Lore written by CupcakeTrap (which is why it’s late)
with extensive input from ShadowKnight1224 (which is why it’s not terrible)
The following Champions were recruited in Week 8. The outcomes of their joining-stories will be written based on the Featured Matches this weekend.
- If the faction goes 3-0, the Champion will get an extremely positive story development that will tie them more closely to the faction.
- If the faction goes 2-1, the Champion will succeed in an important objective.
- If the faction goes 1-2, the Champion will have mixed success. They’ll be grumpy, but they’ll also have some story progress.
- If the faction goes 0-3, the Champion will fail dramatically. It’ll be a big blow to them, and they may be pretty furious with the faction.
One of our major design goals for Divinity is to make it so that, although losing may suck in-universe, being on the losing side is just as interesting and engaging in an out-of-universe sense. Your Summoners should have cause to be upset by failures, but it may also push them into dramatic moments of crisis and difficult decisions that can create very memorable story experiences.
Heimerdinger, the Revered Inventor, has joined Bandle City.
Heimerdinger is an undisputed master of that peculiar brand of techmaturgy practiced by the yordles. Quite unusually for a yordle, he has shown relatively little interest in the Mothership himself, focusing instead on his own creations, and viewing the Mothership as a religious matter for yordle clerics. So far as he was concerned, anything involving divine energy was more a matter of politics than engineering or science. His views began to change during the Hextech Revolution, when Dr. Merricurry proved that extradimensional energy could be contextualized within a framework of rules and thereby harnessed to power a variety of hextech devices. Pyrikhos was magical energy that worked as reliably as rocket fuel, and Heimerdinger strongly approved.
Heimerdinger consulted with Merricurry on the design of the Zaunite research station that studied the nexus and (it appears) prevented a catastrophe when it fully coalesced. While officially undeclared in the dispute, he worked with League Summoners to study the wreckage of the research station, and examine the research team’s surviving sensor data. He then announced the creation of an enhanced “yordle submarine”, the HJX-717, outfitted with miniaturized versions of the thaumic sensors developed for the station. Declaring for Bandle City, he brought the HJX-717 to the Guardian’s Sea to begin deep scans of the nexus.
Icathian agents immediately approached Mayor Jadefellow and insisted that Heimerdinger not be allowed to survey the nexus. It was too dangerous, they said. Their own mages were much better qualified to examine the dimensional rift around the nexus. They would share everything they discovered, of course, but it would be best to leave it to them. When the yordle Mayor remained firm, Icathia threatened to call upon the League to block the mission, jeopardizing the Icathia-Bandle City alliance. Jadefellow did not back down, and the challenge was brought to the Fields of Justice.
Match Outcome—The Divinity Equations
Bandle City went 3–0 in its Featured Matches, securing a highly favorable outcome for Heimerdinger and a very “bright” lore event.
Icathia’s attempt to block its ally’s research mission through League contacts failed dramatically. Bandle City prevailed on the Fields, and Heimerdinger’s mission was authorized. Icathia’s opposition had only served to raise suspicions as to why it was so intent that Heimerdinger not perform these nexus scans. At Vayne’s urging, King Jarvan III granted Heimerdinger access to ancient Demacian prayer-tablets, and allowed him to perform calibration scans on these sacred artifacts. He constructed a thaumic scanner array orders of magnitude more receptive than anything previously invented. The highly regular, well-studied patterns in the tablets gave Heimerdinger the data he needed to complete his multidimensional equations.
With this new data, and no small amount of ingenuity, Heimerdinger succeeded in adapting Merricurry’s theories of Void energy dynamics to divine energy emanations, not to harness them, but to analyze them and trace them back to their source. He was able to produce evidence that the tablets in the temple, for example, came from a Targonian solar elemental who had ascended to godhood thousands of years ago. (Demacian clergy questioned the accuracy of this result.) He calibrated the scanners of the HJX-717 submarine, and prepared for his mission.
Heimerdinger piloted his HJX-717 submarine to the nexus, accompanied by the escort craft that General Camilia had insisted upon. With the aid of Summoner tldramduck (who insisted on just going by “Duck”), Heimerdinger completed his scans of the nexus.
Heimerdinger could not lock onto the nexus itself, to reveal what if anything might be sealed inside—the thaumic signature of a launch pad or a serpent’s nest, for example. Instead, the nexus functioned as a dimensional lens. By tuning the scans to the Void energy insulating the dimensions from one another, he found he could peer into several alternate realities.
One of them showed the aftermath of the Reht’Kon hex, in a reality in which it had not been stopped, and the League had been erased from history. An attempt to tune out apparent “noise” in the signal revealed something that Heimerdinger exclaimed as “Fascinating!” and gave Summoner Duck a cold shiver: this was not one alternate reality, but an entire set of them. Most were sufficiently opaque that only brief, often terrifying glimpses could be seen, but one seemed to have been somehow opened.
