Through Ishtar’s Gate

Through Ishtar’s Gate, the streets of Midas beckon us:
We venture in to Babylon Unfallen.

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Why not dance upon a lion?

Gold sunlight fills the squares, and the shadows
Are complements, and not for hidden things.

Here, walking is flying; why not dance upon a lion?
Why not worship with mosaics for a day?

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Why not become a statue?

And if the mood should take you, why not now become a statue
On a pedestal that seems reserved for you?

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See through the glass of marble

O Babylon, we see you through the glass
Of marble, ancient tells, made-over tales

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O Babylon

But sing Inanna’s scion consecrate
And watch: The myths return through Ishtar’s Gate.

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Through Ishtar’s Gate

Style Card:
Items Featured at the 2019 Relay for Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire:
Skin: Fallen Gods, Blessed by Ishtar, the 2019 limited edition Awakening skin (Fallen Gods on Midas!)
Dress: Evie’s Closet, The Feyre Fairy Dress (Evie’s Closet on Midas!)
Nails: Dark Passions, Koffin Nails: Butterfly Fantasy Nails (Dark Passions on Twilight Spring)
Other Stuff:
Stealthic’s Dawn Hair
Izzy’s Sparkle Eyes, Lipstick and Makeup
Egosumaii’s Fae Wings
Hope’s Creations Arran Tootsie Bows
Musu’s Glitter Bomb Maitreya Body Glitter
Maitreya Lara Mesh Body
Catwa Keme Bento Mesh Head
Slink Pointe Mesh Feet (People should make more shoes for pointes!)

Midas is one of the sixteen regions that form the 2019 Relay for Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire, sponsored by Fallen Gods and designed by Alia Baroque. Step into ancient Babylon and visit Midas before the fifth of May, 2019!

You think you know us

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You say we are dark

You say we are dark because we come from down below
I say we are dark because we are the face of shadow

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You say we are freakish

You say we are freakish
with our shocks of silver hair
But I have seen your partners
with their bleachpots and their envy stare
At us who tend the blooming crystals,
mine the silver, mind the dark

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Where the mists embark

And I have seen your kind come slumming
down to where the mists embark

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Light comes filtering

Did you know light comes filtering
from places other than on high?
I laugh at you, you primatives,
you ice picks in the dark folks’ eye.

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See our ghostly glory

Hear our footsteps? That you will not.
We are silent, ghostly glory

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Come among us

Come among us; feel out presence
Lit by bioluminescence

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Laud our efficacious Goddess

Laud our efficacious Goddess
And her perspicacious largesse

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Let her soothe you with her waterfalls

Let her soothe you with her waterfalls
For she is old and wondrous wise

And when we turn your eyes to her
Our thirst for depth begins to stir

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To Rise

It’s then and only then, and then
She reaches out her mystic hand
And moves our souls
And teaches them
To Rise.

Style Card:
Items featured at the 2019 Relay for Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire:
Skin: The Plastik, Amatheia Skin, Aroliah (The Plastik at Fantasy Faire!)
Gown: Senzafine, Calariel (Senzafine at Fantasy Faire!)
Necklace: Chimaera, Geode Necklace (Chimaera at Fantasy Faire!)
Hair: Raven Bell, Ethiel (Raven Bell at Fantasy Faire!)
Everything Else:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Genus Project, Baby Face
Eyes: AviGlam, Joy Eyes
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Eyebrows: Alaskametro: Glimmer Eyebrows

Twilight Spring is one of sixteen regions that make up the 2019 Relay for Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire. Twilight Spring is sponsored by The Roawenwood and designed by Searlait Nitschke. Remember, the Fairelands sink into the mists sometime around the fifth of May, 2019, so come visit soon!

 

Glow Baths and Dragon Dances in The Shrine Tree

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As Quiet As the Night Is

As Quiet As the Night Is, That’s how The Shrine Tree light is

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Come In

And you know you will come in, you will; you will

If we invite you in, you will, you will

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To see your sense of wonder

To see you sense of wonder, we will lift you to the lanterns;

We will let you taste our sweetest cakes

But only if you dare

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Do you dare?

Do you dare, do you dare, slip beside us for a glow-bathing?

Do you dare, do you dare, do you dare?

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We are watching from the lanterns

We are laughing just beyond you

We are watching from the lanterns

Do you dare, do you dare, do you dare?

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And if you venture past the lanterns….

And if you venture past the lanterns

We will let you dance with dragons

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Round the fire shrine

Round the fire shrine we’ll let you taste our mead

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It will make you dance ’til morning

It’ll make you dance ’til morning, but your feet won’t even feel it:

Not until you stumble home in seven years.

