Under the Lantern Tree

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Sometimes, things just appear in the garden, and I don’t know what they’re for.

Sometimes, things just appear in the garden, and I don’t know what they’re for. Take that weird house opposite the gallery, for example. I mean, I guess we’ll hold dances there or something, but at the moment it’s just sitting there. But when this Lantern Tree appeared, with its comfortable seating and characteristic beautiful touches (how could it be from anywhere but The Looking Glass?), I knew exactly what it was for, and I had a use for it right away. Obviously, it’s for late night discussions of things that matter. So I asked Arahaelon to come along, and we began to discuss the situation with Saoirse.

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“I might have vented a bit,” I said.

“I might have vented a bit, I said, “when I found out that my vision was of her being abducted as a seal. The penny dropped when Dyisi asked her who had her skin; then I realised what was happening.”

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“We should summon Dyisi,” Arahaelon said.

“We should summon Dyisi,” Arahaelon said. So this we did. Dyisi arrived with Rire, and we went on with the conversation.

I summarised what we’d already talked about for Dyisi, and Arahaelon asked if Dy could shed a little more light on Saoirse’s state of mind.

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Dyisi shrugged.

Dyisi shrugged. “Is story as old as time,” she said. “She fell for someone who, in turn, used her and took her skin, Ah, forced her to do such deeds that she has done. Though she does noht with to harm anyone… just get her skin back and be free of those who control her. Is why she picked simple boat. Is why when ordered to do more … drastic … measures she picked empty house. Well, empty as that none of people who lived within were there at time. Also, she needs to be within water soon, or she will noht make it.”

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I felt that anger rise within me again.

I felt that anger rise within me again. “Unbelievable arseholes,” I said. “Did she tell you who has her skin? Where they are? I’m just so pissed off about this. Obviously, I’m angry about the graffiti and the boat and my house—I’ll never get that little bed with the iron birdies on it back—but it really appears she was not acting of her own free will. That said, I would hope she’d have come to one of us before all that had to happen.”

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“That would fit…”

“That would fit,” Arahaelon said, “with the story I’m getting from these messages on her phone.” He passed the phone to me so I could take a look. “If her skin has been taken, then we must get it back.”

Dyisi applied her usual calm to the situation. “When faced with death… as it is… I understand why she had noht come to any of us. Such mortality places you within a different mindset. But, nai, her skin must be returned to her.

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“Those who are using her…”

“Those who are using her to further their goals… they must face a higher court than what is on the Island. Especially since it is not just island they are attacking.”

I agreed. “Nathaniel might have some contacts on the mainland, “but he’s away in Mysthaven and won’t be back until next week, I think? We’ll have to give it some thought ourselves.” I smirked. “I could always check with Cherish Gelato. She’s sure to know some wild rumours, at least.” And I nodded to Arahaelon. “Certainly, we must retrieve her skin; she will survive without it, but there is the matter of how well the skin is being kept, of course.

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“Let’s hope they don’t see her as expendable.”

“I hope whoever’s done this doesn’t see her as expendable: the idea of a selkie’s skin being destroyed—well, we’d have to talk to the selkies themselves about that one.”

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Arahaelon brooded for a bit.

Arahaelon brooded for a bit. I noticed his eyes: they looked like storm clouds. “What if we use her as bait to draw these people out? I’m sure the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs would be happy to help us hunt them down. It would go a long way towards shortening her sentence. Despite how much I understand her plight, she must still serve time for what she has done. Had she come to us earlier, much destruction and pain could have been avoided. And as Dyisi points out, she will also have to answer for parts she might have played elsewhere.”

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Dyisi looked to Rire.

Dyisi looked to Rire. He just gave the satyr a shrug; he was dutifully doing his job at standing guard. “It is your call on what to do,” she said finally. “I have no say in such a matter. However, I will also speak to may own contacts over there, as our reach tends to be … deep.” She left it there, not going in to specifics as to what exactly this group she was affiliated with did.

 

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The night air developed a chill.

The night air developed a chill, so I shrugged my wings back on. “I worry about using this girl as bait. She seems … Volatile? Scared. And scared people do stupid things. I’m on the fence. I see how she could help us catch these criminals, but I’m not happy about putting her in a position where the only decision she might make would be a wrong one.”

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Arahaelon closed his eyes.

Arahaelon closed his eyes for a moment before continuing. “She would be closely supervised bait, but I do see your point. She will always be bound to the one who has her skin.” He considered for a moment, rotated his head to the side. “We may not have to, though. We could simply text them back and lure them out ourselves.”

Dyisi sniffed, gave a half-shrug. “Perhaps, paidi mou, you should bring this up to this, ah, Bureau before doing such things. So that they can be at ready. Nai?”

 

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“A good idea.”

“A good idea—who’s our Bureau contact, Arahaelon? Or is that safely with Nate in Mysthaven, as well?” I sighed. “I don’t relish going back there, but I could make a special trip if it were important. I reserve the right to be a complete bitch to everybody, though.”

“Yes, of course they will be notified,” Arahaelon said. “I have a close relationship with our contact: there is no need to be a bitch to anyone, unless you really want to, Dear Queen.” He winked at me in that way that he does. If I were mortal, I’d have been flushing beet red and offering to bear his children. “I will see if I can replicate Saoirse’s style in these messages,” he continued.

“Then if that is all, nai?” Dyisi seemed to have someplace to go.

I nodded. “Yeah; that probably about does it for this evening. I’m glad you were both able to join me. It might be time for me to see what Bran is up to in the treehouse: he was talking about decorating my office.” I winced. “I don’t really want an office.”

Arahaelon actually laughed at me, not that I was surprised. “How will you ever cope?”

I just stuck my tongue out at him. “You know where to find me if you need me,” I said.

Dyisi and Rire disappeared, presumably back to her beach house on the Island, and Arahaelon also disappeared, presumably back to his house on the Island. And me? I walked back to the treehouse, through the magic flower meadow. When I got to the path, I turned around for one more look at the beautiful Lantern Tree. And it seemed I saw myself and Arahaelon sitting there, and the people we sat with varied, and they kept changing. I think we will be using this tree as a meeting place for a long time to come.

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The Lantern Tree

Style Card:
The Lantern Tree, from The Looking Glass, will be available as a gacha for the upcoming round of Enchantment, which opens on 12 August.

Gwyneth:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Emo-Tions, Alanis (Available NOW 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)
Makeup: VENGE (formerly Vengeful Threads), Catwa Luna Makeup (Available NOW at THE COVEN!)
Collar: Footpaw Industries Celtic Filigree Amythest Collar (attached rose from Footpaw Industries AeLan necklace)
Necklace: VENGE (formerly Vengeful Threads), Evening Lord Necklace (Available NOW at THE COVEN!)
Top: Facepalm, Play the Game (Available NOW at Fable!)
Leggings: The Muses, Ariane Legging (Omega Applier)
Boots: Sweet Lies, Ragnarok Boots

Style cards for Arahaelon and Dyisi are coming soon!

Location: White Owl Island Faerie. If you’re looking for a great contemporary fantasy roleplaying sim, why not check us out? White Owl Island, Where Everybody Knows Your Shape.

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Still Standing in San Mora

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You know what? I don’t care any more.

You know what? I don’t care any more. I’ve been living in this city for gods know how long, and I’ve watched the people come and go, and I’m just not interested in any of their bull any more.

I will walk where I want, dress how I want, eat what I want, go out at night without a burly male escort, and if anybody wants to stop me, well. They’ll have to go through me first.

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Dyisi came to visit yesterday.

Dyisi came to visit yesterday. I think she was pretty impressed with my new squat. I’m on the tenth floor of a mostly burned out building, so I have this amazing balcony that’s like half a floor, just exposed to the outside. And there’s nobody above me because those levels got melted, I think. Metal’s all bent, anyway.

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“You see that dome?” she wanted to know. “Super creepy.”

“You see that dome?” she wanted to know. “Super creepy.”

“Huh.” I frowned. “I can’t remember if it was there yesterday or not. I mean, looks like it’s meant to be there, right?”

“Are you fucking kidding me? That thing is a menace. It looks like the scariest part of a circus met the scariest part of a steampunk horror novel, and they are both converging on us. You mark me, tomorrow it’ll be closer and there’ll be some weird music coming from it or some shit like that.”

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“Frankly, I think those creepy metal birds are worse,” I replied.

“Frankly, I think those creepy metal bird things are worse,” I replied. I half-turned to point out the window (well, OK, the wall) behind us to point out one of the improbable things, which at the moment was just making lazy circles around an incongruous lake. “That is a cage on wings, and I keep having these nightmares they’re going to come over here and enslave us all.”

