"The mist comes for you." - The Shadow Isles page has been updated with new lore for Yorick, Elise, and Maokai, a new story for Evelynn, and The Princeling's Lament poem!
Table of Contents
- Shadow Isles Page
- The Princeling's Lament
- Yorick, the Shepherd of Souls
- Elise, the Spider Queen
- Maokai, the Twisted Treant
- Evelynn, the Widowmaker
- Previously Released Shadow Isles Content
Shadow Isles Page
The Shadow Isles lore page has been updated with several stories and new content!
"The land now known as the Shadow Isles was once a beautiful realm, but it was shattered by a magical cataclysm. Black Mist permanently shrouds the isles and the land itself is tainted, corrupted by malevolent sorcery. Living beings that stand upon the Shadow Isles slowly have their life-force leeched from them, which, in turn, draws the insatiable, predatory spirits of the dead. Those who perish within the Black Mist are condemned to haunt this melancholy land for eternity. Worse, the power of the Shadow Isles is waxing stronger with every passing year, allowing the shades of undeath to extend their range and reap souls all across Runeterra."Here's the full background image:
The Princeling's Lament
First up we have a poem titled The Princeling's Lament in both audio and text form:
Scrape the bench of sunless moss,And harken to this tale of loss.A princess lies below the soil,A king’s pride and joy, a beauty divine.Now food for worms, her flesh to dine.Skin once fair, now left to spoil.
A Princeling came, a suitor fair,To press his cause, to wed the heir.The marriage feast like none beforewas blighted by a deed most foul.A poisoned cup, the king did howl.To find a cure, the Princeling swore.
His ship set sail, crossed ocean’s deep,With knights all pledged to end death’s sleep.Through tempests fierce and unknown miles,Drawn by wind from a land undying,The very storm its name seem’d sighing.A place men named the Shadow Isles.
Like the hound abroad with bloody scent,Drawn ever on by forlorn lament,To a night-veiled isle on no man’s chart.No wind was heard, no bird nor beast,Only spirits summoned by death’s priest.Onward knights to this island’s heart!
Through black-thorned trees on crooked path,A clash of steel, a cry of wrath.The Shadow of War wrought bitter defeat,The Princeling’s men were slain.He ran in fear; they died in vain,His love of life too bright, too sweet.
Lost in darkest, haunted night,Pursued by spiteful wraith and wight.He chanced upon a moonlit field,And a ghastly monk assailed by the mist.“Aid me!” cried he, “With sword and fist!The spirits are cruel, their hearts unhealed.”
“Here, all men are equal, all sins forgiven,But pride hath made this land corpse-riven.The dead we’ll fight, our lives as the prize.Shepherd them onward, and then come the dawn,Triumph will teach you secrets long gone,But vanquished, we fall and then rise.”
They fought as brothers on cursed battleground,Atop the bones of scholars renowned‘Gainst spirits in black, with hunger infernal.Dawn never came, but the battle was done.The monk and the Princeling had won!“Speak, fellow! Tell secrets of life eternal.”
The monk told tales of a time forgottenAn ancient queen, now dead and mulch-rotten.Of her king brought low by sorrow and woe,Who came to this isle to bring back her life,But damned the world to endless strife,Spirits of death and carrion crow.
His magic unleashed a terrible scourge;Grim prelude to the Deathsinger’s dirge.Black mist rose up and doomed all to death.But spirits arose from every dead thing,Cursed to undeath by this grief-maddened king.He begged it all end with his very last breath.
A land once blessed, was ripped asunder,Split with lightning and beaten by thunder.Phantoms now mutter in graves enshrined.And banshees throng its haunted streets,Shrieking their woes of black defeats,A boundless curse upon all mankind.
The Princeling listened, all aghast,To hear this tale from the grim outcast.He spared this ancient king no boon,But tales of death and grim disaster;Unmask all, from slave to master.The Princeling’s lies laid bare by the moon.
The goblet supped by his new wife,The Princeling poisoned to take her life.Her father’s wealth and crown he craved;No cure he wished, but existence deathless,No succor for his queen, forever breathless;His soul was dark, his mind depraved.
And yet his bride had one last curse.A fatal spell of bitter verse.Justice sought with dying breath,Set the Spear of Vengeance on the huntTo punish him for such great affrontAnd bring about his bloody death.
The mist closed in and called his name,A huntress aglow in mist-wreathed flame.Her spears of light pierced his breast,A cold ground yawned wide and deep,The Princeling fell to blackest sleep,Never to wake from his victim’s bequest.
Smothered in darkness, dying in pain,No crown for his brow, never to reign.Buried forever in earth’s dark womb,Heed the price of ambition’s dark callBe not ensnared by its artful thrall,The Princeling’s greed was his doom.
A pallid light waxed cold and bright,Borne up through the earth, his soul took flight.No reprieve was this, but torment afresh,The Warden of Chains drawn by his scent.Dancing to the Deathsinger’s lament.“Your soul is mine,” said the beast called Thresh.
So heed this fate and learn it well,Shun the Isles where the dead still dwell.Seek ye all the things to cherish,And pass the years in time well spent.A life full-lived, a soul content.
And know you all are doomed to perish..."
Yorick, the Shepherd of Souls
With his champion update now out on live, Yorick's champion bio and story has been updated:
“These isles… How they scream.”
The last survivor of a long-forgotten religious order, Yorick is both blessed and cursed with power over the dead. Trapped on the Shadow Isles, his only companions are the rotting corpses and shrieking spirits that he gathers to him. Yorick’s monstrous actions belie his noble purpose: to free his home from the curse of the Ruination.
Even as a child, Yorick’s life was never normal. Raised in a fishing village at the very edge of the Blessed Isles, he always struggled to find acceptance. While most children his age were playing hide-and-seek, young Yorick was making friends of a different kind—the spirits of the recently deceased.
