Magic Storytime in the Book Forest

Sometimes we get guests! And by guests, I mean, people (for some definitions of people) who come into the Book Forest to read lots of lovely stories to whoever happens to be there.

Storytime is an important Book Forest tradition that continues on no matter who’s there to read or be read to, to tell or be told to.

storytime blog - 1

The Literary Tent

This evening’s special guest chose The Literary Tent, possibly because it just showed up in the Forest a couple of days ago, and possibly because it’s a mite nippy in the Forest this time of year and she felt it was cosier.

storytime blog - 2

But who was our special guest?

But who was tonight’s special guest? You probably will figure it out if you look at the title of the book she’s talking about with all our Book Forest animals. It’s the one and only Gretel of the fairy tale, all grown up and happy to share her story with the world!

She started by introducing herself and letting the animals ask a few questions.

“But why are you wearing jeans?” asked the chocolate bunny

“Because I can.”

“And how come your hair is blonde?” asked the blue-haired unicorn.

“Because it grew that way.”

“Did you really forgive your mum for all that stuff?” asked the adorable grey kitten.

“After years of therapy, sure.” She sensed the questions were going to get tougher. “But that’s all the Q&A we have time for: I want to tell you my story, and also tell you about this magical book!”

“Ooh, it’s a magical book, just like us!” The baby dragon leaned over to nuzzle the griffin sparrow.

“That’s right!” said Gretel. “This is a magic book, because, while I’m going to tell you my story today, I also want to show you how you can come back here and just touch this book, and it will read you the story and even show you pictures!”

storytime blog - 3

Wow! The actual gingerbread house!

The hedgehog in the hat piped up, “Wow! The actual gingerbread house!”

“That’s right. All the pictures in this book are of my actual story, all gathered from the events as they occurred. Don’t ask: it’s magic,” she said, only a little sternly.

“But how does the magic book work?” asked the tall hare.

“All you have to do is touch it and tell it you want to see my story in pictures and hear someone read it to you,” Gretel explained.

“So I could touch it with my horn?” asked the blue-haired unicorn.

“Sure,” said Gretel.

“How about noses?” asked the fat white squirrel.

“That will work too.”

“Antlers?” asked the gruff-voiced reindeer.

“Yep. It all works!”

Everybody was amazed—so amazed that Gretel used the book as she told her story, adding in little bits and pieces that she only tells when she’s speaking to groups in person.

The best part is, she left a copy of the book right here in the book forest, so when you visit, you can hear all about Gretel and her story too.

Do you want your own magical copy of Hansel and Gretel? You can get it on the Second Life Marketplace!

Style Card:
Amazing Magical Book: Albion Scriptworks, Hansel and Gretel Story Book Combo (Available on the Second Life Marketplace)

Literary Tent: KraftWork, The Literary Tent (Available at The Liaison Collaborative)

Gretel:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Aida Bento Mesh Head
Skin: The Skinnery, Maite Lelutka Mesh Head Applier, in Snow
Hair: Analog Dog (natch!) Guenevere B, Light Blondes (rare!) (Available at GachaLand)
Blouse: !go! Luba Corset (4)
Trousers: Spirit, Sienna Jeans Black
Shoes: Beyond the Mists, Ribbon tie Dance Shoes
Cats on Gretel: Sweet Thing, Cabootie Cat, Head Plop and Shoulder Bud

Location: Awenia, The Book Forest
Alas, Awenia has drifted back into the mists after our open month of December 2018. You can visit again sometime in May of 2019, we think!
Poses: Bang, Ground Sits
Animals: too many to mention, but if you want to know about specific ones, IM me in world and I’ll try to give you the information you need!

Thanks to the geniuses at Albion ScriptWorks for creating such a whimsical and fun product. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next!

My Well-Kept Secret

Yes, I have one. I know I frequently wax rhapsodic about ballgowns and the like, talk about beautiful venues, and explore exotic pocket universes.

But….

Annex PJs BLOG - 1

Sometimes there’s nowhere I’d rather be than here

Sometimes there’s nowhere I’d rather be than here, Haven. Even though it’s my private home, and it’s not all that special, blah, blah, blah….

Annex PJs BLOG - 3

Oh, who am I kidding? 

