Vol. V, Iss. 4 (30 January, 27 CLE)
This issue of the Herald concludes the Black Winter dispute of 26–27 CLE.
Summary of Notable Events
- 31 December: At Queen Ashe’s request, Demacian forces returned to the Freljord. The destruction of necromantic cults and the cleansing of Zaunite NekroTek factory-sites dramatically reduced the magnitude of the Black Winter in this region.
- 1 January, 27 CLE: Mounting losses forced Ionia to concentrate its troops in Nyroth to a central defensive perimeter around the capital, abandoning outer provinces to the Black Winter.
- 11 January: The Black Winter dispute ended, and Demacia was declared the victor. By order of the League, Demacia was empowered to lead the unified Valoranian effort to end the Black Winter.
- 13 January: Demacia appointed Sir Honnan Laurent as Special Emissary to the League, with authority to lead the united Valoranian effort against the Black Winter.
- 14 January: Demacia purges its pyrikhos fields at Azir’s request.
- 15 January: Valoranian reinforcements destroy undead army laying seige to Nyrothian capital of Yoroth.
- 17 January: Peace restored to Shon-Xan.
- 30 January: Sir Honnan Laurent formally reports to the League that the Black Winter has ended, and relinquishes his role as Special Emissary.
Demacian Inquisition Purges Black Winter From Freljord
The priest whose prayers had shielded the people of Kambr-town from besieging phantoms fell into catatonic madness a week ago, leaving the southern Freljordian town defenseless against the dark spirits. Today, Lector Livien Crownguard of the Demacian Inquisition entered the city with her clerics, who revived the stricken priest and the many afflicted townsfolk. Lector Crownguard traced the curse to a coven of necromancers who had constructed a shrine in the ruins of a Zaunite NekroTek facility. Lucian and his Purifier apprehended the members of the coven, and Lector Crownguard exorcised the cursed site.
The salvation of Kambr marked the completion of Demacia’s quest to purify the Freljord of necromancy, answering Queen Ashe’s call for aid amidst a resurgence of the Black Winter’s horrors in her realm. Champions and Summoners from Demacia joined the Inquisition in scouring away the last remnants of these necromantic cults and rescuing many settlements, like Kambr, from the undead contagion.
Demacia’s earlier intervention into the Freljord had failed. Lector Crownguard’s initial investigations came to an abrupt halt when she accused the Frostguard of complicity with necromancers, and was jailed by Queen Ashe. Though diplomats from the two nations quickly resolved the clash and arranged for the Lector’s release, it was not until recently that the leaders of the Freljord agreed to allow the Inquisition’s return. However, it was made clear that the Inquisition would cooperate with the Frostguard, and leave the Frostguard’s internal affairs to Lissandra and her assistants.
When asked if she disagreed with King Jarvan III’s decision not to authorize her to investigate the Frostguard as part of this operation, Lector Crownguard would only say, “I serve at the King’s command.” The Herald inquired what she thought of Queen Ashe’s decision to use the Frostguard to secure the cleansed sites and take custody of prisoners after the Inquisition’s departure. She answered, “She will come to realize that this was a mistake. I pray it will not be too late. But that is her affair. Now I must attend to my own.”
(3 January, 27 CLE)
Demacia, Victorious On Fields, Will Lead Crusade Against Black Winter
The final matches having been fought and recorded on 9 January, 27 CLE, the Council of the League of Legends today declared Demacia the victor. By order of the Council, the Herald hereby publishes its decree:
Hear ye and be warned!
The Council of the League of Legends hereby proclaims that, contests of arms having been duly conducted upon the Fields of Justice, and Demacia having been victorious therein, it is to Demacia that the authority and responsibility for ridding Runeterra of the Black Winter shall be given.
Be it therefore resolved that Demacia shall appoint a Special Emissary to the League to oversee its efforts and coordinate the might of the nations of the League toward this crucial common purpose: to banish this darkness from our lands and secure our people against calamity.
Be it known that the authority of this Special Emissary shall not extend to Demacia, nor to Ionia, nor to Noxus, or any of the territories of the aforementioned powers, which have already overcome the Black Winter.
