Riot Games has released yet another Shuriman story, “The Faceless God” by Graham McNeil, and the Void once again takes focus. This is the second recent story about Shurima and the Void, with the first, “Feast of the Prophet“, seemingly setting up a new champion.
The story explores the work of a Shuriman stonemason named Mennas and his mentor, the Arch-Mason, on their journey to recreate the face of a statue of a Shuriman god of healing and restore the waters of a channel that runs through their settlement. In a twist near the end, a massive stone structure covered in carvings of human suffering is revealed underneath the settlement’s suddenly dried-up lake, and the horrors of the Void spill forward to devour Mennas and his home.
What do we know about the new jungler?
The new jungler was hinted at in the Malzahar story “Feast of the Prophet”, in which a refugee names Meir meets Malzahar and his cult and sees an enormous form manifesting on the other side of a Void portal in the remains of Icathia. This new void form seems likely to be the new jungler, focused on devouring life to absorb memories and experiences.
The story of Xolaani, the Shuriman Ascended of healing, is interconnected with the Void’s history. After Icathia, a rebel state of Shurima, opened a portal to the void, a great war broke out. Shurima’s Ascended god-warriors include the likes of Renekton and Nasus. Once the Void War ended, many Ascended were too broken by witnessing the horrors of the void and the loss of their Emperor meant their godly ambitions went unchecked. These corrupted Ascended are what players will know today as Darkin.
During the story, Mennas and the Arch-Mason discuss how the stories of Xolaani are divided on her participation in the Darkin war. However, it is known that she was “laid low” by one of the worst Darkin. During their journies to the statue of Xolaani, Mennas smells something rancid and rotting.
What was beneath the waters of Xolan?
After Mennas’ mentor has a vision that she believes to be the god’s face, she calls together all the stonemasons. The night they are all to meet, Mennas hears the sounds of clicking from the lakebed. He follows it to find the water of the lakebed completely gone, and the same rotting smell everywhere. Believing it to be a sign from Xolaani, he goes to the center of the lakebed where he finds stone carvings of human beings in agony beneath the sand.
The enormous network of carvings fills the lakebed’s bottom, and Mennas finds a face carved in the rock that he is convinced must be the face of Xolaani. As he turns to tell the other stonemasons, the stone cracks open and the horrifying insectoid monstrosities of the Void spill forth.
Mennas is quickly killed and the Voidborn horrors swarm towards the town of Xolan. It appears as though somehow uncovering the face of Xolaani prompted the lakebed to withdraw and open up this tomb filled with void horrors. Xolan is also just to the north of the void portal in Icathia, making it en route to Shurima from the Void’s initial manifestation in Runeterra.
What new champions could this hint at?
There are a few possibilities for how this relates to new champions. The first candidate is Xolaani herself, who was supposedly severely injured by a Darkin for many centuries. The next is the same void jungler teased in Malzahar’s story, who could easily be emerging from the sinkhole in Xolan’s lakebed alongside the voidlings that devour Mennas. The final possibility is that Xolaani herself became a Darkin, pulling the classic Darth Vader line of supposedly killing past aspects of one’s self. The clues here are Xolaani’s unsure history during the Darkin War, doubled As as a theme amongst the Darkin, and the final Darkin is likely to be female.
If Riot isn’t setting up the same void jungler as Malzahar’s story, they’re likely seeding the arrival of Xolani herself or the Darkin who struck her down. Either way, Graham McNeil continues to nail home runs for League of Legends storytelling every time he dives into Runeterra.