The Moment It Happened

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I think I said, ‘What’? Yes; it must have been

I think I said, ‘What’? Yes; it must have been
Unable as I was to think beyond
The stomach-fall, the tightness in my chest
Consideration left me and I stopped.

But context is important, we know this,
So I will tell you what transpired before
The moor-bell rang a message-bearer in
And made the thorn bush wrap me in a fist.

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We, all of us, were having a good day

We, all of us, were having a good day
Before the envoy came to break my heart
Look, here we are preparing songs for plants
My little handmaids tuning up their throats

By singing silliness first each to each
And silliness to rhyme and rhyme to thought
And thought to word and word to magic wrought
Another round of flower-growing songs

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We sing to them because it helps them grow

We sing to them because it helps them grow
And magic voices carry more than breath
So grow they do: we light them from within
With energy no mortal eye can see.

In summer, we sing softer than in spring
Because we know that soon they’ll go to sleep
And lullabies are such enchanted songs
They work beyond words, frequencies, and years.

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And then at nightfall, it was story-time

Then, after singing, it was story-time
As it will always be when skies go dark
And just when they were making up their minds
Which tale to hear tonight, we heard the bell.

‘Moor Majesty, there is a messenger
‘With news from outside, far beyond the Realm.’
So foolishly I said, ‘Do let him in:
‘Despite the hour; I’m sure he’s due some cheer’.

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The moment when I vowed to burn it down

The moment when I vowed to burn it down?
That moment lasted longer than some lives.
‘Moor Majesty, a new Princess is born
Beyond the wall; her Naming is today

And I am sent to tell you from the King
That you will be unwelcome. Stay away’.
An ember in my gut turned stone to fire
In seconds. I am sorry for the plants.

uninvited

It is the contrast I remember now

It is the contrast I remember now
Like iron curtains drawn on a full moon.
I think I let him live, the messenger
But once the blood mist fell, all bets were off.

So I became the raven, or the swan
Black wings of death, a heart strangled by thorns
I salted all their earth. I cursed her palms
And learned how quickly grace to hate transforms.

Notes & Credits:
Almost all the items you see in these photographs are at Enchantment’s Sleeping Beauty event, which opened on the 8th of August and will close on the 31st. I can think of no more satisfying and engaging escape, whether dark or light, than to lose myself in a fairy tale, so that’s what I’ll be doing for the rest of August.
Avatar Items Featured at Enchantment:
Horns: Snowpaws, Luna Horns With Dead Leaves
Face Tattoo: Nefekalum, Uninvited
Dress: Poet’s Heart, Rosaura Gown
Staff: Skellybones, Scepter Of Thorns
Raven (really not as visible as he should be and you will see more of him later): Jinx, Animesh Raven Arm Pet
Poses: All from Diversion, Protector Of The Moors Poses
Setting Items Featured at Enchantment:
Bounding Rocks: Harshlands, The Moors Rocks
Throne: Harshlands, The Moors Throne (Aurora)
Animesh Faeries: Titans, The Aurora Fae
Magical Flowers: Simply Shelby, Mystical Fairy Flowers
Thorns: Love, Evil Thorns
Ground Roses & Petals, Rivendale, Ground Roses
Things Not Featured at Enchantment which are pictured here and pretty doggone cool:
Skin: Wyrd, Alva in T1
Ears: Swallow, Noldor Elf Ears
Hair: Exile, Something Wicked
Body Tattoo: Nefekalum, The Fair Ones, Sidhe Galaxy SOI
Lipstick: Pink Fuel, Dazzle Me Haunted
Eyes: Madame Noir, Lizz Eyes
Gloves: Amias, Embla Gloves

 

 

Things I am Not Meant To Do, Part I

By Princess Briar Rose, aka, Talia, aka, That Girl, aka, The Cursed One, aka, loads of other names people just haven’t called me to my face yet.

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1. No Dancing At The Fey Stones At Twilight

I’m not allowed up to the moor
To catch the copper twilight slant
I’m not allowed even to view
The windows of Maleficent

I’m not allowed to visit her
She makes the nicest lipsticks though
I’m not allowed  to share her tea
And make my way home after dark

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2. No basking beneath waxing moons

I’m not allowed to bathe beneath
The magically waxing moon

Nor feel the mystic rise in me 
And sparkle up like fairy stars

I’m not allowed to use the pinch
Of Rose Potion she gave to me
To call the flowers of my heart
Because I have no other date

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3. No Magic, What-So-Ever!

I’m not allowed to test my gifts
I’m fifteen: all my cousins do!
But no, I mustn’t hold a flame
Or say the magic phrases, no

I’m not allowed to catch a rose
And burn it so my wish comes true
And I must never close my eyes
And use my stone-sight in the dark

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4. No Wearing My Nice Gown Onto the Moors At Night, Where I Am Not Allowed to Go Anyway.

