Legends of Runeterra


Lore: Shurima's Rise and Fall: The Empire of the Ascended

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This article's objective is to enlighten and offer knowledge to Legends of Runeterra players about the universe in which each card lives, so that everyone can understand the characters' interactions.

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translated by Joey Sticks

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revised by Tabata Marques

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Shurima and the Empire of the Ascended

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Shuriman Empire

Shurima is a big continent to the South of the Valoran Continent. In the past it was a powerful Empire that was in constant expansion through the vast meridian Runeterran continent, being the most prosperous of all.

"Shurima is where all paths converge." - Azir.

But after its last Emperor, Azir, was betrayed, the Empire became ruins, its cities were swallowed by the sands, its oasis became barren and Shuriman people spread through the continent. In that arid and hostile environment still, all that was left were a few tribes that ventured in the few oasis, surviving through small jobs requested by other tribes that didn't risk going into the desert's sands.


""Perhaps Shurima was meant to fall." - Nasus.

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Fall of the Shuriman Empire

Others became nomads, one of the most known being Taliyah, the Stoneweaver, who crossed almost all of Valoran in search of knowledge, so that she could understand her newly discovered powers.

"Not all who wander are lost." - Taliyah

We met her with the release of the Shuriman continent expansion. There is also the cinematic "Taliyah: Homecoming", released by the official League of Legends Youtube Channel.

With rumours that the Emperor had ressurged, Taliyah felt obligated to return to Shurima so that she could protect her tribe and family from Emperor Azir's slavery, a story narrated in her biography in the Riot Games official website.

"Shurima! Your Emperor has returned!" - Azir

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The Return

The first capital, Nerimazeth, was where the first Buried Sun Disc, was built. This landmark was released in the Empire of the Ascended Expansion alongside the Ascension Mechanic, through which the champions Azir, Nasus and Renekton can level up a second time after the Sun Disc's restoration. Xerath, later on, was released with the same mechanic. A thousand years later, the Sun Disc was destroyed.

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Glory of the Ascended

Some research point to the Sun Disc being destroyed in its first Ascension ritual and other points to it being destroyed in the closing process of a Void invasion that sprouted in Runeterra.

This tale is recounted in Twin Dawns, at the time Aurelion Sol was under control of the Targon Aspects, being forced to deal a cosmic ray in the direction of the invasion, causing the continent to split in half, therefore dividing Shurima from Valoran.

"Towers tend to crumble when I am in the vicinity." - Aurelion Sol

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However, what we have of more precise information is that it was indeed in the arrival of the first Ascended, called Setaka, that soon afterwards a second Sun Disc was built, bigger and more powerful, from which also sprouted a source of healing waters. There is one similar at Targon's Peak, probably created by Soraka, known as the healing waters that sprout from Star Spring.

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The healing waters

Two and a half thousand years ago, Icathia mages, as they sensed The Void's power which emanated from that region, thought to use this as a weapon to take down the Shuriman Empire. They were bloodthirsty for revenge as there had been a previous invasion that Setaka had done to take the city and make it a part of the Shuriman Empire.

After discovering such plan, the Ascended Queen organized an attack against Icathia to subdue them again. The Icathian mages Tyruz and the Mage-King summon a Void rift in the middle of the battlefield, which swallowed the whole town, including Queen Setaka.


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Icathia's Void Rift

From inside the rift hundreds of Void creatures sprouted, and then swarmed the continent, causing tremendous chaos.

With the Legends of Runeterra expansion and the release of the Lurk mechanic, we saw some of these creatures, such as the Xer'Sai (Xer'Sai Caller, Xer'Sai Dunebreaker, Xer'Sai Hatchling), which were led by Rek'Sai.

“Krrrrrrrrrrtttkrkrkrkrkrkk. ” – Rek’sai

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Rek'Sai, The Void Burrower

Renekton and Nasus, already Ascended, besieged the city, leading to Renekton almost burning it to the ground, only prevented at the last minute by Nasus.

"Oceans of blood! The slaughter will never end!" - Renekton

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Nasus vs Renekton

Even some years after the battle, the rift was still open and the void creatures dominated all Shuriman deserts. Omar Azir is born, son of the current Shurima Emnperor, and also Xerath, however Xerath was fathered by Shuriman slaves. Both became friends, almost brothers, due to Xerath having saved Azir from an attack that would take his life. After that, Azir promises to free all slaves as soon as he is Emperor.

Xerath, a couple years later, slays the current emperor, leading Azir to rise to the throne. In his first day as the new Shurima Emperor, Azir ordered for his parents' killers to be hunted, which Xerath swore to be foreign mages. This led to an era of Emperor-ordered assassinations, which caused him to get a bad reputation among his people.

