burden dragged excavated rocks from deeper inside the structure. Armed warriors wearing boiled leather breastplates and carrying hook-bladed spears guarded the perimeter. Varus grinned and vaulted onto the obelisk, drawing back on his bow as he landed. Violet light built in the crystalline weapon as it flexed, and a coruscating arrow of purple lightning formed in the air.

Why must you kill them? This was Kai. He hated unnecessary killing.

Varus felt his hands tremble as Kai fought to make him lower the bow.

“Your kind destroyed my kin,” said Varus, exerting his will to steady his aim. “That’s the only reason I need.” He sighted along the crackling arrow as a burly warrior with a forked beard and shaven scalp saw him and yelled a warning.

So everyone you see must die?

Varus exhaled, and in the space between breaths loosed the fiery arrow. It flashed through the air to pierce the bearded warrior through the heart, burning a hole clean through him. He dropped to his knees, his mouth wide with shock. Other warriors hurled spears, but Varus was already moving. He sprang from the obelisk, loosing fiery, blood-red bolts from his bow. Varus hit the ground running, and five warriors died in as many bolts. A further three fell, pierced by the same crackling shaft.

A hook-spear swung at Varus. He dived to the side, rising to his feet and sending a pair of crimson shafts through his attacker’s chest. Varus sprinted, leapt and dashed through the ruins, blazing shafts of light eviscerating his targets with absolute precision.

In seconds it was over. Sixteen dead, and he hadn’t even broken sweat. He felt the anguish of the mortal souls within him and grinned. Every death gnawed at them, weakened them and made them less able to fight him. The men excavating the ruined city fled, throwing down their tools and running for the river. Varus let them go. They were an irrelevance, and the killing of mortals without weapons always provoked the mortal souls within him to rebellion.

Varus entered the ruined structure, briefly glancing at a pair of jackal and crocodilian statues as he passed. Inside, it was cool and dark, the walls covered in vivid bas-reliefs depicting wide discs spreading golden rays over a bountiful land. The stone floor was inscribed with a magical script that had been ancient even before the darkin came to Runeterra.

“Warding sigils. Potent once, but faded,” said Varus, crossing the inscribed flagstones to where a towering statue of a great serpent-headed god had once stood sentinel. Some past catastrophe had toppled it, and beyond its sandstone remains lay a lightless chamber.

Varus entered, the glow from the smoldering light at his heart revealing nothing but bare stone, burned black and glossy with ancient fire.

Varus sighed. “Where are you, sister?” he said."

"The life of an arrow is fleeting, built of nothing but direction and intent." - VarusSquare Varus

For his incomparable skill with the bow and his unquestioned sense of honor, Varus was chosen to be the warden of a sacred Ionian temple. The temple was built to contain an ancient pit of corruption so vile that Ionian Elders feared it could envelop the island in darkness. Varus prided himself on his position, as only the most exceptional Ionian warriors were selected for the role. He lived with his family in a nearby village and led a quiet life of disciplined routine until the day the forces of Noxus invaded Ionia. Their shock troops left nothing but death and desolation in their wake, and the temple lay in their path. Varus was forced to make a decision. He was bound by honor to stay and defend the temple, but without him the village's few inhabitants could offer little resistance against the oncoming war machine. Gravely, he chose to fulfill his duty as a warden. The corruption could not be allowed to escape.

His arrows sundered the troops who tried to wrest the temple from him that day. However, when he returned to the village, he found that it had been reduced to a smoldering graveyard. Remorse at the sight of his slain family gave way to overwhelming regret, and then to seething hatred. He swore to slaughter every Noxian invader, but first he needed to become stronger. He turned to that which he had sacrificed everything to protect. The pit of corruption would consume him wholly, as a flame devours a wick, but its abominable power would burn within him until he was lost. This was a path from which there could be no return. With grim resolve, he condemned himself to the black flames, feeling malevolent energy bond to his skin...and with it, the promise of ruin. He left, seeking the blood of all Noxians involved with the invasion, a grisly task that eventually led him to the invasion's most infamous perpetrators.

