Midnight at the Fair Maiden

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Gwyneth:

I continue to be plagued by strange dreams, dreams in which I am someone else, in a completely different world, with a completely different life.

I remember as a child reading a series of books by Diana Wynne Jones, about a series (well, several series, actually) of worlds in which there were varying degrees of magic and tolerance for magic. In every world, there were different versions of oneself, the only exception being in the case of special nine-lived enchanters, who had no cognates in other worlds. This, apparently, was how they got these nine lives. Anyway, I became fascinated with the books at first because there was a character named Gwendolyn, a name close enough to Gwyneth to spark my imagination. As I continue to dream my way through to whatever lesson these experiences are going to give me, I suspect I am getting glimpses of my lives in other worlds. Or maybe I just read too much speculative fiction as a child.

This dream was memorable, mostly because it included Dyisi, and “I” had no idea who or what she was! And oh, the things I thought about her, about Fae, about the world! I can’t imagine being raised in such a society, where a difference like pointed ears or a pair of horns means you’d be treated differently by everyone. No, wait. I can imagine that. I was raised in such a place. Even my own history becomes mutable, what with all these alternatives to consider.

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She came in right at midnight.

She came in right at midnight. I was cleaning off the bar, just about ready to head home.

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“We’re closed”, I said, without looking up.

“We’re closed”, I said, without looking up.

“Ah, but I have come so far”, replied a heavily accented voice, and I didn’t recognise the accent.

When I looked up, I couldn’t believe what I saw.

“I am just needing a few things”, she continued. Her glasses obscured her eyes, but there seemed to be a light glowing behind the lenses. And she had glowing horns. And a tail, and… yes, hooves. And for some absurd reason, there was a white crow perched on one of the horns.

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I took a step back. “You’re not allowed”, I said.

I took a step back. “You’re not allowed”, I said. I lowered my voice: someone could be listening. “You can’t be here, if you’re not human. You’re illegal”.

“Illegal, am I?” she asked. “Why’s that?”

“Because of the Betrayal”, I said.

She shook her head. “Never heard of him”, she replied. “I am called Dyisi”.

“Gwyneth”, I said. This prompted a sharp laugh from the horned woman. “The betrayal. You know. When the Faerie said she’d keep us safe, but she broke her promise and so was turned to stone?”

“Was she now”. The woman—Dyisi—didn’t seem very impressed. “I’m no Fae; I’m a Satyr”.

“Doesn’t matter; you’re still illegal”, I said.

“Ah, well”. She tilter her head up to me. “I wonder if you’re not illegal, too?”

I shushed her with a gesture. And I could feel her reaching out with some internal power, to get at me, disturb my glamour, take me down with her. “You need to go”. I’m afraid I used my overbearing barmaid voice, the one I have to use on the old men, every night at half eleven, to get them all out of the door before twelve, so I can clean the place and get home before night workers’ curfew, one o’clock in the morning.

“So be it”, she said. And then, I kid you not, she just became more and more transparent until finally she disappeared.

So I finished what I was doing and locked up. Couldn’t stop thinking of her, though.

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You have to bash the pub door with your hip. I give it an extra push with my elbow.

You have to bash the pub door with your hip to close it properly; I like to give it an extra push with my elbow, just to make sure it’s locked. It’s a good thing the village has a curfew: the prince is afraid we’ll all be eaten by vampires, because of the betrayal, so nobody is allowed out on the streets after pub closing. Nobody but the barmaids ever see the ridiculous dance we have to do to close the pub door. I think the curfew’s funny for two reasons: first of all, if he were really serious about the vampire thing, why not make it sundown? And second, why make the only people in the village who have permission to be out after pub closing the pub girls? Aren’t we the most vulnerable? Anyway.

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Who was this “Dyisi”?

Who and what was this “Dyisi”? She had no fear of walking as a … different sort of person. She seemed surprised that anybody would.

How is that even possible?

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I mean, people everywhere know of the Betrayal.

I mean, people everywhere know of the Betrayal. We just happen to be the lucky (and by lucky I mean not) village on the edge of nowhere where the legend actually happened. People don’t visit us much because they fear they’ll be tainted with the stink of the Betrayal. All my uncles and aunts moved away long ago, and none of them can understand why my mum and dad stayed here to raise me, being what we are. Mum and Dad say it’s so I have to stare at her every day and learn my place in the world, since our kind are given to hubris.

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And they’re right.

And they’re right: having to look at that, day in and day out, would give any Fae (I feel funny even to say it: I’m meant to say “girl” whenever I mean “fae”. Or “boy”) cause to worry. See how her back is turned on the village’s High Street? That signifies how she failed to protect us when the Dark Fae came to steal our children, a century ago now. She is the only place in the world where we see an actual depiction of a Fae. They (we) are prohibited in every city, every town, illegal in artwork, and of course the penalty for being one, or being any member of a race not human, is death. I look at her pointed ears and remember how mine sometimes used to show, back when I was young enough not to keep the glamour up in my sleep. I can still feel the bruises on my bottom: Dad takes glamour very seriously, even if we’re not meant to know other things can be done with magic.

I walked down the lamp-lit street, mindful of every dark corner: who knows what could be lurking there, Mum says; I don’t know why you work in that place, she says, when we have a perfectly good toy shop that any girl would love to work in. The money, Mum, I say. It’s the money. She can’t think why I need money, but I can: Soon as I can afford transport, I’m getting out of here. Somewhere far away.

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I was still thinking of Dyisi when I reached our house.

