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"One half without the other is nothing at all. I have nothing left to lose."
―Deianeira[src]

Deianeira (died c. 427 BCE) was a Boeotian mercenary, one of the Champions of Boeotia, and a member of the Heroes of the Cult branch of the Cult of Kosmos during the Peloponnesian War. She was also the cousin of Astra.

Biography

Youth

When Deianeira and Astra were children, they often sparred with the brothers Timon and Abreas near the City of Orchomenos in Boeotia. In these sessions, the girls covered each others' weaknesses.[1]

In time, Deianeira came to consider herself to have been born a Champion of Boeotia, there to kill. She despised dressing up, eschewing fancy clothes or armor that made her "look like an idiot".[2]

The Peloponnesian War

By the time of the Peloponnesian War, Deianeira had risen to be considered one of the Champions of Boeotia, and even as their central figure. Under her influence, the Champions came to be feared by even Boeotians themselves.[2] When Athenian forces marched into Boeotia, the Boeotians, including the Champions, agreed to a temporary alliance with Athens.[3]

At some point, Deianeira sent a letter to Okytos, a fellow member of the Heroes of the Cult branch, bemoaning the fact that the leader of Boeotia was a coward, and bragging about getting a mace "just like our Sage." Said leader of Boeotia also received a letter from her, detailing how she'd kill him if he continued to send her armor not to her liking.[2]

Deianeira set up a camp for her mercenaries east of Orchomenos, on the northern shoreline of Lake Kopais. There she trained guards and soldiers of the Cult of Kosmos, as well as her cousin. Deianeira also developed a habit of visiting the Oracle of Trophonios in the Reborn Hills, praying and seeking guidance.[1] Within the depths of the related Cave of the Oracle, she made her dwelling by an underground tree.[4]

When the Spartan army attempted to take over Boeotia in order to weaken Kleon's position in Athens, they soon learned of the Champions, and what they meant to Boeotians. The polemarch in charge of the Spartan forces, Stentor, received reports of Aristaios and Nesaia, their whereabouts. When his half-sister, the misthios Kassandra was sent to Boetia by King Archidamos to Stentor's dismay, he charged her to kill the Champions, believing she'd die trying.[3]

Demise

Stentor's sources knew precious little about Deianeira, suggesting only that information about her might be found within the city of Orchomenos.[4]

In Orchomenos, Kassandra found Timon, who told her about Astra and Deianeira, and how they'd killed his brother following Abreas' protesting the alliance with Athens, accusing the Champions and especially Deianeira of being disloyal. In retaliation, Timon asked Kassandra to kill Astra, so that Deianeira might "feel the same pain, the same loss."[1]

Following Astra's death, Deianeira recovered her corpse from her camp and brought it back to Deianeira's own dwelling, and sat beside it in grief until Kassandra found her. A fight ensued between the two, and Deianeira soon laid dead beside her cousin. As Kassandra examined her remains, she discovered that Deianeira had etched a rough image of Typhon on the inside of her legplate. Kassandra took it as a sign of reverence.[4]

Trivia

  • Deianeira shares her name with the mythological Deianeira, a Calydonian princess who was the third wife of Herakles, and ultimately his unwitting murderer, killing him with the poisoned tunic of the centaur Nessus.
  • The name itself means 'man-destroyer' or 'destroyer of her husband'.
  • Deianeira and Astra's relationship is described as being very close, doing everything together, exchanging gifts and being lost without each other. Whether this relationship was merely platonic, or they were a couple is unknown.
  • The etching on Deianeira's legplate is actually worded to be the "image of a typhoon". However, the Sage of the Heroes of the Cult is repeatedly connected with the being in Greek mythology called Typhon.
  • If the quest Sibling Revenge is finished, Deianeira can be found within the Cave of the Oracle. Otherwise she wanders around the Reborn Hills of Boeotia.

Gallery

Appearances

References

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