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"You didn’t destroy us all. And that mistake will be your undoing." - VarusSquare Varus

One of the ancient darkin, Varus was a deadly killer who loved to torment his foes, driving them almost to insanity before delivering the killing arrow. He was imprisoned at the end of the Great Darkin War, but escaped centuries later in the remade flesh of two Ionian hunters—they had unwittingly released him, cursed to bear the bow containing his bound essence. Varus now seeks out those who trapped him, in order to enact his brutal vengeance, but the mortal souls within still resist him every step of the way.

Arrow of Retribution

Regardless of what he would later become, Varus was once a paragon of loyalty and honor. A skilled archer of the ancient Shuriman empire, he was appointed as a temple warden in the eastern states, and he held this duty sacred above all else.

During the earliest stages of the war with Icathia, even though it lay far from that cursed place, Varus’ homeland was attacked. While other wardens abandoned their posts to join the defense of the outlying villages, he alone remained, screaming in anguish with every arrow he loosed—for he had chosen to uphold his oaths rather than return home to protect his own family.

Emissaries from the Ascended Host found him kneeling in solemn meditation amid the corpses of his foes. It was said that his cold gaze unsettled even the god-warriors themselves, and yet, in recognition of his noble sacrifice, Varus was offered a place in their ranks.

As one of the great Ascended, he was utterly consumed by his pursuit of vengeance against the Icathians, and the voidling horrors they had unleashed. It is likely that Varus did not even fully comprehend Shurima’s ultimate victory in that war, so twisted had his mind become—nor the empire’s fall centuries later. Atrocity after atrocity blurred together, leaving him as a withdrawn, callous killer, reshaped and sent into battle countless times by his degenerate brethren.

Their name became feared throughout the known world.

The darkin.

Warring among themselves, they destroyed any other who stood against them. With his crystalline bow, Varus assassinated enemy commanders and champions, helping the darkin defeat entire mortal armies with ever greater ease. Eventually, Varus was cornered by vastayan moon-stalkers and human mages in service of a golden-armored warrior queen of Valoran. They bound him within his bow, leaving him to howl in impotent rage. By then, the raw, corrupting influence of the darkin was known, and yet still the queen chose to wield the deadly weapon in the final days of the war, gladly sacrificing herself for a greater victory.

In the months that followed, the queen carried Varus to the First Lands—those that would later be known as Ionia. Now made monstrous by the bow’s power, her last act was to command her followers to bury her alive in a lightless well, sunk deep beneath a mountain temple overlooking the village of Pallas.

And there Varus was imprisoned, both by the natural magic of Ionia, and the ritual ministrations of the temple guardians.

The bow remained hidden for centuries, unknown, untouched, and all but forgotten, until Noxian invaders attacked the First Lands. Two beast hunters—Valmar and his heartlight, Kai—fought against the first wave at the Temple of Pallas. Though their courage was great and they drove off the attackers, Kai was mortally wounded, and a grief-stricken Val carried him inside, believing the well’s forbidden magic could restore him.

But the temple held only damnation, and both hunters were consumed by the unleashed power of the darkin within it. The very matter of their bodies was unraveled and bound together again to craft a new body, a body fit to free Varus from his imprisonment. What emerged from the well was a gestalt creature, pale and inhumanly beautiful, part human and part darkin. After more than a thousand years, Varus was reborn.

Even so, the human and darkin elements of this imperfect form are in constant flux, with each managing to wrest control for a short time before being reined in by the other. Varus fights to silence the two mortal souls once and for all, and wreak vengeance for the destruction of his race. Still, Kai and Val struggle against his malevolent influence, hoping against hope that their love can overcome the darkin’s hatred.

How long they can keep Varus conflicted is anyone’s guess—but should this sadistic and egotistical killer come to fully dominate his new host, it is certain he will seek to reunite with others of his kind, and reduce all of Runeterra to an ashen wasteland.

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Starring Champion

Varus As We Fall
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Video

As We Fall

Witness the incarnation of vengeance.

Varus Darkin A Legacy Of Pain
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Short Story

Dark Kin

By Graham McNeill

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.

Varus Heartlight cover 02
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Ionia Crest icon

Comic

Heartlight

By Graham McNeill

Ionia. A land of magic. A land of balance. A land of light. But not always a land of peace. Just as there are creatures within Ionia who seek to upset its order, so too are there those who fight to preserve it; Arrows of Protection, hunters of monsters. Valmar and Kai are two such hunters. But not all monsters can be defeated with bow and steel. And not all darkness can be so easily banished by the light.

Varus Retribution cover
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Ionia Crest icon

Comic

Retribution

By Graham McNeill

Slayer Valmar, desperate to save the life of his beloved Kai, surrendered to an ancient spirit, one of the Darkin. The creature, true to its word, saved Kai's life... by taking it as its own. Valmar, Kai, and the Darkin fused into a single entity. A creature of rage, vengeance, and death. Varus lives.

Mentioned Champion

Darkin The Great Darkin War
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Shurima Crest icon

Short Story

The Legend of the Darkin

By Graham McNeill

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.

Darkin To Slay Legends
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Shurima Crest icon

Short Story • 25 Minute Read

Twilight of the Gods

By Graham McNeill

They came to a dead city in the mountain's shadow under cover of night.

Void The Fall Of Icathia
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Short Story • 22 Minute Read

Where Icathia Once Stood

By Graham McNeill

My name is Axamuk Var-Choi Kohari Icath'or.

Alternate Universes

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