IRAINA THE TIGRESS
Real Name: Iraina
Identity/Class: human magic-user during the Pre-Cataclysmic or Thurian Era (deceased)
Occupation: Queen of Atlantis, sorceress, and would-be world conqueror
Affiliations: Ja-Quari the Tiger-God, Kaanuub (traitor to Valusia), Kel-Jar the tiger (Iraina's mate), Ku-Var (King of Atlantis), Ra-Mos (shaman of the Sea Mountain Tribe), and her army of tiger-women (all allies)
Enemies: Brule the Spear Slayer, King Governii of Thule, King Kull, unnamed chief of the Sea Mountain Tribe, and the unnamed rulers of Zarfhana, Kamelia, and Verulia
Known Relatives: Osa (mother), Gorm-li (father), King Kull (brother)
Aliases: None known, but Ku-Var called her "my princess"
Base of Operations: The island of Atlantis
First Appearance: Kull the Conqueror III#1 (May, 1983)
Powers/Abilities: Iraina is an exceptionally skilled warrior woman, using a spear as her weapon of choice. Her strength level is indeterminate, but likely peak to enhanced human as she was raised under the auspices of black magic and fed on tiger's milk to give her strength and courage. On one occasion Iraina successfully slaughtered an entire feasting hall full of Atlantean soldiers after beheading their barbarous king. Ra-Mos, the shaman who raised her, says at one point he knew full well "the unnatural strength of her fury."
In addition to her great strength and battle prowess, the Tiger-God Ja-Quari bestowed upon Iraina, and her army of warrior women, the power to transform into ferocious and powerful tigers. This army of tiger-women swept across a good portion of the Thurian Continent, driving every opponent before them, until they finally lost their power after Iraina's defeat.
History: (Kull the Conquerer III#1[fb]), Savage Sword of Conan#190-192) - A month before the full moon, Ra-Mos, shaman of the Sea Mountain Tribe, predicted a child would be born that would one day rule the entire Thurian Continent. The chief of the Sea Mountain Tribe, fearing for his throne, ordered that all children born at that time be sacrificed to the tigers of Atlantis. At the appointed time a woman of the tribe gave birth to twins, a strong, black-maned boy and a mewling kitten of a daughter. Both were left in the jungle, exposed to the tigers wrath.
Acknowledging the squandered power in sacrificing the children, Ra-Mos searched the jungle for the babes and, not knowing which child would fulfill the prophecy, picked up the girl-child. Before he could save the boy the tigers came. Ra-Mos fled with the girl-child to his cave, knowing that to reveal her presence to a living soul would mean death for them both. Ra-Mos searched for the boy-child again the next day, but he was already gone without a trace. Still having Iraina (it is uncertain whether Ra-Mos or her mother named her) Ra-Mos raised her in the ways of black magic and nourished her on tigers milk. Ra-Mos also taught her the ways of the warrior and to hate the tyrant who had sought to kill her.
Years later, Ra-Mos found the lost boy-child living amongst the tigers. His name was Kull, and he, too, came under the shaman's protection without ever being made aware of his sister's existence. But Kull proved to be incautious, and, before Ra-Mos could cultivate him, the young man killed a girl rather than submit her to the Atlantean tribe's brutal justice--being burned at the stake for loving an outsider. Driven to dive into the sea to escape his fellow tribesmen, Ra-Mos thought Kull lost. It mattered little to him, however, as Iraina grew into an enchanting beauty that far surpassed him in matters of sorcery. "She formed a bond with the Tiger-God that was too powerful for even a shaman to control!"
During Ku-Var's rise to power, Iraina seized the opportunity to slay the murderous tribal chief that had sought her life years ago. Killing him, she put his head upon a pike and gained Ku-Var's favor. It seemed that she was the one destined to rule as Ra-Mos had foretold long ago, until he received word from across the sea of Kull usurping the Valusian throne.
(Kull the Conqueror III#1) - During the week long festival held to celebrate the union of two kingdoms through the marriage of Elise, daughter of the King of Thule, to Rashver, son of the King of Verulia, the rulers of the various nations of the Thurian Continent and the surrounding islands were invited to enjoy King Governii of Thule's hospitality. King Kull of Valusia and his retinue, including his chief warrior Brule the Spear Slayer, were among those in attendance, but so was Ku-Var, self proclaimed ruler of Atlantis and his woman Iraina. Kull's councilor Tu noticed the king's interest in the proud looking warrior woman and told him of how she betrayed her own tribe to Ku-Var and gained the tyrant's favor. Throughout the festival she stared insolently at Kull, and the barbarian king was suitably impressed by her boldness.
