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|Title||the Bloodharbor Ripper|
|Release Date||May 31st, 2018|
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|7 (+ 0.5)|
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Pyke is a champion in League of Legends.
|A renowned harpooner from the slaughter docks of Bilgewater, Pyke should have met his death in the belly of a gigantic jaull-fish… and yet, he returned. Now, stalking the dank alleys and backways of his former hometown, he uses his new supernatural gifts to bring a swift and gruesome end to those who make their fortune by exploiting others—and a city that prides itself on hunting monsters now finds a monster hunting them.
As a youth, Pyke started out like many in Bilgewater: on the slaughter docks. All day, every day, monstrous creatures of the deep were hauled in for rendering in the butcheries that lined the waterfront. He found employment in a district known as Bloodharbor, as even the tide itself was not strong enough to wash away the red slick that ran constantly down its wooden slips.
He became well acquainted with the trade—both the gruesome work and meager paychecks. Over and over, Pyke watched heavy purses of gold being handed to captains and crews in exchange for the daunting carcasses that he and his fellows would hack into salable chunks. He became hungry for more than a few copper sprats in his pocket, and managed to talk his way onto a ship’s crew. Few individuals dared to hunt in the traditional Serpent Isles manner: launching themselves at their targets to secure tow-hooks with their bare hands, and beginning to butcher the creatures while they yet lived. Fearless and highly skilled in this regard, Pyke soon cut a name for himself as the best harpooner a golden kraken could buy. He knew meat was worth pennies compared to certain organs from the larger, more dangerous beasts… organs that needed to be harvested fresh.
Depending on the difficulty of the hunt, each sea monster commanded its own price, and the most desired by Bilgewater traders was the jaull-fish. From its razor-toothed maw, priceless sacs of sapphilite were coveted across Runeterra for various sorcerous distillations, and a small flask of the glowing blue oil could pay for a ship and its crew ten times over. But it was while hunting with an untested captain that Pyke learned where a life of blood and guts would land him.
Days into their journey, a huge jaull-fish breached, opening its maw wide to reveal rows of sapphilite sacs. Several harpoon lines secured the beast, and though it was far bigger and older than any he had encountered before, Pyke leapt into its mouth without hesitation.
As he set about his work, a deep vibration began to stir in the creature’s cavernous gullet. Roiling bubbles broke the ocean’s surface, and an entire pod of jaulls began to push against the tethered ship’s hull. The captain lost his nerve, and cut Pyke’s lifeline. The last thing the doomed harpooner saw before the beast’s jaws snapped shut was the look of horror on his crewmates’ faces, as they watched him being swallowed alive.
But this was not the end for Pyke.
In the deepest fathoms of the unknowable ocean, crushed by the titanic pressure, and still firmly trapped within the jaull’s mouth, he opened his eyes once more. There were blue lights everywhere, thousands of them, seemingly watching him. Tremulous echoes of something ancient and mysterious filled his brain, crushing his mind, showing him visions of all he had lost whilst others grew fat.
A new hunger overtook Pyke, one for vengeance and retribution. He would fill the depths with the corpses of those who had wronged him.
Back in Bilgewater, no one thought much of the killings at first—for so dangerous a place, the occasional red tide was nothing new. But weeks became months, and a pattern began to emerge. Captains from many ships were found carved up and left out for the dawn. Bar-room patrons whispered it was a supernatural killer, wronged at sea, gutting his way through the crew manifest of some damned ship called the Terror. Once a mark of respect and celebrity, the question “You a captain?” became a cause for alarm.
Soon it was the caulkers, too, and the first mates, merchant officers, bankers… indeed, anyone associated with the bloody business of the slaughter docks. A new name went up on the bounty boards: a thousand krakens for the infamous Bloodharbor Ripper.
Driven by memories twisted by the deep, Pyke has succeeded where many have failed—striking fear into the hearts of unscrupulous businessmen, killers, and seafaring scoundrels alike, even though no one can find any mention of a ship named the Terror ever docking in Bilgewater.
A city that prides itself on hunting monsters now finds a monster hunting them, and Pyke has no intention of stopping.\
|"There’s plenty of room for everyone at the bottom of the sea..."
Mazier is sprawled on the rotten planks, waves lapping at stone underneath. Her slowing heartbeat pumps blood into the seawater. She stares, unblinking, at the shanty-dwellings above, and the stars beyond.
Pyke studies her face once more. Mazier’s dead eyes stab at his mind.
A jaulling vessel. Four-master with tattered sails. Waves the size of mountains.
Long hair in high-sea wind. Dozens of faces on deck. Watching. Blue eyes. Mazier’s blue eyes, wide in disbelief.
Not Mazier’s pearly whites. Gunky, sword-sized teeth. Criss-crossed the boat. Losing light. Closing. In the jaull’s mouth. Lifeline slack. Cut.
