Deadliest Fiction Wiki

And the girl did not fail her father’s hopes, for she proved to be such a good warrior as to bring safety to her parent. For when Neoptolemus, returning from Troy, attacked Harpalycus and wounded him severely, she saved her father from death by making an attack and putting the enemy to flight.
— Hyginus, Fabulae

Harpalyce was a little-know heroine from Greek myth and the daughter of a Thracian king named Harpalykos. Her mother died when she was a baby, so her father suckled her from cows and horses. Having no sons to succeed him, Harpalykos decided that his daughter would take his place as ruler and had the girl trained as a warrior, despite public opposition. Harpalyce grew up to be an incredibly skilled and swift warrior, being able to run faster and longer than horses.

When Neoptolemus, the son of Achilles, returned from the war at Troy, he encountered Harpalykos. For unknown reasons, Neoptolemus attacked and wounded Harpalykos, but before he could finish the king off, Harpalyce came to his defense. Single-handedly, she fought off Neoptolemus and the full might of the Myrmidon army, sending them into retreat.

Shortly afterwards, a rebellion broke out in the city. Harpalykos was killed during the rioting and Harpalyce was exiled and forced to live in the Thracian wilderness, living off of plunder from local herds. She would meet her untimely end when she was trapped and killed by herdsmen, seeking revenge.

Battle vs. Penthesilea (by Laquearius)[]

Harpalyce silently scoured through the remains of the encampment. The tattered pieces of cloth from tents and scattered bits of of cooking equipment strewn about made it clear that the camp's occupants had left in a hurry. The still-smoldering campfires meant that their departure had been recent. This was good. Vengeance was only a short distance ahead.

Penthesilea stood on the coastline, gazing out into the horizon. She was alone, with nothing but her thoughts to accompany her. She was a disgrace to the Amazons. Not only had she failed to defend Troy, as she had sworn before Priam and Ares, the soldiers she had brought with her had all fallen, slain by the hand of merciless Achilles. She was a failure that did not deserve one more moment of life. The only comfort she could find was in the idea that Ares might take pity on his daughter, and send someone strong enough to finally bring her the end that she so desperately sought.

Harpalyce eyed the stranger carefully from her hiding spot behind a stone cairn. She was tall, taller than any woman she had seen, and fully dressed in linen armor. Her gleaming helmet and shield shone brightly in the light of the fading sun, giving off a golden aura surrounding her. She was truly a magnificent sight.

An Amazon, Harpalyce thought to herself. Harpalyce had heard stories about them from her father. They were monstrous, violent creatures, she was told, devotees of Ares that showed no mercy to whomever they declared to be their enemies. They had raided Thrace before, leaving nothing but slaughter and destruction in their wake.

But this was no time for fear. No naive terrors would stop Harpalyce now. If the stranger was here, then she must have seen or heard something about the movements of the Myrmidons and their boy-prince. Harpalyce swallowed, stood up, and approached the warrior.

Penthesilea quickly detected the presence approaching her, and turned her gaze. She looked upon the Thracian girl with an unimpressed expression. She was short and thin, at least by Amazon standards. She wore nothing but a cloth chiton and a pointed helmet. Despite the several weapons she carried, she was hardly much to look at, most unlike a god-sent warrior come to end the queen's misery. But then again, the gods do work in mysterious ways.

"You there, girl!” she shouted. “Tell me, are you the one that Lord Ares has sent to finally put end to Penthesilea of the Amazons!?"

Harpalyce was taken aback by the Amazon's words, but she quickly collected herself and replied.

"I am no messenger of any god, stranger,” the Thracian asserted. “I am Harpalyce, daughter of Harpalykos and princess of the Amymnaeans of Thrace. I seek vengeance on Prince Neoptolemus of the Myrmidons, a coward who wounded my father. I have no business with you, unless you know of the whereabouts of my quarry."

"Thrace? Thrace is the birthplace of Ares, and a land filled with his faithful. You must be the one! You must!"

Penthesilea's eyes grew wide and her breathing deepened. This was it. Her chance to finally atone for her failures. She raised her shield and readied her spear, clenching both tightly.

"Then it is my time! Defend yourself, champion of Ares! And give me the fate I deserve!"

Penthesilea thrust her spear at the Thracian, who raised her shield in a flash and parried the blow to the left. Backing away from her opponent, she took a javelin from its place on the back of her shield and drew her right arm back, waiting to throw as soon as the Amazon made her next move.

"You've gone mad, Amazon. But if it is a fight you desire, I will have no choice but to grant your request!"

