Shadow Play

I looked for songs about shadows to illustrate this post, but they all seem to be about being fooled by bad relationships or psychotic ex-lovers, and that’s not really what I wanted to talk about, so despite the fact that the chorus for Fish‘s song Shadowplay keeps going through my head as I write this, I won’t inflict it on you guys. You’ve probably never heard of Fish anyway. He was with a band called Marillion, and you’ve probably never heard of them, either.

Anyway. I haven’t spoken a lot about my experience with the Visionaire photography class here, but you’ve seen the results, changes, and experimentation in my photographs. Or at least I hope you have. Friday was our last class before graduation (February 19— I’ll just go ahead and invite all of you to the party now!), and we had a guest teacher, Senna Coronet. Now, the only thing I knew about Senna before this class was something one of our instructors had told me: he photographs in complete darkness, using only projectors. But the fact is, Senna is a genius at explaining very complex things in a simple way. And, I’m convinced now that not only can Senna photograph in complete darkness, using only projectors—so can I!

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Shadowplay 1

Shadowplay 1: Here, Gwyneth is lit by a projector and three prim lights, the usual LumiPro setup. She is in a constructed prim box, which in retrospect I probably should have made totally white in colour/no texture; however, I knew I would be shooting in Phototools No Light windlight, so I didn’t bother. I may go back and reshoot some of these for my Visionaire graduation portfolio and see how the texture of the box might change the photographs. Anyway, I wanted her to be mostly black and white, so I chose Lumae‘s Eirtae Nimbus fantasy skin: it’s very white with subtle shading, and I’ve used it before when I turned Gwyneth into a Bain Sidhe for a post several months ago. This outfit is one I’ve seen photographed a lot: it’s Blueberry‘s Angelberry set from the current (and half over!) round of The Epiphany. This hair is special, as well: it’s from Emo-Tions, and it’s at Hairology for another few days: it’s Anik, and I loved it so much I’ve already used it in a blog this month, but I love Emo-Tions’ silver textures so much that I put it on again for this one. Gwyneth is wearing eyeshadow from ArteSmoky Eyeshadow, but it’s also called Gwen, so of course I had to buy it! The red lipstick is one of the Catwa choices for the Catya mesh head, which Gwyneth is in almost all the time these days. The lipstick and the eyes (from Avi-GlamElysian Eyes, colour Ghost) are the only things with colour on Gwyneth.

In order to get the projector to appear in a perfect circle, I chose LumiPro‘s wide spotlight bulb for the projector, then moved the projector so that it was centred on Gwyneth’s middle. I pulled it back so that the spotlight appeared to be in a perfect circle around her. This pose, and all the poses in this post, come from An Lar‘s new Flutter Series, which you can find at this month’s SaNaRae. The prim lights are arranged so that Gwyneth’s face and hair are highlighted, and the third (LumiPro standard) prim light is on her body below the waist, on her upper legs. She’s rotated so that there is just a bit of sharp shadow behind her and so that you can see the fluffy wings make a shadow as well. I used some tips I got from William Weaver in the class he taught us at Visionaire about using Phototools to best advantage to make sure my shadows were sharp and visible behind her.

I shot a couple of photos with this lighting setup, and I was so pleased with myself that I sent a Gyazo link to Senna, proudly noting that I had been listening in class. At the same time, the creative and delightful Lola Key suggested that I try a Gobo, so I started playing with some of the LumiPro gobos to see what I could come up with.

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Shadowplay 2: Gobo

Here is a double experiment: a gobo, plus a single blue coloured prim light behind her to colour the shadows and set a different tone for the floor area. In retrospect, I’d like to try this with her floating against the wall so that the shadows don’t bend, but the wall/floor dichotomy also makes her appear to be on a stage somewhere, so perhaps it’s a good thing. Notice how the blue prim light affects the colours of the shadows behind her legs and the bottom part of the wing? This was Senna’s suggestion when I sent him the Gyazo link, and after that I just went crazy, putting differently coloured prim lights behind her and experimenting with different placements!

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Shadowplay 3: Different Gobo, different lights!

Here, there are two more prim lights placed behind Gwyneth so that you get a different colour both on her body and wing shadows, and also one off to the side so that the gobo changes colour on the right side of the photograph. Ordinarily in a blog photo I’d have turned her so her face is visible, but here I was concentrating more on the shadows of her hand against the wall. The Vista Bento Hands do such great things with their random movements, even with static poses, that I left this option on and just shot when I liked the position her hands were in.

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Shadowplay 4: Close-up

For this photograph, I turned off the gobo option and moved the spotlight very close to Gwyneth so that the spotlight circle would appear smaller behind her. I left the purple and teal prim lights in place to create some interest around the edges of the spotlight. For those of you in the UK who are familiar with Charlie Brucker, I’m concerned that Gwyneth looks a little too much like Philomena Cunk in this photograph, but I’ll overlook that for now. Note that all the LumiPro lights were set to a grey colour and I turned the intensity and falloff down so that Gwyneth’s white skin would not be blown out by such a close placement of lights here.