“Yeah; all thirty of us,” Dyisi replied. I think she just likes to piss me off by saying completely ridiculous things like that. There are at least 250 of us here in San Mora, surviving in the best way we can. Some people say there are even more if you count the other side of the city, but I’m not so sure. I only trust what I can see, which I think is the best way to survive in the world. Well. In my world, anyway. I sighed. “Come on; let’s go down to the roadhouse and see if we can score some beer.”

“I’d rather have a joint.”

“You always say that.”

I’ve rigged up a series of ladders to take me down the whole ten floors in a rush, ladder by ladder. I slide down them with one foot on either side of the ladder. Dyisi kept yelling at me to slow down, but I just ignored her. I’m sure I flipped her off more than once. And I have no idea what that last finger gesture she replied with was. The fact is, if Dyisi and I aren’t constantly bitching and moaning at each other and insulting each other a mile a minute, that’s when the apocalypse has actually happened. Laughed in a guy’s face last week when he called San Mora “post-apocalyptic”. Had to explain that truth of the world. I am not sure he believed me, but what can you do? I keep trying to explain to people that hope doesn’t have to die just because we’re certain now there is no god, given what we’ve been through. This is when we need hope most. I was telling Dy this story as we reached the roadhouse. Downstairs was too crowded, so we climbed up to the second level. Nobody likes it there because a wall got blown out in one of those firefights from last month. I’m not bothered. Ceiling’s still working, which means the floor’s all good. Right?

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Would you believe it: she found a fucking ukulele.

Would you believe it: she found a fucking ukulele.

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Seriously?

Seriously: I just turned away and pretended I didn’t know her. By this time my wings had come out: I don’t know why they only do that when I’ve had a little bit to drink. “You are not going to actually play that thing.”

“Nah; I was thinking I”d just sit here and hold it like I’d just finished a beer and my best friend was about to go down and get me another one,” she said.

I sighed. One more trip down the stairs in four inch heels. Some of us have hooves and are much better at going up and down things, but no; Dy must have me serve her beer. Sometimes she’s a right bitch, but she’s the only friend I’ve got, you know? Pays to keep on her good side. I went for the beer.

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“You know what I did earlier today?” I asked her when I got back upstairs. “I went to the old park, and I danced on the dead wall.”

“You know what I did earlier today?” I asked her when I got back upstairs. “I went to the old park, and I danced on the dead wall.”

She laughed. “Does it make you feel better about life to do shit that pisses everybody else in the whole universe right off?”

I shrugged.

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“I’m tired of being careful.”

“I’m tired of being careful,” I said.

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“Besides, it’s not like anybody is out there looking for me.”

“Besides, it’s not like anybody out there is looking for me. You ever seen my face on one of those missing posters?”

Dy sighed. “I guess not.”

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“Well, maybe if I make a big enough fuss, somebody’ll care enough to look for me if I go.”

“Well, maybe if I make a big enough fuss, somebody’ll care enough to look for me if I go.”

Dyisi frowned. “I’d look for you.”

“Assuming you weren’t gone first.”

“In which case you’d look for me.”

“Yeah, probably.”

“Probably? You’d be out there morning noon and night, because you love me.”

“Do not.”

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“Anyway, it was nice to be alone, even if I did have to go to the dead wall to do it.”

“Anyway, it was nice to be alone, even if I did have to go to the dead wall to do it.”

Dyisi snorted. “I still think it’s silly to call it ‘the dead wall’. For all we know, they are all alive and well, somewhere better than here.”

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The Dead Wall

“Nobody’s seen or heard from any of them,” I replied. “I think if my picture were up there, it would mean I have died, too.”

Dyisi shook her head. “Cynical, cynical.”

We wandered out into the street. It was one of those sunny, dusty afternoons, the kind of afternoon you always get in San Mora.

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Dyisi on a police car.

At one point, Dyisi jumped on top of a police car and yelled something about how the PoPo couldn’t get her any more because there weren’t any… I think she might have been a bit drunk.

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“You know this isn’t real, Gwyneth.”

“You know this isn’t real, Gwyneth,” Dyisi said.

“Are you having a moment of existential ennui?” I wasn’t even sure what ‘existential ennui’ was, to be honest. It just sounded good.

“Nope,” Dyisi said. “Towers of Nope. You’re stuck in a Fairelands Realm.”

“What are you talking about?” I shifted uncomfortably on the gazebo floor.

“You’re not actually a street urchin in a post-apocalyptic novel, you know.”

“I’m not?”

“Nope,” Dyisi said. “Towers of Nope. You wandered in here because this is one of the Realms that’s part of the Great Fantasy Faire this year. You got lost in the story. It’s a common hazard.” She blew across her nails for absolutely no reason.

“You mean I could just get up and walk out of here? And I’d find somewhere else?”

“Yep,” Dyisi said.

“Right! Let’s do that, then.”

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So, we got up and just walked out of San Mora.

So, we got up and just walked right out of San Mora. The closer we got to the fence, walking with purpose to Another Place (where, we didn’t know), the more I remembered.

“Have you noticed that we keep having stand-alone adventures this year? It’s like we’re episodic.”

I lifted a brow. “Wow, Dy; that’s awfully meta for you.”

“I am the epitome and the ultimate representation of meta. Then again, so are you.”

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Towers Of Nope

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Analog Dog, Merida (Available NOW at The 2017 Second Life Fantasy Faire!)
Eyes: Mesange, Iram Eyes (Omega Appliers) (Available NOW at On9!)
Ears: Eclipse Arts Studio, Elf Ears Dior
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Opal, Omega Appliers (Available NOW at The 2017 Second Life Fantasy Faire!)
Necklace: Otherskin, Mashallah (Available NOW at The 2017 Second Life Fantasy Faire!)
Dress: Syren’s Song, Ursa, Purple (Available NOW at The 2017 Second Life Fantasy Faire!)
Shoes: Violetility, Luna Heels

Location: The 2017 Second Life Fantasy Faire, San Mora, Sponsored by Death Row Designs and designed by Jaimy Hancroft, Eowyn Swords, and Morbid Deceit

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I’d never blog Fantasy Faire without it!

 

Why I Relay

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I took Dyisi down beneath the mystical portals of the Fairelands Junction.

I took Dyisi down beneath the mystical portals of the Fairelands Junction for our special time together at the Great Faire. I wanted to show her how beautiful the memories of all the Fairelanders were when placed into a special cove. The air was alight with candles, and the roots of the trees went deep, down into the river, symbolising the depth of caring Fairelanders have for their loved ones who are suffering and memorialising those who have gone before.

This year, I have not been as present at the Faire as I have in previous years. The boys are taking over most of the merchanting duties for me now, and I admit I’ve settled nicely in the Faerie Haven at White Owl Island. It feels good to sit back and let work be done by others. But I knew I’d have to visit the Faire at least once this year, to connect with my long-time friend Dyisi and to marvel at the way the Realms shine when they are chosen to be part of the Faire.

I thought Dyisi would love this memorial spot, but instead she grew melancholy.

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“Do you want to talk about it?” I asked.

“I guess I probably should,” she said, and she followed it up with some of those Greek terms of endearment she uses. I persist in thinking they are complimentary.

I said, “See how quiet it is here, but for the water, the birds. Let there be peace. You know you can tell me anything.”

“What about,” Dyisi said, “If we just break the fourth wall for a moment?”

I lifted a brow. “What do you mean?”

“Well, you know how you’re a character from Gwen Enchanted’s imagination?”

I shifted uncomfortably. “It’s not something I usually think about.”

“Yeah, I know,” Dyisi replied. “She gets Queen Gwyneth to be her mouthpiece most of the time.”

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She put her arm around me.

She put her arm around me. “Well…” and here she paused to look up in to my eyes, above her glasses. Briefly, I glimpsed the galaxies within before she looked down again. “I, too, am a character from someone’s imagination.”

I blinked. “Not Gwen Enchanted’s imagination, I hope; that’d be… well, slightly creepy and incestuous.”

“Oh, like your desperate love for Her Majesty isn’t creepy?” Dyisi allowed herself a little laugh. “No, no; I am a character from someone else’s imagination, and she is a very good friend to Gwen Enchanted.

I rubbed my chin, shook my head. “Confusing.”

“That it is, Davey,” said Dyisi, with a sigh. “This place makes me think of the imagination from which I spring, and I’d like to tell you a story from her perspective.”

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“I’m listening,” I said. And I held her.

“I’m listening,” I said. And I held her.

A few words from the mind behind the satyr..

