The Noxian Invasion is the big anchor point for a lot of the key champions that we know today from both Ionia and Noxus. This storyline has given birth to almost 1/4th of the main storyline and will explain the relationship and theme that a lot of the League of Legends characters hold. Because the invasion of Ionia was a fairly recent event, there are a lot of substories involved in this legend that is attributed to the rise of some of League of Legends most recognizable champions.
The Beginning of the Noxian Invasion
The Noxus that we know today is completely different from the one that invaded Ionia because the present-day version of the Empire does not seek to expand its territory but instead wants to liberate oppressed kingdoms from tyrannical rule. This is because Noxus was also an Empire ruled by a power-hungry Emperor who wanted to seize everything for himself – one of those being Ionia. It all starts with the Grand General of Noxus, Boram Darkwill.
- Notable Events: Darius and Draven were adopted by Noxus to be trained into soldiers.
Boram Darkwill, alongside his advisors, had planned to occupy Ionian territories and did so with Noxus’ largest armies and fleets. The army which is led by multiple of his trusted war generals and admirals marched onto Ionian shores, the first strategical capture point being the Fae’lor Fortress which was taken down after a very long siege. This marked the first defeat of the Ionian forces and strengthened the Noxian army’s resolve to capture the rest of the nation.
- Notable Events: Valmar and Kai fall into the Well inside the Temple of Pallas, resurrecting the Darkin – Varus.
Ionia was a peace-loving region and was mostly ununified, containing several tribes and villages that weren’t ruled by a single monarch or leader. The large army of Noxus easily overran individual temples, villages, and monasteries that were defended by several militant groups that banded together. However, the Noxian invasion had the resources and the unity to destroy even the most well-defended fortresses and eventually began seizing villages and enslaving the Ionian people.
- Notable Events:
- Irelia’s village is destroyed, she awakens her power.
- Udyr and Lee Sin desperately try to defend the Hirana Monstaries, Udyr awakens his true power
- Usan (Zed) begins to question the Kinkou Order’s passiveness in face of the Noxian Invasion.
- Swain is defeated by Irelia and is dishonorably discharged from the Noxian military.
- Yasuo kills his own brother after disobeying their order to remain passive in the war.
The most difficult opponents in Ionia were the Vastayan tribes but even they didn’t stand a chance against such a huge army. Some of the tribes would submit to the Noxian overlords and betray their fellow Ionians by slaughtering for the Empire. Noxus would solidify their chokehold over Ionia after 11 years since the initial invasion. Many of the Ionians rebelled against the Noxians and gave birth to some resistances that fought to repel Noxus from their shores.
The Passiveness of the Kinkou
The Kinkou Order is a grand organization which focused on the balance between the Physical and Spirit Realms within Ionia. The Kinkou believed that good and evil were relative concepts that they needed observe. Ionia did not have a central organization but the Kinkou was a large enough force that they could have stood against the might of the Noxian army. Unfortunately, the Kinkou were not interested in the war because they refused to acknowledge a side.
The Kinkou remained neutral throughout the war, watching as countless Ionians were slaughtered by the Noxian army. This passiveness led for multiple individuals outside and within the organization to question the purpose of their order. One of them being Usan (Zed), who defected from the Kinkou and began his own organization – the Shadow Order – which aimed to protect Ionia from external threat using any means they had. The Shadow Order saw Noxus, the Vastayans, and the Kinkous as their enemies.
After Zed gathered enough men to defect from the Kinkou Order, he delved into the shadow arts because he was willing to do anything to protect his country. He later returned to the Navori Temple to claim the Tear of Shadows for himself. There, he and his men killed countless acolytes and Kinkou masters (including Shen’s father, Master Kusho) to achieve his goal. It was only after that incident when the Shadow Order was acknowledged as a real organization.
The remnants of the Kinkou Order either fled or joined the Shadow Order. Shen, Kennen, and Akali remained to fill the void in leadership and Shen became the next head of the Kinkou and followed the path of balance like his predecessors. He did not seek revenge for his father for he believed that is not the way of the Kinkou order that he wished to rebuild. Akali also disagreed with Shen and left the order a little bit later before the Second Noxian Invasion.
The Navori Brotherhood
The Navori Brotherhood was an extremist nationalist group that aimed to militarize Ionia to prove to the world that they should be feared. Their primary goal was to fight for Ionia’s liberty against the Noxian Invaders and eliminate anyone who gets in their way. The Brotherhood was inspired by Irelia taking up arms against the Noxians but her merciful nature didn’t fit the ideologies of the Navori Brotherhood who believed that all Noxians deserved to die.
Unlike the Order of Shadows, the Navori Brotherhood did not choose their battles and believed that all Noxians should be slain if given the opportunity. The Order of Shadows later became enemies of the Navori Brotherhood after they felt insulted that the Order did not want to do things the way they did. The Brotherhood also despised the Kinkou Order who were extremely passive during the war and believed that they too should be punished for watching Ionians die.