You’ll be ragged as a bean sidhe, but your memories will sustain you,

Won’t they?

Never mind: we’ll visit soon, to drink your tears.

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Fire Shrine Dance

Style Card:
Featured items from the 2019 Relay for Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire:
Skin: The Plastik, Amathela, in RFL colour Aleatrice (The Plastik at Fantasy Faire!)
Clothes: Evie’s Closet, Aelinor Skirt & Top, Blue (Evie’s Closet at Fantasy Faire!)
Circlet & Bracelets: Kotolier, Folium Bracelet & Circlet in Water (Kotolier at Fantasy Faire!)
Shoes: 1313 Mockingbird Lane, Evie Sandals (1313 Mockingbird Lane at Fantasy Faire!)
Other Stuff:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Genus Project, Baby Face
Hair: Doe, Silva
Body Glitter: Musa, Glitter Bomb Maitreya
Ears: Soul, Uni Ears, Luin
Wings: Evolved Creatures, Fae Wings

The Shrine Tree, sponsored by The Looking Glass and designed by Sharni Azalee and Marcus Inkpen, is one of sixteen Realms in the Fairelands this year. Give yourself a gift and visit this gorgeous place before the Faire closes on the fifth of May! The Relay for Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire is the largest virtual charity event in the world, and we help fight cancer with our stories and songs and flights of fancy. Everything you buy, everything you donate, helps a great cause.

 

 

Huntress

I’m going to be shooting in The Shrine Tree today, but if you know anything at all about me, you know that it takes forever for me to put together an outfit. This is something of a joke in my role-play group. I put together a couple of test shots with this outfit, because it’s special. And yeah; that means I’m going to talk about an outfit. Don’t worry: I promise there will be stories this Faire. I promise!

When you blog a Fantasy Faire, you get to sample some wonderful items. You get some amazing things from some of the best and best known creators in Second Life. Sometimes creators you’ve never come across before come into your life, and sometimes beloved creators you despaired of ever seeing anything new from rain beauty down upon you and wonderfulness happens. This is one of those times.

Now, you guys know my heart belongs to Lumae Skins— but there is no one, absolutely no one, better at creating glorious hand-painted skins than Vae of The PlastikThis year, she has released a line of skins with markings that might be mer, might be fae, can be anything, and as usual, they come in an astounding array of colours. The skin line is called Amathela, and this is the special RFL colour, Aleatrice.

The Plastik makes some of the most beautiful fantasy skins on the grid, so they’re in the ‘best and best known creators’ slot in this sentence. Magika hair rebranded not long ago and their new textures are absolutely to die for, particularly if you like things that are glittery and iridescent. I’ve been wearing the Genus Project heads off and on since they were in beta, but this is the first time I’ve photographed the Baby Face head. These stunning purple eyes are from Musaalso an RFL item; they are the Amla Eyes. The creator I’d never encountered before here is Kotolierand I’ve already blogged one of their beautiful, simple circlet and bracelet sets in a previous blog post. Against the complexity of the skin, against some of the complicated hairstyles and dresses Gwyneth wears, these stunning little circlets particularly will be part of my Second Life wardrobe for a long time to come. The wings are from Evolved Creatures, a gift from the glorious Dyisi from a couple of Fantasy Faires back, when we discovered them being used as part of the costumes for the Fairelands Players’ production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. These lovely, whimsical shoes are the Evie Sandals (and you’ll get why that’s so cool, if you haven’t already, in a minute!) from 1313 Mockingbird Lane, who always manage to create the most fun, quirky, whimsical-goth-ignited loveliness you’ve ever seen. But oh, oh, oh, my darlings! And Oh! again. You may remember that a few years back, I joyfully and enthusiastically blogged every single new Evie’s Closet release that I could, given time constraints and the fact that, well, you just can’t always take as many pictures as she has colours. Real Life has taken the talented (and downright niceEvangeline Miles away from Second Life for some time, and my thought was that she was so so busy she was unlikely to come back. Well, you may already know this, but Evie has a Fantasy Faire store up on the Midas region, and there are some absolutely gorgeous things there! In fact, discovering that Evie had new things will be making changes in my blog plans for the rest of the Faire, because every single release in her store is glorious and gorgeous, and I bought all of them. I absolutely did, and I’d do it again.

Gwyneth has never been a racy dresser. It comes from a background in academia, plus the pressures of being a Queen, plus my strong believe that an avatar doesn’t have to bare a lot of skin to be beautiful or desirable. So believe me when I say that I thought this was the dress I wouldn’t blog from Evie’s Closet this time around.

