Building a Bean Sí

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Something Different

So, I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback on the last post, Ban Síde. Thanks to everyone who’s commented or popped me a message on Second Life or Facebook or even Skype about it. And a couple of people have asked me how I came up with such a wild story for Gwyneth to have to deal with in this blog.

Now, some looks start with wanting to showcase a great outfit, but for the most part, I don’t get my inspiration that way. I put Gwyneth or TAC or Davey into a situation, and then I use that situation to showcase some great stuff I’ve found recently, or some new skin I want to blog, that kind of thing.

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Gwyneth as I often see her.

So, here’s Gwyneth as I often see her. Well, OK, I usually don’t bother with the undies, but, you know. Family blog and all. Almost all the time, Gwyneth is in the Maitreya body, which takes the small-breasted Sidhe look very well, and lately I’ve been putting her in the hands and feet that come with the body, rather than swapping her into the SLink ones, since so many shoes are being made for the Maitreya now. Gwyneth’s base skin is almost always from Lumae, and the standard skin for her for the better part of a year now has been Lumae‘s lovely Eirtae in Tone 1, which is very light and in keeping with her Sidhe Celto-Irish background. For some time now she has been in the BentBox Sylvan Ears, though I may switch her back to the Lumae Leevi ones at some point. Her base head has recently been the Catwa Dyana, which offers a shape I quite like.

Now, like I said above, most of the time, I think of a story or situation, and then I just put the avatar in something that works with that story.

But this time, the whole thing started with a dress.

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A Dress!

It’s been my privilege to blog for The White Armory for about three months now, and I have had a great time showcasing as many of their beautiful designs as I possibly could. When TWA started up its new collaboration with Blue Moon Enterprises, Silvan Moon Designs, I was really excited. Such a rich palate of gorgeous textures and amazing dress shapes! So when this one, Aquella, came across, I first thought the pictures looked amazing, but then when I put Gwyneth in it, I wondered, “When would Gwyneth wear such a thing?” I put it away, then tried it on again a few days later. And suddenly, it just came to me. Gwyneth couldn’t wear this dress in her own life. She would have to have an alternate life, one in which she could wear something like this. Now… who would wear something like this? Revealing clothing, unless it’s made of flowers or intended to knock her Consort’s virtual socks off, isn’t really her style. But what if she were someone else?

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What if Gwyneth were even more supernatural than she already is?

What if Gwyneth were even more supernatural than she already is? What if she were some kind of elemental spirit, but in keeping with her heritage and culture? I could take the opportunity to showcase one of Lumae‘s excellent fantasy skins: this one is the Fable, NimbusLumiya Rae just released some appliers for the BentBox ears in the Fable tones, as well. Score! Now… what sort of creature would have skin like this, a ghostly apparition of a woman?

Well, a Bean Sí, of course. A Banshee. Now, often Bean Sí are depicted in art as hideous apparitions, but in fact all that folklore tells us is that their job is to keen for deaths, often of important chieftains. In fact, Bean Sí can appear any way that they want to appear. They generally have long, disheveled hair, though, so I started going through all the hair I would love to blog from Hair Fair, in hopes of finding something perfect.

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Mina came through!

Mina came through with the lovely Neah hair. At this point, I also decided to put Gwyneth into the SLink Pointe feet, just because I like them and I knew I had some fab shoes for them … somewhere in my inventory. I figured I wanted something to wrap around her legs, the right pair of shoes, and maybe a circlet or something, and then I’d be good to go. Now, there are some great textures out there in hair land, and Mina‘s never disappoint: this hair looks lovely in just about any colour, and when you work with very light hair colours, the textures always show through, so it’s very important to me that hair textures be as close to perfect as possible. It’s one reason why I love Analog Dog so much. Another top contender for my list of favourite hair textures would have to be EMO-tions. No Match is also doing some amazing things. But Mina was the perfect style for this look. Now I just had to find leg wraps and shoes!

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Funny thing about these leg wraps….

Funny thing about these leg wraps… they were already in my inventory: I’d just forgotten completely about them. I asked over on SL Blogger Support if anybody knew of good ballet shoes for SLink Pointe feet that include long leg wraps, and someone mentioned that there were some good ones at We❤ RP’s current round, from Empire. So I duly went down to We❤ RP to check them out. Luckily, I thought to make sure I hadn’t already bought them when I saw what I was looking at—sure enough, there they were, already in my inventory.

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Shoes!

And I remembered I had some fab shoes for Pointe from a previous Fantasy Collective, so I popped those on. These are the ChicChica Fairy shoes I ended up putting on her for the blog post, but initially I didn’t want to use them because they had a metallic look to the laces and she wasn’t wearing anything else that was metallic. So I did some searching around, but I didn’t find anything I liked better. That meant finding something else metallic to balance out the look.

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A Circlet!

A circlet! This one is a gacha from I forget where, made by Coquette, the Fairy Crown. It’s simple lines really contributed to the look and matched nicely with the laces on the otherwise simple ballet shoes from ChicChica.
Somewhere along the way, I realised I wanted to change Gwyneth’s ordinarily bright blue eyes to something more ethereal. Luckily for me, the fatpack of Soul‘s Sidhe Eyes comes with an exclusive colour, Holy. 

The completed face!

So here we have Gwyneth as a Bean Sí, in the lovely paper-white Nimbus skin, part of Lumae‘s Fable range. The Mina Neah hair frames her face beautifully, and I love the balance of inverted triangles with the hairline and the Coquette circlet. The silver-white Holy eye colour brings it all together. I did consider making her eyelashes white, but when I tried lightening the lashes beyond a certain point, they just looked more creepy than I wanted, so I decided that even Bean Sí go for black mascara! As always, she is in the Maitreya mesh body, and today she is sporting the Catwa Dyana mesh head. It’s her favourite head lately, though I am hearing great things about the Bibi and can’t wait to try it out.

Here’s a closeup of that gorgeous dress!

