Fox Mother And The Faerie Meadow

How alike we are, the Faery Queen and me, the Fox Mother. Centuries and continents and worlds divided, and yet we were born from the same desire, the same seeking if you will. We are the longing to explain the ineffable. We are the why the full pot of rice has disappeared without a sound. We are the chiming bell of Fate, though perhaps not Fate Herself.

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Greetings from Fox Mother

Perhaps this is why—no, no; it is why—I was so disappointed when I found that Her Majesty the Fae Queen of Awenia had visited one of My Realms, passed through on a day, and departed all without so much as a word to me, or even a note. A postcard like this one would have been lovely, and it might even have been enough, though tea and perhaps a nice stroll through my home together would have been better. She was guided by a young kitsune who has taken a liking to her, from which I surmised that we have another thing in common, and that is a love of animals and animal spirits.

For these reasons, I find myself travelling Realm-far and Rain-wide to the tiny Fae Realm of Awenia. It really is such a small thing, isn’t it?

Unlike Her Majesty, I have brought gifts. It is proper.

I have brought a Torii, for I know she and her Shining Hoarde of Aos Sí perceive, as we do, a transition from the secular to the sacred world. I presumed she would have some sort of spiritual sanctuary in her Realm, and I was not wrong; in fact it was the largest single land mass in the tiny place.

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This is no ordinary Torii

I will of course leave a little note for Her Majesty to let her know I passed by on this day when she seems not to be in residence. I will tell her, this is no ordinary Torii; this is an Inari Torii, and it vibrates with the tones of the forest, of prosperity, of craftsmanship, and sometimes, though I am not a friend to war, of warriors. This is no ordinary Torii, for it was crafted by the great artisan Kadaj Yoshikawa, who calls magic from the air with abilities that, while they may not be magic, they are indistinguishable from it. Some say he is a very lucky kitsune-mochi, and his seventy-five foxes all contribute to his considerable creative inspiration.

So, yes, first a gate, because the way should be marked. And secondly, well. Another gift. Seventy-five little gifts. Look here they are!

My darlings, my darlings, are you all with me?

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Yes, mother, yes, mother, here are we

Yes, Mother, yes, Mother; here are we.

Did you know that when Fox Mother laughs, flowers fall from heaven? Yes, yes; when I see them all here, my darlings, these seventy-five precious foxes, no more and no less, darlings, I feel joy First, we first take stock of the Realm into which we have passed. Seven little islands; you will have to divide yourselves, but the passages through to each look simple. And there are many cats in this forest made of paper. Some islands are larger than others, and I think this one is only for the Realm portal itself and perhaps tea. This sign, Come From Myth. It’s an invitation, I think.

Now we will for the first time move through this gate, and you will all see a Faery meadow for the first time. But be careful! Your tricks and Fae tricks are not unrelated.

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Here is Her Majesty’s stone temple

Look: here is Her Majesty’s stone temple! Each set of stones is laid out like the numbers on one of their western clock faces. Yes, yes, the incense clock makes your eyes water, my love.

And you! What are you doing?

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These small creatures are treacherous

No, no, my love! These small creatures are treacherous; they will give you food that will turn to ashes in your mouth; their gifts turn to leaves sometimes like ours.

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Foxes love hot dogs!

Leaves, schmeaves, leaves schmeaves, foxes love hot dogs, French fries and cheese! Fairy meadow, fairy gold, foxes love pizza and burgers and cold drinks that freeze their brains, freeze their brains, oh!

You must not eat the fairies’ fare; their fingers have bewitched it!

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Foxes love pizza!

Bewitched, beswitched, beswitched, bewitched, foxes love pizza: it’s their favourite dish! Have a sniff; you’ll understand. Take the pizza from my hand! Lady Mystie, Fairy Hippo, self control meter on zero!

Do not sleep where the faeries go! And careful where the mushrooms grow!

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Foxes love naps!

I’ll save you cried the blue kitsune
If I don’t you’ll lie there through May!
Though the month is almost through
I will pounce and rescue you
Oh, but now I’m here, so sleepy
Wait: do I smell something cheesy?

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Foxes love Mac & Cheese!

