This weekend will feature two sets of shoutcasted matches. Each set will be comprised of three matches, the first beginning at 12:30 p.m. Pacific.
- Stream: twitch.tv/LeagueFactions
- Discussion Thread: March 7–8 Featured Matches
- Champion Lists: Intermission Rosters
As always, we expect we will have some last-minute gaps in the rosters. If you’d like to play a part in Factions history, show up! We’ll pull from the crowd if need be.
We’ve brought together more lore writers for this weekend, with the aim of giving these matches a stronger place in the Factions storyline. These matches will also have stat point prizes, meaning that the factions that win today will hit the next storyline with a small but noticeable power boost.
Saturday: Noxus v. Shurima
The League of Legends has not recognized Shurima as a member-state. It remains Council territory, patrolled by Institute personnel and international peacekeeping forces, whose primary mission is to ensure that treasure hunters and Icathian cultists don’t go blowing open the Floating Pyramids and waking up a horde of zombies. Shurima recently came to the world’s attention through the discovery of the Void-tainted dark sand (or pyrikhos in Shuriman) there, which launched the so-called Hextech Revolution. The sands of Shurima were also the site of the most gruesome battle in decades, and one of the very few times in the League’s tenure that the armies of Demacia and Noxus met in open combat.
On 16 September, 24 CLE, shortly after the resolution of the Shuriman dispute, Azir entered the Institute of War as a Champion of the League. The self-proclaimed “Emperor” had been wandering the desert for ages, and was widely regarded as a madman; since entering the League, he has proven otherwise, meeting with officials from the various member-states and quite deliberately constructing a case for the admission of Shurima to the League. Many alarming discoveries were made in the wake of the Battle of Shurima, and classified reports of these discoveries are now circulating throughout the Institute, and the intelligence agencies of its member-states. Shurima, long regarded variously as no-man’s land, a sad joke, a mining pit, and a charity case for Valoran, is beginning to be taken seriously.
Azir has now made his first move. On 4 March, 25 CLE, he invoked a virtually unknown provision of the charter creating the League’s protectorate over Shurima to petition the Council for the immediate return of a set of stone tablets currently in Noxian possession. Almost two hundred years ago, during the height of the Rune Wars, a leyline explosion brought one of the Floating Pyramids crashing down into the sands. Noxian scouts scoured the wreckage, and these tablets were among the very few artifacts still intact; they were brought back to Noxus, where they remain to this day.
The Zaunite lawyers retained by Noxus ever since the Battle of Shurima immediately objected, arguing that the protectorate of Shurima had no standing before the Council to take any action, let alone to sue a founding member-state. Grand General Jericho Swain soon entered the chambers, and after some brief taunting of Azir—”A collapsed Floating Pyramid; sounds like a contradiction in terms”, “How stable are the rest of these pyramids; perhaps you’d recommend the installation of warning signs”, “And you’re certain you have Summoners lined up; you do know you have to pay them, don’t you?”—declared that the High Command would voluntarily submit to Council jurisdiction in this matter, and that the Summoners and Champions of Noxus eagerly awaited the opportunity to meet Azir and his Shuriman compatriots on the Fields of Justice.
Outside the audience chamber, tempers soon flared. “Noxus is nothing more than a bloodthirsty city-state, with an even more murderous ally!” declared Summoner Rextreff, apparently on retainer from Azir for these matches. Summoner Ozzymandious had a more succinct explanation for supporting Noxus: “I’m Noxian.”
While Azir described the tablets with remarkable specificity, he declined to give any indication as to their significance, nor has anyone been able to find such information in the League’s libraries. Should he fail to reclaim them, however, it is expected that Noxian scholars will be looking at these tablets very closely indeed.
The stands were packed for these matches, which many viewed as Shurima’s first (albeit unofficial) appearance on the Fields of Justice, and an informal test to see if Azir could assemble a team of Summoners and Champions capable of facing down a League member state. And Shurima’s so-called Emperor had chosen a truly ambitious first adversary: none other than Noxus itself. The Noxian gallery exploded with shouts of rage and indignation when Ezreal (whose contempt for Noxus is quite well known) fired one last ethereal bolt into their nexus and detonated it. Noxus rallied in the second match, and it seemed that perhaps Shurima’s initial success would prove to be a fluke, when Sivir (under the clever guidance of Summoner XalkXolc) “backdoored” the Noxian nexus and secured Shurima’s victory, placing another two Shurima-friendly judges on the panel that would resolve the dispute over the tablets. There was a brief recess, during which members of the High Command met with the Noxian Champions and Summoners in private. When they emerged, Katarina DuCouteau herself was at their fore, and Noxus struck back with a decisive win, locking out Azir’s more tenuous claims and avoiding a public relations catastrophe for the formidable superpower.
