**_Edit: As Bio and several others pointed out, I had a mistake with the way the rivers flow in Shurima. It's still weird, but weird in a different way, so I've ammended the post._**
So Shurima is a wonderful, but also pretty strange place. Mount Targon is also a wonderful, but pretty strange place, and I’ve been wondering about some specific things about Shurima, particularly the city of Shurima itself, for a long time now. Recently I’ve had some thoughts rolling about, and wanted to share them with you all, as even though I don’t consider this theorising very strong on my part, it could at the very least just open up the discussion and get some further thoughts on the topics I’m going to broach.
So what’s the main subject of this post? Simply put, I think that Shurima and Targon have ties together, this being the empire, not the mountain, though I will talk about the mountain to. In more specific terms, I think that the Shuriman Empire owes a great deal of its ancient secrets to Targon.
Some of you are already tilting your head at this and I don’t blame you at all; this could very well be so far out of left field that it’s laughable, but humor me at least, ok guys?
Alright, so first thing to discuss:
##**Shurima is a very strange city.**##
It is really. Deep within its bowels you can find the Oasis of the Dawn, and somehow many rivers in the Southern Continent flow towards it, flowing INLAND as opposed to flowing out too the sea. The city itself seems to have some ancient magic tied to it, which seemingly allows it to rebuild itself, rearrange its components and reanimate the dead...yeah it’s strange. I’ll break down the specifics here on what’s actually going on and why this is so strange.
So firstly, the Oasis of the Dawn is a font of natural energies, and it isn’t Runeterra’s only such font; the Blessed Isles had one before the Ruination and one could also stipulate that the God-Willow of Omikayalan as such a font as well. How these things tie in to each other is a theory for another day, but the important thing here is how the Oasis works and how it interacts with the city, and the main thing here is that the Oasis, while being similar to the sacred pools of the isles, did something that the pools couldn’t do: revive the dead. Sivir, who was described as being a corpse when Azir found her, was revived, while the Ruined King’s wife was simply re-animated and the pools themselves corrupted. What’s the difference?
There’s also the fact that Sivir’s resurrection was one of two to occur in a short space of time, as Azir was revived, seemingly by magic within the city of Shurima itself. He wasn’t a truly living being, as he was and still is effectively sand given form, but he was wrenched back from death all the same.
Then there are other details, ~~such as how rivers flow backward, towards the capital, instead of out towards the sea.~~ such as how the rivers flow out from the capital in to the lands, up waterways that should flow in the opposite direction, even up mountains. The waters come from the Oasis of course, but the fact that the city can draw forth this waters from below the soil and sending them out on a _continental scale_ is astounding in and of itself. There’s also the seemingly trivial detail of how Nasus “discovered” the Tomb of the Emperors, which raises the question:
How did you not know that this tomb was in your city?
And perhaps more interesting; what else did the Shurimans not know about their capital if you can discover various elements to it thousands of years after first setting up in it?
I personally feel like this could tie in to the way that Shurima was restored, with Azir being able to bring the city up from the dust, though I would say that Azir had as much of a part to play in this process as the city itself. The city itself responded to Azir in his human form, refilling the Oasis as he came towards it. The Sun Disc rose again, seemingly of its own accord. There’s more here than is immediately evident, and the scale and potency of the magic presented here exceeds anything humans in Runeterra have ever shown to be capable of (as far as we know anyway). It begs the question of who built the city and how.
In that vein, the Sun Disc also raises its own questions, considering the size and immense power behind it, as well as what its power did for people exposed to it. World Runes are a possibility of course, and since we know Shurimans actually built the Sun Disc that they could very well have constructed a city with as much power as Shurima does, but how did they make the Sun Disc? What allowed the Shurimans to create these amazing wonders?
##*Mount Targon is a very strange mountain.*##
An enormous mountain in the middle of nowhere that challenges those who ascend to its peak, besieging them with visions of the past and seemingly also changing its shape in order to test those who try and ascend to its highest peaks. In every case it is stated that it is the mountain is the one that tests the climber, but in some cases it is an Aspect of Targon that brings people to the summit, namely Diana, who had been guided there by the Aspect of the Silver Moon.
