With Galio flying into live with 7.6, a ton of new Demacia stories and champion bios have hit the universe page - including lore for Galio, Garen, Jarvan IV, Lux, Quinn, Shyvana, and Vayne! A free Demacia summoner icon is also available for free through April 6th by redeeming on Universe page!
Table of Contents
- Demacia Story Update Hub
- Unlock your free Demacia Summoner Icon through April 6th
- For Demacia
- Jarvan IV
Demacia Story Update HubDemacia lore, including several champion stories and bios, and a free Demacia summoner icons
'In a kingdom built on tradition and bound by honor, the highest ideals are also the most demanding. Be it clashes of steel or struggles of spirit, this is what makes a champion of Demacia: honor, duty and unrelenting courage in the face of adversity."
Check out the page or continue reading for a look at all of the new stories - including more on Garen and Lux as well as general story.
With Galio's champion update debuting in 7.6, his previously released bio and A Hero Wakes story are included as well as a brand new Flesh and Stone story!
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The featured story on the page is FOR DEMACIA, a story involving Garen and Lux Crownguard.
"How long had it been since Lux had come north to Fossbarrow?
She wasn’t sure, but guessed it was around seven years. Garen had just left to begin his training with the Dauntless Vanguard, and the rest of the family had come north to honor the tomb of great grandfather Fossian. Lux remembered complaining about the incessant rain as they made their way along winding paths through the crags and gullies of the forest to her ancestor’s tomb. She’d been expecting a marble mausoleum like the Hall of Valor, but was disappointed to learn it was little more than a grassy mound nestled at the foot of a soaring cliff face. A marble slab set into the base of the mound depicted the legend of her illustrious forebear; Fossian and the demon falling from the cliff, her great grandfather mortally wounded, the nightmarish entity with a Demacian blade piercing its black heart.
It had rained then, and it was raining now. An icy, northern deluge fresh off the dogtooth mountains that separated Demacia from the Freljord. A storm was brewing in that frozen realm, breaking on the far side of the peaks to fall on verdant swathes of Demacian pine bent by hostile winds. To the west and east, the mountains receded into an azure haze, the sky dark and threatening, like one of her brother’s saltier moods. North, the forested haunches of the highlands were craggy with cliffs and plunging chasms. Dangerous lands; home to fell creatures and wild beasts of all descriptions.
Lux had set off into the north two weeks ago; Demacia to Edessa, then to Pinara and on to Lissus. Lissus to Velorus, and finally to High Silvermere, the City of Raptors. A night with her family at their home at the foot of Knight’s Rock, then out into Demacia’s northwest marches. Almost immediately, the character of the people and villages began to change as the heartland of Demacia fell behind her like a pennant torn from the haft of a banner-pole.
Rolling, fertile plains gave way to windswept hinterlands dotted with gorse and thistle. Silverwing raptors screeched overhead, invisible as they dueled in the clouds. The air grew colder, freighted with the deep ice of the Freljord, and the walls of each settlement grew higher with every mile she rode. It had been a long and tiring journey to Fossbarrow, but she was here, and Lux allowed herself a small smile.
“We’ll be at the temple soon, Starfire,” she said, reaching down to rub her horse’s mane.
“They’ll have grain and a warm stable for you, I promise.”
The horse shook its head and snorted, stamping its feet with impatience. Lux kicked back her heels and walked her tired mount along the rutted track leading to Fossbarrow’s main gate.
The town occupied the banks of the Serpentrion, a thundering river that rose in the mountains and snaked to the western coast. The town’s walls of polished granite followed the line of the hills, and the buildings within were wrought from stone, seasoned timber and bottle green roof tiles. The tower of a Lightbringer temple rose in the east, the brazier within its steeple a welcome light in the gathering dusk.
Lux pulled back the hood of her blue cloak and shook her hair free. Long and golden, it framed a youthful face of high cheekbones and ocean blue eyes that sparkled with determination. She unfastened the leather thong securing her staff to the saddle, and held its lacquered gold and ebony haft loosely at her side. Two men appeared on the tower above the iron-bound gate, each armed with a powerful longbow of ash and yew.
“Hold, traveler,” said one of the guards. “The gate’s closed until morning.”
“My name is Luxanna Crownguard,” she said. “As you say, it is late, but I’ve come a long way to pay my respects to my great grandfather. I’d be in your debt if you’d allow me entry.”
The man squinted through the gloom, his eyes widening as he recognized her. It had been years since she’d come to Fossbarrow, but Garen always said that once people laid eyes on Lux, they never forgot her.
“Lady Crownguard! Forgive me!” he cried, turning to address the men below. “Open the gates.”
Lux eased Starfire forward as the solid timbers of the gate lifted into the stone of the barbican with a clatter of heavy iron chains. As soon as it had risen enough, Lux rode under it to find a hastily assembled honor guard awaiting her – ten men in leather breastplates and blue cloaks secured with silver pins in the shape of winged swords.
They were proud Demacian soldiers, though their shoulders were curiously slumped and their eyes haunted with exhaustion.
“Welcome to Fossbarrow,” said the same man who’d spoken to her from the tower. “This is a great honor, my lady. Magistrate Giselle will be relieved to know you are here. May I offer you a detachment of soldiers to escort you to her home?”
“Thank you, but that won’t be necessary,” said Lux, wondering at the man’s choice of the word relieved. “I’ve arranged accommodation with Mistress Pernille at the Lightbringer temple.”
She made to ride on, but sensed the guard’s desire to say something and gently pulled Starfire’s reins.
“Lady Crownguard,” said the guard. “Are you here to end our nightmare?”
The Lightbringer temple was warm and dry, and with Starfire settled in the stables, she’d spoken at length with Mistress Pernille in the main hall. Rumors of dark magic in the forests and crags around Fossbarrow had reached the Lightbringers in the capital of Demacia, and Radiant Kahina had sent Lux to investigate.
Lux had sensed a dark undercurrent as soon as she’d entered the town, a creeping sensation of being watched from the shadows. The few townsfolk she’d seen on the streets walked with leaden steps, their bodies weary.
A pall of fear hung over Fossbarrow, but it was worse than Lux imagined.
“It’s Magistrate Giselle’s son, Luca,” explained Mistress Pernille, a flaxen-haired woman in the pale robes of a Lightbringer healer.
“What about him?” asked Lux.
“He went missing two days ago,” explained Pernille. “And people are certain he’s been taken by a dark mage for some terrible purpose.”
“Why do they think that?”
“Ask me again in the morning,” said Pernille.
Lux awoke with a scream, her heart hammering in her chest and her breath coming in wheezing spikes. Terror filled her mind; a nightmare of clawed hooks dragging her beneath the earth, of fetid mud filling her mouth and darkness smothering her light forever. Lux blinked away the last afterimages, glimpsing retreating shadows out of the corner of her eye. Her mouth was filled with the taste of rancid milk, a sure sign of lingering magic, and she let spectral radiance build in her palms. Light filled the room, and with it, the last remnants of the nightmare was banished. Warmth suffused her, her skin shimmering with a haze of familiar iridescence.
She heard voices downstairs and clenched her fists. The light faded, leaving only the wan traces of daylight from the shuttered window to illuminate the room. Lux pressed her hands to the side of her head, as if seeking to push the awful visions from her mind. She tried to recall specific moments from the nightmare, but all that came was the reek of sour breath and a faceless darkness pressing down upon her.
Her mouth dry, Lux quickly dressed and lifted her staff from the corner of the room. She descended to the temple kitchen, and though she had little in the way of appetite, prepared a breakfast of bread and cheese. At her first bite, the taste of grave earth filled her mouth and she put the food aside.
“Now do you see?” asked Pernille, entering the kitchen and joining her at the table. The skin below Pernille’s eyes was purple with lack of sleep, her skin sallow without firelight to color it. Only now did Lux notice just how bone-weary Pernille was.
“What did you dream?” asked Lux.
“Nothing I want to relive by saying it out loud.”
Lux nodded slowly, “There’s something very wrong with this town.”
Starfire whinnied at the sight of her, his ears pressed flat against his skull and his eyes wide. He nuzzled her and she stroked his pearl white neck and shoulders.
“You too?” she said, and the horse tossed its mane.
Lux quickly saddled her mount and rode toward Fossbarrow’s northern gate. Dawn was already an hour old, but the town was still to fully come to life. No smoke rose from the forges, no smell of fresh bread wafted from the bakeries and only a very few sullen-looking merchants had their doors open for business. Demacians were hard-working, disciplined and industrious, so to see a frontier town so late to begin the day’s work was highly unusual. But if Fossbarrow’s people had endured a night like hers, she couldn’t blame them for being slow to rise.
She passed through the gate into the open ground before the town and let Starfire run to work out the stiffness in his muscles before turning onto the muddy road. The stallion had broken his leg many years ago, but it hadn’t impaired the speed of his gallop.
“Easy, boy,” said Lux as they rode into the forest.
The scent of pine and wildflowers hung heavy in the air, and Lux savored the heady, natural aroma of the northern climes. Sunlight pierced the leafy canopy in angled spars of light and the smell of wet mud sent a shiver up her spine as her nightmare briefly surfaced. She rode deeper into the forest, following the track as it wound its way further north. Lux lifted a hand from the reins and reached for a glittering sunbeam, feeling the magic within her stir at its touch. She let it come, feeling the light at the center of her being spread through her body like an elixir.
Her world lit up as magic filled her senses, the colors of the forest unnaturally vivid and filled with life. She saw glittering motes of light drifting in the air, the breath of trees and the sighs of the earth. How incredible it was to see the world like this, alive to the energies flowing through every living thing. From blades of grass to the mighty ironbirch trees whose roots were said to reach the very heart of the world.
After an hour of riding through the iridescent forest, the road diverged at a crossroads, one path leading east; to a logging town if she remembered correctly, the other dropping west to a community built around a thriving silver mine. Her father owned a stake in the mine and her favorite cloak pin had been wrought from metal dug from its deep chasms. Between the two main routes lay a smaller pathway, all but invisible and suitable only for lone riders or those on foot.
Seven years ago she’d taken that path, and Lux wondered why she was reluctant to guide Starfire in that direction. She had no need to go that way, for her story of paying respects to her great grandfather was just that, a story. Lux closed her eyes and lifted her arms out to the side, letting the magic drift from her fingers and the glittering tip of her staff. She took a breath, filling her lungs with cold air and letting the light of the forest speak to her.
It spoke in contrasting hues of light and shadow, scintillating colors and vibrant illumination. She felt the light of distant stars drift down like mist, light that bathed other worlds and people. Where the light of Demacia fell into shadow, she flinched. Where it nourished something living, she was soothed. Lux turned in the saddle, her senses extended far beyond those of most other mortals, seeking the power that lay over the land like a curse. The sun was almost at its zenith, and she frowned as the quality of light in the forest trembled. She felt shadows where no shadows ought to dwell, hidden darkness where only light should exist. The breath caught in her throat, like a hand at her neck, and a sudden wave of dizziness swept over her. Her eyelids fluttered, drifting closed as if she were being pulled into a waking slumber.
The forest around her was suddenly silent. Not a breath of wind stirred the leaves of the trees, nor ruffled so much as a blade of grass. The silverwings were silent, the chatter of animals stilled. Lux heard the soft susurration of grave cloth being pulled tight.
“No,” she said, gripping her staff, but the unnatural weariness slipped over her like a comfortable blanket, warm and enfolding. Lux’s head dropped and she closed her eyes for the briefest instant.
The snapping sound of a breaking branch and the scrape of metal flicked Lux’s eyes open. She drew in a great draught of air, the cold in her lungs jolting her awake again. She blinked shadows from her eyes and let out an icy breath as she drew her magic back into herself. She heard men on horseback, the jingle of bridle and trace, the rasp of metal on metal. Riders, armored for war. At least four, perhaps more.
Lux wasn’t scared. Not yet, and certainly not of men. Whatever darkness was lurking somewhere in the forest was a more immediate threat. Its strength was uncertain, its abilities feeling like someone testing the limits of what they could do. She pulled Starfire’s reins, turning him around and setting him athwart the paths, ready to face whatever was coming. Freljordian raiders? She was too far inland for reavers from the sea, and she’d have heard if one of the great mountain forts had fallen. Outlaws?
Perhaps. That, Lux could deal with. She let the magic simmer just beneath her fingertips, ready to unleash its power in destructive bolts of light.
The foliage in front of her parted, and five horsemen rode into view.
Powerful men, armored head to foot in gleaming warplate. They rode wide chested steeds of gray, none smaller than seventeen hands, and each caparisoned in cobalt blue. Four had their swords drawn, where the fifth had his golden-hilted blade sheathed in a lacquered blue scabbard across his back.
“Luxanna?” said this rider, his voice muffled by the visor of his helm.
Lux sighed as the knight removed his helmet to reveal dark hair and granite-hewn features that so embodied Demacia it was a wonder they weren’t yet on a coin.
“Garen,” sighed Lux.
Her brother had brought four of the Dauntless Vanguard.
Drawn from any other army, four warriors would be a paltry force, but every warrior of the Dauntless Vanguard was a hero, a legend with tales of valor etched into the metal of their swords. Their deeds were told and retold around tavern tables and hearthfires the length and breadth of Demacia.
Dark of hair and keen of eye was Diadoro, the bearded swordsman who’d held the Gates of Mourning against the armored host of the Trifarian Legion for an entire day. Flanking him was Sabator of Jandelle, the slayer of the hideous deepwyrm that woke every hundred years to feast, but which would now wake no more. Its fangs were hung in King Jarvan’s throne room, next to the newly-mounted dragon skull brought by his son and his enigmatic companion.
Slighter, though no less striking was Varya, she who led the charge onto the decks of the sea-wolf fleet at Dawnhold. She set their ships ablaze and even wounded nigh unto death, cut down their berserk leader. Rodion, her twin brother, had sailed north to Frostheld and burned the Freljordian harbor city to the ground, so that no others would dare sail south to wreak havoc again.
Lux knew them all, but rolled her eyes at the thought of hearing their legends around a table tonight. Yes, they were heroes of Demacia and entirely worthy of respect, but hearing about Sabator climbing down the deepwyrm’s gullet for the tenth time, or how Varya beat a Grelmorn to death with a splintered oar was too much for Lux.
Garen came alongside her as they followed the road back to Fossbarrow. They’d circled the town until the light began to fade in search of the magistrate’s son or any sign of nefarious goings on, but had found nothing. Though any servant of darkness would have had plenty of time to run and hide, given the noise Garen and the Dauntless Vanguard were making. Five warriors in heavy warplate weren’t exactly stealthy, and, without her magic to aid her, Lux hadn’t been able to sense the source of the dark power she’d felt at the crossroads.
“You’re really here to visit great grandfather Fossian’s tomb?”
“I said so, didn’t I?”
“Yes,” replied Garen. “You did. I’m just surprised. I seem to recall mother saying you hated coming here last time.”
“I’m surprised she remembered.”
“Oh, she remembered,” said Garen without looking at her. “When young Luxanna Crownguard doesn’t enjoy something, the skies darken, rainclouds empty and forest animals hide.”
“You make me sound like a spoiled brat.”
“You kind of were,” said Garen, his easy grin only partially robbing the comment of its sting. “You got away with things I’d have had a skelped backside for doing. Mother was always telling me not to pay attention to the things you did.”
The words hung between them, and Lux looked away, remembering not to underestimate her brother. People knew him as honest and direct, with a sound grasp of tactics and war stratagems, but few ever thought of him as subtle or cunning.
That, knew Lux, was a mistake. Yes, Garen was a simple warrior, but simple didn’t mean stupid.
“So what do you think’s happened to the boy?” asked Lux.
Garen ran a hand through his hair.
“If I had to guess, I’d say he’s run away from home,” he said. “Or decided to have an adventure and gotten lost somewhere in the forest.”
“You don’t think a dark mage has taken him?”
“It’s certainly possible, but Varya and Rodian rode through this way only six months ago, and saw no evidence of unnatural magicks.”
Lux nodded and asked, “Have you spent a night in Fossbarrow?”
“No,” answered Garen, as they rode into sight of the town. “Why do you ask?”
“There’s something going on down there,” said Sabator, his hand shielding his eyes from the setting sun.
Garen’s eyes snapped to where his warrior was pointing, and all levity fell from his face. His entire posture changed, muscles taut and ready for action, his eyes utterly focused. The warriors of the Dauntless Vanguard formed up alongside him, ready to move in an instant.
“What it is?” said Lux.
An angry looking crowd was hounding a stumbling man through the streets toward the market square. She couldn’t hear what they were shouting, but she didn’t need to hear the words to feel their anger and fear.
“Vanguard! We ride,” said Garen, raking his spurs back.
Starfire was a fast horse, but even he was no match for a grain-fed Demacian war-steed. By the time Lux rode through the gates, the sound of yelling voices echoed through the town. Starfire’s flanks were lathered with sweat and his iron-shod hooves struck sparks from the cobbles. Lux hauled her mount to a halt as she entered the crowded market square and leapt from his back as she saw a scene she’d witnessed too many times throughout Demacia.