Here’s a closeup of that gorgeous dress that started me down the creative road to turning Gwyneth into a Bean Sí. In case you’re wondering about the various spellings of Bean Sí, the word in English is Banshee. The title of the post, Ban Síde, is the word in Old Irish, and Bean Sí is the word as it’s spelled in Modern Irish. I thought Old Irish was most appropriate for the post title, but then given that we’re speaking in 2016, I figured the Modern Irish equivalent would be best here. Call me pedantic. I’ll just agree with you; it’s OK!

Now, speaking of the gorgeous dress, it’s the Aquella Marina dress from Silvan Moon Designs, which is a collaboration between the creative geniuses at The White Armory and Blue Moon Enterprises. The dress comes in Gray, Green, Pink, and Turquoise; the Pink and Turquoise are exclusive to the Fantasy Cream event. They are beautiful. Gwyneth is wearing the Gray here.

Now, of course, the blog story ends up with Gwyneth-the-Bean Sí diving off a cliff and surfacing on a beach somewhere, then walking up a very long boardwalk to whatever she’ll encounter next.

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That means I get to put another gratuitous photo of Gwyneth in this dress in the post!

That means I get to put another gratuitous photo of Gwyneth in this dress into the post! Now, she’s back in her blue eyes, the Lumae Eirtae skin (tone 1), and she looks just like herself, though the smile on the Catwa Dyana looks a wee bit doubtful; then again, I’m sure she is feeling a bit doubtful as she goes on to whatever’s going to happen to her when she gets to the top of that boardwalk….

Don’t forget: Hair Fair is open for five more glorious days, until 31 July, and you can pick up the Mina Neah hair there, along with a tonne of other amazing hairstyles. Remember that every hairstyle you buy at Hair Fair donates a percentage of the price to Wigs For Kids, so you’re donating to a good cause and getting great hair at the same time! What could be better than that?

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Ban Síde

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Gwyneth:

Oh, do not fear the winter night
The broken branches dull with snow
And do not fear the death of light
Or any fright that dreams bestow

And neither fear the fox’s cry
Nor fear a tapping at your door
Or worry over some old lie
That doesn’t matter any more

But when the thread is wearing thin
And time fragments to feathery
Then, as you fear the fear within
You may be frightened now of me

 

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Cold, cold, always cold.

Cold, cold, always cold. It is the first feeling when I rise and the last before I fall. And now another Realm, another town, another street to walk down. Another song, another rhyme, another soul run out of time.

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I am called.

I am called. I am cold. I am hungry. Is this the house? No; not this one. Carry on; carry on.

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Closer now.

Closer now. I smell it clearly. From this window, or the next. No, not this one. Next year, maybe. Carry on; carry on.

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Oh, here.

Oh, here. Now here. This door; this light. Now I breathe and start the keening, carry on into the night. And sing until the widow’s weeping on the floor her hands as cold as the hands she still is holding. Always cold; always cold. Wail from sundown, wail to midnight, wail all night and let them cry. Now the gasping, now the weeping; tears are always the reply. Only when the widow’s broken, only when the bond is cut, then the others of us sweep the soul away, elf-struck.

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Finally.

Finally, when songs are over, I can walk away. Forget syllabic, rhyming sing-song, I say to myself, but echoes always follow me. The wailing. The keening. The grief of a hundred loves, all weighing on whatever thing—I don’t even remember now—whatever thing I did to deserve this burden.

And then I see a statue of a Fae harper.

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It’s easy: I rise with the clouds until I’m there.

It’s easy: I rise with the clouds until I’m there, perched on her knee, hand to her hand, and something stirs inside the bronze casting, something that is still alive, trapped for a century or more.

—Lady, who bound you?

—Bound me? This is where I live.

—But once you had a body.

—Of course. That was long ago.

—But don’t you long to escape?

And as if an echo comes her reply:

—But don’t you long to escape?

—Escape? I cannot escape.

—But once you had another calling.

—Of course. That was long ago.

Her laughter is like harp strings, tings of brass.

—I’ll not move until they melt me down and sell me. But you could go, give it up, let the others carry the keening.

—They’d find me.

—Not if you know how to run.

And now I look into the green-cast eyes and think, is there hope? Might there be hope?

—I know how to run.

She laughs again.

—But where? Do you know where to run?

—I confess I do not.

—But I do.

—Tell me.

—So simple it is, you’ll think you thought of it yourself, and you’ll think no more of me. I need a promise.

—Anything.

—Promise you’ll remember me.

—If your words save me, I could never forget you.

—Then promise, and be bound.

—I promise. I will never forget you.

—Now run, run as fast and as far as you can, and think of oceans and deep water, and when you think you cannot run any more, you must fly into the air and fall and ask for haven. You will meet water, and then you will be free.

—It seems too simple.

—All things are. Now run, before they call you for another keening.

I leave a kiss on the cast fingers, find the ground, and flee. I run until I think I cannot run any more, and there before me is a cliff, above an ocean, so I dive. I cry for haven.

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So I dive.

So I dive, and falling seems to take forever, and in an instant I see the beach and the rocks and the waves and the houses and the trees and in each house a sleeping soul or more, and then the water breaks my fall and I am cold and colder still again, and then it’s dark.

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Ugh!

Ugh! I woke up from a dream of drowning. I was thinking how much I hate dreams about drowning, when I realised I was actually in a rather large body of water. Fuck me: I’ve never dreamed myself physically into another place before. And what was all that about being a Bean Sí? I coughed water and treaded water and turned around and found an accessible shore: the other side seemed to be a sheer cliff.

It took a while, but I did manage to swim to the beach. And I don’t know why I didn’t just lift and fly: I don’t think I remembered I could fly until I was already on the sand. I guess that’s what happens when your thoughts are addled by dreams and drowning, one after the other.

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I stepped up on to a boardwalk.

I stepped up on to a boardwalk. The day was fine, which was good, because the water was cold and the sun was a welcome friend.

And then I looked ahead.

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This was a very long boardwalk.

This was a very long boardwalk, with an inexplicable bend in the middle, as if someone thought it’d just be fun to make the journey half again as long as it would have been—or maybe there’s some rule against straight boardwalks. Is there a rule against straight boardwalks? Next time I’m in a Realm with an Internet connection, I shall have to check.

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Onward.