Mount Targon, while also being a place that Targon accesses in order to find worthy hosts and also monitors in the wake of void invasions, it’s also a place of spatial convergence, as glimmering mist comes down across the mountain, bringing with it otherworldly beings seemingly not of Targon or the Void.
The shapes and features of the Mountain lend to the idea that Mount Targon was perhaps shaped and moulded in to what it is today; that their works, be they physical or magical, permeate the mountain itself. You can see it in the main art piece for Mount Targon; circular shapes carved in to the mountain in evidently intentional shapes, and part of the mountain straight up goes invisible or something in the background. It’s just plain odd. I’ve personally leant towards the idea that Mount Targon, while likely a natural mountain, was physically and magically altered by Targon in ages past, and was perhaps smaller back then too.
##**Shurima and Mount Targon are strange in similar ways.**##
In terms of architecture, Targonian creations have a similar sweeping curvature to them as we can see in Shurima’s palaces. Targonian stuff could be considered smoother and more refined but the similarities are there, which is especially notable when looking at Aurelion Sol’s splash, where the platforms he is looking down upon take this visual similarity with Shurima to a whole new level, as well as his crown, which looks similar enough to the Sun Disc that perhaps they’re made of the same stuff, though how Shurimans got their hands on star gems is beyond me. Taric’s mace also shares this look, and even has something spherical in the centre, like Shurima itself.
Both of these places are magical locales with the magic itself being seemingly not anything to do with their location but with the place itself. The magic has something that it draws back to, drives itself, or has someone behind it pulling the strings in some manner.
Both places have physically altered themselves, with Mount Targon’s peaks and cliffs being inconsistent and unchartable, while the city of Shurima has rebuilt itself after a little coaxing from Azir. Continuing on that point both locales seem to have some force driving them, either the areas themselves or a greater power behind them, which has already hinted at being the reason behind Azir’s Ascension, though in that case it’s more about the Sun Disc specifically rather than the city.
If I trace the line of logic back to Mount Targon being perhaps partially Targon made as opposed to an all natural mountain, then both of these locales are also mortal made to an extent, and if that’s true for Mount Targon that makes the city of Shurima with the Sun Disc and Mount Targon the greatest feats of magical construction ever conceived on Runeterra, period (as far as we’ve seen thus far anyway).
##**A disclaimer before we go on:**##
Now before going further, I want to pull things back and be real here: This connection is perhaps entirely coincidental, and if you’re not following my train of thought on this, then I don’t blame you. I’m not entirely convinced by this myself. I don’t subscribe to this as being a strong theory in any regard, and so question me about this all you like; there’s likely something I’ve missed that totally destroys this theory.
In the end this is more of entertaining some theories than me coming around and saying “OMG GUYS I FIGURED OUT THE MYSTERY”, so take it as such. Ok, now on to the main point of all of this.
##**Basically, the city of Shurima might be Targon made.**##
The city of Shurima does some astounding things, like being tied to a pool of restorative waters, being able to make rivers flow outward from it in impossible ways, reassembling itself, resurrecting the dead and more. It goes deep in to the earth and is a place of great power. Given the extent of what we’ve seen humans capable of doing in Runeterra, I’d say that the city of Shurima itself being built or at least designed by Targon isn’t all that farfetched, considering what it can do. If Targon can make a mountain a connection point between worlds/realities, then they can make a city draw forth life giving waters from deep within the earth. Hell that might’ve been Shurima’s original purpose if it was made/designed by Targon.
There are alternative ways of thinking about this too, for instance Shurima might not have been made by the true Targon, but based off of their work, or an Aspect had a hand in it’s construction. This could also be true for the Sun Disc; based off of Targonian designs and prior work, as opposed to directly made by them. Another way of thinking about this is that it’s all wrong and there’s no connection, which is a pretty good theory I’d say, but hey, indulge me for a minute ok?
##**So if this theory holds any weight, what does it mean really?**##
The thing about this theory is that it really only helps in regards to the question of “How did the Shurimans even come about making the Sun Disc”. In that regard if Shurima was Targon built or influenced, then the Shurimans could’ve based the Sun Disc off of the left over Targonian works, be they artifacts or just learning from the city itself. Potentially the Sun Disc was something the Targonians wanted to build or had already built before, and took with them when they left Runeterra, leaving behind the plans or means to construct it.