“No, no, no...” she muttered, seeing two guards drag a weeping man onto the auction platform normally used during the buying and selling of livestock. The man’s clothes were soaked in blood and he wailed piteously. A woman with the ermine-trimmed robes and bronze wings of a Demacian magistrate stood before him, presumably Magistrate Giselle. Hundreds of Fossbarrow’s townsfolk filled the square, yelling and screaming at the man. The intensity of their hate was palpable, and Lux felt her magic drawn to the surface of her skin. She quelled the rising light and pushed her way through the crowd, seeing Garen at the foot of the steps leading onto the auction platform.
“Aldo Dayan,” said Magistrate Giselle, her voice ragged with emotion. “I name thee murderer and consort of a dark mage!”
“No!” cried the man. “You don’t understand! They were monsters! I saw them, their real faces! Darkness. Only Darkness!”
“Confession!” cried Giselle.
The crowd screamed in response, a swelling lust for vengeance erupting from every throat. They looked set to rush the auction platform to tear Aldo Dayan limb from limb, and perhaps they would have but for the four warriors of the Dauntless Vanguard standing with their swords drawn at its edge.
“What’s going on? What happened?” asked Lux as she reached Garen’s side.
Garen didn’t look at her, his eyes fixed on the kneeling man.
“He murdered his wife and children in their beds, then ran out onto the streets and attacked his neighbors. He split three people with an axe before they were able to restrain him.”
“Why would he do that?”
Finally Garen turned to look at her. “Why do you think? There must be a mage nearby. A darkness holds sway here. Only the dark influence of a sorcerer could drive a loyal Demacian citizen to commit such heinous acts.”
Lux bit back an angry retort and pushed past Garen. She climbed the steps of the platform and marched over to the kneeling man.
“Lady Crownguard? What are you doing?” demanded Giselle.
Lux ignored her and lifted the man’s head. His face was bruised, one eye swollen shut from the heavy blow of a cudgel or fist. Blood and snot ran freely from his nose and ropes of drool hung from his split lip.
“Look at me,” she said, and the man’s good eye tried to focus on her. The white of his eye was bloodshot and purple edged, the eye of a man who had not slept in days.
“Goodman Dayan, tell me why you killed your family,” said Lux. “Why did you attack your neighbors?”
“Not them. No. I saw. Weren’t them, they was... monsters...” sobbed the man. “Darkness clothed in skin. Among us the whole time! I woke and I saw their true faces! So I killed them! I had to do it. I had to!”
She looked up as Magistrate Giselle appeared at Lux’s shoulder. Lux saw a soul-aching grief etched in the woman’s face. The last two days had aged her ten years. The magistrate stared down in disgust at Aldo Dayan, her fists clenched at her sides.
“Did you kill my Luca?” she said, her voice wracked with sorrow. “Did you kill my son? Just because he was different?”
Baying cries for vengeance rose from the crowd as the sun sank into the west and the shadows lengthened. Handfuls of mud and dung pelted Aldo Dayan as his former friends and neighbors called for his death. He thrashed in the grip of the guards, frothing at the mouth and spitting bloody saliva.
“I had to kill them!” he screamed, staring defiantly at his accusers. “It weren’t them. Just darkness, only darkness. It could be one of you too!”
Lux turned back to Magistrate Giselle.
“What did you mean when you said your son was different?”
Giselle’s grief was all-consuming, but Lux saw past it to a secret shame beneath. The magistrate’s eyes were bloodshot and ringed with dark smudges of exhaustion, yet even that couldn’t hide the same look she’d seen in her mother’s eyes whenever Lux’s powers had gotten the better of her as a youngster. It was the same look she sometimes saw in her brother’s eyes when he thought she wasn’t looking.
“What did you mean?” she asked again.
“Nothing,” said Giselle. “I didn’t mean anything.”
Lux had heard such deflections before, and suddenly knew exactly how the magistrate’s son was different.
“I’ve heard enough,” said Garen as he strode onto the platform, his long, sunsteel sword hissing from its scabbard. The blade glinted in the twilight, its edge unimaginably sharp.
“Garen, no,” said Lux. “There’s something more going on here. Let me speak with him.”
“He is a monster,” said Garen, spinning his sword up onto his shoulder. “Even if he is not a servant of evil, he is a murderer. There can be only one punishment. Magistrate?”
Giselle looked away from Lux, her eyes wet with tears. She nodded.
“Aldo Dayan, I declare you guilty, and call upon Garen Crownguard of the Dauntless Vanguard to dispense Demacian justice.”
The man lifted his head, and Lux’s eyes narrowed as she felt a prickling sensation of...something pass through him. A whisper of a lurking presence. It slithered away before she could be sure, but a breath of frigid air raised her hackles.
Dyan’s limbs spasmed, like a deranged roadside wanderer afflicted with the tremoring sickness. He whispered something, rasping and faint, as Garen lifted his warblade to deliver the executioner’s strike. Dyan’s last words were all but lost in the roars of approval coming from the crowd, but Lux finally pieced them together as Garen’s sword swept down.
The light is fading...
“Wait!” she cried.
Garen’s blade clove the man’s head from his body in one titanic blow to a roar of approval from the crowd. The body dropped to the platform, twin arcs of blood jetting from the stump of his neck. The head rolled to Giselle’s feet as coiling smoke poured from Aldo Dyan’s corpse like black bile oozing from a charnel pit. The magistrate recoiled in shock as a phantom form of wicked claws and searing eyes erupted from the dead man’s skull.
The spectral darkness launched itself at the magistrate with a cackle of spite. She screamed as it passed through her before dissipating like wind-scattered cinders. Lux felt the breath of the thing’s demise, an energy so vile, so hateful and so inhumanly evil, that it beggared belief. Magistrate Giselle collapsed, her flesh ashen, weeping in terror.
Lux dropped to one knee as myriad visions of horror arose within her; choking fears of being buried alive, of being driven from Demacia by her brother, of a thousand ways to die a slow and painful death. The light within her fought these terrible sights, and Lux’s breath shimmered with motes of light as she spat the taste of death from her mouth.
Garen spoke in a whisper, and it took her a moment to figure out how she could possibly have heard him over the cheering crowd. Lux turned from the sobbing magistrate, and felt magic race around her body in a surge tide.
The crowd stood utterly silent.
“Lux, what’s going on?” said Garen.
Lux blinked away the abhorrent images still searing her mind and followed Garen’s gaze as the warriors of the Dauntless Vanguard rushed to stand with their leader.
Then, one after another, the people of Fossbarrow fell to the ground, as if the life had simply fled their bodies.
Lux clenched her teeth and pushed herself to her feet.
The sun had all but vanished behind Fossbarrow’s western wall and her mouth fell open as she saw black, vaporous shapes lift from the town’s unconscious inhabitants. No two were alike, and Lux saw an assembling host of demons in Noxian armor, vast spiders, many-headed serpents, towering demon-warriors with frost axes, great drakes with teeth like obsidian daggers and scores of things that defied sane description.
“Sorcery,” declared Garen.
The shadow creatures closed on the platform, sliding through the air without a sound. An oncoming tide of nightmarish horrors.
“What are they?” asked Varya.
“The darkest nightmares of Fossbarrow’s people given form,” said Lux.
“How can you know that?” demanded Sabator.
“I just do,” said Lux, knowing she couldn’t stay here to fight. Her skills would be best employed elsewhere, and the Dauntless Vanguard could hold their own here. She placed her thumb and forefinger against her bottom lip and whistled a summoning note before turning to Garen.
“I know how to stop this,” she said.
“How?” said Garen, without taking his eyes off the approaching demon host.
“Never mind how,” said Lux. “Just... try not to die before I get back.”
Lux ran to the edge of the platform as Starfire galloped through the creatures. Her steed passed unmolested, its dreams and nightmares of no interest to the power now abroad in Fossbarrow. Lux leapt from the platform and grabbed Starfire’s mane, swinging onto his back in one smooth motion.
“Where are you going?” demanded Garen.
The horse reared and Lux twisted in the saddle to answer her brother.
“I told you,” she shouted. “I’m going to pay my respects to great grandfather Fossian!”
Garen watched his sister gallop through the dark host, carefully navigating a path through the town’s fallen inhabitants. Grasping claws of demon creatures reached for her, but she and Starfire evaded every attack. Lux rode clear of the monstrous host, and paused just long enough to lift her gold-topped staff to him.
“For Demacia!” she shouted.
The Dauntless Vanguard clashed their swords against their shields.
“For Demacia!” they answered as one.
Lux turned her horse and galloped from the town. Garen rolled his shoulders in anticipation of the rigor of close-quarters battle and lifted his sword.
“Lockstep!” he yelled, and his warriors took up their battle stance. Varya and Rodion stood to his left, Sabator and Diadoro to his right.
“We are the Dauntless Vanguard,” said Garen, lowering his sword so its quillons framed his piercing eyes. “Let courage and a keen eye guide your blades.”
Oil black demon-hounds were the first to reach the platform, leaping upward with tearing fangs and flashing teeth. Garen and the Dauntless Vanguard met them with shields locked and blades bared. A hammering wall of iron beat them back. Though their enemies were wrought from shadow and spite, they fought with ferocious strength and skill. Garen stepped in and thrust his blade into a writhing beast’s haunches, tearing through to where its spine ought to be. The monster’s form exploded into black dust with a shriek of anguish.
Garen spun his sword up and pulled back in an oblique turn. His sword deflected another beast’s snapping jaw. He rolled his wrists and lowered his shoulder into its attack. He pushed the thing back and down. He stamped its chest and the beast roared as it burst apart. Garen’s sword snapped back up to block a crushing blow from what looked like the silhouette of a towering Freljordian warrior. The impact drove him to his knees.
“I will fight as long as I stand!” he said through gritted teeth, straightening his legs with a roar and hammering his pommel into the savage warrior’s horned skull. Ashes burst from the demon and Garen spun to drive his sword into the belly of another beast.
Sabator decapitated a slavering hound as Diadoro slammed his shield down on a hissing serpent, severing its body in half. Varya hammered the hilt of her sword into the snapping fangs of a faceless demon warrior as Rodion drove his sword into his twin’s foe.
With every killing blow, the shadow creature burst into amber-limned ashes. Garen’s sword flashed and the silver blade plunged into the body of a scorpion-like monster.
A slash of dark talons came at Garen’s head. Sabator’s shield parried the attack. Varya chopped her blade through the monster’s legs and it burst apart. A hideous, limping creature hurled itself at Rodian, and he thrust his blade hard into its featureless face. It screeched as it died. But for every shadow they destroyed, more always took their place.
“Back to back!” roared Garen, and the pauldrons of the five warriors clashed together.
They fought shoulder to shoulder in a circle of steel, a beacon of light against the darkness.
“Show them the strength of Demacia!”
Lux rode hard through the forest, trees flashing past to either side in a blur. Light shone from the splayed tip of her staff, illuminating her path with blazing radiance. It was reckless to gallop through the forest at such speed, even with her light as a guide, but the nightmares assailing Garen and the Dauntless Vanguard would keep coming. Human imaginations were a depthless well of nightmares; fear of death, fear of infirmity or fear of the loss of a loved one.
She followed the route she had taken only this morning, letting the power of her magic flow into Starfire to grant him sight beyond measure. Lux and her mount flew through the night, eventually reaching the crossroads where the roads diverged. Ignoring the roads east and west, Starfire leapt the overgrown bracken that all but obscured the path north.
The path to great-grandfather Fossian’s tomb.
Even with her light and her mount’s surefootedness, Lux was forced to slow her pace as the path wound its way through steep-sided gullies and up rocky glens. The closer she came to the tomb, the more the landscape began to change, taking on an altogether different character – like something from a tale told to frighten small children. The trees wept a sickly black sap, their branches gnarled and twisted into clawed hands that plucked at her hair and cloak. Gaps in the boles of trees resembled fanged mouths, and venomous spiders spun cloying webs in their high branches. The ground underfoot became spongy and damp with brackish pools of stagnant water – like a grove abandoned by one of the fae folk.
Starfire stopped before the entrance to a shadow-wreathed clearing and threw back his head, nostrils flaring in fear.
“Easy, boy,” she said. “Fossian’s tomb is just ahead. Only a few more steps.”
But the horse would not be cajoled into another inch forward.
“Fine,” said Lux. “I’ll go myself.”
She slid off the horse’s back and entered the clearing with her staff held high. Its light guttered like a lantern in a storm, but gave off just enough illumination for her to see.
The mound of Fossian’s tomb was a shallow hill of grass that looked black in the gloom, its summit crowned with a rough cairn of stacked stone. Dark smoke drifted into a sky that swirled with images of ancient horrors awaiting their time to claim the world. Dark lines snaked across the great stone slab telling of Fossian’s deeds.
A young boy, no more than twelve or thirteen sat cross-legged before it, his thin body swaying as if in a trance. Tendrils of black smoke coiled from the tomb, wrapped around his neck like strangling vines.
“Luca?” said Lux.
The boy’s swaying ceased at the sound of her voice.
He turned to face Lux, and she faltered at the sight of his soulless, black eyes. A cruel grin split his face.
“Not anymore,” he said.
A looming spider with hook-bladed legs reared over Garen, its bloated belly rippling with distended eyes and snapping jaws. He split its thorax and kicked the flailing creature from the platform even as its body disintegrated.
Legs braced, Garen felt a searing cold in the muscle of his shoulder as a black claw plunged through his pauldron. The metal did not buckle or crack. The claw passed through unimpeded, and Garen felt a sickening revulsion spread through him. He smelled rank grave dirt; the reek of fetid earth over a centuries-old sepulchre. He fought through the pain as he had always been trained to do.
Rodion fell as a hooking blade slid under his guard and plunged into his side. He cried out in pain, his shield lowering.
“Straighten up!” yelled Garen. “Shake the pain.”
Rodian straightened, chastened at his lapse, as the shadow creatures barged one another in their frenzy to reach the Dauntless Vanguard.
“They never stop coming!” cried Varya.
“Then we never stop fighting!” answered Garen.
Though she wanted nothing more than to flee this haunted clearing, Lux walked toward the young boy. His eyes rippled with darkness, nightmares waiting to be born from the rich loam of human frailty. She felt a cold, calculating intelligence appraise her.
Luca nodded and smoothly rose to his feet. Muttering shadows gathered at the edge of the clearing, monsters and terrors lurking just out of sight as they moved to surround her.
“You have nightmares aplenty,” he said. “I think I’ll crack your skull open with a rock to scoop them out.”
“Luca, this isn’t you,” she said.
“Tell me, who do you think it is?”
“The demon in that tomb,” said Lux. “I don’t think it was as dead as people thought when they buried Fossian.”
Luca grinned, his mouth spreading so wide the skin at the corners of his mouth tore. Rivulets of blood ran down his chin.
“Not dead at all,” he said. “Just sleeping. Healing. Renewing. Preparing.”
“Preparing for what?” said Lux, forcing herself to take another step forward.
The boy tutted and wagged an admonishing finger. Lux froze, unable to take another step.
“Now, now,” he said, bending to pick up a sharpened stone. “Let me cut out a nightmare first.”
“Luca,” said Lux, unable to move, but still able to speak. “You have to fight it. I know you can. You have magic within you. I know you have, that’s why you ran away isn’t it? That’s why you came here, to be next to someone who defeated a demon.”
The thing wearing the flesh of the boy laughed, and the grass withered around it at the sound.
“His tears were like water in a desert,” it said, coming forward and circling her as if seeing where best he might crack her skull open. “They woke me, nourished me. I had slept for so long I had forgotten just how sweet the suffering of mortals tasted.”
The boy reached out and stroked her cheek. His touch sent a cold spike of terror through Lux. He lifted his finger away, and a smoky thread followed. She gagged as the fear of drowning filled her. A tear rolled down her cheek.
“I made him sleep, and his dreams were ripe with horrors to be made real,” said the boy.
“His power is slight, a glowing ember compared to the furnace that burns in your flesh. It gave me little in the way of real substance, but childish fears are a banquet after I had gone so long without. Demacia is a terror to his kind. To your kind.”
Lux felt her magic retreat from this creature, the darkness filling the clearing pressing her light down into little more than a spark. But even a single spark could begin a conflagration that would devour an entire forest.
“They hated him. Luca knew that. You mortals are always so quick to fear the things you don’t understand. So easy to fan those flames and draw forth the most exquisite visions of terror.”
Lux flexed her fingers, the motion painful. But pain meant she had control. She used it.
She nursed the building spark within her, kept it apart from her terror, and let it seep slowly back into her body.
“Luca, please,” she said, forcing each word out. “You have to fight it. Don’t let it use you.”
The boy laughed. “He can’t hear you. And even if he could, you know he’s right to fear what his own people would do if they discovered the truth. That he is the very thing they hate. A mage. You of all people should know how that feels.”
Pain spread along Lux’s arms, and moved through her chest. The boy’s black eyes narrowed as he sensed the build up of magic.
“I know all too well,” she said. “But I do not let fear define me.”
Lux thrust her staff toward the boy with a scream of pain. Her limbs burned, and the blow was clumsy. The boy jumped back; too slow. The golden tip of the staff brushed the skin of his cheek.