First off, let me thank Gwen.. who has been an amazingly dear friend to me for years now.. for allowing me to say a few words.  Her blog has been a great source of entertainment and touching stories that is more than just a labor of love.  But an outlet for her beautiful and talented soul.  So I thank her from the bottom of my heart to be apart of not just her stories, but her life.  As well as her dear husband Joe, who also touched my life in a very remarkable way.  He is missed deeply.

There is also another woman who has been an influential part of my life, as well as having been my rock.  My mother.  She passed in June of 2013 after a short battle with lung cancer. Her diagnosis was in March of that same year.  So we did not have a lot of time in the end, and even though I am told not to have regrets, I do.  It’s hard not to, especially when her life ended so quickly.  Things I wish I could have said, wishing I could have been there at her side when she finally passed.  While I still hold to these regrets, I also look back at the life we lived.  She was an amazing woman, strength in the face of all adversities..  Be it her time spent in the Marines during Vietnam, or the life our family lived.  Her sense of humor never wavered and in that taught me to laugh when things feel hopeless.  For that, I will forever be thankful.  She also did her best to try and protect me from death, even though it’s inevitable.  This does include her own death as she insisted I stay home… three thousand miles away.  Despite my better judgement, I listened to her, because she is my mother..

Cancer is not new to my family, as it has claimed so many on my mother’s side.  Her father passing from leukemia, while lung cancer claimed her mother, aunt, and a year after mom died, one of her sisters.  Even my cousin’s little girl fought leukemia, which I can happily say she is in full remission.  At the beginning of this year, a close childhood friend had lost her battle with cervical cancer.   This monster is all too familiar to me, and so this is why Fantasy Faire has become important to me ever since I discovered it. I thank the creators and participants.. vendors and supporters..   for all that they do for the American Cancer Society.  Helping those who work tirelessly to defeat this monster so that no one else.. no more of our loved ones and own selves..  will fall into it’s clutches.

Thank you.

I’d never seen tears from Dyisi before, but now I did. And I confess I buried my face in her hair to staunch my own.

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I shall not tell you how we spent the rest of our night together.

I shall not tell you how we spent the rest of our night together; I shall only say that the unlikely friendship between Gypsy and Satyr—and the unlikely friendship between American expat and Seattle dilettante—continues to be a force for good in the world.

Let all your stories out. Let all your tears flow. Recognise that together, we are stronger than cancer, stronger than the losses we have sustained because of it, strong enough to go on. Those candles burn for every beloved person who has passed to the other side of the Veil, for every beloved person who wakes up to fight another day, for all of us who contribute, with our time and our money and the love in our hearts (which knows no end). 

2015.RFL.Gwen Enchanted

Catalina Staheli’s “Why Do You Relay” photo of The Amazing Catwoman, from the 2015 Fantasy Faire.

Catalina Staheli took this photograph of The Amazing Catwoman at the beginning of the 2015 Fantasy Faire, my (Gwen Enchanted’s) first year as a Fantasy Faire blogger as part of her “Why Do You Relay” series. That was the year my husband, Joe Raftery, was moved from curative to palliative care. My heart was on my sleeve then, and it is now, as well. Eight months after this photograph was taken, I became a widow. Fairelanders, one of my SL tribes, supported me through his illness. My roleplaying tribe, which includes Dyisi, whose beautiful words are above, were with me constantly. My real life family stayed by my side and have never left me. I am rich, rich in friends and rich in family. I am also rich in memories. Why do I relay? I relay because, at fifty-one years of age, I am still too young to be a widow. 

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Style Cards:
The Gypsy Davey:
Head: Catwa, Justin
Body: Signature
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Bo (Guys Group Gift for April, Available NOW at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store!)
Hair: Wasabi Pills, Raven (Available NOW at the 2017 Fantasy Faire!)
Outfit: Silvan Moon Designs, The Fairelands Traveler Tunic Set (Available NOW at the 2017 Fantasy Faire!)
Ears: Mandala, Steking Ears Season 5

Dyisi:
Body- Maitreya Laura
Hair – little bones. Chel
Ears – [][]Trap[][] Gelf Ears
Eyes – Plastik Galaxie Eyes, Arc
Hooves – Gauze
Tail – Leo Tail v5
Skin – Plastik Briane Freckled
Horns – Plastik Swyrl Horns, Ray
Top – !gO! Spring lace top 1 (Now at this month’s round of Shiny Shabby)
Shorts – L&B Swear Denim Shorts
Lip ring – .:ellabella:. Blowing Bubbles
Belly chain – .Charm. Moon
Necklace – .Eldritch. Bog Cailleach Vial
Necklace – Plastik Twiggled Necklace, silver
Arm chains – Zaara Rasksha
Thigh chains -Zaara Rasksha
Septum Ring – Zaara [Goa Party]: Baga nosering
Bracelets – Zaara [Goa Party]: Friendship bracelets
Glasses – Zaara [Goa Party]: Retro sunglasses
Bindi – ~Soedara~ Pearl Berjuang Tari

Location: Fairelands Junction, Sponsored by Ruins of Xenark Roleplay Community and designed by Saiyge Lotus.

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I’d never blog Fantasy Faire without it!

Deer and Loafing in the Fairelands

It all started one night, early in the Great Fantasy Faire, when I and some of my favourite beings had arranged to meet at a favourite skin-painter and fantasy clothing and jewellery maker, The Plastik. I arrived first, of course (I’m always early, despite what they say about me). The atmosphere inside the store in the Realm of Chaddul Ro was festive, to say the least, and I found myself caught up in the happy clamour of the crowd. Eventually, I began to wonder where they all were, so I went outside to wait for them.

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I waited patiently near the store’s distinctive signpost.

I waited patiently near the store’s distinctive signpost. The crowds grew thicker, and I’m sure they simply didn’t hear me when I called their names. One by one, they came out to meet me. At this point, I realised they were all deer. OK, they were adorable, diminutive deer, but deer nonetheless.

“Are you aware,” I asked, “that you are all, um, deer?”

“Well, you’re one to talk,” said WrenDeer. “Look at you: you’re like Fairy Princess Tiara Deer.”

“I am not!” I retorted.

“Hate to break it to you,” said RivenDeer, “But I’m afraid it’s true. MoxyDeer, do you have a mirror on you somewhere?”

MoxyDeer had a mermaid crown and a fetching fin. “What, you think we actually carry hand mirrors around with us?” She made a face. “Talk to DyisiDeer: she’s got mirrored sunglasses.”

I had only to stare into DyisiDeer’s round sunglasses to realise what they were saying was true: I, too, was an adorable, diminutive deer. “Well, aren’t we all so cute!” I said.

KitoriDeer made a rude noise. It might have been a burp, or perhaps it was someone else’s voice. “I am not cute,” she declared. “I am possessed by the souls of my enemies, and I shall not rest until they are defeated.”

Nobody thought to ask her who her enemies were. We all decided we should just continue our plans to explore the Fairelands together. Perhaps we would find a way to regain our former shapes soon enough. Or at least find some good grass.

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WrenDeer, RivenDeer, MoxyDeer, GwenDeer, KitoriDeer, and DyisiDeer, preparing to take on the Fairelands, one meadow at a time!

We found ourselves in the Mystical Realm of Raven’s Perch.

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Here we all are, visiting the Lady of Roses in her ruby casket.

We all look a little confused. But the roses were mighty tasty.

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The Raven’s Perch Memorial was the next stop on our tour.

What a lovely setting. With nice, dewy grass and a topping of autumn leaves. Also, rose petals! These Fairelands were pretty nice!

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As I watched the mist rise out of the trees, I felt a wave of solemnity brush across my heart.

Soon, we would have to leave these beautiful dark meadows and move into another Realm. But where would our adventure take us next?

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On to The Hill we raced!

Soon we found a flock of goats to blend in with! No one would ever suspect that we weren’t part of their merry band of mischief!

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DyisiDeer! It is not OK to kick a fellow goat in the face!

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And KitoriDeer—is that a bloody knife in your mouth? You do not need a goat’s skin to be a goat! You must be a goat from the inside!

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Dyisi Deer soon forgot she’d tried to kick another of our goat herd in the face, or perhaps she was just chilling with the rams.

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MoxyDeer, clearly a learner by observation, shepherded her adorable unicorn toward DyisiDeer and the rams.

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RivenDeer, confused as she looks here, was actually making good headway with the ram on the left. Perhaps her Tesla Fairy impressed him.

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Of course, all bets were off when RivenDeer realised that tree bark was just as tasty as long meadow grasses. And did you notice she has two different coloured eyes? Weird, baby.

