Ionia + Irelia, Lee Sin, Karma, Yasuo, & Riven Lore Update

Posted on at 8:17 AM by Aznbeat
New concept art for Ionia, lore for Irelia, Lee Sin, Karma, Riven, Yasuo, and more are now on the Universe site!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

/Dev Diary: Discover Ionia

Here's a new /Dev Diary on Ionia from Boogergames and WAAARGHbobo:

Ionia Universe Update

A ton of new concept art is now on the Ionia region page:


With Irelia's champion update hitting live in 8.7, her bio and short story have been updated on her universe page!

Biography: Irelia, the Blade Dancer

"Even as a small child, Xan Irelia was fascinated by the grace and beauty of human movement. Under her grandmother’s tutelage, she learned the traditional silk dances of her province—though she was dubious of their supposedly mystical connection to the Spirit of Ionia, Irelia’s love for the dances was real. Seeking to master the art, she eventually left home to study with some of Ionia’s most respected performers at the Placidium of Navori. 
Irelia’s people were peaceful and sought harmony with their neighbors, but rumors of foreign invaders sighted off the coast unsettled many at the Placidium. Irelia returned to her village to find it already occupied, with steel-helmed soldiers from distant Noxus shoving unarmed civilians through the streets with the butts of their spears. The Noxian Admiral Duqal had seized the Xan home to quarter his fleet officers. 
Irelia’s brothers and her father Lito had evidently protested; her entire family now lay in unmarked graves, in the gardens. 
Ravaged by grief, the young girl saw Duqal’s men hauling valuables from the house. Among the loot was a large metal crest, depicting the Xan family emblem. Irelia raced to it, wrenching it from Noxian hands. The admiral himself hurled her to the ground, and had his warriors shatter the crest with a heavy iron maul, before ordering them to dig a fresh grave for this upstart child. 
As they surrounded her, Irelia averted her eyes, looking to the pieces of the Xan crest scattered on the ground. From deep within her soul, she felt a strange rhythm begin to beat. The shards of metal began to twitch, to twist, moving seemingly on their own, and Irelia felt the serene joy of the ancient dances once more... 
With a sweep of her arm, she sent the pieces flying like ragged blades, cutting clean through two of the Noxians. As Duqal and his officers reeled in shock, Irelia snatched up the shards of her crest, and fled the village. 
In the quiet forests beyond, Irelia mourned her family, and thought back to her grandmother’s teachings. She realized that the techniques she had learned were more than mere dances—they were a powerful expression of something far greater. 
The Noxian occupation soon began to test the fragile peace of the First Lands. It was said that even the religious leader Karma had been forced to strike back at the invaders with deadly magic, though her followers had now withdrawn to the Lasting Altar and would not condone any further violence. Across Navori, dissenting voices began to band together. A resistance was forming, one that would not rest until Ionia was free once more. Irelia joined their ranks, performing her cherished dances for them in the woodland camps, to preserve some vestige of their vanishing culture. 
She was barely fourteen years old when she found herself back at the Placidium. Her band of resistance fighters joined the militia who had sworn to guard the monasteries and wild, sacred gardens. 
But Noxus knew only too well what this place represented. A particularly cunning general named Jericho Swain captured the Placidium and took its defenders hostage, hoping to lure the inevitable reinforcements into a trap. 
It was in this moment that Irelia rose to meet her destiny. Freed from her bonds, she unleashed the full potential of her ancient blade dance, lashing out with graceful zeal. A dozen of Swain’s veterans fell, sowing chaos in their ranks as the other captives joined her, before she struck down the general himself—the sight of this rebellious girl hefting his severed arm over her head would be the turning point of the war. 
This victory, the Great Stand at Navori, ensured that everyone in Ionia knew the name of Xan Irelia, and looked to her for leadership. Reluctantly, she led the growing resistance for almost three years of grueling battle before her triumph at Dalu Bay. There, she finally cornered the defeated Admiral Duqal, and exacted the vengeance she had sought for so long. 
Though the war has long since ended, Ionia has been permanently changed by it. The First Lands are now divided, with rival factions fighting each other almost as bitterly as they did the Noxians. Many continue to look to Irelia for answers but, while others might welcome such power, Irelia remains uneasy with it. 
At heart, she still yearns only to dance alone."

