Why Do I Relay?

2015.RFL.Gwen Enchanted

Catalina Staheli took this photo of one of my avatars last year.

Catalina Staheli took this photo of one of my avatars last year. It was April of 2015, and my husband, Joe Raftery, had just been told that there was no curative treatment his doctors felt would work for him. There was no way to tell how long his life would be, but Hodgkins Lymphoma, a cancer that’s cured in 90% of people, was going to kill him.

Nobody knows the correlation between different sorts of people and who does or does not survive Hodgkins. We just were part of the unlucky 10%.

So I turned in a blog application for the 2015 Fantasy Faire in Second Life, and it was one of the most positive things I’ve ever done. My husband watched with pride as I learned how to do all kinds of cool stuff on behalf of Relay For Life, watched as our totals went up, had me read aloud to him every blog post I wrote about my blog narrators enjoying the Fairelands and their experience of the Fantasy Faire, and cheered me on when I spent a little more money than I could really afford on some super cool stuff late in the Faire.

The fact was, at that point Joe was relatively healthy. I say relatively healthy. He was tired. He slept a lot. His energy would fail him quickly. But he’d been off chemotherapy for a few months and was feeling better than he had in ages. So we went off to Germany for a music convention, spent some time in Ireland with his family, threw a wonderful 60th birthday party for him, went to another German convention, dealt with my having a total knee replacement in the middle of all this, and then made plans to put him into some experimental treatment programs that might help others even if they couldn’t help him.

One of those trials was far past the initial stages, and their hope was they could get Joe into remission long enough for him to be healthy enough to undergo a stem cell transplant. It didn’t work. In fact, he was so sick by December of last year that on his final visit to the trial hospital, they kept him in for nearly two weeks and I ended up travelling to Oxford and staying in hospital accommodation to be near him.

When he came home, we started putting his affairs in order. On the 30th of December, we had a frank conversation with his medical team, and they told us they felt we were looking at months to live and not years. Joe mentioned that a trip to Sligo to visit cousins was on his bucket list, and the nurse liaison looked nervous and said we’d better plan that within the next two weeks.

So we did. And we got my son over, and we mixed up the dates and ended up going to Sligo in the middle of my son’s visit, which screwed things up for everybody, although in retrospect, I’m kind of glad we did that, because it meant Joe got to have two things he really wanted: a chance to spend time with my son, and his trip to Sligo.

Because by the time we were preparing to come home from Sligo, Joe was dying. We came home on Wednesday, the 20th of January. On Thursday, we had a great evening with our whole close family: my son, his daughters and their partners, and their mother. It was a wonderful night, even though he had to go to bed kind of early.

Over the weekend, his condition worsened, and I learned that while I was prepared to do and capable of doing more than I ever thought I could, I was not capable of caring for him 24/7. We planned to seek home health care as soon as the new week began.

Only, on Monday, he had an appointment at the hospital to get some palliative chemotherapy which they hoped would slow his symptoms. Once we got him there, the doctors took one look at him and told him they wouldn’t be ordering the chemo. It wasn’t going to do him any good and would probably make him feel worse, they said. Then, they took me aside and told me we needed to admit him to hospital. I think I knew then that he wouldn’t be coming out this time. I think I probably knew sometime over the weekend, but I just didn’t let myself believe it.

The next four days were spent with our family in Joe’s hospital room. He was too frail to move to hospice, so they hospital arranged for a private room. The staff at Kings College Hospital were amazing. We kept close touch with Joe’s brothers and sisters over phone and Skype and FaceTime, so they all knew what was going on.

On Thursday evening, the family left late, after 11pm. There had been stories and laughter and reading of books, and even though Joe had stopped talking to us after a lucid period on Tuesday night, we knew he could hear and understand us. Don’t ask: we just knew. I had a cot by his bed. His breathing was quite laboured, so the nurse gave him morphine to help him sleep.