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Somebody told me once that herding *cats* was meant to be hard. “They know nothing,” I told Anastasia, my equally adorable pegasus companion.

At which point I noticed that DyisiDeer had acquired an anteater. Well… I guess we’d be great at picnics, then.

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And speaking of picnics….

Here’s DyisiDeer, KitoriDeer, and MoxyDeer enjoying an awkward family picnic photograph. Well. I think MoxyDeer’s unicorn was enjoying it—look at that cheeky goat plying her with food! MoxyDeer and DyisiDeer both look a little nervous, if you ask me. KitoriDeer, on the other hand, looks as if she might be explaining, in detail, how to eviscerate fellow deer and devour their livers.

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“DyisiDeer! Get out of that pumpkin cart!” I shouted.

“Fight the power!” DyisiDeer replied. “It’s my pumpkin cart now. And oh, my little green seeds, these pumpkins? You guys have got to taste these!”

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Elsewhere, MoxyDeer stalked rabbits.

Elsewhere, MoxyDeer stalked rabbits. I’m not sure she got that “herbivore” memo. Luckily, as we were all deer, tiny, adorable deer, we could understand the language of Forest Creatures.

“Help! Help!” cried Vanilla Rabbit. “That MerDeer is going to eat us!”

“Calm your cottontail,” replied Chocolate Bunny. “You will notice that her eyes are firmly on that pumpkin cart over there. Before they’re done, all the deer will be orange, and the meadow grass shall be ours!”

He wasn’t wrong. Let’s just say I was very, very glad to see a river between this realm and our next destination.

Except of course that we were all full of pumpkin by this time and maybe we shouldn’t have been in swimming for at least an hour, but we pretty much all curled up and went to sleep. I’m not sure how long we slept.

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When we awoke we were still adorable, diminutive deer. Only the members of our little herd had changed.

There was WrenDeer, and NateDeer, and GwenDeer and DyisiDeer. NateDeer fell asleep before we were done planning our evening. WrenDeer said she was going upstairs to get her PJs, but she never returned. To this day, we have never seen WrenDeer again. Nobody knows what happened to RivenDeer, either. Perhaps she was taken away to the Fairy Fairelands by her little Tesla horn ornament. That might sound naughtier than I meant it to be.

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NateDeer

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DyisiDeer

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WrenDeer

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GwenDeer

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Dyisi Deer looks surprisingly grandmotherly in this photograph.

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Then, like some gory horror-film magic, KitoriDeer appeared.

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Here we are, milling around, waiting to see what will happen next!

What happened next was KitoriDeer told us that if we didn’t get moving on to the rest of the Fairelands, she would personally serve our lungs to her demonic overlords.

Without checking to find out who her demon overlords actually were, we swiftly ran, as only a herd can run, toward our next destination: Dawn’s Promise.

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There is something amazing about the light in Dawn’s Promise.

I could almost forget that I was standing next to KitoriDeer, who had a knife that could cut me.

All my worries and fears were briefly resolved when AraDeer showed up in very sexy horns and wings. My heart leapt at the thought of leaping with him. I even left a big patch of flowers uneaten right next to me in hopes he’d come over and talk to me.

I say my worries and fears were briefly resolved because on AraDeer’s tail, KaeDeer arrived. Now, it’s true, she has very sexy horns and an equally sexy tail, but evil glowed red in her eyes, and her dark wings beat with the sound of two or three tortured souls. Don’t want to hyperbolise.

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Here we are, milling around a bathtub full of flowers. And by “milling”, I mean, “grazing”.

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We were at this point joined by the delightful MikaDeer, who sported a unicorn’s horn with a shiny star ornament on it.

Nevermind that KitoriDeer had now begun stalking the peacocks by the Dawn’s promise Special Hippie Tie-Dye Gazebo. At least I think that’s what it’s called. My adorable pegasus and I were just enjoying the wind on the meadow, while at the same time steadfastly avoiding KaeDeer’s dark but undeniably attractive gaze.

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And, my friends, we began to frolic!

Well, most of us, that is. At this point, I began to wonder if KaeDeer wasn’t just slightly upset that she wasn’t getting her soul quota or something, because that stare of hers was becoming downright unnerving.

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Speaking of KaeDeer, aren’t those beautiful horns?

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“Psst!” My Little Pegasus said (I had ceased calling her Anastasia). “I think KitoriDeer wants us to see her, er, rear end.”

“Luckily,” I replied, “We are blocking it with our rear ends.”

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KitoriDeer’s attention soon turned to the peacocks, though she was still rather too close for comfort. We…. pretended to frolic, but were actually avoiding her.

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AraDeer begins to stalk rabbits as well. I contemplated giving him that whole “herbivore” speech, but than I remembered how well it hadn’t worked on MoxyDeer, and I moved on.

Meanwhile, KaeDeer, well, grazed peacefully. I deerhmfed in her general direction. Some demon overlady she turned out to be!

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MikaDeer began the frolicking in earnest!

Look at her leap! Her lion’s mane is so attractive! If only she weren’t, well, leaping right into the path of KaeDeer. I wasn’t close enough to warn her, but I know she has street smarts: she is an adorable, diminutive deer, after all.

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Mika continued to frolic!

As she frolicked, I grazed my way unobtrusively across from where KaeDeer was grazing, as much as it unsettled me. AraDeer trotted round the front of the bathtub, perhaps to come to her rescue as well. Of course, it could have been the rabbit behind KaeDeer. We may never know the truth.

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When I saw KitoriDeer and KaeDeer beginning to converge upon MikaDeer, I did what I always do when I’m terrified or squicked.

“Kittens!” I cried. And lo! There were kittens.

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So. Many. KittyCats. KaeDeer’s murderous gaze never left me. I do not think she was happy about losing the chance to have MikaDeer for lunch.

But no deer should eat other deer for lunch.

I say again, herbivores, people! (I mean, deer!)

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It was like a kitten bar!

A kitten bar, where adorable, diminutive deer could come and fill their wells of cuteness.

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We enjoyed the Kitten Bar for a few more minutes.

Even KaeDeer eventually succumbed. “Oh, Em, Gee, you guys are so cuuuute!” she cried. “Fuck’s sake!”

Ah, my work here was done. It was time to visit The Rose.

In The Rose, everything is ordered. It is like a large, formal garden that you are allowed to shop in. Also, there is a nice grazing meadow up on the top of the Realm.

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As the land was ordered, so were we.

And, we acquired a new herd member! LilaDeer joined us then, wearing  beautiful dark glasses and a fetching cane (which he wore fetchingly in his antlers and might have used as a weapon, had we been in dire need).

We wished to graze the gardens until our bellies were full, but we felt ourselves becoming more and more ordered. Someone suggested we dance the CanCan, and at that point, I knew it was time to visit The Spirit Pool.

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In The Spirit Pool, there are many guardians.

Some of them have lanterns. And some of them have tentacles. It was interesting to see which guardian we chose. How odd that the majority of our now-growing herd chose the the Tentacle Guardian. Only KitoriDeer chose the Lantern Guardian. I don’t really know what that means. I found this whole segment very confusing. KaeDeer said it was something about wisdom. I said, “Let’s go for a swim.” Everybody else screamed, “Later! We want to sit on this Tentacle Guardian a little bit longer.”

Oh, fine.

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We really do look quite majestic don’t we?

Well, I mean, they. I’m not in this picture.

But.

We are all one herd. Therefore, I look majestic, too.

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LilaDeer looks especially majestic here, don’t you think?

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Finally, we jumped into the water and found a MerDeer’s paradise!

“Hey, guys!” LilaDeer and I called. “Come over here; it’s like a Mer birthday cake, and we’re the antlered candles!”

“Hey, guys?” I called. “LilaDeer, I don’t think they’re listening.”

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Nobody seemed as excited about the Mer birthday cake as LilaDeer and I were.

“DyisiDeer,” MikaDeer said, very gently and kindly, “I don’t know if you know this, but sand’s gonna hurt your stomach. You can’t graze down here.”

DyisiDeer released a stream of bubbles as she replied, “Well, logically I shouldn’t be able to breathe down here either, but, yeah. It’s magic, MikaDeer.”

MikaDeer impressed us all by surrounding herself with a beautiful bubble. “I can breathe logically!”

I was jealous.

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“Hey!” I shouted, despite the fact that I shouldn’t be able to talk at all, “Look at this stone! It’s got antlers, just like us!”

“Not all of us,” replied MikaDeer.

I deersighed. “DyisiDeer,” I said. “Grazing.”

“I totally have the munchies,” DyisiDeer said.

“Hey, let’s go on to the next Realm,” I said. “We don’t want a sick DyisiDeer. KaeDeer might– oh, wait. KaeDeer must have been sucked into the void.”

