So, stuff happened in 2014. A fair bit of stuff I'd say. Net neutrality's been threatened, Gamergate happened, and the Institute of War was declared to be retconned out of existence! OK, a lot of stuff happened, but what new stuff came from the lore this year? I wanted to re-examine, so here it is, my list of what we learned from the lore of 2014.
This might get very nit-picky. Just saying. Also it'll be very wall of texty.
**THE LEAGUE AIN'T CANNON FOLKS.**
So retcons happened this year, the most major being the removal of the Institute of War from the lore. So, did it completely wreck everything? What changed? Not as much as people assumed as far as I can see. Let's look at the stuff:
*Kalamanda and the events of the JoJ still happened.*
As evidenced by Sion's lore promo stuff, Swain and LeBlanc still did all the stuff in Kalamanda, but there were no summoners. What does this mean for the story of the JoJ? It means that we can probably take everything as canon unless it directly contradicts anything new we've got. The Kalamanda conflict still happened, Ashe and Tryndamere still got married, Teemo still foiled Veigar's plans to steal the mothership, and many other things, but one event didn't...
*The Ionia – Noxus war was never resolved by the League.*
With no league match to actually solidify Noxian control in Ionia, and no second match for Ionia to win it back, what happened here? The most likely answer is that Noxus still holds control over the three provinces of Shon-Xan, Navori and Galdrin, and folks like Varus and Irelia are still hell bent on driving Noxus out of Ionia. That resolution looks to be its own story further down the line.
*A bunch of champion's entire lores aren't canon anymore.*
The following champions had lore that was intrinsically tied to the League: Lee Sin, Orianna, Nautilus, Kayle, Morgana, Anivia, Nasus, Renekton, Jax, Fiddlesticks, Nocturne, Skarner and Maokai. I may have forgotten someone but I dunno. With this change those lore's aren't canon anymore, because the League was not around to let it happen. Now, Nasus, Renekton, Anivia, Skarner and Maokai already had changes to put them as part of Runeterra despite this, but the rest are still in a weird limbo. Those are the main sticking points, but the thing about this is that some of those stories can be re-adapted with ease. Orianna? Change the reason for how the human version of her died. Lee Sin? Make him a sorcerer's apprentice, not a summoner. Nautilus? No League, just a diver who got left to the sludge. Lots of material to work with, and they won't be the same characters, as we've found, but they'll probably be faithful to the original source material, and that's fine with me! Might not be fine with you though, and that's cool, that's why you're yelling at Riot!
*Everything in game is still canon, but the gameplay has no lore bearing.*
Items, maps, champions, that's all canon. Summoner's Rift is just another area of Valoran. Champs are all still alive. Mostly. Items belong to places in the world still.
**SHURIMA, YOUR EMPEROR HAS RETURNED AND HE WON'T STOP SAYING SHURIMA.**
So Shurima's a thing, and it got developed to some extreme degree. So let's look at the nitty gritty:
*RETCONS THAT HAPPENED:*
- Nasus and Renekton aren't aliens their homeworld isn't a thing any more.
- Xerath doesn't have a love interest, or maybe he did. He might have, but it hasn't been said.
- Cassiopeia transformation and the circumstances surrounding it have changed.
- Skarner and the Brackern aren't a part of the crystal scar of the Odyn Veil.
*WHO DIDN'T GET RETCONNED:*
- Rammus. Based on his short bio, nothing's actually changed about him, at all. While it's not stated in that short bio how he became a sentient armadillo there's no guarantees that his trip to the plague jungles was retconned.
- Sivir. Nothing got changed with her. I checked. Only new stuff came for her.
- Amumu. Still as sad as ever. Still no friends. Actually got a bit added though.
*WHAT'S NEW THEN?!*
Alright alright, let's settle down. Here's a quick rundown, with the Shurima patch coming first, followed by Rek'Sai's release stuff.
- Amumu is both a historical figure and a folk legend of Shurima; he has a clear history as a boy prince/emperor, but how he died and why he has returned as an undead being is unclear, even to himself.
- Azir was the last Emperor of Shurima. Having been restored to life thanks to the blood of his descendent Sivir, he now seeks to return Shurima to glory, and at the same time punish his old friend Xerath for his crimes.