For his incomparable skill with the bow and his unquestioned sense of honor, Varus was chosen to be the warden of a sacred Ionian temple. The temple was built to contain an ancient pit of corruption so vile that Ionian Elders feared it could envelop the island in darkness. Varus prided himself on his position, as only the most exceptional Ionian warriors were selected for the role. He lived with his family in a nearby village and led a quiet life of disciplined routine until the day the forces of Noxus invaded Ionia. Their shock troops left nothing but death and desolation in their wake, and the temple lay in their path. Varus was forced to make a decision. He was bound by honor to stay and defend the temple, but without him the village's few inhabitants could offer little resistance against the oncoming war machine. Gravely, he chose to fulfill his duty as a warden. The corruption could not be allowed to escape.

His arrows sundered the troops who tried to wrest the temple from him that day. However, when he returned to his village, he found that it had been reduced to a smoldering graveyard. Remorse at the sight of his slain family gave way to overwhelming regret and then to seething hatred. He swore to slaughter every Noxian invader, but first he needed to become stronger. He turned to that which he had sacrificed everything to protect. The pit of corruption would consume him wholly, as a flame devours a wick, but its abominable power would burn within him until he was lost. This was a path from which there could be no return. With grim resolve, he condemned himself to the black flames, feeling malevolent energy bond to his skin... and with it, the promise of ruin. He left, seeking the blood of all Noxians involved with the invasion, a grisly task that eventually led him to the invasion's most infamous perpetrators in the League of Legends.

"The life of an arrow is fleeting, built of nothing but direction and intent."
Varus

Candidate: Varus
Date: 7 March, 22 CLE

OBSERVATION

He absorbs his bow, lest he be tempted to use it in the Institute of War; it slithers into his palm to rest. The polish of the chamber is immaculate, so that in its ornamental shields and blades his form can be seen reflected; "his" form, though he can never recognize it as his own. His arms disappear into black gauntlets of a liquid that can't entirely decide on a shape; brackish muck creeps from his toes nearly to his navel, scabbing over into plates.

What might seem purely black is, upon closer inspection, almost infinitely complex in color; it travels his surface like an oil. Varus wonders if it might have claimed more since yesterday, lapping as it does at what pure flesh remains. He decides that he is, on the whole, satisfied with their arrangement - even if mirrors show him a creature like this.

I am not broken, he tells himself. Not broken. Simply have a different shape.

REFLECTION

Teaching is learning.

Showing Theshan where to hold the bow, how to draw, and how to remember his breath gave Varus a better understanding of these things himself. His son would need to know these things for himself; his father had been anointed Temple Guardian, after all. He wouldn't always be there.

Varus wasn't there now, strictly speaking; none of this was real, and his clever eyes knew it.

This was some game Summoners played to amuse themselves with aspirants to the League. But here was his son, blessedly alive. He tousled the boy's warm hair. Varus knew what was coming, and he took such blessings where he could. The two of them looked up the hill, up, until they saw the Temple itself.

It was older than the village, much older. A statement from a bygone era of plenty, there was no pragmatism in its construction.

"A Pit of Pallas," said the son who was not his son. "There is a Pit of Pallas there."

"I did not know it at the time, but yes," replied Varus.

"They left a single man in its defense?"

"They did."

Much surprised him about his new role. The old prayers he'd said every day since he was a boy, it seemed, were missing a few grave syllables; the Elders had been holding out.

Tattoos of the clever Owl, applied to the face, chest, and arms had altered his perception; this too was surprising. Then, there was The Pit, and just five feet across, it was hard to imagine this featureless disc could be the source of so much concern.

He was most surprised, perhaps, when - on his first night's vigil - it began to speak.

Not with words, no - words would have been much easier to deflect. It spoke in moments, mostly: images, sensations. It knew people, it could taste them on the air. It knew that they had a hive at the base of its hill, where they writhed in their nonsense bodies. Varus could sense its confusion, and something like being hurt; the isolation of the temple had accrued in it. It wanted to show him something he would like. It wanted to make something for him. Its urge was to please.

This was not the "implacable beast" he had been sworn to contain.

Once, as Varus entered the sanctum to perform the morning's Rite of Sealing, he was made to see himself, surrounded by others of his village, standing with a young man's vigor while those around him withered like crops, their skins falling off like sacks. He could sense that it seemed somehow pleased with itself.

