In Leg Post 81, Hippolyta is seated on a high place upon the mountain where the Amazon city of Otreriana is located, overlooking the Black Sea. Her mind is cast towards the city of Troy where her lover, Priam, and daughter, Creusa, are kept from her. Her "mammi", Nakia ibn-bint Ismat ibn-bint Chadi al-Almasi, the spouse of Queen Molpadia and parent to Hippolyta's sisters, comes to talk to her. She is a si'la, whose shape has formed to be appealing to those around her, giving her an overly beautiful aspect that Queen Molpadia and other Amazons would find attractive. She assures Hippolyta that her friend, Bremusa, wants what's best for her, but Hippolyta's is angry that Bremusa left Creusa behind in Leg Post 80. She also assures her that Cresua will be fine and taken care of in Troy, but if she had been in Otreriana she would have had a hard-life as a third-generation child of males. Their conversation is interupted by Bremusa who arrives to tell them that the queen has gone into labour but that there is a problem. They rush back to the Otrerianan Longhouse. When they arrive, Molpadia has given birth but she is dying. She makes Hippolyta vow to be the most fearsome warrior-queen to ever live and make the Great Steppe tremble with fear and admiration for her and the Amazons, to which Hippolyta proudly swears to do. When she dies, she proclaims that her daughter will be Hippolyta the Great and the doctor confirms that the baby is named Melanippe.
Hippolyta the Great
She sat and watched the sun setting in the distant lands, across the Black Sea. Her eyes glanced at the wooden dummy that she had hacked to tiny pieces an hour ago. The sword was jabbed into the dirt and was blunted beyond repair. The cold air whipped at her muddy-blonde hair and made her rough-hewn skin even firmer. She was wearing a thick, fur-lined coat that was dyed bright yellow. The hood was tight around her head so her face appeared to poke out of the fluff with the tangle of curls that protruded from the garment billowing wildly. Yet her face was as still as stone.
The sun slowly descended and the sky turned bright pink. The clouds were stained orange as the light shone upon their bellies and the Black Sea was dark and sombre. Her mind was constantly diverted away from Otreriana, the Amazonian heartland, to the distant city of Troy, far, far to the south-west in Anatolia on the other side of the Black Sea. On her own side of the water expands the Western Steppe, though the Black Sea rests on the eastern block of said Western Steppe. She could see fires lit in the distance, across the great plains, where tribes of nomadic Scythians were camping. Even on the Black Sea, at this late hour, there were still those brave enough to sail. She reckoned some of those ships were military vessels belonging to the Hittite Empire, which lurked, like Troy, in Anatolia. The Amazons, however, never advanced in seafaring technology and raiding those ships from the air was difficult. Given they were a small target, it was easier for the sailors to defend their position with ranged weapons, like arrows or stones or even magic bolts, and their flying mounts more vulnerable.
A strong smell entered the air and invaded her nostrils. Hippolyta coughed a little as the pervading scent was so strong. It was like someone had taken a garden full of white lilies and set them all on fire. Smoky but fragrant. In most women, the smell was an aphrodisiac that would tingle and tickle the lust centre of the brain. While Hippolyta wasn’t immune to this, on her there was the uncommon side affect of instantly making her feel hungry. She growled to herself before she spoke out.
Hippolyta: “Go away, mammi.”
The feminine voice from behind Hippolyta tutted with disappointed at being so rudely dismissed.
Nakia ibn-bint Ismat ibn-bint Chadi al-Almasi was a si’la of sixty years, which was mid-life for her kind. She, like all si’la, had a hypersexualised female visage that looked like she had come straight from the cover of a 1990’s comic book. Incredibly fit and lean with extremely wide hips and ridiculously oversized breasts. Hippolyta had often wondered what Nakia had looked like when she was a child and always imagined she had been an ugly, shrivelled mutant before she adapted her body into this appealing shape. The si’la were shapeshifters of sorts but their bodies usually adapted slowly to match the sexual appetites of their lovers. The most striking changes would occur almost instantly – hair colour and length, for example. The subtle details, however, which were specific to each individual would alter over years. The Nakia that stood over Hippolyta now looked very different than the si’la she remembered a decade ago.
