Dreams of the Journey

While it is true that the Fae year ends and begins at Samhain, I was raised in the mortal world with parents who had no idea of my heritage and a Welsh granny who wasn’t telling. And so despite the lack of real evidence around great things happening on the thirty-first of December, my own psyche still remembers that day as a time of beginnings and endings. And so, sometimes, a little vision will intervene, whether it be of the future or the past or something completely bizarre and weird. That’s what happened last night.

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My head hurt. 

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And my feet hurt. Not surprising: these boots were way too big and not fitted at all well.

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And where *was* this place, anyway? Think, Gwyneth. You need to think. This smug kid isn’t going to help you.

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Yeah: nobody up *there* is going to help you, either. Why is there a horn stuck to your forehead?

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OK…. and that’s a tail. And… let’s check… great. Extra ears. So. Not only are we wearing boot hooves that are too big, we are apparently some kind of unicorn.

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We have no desire to be a unicorn. And why are we talking in third person?

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Oh, look! Other denizens! Hey, flying denizen! Watch out: Green denizen is about to throw something at you, I think. Did that help?

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“No, I am not kidding you. I never had a tail and ears and a horn before today. Well, except for that one time back in Jasper Cove. But that was a long time ago.”

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“Well, fine. I’ll call someone who cares, then. These boots are really beginning to hurt my hoov– I mean, my feet.”

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If we stand like this statue (there we go with the third person again), maybe we will adopt his obvious nonchalance toward everything. Worth a try. 

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“What? Can’t an ordinary faerie queen who is apparently dressed up like a unicorn have a perfectly reasonable conversation with some sort of flying monkey or perhaps demon? I’m just trying to fix my boots here.”

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“So anyway, if there’s some sort of a deal we could make, whereby I get better fitting boots and, I don’t know, you get … something? No, no; I get it. You aren’t interested in my immortal soul. How do you feel about Mint Imperials? I have a friend with an endless supply. Nope, not making this up.”

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It was pretty obvious to me that Peter Pan dude had been bullying the other two for a long time. But what was that hand coming out of the ground for?

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At least it was giving one of them a place to rest. I would really like to get out of these boots now.

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The boots haven’t disappeared just because we can only see me from the waist up now, you know.

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Oh– I can wake up now? Well it’s about time. Yes, I promise to make sure the hoof boots fit. Like I’m going to end up with hoof boots.

Well, that was weird.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Vista Bento Mesh Head, Lia
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Romie Freckled (Coming soon to 4Mesh on 12 January, 2018!)
Eyes: Mesange, Sanford Eyes
Unicorn Ears, Tail, and Horn, The Plastik, The Amalthe Unicorn Set
Dress: Paper Moon, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Earth Corset
Boots: Otherskin, Lucky
Hair: Truth, Halona (Available NOW at Uber!)

Poses: An Lar

Location: The HazeThe Haze is this amazing art installation, with a wonderful story around it. Please visit there, and please drop something in their donation box, and if you can afford it, make it a big donation. SL artists survive on the donations people give when visiting their projects, and this one is a beauty.

 

 

 

 

Still Standing in San Mora

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You know what? I don’t care any more.

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

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

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Dyisi came to visit yesterday.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I’d rather have a joint.”

“You always say that.”

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

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Would you believe it: she found a fucking ukulele.

Would you believe it: she found a fucking ukulele.

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Seriously?

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

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

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

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

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

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

I shrugged.

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“I’m tired of being careful.”

“I’m tired of being careful,” I said.

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

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

Dy sighed. “I guess not.”

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

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

Dyisi frowned. “I’d look for you.”

“Assuming you weren’t gone first.”

“In which case you’d look for me.”

“Yeah, probably.”

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

“Do not.”

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

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

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

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The Dead Wall

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

Dyisi shook her head. “Cynical, cynical.”

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

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Dyisi on a police car.

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

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“You know this isn’t real, Gwyneth.”

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

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

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

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

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

“I’m not?”

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

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

“Yep,” Dyisi said.

“Right! Let’s do that, then.”

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

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

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

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

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

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Towers Of Nope

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

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

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

 

An Oracle in The Rose

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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I turned. What else could I do?

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

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

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

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

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There were roses, of course.

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There were lions.

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More than one lion, in fact.

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A dome view that spanned several realms.

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I might have mentioned the lions….

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Oh, and rose petals. Rose petals everywhere.

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Inside, scattered lights and archways. And more roses.

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Did I mention the roses?

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

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

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It was The Rose, herself.

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

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

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

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

 

A Home in Raven’s Perch

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

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The Lady of Roses in Raven’s Perch

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

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

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

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

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The roofs of Raven’s Perch

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

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Sim Landing Point

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

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The Lady of Roses

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

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Path to the Lady of Roses’ ruby resting place

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

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

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

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Beautiful, she was.

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

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

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Why I Relay

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

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The Lady of Roses at the memorial stones

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

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Why I Relay

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

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

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

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Another view of the Rooftops of Raven’s Perch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Dream of Winter

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Gwyneth:

My dreams grow more intense. I had the most haunting dream the other night, and I wasn’t sure about all the messages there seemed to be in it at the time, but now I think it must be about protection, and unity.

 

 

 

 

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I was standing in a place that I knew to be my Bower, though it was much changed.

I was standing in a place that I knew to be my Bower, though it was much changed. There was new snowfall everywhere, and I came to myself in a little copse of trees, all alight by some magic. How beautiful, I thought. I noted the house behind me, but it seemed obvious that I had just come from there. And there was a path, and you know how sensible these things seem in dreams: I walked down it.

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Everywhere, there was the mist that I have come to associate with thick, Fae magic.

Everywhere, there was the mist that I have come to associate with thick, Fae magic. To my right, I spied a gazebo that I was sure I’d seen before, and two little houses were on my left. I knew instinctively that these were Drysi and Eilian’s residences, and I wondered for a moment why there was no residence for Bronwyn. I made a mental note to ask Dyisi whether or not she’d seen anything about Bronwyn’s future. Perhaps Bronwyn is in some kind of danger. Then again, half the time I don’t know where she is anyway. At least, now that the number of injured we have just seen come through the Bower has convinced Eilian that books are more interesting than pretending to be a warrior, he can be counted on to be in his room studying most of the time, and I have some hope that he might turn out to be more sensible than I’d feared. And Drysi, well. I just hope our relationship continues to improve.

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But something else caught my eye.

But something else caught my eye. At the end of the path, there was a circle of purple flowers. I laughed to think of flowers in the snow. In their midst, there was a statue of a spring goddess, or I assumed she was some aspect of spring or summer: she certainly wasn’t dressed for the snow. I found that I was holding, somehow, five votive candles, which I placed around her feet and lit: three for our Realms of Earth, Sea, and Sky, one for the creative initiator of Fire, and one to the Shining Ones.

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Then I turned and saw what looked like  a garden wall.

Then, I turned and saw what looked like a garden wall. But no ordinary garden, no. I could already see what peeked over the edges. It was our somewhat wilful Sithen Rose. I smiled to myself to see that someone had made it a much more secure enclosure than Davey’s well-meaning stonework, but then as I got closer I saw the gypsy’s mark on the gate post and smiled to myself.

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I swear, if ever there were a more menacing plant, I have not met it.

I swear, if ever there were a more menacing plant, I have not met it. Nor would I want to. As I entered the garden, one of the roses lifted up and followed my progress round the still-existing stone enclosure, and I could swear I heard a hiss. The Sithen Rose at the old Seelie Sithen in Ashbourne was a much more benign plant than this. I wonder if it’s exposure to Maric’s roses that has made it so, well, odd. I left the walled garden quickly, resolving to have that very structure built the moment I woke up.

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When I left the walled garden, I found the familiar field of flowers, blooming even in the snow.

When I left the walled garden, I found the familiar field of flowers, blooming even in the snow, and my beloved reading house. As I walked round, I saw that Wren’s treehouse still looked intact, so no need to worry about her future, at least for the moment.

The paths, now covered over with snow, seemed the same, though the central one now pointed toward the gazebo I’d rounded on my way to the Sithen Rose.

Dream of Winter BLOG - 7

As I drew closer, I realised the gazebo was more than just a decorative piece of the garden.

As i drew closer, I realised the gazebo was more than just a decorative piece of the garden. Beneath its mosaic roof was a council table with many seats.

Dream of Winter BLOG - 8

Of course, as with everything in dreams, this felt significant.

Of course, as with everything in dreams, this felt significant. Reflexively, i reached for the necklace I wore, then discovered that it felt unfamiliar. I looked down to find I was wearing an exquisite, perfect dragon, with a crystal clutched in its talons. The workmanship was so familiar. How odd that I didn’t remember purchasing this dragon necklace from anywhere, and how odd I’d have a dragon symbol at all: I just don’t think all that much about dragons, unless they’re Lilacor. Was I now being protected somehow by a dragon?

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I couldn’t resist a little play when I finally got to the beautiful and impressive looking council table, with its big wooden chairs.

I couldn’t resist a little play when I finally got to the beautiful and impressive looking council table, with its big wooden chairs. “Oh, Lord Daecharion. How awful to see you. Do please take a seat: I’ve iced this one specially for you.” This made me cackle like a madwoman in my dream.

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Still, there’s no denying the beauty and workmanship of this table.

Still, there’s no denying the beauty and workmanship of this table, even if all I could think to do with it on first glance was insult that stuffed old prick Daecharion. I did wonder what it meant, though: are we to be at war again? Will we be drawing up treaties? Are we to come together with other Fae royals from different realms and try to make sense of the cosmos?

All these questions started jumbling together in my head, and then next thing I knew, I was waking up in my own familiar bed.

Dream of Winter BLOG - 11

Well, the bed was at least familiar.

Well, the bed was at least familiar. Nothing else was. Oh, joy: a new season, a new Bower. I went to explore to see if my dream was true, and I found a magical ladder, similar to the ones that we had in my lovely Treehouse, to take me down to the new Residence’s main level.