Cheesy, creamy, creamy cheesy, Foxes come and eat: it’s easy! We have burgers, we have fries! We have salve to clear your eyes! Little lovelies, come with us! We’re not evil; you can trust! Just ignore your mother there: too many berries in her hair!

Blue fox pounces, black fox jumps
Red fox nips them on their rumps
Another red fox waiting there
While fur’s flying through the air
Who will get the first hot bite?
Faeries bet there’ll be a fight!

Leave it alone, my loves! ‘Ware the Fae!

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Foxes love triple burgers!

Don’t beware us, dare us, share us! Your Fox Mother does not scare us! Look how how high we’ve stacked the bun-up with its flag up to the sun-up! Bread and lettuce, never mind: rarer meat you’ll never find!

Sniffing here and whining there
Blue fox once more catching air
To beat her brothers to the prize
Faery ointment in her eyes
White fox waiting for the surplus
Eat the burger! You will thank us!

Stop, my darlings! Stop! These little creatures are dangerous! Or… this is your home now, after all. Perhaps you should make friends. Imagine the tricks you can do together! What a delightful little crepe plate! Thank you, Mistress Moynihan. No, no; I don’t need your fairy ointment to see you all. What a lovely sparkly dress you have. Here, let me give you something in return. No, no; it’s just a talisman. If you hold it, you can come and visit me in my Realm.

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Foxes love chocolate (fox-friendly, we promise!) milkshakes!

Shakes and burgers, fries and steaks! See how long this blue fox takes! Willow fairy’s so bored now: Aren’t milkshakes kitsune chow?

Turquoise kitty bets a dollar
Chipmunk laughs and tries to top her
In for a penny, in for a pound
Hustle-Kitty stands her ground
Chipmunk pokes Fox with a French fry
That’s not gonna work: hey, let’s try
Putting whipped cream on his nose!
Foxes are fun when their brains are froze!

Soon, Willow Fairy got distracted
Cat, chipmunk and Foxxie chatted
Til Willow found the fiddlers
To entertain their visitors
With vats of mead, they danced ’til dawn
Then slept it off on the Fae Queen’s lawn.

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Awenia By Night 

Awenia by night, so lovely: now I know the way
You’ll be seeing more of me, Queen Gwyneth of the Fae.

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Come From Myth? Thank you: we will.

To: Her Majesty Queen Gwyneth
Dreamydale Castle
Awenia

My Dear Queen Gwyneth,
How sorry I was not to meet you when you visited Kintsugi these few weeks back. I hope you enjoyed this beautiful part of My Realm. I have come to repay you the favour of your kind visit, but it seems you are not at home. No matter: I have left you some gifts, and I hope you will receive them with joy and find them a treasure always. They are in your Sacred Meadow. Please do make arrangements to meet me for tea should you chance to visit again.
Kindly look after these gifts for me: they are priceless tokens of my esteem for you.
Please, take good care, and give my regards to all your little meadow Fae; they are delightful creatures.

Fox Mother
<paw print>

Notes & Credits:
Enchantment’s Kitsune Tales Round Closes today, 31 May, 2020!
 If you need beautiful kimonos, fox masks, enticing footwear, kitsune-inspired jewellery, fox makeup, a fluffy tail, or perhaps seventy-five spirit foxes of your very own, you have only a few more hours to go and visit Enchantment before it closes!

The Cast:
Fox Mother: The Author
—Fox Mother’s Costume, including hair, skin, headpiece, kimono: irrISIStible, Japanese Kitsune Outfit Available at Enchantment for today only!
—Necklace: Supernatural, Kitsune Necklace Available at Enchantment for today only!
—Eyes: Anatomy, Fading Eyes
—Body: Maitreya
—Head: Lelutka Evolution Lake
Lady Mystie: Myst Edenflower
Turquoise Kitty Cat: Dyisi
Chester The Chipmunk: himself
Seventy-Five Spirit Foxes: Jinx Fox Gacha, Pounce, Sitting, Snoozy, Stretch, Companion, and Shoulder Rider (cuddle pup is great too but not pictured here!) Available at Enchantment for today only!
Two Larger And More Imposing But Still Seriously Into Junk Food Foxes: Harshlands, Spirit Fox, idle, feeding — Available at Enchantment for today only!
Whimsical, blameless demifae: Titans: The Lunafae Fairy, Animesh NPC

