The Isle of Ixinos
Proper Name: The Isle of Ixinos Ruler: Her Peerless Majesty, Queen of Ixinos, Mistress of the Sea, Lady of the Hunt, and Rightful Queen of Akanax; Queen Elissa Tarixon. Government: Matriarchal Feudal Monarchy; who’s Queen is a descendant by blood from the original Queen Tarixon, Queen of ancient Akanax. Capital: The Citadel-City of Tarixon, situated at the center of Ixinos. Major Cities: Tarixon (3,700) and Tazixor (1,300). Major Provinces: Ixinos is divided into seven distinct provinces, each the ancestral home of a family descended from the seven daughters of Tarixon: Adonia (home of Tarixon), Adrasteia, Aella, Alala, Alexa, Alkippe, and Aphrodisia (home of Tazixor). Resources of Export: Ixinos makes no products to be exported; but is a supply port used by various captains of known trust who take on foodstuffs, rope, and other ship needs. Its sole true export is a group of battle-ready mercenaries called the She-Wolves who serve in the immediate areas of Chondath, Turmish and Chessenta. Items of Import: Ixinos imports metals and captured slaves brought home by the She-Wolves Mercenary Company. Some few slaves are also bought from ship captains. There is not a huge trade in this as many men who live on the island do so willingly and many generations have lived peacefully here under the watchful eye of the Ixinossean women. Coinage: The Queens of Ixinos have decreed no national coinage; most trade upon Ixinos is handled in barter or by service. Foreign coin is accepted only within the city of Tazixor where it is used as a medium of exchange with select female ship captains. There are no taxes upon Ixinos made on coinage transactions. Population: 18,500 (approximately; 75% female and 25% male; all human). Languages: Chessentan and Common Alignments: Primarily Lawful Neutral as a society; all alignments present. Religions: Chauntea*, Lliira, Loviatar, Meilikki*, Mystra*, Red Knight, Selune*, Sharess, Siamorphe, Sune*, Tyche* (Tymora), and Umberlee*. No male priests or male gods are allowed upon Ixinos; but other female gods are allowed. Males that have come to Ixinos by whatever means that are of an accepted faith are usually accepted as consorts to a priestess until such time as they die of old age…if they survive their initial encounter with the female warriors here. The Ixinossean Pantheon shares one large temple in Tarixon; only those goddesses names marked with a * have separate temples. The Ixinossean Pantheon is known as the Dodekatheon and is headed by Tyche. While this is the official Pantheon (as supported by the Queen), each province orders the goddesses differently. Allies: None; though the Emerald Enclave secretly supports Ixinos. Such assistance is unknown to the majority of Ixinosseans, but the Queen deals directly with the Grand Cabal. Enemies: Male Tyrants of any land; specifically Akanax (unknown to Akanax) and the Church of Bane.
Overview: Ixinos is nearly an idyllic paradise. Its heavily forested coast serves as a natural defensive network; as well as hiding an interior of well maintained farmland tended by male slaves and the elderly. The forest is called the Keposeruma (or “The Orchard Wall”) by the people of Ixinos; its labyrinthine paths feed the inhabitants of Ixinos well, but have been the place of death for crewmen from any ship daring to land upon Ixinos' shore.
Any ship sailing near this island only usually sees death to be had. If statuesque naked women are seen bathing upon its shores, it is commonly thought to be she-demons tempting the foolish. Reefs all around the island have caused shipwrecks whose hulks can still be seen rotting on the shore…and no sailor has ever met a man claiming to survive and tell of the Isle. Even harpies are more welcome upon Ixinos it is said, and in fact the high cliffs that seemingly grow from the water here are known lairs of large flocks of these beasts; just another reason to stay as far away from the rocky shores of Ixinos.
Those daring to fly above the island are rarely glad they did so, because even if they survive the likely attack by Harpies, they will have to face either the screaming assault of the Queen’s Skyguard (composed of Griffon riding sorceresses) or the Lady Dragon Xerene. Xerene is a powerful ally of the Queen, bound to Ixinos in ancient times by Queen Tarixon in an unknown contest. Xerene and her brood (most now gone) live within seashore caves; and few wish to pit their strength against this secretive Great Wyrm Bronze Dragon who sees herself as the god-mother of every inhabitant of Ixinos. Xerene is in truth the instructor of magic for the Ixinossean sorceresses here as well. The line of Queens, Xerene and the sorceresses maintain extensive aerial illusions masking the true landscape here, with only the most powerful of wizards and priests having any hope of piercing this shroud. To any outside knowledge of Ixinos to date, the Ixinosseans live within a jungle kingdom and only have contact with the outside world through Tazixor; which most assume is their only city.
The interior is rolling hilly countryside where vineyards and farms will be found in plenty; but this hill country slopes slowly upwards toward the center of the Isle to Mount Mytikas. Each of these farms serves not only the needs of those that work them, but the will of the Queen as well; the Ixinossean warriors of the Queen are supported by the work of slaves and non-combatant Ixinossean alike. The slaves working here are all male; and while they are well cared for and not truly abused, they have no rights and must do as they are told. Small woodlands dot the interior as well, home to animals to be hunted only by the nobles of this land. Only the women of Ixinos are allowed to eat meat here, males subsist upon grains and fruits alone. Young male slaves tend flocks of goats upon ground too rocky to serve as farmland; and these flocks are used for meat, milk (and cheeses), and hides.