“There was a void?” asked LilaDeer.

“Yeah, totally,” I said. “Come on.”

And then, we were off to Mudrana.

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In Mudrana, I was a beautiful Fairy PrincessDeer, upon a beautiful lily pad!

Nevermind that there was a frog screaming at me. He was not a nice frog. Reluctantly, I left the beautiful lily pad and went to the big lily pad where everyone else was frolicking.

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OK, it kind of looks like we are lounging around doing nothing and I am trying to graze a lily pad. But we were totally frolicking.

“I don’t like it here,” said LilaDeer. “It’s wet.”

“I think we should go swimming again,” said MikaDeer.

Three deer said in unison, “No grazing underwater, DyisiDeer!”

Luckily for MikaDeer, the next Realm held many underwater treasures.

From Mudrana, we crossed the lily pads and dove into the underwater paradise of Opal’s Flight.

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In Opal’s Flight, there are many wonders.

Of course, being adorable, diminutive deer, we mostly stood around staring and being slightly confused. Except for KitoriDeer, who seemed convinced that the world should see her tail. “KitoriDeer,” I said, “Have you no shame?”

“Shame?” She cried. “Shame? Look at my tail! My tail is amazing!”

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Of course, it was really the underwater amphitheatre we were in that was amazing.

Unfortunately, as adorable, diminutive deer, we couldn’t find any really good adjectives to describe it.

“Do deer eat fish?” asked AraDeer.

“No,” said MikaDeer. “We are herbivores. Did you not get that memo?”

“I am,” LilaDeer declared once again, “tired of swimming. Can we please go somewhere hot and dry:”

“Happy to oblige,” I said, having seen the Map. “I happen to know that the next Realm is called Fallen Sands.”

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Snowman grazing!

In Fallen Sands, we frolicked until we were very tired, then found the most amazing gift: a snowman, half-melted, upon the desert sands.

As it turns out, snowmen are totally tasty. I kid you not. DyisiDeer perched upon the umbrella while the rest of us grazed the snowman. LilaDeer just laid back and enjoyed the sun. “More, more!” he said.

“I think the next Realm is some kind of city,” I said.

“Woot!” said KitoriDeer. “Garbage! Cities are full of the best stuff to eat!”

DyisiDeer wrinkled her nose. “And you thought I was weird for grazing underwater!”

“Is it far?” asked MikaDeer.

“Just around that corner,” I said. “It’s so weird how everything changes in the blink of an eye here isn’t it?”

Everybody nodded. Being adorable, diminutive deer, we are OK with not needing to restate everything in our own words. Also, we have small vocabularies.

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I’m sure AraDeer was about to deer kiss me in San Mora.

But something about KitoriDeer’s third eye just kept weirding me out.

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We staged this photograph.

The caption is, “No, mom, we totally aren’t going to throw a party with beer and deer of the appropriate and attractive gender while you are away in Deertopia for that couples’ rutting weekend.”

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Whoa! We were the captains of San Mora!

Not only did we have a party with beer and deer of the appropriate and attractive gender, we also found a car! While AraDeer and LilaDeer argued over who should drive, I envisioned myself as a sexy hood ornament. MikaDeer climbed into the back seat and took a nap.

I… KitoriDeer was very interested in the blood splatter on the pavement.

“I don’t think San Mora is a very wholesome city.”

“Doubtless,” replied KitoriDeer. “Garbage looks hazardous, though. Better lick up this blood before my hooves fall off from radiation poisoning or something.”

I stared at KitoriDeer. “What did you say?” I asked.

She repeated the sentence verbatim.

I was still confused.

Pirates in Egregore!

What joy to pretend to be pirates.  LilaDeer and I took the helm, although I’m pretty sure it was My Little Pegasus doing the actual steering.

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We were so in control of this ship!

AraDeer and MikaDeer inspected the supplies, while DyisiDeer undertook stewarding duties and maintained she was the only one smart enough to be the ship’s doctor. Suddenly, I was even more confused than usual. “Has anybody seen KitoriDeer?” I wondered.

“She said she had a special errand to run and that she’d be back soon,” replied MikaDeer with a shrug. “I wasn’t gonna ask.”

“Probably for the best,” AraDeer agreed.

“Why is she even in our herd, if we aren’t sure whether or not she’s going to murder us?” wondered LilaDeer.

“Because she’s in the herd,” DyisiDeer said. “We are a herd.”

“What does that even mean?” I really wanted to know.

“It means we stick together and stuff,” replied DyisiDeer. “And we find good grazing, keep each other safe from bad stuff, that kind of thing.”

“Is it wrong to be sort of homesick and sentimental for the every deer for himself kind of creed?” LilaDeer wanted to know.

“Yes,” said AraDeer.

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At that moment, we heard the sound of violins.

And over the sweet, beginning chords of a cheap karaoke track, KitoriDeer, drunkenly off-key, began to sing:

Every night, in my dreams
I see you, I feel you….

AraDeer swore.

“I hate that fucking song,” said LilaDeer.

I looked at DyisiDeer. DyisiDeer looked at me. As if compelled, we began singing along.

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KitoriDeer positioned herself on the prow of the ship.

LilaDeer looked at Aradeer. “I’m sure we could figure out these cannons.”

MikaDeer obliged them all by firing the cannons, except of course this is Fantasy Faire. So of course the cannons went off in perfect rhythm with KitoriDeer’s singing and DyisiDeer and my singing along and the karaoke track.

At one point, I shouted at AraDeer, “It’s karaoke! You have to sing along.”

“No,” said AraDeer. “I do not.”

“Help me set the ship on fire,” suggested LilaDeer.

“No setting the ship on fire!” screamed MikaDeer. “That would be wrong, and they’d never let us back into the Fairelands if we did that!”

Near, far, wherever you are (sang KitoriDeer)
I believe that the heart does go on (sang DyisiDeer and me)

“Goddamn it,” said AraDeer, and sang,

Once more, you open the door….

And then there was a loud bang and we found ourselves on the outskirts of Anansi.

“OK, I am not sure about this Realm,” admitted DyisiDeer, who had recovered from Titanic Karaoke very smoothly. The only thing I’ll admit was I was still humming. “There’s a freaky clown face up here somewhere,” she continued.

“I think we can avoid that,” said KitoriDeer. She, too, had recovered admirably. She was studying the map over my shoulder. I could feel the handle of her knife (yes, the bloody one) against my neck. “Don’t worry, I’m not gonna cut you,” she said.

“I wasn’t worried,” I said. I’m sure I sounded totally sincere.

MikaDeer made an affirmative noise. “Yeah, if we go around this way, we can avoid scary clown face. I think it’s all art back here.”

“Art?” AraDeer was interested. “Art is cool.”

And in fact, there was art everywhere. Adorable unicorn houses. Obtuse buildings. Several exclamations of, “What the fuck is that? I love it!” and “Seriously? Who puts teal and pink together?”

In the end, the very end, we found ourselves compelled to be art ourselves.

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Four little monkeys and six adorable, diminutive deer jumpin’ on the bed!

“Stop shoving!” said LilaDeer. “KitoriDeer, you are on my head.”

“You better be glad I’m not on your ass,” said KitoriDeer with a (more than usually) maniacal laugh.

“I’m GwenDeer’s blanket,” said DyisiDeer.

“You people just don’t understand how to be comfortable,” MikaDeer declared as she sat complacently in her pirate hat, hogging the blankets.

Monkeys chittered. They may have been advancing on us.

“I don’t think the monkeys are really happy with us,” I said.

AraDeer looked at the monkeys. He looked at GwenDeer, DyisiDeer, MikaDeer, LilaDeer, and KitoriDeer. “I’m on a horse,” he said.

We ended our tour where most Fairelands tours begin, in the Fairelands Junction.

I had a chance to get a photograph of MikaDeer in her spiffy pirate’s hat!

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MikaDeer also had a paintbrush.

“These trees are huge,” she said, with her mouth full.

“I think we are due at least one last bit of frolicking, I said.

“I agree,” said AraDeer.

“Frolicking is good,” said KitoriDeer.

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And there, in the safety of the Fairelands Junction, we frolicked.

There was serious frolicking. There was lighthearted frolicking. There might even have been cavorting.

And that, my friends, is the story of Deer and Loafing in the Fairelands, every word of which I swear is as true as possible, under the circumstances.