I was still thinking of Dyisi when I reached our house. It’s at the other end of the village, even though that means about a five-minute walk. Mum thinks it’s the end of the earth, and she’s always waiting up for me, and she’s scared because the pub is on the edge of the forest, “and you have no idea what horrific things take place in there,” she’ll say. One day I’m going to walk all the way past the forest to the ruined castle and see if it’s really haunted. When I’m twenty-eight. By that time, I’ll have saved all the money I need to get out of here, and I’ll carry it all with me when I walk to the castle, just in case, as the stories say, there are other, less human, ways of getting out of the village.

For a moment, I wondered what kind of creature Dyisi was, but I knew it would be pointless to ask: I’d be up against the court of Mum and Dad, and I’d have to wait ’til I’m thirty to get out of here, because they would make me quit my job at the pub tomorrow if they knew a creature with glowing horns had walked in, presumably out of the forest, and just fucking disappeared from inside a well-lit pub. Maybe that’s how Fae get around. Maybe they can just think themselves anywhere. Tomorrow I’ll try thinking myself into the  bathing chamber before Michaela. She thinks she’s so special, dating the son of the mayor. Wait til their wedding night, I think, and it makes me smile. I bet she loses her glamour when he puts it in her, and that’ll be the shortest marriage in the history of the village. Mum and Dad will say they didn’t know, she must be a changeling, and the whole village will go onto alert, and we’ll have martial law for a few months like the last changeling scare, but after she’s executed, everybody will forget.

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And so, into our house I went.

And so, into our house I finally went, after checking to make sure Dyisi wasn’t following me. Maybe she is some kind of evil spirit, and I only thought I saw her. Maybe she is some piece of me that I didn’t know existed because Mum and Dad don’t tell good little girls these things. Maybe Mum doesn’t have pointy ears beneath her glamour: maybe she has big glowy horns and a twitching tail!

I had to put my hand over my mouth to stop myself giggling when I came in and saw Mum.

“You’re home late,” she remarked.

“Nelson puked on the doorstep again,” I explained.

“That old arse. Well, he’ll die soon enough.”

So will we all, I guess. But I’m not going to die here.

Style Cards:
Dyisi (full style card will come eventually)
Body: Maitreya
Hair: No Match, No Lime (available at Hair Fair! Hair fair is open until 31 July!)

Gwyneth:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Stella
Eyes: Soul, Sidhe Eyes
Skin: 7 Deadly s[K]ins, Maren, Powder (Available at Mesh Body Addicts, open until 29 July!)
Hair: Barberyumyum, 78AHF  (available at Hair Fair! Hair fair is open until 31 July!)
Clothes: Faida and Fallen Gods, Mythiara Rogue, Royale (Available at The Epiphany!)
Necklace: glYph, Miraculous Necklace, Purple
Boots: Lassitude & Ennui, Bernadette Boots, Grey (Available at We❤ RP!)
Poses: PosESion, from the 100 poses for $399 set currently on sale at their Main Store

Setting:
Sim: Private Sim
Buildings, pub, village, doors, streetlamps: Death Row Designs, Dangarnon, from the 2016 Fantasy Faire sim of the same name.
Statue: Death Row Designs, The Last Hope, a two-of-a-kind item offered for auction at the 2016 Fantasy Faire
Village Paths: Happy Mood, Dirt Road
Trees: Studio Skye, Enchanted Woods

Pub Decor:
Bar: Fetch, Lyla Bar
Elk Head: Medieval Fantasy, Elk Trophy
Deer Head: Medieval Fantasy, Deer Hunting Trophy
Cider Bottles: Jian, Hillside Orchard
XXX Barrels: Jian, Hillside Orchard
Unicorn Head: Nomad, Unicorn Taxidermy
Shelves Behind Bar: Serenity Style, Five Minutes Shelf
Wine Bottles Atop Bar Shelves: Aphrodite, Wine bottle collection
Purple Bottle on Bar: Morgan Sim Designs, Stowaway Fae’s Shot o’ Rum Bottle
Artwork Behind Bar: Lilith’s Den: Yrdrasil Axis Mundi
Bar Torches: Death Row Designs, Dangarnon Torches

It is such a pity Dy and I didn’t play a longer scene in the pub, but it was bedtime for her! I’ve kept the pub intact up on the platform where I create such things, so you may see more of No-Fae-Allowed Village Gwyneth’s life in the future, if only so I can show you things like the amazing polar bear statue in one of the corners and the beautiful tables sourced from Noble Creations and Tia.

Yes, I am one of the two people who won the DRD Last Hope Auction at the 2016 Fantasy Faire, and every time I look at that statue, I think of the Fantasy Faire, my beloved husband (whom I lost to cancer in January), and my hope that one day little donations like mine will help to make a real change in the way we treat cancer, leading to a complete cure, for everyone. I am deeply in awe of the amazing DRD team, who created one of the most inspiring objects I’ve ever seen in Second Life or any other life, and one that I’m proud to say graces and will grace my every living space in SL, be it RP, creative office, or OOC hangout. Unlike its purpose in this work of fiction, in reality this statue represents hope, the hope we can give and the hope that goes on before us, hope’s everlastingness, its raw power, and sometimes, its sadness. 

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never create entire villages on a 1/4 sim sky platform for, um, one photo shoot, without it….

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Ramblings about We <3 RP, Skins, and More!

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Gwyneth:

There’s not really a story today. Mostly, I’m just going to be talking about some of the fun stuff that’s available at We ❤ RP this month, and also about a new direction I’m taking.

actually bought a sim! Yes, that’s right. As it turns out, we need a little more space for a forest bit in our upcoming role-play sim, so I took the plunge. While the Amazing Dyisi Oppewall is down designing us a Pacific Northwest-style rainforest, I’ve been putting together an OOC office and home in the clouds. I’m going to need a space to myself while I’m working on my PhD in the upcoming months and years, so it seemed like as good a time as any to fashion a real just-for-me, OOC home. I’ve also got new skins to show you from 7 Deadly s[K]ins and (YES!) Curio!

