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The Mythology of Valoran

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The lack of any apparent gods or religion in Runeterra has always puzzled me. So, I'll try to put installments here of what I see as the myths of Runterra's worlds. I'll try to cover everything from Ionia to Freljord to the legends of Trundle's people. All of these are also part of my roleplay blog (http://askthearchivist.tumblr.com/), but that's a product plug for another time.

For now, some myths of Shurima

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The Story of Aija the Serpent's First Waking- Shurima

“This is the tale of the Shurima and of the Great Barrier mountains, in the days before the sand coated the south, or the temperate grass sprang up in the north. This was in the days when the realm of Valoran was flat, hard stone, and the spirits of the earth were just beginning to wake.

This was in the days when the serpent, Aija, roamed the world.

Aija was a great snake, slumbering deep beneath the earth. But when the world was made and the cold water poured into her nest, now deep beneath the ocean, she grew restless.

“Who dares to disturb my sleep, and my children?” She hissed, her voice resonating the sea, creating the first waves. “I shall head up to the world, and see what has occurred.”

Aijha was a great snake. In her prime, she could circle Ionia and swallow the tip of her tail. As she swam up onto land, her weight shook the earth, and her movements carved their way deep into Valoran. The grooves she left in the rock became the Great Serpentine river.

All of this movement woke the first of the earth spirits, who watched over the areas of the northeast, and seeing how the serpent rent the earth, he became very distraught. In hopes of keeping his lands in tact, he created the Ironspike mountains, to keep the serpent away.

The serpent, seeing how the land had cut her off, flicked her tongue angrily. The spit that flew from her mouth created the marshes near Demacia.

Still, looking to see the new world that had disrupted her sleep, she twined onward, waking the spirits that slept to the south. They did not muster, at first, until the spirit of the north cried out to them “Brothers, Sisters! Aija the snake is shaking the very core of this new world! Unite, and create the mountains to seal her off!”

And the spirits, seeing the wisdom of his words, sealed off the north from her, with what are now known as the Great Barrier mountains, and the spirit of the south east closed off his harbor with the Sablestone mountains.

Aija, a very proud snake, was more than distraught to see how the land worked against her. She was angry. Barred in, at the edge of the Great Barriers, she threw her body against the mountains, grinding the rock below her to dirt and shaking dust off the mountain. The more she thrashed, the more the ground wore thin, until nothing was left but sand. This became the Shurima desert.

Her thrashing doing nothing, Aija bared her fangs. Where the poison dripped onto the soil, this became Kumungu, and the Plague Jungles of the south.

At last, Aija became tired. The sun had warmed her, and she wished to rest her aching bones. So, she curled up and sunned herself on the southwest coast, where her wait pressed the ground smooth and even, giving us the flats.

The spirits of the world were elated to find the mother snake sleeping, and so quietly, carefully, returned her to her nest beneath the earth, sealing it tight so that she could never escape again. But, unbeknownst to the spirits, one of Aija’s eggs had hatched and sneaked into the world. Removed from the heat of the center of the land, this little snake, Geb, did not attain his mother’s size, but instead stayed small, and fast, and became known for his quick, silver tongue.

But the story of Father snake Geb is a story for another time. This was a story of Aija the serpent, and the spirits of Valoran, as handed from time to time by the great nomads of Shurima.

Go, yourselves, and never forget.

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The Tale of the Ibis and the Desert- Shurima

Back in the days before the tops of the mountains were worn, when the world shimmered with sands that lay flat, the Gods were free to walk among us. This, this is the story of Tauf.

Tauf was an ibis, a long-billed river bird, and he was lost. He wandered into the Shurima desert. Starved for water, starved for the food he dug along the muddy river banks, he called out desperately. A man of the desert found him.

“Poor bird!” He cried, and carried him back to his village and his well. The Desert Man nursed him back to health, giving him water from the depth of the desert, and from the palm of his own, sun-cracked hands. In this way, a river bird drank deeply of the desert, and so, became linked to the sands.

Once the bird was healed, he was eager to thank the man, and give him something in return. He wished to pull a river into the sands, and so tried to call the rivers to stretch into the desert. Some water flowed deep beneath the sands, to further fill our wells, but no river appeared. It was the desert in Tauf that resisted, and so Tauf saw it was the way of the Shurima. But the desert learned of the sea, and of water, and waves, and so, this is why the sand dunes ripple like waves.