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Shadowplay 5: Symmetry/Asymmetry

Here, I intentionally kept the spotlight fairly small, while panning out so that the single prim light behind Gwyneth’s ankles shows you that she’s standing on a surface somewhere, possibly a stage (which the spotlight sort of implies). I carefully positioned the camera so that her shadow was roughly equidistant from her on all sides, even though she wasn’t perfectly centred in the spotlight.

So many thanks to the whole Visionaire crew for this amazing class. Wren and Nariko have created a wonderful thing. If you want to get your mind blown on a weekly basis and learn more about SL photography than you could possibly absorb in a single second lifetime, check out the Visionaire Website for more information and to see when applications will open for the next class. If you’re super keen, you can always IM WrenNoire Cerise in-world and talk to her: she is approachable, warm, and a great teacher. I cannot say enough about how enlightening and empowering the Visionaire experience is. Do not think about the money. It is not about the money. I am thankful every day that I splashed out for this class. It has been worth every Linden and much, much more. It’s worth it for the critiques alone, but the lessons will blow your mind, and the guest speakers are amazing, and the opportunities for learning more about your own work, developing your own style, and finding out how the pros do it? Just wow.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Catya Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Emo-Tions, Anika (Available for a few more days at Hairology!)
Eyes: Avi-Glam, Elysium Eyes (Omega eye appliers)
Skin: Lumae, Eirtae, Nimbus Fantasy Skin (Available at The Lumae Main Store!)
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Hands: Vista, Bento Prohands
Outfit: Blueberry, Angelberry, in colour Slayer (Available until February 15 at The Epiphany!) —all the colours are beautiful, but I particularly wanted the black for this series of photos.
Makeup: Arte, Gwen Eyeshadow (Smokey Eyeshadow) (Lipstick is included with the Catya head)
Poses: An Lar, The Flutter Series (Available NOW at SaNaRae!)

Setting: A Box!

Learn more about Visionaire at The Visionaire Website!

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I’d never talk about lighting Second Life photography without it!

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ERROR: Out Of Cheese

Our first weekend away in I don’t know how long. Oh, it was going to be glorious! Clutie had gone ahead of us to the little cabin by the river and stocked the fridge, but other than that, we’d have no contact with Faerie unless there was an emergency of epic proportion. That was the plan.

Nathaniel was stuck in some meeting with some Mysthaven people, or something. I don’t know. That bunch can’t seem to buckle their own trousers without his assistance, not that I’m one to talk.

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Everything looked beautiful!

Everything looked beautiful! I couldn’t get over what a lovely kitchen someone had painstakingly and perfectly put into this house. The views out the windows were of frost-coloured trees, and on the rear side, the boat dock and the ice-cold but clear river water. Clutie had left out bread for sandwiches, bread with butter, and a little bit of cheese with some crackers. Which is a good thing, because of course Nathaniel is originally Victorian. And I’m sure I don’t have to tell you this, but Victorians love cheese. Cheese for starters, cheese on the main, cheese for afters; forget dessert, bring on the cheese board.

And then.

And then I looked in the refrigerator.

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Oh, my gods! The horror!

Oh, my gods! The horror! There was no cheese. That’s right. No cheese in the fridge. Well. I did the only sane thing. I broke down in tears.

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Nathaniel, because his timing is perfect, chose this moment to arrive.

Nathaniel, because his timing is perfect, chose this moment to arrive. “Gwyn? Honey?”

“There’s no cheese!” I was practically hysterical by this point.

“Gwyn, there’s some cheese right here.” I heard the sound of Nathaniel picking up the cheese knife. “And it’s not bad either, nice and nutty, little bland. Don’t know what these weird salty crackers are for: you don’t want something that salty with cheese. Cheese is already salty enough.”

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“You don’t understand! That was it! That was all the cheese!”

“You don’t understand! That was it! That was all the cheese!” I could feel myself starting to hyperventilate.

“That was all of it?” I could tell he still had some in his mouth. Fucking enhanced fae senses meant I could hear him swallow, too.

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“I don’t see that this is the end of the world,” he said.

“I don’t see that this is the end of the world,” he said. “We do have a mirror. They can summon us; we can summon them. Just tell Clutie to bring some more cheese. And tell her to get something with a little more age on it this time.” He sniffed critically. “And some soda bread.”

I hiccupped. “You mean you’re not angry?” I turned to face him.

He sighed. “No, Gwyneth. I’m not angry. Do you think that running Mysthaven will turn me into Maric? I’m unlikely to have his level of temper about anything, particularly not something like cheese.”

“But…But Victorians! They love cheese!”

Nathaniel cleared his throat. “A lot of people love cheese.” He walked toward me and put his arms around me. “Just calm down, love.”

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Luckily for everyone involved, Nathaniel knows the best way to calm me down.

Luckily for everyone involved, Nathaniel knows the best way to calm me down.

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He even rubbed noses with me.

He even rubbed noses with me. I used to think that was so adorable when we first kissed. Well, after the first disastrous kiss, of course. That one doesn’t bear thinking about.