In this reality, the Rune Wars had raged unchecked until every morsel of divine energy had been devoured by the demons of the Void. Runeterra had lost its divinely ordained shape, and been cast adrift in the churning seas of the cosmic Void, bombarded by massive amounts of Void radiation. The Mothership had been destroyed, and the yordles scattered across Valoran, many going mad from the loss of the Mothership and their isolation. The scan detected a Champion’s energy signature, and showed them Teemo, clad in hextech armor, leading an “Omega Squad” on an assault against an Icathian spire that stood where, in Heimerdinger’s own universe, Nocturne’s cell had been constructed.
Just before the scanner overloaded and burnt out, Heimerdinger detected a strange sensor pattern: a multiplexed dimensional intersection linking it to Heimerdinger’s own dimension, possibly the reason why this reality was not so opaque to the trans-dimensional scan as the others. It could serve as a wormhole, permitting someone from this dimension to move from point to point by passing through this alternate reality. It would be instantaneous within the native dimensional frame. It would bypass any known physical or thaumic barrier.
And it was connected to Nocturne’s cell.
Bandle City drew the Seven of Wands. This based the roll entirely on BoP itself. Bandle City rolled a 10 and a 7, and succeeded by a comfortable margin, thanks to its +3 FM bonus.
Even Heimerdinger’s scans did not suffice to convince the League that there was a danger. Nocturne was, after all, securely within his cell, and there had been no “nightmare heart attacks” since the latest security measures were installed. No one had ever heard of the transdimensional physics that led Heimerdinger to believe that a “wormhole” existed in Nocturne’s cell, and without a victim, there was no cause to open an investigation into a member-state involved in a major dispute.
Unable to go after Icathia directly, Heimerdinger used Bandle City’s strong position in the current dispute to secure access to several key sites around the Guardian’s Sea nexus. By eliminating the peculiarities from each, and isolating the common threads, he found within these ancient religious sites valuable data about access to the dreamscape, through which he believed many “visions” and “prophecies” traveled.
Gathering this data, Heimerdinger designed and constructed a breakthrough device: the MTX-999 neuropsychic interface. When it failed to establish a link with him, he found it was possible to “lubricate” the connection through administration of a buffer medium—a juicebox spiked with the Zaunite arcano-elixir Pharmakon II, secured through a favor from Merricurry. Juicebox in hand, he entered a “sympathetic simulacrum” of the ethereal plane.
And when Nocturne phased through the reality-distortion to attack a sleeping Summoner’s mind, he found the Summoner’s psyche fortified by ethereal turrets and defended by a clockwork army. He was driven back across the dimensions, howling curses at the tiny yordle whose dream-army had defeated him. Heimerdinger demolished the transdimensional ethereal conduit through which Nocturne had escaped with rockets that detonated with a thousand beautiful dreams of explosions.
None of this, of course, could be proven to the League. Nor did Bandle City try, despite Heimerdinger’s claims that given enough of a research budget he could produce proof that “even those hidebound simians on the Council can’t ignore!” But the Summoner whom Heimerdinger had rescued, a well-connected Ionian, swore that he would repay Bandle City in any way he could.
The next time Bandle City rolls a 1 on an Influence check, the Summoner whose sanity was saved by Heimerdinger’s intervention will intervene and grant a reroll.
Nocturne, the Eternal Nightmare, has joined Icathia.
Nocturne is a captive of the League, a dreamstalker spirit who before his capture had killed countless victims in their sleep. Valoranian magic has little recourse against such psychic attacks; it is believed that a person can be protected by isolating them in a null-magic field and cutting them off from the ethereal plane, but the toll this takes is considered unacceptably high for more than short-term use. It seems that mortals must experience this vulnerability to remain sane. By capturing Nocturne, and sealing him within a League cell, the League has been able to end the attacks…though some theorize that Nocturne still finds his way out from time to time, leaving a hollow phantasm in his place, and that he has simply learned to be subtler in his manipulations.
Faith, prophecy, dreams, visions…these concepts are closely intertwined. Gods seem to draw power from worship, and it is believed that this “energy transfer” takes place through the conduit of the imagination. Some have gone so far as to say that extradimensional beings can only enter the corporeal realm once they have been dreamed into a shape.
On this basis, Icathia successfully persuaded the League to allow them to make use of Nocturne on the Fields, and perhaps even to bring him to the Guardian’s Sea nexus, if their magic can contain him, and if a Summoner remains linked with him at all times to keep his murderous impulses in check.
