Out of Legend

You think we come from some fairy story?

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You think we trip down the pages?

You think we trip down the pages, as if they were steps from one of your fantasy castles? I assure you, we are there. But that is not where we come from.

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You think we are the stories?

But the stories! you say. You think we are the stories? Oh, of course, we are in your stories. But that is not where we come from.

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You think we are the stuff of legend?

Are we the stuff of legend? You think we are elements of your myths. We are in your myths and legends. But that is not where we come from.

It is easy to blur the borders: we are in a forest made of books, after all. A forest made of stories, legends, myths.

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You will find us in the shallow forest.

You will find us in the shallow forest, to be sure. On the edges, in the stories, in the tales handed down from your grandma and her grandma before her; you will find us there. But that is not where we come from.

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But what happens in the deeper forest?

But what happens in the deeper forest, beyond your simple paths, the house too small to live in but perfectly decorated with the plates set out for tea? What happens when you go so far in that stories begin to tell themselves? Well, we say. Well, then—you are closer.

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And what’s that behind you?

And what’s that behind you? Surely it’s only a shadow. Light filtering through cut paper, light bleeding out from twinkle trees, obscured by a solid object. You tell yourself that’s what shadow is. That’s what shadows do. Isn’t it?

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You think we are tragic creatures? 

You think we are tragic creatures? You think we are sad? No, no: we are watching. We are waiting. We are thinking.

We are waiting for those words that echo all throughout the forest, all throughout legend and myth and fairy tale.

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Oh! Here they are.

Oh! Here they are. Those words that bring our souls out into the moonlight, that let us give you just enough of us to want more, and more always.

Listen: in the stillness of the snow, the words whisper from every tree, every book, every bough, every light:

Once upon a time.

That is where you will find us.

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And here is the secret.

And here is the secret. Listen: I will only tell it once. You may revisit it in a hundred stories, but this is the only time you will hear it from my, from our, lips.

There is no difference between the copse of trees at the bottom of your garden and the ancient forests you wander when you can. It is only that in those ancient forests we rise wilder, and you can take a journey on foot to a place where you can believe in us.

There is no difference between the oldest story ever told and the story that springs into your mind now, fully formed. They are the same, and we are in both of them.

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All forests are one forest.

All forests are one forest. All legends are one legend. Each forest is new. Each story is new.

But I did not tell you where we come from, you will say. I have been telling you all along. We come from the breath between the lifting of the pen and the word on the paper. We come from the shoot of green that struggles up through the snow. We come from the deepest forest, the oldest story, and we are as present in the three trees in the schoolyard and the library book as we are, as we ever were, there.

Don’t fight it. Come in. I have more stories to tell you. So many more.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: LAQ, Noelle Bento Mesh Head
Skin: Lumae, Elvi (All current skin lines are in the Lumae Main Store)
Hair: Analog Dog (natch), Sassafras
Eyes: ADD Andel, The Three Forest Eyes
Gown: Senzafine, Emmeline Gown (Available now at We Love Roleplay)
Necklace and Earrings: Empyrean Forge, Fortuna
Circlet: A&A, Winter’s Malice Circlet
Antlers: Attic, Long Antler White
Nails: Cazimi, Winter Ombre Nails

Environment:
Location: Awenia, The Book Forest
There are so many things in the book forest that I cannot begin to list them all. But Awenia is open to the public throughout the month of December: Please come and experience it for yourself!

 

 

 

Small World

Every day’s the same. I get out of my beautiful bed with all the fluffy pillows. I attend to my personal toilette. I put on the single dress in the wardrobe. I make my way up to the tower roof to eat the breakfast that will be waiting on the table there. And then, I go down into the garden.

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Surrounded on all sides

I am surrounded on all sides, by walls, flowers, topiary, trees. This is my garden, or I’ve always thought of it as my garden.

There are times when I think I know it so well I’ll scream from the sameness of it all. But then sometimes, something changes.

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A new tree

Today, it’s this heart-shaped tree of roses. It’s just enough to delight me for a time, to make me reach for the familiarity elsewhere in the garden. There used to be a bench here, but now there are just the three identical benches around the garden’s central circle. I wonder if other things in the centre will change, and I wonder when.

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I must be a princess.

I must be a princess, yes? I know from the storybooks on the ground floor that only princesses get locked up in towers and taken care of by forces they cannot see. It seems the only explanation for why I’ve been here for as long as I can remember, why I see no-one. I know that princesses in towers are either being groomed for their destiny, or somehow separated from it.

