Vol. VI, Iss. 5—Published at the Institute of War on 14 July, 27 CLE
BREAKING NEWS: MAYHEM IN QA’HHAR! AZIR ENTERS CITY, CHALLENGES ZAUN, NOXUS ON FIELDS
Emperor Azir has challenged Zaun and Noxus to a contest of arms upon the Fields of Justice. The challenges come in the aftermath of a Xer’Sai incursion into Qa’hhar, culminating in Rek’Sai herself escaping Institute control and attacking the city. At that point, Azir entered Qa’hhar with imperial Shuriman military forces, and struck Rek’Sai down in personal combat. (The temporarily discorporeated Rek’Sai was thereupon diverted back to the Institute’s holding facilities.) The Council has confirmed that Azir’s abrupt entry into Qa’hhar was authorized by an emergency League decree. In exchange for Azir’s military and humanitarian assistance in this crisis, Shurima has been granted a limited right of intervention into the dispute. Azir’s delegates to the League swiftly invoked this right against both Noxus and Zaun, presenting long-simmering grievances which until now Shurima has been unable to find the political support to bring before League adjudication.
On Saturday, July 15, Shurima and Zaun will summon their respective Champions to battle over Azir’s motion to grant imperial Shurima partial oversight regarding the use of pyrikhos-driven hextech (and other techmaturgic derivatives of Shuriman magic) in Shurima. Shurima objects that these “perversions” of Shuriman magic have disrupted the local arcanosphere, with deleterious effect upon their people and lands.
On Sunday, July 16, Shurima will challenge Noxus over a motion to allow Shurima the right to dispatch armed escorts and bandit-hunting forces into Noxian Shurima, which comprises most of the Shurima Desert. Shurima has accused Noxus of deliberately allowing bandits to roam the trade routes between the major Shuriman cities as a form of extortion.
(14 July, 27 CLE)
Noxian Festival of Might Begins
By Serena Volaren
General Darius himself has arrived in Qa’hhar to proclaim the advent of a great Festival of Might. All residents of Qa’hhar are challenged to test their mettle in a range of competitions and ordeals of endurance. Noxian food is being sold in great abundance, to restore the strength of those who have battled—and Noxian drink, too, such as may give those who have yet to battle the courage to do so.
At the height of the opening ceremony, Noxian troops from the Eighth Legion carried in a hexproofed cage containing a live Xer’Sai. Darius, together with the finest soldiers in the Eighth, will face this beast in arena combat before all of Qa’hhar, that they might see the might of Noxus.
The Festival coincides with the consecration of a Nox’toraa, a gateway that arches over the path to the Noxian capital and symbolically links the Imperium’s foreign territories to its center. This Nox’toraa has been constructed not over a roadway, as is traditional, but over the great aqueduct, constructed by a joint Noxian-Zaunite effort, which brings water south into Qa’hhar and has enabled the city’s recent population boom.
A special challenge has been issued to Summoners of the League, calling them to test their mettle in an arcane arena, known as the Maze of Death. Summoner Endorius “Lord Magmar” Magmar of Noxus, a veteran Summoner who joined the League at its inception, shall preside over the contest, a role which in true Noxian fashion shall include battling the winners.
(12 July, 27 CLE)
Qa’hharian Provisional Government Finds Noxian Sabotage Responsible for Refinery Explosion
By Yevver Leafmoon
The Qa’hharian provisional government passed a censure motion this morning, finding “overwhelming evidence” that the disastrous June 1 pyrikhos refinery explosion was the result of Noxian sabotage. The motion was introduced by Representative Zebar, an outspoken critic of the Noxian regime. Its passage was followed by demonstrations in the streets of Qa’hhar, which seem to have drawn more Qa’hharians than the Noxian Festival of Might.
The presentation of evidence began with testimony from Liatine Steel-Spark, a hextech expert and a devotee of Viktor’s Glorious Evolution, assisted by Summoner Random Nom. They reported that their analysis of debris from the refinery explosion revealed signs of pyrikhos microcrystallization, which could only occur in the context of an intense energy spike such as would be created by deliberate sabotage. This was followed by testimony from a researcher who was rescued from the explosion by Baron Yal, Vice President of Corporate Security at Zasho Brands, and revived by Summoner Rextreff. This researcher, who had survived the blast because he was inside a hexproofed experimental vault, testified to seeing instrumental readings consistent with a hexplosive detonation prior to the disaster. The refinery explosion was not a tragic accident, or the consequence of Zaun taking too many risks: it was an act of sabotage.