Dream of Winter BLOG - 12

I descended in what I could only imagine must be intended to be Nathaniel’s office.

I descended to what I could only imagine must be intended to be Nathaniel’s office. It was full of dark wood and purple and old books. Not that I don’t like old books, mind.

 

Dream of Winter BLOG - 13

Of course, my eyes lit up when I saw the kitchen!

Of course, my eyes lit up when I saw the kitchen! No more sneaking to a different building to get a midnight snack! And the table is the same one from the coffee pavilion in the old place, so that’ll be familiar at least to the children. I must go round and inspect their little houses later on.

Dream of Winter BLOG - 14

And the rest of the main level!

And the rest of the main level! Such huge windows, and my beautiful desk, and a big window seat, and an artist’s corner with an easel! I suppose this means the Shining Ones want me to explore art again. I haven’t been painting in such a long time.

Dream of Winter BLOG - 15

And now I imagine the bower as a snow globe.

And now I imagine the bower as a snow globe. A little circle of light. How funny it would be, to live in a snow globe.

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There are dragons, and wolves, above the fireplace.

There are dragons, and wolves, above the fireplace. And I’ve been a brunette since I woke up from my dream. I don’t know what that means, either. But I am so happy not to be asleep again, like last year. I never want to sleep through another season. I think, had I not been sleeping, My King Janus might still be with me. I miss him every single day.

Style Cards:

Gwyneth in Red
Body:
Maitreya Lara
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Vlinder, version 8a, Catwa Applier, in skintone Apricot (Available, along with Maitreya and SLink appliers, at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store)
Head: Catwa Jessica
Hair: Calico, Theia (Available at The Secret Affair)
Crown: Noble Creations, Gold Crown (Group Gift at the Noble Creations Main Store)
Ears: BentBox, Sylvan Ears, Medium (Available at We Love Roleplay)
Eyes: IKON, Spectral Eyes, Gold
Dress: The White Armory, Crystal Solstice Gown, Ruby
Necklace: Otherskin, Gaurdians Mercury Tigereye (An Advent Calendar Gift at the upcoming Fair Play [opens 1 December])
Wings: Deviance, Sidhe Wings, Briar Rose (Rare)
Shoes: Junbug, Valkyrie Sandals, Red (even if you can’t see them!)

In the bower:
New Seelie Queen Residence
: LAQ, Picturesque Cottage
Children’s Houses: KTZ Houses, Pashoot
Statue: Paper Moon, Visage Stone Statue (Rare)
Flower Ring: The Looking Glass, Dream Fields Circle
Sithen Rose Walled Garden Enclosure: Spargel & Shine, Jardin Marisol (Available at Cosmopolitan)
Sithen Rose Inner Enclosure: Artisan Fantasy, Maiden Tor Stone Wall
Sithen Rose: The Looking Glass, Hearts Like China Roses
Flower Field: The Looking Glass, Ichi Fields
Stone Circle: Gor Con, Menhir Circle (Ultra Rare)
Storyteller’s House: 8f8 Storyteller’s Burrow (Rare)
Gazebo: Cerridwen’s Cauldron, Seelie Gazebo, Wide
Council Table & Chairs: Noble Creations, The Round Table (Available at  We Love Roleplay)
Trees: Studio Skye, Enchanted Woods
Signposts: 8f8, Storyteller’s Burrow, Sign Post and Direction Post
Snow-Covered Paths: Happy Mood, Dirt Road
Cobbled Paths: [DDD] Stoney Path

Gwyneth in Jeans
Body: Maitreya Lara
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Vlinder, version 8a, Catwa Applier, in skintone Apricot (Available, along with Maitreya and SLink appliers, at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store)
Head: Catwa Jessica
Hair: Analog Dog (natch!) Gwen
Ears: BentBox, Sylvan Ears, Medium (Available at  We Love Roleplay)
Eyes: IKON, Spectral Eyes, Gold
Shirt: Kitja, Nile Shirt, Grey (Available at Uber)
Jeans: Spirit, Abba Jeans (Available at Uber)
Boots: aDiva, Kenya Moto Boots
Necklaces:
Otherskin, Gaurdians Mercury Tigereye (An Advent Calendar Gift at the upcoming Fair Play [opens 1 December])
BAMSE, Moon Necklace (Rare) (Available at The Fantasy Collective)

In the House:
Bed
: Tarte, Enchanted Slumber
Nathaniel’s Office
Bookcases: 8f8, Storyteller’s Burrow, Grand Cabinet, Double Bookcase
Furniture: Artisan Fantasy, Valezquez Set, Hacienda Reading Bench
Kitchen
Table, Chairs, Benches: Trompe Loeil, Laney Table
Back Kitchen Fixtures: [DDD], Victorian Little Kitchen
Coffee Decor: Kunst, Coffee Gacha (Available at Shiny Shabby)
Food Prep Table: Ginger Line: Double Wood Basic Counter
Lamp: Velvet Whip, Moon Lamp (ultrarare) (Available at the Fantasy Gacha Carnival)
Fireplace Shield Decor: Artisan Fantasy, Symbolic Shields Triple Wolf (ultra rare) and Dragon Triquetra (rare)
Living Room
Couches, tables, and candles: Artisan Fantasy, Hacienda Living Room
Desk: Tia, Diplomat’s Desk
Easel: Solarium, Medhir Woods Easel and Painting
Artist’s Table and Bench, plus decor: Apple Fall, Old Stained Table and Old Stained Bench; Red Tea Towel, and Liberty Sketchbook
Curtains: ASO, Vintage Curtain (Available at The Fantasy Collective)
Kitten Painting: Antique Artistry, Yard Long Painting, Kittens
Lamp: Velvet Whip, Moon Lamp (rare)

Snow Globe: Turnip’s Skydome 2.0

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

Fair Play opens on the first of December and runs through the seventh of January. Make sure to check out the Advent Calendar there, where you can get a beautiful free item every day!

I’m absolutely chuffed to have been selected to blog for Noble Creations, whose beautiful things I’ve bought and enjoyed for some time now. I only blog stuff I love.

7dsFair Play Logo[NC] - Noble Creations - LOGO

The Amazing Catwoman: A History, Part 2

The Amazing Catwoman:

The Amazing Catwoman:

Right, so I have a few hours before I have to go down and do Goblin Guard Duty for Her Seelie Won’t-Let-Me-Out-Of-Her-Realmness, so I guess I’d better record a little bit more about what happened to me in House Geasan and how things went after the five people who lived there (yes, even Shari!) accepted me into their occasionally merry and always interesting band of mayhem.

Shari spent weeks teaching me how to glamour my skin. Every day, we’d get it a shade or two lighter and more human looking, and every night it’d go away, and every morning she’d throw something at me because I hadn’t made the glamour strong enough to hold up overnight.

“What are you gonna do,” she used to ask, “when the Secret Police come crashing through our doors one day and discover you’re a Svart? You’ll be sent off to Faerie, tortured til you can’t stand up, or worse!”

I often retorted that House Geasan would be in even more trouble for harbouring a Svart than I would be for being one, but she didn’t really buy it.

Anyway, the morning finally came up when she didn't throw anything at me.

Anyway, the morning finally came when she didn’t throw anything at me.

Anyway, the morning finally came when she didn’t throw anything at me. I was sleeping on an old couch that belonged to some relative of David’s by this point, in a room that used to be a cellar closet but, once we’d (well, I’d) scrubbed all the damp out and cleaned up the walls, added an old trunk and an armchair, a couple of lamps and an ottoman, most of which were already in storage in the cellar anyway, David said I could have the room for myself, and Shari became much nicer to me after that—except for the throwing random shit at me in the mornings bit.

I stretched. There wasn’t a window in the cellar, so there was no way to tell what time it was.

“Breakfast, you pale bitch!” Shari finally called from the kitchen. I went upstairs to find that she was actually cooking breakfast. I don’t think I’d ever realised Shari ate anything but crisps and seaweed before this. “And you can have the day off,” she said. She even smiled at me.

So I spent the day mostly lounging on the couch.

So I planned to spend the day mostly lounging on the couch.

So I planned to spend the day mostly lounging on the couch. It felt good!

My respite didn’t last long, though.

“You want to start learning some magic?” Owen asked.

“You want to start learning some magic?” Owen asked; it was probably some time after noon. Owen was the resident magic expert in the House, and he did things like help the team hide themselves when necessary, provide distractions, that sort of thing. Back then, I didn’t know what they all did for a living, but, yeah. I knew it was probably not completely on the up and up.

“I thought it was my day off,” I replied.

“I thought it was my day off, I replied.

“Smart-arse. Nobody gets a day off,” Owen said.

“Shari said I could have the day off!”

“Shari is an idiot,” Owen said. “Nobody gets a day off. Here.”

He threw a stack of notebooks at me, which my memory says I caught neatly.

He threw a stack of notebooks at me, which my memory says I caught neatly.

He threw a stack of notebooks at me, which my memory says I caught neatly: goddess knows what actually happened.

“What am I meant to do with these?” I wondered.

“What am I meant to do with these?” I wondered.

“You’ll need them for writing shit down.” Owen came and sat down in the arm chair. He handed me a ballpoint pen. “Now, you want to start simple. Write down all the steps you go through to glamour yourself. And,” he squinted at me. “You really ought to do something about your eyes. They look weird.”

“Look,” I said. “I already told Shari. I’m not changing my ears, and I’m not changing my eyes.”

He shrugged. “Your funeral, but you should learn to glamour them for when you start running jobs with us. Lios Alfar have light eyes, green, grey, blue, doesn’t matter, but they’re always light.”

I rolled my eyes.

“Yeah; yours are still yellow even when you do that,” he said, unaffected by my sarcasm. He pointed at the notebooks. “Start with your glamour. How you manage it. How you make it strong. Writing it down will help you remember.”

Yeah, I remember that pretty clearly. After that, there was a lot of writing and writing and writing.

Once I’d got the knack of writing down spells, David took me through physical training, which was rough, but fun. After that, I started doing small jobs with the team, mostly light corporate espionage, but at least I was able to earn my keep.