The Setting:
Location: Awenia Faerie (not open to visitors at the moment, sorry!)
Inari Torii: Harshlands, Inari Torii Available at Enchantment for today only!
Stone Circle: HEXtraordinary, Druid’s Temple Ruins
Twinkly Grass: Keke, Dotty Grass, Summer
Green Grass: The Looking Glass, The Shrine Tree Grass Clumps
Bridges With Lanterns: The Looking Glass, The Shrine Tree Bridges
Portal Clock: RH Design House, Cafe In The Park, Music Clock
Prominent Tower on its own island: Death Row Designs, Boho Princess
Come From Myth Sign Frame: Figure 8, Vintage Theatre Frame Blue (original sign texture by Gwen Enchanted)
Leafy Tree Woman: Harshlands, The Summer Guardian
Fairy Mushroom Circle: The Looking Glass, Lunafae Sleepy Fae Mushroom Circle, Large
Ginormous Tree With Lanterns: The Looking Glass, The Shrine Tree (not available for sale)
Big Treehouse Visible In Night Shot: LAQ, Serene Tree And Widmill Home

THE FOOD!
All from Vespertine, Comfort Food Gacha, including: Baked Pizza, Choco Milkshake, French Fries, Hamburger, Hot Dogs, Mac & Cheese, and Triple Hamburger

Invaluable Resources:
Fourth Wall: Quick Credits HUD (It’s at their main store. You want it. I mean it.)
LumiPro: Don’t leave your skybox without it!

If you are curious about anything else, just ping me: I am very nice!

 

 

A Dream Of Spirits

The fox journey has seemed at times surreal, at times frustrating, and at all times inscrutable. I do not understand why this spirit fox picked me, why he keeps showing up in my dreams, why he so desperately wants to show me this or that.

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I thought I was alone

But this time, I thought I was alone. It seemed I woke at the end of a bridge, and there was something abnormally quiet about it, at least at first.

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A sense of solitude

I really might have been the only person in the world, for those few minutes.

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Little visions

But then little visions began to come to me, little flashes of what else there was to see here.

And so I walked on, looking and discovering as I went. From path to bridge to little farm,  all seemed still and calm and somehow holding its breath as if waiting for something…

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And that’s when I met the owl.

The owl was the first living being I’d seen since waking up at the bridge. ‘Well, look at you’, I said. ‘You’ve got your very own perch, nobody around for miles, you’re the king of the castle, aren’t you’?

Have you ever heard an owl laugh? It is disconcerting; I’ll tell you that. ‘I am in fact the god of the village’, he replied with absolutely no irony. ‘But you’ll travel farther than just here today’, he said—like he knew so much. ‘It’s dangerous to go alone. Take this’.

Yes, he really said that. And then I felt a soft weight in the crook of my arm, and there was a much younger little spirit fox, and this one was a beautiful purply-blue colour.

‘Oh’! I said. ‘You got me another fox’!

‘Another fox’? asked the owl. ‘Has another one come down from the forest, then’? He looked, well, as nervous as I could ever imagine an owl looking.

‘No, no; this is a white fox that has been visiting me in dreams’, I explained.

‘Oh, that one’. He nodded, as if he knew so much. ‘Well, perhaps you’ll see him again when you get up there’. He nodded toward a break in the wall. ‘Best get moving’.

And so I did.

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Up the long set of steps we went

And so we went out the gate and up a set of natural-looking steps that led up a hill (I don’t think it could be called a mountain) on a winding path.

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We came into a forest

We came into a forest guarded by two red foxes. That’s when my familiar fox appeared on my shoulder. ‘Watch those two’, he said.

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Mist in the forest

‘I can only watch one of them at at time’, I replied; ‘they’re too far apart’!

He snorted. ‘Oh, you’ve turned white now have you, little one’? he teased. ‘Any day now you’ll be calling me papa’.

The little one in my arms snorted.

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What are you telling us?

‘What are you telling us’? I asked. ‘Is that spirit fox for “not bloody likely”‘?

My (ha!) spirit fox laughed at us then. ‘Well, you’ll have to go on and explore without us’, he said. ‘We have some work to do here in the Kitsune Forest’, but you’ll see us again before long’.