Let the word of the League be as law, lest all the powers of Runeterra array themselves against ye. There may be no appeal.
It is expected that King Jarvan III will soon appoint a Special Emissary to conduct the united Valoranian effort to end the Black Winter. The aggressive Demacian approach, focused on eradicating necromantic cults and destroying undead, has proven successful in the Freljord and in Piltover, as well as in Demacia itself. Ionia’s efforts to mediate with the undead have had more mixed results: despite Ionia’s entreaties, an undead army commanded by the liches of Daeyux and Neritium has swept up from the south to besiege the Nyrothian capital at Yoroth, and the spirits of those slain in the war for Shon-Xan continue to haunt that Ionian isle.
(11 January, 27 CLE)
Sir Honnan Laurent To Lead Crusade Against Black Winter
After consultation with his Champions, Summoners, and other advisors, King Jarvan III has selected Sir Honnan Laurent as his Special Emissary to the League, with authority to lead the unified Valoranian effort to end the Black Winter. It is believed that the other candidate was Livien Crownguard, a Lector of the Demacian Inquisition and League-trained former Summoner. If so, then the selection of Sir Honnan, an experienced diplomat and one of the architects of the League’s charter, likely signals a more moderate approach to resolving the crisis, stressing efficient cooperation over allocation of blame. Lector Crownguard has accused Noxus of complicity in the Black Winter, and it seems Demacia has chosen not to pursue this avenue of inquiry at this time.
(13 January, 27 CLE)
Demacia Exorcises Its Pyrikhos Fields
Demacia’s pyrikhos fields have lain largely dormant since they were awarded to Demacia at the end of the Hextech Revolution dispute. However, this “dark sand”, charged with a strange combination of residual Shuriman enchantments and Void energy, continued to disturb Shuriman spellcraft with its presence. Emperor Azir requested that Demacia purge its pyrikhos fields, which border arcanically significant Shuriman sites such as the River Palace.
King Jarvan III agreed to this request, and today Demacian clerics ritually purified these pyrikhos fields, cleansing the sand of enchantment. The Champion Galio, being an arcane construct with remarkable anti-magic abilities, valiantly served as a focal point for the exorcism. Assisted by his chosen Summoners, he annihilated the excess Shuriman magic coming off the burning fields of pyrikhos, while Kassadin directed the unleashed Void energy out through a dimensional gateway.
The majority of pyrikhos is still held by Zaun, but this exorcism seems to have reduced “interference” in Shuriman spellcraft. It may signal closer ties between Demacia and Shurima.
(14 January, 27 CLE)
Jarvan IV Destroys Undead Army Marching On Nyrothian Capital
Crown Prince leads Demacia into battle, frees capital city of Yoroth from siege
The undead army besieging the ancient Nyrothian capital of Yoroth has been utterly destroyed by a Demacian counteroffensive. While the evil effects of the Black Mist linger, this legion of the dead has been reduced to dust, and Nyroth is once again at peace.
The liches of Daeyux, a Nyrothian island attuned with necromantic energy, used the Black Winter to call forth an undead army. This army swept north through the Nyrothian mainland, routing the scattered defensive positions hastily established by local provinces. The undead soon reached the capital of Yoroth, built around the central nexus that regulates the flow of magical energy through Nyroth’s twelve islands and their twelve nexuses. More than the capital was at stake: if the liches had taken control of this critical arcane juncture, they could have warped Nyroth beyond recognition.
Ionia had been attempting to mediate with Nyrothian spirits and thereby deprive the liches of the tormented souls that made up their undead soldiers, but had only somewhat slowed their progress to the capital city’s walls. Ionian efforts to organize a unified Nyrothian defense of the capital failed, with most regions primarily focused on preparing their own territories. The increasing arcane distortion caused by the Black Winter blocked teleportation between Nyroth and Valoran outside of unpredictable windows.
