The Princess in the Forest

The Amazing Catwoman:

The Amazing Catwoman:

Once upon a time, there was a brave adventurer, and her journey took her to many far lands. And in these far lands, she came across many wondrous beings and experienced many wondrous things.

But one thing, she did not like very much. One day, she was out hunting ghosts and got herself all turned around. And because she knew what she was doing with her realm-hopping skills (and they were mad skilz!), she zapped herself into another realm to get away from the Bad Ghosts. Only this realm had Sharks. So then she zapped herself into a quieter realm, but in this one she was a freaky Queen with weird servants in a very quiet house with music that had no backbeat. So of course she hopped out of that realm too, and then she got really confused.

And she isn’t sure what happened next, because after that the only thing she really remembers clearly (aside from some guy named Russel and a VW minivan) is landing, on her back, on an altar. In Faerie.

Problem was, it was the Faery Queen’s altar, and the Queen found out about it, and apparently there might have been some sort of temporal rift or some shit like that.

So then she got stuck in this realm because the Queen put a Geas on her to stay until she sorted her shit out. As if.

She got this gig guarding the Queen’s Realm against Goblins, and she wasn’t sure there were any goblins, and she spent her days off out in the Great Fae Forest, hunting and fishing and generally exploring.

And then one day she came upon the Wyld Weald. Which is some sort of scary old forest.

Anyway, in the Wyld Weald, she met a girl. A very skinny girl.

Here is a picture of the very skinny girl.

Here is a picture of the very skinny girl.

Here is a picture of the very skinny girl. Well, this is a picture of the very skinny girl after she’d hurriedly pulled her clothes on and made a move to step out of the water.

You see, the bold adventurer had surprised the very skinny girl while she was bathing. Now, the bold adventurer was very smart, so when she heard splashing sounds and humming coming from the pool up ahead— oh, fuck it.

Right. I heard these splashing sounds from the pool, so I knew there must be a (very unwary!) sentient being there, particularly as she was humming something I almost recognised. I mean, it sounded a bit like an Adele song. But then everything sounds a bit like an Adele song sometimes, doesn’t it? Stop staring at me blankly: you know what I mean.

So I snapped a twig loudly and swore or something, just so she’d know it was a humanoid coming up on her. I might even have shouted out a hallo or something: I don’t remember.

Anyway, she called out that she was just getting dressed, and could I please give her a minute, so of course I did.

With no fear whatsoever, she stepped up out of the pool and greeted me.

With no fear whatsoever, she stepped up out of the pool and greeted me.

With no fear whatsoever, she stepped up out of the pool and greeted me. She was right cheeky! I liked her immediately. Said no way could I steal her campsite, but she’d welcome me to stay there for a bit if I wanted, as she hadn’t seen another soul in days.

I gave her my name and some tips about keeping her little fire going.

I gave her my name and some tips about keeping her little fire going.

I gave her my name and some tips about keeping her little fire going. I was surprised that a woman alone out this far into the Unseelie Woods and into a place stranger even than that would be travelling without a weapon: she seemed completely fearless and said she’d been catching fish with her hands. That’s a nice trick, but I thought she’d do better with an arrow, so I gave her one.

She seemed suspicious at first of my gift.

She seemed suspicious at first of my gift.

She seemed suspicious at first of my gift, but then I remembered that some Fae who are into protocol and such have these rules about gift-giving. I briefly explained that I don’t follow those bullshit rules: an arrow would work as a makeshift spear and keep her from freezing her hands off in the cold water of the lake. I guessed its tributary river would be the one that flows through the middle of this Realm of Faerie; I’d follow it to get back to my post the next day I had guard duty, but til then, I had nothing to do, so it seemed like as good an idea as any to spend some time with this chick.

You know how girls talk: we ended up sharing some stuff about our lives.

You know how girls talk: we ended up sharing some stuff about our lives.

You now how girls talk: we ended up sharing some stuff about her lives. Turned out she was estranged from her mother, whom she said didn’t care about her but was more interested in her two more ‘perfect’ siblings. And then she said she was grown from a crystal.

Fuck. I realised I was talking to one of the Princesses.

Fuck. I realised I was talking to one of the Princesses.

