Ionia’s Fight for Freedom
Auras Lam reporting from The Institute of WarLeague battle of the year. The city-state of Noxus, having enjoyed the spoils of Ionian soil for the last 7 years, has offered Ionia the chance to re-claim their land.
The stakes have never been higher. With the Noxian occupation, the inhabitants of the three wealthiest provinces of Ionia have been forced to settle into the Noxian way of life, however grudgingly so. Ionia has excluded representatives from these captured provinces from the Convergence of Elders as a means to prevent political corruption. However, by agreeing to the match as a means to reclaim their land, Ionia's government must allow the inclusion of proper representatives from the provinces of Galrin, Navori, and Shon-Xan in the case of a loss. Should Noxians be appointed as the representatives, the Ionian government will be vulnerable to undesirable influence.
Working in conjunction with the city-states, the League sought out summoners of the highest pedigree, some having been vocal during the Ionian protest. The Noxian team, represented by summoners Vorath, Edwy, Roku, Poisonidon, and Friend, have issued the following statement:
"Summoners, citizens, champions of the League. We gather here this day to adjudicate, by trial of arms, the Noxian expansion into the fertile Ionian provinces. It must not be that our hearts burgeon with treacherous emotion in these trying times. Rather, we must maintain a steely eye, an even demeanor, and argue the case with cool logic, and colder blades. Let not the wailings of the Ionian tenderhearts influence you overly - Noxus has claimed these lands by lawful conquest on the Fields of Justice once, and all Runeterra shall stand witness as we do so again!"
Vehemently awaiting the chance to liberate Ionia once and for all, the Ionian summoners Poruku, NeoIllusions, Eclipse, Frozt, and Guardsman Bob issued the following reply:
"We're determined to win, and we have our most advanced strategies prepared; losing is not an option. We will show them the power of Ionia, and we will have freedom as our reward. All of those who have shown support will not be let down. We have never stopped believing that the citizens of southern Ionia should have the freedom to live as they desire, without the heavy-handed oppression of another weighing down upon them. Without a doubt, balance shall be restored."
Regarding the match, the buzz heard echoing throughout Valoran appears heavily slanted in Noxus' favor, stirring up unsettlingly familiar feelings of Noxian machinations behind the scenes. However, since the original "Trial for the Isle" match 7 years ago, Ionia has seen a great influx of champions to the League. Most notably, the Ionian Captain of the Guard, Irelia, and several members of the widely respected Kinkou clan are now in the champion lineup for the match. It took the painful loss of their southern provinces to bring the Kinkou into the League, as the Order had been controversially opposed to the use of force when the original battle occurred. Now, it seems, they are making good on their fervent dedication to the preservation of balance in Ionia, even if it means charging into the front lines of battle.
The summoners representing the winning city-states will be honored with a supervised visit to the Arcanum Vault, located underneath the Institute of War. They will be the first city-state affiliated summoners to be allowed access to the Vault. They will be presented with two items and granted the privilege to select one to be added to shop shelves on the Fields of Justice. The item will be named in honor of the victor.
The two items that the League has selected are a pair of boots and an item from the famed artificer Doran's collection. Both items grant unique abilities compared to the existing boots and Doran's items currently available. The item selected for sale will be dedicated in the winning city-state's honor.
Be sure to tune in this Friday - 10 December, 20 CLE - in order to witness this momentous occasion. The League has made special arrangements to transmit a live visiopathic feed of the match, so be sure to cozy up with your fellow statesmen in support of your favored team!
General Du Couteau Vanishes
Richor Ebony reporting from Noxus
One of Noxus' finest children, the celebrated General Du Couteau, vanished this past week under the most peculiar of circumstances. Last seen slipping away from his entourage during a trip to the famed marketplace of the Ivory Ward—the oldest and most opulent of Noxus' historic districts—the General never returned to collect his coterie.
When interviewed, the General's retainers said that he appeared extremely agitated prior to his disappearance, having been observed on multiple occasions checking his pocket watch at frequent, neurotic intervals. While we can only speculate on what grave errand compelled Du Couteau to proceed unguarded into the city, the increasing length of his absence does not bode well for a safe return. His absence has been especially hard on his family, as the General's daughter Katarina, the famed Sinister Blade, has been unable to leave the Institute of War to tend to familial affairs.
With Du Couteau's whereabouts unknown, his seat on the Noxian High Command stood vacant. As a result, General Boram Darkwill came under pressure from his cabinet to fill this unoccupied seat on the advisory council. He did so today at a private ceremony held deep within his inner sanctum at Darkbourne Hold, surprising no one when he selected League Champion and Master Tactician Jericho Swain, one of his Lieutenant Generals, to succeed the late General Du Couteau.
In a brief speech punctuating the ceremony, General Darkwill made the following comment to his latest protégé: "It is long overdue that we recognize your many accomplishments, your cunning, and, above all, your unwavering loyalty to the Empire and to the High Command."
