The INSL has always tried to retain the appearance of neutrality amidst the complex relationships endemic to Valhalla’s many nations. This has not always been easy. Even during the very creation of the organization, there were those who hoped to use it as a tool to further punish the Technophiles rather than as the vehicle for peace it was meant to be. Since then innumerable debates about issues such as slavery, mineral rights, and international raids have kept these tensions alive.
Now a sylph, or air faerie, is causing some of the most intense debates the INSL has seen in years. This sylph was first seen flying around the top of the INSL pyramid several months ago, but her presence was dismissed until video footage of the mystical creature proved otherwise.
“Sylphs, like most nature spirits, are extremely reclusive,” explains Dr. Randy Higgins, a professor of Xenopsychiatry at Ada-Kar University. “While naiads make their homes near water and dryads live in trees, sylphs are drawn to mountain peaks and areas of gusting winds. The INSL pyramid is just such a place despite the fact that it is not naturally occurring.”
At over three hundred stories the INSL pyramid is the single largest structure in Valhalla. Indeed, it has the highest elevation on Ada-Kar. Perhaps then the questions shouldn’t be “why did she come here,” but rather “what took her so long?”
While most experts agree with Dr. Higgins’ assessment, this has not stopped an inordinate number of complaints from all levels of the government. Within hours of proof of the creature’s existence, a special meeting was called by Evgeny Kuznetsov, the senator from Narodnay Strana. In his hour-long rant to the general assembly, Senator Kuznetsov laid out seventeen reasons why the faerie should immediately be removed. He claimed that her presence is at least an improper use of government facilities and at most an unbridled provocation of war.
During the tensest moments of his speech he claimed that “the Technophobic hegemony has been infiltrating advanced societies for years. Now one of their magical harlots has made the very symbol of international cooperation into her bordello!”
Given that Ada-Kar is a place where we regularly pass centaurs and aliens on the street, why is the presence of this one faerie causing so much trouble?
The root of the problem is that she has apparently made her home at the very peak of the pyramid within the shimmering blue light of the Traekari beam. The beam has many functions, the most important of which is to set up the delicate web of magic and technology that allows the Technology and Magic Equalization Zones (or Tech Zones) to function. To Senator Kuznetsov, the presence of a magical creature so closely linked to such a powerful apparatus is like allowing corporate sponsors within the halls of the Kremlin. It is not only against the interests of his nation, but also a threat to the stability of the entire world.
“We don’t know anything about this creature,” Anita Hawker, the popular blogger and firebrand from Megalopolis stated in her most recent post. “The wizards may say that she’s harmless, but how do we know? While we debate evicting this squatter she could be subjugating the entire TMEZ protocol. How innocent will she seem when she turns our rifles and plasma weapons into pea shooters?”
While most of the adverse reactions have come from high-tech nations, there are a growing number of low-tech nations that are also unhappy with the sylph’s presence. The most vocal of these are the clergy from The Kingdoms who reject her presence on the grounds that such a creature is the spawn of the devil only there to tempt and corrupt the minds of those in power.
Despite the mounting ire, a growing grassroots movement is intent on letting the faerie stay. “The presence of one of the fair folk is a sign of beauty and wonder,” states Monica Galesby, an organizer for the so-called “Let the Fae Stay” movement. “She has chosen the pyramid for her home and now she will help to protect it with all her love and power.”
Dr. Randy Higgins admits that nature faeries do offer a strong level of protection not only to the places they make their home, but also to the surrounding areas. “It is their home, after all,” the doctor explains. “Would you not protect your home if it were under attack?”
The odd assembly of nations backing the sylph’s right to stay is using this as the main thrust of their arguments. They believe that removing the faerie would not only harm her, but also weaken any mystical protections she inherently brings. Additionally, rooting out such creatures can be extremely difficult given their ability to use magic and call other magical creatures to her aid. The large number of pixies in the INSL gardens, for example, would almost certainly defend her if she was attacked.
To complicate the matter, however, one must realize that the removal of such a nature spirit from her home would result in her death and the ultimate destruction of her home. If a dryad is forcibly removed from her tree, for example, both the dryad and the tree would soon die. Similar things have been known to happen with naiads and their watery lairs. If the sylph has bonded to the INSL pyramid in this way then it is possible that her removal will result in the slow destruction of the pyramid not to mention her own death.
There is, however, some debate as to how long such bonding takes. While some experts believe that such a bonding can take years to form, others believe that the connection is permanent and irrevocable the moment the sylph chose it as her home.
It was for reasons like this that the “Indigenous Creatures Decree” was written into law. This decree gives legal protections to creatures inherently rooted to specific locations. While a successful suit has never been prosecuted, the law could, in theory, prevent the forcible removal of the sylph.
The fact that the sylph herself has refused to speak with any envoys has also caused problems. A suit cannot be filed on her behalf if she refuses to take part in it. While spell casters attempt to reason with the illusive creature, people like Anita Hawker are calling for non-lethal weapons such as sonic cannons to make her stay so uncomfortable that she will attempt to leave on her own.
While Senator Kuznetsov has pressed for an immediate resolution to the problem, opposition senators are attempting to push the issue towards an ad hoc council that will draft a bill. Their ploy seems to be to delay the decision until tempers settle, or until the sylph becomes so permanently bonded to the pyramid that removal is no longer feasible.
We will learn early next week how the debate will continue, though it will likely be some time before we learn the ultimate fate of the shy faerie.