|The Radiant Dawn|
|Release Date:||July 13, 2011|
|Health:||576.16 (+ 87)|
|Health Regen:||8.5 (+ 0.85)|
|Mana:||302.2 (+ 40)|
|Mana Regen:||6 (+ 0.8)|
|Attack Damage:||60.04 (+ 3)|
|Attack Speed:||0.625 (+ 2.9%)|
|Armor:||47 (+ 3.6)|
|Magic Resist:||32.1 (+ 1.25)|
- Previous Bio
- League Judgement
|Imbued with the fire of the sun, Leona is a warrior templar of the Solari who defends Mount Targon with her Zenith Blade and Shield of Daybreak. Her skin shimmers with starfire while her eyes burn with the power of the celestial Aspect within her. Armored in gold and bearing a terrible burden of ancient knowledge, Leona brings enlightenment to some, death to others.
To live in the lands surrounding the towering peak of Mount Targon is to embrace a life of hardship. That many willingly do so is testament to the power of the human spirit to endure anything in search of meaning and higher purpose. As harsh as the rugged foothills of the mountain’s base are, it is nothing compared to the hardships borne by those who dwell on the mountain itself.
Living high on Targon is fraught with danger. When the glittering mist wreathing the summit descends, it does not come alone. All manner of otherworldly things are left behind when it withdraws; radiant creatures that kill at random and muttering voices that whisper unspeakable secrets to drive mortals mad.
Eking a living from mountain plants and their precious herds, the Rakkor tribe dwells at the very limits of human endurance; honing their warrior skills to fight the war at the end of the world. Rakkor means Tribe of the Last Sun, and its people believe that many worlds have existed before this one, each of which has been destroyed by a great catastrophe. Its seers teach that when this sun is destroyed there will be no more, so its warriors must be ready to fight those who seek to extinguish its light.
To the Rakkor, battle is an act of devotion, an offering to keep the sun’s light shining. All members of the tribe are expected to fight and kill without mercy or hesitation, and Leona was no exception. She learned to fight as soon as she could walk, mastering sword and shield with ease. She was fascinated by the mists wreathing the summit and often wondered what might lie beyond them. That fascination did not stop her from fighting the ferocious beasts, inhuman entities and pallid, eyeless strangers that came down the mountain.
She fought and killed them as she had been taught until one day when young Leona encountered a golden-skinned boy with horns and bat-like wings wandering on the mountainside. He did not speak her language, but it was clear he was lost and frightened. His skin shimmered with soft light, and though everything she had been taught since birth told her to attack, Leona could not bring herself to murder someone so obviously helpless. Instead, she led the boy to a pathway leading to the summit, watching as he walked into a ray of sunlight and vanished.
When she returned to the Rakkor, she found herself accused of failing in her duty to the sun. A boy named Atreus had seen her leading a creature of the mountain to safety instead of killing it. Atreus had told his father what Leona had done and he in turn denounced her as a heretic for going against the beliefs of her people. Leona did not dispute this, and the laws of the Rakkor allowed only one sentence for such a transgression – trial by combat. Leona would face Atreus in the fighting pits beneath the noonday sun, and by its light would judgment be rendered. Leona and Atreus were evenly matched; her warrior skills were formidable, but Atreus had ever been single-minded in his pursuit of martial excellence. Leona took up her sword and shield, Atreus his long spear, and none who gathered around the pit could predict the battle’s outcome.
Leona and Atreus fought beneath the blazing sun, and though both bled freely from dozens of wounds, neither could land a deathblow. As the sun dipped toward the horizon, an elder of the Solari marched into the Rakkor camp with three gold-armored warriors and called a halt to the duel. The Solari were adherents of a martial faith built around sun worship, whose unforgiving tenets dictated life around and upon Mount Targon. The elder had been led to the Rakkor by dreams and an ancient Solari prophecy that spoke of a warrior whose fire burned brighter than the sun, a daughter of Targon who would bring unity to the celestial realm. The elder believed Leona was that daughter and upon learning the nature of her transgression, his belief was only strengthened.
The tribal seers warned against interfering in the duel, but the elder was adamant; Leona must come with him and become one of the Solari, to be fully instructed in their beliefs. The Rakkor were fiercely independent, but even they paid heed to the holy decrees of the Solari. The warriors lifted Leona from the pit and bore her wounded body from the Rakkor toward her new life.