And so, having no idea where I was, no immediate notion of how to get back to Faerie, and no plans for the day, I continued up the hill and on to the next adventure, whatever that would be.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Dyana
Ears: BentBox Sylvan Ears
Eyes: Soul, Sidhe Eyes
Skin: Lumae, Eirtae Bare, T1 (The Eirtae Bare skin has been updated and is available at the Lumae Main Store now!)
Hair: Mina, Neah (available at Hair Fair! Hair fair is open until 31 July!)
Clothes: Silvan Moon Designs (A collaboration between The White Armory and Blue Moon Enterprises), Aquella Marina Dress in Grey (Available at the Fantasy Cream event!)
Circlet: Coquette, Fairy Crown
Leg Wraps: Empire, Forsythia (Available at We❤ RP!)
Shoes: ChicChica, Fairy Pointes for SLink Pointe Feet
Location: Private Sim (for now!)
Poses (In order):
1. “Cold, Cold, Always Cold” an lar Daydreamer Series — Fantasy
2. “I Am Called” an lar Beauty Series — Allure
3. “Closer Now” Bauhaus Movement — A Night of Madness
4. “Oh, here” Bauhaus Movement — Again
5. “Finally” Bauhaus Movement — Cherry
6. “I Rise With the Clouds Until I’m There” Bauhaus Movement — Annia 2
7. “So I Dive” Roquai Poses — Dive
8. “Ugh!” Roquai Poses — Surface
9. “I Stepped Up On To A Boardwalk” Imeka — Lucy 1
10. “This Was A Very Long Boardwalk” Imeka — Lucy 2
11. “Onward” Imeka — Lucy 2

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never suggest that my primary rp character is actually a Ban(shee) On The Run (sorry!) without it!

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Midnight at the Fair Maiden

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Gwyneth:

I continue to be plagued by strange dreams, dreams in which I am someone else, in a completely different world, with a completely different life.

I remember as a child reading a series of books by Diana Wynne Jones, about a series (well, several series, actually) of worlds in which there were varying degrees of magic and tolerance for magic. In every world, there were different versions of oneself, the only exception being in the case of special nine-lived enchanters, who had no cognates in other worlds. This, apparently, was how they got these nine lives. Anyway, I became fascinated with the books at first because there was a character named Gwendolyn, a name close enough to Gwyneth to spark my imagination. As I continue to dream my way through to whatever lesson these experiences are going to give me, I suspect I am getting glimpses of my lives in other worlds. Or maybe I just read too much speculative fiction as a child.

This dream was memorable, mostly because it included Dyisi, and “I” had no idea who or what she was! And oh, the things I thought about her, about Fae, about the world! I can’t imagine being raised in such a society, where a difference like pointed ears or a pair of horns means you’d be treated differently by everyone. No, wait. I can imagine that. I was raised in such a place. Even my own history becomes mutable, what with all these alternatives to consider.

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She came in right at midnight.

She came in right at midnight. I was cleaning off the bar, just about ready to head home.

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“We’re closed”, I said, without looking up.

“We’re closed”, I said, without looking up.

“Ah, but I have come so far”, replied a heavily accented voice, and I didn’t recognise the accent.

When I looked up, I couldn’t believe what I saw.

“I am just needing a few things”, she continued. Her glasses obscured her eyes, but there seemed to be a light glowing behind the lenses. And she had glowing horns. And a tail, and… yes, hooves. And for some absurd reason, there was a white crow perched on one of the horns.

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I took a step back. “You’re not allowed”, I said.

I took a step back. “You’re not allowed”, I said. I lowered my voice: someone could be listening. “You can’t be here, if you’re not human. You’re illegal”.

“Illegal, am I?” she asked. “Why’s that?”

“Because of the Betrayal”, I said.

She shook her head. “Never heard of him”, she replied. “I am called Dyisi”.

“Gwyneth”, I said. This prompted a sharp laugh from the horned woman. “The betrayal. You know. When the Faerie said she’d keep us safe, but she broke her promise and so was turned to stone?”

“Was she now”. The woman—Dyisi—didn’t seem very impressed. “I’m no Fae; I’m a Satyr”.

“Doesn’t matter; you’re still illegal”, I said.

“Ah, well”. She tilter her head up to me. “I wonder if you’re not illegal, too?”

I shushed her with a gesture. And I could feel her reaching out with some internal power, to get at me, disturb my glamour, take me down with her. “You need to go”. I’m afraid I used my overbearing barmaid voice, the one I have to use on the old men, every night at half eleven, to get them all out of the door before twelve, so I can clean the place and get home before night workers’ curfew, one o’clock in the morning.

“So be it”, she said. And then, I kid you not, she just became more and more transparent until finally she disappeared.

So I finished what I was doing and locked up. Couldn’t stop thinking of her, though.

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You have to bash the pub door with your hip. I give it an extra push with my elbow.

You have to bash the pub door with your hip to close it properly; I like to give it an extra push with my elbow, just to make sure it’s locked. It’s a good thing the village has a curfew: the prince is afraid we’ll all be eaten by vampires, because of the betrayal, so nobody is allowed out on the streets after pub closing. Nobody but the barmaids ever see the ridiculous dance we have to do to close the pub door. I think the curfew’s funny for two reasons: first of all, if he were really serious about the vampire thing, why not make it sundown? And second, why make the only people in the village who have permission to be out after pub closing the pub girls? Aren’t we the most vulnerable? Anyway.

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Who was this “Dyisi”?

Who and what was this “Dyisi”? She had no fear of walking as a … different sort of person. She seemed surprised that anybody would.

How is that even possible?

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I mean, people everywhere know of the Betrayal.

I mean, people everywhere know of the Betrayal. We just happen to be the lucky (and by lucky I mean not) village on the edge of nowhere where the legend actually happened. People don’t visit us much because they fear they’ll be tainted with the stink of the Betrayal. All my uncles and aunts moved away long ago, and none of them can understand why my mum and dad stayed here to raise me, being what we are. Mum and Dad say it’s so I have to stare at her every day and learn my place in the world, since our kind are given to hubris.

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And they’re right.