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“So… everything’s going to be all right?”

“So, everything’s going to be all right?”

“Yes, Gwyneth, everything is going to be all right. I’ll send out a ping for Clutie or Bran to pick up some more cheese, and then we will be all set to enjoy our…” finally, he looked up to see that the bed was up a ladder-like flight of steps and on a platform suspended by chains from the ceiling. “Hey, any chance we could get them to bring, I don’t know, a cot or some blankets or something, so we could sleep down here near the fire? So much more romantic.”

I smirked against his chest. “We’re not going to break the house, sweetheart.”

“You never know,” he replied. “You just never know.”

Style Cards:
First of all, this whole post was inspired by the delightful and beautiful kitchen Death Row Designs have created for Shiny Shabby. It’s called the Rustic Kitchen, and it comes in both Adult and PG versions. You can buy it in pieces or as a full set. The pose where Gwyneth is crying at the refrigerator really is called No Cheese. I must have gone through five houses trying to find one where it would fit perfectly, and I came upon the Fisher Point Cottage from Trompe Loeil. It had just the right mixture of class and rustic charm, and the wood textures of the kitchen fit really well with its walls. The only complaint I have is there’s not quite enough wall space to display the extra shelves and spice rack that also come with this beautiful kitchen. Remember, the Death Row Designs Rustic Kitchen is available NOW at Shiny Shabby

Gwyneth:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Catya Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Emo-Tions,  Anik (Available NOW at Hairology!)
Eyes: Mesange, First Date Eyes (Omega eye appliers)
Skin: Lumae, Ruby in T1 (Available NOW at The Lumae Main Store!)
Ears: Swallow, Shiny Ears (Available NOW at Shiny Shabby!)
Hands: Vista, Bento Prohands
Jacket: E-Clipse Design, Nemo Coat, Brown
Jeans: Petite Mort, Rawwashed Distressed Skinny Jeans
Shoes: The Plastik, Filivina Heels (Available NOW at Shiny Shabby!) (Note that these shoes are unrigged and you will have to adjust them to your feet, no matter what version of the shoe you are wearing.)

Nathaniel:
Body: SLink
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins
Hair: No Match
Jacket: Ducknipple Codine Jacket
Jeans: Ducknipple Jeans

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Air and Darkness

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I braved the sea.

I braved the sea today. Out on the edge of the Realm, where the water flows (always) round the now-frozen landscape, there is a fragment of an old temple, lovingly preserved by the demifae. And a lighthouse. There is little else in this corner of the Realm, save the lighthousekeeper’s house, which is just far enough from the lighthouse to make it an uncomfortable walk at this time of year.

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How quickly it gets dark!

How quickly it gets dark! Even though I know to expect it, darkness catches me sometimes, catches my breath and my spirit, and takes them on flights, farther away than I could go even with wings and my ability to move between Realms so easily.

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I thought, as the moon rose, about darkness.

I thought, as the moon rose, about darkness. And as the winds blew up and I could sense a storm coming, I thought also about air. If I am the Queen of Winter now, I am also Queen of Air and Darkness, or so the legends and songs say.

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If I am Queen of Air and Darkness, I shall not rush to meet Spring.

If I am Queen of Air and Darkness, I shall not rush to meet spring. I shall stand, and say to the Air, “blow through me”, and I shall say to the Darkness, “be one with me”. And I shall call the cold in, and befriend it, though I shall not scorn the sun.

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On the beach, it was harder to let the Air blow through me.

On the frozen beach, it was harder to let the Air blow through me: it threatened to blow me over. And so I bent, and let it come, and I remembered a song I learned back in my days of folk-club hopping:

I shall bow and be simple
I shall bow and be free
I shall bow and be humble
Yea, bend like the willow tree

I shall bow; this is the token
I shall wear the easy yoke
I shall bow and be broken
Yea, I’ll fall upon the rock

I’ve always heard this described as a Shaker hymn, although the only explicit references to the Christian teachings I can see there are the phrases, “I shall wear the easy yoke”, which comes from the Gospel of Matthew (“My yoke is easy and my burden is light”), and “I’ll fall upon the rock [and be broken]”, also from the Gospel of Matthew. But I digress into academic explication, a habit that’s mostly worthless to me now.

Bending my body and letting the wind take me, however, was not worthless to me.

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I found strength in bending.

I found strength in bending. And then, it was as if the wind blew through my body effortlessly, and I became an instrument of the wind.