- Cassiopeia is a Noxian noble and sister to Katarina Du Couteau. She studied Shurima extensively, learned about the tomb of the Emperors, and hired Sivir to help her find it, only to betray her and then be transformed through a horrid curse.
- Nasus is an ancient hero of Shurima, but to modern Shurimans he is practically a mythical being. He and his brother ascended long ago and now he watches over the desert.
- Rammus is a mysterious, sentient armadillo that no one really gets. Still. It's unclear how he transformed, and he likely exists as a being of myth that Shurimans scratch their heads about. I know I would.
- Renekton is an ancient hero of Shurima, long forgotten to all. He ascended long ago and kept Xerath in check while Nasus sealed him away, dooming himself in the process. Now, having been driven mad by Xerath and unleashed by Cassiopeia, he wants to murder Nasus, who he believes is responsible for trapping him.
- Sivir is the battle mistress she has always been, but her heritage has finally come to light. She's a pretty famous woman in Valoran, particularly in Noxus, but now her future is uncertain.
- Skarner is another almost mythical being in Shurima, guarding the entrance to an underground realm and renowned for his intelligence and ferocity. What he is guarding is unclear, but it's probably the home of his people the Brackern. I mean come on, what else is he going to be guarding?
- Xerath is the former Magus of Azir and Azir's father, now he is an ascended being of monumental power. He was enslaved when he saved Azir's life as a boy, and sought freedom from everything, orchestrating what would be Shurima's downfall in order to do this.
- Shurima was a sprawling kingdom that stretched for hundreds of miles.
- Shurima was ruled by a lineage Emperors, with Azir being the last of them. His descendent, Sivir, is the heir to the throne of Shurima.
- Shuriman Emperors were buried in the suitably named Tomb of the Emperors. Xerath and Renekton were sealed in here for centuries. The key was/is Sivir's weapon. It was guarded by a huge stone serpent whose really bad at doing its job!
- Shurima's capital was built on top of a pool of magical waters known as the Oasis of the Dawn. This pool allowed the city to exist as a sort of Oasis, and it held life giving power.
- Shurima was a desert nation by the time of Azir's reign, which was at least 1,000 years ago.
- Shurima was rife with slavery, with Xerath being a prime example. Azir abolished slavery in Shurima during the empire's last moments, before Xerath wrecked shit.
- Shurima collapsed because of Xerath stealing Azir's ascension and corrupting the ritual of ascension.
- One key feature of Shurima was the sun disc, an enormous golden disc that floated above Shurima's capital. It was the focus of Shuriman belief and reverence, and was ancient even by Nasus and Renekton's standards, who were themselves ancient to the Shurimans of Azir's era.
- The Ascended were a race of humans transformed by the Sun Disc. They were granted immortality and unfathomable power by the Disc, and currently only four are known to live: Azir, Nasus, Renekton and Xerath.
- Long before Shurima's collapse, it faced a dire threat that had never been seen before. Nasus and Renekton were blessed by the Sun Disc so they may hold back the threat, but what this threat was is a mystery. It was potentially either Voidborn or the Brackern.
- While the capital of Shurima was destroyed long ago, it has now been restored thanks to Azir, and stands in all of its former grandeur, aside from the lack of anyone living there at all and the sheer amount of sand.
- We know of a few places in Shurima: The Shurima desert, which is most of Shurima. The capital city, also known as Shurima. Bul'Zhun, a bazaar like town situated somewhere out in the desert. The Sai, a barren desert of jagged rocks and sand, feared for the Outerbeasts that inhabit it.
- Shurima has its own language, presumably called Shuriman. Looking at the language, I'm assuming Sai/Saih means sand speficially.
- Shurima is inhabited by a wide variety of creatures, most notably the Xer'Sai, a species of Voidborn who terrorise the Sai. Other creatures include the Eka'Sul, a species of domesticated goat and Ralsiji, large, powerful, bull like creatures.
- Voidborn are known to inhabit Shurima, and they are a true blight to its people. While the Xer'Sai are the most well known, the Outerbeasts as they are known in Shurima are not restricted to the Xer'Sai.
- Rek'Sai is a universally feared monster of Shurima, being the Queen of the Xer'Sai. The Sai region is her domain, and she commands so much fear that travellers will divert their routes by hundreds of miles to avoid her.