Hippolyta didn’t look up at her.
Hippolyta: “You’re blocking my view.”
Nakia: “You used to like viewing me more than sunsets!”
Hippolyta: “I grew up.”
Nakia: “No. You were tainted. By foreign thinking.”
Hippolyta: “Wow! I see the body of a si’la but it’s Bremusa’s words that come spewing forth. How uncanny! What does she want?”
Nakia: “She just wanted me to talk to you…”
Hippolyta: “And so, what do you want, mammi?”
Nakia knelt down so she was level with Hippolyta. Her large, brown eyes gleamed unnaturally amidst her well-tanned face. Her hair was actually golden and glittered as the wind blew through it, rather than the drab blonde of Hippolyta’s own head. She was wearing warmer clothes against the cold, just like the Amazons had to, but she still kept a sheer cut in her cloth to reveal that crevice that attracted so many of the girls in town. Even Hippolyta caught herself staring. She couldn’t deny that her mammi was still a very beautiful sight to behold. Yet, this was not unusual amongst Amazonian culture. The appreciation of physical form was common, even sexual admiration, but that wasn’t a cue for a sexual liaison and Hippolyta held no thoughts of an intimate connection with her step-parent, or any other woman in the city. Her sex was tied to her heart and her heart rested far away.
Nakia: “I want my strawberry to be happy again.”
Nakia pulled a mock sad face that was very endearing. The si’la’s appearance had adapted not only to the desires of Queen Molpadia, Hippolyta’s mother, but also to the queen’s closest relations, including Hippolyta herself. As a teenager, Hippolyta had been jealous of her mother’s sexual partner. Partly she fancied the woman herself, but she also saw the arrival of Nakia as giving credence to Hippolyta’s bullies – Hippolyta’s birth was unnatural. Ares might be a god, but he was a man. Only Nakia’s persistence on getting Hippolyta to like her warmed the girl’s heart to the si’la and when Nakia brought forth her first daughter, Hippolyta was won over. As her sister, Pentheseleia, and the third princess later, Antiope, learnt to talk, they addressed Molpadia as mum and Nakia as mammi. Soon enough Hippolyta was embedded into the family and Nakia was her mammi too.
Hippolyta: “I’ll never be happy again, mammi.”
Nakia: “That’s just silly.”
Hippolyta: “Do you know how old my baby is now?”
Hippolyta blinked with some surprise.
Nakia: “What? You think I wouldn’t remember the birth of my strawberry pie’s baby?”
She reached out and cupped Hippolyta’s cheek. She felt the heat from the si’la radiate into her own skin. A si’la wasn’t able to use magic, but they were, nonetheless, partially made up of it, which gave them their shapeshifting powers. Hippolyta sometimes wondered what Nakia might look like if she now left them and lived elsewhere. She could come back as a man with a rough beard, piercing eyes, a wise brow, a… she stopped fantasising and came back to see the real Nakia again.
Hippolyta: “It’s not fair. I’m being punished for what? For being who I really am. I can’t help it. I was born this way.”
Nakia: “Or they infected you with the straights!”
Hippolyta rolled her eyes.
Hippolyta: “Hello Bremusa. You’re back.”
Nakia shuffled to get sit comfortably beside Hippolyta. As she moved, the cotton phallus on her trousers glared up at Hippolyta and she had to avert her gaze. When the si’la living among the Amazons had achieved the great victory of impregnating a warrior, they would sew a phallus to the front of their trousers. The fact that Molpadia was pregnant with her fourth child, third by Nakia, was a huge source of pride of Nakia and she had made her phallus extra large to show just how proud she was. To Hippolyta, however, it was embarrassing. When she had been a girl, it seemed normal. But so long spent with the Trojans had changed how she saw things, she had to admit, and now an exposed phallus was just a reminder of the real thing.