Short Story: Stains on a Name

“I believed in you, Blade Dancer!” the man choked, his lips frothing red. “You showed us the path…” 
Irelia held her stance. She looked down at him, this devotee of the Brotherhood, on his knees in the mud. He had been pierced over and over by her blades. 
“We could have been strong... United as one people...” 
“That is not the Spirit’s way,” she replied. “If that’s what you think, then you are wrong.” 
He had come to this village, waiting for the perfect moment before making his move. But he was clumsy and awkward. She had danced around him easily. 
He had been determined to kill her. The worst thing was, he wasn’t the first. Irelia’s blades now hovered at her shoulders, following the graceful, circling movements of her hands. One simple gesture, and it could all be over. 
He spat blood on the ground, his eyes burning with hatred. “If you will not lead Navori, the Brotherhood will.” 
He tried weakly to raise his dagger against her. This man would never be taken alive. 
“I believed in you,” he said again. “We all did.” 
She sighed. “I never asked you to. I’m sorry.” 
Her limbs flowing lithely around her body, Irelia whirled to the side, sending the blades out in a deadly arc. They sliced cleanly through his flesh, as much an act of mercy as self-defense. 
A simple turn, just one elegant step, brought the blades back to her, their edges slick with blood. The man’s lifeless body toppled forward. 
“May the Spirit bring you to peace,” said Irelia.
Her burden was heavy as she returned to the camp. When she finally entered the privacy of her tent, she released a long, tense breath, and lowered herself to the reed mat. 
She closed her eyes. 
“Father,” she whispered. “I have bloodied our family’s honor once more. Forgive me.” 
Irelia spread the blades out before her—like Ionia itself, they were the fractured pieces of something that had once been far greater, now turned to violent ends. She poured water into a small wooden bowl, and dipped in a rag. The simple act of cleaning the shards had become a ritual, one that she felt compelled to undertake after every battle she fought. 
The water slowly turned red as she worked. But beneath the fresh blood, the metal carried much darker, older stains that she could never seem to remove completely. 
This was the blood of her people. The blood of Navori itself. 
Lost in thought, she began to slide the blades around, slowly reforming them into her family crest. Its three symbols lay cracked before her, representing the Xan name, her home province, and the rest of the First Lands, all in harmony. Her ancestors had always lived by the teachings of Karma. They inflicted no harm on anyone, regardless of circumstance. 
And now, here was their seal and crest turned into weapons, and takers of countless lives at that. 
She could feel the eyes of her brothers upon her. Even in their eternal rest, at one with the Spirit of Ionia, she feared earning their disappointment, their resentment. She pictured her dear old O-ma too, broken and sobbing, devastated by each kill... 
Many times, that thought had made Irelia weep more than any other. 
The blades would never be clean. She knew that—but she would still do right by those she had harmed.
She passed many of her followers on her way to the burial grounds. Though they looked to Irelia for leadership, now more than ever, she recognized so few of them. With each winter the faces became less familiar, as the last of the old resistance were replaced by new and more zealous fighters. They came from faraway provinces, and towns she had never heard of. 
Even so, she halted often to return their half-hearted salutes and bows, and would accept none of their help in dragging the shrouded body of her dead attacker along the road. 
Finding an open patch beneath the blossom-heavy branches of a tree, Irelia set him down carefully, and turned to join in the grief of the widows and widowers, the orphaned sons and daughters. 
“I know it is never easy,” she said, placing a consoling hand on the shoulder of one man, who knelt before a pair of fresh graves, “but each life, and each death, are part of—” 
He batted away her hand, glaring at her until she retreated. 
“It was necessary,” she murmured to herself as she prepared to start digging, though she remained unconvinced by her own words. “It is allnecessary. The Brotherhood would grip this land in an iron fist. No better than Noxus…” 
Her eyes fell upon an old woman, sat on a simple wooden stool at the foot of the tree, singing a soft lament. Streams of tears had dried on her face. She was dressed plainly, with one hand resting on a grave marker next to her. It was adorned with food offerings for the deceased. 
To Irelia’s surprise, the woman halted her song. 
“Bringing us some company, are you, daughter of Xan?” she called out. “Ain’t much room left round here. But any friend of yours is a friend of ours.” 
“I did not know this man, but thank you. He deserved better than he was given in life.” 
Irelia took an uncertain step closer. “You were singing one of the old songs.” 
“Helps keep my mind off bad things,” said the old woman, tamping down a patch of dirt on the grave. “This is my nephew.” 
“I… I’m so sorry.” 
“I’m sure you did all you could. Besides, this is all part of the Spirit’s way, you know?” 
Her kindly demeanor had put Irelia entirely at ease. “Sometimes I don’t know,” she confided. 
The old woman perked up, expecting more. Irelia continued, finally giving voice to the doubts that had plagued her for a long time. 
“Sometimes… Sometimes I wonder if I killed our peace.” 
“Killed our peace?” 
“When Noxus invaded. Perhaps we lost something when we fought back, something we can never restore.” 
The woman stood, trying in vain to open a large nut. “Child, I remember peace well,” she said, thrusting one gnarled, knobby finger at Irelia. “Those were good days! Nobody misses peace more than me.” 
She pulled a knife from her belt, and began to pry open the nutshell. 
“But the world’s a different place now. What worked then don’t work today. No point dwelling on it.” 
At last, the shell cracked, and she placed the broken kernel into a bowl on the grave. 
“See, there? Used to be able to open these with my hands alone, now I need a knife. The young me would’ve fretted about it, damaging the nut like that. But that me don’t matter, because she don’t have to live in the here and now.” The old woman nodded kindly, then went back to her singing. 
For the first time in a long while, Irelia smiled. Within her satchel, wrapped in protective cloth, were the shard-blades of her shattered family crest. She knew it would never be clean, never be whole again. 
But they were always ready, and that would have to be enough."

