I want adventure in the great wide somewhere….

I admit it. Even I love when Disney gets it right. And, I guess I’m the right age for this….

I love Beauty and the Beast.

I love Beauty and the Beast. I very nearly wrote my thesis on it, but got talked out of it because there were so many novels and stories on the same topic coming out at the time.

I know this, of course. I know it because, duh, I read them all! I don’t care if the writer has subject verb agreement problems and an ongoing love affair with the apostrophe, if it’s a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, I’ll give it a shot.

So when Bran popped in one morning this week to tell me that one of the lovely people from Silvan Moon Designs had dropped by with a dress for me to try on approval, for the recently opened Enchantment Faire, let’s just say…. there was squeeing. In fact, I jumped up and down with glee.

“Your Majesty?” He was bemused, but then that’s Bran’s normal state. He’s somewhat like my beloved Nathaniel in this. “I don’t understand.” He stared at the dress. “You do not wear a lot of yellow,” he said.

“But it’s Belle’s gown!” I said.

He stared at me.

“Oh, for goodness’ sake!” I fired up the Apple TV and downloaded a copy of the animated Beauty and the Beast. I downloaded the live action version for good measure. And made Bran sit down and watch them both, plus the Lindsey Stirling video where she does like half the score on solo fiddle.

It is not often that you see a grown Sidhe cry. I admit I was smug.

After four hours of straight-up Beauty and the Beast, I was incapable of waiting any longer. “I have to put on this dress right now.” I said.

Bran didn’t protest, except to note that we had no ball planned. I retorted that I didn’t care, and I made him and Clutie follow me out with an iPhone and a gimbal, because I wanted pictures. Clutie just rolled her eyes, bless her. Then again, she’s seen the films.

Of course, we couldn’t escape the pixies.

.

Of course, it being always summer here in Faerie, we couldn’t escape the pixies. They are kin to us, but they’re also pests, and they love nothing more than the iridescent meadow that is my grove garden. So of course we had to deal with them: they certainly weren’t going to leave us alone.

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Look at those little photo-bombers!

I tried to strike some romantic and dramatic poses, but look at those little photo bombers!

“Try turning the other way, Your Majesty,” Clutie suggested. She’d enlisted the help of a couple other demifae, because Bran was impossible. He just kept looking at me and sniffling.

“Gwneth, you look so….so….” he’d say, and then start sniffling.

One of the pixies was particularly problematic: he(?) kept getting right up in my face and trying to land on my nose or something. To be honest, the other ones weren’t much of a problem, as pixies go: I think they just wanted to be near us while we worked, and of course they spend more time in the garden than I do. This one little guy was really getting on my nerves, though.

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At one point, I admit I lost my temper.

At one point, I admit I lost my temper. “Look, you little so-and-so,” I said. OK, I might have been slightly more profane than that. “If you don’t keep getting in my face, I’m going to call the redcaps. You hear me?” He was unfazed. He might have known we don’t really see a lot of redcaps in this little island of Faerie.

“Best just let him have what he wants, Your Majesty,” one of Clutie’s helpers said.

I scowled. “And what exactly is that?”

“He just wants to be in the pictures,” Clutie said. “They like attention, and because we’re not in a …technological wasteland, they pick up on the fact that you’ll probably post these photographs on social media so other people can enjoy them.”

I raised a brow: Clutie was using my own description of the Wylds against me.

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“If that’s what it takes,” I reasoned. “Go ahead, little guy: grab your moment of fame.”

“If that’s what it takes,” I reasoned. “Go ahead, little guy: grab your moment of fame.” I told him to smile, but I’m not sure pixies know how to smile, really. Or maybe they are always smiling: it’s hard to tell. Mostly they just buzz around little big fae bees and try to land on your nose, but when organised they can get pretty destructive. I remember my Gran blaming them for everything from spoiled milk in the fridge to that time one of her cats came back from the Great Welsh Outdoors inexplicably covered with gooseberry jam.

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After that, we just decided that as long as they weren’t causing trouble, we’d pretend they were part of the plan all along.

After that, we just decided that as long as they weren’t causing trouble, we’d pretend they were part of the plan all along. This seemed to please them, and I admit they put themselves into mostly pleasing configurations for the rest of the time Clutie and the three other demifae it took to handle the camera were taking pictures.

“Your Majesty, we should all go to the Enchantment Faire tomorrow,” Clutie prodded. “Who knows what else they’ve got there besides this gown? We might find some beautiful things for the castle. I’ve always wanted a talking candlestick.”

“Really?” I was convinced about going to Enchantment, but not about the candlestick. “Always?”

“Always,” she persisted.

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“I suppose we could take a day for a Faire based around Beauty and the Beast,” I said.

“I suppose we could take a day for a Faire based around Beauty and the Beast, I said. It didn’t take much convincing. “But I am not filling the castle with dancing cutlery, and no way are we bringing home a harpsichord.”

Clutie giggled, and we fell into a nice rhythm of singing songs from the musical as we shot more photos with our pixie hangers-on.

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Here’s my favourite one.

This one is my favourite, though after we spend tomorrow at the Faire who knows what lovely things we’ll have to do more creative play in the Bower. I could even get used to a tribe of dancing pixies wanting to be in most of the photographs.

