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.)

You Know How I Feel

Birds flying high you know how I feel
Sun in the sky you know how I feel
Breeze driftin’ on by you know how I feel

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It’s a new dawn

It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life
For me
And I’m feeling good

Fish in the sea you know how I feel
River running free you know how I feel
Blossom on the tree you know how I feel

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Dragonfly out in the sun

Dragonfly out in the sun you know what I mean, don’t you know
Butterflies all havin’ fun you know what I mean
Sleep in peace when day is done
That’s what I mean

And this old world is a new world
And a bold world
For me

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Stars when you shine

Stars when you shine you know how I feel
Scent of the pine you know how I feel
Oh freedom is mine
And I know how I feel

—Nina Simone, ‘Feeling Good’

(Video Link below credits)

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Cate Bento Mesh Head
Skin: Lumae, Lelutka Deia, T1 (All current skin lines are available at the Lumae Main Store!)
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Makeup: Cazimi, Bengali Bride
Hair: Exile, Strange and Unusual
Necklace: Empyrean Forge, Heritage Necklace
Gown: Azul, Nanceee, in Amythest (Available for two more days at theThe Spoonful of Sugar Festival!)

Environment:
Location: Awenia, The Box
Backdrop: FoxCity, God Is A Woman
Pose: PosESioN, Throne Series

The gown in this post is featured at The Spoonful of Sugar Festival,a charity event benefiting Doctors Without Borders. Doctors Without Borders provides medical aid to vulnerable people and in crisis situations. There’s a lot to see over the six regions of the Festival, but you have until the 30th of September to see everything. So pace yourself, and don’t forget to bring enough L$, because there are many places along the way to give your support to Doctors Without Borders, including five shopping regions.

Spoonful Of Sugar AD 2018

 

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)

Arise

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At the round earth’s imagined corners

At the round earth’s imagined corners, blow
Your trumpets, angels, and arise, arise
From death, you numberless infinities
Of souls, and to your scattered bodies go,
All whom the flood did, and fire shall, o’erthrow,
All whom war, dearth, age, agues, tyrannies,
Despair, law, chance, hath slain, and you whose eyes,
Shall behold God, and never taste death’s woe.
But let them sleep, Lord, and let me mourn a space;
For, if above all these, my sins abound,
‘Tis late to ask abundance of thy grace,
When we are there. Here on this lowly ground,
Teach me how to repent; for that’s as good
As if thou’hadst seal’d my pardon with thy blood.

—John Donne (1572–1631)
Holy Sonnet 7

Featuring:
Gown: LUXE Paris, Innocence Skirt & Top, soon to be available at the Spoonful of Sugar Festival, a charity event to benefit Doctors Without Borders.

Spoonful Of Sugar AD 2018

I imagine the dedicated people who give their time to Doctors Without Borders must seem like angels to many of the people they help.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Cate Bento Mesh Head
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Friday (Available NOW at AnyBody!)
Eyes: Seydr, Versicolor Eyes (Available NOW at We Love Roleplay!)
Lipstick and Eyeshadow: Cazimi, Rendezvous Pro Palette
Nails: Cazimi, August VIP Nails
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Headdress: Kosmii, Seraph Headdress (Available NOW at The Fantasy Collective!)
Wings: Remarkable Oblivion, Eternity Wings, Innocence
Hair: Magika, Cream Soda (New at the Magika Main Store!) —If you haven’t checked out Magika’s new colours and textures, you really must visit. You get almost 200 hair colours in every single pack, all for L$369. If you join the Magika group, there’s an additional group colour HUD that has some great multicolours.
Photo Box: The Bearded Guy, Moon Hall
Floating Stars: E.V.E, Dancing Stars Fireflies White Lights
Pose: Frolic Poses, Angel 3

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 Forest Meets the Trees (or, Corporate Art)

Everybody who knows me, if asked the question, “Is Her Majesty a Forest Person, or a Tree Person?” would answer that I am a forest person. I appreciate that details make up the things we see around us, and I appreciate details, but I am far more interested in the complete picture than individual pieces of it.

So when I got the invitation from Arahaelon for a lost weekend in Helgen Francis, I pictured long walks in the parks, the view of the Gyldenport bridge, evenings in the city. The address he gave me was for what sounded like a very posh hotel, just on the outskirts of the city, and he told me not to worry about anything; he’d have it all set up for me.

