|Title||The Serpent's Embrace|
|Real Name||Cassiopeia du Couteau|
|Release Date||December 14th, 2010|
|537 (+ 87)|
|5.5 (+ 0.5)|
|418 (+ 31.5)|
|8 (+ 0.8)|
|53 (+ 3)|
|0.647 (+ 1.5%)|
|25 (+ 3.5)|
|30 (+ 0.5)|
- For outdated and now non-canon lore entries, click here.
|Cassiopeia is a deadly creature bent on manipulating others to her will. Youngest and most beautiful daughter of the noble Du Couteau family of Noxus, she ventured deep into the crypts beneath Shurima in search of ancient power. There, she was bitten by a gruesome tomb guardian, whose venom transformed her into a viper-like predator. Cunning and agile, Cassiopeia now slithers under the veil of night, petrifying her enemies with her baleful gaze.
The youngest child of General Du Couteau, Cassiopeia was born to a life of possibility and privilege among the Noxian noble houses. From an early age, she displayed a keen mind and sharp wit, and while her sister Katarina flourished under their father’s tutelage, it was their mother Soreana in whose footsteps Cassiopeia would follow.
A hero of Noxus’ expansion into Shurima, General Du Couteau eventually sent for his family, installing them close to the governor of the coastal city of Urzeris. Surrounded by strangers in an unfamiliar land, Cassiopeia remained close to her mother, learning much of politics, diplomacy, and subtle influence. As she grew, Cassiopeia could not help but glimpse other, hidden concerns within Soreana, beyond those of the empire…
One day, quite unexpectedly, Soreana collapsed in the family residence—her hairbrush had been laced with caustic venoms by an unknown hand, leaving her close to death. General du Couteau was well versed in the ways of an assassin, and so he had all the household staff removed, leaving his wife and daughters alone in an empty house.
Still little more than a child, Cassiopeia never left her mother’s bedside. While Soreana’s recovery took many months, the bond between them became stronger than ever before.
When the general was recalled to Noxus to prepare for the long-awaited invasion of Ionia, he took Katarina with him, but Cassiopeia remained in Urzeris. Seemingly relieved, Soreana confided in her daughter that she belonged to a clandestine and secretive cabal, known by some as “the Black Rose”. Having guided the empire for centuries, they had finally managed to spread their influence into Shurima.
Now free of her husband’s watchful eye, Soreana’s real work could begin.
In time, and under her mother’s tutelage, Cassiopeia blossomed into a young woman of tremendous beauty, cunning and intelligence, if somewhat lacking in empathy. She saw those around her as tools to be used to achieve her goals, and then cast aside just as quickly.
Though she had barely reached the cusp of womanhood, she was initiated into the Black Rose by hunting down and eliminating those who had sought the death of her mother. She surprised even Soreana with her speed and efficiency, and left no trace of her activities—or her proxies—behind. Only then was Cassiopeia made privy to the cabal’s broader plan for Shurima. Using her family’s tremendous resources, she undertook a number of expeditions into the deep desert, raiding ancient ruins with the help of a local mercenary named Sivir.
Her efforts were made all the more urgent when word reached Urzeris from the capital. Grand General Boram Darkwill had been deposed by Jericho Swain, and a number of noble houses had chosen to honor this coup… including Du Couteau.
Outraged and disgusted by her husband’s betrayal, and fearing that all members of the Black Rose were now in jeopardy, Soreana became desperate. She dispatched Cassiopeia to seek out the godlike power that had been the key to Shurima’s supremacy in ages past. Cassiopeia swore she would return with a weapon ready for the looming secret war, or not at all.
Fulfilling this oath would leave her changed forever. Upon unearthing a long lost tomb of the mythical Ascended, she knew this was the threshold to the power she sought, and intended to dispatch all witnesses from her expedition before claiming it. The guide Sivir was the first to fall to Cassiopeia’s blade, but then an ancient stone tomb guardian reared up, and buried its fangs into her flesh.