There’s a loud beeping sound, something harsh and out of place. Three sets of two beeps: beep-beep, beep-beep, beep-beep. It stops for a few seconds, then starts again. Then, by some grace, it stops altogether. I hear a murmuring voice in the background. But by this time, I know that voice is just the wind, and I suspect the beeping noise is some trick wrought by the unknown magician who imprisoned me here, something to make me not wander round the garden as if sleepwalking. It’s not the first time it’s happened: it sometimes happens more than once a day, but always at least once. Although it’s been happening for as long as I remember, it still shakes me, still brings gooseflesh to my arms. It’s so different from the quiet rush of the waterfall, the chittering of birds, wind in the trees.

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My beautiful statues keep me company.

Throughout the garden, there are beautiful statues, and they keep me company. I sometimes talk to them. I imagine they answer back, but I don’t know how a real conversation works. If another person, someone like me, walked into the garden and began talking to me, I think I’d run. Or faint. Fainting might be more seemly in this dress.

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Here is what I would look like right before I fainted.

Here is what I would look like right before I fainted. I’m sure I’ve seen a picture of a Princess fainting somewhere, and she was definitely doing this with her right arm.

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Days grow longer and shorter.

Days grow longer and shorter; that’s how I can tell there are seasons here. I get up when it’s light; I go to sleep when it’s dark. It’s an easy way to keep oneself on some kind of schedule. I don’t know why I need a schedule, but it seems important.

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The flowers change more often than anything else.

After I talk to the two statues, I make my way to the flower beds. The flowers change more often than anything else, but they are always in bloom. I used to think if I somehow stayed in the garden all night, I would find the beings who plant and maintain them, but I never can stay awake all night.

Someone is crying; it sounds a long way away. Faeries in the wood, I tell myself. Trying to trick me into somehow scaling the walls and going to find the baby. It’s a trap I’ve read about many times.

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Is someone watching me?

Is someone watching me? I wonder what it would look like from afar, if they were. They’d see the beautiful garden all spread out before them, the pink and blue sky, the lighted trees—and the lone princess, about to sit down on the bench where she always has her lunch. Lunch arrives in a little box, and I never see them leave it. Today it is a fresh salad with tomatoes. I pick out the onions. I do not like onions. I rationalise my dislike by telling myself that when a Prince comes (and he undoubtedly will; it’s in all the stories), I do not want to have bad breath and scare him away!

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Is there more than this?

I sometimes wonder if there even is more than this. If one day I’ll wake up and there will be nothing outside: no walls, no trees, just a big span of nothingness, whatever that looks like.

Sound of murmuring voices. Sometimes they get a bit louder, but I can never make out what they’re saying. Crying. A shout. A series of beeps.

It’s time for bed.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Skin: Lumae, Catwa Cinnamon, Tone (All current skin lines are available at the Lumae Main Store!)
Hair: Analog Dog (natch) Top Shelf (Available at the Analog Dog Main Store!)
Ears: Swallow, Shiny Elf Ears
Crown, necklace, and bracelet: AvaWay, Pearl Diadem, choker, and bracelet
Dress: The Annex, Lilith Gown in China (a VIP colour) (Lilith is available at The Trunk Show until 18 November)
Lipstick and Nails: Cazimi, Ravishing Reds
Eyes: Song, Demi Eyes

Environment:
Location: Awenia, The Box
Tower: Poetica, Willow Tower
All Statues: By Nacht, various (Fallen Angel, Ladder Moon, Armillary Sphere, Forfax, Drawing Down the Moon, Proserpina, Brigid
Large Trees: HPMD, Garden Tree 09 With Lights
All Topiary and Topiary Benches: Rivendale, Fairy Labyrinth
Fountain: Rivendale, Fairy Labyrinth (rare fountain)
All bounding walls: Rivendale, Gothic Garden
Rose with Ladder: Boudoir, Painting Roses in Red
Background Trees: Studio Skye, Enchanted Woods
Poses: All from An Lar (An Lar Poses is sadly closing its doors after several years of offering some of the most subtle, and most versatile poses in Second Life (in my opinion). Everything at the An Lar Main Store is 50% off through the 31st of October.)

The Elusive Hunicorn

Voiceover:

Today on “Mystical Creatures” we investigate a creature not often seen in captivity or in the wild, the elusive Hunicorn.

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Hunicorns are shy and wild

Hunicorns are shy and wild, loving nothing more than environments like the massive Forest of Awenia, where our photographer found this one deep in the brush. Awenia’s great forest is a fertile environment for many mystical species, and we have investigated several of them here on “Mystical Creatures”, but the Hunicorn has managed to elude us in the past.

