Folk tales and the occasional drunken sailor's story to the contrary, amazons are human. Biologically, they are the same as the lords of the noble houses, and their servants and serfs. Long ago, at some point lost to history, the ancestors of the amazons split off from the rest of Calibran, isolating themselves on their island of Personoes.
The tales of men kept in seraglios, or used to serve as stud and then murdered, are of course wildly exaggerated. There are traders who regularly sail to Persenoes and return unharmed, and occasionally foreigners are allowed to stay and live on the island. However, it is true that on Persenoes there is a society that is dominated by women, in the same way that human society is dominated by men everywhere else.
Officials, soldiers, and managers are all much more likely to be women than men in amazon society. Inheritance is through the female line, and in a marriage it is the wife who is considered to own whatever property the couple share. Men children are married off, and girls are groomed to be their mothers' successors.
This, combined with their isolationist attitude, has given rise to any number of fanciful and strange stories of life on Persenoes. The truth is that for the most part it is not that different than any other place in Calibran.
Amazons are not at all different from the normal run of humanity. There may be a slight tendency for amazon women to be larger and stronger than is average on the mainland, but for the most part if you were to put an amazon in a group of humans from anywhere else on Calibran, you would be hard pressed to pick the amazon out.
As a culture they are more likely to have black hair and dark skin than in other places. The society is also more egalitarian than under the noble houses of the main land. There are no serfs and great lords, and everyone is more or less prosperous. As a result, the average life expectancy is higher than on the mainland.
There is only one city of any size on the amazonian island, and shares it shares its name.
The island is surrounded by dangerous reefs, through which there are few safe paths. Persenoes city surrounds a small bay that fronts onto the largest and most easily navigated of the openings. The city itself is cupped in a ring of hills that slope down to the docks that are built out onto the bay. At the highest points in the city lie the Queen's palace, the temple to Asteria the Huntress, and the homes and palaces of high officials. The buildings of the High Tier, as it is called, are built of a white stone common to the island, and are designed with wide and breezy corridors supported by tall white columns.
Running from the gates of the Queen's palace down to the water front and the Royal pier is the wide White Way, an avenue paved with round cobble stones. The palace and the water front mark the two poles of the city. The High Tier is clean and populated by the wealthiest and highest status. The waterfront is the lowest part of the city, both geographically and in terms of wealth and status. In between the two extremes lives most of the population.
The city, and the island, are ruled by the Queen. The title passes from mother to first born daughter. The Queen is aided in her rule by a bureaucracy that administrates laws and policy, and is protected by an army of warriors.
The amazons worship Asteria, a goddess of wisdom and battle.
The goddess has several aspects. In one she is a huntress who wields a spear, or a bow, and follows a pack of immortal hounds. She is said to be prickly, and quick to take offense. However, those that please her are granted great good fortune.
In other aspects, she is a teacher, wise and gracious, who favors those of intelligence. She is credited with many inventions, and is considered to be the author of the amazons' law code.
Her final aspect is that of a cunning warrior who prefers a smart plan and good training to muscle and anger. In this guise, she invented the shield wall, and fighting together in ranks.
The amazons use the King's Speech. They have no language particular to themselves.
Amazons are, by and large, a hard headed and pragmatic culture. To the common people of Persenoes, men and women alike, magic seems a strange and unreliable thing, and as a result they rarely use it.
This is somewhat strange as there is a latent, but real, natural ability among the amazons for magic. There have been great sorcerers that have come from Persenoes. The Queen maintains a cadre of magicians that serve her, and together combine their efforts to preform high magic. This is not widely known outside the court.
Rule of the Dragons Edit
The point at which the amazons' ancestors sailed west to their island and isolated themselves from the rest of Calibran is not known. It is possible they did so in an attempt to shelter themselves from the depredations of dragons. If so, they were unsuccessful, as the dragons followed them and were as much of a problem there as anywhere else. They were often plagued by the attacks that bored dragons would perpetrate to keep themselves occupied. They were rarely used as pawns or servants by dragon overlords, their isolation limiting their usefulness.