If those little pests try to cover me with gooseberry jam though, all bets are off.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Vista Bento Mesh Head, Lia
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Venua (Available at the BRAND NEW 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store! —don’t forget to update your landmarks!)
Eyes: Izzie’s, Winter Eyes (fantasy)
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Dress: Silvan Moon Designs, Belle’s Enchanted Ball Gown (Available NOW at Enchantment!)
Hair: Truth, Caralisa
Jewellery: Baiastice, Boudicca Crown, Bangles, Earrings and Necklace (Available NOW at The Liaison Collaborative!)
Wings: Bitter Heart Boutique, Skylar Wings
Pixies: Hextraordinary, Pesky Pixies (Available NOW at The Gacha Garden!)
Ground Cover: The Looking Glass, Ichi Fields
Background Trees: Various; the big one is Pan’s Oak from Cube Republic
Poses: from Musa and Apple Spice’s range of gown poses

Hope in Blackmoor

Gwyneth Blog Header

Gwyneth:

Rest turns to sleep, sleep turns to dreams, and the FaireLands turn over into a new day. A day that made me realise something. Well, a lot of somethings, but we’ll get to those in a minute or twenty, as soon as I’ve collected my thoughts.

Our universe, our metaverse, is full of a million wonders. And I, without humility (what Sidhe is possessed of humility?) can say that I am one of those wonders. But the magicians who make the FaireLands? The magicians behind the magicians who create this once-a-year spectacle of light and sound and literature? These are the wonder-makers.

It’s because of those magicians, in so many ways, that I can be who I am: Gwyneth Evans become Gwyneth, Queen of Faerie, born in the mind of a different kind of magician and risen, kneaded, and risen again in the kitchen of story.

Many of my wanderings during this year’s Great Faire have been informed by magicians behind magicians: in this case, the wonder makers and thought experimenters of the Fantasy Faire LitFest. Each day, a different Realm came up as a tour for writers, and word-weavers came along to look at the Realms and write something down about them.

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A different guise.

So I shall take on a different guise for you today. I am Gwyneth, but I am something different.

Something, perhaps, from a sonnet:

Hope Always Remains
In this dark land, she spreads her golden wings
And calls for mist to clothe her shining limbs.
Before the dawn, her smothered spirit sings
As if her destiny lies in a hymn
Or maybe some inhuman synonym.
What calls to her at last? It is a sound
And when she stirs, her steps feel tugged by whim
Her feathers lift her just about the ground
And when she finds the source, she stands, spellbound.
Where river pours itself onto the rocks
And makes the stones and crevices rebound
As if the water goddess bends and talks
And calls the mist to clothe her where she stands
To bless her with the waterfall’s pure hands.

(Gwen Enchanted, LitFest Tour, Blackmoor)

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In this dark land, she spreads her golden wings and calls for mis to clothe her shining limbs.

Blackmoor. Land of darkness. Land of gargoyles. Land of enough cemetery architecture to make the most eyelinered up goth in Gothtown, Gothy McGothface, tear up and buy every Sisters of Mercy album. On vinyl. Again.

In fact, it would be easy to walk through Blackmoor and not see anything but the darkness.

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But did you look up?

But did you look up? Up into the trees? Up into a night lit with stars beyond counting?

Did you look up?

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Did you travel to the edge of the land and look back upon the glimmering stars?

Did you travel to the edge of the land and look back upon the glimmering stars against the waterfalls?

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Did you balance between a meadow and a waterfall?

Did you balance between a meadow and a waterfall, trying not to be distracted by the glimmering lights overhead?

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I looked back from where I’d come.

I looked back from where I’d come. Such a long way. That may have been the point where I realised I had hieroglyphs painted on my golden (!) skin, a scarab around my neck, wings like a bird’s rather than a butterfly’s. And I thought of myself as a vessel carrying the past into the future. Carrying my story. Carrying all my stories. Carrying my friends and family, and being carried when I cannot carry myself.

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Sometimes it seems like the hardest thing to reach for is hope.

Sometimes it seems like the hardest thing to reach for is hope.

And yet, like the golden-winged girl in that poem made by my personal magician, I think sometimes it is not so far away at all.

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Hope Always Remains

What if, even in the darkest of lands, hope yet remains? What if the golden light of hope fills us, and our bodies, our souls, vessels that carry the past into the future, also carry hope?

Every life is a box.

Pandora’s box.

And every bit of hope is a star in the darkness, the mist of the water goddess, green shoots from the earth, ideas from the air.

It’s in every box. It’s in every life.

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Far away from Blackmoor, on a cliff above the beach at White Owl…

Far away from Blackmoor, on a cliff above the beach at White Owl, there sits a harper made of stone. She plays hope. Her box, at the bottom, contained a little sliver of hope named Words, and Music. Other people have the same kind of sliver. Still others have slivers named Science. Other slivers are named differently, but everyone has at least one.

Hope. Like music in the night, like stars in the darkness, like a cure for cancer. It lives in every body. And in everybody.

Feed it.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa Jessica
Ears: Soul, Uni High Elf Ears
Skin: Fallen Gods, Blessings of Isis
Eyebrows: The Skinnery, The Lyre Brows, 5
Hair: Analog Dog (natch), Epsilon (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Necklace: Musa, Seraph (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Dress: Poet’s Heart, Joy (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Shoes: Bliensen & Maitai, Dreki Anklet (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Setting: Blackmoor and (last photo) White Owl

Yes, the Second Life Fantasy Faire officially closed last night! But the sims are still up and will be for a few days! If you haven’t been already, go check them out now!

Thank you, everyone who works together to create and sustain the Second Life Relay for Life, and thank you, everyone who creates and sustains Fantasy Faire. The event itself is uplifting and inspiring, but nothing prepared me for the joyful and understanding and creative magicians I’d meet there. You are all stars in the darkness.

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