Universe - Nunu & Willump Short Stories

Posted on at 8:35 AM by Aznbeat
[Added updated Gnar biography!]

Two new stories featuring Nunu & Willump are now out on the Universe - Frozen Hearts and Stone Cold!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents


Frozen Hearts

A new story featuring Nunu is now on the Universe - Frozen Hearts:
“Mom… can I ask you a question?” 
“What’s wrong, Nunu? There’s something crinkling your nose, and I don’t think the elkyr can be blamed… well, this time. No offense, Kona!” 
“Haha, elkyr smell like doocicles! But… we always make ‘em pull our carts anyway. I don’t wanna leave, mom. I like that village. I found a warhorn in the mud!” 
“Then come close, my little grimaceling, and I will remind you. There is a reason the Notai must leave as the snows settle. An adventure that winter’s mother has entrusted to us.” 
“You mean Anivia?” 
“Mhmm. They say she is a phoenix, with icicles instead of feathers—her wings borne on frigid wind, brrrrrr! But we Notai know, it is hope that carries Anivia, and that she is not a guardian of our realm, as the Avarosans say. She is freedom. She is the spirit that fills you as you follow your passion, no matter how mean the world is. Do you know what passion is, Nunu?” 
“Is it when the barbarian kisses the warmother?” 
“Hmm, sometimes, and sometimes the warmother kisses the barbarian. But if I had to name it, I would call passion… the feeling of one last celebration as winter hits, the warmth inside even better because the first snows are falling. The dancing, the singing, a lyre in my hands, shivering even as I burn with this—this thing I try to name! This is what Anivia has tasked us with carrying across the Freljord. This is what gives her wind on her migration! Some villages see us as untrustworthy traders, others fear us for the ice that announces our arrival, the winter that can mean life or death. But to them all, we bring song, we bring togetherness, we link each village with our spirit. Can you imagine what a gift this is, Nunu? To know what we know because caravan carts have rattled it into our bones. Life is an endless string of opportunity for songs...” 
“Like these?” 
“Yes, like my song strands. Each string is a song, each knot in the string a note, and each note a place we’ve been while following Anivia. Like this one. This is the droning murmur of pilgrims, gathered beneath the statue of Avarosa at Rakelstake—a frozen lake that glitters like a jewel too massive for anyone to own. But the Avarosans have built a monument beside it, and say they own it anyway. They live their lives as if they are statues. Warmothers, Iceborn, they do not move, they fear the world that exists outside of Avarosa’s shadow. But to others, they have already moved too much…” 
“The Winter’s Claw. They hate Avarosinians.” 
Avarosans. But the song binds them together, like this. This is the sound of the chains tying wolfships to Glaserport, and the Winter’s Claw to the past. The old ways. Blood in the snow. They live their lives on shattered ice. They think it is their might that cracks a path to sea, the wolfships prowling through… but it is not strong to cling to chains, and to demand that others carry them as well.” 
“I ‘member the wolfships, mom. They were made out of wood. Not wolves! The Winter’s Claw don’t know how to name things.” 
“Some things, Nunu, should not be named. Like the Frostguard Citadel, above the Howling Abyss. All those secrets… secrets of my own, of the warmth I have found… They preach there the words of the Three Sisters, but I think secrets are their true faith. How can you rescue someone from something they don’t know? That only this howled dirge remembers, rising from the Abyss. What the Frostguard guard against.” 
“Are they heroes, like in the songs? I want to be a hero, too!” 
“Listen to these notes, Nunu. They are the fortress at Frosthorn Peak and the crypts beneath. They are quiet. Empty. Whatever the Iceborn fought against has been forgotten. And now, with nothing else to fight, they use their power to rule. Avarosans, Winter’s Claw, Frostguard, they are the same. They use statues, chains, secrets, to push men down onto their knees. But you… When I look out onto the road, I see your future, Nunu. The joy you will bring to so many, as you have brought me. As winter’s mother wills it, and as she sends her winds to carry you, I will send love. You are my heart-song, Nunu. What notes should we add next? Where should love take us?” 
“We’re probably going to another village. But this one won’t have warhorns...” 
“No, Nunu. There is always more out there, you only need to imagine it! We could travel to a bridge that once spanned the sky! Only it collapsed in a forgotten age, and most of it lies hidden behind the clouds. But, can you hear that? Someone is step, step, stepping along its edge. We could pass into the tombs of creatures who ruled the Freljord before humans, find the mist that freezes in mid-air, giving ancient dreams shape. What is that in front of you, Nunu? Can you catch a dream on your tongue? Or find glacial tunnels that branch, as if tracing the shape of a world-tree that our ancestors destroyed, and buried in ice. All these things you can find, if only you look. You can go anywhere you can imagine.” 
“Could we go to the top of the whole wide world, so I could play my warhorn? I bet then even Avarosa would hear it, and she’d come back!” 
“We can go there right now, Nunu, if you tell me all about it. What would you see? What is the story in your heart?” 
“I know how it starts! Once upon a time, there was a boy named Nunu, and Layka, his mom… and she was beautiful, and they lived in a caravan, and… they were trying to think of where to go next.” 
“And what did they decide, Nunu?” 
“They decided they could go anywhere together! And so their caravan flew off into the sky when Kona grew wings out of her butt, and flapped harder than Anivia! And the two of them were warm, and safe, even though snow was falling. What’s that feeling, mom? Like a hug, only…” 
“It’s home. It’s home, my little hero. And that is where we will always be, no matter where we go. It is how we know, though the cold comes with us, though it can be hard and demand hope… it will never be winter, Nunu, if you love the person beside you."

