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|Title||The Prodigal Explorer|
|Release Date||March 16, 2010|
|491 (+ 86)|
|4 (+ 0.55)|
|360.6 (+ 42)|
|8.092 (+ 0.65)|
|60 (+ 2.5)|
|0.625 (+ 1.5%)|
|22 (+ 3.5)|
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- For outdated and now non-canon lore entries, click here.
- Story #1
- Story #2
- Story #3
|A dashing adventurer, unknowingly gifted in the magical arts, Ezreal raids long-lost catacombs, tangles with ancient curses, and overcomes seemingly impossible odds with ease. His courage and bravado knowing no bounds, he prefers to improvise his way out of any situation, relying partially on his wits, but mostly on his mystical Shuriman gauntlet, which he uses to unleash devastating arcane blasts. One thing is for sure—whenever Ezreal is around, trouble isn’t too far behind. Or ahead. Probably everywhere.
Born and raised in a wealthy neighborhood of Piltover, Ezreal was always a curious child. His parents were renowned archaeologists, so he became used to their long absences from the family home, often fantasizing about joining them on their travels. He loved hearing tales of high adventure, and shared their desire to fill in the blank spaces on every map.
He was often left in the care of his uncle, the esteemed Professor Lymere. The professor did not enjoy having to wrangle such a rash and unruly child, and assigned the strictest tutors to teach him subjects including advanced cartography, hextech mechanics, and the ancient histories of Runeterra. But the boy had a knack for simply absorbing information, and found studying a waste of time. He passed assessments easily, with little or no preparation, infuriating his uncle and giving himself more time to roam the university grounds. Ezreal took great pleasure in evading the campus wardens, navigating the tunnels beneath the lecture halls as easily as the library rooftops. He even practiced lockpicking, sneaking into his teachers’ offices and rearranging their belongings for his own amusement.
Whenever Ezreal’s parents returned to Piltover, his father in particular would tell him all they had seen, and their plans for future expeditions—none more ambitious and secretive than the search for the lost tomb of Ne’Zuk, a Shuriman tyrant who was said to be able to jump instantly from one place to another. If Ezreal’s father could learn whatever sorcery Ne’Zuk had possessed, he joked that wherever he was traveling, he would simply drop into Piltover for dinner with his son each night.
As the boy grew older, the time between his parents’ visits grew longer until, one year, they did not return at all. Professor Lymere tearfully admitted that they had most likely perished, somewhere out in the desert.
But Ezreal could not accept that. They had been too careful in their preparations. They must still be out there, somewhere…
Abandoning his reluctant studies, the budding explorer would strike out on his own. He knew, if he was ever to find his mother and father, he had to start with the final resting place of Ne’Zuk. He spent weeks secretly gathering supplies from the university—celestial diagrams, translations of runic sigils, guides on the burial rites of Shurima, and a pair of protective goggles. Leaving a note of farewell for his uncle, he snuck onto a supply ship bound for Nashramae.
Following his mother’s meticulous field notes, he crossed the Great Sai with merchant caravans heading south. For many months, he delved into cavernous ruins beneath the shifting sands, relishing the freedom of the unknown, facing unspeakable horrors that guarded hidden chambers. With each step, Ezreal imagined himself following his parents’ path, drawing ever closer to solving the mystery of their disappearance.
Finally, he managed what they evidently had not. Beneath the newer mausoleum of some unnamed emperor, he uncovered the tomb of Ne’Zuk.
The great sarcophagus lay empty, save for a gleaming bronze gauntlet, with a bright, crystalline matrix at its center. As soon as Ezreal laid his hands upon it, the tomb itself seemed to turn upon him, with cunningly wrought traps and wards laid down thousands of years ago. With scarcely a thought, he donned the gauntlet and blasted his way through, even teleporting the last hundred yards back to the hidden entrance before the whole structure collapsed in a plume of sand and masonry dust.
Breathing hard, Ezreal looked down at the gauntlet as it hummed along with his heartbeat. He could feel it siphoning and amplifying his own essence. This, he realized, was a fearsome weapon of a previous age. A weapon fit for a god-warrior of Shurima, and the perfect tool for an explorer.
Soon after returning to Piltover, Ezreal found himself bounding from adventure to adventure. From lost cities to mystical temples, his nose for treasure-seeking led him to places most university professors could only read about on maps, and his reputation began to grow. Naturally, to Ezreal’s mind, these tales rarely conveyed the true scope and scale of his exploits… but they did give him an idea. If he could make a name for himself as the greatest adventurer in the world, then his parents would surely return, and seek him out in person.