Fuck. The penny dropped at that point and I realised I was talking to one of the Princesses, Drysi. And her mother was the Seelie Queen I’d been going on about. I’d told her about the Geas, see, I don’t know why she seemed so easy to talk to, but I will tell you she didn’t remind me of any Royal Sidhe I’ve met in any other Realm. She seemed quite casual, not concerned with my parentage or heritage, which to my mind puts her probably more on the Unseelie side of the spectrum. Then again, the gossip in the guard’s mess says that nobody really knows who the sire of these kids is, except that both King Janus (missing in action, presumed busy in another Realm) and the Queen’s Consort, Nathaniel (apparently some sort of vampire-fae hybrid, if you believe rumours), claim to be their fathers. So they have two fathers (and there’s some question about a former Unseelie King, whose name nobody will utter, having had a fling with Queen Gwyneth—ye gods, how the Royal Sidhe do get around!—before she and Janus became a couple, so there are rumours about him as well. Nobody will say his name, but the guards mostly refer to him as HUM (His Unseelie Majesty), and there are whispers that he’s come back from the dead. I swear, this Court is seriously fucked up. It’s like Dark Shadows up in here.

“Look,” she said, kind of awkwardly, “I don’t think you have all that much to fear from my Mother.”

“Look,” she said, kind of awkwardly, “I don’t think you have all that much to fear from my Mother. She’s all full of love, like people say, and she’s kind and gentle and stuff. She just believes I’m the born troublemaker, dark to the core, from before birth or whatever you want to call it.” And she rolled her eyes! She reminded me of nothing so much as my older sister when she used to have fights with my parents as a teenager. Luckily, I was the younger sister, so they went easier on me. Though I still think my mum would shit bricks if she saw me now.

I explained that I just didn’t know what to expect from Queen Gwyneth. I figure I’ll fall in love with her like everybody’s supposed to, and then I’ll forget any grievance I had against her. That’s how Royal Sidhe work, you know. They get inside your head and fuck around with your thoughts and feelings til you can’t see straight. Honestly, the way she was talking about her siblings, you’d think they were both shining with Seelie Goodness and she was marred with the Dark Mark or something.

I didn't tell her much about my past, but I did think about it.

I didn’t tell her much about my past, but I did think about it.

I didn’t tell her much about my past, but I did think about it. She was just so easy to talk to. Then again, maybe I fell into Royal Sidhe glamour full force and don’t even know it. She can’t lie outright: none of us can, but we all learn how to bend the truth to suit our purposes. It’s the only way to get by in the world if you’re fae, dealing with mortals, who fucking lie all the time. I was never very good at lying, come to think of it, even back during my mortal life. It was something Gwyneth and I bonded over: she was shit at lying as well and always got caught because she couldn’t bear to tell an untruth to her parents, or to our teachers, anything like that. I did mention to Drysi that I’d had a good friend with the same name as her mum. Not like it’s all that uncommon a name.

Anyway, we stayed up talking long into the night.

Anyway, we stayed up talking long into the night.

Anyway, we stayed up talking long into the night. Drysi seems lonely. She did say the Satyr, Dyisi, was really all right and I could trust her, but I’m not so sure about that.

I brought down a pheasant with the bow and showed her how to pluck it. We roasted it over the now hot fire and ate it on the stick, passing it back and forth, while we talked.

And I’ve got one more day before my next guard shift, so I think I’ll choose to spend it hanging out with Drysi. i think she’s a good kid. Heh. Kid. She looks my age but is really only a couple of months old. How fucked up is that?

So I like Drysi. I really do.

So I like Drysi. I really do.

So I like Drysi. I really do. How bad could her mother really be? No; don’t answer that. I have, after all, met Kevin’s mother. We called her The Iron Mum. Probably we shouldn’t have done that, but we did anyway.

Here's a picture of Drysi up close.

Here’s a picture of Drysi up close.

Here’s a picture of Drysi up close. Sure she’s super skinny, but I think she has a beautiful face. And just about the coolest ears I’ve ever seen: she says she inherited them from her father. I tactfully didn’t ask which one.

Style Cards:

The Amazing Catwoman:
Body: 
SLink
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Unicorn Dark Grey Smooth (Available at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store: SLink body appliers also available there)*
Hair: No Match: No Exception (Available at the No Match Main Store)
Clothes: Wicca’s Wardrobe, Nirenil (Featured at the July 2015 Fantasy Collective and now available at the Wicca’s Wardrobe Main Store)
Necklace: Otherskin, Selene, Black (Available at the Otherskin Main Store)
Ears: Gauze, High Elf Ears (Available at the Gauze Main Store)
Eyes: Gauze, Paradox Cat Eyes, Amber (Available at the Gauze Main Store)
Bow: EZ Storybook, Heartseeker Bow (Available at EZ Weapons/The Forge Main Store)

Princess Drysi:
Skin
: The Plastik
Hair: Magika
Clothes: Fashionably Dead Designs, Tissa (Available at the Fantasy Gacha Carnival!)
Eyes: Gauze
Ears: Gauze

*Note: If ever there is a skin from 7 Deadly s{K}ins on the blog that you can’t find in the Main Store or on Marketplace, all skins can be ordered direct from Izara Zuta in Second Life!

