Achillonia

The White Peaks of Achillonia, home of the Amazons, a majestic but harsh land that breeds great warriors

Achillonia is the ancient homeland of the Amazons, a warrior people blessed by the goddess Galatea. They claim their territory on the slopes of the White Peaks, a soaring mountain range at the southeastern edge of the Heartlands. The names Achillonia and White Peaks are largely used synonymously, although -- to be precise -- the former refers to a political entity and the latter to a geographical location.    

Location and climate

The White Peaks of Achillonia are bordered in the north by the Wetlands, in the west by Tyria, in the east by the Bay of Death, and in the south by the jungles of Nergamesh. Situated very close to Amanor's equator, the region is warm, wet, and lush. The lower slopes of the White Peaks are covered with rainforests that give way to more temperate kinds of forests as the mountains rise ever higher. The high valleys of Achillonia are carpeted by corniferous trees, slashed by flowing streams of clearest water, and teeming with fauna. Close to the perpetual snows at the towering peaks only the hardiest of beasts dwell. Only a few settlements are found at such heights.  
Below: Achillonia is a mountain realm of majestic beauty where natural life thrives despite the harsh conditions.
  The very eastern tip of the region is less populated than the rest due to its arid and cold micro climate. South-westerly winds from the Bay of Death bring cool and arid air to the north-eastern edge of the White Peaks. The coldest region of the mountain range is at its center, where the great Mount Pantokratos rises to pierce and elevations are greatest.  

Societal structure

Achillonia is a confederation of city-states that vests certain political power to a central authority. Member states of the confederation are the twelve Temples, meritocratic communities that govern their own affairs and guard their own territories.   The temples are united together under the rule of an autocratic matriarch -- the Autarch -- chosen from one of the temples by trial. The Autarch is the symbolic leader of all Amazons, officially responsible for foreign policy and the adjudication of disagreements between temples. The prestige of the Autarch's station gives her great power in directing the internal affairs of temples, even though temples retain municipal power.   The Autarch is assisted and advised by the Triune, a council of three exalted amazon matriarchs -- the Triarchs -- selected by trial from amongst the the highest-ranking members of each temple.   Each temple is ruled by an autocrat known as a Primarch, selected by trial from amongst the populace. The Primarch can appoint to herself however many advisors she wishes. These typically come from the ranks of the temple's Exarchs -- an honorary title given to citizens for exemplary deeds. Citizens, known as "Atricians", have councils to represent their needs to the Primarch of their temple.  

Notable temples

 

Matriarchy

Achillonian society is matriarchal in several ways. Women hold the highest positions of political power, familial relation and descent is reckoned through the female line, and women are typically the heads of social communities. Nonetheless, both genders enjoy identical civil liberties. The only exceptions are that men cannot be appointed to the positions of Autarch, Triarch, and Primarch. This is an ancient paradigm that honors the goddess Galatea and the great favor she shows the Amazon people.   All atricians are free to make for themselves what lives and professions they will with whatever gifts of body and mind Galatea has seen fit to bless them with. The honorary title Exarch can be given to men and women alike.   The physical inferiority of men -- as caused by Galatea's Blessing -- often discourages them from becoming warriors. However, should a man display enough strength and prowess to succeed in the same trials as his physically advantaged female peers, he will not be met with arbitrary social objections. Indeed, there are known cases in Amazonian history of great male warriors and heroes.   Living in Achillonia is a hard reality, and the needs of the low-populace societies of the Amazons often drive men towards domestic roles of agriculture, hunting and gathering, arts and crafts, and so on. The stronger women are logical choices for warriors, and there are many warriors in every amazon temple. Women that do not excel in martial training usually take up hard labor.  

Class hierarchy

  1. Autarch: supreme matriarch of all amazon temples, female
  2. Triarch: one of three members of the Triune; the advisors of the Autarch, female
  3. Primarch: leader of a Temple, female
  4. Exarch: prestigious title granted to accomplished members of a temple, can be male or female
  5. Atrician: all women and men are equal whether they be warriors, workers, beggars or else.

