Some Faires, this doesn’t happen, but most it does. I’ll be in a Realm, and I’ll meet one of the inhabitants and learn their stories, or I’ll just get a strong feeling about something, and then for a few hours I am suffused with the essence, not of that person, but of someone else. It happened once with a girl from Trollhaugen, then a resident of San Mora, and then there was Seda Silvia, who found herself in Living Echoes as the mists descended last year. I’m sure there have been more over the years. And whilst I’ve not been disguising myself this year or inviting these experiences, they area. blessing when they occur. First, they give a voice to something I’m sure needs it, secondly they give me a chance to be someone else for a while (completely unlike the LARPs I used to play in what seems like two lifetimes ago), and third, this year they give me a chance to not be worried about where Friðrós is and what sort of trouble she’s getting in to today. Just a few days ago, she sauntered into the Fae B&B in a shade of dark petrol teal (apparently it’s called Viridian) and a dress that was no more than some straps around her top half and a loincloth over her bottom. I managed not to seal her into one of the WooHoo! Bay caves, but only barely. And Nathaniel talked me out of just “introducing” her to a Drake. I’m so rambly right now. All this Faire, I think, I’ve been scattered all over the place, sort of like Richard was before he got diagnosed with adult attention deficit disorder. See what I mean? I haven’t thought about Richard in years.
When we toured The Shimmering Fen, our guide was a local, and she spoke of how her ancestors had travelled far from their original home to make a home here in the Fen. It was a good story, and of course she was able to show us parts of it through the landscape and the artefacts of her own Realm. As it turned out, her stories settled into my dreams, and I found myself in the guise of someone very like her, perhaps one of the ancestors she spoke of throughout the tour.
When our people realised the forest was shrinking around us, another victim of human encroachment, at first we let it be. ‘There are some there who still see us’, we said to one another. ‘Those who respect the woodlands will uphold our right to live here unchallenged’. But, as you will already guessed if you have ever heard a story before, that’s not how things turned out.
While some chose to stay and fight for the forest, a larger number felt we could read the proverbial writing on the wall. Even though some of the humans could still hear the elves’ songs, these were almost never the people who had the power to change the way the city expanded. And so I and most of my family packed a few belongings and set out to find a place where we could build a world that, in time, humans could see. Our homes in the forest were not on the ground, you see. And so few humans look up.
I’d guess there were no more than eighty of us in the group who left, and a good fifty of those parted ways with us to begin work on the now-legendary city of Mythspire Ridge. No human could miss seeing that! The small number of us who were left roamed further until we found, at the height of summer, the place we now call home, the Shimmering Fen. And of course, everyone now knows the story of Shimmering Fen and how we came to be there.
And over time, our community developed into the sort of place that folk from all over want to visit. Just spend an evening at the Shroom & Gloom and you’ll encounter beings from Realms far and wide, all coming through with stories of their own and wanting to share and experience ours.
Of course, with all our visitors, we make sure to impart to them our focus on the well being of the Realm itself, our little outpost on the border of Earth and Water. One thing that always surprises me is how most folk seem to need an explanation of our relationship with both the Fen itself and the supernatural world. Here is how I tell it to them.
There is a veil, for many cultures, between what is natural and what is supernatural. We elves, like the Fae and other species with magic in our blood, see through this veil easily or do not think of it as existing at all. And the space we occupy is liminal, in that we exist simultaneously in both senses. Now there are legends of the great witches of Frostweald and their talents for moving folk between Realms and for finding those lost in the in-between spaces, but our work here is more commonplace, you might say. Every one of us has a responsibility to look after the living beings of the Fen, whether they be flora, fauna, or somewhere in between (like our many amanitae). This group of mushrooms in the picture above is the one I was assigned to attend as a child, and I still visit them, even though other folk are their primary caretakers now.
Of course you will be familiar with our famous Frog Prince story, but I may retell it to you at another time. As a poet of my people, I must know many stories, and if you do visit the Fen, you will probably find me somewhere with a lyre or a writing book; that’s how I spend my time these days. It’s rewarding and exhausting work. There are so many new stories to write that I fear I shall never put them all down. And more stories spring forth every day, more stories than I could ever tell. You, no matter where you are, are making one right now.
These tallest mushrooms, known to us as the suojelija, are like the guardians, the protectors, of our world in the Fen. They tower over us, and it’s said they have the ability to send their spores out into other Realms, where all beings may breathe them in. Any being whose soul is not connected enough with the earth, or who might do us or the Fen harm, is then given no desire to visit the Shimmering Fen. I don’t think it’s as strong as an aversion really, but if someone not attuned to the mushroom spores were to, say, walk along a road and see a sign pointing to the Fen, they would look at the sign, maybe read it, then shrug and move on. Others, depending on how strong their affinity is, would have anything from mile interest to an almost physical need to visit the Fen.
Here is a photo of me performing at the Shroom & Gloom. I was just back from a mind pilgrimage, if I remember when this photo was taken, and a new story had come to me in a waking dream. These waking dream stories are sometimes told only once, sometimes told for many generations. There’s no way to say which ones will take root in the Fen’s consciousness, in our consciousness, and stay. I always hope mine will, but no-one can say.
Because it is always twilight here, we do not count time in the same way you probably do. There are hours, and shifts, yes, but they are changeable and we do not worry about being at a particular place at a particular time. So when folk gather, it seems to happen organically. Of course, the organic is also a plan, in a sense, so perhaps it doesn’t matter whether something is planned or not: it will or will not happen as it should be.
But now I grow weary; sending my stories outside of the Fen takes much more energy than my day-to-day practicing, writing, and communing, so I will say farewell to you, kind host, for being open to channeling my story for today. I’ll leave you with our beautiful sunrise.
And that was that. She was gone from my consciousness as if she’d never been there. And I was struck with a strong impulse (which I of course followed) to go and visit the Shimmering Fen just one more time before this year’s Faire fades back into the mists.
Notes & Credits:
Items featured or available at this year’s Fantasy Faire:
- Gown: BMe (Blue Moon Enterprises), Lady Rosalind, in Lavender. Available at the BMe Faire Store in Sialdor.
- Skin: EnLight, Jen. Available at the EnLight Faire Store in Glimmering Meadows.
- Shimmer Cape: Raven Bell, Flexi Shimmer Cape. Available at the Raven Bell Faire Store in Szystrum Synod.
- Flower Crown: rnR, Flowers K-06. Available at the rnR Faire Store in Glimmering Meadows.
- Hair: Raven Bell, Rain. Available at the Raven Bell Faire Store in Szystrum Synod.
Other Fancy Stuff:
- Lyre: Harshlands, Ornate Lyre. Available at We ❤ Roleplay.
- Necklace: Empyrean Forge, Juno. No longer available.
- Eyes: Tville, Artemis Eyes
- Gaelin was styled on a Maitreya Laura mesh body with a Lelutka EvoX Gaia mesh head. Her ear shape was achieved using Clover Lelutka Fantasy Ear Deformers.
About the Region:
The Shimmering Fen is one of 22 regions at the 2023 Relay For Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire, sponsored by Cerridwen’s Cauldron, and designed by Elicio Ember.
Celebrating its fifteenth year, Fantasy Faire 2023 is the largest gathering of fantasy designers, enthusiasts, roleplayers and performers in the virtual world. From Thursday, April 20 to Sunday May 7, treat yourself to shopping, dance and theater performances, DJ parties, auctions, questing, our Literary Festival, fantasy art, events and roleplaying as thousands of Second Life residents and creators bring their own visions together to support the American Cancer Society’s vision of a world without cancer.
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