What was the first battle of the Amazons? The first skirmish that
took place between the Amazon people and the mascûlic interlopers is
lost in the mists of time, though their first experience of human beings
who took up arms against others must have been a shocking one.
numerous such skirmishes, the Amazon Huntresses learned to be skilled
warriors and for centuries the policy of Armed Neutrality prevailed.
This dialogue, while fictionalized, represents the turning-point as we understand it to take place.
Sainted Mother is slain, Sacred Majesty," said the Lady Veletia. She
was old - close on two hundred winters, which for that late time in
history was an advanced age. She was known to be the wisest and most
holy of the Old Queen's counsellors. She spoke slowly and with
reverence, but she spoke firmly, as one might speak to a wayward child.
"Your Sainted Mother is slain, but it becomes you not to lead your
people into a war of vengeance against her cursed slaughterers. These
are not our ways but the ways of the mascûli. The art of slaughtering
maidenkind is an art they have invented. Let us not take up what is
cursed of maidens and hurtful to High Dea."
The young Queen bowed
to the counsellor in deference to her age and wisdom. It was a slight
bow, for a Sacred Queen does not bow low. She was indeed little more
than a child and she knew it; but she also felt no doubt whatever about
the course she must pursue. The first great battle of the Amazons must
now be fought, and it must be the first of many and ever greater
This would be a new thing in the world; a thing unheard
of. Many things that would become commonplace when the mascûi finally
conquered the world were born in the heart of this maid of seventeen
summers. And they were to hold back the dark tide of that final triumph
of man for centuries.
Myrine looked about the Great Council
Chamber. It had been build some eight hundred years ago and was heavy
with tradition. A dozen Queens had sat in the very seat she now
occupied, going back to the near-legendary Kanja (may the Bright Ones
honour her name), foundress of the island-nation Tritonia as a haven for
those maidens who - as in the Golden Age - were still a feminine people
who lived and multiplied solely unto themselves without the strange new
sex called the mascûli.
The golden-headed chelani who bore
children and the raven-dark melini, bold as hunting-hounds and stronger
than any mascûl, were the two sexes in the Age of Gold, as still in
Tritonia they were. Peoples of their kind were now termed among
themselves the a-mazei, the un-confused, or un-blinded: or more
colloquially, as the Amazons.
Myrine was melin and her wise and
honoured counsellor chelan. That had perhaps a little to do with their
differences, but only a little. At this stage there were few in the
Council Chamber, old or young, melin or chelan, who would willingly
support the revolution the child-Queen was proposing.
rose to her feet. It was rare for a Queen to address Chamber from her
feet and signified an occasion of profound importance. Many members
perhaps considered this a further sign of her inexperience: that she
should use such a custom lightly.
But the Queen was wholly aware of the significance of this ritual gesture, and intended it to the full.
She looked about, her eyes taking in the great fluted stone columns
receding high into the domed roof, a distant canopy of fine stained
glass that threw its richly-colored light into the ancient chamber. She
saw the statues of her honoured predecessors in their niches in the
walls and the great statue of Our Mother God holding the Great Conch
Shell from which she has unfolded Her universe.
No young Queen
could fail to be humbled by the signs of age and sanctity in this
Chamber where the very echoes, the very scent of ancient oak and stone,
carried the weight of eight centuries of high nobility.
was humbled. But she was also sure. Sure that her duty to this high
tradition, to her sacred ancestors and to High Dea Herself, was to
launch this first battle of the Amazons.
She spoke, and with her
first word most of the doubts concerning her wisdom in rising to her
feet were dispelled. The voice echoed round the hallowed Chamber was not
the voice of the child many of the High Counsellors had dandled upon
their knees. It was not the voice that had joined in laughter with the
younger of them in archery contests or in contests of the sacred Unarmed
Arts or any such playful battle of the Amazons.
This was the
voice of a Queen. And more: it was the voice of such a Queen as had not
stood in this Chamber since the days of Kanja the Great.
"Sisters, I rise to call you."
'Sisters'. This was a strange way for a Queen to address her Chamber. Strange, and yet, somehow portentous.
"I rise to call you unto the first true battle of the Amazons.
"You know I am your Queen and I may call you subjects. Henceforth I shall, but on this day of days, I call you sisters.
know that I may command you in all things, and I might command you
without more ado to take up arms as a nation in this first battle of the
"But I shall not command you so to do. I rise not to command you, but to call you.
