Glow Baths and Dragon Dances in The Shrine Tree

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As Quiet As the Night Is

As Quiet As the Night Is, That’s how The Shrine Tree light is

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Come In

And you know you will come in, you will; you will

If we invite you in, you will, you will

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To see your sense of wonder

To see you sense of wonder, we will lift you to the lanterns;

We will let you taste our sweetest cakes

But only if you dare

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Do you dare?

Do you dare, do you dare, slip beside us for a glow-bathing?

Do you dare, do you dare, do you dare?

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We are watching from the lanterns

We are laughing just beyond you

We are watching from the lanterns

Do you dare, do you dare, do you dare?

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And if you venture past the lanterns….

And if you venture past the lanterns

We will let you dance with dragons

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Round the fire shrine

Round the fire shrine we’ll let you taste our mead

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It will make you dance ’til morning

It’ll make you dance ’til morning, but your feet won’t even feel it:

Not until you stumble home in seven years.

You’ll be ragged as a bean sidhe, but your memories will sustain you,

Won’t they?

Never mind: we’ll visit soon, to drink your tears.

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Fire Shrine Dance

Style Card:
Featured items from the 2019 Relay for Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire:
Skin: The Plastik, Amathela, in RFL colour Aleatrice (The Plastik at Fantasy Faire!)
Clothes: Evie’s Closet, Aelinor Skirt & Top, Blue (Evie’s Closet at Fantasy Faire!)
Circlet & Bracelets: Kotolier, Folium Bracelet & Circlet in Water (Kotolier at Fantasy Faire!)
Shoes: 1313 Mockingbird Lane, Evie Sandals (1313 Mockingbird Lane at Fantasy Faire!)
Other Stuff:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Genus Project, Baby Face
Hair: Doe, Silva
Body Glitter: Musa, Glitter Bomb Maitreya
Ears: Soul, Uni Ears, Luin
Wings: Evolved Creatures, Fae Wings

The Shrine Tree, sponsored by The Looking Glass and designed by Sharni Azalee and Marcus Inkpen, is one of sixteen Realms in the Fairelands this year. Give yourself a gift and visit this gorgeous place before the Faire closes on the fifth of May! The Relay for Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire is the largest virtual charity event in the world, and we help fight cancer with our stories and songs and flights of fancy. Everything you buy, everything you donate, helps a great cause.

 

 

The Spirit of the Juniper Tree

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They should know we’re watching.

They should know we’re watching. And in hindsight, many of them will say they do, they did. And yet.

And yet.

And yet we still bear witness to all the secrets and horrors that mortal lives suffer, and even welcome. Is it any wonder we dryads have no great love nor devotion to humanity? Better to stay hidden, lest we be drawn into their drama, we say. Unlike our treacherous and arguably royal cousins, the Sidhe, we gain no pleasure from tricking an unarmed enemy. But over and over, we’re forced to witness every imaginable betrayal.

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How do we bear it?

How do we bear it? By remembering that we are souls of wood, that we do not have to be soft, that only the laws of the wild magic, such as they are, apply to us, and we need not be bound by mortal folly.

Even so, even so. Even so, there are happenings that will move even the slow and steadfast heart of a dryad. Most of us have a story: this one is mine.

I have lived as the spirit of many trees, moving from seedling to sapling, slipping away when death comes near, and many years ago, I lived in a juniper tree that was sat in the forecourt of a wealthy man and his wife.

The wife had a liking for trees, and she believed in many things it was not seemly to believe in for a woman of her age and time. She wanted a child, badly, and she came out and sat beneath my tree every single day. She told her husband she was praying. And she was, after a fashion: she was beseeching the faeries to bring her a child, whether it be her own or a changeling she did not mind.

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She left me gifts

She left me gifts, apples mostly. That always made me laugh. Could I not walk over to one of the apple trees and pick my own? Is a gift a gift, if one can get it oneself with so little trouble? I am sometimes plagued by these philosophical questions. But suffice it to say that apples did not interest me overmuch.

No, it was the day she cut her finger peeling one of those apples that she got my attention. She gave herself a good nick, and blood dropped onto the snow. That’s when I started listening, because while human drama doesn’t interest us, human blood, even to a tree spirit, is a lovely, lovely treat.