The Solari temple was a towering citadel on the eastern slopes of Mount Targon, a glittering spire of gold-veined marble and polished granite. Here, Leona learned the ways of the sacred order – how they worshipped the sun as the source of all life and rejected all other forms of light as false. Its strictures were absolute and unyielding, but fueled by her belief in the elder’s prophecy, Leona excelled in this disciplined environment, devouring her new faith’s teachings as a parched man in a desert seizes upon fresh water. Leona trained every day with the warrior order of the Solari, the Ra-Horak - a Rakkor title which means Followers of the Horizon - honing her already fearsome skills with a blade into something sublime. In time, Leona rose to command the Ra-Horak, becoming known around Mount Targon as a just, devoted and, some might say, zealous servant of the Sun.
Her path changed forever when she was called to escort a young member of the Solari to the heart of the temple. The girl’s hair was purest white and a shimmering rune glowed upon her forehead. Her name was Diana, a troublemaker well known to Leona from the exasperated woes of the temple elders. Diana had gone missing months before, but now returned, clad in a suit of pale armor that glinted with strange silver light. Diana claimed to bring great news, revelations that would shake the Solari to its foundations, but which she would only reveal to the temple elders.
Leona brought Diana in under armed guard, for her warrior instinct sensed something awry in the girl’s demeanor. Presented to the elders, Diana spoke of the Lunari, an ancient and proscribed faith that venerated the moon, and how all the truths the Solari clung to were incomplete. She described a realm beyond the mountaintop, a place where the sun and moon were not enemies, where new truths could show them fresh ways to look at the world. Leona felt her anger build with every word Diana spoke, and when the elders rejected her words and named her a blasphemer, Leona knew it would be her blade that ended the heretic’s life.
Leona saw Diana’s incredulous fury at the elders’ denial, but before she could react, the white-haired girl hurled herself forward. Blinding light exploded from Diana’s outstretched hands, and orbs of silver fire burned the elders to dust in the blink of an eye. White flames surged in a hurricane of cold lightning and blasted Leona from the chamber. When she regained consciousness, she found Diana gone and the Solari leaderless. As its remaining members struggled to come to terms with this attack on their most sacred space, Leona knew there was only one path open to her. She would hunt down and destroy the heretic Diana for the murder of the Solari elders.
Diana’s trail was easy to find. The heretic’s footsteps were like shimmering mercury to Leona’s eyes, leading ever higher up the slopes of Mount Targon. Leona did not falter, climbing through a landscape that seemed strange and unfamiliar, as though she followed paths that had never existed until this moment. The sun and moon passed overhead in a blur, as if many days and nights passed with her every breath. She neither stopped to eat nor drink, letting fury sustain her beyond what should have been humanly possible.
Eventually Leona reached the top of the mountain, breathless, exhausted, starved and stripped of all thought save punishing Diana. There, sitting on a rock at the top of the mountain was the same golden-skinned boy whose life she had spared as a child. Behind him, the sky burned with blazing light, a borealis of impossible colors and the suggestion of a majestic city of gold and silver. In its fluted towers and glittering minarets, Leona saw how the Solari temple echoed its magnificence and fell to her knees in rapture.
The golden-skinned boy spoke to her in the old Rakkor tongue, telling her he had been waiting for her to follow him since that day, and that he hoped she wasn’t too late. He held out his hand and offered to show her miracles and to know the minds of gods.
Leona had never turned from anything in her life. She took the boy’s hand as he smiled and led her into the light. A column of searing illumination stabbed down from the heavens and engulfed Leona. She felt an awesome presence filling her limbs with terrifying power and forgotten knowledge from the earliest epochs of the world. Her armor and weapons burned to ash in the cosmic fire and were in turn reborn as ornate warplate, a shield of sunlight wrought in gold and a sword of chained dawnlight.
The warrior who came down the mountain looked the same as the one who had climbed it, but inside Leona was much changed. She still had her memories and thoughts, was still master of her own flesh, but a sliver of something vast and inhuman had chosen her to be its mortal vessel. It gifted her with incredible powers and awful knowledge that haunted her eyes and weighed heavily upon her soul; knowledge she could only ever share with one person.
Now, more than ever, Leona knew she had to find Diana.
| "If you would shine like a sun, first you must burn like one."
|THE LIGHT BRINGER
The raiders attacked before dawn; fifty wolf-lean men in iron hauberks mantled with strange furs and bearing ash-dulled axes. Their steps were swift as they entered the settlement at the foot of the mountain. These were men who had fought as brothers for years, who lived in the heartbeat between life and death. A warrior in battered scale armor and bearing a heavy-bladed greatsword over his shoulder led them. Beneath his dragon-helm, his face was bearded and raw, burned by a lifetime of war-making under a harsher sun than this.
