#37: A Letter to Address Concerns About the Material Realm Research Project

Spring Maiden:

I apologize for writing to you directly. I have come to feel like I’ve been pushed into a corner and am running out of options. I have written the courts of your superior, the Queen of Summer, and no one there has expressed any urgency concerning my requests. I hope that a reasonable leader such as yourself may be able to understand why this matter must be addressed hastily. 

As I’m sure you are aware, the Queens of Summer and Winter have recently sponsored an expedition to a new realm I have dubbed the Material Realm. I had reason to believe the realm’s magic might serve as a solution to the problems facing our Kingdom. I still believe this to be true, but I believe the contingent of soldiers are approaching the research with much more force than necessary.

The Queens have sent Captain Blythe Ferdinand with a fleet of soldiers to maintain a perimeter of security around our research camp. While I found Captain Ferdinand rather short, I still thought she was reasonable. How wrong I have been.

My researchers and I had been working cooperatively with the indigenous people of the material realm for many weeks before Captain Ferdinand arrived. I even informed her as much in a missive I sent before her arrival. We have begun an informal partnership with the local people, who have come to accept our presence here. These people do not have the industry we built in the Fey Realm, so they must hunt for their food. We have understood this and overlooked them when their hunting parties must pass by our encampment. I informed Captain Ferdinand of this; however, it made no difference.

Captain Ferdinand ordered her soldiers to shoot down any indigenous people who approached our camp. It mattered not how many times I explained to her that they are peaceful people. She continued to fear that they could “cause trouble.” I believe she dislikes the indigenous people because their ways are different than ours. She would not understand that my researchers and I had already begun to educate them so that they could better accommodate any future elves that travel through this realm.

What happened next should be no surprise to one as smart and accomplished as you. An indigenous hunting party passed by our camp, and Captain Ferdinandsoldiers shot them down. They murdered a group of peaceful, innocent hunters because of a “feeling” Captain Blythe had about these people. These people have willingly worked with us to gain a better understanding of this world’s magic. I don’t disagree that if we were to continue working with these people, we would likely need to figure out some way to integrate them into our society, but they have never been an enemy to kill indiscriminately.

My concern about this issue is not just because of the moral misgivings of Captain Ferdinand. She has also impaired our research. Researching in this part of the jungle was simple because we had built a working relationship with the locals. This has, predictably, impaired this relationship. After I reprimanded Captain Ferdinand for her actions, I immediately met with the chief of the local settlement. The only way I could achieve even a tenuous peace was to assure the chief that I would work to lessen the militaristic element without our encampment. That is the purpose of this letter.

I have entreated the Queens of Summer and Winter to send a replacement for Captain Ferdinand and to lower the number of soldiers. They have yet to respond to my message. I am hoping that you could personally contact them on my behalf. They may not view the concerns of a researcher as urgent, but they would listen to the Spring Maiden. I have also sent a missive to the Autumn Maiden. Perhaps the two of you can send a joint statement. 

Thank you for your time. I am certain there is a solution to this problem, and we can continue the important research to save our realm. I apologize again that I have sent this to you directly, but Captain Ferdinand has forced my hand. I look forward to your timely response.


Rowena Zarin Lead Researcher


These stories serve as inspiration for the upcoming short story collection, Tyranny of the Fey. The collection will be released on August 15th, 2023. You can pre-order it now!

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