Lacking a river to give the Desert Man, Tauf looked into further magic of the Gods. For the Gods could make rain, or sandstorms, or cause crops and livestock to grow, but Tauf did not feel it was right to grant man this power. So he looked and looked, and thought and thought, and found a way to make a boon.

Reaching into the Desert Man, for Tauf was now of the Desert, he told him, ‘Fetch a sharp stone and some rock.’ And though the desert man could find pebbles, there were no large slabs of soft stone. And so the Desert in Tauf reached out, and formed the dust around them into rock. This is why we have sandstone.

Now Tauf reached over to the sandstone, and with his large Ibis beak began to carve marks. And as he did so, the marks were carved into the mind of the Desert Man, and he cried out, for he had received the knowledge of the Gods.

‘These glyphs hold meaning,’ the Ibis said. ‘Use these to hold our stories, to tell all the world the tale of how the Rivers made a pact with the Desert, and use these glyphs to never forget.’ And the desert man nodded, and the Ibis, his job done, flew away.

This is the story of Tauf and his bargain, of the sea of sand, of the rivers, and of sandstone. And the Desert Man made sure to never forget. He cut dark stone from the mountains, and set the pillars high enough to brush the desert sun, and around the base engraved the tale you have just now heard.

Go, yourselves, and never forget.

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Father Sky and the Creation- Freljord- Ursine

When the world began, it was nothing but cold. And the darkness of nothing grew colder and colder, until it came time.

And then Sky woke.

The cold enveloped Sky, chilling him from the inside out and so, tired and sore, for he had slept since time begun, he stretched, and the nothingness of the world below him saw the heavens.

As Sky woke his breath whipped around the newfound heavens and the first wind began to blow. With the cold of the banished nothing still lingering, and the wind driving into his fur, Sky decided that he would fashion himself a cloak. And so, out of the darkest thread, filled with the power of tempest, Sky made for himself a cloak of Clouds. Looking around at himself, and still finding himself bare, Sky decided he would fashion implements for himself. And so, he made himself a breastplate of Stars, and his right hand gauntlet became the Sun, and his left the Moon, though these he would often keep hidden beneath his cloak.

It was then that Sky looked down upon the world and saw that beneath his new heavens, all was empty.

So Sky looked to the nothingness beneath him, and plucked a claw from his left paw, and this became the world. Then Sky saw the bare rocks of the new earth, so he pulled a tuft of fur from his right paw, still chilled by the once-existing nothingness, and threw it to the world. This became the first snowfall, and Sky was content to see it so.

Now, the earth was flat and still beneath Sky, so he thought that having made it, he should take a look around. So, great and lumbering, sky touched the earth, and every where his foot stepped horrible shakes went through the ground, and up sprung mountains and glaciers and canyons.

And Sky was greatly bereaved, for he found that he could never walk along the earth, and must stay in his place guarding the heavens. And so Sky gave a great cry, and stamped his foot into the ground and a huge spar of rock thrust itself deep, deep into the heavens, where even to this day it brushes the fringes of Sky’s cloak.

At last, Sky remained above the frozen world he had created, and he gave out a roar, and his children descended. From the cry of his voice he created the Owl, Lightning, who perches on his cloak, and he created the Fox, and the Elk, and the Falcon, and also the Wolf. And to these creatures, he gave the right to create the world as they pleased.

And so they did, and the Elk created the soft grasses and spring time, and sun and compassion, and the Fox created forests and shadows and small things that scurry along the ground, and cleverness, and the Falcon created the clear air, and the waters with fish, and she holds distinction as the one who created the hunt.

But the Wolf, he too created. But he looked about the world, and all had already been made by the others, and he despised them for it. So the wolf created power, and greed, and hunger, and sickness. And every time you hear a wolf howl, it is him mocking the roar of Father Sky who made him.

And so the world was made, and his Children populated it, but Sky still did not feel it was right. At last, he decided to pull his teeth, and from these, he carefully carved the intelligent races, to appreciate what he had done, and send him smoke of incense wafting up to him. And so, Sky set down the races, of Man, and Yeti, and Ursine, who followed as he said, and sent him smoke wafting to his heavens, and appreciated the world set to them.

And Father Sky, his work done, sat above the earth and felt warmth.
There will be one more Freljord Ursine tale, of how the Ursine began to converse with the Tempest, then I'm going to try my hand at Demacian and Noxian fairy tales