Winter Glimpses of Awenia

That feeling of accomplishment, accompanied by multiple days of hard napping, is what I’m feeling right now.

Here are some glimpses of Awenia.

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The Ruined Garden

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Town to Tower

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Royal Residence

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The Book Forest

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Warm Pub on a Cold Night

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Post Card

Finally, Awenia Faerie is open to the general public! You can arrive in Faerie itself, or you can start at our official landing point, The Great Awenia Forest. For at least the month of December, the region is open for exploration and photography. When you land at either of the two landing points noted above, please read the rules about rezzing stuff and being respectful and all that, and we’ll give you a few extra landmarks as well just to get your explorations started. Over the past couple of years. Dyisi and I have worked really hard on making bits of Awenia, and I hope you enjoy what we’ve put together. In January, Awenia will close to visitors, and we will re-open sometime in mid-May to take you through the Light Half of the Year and into the Darkness again. Please visit, take your time exploring, and if you’re so inclined, help us out a bit with the tier by dropping some coins into the tip jars scattered round the Realm. 

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Haven’s Creation

I finally did it.

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Gwyneth handled the wand-waving

Gwyneth handled the wand-waving, but I, The Author, finally took a bit of Awenia and wove it in to my own personal dimension, which, like the rest of AweniaThe Great Awenia Forest and Awenia Faerie— will be open to everyone for the month of December.

Haven is a place to hang out with friends, maybe see some pretty things, and a nice quiet spot somewhere in Awenia’s uncharted space just to be.

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A little pocket Realm

A little pocket Realm, tucked somewhere within Awenia, Haven is a little like a house museum, in that it’s my home, but I’m opening it to people this month. The sparkly glowing dance floor might even have some events going on; I’ll try to post these as and when they happen, and of course if you’re a member of the Awenia Friends group in-world, you’ll receive updates anyway.

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The House Island

Awenia is built inside a so-simple-it’s-brilliant skybox from Landscapes Unlimited. It’s called a Mirrorbox. It doesn’t show up all that well in these photographs since they’re mostly of buildings, but as new photos of Awenia are released, you might begin to see what I think is so cool about this skybox. I used too many wonderful things even to begin listing all of them for this post, but at some point I’ll make an inventory for you and codify everything that’s here, at least in Haven. All the buildings are from Trompe Loeill, the big birch trees are from Balderdash, the Illuminated Oak is from Heart (front left) and Rivendale made the lovely Juniper Tree (front centre, green foliage). That covers all the trees you can see in this photo except the swing, which is from Dictatorshop.

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Take a peek?

Here’s a little peek inside my front window; again, too many things to detail them all here, but the porch furniture is from Trompe Loeill, and I did much of this decorating around the time that Apple Fall had that amazing 75% off sale…. yeah.

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A bridge and a barn

The three islands are linked via these bridges from The Looking Glass, the Dawn’s Promise Bridges that were released at the 2017 Fantasy Faire. The barn holds my personal vanity gallery of my favourite photos and pictures I’ve made since getting serious about SL photography a few years ago.

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Sparkly dance floor!

I put the sparkly dance floor together so my favourite tame DJs, DJ Fae and of course Nyza Stillwater, could spin to their hearts’ content. Tiny Gwyneth is there to show you that you don’t fall into the water, even if you do not have wings!

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This is Gwyneth’s tired face

Above you can see Gwyneth’s actual tired face! This is how she feels when she’s been dealing with me creating my own little thing in the middle of her Realm.

She would like me to let you know that the stunning headdress she is wearing is from Noble Creations. It’s called the Nymph Crown and you can get it at Whimsical, any time before December 18.

Don’t forget to visit Awenia. I hope you will like it.

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Awenia’s First Winter

It is finally here: December in Awenia Faerie. There is so much more to do, but we are ready for our midwinter gatherings, snow lies thick on the ground, and there are beautiful things to see wherever you look.

As Queen, I get the privilege of showing some of the highlights to you for the first time. And, you know me. I have to have a great gown to add a little sprinkle to the frosty cupcakes, and so…

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Silvan Moon Designs’ Selenia of Galacia Gown

This is a new gown from Silvan Moon Designs, Selenia of Galacia. It’s not only festive enough to walk around on an ice rink, but it has a nice, warm fur collar (not that Fae Queens feel the cold, you understand), and delightful pearly baubles strung so as to appear to be floating around it.