The Dragon Wars Edit
When the other races, starting with the noble elves, became powerful enough to challenge the dragons' power, the amazons were quick to see the opportunities. Despite the arms' length at which they had traditionally kept the mainland, they sent a sizable force of warriors to aid Johelm Belgrave at the Battle of Farsaon, and took a notable part in that battle.
After Farsalon Edit
In the peace that has followed the Battle of Farsalon, they have retreated to their island and returned to their isolationist ways. Rumors claim they have become capable dragon killers in that time, and in any case have defended their island from any who might seek to encroach on it. Amazons are a rare sight on the mainland. They only leave their island when sent on an errand by their queen, or if they are exiled. The Dragon King sends occasional ambassadors, but for the most part they are content to keep their own counsel as long as the rest of the world leaves them be.
Named and Important Characters Edit
Alkaia the Mighty Edit
Alkaia has become something of a folk hero while still living. In her youth she was part of company sent to deal with a dragon, Aristophanax the Reaver, that was raiding and killing in the countryside. She was the only member of that company to return, having killed the dragon. The story is that she first blinded it using a bow, inherited from her mother, that has strange properties. With the dragon unable to see, she crept close enough to slit his throat. The sword she used was hardened in the dragon's blood, becoming unnaturally sharp and durable. The stories have named this remarkable sword Bane.
In reality she is an unassuming person, scarred from past fights but otherwise her only apparent remarkable feature is a prickly attitude. In the years since killing Aristophanax, she has worked for the Queen solving problems that are unusual, or outside the bureaucracy's competence.
Queen Tecmessa Edit
The current reigning queen of the amazons. She is getting older, now, being closer to her seventh decade than her sixth. Her reign has been one of calm and peace, for the most part, and prosperous for most of the inhabitants of Persenoes.
Naming Conventions Edit
Based on Greek Amazons names. Examples: Cluliphale, Jirybe, Klesepyte, Krenoe, Eiyne, Dreindrounippe, Chriomioyme, Odmaocleia, Gliphipedo, Crilcionoe.
Notable Skills and Traits Edit
Amazons are known as mighty warriors, and masters of the spear and shield. They do not emphasize individual skill, and instead work closely together in teams and companies in disciplined ranks. They fight in a regimented, effective style. There are also among them many great archers.
Despite their cultural antipathy to magic, there are some among them that are naturally inclined to it. There is a strong, if unrecognized, tradition of magic on Persenoes.
There are some great sailors that have come from the island of Persenoes, but for the most part their fleet is limited to fishing boats and the occasional trading vessel. Their reefs have never made it necessary to maintain a strong navy.
Most of the ships that come into Persenoes harbor are from Pelaj or other port cities. The amazons are shrewd negotiators, and are notorious for getting the better of those they trade with.
Cultural notes Edit
Twlight Flower Edit
A plant similar enough to jasmine that it could only be identified when it bloomed briefly at sunset, the flowers are deep orange rather than jasmine’s white or yellow. When harvested at blooming, the petals added a delicate flavor highly prized by connoisseurs of tea, and is said to heal hurts of the mind and soul.
The Cityport Market Edit
Traders from Pelaj and Faelve Thalas have been known to steer their ships towards the treacherous reefs surrounding Persenoes; from there, they weigh anchor and traverse the rocky archipelago by skiff or smaller craft. The market is as vibrant and as rich as any on the mainland but the trade mainly revolves around spices, bronze armour and weapons, exotic animals and the much coveted lavoma root – a sensual and potent aphrodisiac that only grows on the Amazonian Isle. It’s very much a seller’s market; the Amazon traders of Persenoes Market can charge the travelling merchants whatever they want, rather than what they need. The demand for lavoma is high on the mainland and no price is ever too much. You could try and steal it from the shore but it doesn’t come highly recommended…