And they’re right: having to look at that, day in and day out, would give any Fae (I feel funny even to say it: I’m meant to say “girl” whenever I mean “fae”. Or “boy”) cause to worry. See how her back is turned on the village’s High Street? That signifies how she failed to protect us when the Dark Fae came to steal our children, a century ago now. She is the only place in the world where we see an actual depiction of a Fae. They (we) are prohibited in every city, every town, illegal in artwork, and of course the penalty for being one, or being any member of a race not human, is death. I look at her pointed ears and remember how mine sometimes used to show, back when I was young enough not to keep the glamour up in my sleep. I can still feel the bruises on my bottom: Dad takes glamour very seriously, even if we’re not meant to know other things can be done with magic.

I walked down the lamp-lit street, mindful of every dark corner: who knows what could be lurking there, Mum says; I don’t know why you work in that place, she says, when we have a perfectly good toy shop that any girl would love to work in. The money, Mum, I say. It’s the money. She can’t think why I need money, but I can: Soon as I can afford transport, I’m getting out of here. Somewhere far away.

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I was still thinking of Dyisi when I reached our house.

I was still thinking of Dyisi when I reached our house. It’s at the other end of the village, even though that means about a five-minute walk. Mum thinks it’s the end of the earth, and she’s always waiting up for me, and she’s scared because the pub is on the edge of the forest, “and you have no idea what horrific things take place in there,” she’ll say. One day I’m going to walk all the way past the forest to the ruined castle and see if it’s really haunted. When I’m twenty-eight. By that time, I’ll have saved all the money I need to get out of here, and I’ll carry it all with me when I walk to the castle, just in case, as the stories say, there are other, less human, ways of getting out of the village.

For a moment, I wondered what kind of creature Dyisi was, but I knew it would be pointless to ask: I’d be up against the court of Mum and Dad, and I’d have to wait ’til I’m thirty to get out of here, because they would make me quit my job at the pub tomorrow if they knew a creature with glowing horns had walked in, presumably out of the forest, and just fucking disappeared from inside a well-lit pub. Maybe that’s how Fae get around. Maybe they can just think themselves anywhere. Tomorrow I’ll try thinking myself into the  bathing chamber before Michaela. She thinks she’s so special, dating the son of the mayor. Wait til their wedding night, I think, and it makes me smile. I bet she loses her glamour when he puts it in her, and that’ll be the shortest marriage in the history of the village. Mum and Dad will say they didn’t know, she must be a changeling, and the whole village will go onto alert, and we’ll have martial law for a few months like the last changeling scare, but after she’s executed, everybody will forget.

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And so, into our house I went.

And so, into our house I finally went, after checking to make sure Dyisi wasn’t following me. Maybe she is some kind of evil spirit, and I only thought I saw her. Maybe she is some piece of me that I didn’t know existed because Mum and Dad don’t tell good little girls these things. Maybe Mum doesn’t have pointy ears beneath her glamour: maybe she has big glowy horns and a twitching tail!

I had to put my hand over my mouth to stop myself giggling when I came in and saw Mum.

“You’re home late,” she remarked.

“Nelson puked on the doorstep again,” I explained.

“That old arse. Well, he’ll die soon enough.”

So will we all, I guess. But I’m not going to die here.

Style Cards:
Dyisi (full style card will come eventually)
Body: Maitreya
Hair: No Match, No Lime (available at Hair Fair! Hair fair is open until 31 July!)

Gwyneth:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Stella
Eyes: Soul, Sidhe Eyes
Skin: 7 Deadly s[K]ins, Maren, Powder (Available at Mesh Body Addicts, open until 29 July!)
Hair: Barberyumyum, 78AHF  (available at Hair Fair! Hair fair is open until 31 July!)
Clothes: Faida and Fallen Gods, Mythiara Rogue, Royale (Available at The Epiphany!)
Necklace: glYph, Miraculous Necklace, Purple
Boots: Lassitude & Ennui, Bernadette Boots, Grey (Available at We❤ RP!)
Poses: PosESion, from the 100 poses for $399 set currently on sale at their Main Store

Setting:
Sim: Private Sim
Buildings, pub, village, doors, streetlamps: Death Row Designs, Dangarnon, from the 2016 Fantasy Faire sim of the same name.
Statue: Death Row Designs, The Last Hope, a two-of-a-kind item offered for auction at the 2016 Fantasy Faire
Village Paths: Happy Mood, Dirt Road
Trees: Studio Skye, Enchanted Woods

Pub Decor:
Bar: Fetch, Lyla Bar
Elk Head: Medieval Fantasy, Elk Trophy
Deer Head: Medieval Fantasy, Deer Hunting Trophy
Cider Bottles: Jian, Hillside Orchard
XXX Barrels: Jian, Hillside Orchard
Unicorn Head: Nomad, Unicorn Taxidermy
Shelves Behind Bar: Serenity Style, Five Minutes Shelf
Wine Bottles Atop Bar Shelves: Aphrodite, Wine bottle collection
Purple Bottle on Bar: Morgan Sim Designs, Stowaway Fae’s Shot o’ Rum Bottle
Artwork Behind Bar: Lilith’s Den: Yrdrasil Axis Mundi
Bar Torches: Death Row Designs, Dangarnon Torches

It is such a pity Dy and I didn’t play a longer scene in the pub, but it was bedtime for her! I’ve kept the pub intact up on the platform where I create such things, so you may see more of No-Fae-Allowed Village Gwyneth’s life in the future, if only so I can show you things like the amazing polar bear statue in one of the corners and the beautiful tables sourced from Noble Creations and Tia.

Yes, I am one of the two people who won the DRD Last Hope Auction at the 2016 Fantasy Faire, and every time I look at that statue, I think of the Fantasy Faire, my beloved husband (whom I lost to cancer in January), and my hope that one day little donations like mine will help to make a real change in the way we treat cancer, leading to a complete cure, for everyone. I am deeply in awe of the amazing DRD team, who created one of the most inspiring objects I’ve ever seen in Second Life or any other life, and one that I’m proud to say graces and will grace my every living space in SL, be it RP, creative office, or OOC hangout. Unlike its purpose in this work of fiction, in reality this statue represents hope, the hope we can give and the hope that goes on before us, hope’s everlastingness, its raw power, and sometimes, its sadness. 