The moment of connection was fleeting, but it was enough.
The Dauntless Vanguard fought with brutally efficient sword cuts and battering blows from their shields, but they could not fight forever.
Eventually, the shadows would drag them down.
A pack of squirming things with grasping arms attacked from the left, fouling Diadoro’s swings with their bodies. A blow glanced off his shield and hammered into his shoulder guard. He grunted and punched his sword into the belly of a dark-fleshed beast with the head of a dragon.
“Step in!” admonished Sabator. “Keep them at bay!”
Garen threw a sword cut into the writhing darkness, a backstroke to the guts and a thrust to the chest. In deep and twist. Don’t stop moving. Movement to the right, a howling insect-like skull with fangs like daggers. He slashed it in the eyes. It screamed and burst apart in smoke and cinders.
Two more came at him. No room to swing. Another pommel strike, stove in the first’s chest. Stab the other in the belly, blade out. The monsters withdrew. Garen stepped back, level with Varya and Rodion. Each was slathered from helm to greaves in ash.
“We hold the line,” said Garen.
“For how long?” asked Diadoro.
Garen looked to the north, where a distant light shone in the forest.
“As long as Lux needs,” said Garen with a warning glance.
And the shadows came at them again.
Lux poured her light into Luca, and blinding radiance exploded through the clearing. The monster within the young boy was torn loose from his flesh with a howling screech of fury and desperation. White fire enfolded her, becoming everything around them. The darkness fled before Lux’s awesome power, its shadow banished by the incandescence of her light. The growing radiance kept growing until the forest and the tomb were nowhere to be seen, only an endless expanse of pale nothingness. Sitting in front of her was a young boy with his knees drawn up to his chest. He looked up, and his eyes were those of a small, frightened child.
“Can you help me?” he said.
“I can,” said Lux, walking over and sitting next to him. “But you have to come back with me.”
He shook his head. “I can’t. I’m too scared. The nightmare-man is out there.”
“Yes he is, but together we can beat him,” she said. “I’ll help you.”
“If you’ll let me,” said Lux with a smile. “I know what you’re going through, how you’re afraid of what’ll happen if people know what you can do. Trust me, I’ve been through it as well. But you don’t have to be afraid. What’s inside you? It’s not evil. It’s not darkness. It’s light. It’s a light I can help you control.”
She held out her hand.
“You promise?” he said.
“I promise,” said Lux. “You’re not alone, Luca.”
The boy gripped her hand like a drowning man grasping a rope.
The light swelled again, impossibly bright, and when it faded, Lux saw the clearing was just as she remembered it from seven years ago. Green grass, a hillock with a stone cairn and a slab describing Fossian’s deeds. The darkness that had so transformed the forest was now absent. The clawed trees were nothing more than ordinary trees, the sky a midnight blue vault of twinkling stars. The sound of night-hunting birds echoed from the forest canopy.
Luca still held her hand and smiled up at her.
“Is he gone, the nightmare-man?”
“I think so,” she said, feeling the bitter taste of dark power diminish. “For now at least. I think maybe it’s not in the tomb anymore, but it’s gone from here. That’s what’s important right now.”
“Can we go home now?” asked Luca.
“Yes,” said Lux. “We can go home.”
Numbing cold filled Garen. His limbs were leaden, pierced through by shadow claws.
Ice running in his veins chilled him to the very heart of his soul as his vision grayed.
Sabator and Diadoro were down, skin darkening. Rodion was on his knees, a clawed hand at his throat. Varya fought on, her shield arm hanging uselessly at her side, but her sword arm still strong.
Garen tasted ash and despair. He had never known defeat. Not like this. Even when he once believed Jarvan was dead, he’d found the will to continue. Now, his life was being sapped with every breath.
A towering figure reared up before him, a horned demon with an axe of darkness. It looked like a savage warrior he had slain many years ago. Garen raised his sword, ready to die with a Demacian war-cry on his lips.
A summer wind blew. The brightness in the northern sky shone like a new-risen sun.
The shadow creatures vanished, blown like scraps of charred leaves in a hurricane. The wind and the strange radiance spread across the town square like daybreak, and the shadows fled before it.
Garen let out a breath, barely able to believe he still could. Rodion sucked in a lungful of air as Sabator and Diadoro picked themselves up from the ground. They looked around, amazed, as the last remaining shadows were banished and the townsfolk began to stir.
“What happened?” gasped Varya.
“Lux,” said Garen.
With Luca reunited with his grateful mother and detailed instructions left with Mistress Pernille of the Lightbringers on his further education, Lux and Garen rode toward Fossbarrow’s south gate at the head of the Dauntless Vanguard. Their mood was subdued, and a palpable guilt hung over every person they passed on their way from the town. None of Fossbarrow’s inhabitants could remember anything after the execution, but all knew they had played a part in a man’s death.
“May the Veiled Lady welcome you to her breast,” said Lux as they passed Aldo Dayan’s burial procession.
“Do you really think he deserves such mercy?” said Garen. “He killed innocents.”
“That’s true,” agreed Lux, “but do you understand why?”
“Does it matter? He was guilty of a crime and paid the price.”
“Of course it matters. Aldo Dayan was their friend and neighbor,” said Lux. “They drank beer with him in the tavern, shared jokes with him on the street. Their sons and daughters played with his children. In their rush to judgement, any chance of understanding what caused his murderous acts was lost.”
Garen kept his gaze fixed on the road ahead.
“They don’t want understanding,” he said at last. “They don’t need it.”
“How can you say that?”
“We live in a world that does not allow for such nuances, Lux. Demacia is beset on all sides by terrible foes; savage tribes in the north, a rapacious empire in the east and the power of dark mages who threaten the very fabric of our realm. We deal in absolutes by necessity. Allowing doubt to cloud our judgement leaves us vulnerable. And I cannot allow us to become vulnerable.”
“Even at such a cost?”
“Even so,” agreed Garen. “It’s is why I do what I do.”
“For Demacia,” said Garen."
GalioThe previously released Galio champion bio and story, updated as part of his champion update in 7.7, are also included on the page as well as a new Flesh and Stone story:
""A shadow fades before the light,” the girl repeated to herself.
The words were a mantra, one she often used to put herself at ease when she felt herself losing control. Though she was only thirteen, she had become adept at using tricks like this to ease the symptoms of her affliction. But today she found the words to be little help. Today, the girl needed to be alone.
She fought to hold in the tears, avoiding eye contact with passersby as she walked briskly toward the scrutinizing glare of the sentries at the city gates. If they stopped her, she felt she might break down and spill everything to them. At least then it would all be over, she thought.
But they paid her little mind as she walked through the archway, to the open lands outside the city.
Far off the main highway, the girl found a quiet nook in a wooded hillside. Once she was sure she wouldn’t be seen, she removed a clean handkerchief from her pocket, placed it to her face, and sobbed.
The tears came fast and thick down her cheeks. If anyone had seen the girl like this, they probably would not recognize her. Everybody knew her as the fresh-faced optimist who cheerily bid them Good morning! and Nice to see you! everyday, regardless of circumstance.
The other side of her – this ugly and decidedly un-Demacian one – was a face the girl shared with nobody.
As she stanched the flow of tears with her thin linen cloth, her mind began to settle. She finally dared to recall the events that had led to the tears. She had been in the lecture room with her classmates when her gaze began to wander to an open window. The flock of fuchsia nectarflies outside were far more interesting than the drab lesson in field tactics their instructor was offering. The flies danced, not in unison at all, but in a vivacious chaos that was strangely beautiful. She had taken in their movement, feeling herself warming to the core with an intense happiness.
The warmth was familiar to her. Most of the time it could be tamed, stuffed back inside her like feathers that had leaked from a mattress. But today the warmth was... hot, with a life of its own. She felt it burning, in her teeth, threatening to explode into the world with a fan of iridescent hues as it had only done in privacy before.
For a brief moment, a thin trickle of white light leaked from her fingertips.
No! This is not for anyone to see! she thought, hoping to suppress the glow.
For the first time in her life, it felt too big. The girl had only one chance to save herself.
She needed to leave. She stood and gathered her belongings.
“Luxanna,” her instructor had said. “Are you-”
“A shadow fades before the light,” she had muttered, and ran from the room without explanation. “A shadow fades before the light. A shadow fades before the light.”
As she finished drying her eyes in the calm of the woods, her feet carried her farther and farther from the city. She began to assess the cost of the incident. Word would spread quickly across the citadel that a student had stormed out of class without leave. What punishment would she receive for that insubordination?
Whatever was to come, it would be better than the alternative. If she’d stayed, she would have erupted, filling the entire building in the brightest, purest light. Then everyone would know she was afflicted with magic.
That’s when the annullers would come.
Once or twice, the girl had seen the annullers in the streets with their strange instruments, rooting out practitioners of magic. Once these afflicted people were found, they were forcibly relocated to slums outside the kingdom, never to take part in the grand society Lux’s family knew so well.
That was the worst part, knowing her family would be shamed. And her brother... Oh, her brother. She shuddered to think what Garen would say. The girl often dreamed of living in a different part of the world, where people with arcane gifts were revered as heroes, and celebrated by their families. But the girl lived in Demacia, where people knew the destructive potential of magic, and treated it as such.
As she found her situation becoming increasingly hopeless, Lux realized she was standing within view of the Galio monument. The gargantuan statue had been made long ago as a battle standard for the military, accompanying them in their missions abroad.
Sculpted from petricite, Galio possessed magic-absorbing properties that had saved many lives from archmage attacks. If one believed the legends, he had even come to life at times, when enough mystical power had seeped into his mortar. At the moment, he stood still as a mountain, straddling the Memorial Road, far from the traffic of the main highway.
Lux cautiously approached the statue. Ever since she was a little girl, she had imagined the old titan keeping vigilant watch over all those who passed beneath him. It seemed to peer into her soul, judging her.
“You have no place here,” it would say accusingly.
Though it only spoke in her imagination, the girl knew it spoke true. She was different.
That was undeniable. Her constant smiles and exuberance stood out glaringly among Demacia’s trademark austerity.
Then there was the glow. Ever since she could remember, Lux felt it burning in her heart, longing to burst free. When she was small, the glow was weak, and she could easily conceal it. Now the power had become far too great to stay hidden.
Burdened with guilt, Lux lifted her eyes to the Colossus.
“Well, go on and say it!” she yelled.
It was uncharacteristic of Lux, but the day had not been kind, and it soothed her soul to vent. She expelled sharp breaths of air in relief, then immediately felt embarrassment at the outburst. Did I really just yell at a statue? she marveled, and looked around to make sure nobody had seen. At certain times of the year, this road was flooded with travelers making their pilgrimages to the colossus, paying tribute to the symbol of Demacian resolve. But presently, the Memorial Road was empty.
As Lux was searching for bystanders, she heard a gravelly racket in the air above her.
She whipped her head up – it had come from the top of the colossus. It was common for birds to take flight from their nests in the statue’s crown, but this was no bird. It sounded like a heavy clay pot being dragged across cobblestones.
Lux stared for a long while, but nothing stirred about the statue. Perhaps this was her mind again, working through the trauma of the day’s events. Even so, her eyes remained fixed on the colossus, daring whatever had moved to do so again.
And then it did: the eyes of the statue actually shifted. The large stone orbs physically swiveled in their sockets to find Lux in the grass below.
The girl’s face blanched for a moment. She could feel the enormous stone figure studying her. This time, it was definitely not in her imagination. Lux found her legs and ran, away from the statue, as fast and as far as she could.
Later that night, Lux entered the alabaster arch of her family’s city manor. She had walked many miles, all day long, all over the city, in the hope her parents would be asleep when she returned home. But one person was not.
Her mother Augatha sat in on a sofa in the corner of the grand foyer, glowering at the door with burning expectation.
“Do you know what hour it is?” she demanded.
Lux did not respond. She knew it was past midnight, well beyond the hour when her family were typically asleep.
“The school has chosen not to expel you,” said Augatha. “It was not an easy mess to fix.”
Lux wanted to break down crying, but she had done nothing but weep all day, and she simply had no more tears. “They almost saw it,” she said.
“I figured. It’s getting worse, isn’t it?”
“What should I do?” said Lux, exhausted from worry.
“What we must,” her mother replied. “You’ve lost control of it. Eventually, someone will get hurt.”
Lux had heard of men dying in battle at the hands of sorcerers, bodies melted beyond recognition and souls torn in two. She felt wretched, knowing she harbored any power that might be used for such destruction. She wanted to hate herself, but found herself numbed by the constant torrent of emotions she’d experienced that day.
“I’ve enlisted the help of a professional,” said Augutha.
Lux’s stomach turned. There was only one profession that dealt with her affliction. “An annuller?” she said, light of breath.
“He’s a friend. Someone I should have called on a long time ago,” said Augatha. “You can trust him to be discreet.”
Lux nodded. She knew the shame that was imminent. Even if the man told no one, as her mother assured her, he would still know.
And the cures — she didn’t want to think about those.
“He’s coming for your consultation in the morning,” said Augutha, as she walked up the stairs toward her bedroom. “This will be our secret.”
The words were no comfort. Lux was not even a woman yet, and already her life was over. She wanted nothing more than to retire upstairs to a deep slumber that would bury all her troubles in darkness, but she knew her particular troubles would not disappear with the night. The light would still grow inside her, threatening to erupt again at any moment. The annuller would arrive in the morning to perform some dreadful treatment. Lux had heard rumors, horrible rumors, of petricite ground and swallowed in potions, followed by bouts of excruciating pain. True, the girl wanted to be rid of the affliction, but no part of her wanted to experience that.
Isn’t there another way? she wondered.
The idea leapt into her head like lightning. All at once she was filled with dread and hope, unsure if the plan she’d just thought up would work, but knowing it was something she had to try.
Under the deepening night, Lux frantically retraced her steps, back through the alabaster archway, down the boulevard, sneaking her way past the guards at the gates. To the south, she found the Memorial Road, and followed it for miles before coming to Galio’s resting spot. Her heart galloped in her chest.
“Hello?” the girl asked shakily, unsure if she wanted an answer.
Lux approached the plinth where the colossus stood, all alone in the stillness of night. She cautiously placed her hand on the cold petricite foundation. Wonder what it tastes like. I bet it’s really bitter, she reckoned. She supposed she would find out soon enough, unless her plan worked.
“Well, they say you fix magic,” she said. “So fix me. I want to be Demacian.”
She gazed up at the colossus. It was as inert and unwavering as the Demacian way of life. Not even the bats were fluttering about it tonight. What she had heard before — what she thought she saw — was something she had imagined after all, then. She removed her hand from the plinth, pondering where else she could turn.
“Small girl person,” said a booming voice above.
Lux’s head shot upward to see the statue tilting its enormous head down. Her mind raced. He knows. And he’s not going to fix you. He’s going to squash you like a bug.
“Can you... scratch my foot?” asked the colossus.
Galio watched in wonder as the girl ran away from him, her tiny head shrieking words he could not understand. Though he’d observed her for years, he never knew she could move so quickly, and loudly.
Ever since the girl was very small, Galio had seen her as she stopped by on yearly trips with her family. He would study her with fascination, straining to keep sight of her as she skipped in and out of his field of vision. Then, in the middle of play, she would suddenly remember him standing above her, and she would shy away behind her mother’s skirt. When the colossus was dormant, everything seemed to move with a hazy distortion. The world was dull, people were but flickers before his eyes.
But even then, Galio could feel something profoundly special in the girl. It was a glow, but not just a visual luminescence. Time slowed with her, and the haze lifted as something strange stirred within his stone form.
It started small. When the girl was a toddler, Galio could feel her strange warmth tickling his toes. On her second visit, Galio could feel the glow tugging at his entire leg. By the time she was ten, the girl’s warmth was so strong Galio could feel her approaching from a mile away, and would grow giddy with anticipation of her visit.
Now, here she was again, even though it was not her normal visiting day. Her power burned so intensely it had spread like wildfire across his cold innards. She had brought him life!
Now that Galio was awake, he saw her brilliance with stunning clarity. She shone like all the stars in the heavens.
And she was leaving again.
With every step the girl took, Galio felt his life evaporating, returning him to his cold, motionless state. If he went still, he would never know the girl. He had to follow.
His towering legs rumbled from the plinth, easily catching up to the girl with their enormous gait. Her eyes shot wide as she whirled toward the lumbering colossus. A concentrated beam of light fired from the girl’s fingers into Galio’s leg. The strange feeling within him intensified until he thought he might explode, scattering bits of himself all over Demacia.
But Galio did not break. Instead, he grew even warmer, and more alive. He bent down and gently scooped up the girl in his hands. She covered her face, as if to shield herself from some imminent harm.
The colossus began to laugh, like a child playing in a fountain.
“Small golden-head person,” he bellowed. “You are funny. Please, do not leave.”
The girl slowly overcame her trauma, and responded, “I... I can’t. You’re holding me.”
Realizing his offense, Galio carefully placed the girl back on the ground.
“I am sorry. I don’t often meet small girl people. I only wake up to smash things,” he explained. “Do you have things to smash? Large things?”