And I'll never forget the day I bought my first actual for-me outfit.

And I’ll never forget the day I bought my first actual for-me outfit.

And I’ll never forget the day I bought my first actual for-me outfit with the money I’d earned. Oh, the feel of leather again, instead of charity shop stuff and hand-me-downs from girls who’d long passed through the House.

I remember that day because that was the day Owen came down into the cellar again.

“I brought you something,” he said. And he pointed to the crate.

“I brought you something,” He said. And he pointed to the crate.

“What the fuck is that?” I said, staring at the small mountain of books he’d placed there.

“Your next lesson,” he said as he settled in to the arm chair. “Those are grimoires.”

“Grimoires?” I said. “You mean books of magic.”

“Grimoires?” I said. “You mean books of magic?”

“Go to the head of the class,” Owen said. “Now, put away that novel, and if I ever see you put down a grimoire like that, I’ll beat you with it before I make you straighten each page magically and mend the spine.”

“So…. You want me to read these.”

“So…. You want me to read these.”

“I want you to study them. Somewhere inside those books, and those are all the grimoires we have at the house, you’ll find things that you can and can’t do, and we’ll ascertain and develop your personal magical style from what you come up with.”

“But there have got to be like twenty books there!”

He nodded and smiled. “And some of them are handwritten, so this won’t be an easy task.”

“Couldn’t I just do more physical training and let David beat me up again?”

Owen snorted. “And why should David get to have all the fun, hm? There are only seventeen books, by the way.” I think he had to count while we were talking.

I sat down on the couch and stared at the books as if they might attack.

I sat down on the couch and stared at the books as if they might attack.

I sat down on the couch and stared at the books as if they might attack. “You know I don’t like to read, Owen,” I said evenly.

“Says the girl who’s got A Wizard of Earthsea propped open on her night table,” Owen said.

“That’s different: it’s a novel.”

“Think of these as novels too,” Owen suggested.

“Think of these as novels too,” Owen suggested. “Only they’re novels written by people, about their real lives. It’s a little like reading someone else’s diary. There’s all kinds of personal shit in therm.”

I still wasn’t convinced. But I did know I was losing this argument.

“Fine,” I snapped. “Just start with the one on the top, I presume?”

“Fine, I snapped. “Just start with the one on the top, I presume?”

Owen sighed. “I don’t care which one you start with. But I want you to study each and every one.”

I knew it was foolish to ask the next question. “And then?”

“And then,” Owen said, with a smug smile, “you can start writing your own grimoire.”

“And then,” Owen said with a smug smile, “you can start writing your own grimoire.”

Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck.

Style Cards:

First set of photos (cami and jeans):
Body: Maitreya
Hair: Mina, Elin (Available at Tres Chic!)
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Malika, Chestnut (Available at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store; Maitreya and SLink appliers also available there!)
Ears: Gauze, High Elf Ears
Eyes: Gauze, Paradox Cat Eyes
Ring: Aisling, The Good Wife
Necklace: Otherskin, Selene
Clothes: Echo, Seri Cami, Hali Skinny Jeans (Available at the Echo Main Store!)
Shoes: Ingenue, Pandora Flats, Noir

Second Set of Photos (leather jacket):
Body: 
Maitreya
Hair: 
Mina, Grace
Skin: 
7 Deadly s{K}ins, Malika, Chestnut (Available at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store; Maitreya and SLink appliers also available there!)
Ears: 
Gauze, High Elf Ears
Eyes: 
Gauze, Paradox Cat Eyes
Ring: 
Aisling, The Good Wife
Necklace: 
Otherskin, Selene
Clothes and Boots: Flippant, Sometime (Available at the Flippant Main Store!)

Scene:
Couch, Rug, Crates, N4ARS, Bombay Set
Lamps: What Next
Armchair:
Atelier Visconti
Ottoman: Trompe Loeill

Special thanks to Moxy Macbeth for lending me some lamps! Even though she was super fine!

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

WLTB 500x500

skinlogodiap

The Princess in the Forest

The Amazing Catwoman:

The Amazing Catwoman:

Once upon a time, there was a brave adventurer, and her journey took her to many far lands. And in these far lands, she came across many wondrous beings and experienced many wondrous things.

But one thing, she did not like very much. One day, she was out hunting ghosts and got herself all turned around. And because she knew what she was doing with her realm-hopping skills (and they were mad skilz!), she zapped herself into another realm to get away from the Bad Ghosts. Only this realm had Sharks. So then she zapped herself into a quieter realm, but in this one she was a freaky Queen with weird servants in a very quiet house with music that had no backbeat. So of course she hopped out of that realm too, and then she got really confused.

And she isn’t sure what happened next, because after that the only thing she really remembers clearly (aside from some guy named Russel and a VW minivan) is landing, on her back, on an altar. In Faerie.

Problem was, it was the Faery Queen’s altar, and the Queen found out about it, and apparently there might have been some sort of temporal rift or some shit like that.

So then she got stuck in this realm because the Queen put a Geas on her to stay until she sorted her shit out. As if.

She got this gig guarding the Queen’s Realm against Goblins, and she wasn’t sure there were any goblins, and she spent her days off out in the Great Fae Forest, hunting and fishing and generally exploring.

And then one day she came upon the Wyld Weald. Which is some sort of scary old forest.

Anyway, in the Wyld Weald, she met a girl. A very skinny girl.

Here is a picture of the very skinny girl.

Here is a picture of the very skinny girl.

Here is a picture of the very skinny girl. Well, this is a picture of the very skinny girl after she’d hurriedly pulled her clothes on and made a move to step out of the water.

You see, the bold adventurer had surprised the very skinny girl while she was bathing. Now, the bold adventurer was very smart, so when she heard splashing sounds and humming coming from the pool up ahead— oh, fuck it.

Right. I heard these splashing sounds from the pool, so I knew there must be a (very unwary!) sentient being there, particularly as she was humming something I almost recognised. I mean, it sounded a bit like an Adele song. But then everything sounds a bit like an Adele song sometimes, doesn’t it? Stop staring at me blankly: you know what I mean.

So I snapped a twig loudly and swore or something, just so she’d know it was a humanoid coming up on her. I might even have shouted out a hallo or something: I don’t remember.

Anyway, she called out that she was just getting dressed, and could I please give her a minute, so of course I did.

With no fear whatsoever, she stepped up out of the pool and greeted me.

With no fear whatsoever, she stepped up out of the pool and greeted me.

With no fear whatsoever, she stepped up out of the pool and greeted me. She was right cheeky! I liked her immediately. Said no way could I steal her campsite, but she’d welcome me to stay there for a bit if I wanted, as she hadn’t seen another soul in days.

I gave her my name and some tips about keeping her little fire going.

I gave her my name and some tips about keeping her little fire going.

I gave her my name and some tips about keeping her little fire going. I was surprised that a woman alone out this far into the Unseelie Woods and into a place stranger even than that would be travelling without a weapon: she seemed completely fearless and said she’d been catching fish with her hands. That’s a nice trick, but I thought she’d do better with an arrow, so I gave her one.

She seemed suspicious at first of my gift.

She seemed suspicious at first of my gift.

She seemed suspicious at first of my gift, but then I remembered that some Fae who are into protocol and such have these rules about gift-giving. I briefly explained that I don’t follow those bullshit rules: an arrow would work as a makeshift spear and keep her from freezing her hands off in the cold water of the lake. I guessed its tributary river would be the one that flows through the middle of this Realm of Faerie; I’d follow it to get back to my post the next day I had guard duty, but til then, I had nothing to do, so it seemed like as good an idea as any to spend some time with this chick.

You know how girls talk: we ended up sharing some stuff about our lives.

You know how girls talk: we ended up sharing some stuff about our lives.

You now how girls talk: we ended up sharing some stuff about her lives. Turned out she was estranged from her mother, whom she said didn’t care about her but was more interested in her two more ‘perfect’ siblings. And then she said she was grown from a crystal.

Fuck. I realised I was talking to one of the Princesses.

Fuck. I realised I was talking to one of the Princesses.

Fuck. The penny dropped at that point and I realised I was talking to one of the Princesses, Drysi. And her mother was the Seelie Queen I’d been going on about. I’d told her about the Geas, see, I don’t know why she seemed so easy to talk to, but I will tell you she didn’t remind me of any Royal Sidhe I’ve met in any other Realm. She seemed quite casual, not concerned with my parentage or heritage, which to my mind puts her probably more on the Unseelie side of the spectrum. Then again, the gossip in the guard’s mess says that nobody really knows who the sire of these kids is, except that both King Janus (missing in action, presumed busy in another Realm) and the Queen’s Consort, Nathaniel (apparently some sort of vampire-fae hybrid, if you believe rumours), claim to be their fathers. So they have two fathers (and there’s some question about a former Unseelie King, whose name nobody will utter, having had a fling with Queen Gwyneth—ye gods, how the Royal Sidhe do get around!—before she and Janus became a couple, so there are rumours about him as well. Nobody will say his name, but the guards mostly refer to him as HUM (His Unseelie Majesty), and there are whispers that he’s come back from the dead. I swear, this Court is seriously fucked up. It’s like Dark Shadows up in here.

“Look,” she said, kind of awkwardly, “I don’t think you have all that much to fear from my Mother.”

“Look,” she said, kind of awkwardly, “I don’t think you have all that much to fear from my Mother. She’s all full of love, like people say, and she’s kind and gentle and stuff. She just believes I’m the born troublemaker, dark to the core, from before birth or whatever you want to call it.” And she rolled her eyes! She reminded me of nothing so much as my older sister when she used to have fights with my parents as a teenager. Luckily, I was the younger sister, so they went easier on me. Though I still think my mum would shit bricks if she saw me now.

I explained that I just didn’t know what to expect from Queen Gwyneth. I figure I’ll fall in love with her like everybody’s supposed to, and then I’ll forget any grievance I had against her. That’s how Royal Sidhe work, you know. They get inside your head and fuck around with your thoughts and feelings til you can’t see straight. Honestly, the way she was talking about her siblings, you’d think they were both shining with Seelie Goodness and she was marred with the Dark Mark or something.