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never create entire villages on a 1/4 sim sky platform for, um, one photo shoot, without it….

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The Back Forty

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The Amazing Catwoman:

So, yeah. I said my mobile was working in that strange forest I landed in. About two hours after I discovered the crag above the water, right after I’d put together a makeshift campsite and managed to gig a couple of frogs for dinner, I got a call from my fixer. Security gig, small town, infested with demons, probably last a week or so, basic demon cleaning, no biggie, nice payoff at the end, accommodation provided by the town in question.

Sounded like a sweet job, so sure, I took it.

You know, nothing is ever the way they pitch it to you. Nothing.

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What. The Actual. Fuck.

At first, I thought I might have travelled to the wrong Realm by accident; that’s been known to happen. But no; I was shortly met by Zeke, my contact. Seriously? There are actually people named Zeke? Who the fuck even knew that? And what were his parents even thinking? Jesus. Or Whomever. Zeke took me through the nearly deserted town, explaining that most of the population had deserted the place, “On account of this demon infestation, see?”

“No offence,” I said, and I winced inwardly at that: I think people who say “no offence” usually mean to give quite a lot, but I didn’t, really I didn’t, “but it looks like the population has been gone for quite some time.”

“Week or two, tops,” he insisted. “And why’d they send a demon to take care of a demon infestation, anyway? No offence.”

“Would you like to know how many knives I’ve got stashed in these boots, Zeke?” I asked. “I’m no demon; I’m a svart alfar, and I’m not seeing any evidence of demons around here, so you’d better produce one or I’ll be heading back to my fixer without doing jack shit for you, and you’ll still pay my fee, or you’ll meet some real demons. A lot of very interesting people work for my boss.”

Zeve raised both hands, backed up a couple of steps. “Whoa there, little lady. Nobody needs to be siccing demons on anybody, not with the problem I’ve got.” All this time he’d been leading me down an overgrown street. “Here we go,” he said finally. “Village Garage.”

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Yep: it was a garage, all right.

Yep: It was a garage, all right. And holy mother of fuck, there was an old Dodge with the engine on pumping out black smoke like it was in the middle of a full-on engine failure.

“What’s up with the Dodge?”

“That’s the demon.”

“You’re shitting me.”

“I would not shit you about the demon Dodge,” Zeke intoned.

“Right.” I covered my nose with my hand. “Yeah, OK; I can smell the sulphur. You got one of those face masks you use when you’re working with something smelly that might give you some kind of lung disease if you inhale too much of it?” I asked.

“Got a bandana,” he said.

“Great.” Great. Zeke handed me an oily bandana, which I duly tied around my nose. “You know I get a bonus if I clear up your problem in short time,” I said.

“Go for it,” Zeke replied. “I’ll leave you to it.” And he was off down the street. Coughing a bit.

“All right, you little fucker,” I said. “Come out where I can see you.”

“No.”

“Don’t make me fill this car up with chlorine,” I said.

“You wouldn’t. There’d be an explosion.”

“I would. Whole town’s deserted because of you and your little friends,” I said. “And I am not a very patient demon cleaner.”

“It’s just me.” The demon actually managed to sound petulant. “The others got bored.”

“Bored.”

“Yeah: too easy. Once we trashed the church, whole population, vamos.” I think it snapped its fingers.

“Except Zeke.”

“Yeah, except him. I’m working on him.”

“What do you want a shitty little town in the middle of nowhere for?” I asked.

“I dunno. Something about a vortex of evil to take over the whole universe,” the demon replied. “It’s the same shit every job. We’re always going to take over the universe, and we never do, and then there I am, barely a fortnight later, stuck in the belly of a car that still takes leaded petrol, because that is my lot.”

“So you don’t believe there’s actually a vortex here that’ll help your masters take over the universe.”

“Fuck no. This is just make-work. All the big boys are busy with politics at the moment. They have to keep us out of trouble.” A black shape began to manifest out of the smoke the Dodge was coughing up. I could swear it shrugged. “I used to think one day they’d put me on politics, but that was a fucking pipe dream,” it continued.

“So quit.”

“What?”

“You heard me: quit.”

“Can’t. Got debts.”

I rolled my eyes. “You demons have such a fucking caste system.”

The black smoke took a vaguely humanoid shape. It managed to manifest a pair of red eyes. “Very impressive,” I said.

“You don’t sound impressed.”

“I’m not, actually. Seriously: there are whole cities out there with huge demon populations. You could corrupt a couple of kids, pay off your debt in no time.”

“Seriously?”

“Sure. Plenty of work for lesser demons: your boss just isn’t very imaginative.” I scoffed. “The whole ‘vortex of evil’ plot; so overdone. Somebody’s been watching too much Buffy.”

“I loved that show.”

“Me too, but it’s not the same as real life.” The Dodge stopped coughing up smoke and the engine stilled. “Seriously, I’ll pop you off into a Realm where you can just walk into a bar, meet some loser, start stripping souls, make yourself a tidy retirement fund.”

“Yeah?”

“Sure. Here.” I opened up the bag I carry for this kind of work. “Pocket dimension. Pop in there and I’ll transport you to the right place, once I check in with Zeke and let him know the job’s done.”

The amorphous head tilted. “You’re not having me on?”

“Nope. You got kids out there thinking sex with demons would be pretty rad. You can take two, three souls a night that way, and nobody’ll even miss them.”

Shadowy fingers worked as the demon did some internal calculations. “Could pay off my debt in a year that way.”

“You owe six hundred souls?”

“Nine hundred, actually. Married a human and had four kids with her.”

I whistled. “That’ll do it. Yeah; into the bag with you.”

And that was that. It went willingly into the pocket dimension, and I closed the bag with the drawstring. Five day job? Five minute job.

Of course, once I checked in with Zeke I had to wait until sunset to catch the portal out: it was one of those old fashioned ones that only works at dawn or twilight.

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So I wandered around a little.

So I wandered around a little. Discovered what is probably the only intelligent life in this town. Checked in with the fixer, made sure Zeke paid him, made sure the funds plus my bonus were in my account. Swapped the bag with one of the demon relocation team. Then, I got myself back to that forest as quick as I could manipulate the Realm stream, because another couple of frogs would not be a bad way to end the evening.

