Stealthy as any Rogue and as ferocious as any Warrior, the Huntresses of the mysterious Amazons are renowned throughout the World for their skill and cunning. Far more common and direct than their sisters the Furies, Huntresses are all most commoners will ever see of Amazon culture. As their name implies, these warrior women are expert stalkers and foragers, who have provided for their Sisters from the time of Phaedra, the First Huntress, who led the Amazons away from the strife of the World to their homelands in the steaming jungles. Adept as they are at the hunt, these warrior women are also deadly in battle. Trained in the use of the bow and spear from birth, Huntresses hone their weapon mastery daily, and live for the chance to prove their superiority to any man. Huntresses favor axes, long spears, and great recurved bows, and will never, under any circumstances, wield swords, for such weapons have no use in a hunt. In battle Huntress favor stealth and ambush, preferring to catch their foes in a withering rain of arrows before coming to blows. Huntresses also know the secrets of many natural poisons, and often envenom their darts to great effect.
Huntresses believe in the supremacy of Braialla, the Green Mother of the World, and Ancient invocations allow these warrior women to call upon the powers of Vashteera, Mother of Panthers, and the spirits of their ancestors. Through their use a Huntress can move with all the stealth of a hunting panther, and lash out with a tiger's strength and fury. Strong as their skill and training make them, these powers make the Amazons even more formidable, giving them a supernatural edge in hunt or battle.
For millennia the Huntresses stayed in the homeland of the Amazons, guarding the borders of their great Empire and slaying any who sought entrance to their hidden valley. Nothing was known of their ways but legends and rumors until the latter days of the Age of Kings, when a great horde of Huntresses surged out of the jungles and fought a bitter war with the kingdoms of the South, expanding the lands of their Queen. When the Turning shattered the World, the entire Amazon homeland was lost, and the Amazons who guarded their new conquests were stranded in the lands of their enemies. Since then they have wandered, swelling their ranks with girl children taken in raids or battles, and trying to learn if their ancient home still exists on some island lost in the Void, or if their ancient valley was destroyed. If some way back exists, the Amazons will leave the Age of Strife behind them and never return. If, on the other hand, their home is no more, the Huntresses and Furies will wreak a grim vengeance upon the World.
I am Lyssa, daughter of Neela, daughter of Hreena, Huntress of the Palomi Tribe. It has been thirteen summers since I passed the trials of arrow, eye, and fire and earned my place in the hunt. Thirteen times I have joined the Long Hunt, and thirteen times I brought down worthy prey and brought back meat to feed my people. I walk in daylight and in darkness, unseen and unknown. Phaedra the First Huntress taught her Amazons how to survive beneath the Emerald Canopy long ago, and we, the daughters of her daughters' daughters' move through the darkest forests without fear. Nothing that walks, swims, or flies through the jungle can escape us, once we mark it as prey.
Though I prefer to strike from ambush with my deadly bow, do not think that I am weak in battle. We Amazons are bred for battle, trained to physical perfection from childhood - with a spear or with my bare hands, I am the equal of any man in battle. I have also been tutored by the High Circle of Furies, and have learned some of their Arts. The grace of the panther, the strength of the lion, the ferocity of the tiger: these are the gifts of Vashteera, the Prowler in Darkness, the Mother of Cats who led Phaedra away from the world of men and into paradise. The spirits of my ancestors guide my arrows and keep my spear sharp.
We hunt far more than birds and beasts, for every Huntress must be both protector and provider. For ages the ranks of the Huntresses guarded the boundaries of the Amazon Empire, hidden away in the deep rift, the Valley of Delagana at the heart of the great southern jungle. Thanks to our vigilance, the Empire lived in peace, without care or want, in great cities of alabaster whose wide streets were lined with statues wrought of marble or gleaming bronze. Our ancestors built a paradise to rival the Elvish kingdoms of old, and its greatest protection was its secrecy. The wickedness of the World, with its wars, strife, and hatred, was shut, kept at bay by the keen vigil of my sister Huntresses. Alas, that the World should grow so dark that the shadow should even reach Delgana, and consume our home.
In the time of my grandmother's grandmother the Great Hunt began, for the Furies foresaw that a great Doom was coming to the World, when the meddling All-Father and the kings who are his heirs would wound the Green Mother, Mother of All, unto death and ruin all the world. And so our Queen roused all her strength, and the Amazons left their ancient home and tried to turn the tides of fate. Whole kingdoms in the South fell to the conquering Huntresses, but alas, our victories came to late. On the Day of Woe we felt the Earth shake, and saw the sun go black. To the hellfires with all kings and fathers! The World was shattered, and all of the South fell into the Void, taking our beloved jungle and the Valley of Delgana with it. Now the daughters of Phaedra must live in the north, where the lands are strange, and the time has come for the Last Hunt. Now we shall bring peace to the shattered World by destroying all men who would rather own it than enjoy it. The dire wound of the Turning must be avenged! May Phaedra the First Huntress, great Vashteera the She-Panther, the Circle of the Furies, and all the spirits of my ancestors aid me in the quest for vengeance!
Let the Hunt begin!