We would like to sincerely thank Vae of The Plastik for The Plastik Deera Gacha, the most fun we have had in many a month. Thanks are also due to Wren, who arrive at out initial deer meet up in a hat and inspired the rest of us to bling our deer. If you haven’t made the trip to The Plastik‘s Fantasy Faire Store on Chaddul Ro to play this gacha, you really should. Or, you know, you could always IM us in world; most of us have, erm, a few extras if you want some commons.

The players:
GwenDeer: Gwen Enchanted
DyisiDeer: Dyisi
MoxyDeer: Moxy Macbeth
KitoriDeer: Kitori Unplugged
WrenDeer: Wren Darling (Dickensiandreamer)
RivenDeer: Riven (lrriven)
NateDeer: Nathaniel Ballard (BenBold)
AraDeer: Arahaelon (Giovanni Tiepolo)
KaeDeer: Kae (Kaelis Ember)
LilaDeer: Lilacor (Zoasa Viper)

Locations:
Every single shopping Region in the 2017 Fantasy Faire, with the additions of Opal Flight (entertainment region) and Fairelands Junction.

Photographed and written by Gwen Enchanted. Thanks to the players, my best friends in Second Life and indeed in any Life, for joining with me for three nights of complete madness and mayhem as we took the Fairelands by stampede!

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I’d never blog Fantasy Faire without it!

Blink, and you could miss it….

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This month’s GENRE theme is Victorian!

There is always so much going on! If you’re not careful, you could miss stuff. For example, this month’s GENRE theme is Victorian! Genre is one of those events that has been going on for a few years and has had a few spikes and dips, but the last couple of months have been amazing. Last month was Viking, and I forgot to tell you about it, or I had too much other stuff to talk about, or my work schedule got out of hand (likely), so I didn’t get around to that. This time around, I promised myself I’d talk about Genre. I also haven’t got a chance to talk very much about what’s happening at Hairology this month, so I want to show you three different outfits in this post. Don’t worry: I do have an epic story post coming, hopefully tomorrow! But tonight is all about Fa-fa-fa-fa-fashion!

This dress is Senzafine‘s Zenobia gown, and her textures are really striking, no matter what colour you choose. I can never choose, so I tend to fatpack her gowns, but that’s because I have a hard time with, you know, choices.

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Here, you can see a glimpse of the bodice detailing.

Here, you can see the glimpse of the bodice detailing; I love the smocking on the front. The skin I’m wearing is another of the new offerings from 7 Deadly s{K}insIzara has really hit it out of the park for the SL Skin FairMaliThe skin is built around 7 Deadly s{K}ins’ new body appliers, and they are so easy to use. Mali is a Lelutka face applier. I kept Gwyneth a redhead for this post, because I love the red eyebrows on this skin. The freckles are also great.

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Stealthic hair from Hairology!

The hair here is Stealthic, for Hairology, which closes in a few days. The hairlines and textures on Stealthic‘s hair have been impressing me since I first discovered them at the 2015 Hair Fair, and this is one of my favourites to date: Cadence. This is Lelutka’s new Cate Bento mesh head, which is a little softer than the Simone. The ears are Swallow‘s Elf Ears High Definition, the eyes are from Mesange: the Bering eyes are available for a few more days at We ❤ Roleplay. I found the Earthstones Velvet Rose Choker at The Liaison Collaborative.

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Another great hair from Hairology!

This next outfit features another great hair from Hairology, Runaway’s Jasmin. The skin is another of 7 Deadly s{K}ins‘ releases for Skin FairWednesday. These are the same eyes from Mesange: I just loved the purple colour with this dress, and I kept the rose choker on her as well.

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Beautiful furniture from Raindale adorns this set for the whole shoot.

Beautiful furniture from Raindale adorns this set for the whole shoot: these items are from the Birdside gacha. It was at the February Crossroads events, but you can find it at Raindale’s main store now. The gown is from BareRoseTasha in purple. The gown comes in sections, and it’s beautifully shaped. it comes with boots, but here Gwyneth is wearing the Harriet Booties from Wicca’s Wardrobe, which are also available at Genre, along with the dress.

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No shoot featuring this dress would be complete without a picture of the amazing BOW.

No shoot featuring this dress would be complete without a picture of the amazing BOW. When I tried this dress on, the first thing I noticed was that I had a huge bow on mah butt! And I kind of love it!

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Not everything at Genre is formal Victorian.

Not everything at this month’s Genre is formal Victorian: this is Poeme‘s Neo-Victorian in Damasque, here worn with some black legging appliers and the Wicca’s Wardrobe boots.

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This is the new Catwa Lona head.

This is the new Catwa Lona head. One of my favourite styles from the March Hairology is from Iconic; this is Esme, and I’ve been wearing it around just casually for weeks now. This is a Lumae freckled applier for Catwa, Ella, also available at Skin Fair. The eyes are once again Mesange; these are the Capriccio Eyes, which you can get for a few more days at The Chapter 4. The necklace is from Empyrean ForgeBreccia.

So, yeah; not a lot of my usual scintillating content here, but do take a trip to Genre. You’ll be glad you did. And don’t forget to visit the Skin Fair before it closes!

No style cards for this post: everything’s in the text, and I’m kinda tired, and it’s Dyisi’s RL birthday, so I have to think of her right now. 🙂

Works in Progress….

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Gwyneth:

So, yeah. You know how it is. The seasons turn, Yule comes and goes, the mortal world is celebrating the beginning of a new year, and you’re pacing around on your sim platform, trying to think of a series of evocative photographs that’ll get you through Certain Things Yet To Be Announced, not to mention your Visionaire graduation, which is coming up sooner than you’d like to admit. And you look around yourself, and you go, ‘Well, sweet goddess; why am I building and tearing down all these photo sets on a temporary looking platform? I have a whole effing sim to play with!’

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Well, OK, maybe it’s not exactly that story for everybody.

Well, OK, maybe it’s not exactly that story for everybody. But we’ve all had that revelation when we realise we’d been making something more complicated than it had to be, yeah? Some of the best things in the world are simple. Take this new hair from Wasabi Pills. It’s called Isla, and it’ll be at Fameshed on the first of January, unless they open late because of the holiday. I love it, because it is marvellously, stunningly, simple. Like the solution to my problem.

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And so, my lovelies, I present to you some works in progress.

And so, my lovelies, I present to you some works in progress. First of all, I’m still experimenting with finding the perfect shape for Gwyneth’s Catwa Catya Bento mesh head, which I still love to pieces. Just the eye animations keep me rapt, because Gwyneth’s eyes seem to move naturally in their sockets, rather than kind of sliding beneath the sockets on a static mesh head. In fact, I’ve changed her face shape slightly since shooting these photographs; I became unhappy with a detail about the way her cheek met the hollows beneath her eyes and spent a while playing with that this morning before starting this post. I’ll shoot a couple of special photos so you can see what I mean before I finish this post, so please don’t mind me if I yammer on for a bit here.

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Out of the mist…

But getting back to what I was talking about before I got distracted by my hair…. I began thinking, even though the ground area of my sim is covered by the beautiful Pacific Northwest Rainforest that Dyisi Oppewall has created for our roleplaying group, there are still all these (extra!) prims left over, and so why didn’t I just make a sim-sized sky platform with a great surround so that it felt like there was a horizon?

And thus, out of the mist, was this idea born. It doesn’t have a name yet. What you see in the photo above are the bare beginnings of it; there’s a rez platform over on the left, even. As with most of my changing SL homes since the 2016 Relay For Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire, the first and central object placed is my glorious Last Hope statue, a one-of-a-kind (well, two-of-a-kind!) item created by the geniuses at Death Row Designs. Some of you know I lost my beloved husband to cancer at the beginning of 2016. Some of you also know that in another life, I’m a semiprofessional harper. To me, this statue is me playing a lament for my beloved. The dove is hope itself, or possibly Joe’s immortal spirit, come to listen. I knew at the time I wanted a circular path around the statue and four of Elicio Ember (the personable, nice, and downright sexy mastermind behind Cerridwen’s Cauldron)’s stunning Fae Waystones placed at cardinal points round the statue. I wanted paths running toward the surround edge in all four directions.

The skybox surround is from Landscapes Unlimited, and aside from having to build an invisible floor underneath it, I am 100% satisfied with it, as I can change it to many different looks depending on the season of the year or whether or not I want to live on Mars. 😉

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A few more things have now been added….

A few more things have now been added in this photo, but importantly you can see Gwyneth’s whole outfit, so I can talk about the clothes! The dress and boots are both from Zenith, the Autumn Sweater with Skirt in Rose, and the Leather Boots with Lace Socks, also in Rose. You can get the boots at Uber. If you noticed the necklace and earrings, they’re from Empyrean Forge, the Levity necklace and earrings.

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Ohh, but that skin!