Meritocracy

Achillonian society has many meritocratic traditions. Easily observable are the trials by which the temples choose their Primarchs and how the honorary title of Exarch can be earned. More subtle are the deep-rooted habits of the Amazons by which those with merit -- or those who are famous -- are held as figures of communal power, moral authority, and social privilege. What is actually considered meritorius varies somewhat from temple to temple. Athletic competition, combat trials, and other physical pursuits are common ways to gain prestige.
 

Demographics

Citizens of Achillonia are referred to as Achillonians, and the term is synonymous with that of the Amazons. Nearly all Achillonians are humans or half-humans (e.g. half-elves) that carry Galatea's Blessing. This is because the native population of Achillonia has ever been human and citizenship is granted only upon birth. Citizens are known as atricians, and no foreigner can ever achieve anything to deserve the title. Amazon warriors that return from abroad have sometimes brought with them foreign paramours -- humans, elves, gnomes, among others -- who can be allowed entrance to the temple of their choice. Such immigrants are never made citizens but their children will be citizens automatically thanks to the citizenship of the other parent.   Foreigners are allowed to enter Achillonia only rarely. Achillonians want to isolate themselves from other peoples as much as possible -- except when it comes to war. Immigrants are denied unless they are tied to an atrician by bonds of love and family. Traders, diplomats, and craftsmen from abroad are allowed within Achillonia only for limited periods of time, and even then they cannot travel beyond the border regions. On the rarest occasions, Amazon temples can invite guests to stay with them for prolonged periods of time; this is the case with certain adventurers and legendary heroes.  

Religion

The Amazons are the mortal children of Galatea, worshipping few gods besides the goddess of battle. They identify several different aspects in their divine mother, and their religion -- known outside Achillonia as Pelekism -- has largely seperated from the canon of the Empyreal Faith. According to most clergy in the Heartlands, Pelekism is outright heresy.   Amazons also venerate and worship their ancestors and especially any amazonian demigods. Some dark and evil amazonian deities also exist (Apollion, Artemision) but their worship is outlawed.  

Thorns

Plants and animals that have thorns are held sacred in Achillonia. The Amazon believe that Galatea is present everywhere in the natural world and that it is her that gives even the most meager of lifeforms a way to defend itself. Amazons have ever had a myriad names for their multi-faceted goddess; Thorn, Black Thorn and Dark Thorn among them.

The sacred axe

In Achillonia, the most important of Galatea's holy symbols is the double-bitted axe known there as the labrys. The axe is thought to be an expression of strength, a weapon that can crack the strongest of shields. It is a weapon that is disadvantageous in a duel against many other weapons, but with which a great warrior can nonetheless triumph against lesser foes.
 

The Labrys on the firmament

The White Peaks lie directly below the Alpha asterism, Galatea's own star sign in the shape of her sacred symbol. It is an empyreal sign of the favor she shows the Amazon people, visible on the firmament to lands far beyond the White Peaks. By her divine design, the asterism takes on a different form when observed from the summit of Mount Pantokratos, the highest point in the White Peaks. From there, an additional five stars can be seen in the group, forming the Labrys constellation, also known as the Star-Axe or the Astropelekus.  
Below: The Alpha asterism, the only part of the Labrys constellation visible to most of Amanor.

by CraniumBeaver

Below: The Labrys constellation, visible in full only on Mount Pantokratos.

by CraniumBeaver

 

The White Aurochs

The aurochs is Galatea's sacred animal. It is a half-wild species of great bovines herded as cattle and bred as beasts of burden in Achillonia. Especially sacred to Galatea are white aurochs -- a color that is very rare in the species. It is the avatar of Tauros the She-Bull, one of Galatea's twelve aspects.   Rituals and sacraments that honor Galatea can involve live animals. Some Amazon temples enact ritual combat against mighty auroch bulls while others only use the beasts as divine witnesses. Displaying rituals to an aurochs is said to draw the eye of the goddess herself.
 

Magic

Paladins and clerics of Galatea are common but druids are very rare. Wizards are found only as members of the temple Dorothia, since it is the only temple to have an institution comparable to a college of magic. Any sorcerers born in Achillonia are sent to Dorothia for training. Sorcerers are forced to become wizards in Achillonia, for the Amazons believe in strict and formal training -- in magic just as in the art of war.  