"Now?" it offered, confident in the reply.

"No," replied Varus.

When it spoke next, he ceased to exist in the present altogether. Instead he waded through ankle-high blood, the ripples he made growing and rising until they roared and crashed. He heard a voice, then, or the idea of a voice, which said, pleadingly, "Now?"

The bite of the incense, with its teeth of rosemary and oak, cut through the vision. He fell back on the palms of his hands, turning and scrambling to load the brazier. It tipped on its copper chain, spilling and searing his hands.

"NOW?"

It crashed against his mind, but the Owl asserted itself. It gave him will enough to pull himself along the maze-like walls to the doorway, where he could see the village burning; again, he had to see it all again.

He ran, though he didn't entirely know why; there was a part of him that though if he took this path, slid down this face instead of that, maybe it would be different. Perhaps he would not find his broken wife alongside his broken boy alongside his broken bow; perhaps he would not pick up that bow and bring it back to the Temple.

He was wrong.

He was given a vision then of a thousand, thousand dead. It was a wedge pounded through his ribs and into his heart. He fell to his knees.

"Now?" It was almost a whisper.

"Now," Varus whispered back. "Now, damn you."

And when he did so it broke a dam deep in the earth, so that the placid disc of the pool reached up from its heart and splashed out, leaving jags of hot black glass standing wherever it touched. It was flowing through the air, around the curling smoke until it struck Varus off his feet. It peeled his hand, digesting it, consuming the bow. It ate both arms, and both legs, stopping out of... respect, if respect it may be called, for the Owl; it would not surpass the markings. In a moment of detached madness, Varus wondered how long that would last.

The Reflection wavered, and a summoner panted with exertion; the images wrested themselves from their bindings, careening through a nightmarish series of scenes with an animal immediacy. The room solidified, rendered overbright by the alien senses which collected the last few years of Varus' grim past:

Only the tips of each of his toes touched the ground; Varus knew the force couldn't be far. When he overtook them, the cart at the head of the column had the wisdom to encourage its horses. Those without wisdom, or those cursed by circumstance, began to die with terrible speed.

As Varus slowed, an apparatus with a bow's purpose, if not its shape, leapt to life for the first time at his wrist. He needed not be instructed in its use; a man was instantly pierced, burst like a wineskin. This proved a true inspiration to his fellows, who found within themselves a speed they never knew possible; though even at this speed, they were still beings of flesh and blood. Insufficient.

Though what it fired wasn't an arrow, it behaved as one; it ruined as one, traveled through the Noxian insignia, out of one gasping soldier and into another, exploding with six thirsting tongues that gripped and snared. With every death Varus shot faster, until by the end there was no sense that each shot was discrete. The Prey simply ran until it fell. It was elegant horror.

Time passes quickly. There were more hunts, and more blood; mercies were promised, but withheld. Darkness swirled with the scent of wet leaves, oddly sweet, the broken bodies of men and women rendered wholly abstract in the course of their annihilation. Varus knelt over a sundered cart to seize a communique, pierced through by one of his sharp tendrils; it revealed the names of yet a few more Noxian dogs, responsible for issuing the order...

The damning order. What they took from him he would repay a thousand-fold.

A summoner stepped forward, her mask of judgment impassive, her presence sweeping away the last threads of the vision. "Your purpose here is clear. You have discerned that among our Champions there exist Noxian agents. This, all of this," she waved her hand, "is the prosecution of some vendetta."

"You understand, of course, that your vengeance is not the purpose of the League?" she said, eyes narrowed.

"By now, you surely realized," said Varus, or the amalgam which stood before them cloaked in Varus, its tongue swollen and black.

"It is the only purpose I have left."