At first, Yorick was terrified of his ability to see and hear the dead. Whenever someone in the village passed away, Yorick would lie awake all night, waiting for the chilling cry of a new visitor. He could not understand why they chose to haunt him, and why his parents believed the spirits to be nothing more than nightmares.
In time, he came to realize the souls were not there to harm him. They were simply lost and needed help finding their way to the beyond. Since only Yorick was able to see these spirits, he took it upon himself to be their guide, escorting them to whatever awaited in eternity.
The task was bittersweet. Yorick found that he enjoyed the company of ghosts, but each one he brought to rest meant saying farewell to another friend. To the dead, he was a savior, but to the living, he was a pariah. The villagers only saw a disturbed little boy who spoke to people who weren’t there.
Tales of Yorick’s visions soon spread beyond his village, and drew the attention of a small order of monks who dwelled at the heart of the Blessed Isles. Its envoys traveled to Yorick’s island, believing he could become an asset to their faith.
Yorick agreed to journey to their monastery, and there, he learned the ways of the Brethren of the Dusk and the true significance of their trappings. Every monk carried a spade as a symbol of their duty to conduct proper burial rites, which ensured souls would not lose their way. And each brother wore a vial of water drawn from the Blessed Isles’ sacred spring. These Tears of Life represented the monks’ duty to heal the living.
Yet, no matter how he tried, Yorick could never gain the acceptance of the other monks. To them, he was tangible proof of things that should only be known through faith. They resented his power to easily perceive what they themselves had struggled their entire lives to understand. Shunned by his brothers, Yorick found himself alone again.
One morning, as he tended to his duties in the cemetery, Yorick was interrupted by the sight of a pitch-black cloud roiling across the surface of the Blessed Isles, devouring everything in its path. Yorick tried to run, but the cloud quickly enveloped him and plunged him into shadow.
All around Yorick, living things began to writhe and contort, corrupted by the foul magic in the Black Mist. People, animals, even plants began to transform into vile, ghoulish mockeries of their former selves. Whispers emanated from the turbulent air around him, and his brothers began ripping the vials of healing water from their necks, as if the objects were causing them great anguish. A moment later, Yorick watched in abject horror as the monks’ souls were ripped from their bodies, leaving cold, pale corpses behind.
Among the quieting screams of his brethren, Yorick alone could hear voices within the mist.
“Remove it. Join us. We will become one.”
He felt his fingers grasping for the vial at his neck. Mustering all his resolve, Yorick forced his hands away from his throat and commanded the howling souls to stop. The Black Mist writhed violently, and darkness overtook him.
When Yorick awoke, the winds had calmed, and the once-fertile lands had transformed into the grotesque hellscape of the Shadow Isles. Isolated tendrils of the Black Mist clung to him, trying to overtake the one living thing not yet corrupted. As the Mist wrapped itself around him, Yorick saw it suddenly recoil from the vial at his neck. Yorick clutched the blessed water, realizing it was all that kept him alive.
In the days that followed, Yorick scoured the islands for survivors, but found only the twisted remnants of what once lived there. Everywhere he walked, he witnessed wretched spirits rising from the bodies of the dead.
As he searched, Yorick slowly pieced together the events that led to the cataclysm: A king had arrived seeking to resurrect his queen, but instead, had doomed the Isles and everything on them.
Yorick wished to find this “Ruined King” and undo the curse he had unleashed. But he felt powerless in the face of the seemingly endless death that surrounded him.
Almost lost within his grief, Yorick began to speak to the spirits around him, attempting to find solace with them as he had as a child. Instead, as he communed with the Mist, corpses left their graves, guided by his voice. He realized the bodies he once laid to rest were now his to command.
A glimmer of hope shone from the heart of his despair. To free the dead of the Shadow Isles, Yorick would wield their power and their strength.
In order to end the curse, he would be forced to use it.
“Help… me,” begged the shipwrecked man.
Yorick couldn’t say how long the survivor had been lying there, bones broken, bleeding into what remained of his wrecked sailing vessel. He had been moaning loudly, but his cries were drowned out by the multitude of wailing souls that haunted the isle. A maelstrom of spirits gathered around him, drawn to his flickering life force like a beacon, hungry to reap a fresh soul. The man’s eyes widened in horror.
He was right to be scared. Yorick had seen what happened to lost spirits taken by the Black Mist, and this—this was warm flesh, a rarity in the Shadow Isles. It had been how long—a hundred years?—since Yorick had seen a living being? He could feel the Mist on his back quivering, eager to wrap this stranger in its cold embrace. But the sight of the man stirred something in Yorick he had long forgotten, and whatever it was would not allow him to surrender this life. The burly monk heaved the damaged man onto his shoulders and carried him back up the hill to his old monastery.
Yorick studied the face of the injured man as he groaned in agonized protest with each step the monk took. Why did you come here, live one?
After completing the climb, Yorick carried his guest through several corridors in the abbey, before coming to a stop in an old infirmary. He eased the shipwrecked man onto a massive stone table and began to check his vitals. Most of the man’s ribs were shattered, and one of his lungs had collapsed.
“Why do you waste your time?” asked a chorus of voices, speaking in unison from the Mist on Yorick’s back.
Yorick remained silent. He left the table and made his way to a heavy door in the rear of the infirmary. The door resisted as he pushed, his hand doing little but leaving a print in the thick layer of dust. He pressed his shoulder against the wood and heaved his entire weight into it.
“So much effort for naught,” sneered the Mist. “Let us have him.”