Culture

Amazons pride themselves on their physical prowess and skill in battle. Theirs is a society of strict discipline, absolute order, and unpausing devotion to martial training. Despite the strictly matriarchal structures of government, the rest of their society is one of moral gender-equality. Social authority and privilege is given to those that have accomplished themselves. Succesful athletes, famous artists, and perfomers of heroic deeds are especially well respected.  

Fame

Achillonians love heroes. Legendary champions of old are greatly venerated, the tales of their deeds setting demanding footsteps for aspiring Amazons to follow. Stories of great people both mythical and historical are recounted generation after generation to instruct and inspire.   Those that demonstrate Galatea's virtues by accomplishing themselves in trials of body and spirit garner great fame. Competition is fierce, for everyone wants to be the next legendary hero. But those that succeed in reaping fame and recognition are showered with adoration, privilege and power.   One's skill and strength can be demonstrated by personal deeds, of course, but it can be hard to gain widespread recognition from acts that few people have witnessed. Public contests are popular ways to show one's worth -- and especially one's superiority over others. Both martial and athletic contests have deep roots in Achillonian culture.  
Below: To become a hero of legend is the dream of most Amazons.
Screenshot from Total War: Troy by Creative Assembly
 

Athleticism

Athletic competitions are organized regularly and with jubilant ceremony. They are always great attractions, anticipated long in advance by athletes and spectators alike. The bar for entry for competitors is low, and any Atrician is allowed to compete. Athletic events organized for the Atricians of a single temple are large enough, and when multiple temples compete with each other an event can grow truly gargantuan -- so numerous are the competitors in such games that a single sport event can last several days. Success in athletic games is exceedingly meritorious, for physical fitness is held in very high regard in Achillonia. Winners of games can except showers of gifts, special priviliges, and deep respect from their communities.  

Economy

Amazons do not trade with nations beyond Achillonia, but the various temples share their precious natural resources with each other rather liberally. Amazons make trade by exchanging goods rather than with currency, although the Amazons do recognize the value that Heartland coins can have when dealing with outsiders.  

Notable resources

Limestone. The soaring mountains of the White Peaks get their name from their plentiful snows, but are also known for their practically endless supply of limestone. The Amazons use limestone for most of their construction.   Cinnabar. The Amazons are known for exporting cinnabar, a bright red ore they call Surtur's Blood. It is plentiful in the central regions of the White Peaks, growing more and more abundant the closer you get to Surtur's Grave.   Starsilver. Starsilver is a strong, malleable, and lustrous metal that can be found on the highest peaks of the mountains of Achillonia. It is silvery in appearance but so incredibly durable that it can be shaped into the finest of weapons and armor. Starsilver is found nowhere else in the entire world, and the Amazons believe it to be yet another of the many blessings granted to them by the Goddess of Battle. It is a sacred metal that is rarely given to foreign hands.   Surtling Hearts. Surtling hearts are lumps of burning stone roughly the size of a large potato. They are harvested from the bodies of surtlings, wild magma elementals that thrive in the volcanic valleys of Surtur's Grave. The hearts are infused with elemental magic, emanating light and heat for several years after collection. Amazons that live high up the mountains treasure surtling hearts, for they are an easy way to keep buildings warm in the freezing air.
Geographic location on Amanor

Maps

  • Map of Achillonia
    This is a map of the White Peaks of Achillonia, the land of the Amazons.
ALTERNATIVE NAMES
Akhillonia ("land whose people are distressed"), Amazonia ("land of warriors"), The White Peaks   DETAILS
Civilization type
Confederation
Founding Date
?
Government System
Meritocratic autocracy
Power Structure
Confederation of city-states
Current leader
Vergilia Stormbreaker
Leader title
Autarch
Capital
None.
DEMOGRAPHY AND POPULATION
Amazons
Notable minority populations
None.
Demonym
Amazons, Amazonians, Achillonians, Vallieni
Languages
Primordial
Tyrian
Subsidiary Organizations
Deities
Related Traditions
Related Ranks & Titles
Related Professions
Neighboring Nations
Related Myths
Religions
Pelekism
Wonders
Surtur's Grave
The Frozen Gardens in Laurentum
The Oracle in Delfos
Temple of Galatea in Ios