- There's a few desert dweller specific jobs in Shurima: Elujrav'i or bell rider's, who ride with caravans and bang a large bell to warn of danger, be it bandits, outerbeasts or otherwise. The Saih'kharash'i or sand walkers are the poorest of the poor in Shurima who follow caravans with the promise of food, only to be left as fodder in the event of danger approaching the caravan.
- The majority of Shurima's population live in really poor conditions. Abject poverty's a major thing for them.
- We actually got a map of Shurima! Not a true geographic map, but one that's clear enough to show that the capital city is smack bang in the middle of Shurima.
But what does this mean in the grand scheme of things? Well let's look at things. First thing's first, we actually have a timeline of sorts! Shurima's fall happened after the Iceborn uprising in Freljord and the War of the Three Sisters. We know this because the Shurima of Azir's time was a desert, while it wasn't during the aforementioned era for Freljord.
One thing to note is that Valoran does have some higher powers. The realm of gods is something that League hasn't really touched upon, but Azir's ressurection and subsequent ascension are both a bit to coincidental to be down to just chance, don’t cha reckon?
Also with the discovery of the Shuriman language we can now infer that our Voidborn champions aren't named in the Void, but in Shurima. This throws things up in the air because it means the Voidborn, perhaps all of our Voidborn cast, have some Shuriman history, be it in their species or in their personal history. Also this puts the extent of Shurima in question, because Icathia's our big Void place, so if Shurima's teeming with Voidborn, how close is it to Icathia? By extension if Vel'Koz earlier this year could travel to Urtistan with relative ease and with some Voidborn companions, what does it mean for those two cities? Are they within the Shurima desert? Was Urtistan's destruction brought about by Shurima's or Icathia's hands? Things to consider.
**THE SHADOW ISLE, BILGEWATER AND THE HARROWING. THE HARROWING ISN'T NICE GUYS.**
The Harrowing is real grim apparently, especially if you're a Bilgewatian, if that's even what the name of Bilgewater folk is. What did we learn?
- First and foremost, Kalista. Kalista is a legendary figure known across Valoran by different names and incarnations. She is the lady of vengeance, and offers a chance at revenge for the cost of your soul. She is a legion of souls all sworn to vengeance, with Kalista herself being the original soul that started it all.
- The Ruined King was apparently driven to break the barrier between life and death by grief. Kalista, as a living person, knew him.
- The Harrowing is an event which occurs when the Black Mist rolls across the sea. On the mist are un-living monsters that drag souls back to the Shadow Isles to join their ranks.
- The first recorded Harrowing occurred 208 years ago, and there have been 11 since then. The time between harrowings has grown shorter over the years, and now they are a yearly event.
- Bilgewater is the main focus for Harrowings, and many areas once held by Bilgewater in the sea between it and the Shadow Isles have fallen over the years as a result. Port Mourn, the port of Grey Moor, and the Southern Beacon are examples of these places.
- The first ever recorded sightings of Mordekaiser and Hecarim were on Harrowings; the fifth and seventh respectively. This also shows how the denizens of Valoran hold them; as mythical, legendary folk tales that are all to true for Bilgewater.
- Nautilus has enough of his marbles that he willingly defended Bilgewater from the harrowing last year, single-handedly stalling it.
- There are people called Serpent Callers in Bilgewater who can charm and summon forth sea creatures. One caller summoned forth a Blue Flame Leviathan, obviously named after the Blue Flame Isle, to fend off the ninth harrowing. It died doing so, but succeeded, indicating this thing is one bad ass sea monster.
This actually gives us an actual timeline of events for Harrowings past, but also a reference for where the Shadow Isles creation falls in to things. Based on the fact that the first Harrowing was 208 years ago, then the Shadow Isles have been the Shadow Isles for atleast 208 years. Wait what? Yeah, because it's possible the first Harrowing was a result of the whole calamity. Not guaranteed, but possible.
Also the Ruined King, driven by grief huh? Interesting. This narrows things down for why he did what he did, for a lover, a child, perhaps his entire nation was hit by a plague? All possibilities. Also Kalista clearly didn't agree with his motives, as she describes him as noble, until grief over came him, hinting her betrayal was because of that disagreement. Perhaps she wanted to stop him, but was killed before she could!