From the untamed borders of Noxus and Demacia, to the seedy depths of Zaun, and the frozen wilderness of the Freljord—Ezreal chases fame and glory, uncovering long-lost artifacts and solving the riddles of history. While some may dispute the details of his anecdotes, or call his methods into question, he never answers his critics.
After all, they’re clearly just jealous.
|"If I don’t know the rules, then how can I be breaking them?"
| THE ELIXIR OF ULOA
After hours of trekking through the stiflingly humid jungle, the cool air of this underground crypt is sweet bliss. Sure, potential death awaits at every turn, but so does certain glory.
I step through a stone archway and clouds of dust rise like phantoms, revealing a pathway of circular patterns carved into the rock. This tomb is rumored to be impenetrable, uncrackable, and deadly. No explorer has yet escaped with their life, but then, none of them have been me.
So far I’ve infiltrated miles of labyrinthine tunnels, navigated spike-filled sand traps, crawled beneath swinging blade-pendulums, and wrestled hissing pit vipers. Nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live here.
Dozens of lidless stone eyes leer at me from the walls. Well, I’d leer too. I doubt they’ve seen anyone this astonishingly handsome since the last Rune War.
At the center of the room, a crystal vial rests on a pedestal. It shimmers with lambent fluid, casting tiny rainbows on the floor. That’s what I’m here for. Many will dismiss a grandiose tale of bold adventure as pure fiction, but there’s no denying a physical artifact. Collecting legendary treasure proves beyond doubt you’ve conquered the impossible.
The Elixir of Uloa is sought after by cults hoping it will imbue them with immortality, withered dynasties looking to reclaim power, and pilgrims seeking wisdom beyond belief. Quite a lot to promise for a vial whose contents wouldn’t fill a teaspoon.
I know every trap in the book will trigger as soon as I lift it from the pedestal. That’s the nature of places like this. I flex my fingers and the gemstone at the center of my gauntlet glows a satisfying cerulean blue. Now the real fun begins.
I approach slowly. A stone trembles underfoot and I step back to avoid activating a trigger. I pick my way across the room, only stepping on the most immobile stones. As my fingers close over the Elixir, deep cracks split the stone floor of the chamber. I activate my gauntlet, charging it with magical energy. Swirling rays of light overwhelm my vision as I teleport to the archway fifteen feet away. Not a second too soon. Hundreds of knife-sharp stakes cascade from the ceiling, missing me by a hair’s breadth as the entire room collapses into a shadowy crevasse below.
My gauntlet’s power is perfect for tight spots, but doesn’t lend itself to crossing great distances. And takes longer than I’d like to recharge.
A thunderous boom shakes the walls and echoes down the corridor. Sounds like the ancient foundations of this tomb won’t hold much longer, so it’s time to speed things along. I prefer my ground strictly solid, with a generous helping of reliability, so I sprint down the tunnel as widening cracks obliterate the floor behind me.
I chase the directional marks I chalked when I entered the tomb, sliding beneath collapsing archways, leaping over boiling quicksand, and dashing around colossal boulders rolling in to block this ever-narrowing passageway.
The wall to my right splits apart and a barrage of colossal insects tumble through, giant pincers snapping and venom dripping from their jaws. Thousands of red spider eyes gleam with hunger while scorpions scuttle forward with stingers poised. Jungle vermin are a damn nuisance, but I’ve got just the remedy!
I close my eyes for a split second. Energy flows down my arm, jangling my nerves with a pulsating beat as I concentrate power into the gem. I steady my gauntlet and aim it at the largest spider. As the monster opens his jaws I unleash a blazing ray into its mouth, blasting it back into the crawling horde. The smell of burned chitin stings my throat and my stomach churns.
I turn and run, firing blinding beams of light behind me at every twist of the passageway. A slab of rock the size of a house breaks from the ceiling directly overhead. My gauntlet recharges just in time and I reappear ten feet ahead in a whirling spiral of light as the tunnel behind me collapses.
Two toppling pillars fall toward each other and I slide between them a moment before they smash to dust. I dash into a chamber with a floor angled toward the surface.
A sliver of sunlight shines ahead, and I grin as I bolt for it. Freedom is close. The ground shakes with a deafening rumble and I stumble mid-run as the chamber falls apart in front of me. Freedom was close.
Then again, backup plans are a particular specialty of mine.
I ready my gauntlet and concentrate all my energy into the gem. I feel it drawing power from me. My vision blurs and the world seems to tilt as the gem fills with magic. The gauntlet pulses the blue of a clear sky.
