Fitcher’s Bird (in her own words)

I am not weak. Now I have brought my sisters back, alerted my brothers, and made myself a creature of legend, there remains only the long, long walk that will trap the monster who intends me to be his bride.

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See how I glitter.

See how I glitter? He will never know me. Am I clever? Oh, yes; yes, I am clever. I don’t even feel guilty about it, burning this man who wronged me and all his associates and posessions to the ground.

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His precious castle

Only a shell of his precious castle will be left. My brothers are thorough.

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But I feel beautiful, and strong

But I feel beautiful, and strong, like the bird I am emulating. This bird is a beautiful fantasy, a vengeful warrior, an irresistible decoy. I wonder, when he sees me, will he want the bird, too? Of course, he can lure me no longer with his worn-out ruse.

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Sure as the Spirit Maiden

Sure as the Spirit Maiden who watches over his courtyard (and I’m not above seeing the irony in that, by the way), I know my path, down from the steps, away from the carnage to come, down to the forest, where I will await him and his broken form as he returns from returning my own sisters to our home, as he greets my brothers’ hunting party (he does not know they are hunting him), as he begs for a scrap of bread and a cup of wine before he goes. How I would laugh if I could watch him.

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O Fitcher’s Bird, how com’st thou here?

Oh, and all the guests, they greet me in my glory as they pass:

O Fitcher’s Bird, how com’st thou here?
I come from Fitcher’s house quite near.
And what may the young bride be doing?
From cellar to garret, she’s swept all clean
And now from the window she’s peeping, I wean.

I have accomplished this by arranging a clean, white skull with a crude wig and placing it in one of the castle’s side windows. He’ll never know the difference.

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It was never me he saw

It was never me he saw, anyway. He saw only a woman who appeared to exhibit total obedience to him. My ruse. My trick. My pretence. I do not even shiver in the bitter cold; my rage and triumph warms me as I wait, wait, here at the crossroads, for my nasty little bridegroom with his bent back and his bathtub full of bodies up in the tower.

Oh, look: here he comes now.

This stunning dress, complete with wings and headpiece, comes from The Looking Glass‘ Sharni Azalee. Its inspiration is the Grimm Brothers tale Fitcher’s Bird. When I opened this box and saw the photo for this dress, I gasped, for real. It is absolutely stunning, properly fitted, easy to wear. Thank you, Sharni, for such an amazing dress. It felt as if it were made just for me, and I know loads of other fantasy fashion fiends will feel the same way. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka Spencer Bento Mesh Head
Skin: Lumae, Lelutka Deia, Tone 1 (All current skin lines are available at the Lumae Main Store!)
Hair: Truth, Ciara (Available at the Truth Main Store, but only if you’re in the VIP group!)
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Eyes: S0ng, Demi Eyes
Stunning Gown, Wings, Headpiece, Snake Belt & Wrap: The Looking Glass, Fitcher’s Bird (Available Saturday, 10 November at Enchantment‘s Brothers Grimm round!)

Environment:
Castle: By Nacht, Forfax Castle
Statue: Titans, Spirit Maiden
Trees:
Birches, The Little Branch, Mystic Birch
Candle Cage Trees: The Roawenwood, Winter White Wedding Trees
Forest Trees: Studio Skye, Enchanted Woods
Path: Happy Mood, Dirt Road
All Poses from An Lar

 

They Say We Dance

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They say we dance the seasons of the year

They say we dance the seasons of the year
We sing the three Realms that the Old Gods kiss
And call the Fae Folk when the mists draw near

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Look how we leave our shadows floating here

Look how we leave our shadows floating here
And find the portals other men may miss
They say we dance the seasons of the year

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Around the fire our children face no fear

Around the fire our children face no fear
Now skip, now hop, now give the wrist a twist
And call the Fae Folk when the mists draw near

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Our steps will echo where the gods may hear

Our steps will echo where the gods may hear
The moonlit meadow murmurs in our midst
They say we dance the seasons of the year

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The fox, the owl, the chimney-swift, and deer

The fox, the owl, the chimney-swift, and deer
May listen as our magic songs persist
And call the Fae Folk when the mists draw near

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Our hearts step through these dances

Our hearts step through these dances: we appear
To shimmer as steps twist and then untwist
They say we dance the seasons of the year
And call the Fae Folk when the mists draw near

Villanelle by GK Raftery

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa Keme Bento Mesh Head
Skin: Lumae, Catwa Cinnamon, Tone (All current skin lines are available at the Lumae Main Store!)
Hair: Ayashi, Wendy Hair with Hat (VIP Group Gift at Ayashi)
Ears: Swallow, Shiny Elf Ears
Eyes: S0ng, Demi Eyes
Makeup: Unicult, Spooky Gloss and Spooky Looks Eyeshadow (Available at Trick or Treat Lane until 2 November!)
Mask: Amias, Aphra
Necklace: Candle & Cauldron, Moonphase Necklace (At the Fallen Gods 11th Anniversary Celebration!)
Dress: [QE] Flouncy Dress  (Available at Trick or Treat Lane until 2 November!)
Tights: Livid, Striped Tights (Available at Trick or Treat Lane until 2 November!)
Shoes: Lassitude & Ennui, Alice Boots

