Narrative Recap & Universe Update: Soraka and Bandle City

Posted on at 8:52 AM by Aznbeat
A new Nexus blog is up, recapping what the Narrative team has been up to this year, and providing some new content as we move toward 2019! This includes a new bio and story for Soraka, and an expanded blurb on Bandle City!
Continue reading for a look at the article and new Universe content!

Table of Contents

Narrative Recap: 2018 & Beyond 

Here's Thermal Kitten with a recap on what the Narrative team released this year: "From Noxian plots to pajama parties, 2018 was a year for stories. And we’re just getting started."
"Hello narrative friends. 
Happy Snowdown! 2018 is rapidly coming to a close, and I thought now might be a good time to take a breath and recap what stories we were able to share, what we learned, and maybe take a little peek at what we’re thinking about for 2019. 
Our goals in Narrative this year were pretty simple; we wanted to tell more stories that would help us get to know our champions better, explore our world, and answer some long-standing lore questions, all while trying to listen and communicate better inside and outside of Riot. 
Starting with the stories of Swain, Darius, Katarina, LeBlanc, and even Annie, we got an understanding of the strength and aspiration needed to survive in the ever-expanding empire of Noxus. However, as with most political intrigue that involves life and death consequences, even the most well-intended plotting can blow up in your face. 
We then traveled south, far across the Great Sai of Shurima, to uncover the Void, an unspeakable corruption that felled a city and its people. Through the stories of Kai’Sa, Kassadin, and Malzahar, we got a better look at what happens when mortals get a little too close to this unknowable abyss—and if you can ever truly come back from it. 
Seeking a more balanced view on the world, we were drawn in by the natural magic and harmony of the continent beyond the Guardian’s Sea. However, we soon discovered we weren’t the first to reach the shores of Ionia. Through the stories of Irelia, Karma, Lee Sin, Yasuo, and Riven, we witnessed firsthand the indelible mark the Noxian invasion left on the the people of the First Lands. We learned more about the spiritual wisdom and search for balance that flows through much of Ionia. With Riven and Yasuo in particular, we saw that sometimes we must be broken to be put back on the path to our inner truths. 
On our way back to the mainland of Valoran, we stopped for a few sailor’s stories in the (debatably) safe harbor of Bilgewater, and were dragged down into the deep by the tales of Pyke, Nautilus, and Fizz, only to have our luck run out with ol’ Tahm Kench
While the River King has plenty of accounts of mortal greed and avarice, it wasn’t until we heard the story of Aatrox and the Darkin that we understood the lust for godly power as the cage it truly is. While the Ascended sun has set on most of the Darkin, Varus and the Rhaast-wielding Kayn still stalk the world, and the whispered legend of the Darkin stirs on the lips of more than a few Runeterrans. 
Speaking of Runeterra, we finally got a good look at the world! To better understand some of these places, we turned to one of our most experienced travelers, Ryze. We followed our favorite violet, rune-weary mage across continents, from the frozen tundra of the Freljord to the arid sands of Shurima. We learned he’s found and buried more than a few magical secrets from the past, including his hotheaded apprentice-turned-enemy, Brand
As always, when new information comes to light, some of the younger generation begin to ask questions and rebel against what they were taught. The student and teacher stories of Akali, Shen, Zed, Master Yi, and Syndra offered differing dreams on how Ionia could regain its balance—and in the end, we found we all have something we can learn from each other. 
Youthful curiosity and imagination aren’t limited only to the First Lands. In the north, the icy wonders of the Freljord still inspire the myths and songs of today. However in the stories of Nunu & Willump, Lissandra, Gnar, and Vel’Koz, it would seem those who watch would do well to keep an eye on certain histories that are defrosting quicker than others. What seem like tall tales often ignite a hunger in many adventurers to know even more. 
