The 2017 Hair Fair Photo Contest!

I’ve been busy over the past few days, while recovering from this annoying injured thumb on my left (dominant) hand, working on some photographs for the 2017 Hair Fair Photo Contest.

Hair Fair is one of my favourite events of the year. Because duh! Hair! And I’m lucky enough to have early blogger access again this year, so I’ll spend lots of money and show you super cool hairs!

Every year, Hair Fair sponsors a photo contest, and I often enter it. This year I’ve done five photos, and that’s the limit. I’m sorry, judges.

The link above is to the official notice about the contest; the theme was “Wild”, and the idea was to picture hair colours that aren’t in the usual, naturally available human range. This post has been half written for two days in hopes I could get it done ahead of the contest deadline, but I’m afraid I haven’t managed it, and I’ll just have to do a better job next year.

Here’s the first of my Hair Fair Photo Contest entries for this year.

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Joy!

Hairstyle—Corumel (Summer Hair Play)
Hair Store—Tableau Vivant
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa Lona
Skin: Lumae Adore Ianthe
Eyes: Mesange Iskander
Ears: Lumae Leevi Long Ears
Silks: Axix, Heaven Silks Purple
Butterflies: Nantra
Location: White Owl Island

I initially wanted to photograph Gwyneth scrying something, with her hair all over the place, but the minute I put this hair on I knew I wanted her in the water somehow. There were numerous false starts with this photograph, because I kept wanting her to be attacked by a sea monster– but things kept going wrong. And we just won’t talk about that time the giant undulating tentacle ended up off the shores of White Owl Island….

Here’s number two:

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Who Shall I Be Tomorrow?

Hairstyle—Joga
Hair Store—Analog Dog
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Farrah
Body Glitter: Izzies, Rainbow body glitter
Eyes: Mesange, Iskander
Ears: Swallow, Elf Ears High Definition
Dress: This Is Wrong, Owls Dress
Wings: BareRose, Black B Wings
Jewellery: EMO-tions, Falcon Earrings and Necklace

So, most of you guys know I love Analog Dog Hair. I knew I wanted to showcase at least one of Queue Marlowe‘s beautiful hair designs in these photographs. I picked this one, Joga, because it’s relatively new, and because it’s whimsical without being silly, and because I loved the way the green and red work together in this colour. Beloved took me on a date to Calas Galadhon, and I remembered having taken some photographs there yonks ago. I came back there for this one, and I was so pleased with the light (and the fact that “The Owls are not what they seem” shows up pretty well in the photograph on this photo. Of course, after I’d taken it through the whole editing process, I discovered that the hair is clipping the wing. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t noticed that… I’d already entered the photograph when I suddenly saw the imperfection, and now I can’t unsee it. So it stays, because otherwise it’s a good photo, and I love so many things about it.

Miles Away

This third photo features hair from another one of my favourite designers, Wasabi Pills. Raven was released for this years’ Fantasy Faire, and I’ve worn it a lot. I wanted to do something like a portrait for one of the entries, and I wanted to investigate a region I hadn’t shot in before. So off I went to Phabolaois Stran. I love water sims, rain sims, and this one did not disappoint. I will be back again, I’m sure. I spent a lot of time waiting for this group of birds to un-clump so I could photograph them recognisably, which is probably why I left them in, rather than cropping them out to yield a stronger photograph. I still like the way the hair colour looks against the landscape.

Hairstyle—Raven
Hair Store—Wasabi Pills
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona
Skin: Lumae, Ruby
Eyes: Mesange, Iskander
Ears: Swallow, Elf Ears High Definition
Clothes: Yasum, Boho Skirt and Top
Necklace: The Plastik, The Grolda Necklace
Circlet, Cae, Lasa Circlet

Pink

Pink, like most of these, is not the photograph I started out trying to take at all. Elikatira‘s Lalora, don’t get me wrong, is every bit as gorgeous today as when it was released last year. I did want to take at least one photo in White Owl’s Faerie, but the original plan was for this shot to have some softness to it, and I’m not sure it does, in the end. She looks determined, maybe even angry. Her hand is tense. The sunset lighting makes her look if anything more like she’s just made a battle plan. That said, while I know a lot of SL people who do not like these wings, I absolutely love them, I have them in every colour they were released in, and I do not get the chance to photograph them very often. I love how perfectly they match the pink of her hair, how they echo the makeup. And I like the way she really does pop against the landscape.

Hairstyle—Lalora
Hair Store—Elikatira
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona
Skin: Lumae, Ruby
Eyes: Mesange, Iskander
Ears: Swallow, Elf Ears High Definition
Wings: Alegria, Wings of Cotton Pink
Dress: MoonAmore, Sugar Branches Dress
Makeup: Picchi, Sweet Fairy Makeup

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Take Off

Some things I cannot resist, and one of those things is going back and hoping to fix my mistakes. The thing is, Calas Galadhon doesn’t allow object rezzing and I couldn’t find a group to join that would let me do that, so placement wasn’t and couldn’t be perfect. And, you know, there’s only so much time in the day, and so I decided to go with something different. I love that this shot gives you the whole scope of the wings, and I did at least remember the windlight I used, which is a far sight better than I usually do here in Chaos-land. There were some birds around, as in previous shots, but I didn’t worry about them overmuch as they were a long way away and the focal bird would be the one wearing these beautiful wings from BareRose.

Hairstyle—Joga
Hair Store—Analog Dog
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Farrah
Body Glitter: Izzies, Rainbow body glitter
Eyes: Mesange, Iskander
Ears: Swallow, Elf Ears High Definition
Dress: This Is Wrong, Owls Dress
Boots: Wicca’s Wardrobe, Gypsy Boots

Style cards are above in the text. Farrah is available at Vintage Fair!

 

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The Story of Returning

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Memory’s a funny thing, isn’t it?

Memory’s a funny thing, isn’t it? I remember being in university, long ago now it seems, and suddenly noticing a tree one morning. Richard and I were walking to class, and I swear, I tugged him by the sleeve and wanted to know when that tree had appeared.

“Gwyneth,” he replied, “It’s been here all along. You just never saw it before.”