But could it be proven that Noxus was responsible for this act? Might it not have instead been Qa’hharian rebels, for example? There was no conclusive evidence either way. That changed when Zaun introduced a surprise witness: a dead man. The Herald is aware of the debate over necromantic testimony, but makes no further entry in the developing history of that questionable forensic method today. Arnen Resvad, an engineer from the refinery who had been presumed killed in the blast, was no zombie or revenant. Rather, he had faked his own death, apparently having cajoled a colleague (now deceased) into clocking him in on June 1, while Resvad fled to Bilgewater.
In exchange for being tried by the League rather than by Zaun, the engineer Resvad admitted that he had provided information to a Noxian agent as to how one might sabotage the refinery using a red pyrikhos explosive. When the refinery exploded, he was already on his way to a ship bound for Bilgewater, pockets filled with Noxian gold. He was later apprehended in Bilgewater by Summoner Jondor Horuku on a League warrant.
But who was to say that this was truly the work of the Noxian regime, rather than the rogue actions of lunatics who happened to be Noxian? The proof is in Noxian military’s actions just before the explosion, answered Tybalt “Apple-Eye” Valenzek, a consultant for Zaun’s Corporate Administration Bureau. Mere hours before the refinery was destroyed, Noxian forces moved to more secure positions, due to vague warnings of “potential unrest”. Valenzek also investigated an alleged theft from Noxian stocks of Spirox the week before the explosion, and found that the story simply did not hold up—none of the local criminal organizations with the resources to steal from a Noxian military supply depot showed any signs of having come into a huge cache of lucrative Spirox. The most rational conclusion, according to Valenzek, was that Noxus had secretly bolstered the Spirox rations for its troops, a theory corroborated by a much lower than expected incidence of pyrikhos fever or other Void-sickness among Noxian troops in the aftermath of the explosion.
The Council of the League of Legends has declined to comment on the provisional government’s conclusions. However, Zafion CEO Hulma Oshlash has announced she will be seeking League review of the incident as part of the Qa’hhar dispute.
“The League stands silent while Noxus tries to turn Qa’hhar into the next Shon-Xan,” declaimed Representative Zebar. “Zaun is the only power that seems willing to do something about this. We must hope that they can force the League into action. I could give you a big speech about how despicable it is to poison the people of Qa’hhar, literally poison them, in some calculated scheme to make us angrier at Zaun. It’s Zaun’s refinery, but Noxus blew it up! That’s all I have to say. The evidence speaks for itself. And Qa’hhar should speak for itself, too.”
(12 July, 27 CLE)
Zaun Convenes TeknoFest in Qa’hhar
By Gilda Josser
Zaun’s chem-barons and megacorporations have sponsored a TeknoFest in Qa’hhar, which will run in parallel with the Noxian Festival of Might. The TeknoFest, in the words of Zasho CEO Lysandra Velnoth, “will present a few of the world-changing innovations that are just now coming around the corner, thanks to a daring fusion of Zaunite techmaturgy and Shuriman elemental magic.”
Liatine Steel-Spark, an adherent of Viktor’s Glorious Evolution who has replaced parts of her own body with hextech mechanisms, presented an exhibit which quickly became the highlight of the event: an elemental hextech device which converts solar energy into a miraculous font of pure water. “The ancient Shuriman mages used primitive elemental conversion techniques to make Shurima a lush paradise for thousands of years,” she said. “Zaunite science is rediscovering these capabilities, and taking the next step in their evolution.”
Another astonishing exhibit took the form of a bar within which everything, from the counter to the seats to the glasses, was fashioned from ice. The bar was kept at freezing temperatures by an elementally enhanced pyrikhosian cooling device. While the Noxian Festival of Might challenged participants to spar in a room heated with baskets of smoldering coals, to prove their ability to survive adversity, Zaun invited festival-goers to escape into a refreshing artificial winter.