When Nakia had gotten her bottom on the ground beside Hippolyta, she snuggled up to her and cuddled to share the warmth. Or rather, share her warmth with Hippolyta, which the princess accepted as a very thoughtful and kind gesture.
Nakia: “Let me ask you something, strawberry pie, do you think Piyama-Radu was a terrible father to those adopted boys?”
Nakia: “Do you think he would be a bad father to Creusa?”
Hippolyta: “No, he’ll be great!”
Nakia: “Then you have no need to worry.”
Hippolyta was silent to this. It was true, but it didn’t make her feel better.
Nakia: “What you feel is selfish.”
Nakia: “You know she’s safe. She has a good father. She will be taken care of, educated and well fed. I’m sure she’ll be a prized pig before long with all that quality food available in Troy, right?”
Hippolyta: “So my wanting to be with her is selfish because it’s just want I want, not what’s good for her?”
Nakia: “Exactly. And who knows, maybe you will get to see her again one day? When she’s old enough to make decisions for herself, maybe she could come to live with us?”
Hippolyta: “Nobody would be happy about that! They barely accept me and I’m once-straight. She’s twice-straight. To most people, she’s a demon child. An embarrassment to Amazon kind.”
Nakia: “They’ll come around if she proves herself. Just like you did. I remember you beating up all the other girls, including your best friend!”
Hippolyta: “Former best friend.”
Nakia: “She cares for you, Lyta.”
Hippolyta: “She shouldn’t have left Creusa behind. It wasn’t her choice to make.”
Nakia: “You said it yourself, Creusa wouldn’t be treated so well here as she is in Troy.”
Hippolyta: “That’s not the point! Bremusa had no right--! I’m not arguing with you, mammi.”
Nakia: “Good! Because I’m always right!” She snaked her arm around Hippolyta’s shoulders. “Even when I’m wrong.”
Hippolyta: “I would have thought you, at least, would be more open to my… nature. You change. You could be a man or a woman. The idea that it’s natural for everyone to be one certain way is just… just dumb.”
Nakia: “You’re not wrong, Lyta. But sometimes it doesn’t matter how right you are. Morals have very little to do with logic, Lyta. They are what everyone agrees they are. And everyone else agrees that straights are bad. That means you’re upsetting everyone. So… what’s more important to you? Being who you really are, or upsetting everyone?”
Hippolyta: “That’s not fair! I’m like a parrot. Saying the same thing over and over and nobody listens.”
Nakia: “So you think you know better than everyone else? You alone are the sole saviour of Amazonkind?”
Nakia: “I have no idea what either of those things are.”
Hippolyta: “I don’t think I do either, but I think it proves my point. Most people are dumb.”
Nakia: “Most Amazons think rape is bad. Are they wrong about that then?”
Hippolyta just rolled her eyes.
Hippolyta: “I’m not arguing with you, mammi, I told you. And now I’m even more annoyed than I was before your stupid penis-pants walked over here.”
Nakia: “Hey, my penis is very sensitive.”
Hippolyta looked at Nakia.
Nakia: “Yes, I realised what I said soon as I said it. I meant emotionally sensitive! I was trying to be funny, not sexy!”
Bremusa: “Lyta! Nakia!”
At the sound of Bremusa’s voice Hippolyta’s shoulders stiffened and her lips unconsciously curled into a grimace. Nakia, however, turned to look back at Bremusa. She recognised the panic on Bremusa’s timbre.
Nakia: “What is it?”
Bremusa stammered, which brought even the softened attention of Hippolyta.
Bremusa: “It-it’s the queen! She’s—giving birth!”
Bremusa: “She-she—ah! It’s not good! You should come at once!”
