“Coin may buy you skill for a day, but never loyalty.”
Sivir is a renowned fortune hunter and mercenary captain who plies her trade in the deserts of Shurima. Armed with her legendary jeweled crossblade, she has fought and won countless battles for those who can afford her exorbitant price. Known for her fearless resolve and endless ambition, she prides herself on recovering buried treasures from the perilous tombs of Shurima – for a generous bounty. With ancient forces stirring the very bones of Shurima, Sivir finds herself torn between conflicting destinies.
Sivir learned firsthand the harsh lessons of desert life when her entire family was killed by marauding Kthaons, one of Shurima’s most feared raider tribes. In the weeks and months after the massacre, she survived by stealing food from local markets and exploring deserted ruins in search of trinkets to sell.
Most of the ruins had long since been picked clean by thieves, but Sivir excelled at unearthing treasures others had missed. With her keen eye and relentless determination, she exposed secret passageways, solved ancient puzzles to reveal hidden catacombs, and dodged perilous traps.
Occasionally, she persuaded other children to help her plunder tombs that would be impossible to loot alone. Armed with no more than coils of rope and candles, the malnourished waifs would descend into the cramped tunnels beneath the ruins in search of anything worth selling.
One day, Sivir and her compatriots ventured deep into a secret tomb she swore was filled with riches beyond imagining. After many hours of exploration, they finally discovered a hidden doorway, but were crushed to find nothing more than an empty chamber. Enraged at their wasted effort, Mhyra, Sivir’s oldest companion, demanded she forfeit her role as leader. Sivir refused, and a vicious fight ensued. Mhyra was larger and stronger, and quickly overpowered Sivir before pushing her off a ledge. Hours later, Sivir awoke alone in the dark. Fighting back panic, she retraced her steps, blind and feeling her way slowly back to daylight. Once she returned to her lair, she found her traitorous friend had fled, taking everything Sivir owned with her.
Sivir swore she would never allow herself to be betrayed again. Determined to learn to defend herself, she joined a band of sellswords led by the legendary Iha Ziharo, serving as a weapon carrier, navigator, and dogsbody for the belligerent mercenaries.
For years, Sivir slept with a dagger tucked under her blanket. She placed no trust in Ziharo’s warriors, knowing their only loyalty was to coin, but she strived to learn all she could. Sivir trained to fight, practicing with staunch determination and sparring against the younger sellswords daily.
Sivir’s unwavering dedication and swift-growing skill caught the eye of Iha Ziharo herself, who took Sivir under her wing - an honor few received. Over the years, Sivir became a formidable warrior, and as Iha’s sergeant, she fought against numerous armies, raiders and warring tribes. When the wars ended and the mercenaries struggled to find paying work, Sivir led expeditions into the ruins in search of Shurima’s lost treasures.
Eventually, Sivir tired of living in Ziharo’s shadow. The domineering leader took the greatest share of the gold, and all the glory - though it was Sivir’s knowledge of Shuriman tombs that brought them much of their wealth. Worse, Ziharo refused to fight for warlords whose reputations for cruelty were at odds with her martial code of honor. But to Sivir, gold was gold, no matter how bloody the hands that paid it - morals played no part in the transaction.
Many of the mercenaries agreed with Sivir and plotted with her to replace Ziharo as leader. The night before their coup, Ziharo learned of the plan. Outraged, she struck first, planning to turn her blade on her former student as she slept. Sivir had expected such an attack, and defeated Ziharo in a vicious knife brawl. Nevertheless, she was surprised to find she couldn’t kill her former mentor, remembering how Ziharo had taken her in when she was no more than a bitter girl with nothing to her name. Instead, she left Ziharo alone in the desert with a half-filled waterskin, a single coin and a hollow offer of good luck.
Sivir’s warband quickly earned a fearsome reputation as warriors of renown and explorers who could find relics that had passed into legend. Desert barons, wealthy merchants and collectors of the arcane commissioned Sivir to fight their wars or recover rare, hidden treasures. Explorers willingly paid Sivir’s high price for her skill in traversing dangerous territories and navigating the ancient ruins of Shurima. Ruling chieftains hired her company to defend their lands against raiding Noxians, while warlords procured their services early in their campaigns to ensure a swift victory.
In the Year of a Thousand Storms, the lord of an ancient Shuriman city known as Nashramae hired Sivir to seek a unique cross-shaped blade he claimed was a lost heirloom. He sent his personal guards along with her to guarantee its retrieval, and after a search that lasted many months, Sivir finally located the weapon. She pried it from the sarcophagus of a long-forgotten hero buried beneath tons of collapsed rubble with a strange sense that her entire life had been leading up to this moment. The weapon shone with gold and emeralds, and though it was ancient, its edge was as sharp as if it had been forged that day.
