Swain, Darius, LeBlanc & Katarina Bios & Stories, Noxus Universe Update & More

Posted on at 8:59 AM by Aznbeat
With the upcoming release of the Swain champion update, Swain's bio and short story, new bios for DariusLeBlanc and Katarina, and new story, info and art on Noxus are now available on Universe! 
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

Noxus Region Page Update

The Noxus region page on the Universe has been updated with new information, including new art, and a new /Dev blog on Surviving in Noxus!

Noxus Story - The Principles of Strength

My name is Alyssa Roshka Gloriana val-Lokan. For almost two millennia, my ancestors ruled the Delverhold as kings. 
Warlords, nations and would-be empires sought to overthrow us, jealous of the wealth the Ironspike Mountains offered up to us, but none could breach our fastness. They broke against our walls like ocean waves, and fell back from the doom of our blades. 
All of them failed... until Noxus came. 
And then my family were kings no more.
She held her head high as they climbed the Stairs of Triumph. Liveried guards stood sentinel every twelve steps, but her flinty gaze was locked forward, unwavering. This might have been Alyssa’s first time in the capital, but she refused to be overawed; she would not gawk like some provincial lowborn. She was of the Delverhold, and the blood of kings flowed through her veins. 
The steps were flanked by guards clad in dark steel. The ore used in the forging of their armor came from the depths below her mountain home. All the best plate in Noxus started there, deep under the mountains. For five generations, ever since her realm had been conquered by Noxus and incorporated into the empire, it had been so. 
Red banners rippled in the evening’s dry wind as they ascended. The scent of coalfire and industry wafted upon that hot breeze. In Noxus, the forges rarely cooled. 
The Immortal Bastion loomed before them, dark and threatening. 
“They flaunt their wealth and decadence, while we live as paupers,” said her brother, Oram. She looked askance at him, striding beside her. 
Oram Arkhan val-Lokan. Broad-shouldered, strong of arm, and undeniably skilled with a blade, he was also arrogant and limited of mind—in Alyssa’s opinion—but she kept her disdain concealed behind an impassive, unexpressive mask. He was her elder, if only by a matter of minutes, and was only two steps removed from ruling the Delverhold himself. Alyssa was well aware of her place. 
Outwardly, the fact they were twins was obvious. Both were tall and athletic in stature, and each had the cold eyes of the family line, as well as the proud demeanor of those born to nobility. Both wore their long, black hair bound artfully in tight braids, they each bore angular facial tattoos and wore shale-grey cloaks over their armor. 
They reached the top of the stairs. There was a flutter of wings, and a raven flew low over their heads. 
Alyssa almost flinched, but caught herself. “Should we consider that an ill omen, brother?” 
She saw Oram’s hands turn to fists. 
“Too long have we filled the coffers of Noxus and armored its soldiers,’ he snarled, making only the barest pretense in keeping his voice out of the earshot of the guards. 
“And for what?” 
For survival, Alyssa thought, though she didn’t speak it aloud. 
A pair of warriors clad in full plate awaited them outside the great metal doors of the palace. They stood to attention, heavy axe-headed halberds gripped in their gauntlets. 
The three indentations in their breastplates and their dark red cloaks and tabards informed Alyssa these were no regular guards. 
“Legionaries,” breathed Oram, his usual bluster and arrogance forgotten. 
In a nation of killers, the elite Trifarian Legion was feared and respected above all—by both friend and foe alike. It was said that their mere presence had seen cities and nations take the knee, rather than face them in battle. 
“They honor us,” Alyssa said. “Come brother. It’s time we meet this so-called ‘Council of Three’ for ourselves.” 
The first thing anyone saw as they entered the audience chamber was the throne of the old Noxian emperors. It was an immense thing, carved of obsidian, blunt and angular, and the innumerable hanging banners, sharply angled pillars, and the burning sconces all worked to direct the eye back toward it. It dominated the space entirely. 
The throne sat empty, however, as it had since the previous Grand General of Noxus had died. 
Not died, Alyssa corrected herself. Been executed
No emperor for Noxus, no tyrant upon the throne. Not any longer. 
Before she’d left the Delverhold, Alyssa had been counselled regarding this new leadership. 
The Trifarix,” her father’s chief advisor had named it. “Three together, each representing one of the core Principles of Strength—Vision, Might, and Guile. The theory is, where a single individual could doom Noxus through incompetence, madness or corruption, now there will always be two others to hold any rogue third accountable.” 
To Alyssa, it was an intriguing concept, but one that remained untested in practice. 
The chamber felt cavernous, large enough to house over a thousand petitioners, but at this moment it was empty, other than three figures sat at a simple table of marbled stone at the foot of the throne’s raised platform. 
The two grim, unspeaking warriors of the Trifarian Legion escorted Alyssa and her brother towards the trio, their footfalls echoing sharply upon the cold floor. The three were deep in discussion, but they ceased their talk as the siblings of the Delverhold came towards them. They were seated in a row, facing the approaching envoys like a silent panel of judgement. 
Two of them she knew by reputation. Of the third… well, no one knew anything, really. 
In the center, keen-eyed and unblinking, sat Jericho Swain—the renowned visionary, the new Grand General. Some among the noble houses still called him usurper, since it was he who had dragged the madman Boram Darkwill from the throne of Noxus, but none of them said it to his face. His gaze, which seemed to see too much, bore first into Oram, then Alyssa. She resisted the urge to stare at the sleeve of his left arm, tucked within his dark coat. It was said he had lost the limb during the failed invasion of Ionia, severed by some blade-witch of that fey archipelago. 
To his right sat Darius, the legendary Hand of Noxus, leader of the elite Trifarian Legion, and now commander of all the empire’s armies. He was the embodiment of might itself; where Swain sat rigidly upright, Darius slouched back, the fingers of one gauntleted hand drumming a steady tattoo upon the wooden armrest of his chair. His arms were massive, his expression hard. 
The third figure—only ever referred to as “the Faceless”—was a mystery. This individual sat unmoving, bedecked from head to toe in a many-layered, voluminous robe. They wore a blank, staring, glossy-black mask, and even the eye-holes were obscured with dark mesh, giving away nothing as to their identity. Their hands, too, were concealed, hidden in sleeves of thick fabric. Alyssa thought she perceived a vaguely feminine aspect to the mask, but that might simply have been the way it happened to catch the light. 
