Finding Details in Astrid’s Nemeton

Throughout the Faire Realms, we find so many beautiful things to experience. This Faire Season, I have discovered places both beautiful and magical. Of course, our lives are filled with things beautiful and magical no matter where we are, but Faire Season brings all these things to the forefront.

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Reflecting on the magical

Reflecting on the magical details we always find in the Fairelands made me think of the place that’s been our home for the last week, Astrid’s Nemeton. So I walked about and did just a little bit of exploring.

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Enchanted by Cats!

I was completely enchanted by a group of long-haired cats who were based around a circle of standing stones with glowing runes carved upon them. My Futhark isn’t that good, despite my background, so I’ll have to photograph these and check out their meanings when I get back to the cabin and have wifi. The cats were quite talkative. They seemed surprised that I wasn’t on some Quest. I told them I was just here on holiday, and they invited me to have a play with their butterflies. I like butterflies.

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Like a butterfly.

“You are a little like a butterfly,” said one of the cats, “with those wings.”

That made me laugh. “I suppose I am,” I replied.

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A pretty purple butterfly.

“A pretty purple butterfly,” said another cat.

“Well, I’m honoured by your compliment,” I said. “And you yourselves have lovely silky coats. Am I allowed to touch you?”

Two cats jumped down from the tops of the stones, and suddenly I was surrounded by five purring felines, all demanding chin scritches.

That was a fun way to spend a little time.

I had other things to do, though, so I headed away toward Pools of Ethuil, since I love the atmosphere there so much.

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Lovely, tiny huts!

On my way back around, I chanced upon a couple of little huts that would be perfect for some of the demifae in our Realm. I shall have to get my builders onto making some huts like these: I know my little subjects would enjoy them very much.

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Just let me think….

Just let me think: a round base, a tipi-style top, and a lovely tree to grow round the whole thing– yes, I think we could do that in Awenia. My head is full of ideas now!

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So much more to do…

But for now, I have so much more to do! And, sometimes at this point, the high middle, of the Faire, it begins to feel a bit like work. I know that must sound ridiculous, since really I’m just enjoying my life and going to parties and finding beautiful things, but the politicking. And the socialising. They’ll make anybody tired after a while.

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Glad to have my private space.

I’m so glad I have my little blog to put down my personal thoughts in. I know no-one will probably ever read it, and some that do may look at me and sneer, since I’m a Queen and should have no problems, ever, but I love being able to write things out. And it helps me keep a list of things for later. Like maybe convincing one of those beautiful cats to come home with me. And building huts for tiny fae at home.

But for now, on to Pools of Ethuil, where I’ll relax for a little bit before preparing for the evening.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka Bento Mesh Head, Simone
Skin: Lumae LeLutka – Deia – Ethesi // Neutral (Available NOW at the 2018 Relay for Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire, in Pools of Ethuil!)
Eyes: Banana Banshee, Faelynn Eyes (Available NOW at the 2018 Relay for Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire, in the Realm of Aetherea!)
Eyelashes: Raven Bell, Mystic Lashes (Available NOW at the 2018 Relay For Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire, in the Realm Erstwhile!)
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Necklace: Illusions, Niobium Silumira Necklace (Available NOW at the 2018 Relay for Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire, in the Realm of Willows of Nienna!)
Headpiece: Gauze & Trap, Faunus Crown, Fae (Available NOW at the 2018 Relay for Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire, in the Realm of Erstwhile!)
Gown: The Annex, Olivia Gown, Purple (Available NOW at the 2018 Relay for Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire, in the Realm of Erstwhile!)
Hair: Limerence, Jassy

Adorable Fae Huts: The Nerdy Birdy, Shabby Hut (Available NOW at the 2018 Relay for Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire, in the Realm of Astrid’s Nemeton!)

Location: The 2018 Relay for Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire, Astrid’s Nemeton, Sponsored by Rivendale and Gwen Enchanted and Designed by LRRiven

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Left Luggage

A magical pathway spread out before me as I entered the Realm of Erstwhile. My assignment wasn’t clear, but I’ve worked the Great Faire long enough to understand that sometimes you just have to find the Guard supervisor and let him (or her, or whoever) direct you.