Secretly, Icathia believed it had discovered a way to bypass the arcane locks on Nocturne’s prison. As sturdy as those locks were, they were grounded in the ambient reality. The Guardian’s Sea nexus was believed to be not only a meeting point of leylines, but also (owing to its divine charge) a crossover point for alternate realities. If Nocturne could be linked to this nexus, perhaps he could escape his cell, and serve Icathia as an untraceable, invisible assassin, against whom no lock could hold.
But for this plan to work, Icathia realized, it would have to prevent its meddling yordle allies from running deep scans on the nexus, at least until the conduit was established. A scan performed while the conduit was being formed might well, they feared, reveal hints of their plans. When the yordles insisted on going forward with their operation, Icathia had no choice but to oppose its ally in the League.
Match Outcome—Back into the Shadows
Icathia went 0-3 in its Featured Matches, triggering a highly negative outcome for poor Nocturne.
Bandle City’s operation went forward. Icathia hastened to complete their plan before the results from Heimerdinger’s examination of the nexus were ready. But when Nocturne attacked his target, a Summoner making dangerous progress on deciphering ancient Shuriman magic used to banish the Void, he found Heimerdinger waiting for him inside the dreamscape. Nocturne’s assault was repelled, and Heimerdinger destroyed the ethereal conduit through which he had escaped his cell.
First tarot card draw: The Empress.
We don’t have formal rules in place yet for handling Major Arcana, but I figure they ought to at least spice up the story. And let’s see, dreams, and the Empress…I think I have someone in mind.
But redrawing to get a stat to check:
The Six of Wands. I swear, I’m constantly reshuffling this deck. This is creepy.
Anyway, Wands is BoP. That’s not a great stat for Icathia. So time to roll the dice, and…I rolled two 10s. That’s a true critical.
In other words, although Nocturne ended up much the worse for wear, Icathia dramatically capitalized on the opportunity that this incident created.
How long did you haunt me? How long were you corrupting my mind? What was left of my mind, rotting inside that tomb. It was longer than I had thought, wasn’t it? Because I remember the first time the dreams faded. And I remember when they came back. And they were different. They weren’t Akhtal’s death-dreams. They weren’t even dreams. Were they? Don’t lie to me, demons. I’m not stupid.
They were different. The new dreams. In Akhtal’s dreams, I never conquered. They were feasts, and cool water sparkling in the hot sun, and sweet boys with clever eyes and shy grins. But the dreams that came next, the dreams you brought me, were dreams of conquest. I led your armies across Valoran. I liked those dreams, too. I liked them more.
And they weren’t dreams. I have to keep telling myself that now. It was real. I conquered a world for you. She conquered a world for you. The stars melted away, and the Void beat down on Runeterra like a new sun, but all its hate could not kill me, because you had blessed me.
No. It wasn’t just that. It couldn’t kill me because…because another me was already dead. This me. I was dead. And so she was a little bit dead, too, and that was what you needed to make her deathless in that burning purple wasteland beyond the stars. She was a little bit dead. And the magic that made her a little bit dead made me a little bit alive, didn’t it? It’s keeping me a little bit alive.
Yes. I’ll help you again. I’ll always help you. I’ll burn two worlds, for these dreams.
I’d be stupid not to.
Although Icathia failed to establish a permanent conduit out of Nocturne’s cell, its manipulations of the Guardian’s Sea nexus cracked the dreamscape in ways that Heimerdinger’s yordle technology could not detect. The emergence of the nexus amplified religious belief across Valoran, and with that amplification came dreams, prophecies, and visions.
The Lich Queen Nefara, holding court over her Shuriman necropolis, heard the entreaties of Icathia’s ambassadors, and granted their requests. Her ritual pierced the veil surrounding Runeterra’s dreamers, blessing the most psychically sensitive among them—mages, priests, even a few Summoners—with a revelation of the Void through which their tiny world drifted, and would drift forever. Many would never be the same again. Some descended rapidly into madness, and followed insanity’s spiraling footsteps to the sands of Shurima, where they fell before their dead queen and swore eternal loyalty. She dispatched them to Icathia, where they would serve Malzahar and his cult.
The influx of Void-corrupted mages and priests into Icathia will come into play the next time Icathia rolls a 1 on a Vision check, granting a reroll.
Nunu, the Yeti Rider, has joined the Freljord.
Nunu was one of the first Champions to come forth from the Freljord. He joined the League in 19 CLE, four years before the Freljord became a member-state during the Mirrorwater conflict of 23 CLE.
Nunu was raised by the Frostguard, the ward and adoptive son of a common trapper whose original family had been killed in a cave collapse. Nunu was taught to respect and obey the monster-hunters and priests who led the Frostguard, and kept them safe from the abominations that lived beyond their citadel. Every so often, they would receive a delegate from the Avarosan or (more rarely) the Winter’s Claw, including at one point a young Ashe, who bought a few pelts from Nunu’s father.