“No,” said the girl meekly.
“Then let us find something to smash.” He walked a few booming steps, then turned to find the girl was not following. “Are you not coming, girl person?”
“No,” she replied, even more shakily, unsure if the answer would upset the giant. “I’m sort of trying not to be noticed right now.”
“Oh. Forgive me, girl person.”
“Well. I’m going to go now,” said Lux, in what she thought was a final parting word. “It was nice to meet you.”
Galio followed right behind her. “You are walking away from your city,” he observed.
“Where are you going?”
“I don’t know,” she responded. “Someplace I belong.”
The colossus tilted his head at her. “You are Demacian. You belong in Demacia.”
For the first time, the girl saw empathy in the giant, and she felt herself opening up.
“You wouldn’t understand. You’re a symbol of this kingdom. I’m just...” She searched for a word that would tell everything without telling too much. “I’m all wrong,” she said, at last.
“Wrong? You can’t be wrong. You give me life,” boomed Galio, lowering his huge boulder of a face to her level.
“That’s the problem,” said the girl. “You’re not supposed to be moving. The only reason you are moving is me.”
Galio reacted in stunned silence for a moment, then erupted with joyful epiphany.
“You’re a mage!” he thundered.
“Shhh! Please be quiet!” begged the girl. “People will hear you.”
“I crush mages!” he proclaimed. He then quickly added: “But not you. I like you. You are the first mage I’ve liked.”
Luxanna’s fear began to fade, giving way to irritation. “Listen. Even though this is all wondrous and miraculous, I’d really prefer you leave me alone. Besides, people are going to notice you’re gone.”
“I do not care,” insisted Galio. “Let them notice!”
“Don’t!” said Lux, recoiling at the thought. “Please, just go back where you belong.”
Galio stop to reflect, then smiled as though he’d recalled something amusing. “Do that thing to me again. With your wonderful starlight!” he said, far too loudly for Lux’s comfort.
“Shhh! Stop yelling!” she urged. “Are you referring to my affliction?”
“Yes,” said Galio, in a slightly quieter tone.
“I’m sorry. I can’t always do it. And I shouldn’t do it. You have to go,” she insisted.
“I can’t go. If I leave you, I will sleep. And when I wake, you will be gone, small girl thing.”
Lux paused. Though she was mad from exhaustion, she found herself touched by the titan’s words.
“If I can do it again, do you promise to go away?” she asked.
The colossus thought for a moment, then accepted the proposal.
“Okay,” said the girl. “I’ll try.”
She screwed in her hands toward her body and thrust them forward toward Galio. To her disappointment, nothing but a tiny spark of light glinted from her fingers. She tried again, and again, getting less of a result each time.
“I must be tired,” she realized.
“Rest,” suggested Galio. “Then when you are refreshed you can give me your magic.”
“Hmm,” thought Lux, mulling the suggestion. “I can’t get rid of you, and I have no place to go. Suppose I might as well bed down.”
She began feeling around the ground for a comfortable patch of grass. Once she’d found a suitable place, she lay down and wrapped her cloak snugly around herself.
“Well, I’m going to sleep now,” she said with a yawn. “You should too.”
“No. I sleep too much,” replied Galio.
“Can you just... I don’t know, freeze yourself for a while, then?”
“I do not work that way,” said the colossus.
“Then be still and pretend you’re not alive.”
“Yes. I will just stand here and watch you rest, girl person,” said Galio.
“Please don’t,” insisted Lux. “I can’t sleep with you staring at me. Can you... turn around?”
Galio honored the girl’s wish, turning himself away from her, toward the distant lights of the Demacian capital. It was not as interesting as the girl, but it would suffice.
Making due with the modicum of privacy, Lux closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep.
Once she was certain Galio would not turn around, she quietly got up and crept away into the night.
Luxanna walked quickly, knowing her first order of business was getting as far away as possible from the colossus. If she didn’t, her magic would still empower him, and he would surely come looking for her. By morning, every patrol in the kingdom would be searching for the missing Crownguard girl who had vanished in the night. They’d surely notice the walking national monument following her, and they’d know the girl must be the magical source that had awakened it.
Lux’s aching legs quickened to a sprint. She had only a vague idea of her surroundings. It was difficult to find any landmarks at this black hour of night. All she knew for sure was the Cloudwoods were nearby - their thick, towering redbarks forming the skyline to the south. It would be an ideal place to hide from any search parties, and a good foraging ground for breakfast. She could cross the forest in two days time and find shelter in one of the Vaskasian timber villages, where people were unlikely to recognize her. It was not a brilliant plan, by any stretch, but it was the best she had.
Lux could see the beginnings of the forest coming into view, its trees progressing in height like a pyramid, with the largest in the center. As she crossed the threshold of the woods, she paused a moment to grieve what she was abandoning. She would miss her brother Garen, and her beloved steed Starfire, and even her mother, but this was the way it had to be.
A shadow fades before the light, she reassured herself, and then stepped into the blackness of the dense evergreen woods.
After an hour of plowing her way through the barbed, resinous branches of the forest, Lux already found herself doubting her plan. Her stomach was growling, and any confidence she’d had in finding a clear path through the trees had vanished with the brightest moon behind the clouds. All around she could hear the snorts and rustles of nocturnal animals, and that made her nervous.
Just a little light, she thought. Surely just a little won’t hurt, way out here.
She began to conjure a luminescent orb between her hands. For a brief moment, a flicker of light danced on her fingertips, causing an audible ruckus in the creatures around her.
But the light snuffed out as quickly as it came, returning all to blackness. Lux looked at the outlines of her hands, inspecting them for flaws. She wondered what could have hampered her from doing what had previously come so easily and unbidden.
It’s the colossus, she realized. It must be.
She suddenly became aware of voices in the woodland murmur. Slow, purposeful footsteps, and whispers. They were-
An arm shot around Lux’s throat and restrained her. She could sense the presence of at least two other men to her sides.
“Where are you headed tonight, miss?” asked one of the men.
Lux stammered, not quite formulating a response. The man restraining her tightened his grip.
“You’re supposed to be in the annulment slums, yeah?” he said.
“No...” Lux gasped, the man’s arm wedged firmly under her chin. “I’m not...”
“We aren’t fools, miss,” said the third man. “Come on, let’s take you back.”
Lux struggled to free her arms as the men tried to bind them with coarse rope. She concentrated, but still could not summon the magic that had apparently once been hers.
She freed one hand, struck one of the men squarely in the jaw, and heard the twigs on the ground crunch as he fell. The two other men angrily descended on her.
“You shouldn’t have done that,” said one of them with a scowl. “You really shouldn’t have done that.”
The men began to tighten her bindings. They were making a point to pull the knots as tightly and painfully as possible, when the ground began to vibrate with dull thunderous beat. The men paused in dread, searching for the source of the noise, as it slowly increased in frequency and volume.
It rumbled like an earthquake, only broken up into steady rhythmic booms... like gigantic footsteps.
And they were getting nearer.
“What is it?” asked one man, too frightened to move.
The ground shook more, and its quaking was joined by the crackling of great trees being broken apart. Whatever it was, it was now in the forest and almost upon them.
All looked up to see the monstrous Galio, striding toward them, a path of felled redbarks in his wake. The men ran, getting only a few steps through the trees before a giant petricite hand snatched them up high into the air. Galio glared with one enormous eye at the trembling wads of flesh held tight in his grip.
“Is it time for fighting?” said the colossus with a grin. “I will engage you!”
He opened his clenched fist, and raised the other hand as if to smash the men between his palms.
“No!” said a tiny voice. “Please stop!”
The colossus found Lux on the ground below, beating on his ankles with her bound arms.
“It isn’t right!” she shouted.
Confused, Galio lowered the men to the ground and released them. Lux heard the quick patter of the men’s feet, sprinting away from her with the urgency of hunted elk. As she wriggled out of her bindings, she gazed up at the colossus.
“I turned around and you were gone, girl person,” he said. “Why are you in the trees?”
“I- I don’t know,” Luxanna managed.
Galio reclined on a hillside, gazing at the stars with the tiny yellow-headed girl he had befriended. Neither spoke, save for an occasional sigh - not the stressful gasps that Lux had previously known. These were the sounds of two beings that had found utter contentment in each other’s company.
“I do not usually awaken for this long,” said the colossus.
“Me neither,” said the girl, with an enormous yawn.
“How do people spend time together without battle? Should we have a conversation?”
“No. This is nice,” said the girl. “I feel... calm.”
A frown crossed Galio’s face. There was something different about the girl. Something missing. She no longer shone like the stars.
“Why are you sad? You’ve cured me,” said the girl. “As long as you’re near me, I can return home and be normal.”
Galio did not brighten or look up. The girl continued her thought.
“I mean, maybe I can just come visit you every day to keep my affliction away—”
“No,” said the titan, finally locking eyes with her.
“Why not?” she asked.
“Young girl person, you are special. Since before you can remember, I have felt your gift. For so long, I wanted it near me. But now I see... I smash your gift.”
“But it gives you life.”
Galio pondered her words, but only for a moment. His mind was made up.
“Life to me is very valuable,” he said. “But your gift is everything. Never lose it.”
He got to his feet and gingerly placed the girl on his shoulder. Together, they began to trudge back toward the city to face what awaited.
The sun was just beginning to peek over the horizon when Lux returned to her family manor. Outside the city walls, Galio was returning to stillness on his plinth beside the Memorial Road, leaving Lux to face her problems alone.
A shadow fades before the light, she thought, and she opened the latch to her front door.
She entered the house to find her mother sitting in the parlor with a balding middle-aged man, who held a case of exotic medical tinctures in his lap.
“Luxanna, so glad you decided to return home,” said Augatha, through clenched teeth.
Lux looked warily at the man on the couch.
“This is the man I was telling you about,” her mother whispered. “The one who’s going to fix your... problem.”
Lux felt light-headed, as if her spirit was leaving her body to watch what she was about to say.
“You know what, mother?” she said, her voice trembling with words she’d been longing to say. “I don’t think I want to see this man. In fact, I’d like you to send him away.”
The annuller looked offended. He stood and slung his bag over his shoulder.
“No, stay,” begged Augatha. She cornered Lux and began to speak with authority. “You do not know what you are saying. This man has risked everything to help you. It is the only way you’re ever going to be Demacian. Have you forgotten your afflic-”
“I am not afflicted!” Lux cried out. “I am beautiful and valuable, and one day I will prove it to this kingdom! And if anyone has a problem with me, I’ve got a very large friend they can talk to.”
She strode upstairs to her room, leaving her mother alone with the annuller.
As Lux flopped onto her bed, she expelled a deep, easy breath. For the first time in years, her mind was as still as a pond in summer. The light that had once exploded from her unbidden was still there, but she could feel its beginning and its end, and knew that one day she could master it.
As she drifted off to sleep, she realized her mantra had always been wrong. No light could ever kill shadows.
A shadow thrives beside the light, she thought. It had a nice ring to it."
GarenCheck out Garen's bio and story below:
"Garen is a warrior of Demacia who has devoted his life to defending his kingdom and its ideals. Armed with his magic-resistant armor and broadsword, Garen puts his life on the line for both his nation, and his fellow soldiers.
Born to the Crownguard (an honorific given to the family charged with protecting the king), Garen and his younger sister, Lux, come from a long and noble Demacian lineage.
Garen’s father, Pieter, devoted his life to the defense of King Jarvan III, and in preparation of the inherited honor, Garen trained to defend the king’s son, Jarvan IV, should he be the next to rule. Knowing the important role he would play in adulthood, Garen’s family instilled in him an unshakeable pride for Demacia and everything it stood for.
Demacia was founded by the weary survivors of the Rune Wars, those looking for a life of peace after enduring the unspeakable destruction that came from the misuse of magic.
Many wouldn’t speak of those dark times, but Garen’s uncle spoke of it often. He was one of Demacia’s best scouts. Vigilant in his pursuit to keep Demacia safe from magic, Garen’s uncle would brave the wilds beyond the wall to root out magical threats. He told Garen that the outside world held innumerable wonders, but it also possessed innumerable dangers. One day, something – whether it be mages, the creatures of the Void, or something unimaginable – would attack their walls because times of peace are never long for this world. Yet they are longer when they are defended.
Seven months later, Garen's uncle died in a tragic accident. It was said he was slain in battle, but Garen soon learned from the whispers throughout his family’s estate a mage's bloodletting spell had taken his uncle’s life. This confirmed Garen's worst fears about the horrors of magic and he vowed angrily to never let its presence within Demacia's walls.
Only by following Demacian ideals, only by displaying Demacian strength, could the kingdom be kept safe from the corrupting influence of magic.
All of Demacia seemed to rally around Garen after the death of his uncle. Strangers on the street, including commoners with little to call their own, expressed their condolences, gave him gifts of respect, and offered adages of support. He was surrounded by compassion and saw Demacia as a kingdom of unity where people took care of one another, healing wounds of others as if wounds to themselves. He saw an ideal Demacia, where no one was ever truly alone.
Still, the impending threat of magic loomed over Garen’s mind, often making monsters of shadows. He wrestled with a gnawing suspicion that his sister, Lux, possessed magical powers, but never let himself entertain the idea for long. The thought of a Crownguard being capable of the same forbidden powers that killed their uncle was too unbearable to confront.
At twelve, he left home and joined the ranks of the Dauntless Vanguard. His days and nights were consumed with training and the study of war, foregoing close friendships and romantic relationships. He devoted every waking moment to perfecting his swordsmanship, even after his lessons had ended. Most nights, his superiors had to take away his practice sword so he wouldn’t sneak out and spar with his own shadow.
While training with the Vanguard, Garen met Jarvan IV – the boy likely to become Demacia’s next king, and thereby Garen’s future ward. Jarvan’s presence spurred Garen to fight even harder – he saw greatness within the prince even at his young age. They became fast friends, always eager to spar against one another. When their training was complete, Garen gave Jarvan a pin embossed with the sigil of Demacian eagle as a reminder that he would always look out for his newfound brother.
During the Noxian assaults on Demacia, Garen gained a reputation as a particularly fearsome fighter – one of the greatest in all Demacia, willing to risk life and limb to protect his fellow soldiers and defeat the enemy. He took a crossbow bolt to the chest to save one of his men during the search for the Freljordian ever-filling goblet. He walked armorless through the Silent Forest to ambush the fetid servants of the Rancid King.
Despite his courage and skill, Garen’s greatest failure came in the midst of a Noxian offensive, where he was unable to protect his prince. Against his counsellor’s advice, Jarvan IV and his troops pursued a retreating band of Noxians. The young Jarvan was determined to avenge the hundreds of massacred villagers, and failed to see the recklessness of his plan. The Noxian retreat was a trap, and both he and his men were captured.
Garen was furious at himself for failing to be there when Jarvan needed him most. He had known Jarvan was prone to making rash decisions in the heat of battle, and blamed himself for not anticipating the prince’s impulsiveness. Garen led a detachment of knights and rode out in search of his captive prince.
Garen and his men discovered the Noxian camp, only to find Jarvan’s armor discarded next to a bloodsoaked executioner’s post. The Demacian eagle pin glinted up at him from the sticky pool of blood. Though Garen combed the wilderness in search of the prince, he knew in his heart that Jarvan was dead.
For days, Garen was inconsolable. He couldn’t stop blaming himself for the prince’s death, even as his family and fellow soldiers tried to convince him otherwise. He remembered how the kingdom rallied around him following his uncle’s demise, and wished he could do the same for the kin of his fallen soldiers. He took up residence in the barracks with his fellow soldiers in training, and all that he earned went toward supporting the families of the fallen.
Hearing of this, King Jarvan III was impressed with Garen’s humble and pure reflection of Demacia’s ideals. The king grieved for his son, but recognized Garen’s courage, a warrior who viewed all Demacians as if they were his own family. The king honored Garen, reminding his people that Demacians never stand alone – in battle, or at home.
Though Garen's sister, Lux, had followed in her brother’s footsteps, coming to serve the crown in Demacia’s capital, their relationship remained distanced. Garen refused to acknowledge the things he’d suspected of her before he left to train with the Vanguard.
Though he always loved his sister, some small part of him had a hard time getting close to her. He tried not to think about what his duty would force him to do if his suspicions were ever confirmed.
Today, Garen stands ready to defend Demacia with his life. In the rare occasions a rogue mage or Noxian spy is discovered to be within Demacia’s borders, Garen is the first to volunteer his sword. He stands resolute on Demacia's wall, defending his home from all foes. Garen is more than Demacia's most formidable and feared soldier, he is the embodiment of her core values – Strength, Courage and Unity."
The Soldier and the Hag
"The old woman pulled the rope taut around the Demacian soldier’s throat. He’d attempted to speak, which was forbidden by the rules she had laid out. One more infraction and she’d have the right to slice the head from his shoulders and use his widowpeaked helm as a chamberpot. Until then, she could only tighten her grip, hope and watch as the tendrils of memory leaked from his head into hers.
Of course, she could just decapitate him whenever she wished, but that wouldn’t be proper. Much could be said of the gray-skinned seer, but nobody could say she didn’t live by a code. By a set of rules. And without rules, where would the world be? In disarray, that’s where. Simple as that.