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I stopped and turned to look.

I stopped and turned to look. Before me sprawled Erstwhile Station, an airship port that doubled as a floating (in the flying sense) market. While airships are mostly used to convey people from one Realm to another, their pilots have to make a little money while they’re in dock, and so for the Faire, the Station becomes a fascinating array of little markets from all over the meta verse. I had never been there before, so the assignment was going to be interesting.

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Erstwhile Station

Of course, I was pissed off about the getup they put me in. As usual, svart alfar were not welcome, so I got a budget for a skin and hair painting. Now, sometimes they want you to look a particular way, and I’m OK with that, but whatever was in that guideline letter that I handed over to Lumiya Rae was either completely unintelligible or intended as some kind of test, because when she finished up and I looked in the mirror, I was lavender. Lavender. As in light purple. Quick as I could, I thanked her for her beautiful work and quit the shop.

The fact was, I did look hot in lavender. I just also looked kind of sweet.I flickered my left hand in a wave to Lumiya as I left the shop and noticed how the tone of my skin almost matched the light amethyst of my engagement ring. You know, the one I never take off? From the fiancé I haven’t seen in…well, I can’t count the years. I wonder if he thinks I died. I wonder if I did die. Guys at the House were adamant that I shouldn’t ever google myself. It only leads to pain and heartache they said.

Crap, where was that hairdresser? I’d been so busy snowflaking I’d forgotten to look. What was her name? Ah, yes. Raven Bell. Surely she’d help me darken up this look a bit.

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“Rainbows? You have got to be kidding me.”

“Rainbows?” I was nearly shouting. “You have got to be kidding me.”

“I am not, Madam. It says here on the card.” Ms Bell quirked a brow. “But seriously, you can’t go wrong with a braid extension like that.”

“No,” I said, “I suppose you can’t. But couldn’t we have made it brown?”

“Brown would blend into your jacket. No way.”

I nodded, for once resigned to my fate. “I guess you’re right.” I summed up the courage to smile and made my way out of the shop on high wedge heels, which were at least easier to manage than stilettos. At least these ones had bats on.

I made my way up the gold-lit stairs and into the station, where I found my handler. It was hard to concentrate on anything he said, because someone was playing the most incredible music. Symphonic, dramatic, music that seemed to make the building itself into a film set, a dream of some kind. I was transported. The drama, the intensity of it, how it filled the hall.

“I’m sorry Derek,” I said to my handler. “I was miles away.”

Derek smirked. Smirks always look a bit menacing on dwarves. “Happens to everybody when that guy is here playing music.” He pointed to a startlingly handsome guy in a suit with a steampunk-y helmet on. “Anyway, for the next two hours, he’s DJing for some kind of a tour of the station, I don’t know.” Derek shrugged. “Your job is to make sure nobody gets too close to him while he’s working. He’s very focused. Just man the outside of the music booth and try to look nonthreatening but serious.” He nodded. “That skin painting really suits you.”

I grimaced. “Right, boss,” I said, ignoring the jab about the skin: this was undoubtedly Derek’s idea of a joke. “I’ll get right on it.” I made my way to the music booth and flashed my credentials, in the form of a Faire necklace made of some kind of rusted iron and set with little gears, to the DJ. He nodded back, then resumed his work.

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I did a visual inspection of the station. Oh, great.

I did a visual inspection of the station. Oh, great. There, attending the tour, was Queen Gwyneth. I hunkered down. It’s not like she’d notice or even recognise me: she seemed as lost in the music as everyone else. With her was an elegant lady in a cloak, the tour guide. The ten or fifteen folk on the tour were all talking excitedly about the furniture, the fittings, the green light that drifted down from floating orbs. To be honest, their conversations annoyed me, as they sometimes got a bit loud and it was harder to hear the amazing music.