I was wrong.

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Huntress

Honestly, I have no idea what came over me! I suspect this came out of a conversation between the glorious Riven of RivendaleDyisi of Dyisiwood, and me. Riven is updating her avatar look and was looking for a skin or tattoo that would give her an iridescent glow. So I wanted to try the Plastik skin anyway, and the Genus Project heads have some great glow settings. I was trying to create a look that both shimmered and was interesting to look at for reasons other than the shimmeriness, and I think I did all right. I chose the Soul Uni Ears—Luin because The Plastik makes appliers specifically for them, and their shape works interestingly with the skin itself. Vae offers two versions of this ear applier: this is the non-Mer one.

This backdrop, Little Red, is from the clever minds at Adorably Strange Wares, another of those gloriously whimsical, kinda gothy but also sparkly creators I love so much. It’s one of their RFL items, and there are three more of these in their Faire store! Interestingly, the whole thing is an enclosure with sides that are alpha from the outside. The back of this side is the Deep Dark Forest, but the other side shows a fairytale castle. It’s a fun and versatile backdrop that I’ll probably use many times, maybe even before the Faire is over!

Later today, I’ll shoot some story blog photos in The Shrine Tree, and I think this outfit will really shine there.

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Close-up

Here is a shot of Gwyneth’s face, same pose (from Poseidon, by the way, also at the Faire!), just a slightly different camera angle. Poseidon is an old favourite of mine, and their fantasy poses are always smooth and come with great attention to detail (and in this case, a pretty spiffy dagger!)

I shot this in a flat, straight windlight, on Awenia, and the soft pink lights of the LumiPro area the only additional colour that’s been added to the photograph. Both photos were edited in Affinity Photo for the Mac; they have had a tiny touch of diffuse glow (at about 5% opacity), a lens blur of 1 pixel applied, and a matte filter with the desaturation effect stripped away.

Thanks for listening to me yammer on and basically fangirl this outfit for like four paragraphs. I appreciate your making it to the end of the post, and if you were here, I’d give you a cookie.

 

 

Glimpses of the Light of Va’loth

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Beacon

Sometimes, a focal point is so overwhelming it’s the only thing you see. That’s why it’s a focal point, after all. That’s what it’s like in Light of Va’loth. The towering statue, be she goddess, heroine, or legend, is impossible to look away from: she is visible from nearly every point on the region, and she carries a bright light. She is mysterious and fascinating, impossible to ignore.

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A bright beacon

She’s so bright, she might even be blinding. That’s why, once you’ve spent your time staring at and being overwhelmed by She whom we can only assume is the Light, Herself, consider turning away.

Consider looking at the rivers, the bridges, the buildings, the trees, as if they were not overwhelmed by this light.

Consider the clarity of the water, the lovingly layered levels of an ancient (Elven?) city. Consider the lights that hang from the trees.

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Dancing Green

Imagine yourself and your beloved on Va’loth’s dancing green, yes, still in her shadow, but protected now, by her stone sleeves, from whatever approaches above; in this bower, you are safe.

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What you could miss

And really, just think: If you turned toward the Light and stared only at the Light, you might find yourself slow-moving as a statue or an unfortunate troll in the morning. You might find yourself so hypnotised, so mesmerised, by that light, by the hope it carries, that movement, thought, the passive understanding of what happens around you, all these things might fade. And there you would be, a silhouette, one foot poised toward the next step, staring at a light.

It’s enough to make you wonder, isn’t it: What was She staring at?

But, what is Gwyneth wearing?
Fantasy Faire Featured Items (all links point to the specific store where you can find the item):
Gown: Silvan Moon Designs, Aetheria Gown, in Lapis (Get this dress at the Silvan Moon Designs store in the Midas region!)
Halo: Air, Gothic Halo, in Gold (Get this item at the Air store in the Shrine Tree Region!)
Circlet and bracelets: Kotolier, Herba bracelets and Circlet in Gold. (Get these at the Kotolier store in the Midas region!)
Torc: Lassitude & Ennui, Torc Necklace, Dragon, in gold. (Get this at the Lassitude & Ennui store in the Midas region!)
Eyes: Musa, Amla Eyes RFL edition. (Get these at the Musa store in the Sanguinely Garden region!)
Everything Else:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Genus Project, Baby Face
Skin: Lumae, Genus Project Elska Applier T1 (All current skin lines are now available for just L$100 at the Lumae Main Store!)
Ears: Swallow, Elf Ears High Definition
Hair: Analog Dog (natch), Mali

The Light of Va’loth is one of the 2019 Fantasy Faire regions. It is sponsored by Titans and Solarium and designed by Kilik Lekvoda. I am sure I will be setting some stories here as the Faire progresses.