We have also found there’s one adventurer who’s pretty sure he knows everything. While Ezreal has learned enough to prepare for most situations, it is his “acquired” Shuriman gauntlet that has certainly helped him “acquire” more than a few other priceless Runeterran artifacts to sell to interested collectors. Ezreal’s not the only one to benefit from ancient history; both Lucian and Kassadin carry relics from the past to help them fight the nightmares of today. 
And darkness is rising in the world. The stories of Nocturne, Vladimir, and Veigar show us that evil will always lurk just beyond our door, waiting to be reborn through attraction or fear… Though sometimes those ghastly beasts just need to be brought under the torchlight for us to make proper use of them. 
After exploring so much of the world, it’s tempting to think that there’s nothing new to discover. With the arrival of Neeko in the eastern jungles of Shurima, we’ve found that’s definitely not the case. The stories of Nidalee, Zyra, and Rengar paint this region as a dangerous gateway. We’ve only just begun to explore, but already we can see each tenuous outpost holds back secrets that are just as alluring as the land is dangerous. 
We didn’t limit our story travels to just Runeterra though. We’ve given our alt-universes some love as well. We followed the Man with the Grinning Shadow on a wild and deadly chase through the frontier of High Noon Gothic. We were lured into exploring distant planets in Odyssey. We even attended a Star Guardian sleepover! But that’s not all—since the beginning of the year, we’ve updated bios and alternate universe information on over 600 skins on the client.
Whew. It’s been quite a journey so far! What else did we learn this year? 
Personally, I’ve always found that the stories that work best for me are the ones that tell me something I actually want to know more about. I hope this year we’ve shown we’re listening to what you want to learn about in Runeterra, while also sharing how we think and work as developers. We’ve covered questions like when, why, and howwe update a champion’s story, what goes into making a champion bio, and even how we name new champions
We’ve tried to balance heads-down work time with popping in on the boards, Reddit, and Discord for conversation and feedback. We’ve even journeyed beyond our keyboards into the wilds of the real world to talk with players. Through all of this, I hope we’ve shown we’re most definitely human—and as humans, recognizing when we make mistakes (cough, cough, Karma) and fixing them. 
So what do we have planned for 2019? 
Our primary mission is to continue taking Runeterra to the next level as a story world—to create a deep and immersive place that every champion (and all of us as well) can find a connection to. To get us there, we’re going to keep releasing more stories and experimenting with new mediums to tell story in. 
While we’ll keep clarifying what’s missing or confusing, next year we plan on showing different sides and deeper nuance to the characters and places we all know and love (hopefully filling in some more empty spots on the map). Most importantly for some of you out there, we’ll keep moving the stories of Runeterra forward. 
At this point, I know more than a few of you might be thinking, “All this information is great, but what about the two real questions that are on all our minds… ” 
No, we haven’t forgotten about them. In fact, we’ve been thinking a lot about them, and how magic works in Runeterra, as we prepare for 2019 (hint, hint). Still, some stories can’t wait. It wouldn’t be right to close 2018 without giving a little bit more about our beloved Starchild and our more pint-sized magic folk. If there any questions, places, or champions you think we should be showing more love and attention to next year, please be sure to let us know in the comments section below. We’ll be back very soon to talk about the different media where you can expect to see these stories unfold. 
With that, I’d like to offer my sincere gratitude. Time is the one thing we give each other that we can’t ever get back. Thank you for spending some of your story time with us, and here’s to even more magic and adventure in 2019!"