It was impossible not to lose myself in the music that flowed from the DJ’s capable machines. Every horn motif seemed to make the hall bigger. The colours seemed brighter. My imagination soared. I thought to glance back at the music booth and there was his name on a little brass plaque. Nyza Stillwater. Well, Mr Stillwater, I thought, I’ll have to hope I end up being assigned as your guard more often during this Faire. At this point, I noticed two giggling fairies who’d just walked in. “Oh my stars, there he is! It’s really him!” Great. Fangirls. I mentally climbed out of the music, which had changed from a melody sweet enough to make Derek cry to a strange electronic circus march, to watch the fairies. Mr Stillwater hadn’t noticed them, thank the gods. If they got any closer, I’d have to say something.

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It seemed Her Majesty had noticed them as well.

It seemed Her Majesty had noticed them as well; she took up a post between them and the music booth on the other side. Wait: did she know him? Suddenly I felt the urge to actually go up and speak to her.

Luckily for all of us, the tour progressed up to the market and the fairies followed along, though they did cast several flirtatious glances in Mr Stillwater’s direction. I don’t think he even knew they were there, he was so immersed. Gwyneth left with the tour crowd as well—and that was just as well, because I really didn’t need any more drama in my night, or my life, than this music was giving me. And it was such good drama. I wanted to sit down right there and outline a novel about Erstwhile Station, some great intrigue, some lover’s tryst happening right underneath the not-so-watchful eyes of station personnel, maybe a forbidden auction of clandestine wares, perhaps some vitally important spy being transported to a safe house, but the only way through was through Erstwhile Station.

I’m usually so good at keeping my mind on my work, but all this music made me want to do was dream, and dance, and live a million stories, all at once.

Eventually, the women (they were all woman; that seemed a bit odd) on the tour made their way back down into the station itself. Everyone seemed to go their separate ways after that, and Mr Stillwater ended the music set. He acknowledged me with another nod and the briefest smile before he headed up to the docks, presumably to catch an airship to somewhere. I knew I’d hear these tunes in my mind as I went on to my next assignment.

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My next assignment turned out to be left luggage.

My next assignment turned out to be…. left luggage. Seriously? Left Luggage? I have years of combat training, enough magic to get by, and Derek puts me on Left Luggage?

Fine.

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I’d just pace around Left Luggage for what? Six hours? Great.

I’d just pace around Left Luggage for what? Six hours? Great. Sometimes I’m ready to blame the whole I-always-get-the-dumb-jobs thing on being female and not really into dressing like the cover of a circa 1980s fantasy novel, but whatever. I let the whole thing go. Unusual for me, I know. The Amazing Catwoman does not let things go.

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Instead, I looked out at the port behind me, and I daydreamed.

Instead, I looked out at the port behind me, and I daydreamed. Daydreamed to memories of music with titles like “Sky Is the Limit” and “Starfall” and “Chronopolis”, things I’d never imagined hearing before but knew that I must hear again. I almost pulled out my phone and did a search on Mr Stillwater right then and there, to see what the rest of his public Faire schedule was, but no: I’d wait til I got back to my digs in Pools of Ethuil in the morning to do that.

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For now, it seemed enough to remember, imagine, and dream.

For now, it seemed enough to remember, imagine, and dream. Something about the way my mind reacted to that music made me want to dream more.

Maybe this will be a Faire for dreaming.