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

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Remembering Shining Lands

Gwyneth:

Gwyneth:

My first LARP, I guess I was eighteen or nineteen years old. It was my first year at uni, and some of the people from the science fiction society got me into a tabletop gaming group and then suggested I come to this LARP with them. They had some stuff I could use for a costume and I didn’t need much of a character description, just something I could work with for the weekend. OK, I said, I’d go, on the condition that we stay in the lodge and not in the campground, because I hated camping. My parents sent me on an adventure holiday once when I was a kid and I was camping with three other girls in a tent, and there were spiders, and I think a badger tried to eat us. Anyway, I don’t camp. I said I’d pay the lodge fee for the three of us, and they were sold. I mean, who wouldn’t choose running water and a bed, no matter how narrow and uncomfortable, over being attacked by badgers in the middle of the night. Right?

The first thing I discovered when we got to the LARP site, naturally, was the Rialto.

The first thing I discovered when we got to the LARP site, naturally, was the Rialto.

The first thing I discovered when we got to the LARP site, naturally, was the Rialto. We arrived early, and not all the merchants were set up: this was one corner where everyone seemed t have their wares out but they were all in the business of loading and unloading and none of them were open for trading yet.

As I was weaving my way in and out of the stalls, a guy asked if he could take my picture; I said sure, because I didn’t mind being photographed even back then. I was always a bit of a ham, to be honest. So he snapped a couple of pictures and I thought nothing more of it. Later in the weekend, it turned out he was the court photographer: this picture made it into the LARP newsletter. And that’s how I met Kevin, who ended up being Fen’s fiancée.

By the time Kevin was done taking my photograph, the jewellery seller had appeared.

By the time Kevin was done taking my photograph, the jewellery seller had appeared.

By the time Kevin was done taking my photograph, the jewellery seller had appeared. She was amazingly costumed and had painted her face and body with the most amazing designs. I remember asking about them and she was only too happy to show them to me. She was more interested in showing me her jewellery, of course, and all of it was lovely. I wished I could buy one of everything, but I’d spent most of my pocket money on the lodge fee, so I didn’t have much left for extra food, much less jewellery. That’s when she slyly told me that even though it was a LARP of course she took credit cards….

So I ended up buying a necklace and a pair of earring then and there.

So I ended up buying a necklace and a pair of earring then and there.

So I ended up buying a necklace and a pair of earrings then and there, and over the two years I played LARP with this group, I’m sure I bought a dozen more pieces from her. She had excellent taste and just knew where to find the best stuff. She didn’t make it herself; said she didn’t have the talents or skills it took, but once I saw her working on a beading project that made me think otherwise. I never said anything to her about it, though now I kind of wish I had. It’s funny, when I think of my past, I always think of how I’d interact with the people from my past as I am now. Gwyneth the Fae Queen could tell Elayne from My Pretties to take a year off the jewellery cart circuit and take a course in metal casting or something, help her turn into the artist she wanted to be. Gwyneth the uni LARPer just made supportive noises and kind of wished she could help more people.

This stall with the swords and Greek gods was always at the LARPs as well.

This stall with the swords and Greek gods was always at the LARPs as well.

This stall with the swords and Greek gods was always at the LARP rialto as well, though I didn’t meet the guy who ran it til much later: half the time he parked next to Elayne and asked her to run his stall. I don’t think he made much money except on the swords, but Richard said he made quite a bit; I just didn’t see all the people who bought swords from him.

I’m laughing at myself now because you know how when you get into memories, you start remember this or that and then your brain goes all chatty with the things you remember and the details, even insignificant ones like whether or not that guy sold lots of swords, keep coming back to you?

To be honest, I don’t even know why I’m thinking of Shining Lands today. I’ve been thinking about my past a lot over the past couple of months, and today I suppose it’s just al coming out. For the last couple of weeks, if I’m honest, I’ve had this disconcerting feeling that things from my past are just going to pop up anywhere and everywhere I turn, as if my past is just around the corner. Even things that I’ve not thought about in ages, like the time those photographs of Richard suddenly appeared in my chamber at the old Seelie sithen. I remember being convinced at the time that he was going to somehow re-enter my life and that things would get very complicated. It never happened though, and that thread of my history remains unexplored.

At the end of the weekend, there's always a ball.

At the end of the weekend, there’s always a ball.

