Noxus is an expansionistic empire that reveres strength in all its forms. Seeking to unify all nations under one banner, Noxus is at constant war with Demacia and many Freljordian tribes and has also conquered some foothold in Shurima and Ionia.
As strength can come in many shapes, a Noxian’s worth is not determined at birth but via their service to the empire. This meritocratic approach makes the modern Noxus a very inclusive nation. The military is an integral part of the Noxian society, and in line with the region’s ideals, everyone from the common soldier to the elite Trifarian Legion are allowed to put their natural talents to use instead of fitting them into a certain way of waging war. Honoring those that meet their end in the service of the empire, the nation reveres Kindred’s Wolf, the essence of violent death.
The stone gateways known as Noxtoraa are signs of the empire’s authority in a region.
The nation of Noxus was born when the barbarian Noxii tribes united and conquered the Immortal Bastion from the undead tyrant Mordekaiser with the inside help of the enigmatic sorceress LeBlanc and her cabal. The secret organization, known as the Black Rose, would continue to manipulate the newborn nation’s politics from behind the scenes for the next millennia.
The conquest of the Immortal Bastion (and consequently the birth of Noxus) is considered as year 0 in Runeterran calendars.
Around 350 years later, the nobles elected the first Grand General to lead the nation’s ambition of unifying the Runeterra under Noxian rule. This system held for over 600 years until the disgraced general Jericho Swain took control of Noxus by disposing the former leader Boram Darkwill. Swain’s revolution saw the formation of a new council of three leaders instead of having only one Grand General that could easily be manipulated. This so-called Trifarix was formed by the core values of Noxus that were inherited from the three biggest Noxii tribes: vision, might, and guile. These roles were filled by Swain himself, Darius and the representative of the assassin guilds, a mysterious masked woman only known as the Faceless One.
The Noxian virtues depicted by the busts of Swain, Darius, and LeBlanc.
While Swain initially courted the old noble houses to gain foothold in the assassin guilds, the new system quickly eroded their status as governorships and military commissions were no longer inherited, but anyone could rise the ranks with on the merit of their own abilities. This has gained Swain a lot of enemies from the old noble houses, some of whom have consequently joined organizations seeking to end Swain’s rule, like LeBlanc’s Black Rose. Thus, the greatest threat to Noxus might not come from outside, but from within.
Darius – the Hand of Noxus
“I have my orders.”
Darius is the figurehead of the Noxian army and one of the three leaders in the Trifarix council.
Darius grew up as an orphan in the port city of Basilich. The constant battle for survival on the streets hardened him and his little brother Draven, and when Noxus conquered the city, their commander Cyrus saw strength in the pair and inducted them into his warhost. Over the years, Darius took part in countless war campaigns, and kept rising the ranks thanks to his achievements.
Eventually he was named Hand of Noxus by Emperor Boram Darkwill, who then commanded his warhosts to Freljord to subdue the barbarian tribes. The brutal campaign dragged on for years in a stalemate before Darius finally returned to the capital city to demand a reconsolidation, but upon arrival he found out that Jericho Swain had seized the power in a coup that was supported by his brother Draven, among others.
While many noble houses expected Darius to avenge the fallen emperor, he saw that his duty was to the empire and not any single leader. He had respected Swain for a long time and spoken against his discharge after his failure in Ionia and was also impressed by his vision for Noxus’ future. As Swain invited him as one of the three leaders in the newly formed Trifarix, he pledged to form a new elite force, Trifarian Legion, to the lead the nation into a glorious age of conquest.
It is implied that unbeknownst to Darius, he had a son Decius (who later died in the war against Freljord) with his childhood friend and ex-lover Quilletta.
Darius comic Blood of Noxus.
Short story "Proclamation of the Trifarix".
Darius has a small role in the short story "The Principles of Strength".
Darius is shortly seen in the Ruination cinematic:
Draven – the Glorious Executioner
“Time for the main event.”
Draven is a former soldier who has found his true calling from the reckoning pits of Noxus.
Growing up as an orphan on the streets of Basilich, the headstrong Draven often got into fights that his older brother Darius had to finish. When Noxus came, it was Draven’s overconfident attempt at killing their commander that brought the brothers into Cyrus’ attention and into his warhost.
Whereas Darius embraced the soldier life, Draven slowly grew bored and yearned for more recognition and glory. Eventually he ended up with a respectable contract in the Reckoning pits, but as the empire’s wars continued, the fighting spectacles started to lose their appeal. Draven found himself spending more and more time in the drinking halls and gambling dens of the city, until Swain found him, and enlisted him to help with overthrowing Boram Darkwill, possibly to ensure his brother’s support for the cause.