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Of course, skating is thirsty work, so Witches’ Brew provides coffee, cocoa, and cupcakes!

Of course, skating is thirsty work, so Witches’ Brew provides coffee, cocoa, and cupcakes, among other delights. Even with so much in place, though: there is so much left to do. I fear tonight’s quick tour will be just that: a quick tour.

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The Dark of the Year

The Dark of the Year settles soft upon us now, and even when we have a clear day, there is often a hint of snow on the horizon. Mists rise up, obscuring even those things in the near distance into near-silhouette, and all light is magical. Behind the Realm’s iconic Last Hope statue, the Book Forest glimmers enticingly. and I cannot help but smile at the thought of our first holiday tourists arriving to see these shimmers and twinkles.

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The Land itself is a reflection of lights and shadows

The Land itself is a reflection of lights and shadows, and I think we will have to have some sort of festive dance or party, sometime soon, to celebrate Darkness flowing into the Return of Light. And, you know, nobody throws a shindig like the Sidhe.

If you’re curious, you can purchase the Selenia of Galacia Gown from Silvan Moon Designs at the We Love Roleplay holiday faire, which I think opens in just about fourteen hours. I plan to be there, with fur and pearls on!

Let me leave you with just one of the views you may see if you decide to visit Awenia Faerie.

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Awenia Faerie on a Winter’s Night

Style Card:
Perfect Winter Gown: Silvan Moon Designs, Selenia of Galacia Gown (Available on 4 December at We Love Roleplay)
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Spencer Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Truth, Zoya
Ears: Swallow, Elf Ears High Definition
Eyes: Go&See, Anona
Crown and Collar: Aisling, Sumiana Crown, Sumiana Collar (Ice)

Environment:
Location: Awenia Faerie
Poses: All from Hera, Seraph Bento Pose Set
Environment Details: too many to list: you’ll just have to come and see for yourself!

Finally, Awenia Faerie is open to the general public! You can arrive in Faerie itself, or you can start at our official landing point, The Great Awenia Forest. For at least the month of December, the region is open for exploration and photography. When you land at either of the two landing points noted above, please read the rules about rezzing stuff and being respectful and all that, and we’ll give you a few extra landmarks as well just to get your explorations started. Over the past couple of years. Dyisi and I have worked really hard on making bits of Awenia, and I hope you enjoy what we’ve put together. In January, Awenia will close to visitors, and we will re-open sometime in mid-May to take you through the Light Half of the Year and into the Darkness again. Please visit, take your time exploring, and if you’re so inclined, help us out a bit with the tier by dropping some coins into the tip jars scattered round the Realm. 

 

The Spirit of the Juniper Tree

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They should know we’re watching.

They should know we’re watching. And in hindsight, many of them will say they do, they did. And yet.

And yet.

And yet we still bear witness to all the secrets and horrors that mortal lives suffer, and even welcome. Is it any wonder we dryads have no great love nor devotion to humanity? Better to stay hidden, lest we be drawn into their drama, we say. Unlike our treacherous and arguably royal cousins, the Sidhe, we gain no pleasure from tricking an unarmed enemy. But over and over, we’re forced to witness every imaginable betrayal.

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How do we bear it?

How do we bear it? By remembering that we are souls of wood, that we do not have to be soft, that only the laws of the wild magic, such as they are, apply to us, and we need not be bound by mortal folly.

Even so, even so. Even so, there are happenings that will move even the slow and steadfast heart of a dryad. Most of us have a story: this one is mine.

I have lived as the spirit of many trees, moving from seedling to sapling, slipping away when death comes near, and many years ago, I lived in a juniper tree that was sat in the forecourt of a wealthy man and his wife.

The wife had a liking for trees, and she believed in many things it was not seemly to believe in for a woman of her age and time. She wanted a child, badly, and she came out and sat beneath my tree every single day. She told her husband she was praying. And she was, after a fashion: she was beseeching the faeries to bring her a child, whether it be her own or a changeling she did not mind.

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She left me gifts

She left me gifts, apples mostly. That always made me laugh. Could I not walk over to one of the apple trees and pick my own? Is a gift a gift, if one can get it oneself with so little trouble? I am sometimes plagued by these philosophical questions. But suffice it to say that apples did not interest me overmuch.

