In the Belly

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The moment of Spring

There is a moment, no matter where I am in the Realm, a moment when I can feel the world begin to wake from dark to light. Today I was walking from the frozen lake, over the frozen ground, toward a little tea shop I like, and I saw, for the first time, grass growing through the snow. And I felt a flutter in my belly, the sure sign of Imbolg: Spring is in the belly of the world now, growing as a child grows inside its mother. Almost a secret. Almost.

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A wonder, and a secret.

A wonder, and a secret. I wonder if this is what it would have felt like, if I’d grown the children in my own belly, those first flutterings of life. I sigh at the thought of my children, all so far away from me, all so removed from my life, and all so young still. Am I wistful that I did not carry three children in my belly? Honestly, no: I am a selfish Queen. And I can say that now and not feel even the shadow of guilt: my mortal past is fading from me more quickly now that I have spent a season truly embracing winter. Why did I not do that before? I don’t know. But spring. Spring, and the promise of new life. Quiet joy, that’s what it is.

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Quiet joy, quiet wonder.

Quiet joy, quiet wonder. Just from a few blades of bare, sunlit grass. The trees springing in to life do not fill me with as much joy as this little patch of green. Because look how it has grown through the snow. Which reminds me, there will be snowdrops soon, and bluebells. And the Equinox, and the shift of power, and then, oh, then. Beltainne and two years of being handiest to Nathaniel will feel gone in an instant.

For this moment, I am content. Imbolg. In the belly. Spring in the Land’s belly, hope and warmth in my belly.

Gwyneth’s dress is the stunning new design from Silvan Moon Designs, the Lily of Hollowdell dress. It’ll be on sale soon at the upcoming Fantasy Gacha Carnival. And this amazing new skin is from 7 Deadly s{K}ins, the beautiful Zora, who will make her public debut at the upcoming Fetish Fair

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Catya Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Stealthic, Summer Haze (From last month’s Hairology, probably available at their main store soon!)
Eyes: Mesange, Serendipity Eyes (Omega eye appliers)
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Zora, Cotton Candy (COMING SOON to the Fetish Fair!)
Ears: Soul, Uni Ears, High Elf
Hands: Vista, Bento Prohands
Dress: Silvan Moon Designs, Lily of Hollowdell in Red (COMING SOON to the Fantasy Gacha Carnival!)
Shoes: Have Unequal, Betty Boots in White
Necklace: Empyrean Forge, Fortuna Necklace (Available NOW at Fameshed!)
Headchain: Lumae, Vaeri Headchain, (Available NOW on Marketplace as part of the February Buy Now Event!)
Poses: Glamrus, all from the Eletha Series.

silvan-moon-designs-logo-full   7ds   lumae-logo   h011017

A Dream of Winter

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Gwyneth:

My Welsh Granny thought Dr Zhivago was the most romantic film ever made. I have to admit, when she made me watch it with her (I was like 9), I fell asleep. Because it was a 3-hour film about some weird relationships and romances and wars in Russia, and I was nine.

When I had to see it again for a screenwriting class in uni, I could see a few more merits, though I confess I never read the Boris Pasternak novel upon which it is based.

But still, when I find myself in an odd place, and it must be a dream, because this would never happen in real life, getting dressed for some kind of a ball, and the landscape is all wintry and the trees are covered with ice but I’m not really feeling the cold, I can’t help but hum “Lara’s Theme” in my head, and maybe even out loud, as it wouldn’t matter, because this is a dream.

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I have a happy feeling.

I have a happy feeling, as I explain about my grandmother and Dr Zhivago to the two adorable tiny people helping me dress. They’re not wearing those furry hats, so we must not really be in Russia. I used to know what those hats were called. Then again, the weird steps held up by balloons would prove to anybody this isn’t actually Russia and is obviously a dream. Never mind that there are chandeliers hanging from the trees.

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What? What’s wrong?

“What? What’s wrong?” I ask, as one of them turns to the other and they share a concerned bit of tutting. “Thank you for helping with the dress; I feel amazing, and I’m sure it’s going to be a wonderful ball.” It’s always a ball, isn’t it, in a dream?

“My lady,” says the little blonde one cautiously, “you really must come back to us and come back to yourself. We need you tonight. The Realm needs you.”

Well, that’s a bit dramatic, isn’t it? I look around for what might be causing such trouble, and then I notice a latge, black cat sitting perhaps two metres away from me. Just staring.

“Oh,” I say. “Oh, of course.”

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And there I am.