How peculiar, I thought. What force of mind, memory, or nature could make me just not notice a tree? And it wasn’t a small tree, either. It was massive. People were having their lunch in its shade, sunbathing in the shadows of its branches.

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Like a place I’ve been, so many times.

Like a place I’ve been, so many times, this street should hold no mystery for me. It’s a place I go from time to time. There are shops here I like to visit, a good Turkish restaurant. Just down there, there’s a boutique that sells glorious faux fur stoles.

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I pause, sometimes, near this street corner.

I pause, sometimes, near this street corner. Sometimes, I pause to look back, wonder if I’ve missed something, shrug, move on. Sometimes, I stand here for several minutes, watching the people, the buses. It isn’t as if I have any great mysteries of life to contemplate, but I feel the need to contemplate, anyway. It might be about the dress I find myself in today, a glorious and gorgeous gown from Silvan Moon Designs. I came across a marvellous Vintage Fair, and then, softly, I found myself feeling the echoes of a different era.

I’m just starting my life on White Owl Island, and a new beginning always makes me ponder the “what ifs” of my life. It’s an exercise, I know, that leads only to dissatisfaction.

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But what have I, really, to be dissatisfied about?

But what have I, really, to be dissatisfied about? I have made my change. I have left the Wylds, and war, and mad demifae queens, and the judging eyes of the Unseelie Court.

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The future. The future is … uncertain.

The future. The future is … uncertain. But it is something I can create. Something I am creating.

And at this moment, I’m taken, as I used to be, by visions. Two visions. One is terrible: screaming people, fires, smoke. Refugees. The other….

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The other is sweet.

The other is sweet.

Style Card:
Gwyneth—
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona Bento Mesh Head
Hair: No Match, No Dream (Available NOW at Vintage Fair!)
Eyes: Mesange, Thaisa Eyes (Omega Appliers) (Available NOW at We ❤Roleplay!)
Ears: Swallow, Elf Ears High Definition
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Farrah, Omega Appliers (Available NOW at Vintage Fair!)
Wings: (Photos 1-5) Lassitude & Ennui, Seraphim Wings
Wings: (Photo 6) Evolved Creatures, Fae Bento Wings
Dress: Silvan Moon Designs, Vintage in Vogue (Available NOW at Vintage Fair!)
Shoes: The Plastik, Filivina Heels

Gentleman in Photo 6; Nyza Stillwater

 

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I’d never create a fantasy street for a single photoshoot without it!

silvan-moon-designs-logo-full   MESANGE LOGO 2017   7ds

 

Why I Relay

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I took Dyisi down beneath the mystical portals of the Fairelands Junction.

I took Dyisi down beneath the mystical portals of the Fairelands Junction for our special time together at the Great Faire. I wanted to show her how beautiful the memories of all the Fairelanders were when placed into a special cove. The air was alight with candles, and the roots of the trees went deep, down into the river, symbolising the depth of caring Fairelanders have for their loved ones who are suffering and memorialising those who have gone before.

This year, I have not been as present at the Faire as I have in previous years. The boys are taking over most of the merchanting duties for me now, and I admit I’ve settled nicely in the Faerie Haven at White Owl Island. It feels good to sit back and let work be done by others. But I knew I’d have to visit the Faire at least once this year, to connect with my long-time friend Dyisi and to marvel at the way the Realms shine when they are chosen to be part of the Faire.

I thought Dyisi would love this memorial spot, but instead she grew melancholy.

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“Do you want to talk about it?” I asked.

“I guess I probably should,” she said, and she followed it up with some of those Greek terms of endearment she uses. I persist in thinking they are complimentary.

I said, “See how quiet it is here, but for the water, the birds. Let there be peace. You know you can tell me anything.”

“What about,” Dyisi said, “If we just break the fourth wall for a moment?”

I lifted a brow. “What do you mean?”

“Well, you know how you’re a character from Gwen Enchanted’s imagination?”

I shifted uncomfortably. “It’s not something I usually think about.”

“Yeah, I know,” Dyisi replied. “She gets Queen Gwyneth to be her mouthpiece most of the time.”

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She put her arm around me.

She put her arm around me. “Well…” and here she paused to look up in to my eyes, above her glasses. Briefly, I glimpsed the galaxies within before she looked down again. “I, too, am a character from someone’s imagination.”

I blinked. “Not Gwen Enchanted’s imagination, I hope; that’d be… well, slightly creepy and incestuous.”

“Oh, like your desperate love for Her Majesty isn’t creepy?” Dyisi allowed herself a little laugh. “No, no; I am a character from someone else’s imagination, and she is a very good friend to Gwen Enchanted.

I rubbed my chin, shook my head. “Confusing.”

“That it is, Davey,” said Dyisi, with a sigh. “This place makes me think of the imagination from which I spring, and I’d like to tell you a story from her perspective.”

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“I’m listening,” I said. And I held her.

“I’m listening,” I said. And I held her.

A few words from the mind behind the satyr..

First off, let me thank Gwen.. who has been an amazingly dear friend to me for years now.. for allowing me to say a few words.  Her blog has been a great source of entertainment and touching stories that is more than just a labor of love.  But an outlet for her beautiful and talented soul.  So I thank her from the bottom of my heart to be apart of not just her stories, but her life.  As well as her dear husband Joe, who also touched my life in a very remarkable way.  He is missed deeply.

There is also another woman who has been an influential part of my life, as well as having been my rock.  My mother.  She passed in June of 2013 after a short battle with lung cancer. Her diagnosis was in March of that same year.  So we did not have a lot of time in the end, and even though I am told not to have regrets, I do.  It’s hard not to, especially when her life ended so quickly.  Things I wish I could have said, wishing I could have been there at her side when she finally passed.  While I still hold to these regrets, I also look back at the life we lived.  She was an amazing woman, strength in the face of all adversities..  Be it her time spent in the Marines during Vietnam, or the life our family lived.  Her sense of humor never wavered and in that taught me to laugh when things feel hopeless.  For that, I will forever be thankful.  She also did her best to try and protect me from death, even though it’s inevitable.  This does include her own death as she insisted I stay home… three thousand miles away.  Despite my better judgement, I listened to her, because she is my mother..