There are no natural predators upon Ixinos, unless Harpies are counted; but these creatures rarely dare the interior of the island in fear of the free-ranging Griffons who fly from Mount Mytikas in hunts for the herds of wild horses the Queen keeps upon the Isle. These same horses are often tamed for use by the Queens High Guard or for use in the expeditionary She-Wolves mercenary company.
Ixinos is divided into seven provincial areas, each ruled by a descendant of one of Queen Tarixon’s daughters; and one of those by the Queen. These areas are: • Adonia: seat of power upon Ixinos, Adonia is the central province where the Citadel of Tarixon is located. Here in this city are located the major temples, storehouses, barracks and other structures important to the Queen. Tarixon is also home to the Gladiatorial Arena where men may fight for the right to be the Consort to the Queen or one of the other six noble rulers of Ixinos. Men sentenced to death also fight here until such time as they either die or win their right to absolve their death sentence. Tarixon is located upon the north face of the lower slopes of Mount Mytikas. This heavily forested peak is visible from the sea; but its lower slopes have been cleared and are used as pasture land outside Tarixon. Adonia is centrally located upon Ixinos having borders with Aella and Aphrodisia in the north, Alexa to the west, Alala to the south, and the sea to the east. • Adrasteia: home of a second temple to Meilikki, Adrasteia is the primary home of Ixinos’ ranger elite. The women here are the finest rangers upon the Isle and also quite possibly some of the finest archers from any land. Men who land upon the shores here are mercilessly hunted to death. Adrasteia is located upon the south-western shores and forests of Ixinos south of Alexa and west of Alkippe. • Aella: home to fierce women who shun contact even with their sister Ixinosseans unless absolutely needed. Aellans are axe wielding barbarian women who could even be called berserkers if it were not for their cold and calculating method of warfare. Few of these women ever join the She-Wolves and leave Ixinos. Aella is located upon the north-eastern lands of Ixinos where it borders Adonia to the south and Aphrodisia to the west; while the sea is to the north and east. • Alala: home to proud warriors, the Alalans are the most aggressive warriors of Ixinos; where aggression is measured by a desire to leave the Isle and fight outsiders. The very word “Alala” is the war-cry that all Ixinosseans use when fighting. Alala is located south of Adonia upon the central hills and eastern coast; and it shares its western border with Alexa and its southern border with Alkippe. • Alexa: home of some of the finest smiths among the Ixinosseans; Alexans are also primarily responsible for training the Ixinossean military. Alexans fight in heavy plate armors and wield both shortsword and spear with equal skill. They actually fight very similarly to ancient Chessentans; but the Phalanx on Ixinos is much more mobile being comprised of smaller units. Alexa is both south and west of Adonia, sharing the central plains with Alala and comprising the western coast south of Aphrodisia; its southern border is shared with Adrasteia. • Alkippe: this land is inhabited by Ixinosseans who are known to be excellent judges of character and wise in their old age. Many women here become priestesses within Tarixon. Alkippeans keep more men here, as constant consorts, than do any other provinces. Alkippe is south of Alala and east of Adrasteia; it holds nearly Ixinos’ entire south coast within its borders and only some small part of the eastern coast south of Alala. • Aphrodisia: home of the only other city upon Ixinos, this province holds Tazixor on its shores. Only here may any ship find safe harbor, and then only if that ship is captained by a female who is vouched for by contact with the She-Wolves or by another captain already trusted. Men from these ships are still not allowed to disembark onto land; but may unload cargo on the docks here only. Any man that steps foot upon the ground away from the docks is a slave; and no argument by any captain will change that. The only temple to Umberlee upon Ixinos sits here upon the shoreline and its priestesses are glad to take men as sacrifice to her. Aphrodisians are the finest sailors upon Ixinos, and keep three strong warships here to defend the harbor and city. Aphrodisia sits upon the north-west coast and shares borders with Aella to the east, Alexa to the immediate south, and Adonia to the south of its eastern reaches and to the east of its southern reaches.
History: In -229 DR (the “Year of the Myrmidon Maid”) a girl named Tarixon was married to the King of Akanax. History tells that she was highly regarded in Chessenta as both a beautiful woman and a powerful warrior in her own right; her father having no sons he had trained her as a warrior. In a fit of jealousy, the King’s own brother murdered him and attempted to take Tarixon as his wife by force to ensure the masses loved him. Knowing the secret of his actions, Tarixon fled Akanax to be hunted by her husband’s brother for many years. It is said that Tarixon eventually evaded her pursuers by becoming a servant of the gods.
What none today know is that Tarixon spent many years as a wandering adventurer who loved no man, and in truth came to despise them all. Eventually, Tarixon amassed a following of disaffected women who she taught the art of combat and war to and they became known long ago as the She-Wolves within Chessenta and surrounding lands. With this band she found her way back to Akanax and entered the service of her hated brother-in-law who knew her not because of many years and her war-worn appearance. Still beautiful though, Tarixon became once again the object of obsession for the Tyrant of Akanax.
When taken to his bedchamber, Tarixon actually strangled the drunken man to death with her bare hands. She then stole away from Akanax with her soldiers, fleeing to the shores of Chessenta and ships that awaited them. Once at sea, the small band sailed to the west intending to ply their trade within the area of strife and cataclysm sundered Jhaamdath; but very soon to be known as Chondath. Unfortunately the ships ran afoul of a large number of Pirates who viciously attacked.