Using a sophisticated invisibility spell and long-range lenses, our photographer has captured for us some of the best stills we’ve seen of this almost mythical mystical creature.

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Spooked by the smallest noise

Even the smallest noise is enough to spook this magnificent creature. See how the muscles in her legs barely tighten as she turns and flees, with a glance back to almost exactly where our photographer was hiding in plain sight. It could be that the Hunicorn has some invisibility detection. No appreciable studies have been done on Hunicorns, as even catching them in this way is almost impossible: the prospect of potentially trapping and negotiating with one has not, to our knowledge, been considered by most scientists studying mystical creatures today.

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A pause for breath

Our photographer’s lens catches her as she pauses for breath: note her strong features and her sharp gaze. Hunicorn markings are said to vary, but this one falls within what we have come to think of as the standard range: very dark skin with a dappled pattern of  swirls and spots unique to this species.

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Leg markings match the arms and shoulders

In this photo, taken before she fled, we can show how her leg markings match the arm and shoulder markings. Even her long mane mirrors these colours.

Our photographer spent nearly four days invisible in the Forest of Awenia, so we have many more photographs to show you. Let’s try to piece together how the Hunicorn spends her day.

After locating her nest, deep in the forest, our photographer set up a blind nearby and attempted to help us understand a day in the life of the Hunicorn.

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Sunrise Dance

Our Hunicorn rises just before dawn and helps herself to a breakfast of leaves and berries. Later during the day, she will strip bark from trees for a midday meal, which is how the vulgar term “tree-stripper” came to apply to the Hunicorn. It has long been believed that Hunicorns are solitary, and we can see that this one certainly is. In four days in the forest, our photographer did not see her interact with another of her species; in fact, he only glimpsed one other Hunicorn at a distance. After her breakfast, her habit is to head to one of the cliffs overlooking the Awenian Sea and dance the sunrise. So many of our mystical creatures are keenly attuned to the cycles of light and dark and of the moon; although we had not glimpsed this phenomenon before, it came as no surprise. Our photographer notes that she seems alive with joy during this part of her daily routine.

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Moving inland

While she will revisit the cliffs more than once over the course of her day, now the Hunicorn moves inland, closer to the trees whose bark she will strip for her midday meal. We have never seen a Hunicorn without these boots; it is not known whether they sport hooves or human-like feet as the boots never seem to come off.

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Keen senses

A quick tilt of the head, and the Hunicorn makes a decision as to how she’ll spend the remaining hours of the morning.

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We find her again on a rock.

Soon enough, our photographer catches up with her and finds her sunning on a rock near one of the pools in the forest.

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She rests here for the next two hours.

She rests here for the next two hours, sunning and preening, grooming her mane with her long fingernails and polishing her jewellery with tree leaves.

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Magical smile

It is said that the Hunicorn’s smile is bewitching, and our photographer now attests that this is true. When she smiled, he said, she “exuded such joy that I was tempted to just approach her and embrace her.” Of course, he knew that his observation would be over if she saw him approach. “It took every ounce of willpower I had to resist that urge,” he remembers with a rueful smile. We’re having a hard time resisting, and we’re only looking at a photograph.

After her meal of tree bark, she spends the rest of the day roaming around the forest. Occasionally, she will touch a tree that bears her mark; our photographer suggested that she thanks the trees for their bounty. Of course, since no one has ever heard a Hunicorn speak, it’s impossible to verify this assumption.

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Later in the day, she revisits the cliffs.

Later in the day, she revisits the cliffs; the shadows grow long.

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An afternoon run

She spends a few minutes running the cliffs back and forth, then retreats to her nest for a long afternoon nap. It could be that there is some of the feline in the Hunicorn; she spends quite a lot of time napping, it seems.

Her afternoon nap extends into evening, and when she is active again, it is already dark.

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Moonbathing

Our photographer’s lens catches her, just once more before it becomes too dark to photograph, as she basks in the glow of Awenia’s full moon.

Then, she is off into the forest again, but without night vision equipment, our photographer cannot follow.

We hope you have enjoyed this glimpse of the elusive Hunicorn. In the weeks and months to come, we hope to show you more of this magnificent creature. As always, thanks for tuning in to “Mystical Creatures” I’m Dafydd heb Feddwl, and you’re listening to Fae Worlds Radio.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Cate Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Analog Dog (natch), Mato (Available NOW at Hair Fair!)
Skin: The Plastik, Unicorn Kinn Darkin Skin (Available NOW at Lootbox!)
Eyes: Seydr, Versicolor Eyes
Boots: DHB, Latex Pony Boots
Items from the Unicorn Kind Gacha (Available NOW at Lootbox!):

  • Kinn Armlet
  • Kinn Bracelet
  • Kinn Chestpiece
  • Kinn Necklaces
  • Kinn Ears
  • Kinn Horn
  • Kinn Tail
  • Kinn Top
  • Kinn Panties
  • Kinn Tailrings

Environment:
Location: Awenia Forest
Poses: Bauhaus Movement, Manga Stream Series

 

 

 

 

Fairy Dancer

It’s not often that I dedicate a whole blog post to a single dress: I can only think of one or two times where it’s happened before.