Ohh, but that skin! It’s a new Catwa applier from Pink FuelSabine, formerly available only as a Lelutka applier. This was just released yesterday, and yes, I was part of the yammering glom-mob that descended on the Pink Fuel Main Store to pick it up, both in my favourite shades (Porcelain and Crystal—you see Porcelain above) and in their yummy new shade Brulée, which is available at a special price for now. Pink Fuel has long been one of my favourite skin creators, up there with Lumae7 Deadly s{K}ins, and DeeTaleZ (though, yes, my heart will also belong to Curio if she comes back to us) as some of the most beautiful skins you can get in Second Life, in my opinion. Pink Fuel also distinguishes itself by offering a dizzying array of body styles, particularly suited to those of us on the Itty Bitty Titty Committee. These are the Lionsong eyes from Mesange. I’m wearing Mesange eyes almost exclusively these days because they’re available as Omega appliers and I simply can’t be arsed with correctly positioning dozens of different mesh eyes to suit whatever head I’m wearing. And seriously, I’m a bit of a perfectionist about these things. I even tell other people when they’re posing for me and wearing mesh eyes to fix that cross-eyed thing right now; I’ll help you; no, really, it’s important; I’ll wait.The ears are the Swallow High Definition Elf Ears, and Gwyneth, as almost always, is wearing the Maitreya Lara body. Behind her, you can see more of Cerridwen’s Cauldron‘s lovely plants, including the Challis Flower, which is just about my favourite thing ever at the moment, and some of Elicio‘s beautiful Fungal Undergrowth. You can pick up both these and the Fae Waystones referenced above at the Cerridwen’s Cauldron Main Store in world or on the SL Marketplace if you fancy shopping from your couch.

So, what follows are some fairly rough shots of the still-unfinished and in the very beginning stages of my new home in Awenia.

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First, an aerial view, so you can get your bearings.

First, an aerial view, so you can get your bearings.

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8f8’s Cottage Cairn and Windmill

The first two buildings I put down were 8f8‘s lovely Cottage Cairn and Windmill, both from the New Beginnings set, from a past Arcade Gacha. One of the best things about having a sim-sized place to decorate is getting to put out all these beautiful buildings I’ve acquired at this or that gacha event over the years.

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Then, I decided I wanted a little commercial district.

Then, I decided I wanted a little commercial district. So here we have from right to left Ex Machina‘s Chelsea, which reminds Gwyneth enough of London that she won’t have to visit too often, then Death Row Designs‘ The Joint coffeeshop, followed by The Magick Shoppe, also by Death Row Designs. These shops border what will become a park/village green of sorts, across which you’ll find some nice places to eat.

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Across the park.

Across the park, from left to right, there’s the lovely Hideki Bakery, next door to which is another Vintage Bakery by Dustbunny, though I’ll probably turn it into a pastry shop or a restaurant, and then there’s the whimsical Tea Shop from Tentacio. Then you have Tarte‘s Grinder’s Cafe, which might or might not stay where it is; I’m not sure.

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Just so you can have a sense of the space I’m allowing for the park.

Just so you can have a sense of the space I’m allowing for the park/village green, here’s a more zoomed-out shot where both shop rows are visible.

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Rez Platform Number One.

Here’s Rez Platform Number One, where you can see some tasty things that might or might not make it onto the finished build; and

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Rez Platform Number Two, plus buildings I’m holding out for consideration.

Rez Platform Number Two, plus buildings I’m holding out for consideration. And I have some amazing new ideas that just came into my head today!

All this is going to keep me busy on what promises to be a long and lonely New Year’s Eve, the first I’ve spent without Joe since New Year’s Eve 2003/04, which was the night we met.

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I guess now everybody knows I’m a tree-hugger!

On another note, The Guardians opens tomorrow, the first of January, 2017 (!), and there is much, much cool stuff to be had there.  BananaN has done a book gacha that I’m so so very fond of: you can see several pieces of it in the background of this photo. The tree I’m hugging is the Young Maple from The Little Branch, and I’m wearing the Fame Femme Amelli Sweater, which is turning out to be a real favourite for casual wear this season. The boots are the Gypsy Boots from Wicca’s Wardrobe, and the hair! Oh, yes, the hair!

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Amazing hair from Analog Dog (as if AD made anything other than amazing hair, right?)

This is amazing hair from Analog Dog, as if Queue Marlowe ever made anything other than amazing hair, right? It’s called Lei, and it’s the Gift of the Guardians that you’ll receive if you play Analog Dog‘s gacha fifteen times at The Guardians event. I should mention the necklace, now that you can see it: it’s Minimal‘s Camera Necklace, and I bought one for myself and two friends at The Project Se7en today. And the rings are from  Absolut Vendetta, the Hydra Rings for Vista Bento Hands. Yes, I now have Bento hands, and I’m so glad I got them! I’ll tell you more about them anon.

The Lei hairstyle is an obvious tribute to the gargantuan talent that was Carrie Fisher, and it seems a fitting note on which to end this, my last big blog post of 2016. I might shoot you a couple of teasers as it’s going to be a long night for me, but this is the wordiest I’ll get, I promise. Carrie Fisher was only 60 years old. That’s the same age my husband Joe was when he died on the 29th of January, 2016. Star Wars was the last film I saw with my father in the cinema before he died at the age of 46. I was twelve. When I took my primary-school-aged son to see it during the ramp up to the second trilogy of Star Wars films, it was all I could do not to weep through the film as I remembered sitting in the cinema with my dad: I would have been eleven.

Tonight, wherever you are, somebody is going to go down a list of the people who’ve died this year, and it’s a long one. That somebody might even be you. If you can, I want you to consider doing two things. One of them is for yourself. The other, selfishly, is for me. Remember that on the worst day of your life, someone else is having the best day of theirs. That one’s for you. No matter how bad a day you’re having, someone else is experiencing the greatest joy ever. Imagine that. Now here’s the one for me. When the somebody (who might be you) is going down that list of people who’ve left us this year, please, for me, whisper, or shout, or say, ‘James Joseph Raftery’. Let my beloved’s name be spoken on the same wind as all those other names, and let his bright, love-giving, life-saving spirit be woven into that song. Say it: ‘James Joseph Raftery’. He hung the moon. He lit the stars. He took my broken heart and put it back together, and even though my heart has been breaking every single day of this long, long year, it’ll never be as broken as it was before Joe, because Joe knew how to mend things. He hugged me and loved me and believed in me so hard he made me Real. ‘James Joseph Raftery’. Say his name for me.

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never build new homes without it!

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Midnight at the Fair Maiden

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Gwyneth:

I continue to be plagued by strange dreams, dreams in which I am someone else, in a completely different world, with a completely different life.

I remember as a child reading a series of books by Diana Wynne Jones, about a series (well, several series, actually) of worlds in which there were varying degrees of magic and tolerance for magic. In every world, there were different versions of oneself, the only exception being in the case of special nine-lived enchanters, who had no cognates in other worlds. This, apparently, was how they got these nine lives. Anyway, I became fascinated with the books at first because there was a character named Gwendolyn, a name close enough to Gwyneth to spark my imagination. As I continue to dream my way through to whatever lesson these experiences are going to give me, I suspect I am getting glimpses of my lives in other worlds. Or maybe I just read too much speculative fiction as a child.

This dream was memorable, mostly because it included Dyisi, and “I” had no idea who or what she was! And oh, the things I thought about her, about Fae, about the world! I can’t imagine being raised in such a society, where a difference like pointed ears or a pair of horns means you’d be treated differently by everyone. No, wait. I can imagine that. I was raised in such a place. Even my own history becomes mutable, what with all these alternatives to consider.

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She came in right at midnight.

She came in right at midnight. I was cleaning off the bar, just about ready to head home.

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“We’re closed”, I said, without looking up.

“We’re closed”, I said, without looking up.

“Ah, but I have come so far”, replied a heavily accented voice, and I didn’t recognise the accent.

When I looked up, I couldn’t believe what I saw.

“I am just needing a few things”, she continued. Her glasses obscured her eyes, but there seemed to be a light glowing behind the lenses. And she had glowing horns. And a tail, and… yes, hooves. And for some absurd reason, there was a white crow perched on one of the horns.

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I took a step back. “You’re not allowed”, I said.

I took a step back. “You’re not allowed”, I said. I lowered my voice: someone could be listening. “You can’t be here, if you’re not human. You’re illegal”.

“Illegal, am I?” she asked. “Why’s that?”

“Because of the Betrayal”, I said.

She shook her head. “Never heard of him”, she replied. “I am called Dyisi”.

