I was going to post this as a comment in Jaredan's thread, but I didn't want to do a double post before and after reading the stories.
I just read them both, and, seriously, this is an improvement.
Xerath was a slave who served the last emperor as well, and thinks of Azir as nothing more than a spoiled brat. He wants freedom and the chance to stop what he considers an oppressive system. His hate has just been boiling, and it's justified. He's also hinted to have saved Azir or another Shuriman noble's life, for no reward, and mentions Azir having "blood on his hands". Welcome back motivation for Xerath!
Azir though, really thought he was doing good. And my favorite line is when he refers to Xerath as "his boundsman, his magus, his friend". Azir not only trusted Xerath, he thought he was his friend. That's a connection that hurts to be severed, and we even learn that Azir had a family, a pregnant wife, a son, and a daughter, who died in the blast. Now we know why Azir was so stricken by Sivir. Maybe family resemblance reminds him of the loved ones he lost when Shurima fell.
These are really akin to the old League Judgements in that they tell us why the characters do what they do. If these stories were released with the Shurima Event, i think the reaction would have been much more positive. I don't agree that the IOW and Summoners should have gone, but this is a step in the right direction. Excited to see where the story goes with the serial lores Carnival Knights mentioned.
I know a lot of you are pretty angry with the Lore lately, but you should give these a read. I really liked them.