Lee Sin

Lee Sin has a new biography on his Universe page!

Biography: Lee Sin, the Blind Monk

"Among the many spirits Ionians revere, none are as storied as that of the dragon. While some believe it embodies ruin, others view it as a symbol of rebirth. Few can say for certain, and fewer still have ever been able to channel the dragon’s spirit, and none so completely as Lee Sin. 
He arrived at the Shojin monastery as a boy, claiming the dragon had chosen him to wield its power. The elder monks saw flashes of its fire in the talented child, but also sensed his reckless pride, and the disaster it could bring. Warily, they nonetheless took him as a pupil—though, as others advanced, the elders kept him cleaning dishes and scrubbing floors. 
Lee Sin grew impatient. He longed to fulfill his destiny, not waste time on chores. 
Sneaking into the hidden archives, he found ancient texts describing how to call upon the spirit realm, and chose to flaunt his skill during a combat lesson. Brashly, he unleashed the dragon’s rage in a wild kick, paralyzing his learned instructor. Consumed with shame and banished for his arrogance, the young man set out to atone. 
Years passed. Lee Sin wandered far, to distant places, benevolently aiding those in need. Eventually he reached the Freljord, where he met Udyr, a wildman who channeled the primal beasts of his homeland. The so-called Spirit Walker struggled to control the powers that warred within him, and Lee Sin began to wonder if controlling the dragon was even possible. Sharing a need for spiritual guidance, the two men forged a bond, and he invited Udyr on his journey back home. 
The two were dismayed to hear that the empire of Noxus had invaded and occupied Ionia. Monks from every province had fallen back to defend the holy monastery at Hirana, high up in the mountains. 
Lee Sin and Udyr found it besieged. Noxian soldiers had broken through to Hirana’s great hall. As Udyr leapt to join the fray, Lee Sin hesitated, seeing his former peers and elders fall to the enemy’s blades. The wisdom of Hirana, Shojin, so much of Ionia’s ancient culture—all would be lost. 
With no other choice left, he invoked the dragon spirit. 
A tempest of flames engulfed him, searing his skin and burning the sight from his eyes. Imbued with wild power, he crippled the invaders with a flurry of breakneck punches and rapid kicks, the untamable spirit flaring brighter and hotter with each blow. 
The monks were victorious, but Lee Sin’s desperate actions left the monastery in ruins, and his vision would never return. At last, in the blind darkness, he understood that no mortal could ever bend the might of the dragon spirit to their will completely. 
Devastated, agonized, he bound a cloth over his sightless eyes and tried to stagger away down the mountain paths. 
But the surviving elders stopped him. In forsaking all desire for power, their disgraced pupil was finally ready to begin anew. Although they would not forget his previous arrogance, the monks offered absolution: the dragon’s wrath was deadly and unpredictable, true enough, but the humblest and worthiest mortal souls could counter its fiery nature, and direct it from time to time. 
Gratefully, Lee Sin stayed with the monks to rebuild their monastery, and after the work was done and the Spirit Walker returned to the Freljord, Lee Sin devoted himself fully toward the pursuit of enlightenment. 
In the years since the war with Noxus ended, he has continued to meditate on his role in Ionia. Knowing his homeland has not faced the last of its trials, Lee Sin must master himself, and the dragon spirit within, to face whatever foe is yet to come."


Karma has a new biography on her Universe page!