Penthesilea roared with fury and charged at her opponent with her spear raised, ready to plunge it into her foe's heart. Harpalyce ducked down and hurled her javelin, aiming underneath the Amazon's shield at her unprotected legs. Penthesilea was much too quick, and she knocked the javelin to the ground with the slightest downward jerk of her shield, breaking the projectile into two pieces. Harpalyce reached for her club, which was resting in a leather sheath on her waist, and prepared for the queen's arrival.

Harpalyce lept to the side as Penthesilea lunged at her, and counterattacked with three quick swings of her club, but the Amazon turned her mighty shield and blocked each one. Harpalyce took a fourth swing but overshot, and the experienced Amazon used the opportunity to bash her in the middle of her torso with her shield, sending the Thracian several feet back with her demigod strength.

Harpalyce gasped for air, the wind knocked out of her. Her shield was still in her grip, but the club was missing, having been knocked from her grasp during the blow. She started to reach for her sica, which was still firmly tucked into her belt, but from the corner of her eye she saw Penthesilea’s spear plunging down on her. She grabbed the spear with both hands just below the spearhead, using all of her strength to stop it from reaching her throat. Penthesilea jerked the spear back, dragging the sharpened sides of the spearhead along Harpalyce’s palms. She hissed in pain as fresh blood ran down her arms.

Before Penthesilea could manage another strike, Harpalyce rolled backwards, landing several feet away. She glanced quickly at her shield; one of the two remaining spears had been broken during her fall, but the other was still intact. She unclipped the leather strap that held the spears, letting the broken one fall to the ground but snatching up the good one. Harpalyce looked up and eyed her opponent. The Amazon wasn’t charging this time; instead she approached carefully, keeping her shield close to her body.

Harpalyce broke into a forward sprint. Penthesilea dug in her heels and drew back her spear arm. At about six feet Harpalyce threw her body up into the air, bringing the full force of her weight into a drop kick against the Amazon’s shield. The superhuman Amazon resisted the blow, but not enough to stop her shield from being knocked slightly to Harpalyce’s left, leaving her exposed just enough for the Thracian to cast her javelin at her foe’s chest. The missile flew across Penthesilea’s chest, slicing through one of the straps of her armor and the front of her neck. The javelin carried on and embedded itself into the ground, staining the sandy earth with the queen’s blood.

Barely fazed by the wound, Penthesilea refocused herself and made another thrust with her spear, only to see her strike countered by a powerful parry from Harpalyce’s romphaia, which had been removed from its place on the princess’s back. The blow was powerful enough to cut almost completely through the spear’s shaft, earning Penthesilea a faceful of wood chips. Seeing the spearhead dangling uselessly, she threw her broken weapon forward. Harpalyce raised her shield to block just in time, but as soon as she lowered it she was greeted with the sight of Penthesilea bearing down on her with a massive battle axe.

Penthesilea swung wildly, nicking Harpalyce several times as she struggled to avoid the incoming blows. She watched for an opening, but it was no good. The fury of the axe and the defense of the shield was a devastating combination. She parried a swing with her romphaia, and delivered a hard kick to the center of Penthesilea’s shield, stunning her long enough for Harpalyce to fall back. Her shield was in tatters now, so she discarded it and took up her sica in her left hand. The Amazon closed the distance between them quickly, ready to resume her barrage of axe swings, beginning with a downward chop. The blade of the axe sliced through the brim of Harpalyce’s helmet and embedded itself in the ground. Harpalyce thrust her romphaia underneath the bit of the axe that faced upwards, pinning the weapon to the earth. She then let go of the romphaia and lunged to the left, bringing her sica around the aspis and straight into Penthesilea’s now unprotected chest.

Darkness filled Penthesilea’s vision. The shield and the axe dropped from her hands, hitting the ground with a metallic clang. Blood gushed from the opening in her chest, splattering out over the sand. She clutched her wound, struggling to remain on her feet. The pain and nausea became too much to bear, and she collapsed to the ground. Her breathing labored, she uttered her final words before the life faded from her eyes.

"Thank you... Hippolyta..."

Harpalyce, the numerous cuts covering her body still stinging in pain, retrieved the fallen axe, knelt down, and placed it on the fallen queen’s chest. “I do not know your story, Amazon,” she whispered. “But I pray that the gods will give you more peace in the next world than you found in this one.”

Winner: Harpalyce

Expert's Opinion[]

Despite Penthesilea’s armor and experience, the battle ended up as an easy win for Harpalyce, who overcame the Amazon with her superior weaponry and agility, not to mention her far more impressive feats of battle.

To see the original battle, weapons and votes, click here.