At the end of the weekend, there’s always a ball. Doesn’t matter which weekend it is or what the theme of the LARP is, the ball gives everybody a chance to dress up and not be crossing swords with the other side, even if just for one night. Everyone had to come down this staircase to get in to the event, and they positioned a photographer (Kevin, of course) at the bottom of the stairs who’d take your photograph if you wanted.

This is my ver first “Nerd Descending a Staircase” photo. Kevin laughed at that when I told him that was my immediate name for these pictures.

Aw, there I am again, close-up this time.

Aw, there I am again, close-up this time.

Aw, there I am again, close-up this time. I wanted him to take the close-up so I would remember that it was at this event where I bought this wonderful necklace. I don’t know where Elayne found it, but the tag by the clasp says, “Cae”.

And omg, that was the year I let them talk me into going to a VtM party near campus.

And omg, that was the year I let them talk me into going to a VtM party near campus.

And omg, that was the year I let them talk me into going to a Vampire: the Masquerade party on campus. I was never much into vampires or vampire games, even though they were all the rage at the time what with the backlash against the Twilight books.

The party was in this old church in Cambridge, and I remember feeling really uncomfortable.

The party was in this old church in Cambridge, and I remember feeling really uncomfortable.

The party was in this old church in Cambridge, and I remember feeling really uncomfortable, as if there might be real vampires lurking somewhere there. At the time I thought I was just being paranoid, but now…. well, now I don’t know. Now I think maybe there might really have been vampires there.

And why do I even think of that? Oh! I know: I’m thinking of that because it was the very first time Fenella came to visit me at my digs in Cambridge, and she came along to the party. Unlike me, she had great time. But unlike me, she met Kevin and he immediately asked her out on a date. From that night, they were together. Those two, wow. I always wanted to have someone like that in my life. And now I guess I do, and of course the great irony is that Nathaniel actually is a vampire, while Kevin was just pretending to be one.

Memories are such weird things. Anyway, after my first LARP, I decided to get serious about costuming.

Here I am in my standard Elf-Clan forest outfit.

Here I am in my standard Elf-Clan forest outfit.

Here I am in my standard Elf-Clan forest outfit. This photo was taken a couple of years after my first LARP, probably just a few months before everything changed. I didn’t make any of this stuff, of course, but I met this guy from Reading, Peter, and he and his fiancée did a lot of custom costuming work for LARP people. He really liked working with leather, so I got him to make this for me. It took ages, but I loved it so much. I was wearing one like it in brown when I got dumped in to Jasper Cove, so this black one I think is lost forever.

And ha, there I go again, talking vaguely.

And ha, there I go again, talking vaguely.

And ha, there I go again, talking vaguely about “when everything changed” or “getting dumped into Jasper Cove.” It’s been three years now, and Alec and the Boatman are a distant memory. I believe I must have died in the accident and then moved into another life here, wherever “here” is. I know enough of realm-hopping that I know it’s also possible there’s a version of me back in London, recovering from the accident, going on to live a good life, or dead, or in a coma—but I don’t believe I am that person any more. I remember thinking when I first arrived in Jasper Cove that I must be in a coma back home and this weird place was my coma dream. I don’t think that any more, because a coma dream wouldn’t go on for as long as this one has: my parents would have pulled the plug on me in deference to my lost quality of life. And then I’d have died in two worlds. I just don’t think that’s possible.

No: I think my life line split.

No: I think my life line split.

No; I think my life line split, somehow, when the accident happened, and my consciousness flew into Jasper Cove and created this me. I’ll have to ask Dyisi if such a thing is possible, but I can hear her already telling me that everything is possible and she doesn’t know everything and blah blah blah Dyisi talk, but how I love her anyway.

Well, that got maudlin and reflective all of a sudden, didn’t it?

Let me show you instead my favourite Court dress.

Let me show you instead my favourite Court dress.

Let me show you instead, my favourite Court dress. Peter and Katy didn’t make this, but they did introduce me to the seamstress who did. And I loved this antler headband so much I think I wore it to class a couple of times!

Kevin made me pose so you can see the slashing on the dress' arms.

Kevin made me pose so you can see the slashing on the dress’ arms.

Kevin made me pose so you can see the slashing on the dress’ arms. Even though my body’s different since my Quickening ages ago at the old Seelie sithen, I can imagine myself now wearing a dress like this (not the antlers, natch, or not at the moment anyway). I shall have one of the Court tailors look into recreating it for me.

Here I am reaching out, once again a request from Kevin.

Here I am reaching out, once again a request from Kevin.

Here I am reaching out, once again a request from Kevin. He really did like those sleeves.

