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!

A New Forest?

Davey Blog Header

The Gypsy Davey:

The season for the Great Faire came and went, and I went about my business silently this year. Although there were many beautiful things to see, and many beautiful women to woo, but some of the scars from the last Faire remain. If it hadn’t been for Dyisi and her cure for the Elf Sickness, I might be pining after the Faerie Queen still.

As luck would have it, or not have it as the case may be, I ran in to some trouble in Dangarnon. A gentleman with whom I have a passing business acquaintance took it upon himself to accuse me of cheating him in a deal. Of course I did not cheat him, but the insults regularly thrown at the Romany create prejudice that holds true wherever one is in the great universe. So I ran. And as soon as I got to one of those places where the Realms meet, I asked the goddess to send me to a place of safety, a haven.

And then I found myself in a lush forest, with trees so big I could hardly imagine they were real. It smelled wet and mossy, and the ferns grew as high as my head in some places. I saw, down a hill, a familiar silhouette. And wouldn’t you know it, there she was. Dyisi. Oh, how I’d missed her. I wandered down to the edge of the lake where she stood.

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Well Met by Moonlight?

“Well, well. Well met by moonlight, it would seem”, I said, as I walked down the slope to join her. “Dyisi. It’s been some time”. I looked around, surveying the pond, the moonlight on the water, the fireflies. “What sort of place is this? I feel such a sense of quiet here.”

 

At first the satyr didn’t seem to hear the familiar voice while she stands under the pale light of the moon.  There is that ever presence of serenity that flows out from her in gentle waves.. but there is also this strong undercurrent of loss, sadness, and grief that has permanently grown within the currents.  Of course she senses him, she had the moment the gypsy arrived in this dark verdant forest.

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“Humans, they call this forest Olympics”,

“Humans, they call this forest Olympics.”  She finally answers him, though gives no more to it.  In fact her tone sounds more hollow to their normal evenness.  The satyr doesn’t even move to look at him..  her gaze stays stead fast to the water before them.

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“I thought the Olympics were some kind of sports competition”.

“I thought the Olympics were some kind of sports competition,” I replied. I might have smirked. “Smells different here than the King’s Forest. Not so much smoke. And, something, hm. Something a bit mossy about it all.” I caught the sense of loss, of course: I’m a Gypsy, not a banker. “You…” I paused, considered, took a breath. “You seem sad, Dyisi.” That was it: I left it up to her to tell her story. “The moon on the water,” I said, to give her another conversational road to take. “It’s always so beautiful isn’t it? Like the goddess gave her face to the surface.”

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“Is rainforest.”

“Is rainforest..” My humour didn’t seem to register with her at all.  In fact she seemed to want to move away from me, let me just continue on my own.  Instead, though, she folded her ears back, which I always feel means there’s something she’s not telling me. Then again, there’s always something she’s not telling me. “Rainforest.” Again a simple explanation to their surroundings. “Why are you here?”  And her ton was more irritated than curious, I’m sad to say.

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“I never know why I’m anywhere, to be honest.”

“I never know why I’m anywhere, to be honest,” I replied. “I ran afoul of some rough fellows in Dangarnon, during the Great Faire. I fled, of course: I’m a lover, not a fighter. When I got to one of the places where two Realms converge there, I just wished to be in a safe haven, if only for a little while.” I smiled again, trying to open her up. I hoped it would work. “And here I am.”

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Her brows furrowed.

Her brows furrowed, if only for a moment before she turned to look off into the darkness of the forest.  Just after I’d spoken my wish for a safe haven, this deep piercing howl from off in the distance joined in with the various other nightscape sounds.  Including a baleful sound from a loon.  “If you wish safe.. mayhaps village on nearby island then.  Noht that ..safe.. is anything more than illusion of mind.”  Bitter. She sounded bitter. I sensed something terrible had happened, but I did not know how to find out at that moment, and I’ve learned it’s better to walk away than to press Dyisi when she doesn’t want to talk about something. My senses told me she’d lost something, something too great for her to bear.

And that was that: she spoke no more to me.  I stood in silence, not far away from her, for a little while, then walked my silent way around to the other side of the pond. She’d mentioned a village on a nearby island: as long as I was in this place, why not educate myself a little more on my surroundings, I reasoned. The night noises were beginning to get to me, finally, and that’s unusual for me. I found myself walking more quickly away from the pond than I’d approached it. Another howl came from the distance, back in the direction from which I’d come. Ahead of me, I thought, there came another sound: the distinctive hooting of an owl. And so, as cautiously as I could while still trying to move swiftly, I made my way to the shoreline and began to search for a nearby island. The owl hooted again. Was it an omen?