Galatea's Blessing

The Amazon people is descended from an ancient human bloodline that carries Galatea's Blessing -- a magical heritage that imbues women with great physical power. Female descendants of the Amazon bloodline are superhumanly strong, powerfully built, and long-lived, whereas male Amazons are normal in these aspects. Each Amazon woman is physically superior to even the most athletic humans from other lands, making Amazon warriors absolutely terrifying opponents on the field of battle.   Galatea's Blessing causes an easily observable, gender-based disparity of biological traits. It has irrevocably shaped Amazon culture in many ways -- foremost, perhaps, by creating a strong basis for matriarchal power structures. In addition to their clear physical superiority, Amazon women are said to be possessed of great spirit, wisdom, and wit. More so than the men, at least. Women also live longer than men -- up to 300 years -- and their bodies do not suffer any weakness or infirmity from old age.  
Below: Depiction of a Tyrian man, perhaps a diplomat or great hero, having an audience with an Amazon leader.

Screenshot from Total War: Troy by Creative Assembly

Galatea's Blessing is a divine heritage that does not diminish in multi-racial offspring. It passes on with full potency to all children of any Amazon -- unlike, for example, how the racial traits of an elven parent are diminished in their half-elven child. The Blessing is carried by males and females but manifests its superhuman effects only in females.
Below: The mountain citadels of the Amazons are unassailable by conventional military forces.
 
Your warriors are mighty and your armies numerous. I see you strive to gain my favor, but you strength is not enough. Know now that to be worthy of me, to name yourselves my chosen people, you must take that honor from my mortal daughters. Prove yourselves stronger than them. Follow my sign in the night sky. March to the land of white mountains and seek its highest peak. There you will find the city where silver laurels grow. Take that city and slay its defenders to the last. Then you shall have my favor.
— Galatea to King Belisarius, Fundamentals of the Empyrean 6:5:42
 

Galatea's colors

White. White is Galatea's principal color. It is the color she has chosen for herself and the color that most pleases her eye.   Red. Red is the color of blood and meat, of violence and anger. Bloody is the worship of the Goddess of Battle and bloodier still the fruits of her blessings.   Black. Black is the color of death -- the dark embrace of Anthos that awaits those that challenge Galatea or her mortal daughters.   Grey. Grey is the color of metal. Grey is the steel of the blade -- the tool that the warrior uses to do her good work.

Achillonian traditions

Blood oath
Tradition / Ritual | Jul 14, 2022

Amazon tradition of swearing unbreakable oaths of war, battle and death.

The Hunt
Tradition / Ritual | Jul 13, 2022

Amazon tradition of gaining fame by tracking and slaying mighty foes.

Naming
Tradition / Ritual | Jul 13, 2022

Amazon tradition of granting honorary titles to famous individuals.

 

Spirit of competition

In the meritocratic societies that are the Amazon Temples of Achillonia, life is about proving yourself -- proving that your capable, proving that you are able to improve yourself, proving that your better than others.   The Achillonian spirit of competition is prevalent in all aspects of life. Amazons are determined in all their pursuits and prone to a fighting attitude even outside battle. They seek to better themselves but also -- and perhaps more importantly -- to perform better than their fellow citizens. They strive for success with ever greater fervor after witnessing the success of others, wanting to "do one better" than someone else just did.   Highly competitive culture does not lead to only positive results, of course. Social communities and relationships in general have a tendency to polarize to "us" and "them" as Achillonians seek opponents for themselves in all aspects of life. And competition can be ruthless.

Technological level

Amazonian technology is comparatively archaic, lacking most modern branches of industry and arcane research. Industries and economical technologies have been developed only to the level sufficient to sustain the sparse populace and its simple tastes for comfort. Achillonians lead lives that could be described by peoples of the Heartlands as ascetic. Their homes are rugged and austere, their settlements simple and plain. The Amazons pride themselves on prevailing against the harsh nature that surrounds them through strength of will and body rather than through the use of techonology or magic.   Achillonia lacks many luxuries of the modern world. There are no fine dresses to make the rich more beaufitul -- there are no powders, no perfumes, no wigs and make up. There are no art galleries filled with gilded statues and pretty paintings, there are no grandiose halls where sweet music could resound to inspire audiences. There are no exotic goods brought by foreign merchants, no outlandish attractions that would distract you from your life of hardship.   Military technology is not highly developed, for the Amazons have always overpowered their enemies through sheer strength of body and their unmatched skill in arms. The crafting of armor and weapons is perhaps the most highly developed area of industry in Achillonia -- as is the magical enchanting of such wargear. In essence, the Amazons have many masterful craftsmen but no military engineers; their warriors march to war with the finest of armaments but would not deploy a single catapult in a siege.  

