Val, Chapter Two: Why Don’t You Ever Write Your Äiti?

Dear Mum,

I wanted to wait until at least two interesting things had happened so that I would not be writing you letters as short as text messages. That way you could not text me and say my letters were too short! Also, I wanted to have my flat as finished as possible before I wrote this first letter so you could have some pictures of where I am writing from. Then, in the next letter, I’ll send more pictures of the shop and pictures from around town. That way, you can get to know the town I’m living in.

The End!

So, I’ll kind of start from the end, because look! This is where I’m writing you from! I had the day off from the shop, and I’ve spent it putting this monstrosity together! Had to sweet-talk the landlord into opening the roof access panel so I could get the flatpack up here more easily: otherwise I’d have had to somehow hoist it out my window and up the ladder access. I mean, I could have done it obviously, but it would have been more difficult and I might have had to buy a stranger a pizza. Anyway, it all arrived yesterday, and after four hours of remembering enough school Swedish to curse IKEA in it, I have this very serviceable covered table. I added the string lights (and I’m slightly miffed they don’t call them fairy lights over here) myself.

Fun fact: Our elevation here in Myserie is 4,190 ft in weird American reckoning, which makes it 1,277 m. That is only 88 metres shorter than Ridnitšohkka! So you know what I had to do, right? I had to get a flat on what they call here the 7th floor because they don’t believe in the ground floor. I’ll measure it properly at some point, but if we assume that each living-space storey is roughly 3m and the commercial space storey is, say, 3.5m, I’m only 66.5m short of that summit when I’m in the flat, and up on the roof, you could subtract 3 more metres. No wonder I feel so dizzy all the time here: it’s not like I’m used to even hills where we live. I have more photographs from the roof, but I know what you want to see first, so I’ll show you the flat itself.

I will get better lights soon

I took this picture really early in the morning with my iPhone on a tripod using my Apple Watch. You can see that I used the flash: I hate doing that, but it was really dim in the room. I like being far enough up that I won’t need curtains, and it’s not like they have three months of round the clock daylight here, anyway, so I won’t need blackout blinds. I’ve only met one witch so far with a familiar who can fly, and he likes me: I taught him how to say Perkele.

Now you can see my little face

Look, I even moved the tripod closer so you can see my face: You always tell my can’t see my face in pictures. I promise I am getting enough to eat, even if mostly I am not cooking very much.

Now, here is my little kitchen!

I like my little kitchen: Thank you for the Moomin poster. He is keeping me company every morning when I make my first cup of coffee before I go to the shop for my second cup of coffee. And yes, that’s the Eiffel Tower stool from my bedroom at home. I took it apart and brought it with me because I wanted something to be familiar here. I’ve had it for my whole life, and it just makes a place feel like home, you know? I know there’s not enough art on the walls yet, but I like that picture of the Aurora, makes me think of the elevation here at least. And you can’t see it in this picture, but there’s also a photo looking onto Pirkkala from the water.

I have a bed!

You worried I would just sleep on a couch or something, but no, I got a proper bed and everything. It’s even on casters so I can turn it to face against the winter if I like. And a clock that doesn’t rely on scary technology, just electricity, see? I do listen, Äiti. I was going to put a rack on the wall to hang stuff, but somebody told me they charge you money if you put holes in the wall, so I didn’t do that and just went for those little containers there. I will get something bigger maybe in time. And look, there’s my Ukonvasara I made in uni. I’m glad we kept the print of it all this time. Maybe I will see about inking it differently and seeing about making some reproducible prints. There seem to be a lot of pagans here, though they are predictably mostly Wiccans. I wish First Nation culture had held on here a bit better, and maybe we will see it rise with some of the unmaskings lately made. I only hope that like so many other American risings it will not need to become contentious in order for sides to be heard and acknowledged and not erased.

So high up!

And now for the pictures you’re going to hate!

You know I have to do this part, mum! Like that time I went zip-lining in north Wales and sent you the video without telling you what I’d done? Yes, well—the best thing about living up here is that I can do this!

Now, don’t be afraid: you know we have excellent balance, mother.

Look, I’m smiling!

And here I’m even almost smiling! You always say I should smile more!

Hey—if you look down onto the street below me, you can see the coffee shop where I go for my second cup of the day. Too bad I didn’t catch the odd old guy who’s always wandering around there.

Of course I miss you.