Perhaps just as curious as the circumstances of his promotion was Swain's choice of companionship for the evening, which caused quite a stir at the proceedings. On his arm all night was none other than the infamous (and notoriously reclusive) Emilia LeBlanc, who had not appeared in public for decades. Despite being roughly the same age as General Darkwill himself, she appeared as youthful and vibrant as ever. The years have been far kinder to her than to her hardened associate; a fact that has only contributed to continued speculation regarding the circumstances of her longevity.
This disappearance is not the first tragedy to haunt the Du Couteau clan in recent memory. Earlier in the year, Cassiopeia, Du Couteau's youngest daughter and former jewel of the Noxian court, fell grievously ill following a short-lived romance with an envoy from Freljord. She has since shut herself up in her chambers, seemingly never to return to the public eye. While her current condition is unknown, the mortality rate of servants in the Du Couteau household has reached an all-time high, sparking panic-stricken rumors of contagion. It has been said her father's absence has thrown the household into uproar, and that the distraught Cassiopeia's fury can be heard echoing through the Du Couteau estate at all hours.
While General Swain's official promotion was executed in haste, the High Command intends that he receive all the honors and recognition that he is due. A proper celebration with all the typical military pageantry is being scheduled for the coming week. It is likely to be a great spectacle given the celebrity afforded to Swain by his status as a champion of the League of Legends, and the city's major tourist attractions are preparing for a significant increase in traffic during this time. Honor and glory to General Jericho Swain of Noxus, newest member of the High Command!
Giant Rats Invade Southern Ionia
Henril Dreving reporting from Ionia
Singed was summoned to the Navori Province today to take charge in the eradication of an unexpected giant rat infestation. The Mad Chemist was top of mind after his deft handling of a lizard population surge outside the Institute of War last spring.
His arrival comes following the rodent invasion of a high-profile officers' banquet celebrating the promotion of Chancellor Malek Hawkmoon's son, Ameer, to the rank of Commander in the Noxian fleet. According to witnesses, screams interrupted the Military Anthem when child-sized rats hopped onto tables, knocked over glassware, and pilfered sides of meat while ignoring the best efforts of broom-wielding servants. Immediately afterwards, several officers were overheard demanding immediate action while carrying unconscious wives and husbands away from the scene.
It is believed that the infestation began after several Zaunite armament shipments arrived last month. Local harbor workers first noticed the rats scurrying ashore on mooring lines that tied the boats to the docks. Before the banquet incident occurred, reports concerning sightings of people carried off by swarms of rats and of entire food-storages being found empty have largely been dismissed as rumors by the Noxian High Command. Local security has noted a level of coordination and intelligence behind these occurrences that suggests the presence of a mastermind overseeing the infestation.
Chancellor Hawkmoon commented earlier this week: "Zaun has been our trusted ally for years and I'm convinced they would do nothing to compromise that relationship. However, it's my firm belief that, if the rats did come from Zaun ships, there is likely only one creature that might have insight into the matter. We will be asking Zaun authorities to investigate further. As for the infestation itself, Singed has proven that he is adept at exterminating vermin. This will be dealt with."
With the accelerating expansion of urban city centers, demand has grown for exterminators who pack increasingly caustic and dangerous chemicals. Outside of his participation in the League of Legends, Singed has built a business out of handling the direst infestations. However, there are unconfirmed reports that side effects of the Master Chemist's work are more devastating than the infestations themselves. Whispers of entire houses sinking into acidic pools and deadly gas clouds floating down city streets have been only the most benign of the rumors.
Soraka, the Starchild of Ionia, responded to Hawkmoon’s statement: "Noxus invades my beloved island, introduces unnatural pests, and then expects to solve this crisis with corrosive chemicals and destruction? We will not stand for this assault on our fragile land. The League of Legends must recognize this occupation for what it is—a clear disregard for life and beauty in the name of profit."
Singed made the following rebuttal: "The Starchild doesn't have to worry... much. Noxian citizens in Ionia will be perfectly safe from my improved rodenticide formulas. I have nothing to say about whether Zaun is or isn't involved with the infestation itself."
Slow Down Snowdown
L.B. Briskes commenting from The Institute of War
I have a personal message for all of you. I've written several columns alongside my crackling fireplace, warmed by the many one-sided conversations we've shared through my pen. Despite all the bitterness and sarcasm some have implied that I pepper into my writing, I would like to thank you in earnest for being that nameless, faceless person on the other side of the print. Without you, I would feel as though my words simply evaporate into the ether. My vocal disdain would be merely a hermit's grump. In particular, I would like to thank you for assisting me in winning a wager with a certain Mr. Farnsley that I could not bring myself to write an entire paragraph in "the holiday spirit" of the Time of Snowdown without any "undue sourness" like a good journalistic puppet.
Drat, he is sure to quibble about that last part.
Sentimental blather aside, we are fast approaching another holiday (yes, another) before my neighbor has seen fit to remove the shriveled, grinning pumpkin-turned-raisin which has withered on his doorstep since the Harrowing. Had I known earlier that he desired to decorate his entryway with rotting garbage, I'd have eagerly obliged from my own supply.