The battle resulted in only one of Tarixon’s ships surviving, and it being badly damaged with many wounded aboard; but the Lady Myrmidon had ensured that every single enemy vessel had been sent to a watery doom. Having only recently rounded the Straight of Silvanus headed south, the ship was forced aground upon the Isle of Ixinos and damaged even to the point of breaking apart. The few men aboard found themselves shipwrecked upon Ixinos with a large number of armed and dangerous, but beautiful women; who immediately set the men to work on shelter and food gathering. Such was the beginning of the modern history of the Isle of Ixinos in the year -215 DR.
Little known to Tarixon and her She-Wolves upon their arrival; but upon Ixinos were ancient ruins of an elder civilization, and within these ruins were treasures and records of a civilization that had been washed away beneath waves created by vengeful elves intent upon the destruction of the nation of Jhaamdath only forty years before. This civilization had been ruled by women called Amazons, and they had lived for thousands of years upon Ixinos before Tarixon found their ancient bronze plates upon which had been engraved a record of their people. By Tarixon’s calculations, their people had arrived upon Ixinos in the year -3,615 DR; but her calculations were of course using the Untheric calendar. Their people had flourished after being left upon Ixinos by unknown benefactors who rescued them from what could have only been Imaskari masters; and rarely had they come in contact with other people. Their city had rested at the foot of Mount Mytikas, but it had been overgrown by jungle when the waters receded. Tarixon took their traditions and laws to be her own and re-founded the Amazon culture with her own She-Wolves and their male servants.
Many other adventures were to be had by Tarixon and her She-Wolves upon the island; such as the taming of Xerene the Bronze Dragon, putting down rebellion by the sailors from their ship and defeating pirates who had come looking for their comrades. It wasn’t long before pirates stopped visiting the shores of Ixinos out of fear of the “savages” found there…and such stories even prevented an emerging Chondath from sending crews to their doom in exploration of the “Isle of Harpies” or “Isle of Succubi” as it has been called.
Eventually, Tarixon grew old and passed away, buried alongside prior Amazon queens within the catacombs of Mount Mytikas. She left behind a small population of Ixinosseans within the city of Amazonia, renamed Tarixon by the daughters of the deceased Queen in her honor. Tarixon’s eldest daughter, Adonia, became the next Queen by force of arms; while her six sisters claimed wilder lands as their own with the aid of their own followers and all seven made treaty with each other to make no war except that it be ritualized to prevent too many lives being lost.
Many years later, in -166 DR (The Year of Seven Loves Lost) Queen Adonia passed away. Her six sisters carried her into the catacombs beneath Tarixon and none ever returned. The Ixinosseans sealed the catacombs and since that time all have been buried outside the city; the successors to their mothers claimed that the last women to have come from the Mother Goddesses had returned to live within the heavens. Only Queen Adonia’s daughter knew the truth, she being the Keeper of Records and apprentice to the Lady Dragon Xerene. From that time forward, the Ixinosseans believed that they had of course always lived upon Ixinos and none were allowed upon their home that were not invited.
Not until 12 DR (The Year of Wistful Looks) was the coast of Ixinos visited again; this time by a band of adventurers from the young city of Alaghon. The adventurers thought to defeat the she-demons that ruled the island and plunder their treasure; but instead they only found themselves hunted mercilessly by the Ixinosseans. Their ship was seized, its crew enslaved, and the “inferior” male adventurers forced to fight in the Arena of Tarixon until only one survived. This man was taken as the Queen’s consort; but never again allowed to leave the island. Acting on a whim, the Queen ordered the ship’s crew to teach the women of Aphrodisia how to sail their vessel, which had landed upon the exact location of modern Tazixor; essentially the only cove that would allow a vessel to safely put ashore. From this location the slave-sailors teach the women of Aphrodisia how to actually construct ships as well, and by 16 DR (the Year of Distant Thunder) the Queen has three such vessels to use. After several more years of training, the Aphrodisian’s have created a fortified settlement and name it Tazixor. With the Queen’s order, the three Aphrodisian War-Galleys launch from Tazixor in 20 DR, the Year of the Fallen Fury.
The Ixinosseans sail first to the shores of Turmish where they put ashore and raid a small village, thinking it to be Alaghon. The male villagers who resist are put to the sword, the women offered “freedom” or death and all children loaded into the galleys with all the village’s goods. With their newly conscripted female Ixinosseans and the children the raiders return to Ixinos. The Queen, overjoyed at their success, thinks that the stories told to her by her consort about the strength of neighboring human realms is a lie hangs him and orders another raid to be carried out. She explains to her warriors that the male dominated world is obviously in shambles after the destruction of Jhaamdath and it is now time to bring Ixinossean prowess and conquest to surrounding lands.
The next year, her galleys sail forth to the south and west down the Vilhon Reach; where they find the much larger and fortified city of Iljak after raiding several coastal villages. With only 240 warriors capable of combat, the Ixinosseans simply leave and sail for home. After reporting their findings to the Queen, it is decided by the Queen after consultation with the “Lady” Xerene that such military endeavors should be suspended. Instead the Queen decides that Ixinos should only attack vessels approaching too near the shores of her Isle. The Aphrodisians continue to maintain Tazixor and a traditional three warships from this time forward however. Only rarely do their ships leave the shrouded cove of Tazixor to attack a ship coming too near Ixinos until much later. Fortune again favors the Ixinosseans as their closed island is untouched by the great plague of 75 DR; the Year of Clinging Death. Had the new Queen attacked the Vilhon Reach after this devastating time, it could well have been that Faerun would have a much different face than today.