Tragedy took Nunu from his tribe. He and his father were stranded by a blizzard during a trapping expedition. After days with no sign of rescuers, Nunu’s father braved the storm to find food, and never returned. Huddled alone in the cave, Nunu lapsed into a half-lucid state, and it was through that haze that he heard, saw, and then felt, smelled a huge beast entering the cave and gripping him in its arms. But it did not kill him. It was a Yeti, Willump, who growled at him less like a beast and more like a person asking a question. Hearing Nunu’s parched groans, Willump conjured a handful of snow into a sip of pure healing water that brought Nunu back from the brink of death.
Willump took Nunu to his home, the ice-caves where the Yetis had sheltered since the devastation of the Rune Wars. Nunu had been taught to fear such magical creatures; the Frostguard taught that those who had survived the Rune Wars had been warped into terrible monsters. Yet he felt safe with these Yetis, who fed him, taught him their language, and even brought him into their rituals, whereby he learned their ancient ice magic. He played what he came to call “Yeti tag” with them, and learned to channel “snowballs” that could make even a grown Yeti stumble.
But then a Harrowing new moon brought a ghoul attack upon the Yeti village. Nunu tried to use the magic he had learned to help his friend Willump, but in his panic his spells flew apart like powder-snow. The ghouls were destroyed, but not before Willump was grievously wounded. Willump sickened from the ghoul bite, and the Yeti elders could not heal him. He was, they said, doomed to sink further and further into the undead sickness, until he was himself no more than a monster. But Nunu remembered seeing the Frostguard cure an Avarosan villager who had been bitten by a ghoul, and set out to bring Willump back to the Frostguard Citadel. When asked how he would find the path, he said with conviction that the spirits who watched over the Frostguard would show him the way.
The Frostguard were startled by Nunu’s reappearance several years after the blizzard had claimed his father. They welcomed him back in, and, albeit with some trepidation, agreed to treat Willump. Nunu had one further request: that he be taught the ways of the magic that could destroy creatures like these ghouls. It was an audacious request from a mere trapper’s son, but the mages could see the Yeti magic running through him, and realized his potential. They agreed to train him to control his powers and align them with his human nature, upon the condition that he swear a solemn oath not to leave until his training was complete—Frostguard magic was powerful, and clumsy misuse of its spells could cause terrible harm. Nunu took the oath, and began his studies.
Under the Frostguard’s care, Willump’s deterioration slowed, but did not reverse. He seemed to grow more and more distant, with his personality submerged beneath unrelenting torpor. The Frostguard had insisted that he not be fed any meat, lest the ghoul-hunger take him. But hearing Willump’s daily cries for food persist over months and years, Nunu disobeyed, and began to sneak him scraps of meat from his own meals. Willump seemed to recover, and far from transforming into a ghoul, began to act more and more his usual self. The more Nunu learned in his lessons, the more critically he thought upon the “treatments” that the Frostguard had applied. One night, he snuck into the Frostguard’s records room, and found the slender journal in which the mages had kept their notes. In that cramped room, in the middle of the night, Nunu’s shaking hands turned those crisp parchment pages, and upon them he read words like “test” and “study”. He dropped to his knees and sobbed. The Frostguard had been using his best friend Willump as an experiment. Willump had saved Nunu’s life, and now Nunu’s own people—could these be his own people?—were starving him just to see what would happen.
Nunu brought Willump more and more meat, and secretly showed him basic Frostguard counterspells to seal him against his captors’ magic. As Willump’s strength returned, so too did his ability to resist the Frostguard’s magical “treatments”. Nunu began searching the ranks of the Frostguard for someone he could trust to tell of what he’d discovered. His father, who’d shouted at him for curiously prodding a dying animal, who’d bellowed that no son of his would deny even a rat a clean death, would never have stood for this. But before Nunu could find an ally among his superiors, Willump broke free. Nunu found his cage smashed open from the inside, and scratched into the floor a crude drawing of a Yeti following an arrow out of a box.
Nunu chased after Willump, with the long, loping bounds he had learned from the Yetis, now accelerated with the subtle magic of the Frostguard that had taught him to strike his feet off the surface of the snow as though it were solid rock, and given him the resolve to travel day and night without sleep. When he reached Willump, he found he had been ambushed and surrounded by the Frostguard’s hunters, who were “walking the circle” as Nunu himself had been taught to do—slowly, over hours and even days, circling around their prey, waiting for just the moment to strike, patient as falling snow.
Nunu rushed to Willump’s aid, with more courage than sense. He stood in front of the Yeti, and told them that he wouldn’t let the hunters take his friend. The mage who had overseen Willump’s “treatment” struck him down with a lash. Willump flew into a rage, and together with Nunu, they defeated the Frostguard’s warriors. The rejuvenated Willump was nothing like the pathetic, wasting creature they had imprisoned for all those years. Nor had they seen Nunu driven to unleash the full power he possessed. The blizzard they called forth tore the landscape apart.
