|The Arrow of Retribution|
|Release Date:||May 8th, 2012|
|Health:||499 (+ 89)|
|Health Regen:||3.5 (+ 0.55)|
|Mana:||360.48 (+ 33)|
|Mana Regen:||7.34 (+ 0.8)|
|Attack Damage:||59 (+ 3.11)|
|Attack Speed:||0.658 (+ 3%)|
|Armor:||27 (+ 3.4)|
|Magic Resist:||30 (+ 0.5)|
- 2nd bio
- 1st bio
- League Judgement
|One of the ancient darkin, Varus was a deadly killer who loved to torment his foes, driving them almost to insanity before delivering the killing arrow. He was imprisoned at the end of the Great Darkin War, but escaped centuries later in the remade flesh of two Ionian hunters—they had unwittingly released him, cursed to bear the bow containing his bound essence. Varus now seeks out those who trapped him, in order to enact his brutal vengeance, but the mortal souls within still resist him every step of the way.
Regardless of what he would later become, Varus was once a paragon of loyalty and honor. A skilled archer of the ancient Shuriman empire, he was appointed as a temple warden in the eastern states, and he held this duty sacred above all else.
During the earliest stages of the war with Icathia, even though it lay far from that cursed place, Varus’ homeland was attacked. While other wardens abandoned their posts to join the defense of the outlying villages, he alone remained, screaming in anguish with every arrow he loosed—for he had chosen to uphold his oaths rather than return home to protect his own family.
Emissaries from the Ascended Host found him kneeling in solemn meditation amid the corpses of his foes. It was said that his cold gaze unsettled even the god-warriors themselves, and yet, in recognition of his noble sacrifice, Varus was offered a place in their ranks.
As one of the great Ascended, he was utterly consumed by his pursuit of vengeance against the Icathians, and the voidling horrors they had unleashed. It is likely that Varus did not even fully comprehend Shurima’s ultimate victory in that war, so twisted had his mind become—nor the empire’s fall centuries later. Atrocity after atrocity blurred together, leaving him as a withdrawn, callous killer, reshaped and sent into battle countless times by his degenerate brethren.
Their name became feared throughout the known world.
Warring among themselves, they destroyed any other who stood against them. With his crystalline bow, Varus assassinated enemy commanders and champions, helping the darkin defeat entire mortal armies with ever greater ease.
Eventually, Varus was cornered by vastayan moon-stalkers and human mages in service of a golden-armored warrior queen of Valoran. They bound him within his bow, leaving him to howl in impotent rage. By then, the raw, corrupting influence of the darkin was known, and yet still the queen chose to wield the deadly weapon in the final days of the war, gladly sacrificing herself for a greater victory.
In the months that followed, the queen carried Varus to the First Lands—those that would later be known as Ionia. Now made monstrous by the bow’s power, her last act was to command her followers to bury her alive in a lightless well, sunk deep beneath a mountain temple overlooking the village of Pallas.
And there Varus was imprisoned, both by the natural magic of Ionia, and the ritual ministrations of the temple guardians.
The bow remained hidden for centuries, unknown, untouched, and all but forgotten, until Noxian invaders attacked the First Lands. Two beast hunters—Valmar and his heartlight, Kai—fought against the first wave at the Temple of Pallas. Though their courage was great and they drove off the attackers, Kai was mortally wounded, and a grief-stricken Val carried him inside, believing the well’s forbidden magic could restore him.
But the temple held only damnation, and both hunters were consumed by the unleashed power of the darkin within it. The very matter of their bodies was unraveled and bound together again to craft a new body, a body fit to free Varus from his imprisonment. What emerged from the well was a gestalt creature, pale and inhumanly beautiful, part human and part darkin. After more than a thousand years, Varus was reborn.
Even so, the human and darkin elements of this imperfect form are in constant flux, with each managing to wrest control for a short time before being reined in by the other. Varus fights to silence the two mortal souls once and for all, and wreak vengeance for the destruction of his race. Still, Kai and Val struggle against his malevolent influence, hoping against hope that their love can overcome the darkin’s hatred.