During the period of c. 75 DR to 717 DR Ixinos’ reputation becomes again the fierce “Isle of Succubi” and “Haven of Harpies” known much earlier to the Jhaamdathan civilization before its collapse. Exploring ships of Turmish, Chondath, Chessenta, and Unther all come to dire ends when sent to the Isle of Ixinos; and so, since heavily armed expeditions fail utterly to even return and report, these nations seek exploration and conquest in other areas. Merchant ships and warships alike sail wide and clear of the trio of islands at the mouth of the Vilhon Reach.
During this time all things are not well within the bounds of Ixinos’ shores. It is in 267 DR (the Year of Bane’s Shadow) that the Queen of Ixinos is taken captive by a powerful wizard and servant of Bane. Despite the efforts of the Queen’s High Guard, the wizard escapes with the Queen and she is never seen again. The wizard proclaims the power of Bane as Lord of Tyrants before vanishing; and soon after the Isle of Ixinos is torn by a vicious war of succession that is not finally resolved until 285 DR when Queen Taramax is crowned from the House of Adonia. The war is ended when the leaders of the seven houses realize that there are more men living upon the Isle than there are warriors. Queen Taramax decrees “The Culling” at this time and over half of the male population is massacred within a tenday. The Isle of Ixinos experienced long years of relative peace after this until 717 DR when ships of Turmish, repulsed from the shores of Ilighon by the Emerald Enclave, fall upon misfortune and land upon the northern shore of Ixinos. The survivors are quickly subdued by the fierce Ixinossean women and added to the servant caste of men upon the Isle. Most surviving ships that return to Turmish from the failed invasion of Ilighon let it be known that some of their comrades are shipwrecked upon the “Isle of Harpies” and much attention is focused there.
In 727 DR (the Year of the Purloined Throne) the Cambion Iyachtu Xvim leads a surprise naval assault upon Ixinos at the head of a large force of Pirate Mercenaries supported by his Teifling elite. The Baneson claims that the Throne of Ixinos belongs to him by birthright, and actually carries the Ring of Tarixon upon his taloned hand…a ring not seen upon Ixinos since 267 DR when the Queen was taken by a Banite Wizard. Iyachtu Xvim succeeds in reaching the city of Tarixon and takes the city by force. The return of the Lady Dragon Xerene at the head of her brood of bronze dragons results in Iyachtu Xvim barely escaping the ensuing massacre of his forces at the ends of Ixinossean spears and dragon talons. Ships attempting to escape are shattered by reefs in their attempt to blindly flee the Isle, and their crews hunted to complete eradication by dragon and vengeful female warriors alike. The Baneson, while escaping Ixinos, loses a great deal of power as a result of his failure; and the Pirates of the Sea of Fallen Stars think him a deceiver who simply delivered their brethren to the Isle of Succubi as sacrifices to the she-demons living there. This loss of face eventually leads to his loss of Westgate in 734 DR.
After this near conquest of their homeland, the Ixinosseans set on a course of massive military building and fortification of their home. Tazixor is fortified by thick ringing walls facing both inland and toward the sea; this task is completed by 732 DR. The Queen immediately orders the building of a fleet of ships which she plans to use in retaliation against the Pirates and Iyachtu Xvim. Unfortunately, as previously mentioned, Xvim is exiled from Westgate before the fleet is completed. Instead, the Queen decides to focus the wrath of the Ixinosseans upon the Pirates of Altumbel and the Pirate Isles. A half dozen warships begin steady hunting of Pirates from 735 DR. This activity persists until today because many of these Ixinossean sailors go on to become independent of their Queen and act as Pirate hunters from bases in many nations bordering upon the Sea of Fallen Stars. To this day, many female captains upon the Sea of Fallen Stars like to claim ancestry from Ixinos Freebooters.
After decades of simple pirate hunting, the reigning Queen of Ixinos forms an army and decides to scout surrounding lands for possible expansion and to increase the numbers of her warrior caste. In 758 DR a fleet of five ships, newly constructed and crewed by six hundred warriors sets sail to scout the Vilhon Reach more adequately, and then to return home. Upon their return the Queen decides against attempting expansion into the Vilhon and instead focuses upon smaller islands near the Straights of Silvanus. In 759 DR several Pirate havens are sacked by the Ixinosseans, but none are considered worth holding. It is during this period of exploration that Tazixor is, for the first time, opened to non-Ixinosseans; so long as the ship is captained by a woman and the men do not leave the docks. The Queen uses her port as a means to collect information about surrounding lands while her military continues to grow, arm, and equip properly.
In 763 DR the Queen decides to expand Ixinossean holdings onto the shores of a slumbering Turmish. Landing approximately three thousand warriors upon the rocky coast where now sits Asple, the Ixinossean military subdues the entire coast from Asple south to Torl within a few months. Mixing with “outsiders” however had a detrimental effect upon the Ixinossean military; especially when men in these conquered lands refused to become servants of their women; and these same women had no desire to fight as did the Ixinosseans. Sporadic rebellion ensued and the Ixinossean garrisons here were forced to apply grossly excessive force to suppress them time and again. Eventually, the Queen ordered all males in these lands executed and a second cultural “Culling” took place within Ixinossean lands. By 767 DR, the Ixinosseans withdraw from their conquests in disgust and return to Ixinos.