Do I miss you? Of course I miss you. I miss everybody. I miss Tampere. I even mis Ula. I miss Iivo and the Kalevala shop and I will miss going to Lapland for Midwinter if I can’t make it back. And I will miss the ice castle and the winter market, too. My path, though. Remember? My path. It’ll lead me back to you one day, and I know that every time my path leads me back to you, there will be song and camaraderie and the sharing of all things good.

Love,
The youngest of yours,
Valoisa

Notes & Credits

Val is a role-play character created for Myserie City RP. While I started roleplaying in Second Life something like nine years ago, I haven’t been on a straight-up role-play sim in a few years, and I’m having a lovely time enjoying just immersing myself in role-play and working with a new and different character for the first time in a long time. All these photos were taken on-sim, and I’ll take more inside the city itself once Val gets her bearings and I have a few more regular places where she hangs out.

  • Body: Maitreya
  • Head: Lelutka Evolution: Fleur
  • Skin: Wyrd, Alva in T1
  • Eyebrows: Simple Bloom, LivSpring Neutral
  • Chin Dimple: Izzie’s, Chin Dimples
  • Ears: Lumae: Leevi Medium Ears
  • Tattoo: Nefekalum, Embellishment, Titanium
  • Piercings: All From Lelutka, Fleur Facial Piercings, except
  • Septum: Venge, Kelpie Nosering; and
  • Forehead Crescent: Punch, Trine
  • Tank Top: Shovelheads, Women’s Viking Tank
  • Trousers: Neve, Minnie Pant
  • Boots: Eudora 3D, Thar Boots
  • Covered Table (on roof): Chez Moi, Applewood Picnic Table
  • Couch: Fourth Wall, Saga Sofa
  • Coffee Table: Fourth Wall, Hala Coffee Table
  • Kitchen: Merak: Happy Kitchen
  • Eiffel Tower Stool: BackBone, Breakfast In Paris Stool
  • Bed: Bazar: Stockholm Bed
  • Cabinet: Bazar, Stockholm Bedroom Cabinets
  • Lamp, Clock, Stool: Bazaar, Stockholm Bedroom

The Re-invention of Saga Silverman

It started last Saturday. My father had another of those never-ending receptions, and in the absence of my mother, I got to be the one parading around the mirrored hall, greeting guests and keeping a smile plastered on to my face.

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Of course, the dress was stunning.

Of course, the dress was stunning, a Senzafine. I’m sure someone on Father’s staff knew who my favourite designers were and took care of it properly. And I knew I looked lovely, like a mediaeval princess in a modern palace. At least, that was the impression I was trying to give.

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Someone Else in the Mirror

But the truth was, every time I caught a glimpse of my face in the tall mirror at the end of the hall, I saw myself more as a prisoner than as myself, if that makes any sense. It was like watching a stranger’s face, like seeing someone I didn’t recognise.

That’s when I decided that I, desperate rebel against my father by day, dutiful daughter by night, was going to make a change. I couldn’t do this any more.

I did make it to the end of the night.

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The last time….

But, once all the guests were gone, as I made my way back to the dressing room where Father’s PA waited to help me out of the dress, I knew this would be the last time. And as I walked out of the mirrored hall, I did not look back.

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Staring at the city

Once I got home and into my pyjamas and slippers, I stood for a while at the window, just staring out onto the city. I instructed the autophone to connect me to my mentor—let’s just call him Sampa. Of course that’s not his real name, but it sounds good next to Saga, which is my real name.

“You’ve got to get me out of here,” I said.

“What do I look like, the relocation squad?” He laughed at his own joke.

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I was serious.

“I’m serious, Sampa,” I replied. “I can’t do another one of Father’s functions. I’m starting to think I’ll lose it. Brandon von Oslo was almost attractive to me.”

“That does sound like an emergency.” Sampa didn’t sound as if he understood the urgency of the situation.

“Did you know that if you look out on the city in exactly the right way, it’s like a forest of will o’ the wisps?” I asked. I was squinting and looking out the window. “But I can’t see them at my father’s house. I get headaches there. Something heavy is on my head when I am there.”

“Ohhh,” said Sampa. “OK, let’s think about this. Do you have enough to live for a month or two without income?”

“Oh, I don’t worry about that,” I said. “You can always get work as a tattoo artist, pretty much anywhere you go. Do you know any tattooists who are really far away from New York? You have to: you know everyone, don’t you?”

Sampa cleared his throat. I heard pages turning in his obsolete little book of names and numbers and compromising information. “I have… hm. Four or five friends here in New York, even one upstate, but that’s not far enough away for you, is it?”

“Not remotely,” I said. “Ooh, a shooting star! I’m going to make a wish right now!”