King Governii proclaimed a tournament for the entertainment of his royal guests with each ruler pitting their champion against the others. Finally it came down to Kull choosing his favorite soldier, Brule, and Ku-Var picking his, Iraina. Both the crowd and Kull were amused by a woman being chosen to face the Spear Slayer. Kull told Ku-Var to pick another lest his mistress be killed. Iraina angrily stated she was no man's mistress, but a warrior. Kull indulged the crowd and sent Brule to face her, but he refused to cross spears with a woman. Enraged, Iraina subjected him to a flurry of lightning quick strokes and the Pict's blood flowed. Still, Brule refused to fight her, so she knocked him to the ground and prepared to spear him in the heart! Beseeched by the crowd that the tournament was for amusement only, she spared his life. Iraina made a gift of Brule's life to Kull because they were of the same Atlantean tribe.
Brule stalked off humiliated, but before Kull could speak with him, the barbarian king was approached by his old friend, the shaman Ra-Mos, now a slave. Before being called away to Ku-Var's side, Ra-Mos told Kull of how all the men of the tribe were now slaves, and the women were taken to Ku-Var's harem--all except Iraina, whose ambition knows no bounds. Ku-Var's love for the wild woman drove him to conquer all the world. Kull recalled how Iraina claimed she was no man's mistress, and Ra-Mos replied that it was true, and that she locked Ku-Var out of her room.
Days later, the festival ended. Kull had all but forgot his encounter with Ra-Mos, and his fascination for Iraina was little more than a memory. Only Brule was changed: irritable, impatient, brooding. Kull confronted him, asking if the duel with the "tiger wench" still weighed on his mind. Brule asserted that Iraina was no mere wench, that there was something dark and inhuman about her. A messenger suddenly arrived, saying a man awaited in the throne room with grave news. It was Ra-Mos, but he fainted from weariness. When he was revived he told Kull a tale:
(Kull the Conqueror III#1 [fb]) - Ku-Var surrounded himself with beauties from all points of his Atlantean kingdom, but none could satisfy him. In a drunken rage he beat upon Iraina's door, infuriated by Iraina telling him no one enters her chambers after dark. After breaking down the door Iraina told the king he would regret his lustful folly with all his heart. Hearing the commotion upstairs, Ku-Var's drunken soldiers cheered him on only to be rudely shocked when Iraina appeared, wearing Ku-Var's crown and carrying his severed head. Ra-Mos fled her unnatural fury as the soldiers rushed forward to avenge their king. Finally summoning his courage to look once sounds of the slaughter had ceased, Ra-Mos saw Ku-Var's soldiers lay murdered, and Iraina had vanished.
(Kull the Conqueror III#1) - Kull couldn't understand--what did he have to fear if Iraina had slain her army? Ra-Mos asserted that Iraina still possessed an army--an army of women! Iraina trained every girl and every woman as a warrior, and put to death every man she found. Ra-Mos told Kull that Iraina's totem was the tiger, just as his, and she drew her strength and power from it. Kull considered this ridiculous, and claimed that Iraina would not get far with an army of women.
On a distant battlefield, beneath the full moon, Iraina stood with her lissome army of warrior women, confronting King Governii and the army of Thule. Governii tried to warn off Iraina from this apparent foolishness, but seeing she would not be dissuaded, ordered his men to charge. The army of women slowly walked forward to meet them, their tiger skins becoming real stripes, and their eyes turning yellow and slatted. Suddenly, the men of Thule found themselves facing an army not of women but of tigers! The slaughter that followed was swift and merciless.
Meanwhile, nightmares plagued Kull's sleep; he found himself drawn to the mysterious eyes of Iraina, only to come face to face with a vicious tiger. Iraina led her army to victory in Zarfhana. From there, she proceeded to Kamelia and Verulia, conquering all, and recruiting the widows of the dead (All unsurprisingly and uniformly gorgeous) into her army. With each of her victories, Kull's nightmare tormented him all the more.
