Previous Update: Trouble, Right Here In Bandle City!
This update covers some of the consequences of the interactive lore event.
It’s a long way down, from a princess to a corpse. From the kind of princess I was, the powerful and happy kind, to the kind of corpse I am now, the kind that’s sealed up in a tomb Archmage Akhtal made for me, a pyramid palace where I was supposed to dream forever. An afterlife of wondrous dreams, of eternal youth, bliss, health, joy. Doesn’t sound that bad, does it? But the dreams faded, with time, until all I could feel was decay. I wished so hard for more dreams. Even when they had started to wear thin. I would cling so hard now to the tiniest scrap of dream. I’d stretch it out forever.
I think I’m insane now. I think I went insane a long time ago. That’s why I’m talking to you. When you don’t exist. They told me this would be just like going to sleep. It’s nothing like going to sleep. It’s like waking up from a good dream, which might be what going insane is all about, and at the same time what dying is all about. My life was such a nice dream. Now my mind is all in knots, from thinking the same thoughts over and over again, trying everything to bring back the dream, or make a new dream — to escape anywhere from this place where I’m a rotting corpse in a sealed tomb. I’ve run out of thoughts. I try to forget, but I know that every word I’m thinking now I’ve thought before. I’ve made you up before, too. Hello again.
But the purple demons that came and offered me an escape, that was different. Maybe I imagined the purple demons, just like I’m imagining you. (Again.) But they felt real. They were purple, and I’d forgotten purple. But I remember magic. I couldn’t use it anymore, after I died. I tried. I ran through every single spell. They said I was one of the cleverest mages in the known world: sure, some of that was flattery, because people used to flatter me all the time, but the point is that I wasn’t just being stupid. I can’t stand stupid people. Couldn’t. Back when I knew people. But although I tried and tried, none of my magic would work. Maybe it was Akhtal’s enchantments getting in the way; maybe those dreams had sucked it all out of me. No, it was probably because I’m dead. I guess what they said about magic and vital energy was true after all. But ever since I made my deal with the purple demons, there’s something flowing through me now, like my life used to.
My magic is coming back. I’m going to be free. Maybe for real. Maybe I’m just imagining it really well. Why would I care either way? Don’t be stupid.
I’ve made a pact with demons, and don’t you tell me you wouldn’t do the same, if you existed, and you had to exist like this for so long. I’m going to be free. I’m going to be a princess again. No, better yet: I’m going to be a queen. I can feel their purple magic flooding through me. It’s strange. Sharp. Almost sweet. Oh, I’m so hungry. I dreamed of so many delicious foods. I used to eat! I used to really eat! No. No. Nefara. Stop it. No more pity. You’re going to be free, don’t you see? The demons will set you, will set me, will set me free.
I’ve made a pact with demons. Don’t you tell me you wouldn’t have done the same.
Don’t be stupid. I can’t stand stupid people.
Inside the Piltovian Science Academy’s grand conference room, Summoner Nhan unfurled the stolen blueprints. The assembled Champions and Summoners from Piltover and Bandle City looked on as scientific and civil leaders of the two city-states reviewed them.
Tristana’s eyes went wide at the sight of a massive hextech tank driven by pyrikhos turbine engines. “Whoaaaaa … ”
“Whew-ee! That armor’s two paws thick!” Corki exclaimed.
Jayce frowned and adjusted his dapper bowtie. “Looks like Zaun’s building an army after all. We’ll see how they stand up to an entire airship armada.” He pointed at the tank schematic. “Explosive pyrikhos rounds could split that armor right open.”
Caitlyn arched an eyebrow. “I think we’d be better off seeing to it that you and Viktor never get a chance to play at who’s got the biggest toys.” Her attention drifted over to Poppy.
Poppy met her gaze, then turned to the Mothership Elders who were seated beside the Mayor.
“Demacia must be informed.”
Caitlyn answered her instantly. “That could mean war.”
Poppy pointed at the tank blueprint. “No, that means war. Keeping your allies in the dark just means you lose the war.”
Murmurs spread through the room. Demacia had only just announced that it would be open to limited pyrikhos experimentation, a major shift in Demacian policy that had done much to smooth over its relations with Piltover.