Sampa chuckled. “Let me get back to you,” he said. “I may have a friend of a friend, but I’m not sure where he’s located these days.”

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I started taking pictures off the wall.

I started taking pictures off the wall. Really, I wouldn’t need to pack much. And I should remove the “odd” body paint, as Father had called it when he looked at me earlier that evening. And get my hair bleached and dyed. The apartment is one of Father’s: I would just leave all my shit, except the art stuff and the pictures and clothes that would work with the New Me… who would she be? I thought of kittens and unicorns.

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I liked thinking of kittens and unicorns.

I liked thinking of kittens and unicorns. I’d barely sunk onto the couch when the autophone rang again. “Answer,” I said sharply.

“Saga, I’ve got something for you, but it’s a little weird.” It was Sampa.

“Since when is anything we’ve done together not been weird?”

“Point. Anyway, yes; I do have a friend of a friend, but he’s,” Sampa coughed. “He’s in Alexandria, of all places.”

“Alexandria as in Egypt?”

“That’s what I said.”

“Well, that’s definitely far enough away.” I considered it for a few seconds. “Maybe I can visit the pyramids and meet some ancient gods and learn all about mummies?”

“Or maybe you could work part time in this tattoo shop until clients see what you can do and your business starts to explode.”

“Also a plan,” I said. “I’m pretty sure people like me.”

“They won’t like you down at Dragon in the morning,” Sampa warned. “Shop has got an opening, but my friend can only hold it for you for one week. I suggest you get your affairs in order.”

I laughed outright at this. “Order?” I laughed again.” Order is the enemy, Sampa.”

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That didn’t make it any better.

That laughter didn’t make it any better or any more fun to close the security gate at Dragon for the last time, just a couple of days later. They’d begged me to stay just a few more days, but I said I had to run off and play with the fairies for a while. They laughed at that. I really don’t think I’m all that funny. I really did mean I had to run off and play with the fairies for a while.

I got my hair bleached and pastel rainbowed, packed two bags and a bulging carry-on loaded with my laptop, tablet, and mobile phone. I locked the door of my apartment and shoved the single key underneath. Father—or one of his assistants—could find it when they came around looking.

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And that’s how I found myself on a plane to Alexandria.

And that’s how I found myself on a plane to Alexandria. Once the in-air wifi kicked in, I sent goodbye notes to all my social networking accounts and then locked myself out of them.

Everything is going to be different now. I have pink suitcases full of frilly clothes for fun and work clothes for work. I have holographic body paint. I have my portfolio. I have my own delicate needlework on my thighs, of course, and other people’s in other places. Every picture is a story, every window is a picture, and there are little sprites that come out when the stewards dim the lights on the plane so all these people can sleep.

Style Card:
In all photos:
Body: Belleza, Isis
Head: Genus Project:
Eyes: Go&See, Anona Eyes
Choker: Spell, Branch Choker
Poses: all from An Lar

In the mirrored hall:
Skin: The Plastik, Elvenne, Ahriman
Gown: Senzafine, Varhendis (Available at We Love Roleplay!)
Necklace: Kunglers, Adele Necklace
Hair, Magika, Love
Environment:
Photo Box: D.U.S.T., Mirrored Hall Photobox, 3D

In Saga’s Apartment:
Skin: The Plastik, Elvenne, Ahriman
Hair, Magika, Love
Dress: Les Sucreries de Fairy, Kimberly Long Dress
Slippers: The Dark Fairy, Unicorn Dreams
Environment:
Apartment: Focus Poses, Hello New York
Chair: Ison, Wooden Chair
Couch and Chair: Dreamscapes Decor, Fairy Tale Couch, Fairy Tale Chair
Coffee Table: Bazar, Toronto Coffee Table
Blue Tapestry: Consignment, Stardust
Other tapestries: DRD, Vagabond

At the Tattoo Shop:
Skin: The Plastik, Elvenne, Ahriman
Hair: Magika, No Tears
Jeans: Semller, 25 Point Jeans
Top: Goth1c0, Kath Loose Dress
Boots: DRD, Dirty Combats
Environment:
Shop: Focus Poses, Guetto Background
Tattoo Sign: Daniel Fettuccio, Neon Dragon Tattoo Sign

On the Plane:
Skin: The Plastik, Draziele, Alabarus
Hair: Magika, Solace
Clothes: Giz Seorn, Montana Outfit
Lipstick: Cazimi, Tinted Lipgloss, Natural
Environment:
Plane: FoxCity, Flight Club (Day Travel)