Infrastucture

Achillonia is not only devoid of luxury, but also lacking things that are considered simple, modern comforts. The methods and materials of construction are not nearly as developed as they are in modern societies, and neither is architectural design. Amazon settlements are typically found on mountain slopes, making good use of ancient aqueducts for their water supply, but lacking modern sewage systems even in large population centers. Roads between settlements are poorly developed, being at places little more than trails or goat paths. And even if developed, a road in the cold mountains is demanding to maintain.   Many eroded and dilapitated works of ancient engineering can be found in the White Peaks -- ancient highways, colossal staircases, and great elevators once made by either Amazon or dwarven hands, left now to the mercy of the elements.  

Agriculture & industry

The sparsely populated societies of the Amazons survive on hunting, gathering, and simple agriculture. Miners, lumberjacks, and other laborers provide settlements with the raw materials needed to sustain the simple architecture of their civil construction. Bounties of mountain forests, goat-herding, and the cultivation of the hardiest vegetables form the bulk of foodstuffs that sustain Amazon populations, while the craftsmen focus their attention on sophisticated metallurgy and arcane enchantment.  

Language

The amazons speak Primordial, the language of the gods, passed down to them from Galatea herself in the Dawn Age. Few of them are fluent in Common or other languages of the surrounding world.
Below: Some Amazon settlements are sheltered by ancient dwarven architecture, dwarf-holds that were conquered by Amazons long centuries ago.
 

Military

Amazons field small but elite forces of deadly warriors. Their few numbers mean that their armies are smaller than those of other nations, but the strength and skill of their warriors makes up for this.  

Warrior training

Every Amazon woman is not only blessed by Galatea bu also trained from an early age to master the art of combat. There are compulsory trials that all youngsters must go through regardless of gender, after which those with promise are chosen for life-long warrior training. Such professional warriors spend their years training the fighting ways of their temple, either honing their chosen skills to perfection or mastering more than one form of battle. Some temples focus their warriors on precise archery or fierce melee combat, while others emphasize group-tactics and train the finest cavalry and phalanx regiments in the known world.   Amazon warriors are equipped with magical armor and weapons made from the finest steel and starsilver. Their mountain realm is home to a plethora of dangerous magical beasts that the amazon’s hunt as trials of strength, and materials harvested from these beasts are used to craft mighty armaments of legend.  

Lussa

Old tales that endure in the Heartlands about the Amazons often describe their fearsome tendency to enter a deep state of battle rage known as Lussa. Stories and accounts abound of warrior women fighting through grievous injuries and against any odds in the throes of fervent rage, immune to pain and fatigue, howling at their opponents like beasts.   Lussa is not only a state of berserker rage. It has a "social" or "communal" aspect in that it seems to spread from warrior to warrior, as if carried through Amazon ranks by some telepathic link. This contagious nature of it makes Lussa exceptionally dangerous for opposing forces, for even a single Amazon warrior entering a battle rage can make their entire force to do the same.   The Amazons themselves believe Lussa to be an expression of Galatea's personal presence on the battlefield; her divine will empowering her mortal children to superhuman deeds of bloodshed.  

Foreign relations

Achillonians are a warlike people, ever at odds with their neighbors of Nergamesh, Menyamar, the Grand Duchies and Menargion. The Amazons can invade their surrounding lands without provocation, but at other times they give warning to settlements and even nations about impending attacks. Amazon offensives usually progress deeper into enemy territory until they are repelled, after which the Achillonians abandon all territory they might have claimed and retreat back to their mountain home.   The Amazons would never set out to rule the world despite their great strength, for it is not their lot to dominate others but -- quite simply -- to test their strength against others. Achillonia has never conquered foreign lands, but it is an accepted fact that any peace treaties made with Achillonia never last more than a few years.  

History

TBA  


Cover image: by CraniumBeaver

Comments

Please Login in order to comment!