18 September 1938
Capt. Alastair Hawkesworth
Drake House, London, Tudor
My Dearest Alastair,
You will, I hope, forgive me for dispensing with formality and addressing you as I have. In truth, I believe it is well past time to have done so. You may, of course, still call me Sa Majeste Genevieve, if you wish, although I will not insist on it.
As I put pen to paper, I remain Queen of the Autumn Court of Faerie. What’s more, I have had to act in that capacity, as I will describe below. Much has occurred in the past few days. Myself and my companions took up residence in the castle of the Autumn Court, and began to take stock both of our situation and of the realm which we now ruled. Lord Crabbe, our Commandant du L’armee de l’air et le General du les Singes Avion, took it upon himself to begin intensive training of said Singes Avion (Flying Monkeys; it sounds far more dignified in French). The training has not, to date, gone as well as might be hoped. In fact, the one word I would use to describe the results of Lord Crabbe’s efforts, and I think he would agree, is merde.
As for myself, I visited the dungeons; the Autumn Witch had several dozen people imprisoned, and I desired to free any who did not deserve such punishment. The majority of the prisoners, it transpired, were deserving of freedom, and, being a compassionate monarch, I did so. This being Faerie, I exacted a promise from all those I freed; I required from them that they would not take up arms, or otherwise plot against the Autumn Court or myself personally. All agreed, and were set off on their way. I then went in search of magical items that might be of use to our currently lost companion, Jude the mage, and I found several spellbooks which I shall present to him if and when he reappears. I also searched for any technological items, and found an alchemical laboratory. This I explored in detail, with the assistance (if that is the proper word) of several Singes Avion. It was demonstrated again, as I have said before, that the face of science is not always pretty; one of the test subjects drank a vial full of a substance that turned it immediately into gold. We are now in possession of a monkey made entirely of gold; it weighs approximately one ton.
After that unfortunate incident, I was returning to my rooms when I heard a commotion. Elspeth, who had been exploring the lands surrounding the castle, had discovered an intruder, armed with a crossbow and lurking in wait to, I presume, assassinate me. She battled the intruder, but he was as skilled with a blade as she, and wounded her severely. He then leaped to a chandelier and attempted to escape. However, by this time, I was close enough to see the intruder, and to take aim with my weapon. I fired at the lowest setting, in hopes of merely wounding him so that he might be interrogated, but, sadly, after he was hit, he fell to his death. We were able to determine that he hailed from the Spring Court and thus was dispatched by one Lord Uldis, who apparently has a minor claim on the Autumn throne.
My desire was to call for immediate retaliation. I had visions of dispatching a squadron of Singes Avion to exact vengeance for this attack upon not only my person but my realm, but events, specifically the arrival of a delegation from the Winter Court, prevented any action from being taken. It is perhaps just as well; I fear that our flying simians would have proven ineffective at best.
Among the visitors from the Winter Court was one of our lost companions, Marcus. We were all most pleased to see him, and more importantly, to see him in one piece. He told us of his experiences; he took a wrong step on our path into Faerie and found himself…elsewhere. He encountered a company of Red Caps who were, it seems, seeking to curry favor with the Spring Court by killing me; he did battle with them and emerged victorious. He then delved into a cave system and discovered murals which depicted, as he related to us, his father (or at least a man very like his father) in the midst of slaying a dragon. Upon emerging from the caves, he happened upon the Winter delegation, and made his way here with them. I bestowed upon him a title and position: Marcus is our Conseiller Special du Affaires Militaire. It is, I think, a very apt title and role for him.
As for the remainder of the Winter delegation, there were two men of note: Lord Tinucal, the leader of the delegation, and Lord Rakat, who bore a disturbing resemblance to the would-be assassin I described earlier.Lord Rakat took an immediate interest in Elspeth, and she likewise in him, while Lord Tinucal expressed the desire of his liege, Lord Garavan, King of the Winter Court, to reach an agreement that would turn the throne of Autumn over to his daughter.
Lord Tinucal presented a gift to the court, and, he said, to me personally; a “seeing stone”. He expressed a wish to commence negotiations, once he and his fellows had been suitably fed and entertained. Therefore, it fell to us to put on a royal dinner. I sought out the steward of the castle and instructed him to begin preparations for the feast; I impressed upon him the importance of the occasion, and the necessity of ensuring that myself and the Autumn Court generally were not embarrassed in any way.
Perhaps surprisingly, the feast was a success, with one exception. It seems that our guests, among the gifts they brought, included some food that had been drugged, and Elspeth was unlucky enough to eat some. Showing effects as though she were intoxicated, Lord Rakat escorted her out of the hall, and, as Elspeth related to us later, back to her rooms, where he questioned her. She was understandably furious, as were we all.
