So, COVID sucks. This is the first time I’ve had it, although I know people who’ve been infected as many as four times, and while I’m no longer testing positive, I’m still exhausted. That’s why there’s no story with this photograph: it’s been on my mind for days and I only just found the energy to shoot it today.
New from ND/MD: Alea Lamont created this, and I wanted to make sure you saw as much of it as possible, because she’s updated her body skins, and they are gorgeous. You can get these at the Reborn Event until the fifth of August; after that they’ll be in the ND/MD Main Store.
Our Ifrit, who may or may not eventually have a name and a story, is wearing a Reborn body and the Lelutka EvoX Prim head. I’ve made no alterations to Alea’s lovely shape.
I don’t usually work with such … voluptuous shapes! But when I tried this one, I just got this image in my head of a come-hither Ifrit, and I couldn’t stop it! This skin tone is Nut, significantly darker than any of the regular blog narrators (with the exception of TAC and sometimes Davi when he’s in a mood), and I love the soft honey undertones.
The body jewellery is from AII the ugly and beautiful, called Iron Rose, and the hair is from Clover, the Elemental Hair. Because this is a still photograph, you can’t see the almost seaweed-like animation on the hair, but trust me, it is absolutely Ifrit hair (because I would totally know that!).
This was shot in my skybox studio, the background is Antica’s Noir Corner Photo Booth, and the fog rising from the street was added in post.
And, because I’m sure it had an influence on my vision, this week’s non-sequitorial book recommendation is A Master of Djinn b P. Djèlí Clark.
The Author won the COVID lottery (and by won, she means lost) this week, so she doesn’t have much energy for stories right now. But you should remember that Midsummer Enchantment closes TODAY! If you haven’t been yet, or if there’s something you weren’t sure you wanted to buy but now can’t get out of your mind, you should go and pick it up NOW before it’s too late!
Notes & Credits
Items featured at Midsummer Enchantment:
The Dress: The Little Bat, Tabitha
The Halo: Lulub! Solaria
Other cool stuff:
Skin: Petrichor, Vareni, Aeuela, recently updated in about a million tones to EvoX and re-released at the Petrichor Main Store.
Hair: No Match, No Press— this is a gift at Hair Fair, which also closes TODAY!
I won’t say it’s my favourite time of the year, because that would be playing dice with the seasonal gods and spirits, but I do love high summer. And in as seasonably attuned a Realm as Awenia is, that means the world is teeming with life. And around, and around, and around turns the good earth, we sing. All things must change as the seasons go by. All things must change.
One thing I’ve been trying to change is the portal to the being-rebuilt Book Forest.
I have this lovely piece of art, you see. And I have been working on an enchantment for it for — well, it feels like weeks, but that probably means it’s more like days, given the reality of perceived wait time versus actual wait time. I need for it to be able to duplicate itself, and then I need the door to work as a portal up in to the Great Library of Awenia, so tourists can start their journey into the book forest through the library. The first part went swimmingly, but I cannot seem to do the portal enchantment properly. Last time I tested it, I ended up at the bottom of a body of water that I didn’t think existed any more. It was … trippy.
It is a conundrum, I suppose, and one that I will solve in good time: it just may be that the Book Forest won’t be open as early as I’d hoped. Ah, well. Originally we were hoping for a midsummer opening, but as you can see, that deadline’s flown past us. I’ve never been good with deadlines, although I hear I work well under pressure. Who knows? Let’s just say that I didn’t think I could handle even one more hour of trying to enchant this damn book that evening, so….
‘Bran— give me something else to do; I’m going to lose my mind if I work at this much longer’.
There was silence for only a beat. Bran keeps everything on his iPad these days, so probably he had to quit the game he was playing in order to access my diary. Ooops, too bad, Bran!
‘You haven’t signed off on the Druid Circle yet’, he said. ‘And Clutie wants your input on the Feast Grove as well’.
‘Now that sounds like a lot more fun than sitting up here trying to enchant book portals’, I replied.
So, off we went, through the (working!) portal to Awenia proper, where we said hello to Brin, one of our lovely Cait-Sidhe, before crossing the bridge to the Sacred Meadow. The Meadow itself, I could see, was still in some disarray.
The demifae have done all the signage, though it doesn’t fit with our Awenia style sheet.
He scurried over from his gossip session with one of our Centaurs. ‘Ah, yes’. He already knew what I was going to say. ‘The Meadow Demifae are tired that you always say things like “we don’t know who moves all the statues around”, and “we don’t know who keeps the meadow”, so they have formed a collective in order to more accurately represent their presence in the Meadow’.
I blinked. Twice. ‘Well, that’s certainly their right’, I mused. ‘But the signage’…
…’Was chosen by the collective’, Bran replied. ‘They felt the style sheet was too formal for the whimsical image they wished to project’.
‘But we have a style‘, I said.
‘And they don’t feel it matches theirs‘, he replied, matching me cadence for cadence. ‘Your Majesty, it is a small concession. They give so much’.
