Unprepared

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You know that feeling when you’re transported to another Realm in your dream, and you’re pretty sure it’s not an ordinary dream?

You know that feeling when you’re transported to another Realm in your dream, and you’re pretty sure it’s not an ordinary dream? As in, pretty sure you’ve been dream-napped b some super-important spirit or Elder Fae, or perhaps a deity, either to get told off or given something, which is mostly just cryptic advice?

No?

Well, anyway. I found myself in a dark realm. The floor looked like marbled clouds. And of course there was a voice from out of nowhere.

You are unprepared, said the voice.

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“Unprepared for what?” I asked.

“Unprepared for what?” I asked. I could not see anything beyond the circle of the light that shone pretty much directly into my eyes.

You will certainly find out when the time comes. The voice held a hint of laughter. Stupid self-important messengers of Fate (or whatever).

“That is not really helpful,” I replied. “How am I meant to know what I’m unprepared for if nobody tells me?”

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Maybe, said the voice, you’re just meant to be aware you’re unprepared.

Maybe, said the voice, you’re just meant to be aware you’re unprepared. 

I sighed audibly, and I think there was some noise from far away.

I can take you to a place where you might learn more, the voice said, relenting.

Then, there was a noise like insects, like maybe locusts…..

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And I found myself in a grove, deep in some forest, crackling with magical energy.

And I found myself in a grove, deep in some forest, a grove crackling with magical energy. “Well,” I said to myself, (but out loud so whatever generated the voice could hear me), “this is certainly different from the last drop point.”

As well it should be, hissed the voice. This is the primordial druid’s grove. See how time is stopped here. Only the magic itself, and magic within magic, can move or think. Or perhaps it is just that everything else moves and thinks with such slowness that even I cannot comprehend it. 

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Absolutely nothing looked familiar.

Absolutely nothing looked familiar, unless you count that trees and logs and structures themselves look familiar, at least to an extent.

I’ll leave you now, said the voice. And I wager you will find some answers here. Take care to stay inside the magic circle—but of course you know that rule already. Then there was a ripple of laughter on the wind, and that presence was gone.

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“Well, great. What do I do now?”

“Well, great,” I said. “What do I do now?”

“You could always try listening,” said a voice that could almost have been the wind, or maybe the wind through leaves.

I turned toward the dryad. “I didn’t think you could be frozen,” I said. “You’re made of magic, like the Sidhe.”

“We often appear frozen, to other beings,” replied the Dryad. “When we move at the pace of trees, well. We are simply slower than others.”

“So what should I be listening for?”

“I don’t know. But I would like to see you dance. Would you mind dancing for me?”

Oh, great, I thought. This is no ordinary dryad. She is some sort of elder spirit, and I won’t get anything until I give her exactly what she wants. So, I said, “Very well,” and imagined music in my head until I could find the feet to dance.

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I started slowly, as I always do.

 

I started slowly, as I always do, and oddly I could feel the candles flickering in rhythm with my movements.

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The dryad squealed with delight when I leapt into the air.

 

The dryad squealed with delight when I leapt into the air. “Oh, what a pair of legs!” she gushed. “Why, you might almost have propelled yourself outside of that protected circle, where I could really talk to you….”

“Not going to happen,” I replied flatly.

“I could give you a great gift,” she said slyly.

“And what might that be?”

“My embrace,” she replied. “Imagine, living forever, calm in the forest, with none of your petty little worries to bring you down. ”

“I’ve danced for you,” I said.

“So you have,” replied the dryad. “I suppose you think I owe you something now.” If I didn’t know better, I’d say the voice sounded sad.

“That’s the way these things usually work, isn’t it?”

“Very well.”

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And then, the wind rose….

 

And then the wind rose, so strongly I thought I might fall over. In front of me there seemed to be a wall of sand, or something fluctuating.

I could not look away.

And on that wall, I saw an image of a beautiful, playful, brown-spotted seal, swimming without a care. She flops up to sun on a rock and falls asleep. And then, a quiet boat cuts across the water from behind her; she only wakes up when the net is dragging her into the boat.

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And then, I was back int he druid’s grove.

 

And then, I was back in the druid’s grove.

