Why I Relay

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I took Dyisi down beneath the mystical portals of the Fairelands Junction.

I took Dyisi down beneath the mystical portals of the Fairelands Junction for our special time together at the Great Faire. I wanted to show her how beautiful the memories of all the Fairelanders were when placed into a special cove. The air was alight with candles, and the roots of the trees went deep, down into the river, symbolising the depth of caring Fairelanders have for their loved ones who are suffering and memorialising those who have gone before.

This year, I have not been as present at the Faire as I have in previous years. The boys are taking over most of the merchanting duties for me now, and I admit I’ve settled nicely in the Faerie Haven at White Owl Island. It feels good to sit back and let work be done by others. But I knew I’d have to visit the Faire at least once this year, to connect with my long-time friend Dyisi and to marvel at the way the Realms shine when they are chosen to be part of the Faire.

I thought Dyisi would love this memorial spot, but instead she grew melancholy.

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“Do you want to talk about it?” I asked.

“I guess I probably should,” she said, and she followed it up with some of those Greek terms of endearment she uses. I persist in thinking they are complimentary.

I said, “See how quiet it is here, but for the water, the birds. Let there be peace. You know you can tell me anything.”

“What about,” Dyisi said, “If we just break the fourth wall for a moment?”

I lifted a brow. “What do you mean?”

“Well, you know how you’re a character from Gwen Enchanted’s imagination?”

I shifted uncomfortably. “It’s not something I usually think about.”

“Yeah, I know,” Dyisi replied. “She gets Queen Gwyneth to be her mouthpiece most of the time.”

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She put her arm around me.

She put her arm around me. “Well…” and here she paused to look up in to my eyes, above her glasses. Briefly, I glimpsed the galaxies within before she looked down again. “I, too, am a character from someone’s imagination.”

I blinked. “Not Gwen Enchanted’s imagination, I hope; that’d be… well, slightly creepy and incestuous.”

“Oh, like your desperate love for Her Majesty isn’t creepy?” Dyisi allowed herself a little laugh. “No, no; I am a character from someone else’s imagination, and she is a very good friend to Gwen Enchanted.

I rubbed my chin, shook my head. “Confusing.”

“That it is, Davey,” said Dyisi, with a sigh. “This place makes me think of the imagination from which I spring, and I’d like to tell you a story from her perspective.”

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“I’m listening,” I said. And I held her.

“I’m listening,” I said. And I held her.

A few words from the mind behind the satyr..

First off, let me thank Gwen.. who has been an amazingly dear friend to me for years now.. for allowing me to say a few words.  Her blog has been a great source of entertainment and touching stories that is more than just a labor of love.  But an outlet for her beautiful and talented soul.  So I thank her from the bottom of my heart to be apart of not just her stories, but her life.  As well as her dear husband Joe, who also touched my life in a very remarkable way.  He is missed deeply.

There is also another woman who has been an influential part of my life, as well as having been my rock.  My mother.  She passed in June of 2013 after a short battle with lung cancer. Her diagnosis was in March of that same year.  So we did not have a lot of time in the end, and even though I am told not to have regrets, I do.  It’s hard not to, especially when her life ended so quickly.  Things I wish I could have said, wishing I could have been there at her side when she finally passed.  While I still hold to these regrets, I also look back at the life we lived.  She was an amazing woman, strength in the face of all adversities..  Be it her time spent in the Marines during Vietnam, or the life our family lived.  Her sense of humor never wavered and in that taught me to laugh when things feel hopeless.  For that, I will forever be thankful.  She also did her best to try and protect me from death, even though it’s inevitable.  This does include her own death as she insisted I stay home… three thousand miles away.  Despite my better judgement, I listened to her, because she is my mother..

Cancer is not new to my family, as it has claimed so many on my mother’s side.  Her father passing from leukemia, while lung cancer claimed her mother, aunt, and a year after mom died, one of her sisters.  Even my cousin’s little girl fought leukemia, which I can happily say she is in full remission.  At the beginning of this year, a close childhood friend had lost her battle with cervical cancer.   This monster is all too familiar to me, and so this is why Fantasy Faire has become important to me ever since I discovered it. I thank the creators and participants.. vendors and supporters..   for all that they do for the American Cancer Society.  Helping those who work tirelessly to defeat this monster so that no one else.. no more of our loved ones and own selves..  will fall into it’s clutches.