How long they can keep Varus conflicted is anyone’s guess—but should this sadistic and egotistical killer come to fully dominate his new host, it is certain he will seek to reunite with others of his kind, and reduce all of Runeterra to an ashen wasteland.
| "You didn’t destroy us all. And that mistake will be your undoing."
Varus followed a river running through the desert. Its water was gritty, but drinkable. The new body he had wrought to bear his bow was beautiful, fast and strong, but it came with the weaknesses of flesh. It hungered. It thirsted.
Days earlier, a crook-backed creature with a withered arm and birdlike features had told him this was Shurima, but that couldn’t be true. The Shurima Varus remembered had been a desolate wasteland.
“Was I imprisoned for so long?” he wondered.
He despised the human noises his new mouth made. It sounded bestial and primitive, but at least he could speak aloud once more. As to how long he had been imprisoned... it was hard to say. He retained no concept of how mortals measured time, and the bird creature hadn’t recognized what he was. She had no idea how far back the Darkin War had been fought.
“My kind all but destroyed this world,” he said. “And now we have been forgotten? How is that even possible?”
With enough time, even the greatest horrors can fade.
The voice echoed in his skull, impossible to ignore. Which one was it? Kai or Valmar? He suspected Val, but mortal minds were so simple and muddy that it was hard to tell one from another.
“Any race that can forget staring into the abyss of its own extinction does not deserve to live,” said Varus.
We don’t forget. This was Valmar, decided Varus. Horrors become myths so we can bear to hear them, so we can learn from them and not go mad.
Such a notion was ridiculous, and Varus knew he would never allow the doom of his species to fade from memory. He was about to say so, when he heard noises from around a bend in the river ahead; shouting voices, braying animals and the sound of tools on stone. He darted forward, into the shadow of a toppled obelisk, and scanned ahead.
The new river had exposed the sunken ruins of some ancient structure comprised of pillars and statues of animal-headed gods. Yes, this was the source of the magic he had sensed. Old magic. The kind the flame-haired queen used to enslave his kind.
The kind used to imprison him beneath the rock of Ionia.
Tanned, wolf-lean men worked the ruins, digging out hidden reliquary chambers as thick-limbed beasts of burden dragged excavated rocks from deeper inside the structure. Armed warriors wearing boiled leather breastplates and carrying hook-bladed spears guarded the perimeter. Varus grinned and vaulted onto the obelisk, drawing back on his bow as he landed. Violet light built in the crystalline weapon as it flexed, and a coruscating arrow of purple lightning formed in the air.
Why must you kill them? This was Kai. He hated unnecessary killing.
Varus felt his hands tremble as Kai fought to make him lower the bow.
“Your kind destroyed my kin,” said Varus, exerting his will to steady his aim. “That’s the only reason I need.”
He sighted along the crackling arrow as a burly warrior with a forked beard and shaven scalp saw him and yelled a warning.
So everyone you see must die?
Varus exhaled, and in the space between breaths loosed the fiery arrow. It flashed through the air to pierce the bearded warrior through the heart, burning a hole clean through him. He dropped to his knees, his mouth wide with shock. Other warriors hurled spears, but Varus was already moving. He sprang from the obelisk, loosing fiery, blood-red bolts from his bow. Varus hit the ground running, and five warriors died in as many bolts. A further three fell, pierced by the same crackling shaft.
A hook-spear swung at Varus. He dived to the side, rising to his feet and sending a pair of crimson shafts through his attacker’s chest. Varus sprinted, leapt and dashed through the ruins, blazing shafts of light eviscerating his targets with absolute precision. In seconds it was over. Sixteen dead, and he hadn’t even broken sweat. He felt the anguish of the mortal souls within him and grinned. Every death gnawed at them, weakened them and made them less able to fight him.
