Fairy Dancer

It’s not often that I dedicate a whole blog post to a single dress: I can only think of one or two times where it’s happened before.

But there’s a special kind of grace to a dress made for dance with prim skirts swaying in a world of mesh, as if Isadora Duncan floated into a New York City ballet class near the turn of the 20th century.

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Prim skirts swaying in a world of mesh

Designer Geryn Sloane, the creative mind behind G Sloane, describes this dress as “old school”, and in terms of Second Life design, I suppose she is right. But I didn’t feel “old school” when I wore this beautiful dress around SL the day I photographed it. I just felt like a dancer. Maybe that’s because I remember great prim clothing designers, some of whom didn’t make the leap to mesh and have faded into the all too ephemeral Second Life past.

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A sense of power

There’s a sense of power about this dress, even though its details are delicate: the lovingly textured floral pattern on the applier bodice and pelvis, the right leg, are of that pink and purple mixture that you would, if you’re like me, probably associate with something called “Fairy Dancer”. Even if you’d never seen the dress, you’d possibly describe it like that. The ragged hem with its floating blossoms rounds out the free-spirited style, and that is an excellent touch. You could be wisteria in this dress. You could be Rose of Sharon. You could be a flower in the wind.

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A flair for the dramatic

There’s no shortage of potential stories with a dress like this, either. I confess, I almost wrote a story around it and then decided it would be more fun just to natter on about the dress, for once.

But where can you get this dress? It’s available TODAY at the Spoonful of Sugar Festival in Second Life.

The Spoonful of Sugar Festival is a charity event benefiting Doctors Without Borders. Doctors Without Borders sends medical aid to places where need is great, like conflict zones. They support humanitarian causes and report on the problems they see. Nearly 90% of donations to Doctors Without Borders goes straight to the work itself.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: LAQ, Athena Bento Mesh Head
Skin: Lumae, Elentari, with face Elvi (for LAQ and GA/EG heads)
Hair: Analog Dog (natch), Merida (because with an outfit like this, if the hair doesn’t move, you might as well stay home!) You can pick this up at the Analog Dog Main Store.
Eyes: Seydr, Versicolor Eyes
Cosmetics: Cazimi, Glitter Cheeks, Festival Eyeshadow, Tinted Lip Gloss
Nails: Insomnia Angel, Sorcery Nails (Available NOW at The Fantasy Collective!)
Dress: G Sloane, Fairy Dancer (Available TODAY at the Spoonful of Sugar Festival!)
Body Jewellery: L.I.C., Gold Standard (And many thanks to Lindy for following me on Flickr; otherwise I’d never have looked through her photostream and found this beautiful and very versatile set. There’s much more to it than I’m showing in these photographs!)

Environment:
Location: The Box, Awenia
Lighting: Sometimes LumiPro, sometimes a single soft spot projector
Poses: Musa, from the Fantasy Poses series (plural: series singular and plural, like sheep, are spelled the same in English. I had to double check that with Dr Google)

The Big Tea

Well, it finally happened. Her Majesty, Queen Gwyneth, Mistress of All She Surveys, had one of her people invite me for a morning tea in the Remembrance Garden.

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Welcome, she said.

“Welcome,” she said, as if it were the most natural thing to be meeting up like this, after all this time. “I know I have promised you a face to face meeting for some time. In that time, I’ve had a lot of things to contend with, and that’s one of the reasons why I simply had you released from the Faery Realm in the Wylds. It had been too long.”

“I’ll say,” I muttered. “I hope you will forgive me for not using all the honourifics and proper forms of address, Gwyneth.”

“Under the circumstances,” she replied, “I think that’s quite understandable. Fenella. Fen.”

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Oh, I did not trust this woman.

I could feel my lips tightening. “How can you even call me that, after what you did to me?” Oh, I did not trust this woman. “You kept me a prisoner. That fucked with my livelihood. A livelihood I had to take up when I was catapulted from our home Realm into  whatever this is.”

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I know it must feel strange

“I know it must feel strange, for this to have waited so long,” Gwyneth said, “but in that time I’ve been busy building a new Realm after having had to abdicate the old one, putting together Awenia, so to speak. And I haven’t left other things out. I’ve searched, now that I have the Internet again, for Richard. For Emma.

“And what about Kevin?”

“Fen, I don’t think he made it,” Gwyneth said. “There was so much blood.”

