The 2017 Hair Fair Photo Contest!

I’ve been busy over the past few days, while recovering from this annoying injured thumb on my left (dominant) hand, working on some photographs for the 2017 Hair Fair Photo Contest.

Hair Fair is one of my favourite events of the year. Because duh! Hair! And I’m lucky enough to have early blogger access again this year, so I’ll spend lots of money and show you super cool hairs!

Every year, Hair Fair sponsors a photo contest, and I often enter it. This year I’ve done five photos, and that’s the limit. I’m sorry, judges.

The link above is to the official notice about the contest; the theme was “Wild”, and the idea was to picture hair colours that aren’t in the usual, naturally available human range. This post has been half written for two days in hopes I could get it done ahead of the contest deadline, but I’m afraid I haven’t managed it, and I’ll just have to do a better job next year.

Here’s the first of my Hair Fair Photo Contest entries for this year.

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Joy!

Hairstyle—Corumel (Summer Hair Play)
Hair Store—Tableau Vivant
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa Lona
Skin: Lumae Adore Ianthe
Eyes: Mesange Iskander
Ears: Lumae Leevi Long Ears
Silks: Axix, Heaven Silks Purple
Butterflies: Nantra
Location: White Owl Island

I initially wanted to photograph Gwyneth scrying something, with her hair all over the place, but the minute I put this hair on I knew I wanted her in the water somehow. There were numerous false starts with this photograph, because I kept wanting her to be attacked by a sea monster– but things kept going wrong. And we just won’t talk about that time the giant undulating tentacle ended up off the shores of White Owl Island….

Here’s number two:

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Who Shall I Be Tomorrow?

Hairstyle—Joga
Hair Store—Analog Dog
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Farrah
Body Glitter: Izzies, Rainbow body glitter
Eyes: Mesange, Iskander
Ears: Swallow, Elf Ears High Definition
Dress: This Is Wrong, Owls Dress
Wings: BareRose, Black B Wings
Jewellery: EMO-tions, Falcon Earrings and Necklace

So, most of you guys know I love Analog Dog Hair. I knew I wanted to showcase at least one of Queue Marlowe‘s beautiful hair designs in these photographs. I picked this one, Joga, because it’s relatively new, and because it’s whimsical without being silly, and because I loved the way the green and red work together in this colour. Beloved took me on a date to Calas Galadhon, and I remembered having taken some photographs there yonks ago. I came back there for this one, and I was so pleased with the light (and the fact that “The Owls are not what they seem” shows up pretty well in the photograph on this photo. Of course, after I’d taken it through the whole editing process, I discovered that the hair is clipping the wing. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t noticed that… I’d already entered the photograph when I suddenly saw the imperfection, and now I can’t unsee it. So it stays, because otherwise it’s a good photo, and I love so many things about it.

Miles Away

This third photo features hair from another one of my favourite designers, Wasabi Pills. Raven was released for this years’ Fantasy Faire, and I’ve worn it a lot. I wanted to do something like a portrait for one of the entries, and I wanted to investigate a region I hadn’t shot in before. So off I went to Phabolaois Stran. I love water sims, rain sims, and this one did not disappoint. I will be back again, I’m sure. I spent a lot of time waiting for this group of birds to un-clump so I could photograph them recognisably, which is probably why I left them in, rather than cropping them out to yield a stronger photograph. I still like the way the hair colour looks against the landscape.

Hairstyle—Raven
Hair Store—Wasabi Pills
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona
Skin: Lumae, Ruby
Eyes: Mesange, Iskander
Ears: Swallow, Elf Ears High Definition
Clothes: Yasum, Boho Skirt and Top
Necklace: The Plastik, The Grolda Necklace
Circlet, Cae, Lasa Circlet

Pink

Pink, like most of these, is not the photograph I started out trying to take at all. Elikatira‘s Lalora, don’t get me wrong, is every bit as gorgeous today as when it was released last year. I did want to take at least one photo in White Owl’s Faerie, but the original plan was for this shot to have some softness to it, and I’m not sure it does, in the end. She looks determined, maybe even angry. Her hand is tense. The sunset lighting makes her look if anything more like she’s just made a battle plan. That said, while I know a lot of SL people who do not like these wings, I absolutely love them, I have them in every colour they were released in, and I do not get the chance to photograph them very often. I love how perfectly they match the pink of her hair, how they echo the makeup. And I like the way she really does pop against the landscape.