I think I finally got to sleep around 2.00 on Friday morning, but I woke up suddenly around 4am. And he wasn’t breathing. So I checked him for a pulse, found none, and called the nurse. He was still quite warm, so I suspect that it was his stopping breathing that woke me up.

As I write this, it’s 3.30 in the morning on Friday, the 29th of April. I’m still too young to be a widow, but I have been one for three months now.

Why do I relay? Because 90% of Hodgkins Lymphoma patients are cured, and my husband is a statistic. Because 90% isn’t high enough. Because cancer turned me into a person with a black cloud over her head for three years. Because it took my tough, athletic, spontaneous husband and replaced him with an old man who was afraid of things. My husband was not afraid of things.

Dear Joe, my beloved, my anchor, my love:

Since your death, I have gotten on my bicycle again. I have cycled to Tesco for groceries. I have had posh meals and gone to shows with my sister and with your daughters and with Filo and with relatives from Ireland. I have jumped off a mountain with France and lived to tell about it. I finally went to Glastonbury. I went to Copenhagen, just like we planned, and I bought my raven earrings, just like you told me to. I’m getting my right knee replaced on the 20th of May: I’ll be recovering from that and back at work before you’ve been gone for six months. I also got a tattoo that doesn’t have your name on it: I know you wouldn’t like that. And I’m probably going to get a new piercing for my 50th birthday. Sorry.

I know you were afraid for me. I know you were scared I’d lose my mind and be consumed by grief. And I am consumed with grief, and I have lost my mind, but I think I have put a little piece of your mind in my head, too. With that little piece I am learning to be brave again. I even danced at Teddy and Tom’s wedding, and I knew you’d have wanted me to and I know you’d love to have seen that, assuming you’re not out there looking. I’m not really sure you’re not, and not just because of that time the top, just the top, of the canister of peppercorns fell softly on my shoulder when I was cooking and France and I joked about you being in poltergeist school and just trying to move little things and not wanting to scare me too much.

Being part of Relay For Life has brought all the things I hoped for last year back into the forefront. I hoped you’d live for years in palliative treatment, the way some people do. I hoped you’d be with us for a long time. I hoped you’d live to see my 50th birthday, which I’ll spend in Germany with friends and family from our musical world. All that hope I held came crashing down on me during the first weekend of the Faire this year, and I’m afraid I did lose it. I cried a lot. I cried not just for you but for every carer out there who gives their time and their love and their hope. I cried because it’s hard to look at people on a different part of the journey than I’m on and hold out any hope for them. I cried because in the end, I couldn’t cure you by volunteering my head off for Relay for Life. I cried because I’m a statistic too, just as surely as you are. And I cried because I couldn’t imagine giving it up, not working, not telling people about this experience over and over again so that they know they’re not alone, so that they know we are all moving through the same trials no matter where we are in life, so that they know everyone touched by this disease will touch someone else and make their burdens lighter, if they can, if they are able.

Thank you for giving me the best twelve years of my life. I hear you saying, “So far.” Yes. Thank you for giving me the best twelve year son my life, so far.

Love now and always, no matter what,
Gwen

Have I stayed too long at the Faire?

Gwyneth:

Gwyneth:

Have I stayed too long at the Faire? What a ridiculous question. The answer, of course, is no! But the Faire has ended officially, and the merchants are beginning to pack up their wares, those who can’t wait to go home, that is.

I was a vision for the Masqued Ball.

I was a vision for the Masqued Ball.

I was a vision for the Masqued Ball, if I do say so myself! But I felt myself on the fringes, as if something were tugging at me. When I turned to see what it was, it was gone.

But I feel it. Something in the air. Something of summer. My King. My King. I know it was him.  I feel the call to go home to Faerie now. But a few more stories, before I leave. just a few more.

One night, I found myself in Ichi-go Ichi-I.

One night, I found myself in Ichi-go Ichi-I.