“Did you see it? Did it help?” wondered the dryad.

“I did see it, and I’m not sure,” I replied. “But I honour your rank and age, and I will be honoured likewise if we should meet again, beautiful sister of the wood.”

“One day you will ask to embrace me,” said the dryad.

“Perhaps,” I replied.

And then I woke up to sunlight streaming through the curtains in the treehouse, and Bran coming in with fresh coffee and fruit. On the whole, I think I far prefer living in a tree to actually being one.

Style Card:

Dark World:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Nyne, Dabour (Available on 10 August at Hairology!)
Eyes: Mesange, Sanford Eyes (Available NOW at Lost and Found!)
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Savory (Full face and body Omega applier)
Dress: AdoreZ, Dream Dress (Available NOW at Fable!)
Shoes: SlackGirl, Bling Shoes (Available NOW at Fable!)
Necklace: The Little Bat, Goddess Necklace (Available NOW at Fable!)

Druid’s Grove:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Sintiklia, Bloom
Eyes: Mesange, Sanford Eyes (Available NOW at Lost and Found!)
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Savory (Full face and body Omega applier)
Clothes: Noble Creations, Ancient Persian (Bracers, Greaves, Pauldrons, Tiara, and Veil) (Available NOW at the Fantasy Gacha Carnival!)

Setting:
Daisy fields, tree tunnels, stump, three small trees, scrying pool, candles, and the Dryad Herself, all from Rivendale, the Druid’s Grove Gacha (Available NOW at the Fantasy Gacha Carnival!)
Large Tree & Grass Surround: Hayabusa, Elegant Tree Plane
Ruin: 22769 [bauwerk], Ruins
Deer: All from the Half Deer Fallow Deer set; pictured are Nostalgia, Leap, Watchful, Graze, and Walk
Wolves: Jian, Grey Wolf Set; pictured are Sleeping and Static Look L
Foxes: Kite, Foxy Pups; pictured are We’re Cute and Sleeping
Fairy: Boudoir, Enchanted Flying Fairy

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I’d never give Gwyneth vague dream premonitions without it!

skinlogodiap   FABLE2   Hairology Logo - 1   MESANGE LOGO 2017   [NC] - Noble Creations - LOGO

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What Does It Mean…

Gwyneth:

Gwyneth:

Mabon has come and gone, and with it the passage of the Realm’s power from the Summer Queen to the Winter King. My personal dislike and distrust for Maric notwithstanding, I believe he will do his best to keep our realm safe and secure. The ceremony was short and intense: I felt the power pour out of me as if all my breath was stolen, and I’m afraid the King must have had to carry me to my bed. Much as he might have wanted more, the physical exchange of power was an almost ritualised kiss, which I worked in to the ceremony itself. Funny how naturally being a priestess comes to me, now that I’ve been on My throne for more than a year. And what a year it’s been.

I’ve promised myself and the Fae Folk that I’ll not sleep through the winter months this year as I felt compelled to do last year. So much happened while I was hibernating in my beautiful garden, holding on to the spring.

But still, I wonder…

What does it mean to be a Winter Queen?

What does it mean to be a Winter Queen?

What does it mean to be a Winter Queen?

Turn again, Year, and Turn the Queen to Winter
Sing again, Wind, a bring her dancing centre
Call the tales of Mabon, let the power flow
Queen to King and Light to Dark and so the Seasons go.

The Queen is in her Bower, dressed in crimson gold

The Queen is in her Bower, dressed in crimson gold

The Queen is in her Bower, dressed in crimson gold
The Wind has blown the Spring away and left her leaves to hold.

Am I irrelevant? Am I a beautiful figurehead with nothing to do but plan parties and try to teach my children how to interact in our world?

Am I merely the memory of  spring?

Am I merely the memory of spring?

Am I merely the memory of spring?

The King waits in the Shadows, cloaked with smoke and horn
We count the Summer down with him and see him rise, reborn

Oh, darkness cloaks the Lady's Bower: watch her wear the Spring

Oh, darkness cloaks the Lady’s Bower: watch her wear the Spring

Oh, darkness cloaks the Lady’s Bower: watch her wear the Spring

Then cast it off like Autumn rags as all the Faery sing

Then cast it off like Autumn rags as all the Faery sing

Then cast it off like Autumn rags as all the Faery sing.

