Return Of The Light

I think we choose to celebrate darkness, madly and wildly, until it catches us deeply and seems unwilling to let us go. Once darkness has had you like that, you end up either celebrating it even more wildly, or retreating, as I have done, into a more peaceful world.

Peace, my friends

I am aware of the unimaginable size of my hubris when I say I have retreated into a more peaceful world. Had I all the will and magic of the universe, I would wish for all of us, each of us, to create the world we wish to live in. I know and am grateful for the immensely lucky hand which the gods have dealt me. Let’s be honest: if you were reading about me in a book, or in some poor writer’s memoirs, you would rename me Mary Sue, wouldn’t you? Trust me: I’m not blind. I would have done the same, had I come across my story before I lived it.

See the sun arising

See the sun arising
See the sun arising
Darkness is gone

We sing this together in midwinter, as the days begin to lengthen seemingly infinitesimally. And even in the cold haze of the early Faery morning, see, there is the sun, or some hazy projection of it, at least. Above the castle, the birds have already begun their day, and down below, the demifae are just ending their nights’ revels. For this small time, the Realm sleeps. Well, it seems to sleep.

The Realm sleeps only from a distance.

Closer-in, you will find the winds doing their work, moving snow around, you will find the lights above DJFae’s Dance Floor swirling their merry spiral, waiting for the happy steps of those our Danya inspires to dance (which is just about everybody who listens when she spins).

FluffyCat The Bookseller

You will find FluffyCat the Bookseller at his appointed post, because when do you need a good book more than on a blustery winter night? I ask him, What do you recommend? and he replies, On this night, there is no better book than Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising to steady your spirit with a story. I’m sure I have a signed edition here, Your Fae Majesty. Tempting, but I am only allowed to have so many copies of The Dark Is Rising. Someone else will be the lucky reader—of this one.

Snow, or mist? My own Book Garden seems more magical than usual, now that we have had midwinter snow.

It is not a time of newness, this, so when new things appear in the winter’s dark, we take notice.

Ode To The Moon

This pleasing cottage, called Ode To The Moon and created by the ever-imaginative Dragonia of Dragon Magick Wares, even came with its own tiny island. Whoever will live here will have their own holiday tree, not to mention half a dozen sheep—no; that one in front is a (tiny) reindeer.

Snowy Book Forest

How do we ascertain the anchor of a Realm? Is it the largest feature? Is it the most beautiful place? Is it the spiritual centre? If it is the most long-standing, then the Book Forest is at Awenia’s heart, if not its physical centre: there has been a Book Forest in Awenia for as long as there has been Awenia. For me, that’s about six years, but the folk who live here know this length of time as “for-ever”.

Our Sacred Meadow

The demifae have changed the altar from autumn to winter; no-one ever sees them do it, but it’s always efficient and perfectly on time. Can you see the tiny faery up in the Winter Guardian tree? Sometimes we can sight them when the seasons turn, just admiring their handiwork. You may know that the guardian trees in our Sacred Meadow relocate seasonally: do you see the Spring Guardian there in the distance? It’s as if she is only a few steps away. Calibri is the little pony who helps visitors find their way around Awenia; he’s strayed from his place by the portal. The unicorn is Lampen, one of the two unicorns who live here regularly.

Sleeping Demifae

And look! There’s a demifae, fast asleep on the altar Yule log. They must have worked through the night, making sure midwinter came to us on time. Here: let’s leave them some extra marshmallows for when they wake up.

As always, on this day, particularly after Fluffycat reminded me of The Dark Is Rising, I think of Susan Cooper’s beautiful poem, “The Shortest Day”. Do you know it?

I’ll put a couple of links below, but here is the text as I sent it in this year’s holiday card from Awenia.

The Shortest Day

The Shortest Day 

And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, reveling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us—listen!
All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome, Yule!

Poem by Susan Cooper

Here is an NPR recording of Susan Cooper reading some lines from the poem and talking about it last year at this time.

Oh, my darlings, I do dearly love you. And I do hope for peace.