Oh, who am I kidding? This place is spectacular: that’s why I created it this way. I could sit on my outdoor tree daybed and just stare at the water for days. And then the stars. But seriously, sometimes all a girl needs is a comfy pair of pyjamas and a good book. This book is special, by the way: I’ll be telling you more about it in a couple of days.

Annex PJs BLOG - 2

For now, I’ll just relax.

But for now, I’ll just relax, savour the feeling of flannel on skin, and not worry that I’m in a ponytail, have no idea which crown I’m wearing this evening, and indeed kind of want to ditch the whole runup-to-Yule craziness, stay in my PJs, drink a gallon of hot cocoa, and enjoy my beautiful interactive copy of Hansel and Gretl.

Style Card:
featured—
Comfy PJs: The Annex, Winter Jammies (This is new at The Annex Main Store)
Hair: Analog Dog (natch!), Swoon (New at the Analog Dog Main Store)
everything else—
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Greer Bento Mesh Head
Skin: Lumae, Lelutka Deia (All current skin lines are available at the Lumae Main Store)
Ears: Swallow, Shiny Elf Ears
Eyebrows: Alaskametro, Glimmer Eyebrows
Eyes: Euphoric, Enigma Eyes
Environment—
Location: Awenia, Haven
Special Book: Albion ScriptWorks, Twice Upon a Time, Hansel and Gretl
Tree Bed: Trompe Loeil, Lysa Branch Bed

Finally, Awenia is open to the general public! You can arrive in Faerie itself, or you can start at our official landing point, The Great Awenia Forest. For at least the month of December, the region is open for exploration and photography. When you land at either of the two landing points noted above, please read the rules about rezzing stuff and being respectful and all that, and we’ll give you a few extra landmarks as well just to get your explorations started. Over the past couple of years. Dyisi and I have worked really hard on making bits of Awenia, and I hope you enjoy what we’ve put together. In January, Awenia will close to visitors, and we will re-open sometime in mid-May to take you through the Light Half of the Year and into the Darkness again. Please visit, take your time exploring, and if you’re so inclined, help us out a bit with the tier by dropping some coins into the tip jars scattered round the Realm. 

Out of Legend

You think we come from some fairy story?

Out of Legend BLOG - 2

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.

Out of Legend BLOG - 1

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.

Out of Legend BLOG - 6

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.

Out of Legend BLOG - 5

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.

Out of Legend BLOG - 3

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.

Out of Legend BLOG - 4

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?

Out of Legend BLOG - 10

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.

Out of Legend BLOG - 7

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.

Out of Legend BLOG - 8

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.

Out of Legend BLOG - 9

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!

 

 

 

Winter Glimpses of Awenia

That feeling of accomplishment, accompanied by multiple days of hard napping, is what I’m feeling right now.

Here are some glimpses of Awenia.

Awenia Promo BLOG - 3

The Ruined Garden

Awenia Promo BLOG - 5

Town to Tower

Awenia Promo BLOG - 6

Royal Residence

Awenia Promo BLOG - 7

The Book Forest

Awenia Promo BLOG - 4

Warm Pub on a Cold Night

Awenia Promo BLOG - 1

Post Card

Finally, Awenia Faerie is open to the general public! You can arrive in Faerie itself, or you can start at our official landing point, The Great Awenia Forest. For at least the month of December, the region is open for exploration and photography. When you land at either of the two landing points noted above, please read the rules about rezzing stuff and being respectful and all that, and we’ll give you a few extra landmarks as well just to get your explorations started. Over the past couple of years. Dyisi and I have worked really hard on making bits of Awenia, and I hope you enjoy what we’ve put together. In January, Awenia will close to visitors, and we will re-open sometime in mid-May to take you through the Light Half of the Year and into the Darkness again. Please visit, take your time exploring, and if you’re so inclined, help us out a bit with the tier by dropping some coins into the tip jars scattered round the Realm. 

Stay Forever - 1 (1)

Haven’s Creation

I finally did it.

Joy of Creation BLOG - 2

Gwyneth handled the wand-waving

Gwyneth handled the wand-waving, but I, The Author, finally took a bit of Awenia and wove it in to my own personal dimension, which, like the rest of AweniaThe Great Awenia Forest and Awenia Faerie— will be open to everyone for the month of December.

Haven is a place to hang out with friends, maybe see some pretty things, and a nice quiet spot somewhere in Awenia’s uncharted space just to be.

