AMAZONS

Like the Halodynes, the Amazons are an olive-skinned people who migrated from the eastern continent. It is said the tribes once comprised both males and females, and that the men were feared as the most bloodthirsty warriors of the Ithyan race. It was this rapacity which caused their downfall, for the Asrae gods grew angry at their unabated despoiling of temples. For this reason, the gods cursed the Amazons tribes with the inability to produce male children, thinking this would wipe them out, but the hardy women-folk took up arms and defended themselves against all comers. They bred with males of other tribes, bearing only female offspring, and so a matriarchal culture formed.

Most Amazons are nomads who herd beasts astride the backs of Zempalas – fast and graceful creatures with black and white stripes. They are a brash, boastful and quick-tempered people, easily insulted but just as easily appeased. Amazons are accomplished riders all, but the Hunters are particularly impressive. At festivals they perform acrobatics atop their beasts. It is nothing for them to stand upon the back of their mount, spin around where they sit or slide beneath one.

Amazons live on the steppe and semi-arid wastes between the Karkhos Desert and the green lands of the north. In such terrain, they use the ground itself to advantage, kicking up huge clouds of dust. Amazons are trained to navigate through the dusty shroud by hearing alone, and this allows them to conduct lightning attacks – riding in loosing several volleys and then racing off. Their nimble steeds have tremendous endurance and an unwary army finds itself exhausted, divided, disoriented and dehydrated before it even gets to grips with the enemy. By the time the Amazon heavy cataphract cavalry smash into the scene it is already too late for the hapless invaders.

The Amazon lands adjoin the Halodyne city states to the north, and the two cultures have become interdependent. Amazons are therefore frequently hired to accompany Halodyne armies and raiding parties.