Ionia is a naturally beautiful island nation full of ancient trees, tall mountains and tranquil rivers. The entire landscape is covered with large patches of forests teeming with life.
There are currently thirteen known locations in Ionia.
- The Placidium, located in the heart of the city-state atop one of its largest nexuses.
- The Serene Garden, the garden in which the Great Tree grows and the main area for events, and the Shojin Monastery, the place of repentance, are found inside the Placidium.
- The Ionian capital city, located in the southwestern part of Ionia, northwest of Navori.
- The Lotus Garden, a sacred place mainly used as an area for meditation, is found in the Capital City.
- Navori, a region located in the southern Ionian mainland.
- Galrin, an island in southern-most Ionia.
- Shon-Xan, east of Navori.
- Hirana Monastery, of which monks are renowned for self-control, located somewhere in the northeast regions.
- The Kinkou Monastery, home to an ancient warrior-clan, on the northwestern island.
- The Temple of Pallas, somewhere in the southern regions.
- The Celestial Fortress, the floating castle of Syndra, currently somewhere above Ionia.
- The Astral Grove, Soraka's place of origin and previous home before her fall.
The island city-state of Ionia is a haven for beings who seek spiritual evolution and enlightenment. While populated primarily by humans, some yordles and beings of unique origin also make Ionia their home. There are many spiritual centers and schools of enlightenment in Ionia, each one working in harmony with one another to find the answers to life’s mystical questions. Why are we here? Who are we? What does life truly mean? Such pursuits leave little time for thoughts of imperialism; the Ionians are extremely peaceful by nature.
The Ionians dedicate their lives to pursuing spiritual enlightenment instead of conflict; what kind of enlightenment is up to the individual. The mystics of Ionia delve into many mysteries, pioneering the very depths of spirituality. While many of them devote themselves to the pursuit of peace and light, there are those who walk different paths. Some pursue the beauty of perpetual sorrow, some the excitement of darkness, some the vitality of the primal. Most Ionians find violence distasteful and try not to resort to using it when resolving issues. That does not mean, however, that they are helpless or unable to defend themselves.
Diplomacy is an art in Ionia, and Ionian diplomats are revered by its citizens. Ionian courts are known all across Valoran as paradigms of fairness and neutrality, so much so that Ionian adjudicators are some of the most sought-after by the League of Legends.
Ionia has one of the most unusual governmental structures in all of Runeterra. This is partially because of its neutral political stance, and also because people in Ionia have generally eschewed conflict in favor of their unending quest for enlightenment. The power and wisdom of those who are considered blessed or enlightened, such as Soraka, the Starchild, are taken into account with a great amount of respect.
The lack of military involvement has prevented Ionia from needing a single defined leader such as the other city-states have. Instead, Ionia is divided into provinces which are each represented by an Elder. To determine who becomes an Elder, a competition called "The Distinction" is held every five years. This competition has several trials which test its candidates across a wide array of skills. Schools in each region send their finest adepts – men and women who have trained their bodies and minds in the path to enlightenment – to represent them in the Distinction. The prevailing Elders from each region then gather at the Convergence of Elders thrice annually or whenever any Elder calls for an emergency assembly. Duchess Karma, the Enlightened One, resides among them. Amazingly, there has never been a recorded power struggle within this system, but this is generally thought to be due to the Trial of Humility, one of the most critical and revered tests in the Distinction.
The Ionians have created some of the most remarkable martial art forms on all of Runeterra – a manifestation of their pursuit of enlightenment.
- The Art of Hiten is a blade style developed by the famed swordsman Master Lito. His art was a highly-guarded secret, but it was said that swords would breathe in his grasp. When Master Lito died, his daughter Irelia, the Will of the Blades, inherited the Hiten style. Irelia has since taken the art form to new heights as she is capable of telekinetically commanding multiple blades. The weapons dance around her fluidly, effortlessly cutting down opponents within her vicinity.
- The Art of Wuju are principles founded on obtaining absolute spiritual awareness of one's self and one's enemy. Master Yi, the Wuju Bladesman, the keeper of this ancient art, descended from one of the few tribes dedicated to the preservation of Wuju. Due to the massacre of his kin, Master Yi is now one of the last Wuju practitioners. He has pledged to keep the Wuju style alive by teaching the art form to other individuals, such as Wukong, the Monkey King.
- The Hirana Monastery is home to many monks who have delved to the deepest depths of spirituality. Their adepts are some of the most devout proponents of personal harmony within one's self. Though the monks deplore violence, they are not defenseless as they are skilled enough to turn and redirect an opponent's strikes. In an act of selflessness, the monks took in Udyr, the Animal Spirit, and taught him how to harness and control his animalistic fury... most of the time.
