Previous Update: Shon-Xan Opener
The warrior sighed wearily.
It wasn’t supposed be like this. As the cries of the wounded rose from the battlefield around her, the young woman dropped to one knee, gripping her shattered blade’s hilt tightly. All they wanted was a new home.
The Noxian refugees had approached her shortly after the end of the Void War. They were townsfolk and craftsmen from the small towns under Noxus’ control, as well as farmers from the plentiful fields which fed the great city state. Each and every one of them had lost their livelihoods, their homes, and in many cases their families to the Void swarm which had ravaged Noxus. They had heard that there were unsettled lands that many nations were opening to Noxian refugees, wild tracts of earth where they might find a new start and a new life.
Even surrounded by grief and the charnel scents of the battlefield, the swordswoman felt a stir of pride in her heart. These had been true Noxians. Beaten but unbroken by the otherworldly force which had swept away the only lives they had ever known. Determined to make their own way in the face of nearly insurmountable odds, to prove themselves worthy of the lives they had once known, and perhaps even to improve their lot in life beyond what it had once been.
And so she had agreed. Agreed to lead the small military force they had assembled, made up of a mixture of volunteers from the Noxian Military and survivors of the local militias which had given the Noxian villagers time to safely reach the capital. It was in no ways an official military unit, and the Noxian soldiers were technically on leave for the duration of their time with her, but that suited her perfectly well. Her duty was to the people of Noxus, and not to the tyrant who currently ruled the nation.
A loud croak broke her from her reverie, and she looked up to see a crow pecking at the eyes of a fallen Ionian warrior. She picked up a rock and hurled it at the creature, driving the bird away from its meal.
She had been unsure of the wisdom of Noxian refugees seeking shelter on an Ionian island, even one that was mostly uninhabited. The settlers, however, had been full of confidence, and had brought numerous trade goods and peace offers with which to appease the Ionians, and give them time to work an agreement out with the powers which watched over the islands.
Then, just before they were to set sail, word reached them that the League had ordered that every nation was strongly encouraged to make a small portion of its lands available for the resettling of Noxian refugees, in honor of the nation’s valiant stand against the Void, and the sacrifices of its people. The colonists had rejoiced, for Ionia was bound to adhere to the League’s dictate and allow them to settle upon Shon Xan, the southernmost, almost uninhabited island of the Ionian Archipelago.
They set sail with light hearts, dreaming of the opportunities to be had in this new land. The voyage was long, but the colonists had prepared well, and it was made with as much comfort as could be expected aboard the crowded vessels.
She was again broken from her memories by the moan of a wounded Noxian soldier, lying in the red mud where he had fallen. The swordswoman lay down her blade and knelt over him, motioning to the medics who were combing the battlefield searching for survivors. She looked into the young man’s eyes and held his hand, watching as the spark of life dimmed and finally was extinguished. A man dressed in white armor hurried up to her, but she waved him off. There were others who would still require his help more than this poor lad. She closed his eyes and stood once more, ignoring the medic’s hurried salute as he recognized her.
Things had gone so well at first. The ships had made landing on the Southwest tip of Shon Xan and quickly began setting up makeshift settlements which would serve until more permanent ones could be arranged. Messengers had been sent out to the few small Ionian villages which shared the island, with gifts, assurances of peace, and myriad thanks for allowing the Noxians to settle upon their island.
The responses to the messengers was the first clue that not all was as it should have been. Though the Ionian were friendly enough, they had no idea that the Noxians had been coming, and had received no notice from Karma or the Ionian leaders regarding what to do with them. In the absence of any countermanding mandates, however, the Ionian villagers seemed happy enough to explore the option of peaceful coexistence, once they were certain that the Noxian refugees were what they seemed, and not an invasion force in disguise. Fortunately, the Noxus invasion of Ionia had left this island relatively untouched, and so there was little of the anti-Noxus feeling to be found throughout the rest of Ionia.
A month passed, and more permanent settlements were constructed, Noxian style villages sprouting on Ionian shores. Many of the Ionian natives even aided the colonists, trading goods and manufacturing techniques for help with constructing buildings from strange local materials, and advice for the farmers on what sorts of crops could grow in the new climate of the Isles.
But then, something changed. Communication with the Ionians abruptly halted, and those who had taken to living amongst the Noxians disappeared. They refused to say anything regarding why, merely looking at the Noxians sadly and walking into the forests, never to return. The attacks began the day after the last Ionian had left the Noxian settlements, Ionian warriors dressed primarily in the colors of the main island, members of the regular Ionian army, destroyed the smallest of the Noxian settlements.
The few survivors of the settlement’s militia hastened back to her command post, and she knew war was once again upon her. The Ionian council had not believed their protestations of peace. They had decided to drive out what they saw as the poison of Noxian presence, and planned to do so ruthlessly.
The swordswoman looked out again over the battlefield. The sun sank below the horizon, and her eyes glittered in the starlight. Long ago, in this land, she had faced a similar battlefield. Her squad, which she had led on innumerable missions, her friends, her only real family, choking to death on the gaseous poison of the Mad Chemist in an experiment gone horribly right. A broken blade, shattered in an oath of vengeance against the corruption of her homeland. She understood only too well the pain the Ionians had suffered in the first war with Noxus, but that did not make this any more right. She would defend her people. She was Riven. But no longer Exile.
Next Update: Ionia’s Rage