“Shurima was once the glory of Runeterra. I will make it so again.”
Azir was a mortal emperor of Shurima in a far distant age, a proud man who stood at the cusp of immortality. His hubris saw him betrayed and murdered at the moment of his greatest triumph, but now, millennia later, he has been reborn as an Ascended being of immense power. With his buried city risen from the sand, Azir seeks to restore Shurima to its former glory.
Thousands of years ago, the Shuriman empire was a sprawling realm of vassal states conquered by powerful armies led by all but invincible warriors known as the Ascended. Ruled by an ambitious and power hungry emperor, Shurima was the greatest realm of its day; a fertile land blessed by the power of the sun that shone from a great golden disc floating atop the temple at the heart of its capital.
The youngest and least-favored son of the emperor, Azir was never destined for greatness. With so many siblings ahead of him, he would never be emperor. Most likely he would take up a position in the priesthood or as governor of some backwater province. He was a slender, studious boy who spent more time perusing the texts collected in the Great Library of Nasus than training to fight under the stern tutelage of the Ascended hero, Renekton.
Amid the twisting shelves of scrolls, books and tablets, Azir met a young slave boy who visited the library almost every day in search of texts desired by his master. Slaves in Shurima were forbidden to take names, but as the two boys became friends, Azir broke that law and called his new friend Xerath, which means ‘one who shares’. He appointed Xerath – though he was careful never to endanger him by naming him publicly – as his personal slave and the two boys shared their love of history by learning all they could of Shurima’s past and its long legacy of Ascended heroes.
While traveling with his father, brothers and Renekton on the yearly tour of the empire, the royal caravan stopped at a well-known oasis for the night. Azir and Xerath stole away in the middle of the night to draw the stars and add their own celestial maps to those they had studied in the Great Library. While they drew the patterns of constellations, the royal caravan was attacked by a cabal of assassins sent by the emperor’s enemies. One of the assassins found the two boys out in the desert and was poised to cut Azir’s throat when Xerath intervened, throwing himself upon the assassin’s back. In the ensuing melee, Azir freed his dagger and plunged it into his attacker’s throat.