The men excavating the ruined city fled, throwing down their tools and running for the river. Varus let them go. They were an irrelevance, and the killing of mortals without weapons always provoked the mortal souls within him to rebellion.
Varus entered the ruined structure, briefly glancing at a pair of jackal and crocodilian statues as he passed. Inside, it was cool and dark, the walls covered in vivid bas-reliefs depicting wide discs spreading golden rays over a bountiful land. The stone floor was inscribed with a magical script that had been ancient even before the darkin came to Runeterra.
“Warding sigils. Potent once, but faded,” said Varus, crossing the inscribed flagstones to where a towering statue of a great serpent-headed god had once stood sentinel. Some past catastrophe had toppled it, and beyond its sandstone remains lay a lightless chamber.
Varus entered, the glow from the smoldering light at his heart revealing nothing but bare stone, burned black and glossy with ancient fire.
Varus sighed. “Where are you, sister?” he said.
|One of the ancient race of darkin, Varus was a deadly killer who loved to torment his foes with arrows, driving them to insanity before closing for the kill. Possessed of wondrous beauty, Varus was imprisoned at the end of the Darkin War, but escaped, centuries later, in the remade flesh of two Ionian hunters. The two men had unwittingly released Varus and now bear the bow containing his bound essence. Varus now hunts those who trapped him in order to enact his brutal vengeance, but the souls bound within him fight him every step of the way.
The mortal mages of Runeterra wielded wild magic, heedless of the consequences beyond their own world. Their reckless use of magic attracted the hunger of the darkin, who sent their fiercest warriors to conquer this new world. Varus traveled to Runeterra with the second wave of invaders, and with his crystalline bow, he assassinated enemy commanders and champions, helping the darkin defeat the mortal armies with ever greater ease.
Soon after Aatrox’s fall, Varus was cornered by vastayan moon-stalkers and human mages in service of a golden-armored warrior queen. They bound him within his crystalline bow, leaving him to howl with impotent rage. By now, the corrupting influence of the darkin was known, and the warrior queen alone wielded the deadly bow in the final battle of the war, loosing the last bolt that broke the bridge to the darkin world forever.
At the end of the Darkin War, the queen carried Varus’s bow to a land that would become known as Ionia. Her last act was to imprison the bow deep within a lightless cell sunk deep beneath a mountain temple overlooking the village of Pallas. There it remained, imprisoned by the natural magic of Ionia and the ritual ministrations of its guardians.
The bow remained hidden deep underground for centuries, unknown, untouched, and all but forgotten until Noxian invaders attacked Ionia. Two beast hunters - Valmar and his heartlight, Kai - fought the first wave of these invaders at the Temple of Pallas. Though their courage was great and drove off the attackers, Kai was mortally wounded. A grief-stricken Val carried him inside, praying the temple’s magic would restore him.
But the temple held only damnation, and both hunters were consumed by the unleashed power of the darkin. The very matter of their bodies was unraveled and bound together in a warp and weft of new flesh to craft a perfect body, fit to bear the soul of Varus. What emerged from the temple was a gestalt creature, pale and inhumanly beautiful, part human, part darkin, Varus was reborn as an entity with a war for supremacy being waged in its soul.
The human and darkin elements of this newborn body are in constant flux, with each element sometimes managing to wrest control of the body for a short time before being reined in by the other. Varus fights to overcome Val and Kai’s resistance once and for all so that he may wreak vengeance on mortals for the destruction of his race. But Kai and Val fight on against his malevolent influence, hoping against hope that their love can overcome the darkin’s baser urges.