Vistas

Since my first Fantasy Faire in 2014, and in the five subsequent years I’ve been blogging, helping with LitFest, working together with friends on collaborative writing projects for the Faire, and even helping with sponsoring regions and offering little bits and pieces of world building, I’m amazed with the sheer scope of the event. I love not only the little details of each region, but the beauty of regions viewed from other regions.

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Trollhaugen and Tensor’s Flying Market

This year, I got the opportunity to help with a region that is literally a flying machine. One of the things Riven had in mind when the designed Tensor’s Flying Market was what amazing views Fairelanders could experience from its many balconies, windowed gardens, and floating islands.

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The Highest Point

From the highest point of the Market, where the wind ships dock, you can look down upon the stunning Fairelands Junction and Midas regions in their entirety.

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Wind Ships

Of course, the wind ships themselves are lovely to look upon, even from a distance.

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Midas from one of the western lounges

Every level of the Flying Market is built with what can be seen beyond it in mind. I love these garden lattices, reminiscent of Mashrabiya I recall seeing in Singapore and other points east.

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Trollhaugen from the east side of Tensor’s Flying Market

Each of the lounges has plenty of seating space for Fairelanders who need a rest, or just a little space away from the rest of the Faire. You’ll find them throughout the Flying Market.

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So many stunning views

There are so many stunning views that I have spent most of the last 24 hours capturing as many as I could from this side of the Faire. It’s enough to make me want to concentrate on these beautiful views for the rest of the event, though I know at some point the story gods will take over.

Get to the important bit! What’s Gwyneth Wearing?

Seriously. Is this not a spectacular dress? It’s from Poet’s Heartand their store is located in the beautiful Shrine Tree region, sponsored by The Looking Glass and designed by Sharni Azalee and Marcus Inkpen.

The Dryad tattoo comes from Seydr, also to be found in Shrine Tree. Gwyneth is wearing Crystal, and I thought it worked beautifully with both the gown and the hair from Magika. (Nina is a relatively new release, but alas, you’ll have to leave the Fairelands to find the Magika Main Store).

These beautiful eyes are from Musa, called Sphene. They are Omega eye appliers, and this is one of the RFL colours. Must makes its home in Sanguinely Garden, sponsored by United InshCon and designed by Eldowyn Inshan and Katz Republic.

This stunning tiara comes from Zuri, as so many beautiful crowns do. Zuri have their Fairelands home in Nightshade Blossoms, sponsored by Secrets of Gaia and designed by Rowan Thursday and Kylie Todriya.

Everything else is pretty standard for Gwyneth: Maitreya mesh body, skin from Lumae, ears from Swallow.

Don’t forget to keep checking in on the blog throughout the Faire: I’ll be posting at least every couple of days, and I have a lot more beautiful places and clothes and skins and sparkly bits to show you!

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A Tale of Tensor’s Flying Market, Part I

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Tensor’s Flying Market

In Tensor’s Flying Market, there
Are many wonders to be seen
Those dancing lights so high above the Faire
And motor-carpets flying through the air

Remarkable and labyrinthine
The winding stairs reveal the path
The constant breeze and metal sheen
The whirring of the Great Machine

“Well, enough of that rubbish. You didn’t think we talked like that all the time, did you? How the blessed crystal would we get anything done?”

The dour Goblin historian scratches their nose. “What? Goblins have itchy noses!” They clear their throat. “Look. You seem like the kind of being we need to help us out, or at least partly help us out anyway.” He sniffs. “The thing is, the Machine is malfunctioning, and it needs some outside help to get back up and running again. Our folk can’t do it because, well, they’re stubborn for one; and for two, they keep forgetting what has happened, and they won’t remember unless the same process repeats itself several times. Like history. Understand? No? You will.”

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The Goblin Historian

From beneath his voluminous robes, they produce, as if by magic, a flying carpet. “The Flying Market is a big place, and you’ll need a way to get around all sorts of places, so I’ve got a supply of flying carpets for questors to use on their journeys. You’ll also need a map, but you’ll have to get that from our cartographer over there: they’re twice as cantankerous as I am, and we haven’t spoken in years, so don’t expect them to have anything nice to say about me.” He pauses for a moment, scratches his nose again. “And what’s worse, the snake never stops staring at me!”

