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"On this day, yours will become the face of discipline, training, humility, and balance. Today, you become Kinkou."
— Keeper of Masks
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Kinkou Keeper of Masks

The The Kinkou Order Crest.jpg Kinkou Order is an ancient organization of Ionia Crest icon.png Ionia which is dedicated in preserving a balance between the physical world and the spirit realm, without showing a preference to either.

Lore

Champions of The Kinkou Order


Other Related Champions

  • Irelia Irelia fought alongside Akali Akali and Kennen Kennen during the second Noxian invasion.
  • Jhin Jhin was a serial killer previously hunted and imprisoned down by Master Kusho, Shen Shen, and Zed Zed.
  • Karma Karma fought alongside Akali Akali and Kennen Kennen during the second Noxian invasion.
  • Kayn Kayn is a member of the Shadow Order and as such is an enemy of the Order.
  • Sion Sion fought against Akali Akali and Kennen Kennen during the second Noxian invasion.
  • Yasuo Yasuo fought alongside Akali Akali and Kennen Kennen during the second Noxian invasion.
  • Zed Zed was a former member of the Order and the original heir to the Eye of Twilight, before he "killed" his master and made his own Shadow Order.

History

The Order

"Good and evil are not truths. They are born from men and each sees the shades differently."
— Master Kusho
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The Kinkou Order is an ancient clan originating in the Ionian Isles and are the self-appointed keepers of Ionia's sacred balance. The order's loyal acolytes walk the spirit and material realms, mediating conflicts between them and, when necessary, intervening by force.

The Order employs a triumvirate of shadow warriors to uphold its causes in the world. The three warriors are each entrusted with one of three sacred duties: the pure impartiality of Watching the Stars, the passage of judgment in Coursing the Sun, and the elimination of imbalance by Pruning the Tree. 

The Golden Demon

For years, the province of Zhyun was plagued by the infamous “Golden Demon.” A monster slaughtered scores of travelers and sometimes whole farmsteads, leaving behind twisted displays of corpses. Armed militias searched the forests, towns hired demon hunters - but nothing slowed the beast's grisly work.

In desperation, the Council of Zhyun sent an envoy to beg Great Master Kusho for help. Kusho feigned an excuse for why he couldn't help, but a week later, the master, his son Shen Shen, and star apprentice Usan Usan, disguised themselves merchants and moved to the province. In secret, they visited the countless families emotionally shattered by the killings, dissected the horrific crime scenes, and looked for possible connections or patterns to the murders.

Their investigation took four long years, and left the three men changed. Shen, known for his wit and humor, became somber; and Zed, the brightest star of Kusho's temple, began to struggle with his studies. 

Depicted in a variety of plays and epic poems, the capture of the “Golden Demon” would be the seventh and final great feat in the illustrious career of Lord Kusho. On the eve of the Blossom Festival in Jyom Pass, Kusho disguised himself as a renowned calligrapher to blend in with the other guest artists. Then he waited. The famed “Golden Demon” was actually a mere stagehand in Zhyun's traveling theaters and opera houses working under the name Khada Jhin Khada Jhin.

Instead of execution, Great Master Kusho ordered the criminal imprisoned. Though he and Usan both thought the killer deserved heavier punishment, Shen accepted his father's decision. He strived to emulate the Eye of Twilight's dispassion, and so found himself failing to console a bitter and resentful Usan.

The Order of Shadows

Zed, the Master of Shadows

Usan's Usan's heart bloomed with resentment as he was haunted by the memories of Jhin's grisly murders, and rising tensions between Ionia and the imperialistic forces of Noxus only worsened his disillusionment. Usan refused to let lofty notions of balance stand in the way of punishing evil.

Into the temple's hidden catacombs, he discovered an ornate, black box. When he peered inside shadows enveloped his mind, feeding his bitterness with contempt for the weak, and hinting at an ancient, dark magic.

Usan demanded the Kinkou strike at the Noxian invaders with every means at their disposal. When Kusho refused, Usan turned his back on the order that had raised him, changing his name to Zed.

Unbound by Kinkou doctrine, he raised a following of warriors to resist Noxus but soon enough he realized his own abilities would never match his ambitions without the black box. Amassing his new acolytes, he returned to the Kinkou temple, where he was met by Kusho. The elderly man laid his weapons at Zed's feet, imploring his former pupil to renounce the shadows in favor of a more balanced path.

Moments later, Zed emerged back onto the temple steps. In one hand, he grasped the box—and in the other, his freshly bloodied blade.

The Kinkou, frozen with shock, fell in droves as Zed's warriors cut them down. He then claimed the temple for himself, establishing his Order of Shadow, and began training his acolytes in the ways of darkness.

That happened as Shen was far from home, he felt a jolting imbalance within the Kinkou Order—rushing back, he came upon the survivors of the bloody coup. Repressing his anguish, he led the remnants of the Kinkou to safety in the eastern mountains.