Don’t worry about clothes, shoes, your hair, anything. I’ll meet you at 8:00 in the hotel lobby. -A

Well, that sounded promising. I pictured those romance novels where Hero always knows exactly what size Heroine is, right down to the unmentionables, and every dress fits perfectly. Still, I brought along an overnight bag, just in case he got it wrong.

Hotel Snobette was indeed a very posh hotel! The porter who greeted me at the door gave a bow, seemed to know exactly who I was, and told me we could bypass check-in. Then he took me up to a large suite on the second floor, took my bag, unpacked it for me, and refused the tip I offered, stating he was paid enough for his services and enjoyed his job.

The room opened into a hallway, to the left of which was the bedroom and bath suite. The front was a foyer. I investigated the bedroom first, and found that Arahaelon had indeed gotten all the details right as I shimmied into the dress. Ooh, a Senzafine! Deliciously strapless, matched perfectly with the shoes he’d chosen, and with a lovely line. I got dressed, spent an hour with the hairdresser who arrived a few minutes later, and then made my way into the foyer to pass the time until 8:00.

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I opened the French doors

The first thing I did was open the French doors to the balcony. Oh, what a beautiful breeze! The hairstylist, someone from Emo*Tions, had done my hair in what she said was a popular Helgen Francis style this summer, Vindblåst. Their version of it is called Chrystal. 

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Oh, that breeze!

Oh, that breeze! I half-closed my eyes for the joy of it. I’d taken the precaution of having my skin painted properly before I arrived in Helgen Francis, because the ladies at 7 Deadly s{K}ins always know just what to do.

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I stepped out on the balcony

I stepped out on the balcony to get a different look at the room and the inner courtyard of the hotel a few doors below. When I turned around, something caught my eye.

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I couldn’t stop staring

It caught my eye, and held it. I couldn’t stop staring. While at first I’d taken in the whole of the room, I now realised the art on the walls was, well… dreadful. There was no other word for it. On second thought, I could come up with several: hideous; horrendous; monstrous; abominable; nasty. More came to mind, but why belabour the point?

I caught the hairdresser as she was leaving and asked her to take a photo of me with other examples of this fine *cough* artwork.

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Save me!

I texted this photo to Arahaelon with the simple message, Save me! Now, Arahaelon isn’t omnipresent in my life, but he is reliable when he is there, so I wasn’t surprised when he showed up half an hour early.

He kissed me on the cheek and complimented my appearance first of course; that’s only proper. But then he looked at the walls. “You weren’t kidding,” he said. “At least I got here before you took out that sickle you carry and slashed it to bits.”

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Me? I would never!

“Me?” I asked, affecting innocence. “I would never, ever, ever do such a thing!”

“Sure you wouldn’t.” Arahaelon tapped a message. “Valet will be downstairs with the car in about thirty seconds. Let’s go before you cause actual damage.”

I just laughed.

Of course, hours later when I returned, I found the artwork had been changed to line drawings of trees.

Much better.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona Bento Mesh Head
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Texas (Available NOW at  eBento!)
Nails: Cazimi, BotM, Dan’s Metallics & Glitters (You can pick this up at the  Cazimi Main Store!)
Ears: Swallow, Magic Pixie Ears
Eyes: AviGlam, Doll’s Eyes
Gown: Senzafine, Maris Gown (Available NOW at The Trunk Show!)
Shoes: Reign, Jolie Heels
Hair: Emo*Tions, Chrystal (Available FOR JUST TWO MORE DAYS at Cosmopolitan!)
Necklace: Swallow, Magic Necklace (Available NOW at Kustom9!)

Environment: FoxCity Photo Booth, The Neighborhood
Furniture, LAQ Decor, Sofa Set
Corporate Art: I feel I shouldn’t name the artist here, because Gwyneth panned so badly. If you’re curious, feel free to IM me in world, and I’ll send you to the artist’s web page, although you may be surprised at how much it will cost you to have one of these pictures in real life!

Don’t Go Into the Basement!

I vaguely remember this phrase as something we used to yell as primary school kids when we were watching one of those ridiculous horror movies where the characters do all the stupid things, like split up, follow the scary sound, and of course, go into the basement.

If only I had thought of that bit of wisdom before I got it into my head that I should explore the Castle’s basement yesterday.

Of course, it’s my castle, but I haven’t bothered to enter every single room: that would take me a month! I’m much too busy with realm building right now, anyway, but yesterday I had a few quiet hours, and so I went down into the basement, marvelled at the glorious kitchen that Bran has put together, and began checking what all was in the various basement rooms. One was empty—maybe I can convince Nathaniel to us that one as a workshop so I don’t have to build him a man-cave as an outbuilding. Another was clearly a pantry, stocked floor to ceiling with stuff that is apparently very important for the smooth running of a castle.