One night, I found myself in Ichi-go Ichi-i, unsure of how I’d ended up there. A nice faerie offered me some tea. I felt made of gossamer, clouded pink with spring butterflies. I danced all night. This glorious dress is made by AZUL, the same dressmaker who designed the gown I wore for the masqued ball, above. Both so completely different from one another. What talent! I am wearing a set of jewellery from The Plastik, who never fail to amaze me with beautiful things. This one included a pendant that didn’t come with a chain, so I hooked it in to the strap the dress and hoped! As often is the case: my hope was rewarded— it looked great there!

Then, I got to thinking about summer, the triumph of the sun.

I saw my future as the Queen of Summer.

I saw my future as the Queen of Summer.

I saw my future as the Queen of Summer, in a dress from The White Armory and matching adornments from Muse. 

Before I left, I wanted to revisit one of my favourite places at the Faire.

Before I left, I wanted to revisit one of my favourite places at the Faire.

Before I left, I wanted to revisit one of my favourite places at the Faire.

This is the Writers' Circle in Sylvan of Spells.

This is the Writers’ Circle in Sylvan of Spells.

This is the Writers’ Circle in Sylvan of Spells. Those of you who know me will be unsurprised that it’s among my favourite places: my mortal background was in literature and writing, and before the… well, I used to call it an “unfortunate incident”, but I’m not so sure that’s the case now… before the event that whisked me out of my mortal life in and into Jasper Cove, I was a lecturer, a professor I guess some would call it, a writer, a teacher of literature and writing, and an avid fantasist.

Now that my life is fantasy, I don't know whether the word 'fantasist' applies....

Now that my life is fantasy, I don’t know whether the word ‘fantasist’ applies….

Now that my life is fantasy, I don’t know whether the word ‘fantasist’ applies…. unless it’s when I try to explain to Nathaniel about the Internet and his head explodes. Again.

I suppose that’s a a habit of mine, as it is the same with many people: to go back and revisit one’s favourite place before leaving someplace special.

I wonder, I wonder. I wonder if by some magic, some generosity of the goddess, I could create a space like this? In Faerie or elsewhere; it wouldn’t matter to me. I wonder.

And on a more important note: yet another perq of being a Faerie Queen: you don’t have to pack! And it’s not like other fae just do it for you: it’s that you really don’t have to pack. I fucking love magic.

Style Cards:

Gwyneth preparing for the Masqued Ball:
Mask: 
Illusions: Unseelie Headpiece (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Skin: 
Curio: Simone in Moondrop
Hair: 
Analog Dog (natch!): Sola (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Ears: 
Lumae: Leevi Long Ears
Wings: 
Remarkable Oblivion: Eternity Wings in Licentious
Jewellery: 
Violator: Hedera
Dress: 
AZUL: Naarnisse
Shoes: 
GizzA: L’amour Heels

One Night, I Found Myself in Ichi-go Ichi-e:
Dress: AZUL: Pepeke (Available at Fantasy Faire!)
Hair: Analog Dog (natch!) Contriuneau (Available at Fantasy Faire!)
Jewellery: The Plastic: Illariel circlet, pendant, and ring (Available at Fantasy Faire!)
Skin: Curio: Simone in Moondrop
Shoes: Tumble Twig & Skjern Designs: Pearls of Muse (pink)

All other photos:
Dress: The White Armory: Maiden of Tuatha in Royal
Jewellery (crown, earrings, choker, dress ornament, veil): MUSE, Maiden of Tuatha Accessories in Royal
Skin: Curio: Kai in Moondrop
Ears: Lumae: Leevi Long Ears
Hair: Analog Dog (natch!): Megan
Anklets: Honesty Starsider: Empress Rose

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. Go look at the web page. Yes, I know they’re expensive. If you want to take amazing photos in SL, they’re worth every Linden.

The Gypsy is Lord of the Wild and the Green, And nobody knows all the wonders he’s seen….

The Gypsy Davey

The Gypsy Davey

The Gypsy is Lord of the Wild and the Green, And Nobody knows all the Wonders he’s seen…. That’s a song my mum used to sing. Come to think of it, my dad used to sing it too, but only late, late at night, after a pint or three. Softly, and with a pain in his heart I never understood, back then.