“Well, go on. Take your carpet, find the cartographer, and get moving. Not like it was in the old days… folks’d fall over themselves with happiness if you gave them a flying carpet, scamper off to do anything you wanted them to do….” Their grumbles peter off into meaningless noise, until they saw I was still standing there. “Do I have to threaten to blow you up?”

In all my travels in the Fairelands, that mystical and magical series of Realms that appears for a fortnight only and leaves behind nothing of itself except a growing cache of legends and tales, I had never seen such a place. The rumble of the engines and propellors beneath my feet, once I got used to them, created a kind of rhythm that made me want to dance as I made my way through the Realm, and there were several places that seemed perfect dancing spots. I shall have to return when I have found the perfect dancing partner, I thought. Great lightning rods stretched into the sky, and there were floating islands above. From what I could see, only the sea was beneath us, and there must have been some powerful magic behind these engines, for the surface never pitched nor shook as it might have on a mundane airship.

And this flying carpet! It was a wonder as well, a beautiful teal and gold carpet stretched upon a frame beneath which was strapped a crystal navigator and a propellor engine. I thought I might never want to walk again!

I realised then that they’d just threatened to blow me up. “Back there?” I gestured vaguely in the direction he’d indicated.

“Yes, yes; and be snappy about it: you don’t want the Market to fall into the sea, do you?” Their eyes narrowed.

I stuttered some kind of a denial, followed by an awkward apology, and then I turned to descend the staircase I’d been halfway up when I’d made their acquaintance.

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The Cartographer

Pacing back and forth on a platform exactly opposite the Historian was a very tense looking goblin. They seemed to be swearing at some symbols etched into a pillar, above which is a tree of rotating crystals.

“Oh, you’ll be another one of THEIR little questors on your little flying carpet, won’t you? Well, have a listen to this:

A little magic with a little math
Created this, our splendid apparatus
You only have to discover our footpath
To understand a prank’s harsh aftermath.

Now, if he’d only bothered to discuss
His vexy plans with anyone below,
Our little magic prankster, all this fuss,

Would not have worked to ends so treasonous.

“Do you get me? From your blank face, I’d say you don’t. Fine.” They begin pacing again.

“Every single one of them, completely oblivious to the power of the Rubai. There is more truth in poetry than in a thousand lines of common prose.”

Their sniff is strangely similar to the Historian’s. Might be best not to mention that.

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Cosmic Goblin Historian

“Right, look. Our Machine runs because of Crystals that come from the Sea Goblins. You don’t need to think about them right now. But we’ve got a mighty nasty alchemist up there in the Magician’s quarter, and they thought it would be right funny to tinker with one of our Craftsmen’s bits so that the crystals would turn some funny colour or sommat, but if they’d just bothered to find out anything ahead of time, they’d have known what he was doing was short circuiting the whole path from base to apex crystal, disrupting the aer fixus and thus corrupting the aether, which is our whole power-base!”

They stared at me, appearing furious. They scratched their nose, scowled. “What? Goblin noses get itchy! Listen: I say, go to the source of the problem before you try fixing anything, whippersnapper. That anti-Market Magician has their workshop up in the Magician’s Island: good thing they (he points across to the historian) gives our flying carpets out like jelly beans, hm? Because you’ll have to fly, and I’ll not say another word to you. They’re sure to send another one of you pesky supplicants at some point.”

With that, they turned away from me. They counted to five, audibly. “What’re you waiting for? You think cartographers just give out maps like sweets as well? Oh, fine, since you’re so insistent and won’t take no for an answer!” They shoved a map that looked like it might have been printed on a dot matrix printer in 1982 into my hand. “Go on. Get started. Move!”

…..to be continued

Once again, the Fairelands have risen out of the Multiverse Mists, and they are waiting for you to visit them! This year, I am privileged to be part of the Tensor’s Flying Market team. This is our story. 

Tensor’s Flying Market is sponsored by Rivendale, The Nerdy Birdy, Dyisi, and Gwen Enchanted. Designed by Riven of Rivendale, scripting by Kitori of The Nerdy Birdy, set decoration and logistical whatsis by Dyisi, and pretty words and pretty pictures by me, Gwen Enchanted. The concept is from all of us, under the direction of the great and glorious Riven.

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Tensor’s Flying Carpet!

Tensor’s Flying Carpet will be available when you start the Tensor’s Flying Market quest, Like I say, I may never walk again!

Credits for this beautiful outfit will have to wait ’til I have a moment to do a Faire Fashion blog,