Sivir was transfixed by the crossblade, feeling as if it had been waiting for her. When the captain of the Nashramae guard demanded they return to their lord with his prize, Sivir knew she could never give it up. Sivir threw the crossblade in a curved arc, and marveled as it decapitated not only the captain, but the three men behind him before returning to her hand. Never had a weapon felt so natural in her grip, so powerful to throw. She fought her way from the tomb to emerge triumphant with the Lord of Nashramae’s men dead behind her.
Tales of Sivir’s exploits and ferocity in battle were already well-known within Shurima, but as her legend grew, her reputation spread beyond even the desert lands. In Noxus, stories of her deeds reached the ears of Cassiopeia, an ambitious noblewoman who desired a relic she believed was hidden in the heart of the desert. Cassiopeia had no shortage of coin, and hired Sivir as her guide to plunder the depths of the long lost capital of Shurima.
Though she instinctively distrusted Cassiopeia, Sivir was not about to dismiss such a profitable expedition. As they plunged deeper into the twisting catacombs of the buried city, many of Sivir’s mercenaries were killed by a slew of deadly traps, but Cassiopeia refused to turn back. After days of endless descent into darkness, Sivir and Cassiopeia finally reached a great bas-relief depicting ancient emperors and Ascended warriors with bestial heads. Most of the buried structures they had seen were shattered from millennia spent beneath the sands, but this wall was uncannily intact. Sivir felt her blood stir as she gazed at the carvings, mesmerized by a creeping sense of recognition. In that moment of inattention, her fate was sealed.
Taking advantage of Sivir’s distraction, Cassiopeia stepped in close and rammed a blade through her back. Sivir collapsed in agony, her lifeblood soaking into the sand. Cassiopeia pried Sivir’s crossblade from her grasp as her senses dimmed like a guttering candle. As warmth faded from her body, death closed in.
But fate was not yet done with Sivir. As her lifeblood drained, her ancestor, the long-dead emperor Azir, was resurrected by the echoes of royalty within her blood. He carried her body to the Oasis of the Dawn, a sacred pool once brimming with healing waters. Bone-dry for thousands of years, it now overflowed with crystal water at Azir’s presence. The healing waters enveloped Sivir’s body, miraculously undoing the fatal wound dealt to her by Cassiopeia.
With a labored gasp, Sivir opened her eyes, dazed and uncomprehending, as if dragged from a dream. A vaguely familiar face looked down at her with kindness, and Sivir blinked, unsure if she was alive or dead. All around her, spirals of dust whirled hundreds of feet in the air forming towering palaces, ornate temples, and expansive plazas. The ancient city of Shurima rose from its sandy grave in all its glory and splendor, crowned by an enormous golden disc shining brighter than the noonday sun. With Azir’s return, the ancient city was restored to its former majesty.
Sivir had grown up hearing tales of the legendary Ascended, but thought only children and fools believed in such fantasy. Surrounded by a city that, stone by stone, restored itself from nothing, and confronted by a long-dead Emperor who spoke of his enduring bloodline and vision of a reborn kingdom, Sivir was shaken to her core. Everything she had ever believed in was cast into doubt.
With his words still ringing in her ears, she retreated to her life as a mercenary, taking solace in the everyday realities of fighting for coin. She struggled to accept she might be the heir to a forgotten empire, and tried to put such thoughts out of her mind. Even if everything Azir said were true, she was sure no one could unite the disparate tribes of Shurima. The most powerful warlords could command small territories for a time with enough gold and warriors, but the land would never rally beneath a single banner, let alone bow to one man - even if he truly was an ancient emperor.
As Azir strives to reestablish his once-mighty empire, Sivir is tormented by increasing doubts as to whether she can fully return to her former life. Looming forces encroach upon her world, and for better or worse, fate has given her a second chance at life.
Now she must choose her path, and forge a new legacy.
Sivir's throat felt like it was coated in a layer of broken glass. The cracked flesh of her lips burned. Her eyes refused to focus. I've given them more than enough time to move on.
She leaned around the edge of the boulder. The caravan was still at the spring and showing no signs of moving on.
Why did they have to be Kthaons? Of the many, many tribes that want her dead, the Kthaons stood out in their persistence.
Sivir scanned the tribesmen again, looking for any sign the caravan might climb out of the old riverbed and continue its journey. She rolled her shoulders trying to judge if her muscles were up to fighting a half-dozen men. She'd have to take them by surprise to stand a chance.
That prissy Noxian got the drop on me...
Sivir shook her head, trying to clear her mind. Now wasn't the time for those thoughts. I'm becoming scattered from the lack of water. Why didn't I bring more water?
The city had been bursting with it. Huge streams poured from statues, all at the command of an Ancient. He healed my wound and saved my life. Then he returned to rebuilding the temples around him, calling out strange words in an old dialect she could barely make sense of. Talking to himself in a dead city filled only with sand. I had to get out before that sorcerer decided to sink it all back beneath the dust – or that I owed him.