During the reign of Urdogen the Red (1204 to 1209 DR) Ixinos is repeatedly attacked by Pirates; but each assault is repelled. The Queen does contribute three warships to the defeat of the Pirates in 1209 DR (the Year of Blazing Banners) alongside other nations at the request of Aglarondan Queens Thara and Ulae. From this time forward, Ixinos is seen more for the reality of what exists upon the Isle than as a mysterious and deadly island of she-demons; although still deadly by any measure because of its warriors who fight mercilessly and with abandon during the naval battle against Urdogen the Red.
A new threat arose against Ixinos in 1219 DR. The Blue Dragon Anaglathos destroyed all ships within the harbor of Tazixor, assaulted the Temple of Umberlee, and then fled the city with a golden statue of the Sea Goddess in her talons back to a lair that was unknown to the Ixinosseans. The Queen sent for Xerene to be awakened from her slumber to learn what could be known about the Blue Dragon. Xerene in fact knew of Anaglathos, but being the ever patient manipulator, came upon the idea of revenge that eventually led to Anaglathos’ demise years later. Taking the shape of an Ixinossean Myrmidon by the name of Zerana, Xerene travels to Turmish and there eventually co-founds the adventuring band known as The Company of the Sabred Tooth with her lover Forier in 1238 DR. Equipping the band with substantial magical might by way of placed “loot” in varying adventure locations, Zerana/Xerene stages her own death in 1241 DR after revealing to Forier that she knows the location of a dragon’s lair that could make them all rich.
The following year brings the Company of the Sabred Tooth to Anaglathos’ lair; but the results are far from the intentions of Xerene; and in fact results in the conquest of Turmish by Ixinos’ enemy in 1242 DR. Though the new monarch of Turmish never discovers the hand Xerene had played, he does begin ordering repeated attacks upon Ixinos in an attempt to loot the ancient treasures of the Island. The Lady Dragon and the Ixinosseans fight savagely until internal pressures resulting from Anaglathos’ harsh rule result in him being slain by adventurers in 1247 DR. With Turmish’s fleet in near ruin as a result of Anaglathos’ rule, the Lady Dragon convinces the Queen to allow a force of Ixinossean women to act as mercenary warriors for Turmish until its fleet is restored and capable of defending the shores of Lord Freas’ lands. The only payment requested by the Ixinossean women is a golden statue of Umberlee found within Anaglathos’ hoard. This early mercenary work is the beginning of a mercenary band of Ixinossean women that will later be known as the She-Wolves.
For many decades after this, only rare conflict comes to the shores of Ixinos from daring Pirate captains with too much ambition and too little power. However, unknown to the rest of Faerun, the Cult of the Dragon releases a deadly attack upon Turmish in further retaliation for the death of Anaglathos in the year 1317 DR (the Plague of Dragons it is called). Fortunately, the cell that created the wasting disease dies when their created disease ridden Draco-Lich is released within their hidden quarters. Ixinos is not touched by the plague because the Queen orders Tazixor closed to outsiders until her scrying determines the plague has subsided.
Ixinos remains relatively at peace, except for the sporadic raiding of Pirates as usual until 1358 DR (the Year of Shadows) when the Goddess Umberlee manifests within the form of her High Priestess within the Temple of Tazixor. Influenced by both mortal desire and godly rage, Umberlee strikes out from Ixinos and ravages the Pirate Isles of the Inner Sea with hurricanes and storms, destroying more than two-thirds of the pirates’ fleets before leaving High Priestess Ulexxa upon the altar in Tazixor. To this day Ulexxa is given great power in decisions for the Ixinossean ships and city of Tazixor. Because she is also the First Warrior and Matron of House Aphrodisia; Ulexxa may very well vie for the throne of Ixinos upon Queen Elissa’s death. The Bitch Queen’s faith has grown strong upon Ixinos.
In 1370 DR, a strange visitor comes to the beaches of Ixinos: the Mermaid Raynal. She implores the Queen to allow trade with her people and the Queen finally agrees so long as the trade is conducted only upon the barren beaches of the east coast between the Queen’s own holdings of Adonia and the Merfolk. This area of the island is even today used by Mermaids wishing to trade with the Ixinosseans.
The year 1372 brings the rebirth of the God Bane from within the flesh of his own son. While the Queen is glad for the death of the “Pretender Tyrant” she abolishes the celebrations held yearly for the destruction of Bane. Instead, a new day is enacted upon Ixinos: The Day of Watching. This holy day convenes the High Priestesses of each faith in council with the Queen to ensure that Bane’s presence is not again felt upon the Isle of Ixinos.
Today, Ixinos is still a closed society; and few outsiders know of any hint beyond Tazixor that any civilization rests upon Ixinos. What truth there is about Ixinos contained here is known only to the Queen, as she holds in her quarters an ancient tome of former Queens which lays all bare concerning the ancient past and beginnings of this land; but any other would think that the Ixinosseans have always been here. Daughters of the Goddesses, they are a proud and warlike people who are feared by many.
Unknown to most, the Grand Cabal of Silvanus and Queen Elissa of Ixinos are fast allies and friends; and if rumor within the Royal Palace of Tarixon is true, the two women have a much deeper relationship. This alliance has been of great benefit to the Ixinosseans without their knowledge; and is the primary reason that no ship has even approached Ixinos if it is given to Shinthala by Queen Elissa that such a ship holds ill will toward the Isle. The Queen continues to allow the She-Wolves to operate outside her immediate authority off Ixinos, but it is understood that their mandate is primarily to acquire information and remain informed about the military strengths of nations and cities near their homeland.