“I don’t think any of us made it,” I said flatly. “I think we all died and were somehow transported. How else would you explain any of this?”

“Come and sit,” she said. “Let’s have some tea and discuss all of this— or as much as we can possibly get through in a couple of hours, OK? And then, then— I have a proposal for you.”

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Fine, I said.

“Fine,” I said. I came here for tea: might as well have some tea.

“I didn’t know what to do,” Gwyneth said, probably anticipating another angry question from me. “That’s why I’ve waited so long. I didn’t have anything to offer you, any information, any idea of what happened. I had nothing to give you that you’d have valued.”

“And you do now?” I drummed my fingertips on the table.

“What my adoptive Father said to me was that I could never have gotten to the Realm we were in, this series of Realms, without already having Faerie blood in me. I think that has to be the same for you; otherwise you’d have perished.”

Perished?” I snickered. “Who even says that?”

“Hello? PhD in English?”

Then we both laughed, and for a few seconds, it felt like it always did; like we were the best friends in the world and this was just another morning-after tea. And then, there was an awkward silence.

I broke it, finally. “So, you think Richard, Emma, and Kevin might not have had any Fae blood in them.”

“I don’t know what to think,” Gwyneth said. “I remember, not long after I first crossed into Jasper Cove, starting to receive some odd photographs; one was of Richard and me kissing.”

“But that had just happened, before we left the LARP,” I said. “How could you have a print out of something like that?”

“I don’t know,” Gwyneth replied. It felt heavy in the air.

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She’d heard nothing from the others.

“I’ve heard nothing from the others,” she admitted. “Not even a peep, not the slightest indication that they were out there. So, when I finally realised who you were—do you remember that awful radio show?—I had to keep you. I told myself I’d explain it to you, that if two of us were together, we might draw the other two—three.” She hastily corrected herself.

“You really think Kevin didn’t survive.” I looked down at my left hand, the one with Kevin’s ring on it.

Gwyneth leaned forward. “I don’t know,” she said. “I just don’t know.”

I considered.

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If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that like attracts like.

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that like attracts like,” I said. “Somehow, no matter where I end up, other svart alfar find me. And for whatever reason, when I was so confused and upset and everything was going wrong, I ended up on your altar. What’s to say the others won’t, eventually, as well?”

“It’s been years,” Gwyneth said. “Then again, it had been years for you as well.” She rested her elbows on the table, put her chin in her hands. Such a Gwyneth-like gesture. I almost liked her for a minute there. “OK,” she continued. “I have a proposal for you.”

“Should I be scared?” I asked.

“I don’t think so,” she replied. “Awenia will open to the public soon—well, soon is a relative term—and I’d like you to stay here and help Wulfrich with security.”

“Captain Wulfrich?” I responded. “From the Wylds?”

“Yes. He’s a loyal sort,” Gwyneth said. “If what you say is true, like attracting like and all, let’s stick together. Let’s make our story public. Maybe we’ll get some bites if we put out a line with bait.”

“Public?” I said. “I know something happened and the Veils have fallen, but really?”

“Oh, good,” Gwyneth said. “You know about that.”

“Wasn’t hard to deduce,” I replied. “One day I’m operating under cover of secrecy, every Realm a potential landmine, and the next day government agencies are fine with hiring me and I’m allowed to be me, at least some of the time.”

Gwyneth shook her head. “I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for you.”

“No, you can’t.” My right hand clenched reflexively into a fist.

Svart will always be welcome here,” Gwyneth said. “I don’t have any illusions about anybody being more evil than anybody else, except in some isolated incidents where a being is more selfish and justifies horrible things more easily than most others. We are all the same, and the public must learn to see us as such.”

“So you put me in a position of some authority, and people will think you’re amazing and open-minded,” I retorted.

“So you stay here, you and I do some magick on the side, and maybe we scry Emma or Richard. Or Kevin.”

“Will you stop talking about Kevin as if he’s dead!” I couldn’t take it any more. “I’ve never taken this ring off, you know.”

“I suspected,” Gwyneth said. “So, do we have a deal?”

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I stood up.

I stood up. “Reservedly,” I said, “we have a deal.” Then I whistled for Harris (yes, I call the dark unicorn Harris), and I just rode away while Her Smug Majesty stood there agape.