Stone Cold

A second story is also now on the Universe - Stone Cold:
"I wake up suddenly, like a story that starts in the middle of the action. 
The song. I heard it! 
“Willump!” I shout. “I heard the song again! Wake up!” 
I shove aside the snow that serves as our blanket and look my flufferific friend in the face. His whiskers are twitching like they can feel my dream slowly fading. He growls, and his breath swirls into all kindsa shapes. But even though he’s old and has hair in his earholes, still, he’s my best friend! I laugh as his beard tickles my nose. 
Nothing like a magical yeti to bring me back to reality! 
Willump rolls over and starts scratching his grumbling belly. “You’re always thinking about food,” I laugh again. Laughing feels good, it helps me remember. 
My mom… 
We’ve been following her song across the Freljord—my mom’s heart-song. Everywhere we’ve ever been, she made a verse, and if I could only remember what each place was, I could find my way back to her. I could save her, like a hero in her stories! 
But I can only remember parts of the song when I’m not trying, and sometimes… it’s like my mom is out there, singing. 
Like that! Did you hear that?! 
“It’s coming from that village,” I bellow, pointing towards a patch of darkness beneath a frozen waterfall. Something inside me knows that’s where the song came from. “Sword first, Willump, I’ll cut through the wind!” 
I shiver as we enter the clearing a few moments later, though I’m surrounded by scrazzly fur. Even this close, the village is mostly shadows. There are no people—if there were, I’d know, ‘cause it’s so cold I’d see their breath. “What is this place?” I ask. 
Willump growls wisely. 
“‘Naljaäg’? That can’t be its name. How would anyone know how to spell that?” Then Willump grumbles that it’s the yeti word for “stone.” 
The buildings are stones heaped really high, the pathways are stones, too. Stones. Got it. So… it’s not weird that the flowers are carved out of stone, right? And those furs, hanging over a door. And that old rope! At least, it would be rope if it wasn’t hard and gray. 
“Is everything around here stones?” I ask. It’s not fair—in the stories, stones at least have runes carved into them or something. 
I’m starting to wonder why the song led me here, when finally I see a person, their back turned beneath an archway! 
“My name is Nunu, and I’m here to help!” I yell, and I pull at the person’s shoulder—but when they topple into the light with a dull thwunk, I immediately realize… they’re stone, too! 
And… 
Beyond the archway are all the missing people from the village, huddled together like statues. There’s one who looks like a warrior, now dull and gray. There’s a farmer and his wife, holding each other tightly, like they were carved from one slab. A little girl, a pebble beside them. 
It’s a curse. A real one. 
“Willump,” I say. “We gotta do something!” 
That’s the thing about mom’s songs. My favorites were always tales of heroes, more than a match for any curse. With the lessons I learned, we can save these people, right? I have to believe, otherwise… how am I gonna save her
I remember one song, a myth about how Avarosa healed the turtle that carries the sea, by giving it a big kiss! But I don’t want my first kiss to be a statue. I make Willump kiss ’em just in case, and watch as the stone gets stuck to his fur. 
I try saying the prayers Lissandra taught me, just in case. I make a dragon out of snow to scare the curse away, like Anivia did to fight the southern army! I even try pulling the sun closer, like how Braum thawed his village in the song my mom sang. But the sun’s too far. 
Braum must have really long arms. 
Willump tries to comfort me. He says some curses can’t be fought. Sometimes, heroes don’t win. But I remember what matters. I can feel it, even though my mom is missing, our caravan buried in snow. The feeling of being loved. 
That’s what this village deserves! 
“If we can’t help these people,” I tell Willump, “then we’re gonna help these statues!” 
I smile and reach for my flute. I mean, my sword! Svellsongur! 
Hero time, hah!