Zaun’s techmaturgic prowess was unexpectedly called upon for more serious purposes when Void contamination infected a nearby Spirox plant. Raiders had broken into the plant to steal valuable Spirox stocks, and though they were repelled by corporate security forces led by Tybalt “Apple-Eye” Valenzek, the plant’s elemental field was distorted by the use of magic and hextech in the fighting, opening the way for Void corruption. Zaunite Summoners succeeded in transforming the plant’s thaumic core into a vortex which pulled the Void energy inside, but their relief was short-lived, as the core casing fractured. With the core moments from a catastrophic detonation, which would surely blast open a massive Void rift, Blitzcrank seized it with in a rocket-powered fist and hurled it into what yordle explorers call “Deep Space”. Yordle satellites detected no detonation, and Summoners speculate that the core’s exit from Shurima’s arcanosphere (and indeed Runeterra’s) deprived it of the energy needed for the formation of a Void rift.
Representative Zebar of the Qa’hharian provisional government spoke at the TeknoFest, contrasting it with the Festival of Might. “Noxus built a Nox’toraa, a gate from a conquered territory that leads back to the capital they think should rule us. How nice of them to throw a festival while they’re at it. Meanwhile, Zaun brings forward hextech that turns the elemental magic of an ancient slave empire toward modern, productive, democratic uses, to make lives better.”
(13 July, 27 CLE)
Xer’Sai Rampage through Qa’hhar; Azir Enters City, Slays Rek’Sai
By Serena Volaren
The Noxian Festival of Might came to a disastrous end when Xer’Sai invaded Qa’hhar, plunging the beleaguered Shuriman city into chaos and rebellion.
Noxus had brought a caged Xer’Sai to the newly constructed Nox’toraa, where Darius would lead an elite squad from the Eighth Legion in battle against the beast. At the appointed hour, Darius struck his axe through the chain binding the cage shut. Yet the Xer’Sai did not charge to attack, as was expected. Instead, after it broke free from the hexproofed cage, it screamed into the Void and tunneled down through the solid stone of the arena. Silence fell—but did not last long. The arena shook as a swarm of Xer’Sai tunneled beneath it, following the call. The audience fled the collapsing arena and surged into the streets of Qa’hhar, where the panicked crowd soon became a rioting mob, swept up by anti-Noxian demonstrators. The Eighth Legion began taking defensive positions against the oncoming crowds, but most of these soldiers were recalled when the tunneling Xer’Sai reached the arena containing the Noxian Death Maze, which had been constructed at the Institute and translocated to Qa’hhar in an audacious show of Summoning skill. Those legionaries who remained were overwhelmed by rioters emboldened by rumors that Imperial Shuriman troops were marching to Qa’hhar under Azir’s banner, and would likely have been massacred had Riven not rallied them, aided by an aspiring Champion, known as Isaac, who had gained repute with the soldiers of the Eighth after fighting alongside them against the undead in the Black Winter. The soldiers reformed ranks and held the line until Zaunite security forces arrived and talked the rebels down.
The Death Maze fell to ruin as the onrushing Xer’Sai swarm swiftly devoured the delicate magics holding its walls together, triggering countless arcane traps hidden within its corridors. Summoners and spectators fled the collapsing structure, and found themselves surrounded by Xer’Sai. So many Summoners standing together is a formidable prospect, or would be under most circumstances, but their spells fizzled in the tremendous arcane distortion from the Death Maze’s destruction. The overseer of the Death Maze, Summoner Endorius Magmar, took charge, facing the swarm and bellowing that “if any Nonsense Giant Roaches think they can interrupt a glorious Noxian event they’re gonna all BURN!” Gathering up the volatile manatide flooding out of the destroyed arena, the veteran Summoner channeled it into a volcanic eruption that engulfed the attacking Xer’Sai in molten sand and stone. Together, the massed Summoners held the Xer’Sai back as the Arena collapsed, preventing them from reaching the dimensional anchor that had been used to translocate the Arena from the Institute—and following it back to its source.
The Eighth Legion, led by the Champions of Noxus, arrived to find these valiant Summoners holding the line against the growing Xer’Sai swarm, and charged to their aid.
Amidst the mayhem, no one noticed a Summoner aligned with neither Noxus nor Zaun drawing a teleportation circle nearby.
The Xer’Sai dove down into the earth once more, but their cries only grew louder. They soon pierced the arcane barrier the Summoners had shaped around the ruins of the Death Maze, reaching the dimensional anchor. Those present say they realized what was happening only too late. The anchor split open, and Rek’Sai herself burst through the rift, grown to immense height amid the Void energy surrounding the ruins.