The previous settlements had been easily overcome; little challenge for men weaned on battle. The spoils were few and far between, but in this strange land, a man took what he could get.
This one would be no different.
Sudden light flared ahead, sunlight gleaming brightly.
Impossible. Dawn was an hour or more away.
The leader raised a callused hand as he saw a lone figure standing athwart the settlement’s street. He grinned as he saw it was a woman. Finally, something worth plundering. Light enflamed her, and the grin fell from his face as he stepped closer and saw she was clad in ornate warplate. Auburn hair spilled from a golden circlet and sunlight glinted from her heavy shield and long-bladed sword.
More warriors emerged from the street, taking their place to either side of the woman, each gold-armored and bearing a long spear.
“These lands are under my protection,” she said.
Leona lifted her sword as the twelve warriors of the Ra-Horak formed a wedge with her at their center. Six to either side, they swung their shields and hammered them down as one. Leona made a quarter turn and locked her own shield into place at the apex. Her sword slid into the thrust groove beneath the shield’s bladed halo.
She flexed her fingers on the leather-wound grip of her sword, feeling the surge-tide of power within her. A coiled fire that ached to be released. Leona held it within her, letting it ease into her flesh. Embers flecked her eyes and her heart pounded in her chest. The being she had joined with atop the mountain longed to burn these men with its cleansing fire.
Dragon-helm is the key. Kill him and the rest will falter.
Part of Leona wanted to give the power in her free reign; wanted to scorch these men to smoldering bone and ash. Their attacks had killed scores of people who called the lands around Mount Targon home. They had defiled the sacred places of the Solari, toppling sacred sun stones and polluting the mountain springs with their excretions.
Dragon-helm laughed and swung his greatsword from his shoulders as his men moved away from him. To fight with such a huge weapon and keep it in constant motion needed space. He yelled something in a guttural tongue that sounded more like animal barks than anything human, and his warriors gave an answering roar.
Leona let out a hot breath as the raiders charged, their braided beards flecked with frothed spittle as they pounded toward the Ra-Horak. Leona let the fire into her blood, feeling the ancient creature merge its essence with hers more completely, becoming one with her senses and gifting her with perceptions not of this world.
Time slowed for Leona. She saw the pulsing glow of each enemy’s heart and heard the thunderous drum-beat of their blood. To her, their bodies were hazed with the red fires of battle-lust. Dragon-helm leapt forward, his sword hammering Leona’s shield like a stone titan’s fist. The impact was ferocious, buckling the metal and driving her back a full yard. The Ra-Horak stepped back with her, keeping the shieldwall unbroken. Leona’s shield blazed with light and Dragon-helm’s mantle of fur smoldered in its furnace heat. His eyes widened in surprise as he hauled his enormous sword back for another strike.
“Brace and thrust!” she yelled as the rest of the raiders hit their line. Golden spears thrust at the instant of impact and the first rank of attackers fell with their bellies pierced by mountain-forged steel. They were trampled underfoot as the warriors behind them pressed the attack.
The shieldwall buckled, but held. Axes smashed down, sinews swelled and throats grunted with the effort of attack. Leona thrust her sword through the neck of a raider with a scar bisecting his face from crown to jaw. He screamed and fell back, his throat filling with blood. Her shield slammed into the face of the man next to him, caving in his skull.
The Ra-Horak’s line bent back as Dragon-helm’s sword slammed down again, this time splintering the shield of the warrior next to her. The man dropped, cloven from neck to pelvis.
Leona didn’t give Dragon-helm the chance for a third strike.
She thrust her golden sword toward him and a searing echo of its image blazed from the rune-cut blade. White-hot fire engulfed Dragon-helm, his furs and hair instantly igniting and his armor fusing to his flesh like a brand. He shrieked in hideous pain, and Leona felt the cosmic power inside her revel in the man’s agony. He staggered backward, somehow still alive and screaming as her fire melted the flesh from his bones. His men faltered in their assault as he fell to his knees as a blazing pyre.
“Into them!” shouted Leona, and the Ra-Horak surged forward. Powerful arms stabbed spear blades with brutal efficiency. Thrust, twist, withdraw. Over and over again like the relentless arms of a threshing machine. The raiders turned and fled from the Ra-Horak’s blood-wetted blades, horrified at their war-leader’s doom. Now they sought only to escape.