A barely perceptible inclination of the chin from Darius dismissed the legionaries that had escorted them in. The two warriors slammed their armored fists to their breastplates in salute, and retreated a half dozen steps, leaving Alyssa and her brother alone before the Trifarix. 
“Sit, please,” said Swain, indicating the chairs opposite. 
“I prefer to stand, Grand General,” replied Oram. 
“As you wish.” 
There was something undeniably threatening and predatory about the Grand General, Alyssa decided… considering he was a cripple heading into his twilight years…
“Oram and Alyssa val-Lokan, third and fourth-born children of the Governor of the Delverhold,” he continued. “It’s a long journey from the Ironspike Mountains. I take it this is not a social visit.” 
“I come bearing the seal of my father,” said Oram, “to speak in his name.” 
“Get on with it, then,” said Darius, his voice the warning growl of a murk-wolf. “No ceremony. This is Noxus, not some noble court.” 
His accent was rough and earthy, not cultured like Swain’s. The voice of a commoner. Alyssa could almost feel her brother’s sneer. 
“For decades, the Delverhold has served loyally,” Oram began, emphasizing the nobility of his own accent, perhaps in an unwise show of superiority. “Our gold feeds the campaigns of conquest. Our iron clads and arms the warbands of the empire. The Trifarian Legion too.” 
Darius remained unimpressed. “Ironspike ore makes the best armor. I would not have the Legion protected in anything else. You should be proud.” 
“We are proud, my lord,” said Alyssa. 
“I am no lord. Especially not yours.” 
Swain smiled, raising his hand. “What he means to say is—in Noxus, no man or woman is born superior to another. It is not by bloodline that one earns their place, but by their deeds.” 
“Of course,” Alyssa demurred, cursing herself inwardly for her mistake. 
“We toil likes slaves in the darkness of the deep-mines below the mountains,” Oram went on. “And every day we watch as the fruits of our labors are taken from us in great wagon trains that come back empty. We are scarcely able to feed our—” 
“Oh, really?” Swain exclaimed, raising an eyebrow. “Please, show me your palms.” 
“What?” said Oram, taken aback. 
“Show us your hands, boy,” said Darius, leaning on the polished surface of the table between them. “Show us these hands that toil in the rock and dust and darkness beneath your mountain fortress.” 
Oram squared his jaw, refusing to be drawn. 
Darius scoffed. “Never struggled a day in his life, this one. Her neither. The only calluses you two possess certainly didn’t come from hard work.” 
“I will not be spoken to in such a manner by…” Oram began, but Alyssa placed a placating hand upon his shoulder. He angrily shrugged it off, but wisely chose not to finish the thought. “The mountains are being bled dry,” he said, his voice more measured. “It is unsustainable, and that is not good for anyone—not for us, and certainly not for the armies of Noxus. There must be concession.” 
“Tell me, Oram Arkhan val-Lokan,” said Swain, “how many warriors does the Delverhold send out to fight for Noxus? Approximately. Annually.” 
“None, sir. But that is by-the-by. Our people serve better working the mines and guarding the northern frontiers from barbarian attack. That is where our chief value to Noxus lies.” 
Swain sighed. “Of all the provinces, city-states and nations that submit to Noxus, the Delverhold stands alone in providing no soldiers to join our warhosts. You do not bleed for Noxus. You have never bled for Noxus. Is that not concession enough?” 
“It is not,” Oram replied, curtly. “We have come at our father’s behest to renegotiate our tithes, or the Delverhold will have no option but to reconsider its place within the Noxian empire.” 
The room had become very still. Even Darius had ceased the incessant tapping of his fingers. 
Alyssa’s face drained of color, and stared at her brother in horror. This was a turn she had not been privy to, and her mind reeled at its implications. The Faceless continued to gaze levelly at her, from behind that glossy mask. 
“I see,” said Swain, finally. “I believe I know your father’s real purpose in sending the two of you here, but the question is… do you?” 
Oram nodded to Alyssa. “Show them,” he ordered, his eyes flashing in anger. 
She took a deep breath, and brought forth a scroll case. Unhooking its end with trembling fingers, she slid free an old sheaf of parchment, covered in intricate, angular writing in Ur-Noxian. It bore both the seal of the Delverhold, and the blood-red crest of Noxus. She placed it upon the table, and smoothed it flat before standing back at her brother’s side—although half a step behind, as was her place, according to Ironspike custom. 
Darius appeared disinterested, but both Swain and the Faceless leaned forward to look upon the document. Once again, Alyssa found herself trying to get any sense of who it was that hid behind the mask. 
“When the Delverhold submitted to Noxian rule, eighty-seven years ago,” said Oram, “our ancestors gave up their sovereign rights and bowed before the throne of Noxus—the very throne I see before me now, empty.” 
Darius glowered at him. “And…?” 
“The terms are clear, as you can see for yourself, as to where we pledged our allegiance. The last man to sit on that throne died a little over seven years ago,” said Oram, gesturing up at the dais. “As far as our father is concerned, this piece of paper is now worthless. The Delverhold is under no obligation to continue to pay any tithes at all, but has continued to do so as an act of good faith. However, if our concessions are not met, the Delverhold will be forced to extricate itself from the empire. The Ironspike region will no longer be under our immediate protection.” 
Alyssa wanted to look away, wanted to run, but found herself rooted to the spot as she waited for the reaction of the council. 
“History only remembers the victors,” Darius warned them. “Stand with Noxus, and be remembered forever. Stand against us, and you will be crushed and forgotten.” 
“No army has ever breached the Delverhold,” said Oram. “Our forefathers opened the gates to Noxus willingly, remember. No blood was spilled.” 
“You’re playing a dangerous game, boy.” Darius pointed to the warriors standing a few paces behind Alyssa and Oram. “Just two of the Trifarian Legion could walk in and take your precious Delverhold. I wouldn’t even trouble myself to go with them.” 
As if to emphasize his point, the two legionaries slammed the butts of their halberds into the floor, the sound echoing like a thunderclap. 
Oram scoffed at the display, but Darius’s confidence struck Alyssa. He did not seem to be a man to make idle boasts. 
“Enough,” said Swain, with a wave of his hand. “Let us hear what these concessions would entail.”