When Nunu and Willump returned to the hidden Yeti village, they found an Avarosan Summoner with them. She had heard stories of a human boy who had learned Yeti magic, and had resolved to bring him into the League of Legends as a Champion. “Then he’s a Champion, too,” Nunu proclaimed, accompanied by Willump’s proud roar.
The League acceded to their request, and Nunu and Willump together became some of the first Freljordian Champions in the League. Through the influence won there, Nunu was able to protect the Yeti tribe from the human world, and hone his skills against the mightiest in Valoran.
The surge in divine energy that accompanied the emergence of the Guardian’s Sea nexus soon spread to the Yeti tribe. Nunu and Willump returned there to join in the celebrations, but were soon interrupted by an emissary from the Winter’s Claw. She brought news from the Institute—Bilgewater’s agents had discovered pre-cataclysm texts on Nyroth which spoke of lunar deities, and contained long-lost prayers and incantations that might once more prove effective through the power of the Guardian’s Sea nexus. Diana had declared she would use this magic to drive evil spirits from the Grey Harbor in Bilgewater, which the League had sealed off with binding magic after Hecarim seized control of it during the Harrowing of 11 CLE. Diana now sought the League’s authorization to break the seal and confront the malicious spirits bottled up inside. It had once been the site of an ancient shrine to a lunar pantheon now almost completely forgotten, and Diana proclaimed she and her Lunari followers would restore it.
The Winter’s Claw had always been skeptical of religion, but their oral history stretched back to the Age of Divinity. They recounted stories of lunar deities. Greatest and most terrible of all, in the Freljord, were the Ghoul, joined by his dark herald the New Moon, and the Hunter, who called upon the Full Moon to drive his prey out from hiding into the cold silver light. The Winter’s Claw had ever been wary of the Frostguard, some of whom still said prayers to the Hunter. For millennia, it had seemed that those prayers had fallen on deaf ears, but were this temple to be built, perhaps the Hunter would repay them for their devotions. Sejuani, the Winter’s Claw emissary said, had no desire to find out what a new war between the Ghoul and the Hunter would bring. Nunu joined Sejuani in convincing Ashe to oppose the motion in the League.
Match Outcome—The Ghoul
The Freljord went 0-3, triggering a rather negative development for Nunu: he fails to stop the construction of the temple, and the Yetis are exposed to greater peril from here on out.
The Freljord drew the Knight of Swords, indicating a Might challenge.
The Freljord rolled 18 on their Might check, giving them success with one extra Success Level.
The sanctification of the Tidal Temple in Bilgewater was felt in the Freljord. The Yetis, as one, threw their heads back to howl defiance at the New Moon. Summoners from the Institute, friends of Nunu who had come to give their counsel, anxiously drew spell-circles and watched the sickly yellow light flash over the sigils. And then, one by one, the stars faded out, until the sky was black as death. Willump growled, and Nunu did not have to ask what it was. He’d smelled it, too. It was getting closer.
As the Yetis prepared to fight, they saw a welcome sight on the horizon. Humans riding boars—the Winter’s Claw, come to their aid. They came charging forward, as the scent of the ghouls drew ever closer. And when at last they came within the pale blue light of the Yeti caves, the defenders saw that all was not as it had seemed. The figures on the boars were gaunt, their armor torn, their boars glassy-eyed, scored with cuts and gouges that did not bleed.
Because it always falls to Summoners to say such things, a woman in a purple robe (edged in ice blue) exclaimed at the impossibility of undead rising up in the middle of summer, when the seasonal cycle was still strongly aligned with vital force. It seemed she would not get a chance to analyze the phenomenon further, however, as the Winter’s Claw ghouls crashed into the Yeti defenders, toppling them and lashing out with cursed grave-weapons.
And that was the ghouls began to fall, pierced through their backs by arrows tipped with needle-fine slivers of True Ice. Frostguard warriors drew blades and struck the ghouls from behind, bringing them down to the snow and sending them back to the sleep of death with cold iron and channeled mana.
With the battle won, the Frostguard saw to the wounded. The captain who led them explained to Nunu that the techniques she and her warriors used had been learned from Willump, all those years ago.
The Yetis were shocked to receive such aid from the Frostguard, whom they had long mistrusted, but offered their gratitude. The Frostguard captain was not bashful about cashing in this favor. She asked for True Ice from the depths of the Yeti caves, which had formed in the Age of Divinity and had been shielded from the toxic effects of the Rune Wars by the thick stone walls. The Yetis could scarcely refuse. The Frostguard were given what they asked for, and set back for the Citadel.
The next time the Freljord rolls 1 on a Might check, some badass Frostguard warriors will show up, and reveal what they wanted that True Ice for, granting a reroll.
