The Lost City of Skifander, “the Warrior Queen's Hidden Jewel”, is primarily known as the homeland of Zeetha, Daughter of Chump.
Skifander is a matriarchal polytheistic society with a strong warrior tradition, but most things about it are mysterious — so mysterious that hardly anyone has even heard of the place. It is known that Skifander has a queen, but what other structures its ruling class may have are unknown outside of the city.
According to Zeetha, its matron goddess, head of the Skifandran pantheon, is Ashtara — goddess of love and "she who controls fertility". Legendary figures such as Gwangi are also invoked in oaths.
Skifander has its own language called Skiff.
Knowledge in EuropaEdit
Characters with apparent first-hand knowledge of Skifander include Zeetha herself, Baron Klaus Wulfenbach, Lucrezia Mongfish, and Barry Heterodyne. Agatha and the members of Master Payne's Circus of Adventure have all heard about it second-hand. As Klaus had been resident in Skifander during his exile, he reacts strongly  when he sees Zeetha for the first time. Lucrezia, , just sees Zeetha's Skifandrian roots as another thing to be exploited — as usual. Shurdlu the Geisterdamen also recognizes her on sight as being from Skiff, and reacts disdainfully. We don't know anything about Barry's views, except that .
In the novelization, Olga is more specific about the hallucinations Zeetha had when traveling from Europa: “Floating around, furniture on the ceiling—wild stuff.” Also, when answering Zeetha's initial question about having heard of it, Agatha adds an additional title for the place, as told to her by Barry: "Guardian of the Red Mountain." Carson von Mekkhan does not recognize Zeetha's background specifically, but when she shows disapproval of Mechanicsburg's status as a town full of minions, comments "..you yourself are obviously from some proud, warrior culture somewhere that hones its fighters and insists on things like honor and self-reliance. It's hardly unique. But I'm curious- who carts away your night soil? Your rulers? No, I thought not."
The Works Edit
Possibly relevant outside information Edit
"Skif" is a Russian word for Scythian — militaristic, semi-nomadic tribes that ruled the Eurasian steppes in antiquity. It can also refer (again, in Russian) to a supposed ancestor, Scythes, a son of Hercules in a legend reported by Herodotus or a son of Zeus in a legend reported by Diodorus Siculus. In passages 4.28.2-4 to 4.28.4 of Diodorus Siculus's (partially surviving) work of universal history, Bibliotheca Historica ("Library of History"), the Scythians join forces with the Amazons (a nation of all-female warriors, in Greek mythology) against Theseus. The Amazons that survive the battle renounce their native home and return to Scythia to live among the Scythians. .
The movie The Valley of Gwangi featured an independent-minded cowgirl as its heroine, and the lost valley of the title was located in a remote area of California. Zeetha's own dialog has, on occasion, included idiomatic expressions of the kind one would associate with teenagers, and perhaps even teenagers from the San Fernando Valley.
Also, Gwangi in "The Valley of Gwangi" was an Allosaur or Tyrannosaur (sources differ) who put up an impressive defense of his valley. Skifandrians might well think of the beast as a quintessential Noble Warrior.
Questions and theories Edit
Quite a bit more has been hinted at than actually spelled out in canon. For example, it has been confirmed in an interview that this is where Lucrezia sent   Klaus; this renders the hidden city the presumed birthplace  of his son. (The same interview confirmed that the protagonists will indeed travel to Skifander.)
If Gilgamesh is from Skifander, he and Zeetha could furthermore be closely related.
Baron Wulfenbach's statement that he "kept [Gil] alive" hints at the old story that Amazons (to whom the tribeswomen of Skifander bear more than a passing resemblance) kill all of their male children. Whether this is accurate, of course, would be known only to Zeetha, to whom the question has not yet been put.
See Forum:Gil's mother for further discussion of what effects Skiff blood may have.
If Klaus sired two children while in Skifander, is that where his absent wife resides?
Zeetha’s reported “hallucinations” in the novelization suggest that at least part of her “fever” was due to motion sickness in a low-gravity environment, implying that Skifander may be extraterrestrial, cf. The Heterodyne Boys and the Dragon from Mars .
- ↑ Reddit Ask-Me-Anything, 30 May 2013: 'Kaja: It's a matriarchy.'
- ↑ Reddit Ask-Me-Anything, 30 May 2013: 'Corgi: What sort of ruling class do they have? Does the Queen share power with, say, a high priestess? Or is it more like War Queen/Civic Queen, as the Amazons allegedly had? Kaja: How interesting you would suggest such a thing.'
- ↑ Reddit Ask-Me-Anything, 30 May 2013: 'Phil: There are other gods. Gwangi is a figure of legend.'
- ↑ Reddit Ask-Me-Anything, 30 May 2013: 'Phil: They don't like twins.'
- ↑ Agatha H. and the Clockwork Princess, p. 30
- ↑ TGT Webcomics Podcast, Interview: Phil Foglio @ 12:00
- ↑ immediately before:
- ↑ Lucrezia learns of his escape:
- ↑ Klaus thinks Zeetha is there to kill Gil:
- ↑ Even as close as fraternal twins, eh? We only know that Gil and Agatha don't have the Luke-and-Leia thing going.