A Demacian regiment commanded by Dame Therese Buvelle arrived to reinforce Yoroth’s failing defenses. Their mission was to hold the undead at bay while additional reinforcements from Demacia and other Valoranian nations sailed across the Conqueror’s Sea to Nyroth. After these reinforcements had landed on Nyroth’s eastern shore, but before they could reach Yoroth, the slow-falling snow accelerated into a blizzard that blocked out the sun, so that even Demacian steel shone but faintly, and even Demacian valor began to falter. The liches launched a new assault that breached the capital’s southern gates. Some Yorothian citizens panicked, and began tearing at the barricaded northern gate in a desperate attempt to escape, though only the Mist awaited them beyond the walls. Those who would judge these men and women as cowards ought to reflect upon the days of sleepless torment they had already withstood with uncommon dignity.
As Yoroth’s defenders fell back into the courtyard, Summoners inside Yoroth seized a narrow teleportation conduit through the storm of necromantic energy that enveloped the city. One Champion braved the dangerously unstable conduit between continents: Crown Prince Jarvan IV descended in a beam of light and drove the royal battle standard into Nyrothian soil. The pallor that had fallen over the city during the blizzard could not dim the flag, which shone so bright as to turn the sky blue once more. Demacian steel flashed in heavenly light. Armor gleaming, his gauntlet pressing the flag down into the earth, Jarvan IV shouted his resolve:
“This ground, Demacia shall not yield! Knights of Demacia, fulfill your oath!”
Dame Therese raised her blade and answered the call. “Dead, but not defeated!”
As their knightly captains chorused this ancient battlecry, Yoroth’s battered defenders rallied as one, smashing and slashing their way through the undead with mace and sword, using their shields to drive them back to the gates. Yet even as they gained ground, the walls themselves began to crumble under the unrelenting press of the skeletal horde that enveloped the city.
The flag flying behind him, Prince Jarvan tore his way to the fore, and threw himself against the inside wall. “My friends!” he called. “Send it down upon them!”
Together, they shoved the falling stone forward. The full weight of the wall crashed down on the vanguard of the undead army, smashing the skeletal warriors to dust. The defenders formed up along the jagged rubble, taking advantage of the mindless monsters’ clumsiness on this uneven ground to hold them back.
While the main relief force was still making its way through the blizzard, Summoner Random Nom brought aid: a hundred Nyrothian automata, their weapons ingeniously modified by the Summoner to project purifying anti-necromantic energy. The automata, being animated by techmaturgic rather than vital energy, proceeded entirely without harm through the necromantic curses invoked by the Daeyuxian liches, and gave the living (and battle-weary) defenders of the city some respite from the onslaught. The automata took up a position of enfilade on the undead flank, and fired through the advancing lines from the side, weakening them enough to allow the city’s defenders to maintain their own line where the southern wall had been.
Thus, Yoroth held until reinforcements arrived in the early morning hours. Demacian soldiers had led the others through the blizzard, inspired by a miraculous vision of the royal standard that shone through the smothering snow. They now followed that standard into battle, and the undead army that had nearly razed the Nyrothian capital was destroyed.
(15 January, 27 CLE)
Ionia Brings Peace To Shon-Xan’s War Dead
Since Zaunite war-zeppelins blanketed Shon-Xan in hextech biochemical ordnance during the war of 24 CLE, spirits of the slain have been trapped in the poisoned earth. The Black Winter brought these tormented spirits forth to the realm of the living. Even after Ionian monks restored harmonious relations to the spirits that haunted the mainland, Shon-Xan remained in a state of supernatural war, phantasms haunting the living and in some cases physically manifesting to attack them.
Local leaders had turned to Syndra and her “Praise of the Forgotten Mighty Ancestors” (Ashitenai) movement. The movement directs ancestral worship toward figures from the bloodier chapters of Ionia’s history. To adherents, these figures represent ancient strength which Ionia must recall. But to mainstream Ionian authorities, who refer to the movement as “the Cult of the Dishonored Dead” (Washojun), calling on such dark spirits to drive out the Shon-Xan war dead seeks a cure worse than the disease. Still, with the mainland’s divided clans unwilling to assemble a joint relief force, and efforts to communicate with the hextech-tainted spirits seemingly futile, Syndra and her “Forgotten Mighty Ancestors” gained more and more ground from desperate local clan leaders.