And, as darkness fell, I also became an instrument of the darkness. What kind of instrument I will be, well. That remains to be seen.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Catya Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Phoenix,  Kiara (Available NOW at Hairology!)
Eyes: Mesange, Lionsong Eyes (Omega eye appliers)
Skin: The Plastik, Taryn in Creme (Available NOW at The Plastik Main Store!)
Makeup: Arte, Frost Mask (blue)
Ears: Swallow, High Definition Elf Ears
Wings: Material Squirrel, Thethys Wings (light coloured)
Hands: Vista, Bento Prohands
Nails: The Plastik, Veez (Available NOW at The Season’s Story!)
Necklaces: both from The Plastik; short: The Skein Necklace; long: The Hallow necklace
Gown: Junbug, Ice Maiden (in Ice) (Available NOW at The Season’s Story!)
Crown: E.V.E, Valindra’s Crown
Shoes (even though you can’t see ’em!): Violatility, Fairy Heels, in Bubble

Scene:
Stairs: {anc}, Stairs for Moonlight
Lighthouse: Hideki, Lighthouse
Poses: An Lar, all from the Marta Series (Available NOW at The Season’s Story!)

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never make Gwyneth wander frozen shores and contemplate her existence without it!

 

Self Portraits in the Dead of Winter

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Sometimes…

Sometimes, sometimes, sitting here on my cloud
My thoughts turn to fears I cannot speak aloud.
It seems too much trouble, this holding ’til Spring
And so in this darkness I whistle and I sing.

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Then I ask why…

Why did my life lead me to times such as these
Where hope for the future’s as slight as the breeze
Just give me one tale for my trouble in mind
And round it I promise I’ll twist and I’ll twine

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I’ll twine and I’ll twist…

I’ll twine and I’ll twist, till my shadow appears
I’ll see her and sing her the song of the spheres
She’ll dance with me sing with me, carry me home
We’ll drink honeysuckle and eat honeycomb
And we’ll while away decades out on the front porch
Just singing and dancing, no fear or remorse
Where there’s music, there’s hope, and my shadow will know
All of the songs I forgot long ago
Long ago, long ago, like a vine I will twine
Every tune I forgot will be mine

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But my shadow is fading…

But my shadow is fading, the dawn’s spreading blue
Blue January’s the fear I construe
She does not want to know me: she withdraws her hand
She leaves me alone all in this no girl’s land

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Catya Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Mithril Apothecary, Gromwell (Available NOW at  Hairology!)
Eyes: Mesange, Sekhmet Eyes (Omega eye appliers) (Available NOW at The Chapter 4!)
Ears: Swallow, High Definition Elf Ears
Skin: Lumae, Ruby (for Catwa heads), Tone 1 (Available NOW at the Lumae Main Store!)
Makeup:
Eyeshadow: Veechi, Solstice Shadow (Available NOW at The Season’s Story!)
Lipstick: Arte, Alexandra Lipstick, Pastels
Hands: Vista, Bento Prohands
Necklace: The Plastik, The Lairelei Jewelery (Available NOW at The Season’s Story!)
Top: Salt, Ella, Navy (Available NOW at The Chapter 4!)
Boots: Have Unequal, Betty Boots, Blue (Available NOW at The Liaison Collaborative!)

Scene:
Window Seat, Cushions, Poses: oOo Studio, Winterview Vignette (Available NOW at The Season’s Story!)

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never write depressing love songs without it!

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Quick Outing to Pandora Resort!

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Train Station

When you arrive at Pandora Resort, the mist (or is that smoke?) cloaks you like a blanket. Everything is so obscured.

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Group Gift from 7 Deadly s{K}ins!

The skin Gwyneth’s wearing is the January Group Gift from 7 Deadly s{K}ins. There is a price to join the group (L$225), but this skin comes with a ton of appliers, including Omega head appliers, so you can apply it to any head that takes Omega. This is the Catwa Catya Bento mesh head, and I think it looks beautiful. This hair is new from No Match; it’ll be at Hairology, which opens on the 10th of January. The style is called No Fiction.

Taking a break from working on the sim, which makes poor Gwyneth very tired, was in the cards today, and stepping into the nostalgic world of Pandora Resort was just the ticket.

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Town Square

Once you get into the town proper, the mist still hangs over, so thick it obscures pretty much everything. It’s sometimes hard to tell the birds wheeling round the central fountain from the falling snowflakes, and the buildings and lamps have an extra glow to them that adds to the ambiance.

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A moment of contemplation

I guess one of the things I love about visiting great sims in Second Life is just experiencing the multitude of fascinating ideas that can be brought to life in our big pixel world. From untouched wilderness to avant-garde art pieces, we’ve got it all. I’m often amazed by the sheer amount of work and care that goes in to all the beautiful builds I visit. SL tourism has been a hobby of mine since way back in 2007 or so when Avalon and I used to go around in search of various Stonehenges in all sizes and levels of repair. Perhaps I’ll revisit that one day and do a tour of prominent Second Life Stonehenges sometime. Gwyneth does love standing stones, after all!

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Further in to the sim, shops and a delivery tricycle!

Further in to the sim, there are parks, residential areas, a Christmas tree lot, and some beautiful spaces that can be hired out for weddings and other functions. While there were a few informational averts up in the train station area, the sim is otherwise completely bereft of anything commercial, aside from small signs around the for-hire areas. If you haven’t been to Pandora Resort, it’s worth a visit. It’s on the SL Destination Guide at the moment, under Editor’s Picks.