But now the clock is striking 5:00. I’ve spent too long lingering over old memories today, and I’m still not sure why: I haven’t thought of these things in so long. I have a strategy meeting with Bran and Wulfrich over dinner, and I have to get dressed and ready for that. I’d better put my old life back in the drawer and remember that in my present life I have duties and responsibilities that can’t be avoided.

But I can’t stop thinking of the moment I introduced Fenella to Kevin and what happened when their eyes met. I wonder what happened to them. They were in the front of the MPV when it flipped. I hope they’re recovered, happy, married, expecting a baby. I wish that for them.

Yes, yes, yes. 5:00. I’m late. Strategy and tactics, not eyes across a room a lifetime ago.

Style Cards:

Gwyneth’s First LARP Costume Photos:
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Grazia (Available at the Summer Sale Event at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store!)
Body: Maitreya
Hair: Lelutka, Kayla
Ears: Mandala, Steking Ears Season 5
Dress: Whymsical Marketplace, Wiccan Maiden Medieval Dress (Available now at the Whymsical Marketplace Main Store!)
Shoes: Aisling, Tess Orty Shoes
Necklace: Aisling, Wilow Necklace
Eyes: IKON

Elayne of “My Pretties”:
Skin: 
Fallen Gods
Body: Belleza
Dress: Sweet Lies
Tattood: Fallen Gods
Collar: DeSSion
Hair: Moon

Gwyneth’s First LARP Ball Photos:
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Grazia (Available at the Summer Sale Event at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store!)
Body: Maitreya
Ears: Mandala, Steking Ears Season 5
Eyes: IKON
Shoes: Aisling, Tess Orty Shoes
Elf Ears: Kahli Designs Faux Elf Ear Silver
Hair: Elikatira, Piper
Gown: Mistique, Beitris Dark

Gwyneth’s Elf Clan Photos:
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Grazia (Available at the Summer Sale Event at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store!)
Body: Maitreya
Ears: Mandala, Steking Ears Season 5
Eyes: IKON
Hair: No Match, No Flowers
Clothes (dress, skirt, jacket, boots, bracers): Fashionably Dead Designs Stories, Amaelle

Vampire Party Photos:
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Grazia (Available at the Summer Sale Event at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store!)
Body: Maitreya
Ears: Mandala, Steking Ears Season 5
Eyes: IKON
Hair: Truth, Freya
Necklace: Le Forme, Aegon Necklace Lover Gold
Clothes (boots, jacket, pants): Yasum, Vintage (Available at the Fantasy Gacha Carnival!)

Gwyneth’s Experienced LARP Ball Photos:
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Grazia (Available at the Summer Sale Event at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store!)
Body: Maitreya
Ears: Mandala, Steking Ears Season 5
Eyes: IKON
Headpiece: Bauhaus Movement, Fly to the Angels (Available at Collabor88!)
Hair: Exile, Come What May (Available at We Love Roleplay!)
Dress: Junbug, Aria Azure (Rare) (Available at The Gacha Garden!)
Elf Ears: Kahli Designs Faux Elf Ear Silver
Necklace: Cae, Hedera
Shoes: Aisling, Tess Orty Shoes

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

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WLTB 500x500

What I Did After My Summer Holiday, by The Amazing Catwoman

The Amazing Catwoman:

The Amazing Catwoman:

Well, first of all, those fuckers in New Brighton fired me after one night on the job without so much as a “fuck you very much, TAC.” Fucking vamps. I mean, at least you’d think a crowd like that would be up to date on whether or not women could be badasses, but no; I was too small, not intimidating enough, why on earth would anybody hire a little girl like me as a bouncer, blah, blah, blah, she’ll be somebody’s ghoul by tomorrow midnight, blah-ti-blah. Fuck you, vampires of New Brighton.

So they sent me to Ironwood Hills, because there was apparently a ghost problem.

So they sent me to Ironwood Hills, because there was apparently a ghost problem.

So they sent me to Ironwood Hills, because there was apparently a ghost problem. I mean, seriously. Ghosts? Fine, fine, fine. I loaded up with anti-ghost herbs and took the notes from the fixer. It was a weird realm jump: I materialised outside a fucking cemetery over a sewer drain, and the steam was godawful. Well, fine. I’m not one to be a complete idiot, as I’m sure you know by now, so instead of heading immediately into the cemetery, I got suited up, then made my way into town to find out what was going on from the locals.

Town, wouldn't you know it, was deserted.

Town, wouldn’t you know it, was deserted.

Town, wouldn’t you know it, was deserted. It was a ghost town. (See what I did there?) So I sat on the steps with an abandoned teddy bear and planned my next move.