Cancer is not new to my family, as it has claimed so many on my mother’s side.  Her father passing from leukemia, while lung cancer claimed her mother, aunt, and a year after mom died, one of her sisters.  Even my cousin’s little girl fought leukemia, which I can happily say she is in full remission.  At the beginning of this year, a close childhood friend had lost her battle with cervical cancer.   This monster is all too familiar to me, and so this is why Fantasy Faire has become important to me ever since I discovered it. I thank the creators and participants.. vendors and supporters..   for all that they do for the American Cancer Society.  Helping those who work tirelessly to defeat this monster so that no one else.. no more of our loved ones and own selves..  will fall into it’s clutches.

Thank you.

I’d never seen tears from Dyisi before, but now I did. And I confess I buried my face in her hair to staunch my own.

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I shall not tell you how we spent the rest of our night together.

I shall not tell you how we spent the rest of our night together; I shall only say that the unlikely friendship between Gypsy and Satyr—and the unlikely friendship between American expat and Seattle dilettante—continues to be a force for good in the world.

Let all your stories out. Let all your tears flow. Recognise that together, we are stronger than cancer, stronger than the losses we have sustained because of it, strong enough to go on. Those candles burn for every beloved person who has passed to the other side of the Veil, for every beloved person who wakes up to fight another day, for all of us who contribute, with our time and our money and the love in our hearts (which knows no end). 

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Catalina Staheli’s “Why Do You Relay” photo of The Amazing Catwoman, from the 2015 Fantasy Faire.

Catalina Staheli took this photograph of The Amazing Catwoman at the beginning of the 2015 Fantasy Faire, my (Gwen Enchanted’s) first year as a Fantasy Faire blogger as part of her “Why Do You Relay” series. That was the year my husband, Joe Raftery, was moved from curative to palliative care. My heart was on my sleeve then, and it is now, as well. Eight months after this photograph was taken, I became a widow. Fairelanders, one of my SL tribes, supported me through his illness. My roleplaying tribe, which includes Dyisi, whose beautiful words are above, were with me constantly. My real life family stayed by my side and have never left me. I am rich, rich in friends and rich in family. I am also rich in memories. Why do I relay? I relay because, at fifty-one years of age, I am still too young to be a widow. 

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Style Cards:
The Gypsy Davey:
Head: Catwa, Justin
Body: Signature
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Bo (Guys Group Gift for April, Available NOW at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store!)
Hair: Wasabi Pills, Raven (Available NOW at the 2017 Fantasy Faire!)
Outfit: Silvan Moon Designs, The Fairelands Traveler Tunic Set (Available NOW at the 2017 Fantasy Faire!)
Ears: Mandala, Steking Ears Season 5

Dyisi:
Body- Maitreya Laura
Hair – little bones. Chel
Ears – [][]Trap[][] Gelf Ears
Eyes – Plastik Galaxie Eyes, Arc
Hooves – Gauze
Tail – Leo Tail v5
Skin – Plastik Briane Freckled
Horns – Plastik Swyrl Horns, Ray
Top – !gO! Spring lace top 1 (Now at this month’s round of Shiny Shabby)
Shorts – L&B Swear Denim Shorts
Lip ring – .:ellabella:. Blowing Bubbles
Belly chain – .Charm. Moon
Necklace – .Eldritch. Bog Cailleach Vial
Necklace – Plastik Twiggled Necklace, silver
Arm chains – Zaara Rasksha
Thigh chains -Zaara Rasksha
Septum Ring – Zaara [Goa Party]: Baga nosering
Bracelets – Zaara [Goa Party]: Friendship bracelets
Glasses – Zaara [Goa Party]: Retro sunglasses
Bindi – ~Soedara~ Pearl Berjuang Tari

Location: Fairelands Junction, Sponsored by Ruins of Xenark Roleplay Community and designed by Saiyge Lotus.

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

Deer and Loafing in the Fairelands

It all started one night, early in the Great Fantasy Faire, when I and some of my favourite beings had arranged to meet at a favourite skin-painter and fantasy clothing and jewellery maker, The Plastik. I arrived first, of course (I’m always early, despite what they say about me). The atmosphere inside the store in the Realm of Chaddul Ro was festive, to say the least, and I found myself caught up in the happy clamour of the crowd. Eventually, I began to wonder where they all were, so I went outside to wait for them.

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I waited patiently near the store’s distinctive signpost.

I waited patiently near the store’s distinctive signpost. The crowds grew thicker, and I’m sure they simply didn’t hear me when I called their names. One by one, they came out to meet me. At this point, I realised they were all deer. OK, they were adorable, diminutive deer, but deer nonetheless.

“Are you aware,” I asked, “that you are all, um, deer?”

“Well, you’re one to talk,” said WrenDeer. “Look at you: you’re like Fairy Princess Tiara Deer.”

“I am not!” I retorted.

“Hate to break it to you,” said RivenDeer, “But I’m afraid it’s true. MoxyDeer, do you have a mirror on you somewhere?”

MoxyDeer had a mermaid crown and a fetching fin. “What, you think we actually carry hand mirrors around with us?” She made a face. “Talk to DyisiDeer: she’s got mirrored sunglasses.”

I had only to stare into DyisiDeer’s round sunglasses to realise what they were saying was true: I, too, was an adorable, diminutive deer. “Well, aren’t we all so cute!” I said.

KitoriDeer made a rude noise. It might have been a burp, or perhaps it was someone else’s voice. “I am not cute,” she declared. “I am possessed by the souls of my enemies, and I shall not rest until they are defeated.”

Nobody thought to ask her who her enemies were. We all decided we should just continue our plans to explore the Fairelands together. Perhaps we would find a way to regain our former shapes soon enough. Or at least find some good grass.

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WrenDeer, RivenDeer, MoxyDeer, GwenDeer, KitoriDeer, and DyisiDeer, preparing to take on the Fairelands, one meadow at a time!

We found ourselves in the Mystical Realm of Raven’s Perch.

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Here we all are, visiting the Lady of Roses in her ruby casket.

We all look a little confused. But the roses were mighty tasty.

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The Raven’s Perch Memorial was the next stop on our tour.

What a lovely setting. With nice, dewy grass and a topping of autumn leaves. Also, rose petals! These Fairelands were pretty nice!