In the end, I wished I could have stayed longer. There was a lot to see, and I love a foggy, misty landscape. But I had to spend much of the day in Real Life, so Gwyneth and I headed back to the affectionately named Ook Office in Awenia, and that was that. I have some more places I want to show you around soonish, though, and I know Gwyneth will appreciate any breaks I give her from ordering people around on the sim platform in Awenia.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Catya Bento Mesh Head
Hair: No Match,  No Fiction (COMING SOON to Hairology!)
Eyes: Mesange, Sekhmet Eyes (Omega eye appliers) (Available NOW at The Chapter 4!)
Ears: Swallow, High Definition Elf Ears
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Madelief in Sand (The January Group Gift at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store!)
Tattoo (visible on neck): Stardust, Amelia, Silver (Available NOW at The Chapter 4!)
Hands: Vista, Bento Prohands
Top: Pseudo, Knotted tee Pink (Available NOW at Kustom 9!)
Jeans: Pseudo, Corset Jeans Indigo (Available NOW at Kustom 9!)
Boots: Have Unequal, Betty Boots, Pink Cedar (Available NOW at The Liaison Collaborative!)
Poses: All from An Lar, the Rory Series (Available NOW at The Liaison Collaborative!)

Location: Pandora Resort

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never give Gwyneth a day off without it!

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Getting Ready

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Gwyneth:

I love decorating. Always have. What I don’t like is the idea that I’m decorating maybe for people other than myself. The Atrium has to be a place where I can receive beings of all races and creeds, and it needs to have an appealing and comfortable atmosphere. I also need to be able to host visitors in the Atrium, so I’ve designated two of the rooms there as guest rooms for visiting folks.

I guess one of the guest rooms should have a more mortal feel to it, and I’ll make the other decidedly Fae. I’m not going to redecorate every damn room just because, say, a vamp or a demon drops by.

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One half of the room was easy enough!

One half of the room was easy enough! That genius at Fallen Gods made this couch. He calls it “Justine”, but I’m not sure if mine actually has a name. Anyway, lots of people can sit on it at once, and it has the plus of coming with many matching pillows and accessories, so it easily fills half a room.

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And of course, I had to get the place ready for Yule as well.

And of course, I had to get the place ready for Yule as well. I found the most amazing tree, created by a designer I’m only just getting to know, Dema Fairport. It’s a tree made out of books! I giggle in anticipation of what Nathaniel will say when I show it to him. She also designed this hearth, which gave me a perfect space to put in all those Fairytale Villains collectibles I picked ups. couple of years ago. And yes, the big box on the floor by the tree is for Nathaniel. I put in a formal dining table because I suspected I’d need one; Bran will be pleased. And of course I had to put the espresso machine in a place of honour, if only so that Nathaniel will have nightmares.

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All that magic is tiring!

All that magic is tiring! Well, for a moment or so. When I am back in my little grove, my energy replenishes more quickly than I thought it would, this being sort of Faerie-Light. In any case, I felt ready to do at least one of the bedrooms.

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Of course, my guests have got to have somewhere comfortable to sit…

Of course, my guests have got to have somewhere comfortable to sit, so I chose this bench from Death Row Designs, because it’s mundane with a bit of a Fae flair to it with the curtain and the sparkly lights and all.

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Here’s the rest of the guest suite!

Here’s the rest of the guest suite! Luckily for me, Death Row Designs makes the most gorgeous stuff, so I just picked up the whole set from them and there you have it!

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Of course, I had to test the bed….

Of course, I had to test the bed. It’s fluffy, yet firm and comfortable. I think my guests will like it very much.

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Whew! Now just one thing left to do.

Whew! Now just one thing left to do….

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Happy Holidays from Gwen Enchanted!

And that’s send a happy Yule greeting to all of you! My beautiful tree, my beautiful hearth, the most important gift all wrapped up and others to follow.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Destiny
Hair: Emo-Tions, Avril (Available NOW at Hairology!)
Ears: Mandala, Steking Ears, Season 5
Eyes: Mesange, Kelpie Eyes (Omega appliers)
Skin: Avenge, Arwen Elf Skin (Catwa Head Applier, Maitreya Body Appliers, in Tone Ivory) (Available NOW at  Winter Solstice in the Mystic Realms)
Clothes: Wicca’s Wardrobe, Lilly, Winter Dreams (Available NOW at  Winter Solstice in the Mystic Realms!)
Crown: Aisha, Holly Crown, Black and Gold (Available NOW at We❤ RP)
Jewellery: Empyrean Forge, Wassail Necklace (Available NOW at Winter Solstice in the Mystic Realms!)
Shoes: Violetility, Fairy Heels

The Scene:
Couch: Fallen Gods, Justine
Fireplace: {e}lusive designs  (Available NOW at The Liaison Collaborative!)
Book Tree: {e}lusive designs, Book Tree (Available NOW at The Liaison Collaborative!)
Fairy Collectibles: Ohmai, Fairytale Villains Collection
The Rose Curtain: Half Deer, Fairy Curtain
The Skybox: Spellbound, Atrium Skybox
Skein: Jian, Christmas Cats, Grey Kitten
Urðr: Pixicat, Sphynx Cat Sitting
Guest Bedroom Furnishings: Death Row Designs, Bed and Breakfast Set, Bed and Breakfast Bench. (Bench Available NOW at The Liaison Collaborative!) (B&B Set Available at NOW at The Crossroads!)