How long Val and Kai can keep Varus fully at bay is anyone’s guess, but should this sadistic and egotistical darkin killer come to fully dominate his new body, it is certain he will seek to reunite with the survivors of his race in hopes of reducing Runeterra to an ashen wasteland.
| "You didn’t destroy us all. And that mistake will be your undoing."
|For his incomparable skill with the bow and his unquestioned sense of honor, Varus was chosen to be the warden of a sacred Ionian temple. The temple was built to contain an ancient pit of corruption so vile that Ionian Elders feared it could envelop the island in darkness. Varus prided himself on his position, as only the most exceptional Ionian warriors were selected for the role. He lived with his family in a nearby village and led a quiet life of disciplined routine until the day the forces of Noxus invaded Ionia. Their shock troops left nothing but death and desolation in their wake, and the temple lay in their path. Varus was forced to make a decision. He was bound by honor to stay and defend the temple, but without him the village's few inhabitants could offer little resistance against the oncoming war machine. Gravely, he chose to fulfill his duty as a warden. The corruption could not be allowed to escape.
His arrows sundered the troops who tried to wrest the temple from him that day. However, when he returned to the village, he found that it had been reduced to a smoldering graveyard. Remorse at the sight of his slain family gave way to overwhelming regret, and then to seething hatred. He swore to slaughter every Noxian invader, but first he needed to become stronger. He turned to that which he had sacrificed everything to protect. The pit of corruption would consume him wholly, as a flame devours a wick, but its abominable power would burn within him until he was lost. This was a path from which there could be no return. With grim resolve, he condemned himself to the black flames, feeling malevolent energy bond to his skin...and with it, the promise of ruin. He left, seeking the blood of all Noxians involved with the invasion, a grisly task that eventually led him to the invasion's most infamous perpetrators.
| "The life of an arrow is fleeting, built of nothing but direction and intent."
Date: 7 March, 22 CLE
He absorbs his bow, lest he be tempted to use it in the Institute of War; it slithers into his palm to rest. The polish of the chamber is immaculate, so that in its ornamental shields and blades his form can be seen reflected; "his" form, though he can never recognize it as his own. His arms disappear into black gauntlets of a liquid that can't entirely decide on a shape; brackish muck creeps from his toes nearly to his navel, scabbing over into plates.
What might seem purely black is, upon closer inspection, almost infinitely complex in color; it travels his surface like an oil. Varus wonders if it might have claimed more since yesterday, lapping as it does at what pure flesh remains. He decides that he is, on the whole, satisfied with their arrangement - even if mirrors show him a creature like this.
I am not broken, he tells himself. Not broken. Simply have a different shape.
Teaching is learning.
Showing Theshan where to hold the bow, how to draw, and how to remember his breath gave Varus a better understanding of these things himself. His son would need to know these things for himself; his father had been anointed Temple Guardian, after all. He wouldn't always be there.
Varus wasn't there now, strictly speaking; none of this was real, and his clever eyes knew it.
This was some game Summoners played to amuse themselves with aspirants to the League. But here was his son, blessedly alive. He tousled the boy's warm hair. Varus knew what was coming, and he took such blessings where he could. The two of them looked up the hill, up, until they saw the Temple itself.
It was older than the village, much older. A statement from a bygone era of plenty, there was no pragmatism in its construction.
"A Pit of Pallas," said the son who was not his son. "There is a Pit of Pallas there."
"I did not know it at the time, but yes," replied Varus.
"They left a single man in its defense?"
Much surprised him about his new role. The old prayers he'd said every day since he was a boy, it seemed, were missing a few grave syllables; the Elders had been holding out.
Tattoos of the clever Owl, applied to the face, chest, and arms had altered his perception; this too was surprising. Then, there was The Pit, and just five feet across, it was hard to imagine this featureless disc could be the source of so much concern.
He was most surprised, perhaps, when - on his first night's vigil - it began to speak.
Not with words, no - words would have been much easier to deflect. It spoke in moments, mostly: images, sensations. It knew people, it could taste them on the air. It knew that they had a hive at the base of its hill, where they writhed in their nonsense bodies. Varus could sense its confusion, and something like being hurt; the isolation of the temple had accrued in it. It wanted to show him something he would like. It wanted to make something for him. Its urge was to please.