Again, Yorick answered it with contemptuous silence as he finally forced the door open. The heavy oak dragged across the stone tiles of the monastery floor, revealing a chamber full of scrolls, herbs, and poultices. For a moment, Yorick stared at the artifacts of his former life, struggling to remember how to use them. He picked up a few that looked familiar—bandages, yellow and brittle with age, and some ointment that had long turned to crust—and returned to the man atop the stone table.
“Just leave him,” said the Mist. “He was ours the moment he came ashore.”
“Quiet!” snapped Yorick.
The man on the table was now gasping for breath. Knowing he had little time to save him, Yorick tried to bind his wounds, but the rotten bandages fell apart as quickly as he could apply them.
As his breath grew more ragged, the man convulsed. He grabbed the monk’s arm in agonized desperation. Yorick knew there was only one thing that could save the man’s life. He uncorked the crystal vial at his neck, and considered the life-giving water it contained. There was precious little left. Yorick was unsure if it was enough to save the man, and even if it did…
Yorick was forced to face the truth. In trying to save the man, he was just chasing the memory of his former life, when this cursed place was called the Blessed Isles. The souls in the Mist had taunted him, but they’d taunted him with the truth. This man was doomed, and if Yorick used the Tears of Life, he would be too. He closed the vial and let it rest against his neck.
Stepping back from the table, Yorick watched the man’s chest rise and fall one last time.
The Black Mist filled the room, spirits clawing out from it in anticipation. The Mist shivered eagerly, then ripped the dead man’s soul from his body. It uttered a faint, feeble cry before it was devoured by its new host.
Yorick stood motionless in the room and uttered a barely remembered prayer. He looked at the soulless husk on the table, a bitter reminder of the task he had yet to complete.
While the curse of the Ruination remained, anyone who came to these isles would suffer the same fate. He had to bring peace to these cursed islands, but after years of searching, all he had found were whispers about a ruined king.
He needed answers.
With a single motion of Yorick’s hand, a thin strand of Mist poured into the man’s body. A moment later, it rose from the table, barely sentient. But it could see, it could hear, and it could walk.
“Help me,” said Yorick.
The body shambled out the door of the infirmary, its sloughing footsteps echoing through the halls of the monastery. It continued out into the foul air of the cemetery, walking through the rows of emptied graves.
Yorick watched as the corpse trudged toward the center of the isles until it disappeared into the Mist. Perhaps this one would return with the answer."
Elise, the Spider Queen
“Beauty is power too, and can strike swifter than any sword.”
Elise is a deadly predator who dwells in a shuttered, lightless palace, deep in the Immortal Bastion of Noxus. Once she was mortal, the mistress of a once-powerful house, but the bite of a vile spider god transformed her into something beautiful, undying, and utterly inhuman. To maintain her eternal youth, Elise preys upon the innocent, and there are few who can resist her seductions.
The Lady Elise was born many centuries ago to House Kythera, an old and powerful family of Noxus, and swiftly learned the power of beauty to influence the weak-minded. When she came of age, she plotted to marry the scion of House Zaavan to augment her house’s power. The match was opposed by many within Zaavan, but Elise beguiled her intended husband and manipulated her detractors to secure a betrothal.
As Elise had planned, her influence upon her new husband proved considerable. House Zaavan grew stronger, which in turn saw House Kythera’s star rise. Elise’s husband was the face of his house, but those in the know understood who truly wielded power. At first, Elise’s husband tolerated this, but as the years went by, his discontent festered as he became alight joke among Noxian families.
Eventually, his resentment grew ever more rancorous until one night over a typically frosty dinner, he revealed he had tainted her wine with a disfiguring poison. He offered his terms; withdraw from society and stay out of his way as he took up the reins of power and he would give her the antidote. Refuse, and he would watch her die slowly and painfully. With every breath the poison did its evil work, dissolving her flesh and bone from the inside out. Believing he would have the antidote somewhere about his person, Elise palmed a sharp knife and played the role of remorseful wife to the hilt. She wept and begged her husband to forgive her, using every wile in her arsenal to approach without alerting him to her deadly intent. All the while, the poison was wracking her body, discoloring her flesh with grotesque lesions and filling her limbs with agony.
When Elise reached her husband, he realized - too late - just how badly he had underestimated her disdain. She leapt upon him and rammed the knife through his heart, twisting the blade slowly as she watched him die. Elise found and drank the antidote, but the damage was done. Her face was monstrously disfigured with grotesque weals and necrotic flesh, like a cadaver given hideous animation.
Elise was now mistress of House Zaavan, and such was the nature of Noxian politics that she was lauded for cutting a weakness from the empire. Yet so entwined were her particular notions of beauty and power that she retreated from public life and took to wearing a face-covering veil. Eschewing daylight, and turning away all allies and petitioners from her door, her once powerful house began a slow descent into obscurity. Elise roamed the empty halls of her palace in isolation and became a denizen of darkness, only ever venturing beyond its high walls at night.
On one of her midnight wanderings, Elise was approached by another veiled woman, who pressed a waxen sigil of a Black Rose into her palm and whispered that the Pale Woman would greatly value her talents. Elise pressed on, but as she walked away, the woman’s voice echoed after her with the promise of being made whole again. However absurd she told herself it was, vanity and the hope of her beauty being renewed drove Elise to investigate further. She prowled the streets for weeks until she saw the Black Rose sigil again, etched onto a shadowed archway leading into the catacombs beneath Noxus.
Following the hidden sigils brought her to the Black Rose, a secret society where those who dabbled in the darker powers of magic shared hidden knowledge and secrets. Elise became a regular visitor, going unveiled among its members and swiftly establishing a close rapport with the Pale Woman, an agelessly beautiful individual of great power. Elise embraced the society’s ways, but always sought the gift she had been promised; her beauty made whole again.