I open my hand and a brilliant arc of golden light as wide as the tunnel bursts from my palm. The force of the blast staggers me, but I maintain my focus. The light blazes in a continuous glowing channel, gleaming brightly as it disintegrates everything in its path, leaving a precariously narrow gap. My favorite kind of gap!
I close my hand into a fist and the tunnel darkens once more. The ground lurches unpleasantly, sending me to my knees. I’m so spent I can barely move, let alone stand. Inches from my face, cracks spread across the floor faster than I can track them. Not good. The tomb won’t hold much longer, so I muster my remaining strength and rise, sprinting to what I dearly hope is safety.
I’m losing sight of the sunlight. Another crash - the walls crumble around me. I close my eyes and dive through the hole. Nothing wrong with hoping for a bit of good luck, and I am exceptionally lucky. I hit the ground, roll to my feet and inhale the sweet air of the jungle.
Behind me, the entrance to the tomb caves in completely, releasing a billowing cloud of ancient dust. I brush the dirt from my clothes, toss my hair out of my eyes with a well-practiced flick and walk away.
Another impossible ruin traversed. Another treasure to prove the truth of my daring tales.
And all before lunch.
|AN EXPLORER'S JOURNEY
A Handwritten Account of the Discovery of the Vault of Resplendent Holies
Piltover’s greatest, fully-accredited* explorer
*official Piltover Explorers Guild membership still pending
Day 1, preparation
I told Zalie to charge it all to my uncle. He’s good for it.
Now I’m ready to explore!
Day 3, planning
Oh yeah, I probably should write down what I’m exploring. For posterity.
My uncle theorizes that Zaun was once a Shuriman port city called “Oshra Va’Zaun”, and that over the centuries the name got shortened. He doesn’t have much proof and no one believes him. So, I’ll be a good nephew, find proof, and then take all the credit.
My sources say industrial excavations opened up a crack somewhere deep in the Sump.
The plan is simple: Tomorrow I will locate, and descend into, the crack. Find proof (see above). Preferably an accursed urn or lost grimoire. Something earth-shatteringly cool. Spelunk my way back to the surface. Gloat to my uncle over dinner. Profit?
I’m keeping this journal to document the process. The record of these events will probably end up in a museum, next to a marble statue of me.
(Note to self: get sculptor recommendations)
Day 4, bright and early
Hmm. This is one massive crack. I forgot to bring a lantern, so it’s a good thing my gauntlet glows pretty bright. When I peered down into the crack, I almost literally gasped. There’s a whole maze of dusty staircases and old passageways down there. It’s a veritable labyrinth. Going to descend. Will update from the other side.
Uncle Lymere’s probably going to be really jealous.
Day 4, somewhere around lunchtime?
Morale is low. Pomade supplies are low. I really should have packed a snack.
I’m only about a quarter of the way down, and I’ve run out of rope. This narrow ledge provides me a chance to rest, and reflect upon this most dire situation. I must decide: face starvation and continue downward, or abandon the whole thing and return empty-handed.
Day 4, well past noon
Is pomade edible?
Day 4, teatime-ish
Excellent news! I found something!
A few ledges down from where I was resting was a DOOR. Old, sandstone, very dusty. I brushed away centuries of grime to reveal some glyphs. Owls and stuff.
I deciphered what I could, but my ancient Shuriman is a little rusty. Best guess, it was something about a curse. A really bad curse that multiplies? Maybe a thousand curses? This is fantastic! Like I always say: if it’s not cursed, it’s not worth it.
Since I couldn’t locate any kind of ancient door knob, I resorted to the ultimate lockpick—my gauntlet. Sorry about your door, history, but what lies on the other side intrigues me more than a bunch of old glyphs.
This new antechamber is really intriguing. It’s impeccably clean, for starters and—
Sorry, I thought I heard something. Cracks? Footsteps?
With the benefit of hindsight, my gauntlet blast may have been too much for the support columns. Gotta go. No one remembers explorers who get smooshed.
Day 4, almost dinnertime
Well, that was fun. I thought the tomb was going to collapse, because tombs always collapse, especially when I’m inside. But, what REALLY happened? Well, the door didn’t lie, the antechamber was cursed.
Turns out, Oshra Va’Zaun housed the renowned Vault of Resplendent Holies. One of those “holies” is a relic that once belonged to the emperor’s personal spirit-banisher, Carikkan. Looks like he used to bind troublesome entities into inanimate objects, and use them for his own dark purposes. And he died right here, where Zaun now rests!
He also had
Don’t worry, I blasted them ALL to smoldering smithereens!