Soon now, we will pack up the vardos and pay our tithe to the road again.

Soon now, we will pack up the vardos and pay our tithe to the road again.

Soon now, we will pack up the vardos and pay our tithe to the road again. But now, as the Faire-goers begin to home and the shops empty out and I can leave the work to my apprentices… Oh, now is the time for wandering.

I took a rest this morning on the banks of the river in Tangleshimmer Grove, where we have set our camp, it being the best place for the Romany in the Fairylands.

And when I got up, I could feel it. The restlessness.

And when I got up, I could feel it. The restlessness.

And when I got up, I could feel it. The restlessness.

There was so much more to see in the Fairelands, things I’d neglected with work and, well. With dallying. So many beautiful women here. It’s enough to make a man forget that he looked down from above upon the Faerie Queen. Almost. It is almost enough to make a man forget that.

I have marvelled at the seemingly living iceberg that is Aurora.

I have marvelled at the seemingly living iceberg that is Aurora.

I have marvelled at the seemingly living iceberg that is Aurora. 

I have imagined myself the captain of a ship in Poseidon's Abyss.

I have considered myself the captain of a ship in Poseidon’s Abyss.

I have considered myself the captain of a ship in Poseidon’s Abyss. 

I have paid my respects to Snow White in Spires of Andolys.

I have paid my respects to Snow White in Spires of Andolys.

I have paid my respects to Snow White in Spires of Andolys. 

I have stood at the junction of two realms in Wildehaven Marsh.

I have stood at the junction of two realms in Wildehaven Marsh.

I have stood at the junction of two realms in Wildehaven Marsh.

I have tested the wind aboard a faireboat on Vallacia.

I have tested the wind aboard a faireboat on Vallacia.

I have tested the wind aboard a Faireboat in Vallacia.

I have shared the stories of my people in Sylvan of Spells.

I have shared and heard the stories of my people in Sylvan of Spells.

I have shared and heard the stories of my people in Sylvan of Spells.

I have had tea with the strange fae in Ichi-go Ichi-E

I have had tea with the strange fae in Ichi-go Ichi-E

I have had tea with the strange fae in Ichi-go Ichi-E.

I have considered, really thought about, what it feels like to be a book, in Poppetsborough.

I have considered, really thought about, what it feels like to be a book, in Poppetsborough.

I have considered, really though about, what it feels like to be a book, in Poppetsborough.

I have sat, higher than the rooftops, and thought about life and love in YoZakura.

I have sat, higher than the rooftops, and thought about life and love in YoZakura.

I have sat, higher than the rooftops, and thought about life and love in YoZakura.

And a funny thing happened to me while I sat and thought.

I had a vision.

I had a vision of her, the Faerie Queen.

I had a vision of her, the Faerie Queen.

I had a vision of her, of the Faerie Queen. She must have been dressed for the grand masqued ball they have each year at the Faire, near the end. It looked as if she were offering me an embrace. Or a blessing.

And so I thought, though about her embrace, and it was a sweet thought, and it tugged at my heart and my soul.

And so I thought, thought about her embrace, and it was a sweet thought, and it tugged at my heart and my soul.

And so I thought, thought about her embrace, and it was a sweet thought, and it tugged at my heart and my soul.

Then, perhaps reluctantly, I made my way back to the Tangleshimmer Portal in the Fairelands Junction.

Then, perhaps reluctantly, I made my way back to the Tangleshimmer Portal in the Fairelands Junction.

Then, perhaps reluctantly, I made my way back to the Tangleshimmer Portal in the Fairelands Junction.

And after a last meal round the Fairelands Fire, I instructed the boys to start packing the tents away. And their mothers looked away. And their fathers smirked at me. And the green fortuneteller, who I think we really must replace, said, “Back to Faerie, then?”

And I said,

“No.”

No. I will resist it, pull away from it, keep myself to the road and my calling and the fortunes of the people and the wisdom of the hedges. I will stay no more in Faerie but send my spirit out to have adventures where it will.