But there’s a special kind of grace to a dress made for dance with prim skirts swaying in a world of mesh, as if Isadora Duncan floated into a New York City ballet class near the turn of the 20th century.

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Prim skirts swaying in a world of mesh

Designer Geryn Sloane, the creative mind behind G Sloane, describes this dress as “old school”, and in terms of Second Life design, I suppose she is right. But I didn’t feel “old school” when I wore this beautiful dress around SL the day I photographed it. I just felt like a dancer. Maybe that’s because I remember great prim clothing designers, some of whom didn’t make the leap to mesh and have faded into the all too ephemeral Second Life past.

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A sense of power

There’s a sense of power about this dress, even though its details are delicate: the lovingly textured floral pattern on the applier bodice and pelvis, the right leg, are of that pink and purple mixture that you would, if you’re like me, probably associate with something called “Fairy Dancer”. Even if you’d never seen the dress, you’d possibly describe it like that. The ragged hem with its floating blossoms rounds out the free-spirited style, and that is an excellent touch. You could be wisteria in this dress. You could be Rose of Sharon. You could be a flower in the wind.

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A flair for the dramatic

There’s no shortage of potential stories with a dress like this, either. I confess, I almost wrote a story around it and then decided it would be more fun just to natter on about the dress, for once.

But where can you get this dress? It’s available TODAY at the Spoonful of Sugar Festival in Second Life.

The Spoonful of Sugar Festival is a charity event benefiting Doctors Without Borders. Doctors Without Borders sends medical aid to places where need is great, like conflict zones. They support humanitarian causes and report on the problems they see. Nearly 90% of donations to Doctors Without Borders goes straight to the work itself.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: LAQ, Athena Bento Mesh Head
Skin: Lumae, Elentari, with face Elvi (for LAQ and GA/EG heads)
Hair: Analog Dog (natch), Merida (because with an outfit like this, if the hair doesn’t move, you might as well stay home!) You can pick this up at the Analog Dog Main Store.
Eyes: Seydr, Versicolor Eyes
Cosmetics: Cazimi, Glitter Cheeks, Festival Eyeshadow, Tinted Lip Gloss
Nails: Insomnia Angel, Sorcery Nails (Available NOW at The Fantasy Collective!)
Dress: G Sloane, Fairy Dancer (Available TODAY at the Spoonful of Sugar Festival!)
Body Jewellery: L.I.C., Gold Standard (And many thanks to Lindy for following me on Flickr; otherwise I’d never have looked through her photostream and found this beautiful and very versatile set. There’s much more to it than I’m showing in these photographs!)

Environment:
Location: The Box, Awenia
Lighting: Sometimes LumiPro, sometimes a single soft spot projector
Poses: Musa, from the Fantasy Poses series (plural: series singular and plural, like sheep, are spelled the same in English. I had to double check that with Dr Google)

The Ancient and Honourable Company of Fae Pirates?

So, after the trip to Helgen Francis, I thought I was done with this spate of weird dreams. It’s not as if nothing interesting has happened since then, either. The Book Forest has rearranged itself. I went off adventuring to Eclectica for the first time in ages. And, possibly coincidentally, there have been whisperings through the grapevine that The Gypsy Davey has been seen in Awenia. I thought I was safe. I thought I had finally gotten over the strangely vivid dreams that’d been plaguing me for months beforehand.

I was wrong.

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The Ancient and Honourable Company of Fae Pirates?

“The Ancient and Honourable Company of Fae Pirates? You have got to be kidding me.” The disembodied voice that had welcomed me to this Company (a company of one, it seemed, but more on that later) faded off into the distance. Then the only sounds were wind, the unending sounds of the sea rising and falling, and the chittering of a small purple dragonet who didn’t seem to want to leave me alone and kept hovering there near my shoulder.

“I don’t even like ‘Talk Like a Pirate Day'”, I muttered. “First person who says ‘Arr, Matey’ to me gets shanked. Or at least glamoured into a very small fish.”

This wasn’t a problem because apparently there were no other people. Perhaps the Company were all off doing some raiding. But as we seemed to be, well, becalmed (not terribly far from land, but still), my mind kept going to more sinister places.

