Huntress

I’m going to be shooting in The Shrine Tree today, but if you know anything at all about me, you know that it takes forever for me to put together an outfit. This is something of a joke in my role-play group. I put together a couple of test shots with this outfit, because it’s special. And yeah; that means I’m going to talk about an outfit. Don’t worry: I promise there will be stories this Faire. I promise!

When you blog a Fantasy Faire, you get to sample some wonderful items. You get some amazing things from some of the best and best known creators in Second Life. Sometimes creators you’ve never come across before come into your life, and sometimes beloved creators you despaired of ever seeing anything new from rain beauty down upon you and wonderfulness happens. This is one of those times.

Now, you guys know my heart belongs to Lumae Skins— but there is no one, absolutely no one, better at creating glorious hand-painted skins than Vae of The PlastikThis year, she has released a line of skins with markings that might be mer, might be fae, can be anything, and as usual, they come in an astounding array of colours. The skin line is called Amathela, and this is the special RFL colour, Aleatrice.

The Plastik makes some of the most beautiful fantasy skins on the grid, so they’re in the ‘best and best known creators’ slot in this sentence. Magika hair rebranded not long ago and their new textures are absolutely to die for, particularly if you like things that are glittery and iridescent. I’ve been wearing the Genus Project heads off and on since they were in beta, but this is the first time I’ve photographed the Baby Face head. These stunning purple eyes are from Musaalso an RFL item; they are the Amla Eyes. The creator I’d never encountered before here is Kotolierand I’ve already blogged one of their beautiful, simple circlet and bracelet sets in a previous blog post. Against the complexity of the skin, against some of the complicated hairstyles and dresses Gwyneth wears, these stunning little circlets particularly will be part of my Second Life wardrobe for a long time to come. The wings are from Evolved Creatures, a gift from the glorious Dyisi from a couple of Fantasy Faires back, when we discovered them being used as part of the costumes for the Fairelands Players’ production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. These lovely, whimsical shoes are the Evie Sandals (and you’ll get why that’s so cool, if you haven’t already, in a minute!) from 1313 Mockingbird Lane, who always manage to create the most fun, quirky, whimsical-goth-ignited loveliness you’ve ever seen. But oh, oh, oh, my darlings! And Oh! again. You may remember that a few years back, I joyfully and enthusiastically blogged every single new Evie’s Closet release that I could, given time constraints and the fact that, well, you just can’t always take as many pictures as she has colours. Real Life has taken the talented (and downright niceEvangeline Miles away from Second Life for some time, and my thought was that she was so so busy she was unlikely to come back. Well, you may already know this, but Evie has a Fantasy Faire store up on the Midas region, and there are some absolutely gorgeous things there! In fact, discovering that Evie had new things will be making changes in my blog plans for the rest of the Faire, because every single release in her store is glorious and gorgeous, and I bought all of them. I absolutely did, and I’d do it again.

Gwyneth has never been a racy dresser. It comes from a background in academia, plus the pressures of being a Queen, plus my strong believe that an avatar doesn’t have to bare a lot of skin to be beautiful or desirable. So believe me when I say that I thought this was the dress I wouldn’t blog from Evie’s Closet this time around.

I was wrong.

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Huntress

Honestly, I have no idea what came over me! I suspect this came out of a conversation between the glorious Riven of RivendaleDyisi of Dyisiwood, and me. Riven is updating her avatar look and was looking for a skin or tattoo that would give her an iridescent glow. So I wanted to try the Plastik skin anyway, and the Genus Project heads have some great glow settings. I was trying to create a look that both shimmered and was interesting to look at for reasons other than the shimmeriness, and I think I did all right. I chose the Soul Uni Ears—Luin because The Plastik makes appliers specifically for them, and their shape works interestingly with the skin itself. Vae offers two versions of this ear applier: this is the non-Mer one.

This backdrop, Little Red, is from the clever minds at Adorably Strange Wares, another of those gloriously whimsical, kinda gothy but also sparkly creators I love so much. It’s one of their RFL items, and there are three more of these in their Faire store! Interestingly, the whole thing is an enclosure with sides that are alpha from the outside. The back of this side is the Deep Dark Forest, but the other side shows a fairytale castle. It’s a fun and versatile backdrop that I’ll probably use many times, maybe even before the Faire is over!

Later today, I’ll shoot some story blog photos in The Shrine Tree, and I think this outfit will really shine there.

