In Ionia's majestic Lotus Gardens, the Shojin monk still burns in a silent protest against the Noxian occupation of southern Ionia. This tragic act has prompted demands from many Ionians to have all Noxians forcibly removed from their land. However, Ionian diplomats chose to focus on a different and new initiative this week.
They have asked that the League review its judgment on the Ionian occupation. They say that fifteen years is too long to grant the invading and plundering Noxian government. While there are officially still eight years before a match can be scheduled to appeal the results of the previous battle, the Ionians are demanding a rematch now.
At the head of this effort is Irelia, the Ionian Captain of the Guard. Irelia is credited as one of the leaders of the Ionian resistance during the Noxian invasion. Many Ionians believe that Noxus would have succeeded in their conquest if not for her efforts. She has since been hailed as a symbol of freedom for the Ionian people. In a recent press conference, she had this to say:
"Noxian propaganda has hidden the plight of the people. The damage we have suffered has been severe. The cruelty inflicted on the citizens of Ionia during this hostile invasion is unforgivable, and we endure the insult of occupation to this day. All the while, the League blindly turns away. It is time for those blind eyes to see. We have been wronged. We will not endure this pain for one second longer, much less eight more years."
Noxus claims that aggressions against Ionia have ended. There are diplomatic efforts that verify those claims. Regardless, Noxian forces still occupy the provinces of Galrin, Navori, and Shon-Xan in southern Ionia.
Chancellor Malek Hawkmoon of the Noxian High Command, the current overseer of Noxian forces in Ionia, made a statement discrediting Ionia's accusations. “Conflicts arise for many reasons. Our conflict with Ionia is no different. Those who
lose always try to gain sympathy when violence fails them. Ionia claims to be helpless victims; what, then, of the countless Noxian and Zaunite soldiers buried beneath Ionian soil? Ionia is trying to manipulate the emotions of the League. However, the justice of our presence in Ionia was decided by the League itself. It is legal, and according to the terms of our fair victory, set to last another eight years.”
Ionia has powerful support from outside its borders, however. In a stunningly direct speech, Jarvan IV, the crown prince of Demacia, spoke out against the occupation.
"Who among us believes these Noxian lies? Who among us doesn't know the truth? I'm tired of wading through the political double-talk. Noxus invaded Ionia as no more than thieves or bandits. They continue to operate as such, remaining neatly between the lines of the edicts of the League of Legends. Those who remain silent do so out of fear. I am not afraid. I will oppose villainy wherever I find it, without compromise. If the League is unwilling to remove the Noxian infestation, then I will visit Ionia myself."
A young inventor from Piltover previously reported missing for the last three months was found earlier this week in the jungles of Kumungu. Piltover officials mobilized all available rescue teams to recover the well-known 14-year-old prodigy of techmaturgy, after he disappeared in early June. He was discovered afflicted with a withering disease and close to death in the northern region of Kumungu by a Piltover Rescue Bot. The bot is a recent prototype created by famed inventor and League champion Heimerdinger, and it has been used recently as a support unit for the Bandle City Expeditionary Force in Piltover.
The rescue team transported the boy swiftly back to the city-state, and he was quarantined to prevent spreading the disease. The race is now on to save his life, with reports that Piltover's top medical staff has been attending to the boy's condition around the clock. A source within the Piltover Patrol described the boy's status as dire.
The source went on to state: “His body is ravaged by a strange disease. Even with the advanced state of [Piltover's] medical care, the disease is spreading too quickly for his young body to cope with."
His name is being withheld because he is a minor.
This incident is the latest in a rash of missing explorers reported from nearly every city-state in Valoran. Of the fifty-six rescue missions launched in response to these reports in the last year, only three have returned successful. In response to the mounting dangers, the League has increased security measures, focusing their efforts on restricting unnecessary travel through Mogron Pass. While League-sanctioned security garrisons have recently been reinforced in response to the assault last month by unidentified attackers, a security checkpoint is now in place to screen travelers and assess potential risks. The checkpoint is guarded by League members representing each city-state on a rotating shift.
Anticipating some discontent over the establishment of a security checkpoint, League political advisor Deacon Cavarieles issued a statement: “While travelers may consider this to be an unnecessary inconvenience, we feel that it is absolutely necessary to defend travelers from personal harm, as well as the citizens of Valoran from the threat of an epidemic. The checkpoint will remain in place until the League has reason to believe that the citizens of northern Valoran are properly observing safe travel habits and that lives are no longer being lost.”