I didn't tell her much about my past, but I did think about it.

I didn’t tell her much about my past, but I did think about it.

I didn’t tell her much about my past, but I did think about it. She was just so easy to talk to. Then again, maybe I fell into Royal Sidhe glamour full force and don’t even know it. She can’t lie outright: none of us can, but we all learn how to bend the truth to suit our purposes. It’s the only way to get by in the world if you’re fae, dealing with mortals, who fucking lie all the time. I was never very good at lying, come to think of it, even back during my mortal life. It was something Gwyneth and I bonded over: she was shit at lying as well and always got caught because she couldn’t bear to tell an untruth to her parents, or to our teachers, anything like that. I did mention to Drysi that I’d had a good friend with the same name as her mum. Not like it’s all that uncommon a name.

Anyway, we stayed up talking long into the night.

Anyway, we stayed up talking long into the night.

Anyway, we stayed up talking long into the night. Drysi seems lonely. She did say the Satyr, Dyisi, was really all right and I could trust her, but I’m not so sure about that.

I brought down a pheasant with the bow and showed her how to pluck it. We roasted it over the now hot fire and ate it on the stick, passing it back and forth, while we talked.

And I’ve got one more day before my next guard shift, so I think I’ll choose to spend it hanging out with Drysi. i think she’s a good kid. Heh. Kid. She looks my age but is really only a couple of months old. How fucked up is that?

So I like Drysi. I really do.

So I like Drysi. I really do.

So I like Drysi. I really do. How bad could her mother really be? No; don’t answer that. I have, after all, met Kevin’s mother. We called her The Iron Mum. Probably we shouldn’t have done that, but we did anyway.

Here's a picture of Drysi up close.

Here’s a picture of Drysi up close.

Here’s a picture of Drysi up close. Sure she’s super skinny, but I think she has a beautiful face. And just about the coolest ears I’ve ever seen: she says she inherited them from her father. I tactfully didn’t ask which one.

Style Cards:

The Amazing Catwoman:
Body: 
SLink
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Unicorn Dark Grey Smooth (Available at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store: SLink body appliers also available there)*
Hair: No Match: No Exception (Available at the No Match Main Store)
Clothes: Wicca’s Wardrobe, Nirenil (Featured at the July 2015 Fantasy Collective and now available at the Wicca’s Wardrobe Main Store)
Necklace: Otherskin, Selene, Black (Available at the Otherskin Main Store)
Ears: Gauze, High Elf Ears (Available at the Gauze Main Store)
Eyes: Gauze, Paradox Cat Eyes, Amber (Available at the Gauze Main Store)
Bow: EZ Storybook, Heartseeker Bow (Available at EZ Weapons/The Forge Main Store)

Princess Drysi:
Skin
: The Plastik
Hair: Magika
Clothes: Fashionably Dead Designs, Tissa (Available at the Fantasy Gacha Carnival!)
Eyes: Gauze
Ears: Gauze

*Note: If ever there is a skin from 7 Deadly s{K}ins on the blog that you can’t find in the Main Store or on Marketplace, all skins can be ordered direct from Izara Zuta in Second Life!

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

skinlogodiap

The Amazing Catwoman: A History

The Amazing Catwoman:

The Amazing Catwoman:

So I had this chat with Dyisi, who is a Satyr. I’d never met a Satyr before, let alone a female one: I don’t think they really tell you about female Satyrs in school mythology, although I guess there have to be some, else where do the baby Satyrs come from? Not that you ever hear about baby Satyrs either, come to think of it.

Anyway, Dyisi had obviously been conscripted by her to tell me what a bad little elf I’d been. I listened less than patiently while she explained to me about paradoxes and some shit like that. She caught me at a bad time: after the whole ‘guard this event’ business, I’d wandered off as far into the Unseelie part of the forest as I possibly could, because I was having a problem.

See, I spend most of my life glamoured to the hilt. And all through that event, my glamour kept wavering, and it didn’t seem like there was much of anything I could do about it. After the event, I couldn’t hold it at all, so I ran off because I didn’t want anyone who was at that event, certainly not the Queen’s Consort of the Captain of her Guard, to see me as I was … as I am.

As I am. What a funny phrase that is. “As I am” has changed so much over the last three years.

My birth name is Astrid Fenella Tacey Wallin.

My birth name is Astrid Fenella Tacey Wallin.

My birth name is Astrid Fenella Tacey Wallin. My dad’s Swedish and my mum’s English. I have an older sister, Fiona. I have three  first names because each member of the family gave me one when I was born. Astrid from my dad, Fenella from my mum, and Tacey from my sister, who was three at the time and might have been trying to say “Stacey”, but nobody’s sure. Anyway, my mum  looked “Tacey” up: it is a real name, just really uncommon, and it means “quiet”. Fuck that.

This picture here was taken on the best night of my life, two weeks before everything changed. My fiancée, Kevin, took the picture. It was right after he became my fiancée. You can’t see the rock in this picture, but never mind that: he took rock pictures after we got back to his place that night.

In rock picture number one, he made me laugh.

In rock picture number one, he made me laugh.

In rock picture number one, he made me laugh. “What? I said. “You want me to just point to the ring and smile or something?” I hate it when he catches me laughing, because I don’t like how small and squinty my eyes get when I laugh, so I asked him to take another one, same pose, without me laughing.

Here's that one. I like it a little better.

Here’s that one. I like it a little better.

He is a really good photographer: he is … was … studying it in uni. I don’t know where he is now. After what’s happened to me, I can’t imagine he’s dead. But maybe he is. There was a lot of blood.

Even though it doesn't show the rock, this is my favourite picture anybody has ever taken of me, ever.

Even though it doesn’t show the rock, this is my favourite picture anybody has ever taken of me, ever.

Even though it doesn’t show the rock, this is my favourite picture anybody has ever taken of me, ever. In some pictures, you have to pretend you look good. But I think he made me beautiful in this one.

And these photos, plus my beautiful engagement ring with the amethyst and the zirconia, are the only things I have left of my old life.

It was Gwyneth convinced me to get into LARPing, and I’m glad she did, because without the LARP, I’d never have met Kevin. And I liked the dressing up bits of it. I was never into the fighting stuff: I mean, they taught me some archery once and I was rubbish, so I just never went any further with it. I was happy to be  Kevin’s wench and dress up in cute fantasy clothes that made me look prettier than I am. Sometimes I got to dress up as his slave girl: he always liked that. It was only a game, though: I’m much too cheeky to be a slave, really. And I had one useful talent: I was in massage school at the time, so I could offer massages for goods and services, which usually went over well with the kind of people you sometimes meet at LARPs—computer guys who spend their weekends pretending they’re in a fantasy novel. I know it’s a cliché, but I’m sure some of them didn’t know many girls, I guess, would be the polite way to put it.

But anyway. Gwyneth and I grew up across the street from one another, and we’ve been … we were … best friends for as long as I can remember. We went to the same school, but in secondary school we went to different places. I always knew she was way smarter than me, but when everything changed, she was in the process of becoming a university professor like her parents. And I was in massage school. I guess it was an unlikely friendship.

Enough about that, though. We were on our way home from this big LARP, the last event of the summer, put on by this huge LARP conglomerate called Shining Lands. It’s basically like a big campout, only we hate camping so we stay in the lodge, with lots of role-play and a pretend war, and lots of guys in armour they made themselves. The costumes are brill. Last big party of the event is this big charity auction to benefit Shining Lands and enable them to rent spaces and put on other events. Gwyneth always made something for it—she’s a keen knitter—and Kevin would auction off a photoshoot in character or something. Richard, I don’t know what Richard did. Emma was kind of new to LARPing and just along with us for the ride. Anyway, I’d dressed up in this metal bikini getup with a collar and armbands, and I’d got a good price for a series of massage treatments over the next six months, as long as the winner was based in London. That poor guy who spent £300 to get massages from me must have been pretty pissed off when he heard the news. And why am I even worried about him? I don’t even remember his name.

I remember being pissed off because as we got into the car Gwyneth whispered to me that Richard had (finally) kissed her. I was like, “Why didn’t you let me take a picture of it?” I was always doing that: taking candid shots of people doing what they do. I used to get lectured about bringing my iPhone into events, but fuck them. It’s play. I play with my iPhone. I didn’t have time to bitch at her, because we had to leave the carpark in a hurry or get charged more. So I pulled a pair of jeans and a t-shirt over the metal bikini and played car boot Tetris for as long as I could stand it, then just told them to throw shit in the back of the MPV and we’d sort it later. I was right pissed off that they hadn’t done the packing earlier, but blah blah blah. Nobody listens to Fen.

We were heading for the M11. We got to the merge and everything was fine. Richard and Gwyn were arguing about who got the best stuff at the rialto, Emma was reading a book, and Kevin was handling the satnav. I don’t know how I didn’t see the lorry, but we must have been in each other blind spots or something, because he barrelled in to us at full speed just as I was about to complete the merge. The MPV went over on its head and there was a shitload of glass. Kevin wasn’t moving, and I was having trouble breathing, and there was some sort of a scuffle in the back seat: I don’t know what that was about. I was trying to get the damn window down so I could crawl out, but then, I don’t know. It was like my lungs were filling up with water, and I couldn’t breathe, and then everything went dark. The last things I remember hearing were loads of car noises, honking, some sirens in the distance, and Richard screaming Gwyneth’s name over and over, telling her not to get out of the car. Then, everything went black and I felt really floaty, and I heard this voice, like in the movies when Jesus calls people to heaven or something, only it didn’t say, “Welcome my child,” or any such bullshit as that.

It just said, “Svart Alfar”.

I remember pain, like I fell on something spiky, but only bruised myself. And I don’t know how long I was out.

When I came to, I was on some kind of camp bed in a bright room—the light hurt my eyes, I remember.

When I came to, I was on some kind of camp bed in a bright room—the light hurt my eyes, I remember.