A teleportation spiral cut through the distortion. Emperor Azir stepped forth, wielding the same spear with which another of his bloodline had slain Rek’Sai centuries ago. With a shout of “SHURIMA!”, he smote the Queen of the Xer’Sai with the relic weapon, discorporeating her and sending her essence streaming back through the collapsing rift to the Institute. Shuriman troops soon entered the city under an emergency League authorization. Together, the three nations restored order to Qa’hhar.
Noxus had proclaimed that it would demonstrate Noxian might and ferocity by meeting a single Xer’sai in combat before the Nox’toraa. They would instead prove it by defending the city from an entire swarm. “Of course,” acknowledged Summoner Lord Magmar, “at the last second Azir and the Shurimans steal all of Noxus’s thunder. I was looking forward to fighting a Void-being as powerful as Rek’Sai, and instead they sweep in after everyone else is exhausted and only perform one attack. Yet everyone loves them instead of the Noxians who fought and died for the city. Typical.”
The Festival of Might was brought to a formal conclusion in a Noxian ritual that consecrated the Nox’toraa with a plaque bearing the names of those soldiers of the Imperium who fell in glorious battle against the Xer’Sai. Every remaining cask of wine was smashed open and consumed, as battle-songs carried records of the mighty deeds done that day into eternity.
(14 July, 27 CLE)
Noxus: Pro or against the livid dead.
It is a well known fact that the nation of Noxus has always been one looking out for military superiority. Be it to compete against their enemies or to quell internal turmoil, this superpower’s search for power at any price has always been a source of deep concern amongst its critics, particularly their use of necromancy as a tool of war.
While Noxus raising the dead of the enemy is something that has yet not happened, the reanimation of Sion is testament to their expertise and capability of, at the very least, raising their own dead to keep them fighting and as effective weapons of terror against the enemies of the state. Necromancy may have even played part in Noxus’ victory during their three-way conflict against Shurima and Piltover a couple years back, when they raised Shurima’s vengeful dead and enlisted Kalista to fight for their cause.
And yet, many point out that, given the recent events of Black Winter , that such power should not be allowed to run rampant, some as far as accusing Noxus of being directly responsible, due to them suffering very little damage whilst the other nations of Runeterra suffered much heavier losses.
“That only means Noxus is the strongest nation in Runeterra!” proudly explains Sagron, a grizzled veteran of The Void War. “We are so good at destroying undead we just pulverized any ugly thing that did appear! Not our fault the rest of you can’t keep up!”
While expertise in necromancy means Noxus is more familiar with the weakness of undead foes, the fact that Demacia, noted for their capabilities against the Undead, had far more trouble than Noxus suggests a hint of foul play may be at hand. This has led to increased friction in the relations of both nations as accusations of diffamation and subterfuge on both sides are brought up on a consistent basis.
There is a certain grain of truth to Noxus’ claims, however, as the notoriety of one young Noxian hunter of undead has been rising steadily ever since the events of the Shuriman War of Independence.
“Isaac, not only have I heard of him, I was on duty alongside him at Shurima back when I was a recruit,” retells guardswoman Tasa Prelix. “He almost strangled my friend to death with his whip for insulting his late brother. I really pity all those mummies who had to face him…I’m convinced that meek personality of his is just a charade.”
Isaac was last seen competing at the Festival of Might (before the Xer’sai interrupted) and fighting alongside Riven during the fighting that followed, proving to be quite popular among the reformists due to his courage, humility and empathy for the common Noxian.
His actions, while they may have inspired plenty of Noxians, don’t promise a full-on anti-undead force like Demacia’s. The Noxian hegemony is built on the use of any dark art that will give a tactical advantage, consistent with the High Command’s brutal approach to suppressing rebellions. Isaac’s reputation with the Noxian establishment is surely not helped by rumors of his fighting style resembling that of renown Demacian Night Hunter Vayne, which has led to much murmured speculation as to where his loyalties truly lie.
In conclusion, Noxus’s stance on the use of necromancy is still clear: they are not afraid to use it. However, it remains to be seen whether or not younger generations continue to accept it as true to the Noxian ideal of strength, or if it falls out of favor as a cowardly and detestable practice below their dignity.
(15 July, 27 CLE)
The New Herald is indeed a work of progress, and we would enjoy some questions and answers to facilitate engagement with our audience. For this reason, this section will be reserved for Letters to the Editor. I will do my best to publish your (succinct) contributions and clarify any questions that may arise.
Yurstin “thestealthgerbil” Yudling, Acolyte Summoner