Riot continues to double down on using their narrative divisions to preemptively build out the constantly-evolving world of League of Legends. The latest story released, “Dead of Winter” by writer Graham McNeill, gives hints at upcoming changes to the storytelling of Runeterra’s world and iconic champions.
The story follows Sejuani and Olaf through a harrowing journey across the Freljord, and even hints at possible lore for the impending Udyr rework. “Dead of Winter” is a dark and bleak picture of the survivalist lifestyle led by the Winter’s Claw faction of Freljord and their Warmother, Sejuani.
Near the end of the story, an old blind man named Kriek speaks to Sejuani about The Watchers, Ornn’s Cauldron, and other fantastical elements. Kriek hails from a Freljordian tribe that once refused Sejuani’s leadership, and as punishment Sejuani had sent her warriors to sack the village and take their resources for the Winter’s Claw. During the raid, members of Kriek’s clan fled to a volcano and were followed by Sejuani’s warriors and Urkath, their leader. Urkath is driven from the mountain by the Ursine and the Volibear, great spirits of the Freljord.
Kriek and Sejuani speak of the “Lost Ones”, which are very clearly the followers of the Volibear, the Ursine. Sejuani is angered that the crippled man has been given food, as she ordered her tribe to leave him without sustenance. Kriek says that before Sejuani’s tribe invaded, Ornn himself had fed him from a great cauldron that keeps him nourished for a full season.
This is where Udyr’s first mention shows up, as Kriek talks about the Lost Ones stealing Ornn’s Cauldron and slaughtering his followers. When Sejuani tells Kriek that Ornn’s Cauldron is a child’s story, Kriek tells Sejuani to ask her spirit walker friend, and that if he can even remember he is human, he will confirm Kriek’s tales.
Sejuani says that Udyr, the spirit walker, has disappeared. Last Sejuani saw of him, Udyr was wandering into a raging blizzard. Udyr apparently needed to find peace from Freljordian spirits trying to possess him. Udyr’s new lore has been referenced as him channeling the great spirits of the Freljord all at once, and this seems to confirm it.
This disappearance is unlikely to be Udyr’s pilgrimage to Ionia, given that the Sentinels of Light event has apparently already happened by this point. Therefore it is most likely a specific reference to the upcoming transformation that Udyr will be going through in League of Legends.
Udyr’s visual and gameplay update can be expected to land in early 2022.