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never decorate for Yule without it!

 

Putting it all together 

Gwyneth:

Today, I began working on my throne room for White Owl. I know: I’ll probably never get to use it, but it’s a good exercise in decorating, and I was bored.

Below is a photo of my new throne — the demifae are enjoying it, as you can see. I’ve also acquired two new kittens—not CaitSidhe, but honest-to-Goddess kittens! The one on my lap is called Skein, and the black one is Urðr. Of course, this means I’ll have to get two more kittens, since I can’t overlook the other principal Norns.

The throne itself is grown from a special spell provided by the Master Wizards at Hextraordinary. I found them at that most excellent shopping faire, We , and they delivered it for free! Of course, tree thrones are a bit hard and somewhat scratchy, and the Royal Bum cannot deal with that for long periods of time, so I added a bunch of throw pillows I picked up from a gypsy at a gacha Faire some years ago.


Of course, I had to call Nathaniel for his approval (he always approves, does my Beloved Consort), so I summoned a will o’ the wisp to get him there quickly. The will o’ the wisps seem to like me much better now; I can communicate with them easily. Then, I got sentimental and summoned Drysi as well—she’s the only one of my children who reliably comes when called—and she surprised me by showing up in a very fetching dress! Of course, she’ll be back to jeans and t-shirts as soon as she’s out of my presence, not that I mind her dressing up to please her Mother.


I thanked the will o’ the wisp when it returned, of course. And what a lovely feeling of oneness I had with it! I must investigate the Unseelie connection to wisps more carefully at some point.

I have more work to do here, of course, but what a joy it was to write this from my office, in another of my realms, and not have to appease the Luddite Goddess by hopping off to another Realm to access the internet!

Now, of course I have to decorate both the Residence and this official Receiving Area—I think we’ll call it The Atrium—for Yule. Which will keep me busy at least for a couple of hours. I do have the perfect tree in mind for Nathaniel. I hope he loves it.

Style Card:

Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Destiny
Hair: Analog Dog (natch!), Vanessa (Available NOW at Hairology!)
Ears: Mandala, Steking Ears, Season 5
Eyes: Mesange, Kelpie Eyes (Omega appliers)
Skin: Atomic, Elf Gacha (Catwa Head Applier, Maitreya Body Appliers, in Tone Porcelain) (Available NOW at the Arcade Gacha)
Clothes: Mimikri, Vega Tank Top and Shiny Leggings (Available NOW at Cosmopolitan!)
Jewellery: Emo-Tions, Aurora Necklace and Forehead (Available NOW at On9!)
Shoes: Violetility, Fairy Heels

The Scene:
Throne: Hextraordinary, Elven Throne (Available NOW at We❤ RP
Clutie: Ohmai, Gerbera Fairy Companion
Danae: Ohmai, Dandelion Fairy Companion
Sorcha: Ohmai, Acorn Fairy Companion
Other Demifae: Ohmai, Bumblebee Fairy Companion, Ladybug Fairy Companion, and Horn Beetle Fairy Companion
The Rose Curtain: Half Deer, Fairy Curtain
The Skybox: Spellbound, Atrium Skybox
Skein: Jian, Christmas Cats, Grey Kitten
Urðr: Pixicat, Sphynx Cat Sitting

Poses:
Throne Pose: PoseIt, Glam Sit
Will O’ The Wisp Poses: Nantra, Charmed, I’m Sure (Available NOW at Winter Solstice in the Mystic Realms!)

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never create new throne rooms without it!

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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!

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Papa Says…

New Blog Headers - 9

Gwyneth:

Papa says, ‘Don’t talk to boys’. Papa says, ‘Keep your head covered in church’. Papa says, ‘Don’t speak unless you’re asked to speak’. Papa says, ‘Don’t let your eyes follow a man’. Papa says, ‘Don’t be like your mother’. Papa says, ‘Keep your shoulders covered’. Papa says, ‘Don’t you lift your skirts when you dance’. Papa says, ‘Don’t laugh too loud’. Papa says, ‘Don’t embarrass me’. Papa says, ‘You embarrass me’. Papa says, ‘You’re only a girl’. Papa says, ‘Don’t waste your time reading’. Papa says, ‘Best learn to cook; your looks’ll never bring a suitor’. Papa says, ‘Can’t wait ’til you’re fifteen and someone else’s burden’. Papa says, ‘Listen to your brother’. Papa says, ‘Don’t tell me what you think’.

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Papa says, ‘Don’t go up to the standing stones’…

Papa says, ‘Don’t go up to the standing stones:
‘The fairies there will curse you.

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‘And the flowers glow wild with witches’ fire’…

‘And the flowers glow wild with witches’ fire:
‘I’m sure they would possess you’.