When I came to, I was on some kind of camp bed in a bright room—the light hurt my eyes, I remember.

“I think she’s coming around.” A deep voice, an unfamiliar accent.

“Pity. I was hoping she’d bought it during the night.”

“Shari, it’s a big room. We all have to share. You’re sharing it, full stop.”

There was a sigh from the other end of the room. I uncurled slowly—everything hurt—and opened my eyes.

Shari was a tiny thing.

Shari was a tiny thing.

Shari was a tiny thing—I thought even I could take her in a fight—and her room looked like some boarding school princess bedroom, with the fancy computer and the pretty pictures and the loft bed with fairy lights.

I squinted and tried to focus a little more clearly on Shari.

I squinted and tried to focus a little more clearly on Shari.

I squinted and tried to focus a little more clearly on Shari. Was she… her eyes were funny. And her head seemed too big. And she had ear cuffs on that made her ears look pointy, and her hair was half blue and half blonde. Wow, talk about your fantasists. She’d have been a big hit in LARP-land, I thought.

“Your name, Svart. What’s your name, and who do you work for?”

“What?” I continued to squint toward Shari.

“OK, let’s get some things straight, right off the bat,” Shari said.

“OK, let’s get some things straight, right off the bat,” Shari said. “This is my room. You are here because I am a nice person and I am letting you share it. That is your corner. The rest of the room belongs to me.”

I ignored the guy’s question and nodded at Shari; she seemed to have the authority, at least in this room.

“Your name, Svart.

I tried to speak. My mouth was so dry. It came out “Mumble, mumble, Tacey Willan mumble, London, United Kingdom.” My voice was getting clearer with each word. “And what the living fuck is a Svart?”

“You are, you lying sack of shit, and we need to know who you work for and how you found our safe house.”

I blinked a couple of times. The only thing in my limited field of vision was Shari and her fairy bed.

“She’s got no idea,” Shari said.

“She’s got no idea,” Shari said. She hopped off the stool and stood beneath the fairy lights. “Great, we’re in some kind of fucking soap opera where beautiful dark elf chick comes to us with no memory and ends up being the saviour of the world or something.”

A sigh from somewhere to my left. The guy again. “Shari, shut up.” He cleared his throat. “Tacey,” he said, testing the name. I never use that name, but fuck it. “Tacey, what happened? Did someone drop you here? And if you don’t mind my asking, are you a runaway slave or something?”

I actually laughed at that—my first post-wakeup laugh. “Costume,” I said. “For a charity auction.” I didn’t think he needed to know more than that. “There was an accident. I need to get back to my friends.”

“No sign of an accident anywhere around here,” said the guy. “Look, my name’s David, so now you know that. I’m the security guy here.”

I stood up weakly.

I stood up weakly.

I stood up weakly, nearly lost my balance a couple of times. “Steady there,” David said. He held out a hand for me, but I refused to take it as an afterthought: reflexively though, my hand shot out. And then I saw my skin.

“What the fuck happened?” I asked. “Am I covered head to toe in bruises?” I started looking at my legs, my feet. All this silvered grey colour, with dappling in spots, almost iridescent in the light.

“You’re a Svart Alfar, idiot,” Shari said derisively. “A dark elf.” She smirked. “And you’re illegal.”

“Illegal?” I repeated. “How can I be illegal?”

“Simple,” David said. “Svart Alfar are against the law. Too magical. All deported to Faerie sixteen years ago. Any who manage to stay here are smart enough to glamour themselves to the nines and not get caught. So how’d you do it?”

“How’d I do what?”

“How’d you find our safe house?”

I sighed. “Look, arsehole,” I said. “I don’t even know what a Svart Alfar is, and the last thing I remember was a lorry barrelling into my MPV at full speed.” I didn’t see any need to tell them the whole story.

“You know what?” Shari tilted her head, and I could sort of see some mist around her. “She’s telling the truth. She’s got no idea.”

“You know what?” Shari tilted her head, and I could sort of see some mist around her. “She’s telling the truth. She’s got no idea.”

I eyed Shari. “What are you?”

“I’m an elf, like you, only I’m a Lios Alfar, a light elf. We’re not illegal.”

I looked at Shari. I looked at myself. “So I’m fucked,” I said flatly.

“Not necessarily,” David, who looked human from what I could see under his hat, replied. “Svart have incredible glamouring powers, and we could use another fighter.”

“A fighter? I’m no fighter,” I said. “I’m a massage student.”

Once I'd stretched a bit, I realised something: I felt stronger.

Once I’d stretched a bit, I realised something: I felt stronger.

Once I’d stretched a bit, I realised something: I felt stronger. “So Svart are fighters with incredible glamouring powers.”

“That’s right,” David said. “And we’re going to get in a shitload of trouble if we do anything other than report you to the authorities, so….”

“You’re fucking kidding me,” Shari said. “You want to take in this stray?”

“Can’t hurt, might help,” David replied. “Besides, how are we going to explain we have a Svart?”

“I don’t know,” Shari retorted. “We found it in our front garden, waited overnight, then rang the authorities when the offices opened?”

“And then they’ll send her to Faerie at best,” David said. “At worst they’ll decide she’s some kind of criminal and incarcerate her.”

“I’m not looking forward to either of those options,” I said quietly. “What do I need to do to learn what I have to learn in order to survive and then get out of your hair as quickly as I can?”

And that, minus a few details, is how I became associated with House Geasan. They taught me how to hide, how to fit in, how to fight. Of course, they also sold the metal bikini for money and made me wear secondhand rubbish for a year until I got to the point where I could steal my own. I came up with the alias of The Amazing Catwoman when I first looked in the mirror and saw my eyes. It must have been that evening, or maybe even that afternoon; I don’t remember too well.

To make a long story longer, that’s why I was so worried when my glamour stopped working in Faerie.

I admit it, I became a bit paranoid, wandering around the Unseelie Forest.

I admit it, I became a bit paranoid, wandering around the Unseelie Forest.

I admit it, I became a bit paranoid, wandering around the Unseelie Forest. I kept waiting for other Svart Alfar to jump out of the woods and claim me or take me hostage, or something.

Let's just say I didn't let go of that awesome spear Wulfrich issued me with.

Let’s just say I didn’t let go of that awesome spear Captain Wulfrich issued me with.

Let’s just say I didn’t let go of that awesome spear Captain Wulfrich issued me with.

And after my talk with Dyisi, I don't think I wanted to see anybody, not for a few days at least.

And after my talk with Dyisi, I don’t think I wanted to see anybody, not for a few days at least.

And after my talk with Dyisi, I don’t think I wanted to see anybody, not for a few days at least. So I spent my time in the forest, hunting and fishing, avoiding contact with various Fae, none of whom looked much like me or reminded me of any of the stories David and Shari and the other eight people (eight!) who lived at House Geasan told me. The one thing they did tell me was to avoid the Sidhe at all costs. And this Realm of Faerie? Is lousy with Sidhe. Half the people at that dinner were Sidhe, and I barely got a glimpse of Queen Gwyneth. How odd that a Fae Queen would have the same name as my former best friend who is probably dead or God knows where right now. What I do know is that Sidhe, particularly Royal Sidhe, are not to be trusted as their stock in trade is using other Fae races for their pleasure. Despite the fact that we Alfar have been around for much longer than the Sidhe, they seem to have made it to the top of the Fae food chain and are the unquestioned leaders of Faerie. Probably, I’ve heard it said, by stepping on the backs of the Lios Alfar. 

And of course I'm stuck in this realm because *she* detected something out of whack when I landed on her altar.

And of course I’m stuck in this realm because *she* detected something out of whack when I landed on her altar.

And of course I’m stuck in this realm because she detected something out of whack when I landed on her altar. Which means that sooner or later she’ll want to meet me and probably question me, and mark me as an Enemy of the State or something.

In the three years I’ve been doing jobs for and with House Geasan, I’ve never met another Svart Alfar. At this point, I think I’d probably drop dead if I did meet one.

So after three days in the Unseelie Forest, I returned to Captain Wulfrich. I expected punishment; instead I got a hearty clap on the back and a “welcome back”, and a “hope you enjoyed your time off hunting; we’ve got a new job for you.”

It seems there is some trouble with the Goblin Kingdom, so they have me guarding this bridge between their Mallorn Tree and the Seelie Lands.

It seems there is some trouble with the Goblin Kingdom, so they have me guarding this bridge between their Mallorn Tree and the Seelie Lands.

It seems there’s some trouble with the Goblin Kingdom, so they have me guarding the bridge between their Mallorn Tree, which even in Alfar lore is the centre of a Faerie Realm’s power, and the Seelie Lands. I’m swapping off with six other guards, all of whom are men, all of whom are taller and lighter than I am. Four of them make fun of my ears constantly; the other two are afraid of me. I don’t even know their names.

I'm spending my days doing battle exercises and getting used to the very weird concept of swordplay in a skirt.

I’m spending my days doing battle exercises and getting used to the very weird concept of swordplay in a skirt.

I’m spending my days doing battle exercises and getting used to the very weird concept of swordplay in a skirt.

I’m a little bummed about not being able to carry my spear while guarding, but Wulfrich says it’s safer to have a sword and a shield, so he’s the captain.

And no more of that gold and blue velvet nonsense: I’m in good battle armour, not the kind I used to wear in LARPs, which basically said, “Come at me, monsters! I shall vanquish you with my baps!” with the stag insignia of Queen Gwyneth’s Guards.

Sooner or later, I'll have to meet the Queen.

Sooner or later, I’ll have to meet the Queen.

Sooner or later, I’ll have to meet the Queen. And of course they all talk about her as if they’re in love with her: the rumour is that Sidhe Queens have this almost hypnotic influence over their subjects. I hope very much that one of the great unknown powers of the Svart Alfar is that we are immune to such tricks, but I somehow doubt it: if that were true, we’d be at the top of the Fae food chain, and not the Sidhe. Of course, they also say this Queen is different from other Sidhe Queens in that she accepts everybody on their own terms, but I’ll believe it when I see it. Every brush I’ve ever had with Fay Royalty over the last three years has led me to believe that none of them can be trusted, no matter what they tell you.