Will I become cold and arrogant?

Will I become cold and arrogant?

Shall I turn dark with the season?

Shall I turn dark with the season?

How do I behave? Does my soul turn cold with October?

How do I behave? Does my soul go cold with October?

How do I behave? Does my soul go cold with October?

Now bring her wings of gold and white, and cast her face like stone

Now bring her wings of gold and white, and cast her face like stone

Now bring her wings of gold and white, and cast her face like stone

Even with the season's turning, I can still feel the warmth of summer inside me.

Even with the season’s turning, I can still feel the warmth of summer inside me.

Even with the seasons’ turning, I can still feel the warmth of summer inside me.

What does that mean? I know I am the spirit of summer, the light of the realm, but….

But there is also the cold. The wind. The dark promise of long nights and short days.

And turn her Widdershins with Wind to make her Winter Throne

And turn her Widdershins with Wind to make her Winter Throne

But there is also the cold. The wind. The dark promise of long nights and short days.

The closing doors of Time will take her into Autumn’s breast
And weave with Wind her Harvest gown, and never, never rest.

Can I see myself, a Winter Queen on a Winter Throne?

Can I see myself, a Winter Queen on a Winter Throne?

Can I see myself, a Winter Queen on a Winter Throne?

Come Mabon, come Samhain, come Harvest, come Hunter
Bring Apples, bring Cider, bring cakes against hunger
Come Winter, come Darkness, come fierce Winter King
And guard well this Lady til Imbolg brings Spring.

Cold, cold, cold.

Cold, cold, cold.

Cold, cold, cold.

Cold.

Style Cards:

Crimson Dress Photos:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Stella
Skin: Lumae, Niska Bare
Makeup: Eyes, Blacklace Beauty. Lips, Izzy’s
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Eyes: Mayfly, Luminous Borealis
Hair: Catwa, Princess Bun
Dress: PoshTale, Deiphe Gown & Train*
Crown: NSP Florals, Lady Gwynevere (Nobility)
Shoes: Aisling, Enchanted Rose Heels
Necklace: Illusions, Silumira Necklace
Tattoos: Things, Aigneis and Airell (Available at The Secret Affair!)

Blue and Gold Gown Photos:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Stella
Skin: Lumae, Niska Bare
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Eyes: Mayfly, Luminous Borealis
Hair: Truth, Nayeli
Makeup: Slackgirl, Drama Eyes; Izzy’s, Free Natural Lips
Dress: Mistique, Mydaiel Blue*
Cloak: Junbug, Hilda’s Black Cloak
Tiara and Earrings: Supernatural, Ophelia
Necklace: Empyrean Forge, Aglaea’s Splendor

Lavender Dress Photos:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Stella
Skin: Lumae, Niska Bare
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Eyes: Mayfly, Luminous Borealis
Hair: Catwa, Mia
Dress: Spyralle, Esyld Skirt and Top, Dusk*
Necklace: Cae, Cernunnos
Belly Crystal: Earthstones, Amethyst
Crown: Kibitz, Flower Crown, Lights, Ultra Rare
Shoes: Muka: Feetwrap
Tattoos: Things, Aigneis and Airell (Available at The Secret Affair!)

Brown Dress Photos:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Stella
Skin: Mudskin, Reina Pale
Ears: Mandala, Steking Ears
Eyes: Mayfly, Luminous Borealis
Hair: Exile, Memory Bliss
Dress: Belle Epoque, Enchanted Princess, Brown (Available at Jackpot Gacha!)
Jewellery: The Plastik, Autumnus (Available at Shiny Shabby!)
Wings: ClaVv Gatotkaka, Golden Rustic Wide Wings
Shoes: Slink Margot Ballet Slippers
Tattoos: Things, Aigneis and Airell (Available at The Secret Affair!)