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So, here’s a view of my OOC office.

So, here’s a view of my OOC office. I self-indulgently put some of my favourite photos from past blog posts up on the wall, because they make me feel happy. The cool lamp is from Epic Toy Factory, a hunt gift from the 2016 Fantasy Faire and a memento of their sim, Tinker’s Hollow. The table is from Thor, and I’m pretty sure I got it at a Love To Decorate event a while ago, but I couldn’t promise that. The skybox itself is one of RageWorks‘ beautiful designs, the Classical White. Great camera angles, plenty of space for stuff, and a crisp design that makes me feel like working on stuff.

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What’s Gwyneth Wearing?

What’s Gwyneth Wearing? The outfit is comprised of two of my favourite things that are at We ❤ RP this month, Emo-Tions beautiful Linea bra, and the Leather Pants from Yasum, in Metallic. The shoes are from Reign, the Kiko Flats, and they’re available at FaMeshed. The hair is Analog Dog (natch!), one of her Fantasy Faire releases, Omega. I picked the light brown colour way to go with this fabulous new skin from  7 Deadly s[K]ins, which you can see more closely in the photo below. Body is Maitreya, feet are SLink, ears are Lumae‘s Leevi Long Ears, and the eyes are the Soul Sidhe Eyes. The head is the new Helena head from Catwa, which I bought because it looks a little older than the Jessica Gwyneth had been in, and it reflects Gwyneth’s IC maturation into an ageless Sidhe.

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New Skin Colours at 7 Deadly s[K]ins!

And (yay!) there are new skin colours at  7 Deadly s[K]ins! This is the Sand shade, and the face is Leslie. Izara is now making Omega appliers, which work beautifully on my Catwa head. This is Leslie version 2, which I chose because I love that eyeliner. In this photo you can also see the beautiful detailing on the Emo-Tions bra; it looks even better in world.

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Here’s a view of the (faux!) fireplace wall in the skybox.

Here’s a view of the (faux!) fireplace wall in the skybox. I’m having such fun decorating this place, but you know I’ll change it all around in 3 months when we move from summer into autumn. That said, decorating is fun! The cats on the rug are from Mutresse; they’re a common from the Witty Cats gacha at the current Arcade Gacha. I love this one because they’re all animated: here, one cat is giving another a massage! The two baby pegasi, also at the Arcade Gacha, are from Hextraordinary; they never seem to stop having great ideas for beautiful collectibles and gorgeous things to put in your home. These two beauties are the rares, the Nesting Crystal and the Nesting MidnightThe Pegasus Pony Hatchling is on the left bookcase, and I’m not ashamed to say I played this gacha 50 times. The ponies are all so beautiful; I only wish I could display them all… Wait, I can  display them all, because I have my own sim! OMG THE PRIMS.

Right! Also on the bookcase is another one of the 50-pull prizes from the Arcade Gacha, the Princess of the Swans, from OMEN. The books on both shelves are the product of Stormwood‘s really cool Literati Book Set, which has add-on HUDs that let you customise books to various genres and types. I have Fantasy, Children’s, Crime, and I think some Library books up there. The fighting hedgehog is from Loki, a memento of the 2016 Fantasy Faire Echtra sim, and it was a hunt gift. On the mantelpiece is another lovely memento of FF 2016, the Lucentia music box from The Looking Glass, whose creations never cease to delight and amaze. The mirror is from Mushilu.

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The Amazing Catwoman in Rosemoor

Now, there are often things at We ❤ RP that aren’t Gwyneth’s style, but luckily The Amazing Catwoman is always here to help me out if I need someone else to look great in things that are a bit too, hm, badass for Gwyneth. Here, she’s wearing the Wicca’s Wardrobe Eileen outfit. Her hair is also from We ❤ RP; made by Emo-Tions, it’s Warlord, which comes in sizes for both men and women Her skin is, as often, from  7 Deadly s[K]insit’s the very beautiful Ymke in Faun. I just love the spots, which you can see more clearly in the next photo.

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This skin was released for the 2016 Fantasy Faire.

This skin was released for the 2016 Fantasy Faire, but should now be available in the  7 Deadly s[K]ins Main Store. If ever you’re looking for something specific and you can’t find it in the main store, by the way, you can always IM Izara Allen, and she will be able to tell you where you can find it or source it for you. The 7DS group is also a great resource; most of the time it costs a (small!) fee to join, but she does make it free for special occasions. You can find all the group links in her profile. These eyes are from Gauze; they’re the Paradox Cat Eyes. The ears are also from Gauze; they’re the High Elf Ears, in the Drow colourway. The body is Maitreya, and the mesh head is the Catwa Gwen, because I’ll buy anything called “Gwen”! No, seriously; try me. 😉

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Rosemoor.

I found Rosemoor through Ziki Questi’s Blog, which is where I find a lot of great places to photograph. This is only one view of this gorgeous sim; you can see more in Ziki’s blog post, or why not visit the sim and see for yourself? It’s gorgeous, and the windlight the sim designer has chosen just gives the whole place a slow, relaxed, almost nostalgic feel. I loved visiting and photographing there. The above photographs of The Amazing Catwoman were all taken in Rosemoor. Such a yummy and beautiful place.

Now, I had so many beautiful things to show for this blog entry that I decided to take just some quick editorials of outfits I put together and loved. So bear with me, because I’m just going to give the style cards under the photos.

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Senzafine and Aisling!

Senzafine always hits the ball out the park with her beautiful designs, and this one is no exception; it’s the Ysmay gown in the blue from colour pack 2. I love that her colourways are so consistent; the gowns always go perfectly with the Aesbrenni slippers she released a while back. I always wear those slippers with her gowns.