I shall call many others after you. Many others in many lands that lie
far from this. Peoples of the Oultands, femini with their mascûli. They
shall join the great confederation. They shall be part of the great
crusade: the great battle of the Amazons.
"I shall call them as I call you now, for if you will not hear me, how shall they?
have heard the words you have spoken, as each rose in her turn to say
me nay. And I say this. If, after you have heard the words I shall
speak, you yet continue to say me nay, then nay it shall be; and the
great battle of the Amazons shall not be fought.
"But if you say
me yea, then I shall bind you to me with rings of iron, and we shall
stand together unto the very ends of the world.
"You say that the
arts of war and of killing are the black art of the mascûl and no affair
of ours. I say you this. If that were so this nation of ours should
already lie in dust. We have learned those arts already, else how have
we destroyed each invader that came upon our shores?
bows and our hunting-spears have been turned upon the mascûl in every
little battle of the Amazons to safeguard our holy realm. We have given
sanctuary to those femini that came among us for sanctuary from their
renegade mascûli. And when those wild man-queens have demanded their
supposed subjects, we have said them nay. And when they have set foot
upon these shores with fire and iron, we have destroyed them.
"And so I say to you: the question is not whether we shall learn arts of war. We have learned them long ago.
question that lies before us now is this. Shall we carry those arts
forward into the Outlands? Shall we right the wrongs that lie like scars
upon the front of this fair world? Or shall we wait upon this sacred
isle until the armies of the foe-man grow so great that we can no longer
stand before them?
"You have told me man has made the arts of war
and they are not of High Dea. But I say unto you that holy Vikhë was
ever one of the Seven Great Names of Dea, and that in this last an
lowest age, the time of High Vikhë must come. And come it has. Whether
we embrace it or whether we seek to flee it; it has come.
tell you also this. The mascûl has indeed made the art of war, but Sai
Vikhë is no friend to him. He has but the demons of the darkness for his
gods. He has made the arts of war: but we, my sisters, will perfect
"He has burned the temples of High Dea from Atlantis to the
further shores of the Hidden Ocean. He has smitten holy priestesses
until their blood stains the ground across the Northern Continent and
"He has made the arts of war, but we shall show him
war the like of which he has not dreamed upon for the Great Battle of
the Amazons shall be his undoing. We shall avenge the holy mothers in
High Dea. We shall rebuild Her holy temples, and we shall sweep the
bloody-handed infidel into the sea.
"We shall sweep him from the
Upper Continent and from the Lower. We shall sweep him from the East and
from the West. We shall restore righteousness from this place unto the
furthest shores of the Hidden Ocean, and with each nation we purify we
shall gain another army.
"And when our armies are as numerous as
the sands upon the shore; then shall come the greatest battle of the
Amazons and all their allies. Then shall we cleanse the foulness that is
Atlantis; then we shall storm the Golden City and purge the filth that
adheres to the Tower of the Sun.
"Then shall we give this world back to She that made it and ordain Her golden law throughout her fair and lovely creation."
chamber of High Council was no auditorium for entertainment, and yet
the younger members raised a cheer such as had not been heard this
half-millennium in that sacred place. Their Queen had spoken, and
already they knew that they would follow her to the ends of the earth:
yea into the very mouth of Hell if that were her command.
But some of the Elders remained cautious.
The Queen turned first to the Lady Veletia.
"My Lady I see that you are not persuaded. Tell forth your doubts, I conjure you."
Majesty, your lightest word is my command, but you have graciously
chosen not to command but to call upon your subjects. Were you to bid me
silence I should say no word, but you have bid me speak my doubts and
so, in obedience to your word, I shall:
"Your sacred majesty
speaks of this Great Battle of the Amazons, and raises therewith the hot
blood of the young and of the raven-head melini. And yet this vast and
noble plan hangs upon things most doubtful of accomplishment.
dream your sacred majesty has of the Outlander joining with us in this
mighty battle of the Amazon: some might say it is but that - a dream.
What earnest of success can you offer to your people in this great
hazarding of dice, in which if the numbers fall but ill our holy nation
is laid waste?"
"Wise and most honoured Counsellor, you say I have
a dream, and you speak true. For all this came unto me in a dream, and I
believe that dream was from High Dea in Her Form as Holy Vikhë.
have said that if you say me yea this day I will bind you unto me with
rings of iron; but if it is your will I shall rescind that. Wait if, you
will, for the first true battle of the Amazons which I shall wage
against the man-queen of Hakkur. See you whether my new Armies shall
sweep all before them. See you whether the Outlander shall rally to my
banner. And see you what signs are given by Heaven in this first battle
of the Amazons.