Joy of Creation BLOG - 5

A little pocket Realm

A little pocket Realm, tucked somewhere within Awenia, Haven is a little like a house museum, in that it’s my home, but I’m opening it to people this month. The sparkly glowing dance floor might even have some events going on; I’ll try to post these as and when they happen, and of course if you’re a member of the Awenia Friends group in-world, you’ll receive updates anyway.

Joy of Creation BLOG - 7

The House Island

Awenia is built inside a so-simple-it’s-brilliant skybox from Landscapes Unlimited. It’s called a Mirrorbox. It doesn’t show up all that well in these photographs since they’re mostly of buildings, but as new photos of Awenia are released, you might begin to see what I think is so cool about this skybox. I used too many wonderful things even to begin listing all of them for this post, but at some point I’ll make an inventory for you and codify everything that’s here, at least in Haven. All the buildings are from Trompe Loeill, the big birch trees are from Balderdash, the Illuminated Oak is from Heart (front left) and Rivendale made the lovely Juniper Tree (front centre, green foliage). That covers all the trees you can see in this photo except the swing, which is from Dictatorshop.

Joy of Creation BLOG - 6

Take a peek?

Here’s a little peek inside my front window; again, too many things to detail them all here, but the porch furniture is from Trompe Loeill, and I did much of this decorating around the time that Apple Fall had that amazing 75% off sale…. yeah.

Joy of Creation BLOG - 1

A bridge and a barn

The three islands are linked via these bridges from The Looking Glass, the Dawn’s Promise Bridges that were released at the 2017 Fantasy Faire. The barn holds my personal vanity gallery of my favourite photos and pictures I’ve made since getting serious about SL photography a few years ago.

Joy of Creation BLOG - 4

Sparkly dance floor!

I put the sparkly dance floor together so my favourite tame DJs, DJ Fae and of course Nyza Stillwater, could spin to their hearts’ content. Tiny Gwyneth is there to show you that you don’t fall into the water, even if you do not have wings!

Joy of Creation BLOG - 3

This is Gwyneth’s tired face

Above you can see Gwyneth’s actual tired face! This is how she feels when she’s been dealing with me creating my own little thing in the middle of her Realm.

She would like me to let you know that the stunning headdress she is wearing is from Noble Creations. It’s called the Nymph Crown and you can get it at Whimsical, any time before December 18.

Don’t forget to visit Awenia. I hope you will like it.

Stay Forever - 1 (1)

 

Awenia’s First Winter

It is finally here: December in Awenia Faerie. There is so much more to do, but we are ready for our midwinter gatherings, snow lies thick on the ground, and there are beautiful things to see wherever you look.

As Queen, I get the privilege of showing some of the highlights to you for the first time. And, you know me. I have to have a great gown to add a little sprinkle to the frosty cupcakes, and so…

SMD WLRP 2018.12 BLOG - 5

Silvan Moon Designs’ Selenia of Galacia Gown

This is a new gown from Silvan Moon Designs, Selenia of Galacia. It’s not only festive enough to walk around on an ice rink, but it has a nice, warm fur collar (not that Fae Queens feel the cold, you understand), and delightful pearly baubles strung so as to appear to be floating around it.

SMD WLRP 2018.12 BLOG - 4

Of course, skating is thirsty work, so Witches’ Brew provides coffee, cocoa, and cupcakes!

Of course, skating is thirsty work, so Witches’ Brew provides coffee, cocoa, and cupcakes, among other delights. Even with so much in place, though: there is so much left to do. I fear tonight’s quick tour will be just that: a quick tour.

SMD WLRP 2018.12 BLOG - 2

The Dark of the Year

The Dark of the Year settles soft upon us now, and even when we have a clear day, there is often a hint of snow on the horizon. Mists rise up, obscuring even those things in the near distance into near-silhouette, and all light is magical. Behind the Realm’s iconic Last Hope statue, the Book Forest glimmers enticingly. and I cannot help but smile at the thought of our first holiday tourists arriving to see these shimmers and twinkles.

SMD WLRP 2018.12 BLOG - 3

The Land itself is a reflection of lights and shadows

The Land itself is a reflection of lights and shadows, and I think we will have to have some sort of festive dance or party, sometime soon, to celebrate Darkness flowing into the Return of Light. And, you know, nobody throws a shindig like the Sidhe.