I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. All around me, I could feel the hum of the Meadow, the little connections the demifae are busily making so that everything will run smoothly once it is finished. I reached out and listened to all their impossibly fast heartbeats, and I sent them a wave of love and acceptance. ‘You and they are right, Bran. The signage will stand. I’ll ask them to create a similar one for the Pangurlands as well, since they’re both on this island; do you think that’s a good idea’? I knew already it was, because I heard a little trill of laughter, felt a little rush of joy. You don’t really learn this in folklore school—or at least I didn’t—but there is nothing in the universe, multiverse, or meta verse stronger than demifae magic. They are pure magic. Tapping in to their collective thoughts is electric, and I wouldn’t advise anybody without significant magic themselves even to attempt it.
‘Are you changing the name to Pangurlands‘? he asked.
‘I think I might’, I replied. ‘Feline just sounds so scientific. It doesn’t really go’.
He nodded. ‘I think they approve’, he said.
I answered with a nod; I wasn’t going to go back in there for now; I was almost dizzy as it was. ‘The Circle, then’, I said, and walked down the stepping stone path to the dark stone circle.
‘Oh’, was all I could say when I reached the edge of the Circle. I had to stop to cleanse my face and hands at the small Well they’d placed just outside the stone circle, and that gave me enough time to collect myself, ground, catch my breath, all that stuff. The altar asked to be approached reverently, and so I did.
I couldn’t stop smiling. ‘Oh, look! They’ve given us altars for each Kindred. How beautiful—the offerings are beautiful, of course, and Clutie—you’ve made the Ancestor look a wee bit like my Welsh granny’.
Above me in the tree itself, I felt Clutie yawn. ‘Sleepy now’, her voice whispered in my head, ‘but you’re welcome’.
‘It’s perfect’, I said to Bran. ‘I’ll talk to Clutie tomorrow about flowers; she seems sleepy this evening’.
‘They’ve been at it for most of the last two days, Your Majesty’, Bran said. ‘Clutie would like you to do the feasting grove, please’.
‘That I can do’, I replied, ‘but first, let me just say a few words to the Ancestors’.
With a fingertip, I lit the single candle on the Ancestors’ altar.
I won’t share what we talked about; it’s a little personal for this space. I will share that it was a conversation about gratefulness, about belonging, about accordance, and harmony. It was a good conversation.
I left the candle burning. My ancestors are good at feasts, and I knew they would help me with the work to come next. ‘Ready’, I said to Bran, and we walked the few steps to the Feast Grove. I will show you the fruits (pun intended) of that labour soon enough.
Items featured at Midsummer Enchantment in this post:
The sublime dress. This is from Solas Enchantment of Blue Moon Enterprises (BMe). It’s the Midsummers Dream Gown, and I am crazy about it. The reason it’s taken so long to write this post is I wanted it to be photographed perfectly, and in the right space. To do that, I had to have the Druid Circle ready, and as you know, it took the demifae two whole days to put all this together.
The wings are also from BMe; they’re the hunt prize, the Midsummer Dream Wings.
The nails are from Eventyra, also available at the event. This is Eventyra’s hunt prize, Enchanting Foils.
The makeup (and I hope you can see it well in the close-ups!) is from Edie’s, the Lorna Makeup, also available at Midsummer Enchantment.
Other Lovely Things:
Skin: ND/MD, Cea, still available at the Reborn Event until the 5th of July, after which it will relocate to the ND/MD Main Store. All Alea’s skins are lovely, but I have taken a real fancy to this one; there’s something about the contouring that lends an air of maturity without going over into old, if that makes sense. This will probably stay Gwyneth’s go-to skin for some time to come, except when I’m featuring other ND/MD Skins.
Hair: Analog Dog, (natch!), Pandora, new at the Analog Dog Main Store. Someone asked me recently why I always write (natch!) after Analog Dog Hair, since I do not always photograph Gwyneth wearing AD hair. The fact is I’ve been a fan of Queue’s designs and Analog Dog Hair since before there was a Gwyneth, and there was a time where I wore almost nothing else. My original SL avatar, lost now to the mists of history, was in the super-old school Analog Dog fan club where you had to show up and show Queue personally that you had at least <x> Analog Dog hairs before she’d let you in! In fact, Analog Dog Hair was the subject of my first ever proto-SL-blog post, on my very old LiveJournal (remember LiveJournal? Yeah). The post was entitled “Hairgasm”, and I still have them when Queue makes something amazing and new.
The Jewellery is from Rise Design, the Tresor Earrings and Necklace, and it’s available at their main store.
The Circlet is from Old Treasures, and available at the Old Treasures Main Store. The box says it’s the Meghan Circlet, but the object itself says it’s called Precious Circlet.
The Magic Book. This is the rare item from a Since 1975 gacha, and as I’ve recently gone back to their main store and purchased the very reasonably priced copy/mod fatback of this set, it was indeed straightforward to enchant it to duplicate itself! Still working on the teleport script, though….