I’m not allowed to sneak outside
In my best dress: these gowns aren’t cheap!
Silk’s strong, but not impervious
To dirt and dew and grass, princess

I’m not allowed to rip my gown
While doing things I mustn’t do
Like sprinting home ahead of dawn
And not quite falling off a bridge

But no-one has to know: I know
The spinning lady in the keep
Has needles she will lend to me
Though I am not allowed to sew
The King and Queen will never know

Notes And Credits:
The Moor Stones: HarshLands, The Moors Rocks (Get them at Enchantment when it opens on 8th August!)
My Best Gown: Senzafine, Gwyneth (It’s at We Love Role-play, which opened today, 4th August!) Also, Synjari is amazing and you should buy all her stuff!
My Perfect Princess Skin: Wyrd, Edda (It’s at the Wyrd Main Store!)
My Beautiful Hair: KMH Hair, F141 (Get it at Enchantment when it opens on 8th August!)
The Makeup Maleficent Made For Me, Because She Is So Nice: Shiny Stuffs, Beauty Sleep Eyeshadow, Good Morning Kisses Lipstick (Get them at Enchantment when it opens on 8th August!)
My Roses That Are Actually Magical Manifestations Of My Awesome Blooming Fae Power: Rivendale, Swirling Roses (Get them at Enchantment when it opens on 8th August!)
My Proper Princess Crown: MoonRabbit, Shiny Queen
My Proper Princess Pearls: Kunglers, Margaret Necklace & Earrings
Little Briar Rose, Or Whatever You Want to Call Her was portrayed by Gwyneth (she likes the cosplay!), and is styled on a Maitreya Lara Body and a Lelutka Evolution Lake Head.

Environment:
Y’all, I love Enchantment so much that I build a set for it for the duration of the event. This one is on the ground in Awenia, and it’s got the Wicked Fairy House from yesterday’s post, plus HarshLands’ Moor Stones, plus HarshLands’ Ritual Rocks, and there’ll surely be more added as we get closer to the event and even further into it.
Gorgeous moon and amazing stars cape is from Landscapes Unlimited, Off Sim Starry Night.

Enchantment Presents- Sleeping Beauty - August 2020

 

Storm’s Coming

Dear Richard,

I got your email. I mean, obviously I got it; else I wouldn’t be replying to it. You can probably see your email at the bottom of my email or something. I don’t know. I guess it depends on your client and your preferences, but yeah. Hi.

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It’s morning here

It’s morning here, or I guess it is since I haven’t been up all that long and I’m still in my jammies. My jammies have unicorns. I have matching slippers. If I had to do all this myself, I’d never be organised enough to find my jammies, much less matching slippers, but there you have it. You say you’re lucky. I certainly have had a lot of luck over the past several years. Sometimes good luck, sometimes bad luck, but luck I have had.

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The family balcony

This is the family residence balcony, though I do have guests here from time to time: everywhere else is so formal. It’s comfortable this time of year, even though that sky’s beginning to darken somewhat so I’ll have to keep a look out for Weather. I’m a lot less bothered about weather than I used to be, though. There’s a daytime moon here, because I like the moon so I put one there. It just makes me smile.

Two paragraphs in and I’m rambling already. I don’t know what to say to you, if I’m honest. The answer is no; I haven’t Googled you. At first, it was because I was afraid to. If you can see back to the very beginning of the blog, when I first came away, you’ll see that I went to a place where I was discouraged from checking anything about my own potentially contemporary life out. So I left it, and so much was happening it just seemed the right thing to do, to let it all happen as it happened. I didn’t want to see my own funeral notices. I didn’t want to know if that life had ended completely, and where I was there seemed such a lot going on. The more I talk, the more I realise there’s no excused. I should have tried to find you.

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You are welcome

Of course, you are welcome to come to Awenia. If you coordinate with me ahead of time, I can offer you a place to stay. There’s space for guests in the Residence, but I don’t know if you’d like it. I’m thinking of one of the floating guesthouses; we have a few that are broken up into nice flats. I can’t put you in the Treehouse, because visiting Fae dignitaries get all puffy if they think that residence isn’t reserved for them.

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Floating

Yes, I think the sky is definitely darkening. Behind me here you can see the steps to the Treehouse, and just the edge of one of the floating guesthouses. They’re quite nice.  I can’t concentrate on my book. I don’t know why I brought it out here. Something about floating in the lagoon on a nice day, even if there’s a storm coming, makes me feel peaceful and I need a bit of peace right now. You’ve probably seen the statue on some of our literature: lots of people are referring to it as the Awenia Statue, but really he’s called The Last Hope. He’s a symbol of our Realm, I guess, even though he came from somewhere very far away.

You seem very far away, even though I’m looking at photographs of you now on my iPad, and thank you for the link to your author site: I’ll start reading the first one tonight.

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Dabbling

I’m so pleased you embraced writing. I’ve always been such a dabbler in things I never could choose a path to follow that wasn’t the one I stumbled on to while dabbling. And you’ve had a journey that I hope we can talk about when you come to visit Awenia.