And yay! Aisling has made another beautiful crown! I love jewellery from Aisling. The crown is called Nealane, and it, along with the Senzafine gown, is available at this month’s We ❤ RP. The crown is great because it comes with a colour-change HUD that gives you a lot of options for both metals and gems. The hair is from Damselfly, also a We ❤ RP release; it’s called Cedar.

Body is Maitreya, head is Catwa Helena, ears are Lumae Leevi Long Ears, feet are SLink, and the skin is Leslie in Sand from  7 Deadly s[K]ins.

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And then there’s this fun, sexy design from !go!.

And then there’s this fun, sexy design from !go!. It’s the Lottia dress and panties, also available at We ❤ RP. For this outfit, I changed Gwyneth back in to one of the Lumae skins she commonly wears; this one is the Eirtae skin in colour way Shell, released for a Genre event a while back. I love that Lumiya Rae has made appliers for the BentBox Sylvan Ears; you can pick those up, along with the skin, at the Lumae Main Store. Body is Maitreya, head is Catwa Helena, feet are SLink, and the foot jewellery is from Carrie’s Lingerie, the Silver Sandals. They come with a gem change HUD so you can match them to whatever you’re wearing. This hair, by the way, is from Magika. The style name is Love Song, and it’s available at the Magika Main Store.

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Last, but not least…

Last, but definitely not least, here is a beautiful new outfit from The White Armory, just released in The White Armory Main Store. This is the Guardians of Mirkwood dress set, in Hunter. Now, Bee Dumpling has been designing clothes in Second Life for a long time, and I, like every other fantasy fashion junkie, have been buying her stuff for as long as I’ve been in SL. She is always right on the trend with designing things for mesh bodies, and this is a Maitreya fitted garment that works beautifully. The trousers (thank the gods!) are both system and applier, so The Amazing Catwoman can wear these beautiful Moccasin Boots from Maitreya over them with no problem. Like all the shady hunter/ranger types out there, Tac is always frustrated when she can’t fit boots over a pair of mesh trousers, and her poor player spends hours (I am not making this up!) searching on the SL Marketplace for boots that will actually work with ranger-style outfits, because Tac lives in these when she’s working in a fantasy environment, and there’s nothing worse than suddenly discovering your trousers are peeking through your boots at an inopportune moment. Throws you right off your stride when pickpocketing in the better parts of town. 😉

The other amazing thing about this outfit for TAC is that she is in a Curio skin! Gala Phoenix has amazingly released all her original skin tones as appliers for mesh bodies! And they look beautiful. Along with this, she’s also released three new faces. This one is Pout. There aren’t any Omega appliers or mesh head appliers yet, but I shall keep hoping. Some of you know that before Gala had to take a break from SL, I pretty much wore nothing but Curio skins, and now that she’s releasing more, I just go to her shop every time I get a notice and fatpack that shit. Gwyneth absolutely adores her lighter tones and hopes desperately for Catwa or Omega head appliers in the near future! This is the Bean Light colourway. I think it looks great on TAC, and I can’t wait to try some of the others. Body is Maitreya, hair is Tableau Vivant, Luminay, from last month’s Collabor88, the necklace is Miamai‘s Rise In The Sun, and the ring is Aisling‘s The Good Wife. Eyes and ears are Gauze, Paradox Cat Eyes and High Elf Ears (Drow).

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Just one more photo!

Just one more photo! Now, the thing about Guardians of Mirkwood is that you have to look at the back! I love this beautiful design on the back of the jacket, so I had to show it to you. It’s one reason why I put TAC in such a short cropped hairstyle for this photoshoot; I wanted you to be able to see the beautiful line of this jacket from the back.

Whew! Such a long info dump; thank you if you’ve read this far. I’ll get back to my regular story-blogging later in the week. I’m about to have exciting stuff to show you from Hairology, and The Vintage Fair is just around the corner, as well. Collabor88 opens in just a few days, too: I can feel my Linden Balance slipping even as we speak…

No Style Cards today; everything’s noted below the photographs themselves.

I am instructed to thank Dyisi Oppewall for something, so I shall thank her for helping me have what was for me a very difficult conversation with a friend last night. Thanks for holding my virtual hand, and I shall continue to butter your biscuits for the foreseeable future.

General thanks also go to Moxy Macbeth for being awesome, and to Lanella Little for restoring my faith in youth. Dickensian Dreamer also helps keep me sane, and my life would not be complete without the inimitable (and occasionally snoring) Benbold. 

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never ramble for hours about clothes and skins without it!

 

 

 

 

 

Find Here Serenity

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Gwyneth:

So much of my life seems to be occurring in dreams right now. It may just be that I’m not as willing to go out and make a new land as I was last time. I miss My King Janus more than I admit. But I must accept that he, like Maric, like so many others, is lost to me. I hope all these losses I’m experiencing will make me very wise and worthy of my office when I grow older. I hope they will.

I have been spending a lot of time in my little garden with the swans. Nathaniel has been busy with Mysthaven Business, which I try not to get involved in, since we mash things up enough as it is.

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I remember walking through a sparse wood.

I remember walking through a sparse wood. I had a snow-covered track to walk on, an day feet didn’t feel cold at all. Eventually, I realised the trees must be growing out of some kind of ice: everything reflected blue and smooth around them.

Then, I saw colours other than white, blue, and the green and silver of the birches: up ahead was what might have been a church ruin perhaps? I imagined I could learns something there, find something out.

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And there were flowers, summer flowers. How odd.

And there were flowers, summer flowers. How odd. When I reached the intersection, I debated whether or not to ascend either of the two flights of stairs, but opted to go straight on after a little bit of thought.

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A series of beautiful lamps—or I assume they were lamps, for they were unlit—lined the side paths.