Soraka, The Starchild Biography

A updated biography was added on Soraka's Universe Page!
"An age ago, when time itself was young, the inhabitants of the celestial realm regarded the fledgling races of Runeterra with growing concern. 
These creatures deviated wildly, unpredictably, and dangerously from the great designs intended for them by those above. The guidance and fates that had been woven into the night sky often went unseen—or worse, were misinterpreted by their simple mortal minds, leading to chaos, uncertainty, and suffering. 
No longer able to merely watch, one celestial being chose to descend to the mortal realm, determined to untangle the knots in the tapestry of the world. This child of the stars took on a form of flesh and blood, and though the powerful magic coursing through her veins burned this new body from the inside out, she knew her suffering meant little if she could help to heal all that was broken and incomplete. 
And so Soraka came to be, and set upon her journey to soothe the mortals she encountered. 
Even so, she quickly learned the capacity for cruelty that the peoples of Runeterra possessed. Whether on the battlefields of inescapable conflicts, in the seedy underbellies of sprawling cities, or on the frontiers of the untamed wilderness beyond them, there seemed to be no end to the fighting, betrayal, and suffering Soraka witnessed. She watched, helpless, as mortals ignorantly broke the threads of destiny they could have woven together. Their lives were too short, she reasoned. They were simply unable to see the greater patterns, now lost. 
But as Soraka lived among them, as one of them, trying to repair what little of the damage she could… something incredible and wholly unforeseen happened. 
From the snarls and tangles and knots, the messy breaks in the great patterns, Soraka noticed a new, unintended design emerging—intertwined, and of a staggering complexity. 
Unintended and wild, the mortals were forging new and unknown futures for themselves. From the celestial realm above, it had seemed like pure chaos; but with her new perspective, and blessed by the stars to stand against the erosion of time, Soraka now beheld an almost perfect beauty. Just as mortals had the deepest capacity for cruelty, so too did they possess infinite potential for kindness, and inspiration to rival anything among the stars. 
Soraka realized her place was not to repair or replicate the celestial pattern. While a part of her craved the fixed, comforting destinies of the stars, she knew in her heart that static fates could not contain the unbridled, dynamic potential of mortality. 
And so her work took on renewed vigor, driven to unlock the untapped possibilities of all she met. Soraka sought now to inspire and guide rather than shepherd, to see what unblazed trails each mortal would discover for themselves in their brief, radiant moment. 
Over the millennia, legends of the Starchild have filtered through all the lands of Runeterra. Some tribes of the Freljord still speak of a far wanderer, a horned healer who soothed the icy bite of the most brutal winters. In the depths beneath Zaun, rumors float of a lilac skinned medic who would purify weary lungs from the ravages of the alchemical Gray. In troubled Ionia, the oldest myths of the Vastayashai’rei recall a seer who communed with the stars themselves, and called upon their light both to heal the wounded and scorch those who would do further harm to the First Lands. 
Currently, Soraka calls the westernmost peaks of Targon her home. She watches over an isolated tribe of vastaya, teaching them her healing ways, and tending quietly to her own needs—though what brings her so close to the great mountain, or how long she will stay, only Soraka knows. 
Many times, she has watched entire civilizations dance close to the brink of destruction, and she has learned that she cannot save those who do not wish it, nor force them to see what they will not. 
All the same, Soraka is determined never to stop trying."

Soraka Story: Halfway Between the Earth and the Stars

A new story featuring Soraka was also added to the Universe:
"It was a perfectly good night for a cup of tea. Chilly, certainly, but clear—as crisp a night as frigid Mount Targon ever got, really. Soraka was expecting a visitor. The snow in the stone kettle had already begun to melt over the hearth at the center of her little yurt; as it grew warmer, the room was suffused with the smell of dried tea leaves and sparse mountain herbs. 
She crossed the room, passing the shelf she’d built herself along the back wall. Like the rest of her home, it was ever-so-slightly crooked. As far as mortal skills went, carpentry was not her strong suit. But she had built it because she loved the keepsakes on the shelf: a willow-wreath from Omikayalan, a tiny golden acorn from a dear friend in Bandle City, and oldest of all, surely older than anything mortal, was a stone dog from the old days of Nashramae. She owed that city another visit. She hadn’t been back in centuries, and she had a fondness for its people. 
But she was shaken from her reverie as the commotion started outside. Shouting. Barking. Precisely on time."

[Check out the full story on the Universe!] 

Bandle City Region Page

The Bandle City region page was updated slightly:
"Opinions differ as to where exactly the home of the yordles is to be found, though a handful of mortals claim to have traveled unseen pathways to a land of curious enchantment beyond the material realm. They tell of a place of unfettered magic, where the foolhardy can be led astray by myriad wonders and end up lost in a dream, never to return at all… 
In Bandle City, it is said that every sensation is heightened for non-yordles. Colors are brighter. Food and drink intoxicates the senses for years and, once tasted, will never be forgotten. The sunlight is eternally golden, the waters crystal clear, and every harvest brings a fruitful bounty. Perhaps some of these claims are true, or maybe none—for no two taletellers ever seem to agree on what they actually saw. 
Only one thing is known for certain, and that is the timeless quality of Bandle City and its inhabitants. This might explain why those mortals who find their way back often appear to have aged tremendously, while many more never return at all."

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