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Close-up

Here is a shot of Gwyneth’s face, same pose (from Poseidon, by the way, also at the Faire!), just a slightly different camera angle. Poseidon is an old favourite of mine, and their fantasy poses are always smooth and come with great attention to detail (and in this case, a pretty spiffy dagger!)

I shot this in a flat, straight windlight, on Awenia, and the soft pink lights of the LumiPro area the only additional colour that’s been added to the photograph. Both photos were edited in Affinity Photo for the Mac; they have had a tiny touch of diffuse glow (at about 5% opacity), a lens blur of 1 pixel applied, and a matte filter with the desaturation effect stripped away.

Thanks for listening to me yammer on and basically fangirl this outfit for like four paragraphs. I appreciate your making it to the end of the post, and if you were here, I’d give you a cookie.

 

 

Glimpses of the Light of Va’loth

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Beacon

Sometimes, a focal point is so overwhelming it’s the only thing you see. That’s why it’s a focal point, after all. That’s what it’s like in Light of Va’loth. The towering statue, be she goddess, heroine, or legend, is impossible to look away from: she is visible from nearly every point on the region, and she carries a bright light. She is mysterious and fascinating, impossible to ignore.

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A bright beacon

She’s so bright, she might even be blinding. That’s why, once you’ve spent your time staring at and being overwhelmed by She whom we can only assume is the Light, Herself, consider turning away.

Consider looking at the rivers, the bridges, the buildings, the trees, as if they were not overwhelmed by this light.

Consider the clarity of the water, the lovingly layered levels of an ancient (Elven?) city. Consider the lights that hang from the trees.

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Dancing Green

Imagine yourself and your beloved on Va’loth’s dancing green, yes, still in her shadow, but protected now, by her stone sleeves, from whatever approaches above; in this bower, you are safe.

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What you could miss

And really, just think: If you turned toward the Light and stared only at the Light, you might find yourself slow-moving as a statue or an unfortunate troll in the morning. You might find yourself so hypnotised, so mesmerised, by that light, by the hope it carries, that movement, thought, the passive understanding of what happens around you, all these things might fade. And there you would be, a silhouette, one foot poised toward the next step, staring at a light.

It’s enough to make you wonder, isn’t it: What was She staring at?

But, what is Gwyneth wearing?
Fantasy Faire Featured Items (all links point to the specific store where you can find the item):
Gown: Silvan Moon Designs, Aetheria Gown, in Lapis (Get this dress at the Silvan Moon Designs store in the Midas region!)
Halo: Air, Gothic Halo, in Gold (Get this item at the Air store in the Shrine Tree Region!)
Circlet and bracelets: Kotolier, Herba bracelets and Circlet in Gold. (Get these at the Kotolier store in the Midas region!)
Torc: Lassitude & Ennui, Torc Necklace, Dragon, in gold. (Get this at the Lassitude & Ennui store in the Midas region!)
Eyes: Musa, Amla Eyes RFL edition. (Get these at the Musa store in the Sanguinely Garden region!)
Everything Else:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Genus Project, Baby Face
Skin: Lumae, Genus Project Elska Applier T1 (All current skin lines are now available for just L$100 at the Lumae Main Store!)
Ears: Swallow, Elf Ears High Definition
Hair: Analog Dog (natch), Mali

The Light of Va’loth is one of the 2019 Fantasy Faire regions. It is sponsored by Titans and Solarium and designed by Kilik Lekvoda. I am sure I will be setting some stories here as the Faire progresses.

Vistas

Since my first Fantasy Faire in 2014, and in the five subsequent years I’ve been blogging, helping with LitFest, working together with friends on collaborative writing projects for the Faire, and even helping with sponsoring regions and offering little bits and pieces of world building, I’m amazed with the sheer scope of the event. I love not only the little details of each region, but the beauty of regions viewed from other regions.

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Trollhaugen and Tensor’s Flying Market

This year, I got the opportunity to help with a region that is literally a flying machine. One of the things Riven had in mind when the designed Tensor’s Flying Market was what amazing views Fairelanders could experience from its many balconies, windowed gardens, and floating islands.

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The Highest Point

From the highest point of the Market, where the wind ships dock, you can look down upon the stunning Fairelands Junction and Midas regions in their entirety.

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Wind Ships

Of course, the wind ships themselves are lovely to look upon, even from a distance.

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Midas from one of the western lounges

Every level of the Flying Market is built with what can be seen beyond it in mind. I love these garden lattices, reminiscent of Mashrabiya I recall seeing in Singapore and other points east.