The nobles that refused to honor Swain’s succession got a death sentence, and as one such man tried to escape the arena, Draven quickly cut him down to earn the crowd’s favor. Thus, he became the Glorious Executioner, turning routine bouts into audience-pleasing spectacles. Eventually Draven’s showmanship would inspire a new style in Reckonings as the combatants turned into entertainers as well, and battles lead to death less frequently. Draven has become the most famous reckoner, but he still occasionally leaves the fighting pits to join warhosts for some military missions.
Katarina – the Sinister Blade
“Let the bloodshed begin!”
Born as the eldest daughter of General Du Couteau, Katarina started to hone her skills with the blade already in her childhood. Her father was notoriously hard to impress, but she just became more determined to prove her worth to him and the empire.
Her first mission, given by his father, was to assassinate the line officer of the opposing army. Katarina saw this as waste of her talent, and instead she sneaked deep into the enemy camp and slit the throat of their commander to make his father proud. However, the army retaliated next morning by attacking her father’s camp, led by the line officer Demetrius who Katarina was supposed to kill.
With dozens of Noxians killed and the general himself barely escaping with his life, he was furious to Katarina and reminded her that the best assassins do not seek personal glory. Katarina stormed out to complete her original mission and was so distracted with her thoughts that she was almost killed by another assassin Talon, who had followed Katarina on her father’s command. Escaping the confrontation with just a scarred eye, she returned six hours later to her father with Demetrius’ head. While Katarina knows that she can never regain her father’s favor, she remains dedicated to redeeming herself and becoming the weapon Noxus needs her to be.
- Her father is currently missing.
- Even though never mentioned directly in the canon lore, a relationship between Garen and Katarina has been rumoured for a long time, and LoR’s special quotes between the pair do nothing to stop that.
The short story "Name of the Blade", telling the story of Talon recalling the assassination attempt of Katarina.
Vladimir – the Crimson Reaper
“I've dressed for the occasion... in red.”
Vladimir is a master of hemomancy whose skills have allowed him to live unnaturally long. To keep his true nature hidden, Vladimir has disappeared in the pages of history numerous times only to reappear on another moment in time when his past lifetime has been all but forgotten.
Legends tell of a young prince of the forgotten kingdom of Camavor, who was traded to the darkins as a hostage to keep the nation safe. The darkins allowed him to study their dark arts of crafting flesh and transmuting blood, and his devotion saw him win his patron’s favor. Eventually, Vladimir killed the fallen god-warrior and absorbed enough power to renew flesh beyond a mortal lifespan, a vile ritual he has repeated countless times since.
During Mordekaiser’s dark reign Vladimir met the sorceress LeBlanc, and the pact between the two would later evolve into the cabal organization Black Rose. While the cabal’s leaders usually preferred to manipulate events from the shadows, Vladimir was not an uncommon guest in the Noxian courts. His hemomantic arts also found their way to the military and aristocracy of Noxus, and among these practitioners the cult Crimson Circle was formed, devoted to the blood magic as much as to Vladimir himself.
When Swain overthrew the easily manipulated Boram Darkwill, Vladimir once again reappeared from the shadows in the guise of a benevolent socialite who opposes the new Trifarix council. However, his return may have come too soon as time had not yet washed away the stains of his previous lifetime, and Swain himself has begun to grasp Vladimir’s true nature.
Swain – the Noxian Grand General
“By my hand will Noxus rise.”
Born into one of the oldest patrician families, Jericho Swain’s life was destined to be one of privilege. However, he uncovered that the some of the noble houses that had helped Boram Darkwill to power were secretly scheming against him. Swain personally executed the most prominent Black Rose conspirators, including his parents, and was rewarded with a commission in the army.
Swain’s military reputation was secured with countless victories in the deserts of Shurima. During that time, he grew to notice how the empire was driven by nothing but greed. During the invasion of Ionia, the aging Darkwill retasked entire warbands to scour the land in search for anything to extend a mortal lifespan. The depletion of forces eventually led to general Swain’s defeat at the Battle of the Placidium, where his knee was shattered, and his left arm cut off by Irelia.
Laying on the verge of death, a raven approached Swain, and in its eyes, he saw reflections of the evil cabal controlling Noxus, and realized how they had betrayed him. After being cast out of the army for his failure, he set out to find the secrets within the Immortal Bastion. He ultimately found Raum, the raven-like demon of secrets who preyed upon the dying and consumed their secrets, as well as a way to wield its power. Physically restored by the demon, Swain and his allies seized control of Noxus in a single night after years of careful planning.