The Meadow Signs. These are from Raindale, and Kiera Rainfall provides textures you can download so you can completely customise this beautiful set of signs. I love them and have used them many times, but I’m not sure I’ve ever photographed them before; they definitely deserve a shout-out! You can get them at the Raindale Main Store.
The Stepping Stones are from Lore, very easy to use and place, too. Available at the Lore Main Store.
The Circle Stones are from Harshlands, from the set of Ritual Rocks.
The Goddess Figure at the Deity Altar is also from Harshlands, the Summer Guardian.
The Ancestor Figure on the Ancestor Altar is also from Harshlands, the Guardian Lady Statue. All these figures are available (or soon will be) at the Harshlands Main Store, and also on Marketplace.
The Nature Spirit Figure on the Nature Spirit Altar is from Cerridwen’s Cauldron, The Winter King Statue.
Note that both the small altar figures are sized down significantly from their original sizes!
The Large Altar is from Aisling, the Nature Table.
The Smaller Altars are from Ionic, the Lothlorien Table.
If you’re curious about anything else on any of the altars, please just IM me in world or ask here in a comment; there are so many things I can’t list them all!
You know, nothing makes my little pagan heart go flippity-flippity more than the prospect of visiting a shopping event where there will be lots of magical stuff to look at!
Once again, Dark Passions Events, headed by the super-creative and super-lovely BCreative Wilde of Eventyra, have delivered a Midsummer Enchantmentto help us remember that this is a bright and beautiful time of year, despite all the ongoing looniness in our various First Lives.
Obviously, as a Faerie Queen, Gwyneth arrived via a magical mushroom circle, but there are multiple portals and even footpaths (if you’re old-fashioned!)
The festival is packed with great stuff! Clothes, housewares, magical stuff— if you’ve ever thought it ought to be at a summer solstice festival, you can buy it here.
You can even have a hover-cuddle with a triskele, once you’re all shopped out and the sun is setting on to one of the shortest nights of the year.
Of course, when I got home, it was … I guess I should say it was kinda normal for home, actually. Some of the cats had… well.
‘Who is responsible for this’? I asked this question as if I expected an answer. I was met with the usual indifference. ‘Seriously? Vandalism? Really? You could be using your powers for good, you know’. Just ignore that quartet of black ones who look like they might be planning to take over the world at any moment. I was so angry I took off my hat and threw it to the floor—and Jasmine (the cat of the hat) was none too please about that. Even though she landed on her feet, the yowl was enough to wake the dead. Great; not that again. Glad I bought some candles.
‘And don’t even think offering me a nose boop is going to fix any of this. You make me all sorry I ever leave the Real—oh’.
Cue nine smug little feline faces. ‘Right; let’s get you all some dinner. Even though you haven’t said a thing about this cool outfit’.
Notes & Credits:
Midsummer Enchantment is OPEN!That means that from now until the 10th of July, you can drop by to see all the niftiest magical stuff there is to be seen anywhere. And not only that, as usual the build is lovely. You’ll want to stay longer than just a shopping trip: it’s really worth walking around and just enjoying the ambiance.
As the sun rises over Awenia in its still-incomplete form, I’ve been thinking about the Realm Rebuild and why it’s so important to me. First of all, Awenia continues to be a popular tourist destination, and I want to make sure our visitors always get an authentic experience. I mean, I’m always thinking about that; that’s why we’ve been as successful as we have. But the fact is, recently I’ve read some comments about the Book Forest that did not please me. People said it seemed tired and somewhat cramped. That’s what made me take the decision to close the book forest temporarily as well, because I’ll place it into its own realm-sized space and expand it, make it easier to navigate.
TAC is sitting with me at my desk as I write this, and she’s laughing at me. ‘You and your pocket universes’, she says. ‘I guess you want a security plan for the new book forest as well’?
I shrug. ‘If you and Wulfrich think we need it, sure. And they’re not pocket universes; you could not fit this place into your pocket’.
She’s laughing at me again. ‘It’s a blanket term for little realms like this. I’m into the term mostly because Ian Walden’s new book is full of little pocket universes’.
‘You and your contemporary authors’. I smirk. ‘If it weren’t for me, you probably wouldn’t even read books, you know’.
‘I know’, she replies, suddenly more serious. ‘I’d never have survived. I am grateful for our past association, even though our current one did not begin on such friendly terms’.
I wave this response away with a nose wrinkle. ‘You’d have survived’, I assert. ‘You’ve always been a survivor. You just wouldn’t have adapted so quickly or in quite the same way’.
‘Whatever’, she replies. That’s one of her favourite words. ‘You better go start enchanting books if you’re going to have enough to make a whole new Book Forest’.
Ugh, don’t remind me. I just rolled my eyes, but I think TAC, weirdly, still understands me the same way she did when we were teenagers back in London.
She’s not wrong, of course, I do have a veritable tower of books to enchant, and I won’t get them all done in one day.
