Three Twisted Knots

Tales of the Fae Lands

Post-Faire Litfest Tour Recap! (Personal Edition)

From The Author:

It’s been my honour and pleasure to be involved in the Fantasy Faire Literary Festival for the last 8 years. Over that time, I’ve assisted with guests, hosted and participated in events, led and assisted many Litfest Tours, and generally seen myself as Saffia Widdershins’ Girl Friday. One of the things the Litfest is most known for is our lively tours of every Fantasy Faire region. This year I led eight tours. In the past few years, I’ve gotten into the habit of doing a special outfit for each tour, and this year I finally decided to photograph all the outfits in their respective regions, just for fun and also to remember how each tour played out. The litfest tours have evolved over the years, as all things do, and they serve as a way for tourists to discover interesting and perhaps hidden parts of each reason, for worldbuilders to share their vision for their regions, to spark creativity among tourists, and in a couple of cases, to highlight story and role-play aspects of the regions. We’ve moved from sometimes having no-one in attendance for a tour to having packed regions of over 100 people for some tours. We’ve not had a tour cancelled from lack of attendance for years now, and there are a core group of tour attendees who try to make every single tour over the course of the Faire.

So, for the regions I led tours for this year, here are the tour outfits I created and some bits and pieces about how each tour went and what we did.

Tour 1: Safe Haven

Safe Haven’s Peace Garden

Safe Haven was sponsored by Sweet Revolutions and Telperion Design
Region design by Sweetgwendoline Bailey and Mondi Beaumont
Tour DJ: Astoria

When I spoke to Mondi about their vision for this region, she told me a story of a transformative place, a magical land where all folk, no matter where they come from or what their circumstances are, are welcome. So, Safe Haven really is a Safe Haven. The centre of the region, a beautiful oasis, features different kinds of environments to represent the many cultures and kinds of folk who find themselves living there. There’s a habitat for the singing Yeti of Scrimshaw Ridge, many relocated citizens of Peaville, the dream orb from Doriath (so all those dreams finally found a home), many coloured elephants (they can be who they really are, even if it’s purple!), and an Isle of Birds.

My favourite part of the region was the Peace Garden, decorated with sunflowers and butterflies. The sunflowers were recoloured blue and yellow to represent the colours of the Ukrainian flag.

Highlights of the tour included remembering all the regions represented in the Oasis and having a chat with the Drama Llamas. The Drama Llamas were not always the nicest of creatures, but they told it like they saw it. One of them told me it now understood why Gwen Enchanted has no friends! They also very much liked licking people….

Tour Costume:

I chose the SK Corvina dress because Safe Haven is a desert region and I wanted to reflect that in an outfit purchased at the Faire.

  • Dress: SK, Corvina
  • Hair: Analog Dog (natch!) Fanta
  • Shoes: Tentacio, Celestial Sandal Wings
  • Sparklies: Cole’s Corner, Starstuff
  • Wings: Aii&Ego, Fae Wings
  • Crescent Bindi: Fantasy World, Twinkle of the Night
  • Skin: EnLight, Jen, in tone Snow
  • Gwyneth is styled on a Maitreya mesh body with the Petite addition and a Lelutka EvoX Gaia mesh head. Her ear shape is achieved via the Clover Lelutka Fantasy Ear Deformers.

Tour 2, Spirits Crossing

The Corrupted Crystals of Spirits Crossing

Spirits Crossing was sponsored by The Looking Glass
Region design by Marcus Inkpen & Sharni Azalee
Tour DJ: Astoria

Marcus told me that he usually doesn’t have a specific story for his regions, but tends to go with something that evokes a historical feel or an atmosphere; however in this case, there was a bit of an origin story. He said the idea was of this place, once great and filled with magic, that somehow fell very badly, and this is the city left from that long-ago calamity. No-one knows how the cataclysm came about.