If you’re curious, you can purchase the Selenia of Galacia Gown from Silvan Moon Designs at the We Love Roleplay holiday faire, which I think opens in just about fourteen hours. I plan to be there, with fur and pearls on!

Let me leave you with just one of the views you may see if you decide to visit Awenia Faerie.

SMD WLRP 2018.12 BLOG - 6

Awenia Faerie on a Winter’s Night

Style Card:
Perfect Winter Gown: Silvan Moon Designs, Selenia of Galacia Gown (Available on 4 December at We Love Roleplay)
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Spencer Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Truth, Zoya
Ears: Swallow, Elf Ears High Definition
Eyes: Go&See, Anona
Crown and Collar: Aisling, Sumiana Crown, Sumiana Collar (Ice)

Environment:
Location: Awenia Faerie
Poses: All from Hera, Seraph Bento Pose Set
Environment Details: too many to list: you’ll just have to come and see for yourself!

Finally, Awenia Faerie is open to the general public! You can arrive in Faerie itself, or you can start at our official landing point, The Great Awenia Forest. For at least the month of December, the region is open for exploration and photography. When you land at either of the two landing points noted above, please read the rules about rezzing stuff and being respectful and all that, and we’ll give you a few extra landmarks as well just to get your explorations started. Over the past couple of years. Dyisi and I have worked really hard on making bits of Awenia, and I hope you enjoy what we’ve put together. In January, Awenia will close to visitors, and we will re-open sometime in mid-May to take you through the Light Half of the Year and into the Darkness again. Please visit, take your time exploring, and if you’re so inclined, help us out a bit with the tier by dropping some coins into the tip jars scattered round the Realm. 

 

The Spirit of the Juniper Tree

Juniper Tree BLOG - 1

They should know we’re watching.

They should know we’re watching. And in hindsight, many of them will say they do, they did. And yet.

And yet.

And yet we still bear witness to all the secrets and horrors that mortal lives suffer, and even welcome. Is it any wonder we dryads have no great love nor devotion to humanity? Better to stay hidden, lest we be drawn into their drama, we say. Unlike our treacherous and arguably royal cousins, the Sidhe, we gain no pleasure from tricking an unarmed enemy. But over and over, we’re forced to witness every imaginable betrayal.

Juniper Tree BLOG - 10

How do we bear it?

How do we bear it? By remembering that we are souls of wood, that we do not have to be soft, that only the laws of the wild magic, such as they are, apply to us, and we need not be bound by mortal folly.

Even so, even so. Even so, there are happenings that will move even the slow and steadfast heart of a dryad. Most of us have a story: this one is mine.

I have lived as the spirit of many trees, moving from seedling to sapling, slipping away when death comes near, and many years ago, I lived in a juniper tree that was sat in the forecourt of a wealthy man and his wife.

The wife had a liking for trees, and she believed in many things it was not seemly to believe in for a woman of her age and time. She wanted a child, badly, and she came out and sat beneath my tree every single day. She told her husband she was praying. And she was, after a fashion: she was beseeching the faeries to bring her a child, whether it be her own or a changeling she did not mind.

Juniper Tree BLOG - 7

She left me gifts

She left me gifts, apples mostly. That always made me laugh. Could I not walk over to one of the apple trees and pick my own? Is a gift a gift, if one can get it oneself with so little trouble? I am sometimes plagued by these philosophical questions. But suffice it to say that apples did not interest me overmuch.

No, it was the day she cut her finger peeling one of those apples that she got my attention. She gave herself a good nick, and blood dropped onto the snow. That’s when I started listening, because while human drama doesn’t interest us, human blood, even to a tree spirit, is a lovely, lovely treat.

Juniper Tree BLOG - 2

I went away and conferred with the Council.

I went away and conferred with the Dryad Council. And bicker, bicker bicker, back and forth, but finally I was allowed to place a magical juniper berry into the woman that would certainly cause her to bear a child. It had to be done while she was asleep beneath the tree, which was a bit of a faff, but I’m perseverant (most of us are).

Juniper Tree BLOG - 3

And there follows the tale you may know.

And there follows the tale you may know, of this beautiful lady finally conceiving and bearing a child, and of her being so pleased with the baby boy that she died of happiness on the spot, once she had looked upon him.

