The New Divine Order
Amazons of Nordenland
Rough Draft- This article needs massive edits!
An Amazon Strategos hunting in the Varan Oaks
Age of Heroes History:
The Vara Oaks is not the oldest of Nordenland’s greater forests, that honor belongs to the Tungsten Spine. It is not the largest forest; barely a quarter the size of the Evergreen Sea. It is not the most dangerous, that is without contest the Choir’s Wood. But it is, perhaps, the most famous woodland in Nordenland.
Certainly it hosts the largest population of Amazons on the continent. You see Amazons and Treekin did not arrive in Nordenland until just before the Teotl Wars. The Rotwood plague ravaged the Continent of Mists and the surviving forest folk fled northward seeking un-sickened soil. For centuries the new arrivals interacted little with their human and halfling neighbors.
This state of mutual disinterest was brought to a horrific end in the latter half of the migrations when the Jotun armies finished razing Erisarn and pushed into the Midlands. The Wyrmwood Grove had always been content to allow small groups of humans to pass through but events proved that would be impossible with orcs. Normally large groups of humans avoid deep forests, but as the midland kingdoms began to crumble refugees flooded into the Varan Oaks. The refugees would have been troublesome enough on their own, Amazons are territorial at best and proactively aggressive at worst. Soon, orc and elven ravagers and outriders were pursuing the refugees and seeking to find passageways toward distant Kesh.
As Amazon stratègos and myrmidons fought skirmish after skirmish with the interlopers the Wyrmwood Grove and Flower Court came to the inescapable conclusion that war with the jotun was inevitable. Given charge by the lords of the forest tens of thousands of Amazon Stratègos, Iepus, and Myrmidons advanced to meet the invading armies.
Warmaster had moved his attentions northward and was engaged in what would become known as the Levian Imperial War. Bethany the Beautiful had claimed the southern midlands as her own, and had begun forming a new elven kingdom. Her armies of elves, orcs, and other giantkin had begun to disband and form settlements in the newly conquered region and she withdrew to begin building her monument to herself, the Tower Twilight.
Sadly most stories of the following war are left to conflicting elven and amazon oratory traditions. With the creation of the Inner Sea most practical knowledge and a vast majority of the participants were drowned and thus of the events that took place are difficult to verify. But some accounts do survive, the elf “Elmer” Lliminidron Drost published his account The End of the Dream, which makes brief mentions of the Amazon attacks, and Comtesse Auvergne spent several years recording the recollections of the Mandrake Pinus Jancksiar, whom she called “Jack Pine”, in “Tale of Jack Pine”… though her account focuses more on Jack’s involvement in the Varan Foundation and stories of the Wyrmwood Council than the Jotun Migrations.
Unfortunately these two primary accounts differ greatly but do agree on several key points. First, the elves and orcs believed that all the nearby forces and powers had been more or less defeated and they were caught unprepared for the Amazon onslaught. Second, the Amazons achieved several early victories by defeating Bethany’s armies piecemeal. Third, Bethany herself was absent for most of the fighting, delegating authority to her long time anarch associates.
Things changed when they Amazonian forces arrived at the Tower Twilight and the battle begin in earnest. Not a true siege, many of the outer walls had scarcely been started and gaping holes met the defenders. Amazons thronged, but the Jotun weren’t unnerved, they were always outnumbered by the native humanoids. There were no great tactics or strategems employed. Bethany had never been one for finesse when it came to maneuvering armies and no Amazon general had ever placed so many soldiers on one field. Droves and swarms of Amazons, supported by dozens of growths of Mandrakes pressed the walls for three days. Legends died on both sides. Nordborn, the first orc born on Nordenland, fell on the first day slaying a forest creature nearly the size of a house. Fraxinus an ancient treeman who had survived the long journey from the continent of mists was hacked apart by elven pikers. Adoni, the amazon heroine of the saile and champion of the flower court was captured and strung alive from the battlements. Dominika Viktoriya Bethany’s trumpeter and close companion since the earliest days of the Anarch Revolt fell on the 3rd day. She’d survived over a hundred battles with nary a scratch, but in the last moments took an arrow in the eye, her magic trumpet which had never sounded a retreat was lost.
But Bethany was nigh a force of nature and on the 3rd day she stormed out of the tower, Warhammer in hand and almost singlehandedly turned the battle to a rout. Mandrakes shattered beneath her blows and amazon arrows found no flaw in her armor. But while the battles end was being fought, something of unparalleled import was happening down in the dungeons. A scion Mito, who was a divine cousin of Bethany, had been imprisoned for months below the Tower. She freed herself, fought the few guards, and travelled underground the distance to the Ancient Dam of Solace. Daughter of Dolphin the Deep she summoned forth the powers of the ocean forcing the river back into the Dam, shattering the artifact from the inside, and turning the Midlands (always a land of mighty rivers and vast lakes) into what we now call the Inner Sea.
Herzog, Shirdal, and Vara; Modern History:
Typically Amazons interact little with their countrymen. In the South most amazons are little more than myth. Though in the north things can get more… real and often hostile. Occasionally a hungry amazon will target livestock or even break into farm houses seeking food. Sometimes with violent results. Ambitious human poachers and lumberjacks occasionally turn up dead along the boundaries of the deep wood, right alongside merchants or particularly adventurous children.
Other times are more pleasant. Occasionally an Amazon is ‘born’ near a human or Halfling town and is quasi adopted by a family of farmers. Little but alien eyes distinguish her from a human teenager. Such Amazons often act more human than their wild peers… but they always carry an air of alieness about them. Or sometimes a humanoid or jotun is lost in the dark wood only to be soothed to sleep by a mandrake, or fed and guided by a passing Strategos.
Human, Halfling, and Amazon Varans are all enjoy eating the native wild mushrooms and every spring and fall the fields of the countryside see all three races merrily picking the fresh sprouts.
Type: Fae (2 RP)
Attributes: 50%) damage as normal from that energy type, regardless of whether a saving throw is allowed or if the save is a success or failure.
Tree Speech (4RP): Members of this race gain the scent ability. Amazons have an incredibly sensitive sense of smell enabling them to detect pheromones and pollen in the air.
Fearlessness (+1RP): Members of this race gain a +2 racial bonus on all saving throws against fear effects. The cold fingers of fear and despair do not root as deeply in the hearts of Amazons as they do in the souls of humanoids or jotun.
Alignment: Neutral Good: Amazons are strongly neutral, while Mandrakes are strongly good. Giving the Treekin an overall alignment of Neutral Good.
Special: Lowlight Vision
Amazon societies are best described as extremely loose republics, with a few elder statesmen guiding the majority of the population and setting broad policy.
Amazons appear incredibly human at even close examination. There are some minor differences, a coarseness to their hair, they lack belly buttons, a slight illumination of the eyes. Creatures with scent, or those able to see magical aura’s can tell them apart in an instant but using visual cues Requires a DC 15 Perception check (and an Amazon gains +10 on disguise checks to appear human)