ERROR: Out Of Cheese

Our first weekend away in I don’t know how long. Oh, it was going to be glorious! Clutie had gone ahead of us to the little cabin by the river and stocked the fridge, but other than that, we’d have no contact with Faerie unless there was an emergency of epic proportion. That was the plan.

Nathaniel was stuck in some meeting with some Mysthaven people, or something. I don’t know. That bunch can’t seem to buckle their own trousers without his assistance, not that I’m one to talk.


Everything looked beautiful!

Everything looked beautiful! I couldn’t get over what a lovely kitchen someone had painstakingly and perfectly put into this house. The views out the windows were of frost-coloured trees, and on the rear side, the boat dock and the ice-cold but clear river water. Clutie had left out bread for sandwiches, bread with butter, and a little bit of cheese with some crackers. Which is a good thing, because of course Nathaniel is originally Victorian. And I’m sure I don’t have to tell you this, but Victorians love cheese. Cheese for starters, cheese on the main, cheese for afters; forget dessert, bring on the cheese board.

And then.

And then I looked in the refrigerator.


Oh, my gods! The horror!

Oh, my gods! The horror! There was no cheese. That’s right. No cheese in the fridge. Well. I did the only sane thing. I broke down in tears.


Nathaniel, because his timing is perfect, chose this moment to arrive.

Nathaniel, because his timing is perfect, chose this moment to arrive. “Gwyn? Honey?”

“There’s no cheese!” I was practically hysterical by this point.

“Gwyn, there’s some cheese right here.” I heard the sound of Nathaniel picking up the cheese knife. “And it’s not bad either, nice and nutty, little bland. Don’t know what these weird salty crackers are for: you don’t want something that salty with cheese. Cheese is already salty enough.”


“You don’t understand! That was it! That was all the cheese!”

“You don’t understand! That was it! That was all the cheese!” I could feel myself starting to hyperventilate.

“That was all of it?” I could tell he still had some in his mouth. Fucking enhanced fae senses meant I could hear him swallow, too.


“I don’t see that this is the end of the world,” he said.

“I don’t see that this is the end of the world,” he said. “We do have a mirror. They can summon us; we can summon them. Just tell Clutie to bring some more cheese. And tell her to get something with a little more age on it this time.” He sniffed critically. “And some soda bread.”

I hiccupped. “You mean you’re not angry?” I turned to face him.

He sighed. “No, Gwyneth. I’m not angry. Do you think that running Mysthaven will turn me into Maric? I’m unlikely to have his level of temper about anything, particularly not something like cheese.”

“But…But Victorians! They love cheese!”

Nathaniel cleared his throat. “A lot of people love cheese.” He walked toward me and put his arms around me. “Just calm down, love.”


Luckily for everyone involved, Nathaniel knows the best way to calm me down.

Luckily for everyone involved, Nathaniel knows the best way to calm me down.


He even rubbed noses with me.

He even rubbed noses with me. I used to think that was so adorable when we first kissed. Well, after the first disastrous kiss, of course. That one doesn’t bear thinking about.


“So… everything’s going to be all right?”

“So, everything’s going to be all right?”

“Yes, Gwyneth, everything is going to be all right. I’ll send out a ping for Clutie or Bran to pick up some more cheese, and then we will be all set to enjoy our…” finally, he looked up to see that the bed was up a ladder-like flight of steps and on a platform suspended by chains from the ceiling. “Hey, any chance we could get them to bring, I don’t know, a cot or some blankets or something, so we could sleep down here near the fire? So much more romantic.”

I smirked against his chest. “We’re not going to break the house, sweetheart.”

“You never know,” he replied. “You just never know.”

Style Cards:
First of all, this whole post was inspired by the delightful and beautiful kitchen Death Row Designs have created for Shiny Shabby. It’s called the Rustic Kitchen, and it comes in both Adult and PG versions. You can buy it in pieces or as a full set. The pose where Gwyneth is crying at the refrigerator really is called No Cheese. I must have gone through five houses trying to find one where it would fit perfectly, and I came upon the Fisher Point Cottage from Trompe Loeil. It had just the right mixture of class and rustic charm, and the wood textures of the kitchen fit really well with its walls. The only complaint I have is there’s not quite enough wall space to display the extra shelves and spice rack that also come with this beautiful kitchen. Remember, the Death Row Designs Rustic Kitchen is available NOW at Shiny Shabby

Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Catya Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Emo-Tions,  Anik (Available NOW at Hairology!)
Eyes: Mesange, First Date Eyes (Omega eye appliers)
Skin: Lumae, Ruby in T1 (Available NOW at The Lumae Main Store!)
Ears: Swallow, Shiny Ears (Available NOW at Shiny Shabby!)
Hands: Vista, Bento Prohands
Jacket: E-Clipse Design, Nemo Coat, Brown
Jeans: Petite Mort, Rawwashed Distressed Skinny Jeans
Shoes: The Plastik, Filivina Heels (Available NOW at Shiny Shabby!) (Note that these shoes are unrigged and you will have to adjust them to your feet, no matter what version of the shoe you are wearing.)

Body: SLink
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins
Hair: No Match
Jacket: Ducknipple Codine Jacket
Jeans: Ducknipple Jeans

h011017   1deathrownewlogo   lumae-logo

We <3 Roleplay In November



So, here’s an unusual straight-up fashion blog from me.

I’m trying to get back into the swing of blogging, so I thought I’d take a look around this month’s We Love Roleplay to see if I felt inspired.

This round is low on fabulous dresses, but I did find a couple. I wanted to showcase a few more of the home and garden items, but perhaps I’ll get a chance to do that in a post later this month.

Will you look at these ears!

Will you look at these ears!

The one thing I was absolutely itching to get my hands on from the preview were these new ears from BentBox. They are flexible, animated, come with a load of jewellery and colour options (and are fully tintable if the colour match isn’t right), and they fit very naturally with Gwyneth’s style. In addition to the ears being animated, they offer several idle styles, so you can change your ears to suit your mood, or just keep them in the perfect place for your avatar. One thing I do wish they had is a way to halt animations altogether, but you can’t have everything, and they’re absolutely gorgeous just as they are. I’ll talk more about this dress in a minute, but note that these are my New Favourite Ears and Gwyneth will probably be in them from now ’til I find a new Favourite.