Environment:
Meadow Grass: keke, Dotty Grass Fall
Deer: Half-Deer, Fallow Deer
Foreground Trees: keke, Windswept Tree (v1 and 2)
Background Trees: Studio Skye, Enchanted Woods
Effigy: Ancient Creations, Estantapajaros
Bonfire: BD&JJW, Twisted Tower Bonfire
Bonfire Bounding Stones: Lore, Fallen Henge
Mist: E.V.E, Flower of the Mist
Ruin: DaD, Byron Ruined Tower (At FameshedX)
Poses & Orbs: Poseidon, Enchantress

 

Small World

Every day’s the same. I get out of my beautiful bed with all the fluffy pillows. I attend to my personal toilette. I put on the single dress in the wardrobe. I make my way up to the tower roof to eat the breakfast that will be waiting on the table there. And then, I go down into the garden.

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Surrounded on all sides

I am surrounded on all sides, by walls, flowers, topiary, trees. This is my garden, or I’ve always thought of it as my garden.

There are times when I think I know it so well I’ll scream from the sameness of it all. But then sometimes, something changes.

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A new tree

Today, it’s this heart-shaped tree of roses. It’s just enough to delight me for a time, to make me reach for the familiarity elsewhere in the garden. There used to be a bench here, but now there are just the three identical benches around the garden’s central circle. I wonder if other things in the centre will change, and I wonder when.

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I must be a princess.

I must be a princess, yes? I know from the storybooks on the ground floor that only princesses get locked up in towers and taken care of by forces they cannot see. It seems the only explanation for why I’ve been here for as long as I can remember, why I see no-one. I know that princesses in towers are either being groomed for their destiny, or somehow separated from it.

There’s a loud beeping sound, something harsh and out of place. Three sets of two beeps: beep-beep, beep-beep, beep-beep. It stops for a few seconds, then starts again. Then, by some grace, it stops altogether. I hear a murmuring voice in the background. But by this time, I know that voice is just the wind, and I suspect the beeping noise is some trick wrought by the unknown magician who imprisoned me here, something to make me not wander round the garden as if sleepwalking. It’s not the first time it’s happened: it sometimes happens more than once a day, but always at least once. Although it’s been happening for as long as I remember, it still shakes me, still brings gooseflesh to my arms. It’s so different from the quiet rush of the waterfall, the chittering of birds, wind in the trees.

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My beautiful statues keep me company.

Throughout the garden, there are beautiful statues, and they keep me company. I sometimes talk to them. I imagine they answer back, but I don’t know how a real conversation works. If another person, someone like me, walked into the garden and began talking to me, I think I’d run. Or faint. Fainting might be more seemly in this dress.

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Here is what I would look like right before I fainted.

Here is what I would look like right before I fainted. I’m sure I’ve seen a picture of a Princess fainting somewhere, and she was definitely doing this with her right arm.

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Days grow longer and shorter.

Days grow longer and shorter; that’s how I can tell there are seasons here. I get up when it’s light; I go to sleep when it’s dark. It’s an easy way to keep oneself on some kind of schedule. I don’t know why I need a schedule, but it seems important.

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The flowers change more often than anything else.

After I talk to the two statues, I make my way to the flower beds. The flowers change more often than anything else, but they are always in bloom. I used to think if I somehow stayed in the garden all night, I would find the beings who plant and maintain them, but I never can stay awake all night.

Someone is crying; it sounds a long way away. Faeries in the wood, I tell myself. Trying to trick me into somehow scaling the walls and going to find the baby. It’s a trap I’ve read about many times.

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Is someone watching me?

Is someone watching me? I wonder what it would look like from afar, if they were. They’d see the beautiful garden all spread out before them, the pink and blue sky, the lighted trees—and the lone princess, about to sit down on the bench where she always has her lunch. Lunch arrives in a little box, and I never see them leave it. Today it is a fresh salad with tomatoes. I pick out the onions. I do not like onions. I rationalise my dislike by telling myself that when a Prince comes (and he undoubtedly will; it’s in all the stories), I do not want to have bad breath and scare him away!

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Is there more than this?

I sometimes wonder if there even is more than this. If one day I’ll wake up and there will be nothing outside: no walls, no trees, just a big span of nothingness, whatever that looks like.

Sound of murmuring voices. Sometimes they get a bit louder, but I can never make out what they’re saying. Crying. A shout. A series of beeps.