White Dress Photos:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Stella
Skin: Lumae, Niska Bare
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Eyes: Mayfly, Luminous Borealis
Makeup: White Widow, Face Tattoo Arctica
Hair: EMO-tions, Jewel (Available at We Love Roleplay!)
Dress: Evie’s Closet, Iseult Gown
Crown and Collar: Aisling, Sumiana, Gold
Shoes: TumbleTwig & Skjern, Pearls of Muse, White
Throne: Boudoir, Wearable Winter Queen Throne

*These three beautiful dresses were featured at September’s Fair Play: Second Life is a Game event, and I meant to get this blog entry out before the event closed; unfortunately, RL got in the way. I hope to be more on top of October’s great Fair Play offerings!

I am deeply grateful to Nathaniel Ballard (benbold) for some Photoshop tweaking on the Winter Throne photographs.

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never leave home without it! 

The Amazing Catwoman: A History

The Amazing Catwoman:

The Amazing Catwoman:

So I had this chat with Dyisi, who is a Satyr. I’d never met a Satyr before, let alone a female one: I don’t think they really tell you about female Satyrs in school mythology, although I guess there have to be some, else where do the baby Satyrs come from? Not that you ever hear about baby Satyrs either, come to think of it.

Anyway, Dyisi had obviously been conscripted by her to tell me what a bad little elf I’d been. I listened less than patiently while she explained to me about paradoxes and some shit like that. She caught me at a bad time: after the whole ‘guard this event’ business, I’d wandered off as far into the Unseelie part of the forest as I possibly could, because I was having a problem.

See, I spend most of my life glamoured to the hilt. And all through that event, my glamour kept wavering, and it didn’t seem like there was much of anything I could do about it. After the event, I couldn’t hold it at all, so I ran off because I didn’t want anyone who was at that event, certainly not the Queen’s Consort of the Captain of her Guard, to see me as I was … as I am.

As I am. What a funny phrase that is. “As I am” has changed so much over the last three years.

My birth name is Astrid Fenella Tacey Wallin.

My birth name is Astrid Fenella Tacey Wallin.

My birth name is Astrid Fenella Tacey Wallin. My dad’s Swedish and my mum’s English. I have an older sister, Fiona. I have three  first names because each member of the family gave me one when I was born. Astrid from my dad, Fenella from my mum, and Tacey from my sister, who was three at the time and might have been trying to say “Stacey”, but nobody’s sure. Anyway, my mum  looked “Tacey” up: it is a real name, just really uncommon, and it means “quiet”. Fuck that.

This picture here was taken on the best night of my life, two weeks before everything changed. My fiancée, Kevin, took the picture. It was right after he became my fiancée. You can’t see the rock in this picture, but never mind that: he took rock pictures after we got back to his place that night.

In rock picture number one, he made me laugh.

In rock picture number one, he made me laugh.

In rock picture number one, he made me laugh. “What? I said. “You want me to just point to the ring and smile or something?” I hate it when he catches me laughing, because I don’t like how small and squinty my eyes get when I laugh, so I asked him to take another one, same pose, without me laughing.

Here's that one. I like it a little better.

Here’s that one. I like it a little better.

He is a really good photographer: he is … was … studying it in uni. I don’t know where he is now. After what’s happened to me, I can’t imagine he’s dead. But maybe he is. There was a lot of blood.

Even though it doesn't show the rock, this is my favourite picture anybody has ever taken of me, ever.

Even though it doesn’t show the rock, this is my favourite picture anybody has ever taken of me, ever.

Even though it doesn’t show the rock, this is my favourite picture anybody has ever taken of me, ever. In some pictures, you have to pretend you look good. But I think he made me beautiful in this one.

And these photos, plus my beautiful engagement ring with the amethyst and the zirconia, are the only things I have left of my old life.

It was Gwyneth convinced me to get into LARPing, and I’m glad she did, because without the LARP, I’d never have met Kevin. And I liked the dressing up bits of it. I was never into the fighting stuff: I mean, they taught me some archery once and I was rubbish, so I just never went any further with it. I was happy to be  Kevin’s wench and dress up in cute fantasy clothes that made me look prettier than I am. Sometimes I got to dress up as his slave girl: he always liked that. It was only a game, though: I’m much too cheeky to be a slave, really. And I had one useful talent: I was in massage school at the time, so I could offer massages for goods and services, which usually went over well with the kind of people you sometimes meet at LARPs—computer guys who spend their weekends pretending they’re in a fantasy novel. I know it’s a cliché, but I’m sure some of them didn’t know many girls, I guess, would be the polite way to put it.