"Let the High Priestesses of the land examine
those signs and say whether my dream is or is not of Dea. I shall abide
"Are you content, Lady Veletea."
looked unblinking into counsellor's eyes that had two centuries of
wisdom in their depths. Her own eyes were both humble and certain.
"I am content." Said the Counsellor.
Queen turned to the oldest maiden present, a priestess of three hundred
summers - which by those days was an age almost unknown. Her body was
as frail as her spirit strong and she spoke with a voice that only the
sound-swelling virtue of that cunningly-wrought room could have made
audible for so wide a distance.
"Most Sacred Majesty, I have
served your mother and your mother's mother, yea and her mother too. I
am loyal to the throne with all my heart and soul, yet it must be my
second loyalty; for my first is to High Dea.
"Yet if those two
loyalties are not one, then something is amiss. You speak, Sacred
Majesty, with the voice of one the Spirit breathes upon. Yet still I am
bound to ask two questions of you.
"I am old, Sacred Majesty, yet
there is little comes not to my ears. I know, because it is my duty to
know, of the many times Myrine has repaired to the woods, to commune,
they say with spirits, when it may be she were better to commune with
High Dea. What are these spirits, Sacred Majesty? And is it they who
propose this Great Battle of the Amazons? For not all spirits are of
God, Sacred Majesty, and some would fain betray us to our hurt.
is my first question, and my second is this. That the renegade mascûl
is a dark force, that we know. But that his gods are demons is a grave
charge even against him. have you proof in this matter?"
"Most honoured Matri," said the Queen, "your questions are well and rightly asked and I shall answer plainly.
spirits that I have communed with, I freely confess. They are no more
spirits than you and I are spirits and every maid that hears these words
I speak. No more and no less.
"They belong not to this world, it
is true; but they belong to a world not unlike ours - a world that is as
ours would be had the Great Sin not been committed that gave birth to
"They too approach their Age of Iron. They too are
assailed by the Great Demon. That Dark one has not among them the mascûl
wherewith to clothe itself, and so it comes upon them naked in its true
form and with its hordes unmasked.
"This is, by many measures, a
sister world to ours, and what transpires therein is shadowed in this
world. Likewise what falls out among us is echoed across their lands.
are a fair folk and true. Faithful to High Dea as the best among us.
Their battle is our battle, and the Great battle of the Amazons is their
war too. For the Enemy is one.
"This is my belief, and I did not
come by it lightly. But again I say that I shall abide the judgement of
my nation. When Hakkur falls - as fall it shall - you shall see the
signs of this Enemy. This I have been told. If those signs fail, or if
our High Priestesses are not content with them, let the Great battle of
the Amazons end there.
"But if they prove true to the satisfaction
of our highest Elders, then let it be known that the Battle of the
Amazons is a Holy battle. A battle that shall bring a Great Purification
and whose goodly fruits shall be borne even beyond the boundaries of
"Honoured Matri, are you content?"
"My child, I am content."
hear my words," spake the Queen. "The battle of the Amazons against
Hakkur I now decree. But first there must be preparation made.
"My armies shall be drawn into seven legions, each with a General at its head.
more shall they fight as a troop of huntresses, but they shall be
arrayed even as my realm is arrayed, with Officers governing each unit.
Each Officer in obedience to the Officer above her, and the Generals
obedient unto me.
"Thus the Golden Chain of Thamë - the rule of
Holy Obedience shall become the guiding star of our Armies. They will be
able to move swiftly according to the plans of their generals. Against
the roaring slashing hordes of the Enemy, they will be like a sharp and
subtle blade in the hands of a fine craftmaid. Such a thing has not been
seen in this world before.
"And I tell you each maid will be
armed and equipped alike. Each shall wear like armor and carry a like
shield. The Archers shall carry like bows and short spears for close
"And we shall have horsemaidens fighting from their
mounts. No mascûl can match that, for they are too heavy to ride a horse
at speed. Each horsemaid shall be like-armed and each horse caparisoned
alike and they shall learn to fight as one, to charge as one, to
retreat at the sound of a horn.
"My Armies shall be not a crowd at battle, but the very limbs of my Generals; and my Generals shall be my limbs.
"And now the fate of Hakkur is sealed, for the first battle of the Amazons is nigh."