Under the Lantern Tree

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Sometimes, things just appear in the garden, and I don’t know what they’re for.

Sometimes, things just appear in the garden, and I don’t know what they’re for. Take that weird house opposite the gallery, for example. I mean, I guess we’ll hold dances there or something, but at the moment it’s just sitting there. But when this Lantern Tree appeared, with its comfortable seating and characteristic beautiful touches (how could it be from anywhere but The Looking Glass?), I knew exactly what it was for, and I had a use for it right away. Obviously, it’s for late night discussions of things that matter. So I asked Arahaelon to come along, and we began to discuss the situation with Saoirse.

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“I might have vented a bit,” I said.

“I might have vented a bit, I said, “when I found out that my vision was of her being abducted as a seal. The penny dropped when Dyisi asked her who had her skin; then I realised what was happening.”

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“We should summon Dyisi,” Arahaelon said.

“We should summon Dyisi,” Arahaelon said. So this we did. Dyisi arrived with Rire, and we went on with the conversation.

I summarised what we’d already talked about for Dyisi, and Arahaelon asked if Dy could shed a little more light on Saoirse’s state of mind.

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Dyisi shrugged.

Dyisi shrugged. “Is story as old as time,” she said. “She fell for someone who, in turn, used her and took her skin, Ah, forced her to do such deeds that she has done. Though she does noht with to harm anyone… just get her skin back and be free of those who control her. Is why she picked simple boat. Is why when ordered to do more … drastic … measures she picked empty house. Well, empty as that none of people who lived within were there at time. Also, she needs to be within water soon, or she will noht make it.”

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I felt that anger rise within me again.

I felt that anger rise within me again. “Unbelievable arseholes,” I said. “Did she tell you who has her skin? Where they are? I’m just so pissed off about this. Obviously, I’m angry about the graffiti and the boat and my house—I’ll never get that little bed with the iron birdies on it back—but it really appears she was not acting of her own free will. That said, I would hope she’d have come to one of us before all that had to happen.”

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“That would fit…”

“That would fit,” Arahaelon said, “with the story I’m getting from these messages on her phone.” He passed the phone to me so I could take a look. “If her skin has been taken, then we must get it back.”

Dyisi applied her usual calm to the situation. “When faced with death… as it is… I understand why she had noht come to any of us. Such mortality places you within a different mindset. But, nai, her skin must be returned to her.

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“Those who are using her…”

“Those who are using her to further their goals… they must face a higher court than what is on the Island. Especially since it is not just island they are attacking.”

I agreed. “Nathaniel might have some contacts on the mainland, “but he’s away in Mysthaven and won’t be back until next week, I think? We’ll have to give it some thought ourselves.” I smirked. “I could always check with Cherish Gelato. She’s sure to know some wild rumours, at least.” And I nodded to Arahaelon. “Certainly, we must retrieve her skin; she will survive without it, but there is the matter of how well the skin is being kept, of course.

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“Let’s hope they don’t see her as expendable.”

“I hope whoever’s done this doesn’t see her as expendable: the idea of a selkie’s skin being destroyed—well, we’d have to talk to the selkies themselves about that one.”

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Arahaelon brooded for a bit.

Arahaelon brooded for a bit. I noticed his eyes: they looked like storm clouds. “What if we use her as bait to draw these people out? I’m sure the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs would be happy to help us hunt them down. It would go a long way towards shortening her sentence. Despite how much I understand her plight, she must still serve time for what she has done. Had she come to us earlier, much destruction and pain could have been avoided. And as Dyisi points out, she will also have to answer for parts she might have played elsewhere.”

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Dyisi looked to Rire.

Dyisi looked to Rire. He just gave the satyr a shrug; he was dutifully doing his job at standing guard. “It is your call on what to do,” she said finally. “I have no say in such a matter. However, I will also speak to may own contacts over there, as our reach tends to be … deep.” She left it there, not going in to specifics as to what exactly this group she was affiliated with did.

 

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The night air developed a chill.