The Ixinosan female warrior is one of the most highly trained soldiers in all of Faerun. They are not professional soldiers, however; and it should be made clear that they do not receive pay for their service to the Queen. An Ixinosan warrior is a cultural icon, the goal of all young girls is to be the mightiest warrior upon Ixinos; for such a woman, they believe, can never be defeated in battle against neither man nor beast. Their training is severe, their life austere and very spartan.
When a young Ixinosan girl is born, a group of seven priestesses will use augury to ask the goddesses five simple questions concerning the child: 1) Is the child sickly? 2) Is the child cursed? 3) Is the child human? 4) Is the child mortal? 5) Is the child blessed by the Goddesses? From this information, the priestesses confer and, so long as the child is not sickly, is not cursed, is human, and is mortal it is returned to its mother. Should the result be any other answer, the result is a quick death for the babe. Those girls that are blessed usually become priestesses.
For the next two years, the girl is with her mother at all times to suck; but after this time, her life changes dramatically. At the age of two she is given her first weapon, a well treated wooden stick and is allowed to terrorize young boys with it when she feels the desire. The boys are allowed to defend their life however; so many girls learn to be fierce against older boys and girls who they fight with. At age three the girl is given her second weapon, a lariat. Little girls are taught the uses of this tool/weapon from this early age so that they are familiar with capturing boys with it and forcing the boys to give them a kiss.
This sort of rough “play” goes on until the girl reaches the age of five; at which time she is taken from her mother’s house and sent to live at the house of a priestess to work. During this time the girl is taught about the Goddesses and their role in the lives of the Ixinosan people. She also learns how to ride a horse; often acting as messenger for her priestess. The girl will already know how to feed, groom and care for a horse, and perhaps even how to ride it; but from age five on she will be taught the military saddle, how to ride in formation and how to throw a javelin from horseback. Her lessons will be taught outside, where she sleeps; because she is no longer allowed under a roof. Her priestess’ hunter will also begin teaching her about the land and its dangers at this time.
When the girl has lived outside her priestess’ house for two years, she will then be taken to the capital Tarixon and there live in a barracks with other girls newly arrived. In this building she will live for the next five years. It is here that she will learn of brutality and killing; being forced to watch fights to the death between two convicted males or a male and a beast of some sort. She will leave the city with her 11 sisters and be taught by the finest rangers how to stalk an enemy and launch arrows with deadly precision. While outside the city, she will learn how to steal a goat from a vigilant man who is allowed to beat her with a cane if caught; but never to the point of serious injury or death. She will begin to practice the skills of wrestling and pugilism so that she will be a strong adversary who, even if disarmed, will have weapons to fight with. Her education in writing and literature will be curtailed severely from her time living with her priestess; but will continue in the form of learning the military history of Ixinos and poetry composed about the glory of war and the virtues of keeping the aggression of men either in check or destroyed. She will learn, alongside her 11 sisters, how to stand shoulder to shoulder while running as quickly as they can in perfect step; failure being punished by caning by elders. The heavy pole they carry together is to ensure that eventually she will be able to swiftly respond to orders on the field of battle and not break ranks to do so; and in time the twelve girls will run in perfect harmony at speeds that defy battlefield logic as known by their enemies. Here too they will begin to learn the use of spear and sword; using weighted wooden versions to mercilessly attack other girls of their own age in mock combat until one side is subdued.
Ultimately, at age 12, the girl is exiled from Tarixon; punished by death if she returns before a year is out. She is given only a purple cloak that she must return with after a year, or she has failed and must try a different test: exile from the island to live upon hostile shores dominated by men to live for a year; if she is in the same spot the next year when the ship arrives then she passes her test. During this exile from Tarixon with her cloak, the girl must never set foot upon the streets of town or village; and is never allowed to sleep beneath a roof or shelter of any kind. She must gather her own food, either stealing it from farms or harvesting it within the Keposeruma. If she is able to steal a weapon, then she may return armed; and is in fact encouraged to steal a goat from a herder to eat and then wear as a loin cloth and sandals, the bones to be used for whatever tools can be made from them…but only one goat. If the girl is caught by a patrol, she is caned and everything taken from her but her cloak. In the end, she is expected to stealthily sneak back to the walls of Tarixon and pound the great bronze gong outside the gate. The last is a ritualized return, and many guards willingly turn a blind eye to a young girl seen returning; but those who both return unseen and ring the gong without being opposed are given highest acclaim.