It’s time for bed.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Skin: Lumae, Catwa Cinnamon, Tone (All current skin lines are available at the Lumae Main Store!)
Hair: Analog Dog (natch) Top Shelf (Available at the Analog Dog Main Store!)
Ears: Swallow, Shiny Elf Ears
Crown, necklace, and bracelet: AvaWay, Pearl Diadem, choker, and bracelet
Dress: The Annex, Lilith Gown in China (a VIP colour) (Lilith is available at The Trunk Show until 18 November)
Lipstick and Nails: Cazimi, Ravishing Reds
Eyes: Song, Demi Eyes

Environment:
Location: Awenia, The Box
Tower: Poetica, Willow Tower
All Statues: By Nacht, various (Fallen Angel, Ladder Moon, Armillary Sphere, Forfax, Drawing Down the Moon, Proserpina, Brigid
Large Trees: HPMD, Garden Tree 09 With Lights
All Topiary and Topiary Benches: Rivendale, Fairy Labyrinth
Fountain: Rivendale, Fairy Labyrinth (rare fountain)
All bounding walls: Rivendale, Gothic Garden
Rose with Ladder: Boudoir, Painting Roses in Red
Background Trees: Studio Skye, Enchanted Woods
Poses: All from An Lar (An Lar Poses is sadly closing its doors after several years of offering some of the most subtle, and most versatile poses in Second Life (in my opinion). Everything at the An Lar Main Store is 50% off through the 31st of October.)

Modern (Royal Fae) Living!

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I first saw it from the Treehouse.

I first saw it from the treehouse. The morning sun split one tower away from the others. I guess Nathaniel had been out doing something at Mysthaven, because he wasn’t with me. There were so many things going on in Awenia, in my Faerie, just then: I was busy adding some things in to the book forest and making enough spaces for the Fae who would one day call Awenia home to live. I suppose I hadn’t thought of the need for a castle… until I saw this one.

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As soon as I was reasonably put together, I ventured out to explore.

As soon as I was reasonably put together, I ventured out to explore. By that time, there were already flowers and trees springing up around the edges of the castle lands.

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And what better way to explore a newly arrived, majestic, obviously empty castle than on stag back?

And what better way to explore a newly arrived, majestic, obviously empty castle than on stag-back? I couldn’t think of one, so that’s the way I chose to do it.

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There followed some serious rumination on my part.

There followed some serious rumination on my part: namely a quick trot round the perimeter and a text message to Nathaniel: We’re Moving. Obviously Yule Decorations Will Come First. Because I knew Nathaniel would be fine with that. I mean, it’s not like I gave him no warning at all. I think last time I decided we were moving, I probably just — no, wait. Last time I decided we were moving, it was because somebody blew our house up. Right. But I think there was at least one time where he walked up to me on the street and said, “Love, where’s our house gone?” That’s probably just what he gets for marrying me. I should come with a Caveat Emptor clause.

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Nevertheless, he showed up that evening just as I was putting the candles in the reception.

Nevertheless, he showed up that evening just as I was putting the candles in the reception. He looked kind of uncomfortable. “Should a Queen—I mean, former Queen—really do her own decorating and furniture moving, even if it’s with magic?” he wondered.

“One. I am not a former anything. I am still a Queen: I abdicated Wylds, not Queendom altogether,” I said. Perhaps I was a bit snappish, but he keeps on pretending I’m no longer a Queen at all. Seriously, who does that? “And two: Bran has been helping with the furniture, and magic is more fun and more cost effective than minions.”

“Clearly,” was his reply. He still looked uncomfortable.

“These candles are pretty tall,” I said.

“I remember when I used to call you ‘shorty’,” he replied. Oh, boy. It was going to be one of those nights.

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“Look! Holiday treats for our guests!”

“Look! Holiday treats for our guests!” I said.

“We don’t have any guests,” Nathaniel replied. “Therefore, they are for us. Nice gingerbread.”

I sighed and moved the gingerbread men around so it wouldn’t look like My Beloved Consort had taken one. “Clutie made these, you know,” I said.

Nathaniel might have choked. Or it could have been a cough.

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“What do you think of our tree?” I asked.

“What do you think of our tree?” I asked. “I found it at one of those holiday markets. It’s from The Looking Glass.”

“So, Clutie didn’t make it.”

“No, Clutie didn’t make it.”

“What’s Bran doing?”

“Eterior decorations. He says he has never decorated a place with electricity before.”

“That should be interesting,” Nathaniel said.

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“Hey, is that mistletoe?” he asked.

“Hey, is that mistletoe?” he asked.

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“Of course it’s mistletoe,” I replied.

“Of course it’s mistletoe,” I replied. “You don’t really think I’d put up Yule decorations without mistletoe somewhere, do you?”

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He didn’t answer, but then it didn’t really matter. I do still love him so.

He didn’t answer, but then it didn’t really matter. I do still love him so. I know our relationship probably looks a little weird, but it’s still the best relationship a Fae Queen could hope for.

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“Do you think our relationship looks kind of weird?” I asked.

“Do you think our relationship looks kind of weird?” I asked.

“Don’t be silly: we’re perfectly normal, darling,” Nathaniel said.

Just then a shout came up from outside. “Your Majesty! Come and see the outdoor lights!” Bran sounded as excited as I’d ever heard him.

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“Gosh, Bran—that’s a lot of lights,” I said.

“Gosh, Bran—that’s a lot of lights,” I said.

“I know! Aren’t they amazing?”

I winced. “They are breathtaking,” I replied.

Nathaniel winked and kissed me on the cheek. “I’ve got to get back to Mysthaven, but only for a few hours, love. Can’t wait to see what you’ve done to the place by morning.”