Some say that the mages taunted the very gods themselves with their power resulting in a terrible war that broke the city and left it in ruin. Others claim the wizards were simply playing with forces they didn’t understand. No one even remembers why the crystals were chained down. A few people over the ages have cut them free just to watch them fly off and disappear in the distance. Their properties are a mystery to all. Neither good nor bad but powerfully magical and impossible to understand or control. They seem to keep the area warm and stable somehow, but standing too close you’ll feel a deep dread, a longing, or a sadness. Some claim that if you fall asleep under them you’ll be transported away to who knows where- never to be seen again. The only thing that might remember what really happened is the twisted willows. They grow so slowly that it’s impossible to tell how old they really are. Perhaps they even witnessed the terrible ordeal. But sleeping under them you will dream of being safe and loved and so the people revere them always. There is always a feeling of tension here, as though the crystals and trees are still working to hold the old magic at bay.

Marcus Inkpen

Because Marcus told me he wanted me to keep it mysterious, I didn’t tell this story outright. I let tourists ask questions and offered information and speculation as we went. Tourists, of course, have lively imaginations like the rest of us, and many of them are great storytellers in their own right. Whenever I have the chance, I try to get their impressions, the story or poem they might write. Even though litfest no longer invites tourists to send in their writings about regions, I still want to encourage the kind of inspiration and creativity I feel as I’m discovering our miraculous Fantasy Faire regions.

My favourite part of the region was the lovely, wisp-filled gorge itself. I loved it so much I wrote a story that centred on it; you can read it here if you like.

Highlight of the tour included the discovery of the temple, speculation about what properties the crystals might hold, and a very interesting diversion about how much force it would have taken to rend the bridge — and what might have caused it.

Tour Costume:

I chose the Poet’s Heart Grace gown because the region has a mediaeval feel to it, and I wanted to reflect that in a garment available at the Faire.

  • Dress: Poet’s Heart, Grace
  • Hair: Analog Dog (natch!) Capri
  • Crown: Analog Dog, Ahzia’s Touch
  • Tattoo: Nefekalum, Beauty, Gradient Edition
  • Skin: EnLight, Jen, in tone Snow
  • Forehead Bindi: Rainbow Sundae, Druid’s Sigil
  • Jewellery: Rise Design, Rathenburg Set
  • Bubbles: D.U.S.T., Pearls and Teardrops
  • Gwyneth is styled on a Maitreya mesh body with the Petite addition and a Lelutka EvoX Gaia mesh head. Her ear shape is achieved via the Clover Lelutka Fantasy Ear Deformers.

Tour 3, Fairelands Junction

Filigree Trees and a Full Moon

Fairelands Junction was sponsored by Secrets of Gaia
Region design by Saiyge Lotus
Tour DJ: Tam

This year’s Fairelands Junction was a magical, icy landscape in a misty star-filled environment. We were lucky enough to have Saiyge along on the tour, and she showed us a beautiful underwater spot, along with giving extra information about different aspects of the region. Junction, of course, has its own special story that’s rooted in what has become the mythos of the Fairelands, and I’ll let you hear that story at the next Mythos of the Fairelands presentation.

My favourite part of the region is the view from any of these paths, how it all fades into the mist the farther away you try to look, and how the trees look like lace against the dark, misty sky.

Tour highlights included the underwater exploration, many of the Worldlings, and marvelling at Saiyge’s beautiful portal art for this year’s region portals.

Tour Costume:

I chose the Petrichor & Ersch dress to show off Enlight’s beautiful skin. and of course the fact that as an astro-ice Faery, I of course was impervious to the cold!

  • Skin: EnLight, One, in tone “B”
  • Tattoo: EnLight, One, Galaxy full body – head tattoo
  • Dress: Petrichor & Ersch, Saina Short
  • Hair: Robin Bell, Nova
  • Crown: Doe, Constellation Crown
  • Wings: Yokai, Fantasia Wings
  • Foot Wraps: Friday, Fae Wraps
  • Gwyneth is styled on a Maitreya mesh body with the Petite addition and a Lelutka EvoX Gaia mesh head. Her ear shape is achieved via the Clover Lelutka Fantasy Ear Deformers.