I turned away as Fen, or TAC, or whatever I am to call her, rode away on a unicorn of all things. As if life couldn’t get any weirder. Then, I climbed the stairs of the Serenity monument.

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Halfway up, I stopped to think.

Halfway up, I stopped to think. What if she was right about all this? Could we find Richard, Emma and maybe even Kevin? I shook my head. Probably too much to ask for.

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Hope.

But, if there’s any one thing that’s gotta me this far in my unbelievable and fantastical life, it’s Hope. I shall hope.

Style Cards:

The Amazing Catwoman
Body: Maitreya
Head: LAQ Bento Mesh Head, Lulu
Skin: The Plastik: Elvenne Skin, Charcus
Ears: Illusions, Sylph Ears
Hair: Truth, VIP Gaea
Clothes: Noble Creations, Mama Erzule (Available NOW at We Love Roleplay!) (includes hat!)
Eyes: Seydr, Versicolor Eyes, Autumn (Available NOW at We Love Roleplay!)
Necklace: Rozoregalia, Lezato
Ring: Aisling, The Good Wife

Gwyneth
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Simone Bento Mesh Head
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Monday (Available NOW at The Chapter Four!)
Ears: Swallow, Elf Ears HD
Eyes: Seydr, Versicolor Eyes, Druid (Available NOW at We Love Roleplay!)
Gown: Senzafine, Elswyth (Available NOW at We Love Role-play!)
Hair: Truth, VIP Gwen
Head and Chest adornments: Bauhaus Movement, Susanne Set

Environment
The Serenity Monument: Kaelis Ember, Find Here Amenity
Tea Set: Trine Epiphany, Artisan Tea Set, Summer
Ground Cover: The Looking Glass, Harmony Garden Daisies (Available NOW at Swank!)
Tea Table and Chairs: The Looking Glass, Harmony Garden Tea Time (Available NOW at Swank!)
Bounding Trees (with birdhouses): Harmony Garden Birdhouse Trees (Available NOW at Swank!)
All Poses from The Black Tulip
Facial Expressions Created with Lelutka AXIS

 

 

 

More Glamour!

Bhánel wants more photographs! It turns out that Glamour, by Bhánel, will be marketed to different groups of people in different ways. The first campaign, which I showed you here, is targeted toward “sophisticated young professionals who want to project a classy, classic image.” The second campaign is targeted toward “younger, more adventurous women.” The idea is that Glamour can turn you into anybody. Here’s a still from the first shoot we did around the second campaign!

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Glamour—Get Your Halo Dirty

I love the whole concept of this photo. The deep red and pink tones give the distinct impression of something not quite “wholesome”, to use a human term, and juxtaposed against the neon halo and wings, the statement is about as risqué as I’m going to get in a photograph. This silver dress, by The Annex, is new for The Trunk Show wedding faire, which I think has already opened its doors to the public.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: LAQ, Poppy Bento Mesh Head
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Berlin (Available NOW at The Secret Affair!)
Nails: Cazimi, Depths of Winter (Available at the Cazimi Main Store!)
Lipstick: Cazimi, Tinted Lipgloss (Naturals) (Available at the Cazimi Main Store!)
Ears: Eclipse Art Studio, Ears Elf Dior
Eyes: Song, Luna Eyes (Available NOW at Kustom9!)
Gown: The Annex, Imogen Gown (Available NOW at The Trunk Show!)
Shoes: Rebel Hope, Tia Mesh Stiletto (Available at the Rebel Hope Main Store!)
Hair: Truth, Yuko (Yuko is the most recent VIP gift for the Truth VIP Group. You can pick it up at the Truth Main StoreIt only costs L$350 to join this group, and the rewards are worth far more than that! Why aren’t you a member yet?)
Necklace: The Plastic, Hallows (You can get this at The Plastik Main Store!)

Environment: FoxCity, Photo Booth, Halo Limited (Available NOW at Limit8!)
Poses: from Nina Rosario, Pose Set 70

I think I’m Paranoid….

Have you ever had that feeling, the one where you’re sure someone is watching you, or following you, but then when you turn around, there’s nothing there?

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I think I’m paranoid

I think I’m paranoid, or at least I was in last night’s dream. I was walking down this completely unreal corridor, because no one would paint an actual corridor that shade of teal. I mean, if they did, I wouldn’t know them. And I was certain, just positive, that I was being followed, except when I turned around there was nothing there.