And then he was gone. And I, well. I let myself think, as I wandered around the still mostly empty castle, how it should look. I added a few pieces here and there.

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I wondered if one day I’d be “that crazy old fae lady in the castle who lives all alone and feeds the birds.”

I wondered if one day I’d be “that crazy old fae lady in the castle who lives all alone and feeds the birds.” I could see it.

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I could see myself walking the battlements, alone.

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Alone up close, alone from afar.

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Ever-hopeful at the front entrance….

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And ever-disappointed.

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By the time the sun was high in the sky the next day, I’d done our bedroom (in Early Modern Noble Creations, of course!)

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And I’d added some outdoor seating.

And I’d added some outdoor seating. There is an entire roof terrace and balcony that’s just for our private apartments, so I can make it as comfortable and modern as I like.

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A more casual and quiet family eating space.

A more casual and quiet family eating space is up here as well, with room for Wren and Drysi should they care to visit, or maybe even more intimate friends, though I can’t think of whom I’d put in that place except Dyisi, at least for now.

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I’ll miss the treehouse. But you can see it from here.

I’ll miss the treehouse. But you can see it from here. We’ll turn it into a community centre, as Bran and Clutie expressed strong opposition to its disappearing altogether.

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And who can say what tomorrow will bring?

Style Cards:

Castle: Rivendale, Dreamy Castle. What a gorgeous and adaptable build this is! It’s a castle that feels like a home and not a fortress or a box, and I can’t wait to finish decorating it. How fortunate I am to know such genius and amazing creators. Riven, thank you so much for making such a wonderful and perfect castle. 

Gwyneth:
Blue Outfit:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Vista Bento Mesh Head, Lia
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Helana
Eyes: Mesange, Sanford Eyes
Clothes:
Sweatshirt: Emery, Contemplation Sweatshirt
Trousers: The Muses, Anane Legging Pant
Scarf and Leggings: The Annex, Knitted Scarf, Blue Legwarmers (Available NOW at the Pay It Forward Event!)
Boots: Sweet Lies, Ragnarok Boots, Blue
Hair: Truth, Apple
Headpiece, Krystal, Celt Circlet
Poses: An Lar
Location: Awenia, Faerie

Red Dress:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Vista Bento Mesh Head, Lia
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Helana
Eyes: Mesange, Sanford Eyes
Dress: The Annex, Olivia Gown (Available NOW at Genre!)
Hair: Sintiklia, Sheba (Available NOW at Hairology!)
Headpiece, Junbug, The Sabrina Circlet
Necklace and Ring: The Plastik, Anais Jewelery Set
Poses: An Lar
Location: Awenia, Faerie

Nathaniel:
Hair: Argrace Shirogane Reds hair
Eyes: Ikon Sunrise Eyes, Verdigris
Body: Slink Physique Male
Head: Labyrinth Head Shape D
Clothing:
Jacket A&D Clothing Paolo Blazer
Pants – AB Deacon Jeans
Shoes – YMCA boots from Ducknipple

Decor:

Castle Exterior
Garland over front door: The Looking Glass, Our Festive Joy (Available NOW at The Secret Affair!)
Wreath: CJ, Winter Wreath Helleborus
Column Trees: Tarte, Twinkle Trees
Crystal Trees: Hayabusa
Ground Cover:
The Looking Glass, Dawn’s Promise Flower Fields, Dream Fields
{anc} Sugar Rose Fields
Christmas Tree: Swallow, Christmas Tree
Bare trees with Crystals: {anc}, Tears Tree
Wildflowers:
Foxgloves, Heart
Secret Garden Flowers, keke
Forest patch: Studio Skye, Enchanted Woods
Birds:
{anc} Forget Swallow, No Limits Flock of Flying Doves
String Lights: Vespertine, Twinkle Fairylight Curtains

Castle Interior:

Lounge/Living Room:
Couch and assorted decor: Libertine, Justine
Tapestries: Prema, Laurin DeVinna
Sweets Table: Noble Creations, Christmas Table (Available NOW at Genre!)

Library:
Christmas Decorations: The Looking Glass, Our Festive Joy (Available NOW at The Secret Affair!)
Candelabrae: Spyralle, Cathedral Candelabra
Books: StormWood, Literati Book Set

Tower Bedroom:
Bed: Noble Creations, Adult Reflections Bed (Available NOW at Cosmopolitan!)
Vanity: Noble Creations, Vanity Set
Curtains: Noble Creations, Classic Curtains
Unicorn Tapestry: MeadowWorks
Rug: Atelier Visconti, Helena Carpet

Tower Exterior Terrace:
Living Furniture: Artisan Fantasy, Gazebo Gacha (Available NOW at The Imaginarium!)
Dining Arch: Noble Creations, Magical Arch (Available NOW at We ❤ Roleplay!)
Dining Table: Indulge, Home Dining

 

Back to the Magic Shoppe

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Gwyneth:

It might not have been such a good idea. But I couldn’t help myself. How many times have I said that over the years? Yeah; you do the maths. Anyway. After I found myself in my bower garden, eating the heart of a probably-still-alive raven and then running off to Mornoth for what I can only describe as “mind blowing Unseelie sex”, I got to thinking. How much of my transformation was due to the natural way of things, and how much really had been sparked by the wizard’s potion?