Notes & Credits

  • The Avatar:
    • Gwyneth is wearing Silvan Moon Designs’ stunning Royal Yule Gown, available now at We Love Roleplay.
    • Her skin is Petrichor’s Lazulian Femme (quartze) for a base, topped with the Draziele Holiday Tattoo, Frost, also from Petrichor.
    • These eyes, also from Petrichor, are the Koele eyes.
      • Both the eyes and the tattoo are available now at Saturnalia.
    • Gwyneth’s hair is from Kuni, the Duda Hair
    • The brass crown is from Fika, the Duchess Fringe Tiara
    • The Candle Mantle and Crown are from Static, Candlelight Crown & Mantle, also available at Saturnalia. (that’s a great event; y’all should all go to it [no, I am not blogging for them!])
    • Makeup is from SlackGirl (eyeshadow) and TheMars (lipstick)
    • Gwyneth is in a Maitreya Mesh body and the Catwa HDPro Soft head. Her shape is home-made and handmade.
  • The Environment
    • Shot on location in Awenia Faerie.
    • Stunning Tree: The Looking Glass: The Shrine Tree, a One-of-a-Kind (well, two-of-a-kind!) item. You can come visit it.
    • Fir Tree in Peace photo: HarshLands, Fir Trees
    • Frame and Lights in Peace photo: {anc} Frame & Stool
    • Sim Surround: Landscapes Unlimited, Sweetwater Valley
    • Solar System: Landscapes Unlimited, Off Sim Starry Night
    • FluffyCat’s Book Wagon: Kraftwork, Travelling Bookseller
    • FluffyCat Herself: Foxwood, Fluffs
    • Ode To The Moon Cottage: Dragon Magick Wares, Ode To The Moon
    • Stage: {anc} Dreaming Stage
    • Sheep: [anc} Dreaming Sheep
    • Reindeer: Hextraordinary, Romping Reindeer
    • Small Tree: {anc} Noel Tears Tree
    • Large Tree: {anc} Snowy Day Christmas Tree
    • Items In Book Forest: There are so many! IM me in world or ask me in a comment if there’s something specific you want to know about. The book path is by Una, and the central house is 8f8’s Storyteller’s Burrow house.
    • Winter Guardian: HarshLands, Winter Guardian. Kadaj Yoshikawa has created guardian trees for all four seasons, and they are integral to the Awenia Sacred Meadow. You can see the Spring Guardian also in the photo that features the Meadow.
    • Pony and unicorn: Teegle! I love Teegle and can spend hours playing with my pretty unicorns and ponies.
    • Yule Log: Hextraordinary, Yule Log
    • Demifae on Yule log: CF, Forest Fairy, Snow Sit

(thanks to fellow blogger & photographer Justyn Time for the following video link! — not super happy with the harp background, but you can see the book!)









Tomorrow, the sun will rise on a light-er day. Be peaceful, and love one another.

The Known Alone

Dear Gwyneth,

I’ve begun this letter many times. Sometimes I even finish it. The first time, maybe even the first ten times, I wrote it, it started, continued, and ended with apologies. I think I’m past that now, which is one reason I hope that once I finish this letter, I may hit “send” and not regret it too much.

It is the unknown that excites the ardor of scholars, who, in the known alone, would shrivel up with boredom. —Wallace Stevens

Well, we are more than three months into a pandemic lockdown as I write this, and I am in the known alone, because venturing into the unknown isn’t practical right now.

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So, I Googled you.

So, I Googled you. Of course I’ve done this many times over the years. I don’t know how long ago it was when I discovered you had a blog, but I’ve been reading it off and on, in between teaching terms and workshops. I don’t know if you’ve Googled me. All that software that says it’ll tell you stuff like that costs money and looks a bit dodgy if you ask me.

You remember that big old house my parents inherited from my granddad? You can see it out the window in the photograph above. Yeah; it’s mine now, for about ten years. They’re rolling over in their Tory graves every time they think of me now, because about ten people are living there at the moment. Usually I live there too, but the whole pandemic thing scared me when it first started, so I locked myself down in the garden house.

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I’m lucky.

I’m lucky. But then I think I was predisposed to be lucky. Now I just try to be grateful for it while not being an arsehole because of it.

I don’t think I ever took you and Fen and the others to the garden house; my mum lived here most of the time because she and my dad couldn’t stand one another. The garden is full of her things, and it’s a good place to remember her.

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I garden.

You’d laugh: I garden. Well, I keep the garden from dying. Most of these are wildflowers my mum loved, hollyhocks and Queen Anne’s lace and some campion, lots of clover. Oak, birch, and cherry trees, and I’m uncomfortable this year in the midst of all this growth.

Most of the kids in the big house are students of mine who either pay some rent or need a place to crash when their lives fall apart. They are respectful kids—I say kids; they’re older than you and I were when I last saw you. Anyway, they take pretty good care of the place and I have only had to go up there once since March when the country locked down.

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Time and time

Time and time. It’s funny: all that time we knew each other, all through uni, or mostly through uni, anyway, I knew you were special. I never would have guessed you were one of the Fae, though. I’ve wondered, often, why you hid it. Your parents seemed perfectly human, no Court allegiance sigils on the door, and you, I mean, I would almost have said that you were not at all concerned with the magical world. I guess a lot of us humans try not to be; it’s easy to have an inferiority complex if you consider that someone you know could be holding phenomenal cosmic powers, to quote Aladdin because I don’t know what else to quote here and my life revolves around other people’s words, except when it revolves around my own.

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And yes; I’m bored.

