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Too many men and women depend on what their eyes tell them. Sight has always been the easiest sense to deprive and deceive. Tricksters and illusionists make their trade in bending one's sight to see what they want you to see, or to obscure what they do not. Magicians have long devoted study to an entire class of magic to confound and convolve the senses in a disorienting display of ethereal prowess. In battle, fighting styles have long been practiced and deployed meant to trick or goad the enemy into striking at nothing, only to leave himself open for attack the moment he does so.
Such is the same in war. Facts are shielded and distorted from the public view that are deemed 'unsatisfactory' or 'detrimental' to the current regime's influences. Deflated casualty reports, botched battles or skirmishes completely left off-record, demonization of the enemy combatants while simultaneously gorging your own public with flamboyant propaganda proudly displaying the might of your nation. Even soldiers are conveniently left unaware of the chance they have to make it back alive from a particular campaign. A euphoric sense of self-worth and pride never fails to intoxicate those men and women dragged off to a warzone, perpetuated by the best perjury that the upper eschlon can muster.
My name is Lichter Bronhilde. I am nearly fifty-two; I have no wife to share my secrets with, and have fathered no children to pass on my legacy. There are many powerful men and women backed with the full might of city states who would do anything in their power to keep these facts from reaching the surface, but I will not allow myself to simply grow old and drink myself into blissful stupor to shield myself from what is morally right and just. Demacians often forget the former exists.
The tale in which I wish to tell is true, despite how many times I have been called absolutely crazy by the few who have heard me speak of it. It is easier to label one mad and pretend you did not hear what he said, rather than contemplating one's words or even going to seek the truth yourself. I now know how former Senator Kassadin felt upon his arrival after many years in whichever godforsaken land he spoke of, bearing his urgent message only to be quietly stifled by backroom politics and blackmailed into service in the league. The Demacians often forget that the only thing they care about more than Justice is their own pervasive egos.
I ceased to be a Demacian when I made the trip to Zaun in search of work, but it would be equally correct to say I was never a Demacian to begin with. Demacians do not question; they do not challenge authority nor do they ponder the truth behind what their leaders say. Those that do not fit this mold are either killed, flee, or end up in positions of widespread power by employing their own crafty devices to rise up and take their own place controlling the populous. Though they champion the idea of Justice and Honor, it is clear from an outside perspective that they exist in a wide, spectacular polished marble cage.
However spiteful I may be towards my once-countrymen, this tale is not a mere rant about Demacian politics. The shroud I mean to lift is the heavy cloak draped over the Ionian Campaign carried out by Noxus and Zaun. Generalized detail on the campaign exists, as expected, but very few is known in great detail about the campaign even by the people whom took place or were affected by. Even the reason why Noxus felt it necessary to invade the far-away northern island remains guess-work. The 'official' statement dictates that Noxus was seeking to expand it's territory and influence beyond it's borders, but since when has that been a compelling reason to commit hundreds of thousands of troops to any given area? Rarely is it about the land itself than it is about the resources that land might provide.
So what was Noxus truly after? However convenient it may be to say "Noxus invaded Ionia to expand it's territory", that does not give any insight as to WHY Noxus wanted said territory in the first place. Such a simple fact has gone completely disregarded and un-noticed since the campaign's end, and stranger still not even the Ionian's themselves seem to know quite why Noxus came to their shores. Clouded by their asinine peaceable views, everyone beyond Ionia is a mindless brute bent on destruction and conquest; all the reason they feel a nation like Noxus would need.
Asking the troops that fought in the conflict yields the same problem. Soldiers do not need to know why they fight, only that they know how to fight and who. Everyone from the Noxian auxiliaries to their commanding officers; the specialized companies dealing in more advanced operations all the way to Noxus' own field generals seem completely oblivious to the deeper reasoning behind Ionia. On the surface it would seem only the Noxian High Command knows the real reason, and slightly possibly Zaun's city council assuming they wanted that reason first before helping Noxus on their conquest [Which is, frankly, laughable].
However, despite the overwhelming majority of uninformed or secretive individuals, there are a select few who know part or all of the truth. Usually they take the form of a current or former freelance soldiers that were employed by Zaun during the campaign to avoid sending their own personnel over, or the rare man or woman with enough steel in their nerves to get a look at the war for themselves. Many of these individuals are clinically insane by anyone's standards. Driven to madness or depression by the knowledge they hold, even fewer can give any sort of reliable statement about the war, let alone whether they are willing to share said information in the first place.
I fall into the former category. Sent over at the very beginning of the conflict with three other mercenaries under my 'command', we fought the entire duration of the campaign and even after it had ended. I had thought all three of them since disappeared until recently. Vogel remains at large, his brother Jax is apparently a part of the League now [though since heavily disfigured], and Diego [whom has also undergone heavy disfigurement]. As I understand it, Jax and Diego had a falling-out with each other after the war. They both wounded each other so heavily that residents of Zaun who witnessed the battle had to drag them to a doctor, and naturally doctors of Zaun will gladly trade payment for the opportunity to experiment on their patient. Diego hunted Jax for a time after until Jax joined the League, and now continues to stalk in the shadows after him, waiting until a time when he can get away with murder.
I do not personally know how much my comrades saw or noticed during the campaign. The war quickly degenerated into a primitive fight for survival if you were not an Ionian or a Noxian on your own side of the battlefield, leaving little leeway for taking time to notice what was not immediately obvious. Zaun could not have cared less if we returned and rarely if ever offered support; In fact it was in their best interest they did not for if we never returned, they would not have to pay us.
This is my, Lichter Bronhilde's, account of the Ionian conflict. This is what I witnessed with my own eyes.