Hairstyle—Lalora
Hair Store—Elikatira
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona
Skin: Lumae, Ruby
Eyes: Mesange, Iskander
Ears: Swallow, Elf Ears High Definition
Wings: Alegria, Wings of Cotton Pink
Dress: MoonAmore, Sugar Branches Dress
Makeup: Picchi, Sweet Fairy Makeup

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Take Off

Some things I cannot resist, and one of those things is going back and hoping to fix my mistakes. The thing is, Calas Galadhon doesn’t allow object rezzing and I couldn’t find a group to join that would let me do that, so placement wasn’t and couldn’t be perfect. And, you know, there’s only so much time in the day, and so I decided to go with something different. I love that this shot gives you the whole scope of the wings, and I did at least remember the windlight I used, which is a far sight better than I usually do here in Chaos-land. There were some birds around, as in previous shots, but I didn’t worry about them overmuch as they were a long way away and the focal bird would be the one wearing these beautiful wings from BareRose.

Hairstyle—Joga
Hair Store—Analog Dog
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Farrah
Body Glitter: Izzies, Rainbow body glitter
Eyes: Mesange, Iskander
Ears: Swallow, Elf Ears High Definition
Dress: This Is Wrong, Owls Dress
Boots: Wicca’s Wardrobe, Gypsy Boots

Style cards are above in the text. Farrah is available at Vintage Fair!

 

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The Story of Returning

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Memory’s a funny thing, isn’t it?

Memory’s a funny thing, isn’t it? I remember being in university, long ago now it seems, and suddenly noticing a tree one morning. Richard and I were walking to class, and I swear, I tugged him by the sleeve and wanted to know when that tree had appeared.

“Gwyneth,” he replied, “It’s been here all along. You just never saw it before.”

How peculiar, I thought. What force of mind, memory, or nature could make me just not notice a tree? And it wasn’t a small tree, either. It was massive. People were having their lunch in its shade, sunbathing in the shadows of its branches.

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Like a place I’ve been, so many times.

Like a place I’ve been, so many times, this street should hold no mystery for me. It’s a place I go from time to time. There are shops here I like to visit, a good Turkish restaurant. Just down there, there’s a boutique that sells glorious faux fur stoles.

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I pause, sometimes, near this street corner.

I pause, sometimes, near this street corner. Sometimes, I pause to look back, wonder if I’ve missed something, shrug, move on. Sometimes, I stand here for several minutes, watching the people, the buses. It isn’t as if I have any great mysteries of life to contemplate, but I feel the need to contemplate, anyway. It might be about the dress I find myself in today, a glorious and gorgeous gown from Silvan Moon Designs. I came across a marvellous Vintage Fair, and then, softly, I found myself feeling the echoes of a different era.

I’m just starting my life on White Owl Island, and a new beginning always makes me ponder the “what ifs” of my life. It’s an exercise, I know, that leads only to dissatisfaction.

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But what have I, really, to be dissatisfied about?

But what have I, really, to be dissatisfied about? I have made my change. I have left the Wylds, and war, and mad demifae queens, and the judging eyes of the Unseelie Court.

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The future. The future is … uncertain.

The future. The future is … uncertain. But it is something I can create. Something I am creating.

And at this moment, I’m taken, as I used to be, by visions. Two visions. One is terrible: screaming people, fires, smoke. Refugees. The other….

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The other is sweet.

The other is sweet.