But anyway. Gwyneth and I grew up across the street from one another, and we’ve been … we were … best friends for as long as I can remember. We went to the same school, but in secondary school we went to different places. I always knew she was way smarter than me, but when everything changed, she was in the process of becoming a university professor like her parents. And I was in massage school. I guess it was an unlikely friendship.

Enough about that, though. We were on our way home from this big LARP, the last event of the summer, put on by this huge LARP conglomerate called Shining Lands. It’s basically like a big campout, only we hate camping so we stay in the lodge, with lots of role-play and a pretend war, and lots of guys in armour they made themselves. The costumes are brill. Last big party of the event is this big charity auction to benefit Shining Lands and enable them to rent spaces and put on other events. Gwyneth always made something for it—she’s a keen knitter—and Kevin would auction off a photoshoot in character or something. Richard, I don’t know what Richard did. Emma was kind of new to LARPing and just along with us for the ride. Anyway, I’d dressed up in this metal bikini getup with a collar and armbands, and I’d got a good price for a series of massage treatments over the next six months, as long as the winner was based in London. That poor guy who spent £300 to get massages from me must have been pretty pissed off when he heard the news. And why am I even worried about him? I don’t even remember his name.

I remember being pissed off because as we got into the car Gwyneth whispered to me that Richard had (finally) kissed her. I was like, “Why didn’t you let me take a picture of it?” I was always doing that: taking candid shots of people doing what they do. I used to get lectured about bringing my iPhone into events, but fuck them. It’s play. I play with my iPhone. I didn’t have time to bitch at her, because we had to leave the carpark in a hurry or get charged more. So I pulled a pair of jeans and a t-shirt over the metal bikini and played car boot Tetris for as long as I could stand it, then just told them to throw shit in the back of the MPV and we’d sort it later. I was right pissed off that they hadn’t done the packing earlier, but blah blah blah. Nobody listens to Fen.

We were heading for the M11. We got to the merge and everything was fine. Richard and Gwyn were arguing about who got the best stuff at the rialto, Emma was reading a book, and Kevin was handling the satnav. I don’t know how I didn’t see the lorry, but we must have been in each other blind spots or something, because he barrelled in to us at full speed just as I was about to complete the merge. The MPV went over on its head and there was a shitload of glass. Kevin wasn’t moving, and I was having trouble breathing, and there was some sort of a scuffle in the back seat: I don’t know what that was about. I was trying to get the damn window down so I could crawl out, but then, I don’t know. It was like my lungs were filling up with water, and I couldn’t breathe, and then everything went dark. The last things I remember hearing were loads of car noises, honking, some sirens in the distance, and Richard screaming Gwyneth’s name over and over, telling her not to get out of the car. Then, everything went black and I felt really floaty, and I heard this voice, like in the movies when Jesus calls people to heaven or something, only it didn’t say, “Welcome my child,” or any such bullshit as that.

It just said, “Svart Alfar”.

I remember pain, like I fell on something spiky, but only bruised myself. And I don’t know how long I was out.

When I came to, I was on some kind of camp bed in a bright room—the light hurt my eyes, I remember.

When I came to, I was on some kind of camp bed in a bright room—the light hurt my eyes, I remember.

When I came to, I was on some kind of camp bed in a bright room—the light hurt my eyes, I remember.

“I think she’s coming around.” A deep voice, an unfamiliar accent.

“Pity. I was hoping she’d bought it during the night.”

“Shari, it’s a big room. We all have to share. You’re sharing it, full stop.”

There was a sigh from the other end of the room. I uncurled slowly—everything hurt—and opened my eyes.

Shari was a tiny thing.

Shari was a tiny thing.

Shari was a tiny thing—I thought even I could take her in a fight—and her room looked like some boarding school princess bedroom, with the fancy computer and the pretty pictures and the loft bed with fairy lights.

I squinted and tried to focus a little more clearly on Shari.

I squinted and tried to focus a little more clearly on Shari.