Mortals. What are they thinking? What was she thinking, dying of happiness because she’d borne a child, with no consideration of its future, its welfare? I cursed myself for my softness in helping this lady’s wish to be granted, because while I’m not the oldest dryad in the forest, I’m old enough to know how these tales go.

Child born, mother dies, father remarries evil stepmother.

It’s drilled into us. This is how the stories go. And even if the second wife wasn’t evil to begin with, fairy stories will twist her to evil, and that’s exactly what happened here.

After a long mourning period, the man of course remarried, and his new wife gave him a daughter, and that’s about the time the story twisted her to evil.

Juniper Tree BLOG - 9

She became obsessed with her daughter’s future.

She became obsessed with her daughter’s future and decided that the best way to ensure house and lands for the girl would be to kill her older brother. Of course, it took her years to come up with this plan, by which time her daughter and the boy were beautifully bonded as siblings, despite the fact that the stepmother did nothing but abuse the boy. No-one ever called her out on this behaviour, not even her husband (also known as the boy’s father). So by the time she got around to killing him, he was something like ten years old and the girl was perhaps seven. I do not know: time goes by so quickly for mortals; for trees it is a bit more slow.

But you know the next bit of the story too, don’t you? You know that she killed her stepson by decapitating him, and then to cover up what she’d done, she placed him in a position where his sister would surely find him and knock his head off, effectively making the girl believe she was the murderess and not her mother.

I think, mortals, that there should be rules about this sort of thing. There really should be. First of all, it is not acceptable to die of happiness on the day of your child’s birth. That opens the child up to a future of torment over which you, happy mother, will have no power.  Secondly, if you’re going to murder your child, evil stepmother, it should not be acceptable to pin the blame on the surviving child whom you mean the death to benefit. Think of the psychological scars!

Luckily for the boy, the sister knew quite a bit about fairy tales, and after having seen her mother cook the boy up into blood puddings, which her mother and father ate happily at a dinner where she could only cry, she had enough wits still about her (a miracle, considering her day: oh, it makes me fume even now to think of it!) to gather up the boy’s bones and bury them beneath my branches.

Juniper Tree BLOG - 5

I sang with the wind all night.

I sang with the wind all night, and in the morning, because of the girl’s quick thinking and my not inconsiderable talents, there rose from the branches a beautiful tufted bird with snapping black eyes and a voice that could make a Sidhe queen’s frozen heart melt.

Juniper Tree BLOG - 4

We conferred briefly.

We conferred briefly, the boy and I, and then he went off to collect the things you know from the rest of the story: the gold chain, the red shoes, the mill stone. Chain to the father, shoes to the sister, mill stone to crush the stepmother. Magically, the bird becomes the little boy all alive again, and seemingly regardless of the stepmother’s corpse out there somewhere in the forecourt, the man and his two children go inside and have their dinner. Which, I just have to hope, did not include any leftover puddings from the last meal served at that table.

And that’s my story of that one time I softened my heart and tried to improve a mortal’s life. I’m so glad this is a fairy tale and not a fable. If it were a fable, I’d have to come up with a pithy moral, like, The family that kills together, chills together, or something equally macabre.

Juniper Tree BLOG - 6

Juniper Tree and Juniper Bird, from Rivendale.

Style Card:
The Juniper Tree: Rivendale, Juniper Tree (At Enchantment until November 30th)
The Juniper Bird: Rivendale, Juniper Bird (At Enchantment until November 30th)

The Dryad:
Body: Maitreya
Head: LAQ, Lisa Bento Mesh Head (New at Uber)
Hair: Raven Bell, Willow (At Enchantment until November 30th)
Skin: Fallen Gods, Wood Nymph, Spring
Ears: Eclectica Elf Ear, Creature Version
Wings: Evolved Creatures, Fae Wings
Eyes: Seydr, Hallows Eyes, Grave
Leather catsuit: !go! Findis Overalls, Brown
Wrapped Tree Top: Shi, Tree of Life Creepers Top
Boots: Illi, Medieval Archer Boots

Environment:
Location: Awenia Faerie
Apple Trees: The Little Branch, Apple Tree
Wishing Well: Hextraordinary, Wishing Well (At Enchantment until November 30th)
Basket of Apples: Finishing Touches, Basket of Apples
Stone Wall: Artisan Fantasy, Maiden Tor Stone Wall
All poses, except tree sits (included with the tree) are from Frolic Poses (Beseeching, Harbinger, and Fairy)