Overcome by its arcane toxins, she was carried back through the desert by her hired soldiers, screaming as her body twisted into something new and unspeakable…
Cassiopeia locked herself in the disused crypt of the Urzeris residence, and endured the untold agonies of this transformation. Gone was the brilliant and beautiful daughter of Soreana Du Couteau, replaced by a monstrous, slithering creature that skulked in the shadows, spitting poison, and crushing stone as easily as glass.
For weeks she wept and howled, grieving her lost life… until the day she could weep no more. She dragged herself up from the depths of despair, determined to accept—maybe even someday embrace?—her fate. It was not the Ascension she had hoped for, but Cassiopeia had unearthed the magic of dead Shuriman gods. She would turn it to the schemes of the Black Rose just as she and her mother had planned, and she could feel this power growing within her, day by day.
Though into what, even she cannot guess.
|"Secrets are sharper than blades…"|
|THE SHEDDING OF SKIN
Cassiopeia reclined against a crenulated rooftop and gazed over the winding alleys and crowded streets of Noxus. Untroubled by the cool night air, she wore a shift of translucent silk, which revealed the transition at her hips where soft skin merged into overlapping scales of sinuous snakeskin.
The scent of roasted meat wafted up to Cassiopeia’s hidden aerie, but it could not mask the vile stench of thousands of people living on top of each other. Her mouth burned as noxious venom mingled with her saliva. She flexed her muscular tail, cracking the stonework and sending crumbled fragments to the streets below.
Rats scattered from the falling stone. Filthy street urchins dashed around street corners as hooded figures whispered in the shadows and burly soldiers staggered in and out of taverns. All were oblivious to the predator lurking in the darkness above.
Cassiopeia brushed a taloned hand against her scaly side, her serpentine figure concealed by the shadows. These days, she emerged only under cover of night. Once, she had been a powerful figure in Noxus: assassins killed at her slightest whim, soldiers spilled their darkest secrets, and generals willingly followed her counsel in the hopes of patronage. Cassiopeia sighed. No longer was she an influential voice in Noxian society, not since she had been reduced to this grotesque abomination in hiding.
Upon her return from Shurima, Cassiopeia had hidden in her family’s crypt, fearful of her transformation. She remained alone in the cold, dank vault for weeks, filled with disgust for her serpentine body and mourning the loss of her aristocratic life. Eventually, a growing desire to hunt overwhelmed her, and she ventured out to roam the city by night as her family slumbered.
Cassiopeia put aside her reverie as a broad shouldered soldier in a leather breastplate stumbled from a tavern, drink in hand. Finally; this was the man she’d been waiting for. She trailed his movements from above, following him silently over fortress walls and archways, until he entered an empty courtyard. Perfect. Cassiopeia slithered onto an adjacent roof, eyes glinting with predatory thrill.
Her figure cast a shadow across the soldier. He turned, drunkenly defiant.
“I know you’re there! Show yourself!” he said.
Cassiopeia’s tail twitched in anticipation. Her forked tongue extended, tasting the air. She drew the sweet scent of his blood into her lungs, then exhaled with great satisfaction.
“Fight me face to face!” he shouted. “I ain't gonna be stalked like some animal.”
Cassiopeia let out an angry hiss. By the time the soldier looked up, she’d slid to the opposite side of the courtyard and perched directly above him, remaining out of sight in the shadows.
“You consider yourself better than an animal, do you?” she said.
The man’s head turned abruptly, trying to pinpoint the sound of her voice.
“How’d you get across so fast?” he said, his wavering tone betraying false bravado.
“Even beasts are nothing to your savagery” said Cassiopeia.
Breathless, he edged away, looking for an escape. He hammered his fists against every door, but each was bolted shut. Cassiopeia imagined his mind racing to solve the riddle of who was hunting him and why.