EMO-tions corset and hair

EMO-tions corset and hair

Now, anybody who knows me knows that my hair heart belongs to Analog Dog. But I’m polyhairamorous. 🙂 And the fact is, nobody who’s making mesh hair has as beautiful a silver as Emo-tions. The style is called Jolene, and the headband is attached to the hair, so it fits perfectly. The Sylvana corset is also from Emo-tions, with great wood texturing and ivy vines for shoulder straps that have bee cleverly designed so they don’t quite meet, meaning that if shoulder straps don’t always fit you, you don’t have anything to worry about. The skin Gwynth is wearing is from Pumens, called Fairy Skin; this is the Light version. Now, since I got my Catwa mesh head (Jessica), I have gone mad for anything that’s offering Catwa or Omega head appliers, so I’ve been demoing and buying them like crazy. The skin has a nice, satiny texture, and I love that the designer didn’t puff up the lips and give poor Gwyneth a duck face.

Another view of the Emo-tions hair and corset and the Pumens skin.

Another view of the Emo-tions hair and corset and the Pumens skin.

In this photo you can get a better idea of the skin definition. Eyes are from Ikon, and the tattoos are the ones Gwyneth has been wearing since the most recent Secret Affair event, the Aigneis & Airell tattoos from Things. Bonus: Pumens includes all the major appliers in simple-to-use HUDs, one for the head and another for the body, so it is super easy to apply. The field of flowers, by the way, is the amazing Ichi Fields from The Looking Glass, which I fell in love with at the 2015 Fantasy Faire; it’s been a staple in every iteration of Gwyneth’s Seelie Bower since it became available at the Faire. The stone circle is from Gor Con and again has been a staple of every build; it was an ultra-rare at the Age of Vikings event from yonks ago. Background trees are the Enchanted Wood from Studio Skye.

Ah, Gwyneth, such a faerie fae in this dress from Moon Amore!

Ah, Gwyneth, such a faerie fae in this dress from Moon Amore!

Here is another stand-out from this month’s We Love Roleplay, the Baroque dress from Moon Amore. With each dress pack you get two colours; I chose the blue and white pack, because blue and gold are Gwyneth’s court colours. The stunning wings were an ultra-rare from the Gacha Garden, the Astralia Warrior Fairy Wings. These wings are so beautifully textured, and there are four texturing options to choose from for the wing membrane and two for the veins. Really lovely work. Gwyneth is still wearing those BentBox wings, and because of their length and the anims on them, you can see them even under fluffy hair, like the stunning Gwen hair from Analog Dog. Yes, yes, I know, but it’s still my favourite hair in all the world, for obvious reasons. I still love everything about this hair, and it’s become the basic hair I put Gwyneth in for just about everything except photoshoots where I’m talking about other hair.

A little closer in, and you can see more detail!

A little closer in, and you can see more detail!

The circlet is one of the beautiful rares from an old Deviance gacha at one of the first Fantasy Gacha Carnivals I ever attended; this is the Erulisse Maiden Circlet. The necklace is from Empyrean Forge: it’s The Dreamer, Barn, Serenity. Again, it’s an all-time favourite and I photograph Gwyneth in it a lot. The skin is Lumae Niska PetalsLumiya Rae is one of my favourite skin designers, and an all-around nice person. And if you didn’t know if already, she’s getting ready to make a fresh start on her skin lines, so everything in her main store is being retired and it’s all 50% off. She also has fantastic group gifts if you want to join her in-world group, and she’s one of the most accessible designers I’ve ever spoken with.

Here's Gwyneth in the Shadow Temptress gown from The White Armory.

Here’s Gwyneth in the Shadow Temptress gown from The White Armory.

This White Armory gown, The Shadow Temptress, definitely tempted me! (I apologise for the bad word humour.) The colour way again I chose to represent Gwyneth’s court colours, blue and gold, because I think of this very much as a court gown. My favourite part of it is the fur detailing at the bottom of the skirt. The arch in the foreground of this studio photo is from Solarium; it’s the Medhir Woods Archway, created by Rynn Verwood for her beautiful sim at the 2015 Fantasy Faire. 

A little closer....

A little closer….

Here, you can see the bodice detailing a little better.

Will you look at these ears!

I should dock myself ten points for using the same photo twice in one blog entry, but you have to get close to see the jewellery from Cae. 

There are a couple of reasons I chose to put this photo in twice. First of all, take a look at the beautiful jewellery Gwyneth is wearing. This is from Cae, called Isabelle; the necklace and tiara are from the same set. It’s not new; it’s a staple of Gwyneth’s wardrobe. The tiara works beautifully with one of my favourite Analog Dog updos, Molly. I got this at the 2015 Hair Fair, but it’s now available at the Analog Dog Main Store. The face jewellery is from Spyralle, called the Forest Edge Mask, and it comes with quite a lot of texturing options. I picked up the mask at an event that I don’t think is happening any more, Illusion Point, but it’s now available in the Spyralle Main Store. Now, remember I said I was really loving playing with Catwa head appliers? This is yet another one, this time Morgana from Pink Fuel. Pink Fuel has been one of my favourite skin designers for years; I lived in Harley for most of Gwyneth’s life as a Princess in the Ashmourne Seelie Sithen. The lips on this skin are so beautiful, not over-puffy, and wide enough so that Gwyneth’s mouth looks realistic; Pink Fuel also does an amazing job with makeups, and there are several choices on the Morgana applier, which comes with a version for both the Jessica and the Annie mesh heads from Catwa. These appliers weren’t at We Love Roleplay; they’re available at the Pink Fuel Main Store. The stunning eyes are from Ikon, natch; they are Triumph Eyes in colour Electric.

Now for some more fun and relaxed shots: Gwyneth with lots of animals, on the Leaf Chair from Ginger Line.

Now for some more fun and relaxed shots: Gwyneth with lots of animals, on the Leaf Chair from Ginger Line.