Thank you.

I’d never seen tears from Dyisi before, but now I did. And I confess I buried my face in her hair to staunch my own.

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I shall not tell you how we spent the rest of our night together.

I shall not tell you how we spent the rest of our night together; I shall only say that the unlikely friendship between Gypsy and Satyr—and the unlikely friendship between American expat and Seattle dilettante—continues to be a force for good in the world.

Let all your stories out. Let all your tears flow. Recognise that together, we are stronger than cancer, stronger than the losses we have sustained because of it, strong enough to go on. Those candles burn for every beloved person who has passed to the other side of the Veil, for every beloved person who wakes up to fight another day, for all of us who contribute, with our time and our money and the love in our hearts (which knows no end). 

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Catalina Staheli’s “Why Do You Relay” photo of The Amazing Catwoman, from the 2015 Fantasy Faire.

Catalina Staheli took this photograph of The Amazing Catwoman at the beginning of the 2015 Fantasy Faire, my (Gwen Enchanted’s) first year as a Fantasy Faire blogger as part of her “Why Do You Relay” series. That was the year my husband, Joe Raftery, was moved from curative to palliative care. My heart was on my sleeve then, and it is now, as well. Eight months after this photograph was taken, I became a widow. Fairelanders, one of my SL tribes, supported me through his illness. My roleplaying tribe, which includes Dyisi, whose beautiful words are above, were with me constantly. My real life family stayed by my side and have never left me. I am rich, rich in friends and rich in family. I am also rich in memories. Why do I relay? I relay because, at fifty-one years of age, I am still too young to be a widow. 

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Style Cards:
The Gypsy Davey:
Head: Catwa, Justin
Body: Signature
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Bo (Guys Group Gift for April, Available NOW at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store!)
Hair: Wasabi Pills, Raven (Available NOW at the 2017 Fantasy Faire!)
Outfit: Silvan Moon Designs, The Fairelands Traveler Tunic Set (Available NOW at the 2017 Fantasy Faire!)
Ears: Mandala, Steking Ears Season 5

Dyisi:
Body- Maitreya Laura
Hair – little bones. Chel
Ears – [][]Trap[][] Gelf Ears
Eyes – Plastik Galaxie Eyes, Arc
Hooves – Gauze
Tail – Leo Tail v5
Skin – Plastik Briane Freckled
Horns – Plastik Swyrl Horns, Ray
Top – !gO! Spring lace top 1 (Now at this month’s round of Shiny Shabby)
Shorts – L&B Swear Denim Shorts
Lip ring – .:ellabella:. Blowing Bubbles
Belly chain – .Charm. Moon
Necklace – .Eldritch. Bog Cailleach Vial
Necklace – Plastik Twiggled Necklace, silver
Arm chains – Zaara Rasksha
Thigh chains -Zaara Rasksha
Septum Ring – Zaara [Goa Party]: Baga nosering
Bracelets – Zaara [Goa Party]: Friendship bracelets
Glasses – Zaara [Goa Party]: Retro sunglasses
Bindi – ~Soedara~ Pearl Berjuang Tari

Location: Fairelands Junction, Sponsored by Ruins of Xenark Roleplay Community and designed by Saiyge Lotus.

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I’d never blog Fantasy Faire without it!

A letter to my mother….

April 2, 2017
Last Hope House
White Owl Island

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This is White Owl Island Pier.

Dear Mother,

I’m not even sure if it’s OK for me to call you that. But never mind; I’m doing it, and I may be done with doing what everybody else wants me to do, at least for a little while.

You may have heard that I stepped down from being Queen in the Wylds. Yes, I can do that. Well, I did it, so I guess that means I can do it, yes? 

I don’t know where you are, so I’m going to send this off via the Wisp network and hope it reaches you, wherever you are. I don’t know if you’re still on the run, or if you ever really were on the run. But if you are, even if you think you’re in a place of relative safety right now, I want you to think about relocating. Or at least coming to visit one of the safest places I’ve ever seen.