Until he broke those rules, she would sit here, siphoning away everything he had – his joy, his memories, his identity – until she was done with him. And then: slice.
A voice screamed out in pain somewhere near the entrance of her cave. One of her sentinels, no doubt.
Then another scream.
Tonight was shaping up to be very interesting.
She could tell he was an unyielding fellow by the persistent slamming of his heavy boots onto the wet cave floor, announcing his long approach. When the echoing steps finally fell silent, a handsome, broad-shouldered man stared at her from across the cavern, the look of grim determination on his face illuminated by the den’s dim torches. Rivulets of blood dripped down his breastplate. Even from the back of the room, she could smell something sour in his armor – some sort of acidic tang that calmed the magic flowing through her veins in a way she did not like.
This would be an interesting night, indeed.
The knight, broadsword in hand, ascended the stone steps to the old woman’s makeshift rock throne.
She smiled, waiting for him to haul the blade up and bring it screaming down toward her head – he’d be in for quite the surprise once he did.
Instead, he sheathed the sword and sat on the ground.
Wordlessly, he stared into the old woman’s eyes, patiently holding her gaze. He did not break their connection even to flick his eyes in the direction of the leashed soldier at her side.
Was this a ploy to throw her off? Was he trying to wait her out, make her talk first?
Still, this was boring.
“Do you know who I am?” the woman asked.
“You feed off the memories of the lost and the abandoned. Children say you are as old as the cave you inhabit. You are the Lady of the Stones,” he said with confidence.
“Ha! That’s not what they call me, and you know it. Rock Hag. That’s what they say. Afraid I’d smite you if you used that name, eh? Trying to butter me up?” she coughed.
“No,” the man replied, “I just thought it was a rude name. It’s impolite to insult someone in their home.”
The old seer chuckled until she realized he wasn’t joking.
“And yours?” she asked. “What are you called?”
“Garen Crownguard of Demacia.”
“Here are the rules, Garen Crownguard of Demacia,” she said. “You have come for your lost soldier. Correct?”
The man nodded.
“Do you intend to kill me?” the woman asked.
“I cannot lie. I think it likely that either you or I will die, yes,” he replied.
The woman chuckled.
“Eager to spill my blood, are you? Maybe you’d even succeed, with that armor.” She coiled the rope squeezing the soldier’s neck tighter around her ancient hand. “Still – if you raise your sword against me before our dealings are through, I will pull this so quickly you’ll hear the snap of his neck echo in your mind for the rest of your days.”
She yanked the leash taut for emphasis.
Garen’s gaze remained unflinchingly focused on her eyes.
“So, the rules. If you can give me a single memory I find more delicious than the accumulated memories in this one’s mind,” she said, flicking the prisoner’s helmet, “I will take it from you, and give you him.” She watched Garen’s eyes closely now for any hint of doubt. “If you cannot, well…” she tightened her grip on the soldier’s leash.
“Should either of us attempt to renege on our deal, the other is entitled to take repayment however they wish, with no resistance. Do you agree?”
“I do,” he said.
“Then let me hear your opening offer. What is this soldier’s life to you? Apologies for my rudeness – I’d refer to him by name, but I’ve forgotten it already,” she said.
“I do not know his name either. He joined my battalion only recently,” Garen replied.
She frowned at the young man. He clearly did not know what he was getting into.
“I offer a memory,” he said, “from childhood. My sister and I astride my uncle’s back as he barked like a Noxian drake-hound. We laughed for many hours. It is a good memory, unsullied by what would later happen to him at the hands of one like you.”
The old woman scratched at the gelatinous film of her eye.
“You do me disrespect,” she said. “You think to trade a joyous memory as if that is all I savor.” She cupped the soldier’s head in her hand and relished the wisps of memories flowing into her mind from his. “I want... everything. The pain, the confusion, the anger. Keeps me looking young,” she laughed, dragging a twisted finger across her wrinkled cheek.
“I offer my grief, then, at my uncle’s death,” Garen said.
“Not good enough. You bore me,” said the Lady of Stones, and pulled tighter on the leash.
Garen sprang to his feet and unsheathed his sword. The hag’s heart leapt at the thought of killing the impatient young knight. But instead of attacking, he dropped to one knee, lowering his head before her, and gently placed the tip of the blade on her lap, pointed toward her midsection.
“Search my mind,” he said. “Take whatever memory you wish. I am young, but I have seen much, and experienced a life of privilege that you might find pleasurable. Should you try to take more than one memory, of course, I will push this sword through you, but any single memory is yours for the keeping.”
The woman could not help but cackle. The arrogance of this boy! He had the nerve to think one of his memories would outweigh the lifetime she could absorb from his colleague?
His courage – or ignorance – was unquestionable. One had to respect it.
Smacking her lips, she leaned over and placed her palms upon his head. She closed her eyes and peeled back the layers of his mind.
She saw triumph at the Battle of Whiterock. She tasted the lyrebuck roast at his lieutenant’s wedding feast. She felt a lonely tear fall as he held a dying comrade on the fields of Brashmore.
And then she saw his sister.
She felt his intense love for her, mixed with...something else. Fear? Disgust?
She pushed deeper into his mind, past his conscious memories. Her fingers probed his thoughts, pushing aside anything unrelated to the golden-haired girl with the big smile. His armor made the search far more difficult than it would have otherwise been, but the old woman persisted until–
Childhood. The two of them playing with toy figurines. His soldiers charge her mages, ready to slaughter them. She tells him it isn’t fair; they have magic, it should be an even fight. He laughs and knocks her clay mages over, batting them aside with his metal crusaders. Upset, the girl shouts and suddenly there is light shooting from her fingertips, and he is blinded, and confused, and frightened. She is taken away by their mother, but before their mother leaves the room, she kneels and tells the boy that he didn’t see what he thought he saw. It wasn’t real – just a game. The boy, his mouth agape, nods. Just a game. His sister is not a mage. She couldn’t be. He pushes the memory as deep as it can go.
Stretching her fingers, the old woman finds more and more memories like this spread amongst the knight’s childhood, each ending in a blinding splay of light. Buried deep.
Cacophonous mixtures of love, fear, denial, anger, betrayal, and protectiveness.
The knight had not been wrong – these were good memories. Far juicier than those provided by the broken man.
She smiled. The knight had been clever, putting his sword to her stomach, but he wasn’t clever enough. Once she took a memory, he would forget he’d ever possessed it – she could take whatever she wanted.
Branching her fingers, she sifted through his memories, searching for anything involving the girl of light. She snatched up every single one she found before pulling out of his mind.
“Yes,” she said, opening her eyes. “This will do.” She pointed at the cave’s exit.
“Your bargain is accepted. A single memory for a single life. Take the boy and leave at once.”
Garen stood and moved to the leashed soldier. He bent down, helped the soldier up, and began to walk backward out of the cave, never once looking away from her.
Quaint. He was worried she might break the deal. Poor thing didn’t realize she already had.
The knight stopped.
He dropped his companion to the ground and charged, his eyes still locked on hers.
The old woman thrilled at his impetuous attempt. He was too big, too lumbering, too slow to ready his cumbersome sword before she would descend upon him. Her fingertips crackled with dark energy, thirsting to drink in more of his mind, but she couldn’t take her eyes off his. In them, she saw the years of luscious memories she would feast upon, until there was nothing left to –
She felt something cold inside of her. Something metal. The sour tang of the knight’s armor stronger than ever now, tickled the back of her throat.
The hag looked down to see Garen’s sword jutting from her breast. Stains of red and black seeped from the wound, dripping onto the knight’s gauntlets as he stared steadfast into her fading eyes.
He was faster than she’d thought.
“Why?” she tried to say, only to cough up a mouthful of black bile.
“You lied,” he answered.
The hag smiled, acidic tar bubbling between her teeth. “How’d you know?”
“I felt... lighter. Unburdened,” Garen replied.
“It didn’t feel right. Give them back.”
She thought for a moment as her blood mixed into the mud of the cold cave floor.
The hag’s fingers went numb as she placed them on Garen’s skull, forcing the memories back into his mind. He gritted his teeth with pain and when he opened his eyes, she could tell from their weariness that he’d gotten everything he wanted. The poor fool.
“Why even bother with the trade?” the old woman asked. “You are stronger than I thought. Much stronger. Leash or no, you could have sliced me to ribbons before I’d lifted a finger. Why bother letting me into your mind at all?”
“To draw first blood in a stranger’s home without giving them a chance would be...impolite.”
The hag cackled.
“Is that a Demacian rule?”
“A personal one,” Garen said, and pulled the sword out of the hag’s chest. Blood gushed from the open wound and she slumped over, dead.
He didn’t spare her another look as he picked the soldier up and began their long march back to Demacia.
And without rules, he thought to himself, where would the world be?"
Check out Jarvan IV's bio and story below:
"Prince Jarvan IV comes from a lineage of kings, and is favored to lead Demacia in the next era. Raised to be the paragon of Demacia’s greatest virtues, Jarvan IV often struggles with the heavy expectations placed upon him. On the battlefield, he inspires his troops with his fearsome courage and selfless determination, revealing his true strength as a leader of men.
Though the Demacian ruler is chosen by a high council from a selection of worthy candidates, the last three kings were descendants of the same line. As King Jarvan III’s only child, Jarvan IV was groomed since birth to continue that tradition. His family’s intentions were reflected in all aspects of his life, from his courtly duties to his name. Educated by the finest historical scholars and tutored in the ways of ruling a kingdom, Jarvan IV also studied the techniques of war.
During Jarvan’s combat training, he was often paired against a young warrior named Garen, who was preparing to serve as the next ruler’s Crownguard. Jarvan admired Garen’s sheer fortitude, and Garen, the prince’s quick thinking. The two were soon inseparable.
When Jarvan IV came of age, his father bestowed upon him the honor of serving as a general in the Demacian army. Though Jarvan IV had studied the theories and tactics of warfare, and could win a duel against his swordmaster, he had never stood on the front lines of a battle, much less taken a life.
Determined to prove his worth through victories in battle, Jarvan IV led his troops against bands of Winter’s Claw reavers, warring tribes, and even a coven of rogue mages. Though he commanded his troops to great success, Jarvan was always flanked on all sides by guards sworn to protect him, and felt that his impact as a fighter was often stifled.
When Noxian warbands raided the farmlands near Demacia’s border, Jarvan IV led his troops to defend the nation. He and his men rode for days in the wake of the Noxians. To Jarvan’s horror, the atrocities were far worse than he had anticipated. The Noxians had razed entire townships and slaughtered hundreds of Demacians, with only a handful of injured survivors left to tell the tale.
His officers advised the prince to withdraw and send for reinforcements. But Jarvan was shaken by the faces of the dead, and he could not turn his back on survivors in need. He would protect the wounded while ensuring the enemy forces did not escape without a fight. Besides, he reasoned, a secondary force of Demacian soldiers could not possibly arrive in time to face the Noxians. He was convinced that he had to act now.
Jarvan split his troops, ordering some to remain and care for the injured civilians, while he led the remaining soldiers onward. They ambushed the Noxians during the night, but in the chaos of battle, Jarvan was separated from his guards. He fought fiercely and slew many enemies, but was ultimately overwhelmed. The Noxians took Jarvan IV prisoner, to be paraded through the Immortal Bastion in chains upon reaching Noxus.
As Jarvan was dragged further from Demacia during his weeks of captivity, he was ashamed that the rashness of his decision to pursue the Noxians had led to needless Demacian deaths. Crushed by the loss, he came to believe he no longer deserved to live in Demacia, let alone inherit its throne.
One moonless night, Garen and an intrepid band of soldiers known as the Dauntless Vanguard attacked the Noxian encampment. Though the Demacian warriors could not reach Jarvan, he used the distraction to fight his captors and escape. As he ran, a Noxian soldier shot an arrow into Jarvan’s side, but the young prince persevered and fled into the wilderness.
Jarvan sprinted until he collapsed, hiding in the hollow of a fallen tree and bandaging his wound as best as he could. He lay for days drifting in and out of consciousness, knowing his death must be near. Unsure if he was awake or dreaming, Jarvan would later recall a purple-skinned woman with eyes of fire who carried him to a remote Demacian village.
There, he rested under the care of local healers, who treated him with medicinal herbs as they nursed him back to health.
As Jarvan regained his strength, he found solace in the small settlement nestled in the wild hills of outer Demacia. For the first time in his life, he was free from the pressures and demands of his royal duties. He felt at peace in the village that had welcomed him so openly, though he was a stranger. Jarvan also learned that his strange, purple-skinned savior was a fellow newcomer known as Shyvana.
The serenity of village life was disrupted when a monstrous dragon terrorized the nearby communities, burning buildings to cinders and farmlands to ash. Jarvan knew the settlement would not survive a dragon attack, so he led the villagers to a nearby stronghold - Castle Wrenwall.
That night, Jarvan caught Shyvana leaving the compound. She confessed that she was half-dragon, and that the ruinous creature plaguing them was her own mother, Yvva, who resented Shyvana as a blemish on her bloodline. The monster would not stop until Shyvana was dead. Like all Demacians, Jarvan had been raised to distrust the magical beings of the world - but he saw Shyvana’s goodness and strength, and was determined to repay his life-debt to her. Only together could they take down such a fearsome enemy.
With the dragon’s return an ever-present threat, Jarvan trained the Demacian villagers to fight alongside the soldiers of Castle Wrenwall. He chose the ancient petricite ruins to the west as the scene of their battle. The structure had once been a high temple built during the cataclysmic upheaval of the Rune Wars, but now the magic-nullifying stones would serve as their best defense against the dragon. He even tipped their arrows with sharpened petricite, knowing that only by drawing all their efforts together did they have a chance of killing such a mighty beast.
Jarvan and the soldiers hid themselves nearby, while Shyvana stood in the center of the ruined courtyard. Jarvan watched in awe as she transformed into a dragon, roaring plumes of fire into the sky as an open challenge to her mother. Though the villagers backed away in fear, Jarvan steadied their courage, reminding them that Shyvana would help destroy their enemy.
Soon enough, an even more fearsome silhouette blackened the sun, and Yvva, the great dragon, was upon them. On Jarvan’s command, the soldiers loosed dozens of petricite arrows into the dragon’s back, weakening her powers with every strike. The dragon reared up in pain and exhaled streams of flame. Soldiers were charred in their armor, but still more arrows flew and the close confines of the nullifying ruins anchored her to the earth.
Jarvan stood in awe as Shyvana and her mother collided with earthshaking force. The colossal beasts battled in a furious blur until Jarvan could hardly tell them apart, and he held his archers back in fear that he would wound his friend. He despaired as Shyvana collapsed back into her human form with blood streaming from her neck. But she looked her mother in the eyes and, with flaming claws, tore the steaming heart from her breast.
With the threat vanquished, Jarvan IV finally felt worthy of returning home. He had come to understand that true Demacian values were not simply about victory, but about standing together as one, no matter their differences. To reward Shyvana’s bravery, he promised that she would always have a home in his kingdom. But they both knew Demacia as a kingdom remained deeply suspicious of magic, and Shyvana vowed not to reveal her dual nature as she fought at Jarvan’s side. Together they traveled to the capital with the skull of the dragon Yvva in tow.
Though many were thrilled to see their prince return safely, others questioned Jarvan’s judgment in recruiting Shyvana into his guard, and suspicions grew as to why he had not gone to the capital immediately after escaping the Noxians. No matter what King Jarvan III himself thought, outwardly he welcomed his son back into the court. As Jarvan IV resumed his royal duties, he swore to uphold Demacian ideals by building a nation that valued each one of its citizens, uniting them together against whatever threats they faced."
Ivory, Ebony, Jasper
"General Miesar slid an ivory cone across the map. Jarvan wondered at the simplicity of the white piece. No head, no features denoting a face. Just a simple rounded shape, neutral and plain, with no resemblance to the hundred Demacian soldiers it represented.
“If we lead our knights south now, we can attack the argoth head-on before they reach Evenmoor,” said General Ibell, a stout woman with commanding eyes.
“The argoth are fiercest in swarms,” said General Miesar as he paced the length of the tent. “They rely on overwhelming numbers to defeat direct attacks. If we cannot divide them, they will slaughter us long before we reach their queen.”
Jarvan strode to the edge of their tent, parting the fabric and gazing out across the valley.
He might have enjoyed the view – morning light made the verdant landscape sparkle with dew, and the village of Evenmoor looked peaceful from a distance. But an ominous gray shape swelled on the the horizon as the horde thundered in the distance.
The argoth were not enormous creatures; fighting one alone would be easy enough, but in large numbers, they were subject to the dominating will of a queen, able to move and fight as one vicious unit. This swarm was bigger than any Jarvan had seen before.
Miesar wiped sweat from his brow. “They’ll be here by this evening?”
“Sooner,” said Ibell. “We have an hour, maybe two if we’re lucky, until the argoth overwhelm Evenmoor.”
Jarvan turned back to the map. Ten ebony cones representing the argoth stood at the outer edges of Evenmoor, overshadowing the single Demacian cone. The queen was marked by a smaller figurine of red jasper, right in the heart of the ebony mass.
