THE SCHILDMAIDS SAGA
Who are the Schildmaids?
The Schildmaids are a known legend around the world. They are crimefighters. Some say superheroes. They protect the vulnerable in New York City, using state of the art gadgetry and sophisticated magic. They’ve been known to travel outside of Manhattan from time to time, which has led to speculation about where they get their funding. Theories include government sanctions, altruistic billionaires and ancient, hugely wealthy secret societies. There is very little dispute about this, though: the Schildmaids are a force for good.
They leave no dead bodies. They have rescued thousands upon thousands of people—largely women and girls, victims of international, domestic and sexual human trafficking—but have never left a criminal or perpetrator deceased in their wake. Critics argue that the Schildmaids are able to accomplish this only by stockpiling their resources, rather than sharing their secrets with the public; defenders counter that the Schildmaids are right to distrust the powerful figures of this world, who do not use the resources they have at their disposal to help people, as the Schildmaids do.
It is widely believed that the Schildmaids do maintain relationships with federal agencies and police departments, given the number of times officers have shown up to make arrests in the immediate aftermath of a Schildmaids mission—but have never caught a glimpse of the Schildmaids themselves. This has led to speculation that there is a wide network of federal agents and police officers who believe in what the Schildmaids do, though no agent or officer has ever come out on record to date, to that effect.
When the Schildmaids first began to appear about ten years ago, there was a drastic crackdown on sexual trafficking within New York City. Leftwing religious figures decreed the Schildmaids were sent by God. The powerful—crime bosses and corrupt public figures—who benefited financially from the underground trade, came out strong, using whiter-
By contrast, fan communities—such as Schildmaids Equals Justice and United Against Modern Slavery—began to spring up around Manhattan. Survivors—women and girls who’d been trafficked and then rescued by the Schildmaids—began publicly meeting, along with supportive fellow New Yorkers. Songs are sung and stories are shared. Members of these fan communities meet regularly, and agree to do what they can with what they have: they raise awareness, and they raise money, which is donated to various shelters for victims and survivors.
It was via these fan communities that the first information about the identities of the Schildmaids started to leak out to the world…
THE LIONESS AND THE SYNCERUS
The Legend of the World-
On July 10, 2009, a seventeen year old girl called Janie Repka got up to speak at a Schildmaids Equals Justice meeting. She was one of a number of girls who’d been invited to get up and share her story: how she’d been taken from her family as a child, the trials of the life she’d been forced into, and the hope she’d found since her rescue. But Janie’s story was different from everyone else’s, and the video of her testimony was destined to go, to put it lightly, viral.
‘They were using the flats above an old dive bar as a brothel,’ Janie explained. ‘Me and ten other girls were being kept in there like animals, and forced to do awful things with awful men. One night, when I was expecting more of the same, the Schildmaids busted in, and told me everything was going to be okay. Two of them, all decked out in black ninja armour and with masks over their faces. I didn’t know who they were back then, so I asked them. One turned and looked at me, and said, “I’m the Lioness, and she’s the Syncerus.”
Within two hours, the video had been seen by over a million people online. By the following morning, over twenty million. The world woke up with two of its heroes, named and honoured. Fanfic started being written, comics, novels, indie films. Girls around the world raised their heads and played The Lioness and the Syncerus with their friends.