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What if the crew had all been murdered?

What if the crew had all been murdered? What if I was sent here to help them, but I arrived too late? And of course, the same fate might be awaiting me.

The little dragonet chittered.

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What are you trying to tell me?

What are you trying to tell me, little fellow? I wondered. I may have even asked it out loud: it wasn’t like anybody would be making fun of me for inappropriately chatting up a dragonet.

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The Opposite Direction

I walked the length of the disturbingly empty ship to the stern, the bit that was closest to—well, some people might call it land: it appeared to be a building on an otherwise barren rock rising out of the sea. Still nothing. Even though I had no idea what the dragonet was trying to tell me, it chittered excitedly while looking in a completely different direction than I was.

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Where’d they go, Henry?

“Where’d they go, Henry?” I asked the dragonet. “You don’t mind if I call you Henry, do you? I’m Gwyneth.”

The dragonet made a chittery-scolding sound. Maybe he was trying to give me the location of the rest of the crew, assuming they existed. Maybe he just had bad associations with the name Henry.

“Of course, I can’t argue with this outfit, Henry,” I rambled on. “If I were actually going to be a pirate, even a dream pirate, I would totally wear something like this.” The dress with all its frills was a lot of fun, but I couldn’t decide whether my favourite piece was the leather thigh-high leggings or the strapped boots. It is, of course, a good thing that Fae Queens don’t actually walk on the earth; we hover a few centimetres above it as a rule. I haven’t put weight on my feet in years, and I think stiletto heels might just do me in. They are absolutely gorgeous, though. For a fleeting moment, I wondered why I didn’t have any weapons. “Aren’t pirates usually armed to the teeth, Henry? Maybe not Fae Pirates, hm?”

Once again, Henry chittered excitedly. I could only assume he was agreeing with my assessment of the pirate outfit.

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Glad

“I’m glad you agree with me, Henry,” I said. “We’d have had Words if you didn’t.”

Henry made a sound suspiciously like a burp.

And then, in perfect English, he said: “Your Majesty. The crew are marooned on that island with all the trees over there.” He used a wing to point. “You were the only expert we could get on short notice.”

Expert? I blanched.

“My name isn’t Henry; it’s Beauregard. You’ll need to pilot the ship to the island.”

I squinted. “Looks close enough to swim from to me.”

“Looks are deceiving, Your Majesty,” Henry—I mean, Beauregard—continued. “These are serpent-infested waters.”

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I have no idea how to pilot a ship!

“What? I’ve no idea how to pilot a ship!” I exclaimed.

“Well, the Navigational Owl has flown off, said something about mating season,” said Beauregard.

“Navigational….owl?” I asked.

“Sure; all AHCFP ships have one,” replied the dragonet.

“AHCFP,” I said.

“The Ancient and Honourable Company of Fae Pirates?” Beauregard sighed. “You recall I welcomed you to our numbers when you arrived on board.”

“That was you?” I asked.

“Of course,” he said. “I have different tones of voice for different purposes. I’m not two dimensional, you know.”

“I never said you were!” I envisioned that this argument could go on like this for some time, so I just sighed and approached the large steering wheel.

After that, it all gets muddled. I think we were entering some kind of vortex where we were Sure To Drown when I finally woke up.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Simone Bento Mesh Head
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Seattle (Available NOW at Ultra!)
Rings, Claws, and Dragon Bracelets: RealEvil Industries, Dragon Rings
Ears: Swallow, Shiny Elf Ears
Eyes: Zombie Suicide, Starry Night Eyes
Clothes: Silvan Moon Designs, Buccaneer Celeste (Available on 4 September at We Love Role-play!) —includes dress, leggings, boots, and hat
Hair: Analog Dog (natch!), Nori (Available at the Analog Dog Main Store!)
Necklace: RealEvil Industries, Passion Collar
Subdermal Heart: Ama, Forever Yours
Wings: The Plastik, Maliana Bento Wings
Septum Ring: Venge, Kelpi Nosering
Beauregard (or Henry) the dragonet: Hextraordinary, Dragonet Companion (rare!) (Available NOW at The Arcade Gacha!)

Location: Athan Selidor, Beyond The Island
Poses: All from Frolic Poses
Lighting: LumiPro
Facial Expressions: Lelutka AXIS

 

Book Forest Expanded (The Changing Landscape of Awenia, 4)

I watched out the window as the boundaries of the Book Forest expanded. It’s funny, when things like this happen: you don’t actually see things moving—it’s just that a few seconds, or minutes, or hours later, you note that something has changed position.

