Looking down upon Runeterra from the moon, the yordles have proclaimed the discovery of a new continent. This new continent, which still lacks a name, lies to the west of Valoran in the most dangerous and volatile region of the Conqueror’s Sea. Sea monsters and arcane storms have kept even the most intrepid explorers from venturing that way, and a truly enormous illusion field (of unknown origin) further obscures it.
Since the day of its discovery, the nations of Valoran have deluged the Council with petitions demanding the right to explore this new land, whether to exploit its riches or to make contact with its inhabitants.
Bilgewater, Ionia, and the Shadow Isles have all been recognized as parties to the pending League adjudication.
Today, the Council has approved the petition of one more faction, the final faction to be granted admittance to the pending dispute.
Fresh from the Fields, Sejuani strode through the door leading into the Freljordian embassy at the Institute, where Ashe and Braum were discussing something with Heimerdinger. She pulled off her stuffy metal helmet and clapped it down onto the table to announce her presence. The sheafs of paper and leatherbound notebooks bounced from the impact, and the joints of the table creaked.
No Summoners. No servants.Only them.
Sejuani stood while they sat. She scooped up a handful of the gathered papers and examined them. Poros. Pictures of poros. And poro collars. And numbers, and diagrams, describing how this incendiary pyrikhos was, through some clever magic, used to produce a chilling aura that allowed a thick-furred poro to be comfortable in a blazing Shuriman summer.
Sejuani dropped the handful of papers back to the table, and did not look to see how they landed. She fixed Ashe with her gaze. In barter as in battle, the Avarosan way was to harry their adversary, to worry them all the way to defeat with arrows and arguments. But the daughters and sons of Serylda drove straight to their aim.
“They work. They sell. You are paid.” She glanced at Braum, to see if his open, honest face might betray something that Ashe’s makeupped facade did not. Seeing nothing but surprise, she looked back to Ashe.
“The contract gives us thirty percent of all profit. When will you pay it?”
Ashe smiled, as though dealing with a difficult child. She gestured graciously. “Please, Sejuani. Have a seat.”
(Heimerdinger drew back several steps, taking himself beyond the radius within which he anticipated over 90% of the initial collateral damage to occur should these primitives resort to arms.)
Sejuani tightened her jaw around the dialect she was forcing herself to use. “What I wish to hear can be said long before my legs tire.”
Ashe arched an eyebrow. Sejuani felt her blood pump hotter. She tempered it with amusement at the idea of what happened to Winter’s Claw warriors who arched eyebrows at people like her.
Ashe spoke. “The contract has a few provisions to account for market fluctuations. We hired a Piltovian firm to draft it up. It’s the same system they use for their big Demacian contracts.”
Sejuani jerked a thumb back over her shoulder. “There are plenty of poros out there. A whole pack of them. Summoner-pets. The market is good.”
Ashe cocked her head to the side, forcing her mouth into a thoroughly unkind smile. “Actually, it’s a fluft of poros. It’s called a fluft of poros. Not a pack.” She took on an expression of pleasant discovery, as though realizing the origin of a child’s error. “You’re thinking of wolves.”
Sejuani leaned forward, putting her weight onto her knuckles and pressing them into the table.
“Sorry, My Esteemed Queen Highness Lady,” her anger deliberately mangled the court-speak, “I am only a ‘brat of a tribesgirl’, if you mark your own words.”
Sejuani knew this anger was pointless, but it felt good, and she indulged, as the strong are able to indulge. She discarded the clipped tones of diplomacy and spoke to her in the tongue of the Winter’s Claw, as though she were an obnoxious upstart of a chieftain who’d spent too much time abroad—which was, in fact, a fair approximation of how she viewed Ashe.
“I have not known the warm-walls of a scroll-school or been taught ink-words for snow-vermin.”
Without taking her eyes off Ashe, Sejuani snatched up a sheet of parchment and shoved it right in front of her face. She had no idea what this particular sheet said, or even if she was holding it right-side up. It simply stood for the blizzard of tree-cloth that Ashe had insulted her with.