And there I am, no longer brunette, my countenance restored. I feel the familiar brush of pointed ears beneath the formal but comfortable hairstyle. “I wish I knew why I keep doing that,” I say.

Clutie looks at Kern again. He shrugs. “We’ve not got any idea, but Kern’s theory is you don’t want to be Queen so much that you’re willing to pretend you’re back in your old mortal life to get away from it.” She clears her throat. “But, My Lady, that doesn’t matter right now. We’re in the Royal Suite prepared for you at the Winter Court, and you’re due to speak about the importance of unity in the combined Courts after dinner, which will be starting soon. Obviously, they can’t start without you, but the gong’s gone, and keeping the Fae from a feast is never a good plan.

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Right. Winter court. Better have some wings, then.

“Right,” I say. “Winter court. Speaking after dinner. Better have some wings, then.”

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Much better.

“Much better; I feel more imposing and Royal already,” I mutter, then turn to Clutie who is standing by with a makeup wand. “I take it there’s more?”

“A little colour on your face will make you more visible to spectators,” Clutie suggests. “It’s why we started with the twig eyebrows, to give a more naturalistic look.”

I  feel the smirk before I start talking. “Fine; paint me up, Clute.”

“She hates when you call her that,” Kern says. It’s the first time he’s spoken, which is unusual for him. I must ask him what’s wrong later.

“I know.”

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Now, I’m ready.

Now, I’m ready. Time to address the Unseelie in their own Halls. Or forest, as the case may be.

And that, of course, is when I wake in the Bower. It is late summer and I won’t be in the Winter Court proper for some time, not as a leader, anyway. And let’s just not think about Kern’s diagnosis of me: it’s too early in the afternoon to even consider that.

The Wisp comes before I’ve even finished my breakfast. Dyisi has found Bronwyn, and she’s on that island, White Owl. “Clute, can you find me some blue jeans?”

“If I must!” comes the reply.

“She hates when you call her that,” Kern says. It’s the first time he’s spoken, which is unusual for him. I must ask him what’s wrong later.

“I know.”

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Destiny (Available at the Mesh Body Addicts Fair!)
Eyes: Soul, Sidhe Eyes
Skins:
Brunette photos: 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store7 Deadly s{K}ins, Miracle, Snow Catwa applier (Available in LIMITED EDITIONS at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store! Body appliers also available at the Main Store.)
Blonde photos: Lumae, Eirtae, Emryll (Available at the Mesh Body Addicts Fair!)
Hair: Calico Luna II (Available at Hairology!)
Gown & Necklace: Beyond Persuasion Designs, Someday We Will Meet Again   (Available at Fable!)
Makeup and Twig Eyebrows: SlackGirl, Faye Makeup and Add-on for Catwa Mesh Heads  (Available at Fable!)
Poses:PoESioN, the Throne Series; GlamRus, Bianca
Setting: Vintage Romance. I found this gorgeous sim through Strawberry Singh’s must-read blog.

My American mother thought Dr Zhivago was the most romantic film ever made. I didn’t fall asleep watching it as a kid: I actually loved it.

Here’s a video of Connie Francis’ rendition of it, with lyrics. The Beyond Persuasion Dessigns’ dress name just made me think of it, and I couldn’t get it out of my mind.

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never suggest that my primary roleplay character is completely losing her mind without it!

7ds  hairology-Poster August  FABLE

Becoming Wicked

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Life … is a funny thing.

Life … is a funny thing. It never goes the way you expect it to. And growing up is never about taking the straight path from one space to another.

Spaces are another funny thing.

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The scenery doesn’t always change.

The scenery doesn’t always change. Sometimes, you’re walking down the same roads you have walked down for years. Even the light seems to remain constant.

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Maybe you look the same.

Maybe you look the same. Maybe you were born green and will always be green, and maybe you were born a munchkin, or even a monkey.

Yes, maybe you look the same.

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But you don’t feel the same.

But you don’t feel the same. The wind shifts. There’s an updraft. A fire starts. Someone drops a house on your sister.

And then…

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You change.

You change. Maybe it starts slow, a little feeling of unease. Or maybe it starts with a fury that threatens to explode.

And, if you’re smart…

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You think.

You think. You think, how is this my life? You think, what did I do to deserve this? You think, what does it matter? And then you think, who, who in their right mind would ever have the guts to stop me?

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Then, you act.

Then, you act. Sometimes things go your way, and sometimes they don’t. When they do, well abracahappiness. When they don’t…

Sometimes you have to fight.

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You fight.