I was able to grab this wonderfully preserved golden stele, though. It’s inscribed with the legend of the “Day of Fire”, and Carikkan’s oath to protect the city of Oshra Va’Zaun. It’s like a whole secret history that I can fit right in my satchel! This is going to change the world!
(Hopefully not just the academic world. Nobody cares about the academic world.)
Ancient Shuriman curses really don’t mess around. Not only was there that
Swam through so many tunnels. Lots of locked doors. Had to resist the urge to explore them all.
Think I’m close to the surface, which is good, because I saw some nasty-looking murk-eels a few tunnels back. Disgusting creatures.
Might be a while before I can check in again, but as long as I keep this stele wrapped up in cloth and protected, this whole trip will be completely worth all the life-threatening shenanigans and tragically soaked socks.
On a sadder note, I’ve used up the last of my Dapper Explorer Pomade.
Day 6, back to civilization
Sitting in Zalie’s. It really is one of the best outfitters in Piltover—in fact, I’m here to take advantage of their excellent return policy. My jacket is torn to shreds. The boots weren’t waterproof at all. I could say it’s all defective… but Zalie has already graciously offered to tailor me some replacements.
The Explorers Guild is never going to take me seriously if I present this journal, and the stele, dressed like I’ve just lost a game of Krakenhand to a bunch of Mudtown buck-ringers! I have to look good. New jacket. Pants. Boots. Socks. Pomade.
Feels good to look this good. Trust me on that.
Day 9, damage control
Let this official record show that I had NOTHING to do with the swarm of fiery critters that plagued the mercantile district of Piltover. I am blameless!
So, I hear you ask, who is to blame? The clerk at Zalie’s.
Never let the bumbling clerk at Zalie’s handle a potentially enchanted golden stele you laboriously retrieved from a lost vault in the depths of Zaun. Why? Because he will undoubtedly unwrap it, and set it on a windowsill in direct sunlight… which, of course, will conjure disembodied voices chanting in a hitherto unknown, arcane language. Then, your precious stele will begin to glow, before exploding into living shards of searing heat.
Yes. Turns out, when placed in the sunlight of an equinox, the stele unleashes old Carikkan’s infernus gremlins.
Okay, so I didn’t know today was the equinox. That’s on me. I should invest in an almanac.
(Note to self: invest in almanac. Not from Zalie’s.)
The earth is shaking. I probably should stop writing right now, because more of these little horrors are pouring out of the sewer grates. I shot a few of them with my gauntlet. They didn’t like that one bit, and winked out of existence pretty quickly. Result!
So, yeah. All the proof I have of the entire caper is this journal, and my own good word.
Day 12, seeking legal advice
The preliminary hearing is set for next week.
Need to read up on Piltover’s libel and slander laws. I’ll be representing myself, obviously.
|THE CURATOR'S GAMBIT
Look, I should be clear—I didn’t want anything to do with “the dread lord,” or whoever Januk was talking about. I was just trying to sell this stupid little vial to the guy who asked me to get it for him. Should have been easy.
But when you’re me, nothing goes your way for long.
My way. Whatever.
Januk was a red-bearded Freljordian transplant, with deep pockets and big appetites. Unknown to his employers, his private residence was filled with relics and artwork, half of it raided illegally from tombs or other museums, and he loved to dine amidst his collection. As some of the pieces would attest, we’d worked together several times in the past, and he only betrayed me twice. Well, two and a half times, if I’m counting when he blew my cover after we had already salvaged the wreck of the Echelon Dawn…
To Januk’s credit, payment was never a problem, which vastly diminishes my ability to hold a grudge.
“Ezreal,” he said, pushing his plate aside. There were flecks of lamb in his teeth. “Did you find it?”
The it he was referring to was to the Elixir of Uloa. And yes, I had indeed liberated it from a trap-strewn hovel in the jungle near Paretha. I pulled the bone and crystal vial from my satchel. It was cool in the palm of my hand.
“Got what you’re looking for right here,” I said, holding up the vial. “Interesting container. My best guess would be pre-classical Shuriman.”
The spoonful of viscous liquid inside it shimmered in the moonlight. Januk’s eyes widened.
I decided to ramp up the drama. “I tell you what, though—this here isn’t just any ordinary ancient serum. It’s a load bearing ancient serum. The whole place crumbled around me. I barely escaped with my life.”
“The Elixir…” Januk’s voice took on a reverence I had never heard before. “A single drop can quench the soul for a thousand years… Give a man skin as tough as petricite…”
He went to grab it with his greedy hands. I pulled it out of reach.
“Not so fast, Januk.”
“Right, right, right,” he muttered, fumbling for his desk drawer key. “Payment. We agreed sixty thousand.”