The Leaf Chairs from Ginger Line come in two different colours; this is Version 2. Version 1 has a green cushion and accents. Gwyneth is wearing the Beatrix gown from Les Encantades, available at We Love Roleplay. I love the sleeve accents on this gown, and Les Encantades has such a deft hand with texturing. So many animals! The Greyhound is from last month’s Chapter 4; he is from meadowWorks. The Winged Cat is from Half Deer, a gacha from a past Kustom9. The Curious Cat was a gacha from Fashionably Dead, and I found him at a past Arcade Gacha event. The Corgi and the Dragon were supplied by Dyisi Oppewall, who helped me set up this shot, and I forgot to ask her where she got them, but I’ll add them in later. The banner hanging behind Gwyneth is custom heraldry created by Nathaniel Ballard, Gwyneth’s IC Consort and one of the wonderful Wicked Wylds storytellers.

Come a little closer!

Come a little closer!

Here, you can see a little more of the dress detailing, and also the lovely Amelie Deux necklace from Zibska (at We Love Roleplay). The headpiece is from a past We Love Roleplay, it’s from Distorted Dreams and is called Aila. This is the Rose Gold version. The hair is Oak Leaf Hair‘s lovely Khaleesi, and I got it on Marketplace.

The minute I saw this gorgeous Mainstay Fireplace from Tia, I knew it belonged in Gwyneth's house.

The minute I saw the gorgeous Mainstay Fireplace from Tia, I knew it belonged in Gwyneth’s house.

The Mainstay Fireplace has spaces for your own photographs, and I love how it looks in Gwyneth’s house.

This is yet another Catwa applier, this time from Izzy's.

This is yet another Catwa applier, this time from Izzie’s.

You can also see some of the beautiful ear jewellery a little better in this photograph. Izzy’s Taleah applier, in tone Frost, is a lovely, fresh face with a lot of depth and great shading. Izzy Button also provides terrific customer service: when I purchased the appliers for the Maitreya body and my SLink hands and feet, there wasn’t an applier for the Frost shade, so I sent Izzy a notecard about it, and she came back to me with an explanation that the SLink appliers for that shad hadn’t been added to the hands and feet applier and were only on the SLink whole body appliers, and she kindly sent me the applier so I wouldn’t have to go back to her store and make a duplicate purchase.

So, partly because of the inspiration chain from knowing wonderful people who create beautiful things, and partly because I miss the side of me that loves to take photos and share beautiful things with the world, I’m going to try and be a little more of an active blogger now.

Later, this week, expect some posts about great stuff available at the Fair Play and Hidden Sanctuary events, plus some lovely skins from 7 Deadly s{K]ins. And I have an amazing bunch of stuff from the community at We Love To Blog, as well. So many things to show you, so little time.

Thanks to everyone who spends even a little time reading my little blog. I hope you’ve enjoyed my yammering on. I’ll make the next one a story, I promise.

No style cards today: everything’s credited in the text.

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

What If….



My children have emerged. That sounds more accurate than saying they are born, since I did not give birth to them. I merely gave life. Merely.

The night was such a blessing. Eilian and Drysi arrived talking up a storm to one another, but Bronwen was quiet and new as dew. I won’t go in to more now, because I want to believe my children are possibilities and not the shadow that pass over them from the past. I won’t.

Three Parents

Three Parents

Janus couldn’t stay away. I hope he will decide not to stay away on a regular basis. I miss him so.

After what probably seemed like a short meet and greet, Bronwen grew tired and the others were pretending not to be, so I whisked us all, the family (Nathaniel, me, Wren, Eilian, Drysi, and Bronwen) off to the tree house, where Bran made hot chocolate for everyone and we got the children settled into their bedrooms.

Poor Nathaniel was so tired out he just crashed.

Janus left through the tree roads, but I hope, I know, he will be back.

In a few days, mine and Nathaniel’s handfasting will take place.

Bran brought me a second mug of hot chocolate, and I just, I don’t know. I started thinking about my life.

“No one is ever allowed to know what might have been,” said Aslan. But it doesn’t stop me speculating about it.

What if I'd grown into one of those sassy Croyden party girls?

What if I’d grown into one of those sassy Croydon party girls?

What if I’d grown in to one of those sassy Croydon party girls? The sort of girl who doesn’t think she’s dressed without a pair of 4-inch heels and shows as much skin as possible, particularly when it’s 0°C outside.

What would she have thought about my house? “Great staircase, but you really ought to get some colour in here. You should redo this kitchen in avocado, mate.”

That.. doesn’t bear thinking about.

But assuming my life followed the same path, the path where the four of us were in that accident and only I woke up on the shores of the river…

What if I’d not grown into the person I’ve become now?

Would I have become a fae servant in my own kitchen? Serving some other Fae Queen?

Would I have become a fae servant in my own kitchen? Serving some other Fae Queen?

Would I have become a fae servant in my own kitchen? Serving some other Fae Queen?I imagine my house-proudness, how I’d turn my magic, what little there might be of it, to the growing of herbs in the counter garden, the height of the fire.

The sort of house-manager who has one perfectly serviceable dress in a variety of colours, all made by her own hand.

The sort of house-manager who has one perfectly serviceable dress in a variety of colours, all made by her own hand.

The sort of house-manager who has one perfectly serviceable dress in a variety of colours, all made by her own hand.

The kind of woman who has one unbelievably beautiful necklace, given to her by a lover who left her, a thing she can’t bear to put away, ever.

A woman who remembers her old life a lot more clearly than I do now. A woman who reads in her spare time and might be instructing the children in literature, since none of them will ever be interested in cooking.

But what if the whole thing had never happened?

And into my head comes a picture of me, laughing because I'm at a great LARP, probably with Richard, in a big house.

And into my head comes a picture of me, laughing because I’m at a great LARP, probably with Richard, in a big house.

And into my head comes a picture of me, laughing because I’m at a great LARP, probably with Richard, in a big house. Fen is probably taking this photograph, maybe with my iPhone. I can tell because I’m laughing. Fen, Fenella, always knew how to make me laugh. And I don’t have to think about the last time I saw her, my best friend, so much blood.

I’m imagining this photo the way I used to look. So short. With my Welsh granny’s face and my professor dad’s hair, and my professor mum’s broad shoulders, and my euphemistically “child bearing” hips.

In this picture I’m happy because we are in a big, beautiful house, and oh what weird things there are on the mantelpiece, and here we are in this house, and we pretend to live here, what fun!

The next picture changes.

I am longing, all the time we're here for this LARP, longing and longing, for it all to be true.