As it turned out, most of the houses were boarded up: this one even had the word HAUNTED on it in big letters.

As it turned out, most of the houses were boarded up: this one even had the word HAUNTED on it in big letters.

As it turned out, most of the houses were boarded up: this one even had the word HAUNTED on it in big letters. Of course, everything was fine until I actually did hear a loud moaning sound coming from…. well, from everywhere, really.

I took off at a run to see what there was to see in the rest of the town.

I took off at a run to see what there was to see in the rest of the town.

I took off at a run to see what there was to see in the rest of the town.

These things always have a source. That moaning continued, though, from just fucking everywhere. It was unnerving. It would stop, then start again, like a crazy sentient wind. Once I got further into town, I noticed signs for a carnival. Oh, great. Carnivals are hotbeds for weirdness, so I figured it’d be worth checking out as a possible source of the trouble.

When I got to the carnival site, I was gobsmacked.

When I got to the carnival site, I was gobsmacked.

When I got to the carnival site, I was gobsmacked. It was half full of water, there were crows everyfuckingwhere, all this stuff looked like it had been dilapidated for decades, as did the rest of the town, really, and you don’t even want to know about the creepy dolls: those little things are seriously unnerving.

Then, a freaky thing happened: a rift opened in the sky, I kid you not. And I fucking froze. My heart rate went up, there was a pounding in my head and my ears rang and all my nerves started to tingle, and I knew, just knew, that I had to get away from there, and fast. Fuck my fee, fuck the job: there was no saving Ironwood Hills. As a realm, it is a goner, there is nobody here except creepy dolls and a strange brigade of little children playing in the refuse, and just forget the whole thing, I was running. Out of there. Fast.

Then, everything went dark.

Then, everything went dark.

Then, everything went dark. Only I was still frozen in place. Fucking paralysed. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before; what the fucking fuck. I know, I know, I’m cursing too much. Blame her: She made me a potty mouth.

Dizzy, dizzy, dizzy, and then blackness.

And I woke up on a fucking beach.

And I woke up on a fucking beach.

And I woke up on a fucking beach. On a beautiful day. With my heart still pounding. I wasn’t wearing my same clothes, and something had gone crazy with my hair, and there was one of those floaty planes—what are those things called, anyway—over the sea.

When I looked in the other direction, sharks. I started to get dizzy again.

When I looked in the other direction, sharks. I started to get dizzy again.

When I looked in the other direction, sharks. I started to get dizzy again. Great. This was just fucking great.

Then I remembered an old trick the Gypsy Davey taught me, and I reached for my shadow.

Then I remembered an old trick the Gypsy Davey taught me, and I reached for my shadow.

Then I remembered an old trick the Gypsy Davey taught me, and I reached for my shadow. Take me, take me, out of this place. Take me away, lady goddess.

Then, with dizziness and bonus nausea, not to mention a feeling of constriction everywhere, I found myself in some kind of mediaeval castle.

Then, with dizziness and bonus nausea, not to mention a feeling of constriction everywhere, I found myself in some kind of mediaeval castle.

Then, with dizziness and bonus nausea, not to mention a feeling of constriction everywhere, I found myself in some kind of mediaeval castle. There were lutes playing. Servants quietly scurried around with their eyes on the floor. Nobody remarked on my sudden appearance: they just all said, “My Lady” whenever I passed them. “My Lady” would like a fucking dirty martini with extra olive juice, thank you very much.

I did not much like this world.

I did not much like this world.

I did not much like this world. It seemed to me that if this was some alternate life for me, I would be a very bored “Lady”. And half a dozen people explained to me that the purple of my dress complimented the red of my hair, which had been bound up in some admittedly impressive braid thing. The one thing I’d have loved to take away from this existence, which frankly reminded me all too much of her, was the necklace I found around my neck when I materialised. Such a beautiful thing. Perhaps I’ll see if… no. I am not taking any more favours from her than I have to. And why was I here, anyway? What possible impulse could have lead my shadow to bring me to such a place, unless it was just looking for something as far away as possible from a beach? I did note, when I looked out this window, that we were absurdly high, on some impossible peak. The castle seemed accessible only by a bridge that it would have been impossible to cross even on horseback. I did not waste much time wondering how supplies got in: enough of the servants were sporting pointy ears for me to imagine this must be some sort of an elfin or faerie kingdom. Still, it was terrifying to be on a beach one minute and then trussed up in a corseted dress the next. Ugh. I reached for my shadow again.

OMG, that day was so horrible.

OMG, that day was so horrible.