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I went away and conferred with the Council.

I went away and conferred with the Dryad Council. And bicker, bicker bicker, back and forth, but finally I was allowed to place a magical juniper berry into the woman that would certainly cause her to bear a child. It had to be done while she was asleep beneath the tree, which was a bit of a faff, but I’m perseverant (most of us are).

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And there follows the tale you may know.

And there follows the tale you may know, of this beautiful lady finally conceiving and bearing a child, and of her being so pleased with the baby boy that she died of happiness on the spot, once she had looked upon him.

Mortals. What are they thinking? What was she thinking, dying of happiness because she’d borne a child, with no consideration of its future, its welfare? I cursed myself for my softness in helping this lady’s wish to be granted, because while I’m not the oldest dryad in the forest, I’m old enough to know how these tales go.

Child born, mother dies, father remarries evil stepmother.

It’s drilled into us. This is how the stories go. And even if the second wife wasn’t evil to begin with, fairy stories will twist her to evil, and that’s exactly what happened here.

After a long mourning period, the man of course remarried, and his new wife gave him a daughter, and that’s about the time the story twisted her to evil.

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She became obsessed with her daughter’s future.

She became obsessed with her daughter’s future and decided that the best way to ensure house and lands for the girl would be to kill her older brother. Of course, it took her years to come up with this plan, by which time her daughter and the boy were beautifully bonded as siblings, despite the fact that the stepmother did nothing but abuse the boy. No-one ever called her out on this behaviour, not even her husband (also known as the boy’s father). So by the time she got around to killing him, he was something like ten years old and the girl was perhaps seven. I do not know: time goes by so quickly for mortals; for trees it is a bit more slow.

But you know the next bit of the story too, don’t you? You know that she killed her stepson by decapitating him, and then to cover up what she’d done, she placed him in a position where his sister would surely find him and knock his head off, effectively making the girl believe she was the murderess and not her mother.

I think, mortals, that there should be rules about this sort of thing. There really should be. First of all, it is not acceptable to die of happiness on the day of your child’s birth. That opens the child up to a future of torment over which you, happy mother, will have no power.  Secondly, if you’re going to murder your child, evil stepmother, it should not be acceptable to pin the blame on the surviving child whom you mean the death to benefit. Think of the psychological scars!

Luckily for the boy, the sister knew quite a bit about fairy tales, and after having seen her mother cook the boy up into blood puddings, which her mother and father ate happily at a dinner where she could only cry, she had enough wits still about her (a miracle, considering her day: oh, it makes me fume even now to think of it!) to gather up the boy’s bones and bury them beneath my branches.

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I sang with the wind all night.

I sang with the wind all night, and in the morning, because of the girl’s quick thinking and my not inconsiderable talents, there rose from the branches a beautiful tufted bird with snapping black eyes and a voice that could make a Sidhe queen’s frozen heart melt.

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We conferred briefly.

We conferred briefly, the boy and I, and then he went off to collect the things you know from the rest of the story: the gold chain, the red shoes, the mill stone. Chain to the father, shoes to the sister, mill stone to crush the stepmother. Magically, the bird becomes the little boy all alive again, and seemingly regardless of the stepmother’s corpse out there somewhere in the forecourt, the man and his two children go inside and have their dinner. Which, I just have to hope, did not include any leftover puddings from the last meal served at that table.

And that’s my story of that one time I softened my heart and tried to improve a mortal’s life. I’m so glad this is a fairy tale and not a fable. If it were a fable, I’d have to come up with a pithy moral, like, The family that kills together, chills together, or something equally macabre.

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Juniper Tree and Juniper Bird, from Rivendale.