“And full accreditation in the Guild, remember?”
I’d been denied entry to plenty of things, in my time. Bars, schools, even a Sona recital… but the Piltover Explorers Guild was the one that stung the most, considering the number of times I’ve risked my neck in the field. Ingrates.
Januk was scowling. “The Guild aren’t particularly fond of you, Ezreal. Can’t say I blame them, having worked with you in the past.” He poured himself some amberwine from a decanter and took a swig. “You left me to rot in that Noxian prison camp…”
“That was payback. For the Echelon Dawn.”
“Which was payback for the map.”
“Which was payback for… something else you did.” I gritted my teeth. “Probably.”
I was getting antsy. I readied myself to make a quick exit.
“Come on, accreditation was half the deal,” I reminded him. “If you don’t want to honor it, I can always find another buyer.”
His boisterous laugh broke the tension. “Why do you think I continue to do business with you? It’s because I like you. We have history, and history is always good for business.” He finished his drink. “Let me fetch the letter from my study. One moment, please.”
Buyers keeping payment in their studies? Oldest trick in the book. He’d probably return aiming a flintlock at my pretty face.
To kill time, I perused his collection of artifacts. There were some I had procured on his behalf. Then my eyes fell on something I had not seen before. Something new—a stone bell, roughly the size of a housecat. Its base was adorned with strange writing. I stepped closer to inspect it.
“It’s Ochnun,” Januk called out. “The language of the dead, composed beyond the mortal veil, and spoken only by those in the afterworld.”
I was getting some serious backstabby vibes, so I spun around.
Januk didn’t have a flintlock. He had two flintlocks.
“I am sorry to inform you, Ezreal, that the Guild has once again denied your application.” He stepped closer, into the light. “The dread lord will rise again. And the Elixir will make it happen.”
A dread lord? Great. I was so close this time…
My gauntlet’s charge rose. Anger is a wonderful arcane motivator. Use it or lose it, I always say.
I raised my arm. Januk fired his pistols. It was magic versus lead shot.
Surprise! Magic won. Magic always wins.
The dull metal slugs burned white-hot in the face of my blast, and winked into silvery vapor on the other side. But with double-crossers, one must be doubly careful, so I quickly charged my gauntlet again. There was a slight fizzle, then a pop, and then I was standing right behind Januk. Teleporting short distances doesn’t really take a lot out of me, so I put my gauntleted hand to the back of his big, stupid head before he could turn around.
“Drop the guns, Januk.”
“Already one step ahead of you.”
Oh, I did not like the sound of that. I glanced down. Sure enough, the pistols were at his feet.
Did I mention Januk was strong? Because he is super strong. He grabbed my gauntlet in one hand, yanked me over his shoulder with the other, and slammed me bodily through his work desk. The damn stone bell jabbed into my spine. I saw white, and splinters. Lots of little splinters.
Januk kicked me in the ribs for good measure. He twisted the Elixir of Uloa out of my shaky grip, pulled the stopper, and drank deep.
“Your pathetic gauntlet will do nothing to an immortal! The Elixir is—”
“Fake,” I croaked. “Almost the right hues, though.” I held up another, far less remarkable looking vial. “This is the real Elixir. You just drank sand wasp venom, out of a cheap souvenir trinket vessel.”
Januk peered into the empty vial, his face scrunched up like he’d tasted sour milk. In fairness, sour milk would have been a lot better for his digestive system.
I winced as pulled myself back to my feet. He had kicked me unnecessarily hard, but at least he spared my face.
“If I were you, I wouldn’t stray too far from a lavatory for the next few days,’ I added.
He threw the fancy casing to the ground, doubled over, and groaned. Sand wasp venom hits hard and fast. “You… petulant little… I’ll get you… for this…”
I shrugged, then raised my gauntlet and fired another blast of magical energy at the wall. The masonry cracked, melted and exploded outwards. Papers flew everywhere. I picked up the bell, and crouched by Januk’s new window.
“Always a pleasure, ” I said. “I won’t charge you for the, uhh… remodeling.”
I hopped out through the hole, scampered down the masonry and leapt across to a nearby rooftop. I wanted to be far away from Januk as quickly as possible, for lots of reasons. Admittedly, the sand wasp venom was the main one—it was not going to be pretty in that place by morning.
As I ran, I took a closer look at my latest acquisition. Whatever else it was, the Ochnun bell was definitely touched by some darker energy. Once the Explorers Guild got a load of this piece, I’d be a shoo-in for accreditation. With a party in my honor, perhaps? After all, I had just single-handedly kept some dread lord from rising.
And in the end, that’s usually all that matters.
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