The silver moon had passed its zenith in the night sky overhead by the time Alyssa and Oram left the palace. They began making their way toward the nearby estate that served as their base of operations within the capital. 
Alyssa was quiet and brooding, her stomach a tight knot of unease, but her brother seemed energized by the encounter with the rulers of Noxus. 
“Swain will agree to our terms! I’m sure of it,” he gushed. “He knows the Delverhold is too important to the empire to allow father to close its gates.” 
“This is madness,” Alyssa muttered. “We walk in there and you threaten them? That was your plan?” 
“That was father’s plan.” 
“Why didn’t you tell me?” 
“Would you have agreed to it, had you known?” 
“Of course not,” Alyssa replied. “This is a fool’s errand. We may just as well have offered ourselves up for the next Fleshing…” 
“If Swain is convinced, we only need one of the others to join him for them to concede to our terms,” said Oram, seeming not to hear her concerns. “That is how the Trifarix works. Their leadership cannot be deadlocked, when only two of them need agree on anything to get it done.” 
“Darius will never agree.” 
“Darius is an arrogant dog. He thinks he could send two men to take the Delverhold? Pah! But I fear you are right. While he objects, that leaves only the Faceless. Our future prosperity lies with the vote of whoever is behind that mask.” 
“Then there is nothing more to do but wait to hear what our fates will be,” said Alyssa, a hint of bitterness in her voice. 
Oram’s eyes gleamed dangerously. “Not necessarily.” 
The knot in Alyssa’s stomach tightened a little more as he began to explain.