No, it was the day she cut her finger peeling one of those apples that she got my attention. She gave herself a good nick, and blood dropped onto the snow. That’s when I started listening, because while human drama doesn’t interest us, human blood, even to a tree spirit, is a lovely, lovely treat.

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I went away and conferred with the Council.

I went away and conferred with the Dryad Council. And bicker, bicker bicker, back and forth, but finally I was allowed to place a magical juniper berry into the woman that would certainly cause her to bear a child. It had to be done while she was asleep beneath the tree, which was a bit of a faff, but I’m perseverant (most of us are).

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And there follows the tale you may know.

And there follows the tale you may know, of this beautiful lady finally conceiving and bearing a child, and of her being so pleased with the baby boy that she died of happiness on the spot, once she had looked upon him.

Mortals. What are they thinking? What was she thinking, dying of happiness because she’d borne a child, with no consideration of its future, its welfare? I cursed myself for my softness in helping this lady’s wish to be granted, because while I’m not the oldest dryad in the forest, I’m old enough to know how these tales go.

Child born, mother dies, father remarries evil stepmother.

It’s drilled into us. This is how the stories go. And even if the second wife wasn’t evil to begin with, fairy stories will twist her to evil, and that’s exactly what happened here.

After a long mourning period, the man of course remarried, and his new wife gave him a daughter, and that’s about the time the story twisted her to evil.

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She became obsessed with her daughter’s future.

She became obsessed with her daughter’s future and decided that the best way to ensure house and lands for the girl would be to kill her older brother. Of course, it took her years to come up with this plan, by which time her daughter and the boy were beautifully bonded as siblings, despite the fact that the stepmother did nothing but abuse the boy. No-one ever called her out on this behaviour, not even her husband (also known as the boy’s father). So by the time she got around to killing him, he was something like ten years old and the girl was perhaps seven. I do not know: time goes by so quickly for mortals; for trees it is a bit more slow.

But you know the next bit of the story too, don’t you? You know that she killed her stepson by decapitating him, and then to cover up what she’d done, she placed him in a position where his sister would surely find him and knock his head off, effectively making the girl believe she was the murderess and not her mother.

I think, mortals, that there should be rules about this sort of thing. There really should be. First of all, it is not acceptable to die of happiness on the day of your child’s birth. That opens the child up to a future of torment over which you, happy mother, will have no power.  Secondly, if you’re going to murder your child, evil stepmother, it should not be acceptable to pin the blame on the surviving child whom you mean the death to benefit. Think of the psychological scars!

Luckily for the boy, the sister knew quite a bit about fairy tales, and after having seen her mother cook the boy up into blood puddings, which her mother and father ate happily at a dinner where she could only cry, she had enough wits still about her (a miracle, considering her day: oh, it makes me fume even now to think of it!) to gather up the boy’s bones and bury them beneath my branches.

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I sang with the wind all night.

I sang with the wind all night, and in the morning, because of the girl’s quick thinking and my not inconsiderable talents, there rose from the branches a beautiful tufted bird with snapping black eyes and a voice that could make a Sidhe queen’s frozen heart melt.

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We conferred briefly.

We conferred briefly, the boy and I, and then he went off to collect the things you know from the rest of the story: the gold chain, the red shoes, the mill stone. Chain to the father, shoes to the sister, mill stone to crush the stepmother. Magically, the bird becomes the little boy all alive again, and seemingly regardless of the stepmother’s corpse out there somewhere in the forecourt, the man and his two children go inside and have their dinner. Which, I just have to hope, did not include any leftover puddings from the last meal served at that table.

And that’s my story of that one time I softened my heart and tried to improve a mortal’s life. I’m so glad this is a fairy tale and not a fable. If it were a fable, I’d have to come up with a pithy moral, like, The family that kills together, chills together, or something equally macabre.

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Juniper Tree and Juniper Bird, from Rivendale.