DJ Nyza Stillwater has handled the music for most of the region tours sponsored by the Fantasy Faire LitFest for the past three years, though he’s been DJing at Fantasy Faire Radio for longer than that.  He and I met last year after I led a LitFest tour of Raven’s Perch. Our first conversation was a little like TAC’s internal dialogue, above—how inspiring I’d found it, what wonderful ambiance he created. We were standing near the memorial stones on Raven’s Perch, and I explained that one of the names on the stone was my late husband, Joe Raftery. We talked a little about music, and I told him the story about how, during the last year of Joe’s life, he’d go around to conventions and sing “The Parting Glass” to make everybody cry, then follow it up with “I Am Not Dead Yet” from Monty Python’s Spamalot to make everybody laugh. I explained how, when I told my therapist what an emotional roller coaster this was for me, my therapist suggested that maybe I find a song to sing for him that explained how I felt. So I did something I’d been thinking of for a long time: I learned Annie Lenox’s beautiful song “Into the West” and began regularly performing it with the harp after Joe sang these songs. It always made people cry, and it’s remained in my regular repertoire since then. Even after Joe’s death, performing that song is a source of comfort for me, I explained. Nyza said, “Well, I guess I’d better play that for you right now, then.” And that he did. We became SL friends and kept talking to one another both throughout the Faire and afterwards. And, well, some of you might have noticed that my SL display name has changed. Nyza and I were partnered in SL last summer, and we will get married in SL tomorrow, 22 April, 2018, in Astrid’s Nemeton. 

Every year, the Fantasy Faire LitFest team prepares and leads tours of all the FF Regions. Nyza’s music helps set the scene and create the ambiance. If you haven’t been on a LitFest tour or experienced Nyza’s wonderful musical sets, check out the LitFest Page on the Fantasy Faire website. The tours are designed to promote inspiration and creativity, and everyone is invited to submit the stories they write about the regions to be published on the official Fantasy Faire blog!

Style Cards:
The Amazing Catwoman
Body: Maitreya
Head: LAQ Bento Mesh Head, Lulu
Skin: Lumae, Elvi (Ethisi) (Available NOW at the 2018 Relay For Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire, in the Realm Pools of Ethuil!)
Eyes: The Little Bat, AED Eyes (Available NOW at the 2018 Relay For Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire, in the Realm Severina!)
Ears: Gauze, High Elf Ears
Necklace: HarshLands, FFX Necklace, Steampunk (uncommon) (Available NOW at the 2018 Relay For Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire, in the Realm Willows of Nienna!)
Dress: Stitched, Ginnifer Dress (Available NOW at the 2018 Relay For Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire, in the Realm Pools of Ethuil!)
Hair: Raven Bell, Chronos (Available NOW at the 2018 Relay For Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire, in the Realm Erstwhile!)
Braid: Raven Bell, Bento Braid (Available NOW at the 2018 Relay For Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire, in the Realm Erstwhile!)
Shoes: The Dark Fae, DraciChic (Available NOW at the 2018 Relay For Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire, in the Realm Santoria!)

Gwyneth:
Body: Maitreya
Head: LAQ Bento Mesh Head, Lulu
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Helena
Fantasy Faire, in the Realm Severina!)
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Necklace: Zuri, Sweet Bouquet Necklace Hair: Raven Bell, Chronos (Available NOW at the 2018 Relay For Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire, in the Realm Erstwhile!)
Tiara: Zuri, Zahra Floral Tiara (Available NOW at the 2018 Relay For Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire, in the Realm Erstwhile!)
Dress: Silvan Moon Designs, Vintage In Vogue Gown
Hair: Elikatira, Sophia
Shoes: The Plastik, Filvina High Heels

Location: The 2018 Relay for Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire, Realm of Erstwhile, Sponsored by The Looking Glass and designed by Sharni Azalee and Marcus Inkpen

Contractual Obligation

It’s not like I just sit around eating bonbons, you know. Not like some faeries. No, I have to work for a living. And occasionally that means doing stuff I don’t like, even if I kind of do like it in the end. That probably made no sense, but I can clarify by telling you that I just got done doing an ushering gig for some events at The Looking Glass. Now, The Looking Glass is one of those pocket Realms created by someone who has an amazing sense of design. Sharni is one of those creating wizards who just makes everything look so beautiful. I love visiting her Realm, and it’s almost impossible for me not to bring some of her beautiful creations home with me when I visit.

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So, this event had a steampunk theme.