Dawn was still several hours away, but Alyssa was already uncomfortably warm as she made her way swiftly and quietly through the streets of the capital. At the head of a contingent of Delverguard, she wore a tight-fitting helmet of dark steel, and already she could feel her hair dampening with sweat beneath it. 
There were a dozen of them in all, cloaked and hooded over their armor. All carried heavy crossbows, with blades strapped at their waists. In this city, it was not at all unusual to see armed warbands from all across the empire; if anyone saw them, their weapons would not raise alarm, and yet Alyssa could not shake the feeling they were being watched. 
And, somehow, that the observer knew their intent. 
The streets and alleys of Noxus were narrow and twisting, designed to stifle and frustrate any attacking force that managed to penetrate the city’s outer defenses. The rooftops were flat and crenellated, like the battlements of a castle, allowing any soldiers above to dominate any enemy below. Alyssa eyed those dark rooftops warily. Anyone could be up there, marking their progress. They could well be walking into an ambush… 
A flutter of black wings overhead made her skid to a halt, swinging her crossbow skywards. She cursed herself for being so jumpy, and gestured her retainers on. 
“This is a bad idea,” Alyssa said to herself, for the twentieth time since leaving the estate. 
She had said as much to her brother, trying to dissuade him from this course of action, but his mind was set. This was their father’s will, Oram had stated with finality. They would return home having secured a new deal, or they would not return at all. There was no other course. 
Now she had some time to digest it, Alyssa was not surprised that this was the old governor’s plan all along. Of course it was. While it may well end in both her and her brother’s capture and subsequent execution, what was that to her father? He had never cared for either of them over-much, saving his affections for his heir: Alyssa’s oldest brother, Herok. And if they were caught, and the Trifarix tried to hold them as hostages to keep the Delverhold within the rule of Noxus, she knew what their father’s answer would be. 
To him, Alyssa and Oram were expendable. 
She and her men hugged the shadows as they closed in on the Shrine of the Wolf, which butted up against the old southern bulwarks of the Immortal Bastion itself. Her brother would be a few streets to the east, with more of their armed retainers. 
In the weeks before the contingent arrived in the capital, spies in their employ had been watching the comings and goings around the palace. One of the observations had been of particular interest, and it was upon that intelligence that Alyssa and her brother were now operating. 
They were getting close. Alyssa lifted a hand, and the Delverguard fell in around her, pausing in the shadows of a narrow passage looking towards the Shrine of the Wolf. It was a tall, multi-tiered tower with open sides, each level held aloft by pillars of dark stone. In the center of the tower, looming almost fifty feet high, was a massive obsidian statue of a seated wolf. 
They waited there for a long minute, until they saw two brief flashes of light in the distance—the sparks of a blade against flint. That was the signal Oram was in place, and the way was clear. 
“Let’s move,” Alyssa hissed, and as one, she and her attendants were up and running, breaking from cover and hurrying towards the shrine, watchful for guards. There were none. It seemed her brother and his men had done their work. 
Alyssa loped up the steps to the shrine, indicating with a flick of her hand for her warriors to spread out. They entered, passing over the threshold, and circled out around the wolf statue. They hugged the shadows, leaning in against the pillars, melding into the darkness, and waited. 
She gazed up. In ancient Valoran custom, death was often represented as a dualistic in nature, taking the form of the Lamb of peaceful death, and the Wolf of violent ends. In Noxus, the latter was honored with rather more rigor and panoply. Dying peacefully in one’s bed was not the way to secure honor in an empire that venerated strength. 
Alyssa steadied her breathing, trying to slow her racing heart. Her hands were clammy. She wiped them on her cloak. 
Waiting was the always the worst part. 
She glanced around again, and found herself barely able to make out her retainers. Good. If they were spotted too early, then all of this would be for naught. Alyssa reached up and fastened a veil of finely wrought chainmail to her helmet, so that it hung below her eyes, obscuring her features. 
A distant watchtower tolled the fourth hour. Alyssa readied herself. If the information from their spies was correct, the target would be approaching any moment… 
And, as if on cue, a heavily robed figure emerged. 
It came from the direction of the Immortal Bastion proper, accompanied by four palace guards. The lead figure was almost invisible in the pre-dawn darkness, dressed as they were, from head-to-toe in black. 
It was the third member of the Trifarix—the Faceless. 
The anonymous figure walked slowly towards the shrine, head turning from side to side, as if scanning the shadows. Their hands were clasped before them, hidden beneath heavy sleeves. 
The guards stopped at the foot of the shrine. It appeared the Faceless conferred with them briefly, though Alyssa was too far away to hear their words, before the masked figure continued on alone, seemingly to pay respects to the Wolf. 
While warriors of the warhosts and reckoners from the gladiatorial pits were perhaps the most frequent visitors to the various martial shrines scattered around the capital, even bureaucrats, shop-keeps and servants made frequent offerings. The Faceless, it had been observed, visited this shrine at the fourth hour of every fifth day, always guarded and under the cover of darkness. 
Thankfully, while the loyalties of the Trifarian Legion were absolute, mere palace guards could most certainly be bribed to look the other way. 
As the masked figure approached the great statue, Alyssa stepped out of the concealing darkness. On cue, the paid off guards turned on their heels and marched back towards the Immortal Bastion. Alyssa had her crossbow levelled at the Faceless as she stepped cautiously into the flickering light of the sconces around the statue. 
“Don’t move, and don’t cry out,” she hissed. “Your guards are gone. Twelve crossbows are aimed at you right now.” 
The robed figure made a muffled sound, perhaps in surprise, and came a step closer to her. There was something distinctly familiar about it, both in the sound and its awkward movement… 
“Hold, I say,” said Alyssa. The Faceless froze. 
No one in Noxus seemed to know who the third member of the Trifarix was—no one that Alyssa and Oram had been able to find, at least. That was the strength of deception, the principle of guile represented on the Council of Three. 
But Alyssa intended to change that. 
“It’s all about leverage,” her brother had said. “If we can learn the identity of that one, then we can use it to our advantage.” 
“We mean you no harm,” Alyssa declared, as boldly as she could. “Take off your mask, and there will be no bloodshed.” 
The hooded figure looked around, perhaps seeking the guards, or trying to spot the crossbowmen Alyssa had spoken of, concealed in the darkness. Then the figure edged forward again, now almost within weapons’ reach, hands still hidden from view. 
Alyssa aimed her crossbow at the figure’s chest. “Don’t. Take. Another. Step.” 
The figure made another muffled sound, shaking the mask emphatically. Alyssa narrowed her eyes. 
Then she exhaled slowly, as the realization crept over her. 
“Ah. That makes things easier.’ 
She pulled the trigger, and her bolt took the robed figure in the throat. 
One of her retinue was at her side in an instant, urging her to run. “We have to go,” he said. “We have to be out the city before sunrise, before anyone knows what has happened.” 
“It’s already too late,” Alyssa answered. 
She knelt beside the figure, now gasping on the ground. Blood was pooling beneath the body. Alyssa had seen enough wounds in her time to know this one was fatal. 
She reached out, and pulled the mask free. 
Oram stared up at her. 
Her brother’s face was pallid, his eyes wild, and a gag had been stuffed in his mouth. He jerked and twitched as death came for him. The movements pulled his sleeves back, revealing his hands, bound tightly together with cord. 
In his last moment, his gaze shifted from Alyssa to the massive statue of the Wolf looming over them. 
It was then that the legionaries arrived, loping out of the darkness like hunting hounds, to surround the shrine.

The sun was high in the cloudless sky outside, sending angled beams of light through the narrow slit-windows into the audience chamber. 
Alyssa stood before the Trifarix once more, her head held high, wrists manacled behind her back. The members of the council regarded her carefully. The inscrutable masked face of the Faceless was, to Alyssa in this moment, perhaps the most intimidating of the three. 
It was Swain who finally broke the silence. 
“Let me speak plainly,” he said. “The Delverhold is of great value to Noxus, but not so valuable that we would acquiesce to the demands and threats of its governor. That would be a signal of weakness. Within the week, a dozen other provinces would be lining up with demands of their own. No, that was never going to be happen. But, you already knew that.” 
“I did,” said Alyssa. “My brother clearly didn’t.” 
“Then, it might make lesser minds wonder… why would an intelligent young woman such as yourself go along with such an obvious and clumsy scheme?” 
“Duty,” Alyssa replied. 
“Duty to the empire must always overshadow duty to family,” said Swain. 
Alyssa might have imagined it, but she thought she saw Darius’ expression darken very slightly at those words. Even so, the Hand of Noxus held his tongue. 
“I agree entirely,” said Alyssa. “Which is the reason, when I realized it was my brother under the mask, I shot him.” 
Swain turned towards the masked Faceless. “A risky gambit, to gag and disguise your captive. There were other ways we might have tested her.” 
He turned back to Alyssa. 
“Indulge me, please, for the benefit of my fellow council members. Why would you knowingly shoot and kill your brother?” 
“My father sent us here to die,” Alyssa replied, “and would have used our deaths to justify closing the gates of the Delverhold to Noxus.” 
“Go on.” 
“My father and my brothers are fools. They have been blinded by their desire to rule the Ironspike Mountains as kings once more, as our forebears did. They would lead my people to their doom for such a fleeting vanity.” 
The merest hint of an icy smile turned the corner of Swain’s mouth. 
“So then, Alyssa Roshka Gloriana val-Lokan—what would you propose instead?”