Effective immediately, the new law requires that all travelers passing through the Great Barrier must present League–issued documentation to the guards at Mogron Pass. Travelers with valid reasons for crossing the barrier include, but are not limited to: explorers escorted by a League-approved member, scientific researchers and historians whose missions have been explicitly approved by the League, or trade merchants heading directly to Bandle City. Inquiries for purposes other than what is listed in the guidelines should be directed to the League Security Council. Any travelers attempting to cross without the proper authority will be denied without exception.
The Harrowing is, by far, the most relaxing Runeterran holiday. You may point out, “But L.B., you find people and their fickle traditions almost as odious as your obnoxious, sweater-clad neighbor; the one apparently afflicted by digestive dysfunction.” To you I say this: my neighbor, whose washroom practices cause the paint to peel on my side of the wall, could not, in his rankest moments, ever match the foulness with which I view people and society as a whole. He does try though.
Why, then, is this holiday the best?
Not only do masks grant me a welcome reprieve from your eager, grinning faces, but they also help me disguise my insistent loathing in some more appropriate semblance of neutrality. Suppressing a scowl as determined as mine (let alone plastering a smile over it) is an exhaustive effort.
On the Harrowing we commemorate a time when both creepies and crawlies are at their creepiest and crawliest, and the world falls to the mercy of forces from the great beyond. This superstition is no doubt prompted by the fact that, on this day, Valoran is blanketed in darkness as the moon eclipses the sun. Naturally, to ward off the impending evil, we adorn ourselves in “light” or “dark” garments and drink pumpkin-spiced spirits. It is a well-documented fact that ghosts and ghouls fear orange vegetables almost as much as they fear silly outfits.
Admittedly, the light/dark costume parties are far more tolerable than their costume-less counterparts. People of opposite genders and costume colors can skip past the first twenty minutes of introductory drivel – inevitably the moments most likely to spoil what could otherwise be a pleasant night of irresponsibility – and be matched arbitrarily by fortune.
Where did this tradition start, though?
The Harrowing has been a recorded day of celebration for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years. Fans of the Apocalypse claim that the world nearly ended in fire (or ice or kittens or what have you) when the moon eclipsed Valoran countless years ago. The historical texts which survived the Rune Wars only go so far, but they claim that costumes are worn either to support the forces of light/good or to confuse the forces of dark/evil. The many rituals which have cropped up surrounding the interactions of people dressed in opposing colors seem to be a more recent addition to the holiday, apparently symbolic of the reconciliation of some long-forgotten grudge.
Observance of the Harrowing differs greatly between the city-state-dwellers and the rural citizens of Valoran. In the city-states, most people gather to make merry and act foolish; in the country, some of the eldest sons still keep late watches, prepared to light signal fires to warn of impending danger.
Unfortunately, for all the hullabaloo there haven’t been any outbreaks of malevolent beings, no visits of nefarious apparitions, not so much as one documented creepy nor one captured crawlie. The world seems hopelessly saturated with people, and nothing has been sufficient to threaten that state. So, unburdened by worry, you may happily don your home-sewn Veigar cowl or your jury-rigged Heimer hairdo and take comfort in the fact that, if this day ever bore the portent of Armageddon, that time has long since past.
Wait, what’s that behind you?
After scouring the latest deliveries from the Mailbag of Justice, it seems that there is a great deal of curiosity surrounding champions who have answered the call from off world. Of equal interest were questions surrounding the actual implications to a champion of being slain and revived on the Field of Justice. Interesting questions, friends, and today you'll have your answers!
"So I understand how strong our magic is too control a champion, but one thing has bothered me since I became a summoner. Do we really kill the champions themselves over and over again?"- Eraganus
Constructing a Field of Justice is a truly remarkable feat, and the magic at play is beyond the comprehension of all but the most gifted of magicians. Once a battle begins, the Field of Justice becomes a kind of microcosm. Within this sphere of influence the champion and summoner exist as one shared mind.
This does not mean that the champion is not in mortal danger. Death severs the connection between summoner and host champion and is an extremely traumatic experience for both parties. After the summoner has recovered, they can reenter the battle arena by completing the summoning ritual again. At this point the champion is revived on the summoning platform, once again entering the fray at the risk of their own life. For this precise reason, champions and summoners are a rare breed.