And if she wants me, she can come to me, this time.

Style Cards:

The Gyps Davey, Throughout
Clothes: Fallen Gods & Faida: Il Principe, Terra Bruciata (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Boots: 22769: Jika-Tabi Black Leather Boots
Skin:  7 Deadly s{K}ins: Damien Box 2 Smoked
Hair: EMO-tions: Torunn, Black
Necklace: Otherskin, Aesculap Necklace (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)

The Vision of Seelie Queen Gwyneth:
Mask: 
Illusions: Unseelie Headpiece (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Skin: Curio: Simone in Moondrop
Hair: Analog Dog (natch!): Sola (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Ears: Lumae: Leevi Long Ears
Wings: Remarkable Oblivion: Eternity Wings in Licentious
Jewellery: Violator: Hedera
Dress: AZUL: Naarnisse
Shoes: GizzA: L’amour Heels

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. Go look at the web page. Yes, I know they’re expensive. If you want to take amazing photos in SL, they’re worth every Linden.

Did I mention all I do is work?

The Amazing Catwoman:

The Amazing Catwoman:

Did I mention all I do is work? This morning, they assigned me to guard some literary talk over in BookLand… I mean, Sylvan of Spells. It’s pretty and all, but I’m not into books, and it always seems to be night there. Thought writers liked a lot of light, but hey, who am I to decide these things?

They armoured us all up, because today is the last day of the Faire.

They armoured us all up, because today is the last day of the Faire.

They armoured us all up, because today is the last day of the Faire. Apparently, when I’m on duty I have to carry a staff of some description—captain keeps a load of them at the back. I grabbed this one because there was a bird on it, but then all the other guards teased me because it had pink flowers, the fuckers.

Anyway, imagine my surprise when…. absolutely nothing happened. This chick showed up to give some talk about myths and legends or some shit like that, and nobody threatened to kill her. Put it on a broadsheet and sing it in the streets.

Here's the chick who showed up.

Here’s the chick who showed up.

Here’s the chick who showed up. She’s called Saffia Widdershins, and people were lining up to hear her speak, so I guess she must be somebody important.

But not, apparently, important enough to kill.

But not, apparently, important enough to kill.

But not, apparently, important enough for anybody to want to kill her, or even throw tomatoes. The audience seemed really impressed, anyway; she gave them all a book called The Book of the Champions, the same book I had to pore through when I was working on saving that Princess What’s Her Name. I totally forgot her name. Oh, well: if she’s like most Princesses, she’ll need saving again.

After that, they sent me, I kid you not, to a treehouse.

After that, they sent me, I kid you not, to a treehouse.

After that, they sent me, I kid you not, to a treehouse. There wasn’t anybody in the treehouse: I was just meant to stand on the bridge and watch for brigands.

This is like a song with a bad chorus. Imagine my surprise when …. absolutely nothing happened. This Faire is so safe they don’t even need guards! But the captain says at least I can keep the armour and the staff. The staff, well. It’ll probably go on a wall somewhere, once I have my own walls. The armour and belt though are topnotch stuff. They’re made by The Forge, and I really love The Forge. Because although you can get stuff there that makes you look like a camp follower, The Forge also makes armour that makes sense and covers up all your bits and doesn’t make you look like you’re going to kill the next dragon you see with your amazing boobage. How relieved I was when they put me in this stuff and not in some skimpy costume.

But seriously? Boring.

But seriously? Boring.

But seriously? Boring. Most boring guarding gig I’ve ever had: Everybody at this Faire is nice, and I don’t know where they got the idea there might be thieves about: I didn’t spot a single one, and I am good at looking for the thieves.

I’m kind of glad the Fantasy Faire is coming to an end, though it just means I’ll end up getting carted back to the Great Seelie Forest with her, where I’ll probably get blind drunk on faerie mead and chase squirrels or some shit until I get bored and go out looking for adventure again.

Oh! And I dyed my fucking hair. I am a Red Fae Avenger.

