Editor's Note: This article was written prior to Season Four.
Generic Amazons [ENDGAME]
Introduction"The Amazon world is based on truth, on a woman's individual strength"
--Terreis, HOOVES AND HARLOTS
Terreis, who never had a chance at being Queen [HOOVES AND HARLOTS was slain by Krykus' men who were pretending to be Centaurs.
 The Amazons have captured our imaginations ever since their introduction in the first season episode HOOVES AND HARLOTS (10/110). Over the course of the series, these formidable women warriors have been led by four women who, for better or worse, have had a profound effect upon the future of the Amazon nation.
Melosa was Terreis' sister [HOOVES AND HARLOTS], and was eventually slain by Velasca.
 "I wonder what she's like," mused Gabrielle in HOOVES AND HARLOTS of Melosa, Queen of the Amazons. How is it that Melosa, who appeared in just one episode (HOOVES AND HARLOTS) and was mentioned only briefly in another [THE QUEST (37/213)], managed to strike such a chord with so many Xenites? Why do fans continue to clamor for her reappearance?
 Melosa was a complex and fascinating character. She was the ideal Amazon. Although we do not know how she came to power or how long she was queen, Melosa appeared to have been born to the role. She struck one as someone firmly rooted in tradition. Melosa was a natural leader who exuded strength and intelligence. She was completely independent and self-reliant. It was a testament to her abilities as a warrior and leader that she and the Amazons were able to hold their own in the first war with the Centaurs. In fact, judging by the glint in her eye during her skirmish with Xena, Melosa positively seemed to enjoy fighting.
 As with all great leaders, Melosa did not wage war unnecessarily. A tenuous peace between the Amazons and the Centaurs existed, despite her personal animosity toward the Centaurs (to whom she referred as "disgusting animals"). Even when it appeared that a Centaur had killed her sister, Melosa did not use the incident as a pretext to attack the Centaur tribe. Melosa also did not kill unnecessarily. After she defeated Krykus, the person really responsible for her sister Terreis' murder, Melosa did not kill him outright. Instead, she brought him to trial for his crimes against the Amazons and the Centaurs.
 Melosa was also a stoic. After her sister was killed, Melosa's true emotions had to be inferred from her actions. While she allowed Xena time to prove Phantes' innocence, her desire to avenge Terreis' death clouded her judgment to the extent that she ignored evidence that did not support her belief in the centaur's guilt. However, Melosa was not without compassion. Although she was convinced that Phantes was responsible for Terreis' death, Melosa told Gabrielle to kill Phantes, "... quickly, in the heart. Don't let him suffer".
 Like any good ruler, Melosa did not tolerate what she perceived to be threats to her authority. When Xena demanded the Challenge in order to prevent Phantes' execution, Melosa refused. Her response to being maneuvered into fighting Xena was to inform the responsible parties that they would all be killed if she won. She was definitely not a woman to be trifled with.
 Following the war with the Centaurs, Melosa had adopted the orphan of an Amazon. Velasca, the adopted girl, eventually issued a challenge to Melosa for the Queenship. One can only imagine Melosa's reaction. While she was a realist, the sense of betrayal engendered by her daughter's willingness to kill her for her position must have been overwhelming. Velasca defeated Melosa in the ensuing fight. The great Queen was dead.
 What would have happened had Melosa lived? Perhaps she would have rethought her attitude towards the Centaurs. Her apparent willingness to coexist with them after Terreis' murderer was captured could have marked the beginning of a real and lasting peace between the tribes. Moreover, Melosa would have been a wonderful mentor for Gabrielle. In THE QUEST (37/213), Gabrielle indicated to Ephiny that she wished to talk to Melosa, leading one to believe that Gabrielle viewed the Queen as a mature, wise leader and teacher.
 One hopes that Melosa will not be remembered merely as the queen who was killed at the hands of her grasping, power-hungry daughter. Rather, she should be remembered the way she appeared when she rode in the chariot with Xena to do battle with Krykus: a fierce and fearless warrior, a true Amazon.
Frustrated with frequently being misunderstood, all Velasca really wanted was to be Queen of the Amazons, lead her people to a new era of greatness, and to squish Gabrielle into a gelatinous ooze [THE QUEST].
 Velasca was a strong believer in destiny. Specifically, she believed that it was her destiny to rule the Amazons, to lead them in regaining the power and prestige she believed they had lost. She did not tolerate anyone standing between her and her goals.
 Velasca was the daughter of an Amazon who was killed in a war with the Centaurs. Queen Melosa adopted her after her mother's death. Anxious to achieve her destiny, Velasca challenged Melosa for the Queenship, and lost. Unable to kill the woman she thought of as her daughter, Melosa merely exiled Velasca from the Amazon tribe. Velasca eventually returned and challenged Melosa again, this time defeating the Queen and assuming her position.
 Left to her own devices, Velasca surely would have declared war on the Centaurs. It is doubtful that the Amazons could have won this war. Rather than returning the Amazons to their former glory, Velasca might well have been responsible for their annihilation.