And yes, I’m bored. Don’t get me wrong: I live a lot of my life online, and so some things haven’t changed all that much. Classes go on, virtually. Workshop pieces trickle in via email. The publication date for my next book is still the same, though we’re concentrating less on physical book sales than ever before.

I would have said, at the beginning of all this, that my life wasn’t going to change at all, that I’d just move out to the garden house and treat it as a writing holiday, and for the most part that’s been true. It’s not as if I have a family, a wife, even a girlfriend.

But I’m restless now. My friend Des, you won’t know him, tells me it’s impossible to be restless if you never go anywhere in the first place.

But that’s really why I’m writing.

When all this is over, I want to visit Faeryland. The most recent craze to “go with the fairies” has died down a bit, and I know your Realm is a tourist spot. I’m not asking for special treatment, or a place to stay: I’ll arrange it all through DreamTime travel; they’ve got a pretty good reputation and I have a little spare cash lying about.

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This is Covie

This is Covie— he used to be called just The Book Dragon, but now he’s Covie The Book Dragon, because aside from the cats (they’re not around right now) and the birds, he’s the only creature I see on a daily basis. Every day I ask him if he has some new books for me. He never answers, because he is a plush dragon guarding a small pile of books. I promise I’ve not gone mad here.

Anyway, I’ve got this far without apologising or trying to promise you anything except for that bit about not being mad above, so it’s looking promising.

When all this is over, I’d like to plan a holiday to Awenia, spend a few weeks there, and maybe we could see one another? It’s been thirty years; I think that’s maybe long enough to rebuild.

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I’m still short.

I’m still short. I still like some of the same music, but I stopped dyeing my hair black and I binned the eyeliner collection years ago. I mean, I could probably still rock it if I put my mind to it, but I’d mostly rather put my feet up and enjoy my middle age at this point, you know?

You don’t have to answer this email. But I’m putting all my contact information at the bottom here, so you can get in touch if you want to. If you would rather I didn’t visit Awenia, that’s OK; just please let me know. Otherwise, I’m thinking this will all be over probably in the autumn, and I’ll plan to visit for a couple of weeks maybe in early October so I don’t run into your Samhain high season.

I think I’m going to press “send” this time.

Love (not that kind; the kind old friends share),
Richard Caper

Notes & Credits
Plot:
Gwyneth, the primary narrator of Three Twisted Knots, is a character I’ve been roleplaying and writing stories about for almost eight years, and she is why there’s a blog here at all. Richard Caper is a blast from the past, one of the people who was with her in the automobile accident that set her on the path she now walks. He has featured prominently twice in the blog, and here are those links if you would like to read more of his story. 
The keeping of journals
“The past is never where you think you left it.” –Katherine Anne Porter

Richard Caper Avatar:
Body: Signature Gianni
Head: Lelutka Evolution Skylar
Skin: Poema, Zeus (Get it at Vintage Fair!)
Eyebrows: Arte, Fiore brows
Hair: Dura, Game 4
Facial Hair: Volkestone, Zek
Clothes: Cold Ash, Chelsea Boots, Larkham Jeans, Montana Tee
Eyes: Euphoric, Natha
Earring: Kunst, Eden
Necklace: EarthStones, Hoot Owl

Environment:
Location: Awenia (not currently open to the public)
Exterior—
Garden House: Trompe Loeil, Soleil Garden House
Big Trees (oak, birch, cherry), all from Heart
Flowers & Underbrush, all from Heart, except
Rose Field: {anc} Sugar Rose Field; and
Grass Clumps: The Looking Glass, The Shrine Tree Grass Clumps
Outdoor Table: The Looking Glass, Harmony Garden Tea Time Table & Chairs
Rockery & Birdhouse Tree: The Looking Glass, Harmony Garden Birdhouse Tree & Rockery
Gate and Fence: Pandemonium, Tall Pointed fence & gate
Fox Fountain: Foxwood, Fox Fountain
The Big House: Compulsion, Tudor Manor
Path: Happy Mood, Dirt Road
Interior—
Desk & Clutter: Nutmeg, Familiar Mess Desk, Chair, Cabinet
Bed: Nutmeg, Disarray Bed Dark
Lounge Furniture: Nutmeg, Dreamy Pastels Armchair, Coffee Table, Floor Pillows, Sofa
Dining Nook Table and Chairs: Apple Fall, Pottery Dining Table and Chairs
Breakfast Food: Apple Fall, Elvira Plate with Egg, Avocado, & Toast, Plate with Sliced Grapefruit, Rose Tea
Tea Pot: The Secret Store, Folk Teapot – Olive
Napkins and Towels: Second Spaces, Kitchen Colletion, Napkiins & Towels
Covie The Book Dragon was portrayed by the 2016 Lucentia Dwagi, a treasured memento of Fantasy Faire from 2016.