Style Card:
Armour, clothes, boots: The Forge: Daerwen (Available at Fantasy Faire!)
Belt: The Forge: Arwen’s Belt (Available at Fantasy Faire!)
Head: Lelutka
Ears: Gauze: High Elf Ears
Body: Maitreya
Skin: Glam Affair
Hair: No Match: No Flowers
Staff: Tia: Empress Staff (Ultrarare from a past Fantasy Gacha Carnival)
Necklace: Empyrean Forge: Ymir’s Sigil (Available at Fantasy Faire!)

Saffia Widdershine graciously allowed me to use her photograph here. The talk The Amazing Catwoman was watching over was the last-day discussion of the mythology incorporated into this year’s Fantasy Faire Hunt: The Lost Land. If you have not done the hunt yet, the sims will be up til Wednesday, I’m told, and no hunt stuff is being taken down, so go do it! This year’s hunt is a lot of fun, and of course the hunt prizes at the end are legion and amazing.

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. Go look at the web page. Yes, I know they’re expensive. If you want to take amazing photos in SL, they’re worth every Linden.

So, Your Majesty, What did you do at the Faire today? (My New Shiny Blog Challenge)

Gwyneth:

Gwyneth:

Seriously: Why do you keep asking me that question?shopped, of course! I shopped like a Queen!

Oh!

The Penguins! Remember the penguins?

Well, just as I turned the corner from the penguins, I ran into this amazing artisan. Her name is Willow Brandybuck, and I’d bought her wares once before, at a Tolkein Fair somewhere outside of Faerie.

I was amazed to see she has a modest little stall in one of the Fairelands Realms.

I was amazed to see she has a modest little stall in one of the Fairelands Realms.

I was amazed to see she has a modest little stall in one of the Fairelands Realms! And in the Land of Winter, Aurora. Go and visit her shop: you won’t be disappointed! And she has cookies and hot chocolate on tap!

In the middle of winter, I of course create Spring.

In the middle of winter, I of course create Spring.

In the middle of Winter, I of course created Spring, just to show off some of her beautiful wares. I am wearing her gorgeous Mystic Dreams Tiara and Necklace here, and the wearable couch is from Boudoir. I think the penguins were impressed!

I don't know how long I sat there enjoying Spring in Winter.

I don’t know how long I sat there enjoying Spring in Winter.

I don’t know how long I sat there, enjoying Spring in Winter. But before I move on, I should tell you about the beautiful dress from Evangeline Miles. I am not a brown Queen. I do not particularly even like Brown. But Evie’s Closet can make brown look amazing! Just look at the beautiful wings she designed to go with the dress.

Snapshot_003

Willow’s beautiful jewellery complements this dress so well!

But since my rediscovery of Willow is My New Shiny, let’s get back to the jewellery! Not only is Willow a lovely person, she has generously given a beautiful gift which you can win if you complete the Fairelands Hunt, along with a load of other swag. Just remember not to lose Willow’s acorn, and all will be well.

Later, I relaxed at home at the Treehouse, on my new couch, still wearing Willow's lovely ensemble.

Later, I relaxed at home at the Treehouse, on my new couch, still wearing Willow’s lovely ensemble.

All of Willow’s designs have this ethereal, Elvish quality to them: I’ll always associate her with Tolkein since I first met her at the Tolkein Fair. But my rediscovery of her this week was such a joyful moment.

The couch, by the way, is called Justine. She is made by Alia Baroque of Fallen Gods fame, under the company name of Libertine. She was expensive, but I think she will be worth it—she seats up to 12 avatars at once, and she has many, many animations and wonderfulnesses inside her that I have yet to explore.

I even invited my mom over for a group photo with Dyisi!

I even invited my mom over for a group photo with Dyisi!

I even invited my mom over for a group photo on Justine with Dyisi. Kind of funny, since Gwyneth and her mom haven’t been reunited since Gwyneth discovered that Lady Siansa was her mom. But a fun way to showcase the versatility of this couch. Sia promises a style card for me, and I will get that to you eventually.

