Oh hi! Hello there. I'm Helena, Senior Publishing Manager at Riot UK, and I joined the team a few short weeks ago. Delighted to meet you, and honoured beyond all measure to be putting some words in front of your eyes. This is not an official entry due to that whole 'But you work for Riot?!' thing - but that's neither here nor there. From what I've been reading, you have this writing thing down perfectly. Thank you all for your time and talent, and for sharing your love of Runeterra with us.
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There are plenty of ways to die. If you think about it - and many of us have, no judgement here - it’s a topic as wide open as a barley field blown this way and that by a summer breeze. And like this poorly-thought-out simile, the list doesn’t lend itself to specifics - it lends itself to imagination. In fact, the more outrageous the way a life ends in your head, the more likely it is to be have happened in reality. That’s life.
Or death, in this instance.
It was a game Jinx played all the time.
“Hey everybody - how about a death where…”
What followed was usually grizzly, smartly inventive, and told with a glee so infectious it could have been the whispered secret for how to live a happy, healthy life while never having to undergo even one mildly invasive dental procedure.
However, this particular round of the game had a participant of one. In fact, all but three of the previous 75 rounds had had a participant of one. The crew of the Morning Star were not, by any stretch of the imagination, averse to listening to tales of the unexpected and gruesome. Good heavens no. It was more that this game, Jinx’s pet pastime, had been going on for days. _Days_.
Day one of their Kayn-chasing mission had started as you might expect, with crew members on fire with purpose, charged up with righteous anger and the promise of a furious fight at the end. They jostled, they japed, they joined in. They liked this game. It was fun.
Day 39, on the other hand, was an entirely different story.
Over the course of the previous 38 days the crew had covered off death by sizeable - but ultimately septic - splinter, falling from irregularly stacked rain-sodden packing crates, choking on the tiny bit of the puzzle they warn you not to give to babies and children but yet you fell onto, mouth open, gulping it in with a breath so forceful several people nearby thought you were about to die of shock. (Which, in a way, you were. Being right is a very complicated sort of truth.)
“...you find a map, and this map points to treasure, but the treasure isn’t really treasure but some terrible plague that has been contained and buried for many years - only you dig it up thinking it’s precious and priceless but instead it gives you BOILS and WEEPING SORES and your bones LITERALLY START TO MELT in your skin and within the hour you become a puddle of ex-existence for people to step over and forget about and - HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA oh I like this one it’s funny. Too funny. Oh wow. Priceless. OR HOW ABOUT….”
They’d all tried. Truly they had. They’d even tried to lighten the topic - ‘death by tiddlywinks’ being a firm favourite with everyone. Well, everyone except Jinx. It became rapidly (and morbidly) apparent that what Jinx found funny was, well, the death bit.
“You’re not TRYING,” she’d moaned to Sona, who’s whimsical tale of ‘death by piccolo’ had not one but two! fully written and orchestrated theme tunes that used contrapuntal structure - and crescendoed so dramatically into the death scene that one (nameless) crew member had teared up.
“I don’t care about REASONS,” she’d yelled at Malphite, whose tale of heroism and revenge went on for at least three and a half minutes before any kind of death was even a twinkle in his stony eye. “It’s not about reasons, it’s about how people die! You know the rules!” sighed a fantastically underwhelmed Jinx.
“I thought rules were meant to be broken,” Captain Yasuo drawled, one eyebrow raised so pointedly all life within a ten-mile radius was in danger of minor abrasions.
“It’s MY game, and they’re MY rules. Make up a death, get to the death, then it’s the next person’s turn. More death. Move on, More death. Death death death. Explosions. Death. Screaming. Death. It’s not HARD.”
Which is true. But neither the simplicity of the task nor the inevitability of the event, were enough to rouse the crew to play a game that had no structure, disarmingly changeable rules, and no winner whose name began with anything other than ‘J’. Also it was decidedly repetitive. And repetitive things are a bit...boring.
The ship’s comms chose this moment to inject life back into the death chat.
“Distress signal incoming. Distress signal incoming. Sender: Ziggs. Permission to share communication with the crew, Captain Yasuo?”
The Captain’s curt response snipped through Jinx’s doldrums.
“Let’s hear it.” Eyes and ears swiveled. Interests were piqued. Adrenaline surged. At least one crew member crossed their fingers for some good old-fashioned luck.
A face, cat-like and furious, filled the screen. The message, like the temper, incandescent. The volume set to 11. The words mostly unrepeatable.
“If I catch whoever did this to my ship I will rig up an explosion so huge they’ll be looking for their teeth across three galaxies! When I get hold of this scheming, evil wrecker-of-my-ship they’ll be lucky to escape with even a square-inch of their own skin! I will END you, you hear me? I will light rockets up your NOSE, your friends will be finding pieces of you in their HAIR for WEEKS….”
Jinx turned to the crew.
“Well finally,” she giggled, “someone gets it.”