The Pale Woman spoke of a haunted place known as the Shadow Isles and a serpent-bladed athame belonging to one of her acolytes who had been slain in the lair of a voracious spider god. The dagger was imbued with powerful magic, and if it was returned to her, then she would use its magic to restore Elise’s beauty. Elise immediately accepted and led a group of Black Rose devotees to the shunned island, knowing there would be a blood price to pay for such a prize.
Elise found a desperate, debt-ridden captain willing to bear her and her fellow pilgrims across the ocean. The ship sailed for weeks until a craggy island loomed from seething banks of black mist. Elise came ashore on a beach of ashen sand and led her followers deep into the island’s haunted depths like lambs to the slaughter. Many were stolen away by spiteful wraiths, but half a dozen remained by the time they reached the web-wreathed lair of the Spider God.
A bloated, monstrous creature of chitin and fangs erupted from the darkness and feasted on the screaming men and women. As they died or were swept up in streams of web, Elise saw the dagger the Pale Woman sought - held in the grip of a desiccated corpse. She snatched it up as the Spider God sank its envenomed fangs into her shoulder. Elise fell forward and the blade of the athame pierced her heart, its powerful magic flooding her and mixing with the lethal venom to wreak terrible changes on her body. Elise was transformed as the magically-empowered venom renewed her flesh, transforming it into a form even more beautiful than before. Her scars vanished and her skin became flawless and porcelain smooth, but the god’s venom had ambitions of its own. Elise’s back writhed with undulant motion as a host of arachnoid legs pushed their way from her flesh.
Elise rose, breathless with the agony of her transformation, to find the Spider God looming above her. Shared power flowed between them, and both immediately sensed how they might benefit from this unexpected symbiosis. Elise returned to her ship, untroubled by the island’s spirits, and set sail for Noxus. When her ship arrived at the docks in the dead of night, Elise was the only living thing aboard.
Elise returned the athame to the leader of the Black Rose, though the Pale Woman warned that the magic maintaining her restored beauty would eventually fade. The two sealed a pact; the Black Rose would provide Elise with acolytes to offer up to the Spider God, and she in turn, would return any artifacts of power she discovered upon the isles.
Elise once again took up residence in the neglected halls of House Zaavan, becoming known as a beautiful yet unreachable recluse. None suspected her true nature, yet fanciful rumors cling to her, wild tales of her immortal beauty and a terrifying creature said to lair high in her dilapidated, dust-wreathed palace.
Centuries have passed since her first voyage to the Shadow Isles, and whenever Elise sees streaks of white in her hair or crow’s feet at her eyes, she ventures forth to cull easily swayed souls from the Black Rose and set sail for the isle of black mists. None who accompany her ever return, and with each voyage, it is said she is renewed and invigorated, bearing another ancient artifact for the Pale Woman.
The weeks spent on the ocean had made Markus feel dizzy and weak, so he was glad to be back on dry land. The path leading from the basalt shore had a slick, oily quality, making it treacherous underfoot. The crooked trees to either side were wretched, blackened husks that wept yellowed sap from where it looked like some panicked animal had clawed them ragged. Soft light shimmered between the trees, dancing like the corpse candles that flickered over marshland and drew unwary souls to their doom. The branches were hung with what looked like canopies of ragged muslin, and it took Markus a moment to realize they were swathes of cobwebs.
Wiry bracken clogged the undergrowth on either side of the path, rustling with the motion of unseen creatures shadowing their passage through the forest. Perhaps the rats infesting the ship had followed them. Markus had never caught sight of one, beyond a fleeting glimpse of a swollen, black-furred body or the skittering sound of claws on wood. He’d never been able to shake the notion that it sounded as if these rats had a few too many legs than any normal rat should have.
The island’s air was heavy with damp, and his finely tailored tunic and boots were sodden with clinging moisture. He held a scented pomander beneath his nose, but it did little to disguise the stench of the island, reminding him of the charnel pits beyond the walls of Noxus when the winds blew in from the ocean. Thinking back to his homeland, he felt a brief twinge of unease. The revels in the catacombs far beneath the city had been a deliciously illicit thrill, a reward for following the secret symbol of the black-petaled bloom. Within the darkened sepulchers, he and his fellows gathered as devotees.
Where she awaited.
He looked ahead, hoping for a glimpse of the beguiling woman whose words had brought so many of them to this place. He caught a flash of crimson silk and swaying hips before the mist oozing between the trees obscured his sight of her. He’d thrilled to the sermons of her ancient god, and had been overjoyed when he and the others had been chosen to join her on this pilgrimage. It seemed like a grand adventure when they boarded the heavily laden barque at midnight, under the still gaze of the mute and hooded steersman, but being so far from Noxus had begun to dull his enthusiasm.
Markus paused and turned to look back along the path. His fellow pilgrims pushed past, like vacant-eyed cattle en route to the slaughterman’s hammer. What was wrong with them? Behind them came the steersman, gliding over the path as though his feet barely touched it. His robes were undulant with motion and suffocating fear flowered in Markus’s breast at the thought of being near this repellent figure.
He turned away, only to find himself face to face with her.
“Elise…” he said, and the breath caught in his throat. He instinctively wanted to push her away and flee this awful place, but the intoxication of her dark beauty overpowered any thought of rejection. His sense of revulsion passed so swiftly he wasn’t even sure he’d truly felt it.
“Markus,” she said, and the sound of his name on her lips was divine, sending a surge of pleasure down his spine. Her beauty transfixed him, and he savored every detail of her perfect form. Her features were angular and sharp, framed by lustrous crimson hair, like that of a highborn girl he once knew. Full lips and eyes of dark radiance drew him deeper into her web with the promise of raptures yet to come. A cloak of sable secured by an eight-pronged brooch, mantled her rounded shoulders. It rippled with motion, though there was no wind to stir it.