A series of beautiful lamps—or I assume they were lamps, for they were unlit—lined the side paths. I touched one of them, and the crystal was warm against my skin, but I could find no way to illuminate it. Perhaps they were just decorative.

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I made my way to the centre of the structure, where candles burned.

I made my way to the centre of the structure, where candles burned. Over my head were a series of small lamps shaped like cathedrals. The flowers felt alive and warm against my ankles.

And I read the inscription:

Here is a place of serenity
The lights below flicker with love
For those who fight
And for those who have faded into night
Find here amenity
The lights flicker below
And twinkle above

So it was some kind of memorial. And I did feel peaceful, calm.

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I began to notice little details.

I began to notice little details: the marbling of the granite, the texture and pattern of the window-panels. Even then, the snow didn’t feel cold against my exposed toes. Even as close as three years ago, I’d have stopped to sketch at least some of this, but now I’m confident enough in my memory, and its ability to impress images onto the little tablet computer I keep locked up in a YWCA locker in a land more convinced that magic and technology coincide a bit than Our Wylds.

I turned and ascended the stairs behind me, and almost immediately felt that dizzying sense of transformation that accompanies a scene change in dreams.

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When I reached the top, I held a hand out to catch the staff that seemed to be thrown at me.

When I reached the top, I held a hand out to catch the staff that seemed to have been thrown at me. I felt lighter, felt my hair fall down my back, felt the tightness of a dress I might have worn during my I’m a fairy, so what? phase (or at least that’s what I call that phase).

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And then, I felt inclined to dance.

And then, I felt inclined to dance.

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And dance…

And dance…

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And dance.

And dance.

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When I’d finished, I felt … empty.

When I’d finished, I felt empty. Like weeping. As if this were a safe place for me to let all my tears and sorrow and longings out in tears.

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I admit it: I fell to the floor in a sobbing heap.

I admit it: I fell to the floor in a sobbing heap.

I’m not sure how long after that I woke, in my own bed, feeling more refreshed from a night of sleep than I have in ages.

Style Cards:

Lower Level Photos:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa Jessica
Ears: BentBox, Sylvan Ears
Eyes: Soul, Sidhe Eyes
Skin: Lumae Eirtae, Tone 1
Hair: Doe, Emerson, Essentials (Rare!) (Available at Whimsical!)
Circlet: Secrets, Daydreams Flower Tiara, Lavender (Available at the Fantasy Gacha Carnival!)
Dress: Kaithleen’s, Linen Dress, Smoke (Maitreya) (Available at Whimsical!)
Wings: Aii The Ugly And Beautiful, Pixie Wings, Tintable (Available at Enchantment!)
Shoes: Bubble, Mithril Sandals, Lavender (Available at the Fantasy Gacha Carnival!)

Upper Level Photos:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa Jessica
Ears: BentBox, Sylvan Ears
Eyes: Soul, Sidhe Eyes
Skin: Lumae Eirtae, Tone 1
Hair: Moon, Barracuda (Available at Whimsical!)
Clothes: Belle Epoque, Find Your Tribe Gacha (Belt, Bodysuit (rare!), Bracers, Feet Piece, Headband, Necklace, Staff) (Available at Whimsical!)

Landscape:
Memorial/Cathedral Wall: Find Here Amenity, by Kaelis Ember, a Fantasy Faire Auction Item, one-of-a-kind
Paths: Happy Mood, Dirt Road
Flowers: The Looking Glass, Dream Fields
Trees: The Little Branch, Mystic Birches
Crystal Lamps: Air, Lacrima Ligmo, Silver (Available at Whimsical!)
Cathedral Lamps, Striped Mocha, Petite Shrine Lantern, Light (Available at Whimsical!)

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never have cool dreams without it!

Hope in Blackmoor

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Gwyneth:

Rest turns to sleep, sleep turns to dreams, and the FaireLands turn over into a new day. A day that made me realise something. Well, a lot of somethings, but we’ll get to those in a minute or twenty, as soon as I’ve collected my thoughts.

Our universe, our metaverse, is full of a million wonders. And I, without humility (what Sidhe is possessed of humility?) can say that I am one of those wonders. But the magicians who make the FaireLands? The magicians behind the magicians who create this once-a-year spectacle of light and sound and literature? These are the wonder-makers.

It’s because of those magicians, in so many ways, that I can be who I am: Gwyneth Evans become Gwyneth, Queen of Faerie, born in the mind of a different kind of magician and risen, kneaded, and risen again in the kitchen of story.

Many of my wanderings during this year’s Great Faire have been informed by magicians behind magicians: in this case, the wonder makers and thought experimenters of the Fantasy Faire LitFest. Each day, a different Realm came up as a tour for writers, and word-weavers came along to look at the Realms and write something down about them.

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A different guise.

So I shall take on a different guise for you today. I am Gwyneth, but I am something different.

Something, perhaps, from a sonnet:

Hope Always Remains
In this dark land, she spreads her golden wings
And calls for mist to clothe her shining limbs.
Before the dawn, her smothered spirit sings
As if her destiny lies in a hymn
Or maybe some inhuman synonym.
What calls to her at last? It is a sound
And when she stirs, her steps feel tugged by whim
Her feathers lift her just about the ground
And when she finds the source, she stands, spellbound.
Where river pours itself onto the rocks
And makes the stones and crevices rebound
As if the water goddess bends and talks
And calls the mist to clothe her where she stands
To bless her with the waterfall’s pure hands.

(Gwen Enchanted, LitFest Tour, Blackmoor)

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In this dark land, she spreads her golden wings and calls for mis to clothe her shining limbs.

Blackmoor. Land of darkness. Land of gargoyles. Land of enough cemetery architecture to make the most eyelinered up goth in Gothtown, Gothy McGothface, tear up and buy every Sisters of Mercy album. On vinyl. Again.