OMG, this day is so horrible. Late night / early morning mist, and my dad shouting from the doorway and my mum looking out the kitchen window and crying, but fuck them. Rusty and I are going to Cornwall to surf and live a life like God intended people to live, free and not tied down to stupid parents.

And my dad yelling,

And my dad yelling, “I knew that little arse was trouble from the first time he came driving up here in that hippie van!”

And my dad yelling, “I knew that little arse was trouble from the first time he came driving up here in that hippie van!” And the fight going on and on and the mist burning off and Rusty just lying down to sleep in the back of the VW because he didn’t want to deal with my parents, and me fighting my way into the house again to grab a few things: I mean, how is a girl meant to survive without an iPhone, anyway?

And my dad stormed out of the house to work, and my mum just stood there crying, and all of a sudden all I could think of was being a little girl again.

And my dad stormed out of the house to work, and my mum just stood there crying, and all of a sudden all I could think of was being a little girl again.

And my dad storms out of the house to work, and my mum just stands there crying, and all of a sudden all I can think of is being a little girl again.

And I’m overwhelmed by this sense of loss, and Rusty finally gets fed up with waiting and starts the engine, and so I turn to get in…

And everything starts spinning.

And everything starts spinning.

And everything starts spinning, and nothing makes sense, and I see stars and have to grab for the van’s open window so I won’t fall over….

And then I find myself jerked abruptly away, and that life spins in tatters away from me.

And then I find myself jerked abruptly away, and that life spins in tatters away from me.

And then I find myself jerked abruptly away, and that life spins in tatters away from me. I land with a thump on her fucking altar, in the middle of the Great Seelie Forest, surrounded by giggling demifae and gossipy little will o’ the wisps, and it’s late morning and I’m stark fucking naked, not that it matters here, but what the fuck just happened to me?

I stretch and try to stand.

I stretch and try to stand.

I stretch and try to stand. “Don’t do that, Tacey,” says Clutie—you’d guess she’d be around, it being her domain and all. “You’ve had quite a shock. We’ll get a healer to you soon as we can: we think you’ve had a panic attack and spun yourself round several realms on your way back home.”

“This is not my home,” I snap, and it’s “Tac, not Tacey.” I fucking hate that name. “Tacey” means “quiet”. I mean, seriously. I am not Tacey. I am The Amazing Catwoman. Tac.

I try to stand up anyway and end up losing my balance and falling backwards.

I try to stand up anyway and end up losing my balance and falling backwards.

I try to stand up anyway and end up losing my balance and falling backwards. “Whose crap is this on the altar, anyway?” I mutter as I fall. But when you’re in the Magnificent Fae Queen’s back garden, there are always demifae ready to catch you when you fall over, even if they pull the shit out of your hair.

“Fine,” Clutie says, and there’s a hiss in her breath. “Tac, then, and it might not be home but we think you ought to stay for a little while, just until you get your realm-walking feet back. We’ll take you to see Dyisi if you want, though our healers can repair most of the damage.” Her voice softens as they settle me back down onto the altar. “It’s leftovers, by the way, from the Queen’s handfasting. It was just last week.”

“Oh, great,” I groan. “All this and I have to put up with her married bliss on top of everything else?”

“Oh, do calm down, Tacey—Tac,” she corrects herself before I can correct her. “So you don’t like Faerie. Well, you’re going to stay here for a little while, so shut your gob and get used to it.” Wow, she’s as bad as my dad back in…. what was the name of that town again?

“I was somebody else,” I say quietly.

“Probably several somebodies,” Clutie replies as if I’ve done the universe some great harm. “Now settle yourself, ground and centre, and let us help you.”

What happened to me?

What happened to me?

What happened to me? I rise up on my toes, breathe in the (admittedly) sweet air of Faerie, and let my feet feel the altar, the altar to the Earth, the earth to the Water, the water to the Sky, the sky to the sun, the sun to the great initiator, Fire. The sun of Faerie is like nowhere else, and I bathe in it, breathe it in, let myself go calm. I was a savage on a beach. I was a queen in a castle. I was a teenage girl running away from home. And for just a moment, goddess knows how long it’ll last, this does feel like home. I just hope I don’t have to deal too much with her.H

Style Cards

Hair Fair is opening as I write this, and the sensational Queue Marlow has outdone herself with this year’s offerings from Analog DogThe Amazing Catwoman is wearing all the new Hair Fair styles, plus one style that’s new in the Analog Dog Main Store, in this post. There’s also some great stuff from The Season’s Story and Oh My Gacha as well: check out the detail style cards below for lists and links!