During a brief encampment at Verulia, Kaanuub, rightful heir to the throne of Valusia, parleyed with Iraina. Iraina asked what made Kaanuub think she needed his assistance. Kaanuub told her of Kull's Black Legion and his personal guard, the Red Slayers, and then suggested that without Kull, they would fall. He agreed to set up a meeting where she and Kull can "reason" together.
Arriving at Kull's capital, Iraina arrogantly dismissed Brule, and then flirted with Kull for a while, asking to meet him alone in an hour. Brule followed Ra-Mos as he slipped away, and discovered the old shaman leading an orgiastic ceremony amongst the warrior women outside the city, beseeching Ja-Quari the Tiger-God for victory in battle. Brule captured Ra-Mos as he returned to the city, and interrogated him, learning the tale of Iraina's birth, and discovering it was Ra-Mos that was causing Kull's nightmares to undermine his confidence.
Kull seemed confident when he entered Iraina's guest chambers, not realizing it wasn't "the stirrings of lust he perceives--but the calling of blood to blood." Iraina proposed a toast to her upcoming victory, and Kull living to serve her. Kull laughed, and caressed Iraina's face, saying there was only one way in which he wished to serve her. Iraina gave him a good clawing, attempting to give him a scar to match the one she already had. "Empress Iraina" then ordered her giant tiger Kel-Jar to slay Kull. Brule rushed in and slew Kel-Jar as Kull wrestles with the ferocious animal. He quickly gives Kull the scoop on his sister, but the moon is already rising and the streets are running red with blood as the tiger army rampages.
Kull sent Brule to summon the Black Legion, while he stayed to rid the empire of Irania. Just as the warrior women became tigers to do battle, so too did they live as the great jungle cats with no use for men. In a rage, Iraina made the final revelation: She had told Kull before she was no man's mistress--Kel-Jar was not her pet--but her mate! (Pretty racy for a Marvel comic, eh?) Kull swatted her away, causing her to transform into a huge tigress! Kull was swiftly deprived of his blade, and, in the great tradition of barbarians and jungle lord's everywhere, had to fight the tiger hand to hand! Kull was nearly overwhelmed by Iraina's power, but the tiger was his totem as well as hers, and "it rises to infuse him with strength beyond strength." (But not sight beyond sight!) Digging into Iraina's bestial neck, he hung on, and matched his sister's snarling attack. Ultimately, Kull at last snapped Iraina's neck and she reverted to human form.
With the death of Iraina, and the passing of the curse of Ja-Quari, Kull's Black Legion found themselves fighting not an army of tigers, but an army of fetching young women in tiger skins. (One can only imagine what the victory celebration was like!)
Ra-Mos appeared and told Kull how he had deceived him--it was always Kull's destiny to rule, not Iraina's. Without Iraina's vitality, Ra-Mos could not survive, and died in Kull's arms. The tigress warriors were sent back to their homes, and peace descended upon the continent of Thuria once more. The tale ended, as usual, with Kull philosophically brooding upon his throne.
Comments: Iraina was created by Bruce Jones, April Campbell, and John Buscema.
Incidentally, Ja-Quari the tiger god may or may not be the same tiger deity as the one who visited Kull in the company of the Woman in the Moon in Kull I#16.--Per Degaton
Bestiality, incest, armies of scantily-clad women...yeah, sounds like a story Robert E. Howard would've been proud of. -Prime ED-ternal
Ku-Var, self proclaimed Emperor of Atlantis, spurred on by lust for the insolent warrior-wench Iraina, who he took on as a warrior after she betrayed her own tribe to him. He foolishly challenged her, and she introduced him to a new way of losing one's head over a pretty face. - Kull the Conqueror III#1
Ra-Mos, a shaman versed in black magic,
raised Iraina in secret, never telling Kull of her existence even
when he was the future king's friend and mentor. He was also
involved in the ceremonies that created Iraina's tiger-women
army. With Iraina's death, Ra-Mos could no longer carry on, and
died himself. - Kull the Conqueror III#1
CLARIFICATIONS: Iraina should not be confused with:
Profile by: Greg O'Driscoll
Profile updated/edited by Kyle Sims
Last updated: 03/22/04
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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