Style Card:
The Juniper Tree: Rivendale, Juniper Tree (At Enchantment until November 30th)
The Juniper Bird: Rivendale, Juniper Bird (At Enchantment until November 30th)

The Dryad:
Body: Maitreya
Head: LAQ, Lisa Bento Mesh Head (New at Uber)
Hair: Raven Bell, Willow (At Enchantment until November 30th)
Skin: Fallen Gods, Wood Nymph, Spring
Ears: Eclectica Elf Ear, Creature Version
Wings: Evolved Creatures, Fae Wings
Eyes: Seydr, Hallows Eyes, Grave
Leather catsuit: !go! Findis Overalls, Brown
Wrapped Tree Top: Shi, Tree of Life Creepers Top
Boots: Illi, Medieval Archer Boots

Environment:
Location: Awenia Faerie
Apple Trees: The Little Branch, Apple Tree
Wishing Well: Hextraordinary, Wishing Well (At Enchantment until November 30th)
Basket of Apples: Finishing Touches, Basket of Apples
Stone Wall: Artisan Fantasy, Maiden Tor Stone Wall
All poses, except tree sits (included with the tree) are from Frolic Poses (Beseeching, Harbinger, and Fairy)

 

Freedom in the Pools of Ethuil

The Pools of Ethuil are one of the Realms in this year’s Faire that I come back to again and again. There is a serene and restful vibe there that I crave.

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So many beautiful places to relax in the Pools!

There are so many beautiful places to relax in the Pools! But of course, I can never stay in one place for very long: if I linger, the local demifae start coming round and asking me when Awenia is going to be ready for residents. I’m tired of explaining the whole legal kerfuffle to everybody, particularly tiny fae who get bored after the first sentence and ask questions in the way I imagine toddlers do. “Why?” “Why?” “Why?” And then they never stick around to hear the explanation, little flibbertigibbets!

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Thinking about all that makes my head hurt.

Ach, thinking about all that makes my head hurt. I wonder, though, as I wander round all these beautiful Realms, open to everyone for just these few magical days of the Great Faire, how we’ll put it all together. I mean, we want a town, a magical town, with links to or gates right into a little piece of Faerie. I think with our skills that’ll be possible to create.

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The what-ifs

It’s hard not to get mired down in the what-ifs, particularly when so much of me is the culmination of dozens of odd what-ifs. The need to explain it all has fallen away from me now, after so many years away from the life I thought was my only one. Turns out we can have several different lives in one lifetime. And as I’m going to have a very long lifetime, being prepared for my life to change with no notice has just become not a shocking possibility but a resigned probability.

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The feeling of peace

Still, as I roam the beautiful paths of Pools of Ethuil, it’s hard to let anything break through and bother me, because here is a place so much like the one I want to build for our people back in Awenia.

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Why not dance?

And so, why not dance while the soft skies give us warmth from the distant sun?

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Why not run?

Why not run, with no destination and no desire but the ecstatic wind against our skin?

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Why not leap?

Why not leap, because everything is a leap: life, love, learning, trust, laughter, hope— it’s all a leap. Why not leap without fear?

Why not leap?

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Vista Bento Mesh Head, Lia
Skin: Lumae, Elvi, T1/Neutral (Available NOW at the 2018 Relay for Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire, in Pools of Ethuil!)
Ears: Swallow, Noldor Elf Ears
Necklace: RealEvil Industries, Passion Collar
Bracelets: The Plastik, Aeliora Bracelet
Antlers: Static, Andouiller, Vintage Key (Available NOW at the 2018 Relay for Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire, in Sanoria!)
Clothes and Headpiece: Azul, Rafa, Sapphire (Available NOW at the 2018 Relay for Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire, in The Bazaar Dungeon!)
Wings: Evolved Creatures, Fae Wings
Hair: Wasabi, Mayra Windblown (Available NOW at the 2018 Relay for Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire, in Aetherea!)
Shoes: Astralia, Queen’s Leg Jewels

Location: The 2018 Relay for Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire, Realm of Pools of Ethuil, Sponsored by Roawenwood and designed by Searlait Nitschke

FF18_Poster_SQUARE (Optional)

“You Are About to go on a Long Journey….”

Well, all the fortunetellers say that, don’t they? And obviously, the Great Faire is coming up soon, so we will be taking a long journey there, and then the long journey of days itself so that we can enjoy the all-too-short wonders of the greatest gathering of folk in all the wide Realms.

But that chance meeting with the fortuneteller at the art gallery opening just made me think, and you know what happens when I think.

(Not that! Keep quiet, you cretins!)

What happens when I think is, I dream.

And I did in fact dream about going on a journey.

