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Lore

Ascended Champions


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The Aspects

The sky around Mount Targon shimmers with celestial bodies; the sun and moons, but also constellations, planets, fiery comets that streak the darkness, and auspicious arrangements of stars. The people living at the mountain's base believe these to be aspects of long-vanished stellar beings, creatures powerful and ancient on a scale beyond human comprehension. Some believe the power of these Aspects sometimes come down the mountain within the lambent bodies of those climbers found worthy. Such an occurrence is unimaginably rare and amazing tales of their exploits form around such individuals, who only ever appear once every few generations.

It is incredibly unusual for more than a single Aspect to walk the earth of Runeterra at any given time, so the tales of several Aspects manifesting has spread a pall of fear and uncertainty around the mountain. For what threat might be arising that requires the power of so many powerful beings to fight?

Rise of the God-Warriors

Guided by the divine Aspects of Targon in preparation for some unknown future war, the ancient Shurimans used the Sun Disc at Nerimazeth to create the first Ascended. After the fail in Nerimazeth, the Shurimans built a bigger Sun Disc in the Shuriman capital, likely with the help of Ixtal mages. After its construction, the Oasis of the Dawn appeared inside the structure. Its life giving water poured into the surrounding area, giving life to the desert. Later on the Oasis would form the Mother of Life river system.

In ancient times the rite of Ascension was a ritual usually decided upon by Sun Priests, who were a clergy of specialized dignitaries devoted to an all powerful sun deity. Using an enormous artifact known as the Shurima's Legacy Sun Disc, the priesthood would decree which noble citizen had selflessly served their empire and granted them the chance to do so even after what would normally be their time to die. Because of this many warriors of the Ascended Host were once, if not common, then at least much more prevalent during this era.

Eventually two brothers named Nasus OriginalSquare Nasus and Renekton OriginalSquare Renekton underwent the Ritual of Ascension. Described as 'even ancient then' by Nasus, it bathed the brothers in its arcane energies. Transformed, they took their place alongside the other rare Ascended beings of Shurima, and became its protectors.

But over time, the ritual had become less successful: more and more folk being offered Ascension weren't surviving the ceremony, becoming deformed in the process. By the time of Azir OriginalSquare Azir such a ritual had not been undertaken for centuries.

The Fall of Shurima

Shuriman Crest

The crest of Shurima's Ascended

Approximately three thousand years ago, an adolescent emperor named Azir ruled Shurima. A benevolent and well-meaning ruler ― if overconfident - Azir believed the entire world would benefit from Shurima's culture and way of life. The Imperial Magus, Xerath OriginalSquare Xerath, consulted Azir, and presented to him the prospect of Ascension. With the power of the Ascended driving Shurima's expansion, Xerath said their great nation would further flourish and grow to influence the world at large - a prospect ambitiously seized by the young emperor, despite ancient warnings against Ascension in all but the direst times of need.

The ritual went underway soon after.

Atop of the ritual platform, Azir awaited his Ascension as the Shurima's Legacy Sun Disc collected the morning sunlight and began focusing it onto him. The allure of power quickly incited dissension within Azir's ranks: Xerath befouled the ritual at a critical stage, shoving his emperor aside and taking the power of Ascension for himself. The outcome would be either immortality or self-destruction. The violent magics obliterated them in an instant and wreaked destruction across Shurima, but when the dust settled, Xerath re-materialized as an aberration - a being of raw arcane energy.

Free of flesh and bone, Xerath held nearly infinite power at his command. In the wake of his actions, Nasus and Renekton sensed something had gone wrong, rushed to the Shurima's Legacy Sun Disc, and confronted Xerath, fearing his careless disregard for life would bring further ruin to Shurima. A terrible struggle ensued, and though they could not destroy the Magus Ascendant, they managed to seal Xerath within an enchanted sarcophagus. It was not a permanent solution, for Xerath's vast power was already tearing away at his confines, so Renekton bore Xerath into the Tomb of the Emperors, and told Nasus to seal the door behind him. Nasus reluctantly complied, and entombed his brother with the madman.

Bereft of its emperor and devastated by Xerath's folly, Shurima collapsed and its empire turned into dust. The Ascended warred with each other, causing a cataclysmic conflict that would last for hundreds of years.

The Intervening Years

With Shurima's collapse, the whereabouts of the Ascended have remained unknown for centuries. The only one known to have been active during all this time was Nasus, who spent years wandering the wastes, hoping to find a way to save Renekton from his imprisonment while also looking for a means to deal with Xerath. Xerath spent that time tormenting Renekton, hoping to twist him in to something that may be of use. The warrior's mind was poisoned by Shurima's bane and was driven to madness, having come to believe it was his brother Nasus who had brought about his torment.

