This issue of the Herald is based on the Week 5 World Systems rolls and the Week 5 Featured Matches.
Vol. V, Iss. 3 (1 January, 27 CLE)
- Previous: Vol. V, Iss. 2
- Next: Vol. V, Iss. 4
Summary of Notable Events
- 12 December: Kayle entered the dispute, pledging for Demacia. The angelic figure descended from the sky into Piltover, and struck down a horde of chem-zombies with holy fire.
- 13 December: Jax entered the dispute, pledging for Ionia. He fought alongside Nyrothian militia as the undead advanced toward their capital.
- 14 December: The Institute came under attack once more, with ghouls marching on it from the north and the restless spirits of dead Champions and Summoners from ages past causing chaos within its very walls. Thankfully, the combined strength of Demacia and Ionia prevailed over the Black Winter.
- 17–18 December: The League announced that it would commit its own considerable arcane resources, as well as the Summoners corps itself, to the fight against the Black Winter. A tournament was held to determine under whose command these resources would be placed. A split outcome resulted in Demacia receiving authority over League assets in Piltover, while Ionia received reinforcements to stabilize the tumultuous situation in Shon-Xan.
- 21 December: Taric entered the dispute, pledging for Demacia.
- 21 December: Yasuo entered the dispute, pledging for Ionia.
- 28–30 December: A total solar eclipse cast Runeterra into three days of darkness, as Emperor Azir battled with the Void-wraith of an ancient Icathian king. Demacia and Ionia faced renewed threats to their homeland, and struggled to simultaneously maintain their global campaigns against the Black Winter.
- 31 December: Alistar entered the dispute, pledging for Demacia.
- 31 December: Zed entered the dispute, pledging for Ionia.
- 31 December: At Queen Ashe’s request, Demacian forces returned to the Freljord. The destruction of necromantic cults and the cleansing of Zaunite NecroTek 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.
Institute Attacked; Demacia and Ionia Join Forces in Valiant Rescue
Demacia and Ionia, though opposed in the Black Winter dispute, came together to rescue the Institute from crisis. Though their courageous efforts were succesful, troubling evidence of corruption within the League has emerged in the aftermath.
Ghosts of Dead Summoners, Champions Appear
The League issued its call for help when the spirits of dead Summoners and Champions returned to the halls of the Institute—and not for fond reminiscence of old times. Scholars fled from the Institute’s libraries, bearing frantic reports of ghostly Summoners pulling books from the shelves and setting ambient magical currents into motion with necromantic spellcraft. What Archsummoner Talik Lathner referred to as a “negative mana-vortex” engulfed the Institute of War, manifesting as a whirling snowstorm. The arcane catastrophe was soon followed by two assaults: a legion of ghouls from the frozen north, and the spontaneous animation of the League’s own minions. With nearly all the League’s Summoners released to their member-states to fight the Black Winter, and most Champions likewise absent, the Institute (usually packed with brave warriors and powerful mages) could mount no meaningful defense.
Demacian, Ionian Forces Bravely Battle Undead
Demacia and Ionia answered the Council’s desperate distress call with a joint effort. A small unit of Ionian soldiers under Irelia’s personal command slowed the advancing waves of possessed minions, while Demacian knights galloped north and annihilated the ghouls marching from the Freljord. Sources report that Irelia was herself standing in the doorway leading to the Council chambers, personally holding the line against the swarming minions, when Kayle led a squadron of pegasus-mounted Dawnbringer knights in a charge that cut through the minions’ flank and rescued the Institute from a terrible fate no less dreadful for its strange irony. Had Ionia’s brave soldiers held out a minute less, or had the knights of Demacia been ever so slightly slower to return, it seems the League’s own minions would have demolished its inner sanctum.
Summoners Seek Cause of Crisis
The destruction of these corporeal threats did not end the crisis. Demacian clerics and mages tried in vain to dispel the snowstorm that enveloped the Institute and disrupted mortal magic within. An Ionian effort to commune with the spirits of departed Summoners, in hopes of using them as intermediaries to calm the tormented phantoms of slain Champions, came to a tragic end, with several Summoners driven mad by the psychic contact.
Demacian Inquisition: Summoner’s “Treachery” Exposed
Demacian Inquisitors interrogated those few Summoners who had been present when the crisis began, suspecting this had been an “inside job”. Their suspicions proved correct when Frostguard-trained Summoner Gudrud Thurbjang confessed to having performed necromantic rituals in violation of League law within Institute grounds.
