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.

BFS3 BLOG - 1

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.”

BFS3 BLOG - 15

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.

Kiss That Frog

Sometimes, a Princess’ life is … surreal.

In this dream, I am wandering around the Book Forest. You know, just soaking up the atmosphere, trying not to contemplate the sheer insanity of a forest made up of things that used to be trees but are now books. Because the book forest makes perfect sense if you think about it. It really does.

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I had to stare

And then, the strangest and yet most completely normal thing ever happened. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced this, but I happened to glance down and there was this … frog. With a crown on his little head. He was obviously disgusting and slimy, as frogs are wont to be, and of course I found myself filled with curiosity, rather than revulsion, because that’s how things go in dreams.

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No. Freaking. Way.

“No. Freaking. Way.,” I thought to myself. “This is absolutely not happening. Of all the faerie tales I could get stuck in, why this one?” I’m a now kind of faerie princess, not a stuck-in-a-story-I-can’t-escape kind of faerie princess. Or, you know. I have  been up ’til now…

I turned away. “Forget it,” I said. “I am absolutely not going to kiss you.”

“You say that now,” croaked the frog. “Give me a chance.”

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Absolutely not.

“Absolutely not,” I retorted. “I do not have to resort to kissing frogs! I have the Internet! I have thousands of Realms where I can go, any night of the week, if I want a date. I am a princess, not a cliché.”

The frog made a sound between a snort and a laugh: it was hard to tell, because his voice was every bit as repulsive as he was. “You’ll change your mind,” he said. “Look: I’m out of my natural habitat here. Can’t you just take me back to the palace and let me stay with you for a bit? I’m a nice frog, I promise.” His tongue flicked out wildly to grab an insect I hadn’t noticed. Yuck.

“I really don’t think so,” I replied.

“Look, Your Highness. I have a nifty crown; that must mean something, right? And I’m a good conversationalist. I promise only a small percentage of our discussions will be my trying to convince you to kiss me.” Was that a smile on his wide, ugly face?

“Hmm.” I considered it for a moment. “OK, but if I tell you to stop trying to convince me, you will change the subject immediately. Is that clear?”

“Sure, sure, whatever you want,” replied the frog. “But hurry up and get me home; I need a much more humid environment than this weird forest made of paper books. Who on earth thought that was a good idea, Princess? Who designed such a place?”

I narrowed my eyes. “I did, you abhorrent amphibian. This whole Realm is my creation. I probably even imagined you into being, now that I think about it.”

“Oh! A lovely conversational topic!” said the frog. “The nature of existence! If I am your creation, I wonder if I truly have free will, or if free will itself is merely a construct that my brain imagines so that I don’t lose all hope or argue myself insane wondering whether my choices are truly mine, or if they are determined by you, My Lady.”

Super. The frog was going to have an existential crisis and wipe himself out of existence any second now. I pondered. And then I smiled.

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I picked up the frog.

I picked him up. “All right: I’ll give it a shot. Let’s head back to the palace, and I’ll figure out what the best environment for you will be. We’ll look it up on the Internet.”

“What, pray tell, is the Internet, Your Highness?”

I smiled widely. “You’ll love it!” I declared. “It’s the greatest source of information and fun conversational topics ever!”

And then I had a little laugh with myself, just in my head. Because Dear Prince Froggie had never heard of the Internet.

And that meant he probably had never heard the story of the geek princess and the frog. Because, you know. In my world, princes are a dime a dozen. But a talking frog?

That’s freaking fantastic!

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Simone Bento Mesh Head
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Texas (Available NOW at eBento!)
Nails: Cazimi, Influence Nails (Available NOW at the Designer Showcase!)
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Eyes: Arte, Nordic Eyes
Gown: Silvan Moon Designs, Princess Tiana Gown (Available NOW at Enchantment!)
Shoes: Eudora, 3D Arianne Pumps (Available NOW at Enchantment!)
Hair: Analog Dog (natch!), Tia (Available NOW at Enchantment!)
Necklace and Crown: Bliensen & MaiTai, Principessa (Available NOW at The Fantasy Gacha Carnival!)
Wings: Fancy Fairy, Titania 2.0 Bento Animated Iridescent Fairy Wings
Frog Prince: Unrepentent, The Frog Prince

Location: Awenia, The Book Forest
Building: Ionic, Sacred Ruins
Silver Moon on Stand: Air, Frog Moon Silver (Available NOW at Enchantment!)
Table: Dust Bunny, Autumn Calling, Wooden Table
Book on Table: Konpeitou, Beauty and the Book w/Rose
Frog with Mirror (on table) Konpeitou, Frog Prince Mirror (Available NOW at Enchantment!)
Book Castle: BananaN, Storybook Gacha, Castle and Books

I talk a lot about how much I love the Enchantment Event. It’s one of my favourite recurring events in Second Life, both in terms of the stuff you can find there and the careful attention that the Ippos team put into the event design itself. Unlike lots of other events that have gone to the “stuff you can buy all stuck together in one big room” model, Enchantment always, always, creates an inspiring environment around the story theme. If you love story as I do, and if these tales speak to you, you cannot afford to miss Enchantment, and you’d better stock up on Lindens before you go, because otherwise you won’t be able to afford everything you want!

Kiss That Frog
Peter Gabriel
Jump in the water
Sweet little princess
Let me introduce his frogness
You alone can get him singing
He’s all puffed up, wanna be your king
Oh you can do it
C’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon
Lady kiss that frogSplash, dash heard your call
Bring you back your golden ball
He’s gonna dive down in the deep end
He’s gonna be just like your best friendSo what’s one little kiss
One tiny little touch
Aah, he’s wanting it so much
I swear that this is royal blood
Running through my skin
Oh can you see the state I’m in
Kiss it better
Kiss it better
(Kiss that frog)

Get it into your head
He’s living with you, he sleeps in your bed
Can’t you hear beyond the croaking
Don’t you know that I’m not joking

Aah, you think you won’t
I think you will
Don’t you know that this tongue can kill
C’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon
Lady, kiss that frog

Let him sit beside you
Eat right off your plate
You don’t have to be afraid
There’s nothing here to hate
Princess you might like it
If you lower your defense
Kiss that frog and you will get your prince
Get your prince

(Singing now…!)
Jump in the water, c’mon, baby, jump in with me
Jump in the water, c’mon baby get wet with me

Jump in the water, c’mon, baby, jump in with me
Jump in the water, c’mon baby get wet, get wet, get wet

(While scatting:)
Kiss that frog. Kiss that frog. Lady, kiss that frog.
Kiss that frog. Lady, kiss that frog.
Kiss that frog. Lady, kiss that frog.

Jump in the water, c’mon baby jump in with me
Jump in the water, c’mon baby jump in with me
Jump in the water, c’mon baby jump in with me
Jump in the water, c’mon baby jump in with me
Jump in the water, c’mon baby get wet with me.

Get wet, get wet.
Get wet, get wet.
Get wet, get wet.
Get wet, get wet.