- The Kinkou Order exists as an ancient clan originating in the Ionian Isles dedicated to the preservation of balance. Order, chaos, light, darkness – all things must exist in perfect harmony for such is the way of the universe. The Order employs a triumvirate of shadow warriors to uphold its causes in the world. The three shadow warriors Shen, Kennen, and Akali are each entrusted with one of three sacred duties: Watching the Stars, Coursing the Sun, and Pruning the Tree. The order, however, has since fallen before the new Order of the Shadow.
- The Order of the Shadow is a new clan that has dedicated themselves to learning the forbidden art of the shadows and killing anyone who refuses to learn. Their leader, Zed, the Master of the Shadows, was the first to learn the technique again after 200 years. By using the art of the shadows, they were able to bring down the ancient order of the Kinkou and have since used their lands as their own training grounds.
- The Shojin Monastery is home to peaceful monks that have long practiced the martial arts of inner healing. Through meditation the monks are capable of rejuvenating from injuries at a heightened rate. Some of these priests can also display acts of incredible willpower, such as suffering through agonizing amounts of pain for weeks without crying out. Lee Sin, the Blind Monk, resides within the monastery, having journeyed there years ago in hopes of obtaining atonement for past mistakes.
- The Pallas Temple Guardian was a solitary role given only to the most exceptional Ionian warriors. Serving as the temple's warden, the Guardian would keep watch over the Pit of Pallas, an ancient pit of corruption so vile that many feared it could envelop the island in darkness. Sadly, the reclusive position no longer exists. The last Guardian, Varus, the Arrow of Retribution, allowed himself to be consumed by the Pit's black flames, obtaining more power for his vengeance against Noxus.
Ionia is a place visually marked by numerous gardens and temples. Nature preserves and parks fill the Ionian countryside. A serene aesthetic dominates the landscape, even at its harbor and in its industrial sectors. Buildings are constructed with the goal of preserving the environment as much as possible. All of Ionia’s structures are ornately decorated, especially the temples. Magic is used liberally in the city, though only for peaceful purposes. Several of the city-states’s largest nexuses have been shaped into prominent temples and houses of communal contemplation.
One of Ionia’s most iconic structures is the Placidium, located in the heart of the city-state atop one of its largest nexuses. This building is home to the School of Transcendentalism, an organization dedicated to raising Runeterra’s populace to the greatest spiritual heights possible. The school is most noted for having the League champion Soraka as part of its governing board of regents. Beings from all across Runeterra flock to the school, seeking the secrets of spiritual enlightenment. Many of Ionia’s most successful diplomats have spent at least some time studying at the School of Transcendentalism.
Link to the League
Ionia is known for its reverence of balance, and this also extends to its politics. Ionia was not an original member of the League. It had, and continues to proclaim, a neutral stance in the political affairs of Valoran. However, this stance has not excluded them from conflict with the mainland. In recent times, the power-hungry city-state of Noxus turned its eye toward Ionia for the purposes of conquest. Noxus launched a series of campaigns to conquer the seemingly pacifistic Ionians. While the initial stages of its invasion were extremely successful, Ionia eventually rallied a defense that shocked the Noxian High Command. Simultaneously, Ionian leaders hastened the entry of Ionia into the League, preventing Noxus from further hostilities outside the Fields of Justice. Noxus was able to maintain an occupation in some southern Ionian territories, thanks to a key victory over Ionia in a League match that was fought to determine the fate of the conquered lands.
After seven years, Ionia and Noxus battled again in a rematch in which the Ionians obtained victory, reclaiming their southern provinces.
Ancient Darkin Influence
- Described by Ezreal
This Ionian woodblock was carved long before the war with Noxus. They're rare nowadays, but they're always more or less the same. They all depict things of beauty: landscapes, monks in meditation, the stars and the night sky, all of that "enlightenment" stuff they're always on about. All of them... except this one.
I've never seen anything like it. It's that same dark figure with that same blade - and the worst thing - I don't think those red stains are ink..."
Invasion of Noxus
When the League was first formed, Ionia initially refused to participate; the residents preferred to pursue personal enlightenment instead of waging constant battles with other city-states. The militaristic city-state of Noxus saw their decision as an opportunity. No longer in direct war with Demacia, Noxus had turned its expansionist eye towards conquering those who remained outside of the League's jurisdiction. Noxian spies began to trade aggressively with the Ionians, traveling the island to study its weaknesses and identify critical targets. When the plan was formed, the forces of Noxus struck.