Before learning of Elspeth’s drugging, however, Lord Tinucal suggested that, owing to the delicacy of the issues to be negotiated with the Winter Court, and the benefit of face-to-face talks, that I journey to Winter and speak with Lord Garavon in person. I did not wish to do this for two reasons. The first, which I explained to Tinucal, was that, with the precarious state of the Autumn Court, I did not wish to leave it, only to return and perhaps discover that the realm had fallen in the absence of myself and my friends. The second reason, which I did not say aloud, was that I had no wish to venture onto potentially hostile grounds for such a negotiation. Tinucal claimed to understand my reluctance to leave Autumn, and offered to use the Seeing Stone so I could speak directly to Lord Garavon. I agreed to this, and then withdrew to discuss matters with my companions.
Lord Crabbe opined that perhaps the Seeing Stone had functions beyond those described by Tinucal; that it was possible that the Stone might in fact transport me directly to Winter, where I would then be a prisoner of Lord Garavon. Soon after, we leadned of Elspeth’s encounter with Lord Rakat; this was clearly a hostile act on the part of the Winter Court, and a message was sent to Tinucal expressing our displeasure.
I then took the Seeing Stone to the alchemical laboratory, and, with the aid of one of the Singes Avion as an experimental subject, as well as various tools and devices from my personal equipment, I began to investigate the Stone. I determined that it would most likely not teleport me away, and after bombarding it with x-rays while projecting an etheric field generated by a Tesla coil, I observed energy patterns surrounding the Stone, which I could manipulate using my hands to activate and control the Stone. I wonder if, perhaps, when we find Jude, he will allow me to bombard him with x-rays and etheric fields as well. I would be very curious as to the results!
This I did, and the Stone came to life, showing me a scene with two men in argument. One was Lord Garavon, and the other was a member of the Royal Society, one Mister Kelly. Mister Kelly was attempting to convince Garavon to kill Artoria, and thus deprive us of our rightful Britannic Queen. I listened for a few moments, and then announced my presence by shouting at Lord Garavon. He took immediate notice of me and addressed me.
I will say here that I was well-served by my training, and I kept in mind as well, Alastair, your advice, that a quick decision, even if it is wrong, is generally better than a slow decision, even if it is correct. With that in mind, I acted. Lord Garavon expressed his desire that Artoria not return to our world, as well as implying that the Autumn throne which we were offering to him in trade might be taken from us by force. I replied that it was certainly possible, but that I could equally well abdicate my throne in favor of a candidate not to his liking, and one who might well defend the realm successfully. I also reminded him that any effort to seize the Autumn throne might be very costly; after all, I said, the Autumn Witch was killed, and another Lord of Faerie could meet a similar fate if combat were to occur. This was, perhaps, a hollow threat, as the Autumn Witch was only killed by accident, but I put on as brave and resolute a face as I could, and it seemed to work. At any rate, Lord Garavon and I agreed to work together as far as finding Artoria, whose whereabouts are unknown. He put Lord Rakat at our disposal until such time as Artoria is found.
I shared the results of my negotiation with my companions, and then we tried to imagine a next step in finding Artoria. It was suggested that I use the Seeing Stone to try and locate her. If Jude were here, he would have made the attempt, but in the absence of magic, Science must rule the day, and so I set out to try and find our Queen.
Lo and behold, after much effort, I did find her. The Stone showed us a long, difficult path that sped by, finally ending up in what appeared to be Earth; or at least one of the many Earths, and specifically New Zealand. Artoria was armored, and surrounded by armored men and woman, and was descending into forbidding-looking caves.
Using the Stone, I attempted to discover which world this actually was; but all we could see was ruined, burned out cities. London was a wasteland, but a fantastical wasteland, with mile-high towers amidst brining rubble. Other major cities appeared the same. Lord Crabbe did not recognize this world from any of his travels; but he did suggest another alternative; he told me to try and focus on Mars or Venus and see if the location could be discerned from the Planetary Paths. But here my mastery of the Stone failed, and I was unable to do so. I think it was only luck that I did not damage the stone in my failure.
We discussed what we had seen, and one detail stood out; the path that led to Artoria began here, in Faerie, and led to a jade green bridge. None in the castle knew of such a place, but Lord Rakat did. He explained that his mother had knowledge of the bridge, and using the Stone, we contacted her. After some difficulty, she told us how to find the bridge, and we determined to set off in search of Artoria. Lord Rakat will accompany us, but unfortunately, during his questioning of Elspeth, he discovered that we – well, I, to be specific about it – was responsible for the death of the assassin, who, it transpires, was his brother. As you would imagine, he swore vengeance once our mission is complete.
But that is a matter for later. For now, we are preparing to set off for the bridge, and then onward after Artoria. We will leave Lord Tybalt in charge of the castle and the Autumn Court; I am hopeful that he will preserve my kingdom in good order. And I will keep you in my thoughts, Alastair, and hope and pray that you are and will remain well. I look forward to seeing you again
Until that happy day, I remain your Queen, and your friend,
Genevieve Chantal Therese de Lisieux Lamballe, la Reine du la Cour d’Automne