Style Card:
Gwyneth—
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona Bento Mesh Head
Hair: No Match, No Dream (Available NOW at Vintage Fair!)
Eyes: Mesange, Thaisa Eyes (Omega Appliers) (Available NOW at We ❤Roleplay!)
Ears: Swallow, Elf Ears High Definition
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Farrah, Omega Appliers (Available NOW at Vintage Fair!)
Wings: (Photos 1-5) Lassitude & Ennui, Seraphim Wings
Wings: (Photo 6) Evolved Creatures, Fae Bento Wings
Dress: Silvan Moon Designs, Vintage in Vogue (Available NOW at Vintage Fair!)
Shoes: The Plastik, Filivina Heels

Gentleman in Photo 6; Nyza Stillwater

 

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I’d never create a fantasy street for a single photoshoot without it!

silvan-moon-designs-logo-full   MESANGE LOGO 2017   7ds

 

Faerie By Night

I should have mentioned I’d be away. I had a lot of travel planned for May, and coming off the heels of Fantasy Faire, I had a lack of energy for most things that kept me from doing much besides sleeping when I wasn’t working. Anyway, I’m sorry. I never expected my absence to be so long.

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The Fox Gate

One of the things I’ve been working hard on over the last six weeks or so is the creation of Faerie for White Owl Island. To me, Faerie is an outpouring of the Queen’s imagination, culminating in her own personal Realm, her own Faerie. Over the next few blog posts, assuming I can stay awake and am not too exhausted from being the only White Owl Island admin who is also holding down a full time job, I will do my best to give you a sense of what this Faerie looks like, and maybe why it’s so different.

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Tower Meadow

There’s more than one Tower in the Tower Meadow. I might have a collection of them.

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The hair is from Wasabi Pills, the eyes are from Mesange, the crown is from Junbug, the necklace is from Empyrean Forge, and the wings are from Evolved Creatures.

The skin Gwyneth is wearing is from 7 Deadly s{K}ins. It’s Naomi, currently at the EBento event, which will be open for at least another week. The hair, crown and necklace are all available at Fameshed.

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Fantastic Dress is from Silvan Moon Designs!

Silvan Moon Designs never ceases to please with their lovely texturing and great original mesh. This whole outfit was put together for the White Owl Island opening beach party, which was a big success. Thanks to everyone who came out, and additional thanks to Zander Greene for giving us an amazing night full of music and fun. My fellow admins, Moxy Macbeth, Dyisi Oppewall, Kitori Unplugged, Dickensian Dreamer, and Benbold Resident have done a great job of putting things together, and I’m excited at the number of applications that have been coming in!

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Of course, with the good sometimes comes the bad….

….and it appears that FaeWatch has set up an office in Faerie. Well, if nothing else, this means Cherish Gelato will be on the trail of all your favourite Fae celebrities and scandals! Gwyneth may not like it much on an IC level, but personally, I’m looking forward to all the embarrassing things Cherish may do both to herself and others.

I’m hoping to have some more cool stuff to show you in the near future, and I’ll do my best not to be a stranger. Exhaustion is a crazy thing to feel.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Wasabi Pills, Strawberry (Available NOW at Fameshed!)
Eyes: Mesange, Sheba Eyes (Omega Appliers)
Ears: Swallow, Elf Ears High Definition
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Naomi, Omega Appliers (Available NOW at eBento!)
Necklace: Empyrean Forge, Summersong (Available NOW at Fameshed!)
Crown, Junbug, Crown Diadem Amethyst/Silver (Available NOW at Fameshed!)
Dress: Silvan Moon Designs, Rohanna of the Moors (Available NOW at We ❤ Roleplay!)
Shoes: Friday, Koko Wraps

Location: White Owl Island, Faerie.

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I’d never come back from an unscheduled blog-cation without it!

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Still Standing in San Mora

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You know what? I don’t care any more.

You know what? I don’t care any more. I’ve been living in this city for gods know how long, and I’ve watched the people come and go, and I’m just not interested in any of their bull any more.

I will walk where I want, dress how I want, eat what I want, go out at night without a burly male escort, and if anybody wants to stop me, well. They’ll have to go through me first.

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Dyisi came to visit yesterday.

Dyisi came to visit yesterday. I think she was pretty impressed with my new squat. I’m on the tenth floor of a mostly burned out building, so I have this amazing balcony that’s like half a floor, just exposed to the outside. And there’s nobody above me because those levels got melted, I think. Metal’s all bent, anyway.