Style Card:
The Juniper Tree: Rivendale, Juniper Tree (At Enchantment until November 30th)
The Juniper Bird: Rivendale, Juniper Bird (At Enchantment until November 30th)

The Dryad:
Body: Maitreya
Head: LAQ, Lisa Bento Mesh Head (New at Uber)
Hair: Raven Bell, Willow (At Enchantment until November 30th)
Skin: Fallen Gods, Wood Nymph, Spring
Ears: Eclectica Elf Ear, Creature Version
Wings: Evolved Creatures, Fae Wings
Eyes: Seydr, Hallows Eyes, Grave
Leather catsuit: !go! Findis Overalls, Brown
Wrapped Tree Top: Shi, Tree of Life Creepers Top
Boots: Illi, Medieval Archer Boots

Environment:
Location: Awenia Faerie
Apple Trees: The Little Branch, Apple Tree
Wishing Well: Hextraordinary, Wishing Well (At Enchantment until November 30th)
Basket of Apples: Finishing Touches, Basket of Apples
Stone Wall: Artisan Fantasy, Maiden Tor Stone Wall
All poses, except tree sits (included with the tree) are from Frolic Poses (Beseeching, Harbinger, and Fairy)

 

Midwinter Ball?

Well, you have to have one. And I’ve been remiss, because there wasn’t one last year; there was so much going on with intrigue and all the mess over at White Owl. 

But, of course there’s planning to be done. And because Nathaniel is busy doing all that bureaucratic bs I abhor, I have taken on the heavy mantle of planning the Winter Ball. 

And that means choosing a venue. Now, unlike ordinary balls, we Fae get to just magically erect an impressive building anywhere we like. It makes for fewer lost guests, better entertainment, and many more starry-eyed mortals by the time the night is over. Much better than going someplace and picking a building over which I don’t have total control.

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The Looking Glass’ Basilica is my first choice for this year

The Looking Glass’ Basilica is my first choice for this year’s ball. Awenia has to open with a huge party, of course, and I’ve already lined up the impressive DJ Fae to handle the entertainment: now I just have to inspect the building and make sure it’s exactly what we need. I decided to try out one of the likely candidates for this year’s Winter Ball Gown as well, because seeing how the dress looks in the hall is so important, don’t you find?

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A Winter Gown

I liked this gown so much I decided to wear it all day. It’s a major contender, I think. It’s from Silvan Moon Designs, which of course means it fits impeccably and the style details cannot be beat: just look at the snowflake motifs on the bodice! The diaphanous drapes only add to the sensation that you may actually be wearing a very well-behaved snowstorm. 

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A really good gown requires little accessorising

A really good gown, of course, requires little accessorising. I was glad for the simplicity of this circlet and matching necklace, which speak both to the power of the winter stag god and the triumph of the moon. These pieces are from Supernatural, and to be honest, I’ve had them for a while and I’m not sure where I picked them up. They’ve proven to be versatile and suitable for many occasions. I think white gloves are just plain necessary for a gown like this, certainly in the wintertime. For a touch of formality, you can’t ever go wrong getting your hair done by the wonderful people at Truth; this style is called Makena, and they do several different versions of it. 

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The real test

Of course, the real test of a ball gown is how well it moves, and this one seemed to glide across the Basilica’s highly polished floors with ease. Perhaps before I make the final decision, I’ll ask Nathaniel to take a few hours off and come dance with me, just a little, in the main atrium. 

I’m so impressed with the interior of this as a potential ballroom. The combination of pillars, stonework, and stained glass is remarkable. 

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Only one question remains

Only one question remains: is it perhaps too big?

How will we ever fill it?

And then— then, I think of all the many families and houses who are connected to us in some way. All we have to do is not plan the ball directly on Midwinter, as that’s when all the regional and family balls will be held. Maybe we’ll do it a wee bit later, after mortal Christmas but before the calendrical New Year. 

I’ll just send out Save the Date cards. Bran can handle all the arrangements. And we? We will fill this hall.

Style Card:
Gown: Silvan Moon Designs, Snow Queen Gown (Available at Enchantment!)
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Spencer Bento Mesh Head
Skin: Lumae, Lelutka Deia, Tone 1 (All current skin lines are available at the Lumae Main Store!)
Ears: Swallow, Shiny Elf Ears
Eyes: Arte, Hayat Eyes
Circlet and Necklace: Supernatural, Hyun Headpiece and Necklace
Hair: Truth, Makena

Glorious Building: The Looking Glass, The Basilica (Also available at Enchantment; you can see some more photographs about the building in this entry 

I am consistently blown away by the creative minds of our Second Life content creators. Bee and Solas, thank you so much for this gown and all the other beautiful things you’ve made this year. I hope as we move into the holiday season that both of you and everyone else associated with Silvan Moon can take the time to look upon your creations and recognise the beauty and blessing you bring to this scrumptious table I sometimes get to set.