Upon her return from exile, the girl is placed again with a group of women in a much larger barracks composed of four groups of twelve, overseen by a Myrmidon and her assistant. From this time forward the girls learn how to operate in military structure on a larger scale, incorporating earlier lessons into larger group formations. Each girl works during the day learning the arts of war, while at night she is apprenticed to an elder woman who begins to teach her a trade: weaponsmithing, armorer, blacksmithing and other pursuits related to war and their unique version of civilization. Some few will be given over to instruction by the Queen’s own Cult of Hekate to be instructed in the ancient rites of sorcery, or once again into the care of a Priestess to be indoctrinated into one of the cults belonging to the Dodekatheon; but all will still endure military training during the day. Even this part of their life instills in them stealth as they are caned if caught at night going back to their barracks by one of the city’s patrols. For many years she will drill in formation on foot or upon a horse, will practice precision with her bow to the point she can hit a target in the eye that her own mother holds in her hands, and hunt in great “packs” within the Keposeruma men chosen at random who are cunning and willing to submit to the advances of the warrior that catches them. Most girls, by the time of their eighteenth birthday (at the latest) are encouraged to be with child from a male they have selected. If this occurs, her training does not abate; but in many ways is increased as she learns how to fight and survive like a lioness in the wild; being sent once again, when she is near delivery, into the wilder parts of Ixinos until she gives birth to the child and brings it back on her own. This woman is then placed again with another group determined by her trade skill where she both practices her trade for the next five years and raises her child. Male children are treated kindly, but with some disdain; and are finally given over into the keeping of other men when they reach the age of five. Those women who reach the age of twenty without giving birth are finally sent home to their respective people and the customs of those people; hopefully to begin giving birth to another generation of Ixinosan warriors.
All Ixinosan women continually practice for war however; with those giving birth simply given over to the practicing of a trade until the child reaches the age of five. By the time that a woman reaches the age of twenty, she is more than a match for any professional soldier from any nation upon the face of Faerun. She is a competent cavalry soldier, using spear and javelin to great effect and sword to deadly purpose in tight situations. She can run at nearly full sprint upon the field of battle without breaking tight formation; a formation that becomes even tighter when their ranks smash against the enemy and deal out quick death from behind stout round shields called a hoplon. When standing in rank and file with fellow archers, the sky can quickly become filled by repeated volleys of arrows so precise that even elven archers have been in awe of the killing power of these women who wield bows that many men have trouble drawing.
The Queen, as well as the ancient traditions of the Ixinosans, of Ixinos demands military service from every single female upon the Isle. Each of the seven provinces provides the Queen with no less than one hundred warriors; but she requests different types of warriors from each province. Currently she demands the following for her High Guard:
• From Adonia, Alala, and Alexa she demands one hundred heavy infantry equipped with plate armor and hoplon (heavy steel shield); wielding xyston (spear) and xiphos (shortsword). These three hundred warriors are the backbone of the Ixinosan High Guard; very rarely ever leaving the city of Tarixon except for battle. They are very well versed in siege warfare and capable of laying siege to modern fortifications as well as defending their own.
• From Aella she demands fifty axe-wielding skirmishers and fifty light cavalry; all equipped with leather armor and shield. The cavalry fight with a brace of javelins for hurling and an axe for close in work if it is needed; while the infantry fight with a brace of javelins and the fearsome poleax known as the rhomphaia. This brutal weapon can be used one or two-handed and can easily cleave a limb or head from the body of an enemy when used two-handed. While the Aellans are perfectly capable of fighting in tight formation with traditional weapons, they are historically used by the Queen as shock troops and skirmishers alone; and to run down fleeing enemies to massacre them.
• From Adrasteia she demands one hundred archers equipped with leather armor; wielding a cornu (composite longbow), xiphos, and xiphes (dagger). Most of these women are rangers who have as their primary “species” enemy Male Humans. These women are some of the finest archers in Faerun and highly feared by the Pirates they usually do battle against. The Queen commonly employs these women as scouts, ambushers, skirmishers, and even a reserve infantry to shore up the primary line of battle if absolutely needed; but most commonly they are used to shatter advancing enemies and to destroy closing enemy cavalry if such are brought against the flanks.
• From Alkippe she demands fifty priestesses of any faith. These women are armored in bronze plate armor, carry hoplon shields and wield cruel flanged maces. Also from Alkippe the Queen summons fifty heavy cavalry armored in bronze scale armor with shields; wielding light lances, spathe (longsword), and a brace of javelins. The priestesses are used as battle-field clergy as well as to counter hostile enemy magic. They operate in groups of five, with ten such groups assigned to the battle-field as the Queen deems needed. The heavy cavalry of Alkippe are pure shock troops used to break enemy formations unused to doing battle against cavalry; or else to harass the flanks of non-mounted infantry until their javelins are expended.
• From Aphrodisia she demands fifty heavy infantry exactly like those from Adonia and fifty light cavalry. These Aphrodisian light cavalry are armored with leather; wielding cornu, spathe, and xiphes. While their equipment is similar to that of the Adrasteians, their purpose is greatly different. Aphrodisians usually speak many foreign languages and so are used primarily as spies and scouts; which they excel at. They are not as skilled with the cornu as are the Adrasteians, but they still rate as better archers than any they face in battle; doubly so since they are skilled at using their bows from horseback to a great degree of success. The creator of their combat style was the Ixinosan She-Wolf captain named Cantabria who first used cavalry within the She-Wolves more than sixty years ago. These “Cantabrians” usually circle a heavy infantry and pick them off at leisure, or circle continuously at a distance from faster infantry or cavalry so that they can quickly melt away if charged.
These seven hundred warriors are the total strength of the Queen’s High Guard at the current time; but are not the full extent of the Ixinosan military. Each province is required to see to the scouting of its own shores and initial resistance against intrusion. Each province keeps at least one hundred warriors (consisting of infantry, archers, and cavalry) just for such a purpose; but few provinces rely upon their cavalry because of the constant fighting within the Keposeruma.