The aging Governor val-Lokan looked up, an expression of pure outrage upon his face, as Alyssa threw open the doors to his tally-chamber. 
“What is this, girl?” he snarled, rising to his feet. “You return unannounced? Where is Oram?” 
Striding behind her were two warriors of the Trifarian Legion, imposing and ominous in their dark Ironspike armor, halberds at the ready. 
Beside her father was her brother Herok, heir to the Delverhold. His eyes were wide and fearful. 
“Guards!” the governor shouted. “Stop them!” 
His personal guard, however, made no move to intervene. The reputation of the Legion was known throughout Valoran—even among those who had never fought beside or against them. They marched with the authority of the Hand of Noxus. To defy them was to defy the Trifarix itself. 
Alyssa had thought much about the words Darius had spoken, those words that her brother had scoffed at. 
Just two of the Trifarian Legion could walk in and take your precious Delverhold. 
It had proved to be no idle boast after all. 
“What have you done?” her father hissed, sinking back into his chair. 
“What was needed.” 
Alyssa produced a rolled parchment, freshly written and stamped with the crest of Noxus—the crest of the Trifarix—and slammed it down on the table before her father, making him jump. 
“On the order of the Grand General, I am removing you from office,” said Alyssa, “Henceforth, I shall govern this place, for the good of the empire.” 
“You?” her father scoffed. “A woman has never ruled the Delverhold!” 
“Then perhaps it is time that changed. It is time for someone who will look to the future of our people, and not obsess about the kings and faded glory of the past.” 
Alyssa nodded, and her father’s own guards stepped forward, grabbing hold of him. 
“You can’t do this!” he screeched. “I am your father! I am your lord!” 
“You are no lord,” said Alyssa. “Especially not mine.”"

/Dev Diary: Surviving in Noxus

"Whren and Ant in Oz take you through Runeterra’s most brutal region: Noxus. 
Click here for more Runeterra /dev diaries. https://universe.leagueoflegends.com/"

Concept Art

There is also a mix of new and old concept art on the Noxus Universe page, check out a preview below:

The Immortal Bastion, at the heart of Noxus, is far more ancient than the empire itself. It is said that it was constructed on the order of the dread revenant Mordekaiser, and parts of it have been razed and rebuilt over the centuries, such that there are layers to its streets, and some districts now lie below ground. Few dare walk these streets after dark without guards to protect them.
Noxians respect strength above all things, and the only way to remain strong is to be constantly tested. They relish the opportunity to compete with one another, since to not be challenged is to grow weak, and even those at the peak of power must always seek new ways to challenge themselves... or they will not remain in power for long. It is not just physical or martial strength that Noxians admire—those who demonstrate expertise in politics, craftsmanship, trade, and magic all help to create a stronger Noxus.
Noxian cities are characterized by imposing structures, claustrophobic streets, crenellated buildings, steep-sloped walls, and immense gateways. Their cities emphasize the strength and dominance of the empire, and are highly defensible—an enemy attempting to take a Noxian city by force can expect to be fought and resisted at every turn, for even the humblest home is built like a fortress.
Noxus is an aggressive and expansionist empire, always looking to widen its borders by conquering new lands. It does not always do so by violence—indeed, many are the nations that have taken the knee before the Grand General, seeing a chance for greater stability and security in joining the empire. Those who defy Noxus, however, are crushed without mercy.
A number of ports and cities in northern Shurima were voluntarily assimilated into the empire. The original inhabitants of these settlements live in relative peace with their Noxian counterparts, seeing the exchange of food and preferential trade as a price worth paying for military protection from raiders."
Check out the full Noxus Universe page for all the new art goodies!

Swain Bio & Story

Swain's new bio and story - The Black Powder Plot, and also now available on the Nexus!