Biography: Karma, the Enlightened One

"Karma is the living embodiment of an ancient Ionian soul, who serves as a spiritual beacon to each generation of her people. Her most recent incarnation came in the form of a 12-year-old girl named Darha. Raised in the northern highlands, she was headstrong and independent, always dreaming of a life beyond her provincial village. 
But Darha began to suffer strange, fitful visions. The images were curious—they felt like memories, yet the girl was certain they had not happened to her. At first, the problem was easy enough to conceal, but the visions grew in intensity until Darha was convinced she was descending into madness. 
Just when it seemed she would be confined to the healing huts forever, a group of monks visited her village. They had come from a place known as the Lasting Altar, where the divine leader Karma had passed away some months earlier. The monks were in search of the old man’s next incarnation, believing him to be among the villagers. They applied a series of tests to everyone they met, but eventually prepared to leave empty handed. 
As they passed the healing huts, Darha threw herself out of her cot and ran to stop them. She wept, telling them of her visions, and that she had known the monks’ voices from the babble in her head. 
They recognized the signs immediately. This was their Karma. The visions were past lives rushing to fill a new vessel. 
In that moment, Darha’s life changed forever. She bid farewell to all she’d ever known, and journeyed to the Lasting Altar to learn from the monks. Over the years, they taught her to connect with her ancient soul, and the girl found her own voice drowned out by thousands of others, each espousing the wisdom of ages past. Karma had always advocated peace and harmony, teaching that any act of evil would bring about its own repercussions, and so required no response. But even as she became Karma, Darha struggled to understand this simple truth. 
Indeed, these philosophies were truly tested when Noxus invaded Ionia. Many thousands were killed as the enemy warbands advanced inland, and Karma was forced to face the harsh realities of war. She could feel the immense destructive potential that swelled in her soul, and with it, the impetuous voice of young Darha screaming: What is the point of this power, if not to use it? 
Karma agonized over this. Eventually she compromised, deciding to kill just one person, but that it had to be the right person to kill. She confronted a Noxian commander on the deck of his own war frigate, and unleashed her divine fury. But instead of a single, measured attack, she obliterated the entire vessel and its crew in a heartbeat. 
Though the Ionians rejoiced at this apparent victory, Karma was left strangely empty. The voices that had spoken so clearly in her mind now fell silent, and she felt Darha returning to prominence—this brought little comfort, however, as she realized she had made a huge mistake. She returned to the Lasting Altar to meditate and perform penance for upsetting the spiritual harmony of her homeland. Killing would always be easy, but came at the cost of true enlightenment. She had already tarnished her own undying soul along with those of her followers, and she would try her utmost to do no further injury. 
Though the war with Noxus is now long over, there are still many in Ionia who have become only too glad to meet violence with violence, even against their own neighbors. Karma has pledged to guide as many of them as she can to more peaceful means. 
And with every conflict she averts, more of the lost voices return to offer their eternal wisdom."


Yasuo has a new biography on his Universe Page!

Biography: Yasuo, the Unforgiven

"As a child, Yasuo often believed what the others in his village said of him: on the best days, his very existence was an error in judgement; on the worst, he was a mistake that could never be undone. 
Like most pain, there was some truth to it. His mother was a widow already raising a young son, when the man who would be Yasuo’s father blew into her life like an autumn wind. And, just like that lonely season, he was gone again before the blanket of Ionian winter settled over the small family. 
Even though Yasuo’s older half-brother, Yone, was everything Yasuo was not—respectful, cautious, conscientious—the two were inseparable. When other children teased Yasuo, Yone was there to defend him. But what Yasuo lacked in patience, he made up for in determination. When Yone began his apprenticeship at the village’s renowned sword school, a young Yasuo followed, waiting outside in monsoon rain, until the teachers relented and opened the gates. 
Much to the annoyance of his new peers, Yasuo showed natural talent, and became the only student in several generations to catch the attention of Elder Souma, last master of the legendary wind technique. The old man saw Yasuo’s potential, but like trying to bridle a whirlwind, this pupil was known to ignore most teaching. Yone pleaded with his brother to set aside his arrogance, gifting him a maple seed, the school’s highest lesson in humility. The next morning, Yasuo accepted the position as Souma’s apprentice, and personal bodyguard. 
When word of the Noxian invasion reached the school, some were inspired by the great stand that had been taken at the Placidium of Navori, and soon the village was bled of the able bodied. Yasuo longed to add his sword to the cause, but even as his classmates and brother left to fight, he was ordered to remain and protect the elders. 
The invasion became a war. Finally, one rain-slicked night, the drums of a Noxian march could be heard in the next valley over. Yasuo abandoned his post, foolishly believing he could turn the tide. 
But he found no battle—only a raw grave for hundreds of Noxian and Ionian corpses. 
Something terrible and unnatural had happened here, something that no single blade could have stopped. The land itself seemed tainted by it. 
Sobered, Yasuo returned to the school the next day, only to be surrounded by the remaining students, their swords drawn. Elder Souma was dead, and Yasuo found himself accused not only of dereliction, but of murder. He realized the true killer would go unpunished if he did not act quickly, so he fought his way free, though he knew this would all but confirm his apparent guilt. 
Now a fugitive in war-torn Ionia, Yasuo sought any clue that might lead him to the murderer. All the while, he was hunted by his former allies, continually forced to fight or die. This was a price he was willing to pay, until he was tracked down by the one he dreaded most—his own brother, Yone. 
Bound by honor, they circled each other. When their swords finally met, Yone was no match and, with a single flash of steel, Yasuo cut his brother down. 
He begged forgiveness, but Yone’s dying words were of the wind techniques responsible for Elder Souma’s death, and that his brother was the only one who could have known them. Then he fell silent, passing on before he could grant any absolution. 
Without master or brother, Yasuo wandered the mountains distraught, drinking away the pain of war and loss, a sword without a sheath. There in the snow, he met Taliyah, a young Shuriman stone mage who had fled the Noxian military. In her, Yasuo saw an unlikely student, and in himself, an even more unlikely teacher. He trained her in the ways of elemental magic, wind shaping stone, embracing at last the teachings of Elder Souma. 
Their world changed with rumors of a risen Shuriman god-emperor. Yasuo and Taliyah parted ways, though he gifted her the treasured maple seed, its lesson now learned.
As she returns to her native desert sands, Yasuo has set out for his own village, determined to put right his mistakes..."