The night air developed a chill, so I shrugged my wings back on. “I worry about using this girl as bait. She seems … Volatile? Scared. And scared people do stupid things. I’m on the fence. I see how she could help us catch these criminals, but I’m not happy about putting her in a position where the only decision she might make would be a wrong one.”

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Arahaelon closed his eyes.

Arahaelon closed his eyes for a moment before continuing. “She would be closely supervised bait, but I do see your point. She will always be bound to the one who has her skin.” He considered for a moment, rotated his head to the side. “We may not have to, though. We could simply text them back and lure them out ourselves.”

Dyisi sniffed, gave a half-shrug. “Perhaps, paidi mou, you should bring this up to this, ah, Bureau before doing such things. So that they can be at ready. Nai?”

 

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“A good idea.”

“A good idea—who’s our Bureau contact, Arahaelon? Or is that safely with Nate in Mysthaven, as well?” I sighed. “I don’t relish going back there, but I could make a special trip if it were important. I reserve the right to be a complete bitch to everybody, though.”

“Yes, of course they will be notified,” Arahaelon said. “I have a close relationship with our contact: there is no need to be a bitch to anyone, unless you really want to, Dear Queen.” He winked at me in that way that he does. If I were mortal, I’d have been flushing beet red and offering to bear his children. “I will see if I can replicate Saoirse’s style in these messages,” he continued.

“Then if that is all, nai?” Dyisi seemed to have someplace to go.

I nodded. “Yeah; that probably about does it for this evening. I’m glad you were both able to join me. It might be time for me to see what Bran is up to in the treehouse: he was talking about decorating my office.” I winced. “I don’t really want an office.”

Arahaelon actually laughed at me, not that I was surprised. “How will you ever cope?”

I just stuck my tongue out at him. “You know where to find me if you need me,” I said.

Dyisi and Rire disappeared, presumably back to her beach house on the Island, and Arahaelon also disappeared, presumably back to his house on the Island. And me? I walked back to the treehouse, through the magic flower meadow. When I got to the path, I turned around for one more look at the beautiful Lantern Tree. And it seemed I saw myself and Arahaelon sitting there, and the people we sat with varied, and they kept changing. I think we will be using this tree as a meeting place for a long time to come.

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The Lantern Tree

Style Card:
The Lantern Tree, from The Looking Glass, will be available as a gacha for the upcoming round of Enchantment, which opens on 12 August.

Gwyneth:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Emo-Tions, Alanis (Available NOW at Hairology!)
Eyes: Mesange, Sanford Eyes (Available NOW at Lost and Found!)
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Savory (Full face and body Omega applier)
Makeup: VENGE (formerly Vengeful Threads), Catwa Luna Makeup (Available NOW at THE COVEN!)
Collar: Footpaw Industries Celtic Filigree Amythest Collar (attached rose from Footpaw Industries AeLan necklace)
Necklace: VENGE (formerly Vengeful Threads), Evening Lord Necklace (Available NOW at THE COVEN!)
Top: Facepalm, Play the Game (Available NOW at Fable!)
Leggings: The Muses, Ariane Legging (Omega Applier)
Boots: Sweet Lies, Ragnarok Boots

Style cards for Arahaelon and Dyisi are coming soon!

Location: White Owl Island Faerie. If you’re looking for a great contemporary fantasy roleplaying sim, why not check us out? White Owl Island, Where Everybody Knows Your Shape.

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Pacing Battlements

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Lingering in the doorway

Sometimes, even the supposed spring is too cruel to handle. You need a place to hide. Gwyneth discovered this beautiful tower on the edge of the Realm. Much of the snow has melted, but that does not mean the newly-revealed grass is anything short of freezing. More snowfall is predicted. Time to climb up.

I pace upon the battlements and stare
On the foundations of a house, or where
Tree, like a sooty finger, starts from earth;
And send imagination forth
Under the day’s declining beam, and call
Images and memories
From ruin or from ancient trees,
For I would ask a question of them all (WB Yeats)

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Up in the tower, my refuge.

Up in the tower, my refuge. The cold seeps in, but the view is great.

