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|“||Behold! The might of the Shadow Isles!||„|
|“||In death, as in life, [the Iron harbinger] bellows the twisted, dark command. And in death, as in life, Hecarim's loyal knights answer, charging forth to slaughter.||„|
|~ The Iron Order as described in Legends of Runeterra.|
The Iron Order, also known as Spectral Riders or the Black Mist Vanguard, are a villainous faction in the lore of the multiplayer online battle arena game League of Legends.
A fearsome legion of knights under the command of Hecarim, the Iron Order once served their king in a long-forgotten empire. However, after the army's invasion of the Blessed Isles and the resulting Ruination, the spectral knights now serve the Black Mist and its Harrowings, and will kill anyone just to feel the thrill of battle once more.
Long ago in an ancient empire, the Iron Order was a brotherhood of knights built on the foundations of honor and duty, sworn to protect their king's lands from foreign invaders. The order was full of strong and proud knights, the most proud of which was Hecarim, a headstrong lieutenant who led the empire to many victories. Viewing Hecarim as a potential successor, the knight commander took Hecarim under his wing and trained him, hoping to teach the young knight honor and discipline. But Hecarim's hunger for glory disturbed the commander, who told him privately that he had changed his mind and he should never be the Iron Order's leader.
Hecarim was furious, but kept this a secret, simply nodding his head in understanding. But the next time the commander was surrounded in the heat of battle, Hecarim refused to help him, leading to the commander's death. Unaware of Hecarim's betrayal, the knights of the Iron Order named Hecarim as the new commander, much to his satisfaction.
Reign of the Mad King
After the assassination attempt that left the queen poisoned, the king sent his most trusted general, Kalista, away to scour Runeterra for a cure. In her absence, Hecarim and the Iron Order took a more hands on role as the king's enforcers, tasked with protecting him and the queen no matter the costs. Driven to insanity by his grief, the king became paranoid, seeing enemies that did not exist at every corner of his empire. Nevertheless, the Iron Order obeyed the king's wishes and rode out, setting fire to villages and entire towns whilst slaughtering hundreds of innocent civilians. Dissent was quelled with ruthless efficiency, earning the Iron Order a reputation as some of the most brutal knights in all of Runeterra.
When the queen died, the Hecarim saw this as an opportunity to take advantage of the king's misery, prompting him to let the Iron Order invade foreign lands past the empire's borders. However, Kalista returned before Hecarim's knights could ride out, and after much convincing, she agreed to take the king and his army to the Blessed Isles in hopes of ending his madness so he could accept the queen's death.
The Iron Order arrived on the Blessed Isles capital of Helia, and when the masters of the city refused the army passage, the knights struck them down on the king's orders, and killed Kalista and the soldiers that refused to attack. Hecarim then led a raid on the entire city, pillaging everything for riches and magical artifacts.
The soldiers basked in the glory of battle, and were surprised when the king's meddling at the Waters of Life caused a great explosion of magical energy that cursed the Blessed Isles themselves. The mist around them turned a sinister, sickly black, and, fearing for their lives, followed Hecarim to the ships as he ordered a retreat. But it was too late, as one by one the knights were sucked into the Black Mist, twisted into undead abominations that would be doomed to patrol the Shadow Isles forevermore.
Even centuries later, the Iron Order remains loyal to the Ruined King and Commander Hecarim, answering the call to battle whenever they are needed. Every Harrowing, the spectral riders ride out to slaughter the living in the mists, hoping they can feel the thrill of battle to remind them of glories passed.