Also something I wanna throw in, Morde has red eyes. Miss Fortune's mum was killed by a dude with red eyes. COINCIDNCE?! Maybe. COINCIDENCE NOW THAT THE SHADOW ISLES ARE HAUNTING BILGEWATER?! A bit more likely.
**NOXUS. OR AS SION WOULD SAY IT: NOOOOOOXXXUUUUUUUUUUUUUSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!**
We actually learned a fair bit about Noxus, particularly from Sion and Rek'Sai. Here's the run down:
- A long time ago, Demacia was winning the war against Noxus, pressing the latter kingdom to their city walls.
- Sion was an old war hero of Noxus some centuries ago. He was the killer of Jarvan the First, a feat so bad ass his grave was made in to a statue of him in remembrance of how heroic and amazing he was.
- An area exists called old Noxus. This is where Sion was buried, but it is unknown why it was left to rot.
- Sion was a good friend of the former Grand General of Noxus: Boram Darkwill. Boram delved in to necromancy to restore life to his greatest supporter and comrade, potentially birthing the entire concept of Noxian necromancy.
- Andras was a Demacian fortress that was razed, single-handedly, by a reanimated Sion.
- While we all knew about this for a while I'm sure, it's pretty much 100% confirmed now that LeBlanc did disguise herself as Jarvan IV to kick off a war in Kalamanda. She used the princes blood and that same blood was integral in the ritual used to restore Sion's mind.
Noxus has a thing for dogs. Instead of horses they fight alongside War Hounds, and having hounds as pets is not uncommon. War Hounds not only fight but also pull carts full of soldiers, and potentially serve as Noxus's main mount. Noxus has used horses in the past, but their Hounds are clearly much better. I mean they're dogs, the best animal ever.
- Sion, in the past, fought Galio, and both of them survived the encounter. Based on Sion's words, the two fought when Sion was initially resurrected.
- The primary currency of Noxus is securi. Securi is valued by its metal, with gold securi being worth a lot.
- Noxians love the Arena enough for trappers to be paid enough to go to Shurima to purchase/capture creatures to fight in said arenas. Potentially it's for the Fleshling, but it could be for other Arenas.
So what does this mean? Well looking in to it, we actually have some kind of timeline here, once again! Boram looked to the Shadow Isles, among other places, for something to bring Sion back. As indicated by the Harrowing map, the first recorded harrowing was 208 years ago, which means the Shadow Isles has been in it's current state for at least as long.
This all means that for Sion to be forgotten by Noxus and resurrected in a time where the Shadow Isles was a thing, the earlies he probably could have been resurrected was probably a century and a half ago. This is also taking in to account that there would have to be enough time passed for the Shadow Isles to pass in to legend, as indicated by the way LeBlanc and her associates talk about it.
This in turn adds a Demacia timeline; Jarvan I had to have died around the time Sion died, which means, based on the fact that there are only four Jarvans and only two since the original Jarvan have sat the throne, that Jarvan II did not pick up the throne of Jarvan I, it was someone else. Potentially another of the Lightshield dynasty, perhaps another monarch altogether. Another possibility is that Demacia had no monarch until Jarvan II took hold of it, but considering that a 150ish years is probably how the least amount of time possible in this timeline, this gets more and more unlikely the if the dates are any further back.
Sion's lore also brings about the question of Galio, where does he and his master Durand fit in? Galio and Sion's struggle potentially stems from Sion killing Durand, and it's also possible that Durand's creations were what was turning the tide for Demacia and allowed them to push Noxus so far back as they did.
**ZAUN. BET YOU DIDN'T SEE THIS ONE COMING!**
Twitch came along with a shiny new visual upgrade and was like “Here, have some Zaun lore!” So here's some insight in to Zaun:
- MOST IMPORTANTLY at some point in time Zaun was home to a Polytheistic religion. “Godsdamned” and “Oh my gods” are phrases used by Zaunites in common speech, indicating they've been around for a long time.
- Zaun is home to many forms of real world items that are likely only available in Zaun and possibly Piltover, including shampoo, chewing gum, medical sedatives, yoghurt, and an unidentified, manufactured extract relating to babies.