The tongue was too slick. Eyes stung with sweat. Fingers finding no purchase. Get to open water. Swim, swim...
The jaull’s teeth clamped shut. Then pain. Then darkness.
Ship was gone. So were the eyes.
An able-bodied sailor. Aye. She was there. She cut my line.
Pyke nudges the body with his boot, gazing downward all the while. He nudges her until she reaches the edge of the dock. One more kick, and Mazier is floating. The sharks are quick to feast. Circling. Snapping. The ocean never wastes time.
Gulls shriek, their warbled cries caught on the wind, as Pyke finds Mazier, abled-bodied sailor, on the list. Red ink strikes her name from the parchment.
The last name on the Terror’s crew manifest.
That’s it. No more names, just a lot of red crosses. Where did I get all that ink...?
A feeling gnaws at Pyke. Restless, unsettled, unsatisfied. The churning lurch of bile in his belly. He can’t be done. There were too many of them there, on the decks. Maybe he got the wrong manifest. Maybe it doesn’t even matter.
They let me die. So many hands. So many times.
Another sound. Not gulls. Not waves. Not teeth closing. Not the voice in the back of his mind screaming out “You’re not done!” over and over and over. Not the music he remembers from the swimming city, all those years ago.
It’s a new sound. A real sound. A here-and-now sound.
Pyke looks with his living eye, and sees wooden stairs sagging under heavy bootfalls. A thickset man, walking down toward the moored, bobbing vessels.
He stops when he sees all the blood. His hand disappears into his jacket, pulling a flintlock, keeping the barrel of the gun close to his chest. Ready to aim and fire. Like a bloody idiot.
Pyke steps into the moonlight. The man looks like he’s seen a ghost. The skin around his mouth clams up tighter than a dock banker’s coin-purse. His eyes go wide and quivery, like jellyfish, like calm water catching a breeze.
“Who’s that?” he yells.
Come find out.
The flintlock is aimed at Pyke’s head. Then comes the flash and the bang. The shot is true, but it splinters wood because Pyke is no longer where he was.
He’s in the mist.
He falls apart, into salt and drops of water—a fine man to a fine mist. He heard they call him a phantasm. They’re half right.
The heavyset man reloads. Sweat beads his wrinkled brow.
In those precious few seconds, Pyke is all around him, in the in between, somewhere behind the air itself, studying him. Those fearful eyes, crap-brown. His beard wild and white. Sagging jowls, crooked nose, cracked lips, the way his earlobes are cauliflowered from countless dirty tavern fights.
Looks like a captain.
The man reeks of sweet, prickly fear. Good old boot-quaking terror.
Smells like a captain.
Pyke needs to be sure. He takes form—he was always a big man, now with the baleful, glowing eye that the sea gifted him, he feels larger still. Tell me your name, he rumbles.
The man didn’t expect anyone to appear behind him. Nobody expects that. Maybe they do in fantasies or nightmares or the stories they tell in bars. But in reality, everyone just craps their pants and falls flat on their face, and this heavyset captain is no rule-breaker on that count. He trips on his own stupid boots, and rolls down the stairs like a sack of tinned victuals.
Pyke takes each step slowly. A Noxian galleon is moored at the dock. Trader ship, or traitor ship? Is there a difference? He guesses not.
You got ‘til I get to the bottom of these steps to tell me what I want to know.
The man wheezes, his wind knocked clear into someone else’s sails. Gasping. A fish on land. Chubby hands reaching out.
I remember you...
White-knuckle grip on the deck rail...
The man tries to stand, but his knee bends the wrong way.
You were watching.
Step. A wharf-rat scurries close. Dinner time soon.
You were smiling.
Sputter. Tears coming now. “P-please… I don’t know what you’re talking about...”
“Beke! Beke Nidd!”
Pyke pauses to consult the manifest, one step from the bottom. All the red marks. All the crossed out names.
There. Beke Nidd. Midshipman.
Uncrossed. Clear as day. Must have had the paper folded wrong.
Beke Nidd. Yeah, I remember you. You were there.
“I’ve never seen you before! It’s my first night in Bilge—”
People can’t lie with a hookman’s barber lodged in their cheek. They can’t beg or trade facts they don’t have.
Fine tool, the barber-blade. Made of tempered sharkbone. Keener than steel. Sticks in real good, snagging on bone and flesh. Struggling only hooks it deeper, as Beke is learning. His eyes are really afraid now.
Those eyes stab at Pyke’s mind.
The memory rises like a tide, and he opens up to let the waters come crashing through, drowning out Beke’s gurgled pleas.
A jaulling vessel. Four-master with tattered sails. Waves the size of mountains.
Ragged beard in high-sea wind. Dozens of faces on deck. Watching. Crap-brown eyes. Beke Nidd’s crap-brown eyes, wide in disbelief.
- Pyke's Champion Page
- Universe of League of Legends Page
- Champion Reveal: Pyke, the Bloodharbor Ripper