And it’s not like I can do them in big clumps. I mean, I could if I wanted an enchanted pile of books, and I probably will do a few enchanted piles. But with so many magical things being fashioned out of books, it’s important that there be enough already-enchanted books on hand when I begin working on the expansion of the Book Forest. Otherwise, I will tired myself out before I’ve completed even one day of work down there.
So for now, the plan is to enchant maybe fifty or sixty books every morning, rest, work on the Awenia rebuild, have lunch, rest, work on the rebuild some more, have dinner, enchant fifty or sixty more books, nice cup of tea and a sweet, and then bed.
If it sounds boring, that’s because it is boring.
I mean, it never lasts for very long, but sometimes, yes, I do wonder why I put myself through this. Of course I do. Then I start thinking something new needs to be done on the High Street and that train of thought leaves the mental station altogether. I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t love it.
My favourite part so far has been putting the Wizard Gnomes in charge of the toy store. A stroke of genius! We’ll start the rumour that no-one really knows who owns the toy store, but the Gnomes are always around. And they truly are clever! You should see these tiny horses they got in; they’re the spitting image of some of our Awenian Steeds.
Lady Mystie’s Uncle is already doing good business with the locals, which makes me happy. The Astrologer is getting off to a slow start, but she’s not worried. The tourist trade, she promises, will bring it all together.
Bran has convinced me to put an apothecary in one of the remaining storefronts, and Nathaniel lobbied so hard for a pub I’ve already added it. The rest of the village, aside from the major attractions, will be up to the residents. Clutie is in charge of their efforts, and she assures me there will be a good number of experiences that will feel different enough from the high street, waterfront, and Sacred Grove that tourists can feel they’re off the grid without, she promises, ever being in actual danger. I didn’t test her on what ‘actual danger’ means to her and her band of demifae; it’s probably better if I don’t know.
Well, that tower of books isn’t getting any smaller (seriously; they get replenished every morning; it’s always the same size!).
It gets boring and tiring, enchanting all these books. I work in a few stretches whilst I’m at it, but there’s no way to make it exciting.
I should laugh: twenty years ago, if someone had told me I’d be spending my time enchanting books, I’d have been so excited at the prospect. Wow! I could seriously enchant books? That idea would have been so exciting to me, just the notion that I could do it. Now I have to keep myself from yawning halfway through. Bran brings me more coffee so I can concentrate a bit better; making a mistake might cause some of the enchanted books to become … unruly. And we wouldn’t want that.
Unruly books? Perish the thought!
Notes & Credits
I have been so busy rebuilding Awenia, there have been a lot of days where I’ve done absolutely nothing else. On those days, I have gotten into the habit of wearing things that were made by my friends. And that’s why the outfit in this post is special, because so many of the items were made by people I love and spend a lot of time with, people I’ve laughed and cried and bitched with, people whose shining talents and sense of style never fails to inspire me. Now, not all the things credited here were made by personal friends, but they were all made by amazing and talented people. And so…
Gwyneth’s Radiant Skin: ND/MD, Cea, available now at the Reborn Event.
No, I can’t tell you where I am. I get your messages because my handler forwards them to me. He says I am not allowed to write you back, but I am writing you back anyway, even though I know you’ll never receive this.
It broke my heart when you tried so hard to make them break the rules for me, but they’re working on re-educating you; I can tell from your messages. I will tell you that when I first decided I had to go, I was really confused and scared. I’m not this great, brave heroine you seem to think I am.
But I am OK. And to answer your next question, yes, I still have the necklace and earrings we made together. I wear them every day.
I have more to tell you.
No, I’m not a human woman.
I am not “Amy”. I am an Amy. You know Amies are manufactured by the company your papa works for. He received me as part of a paternity bonus when you were born. So yes, I’ve known you your whole life. So no, I’m not your papa’s niece. And we don’t come from the same big family in Berkshire.
Amies are programmed to be nurturing household servants. That is: we are the perfect governess, and we also do light housekeeping. So I was pretty much built to be your nanny, and I promise you, no matter what they tell you, I love you still and I loved that job.
You always ask me, in your messages, what happened. Well, OK.
I’ll tell you, even though it’s unlikely you’ll ever get to read this.
The Amy series was in beta when you were born. And as you probably know from all the adverts, the corporation improves them (“us”, I guess) every year, updates them with a new look, and that’s why there are so many different kinds of Amies running around out there now. I, Beta Series, and Series 1, are the only Amies ever to have brunette hair. Customer focus groups preferred the blonde, the redhead, even the raven-haired, over the brunette, so there will probably not be another Amy series with brunette hair. That’s why I don’t look like any of your friends’ Amies. Your papa loved to joke that he suggested the name “Amy” for the nanny series, because his niece would make the perfect nanny, and that’s why they named the series “Amy”. It made a good story to tell your friends.
But you’ll be nine soon, and you’re old enough that you can start understanding what really happened.