The Book Forest is its own entity. It began as a concept in my mind, I admit, and I did have something to do with the first little iteration of it, but since then, as with all the wild places of Faerie, it has developed a mind and soul of its own. I noted the changing boundaries for a few days, but I stayed away because I knew the Book Forest would take care of itself. When the boundaries seemed to settle (or at least have been in the same place for a couple of days), I took Bran and his trusty smartphone camera, and we went down to take a look at the new Forest.

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The Book Forest

This is my favourite photo that Bran took as we explored the remade. Book Forest. He took so many pictures!

This entry is going to be image-intensive: there are 26 photos of the book forest. I’ll do my best to keep the text within reason!

As with all the best forests, the first thing I felt when I walked into the Book Forest is this wonderful silence. The outside world just falls away.

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The outside world fell away.

The outside world fell away, and suddenly we were in the world of “once upon a time”.

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Joy and wonder

I was overcome by a sense of joy and wonder. The first thing I noticed was this beautiful area that looked like a homage to writing and to books themselves.

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Stop shooting me!

“Stop photographing me and concentrate on the forest!” I admonished. “Bran, seriously; look where we are.”

Bran looked at me and winked. “I am looking, Your Majesty,” he said.

“Perv,” I shot back.

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Look at all the little chairs!

“Look at all the little chairs! Some of them are even shaped like books!” I couldn’t resist the urge to play storyteller.

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Bran seemed to like it too.

Bran seemed to like it too: he just kept photographing me as I laughingly told him to stop. I loved that the statue behind me was supported by two armloads of books, that the mushroom table had a stack of books on it. There was just so much to see.

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I wanted to tell stories here forever.

I wanted to tell stories here forever; there was something about the ambiance of the place, magical, removed, and yet so solid.

But there were many other things to see, so I stepped down from the tree stump podium and we walked further in to the forest.

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The next stop was a tiny house.

The next stop was a tiny house with books on the steps as if somebody had just run in to make a cup of tea.

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A mysterious air….

There was a mysterious air about the little cottage, as if magic occurred there. I wondered if it was the residence of some Author or other.

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Seriously, stop photographing me!

“Seriously, Bran—stop photographing me! If you do it again, I will make a photo face!”

The camera clicked. Again.

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I warned you!

“I warned you, Bran!” I shouted. “You know not to test me!”

To my embarrassment, there was no other sound than the electronic click of Bran’s mobile phone camera.

I sighed. “Fine. Let’s see what’s in this house.”

Bran insisted that it was rude to just walk into someone’s house, even if nobody was there. Some part of me, the part that grew up in Southeast London where places have bars on the windows, knew that. But Queen Gwyneth, you know. She goes anywhere she likes.

In the end, I folded. “Fine; but let’s look through the window at least.”

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It looked like someone was just moving in.

It looked like someone was just moving in: there was an empty bookshelf, and the only inhabitants were two cats. I do like cats.

“Maybe we could get to know whoever lives here,” I mused.

“Maybe,” Bran said. “But there’s more to see.”

“Yes, yes, yes,” I said.

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Beautiful trees behind the house.

There were beautiful trees behind the house. “You know what?” I said. “I really like that all the paths are made from books.”

“Oh, you noticed that, huh?” Bran smirked. “Your powers of observation are truly staggering, Your Majesty.”

“I don’t think you’re allowed to talk to me that way, Bran.”

“I have a photograph of you making a very rude selfie face, Your Majesty.”

“Fine.”

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Signs everywhere

There were also little signs everywhere; I liked that touch. And there were beautiful lamps, even though we didn’t need them in the bright sunlight of Faerie during the day. The fairytale books with their pop-up paper castles and other little touches gave us something new to look at every time we turned.

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Book Fort!

“Bran, Bran! Look! It’s a book fort! Take a picture of that!”

“I already did, My Lady.”

He was way ahead of me.

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Happily ever after

Once again, I was caught by these signs. Up ahead, there was this amazing glowing door set in to a rock.

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Another “strange” sign

There was another “strange” sign in front of the glowing door (See what I did there?). I wanted to go through it, but Bran resisted. I won, of course, but when I tapped on the door, nothing happened. How annoying.

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Somewhat changed, but still recognisable.

The book forest had kept some of its old features, and this little ruin was one of them. There were new features here, of course—and weirdly, some of them seemed to have come from my Frog Prince dream a couple of weeks ago. How very odd. The moon on a stand was here, and the little figuring of the frog prince himself looking into a mirror. I just shook my head.

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Candy Apple Tree

I loved this candy apple tree, next to another one of those beautiful pop-up books. It was hard to keep all the little details straight: I could see I was going to have to come here again and again.