This was not the "implacable beast" he had been sworn to contain.
Once, as Varus entered the sanctum to perform the morning's Rite of Sealing, he was made to see himself, surrounded by others of his village, standing with a young man's vigor while those around him withered like crops, their skins falling off like sacks. He could sense that it seemed somehow pleased with itself.
"Now?" it offered, confident in the reply.
"No," replied Varus.
When it spoke next, he ceased to exist in the present altogether. Instead he waded through ankle-high blood, the ripples he made growing and rising until they roared and crashed. He heard a voice, then, or the idea of a voice, which said, pleadingly, "Now?"
The bite of the incense, with its teeth of rosemary and oak, cut through the vision. He fell back on the palms of his hands, turning and scrambling to load the brazier. It tipped on its copper chain, spilling and searing his hands.
It crashed against his mind, but the Owl asserted itself. It gave him will enough to pull himself along the maze-like walls to the doorway, where he could see the village burning; again, he had to see it all again.
He ran, though he didn't entirely know why; there was a part of him that though if he took this path, slid down this face instead of that, maybe it would be different. Perhaps he would not find his broken wife alongside his broken boy alongside his broken bow; perhaps he would not pick up that bow and bring it back to the Temple.
He was wrong.
He was given a vision then of a thousand, thousand dead. It was a wedge pounded through his ribs and into his heart. He fell to his knees.
"Now?" It was almost a whisper.
"Now," Varus whispered back. "Now, damn you."
And when he did so it broke a dam deep in the earth, so that the placid disc of the pool reached up from its heart and splashed out, leaving jags of hot black glass standing wherever it touched. It was flowing through the air, around the curling smoke until it struck Varus off his feet. It peeled his hand, digesting it, consuming the bow. It ate both arms, and both legs, stopping out of... respect, if respect it may be called, for the Owl; it would not surpass the markings. In a moment of detached madness, Varus wondered how long that would last.
The Reflection wavered, and a summoner panted with exertion; the images wrested themselves from their bindings, careening through a nightmarish series of scenes with an animal immediacy. The room solidified, rendered overbright by the alien senses which collected the last few years of Varus' grim past:
Only the tips of each of his toes touched the ground; Varus knew the force couldn't be far. When he overtook them, the cart at the head of the column had the wisdom to encourage its horses. Those without wisdom, or those cursed by circumstance, began to die with terrible speed.
As Varus slowed, an apparatus with a bow's purpose, if not its shape, leapt to life for the first time at his wrist. He needed not be instructed in its use; a man was instantly pierced, burst like a wineskin. This proved a true inspiration to his fellows, who found within themselves a speed they never knew possible; though even at this speed, they were still beings of flesh and blood. Insufficient.
Though what it fired wasn't an arrow, it behaved as one; it ruined as one, traveled through the Noxian insignia, out of one gasping soldier and into another, exploding with six thirsting tongues that gripped and snared. With every death Varus shot faster, until by the end there was no sense that each shot was discrete. The Prey simply ran until it fell. It was elegant horror.
Time passes quickly. There were more hunts, and more blood; mercies were promised, but withheld. Darkness swirled with the scent of wet leaves, oddly sweet, the broken bodies of men and women rendered wholly abstract in the course of their annihilation. Varus knelt over a sundered cart to seize a communique, pierced through by one of his sharp tendrils; it revealed the names of yet a few more Noxian dogs, responsible for issuing the order...
The damning order. What they took from him he would repay a thousand-fold.
A summoner stepped forward, her mask of judgment impassive, her presence sweeping away the last threads of the vision. "Your purpose here is clear. You have discerned that among our Champions there exist Noxian agents. This, all of this," she waved her hand, "is the prosecution of some vendetta."
"You understand, of course, that your vengeance is not the purpose of the League?" she said, eyes narrowed.
"By now, you surely realized," said Varus, or the amalgam which stood before them cloaked in Varus, its tongue swollen and black.
"It is the only purpose I have left."
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