I can’t decide if I want to meet the Queen and get sprung from this Realm as quickly as possible, or if I want to put it off for as long as possible. I guess til that day comes, I’ll just stay here on this bridge, where nothing seems to be happening, squinting against that goddamn blinding tree, and thanking all the gods that leather, at the end of the day, is pretty good at absorbing perspiration.

Style Cards:

Fenella in London/Rock Shots
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Michelle (Exclusive for The Lexi Project!)
Hair: Exile, Under The Sun
Eyes: Dulce Secrets, Terra Firma Eyes, Hydrangea (Available at Designer Showcase!)
Lipstick: Dulce Secrets, Bee Stung Lipstick (Available at The Makeover Room!)
Dress and Shoes: Posh Pixels, Punkette (Available at Marvelous Monthly!)
Bracelet: Earthstones, Mesh Squared Bangles
Necklace: Maxi Gossamer, Clockwork Steampunk Heart
Necklace: Tantalum, Ultra Rare Steampunk Book Necklace
Ring: Aisling, The Good Wife

Fenella Waking Up at House Geason
Body: SLink
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Unicorn Dark Grey Smooth
Hair: Exile, Letters And Lipstick
Eyes: Gauze, Paradox Cat Eyes, Amber
Ears: Gauze, High Elf Ears
Metal Bikini, Collar & Bracelets: Una Medieval, Irelia Silver
Ring: Aisling, The Good Wife

Shari at House Geason
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Michelle (Exclusive for The Lexi Project!)
Ears: Mandela, Steking Ears, Season 5
Hair: Elikatira, Gia
Eyes: Boudoir, Fairy Eyes
Necklace: Ellabella, Magi Necklace
Top: Serendipity, Secrets of the Ancient Dragon (Available at the Hidden Sanctuary Event, The Ancient Ones Return)
Jeans: Evilkyoot, Express Jeans
Boots: Ison, Cult Riding Boots, Black

The Amazing Catwoman in the Unseelie Forest
Body: 
SLink
Skin: 
7 Deadly s{K}ins, Unicorn Dark Grey Smooth
Eyes: Gauze, Paradox Cat Eyes, Amber
Ears: Gauze, High Elf Ears
Hair: Calico, Quinn
Clothes: Blue Moon enterprise, Celtic Breeze (Available at We Love Roleplay!)
Spear: MacMoragh & Muse, Obara’s Spear
Necklace: Otherskin, Selene
Ring: Aisling, The Good Wife

The Amazing Catwoman Guarding the Bridge
Body: SLink
Skin: 
7 Deadly s{K}ins, Unicorn Dark Grey Smooth
Eyes: 
Gauze, Paradox Cat Eyes, Amber
Ears: 
Gauze, High Elf Ears
Hair: Calico, Quinn
Outfit: Phunk, Princess Warrior Armor, Sword, Shield & Boots
Brooch: Miamai, Game of Thrones House Emblems, Baratheon (rare)
Ring: Aisling, The Good Wife

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

WLTB 500x500Hidden sanctuary events sign skinlogodiap

Comeuppance, Part 1

The Amazing Catwoman:

The Amazing Catwoman:

I admit it: I do reckless things. It’s one of the qualities that make me good at my job. It also gets me in to trouble, and I have realised this last world-hopping jaunt, the one where I kind of forgot who I was at the end, has landed me in a heap of trouble in Fair Fucking Elfland. Clutie was all full of dire warnings about temporal rifts and OMG THE WHOLE UNIVERSE OUT OF BALANCE, and of course the whole Incident got escalated to her. And I admit that I myself have not remained untouched, but I’m not really talking about that.

I was out roaming in the Unseelie Forest, as you do.

I was out roaming in the Unseelie Forest, as you do.

I was out roaming in the Unseelie Forest, as you do. And I felt something, something shimmering just out of reach. As, you know, you do. I was glad I had my new bow on me: I managed to sneak away to this faire held by the Fantasy Collective, and I couldn’t resist it. My new armour comes from there as well.

Then something changed, though I couldn't have told you what it was at the time.

Then something changed, though I couldn’t have told you what it was at the time.

Then something changed, though I couldn’t have told you what it was at the time. Feathers appeared in my hair though, almost never a good sign. At least they were white and not black. Black might indicate ravens, and I think having to deal with Nemaine right now would destroy whatever confidence I have left.

Speaking of left—should I go that way?

Speaking of left—should I go that way?

Speaking of left—should I go that way? Hm. Another weirdness: usually I know what direction things are in, just sort of naturally. Left, I thought, would take me toward the river that separates the Unseelie lands from the Seelie half of the forest. Like a lot of Fae, I’m of mixed heritage, though I prefer the Unseelie lands: there’s less prejudice, less name calling, and of course I’m less likely to run in to her. Why I’m seemingly the only person in Faerie who doesn’t trust her, I couldn’t tell you. And it’s not that she’s a bad person; it’s just that she’s the Queen, and you cannot fucking trust Fae royalty; that I know with certainty.

Or ... should I go right?

Or … should I go right?

Or… should I go right? I couldn’t decide; it was very frustrating. But I heard the sound of a waterfall in that direction: fuck. I was definitely turned around. Toward the waterfall would be toward the Seelie lands, wouldn’t it?

There was something else in that direction, though: a different kind of mist than we have here, the sort that burns off in the morning and makes you wet through to whatever you’re wearing beneath your —wait. My armour changed, too. Well, this couldn’t be good, even if the armour was, wow. Well fitting and perfectly coloured for my skin, and leaves in my hair, a long tunic with just the right amount of sway…. and comfy boots, my goddess, comfy boots.

Wow…I heard music, tinny and upbeat, with drums I’ve come to associate with more ‘modern’ realms. But in Faerie, I shouldn’t be able to perceive that stuff. A van. Shouting. Someone asleep in the driver’s seat. I shook my head. That’s just leftover stuff from one of those realms, I told myself. I’m not that girl. But I really have to go back to Russell: he’ll be so upset when he wakes up and I’m not there. We were going to Cornwall. Cornwall. What a funny name for a place. Does it actually have walls made of corn?

And then, like the chiming of a bell in my head that rang straight down into my heart, it came.

And then, like the chiming of a bell in my head that rang straight down into my heart, it came.

And then, like the chiming of a bell in my head that rang straight down into my heart, it came.

Geas. Fuck. I was being summoned. But I can’t leave Russell. But I must. She did it. She called me to the fucking Seelie Residence.

Just then, I was about as far away from anywhere I wanted to be as one pointy-eared Fae can get.

You have got to be fucking kidding me.

You have got to be fucking kidding me.

“You have got to be fucking kidding me,” I said.

“No joke, and do please try to control your tongue, Tacey,” said Nathaniel. He’s her new husband. He’s so goddamn nice, he’s hard to be around. Not to mention very easy on the eyes, that Nathaniel. But I can’t afford to lust after her consort: even though we Fae don’t have this thing about owning our lovers that many mortals do, my life is complicated enough already without a sexy redheaded vampire in it. Big mental X on that.

TAC, I repeated, for the umpteenth time. It's TAC.

TAC, I repeated, for the umpteenth time. It’s TAC.

“TAC,” I repeated for the umpteenth time. “It’s TAC”.

“No, TAC, I am not kidding you,” Nathaniel said. Fucking over cultured English arse. “You will be checking tickets for tonight’s banquet, and you will wear the Queen’s colours while you do it, and you will be polite and personable, and you will ensure that our guests have no fears or concerns about what might be occurring outside that door.”

“I’m bouncing at a Royal banquet?”

“That you are. And for the next three weeks, you’ll stay here in Faerie, and you’ll have a long talk with Dyisi about how reckless and dangerous to our Realm your recent activities have been. Do I make myself clear?”

“Crystal,” I replied, because I couldn’t think of anything better to say.

“Good,” he replied and he didn’t give me another look, not for a long time. And that was just as well, because then Clutie put me in the Queen’s Knight clothes. Which are perfectly serviceable, except they make me look like a fucking Court Jester. The only thing that makes this outfit worth wearing is this fucking amazing polearm. She might want us to look like courtiers, but she knows where to import weapons. This spear comes from MacMoragh & Museand it may be the most beautiful weapon I’ve ever held. Not giving up the bow, but shit, if you have to have a spear, this is the one you want.

All in all, the evening was a simple job, except for this one woman, Cherish Gelato. And may I just say what a stupid fucking name that is? Cherish Gelato? Are you a woman or a dessert? Make up your mind!

Anyway, Ms. Gelato did not want to surrender her ticket because it had the Queen’s signature on it. What an imbecile. A document, any kind of document, with the Queen’s signature on it is powerful, and sometimes she forgets to enchant them so they’re useless. So her knights, her fucking Guards, have to inspect every ticket. Cherish Gelato’s turned out to be unenchanted and therefore very powerful magic that we absolutely cannot allow to go home with her.

And she pitched a goddamn fit. Oh, it was a souvenir. Oh, she’d cherish (see what I did there?) it always. Oh, it would go on her wall in a place of honour. Oh, she’d hide it away in a safe. Oh, she might sell it on eBay….

Yeah. No.

It took half the guests staring her down and Nathaniel backing me up to get her to surrender that stupid little piece of paper. “I don’t know what the problem is,” the Queen said when she finally showed up, “Cherish Gelato easily has a dozen signed photos of me. She doesn’t need an invitation, too.”

Ms. Cherish Gelato, refusing to surrender her ticket.

Ms. Cherish Gelato, refusing to surrender her ticket.

Finally, with Nathaniel, Dyisi (whom I’m trying to avoid, frankly), a very convincing Fae Bard called Maeve, and Sabre, a visiting Unseelie Royal Sidhe who seems to have some diplomatic standing, all standing over her, she was convinced to hand the damn thing over.

This? Is going to be the longest three weeks of my life.