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A journey that required a boat.

A journey that required a boat.

I wasn’t quite myself on this journey.

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And I had the certain knowledge that this was the most important journey I’d ever taken.

And I had the certain knowledge that this was the most important journey I had ever taken.

It’s funny, a dream like that, where you’re someone else. I could feel the knowledge of having navigated a small craft around into a closed harbour, the careful manoeuvring to get it up against the shore properly, the movement of the rudder. Before me, a great tree rose out of the grassy bank, and as I looked up into her branches, I could have sworn she wore the face of a woman.

Style Cards:

Gwyneth:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Vista Bento Mesh Head, Lia
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Spring (Available NOW at the Spring Flair Event!)
Eyes: Astrae, The Elder Eyes (Available NOW at The Makeover Room!)
Ears: Swallow, Noldor Elf Ears
Gown: Silvan Moon Designs, Sparrow Lightheart Gown (Available NOW at We ❤ RP!)
Wings: Evolved Creatures, Fae Wings v 2
Hair: Tableau Vivant, Selene
Headpiece: Nanika, Lesya Crown

Mysterious Blond Man:
Body: Signature Gianni
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Brent
Head: Catwa, Skell Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Lightstar, Baldur
Eyes: Anatomy, Emilio Eyes, Blue
Clothes: Silvan Moon Designs, Knight of Ravensgate Tunic (COMING SOON to the 2018 Second Life Relay for Life Fantasy Faire!)

Adorbs Fairy Boat: JTD Leaf Boat, textured and scripted by the amazing Kitori Unplugged, AKA Skeleton
Manly Viking-Style Boat, Hopscotch, I See The Light

Female Pose: An Lar, from the Jupiter Series
Male Pose: Exposeur, from the That Boy Series

Setting: Pacific Northwest Forest on Awenia, designed by Dyisi.

Homecoming?

After many long months of masquerading as a (not very good, but improving, I think) art teacher, I eventually identified five proto-fae and helped them find mentors who could be there for them as they found their way in the restrictive Realm that was their home, at least for the nonce.

I did not relish pretending to be human for all that time. I was able to get away for a weekend here and there. But I still had to disguise my skin, so as to avoid the Svart Alfar prejudices so many exhibit even in more openminded Realms.

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Eventually, I found myself just off the ferry at White Owl Island.

Eventually, I found myself just off the ferry at White Owl Island. I don’t know what came over me: I suppose the proper-ish art teacher façade was too much and I needed to go far in the opposite direction. Taking the glamour off my skin in between Seattle and the Island just wasn’t going to happen: I barely managed the ears and clothes.

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Of course, I’d barely got to the end of the pier before I started having second thoughts.

Of course, I’d barely got to the end of the pier before I started having second thoughts. Sure, I know the place only looks so pretty and proper. And sure, I know I’m certainly worthy of living in a place like this: I don’t need to be in some scruffy backwater just to prove I’m a badass.

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But then I realised, as I turned toward the Sound from high above the beach, where I really wanted to be.

But then I realised, as I turned toward the Sound from high above the beach, where I really wanted to be.

So, fuck it: I slept on the boardwalk and vowed to go no further onto the Island itself.

Instead, at first light, I hired a rowboat and went across to the other island.

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All things considered, it was nice to put the Island behind me and the Forest ahead of me.

All things considered, it was nice to put the Island behind me and the Forest ahead of me. I’m not really dressed to go having lunch in a coffee shop peppered with yummy fae mummies and their spawn, nor do I wish to play let’s pretend with Queen Gwyneth, who apparently likes being a simple little bookseller here. Or something.

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Yes, and in the distance? That’s one house I won’t be visiting even if I’m back on the Island.

Yes, and in the distance? That’s one house I won’t be visiting even if I’m back on the Island someday. Might be sooner rather than later: they’re having some kind of shindig for Lughnasadh this week, and the DJ sounds kind of hot.

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I felt better, turning my back on the whole thing.

I felt better, turning my back on the whole thing.

And the farther I made my way into the forest, the better I felt.

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Eventually, I came upon a circle of vardos.

Eventually, I came upon a circle of vardos. Of course there’d be a Romani camp in here somewhere. Perhaps my luck was changing.