It wasn’t as much fun to explore now that I’d had time with the foxes, but I won’t soon forget the beautiful market. It sounded every bit like a live market, except there was no-one there that I could see.

And when I woke up later, in my own bed in Faerie, both foxes were nowhere to be found. I am sure they will find me again; they seem impossible to avoid, after all.

Credits and Notes:

The Kitsune Tales round is still open at Enchantment until the 31st of this month! You’ll find so many lovely things there, some of which are shown in photographs above!

Items featured at Enchantment:
Dress: Les sucreries de Fairy, Yoko, Red Dress 3
Face Makeup: Venge, ‘The Legend’
Earrings: Bliensen + MaiTai, Kitsune, red
Cuddle Fox: Jinx, Cuddle Pup (in Spirit, then White)
Shoulder Fox: Harshlands, Mini Spirit Fox
Shoes and Socks: Exia, Akaru Zouri

Other items in this look:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Evolution Lake Mesh Head
Skin: DeeTaleZ, Flora skin for Lelutka in tone Celtic
Ears: Swallow, Elf Ears High Definition
Eyes: Anatomy, Fading Eyes
Hair: Kokolores, Kitten
Lipstick: The MARS, Apple Crush Dark

Location: All these photos were shot in the beautiful region of Kintsugi, Spirited Beyond. It is a stunning and contemplative build, presented on multiple levels, with some beautiful stories to experience as you travel through it. It’s currently featured on the SL Destination Guide, but there’s a link above for your ease of travel!

An Unfamiliar Path

I don’t have to tell you, because of course you already know, that my mythology, my fae essence, is rooted in the West. There’s a poetry to the land of my ancestors, be they my human family long left behind, be they the Shining Throng of the Sidhe, or be they the gods and goddesses from whom we are said to have sprung.

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Reappearance

I was not surprised so much as, well, interested, when the spirit fox came round again. Possibly my surprise was subdued because he visited me in the dreamlands. I’m rarely surprised in the dreamlands. Of course, if I say that I’m sure to be surprised soon….

‘Are you sure you’re comfortable like that’? I asked him. He seemed balanced precariously on my shoulder. 

‘I am a spirit fox’, he said. ‘Comfort does not concern me’.

I took this to mean that he was not in any physical body, or if he did have a physical body it was far away at this time. 

‘Do you like this garden’?

The question seemed out of place, but I answered it anyway. ‘Well, it’s different from gardens I’m used to’, I admitted. ‘I have seen gardens like this in pictures, but really, it’s very sparse, isn’t it? I like a bit more …. garden in my garden, I guess’.

When he laughed, it was like a circle of bells, nothing you’d expect to come out of a fox’s mouth. Then again, I wasn’t looking at him: perhaps the sound did not come out of his mouth at all.

I felt something cold on my neck and on my right wrist, and when I looked down, I could see that a silver bracelet with a stylised fox face had wrapped around my wrist. When I reached up to my neck, I could feel the same face there too. 

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Question of Trust

‘What is this’? I tugged at the bracelet and realise I could remove it; that helped a little. ‘Do we have some kind of a pact now’?

‘Oh, please; no’. There were the bells again. ‘I’m nowhere near old enough to force you to do anything’. He jumped off my shoulder and landed neatly on the ground. ‘See’? He turned around three times, dog-like. ‘Only one tail’.

‘I’ve heard spirit foxes can have more than one’, I started slowly. ‘How old do you have to be before you get more tails’?

‘Couldn’t possibly tell you’, he said. 

‘Can’t, or won’t’?

More bells.

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Come along…

‘Come on, then’, said the spirit fox. ‘We have a journey to take’. 

Credits And Notes:

Enchantment is open! The theme for this round is Kitsune Tales, and you’ll find some wonderful things there, a few of which Gwyneth is wearing in the photographs above.