In fact, it would be easy to walk through Blackmoor and not see anything but the darkness.

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But did you look up?

But did you look up? Up into the trees? Up into a night lit with stars beyond counting?

Did you look up?

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Did you travel to the edge of the land and look back upon the glimmering stars?

Did you travel to the edge of the land and look back upon the glimmering stars against the waterfalls?

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Did you balance between a meadow and a waterfall?

Did you balance between a meadow and a waterfall, trying not to be distracted by the glimmering lights overhead?

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I looked back from where I’d come.

I looked back from where I’d come. Such a long way. That may have been the point where I realised I had hieroglyphs painted on my golden (!) skin, a scarab around my neck, wings like a bird’s rather than a butterfly’s. And I thought of myself as a vessel carrying the past into the future. Carrying my story. Carrying all my stories. Carrying my friends and family, and being carried when I cannot carry myself.

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Sometimes it seems like the hardest thing to reach for is hope.

Sometimes it seems like the hardest thing to reach for is hope.

And yet, like the golden-winged girl in that poem made by my personal magician, I think sometimes it is not so far away at all.

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Hope Always Remains

What if, even in the darkest of lands, hope yet remains? What if the golden light of hope fills us, and our bodies, our souls, vessels that carry the past into the future, also carry hope?

Every life is a box.

Pandora’s box.

And every bit of hope is a star in the darkness, the mist of the water goddess, green shoots from the earth, ideas from the air.

It’s in every box. It’s in every life.

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Far away from Blackmoor, on a cliff above the beach at White Owl…

Far away from Blackmoor, on a cliff above the beach at White Owl, there sits a harper made of stone. She plays hope. Her box, at the bottom, contained a little sliver of hope named Words, and Music. Other people have the same kind of sliver. Still others have slivers named Science. Other slivers are named differently, but everyone has at least one.

Hope. Like music in the night, like stars in the darkness, like a cure for cancer. It lives in every body. And in everybody.

Feed it.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa Jessica
Ears: Soul, Uni High Elf Ears
Skin: Fallen Gods, Blessings of Isis
Eyebrows: The Skinnery, The Lyre Brows, 5
Hair: Analog Dog (natch), Epsilon (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Necklace: Musa, Seraph (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Dress: Poet’s Heart, Joy (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Shoes: Bliensen & Maitai, Dreki Anklet (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Setting: Blackmoor and (last photo) White Owl

Yes, the Second Life Fantasy Faire officially closed last night! But the sims are still up and will be for a few days! If you haven’t been already, go check them out now!

Thank you, everyone who works together to create and sustain the Second Life Relay for Life, and thank you, everyone who creates and sustains Fantasy Faire. The event itself is uplifting and inspiring, but nothing prepared me for the joyful and understanding and creative magicians I’d meet there. You are all stars in the darkness.

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never explore the Fairelands without it!

A Figment in Tinker’s Hollow

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Gwyneth:

 

When I found myself in Tinker’s Hollow, I was at first too overwhelmed to take it all in. The darkness of the landscape was contrasted by bright bean-shaped paths in some places and wide roads in others, dirt paths into which something seemed to have been inscribed in yet others. To be honest, I was confused. I felt dizzy, displaced, possibly a bit drunk.

One arrives on an airship, after which there is a long flight of spiral stairs: this might have contributed to the feeling of dizziness, but I can’t be sure, because it’s hard to be sure of anything in Tinker’s Hollow.

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For example: was that really a giant red teapot house?

For example: was that really a giant red teapot house? I mean, obviously it was a giant red teapot house: I was looking at it. And the floating cups, and the smaller floating teapot, and a strange newspaper headline, and … well, everything was brightly coloured, or at least it was just here.

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What sort of Realm had I stumbled in to?

What sort of Realm had I stumbled in to? It was unlike anything I’d ever seen, like a picture book inscribed upon a landscape of night-dreams, but all the denizens seemed to be awake, alive, busily going about their lives. I suppose if you lived in such a Realm, you’d become used to the scenery. In the day (I think it was a day; it’s hard to measure time in Tinker’s Hollow) I was there, I never stopped coming upon things that surprised, delighted, and even scared me a little.

Of course, as with all the Fairelands Realms, the shopping was amazing, though the feeling of dizziness never subsided,the whole time I was there. In fact, I wondered to myself if it might not be an intentional atmosphere of putting visitors off-balance. Perhaps confused people buy more merchandise. If I were back in London, I’d just Google that and see if there were any statistics on it: for myself, I can only say that I came away with an astounding number of wild headdresses and crowns from a shop called Love. Though I didn’t wear any of these trinkets while in Tinker’s Hollow, I can’t wait to try them all on and see how good my decisions actually were while in the Realm. Maybe when my head clears I’ll realise I’ve made huge purchasing mistakes. Then again, maybe they’ll just bring back the sense of delight and wonder the whole Realm evokes.

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Somewhere on a  high hill in the Realm, there was a carousel of unicorns!

Somewhere on a high hill in the Realm (and I couldn’t tell you how to get back there now!) there was a carousel of unicorns! Inside the circle of the carousel, I found statues of fae creatures (or maybe they were real, and just being very still: I could have sworn one of them had fluttering wings!), sunflowers, a host of glowing plants. It all seemed so comfortable and happy, like a child’s daydream.

While the feeling of dizziness stayed with me, I became more and more comfortable with the landscape as I travelled through the realm.

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I could have sworn this tree was topped with candy floss.

I could have sworn this tree was topped with candy floss! And the glowing flowers reminded me of nothing so much as our Will-o-the-Wisps, come out to bring messages. None of them spoke to me. In fact, despite the assault of colour and movement, and some music at the carousel, the Realm seemed silent to me. Of course, as my memories fade, I’ll never know if that was completely true or if my system just couldn’t process so many things entering it at once.