Riven has a new biography on her Universe Page!

Biography: Riven, The Exile

"Built on perpetual conflict, Noxus has never had a shortage of war orphans. Her father lost to an unnamed battle and her mother to the girl’s own stubborn birth, Riven was raised on a farm run by the empire on the rocky hillsides of Trevale. 
Physical strength and ferocious will kept the children alive and working on the hard scrap of land, but Riven hungered for more than simply bread on the table. She watched conscriptors from regional warbands visiting the farms, year after year, and in them, she saw a chance at the life she dreamed of. When she finally pledged the empire her strength, she knew Noxus would embrace her as the daughter she longed to be. 
Riven proved a natural soldier. Young as she was, her years of hard labor allowed her to quickly master the weight of a longsword taller than herself. Her new family was forged in the heat of battle, and Riven saw her bond to her brothers- and sisters-in-arms as unbreakable. 
So exceptional was her dedication to the empire, that Boram Darkwill himself recognized her with a runic blade of dark stone, enchanted by a pale sorceress within his court. The weapon was heavier than a kite shield and nearly as broad—perfectly suited to Riven’s tastes. 
Not long after, the warhosts set sail for Ionia as part of the long-planned Noxian invasion. 
As this new war dragged on, it became clear that Ionia would not kneel. Riven’s unit was assigned to escort another warband making its way through the embattled province of Navori. The warband’s leader, Emystan, had employed a Zaunite alchymist, eager to test a new kind of weapon. Across countless campaigns, Riven would gladly have given her life for Noxus, but now she saw something awry in these other soldiers—something that made her deeply uncomfortable. The fragile amphorae they carried on their wagons had no purpose on any battlefield she could imagine... 
The two warbands met increasingly fierce resistance, as if even the land itself sought to defy them. During a heavy rain storm, with mud pouring down the hillsides, Riven and her warriors were stranded with their deadly cargo—and it was then that the Ionian fighters revealed themselves. Seeing the danger, Riven called to Emystan for support. 
The only answer she received was a flaming arrow, fired out from the ridgeline, and Riven understood this was no longer a war to expand the borders of Noxus. It was to be a complete annihilation of the enemy, no matter the cost. 
The wagon was hit straight on. Instinctively, Riven drew her sword, but it was too late to protect anyone but herself. Chemical fire burst from the ruptured containers, and screams filled the night—both Ionian and Noxian falling victim to an agonizing, gruesome death. Shielded from the scorching, poisonous mists by the magic of her blade, she bore unwilling witness to scenes of horror and betrayal that would haunt her forever. 
For Riven, memories of the time that followed come only in fragments, and nightmares. She bound her wounds. She mourned the dead. But, most of all, she came to hate the sword that saved her life. The words carved into its surface mocked her, reminding her of all she had lost. She would find a way to break it, severing her last tie to Noxus, before the dawn. 
But when the blade was finally shattered, still she found no peace. 
Stripped of the faith and conviction that had bolstered her entire life, Riven now wanders Ionia’s battle scarred landscape in self-imposed exile, seeking atonement from those who cannot forgive: the land, the dead, and herself."

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