I am longing, all the time we’re here for this LARP, longing and longing, for it all to be true.

I am longing, all the time we’re here for this LARP, longing and longing, for it all to be true. Only I know it can’t be, but what if it is? That’s how I walked through the world, before. Knowing, knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there was no magic. And yet not believing it.

I wonder if my children will grow up and wish for a world in which they are not magical. I wonder if that will happen.

Style Cards:

Three Parents:
Janus’ Clothes & Ears: Gauze
Nathaniel’s Clothes: Junbug
Nathaniel’s HairWasabi Pills
Body: SLink
Skin: Pink Fuel
Hair: EMO-Tions, Cersei (available at The Instruments)
Dress: Jumo: Mother Of Dragons, Gold (Available at The Instruments)
Wings: Falln, Rose Vine Wings (Orange)
Crown: Lode: Head accessory, Vesna, yellow (Rare)
Halo Headpiece: Zyn
Arm Vines: RFyre
Ears: Lumae: Leevi Long Ears
Lipstick: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Greedy Oranges (Available at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store!)
Face Makeup: Madrid Solo, The Vow
Neck Corset: Silvery K

What If…
Body: SLink
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, FREYA, Cotton Candy (Available at Alice In Sexyland!)
Hair: Analog Dog (natch!), Inu
Ears: Lumae: Leevi Long Ears
Dress and Shoes: Jinx, Gweneth, Royal Purple (Available at Fair Play!)
Necklace: Otherskin, Salvation (Available at Fair Play!)

Would I… and The Sort Of…
Body: Maitreya
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, FREYA, Cotton Candy (Available at Alice In Sexyland!)
Hair: Analog Dog (natch!), Motive Braid, Bangers Bang 3
Ears: Lumae: Leevi Long Ears
Dress: Mistique, Aurora, Red (1); and Green (2) (Available at Fair Play!)
Shoes: Aisling, Tess Orty
Necklace: Otherskin, Salvation (Available at Fair Play!)

And Into My Head… and I Am Longing…
Body: Maitreya
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, FREYA, Cotton Candy (Available at Alice In Sexyland!)
Hair: Analog Dog (natch!), Bangers (with Bang 3)
Ears: Lumae: Leevi Long Ears
Dress: BMe, Fishwife Dress (Available at Fair Play!)
Shoes: Aisling, Tess Orty
Necklace: Otherskin, Salvation (Available at Fair Play!)

Gwyneth’s Treehouse in The Great Seelie Forest

Notable Props:
Treehouse: LAQ
Kitchen Decor: DDD
Mewnicorn: Quirk & Co.
Andolyls Rapunzel Tower: DRD
Wall Planeterium: Nomad

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

skinlogodiapFair Play Logo

Faewatch - 1

Nathaniel Ballard: MystHaven’s Sexy Steward

Everything you always wanted to know about the Beguiling Mr Ballard (Almost!)

—by Cherish Gelato
The Castle of MystHaven

The Castle of MystHaven

The Castle of MystHaven rises high above the village, dwarfed only by the mysterious peaks behind it. Stories say no one has ever been to those mountains, and we’re not going to prove them wrong, at least not today! Today, we bring you an exclusive, one-on-one interview with the mysterious Steward of MystHaven, Nathaniel Ballard, who’s captured the hearts of queens, dryads, Victorian vampiresses, and of course our readers!

Could you be the lucky winner of a private date with Nathaniel? Read on to find out how!

The village itself was quiet.

The village itself was quiet.

The village itself seemed quiet when I arrived there, a few townspeople talking, animals grazing on the common, the sort of thing you’d expect to find in a quiet, unassuming little place. Of course, this quiet, unassuming little place is connected to Faerie, and its leader has a very strange reputation, indeed.

Nathaniel met me in the castle's reception room.

Nathaniel met me in the castle’s reception room.

Nathaniel met me in the castle’s reception room after I’d been waved through by the Mysthaven guards, a daunting force of armed men who work tirelessly round the clock to keep the population of MystHaven safe from whatever lies out there, in Faerie.

I just have to say to start out: What a dish! I had to concentrate on the interview, but of course it was impossible not to keep sneaking glances at such a feast for the eyes. Nathaniel explained to me that because Lord Maric, the ruler of MystHaven was busy much of the time, he had the day-to-day responsibility for everything from the town treasury to defence, as well as the diplomatic liaison between MystHaven and the fae courts.

CG: Goodness—that’s a lot of responsibility for someone who looks so young. But you’re not as young as you look, are you, Nathaniel?

NB: Well, don’t believe everything Gwyneth says about me, sometimes she exaggerates. As to my age, that’s a kind of tricky question, since I don’t really know what year it is any more. I was born, by my reckoning, in the year 1853. In 1885 just before my 32nd birthday, shortly after the death of my wife, Alexandra, I was embraced, that is to say, was made a vampire. That was when I stopped aging, in physical terms, so, I look 32, and will look 32 so long as I choose to. The one who made me disappeared, and I spent six years searching for her in Germany and America, before ending upin London in 1891, six years later. Since then, due to various adventures, I seem to be somewhat disconnected from the normal streams of time. Since you are familiar with fae matters, you will understand that. By my reckoning, I have experienced four years since I arrived in London, which would mean that, were the calendar linear, it would now be 1895, which would make me 42 in terms of elapsed years.” He chuckles. “On the other hand, given some of what I have experienced over the past few years, sometimes I feel a lot older.

MystHaven's sumptuous dining room.

MystHaven’s sumptuous dining room.

CG: I could never imagine Gwyneth exaggerating, but of course, I am familiar with fae matters, and I do know that everything is not what it seems in Faerie! Of course, what my readers really want to know is, what’s it like to be the Consort of the Summer Queen?

NB: I have only been Consort, formally, since Ostara a couple of months ago. It is a formal acknowledgment of my relationship with the Queen, as opposed to my relationship with Gwyneth. It gives me an official position and status within the courts, a place at official functions etc. I suppose it gives me some measure of authority within the fae realms, but so far, I have not needed to exercise it. It’s largely a political matter and to my view, anyway, irrelevant in terms of our relationship.

CG: So your position as Consort gives you ‘some measure of authority’. Would you then, be leading the Shining Throng, say, into battle, in the absence of Queen Gwyneth?