In truth, the full muster of Ixinos currently would be over 9,000 able-bodied warriors; with two-thirds of those being heavy infantry. Such a force could repel anything short of a full invasion by the Pirates of the Sea of Fallen Stars; but even such a full invasion would be most likely doomed to failure because the Pirates simply are not organized enough to attack such a well trained force. It is actually unknown to the Pirates just how many Ixinosans there really are because the Queen refuses to use her full force even when powerful raiding groups as strong as 2,000 pirates have attacked her nation. Such a force was defeated and massacred by her High Guard and the She-Wolves alone.
Supplementing Queen Elissa’s High Guard is the Cult of Hekate, which she is the ranking member of. These sorceresses are the magical assault force of the Ixinosans, as well as the Keepers of the Dead Queens. High upon Mount Mytikas, within the interior caldera, is the cave belonging to the “Oracle of Hekate” wherein lives the Bronze Dragon Xerene in the human form of an ancient Ixinosan seer. Deep within this cavern lye the remains of every Ixinosan Queen after Adonia. Xerene is thought to be a human woman, with the ability to assume the form of a dragon; only the Queen knows that the opposite is true. At times, the “Daughters of the Oracle” are known to visit their mother in their dragon shape; but Xerene has only one such daughter that has visited within the past quarter century.
The men of this land are not allowed to wield weapons beyond a simple wooden staff to use in herding; no male may wield a metallic tool beyond those needed for farming such as a hoe, sickle, or shovel. In fact, men are not allowed to work metal of any sort as a smith or jeweler; metallurgy is completely off limits to men and the exclusive domain of women here. It is an accepted fact though that the men of Ixinos would fight on the behalf of their women if called to do so; but their capacity in war is usually as extra muscle for the baggage train if such a thing would need to be used for a protracted period. Male herders also are well regarded in the use of their staff; and a “unit” of these men has been called on before to act as a decoy force. Dressed as pirates, they escorted several “captives” into the midst of a raiding group of pirates; whereupon the females unsheathed the swords the men were carrying and butchered the pirates. The men of Ixinos are happy, it seems, to lead the lives of simple herders, farmers, and “house servants” to the women here. All that is asked of them is to do their work, and in return they are well clothed, fed and lavished upon by women wishing their childbearing needs to be consummated.
In all, the military of Ixinos would allow it to conquer neighboring lands if the Ixinosans would concentrate fully upon doing so; but their cultural restraint and desire for isolation is as much a barrier to their expansion as any military would be. The only exception to this normal behavior is an ever increasing number of curious young warriors wishing to test their skill in battle against men of the outside world. To give an outlet to this energy, the Queens have for over a hundred years now maintained a group of warriors as a mercenary expeditionary force called the She-Wolves by outsiders.
The She-Wolves (as known to Outsiders)
Base: Ixinos, Vilhon Reach
Current Sphere(s) of Operation: The Vilhon Reach, the Sea of Fallen Stars
Leader: Theia Heithalata (LG hf Pal9 of ) EDIT: suggestions welcome here!
Government: Military hierarchy
Number of Members: 240
General Alignment: Lawful neutral
History: The She-Wolves are female warriors from a small island in the mouth of the Vilhon Reach. Their society is a unique human culture, and the women of Ixinos are trained for battle almost from their birth. The She-Wolves mercenary company was formed just over a century ago to allow Ixinosans with wanderlust the opportunity to travel while helping to support their homeland. Though the membership of the She-Wolves rotates, the company always has two units of infantry (each with 50 3rdlevel warriors), one of cavalry (50 4th-level warriors), and one of archers (50 5th-level warriors). There are also 10 scouts (rangers, levels 4-7), 10 sorceresses (levels 2-5), and 20 priestesses (levels 3-8). Each unit has a leader of like abilities, chosen from members of the unit. The group’s current overall leader, Theia, is a 9th-level paladin.
Strategies and Tactics: The Ixinosan She-Wolves will take almost any military job, though they greatly prefer to be on the “good” side of a conflict. They will not accept employment from men who look down on women. In times of need, the She-Wolves also defend the shores of Ixinos and neighboring islands from pirate incursions.
The She-Wolves tactics vary with the terrain. Since the She-Wolves have trained all their lives to be warriors, they can work together without the usual confusion inherent in battle. They have developed a rapid code that allows them to change tactics for the entire company with only a few sharp commands. Their shifting lines and contrasting tactics often throw enough confusion into their enemies that these foes do not last long on the battlefield.
Personality: By nature, the She-Wolves are a reclusive and strongly matriarchal society, and feel no debt to men whatsoever. However, they will help any woman in trouble. They also have a well-defined code of honor, and will not betray their contracts. Wise employers should be wary, however, of cheating the She-Wolves. If they suspect that they are being taken advantage of in some way, their vengeance is quickly dealt…and always deadly.
The She-Wolves have few enemies, except for the pirates of the Fallen Stars, who cannot remember a time without the Ixinosans. The She-Wolves have disrupted piracy near their isles for their entire history and have earned the wrath of the pirates; even beyond the usual hatred the Pirates have for Ixinos’ female dominated society.
Logistics: The She-Wolves are generally well-equipped: one infantry unit carries short swords, the other spears, and both wear bronze plate mail; the cavalry wears scale mail and carries lances and shortswords; archers, scouts, wizards, and priests carry long bows and daggers, with all but the wizards wearing leather armor. The basic cost to retain the She-Wolves is 725 gp per Tenday.