So, this event had a steampunk theme. And I don’t mind steampunk, but there was of course a uniform involved. Obviously, there was a “no leggings” rule. And high heels. I mean, it wasn’t as bad as that time I had to get gussied up like the cover of a bad fantasy novel and tag unicorns… And I kind of like the hat. Luckily, the folks at The Looking Glass are accepting enough of my kind that I didn’t have to change my skin. In honour o that, I got a beautiful new skin painting from 7 Deadly s{K}ins, and I can’t even say how much I love the amazing work that Izara does. Nothing like being at home in my own Svart Alfar skin with a great skin painting.

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As I walked down the steps, I had to be careful of the heels.

As i walked down the steps, I had to be careful of the heels. Azoury makes beautiful shoes, but I did nearly lose my balance on the second step. They always say the first one is a doozy, but I think I must have got overconfident.

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I’d better be more careful.

I’d better be more careful, I thought to myself. Nothing like an usherette who can’t even stand up on her own two feet. I adjusted the hat from Wicca’s Wardrobe. I love this hat. I’ll probably wear it even after I’m done with this short-term gig. I got my hair done by the talented Truth Hawks for the occasion: I wanted something that, I don’t know, softened my look a bit. And it was nice to go back to the natural silver of my race. And then I thought about softening. I was in this mostly-prim steampunk outfit—and I was really pleased the uniform they chose was from Silvan Moon Designs, by the way. I know they mostly make girly gowns, but there was just something a bit snarky and spirited about this little dress. And I’m nothing if not snarky and spirited.

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I took the next step much more carefully.

I took the next step much more carefully. And although I wasn’t really looking forward to the job, I was sure the music would be great. How could it not be, in such a place? Briefly, I wondered about the audience, who might be there, what potential problems I might have to manage.

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As it turned out, there weren’t any problems.

As it turned out, there weren’t any problems. The event went off without a hitch, I enjoyed listening to the music even if I only got to sit down for an hour or so in the middle of the show. If it weren’t for the natural stealth-glamour of the Svart Alfar, I am sure my feet would be hurting like a bitch right now.

So why did I tell you all this? Well, I guess it’s because I want you to know that at least I’m working again and not hiding in the forest, as I have been for the last month or so. And also, I was looking for some news from the outside world. You see, yesterday, when I looked out from the forest dock, I found that there was nothing but mist across the Sound. It was as if White Owl Island never existed. And where does that leave me? I can camp, I can hunt, I can work with whatever creatures I find in the wood, but I know this little Realm is built upon pure Faerie. It’s over there somewhere, probably through the mists. I felt sure someone at The Looking Glass would know what was going on—there are some powerful magicians who frequent the place—but the folk who would converse with me either didn’t know or wouldn’t say.

Disconcertingly, when I arrived back at my camp in the forest, there was…. something. Something different. Some change in the air, and I’m not talking about the onset of the dark half of the year. Something that just smelled like change, but not a dying change. It may be that Little Miss Queeniepoo has got herself all powered up for winter and is somewhere in Faerie chanting and dancing her heart out, or whatever it is that they do, and who knows. Maybe I’ll wake up in a clearing of pink pumpkins. All this time, she’s known about me and hasn’t spoken to me, not one word. It’s not surprising: Gwyneth when I knew her was always a bit avoidant (and I mean “a bit” in the English sense, which is to say she avoids anything that puts her off balance) around personal conflict issues. Still… if this Realm that feels like home really is Gwyneth’s Realm, I know I must confront her sooner or later. Of course, I’ll pick sooner; she’ll pick later. We might get it done by Midwinter.

Style Card:
Body: 
Maitreya
Head: LAQ, Lulu
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Arnica, Drow Version (Available NOW as part of the Trick Or Treat Hunt, or for sale at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store!)
Ears: Gauze, High Elf Ears
Eyes: Whymsical Marketplace, Fantasy Eyes in Werewolf Amber
Dress: Silvan Moon Designs, Belladonna Ravenwood Dress Set (Available NOW at the Fallen Gods Tenth Anniversary Event!)
Hair: Wicca’s Wardrobe, Rumor (At the Truth Main Store!)
Hat: Wicca’s Wardrobe, Wellington Hat (Available NOW at We ❤ Roleplay!)
Boots: Azoury, Atlantis Boots
Ring: Aisling, The Good Wife
Collar: Footpaws, Celtic Filigree Garnet Collar

Poses: An Lar, The Zelena Series (Available NOW at We ❤ Roleplay!)