So, yeah. You know what I did. I figured I might as well go back and talk to the guy. Find out a little more than I’d learned that day.

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To be honest, I was more than a little anxious.

To be honest, I was more than a little anxious about going back to that little village. I mean, it seems strange, doesn’t it, to have a village with only one shop (or should I say “shoppe”?), a park, a grand house, a gate house, and an inn without a pub? The pub is outside the village gates. I mean, what kind of village doesn’t have a pub? I began to think that maybe the whole place was invented, somehow, that it all rose from around the shop, and the wizard, whatever his name was, was responsible for the whole thing.

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The park was nice, though.

The park was nice, though. I wasted quite a bit of time there, to tell you the truth. Mostly, I paced. I also made up scenarios in my head where the wizard (whatever his name was) was responsible for Every Single Thing That Had Ever Gone Wrong In My Life, Ever, from the moment I was separated from my birth mother right on down to the possibly wrong choice I was making right now to confront—well, discuss details—with this guy. If he was even a guy.

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I mean, what if he were actually some kind of demon?

I mean, what if he were actually some kind of demon? Oh, for fuck’s sake, Gwyneth. You are a Winter Queen. An Unseelie Queen. At least for the nonce. Unseelie Queens don’t go around worrying and fretting whether the guy they’re about to talk to is a fucking demon. Suck it up, buttercup.

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I left the bright, autumn-y park, and a fog fell over the village.

I left the bright, autumn-y park, and a fog fell over the village. Well, that was certainly a good omen. Through the shop (shoppe) window I could see him, buzzing round behind the counter, as if he had important stuff to do. Probably planning to corrupt some nice kids from Chelsea or something.”

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‘Back again?’ He looked none too pleased to see me.

‘Back again?’ He looked none too pleased to see me. ‘Looks like the potion did its job, Your Majesty.’

‘I just wanted to get a little clarification’, I said. ‘That stuff laid me low for hours.’

‘I did warn you’, he replied.

‘You did’, I said. ‘But I have some questions.’

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He looked toward the rear wall of the shop. ‘Questions.’

He looked toward the rear wall of the shop. ‘Questions’, he said. ‘Has the potion had lasting ill effects? Are you missing any limbs?’

I covered my mouth to hide my reflexive laughter at that. ‘No, nothing like that’, I said.

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‘Well then’, he said, marrying his hands together, ‘What are these questions?’

‘Well then’, he said, marrying his hands together, ‘What are these questions?’

I thought for a few seconds.

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‘I want to know how much of my transformation was due to your potion’, I replied.

‘I want to know how much of my transformation was due to your potion’, I replied, ‘and how much was due to other factors’.

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‘Other factors?’ he asked. ‘What sort of other factors?’

‘Other factors?’ he asked. ‘What sort of other factors? Did you seek out help from other magicians?’

‘No, no; nothing like that’, I replied. ‘There’s the magic of the land I live in, of course. And the magic of the Unseelie forces that naturally take over when the year begins to fade. I’ve wondered, to be honest’, I continued, ‘if the change wouldn’t have come about without your potion.’

He hmmed. ‘I can’t say, of course’, he said. ‘I suspect the answer is, “eventually”, but let’s go through the ingredients and the formulation method, and we’ll see what we think then.’

He moved over toward a case of shelves stuffed with every kind of reagent I could imagine and motioned me to come with him.

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There followed a technical explanation of the potion he’d concocted.

There followed a technical explanation of the potion he’d concocted. Obviously, it was boring. I did my best to appear interested. Why had I asked this question again? And why wasn’t I in Nu Jyorck shopping? Why was I even interested? Was I even interested?

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During a particularly dry speech about why he’d used juniper berries instead of gin, which might have been just as effective but would have had more ill-effects, he paused.

During a particularly dry speech about why he’d used juniper berries instead of gin, which might have been just as effective but would have had more ill-effects, he paused.

I of course paused too. I mirrored his expression.

‘Well, of course’, he continued, ‘by more ill-effects, I mean that you’d have felt a bit drunk when you woke up.’

I laughed. ‘In what way would that be considered an ill-effect?’

He laughed, too. Well, at least I’d said the right thing.

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‘So what you’re telling me basically’, I said, ‘is that you’ve got no idea’.

‘So what you’re telling me basically’, I said, ‘is that you’ve got no idea’.

‘Certainly not!’ he replied. ‘I think that given your unique circumstances, the change certainly would have occurred regardless.’ And he smiled. ‘Just not as fast. Or as completely. I think my potion certainly helped; it most definitely was not a placebo.’

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‘Well, I never suggested that’, I said.

‘Well, I never suggested that’, I said. ‘I’ve just been curious about the whole experience, the whole process.’

‘Have you, now’, he said. ‘I rather thought you were bored by my long-winded explanation.’