It did all begin to seem like a dream, but more of a day-dream than the asleep variety. I wondered what Richard would have made of it: he probably would have suggested that recreational drugs would enhance our experience. Of course, with my heightened Fae senses, I have absolutely no idea what drugs would do to my system at this point, or if they’d have any effect at all.

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I blinked once, twice.

I blinked once, twice. Or maybe hours passed: I don’t know. But when I next became aware of what I was doing, I found myself reciting Titania’s lines from A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

I pray thee, gentle mushroom, sing again:
Mine ear is much enamour’d of thy note;
So is mine eye enthralled to thy shape;
And thy fair virtue’s force perforce doth move me
On the first view to say….

Oh, hell no. Once I realised what I was saying, I shook my head to clear it, muttered a quick, “Sorry,” and fled from that grove with the talking mushrooms. Or, I assume they talked. They did have faces after all, and I swore (or Titania certainly did!) that I heard one of them sing…

Yeah. It was definitely time to go home for a rest. Tomorrow I’ll seek out a bright land, a simple land, a Realm with no talking mushrooms and a straightforward path from end to end. I might even do it as a different person.

I do hope no one heard me.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa Jessica
Ears: BentBox, Sylvan Ears
Skin: Lumae Eirtae, Tone 1
Lipstick: The Skinnery, Matte Lip Potion
Hair: Analog Dog (natch), Iota (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Circlet: Mangomoon, Ophelia Crown (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Dress: Bite & Claw, Gabrielle Gown (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Shoes: Senzafine, Aesbrennil Velvet-Lined Slippers
Necklace: Empyrean Forge, Benedictine Riata (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Setting: Tinker’s Hollow

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never explore the Fairelands without it!

Dancing in Serenity

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Gwyneth:

I admit it: I slept in after my night of dancing and (almost) carousing in Lucentia. When I awoke, sometime in the afternoon, I found myself clad completely in flowers, cherry blossoms. What a lovely complement to my planned visit to Serenity.

Serenity is almost a mythological Realm, at least to Fae children in some worlds. I’ve heard some of the stories since starting this year’s Faire adventure, and I’d spent almost a whole day in Serenity, just shopping. But today I wanted to explore more of the sense of the Realm, its interior life, so to speak.

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This cherry blossom outfit was crafted by Naminoke.

This cherry blossom outfit was crafted by Naminoke, who also created the magical wings. Wing magicians are some of the most fanciful magicians out there: I love to have new wings crafted, and I make sure to find the best ones every year at the Faire.

I began to investigate the buildings, the trees. Serenity, the Realm, lives up to its name. It’s a place I feel I could just be myself. Even flitting around so uncovered and exposed, clad only in the cherry blossoms, I did not feel self-conscious or even really all that connected to my body. No, Serenity is an adventure for the mind and the heart.

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There were so many beautiful monuments.

There were so many beautiful monuments. This one is so very tall, like a spire into the highest realms of consciousness. I leapt. And then I went off to explore the harbour, which I’d only seen from the steps earlier when I disembarked the ship.

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Well, the fact is, I danced my way to the harbour. 

Well, the fact is, I danced my way to the harbour. It’s funny, how such a quiet and spiritual place inspired me to dance. I was almost unaware of my body. I experienced a feeling of detachment, as if I was watching myself from a distance—but at the same time, I was aware of every candle spark, every leaf. I wonder if Serenity itself is a plane of higher consciousness.

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After I dove in to the harbour, I flew up and discovered I was surrounded by lily pads!

After I dove in to the harbour, I flew up and discovered I was surrounded by lily pads! What exhilaration! I felt buoyed by both the water and the blossoms surrounding my body.

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Once I found the base of lily pads, it was easy to become one with the water and just dance.

Once I found the base of lily pads, it was easy to become one with the water and just dance. In my home Realm, it’s almost possible to forget that my element is Water, living in the sky as I do.

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And such a dance! Beginning with discovery and ending with ecstasy. 

And such a dance! Beginning with discovery and ending with ecstasy, and then a feeling of oneness with the water that I’d not felt in so very long. Around me, the cherry blossoms were droplets of water, droplets of light, little thoughts that floated and flew and became part of the world, as I was part of the world, as water flowed through the world.

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Oh, water, heartbeat of the world.

Oh, water, heartbeat of the world. I felt like Venus reborn, shell-less and awakened to a world both spatial and sensual. I thanked the goddess for my life, my uncountable blessings, and I realised that although I was completely alone in the harbour, I was surrounded by life on all sides. Life that was part of me, through the water we shared.

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Life that was part of me, through the water we shared.

Life that was part of me, through the water we shared. Life of the lilies. Life of the fish. Life of the water itself, flowing and flowing always moving and always home.

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How far away from my source I have been drifting.

How far away from my source I have been drifting, I thought. And I promised to spend more time in our cottage, by the water. I shall come out of the sky for a time, leave the bower for a little while, flirt with the mermaids, sing with the water-sprites, share water with my beloved Consort.

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So much to think about.

So much to think about. In some way, each time I visit the Great Faire, it changes me. And in a voyage as much like coming home as any other, Serenity changed me today.

I rested for a long time, there on the lily pads, and it was as much about my mind as my body.

But I could not stop my mind from wandering back to the water, all the things it fed.

I found myself closing my eyes and dreaming of the water, all around us, in our bloodstreams, in our drinks and sweat and love, and of the trees and grasses, pulling it directly from the source, and of the great tree above the Serenity Harbour.

Serenity seems to be always in a state of dawn or maybe dusk: the pink sky changes only as the clouds course across; it is as if there is no sun to move there. All the sky is quiet but for the clouds.