- Zaun is home to two forms of law enforcement: C-Sec, who are presumably Zaun's main security force, and H.I.V.E, who serve as an investigative organisation. Their motto is “Enforcing Progress!” Which can only mean bad news.
- Zaun has sectors that divide it which are identified by a numerical and alphabetical order, for example Sector 90TZ.
- A magazine/newspaper exists in Zaun called “THE SEWER MEN”. It reports about news and stories relating to the individuals who work within Zaun's sewers.
- Zaun's sewers are home to various mutated and sinister individuals, including, the Wilton Twins, Hunch, The Screamers and Twitch the Plague Rat.
**YORDLES. YORDLES MAN.**
So Gnar came along and gave us Yordle history. Not a lot but let's talk!
- Yordles are descended from enormous mammalian beasts. They had huge forelimbs, short tails, big heads with tusks and showcased incredible physical capabilities.
- Between Yordle evolution from giant hulking behemoths and modern Yordles are prehistoric Yordles; much furrier Yordles with small tusks, substantially larger ears, tails and digitigrade legs. These Yordles lived in closely knit family oriented groups, used simply tools and weaponry such as boomerangs and blow-pipes, and had their own primitive language.
- At the time of Prehistoric Yordles creatures which look like the Frozen Watchers appeared in their lands. They terrorised and killed Yordles for unknown reasons.
So what does this mean? Well first thing to think of, why did Yordles evolve like they did? Going from tiny to big isn't all that common unless you're going from micro-organisms to the first living creatures, so perhaps there was magic? I'm personally thinking the Mothership had a hand in this evolution somehow.
Now on to the meat here, Frozen Watchers?! Here's something to think about. Yordles lived, and seem to always have lived on the south side of Valoran, the opposite side of the continent from Freljord. If this thing is a Watcher, this indicates how vast their empire was. As Greyor puts it:
“We took Freljord, we took Valoran. Everywhere we went, men trembled, and the ice followed us.”
Ice Age is exactly what this is. This is strong evidence to suggest that the might of Freljord once spanned ALL of Valoran. Hell this might be why Lissandra even knows Shurima exists; she's seen it before. Potentially ancient Freljord and Shurima fought. I said a while back Nasus and Renekton ascended to fight off a new, alien threat, possibly Brackern, possibly Voidborn, possibly Iceborn? That's interesting.
**SMALLER TIDBITS FOR THE SAKE OF MY OWN SANITY.**
Some smaller bits for ya I've gathered from around the place:
- Sunfire cape bears the crest of Shurima, and looks an awful lot like the capes of Azir's sand soldiers, indicating it was possibly worn by their real life equivalents.
- Rabadon was a real dude, and apparently one well versed in death, as indicated by Karthus.
There's a LOT of wildlife in Valoran. Sheep, Goats, Cows and Dragons in Freljord, Scuttle Crabs, Krugs, Bramblebacks, Murk Wolves, Antlermice, Raptors and Gromps in the Summoner's Rift, bunnies in Urtistan, there's a lot of things!
- Heimerdinger has an assistant. Dunno much about him, but he's quite a smart little Yordle.
- In Techmaturgy there's something called a Tridyminiumobulator that's crucial for hextech-processes. For the record, I spelt Tridyminiumobulator right without checking it first. WUT.
- The Bloodmoon Skins are similar to Aatrox's Justicar skin, existing as a possible Ionian interpretation of certain champions. Akali's and Shen's are costumes about entities within the legends of Bloodmoon, while those of Kalista, Thresh and Elise are the actual interpretations of them in Ionian legend, if such interpretations are actually canon.
- A group of Poros is called a Fluft. It's true.
Alright that should be everything. So again, to iterate, this is a summary of all the things we learned about in the lore this year. So tell me, with all this in consideration, what're your thoughts and theories? Is there anything you noticed that I missed? If you take away anything from this, it's that we learned some serious shit this year, and most of it was in the last six months. So there you go!
Props to you and many thanks if you made it all the way! Have a happy new year lore fans!
TL;DR: hahahahHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA You thought I'd do a tl;dr? THIS THING IS THE TL;DR FOR LORE THIS YEAR! HAHAHAHAHA!!!