“Any charge would need to fight through hundreds of argoth to get near her,” said Jarvan, gesturing to the red stone. “What do you propose?”
Miesar halted his pacing. “I’m afraid you won’t like this, my lord, but we could retreat. Surrender Evenmoor. Return on the morrow with forces strong enough to cut through the horde and slay the queen.”
“Leave Evenmoor to the argoth?” asked Ibell. “That’s a death sentence for these people. They will be overrun in a matter of hours.”
Jarvan stared at the ebony and ivory until they merged in his mind’s eye. All he saw was the red queen stone.
Ibell raised her eyebrows. “You see something?”
“A desperate plan,” Jarvan replied, “but it is all we have. We conceal our fiercest fighters within Evenmoor and lay an ambush. With such a small band they won’t anticipate our attack. Then, when the queen is within reach, we strike hard and fast. With her death, the swarm’s unity will be broken.”
“Into the center of the argoth, my lord?” Miesar said. “That, too, may be a death sentence.”
“But we give Evenmoor a chance of surviving the attack,” said Ibell.
“No plan is without risk,” Jarvan said. “I will lead only those willing to join me, and will not engage until our hope of victory is greatest. We bide our time until the eye of the maelstrom is upon us, and then strike from within. With the queen dead, it will be a simple matter to fight our way out.”
Ibell slid a single ivory cone to the village on the map, then moved the circle of ebony pieces forward until they overlapped Evenmoor entirely. The jasper queen stood at its center. With a flick of her finger, she tipped the red stone over. That done, she slid two more white cones to join the fight.
“This is our plan,” said Jarvan. “Ibell and Miesar, you and your troops will lead the second wave.”
“Aye,” said Miesar.
“And you, my lord?” Ibell asked. “Where will you be?”
“I have a queen to kill,” Jarvan replied."
LuxCheck out Lux's bio and story below:
"Luxanna Crownguard is a powerful young light mage from Demacia, an insular realm where magical abilities are viewed with fear and suspicion. Forced to keep her power secret for much of her young life, she grew up fearing discovery and exile, but learned to embrace her magic and covertly wields it in service of her homeland.
Luxanna - or Lux, as she preferred to be called - grew up in the Demacian city of High Silvermere, one of two children born to the prestigious Crownguard lineage; an honorific given to the family tasked with protecting the king. Her grandfather saved the king’s life at the Battle of Storm’s Fang, and her father took up the mantle of protection during the Noxian assault known as Cyrus’s Folly. Lux’s older brother, Garen, was also expected to bear that honor.
From the earliest age, both Lux and Garen were taught to fight, to ride and to hunt. But where Garen chose to follow family tradition to join the Dauntless Vanguard - one of Demacia’s elite fighting regiments - Lux harbored dreams of venturing beyond Demacia’s borders to explore the wider world. Her parents frowned upon such notions, and as their only other child, they expected her to take up the role of custodian and defender of the family’s estates. While this was an important duty, it was not what the idealistic and headstrong Lux envisioned for her future. She idolized Garen, but railed against his insistence that she put her ambitions aside and do what was expected of her, as all Demacians should.
Being told what to do did not sit well with young Lux, an irrepressible girl with big ideas and bright dreams. To the endless frustration of tutors who sought to prepare her for a life of dutiful service to the family, Lux would question their every teaching to pursue interesting new ideas, debate differing perspectives and generally frustrate her tutors. Yet it was impossible to be angry at Lux, her zest for life like an inner radiance soothing even the most ruffled of feathers. Lux had taken this state of affairs for granted, but with every passing day she came to suspect this was more than just poetic euphemism. The truth of what that meant finally came to light when Lux was enjoying a solitary ride in the northern mountains at dusk.
As the last light of day sank in the west, her horse lost its footing on a patch of ice and fell, breaking its foreleg. Lux was stranded; too far from the nearest town to reach it before nightfall, and too distraught at her mount’s pain to leave him. She knew what Garen would say; kill the horse swiftly to end its suffering. But Lux couldn’t bring herself to kill a mount she had ridden since she was a child. As Lux prepared for a night alone on the mountain, a lean and hungry sabrewulf pack, scenting the horse’s blood, descended from their dens in search of fresh meat.
As night fell and Lux had still not returned home, her father and Garen rode out to find her. They searched all night, and eventually found her the next morning, shivering and alone next to her frightened horse. The corpses of six sabrewulfs surrounded her, their fur scorched and flesh seared. Lux refused to speak of what happened and begged her father to rescue her beloved steed. A wagon was dispatched from the family home, and the horse was saved as Lux nursed it back to health.
Since that night, Lux knew she possessed abilities beyond those of everyone around her; abilities the people of magic-averse Demacia would view with hatred. Since a babe in arms, Lux had been taught that magic had once brought Runeterra to the edge of annihilation. Her own uncle had been slain by a mage, and Demacia’s folktales were replete with stories portraying sorcerers as twisted servants of evil, that told of how even the purest heart could be corrupted by magic. Would she become evil? Was she an abomination to be killed or exiled beyond the great wall? Fear and doubt gnawed at Lux, and she spent many nights squeezing her eyes closed, clenching her fists to stop the light rippling from her skin.
The terror that there was something wrong with her almost crushed her spirit. But after a strange night in the capital of Demacia when Lux was thirteen years old - a night where it was said a great stone colossus walked abroad in the darkness - she returned to High Silvermere with a fresh perspective on her powers.
The Crownguards left Garen in the capital to train with the Dauntless Vanguard, and Lux only saw her brother on his rare visits to High Silvermere, their relationship becoming more distant with each return. Upon Lux’s return home, she was determined to embrace her powers, not fear them. To the eternal consternation of her bodyguards, she regularly managed to evade them and ride away for hours at a time, far from judging eyes. Alone in the wild forests, she would give free rein to her magic, gradually learning to better control it. Finally she was free to let her powers loose in all their wild majesty. She could bend light to blind and confuse, bring forth radiance upon the palm of her hand or summon illuminated figures from thin air. She could also craft light so intense that it could burn and destroy. Once, these powers had frightened her, but now she reveled in them, joyous as she was finally able to fully express herself.
Yet even as she understood more of her powers, Lux knew she still had much to learn.
Many times over the next few years, Lux was often the epicenter of curious phenomena within Crownguard Manor; dancing lights appearing throughout the castle, statuary reciting limericks to passersby, or giggling laughter where no one could be seen. Her family always found ways to explain away such events, and turned a blind eye to their obvious source. To confront the reality of what was happening would be to acknowledge a painful truth and expose the family to unwanted attention. Seeking to ground Lux in the realities of the world, her mother took her on regular tours of the Crownguard estates, visiting the many families under their protection. Despite her initial reluctance to take on this duty, Lux quickly became known as someone who would always listen, and always do whatever she could to help her people in times of adversity.
At the age of sixteen, Lux and her family traveled to the capital city of Demacia for a month to witness Garen’s investiture into the ranks of the Dauntless Vanguard. While in the capital, she continued her altruistic efforts, working to help those in need alongside a charitable religious order of Demacia known as the Illuminators. In the capital, as in High Silvermere, Lux made a name for herself as a young woman of immense kindness and great wit. During her stay, she befriended a knight of the Radiant Ones, the warrior order of the Illuminators, named Kahina. She regularly sparred with Kahina between the many balls and functions she was expected to attend with her family, quickly establishing a deep bond with the warrior woman.
But as each night fell, Lux’s zestful streak once again came to the fore, and she would use her powers to slip beyond the city walls. Demacia had beguiled Lux with its beauty, but on one exploration to a village in the shadow of a wild forest, she was to learn that darkness can take root even in the brightest garden.
Lux stumbled upon a nest of flesh-eating creatures preying upon the village’s inhabitants and tracked them to their forest lair. The creatures dwelled in a subterranean cave system filled with gnawed bones, and, seized by a sense of youthful invulnerability and wrathful indignation, she attacked with coruscating blasts of searing magic. Lux killed dozens of the monsters, but, in her impetuousness, she had underestimated their numbers and the creatures soon overwhelmed her. Just before the monsters tore out her throat, a cadre of Radiant Ones who had also been tracking these monsters attacked the lair and put them to the sword. The leader of these warriors was Kahina. And she had seen what Lux could do.
Lux was escorted back to Demacia and presented to the innermost circle of the Illuminators. Here, she was given a stark choice. Use her powers beyond Demacia’s borders to learn of its enemies or be exiled forever as a wielder of magic. That Demacia had an order willing to use magic came as a shock to Lux, but the choice they offered was too enticing to refuse. Lux readily accepted. Her parents returned to High Silvermere, told only that their daughter had been seconded to serve the crown and would remain in Demacia to join the ranks of the Radiant Ones. They were surprised, but pleased Lux had finally found her place in Demacia.
Lux remained in the capital for a number of years, training with the Radiant Ones and learning from the Illuminators before taking on her first mission. She was to infiltrate the contested lands between eastern Demacia and the Noxian empire to investigate signs that enemy agents were attempting to unite these buffer states against Demacia. Lux’s mission was a complete success and the nefarious plot failed, the fragile alliances being brokered by Noxian agents collapsing in a flurry of betrayals and deceit. Further missions followed, each one cementing Lux’s reputation as someone who could get the job done, no matter how difficult.
Beyond Demacia’s walls, Lux learned more of the world and saw its rich diversity, storied history and myriad peoples. She came to understand that the Demacian way was not the only way, able now to recognize its flaws as well as its boons. While away from her homeland, Lux can freely wield her powers, but keeps them hidden when she returns home to visit her parents and Garen. To her brother and family, she is a loyal servant of Demacia... which is true, just not in a manner they would ever expect."
"The earthquake had struck Terbisia at dawn, the earth bucking like an unbroken colt and splitting apart in gaping fissures. Lux rode Starfire through the toppled ruin of the defensive barbican, the thirty-foot high walls of sun-bleached stone looking like Noxian siege engines had bombarded them for weeks. She guided her horse carefully between fallen blocks of masonry, heading to where a makeshift infirmary had been set up within a blue and white market pavilion.
The scale of the devastation was unlike anything Lux had seen before. Terbisia’s buildings were crafted from hard mountain granite and Demacian oak, raised high by communal strength. And almost all of them had been completely destroyed. Dust-covered men and women dug through the shattered ruins with picks and shovels, hoping to find survivors, but instead, dragged corpses from the debris. Entire streets had simply vanished into the many smoking chasms now dividing the town’s districts.
Lux dismounted as she reached the pavilion, and pushed inside. She wasn’t a healer, but she could fetch and carry or simply sit with the wounded. She’d thought that seeing the scale of the devastation would prepare her for the suffering within the tent.
She was wrong.
Hundreds of survivors pulled from the wreckage lay on woolen blankets. Lux heard mothers and fathers crying for lost children, wives and husbands clinging to their dead loved ones, and, worst of all, bewildered, glassy-eyed orphans wandering lost and afraid. Lux saw a surgeon she recognized in a blood-stiffened apron washing his hands in a pewter bowl and made her way toward him.
“Surgeon Alzar,” she said. “Tell me how I can help.”
He turned, his eyes haunted and rheumy with tears. It took a moment for recognition to penetrate the fog of his grief.
“Lady Crownguard,” said Alzar, giving a short bow.
“Lux,” she said. “Please, what can I do?”
The physician sighed and said, “Truly you are a blessing, my lady, but I would spare you the horror of what has happened here.”
“Spare me nothing, Alzar,” snapped Lux. “I am Demacian, and Demacians help one another.”
“Of course, forgive me, my lady,” said Alzar, taking a fatigued breath. “Your presence will be a boon to the wounded.”
Alzar led her toward a young man lying stretched out on a low pallet bed near the back of the pavilion. Lux gasped to see the horror of his wounds. His body was broken, all but crushed by rubble, and his eyes were bound in bloody bandages. From his stoic refusal to show pain, she guessed he was a soldier.
“He dug a family from the rubble of their collapsed home,” said Alzar. “He rescued them, but kept looking for survivors. There was a second quake, and another building fell to ruin on top of him. The rubble crushed his lungs, and shards of glass put out his eyes.”
“How long does he have?” asked Lux, careful to keep her voice low.
“Only the gods know, but his time is short,” said Alzar. “If you would stay at his side, it would ease his passing into the arms of the Veiled Lady.”
Lux nodded and sat beside the dying man. She took his hand, feeling her heart break for him. Alzar smiled gratefully and turned back to helping those he could save.
“It’s so dark,” said the man, waking at her touch. “Gods, I can’t see!”
“Steady now, soldier. Tell me your name,” said Lux.
“It’s Dothan,” he said, wheezing with the effort.
“You’re named for the hero of Dawnhold?”
“Aye. You know the story? It’s an old tally against the savages.”
“Trust me, I know it well,” said Lux with a rueful smile. “My brother told it all the time when we were children. He always forced me to play the Freljordian corsairs while he played Dothan, defending the harbor single-handedly against the skinwalkers.”
“I tried to be like him,” said the young man, his breathing labored and his voice growing faint. A rivulet of blood leaked from beneath the bandage like a red tear. “I tried to live up to my namesake.”
Lux held his hand in both of hers.
“You did,” she said. “Alzar told me what happened. You’re a true Demacian hero.”
The lines on Dothan’s face eased a little, his breath rattling in his throat as his strength began to fail.
“Why can’t I see?”
“Your eyes,” said Lux slowly. “I’m so sorry.”
“What... what’s wrong with them?”
“Surgeon Alzar told me you have shards of glass in them.”
The man drew in a sharp breath.
“I’m dying,” he said. “I know that... but I should... have liked to behold the light of... Demacia... one last... time.”
Lux felt the magic stir within her, but whispered the mantra taught to her by the Illuminators to keep it from rising too close to the surface. Over the years, she’d learned to better control her power, but sometimes, when her emotions ran close to the surface, it was hard to keep the energies contained. She looked around and, satisfied no one was watching, placed her fingertips on the bloody bandage covering Dothan’s eyes. Lux eased the numinous radiance of her magic down through the man’s skull to the undamaged parts of his eyes.
“I can’t heal you,” she said, “but I can at least give you that.”
He squeezed her hand, his mouth falling open in wonder as Demacia’s light shone within him.
“It’s so beautiful...” he whispered."
ShyvanaCheck out Shyvana's bio and story below:
"Shyvana is a half-dragon with the magic of a fiery rune shard burning within her heart. Though she often appears humanoid, she can transform into a fearsome dragon at will.
Unsure if she is fundamentally human or beast, Shyvana fights to master her powers as she shifts between two forms.
The interminable mysteries of dragons confound and elude all theories. Those who study the subject speak of ancient, elemental runes split between dragon bloodlines, fractions passing from female dragons into their firstborn daughters. These shards instill the dragon that bears it with potent magic of wind, earth, water or fire.
One such dragon egg nested deep within an equatorial volcano, pulsed with the faint echoes of a fire rune. Drawn by its power, a daring mage attempted to extract its runic magicks, only to be interrupted by the dragon mother’s return. The mage fled, having unknowingly infused the egg with his own mortal magic in the chaos. The dragon mother, Yvva, marveled at the fiery energy swirling beneath the shell, oblivious to the alloyed magic within. She and her mate planned to name their progeny Shyvana to honor Yvva’s legacy.
The blood moon of autumn gave way to winter and the egg finally hatched, revealing a human infant with violet skin. As the child took her first breath and began to cry, her body shook and rippled, taking the form of a dragon. Yvva recoiled at the hybrid abomination and sought to kill her child – she would not allow such an unnatural thing to pollute her bloodline. But her mate could not allow Shyvana’s murder, and after a ferocious battle, Shyvana’s father fled with the newborn in tow.
For years, Shyvana and her father flew from place to place to escape Yvva’s vengeance.
As Shyvana grew, she struggled to control her tempestuous emotions and volatile power.
Her father helped temper her dragon side, which unleashed a ruthless fury she had inherited from her mother. While in her humanoid form, Shyvana suffered numerous self-inflicted burns as she learned that life could be fragile and not everything could be set aflame without consequence. Occasionally, her dragonfyre activated the runic echo within her, an echo that was intrinsically linked to her mother.
As Shyvana’s power grew in strength, Yvva was able to sense her daughter’s presence from afar. She found the child alone and taunted Shyvana with tales of her origin, revealing that her true father was a feeble human who had twisted her noble draconic lineage into a disgusting perversion. Her mother would undo what should never have been brought to life, and attacked. Young Shyvana defended herself, but suffered many wounds before her father arrived to save her. He fought with savage fury to give Shyvana time to escape, showing no mercy or restraint to his former mate. Ultimately, he succumbed to the heat of Yvva’s dragonfyre and was slain.
As Shyvana grieved, she fled in search of a strange land her father had told stories of – a place awash with petricite, stones of nullifying power that diminished any nearby magic.
When she reached the outer territories of Demacia, she knew she had discovered what she sought. The land itself felt heavy and oppressive, making it difficult to wield her runic powers, and Shyvana found it easier to remain in human form. Here, she hoped she could mask her magic enough to hide from her mother.