Style Cards:

Gwyneth, throughout:
Jewellery: Willow Brandybuck (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Collar: The Forge
Hair: Analog Dog (natch!): Kleesich, (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Skin: Curio
Makeup: MOCK (natch!)
Dress, Slippers, Wings: Evie’s Closet: Caoimhe Dress, Brown (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)

Dyisi, Siansa: Coming soon

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. Go look at the web page. Yes, I know they’re expensive. If you want to take amazing photos in SL, they’re worth every Linden.

Lord of Free Lands All Over

The Gypsy Davey

The Gypsy Davey

The Faire stretches for miles. For miles and realms. So much to do, and people might say of my kind (and they’d be wrong!), to steal. I prefer to steal only hearts, but that is my way.

Today, I took in the sights of Odyssey. A day off from the bustle of the selling tent and the green fortuneteller we brought to this year’s Faire. She’ll be better next year, or we’ll find another.

As I say, I prefer to steal only hearts.

As I say, I prefer to steal only hearts.

As I say, I prefer to steal only hearts. It serves me very well: I love women, and women love me back, sometimes rather too much.

I have taken the day off, dressed for heart-stealing, and I’ve come to the most beautiful place.

Here, there are fountains and statues, mermaids and waves, for as far as the eye can see.

Here, there are fountains and statues, mermaids and waves, for as far as the eye can see.

Here, there are fountains and statues, mermaids and waves, for as far as the eye can see. I think this mermaid likes me.

In fact, I know she likes me.

In fact, I know she likes me.

In fact, I know she likes me. See how her face is transformed in ecstasy. This is why I love women.

From a high vantage point, I can see the people below, enjoying the Faire for only its shopping.

From a high vantage point, I can see the people below, enjoying the Faire for only its shopping.

From a high vantage point, I can see the people below, enjoying the Faire only for its shopping. How many of them, I wonder, take the time to climb into the stratosphere and experience it all from above.

Not that I have anything bad to say about the shoppers: No; I like shoppers very much, from the point of view of the perpetual merchant that I am.

But sometimes, sometimes, looking down at them all, I feel a sense of smugness. I’m here; you’re there; you can’t see me… and then.

Then, I look down, at possibly the wrong time, possibly the right time.

Then, I look down, at possibly the wrong time, possibly the right time.

And I see her, the Faerie Queen. I should have known she’d be here at the Faire. Something tugs at me. Tugs at my soul. But I am her lover, not her consort; her fantasy, not her King.

In brown wings, like an ethereal moth she flutters on the ground with her friend, the satyr.

And for a moment, I am sure they are looking up at me. Sure she will call to me, call my name, and my nature will be unravelled, once again, as it was for so many nights in Faerie.

But then—maybe they didn’t see me. They are gone, into a shop, doing what two women do, I suppose, when they are together. Though a part of me smiles and thinks their shopping styles and preferences must be very different. I imagine Her Majesty, the Queen of Love and sometimes the Queen of my heart, oohing and ahhing over gowns and jewels, with the satyr there behind her smirking and scowling and inserting the sorts of snarky comments I’d insert if she were any other woman.

And then, suddenly, I have to leave. I can’t be on this ledge any longer. Find me something, Goddess of Wandering. Find me something even more beautiful to look at.

And the Goddess laughs in my heart. More beautiful than the Seelie Queen? she asks. And I reply, Well, find me two things nearly as beautiful and we will put them together. 

Then I am dizzy, and I find myself in a higher place, farther away from the shoppers below, looking in a different direction.

And then, I remember.

And then, I remember.

He is no gypsy, her father said, but lord of free lands all over. And I whistle, and I sing. But for now, only the birds come to me. They are just like me, the crows. Lords of free lands all over. Wanderers, we are.

And if I am so free, the lord of free lands, then why does this verse come back to me when I see her?

lady, I am a figment
I am a blight, I am an ember
one mirror for all memory
that steals what is true
and a voice buried in my heart is crying
I am the risk and purchase of the world
carry me with you

A winter song sung in spring for a summer queen. I am lost.