Zilean stroked his beard. “Hard to say what Demacia would—”
He stopped mid-sentence. A pained grimace seized his face. The room went dead silent. “Oh, no. No, no … ” His head turned, as though not of his own volition, and he stared through the magnificent gilded window at the laboratories on the other side of the Academy’s botanical gardens. Frozen in time. Helpless to act, compelled to simply watch.
crackle crackle hissssssssssssssss
A deafening explosion shattered the window. Summoner Hawkeye, named to the Order of the Guardian for mastery of defensive magics, cast a protective barrier around the room just in time to repel a hailstorm of debris.
Thick purple and black smoke masked the laboratories, or whatever might be left of them after that explosion.
Vi leapt over the table and moved to the edge of the window frame. She glanced back. “Cover me, cupcake!” Caitlyn was already loading her rifle.
“HOOAH!” Vi lunged out into the open air. She fell four stories before her hextech-pistoned boots smashed into the paving stones.
Corki looked to the guards who had come rushing into the room. “Radio the Yipsnakes! We need some aerial recon A-S-A-P!”
Down on the street level, Vi had gotten a grip on a massive slab of masonry and was lifting it up to free a man in a labcoat trapped underneath. Above, Caitlyn’s sniper scope tracked through the midnight purple dust.
A radiant figure clad in white rose up through the clouds, her arms spread wide.
JANNA, MISTRESS OF THE ELEMENTS, CALLS FORTH THE CLEANSING NORTHERN WINDS!
She raised her scepter aloft.
SPIRITS OF THE SKY, COME TO PILTOVER’S AID!
Mighty gusts of wind swept over the rooftops, gathering the pyrikhos-stained smoke and lifting it away from the rubble. The wheezing victims of the explosion tasted sweet air once more.
One of the yordle Elders stared out at the devastation, now fully revealed. “Mothership preserve us all.”
Kennen knelt in a posture of meditation. “I sense the Void.” His ears pricked up as he felt the fabric of reality stretching and straining. He began to chant, reaching out to the cosmos to embrace and contain this surge of chaos before it burst through.
For just a moment, his mind drifted toward Shurima.
This catastrophe has sent Piltover back to square one in its pyrikhos research. Piltover lost its April Week IV research rolls as a result.
Janna, the Storm’s Fury, will fight for Piltover!
Piltover’s Summoners have called Janna forth to the Fields of Justice. A native of Zaun, Janna believes that Piltover has the power to bring needed change from outside, and the principled restraint necessary to properly guide the development of hextech.
Gameplay-wise, Janna is a key part of the traditional “Poketover” comp. Her disengage power is significant, allowing Piltover to better maintain distance between “all-in” enemy factions and its own more fragile lineup.
Kennen, the Heart of the Tempest, will fight for Bandle City!
Kennen has come from Ionia to aid Bandle City. Ionia’s magic is the most sophisticated and refined in Valoran, and Kennen believes that, by working together with Bandle City’s mages, it may be possible to harmonize the forces of Order and Chaos and restore balance.
In terms of gameplay, Kennen brings another source of AoE teamfight damage to Bandle City’s lineup.
A wave of alien energy runs through me, through this horrible tomb. For an instant the dreams return, like fanned embers. A servant’s face. The scent of dinner. The taste of honeyed wine. What it’s like to be thirsty and drinking. I try so hard to hold on. I swore I’d never let go again.
But it’s like trying to taste without swallowing. I swallow. I let go. And it’s all gone. I lash out in a rage. Stupid! So stupid!
It’s only now that I realize what has happened. I have just struck my arms against this slab of stone. And the stone broke. And I heard it. And I can see the inside of this tomb, lit by the little glowing glyphs on the walls. I hear my ancient bones creak and crunch as I step out from this sarcophagus. I feel something holding them all together. Something is bringing me back to life.
Life, or its functional equivalent. I don’t much care. You wouldn’t either. Don’t be stupid.
Now I just need to find my way out …
Vi slapped the folder down on the Mayor’s desk. “He couldn’t spill the names fast enough,” she remarked with a very angry sort of pride.
Caitlyn stiffly repressed a glare. “Goodness, Vi, this is the Mayor of Piltover you’re speaking to. Don’t go throwing things down on the desk.”