Queen Gabrielle holding the symbol of her office [THE QUEST].
 Fate may have brought Gabrielle to the Amazons. Given the Rite of Caste by a dying Amazon princess, whom she attempted to save, Gabrielle found herself the heir to the Amazon throne. She was excited by these events, but lacked understanding of their overall meaning.
 Gabrielle was trained in the Amazon ways. It was from them that she learned to use the staff, and she developed an appreciation for what it truly meant to be an Amazon. Gabrielle was extremely reluctant to accept the Mask of Queenhood after Melosa was killed, but she realized that if she stepped aside, Velasca would become queen. Because she was concerned for the Amazons, Gabrielle accepted the mask.
 Ultimately, Gabrielle chose to continue her travels with Xena, and left Ephiny to rule as regent in her absence. Gabrielle has become an effective warrior and strategist. These hard-won lessons will hold her in excellent stead should she ever return to the Amazons. In times of peace, Gabrielle would be a wise and compassionate leader. Her natural instinct would be to try to find a peaceful but fair solution if faced with conflict. Failing that, Gabrielle would be a formidable battlefield opponent. Overall, Gabrielle would be an excellent Amazon Queen.
The soon to be permanently retired Queen Ephiny leading her Amazons troops in ENDGAME.
 It is hard to find fault with Ephiny. She has proven herself to be a loyal friend and ally, and she is dedicated to doing what she believes is right, regardless of the personal consequences. One might say that she is the quintessential "good guy".
 This was not always the case, however. The Ephiny in HOOVES AND HARLOTS (10/110) was tough and mistrustful of outsiders. She was clearly not happy when Terreis, the heir to the Amazon throne, bestowed her Rite of Caste upon Gabrielle. Whether this was because Gabrielle was an outsider, or because Ephiny wanted the caste herself, is unclear. Her condescending manner of speaking to Gabrielle made it abundantly clear that she greatly resented this interloper.
 Ephiny also clearly despised the Centaurs. However, honor was obviously important to her. When the Centaur Phantes gave her his word that he did not kill Terreis, Ephiny worked with Xena to prove his innocence. Although Melosa's determination to have Phantes executed for the murder put Ephiny at odds with her queen and could have meant her death, Ephiny stuck to her beliefs.
 Ephiny falls in love with and marries Phantes. In IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE (24/124), Phantes is brutally killed. Ephiny, heavily pregnant, is found by Xena and Gabrielle and taken to the local hospital. Giving birth has a profound effect on Ephiny. She is no longer the tough-edged warrior. She suddenly understands that there are more important things than victory at all costs. In her words, "Phantes was once my sworn enemy. Then I learned forgiveness, and from that, I learned love".
 Ephiny and her Centaur son returned to the Amazons. She next appeared in THE QUEST (37/213). Velasca, the new Queen, was determined to wage war with the Centaurs. Ephiny disagreed with her and her plans, for the sake of her son, and persuaded Gabrielle to take her rightful place as Queen of the Amazons.
 When Autolycus steals Xena's body, Gabrielle cries, "I can't explain Ephiny. I'm sorry," as she runs off in pursuit. Ephiny does not understand, but, because she is unquestioningly loyal, she refuses Velasca's order to hunt them down. Her refusal results in a bitter division among the Amazons. She is not dissuaded, even after Velasca has her imprisoned.
 Gabrielle is crowned Queen of the Amazons following Velasca's death, but asks Ephiny to rule in her stead so that she can resume her travels with Xena. Ephiny seems to be a better second-in-command than the Queen. She does not often exhibit leadership qualities, and appears to be more comfortable taking orders then giving them. For example, although she has conceivably been a warrior most of her life, she does not take charge when she and the others are jailed. She is satisfied to follow Gabrielle's lead instead.
 When she does take charge, she is not as good a strategist as one might hope. In A NECESSARY EVIL (38/214), for example, she orders the Amazons to attack the newly deified Velasca, although the effort is clearly hopeless. Even in the face of certain annihilation, Ephiny hesitates before sounding retreat.
 Although she has her flaws, Ephiny has become a symbol of what is right and good in Amazons. Ephiny is a sterling reminder that most Amazons are good in a Hercules episode [PRODIGAL SISTER (H66/407)] in which a tribe of Amazons go on the rampage. She does not have to do much. Her presence alone is enough to give the feeling that the good guys have arrived.
Some more generic Amazons from ENDGAME.
I'm a proud Hard Core Nutball and co-founder of the Flawless discussion list. In between Xena activities I'm a Loss Prevention/Inventory Control manager for a major retail chain. I'm an ex-Army Intelligence Officer, ex-cop and ex-Ivory Snow Baby. In my fantasy life I'm a member of Melosa's Army.
Favorite episode: THE GAUNTLET (H12/112)
Favorite line: Melosa: "I make it a point to know my enemies." HOOVES AND HARLOTS (10/110)
First episode seen: PROMETHEUS (08/108)
Least favorite episode: Any Joxer heavy episode, especially KING OF ASSASSINS (54/308) and FOR HIM THE BELL TOLLS (40/216).