While hunting for fresh meat, Shyvana followed the scent of blood and came upon an injured warrior named Jarvan near death in the wilds. Though her predatory instincts told her to finish him, her human side recognized that he needed her help. No one was likely to find him in the remote hills of greater Demacia, and he would die without aid.
Shyvana carried the semi-conscious Jarvan to the nearest town, despite her fear that she’d be met with the same disdain she’d encountered all her life. To her surprise, the locals welcomed her to their town and thanked her for helping the soldier. She saw how the villagers pulled together to nurse Jarvan back to health, even though he was a stranger, and Shyvana observed something she’d never known: comradery. Demacians looked out for each other, she learned, and the more she saw of the community, the more she longed to be part of it.
For months, Shyvana lived in peace, hunting wild boars and white elk by day, and returning to the village with her spoils to share by night. She learned that Jarvan had been a prisoner of a neighboring realm and escaped his captors, but felt unworthy of returning to his life in the capital.
One evening, Shyvana heard the sound of leathery wings beating in the distance, and knew her mother had come for her once more. The great dragon ravaged the land in search of Shyvana, burning towns and fields with her flaming breath. Jarvan led the panicked villagers to Castle Wrenwall, a high-walled stronghold where they could shelter behind its stone walls.
Knowing her presence would only harm those she had come to care for, Shyvana decided to return to the wilderness. Jarvan confronted her as she prepared to leave, and she ruefully admitted that she was a half-drake, and the root of her dragon mother’s furious wrath. Jarvan refused to let her leave – she had saved his life, so he would lay down his to defend hers. Jarvan proposed they fight Yvva together. With the support of the local villagers and Wrenwall’s soldiers, he was convinced they could defeat the monster.
Moved by his concern for her safety, Shyvana accepted his offer.
After Jarvan had trained the townsfolk to fight alongside the soldiers of Wrenwall, Shyvana entered a nearby ruin built from ancient petricite, shivering as the nullifying stones suppressed her powers. The soldiers and villagers hid themselves nearby as piercing horns grew from Shyvana’s forehead and she erupted into a scarlet-winged drake. She roared, shooting plumes of fire into the sky to lure her mother to the ground.
Shyvana heard the telltale beating of ancient wings as Yvva approached. Upon her mother’s arrival, soldiers loosed volleys of arrows tipped with petricite to weaken her.
The great dragon retaliated with tearing claws and roaring torrents of flame that roasted scores of soldiers in their armor. At Jarvan’s command, the villagers continued their barrage of attacks as yet more nullifying arrows pierced the dragon mother’s flesh, anchoring her to the ruins below.
Shyvana stood before her mother in proud defiance, but Yvva only laughed; she had always underestimated her daughter's wrath. Tooth and claw tore flesh from bone as the two dragons clashed in a titanic battle, crushing the foundations of the ruins to dust.
Shyvana ripped Yvva's wing from her back, but her mother locked Shyvana's neck between her razor-sharp jaws. Blood streamed from Shyvana's collarbone, and she collapsed into her human form.
As Yvva loomed over her daughter, ready to end the life she had begun, Shyvana channeled all her grief and fury, and summoned the power of the fire rune within her blood. She dug her claws into her mother's flesh and tore the living heart from her chest.
As Yvva’s lifeblood drained, Shyvana felt no mercy, and roared in triumph.
Before the entire village, Jarvan honored Shyvana’s bravery, declaring that she would always have a home in Demacia. For the first time, Shyvana knew she belonged to something greater than herself, and, thanks to Jarvan, understood that Demacia’s strength was its unity of purpose. She was humbled, and in turn swore her service to Jarvan, offering to fight alongside him no matter his path.
With the great dragon destroyed, Jarvan’s faith in his ability to lead was restored, and he felt he could return to his home city. Shyvana returned to the capital with him, and they bore her mother’s skull as a reminder of their incredible triumph. Shyvana knew Demacia could be dangerous for someone as magical as her, but she had never felt a greater sense of belonging.
In the capital, Shyvana remains in her purple-skinned humanoid form as she defends her adoptive home, though every so often, she escapes into the wild to spread her wings. She proudly serves Demacia, but knows that someday she must answer the runic call that burns within her heart."
The Winged Beast
"The gated watchtower was empty.
Shyvana knew its stern, gray-bearded guard, Thomme, would have cut off his own hand before abandoning his post. She had scented human blood while patrolling the northern hills of Demacia and followed its trail to this tower.
Inside, the smell was all but overpowering, though no bloodstains were visible. As a soldier of Demacia, Shyvana remained in her humanoid form most of the time in order to conceal her true nature, though her dragonic instincts remained sharply intact. She chewed her tongue to distract herself from her growing hunger at the scent. Shyvana climbed to the top of the tower where she could better survey the surroundings, and fixed her gaze on the thick, tangled trees where leaves rustled near the edge of a clearing.
Shyvana leapt from the window of the watchtower and landed on her feet, five stories below. She detected a hint of blood on the wind, and sprinted west into the forest, dodging branches as she pursued the scent. At the edge of the clearing, a large feline beast with golden fur feasted on Thomme’s mangled body. Atop the creature’s shoulders were black feathered wings, and its forked serpentine tail twitched as if independent of its owner.
The smell of fresh blood was intoxicating, but Shyvana forced herself to focus on the hunt. She had joined Demacia to be part of something greater, not to surrender to her animalistic desires.
She crept toward the beast and felt dragonfyre warming in her hands as she readied to strike. But before she could attack, the creature turned from its kill. Its face was hairless and wrinkled, like an old man. It smiled at Shyvana through bloodied fangs.
“All yours,” it said.
Shyvana had heard stories of the vellox’s ferocity, its appetite for human flesh and its slick agility. But nothing had prepared her for the creature’s eerily human face; its unblinking eyes held her gaze as it slinked into the brush and disappeared. Shyvana’s heart raced as she sprinted to catch and kill the beast. The vellox’s fur mingled with the dappled sunlight, camouflaging its torso as it leapt over fallen bramblewoods and raging rivers. It could not disguise the blood on its breath, however, and Shyvana followed the scent.
A fallen boulder blocked the path ahead. The vellox’s claws scraped the rock as it leapt and disappeared over it. Shyvana dug her heels in at the top of the crag to halt her momentum – the rock marked the edge of a wide crevasse, plummeting in a steep vertical drop.
Across the gap, the forest continued indefinitely, and the vellox was already deep into the thicket. Shyvana sighed; there was only one way to cross the ravine, and she had not wanted to resort to it.
She checked to ensure no one was watching, inhaled as much air as would fill her lungs and felt her breath burn within her chest. Even across the width of the ravine, she could smell Thomme on the vellox’s fangs. She embraced her hunger until it powered the furnace-heat beneath her skin. With an exhalation of streaming flame, Shyvana burst into her enormous draconic form and roared. The ravine shook as it echoed back her mighty call. She spread her thick, velvety wings, and swept across the ravine into the forest ahead.
She no longer had to duck between trees. Instead, she barreled through their branches, tearing down anything in her path. She leaned into her wings and the forest blurred into a whirl of brown and green. Woodbears, silver elk, and other woodland creatures scrambled to evade her path, and Shyvana relished the power she felt at their fear. She breathed a flaming torrent of fire, burning a thick grove to smoldering ash.
She spotted a trace of gold fur ahead and leapt onto the vellox’s back. Its teeth raked her flanks but she barely noticed the pain.
“I know you,” the vellox snarled, fighting to break free. “They call you the Chained One.”
The golden beast leapt, slashing taloned paws and grazing her throat with its teeth.
Shyvana sank her claws into its back and savored the sensation of tearing flesh.
“Why do you hunt me?” the vellox asked. “We are not enemies.”
“You killed a soldier of the Demacian army,” Shyvana said. “Thomme.”
The vellox drew blood from her neck, but she exhaled plumes of fire and it spun away to avoid the flames.
“Was he your friend?”
“And yet you attempt to avenge his death. I fear the rumors are true. You are merely a tamed pet.”
“At least I am no killer of men,” she said.
“Truly?” the vellox smiled through its stained teeth. “You have no thirst for human blood?”
Shyvana circled the vellox.
“I see the hunger in your eyes,” it said. “The taste for living meat. You need the hunt as much as I. After all, where’s the fun in a meal without a good chase?”
Now Shyvana smiled.
“Which brings us to my intent,” she said.
Shyvana dashed forward. In one quick motion, she pinned the vellox’s body to the mulched forest floor and gorged on its throat. The vellox spit scorching venom and clawed at her chest, scraping scales from her skin. Shyvana’s eyes burned from his poison and her wounds stung, but she held fast.
The vellox’s once-glossy fur was now sticky and matted with blood. Its watery human eyes stared up at Shyvana in horror as its life dripped away.
Though her hunger was unrelenting, Shyvana stopped herself before she devoured his flesh. She exhaled, releasing the dragonfyre from her chest and shuddered as she transformed back into a human. She was disturbed at how much she had enjoyed the kill.
Shaking, she lifted the vellox’s body and dragged him back to the crevasse. There he would lie, proof of her inhuman hunger, hidden in the darkness beneath the rock."
VayneCheck out Vayne's bio and story below:
"Shauna Vayne is a deadly, remorseless monster hunter who has pledged her life to finding and killing the demon who murdered her family. Armed with her wrist-mounted crossbows and a heart full of vengeance, Vayne is only truly happy when she’s slaying practitioners or creations of the dark arts.
As the only child to a wealthy Demacian couple, Vayne enjoyed an upbringing of privilege. She spent most of her childhood indulged in solitary pursuits – reading, learning music, and avidly collecting the various insects found on their manor’s grounds.
Her parents had traveled across Runeterra in their youth, but settled in Demacia after Shauna’s birth because more than any place they’d found, Demacians looked out for one another.
Shortly after Vayne’s sixteenth birthday, she returned home from a midsummer banquet and saw something she would never forget.
An unspeakably beautiful, horned woman stood before the bloodied corpses of her parents.
Vayne screamed in agony and terror. Before disappearing, the demon looked down at the young girl and flashed her a terrible, lustful smile.
Vayne tried to brush the bloody hair out of her mother’s eyes, but that haunting smile lingered in her mind, growing and consuming her. Even as she shakily smoothed her father’s eyelids closed – his mouth still agape, frozen in his last horrific moments of confusion – the demon’s smile seeped through her thoughts.
It was a smile that would fill Shauna’s veins with hatred for the rest of her days.
Vayne tried to explain what happened, but no one truly believed her. The thought of a demon on the loose – in the well-defended, magic-averse kingdom of Demacia, of all places – was too far-fetched to consider.
Vayne knew better. She knew from the demon’s smile the enchantress would strike again. Even Demacia’s tall walls couldn’t keep dark magic from creeping through the cracks. It may disguise itself with subtleties or keep to shadowed corners, but Vayne knew it was there.
And she was done being afraid.
Vayne had a heart full of hatred and enough coin to outfit a small army, but where she would go, no army dared follow. She needed to learn everything about dark magic: How to track it. How to stop it. How to kill those who practiced it.
She needed a teacher.
Her parents had told her stories of iceborn warriors who fought against an Ice Witch in the north. For generations, they had defended themselves from her unknowable forces and dark minions. This, Vayne knew, would be where she would find her tutor. She evaded her appointed custodians and booked passage on the next ship to the Freljord.
Shortly after arriving, Vayne set out in search of a monster hunter. She found one, although not in the way she intended. Traversing a frozen ravine, Vayne was ensnared by a cleverly carved icetrap. After tumbling to the bottom of a jagged, crystalline pit, Vayne stared up to see a ravenous ice troll, lips smacking with anticipation as he gazed upon his catch.
His gigantic blue tongue fell limp as a spear whistled through the air, pierced the troll’s skull and planted itself deep in his brain. The giant toppled into the pit and Vayne rolled aside just in time to escape being crushed. A sticky pool of drool and blood collected at her boots.
Vayne’s savior was a grizzled, middle-aged woman named Frey. She bandaged Vayne’s wounds as they clung to the warmth of a campfire that struggled to stay ablaze in the frigid canyon. Frey told Vayne of her life’s work spent fighting the Ice Witch’s minions who had murdered her children. Vayne implored the woman to take her on as a student and teach her to track the dark creatures of the world, but the Freljordian had no interest. Vayne stank of privilege and money, neither of which kept your teeth gritted or your blade sharp through the grueling perseverance of a fight.
Vayne couldn’t accept Frey’s answer and challenged her to a duel: if she won, Frey would train her. If she lost, she’d offer herself as bait to the Ice Witch’s minions, so Frey could ambush them. Vayne had no reason to think she’d win – her training amounted to a single afternoon of studying fencing before she wearied of trying to fight with one hand behind her back – but she refused to back down. To reward Vayne’s mettle, Frey threw snow in Vayne’s eyes and subsequently taught her the first rule of monster hunting: don’t play fair.
Frey saw a determination in Vayne she couldn’t help but respect. The girl had a long way to go as a fighter, but each time Vayne pushed her bruised body up from the dirtied snow to continue the fight, Frey saw a little more of the relentless hunter this girl could become. Beaten in skill, but never in spirit, Vayne beseeched Frey one last time: both of their families were dead. Frey could spend the rest of her days tracking ice trolls until one of them caved her head in, or she could teach Vayne. Together, they could kill twice as many monsters. Together, they could save twice as many families from experiencing the pain that defined them both. Frey saw the same hatred and loss in Vayne’s eyes her own had burned with for years.
Frey agreed to accompany Vayne back to Demacia.
Together they made the journey south, heavily disguising Frey to illude Demacia’s border guards. Once back at Vayne’s estate, the two spent years training. Despite the pageant of suitors who solicited Vayne’s company, Shauna had no interest in anything other than training with Frey. As a result, the two became incredibly close.
Frey taught Vayne the fundamentals of dark magic, conjured beasts, and vile spells.
Vayne committed every word of Frey's teachings to heart, but found it slightly unnerving that Frey never explained how she came to know so many specifics of these malefic practices.
Due to the kingdom’s watchful soldiers and antimagic trees, dark creatures were rare within Demacia's walls, so Frey and Vayne would venture into the border forests at night to hunt. Vayne earned her first kill – a bloodthirsty creature who preyed on traveling merchants – at the age of eighteen.
Soaked in the creature’s viscera, something awoke within Vayne: pleasure. The hot flush of vengeance and violence raced through her blood, and she relished in the sensation.
Vayne and Frey spent several years hunting dark creatures, their respect for one another growing with every kill. One day, Vayne realized that she loved Frey like a mother, but her emotions of familial love were so tangled with pain and tainted by trauma, Vayne fought them as she would any beast out to hurt her.
Vayne and Frey traveled Valoran, until tavern tales from the highlands caught their ear, whispering of a demonic horned creature of mesmerizing beauty. According to the stories, the demon had been busy: she’d formed a cult, designed to attract worshippers who would do her bidding. People would walk into the hills, never to be heard from again. It was said the cult’s high priests had a holy grounds near the cliffside, where they’d prepare the demon’s sacrificial offerings. Vayne and Frey immediately set off on the hunt.
As they journeyed into the hills by cover of night, Vayne found herself distracted. For the first time since their partnership began, she felt worried for Frey – worried she might lose her mother figure for a second time. Before she could confess her fear, one of the demon’s priests lunged from the brush, swinging a mace into Vayne’s shoulder.
Vayne was badly wounded. Frey had a brief moment of hesitation, but her eyes steeled with certainty as she apologized to her friend and transformed into a monstrous Freljordian wolf. As Vayne watched in shock, Frey – in her animalistic form – tore the priest’s tendons from his throat with a swift snap of her mighty jaws.
With the priest’s body laid strewn at Vayne’s feet, Frey retook her human form, yet her eyes betrayed the scared animal within. She explained that after the death of her family, she had become a shaman, inviting the curse upon herself in order to gain the power to change shape and fight against the Ice Witch. The ritual that gave her these powers involved dark magic, but she made this sacrifice to protect–
–Vayne put an arrow through Frey’s heart without allowing her another syllable. Whatever affection she had felt for Frey evaporated upon discovering her true nature. A tear formed in Frey’s eye as she collapsed, but Vayne didn’t notice – whatever warmth the two had shared died with Frey.
There were still hours left before dawn, which meant hours left to continue the hunt. Vayne thought only of the demon. The kill that would be hers to savor. And all the kills to come. Runeterra’s underworld would come to fear her, just as she had once feared them.
For the first time since her parents’ death, Vayne smiled."
"Vayne had one arrow left in her wristbolt launcher. She was bleeding from three different wounds. The previously-human beast she’d spent all night hunting had just knocked her to the ground and it was about to bite the head off her shoulders.
Things were going better than expected.
Slime dripped from the shapeshifter’s maw as it shrieked in anticipation of its kill.
Scanning the darkness with her nightseeker goggles, Vayne found neither weapons nor cover nearby. She’d tracked the beast to this open patch of meadow specifically so it couldn’t take cover behind the alderwoods of Demacia, but that decision left her exposed as well.
Which was fine by her. There’s no fun in an easy kill, after all.