NB: [laughs] I’m an accountant, not a warrior. Though, of late, I have become more and more of the latter. Leading the armies is matter for the rooks and ravens and such like, but, when it comes to the defence of the realm, then I would be there at the forefront and if the Shining Throng would accept my leadership, I would provide it, but I would take their advice. It is the same here in Mysthaven. Captain Kustav is a far more able warrior than I, yet he would accept my lead on the battlefield, but I would lead based on his advice.

The happy couple!

The happy couple!

CG: Good, good; so you do have a good head on your shoulders, despite your long sojourn in Faerie. But yes, what about your relationship with Queen Gwyneth? Are there wedding bells in your future?

NB: I met Gwyn in a place far from here, now long gone, called Jasper Cove. I had not long arrived there and had found myself a position as accountant and barkeep at the tavern there. Gwyn arrived a little later and started working as a barmaid. She was not as you see her now then. She was a short-arsed girl from the East End of London, and that was the London of the 21st century, as opposed to the London the 19th century I knew. She had a mouth on her that would make a sailor blush, and I should know, I was a sailor, but, despite that, she was smart, knew a lot about literature and poetry, which was about the only common ground we had. I used to call her a potty-mouthed polymath and she called me a posh fuck. She also thought I was, what was the word she used, gay – a homosexual. Nevertheless, we became friends.  It was while we were in Jasper Cove, as a result of some defences we had to erect to protect ourselves from attacks from fae creatures, that Gwyn discovered she was of fae blood, that she had been left with human parents, a changeling. Anyway, Jasper burned and we found ourselves here. Gwyn was still coming to terms with her fae nature. We were still friends, but became closer. Then, one day, we found ourselves facing almost certain death at the hands of the Raven of the then Unseelie Queen. I decided to take a chance on feelings that seemed to be developing, and kissed her.  We survived said battle and things developed from there.  And, a couple of weeks ago, I did propose and she accepted. We are trying to play down the whole ‘marriage’ in the political sense, because that opens a whole can of worms in the fae courts. We want it for ourselves, for love, but…

CG: What a sweet story! I am trying to picture Queen Gwyneth saying … well, anything unpleasant, really, and I just can’t. What a different side of her you must have gotten to know. So she’s changed a lot, then, from when you first met and fell in love with her. Is that ever a hardship for you?

NB: She has changed a lot, it is true. And it was hard on her. She came into her fae maturity a lot faster than was normal, because of circumstances. A fae prince here adopted her and we had to do a lot of negotiation for her to continue in the relationship with me because, in fae terms, she was far too young.  Also, during this time, I discovered that I was part fae myself, through my mother, who was descended from the Tuatha de Danaan.  And my fae nature was .. amplified through my dealings with a fae goddess and the late Unseelie Queen, so I have changed a lot too. As to it being a hardship, maybe so. She has a lot of responsibilities as do I. We have to be aware of the political implications of what we do. But, for all that she has changed – she is taller now, and more beautiful, even when you discount the glamour. She has matured and become more fae in nature, which can be … trying at times, when starts talking in ways that are normal to the fae, but to mortals seems a little crazy.. especially when her words start making flowers grow and butterflies appear.” He laughs, “Sometimes, I think it irritates her too, because she can’t swear properly any more. Even when she is frustrated and angry and wants to curse like a sailor, it still comes out like the dulcet tones of a refined princess, which rather ruins the effect.  But, when it is just her and me, underneath it all, she is still my Gwyn, I am still her Nathaniel and our love is as strong as ever, and gets stronger every day.

How could one's love for this man NOT get stronger every day?

How could one’s love for this man NOT get stronger every day?

CG: That’s so lovely. Now, of course our readers will be curious about your upcoming wedding! I know you said you wanted to play it down, but surely there’s no way for the Queen of Faerie to have a tiny, private wedding ceremony. Have you set a date? Do you have a theme?

NB: [rolls eyes, curses under breath] Let’s say that the political implications are still being sorted out. As I said, I am 1/8 fae by birth but probably a lot more than that by … adoption and quickening, but, that isn’t going to be fae enough for some. I’m not a huge fan of great ceremony. The only reason my first wedding turned into a bit of an event was because the town mayor attended, and that was because he was a family friend, rather than us having any great significance as a couple. I keep hoping that it can be an event for us, rather than a theatrical extravaganza, but,” he sighs, “I suppose, if it were down to me, I’d probably want to go for an Arthurian theme. The stories of King Arthur were my first great love as a child. Or maybe something Shakespearean.  But, it’s not about me, is it? Weddings are all about the bride, and usually, her family. I know Alexandra’s parents more or less took over ours. There’s probably less chance of that happening. We haven’t succeeded in locating Gwyn’s mother, Sia, yet, and I haven’t heard anything of her adoptive father for some while. Though, there is a chance we could find him, if we could work out where Roanofa…. or something like that is.  As for a date, I don’t really know.  We’re too late for Beltaine, the solstice is coming up way too fast, so I don’t know if we could get organised in time, then maybe Lughnasadh. We haven’t really talked about it yet.

CG: Oh, I was sure you’d say it was coming up at Midsummer. I mean, isn’t that the time your children will be … do we say, ‘born’, or not? Queen Gwyneth explained to me about the crystals when we spoke a few weeks ago.

NB: In an ideal world, midsummer would be the obvious choice, because once that is over, the throne becomes more the responsibility of the winter king, so we will have more time together without having to spend so much time on the throne.  And, yes, the children are due then, which is a whole other puzzle, as I have no idea how to deal with fae babies. I guess that is something we will have to work out between us. Like I said, I’m just the groom.” he grins. “If midsummer is what my lady wants, then I will have to apply my extensive logistical experience and do my damndest to see it happens.

A gentleman and a scholar.

A gentleman and a scholar.

CG: You seem to have everything under control, even if you say you haven’t. But moving on to some things our readers have asked about…. Of course, I, and our readers, are very curious about the world of the Fae: that’s why we’re in business here at FaeWatch. When Fae are intimate with one another. Do they- do you really glow?