The southern provinces of Ionia were the most open to trade and were also among the wealthiest. It was there that the Noxian forces landed under the cover of night. After being met with little resistance, Noxus’ forces formed their first beachheads and began their invasion. While the war was heavily in the favor of the Noxian forces, the Ionians would not surrender. In response to a growing Ionian resistance, Noxus brought in mercenaries from Zaun. The mad scientists implemented unspeakable tactics, unleashing their cruel creations on non-combatant civilians. These acts of terror were what finally brought forth the full anger of the Ionians.
Bringing all its might and martial traditions to bear, the island nation fought back fiercely. The turning point of the war came at the "Great Stand of the Placidium", where the Ionians forced the Noxians to stop their advance and give ground. Though they suffered high casualties, the Ionian warriors eventually brought the invaders to a stalemate, pushing them back to their power bases on the island. Despite their losses, the forces of Noxus remained in control of three of the wealthiest southern provinces – Galrin, Navori, and Shon-Xan.
The Last Guardian
Following the events of the last Noxian Invasion, Varus, the Pallas Temple Guardian, returned to his village to find that his home had been obliterated during the invasion. Varus swore vengeance against all Noxians but needed greater power to fulfill his new oath. With nothing left to lose, the former guardian turned to the Pit of Pallas to gain the requisite strength to carry out his vendetta.
The Pit's black flames consumed his body and transformed him into a creature now known as Varus, the Arrow of Retribution.
Trial for the IsleSeven years after the Noxian invasion began, the remaining Ionian Families, brought together by the Duchess Karma, had decided that there was only one recourse left. They petitioned to join the League of Legends in order to drive Noxus out once and for all. They made their intentions clear stating that they only joined the League in order to ensure Ionia's future security within the world. Their membership was granted and the match was set. The "Trial for the Isle" was perhaps one of the most famous matches of all time. Unfortunately for the Ionians, they lost, albeit amidst questionable circumstances. Some insist that Noxus’ victory came as the result of pre-match tampering.
The results of the match allowed Noxian forces to legitimately occupy the southern regions of Ionia. Native Ionians were treated as second-class citizens by the ruling Noxian elite. Soldiers, political dissidents, and anyone else who threatened the Noxians were interred into labor camps. Forces continued to plunder the wealth and natural resources of the island, sending the spoils back to Noxus. There was much external political pressure, particularly on the part of Demacia, for the invaders to leave. The Noxian High Command claimed they remain there to assist the island nation's future development, and that they would leave once Ionia had been modernized enough to economically compete in the world and protect itself from foreign threats.
The Shadows Released
An orphan, Zed was taken in and trained by a great ninja master. Only one other student appeared to be Zed's equal - the master's son, Shen. It seemed Zed could never win the favor of the master, as every match between the rivals ended in a draw. Frustrated and jealous, he sought an advantage. The young ninja ventured into a sealed part of the clan's temple, where he found an ornate, foreboding box. Sensing the dark knowledge within, Zed knew he should not open it, but he peered inside nonetheless. In an instant, shadows touched his mind, revealing techniques that had long been hidden. Now armed with a secret edge, he challenged Shen, and this time he defeated the master's son. He expected praise and recognition in his moment of victory, but somehow the master knew Zed had used forbidden ways, and banished him.
Humiliated, the young ninja wandered for years. His bitterness turned to ambition, and he began to train others in the style of the shadows. But he knew that without the box his style would never be perfect and thus he swore to return there one day and retrieve the box.
Protest of the Shojin MonkEight years remained before southern Ionia could challenge Noxus once again for their independence. However, protests in Ionia were on the rise, particularly due to the self-immolation of the Shojin monk, Lee Sin, within the Lotus Garden. These public outcries challenged the League’s authority. Ionians claimed that fifteen years was far too long a stay to grant to the invaders, and that Noxus had taken advantage of the newly-formed League when the ruling was made. Demands for an earlier rematch were made with Irelia, the Ionian Captain of the Guard, at the helm of the effort. Despite Noxian protests that such challenges border on illegality, Ionia gained much support in the court of public opinion. In a stunningly direct speech, Prince Jarvan IV, the Exemplar of Demacia, spoke out against the Noxian occupation. He stated that if the League was unwilling to remove the Noxians from the island nation, then he planned to personally visit Ionia himself.