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Trollhaugen from the east side of Tensor’s Flying Market

Each of the lounges has plenty of seating space for Fairelanders who need a rest, or just a little space away from the rest of the Faire. You’ll find them throughout the Flying Market.

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So many stunning views

There are so many stunning views that I have spent most of the last 24 hours capturing as many as I could from this side of the Faire. It’s enough to make me want to concentrate on these beautiful views for the rest of the event, though I know at some point the story gods will take over.

Get to the important bit! What’s Gwyneth Wearing?

Seriously. Is this not a spectacular dress? It’s from Poet’s Heartand their store is located in the beautiful Shrine Tree region, sponsored by The Looking Glass and designed by Sharni Azalee and Marcus Inkpen.

The Dryad tattoo comes from Seydr, also to be found in Shrine Tree. Gwyneth is wearing Crystal, and I thought it worked beautifully with both the gown and the hair from Magika. (Nina is a relatively new release, but alas, you’ll have to leave the Fairelands to find the Magika Main Store).

These beautiful eyes are from Musa, called Sphene. They are Omega eye appliers, and this is one of the RFL colours. Must makes its home in Sanguinely Garden, sponsored by United InshCon and designed by Eldowyn Inshan and Katz Republic.

This stunning tiara comes from Zuri, as so many beautiful crowns do. Zuri have their Fairelands home in Nightshade Blossoms, sponsored by Secrets of Gaia and designed by Rowan Thursday and Kylie Todriya.

Everything else is pretty standard for Gwyneth: Maitreya mesh body, skin from Lumae, ears from Swallow.

Don’t forget to keep checking in on the blog throughout the Faire: I’ll be posting at least every couple of days, and I have a lot more beautiful places and clothes and skins and sparkly bits to show you!

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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)

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

One Step Forward

Another mystifying dream, in which I seem to be working for some charity? Let me try to remember it in more detail for you.

It’s my first evening on the street. That’s what they call it anyway. I have to stifle a laugh every time my pod leader says it. But no matter how long we “supernatural creatures” (creatures? really? who says that?) are visible to Earth’s dominant population, we still seem to be seen as some bizarre alien presence. Never mind that history just doesn’t reflect any of the things my parents told me.

So that’s why there has to be a MaVoST. And that’s why people like me, who with less effort can “pass” amongst humans, get picked to go out and knock on doors.

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I don’t like knocking on doors.

I don’t like knocking on doors. It feels so 20th century. All I need is a perky visor and a big suitcase and I could be a Depression Hoover salesperson. Well. And a penis.

My handler is across the street. She’s waving at me. “Go on, Gwynnie, you can do it,” comes her voice through the magically enhanced earpiece I wear (with convenient panic button just in case I end up talking to any of those people).

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I half-turn toward the street.

I half-turn toward the street.

“OK,” I whisper. “OK.”

“Just do it like we practiced.”

“Hi, good evening! I’m Gwynnie Thlessaliel, and I’m a faerie.”

<pause>

“Good, good. Keep going. Rehearsal is good for the soul.”

“Now, I know you probably see a lot of faeries around town. We run your cleaning services, we do a lot of service work, some of us are involved in the arts and entertainment sector, we help create great technology—you know, now that I think about it, we’re actually a lot like you.”

I take a deep breath, then continue. I am taught to wait for some protestation.

“I am part of MaVoST. Have you heard of us? I have some literature here, if you want to read it on your own time. My work number’s on the back, so if you have any questions…. Yes; it stands for Magical Voices Speaking Together.”

<pause>

“Remember, you never enter a house on the first passthrough. Pod tier two will be through in a couple of days.”

“No thank you, Mrs Jones, but it’s a lovely offer. Anyway, read that over, and when you feel like it, give us a call, and we’ll help you get to know more magical and supernatural beings right in your own neighbourhood!”

“That was great, Gwynnie. Just like in practice.”

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Now all I have to do is knock.

Now, all I have to do is knock.

And that’s when it always happens.

Redneck with shotgun opens the door. “You get off my porch.”

Creeper in a Satan Lives jersey opens the door. Grabs my wrist.

Nice looking guy in a suit opens the door. “You people always—oh, no, wait; you’re not a person, are you?”

(voice through the door) “No pointy eared freaks! Get out!”

My hand shakes.

“I’m right here, Gwynnie.”

Kid I went to high school with, thirteen years ago, opens the door. “Oh, I remember you. Blew the fucking bell curve in politics and now you’re going door to door for some creepy supernatural club, right? Yeah; that just goes to show that no matter how uppity you are, you will never amount to anything.” Door slams.