“When” is such a funny word, isn’t it? You will have heard that time flows differently in different Realms, but it’s an odd concept until it smacks you in the face, I think. And there’s no easy way to say this, so I’m going to smack you in the face, I reckon. You say it’s been thirty years, where you are. For me, by my counting anyway, it’s just coming up on eight years since the last time we saw one another. That sounds like dancing about. It’s just coming up on eight years since the accident that led me to cross the river into Jasper and begin to discover myself as I was born and not as I was made. As for why I didn’t reveal my Fae nature back then, the truth is I didn’t know it, and that’s a conversation we can have over dinner or coffee or whatever you fancy, but it’s not something I can write down because it will make no sense written down.

Now, I am going to pop off the Rosé floatie and get myself a cup of coffee at the portal café before the rain comes. Then, I think I’ll settle down with a nice ebook I’ve just downloaded. After all, it’s nearly sundown and I’m still in my jammies.

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A hope

Our statue is called The Last Hope, but I have many hopes. One of them is that when you cross through our portal and into Awenia that you’ll find many things to like here, and that you and I will find many things to talk about. Probably I’ll wear something a bit more presentable than pyjamas, though.

Notes & Credits:
My jammies: 1313 Mockingbird Lane, Flannels & Halter (Get them at the 1313 Mockinbird Lane Main Store!)
My slippers: 1313 Mockingbird Lane, Flannel Slippers (Get them at the 1313 Mockingbird Lane Main Store!)
My Hair: Wasabi, Summer (Get it at Summerfest!)
My Skin: Ritual, Elspeth in T1 (Because NOBODY does pale and luminous like Ritual! You can get this and other Ritual skins at the Ritual Main Store. Elspeth comes in a host of tones, including some beautiful fantasy colours.)
My Eyes: S0ng, Marina Eyes
My Eyelashes: Shiny Stuffs, Bouquet Of Lashes
My Lipstick: theMARS, Sanity Lip
My Body: Maitreya
My Head: Lelutka, Lake Evolution Mesh Head
My Ears: Swallow, Elf Ears High Definition

Other Cool Stuff in these photos:
My Castle: Rivendale, Dreamy Castle (best contemporary faerie castle on the grid)
My Deck Furniture: Artisan Fantasy, Gazebo
The Visible Floating Guest House: 22769 / bauwerk, Somewhere Only We Know House
The Awenia Statue: Death Row Designs, Last Hope Statue
Lotus Flowers and Lily Pads: Rivendale
Partially Visible Treehouse: LAQ, Serene Tree & Windmill Home
Rosé Floatie: Granola, Salt Water Rosé Float (At Summerfest!)

An Orchard In Elemaria

When I came back from the rather less than formal ball held in the Drifts of Anamnesis, a desert which somehow became an oasis at exactly the right time, I admit I was feeling a bit drained and a bit sad.

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But who could possibly feel sad in this gown?

I know what you must be thinking, of course. ‘But who could possibly feel sad in such a beautiful gown, Your Fae Majesty’?

And you’d have a point. Silvan Moon Designs has created the most wonderful spring gown in an array of colours appropriate to the season. I was so proud to wear Dance of Spring to the informal ball; it almost didn’t matter that nearly everyone else was dressed rather less than formally. This periwinkle colour is to die for, isn’t it? And the gown’s crushed velvet falls so beautifully. I admit I sneaked out of the Fairelands to visit the carnival of fashion and hijinks that is We Love Roleplay, and that’s where I found this beautiful gown. I’m sure they still have a few left if you hurry to the carnival.

But the truth is, sometimes even when one is wearing a fabulous dress, it’s still possible to feel a bit sad. Even a lot sad.

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There’s a voice inside my head

I’m one of those people with a running narration going on all the time: it’s like a voiceover in my head. And that night, the voice wanted me to remember and feel sad about the fact that the Great Fantasy Faire was ending for another year. And I did feel sad, and I did remember. I remembered the first chilling steps I took into Lamented Fens and how I grew to love that darkness. I remembered the sheer joy of Heliodor and the rush of being in a Realm of light. And the more filtered light of Autumnium, yes, that too. There was the darker call of Siren’s Lore, the inescapable bottoms of Melusina’s Depths, the madcap hysteria of Mistakes Were Made. I recalled dancing on turtles in Cassiopeia, listening to the words of great authors in the Drifts of Anamnesis, seeking the pleasure of the Bard Queen in Queensgarden. My surprise at entering Agra Adara and finding it was not at all what I thought it would be. Ambigula, a living art installation, Isle of Shadows with its scary giant bunnies, the frozen distance of Auxentios’ Pass, and of course the cosmic order (and chaos) of Zodiac. The stunning basin of the Spirit Valley of Kuruk will stay with me always, and of course, the Fairelands Junction bridged all these gaps and brought me closer to every Realm simply and easily, this time from a crystal desert cave. My two homes away from home, Elemaria and Lunafae, will be the hardest to leave behind. I’ve written from both these realms, and while the Fairelands were too vast this year for me to write from every one of them, I considered my next steps, and the next day, carefully, as I prepared for my last morning in the Fairelands.

