For those who missed the announcement, Arc VIII has started. With it underway we can start up the Featured Matches for the arc. The story begins this weekend, and you will decide the outcome while playing.
Please note that with the transition from Intermission to in-arc featured matches we are moving back to the 12:30 pm Pacific time start time. We will be using the Arc VIII champion rosters.
Also, with the 2v2 arc format, do not forget that you may sign up to play for your allied faction, so long as it is not playing against your faction. So, for example, in a Void vs Bilgewater match, players declared for Bandle City may also sign up for the Void and Freljord declared players may sign up for Bilgewater.
- May 28: Bandle City v. the Freljord
- May 29: Icathia v. Bilgewater
May 28—Bandle City v. the Freljord
An Argyrian yordle named Timi’u, a renowned sage of Lanpoa, will join the cause of whichever faction can give him access to an ancient shard of Argyrian True Ice discovered in the seabed near the new nexus.
The mystery of the Mothership deepened with the discovery of a community of yordles on the Nyrothian island of Argyre. These yordles, who resemble Gnar rather than Bandle City yordles, are organized into rivalrous tribes that continually feud over access to Lanpoa, an artifact much like a smaller Mothership. During the Nyrothian dispute, the Freljord explored Argyre and befriended the Argyrian yordles. They invited yordles from Bandle City to assist them in communicating with Lanpoa, with somewhat controversial results—the Bandle City yordles succeeded, but then reported that Lanpoa wished to speak only to them. The Freljord’s requests, they said, would have to be conveyed through yordle intermediaries. The Freljord was not happy about this. (Some report hearing Sejuani inside her tent, shouting phrases like “skin them all” and “scheming little betrayer-yordles!”) It has been a tense situation ever since.
Timi’u is an Argyrian sage known for his remarkable ability to interpret and even manipulate Lanpoa’s sensors. When the deep-sea nexus appeared, he fell into a vision trance that lasted for days. His yordle friends brought him blankets to keep him warm, and occasionally succeeded in geting him to half-consciously consume a few bites of pie from Lanpoa’s food replicator. A Frostguard healer was asked to take a look at him, but when she approached, Lanpoa projected a forcefield that threw her back into a snowbank. A medic from Bandle City tried next, but even he was repelled, with Lanpoa threatening the terrifying curse known as access denied, and abruptly sealing its doors around Timi’u. His friends feared the worst.
On Monday, May 24, Lanpoa’s doors opened. Timi’u emerged, not only alive, but positively beatific. He held in his hands an artifact, which he named the quadronic scanner, and proclaimed that he had received a wondrous vision. In his vision, he became a sliver of True Ice that broke from Argyre and drifted through the deep seas, past Valoran and its fiery skies set ablaze by the Rune Wars, to eventually sink into the seabed. He begin pawing the air as though drawing, and a yordle hastily fetched him paper and a pen, imported from Valoran. Timi’u drew a pattern, with a circle in the center and lines leading to it from the edges. The image complete, he cheerfully pushed the pen through a point near the central circle, then fell back into the snow and curled up in blissful sleep. Summoners doing field research on Argyre immediately recognized it as a leyline-nexus diagram, and soon both Bandle City and the Freljord had dispatched survey teams.
The survey teams found a collapsed ice-cave surrounded by intense thaumic distortion. The first Summoners who tried to scry into the cave were knocked unconscious by the manashock, and had to be brought up to the surface. The distortion intensified after the interference, and the cave began to collapse further, sinking down into the bedrock. Still, the Summoners on each side were wary of one another, circling the site and investing as much energy in monitoring one another as finding a way to break inside the vault before it sank out of reach forever. Had it been entirely up to them, the shard would likely have been lost. But the Champions who led each team, Rumble from Bandle City and Volibear from the Freljord, broke the standoff by crashing through the distortion field, protected by their innate Champion aura, and using their incredible strength to physically lift the blocks of stone and ice away. As the field unraveled, their Summoners joined in, and at last they were able to expose the shard of True Ice from Timi’u’s vision.
Both factions swiftly filed claims for control over the shard. Volibear made the first move, according to most witnesses. Ah, but Rumble was the one who lifted the final stone away and actually exposed the shard! Perhaps, but only with the help of a Freljordian Summoner! With viable claims on both sides, the matter was submitted to the League for adjudication on the Fields of Justice.
Upon learning of the shard’s discovery, and the contest between these two factions, Timi’u has said that he will pledge his services to whichever faction can grant him access to the shard.