The beast grabbed Vayne by the shoulders, its mandibles opening to reveal rows upon rows of jagged teeth. If its jaws didn’t kill her, its fetid breath could certainly finish the job.
Vayne rapidly reviewed her options. She could try to dodge the beast’s bite, but that would be a short-term solution at the very best. She could kick the creature in its absurd number of teeth and attempt to land her last wristbolt in its bucking forehead, but she couldn’t trust her arrow would find its mark through its gnashing forest of fangs. Or, she could try something flashy, violent and slightly stupid.
Vayne chose the latter.
She shoved her entire arm into its gaping mouth. The creature’s razor teeth ripped strips of skin from her knuckles and arm, but Vayne smiled – she had the beast right where she wanted it. She felt its jaw clench, ready to bite and rip her limb off. She didn’t give it the chance.
Vayne twisted her arm, dragging her wristbolt launcher across the inside of the creature’s gob until the silver tip of her final arrow pointed directly at the roof of the beast’s mouth. With the flick of her wrist, the bolt tore through the monster’s skull, shredding its brain.
The shrieking stopped as suddenly as it started, the creature’s body limp as it collapsed upon the grassy soil. Vayne crawled out from under it and attempted to remove her arm from its skull without cutting herself more than she already had, only to find that her fist was stuck inside the creature’s head.
She could either keep trying to pull her hand through the shapeshifter’s jagged mouth – and probably lose a finger or two in the process – or she could dig her arm in further to punch through the top of its head and snap its jaw like a wishbone.
As always, Vayne chose the latter.
The hard part wasn’t killing the damned thing. The hard part was carrying it back to its bride.
The widow Selina was beautiful beyond imagining, with hair that caught the sunlight even in the darkness of her fire-lit cabin. The deep scratches on her face, and even the tears that streamed down her cheeks, did nothing to diminish her beauty.
Vayne laid the carcass at the woman’s feet as gingerly as she could. Its flesh was monstrously transformed and wracked with wounds both self-inflicted and not-so-self-inflicted; it looked more like a collection of limbs and meat than a person.
“Was it quick?” the widow asked through sobs.
It had not been quick. Vayne had tracked the changeling to its den in the forests outside eastern Demacia. She’d managed to interrupt it mid-transformation: its eyes had multiplied and expanded, its mouth had grown mandibles, its left arm had formed into a razor-sharp pincer – and it was angry.
Vayne flicked a glob of brain off her wrist, a clinging remnant from when she’d punched through the creature’s skull.
“Erm,” Vayne said.
“Oh, my love,” Selina said, dropping to her knees and wrapping her arms around the mutated body. “What could have caused such a tragedy?”
Vayne kneeled beside the couple as the widow brought what was left of the man’s head to her breast, either not noticing or caring as his blood smeared her dress.
“Some people transform themselves into beasts. Some are transformed against their will,” Vayne said.
She picked up the bulging hand of the corpse, casually examining it. “He belonged to the second group.”
The widow’s eyes went wide with fury.
“Someone did this to him? Who would – why would–”
The widow collapsed onto the body in tears, unable to find the words.
“Sometimes, therians – shapechangers – want a companion. Sometimes they’re just savage: they lash out and bite somebody out of confusion or anger. Others I’ve met just get bored. They think it’s fun,” Vayne said, patting the woman’s head. “But some…some just need to eat.”
The widow looked up, sniffing away tears.
“I don’t – I don’t understand.”
Vayne gave the widow a pitying smile.
“They want to eat somebody, but sometimes that somebody gets away. And the thing that tried to eat them accidentally passes on its phage. Then they end up turning, too.”
The widow glared at Vayne. The wristbolt launcher on Vayne’s arm clinked as she brushed the woman’s hair out of her tear-filled eyes.
“The last therian I killed told me his victims tasted better if they loved him. Something about the juicy flavor they took on when they blushed. Can’t even imagine how they must taste while on honeymoon, hmm?” Vayne mused.
The widow stopped crying. Her eyes grew hard.
“He did love you, you know,” said Vayne.
The widow tried to stand, but Vayne gripped a fistful of the woman’s hair and pulled tight.
“He must have been shocked after you bit him. People are unpredictable when they’re scared. And there’s nothing more frightening than being betrayed by someone you love.”
Vayne flicked her wrist, cocking the wristbolt launcher on her forearm.
“So, who turned you?”
The woman stared back with hatred, her eyes slowly darkening to a deep red.
“Nobody,” she said in a voice like knives scraping across rock. “I am of my own design.”
“How did you know?” the widow asked, sliding her hand behind her back.
“Bite marks on the front of his neck, rather than the back, combined with the lack of wounds anywhere else on his body, told me he was attacked by someone he trusted. Go ahead. Try it.”
The widow paused.
“The pincer you’re forming behind your back. Slash me. Let’s see if you can cut my hand off before I put a bolt through your forehead,” said Vayne.
The widow retracted her pincer from behind her back, crestfallen. The game was up.
“Why?” she asked.
“Why what?” Vayne blankly replied.
“Why not just walk in and kill me? Why this whole… presentation?”
Vayne smiled. A sly, hateful grin.
“Because I wanted to be sure I was right. Because I wanted you to feel the panic and the fear he felt. But mainly...”
Vayne tightened her wrist. With a metallic twang, a six-inch bolt of cold silver pierced the changeling’s brain. The widow’s eyes rolled back into her head. She collapsed to the floor like a bag of stones.
“Because it’s fun.”"
QuinnCheck out Quinn's bio and story below:
"Quinn is an elite ranger-knight of Demacia who undertakes dangerous missions deep in enemy territory with her legendary eagle, Valor. The two share an unbreakable bond that is uniquely deadly, and their foes are often slain before they realize they are fighting not one, but two Demacian heroes.
Quinn and her twin brother, Caleb, were born in Uwendale, a remote mountain hamlet in the northeastern hinterlands of Demacia. Raised to believe in the nobility and righteousness of their homeland’s values, the two were inseparable. Uwendale was a thriving town of hunters and farmers, protected by mountain rangers expert in intercepting and killing any monsters that came down from the high peaks to hunt.
While the twins were young, King Jarvan III visited Uwendale on an inspection tour of the East Wall, the barrier between Demacia and the lawless, tribal states beyond. Hoisted high on her father’s shoulders, Quinn thrilled to the pageantry of the king and his warriors, resplendent in gleaming sunsteel plate. Quinn and Caleb were captivated, vowing to become knights of Demacia and one day fight alongside the king. Their childhood games cast them as heroic knights, bravely defending the land from vile monsters, savage Freljordians or black-hearted Noxians.
They spent every moment they could in the wilds surrounding Uwendale. Their mother - one of the village’s foremost rangers - taught them how to track beast of the forest, how to survive in the wild, and, most importantly, how to fight. Over the years, Quinn and Caleb developed into a formidable team, working together in a way that brought out the best in both of them; her keen eye for tracks, his skill at baiting their prey, her aim with a bow, his prowess with a hunting spear.
But one excursion high into the mountains north of Uwendale ended in tragedy when the twins encountered a party of Buvelle nobles hunting a giant tuskvore, a predatory killer known for its thick hide, long razorhorns and ferocious temperament. The nobles had failed to kill the creature outright, and the wounded beast turned on them, goring several of the family’s young scions to death. Quinn and Caleb were quick to intervene. They drove the tuskvore off with a flurry of arrows to its skull, but not before Caleb was gored to death by the creature while saving the Buvelle matriarch’s life. The nobles thanked Quinn profusely and helped her bury her brother before gathering their dead heirs and returning home to mourn.
Caleb’s death almost broke Quinn. They had dreamed of fighting as a pair, and without her twin by her side, Quinn’s hopes of becoming a knight seemed hollow. She fulfilled her duties to her village, as was expected of any daughter of Demacia, but her heart was broken and the joy that had previously energized her dimmed like the last light of summer. Without her brother by her side, her prowess in the wilderness waned and she started making mistakes. Nothing life threatening, but she missed easy tracks, her aim was off, and became dour and uncommunicative.
Quinn regularly visited Caleb’s grave at the site of their battle with the tuskvore, unable to move on and forever reliving her moment of loss. A year to the day after Caleb’s death, she returned to the mountain clearing as she had many times before. Lost in grief and reflection, Quinn didn’t hear the approaching tuskvore. Amid the razorhorns crowning its skull were the broken shafts of arrows she and Caleb had loosed in their previous battle with the beast.
The monster charged, and Quinn desperately fought for her life against the enraged beast. She fired a dozen shafts at the creature, but none of her arrows were accurate enough to find the weaknesses in its thick hide. Exhausted from the battle, Quinn stumbled, and the beast was upon her. She dived from its path, but not quickly enough, and the tip of its horn sliced her from hip to collarbone. Badly wounded, Quinn fell as the beast circled around to finish her.
Quinn looked the beast in the eye and knew this was her death. She reached for the last arrow in her quiver as a flash of blue sliced through the air. A beautiful, blue-pinioned bird swooped in and raked its claws over the tuskvore’s face. The bird was an Azurite Eagle, the breed said to have inspired the winged symbol of Demacia and long thought extinct. The screeching bird dived again and again, its claws and beak ripping bloody gouges in the tuskvore’s skull even as the beast’s horns gouged its body and tore its wings.
Quinn slowed her breathing and drew back her last arrow as the monster bellowed in fury and charged. She loosed, her bowstave snapping with the force of her draw. But her aim was true, and the arrow flew into the monster’s open mouth to pierce its brain. The tuskvore’s body plowed a great furrow in the earth toward her, but it was dead and Quinn let out a shuddering breath of relief. She crawled to where the eagle lay, its wing broken, and saw in its eyes a deep well of kinship.
She bound the wounded bird’s mighty pinion and returned to Uwendale with the tuskvore’s horns as a trophy. The wounded bird perched on her shoulder the entire way, refusing to leave her side. She named the eagle Valor, and nursed him back to health. The bond that formed between them rekindled the fire in Quinn’s heart, and, once more, her thoughts turned to serving Demacia in battle. With her father’s help, she crafted a new weapon from the horns of the tuskvore, a finely-wrought repeater crossbow capable of firing multiple bolts with a single pull of the trigger.
With her parents’ blessing, Quinn and Valor traveled to the capital and petitioned the drill-masters of the Demacian army to join their ranks as a ranger-knight. Ordinarily, years of training were required to serve in the highly disciplined Demacian military.
Quinn did not have such training, but she easily passed every test the full ranger-knights set her.
The drill-masters had no idea how such an individualistic hunter and her unique eagle might fit within their rigid command structure, so prepared to reject her petition. But before their verdict was delivered, Lady Lestara Buvelle, the noblewoman whose life Caleb had saved, intervened and vouched for Quinn’s courageous heart and great skill.
Quinn was immediately inducted into the Demacian army and though she proved a fine ranger-knight, she struggled with the inflexible hierarchy and (in her view) needlessly prescriptive regulations. Her fellow warriors acknowledged her skills, but still viewed her as something of a wild card, a Demacian who preferred operating outwith the established order, who crafted her own missions and came and went as she pleased. She never remained within the city walls for long, preferring to live out in the wild as opposed to keeping the company of her fellow soldiers. Only the fact that she was so successful in uncovering nascent threats and rooting out hidden enemies allowed her a degree of leeway unheard of in Demacian ranks.
When a Noxian assassin struck down Castle Jandelle’s commander on the Day of Lost Light, Quinn’s talents proved themselves once again. The killer escaped battalions of knights dispatched to capture him, but Quinn and Valor tracked and killed the assassin after a night of lethal traps, counterattacks and ambushes. She returned with the assassin’s blade, earning the nickname, Demacia’s Wings. Quinn remained in Jandelle just long enough to receive her commendation before she and Valor once again departed the city to return to the wilderness where they were most comfortable.
Since then, Quinn has ventured far and wide in service of Demacia, risking journeys to the far north of the Freljord and deep into the Noxian empire. Each time she and Valor have returned with intelligence vital to the security and defence of Demacia’s borders.
While her methods do not easily fit within the heavily codified strictures of the Demacian military, none can doubt Quinn and Valor’s preternatural brilliance in the field."
Rules of Survival
"Quinn waited for the Noxians to light a fire in the forest clearing and drink two wineskins. Drunk soldiers were easy to predict. She wanted them drunk enough to be stupid, but not reckless. Mistakes got you killed in the wilderness, and these men had just made two big ones. Lighting a fire told her they were overconfident, the wine that they were sure no one was in pursuit.
Rule One: Always assume someone’s after you.
She eased herself through the mud on her belly, using her elbows to pull herself toward a hollowed out, rotten log at the edge of the clearing. The rain had turned the forest into a quagmire, and she’d spend the next few hours picking bugs and worms from her clothes.
Rule Two: Survival never takes second place to dignity.
Careful not to look directly at the campfire and lose her night sight, she counted five men - one less than she expected. Where was the sixth man? Quinn started to ease herself upright, but froze as the hair stood up on the back of her neck, a warning from above.
A shape moved from behind a tree in the darkness. A warrior. Armored in boiled black leather. Moving with skill. The man paused, scanning the darkness, his hand never leaving the wire-wound hilt of his sword.
Had he seen her? She didn’t think so.
“Hey, Vurdin,” called one of the men seated around the fire. “Better hurry if you want any of this wine. Olmedo’s drinking it all!”
Rule Three: Stay silent.
The man cursed, and Quinn smiled at his obvious frustration.
“Quiet,” he hissed. “I think they heard you back in bloody Noxus.”
“Ach, there’s no one out here, Vurdin. The Demacians are probably too busy buckling on their armor and giving it a polish to bother with coming after us. Come on, take a drink!”
The man sighed and turned back to the fire with a weary shrug. Quinn let out a slow breath. That one had some talent, but he too believed they were alone in the wilderness.
Rule Four: Don’t let stupid people drag you down to their level.
Quinn smiled and glanced up, seeing the smudge of night-blue darkness of her eagle companion against the rainclouds. Valor dipped his wings, and Quinn nodded, their wordless communication refined over many years together. She circled her right fist, then raised three fingers, knowing Valor could see her perfectly and would understand.
Rule Five: When it’s time to act, do it decisively.
Quinn knew they should just take these men out quietly and without fuss, but the affront of Noxians this deep in Demacia was galling. She wanted these men to know exactly who had caught them and that Demacia was not some primitive tribal culture to be crushed by Noxian ambition. The decision made, she pushed herself to her feet and strode into the campsite as if her being there was the most natural thing in the world. She stood at the edge of the firelight, her hood raised and her oiled stormcloak drawn tightly around her.
“Give me what you stole and no one has to die tonight,” said Quinn, nodding toward a leather satchel stitched with the winged sword symbol of Demacia.
The Noxians scrambled upright, blinking as they scanned the edge of the forest. They fumbled to draw their swords and Quinn almost laughed at their surprised ineptitude.
The one who’d almost walked right over her hid his shock well, but relaxed as he realized she was alone.
“You’re a long way from home, girl,” he said, raising his sword.
“Not as far as you, Vurdin.”
He frowned, put on the back foot by her using his name. Quinn saw his mind working as he tried to figure out how much more she knew. She kept her cloak pulled tight as the men spread out, surrounding her.
“Give me the satchel,” said Quinn, a note of boredom in her voice.
“Take her!” shouted Vurdin.
It was the last thing he said.
Quinn swept her cloak back over her shoulder and lifted her left arm. A black shafted bolt from her repeater crossbow buried itself in Vurdin’s eye, and he fell without a sound.
A second bolt tore into the chest of the man to his left. The remaining four came at her in a rush.
A screeching cry split the night as Valor swept down like a lightning bolt from a clear sky. His wings boomed as he spread them wide and swung around in a scything arc.
Hooked claws tore the face from one Noxian, and the eagle’s slashing beak clove the skull of the soldier next to him. The third Noxian managed to raise his weapon, but Valor sank his claws into his shoulders and bore him to the ground. The eagle’s beak slashed down and the man’s struggles ceased instantly.
The last Noxian turned and sprinted for the trees.
Rule Six: If you have to fight, kill quickly.
Quinn knelt and loosed a pair of bolts from her crossbow. They hammered into the Noxian’s back and burst from his chest. He managed to reach the edge of the trees before pitching forward and lying still. Quinn remained motionless, listening to the sounds of the wilderness, making sure there were no other enemies nearby. The only sounds she heard were those she’d expect to hear in a forest at night.
She stood, and Valor flew over to her, the satchel of military dispatches the Noxians had stolen held in his claws. He dropped it and she caught it with her free hand, looping it over her shoulder in one smooth motion. Valor perched on her arm, his body rippling with the thrill of the hunt. His claws and beak were red with blood. The eagle’s head cocked to the side, and his gold-flecked eyes glittered with amusement. She grinned, her bond with the bird so strong she already understood his thoughts.
“I was wondering that too,” said Quinn. “How did these Noxians get this far into Demacia?”
The eagle gave a shrill screech, and she nodded in agreement.
“Yeah, that’s what I was thinking,” said Quinn. “South it is.”
Rule Seven: Trust you can rely on your partner."
Check out the Demacia universe page for more information, art, and lore.