Previous Splash Art



Patch History

V8.13 - July 3rd Hotfix
  • Piercing Arrow Piercing Arrow
    • Minimum AD ratio increased to 110% AD from 100% AD.
    • Maximum AD ratio increased to 165% AD from 150% AD.
  • Blighted Quiver Blighted Quiver
    • Bonus on-hit magic damage increased to 7 / 10.5 / 14 / 17.5 / 21 from 5 / 9 / 13 / 17 / 21.
    • Health ratio per stack increased to 3 / 3.5 / 4 / 4.5 / 5% of target's maximum health from 2 / 2.75 / 3.5 / 4.25 / 5%.
V8.11
  • Stats
    • Base health increased to 549 from 537.76.
    • Health growth increased to 86 from 82.
    • Base armor reduced to 27 from 32.
    • Base health regeneration reduced to 3.5 from 5.5.
    • Base attack damage reduced to 59 from 63.
    • Attack damage growth increased to 3.11 from 2.41.
V8.9
  • Blighted Quiver Blighted Quiver
    • Bug Fix: Fixed a bug where the basic attack played the base skin's sound effects instead of those for whatever skin was in use.
    • Bug Fix: Unique SFX have been restored for Varus and all skins.
V8.8
  • Living Vengeance Living Vengeance
    • Bonus attack speed ratio on champion takedown reduced to 30% bonus attack speed from 50%.
    • Bonus attack speed ratio on minion or monster kill reduced to 15% bonus attack speed from 25%.
  • Blighted Quiver Blighted Quiver
    • Passive base damage reduced to 5 / 9 / 13 / 17 / 21 from 10 / 14 / 18 / 22 / 26.
    • New Active: Varus' next Piercing Arrow Piercing Arrow deals 6% / 7% / 8% / 9% / 10% of the target's missing health bonus magic damage, increased by 0% - 50% (based on Piercing Arrow channel time), for a maximum of 9% / 10.5% / 12% / 13.5% / 15% of the target's missing health. The damage is capped at 360 against monsters.
    • Cooldown: 40 seconds.
    • The damage is dealt after the damage of Piercing Arrow Piercing Arrow.
V8.3
  • Stats
    • Base health regeneration increased to 5.5 from 5.424.
V7.22
  • Stats
    • Base attack damage increased to 63 from 54.66.
    • Base armor increased to 32 from 23.212.
  • Hail of Arrows Hail of Arrows
    • Base damage increased to 70 / 105 / 140 / 175 / 210 from 45 / 80 / 115 / 150 / 185.
  • Varus DarkStarCircle Dark Star Varus [S|L]
    • Bug Fix: Shields now follow his model during his recall animation.
V7.19
  • Varus DarkStarCircle Dark Star Varus [S|L]
    • Bug Fix: Blue tendrils no longer flicker during several graphics settings.
V7.13
  • Chain of Corruption Chain of Corruption
    • Bug Fix: Fixed a bug where hitting it, at its maximum range, wouldn't make it spread through enemies.
V7.9
  • Stats
    • Magic resistance growth increased to 0.5 from 0.
V7.6
  • Piercing Arrow Piercing Arrow
    • Cooldown reduction if hitting Blighted Quiver Blighted enemy champion increased to 4 seconds from 4 - 2.2 (based on cooldown reduction).
V7.5 Hotfix
  • Piercing Arrow Piercing Arrow
    • Bug Fix: Cooldown refund against Blighted Quiver Blighted targets now properly applies at Piercing Arrow's max distance.
V7.5
  • Piercing Arrow Piercing Arrow
    • Maximum AD ratio reduced to 150% AD from 165% AD.
    • Cooldown increased to 20 / 18 / 16 / 14 / 12 seconds from 16 / 14 / 12 / 10 / 8.
    • New Effect: Cooldown is now reduced by 4 - 1.75 (based on cooldown reduction) seconds if the arrow detonates Blighted Quiver Blight stacks from at least one enemy champion.
  • Blighted Quiver Blighted Quiver
    • Undocumented: Tooltip now indicates maximum damage per stack against monsters.
V7.4
V6.24
  • Living Vengeance Living Vengeance
    • Duration on champion kills reduced to 5 seconds from 6.
    • New Effect: Bonus attack speed from champion kills now scales with 50% bonus attack speed.
    • Duration on non-champion kills increased to 5 seconds from 3.
    • New Effect: Bonus attack speed from non-champion kills now scales with 25% bonus attack speed.
V6.13
  • Hail of Arrows Hail of Arrows