He unsheathed his sword, turning on the spot, unsure where to direct his threat. “You don’t want to cross me. I’ve gutted worse enemies than you.”
“Not just enemies” Cassiopeia replied. “I’ve seen your handiwork. You’re not the only one who creeps about in the dark.”
She spat a bilious wad of venom as he turned toward the sound of her voice. The man howled in pain, coin-sized holes burning through his armor and into his skin. She inhaled the satisfying sear of burning leather and flesh.
The man brandished his sword. “Who are you? Why’re you doing this?”
“I’ve been watching you” replied Cassiopeia. “I know what you are, what you do…”
“What I do is no business of yours.”
“I know you’re murdering children for drake meat. I hear it’s quite lucrative.”
The man tried to pry open the shutters of a nearby window with the flat of his sword, but they too were bolted shut.
“Then there’s the three tavern wenches” said Cassiopeia. “Sarmela, Elmin, and Lyx. They were found in the river yesterday. Their faces were hardly recognizable once you’d finished with them.”
She relished the thought of sinking her talons into his flesh.
The man readied his stance. “You can’t fight me from the shadows. Show yourself!”
“Very well” Cassiopeia said.
She slithered down to the courtyard and rose to her full height. The man’s eyes widened in horror, his hands trembling. Cassiopeia stood head and shoulders over the man, glaring down with narrowing eyes.
“Monster!” he cried.
“Monster” murmured Cassiopea. “Not the worst I’ve been called.”
She slid left and whipped her tail across his legs, effortlessly knocking him to the ground.
Curling her tail around his chest, she squeezed his ribcage tighter and tighter, sensing his pounding heart straining beneath her grasp. She heard bones crack. She resisted the urge to break him completely, and released her grip. He crawled to his sword, grasping it in desperation. She so enjoyed watching him tremble.
She circled him slowly. He met her gaze and stared in slow recognition.
“I know your face. The Lady Cassiopeia!” he said. “Look at you!”
Point to the ground, he pushed himself onto his feet with his sword.
“You chase drunkards like me through the filthy gutters of this city now, is that it?” The man spat a wad of blood. “From such great heights we fall, eh?”
She hissed, exposing dripping yellow fangs.
Cassiopeia’s gaze bored into the man’s eyes, locking them in a cold-hearted bond. She screamed, pouring all her rage into the cry; fury at the unfairness of her current state, anger at the loss of her privileged life, resentment for her failed ambitions. She channeled it all into the screeching, mind-shredding wail.
As she screamed, her fury was replaced with joy. It felt like she was floating, her potential for greatness infinite. Every fiber of her being sang with ancient power.
Searing emerald light blazed from Cassiopeia’s eyes. The man’s final panic was outlined in silhouette as he petrified from the inside out. His stare hardened, greyed, and stiffened, his last cry of terror stifled as her curse transformed his flesh to stone.
Cassiopeia slithered up to the statue and softly caressed its hard cheek. What was once skin fractured into a grisly pattern resembling a dried riverbed.
“Once, I had to manipulate, bribe, or otherwise... persuade people to orchestrate my schemes” she said. “But now... now I simply take what I want.”
She whipped her tail forward, smashing the statue to the ground. She smiled, eyes glinting, as it shattered into a thousand pieces of dust and rubble.
Cassiopeia flushed with pride as she considered her handiwork. Her life as a noble was over, yes, but never had she felt such boundless power coursing through her veins. She slithered back onto the rooftops, her mind awhirl with ideas.
Her next victim would offer her a far greater challenge.
- Cassiopeia's Champion Page
- Universe of League of Legends Page
- Mid-Season Magic
- Champion Sneak Peek: Cassiopeia, the Serpent's Embrace
Journal of Justice
- General Du Couteau Vanishes
- The Mailbag of Justice (1)
- The Mailbag of Justice (2)
- Noxian High Command in Turmoil
- The Mailbag of Justice (3)