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Morning in Elemaria

I awoke in Elemaria and descended the long staircase to the spiral star labyrinth at the forest junction. In spring, butterflies like to follow Fae royalty, so I had a few to contend with. I don’t mind them, just so you know. But they do get a bit buzzy.

In the glorious May sunshine, I sent the butterflies out to do their work. Flower pollination is serious business at this time of year. And I thought about pollination, about the kind of growth that irritates your nose and makes you briefly grumpy with life. What could I plant now, just as myself, that might be worthy of this land, these Fairelands, our kingdom and community, our spirit?

My fingers lingered over the spirit star of Elemaria woven into the bodice of my gown. This, my loves, is the Elemaria Spirit Gown, and I cannot tell you where to go and get it, for there is only one, and I am fortunate to wear it in the name if Elemaria and Light and the rising star of Hope. I don’t often showcase one-of-a-kind gowns, because I want you all to be able to find the treasures I show you, but I am now wondering why I do not do that. Perhaps over the next few weeks I’ll photograph some of the beautiful one-of-a-kind dresses I’ve collected over the years.

Forgive me for the fashion tangent: it’s just my nature. I was thinking what could I plant, what could I give, what would be a thing from me, more than the time (and, let’s be real, the money) I spend every year to help our Faire be a success and help us grow and help more and more people. What would that thing be?

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It came to me in the form of an apple.

And then it came to me, in the form of an apple. Because one thing my darlings, one thing I am told I’m very good at, is offering inspiration. I have a life that revolves around teaching, the arts, music, writing, and helping light the spark of creativity in folk both young and old.

So no this isn’t the apple you’re thinking of, even though I am come straight from fairy tale and myth to be with you here.

This is the apple of inspiration. You can see it in the emblem carefully painted on its curved edge. It’s an emblem you see if you ever look at any of my work. It’s an emblem you see if you ever look at me: it’s tattooed once on my real life wrist, and again in the belly of a symbolic salmon on my real life chest. This is the Awen, the symbol of divine inspiration, said to represent the three rays of poetic inspiration shining straight down from the gods themselves.

And so today, at the centre of the spirit labyrinth of Elemaria, I give you this apple. Here, I will plant it in the forest nearby. And because inspiration is not an ordinary apple, but a magical one, it may bear fruit sooner than you think.

Fairelanders all, be you world builders, paper pushers, music folk, organisers of parties, readers of books and tellers of tales, sculptors of meshes and images, willing to bring your sense of wonder, thank you. And don’t worry: this is not just my apple tree. This is your apple tree, too. You can sit beneath it with anybody you like, discover gravity in your own way, learn the ways of magic, marvel at the star within that mirrors, not-so-coincieentally, the spirit star of Elemaria I’m thinking of now. Take it with you. Plant your own. Bring back your baskets of apples to share with all the world.

Look at what we can grow.

Items featured from this year’s Faire:
Skin: Petrichor, Viscivorus Skin in Serinus (first set of photos) and Pareities (second set of photos) (The Faire is closed now, but I’m sure these skins will be at the Petrichor Main Store soon enough!)
Ears: Petrichor, Viscivorus Ears (These beautiful ears come with each of the Viscivorus skins, and they’ll be available at the Petrichor Main Store before you know it!)
Gowns: Silvan Moon Designs, Dance of Spring (first set of photos) (Find it at We Love Role-play!); Silvan Moon Designs, Elemaria Spirit Gown (one-of-a-kind, and my honour to wear). The Elemaria Water Gown was available at the Faire and will I hope be available soon at the Silvan Moon Designs Main Store

Other Stuff in this look:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka Nova Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Ayashi, Amalia Hair (a rare Gacha from The Epiphany) (first set of photos); EMO*tions, Hairbase B and hairpieces A and K (at the EMO*tions Main Store)
Crown (second set of photos): Rivendale, Evenstar Crown

Elemaria was one of 18 regions in the 2020 Relay For Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire. It was sponsored by Silvan Moon Designs and designed by Bee Dumpling and Solas Enchantment.

Although the fairelands exist only in our memories and our photographs once they’ve receded back into the mists, they are never forgotten. This year, the spirit that built those lands raised over $73,000USD for the American Cancer Society. We are a blessed and mighty community, and I am proud to be part of it. Good night, Fantasy Faire 2020. You were a beauty.

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Sunset over the Fairelands, 10 May 2020

 

Fate In Lamented Fens

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Fate steps up from the depths

Will you know it? Will you know that moment, the one where Fate turns? So many folk, they don’t know it, even when they look back on it. If only, they think, if only I had known. If only my fate had made itself more clear to me.

Oh, my sweet child.

Hello.

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Deceptive Moonlight

You have asked, and I have come. We are together now. Don’t mind the colour of the sky: here in the Fens the sky is always so close. It’s only that we cannot touch it. Well, not just yet.