Group photo, from left to right:
Mikachu, Wren, Nathaniel, The Amazing Catwoman, Sabre (in the back), Dyisi, Cherish, and Maeve.
Thanks to my amazing and patient rp friends who let me take nearly an hour to put this photograph together.

Style Cards:

TAC Roaming the Unseelie Forest:
Skin
: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Andrea (the NEW B UNIQUE skin, available at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store)
Body: Maitreya Lara
Eyes: Gauze, Paradox Cat Eyes
Ears: Gauze, High Elf Ear
Ring: Aisling, The Good Wife
Bow: Storybook, Heartseeker Bow (Available at The Fantasy Collective)
Boots: Gauze, BP Swift Boots, Fantasy
Hair: Homage, Frenchie Redux, Lohans
Clothes: The White Armory, Woodland Guardian Tunic Set (Available at The Fantasy Collective)
Necklace: Otherskin, Selene

TAC Under the Arch:
Skin
: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Andrea (the NEW B UNIQUE skin, available at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store)
Body: Maitreya Lara
Eyes: Gauze, Paradox Cat Eyes
Ears: Gauze, High Elf Ear
Ring: Aisling, The Good Wife
Bow: Storybook, Heartseeker Bow (Available at The Fantasy Collective)
Clothes: Wicca’s Wardrobe, Nirenil Outfit, Woodland (Available at The Fantasy Collective)
Hair: AII (the ugly and beautiful), Forest Witch Hair V2 With Feathers (Available at The Fantasy Collective)
Torc: The Forge, Torc, Ultra-Rare
Headpiece: Wicca’s Wardrobe, Laerlorn Headpiece, Summer (Available at The Fantasy Collective)
Boots: Lassitude & Ennui, Endenion Boots, Brown/Gold

TAC as a Queen’s Knight:
Skin
: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Andrea (the NEW B UNIQUE skin, available at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store)
Body: Maitreya Lara
Eyes: Gauze, Paradox Cat Eyes
Ears: Gauze, High Elf Ear
Ring: Aisling, The Good Wife
Tunic: SenzaFine, Beriawen Tunic (Available at The Fantasy Collective)
Necklace: Alegria, Dragon Scale Necklace, Silver
Hair: Mina, Lena/ Guusje (long) Mina (windblown, in the group photo)
Boots: Gauze, BP Swift Boots, Naturals
Spear: MacMoragh & Muse, Obara’s Spear (NEW at the MacMoragh & Muse Main Store and not on MP yet)

Group Photo Style Cards:


Wren:
Hair
: *ARGRACE RYO -Golden Blonde
Ears
: *~*Illusions*~* Fairy Ears
Eyes
: InkHeart Dorian Eyes-Bottle
Rat: Alchemy-Rat Familiar-Brown
Boots: Cazimi Eben Boots-Brown
Wings: Faeline Fairy Wings-Youoko-Lime
Shape: oddbAlls’ FINN Shape for Girl Child
Pants: the Lounge- Medieval Lounge Pants-Burlap DkBrown
Tunic: {Exalted} Woodland Strider-Tunic-Green
Belt: {Exalted} Ranger-Belt

Nathaniel:
Body – MA Designs Complete Avatar, Riley 1
Skin – DNA Damien Type 1
Hair – Wasabi Pils Orion Mesh Hair (Cinnamon)
Eyes – Ikon Sunrise eyes, Verdigris
Clothing – [S] James Pants and Boots, .Luminary. Henry Top

Sabre:
Wasabi Pills Erik Mesh Hair.
Zed Mesh fur lined Black Goth Strap Boots
Zed Mesh Goth Distressed Black full Length Coat
Zed Mesh Lace-up Leather straight leg Pants

Cherish:
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Daisey, Apricot (Rare)
Hair: Olive, The Daisy Hair (Rare)
Dress: Aphorism, Inanna Dress, Vine, White
Coat: Aphorism, Inanna Coat, Ebony
Necklace: Le Forme, Aegon Necklace, Butterfly, Gold

Dyisi:
Skin – Plastik Astrali Basic Vaaliarah
Hair – little bones. Shaaswat
Hands – Slink Mesh Casual
Tattoos: .ARISE. – Maori Facetattoo
Tiki Tattoo – Bora
Plastik – Asaia Markings
Jalwa – Kheleeji Swirl
Top: [RA] Fashonista Scarf in White
Pants: Artizana Sari Pants in Indigo
Jewelery: Kibitz – Tulip Nose Chain
Zaara [Goa Party] – Baga Nose Ring
Friendship bracelets
Retro sunglasses *silver-blu*
Schnadenfreude – Long Water and Earth necklaces
Earthstones – Tumbled Stone Necklace (Rasta)
Belly Crystal -Amethyst
.:ellabella:. – Xerim’s Conundrum
RO: Hipster Bag – Coffee
~Soedara~ – Pearl Berjuang Tari Bindi (Silver)
Goat parts: [Gauze] – Faun hooves
Illusions – Nivicola horns (Runes)
Shape: Self Made
Staff of Doom: Self Made

Maeve:
TWA Bravado Gown
.::S::. Zania Grey Hair
Elizabeth by RUBY Skins (old lady skin)
CCD- Luxury Optical- Victorian Lace

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

What I Did After My Summer Holiday, by The Amazing Catwoman

The Amazing Catwoman:

The Amazing Catwoman:

Well, first of all, those fuckers in New Brighton fired me after one night on the job without so much as a “fuck you very much, TAC.” Fucking vamps. I mean, at least you’d think a crowd like that would be up to date on whether or not women could be badasses, but no; I was too small, not intimidating enough, why on earth would anybody hire a little girl like me as a bouncer, blah, blah, blah, she’ll be somebody’s ghoul by tomorrow midnight, blah-ti-blah. Fuck you, vampires of New Brighton.

So they sent me to Ironwood Hills, because there was apparently a ghost problem.

So they sent me to Ironwood Hills, because there was apparently a ghost problem.

So they sent me to Ironwood Hills, because there was apparently a ghost problem. I mean, seriously. Ghosts? Fine, fine, fine. I loaded up with anti-ghost herbs and took the notes from the fixer. It was a weird realm jump: I materialised outside a fucking cemetery over a sewer drain, and the steam was godawful. Well, fine. I’m not one to be a complete idiot, as I’m sure you know by now, so instead of heading immediately into the cemetery, I got suited up, then made my way into town to find out what was going on from the locals.

Town, wouldn't you know it, was deserted.

Town, wouldn’t you know it, was deserted.

Town, wouldn’t you know it, was deserted. It was a ghost town. (See what I did there?) So I sat on the steps with an abandoned teddy bear and planned my next move.

As it turned out, most of the houses were boarded up: this one even had the word HAUNTED on it in big letters.

As it turned out, most of the houses were boarded up: this one even had the word HAUNTED on it in big letters.

As it turned out, most of the houses were boarded up: this one even had the word HAUNTED on it in big letters. Of course, everything was fine until I actually did hear a loud moaning sound coming from…. well, from everywhere, really.

I took off at a run to see what there was to see in the rest of the town.

I took off at a run to see what there was to see in the rest of the town.

I took off at a run to see what there was to see in the rest of the town.

These things always have a source. That moaning continued, though, from just fucking everywhere. It was unnerving. It would stop, then start again, like a crazy sentient wind. Once I got further into town, I noticed signs for a carnival. Oh, great. Carnivals are hotbeds for weirdness, so I figured it’d be worth checking out as a possible source of the trouble.

When I got to the carnival site, I was gobsmacked.

When I got to the carnival site, I was gobsmacked.

When I got to the carnival site, I was gobsmacked. It was half full of water, there were crows everyfuckingwhere, all this stuff looked like it had been dilapidated for decades, as did the rest of the town, really, and you don’t even want to know about the creepy dolls: those little things are seriously unnerving.

Then, a freaky thing happened: a rift opened in the sky, I kid you not. And I fucking froze. My heart rate went up, there was a pounding in my head and my ears rang and all my nerves started to tingle, and I knew, just knew, that I had to get away from there, and fast. Fuck my fee, fuck the job: there was no saving Ironwood Hills. As a realm, it is a goner, there is nobody here except creepy dolls and a strange brigade of little children playing in the refuse, and just forget the whole thing, I was running. Out of there. Fast.

Then, everything went dark.

Then, everything went dark.

Then, everything went dark. Only I was still frozen in place. Fucking paralysed. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before; what the fucking fuck. I know, I know, I’m cursing too much. Blame her: She made me a potty mouth.

Dizzy, dizzy, dizzy, and then blackness.

And I woke up on a fucking beach.

And I woke up on a fucking beach.

And I woke up on a fucking beach. On a beautiful day. With my heart still pounding. I wasn’t wearing my same clothes, and something had gone crazy with my hair, and there was one of those floaty planes—what are those things called, anyway—over the sea.

When I looked in the other direction, sharks. I started to get dizzy again.

When I looked in the other direction, sharks. I started to get dizzy again.

When I looked in the other direction, sharks. I started to get dizzy again. Great. This was just fucking great.

Then I remembered an old trick the Gypsy Davey taught me, and I reached for my shadow.

Then I remembered an old trick the Gypsy Davey taught me, and I reached for my shadow.

Then I remembered an old trick the Gypsy Davey taught me, and I reached for my shadow. Take me, take me, out of this place. Take me away, lady goddess.

Then, with dizziness and bonus nausea, not to mention a feeling of constriction everywhere, I found myself in some kind of mediaeval castle.

Then, with dizziness and bonus nausea, not to mention a feeling of constriction everywhere, I found myself in some kind of mediaeval castle.

Then, with dizziness and bonus nausea, not to mention a feeling of constriction everywhere, I found myself in some kind of mediaeval castle. There were lutes playing. Servants quietly scurried around with their eyes on the floor. Nobody remarked on my sudden appearance: they just all said, “My Lady” whenever I passed them. “My Lady” would like a fucking dirty martini with extra olive juice, thank you very much.

I did not much like this world.

I did not much like this world.