Path to the RematchAs weeks passed Chancellor Malek Hawkmoon, the officer charged with overseeing the Noxian presence in Ionia, returned from an emergency conference in Noxus. Hawkmoon gave a stunning response to the protests across Valoran, stating that while the demands on the side of Ionia were unlawful, it was within Noxus' right to grant Ionia its rematch before the proper term had elapsed. Should Ionia desire to meet Noxus on the Fields of Justice again to determine the fate of southern provinces, then Noxus would accept the terms of a rematch. The Convergence of Elders called an assembly immediately following Hawkmoon's speech.
After the Elders' meeting had ended, Duchess Karma announced Ionia's acceptance of Noxus’ offer. The two city-states entered negotiations to solidify the stakes of the match. It was ultimately determined that if Ionia won, Noxus must withdraw its forces in full, and immediately halt any and all extraction of Ionian resources. However, should Noxus prevail, Ionia must completely surrender the southern provinces to the nation of Noxus, and furnish one Noxian designee with a seat amongst the Ionian Elders. This would give Noxus a voice and ear inside the government of Ionia. The League proceeded to approve ten champions for each side. These champions would later meet in a single battle to determine the fate of Ionia.
Aftermath of the RematchThe Ionia versus Noxus Rematch ended in a decisive victory for Ionia over Noxus, allowing the Ionians to reclaim their southern provinces. Noxian forces began withdrawing from those regions as the citizens of Galrin, Navori, and Shon-Xan erupted in celebration prior to their occupiers vacating completely. The regions had been cut off from the rest of Ionia for seven years and Ionians from all over the island descended upon the regions to share food, supplies, and support. Tearful reunions between long-separated families became a common sight throughout Ionia. Many citizens gathered in droves at the Lotus Gardens. They anxiously awaited the fate of Lee Sin, the burning monk from the Shojin Monastery, who incited the protest by setting himself aflame. It was only when the monk was greeted by his sister from the liberated province of Galrin that he allowed the flame to be extinguished. His brethren then hastened the monk’s blistered body swiftly back to the monastery for treatment.
The invasion, occupation, protest, and finally liberation in this long chapter of Ionia’s history had at last drawn to a close.
Noxian liberation celebrations
The Lotus Gardens/Ionia Capital City/Ionia
Nov 6th, 20 CLE
The wind blows softly throughout the Lotus Gardens of Ionia, its magically-lit lanterns swaying softly from side to side. Many people were gathered throughout the courtyard, with tables filled with traditional Ionian delicacies lining the walkways. People from all over Ionia, wearing traditional formal wear of their respective clans, and military personnel wearing celebratory uniform came for the festivities. Not often does such an honor occur, that one of their own is accepted as a champion in the League. This particular Garden however, was not often the site for such festivities.
Several prominent figures sat upon the center table. The Ionian champions, Master Yi and Soraka as well as other leadership figures such as Randuin- the leader of the Kashuld Clan, Shen- representing the Kinkou and even the Empress of Ionia, Karma herself.
Irelia stood up from her seat as the chatter quieted, "Thank you all for your support. I will do my best to honor you all as a champion in the name of Ionia. Our fight has not yet ended, but we must endure until our lands are liberated of our Noxian invaders. We must be strong and we must endure for the future of our people. I choose this location to remind you all of the resolve of our country. Let us follow in the path that our Shojin brother has blazed for us," she raised her glass in the direction of the burning Monk to the corner of the courtyard, "Balance in all things!"
The crowd cheered, the music began to play... and the festivities began!
The Festival of FireIonians from every province gathered beneath the flowered branches of the Great Tree in the Serene Gardens yesterday for the city-state’s annual Festival of Fire. An early summer tradition, this festival was a symbol of Ionian culture, celebrating the cleansing and rebirth of the spirit. Festivities began in the early morning as citizens poured into the Serene Gardens. Vendors set up shop along the garden’s edges, offering wares of traditional Ionian food, garb, and antique weaponry. Citizens mingled in the shade of the Great Tree and wrote their woes and worries on scrolls to be hung from the Tree’s branches.
During the night, Ionian citizens were treated to various musical and theatric performances pertaining to Ionian history or legend. The headlining performance featured League Champions Shen, the Eye of Twilight, and Akali, the Fist of Shadow, who performed The Tale of Reina, a legend in which an ancient Ionian warrior is hunted by an evil spirit. Akali took the part of Reina herself, dressed in formal Ionian red and white battle garb, and Shen played the spirit that plagued her, adorned with a fearsome mask. As the legend goes, Reina fled the spirit for years, yet it always found and tormented her. Finally, Reina donned her own mask to confront the spirit, but when she turned to face it, it never came again, frightened away by her strength.