“Gwyneth”, I said. This prompted a sharp laugh from the horned woman. “The betrayal. You know. When the Faerie said she’d keep us safe, but she broke her promise and so was turned to stone?”

“Was she now”. The woman—Dyisi—didn’t seem very impressed. “I’m no Fae; I’m a Satyr”.

“Doesn’t matter; you’re still illegal”, I said.

“Ah, well”. She tilter her head up to me. “I wonder if you’re not illegal, too?”

I shushed her with a gesture. And I could feel her reaching out with some internal power, to get at me, disturb my glamour, take me down with her. “You need to go”. I’m afraid I used my overbearing barmaid voice, the one I have to use on the old men, every night at half eleven, to get them all out of the door before twelve, so I can clean the place and get home before night workers’ curfew, one o’clock in the morning.

“So be it”, she said. And then, I kid you not, she just became more and more transparent until finally she disappeared.

So I finished what I was doing and locked up. Couldn’t stop thinking of her, though.

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You have to bash the pub door with your hip. I give it an extra push with my elbow.

You have to bash the pub door with your hip to close it properly; I like to give it an extra push with my elbow, just to make sure it’s locked. It’s a good thing the village has a curfew: the prince is afraid we’ll all be eaten by vampires, because of the betrayal, so nobody is allowed out on the streets after pub closing. Nobody but the barmaids ever see the ridiculous dance we have to do to close the pub door. I think the curfew’s funny for two reasons: first of all, if he were really serious about the vampire thing, why not make it sundown? And second, why make the only people in the village who have permission to be out after pub closing the pub girls? Aren’t we the most vulnerable? Anyway.

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Who was this “Dyisi”?

Who and what was this “Dyisi”? She had no fear of walking as a … different sort of person. She seemed surprised that anybody would.

How is that even possible?

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I mean, people everywhere know of the Betrayal.

I mean, people everywhere know of the Betrayal. We just happen to be the lucky (and by lucky I mean not) village on the edge of nowhere where the legend actually happened. People don’t visit us much because they fear they’ll be tainted with the stink of the Betrayal. All my uncles and aunts moved away long ago, and none of them can understand why my mum and dad stayed here to raise me, being what we are. Mum and Dad say it’s so I have to stare at her every day and learn my place in the world, since our kind are given to hubris.

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And they’re right.

And they’re right: having to look at that, day in and day out, would give any Fae (I feel funny even to say it: I’m meant to say “girl” whenever I mean “fae”. Or “boy”) cause to worry. See how her back is turned on the village’s High Street? That signifies how she failed to protect us when the Dark Fae came to steal our children, a century ago now. She is the only place in the world where we see an actual depiction of a Fae. They (we) are prohibited in every city, every town, illegal in artwork, and of course the penalty for being one, or being any member of a race not human, is death. I look at her pointed ears and remember how mine sometimes used to show, back when I was young enough not to keep the glamour up in my sleep. I can still feel the bruises on my bottom: Dad takes glamour very seriously, even if we’re not meant to know other things can be done with magic.

I walked down the lamp-lit street, mindful of every dark corner: who knows what could be lurking there, Mum says; I don’t know why you work in that place, she says, when we have a perfectly good toy shop that any girl would love to work in. The money, Mum, I say. It’s the money. She can’t think why I need money, but I can: Soon as I can afford transport, I’m getting out of here. Somewhere far away.

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I was still thinking of Dyisi when I reached our house.

I was still thinking of Dyisi when I reached our house. It’s at the other end of the village, even though that means about a five-minute walk. Mum thinks it’s the end of the earth, and she’s always waiting up for me, and she’s scared because the pub is on the edge of the forest, “and you have no idea what horrific things take place in there,” she’ll say. One day I’m going to walk all the way past the forest to the ruined castle and see if it’s really haunted. When I’m twenty-eight. By that time, I’ll have saved all the money I need to get out of here, and I’ll carry it all with me when I walk to the castle, just in case, as the stories say, there are other, less human, ways of getting out of the village.

For a moment, I wondered what kind of creature Dyisi was, but I knew it would be pointless to ask: I’d be up against the court of Mum and Dad, and I’d have to wait ’til I’m thirty to get out of here, because they would make me quit my job at the pub tomorrow if they knew a creature with glowing horns had walked in, presumably out of the forest, and just fucking disappeared from inside a well-lit pub. Maybe that’s how Fae get around. Maybe they can just think themselves anywhere. Tomorrow I’ll try thinking myself into the  bathing chamber before Michaela. She thinks she’s so special, dating the son of the mayor. Wait til their wedding night, I think, and it makes me smile. I bet she loses her glamour when he puts it in her, and that’ll be the shortest marriage in the history of the village. Mum and Dad will say they didn’t know, she must be a changeling, and the whole village will go onto alert, and we’ll have martial law for a few months like the last changeling scare, but after she’s executed, everybody will forget.

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And so, into our house I went.

And so, into our house I finally went, after checking to make sure Dyisi wasn’t following me. Maybe she is some kind of evil spirit, and I only thought I saw her. Maybe she is some piece of me that I didn’t know existed because Mum and Dad don’t tell good little girls these things. Maybe Mum doesn’t have pointy ears beneath her glamour: maybe she has big glowy horns and a twitching tail!

I had to put my hand over my mouth to stop myself giggling when I came in and saw Mum.

“You’re home late,” she remarked.

“Nelson puked on the doorstep again,” I explained.

“That old arse. Well, he’ll die soon enough.”

So will we all, I guess. But I’m not going to die here.

Style Cards:
Dyisi (full style card will come eventually)
Body: Maitreya
Hair: No Match, No Lime (available at Hair Fair! Hair fair is open until 31 July!)

Gwyneth:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Stella
Eyes: Soul, Sidhe Eyes
Skin: 7 Deadly s[K]ins, Maren, Powder (Available at Mesh Body Addicts, open until 29 July!)
Hair: Barberyumyum, 78AHF  (available at Hair Fair! Hair fair is open until 31 July!)
Clothes: Faida and Fallen Gods, Mythiara Rogue, Royale (Available at The Epiphany!)
Necklace: glYph, Miraculous Necklace, Purple
Boots: Lassitude & Ennui, Bernadette Boots, Grey (Available at We❤ RP!)
Poses: PosESion, from the 100 poses for $399 set currently on sale at their Main Store

Setting:
Sim: Private Sim
Buildings, pub, village, doors, streetlamps: Death Row Designs, Dangarnon, from the 2016 Fantasy Faire sim of the same name.
Statue: Death Row Designs, The Last Hope, a two-of-a-kind item offered for auction at the 2016 Fantasy Faire
Village Paths: Happy Mood, Dirt Road
Trees: Studio Skye, Enchanted Woods

Pub Decor:
Bar: Fetch, Lyla Bar
Elk Head: Medieval Fantasy, Elk Trophy
Deer Head: Medieval Fantasy, Deer Hunting Trophy
Cider Bottles: Jian, Hillside Orchard
XXX Barrels: Jian, Hillside Orchard
Unicorn Head: Nomad, Unicorn Taxidermy
Shelves Behind Bar: Serenity Style, Five Minutes Shelf
Wine Bottles Atop Bar Shelves: Aphrodite, Wine bottle collection
Purple Bottle on Bar: Morgan Sim Designs, Stowaway Fae’s Shot o’ Rum Bottle
Artwork Behind Bar: Lilith’s Den: Yrdrasil Axis Mundi
Bar Torches: Death Row Designs, Dangarnon Torches

It is such a pity Dy and I didn’t play a longer scene in the pub, but it was bedtime for her! I’ve kept the pub intact up on the platform where I create such things, so you may see more of No-Fae-Allowed Village Gwyneth’s life in the future, if only so I can show you things like the amazing polar bear statue in one of the corners and the beautiful tables sourced from Noble Creations and Tia.

Yes, I am one of the two people who won the DRD Last Hope Auction at the 2016 Fantasy Faire, and every time I look at that statue, I think of the Fantasy Faire, my beloved husband (whom I lost to cancer in January), and my hope that one day little donations like mine will help to make a real change in the way we treat cancer, leading to a complete cure, for everyone. I am deeply in awe of the amazing DRD team, who created one of the most inspiring objects I’ve ever seen in Second Life or any other life, and one that I’m proud to say graces and will grace my every living space in SL, be it RP, creative office, or OOC hangout. Unlike its purpose in this work of fiction, in reality this statue represents hope, the hope we can give and the hope that goes on before us, hope’s everlastingness, its raw power, and sometimes, its sadness. 

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never create entire villages on a 1/4 sim sky platform for, um, one photo shoot, without it….

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