I can smell the curse. A hateful stench, like troll. It has the weight of centuries; weight that could grind the years this child has left down to mere days. Here is where even heroes of song would question how they could fight, blades powerless against ancient magic. 
But Nunu is no mere hero. He is something better. 
He is a boy! 
He whoops, and calls my attention to the frozen waterfall above us. We are close enough now that we can see them, nestled atop stillness. Krugs. Stone creatures animated by magic, more than at home living above a village such as this one. 
Their nest has dammed the waters’ flow, holding back the Freljord’s lifeblood. I taste a hint of Nunu’s intentions. 
It tastes like krugs. Delicious
“Hey, stoney crabs! You took something from those statues!” Nunu yells, and hops onto my back without losing a beat, for the music is in his heart. 
The magic is his now. Swept up in his imagination, snow forms before us, gradually taking shape into a mighty snowball! I laugh as we ramble wildly, our merry burden growing so large that beneath us the village trembles, buildings stretching themselves awake. And still the snowball grows larger. The krugs make only a tiny chitter as we leap into the air to the top of the waterfall, blotting out the sun. 
The Freljord goes white, the dam embraced by snow even as it’s torn apart. 
And then, the earth roars. 
Icicles crack like bones made brittle by winter. The roar grows louder as the river coughs and clears dust from its throat, water tumbling into the village below. 
“Did you see that, Willump?!” Nunu asks. But my eyes are already closed. 
I can feel a magic more powerful than the curse welling up to fill the village, casting shivers through my fur and bringing warmth to a world that is cold. It is the only magic that can save the Freljord. Even the frozen dreams of my people, coveted by the Frostguard, pale in comparison to this magic, held in abundance by a child. 
Hope
His arms are around me now, and I hug him back with all four limbs, looking away so he does not see the snowflakes falling from my eyes. 
The curse has not lifted. But still, life has returned. And as it spreads, stone flowers washing away to make room for living ones, what curse could stand in its way? No evil can last, if life embraces joy, and refuses to hide… 
I reach onto the ground and pick up a chunk of ice, crushing it to snow between my paws. 
“Hey!” Nunu yells as I hit him in the face with a snowball, trailing the magic that swirls in his heart. 
As we play, the wind whips through the flute on Nunu’s back, casting up stray notes. 
Then I finally hear it, too. 
Her song. 
Where waters
Once roared,
Winds whisper
To stone.
In shadow,
Naljaäg lies.
Silence sings.
Hope survives."

Updated Bio: Gnar, the Missing Link

Gnar's biography was updated on his Universe page:
"Before the ice had given the Freljord its name, there existed a land brimming with wonder—that is, if one could see the world through the eyes of Gnar. 
A young yordle with boundless energy, Gnar and others like him lived openly among the hardy tribes of the northlands. Though barely big enough to leave footprints in the snow, his temper rivaled that of beasts ten times his size, and he would erupt with a babble of curses the moment anything went amiss. For this reason, he felt more kinship with the greater and wiser creatures, who kept their distance from mortals. To Gnar, they looked like overgrown, white-furred yordles… and that was good enough for him. 
While the tribes foraged across the tundra, gathering wild berries and tasty moss, Gnar collected more essential items, like rocks, pebbles, and the muddy remains of dead birds. His greatest treasure was the jawbone of a drüvask. When he tugged it from the cold earth, he squealed with glee and flung it as far as he could. 
It landed two hops away. 
Thrilled by this early success, Gnar carried his “boomerang” wherever he went. The world would try its best to offer him new delights—shiny lint, sweet nectar, round things—but none could match the pure joy he felt in throwing and catching his cherished weapon. He now considered himself a hunter, and trailed herds of wild beasts that paid him no mind. 
But even he could sense change coming to the land. The sky seemed darker. The winds felt colder. The mortal tribes who had once foraged together, now appeared to hunt each other… 
The big white yordles would know what to do. Gnar would go to them. 
Using all of his hunting skill, he tracked them into the snow-capped peaks of a vast mountain range, much farther than he had ever wandered before. As he approached unseen, he also saw more mortals than he could count. This was exciting, but no one else seemed too happy about it. 
Then the ground shook, and split apart. For the first time in Gnar’s life, it seemed as though everyone else was throwing tantrums. The mortals yelled. The big yordles roared.
But the monster’s arrival silenced them all. 
Heaving itself up from the newly opened abyss, it bore huge horns, whipping tentacles, and a single eye, burning with strange light that made the fur on Gnar’s back crawl. While some mortals fled at the sight, he began to feel an odd pain in his chest—it was like the thought of losing his boomerang, or never being hugged again. This horrible thing wanted to hurt his new friends. 
And this made him angry. In that moment, Gnar truly raged. 
All he could see was the monster. In a flash, he was in the air, leaping toward it. In one paw, he grasped a snowball… or so he thought. In fact, it was a boulder plucked from the mountainside, for Gnar had grown as large as the big white yordles. He would send this monster back where it came from, by walloping its face! 
But the blow never landed. Gnar felt a chill colder than any winter, one that seemed to turn the air itself into ice—truly, this elemental magic froze him in place, biting through his shaggy fur. Everything, including the monster, became quiet. The yordle’s strength and anger melted away. A deep tiredness crept into his limbs, and he fell softly asleep. 
Gnar napped for a long time. When he finally awoke, he shook the frost from his shoulders, breathing heavily. Everyone else was gone. With no monsters to fight and no friends to protect, he felt very small and alone again. 
The land was very different, too. There was snow everywhere, blanketing everything as far as his wide eyes could see. Still, he let out a happy yelp when he saw his beloved boomerang lying beside him, and scurried away to find something to hunt. 
Even now, Gnar has no grasp of what took place that fateful day, nor how he escaped. He simply marvels at the world before him, with so many oddities to collect and places to explore." 

Runeterra Map Update

The Runeterra Map was updated with a few new locations important to Nunu & Willump, Brand, and more! Make sure to check out the map for the full details!


No comments

Post a Comment