Enchantment items featured here:
Spirit Fox and Mini Spirit Fox: Harshlands, Spirit Fox
Hair: HMH, F 135
Choker and Bracelet: RAWR! Kitsune Set
Dress: c*C*c,  Akayashi Kitune, in Black
Eyes: La Malvada Mujer, Alpha Eyes
Shoes: Eudora, Kitsune

Other Stuff in this look:
Body: Legacy 
Head: Lelutka Lake Bento Mesh Head
Backdrop: Ex Machina, Karensansui — Japanese Minimalist Garden

Photos shot at my home studio in Awenia. Alas, we’re not open to the public right now. 

 

The Rabbit Hole in Isle Of Shadows

I was feeling sad. After all, it was the last day of the Faire, and soon I’d have to take a portal back to Awenia and pick up all the pieces I’d left dangling for the last two seasons. I flew up to one of the clouds that hover over the Fairchylde in Isle of Shadows, and, well, OK— I just kind of felt sorry for myself for a while.

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Aaaaallll byyyyy myyyyyseeeeeeelf…..

I promise I didn’t sing that song. For long.

Of course, then I noticed how much there was to see from this vantage point….

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First of course, there was the Fairchylde Herself.

First of course, there was the Fairchylde Herself, and that just made me want to look farther and farther.

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Hello, teeth!

Hello, teeth! Haveit Neox’s beautiful snakes intertwining to hiss or kiss, possibly a bit of both.

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The Isle itself, with Siren’s Lore visible in the distance.

And then there was the Isle itself, with Siren’s Lore visible in the distance.

After that, well. A few more disturbing things caught my eye.

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Bunnies!

Bunnies! On a cloud! What could those nefarious little critters be up to?

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There were hordes of them!

There were hordes of them! Bunnies, everywhere! Could it be… Could it be the bunny energy was being generated by the Fairchylde Herself? I shuddered to think.

And then, I knew I must investigate further.

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Giant Bunnies!

Giant bunnies?! The reality was more terrifying than I could possibly have imagined.

So I did what anyone would do under the circumstances!

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I started to flee!

‘You don’t have to run, you know’.

It was a soft voice, barely accented, but I didn’t recognise the origin.

‘I don’t? But the Faire is almost over, and I’m being attacked by giant bunnies’!

‘No-one is attacking you. Calm down. I’m Kuro, and I’m taking you to your next adventure’.

‘My what’?

‘Your next adventure, Your Majesty’. The fox twitched its red eyebrows. ‘Here; let me jump up on to your shoulder’.

… to be continued.

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The Faire is Ending…. but Enchantment is OPEN!

Credits And Notes:
Location: Isle Of Shadows, sponsored by Seanchai Library and designed by Aelva & Emme Eales,  is one of 18 regions in this year’s Relay for Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire. You can visit Isle of Shadows, but you will have to do it before midnight SLT tonight, 10 May, 2020, because that’s when the Fairelands will fade back into the mists for another year.

Do not despair! The Faire returns every year, and on its heels is another one of my favourite events, Enchantment!

Enchantment item featured here:
Spirit Fox: Harshlands, Spirit Fox (Find it at Enchantment!)

Items featured at this year’s Faire:
Skin: Petrichor, Viscivorus Skin in Chrysatos (Find it at the Petrichor Store in Sirens Lore!)
Ears: Petrichor, Viscivorus Ears (Find them at the Petrichor Store in Sirens Lore!)
Outfit: Devious Mind, Fiora (Find it at the Devious Mind store in Zodiac!)

Other Stuff in this look:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka Nova Bento Mesh Head
Wings: Egosumaii, Fae Wings

The Power of Hope

No; I don’t know what happened.

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In a moment of reflection

In a moment of reflection, I began considering our land and its predicament. I took myself to the water ritual dais and meditated for a while upon the great axe left there, sunk in the stone, for some foretold ruler whom many now believed would never come.

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What to do; what to do?

What to do; what to do? I was no great priestess; I had not been blessed with second sight or any measure of magic.

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The power of hope

What I did have, I realised as I stood there, with the mists rising fast around me, was some understanding of and belief in the power of hope.

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The moon both rose and fell

At that moment, it seemed that the moon both rose and fell, fell upon me, and if I were sentimental or superstitious, I might say it felt like music, even though it didn’t, really. But it felt like music.

Then, I turned.

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The moment we first saw one another.

The moment we first saw one another. I suppose I would say this is a moment to tell our grandchildren about, but even as young as we still are, I fear we won’t have grandchildren.