And here’s some more fashion bloggy stuff!

Once again, I’m featuring one of the great hairstyles available at the 2016  Hair Fair! Hair Fair is open until 31 July, and a percentage of the proceeds of all sales go to benefit Wigs For Kids. Hair Fair is the best place to stock up on the latest and greatest hairstyles available on the Grid!

With that in mind, and because there is going to be no way to write a separate story around all the hair I picked up at Hair Fair (I bought a lot of hair…. no one who knows me will be surprised by this!), here are some editorials of other styles I can’t wait to put on TAC for role-play and blog stories in the near future:

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41’16, from Red Mint!

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69HF, from Barberyumyum!

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Blowdry, from Atelier Pepe!

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Cross, from Little Bones!

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: LAQ, Trinity
Ears: Soul Uni Ears, Blix
Eyes: Soul, Sidhe Eyes
Skin: The Plastik, Draziele, Aeshma
Hair: Mina, Odyle (available at Hair Fair! Hair fair is NOW OPEN!)
Clothes: Wicca’s Wardrobe, Nimue Outfit (Available at We❤ RP!)
Boots: Wicca’s Wardrobe, Montana Boots (Available at We❤ RP!)
Ring: Aisling, The Good Wife
Necklace: Empyrean Forge, The Dreamer, Fortuity Vibrant
Poses: PosESion, from the 100 poses for $399 set currently on sale at their Main Store
Setting: The Village and Bar Deco, which is a gorgeous sim with so many photo opportunities! (Another great discovery thanks to Ziki Questi’s fantastic blog)

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. The Amazing Catwoman never talks lesser demons into shady pocket dimension transfer deals without it!

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Blog Maintenance!

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From all of us:

So you might have noticed, if you notice such things, that I’ve been using the same blog header for nearly a year now. And the fact is, none of my narrators look the way they used to! So this morning, I took the time to take some head-and-shoulders shots of all three personae with their updated looks and with Gwyneth, who’s the primary narrator here, in some iconic jewellery and her favourite hair ever. I know it may seem odd to geek the way I’m about to over new blog headers, but you know, none of us would do the SL blogging thing if we weren’t completely geeky about it all, so here we go!

First of all, have a look at the original blog header, which I made when I first started blogging for RFL of SL’s 2015 Fantasy Faire:

On the left, you see the plain header, and on the right, you see it with the 2015 FF logo in the middle, signifying visually that any post with this header was a FF post. The photo on the right signifies a post being narrated by The Gypsy Davey: the other two photos are presented at about a 50% fade, I think. The background is a photo I took of the Ceridwen’s Cauldron Faery Court Tree from the 2014 Fantasy Faire.

Amusingly, the only avatar in this photo wearing a mesh head is The Amazing Catwoman, and it’s the Lelutka Aria, which I actually dropped pretty quickly as it wasn’t the right head for her. She also was still evolving as a narrator at this point.

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Here is the next iteration of the blog header, which shows both the Gypsy Davey and The Amazing Catwoman a bit more evolved, although for some reason I really thought TAC was a redhead at this point: she quickly dropped the red hair and opted for brown.

The photo of Gwyneth here is from a blog post that I did for one of the amazing Evangeline Miles’ gowns. She is wearing Lumae ears because the BentBox ones weren’t out yet, and the skin is probably DeeTaleZ, though I’d have to dig back to be sure. Both The Gypsy Davey and The Amazing Catwoman are in 7 Deadly s[K]ins skins; TAC’s is one of the amazing unicorn skins 7DS did for the 2015 Fantasy Faire. Pretty sure TAC’s hair is Analog Dog (natch!) believe it or not. The Gypsy Davey’s is almost certainly Calico, and I’m not 100% sure what Gwyneth is wearing! I can recall that TAC’s necklace is made by Otherskin. Davey is wearing the Mandala Steking Ears, which have been up til recently a trademark for him, as have TAC’s Gauze High Elf Ears pictured here. The Amazing Catwoman’s very bright Avatar Bizarre eyes have shaded down into a glamoured brilliant green most of the time. Nobody has a mesh head here, Gwyneth is in a Maitreya body, and TAC may be in the SLink, or she may have moved on to the Maitreya by this point; I’m not sure. The Gypsy Davey is almost certainly in a system body. The background photo is of the Mallorn Tree in Gwyneth’s Fae home of the Wicked Wylds.

Here are the head-and-shoulders shots. I took one shot for when the narrator is the active narrator and another for when they’re not speaking. Sometimes the difference between photos is pretty subtle, but it matters to me! (See above: I Am A Huge Nerd!)

So, things that are pretty noticeable to me anyway is that across the whole narrator range, we are now sporting mesh heads! Gwyneth is in the Catwa Dyana, TAC is in the LAQ Trinity, and TGD is in the Catwa Justin.

Gwyneth is wearing Analog Dog (natch!) hair; the style is my favourite hair ever, Gwen. She’s in the BentBox ears and is wearing the Junbug circlet that seems to be her default casual crown choice. Because she needs a casual crown, don’tchaknow. Her eyes are now Omega mesh eyes, with appliers from Soul. Actually, everyone is wearing the Omega eyes and Soul appliers; they’re even all from the same set, the Sidhe Eyes. Eye Appliers are so much easier than fiddling with fitting a new set of mesh eyes to your avatar every time you want to change something: I do hope they catch on with eye creators!

The Amazing Catwoman is now in the LAQ Trinity head, which I think is just perfect for her. With some mesh heads, you get a problem with ears that are put on with left and right ears separately, and unfortunately the Gauze ones have this issue. So when they’re put on to the LAQ head, they rez all turned about. Weirdly, when I have edited them and changed them to look right, if I take them off and put them on again, they are turned about again, sometimes in another way! So, for now, she is wearing the Soul Uni Ears. The hair is from Hair Fair, by Mina. I was surprised by how much I liked the fringe on her! The skin is The Plastik‘s amazing new skin line, which you’ve seen her in before if you’re one of the 3 people who reads my blog!😉

The Gypsy Davey is appearing here for the first time in his new Catwa Justin head! Alas, the Steking ears have the same issue as the Gauze ones, so for now, I have put him into the Illusions Fairy Ears because they’re about the same size as the Steking ones. I may change him to the Soul Pixies, but I’m not sure. He’s in 7 Deadly s[K]ins gorgeous Fier applier. The eyes are Omega eyes with the Soul Sidhe appliers, the necklace is from Schadenfreude, and the shirt is from Cold Ash, whose recent 50% off sale was well taken advantage of by the Lord of Free Lands All Over (that would be Davey, for those of you who don’t live breathe, eat, sleep, and excrete English balladry as I do).