“Is something the matter, Markus?” she said. Her smoky tones soothed his fear like a balm. “I need you to be at peace. You are at peace, aren’t you, Markus?”
“Yes, Elise,” he said. “I am at peace.”
“Good. It would make me unhappy to know you were not at peace when we are so close.”
The thought of displeasing her sent a jolt of panic through Markus and he dropped to the ground. He wrapped his arms around her legs, her limbs slender and alabaster white, smooth and cold to the touch.
“Anything for you, mistress,” he said.
She looked down on him and smiled. For an instant Markus thought he saw something long, thin and glossy shift beneath her cloak. The motion was sickening and unnatural, but he didn’t care. She hooked a sharpened, obsidian-black fingernail under his chin and drew him to his feet. A rivulet of blood ran down his neck, but he ignored it as she turned and led him onward.
He willingly followed, all thoughts save pleasing her vanishing like wind-blown smoke. The trees thinned out and the path ended before a rocky cliff carved with time-weathered symbols that made his eyes sting. A shadowed cave gaped like a vile maw at the base of the cliff, and Markus felt his certainty waver as a sudden sense of dread uncoiled in his gut.
Elise beckoned him inside, and he was powerless to resist.
The interior of the cave was unnaturally dark and stiflingly warm, a clammy, fever heat that reeked like offal swept from a butcher’s block. A voice deep inside was screaming at him to run, to get as far from this hideous place as possible, but his traitorous feet carried him still deeper into the cave. A droplet from somewhere high above landed on his cheek and he flinched at the sudden, burning pain of it. He looked up at the cavern roof, seeing pale, grub-like shapes hanging overhead and swaying with frantic, trapped motion. In the translucent surface of the fresh-spun web, a human face screamed in mute horror against the suffocating, silken net.
“What is this place?” he asked, the veils of deceit woven around him falling away.
“This is my temple, Markus,” said Elise, reaching up to unfasten the eight-pronged brooch at her shoulder and letting her cloak fall away. “This is the lair of the Spider God.”
Her shoulders squirmed as two pairs of slender, chitinous limbs unfolded from the flesh of her back; long, dark and tapering to razored talons. They lifted Elise up as a grotesque, bloated mass shifted in the darkness behind her. Colossal legs heaved its corrupt body forward, the faint light from beyond the cave reflecting on the myriad facets of its eyes.
The vast spider’s bulk was enormous, furred and scabbed with wet, mutant growths. The terror of its nightmarish appearance shattered the last of Elise’s hold on Markus, and he fled toward the cave mouth with her cruel laughter ringing in his ears. Ropes of sticky web struck the rock beside him. Glutinous strands struck his flailing limbs and his pace slowed as he became more and more entangled. He heard the clicking of clawed limbs in pursuit and wept at the thought of her touching him. Yet more strands of her web snared him as something sharp stabbed his shoulder with astonishing swiftness. Markus fell to his knees, paralyzing venom spreading through his body and locking him in a prison of his own flesh.
A shadow fell across him and he saw the mute steersman with his arms outstretched.
Markus screamed as the steersman’s hooded robe collapsed, revealing that this was not a man at all, but a writhing nest of innumerable spiders given the semblance of a man.
They fell upon him in their thousands, and his screams were choked to muffled grunts as they crawled into his mouth, clogged his ears and burrowed behind his eyes.
Elise swung into view above him, borne aloft by the jointed limbs at her back. She was no longer beautiful, no longer even human. Her features were alight with a ferocious hunger that could never be sated. The looming form of her monstrous spider god lifted Markus from the ground with its razored mandibles.
“You have to die now, Markus,” said Elise.
“Why…?” he managed with his last breath.
Elise smiled, her mouth now filled with needle-like fangs.
“So that I can live.”"
Maokai, the Twisted Treant
“All around me are empty husks, soulless and unafraid...but I will bring them fear.”
Maokai is a rageful, towering treant who fights the unnatural horrors of the Shadow Isles. He was twisted into a force of vengeance after a magical cataclysm destroyed his home, surviving undeath only through the waters of life infused within his heartwood. Once a peaceful nature spirit, Maokai now furiously battles to banish the scourge of unlife from the Shadow Isles and restore his home to its former beauty.
Long before living memory, a chain of islands erupted from deep beneath the ocean tides as blank slates of rock and clay. With its creation, the nature spirit Maokai was born. He took the form of a treant, with his tall body covered in bark and long limbs resembling branches. Maokai felt the profound loneliness of the land and its potential for teeming growth. He wandered from island to island in search of signs of life, growing ever more forlorn in his solitude.
On a hilly isle covered in soft, rich soil, Maokai sensed a boundless energy radiating from deep beneath the ground. He plunged his great roots downward until they reached a spring of magical, life-giving water and drank deeply. From this potent liquid, he grew hundreds of saplings and planted them across the islands.
Soon the land was shawled with verdant forests, groves of towering virenpine, and tangled woods, all steeped in wondrous magic. Magnificent skytrees with expansive canopies and thickly winding roots covered the isles with lush green foliage. Nature spirits were drawn to the lavish vegetation, and animals reveled in the fertile greenery.
When humans eventually came to the islands, they too thrived in the land’s abundance and formed an enlightened society of scholars devoted to studying the world’s mysteries.
Though Maokai was wary of their presence, he saw how they respected the sanctity of the land. Sensing the deep magic within the woods, the humans built their homes in areas not heavily forested, to avoid disturbing any nature spirits. Maokai occasionally revealed himself directly to those he trusted and blessed them with knowledge of the verdant isles, even its greatest gift – the underground spring that could heal mortal wounds.