 

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Well, I couldn’t help but laugh at that. And he laughed with me.

Well, I couldn’t help but laugh at that. And he laughed with me. Maybe he wasn’t an old fool after all.

‘Why did you really come here, Queen Gwyneth?’ he asked.

I shook my head. ‘I don’t know. I guess I just wanted to see if I felt different, being here in my new skin, so to speak.’

He smiled. ‘Why don’t you take a room at the inn for the night? Get a feel for the space. Maybe you’ll know more about how you feel in the morning. A good night’s sleep will shed some more light on what’s happened to you.’

I was surprised to find that the day had drifted away while we’d been talking. ‘I think I’ll do that’, I said. We said our goodbyes, and I headed next door to the inn.

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I woke up early the next morning. 

I woke up early the next morning. Of course, the “inn” didn’t serve breakfast, and knowing already that the wizard (whatever his name was) wasn’t a morning person, I figured I’d just hop back to my own Realm and that would be that.

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So I turned to walk down past the magic shop, toward the village gate.

So I turned to walk down past the magic shop, toward the village gate. Autumn leaves were scattered on the flagstones. The air was chill. I shivered, but not with cold.

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It was with anticipation.

It was with anticipation.

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The morning brightened as I passed the magic shop on my way out of the village.

The morning brightened as I passed the magic shop on my way out of the village. Of course I glanced up into the window, but there was no wizard. No doubt he was sleeping in, or possibly up in the upstairs library of the shop.

I chuckled to myself. ‘A good night’s sleep will shed more light on what’s happened to you’, he’d said.

‘Fuck light’, I said to myself as I turned the corner with a skip in my gait. ‘There’s work to be done.’

Style Cards:

Autumn Garden and Magic Shop Photos:

Gwyneth:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Destiny
Ears: Mandala, Steking Ears, Season 5
Eyes: Mesange, Lionsong Eyes (Omega appliers)
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Alies, Drow (Omega face appliers, Maitreya body appliers) (Available NOW at the Bloody Horror Fair!)
Hair: Analog Dog, Ella (Available at Hairology!)
Crown: Junbug, Crown of the Tuatha De
Necklace: Swallow, Key of Love
Dress: Silvan Moon Designs, Tears of Liliana, blue (Available at We❤ RP!)
Shoes: Roped Passions, Leaf Lullabye, Silver Hudded

The Wizard:
Avatar: Tricksie Anderton, Avatar 50+
Clothing: Silvan Moon Designs, Earl of Regent Doublet Set, Midnight
Hair: No match, No Hunt

Autumn Garden: Two Moon Gardens, Overgrown Glory—Autumn
Magick Shoppe: Death Row Designs, Magick Shoppe (Now available at the Death Row Designs Main Store!)

Morning After Photographs:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Destiny
Ears: Mandala, Steking Ears, Season 5
Eyes: Mesange, Lionsong Eyes (Omega appliers)
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Alies, Drow (Omega face appliers, Maitreya body appliers) (Available NOW at the Bloody Horror Fair!)
Hair: Vanity Hair, Bye Bae (Available at Hairology!)
Crown: Junbug, Sabrina Circlet
Necklace, Bracelet: Bauhaus Movement, Inkie, Purple
Dress: Maro, Anna (Available at the Seasons Story!)
Shoes: Paper Moon, Kajah Mountain Sandals

Inn: Breno, The Smith House
Magick Shoppe: Death Row Designs, Magick Shoppe (Now available at the Death Row Designs Main Store!)

Autumn Forests: Studio Skye, Enchanted Woods
Gate House: Apple Fall, Gatekeeper’s Lodge
Big House: Apple Fall, Hardwick Manor

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never take Gwyneth back to the scene of the crime without it!

 

 

 

Where’s she gone now?

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From the player:

Going back into full time work has affected my blogging schedule more than I’d like it to, which probably isn’t a surprise for those of you who know me. Today I’m home sick with something that feels more flu-like as the hours go on (and I just got a flu shot last week—oh, the humanity!), but in an ordinary week, I’m now working five days.

Because my job is retail, I rarely have two days off together, and because I haven’t been at my job for some time, getting my stamina back up to being away from home for 11 hours out of my day, with nine scheduled in at the shop (one of those is a lunch hour), has been tough. I felt less exhausted last week, though I still spent a goodly portion of my day off sleeping. I’m slow at waking up in the morning, plus those of you who know me in RL know that my brand of makeup takes a little longer than the average person’s, so the rest of my waking time is often spent getting ready before work rather than having time to play after, I’m afraid.

I know, I know; it’s one excuse after the other from me. Trust me: my roleplaying group have been saying this for over a year now.

On top of it all, I’m enrolled in the Visionaire course this term, so a large proportion of my SL time will be spent doing assignments and improving my photography, which I think will be all to the best.

