Riot has finally confirmed that on the 26th of August, we will be blessed with the arrival of an entirely new region called Targon. This is an exciting time for all LoR fans and for me it’s a chance to once more delve into the rich lore of Runeterra. So buckle up as I tell you a tale about a holy mountain, space dragons and brave humans, who became a vessel for the denizens of the stars above Targon.
The Holy Mountain
Targon is unlike any other region in LoR. It’s neither a continent, like the beautiful Ionia, nor is it a united kingdom or empire, like the glorious Demacia. It’s simply a desolate mountain in one of the most isolated and hostile corners of Runeterra called Mount Targon. Its peak is the highest in all of Runeterra and has therefore attracted the attention of worshippers as well as daring adventurers. Those who brave the thin air, icy storms and steep cliffs will find out that the apex of Mount Targon is actually a mystical gateway to the stars above and the gods that reside among them.
One of these lucky few, who endured all the trials of the holy mountain, was a disgraced Demacian called Taric. He overcame all the trials Mount Targon forced him to endure and reached the summit far above the clouds, where he was then chosen for a higher purpose. Taric transformed and was bestowed with the power of celestial magic by the gods of Targon. Now he is the protector of all life on Runeterra, which shows in his ability to make his supported allies tough and even sharing buffs he receives with them. With the help of Taric’s celestial powers you allies will become invincible in combat, but what tragedy set Taric on his path towards ascension?
Fallen from Grace
Taric was an unusually gentle soldier in the demacian army. He often set his duties aside so he could instead explore ancient ruins, observe exotic animals and take in the many colors of the twilight sky. For Taric, everything in this world was beautiful and worthy of protection, a motto he still holds up to this day. Slow and steadily he rose through the ranks, even so he lacked focus and discipline. Along the way he even made friends with the now famous Garen, who would later set him on a path towards ascension.
One day Taric’s superior, the Sword-Captain of the Dauntless Vanguard, was killed along with his entire retinue. Taric was assigned this position in order to serve and protect the Sword-Captain, but where did they find Taric? Not besides his dead brothers in arms on the ground, but frolicking in a nearby ruin as he liked to do.
The shocked Taric was made personally responsible for the murders, because he had abandoned his post in an act of gross negligence. If his loyal friend Garen hadn’t intervened, Taric would have been executed for his crimes. Instead he was sentenced to an ancient form of punishment, the Crown of Stone. A criminal sentenced to endure the Crown of Stone was expected to travel to the far south of Runeterra, in order to climb Mount Targon and therefore atone for their sins. In reality this traditional punishment was effectively a form of exile and most just left Demacia to start a new life somewhere else. Taric however was determined to atone for the deaths of those he failed to protect and set out towards the mountain.
As he climbed ever closer to the fabled peak of Mount Targon, the trials became harsher and harsher. His dead comrades haunted him while Taric buried his fingers into the solid rock walls of the mountain. Many times his body and soul was almost shattered by the relentless forces of Mount Targon, which served an early death to most adventurers. But Taric proved to be one of the very few humans who could endure the wrath of the mountain. At the top, above all the clouds, he could see the star filled sky of Targon and its many constellations. There he met a magical being, whose body was made out of the beautiful crystals that grow inside the mountain. It was the Arbiter of the Peak and he was there so he could tell Taric about the Aspects who watch over Runeterra and how fate had guided him here from the moment he was born. Taric calmly took in the revelations, as if he had already known the truth all along.
A Celestial, the Aspect of the Protector, took notice of Taric and his desire to protect the beauty of Runeterra. These Aspects are a group of godlike beings and are each represented through a constellation in the night sky above Mount Targon. They keep a watchful eye on Runeterra from Targon Prime, a realm beyond Runeterra, and change the course of history through their mortal hosts. These earthly servants of the Aspects are called the Targonian Ascended, mortal humans who were bestowed with supernatural powers by one of the many Aspects so that they could enforce their agenda on Runeterra. Only a handful of Targonian Ascended exist but their far-reaching influence can be felt all throughout Runeterra’s history.
One of the ways to become a host and ascend is to climb Mount Targon, simply because successfully enduring the hardships of this mountain will sometimes garner the attention of an Aspect. Taric proved himself by overcoming the trials of Mount Targon and became the host of the Aspect of the Protector, sworn to defend all life and preserve the beauty of the world.
Taric was hardly the first one to reach the peak, even so most die when trying to climb the mountain. Before him, fate led a handful of other mortals towards the peak, chosen for a higher purpose by the Aspects of Targon Prime.
War of the Sun and Moon
Mount Targon’s hostile nature only allows a few, hardy communities to thrive in its shadow. The two who dominate this region are deeply religious tribes called the Solari and Lunari. One, the Solari, worshipped the sun while the Lunari prayed to the moon. They used to coexist peacefully, but just like when the sun rises and its rays chase away the night, the Solari drove off the heretic Lunari in a bloody conflict and forced them underground.