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I can’t.

“I can’t.”

“Third strike, Gwynnie. You have to do it this time.”

I can’t breathe. I hear a high-pitched noise. Everything turns blue. I gasp for air.

“You’re hyperventilating. Take two deep breaths, turn around, and knock on the door, Gwynnie. I am right here.”

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I really, really can’t.

“I really, really can’t.” My voice breaks.

“Right. Let’s go back to the pod office. See if Justin will reassign you, but we really do want all new lobbyists to start with the grassroots work.”

I cross the street. Mariclar puts an arm around my shoulder.

I’m crying.

“Look, he probably will just reassign you. You graduated with a first. I’m sure there’s some office work.”

I’m crying harder.

The curtains across the street part. I can’t make out the face.

“Look, we don’t want to make a scene. Let’s just pop back to the office, OK?” Mariclar takes my hand and leads me around the corner to her car.

It’s too late for Justin to be in the office, so she drives me home.

Then, I am staring at my computer at an email from MaVoST.

Hey, Gwynnie—
Sorry it didn’t work out, but no hard feelings. I’ll talk to Marcus about reassigning you, but for now I’ve got no choice but to suspend you without pay.
—Justin

That’s the third one this year. What is wrong with me?

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Vista Bento Mesh Head, Lia
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Romina (Available ON 1 AUGUST at The Mesh Body Addicts Fair!)
Nails: Cazimi, BOtM Dan’s Metallics and Glitters (Available NOW at the Cazimi Main Store!)
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Eyes: Musa, Apatite Eyes
Dress: zOOm, Lilla Dress (Available NOW at the Gothic Garage Sale!)
Tights: Moonlite Cat Creations, Saon Netting Stockings (Available NOW at the Gothic Garage Sale!)
Shoes: Apple May Designs, Thorned Flower Heels
Necklace: Spyralle, Chaos Breaks Out Necklace (Available NOW at the Gothic Garage Sale!)
Hair: Little Bones, Geist (Available NOW at Collabor88!)
Bag: QE Designs, HexenBag

Environment: Paparazzi, Townhouse Backdrop
Rain: anc, Stardustrain

Recreational Realm-Hopping?

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The Sea of Ennui

Look. I get tired. I get tired, when I’m at the height of my summer power, of everybody coming to me like, “Oh, Your Majesty, couldn’t you please get to work on the new Book Forest?” Or, “Gosh, Your Majesty, we could use some small houses over here by the park’s edge.” Or, “Your Majesty, not that it’s all that important to us, mind, but could you please finish the pathing between the castle and the village and the Book Forest?

It is wonderful to be needed. It is. But there comes a time, particularly when the days are so hot I would like to scream and immerse myself in water at the same time, which would not end up drowning me but would make the pesky mermaids snicker, when I just want to get the fuck out of town and go hole up in someplace different. The Sea of Ennui is nowhere near as nice as the briny variety.

With that in mind, I informed Bran I was off to look for some rare minerals (it was as good a plan as any) and hopped off to a Realm with different weather.

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Well… at least it wasn’t a desert.

“I don’t remember requesting, ‘deserted, mountainous wasteland,'” I said upon nearly crashing into a mossy statue of a book that I judged to be at least four or five hundred years old. “But whatever: at least it’s not hot.”

I judged there was a cave on top of the ridge behind me, and I headed that way. “I was really hoping for a beach,” I muttered to myself.

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Will you look at that.

Well, well, well, I thought to myself as I landed near the cave opening. Will you look at that. Possibly the Realm Hopping Powers that Be Powerful or whatever you want to call them were not just pernicious asshats after all. The whole cave system looked to be made out of that granite Bran was falling all over himself to find. Kind of bluish, but whatever floats his boat. I tapped the control button on my bluetooth headset.

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You will never guess what I’m sitting on!

“Oh, Bran!” I sang sweetly into the mic, ignoring his grousing both about the signal and the fact that my singing voice doesn’t travel well over whatever compression they build into bluetooth microphones. I did once have this guy I dated who would have looked that up for me and had an answer back before I could type it out. He was German, obviously. “Bran! You’ll never guess what I’m sitting on!”

“Resisting the urge to answer, ‘My face….'” Bran said.

I laughed. “You know that blue granite you’re always going on about?”

“You are shitting me.”

“You keep picking up this vernacular, Bran. We’re going to have to teach you to speak Posh Sidhe all over again before the tourists start coming in.”