Many Noxians believed that the Grand General had gone mad with power, after forcing the Noxian Invasion for so many years. Alongside Draven and many others, Jericho Swain started a rebellion to take down Boram Darkwill. Jericho Swain envisioned a Noxus that upheld equality of opportunity for all its citizens, defying the traditionalistic ideas that the previous Emperor had enforced onto its citizens.
After assassinating the Boram Darkwill, Darius was faced with a difficult position. He was expected to avenge the fallen Emperor but Swain’s vision for a new Noxus had convinced him to follow Swain. However, Swain did not want to rule Noxus as emperor and instead establish the Trifarix. The Trifarix was a council of three members: Darius representing Might, Swain representing Vision, and The Faceless representing Guile. Together, they would make decisions for the betterment of Noxus.
Jericho Swain and the rest of the Trifarix did not believe in the dominion of Ionia. After years of attempts to subjugate the Ionians, the new government ended the Noxian Invasion and recalled all of their forces back home, and liberate the Ionians from the cruelty of the previous Emperor. Finally, Ionia had been free from the clutches of its Noxian overlords and they could return to their lives.
After the Ionian Liberation
If only life could return to Ionia how it was before the Noxian Invasion but the scars left by the overlords had left a mark that would not recover for a long time. Ionia is not more divided, with extremist groups clashing against traditionalist groups. The Noxian citizens that wished to remain in Ionia were seen as hostile or a reminder of a more painful time for the Ionias citizens. The Vastayans’ treachery were not fully forgiven by the other tribes and instilled strife upon the land.
The Noxians that did not understand the unique relationship between Ionia and the spirits of the land had torn the land asunder, destroying a lot of heritage sites and reducing the life force of the land substantially. One notable destruction left by the Noxians was the devastation of the Spirit Blossoms, which prevented them from blooming during the Spirit Blossom Festival. Guardians would also awaken and destroy countless villages in the region.
Shen and Kennen began rebuilding the Kinkou Order by reestablishing the values that it upheld since ancient times. The Shadow Order continued to protect Ionia from behind the scenes and seeking to unlock the secrets left hidden by the Tears of Shadow artifact. The Navori Brotherhood continued to punish Noxians and Vastayans despite the end of the war to make an example out of the people that tried to dominate their lands. Irelia’s rebellion dissolved and she disappeared seeking other paths to walk.
A lot of the Ionians’ culture and the peace-loving nature of the people had been destroyed by the Noxian Invasion. The people believe that they should not be naive enough to believe that another group of people won’t try to invade them the same way that Noxus did to them. Because of this, more people train to become warriors that would defend their land if the time came where they would be needed once more to repel invaders that would land on their shores.
The Second Noxian Invasion
While the timeline is completely unknown, a 2nd Noxian invasion was hinted by the Awaken music video. A large invasion force alongside Sion battled with the Ionians on the field. The Ionians were once again led by Irelia alongside Yasuo, Kennen, Akali, and Karma helping her and the rest of the Ionian resistance fight against the invaders. The video did not show the outcome of the battle but it is widely believed that Noxus would lose that battle.
There is no indication that this invasion was done during the reign of the Trifarix. It might have been a loyalist army that followed Admiral Duqual who wanted to finish what they’ve started in Ionia during the Trifarix. Regardless, the Ionians were prepared for the invasion and battled against the invaders. The Ionian champions managed to deal heavy damage against the Noxian army before the open-ended conclusion of the video which hinted that they were no longer pushovers.
The Direction of Ionian & Noxian Lore
The lore regarding the invasion ends after the 2nd Noxian Invasion. The Runeterra storyline has not progressed beyond “The Present Day” in that universe, not until the League of Legends MMO would continue what the lore has started. It is unknown when the MMORPG would start when the game begins but it would be nice to see the game during the 1st Noxian Invasion and help the heroes of the region repel the invading forces.
Post-invasion relationships between Noxus and Ionia were simply described as “uneasy” since it was hinted that Noxians would attend Ionian festivals and gatherings without being met with total hostility. A lot of Noxians remained in Ionia to continue their lives but the lack of understanding in culture and mysticism seems to affect the way they live. This causes a lot of accidents to occur and we can only assume that a lot of conflict occurs between the citizens inside the land.
The Trifarix has shifted its focus from dominating innocent lands to liberating oppressed Kingdoms. Darius leads the Noxian army to conquer Kingdoms that are ruled by tyrants and unfit leaders that make the people suffer. Noxus offers people the choice to seek their own path by using their individual strength to achieve a greater goal. In essence, the Noxian Empire continues to expand but in a nobler sense that doesn’t involve senseless killings and enslavement.
When did Noxus invade Ionia?
The Noxian invasion began at 984 AN but the plans to do so started as early as 945 AN. The war ended at 989 AN, shortly after the Trifarix assassinated and ousted the Grand General Boram Darkwill and recalled Noxian troops from Ionia and liberated the country once and for all.