Both Hippolyta and Nakia leapt to their feet and they were soon running in the wake of Bremusa, following the soldier through the streets of Otreriana. Amazons had no vehicles. They usually carted goods in crates that hung from the backs of several pegasi, tethered together. So the streets between buildings were very narrow, just enough for three people to stand shoulder-to-shoulder, but there were many drop-off points where the cargo would be placed. These wide areas were always the hotspots for shops to be placed, closest to these cargo areas. One exceptionally large cargo area was set before the longhouse, the royal quarters of Queen Molpadia. It was, as the name implies, a long building that was also two storeys tall. The ground floor was dedicated to public office, where the small governing body of the Amazons functioned. The first floor of the building were the royal chambers. The three of them ran up the exterior stairs to gain access.
When they reached the birthing room, Bremusa stationed herself outside while Nakia and Hippolyta went in.
They heard the screeching infant before they saw her. The doctor, a old woman with many years of battle experience still shown in her muscles, was holding the baby and cleaning her off. However there was a lot of blood, a lot more blood than Hippolyta remembered during her own birthing.
Hippolyta: “Mother? Mummy?”
Queen Molpadia: “I hear you, Lyta. Come here.”
She hurried to the bed and held her mother’s hand. She was so weak she couldn’t even see clearly. She was drenched with sweat and her eyes were wetted by tears. Hippolyta glanced back at the doctor, where Nakia was checking the baby.
Hippolyta: “What happened, mother? The baby seems fine. A girl, did they tell you?”
Molpadia smiled. For the first time in Hippolyta’s life, her mother seemed old. She had been a young mother when she had given birth to Hippolyta, so the age gap was shorter even than the gap between Hippolyta and her former lover, Priam, yet now the woman looked as though decades weighed upon her chest. She was, like her daughter, of typical Scythian stock – tall, strong, blonde, white and tapered eyes. However, she had been born with a defect that caused one of her eyes to appear blue. It had been seen as an auspicious sign and when she was crowned queen of the Amazons, it seemed to have been true. Now, to Hippolyta, that eye was staring wildly, unable to see her first-girl, and an ill omen.
Queen Molpadia: “You are queen now, Hippolyta. You will surely be tested by others, but I know your strength and determination. You will beat them and you will prove to them that you are queen. Do not fail me, Lyta. Do not be beaten!”
Hippolyta: “I-I won’t!”
Queen Molpadia: “That’s my warrior-princess! Daughter of War! Make the Great Steppe tremble beneath your boot, Lyta. Make the men of this world love and fear you! Take the Amazons to ever greater heights! You were born for this, Lyta. You’ll be stronger than I could ever dream to be!”
Hippolyta did everything to keep her tears back and she masked her face with stone.
Hippolyta: “I will!”
The queen then smiled, but it was aimed at the ceiling because she couldn’t see where Hippolyta was.
Queen Molpadia: “And if you want to fuck a man, you fuck a man! Don’t let them tell you what to do!”
Hippolyta laughed, but that small burst of emotion let loose the rest and tears came out of her eyes. She was glad, at that moment, her mother couldn’t see her blubbering. But then her mother’s eyes focused on something, something far away. Something not of this world.
Queen Molpadia: “You are Hippolyta the Great.”
Molpadia’s head flopped to the side and her eyes fell still. Her lips managed to keep going;
Queen Molpadia: “I love you, girl. Tell my granddaughter…”
The words were lost but Hippolyta nodded anyway.
Hippolyta: “I’ll tell her everything about you. She, and everyone, will sing your praises at every turn, mother!”
She lowered her head and rested her forehead into the crook of Molpadia’s neck.
The crying sounds of Nakia filled the room. Amazons were conditioned to hold their emotions but the si’la were permitted to freely display their sorrow and Nakia did so in great wails and sobs. She crawled onto the bed and clutched her lover’s silent form. Her own face now back to stone, Hippolyta rose from the bed to let her mammi and mother time alone. She turned and led the doctor from the room, as well as the nurses, and there she took hold of the baby.
Hippolyta glanced up.
Doctor: “She managed to come up with the name before she died. Melanippe.”
Hippolyta: “The daughters of Molpadia. We’ll be the mightiest Amazons to ever live, Mel. Mark these words.”