“I don’t suppose you would be willing to offer me transport to wherever you are?” He was just going to ignore all my teasing.

“I’ll send a wisp. Not sure how long I’m staying here, but at least it’s not hot.”

“Thank you, Your Majesty.”

“Of course, Bran. You know I’d do just about anything for you,” I said smoothly, then sent a little transport wisp his way.

Now, I only had to decide whether I was going to wait here for him, or if it would be more fun to find somewhere, anywhere, with a beach, or at least a lake of some kind.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Vista Bento Mesh Head, Lia
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Romina (Available ON 1 AUGUST at The Mesh Body Addicts Fair!)
Nails: Cazimi, BOtM Dan’s Metallics and Glitters (Available NOW at the Cazimi Main Store!)
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Eyes: Musa, Apatite Eyes
Wings: BareRose, Fairy B Wings
Clothes:
Shirt: Ghee, Slogan T-Shirt, Feminist
Trousers: The Annex, Paisley Pants, Purple Available NOW as a new release and part of the Saturday Sale at The Annex Main Store!)
Shoes: Baiastice, Gemstone Sandals
Necklaces: Violetility, Persephone Necklace;
and The Little Bat, Luna Necklace (Both Available NOW at the Gothic Garage Sale!)
Headpiece: Lode, Summer Garden Wreath, Pink (Available NOW at Shiny Shabby!)
Hair: Exile, Aina (Available NOW at Collabor88!)

Environment: Bearded Guy, Medieval Spring

 

 

Daily Commute

That air of difference, the sense of it, never really leaves you. It works its way out to the surface in ways you won’t even see ’til one day you’re discussing it all with your hypothetical future therapist/healer/priest/take your pick. Sometimes you can still save the memory, if that happens. You can gloss over the prickly bits, change a detail, tell the story that suits you. And of course in dreams the strangest things make sense anyway: you could be having a perfectly ordinary conversation with, say, your long lost cousin who happens for no discernible reason to be a pair of scissors.

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Obviously I’m on the Tube with a bunch of commuters, two anime girls, and a rogue.

Obviously, I’m on the Tube with a bunch of commuters, two anime girls, and a rogue. Because that’s just the way things are. All the usual rules of rush hour commuting apply: in the priority seat there’s a white guy in a business suit, aggressively reading a newspaper in case someone disabled gets on. The pregnant woman across from him is more likely to give up her seat. Women sit with their knees crossed together, taking up as little space as possible; men need to air out the crotch and provide standing passengers with obstacles to make their daily trek less boring.

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“That man is staring at us”

“That man is staring at us,” says Anime Girl With Black Hair. “It makes me uncomfortable.

I can feel the rogue and I roll our eyes in concert. “They always stare, sister,” says the rogue.

Anime Girl fans herself with her fingers.

“You’d best get used to it, sister,” the rogue continues. “Especially when you go around being all different.”

There is a collective intake of breath. All the signs say London enforces diversity. All of them say that. But newspaper man is ruffling his tabloid in a way designed to call attention to itself and not the fact that he can’t take his eyes off any of us, and super tall guy pointedly looks away, as does repressed white lady in black tank dress. Pregnant lady is the only one who’s really not paying us any mind: she’s asleep. Lady in pink looks like she’s going to pretend she must get off at the next stop, even though it’s probably nowhere near home.

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It’s not going to rub off, you know!

And maybe it’s the heat; maybe it’s some kind of post-experience editing, but I can’t take it any more.

I flick my hair behind my shoulder, giving newspaper man’s defensive shield a thump with my nail in the process. “It’s not going to rub off, you know,” I say, in a voice pitched to carry. Nobody is going to wake up with demon horns or pointy ears or an unfortunate proclivity to change into an adorable kitten who also kicks ass on some kind of otherworld battlefield tomorrow just because they had the misfortune to end up on the Central Line with more than the usual complement of weirdos.”

People are pointedly not looking at me. I’m definitely making an impression.

The rogue half-smiles; I wouldn’t be able to tell if it weren’t the way all rogues smile in fantasy novels. Anime Girl in blue turns around and blows a raspberry at tall guy, then prances toward the train exit. The other Anime Girl brings her delicate fingertips to her perfect, cherry lips. “Oh! You are so brave!” she exclaims, then blushes furiously, apparently because she spoke.

I pull a paperback out of my back pocket. Now that I’ve said my piece, I feel like I can get back into this fascinating bit of chick lit I’m reading.