But I’ll tell you about it anyway. Or as much as I can. I don’t really know what happened, and she says she doesn’t know either. And believe you me, I have tried to coax the story out of her more times than you have, and she’s got a temper on her, my Gwen.

It happened in an instant. One minute I was sitting in the mead hall, having a drink with my fellows and speculating on next year’s raids, and the next minute I was on top of the Axe Rock. There was a little flash of light from below, and then this beautiful woman was turning toward me.

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He fell right on the rock.

That’s right. I looked up, and he was falling right out of the sky, trying to keep his balance and land on his feet. I was proud when he succeeded.

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So, no shit; there I was….

So, no shit: there I was! And I was like, well. If the gods dropped me here, I’d better have a go at this axe then.

Really? Do you have to say it like that?

Like what?

Like you would if you were twelve.

Surely you’re not going to scold me about my language. Who’s telling this story? Me. It is my story, and I will say “No shit; there I was” if I like.

I did start the story.

You have a tongue, woman.

Yes. Yes, I do.

Anyway; it’s not like you really need me to tell you the rest of the story; the whole world knows the story now. That was the day I first laid eyes on my Gwen and the day she first laid eyes on me. And of course, I was like, well. If the gods dropped me here, I’d better have a go at this axe then.

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It’s my axe now.

It’s my axe now. And that is the tale of how, in one day, in the space of one minute, I met both my destinies. If you were my grandchildren, I’d tell you to go to bed now, and maybe you should even if you’re not my grandchildren.

Good night, Enchantment.

Style Card:
Items featured at this King Arthur round of Enchantment, which closes in only a few hours:
Nordic Ritual Platform, Nordic Ritual Altar, and Axe in the Stone: Harshlands, whose note about why they designed the pieces they did inspired me to weave a little story around them.
Moonlight: Puke Rainbows, Sparkling Moonlight
Davey:
Armour: The Scarlet Fae, Valinor
Gwyneth:
Dress, Colar and Armwarmers: Les Sucreries de Fairy, Aveline
Skin: Ritual, Elspeth, Nimue

The rest of the stuff:
Davey:
Body: Belleza, Jake
Head: Catwa, Skell
Hair: No Match, No Refuge
Skin, Not Found, Ash (currently at Shiny Shabby)
Ears: Mandala, Steking Ears, Season Five
Gwyneth:
Body: Maitreya
Head: LAQ, Noelle
Hair: Little Bones, Reason (currently at Uber)
Shoes: Beyond the Mists: Ribboned Dance Shoes (Pure)

 

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

Beginning a Book Forest

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Gwyneth:

I’m building a book forest. Yes, that’s right: a book forest. I got inspired by this gacha at The Guardians, the Storybook Gacha by BananaN. One of the rares is a Book Door! And I was thinking, what would you find if you walked through a Book Door? I’d come across this great set from Una, the Book Road, after I played an Una gacha at a past Fantasy Gacha Carnival, and I’ve been  meaning to use it and blog it every since, but life and my kitchen (don’t even ask!) and sickness got in the way, so it’s been on a shelf in my inventory for months now. I also have this great Book Tree from HarshLands that I’ve used in other places before and photographed on a couple of occasions.

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Building a Book Forest

Building a book forest, as it turns out, takes some time. I designated a portion of the sim platform to put it on and then began laying out paths. Now, I love to shop (tell us something we don’t know, Gwen!), and so when I got to check out some pre-release items that’ll be at The Crossroads, which opens today, 3 January, I discovered the magical work of Keira RaindaleRaindale has an absolutely gorgeous gacha coming out at The CrossroadsMaplemoor. It includes, among other gorgeous things which I’ll show you as I continue to build and photograph the Book Forest, the gorgeous lamp and wishing well you can see in this photograph.

So, what do you need, really, to build a Book Forest?

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You need a head full of stories.

You need a head full of stories, first of all. You must love, really love, story. I as a writer, blogger, songwriter, student, and investigator of all things mystical, love nothing better than a good story, and Gwyneth the character reflects this. Like me, her background is in literature and books; unlike me, her concentration is much more on poetry and high literature than mine is, though I have studied those bits and pieces and have read widely. Behind Gwyneth you can see both the Raindale Wishing Well and the HarshLands BookTree. Gwyneth’s skin is part of a stunning new set from The Plastik. Vae really hit this one out of the park, and this skin, Taryn, in colourway Creme, is available at The Plastik Main StoreThe hair is Carrie, new at the Analog Dog Main Store.