Now, I’ve lived in the magical universe long enough to know that it’s possible for something invisible to be following me. But I’m also magical enough to know when something invisible is following me. And there wasn’t a thing there, I swear.

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And complicated….

To make it more complicated, every time I turned back forward, I’d get the feeling again. There wasn’t anybody else around. I could see no one. Feel no one.

And it was another one of those dreams where I didn’t look like myself, but i had to admit I was pretty hot with the purple-grey drow skin paint job. And the wings felt like heaven.

Still, that unsettling feeling, though.

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I think I’m paranoid, manipulated…

I really do think I’m paranoid, manipulated probably by my own turncoat thoughts. Because every I turned around there was absolutely nothing behind me.

Strangest thing.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: LAQ Bento Mesh Head, Scarlet
Skin: Lumae, Elvi – Kialaya (Available ON 1 AUGUST at The Mesh Body Addicts Fair!)
Nails: Dark Passions Koffin Nails, Dark Orchid (Available NOW at the Gothic Garage Sale!)
Ears: Eclipse Art Studios, Nepthune
Eyes: Musa, Apatite Eyes
Dress: Pixicat, Ava Dress
Tights: The Little Bat, Lia Stockings (omega applier) (Available NOW at the Gothic Garage Sale!)
Shoes: Cult, Desire Heels
Necklace: Devious Mind, Cassia Forest Necklace
Hair: Sintiklia, Mbali
Wings: Material Squirrel, Thethys Wings

Environment: CYMK Time For the Moon Night, 2
Large Invisible Unicorn: Heartistic, Midnight Unicorn

The Changing Landscape of Awenia, 2

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OK, so from time to time I get curious.

OK, so from time to time I get curious. And even though Bob (unicorns hate people names: I call him that to piss him off) and I have been having a great time frolicking around the great forest (more on that later), I decided it couldn’t hurt to check out what she is doing with Faerie. I mean, Faerie is my home too, even if I am a dark elf. So I glamoured myself to look a little more like those happy little light elves of happiness, and I landed in the remembrance garden at Awenia—I figured that was one place she wouldn’t change much, and I was right.

I’d barely landed before I was surrounded by black feathers, and this raven just landed on my shoulder and stayed there. I’m thinking of naming him “Go the fuck away”, since that’s the sentence I seem to say to him most. He hasn’t left yet. As I type, he and Bob are grousing over dinner and whether or not it’s acceptable for GTFA (I like the sound of that) to pluck out bits of Bob’s mane in order to line some nest or other, which they’re probably building together in the deserted little cave we’re calling home now, at least until she decides the forest needs to turn into something else. It’s summer; she’s at the height of her power, so gods know what she is planning here in the forest.

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The view, however, was very different.

The view, however, was very different. OK, so there’s a lot of empty space: I guess she’s not quite finished. But this town bit, that looks like it might end up being a fun place to hang out, at least when the crowds get so big I can get lost in them. I suppose I could contact Wulfrich and see about working guard in Awenia again, even though we haven’t spoken in yonks.

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Looking back at the remembrance garden

Here we are looking back at the remembrance garden. I have to say I love this drone I got for working my last job: it was a magical tech company in Nu Jyorck and they manufacture these amazing drones that fly around behind you. They’re completely silent because they’re powered by magic and not batteries, and they don’t make that annoying wind that so many of them do, again, because they’re powered by magic and not batteries, and they don’t need any moving parts to fly. Anyway, that’s how I took this picture; GTFA (it’s pronounced “Gitfa”) and I are just looking back at the garden. I’m wondering what kind of crap she’s going to put in here now that she’s moved the earth all around to create that windy hill path up to the garden. Of course, gardening isn’t my strong point, but I’ll be interested to see what she puts here. I mean, not that I’m interested. But I did sneak into one of her offices once and photoscan the plans for Awenia, so I do kind of know what she’s up to.

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It looks pretty good down here!