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A ladder to a bed, a reading nook, and pillows.

A ladder to my bed, a reading nook, and pillows. What more could a soul in hiding need?

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And lights, lights strung up everywhere.

And lights, lights strung up everywhere. It’s enough to make even the coldest soul smile.

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Am I the coldest soul?

Am I the coldest soul? My heart locked away, my body under layers of leaf, my hair a constant stole around my shoulders, my body marked for spring and the reintroduction of life, and yet we must hide away for a bit longer, hide away.

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And evening lengthens into night….

And evening lengthens into night—it’s hard to tell when there’s so little light from the sky. But inside, despite the cold, there’s light and blankets and books, books, books.

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I will stay for a little while.

I will stay for a little while, as spring blossoms in the belly but has not reached the world.

Oh, this my friends. This is the Boho Princess Tower from Death Row Designs. You can get it at Collabor88, and it’s well worth the money, if you’re into princesses and towers and stuff like that. It’s gorgeous from the ground up! If you get the whole set, it comes with everything you see pictured in the close-up shots, plus some lamps you can use to light the exterior. I will probably keep this on my land and decorate it up even more as the months go on—it’s an excellent refuge for Gwyneth when she’s feeling like getting away from it all! So what if it’s a little … under-bricked? It’s full of chahm and charactah!

Gwyneth is wearing the new Ayashi hair that’s at Hairology—it’s called Urumi, and I love the way it wraps around the body. Her skin is the Lumae Aurora Lelutka head applier from The Coven, in Tone 3, Shell. This is the “loved” version. The stunning tattoos are from The Muses; they’re at the Fantasy Gacha Carnival. The dress is also from the FGC; it’s from Broken Style. I fell in love with it when fellow blogger Arwenn Evenstar Undomiel showed me a photo she’d taken of it on the Lumae group one evening. I’m still madly in love with these ears from Eclipse Art Studio, and even the eyes are a departure for me: they’re not Omega appliers. They’re from Clemmm, the Ringlet Eyes in Silver Grade. 

It’s such a blessing to be inspired by the beautiful creations I see on Second Life. This post ended up being a mishmash of things, like so many other posts—but it all hangs together on that tower. I’m continually impressed and inspired by the geniuses that are behind Death Row Designs. Aside from the mesh talent, which is daunting, it’s the ideas themselves that blow me away. Whether they’re designing a post-apocalyptic plane crash or creating a baroque salon, the work stands up. It’s always beautiful, always detailed, always such a joy to rez and discover. Thank you, DRD

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Simone Mesh Head
Feet: SLink, Pointe feet
Hair: Ayashi, Urumi (Available NOW at Hairology!)
Eyes: Clemmm, Ringlet Eyes, Silver Grade
Skin: Lumae, Aurora, Loved (Available NOW at The Coven!)
Tattoo: The Muses, Bodyart 03, Omega, Blue (Available NOW at the Fantasy Gacha Carnival!)
Ears: Eclipse Art Studio, Elf Dior Ears (Available NOW at Fetish Fair!)
Locked Heart Piercing: Ama, Forever Yours: Collar (Available NOW at The Liaison Collaborative!)
Hands: Vista, Bento Prohands
Dress: Broken Style, Fairy Dress Blue Maitreya (Available NOW at the Fantasy Gacha Carnival!)

Scene:
Tower, furnishings, lamps in tower: Death Row Designs, Boho Princess Set (Available NOW at Collabor88!)

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I’d never retreat to my happy tower place without it!

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Catching Hearts

So much to blog, so little time! The beginning of the month is always a whirlwind, isn’t it? All those great events opening up, finding out what our favourite creators have been up to….

I’m on several time deadlines: my holiday is almost over, and I’m preparing to go back to work on Wednesday, so you may get a few small posts today, because I have such a lot to show you.

