Arrival

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A Small Place

“I know this must look like a small place to you. You see what you can perceive with whatever perceptions were given you by the gods. I cannot convey to you the vastness of it, not really; you’re not equipped to handle it. That’s not meant to be patronising, or belittling, I promise: it’s just an explanation.

“Fine, Fine. This is your dream, and I’m not required to explain it to you, but your dream form and level of consciousness suggests human. You beings usually like an explanation.

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Hello? Ears?

“Ah. of course. My apologies. Humans and fae look very much alike to us here, and I hope you’ll understand that’s not intended to be any sort of slight, either.

“Why don’t we start over? Let’s take it as a tour, shall we? There are two Watchers here, the winged cat on the tree root, and the big sleepy cat.

“Yes, I know, both of them have their eyes closed. If you don’t want human-style explanations, stop making human-style observations.

“Are we good? Good.

 

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The Spirit Summoners

“Each cat is specially called here by the Spirit Summoners; they build a unique calling altar for each cat, and depending on the cat, they may meditate at this altar for different periods of time. Not all cats are able to come away in good time. We’ve been summoning this particular cat, your cat, for a good long while, but she was very worried about you and wanted to make sure you were in a safe place before she came to us. The visual representation isn’t important to them, but when one of you gets chosen to experience an arrival, we place it there so you feel connected in your own way.

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Elsewhere

“What you observe elsewhere is a representation of what happens here simultaneously in each overlapping moment.

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So there is playing, and flying

“So there is playing and flying and cuddling and napping. There’s play-fighting and stalking and more than a little hilarity.

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Taking the wings

“Cats arrive here as kittens, and some of us choose to stay that way. Some of us like our old world forms. Eventually, most of us decide to take the wings and help other cats. Giving back is important here, and while it may come as a shock, one cannot simply chase butterflies in perpetuity.

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You are not alone in your sadness.

“You are not alone in your sadness. As I told you, the cat we are awaiting stayed overlong in her physical life with you. It takes some time, especially when a relationship between human, er, fae, and cat is as long as yours was in cat lifetimes, for a cat to separate from their earthly family. In special circumstances like these, we arrange for you to be here to dream-see your cat’s arrival to our shore. Familiar smells, as you will know, are very helpful to us.

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Their Own Boat

“Each cat travels in their own boat, piloted by a winged cat used to traversing whatever afterlife river will bring them here according to their belief systems.

“Ah! I think I see them. Yes, she will be a kitten, maybe younger than you remember her. But she will remember you.

“Yes, that’s why you’re here. You’ve been summoned to dream-see this cat’s arrival into the next life.

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The Catcher

“No, no; don’t mind me. I like my perch here. The cat waiting to grab the light rope is our Catcher, and of course it’s OK if you run. She needs to know how important it is that she join us here.

“Of course, you can stay a little while. And if you’re good at dream-walking, you might visit us again. But we do change. She will change. And— no, I cannot tell you what happens after this Realm for us. It is not permitted to tell, and it is not permitted to know.”

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Goodnight, Minerva.

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Minerva

From The Author: Minerva, most beautiful kitty of kittiness, was adopted from the Battersea Dogs and Cats’ Home, the world’s oldest animal shelter, in November of 2005 by me, my late husband Joe, and my then-13-year-old son, Gavin. On Sunday, 8 September, she left this life. All cats go to heaven. She gets a special one.

Credits:
Special thanks to the beautiful people at The Looking Glass, who created The Shrine Tree. I won this region build in an auction at the 2019 Fantasy Faire, and as it takes a while to place these perfect things in world, I was not sure where The Shrine Tree itself belonged. Turned out, it belongs as the focal point of the Cat Summerlands. The trees, the grass, the butterfly flowers, and importantly, Minerva’s Summoning Altar, were all designed by Sharni Azalee and Marcus Inkpen of The Looking Glass. 

The Cats:
Narrator Cat: Pixicat, Bastet Sphinx Cat (Sit)
Spirit Summoners: Left, Half+Deer Winged Cat, Crouch. Right, Jian, Forest Cat, Static-Stare.
Winged Cats: All by Half+Deer, Half Deer Wing Cats (various)
Big Sleepy Watcher Cat: Half+Deer, Giant Sleepy Cat (at Collabor88 and another inspiration for this post; thank you Halogen Magic for the beauty you have brought to my world.
Kitten who looks a bit like Minerva (in the boat): Jian, Kitten Collection.
Catcher Cat: Fashionably Dead, Cat 12 – Curious
Boat: Raindale, Ethemelle Boat
Bridges: The Looking Glass, Dawn’s Promise Bridges

Gwyneth:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Genus Project, Baby Face
Skin: Ritual, Elspeth (freckled) T1
Eye Makeup & Tears: Amis, Ali’s Sorrow
Eyelashes: auNaturel, Crybaby Lashes
Ears: Ritual, Fae Ears
Hair: Exile, Lily
Ear Adornments: Axix, Angelic Whisper
Hair Adornment: Bauhaus Movement, Amanda Headband (1)
Clothes: Una, Bloom (Jacket, Shirt, & Skirt)
Shoes: 1313 Mockingbird Lane, Kammira Sandals (available at We Love Roleplay, and why I picked this outfit– because I wanted to photograph these shoes!)

Location: Awenia Haven. Awenia isn’t currently open to the public, but if you want to PM me in-world, I’ll let you come visit Minerva’s Cat Summerlands if you like.

 

 

Glow Baths and Dragon Dances in The Shrine Tree

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As Quiet As the Night Is

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

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Come In

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

If we invite you in, you will, you will

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To see your sense of wonder

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

We will let you taste our sweetest cakes

But only if you dare

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Do you dare?

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

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

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We are watching from the lanterns

We are laughing just beyond you

We are watching from the lanterns

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

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And if you venture past the lanterns….

And if you venture past the lanterns

We will let you dance with dragons

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Round the fire shrine

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

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It will make you dance ’til morning

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

Not until you stumble home in seven years.

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

Won’t they?

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

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Fire Shrine Dance

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

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

 

 

Huntress

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

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

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

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

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

I was wrong.

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Huntress

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

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

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

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Close-up

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

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

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