Diana, the Scorn of the Moon, has joined Bilgewater.
Diana, the celestial Aspect of the Moon, leads the resurrected Lunari order. She was orphaned in infancy, and (as so often happens in Valoran) this led to her being raised by a monastic order. In her case, this was the Solari order of Mount Targon, who worshipped the Sun. In that religion, the Moon was synonymous with darkness and evil, but this never sat well with Diana. Her eventual epiphany as to the dualistic harmony of Sun and Moon brought her into bloody conflict with the Solari elders, and sent her into hiding.
For many years after she left the Solari, Diana lived as an itinerant outcast, a lone paladin striking down evil in the name of the Moon. Local villagers began to spread her legend, and as the years passed she even began accumulate followers, who asked her to teach them how to call upon the Moon’s blessing to protect them from harm. And so she did. But while the Moon could protect them from ghosts and monsters, a much greater threat soon became manifest. A human threat.
Diana watched as Demacian troops marched past Mount Targon on their way to Kalamanda. The magic she felt surrounding them, shining from their silver-steel armor, confirmed the suspicions she had gathered from her studies of the old Lunari texts: Demacia was one of those younger civilizations which had received the transmission of Solari and Lunari magic long ago. But it was no longer the same. It was a human reflection of the Moon’s true nature, warped by human beliefs and human desires. Demacia had the Moon’s purity, but none of its subtlety; it had the Sun’s brilliance, but none of its warmth. And this vast Demacian army was unmistakeably marching for war.
Diana followed them under cover of night. When they reached Kalamanda, she saw that the small village had already become a battleground. The arriving Demacian troops were met with a Noxian legion. The fighting intensified, and though mages on both sides were still showing restraint, it seemed it would not be long before one side became desperate enough to tap into the raw power of the newly formed nexus they were fighting for, and unleash runespells that had been locked away for decades. But what caught Diana’s eye amid all this chaos was a figure surrounded by golden light. She instantly recognized the Aspect of the Sun—but only as she approached did she recognize her face. It was Leona.
Leona stood at the fore of a wall of Rakkor shields, dug in to stop the advance of a squadron of Demacian knights. Behind Leona were Zilean and dozens of purple-robed Summoners, frantically working some strange magic that Diana could not recognize. The knights had sheathed their swords, and were struggling to shove their way through to arrest Zilean and his associates. The Demacian leader shouted that the League had no jurisdiction here, and ordered them to stop what they were doing; Leona replied that she was “a Champion of the League” and would not allow them past. It did not get much further than that before a distortion sphere enveloped Kalamanda and froze the two armies within a stasis field.
Later, Diana would realize that she had been a stone’s throw away from where the Sixth Rune War very nearly began.
Leona found Diana in the aftermath. The last time Diana had seen the zealous Solari warrior, Leona was standing ready to execute her when the Solari Elders pronounced her sentence. But she did not approach her with hostility, as an enemy. Strangely enough, Leona seemed glad to see her. She explained that she understood now why Diana did what she did, and that she had been right all along. Now, she said, they were both needed. Nations like Demacia and Noxus did not understand the power they wielded to such terrible and bloody effect, and it was for Targon to teach them a better way. She urged Diana to follow her to the League, to help her fulfill this sacred obligation.
But Diana rebuffed her. Leona led the Solari; whose Champion was Diana to be? The Lunari were long dead. The Sun and the Moon were not enemies, but neither were they the same. Before she could join Leona, she would have to find a way to recover what had been lost. “Then start,” Leona told her, “in Bilgewater.”
Bilgewater proved to be a treacherous place, with too many people sharing too little room, and so much hunger in everyone’s eyes. Diana found remnants of an old lunar pantheon, made up of personifications of five phases of the lunar cycle. But only the half-moon deity, Lady Luck, was remembered by the common folk. Even then, much of the association with the moon had been all but lost—more associated her with the modern image of a lucky half-coin worn on a necklace or braclet, and had misinterpreted old half-moon figures accordingly. Her dismay was entirely dispelled, however, when she found a Lunari tome detailing the movement of the tides under the Moon’s influence in a merchant’s cart. He sold it an exorbitant price, but (perhaps a touch shamed by her sincerity) threw in some free information with it. Leaning closer, and with a glance to either side, he confided that it’d been taken from an old temple out at Grey Harbor, the night the Mists took it. The League had sealed it off, and hunted down just about every bit of loot anyone had taken from the temple, but they’d missed this.