Herald staff personally overheard a heated exchange between Champions Lucian and Vayne, who had joined in the interrogation of Thurbjang, at this time. So far as could be discerned, Vayne vigorously disagreed with Lucian’s decision to make a deal with Thurbjang, saying, “You know he [Thurbjang] wasn’t working alone,” while Lucian accused Vayne of “chasing conspiracies across the Institute when the roof is about to come down on our heads.” It seemed as though they might come to blows, had Prince Jarvan not intervened. Rebuking the two Champions for their quarrel, he ordered them to hasten to the site where Thurbjang had performed his necromantic rituals and seal off the planar rift he had opened.
Ionia Persuades Karthus to Intervene
Though sealing the rift slowed the influx of necromantic energy, the situation continued to worsen. Demacian knights armed with two-handed warhammers, Garen at their fore, were moments away from beginning the demolition of the library where the phenomenon started when Ionia stabilized the situation with help from an unlikely ally. Ionian Summoners somehow persuaded Karthus, Champion of the Shadow Isles, to aid them in contacting the tormented spirits of Summoners and Champions that were causing this havoc. With his assistance, Ionians calmed the spirits for long enough to Demacia to prepare a less destructive response.
Demacia Banishes Spirits
Demacia used this brief reprieve to perform a banishing ritual that dispatched the harrowed souls back to the world of the dead. The storm dissipated, and the crisis at last ended.
Traitorous Summoner Expelled from League, Imprisoned
Gudrud Thurbjang has been expelled from the Summoner corps and imprisoned at the Institute. It appears that he made his confession in exchange for a promise to remain under League jurisdiction, rather than face Demacian justice at the hands of the Inquisition. As of press time, no other persons of interest have been named in this investigation.
(14 December, 26 CLE)
Three-Day Eclipse Worsens Attacks, Tests Demacia and Ionia
A three-day total solar eclipse brought renewed attacks on the homelands of parties-disputant Demacia and Ionia, testing their ability to maintain a global presence.
Emperor Azir Faces Icathian Wraith-King in Cosmic Battle
As undead soldiers carrying the banner of Nefara advanced through Noxian Shurima and toward the imperial city of Bel’Zhun, Emperor Azir ascended to the peak of Mount Targon to perform a solar invocation meant to purge the Black Winter from Shurima. At a crucial moment in the ritual, the void-wraith of an ancient king of Iktho (modern-day Icathia) attacked Azir, and as the two battled, an enclipse blocked out the sun.
Demacia Repels Ghost-Fleet, Brokers Truce in Freljord
Demacian devotees of the ocean spirit called Ceruleana rushed to the royal court with warnings of an imminent attack on Demacia’s own shores. With most of Demacia’s forces committed to Piltover and the Freljord, particularly with the outbreak of renewed warfare in the latter region between the Winter’s Claw and the Avarosan, it seemed Demacia might not be able to mount an adequate defense.
The premonitions proved tragically accurate. The sunken wrecks of the Noxian refugee fleet that Demacia had destroyed during the war for Shon-Xan surfaced off the Demacian coast, broken decks brimming with the vengeful spirits of the slain. Torn sails filled with spectral winds bore the ghost-fleet toward Demacian soil. With reinforcements still several days’ march away, it was imperative that the fleet be stopped at sea, lest the kingdom be overrun.
The Demacian navy deployed in an extended “v” shape, that the invading fleet might be flanked on either side. It was hoped that an initial double-broadside from both wings into the center of the formation would obliterate the ghost-fleet from a distance and dispel the magic tying it together. A Herald correspondent on board the flagship reported that the tremendous wave of smoke from the cannons combined with the eerie night mist, becoming so thick that the rest of the fleet became quite invisible. From the smoke came ghosts of Noxian soldiers and civilians killed in the battle, and a terrifying melee ensued. In the profound darkness, even Demacian steel seemed to lose its brightness, and not a star could be seen above.
In the final counting, almost a fifth of the Demacian fleet was destroyed, with many courageous soldiers pulled down into the depths. The aggressive defense that cost so many lives succeeded, however, in protecting the coast. The ghost-fleet broke through at only one point, and made landing at the coastal village of Iyrevale. Aid came on swift, stony wings, when Galio smote the undead Noxian captain upon the cobbles of the town square. Incredibly, not a single life was lost on Demacian soil that day.