It also to a degree satisfies the answer of “what’s behind the Ascension ritual”, considering that it was some higher power that seemed to deem folks worthy of Ascension, rather than the Sun Priests themselves. They were perhaps heralding the word of that greater power, and while there’s a good argument to be made that the Stars themselves have wills of their own, Targon directing Shurima could be a possibility too, with the hope perhaps being to foster a mortal army on Runeterra to protect it in their stead, perhaps as an alternative plan to the whole Aspect angle. Or perhaps it could’ve have been a more benevolent plan where Targon hoped to elevate humans to a higher plane of existence through this ritual, in a similar manner to perhaps they went through, since it’s likely the original Targonians were beings of flesh and blood who became all celestial and stuff later.
A few questions are raised by this theory though, so let’s go through them:
**- Why would Targon build Shurima in the first place?**
Personally, I’d say it was because of the Oasis of the Dawn. Targon’s plan might’ve been to tap in to those waters buried deep within the earth and ~~keep it strong by forcing the rivers of the land to flow back in to the Oasis~~ redistribute them over the lands that would later be named Shurima. The entire purpose of the city might’ve been to ~~keep this wellspring going~~ distribute these life giving waters across the length and breadth of the lands for all to drink and be rejuvinated by, which might’ve been important if Targon faced a calamitous conflict in the past. What better way to keep your nation alive than through life giving waters?
If we also draw to the point of Shurima not always being a desert, then perhaps in the past the land went through desertification, and Targon hoped to revitalize the land by drawing from the Oasis’s waters. How it would dry up again after this though I dunno. Potentially Shurima’s misuse of magic or stuff with Icathia? Not sure. Lots of questions and I don’t posit that any of these answers are flawless or even remotely correct.
**- How did Shurima come to be then?**
If we assume that Shurima lay abandoned after Targon left Runeterra, then it was probably discovered by humans at some point and became a fabled place of legend. It only takes one intrepid, daring individual with a lust for riches, power or glory to then scour the lands for such a place. It could even be something more humble, like the city just being stumbled upon after a long time and folks clamouring around it and the waters within. If we draw from the Targon influencing Shurima angle, then perhaps they used the city’s magic in some way to coerce people to find the city, or draw them directly to it.
**- How did the Shurimans even work the city to begin with?**
I’d certainly say it would either be an accident or the city responding to the presence of humans within it, though given the fact that the city reacted to Azir specifically, perhaps the city became or was attuned to one person in particular, who would go on to be the ancestor of Shurima’s lineage of emperors. Again on the Targon angle, perhaps they saw a human with potential and decided they’d make a good candidate for “host of the city” so to speak, making the city react to them and their bloodline.
**- Why would the city need to re-arrange itself?**
I’d say as a defensive measure more than anything. If you can keep potential invaders lost and confused while having the means to navigate the city yourself, then you’re at a major advantage in any bad situation. This might’ve been why Shurimans only discovered the tomb of the emperors centuries later, the city did some rearranging after being besieged by some foe, and when it was taken back the city didn’t rearrange itself because they lacked the means to undo the protective measures.
**- What if Targon didn’t build the city?**
In this angle the theory could still hold water if we consider they were probably still choosing folks to be Aspects back in the early days of mankind. Perhaps an Aspect of the past had the idea to build the city, with an express purpose in mind.
There are plenty of questions and probably many more I haven’t even broached, but I’ll let anyone willing to ask go ahead and I’ll try and think of an answer, though there’s no guarantees there even is one.
##**Ok are you done with your crackpot theory?**##
Aye I am. TL;DR is I think maybe possibly perhaps I dunno whatever that the city of Shurima (and also the Sun Disc) owe their creation to Targon, either directly or indirectly.
If you got through this to the end, then thanks for giving this weird theory the time of day. Again, I don’t hold strong weight to this, it’s just a thread of speculation I’ve been chasing for a bit now because god dammit that city makes me curious about so many things. SO MANY.
Before leaving this I just wanna put out one little thing: you’ve got two magical areas on the same landmass with a whole bunch of mysteries surrounding them, which in itself doesn’t feel like a coincidence, but then there’s also the idea that Targon’s only mark left on Runeterra after their departure was Mount Targon itself, which seems unrealistic no? Surely they left something behind?
But yeah, whether this is a load of bollocks or maybe something, thanks for reading!