Now, look through the moss, and you will see the most extraordinary things.

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Turn back?

Turn back, you say? Turn back to the boardwalk, the path, linger beneath the glass jar lights? Oh, but it’s so simple there. And you are not simple, are you? No? I thought not.

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A compromise

Let’s go just a little off the path. Just a few steps. That’s easy enough for you, isn’t it?

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Closer

We live in a modern age, surely. You don’t fear the dead, do you?

I myself enjoy the mist here, how it wraps around my ankles. Little cat feet. That was Carl Sandberg, you know. A poet; he was a poet.

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Now that you’re here….

Now that you’re here, let’s discuss your fate.

Fate, you see, is very simple. It’s like the path we just left.

You want Fate to be a thing that operates completely outside you. And that’s comfortable, isn’t it, the thought that Fate itself just steps in and makes your life what it is and will be.

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Like lamps.

But really, if you think about it, there is no Fate. There is you, and your choices. Fate might be just a lamp, a minuscule event, or feeling, or experience that pushes you toward one thing or another. So Fate is a lamp.

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This moon is a lamp.

This moon is a lamp.

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These candles are a lamp.

These candles are a lamp.

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And I? I am also a lamp, of sorts.

And I? I am also a lamp, of sorts. You’ve been following me all this time, haven’t you?

It’s only that, when you turn, I turn. And you won’t see me. You won’t.

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Who is watching you?

But I’ll see you. I’ve got good eyes like that. Very, very good eyes.

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The sky. The water. The Edge.

One day, not today but someday, I’ll invite you to come with me and touch this sky of mine. The sky is everywhere, you understand. It’s all around us. It’s only that you can’t touch it, not yet.

But when you’re ready, take my hands.

It’s only one step from here.

Credits and Notes:
Location: Lamented Fens is one of 18 regions in this year’s Relay for Life of Second Life’s annual Fantasy Faire. The region is sponsored by The Forge and designed by Riven (lrriven) and Skeleton (kitori unplugged), with quest written by the team and coded by Remnant Ashbourne. It is a creepy wonder of a Realm, full of moss and live oak trees and more depths than you could imagine down below the surface of that cloudy water. Lamps to guide you, voices to compel you, a choose-your-own-adventure sim quest, what more could a Fairelander desire? It’s only one step from here. You too can visit Lamented Fens, but be sure to do it before the 10th of May, when the Fairelands will, as every year, dissolve back into the Mists.

Items featured at this year’s Faire:
Items featured at the 2020 Relay for Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire:
Skin: Petrichor, Viscivorus Skin in Serious (Find it at the Petrichor Store in Sirens Lore!)
Body Feathers: Trap & Petrichor, Viscivorus Harpy Body Feathers (Find them at the Petrichor Store in Sirens Lore, or at the Trap Store, also in Sirens Lore!)
Ears: Petrichor, Viscivorus Ears (Find them at the Petrichor Store in Sirens Lore!)
Hair: Raven Bell, Zylith (Find it at the Raven Bell store in Auxentios’ Pass!)
Dress: AtaMe, Pisces Goddess dress in Ruby (Find it at the AtaMe store in Zodiac!)
Necklace: Rise Design, Mythos Necklace (Find it at the Rise Design Store in Melusina’s Depths!)

Other Stuff in this Look:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka Nova Bento Mesh Head
Eyes: Euphoric, Animal Eyes
Lips: Jumo, Metallic Lips
Gloves: RealEvil Industries, Aewel Fairy Gloves
Wings: Evolved Creatures, Fae Wings 8.2

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SURPRISE PHOTOBOMB BLOOPER END OF POST!

Adorable and completely appropriate cat portrayed by the ever-present Scougs (dyisi).

Portents….

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Something alerted me.

Something alerted me today. Sometimes, the sounds in our magical forest are more than wind and birds, more than wolves and our own warriors. But it is hard to know where they come from.

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And so I scry

And so I scry. I make my way down to the scrying bowl, let the magic rise, toss in the appropriate herbs.

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Visitors will come soon.

Visitors. Visitors will come soon. Should we plan a feast? Alert the bards? Should we gather the younglings and prepare a pageant?

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Portents….

No, no. Not those kinds of visitors. How heartbreaking to foresee a dark time. So I shall prepare, and wait, and let the magic rise, and hope for a better world.

So should we all.

Enchantment‘s theme this round is Lord of the Rings! Enchantment opens today, Saturday 9 February, at noon SLT. There is so much to see, so many stories to create, so many depths to explore. It’s a massive round with some of the best creators in Second Life contributing, so if you miss it, don’t blame me! 