Tour 9: Nysaris

Two Statues

Yes, you read that right. I did not lead tours 4-8. I just happened to lead the first three tours this Faire year, pretty much back to back.

Nysaris was sponsored by Belle Epoque and Harshlands
Region design by Janire Coba and Kadaj Yoshikawa
Tour DJ: Tam

Nysaris was clearly based on classical architecture and artwork. I loved the painted houses, the statuary, and especially the frescoes in the Hall of heroes. When I spoke to Kadaj about the region, he invited me to check out the information he’d given for the region hunt, in the form of ten stone tablets scattered throughout the region, each of which contained a portion of the Nysaris lore and containing a music relic. The city is a trading city, dedicated to the Goddess of Hope, and we were lucky enough to have Jani along on the tour to provide lots of colour and interesting titbits.

My favourite part of the region is the Hall of Heroes, without a doubt. The frescoes alone made me so happy, but the statuary inside and the reverence for remembrance was an amazing part of a stunning build.

Tour highlights included notes on where not to walk, Portside frolicking, a frank discussion of seagull behaviour, and thoughtful impressions from folks in the Hall of Heroes at the end of the tour.

Tour Costume:

I chose the Belle Epoque dress because it was one of Belle Epoque’s RFL items for this year, and because it reflected the classical tone of Nysaris herself.

  • Dress: Belle Epoque, Athena skirt & Top
  • Skin: ND/MD, Lou, in Tone 6, “Lama”
  • Tattoo: EnLight, One, Galaxy full body – head tattoo
  • Hair: Robin Bell, Magnolia
  • Hairpins: Rivendale, Timeless Hairpins
  • Sandals: Empire, Cuckoo
  • Gwyneth is styled on a Maitreya mesh body with the Petite addition and a Lelutka EvoX Gaia mesh head. Her ear shape is achieved via the Clover Lelutka Fantasy Ear Deformers.

Tour 13: The Winding Valley

It’s Safe, trust me!

The Winding Valley was sponsored by United Inishcon
Region Design by Eldowyn Inshan
Tour DJ: Astoria

We didn’t have a lot of extra information about The Winding Valley, but the region included such a lovely walkthrough that I took one of our smaller tour groups (only about 30 people!) through with the intention of getting their impressions about different parts of the region and possibly doing a little reflection and writing along the way.

As we walked down from the shopping path into the pastoral heart of the region, I told attendees I was going to stop at the next point and I wanted them to give me the first three words they thought of when they looked at this part of the region. Then, I noticed that Banshee Heartsong was part of the tour, so I challenged her to a poem-off with the words provided by our tourists. She agreed, and here are the poems we came up with. Hers was written much faster than mine! I have had so much to do that it took me a couple of days even to get around to it, so I went back to the region, shot this photo, and considered all the words as I was writing. It was a lot of fun, and I hope Banshee and I get a chance to do more things like this in Faires to come. I’d also love to see more writing from our Tourists! (hint, hint!)

Banshee’s Poem

We are warned this place is cursed,
calm as it seems.
That it could disappear
if one denizen should walk away,
that the mists will swallow it,
destruction Instead of damned

The wind is still,
and in the silence
the owl calls out his name,
though night is far away.

There are no cats
but animal life of other kinds.
The countryside is peaceful,
perfect for a ramble,
or a picnic by the quiet water.

It’s unclear what caused the fall
The forest tells of flooding.
Roots reaching well above the waterline and such,
protection from raging waters,
(but not from the non-existent cats.)

The folk have slept so long,
Now awake go about their days,
rested from so long a sleep,
but never safe
because of those veiled, mystic threats.

Still the lush, green forest
is peaceful almost evoking nostalgia,
which with living ghosts
makes more sense than cats.

Visitors here, swim the zen
unaware of the dangers.
What would happen
if they were here when the mists descend?
Would they be at peace
or caught in this bucolic nightmare?
[Which could do with one or more cats.]