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As I watched the mist rise out of the trees, I felt a wave of solemnity brush across my heart.

Soon, we would have to leave these beautiful dark meadows and move into another Realm. But where would our adventure take us next?

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On to The Hill we raced!

Soon we found a flock of goats to blend in with! No one would ever suspect that we weren’t part of their merry band of mischief!

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DyisiDeer! It is not OK to kick a fellow goat in the face!

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And KitoriDeer—is that a bloody knife in your mouth? You do not need a goat’s skin to be a goat! You must be a goat from the inside!

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Dyisi Deer soon forgot she’d tried to kick another of our goat herd in the face, or perhaps she was just chilling with the rams.

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MoxyDeer, clearly a learner by observation, shepherded her adorable unicorn toward DyisiDeer and the rams.

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RivenDeer, confused as she looks here, was actually making good headway with the ram on the left. Perhaps her Tesla Fairy impressed him.

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Of course, all bets were off when RivenDeer realised that tree bark was just as tasty as long meadow grasses. And did you notice she has two different coloured eyes? Weird, baby.

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Somebody told me once that herding *cats* was meant to be hard. “They know nothing,” I told Anastasia, my equally adorable pegasus companion.

At which point I noticed that DyisiDeer had acquired an anteater. Well… I guess we’d be great at picnics, then.

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And speaking of picnics….

Here’s DyisiDeer, KitoriDeer, and MoxyDeer enjoying an awkward family picnic photograph. Well. I think MoxyDeer’s unicorn was enjoying it—look at that cheeky goat plying her with food! MoxyDeer and DyisiDeer both look a little nervous, if you ask me. KitoriDeer, on the other hand, looks as if she might be explaining, in detail, how to eviscerate fellow deer and devour their livers.

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“DyisiDeer! Get out of that pumpkin cart!” I shouted.

“Fight the power!” DyisiDeer replied. “It’s my pumpkin cart now. And oh, my little green seeds, these pumpkins? You guys have got to taste these!”

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Elsewhere, MoxyDeer stalked rabbits.

Elsewhere, MoxyDeer stalked rabbits. I’m not sure she got that “herbivore” memo. Luckily, as we were all deer, tiny, adorable deer, we could understand the language of Forest Creatures.

“Help! Help!” cried Vanilla Rabbit. “That MerDeer is going to eat us!”

“Calm your cottontail,” replied Chocolate Bunny. “You will notice that her eyes are firmly on that pumpkin cart over there. Before they’re done, all the deer will be orange, and the meadow grass shall be ours!”

He wasn’t wrong. Let’s just say I was very, very glad to see a river between this realm and our next destination.

Except of course that we were all full of pumpkin by this time and maybe we shouldn’t have been in swimming for at least an hour, but we pretty much all curled up and went to sleep. I’m not sure how long we slept.

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When we awoke we were still adorable, diminutive deer. Only the members of our little herd had changed.

There was WrenDeer, and NateDeer, and GwenDeer and DyisiDeer. NateDeer fell asleep before we were done planning our evening. WrenDeer said she was going upstairs to get her PJs, but she never returned. To this day, we have never seen WrenDeer again. Nobody knows what happened to RivenDeer, either. Perhaps she was taken away to the Fairy Fairelands by her little Tesla horn ornament. That might sound naughtier than I meant it to be.

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NateDeer

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DyisiDeer

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WrenDeer

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GwenDeer

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Dyisi Deer looks surprisingly grandmotherly in this photograph.

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Then, like some gory horror-film magic, KitoriDeer appeared.

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Here we are, milling around, waiting to see what will happen next!

What happened next was KitoriDeer told us that if we didn’t get moving on to the rest of the Fairelands, she would personally serve our lungs to her demonic overlords.

Without checking to find out who her demon overlords actually were, we swiftly ran, as only a herd can run, toward our next destination: Dawn’s Promise.

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There is something amazing about the light in Dawn’s Promise.

I could almost forget that I was standing next to KitoriDeer, who had a knife that could cut me.

All my worries and fears were briefly resolved when AraDeer showed up in very sexy horns and wings. My heart leapt at the thought of leaping with him. I even left a big patch of flowers uneaten right next to me in hopes he’d come over and talk to me.

I say my worries and fears were briefly resolved because on AraDeer’s tail, KaeDeer arrived. Now, it’s true, she has very sexy horns and an equally sexy tail, but evil glowed red in her eyes, and her dark wings beat with the sound of two or three tortured souls. Don’t want to hyperbolise.

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Here we are, milling around a bathtub full of flowers. And by “milling”, I mean, “grazing”.

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We were at this point joined by the delightful MikaDeer, who sported a unicorn’s horn with a shiny star ornament on it.

Nevermind that KitoriDeer had now begun stalking the peacocks by the Dawn’s promise Special Hippie Tie-Dye Gazebo. At least I think that’s what it’s called. My adorable pegasus and I were just enjoying the wind on the meadow, while at the same time steadfastly avoiding KaeDeer’s dark but undeniably attractive gaze.

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And, my friends, we began to frolic!

Well, most of us, that is. At this point, I began to wonder if KaeDeer wasn’t just slightly upset that she wasn’t getting her soul quota or something, because that stare of hers was becoming downright unnerving.

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Speaking of KaeDeer, aren’t those beautiful horns?

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“Psst!” My Little Pegasus said (I had ceased calling her Anastasia). “I think KitoriDeer wants us to see her, er, rear end.”

“Luckily,” I replied, “We are blocking it with our rear ends.”

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KitoriDeer’s attention soon turned to the peacocks, though she was still rather too close for comfort. We…. pretended to frolic, but were actually avoiding her.

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AraDeer begins to stalk rabbits as well. I contemplated giving him that whole “herbivore” speech, but than I remembered how well it hadn’t worked on MoxyDeer, and I moved on.

Meanwhile, KaeDeer, well, grazed peacefully. I deerhmfed in her general direction. Some demon overlady she turned out to be!

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MikaDeer began the frolicking in earnest!

Look at her leap! Her lion’s mane is so attractive! If only she weren’t, well, leaping right into the path of KaeDeer. I wasn’t close enough to warn her, but I know she has street smarts: she is an adorable, diminutive deer, after all.