Swain, the Noxian Grand General Biography

Born into a patrician family, one of many to exist since the first walls were raised around Noxus, Jericho Swain seemed destined for a life of privilege. The noble houses had played a key role in Boram Darkwill’s rise to power, stoking rhetoric that their proud heritage was the nation’s greatest strength. 
However, many hungered for greater influence, plotting against Darkwill in a secret cabal united by nothing more than the symbol of a black rose. Uncovering their intrigue, Swain personally executed the most prominent conspirators. Among them were his own parents, whose whispers of a “pale woman” had first alerted him of the danger to Noxus, which he valued more than house or kin. 
They sought a power, a shapeless voice cackling in the darkness of the Immortal Bastion. Something like a raven’s caw… 
For exposing the cabal, Swain was granted a commission in the Noxian army, far from anything he had ever known. There, he learned firsthand that the empire was not strong because of Noxians, as he had believed, but because of the way it could unite all men in spite of their origins. On the front lines, a foreign slave could be the equal of a highborn noble. 
But still, Swain found only darkness in the wake of each battle. Clouds of carrion crows… 
After securing the western borders, Swain’s own reputation was secured in Shurima, where his forces raised countless noxtoraa above the desert sands. Yet, in time, it became clear that greed was the sole purpose driving the empire forward. Fighting wars on too many fronts, lusting over magical relics, the aging Boram Darkwill was clearly growing unhinged. 
When Noxus invaded Ionia, Darkwill began to move even more brazenly, retasking entire warbands to scour the land for anything rumored to extend a mortal lifespan. With Swain’s forces depleted, it became nearly impossible to engage the enemy. Finally, at the Battle of the Placidium, after luring the local militia into what should have been a trap, Swain’s warhost was overrun. His veterans were routed, and Swain was gravely wounded, his knee shattered, Ionian blades cleaving through his left arm. 
As he lay on the verge of death, a raven approached to feed, and Swain felt an old, familiar darkness press upon him again. But he would not let it take him. He could not. 
Staring into the the bird’s eye, he saw reflections of the evil strangling the heart of Noxus. A black rose. The pale woman... and her puppet emperor. Swain realized that he had not defeated the hidden cabal, and they had betrayed him to what should have been his death, after seducing Darkwill, the man they failed to overthrow. 
All this was glimpsed, not in the mind of a raven, but something more. The power his parents had been seeking, the demonic eyes blazing in the dark… 
Cast out of the military for his “failure,” considered nothing more than a cripple, Swain set about uncovering what truly lay within the Immortal Bastion—an ancient entity, preying upon the dying and consuming their secrets, as it had attempted to consume his own. Swain stared into that darkness, seeing what even it could not: a way to wield it. 
Though his meticulous preparations took many years, Swain and his remaining allies seized control of Noxus in a single night. Physically restored by the demon, he crushed Darkwill in full view of his followers, leaving the throne shattered and empty. 
Swain’s vision for the future of Noxus is one of strength through unity. He has pulled back the warhosts from Darkwill’s unwinnable campaigns and, with the establishment of the Trifarix, ensured that no individual can rule unopposed. He embraces any who will pledge themselves to the empire—even the Black Rose, though he knows, in secret, they still plot against him. 
Gathering knowledge as the demon did before him, Swain has foreseen far greater dangers lurking just beyond. However, many Noxians secretly wonder if the darkness they face will pale in comparison to the dark things Swain has done… 
The sacrifices are only beginning, for the good of Noxus."

Swain Story - The Black Powder Plot

"He arrived at the camp only moments before the strategy council was to begin, flanked by a small honor guard, each handpicked from the Trifarian Legion. They remained at the entrance as I watched him approach. 
Some men cast a shadow greater than themselves, but few could bring a darkness such as this, one that circled above us and hungrily cawed. In a way, the ravens that seemed to follow him around the camp were a grim reminder of every warrior’s fate, the tattered cloth in their beaks a match for the state of our own banners. Yet, as he strode into the remains of the war tent, I realized I had not prepared myself for how truly mortal he looked. 
There was grey in his hair, framed by a crimson sky choking on ash. His battle-worn armor gave way to a functional coat, and he kept his arms tightly within its folds—as I imagined one of his lineage might. I smiled, for he was still, at his heart, a gentleman. He wore no signs of rank beyond the telltale scars of a soldier who had seen his share of bloodshed. There were many gathered now for the council who demanded more fear and respect, swaying their warhosts with powerful displays of strength. Each of them seemed more than capable of breaking the man before us. 
But, somehow, this was the man who led us all. The Grand General of Noxus. 
Looking at him, I could feel there was something I could not place, no matter how closely I looked. Something truly unknowable, perhaps? Perhaps it was because there was something unknowable about this man, that so many flocked to his side. Whatever the draw, Jericho Swain stood before us now, and it was far too late for me to turn back. 
Five warhosts had marched onto the Rokrund Plain, but it had been only a matter of weeks before the locals had shattered our positions. They blasted through our hastily-constructed berms with explosive powder, mined from hills that seemed even more barren than those of home. Disaster had built upon disaster, until Swain himself had no choice but to intervene. I had made sure of that. 
For months, I had prepared. I had sent warmasons deep into the mines. I had mapped every detail, every conceivable twist of the land… and the fates upon which Noxus now balanced, the whispers that gave each moment shape… 
My ear itched at the memory of the pale woman’s words. Of the moment she first commanded me, and gave voice to our plot. 
Everything was in place. I had accounted for it all. Here, where the earth opened into a maze of canyons impossible to escape, I and I alone would determine the future of the empire. 
After all, was that not what Swain had called upon this council to do? 
“My trusted generals,” Swain said finally. The power in his voice rang out like the drawing of a blade. He paused, as if giving us a moment to test ourselves against its keen edge. “Tell me how Noxus may prevail.” 
“There are twelve war-barques here, in the hills,” Leto began, pointing to a spot on the map already worn white by his attention, “each drawn by a basilisk. Send them before the warbands, and we’ll be marching over the enemy dead. Those beasts would rut with a hedge of rusty spears if we let them.” 
He smiled, pleased at his own cunning, but Swain was more concerned with the wine being poured into his glass. 
Will it be poison? his eyes seemed to ask, as he peered around the table. I stared at my reflection in his armor. I would betray nothing of my intent. 
“We can scarcely control the basilisks ourselves,” Swain finally murmured, carefully regarding the fine Ionian vintage. “Imagine even a single explosive, dropped by a sapper within earshot of the beasts. And then tell me, in your imagination, who runs first—the basilisks with their tails between their legs? Or your vaunted warhost?” 
“We scorch the earth then,” Maela petitioned before Leto could respond, the words flying wildly from her mouth. “Set fire to the pitch they’ve laid to burn on our advance. Drive them out of those damn mines.” 
Swain sighed. “We came here for the very earth you would burn. Though I suppose it is too much to expect you to know the uses of saltpetre.” He swirled the wine in his glass, betraying a hint of disappointment. “All you have done so far is bury your own men with it.” 
“The redblades are still sharp,” Jonat spat impatiently from the shadows where he lurked, the darkness seeming almost bright against his Shuriman skin. “We’ll enter the mines after dusk, take out their leaders. Clean or messy. Doesn’t matter.” 
“An admirable strategy,” Swain laughed. “But those leaders are not soldiers. Not yet. Our enemy here merely follows whomever bellows the loudest. Kill one, and there will be three bellowing by morning.” 
I laughed, nodding to the frowning leader of the redblades. “For a moment, I was afraid you’d find a way for us to actually win, Jonat.” 
Silence fell around the table. The candles were burning low beside the maps. 
This was my moment. The pale woman would be pleased. I would say her name as I sent our Grand General to oblivion. 
“The truth is, you cannot win this battle,” I continued. “No one can fight death. Not even the ruler of Noxus. Darkwill showed us that.” 
Swain and the others watched as I carefully drew the flint striker from my tunic. The fuse line was already in my other hand. Leto, aging hero of the Siege of Fenrath, bristled. 
“Granth, what are you doing?” he growled, glancing down at the crude demolition charge I had carefully positioned under the table, barely an hour before. “You would threaten the Grand General? This is treason.” 
Still, none of them dared approach me. I held the striker over the fuse, ready. 
Except… someone was laughing. It took me a moment to realize who it was. 
“And there, General Granth is the only one who has the right of it,” Swain chuckled, smoothing this wrinkles from his coat. “He alone understands. The rest of you, you see a battle and ask what you must do to avoid defeat. But some battles cannot be won. Sometimes, the only strategy is to burn. To charge into the flames, knowing full well you will die, but that twenty thousand march behind you. And that behind them, there is a greater power.” 
He let his coat fall open, to reveal… To… reveal… 
“Granth and I,” he said with a cruel smile, “we always look for what must be sacrificed in order to win.” 
Maela lunged for my trembling hands. Leto too. But it was Swain’s inhuman grip that clamped around my throat, hefting me from the ground, the unlit fuse forgotten. 
“If only you could tell her yourself how you failed,” the Grand General whispered, his voice rumbling with the wrath of eons. “If only she, too, could heed the wisdom of the dead.” 
I tried to scream then, to confess it all. To somehow beg for forgiveness. 
But there is nothing now, save for the soft murmur of whispers. I spill my secrets, this tale, into your ears. Fading like the rustling of wings, as the raven cries its carrion caw…"