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Stump House

This little house made from the largest stump I’d ever seen, had also been a feature of the old forest, but the surrounding roses and trees were new. I guess the book forest’s expansion provided more room for beautiful things. And I’m never one to discount the appeal of beautiful things.

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Book bed and bridge

The little area with the bed made from a book and the table full of interesting things was till there, as was the bridge. But there were new book piles, even a large book arch.

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Then I turned around, and this little house took my breath away

Then I turned around, and this little house took my breath away. When I checked, it was empty. “It’s just waiting for someone small to move in,” I told Bran.

“Like… Clutie, for instance?” Brian asked. He was smirking.

“She’d never leave me,” I said.

“How wonderful for you.” The expression on his face said everything. Bran and Clutie… yeah; they don’t get along.

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Wow, look at that book arch!

“Wow! Look at that book arch!” I couldn’t wait to stand under it. “Bran, Bran! Take a photograph!” I shouted.

Brian smirked. “I thought you didn’t want me to make any more photographs of you, on pain of your selfie face,” he said.

“I changed my mind.”

Bran rolled his eyes.

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Rose petals, like a kiss

Now, sometimes funny things happen around you when you’re a Faerie Queen. In this case, it was hundreds of rose petals, just falling from the big book arch. So I blew them at Bran. To thank him for the photograph, of course.

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The Narnia Wardrobe

I call this the Narnia Cupboard. It’s been here since the Book Forest first sprang out of the surrounding woodlands. I like to think it was the first thing that appeared here, and maybe everything else sprang from it. It’s special.

But we were approaching where the paths converged, nearly back to the Book Forest’s entrance. I couldn’t help but feel a little sad. I only get to discover a place for the first time, once.

Until it remakes itself again, that is.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona Bento Mesh Head
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Seattle (Available NOW at  Ultra!)
Nails: Cazimi, August VIP Nails (You can pick this up at the Cazimi Main Store!, but only if you’re a member of the Cazimi VIP Group)
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Eyes: AviGlam, Doll’s Eyes
Gown: Junbug, Pippa Gown (Available NOW at Equal10!)
Hair and Antlers: Analog Dog (natch), Doe (Available FOR JUST TWO MORE DAYS at The Gacha Garden!)
Autumn Necklace & Earrings: Bliensen & MaiTai, Augumn (Available NOW at Collabor88!)
Book of Shadows Necklace: Maxi Gossamer, Soul Catcher Book of Spells
Rose Petals: Persefona, Floating Rose Petals 2

Location: Awenia, The Book Forest
There are so many things to credit here that I know I will leave some out and possibly put some in that aren’t shown properly in photographs. If you have questions or would like to know more about any item, just leave a comment here or message me in-world (Gwen.enchanted), and I’ll give you whatever information I can. Also, some of the items have stories around them, and I am not able to resist telling a good story, ever.

