OUT OF CHARACTER INFORMATION
- Intent: To flesh out the lore aspect of the Shield Maidens of Stewjon. This sub goes hand in hand with the PvP balance of the Shield Maidens [Combat Unit].
- Image Credit: The Valkyrie by Hans Makart
- Role: A combat unit that is also culturally set apart with its own rules and history on Stewjon.
- Links: Stewjon
- Group Name: The Shield Maidens
- Classification: Combat Unit
- Headquarters: Stewjon
- Group Sigil: n/a
- Description: The Shield Maidens of Stewjon are a combat unit, serving as infantry during times of war on the planet. The Shield Maidens are made up of physically large and strong women who undergo rigorous training and live together in a small settlement that is simply known as the Maiden's Territory. The women fight on the ground using swords, bows, and shields, and are not equipped to deal with tech such as pistols, blasters or vehicles.
Fyrst – the Fyrst is the woman who is in charge of all the Shield Maidens. She has the last word on who is accepted, performs the burial ritual, the Maiden Ritual, and oftentimes also fills the role of councilor. While the Fyrst is completely in charge and is the complete authority over the Shield Maidens, she is expected to bow down and adhere to the leaders of the Warrior caste of Stewjon, who are always male.
The Annar – the Annar are the Shield Maidens who have completed their eighteen months of boot camp and are considered warriors for all intents and purposes. The vast majority of the Shield Maidens fit into this category, as the Shield Maidens are considered mostly equal to each other with a few minor exceptions. The Annar train daily, given little down or free time, and leave communally with each other.
The Nyr – The Nyr are the new recruits of the Shield Maidens. Upon acceptance, all the Nyrs are moved to the same cottage located a few miles away from the Maiden Territory, where they all live together in the same space. Sometimes, this space is cramped, and sometimes there's more than enough room for all, depending on how many are accepted. The Nyr are expected to take care of themselves, whether alone or as a whole group. They are given nothing but rusty weapons to undergo basic training with, and must ensure they have enough water, food, and firewood. After eighteen months, a Nyr will become a Shield Maiden.
- Membership: The Shield Maidens hold acceptance fights at irregular intervals during the year. Usually, the acceptance fights are announced anywhere between three to seven days before they happen. Any female bodied person aged fourteen and above may attend. However, women who are shorter than 1m75 / 5"8 and/or look too thin or too lanky are automatically turned away, and are oftentimes also mocked for even thinking they would be suitable. The Fyrst watches over the battles and decrees who may join based on courage, stamina, refusal to give up, prowess, and her gut instinct. Sometimes, the Fyrst will consider matters with other Shield Maidens before making the final decision. Women who are not accepted are still honored at the end of the fights, and a small celebration is held, to which only those who fought alongside the Shield Maidens may attend. The following day, those who were accepted become the Nyr, and must immediately leave their families and homes.
As I Breathe, I Fight – Shield Maidens are expected to fight until death. They do not retire, they do not make their own families, they do nothing but be Shield Maidens until they are slaughtered in the field of battle. It is extremely rare to see a Shield Maiden over the age of 40 due to this.
Worshippers of Birka – the pantheon of Stewjon includes many different gods and goddesses. The Shield Maidens follow Birka, the Goddess of War and Battle. They honor her name before and after fights, they bless in her name, and the Maiden Territory has several statues that were raised in her honor.
Pride and Shame – Shield Maidens break the gender construct of Stewjon Culture, where women are considered much inferior to men. Yet at the same time, they are honored as women, and their presence on the field of battle is more than welcome. To have a Shield Maiden in a family is considered a source of great honor, no matter the family's caste. However, marrying a Shield Maiden is strictly forbidden and even just having a non-platonic relationship with one is considered Taboo. Those who have coitus with them must keep it a secret and rely on the Shield Maiden's discretion.
I Shall Bear No Children – Due to their vigorous training, Shield Maidens have little body fat and therefore usually do not produce enough estrogen for pregnancy to be possible during their fertile years. Lacking the medical explanation, it is unknown whether this the gods traded their ability to become pregnant for their ability to fight, or whether this was decided later as something that Shield Maidens simply do not do. A few myths of folklore about Shield Maidens having children do exist. However, all those stories end in tragedy.
Live Together, Fight Together – Shield Maidens live communally. They get their own food, sew and mend their own clothes and armor, tend to their own weapons. A Shield Maiden is not only master of the blade, she also knows how to take care of herself in the wilderness, and she does this well. The Shield Maidens also fight all together. There is no separation within the unit and no different ranks aside for the Fyrst.
Manly – Due to their size and training, many of the Shield Maidens, while definitely being female of body, have aesthetical traits that make them resemble more androgynous people or outright manly. Their low body fat and massive muscle mass causes increases testosterone production in the body which makes facial hair, for example, a common trait. No Shield Maiden is ever described as beautiful, though some are described as handsome.
Boars of Battle – While not mandatory, many Shield Maidens choose to have a tattoo of a War Boar inked upon their bodies. The boar symbolizes brute strength, war, and fighting.
- Goals: The only goal of a Shield Maiden is to fight and be on the field of battle. They have no hopes for peace, as that would render them useless. They have no hopes for growing much in numbers, as that will hurt the birthing on Stewjon. They have no hopes for education, fineries, or becoming rich, as that will mean they must give up the Shield Maiden life (which they cannot do anyway).
- Freya the Fyrst – NPC, unsubbed. Freya is the woman who currently commands the Shield Maidens.
Identical to the description found on the Shield Maidens [Combat Unit].
Stewjon is a planet that resembles Ancient Nordic in some of the most prominent parts of its culture, alongside having a caste system from which it is very hard to split. Those who are born as farmers remain farmers, those who are born lords remain lords, and the only group that is set aside from these harsh rules are the Warrior caste, who offer opportunity mostly towards men. There is only one exception – the Shield Maidens.
No one is certain when the Shield Maidens came to be, but Stewjon folklore is sprinkled with stories of formidable women wielding weapons and fighting in the front lines. At some point, all fighting women were labelled as "Shield Maidens", and eventually, they became an official unit, with their own specific set of rules, weaved carefully into the web of Stejwoni life.
Few can join the Shield Maidens. Women who are under 5"8 / 1m75 are automatically turned away and do not receive the chance to participate in the skill fights. Those who are tall enough must also be bulky enough, as the Shield Maidens to not accept lanky, overly lean, or narrow-boned women into their ranks either. More than once have their appearances been called manly, supported by their high above average muscle mess, lowered testosterone, and tendency to grow side burns.
Training among the Shield Maidens is grueling. Upon acceptance, they undergo 18 months of harsh boot camp, given only minimal sleep and downtime. They are trained predominantly in hand to hand combat, required to hunt or forage for their food, and are expected to set aside any notions of love and raising their own families.
When war happens on Stewjon, it is oftentimes villages or cities fighting each other. The planet has very little experience with interplanetary fighting, and space travel tech is not available to the castes who are not Lords. During war, the Shield Maidens are sent out to the front lines as infantry units, and are expected to slay their opponents down mostly with their swords.
Shield maidens die young. There is no veteran program, no expectancy to go into pension, nothing. These women fight with every breath they take, and they fight until they are killed. It is rare to come across a Shield Maiden over the age of forty.
Edited by Alwine Lechner, 15 December 2018 - 01:41 PM.