NB: [laughs, coughs] Well, now, what a curious lot your readers must be. You hear a lot of things about fae intimacy, from glowing bodies to flowers blooming to exploding bluebirds.  Though the latter was suggested by one of the fae who was a little strange. I can’t say that my experience is typical, given my somewhat … hybrid … nature.  Fae intimacy involves a lot of fae energy, what I like to call the wyld, which is, to me, a life-affirming energy and there is often a lot left over, which can manifest itself in many ways. You may have noticed that Gwyn tends to get flowers growing round her feet, and that’s just be walking around. I’ve learned how to channel much of that energy, soak it up, so to speak. Plus, Blaise, her adoptive father, gave us a crystal that helps to dampen the external effects. Even so, there is often a lot left over sometimes, so, yes, there can be glowing.

The Steward's Chambers at MystHaven.

The Steward’s Chambers at MystHaven.

CG: Exploding bluebirds? That must have been some night! So you need magic to dampen magic? That’s very interesting. Now, Gwyneth has explained to me that the Fae don’t treat relationships as we mortals do: she says she has many lovers and intends to keep it that way. As her future husband, do you have any worries about the sort of … extracurricular company she might keep?

NB: [chuckles] Well now, you really do go for in-depth reporting. I know who they are, at least, I think I do, and, at times, we have shared intimacy, so most of her extra-curricular company, what a delightful way of putting it, is my extracurricular company too. And if there are others, on either side, that end up not being shared, then that is fine too, so long as we are both open with each other about it. It provides variety, it makes sure we never get bored, though that is extremely unlikely anyway, and at the end of the day, we come back to each other, and that’s the main thing.

CG: We ask the questions our readers want to know. I have a list here of questions sent in by our readers, some of which are far more … probing than what I’ve asked you so far. But let’s move on from your relationship with Queen Gwyneth. Is it true that Maric, Lord of Mysthaven, is a Prince of Hell and that this very village rose out of the depths overnight?

NB: [Shakes his head] I am fairly sure he isn’t from Hell. We have dealings with Hell, of course, but he is by no means a fan of the place or its denizens. I’m better inclined towards them, but then, I’ve known some of them a long time. But Maric, no, not a Prince of Hell, so far as I know. It is true that the village appeared her overnight, but I wouldn’t say it rose from the depths so much as emerged from the mists. It is my guess it came from somewhere in the Slavic areas of Europe, from the names and accents, but when it came from, I am not so sure.

Snapshot_006 Snapshot_007 Snapshot_005 Snapshot_004

Some shots of the village that rose out of the mists, fully formed, not so long ago.

CG: And did that not strike you all as just a little bit, well, creepy? Or do villages generally emerge from the mists in your experience?

NB: [laughs out loud] Ten years ago, I was a ships purser. I went to visit my older lover and she turned out to be a vampire who made me into a vampire. I spent 6 years traveling the world looking for her after that. Four years ago, I sailed into a place that looked very much like London, and discovered there were others like me, and also werewolves, faeries, elves, dragons, demons, a devil, a clockwork bunny rabbit…. a few years ago, I left that London and was shipwrecked. A man on a boat, that at the time, I believed to be Charon, took me across a river to an island outside time, where I met more exotic creatures, including a phoenix. That place burned and the boatman turned out to have also been the prince of that place, as well as a young man I nearly had an affair with when I was in London, and, was once that famous Elizabethan mystic, John Dee. I came here, and once, on this hill, stood a castle run by a vampire. I had a brief affair with a dryad and met an old, and much loved  friend I had previously known in London, who turned out to be queen of the Cait Sidhe. That castle was besieged by tree creatures and destroyed, while I took shelter with the Unseelie Queen and she and I became very close friends and more. I have battled great sea creatures, sluagh, the hounds of hell, the Wild Hunt, my girlfriend turned into a faerie queen, the old faerie queen passed on yet still visits me in dreams…. In among all that, a village appearing out of the mysts overnight barely merits a raised eyebrow.

CG: Well, when you put it that way, I guess it might be an everyday occurrence. Now, I’m sure you have to get back to your duties, but let me just ask you one last question, something that keeps coming up from our readers. You must know that you’re quite the heartthrob. I’ve had no less than fifteen requests that Faewatch sponsor a contest to win a date with you. How would you feel about that? Can we sign you up for some fun with a lucky mortal?

NB: I’ve never considered myself a heartthrob. And I’m not sure what sort of date I could offer – it’s not as if we have a wide range of restaurants, theatres etc to go to here. But, I suppose, if Gwyneth is agreeable, I could do that. Is there any way the contest could benefit some worthy cause?

CG: Of course, of course! Charity of your choice? I understand there are quite a few displaced folks wandering around Mysthaven: could we donate a portion of the entry fees to their upkeep? Thank you so much, Nathaniel, for your time and your candour. 

NB: Thank you, Cherish. It’s been a pleasure.

Want to learn more about this man? Enter our contest!

Want to learn more about this man? Enter our contest!

To enter FaeWatch’s Win A Date With Nathaniel Ballard Contest, just send your name, method of contact, and the entry fee of $100 to our offices here at FaeWatch. We’ll announce the winner sometime before Samhain!


Wicked Wylds: Where The Magic Is Real



Once upon a time, there was a collection of people, people whose imaginations were bigger than their back gardens, people whose desire to tell stories and live more than one life captured their thoughts and dreams.

A couple of those people created a place where those thoughts and dreams could come to life, and they called it Wicked Wylds.

This is where I spend my Second Life roleplaying time. WW is not the sort of place you go if you just want to kill some monsters or have lighthearted intimate relations with pointy-eared elves. I mean, you could do those things, but there is a much, much larger story of which your actions can be a small part, or a large part.

In WW you can have come from anywhere. Maybe you were about to go into the shop to buy some milk and suddenly felt dizzy. You might wake up on an idyllic hillside and wonder if you’ve had some kind of stroke or maybe just dropped dead. Maybe you are a realm-walker, and the Wylds is just a convenient stopover between Asgard and Wonderland.

Maybe you are a demon who longs to role-play in a meticulously detailed Hell with a rich cast of characters who will engage you.

Maybe you are a changeling who has lived as a human for so long, and one day, one day, you open the door to Faerie.

Maybe you are an ordinary (ha!) person who dreams of interacting with so many different kinds of beings than you encounter at your day job in the bank.

Maybe you just want to be taken to where the magic is real.