Centuries passed, and Maokai lived in idyllic contentment until a fleet of soldiers from across the sea beached upon the shores of the isles. Maokai sensed something was terribly wrong. Their grief-maddened king bore the corpse of his queen and in hopes of reviving her, bathed her decayed flesh in the healing waters. Reanimated as a rotting corpse, the queen begged to return to death. The king sought to reverse what he had done, unwittingly casting a terrible curse upon the land.
From leagues away, Maokai felt the first ripples of the disaster that would soon devastate the isles. He sensed a horrific force gathering beneath the soil, and a bitter chill washed over him.
As the ruination spread, Maokai desperately plunged his roots deep into the ground and drank of the healing waters, saturating every fiber of his being with their magic. Before the cursed water reached him, Maokai withdrew his roots, severing all connection to the pool. He howled in rage as the sacred reservoir he had entrusted to men was fully corrupted – the spiraling coils churning underwater until nothing pure remained.
Moments later, the mists surrounding the islands blackened and spread over the land, trapping all living things in an unnatural state between life and death. Maokai watched in helpless agony as all he knew – plants, nature spirits, animals, and humans alike – twisted into wretched shades. His fury grew; the great beauty he had cultivated from tiny saplings fell to ruin in an instant at the careless hand of man.
The enervating mist coiled around Maokai, and he wept as the bright flowers adorning his shoulders crumbled and fell to dust. His body shuddered and contorted into a mass of gnarled roots and tangled branches as the mist leached life from him. But Maokai’s heartwood was saturated with the precious waters of life, saving him from the terrible fate of undeath.
As grotesque wraiths and horrific abominations flooded the land, Maokai was overcome by a host of lifeless men. He struck the spirits with his branchlike limbs in manic violence, realizing the force of his blows could shatter them to dust. Maokai shuddered with revulsion: he had never killed before. He flew at the breathless shapes in a frenzy, but hundreds more overwhelmed him, and eventually he was forced to retreat.
With his home all but decimated and his companions turned to deathless horrors, Maokai was tempted to try and escape the nightmare of the isles. But from deep within his twisted form, he felt the sacred waters giving him life. He had survived the Ruination by carrying the very heart of the islands within him, and he would not abandon his home now. As the Blessed Isles’ first nature spirit, he would remain and fight for the soul of the land.
Though surrounded by endless hosts of malicious foes and darkening mist, Maokai fights with furious vengeance to conquer the evil that plagues the isles. His only pleasure comes from dealing savage violence to the soulless wraiths who roam his land.
Some days, Maokai subdues the mist and its deathless spirits, breaking their hold on a grove of trees or a small thicket. Though new life has not bloomed in such cursed soil for an age, Maokai strives to carve havens, however temporary, free from regret and decay.
So long as Maokai continues to fight, hope remains, for steeped within his heartwood are the uncorrupted waters of life, the last remaining chance of restoring the isles. If the land returns to its joyous state, Maokai, too, will shed his twisted form. The nature spirit brought life to these isles long ago, and he refuses to rest until the isles bloom once more.
The chill wind whips through cracks in my bark with a hollow whistling sound. I shiver. My limbs have long forgotten the warmth of summer.
The towering shapes around me fracture and fall in the gale. The lives within died long ago; now they are my silent companions. Their brittle trunks remain only as empty husks, rough gray sketches of the lush forest that once bloomed here.
A spirit weaves between the trees in front of me, pale and spectral against the night air. A knot tightens in my bark. Normally I would lash my roots through its heart, but today I hold still, trying not to alert the wraith to my presence. I am tired of resisting. That I exist at all is an act of defiance against the curse plaguing these lands.
Its moonlike eyes are vacant. There is nothing alive and vulnerable to fuel its cold bitterness on this isle of death, nothing to be hunted or consumed. The spirit slips between the trees, leaving me to my solitude.
I look across the forest of shadows and my branches waver. My gaze catches – a tiny flame of red growing amid the endless gray. Nestled in a mound of black dirt, the smallest flower bud pushes up from the ground, its petals so bright they burn my eyes.
It is a nightbloom. Long ago, they carpeted the floor of the Blessed Isles, blossoming on the evening of the summer solstice. By morning the flowers wilted, leaving only blackened petals, not to be seen again until the following year. But for one night, they illuminated the forest with blazing crimson, as if the very ground were aflame.
I look around and, for a fleeting moment, hope that if one flower exists there might be others. But there is only the somber gray of these dead isles.
My boughs creak as I take a shaky step forward. I approach the bloom, transfixed, crushing ashen leaves to dust underfoot. My colossal frame towers over its delicate shape. I lean down until my face is inches above the sweet-scented petals. The potent groundwater within my heartwood stirs, awakening in recognition. Life.
The flower’s neck is tilted as if curious. Deep vermillion veins spread across each petal, and its pale green stem is coated with hundreds of silvery, velvet-soft hairs. I could spend eternity basking in its every facet.
Every moment it grows and shifts in subtle ways; its stem pushing ever higher while its petals slowly unfurl. I am enchanted by each movement, however minute. I watch as the bloom spreads to reveal the filaments extending from within, its heady scent flooding my mind with color. For a moment I forget the cold, the hollow wind, and my own bitterness.
A pale light flickers and I flinch. A glowing shape approaches. My bark tingles. Nothing from these bloodless woods is an ally.
The cursed spirit is returning, attracted to the lure of movement. Life is not so still as death.
I flex my limbs in fury, no longer eluding violence. I welcome it.
For one night, a living thing will exist on these barren isles unmarred by corrupt forces.
The spirit glides toward us. She was once human, but is now translucent and bone-white.
Her blank expression grows ravenous as she sees the blood-red blossom.
The specter races toward the flower and tries to inhale its fragile life. Before the bloom withers into a lifeless shade, I fling my limbs forward and lash them about the spirit’s legs. She screeches, recoiling as if burned, and I roar. The groundwater within me is anathema to such unnatural beings.