Banshee Heartsong

My poem, “Safe”

With my owl I walked the winding valley
and reminisced about pastoral rhymes.
With Company both new and old, behold:
the green, lush forest offers us no signs.

But I am far too calm to dive nostalgic:
my Zen is here and now, immediate.
The wood’s protection emanates enduring—
my rested mind belies my tired state.

But peaceful countryside invites a ramble,
the roots below the branches reaching deep,
and waters kiss the dark shoreline, unending:
their whispered voices say, ‘come swim: it’s safe’.

When I look back upon our lively tour,
I think of squirrels, stags, horses and more.
There’s only one thing missing my recall:
Cats! More cats! More cats would make it better.
But were there cats? Or were there none at all?

Gwen Enchanted

Tour Costume:

I chose the Poet’s Heart dress because I wanted to imagine myself as a middle class, not necessarily courtly, lady, someone used to the outdoors, but not much used to work.

  • Dress: Poet’s Heart, Lelam
  • Skin: EnLight, Jen, in Tone 6, “Lama”.
  • Hair: Analog Dog (natch!), Capri
  • Owl: CKit Falconry, Animesh Eagle Owl, Small
  • Jewellery: Earthstones, Isabella
  • Book: Naminoke, Druid Spellbook
  • Eyes: Tville, Artemis
  • Middle Class, Not Necessarily Courtly, Lady was styled on a Maitreya mesh body with the Petite addition and a Lelutka EvoX Gaia mesh head.

Tour 17: Glimmering Meadows

In the mushroom circle

Glimmering Meadows was sponsored by Jinx
Region Design by Julala Demina and Lil Cinnamon
Tour DJ: Tam

Most years, I try to give Davi at least one Fantasy Faire post. This year, that didn’t happen, even though I restyled his avatar in hopes of being ready for the possibility of a story from Davi. Davi’s voice has been silent for too long, and so I decided that even if he wasn’t telling me any stories this year, he should at least come out to lead a tour of Glimmering Meadows, a region he would have loved.

Without a doubt, the highlight of this tour was the Renaissance Faire soundtrack Tam provided. Although the region did not have a solid backstory, we imagined it as a sort of endless May-Day festival, or, as Tam would probably put it, a Renfaire.

We ended our tour on the mushroom circle pictured here, and we had some very nice remembrances of friends and family who have left us on the path.

Tour Costume:

I wanted to show off this beautiful tattoo from Find The Fish, so I opted for a shirtless Davi. Funnily enough, I told people I chose for Davi to lead this tour because he had better boots for wading— and you can’t see his boots in this photo!

  • Skin: Moth & Moon, Jasper, in Vintage. Available as a group gift in the Moth & Moon Main Store.
  • Hair: Robin Bell, Elliot
  • Tattoo: Find the Fish, The Moon Tattoo
  • Trousers: R3D, Viking Trousers Elof
  • Boots: R3D, Boots Sune
  • Lantern: Glimmering Meadows Holdable Lamp
  • Davi is styled on a Legacy Athletic mesh body and a Lelutka EvoX Eon mesh head.

Tour 18: WooHoo! Bay

Fire Lizard Selfie, With Additional Lizard!

WooHoo! Bay was sponsored by Soul & PolyPlace
Region Design by LRRiven
Tour DJ: Idoru

I’m not gonna lie: I’d been looking forward to WooHoo! Bay’s region tour since the start of Faire! We were fortunate to have Riven along with us on this tour, because she is pretty good at keeping me in line. WooHoo! Bay’s story is set out in the region’s quest, and if you didn’t have a chance to experience that, I’m sorry. Sometimes there just isn’t enough time in our Faire to do all the things we want to do. I asked at the beginning of the tour for everyone to grab the free HUD for the quest, because I had something special planned for the end of the tour. There were more than fifty people on this tour, and folks were really engaged with the stopping points I’d chosen. We visited three major places: both caves, and the Tree of Life at the bottom of the steep staircase.