Style Card:
Clothes: Decadent Courtesan: The Longest Night (red) (from a gacha; available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins: Damien, Smoked
Hair: No Match: No Date
Ears: Illusions, Seelie Ears (Available at Fantasy Faire!)
Necklace: Otherskin: Wish Necklace (Available at Fantasy Faire!)

Lyrics from Robin Williamson’s “Song of Mabon”.

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. Go look at the web page. Yes, I know they’re expensive. If you want to take amazing photos in SL, they’re worth every Linden.

Duty, duty, duty. That’s my lot.

The Amazing Catwoman:

The Amazing Catwoman:

Can I just mention, that while she goes round shopping up a storm and getting her face painted up like a fricking unicorn? That I had to save a princes who really didn’t need saving and wander around the whole of the Fairelands, trying to figure out what was up with her and her Champions, who would not know how to find their heads if they weren’t attached? And then? After that? My Guard Captain assigned me to guard the fine and frivolous folks of Ichi-go Ichi-e, where troubles apparently melt like sweet, pink lemon drops. Oh! I was less than amused!

Don't get me wrong: everything at the Faire is beautiful. Even when you see it from a distance and note how different all the realms are.

Don’t get me wrong: everything at the Faire is beautiful. Even when you see it from a distance and note how different all the realms are.

Don’t get me wrong: everything at the Faire is beautiful. Even when you see it from a distance and note how different all the realms are.

And She just eats it up, the Queen. Oh, there I am, watching after the people of the Fairelands, and there she goes, spending gold and attending dance parties with Important People and — I swear, not an hour ago, I saw her dancing with a member of Fairelands Law Enforcement. In my pigtails.

But seriously. Put me in Tangleshimer. Put me in Sylvan of Spells.

Hell, put me back on book-tending duty in Poppetsborough: at least those poor people have a real crisis going on!

Hell, put me back on book-tending duty in Poppetsborough: at least those poor creatures have a real crisis going on!

Hell, put me back on book-tending duty in Poppetsborough: at least those poor creatures have a real crisis going on!

But do not, I repeat: DO NOT put me back in this place where little pink fairies try to serve me tea, and there is a FRIENDLY WEASEL under my table! People! Weasels are not friendly!

But do not, I repeat: DO NOT put me back in this place where little pink fairies try to serve me tea, and there is a FRIENDLY WEASEL under my table! People! Weasels are not friendly!

And worst of all, don’t make me turn around and see the glorious temples of the Odyssey Realm, where I might get assigned if I’m lucky and half the guard force falls ill. Will you just look at that in the distance. Have you ever seen buildings so beautiful?

I am so, so, so not best pleased to be here.

I am so, so, so not best pleased to be here.

I am so, so, so not best pleased to be assigned here tonight. “Oh, but the poor little pink glow fairies and peaceful meditation denizens, they need your help, TAC!” I roll my eyes at these people. Go have some fun. Go knock over a kebab stand. Go, I don’t know. Stop listening to Loreena McKennitt. And put on something black, for God’s sake.

Regrettably necessary disclaimer: I actually really love Ichi-go Ichi-e. I think it is one of the most beautiful sim designs I’ve ever seen. I just loved to have The Amazing Catwoman rant about being assigned there as well. And it gave me a chance to show off some of the amazing Fairelands scenery in my own humble way.

Style Card:
Hair: No Match: No Exception
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka
Skin: Glam Affair
Face Piercings: Ellabella
Ears: Gauze High Elf Ear
Necklace: Empyrean Forge: The Dreamer: Fortuity
Ring: Aisling: The Good Wife
Clothes: TFF: Elf Huntress in Green (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Boots: Paper Moon, Huck Boots (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)

Spiffy photos of TAC taken with the indispensible aid of a LumiPro. Go look at the web page. Yes, I know they’re expensive. If you want to take amazing photos in SL, they’re worth every Linden.