The Mayor opened the folder and looked through. “I’d heard it was believed to be Zaun after all. You’re saying that after the interrogation of that man you two found in Shurima, you have proof.”
Caitlyn nodded. “Signed confession. And it checks out. He’d have needed top-level Zaunite corporate and political clearance to get that double-hexed pyrikhos, and to get it into our supply lines. Jayce says he’ll have corroborating test results on the residue by tomorrow.”
The Mayor nodded. “We’re fortunate to have his expertise here.”
Vi scoffed. “Ha! Didn’t see him or his ‘expertise’ running around the desert—”
Caitlyn hissed through her teeth. “VI.”
Vi folded her arms and looked away. “Yeah, yeah, I know.”
Caitlyn took a breath. “And here are the revised casualty reports.” She handed the Mayor a second folder. “Three thousand, four hundred and eight. The laboratory heads tell me we’re also more or less back to square one. Only now with about a quarter of our pyrikhos research personnel dead or wounded.”
The Mayor closed the second folder. “Thank you. Piltover’s finest have served the city with distinction once more. As soon as I have Jayce’s test results, I’m leaving to bring this before the Council personally. I want both of you there.”
Vi glanced at Caitlyn.
The Mayor repeated. “Yes, both of you. And Vi, you won’t be the only one losing their temper.”
Piltover and Zaun will face off this Saturday, May 3.
Exposed by Piltover’s Finest, Zaun faces heavy sanctions from the Council for its murderous act of sabotage, in contravention of the decree issued at the start of this dispute, which held that no faction was to either expand its use of the pyrikhos nor seek to restrict its use by other factions.
For these Featured Matches, Piltover will receive one “real” ban against Zaun.
This act has also galvanized Piltover and Bandle City into re-affirming their long-standing alliance. Though they remain potentially opposed in this dispute, they have agreed to partially join forces.
Corki, the Daring Bombardier, has joined Piltover’s roster as a secondary Champion!
Corki will be available to Piltover whenever it is not fighting Bandle City.
Heimerdinger, the Revered Inventor, has joined Bandle City’s roster as a secondary Champion!
Heimerdinger will be available to Bandle City whenever it is not fighting Piltover.
Amumu pressed the hexbomb against the hidden doorway. He scampered to the end of the floating pyramid’s balcony, fastened a length of bandage to a guardian statue, and rappelled down to the sand below. He landed with a little piff.
The blast sent a vivid purple shockwave down the face of the pyramid. The assembled yordle scouts covered their heads. All except for Teemo, who simply stared up into the blast.
They ascended in the gyrocopter, and found a glowing outline that traced a doorway in the side of the pyramid. This was the great Pyramid of Akhtal, which until now had resisted all efforts at breach. The explosive pyrikhos charge had unlocked it at last.
The yordles looked around hesitantly. Nothing but barren sand as far as they could see. This was good: the Council would not be happy about this if it found out. But the Mothership Elders had determined, after consultation with the Champions and Summoners of Bandle City, that this mission was worth the risk. There had been reports of Demacian scouts in the area, but so far the coast seemed clear.
“T-told you it’d work,” Amumu mumbled. Nobody answered.
One yordle slowly pushed against the door. The stone scraped as it turned.
Even before they struck their torches, they could see glyphs glowing blue and green on the walls of the temple.
Amumu excitedly led them down a corridor. “I th-think the treasure’s this way. It says, uh, something about Princess …” he paused to sound out the syllables. “N-ef-ar-a. Nefara.”
The yordles grunted as they shoved the door open. It swung to a halt.
They had not expected to hear sounds of movement from within.
Yordles. Live yordles. Little bundles of blood, flesh, and fur. Little hearts beating, pushing hot blood through their veins.
I can hardly think straight. I can smell them. I snatch one up and feed its throat into my mouth. I hear my jaw snap and pop as I tear into the squirming morsel. Hot, gushing blood. Shrill little screams. Soft paws battering against me. Life. I had forgotten what life tasted like.
Teemo raised his blowpipe and shot a dart into the lich’s chest. The monster did not even seem to notice. Its clawlike hands pinned his comrade scout to the wall as it buried its teeth in his throat.