Darius Bio & Story

Darius' Universe page has been updated with a new bio and color story! Check them out below:

Darius, The Hand of Noxus Biography

"Darius and his brother Draven grew up as orphans in the port city of Basilich. Darius struggled to provide for them both, constantly fighting with gangs of older urchins and anyone else who threatened his little brother—even the city guard. Every day on the streets was a battle for survival, and Darius earned more scars by his twelfth summer than some soldiers do in a lifetime. 
After Basilich was seized by the expanding Noxian empire, the victorious commander Cyrus saw the strength in these defiant brothers, and they found a home within the ranks of his warhost. Over the years, they fought in many grueling campaigns of conquest from one end of the known world to the other, as well as crushing a number of rebellions against the throne. 
Within the empire, anyone could rise to power, no matter their birth, culture, or background, and none embraced this ideal more fervently than Darius. From humble beginnings, he rose steadily through the ranks, always putting duty before all else, and garnering great respect for his aggression, discipline, and refusal to ever take a backward step. On the bloodsoaked fields of Dalamor Plain, he even beheaded a Noxian general after the coward ordered a retreat. Roaring in defiance and hefting his bloodied axe overhead, Darius rallied the scattered warbands and won a great and unexpected victory against a far more numerous foe. 
He was rewarded with a senior command of his own, attracting many thousands of eager recruits from across the empire. Darius turned the majority away, accepting only the strongest, the most disciplined and iron-willed. Such was his fearsome notoriety, even in the lands beyond Noxus, that it was not uncommon for entire cities to surrender at the first sight of his banners. 
After a grinding victory against the cloud-fortresses of the Varju, a proud warrior people who had resisted decades of Noxian aggression, Darius was named the Hand of Noxus by Emperor Boram Darkwill himself. Those who knew Darius best knew he craved neither power nor adulation—he wished merely to see Noxus triumph over all—so Darkwill ordered him and his warhosts far north into the Freljord, to finally bring the barbarian tribes to heel. 
The campaign dragged on for years, ending in a bitter, icy stalemate. Darius narrowly survived assassination attempts, ambushes, and even capture by the vicious Winter’s Claw. He was growing weary of endless wars of attrition, and returned to Noxus to demand a reconsolidation of the military. 
He marched his veterans into the capital, only to find that the emperor was dead, killed in a coup led by Jericho Swain. The act had been supported by many allies, including Darius’s own brother, Draven. 
This was a difficult position. As Hand, many of the noble houses would expect Darius to avenge Darkwill, but he had known and greatly respected the disgraced general Swain, and had spoken against his discharge after the botched offensive in Ionia some years earlier. The oaths of the Hand were to Noxus, not any particular ruler, and Swain was a man who spoke honestly of his new vision for the empire. Darius realized this was a leader he was prepared to follow... but Swain had other ideas. 
With the establishment of the Trifarix, three individuals would rule Noxus together, each embodying one principle of strength: Vision, Might, and Guile. Darius gladly accepted his place on this council, and pledged to raise a new, elite force—the Trifarian Legion, the most loyal and prestigious warriors the empire could produce—and lead the armies of Noxus into a glorious new age of conquest."