And, frankly, it looks pretty good down here. This big dancing/eating/whatever square is going to be a big hit with the tourists: they can lurk around the edges of Scary Faery Town and still tell their friends what an adventure they had. Of course, if they’re planning on staying here for more than one day, they’re SOL: there are two inns in town and they’re both right in the town centre. Maybe she’ll put something further out on the edge for the squeamish; I’ve got no clue as there weren’t any actual drawn plans with the stuff I … acquired. There were just notes and bits and bobs about what to tell this or that minister when they started asking questions. She’s got her husband doing all the paperwork, of course: that guy may actually be too nice for her. Not that he’d look twice at someone like me: I mean, look who he married. Miss Tall Bright and Seelie. Forget that short, dark bitch with the potty mouth and the extra long ears. Yeah. I’m a real winner with the menfolk: that’s why I get my own unicorn companion, folks.

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Nearly Full Dark

Anyway, it was nearly full dark when GTFA and I made it down to the town (that was a lot of walking!) so I decided to come back for a longer tour of the town/village/whatever sometime when it was more light. I mean, obviously  can see in the dark, but the iPhone is still pretty shite when it comes to imaging at night, and the drone’s not much better for all the magical extras it’s got.

Besides, GTFA suddenly started cawing his fucking head off like something was coming to get us both. So I headed back to the forest, which is where I am now, and I’m writing all this shit on my phone because it’s not like she thought to put in an electrical outlet for my MacBook Pro, is it? Luckily, my battery is powered by magic and gets an extra charge from the sun this time of year, so the phone isn’t about to die any time soon. For once, as I looked across the water, I missed the too-bright shores of White Owl Island. At least I could have charged the damn notebook there.

Hm. You know what I noticed? I noticed that Faewatch has an office on the other side of town. It’s closed at the moment; I’m guessing she ran everyone out of Awenia except her little minions when she started revamping the place. I’ll bet Cherish Gelato would love to get her hands on these photos…. and others I’ll take, when I come back tomorrow.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: LAQ Bento Mesh Head, Lulu
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Ferna (in fudge) (Available NOW at The Chapter Four!)
Ears: Gauze, High Elf Ear, Bane
Hair: Mithril Apothecary, Chamomile
Clothes: Noble Creations, Woods Queen (Available NOW at We ❤ RP!)
Pauldrons: Storybook, Morrigan, Raven
Eyes: Anatomy, Meow Eyes, Neon Green
Necklace: Bliensen & Maitai, Luan
Shoes: Noble Creations, Roman Sandals (Available NOW at We ❤ RP!)
Raven: Jian, Raven Collection Companion
Raven Feathers: Persefona, Floating Raven Feathers (black)
Ring: Aisling, The Good Wife

The Hazards of Contemporary Life, According to The Amazing Catwoman

First of all, they always put you up in a place with a name that only sounds good. “423 Windsor Terrace, LakeView, Limenós” sounds pretty posh, doesn’t it?

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Yeah. Only the view was posh.

Yeah. Only the view was posh.

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The rest was Neo-Modern Flophouse, but I was only there for one night, so.

The rest was Neo-Modern Flophouse, but I was only there for one night. At least there were no bugs in the bed, and it’s not like it was dirty. Everything was reasonable, just not as nice as the view. Well, the armchair was pretty good.

I was only there for a quick job, and then it was onto a train to a ferry port and out to Awenia, where I was still mostly hiding out in the big forest and keeping far away from her up in Faerie. One of those “What Could Possibly Go Wrong” moments could have happened right then, except I was too smart for it. Totes McGoats.

All I had to do was show up at the Limenós main train station, cast a spell on a couple of marks, and then slip down into the station to head for the Dragonstar, and then home, or as close as I get to it these days. Simples. I didn’t even have to work too hard on the glamour, though of course it’s still not OK to be Svart Alfar no matter what Stupid Event Or Other has convinced people it’s OK to be Elfy in public or whatever.

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Gotcha! Spell went off without a hitch.

Gotcha! Spell went off without a hitch; these two marks couldn’t see Elfin magic for whatever reason, and I didn’t stick around to find out what the premixed spell was actually going to do to them; that’s above my pay grade most of the time. I was just happy they were parked on a side street and about to engage in the time-honoured tradition of pre-trip snogging to notice a shady elf in leather lurking around behind them. I do like it when they give me these jobs within walking distance of the getaway train, though. Makes for better reading, less indigestion, you get the picture. With an hour to go before my train left, I had enough time to get a good seat, maybe even upgrade a class and put my feet up for the ten-hour trek to the ferry port.

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There is no escape.

