One of the things I've always appreciated about League as a game is the tremendous variety of champions available. Some of the designs are incredible. Recent additions in particular, like Jhin and Kindred, really pushed out the boat in terms of what can be done to combine aesthetics, gameplay design, voice acting and lore to assemble a champion that has an incredible depth before you even hit the Rift.
I love the idea of the creative process behind the construction of a champion. At times I wonder how on earth Riot arrived at some of its concepts, and I think that seemingly limitless potential design space is a huge draw. But I'm not much for art or design, nor do I have the silken tones to make voice acting viable. I do have some ideas, however, and I guess my way of trying to express them is to write them down.
So I guess this is, in some small way, an attempt to put some of what's in my head to paper and get some genuine and useful feedback from a passionate community.
Anyway, here's my contribution - it's a short story, I guess a background 'lore' for a champion that only exists in my head:
**Tset, Hand of the Ancients**
> 'And you shall know the will of the Ascended when it presents itself to you.'
> -- *The Journal of Tset, Chapter 1*
Time is an odd thing. That it is a ‘thing’ at all – now, that is odd. Not a mere projection of an organic mind trying to make sense of the crazed landscape before it, but an actual, omnipresent force, washing over all of creation.
Tset shifted into position. He lay in a shallow oblong trench, dug into the base of a towering, ancient, oak surrounded by an outcropping of large rocks. The locals had a name for it – the Watcher. It seemed fitting, positioned as it was atop the highest hill overlooking the dreary valley below. Some bizarre superstition kept them from it, for fear of angering their primitive gods. Time will cure them of that, he thought, as he orientated himself to face out into the valley. He slung his rifle forward, sighting the valley floor. The picture was, he supposed, idyllic – a vast verdant plain, bounded to the north by an expansive forest, sheltered on either side by steep snow-covered ridges. To the east, a wide river meandered into the panorama, lazily winding towards an estuary in the middle of the basin. Various local fauna, drawn to the water, milled around, oblivious to Tset’s gaze, vigilant only for more contemporary predators.
He closed his eyes and concentrated. The glow from his mask dimmed, pulsing a deep red, before flickering into darkness.
His breathing slowed.
His heart rate dropped.
Tset stared blankly, lifelessly, out over the empty valley below.
Of course the nature of time is far from linear. Those who were so inclined to map it often drove themselves to madness. It took something much greater than a man to grasp the writhing tendrils of time and pull them to order. The infinite calculations of chance and probability, the tethering of chaos, the ability to create order from insanity… that was a feat only a god could accomplish. Even then, the margin of error could be measured in centuries, even millennia.
Tset’s mask flared briefly to life. He surveyed the nomadic village in the basin below. It bustled with the to and fro of daily life. Infinitesimally tiny. Rudimentary wooden boats traversed the estuary, fishing, or heading out to sea.
On the docks, a man. The sign of the Serpent on his right shoulder. Undoubtedly the meaning was lost on him. He stood in the centre of a group of other townsfolk. He was large, bear-like, commanding attention. He roared anthems of equality and kinship that resonated throughout the city. Tset could feel the ripples in time flowing from his words. Small, almost imperceptible, but significant nevertheless.
Tset pondered the situation silently.
No, not this time. The mask flickered to darkness again.
A bird, tiny, shining a brilliant turquoise, landed on Tset’s barrel. He watched it with interest. He liked birds. They had a certain… elegance that other lifeforms lacked.
The town below belched smoke into the sky. Tset regained his concentration and swept his gaze across the townscape.
The docks again. A man again. Smaller this time. A Serpent embroidered on his lapel. The same beard, rounded features and stern jawline betrayed his lineage. He was accompanied by a retinue of advisors and hangers-on. He toured the great stone wharf which abutted the estuary, occasionally stopping to bark at a nearby dogsbody, dutifully scribbling notes onto a piece of tattered parchment.
He stopped, raising his rotund body onto a podium, to deliver a speech to an audience who were carefully herded towards him. The intent was to rouse and excite. Neither ambition was realised.
Tset grew tired, closing his eyes. The day grew cold, the light dimmed.
An explosion shook Tset, wresting his attention away from his inner reflections to the sprawling city below. It took him a moment to orientate himself, but as he peered through his scope the damage was obvious – flames flickered from the shell of a great building on the bank of the estuary – maybe a warehouse, or a dry-dock.
In the chaos a woman slips away. She has a bracelet, rusted and bent, on her wrist. A Serpent, coiling around her forearm. Tset tracked her for a moment.
No… perhaps not. He returned, almost indulgently, to his own thoughts, delighting in the solitude this timescape offered him.
Destiny was a word with a scope so far beyond the understanding of those who used it that it had fallen to obscurity amongst those who truly grasped the machinations of time.
Still, Tset could see why humans clung to the notion. It was in their nature to seek order in chaos. Or rather, in their failure to understand and control chaos, they felt the need to clutch at whatever precepts presented themselves.
Of course, sometimes things were just not fair, but then, they were never intended to be – maybe that was what people meant when they lamented the inscrutable nature of fate.
On the docks, a man was being led to a makeshift gallows. His family, a woman and a boy, watched tearfully from the crowd, radiating frustration and anger. A brief statement of guilt, a nod to the executioner, a moment of surreality and a snap. Tset noted with interest the tail of a Serpent, visible just below the tattered hem of the man’s prison garb.
He could feel the crescendo building. The ripples in time turned to waves and crashed across the city with such a destructive clamour that Tset was sure even the beings below must surely feel it, even if they could never comprehend it.
Tset tightened his grip on the barrel of his rifle.
The sprawling high rise buildings made surveying the city difficult. He tracked the river, dammed and polluted, to the estuary. The docks there thronged with steamers and fishing boats.
On the docks, a man with a long, unkempt, beard, rounded features and a sharp jaw line. He wore filthy rags. He perched atop a rickety old box, his insanity evident in his wild, staring, eyes. He screamed portents and preached prophecy, assailing passers-by with bombasts both savage and senseless. He grabbed a man by the collar, yelling unintelligibly, before being thrown back and re-ascending his broken wooden throne.
His rags fell away revealing the tremendous tattoo on his chest. Yes, a Serpent, coiled, fangs bared, a crown of bloodied barbed wire.
Ah. The faintest glimmer of a smile, hidden behind the expressionless mask, threatened to creep onto Tset’s face. He squeezed the trigger, his gauntlet cracking free of the debris that had encrusted it.
The shot rang out around the outcropping, too far from the noise of the city to be heard by anyone below.
Tset watched, fixated on the figure on the crate. Gesticulating wildly, madly.
His maddened face now expressionless.
Crumpled forward, his time concluded.
Tset watched with interest as those around the body gradually, stupidly, became aware of what had happened. There was a clamour. The generalised outcry of a mob who have detected, in their petty, subjective way, a grave injustice. A creature they had ignored, derided and spat upon suddenly a tragic figure for no reason other than it had died, though this was the fate of all living things. Tset could feel the dissent building from his lofty perch. The ripples of time emanating from that blood-stained crate washed over the entire valley, crossing continents and inextricably entangling themselves in the fabric of the entire world. This was, Tset considered, most likely lost on the creatures below. A shame.
He rose from his trench, tearing through the turf that covered him, ripping away the roots that had entwined themselves around his legs. He dusted himself off, slung his rifle over his shoulder and turned his back on the city below. He looked, finally, in the other direction. The sun was setting. It was, most decidedly, time to go.
It was, he reflected as he wandered down the hillside, a good death. One shot. Clean. Dead centre.
But then, one does not wait 500 years only to miss one’s shot.