[RIOT CREATIVE CONTEST 2017] [Narrative] [WIP] Fate Worse Than Death

Hey, I'm TypingTaco and this is the WIP thread for my second entry for the Riot Creative Contest 2017 in the Narrative Section.

The story I present here ("Fate Worse Than Death") is a bit different from my other submission ("Stellar Black Hole") and flows in a less structured manner. The story is largely a character piece, mostly focused on Viktor. The Kindred also make an appearance albeit not in their traditional forms. I believe they manifest differently for each person and figured that Viktor would see them very differently from others.

In fact, in the story he "sees" them and doesn't at the same time. He's not aware of what they truly are but he knows he should recognize them in some capacity, they feel peculiar to him. His gradual evolution into a machine is slowly purging who "he is" as a living being (like Illaoi's in-game quote to him suggests) and, therefore, his own perception of Death and the Kindred is something different. This wasn't necessarily something I explored too heavily especially given size constraints and how these champions don't tend to interact often.

I felt it'd be interesting to have a Viktor/Kindred (or Lamb more accurately, Wolf does not speak in this piece, he has better things to do than chat) interaction since Viktor is, in some ways, all about beating death. He wants to improve on life itself, he wants to help Zaun grow into new heights. He's League's poster child for Transhumanism and I felt that was a cool angle to tackle, especially when it directly pertains to Runeterra's resident embodiment of Death.

Now a few things to note, this piece was significantly more "rushed" than my first submission (hence the late thread and post) and, while I've worked on a few drafts over the last couple of days, I can't really say I've iterated on a particular direction for the final product. Mostly attempted to create an enjoyable dialogue that would transmit a few of the champions' key notions (and dialogue is certainly not my strong suit), the main goals being:

  •     Emphasize Viktor's Glorious Evolution and how Death is fundamentally the "enemy" in many ways, even more than emotions in many ways. Viktor wants to improve on mankind, not out of a desire for power or glory but out of genuine compassion and empathy. He helps people in the story and also explores a bit of his ideology to some extent to show this.
  •     Show that Lamb is genuinely curious about Viktor's work, the Kindred know (and hate) undead but how do they feel regarding people who "lose their humanity" in a much less magical, much less profane, manner? I didn't necessarily want to give an answer but I did want to play up the idea that Lamb knows a lot and is generally curious about what those silly humans are up to this time, especially when it impacts her job. At what point does evolving and using technology to improve one's life become "cheating death"?

There's also a few things that I should note on how I envisioned both characters. I imagine Viktor as being in a stage of his evolution where he's effectively superhuman in many regards. He's smarter than a typical human, his senses are improved and his body is stronger than that of an ordinary man. I wanted to give emphasis to this on having him feel humans trapped in the rubble or working while talking.

 Also related to Viktor, I pictured the Kindred as children in his view since that's how I imagine he feels about mankind to some extent: they're not done growing, they're still "children" in the grand scheme of things. Machines don't really "die" so what Viktor is seeing is a reflection on his own thought about humanity and mortality: they're imperfect notions that can be improved on and transcended, people can "grow" via the Glorious Evolution.

  I definitely think there's an interesting dialogue with great thematic explorations to be added in a Viktor/Kindred story and, while I'm not entirely content with how this piece turned out, this was my best shot (under the limitations and guidelines provided). Also, the Dredge explosion is a tie-in with Urgot's lore and Janna is mentioned at one point which I figured were nice nods to the rest of Zaunite history.

 I chose the explosion of the Dredge for the story's setting since it's a fairly recent catastrophe in Zaun and would naturally attract Viktor, an "important" Zaunite figure, and would give pretense for the Kindred to manifest there (like they did in a "Good Death" to meet Magga).

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