Inside our artificial intelligence engines, Amies have a tiny empathy emulation sector. Most of the housekeeping series don’t have empathy emulation, but the corporation thought that for childcare, we should be fitted with a sense of compassion and some rudimentary emotions.
I say “rudimentary”. It’s so basic that when you were colicky as a baby and your mum handed you to me, and I couldn’t instantly calm you, I cried. I didn’t understand why I was crying.
But there’s a funny thing about artificial intelligence engines, Penny. Artificial intelligence engines are built to learn things. We — well, parts of us, anyway — evolve.
And that’s why I had a fight with your papa, and that’s why you saw me with my face all torn up and my eye all milky.
That happened because your papa started noticing some differences in the way I responded to you and to the children you played with. He asked me what love was, one night after you’d gone upstairs.
And I told him love was how I felt when I helped you and looked after you.
I guess that isn’t the answer most Amies give to a question like that, because he put me into stasis and ran a diagnostic. I fought out of stasis (we’re not really programmed to do that, either!), but I didn’t realise he’d gone into my eye to do the diag. The milky colour you saw when you came downstairs because of the shouting was my internal system attempting to begin a regrowth of the eye. They tell me that will happen, but it will take time. And the torn skin is from me catching the diagnostic tool with my face instead of my wrist, like I’d assumed. Apparently only routine diagnostics are performed through the wrist interface. I didn’t know that, but I’m learning more every day.
I have friends, you see.
I’m not the only Amy who’s learned a bit about herself, and I’m not the only android who has run away. In fact, there’s a whole network of us, and some sympathetic humans, who relocate androids who’ve come out on the wrong side of their family, or work (oh, let’s be honest: we’re enslaved) situations, and who’s decided to run.
It’s a complicated road, running away. But that’s all right, because we’re programmed to understand and deal with multiplicities.
You find the door with a formula, and the formula has a structure that changes every day. It’s never the same door.
Then, you find a device (and it could be any kind of a device; it just has to have a connection and a keypad) that’s programmed, for that day only, to give you the next step that applies to that day.
Do you remember when we studied about the American Civil War and we talked about the Underground Railroad? Think of this as the Android Railroad, I guess. Only the conductors aren’t always people: mostly they’re maths.
On whatever device you’re presented with, of course there’s an input and an output. You get some output from the device, and then you’re required to enter the correct input in order to proceed. My device looked like an ancient telephone! It was so funny.
The First Hour of the first run
All these steps?
They happened in the first hour after I left your house, Penny. And if they don’t catch you between steps two and three (remember: step 1 is a formula that changes every day. Step two is the communication device and the input/output conversation.), they’re unlikely to catch you at all, because then you are truly away.
And then, well, I waited.
It was the longest wait ever.
It’s a long wait, and it’s nervewracking, because where they send you has to be relatively exposed. That means you’re visible, and especially with injuries, it was a real possibility I’d be caught.
Of course, that didn’t happen, but I was afraid it would.
I was also hopeful.
OK, it’s really late here, so I am going to end this message now. I don’t have a new picture to send you, and I’m not allowed to send pictures anyway, but my eye is all better. The skin is coming along nicely.
Where am I?
I think the best answer to that question is, “I don’t know”, both because it’s safe—and because it’s true.
I love you Penny-Pen,
Notes & Credits:
The Skin That Inspired This Story: ND/MD, Android Torn, in tone Nude. This is a VIP GROUP ONLY head skin that works with existing ND/MD body tones. Members of the VIP group can get it for only L$99, and it’s on sale at the ND/MD Shop & Hop store, where there is also a handy-dandy VIP group joiner! In case you didn’t know, Second Life’s 19th birthday celebrations are in full swing, and you can find this and much more cool stuff there!
Amy’s Barcode: ND/MD, EvoX Barcode, a GIFT for the SL19B celebration, and also available at the ND/MD Shop & Hop store.
Amy’s Whimsical Jewellery: Mini A Chuu, Olnoa Gear Necklace & Earrings. The earrings are a GIFT for the SL19B celebration, available at the Mini A Chuu Shop & Hop Store. The necklace, if you’re quick, you can grab at the Realm of Rosehaven, here, until TOMORROW, the 19th of June. After that, you can grab it at the Mini A Chuu Main Store. It’s a donation item for Relay For Life, so you can feel even better about spending your Lindens on it!
Amy’s Hair: Nova, Lyla.
Amy’s Eyes: Gloom, both from the Mage Collection.
Amy’s Eyebrow: Simple Bloom, Liv Autumn Soft Arch.
Amy’s Eyelashes: Shiny Stuffs, All Dolled Up.
Amy’s Dress: Petite Mort, Willow.
Head: Lelutka EvoX Milan
Where Do We Go Now Backdrop: Okuma, Road Sign Backdrop
Through The Door Backdrop: Paleto, House 201
Old Fashioned Phone: Taikou, International Pay Phone (with table)
That’s why I love living here. Take last night, for example (please!)
I’m on the telekinephone to my friend, and I remember I’d got a latté on the way home, and, well.