LeBlanc Bio

LeBlanc also has a new bio on her Universe page:

LeBlanc, the Deciever

Matron of the Black Rose, LeBlanc’s identity is as intangible as the whispers that describe her, as ephemeral as the illusions that give her shape. Perhaps it is unknown even to herself, after so many centuries of mimicry and deception… 
Remnants of an order that has existed far longer than Noxus itself, initiates of the Black Rose have schemed from the shadows for centuries, drawing the rich and powerful to their ranks. Though they do not often learn the origins of their matron, many have uncovered legends of a pale sorceress who aided the broken barbarian tribes, in their struggle against the infamous Iron Revenant subjugating lands already ravaged by the darkin. Even today, his name is whispered in fear: Mordekaiser. 
Uniquely skilled among the revenant’s inner circle before she betrayed him, the sorceress pledged to neutralize the source of his power, the Immortal Bastion, cutting him off from the well of death that fueled his nightmarish empire. Yet, even as the barbarians built an empire of their own in the bastion’s shadow, they failed to realize that the arcane secrets it held had not completely been locked away. The pale sorceress had always been gifted at illusion, and her greatest trick was to make Noxus forget the dark power roiling in its own heart, before she was burned from the pages of history around the time of the Rune Wars. 
The Black Rose exists now to further the clandestine interests of those who can wield such magic—with its rank-and-file composed of mundane nobles, drawn to rumors of miracles, kept in thrall and ruthlessly exploited. Even the most powerful military commander could only ever serve the cult’s true masters, as they fight one another for influence in games of intrigue and conquest, both in the Noxian capital and beyond its borders. 
For centuries, LeBlanc has served in secret as an advisor to foreign dignitaries, appearing in many nations at once, her illusions driving order into chaos. Rumors of a new matron rising with each generation only raise further questions—which is the “true” version of herself? When she speaks, is it with her own voice? And what will the price be, for the favor she offers? 
Boram Darkwill was but the latest to learn this last answer for himself. Though the Black Rose had aided his bid for the throne, he refused the counsel of their hand-picked advisors, requiring LeBlanc to take drastic measures. Manipulating a young nobleman named Jericho Swain into revealing the cult’s involvement, LeBlanc allowed herself to be executed along with the most prominent conspirators… or at least, so it appeared. In time, she reached out to Darkwill herself, and found an increasingly paranoid ruler, fearful of his own mortality. 
After promising him the secrets to extend his life, LeBlanc slowly poisoned Darkwill’s mind, even as she empowered him. Under his rule, the Noxian reverence of strength became something far more sinister, and together they ensured Swain’s legend would end in disgrace on the battlefields of Ionia. 
But Swain, emboldened by forbidden lore from within the Immortal Bastion, did something wholly unexpected, managing to drag Darkwill from the throne and seize Noxus for himself. This new Grand General was not interested in his own legacy, but the glory of the empire—and such a man could not so easily be corrupted. After countless centuries, LeBlanc wondered, had she finally found a worthy nemesis? 
Her actions have pushed Runeterra to the brink of all-out war many times. In the wake of desperate campaigns across the Freljord, on Targon’s peaks, and deep in Shurima’s deserts, the darkest magic has begun to spread once more, circling closer and closer to Noxus. Whether LeBlanc is still the same pale sorceress who betrayed the Iron Revenant, or merely one of countless hollow reflections, her influence clearly stems from ancient roots. 
The Black Rose has yet to truly bloom."

Katarina Bio

Katarina's bio has also been updated on her Universe page:

Katarina, the Sinister Blade Biography 

"Born to one of the most respected noble families of Noxus, Katarina Du Couteau found herself elevated above others from an early age. While her younger sister Cassiopeia took after their politically brilliant mother, Katarina was very much her father’s daughter, and the wily General Du Couteau pushed her to learn the way of the blade; to cut away the empire’s enemies not with reckless brutality, but deadly precision. He was a harsh teacher with many pupils, and notoriously difficult to impress. 
So it was that Katarina’s childhood—if it can be called such—had little room for kindness or rest. She spent every waking moment honing herself into the ultimate weapon, testing her endurance, her dexterity, her tolerance for pain. She stole poisons from the city’s least reputable apothecaries, testing their efficacy in tiny increments upon herself, gradually building her resistance even as she catalogued their effects. She scaled the tallest towers in the dead of night, unseen by anyone. 
She yearned to do her part for Noxus. She yearned for the opportunity to demonstrate her hidden strengths in service of the empire, and the throne. 
Her first mark came straight from her father, camped with his warbands on the eve of one of the military’s innumerable westward invasions… She was to assassinate a line officer of the opposing army, a low-born wretch by the name of Demetrius. 
Katarina was livid. She hadn’t trained her entire life to have her talents wasted on some dungheel barely skilled enough to swing a sword! He simply wouldn’t do. Instead of her assigned target, Katarina stole into the enemy camp and slit the enemy commander’s throat as he slept. It was a flawless execution. It would bring a swift victory, and glory to Noxus. It would make her father proud. 
At dawn, his face daubed with ashes, the vengeful hero Demetrius led a berzerk charge into her father’s encampment. Dozens of Noxian soldiers were slaughtered, along with the general’s personal retinue. Katarina’s father himself barely escaped with his life. 
He was furious beyond words, refusing even to look his daughter in the eye. She had shamed him, and their family name. The greatest assassins do not seek recognition or glory, he reminded her. They do not expect to occupy a place of honor at their master’s right hand. 
Overwhelmed, Katarina struck out into the wilderness, alone. She would complete her original mission. Demetrius would pay with his life. Even so, her mind swam. Could she ever forgive herself? How had she been so foolish? 
She was so distracted, she didn’t see her attacker until he had nearly taken her eye out. 
For Katarina’s failure, General Du Couteau had sent another of his protégés after her; a nameless whelp dragged up from one of the lesser assassins’ guilds. But even with blood streaming down her face, the years of rigorous training kicked in, and her blades were in her hands in an instant. 
Six hours later, she tossed Demetrius’s severed head at her father’s feet. 
She told the general she had considered taking his head instead, but eventually decided—as much as she hated to admit it—that he had done the right thing in ordering her death. 
She had failed. Not just as an assassin, or as a daughter, but as a Noxian. 
And failure must have its consequences. She ran her fingers along the raw, deep gash over her left eye, and thought of the price others had paid for her arrogance. 
She knew she had lost her father’s favor, and could never regain it. He would raise others in her place, simply to spite her. Still, she vowed to redeem herself, no matter the cost—to rededicate her talents to the empire, and to become the sinister weapon she always intended to be."

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