You can’t find Wicked Wylds through a Second Life search. But you can take a look at the Tumblr to see what’s going on Read the histories, the rules, all that admin stuff there, or you can request it from one of the admins in-world. You can seek out members of the admin staff on SL and IM us. Tell us your story and we’ll talk about how it might fit into ours.

There is so much room for growth and there is no end to the stories we might write together.

Some of the people who live in or are frequently found in Mysthaven: L-R: (back row) Gwyneth, Seelie Queen in Faerie; Nathanial, Mysthaven Steward and Queen's Consort; Aoibheann, Lost Rabbit and Lord Maric's Consort; Lord Maric, Lord of Mysthaven and by a strange twist of fate the current Unseelie King; (front row) Wren Darling, Fae Teen and Nathaniel's adopted daughter; Dyisi, Elder Satyr, Realm-Walker, teller of tales and talker of riddles.

Some of the people who live in or are frequently found in Mysthaven:
L-R: (back row) Gwyneth, Seelie Queen in Faerie; Nathanial, Mysthaven Steward and Queen’s Consort; Aoibheann, Lost Rabbit and Lord Maric’s Consort; Lord Maric, Lord of Mysthaven and by a strange twist of fate the current Unseelie King; (front row) Wren Darling, Fae Teen and Nathaniel’s adopted daughter; Dyisi, Elder Satyr, Realm-Walker, teller of tales and talker of riddles.

Admins to IM: Vedis Seid (sim owner and the architect of hell); Faermorn Violet (plot spinner and the architect of Faerie); Suboki Paine (RP and Tech Admin); Benbold (RP Admin); Dickensiandreamer (RP Admin); Dyisi Oppewall (Rp Admin); Gwen Enchanted (RP Admin, Welcome Wagon, Fae Dreamer, and the Blogger of Record).

Spiffy photo taken with the indispensible aid of a LumiPro. Go look at the web page. Yes, I know they’re expensive. If you want to take amazing photos in SL, they’re worth every Linden.

She is clothed in strength and dignity; she laughs without fear of the future



Gwyneth: I’d have said anyone other than me would be more fitting to have this quote from Proverbs apply to them, but I woke to find it painted upon my body.

I couldn’t concentrate.

I drew wards on my hands.

Finally, I went into the village, where I met with Dyisi.

Along the way, I don’t know. I became more lighthearted. Which is to say I think I lost my mind.

By the time I’d got to Mysthaven, I was in such a happy and manic mood I could even be amused when Dyisi admitted it to me that she had counselled Nathaniel to propose marriage to me.

Well, fuck me gently with a chainsaw, Heather.

Kern and Dyisi matched wits. Or should I say Kern got close to Dyisi and stood on the end of her staff and I think he had some kind of a sexual awakening, which I know is difficult to imagine because Kern is the randiest demifae I’ve ever met, and they’re all randy. Oh, fine. Most of them are randy.

So now if Nathaniel, who is not Sidhe and part unholy predator, and who can lie, asks me for my hand in marriage, I’ll have to wonder if he’s doing it because Dyisi suggested it.

Some days, I do not enjoy being a girl.

I didn't stay in the village long.

I didn’t stay in the village long.

I didn’t stay in the village long. I made my way back to the Residence as soon as there was some even remotely usable excuse. Where I took a long walk through our Seelie Lands and found myself finally in the lily pond, just dabbling my toes and communing with the fish.

I couldn't shake this weird feeling, though.

I couldn’t shake this weird feeling, though.

I couldn’t shake this weird feeling, though. There must be something to having a relationship, a friendship even, with Dyisi. It was the oddest thing: I could just feel her there, even though I’d left her back in the village. I suppose it could be worse, though: I could be getting midnight visits from Gwythyr.

Probably shouldn’t have said that.


The winter, apparently, was long.

The winter, apparently, was long.

The winter, apparently, was long.

And, it seems, I slept. I remember the demifae coming to me with food, nuts, berries, sometimes meat.

And I remember Janus coming to me, again and again, throughout the winter, drawing upon my strength, the sleeping queen, the dormant spring, lying there like the water beneath the frozen land, waiting for the touch that burned and froze and burned again.

And then, something stirred.

And then, something stirred.

And then, something stirred. I heard voices, familiar and comforting voices, and when I turned in my sleep, it seemed I could remember the rich rush of water, the coming thaw, the gloriousness of my feet against green grass.

As lovely as my long dream was, I could hear it was time to wake. How they tease you when you’re sleeping, the memories of the land, your own memories, the minds of the fae dreaming and awake. Being a Queen means being inside all of them and letting them all have their sovereignty, and if that, just this once, meant sleeping through winter, well then: I slept through winter.

Both voices, so familiar, one grown and one growing.

Both voices, so familiar, one grown and one growing.

Both voices, so familiar, one grown and one growing. Nathaniel and Wren, come to wake me like a fairytale princess.


Nathaniel, come to wake me like a fairytale princess, Wren, come to ask a million questions and explain the intricacies of life as a fae teenager. Bless her, she’s got wings now, and the land is working its magic in her blood as surely as it did in mine.


But something happened of course. Something happened when Nathaniel kissed me.

But something happened, of course. Something happened when Nathaniel kissed me. To be fair, something always happens when Nathaniel kisses me, ever since that night when I was drunk and kissed him because I was angry he hadn’t kissed me yet and something about his skin.


The Wylds have done their work on Nathaniel as well.

The Wylds have done their work on him as well, and the man who kissed me drew away from me a different man and reminded me of the goddess inside me who grants me the breath to walk in her footsteps.

I would have been afraid once of a man with horns and wings like a bird. I would have been afraid once of a man whose teeth can sink into flesh like a hot wire through butter. Maybe it’s only because I didn’t know what he was, but rather who he was, when I came to love him. Maybe that’s the only reason things didn’t turn out even more sadly for us all.


Yes, of course they gave me the news.

Yes, of course they gave me the news. News of this or that ascent and descent, the comings and goings of Huntsmen and the terrifying yet strangely exhilarating news of King Gwythyr in the wind.

It seems my dream of winter is over. It seems my crown of rain and candles were never seen except in my dream. It seems I danced with ravens only in the shadow roads, and my only dance partner was My King, and I never knew I slept except in the certainty of that dream of dancing toward winter. My plan, my life as a Winter Queen, well. I made it a month into autumn and not even to Samhain, and dream a dream of love in that other life, love I would never dream possible if I knew that were the only world.