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You need a good lamppost.

You need a good lamppost. Possibly several of them. Because there is never a place in the forest where you’ll feel alone if you have something to guide your steps along the Book Road. All of the bits of the Book Road, by the way, are from Una, as are the large books that ring the forest. The trees surrounding the books are the Mystical Birches from The Little Branch. I’ll include a style card below the post, but Gwyneth is wearing a stunning new gown from JunbugLittle Bird. You can pick up the gown at this month’s Fameshed event; this is the Ruby Silk, but it comes, as you’d expect from Junbug, in a fabulous array of colours. I fell in love with this crown at the recently-closed Winter Solstice in the Mystic Realms event; it’s by Muse, the Rose Brooch Crown. This one wasn’t available at the event; I hunted it down at the Muse Main Store.

So, let’s see. You need a head full of stories. You need a good lamppost.

And, oh, yes.

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You need to not be afraid of the dark.

You need to not be afraid of the dark.

There’s more to come: I’m in love with my book forest, and I will show you all of it, once it’s done.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Catya Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Analog Dog (natch!),  Carrie (NEW at the Analog Dog Main Store!)
Eyes: Mesange, Serendipity Eyes (Omega eye appliers)
Skin: The Plastik, Taryn in Creme (NEW at The Plastik Main Store!)
Hands: Vista, Bento Prohands
Nails: ZOZ, New Year’s Nails (Dark) (Available NOW at Cosmopolitan!)
Gown: Junbug, Little Bird (Available NOW at Fameshed!)
Crown: Muse, Rose Brooch Crown
Shoes (even though you can’t see ’em!): Illi, Rosalynn Heels

Scene:
Book Door: BananaN, Book Doorway, from the Storybook Gacha (Available NOW at The Guardians,!)
Book Road: Una, Book Road, Small
Flanking Books: Una, Book Road, Book 5, Book 6, Book 2
Lamppost: Raindale, Maplemoor Lantern, from the Maplemoor Gacha (Coming Soon to The Crossroads, which opens TODAY, 3 January 2017)
Wishing Well: Raindale, Maplemoor Well, from the Maplemoor Gacha (Coming Soon to The Crossroads, which opens TODAY, 3 January 2017)
Forked Tree: The Little Branch, Green Ash
Mushroom Circle: The Roawenwood, Tangleshimmer Grove Fairy Ring (Purple)
Book Tree: HarshLands, Book Tree
Grasses: all from Alirium, Puffy Grass and Downy Grass
Glowing Undergrowth: Cerridwen’s Cauldron, Gaia Undergrowth
Poses: An Lar, all from the Ava Series

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never build Book Forests without it!

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Off on an Adventure? And, A Tree Grows in the Treehouse…. That’s not weird, is it?

Gwyneth:

Gwyneth:

I woke up in the middle of the night to do the sorts of things that even Fae Queens must do in the middle of the night, and there was… well.

There was a tree. In my bedroom. Like, right at the foot of my bed. It wasn’t the sort of thing I could miss, especially as there was a large lantern hanging off a branch positioned directly above my pillow.

Seriously, Universe? A tree? In my bedroom?

Seriously, Universe? A tree? In my bedroom?

Seriously, Universe? A tree? In my bedroom? I mean, obviously I live in a treehouse. But a whole extra tree? And this one comes with books, all written in a foreign language. I don’t even recognise the text. Dyisi took a look at them earlier, and she just sort of ‘meh’ed and then we moved on to talking about boys and clothes. Yes, Dyisi and I talk about boys and clothes. Stop laughing.

So when I got back from the place where even Fae Queens have to go....

So when I got back from the place where even Fae Queens have to go….

So when I got back from the place where even Fae Queens have to go… after the moonlight had clothed me in autumn, I did what any sane Queen would do upon realising there’s a strange tree full of books growing in her bedroom.