You fight, and fight, and fight again, and when life has thrown at you every sharp object you could ever imagine and a few you would never have dreamed of, when life has done that and you beat it back, time after time, and you’re still surviving, and you look around at the world with a raised eyebrow and a little smirk, and you really just don’t care what anybody else thinks of you any more….

Well then, if you’re very fortunate and very strong….

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You become Wicked.

You become Wicked.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Destiny (Available at the Mesh Body Addicts Fair!)
Eyes: Soul, Oculus Eyes
Skin: Lumae, Eirtae Elphaba (Available at Enchantment, which opens today, 13 August, at 12pm SLT!)
Hair: Analog Dog (natch!) Vamos (New at the Analog Dog Main Store!)
Dress: Silvan Moon Designs, Evanora of the East  (Available at Enchantment, which opens today, 13 August, at 12pm SLT!)
Hat: Noble Creations, Wicked Witch’s Hat (Available at Enchantment, which opens today, 13 August, at 12pm SLT!)

Also, Sometimes I Talk To Lamp Posts.

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Yep. Not a lot more to say about that.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Destiny (Available at the Mesh Body Addicts Fair!)
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Eyes: Soul, Sidhe Eyes
Skin: Lumae, Eirtae Bare, T1 (The Eirtae Bare skin has been updated and is available at the Lumae Main Store now!)
Hair: Analog Dog (natch!) Proud Mary (Available at Hairology!)
Dress: Silvan Moon Designs, Ain’t Misbehavin’  (Coming soon!)
Shoes: Apple May Designs, Birthday Heels (Available at Collabor88!)
Pose: !bang, Good 4
Setting: Apt B, Forgotten Corner, Setup (rare!)
Moon: Ariskea, Fae Dreams Moon of Us, Plum
Sign: Hive, Her Own Little Fairytale (Available at the Gacha Garden!)
Sign: Rodas Antiques, Abbey Road Sign
Lamp Post: Noble Creations, Dream Streetlamp (Coming soon to Enchantment!)

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never talk to lamp posts without it! 

“Why So Blue, Mary Sue?”

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Yes, it’s true.

Yes, it’s true. My name is Mary Sue. Mary Sue Volandu. Because my parents are freaking sadists. And that up there? Is what kids used to yell at me in elementary school. I am eighteen years old, and I am a Svart Alfar, a Dark Elf. That doesn’t mean I’m evil. It just means I … find beauty in things that other people might not. Yeah. We’ll go with that. I live in the completely boring town of White Owl, which is on White Owl Island, which you’ve probably heard of, because it is a Haven. That means I don’t have to glamour my skin and hide my ears when I go out in public, because everybody else on White Owl Island is just as weird as I am. Some are even weirder.

Nothing interesting ever happens on White Owl. And there are no interesting places to go, because I’ve been to them all before.

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This is the Park.

This is the Park. We only have one, so it’s just called The Park. Stupid gargoyle fountain. Stupid apple trees. And that house you can see outside the park belongs to Arahalon, who’s like a million years old and founded the town after he came here and, I don’t know, fell in love with the rainforest or something. Or maybe it was ley lines. We had it in school, but who cares. Across the Sound is Seattle, and I’m not allowed to go there, though mum and dad go there sometimes. The only reason I ever go through the park is — can you see that gazebo through the trees? Yeah. The only reason I ever go through the park is to get to what’s behind that gazebo.

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Maybe you can see it better here.

Maybe you can see it better here. Yeah: there it is, right behind me, beyond the sickeningly picturesque wishing well. There’s only one wishing well in town, so it’s just called The Wishing Well. Because we are the most creative island ever in the history of islands.

Do you like my shirt? I got it from this travelling merchant who said he’d picked up at a place called Fable. I like it because it’s got a guy turning in to a wolf on it. And because it’s purple. Well, pinky-purple. And it matches my shoes. Anyway.

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Blah, blah, blah, gazebo

Blah, blah, blah, gazebo, blah, blah, blah, how romantic, blah, blah, blah every couple should come here, blah, blah, blah, whatevs. It’s the only gazebo in town, so (say it with me now), it’s just called The Gazebo. Anyway, can you see where I’m going now? Yeah. There’s an easy path up to that building you can see behind the gazebo just here. No, there aren’t any steps. Yes, it’s a little tricky to get to: that’s what makes it cool.

Yep, here we go. Now, there are steps. You wait here for a minute; I have to get ready, because I am the oldest kid (right!) in the village: everyone else has fled. That makes me the leader here. So I have to get my hat.

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Let me just tuck this ponytail up. There.

Let me just tuck this ponytail up. There. Hats look stupid if you’ve got a ponytail, so I just bunch it all up and stuff it into the pointy bit.