This time, instead of asking blogging sponsors just to bear with me, I’m going to be backing away from blogging for sponsors, with two exceptions. I’ll continue to blog Lumae skins, because the commitment is low-stress, and I’ll continue to blog for The White Armory & Silvan Moon Designs, because again, the commitment is low-stress. For everyone else, I’ll move aside to make room for other bloggers, because I cannot promise x number of posts per month/week/whatever. I’m committed to only the highest-quality photographs I can take, the best stories I can write, and I can’t promise that in the limited time I have. There are plenty of SL bloggers out there who take a great photograph and tag it, credit it, then post it as their blog entry for the day or the hour, and I know loads of them who do a great job and post as many as 5-6 photographs a day. That’s not what I want to do with my blog, though I enjoy reading many blogs that do that very thing. Without the time to craft a story, my blog doesn’t feel like my blog.

For those of you who are interested in such things, here’s my first Visionaire homework: it’s a photo of Gwyneth returning from some Realm or other, greeted by deer in the Great Seelie Forest.

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Visionaire homework 1: Self-Portrait

The deer are from Half Deer; they are a gacha at Kustom 9 this round. Nothing else is current, but the portal is SPELL’s Portals to Other Worlds, from a Chapter 4 Gacha, and the woods are the Enchanted Woods from Studio Skye.

Gwyneth is wearing:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Destiny
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Eyes: Mesange, Lionsong Eyes (Omega appliers)
Skin: Lumae, Eirtae, Elanil
Hair: Monso My Hair, Somi
Clothes: RealEvil Industries, Avery Jeans & Avery Jacket
Shoes: Roped Passions, Leaf Lullabye
Pose: An Lar, The Carrie Series

Spiffy photo taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never make enrol in a SL photography course while simultaneously starting a PhD and going back in to full-time work without it….

Into the Dark

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Gwyneth:

There is, in a Realm that doesn’t get a lot of traffic, a magic shop. It claims to be a “Magick Shoppe”, but that’s neither here or there. I discovered it by accident once when I was out looking for … oh, I don’t know. Something. Anyway, the fellow who runs the shoppe [sic] is a powerful wizard. Old-school wizard, the kind of guy who has a first floor (Americans: second floor) full of nothing but magical texts, which are not  for sale, and a ground floor full of herbs, potions, ingredients, and pre-prepared spells, which are for sale. I got talking to this guy once about the differences between Fae magic and what he calls ceremonial magic, which I guess is a fancy name for wizarding magic, and he mentioned having helped some Fae once.

And, you know. He does custom work.

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I hesitated at the door.

I hesitated at the door. It wasn’t yet mid-morning, and he’d said he preferred to work in the evenings. But then his unmistakable voice, deep like a euphonium and every bit as loud, came from inside the shop.

“Well, don’t just stand there dithering, Your Queeniness. I think you’d better come in.”

So I did. I told him what I wanted. He sent me out shopping on the high street of the town (And I did pick up some lovely things!), told me to come back in the afternoon and he’d have something for me.

It was a potion. “Best drink it here”, he said, “so I can gauge whether or not you’re going to have a bad reaction. We should know in an hour or two”.

It was vile. Not like Dyisi’s concoctions, which always end up tasting like Piña Coladas. I just about gagged. Had to stop halfway through.

“No, no”, he said. “You have to chug it like you’re at your first university party.”

I glared and finished the rest in one swig. When I could speak again (probably a full thirty seconds later), I said, “I never went to any university parties. I was too busy studying”.

“Well, that was your first mistake, Queenie.” He smirked.

That was the moment I first thought maybe I should have gone to Dyisi instead. But surely she’d tell Kern, and then he’d tell Clutie, and then all the Seelie Fae would be aghast at what I was doing and all the Unseelie Fae would turn up their noses… no. Best no-one knew.

Then the dizziness started. “It’ll pass”, he assured me. “Once you’re over it, you should get yourself home and to bed, though. You don’t want to go through this transition on the High Street.”

I thought back to my night with Mornoth. So many new thoughts and feelings swirling round inside my head. He’d promised to help me. I knew he’d help me more. But I needed something to bring out the darkness inside me, something that would make me not resist the winter I knew was inside my nature.

“Do you think we’ll have to repeat the process in the spring?” I asked.

“Unlikely, but my fee remains the same if we do”, he replied.

“Why not?”

“What I’ve given you is just a catalyst”, he explained. “There is a dark side to your nature; we are just helping it along a bit.”

Suddenly, my head felt a bit more clear. “Time to go?”

“Time to go.”

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I hesitated in the doorway.

I hesitated in the doorway. Had I forgotten something? My head began to buzz strangely.

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I just knew I’d forgotten something.

I just knew I’d forgotten something.

“Go now, Your Majesty!” He thumped his fist on the counter.

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I flung the door closed and staggered into the street.

I flung the door closed and staggered into the street. It’s a good thing I do so much Realm-hopping; the way home is easy for me.

And when I got there, I didn’t pause to say even a cursory hello to Bran, who was busy with something anyway. I had to use the handrail going up the stairs, and I’m afraid I just threw myself into bed.

I don’t know how long I slept.

I also don’t know how I came to be awake in the garden, up on the memorial dais. But there I was.

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I put a hand to my face, felt the etchings there.