Back when I was in postgraduate school, I used to be good at making connections. In some ways, I still am. The dream of that girl in the jungle, though—the was and wasn’t me one—that one threw me. And then the next dream came and I got an inkling.

But really, subconscious: I already bought into the many worlds hypotheses. I did. You don’t have to keep hammering me over the head.

Anime Girl and the rogue get off at the next stop. Anime girl hides her face as they exit; the rogue turns back to me to indicate that they are absolutely not together, then hands me a rolly and a business card with her name and mobile number written on the back.

Score.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Vista Bento Mesh Head, Lia
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Romina (Available ON 1 AUGUST at The Mesh Body Addicts Fair!)
Nails: Cazimi, BOtM Dan’s Metallics and Glitters (Available NOW at the Cazimi Main Store!)
Ears: Swallow, Magic Pixie Ears
Eyes: Musa, Apatite Eyes
Clothes:
Blouse: The Annex, Maria Top: Available NOW at The Annex Main Store!)
Jeans: Fame Femme, Terry Jeans, Black
Shoes: Illi, Nana Canvas Sneakers
Rings: Yummy, Unicorn Ring Set (Available NOW at Uber!)
Hair: Lamb, Ari (Available NOW at Uber!)

Environment: Fox City, Destination London

Jungle Dream

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I awoke to the sound of water.

I awoke to the sound of water. The environment, and the fact that I wasn’t really comfortable inside my body gave me the clue that this might be a dream.

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I stretched.

I stretched. Nothing felt right. I mean, it felt like my body. But everything else was wrong. And… what was I wearing? At least the chair was comfortable.

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I got up to explore my environment.

Even so, I got up to explore my environment. Or rather, she did. Because…. this really was not me. I could hear her thoughts. Something about someone being back soon enough and wouldn’t that be great but sarcastically great, not genuinely great.

I pushed in to her thoughts and wondered if she’d been kidnapped or if she was in fact another me on another journey, some displaced faery queen. She laughed at the thought of being a queen and just showed me a picture of this world where she’d woken up at the bottom of a hill on the edge of a lush jungle, where she was promptly sold to a chieftain and the person who sold her was set for life.

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There was an exotic beauty to it.

There was an exotic beauty to the place, and I got the sense that she spent almost all of her time here. I asked her if she was some kind of sex slave, and she laughed.

What an odd conversation to have completely in one’s head, she thought. This is the strangest thing that’s happened all month. Me, a sex slave? Not hardly. Chieftan is gay as Christmas and doesn’t want anybody to know. I’m like a hidden beard.

I was intrigued. Why keep her at all? Why not just make her up?

Good question, self. Only asked that about a dozen times when I first got here. He does sometimes bring people round. And I have a dance teacher. That’s mostly so I can dance when he brings people round. But most of the time when he comes he’s alone and he only wants to sit on the couch and read.

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Why doesn’t she just escape?

Why didn’t she just escape, I wondered? I was rewarded with laughter so harsh it was like a slap to the face and the image of miles upon miles of dense, lush jungle crawling with predators of any kind you could imagine.

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You get used to it, I suppose.

You get used to it I suppose. So used to it that you don’t imagine anything different. I was glad this was only a dream.

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Haunted eyes so like my own.

Haunted eyes so like my own, hair that fell below her waist… I wondered how long she’d been here.

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You’d better go.

You’d better go. I can’t have some fantasy hanging around in my head, and he’s coming soon, not that he’ll notice me. But if I’m talking to some imaginary friend, it won’t go well for me.

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She sank down onto the rug.

She sank down on to the rug.

I mean it. Go. Go!

And that was that. I woke up in the canopy bed in the castle. Other voices, other rooms. I wonder how many other rooms I have in my head where other bits of me or whole mes live?

I have a long time to find out, I suppose.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa Bento Mesh Head, Lona
Skin: Lumae, Sylryth Applier (This is a GROUP GIFT available NOW at the Lumae Main Store!)
Makeup and Nails: Cazimi, Bentali Bridal (Available NOW at the Cazimi Main Store!)
Ears: Swallow, Magic Pixie Ears
Eyes: Musa, Apatite Eyes
Clothes:
Collar/Nipple Clips: The Annex, Monique Collar (Available NOW at Red Light District!)
Panties: The Annex, Astrid Panties: Available NOW at The Annex Main Store!)
Hair: Moon, Venus (Available NOW at Kustom9!)

Environment: The Looking Glass, Jiwa Tenang (Available NOW at Swank!)

 

 

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