On 30 October, 26 CLE, the Council proclaimed Bandle City the victor in the Divinity dispute.
Bilgewater took second place, while Icathia edged out the Freljord by less than a single point to take third place.
Bandle City was proclaimed victor of the Guardian’s Sea nexus dispute on 30 October, 26 CLE. The dispute had been extended several times, and many observers had expected further delays from Bilgewater after Bandle City’s unexpected surge in the standings. A compromise was nonetheless organized through the efforts of Archsummoner Talik Lathner, appointed by the Council to oversee League preparations for the defense of Bilgewater against the Black Mist. A dour pessimist by nature, he convinced others to join in his concerns when he brought forward evidence and theoretical work that suggested this coming Harrowing could lead to more widespread and dangerous necromantic activity than any in recent memory. The dispute had to end at once, Lathner argued, lest Runeterra be unprepared when the Mist rolled in.
There was a long pause as the Summoners looked down at Archsummoner Lathner’s papers. His crimped handwriting and scrawled diagrams ran along sheets of crumpled parchment.
High Councilor Kolminye spoke. “The last surge in Harrowing activity came after a Void incursion. Divine magic is antithetical to Void energy, isn’t it?”
Lathner unscrewed the cap on his battered metal flask, which he’d carried since his days in the Piltovian army before the founding of the League. “Divine magic is faith,” he muttered. “It’s about what people believe.”
He took a pull from the flask.
“People believe in a whole lotta scary things.”
After the dispute was formally ended, Bandle City sent teams of Summoners and technicians to the ocean floor with pressure-suits and minisubs. The Bilgewater observers who accompanied them marveled at the fervor with which the yordles were seized as “the plan” came together. They worked at a frenzied pace to reconstruct the mythical Launch Pad, with much excited chatter about how they could “see it” already.
The First Rune War ended with the invocation of the Rune of Purity, which banished the demonic remnants of the old gods to the sea, and impressed the last traces of divine energy upon mortals. During this time, records suggest that the yordles of Bandle City built a great Launch Pad in the Guardian’s Sea, which was soon obliterated by the “second launch”.
Later, at the start of the Second Rune War, a titanic sea serpent, the last great avatar of Nagkabouros, made her nest in caves beneath the ruined (and dimensionally shifted) remnants of the Launch Pad, soaking in one of the last patches of divine energy left in Runeterra. There, she and her eggs were insulated from the ravages of the Rune Wars—and, indeed, from the abrasive currents of time itself.
Mere hours into the work, observers reported a strange field had surrounded the underwater worksite. They could see only distorted flashes of movement from within. League Summoners concluded that the divine energy of the nexus was warping time, and indeed all of reality, around this point.
When the sun set, the distortion sphere collapsed. The yordles had rebuilt the Launch Pad, or most of it. The mighty structure, ancient yet unquestionably technological, seemed to finish its own construction itself. As its pylons extended and the platform broke the waves, four great serpents swam out from its foundations, swirling around the support pylons and then swimming off, each going down one of the four intersecting leylines. All around Bilgewater, temples to Nagakabouros “came alive”, stone statues moving before worshippers’ eyes and speaking to the faithful of eternal change and the testing of mortal will.
That night, the Mothership landed atop the Launch Pad, and throngs of yordles broke into a wild festival, revelry intermixed with strangely coordinated efforts to check the Mothership over and “get ready”.
There was a brief panic when a Mothership Elder attempted to load the Holy Launch Sequence and was struck by dreadful words: the litany known as Aboar Tree-Tie Feyl. The Mothership could not find its way.
An Icathian Summoner provided the solution. Though the door was closing on that branch of reality, the arcane image of Uun’Zek’Nare was still faintly perceptible. She used the Mothership’s scanners to access to the faint thaumic outlines of the Great Library of Uun’Zek’Nare. Though the halls, the shelves, the books were long gone, the impressions of so many spells and prophecies could still be perceived, as a pencil rubbing could restore the relief of handwriting. She downloaded its starcharts into the Mothership’s memory, and the Tree-Tie was resolved. (She was seen to use the Mothership to inscribe something into the geomantic lattice of an Icathian amethyst, which she slipped into her robe and brought back to Icathia. Muwahaha. Muahahaha. Muaahahahahhahahaha oh just some texts of historical and cultural significance.)
The Mothership departed with a brave crew of yordles on a deep-space mission, pledging to make radio contact as frequently as possible, and to return when their sacred mission was done.
In the small hours of the night, as the wise and powerful of Valoran stood on the Launch Pad amid the waves, Lissandra spoke words of benediction to Ashe and Sejuani, then departed with her Frostguard attendants. Silent tension settled in between the war-leader of the Winter’s Claw and the crowned Queen of the Freljord. Each thought to leave without another word, but together they sensed that something had to be said. Once again, the League had brought the tribes closer together, and with this dispute, the Freljord had taken another step toward recognition as a great power, not merely a colonial prize to be divided up but an active force for change in Valoran and Nyroth.
Ashe raised her glass. “To Ylsa’s memory.”
Together, they drank to that.
Back in Bandle City, Summoner Abiwon Kenabi sat with a group of yordle children as they watched the Mothership soar through the sky, bearing its heroic crew on their remarkable journey. As she followed the Mothership’s path, entranced by what her Summoner-trained eyes saw in its thaumic wake, she fell into silent contemplation—broken when a yordle boy started to sing an old yordle melody, with changed words:
Mothership, Mothership, don’t be sad
At last you’ve found your Launch Pad
She looked down at him, and the tiny yordle abruptly stopped. He laughed, but it was forced.
She drew him into a hug. “It’ll be back. It just misses the stars.”
He sniffled into her shimmering purple robes, and she squeezed him tighter.
“But it misses you, too.”
Bandle City voted in Ionia for the upcoming arc, which will center on the Harrowing. The community chose Demacia versus Ionia, an ideological clash that rather pleases me.