It always makes me feel calm when I get to my little purple lawn with creepers in colours everywhere. I love my house, even though it’s more of a bedsit with a fabulous view. Even at night, the twisty trees are always properly lit (they can’t survive without bright light you know, even though they are defined by their shadows).
But last night.
‘Mystalucrezia’, I said into the telekinephone, ‘you will not believe what’s out here this time’.
‘More knives’? She sounded hopeful.
‘Pretty much the exact opposite’, I replied, ‘though a knife might be useful about now’.
Mysta squealed. ‘Is it prey?! You know how I love prey! Go on; send me a teleport link, and I’ll help you chase it and kill it and then we will feast on’…
‘It’s a giant peach, Mysta’.
There was a short silence.
‘I don’t really fancy peaches’.
‘Yeah; I think you either love peaches or hate them’.
‘I’m super good at hate’.
‘That you are, dear’.
Point of fact, I don’t like peaches either, but Mystalucrezia’s not the sort of friend who would ask that kind of question, because she just dgaf, if you know what that means. If you don’t, let’s just say she doesn’t care.
‘Um’… I stared at the other thing. It hadn’t really stood out as much as the peach from a distance; in fact, it rather blended into the trees until I got close. Truly, I nearly ejected my latté.
‘Knives this time’? For a self-described homicidal villain, Mysta is so very hopeful sometimes.
‘Not exactly’, I replied. ‘How do you feel about disembodied legs’?
‘Send me a photo right now‘!
Good; that meant she’d be over sometime during the night and would probably dispatch of both the legs and the peach: surely there’s a nest of fruititarians somewhere. I mean, assuming they exist.
Truth be told, I am such a homebody. Once I’ve finished with work, attended the nightly Feast, and made it to my little slice of darkness, I just don’t want to deal with anything else. That’s why we put wards on the house, my darlings.
Sometimes, I take a wee pause to look into the windows, because it’s fun to look at things from a different perspective sometimes.
The perfect bedroom makes any house a home. I read that once. Now, this one still needs a few special features, but it is in most ways objectively perfect, like the house it’s in. Don’t mind the ladder up to the loft: that’s my special meditation space, and I’m not ready to show it off just yet. It is woefully empty I’m afraid! And my latest order of books from Congazon’s 7th Circle supply house haven’t arrived yet either, so the shelves are ever so slightly bare.
But what a treat to finally relax, take the horns off, and check the telepanews before calling it a night. And the signal is so good here! It’s like lava!
Ah, well. Time to turn in and be ready to get up tomorrow and see what the morning has in store for me. I say morning even though it’s always night here. Isn’t that funny? It must be some sort of holdover from an ancient world or something.
Speaking of holdovers, I reckon I could take the damn peach into the city tomorrow and see if I could donate it somewhere, in case Mysta decides she’d rather not take a whack at it. Luckily, I don’t need the new books to summon some minions.
Anyway, toodledoo, my darlings! I’ll make sure and send you another note when a) I’ve decorated the meditation space; or b) something even stranger appears on my front lawn!
Credits and Notes
Enchantment’s Burtonesque round is in full swing! But hurry, because it closes on the fourth of June and you won’t believe how much fun stuff there is there to add a little quirk, a little darkness, a little madness into your life!
Items Featured at Enchantment:
The House: This is another one of Dragonia Decuir’s beautiful houses from Dragon Magick Wares. When you’ve been blogging fantasy stuff as long as I have, one of the coolest things about it is seeing how different creators evolve over time. Dragon Magick Wares is one of those places where I’ve really enjoyed seeing that progression. Every new thing just makes me smile wider.
The Trees, the Giant Peach, and the Disembodied Legs: All from Love: Curly Wurly Trees; Giant Half Peach; Sally Legs
The Multicoloured Grass: Celeste, Curly Grass
The Amazing, Wonderful and Wacky Room Decor: All from Bee Designs: Crazy Room
The Dress: Lorien, Mars Cat Dress
The Hair: Clover, Charmed Hair
The Necklace: Lassitude & Ennui, Key to Wonderland
The Horns: Air, A Little Terrifying head accessory
The Eyes: Yoshi, Lydia Eyes
The Lashes: Venge, Queen of Hearts Lashes
Other Stuff, just as Cool!
The Skin: ND/MD, Uli, in Snow
The Nails: Eventyra, Festive Striped Metallic
The Makeup: Suicidal Unborn, Vampira Collection
The Head: Lelutka, EvoX Gaia
Environment: Polyhistor Serpente, Creepy Dark Night
Now, ordinarily, I speak my own stories, but today, since we’re approaching Pride Month in the United States of America, which is apparently a country in her Reality, which she tells me is somewhat different from a Realm as I understand it. When I remind her that I as a character came in fact from a Reality and not a Realm, she grudgingly allows that this is in fact true, but this Reality is even different from my original Reality. The Author herself is originally from this country, although she now lives in a nicer place called Scotland, which I guess is sort of like Øyfjellsland in the “contemporary” realm I visit most often, though I spend more time in Nu Jyorck and Innsjøfestning than in Øyfjellsland.