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And, even though you’ve already seen it in smaller form at the top of this post, here is the finished blog header. Because when I’m speaking I still sound a lot like Gwyneth… hmm. You already know what everybody’s wearing here; the background photo is an aerial shot of the possibly mythical White Owl Island, and you’ll hear so much more about that in the weeks to come here on this blog!

So, for now, you have updated personae looks from all the blog narrators. There will be a TAC post soon covering some more great styles from the Second Life Hair Fair, and look forward to the further adventures of The Gypsy Davey, as well.

The pose set I used for these photos is Ploom’s Regal set, because I needed poses that would show various full-face angles and not a lot of body movement.

No style card on this post, as most everything was explained in the text anyway, and I’m not logged in to SL at the moment. I am on my way out the door to dinner, so I’ll add tags and post photos to Flickr later on this evening.

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never replace all my blog header photos and then write a geeky post about the whole process without it!

Camping at Midsummer

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Gwyneth:

Don’t ask me why I decided to go camping by myself at Midsummer. I could have gone to any number of festivals, any number of pagan moots in London, but no.

I borrowed my dad’s VW  caravan, this thing he’d modified like back in the 80s, and I drove up into Epping Forest, and I got as far back into the nowhere as I possibly could.

It must have been something about sleeping overnight in a cramped caravan the night before Midsummer, but the mist that morning really caught my imagination.

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There was a kind of ruined folly.

There was a kind of ruined folly about 200 yards from where I’d decided to set up camp, such as it was. And Josh kept texting me, which was super annoying, particularly when I was trying to set up a tripod and use my mobile to take photos of myself so you could also see the folly. I guess that just means life in the twenty-first century, or something.

I kept playing with the zoom on the phone lens, controlling the whole thing from my Apple Watch, and Josh kept texting, and it was really pissing me off.

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Despite all that, I managed to get a couple of good shots.

Despite all that, I managed to get a couple of good shots. And yet, when I got in to the folly itself, it somehow seemed wrong to take photographs there. I decided to stick to selfies, since that’s what my Facebook friends care about anyway, right?

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Once the mist burned off, the day shaped up.

Once the mist burned off, the day shaped up to being the perfect Midsummer. I started second guessing myself: maybe I should just drive back to London and find an open ritual. Staying in the caravan for another night wasn’t all that appealing, to be honest. But the truth is, I had this dream where this voice kept telling me that I had to do it alone this year. Just me. My own ritual, my own balefire. My own moon, my own longest day.

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It felt like I spent most of the late morning staring into the sun.

It felt like I spent most of the late morning just staring into the sun. I know you’re not meant to do that. I do. Eventually, I got hot and made myself a picnic lunch and went off to look for usable ritual space. I brought all the usual stuff, but then I wasn’t sure I was going to need any of it. The woods were deeper beyond the folly, so I explored there first, picked a clearing, and started bring fire rocks from the caravan. That was the only time I actually missed Josh. Then again, he texted so often while I was carting rocks from the caravan to the clearing that I just about broke up with him, but then I thought better of it because somebody has to help me get rid of the rocks. Or maybe it wouldn’t be awful if I just left them here. These are the thoughts that go through my head. Weird I am.

I was going to meditate and get myself ready for the night’s ritual. But to be honest, I took a nap. Those rocks were heavy. So, yeah. I took a nap and I woke up in time to go and build the fire. I don’t think it’s wrong to do sausages over the balefire before the Midsummer ritual. Of course, it’s my ritual and my balefire, so fuck anybody who says it’s not OK to do sausages over a balefire before the Midsummer ritual.

It was nearly ten o’clock before it was dark, because, fuck. Longest day of the year and all.

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So I began invoking.

So I began invoking. I felt the fire rise higher as I called on the ancestors, the nature spirits, the gods.

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Working alone was so different.

Working alone was so different. There were bad things and good things about it. I mean, duh. Obviously there were bad things and good things about it. Bad: nobody to chant with, hold hands with, feel together with. Good: nobody to tell me what to do! No Wiccan telling me there’s something wrong with my cosmology. Yeah, because yours is perfect. omg.

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Something happened, though. Something really happened.

Something happened, though. Something really happened.

I was there, visualising the fire as the sun, the great initiator, and suddenly I felt a shiver in my body, and it was like, I don’t know, almost like, I left my body.

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And as if in an instant, I had a completely different life, all there in my head.

As as if in an instant, I had a completely different life, all there, in my head. As if it was a memory that had always been there.

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Somewhere around this time, I just pulled the bindings out of my hair.

Somewhere around this time, I just pulled the bindings out of my hair. It didn’t feel right for it to be back, not with this other life coursing through me.

And who was I? I was as I am now, a Sidhe of fine descent, only by some freak accident I was brought up in a world where there were purported to be no Sidhe, no Elves, no Trolls, no Dragons. No magic. My parents were academics, and I became an academic, and then one day I left that world and again, through a series of highly improbable coincidences, I became a Queen in Faerie. Imagine me, a Queen. Father would have a good laugh at that. Mother too, even if her sister actually is a Queen, it’s not like she consorts with the likes of us.

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It was like a physical blow.

It was like a physical blow, these memories. Not mine, but the Sidhe in them was me. Another me. Could have been me. Might have been me. And now she lives in a world without mobile phones and the Internet and everything even remotely technological has to be accomplished with magic. I felt kind of sorry for her.