I squinted and tried to focus a little more clearly on Shari. Was she… her eyes were funny. And her head seemed too big. And she had ear cuffs on that made her ears look pointy, and her hair was half blue and half blonde. Wow, talk about your fantasists. She’d have been a big hit in LARP-land, I thought.

“Your name, Svart. What’s your name, and who do you work for?”

“What?” I continued to squint toward Shari.

“OK, let’s get some things straight, right off the bat,” Shari said.

“OK, let’s get some things straight, right off the bat,” Shari said. “This is my room. You are here because I am a nice person and I am letting you share it. That is your corner. The rest of the room belongs to me.”

I ignored the guy’s question and nodded at Shari; she seemed to have the authority, at least in this room.

“Your name, Svart.

I tried to speak. My mouth was so dry. It came out “Mumble, mumble, Tacey Willan mumble, London, United Kingdom.” My voice was getting clearer with each word. “And what the living fuck is a Svart?”

“You are, you lying sack of shit, and we need to know who you work for and how you found our safe house.”

I blinked a couple of times. The only thing in my limited field of vision was Shari and her fairy bed.

“She’s got no idea,” Shari said.

“She’s got no idea,” Shari said. She hopped off the stool and stood beneath the fairy lights. “Great, we’re in some kind of fucking soap opera where beautiful dark elf chick comes to us with no memory and ends up being the saviour of the world or something.”

A sigh from somewhere to my left. The guy again. “Shari, shut up.” He cleared his throat. “Tacey,” he said, testing the name. I never use that name, but fuck it. “Tacey, what happened? Did someone drop you here? And if you don’t mind my asking, are you a runaway slave or something?”

I actually laughed at that—my first post-wakeup laugh. “Costume,” I said. “For a charity auction.” I didn’t think he needed to know more than that. “There was an accident. I need to get back to my friends.”

“No sign of an accident anywhere around here,” said the guy. “Look, my name’s David, so now you know that. I’m the security guy here.”

I stood up weakly.

I stood up weakly.

I stood up weakly, nearly lost my balance a couple of times. “Steady there,” David said. He held out a hand for me, but I refused to take it as an afterthought: reflexively though, my hand shot out. And then I saw my skin.

“What the fuck happened?” I asked. “Am I covered head to toe in bruises?” I started looking at my legs, my feet. All this silvered grey colour, with dappling in spots, almost iridescent in the light.

“You’re a Svart Alfar, idiot,” Shari said derisively. “A dark elf.” She smirked. “And you’re illegal.”

“Illegal?” I repeated. “How can I be illegal?”

“Simple,” David said. “Svart Alfar are against the law. Too magical. All deported to Faerie sixteen years ago. Any who manage to stay here are smart enough to glamour themselves to the nines and not get caught. So how’d you do it?”

“How’d I do what?”

“How’d you find our safe house?”

I sighed. “Look, arsehole,” I said. “I don’t even know what a Svart Alfar is, and the last thing I remember was a lorry barrelling into my MPV at full speed.” I didn’t see any need to tell them the whole story.

“You know what?” Shari tilted her head, and I could sort of see some mist around her. “She’s telling the truth. She’s got no idea.”

“You know what?” Shari tilted her head, and I could sort of see some mist around her. “She’s telling the truth. She’s got no idea.”

I eyed Shari. “What are you?”

“I’m an elf, like you, only I’m a Lios Alfar, a light elf. We’re not illegal.”

I looked at Shari. I looked at myself. “So I’m fucked,” I said flatly.

“Not necessarily,” David, who looked human from what I could see under his hat, replied. “Svart have incredible glamouring powers, and we could use another fighter.”

“A fighter? I’m no fighter,” I said. “I’m a massage student.”

Once I'd stretched a bit, I realised something: I felt stronger.

Once I’d stretched a bit, I realised something: I felt stronger.

Once I’d stretched a bit, I realised something: I felt stronger. “So Svart are fighters with incredible glamouring powers.”

“That’s right,” David said. “And we’re going to get in a shitload of trouble if we do anything other than report you to the authorities, so….”

“You’re fucking kidding me,” Shari said. “You want to take in this stray?”

“Can’t hurt, might help,” David replied. “Besides, how are we going to explain we have a Svart?”