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Mika continued to frolic!

As she frolicked, I grazed my way unobtrusively across from where KaeDeer was grazing, as much as it unsettled me. AraDeer trotted round the front of the bathtub, perhaps to come to her rescue as well. Of course, it could have been the rabbit behind KaeDeer. We may never know the truth.

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When I saw KitoriDeer and KaeDeer beginning to converge upon MikaDeer, I did what I always do when I’m terrified or squicked.

“Kittens!” I cried. And lo! There were kittens.

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So. Many. KittyCats. KaeDeer’s murderous gaze never left me. I do not think she was happy about losing the chance to have MikaDeer for lunch.

But no deer should eat other deer for lunch.

I say again, herbivores, people! (I mean, deer!)

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It was like a kitten bar!

A kitten bar, where adorable, diminutive deer could come and fill their wells of cuteness.

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We enjoyed the Kitten Bar for a few more minutes.

Even KaeDeer eventually succumbed. “Oh, Em, Gee, you guys are so cuuuute!” she cried. “Fuck’s sake!”

Ah, my work here was done. It was time to visit The Rose.

In The Rose, everything is ordered. It is like a large, formal garden that you are allowed to shop in. Also, there is a nice grazing meadow up on the top of the Realm.

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As the land was ordered, so were we.

And, we acquired a new herd member! LilaDeer joined us then, wearing  beautiful dark glasses and a fetching cane (which he wore fetchingly in his antlers and might have used as a weapon, had we been in dire need).

We wished to graze the gardens until our bellies were full, but we felt ourselves becoming more and more ordered. Someone suggested we dance the CanCan, and at that point, I knew it was time to visit The Spirit Pool.

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In The Spirit Pool, there are many guardians.

Some of them have lanterns. And some of them have tentacles. It was interesting to see which guardian we chose. How odd that the majority of our now-growing herd chose the the Tentacle Guardian. Only KitoriDeer chose the Lantern Guardian. I don’t really know what that means. I found this whole segment very confusing. KaeDeer said it was something about wisdom. I said, “Let’s go for a swim.” Everybody else screamed, “Later! We want to sit on this Tentacle Guardian a little bit longer.”

Oh, fine.

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We really do look quite majestic don’t we?

Well, I mean, they. I’m not in this picture.

But.

We are all one herd. Therefore, I look majestic, too.

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LilaDeer looks especially majestic here, don’t you think?

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Finally, we jumped into the water and found a MerDeer’s paradise!

“Hey, guys!” LilaDeer and I called. “Come over here; it’s like a Mer birthday cake, and we’re the antlered candles!”

“Hey, guys?” I called. “LilaDeer, I don’t think they’re listening.”

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Nobody seemed as excited about the Mer birthday cake as LilaDeer and I were.

“DyisiDeer,” MikaDeer said, very gently and kindly, “I don’t know if you know this, but sand’s gonna hurt your stomach. You can’t graze down here.”

DyisiDeer released a stream of bubbles as she replied, “Well, logically I shouldn’t be able to breathe down here either, but, yeah. It’s magic, MikaDeer.”

MikaDeer impressed us all by surrounding herself with a beautiful bubble. “I can breathe logically!”

I was jealous.

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“Hey!” I shouted, despite the fact that I shouldn’t be able to talk at all, “Look at this stone! It’s got antlers, just like us!”

“Not all of us,” replied MikaDeer.

I deersighed. “DyisiDeer,” I said. “Grazing.”

“I totally have the munchies,” DyisiDeer said.

“Hey, let’s go on to the next Realm,” I said. “We don’t want a sick DyisiDeer. KaeDeer might– oh, wait. KaeDeer must have been sucked into the void.”

“There was a void?” asked LilaDeer.

“Yeah, totally,” I said. “Come on.”

And then, we were off to Mudrana.

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In Mudrana, I was a beautiful Fairy PrincessDeer, upon a beautiful lily pad!

Nevermind that there was a frog screaming at me. He was not a nice frog. Reluctantly, I left the beautiful lily pad and went to the big lily pad where everyone else was frolicking.

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OK, it kind of looks like we are lounging around doing nothing and I am trying to graze a lily pad. But we were totally frolicking.

“I don’t like it here,” said LilaDeer. “It’s wet.”

“I think we should go swimming again,” said MikaDeer.

Three deer said in unison, “No grazing underwater, DyisiDeer!”

Luckily for MikaDeer, the next Realm held many underwater treasures.

From Mudrana, we crossed the lily pads and dove into the underwater paradise of Opal’s Flight.

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In Opal’s Flight, there are many wonders.

Of course, being adorable, diminutive deer, we mostly stood around staring and being slightly confused. Except for KitoriDeer, who seemed convinced that the world should see her tail. “KitoriDeer,” I said, “Have you no shame?”

“Shame?” She cried. “Shame? Look at my tail! My tail is amazing!”

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Of course, it was really the underwater amphitheatre we were in that was amazing.

Unfortunately, as adorable, diminutive deer, we couldn’t find any really good adjectives to describe it.

“Do deer eat fish?” asked AraDeer.

“No,” said MikaDeer. “We are herbivores. Did you not get that memo?”

“I am,” LilaDeer declared once again, “tired of swimming. Can we please go somewhere hot and dry:”

“Happy to oblige,” I said, having seen the Map. “I happen to know that the next Realm is called Fallen Sands.”

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Snowman grazing!

In Fallen Sands, we frolicked until we were very tired, then found the most amazing gift: a snowman, half-melted, upon the desert sands.

As it turns out, snowmen are totally tasty. I kid you not. DyisiDeer perched upon the umbrella while the rest of us grazed the snowman. LilaDeer just laid back and enjoyed the sun. “More, more!” he said.

“I think the next Realm is some kind of city,” I said.

“Woot!” said KitoriDeer. “Garbage! Cities are full of the best stuff to eat!”

DyisiDeer wrinkled her nose. “And you thought I was weird for grazing underwater!”

“Is it far?” asked MikaDeer.

“Just around that corner,” I said. “It’s so weird how everything changes in the blink of an eye here isn’t it?”

Everybody nodded. Being adorable, diminutive deer, we are OK with not needing to restate everything in our own words. Also, we have small vocabularies.