I put a hand to my face, felt the etchings there. Noticed my hair had gone silver-white again. Could glamour to blonde quickly, but… a glance at my hand told me anything yellow would clash against my ashen skin. A crown that felt like silver wire. And. Oh, Lady of my Life, I felt the antlers on my head. I pulled at them, but they had clearly grown while I was sleeping, and come to think of it, I did have a bit of a headache.

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That was when the world shifted.

That was when the world shifted. Everything went dark, the darkest night I could imagine. That’s also when the wolf appeared. He snuffled around the hem of my dress and seemed OK with being petted when I reached down. A white wolf. I had some half-remembered folklore in my head about white wolves, but I couldn’t call it up, probably because I was still dizzy, and—you know, antlers are surprisingly light. I wasn’t all that thrilled when my hand came away sticky with spiderwebs. Great. Why can’t I have shiny, pretty antlers like the ones Aoibheann got? Or at least an antler candelabra like Gwythyr. Why spiderwebs?

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Then again, I thought, spiders aren’t all that bad.

Then again, I thought, spiders aren’t all that bad. It kind of made me giggle. The wolf snapped at something, which made me laugh even harder.

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We made our way down into the enchanted garden.

We made our way into the enchanted garden. I was pleased to see it was still the same, though my beautiful forest had turned orange and red and yellow with autumn leaves. I didn’t see another living creature, so I asked the wolf the question that was in my mind. “What do you think all this is about?”

“Initiation”, said the wolf in a growling voice.

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That’s when the feathers started falling.

That’s when the feathers started falling. I reached out for one, but they slipped through my fingers.

Glowing like a gaslamp, a will o’ the wisp appeared, then morphed into a tiny dark Faerie. A tiny dark Faerie, holding a raven twice his size in his hands. And a very sharp knife. He swiftly sliced through the raven’s flesh and cut out its still-beating heart. “For you, Your Majesty”, he said.

I stared.

“Hurry up now, or it’s no good: I’ll have to get another one.”

I couldn’t deny that it smelled good. He lifted the tiny heart toward my mouth. I didn’t swallow it whole. I savoured it. The bird twitched, and the Fae dropped it onto the ground, where the white wolf finished it off in a couple of bites. I wiped blood from my mouth.

Without another word, the Fae flitted off into the forest.

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I tried to follow it, but it disappeared.

I tried to follow it, but it disappeared. I felt wings sprout from my shoulders then, and I was giddy again, twirling and dancing in the autumn woods. Around me, raven feathers swirled and dipped.

They were beautiful.

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But what was it all for?

But what was it all for? I felt a chill in the air, and it sent a thrill through my body. I felt heavy with life and desire, as if the raven’s heart had somehow given me something more than the wizard’s potion could ever have done. Maybe I hadn’t needed the potion at all.

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And what to do now?

And what to do now? I wondered only for the barest slice of a second. I felt the call of the Underhill. And I knew just who could help me with all the excess energy I seemed to have collected. “You want to stay here?” I asked the wolf.

“Better hunting in the forest than in Mornoth’s bed”, he replied.

Psychic little fucker.

Style Cards:

Magick Shoppe Photos:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Destiny
Eyeshadow: Arte, Yuki Eyeshadow, Gems
Lipstick: The Skinnery, Matte Lip Potion
Ears: Swallow, Ears Elf HD
Eyes: Mesange, Serndipity Eyes (Omega appliers)
Skin: Lumae, Eirtae, T1
Hair: No Match, No Sleep (Available at Hairology!)
Dress: Evie’s Closet, Thisbe, Purple (Available at We ❤ RP!)
Shoes: Death Row Designs, Frilly Shoes, Black
Magick Shoppe: Death Row Designs, Magick Shoppe (Now available at the Death Row Designs Main Store!)
Poses: All from Black Tulip, The Darkness In Me (Available at The Liaison Collaborative!)

Bower Photos:
Body: Maitreya
Feet: SLink, Pointe
Head: Catwa, Destiny
Ears: Swallow, Ears Elf HD
Eyes: Mesange, Lionsong Eyes (Omega appliers)
Skin: La Petite Morte, Belle, Diamond (Catwa applier, Maitreya applier)
Hair: Wasabi Pills, Marissa
Crown: The Forge, Autumn Crown, Gold/Silver (Available at The Seasons Story!)
Antlers: Cerebrus Xing, Spindle Antlers, Snow (Available at The Seasons Story!)
Dress: Silvan Moon Designs, Well of Souls (Available at the Fallen Gods 9th Anniversary Event!)
Raven Feathers: Persefona, Floating Raven Feathers
Shoes: ChicChica, Fairy Pointes, Night
Memorial Structure: Kaelis Ember, Here Find Serenity
Wolf: Tender Loving Care, Standing Wolf White (Available at Cosmopolitan!)
Magic flowers: The Looking Glass, Ichi Fields
Forest: Studio Skye, Enchanted Woods
Poses: All from Black Tulip, The Darkness In Me (Available at The Liaison Collaborative!)

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never make Gwyneth drink foul-tasting potions that may or may not turn her into a Proper Dark Faerie Queen without it!

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