Greetings Good People of The Outlands,

His Royal Majesty and I have just returned from Pennsic, and We had a wonderful time. Being able to see the breadth of the Known World—brought together to fight, to share, to shop, and to revel—was absolutely unbelievable. There are high points I would like to share with you, but underlying all of these experiences I developed a much deeper-felt pride in our beloved Outlands. I found that it is only in comparison to other Kingdoms that we are able to more clearly understand and take pride in who we are. By seeing ourselves beside these sister Kingdoms, we come to love what unites us all as well as what sets us apart from them. The Outlands raises her people to be strong-willed, incredibly generous, a bit irreverent, and fiercely brave. Our heavy fighters are small-unit spear gods who can wrap the end of any enemy line, and our rapier fighters inflict fierce casualties as they work in tight, cohesive units. We have beautifully-skilled artisans, first-rate archers, and courageous fighters. But as Outlanders I believe that we’re all of these things... and we’re cool too.

Apart from briefly attending Estrella War several years ago, I have never been to a foreign war, so to be given the opportunity to represent our Kingdom in the largest war in the Known World was incredibly exciting... and intimidating. When I arrived at Pennsic, I was given a schedule of high-importance events that I was expected to attend, and my stomach dropped. Among other things on the list were a State Dinner, The Queens Tea, a Known World Queens Happy Hour, and the famous Hoity-Toity party. I am, at the core, a very shy person who dreads small talk and unstructured activities where I don’t know what to do with myself. And on top of this, I was well aware that the people of all the other kingdoms would be forming and disseminating their opinions about our fine Outlands based on how We comported ourselves, how finely made Our garb was, and how generous Our gifts were.

And then I remembered that I am The Queen of The Outlands. The green and gold blood in My veins makes me fiercely brave, and no form of social anxiety will take me down.

Each time HRM and I went out to one of these official events, members of our camp (about 30 Outlanders in all) would come by our tent to talk while We were getting ready to see Us off. On one occasion, I was trepidatiously preparing to go to the extremely regal Queen of The East’s Tea. As I donned the hand-stamped silk Persian outfit in Kingdom colors made for me by Our Baroness of al-Barran, Sabiha, and headed out of camp for the Queen’s Tea, I completely felt the part of The Outlands’s desert Queen. As my guards and the Baroness of Fontaine Alamanda gathered to escort Me to the tea, I felt their love and strength surround me. On and off the battlefield, Outlanders present an impenetrable front that strengthens whoever is leading the charge. I knew that I could be as strong as I needed to be, if I was representing Our people to the world. I rolled my shoulders back and walked boldly into the tea.

As it turned out, Queen Etheldreda Ivelchyld of The East put on the most decadent tea parties one could imagine – with delicious foods, gifts for us all, and gambling on races. The other Queens were delightful and we all enjoyed getting to know each other. All of them were beautiful in their own ways, wearing the finest garments from their kingdoms’ artisans, and I could see the pride in their own cultures in the smiles on their faces. I personally took pride in the fact that my Persian dress – alone in a room of European fashions – was beautiful proof that we are in many ways distinct from the rest of The Known World.

We have well earned the reputation of being a rebel culture that is not afraid to strike-out on its own, so in this setting I sought-out conversations with each of the Queens and was proud to give them each an emerald donated by Countess Claudia. My ease in the situation grew to the point when, after placing a bet on our Kingdom colors, I turned around to my dear cousin Queen Elizabeth of Atenveldt and yelled a very inappropriate, “OUTLAAAAANDS!!!” At this, Her Majesty laughed, rolled her eyes, and said, “We can’t take you Outlanders anywhere.”

This month we get the opportunity to host 19 visiting Royals, and hundreds of travelers from other kingdoms at Battlemoor. As we welcome them into our land, we all become ambassadors of The Outlands. I encourage all of you to share the best of what we have with our guests. Be generous with hospitality and chivalrous on the battlefield as you portray the best Outlands traits that shine through you. And yes, being cool is a Kingdom-wide condition.

Your Devoted Queen,