May 29—Icathia v. Bilgewater
A Marai priest and an Icathian monk came to blows in the immediate aftermath of the discovery of the new nexus. They each face international criminal charges, and their respective factions are trying to keep them out of jail, while pinning the blame on the other.
They are a study in outlandish contrasts—and strange, subtle similarities. Zomo, Seer of the Coral Temple, is a distinguished old Marai priest who renounced his high-born family to pursue his divine vocation. Korzari is a young Icathian cultist, born in Piltover as Jane Bluefield, whose love for mathematics abruptly shifted from “talking about math” to “math talking to her” and brought her to Kor, the Sky-Spire, and a sect of Icathian monks. Zomo has become an itinerant explorer, returning to his temple periodically to expound on his latest enlightenment in the solitude of the depths. Korzari, meanwhile, lives mostly in a cramped monastic cell, where she covers the walls in overlapping layers of multicolored symbols which she nonetheless will describe in a disconcertingly calm and rational tone. The stately old priest who lives a wild life of itinerant mysticism, and the wild-haired, fire-eyed young monk who periodically (it is said) publishes well-formatted academic papers in Piltover under various pseudonyms.
About a week ago, Zomo entered a deep meditative trance at the edge of an oceanic abyss, surrounded by schools of multicolored fish that swirled about him seemingly in tune with his thoughts. And at about the same time as Zomo closed his eyes and began chanting a hymn to the spirits of the Deep Dark, Korzari wandered out of her cell, absentmindedly breaking a pencil and then magically mending it over and over again, and asked the abbot for a traveling allowance and access to some old aquatic enchantments from the archives. And Zomo’s serene mindscape began to warp around the frightening figure of a black-purple-yellow demon brandishing a broken staff passed around ten octopus-like tentacles.
When the nexus emerged, Zomo awoke from his trance and proclaimed thanks to the spirits of his great ancestors for banishing the demon. He saw a radiant host rising up from the abyss, bearing ghostly apparitions of ancient Moonstones that went dark centuries ago, now restored. He was so taken by the sight that at first he did not see Korzari, face wrapped in something that looked rather like a flattened squid, and a third eye painted on her forehead. (Many cultures paint such things. But this being Icathian magic, there was a crucial distinction: this painted third-eye sometimes blinked.) And her presence was corrupting the spirits, warping his cherished, honored ancestors into monstrous caricatures.
Korzari herself saw a mana-vortex spiraling down into the abyss, where a Void-mouth drank it up with burbling sounds whose melodies contained deep secrets of the cosmos. Or so it seemed—but this Marai was erasing the sound with his bleak temple-aura, keeping the secrets from her.
It was not long before they came to blows. Each called upon their supernatural patrons for aid—and to their mutual surprise, those patrons answered quite loudly.
Zomo chanted an invocation of Reshu the Conqueror, ancient king of the Marai, which gave strength against evil when spoken by the pure of heart. Zomo had seen this chant empower Marai to perform wondrous and valiant deeds. But he had never seen Reshu actually appear, his trident in hand, haft scored with the bite marks of great sea-beasts, and demand that his enemies come before him to face their destiny.
And Korzari answered with a prayer to Agh’Nin, the Bringer of Obliterating Joy, a jubilant shout that a delicious soul was here to be feasted upon. It was, in practice, a curse, which bled away a powerful enemy’s thaumic field and consumed it. An effective spell. A potent spell. A dangerous spell. And a somewhat unpredictable spell that sometimes left the caster much the worse for the effort. But outside of the ancient legends, Korzari had never heard any claim that one who chanted this might suddenly hear a voice cry out in Old Icathian WHAT A DELIGHT YOU BRING US, FAVORED DAUGHTER! and then see an enormous toothy grin stretched out in ribbons of quivering jellyfish-flesh descending from the stars down through the churning waves.
When Zomo and Korzari awoke, they remembered nothing further. They were at the Institute, badly wounded. And they learned that the abyss where they had fought had warped into a thaumic singularity hundreds of meters across, utterly impenetrable and quite possibly unstable. Even the League marshal who came to charge them with crimes against Runeterra’s peace and admonish them that they were to answer before a League tribunal sounded distantly impressed. Summoners could speculate as to how this disaster might have occurred, but their most viable theories involved magnitudes of magic beyond the reach of all but the most skilled Institute-trained Summoners.
Icathia and Bilgewater quickly took an interest in these two, and intervened in the pending prosecutions. The way that the governing law is structured, fault will fall primarily on one or the other. A tribunal of arms upon the Fields of Justice will decide which way it tips. The victorious faction will have sidelined a valuable enemy asset, and acquired one of their own.