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“You see that dome?” she wanted to know. “Super creepy.”

“You see that dome?” she wanted to know. “Super creepy.”

“Huh.” I frowned. “I can’t remember if it was there yesterday or not. I mean, looks like it’s meant to be there, right?”

“Are you fucking kidding me? That thing is a menace. It looks like the scariest part of a circus met the scariest part of a steampunk horror novel, and they are both converging on us. You mark me, tomorrow it’ll be closer and there’ll be some weird music coming from it or some shit like that.”

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“Frankly, I think those creepy metal birds are worse,” I replied.

“Frankly, I think those creepy metal bird things are worse,” I replied. I half-turned to point out the window (well, OK, the wall) behind us to point out one of the improbable things, which at the moment was just making lazy circles around an incongruous lake. “That is a cage on wings, and I keep having these nightmares they’re going to come over here and enslave us all.”

“Yeah; all thirty of us,” Dyisi replied. I think she just likes to piss me off by saying completely ridiculous things like that. There are at least 250 of us here in San Mora, surviving in the best way we can. Some people say there are even more if you count the other side of the city, but I’m not so sure. I only trust what I can see, which I think is the best way to survive in the world. Well. In my world, anyway. I sighed. “Come on; let’s go down to the roadhouse and see if we can score some beer.”

“I’d rather have a joint.”

“You always say that.”

I’ve rigged up a series of ladders to take me down the whole ten floors in a rush, ladder by ladder. I slide down them with one foot on either side of the ladder. Dyisi kept yelling at me to slow down, but I just ignored her. I’m sure I flipped her off more than once. And I have no idea what that last finger gesture she replied with was. The fact is, if Dyisi and I aren’t constantly bitching and moaning at each other and insulting each other a mile a minute, that’s when the apocalypse has actually happened. Laughed in a guy’s face last week when he called San Mora “post-apocalyptic”. Had to explain that truth of the world. I am not sure he believed me, but what can you do? I keep trying to explain to people that hope doesn’t have to die just because we’re certain now there is no god, given what we’ve been through. This is when we need hope most. I was telling Dy this story as we reached the roadhouse. Downstairs was too crowded, so we climbed up to the second level. Nobody likes it there because a wall got blown out in one of those firefights from last month. I’m not bothered. Ceiling’s still working, which means the floor’s all good. Right?

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Would you believe it: she found a fucking ukulele.

Would you believe it: she found a fucking ukulele.

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Seriously?

Seriously: I just turned away and pretended I didn’t know her. By this time my wings had come out: I don’t know why they only do that when I’ve had a little bit to drink. “You are not going to actually play that thing.”

“Nah; I was thinking I”d just sit here and hold it like I’d just finished a beer and my best friend was about to go down and get me another one,” she said.

I sighed. One more trip down the stairs in four inch heels. Some of us have hooves and are much better at going up and down things, but no; Dy must have me serve her beer. Sometimes she’s a right bitch, but she’s the only friend I’ve got, you know? Pays to keep on her good side. I went for the beer.

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“You know what I did earlier today?” I asked her when I got back upstairs. “I went to the old park, and I danced on the dead wall.”

“You know what I did earlier today?” I asked her when I got back upstairs. “I went to the old park, and I danced on the dead wall.”

She laughed. “Does it make you feel better about life to do shit that pisses everybody else in the whole universe right off?”

I shrugged.

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“I’m tired of being careful.”

“I’m tired of being careful,” I said.

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“Besides, it’s not like anybody is out there looking for me.”

“Besides, it’s not like anybody out there is looking for me. You ever seen my face on one of those missing posters?”

Dy sighed. “I guess not.”

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“Well, maybe if I make a big enough fuss, somebody’ll care enough to look for me if I go.”

“Well, maybe if I make a big enough fuss, somebody’ll care enough to look for me if I go.”

Dyisi frowned. “I’d look for you.”

“Assuming you weren’t gone first.”

“In which case you’d look for me.”