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I’m sure AraDeer was about to deer kiss me in San Mora.

But something about KitoriDeer’s third eye just kept weirding me out.

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We staged this photograph.

The caption is, “No, mom, we totally aren’t going to throw a party with beer and deer of the appropriate and attractive gender while you are away in Deertopia for that couples’ rutting weekend.”

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Whoa! We were the captains of San Mora!

Not only did we have a party with beer and deer of the appropriate and attractive gender, we also found a car! While AraDeer and LilaDeer argued over who should drive, I envisioned myself as a sexy hood ornament. MikaDeer climbed into the back seat and took a nap.

I… KitoriDeer was very interested in the blood splatter on the pavement.

“I don’t think San Mora is a very wholesome city.”

“Doubtless,” replied KitoriDeer. “Garbage looks hazardous, though. Better lick up this blood before my hooves fall off from radiation poisoning or something.”

I stared at KitoriDeer. “What did you say?” I asked.

She repeated the sentence verbatim.

I was still confused.

Pirates in Egregore!

What joy to pretend to be pirates.  LilaDeer and I took the helm, although I’m pretty sure it was My Little Pegasus doing the actual steering.

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We were so in control of this ship!

AraDeer and MikaDeer inspected the supplies, while DyisiDeer undertook stewarding duties and maintained she was the only one smart enough to be the ship’s doctor. Suddenly, I was even more confused than usual. “Has anybody seen KitoriDeer?” I wondered.

“She said she had a special errand to run and that she’d be back soon,” replied MikaDeer with a shrug. “I wasn’t gonna ask.”

“Probably for the best,” AraDeer agreed.

“Why is she even in our herd, if we aren’t sure whether or not she’s going to murder us?” wondered LilaDeer.

“Because she’s in the herd,” DyisiDeer said. “We are a herd.”

“What does that even mean?” I really wanted to know.

“It means we stick together and stuff,” replied DyisiDeer. “And we find good grazing, keep each other safe from bad stuff, that kind of thing.”

“Is it wrong to be sort of homesick and sentimental for the every deer for himself kind of creed?” LilaDeer wanted to know.

“Yes,” said AraDeer.

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At that moment, we heard the sound of violins.

And over the sweet, beginning chords of a cheap karaoke track, KitoriDeer, drunkenly off-key, began to sing:

Every night, in my dreams
I see you, I feel you….

AraDeer swore.

“I hate that fucking song,” said LilaDeer.

I looked at DyisiDeer. DyisiDeer looked at me. As if compelled, we began singing along.

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KitoriDeer positioned herself on the prow of the ship.

LilaDeer looked at Aradeer. “I’m sure we could figure out these cannons.”

MikaDeer obliged them all by firing the cannons, except of course this is Fantasy Faire. So of course the cannons went off in perfect rhythm with KitoriDeer’s singing and DyisiDeer and my singing along and the karaoke track.

At one point, I shouted at AraDeer, “It’s karaoke! You have to sing along.”

“No,” said AraDeer. “I do not.”

“Help me set the ship on fire,” suggested LilaDeer.

“No setting the ship on fire!” screamed MikaDeer. “That would be wrong, and they’d never let us back into the Fairelands if we did that!”

Near, far, wherever you are (sang KitoriDeer)
I believe that the heart does go on (sang DyisiDeer and me)

“Goddamn it,” said AraDeer, and sang,

Once more, you open the door….

And then there was a loud bang and we found ourselves on the outskirts of Anansi.

“OK, I am not sure about this Realm,” admitted DyisiDeer, who had recovered from Titanic Karaoke very smoothly. The only thing I’ll admit was I was still humming. “There’s a freaky clown face up here somewhere,” she continued.

“I think we can avoid that,” said KitoriDeer. She, too, had recovered admirably. She was studying the map over my shoulder. I could feel the handle of her knife (yes, the bloody one) against my neck. “Don’t worry, I’m not gonna cut you,” she said.

“I wasn’t worried,” I said. I’m sure I sounded totally sincere.

MikaDeer made an affirmative noise. “Yeah, if we go around this way, we can avoid scary clown face. I think it’s all art back here.”

“Art?” AraDeer was interested. “Art is cool.”

And in fact, there was art everywhere. Adorable unicorn houses. Obtuse buildings. Several exclamations of, “What the fuck is that? I love it!” and “Seriously? Who puts teal and pink together?”

In the end, the very end, we found ourselves compelled to be art ourselves.

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Four little monkeys and six adorable, diminutive deer jumpin’ on the bed!

“Stop shoving!” said LilaDeer. “KitoriDeer, you are on my head.”

“You better be glad I’m not on your ass,” said KitoriDeer with a (more than usually) maniacal laugh.

“I’m GwenDeer’s blanket,” said DyisiDeer.

“You people just don’t understand how to be comfortable,” MikaDeer declared as she sat complacently in her pirate hat, hogging the blankets.

Monkeys chittered. They may have been advancing on us.

“I don’t think the monkeys are really happy with us,” I said.

AraDeer looked at the monkeys. He looked at GwenDeer, DyisiDeer, MikaDeer, LilaDeer, and KitoriDeer. “I’m on a horse,” he said.

We ended our tour where most Fairelands tours begin, in the Fairelands Junction.

I had a chance to get a photograph of MikaDeer in her spiffy pirate’s hat!

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MikaDeer also had a paintbrush.

“These trees are huge,” she said, with her mouth full.

“I think we are due at least one last bit of frolicking, I said.

“I agree,” said AraDeer.

“Frolicking is good,” said KitoriDeer.

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And there, in the safety of the Fairelands Junction, we frolicked.

There was serious frolicking. There was lighthearted frolicking. There might even have been cavorting.

And that, my friends, is the story of Deer and Loafing in the Fairelands, every word of which I swear is as true as possible, under the circumstances.

We would like to sincerely thank Vae of The Plastik for The Plastik Deera Gacha, the most fun we have had in many a month. Thanks are also due to Wren, who arrive at out initial deer meet up in a hat and inspired the rest of us to bling our deer. If you haven’t made the trip to The Plastik‘s Fantasy Faire Store on Chaddul Ro to play this gacha, you really should. Or, you know, you could always IM us in world; most of us have, erm, a few extras if you want some commons.

