The barrier between the Upper Realm and the Middle Realm was a deliberate decision as an author that I felt was incredibly necessary to the progression of Grace’s journey. I wanted it to be difficult, but not impossible for mortals to cross over into the Fae world. In order to achieve that, I needed to create something strong, yet with access points that could be controlled and utilized to either a Fae or a mortal’s advantage.
To begin with, there is daily trade moving across the border as a supplement to both realm’s economies. This fit in well with the history of the relationship between the two and serves as a clear boundary of superior vs. inferior. On the Fae side of the border, there is virtually no protection. The Fae saw no reason to put guards on the Upper Realm side because they saw no danger in the Fae having access to the mortal realm. It is a bit taboo to have non-designated Fae crossing into the Middle Realm, but there aren’t necessarily clear regulations. Any goods and people travelling through the Upper Realm to the Middle Realm to sell their wares would be checked by the officials on the Middle Realm side. With certain kinds of magic, this could be worked around, hence the ease of the start of the black market trade.
On the Middle Realm side, however, goods are brought in by train and by cart. Very few mortals are allowed to get anywhere close to the actual barrier. There is a heavy layer of magic surrounding the border between realms designed to keep anyone without magic from passing through. There are also a large series of guards stationed along the border that rotate throughout the day. Anyone seen as suspicious will immediately be taken into custody and whisked off to an unknown location to be questioned. Very few come back from that, and those that do seem haunted.
The way the barrier is designed shows exactly what the Fae are afraid of. They aren’t really worried what happens if rogue Fae end up in the Middle Realm. What matters more is what happens if rogue mortals sneak into the Upper Realm. It isn’t clear exactly what they are afraid of at this time, but that is something that will be explored throughout Chasing Fae and perhaps in the greater trilogy.
I loved writing the chapter where Grace and David travel from Lisden to the border. I tried to give a glimpse of what the rest of the Middle Realm outside of Lisden looks like through brief descriptions while keeping the action moving. This scene is also a brief glimpse into the mortal role in the black market. David is one of the best black market runners in the realm, and his know-how and quick reflexes really shine through in this scene. I hope that people pay attention to this segment and pick up on those little details that may just show up again in later books.