Xerath managed to convince Azir that he was worthy of Ascending to a Sun-Warrior, which prompted an Ascension Ritual and his Sun blessing through the Sun Disc. Xerath had, actually, planned that moment as revenge for Azir not keeping his word of freeing the slaves.

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Azir's Decision

The Shuriman Emperor hugged Xerath just moments before the ritual began and said that from that moment on all slaves were freed. Even though he kept his words, Xerath was already set on his plan and moments before the Sun Ray hit Azir, Xerath pushed him to the side, usurping his place in the Ascension Ritual.

As he had become a great arcane mage, Xerath managed to keep under his control the other mages that were helping in the ritual, also controlling the Sun Disc, which creaked and trembled, recognizing that he wasn't worthy of that power.

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Xerath's Betrayal

After that, Xerath kills Azir and the Shuriman capitol starts to sink into the desert's sands, swallowing and burying everything. Renekton and Nasus then battle Xerath, who had become pure arcane energy, impossible to defeat.

Renekton, in a final act of courage and selflessness, threw himself onto and grabbed Xerath, which then brought both of them down alongside the capitol, inside the Emperor's Tomb. He asked Nasus to seal them both off, and so he did.


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Renekton's Sacrifice

More about the Sun Disc

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Shurima's Sun Disc

With the rebirth of Azir, an object which so far wasn't mentioned yet, emerged in the Runeterra's tales: the Sun Disc itself.

Owner of an immeasurable power, Sun Disc is capable of creating oases, groves and especially the God-Warriors, or, as they were more commonly known in Runeterra, the Ascended. What many questioned was: "What exactly is the Sun Disc? Where did its power come from?"

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Oasis in Shurima

Old tales told that Targon's Aspects had created the Sun Disc for Shurimans so that it would be an object of god worship.

However, with the arrival of the Starforger, Aurelion Sol, it was explained that in reality the Sun Disc was created through the stolen power and knowledge of this aspect, which was attracted by Runeterra's world system’s Star to a trap and also betrayed.

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Aspects in Mount Targon

The real objective of Targon's Aspects, with the creation of the Sun Disc, was to, in reality, prepare humans for a war that was to come. Yes, this meant the Void Invasion in Runeterra.

But, before that, for years the Ascended dominated all of Shurima, keeping the order, until the Void's rift appeared and Shurima's last Emperor fell, victim of a betrayal that caused ruin to all his greatness.

The Ascended

The Ascended, specifically the Shuriman ones, were warriors destined to receive the power of the sun through the Sun Disc. This way, they were granted an anthropomorphic form, and could also choose between each form during the process of ascension.

Other beings could also emerge from the ritual, such as the Baccais and the corrupted Ascended, known as Darkin.

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Baccai Sandspinner

There are Shuriman tales depicting Icathia to have suggested many of its inhabitants to be worthy of being blessed by the Sun power. However, mysteriously, none were accepted by the Shuriman Empire.

It is known that many Icathians planned revenge against Shurima due to the violence they had suffered by the hands of its queen at the time, and it is believed that this was part of the plan.

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Icathia's Concept Art

As it was shown in Azir's launch cinematics, in the "Descent into the Tomb" and the "Rise of the Ascended" cinematics that Sivir, a mercenary, was revealed as one of Azir's direct descendants. Her weapon, the Chalicar came directly from the Celestial's Kingdom, and was owned by Ta'anari, an ancient Shuriman Ascended Queen.

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Sivir and the key to the Emperor's Tomb


Sivir, after venturing into the tomb, unbeknownst to Emperor Azir, was stabbed in the back by Cassiopeia, who had hired her to seek lost relics, after realizing that Sivir's weapon was the key to the Emperor's tomb.

Cassiopeia takes the key and fits it into the lock, opening it up and releasing Renekton alongside Xerath. At this time, she is affected by the viper curse that was protecting the tomb.

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Cassiopeia after the curse

Sivir, accidentally, gravely harmed and stumbling, got her blood inside the Emperor's tomb, which reacts and gives Azir the possibility to revive.

Seeing her alone, between life and death, Azir carries Sivir to the source of healing waters, and cures her. Rays of Sun hit the tomb and reflect on the Buried Sun Disc, hitting Azir and finally concluding his Ascension Ritual.

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Azir's Ascension Ritual

With the ability of controlling the desert's sands, the Emperor brings back the Sun Disc and the whole Shuriman capitol, creating thousands of Sand Soldiers and Sandstone Chargers, besides tremors and greatness.

"When every trace of you is lost, I WILL REMAIN!" - Azir

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The Emperor has Returned