Traditional Ionian rituals failed to reach the spirits brought by the Black Winter. The techmaturgic fragments embedded in the ghosts disrupted the delicate summoning magic used in the rituals, and even when the spirits could briefly be reached before the spells broke apart, they were lost too deeply in their madness to be communicated with. Separating the hextech remnants from the spirits required understanding the dangerous (and confidential) formulas behind the biochemical weapons unleashed upon Shon-Xan during the war. Using samples produced by a source that they would not disclose, Ionian Summoners joined by Piltovian hextech experts reverse-engineered the weaponry and devised a remedy. The crucial breakthrough came from Summoner Spirit of Pride, an Ionian who studied advanced hextech theory in Piltover and subsequently conducted extensive research into the Shadow Isles. This enterprising Summoner examined textual accounts of necromantic phenomena from the time of the first Rune Wars, and devised an analytic theory of how disruptive “artificial” magic interacts with the “natural” magical forces of life and death. With time running out for Shon-Xan, he accelerated his research by exposing himself to the Black Winter and personally administering the “treatment” to the phantoms that attacked him. The spell he cast through a modified vivatronic amplifier freed the spirits from the remnants of the Zaunite hextech contamination, allowing Ionian monks to communicate with them and guide them back into balance with the worlds of the living and the dead. This daring feat provided researchers with the last piece of the puzzle, enabling mass replication of the vivatronic remedy. The development of this means of communicating with the spirits and restoring them to sanity may well have contributed to efforts to organize a unified Ionian relief force, finally accomplished after many setbacks.
The vanguard of General Hakoto Yuyogi’s united Ionian relief force made its landing in Shon-Xan on board The Last Joke, an airship piloted by Summoner XalkXolc. The Summoner’s honed piloting skills and Institute training in magic enabled him to navigate through the blizzard’s arcane and mundane currents. General Yuyogi and his soldiers smashed the altar of the shrine at the center of the vortex, banishing the dark spirit within and allowing the rest of his force to make landfall.
With the mainland’s reinforcements deployed, Shon-Xan was rescued from catastrophe, and the Black Winter dispelled. Syndra’s bid to become ruler of Shon-Xan has failed, though she has certainly proven herself a capable leader under times of extraordinary difficulty, and her “Praise of the Forgotten Mighty Ancestors” movement still endures.
(17 January, 27 CLE)
Nyrothian Civil War Ends, For Now
The northern and southern regions of Nyroth have reached an agreement, brokered by Ionian and Demacian diplomats, to end hostilities between them and cooperate to rebuild. It is hoped that this truce will lead to a lasting peace, but some fear it will endure only so long as both sides are busy recovering from the Black Winter.
The situation in Nyroth is complex. It may be said, in summary, that the northern islands and mainland regions have more coherent governments, and have recovered from the cataclysm to a greater extent. The southern regions are considerably more chaotic. Both sides fear that the other side will attempt to conquer them and create a unified Nyroth under their authority.
(26 January, 27 CLE)
Demacia Drives Black Winter From Runeterra
A combined Valoranian force under the command of Sir Honnan Laurent, Special Emissary for Demacia, has brought an end to the Black Winter at last. After rescuing Nyroth’s capital from the brink of annihilation, Sir Honnan turned his focus to Zaun. Demacian soldiers and agents of the Inquistion swiftly purged the sprawling undercity of undead monsters, and those mortals whose use of necromantic techmaturgy spawned them.
The Demacian crusade went as far south as Shurima, where Noxian soldiers fought Queen Nefara’s undead warriors. The final battle took place outside the Noxian city of Qa’hhar, where the Eighth Legion was nearly wiped out before Piltovian airships blasted the undead with ultravelocity cannons and Demacian knights charged into the fray.
Today, Sir Honnan Laurent came before the League to formally announce the end of the Black Winter, and the completion of his assigned role as Special Emissary.
Though all rejoice at the Black Winter’s end, it remains unclear just what brought this vile darkness to Valoran, or how a recurrence may be prevented. Professors from Piltover and Bandle City have registered official protests with Sir Honnan Laurent and the Demacian court, calling upon them to make findings as to what caused the Black Winter. Sir Honnan politely but firmly declined this request. Scholars and mages from several nations have pledged to investigate the matter on their own, but without the backing of the League, it seems such efforts are unlikely to do more than raise further questions.
(30 January, 27 CLE)