“Yeah, probably.”

“Probably? You’d be out there morning noon and night, because you love me.”

“Do not.”

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“Anyway, it was nice to be alone, even if I did have to go to the dead wall to do it.”

“Anyway, it was nice to be alone, even if I did have to go to the dead wall to do it.”

Dyisi snorted. “I still think it’s silly to call it ‘the dead wall’. For all we know, they are all alive and well, somewhere better than here.”

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The Dead Wall

“Nobody’s seen or heard from any of them,” I replied. “I think if my picture were up there, it would mean I have died, too.”

Dyisi shook her head. “Cynical, cynical.”

We wandered out into the street. It was one of those sunny, dusty afternoons, the kind of afternoon you always get in San Mora.

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Dyisi on a police car.

At one point, Dyisi jumped on top of a police car and yelled something about how the PoPo couldn’t get her any more because there weren’t any… I think she might have been a bit drunk.

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“You know this isn’t real, Gwyneth.”

“You know this isn’t real, Gwyneth,” Dyisi said.

“Are you having a moment of existential ennui?” I wasn’t even sure what ‘existential ennui’ was, to be honest. It just sounded good.

“Nope,” Dyisi said. “Towers of Nope. You’re stuck in a Fairelands Realm.”

“What are you talking about?” I shifted uncomfortably on the gazebo floor.

“You’re not actually a street urchin in a post-apocalyptic novel, you know.”

“I’m not?”

“Nope,” Dyisi said. “Towers of Nope. You wandered in here because this is one of the Realms that’s part of the Great Fantasy Faire this year. You got lost in the story. It’s a common hazard.” She blew across her nails for absolutely no reason.

“You mean I could just get up and walk out of here? And I’d find somewhere else?”

“Yep,” Dyisi said.

“Right! Let’s do that, then.”

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So, we got up and just walked out of San Mora.

So, we got up and just walked right out of San Mora. The closer we got to the fence, walking with purpose to Another Place (where, we didn’t know), the more I remembered.

“Have you noticed that we keep having stand-alone adventures this year? It’s like we’re episodic.”

I lifted a brow. “Wow, Dy; that’s awfully meta for you.”

“I am the epitome and the ultimate representation of meta. Then again, so are you.”

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Towers Of Nope

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Analog Dog, Merida (Available NOW at The 2017 Second Life Fantasy Faire!)
Eyes: Mesange, Iram Eyes (Omega Appliers) (Available NOW at On9!)
Ears: Eclipse Arts Studio, Elf Ears Dior
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Opal, Omega Appliers (Available NOW at The 2017 Second Life Fantasy Faire!)
Necklace: Otherskin, Mashallah (Available NOW at The 2017 Second Life Fantasy Faire!)
Dress: Syren’s Song, Ursa, Purple (Available NOW at The 2017 Second Life Fantasy Faire!)
Shoes: Violetility, Luna Heels

Location: The 2017 Second Life Fantasy Faire, San Mora, Sponsored by Death Row Designs and designed by Jaimy Hancroft, Eowyn Swords, and Morbid Deceit

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

 

An Oracle in The Rose

Funny thing about the Great Faire: you never know what will happen to you when you cross into a new Realm. I found myself in The Rose, for example, blindfolded.

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I held a pendulum in my hand; around my neck was another.

I held a pendulum in my hand; around my neck was another. And I knew, somehow, that I was up high. It might have had to do with the combination of bright sunlight I could feel and sense, and the wind that left me chilled despite what felt like direct sunlight.

When I toed my way to the edge of the platform I was on, I realised that there was a sheer drop all around. And me without my wings.

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All hail the power of thought, for then I found myself in a darker place, and I could feel warm tiles beneath my barely-shod feet.

All hail the power of thought, for then I found myself in a darker place, and I could feel warm tiles beneath my feet.

I stilled and placed one hand on the necklace, then let the pendulum dangle between my fingers. I stilled myself, and as my breathing became quiet and regular, I felt, ever so slightly, the pendulum tug against my fingers.

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I turned. What else could I do?