And although I was sure I wasn’t followed down into the subway that led to the Dragonstar platform, there is at least one entity I can’t get away from, and that’s her. Ever since it became socially acceptable across multiple Realms to be supernatural, She has been getting work as a model for some perfume company, and this fucking “We’re All Mad Here” advert has been everywhere. You can’t open a fucking magazine or in this case walk down a set of fucking steps without being fucking bombarded.

Yeah. This was all I needed. I should be steeled to it by now, but I just can’t move beyond being angry with regard to that little situation where she kept me prisoner for half a year and then didn’t even bother to talk to me. And then her house got blown up and she had other things to worry about. Bleah. I was going to need chocolate on the train, and lots of it. Luckily, Limenós is famous for very good chocolate, and I knew just the place to get some of the hot, liquid variety before I boarded the train and probably some of the dark, melt-in-your mouth type as well.

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Of course, then things got a little more complicated.

Of course, then things got a little more complicated.

Great. Of all the entities to run into at the bottom of a subway, I have to meet quite possibly the most attractive dark unicorn I’ve ever seen.

Now, if you’ve ever played the The Amazing Catwoman Home Game, you know that I once had to dress up as a fantasy novel cover and tag unicorns at some stupid unicorn preserve. And let’s just say that not very much has changed in the last three years since I had to do that gig.

So that’s why the unicorn looked at me and said, in a voice that brushed soft like feathers against my mind, because they don’t usually speak out loud, “Well met, elf maiden. Why must you cover your beautiful skin?”

I sighed. “You’re not long off the preserve, are you?”

“Long enough to know that companions such as you are a rarity here,” he replied smoothly.

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I tried to find a way to blame this on her.

I tried to find a way to blame this on her. Clearly the advert had summoned the worst possible encounter possible for me.

“Look, I’m sure you’re very nice and all….”

“You couldn’t pronounce it,” he said.

“Do you think I don’t know that? I’m sure you’re very nice and all, but I’ve got a train to catch.”

“Are you on the Dragonstar? That’s my destination as well. These Limenóans aren’t very good at recognising magical needs though, are they? They keep trying to give me apples. I mean, apples are OK….”

“…but chocolate is better.” I couldn’t resist.

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“You are so right!”

“You are so right!” He brought himself up to his full height, which was considerably taller than me.

“I don’t suppose, if you’re heading for the Dragonstar as well, that you’d mind getting a friendly mythical beast a bit of the old bitter cacao?”

I rolled my eyes. “I could trouble myself, but I’m in rather a hurry.”

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He struck a gait.

He struck a gait. “Not to brag, but I’ve got a first class ticket and unicorns are always allowed a female travelling companion.” He snorted. “It’s meant to keep us calm.”

Suddenly this was all looking a bit more attractive. And besides, assuming someone did decide to come looking for me, who looks more innocent than an elfin maid (yes, fine!) accompanying a majestic unicorn? “Well, since you’ve appealed to my higher nature,” I said….

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And that’s how I found myself on the back of a dark unicorn.

And that’s how I found myself on the back of a dark unicorn, buying chocolate at the poshest chocolate shop in the Limenós Main Station (and that’s pretty posh), and getting a quarter car to myself in first class with stable space for a unicorn and a bed three times as comfortable as the one I slept in last night.

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I have no idea how long I’ll stay the travelling companion of a dark unicorn.

I have no idea how long I’ll stay the travelling companion of a dark unicorn, but things will rarely be dull. And who knows? It could be the start of a beautiful relationship. I can’t believe I actually just said that.

Sometimes, while my life is never exactly straightforward, it does not suck to be me.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: LAQ, Lulu Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Argrace, Kazuha
Eyes: Anatomy, Meow Eyes
Ears: Gauze, High Elf Ears
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Story, Walnut (Available NOW at Designer Showcase!)
Tunic: Senzafine, Meilikki (Available NOW at We ❤ Role-play!)
Boots: Senzafine, Telcontar Boots
Bracers: Lakrya, Yasha Mesh Bracers (Available NOW at We ❤ Role-play!)
Necklace: Bliensen & Maitai, Celtic Collar (Available NOW at We ❤ Role-play!)

Unicorn: Water Horse, Riding Unicorn
Unicorn Skin: Wren Works, Black Opal
Unicorn Mane and Tail: Flying Horse Head Studios, Glitterati
Unicorn Hooves: Cinnamon, Elven Unicorn Hooves

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