Location: The Looking Glass

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!

Rendezvous

New Blog Headers - 10

The Amazing Catwoman:

You just never know what people are going to throw at you, do you? Owen said, ‘Meet me up on the roof in an hour. I’ve got a proposition for you.’ He waggled his eyebrows, just like old times. I knew it wasn’t that kind of proposition, but Owen’s known I have a crush on him for long enough that I guess he feels he can play with me a little bit.

And I never really minded all that much: it wasn’t like Owen and I were ever going to end up in the sack: his warm and fuzzy feelings about illegal svart alfar apparently stop when the clothes come off, or something.

Anyway, it was raining.

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I found this umbrella up on the roof, and it was a good thing, too.

I found this umbrella up on the roof, and it was a good thing, too. By the time I’d climbed up out of the shop’s second floor balcony and onto the roof proper, it was pissing down. The landscape seemed to crumple in on itself, until the roof was all there was. And the sheeting rain helped that effect: the greater sky was lost inside the rain. I was happy the umbrella had lamps: I’d not have been able to see two feet in front of me if it weren’t for those. Even the soft glow from the windows was lost in the downpour.

I waited for half an hour, thanking the gods I’d changed in to leathers before I went up. In my line of work, you have to be prepared for anything.

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Finally, he showed up.

Finally he showed up.

‘Well?’ I asked. ‘I’m getting drenched up here, yeah?’

Owen laughed. ‘It’s actually something I’m investigating right here. This set of rooftops has some very strange properties.’

I looked around. ‘Looks like a regular rooftop to me’, I said.

‘You’d think that, wouldn’t you?’ Owen folded his arms, brushed a hand through his damp hair, ducked beneath my umbrella. ‘Glad you found that, by the way: it always rains up here.’

‘We should stash a few more if we’re going to be working together up here’, I replied. ‘So, what’s the deal?’

‘We’ve got a full moon coming up in a couple of days’, he said. ‘I want you to stick around at least until then, meet me back up here. I’ll feed you, take care of your expenses; no worries about that. And then you can see what I mean’.

I was dubious. ‘Owen, we’ve not seen one another in how long?’

‘Two years’, he said (a little too quickly). ‘Well, two years and change’.

I lifted a brow. ‘I thought it was longer’.

‘Nope’, Owen said. ‘That’s about how long it’s been since you broke away from the House.’

‘I had to’, I said.

‘I know. Everybody does eventually’, he replied. ‘Don’t worry about it. Just do this one thing with me, and then maybe we’ll go our separate ways.’

‘Maybe?’

‘Maybe.’

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: LAQ, Trinity
Ears: Gauze, High Elf Ears, Naturals
Eyes: Mesange, First Date Eyes (Omega Appliers)
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Cinnamon, in tone Oak
Hair: Shi, Discorded (Available NOW at Shiny Shabby!)
Top: E-Clipse Design, Nemo Jacket (Available NOW at Shiny Shabby!)
Trousers: Lassitude & Ennui, Hand-Stitched Leather Leggings (Maitreya Appliers)
Boots: JustDesign, Ara Boots in Earth
Ring: Aisling, The Good Wife
Umbrella: E.V.E., Aerial Screw Parasol (Available NOW at Shiny Shabby!)

Setting:
Rooftop: Milk Motion: The Rooftops of Paris

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never subject you guys to cliffhangers involving The Amazing Catwoman without it!

7ds

One of those Days….

New Blog Headers - 9

Gwyneth:

The days grow short; the nights grow long. Well, that was profound, wasn’t it? Obviously my future as a poetic genius is secured.