The players:
GwenDeer: Gwen Enchanted
DyisiDeer: Dyisi
MoxyDeer: Moxy Macbeth
KitoriDeer: Kitori Unplugged
WrenDeer: Wren Darling (Dickensiandreamer)
RivenDeer: Riven (lrriven)
NateDeer: Nathaniel Ballard (BenBold)
AraDeer: Arahaelon (Giovanni Tiepolo)
KaeDeer: Kae (Kaelis Ember)
LilaDeer: Lilacor (Zoasa Viper)

Locations:
Every single shopping Region in the 2017 Fantasy Faire, with the additions of Opal Flight (entertainment region) and Fairelands Junction.

Photographed and written by Gwen Enchanted. Thanks to the players, my best friends in Second Life and indeed in any Life, for joining with me for three nights of complete madness and mayhem as we took the Fairelands by stampede!

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

Dawn’s Promise is a Dance

I have danced so much at the Faire this year. Recently, I told you of my experiences dancing on The Hill. But it struck me, as I landed on a little outcrop of luxury outside the town proper: Dawn’s Promise is, itself, a dance.

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Meet your partner:

Meet your partner: The Land itself. You may wish to bow.

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And does it bow back? It doesn’t matter.

And does it bow back? It doesn’t matter, for soon you’ll be swept into a waltz of bridges and water, the sashay of moss, the clear, beating heart of brick and stone.

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You may feel a sense of anticipation before you offer your hand.

You may feel a sense of anticipation before you offer your hand. As the sun rises, seemingly all around you, everything is anticipation.

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What begins?

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You begin. Step forward.

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More than a blinding haze, the town is an explosion of nature reclaiming her own.

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There are little nooks to discover everywhere.

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Different ways to see.

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A sky in which to fly.

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A new adventure beneath every bridge.

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Toe to chimney, hands to clouds, next set, line up, choose a new partner, dance again.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Wasabi Pills, Adamaris (Available NOW at The 2017 Second Life Fantasy Faire!)
Eyes: Mesange, Iram Eyes (Omega Appliers) (Available NOW at On9!)
Ears: Swallow, Elf Ears High Definition
Skin: The Plastik, Taryn, Catwa, Maitreya, and SLink appliers, in Creme
Necklace: The Plastik, Grolda (Available NOW at The 2017 Second Life Fantasy Faire!)
Tiara: Ashbourne & Co., Empress Marie Tiara (Available NOW at The 2017 Second Life Fantasy Faire!)
Hairpiece: Air, Mistletoe Silver (Available NOW at The 2017 Second Life Fantasy Faire!)
Dress: The Annex, Blossom
Feet: SLink, Pointe Feet
Shoes: ChicChica, Fairy Pointes

Location: The 2017 Second Life Fantasy Faire, Dawn’s Promise, Sponsored by The Looking Glass and designed by Marcus Inkpen and Sharni Azalee.

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

 

 

Dancing on The Hill

Oh, The Hill. Colours just seem brighter there. Light seems to come from all directions. Animals and tiny creature frolic. It made me want to frolic, too. And then, of course, there is the music. At the Great Faire, music comes from all directions. Sometimes it’s contemplative and thoughtful, but last night, there was dance music. As I walked into The Hill to prepare for the Great Fae Parade, I could not contain the desire to dance.

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I felt saturated with colour and sound!

I felt saturated with colour and sound! And suddenly, I forgot all the things that made me unhappy. I forgot about leaving the Wylds. I forgot about everything but my body, the rhythm, the desire to move.

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It felt so good to be completely aware of my body.

It felt so good to be completely aware of my body. Too often, I think, I live in my head; it’s probably my academic background, my distance from my own emotions (I think that’s the Sidhe influence).

This year, I have been having fun at the Faire. I know every year I have fun shopping, but I’ve spent a lot of time finding myself at these Faires. I remember experiencing my development from my mortal shell into the Sidhe I was born to be, four years ago at my first Faire. And then there was the process of becoming a Queen during that Faire as well. My second Faire was fraught with relationship difficulties, hiding from the Gypsy Davey, avoiding The Amazing Catwoman. I still need to discuss our share history with her. It’s so hard to believe that she was once my best friend. Now, we seem to circle one another with distrust. I think she is afraid I will hate her. Or maybe she just doesn’t care any more. I wonder if she is at this Faire. She has been a guard at the Faire for events; it may be that she has found work here again.

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It was even fun to lose my balance!

It was even fun to lose my balance! I fell, laughing, to the grass, then danced my way to another of the rooftops, closer to the sea. The sky was impossibly blue. The grass was impossibly green. My skin, covered with bright festival paint, seemed to glow in the sunlight. And suddenly, I felt a sharp knife of desire in my belly.

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For just a moment, I was lonely, sharply, horribly, lonely.

For just a moment, I was lonely. Sharply, horribly, lonely. It isn’t that my love for Nathaniel has dimmed. It’s just that my Sidhe self, my sensual body, has the touch hunger, all the time, and I, I push it down because my mortal background says love is more important than sensuality and sex. But there I was, in the happy sunshine of The Hill, desiring nothing more than a lover, a beautiful Sidhe lover. A faery man with the ability to engage my body and my emotions and my mind at the same time. A soft and beautiful interlude. A woman with soft lips. Skin on skin. The smell of sweat and hair, long hair, falling around my face in a curtain.

Nathaniel, of course, knows that I have had other lovers. These have often been matters of the Land; they’ve often felt like obligations. Every time I gave myself to Maric, I knew that deep down, we did not really even like each other, that when it was all over, the night, the festival, the need to recreate the magic of the land, all that would remain—but between Maric and me, there was nothing. He was impenetrable as a soul, impossible for me to understand. I was shocked when I mourned him, shocked when his loss was the catalyst that made me just not want to be Queen any more.

I could have loved Mornoth, but he entered my life when I was already halfway gone from the Wylds. The war drained me, drained us all, and I didn’t want to live in a world of war.

That’s why the Faire, The Hill, is so wonderful. The spirit of love and camaraderie fills me with joy and desire. Joy and desire. That’s what’s been missing, missing from my life. Joy and desire.