Ironwood Hills, first photo:
Body: Maitreya
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Tavia v1 Natural RARE (Available at Oh My Gacha!)
Hair: Analog Dog (natch!) Theresa (New at the Analog Dog Main Store!)
Ears: Gauze, High Elf Ears
Clothes: Faida, Jeanne, Brown
Boots: Lassitude & Ennui, Hellebore Boots, Brown
Eyes: Avatar Bizarre, Cheshire Cat Gold
Necklace: Otherskin, Selene, Black
Ring: Aisling, The Good Wife

Ironwood Hills, Subsequent Photos:
Body: 
Maitreya
Skin: 
7 Deadly s{K}ins, Tavia v1 Natural RARE (Available at Oh My Gacha!)
Hair: 
Analog Dog (natch!) Theresa (New at the Analog Dog Main Store!)
Ears: 
Gauze, High Elf Ears
Eyes: Avatar Bizarre, Cheshire Cat Gold
Ring: Aisling, The Good Wife
Necklace: Otherskin, Selene, Black
Clothes: Fashionably Dead Designs, Cirilla (blouse, boots, corset, and pants)

Timeless Memories (beach) Photos:
Body: 
Maitreya
Skin: 
7 Deadly s{K}ins, Tavia v1 Natural RARE (Available at Oh My Gacha!)
Hair: 
Analog Dog (natch!) Sassafras (New at Hair Fair!)
Ears: 
Gauze, High Elf Ears
Eyes: Avatar Bizarre, Cheshire Cat Gold
Ring: 
Aisling, The Good Wife
Necklace: 
Otherskin, Selene, Black
Clothes: 
Fashionably Dead Designs, Cheeky Ranger (Tunic, Boots)
Tights: Izzie’s Cozy Tights
Tattoo: White Widow, Tombstone (At AnyBody)

Castle Photos:
Body: Maitreya
Skin: 
7 Deadly s{K}ins, Tavia v1 Natural RARE (Available at Oh My Gacha!)
Hair: Analog Dog (natch!) Molly (New at Hair Fair!)
Ears: 
Gauze, High Elf Ears
Eyes: Avatar Bizarre, Cheshire Cat Gold
Ring: 
Aisling, The Good Wife
Necklace: 
Otherskin, Salvation (At Fair Play!)
Dress: Les Encantades, Grace (At the Medieval Faire!)

Suburban England Photos:
Body: 
Maitreya
Skin: 
7 Deadly s{K}ins, Tavia v1 Natural RARE (Available at Oh My Gacha!)
Hair: 
Analog Dog (natch!) Psylocibin (New at Hair Fair!)
Eyes: IKON, Destiny Eyes, Moor
Skirt: Wimey, Dark Denim Skirt RARE (At The Season’s Story!)
Tops: Wimey, Summer of Fandom Gacha commons (At The Season’s Story!)
Minivan: Bad Unicorn Clothing, “Prop” Summah Minivan RARE (At The Season’s Story!)
House: Breno, The Smith House (At The Fantasy Collective!)

Great Seelie Forest Photos:
Body: Maitreya
Skin: 
7 Deadly s{K}ins, Tavia v1 Natural RARE (Available at Oh My Gacha!)
Hair: 
Analog Dog (natch!) Sassafras (New at Hair Fair!)
Ears: 
Gauze, High Elf Ears
Eyes: Avatar Bizarre, Cheshire Cat Gold
Ring: 
Aisling, The Good Wife
Necklace: 
Otherskin, Selene, Black
Stone Circle: Artisan Fantasy, Maiden Tor Stone Circle
Trumpet Mushrooms: Cerridwen’s Cauldron
Flower Field: The Looking Glass, Ichi Fields

Locations:
Ironwood Hills, a beautifully creepy sim with open rez-rights, is a fantastic location for photography and just to explore. There’s loads to see, so go back often, and pass a few Lindens their way: it costs money to keep a sim open of course, and making it available to the public like this is such a beautiful gift.
Timeless Memories, fairly recently redesigned with a Mediterranean flair, is a gorgeous place both to visit and to photograph. I’m sure I’ll be back and grab more than just a few beach photos to scare TAC with sharks!
Skye Neist Point, part of the Studio Skye sims, is one of my favourite places to go when I need gorgeous landscapes and beautiful buildings. Studio Skye will also make you long to design your own forests and gardens with their meticulously and elegantly designed landscapes.

Other Locations: The suburban street was built in a sandbox, because I couldn’t find anything out in the Wide Second World that met my needs for this part of The Amazing Catwoman’s journey, and of course the Great Seelie Forest is part of Wicked Wylds, a private, invite-only roleplaying sim that invites good writers who want to create great characters.

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