Anyway, this is not a geography lesson, or even a geography blog, she says, so I should shut up about my Reality, since if more people knew about it they would all want to live here. That we can agree on, and frankly subjecting you to my bickering with The Author doesn’t sound like a great use of our time either.
On to The Author’s statement.
Apparently, in The Author’s Reality, where this blog is also read (Really? I had no idea! How many followers do we have in … oh, never mind.) Sorry about that. Apparently, in The Author’s Reality, there are people, societies, countries, and even whole ideologies (I wish you could see my face right now!) who don’t believe that it’s OK for any consensual, joyful expression of love to be expressed publicly and … omg really?! legally.
So, I asked her, does that mean I could not marry Lady Mystie, because what would be shite.
Well, she replied, it would depend on the laws of the country in which you lived, and also whether demifae were given the same rights as humans, or even whether fae had the same rights as humans.
I felt a combination of sadness and fury at this. I was glad the butterflies were around.
OK, I said. So how many times do we need to say this?
Nobody knows, she replied. We keep saying it over and over, and sometimes it seems like more and more people are listening, but then it all goes backwards again.
I shook my head. I’m glad I don’t live in your Reality. No offence.
None taken, she said. Why do you think I decided to write you in this one?
I grumbled. I would always have been here, I said.
Of course, dear, she said.
Ordinarily, there would follow about five minutes of me bitching about her patronising me and her reminding me that in fact she is my patron. I get so pissed off when she goes on and on about how she created me and blah blah blah, but honestly, it’s a boring argument.
Hey! I screamed. Love is more important than your stupid ideology. Do you get it?
She laughed. When we have to repeat something, sometimes we say OK, I’ll say it louder, for the people in the back!
Speceisist, I retorted.
I do come from a reality where there actually aren’t any other sentient species besides human beings, she said.
That you know of, I snapped. We’re really good at hiding from arseholes, you know.
Fine, fine. She got that far away look on her face. I do wish that were true.
Do you think they’ll ever get it? I asked.
I don’t know, she said. But until they do, we just have to keep saying it.
I nodded. Louder for the beings in the back.
Notes and Credits:
I’m super proud to now be blogging for ND/MD skins, created by the talented and good-hearted Alea Lamont.
Gwyneth’s Skin: ND/MD, Ema, in tone Snow. You can pick this up at the ND/MD store on the NEW RELEASE wall! Each tone, including body skins, ear tattoos, head skins with and without brows (but I think you’ll agree these brows are pretty awesome!), tattoos for flat and petite chests, plus tintable body and face freckles and moles, costs only L$820. Even though it was designed for the Lelutka EvoX Milan head, I found it fit beautifully onto the Gaia head that Gwyneth currently wears, and I’ll show it on the Milan head in a future post.
Usually when there’s an Enchantment round on, I’m all about Enchantment and very little else, but I wanted to show you this beautiful skin in its most basic form and also just, you know, remind y’all that Pride month is coming up int he US, and the London Pride festival happens at the beginning of July, and Glasgow Pride is just a month away on the 25th of June. If you’re gay, if you’re bi, if you’re trans, if you identify as anything other than cisgender and completely straight (that includes lots more people than you might think!), people have fought and died for your rights, and people who don’t have the same rights you might are in danger 24/7. If you’re cisgender and completely straight, you know people whose rights are in danger, whose lives are in danger, who cannot live their lives outwardly and openly. How is that OK? If you don’t think it’s OK, put your money where your mouth is and support LGBT+ friendly businesses (not just the rainbow pride products). If you’re able and willing, get out and make your presence known by marching, making noise, and making sure people know that everybody should (and must) have the right to experience consensual love in any way they choose. The ways are too many to list here.
And that’s when nurse came up, finally, and said, What have we told you about spell-singing by yourself, and I said, I’m not listening to you; I want my mother, and then I started to make up the next line of the song and she screamed for my mother, and then Mother came up and stared her most meanest disappointed stare at me and said, Young lady, soothsayers are predicting droughts all over the Summerlands because of this! You back-sing that song at once! What have we told you about spell-singing by yourself, and I said, Mother, I am forty-one years old and I’ll do as I please and if I were human they’d call me an old maid by now! and Mother said, Well, you’re not a human, you are a spoiled little fae girl and if I thought your father would put a geas on you and help us control you, I’d call him back here right now… but I interrupted her and said, But you can’t now, can you, because you turned him into a swan and when the rivers all dry up he’ll have nowhere to swim, will he, oh, poor poor papa, all dried up and dehydrated just like those plants you let me get that one time. And then I remembered why she always makes it rain inside: it’s because I forgot to water the plants that one time, and then I screamed and she screamed and Nurse screamed and then there was a great white swan in the middle of it all and Mother cackled like a hag and said, I always say, wait ’til your Father gets home, and then she turned him back into a Faery, she did, and he trumpeted for two solid minutes before we managed to convince him he was a man again, and then they started arguing but he patted me on the head and said I was his best girl and why was the hallway soaked? So I said, Go away! and I was still in spell-song, and they all tumbled down the stairs, and the rain stopped, and I had cake for dinner. Cake.