“I don’t know,” Shari retorted. “We found it in our front garden, waited overnight, then rang the authorities when the offices opened?”

“And then they’ll send her to Faerie at best,” David said. “At worst they’ll decide she’s some kind of criminal and incarcerate her.”

“I’m not looking forward to either of those options,” I said quietly. “What do I need to do to learn what I have to learn in order to survive and then get out of your hair as quickly as I can?”

And that, minus a few details, is how I became associated with House Geasan. They taught me how to hide, how to fit in, how to fight. Of course, they also sold the metal bikini for money and made me wear secondhand rubbish for a year until I got to the point where I could steal my own. I came up with the alias of The Amazing Catwoman when I first looked in the mirror and saw my eyes. It must have been that evening, or maybe even that afternoon; I don’t remember too well.

To make a long story longer, that’s why I was so worried when my glamour stopped working in Faerie.

I admit it, I became a bit paranoid, wandering around the Unseelie Forest.

I admit it, I became a bit paranoid, wandering around the Unseelie Forest.

I admit it, I became a bit paranoid, wandering around the Unseelie Forest. I kept waiting for other Svart Alfar to jump out of the woods and claim me or take me hostage, or something.

Let's just say I didn't let go of that awesome spear Wulfrich issued me with.

Let’s just say I didn’t let go of that awesome spear Captain Wulfrich issued me with.

Let’s just say I didn’t let go of that awesome spear Captain Wulfrich issued me with.

And after my talk with Dyisi, I don't think I wanted to see anybody, not for a few days at least.

And after my talk with Dyisi, I don’t think I wanted to see anybody, not for a few days at least.

And after my talk with Dyisi, I don’t think I wanted to see anybody, not for a few days at least. So I spent my time in the forest, hunting and fishing, avoiding contact with various Fae, none of whom looked much like me or reminded me of any of the stories David and Shari and the other eight people (eight!) who lived at House Geasan told me. The one thing they did tell me was to avoid the Sidhe at all costs. And this Realm of Faerie? Is lousy with Sidhe. Half the people at that dinner were Sidhe, and I barely got a glimpse of Queen Gwyneth. How odd that a Fae Queen would have the same name as my former best friend who is probably dead or God knows where right now. What I do know is that Sidhe, particularly Royal Sidhe, are not to be trusted as their stock in trade is using other Fae races for their pleasure. Despite the fact that we Alfar have been around for much longer than the Sidhe, they seem to have made it to the top of the Fae food chain and are the unquestioned leaders of Faerie. Probably, I’ve heard it said, by stepping on the backs of the Lios Alfar. 

And of course I'm stuck in this realm because *she* detected something out of whack when I landed on her altar.

And of course I’m stuck in this realm because *she* detected something out of whack when I landed on her altar.

And of course I’m stuck in this realm because she detected something out of whack when I landed on her altar. Which means that sooner or later she’ll want to meet me and probably question me, and mark me as an Enemy of the State or something.

In the three years I’ve been doing jobs for and with House Geasan, I’ve never met another Svart Alfar. At this point, I think I’d probably drop dead if I did meet one.

So after three days in the Unseelie Forest, I returned to Captain Wulfrich. I expected punishment; instead I got a hearty clap on the back and a “welcome back”, and a “hope you enjoyed your time off hunting; we’ve got a new job for you.”

It seems there is some trouble with the Goblin Kingdom, so they have me guarding this bridge between their Mallorn Tree and the Seelie Lands.

It seems there is some trouble with the Goblin Kingdom, so they have me guarding this bridge between their Mallorn Tree and the Seelie Lands.

It seems there’s some trouble with the Goblin Kingdom, so they have me guarding the bridge between their Mallorn Tree, which even in Alfar lore is the centre of a Faerie Realm’s power, and the Seelie Lands. I’m swapping off with six other guards, all of whom are men, all of whom are taller and lighter than I am. Four of them make fun of my ears constantly; the other two are afraid of me. I don’t even know their names.

I'm spending my days doing battle exercises and getting used to the very weird concept of swordplay in a skirt.

I’m spending my days doing battle exercises and getting used to the very weird concept of swordplay in a skirt.

