The Amazon World of Lori Devoti's |
Amazon Ink and Amazon Queen
[ More about Amazon Ink ]
[ More about Amazon Queen ]
Descendants of the god Ares and nymph Otrera, the Amazons were blessed with
strength, longevity, and mystical powers. As their divine bloodline was weakened
by mating with humans, they learned to focus and maintain their powers through
the use of body decoration, mainly tattoos.
Despite their descent from Ares, the Amazons worshipped Artemis, the goddess of
the hunt, forests and hills, and womanly concerns of virginity, fertility, and
childbirth. As the world outside of their community moved to worship gods over
goddesses, their desire to stay separate--and exclusively female--grew.
Dividing eventually into twelve tribes each identified with a protector animal,
the Amazons lived in the area around what we now call the Black Sea for
Then the ancient Greeks encountered a few of their settlements. Their
stories of a tribe of woman warriors began to draw the interest of the outside
world. To survive, the Amazons became increasingly nomadic. Although they
dispersed in all directions, most moved into the steppes of Russia.
The animals that had identified their settlements became family totems, a
reminder of their past greatness. These totems were tattooed on each member of
the tribe, tying them together magically when they weren't together physically.
Such a tattoo became known as a telios.
Amazons fall into four basic talent groups: warriors, priestesses, artisans, and
hearth-keepers. Amazons may have aspects of power from all of the groups, but
there is usually one that is obviously dominant. Their personal power tattoo
(the givnomai) is chosen to enhance those powers, helping to lock them into
their role for the tribe. It is rare for an Amazon to have significant powers
from more than one group.
Warriors possess superhuman strength and flexibility. Priestesses can harness
elemental powers--fire, wind, water, earth--without use of objects. Priestesses
also call upon the goddess Artemis for guidance for the tribe. Artisans create
objects that store power: tattoos, fetishes, jewelry. The power these objects
have is based on what they represent--a bear fetish would provide strength, a
coyote stealth, a fox cunning. Some artisans can put the power into the object;
others can only create the object and must have assistance from a priestess to
embed the power. Home, food, and childcare are provided by the hearth keepers.
Their powers are protective and medicinal.
Although not immortal, Amazons do live for hundreds of years and retain a
youthful appearance for several centuries.
Even in the New World, the Amazons kept their nomadic ways. The twelve tribes
continued to keep a low profile by traveling around the country, much like
modern-day gypsies, settling for short periods of time in one of six "safe
Camps are located on enough land to provide a buffer between them and the human
world. Each has a hearth keeper, priestess, and queen (from the warrior talent
group) assigned to them by the high council. These queens maintain order within
the camp and work to protect it from human detection through both magical and
mundane ways. They stay in one place longer than others, but still shift to a
new camp every few years. Individual Amazons move freely between these camps,
never settling down for too long.
Amazons mingle with the human population on a limited basis. Just like their
ancestors, they take human lovers, but do not marry. Since most Amazons believe
themselves superior to humans, most have no issues with stealing from humans or
conning them out of money. Their semi-nomadic lifestyle aids them in evading
confrontations that might come from such an existence. A few do offer
legitimate--or semi-legitimate--services at area fairs and bazaars such as selling
craft items, like fetishes and jewelry, telling fortunes, or offering
self-defense classes. They do not, however, take jobs that require them to work
day-to-day in one place, or get to know any humans in depth. If anyone begins to
get too close, they move on.
The Amazons have never trusted men, nor brought them into their camps. They even
feared their own male offspring might rise up and try to control them as Greeks
males had tried in the past. Because of this fear, their male children were put
to death. Over time they stopped the killing and instead maimed the infants by
breaking an arm or leg, and leaving the boys where humans could find and raise
Some survived, many didn't.
Around the turn of the nineteenth century, Bubbe Saka, a priestess, was
instrumental in stopping all of this. Male children thereafter were left
unmaimed at human churches and hospitals.
Although the Amazons were unaware of it, even before the maiming stopped, these
sons had begun gathering together. Also unknown to the Amazons, their sons
possessed similar powers to their own.
Through an encounter (told in Amazon Ink) with Melinappe ("Mel") Saka--Bubbe
Saka's granddaughter and an Amazon who had left the tribe--the Amazons discovered
both the sons' existence and their powers.
For the first time in their history, they are forced to face the fact there is a
group who can match them power for power.
-- From the Preface to Amazon Queen]
Copyright ©2010, Lori Devoti