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Papa says, ‘You’ll be ruled by the moon soon enough’…

Papa says, ‘You’ll be ruled by the moon soon enough:
‘don’t let her ruin you now’.

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But Papa doesn’t know that the moon called me

But Papa doesn’t know that the moon called me.
I was always hers somehow.

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So now, we dance while the flowers glow,

So now we dance while the flowers glow,
The stones sing back, and the secrets grow,
And the moon and I, we sit back and smile

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And we love all the things that Papa doesn’t know.

And we love all the things that Papa doesn’t know.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Destiny
Ears: Mandala, Steking Ears, Season 5
Eyes: Mesange, Lionsong Eyes (Omega appliers)
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Alex (Omega face appliers, Maitreya body appliers) (Available NOW at the Mesh Body Addicts Event!)
Hair: Mello, Coming Undone (Available at Hairology!)
Necklace and Armband:Bliensen and Maitai, Fenris & Amber, Fenris
Dress: Silvan Moon Designs, The Woodcutter’s Daughter Dirndl, Hunter (Coming soon to Enchantment!!)
Shoes: Lassitude & Ennui, Townfolk Slippers

Standing Stones: Hextraordinary, Druids’ Temple Ruins
Glowing Flowers: The Looking Glass, Ichi Fields

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never make up stories about sly, witchy girls without it!

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Into the Dark

New Blog Headers - 9

Gwyneth:

There is, in a Realm that doesn’t get a lot of traffic, a magic shop. It claims to be a “Magick Shoppe”, but that’s neither here or there. I discovered it by accident once when I was out looking for … oh, I don’t know. Something. Anyway, the fellow who runs the shoppe [sic] is a powerful wizard. Old-school wizard, the kind of guy who has a first floor (Americans: second floor) full of nothing but magical texts, which are not  for sale, and a ground floor full of herbs, potions, ingredients, and pre-prepared spells, which are for sale. I got talking to this guy once about the differences between Fae magic and what he calls ceremonial magic, which I guess is a fancy name for wizarding magic, and he mentioned having helped some Fae once.

And, you know. He does custom work.

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I hesitated at the door.

I hesitated at the door. It wasn’t yet mid-morning, and he’d said he preferred to work in the evenings. But then his unmistakable voice, deep like a euphonium and every bit as loud, came from inside the shop.

“Well, don’t just stand there dithering, Your Queeniness. I think you’d better come in.”

So I did. I told him what I wanted. He sent me out shopping on the high street of the town (And I did pick up some lovely things!), told me to come back in the afternoon and he’d have something for me.

It was a potion. “Best drink it here”, he said, “so I can gauge whether or not you’re going to have a bad reaction. We should know in an hour or two”.

It was vile. Not like Dyisi’s concoctions, which always end up tasting like Piña Coladas. I just about gagged. Had to stop halfway through.

“No, no”, he said. “You have to chug it like you’re at your first university party.”

I glared and finished the rest in one swig. When I could speak again (probably a full thirty seconds later), I said, “I never went to any university parties. I was too busy studying”.

“Well, that was your first mistake, Queenie.” He smirked.

That was the moment I first thought maybe I should have gone to Dyisi instead. But surely she’d tell Kern, and then he’d tell Clutie, and then all the Seelie Fae would be aghast at what I was doing and all the Unseelie Fae would turn up their noses… no. Best no-one knew.

Then the dizziness started. “It’ll pass”, he assured me. “Once you’re over it, you should get yourself home and to bed, though. You don’t want to go through this transition on the High Street.”

I thought back to my night with Mornoth. So many new thoughts and feelings swirling round inside my head. He’d promised to help me. I knew he’d help me more. But I needed something to bring out the darkness inside me, something that would make me not resist the winter I knew was inside my nature.

“Do you think we’ll have to repeat the process in the spring?” I asked.

“Unlikely, but my fee remains the same if we do”, he replied.

“Why not?”

“What I’ve given you is just a catalyst”, he explained. “There is a dark side to your nature; we are just helping it along a bit.”

Suddenly, my head felt a bit more clear. “Time to go?”

“Time to go.”

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I hesitated in the doorway.

I hesitated in the doorway. Had I forgotten something? My head began to buzz strangely.

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I just knew I’d forgotten something.

I just knew I’d forgotten something.

“Go now, Your Majesty!” He thumped his fist on the counter.

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I flung the door closed and staggered into the street.

I flung the door closed and staggered into the street. It’s a good thing I do so much Realm-hopping; the way home is easy for me.

And when I got there, I didn’t pause to say even a cursory hello to Bran, who was busy with something anyway. I had to use the handrail going up the stairs, and I’m afraid I just threw myself into bed.

I don’t know how long I slept.

I also don’t know how I came to be awake in the garden, up on the memorial dais. But there I was.

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I put a hand to my face, felt the etchings there.