Style Card:
Items featured at Enchantment:
Scrying Bowl: By Nacht, Mirror of Galadriel
Jewellery: Rivendale, The Evenstar Collection (includes necklace, crown, earrings, and brooch [brooch not pictured here])
Poses: Fashiowl, The Lord of the Rings

Everything Else:
Dress: Senzafine, Alastriel Gown (at We Love Role-play)
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Vera Bento Mesh Head
Skin: Lumae, Lelutka Deia Applier (All current skin lines are on sale at the Lumae Main Store for just $L100)
Ears: Swallow, Elf Ears High Definition
Hair: No Match, No Fiction
Trees: All from Heart, Ancient Oak Forest Set
Treehouse: Death Row Designs, Elven Tree House

Enchantment ~ Lord of the Rings ~ Feb. 9. 2019

The Stained Glass Grove

I love winter time. I know as a (mostly) Seelie Queen I may not be meant to say that. But it’s true. Being Queen in winter used to scare me: I spent my first winter as Queen asleep (I kid you not). Now that I’ve settled in to my role, or, I suppose, created it, I am more used to the changes that happen to me in the autumn and winter, particularly as the Wheel winds down after Samhain. In years past, the changes have mostly been to mood and attitude: this year my appearance and most notably my hair colour has changed with the seasons. I have been a dark brunette since sometime in November, and just today when I awoke, I noticed a few strands of grey. Who knows what will happen to me over the next few weeks?

Faerie, as you may already know, is made of magic. You may turn a corner one day and find yourself in a massive library; the same turned corner just hours later might bring you into a grove of dancing demifae who … may not have your best interests in mind. Particularly as the year grows old, it is wise to be cautious.

Yesterday I turned one of those corners and found a portal almost identical to the one that stood in the White Owl Island city park and served as a quick coming and going tool for those who could use it. I glanced around to make sure nobody was watching, and I simply stepped through.

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I stepped through the portal

Now, I know I’ve just got done telling you to be cautious in Faerie in the wintertime, but there’s a certain lack of fear that comes with being Queen. Now that I am no longer pursued by him who was once the Unseelie King of the Wylds, I feel more confident about almost everything, and if I’m honest, not much surprises me any more.

The little pocket Realm I found myself in was completely bare of Fae, Mortals, magical creatures of any kind. I saw a horse and a couple of deer, but the moment I entered the Realm, I felt that unwavering sense of quiet that comes after a heavy snowfall. Have you ever been in a forest after a snowfall? It’s as if the whole world is covered with a blanket. Sound is muffled. What you do pick up on are details: your breath, water dripping, leaves shifting. Oh, it was wonderful to feel utterly and completely alone: I am rarely alone, particularly now that Awenia is coming alive with holiday tourists, Fae and mortal alike. Angharad does a good job, but she’s young and needs guidance. Luckily, I don’t have much to worry about, security-wise: Tac, Wulfrich, and Davey need no supervision, even if Tac still kind of hates reporting to me. But there are always questions and plans and events at which I must put in an appearance.

You see? I can’t even describe a quiet haven without thinking about all the things I have left behind in Awenia. But looking out into this simple and beautiful Realm made me want to forget it all, and it was all about the trees. I was glad that I’d worn a suitable winter gown: its high neck and fitted sleeves kept me comfortable even though it must have been cold. Even though I could warm myself with magic, I am reluctant to use too much energy changing the environment.

I love trees: we know that. Trees of all descriptions and sizes. But the copse of trees I saw when I came through that portal made me catch my breath.

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Stained Glass Trees

There were other trees in the tiny Realm, of course, but nothing I’ve ever seen compared to these. Their plain, straight trunks weave into twisted branches reminiscent of wrought iron. And the leaves. They were like perfect, translucent stained glass cutouts of leaves, even when some of them fell from the branches.

One wonderful thing about living in a Realm that’s not deathly afraid of technology is I always have my iPhone with me, and it’s got a great camera on it. (Bran would disagree, but he’s so far down the DSLR rabbit hole I have to pull him out forcibly to get my tea sometimes.) I did get some photographs of the trees, but I’m sure I did not do them justice.

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Look at those perfect leaves

Look at those perfect leaves: I’d never seen anything like it. Perhaps next time I come to this Realm (I marked it so I can make it back), I will ask the trees if they mind me taking just a little cutting from each of the different colour varieties, because I would love to have these in Awenia for the springtime—and all the other seasons as well.

And of course, you know by now that I can’t ever just stand back and watch anything: I have to go into it, experience it. So that’s exactly what I did.

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Magical Grove

This place brought new meaning to the term, “Magical Grove”, where we of the druidic persuasion worship the old gods and make new magic.

As I walked into the silver grass that filled the tree meadow, it began to snow softly. All I wanted to do was look up at those leaves against the nearly-white overcast sky, and even though I got a little snow on my eyelashes, it was all right. It was more than all right; it was bliss.

Next time I come here I’ll bring along a nice thermos of tea, and maybe one of our Fae horses so she can enjoy the meadow as well.