And so Diana traveled Valoran, gathering up the fragments left behind by the destruction of the Lunari and reconstructing what had been lost. From Bilgewater, she took a ship to Noxus, and studied the oldest origins of their magic—the Sun’s ferocious flames, and the Moon’s deceptive shadows. She journeyed to the Freljord, and saw the Avarosan fortress Ashe had created through the Mirrorwater, itself a strange hybrid of natural water magic and something that rang faintly of the cosmic order that also held the Sun and the Moon in their balance. By August of 22 CLE, a year after her encounter with Leona at Kalamanda, Diana entered the League of Legends. Seeing as Leona received sponsorship from Demacia, she felt it was only fitting to ask the newly ascended Grand General of Noxus, a gruff tactician named Jericho Swain, for hers.
A few months after Diana joined the League, a young Marai Tidecaller known as Nami took her own Champion’s oath. She was on a desperate quest to find a new Moonstone to protect her people from the sea monsters that swarmed in the depths, and (as the old Moonstone had faded) had driven the Marai back further and further into their most fortified strongholds. All Nami knew was that, for many generations, the Marai had received a new Moonstone about once every hundred years, by bringing an Abyssal Pearl to the surface and exchanging it with landwalkers. This time, the landwalkers were nowhere to be found. By no means an unintelligent person, it did not take long for Nami to decide that she ought to talk to the Champion who was trying to revive the “Lunari Order” which had recently been destroyed. Diana told Nami that she recognized the “Moonstone” she described, but was unsure where to find the power to create such an artifact now.
In 24 CLE, the nations of Valoran began exploring the mysterious continent of Nyroth. Nami led Bilgewater into its first major League dispute, and recruited Diana to her cause. Bilgewater constructed a Lunari temple on Nyroth, and on its central altar Diana and her followers forged a new Moonstone to protect the Marai and Atlanteans.
Long ago, the denizens of the Blue Flame Islands worshipped a pantheon of lunar deities, each associated with a particular phase of the moon. Chief among them was Lady Luck, represented by the half-moon. To one side of her was the Rogue, down on her luck but always angling for her next break, represented by the crescent moon. To the other side was the Merchant, favored by good fortune, represented by the gibbous moon. For some reason, neither the new moon nor the full moon were particularly popular in this region, though the oldest sources do associate the full moon with a generic “Sailor” figure, with a favorable wind filling her sails, and assign the new moon to the Beggar, fallen entirely out of Lady Luck’s good graces. But other sources link the new moon with a more sinister figure, the Wraith, a phantasmal stalker, hungry for life, that could only venture out when the moon did not shine. The Wraith was sometimes known as the Revenant, the darkened moon representing a body drained of true life.
Bilgewater was not quite so badly affected by the Rune Wars as other parts of Valoran. The churning of the ocean’s physical and thaumic currents makes it virtually impossible to reach the leylines running along the ocean floor with rune magic. This in turn prevented the Magelords and the Protectorate from conquering the Blue Flame Islands. And so Bilgewater became something of a safe haven for gods and spirits, many of whom had been expelled, warped, or destroyed by the thaumatoxic fallout of the Rune Wars.
When the Guardian’s Sea nexus was formed, Diana had a vision of a lunar shrine on Bilgewater’s Grey Harbor. The vision took place during the Harrowing, when the Black Mist rolled over Bilgewater and Hecarim led a baleful army of spectres and revenants to seize the Grey Harbor and destroy its shrine. Diana saw an old priestess battling Hecarim before the altar, driving him and his skeletal knights back again and again with flashes of silver moonlight, until at last he struck her down and slew her.
Gathering her followers from Nyroth, and arming herself with ancient Lunari spells gathered by her Summoner allies, Diana petitioned the League to remove the seal it had placed on the Grey Harbor after the Harrowing of 11 CLE, when the priestess had been slain and the shrine defiled. The Council protested that it was too dangerous to release the malevolent spirits within the seal. They had tapped into the spark of divine magic still within that shrine, and could work untold evil if let loose. Nunu of the Freljord intervened on behalf of his homeland, speaking of the Ghoul of the new moon, and warning that Diana’s brazen act could have repercussions across Valoran. But Diana declared that she had the power to retake the Grey Harbor, and with Leona and Nami backing her, the Council agreed to put it before the League.
Match Outcome—The Grey Harbor
Bilgewater went 3–0 in its Featured Matches, securing a highly favorable outcome for Diana and a very “bright” lore event.
After Bilgewater’s victory on the Fields of Justice, the Council agreed to release the seal on the Grey Harbor and assist Diana in reclaiming it from the spirits within.
Bilgewater’s first tarot draw was The Fool:
I took this to represent the Rogue, or the Gambler, a deity associated in Bilgewater with the crescent moon.
To some, the idea of a “new temple” is inherently strange. Temples are supposed to be old. If you can manage it, you really want to say your prayers at a temple so old that nobody even remembers when it was built. Any god who would inhabit a brand new temple of fresh-cut stone must be, such people would say, the celestial equivalent of the nouveax riches. Diana was not one of these people.