Idoru, in her first ever Fantasy Faire Radio set, kept us all grooving with the tunes she chose for this region: even if you weren’t into dancing, her choices made you want to rock out at least a little bit!

It’s hard for me to pick a favourite part of WooHoo! Bay, because I loved all of it so much. But it’d be maybe one of the caves, the crystal one that Riven named Caves of Amorphia.

The highlight of the tour was at the very end, when everyone jumped into the volcano. It was epic!

Tour Costume:

I went for total whimsy on this one, and I just wanted to be in a fun avatar that could put across the many wonders of the Bay — with a little lizard friend!

  • Skin: Moth & Moon, Aria, in colour Selki. Currently available at We Love Roleplay.
  • Tattoo: Find the Fish, The Moon Tattoo
  • Hair: Raven Bell, Elliot, Shimmer Edition
  • Clothes: Petrichor & Ersch, Saina Short
  • Shoes: rainnn, Serene Ribbons Pointe Shoes
  • Gwyneth is styled on a Maitreya mesh body with the Petite addition and a Lelutka EvoX Gaia mesh head. Her ear shape is achieved via the Clover Lelutka Fantasy Ear Deformers.

Tour 20: The Shimmering Fen

Shroom Tending

The Shimmering Fen was sponsored by Cerridwen’s Cauldron
Region Design by Elicio Ember
Tour DJ: Tam

I wasn’t initially slated to run this tour, but I was happy to step in when asked. After reading the region lore and listening to the soundtrack Elicio suggested for it, he and I had a great conversation about the Elves of the Shimmering Fen and what kind of lives they led. I decided to run the tour as one of the elves whose ancestors had abandoned their forest home and found a new life in the Fen, and once again it was a packed tour with well over 50 people on the region. Elicio was with us and there to answer questions and provide colour around the many plants and animals that live there alongside the elves.

Tam loved Elicio’s origin story so much that he recorded himself reading it, so we all got to listen to him tell us the story of how the Elves came to the Fen, and that was a lovely beginning to the tour. We explored many different views of the mist-shrouded landscape, then descended into the Fen itself to get a little closer.

Earlier in the day, Elicio had put together the bones of a story about the Frog Prince, since so many people asked about his connection to the Fen. With his permission, I told the story as Gaelin, an Elf of the Fen, expanding a few details along the way. We discussed fleshing the story out and publishing it as a Faire story, and I still hope we’ll have time to do that in the months to come.

For me, the highlight of the tour was getting to tell that story, and I hope the tourists enjoyed it as much as I did.

Tour Costume:

I wanted something elfy but also a little earthy, so I chose BMe’s Lady Rosalind Gown, mostly because I love the floral detailing on the hem, but also because the simple mediaeval style fits well with the Tolkein-style elf Elicio mentioned when I asked what kind of Elves settled in the Fen. I named my elf guide “Gaelin”, because that was the name of a harper character I once played on a very old Pern online roleplaying game.

  • Gown: BMe, Lady Rosalind
  • Hair: Raven Bell, Rain
  • Skin: EnLight, Jen, in Snow
  • Cloak: Raven Bell, Shimmer Cape
  • Headdress: RnR, Flowers K-06 Crown
  • Jewellery: Empyrean Forge, Juno Necklace
  • Gaelin was styled on a Maitreya mesh body with the Petite addition and a Lelutka EvoX Gaia mesh head. Her ear shape is achieved via the Clover Lelutka Fantasy Ear Deformers.

So there you have it: all eight of the litfest tours I led. I’m so grateful to the Faire itself, to Saffia Widdershins for creating the litfest, and to all the world builders who so graciously give of their time and talents so we can have such beautiful places to explore.

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About Me

Narrators Gwyneth, The Amazing Catwoman, Friðrós, Davi, and whoever else springs out of The Author’s head, live in the parallel universe of Second Life. You can read their stories here, or just scroll down to see what Gwyneth was wearing when she wrote it.

Gwen Enchanted is a story blogger, a fantasy fashion blogger, and a thoughtful in-world photographer.

Caution: contains poetry.

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