I turned. What else could I do? And I began to walk in the direction the pendulum seemed to want me to go.

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I felt I’d climbed hundreds of steps when the pendulum finally stilled again.

I felt I’d climbed hundreds of steps when the pendulum finally stilled again.

And what did it have to show me? A formal garden, beautiful in its way, full of statues. It seemed to be all right then to take the blindfold off. Of course, I had no time to look at myself; I was too occupied with looking at The Rose itself.

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There were roses, of course.

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There were lions.

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More than one lion, in fact.

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A dome view that spanned several realms.

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I might have mentioned the lions….

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Oh, and rose petals. Rose petals everywhere.

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Inside, scattered lights and archways. And more roses.

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Did I mention the roses?

In the end, I was exhausted. All the steps, all the walking. At the end of my day, I still had no idea what the pendulum had been trying to show me, not until I had left the Realm for other spaces.

And then I looked back, and suddenly the answer seemed obvious.

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It was The Rose, herself.

Of course! It was The Rose, herself. Why did I have to be blindfolded to discover her? Do we look more closely when we cannot see? How else can I experience the Realms differently as I spend the last few days of the Great Faire wandering the wondrous Fairelands?

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Wasabi Pills, Raven (Available NOW at The 2017 Second Life Fantasy Faire!)
Eyes: Mesange, Iram Eyes (Omega Appliers) (Available NOW at On9!)
Tattoos: Even~Tide, Magical, Gold Available NOW at The 2017 Second Life Fantasy Faire!)
Ears: Swallow, Elf Ears High Definition
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Opal, Omega Appliers (Available NOW at The 2017 Second Life Fantasy Faire!)
Necklace and Pendulum: Otherskin, Home  (Available NOW at The 2017 Second Life Fantasy Faire!)
Dress and Pauldron: Luas, Ashe, Maitreya Purple (Available NOW at The 2017 Second Life Fantasy Faire!)
Feet: SLink, Pointe Feet
Shoes: ChicChica, Fairy Pointes

Location: The 2017 Second Life Fantasy Faire, The Rose, Sponsored by Fallen Gods and designed by Alia Baroque.

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

 

Dawn’s Promise is a Dance

I have danced so much at the Faire this year. Recently, I told you of my experiences dancing on The Hill. But it struck me, as I landed on a little outcrop of luxury outside the town proper: Dawn’s Promise is, itself, a dance.

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Meet your partner:

Meet your partner: The Land itself. You may wish to bow.

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And does it bow back? It doesn’t matter.

And does it bow back? It doesn’t matter, for soon you’ll be swept into a waltz of bridges and water, the sashay of moss, the clear, beating heart of brick and stone.

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You may feel a sense of anticipation before you offer your hand.

You may feel a sense of anticipation before you offer your hand. As the sun rises, seemingly all around you, everything is anticipation.

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What begins?

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You begin. Step forward.

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More than a blinding haze, the town is an explosion of nature reclaiming her own.

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There are little nooks to discover everywhere.

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Different ways to see.

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A sky in which to fly.

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A new adventure beneath every bridge.

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Toe to chimney, hands to clouds, next set, line up, choose a new partner, dance again.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Wasabi Pills, Adamaris (Available NOW at The 2017 Second Life Fantasy Faire!)
Eyes: Mesange, Iram Eyes (Omega Appliers) (Available NOW at On9!)
Ears: Swallow, Elf Ears High Definition
Skin: The Plastik, Taryn, Catwa, Maitreya, and SLink appliers, in Creme
Necklace: The Plastik, Grolda (Available NOW at The 2017 Second Life Fantasy Faire!)
Tiara: Ashbourne & Co., Empress Marie Tiara (Available NOW at The 2017 Second Life Fantasy Faire!)
Hairpiece: Air, Mistletoe Silver (Available NOW at The 2017 Second Life Fantasy Faire!)
Dress: The Annex, Blossom
Feet: SLink, Pointe Feet
Shoes: ChicChica, Fairy Pointes

Location: The 2017 Second Life Fantasy Faire, Dawn’s Promise, Sponsored by The Looking Glass and designed by Marcus Inkpen and Sharni Azalee.