Because, duh. That’s what trees are for, right? You climb the tree, you have a think, you climb down off the tree, and it disappears from your bedroom, yes?

No.

What does happen is you go over to your little makeup table and you find an invitation. To a ball.

What does happen is you go over to your little makeup table and you find an invitation. To a ball.

What does happen is you go over to your little makeup table and you find and invitation. To a ball. In a far-off realm.

Apparently some relative of Father’s needs a Royal Sidhe on his arm for some charity event. He needs someone who’s unknown and a bit exotic. Of course, the invitation doesn’t say this, but I picked it up from touching the scroll.

It’s a more contemporary Realm than ours, much more contemporary. And it has an openly Fae upper class. Should be an interesting trip. I think I’m going to go: Father wouldn’t have given my name to anyone if he thought there’d be trouble. Certainly he wouldn’t do a thing like that.

I did spend some time thinking about it, though.

I did spend some time thinking about it, though.

I did spend some time thinking about it, though. Should I, or shouldn’t I?

There is so much going on in our Realm. A plague we don’t understand. Demifae uprisings. Goblin wars. But– a chance to ride in a limousine, have my nails done for real instead of just glamoured, check some email, post to my ‘blog’ openly instead of hiding out in an Internet Cafe in a nearby realm where they don’t like Fae at all.

And I could use the break. I think I really could.

Getting Dressed

Getting Dressed

Clutie and Dani are all excited about the trip: they want to dress me once beforehand so we can see what I’ll look like on the night. They’re hard to refuse, those two.

So Clutie and Dani do my hair and fix me up in a dress that will work in a modern realm.

So Clutie and Dani do my hair and fix me up in a dress that will work in a modern realm.

So Clutie and Dani do my hair and fix me up in a dress that will work in a modern realm; : we’ll take this one, though I reserve the right to buy something new if it catches my eye! I do like what they did with the beads and the braid, though. They’re the best hairdressers ever, these two. I’m taking Clutie with me, for sure.

Should I worry about the children? About the plague? About the war? I know I should, but I want to get away. I need to get away. Does that make me a runner? Am I a running runner? Maybe I am. But I’m going. Going to have a nice time with a guy I don’t know at a party in a Realm where I’ve never been before, and the Court is just going to have to deal with it, because I’m the Queen and I say I’m going, so there.

I will be gone IRL from Friday-Monday, at a music conference with friends in Darkest Somerset. So while Gwyneth is away dancing her feet off, I’ll be singing my head off with friends old and new. Enjoy the long weekend, everyone, and I’ll see you when I get back!

Style Cards:

Seriously, Universe?
Body: Maitreya
Skin: Fallen Gods, OpalFae (Eden) (Available at the Illumination Point Event!)
Hair: Olive, The Powder Hair
Ears: Soul, Uni Ears, High Elf
Undies: Erratic, Fiona, Nude
Tree: HarshLands, Fantasy Book Tree

Autumn Fae Photos:
Body: 
Maitreya
Skin: 
Fallen Gods, OpalFae (Eden) (Available at the Illumination Point Event!)
Hair: 
Olive, The Powder Hair
Ears: Soul, Uni Ears, High Elf
Outfit: Flippant: Cicada Fall Fae (This was the August Group Gift at Flippant’s Main Store,so you only have a few more days to get it: after that, it goes up to 179L.)
Tree: HarshLands, Fantasy Book Tree

Getting Dressed:
Body: Maitreya
Skin: Fallen Gods, OpalFae (Eden) (Available at the Illumination Point Event!)
Hair: Olive, The Powder Hair
Ears: Soul, Uni Ears, High Elf
Undies: Erratic, Fiona, Nude
Shoes: Deviance, M’Lady’s Slippers, Sapphire
Dressing Table: Aisling, Coquette (Available at Festival of Sin!)

Hairdressing with Clutie and Dani:
Body: Maitreya
Skin: Fallen Gods, OpalFae (Eden) ((Available at the Illumination Point Event!)
Hair: No Match, No Siren (Available at Enchantment!)
Ears: Soul, Uni Ears, High Elf
Dress: Mistique: Elora Gown, Blue (Available at the Illumination Point Event!)
Shoes: Deviance, M’Lady’s Slippers, Sapphire

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

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