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Catching Hearts

As it’s February, many events have a Valentine’s Day theme. Whether for or against, there is a preponderance of hearts and red out there this month! I haven’t put Gwyneth in a stunning gown for, oh, at least 12 hours now, and this one from Enfant Terrible is definitely a stunner. It’s at We ❤ Roleplay, the Decimas Gown. The accompanying fur is just called Winter Fur, and if you’re not in to fur, the gown itself comes with a little wrap that you can choose to wear in different colours. You can change the colour of the harness as well via the included HUD. As often, Gwyneth is in skin from Lumae; this is the Aurora applier, only for Lelutka heads, style Loved, in T3, Shell. It’s available at The Coven. These eyes are new from Mesange and available at The Chapter 4; they are called Jasper Eyes. I love Mesange eyes so much that I’ve just begun fat packing them wherever they’re sold. The ease of using the Omega eye appliers is completely addictive and has spoiled me for other eyes. Gwyneth’s hair is, as often, from the hair design powerhouse that is Wasabi Pills, the Happy hair. It’s at The Chapter 4, part of a gacha, and it comes in two great styles. The cheek hearts are a gift from Adam n EveValentine Cheeks. They’re at the Shop Your Heart Out event. At the Fetish Fair, I found these beautiful new ears from Eclipse Art Studio. These are the Elf Dior ears, and they’re quite customisable. I love the feathers, and the grommet-style piercings are really well done. The necklace is also from EA StudioFeathers Dior. Gwyneth’s crown is from B.F (Bitch Factory), called just Crown Gold; I love the deep red gems and how they reflect the red of the dress. From the magical mind of E.V.E come the Frosted Heart and the Floating Hearts and Floating Petals. The Frosted Heart is available at the Shop Your Heart Out event, and the Floating Hearts and Petals are at We ❤ Roleplay. The Chained Orchid in the background is also from E.V.E; it’s at The Chapter 4 in a very nice gacha. And trust me: the ultra rare secret item is amazing!

I was going to write a story to go with this photo and some others I shot at the time, but my head just isn’t in to it right now. We’ll see if I can come up with something more creative by the end of the day, but for now, I hope you enjoy the photograph. And there are so many more pretty things from We ❤ Roleplay to show you, I don’t even know where to continue. I suppose I’ll do my next favourite thing with Gwyneth (after shopping and photoshopping!) and dress her up in cool outfits.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Simone Mesh Head
Hair: Wasabi Pills, Happy (Available NOW at The Chapter 4!)
Eyes: Mesange, Jasper Eyes (Omega eye appliers) (Available NOW at The Chapter 4!)
Skin: Lumae, Aurora, Loved (Available NOW at The Coven!)
Cheek Tattoo: Adam n Eve, Valentine Cheeks (FREE at Shop Your Heart Out!)
Ears: Eclipse Art Studio, Elf Dior Ears (Available NOW at Fetish Fair!)
Necklace: Eclipse Art Studio, Feathers Dior Necklace (Available NOW at Fetish Fair!)
Hands: Vista, Bento Prohands
Gown: Enfant Terrible, Decimas Gown (Available NOW at We ❤ Roleplay!)
Fur Wrap: Enfant Terrible, Winter Fur (Available NOW at We ❤ Roleplay!)

Scene:
Big Heart: E.V.E, Frosted Heart (Available NOW at Shop Your Heart Out!)
Floating Hearts: E.V.E, Floating Hearts (Available NOW at We ❤ Roleplay!)
Floating Petals: E.V.E, Floating Petals (Available NOW at We ❤ Roleplay!)
Background Flower: E.V.E, Chained Orchid (Available NOW at The Chapter 4!)
Background Structure: Mushilu, Monolite, Light Stone (Available NOW at We ❤ Roleplay!)
Pose: An Lar, from The Duchess Series (Available NOW at We ❤ Roleplay!)

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I’d never build a set for “one little picture” without it!

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The Stolen Child

 

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Where dips the rocky highland….

Where dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuthwood in the lake
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water rats;
There we’ve hid our fairy vats,
Full of berries
And of reddest stolen cherries.

 

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Come away, O Human child!

Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

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Where the wave of moonlight glosses

Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim grey sands with light,
Far off by furthest Rosses
We foot it all the night,
Weaving olden dances
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon has taken flight;

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To and fro we leap

To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And anxious in its sleep.

Come away, O human child!

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To the waters and the wild

To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

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Where the wandering water gushes

Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams;
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams.

Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild

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With a faery, hand in hand,

With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

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Away with us he’s going, The solemn-eyed:

Away with us he’s going,
The solemn-eyed:
He’ll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace into his breath
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal chest.

For he comes, the human child,
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,

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For the world’s more full of weeping than he can understand.

For the world’s more full of weeping than he can understand.

Poem, of course, is “The Stolen Child” by the immortal WB Yeats, a native of Sligo, where my late husband’s family were from and where many of them still reside.

All thanks go to Noah, who agreed on fairly short notice to find some schoolboy clothes and come be my Stolen Child for an evening. Noah’s player is among my favourite people in SL, and their portrayal of children as real kids taught me not to be completely dismissive of child avatars when I was new to SL roleplaying several years ago and we ended up on a sim together. Noah is an amazing kid, and is that not the most adorable child you have ever seen? Here, he is seven years old, and I thought he brought me the perfect Stolen Child.

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The amazing and adorable Noah!

When Astralia came up with the stunning Ivy Elf Set for The Gacha Garden, I knew I had to do something special with it. Once I dressed Gwyneth in the outfit, I could only think of the wild faeries of Irish folklore, and of course Yeats’ poem came to mind as something accessible, and short, that I could use as a springboard. With very little preparation, I decided to use the beautiful forest Dyisi Oppewall created on my sim, Awenia, as a setting. Raindale‘s beautiful boat, Meriel, provided the simple stage we used to take these photographs. I am grateful to Lumiya Rae, who created this lovely skin, Aurora, which is coming soon to The Coven: it got me to streamline my Lelutka Simone Bento head-shape to give Gwyneth this stern and otherworldly face. ColeMarie Soleil, the creative force behind Cole’s Creations, created the glimmering bits of gold that are sometimes visible around Gwyneth’s body and head and also the beautiful moonbeams that illuminate her Faery form as she appears to Noah. This photoshoot took nearly three hours, possibly a bit longer, and I could not have done it as well or efficiently without my experience in the Visionaire class or our masterclass with Senna Coronet on lighting. Nearly all the moonbeams on the water are made with projectors I created, and the projector on Noah dimmed out the lamp on the boat, so I had to create projectors to simulate that, as well. This was shot in various Phototools Moonlight wind lights, with the exception of the last photograph, which I shot in Phototools No Light so that I could bring all focus to Noah’s adorable and pinchable little face! (Noah is going to barf when he reads this!)

Style Cards:
Gwyneth:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Simone Mesh Head
Hair: Mina, Ava Lin (Available NOW at Fameshed!)
Eyes: Mesange, Serendipity Eyes (Omega eye appliers)
Skin: Lumae, Aurora, Hexed (COMING SOON to The Coven!)
Ears: Swallow, Elf Ears HD
Hands: Vista, Bento Prohands
Clothes (bra, headdress, body leaves, neck leaves, necklace, leaf tattoo, leggings, armbands, corset, and necklace): Astralia, Ivy Elf Set (Available NOW at The Gacha Garden!)
Wings: Zyn, Woodland Tree Wings
Moonbeams and Gold Sparkles: Cole’s Corner, Fairy Gold Dust and Illuminated Lightbeams (Moonbeam Aura)

Noah:
Hair: *ARGRACE* GAKU
Socks: EB Atelier – Mesh_Socks Grey
Necklace: MeshMerized – Pan
Sweater: Loki Mesh – V4 Timerascal – Top
Shorts: Loki Mesh – V4 Timerascal Shorts
Boots: Loki Mesh – V4 Workboots – Brown
Mesh Body: #SMB Mesh Body 2.2
Skin: [Lee] Yang Skin Child Version
Eyes: [Icy Winter EYE] by Lubellia

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I’d never re-enact a Yeats poem in SL without it!

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