You ask, “My Queen, what may I bring you?”

You ask, “My Queen, what may I bring you?” And I say, “Bring me rain. Bring me snowdrops. Bring me primroses springing beneath my feet. Bring me an early sunrise. Bring me the promise of birds courting in the trees, rabbits fucking in the sparse wood, bears waking and thinking of fucking in the deep wood, deer keeping themselves under control until the last few moments of spring bleed into the wet, hot, rutting summer. Bring me ice water from the mountain above the Residence: Bring me the thaw. Bring me the melt. Bring me mud time and bud time and every little strawberry blossom that heralds every asparagus spear.”


And then you ask, “But what of the Winter Queen you might have been?”

And then you ask, “But what of the Winter Queen you might have been?” And now I will quote a book that you never have read and are unlikely to read, a book about a lion, and I will tell you that, “Nobody is ever allowed to know what might have been.”

You want to see me in my kingdom? You want to see me in a crown, in jewellery, in a dress that makes mortals tremble? Why should I make mortals tremble? Mortals tremble of their own accord. And when they see me, some of them realise why they tremble.

But here: I will indulge you. Now there are buildings behind me, mountains.

But here: I will indulge you. Now there are buildings behind me. Now I wear roses and gold. Now you can see what my feet have wrought even in the hazy morning of my first day, my first day awake, my first day back.

Did I tell you it was a long winter? Oh, yes, long. And now I am awake. Awake and in my Nathaniel’s arms, awake and giggling again with Wrennie, awake and hearing more of Aoibheann’s adventures (they are never-ending), awake and wondering once again if Dyisi is a genius or a rustic or a little of both, awake and wishing more than anything for a week between seasons so that I could rest and remember Gwyneth Evans and read a contemporary fantasy and laugh about how fairies could never survive in London. And a week to go there as a fairy.

And who will question me if I wear birds in my hair?

And who will question me if I wear birds in my hair?

And who will question me if I wear birds in my hair? No one. Who will question me if the air bends around me and crowns me with light? No one. Yes, I think a week in London, undercover as Gwyneth Evans, would do me a world of good. Someone needs to tread on my foot on purpose and then tell me to go fuck myself, someone who won’t be marked for death later by some Sidhe who wandered upon us and guards me still. Or so they say: I have not yet seen Wulf.

Fade away, dream, fade away.

Fade away, dream, fade away.

Fade away, dream, fade away. I shall watch you, but only far enough to know you’re fading. Any farther and you might not come back again, or so says my Welsh granny. My false Welsh granny.

Perhaps that should be a week in Aberystwyth. Twenty years ago. And maybe that’s how it all started, anyway.

So many things to think about. My mother, lost before she was found. I must find her again. And my children. I do not think I can hold off their births much longer: it may be that sleeping through the winter was in some way my desire to do just that.

My Valene. My Nathaniel. My Janus. My Aoibheann. And that creature in the castle who calls himself now a king.

Rise, sun, rise.

Come, summer, come.

Existential Blues

My dad made me listen to this song when I was a kid. I think it was by some America comedian. It didn’t make any sense, and neither does Jasper Cove.

Here are ten questions I don’t know the answers to:

  1. Why do we not have internet but we do have an espresso machine?
  2. Why don’t I ever bring my sketch book out in public here? Drawing from memory sucks, but I did a sketch of Nathaniel this morning.
  3. What is the deal with all these little kids? I would think I made this whole fucked up fantasy up, but there are so many little kids, everywhere. I would never dream up so many little kids. And all of them are girls. WTF.
  4. Who invented this abomination they call cider? Cider has alcohol in it, damn it; lots and lots of alcohol. It tastes like fruit and it gets you seriously pissed. 
  5. WTF is up with Nathaniel? He’s got lovely ginger hair, but he’s so fucking polite. If he didn’t swear up and down he’d had a wife who passed away, I’d put him on the ‘never been snogged’ list, honestly.
  6. Why is the only thing here that mirrors reality the lack of available men? See above point, plus Emanuel, who seems almost normal, is clearly shagging Anna, and Creepy Bird Druid Man I would not want following me around anyway, and Alec is (duh!) the king who is all kinds of happily married, or I should hope so with the number of kids those two have running around. Cristoff is like my funny uncle, and Bound– well, let’s just say he’s not on the list of potential Jasper Cove Flings for various reasons. 
  7. There are no gays here. WTF. At home, everybody I know is gay. Or looks gay. Or acts gay. Or would kind of like to be gay. This is possibly because my gaydar got skewed for life when I spent that summer working for Apple Retail. 
  8. Where are the kitty cats? In the absence of a potential Jasper Cove Fling, I could at least go for a kitty cat. 
  9. When do I get to meet this amazing talking dragon? Aoibh told me we actually have a real dragon who comes in to the pub. I’d like to see that. I would say she’s fucking with me, but I don’t think Aoibh knows how to fuck with people. We have to fix her sense of irony. Did they have senses of humour in the 1300s that didn’t involve poop jokes?
  10. It is really good that I finally started this journal. Now if I have questions like, ‘Am I dead, back home,’ or ‘Am I in a coma’, or ‘Did I just get some seriously good drugs in hospital and I’ll be back in a few weeks’, I have somewhere to put them down instead of blurting them out to whoever will listen to me. 

Top Ten Reasons I Probably Am Not Dead.

  1. I don’t feel dead. 
  2. No white light.
  3. No life flashing before my eyes.
  4. Nathaniel said Alec said the boatman was not Charron.
  5. No cats. There would be cats in the afterlife.
  6. In the afterlife, I would be in a tracksuit, and slippers, not dealing with the same five LARP outfits I took to Shining Lands. I’m getting seriously fucking sick of them. And wtf, no denim.
  7. I would not itch so much in the afterlife, because duh, I’d have no nerves. Seriously, I must be allergic to something around here, because damn. Itching.
  8. I still have to sleep. What’s up with that?
  9. I am running out of eyeliner. In the REAL afterlife, there would be an endless supply.
  10. There would be sushi. Lots and lots of sushi.

Right, so much for existential blues; on to bad art. Here is the sketch I did of Nathaniel earlier. I don’t think I got it quite right.