How and why these raiders had come to Targon was a mystery, for they had clearly not come to bear witness on the mountain nor make an ascent. They were warriors, not pilgrims, and left alive they would only regroup to kill again.
Leona could not allow that and thrust her sword into the earth. She reached deep inside herself, drawing on the awesome power from beyond the mountain. The sun emerged from behind its highest peaks as Leona thrust her hand to the light.
She dropped to one knee and slammed her fist on the ground.
And sunfire rained from the sky.
|On the upper slopes of Mount Targon, the warriors of the Rakkor live and breathe only for war. However, Targon's peak is reserved for a special group of Rakkoran who answer to a higher calling. Members of this group, called the Solari, retire their mantles of war, choosing instead to devote their lives to reverence of the sun. According to legend, the Solari were formed by a warrior who could call the raw might of the sun down upon his enemies in combat. He claimed Mount Targon's summit, the point on Valoran closest to the sun, for his solar devotion, a tradition which generations of Solari have preserved to this day.
Leona's parents were traditional Rakkorans, both bred for the heat of battle. To them, Leona was a problem child. She was capable of fighting as fiercely as any other - including her childhood friend, Pantheon - but she did not share their zeal for killing. She believed that the true worth of a soldier lay in her ability to defend and protect. When it came time for her Rite of Kor, a ceremony in which two Rakkoran teens battle to the death for the right to bear a relic-weapon, Leona refused to fight. For this, the Rakkoran leaders ordered her execution, but when they tried to strike the fatal blow, sunlight burst forth, bathing Mount Targon in light. As it faded, Leona stood unharmed and her executioners lay unconscious around her. The Solari immediately claimed Leona, demanding that her sentence be repealed. She donned the golden armor of the Solari and they bestowed upon her the sword and shield passed down from the ancient sun-warriors of legend. The Solari helped Leona focus her abilities, so that she might bring light to even the darkest of battles.
|"The sun's rays reach all of Runeterra, so too must the image of its champion."|
Date: 1 July, 21 CLE
Leona’s movements are smooth, calculated. Her walk, though elegant, is not the trained gait of nobility. Her steps are meant for war.
Although her armor and form lend her an air of sophistication, it's evident that she has never seen a place like the Institute of War. She runs a finger along the smooth etchings in the marble doors of the Reflection Chamber, and starts when they glide open. Overcoming reluctance, she steps into the tendrils of darkness reaching to embrace her.
Reflexively, Leona channeled energy into her shield, willing the sun's light to emanate from it. Though she was sure of her technique, she remained swathed in darkness. No child of the Rakkor fears the shadows, but Leona felt uncharacteristically vulnerable deprived of the sun's rays. Had she become so reliant on its presence already? The memory of her awakening still felt fresh, even though the sun had since completed nearly half its cycle.
A stiff wind called up familiar goose bumps on her skin, and she was there again, on the snowy slopes of Mount Targon, the day of realization. Targon's wintery breeze carried with it the pungent stench of blood, as lives of "unworthy" teens were claimed by the Rite of Kor. It was a grisly ceremony, though for Targon's limited food supply, a necessary one. Until the solstice of their 16th year, every Rakkor child was trained and taught in preparation for their momentous battle.
Leona knew every boy and girl who had fallen that day. She tried to ignore the crippling concern that their deaths may have been her fault. She had, more than once, stood between them and the more aggressive children. She delighted in thwarting bullies. Had she been selfish? Her instructors insisted that every battle missed was a lesson lost, that she was doing more harm than good. But Leona couldn’t sit idly by while her friends suffered.
Now they were dead. Maybe the instructors were right.
She searched the eyes of watching parents, wondering how they could allow their children to be slaughtered. She later realized that the Kor was as much a test for those observing as it was for the participants. It was a ritual about understanding and accepting the Rakkor way of life. To succeed was to earn your place amongst the tribe, to be trusted to wield the terrifying relic-weapons of your ancestors, to be prepared for the sacrifices that would be expected of you. To fail was to enrich Rakkor soil with your body and blood. Even in death, you would serve the tribe.
It was her turn now.
All around the pit, warriors beat their shields, screaming and cheering against the roar of the wind. The cold bit to the bone. Leona was given a small buckler and a short sword. Her opponent, Molik, was armed with a spear and shield.
Molik was a poor fighter, all things considered. He was slow and he hadn't mastered his footing. A well-timed sweep never failed to topple him. He was one of the boys Leona defended before, and now she would be his executioner. His parents stood out amongst the crowd, faces grim. They knew the failures of their son. Leona's own parents watched with anticipation. Today their concerns about her would be put to rest. Her reluctance to conform would either be pushed aside or taken to the grave. Compassion had no place with the Rakkor.
