The League of Shadows was an ancient and powerful secret society whose stated purpose was to restore balance to the world by enacting purges at various points in history. They targeted places they deemed were the greatest sources of civilization's corruption and decadence, places that led to suffering and injustice. Acting as a self-appointed check against human corruption for thousands of years, some of the previous activities of the League included the Sacking of Rome, the Black Plague, and the great London fire. By 1984, they attacked Gotham City by plunging it into an economic depression, but this was stopped by Dr. Thomas Wayne when he nearly bankrupted Wayne Enterprises to build a monorail system for the city. At the same time, a foreign mercenary from an ancient part of the world joined the League after being exiled by the warlord that he worked for because he married the warlord's daughter, who was imprisoned along with her unborn daughter in an ancient well-like pentitentery known as the Pit as price for her husband's exile. The mercenary became Ra's al Ghul, the leader of the League of Shadows, and one day his child, Talia, found her way back to him after escaping from the Pit with the aid of a fellow inmate called Bane. The League stormed the ancient prison to help Ra's exact revenge for the death of his wife and in the process rescued Bane, who was gravely mutilated by the other prisoners for helping Talia escape from them. Talia and Bane were then trained by the League, but Bane was excommunicated by Ra's for becoming a reminder of the hell he left his wife to die in and for loving Talia. Talia resented her father's decision, and couldn't truly forgive him until his tragic death. The League was based on a mountain in the Himalayas, though other bases around the world may have existed.
The men who have sworn allegiance to the League of Shadows come from many different backgrounds; former soldiers, mercenaries, assassins, petty criminals, and ordinary men. However, all of them share a common similarity of hating what they define as evil and a desire to serve what they call true justice. Every member of the League of Shadows is fanatically loyal to the League's cause. It is this fanaticism in which every warrior knows that he is expendable, his life forfeit, if it means fulfillment of the League's plans. They are trained in the arts of theatricality and deception.
Batman Begins Edit
While traveling around the world to seek the means of fighting injustice, Thomas Wayne's son Bruce joined the League when Ra's al Ghul confronted him in a Himalayan prison under the alias "Henri Ducard" and offered him a path. Though still traumatized by the murder of his parents during the Gotham depression, Bruce had already learned to give up on the idea of revenge before leaving the city and agreed be mentored by Ducard under a Ra's al Ghul decoy. However, during the final test in his training, he was asked to act as an executioner and learned what the League's purpose with him really was about; the society wanted him to lead the in a second attempt to destroy Gotham. In response, Bruce instead started a fight with the League, destroying their base and leaving the the man he believed to be Ra's al Ghul to be killed by falling debris. He then saved an unconscious Ducard from sliding off the mountain, and left him in the care of a healer in a nearby village.
Over seven years after his disappearance from the city, Bruce returned to Gotham and planned to root out the criminality and corruption organized there by mafia boss Carmine Falcone for justice to take. To do so, he applied for a job in his father's company and borrowed protective equipment from its chief activist Lucius Fox. Inspired by his childhood fear of bats, he used them and Ducard's lessons in the martial arts, stealth, intimidation, and theatricality to take up the vigilante persona of "the Batman", setting up a base in the bat-infested caves of Wayne Manor. Meanwhile, the League was busy bringing a fear toxin (created from a hallucinogenic blue flower grown near their Himalayan base) into Gotham and having Dr. Jonathan Crane, a corrupt psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum, to weaponize it