It’s funny how different the season feels to me as a “real” Winter Queen. I don’t feel like hiding. I feel like going out, exploring, all those things. Of course, I’m sometimes very tired after, but instead of just sleeping quietly, I’ve become a bit stroppy, especially with Clutie, whose incessant cuteness just bugs me no end now for no reason I can understand except maybe just her, I don’t know, lightness or something. Which doesn’t make any sense. She’s always been annoying, but now I feel it on another level.

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Anyway, I went out into the Wylds to see how things looked.

Anyway, I went out into the Wylds, to see how things looked. The waterfall behind me seemed ready to freeze, though I know it won’t.

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Things were glowing and beautiful, and the bare trees danced against the sky.

Things were glowing and beautiful, and the bare trees danced against the sky.  I felt alive and free, and much better about the darkening night, particularly when there is so much extra light from the Faery Aurora behind me.

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The glowing ferns made me feel happy to be alive.

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And I did spend a moment thanking Her Who gave me the world.

And I did spend a moment thanking Her Who gave me the world. It seemed only right.

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For once, I didn’t feel small, as dawn rose over the stone circle and the aurora faded. I felt beautiful.

For once, I didn’t feel small, as dawn rose over the stone circle and the aurora faded. I felt beautiful.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Stella
Ears: Mandala, Steking Ears, Season 5
Eyes: Mesange, First Date Eyes (Omega appliers)
Skin: Lumae, Yulia (Lelutka Head Applier, Maitreya Body Appliers, in Tone 1) (Available NOW at the Lumae Main Store!)
Hair: Wasabi Pills, Gwen (NEW at FaMESHed! {And yes, I’ll buy anything named GWEN!})
Clothes: Silvan Moon Designs, Ranger of Islavare (Available NOW at We ❤ RP!)
Boots: Gauze, Swift Boots

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never explore the Wylds on cold winter nights without it!

Positively Faux Street

New Blog Headers - 11

The Amazing Catwoman:

Pocket Universes all have this feel about them, like they’ve been stamped onto a sheet of paper about a dozen times, only nobody’s bothered to re-ink the stamp. You spend as much time as I have in this business, you get to know them the second you step in to one.

Now, granted, not all pocket universes are bad. Some of them are perfectly decent club and shopping districts. Some of them are decent hideouts. In fact, I’ve even been to one or two pocket universes I actually liked. But the fact is, when you get hired to do a job in a pocket universe, you’re doing something illegal (almost always), or you’re doing something somebody doesn’t want somebody more important than they are to know about (always always).

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One thing I can guarantee: if you land in a pocket universe that has as its portal a pair of Big, Impressive Elfin Doors and you’re not then in Elf Land, it’s not one of the good ones.

One thing I can guarantee: if you land in a pocket universe that has as its portal a pair of Big, Impressive Elfin Doors and you’re not then in Elf Land, it’s not one of the good ones. Just a bit of wisdom from your old buddy TAC. Because damn. This pocket universe was really not one of the good ones. I could tell it the moment I stepped through the Massive Elfin Doors.

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And whether you’re in a good pocket universe or a bad one, it always takes a moment or two to get your bearings.

And whether you’re in a good pocket universe or a bad one, it always takes a moment or two to get your bearings, but that’s true of all portal travel. Worst portal sickness I ever had was on a trip to Manchester, I kid you not.

Anyway, the fixer had set me up with a place to stay, which was a blessing, since the whole PU (I love that abbreviation) seemed to be made up of one street of shops and a lonely little city park, bordered by forest on one side and God Knows What on the other.

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As luck would have it, it was upstairs from an art studio. Or maybe it was a gallery. I get those two mixed up.

As luck would have it, it was upstairs from an art studio. Or maybe it was a gallery. I get those two mixed up. Never gave a fuck about art anyway. I put my shit away and started to settle in for the night, but since I was meant to report for work in the morning, I figured I’d take a look around, see what there was to see.

As it turned out, there wasn’t a hell of a lot to see. Every place except the art studio/gallery/whatever was locked up tight, even the address I was meant to report to the next morning. Come to think of it, the clerk at the art studio/gallery/whatever hadn’t been there when I’d come back downstairs, either.

