One of the ancient race of darkin, Varus was a deadly killer who loved to torment his foes with arrows, driving them to insanity before closing for the kill. Possessed of wondrous beauty, Varus was imprisoned at the end of the Darkin War, but escaped, centuries later, in the remade flesh of two Ionian hunters. The two men had unwittingly released Varus and now bear the bow containing his bound essence. Varus now hunts those who trapped him in order to enact his brutal vengeance, but the souls bound within him fight him every step of the way.
The mortal mages of Runeterra wielded wild magic, heedless of the consequences beyond their own world. Their reckless use of magic attracted the hunger of the darkin, who sent their fiercest warriors to conquer this new world. Varus traveled to Runeterra with the second wave of invaders, and with his crystalline bow, he assassinated enemy commanders and champions, helping the darkin defeat the mortal armies with ever greater ease.
Soon after Aatrox’s fall, Varus was cornered by vastayan moon-stalkers and human mages in service of a golden-armored warrior queen. They bound him within his crystalline bow, leaving him to howl with impotent rage. By now, the corrupting influence of the darkin was known, and the warrior queen alone wielded the deadly bow in the final battle of the war, loosing the last bolt that broke the bridge to the darkin world forever.
At the end of the Darkin War, the queen carried Varus’s bow to a land that would become known as Ionia. Her last act was to imprison the bow deep within a lightless cell sunk deep beneath a mountain temple overlooking the village of Pallas. There it remained, imprisoned by the natural magic of Ionia and the ritual ministrations of its guardians. The bow remained hidden deep underground for centuries, unknown, untouched, and all but forgotten until Noxian invaders attacked Ionia. Two beast hunters - Valmar and his heartlight, Kai - fought the first wave of these invaders at the Temple of Pallas. Though their courage was great and drove off the attackers, Kai was mortally wounded. A grief-stricken Val carried him inside, praying the temple’s magic would restore him.
But the temple held only damnation, and both hunters were consumed by the unleashed power of the darkin. The very matter of their bodies was unraveled and bound together in a warp and weft of new flesh to craft a perfect body, fit to bear the soul of Varus. What emerged from the temple was a gestalt creature, pale and inhumanly beautiful, part human, part darkin, Varus was reborn as an entity with a war for supremacy being waged in its soul.
The human and darkin elements of this newborn body are in constant flux, with each element sometimes managing to wrest control of the body for a short time before being reined in by the other. Varus fights to overcome Val and Kai’s resistance once and for all so that he may wreak vengeance on mortals for the destruction of his race. But Kai and Val fight on against his malevolent influence, hoping against hope that their love can overcome the darkin’s baser urges.
How long Val and Kai can keep Varus fully at bay is anyone’s guess, but should this sadistic and egotistical darkin killer come to fully dominate his new body, it is certain he will seek to reunite with the survivors of his race in hopes of reducing Runeterra to an ashen wasteland.
- As We Fall
- Dark Kin
Varus followed a river running through the desert. Its water was gritty, but drinkable. The new body he had wrought to bear his bow was beautiful, fast and strong, but it came with the weaknesses of flesh. It hungered. It thirsted. Days earlier, a crook-backed creature with a withered arm and birdlike features had told him this was Shurima, but that couldn’t be true. The Shurima Varus remembered had been a desolate wasteland.
“Was I imprisoned for so long?” he wondered.
He despised the human noises his new mouth made. It sounded bestial and primitive, but at least he could speak aloud once more. As to how long he had been imprisoned... it was hard to say. He retained no concept of how mortals measured time, and the bird creature hadn’t recognized what he was. She had no idea how far back the Darkin War had been fought.
“My kind all but destroyed this world,” he said. “And now we have been forgotten? How is that even possible?” With enough time, even the greatest horrors can fade.
The voice echoed in his skull, impossible to ignore. Which one was it? Kai or Valmar? He suspected Val, but mortal minds were so simple and muddy that it was hard to tell one from another.
“Any race that can forget staring into the abyss of its own extinction does not deserve to live,” said Varus. We don’t forget. This was Valmar, decided Varus. Horrors become myths so we can bear to hear them, so we can learn from them and not go mad.
Such a notion was ridiculous, and Varus knew he would never allow the doom of his species to fade from memory. He was about to say so, when he heard noises from around a bend in the river ahead; shouting voices, braying animals and the sound of tools on stone. He darted forward, into the shadow of a toppled obelisk, and scanned ahead. The new river had exposed the sunken ruins of some ancient structure comprised of pillars and statues of animal-headed gods. Yes, this was the source of the magic he had sensed. Old magic. The kind the flame-haired queen used to enslave his kind.
The kind used to imprison him beneath the rock of Ionia.
Tanned, wolf-lean men worked the ruins, digging out hidden reliquary chambers as thick-limbed beasts of burden dragged excavated rocks from deeper inside the structure. Armed warriors wearing boiled leather breastplates and carrying hook-bladed spears guarded the perimeter. Varus grinned and vaulted onto the obelisk, drawing back on his bow as he landed. Violet light built in the crystalline weapon as it flexed, and a coruscating arrow of purple lightning formed in the air.
Why must you kill them? This was Kai. He hated unnecessary killing.
Varus felt his hands tremble as Kai fought to make him lower the bow.
“Your kind destroyed my kin,” said Varus, exerting his will to steady his aim. “That’s the only reason I need.” He sighted along the crackling arrow as a burly warrior with a forked beard and shaven scalp saw him and yelled a warning.
So everyone you see must die?
Varus exhaled, and in the space between breaths loosed the fiery arrow. It flashed through the air to pierce the bearded warrior through the heart, burning a hole clean through him. He dropped to his knees, his mouth wide with shock. Other warriors hurled spears, but Varus was already moving. He sprang from the obelisk, loosing fiery, blood-red bolts from his bow. Varus hit the ground running, and five warriors died in as many bolts. A further three fell, pierced by the same crackling shaft.
A hook-spear swung at Varus. He dived to the side, rising to his feet and sending a pair of crimson shafts through his attacker’s chest. Varus sprinted, leapt and dashed through the ruins, blazing shafts of light eviscerating his targets with absolute precision.
In seconds it was over. Sixteen dead, and he hadn’t even broken sweat. He felt the anguish of the mortal souls within him and grinned. Every death gnawed at them, weakened them and made them less able to fight him. The men excavating the ruined city fled, throwing down their tools and running for the river. Varus let them go. They were an irrelevance, and the killing of mortals without weapons always provoked the mortal souls within him to rebellion.
Varus entered the ruined structure, briefly glancing at a pair of jackal and crocodilian statues as he passed. Inside, it was cool and dark, the walls covered in vivid bas-reliefs depicting wide discs spreading golden rays over a bountiful land. The stone floor was inscribed with a magical script that had been ancient even before the darkin came to Runeterra.
“Warding sigils. Potent once, but faded,” said Varus, crossing the inscribed flagstones to where a towering statue of a great serpent-headed god had once stood sentinel. Some past catastrophe had toppled it, and beyond its sandstone remains lay a lightless chamber.
Varus entered, the glow from the smoldering light at his heart revealing nothing but bare stone, burned black and glossy with ancient fire.
Varus sighed. “Where are you, sister?” he said."