Okay, my setting is medieval fantasy and I've come up with a bit of a snag.
Scenario: long ago, a merchant acquired some unusual gems and got a wizard to appraise them (since they're well-versed in exotic and/or magical materials. To his surprise, the wizard revealed the gems held sleeping fairies, and that once the gem came across the right person, it would shatter and release a fairy to aid them.
The merchant got the wizard's hint: some people (royalty/nobility, adventurers, crusaders, rebels for a righteous cause) would need the fairies, so they (the fairies) made sure they would get to those people. However, there are some problems here:
There's nothing really stopping someone from breaking the crystal open by force and enslaving the fairy within-if that person knows there's a fairy inside.
There's nothing stopping someone from abusing the relatively naive fairies desire to help and reducing them to servitude (not to mention collecting them for "because more help never hurt anyone")
Fairies are small and peaceful; while they're as strong as a human but scaled down to their size (think Barbie doll) and can fly, people can catch birds (and therefore fairies, they take off, fly, and maneuver as fast as the typical backyard bird) with a net, if not their bare hands, and so what's to protect them from sadistic and/or perverted people?
What's to prevent people from selling fairies to people for profit? No, the merchants are not planning on selling the fairy crystals for more than normal; if the right person walks into their shop and they can do it without being noticed, they'll slip that person the crystal (see 2 and 4 below). My concern is fairy trafficking, akin to human trafficking in the modern world, which also concerns the merchant guild because it would tick off both the Fairy Queen and Wizard, which would then wipe out the guild and see them replaced with a more "reasonable" guild.
Summed up, my question is How Can A Merchant Guild Ensure The Fairies Right's Are Protected?
- Timing-This is in the Renaissance era, society and technology-wise.
- Motivation-The merchant guild wants to ensure the fairy's rights are protected because A) the Fairy Queen will come after them if they don't and B) the wizard who informed them has threatened curses and plagues upon them if they don't. The wizard is willing to help them, however...
- Mage Limitations-The wizard is reasonably powerful; he can't make fairy crystals as hard as adamant or impossible to break except for the right person. He can, however, make fairy crystals 'slippery to the sight'-the wrong person for the fairy will be subconsciously guided A) not to notice the crystal and B) not to look directly at the crystal. This is subtle magic; it doesn't work on those who know of the fairy crystals, and it won't work on someone who recognizes the magic or is simply so strong-willed they bulldoze through the enchantment. He can also make fairy crystals bad luck for unworthy candidates, causing clumsiness and increased likelihood of unfortunate events (bad weather, missed appointments, encountering a bear or bandits while traveling, etc.). In the latter's case, the enchantment merely increases the person's chance of something bad happening to them by 30%.
- Identification Methods-The wizard has given the merchants special spectacles that enable them to identify if someone is worthy for a specific crystal.
- One Last Thing-For (hopefully) obvious reasons, the merchants need to keep the fact that fairy crystals exist (ie. that fairies hide in crystals, just waiting for the right person to come along) while encouraging people to respect fairy rights. They could use their motivation (see #2 above) but most people don't know of or even believe in the elusive Fairy Queen, and the wizard's only one guy, and their influence only goes so far....there lies my dilemma.
EDIT: Fairy Power-Fairies don't start powerful; they grow alongside their bonded human and gain power over time. A regular Fire Fairy, for example, can throw tiny sparks or light a candle with a touch, and on a good day, throw a tiny (candle-size) fireball. However, a Fire Fairy that's gotten really close to their "owner" can create and manipulate a bonfire's worth of flame or heat (a la Firebender, like Prince Zuko) and their owner will have become not only fireproof, but capable of pyromancy (once again, look at Prince Zuko).
As always, I appreciate your input and feedback. If you feel the close to VTC or downvote, please give me an explanation so I can improve this question and post better questions in the future. Thank you.