I’m spending my days doing battle exercises and getting used to the very weird concept of swordplay in a skirt.

I’m a little bummed about not being able to carry my spear while guarding, but Wulfrich says it’s safer to have a sword and a shield, so he’s the captain.

And no more of that gold and blue velvet nonsense: I’m in good battle armour, not the kind I used to wear in LARPs, which basically said, “Come at me, monsters! I shall vanquish you with my baps!” with the stag insignia of Queen Gwyneth’s Guards.

Sooner or later, I'll have to meet the Queen.

Sooner or later, I’ll have to meet the Queen.

Sooner or later, I’ll have to meet the Queen. And of course they all talk about her as if they’re in love with her: the rumour is that Sidhe Queens have this almost hypnotic influence over their subjects. I hope very much that one of the great unknown powers of the Svart Alfar is that we are immune to such tricks, but I somehow doubt it: if that were true, we’d be at the top of the Fae food chain, and not the Sidhe. Of course, they also say this Queen is different from other Sidhe Queens in that she accepts everybody on their own terms, but I’ll believe it when I see it. Every brush I’ve ever had with Fay Royalty over the last three years has led me to believe that none of them can be trusted, no matter what they tell you.

I can’t decide if I want to meet the Queen and get sprung from this Realm as quickly as possible, or if I want to put it off for as long as possible. I guess til that day comes, I’ll just stay here on this bridge, where nothing seems to be happening, squinting against that goddamn blinding tree, and thanking all the gods that leather, at the end of the day, is pretty good at absorbing perspiration.

Style Cards:

Fenella in London/Rock Shots
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Michelle (Exclusive for The Lexi Project!)
Hair: Exile, Under The Sun
Eyes: Dulce Secrets, Terra Firma Eyes, Hydrangea (Available at Designer Showcase!)
Lipstick: Dulce Secrets, Bee Stung Lipstick (Available at The Makeover Room!)
Dress and Shoes: Posh Pixels, Punkette (Available at Marvelous Monthly!)
Bracelet: Earthstones, Mesh Squared Bangles
Necklace: Maxi Gossamer, Clockwork Steampunk Heart
Necklace: Tantalum, Ultra Rare Steampunk Book Necklace
Ring: Aisling, The Good Wife

Fenella Waking Up at House Geason
Body: SLink
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Unicorn Dark Grey Smooth
Hair: Exile, Letters And Lipstick
Eyes: Gauze, Paradox Cat Eyes, Amber
Ears: Gauze, High Elf Ears
Metal Bikini, Collar & Bracelets: Una Medieval, Irelia Silver
Ring: Aisling, The Good Wife

Shari at House Geason
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Michelle (Exclusive for The Lexi Project!)
Ears: Mandela, Steking Ears, Season 5
Hair: Elikatira, Gia
Eyes: Boudoir, Fairy Eyes
Necklace: Ellabella, Magi Necklace
Top: Serendipity, Secrets of the Ancient Dragon (Available at the Hidden Sanctuary Event, The Ancient Ones Return)
Jeans: Evilkyoot, Express Jeans
Boots: Ison, Cult Riding Boots, Black

The Amazing Catwoman in the Unseelie Forest
Body: 
SLink
Skin: 
7 Deadly s{K}ins, Unicorn Dark Grey Smooth
Eyes: Gauze, Paradox Cat Eyes, Amber
Ears: Gauze, High Elf Ears
Hair: Calico, Quinn
Clothes: Blue Moon enterprise, Celtic Breeze (Available at We Love Roleplay!)
Spear: MacMoragh & Muse, Obara’s Spear
Necklace: Otherskin, Selene
Ring: Aisling, The Good Wife

The Amazing Catwoman Guarding the Bridge
Body: SLink
Skin: 
7 Deadly s{K}ins, Unicorn Dark Grey Smooth
Eyes: 
Gauze, Paradox Cat Eyes, Amber
Ears: 
Gauze, High Elf Ears
Hair: Calico, Quinn
Outfit: Phunk, Princess Warrior Armor, Sword, Shield & Boots
Brooch: Miamai, Game of Thrones House Emblems, Baratheon (rare)
Ring: Aisling, The Good Wife

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never leave home without it!

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