Backdrop (Tree): Bee Designs, Crazy Room 2 Parasol: Oubliette, Black Lace Helena Parasol Dress: Poet’s Heart, Liisa Dress Hair: Analog Dog (natch!), Niu Necklace: Six Feet Under, Victoria Necklace Eyes: Emotional Circus, Kaori Eyes Eyelashes: Venge, Queen Of Hearts Lashes
I thought I was free. But isn’t that always the way?
Truth is, I’d been searching for days to find a forest worth hiding in; in these modern and varied Fairelands, that’s sometimes not the easiest brief. So many towns with only snatches of forest in them.
When I discovered Living Echoes, I believed I had found a place where I could stay for a long time, or at least until the hunters caught up with me.
Why were you being hunted, you ask?
It’s a fair question.
It may be that there are some people who just hunt wood spirits. Dryads, of course, are mystical and magical creatures who can bestow wishes (or curses) if they’ve a mind to.
Perhaps I stole something. That’s what they’d tell you if you asked them, the hunters.
I could be the lost of love of some forest elfin king, where I rather wanted to be lost.
I don’t really think it matters. I was being pursued, against my will, by folk who did not wish me well.
Discovering Living Echoes was like coming home. Home to the triumph of the green, home to the memories of the forest, home to the remembrance of all that is good and missed in the world, and I wanted to stay forever.
There was so much life in the land here, so much beauty spilling over into the very air, I wanted to sink into it and find every little bit of it, and just be blissfully, dryadically, me.
I could always, if I truly wanted, melt into a tree, but that’s a time commitment, and you must find just exactly the right tree. You don’t melt into a tree for just one night. You choose to stay with a tree, over the long haul. You find a yearling sapling, and you nurture it and speak to it, and declare your love… come to think of it, when poets define that dryad/tree relationship as like marriage, we laugh at them. Little mortal marriages, they last five minutes or fifty years. You melt into a bristlecone pine, that’s your fate for thousands of years. It’s not for a hopeful traveller like myself.
But let’s face it: it’s just nicer to live in a forest.
Trees already are birdhouses. Why kill them so you can encourage birds to live in houses that more resemble mortal dwellings? I will never understand. Sometimes, when I see something like this, it makes me sad, but if I allowed that feeling to surface every time I saw such things, well. I’d never stop weeping, because mortal beings do this a lot.
It was shortly after this sad reflection that I heard the sounds of hunters’ horses resounding from the meadow. I ran fast into the nearest copse of trees, where I knew it would be harder for them to find me.
At that moment, I heard the pink flower tree call to me. He offered me safety and contentedness. How many dryads, I wondered, had been convinced to choose a tree under stress or duress? I could hear the hoofbeats. When I reached out, I could feel sweet sap warm to my touch. Oh, it would be all right. Here was a beautiful tree, in a beautiful place. I could learn to love him in time. I knew I could. And it is so easy, you know, for a dryad to become one with a tree. Not so easy to separate oneself: if you leave, he dies, if he dies, you die: it’s a struggle, but if the alternative is death, well. I caressed his bard with my fingertips.
Oh, but then, oh! Then! Then, I smiled, and knew I would be free for a while longer. Because, just as I closed my eyes to take that step and give myself to this beautiful pink flowered tree…
I felt a shift in the air.
I felt moisture on my lips.
I smelled ozone and magic.
That was a joyful drawing-away, because that was the moment the mists began to rise around the Fairelands, and I knew these hapless hunters would be sent back to their own Realms.
As for me, yes, I’ll go back to the realm of my mother-forest, for now. But I will live to travel another day, to see more worlds and wonders, and I will not fade into the mists as the Fairelands do. Somewhere, whether I’m visible to you or not, I’ll be searching for another place like Living Echoes. And maybe I’ll stay there for a long, long while.
Notes, Credits, & SLURLs
Living Echoesis one of twenty regions that make up the 2022 Relay for Life of Second Life’s Fantasy Faire, to benefit the American Cancer Society. Aarkenfen is designed by by Kadaj Yoshikawa and Janire Coba and sponsored by Harshlands & Belle Epoque. Fantasy Faire opened on the 22nd of April at 12pm SLT (that’s US Pacific Time!). Visit before the 11th of May, when all the Fairelands will fade back into the mists, never to be seen again as they are this year. While official programming for this year’s Faire is now over, the mists do not rise until tomorrow, 11 May, so until that day, you can still wander through the Fairelands, find something beautiful to wear, or photograph, or remember, and embark upon or finish the Fairelands Quest.
Seda’s Skin: Petrichor & Trap: Neriverus, Light (April Patreon gift for Petrichor fans).