Right! Welcome to the club! It’s the only clubhouse in the village for kids, so we just call it The Clubhouse.

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Oh! You want to know about the hat?

Oh! You want to know about the hat? This hat is a super special hat. I would tell you it’s been handed down from generation to generation of children on White Owl, but that would be a freaking lie, so I won’t do it. I actually won it playing a game of chance at a place called the Fantasy Gacha Carnival. My parents actually took me to another realm last week, and I won it, and it’s my favourite thing ever, so I keep it here at the clubhouse, because it’s special, and it gives me powers when I wear it. It gives me the power of being the leader of the clubhouse. It has special crystals that can turn different colour if you know the right magic to glamour them.

No, you can’t try it on. It’s mine.

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Before I show you the rest of the clubhouse, I have to do something.

Before I show you the rest of the clubhouse, I have to do something. I have to cast the evil spirits out of the clubhouse by standing on the bridge and saying a spell. With my hat on. It doesn’t work unless I’ve got my hat on. I won’t teach you the spell: you’ll learn it when you’re older. Believe it or not, there are two bridges in town. So this one is called the ropey bridge. The other one is called the beach bridge, but you’d never know you were on it if you crossed it, and if you crossed it, you’d be at the Faerie Queen’s house, and she is a Lios Alfar, a Light Elf, so I think she’s meant to hate my guts, but she also runs the bookstore, which isn’t just called The Bookstore; it’s called Codex, which means something old and ancient, and anyway, she is super nice and I think she is much nicer than my mum and dad and one day she is going to take me to a big city and let me buy high heeled shoes. I’m sure she told me that once.

So anyway, I have to stand on the ropey bridge and repeat the spell three times — no, you stay back there; you can’t hear this — and then it will be safe for you to go inside the clubhouse or cross the bridge or whatever.

Of course there are evil spirits here. Look: you can see the haunted lighthouse from here, and if you turn around and squint you can see the great forest, and that place is full of scary stuff and you should never go there without an adult; do you hear me? Never. Well, of course I could go there by myself if I wanted: you just take a rowboat and you row across and then there’s a dock and you go into the forest and then you get lost and probably eaten by dragons. Of course I’ve been there. Shut up and let me concentrate.

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I always feel a little dizzy after I do magic; don’t you?

I always feel a little dizzy after I do magic; don’t you? Oh. Well, you will, when you start doing real magic. It’s not hard, but it will give you a headache when you first try it, but then when you get it right, it feels wonderful. I swear.

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I love looking down, too! Because that makes me feel even dizzier!

I love looking down, too! Because that makes me feel even dizzier! Sure, you can come on to the bridge now. No; you shouldn’t spin. Because then if you fall off the bridge, your mum and dad will roast me over an open fire and eat me for dinner. Yep. I read it somewhere.

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One day soon, I’ll get off this island.

One day soon, I’ll get off this island. And then I’ll find out what everybody here is running from. Everybody here is running from something, my dad says. They all have some kind of demon in their pasts. No, not like Charlie at the grocery store. He’s a nice demon. Of course there are nice demons. I mean, they’re not like Faery Queen Nice. But they’re not going to chop you up and use you for dark magic: they have to live here same as everybody else.

What? Oh, yeah. Come on in and I’ll show you the rest of the clubhouse.

Welcome to the island, kid.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Hands: SLink Elegant
Head: LAQ, Trinity
Ears: Soul Uni Ears, High Elf
Eyes: Soul, Flock Eyes (berries) (Coming soon to Enchantment!)
Skin: Soul, Emma, Generation 2, SE Midnight (Coming soon to Enchantment!)
Hair: Pr!tty, Taylor (available at Hairology. Hairology is NOW OPEN!)
Hat: Soul, Mystic Hat (Ultrarare) (Available at the Fantasy Gacha Carnival!)
Top: Vindiktive, Wolf Tank (Available at Fable!)
Shorts: Gee, High Waisted Shorts (Available at Pretty Things Showroom Event!)
Sandals: Reign, Sophia Sandals
Poses: Photos 1-4: Nantra, High Society (Available at Collabor88!)
Photos 5-9, !bang, from the Good and Evil sets; 10, !bang, from the Intuition set
Setting: White Owl Island (almost ready!)

Thanks and credit are due to Moxy Macbeth and Dyisi Oppewall, who have been busily building White Owl over the past few months.

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never create characters out of whole cloth because of blue skins and amazing hats (Thank you, Charlie!) without it! 