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

 

 

A Home in Raven’s Perch

The Great Faire has opened, finally. For the next fortnight (well, nine days), I shall only be nipping home to grab important things or add new furniture to the Treehouse (there is so much to find here!). I shall tell you stories, and I shall be so many people. But today, I will let the puppeteer speak: she has some things to say to you.

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The Lady of Roses in Raven’s Perch

The Second Life Fantasy Faire is my favourite event of the year. It comes round only once, and for ten days appears like a mesh Brigadoon out of the mists, and then disappears, never to be seen again in that one incarnation. This is my fourth year of being involved with Fantasy Faire, my third year as a FF blogger, my second year as a Litfest volunteer and co-coordinator. And for the first time this year, I watched as two of the most talented people I’ve ever met, Kae Ember and LRriven, built the serene marvel that is Raven’s Perch. Kae was already a friend, but getting to know Riven has been such a joy.

I’m also fortunate to blog for the amazing and talented Bee Dumpling, who is the co-creator of the Light of Sarin gown that the Lady of Roses is wearing in this photograph. The Opal skin is by another creator I’m so honoured to blog for, 7 Deadly s{K}ins. The stunning necklace, which I’ll give you a closer look at a few photographs down the line, is from Otherskin, created by another amazing friend, Kaleidos Hope. I’ve applied a Glam Affair lipstick and eyeshadow to Izara‘s beautiful skin, but later posts will show it to you with no appliers, as it’s so beautiful on its own: I just felt the Lady of Roses needed a bit of colour in her lips particularly. This hair is from Tableau Vivant, and it’s the only thing I’m wearing that isn’t a new release for the Fantasy Faire. I will be showing you some gorgeous hair from other creators later on in this year’s FF blog series that are exclusively available at the Faire, as well.

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Here is the path into Raven’s Perch from The Hill, the hobbit sim next door (more on that later!)

Riven’s exquisite gothic cathedral-like buildings make for some beautiful skylines.

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The roofs of Raven’s Perch

And indeed, when I was first photographing the sim, a couple of days before the Faire opened, I became fascinated with the roof spires and the silhouette they created in this beautiful windlight. I’m probably not supposed to tell you this, but I was there when Riven accidentally created this windlight, and there were many oohs and ahhs and giggles and “Don’t lose that!”s. Kae and Riven have this amazing, madcap dynamic that belies the serenity of the sim itself.

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Sim Landing Point

This is the centre of the sim, the landing point, before all the signage was added. This is where you’ll land if you take this teleport to Raven’s Perch. These glowing lanterns are part of the story of Raven’s Perch, which I got to write. You can find the story in chapters if you participate in the sim hunt and find all the beautiful spaces along the way. The story of the Raven Queen and the Lady of Roses is not a happy one, but so many of the stories we tell during the Faire are not happy: we are raising money for cancer research, and all the people involved with the Faire have stories to tell, sometimes personal, heart wrenching stories, about their loved ones’—or their own—battles with cancer. Many of the things you can buy at the Fantasy Faire are full or partial donations to the American Cancer Society, and we, all of us, although we are having a great time and building and experiencing such wonderful things, are serious about raising money to fight cancer.

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The Lady of Roses

Riven’s concept for the lady of Roses was that she began as a very normal mortal girl, who befriended an extraordinary Raven Queen. The whole sim is their story. Oh! And here you can see Otherskin‘s gorgeous Trinity necklace, here pictured in gold with red jewels, The Mesange Iram eyes stand out so beautifully against the Opal skin, don’t they? And OMG, Izara! Those eyebrows! I love them!

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Path to the Lady of Roses’ ruby resting place

You’ll find this mysterious pathway somewhere on Raven’s Perch; to tell you where would spoil the joy of your exploration.

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As you approach, you can see the beautiful bower of the Lady of Roses.

Beyond her, there seems to be only the sea. You can almost feel the forest silencing around you as you enter the grove to pay your respects to the Lady.

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Beautiful, she was.