Over the centuries, some of the Ascended began to master forbidden forms of primal magic. Through these means and their own willpower, these warriors could transform their own flesh and armor into something unrecognizable from the noble warriors they had once been. These grotesque creatures became known as the darkin.

The Legend of the Darkin

Darkin The Great Darkin War

The Great Darkin War

The darkin are thrice-cursed—once by the ancient enemy they faced, again by the fall of their glorious empire, and finally by the betrayal that has damned them for all eternity.

When the rebels of Icathia foolishly unleashed the Void in battle, Shurima’s defense was led, as ever, by the legendary Ascended. Imbued with the power of the Sun Disc, these “god-warriors” towered over mortal soldiers, wielding magic and blade with equal ease, and eventually they were victorious. Even so, the horrors of the war took a heavy toll, and those who lived to remember it were perhaps never quite as they once were.

Centuries later, with the loss of mighty Azir OriginalSquare Azir at the very moment of his own Ascension, Shurima fell. Although apparently immortal, the god-warriors had been born human—gradually, with no emperor to lead them, many of the surviving Ascended began to falter in purpose as their older, petty ambitions resurfaced. They taught themselves forbidden sorceries, and came to view themselves as the rightful inheritors of the world. The scattered mortal populace named these new tyrants darkin, a whispered curse translating roughly in the old tongue as “the fallen.”

But even the darkin could not escape the sickness of soul that had come from fighting against the Void for so long. After centuries of uneasy alliance, they inevitably turned against one another—and so began the Great Darkin War.

This conflict spread from Shurima to Valoran, and beyond. The renegade god-warriors and the armies they raised were unstoppable, and entire nations were crushed between them. It seemed as though this would be the end of all things… until, Zoe OriginalSquare unexpectedly, the mages of Runeterra learned how to contain the remaining darkin. Through secrecy and cunning artifice, the physical forms of the Ascended could be merged with the celestial power in their hearts, and all of it bound within the weapons they bore. With their leaders imprisoned forever, the rampaging hordes were broken and slain.

These darkin weapons were hidden, many of them carefully guarded by the mortal civilizations that grew in the aftermath—for it was clear that such power could be locked away, but never destroyed.

And, should such power fall into the wrong hands, the darkin will surely rise once more.

Rise of the Ascended

In time Shurima's history would become myth, but some were bold enough to explore deeper, to uncover the mysteries of the fallen empire for themselves. When the Noxian noblewoman Cassiopeia OriginalSquare Cassiopeia Du Couteau began her search for the Tomb of the Emperors, she hired the Battle Mistress Sivir OriginalSquare Sivir to be her guide, knowing full well her jeweled crossblade was the key to open the tomb. Upon arriving at their destination, Cassiopeia struck Sivir down, snatching up the weapon and opening the tomb for the first time in centuries. While she was attacked by the tomb's stone guardian for her intrusion, Xerath and Renekton were able to finally leave, and set about on their own individual goals of freedom and fratricide.

As Sivir OriginalSquare Sivir fell, suddenly at death's door from the wound her Noxian benefactor had given her, her blood sparked an ancient magic within the city, resurrecting Azir. His first thoughts were drawn to Sivir, and he immediately remembered how she could live. Picking her up in his arms he carried her to what remained of the Oasis of the Dawn, and prayed that it was not too late for the pool's healing powers to save her. Sivir's wounds were healed, and this act granted Azir his Ascension. With his newfound power, he raised the ruined Shuriman Capital from the sands.

With the Shurima's Legacy Sun Disc floating above the city anew, and with the Ascended walking the sands once more, a new era has dawned on Shurima.


Media

Pantheon, The Unbreakable Spear - Login Screen

Pantheon, The Unbreakable Spear - Login Screen

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Lyrics
Vocals by Lisa 'Saiyaka' Thorn
Lyrics by Devon 'Runaan' Giehl
Diana's Theme ('Daylight's End')

Ask not the sun why she sets
why she shrouds her light away
or why she hides her glowing gaze
when night turns crimson gold to grey.

For silent falls the guilty sun
as day to dark does turn.
One simple truth she dare not speak
Her light can only blind and burn.

No mercy for the guilty
bring down their lying sun.
Blood so silver black by night
upon their faces pale white.

Cruel moon, bring the end
The dawn will never rise again.


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