 

The Basilica

So, you guys know I love beautiful things. And that I’m always building stories around beautiful things made by some of the genius creators in Second Life. Sometimes, something comes along that’s so stunning it’s impossible to write a story about it except inasumuch as I can tell you about it objectively. I shot a lot of pictures of Gwyneth inside the building, and if there’s a story, it’ll be there. But for now, I’m basically going to fangirl a building. You’re welcome.

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The Basilica

Created by Marcus Inkpen of The Looking Glass for this round of Enchantment, here is a glorious nod to classical architecture. I created a piazza around it because of course it needed one, but don’t worry: there are some uninterrupted shots of the exterior later on in our journey.

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The gods are in the details

I think you have only to look at the beautiful detail touches on the building to recognise what a great design this is.

And sometimes, when something is really great, it prompts us to learn stuff. So I’ve spent a couple of days (probably way less time than Marcus took!) researching this stuff and finding out a lot about basilicas and what they are, what they stand for, that kind of thing. I had only heard of basilica in reference to a church, but it also refers to ancient Roman public buildings, the sorts of places you might use for an official function, like a big court meeting or maybe a huge party that couldn’t be contained in your generously sized, rich Roman citizen type building.

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Rear doors and windows from inside

The Basilica Of Marcus Inkpen (I think that’s a nice official name; don’t you?) also owes a debt to the Christian adaptations of the style; stained glass windows are a feature throughout, with larger ones at either closed end of the building and above both doors.

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Exterior front glass detail

As the only sources of bright colour in the building, these windows stand out and draw the eye, whether seen from inside or outside.

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Rear doors and windows

The lamps set off the rear doors perfectly. Here as well, you can see a smaller version of the front facade, with windows on either side instead of the columns that define the front.

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Avatar For Scale!

Still, when you look at a photo of the building itself, you might get the sense that it’s enormous, but not quite how enormous, so here is a shot of Gwyneth about halfway up the steps at the front of the building. I promise there’ll only be one more photo of her in the rest of this post. (But just so you know, she’s wearing a beautiful gown from Silvan Moon Designs!)

The interior of the building can be imagined as three “rooms”, although there are no interior doors. There is a central square area and two identical areas that branch off on either side. Any of them would be large enough to hold a coronation ball for your favourite King or Queen, or even a fanciful Faerie masquerade. Not that I have any, um, plans for this building, nopenope.

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Don’t forget to look up!

I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you to look up when you’re in the central chamber. The dome encloses a moving heliotropic sculpture of a central sun (that’s what heliotropic means — ooh, check out my big vocabulary!) with three planets in simple orbits, against a field of stars. I was mesmerised, and I remember actually squeeing to the friend I was with at the time, something along the not-very-intellectual lines of “OMG LOOK UUUUUP!” Yeah. I get caught up in stuff sometimes: you might have noticed.

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And speaking of domes….

Here is a clear shot of the detail on top of the basilica dome. And, OK, it’s not hard to make something perfectly cylindrical in Second Life, but it is hard to texture it so perfectly that you can imagine how the stone would feel if you touched it. That’s what this building is like.

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More domeage

Is domeage even a word? My spellchecker isn’t sure, but I think that if it isn’t it really ought to be. Here is a view of the dome from the side; it should give you an idea of how some of the statuary looks when viewed from this height.

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From a different perspective

I know this photograph appears somewhat dark in blogpost land; but once they’re up on Flickr, I hope you’ll see why I chose it: namely, to give a sense of perspective and how many different layers and levels make up the outside.

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As for the inside…

As for the inside, well, you really have to experience it. Marcus has masterfully created a floor that looks polished to a perfect shine by inserting an upside-down build beneath the main one. I’ve seen this done a few times before, but with shadows placed in exactly the right, um, places, this one stands head and shoulders above the rest, and not just because it is seriously tall.