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But I could imagine that tree at night, how the moon would light the leaves.

But I could imagine that tree at night, how the moon would light the leaves.

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And I could imagine it in full summer, beneath a perfect picture book sky.

And I could imagine it in full summer, beneath a perfect picture book sky.

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As it is, pink sky behind and flickering lights below, roots exposed and reaching downward.

And I could imagine it as it is, pink sky behind and flickering lights below, roots exposed and reaching downward.

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Have I grown? Have I changed?

Have I grown? Have I changed? There are so many stories of the unchanging Sidhe, our resistance to evolution in every form. But I, raised by mortals in a city full of social climbers and eclectics, want to embrace change. I settled in to the lily pad, became comfortable, flickered my fingers down to touch the closest fish.

What if I am the sea? What if I am the milk that feeds Wylds? What if I am the ever-changing, ever flowing source?

What if we all are?

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And then I rose out of the water, into the air, and was met by a sea of candles.

Then, I rose out of the water and into the air. I was met by a sea of candles, and my thought extended: What if I am the sky? What if we all are the sky?

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And up I rose, and I let my body arch back so that I could see the cliff, the tree.

And up I rose, and I let my body arch back so that I could see the cliff, the tree. And I thought, what if I am the land? What if we all are the land?

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And then just for a moment, I felt so close to a candle.

Then, just for a moment, I felt so close to a candle I thought it might burn me, but there was no heat from it, though it was alight. We know there are Three Realms: Land, Sea, and Sky. We know there is a creative Initiator, and that is Fire. What if I am also fire? What if I am everything at once?

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What if we all are?

What if we all are?

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa Jessica
Ears: BentBox, Sylvan Ears
Skin: Lumae Eirtae, Tone 1
Hair: Analog Dog (natch), Chi
Clothes and Wings: Naminoke, Sakura Petal (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Circlet: Junbug, The Sabrina Circlet
Setting: Serenity, Designed by Kaelis Ember

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never explore the Fairelands without it!

 

The Rooftops of Lucentia

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Gwyneth:

Another day, another Realm. So much to see. I remain in awe of the magicians and sorcerers who bring the Realms together each year for the Great Fantasy Faire.

This morning found me in Lucentia, a city of dark wood and glowing lights, full of the most interesting people. The whole city seems to be powered by some kind of magical crystal set just offshore, in their harbour. I’m intrigued by this kind of magical power: I wonder if we could use the crystals on the Wylds Tree to power things like streetlamps in Mysthaven, that sort of thing. Then again, I’m not 100% sure exactly how Mysthaven is connected to the rest of the Wylds, but that’s another question for another time.

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Away from the city, there are a couple of lush forests.

Away from the city, there are a couple of lush forests. Even far out from the city itself, the glowing crystal is visible. I think the spires on top must be some system of providing magical power through the air, but the city planners never seemed to be around when I tried to reach them. I’ll do some research: Nathaniel will enjoy digging in to that, particularly if I promise not to put an espresso machine in our cottage!

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From a distance, the city appears to be a massive cluster of buildings and shops.

From a distance, the city appears to be a massive cluster of buildings and shops. When I first arrived there, I asked myself where the people all lived.

And then I looked up.

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It’s not hard to get a house party invitation when you’re a Queen.

It’s not hard to get a house party invitation when you’re a Queen. I asked around a bit, found out where the Fae quarter of the city was, and then I just started talking to people. I find that people are always excited to tell tourists about their cities; you have only to ask.

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On the rooftops of Lucentia, there are houses!

On the rooftops of Lucentia, there are houses! Hundreds of them, small and large, flats atop flats, houses atop houses. Each one is a compact entity all of its own. This house belongs to a cousin of the Fae Prince of the city, and he was only too happy to invite me in for tea. He had loads of question about the break up of our Realm, and he seemed very interested in how the politics of my reigning over both Courts of Faerie in our Realm.

We spent a very pleasant evening together; there was tea and cake and dancing: Lucentia has a large store of mortal musicians who are only too happy to play for a Fae party.

As always, when I spend time with people in other Realms, I enjoy thinking for a little while about what it would feel like to live there.

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But in the end, when the music’s stopped and the cake’s all eaten, I’m happy, when I think about it, that I have my own Realm to go home to after the Faire’s over.

But in the end, when the music’s stopped and the cake’s all eaten, I’m happy, when I think about it, that I have my own Realm to go home to after the Faire’s over. The Prince, whose name I won’t record here, was smooth and charming, as so many Princes are, a fine dancer, and a good judge of wine, though the cakes were not sweet enough for me. Funny: I remember not liking cake when I was young. Once I’d Quickened, everything changed. I’m on what my (adoptive) mother would call on a sugar economy now.

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I admit, I felt a little tired when the evening was done.

I admit, I felt a little tired when the evening was done. We don’t have enough parties in Wylds for me to be properly resistant to long nights of dancing and carousing, though to be honest there wasn’t much carousing. I think the Prince would happily have taken me to bed, but I had no desire to unite with him, despite his charm and (duh) good looks.

As I took to the air after my day in Lucentia, I thought, as I always do, “I’ll be back. I’ll go back there some day.”

But as always during the Faire, tomorrow is another adventure.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa Jessica
Ears: BentBox, Sylvan Ears
Skin: Lumae Eirtae, Tone 1
Hair: Wasabi Pills, Thyra (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Clothes: The White Armory, Dellhaven Sprite Dress (This is The White Armory’s Silent Auction Item!)  (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Wings: Faeline, Ayano, Sky (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Necklace: Empyrean Forge, The Dreamer, Serenity (Barn, Muted)
Setting: Lucentia

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never explore the Fairelands without it!