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Then again, there didn’t seem to be anybody home.

Then again, there didn’t seem to be anybody home. Not that you’d be able to tell if they were. Romani can hear you coming from miles around, they say. And if they don’t want to be found, well, fuck you.

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I decided patience was the best way to proceed.

I decided patience was the best way to proceed. After all, they’d have to come out, or come home, sometime, wouldn’t they?

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Wouldn’t they?

Wouldn’t they? I settled in to wait.

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What? This *is* my patient face.

What? This is my patient face.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Catya Bento Mesh Head
Hair: .Shi, Octavia
Eyes: Mesange, Arum Eyes (Available NOW at Hipster Men Event!)
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Skin: Lumae, Ella Apoc (Catwa Applier) (Available NOW at The Indie Teepee!)
Leggings & Tank: Death Row Designs, Wasteland Leggings, Wasteland Torn Tank (Available NOW at The Indie Teepee!)
Necklace: .Shi, Evra Pendant
Wings: Evolved Creatures, Fae Bento Wings
Shoes: Death Row Designs, Dirty Combats (Available NOW at The Indie Teepee!)

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

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I’d never try and make The Amazing Catwoman look patient without it!

MESANGE LOGO 2017   lumae-logo

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The Story of Returning

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Memory’s a funny thing, isn’t it?

Memory’s a funny thing, isn’t it? I remember being in university, long ago now it seems, and suddenly noticing a tree one morning. Richard and I were walking to class, and I swear, I tugged him by the sleeve and wanted to know when that tree had appeared.

“Gwyneth,” he replied, “It’s been here all along. You just never saw it before.”

How peculiar, I thought. What force of mind, memory, or nature could make me just not notice a tree? And it wasn’t a small tree, either. It was massive. People were having their lunch in its shade, sunbathing in the shadows of its branches.

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Like a place I’ve been, so many times.

Like a place I’ve been, so many times, this street should hold no mystery for me. It’s a place I go from time to time. There are shops here I like to visit, a good Turkish restaurant. Just down there, there’s a boutique that sells glorious faux fur stoles.

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I pause, sometimes, near this street corner.

I pause, sometimes, near this street corner. Sometimes, I pause to look back, wonder if I’ve missed something, shrug, move on. Sometimes, I stand here for several minutes, watching the people, the buses. It isn’t as if I have any great mysteries of life to contemplate, but I feel the need to contemplate, anyway. It might be about the dress I find myself in today, a glorious and gorgeous gown from Silvan Moon Designs. I came across a marvellous Vintage Fair, and then, softly, I found myself feeling the echoes of a different era.

I’m just starting my life on White Owl Island, and a new beginning always makes me ponder the “what ifs” of my life. It’s an exercise, I know, that leads only to dissatisfaction.

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But what have I, really, to be dissatisfied about?

But what have I, really, to be dissatisfied about? I have made my change. I have left the Wylds, and war, and mad demifae queens, and the judging eyes of the Unseelie Court.

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The future. The future is … uncertain.

The future. The future is … uncertain. But it is something I can create. Something I am creating.

And at this moment, I’m taken, as I used to be, by visions. Two visions. One is terrible: screaming people, fires, smoke. Refugees. The other….

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The other is sweet.

The other is sweet.

Style Card:
Gwyneth—
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona Bento Mesh Head
Hair: No Match, No Dream (Available NOW at Vintage Fair!)
Eyes: Mesange, Thaisa Eyes (Omega Appliers) (Available NOW at We ❤Roleplay!)
Ears: Swallow, Elf Ears High Definition
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Farrah, Omega Appliers (Available NOW at Vintage Fair!)
Wings: (Photos 1-5) Lassitude & Ennui, Seraphim Wings
Wings: (Photo 6) Evolved Creatures, Fae Bento Wings
Dress: Silvan Moon Designs, Vintage in Vogue (Available NOW at Vintage Fair!)
Shoes: The Plastik, Filivina Heels

Gentleman in Photo 6; Nyza Stillwater

 

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I’d never create a fantasy street for a single photoshoot without it!

silvan-moon-designs-logo-full   MESANGE LOGO 2017   7ds