2016 ._Soul_. Sign 256X256         hairology-Poster August       FABLE

A Fluidity

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Gwyneth:

The walk to work is short, which is both a blessing and a curse. I’d love to take the Vespa, but the kerb is too high. Must talk to the Council about maybe taking a bit of kerb out so my house doesn’t look so forbidding and far away from everything else. Not that I want tourists, or worse yet, little kids, to come barging in to my front garden. I’d like to keep my Tardis post box, thank you very much.

Things are quiet now, with most of the regular customers on holiday. And even in our community, it’s not like people go on holiday to spend lots of time in a bookshop. No; they come in, pick out some mind candy to relax with on the beach, and then I never see them again.

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It’s a quiet time

So yes, it’s a quiet time. But it gives me time to read, myself, which I don’t often get. And the warm weather means I can spend some time outside when there aren’t customers inside. Oh, who am I kidding? I could spend time outside even when customers are in there. It’s not like anybody’d have the cheek to steal from me. When tourists come in for more than just a beach read, it’s often to ogle the Fae Queen Who Also Runs A Bookshop. Jesus fuck; it’s not like we Sidhe don’t read, you know. We read a lot. We have a shitload of time for reading, being functionally immortal. I myself often get through a couple of books a day, particularly when the shop’s slow.

Of course, lately there’s been this group of three or four little kids who come in to the shop and seem to be using it like a library. Which I don’t mind: we don’t actually have a library on White Owl, which seems remarkable, if only because it reinforces the stereotype that Fae don’t read. Anyway, I guess they’re between ten and thirteen years old, these kids, and they seem to be playing some sort of roleplaying game, which interests me, but only from a distance, and only in that it reminds me that I’m really here at all because of a roleplaying game.

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“Right, you lot; it’s closing time!”

“Right, you lot; it’s closing time!” I swear, I have to practically kick them out of the store every afternoon. Why can’t they go down to the beach or go hunting the ghost in the lighthouse like normal children of their age? Why aren’t they learning how to glamour themselves so they can get along in Sleeper World across the Sound? Where are there parents? And then I remember there’s that big foster home: maybe they come from there.

“I’m not kidding; you guys don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.” It amuses me to quote 90s songs at kids who will only hear about 90s alternative music if they take a rock music history class sometime.

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Finally they’re gone and I can close up. Yay!

Finally they’re gone and I can close up. Yay! So I go through the motions of checking upstairs, magicking books back into place, and tidying up the customer areas. I don’t bother to bring the used books in from outside: they’re protected from the inevitable rain by the awning and maybe a little more, and to be honest, there’s nothing valuable there: nothing would give me more pleasure than to imagine people hanging out at the shop long after I’ve retired to wherever I’m going for the evening. I mean, that’s what book shops are for, isn’t it?

As for me, it’s time to head home. I pass the restaurant, the ice cream parlour, and walk out to the exposed —well, I guess you’d call it a crag— upon which my house sits. But that’s not where I’m headed. Nathaniel won’t be home for hours, or he’ll be home in five minutes: time runs differently in Mysthaven than here, and differently again in Faerie. So much to be unable to keep track of.

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No, I’m heading for a favourite tree.

No; I’m heading for a favourite tree. It’s the best place ever to watch the sun set over the mountains, do a little merfolk spotting out in the sea, daydream. It’s the golden hour, the magical slant-y light time. And maybe I close my eyes for a little while.

Nathaniel knows where to look for me, after all.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Destiny (new at the Mesh Body Addicts Fair and gorgeous!)
Ears: Soul, Uni Ears, High Elf
Eyes: Soul, Sidhe Eyes
Skin: Lumae, Eirtae Bare, T1 (The Eirtae Bare skin has been updated and is available at the Lumae Main Store now!)
Hair: (photo 1) No Match, No Further (Available at The Liaison Collaborative!)
(photo 2) No Match, No Pressure (Coming tomorrow to Hairology!)
Tunic: The Style Loft (Available at Fable!)
Circlet, Coquette, Fairy Crown
Necklace: Tantalum, Slumber Necklace (Available at Fable!)
Poses: Photo one: Johanna Leimes*; Photos 2 & 3, !bang

*Credit where credit is due: I queried over on SL Blogging Support about a pose that would work for leaning on a wall, reading a book, and smoking. Several people gave possibilities, and Joanna IMed me and offered to create a custom one! What she came up with was perfect, and I’m forever grateful. You can find out more about Johanna at her blog: http://plumproads.blogspot.ie/

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never just pretend that Gwyneth leads a nice normal life as the owner of a bookshop in very obviously suspicious circumstances without it!