Kindred, the Eternal Hunters
“Tell me again, little Lamb, which things are ours to take?”
“All things, dear Wolf.”
Separate, but never parted, Kindred represents the twin essences of death. Lamb’s bow offers a swift release from the mortal realm for those who accept their fate. Wolf hunts down those who run from their end, delivering violent finality within his crushing jaws. Though interpretations of Kindred’s nature vary across Runeterra, every mortal must choose the true face of their death.
Kindred is the white embrace of nothingness and the gnashing of teeth in the dark. Shepherd and the butcher, poet and the primitive, they are one and both. When caught on the edge of life, louder than any trumpeting horn, it is the hammering pulse at one’s throat that calls Kindred to their hunt. Stand and greet Lamb’s silvered bow and her arrows will lay you down swiftly. If you refuse her, Wolf will join you for his merry hunt, where every chase runs to its brutal end.
For as long as its people have known death, Kindred has stalked Valoran. When the final moment comes, it is said a true Demacian will turn to Lamb, taking the arrow, while through the shadowed streets of Noxus, Wolf leads the hunt. In the snows of the Freljord, before going off to fight, some warbands “kiss the Wolf,” vowing to honor his chase with the blood of their enemies. After each Harrowing, the town of Bilgewater gathers to celebrate its survivors and honor those granted a true death by Lamb and Wolf.
Denying Kindred is to deny the natural order of things. There are but a wretched few who have eluded these hunters. This perverse escape is no sanctuary, for it only holds a waking nightmare. Kindred waits for those locked in the undeath of the Shadow Isles, for they know all will eventually fall to Lamb’s bow or Wolf’s teeth.
The earliest dated appearance of the eternal hunters is from a pair of ancient masks, carved by unknown hands into the gravesites of people long-forgotten. But to this day, Lamb and Wolf remain together, and they are always Kindred.
Forest for the Trees
The battle spilled over like a feast before them. Such delicious life—so many to end, so many to hunt! Wolf paced in the snow while Lamb danced lithely from sword edge to spear tip, the red-blooded butchery never staining her pale coat.
“There is courage and pain here, Wolf. Many will gladly meet their end.” She drew up her bow and let loose an arc of swift finality.
The last breath of a soldier came with a ragged consent as his shield gave way to a heavy axe. Stuck in his heart was a single white arrow, shimmering with ethereal brilliance.
“Courage bores me,” the great black wolf grumbled as he tracked through the snow. “I am hungry and eager to chase.”
“Patience,” she murmured in his shaggy ear. As soon as the words left her, Wolf’s shoulders tensed and his body dropped low to the ground.
“I smell fear,” he said, trembling with excitement.
Across the muddied field of snow, a squire—too young for battle, but with blade in hand, nonetheless—saw that Kindred had marked all in the valley.
“I want the tender-thing. Does it see us, Lamb?”
“Yes, but it must choose. Feed the Wolf, or embrace me.”
The battle turned its steel toward the squire. He now stared at the roiling tide of bravery and desperation coming for him. This would be his last dawn. In that instant, the boy made his choice. He would not go willingly. Until his last breath, he would run.
Wolf snapped in the air and rolled his face in the snow like a new pup.
“Yes, dear Wolf.” Lamb’s voice echoed like a string of pearly bells. “Begin your hunt.”
With that, Wolf bounded across the field after the youth, a howl thundering through the valley. His shadowed body swept over the remains of the newly dead and their useless, shattered weapons.
The squire turned and ran for the woods until thick black trunks passed in a blur. He pressed on, the frozen air burning his lungs. He looked once more for his hunter, but could see nothing but the darkening trees. The shadows closed tightly around him and he suddenly realized there was no escape. It was the black body of Wolf that was everywhere at once. The chase was at its end. Wolf buried his sharp teeth in the squire’s neck, tearing out ribbons of vibrant life.
Wolf reveled in the boy’s scream and crunching bones. Lamb, who had trailed behind, laughed to see such sport. Wolf turned and asked, in a voice more growl than speech, “Is this music, Lamb?”
“It is to you,” she answered.
“Again,” Wolf licked the last drop of the youth’s life from his canine jaws. “I want to chase again, little Lamb.”
“There are always more,” she whispered. “Until the day there is only Kindred.”
“And then will you run from me?”
Lamb turned back to the battle. “I would never run from you, dear Wolf.”