"As we know, there are some champions that their land of origin is unknown -- for example: Taric and Nasus. Since my duties as a scholar direct so, and the head librarian gets on my nerves by his constant questioning, could either of them Taric or Nasus be so kind as to and tell we summoners a couple of things about their homeworld?"- Scholar Aribrar
An interesting question indeed, Aribrar. While I was unable to get either of these champions to comment directly on their home for this response, I am happy to share with you some of my own experiences with them.
Taric is usually quite open to queries regarding his world. Taric usually describes his home as a magnificent place where gems are coveted as sources of magic in the same way that we revere runes. As a word of warning, however, if you manage to find him sitting at the local tavern, be prepared for a long conversation and an equally long bar tab. You can expect a full explanation of the significance of each gem, which are his favorites, where they are found, etc. After that he'll usually launch into a longwinded tale about how he learned herbalism from his father before crusading off to defend the verdant jungles and forests of his homeland. For Taric, the preservation of the world of Runeterra is just as important.
Nasus, on the other hand, is far more tight-lipped about his land of origin. While it's known that he was once caretaker of a Great Library, all you'll get out of him are grumblings about how his brother Renekhton will never let go of their grudge regardless of how many worlds stand between them. Pair that with a few riddles about the cycle of life and death, and that's about you'll hear from the Curator of the Sands before he's brooding again.
If you spend as much time going from dock to dock as I do, you learn a bit about picking up on the local color. Not a lot escapes a man who's been a Captain for near 10 years, and the movers, shakers, and lads about town here in Valoran are no exception. Here're a few whispers I've picked up on about what a few of your favorites are up to when they're not fighting gallantly out there on the Field.
While the League may have put a stop to Noxian hostilities on Ionian soil, Katarina's still guvner on the high seas. Ever since their campaign ended, Noxus' very own Sinister Blade has been a mainstay down at Bilgewater's Fleet Street, poking her head into the pubs and taverns along the way in search of sailors down on their luck. An even share of the plunder sounds spot on to a lad on his last dram, even if it means a short drop and a sudden stop for anyone unfortunate enough to run afoul of an Ionian vessel during the rest of his seafaring career.
While the League's bound to land their mitts on anyone foolish enough to attack a vessel in protected waters, there's plenty of jink to be had for those intrepid enough to venture out into the open seas. Trouble is, out there you're on your own… and I know at least one little missy who's sharpening a dagger with your name on it, ready to take your hard earned Valors before they're spent. Lesson learned: never give a Noxian an excuse to hang onto a grudge, or you'll be keeping a weather eye on the horizon for the rest of your natural life.
Captain Gangplank may be barmy as a buzzard - having earned his reputation plundering hapless vessels, swilling grog, and hanging mutineers from the yardarm - but did you know that the old Captain loves to dance? Whilst I was haunting about one of my usual ports of call, by happenstance I managed to wrangle an invitation to the governor's ball. I thought for sure I'd be the only blighter from Bilgewater on the scene, but apparently there're a few chaps out there who can still put one over on a salty dog like myself.
There on the other side of the ballroom was none other than the Saltwater Scourge himself… except he's looking all proper and sharing a glass of sherry with a handsome damsel! Since it was the first time I’d seen himwhile I wasn't looking over the barrel of a gun at a man with powder burns in his beard, I thought it might be a good time to bury the hatchet over those 30 tons of rum he nipped from me last season. After I'd assured him there were no hard feelings, he shared with me a hint of seaman's wisdom, one captain to another: "There's nary a better way to get your ground legs under you than a trip round the dance floor with a buxom lady."
"I have heard very little of Aniva and her dealings since she came to Runterra. Where does she stand on the current happenings in the world and does she long for her home world?"- Adhemar
Anivia's sense of duty as an elemental protector has always outweighed any homesickness she feels. While she has often spoken longingly of her icy home, she seems to be equally at home in her nest high in the peaks of the Ironspike Mountains. Through her friendship with Ashe, Anivia's ties to the region of Freljord have grown stronger since Ashe’s marriage to Tryndamere and the subsequent formation of Freljord as a city-state. While Anivia still views herself as a defender of all of Runeterra, it would be surprising if the Cryophoenix did not show some attachment to her chosen homeland in future political disputes.