I did not much like this world. It seemed to me that if this was some alternate life for me, I would be a very bored “Lady”. And half a dozen people explained to me that the purple of my dress complimented the red of my hair, which had been bound up in some admittedly impressive braid thing. The one thing I’d have loved to take away from this existence, which frankly reminded me all too much of her, was the necklace I found around my neck when I materialised. Such a beautiful thing. Perhaps I’ll see if… no. I am not taking any more favours from her than I have to. And why was I here, anyway? What possible impulse could have lead my shadow to bring me to such a place, unless it was just looking for something as far away as possible from a beach? I did note, when I looked out this window, that we were absurdly high, on some impossible peak. The castle seemed accessible only by a bridge that it would have been impossible to cross even on horseback. I did not waste much time wondering how supplies got in: enough of the servants were sporting pointy ears for me to imagine this must be some sort of an elfin or faerie kingdom. Still, it was terrifying to be on a beach one minute and then trussed up in a corseted dress the next. Ugh. I reached for my shadow again.

OMG, that day was so horrible.

OMG, that day was so horrible.

OMG, this day is so horrible. Late night / early morning mist, and my dad shouting from the doorway and my mum looking out the kitchen window and crying, but fuck them. Rusty and I are going to Cornwall to surf and live a life like God intended people to live, free and not tied down to stupid parents.

And my dad yelling,

And my dad yelling, “I knew that little arse was trouble from the first time he came driving up here in that hippie van!”

And my dad yelling, “I knew that little arse was trouble from the first time he came driving up here in that hippie van!” And the fight going on and on and the mist burning off and Rusty just lying down to sleep in the back of the VW because he didn’t want to deal with my parents, and me fighting my way into the house again to grab a few things: I mean, how is a girl meant to survive without an iPhone, anyway?

And my dad stormed out of the house to work, and my mum just stood there crying, and all of a sudden all I could think of was being a little girl again.

And my dad stormed out of the house to work, and my mum just stood there crying, and all of a sudden all I could think of was being a little girl again.

And my dad storms out of the house to work, and my mum just stands there crying, and all of a sudden all I can think of is being a little girl again.

And I’m overwhelmed by this sense of loss, and Rusty finally gets fed up with waiting and starts the engine, and so I turn to get in…

And everything starts spinning.

And everything starts spinning.

And everything starts spinning, and nothing makes sense, and I see stars and have to grab for the van’s open window so I won’t fall over….

And then I find myself jerked abruptly away, and that life spins in tatters away from me.

And then I find myself jerked abruptly away, and that life spins in tatters away from me.

And then I find myself jerked abruptly away, and that life spins in tatters away from me. I land with a thump on her fucking altar, in the middle of the Great Seelie Forest, surrounded by giggling demifae and gossipy little will o’ the wisps, and it’s late morning and I’m stark fucking naked, not that it matters here, but what the fuck just happened to me?

I stretch and try to stand.

I stretch and try to stand.

I stretch and try to stand. “Don’t do that, Tacey,” says Clutie—you’d guess she’d be around, it being her domain and all. “You’ve had quite a shock. We’ll get a healer to you soon as we can: we think you’ve had a panic attack and spun yourself round several realms on your way back home.”

“This is not my home,” I snap, and it’s “Tac, not Tacey.” I fucking hate that name. “Tacey” means “quiet”. I mean, seriously. I am not Tacey. I am The Amazing Catwoman. Tac.

I try to stand up anyway and end up losing my balance and falling backwards.

I try to stand up anyway and end up losing my balance and falling backwards.

I try to stand up anyway and end up losing my balance and falling backwards. “Whose crap is this on the altar, anyway?” I mutter as I fall. But when you’re in the Magnificent Fae Queen’s back garden, there are always demifae ready to catch you when you fall over, even if they pull the shit out of your hair.

“Fine,” Clutie says, and there’s a hiss in her breath. “Tac, then, and it might not be home but we think you ought to stay for a little while, just until you get your realm-walking feet back. We’ll take you to see Dyisi if you want, though our healers can repair most of the damage.” Her voice softens as they settle me back down onto the altar. “It’s leftovers, by the way, from the Queen’s handfasting. It was just last week.”

“Oh, great,” I groan. “All this and I have to put up with her married bliss on top of everything else?”

“Oh, do calm down, Tacey—Tac,” she corrects herself before I can correct her. “So you don’t like Faerie. Well, you’re going to stay here for a little while, so shut your gob and get used to it.” Wow, she’s as bad as my dad back in…. what was the name of that town again?

“I was somebody else,” I say quietly.

“Probably several somebodies,” Clutie replies as if I’ve done the universe some great harm. “Now settle yourself, ground and centre, and let us help you.”

What happened to me?

What happened to me?

What happened to me? I rise up on my toes, breathe in the (admittedly) sweet air of Faerie, and let my feet feel the altar, the altar to the Earth, the earth to the Water, the water to the Sky, the sky to the sun, the sun to the great initiator, Fire. The sun of Faerie is like nowhere else, and I bathe in it, breathe it in, let myself go calm. I was a savage on a beach. I was a queen in a castle. I was a teenage girl running away from home. And for just a moment, goddess knows how long it’ll last, this does feel like home. I just hope I don’t have to deal too much with her.H

Style Cards

Hair Fair is opening as I write this, and the sensational Queue Marlow has outdone herself with this year’s offerings from Analog DogThe Amazing Catwoman is wearing all the new Hair Fair styles, plus one style that’s new in the Analog Dog Main Store, in this post. There’s also some great stuff from The Season’s Story and Oh My Gacha as well: check out the detail style cards below for lists and links!

Ironwood Hills, first photo:
Body: Maitreya
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Tavia v1 Natural RARE (Available at Oh My Gacha!)
Hair: Analog Dog (natch!) Theresa (New at the Analog Dog Main Store!)
Ears: Gauze, High Elf Ears
Clothes: Faida, Jeanne, Brown
Boots: Lassitude & Ennui, Hellebore Boots, Brown
Eyes: Avatar Bizarre, Cheshire Cat Gold
Necklace: Otherskin, Selene, Black
Ring: Aisling, The Good Wife

Ironwood Hills, Subsequent Photos:
Body: 
Maitreya
Skin: 
7 Deadly s{K}ins, Tavia v1 Natural RARE (Available at Oh My Gacha!)
Hair: 
Analog Dog (natch!) Theresa (New at the Analog Dog Main Store!)
Ears: 
Gauze, High Elf Ears
Eyes: Avatar Bizarre, Cheshire Cat Gold
Ring: Aisling, The Good Wife
Necklace: Otherskin, Selene, Black
Clothes: Fashionably Dead Designs, Cirilla (blouse, boots, corset, and pants)

Timeless Memories (beach) Photos:
Body: 
Maitreya
Skin: 
7 Deadly s{K}ins, Tavia v1 Natural RARE (Available at Oh My Gacha!)
Hair: 
Analog Dog (natch!) Sassafras (New at Hair Fair!)
Ears: 
Gauze, High Elf Ears
Eyes: Avatar Bizarre, Cheshire Cat Gold
Ring: 
Aisling, The Good Wife
Necklace: 
Otherskin, Selene, Black
Clothes: 
Fashionably Dead Designs, Cheeky Ranger (Tunic, Boots)
Tights: Izzie’s Cozy Tights
Tattoo: White Widow, Tombstone (At AnyBody)

Castle Photos:
Body: Maitreya
Skin: 
7 Deadly s{K}ins, Tavia v1 Natural RARE (Available at Oh My Gacha!)
Hair: Analog Dog (natch!) Molly (New at Hair Fair!)
Ears: 
Gauze, High Elf Ears
Eyes: Avatar Bizarre, Cheshire Cat Gold
Ring: 
Aisling, The Good Wife
Necklace: 
Otherskin, Salvation (At Fair Play!)
Dress: Les Encantades, Grace (At the Medieval Faire!)

Suburban England Photos:
Body: 
Maitreya
Skin: 
7 Deadly s{K}ins, Tavia v1 Natural RARE (Available at Oh My Gacha!)
Hair: 
Analog Dog (natch!) Psylocibin (New at Hair Fair!)
Eyes: IKON, Destiny Eyes, Moor
Skirt: Wimey, Dark Denim Skirt RARE (At The Season’s Story!)
Tops: Wimey, Summer of Fandom Gacha commons (At The Season’s Story!)
Minivan: Bad Unicorn Clothing, “Prop” Summah Minivan RARE (At The Season’s Story!)
House: Breno, The Smith House (At The Fantasy Collective!)

Great Seelie Forest Photos:
Body: Maitreya
Skin: 
7 Deadly s{K}ins, Tavia v1 Natural RARE (Available at Oh My Gacha!)
Hair: 
Analog Dog (natch!) Sassafras (New at Hair Fair!)
Ears: 
Gauze, High Elf Ears
Eyes: Avatar Bizarre, Cheshire Cat Gold
Ring: 
Aisling, The Good Wife
Necklace: 
Otherskin, Selene, Black
Stone Circle: Artisan Fantasy, Maiden Tor Stone Circle
Trumpet Mushrooms: Cerridwen’s Cauldron
Flower Field: The Looking Glass, Ichi Fields

Locations:
Ironwood Hills, a beautifully creepy sim with open rez-rights, is a fantastic location for photography and just to explore. There’s loads to see, so go back often, and pass a few Lindens their way: it costs money to keep a sim open of course, and making it available to the public like this is such a beautiful gift.
Timeless Memories, fairly recently redesigned with a Mediterranean flair, is a gorgeous place both to visit and to photograph. I’m sure I’ll be back and grab more than just a few beach photos to scare TAC with sharks!
Skye Neist Point, part of the Studio Skye sims, is one of my favourite places to go when I need gorgeous landscapes and beautiful buildings. Studio Skye will also make you long to design your own forests and gardens with their meticulously and elegantly designed landscapes.

Other Locations: The suburban street was built in a sandbox, because I couldn’t find anything out in the Wide Second World that met my needs for this part of The Amazing Catwoman’s journey, and of course the Great Seelie Forest is part of Wicked Wylds, a private, invite-only roleplaying sim that invites good writers who want to create great characters.

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