Style Card:
Beautiful Winter Gown: Antaya, The Lamia Gown (Now at the Winter’s Hollow event.)
Crazy Gorgeous Stained Glass Trees: Rivendale, Stained Glass Trees (in three colourways, also at Winter’s Hollow.)
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Keme Bento Mesh Head
Crown and Antlers: Purple Moon, Ice Queen Crown and Antlers
Hair: Stealthic, Summer Haze
Skybox Environment: IrrISIStible, Never-ending Winter Mesh Skybox
Portal: Spell, Portals to other dimensions
Poses: An Lar

What’s the Best time of the Year for Gowns?

It’s a trick question! Every time of the year is the best time for gowns! I really do not know why we don’t all just traipse around our Second Lives in ballgowns, 24/7. But then, I’m probably one of the “gowniest” photographers/bloggers on the grid, and my idea of fun is to see how many crowns I have that actually match this dress….

It’s possible I have no life.

But really. There are some great gown makers in Second Life, and I’m pleased to show you an absolutely gorgeous fear this dress kind of ballgown, from the overflowing creative cup of Silvan Moon Designs, right now. And I do mean fear this dress as a compliment! This dress repels zombies. This dress will actually make the children of the night shut up. But be careful, because this dress also knows how to correctly pronounce Cthulhu. So roll your sanity check, and then check out this dress!

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Fills a whole portal!

The “Love’s Pure Light” Bridal Gown Set, from Silvan Moon Designs fills an entire portal with its voluminous skirt. It fears no evil. It takes no prisoners (although it would be happy to move refugees across formal borders).

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The “Love’s Pure Light” Bridal Gown Set from Silvan Moon Designs

The gown features a lovely fitted bodice, shoulders bedecked with roses, and a skirt into which one could successfully hide seventeen extra crowns, at least. Not that I checked or anything. Really, I didn’t: I promise. Nor did I try on seventeen crowns before settling on this one. It was more like twenty. OK, twenty-five, tops. The crown is actually an old favourite from Evie’s Closet.

As an aside, this dress also looks gorgeous (Well, really; when does it not look gorgeous? I’ll help you: the answer is never! This gown never looks less than gorgeous) in front of Rivendale‘s lovely Dreamy Castle, which a little royal birdie told me was on sale for 50% off at Winter’s Hollow…. just sayin’….

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Crown Cam!

Here’s a shot that shows the crown a little closer: it and the necklace are both from Evie’s Closet, the Alateriel II crown and collar. And of course there’s a gratuitous shot of Awenia Faerie, featuring the castle all decorated for Christmas and the twinkly fairy path to the ruined tower.

You can get the Love’s Pure Light gown at The Trunk Show, which opens later today, 17 December. Even if a winter wedding is not in store for you, I’m sure there are lots of end-of-year balls that really need to have someone wearing this dress present. You know. Just in case of zombies.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Genus Project, Original Bento Mesh Head
Skin: Lumae, Juniper for Genus Project, T1 (All current Lumae skin lines are at the Lumae Main Store.)
Ears: Swallow, Shiny Elf Ears
Lips: Suicidal Unborn, Matte Lip Essentials, Genus
Hair: Truth, Makena
Gown: Silvan Moon Designs, Love’s Pure Light Bridal Gown Set (Available later today, 17 December, at The Trunk Show.)
Crown and Necklace: Evie’s Closet, Alateriel II Crown, Alateriel II Collar (Evie’s Closet has closed its main store for now, but you may be able to find some things on their Marketplace Store.)

 

 

 

The Spirit of the Juniper Tree

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They should know we’re watching.

They should know we’re watching. And in hindsight, many of them will say they do, they did. And yet.

And yet.

And yet we still bear witness to all the secrets and horrors that mortal lives suffer, and even welcome. Is it any wonder we dryads have no great love nor devotion to humanity? Better to stay hidden, lest we be drawn into their drama, we say. Unlike our treacherous and arguably royal cousins, the Sidhe, we gain no pleasure from tricking an unarmed enemy. But over and over, we’re forced to witness every imaginable betrayal.

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How do we bear it?

How do we bear it? By remembering that we are souls of wood, that we do not have to be soft, that only the laws of the wild magic, such as they are, apply to us, and we need not be bound by mortal folly.

Even so, even so. Even so, there are happenings that will move even the slow and steadfast heart of a dryad. Most of us have a story: this one is mine.

I have lived as the spirit of many trees, moving from seedling to sapling, slipping away when death comes near, and many years ago, I lived in a juniper tree that was sat in the forecourt of a wealthy man and his wife.

The wife had a liking for trees, and she believed in many things it was not seemly to believe in for a woman of her age and time. She wanted a child, badly, and she came out and sat beneath my tree every single day. She told her husband she was praying. And she was, after a fashion: she was beseeching the faeries to bring her a child, whether it be her own or a changeling she did not mind.

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She left me gifts

She left me gifts, apples mostly. That always made me laugh. Could I not walk over to one of the apple trees and pick my own? Is a gift a gift, if one can get it oneself with so little trouble? I am sometimes plagued by these philosophical questions. But suffice it to say that apples did not interest me overmuch.