But it was the third room I entered that gave me a bit of a turn.

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I entered some kind of a workshop.

It was some kind of a workshop. Only the weird kind, not the kind Nathaniel would have. It was full of things that resembled robotic body parts.

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Wing models?

If I had to guess, I’d say these were models of some kind of steampunk-y wingcraft. But I didn’t have to guess, and besides, that wasn’t the weirdest thing in the room.

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The walls were covered with weird prints.

The walls were covered with weird prints, some disturbingly of human anatomy. But it was the shelf full of various body parts made of metal that really got me. Arms, legs, even a face. Where was I?

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Where am I? Come on, steampunk brain girl, answer me!

“Where am I? Come on, steampunk brain girl, answer me!” Not that I usually talk to wall paintings, mind. The room was just creepy enough that I thought she might answer. But, no luck.

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I moved on to the desk, which was easily as creepy as the shelf.

I moved on to the desk, which was easily as creepy as the shelf. Well, if you didn’t count the body parts, that is.

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Stuff was left here as if someone had been interrupted while working.

Stuff was left here as if someone had been interrupted while working, including a glowing hand made of metal. Did I even want to know? I certainly didn’t go delving into the little mini-file that was on the desk. I had no desire to know what someone who had a shelf of metal body parts might consider “odds” and “ends”.

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This mechanical heart was pretty despite its creepiness.

There was one thing that was pretty despite its creepiness. On the back of the desk was some kind of mechanical heart. And although I couldn’t see any way for it to be turned on or off, the gears were all moving. It also had an eerie blue glow about it. I wondered how it was made, and indeed, why anybody would make such a thing.

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Extra gears?

At least one of my questions was partially answered: there was a sheet of parchment upon which had been placed a variety of metal gears. I guessed that at least some of these would find their way into other hearts at some point? I glanced back at steampunk brain girl. Maybe they would find their way into some metal steampunk robot person’s brain? I shuddered.

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Finally something that didn’t creep me out!

Well, hello! As I turned from the desk, suppressing a shudder at the anatomical charts on the wall—one of them was just a bunch of surgical instruments. I mean, really? Who wants that on their wall?—I saw something I’d only ever seen before in pictures. An original Macintosh computer, complete with cheery hello screen. An ancient Mac, still running. At least whoever put together this macabre little workshop had some good taste inside them. It was rather odd, I thought, that there was absolutely nothing else on the computer desk. Almost like whoever hangs out here really didn’t spend much time at the computer. Then again, we’re talking about a machine with 128K of RAM that shipped with only a 3.5″ floppy drive for storage. Can you imagine?

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I thought, briefly, about just taking it.

I thought, briefly, about just taking it. After all, it is my castle, and whoever put all this stuff in here obviously did not go through Bran or me for permission. Perhaps Nathaniel authorised this? Of course, anybody who collects and presumably tinkers with stuff like mechanical hearts and glowing metal hands might not be kindly disposed to someone liberating their stuff, even if someone is the Queen.

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Well bloody shaken

I was well bloody shaken by the whole experience, even though I doubt I was in that room for more than five minutes. And I didn’t look back when I left: I’ll have nightmares for a week about that disembodied metal hand.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Vista, Lia Bento Mesh Head
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Bloom (Bloom is this month’s group gift at 7 Deadly s{K}ins! You can pick it up at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store!)
Nails: Cazimi, Depths of Winter
Ears: Swallow, Noldor Elf Ears
Eyes: Song, Luna Eyes (Available NOW at Kustom9!)
Clothes: Sorumin, Modern Princess Gacha (Available NOW at Enchantment!)
Shoes: Reign, Ballet Flats, Thigh High
Hair: Stealthic, Haven (Available NOW at Collabor88!)
Circlet: Coquette, Fairy Crown
Necklace and Armlets: RealEvil Industries, Anabella Set (Available NOW at Fameshed!)

Location: The Castle, Awenia
Building: Rivendale, Dreamy Castle (Available at the Rivendale Main Store!)
Everything in the workshop that is not a print, a chalkboard, or a Macintosh: Rivendale, Tinkertopia Gacha (Available NOW at the Fantasy Gacha Carnival!) See below for specifics of the gacha pieces.
Lonely Little Macintosh: Insurrektion, Back to the 80s Gacha

Tinkertopia SL