Zed's transformation of the Kinkou into the merciless Order of Shadow was almost complete. But taking up his father's spirit blade, as well as the title of Eye of Twilight. Shen intended to rebuild what had been lost, his role was not to seek vengeance, but to rebuild the order. Even though they were now few, they would train neophytes to restore and grow their numbers once more.

The Kinkou and the Order of Shadow came to an uneasy accord in the wake of the Noxian invasion of Ionia.

The Rogue Assassin

Five years ago a fourteen years old Akali Akali, daughter of Mayym Jhomen Tethi, formally entered her Kinkou training, determined to succeed her mother as the new Fist of Shadow.

Though she did not possess the magical abilities of many of her fellow acolytes, she proved to all she was worthy of the title, in time allowing her mother to step down and help mentor the younger neophytes.

But Akali's soul was restless. She saw that her homeland continued to suffer. She questioned whether the Kinkou were truly fulfilling their purpose. Pruning the Tree was meant to eliminate those who threatened the sacred balance... yet Shen would always urge restraint. Her youthful precociousness turned to outright disobedience. She argued with Shen, she defied him, and she took down Ionia's enemies her way.

In front of the whole order, she declared the impotence of the Kinkou, all its talk of spiritual balance and patience accomplishing little. Ionians were dying in the material realm, and that was the realm Akali would defend. She did not need the order anymore.

Shen let her go without a fight, knowing this was a path that Akali must walk alone. Perhaps that path would bring her back one day, but that would be for her to decide.

Locations

The Kinkou Order controls, or previously controlled, several temples and/or monasteries around Ionia, primarily on the Ionian Mainland of the Navori and Shon-Xan regions.

Navori

  • Temple of Koeshin: Located in Northwestern Navori, it is presumably the main headquarters of the Kinkou Order during the time of Master Shen Shen. The White Cliffs Inn, located closely to the Temple. is the place where Shen Shen and Zed Zed first met after decades in order to find Jhin Jhin.
  • Temple of Thanjuul: Located in Southeastern Navori, it is the Kinkou Order temple of Navori during the time of Master Kusho. During the siege of Thanze, Zed and his acolytes came for the Tears of The Shadow. Currently the Temple is controlled by the Shadow Order.

Shon-Xan

  • Temple of Xuanain: The village Xuanain is located in the southeastern part of Shon-Xan. It is located near a Kinkou Temple which was abandoned long ago until it became the new base of operation for the order after the death of Master Kusho during the Noxian invasion of Ionia. East of Thanjuul, high up in the mountains where glacial water ran. It was beside a lagoon of turquoise water, peppered with purple lantern florae. Although they were near the village of Xuanain, their haven was difficult to access, with its great elevation and surrounding hills.

Zhyun

  • Temple of Raishai: The Village of Raishai is located in the southern part of Zhyun. The Raishai acolytes had been among the Kinkou order's most faithful, supporting the edict of pacifism during the Noxian Invasion of without question. The turmoils of the war lead to deep spiritual unrest in this area, which attracted evil spirits. It was only with the help of Kennen Kennen that this evil was dispelled.

Government

Keepers of the Sacred Balance

Ionia The Kinkou.jpg

The Kinkou are the self-appointed keepers of Ionia's sacred balance. Their acolytes walk both Runeterra and the spirit realm, mediating conflicts between them and, when necessary, intervening by force. During the war with Noxus, the Kinkou Order was ousted from its ancient temple by the followers of Zed, himself a former acolyte.

Roles

The Kinkou Order is led by a triumvirate, each representing one of the three fundamental philosophies of the Kinkou: the pure impartiality of Watching the Stars, the passage of judgment in Coursing the Sun, and the elimination of imbalance by Pruning the Tree.

  • The Eye of Twilight: entrusted with the sacred duty of Watching the Stars - exercising judgment untainted by prejudice. Shen Shen is the current Eye of Twilight, inheriting the title from his deceased father Kusho.


  • The Fist of Shadow: entrusted with the sacred duty of Pruning the Tree - eliminating those who threaten the equilibrium of Valoran as well as training the future assassins of the order. The first Fist of Shadow was Tagaciiry. Akali Akali inherited the title from her mother Mayym Jhomen Tethi. She resigned due to disagreements with the other leaders. This role is currently left unfilled.
"The Fist of Shadow strikes from the cover of death itself. Do not impede the balance."
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  • The Heart of the Tempest: entrusted with the sacred duty of Coursing the Sun - tirelessly conveying the justice of the Kinkou. Kennen Kennen is the first and only Heart of the Tempest and the oldest member of the Kinkou. The Kinkou Order was originally founded by two: the Eye of Twilight and the Fist of Shadow. Kennen Kennen realized that the Kinkou’s leadership required another aspect. A consensus builder, one who would prevent the warlike Fist from domineering over the introspective Eye, and likewise keep the Eye’s tireless observation from paralyzing the Fist. He suggested this notion to Tagaciiry and offered to become the first Heart of the Tempest. As part of the new triumvirate with the Eye of Twilight and the Fist of Shadow, Kennen passed judgment on how best to preserve balance, and his affability and diplomacy kept the Kinkou in harmony. The Heart of the Tempest is also in charge of communicating the judgments of the order to those affected by them.
"The Heart of the Tempest beats eternal... and those beaten remember eternally."
— Kennen
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Members