“I know not this word, fluft. But others I do know. One is thirty. The other is percent. And beside them in these gold-pledges stands all profit.” She shook the diagram-covered parchment. “This tinker-yordle makes you poro collars, and he is wrench-clever, and surely makes many vermin-keepers of fine bolt-fit, and the poro-packs are thick in my northern land, and for a half-moon we have shipped them to you, yet I see paper in place of gold. My chieftains ask where the gold is now, and they are right to ask. Gold is food. Those who take food from the Winter’s Claw soon need food not.”
“So I ask once more. Where is our percent-gold? The Summoners out there have their poros. Why do we not have our money?!” She slapped the parchment onto the table.
Ashe’s tense smile broke into an undisguised glare. “Sit down and we’ll go over the books like grown-ups. And just so you know? Maybe you can intimidate a Winter’s Claw chief with this little act of yours, or get a whole tentful of club-dragging mead-swilling tribespeople guffawing, but when you’re talking to me, you will talk like a civilized human being…”
(Heimerdinger took a few more steps back, based upon newly revised and increasingly troubling calculations.)
Ashe continued, bent on suicide. “… instead of a sarcastic little bi—”
The doors swung open and crashed against the stone walls. A Summoner in formal robes came rushing in with a sealed scroll.
The wizard stumbled to a halt in front of the table, and glanced aside. “Oh, hi Braum.”
Braum smiled broadly. “Good to see you, Arzellous my friend!” He gave the the robed figure a friendly clap on the back that incidentally took care of a lingering shoulder injury. “Now, be quick with your good news.”
Summoner Arzellous nodded. The question of whether to hand the scroll to Ashe or Sejuani was nonetheless a somewhat troublesome one. The solution: roll it out across the table.
Arzellous grinned. “The petition was granted. The Freljord is in.”
The Freljord has been permitted to stake a claim to the new continent on the Fields of Justice. To do so, it must unite once more, at least for the time being. But under what banner?
The Avarosan, led by Queen Ashe and King Tryndamere, is the most “civilized” Freljordian faction, with the strongest ties to other nations and the most diplomatic expertise.
Queen Ashe addressed the gathered Summoners. “This is a chance the Freljord cannot afford to lose. I offer my proven leadership, and the strength of our friendship with Demacia and other great nations of Valoran. Let me lead you to victory!”
Sejuani wore full battle gear as she made her address. “This distant land is many journey-days from Valoran by sail. The oceans between teem with great beast-fish and churn with fiend-storms that swallow ships whole. No appeal to the Council will save you then! Nor will whatever armies we may find on those rough shores heed the words of the Institute or stake their lands in a game-duel on the Fields of Justice! The Queen speaks of Demacia. Does she not understand that Demacia will be hundreds of miles away? Let Queen Ashe sip grape-wine with Demacian royals in their gold-halls! Let her nibble cup-cakes with the yordles! And let me lead you to victory. When we clash with the sea-titans, when we face this new land’s greatest armies, only the Freljord’s greatest warrior will be fit to command you!”
The Frostguard, led by Lissandra, are the Freljord’s wisest seers, much respected for their knowledge of arcane arts and ancient secrets.
Both Ashe and Sejuani bowed in deference as Lissandra entered the hall, flanked by two ceremonial guards bearing sacred orbs of True Ice. “We are most reluctant to involve ourselves in matters of governance. The pursuit of knowledge, rather than power, is our way. Ashe and Sejuani are each great heroes of the Freljord, whom the Frostguard’s histories may one day note with distinction alongside Chief Hjarnstassel and Kaljorn the Dragon-Sage. I have looked deep into their hearts, and know that each one of them truly does strive for the good of the Freljord, in their own way. Should you select either as your leader, we of the Frostguard shall do all we can to aid them. But should you ask it of us, we would accept the burden of leadership ourselves, for a brief time, that we may better guide you.”
The four factions have been selected. The arc will begin soon. More is on its way.