Style Cards:

The Gypsy Davey:
Body: SLink
Skin: 7 Deadly s[K]ins, NEW Judas, Caramel (Available at the 7 Deadly s[K]ins Main Store! SLink appliers seen here are also available at the Main Store.)
Hair: No Match, No Perfection
Ears: Mandala Steking Ears Season 5
Eyes: Poems of Color, Pearl Eyes, Aurora, Medium Bright
Clothes: Gypsy Wolf, Luca, Earth
Shoes: Bliensen & Maitai, Bleki Sandals, Silver

Dyisi:
Clothes
:
…:::Beautiful Dirty Rich:::… Tomorrow is unknown vest in black
Addams // Dolores Shorts
Accessories:
.:ellabella:. Blowing Bubbles lip ring
.Charm. Moon belly chain
.Eldritch. Bog Cailleach Vial
[Since 1975] Minigoggles
Earthstones Belly Ring – Kabbalah Tree of Life
Noodles – Luna Chain Top
RO – Hipster Bag – Coffee
Schadenfreude Long Water and Earth Digital Alchemy Necklaces
Zaara : Sarika feathered earrings
Zaara [Goa Party] : Baga nosering
Zaara [Goa Party] : Friendship bracelets
Soedara Pearl Berjuang Tari Bindi
Body:
.:EMO-tions:. Pure
:[P]: Astrali Skin – Reverie
:[P]: Galaxie Eye [L] – Arc
:[P]: Galaxie Eye [R] – Plura
:[P]: Zaida Horns [Bare- Magic] Ursula
:[P]: Asaia Markings
[Gauze] Faun mesh legs
Leo Tail
Slink Mesh Hands – Casual
Tiki Tattoo – UPOLU

Shape and Staff – Self Made

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

7ds

 

 

Autumn on the Wind

Gwyneth:

Gwyneth:

I feel Autumn on the wind.

From the greens of late summer Unannounced, she comes Blow, winds, blow

From the greens of late summer
Unannounced, she comes
Blow, winds, blow

Through the blues of the water Waves begin to thrum Flow, stream, flow

Through the blues of the water
Waves begin to thrum
Flow, stream, flow

Now the sky blends to purple Clouds begin to form Blow, winds, blow

Now the sky blends to purple
Clouds begin to form
Blow, winds, blow

And the pinks of the petals Fly into the storm Flow, stream, flow

And the pinks of the petals
Fly into the storm
Flow, stream, flow

Soon the rain comes down dashing Turns the world to grey Blow, winds, blow

Soon the rain comes down dashing
Turns the world to grey
Blow, winds, blow

As the world turns to Autumn Fine and brown and strange Flow, stream, flow

As the world turns to Autumn
Fine and brown and strange
Flow, stream, flow

Autumn BLOG - 4
Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Skin: DeeTaleZ
Clothing: Evie’s Closet, Siofra, in Green, Blue, Purple, Pink, Grey, and Brown (Available NOW at We Love Roleplay!)
Jewellery: Ellabella
Makeup: Madrid Solo
Hair Tableau Vivant, Editorial hair, various styles (Available at The Arcade Gacha!)
Foot Tattoo: Jalwa
Words by me.
Once again, Evangeline Miles inspired me with her gorgeous sense of design, colour, and attention to detail. I’m crazy about this dress. 🙂
Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never leave home without it! 

The Amazing Catwoman: A History

The Amazing Catwoman:

The Amazing Catwoman:

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

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

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

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

My birth name is Astrid Fenella Tacey Wallin.

My birth name is Astrid Fenella Tacey Wallin.

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

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

In rock picture number one, he made me laugh.

In rock picture number one, he made me laugh.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It just said, “Svart Alfar”.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shari was a tiny thing.

Shari was a tiny thing.

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

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

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

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

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

“What?” I continued to squint toward Shari.

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

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

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

“Your name, Svart.

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

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

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

“She’s got no idea,” Shari said.

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

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

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

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

I stood up weakly.

I stood up weakly.

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

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

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

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

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

“How’d I do what?”

“How’d you find our safe house?”

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

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

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

I eyed Shari. “What are you?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Style Cards:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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