In the aftermath of this dreadful attack, which might have been repelled without so great a cost had Demacia’s soldiers not been spread so thin, King Jarvan III announced that Demacian diplomats had successfully brokered a truce between the Avarosan and the Winter’s Claw. The two Freljordian factions had fallen to fighting when Winter’s Claw raiders attacked a supply convoy en route to the Avarosan citadel.
No Cure Yet for Piltovian Plague Victims
Neither Demacian healing magic nor Piltovian hextech has proven successful in restoring the health of Piltovians who survived the necrotic plague but remain hobbled by its after-effects. This is despite the lauded collaboration between Jayce, an expert in hextech augmentation, and Livien Crownguard, a rising star in the Demacian Inquisition known for her innovations in anti-necromantic spellcraft. It appears that the intensity of holy magic required to purge the arcanovirus is too great for most mortals to withstand, while the complex interactions between the victims’ natural auras and the necromantic energy of the plague triggers rejection in hextech prostheses and implants.
Ionia Seeks Answers at Sannig Kloster
Ionian Summoners are scouring the library-monastery of Sannig Kloster in Nyroth for records of past events that might shed some light on the Black Winter. Nyroth was formed thousands of years ago by a peculiarly focused arrangement of leylines and nexuses (a “leyline convergence”). Some see similarities between this centrally focused pattern and the Black Winter, which began when the Black Mist from the east met a blizzard from the north at the focal point of the Institute of War. It has thus been theorized that Nyroth may have experienced an event like the Black Winter in its ancient past.
Despite assistance from the ghostly monks who haunt Sannig Kloster, however, Ionia has yet to take this further than abstract theory.
Nyrothian Infighting Continues; Ionian-Sponsored Talks Falter
Hopes were high that the prodigious young Tien Zhou, famous for his remarkable successes in forging compromises between feuding local magnates in his home province of Navori, might convince the fractured Nyrothian populace to renew their commitment to a common defense against the undead invasion from the southern islands of Daeyux and Neritum. The Herald has confirmed, however, that the gathering of Nyrothian leaders called by Tien Zhou has broken apart without reaching more than an aspirational agreement.
Although the proceedings of this conference were confidential, multiple sources have anonymously related to the Herald that Tien Zhou had promised to produce damning evidence of a Noxian conspiracy to fracture Nyroth’s political landscape so as to create a justification for invasion and conquest. The collapse of the conference, they said, was in no small part due to Tien Zhou arriving late with a dubious claim that he had been the target of an assassination attempt, and that though an ally he was “not at liberty to name” had thwarted the attempt on his life, his would-be killer destroyed the documents he had intended to produce. According to our sources, the conference dissolved within minutes of this implausible explanation for Ionia’s emissary showing up empty-handed.
Tien Zhou has been recalled to Ionia. As of press time, the undead continue to advance through Nyroth, as local Nyrothian leaders make separate efforts to fortify and defend their territories.
Irelia Fails to Retake Haunted Monastery at Galrin
In the deepened necromantic darkness of the eclipse, malevolent phantoms enveloped an ancient mountain monastery at Galrin, trapping ancestral spirits within. Irelia, Captain of the Ionian Guard, led a daring effort to free these spirits. Hours after she entered the caves with her hand-picked band of elite Ionian warriors, however, she emerged alone and badly wounded. She refused to answer questions posed to her by an on-the-scene Herald reporter, and thus it is not entirely clear what transpired. As she was splattered with apparently fresh, human blood, however, it may be that her companions were possessed by the dark spirits within, forcing her to cut them down to escape.
EDITOR’S NOTE: We have received multiple inquiries from the public regarding allegations that a Herald reporter stood in Irelia’s path as she emerged from the monastery, and that she, being distraught by what had taken place moments ago, struck him with such force as to knock him to the ground out of her way. We wish to make it clear that we have no comment regarding these allegations, other than that we can confirm that no Herald staff member is pursuing legal action against Irelia.
After three days of darkness, the eclipse came to an end on December 30 when Azir emerged victorious from his cosmic clash with the wraith-king of Iktho.
While Runeterra owes a great debt to both Demacia and Ionia for their valiant efforts in this difficult time, we would not be reporting with the complete accuracy for which we strive if we did not convey our impression that Demacia seems to have proven more capable of maintaining its global presence in the face of domestic crisis than Ionia. This is perhaps unsurprising, given that Ionia has historically refrained from large-scale foreign deployments, while Demacia has quite the opposite reputation.