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And as I stood on The Hill, waiting for my fellow Faire Fae, I made a decision.

And as I stood on The Hill, waiting for my fellow Faire Fae, I made a decision.

This year, this year. This year I’ll be open to love.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Wasabi Pills, Raven (Available NOW at The 2017 Second Life Fantasy Faire!)
Eyes: Mesange, Iram Eyes (Omega Appliers) (Available NOW at On9!)
Ears: Swallow, Elf Ears High Definition
Skin: The Plastik, Koie, Catwa, Maitreya, and SLink appliers, in the RFL Hope shade (Available NOW at The 2017 Second Life Fantasy Faire!)
Dress: Paper Moon, Honeysuckle Fairy  (Available NOW at The 2017 Second Life Fantasy Faire!)
Feet: SLink, Pointe Feet
Shoes: Candy Crunchers, Dreamer Wraps

Location: The 2017 Second Life Fantasy Faire, The Hill, Sponsored Solarium/Titans.

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

ERROR: Out Of Cheese

Our first weekend away in I don’t know how long. Oh, it was going to be glorious! Clutie had gone ahead of us to the little cabin by the river and stocked the fridge, but other than that, we’d have no contact with Faerie unless there was an emergency of epic proportion. That was the plan.

Nathaniel was stuck in some meeting with some Mysthaven people, or something. I don’t know. That bunch can’t seem to buckle their own trousers without his assistance, not that I’m one to talk.

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Everything looked beautiful!

Everything looked beautiful! I couldn’t get over what a lovely kitchen someone had painstakingly and perfectly put into this house. The views out the windows were of frost-coloured trees, and on the rear side, the boat dock and the ice-cold but clear river water. Clutie had left out bread for sandwiches, bread with butter, and a little bit of cheese with some crackers. Which is a good thing, because of course Nathaniel is originally Victorian. And I’m sure I don’t have to tell you this, but Victorians love cheese. Cheese for starters, cheese on the main, cheese for afters; forget dessert, bring on the cheese board.

And then.

And then I looked in the refrigerator.

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Oh, my gods! The horror!

Oh, my gods! The horror! There was no cheese. That’s right. No cheese in the fridge. Well. I did the only sane thing. I broke down in tears.

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Nathaniel, because his timing is perfect, chose this moment to arrive.

Nathaniel, because his timing is perfect, chose this moment to arrive. “Gwyn? Honey?”

“There’s no cheese!” I was practically hysterical by this point.

“Gwyn, there’s some cheese right here.” I heard the sound of Nathaniel picking up the cheese knife. “And it’s not bad either, nice and nutty, little bland. Don’t know what these weird salty crackers are for: you don’t want something that salty with cheese. Cheese is already salty enough.”

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“You don’t understand! That was it! That was all the cheese!”

“You don’t understand! That was it! That was all the cheese!” I could feel myself starting to hyperventilate.

“That was all of it?” I could tell he still had some in his mouth. Fucking enhanced fae senses meant I could hear him swallow, too.

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“I don’t see that this is the end of the world,” he said.

“I don’t see that this is the end of the world,” he said. “We do have a mirror. They can summon us; we can summon them. Just tell Clutie to bring some more cheese. And tell her to get something with a little more age on it this time.” He sniffed critically. “And some soda bread.”

I hiccupped. “You mean you’re not angry?” I turned to face him.

He sighed. “No, Gwyneth. I’m not angry. Do you think that running Mysthaven will turn me into Maric? I’m unlikely to have his level of temper about anything, particularly not something like cheese.”

“But…But Victorians! They love cheese!”

Nathaniel cleared his throat. “A lot of people love cheese.” He walked toward me and put his arms around me. “Just calm down, love.”

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Luckily for everyone involved, Nathaniel knows the best way to calm me down.

Luckily for everyone involved, Nathaniel knows the best way to calm me down.

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He even rubbed noses with me.

He even rubbed noses with me. I used to think that was so adorable when we first kissed. Well, after the first disastrous kiss, of course. That one doesn’t bear thinking about.

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“So… everything’s going to be all right?”

“So, everything’s going to be all right?”

“Yes, Gwyneth, everything is going to be all right. I’ll send out a ping for Clutie or Bran to pick up some more cheese, and then we will be all set to enjoy our…” finally, he looked up to see that the bed was up a ladder-like flight of steps and on a platform suspended by chains from the ceiling. “Hey, any chance we could get them to bring, I don’t know, a cot or some blankets or something, so we could sleep down here near the fire? So much more romantic.”

I smirked against his chest. “We’re not going to break the house, sweetheart.”

“You never know,” he replied. “You just never know.”

Style Cards:
First of all, this whole post was inspired by the delightful and beautiful kitchen Death Row Designs have created for Shiny Shabby. It’s called the Rustic Kitchen, and it comes in both Adult and PG versions. You can buy it in pieces or as a full set. The pose where Gwyneth is crying at the refrigerator really is called No Cheese. I must have gone through five houses trying to find one where it would fit perfectly, and I came upon the Fisher Point Cottage from Trompe Loeil. It had just the right mixture of class and rustic charm, and the wood textures of the kitchen fit really well with its walls. The only complaint I have is there’s not quite enough wall space to display the extra shelves and spice rack that also come with this beautiful kitchen. Remember, the Death Row Designs Rustic Kitchen is available NOW at Shiny Shabby

Gwyneth:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Catya Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Emo-Tions,  Anik (Available NOW at Hairology!)
Eyes: Mesange, First Date Eyes (Omega eye appliers)
Skin: Lumae, Ruby in T1 (Available NOW at The Lumae Main Store!)
Ears: Swallow, Shiny Ears (Available NOW at Shiny Shabby!)
Hands: Vista, Bento Prohands
Jacket: E-Clipse Design, Nemo Coat, Brown
Jeans: Petite Mort, Rawwashed Distressed Skinny Jeans
Shoes: The Plastik, Filivina Heels (Available NOW at Shiny Shabby!) (Note that these shoes are unrigged and you will have to adjust them to your feet, no matter what version of the shoe you are wearing.)

Nathaniel:
Body: SLink
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins
Hair: No Match
Jacket: Ducknipple Codine Jacket
Jeans: Ducknipple Jeans

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