She twists and breaks free of my grasp. I hoist my roots and smash them to the ground. The impact splits the barren topsoil and sends shockwaves through the earth. The reverberations strike the wraith and she reels in agony. I laugh bitterly. As she stirs, I sling my limbs through her form and she dissolves.
Dusky mist rises from the ground, accompanied by a foul stench. As the wind moans, dozens of spirits materialize before me, their garish faces gaping silently at the scene before them. The nightbloom and I grow before the wall of shadows. I will not let them destroy this one pure thing amongst so much darkness.
I throw all my rage into my blows, driving them back with furious strength. I cannot destroy every spirit on the isles, but I can hold them off for a time. A wraith tries to dart past me. I howl as I lift my roots to pierce its heart, and it dissipates into mist.
My strength is draining with so many spirits nearby, but I refuse to concede.
The flower grows brightly beneath the moonlight, oblivious to this battle for its very existence. A single crimson petal falls from its perfect blossom like a drop of blood. The lifecycle of the bloom is near its end, bringing death, and with it, respite. But I do not crave it. I feel I could cleanse the entire island of its scourge in my fury.
The cursed mist has risen above the treeline and swirls in great clouds. An endless host of spirits pours from the fog, mouths agape with ghoulish hunger. I rise to my greatest height and slam my limbs into the ravenous spirits, shattering one after another into dust.
Still, more come.
I howl as I stir the air into a crudely twisting spiral, and nourish the storm with my wrath until it expands in a tempestuous whirlwind. I revel in the chaos as the maelstrom surges in a frenzied circle around me and the flower. It blasts the spirits violently back beyond the trees. From within this nightmare, I have carved a sanctuary where life can grow.
I turn to the flower. We are silent together at the eye of the storm, still amidst the madness. A second fiery petal falls from the nightbloom, then another. My energy drains into the maelstrom, but I do not falter and the tempest rages on. With each passing moment, the blossom droops further until it faces the ground. It is perfect in its slow, natural decay. I cannot look away as it gradually loses its crown of flaming petals and wilts completely.
It is dead.
I lower my branches and the maelstrom quiets. Above me, the sky is slate gray - as bright as it ever gets in this grim place. The gloom of the mist encroaches once more and the spirits return. Their faces are blank, no longer sensing the illicit life of the nightbloom, no longer anticipating the joy of a fresh kill.
They retreat into the hollow woods. I whip my roots through a specter as it passes me, scattering its essence into the fading mist. The others edge farther away from me as they return to their gloom.
Though the land appears unchanged, these isles are not the same gray wasteland they were yesterday. The waters of life stir within me and the soil beneath my roots is fertile again.
Though its petals decay into dust, the luminous nightbloom burns fire-bright in my mind, igniting my fury. Just as these islands were born of burning rock, I will cleanse them of their pestilence in a flaming blaze.
I follow the trailing spirits as they slip between hollow trees.
They will pay for their wickedness."
Evelynn, the Widowmaker
Evelynn also has a new story included on the page, as well as a note from Reav3 on her as a character.
Swift and lethal, Evelynn is one of the most deadly - and expensive - assassins in all of Runeterra. Able to merge with shadows at will, she patiently stalks her prey, waiting for the right moment to strike. While Evelynn is clearly not entirely human, and her heritage remains unclear, it is believed that she hails from the Shadow Isles – though her link with that tortured realm remains shrouded in mystery.
Saito Takeda leaned his elbows upon the lacquered surface of his desk, the thick leather of his gloves creaking as he steepled his fingers. What had once been heavy slabs of muscle in years gone by had slowly given way to fat, but he was still a big, intimidating man. His gaze was inscrutable, his eyes having long been replaced with soulless, reflective black lenses.
A pair of heavily augmented bodyguards stood to either side of him. They were the best money could buy, their bodies having been turned into brutal chem-tech weapons by the brilliant, albeit deranged, scientist Singed.
Takeda’s inherent violence and ambition had seen him rise from humble beginnings to become one of Zaun’s most powerful chem-barons, the infamous rulers of the undercity. Today he planned the downfall of yet another of his rivals.
“Bring her in, Ortos,” he said, through a cloud of exhaled smoke.
Unseen chains rattled and pulled taut, and the dark iron doors to his office ground open. Two more bodyguards stood to mute attention outside. One could never be too careful. Takeda had learned that the hard way, as his many scars attested.
Takeda’s shaven-headed chamberlain, Ortos, stepped forward, leading a petite figure to the entrance.
Shadows clung to her, making it difficult to see her clearly, though Takeda glimpsed a flash of blue-tinged flesh and a pair of predator’s eyes that reflected the chem-fire sconces of his office. He felt an unfamiliar tremor of apprehension at her appearance, but forced it aside. He was one of the most feared men in Zaun. Why should he feel uneasy in his own office?
“The Lady Evelynn,” Ortos announced.
Takeda waved a gloved hand, and Ortos retreated, the doors grinding shut behind him.
Evelynn sauntered forward, moving with sublime grace, the heels of her boots echoing sharply.
She came to a halt on the other side of Takeda’s wide desk, and planted her hands on her hips. He could see her more clearly as the shadows retreated to the corners of the room.
Her slender figure was clad in gleaming red leather, and her eyes were yellow and almond-shaped, like those of a cat. A wild mane of crimson hair framed her face, and sharp canines glinted as her lips parted in a sardonic smile.
“I’ve been called many things,” she said, “but a lady? That’s a new one.”
Takeda leaned back in his seat, considering her. “Around here, most call you the Widowmaker.”
Evelynn shrugged. “At least it’s accurate.”