I know I don’t have any hold over you and what you do, as you have had no hold over me and what I do. But I’d like to talk about our relationship. You know, the one we never had. All that time I was growing up thinking I was a regular mortal kid, you were doing Gods-know-what-all in Faerie, and I can accept that. But what I can’t accept is the fact that we got to know one another so briefly, and not as our true selves. I don’t think you could have had any idea that I was actually your daughter when we met, but I have a feeling Father must have told you about it at some point? Anyway, perhaps this letter will come as a shock to you, but it seems that you and I are related by more than a common, brief past.

But talking about that right now would stir up too many things, so I shall just let you know that I have walked away from the Wylds and I am now living in a place called White Owl Island. The photograph above is of me on the pier at White Owl. This is where the ferry transport lands that carries residents and tourists to the island. It may be that wherever you are, you’ve heard rumours of White Owl as a place of sanctuary, and that it is. 

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The Boardwalk.

Here is a photograph of me on the Boardwalk. You can see the bicycle rental station just behind me, and on a sunny day, you’ll find lots of people eating their lunches at these tables. It’s almost normal looking—except that everyone in White Owl is either part of the world of non-humans living among or near mortals, or a mortal who is happy to live among non-humans. 

White Owl exists in a Realm where we are not common knowledge, but the island is cloaked by strong magical redirectors that keep ships from arriving here unless we want them to. It cloaks us entirely to the non-magical population. We are in the American Pacific Northwest, a short ferry trip from Seattle, Washington, and we strive to be a place where non-humans can live together in relative peace.

It probably seems strange, with me coming straight from being a bit player in the unholy love story between Faermorn and Gwythyr Gwynn (no bitterness here, I promise!), but I do desire and have always desired to live in peace, preferably with Nathaniel, preferably near the sea.

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Closer-in to the town square.

Does that make me selfish? Probably. Maybe I’m finally manifesting enough of my Fae nature to take selfishness in stride as I always should have done. 

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My bookstore!

And I know it will come as only a small surprise to you that my mundane “job” here on the island is owning and operating a small bookstore! It’s called “Codex”. I got a giggle out of making up that name for it when I acquired the building. It’s on the high street, between a restaurant and a coffee shop, across from the greengrocers. Upstairs, I have a little office and a place to chat with people about important matters like how to glamour glittery eyeliner. 

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This is my house!

This is my house! I’ll send you more photographs as soon as we have it all decorated. The back wall is all windows and looks out over our bay; you can even see across to the forest on the adjacent island. The house on the beach that you can see in the distance belongs to Dyisi; I’m not sure if you remember her, but she’s been a constant friend and confidante since I met her shortly before you and Blaise and Lady R disappeared from Ashmourne-that-was. 

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Here’s a closer look at Dy’s house.

Here’s a closer look at Dy’s house; she has more surfboards than anybody I know. Then again, growing up in London, I didn’t really meet a lot of surfers. Perhaps we’ll change that here. 

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Our lighthouse.

On the other side of the island, there’s a lighthouse on a nice, craggy rock. Local kids assure me it’s haunted. 

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And here is our town at sunrise.

And here is our town at sunrise. You can see the bookstore in this photograph, as well. 

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An aerial shot of the whole island….

Here’s an aerial shot of the whole island, which should give you some idea of the geography of the place. It really is beautiful. There is more than this, of course—the forest is lovely and deep and full of dangers you might find in a forest, and of course there is a Faerie here, though it’s growing organically and hasn’t sprung up in a day like the Wylds did.

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Reading and re-reading

It’s late now, and I’ve been up here in the bookshop office reading and re-reading this letter. I know it doesn’t say anything much. But I hope you will take it as an invitation, and maybe think about coming to visit us here in White Owl. Perhaps you might make your way to the Great Faire? It should be starting soon. We could meet there and I could help you find your way to the Island. 

With love,
Your daughter,
Gwyneth

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Wasabi Pills, Paige (Available NOW at Fameshed!)
Eyes: Mesange, Nan Madol Eyes (Omega Appliers) (Available as part of the Men Only Hunt!)
Ears: Swallow, Elf Ears, High Definition
Skin: Lumae, Ruby, for Catwa Mesh Head (Available NOW at The Avenue!)
Hands: Vista, Bento Prohands
Top: Baiastice, Aziry Leather Tank Top (Available NOW at Fameshed!)
Jeans: Swear, Laponte & Bathschild, Dita Jeans
Shoes: Reign, Skye Flats (Available NOW at Shoetopia!)

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I’d never try to put the family back together without it!