Two friends, Leona and Diana, were born as Solari but the latter rejected their belief in the sun’s unquestioned superiority over everything and that the moon is an enemy of the sun. Diana decided to climb to Mount Targon’s holy peak, hoping that there she would find the answers to her burning questions about the true nature of the sun and moon. Leona was deeply concerned for Diana and chose to accompany her on this perilous climb. Their fates proved to be intertwined and both stepped foot on the peak. Two Aspects took interest in the two friends and chose them as their new hosts, transforming them into ascended targonians. Leona became the host of the Aspect of the Sun and Diana became the host of the Aspect of the Moon.
Even so the sun and moon are supposed to exist in peaceful harmony, the different beliefs of Leona and Diana escalated into a fierce fight. Leona is a devoted follower of the Solari faith and wants to preserve their dominance at every cost. Meanwhile Diana saw the Solari as deeply flawed and wanted to revive the Lunari faith and bring back balance to the two religions, possibly because of the influence of the Aspect of the Moon. Diana almost killed Leona at the conclusion of their battle, but simply couldn’t finish off her friend. Now Diana fights for the oppressed Lunari to bring back the balance between the cults of the sun and moon.
However, the Aspects and their constellations in the sky aren’t the only godlike beings who reside in Targon. An ancient dragon and rival of the Aspects was locked away many millenias ago, now seeking revenge against those who imprisoned him.
At the very beginning, just as the universe blinked into existence, a being of unimaginable power was born. It was a celestial dragon of cosmic proportion, who used his power to bring light to the dark void of space. He became the creator of suns, constellations and thousands of worlds. In all the eons he spent painting the night sky with his celestial creations, he never encountered a being of equal power. So the dragon started to believe himself to be an exceptional being, deserving of worship by lower creatures. But who created the creator? Nobody knows.
One day he was lured to a world he hadn’t created by sweet praises of its tiny inhabitants, the ancient Targonians of Runeterra. The dragon simply couldn’t resist the allure of their compliments, his giant ego craved for acknowledgment of his self appointed godhood. The Aspects and Targonians called him Aurelion Sol, a name that was supposed to flatter him even more. As an offering they crafted a grandiose crown for Aurelion Sol, which he readily accepted. He was deceived however, the crown was enchanted with a magical trap which would make Aurelion Sol their prisoner. He was blinded by his ego and the golden shine of their gift however. He realized his foolish error too late and the crown clinged to his head, making the immortal dragon the hostage of the Aspects of Targon.
The Aspects used the crown to extract Aurelion Sol’s power, channeling it into chosen mortals through a massive disk constructed in the desert empire of Shurima. These beings became the Shurima Ascended, a different breed than the naturally created Targonian Ascended. His rage against Targon boiled for thousands of years but even the resolve of a wrathful dragon slowly dwindled. The great disk was buried beneath the sands and the Shurima Ascended disappeared with it, leaving no one to remember their captive. As Aurelion Sol witnessed the fall of Shurima he lost all hope of ever being free again and for the first time in his long lifespan, he was filled with self pity instead of rage. He began to quietly reflect on his life and the arrogant choices that lead to this situation. That was until the arrival of a certain mischievous Aspect.
The Twilight of Change
Zoe was just a young teenager when the Aspect of Twilight took an interest in her unusually playful demeanor for a child of the Solari. Angry cries filled the air of a village in Targon as Zoe was chased by her teachers for skipping a class. Unconcerned she taunted her teachers and led them on a wild chase until Zoe was finally cornered. The curious Aspect offered her a portal, which led directly to the peak of Mount Targon. Of course Zoe immediately leaped backwards through the portal and then accidentally fusioned with the Aspect of Twilight.
This was a rather unusual way of creating a Ascended Targonian, since most other mortals had to prove themselves through great feats like triumphing against impossible odds or climbing Mount Targon. But the other Aspects simply accepted Zoe’s ascension as a twist of fate and let her do whatever she wanted, something they would quietly regret later on.
For centuries Zoe used her powers to travel to different dimensions, discovering strange worlds and the even stranger interdimensional creatures which inhabit them. After Zoe got bored of fawning over bizarre but cute critters with her childish, wild eyed wonder, she decided to return to Runeterra.
Still a teenager with no brakes on her vocal chords, she started to annoy the other Aspects and Mystics of Mount Targon until they started to ignore her in hopes that she would get bored and leave. Then Zoe left Mount Targon and traveled to different points in Runeterra’s history, wanting to learn about what happened in her absence. Through her time traveling Zoe learned important events like a cataclysm she called “The Great Ghost Party”, more commonly known as the Ruination which created the Shadow Isles and claimed thousands of lifes.
After this journey Zoe stumbled upon a “Space Puppy”, Aurelion Sol. The dragon of course hated her for being a Targonian and threw bloody curses after her. Zoe however couldn’t be deterred, she felt bad for the prisoner and wished to free him. Aurelion Sol eventually ceased the hostilities and tolerated her presence, even promising that he may not kill her first if he ever gets free and enacts his revenge upon Runeterra.
The appearance of the Aspect of Twilight is a sign that great change may soon impact Runeterra, Zoe herself can feel this in her guts. This change could either be a new golden age or could herald the arrival of a great calamity in Runeterra, possibly in the form of a vengeful space dragon with almost limitless power. Zoe in the end is unconcerned about the spinning of fate, she simply lives her immortal life as an eternal child with no responsibilities.
I hope you had as much fun as I had learning about the lore of this mystical and unique region after the long wait since Rising Tides!