    • Bug Fix: Restored custom particles for Blight Crystal Varus's Hail of Arrows when the arrows land.
V6.10
  • Piercing Arrow Piercing Arrow
    • Bug Fix: No longer occasionally deals damage against spell shielded targets.
V6.1
V5.22
  • Stats
    • Base attack damage increased to 54.66 from 49.04.
    • Attack damage growth reduced to 2.41 from 3.
    • Base mana increased to 360.48 from 310.48.
    • Mana growth reduced to 33 from 36.
  • Chain of Corruption Chain of Corruption
    • New Effect: Now displays max. spread range to Varus and his enemies if there is at least one tendril.
    • New Effect: Root icon Rooted targets now gain 3 stacks of Blighted Quiver Blight over the duration.
    • Base damage reduced to 100 / 175 / 250 from 150 / 250 / 350.
V5.5
  • Piercing Arrow Piercing Arrow
    • Now begins its cooldown at charge start, rather than when the arrow fires.
V5.3
V4.21
  • Mana regeneration per 5 seconds growth stat increased to 0.8 from 0.5
V4.16
  • Piercing Arrow Piercing Arrow
    • Line indicator removed (Now uses range circle again as per previous functionality).
V4.13
  • Piercing Arrow Piercing Arrow
    • Now shows a line indicator in addition to circle indicator while charging.
  • Chain of Corruption Chain of Corruption
    • Cooldown reduced to 110 / 90 / 70 seconds from 120 / 105 / 90 seconds.
V4.5
  • Base armor increased to 17.5 from 13.5.
V3.13
V3.8
  • Piercing Arrow Piercing Arrow
    • Fixed a bug where casting Piercing Arrow while targeting an enemy would cause Varus to stop moving.
  • Hail of Arrows Hail of Arrows
    • Slow refresh rate reduced to 0.25 seconds.
V3.7
  • Stats
    • Base movement speed reduced to 330 from 335.
  • Piercing Arrow Piercing Arrow
    • Minimum damage increased to 10 / 47 / 83 / 120 / 157 from 10 / 43 / 77 / 110 / 143.
    • Maximum damage increased to 15 / 70 / 125 / 180 / 235 from 15 / 65 / 115 / 165 / 215.
    • Improved hit detection at the end of the missile.
  • Hail of Arrows Hail of Arrows
    • Base damage reduced to 65 / 100 / 135 / 170 / 205 from 65 / 105 / 145 / 185 / 225.
  • Chain of Corruption Chain of Corruption
    • Improved hit detection at the end of the missile.
V1.0.0.152
  • Stats
    • Movement speed increased to 335 from 310.
V1.0.0.145
  • Piercing Arrow Piercing Arrow
    • Fixed: no longer sometimes fires from a point above his bow.
    • Fixed: now more reliably hits targets at the end of its range.
  • Blighted Quiver Blighted Quiver
    • Ability power ratio on Blight stack detonation increased to (+ 2% AP) per stack from (+ 1% AP).
  • Chain of Corruption Chain of Corruption
    • Missile width increased to 100 from 60.
    • Increased missile visibility.
    • Spread range from primary target to nearby targets increased to 550 from 450.
    • Tendril break range increased to 600 from 550.
V1.0.0.139 Added May 8th
  • Living Vengeance Living Vengeance (Innate)
    • On kill or assist, Varus temporarily gains attack speed. This bonus is larger if the enemy is a champion.
  • Piercing Arrow Piercing Arrow (Q)
    • Varus readies and then fires a powerful shot that gains extra range and damage the longer he spends preparing to fire.
  • Blighted Quiver Blighted Quiver (W)
    • Varus' basic attacks deal bonus magic damage and apply Blight. Varus' other abilities detonate Blight, dealing magic damage based on the target's maximum health.
  • Hail of Arrows Hail of Arrows (E)
    • Varus fires a hail of arrows that deal physical damage and desecrate the ground. Desecrated ground slows enemies' movement speed and reduces their healing and regeneration.
  • Chain of Corruption Chain of Corruption (Ultimate)
    • Varus flings out a tendril of corruption that immobilizes the first enemy champion hit and then spreads towards nearby uninfected champions, immobilizing them too on contact.

References