A tiny cleric by Teemo’s side raised her sacred medallion. “In the name of the Mothership, and the Main Computer, and the Celestial Autopilot!”
Silver light illuminated the stone corridor. The lich screeched and dropped the yordle, staggering back, its gaunt face twisted up as it howled.
Teemo grabbed the wounded scout and slung him over his shoulder. “Let’s move, Scouts!”
The sound of scraping stone cut short the yordles’ retreat. The walls opened, and mummified figures bearing ancient halberds staggered forth.
The cleric widened her eyes. “I sense the Void’s corruption!”
A shrill squawk came from the entrance. A moment later, a human voice.
“Get ‘em, Valor!”
Heavy crossbow bolts thunked into the mummies from behind. Valor swooped in and knocked them to the floor. The falcon’s talons dug in and ripped away wads of ancient bandages.
The yordles leapt over the downed mummies and hastened past Quinn to the entrance, where Leona stood guard, her armor blazing under the desert sun. Quinn stepped back out after them, firing bolt after bolt to cover their escape.
They slammed the pyramid’s door shut, and the yordle cleric hastily applied a sacred seal to bind it in place. “May the Mighty Airlocks of the Heavens hold against this blasphemy!”
The yordles all prayed that they would.
Bandle City decided to investigate the Pyramid of Akhtal, in contravention of the Council’s edict against opening any of Shurima’s Floating Pyramids.
They have awakened Princess Nefara, a Shuriman lich who has made an unholy pact with the Void.
Leona, the Radiant Dawn, will fight for Demacia!
Demacia’s Summoners have chosen Leona as their new Champion. She comes from Mount Targon in the name of the Solari to fight for justice and honor alongside the warriors of Demacia.
In gameplay terms, Leona is a great pick-up to amplify Demacia’s aggressive all-in teamfight strategy. She’s also a “meta” support who will likely give their lanephase a boost.
Zac stood outside the Mutant Academy, arms proudly crossed. He’d made it clear that he wouldn’t sign the declaration until Zaun had made good on its promise and built the Academy to his satisfaction. Well, now he was satisfied. The setting sun illuminated the gold lettering above the grand entrance as a crowd of ragtag mutant misfits made their way up the steps, between the pillars, and through the massive doors.
There was rioting all across the city. Once the news had hit that the Council of Zaun had vetoed the Mutant Registration Act, anti-mutant groups had massed in the streets. They’d torn down bio-engineering labs, set fire to government buildings, and brawled with police. Dozens of “mutants” — actual or suspected — had been set upon by mobs.
But none of the rioters dared set foot near the Academy. Not while Zac stood outside.
He heard footsteps coming up alongside him, and he glanced back over his shoulder. “Nice of you to come by.”
Twisted Fate tipped his hat. “Well, I’ll be. Looks like you got your Mutant Academy after all.”
Zac nodded. “Yeah.” He grinned. “I told ‘em I wanted something fancy.” His expression turned serious. “You should see the kitchen.”
Twisted Fate watched the Academy’s first students walk past. Most walked with their heads hung, eyes downcast but occasionally glancing to either side. The years of fear and trauma were painfully apparent. Every now and then, he’d glimpse someone walking with their head held high: maybe because they’d been lucky, maybe because they felt their luck had just improved.
Zac spoke again. “So. Whaddya say?”
Twisted Fate looked up at the towering figure beside him. “I think it’s well past time they got dealt a fair hand.”
Zac appeared briefly confused. He’d never really played cards. Something about thumbs.
Twisted Fate smirked. “I’m in.”
Zac, the Secret Weapon, will fight for Zaun!
In the recent interactive lore event, Zaunite Summoners selected Zac as their new Champion. His asking price: the construction of a Mutant Academy where Zaun’s mutants could develop their powers and learn to use them for good.
As a tanky Champion with a “mad science” backstory, Zac fits in well on Zaun’s roster. He also represents a more sympathetic, even heroic, aspect of Zaun.
Twisted Fate, the Card Master, will fight for Zaun!
Zaun won a new Champion in their recent Featured Matches. Zaun’s Summoners selected Twisted Fate. He grants +1 to the Mutant Academy project, and launches the Warpgate project.
Zaun’s been doing quite well with Viktor, but now it has a second midlaner as well.
Next Update: Chaos