Book Paths and Forest Bounding Books: Una, Book Path. (This is now a group gift at the Una Main Store!) Una Daxter sent me this, I think because I played her Alexandra gacha about a million times at a Fantasy Gacha Carnival. It’s one of the coolest things anybody has ever given me, and I have blogged and photographed and credited it more times than I can count. It was absolutely the inspiration for the Book Forest, and I cannot thank her enough for that small gift. Although it’s been in every blog post featuring the Book Forest, I haven’t told this story before. I love it very much.
Forest Entrance Book, Brown Book Scenes, Leaf Book, Book Bed Fae Swing (with a tree): BananaN, all from Story Book Gacha except the swing. (You can find this at the BananaN Main Store!)
Tree Stump Chairs and Podium, Mushroom Seats, Tree Spirit With Books: Merchants of Dreams, Writers’ Place. This was a live auction item from the 2015 Relay for Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire. It’s not available. It was given to me by the people who won the auction so that it could be placed at the Milk Wood Writers’ Colony, and there is a copy of it there in Gossamer Down so that anyone can use it to hold workshops and meetings.
Cabin, Doors of Durin, and Pink and White Pop-Up Castle Book: Spell, A Forest Tale Gacha, Cabin; Spell, Middle Earth Gacha; and Spell, Once Upon a Time Gacha  (You can find all of these at the Spell Main Store!)
Butterfly Tree with Faeries: Simply Shelby, Butterfly Tree (Available at the Simply Shelby Main Store!)
Lighted Book Tree: {e}lusive Designs, Book Tree With Lights. ({e}lusive is in between stores at present; however you can find their stuff at the {e}lusive Marketplace Store.)  Dema Fairport, who created this beauty, is a SL creator, DJ, and photographer. She was in my Visionaire class, and we’ve been friends ever since.
Lanterns, Wishing Well, and Bridge: Raindale, Maplemoor Gacha. (You can find this at the Raindale Main Store!)
Signs: All these signs are from the stunning 8f8 Storyteller’s Burrow gacha. (You can find this, and lots of other amazing stuff, at the 8f8 Main Store!)
Big Book Fort: Cheeky Pea, Book Nook gacha, Book Fort (You can find this at the Cheeky Pea Main Store!)
Ruins: Ionic, Sacred Ruins (Available at the Ionic Main Store!)
Décor in Ruins:
-Silver Moon on Stand:
Air, Frog Moon Silver (Available NOW atEnchantment!)
-Table:
Dust Bunny, Autumn Calling, Wooden Table (You can find this at the Dust Bunny Main Store!)
-Book on Table With Rose:
Konpeitou, Beauty and the Book w/Rose (Available NOW at Enchantment!)
-Frog with Mirror (on table)
Konpeitou, Frog Prince Mirror (Available NOW at Enchantment!)
-Alchemy Book Scene: Stormwood, Alchemy Book Scene!)
-Story Book on floor (and many other story books scattered around the forest): Divine Creations, Tell Me a Story (It looks like Divine Creations has some Real Life and isn’t active in SL at the moment, but you could probably find pieces of this gacha on the Marketplace.)
Candy Apple Tree, Fairy Tale Chairs, Table, Parfaits, Daisies & Ladybirds, Will-O-Wisp Tree, Glam Poppies, Persian Carpet Grass:  (Available at The Looking Glass’ Horizon Dream Region!) I’m a proud Looking Glass fan.
Stump House: Since 1975, Fairytale Garden House (Available at the Since 1975 Main Store!)
Magical Tree House: Kazza, Abode Tree (I couldn’t find this at their main store; it was an ultra rare from a fantasy gacha. You can find it on the SL Marketplace, but it’ll cost you.)
Roses: {anc} Sugar Rose Field (Available at the {anc} Main Store!)
Giant Book Chair and Wonderland Book Arch: Boudoir. (Available at the Boudoir Main Store!)
Trees: There are so many different trees in here I’d go nuts listing them all for you, but they’re from places like Rivendale, Harshlands, Keke, and Happy Mood. You can go to every single one of these places and find the most amazing stuff ever.

Thank you to everyone who previewed the expanded Book Forest and gave suggestions, reactions, or just was nice to me while I went through all my obsessive stories about Cool Stuff. These people include, but are not limited to: Mystical Edenflower, Nyza Stillwater, LLRiven, and Nathaniel Ballard.

The Appearance of Fitness

I don’t work out. Yes, I really do get up like this, and even if I didn’t, fae glamour provides me with the means to look any way I like. That said, I do like to dance, and sometimes muscle memory is nice. So when I discovered a faery-run dance studio in Nu Jyorck, I booked a couple of lessons to see how things would work out. Bran came along to photograph me. I swear, he’s like my personal paparazzo.

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I made a photo face.

So of course I made a photo face. Bran accused me of looking at too much Instagram. OK, maybe I have been overindulging a bit, but the faces humans pull when you try to take their photographs really amuse me!

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Steps

My tutor was of course a hot Sidhe guy of Scandinavian descent: in Nu Jyorck I wouldn’t have it any other way. We ran through some basic dance moves before working on some expression and flexibility.

SS-NB BLOG - 1 (1)

Expression

SS-NB BLOG - 4

Flexibility

Finally, we went into a cool down, though I argued that I really didn’t need it.

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Cool down

Best thing about this whole experience?

Dinner and dancing with hot Scandinavian Sidhe after class!

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Feet: SLink, Pointe Feet
Head: Vista, Lia Bento Mesh Head
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Scarlet (Available on August 28 at Designer Showcase!)
Nails: Cazimi, Blustery
Ears: Swallow, Elf Ears, High Definition
Eyes: Song, Luna Eyes (Available NOW at Kustom9!)
Top: The Nerdy Birdy, Bralet (Available NOW at LoveFest!)
Leggings: The Annex, Billie Leggings (A NEW RELASE at The Annex Main Store!)
Hair: Analog Dog (Natch) (Available NOW at The Gacha Garden! —this hair fat pack is a free gift if you join the Gimme Gacha group [free to join])
Shoes: Hopes Creations, Arren Tootsie Bows

Environment: FoxCity, Photo Booth, Dance Hall
Poses: FoxCity, Body Language, except for
Lotus Pose: SLC, Heat Sand