Great. I’m in a two-bit pocket universe with only one street, and the only unlocked building is a fucking art studio. Gallery. Whatever.

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The park was a disappointment, too.

The park was a disappointment, too. Not even a fucking bench. Just a lit up tree with lights all in it (because it’s never too early for Christmas in Pocket Universe Land), a big clock, and some weird statue of a girl apparently losing a battle with a dandelion. Awesome. I went back to my special room, probably the only living inhabitant of the whole universe, such as it was, and I just meditated until I fell asleep. Because damn. The least they could have done was bought me dinner, you know?

Fucking bright sunlight woke me the next morning. At least there was a shower, and since I was the only person in the universe, plenty of hot water, booyah. And when I got out of the shower, I noticed somebody had left a styrofoam cup of coffee (really? do they even make styrofoam in pocket universes?) and a shabby-looking croissant on the table in my room. Delish.

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They told me I’d meet my contact in the coffee shop.

They told me I’d meet my contact in the coffee shop. Luckily, it wasn’t shut tight in the morning: I hoped the coffee would at least be better than that swill I’d swallowed with the croissant (because fuck knows when I’d get another meal, you know?).

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It did not take me long to realise this was not the sort of coffee house I’d been thinking of.

It didn’t take me long to realise this wasn’t the sort of coffee house I’d been thinking of. For fuck’s sake, the whole place looked like some teenager’s dream of what an Amsterdam coffeehouse looked like, except of course the teenager’s from somewhere in Ohio….

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Oh, hell no. I turned to walk out.

Oh, hell, no. I turned to walk out. Figured I’d ring my fixer as soon as I could get a signal and let him know there was no way there could be any good work in a place like this.

“Tacey! Wait!” I stopped dead. Nobody’d called me that in years. And the voice was familiar. Jesus fuck.

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“Owen?” I stared at the fellow who’d materialised in front of me.

“Owen?” I stared at the fellow who’d materialised in front of me. “What the fuck do you want?”

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: LAQ, Trinity
Ears: Gauze, High Elf Ears, Naturals
Eyes: Avi-Glam, Elysian Eyes, Chocolate
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Lexy (Freckled), in tone Chestnut (Available through 30 November at TWE12LVE. Additional appliers, including body appliers, available at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store.)
Hair: Emo-Tions, Maureen (available at Hairology!)
Top: Jangka, Hyperia Jacket (Available at We❤ RP!)
Belt Pouch: Noble Creations, Medici Pouch (A prize for the 5th Fantasy Cream Hunt!)
Trousers: Lassitude & Ennui, Hand-Stitched Leather Leggings (Maitreya Appliers)
Boots: JustDesign, Ara Boots in Earth
Ring: Aisling, The Good Wife
Necklace: Emo-Tions, Precious (Available at We❤ RP!)

Big, Impressive Elfin Doors: Violetility, Ultimate RP Door Elven (Stone)
Streetlight: BlackJack, Amsterdam Gacha, Streetlight (Available at 6 Republic!)
Street: BlackJack, Amsterdam Gacha, Straight Road (Available at 6 Republic!)
Art Studio Building: Death Row Designs, The Joint Coffee Shop, Coffee Shop (Available at 6 Republic!)
Art Studio Interior: Artisan Fantasy, Art Studio Gacha (Available at 6 Republic!)
Clock:Mistero Hifen,  Il Tempo Perfetto
Dandelion Status: Mistero Hifen, Dream 2
Light Tree: Happy Mood, Garden Tree 08 With Lights
Corner Trees: Roawenwood, Autumn Fire Tree (Available at We❤ RP!)
Coffee Shop Interior: Death Row Designs, The Joint Coffee Shop (Available at 6 Republic!)

Poses: All from An Lar, some from the Daydreamer Series, some from the Layna Series

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never subject you guys to cliffhangers involving The Amazing Catwoman without it!

hairology-november   [NC] - Noble Creations - LOGO   7ds