Why is the Lady of Roses memorialised in this way? You’ll have to do the hunt and read the story to find out! If Riven gives her permission, I might post the story later on in the Faire or after the Faire closes.

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Beyond the Lady’s bower, a path leads to the sea.

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Why I Relay

The day Kae showed me a photo of this memorial space on the sim, I cried. The placement of the stones, the candles, her words beneath (you’ll have to visit the sim to read that part!), such a poignant combination. Poignant not least because she added my late husband, Joe Raftery, to the memorial stone. I already felt at home in Raven’s Perch: that was the day I knew I’d keep coming back throughout the faire, no matter how beautiful everything else was, to stand here and think on the sea and the boat and the many times I played and sang “Into the West” for Joe before he died in January of 2016. His death is still so fresh in my mind, and his loss will always be a hole in my heart and my life. I cannot bring him back from the dead. But I can tell you that every Linden you donate at the Fantasy Faire could help someone like Joe. Could help someone like me. Because no one should be a widow at 49, as I was.

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The Lady of Roses at the memorial stones

The Lady of Roses also knows a little something about loss, as does her longtime friend, the Raven Queen.

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Why I Relay

We are the cure. All of us, faeries, demons, dragons, were beasts, pixies, sprites, tinies, giants, satyrs, elves, warriors, unicorns, mermaids and mermen, post-apocalyptic princesses, cait sidhe, seelie and unseelie, orcs, and dozens of others I can’t possibly list here because there are so, so many—we are all the cure. You can make a difference. I can make a difference. Our words, our pictures, the money we donate, the spirit we create, the atmosphere of inclusion and caring you will find throughout the Fantasy Faire, these are beautiful things.

Four years ago, I came to a huge shopping event with a lot of fantasy items and some beautiful, beautiful sims, and I wrote stories about Gwyneth’s rise to the throne of Faerie throughout that Faire experience. I met some beautiful people, and the next year, I got involved. Joe was right there by my side the whole time—he was even on the Skype call where Her Immortal and Glorious Fairneness, Elizabeth Tinsley, interviewed me about helping with store check-in my first year. He loved the spirit we created, and he looked forward to sharing the next year with me. But last year, he passed away, and when the Faire came round again, I experienced it as a widow, with all the memories of Joe’s vicarious enjoyment of it there in my head.

This year, the LitFest promises to be amazing. We’ve got Seanan McGuire as our Guest of Honour, and so many great writers and workshops and sim tours to be had over the course of the Faire. Seanan‘s first event will be an interview with Saffia Widdershins, on Monday, 24 April, at 1pm SLT (that’s Pacific time, so do your own maths!). We’ve also got Tales from the Fairelands being broadcast on Fantasy Faire Radio. You can hear them every four hours; they’re randomly programmed in. I was privileged to compose and record the music for these stories; the tune is called the “Storytime Waltz”. I hope you enjoy it if you hear it.

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Another view of the Rooftops of Raven’s Perch

As you can see, I really did get fixated on those rooftops!

Don’t worry: There will be plenty of the usual story posts from me as we move throughout the Fantasy Faire. I’ll have litfest news, tales from the points of view of The Amazing Catwoman and of course the Gypsy Davey, and I’m sure Gwyneth will pop her head in from time to time.

Come. Stay. Enjoy the Fairelands. Make friends. Be beautiful. Be free. Be whoever you want to be.

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Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Tableau Vivant, Lenoir
Eyes: Mesange, Iram Eyes (Omega Appliers) (Available NOW at On9!)
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Opal, Omega Appliers (Available NOW at The 2017 Second Life Fantasy Faire!)
Gown and Headpiece: Silvan Moon Designs, The Light of Sarin Gown  (Available NOW at The 2017 Second Life Fantasy Faire!)
Necklace: Otherskin, Trinity (Available NOW at The 2017 Second Life Fantasy Faire!)

Location: The 2017 Second Life Fantasy Faire, Raven’s Perch, Sponsored by Rivendale.

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

7ds     mesange-logo-noir OtherSkin Logo Black silvan-moon-designs-logo-full