Notable Kinkou
Master Akali Jhomen Tethi Akali Jhomen Tethi Former Fist of Shadow. Daughter of Mayym Jhomen Tethi. Currently a rogue who occasionally aids Shen Shen and other Kinkou members.
Master Althon Master Render.png Althon Former Kinkou member. Killed by Zed.
Acolyte Ionia The Bow, and the Kunai.jpg Faey Kinkou member. Lost her leg after she saved a young Akali from a rampaging spirit.
Acolyte Hayda Kinkou member stationed at the Temple of Raishai in Zhyun.
Acolyte Hisso Kinkou member. Was with Faey and Akali when raiders attacked near the Temple of Xuanain.
Acolyte Isa Kinkou member. Was with Faey and Akali when raiders attacked near the Temple of Xuanain.
Master Kennen Kennen The first and only Heart of the Tempest. This Yordle is integral to remembering all of the stories of the Kinkou that have since passed on. He is the longest-standing member, having joined the order centuries ago.
LoR Non-Champion Non-Spell Indicator.png2 Keeper of Masks Kinkou member. This Spirit is tasked at protecting the Kinkou's ancient secrets as well as initiating new acolytes into the order.
Kusho Master 2 Render.png Master Kusho Former Master of the Kinkou Order and Eye of Twilight. Faked his death to secretly gain leadership of the Serrated Dirk item.png Navori Brotherhood during the final days of the Noxian invasion of Ionia. Killed by Zed Zed after he was consumed by the Tears of Shadow.
Master Mayym Jhomen Tethi Former Fist of Shadow before retiring. Mother of Akali.
Acolyte Omi Kinkou member. Was with Faey and Akali when raiders attacked near the Temple of Xuanain.
Master Shen Shen Current Eye of Twilight and Master of the order. Son of Master Kusho.
Master Tahno Jhomen Tethi Kinkou member whose status is currently unknown, killed during Zed's attack on the Temple of Thanjuul. Father of Akali.
Master Tagaciiry Former and first Fist of Shadow. Was instrumental in convincing Kennen to joining the order and tasked him to remember and safeguard all their stories.
Acolyte Taij Kinkou member. Was with Faey and Akali when raiders attacked near the Temple of Xuanain.
Acolyte Usan Usan Former Kinkou member. Was intended to be the next Eye of Twilight. Currently the Master of the The Order of The Shadows Crest.jpg Shadow Order after he faked the murder of Master Kusho to prevent many Kinkou members from abandoning their order. Later took on the name Zed.
Acolyte Yajiro Kinkou member. Was with Faey and Akali when raiders attacked near the Temple of Xuanain.
Acolyte Xenn Kinkou member. Was with Faey and Akali when raiders attacked near the Temple of Xuanain.
LoR Non-Champion Non-Spell Indicator.png1 Unnamed Master Kinkou member. 'Mentors' young neophytes in the ways of the order. Seemingly fraudulent or lazy.
LoR Non-Champion Non-Spell Indicator.png4 Unnamed Acolyte Kinkou member. Seen climbing the cavern walls of unknown Kinkou settlement equipped with a glowing green blade.
LoR Non-Champion Non-Spell Indicator.png4 Unnamed Acolytes Kinkou members. Seen scouting the areas around a Kinkou temple.
LoR Non-Champion Non-Spell Indicator.png1 Unnamed Acolytes Kinkou members. Seen battling a Shadow Fiend.
LoR Non-Champion Non-Spell Indicator.png4 Unnamed Acolyte Former Kinkou member. Killed by Ren Shadowblade.
LoR Non-Champion Non-Spell Indicator.png1 Unnamed Neophyte Kinkou member. Seen sparing with numerous other unnamed neophytes and masters.

Trivia

  • The Order's name "Kinkou" (きんこう) comes from the on-yomi reading of Chinese 均衡, literally "even measures", & thus "balance" and "equilibrium".
  • Akali Akali is currently a Ronin / Rogue Ninja of the Order, still part of it, but operating outside of its rules and regulations.[1]
    • She and Shen Shen parted on neutral terms. Neither hates the other but both disapprove of the others methods.[2]
  • Akali Akali was trained to become the Fist of Shadow by Shen Shen and Kennen Kennen.
  • Neither Shen Shen nor Akali Akali were the first choices of their parents in succession. Master Kusho's choice for the Eye of Twilight was Usan Usan. Mayym's choice for the Fist of Shadow was Faey.

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References

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