The Time of Snowdown is arguably the most significant Runeterran holiday since it is the only occasion wherein citizens of Valoran have historically agreed to put aside their petty differences for a short time. During the chaos of the Rune Wars, this was frequently the only time soldiers were given leave to return home. I've even heard a few stories of sworn enemies dining with each other during the break in hostilities. The food may have been generously spiced with arsenic or gunpowder, but good intentions sometimes come wrapped in melting or ticking packages.
So why is this so universally a time of peace and brotherhood?
As some have been keen to indicate, the Time of Snowdown heralds the coming of a new year. They submit that people all over the continent would celebrate the fact that, despite their other differences, they had mutually survived the past year. However, as a patron supporter of the human spirit, I tend to believe people would have happily slaughtered each other to welcome in the next year but for the devastating weather which wrought havoc on the population.
Valoran has always been home to unforgiving winters, but in the wake of the Rune Wars, the climate was in such a state that it was not uncommon for a particularly vicious blizzard to claim thousands of lives from a single city-state. Depending on your feelings about your neighbors, this may have made for a somewhat less festive occasion (or so I'm told). So families, since ancient times, would band together for fear of freezing or being gored by the errant falling icicle.
Now people simply band together to watch the Snowdown Showdown – the League event themed for the Time of Snowdown. Once all the panties have been un-knotted surrounding this "Noxus vs. Ionia" tiff, we are sure to see some special matches, runes, costumes and so forth, built to be absorbed by the public. Enjoy. For my part, I will celebrate by absorbing an equivalent amount of eggnog and looking forward to seeing paper snowflakes and rotting candy on my neighbor's doorstep until next summer.
The Mailbag of Justice
Senior Summoner Ralston Farnsley commenting from the Institute of War
The Journal of Justice staff has been running themselves ragged reporting on news, what with every major city-state of Valoran embroiled in one feud or another. However, one of our greatest joys in publishing every issue is reading the mail that comes in from you, our loyal readers.
"Can summoners become champions? And can champions become summoners when not fighting in the league? If so, what sanctions would have to be put in place to make this happen?" -- Boogeybeast
There are no restrictions against summoners becoming champions or vice versa. However, to fight on the Fields of Justice requires different capabilities – for champions, extreme physical and magical prowess; for summoners, unrelenting control of esoteric summoning magic in order to establish a complete symbiosis with a champion for the length of a given match. Only the most skilled mages and fighters on Runeterra are accepted into the League, and to achieve such skills at a competitive level requires an absolute dedication to one's craft.
While it would take a contender of exceptional merit to make the transition within the League, it would not be impossible. Given the quality of champion and summoner candidates joining the League lately, it certainly seems inevitable.
" Zilean's affliction with chrono-displasia and his struggle to find a cure is common knowledge by today's standards, but little has been said on his current status. Has he made any breakthroughs? Is he recruiting the help, say from Ryze or the revered inventor himself Heimerdinger? Since it's considered a disease would Dr. Mundo have any valid input on his case?" -- Summoner Survient
Chrono-displasia is unlike anything that has ever been seen on Runeterra, and the magicians in the Institute of War are probably the only ones with the knowledge and magical power necessary to find a cure, which was the reason Zilean initially came to the League of Legends. Zilean has been in constant consult with Ryze, and their latest attempt to cure chrono-displasia uses a form of magic similar to that used by summoners on the Fields of Justice. As Zilean is seized with visions from the exact point in time that Urtistan was destroyed, he shares his mind with Ryze, who examines the illusion for anomalies. So far, they have been able to pinpoint distinct pockets of strange energy. They have found that the most powerful and puzzling energy source emits a magical aura that gives off a waveform nearly identical to that of Zilean’s own mind. Beyond that, the Journal of Justice staff has no further knowledge, but with Ryze deep in research on the subject, the answer is sure to come soon.
"While summoning the champion " Olaf" during routine matches, this summoner has heard him mention his fondness of long beards and large belt buckles. Other champions seem to share this, such as Zilean, Gragas, and Gangplank; the latter of which obviously follows a similar trend as Olaf. Has the Journal of Justice witnessed any encounters between the champions?" -- Ionian Summoner, Logan "Morrowlife" Jacobs
Funny that you should ask this question, Morrowlife! Gragas recently invited the Journal of Justice staff down to the Lamplighter Inn in Noxus for a promotional event for his wildly popular brewery. After more rounds of Graggy Ice than would be proper to publish, our beloved bearded champions got into a heated argument about the intricacies of facial hair grooming. The disagreement erupted into a brawl that nearly leveled Noxus' Vexallian Square, only to be abated by the promise of a 'Beard Brawl Bowl' at a later date. Gragas has been petitioning the League to allow the fight on the Fields of Justice, with only bearded or mustached champions in the lineup. Although the League does not have a history of allowing personal grudge matches onto its Fields, perhaps it will make an exception for its highly regarded champions. I imagine that Noxus' commercial district would certainly appreciate staying intact for another decade.