"Used tae be a pirate, I did! Then, I and me crew met Themisyra's Daughters. Now I gut fesh all day. Tweren't worth losin' me jewels what dinnae sink wit' me cap'n an' crew." -Bloated Bob, ex-Pirate who fled from a battle with Themisyrans off the coasts of Calgaria
Themisyrans are a people ruled by women who spend the majority of their lives on the sea serving the Titaness Amaz by clearing its waters of threats. They are ruled by Queens, and have been the stuff of myth and legend since before recorded history.
The appearance of Themisyrans varies from individual to individual, depending entirely on parentage. It is not uncommon to see a city-boat inhabited by Themisyrans whose bloodlines come from all over Amlöst, giving each a somewhat exotic beauty in the eyes of others. Males tend to be smaller and lighter than females, with Queens standing at least a head taller than other females. Females who bear the title of "Amazon" are more powerfully built than other Themisyrans.
Themisyrans tend to be stoic, and are sometimes compared to Asgardians. Where the latter are grim due to the quality of the lives they lead, very few Themisyrans have such bleak world views -- they just don't see the need for "unecessary emotional outbursts". Among strangers, they tend to be fairly quiet until they have decided whether or not to trust them, but will generally be more open around those who have earned their favor. Absolute reverence is given to their Queens, as well as any female with authority in her respective culture; males in positions of power are given the same respect as a Queen's consorts, as are all elves, who are their traditional allies.
Themisyrans abhor sahuagin and destructive sea monsters, but are allies of merfolk. Those who venture into dwarven settlements find themselves welcomed by the World Spirits that tend to live nearby, with treants showing particular interest in them. Many stories exist of Themisyrans and treants swapping tales until the Themisyrans pass out from lack of sleep. They are also looked upon favorably by the Padani and Thu Varan people, for their love of knowledge.
Each group has its own unique styles of clothing, with some practicing tattooing or piercing. These decorations always bear some form of significance: marks around the eyes to indicate betrothal, while bands around the ankles indicate that the person bearing them has travelled on land. Tattoos can be removed either by means of magic, or with alchemical compounds. This was adapted from the first Ogadi to join Themisyrans.
Arms and Armor Edit
Themisyrans equipped for battle prefer lighter forms of protection, such as leather armor, with the heaviest armor commonly seen being breastplates. Such protective gear is always designed to be easy to remove in case a Themisyran goes overboard.
All Themisyrans are trained in the use of at least one weapon, with "non-combatants" typically favoring daggers, which they can use to gut fish and other warm-blooded animals. Crossbows and javelins are favored long-ranged weapons, as are ballistae and catapaults; missiles are usually covered in alchemical fires. Close combat is usually done with polearms such as spears, though flails and maces are popular.
The most remarkable aspect of Themisyran culture, aside from the fact that they are female-dominated, is that they spend much of their lives on the sea. This has granted them an extraordinary sense of balance and immunity to seasickness, even among pregnant females. They are also allegedly incapable of becoming lost at sea like their elven allies, a trait they learned from them, and many are able to predict the weather.
Themisyrans are wholly devoted to the service of their patron, the Titaness Amaz. At the onset of puberty, each Themisyran swears herself or himself to the Titaness, with exceptionally promising females being trained in her ways and taking the title of "Amazon". They do not often hold festivals in her honor, save when they come to land.
Themisyrans acknowledge the existence of other Titans, and the gods and goddesses of Amlöst, but pay them little heed save for Etlae and Listria. As such, only rarely will a Themisyran forswear worship of Amaz in favor of another Titan, or even a deity. To do so is frowned upon by all Themisyrans, and some groups banish such individuals if they have been discovered.
Each group of Themisyrans is ruled by a Queen, who can trace her lineage back to Themisyra herself, or the Fruit of Amaz, which "sires" future Queens. Each Queen is aided in her decision-making by her most trusted advisors first, and her people second. While most Queens are content to pass rule down to a daughter, some still have male (or female) consorts that help them rule, but because of the influence of the Fruit of Amaz on their physiology, Queens and others born thus can only reproduce by that means. Consorts desiring children of their own must thus find willing females, with some female consorts agreeing to carry children for the males. The responsibility of raising the child rests solely on the male, as, after all, he wanted it.
Despite the misconception that males are abused by Themisyrans, many enjoy most of the rights that females do. In any group, males are not permitted to take the title of "Amazon" or become priests of Amaz. Both genders, and even Queens, tend to the maintenance of the vessels upon which they live; those that live on the Themisyran Isles also see to the defense of their settlements and welcome or turn away strangers as they see fit.
In some groups, males enjoy fewer rights, with the predictable result of several wild stories cropping up in taverns across the "civilized" world: more enlightened individuals will speak no ill of them, while others will all too readily weave terrifying tales of wild women who beat their men into submission and cast them out to the elements once they have taken their seed, or castrate them and keep them as pleasure slaves.
As earlier stated, exceptionally promising female Themisyrans who have sworn themselves to Amaz will be granted the title of "Amazon", which means "Favored of Amaz" in an ancient tongue. In order for this to come to pass, the high priestess who swears young Themisyrans in will receive a vision, usually in her dreams, that will indicate the Titaness' approval of the young woman. After swearing further oaths to Amaz, this young woman will undergo training from an existing Amazon, or the most powerful warriors and sorcerers in the group.
The end result of these years of training is a woman warrior second in power only to the Queens, but who enjoys the freedom to travel whereever she wishes. Many choose to act as champions of their people and Amaz, while others will take their freedom and leave their home forever.
Themisyrans live on great sea-going craft called "city-boats". These vessels resemble truly massive boats, and can house several hundred people in them. They are made of magically reinforced wood, which makes them somewhat more impervious to harsh weather and fire than other craft. Deep within each vessel is a shrine dedicated to the Titaness Amaz, and some even house shrines devoted to other divine (or profane) entities tended by priests of their own faiths. These priests aid their hosts, while their hosts aid them. The high volume of women on these crafts and the knowledge they possess makes them a prime target for pirate raids, who seek to capture and sell them as slaves, or find charts that lead to their treasures.
Themisyrans come well-prepared to deal with any pirate raids, with many of their city-boats boasting ballistae and catapaults. Those who manage to survive the weapon fire will have to contend with crossbows and spears. Female invaders are forced into labor tending the city-boat, while males are not so lucky. Each male is attached - alive - to a floating graveyard tended by a small group of Themisyran women as a warning to pirates. There, they die of either starvation, blood loss, or exposure. Very few males have been spared this treatment, but many that have been, have wished that they were strung up like their fellows.
Noteworthy Individuals Edit
- Themisyra, the first Queen of the Themisyrans.
- Zora, the daughter of Themisyra.
- Cyme, the first daughter of Zora.
- Mytilene, the second daughter of Zora.
- Tila, a Queen who was betrayed long ago, and exacted vengeance upon her husbands.
- Myrleia, an elven woman born aboard a city-boat and raised as a Themisyran.
- Eirea, one of few half-elven Themisyrans, famous for having slain a dragon while riding on its back. "The Flight of the Warrior Princess", an epic tale, was written in her honor.
- Ganius, a male from a children's story who beat a Themisyran in an arm-wrestling contest. He is the subject of the story "Ganius".