Moonlight illuminated the steps of the Grand Temple of Bilgewater, which locals had come to calling All Gods’, as Diana ascended them. The sanctuary was an impressive sight, with a strange techmaturgical device hovering above the circle cut out of the floor. She stood, silent, and listened to the sloshing of the waves echoing up from below.
She looked over the holy symbols carved into the walls and ceiling. She had only begun when she heard a voice.
“You should have your Summoner pick up Mejai’s more often. Live a little.”
The voice didn’t come from behind her. It was from in front of her, just off to her left a bit. There was a woman sitting there. She could have been anyone who’d walked past Diana in the marketplace, though her disarming smile made Diana think she’d be less likely to be buying produce and more likely to be sitting behind a cheap folding table saying “three bowls, one coin, try your luck…”
Diana ignored her. She had not come here to sign autographs. She held out her arms, lifted her head, and saw the stars shining down through the stone. If there was any power here, she would wait for it to speak to her.
“I really wonder how much human is left in you Aspects sometimes.” The woman was standing just a few feet in front of Diana. “Fine. I can do it the old-fashioned way.”
Before Diana could answer, the woman changed. The shadow and light playing across her face and clothing shifted, amplifying the outlines so that she became less human and more real. Whispered prayers traced an aura around her. The temple dropped away, opening up the full vista of the night sky, and in it hung an enormous crescent moon.
“You’ve always been my girl, Diana. How often do you think an infant in a cave lying in her dead dad’s arms makes it out of the cave alive? It’s not that you didn’t have a prayer. You had exactly a prayer. And that’s my cue. So I pushed my way in, and I told Lady Luck, who was one step from snuffing you out right there, to make it best-two-out-of-three. And who you became made it all worth it. You’ve never been afraid to roll the dice. Reading that manuscript in the library could have gotten you executed. Pushing an old lady up Mount Targon was just asking for a stupid, stupid death. When they put you on trial you fought back, you killed those old bastards, and you knocked Miss Sunshine on her armor-plated butt with power you didn’t really know you had until you bet your life on having it. And then you threw in with Nami. You don’t know how much that pleased me. Two of my favorites, working together, and then Bilgewater of all places made even Demacia and Noxus take it seriously. And now you’re about to go to the Grey Harbor, and break open a seal to unleash something that all the League’s mightiest have been too scared to peek at for a decade, and scrap with whatever comes screaming out at you.”
Diana fell to her knees. Her vision rippled with tears.
The goddess crouched down in front of her. “I could never tell you it’s going to work. That’s not my department. I don’t know if the Power of the Moon will Banish the Great Darkness. I do think that my girl Diana can give the dice a good toss.”
Diana choked, too many questions all scrabbling to make it out at once.
“Okay, okay, calm down. Last thing I want is for you to turn into a puddle of feelings on me. If you were Nami about to give some tearjerker speech to the League, that’d be one thing. But you’re about to go brawl with some Shadow Isles spooks. So pull it together, alright? And put those things
She reached out and took Diana’s hand in hers, hooking their thumbs together and clasping their palms tight. “Make me proud, Diana.”
The Rogue winked a showman’s wink, and could not entirely resist a flicker of a grin. Her voice dropped to a conspiratorial murmur. “I love this part,” she confided.
And then everything was moonlight and shadow, flooding Diana’s senses, until it flowed together into the shape of the moon above and she was back in the temple, looking up at the moon, alone.
Their next draw was the Seven of Swords, indicating a Might challenge:
Bilgewater rolled a 6 and a 2, adding their Might stat (6), and their FM wins (3). That’s a total of 17, a success with a single extra success level.
Diana had spent years seeking out the rare few who could become the first followers of the new Lunari order. Some came from Valoran, some from Nyroth. Each was dear to her, and yet she brought them all to fight by her side for the Grey Harbor.
The seal, forged in the aftermath of the Harrowing, could only be released under a new moon, a grim herald of undeath. When the Summoners broke the seal, Diana and her allies faced a gruesome avatar of what ancient inhabitants of the Blue Flame Islands had called the Wraith, before subsequent generations had anxiously re-named him “the Beggar”. He had corrupted the shrine, and it had become his conduit to the power of the Guardian’s Sea nexus. Dark mana dripped from the docks into the waters below, and hungry beasts of the abyssal depths converged on the harbor like sharks drawn to chum. The Marai met them there beneath the waves.
When the battle was done, the Beggar was vanquished, and the altar blessed once again with the moon’s protection. Diana asked the Moon’s blessing for those of her followers who had been slain in the fight to retake this holy place. As their bodies were laid before the ancient shrine, beams of starlight enveloped them, leaving nothing behind but the story of their sacrifice.
The Lunari have reclaimed the Grey Harbor, and resanctified its ancient shrine. The next time Bilgewater rolls a 1 on a Vision check, it will be granted a reroll, continuing the story of this victory.
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