Armed with the power of Runeterra’s gales, Janna is a mystical wind spirit who protects the sea travellers and anyone who calls for here. Some say she was brought into existence by the prayers of Runeterra’s sailors who asked for fair winds as they navigated treacherous waters and braved rough tempests. No one knows where or when she will appear, but more often than not, she’s come to help.
Many of Runeterra’s sailors have strange and unusual superstitions becouse they often live or die by the tempestuous whims of the weather. Some insist on pouring salt onto the deck so the sea doesn’t notice they’re from the shore. Others throw the first fish they catch back into the water as a show of grace. So it’s not surprising that most implore the wind itself for steadfast breezes, calm seas, and clear skies.
Many believe the spirit of Janna was born out of these prayers.
She started small, just a spot of a bright blue bird just before a healthy tailwind started billowing. People could swear they hear a whistling in the air right before a storm, as if to warn them of its approach. Some swore they had seen the bird transform into a woman. With tapered ears and flowing hair, floating above the water and directing the wind with a flick of her staff.
Eventually, Runeterra’s seamen agreed upon a name for this wind spirit: “Janna,” an ancient Shuriman word meaning “guardian.” As more sailors came to believe in Janna and made increasingly elaborate offerings to gain her favor, she grew ever stronger. Janna helped explorers travel new waters, blew ships from reefs, and wrapped the comfort of a warm breeze around a homesick sailor’s shoulders. For those sailing with ill intentlike pirates, raiders, and alike – Janna was sometimes said to blow them off course with sudden storms.
Janna took great joy and love in her work. Whether helping people or punishing the deserving, she felt happy to watch over Runeterra’s oceans.
For as long as Janna could remember, a single isthmus separated the western and eastern oceans of Valoran. In order to move from the west to the east, or from the east to the west, ships would have to brave the long, incredibly dangerous waters around the tip of the southern continent.
The city fathers of the bustling trade city on the isthmus’s coast tired of watching ships make the long trek around the southern continent, which could often take many months. They hired the best scientists to use the rich chemical resources recently discovered in the area to create a massive waterway that would unite Valoran’s major seas.
Word of the new canal spread like a fire amongst sailors. Such a passage would open up boundless trade opportunities, allow for easier passage through dangerous waters, reduce time at sea and introduce the transportation of perishable goods. It would bring the east to the west, the west to the east, and above all: it would bring change.
With the canal in place, sailors wouldn’t need Janna’s winds to keep their ships safe from Valoran’s cliffs. They wouldn’t need to build elaborate shrines or watch the stormy horizon for bluebirds. Their ships’ safety and speed no longer depended on Janna. Her resentment grew into rage.
Janna felt herself weaken and her powers fade. When she tried to summon a squall, she’d only conjure a light draft. If she transformed into her bird form, she could only fly for a few minutes before needing to rest. Janna was saddened by her slow decline into irrelevance and as the canal reached completion, all that remained of her was a faded breeze.
The opening of the canal was a joyful celebration. Many of chemtech devices were placed across the isthmus. The city fathers gathered for the ceremonial igniting of the charge as travelers from all over the world watched and waited, smiles on their faces and pride in their hearts.
The devices activated. Chemical fogs of molten rock bloomed. Booms echoed through the isthmus.
The cliff faces began to crack. The ground began to shake. Those assembled heard a roar of water and a hiss of gas.
And then the screaming started.
In the years to come, no one would know the exact cause of the disaster. Some said it was the instability of the chem bombs, while others argued it was a miscalculation by the engineers. Whatever the cause, the explosions caused a chain reaction of earthquakes that shook the isthmus to its core. Entire county collapsed into the ocean, and nearly half of the city’s denizens suddenly found themselves fighting for their lives against the clashing currents of the western and eastern seas.
As thousands sank beneath the tides, they begged for help, praying for someone to save them. They called out for the name that, until recently, their hearts had always beckoned in times of great danger on the high seas – Janna.
Struck by a sudden surge of desperate pleas for help, Janna felt herself materialize with greater power than she’d ever felt before.
She disappeared into the bleak, billowing gas, its acrid grasp overwhelming the helpless victims of the great canal’s birth. Holding her staff high, she closed her eyes as wind swirled around her, the vortex so powerful that those who had summoned her feared they might be swallowed whole or ripped to pieces. Her staff glowed a brighter and brighter blue until she finally slammed it down, blowing the gas away in one burst of air. Those who had summoned Janna caught their breath and looked upon the woman who had saved them, promising never to forget her again.
With that, a gust of wind blew through the streets, and Janna was gone….in a form of a blue bird that many swore to have seen.
Years after the city called Zaun was repaired and the shining town of Piltover was built above it, Janna’s name endures in countless stories that tell of the wandering wind spirit who appears in times of great need
Some say Janna is a myth, others – the ones who think of Janna when the wind whistles through narrow corridors of the city or huddle around handmade shrines – know better. When the gust rattles the shutters and blows the laundry off the line, Janna is surely in the air. Even skeptics can’t help but feel their spirits lift when they spy a curious blue bird swooping through the streets of Zaun.
Though none can be sure when, how, or if Janna will appear, most everyone can agree on one thing: it’s nice to have somebody watching over you.