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Full Disclosure & Stuff

So, I’m not going to lie to you guys—I would never!—The Basilica of Marcus Inkpen comes with a hefty price both in L$ and LI. Land Impact for the full build is a whopping 977, and the price at Enchantment is L$15,000. But. If you have ever wanted a glorious Roman building somewhere in your Second World, if you want in your Collection Of Buildings (I know you have one!) a near-perfect example of classical architecture, even if it’s just to show your friends from time to time, and you’d like to help support one of the best artisans in Second Life, here’s your chance.

Bodacious Building: The Looking Glass, The Basilica (Available at Enchantment)
(The following items are only visible in the first photo)
Piazza: Created from the Mad Pea Roads and Walls Kit
Piazza Trees: The Little Branch, Olive Tree v2
Piazza Fountain: Atelier Visconti, Frozen Fountain
Piazza Market Stalls: Wishbringer, Market Stall Large
Bounding Buildings: Tarte, Temple Pergola
Avatar: (in two photographs) Gwyneth, but more on that (and the beautiful Silvan Moon Designs gown!) later.

Fitcher’s Bird (in her own words)

I am not weak. Now I have brought my sisters back, alerted my brothers, and made myself a creature of legend, there remains only the long, long walk that will trap the monster who intends me to be his bride.

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See how I glitter.

See how I glitter? He will never know me. Am I clever? Oh, yes; yes, I am clever. I don’t even feel guilty about it, burning this man who wronged me and all his associates and posessions to the ground.

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His precious castle

Only a shell of his precious castle will be left. My brothers are thorough.

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But I feel beautiful, and strong

But I feel beautiful, and strong, like the bird I am emulating. This bird is a beautiful fantasy, a vengeful warrior, an irresistible decoy. I wonder, when he sees me, will he want the bird, too? Of course, he can lure me no longer with his worn-out ruse.

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Sure as the Spirit Maiden

Sure as the Spirit Maiden who watches over his courtyard (and I’m not above seeing the irony in that, by the way), I know my path, down from the steps, away from the carnage to come, down to the forest, where I will await him and his broken form as he returns from returning my own sisters to our home, as he greets my brothers’ hunting party (he does not know they are hunting him), as he begs for a scrap of bread and a cup of wine before he goes. How I would laugh if I could watch him.

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O Fitcher’s Bird, how com’st thou here?

Oh, and all the guests, they greet me in my glory as they pass:

O Fitcher’s Bird, how com’st thou here?
I come from Fitcher’s house quite near.
And what may the young bride be doing?
From cellar to garret, she’s swept all clean
And now from the window she’s peeping, I wean.

I have accomplished this by arranging a clean, white skull with a crude wig and placing it in one of the castle’s side windows. He’ll never know the difference.

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It was never me he saw

It was never me he saw, anyway. He saw only a woman who appeared to exhibit total obedience to him. My ruse. My trick. My pretence. I do not even shiver in the bitter cold; my rage and triumph warms me as I wait, wait, here at the crossroads, for my nasty little bridegroom with his bent back and his bathtub full of bodies up in the tower.

Oh, look: here he comes now.

This stunning dress, complete with wings and headpiece, comes from The Looking Glass‘ Sharni Azalee. Its inspiration is the Grimm Brothers tale Fitcher’s Bird. When I opened this box and saw the photo for this dress, I gasped, for real. It is absolutely stunning, properly fitted, easy to wear. Thank you, Sharni, for such an amazing dress. It felt as if it were made just for me, and I know loads of other fantasy fashion fiends will feel the same way. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka Spencer Bento Mesh Head
Skin: Lumae, Lelutka Deia, Tone 1 (All current skin lines are available at the Lumae Main Store!)
Hair: Truth, Ciara (Available at the Truth Main Store, but only if you’re in the VIP group!)
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Eyes: S0ng, Demi Eyes
Stunning Gown, Wings, Headpiece, Snake Belt & Wrap: The Looking Glass, Fitcher’s Bird (Available Saturday, 10 November at Enchantment‘s Brothers Grimm round!)

Environment:
Castle: By Nacht, Forfax Castle
Statue: Titans, Spirit Maiden
Trees:
Birches, The Little Branch, Mystic Birch
Candle Cage Trees: The Roawenwood, Winter White Wedding Trees
Forest Trees: Studio Skye, Enchanted Woods
Path: Happy Mood, Dirt Road
All Poses from An Lar