When the sun rose in the morning and the Tree had become almost fully concealed behind scrolls, an Ionian summoner lit them briefly aflame. As the magic dissipated, the sun shone brilliantly through the branches of the Great Tree. Master Hana, an Ionian adjudicator, stated that this was the festival's greatest lesson: out of any darkness comes the grandest of light.
The Celestial FortressDuring her training, Syndra, the Dark Sovereign discovered that her magic had stopped evolving. She went to her master to demand an answer for this. He said that he sealed her magic in hopes that she would learn restraint and control. Enraged, she assaulted him and demanded that he lift the seal. Her master threatened her that if she does not learn, he would be forced to strip her of her magic completely. Syndra lifted her master instead and smashed him to the wall killing him and ultimately releasing her from the seal.
She refused to return to her village and so she turned the temple into her fortress and lifted it into the sky. She now plots her revenge against the Elders of Ionia.
The immortal Starchild, Soraka, was visited in her hidden grove by a man named Warwick and in his hands, the body of his late wife. Warwick begged her to restore his wife but her powers were not strong enough to raise the dead. Upon hearing this Warwick swore to find the fiends that murdered his wife.
Warwick came to the grove regularly, eventually establishing a friendly relationship with Soraka. One day, Warwick found out who killed his wife and he wanted vengeance. Soraka pleaded against the idea of revenge, but Warwick ignored her pleas. Soraka followed him to try and keep him out of harms way despite the warnings of the stars. She entered the mortal realm for the first time and ran after him. When she found him, Warwick was being attacked and she tried to heal his wounds but to no avail. She was forced to use her powers to attack and immediately became mortal. When she came to his side, Warwick stabbed her, but she sent him away with powerful magic and she tended to her wound. Without immortality and the star's guidance gone, she now lives among the mortals and seeks to bring an end to the Runeterra's suffering.
The Fall of the Kinkou Order
One day, Zed looked at his followers and saw that his students were now an army. He led them back to the temple to claim his prize. At the gates, he was surprised to find the old master waiting, receiving Zed and his disciples as if they were welcome guests. The old man laid his sword at Zed's feet, declaring that he had failed Zed as his master. By banishing his former student, the master had doomed Zed to the shadows, instead of leading him to the balanced path. The old man implored Zed to enter the temple, destroy the box, and lead his followers to balance. The dark ninja followed the master inside. Moments later, the assembled ninjas heard Zed cry out in pain. Mysteriously, he emerged unscathed, and threw the severed head of the master at Shen's feet. Screaming in rage, Zed commanded his followers to slaughter the master's students and seize the box.
That day, the old ninja order fell. Though many students died, some escaped thanks to Shen's heroic efforts. Now the temple is a dark training ground for the Order of Shadows. Zed rules as the Order's master, and his edict is simple: perfect one's technique, and kill all ninjas who refuse to embrace the shadows.
- Related Themes
|Ahri, the Nine-Tailed Fox||Birthplace; former white fox from Southern Ionia|
|Irelia, the Will of the Blades||Birthplace; Captain of the Guard|
|Karma, the Enlightened One||Birthplace; Spiritual leader and duchess of Ionia|
|Lee Sin, the Blind Monk||Birthplace; esteemed monk of the Shojin Monastery|
|Master Yi, the Wuju Bladesman||Birthplace; master of the Wuju style|
|Soraka, the Starchild||Residence; nomadic celestial healer|
|Varus, the Arrow of Retribution||Birthplace; former Guardian of the Pit of Pallas|
|Akali, the Fist of Shadow||Birthplace; Kinkou ninja|
|Kennen, the Heart of the Tempest||Residence; Kinkou ninja|
|Riven, the Exile||Former Noxian field commander|
|Shen, the Eye of Twilight||Birthplace; seeks to rebuild the Kinkou Order|
|Sona, Maven of the Strings||Probable birthplace; orphan|
|Singed, the Mad Chemist||Caused the death of numerous Ionian citizens|
|Syndra, the Dark Sovereign||Birthplace; seeks to destroy the Elders of Ionia|
|Udyr, the Spirit Walker||Vessel for four eternal spirits; defended Ionia during the Noxus invasion|
|Warwick, the Blood Hunter||Seeks to rip out Soraka's heart|
|Wukong, the Monkey King||Trained in the art of Wuju by Master Yi|
|Yasuo, the Unforgiven||Birthplace; seeks to find his Elder's real murderer|
|Zed, the Master of Shadows||Probable birthplace; Order of the Shadow leader|
|Places in Runeterra|
|Field of Justice|
|Continents and Dimensions|