The Council announced its verdict on 10 March, 25 CLE. The majority of the tablets would be returned to Shurima, while a subset of the tablets whose histories were more poorly documented (and which debatably fell under the jurisdiction of a separate treaty on member-state research) would remain with Noxus. Although these reports could not be confirmed, there are rumors that shortly after the decision’s announcement Azir and Swain met privately in one of the League’s hex-sealed halls.
Sunday: Ionia v. Zaun
Initial rosters have been set, but signups are still open for Sunday’s matches.
In 24 CLE, Ionia refused the League’s entreaties to all the nations of Valoran to accept Noxian refugees from the Void War, which left vast swaths of Noxian land contaminated and entirely uninhabitable. Heedless of Ionia’s declaration, desperate refugees fled across the sea to Ionia, and established a makeshift settlement in the wilderness of Shon-Xan. War soon followed. While Ionia drove Noxus from its shores, inflicting grievous casualties in the process, Noxus did (through the use of Zaunite techmaturgical bioweapons) retain control over a small patch of land on which the refugee settlement stood. The end of the dispute led to a tense standoff between the refugees and neighboring Ionians, until Karma intervened during the Nyroth dispute and chastised the local Ionians into more ordinary relations with the settlement’s inhabitants.
A new source of tension has arisen. A Zaunite megacorporation, DaiKro Inc., has secured an arrangement with Noxus authorizing it to begin construction of a techmaturgic ore extractor on the grounds of the settlement: apparently, the settlement was built on top of a previously undiscovered deposit of arcanically active ore, believed to be generated by a subterranean proto-nexus. DaiKro representatives insist that every precaution will be taken to ensure a safe and profitable operation; Ionia is not inclined to believe them. Karma has managed to delay the installation of the machinery by calling for a Council survey of the area and for the preparation of a League report on the likely consequences of this operation.
The local Ionians are quite literally up in arms. The clans who control Shon-Xan have distributed weapons among the townsfolk and declared that they will use force if necessary to prevent the installation of this extractor. (This has been a very significant embarrassment for Karma, who has been forced to publicly denounce the actions of her own countrymen; if Zaun prevails, she may well find herself having to deploy Ionian troops to disperse the mobs so that Zaun can install its extractor, a most distasteful prospect for her.) As for Zaunites, most of them see Ionia’s reaction as paranoid and anti-progress, stressing that whatever risks there may be, this operation could be extremely profitable and perhaps even lead to new breakthroughs in arcane science.
DaiKro representatives are offering very generous pay to any Summoners who will assist them in overcoming this “bureaucratic snafu” with the League. Meanwhile, Karma is pulling strings and calling in favors to assemble an elite team of Summoners to thwart this rapacious undertaking.
“If Noxus agreed that Zaun could build this extractor, then Zaun can build the extractor,” argued Summoner RednaxelaKor. “Ionia lost their juristiction of the area in the Shon-Xan dispute, and their citizens need to realize that this is out of their hands now.”
Summoner Junpei Tenmyouji was quick to retort. “I’m really tired of those Noxian asses trying to come in and take our land, y’know? Twice in a row, they’ve tried to take our stuff on Shon-Xan. Now, I know what you’re thinking. ‘Junpei, Zaun isn’t a part of Noxus.’ Well, they’re peas in the same pod, if you ask me. I don’t know why the League is allowing them to take our stuff—if you ask me, that magic ore belongs to us and us alone. But I’m ready to defend it.”
Some questioned whether the astonishing power Zaun exhibited during the Shuriman dispute might have faded over time. If so, it was not apparent in Sunday’s matches. Zaun won overwhelming victories in the first two matches, before Ionia came back in a nail-biting and quite prolonged third match. The Institute’s marshals had to intervene with arcane force when the crowds become mobs and crashed together in a riotous brawl. Several Summoners were taken into custody after being found in the midst of this tussle; they denied using any spells or hexes during the incident, but will be subjected to days of questioning before the Institute issues a ruling on that topic.
Klaudia Theston, spokeswoman for Zaunite megacorporation DaiKro Incorporated, issued a public statement on 10 March, 25 CLE welcoming the Council’s decision to allow installation of the ore extractor in Shon-Xan. She emphasized that the factory would be employing many of the Noxian refugees from the Void War who had established that settlement last year, providing them with gainful work that would allow them to rebuild their community after certain unfortunate incidents brought about by Ionia’s attack on this civilian population. Some believed she was attempting to bait Irelia, a known firebrand, who was appearing on Ionia’s behalf; however, the Captain of the Guard merely stated that Ionian observers accompanied by soldiers from the local clans would be stationed around the extractor to ensure compliance with the League’s environmental safety mandates. These environmental rules, which Karma was able to work into the Council’s decree on the strength of that solitary victory, will place some limits on the Zaunite operation’s acceptable emission levels, while also securing a section of the ore deposits for Ionian use.