Ending Darkwill’s futile war campaigns in Ionia and Shurima and establishing the new ruling council of Noxus were just a beginning as Swain continued to revolutionize the Noxian politics by stripping the noble houses of their privileges. This has not left him without enemies, and the Black Rose continues to oppose his rule in secret. But with his demonic powers gathering him knowledge, Swain is aware of more than most anticipate.
Swain’s LoR level up animation shows him slamming the Noxian emblem over the map of Ionia.
LeBlanc's short story is a prelude to Swain's.
Short story "Proclamation of the Trifarix".
Swain has a small role in the short story "The Principles of Strength".
Swain's LoL Champion teaser:
Riven – the Exile
“The past is a burden we must learn to bear.”
Riven was orphaned as a child and grew up on a farm in Trevale. The years of physical work proved to be an advantage when she joined the Noxian military as she could easily master swords taller than herself. Her fellow soldiers became her new family, and eventually Boram Darkwill himself rewarded her dedication to the empire with a runeblade enchanted by a pale sorceress.
Riven’s life changed completely in the Ionian war. When escorting commander Emystan’s warband transporting Zaunite chemical weapons, her unit got stranded and ambushed. The commander’s only answer to her call for support was a flaming arrow hitting the Noxians’ wagon, bursting the containers and releasing the toxic mists within. While the magic of her runic blade was able to keep her safe, all Riven saw around her was agony and death of Noxians and Ionians alike, and she fled the battlefield in horror. The thought of Emystan’s betrayal made her hate the blade and she began to look for a way to breaking it and thereby cutting all ties to the empire. Her mission led her to the revered Elder Souma, and while he was successful, the violent shattering of the blade killed the elder. Distraught, Riven fled with the blade’s shards, unknowingly causing Yasuo to take the blame for the elder’s death.
During her self-exile in Ionia, Riven came across the old couple Asa and Shava Konte who adopted her despite losing their two sons in the war. Eventually, Riven was made to stand in trial for the death of Elder Souma, but as it was found to be an accident, she was merely sentenced to serve the Ionian community, allowing her to keep living in her adoptive parents’ farmhouse. Her peaceful life would not last long as shortly after her adoptive mother’s death, a band of Noxians, including some of her former sisters-in-arms, came to bring Riven and her blade back to the empire. She reluctantly agreed to return to Noxus in chains to protect her adoptive father from any harm.
Her hunting party is depicted in the cards released alongside her:
Riven's future? Awaken cinematic shows her fighting in a Noxian arena (also against Draven).
LeBlanc – the Deceiver
"History forgets, but the Black Rose remembers."
Sorceress LeBlanc, the enigmatic leader of the Black Rose organization, has worked behind the scenes to her own ends before the nation of Noxus was even born. Her secretive cabal consists of those with magical talents and influential nobles supporting their cause. Over time, powerful individuals like Vladimir and Elise have joined the cult, invited by LeBlanc personally.
While her origin is shrouded in mystery, the earliest mention of LeBlanc is the legend of a pale sorceress who belonged to Mordekaiser’s inner circle a millennium ago. LeBlanc betrayed the undead warlord as she and her loyalists managed to cut the Iron Revenant off of his source of power, the well of souls, forcing his soul to leave his armor and the material realm. This allowed the barbarian tribes to conquer the Immortal Bastion, which led to the founding of Noxus. The cabalists hid Mordekaiser’s empty armor away deep within the Immortial Bastion where it has remained to this day.
Capable of creating multiple illusions of herself, LeBlanc has been sowing chaos in more than one nation at once, often pushing them on the brink of war. One of her latest victims was the previous leader of Noxus, Boram Darkwill. Despite the Black Rose’s help in his bid for the throne, Darkwill refused their counsel, which made LeBlanc manipulate Swain into revealing the cult’s involvement. She let herself to be executed among the conspirators – or at least so it seemed. She later returned to whisper promises of extending life into the ear of the ageing and increasingly paranoid Darkwill. Together, they plotted Swain’s fall in Ionia before the unexpected happened and the demon-empowered general seized the throne from Darkwill. Putting the nation’s interests ahead of his own, Swain has proven to be tough to corrupt even for LeBlanc, and she is now seeking to end his rule one way or another.
Swain's short story is a continuation to LeBlanc's.
Short story "Proclamation of the Trifarix" mentioning the Black Rose's influence.