And I wouldn’t want to be her. Probably she doesn’t know (assuming she exists at all and this isn’t some bizarre hallucination brought on by the cheek of doing sausages over the balefire before the Midsummer ritual) I got all these memories in such a flash, but just in case she did, I tried to tell her to get out of this backwater Faerie she’s living in. Because fuck me: a girl deserves an iPhone, am I right?

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I awoke in the Remembrance Garden.

I awoke in a plush bed in the Remembrance Garden. There wasn’t a bed here before. And I had the strangest dream.

Story notwithstanding, this is the first of a series of posts that will be showing you some of the coolest things at Hair Fair, which is now open! Both these hairstyles are from Analog Dog, because of course I am the world’s biggest Analog Dog Fan and so of course I had to show you two of Queue’s amazing styles before I move on to anybody else. Hair Fair only comes around once a year, and a percentage of everything sold there goes to benefit Wigs For Kids. It’s the best place on the grid to come and see great new hair. Don’t forget to join the demo group before you make your big shopping trip: that way you can pre-shop and choose what you want to buy before you make the trek. Hair Fair is four complete sims of hair, and it’s on until the 31st of July. 

Style Cards:
First four photos:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Dyana
Ears: BentBox Sylvan Ears
Eyes: Soul, Sidhe Eyes
Skin: Lumae, Eirtae Bare, T1 (The Eirtae Bare skin has been updated and is available at the Lumae Main Store now!)
Hair: Analog Dog (natch), Love (available at Hair Fair! Hair fair is NOW OPEN!)
Clothes: Wonderlost, Olivia Boho Skirt and Top (sold in loads of colours at The Secret Affair!)
Necklace: The Plastik, The Wenje Jewellery, (Available at this month’s Liaison Collaborative!)
Poses: Frolic, Route 66, Don’t Touch the Hair and Sun In My Eyes, (Coming soon to the Mieville Route 66 Celebration!)
Trees: Studio Skye, Enchanted Woods
Caravan: Contraption, The Cuddle Camper, Pink

Midsummer Night Photos:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Dyana
Ears: BentBox Sylvan Ears
Eyes: Soul, Sidhe Eyes
Skin: Lumae, Eirtae Bare, T1 (The Eirtae Bare skin has been updated and is available at the Lumae Main Store now!)
Makeup: Fetch, Luna Makeup (Available at at The Secret Affair!)
Hair: Analog Dog (natch), Evolve (updo) and Love (loose)  (available at Hair Fair! Hair fair is NOW OPEN!)
Clothes: Poet’s Heart, Marisol Skirt and Top (sold in loads of colours at The Secret Affair!)
Necklace: ieQED, Antler Necklace, (Available at at The Secret Affair!)
Poses: Frolic, Harbinger 1 & 2 (Available at the Frolic Main Store!)
Trees: Studio Skye, Enchanted Woods
Bonfire: Heart, Forest Bonfire Medium

Faerie Photograph:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Dyana
Ears: BentBox Sylvan Ears
Eyes: Soul, Sidhe Eyes
Skin: Lumae, Eirtae Bare, T1 (The Eirtae Bare skin has been updated and is available at the Lumae Main Store now!)
Hair: Analog Dog (natch), Evolve (updo) and Love (loose)  (available at Hair Fair! Hair fair is NOW OPEN!)
Clothes: Eve, Ethereal Swimsuit (available at The Secret Affair!)
Necklace: ieQED, Antler Necklace, (Available at at The Secret Affair!)
Circlet: Junbug, The Sabrina Circlet
Poses: Frolic, Seated 4 (Available at the Frolic Main Store!)
Bed: Death Row Designs, Evening Romance, White Clouds (Available at the Indie Teepee Event!)

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never subject my primary rp character to dreams with glimpses of what might be alternate lives, or possibly just proof that she’s completely losing her marbles, without it!

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The Memory of Daisies

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Gwyneth:

Sometimes my dreams are little more than images. A tree. Nathaniel’s hair in a canopy around my face when he kisses me. A memory of Father and me on a swing. The park I used to play in as a kid in London.

So it’s not really odd to me when I remember little more than a feeling, a smell, a single moment.

In our world, dreams are often portents, which may be why I’m thinking so much about my dreams lately. I’m scouring them for signs of what the next chapter in my life will be. Of course, even we are not allowed to know what will happen, or nor in any detail.

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I do remember a feeling of tranquility.

I do remember a feeling of tranquility. The flowers were without fragrance, larger than life; the atmosphere was almost aggressively cheerful. But I only just have this image of myself there. I don’t know what I was doing, or if there was any point to my being there.

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And what does it say about me that I was suspicious of these feelings?

And what does it say about me that I was suspicious of these feelings? It may be that with everything that’s happened, I simply assume that happiness is fleeting. When something good happens, I find myself waiting for the other shoe to drop. I have never been to a place like this before, and I can’t imagine where the flowers in Faerie would look so much like those in the mundane Realms except for their size. Oh, wait: I do remember something else. There was music, coming from not very far away. It was like festival music, a big stage, people cheering. But now of course it’s fading; it’s gone; it’s just the memory of daisies.

The Secret Affair starts on Friday! It opens at noon SLT, and the dress Gwyneth is wearing here is from Silvan Moon Designs, the collaboration between The White Armory and Blue Moon Enterprises. It’s called the Willow Spirit Dress, and it will be available at The Secret Affair. It comes in five colours; this one is “Hipster”, which makes me giggle. 

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Dyana
Ears: BentBox Sylvan Ears
Eyes: Soul, Sidhe Eyes
Skin: Lumae, Eirtae, T1
Hair: Analog Dog (natch), Glam
Dress: Silvan Moon Designs, Willow Spirit Dress, Hipster (Coming soon to The Secret Affair!)
Necklace: #187#, Ever After, Chestnut-Silver
Foot Jewellery: Phedora, Leg Chains, Set v3 (Available at the Indie Teepee Event!)
Poses: Frolic, Harbinger, 3, 4 (Available at the Frolic Main Store!)
Location: Indie Teepee
Flowers: Part of an installation by Bryn Oh at Indie Teepee called : ). Find out more about the installation on the Indie Teepee website.

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never subject my primary rp character to dreams that are probably pointless and not harbingers of dark things ahead involving huge flowers without it!