No, it was the day she cut her finger peeling one of those apples that she got my attention. She gave herself a good nick, and blood dropped onto the snow. That’s when I started listening, because while human drama doesn’t interest us, human blood, even to a tree spirit, is a lovely, lovely treat.

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I went away and conferred with the Council.

I went away and conferred with the Dryad Council. And bicker, bicker bicker, back and forth, but finally I was allowed to place a magical juniper berry into the woman that would certainly cause her to bear a child. It had to be done while she was asleep beneath the tree, which was a bit of a faff, but I’m perseverant (most of us are).

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And there follows the tale you may know.

And there follows the tale you may know, of this beautiful lady finally conceiving and bearing a child, and of her being so pleased with the baby boy that she died of happiness on the spot, once she had looked upon him.

Mortals. What are they thinking? What was she thinking, dying of happiness because she’d borne a child, with no consideration of its future, its welfare? I cursed myself for my softness in helping this lady’s wish to be granted, because while I’m not the oldest dryad in the forest, I’m old enough to know how these tales go.

Child born, mother dies, father remarries evil stepmother.

It’s drilled into us. This is how the stories go. And even if the second wife wasn’t evil to begin with, fairy stories will twist her to evil, and that’s exactly what happened here.

After a long mourning period, the man of course remarried, and his new wife gave him a daughter, and that’s about the time the story twisted her to evil.

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She became obsessed with her daughter’s future.

She became obsessed with her daughter’s future and decided that the best way to ensure house and lands for the girl would be to kill her older brother. Of course, it took her years to come up with this plan, by which time her daughter and the boy were beautifully bonded as siblings, despite the fact that the stepmother did nothing but abuse the boy. No-one ever called her out on this behaviour, not even her husband (also known as the boy’s father). So by the time she got around to killing him, he was something like ten years old and the girl was perhaps seven. I do not know: time goes by so quickly for mortals; for trees it is a bit more slow.

But you know the next bit of the story too, don’t you? You know that she killed her stepson by decapitating him, and then to cover up what she’d done, she placed him in a position where his sister would surely find him and knock his head off, effectively making the girl believe she was the murderess and not her mother.

I think, mortals, that there should be rules about this sort of thing. There really should be. First of all, it is not acceptable to die of happiness on the day of your child’s birth. That opens the child up to a future of torment over which you, happy mother, will have no power.  Secondly, if you’re going to murder your child, evil stepmother, it should not be acceptable to pin the blame on the surviving child whom you mean the death to benefit. Think of the psychological scars!

Luckily for the boy, the sister knew quite a bit about fairy tales, and after having seen her mother cook the boy up into blood puddings, which her mother and father ate happily at a dinner where she could only cry, she had enough wits still about her (a miracle, considering her day: oh, it makes me fume even now to think of it!) to gather up the boy’s bones and bury them beneath my branches.

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I sang with the wind all night.

I sang with the wind all night, and in the morning, because of the girl’s quick thinking and my not inconsiderable talents, there rose from the branches a beautiful tufted bird with snapping black eyes and a voice that could make a Sidhe queen’s frozen heart melt.

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We conferred briefly.

We conferred briefly, the boy and I, and then he went off to collect the things you know from the rest of the story: the gold chain, the red shoes, the mill stone. Chain to the father, shoes to the sister, mill stone to crush the stepmother. Magically, the bird becomes the little boy all alive again, and seemingly regardless of the stepmother’s corpse out there somewhere in the forecourt, the man and his two children go inside and have their dinner. Which, I just have to hope, did not include any leftover puddings from the last meal served at that table.

And that’s my story of that one time I softened my heart and tried to improve a mortal’s life. I’m so glad this is a fairy tale and not a fable. If it were a fable, I’d have to come up with a pithy moral, like, The family that kills together, chills together, or something equally macabre.

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Juniper Tree and Juniper Bird, from Rivendale.

Style Card:
The Juniper Tree: Rivendale, Juniper Tree (At Enchantment until November 30th)
The Juniper Bird: Rivendale, Juniper Bird (At Enchantment until November 30th)

The Dryad:
Body: Maitreya
Head: LAQ, Lisa Bento Mesh Head (New at Uber)
Hair: Raven Bell, Willow (At Enchantment until November 30th)
Skin: Fallen Gods, Wood Nymph, Spring
Ears: Eclectica Elf Ear, Creature Version
Wings: Evolved Creatures, Fae Wings
Eyes: Seydr, Hallows Eyes, Grave
Leather catsuit: !go! Findis Overalls, Brown
Wrapped Tree Top: Shi, Tree of Life Creepers Top
Boots: Illi, Medieval Archer Boots

Environment:
Location: Awenia Faerie
Apple Trees: The Little Branch, Apple Tree
Wishing Well: Hextraordinary, Wishing Well (At Enchantment until November 30th)
Basket of Apples: Finishing Touches, Basket of Apples
Stone Wall: Artisan Fantasy, Maiden Tor Stone Wall
All poses, except tree sits (included with the tree) are from Frolic Poses (Beseeching, Harbinger, and Fairy)