Previous Update: Voices Wake Us and We Drown
Driving Back the Shadows
Video [2:59:40 onward]
“Summoner Soda Bat is looking for numerous kills—”
“ … yes!”
The announcers fastidiously avoided eye contact with one another as they continued their rapid-fire narration.
Summoner Soda God held high the wicked mask called Liandry’s Torment and incanted a savage curse. It imbued Elise’s fangs with deadly power as she struck at the badly wounded Ezreal. Her bite clipped his arm as he twisted away. Venom and dark magic poisoned his blood. With each sickened heartbeat, the world shuddered and heaved before his eyes.
Ezreal blinked blindly away. He staggered, turned to fire back with a bolt of magical energy, and miraculously hit his mark. But Elise merely faltered a moment before she reared back to lunge and take him. His eyes went wide. Respawning doesn’t cover the therapy you need after being eaten alive by a giant spider.
Elise lunged. Her horribly long legs swung in to seize up the boy adventurer and feed him into her hungry maw. At the last instant, a stormcloud gray magical barrier materialized around him and the spider’s claws skittered off its surface.
Janna, eyes flashing lightning white, swept her arms wide and drove a mighty gust into the murderous creature. A cerulean wave of mystic energy from Ezreal’s arcane bow cut through her and put her down in a heap mere feet from the Nexus.
Piltover’s three remaining Champions struggled forward, hobbled by their wounds and stung by waves of caster minions. Columns of light shone down on the fountain platform, where within seconds the dark Champions of the Isles would appear to obliterate them.
Vi staggered up and slugged the tower. Dust plumed and she coughed. The color was quickly draining from her face.
Janna swung her wand in a spiral and pointed it up to the skies.
The shrieking winds drove their talons into the cracks and fractures of the tower and tore it up from its earthy foundations. It burst into splinters of stone and crashed to the ground as rubble. Janna’s many fans stamped and cheered from the stands.
Ezreal stared blearily past the Nexus as the winds beat against the arcane energy field protecting it. He thought he saw something … a ghastly thin figure with a ripped-face grin … legs like sticks … surrounded by …
He fired in desperation. His energy blast vanished into the gathering storm without effect. He fired again. And again. The crows kept swarming. The cacophony swelled and the nightmarish scene began to phase, to shift through space; he felt a terrible dark magic clawing its way into the air around him, in a moment he knew the crowstorm would manifest and —
Vi blew past Ezreal. Her punch piffed against rotten sackcloth and knocked Fiddlesticks back just before he could complete his channeling. As he reeled, stick legs slipping and clattering over the smooth stone, she swung her weight back onto her hips and wound up for a vault-breaking blow—
—when Ezreal’s mystic shot lanced over her shoulder and blew Fiddlesticks into a cloud of sticks, dust, and crow feathers.
Vi turned with gritted teeth. “Thanks a lot, Princess. Really saved my a—”
Every decibel of sound imploded into the Nexus as it pulsed and then shattered.
The spectators leapt to their feet across the stadium.
“EZ-RE-AL! EZ-RE-AL! EZ-RE-AL!”
“TRIPLE KILL!” crowed a particularly enthusiastic and prolific announcer, her eyes maniacally widened.
“EZ-RE-AL! EZ-RE-AL! EZ-RE-AL!”
Vi turned slowly, wearily to face the audience, raised her heavy power-fists, and made a gesture which later necessitated days of apologetic press conferences from Piltovian Diplomatic Bureau officials.
The herald of the Council drew back her hood, and the hall fell silent.
“Noxus and the Shadow Isles have withdrawn from the Ceruleana dispute. Four petitioners remain.”
Murmurs spread through the room. Summoners had begun to suspect that, with control of Ceruleana, the Shadow Isles could have opened a gateway from the Isles to the Freljord and launched a massive invasion.
With the Shadow Isles withdrawn from the dispute and relinquishing its claim to Ceruleana, the Freljord no longer had to fear the grim prospect of invasion.
Or, as others more cynically and pessimistically put it, the Freljord no longer had to prepare for such a prospect. Demacia had already begun amplifying its northern border defenses should its fragmented and unpredictable ally-for-now turn against it. The Avarosan seemed sincere enough, but despite her occasional claims Ashe did not in truth control the entire Freljord. To most southerners, Sejuani was a bully heading up an army of restless warriors eager for rich spoils.
And should war break out with the Freljord, it will matter greatly who stands across from its shore as master of Ceruleana.
The Shadow Isles and Noxus have withdrawn from Ceruleana.
They were the lowest-scoring factions at the end of the June 17–23 tournament, and so have been removed.
Faction removal is not intended to be a recurring phenomenon. Rather, it had become clear that 6 factions at once was just too difficult; with Summoners so spread out, it was hard to find matches. Therefore, I decided to reduce the number to 4, and to make that the maximum going forward.
Next Update: Allies