Swallowing brought fresh agony to Sivir's throat. She looked at the spring again, a simple puddle of brown water in the center of the caravan.
I've given them a day, she reasoned. I will die, or they will die. For a few drops of water or a few slivers of gold. That is the way of the desert.
Sprinting toward the first guard, she readied her crossblade. Would there be enough time to reach him before he turned back around? She counted the distance. Fourteen strides. Twelve. Ten. He can't make a sound. Two strides. She jumped. Her blade sank completely through his neck, down into his shoulder.
Blood erupted as she crashed down on him. Her momentum drove them behind the line of rocks on which he'd been standing. Sivir grabbed his arms. He struggled against her, refusing to accept he was already dead. The guard's blood drenched Sivir as he took a final gurgling breath. This man didn't need to die.
Sivir thought again of Cassiopeia’s blade. That Noxian bitch sunk a blade in my back. I died. That should mean something.
A distant rumble sounded. Horses? A sandwall collapsing? There wasn't time to wonder what it meant. Sivir crawled across the hard stones. It won't take the rest of the caravan long to notice the guard's absence. The next target was moving high along the ridge line. She needed to hit him before he walked away from the ledge. The shot has to be perfect. She threw the crossblade.
It hit the second guard, cutting him in half. The flying blade arced upward, but as it reached its apex, it slowed before reversing its direction. As it flew back toward her, it clipped the neck of the third man. There wouldn't be time for another throw now – the blade completed its arc, flying down toward the center of the water. She only had to reach it in time. The maneuver was an old standby. She would catch the weapon and kill the three remaining men in a single, spinning summersault.
But as she ran, her feet became heavy, and it seemed impossible to draw enough air into her pained lungs. Thirty strides. She had to make the distance before the second man's body hit the ground. Twenty strides. The muscles in her legs cramped, refusing to obey her commands. Fifteen strides. She found herself sliding, stumbling. No. Not yet.
Then, sooner than she had expected, the second man's body completed its fall and impacted the rocks. The sound was impossible to miss.
One mistake was enough. The Kthaons were a desert people. The remaining guards had weapons drawn before she took another step.
Her crossblade hit the water between the men and her. Five strides in front of them. Ten strides from her.
I could make it. Every reflex in Sivir's body willed her forward. Instead, she slid to a halt, nearly falling forward.
Failing to bring enough water. Waiting too long to attack. Misjudging distances. I don't make these mistakes. Why? Some other part of Sivir's mind answered. She remembered the moment after Cassiopeia’s dagger had pierced her back – she couldn't feel the blade itself. Instead, she felt a sudden, unexpected weight that seemed to steal her breath and crush her lungs.
'I killed three of you before you heard me,' Sivir coughed.
'You don't have a weapon,' the largest of the Kthaons said.
'Only because I didn't want your blood in the water,' she lied.
The three remaining men exchanged glances. They've recognized me.
'A year ago, I killed your chieftain and two dozen of your finest for a bag of thin gold. It was a cheap price for their lives.' She met the three men's eyes. They were spreading out from the water, attempting to flank her.
'The gold I earned from killing your chieftain and kinsmen?' she asked. 'I gambled it away in a single evening.'
'We will avenge them and your insult,' the largest man responded.
'I shouldn't have killed them,' she said, 'not for that gold. Don't make me kill you for a few cups of water.'
The Kthaons’ leader nervously adjusted the grip on his weapon.
'I'm telling you I can make it to the blade before you can act,' Sivir explained. 'And if I run for my blade. You will die.' She indicated the foul brown water. 'Your lives are worth more than that.'
'Then we will die with honor,' the largest man decided, though his fellows seemed less certain.
'Did I need that weapon to kill the twenty men you want to avenge?' Sivir warned. 'You are too few.'
The three men hesitated. They knew Sivir's reputation. The other two pulled the largest man away, before backing to their mounts.
Sivir edged toward the water.
'We will return with our tribesmen for vengeance.'
'Lots of people have tried that,' she said. 'Never worked out for them.'
Sivir rolled her swollen tongue against the top of her mouth, desperate for relief. Every part of her wanted to kneel down to the water and drink. I have to wait until they cross the far dune.
As the men climbed into their saddles and rode away, the strange rumbling sounded again. It was loud and growing louder. It’s not horses or shifting sands. Sivir turned to its source and watched as a three foot wall of blue water rushed down the ancient riverbed. The water from the city.
The moment before the water hit Sivir, she felt the rush of cold, damp air in front of the flood. It shocked her like an unexpected kiss.
The first wave nearly took out her knees. The impact stung with cold, but as it enveloped her waist and legs, it became soothingly cool. Sivir laid in the water, letting it wash over her. She could feel the painful grit of the desert washing away as her hair floated weightless and free.
I was dead. I must make that mean something.