“I’ve never married, myself,” said Takeda. “But the one I want you to kill, the Baron Artega Holt, has a wife. Two of them, actually, and a throng of mistresses.”
“He sounds perfectly charming. I’m sure they’ll miss him dearly,” purred Evelynn. “I shall be glad to make his acquaintance.”
“Before I commission you, I need some kind of assurance,” said Takeda. “How do I know you are the right one for this job?”
“You would have me prove myself, like some back-alley cut-throat?” she asked, a hint of irritation in her voice. “Has it been so long since I stepped foot in Zaun that I really need to audition?”
“We hear something of your exploits from time to time. That Demacian knight-commander assassinated last year; that was you, wasn’t it?”
Evelynn gave a slow nod. “It was.”
“And the heir of Clan Kozari, in Piltover last week?”
Evelynn’s expression hardened.
“No, that was not me,” she said. “That was the Gray Lady.”
“Ah,” mused Takeda. “Interesting. Well, I guess it proves that reputations and gossip can never truly be relied upon. I’ll trust what I see with my own eyes.”
“Then I’m afraid this might leave you disappointed,” hissed Evelynn.
The blue-skinned assassin took a step back and instantly disappeared into shadow.
Takeda’s bodyguards tensed, flexing their piston-strengthened limbs in unease. Takeda glanced left and right, trying to discern her location. Nothing. She was simply gone, vanished completely, as if she had been swallowed by the darkness.
“Not bad,” he said. He’d heard of her power, of course, but such things are often over-exaggerated. He was pleased to see that in this case, the rumors were true.
Taloned hands grabbed him from behind, blood red nails digging into his flesh as Evelynn emerged from the shadows. She was far stronger than she looked, and forcibly turned his head to expose his thick neck. Her grasp was ice-cold, as if warm blood no longer flowed in her veins, and her fangs were inches from his jugular.
His guards turned instantly, stepping forward to defend their master, but Takeda raised a hand, stopping them in their tracks. He knew they would have been too slow had she truly wished to end his life.
“What do you think?” breathed Evelynn through bared teeth, her chilled breath caressing his throat. “Impressed yet?”
“Not bad at all,” he said. “Yes, you will do nicely. Now, let us discuss my offer.”
“I hope you can afford me,” she hissed, tightening her grip, and leaning closer. “I don’t want you to have wasted my time here.”
Takeda swallowed uncomfortably. “I don’t think that will be an issue,” he said.
Evelynn released him with a shove, and sat on the edge of his table. She stretched like a cat, completely at ease.
“You haven’t yet asked my price,” she said.
“Whatever it is, I can pay it.”
“Money holds no interest to me, Saito,” she said.
Takeda furrowed his brow. “Then what is it you want?”
“Much more than you will be willing to give, I’m thinking,” she said. “But I believe you’ll come around.”
“This is not the way things work here,” growled Takeda. “I own this district. No one makes demands of me.”
“You’ve seen only a fraction of what I can do,” said Evelynn. She leaned back, smiling.
“I’m in the perfect position to make a few demands.”
Takeda said nothing. His body was tense. He opened his mouth to speak but Evelynn interrupted him, holding up a finger.
“Don’t say anything rash, my dear,” she said. “You’d be dead before the words left your lips.”
Takeda stared at her, frozen in indecision.
“Very wise,” Evelynn said, after giving it a moment. She stood, moved back around the desk, and strode toward the door.
“Artega Holt will be dead before sunup,” she said, without looking back. “I’ll be in touch about my first payment.”
“First payment?” said Takeda.
“The first of many,” she said, pausing to look back at him. “You’d be wise to remember that I can strike wherever there is darkness. And Zaun is such a dark place.”
She nodded toward the door, raising an eyebrow. Takeda growled an order, and the doors swung open. Before she left, Evelynn gave him a wink.
“Don’t take it too hard,” she said, as she melded into the darkness. “So long as you don’t irritate me, this partnership will work out well for us both.”
Takeda sat alone in silence. After a few minutes, his chamberlain peered into the room.
“Can I get you anything, my lord?” Ortos said.
“No,” said Saito Takeda through gritted teeth. He slammed a fist onto his desk. “Leave me. All of you, leave me. And stoke the furnace. There are too many shadows in here...”"
A Note on “The Shadows Beckon”Here's Reav3 with a note on the short story featuring Evelynn:
"Evelynn is one of our oldest champions and, like Yorick, she’s due for a lore update. We think there’s an opportunity to give the Widowmaker more meaningful motivation and a better backstory, so that the malice in her stealthy assassinations doesn’t just feel like it was strapped on as an afterthought.
Evelynn is one of those champs with a “dark, secret past,” but most of us associate her with the Shadow Isles. With all the new Shadow Isles lore recently released, we figured it would be disappointing to leave her out.
That’s why we wrote a short piece especially for Eve players—those of you that embody agony’s embrace and strike terror in our hearts with ganks we never see coming. This “color text” is intended to capture Eve as you know her today: the fiend you love and the rest of us fear. That being said, we think we can do even better by Evelynn and her lore, so keep in mind when reading that she’ll likely be evolving from Runeterra’s most demonic killer-for-hire.
For now, she’ll be doing what she does best: slipping into the shadows, waiting for the right time to reveal herself and a fully-fleshed story of her origins."
Previously released Shadow Isles ContentAs mentioned above, this is an update to the Shadow Isles page and the previously released stories are all still available!
Check out 2015's lengthy SHADOW AND FORTUNE story, available in web, PDF, and ePUB forms.
The Pledge from Kalista's release and Tales of the Black Mist: The Harrowing.
In addition to the new stories above, champion lores for our other Shadow Isles champions, Hecarim, Karthus, Kalista, Mordekaiser, and Thresh are included on the page.