Leona didn't want to die.
She looked at Molik. His gaze was steel. In any other place or time, he would be wearing a goofy smile and confiding in Leona his passion for woodworking. His skill with a carving knife was enviable, though it didn't translate at all to the sword. Now, he was a warrior of the Rakkor – emotionless and unmerciful.
With a cry from the leader, the combat commenced. Molik bellowed and lunged forward, spear aimed for her heart. She deflected the blow with the buckler and kicked him hard in the shins. Molik yelped and fell forward, managing to roll to a crouch. He swept the spear around, hoping to catch Leona off balance, but she was far too fast for him.
She raised one leg and stomped hard, splintering the end of the spear beneath her bare foot. Molik reared up, swinging the shield in a broad arc. His movements were slow, predictable. Leona dove into the blow, ducking beneath his shield. Inside his defenses, she struck him in the ribs with the flat of her blade. He doubled over, clutching his side with his shield arm. She leveled her sword in his face.
His defeat, though expected, was disappointing. She caught his father's gaze and all she could see was shame. Molik himself looked ready to cry. He knew this would be his final day, but he'd hoped to die with more dignity. He’d hoped his parents would cheer at his final fight.
Leona couldn't stand it.
She hurled her sword and buckler to the ground and faced Jagen, the Kor leader.
"Finish it," he said, frowning.
She locked eyes with him. "No."
The crowd fell silent. She could make out her mother's horrified gasp. So much for her parents' day. At least the shame of her actions would far overshadow Molik's poor performance. Jagen nodded to Pantheon, who stood at his side spattered in blood from his own Kor. He was beside her in a single leap. He leaned close.
"You need to do this, Leona." This would be her only warning.
She didn't break eye contact with Jagen. "I won't."
Jagen stepped down into the pit. "There is only one punishment for crimes against the tribe." He waved a hand and spearmen surrounded Leona. "As you well know."
Leona exhaled. She tried in vain to decide what she would like her last thought to be. Instead she just let her head loll back, the sun filling her view. She swore she could feel its warmth cutting through Targon's icy winds.
Then her world became blinding light.
She opened her eyes, expecting to see Jagen and the others sprawled across the ground as they had been that day. She expected to see the Rakkor gaping at her, their faces a mix of awe and terror. Terror was something she’d never seen on the faces of her elders before that day.
Instead, Jagen stood in front of her. This wasn't how the memory was supposed to go. He clutched the base of a spear in his right hand. She followed it to her stomach, where the tip disappeared into a growing red pool.
Leona suddenly couldn't breathe.
"This was how it was meant to go, Leona." Jagen's voice lost its menace. Now it was oddly soothing, almost reassuring.
She sputtered. Blood was pouring from her wound, her vision blurred.
"Is this what you are without the sun?" He pressed against the spear.
Until that moment, shock alone comprised her awareness. Now excruciating pain shot through her system. It was exactly what she needed.
Her eyes came to sharp focus. In the years since her awakening, she had always regretted forcing the sun to come to her aid. She was Leona, the Radiant Dawn, and she was the sun's avatar on Runeterra. It was her place to serve the sun, not vice versa.
With a swift chop of her right hand, she snapped the shaft of the spear. Jagen's eyes widened. Her fingers tightened into a fist and she backhanded him hard across the temple. He stumbled.
"I am never without the sun." She caught him squarely in the chest with a front kick, sending him to the ground. Then she was over him, letting her blood drip on his face.
To her surprise, he laughed.
"Why do you want to join the League, Leona?"
She froze. He managed to take her completely by surprise.
"Come now, why do you want to join the League?" His tone was jovial, triumphant.
She took a long breath. "I am chosen of the sun. The League should feel privileged-"
"I do believe that you’ve convinced yourself of that." He smiled. "But there’s more to it."
Leona hesitated. Truth lurked behind his words.
"You want to make it up to them," he said. "The Rakkor children you failed to protect."
Leona bit her tongue.
"How does it feel, exposing your mind?"
Jagen knew he wouldn't get a response. He vanished and she was in the Institute again, although she hardly noticed. She stood slumped for what felt like hours. Her shield hung weakly at her side. A faint light suddenly glowed from it.
It hit her: perhaps the reason she had been spared was to do exactly as he said. She truly wanted to. Her shoulders rose, and the sun burned brightly from her shield. The League of Legends would indeed have the champion of the sun.
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