I put a hand to my face, felt the etchings there. Noticed my hair had gone silver-white again. Could glamour to blonde quickly, but… a glance at my hand told me anything yellow would clash against my ashen skin. A crown that felt like silver wire. And. Oh, Lady of my Life, I felt the antlers on my head. I pulled at them, but they had clearly grown while I was sleeping, and come to think of it, I did have a bit of a headache.

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That was when the world shifted.

That was when the world shifted. Everything went dark, the darkest night I could imagine. That’s also when the wolf appeared. He snuffled around the hem of my dress and seemed OK with being petted when I reached down. A white wolf. I had some half-remembered folklore in my head about white wolves, but I couldn’t call it up, probably because I was still dizzy, and—you know, antlers are surprisingly light. I wasn’t all that thrilled when my hand came away sticky with spiderwebs. Great. Why can’t I have shiny, pretty antlers like the ones Aoibheann got? Or at least an antler candelabra like Gwythyr. Why spiderwebs?

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Then again, I thought, spiders aren’t all that bad.

Then again, I thought, spiders aren’t all that bad. It kind of made me giggle. The wolf snapped at something, which made me laugh even harder.

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We made our way down into the enchanted garden.

We made our way into the enchanted garden. I was pleased to see it was still the same, though my beautiful forest had turned orange and red and yellow with autumn leaves. I didn’t see another living creature, so I asked the wolf the question that was in my mind. “What do you think all this is about?”

“Initiation”, said the wolf in a growling voice.

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That’s when the feathers started falling.

That’s when the feathers started falling. I reached out for one, but they slipped through my fingers.

Glowing like a gaslamp, a will o’ the wisp appeared, then morphed into a tiny dark Faerie. A tiny dark Faerie, holding a raven twice his size in his hands. And a very sharp knife. He swiftly sliced through the raven’s flesh and cut out its still-beating heart. “For you, Your Majesty”, he said.

I stared.

“Hurry up now, or it’s no good: I’ll have to get another one.”

I couldn’t deny that it smelled good. He lifted the tiny heart toward my mouth. I didn’t swallow it whole. I savoured it. The bird twitched, and the Fae dropped it onto the ground, where the white wolf finished it off in a couple of bites. I wiped blood from my mouth.

Without another word, the Fae flitted off into the forest.

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I tried to follow it, but it disappeared.

I tried to follow it, but it disappeared. I felt wings sprout from my shoulders then, and I was giddy again, twirling and dancing in the autumn woods. Around me, raven feathers swirled and dipped.

They were beautiful.

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But what was it all for?

But what was it all for? I felt a chill in the air, and it sent a thrill through my body. I felt heavy with life and desire, as if the raven’s heart had somehow given me something more than the wizard’s potion could ever have done. Maybe I hadn’t needed the potion at all.

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And what to do now?

And what to do now? I wondered only for the barest slice of a second. I felt the call of the Underhill. And I knew just who could help me with all the excess energy I seemed to have collected. “You want to stay here?” I asked the wolf.

“Better hunting in the forest than in Mornoth’s bed”, he replied.

Psychic little fucker.

Style Cards:

Magick Shoppe Photos:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Destiny
Eyeshadow: Arte, Yuki Eyeshadow, Gems
Lipstick: The Skinnery, Matte Lip Potion
Ears: Swallow, Ears Elf HD
Eyes: Mesange, Serndipity Eyes (Omega appliers)
Skin: Lumae, Eirtae, T1
Hair: No Match, No Sleep (Available at Hairology!)
Dress: Evie’s Closet, Thisbe, Purple (Available at We ❤ RP!)
Shoes: Death Row Designs, Frilly Shoes, Black
Magick Shoppe: Death Row Designs, Magick Shoppe (Now available at the Death Row Designs Main Store!)
Poses: All from Black Tulip, The Darkness In Me (Available at The Liaison Collaborative!)

Bower Photos:
Body: Maitreya
Feet: SLink, Pointe
Head: Catwa, Destiny
Ears: Swallow, Ears Elf HD
Eyes: Mesange, Lionsong Eyes (Omega appliers)
Skin: La Petite Morte, Belle, Diamond (Catwa applier, Maitreya applier)
Hair: Wasabi Pills, Marissa
Crown: The Forge, Autumn Crown, Gold/Silver (Available at The Seasons Story!)
Antlers: Cerebrus Xing, Spindle Antlers, Snow (Available at The Seasons Story!)
Dress: Silvan Moon Designs, Well of Souls (Available at the Fallen Gods 9th Anniversary Event!)
Raven Feathers: Persefona, Floating Raven Feathers
Shoes: ChicChica, Fairy Pointes, Night
Memorial Structure: Kaelis Ember, Here Find Serenity
Wolf: Tender Loving Care, Standing Wolf White (Available at Cosmopolitan!)
Magic flowers: The Looking Glass, Ichi Fields
Forest: Studio Skye, Enchanted Woods
Poses: All from Black Tulip, The Darkness In Me (Available at The Liaison Collaborative!)

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never make Gwyneth drink foul-tasting potions that may or may not turn her into a Proper Dark Faerie Queen without it!

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