Confined Spaces and the Consilium Arcanum

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Meditate, Breathe, Centre.

Meditate, Breathe, Centre. It may be that I am nervous. My contact is Arcturus Treem, who’s a Consilium Arcanum …. would you call him a civil servant? I guess he is. We’re to meet later today at his magic shop, Cave of Wonders, to discuss the opening of Awenia up to humans and other magical beings. The townsfolk have been pretty open to it so far; they want to encourage passage between beings, and now that the walls are down, we can do this. I’ve done some research on the few other Realms that have taken this course of action, and they’re mostly coming from the other direction: human Realms who want to open themselves to other beings. I can’t help but wonder about their reasons, but I suppose that’s what Treem wants to talk to me about as well.

I’ve been here since last night, in a Seattle where I used to have to travel glamoured— but when I arrived, no one batted an eye at my obvious differences. The staff at the hotel were very nice, but the room is very small, which I suppose I should have expected. It’s not like this is a diplomatic visit from a Queenly sort of viewpoint. One plus for the staff: the moment the concierge saw me, he asked if I’d like a large mirror put in my room. Of course I said yes: if Nathaniel or Wren or even (gods help me) Drysi want to get in touch, the mirror is the easiest way for them to reach me when I’m so far away. Will O’ the Wisps get… well, they get distracted sometimes. I am so happy I met up with the talented Queue Marlowe and got her to braid my hair over at Analog Dog before I hopped back here and boarded a ferry to Seattle, because they still don’t have great Fae portal service here.

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The truth is, I’m impatient.

The truth is, I’m inpatient. You never would have guessed that about me, I’m sure. Our meeting is set for two o’clock this afternoon, and here I am, awake at barely ten, already full of a dazzling hotel breakfast that included Belgian waffles and syrup and so much whipped cream. It’s a good thing my body can function completely off carbs and fat!

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I know what I have to do.

I know what I have to do. Basically, I have to convince this guy that I’m opening up the Realm for positive and legal reasons, namely better communication among different types of beings, and of course the tourism dollars won’t hurt. And I need not to go off on tangents about love and light and all that stuff. I need to speak as a town representative and not a Fae Queen.

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Barely ten minutes after I embark on this train of thought, there’s a chime from the mirror.

Barely ten minutes after I embark on this train of thought, there’s a chime from the mirror.  I stand up, compose myself.

“Who?”

“Arcturus Treem, Miss…. I’m sorry; I don’t know your last name.”

“I don’t really have one any more, Mr Treem. Most people who address me formally use “Your Majesty”, but I’m not coming to you as a Queen. Gwyneth is fine.”

“In that case, it’s Arcturus or Art if you prefer.” He is an older gentleman, with crinkles around his blue eyes and the weathered look of a man who’s seen many seasons. “I only wanted to check in with you and see if we were on track for our meeting this afternoon. I see you’re settled in nicely. Is that the Abbot House?”

I smile. He’s not difficult to talk to, which is a good thing. “Yes; that’s right. They’ve been lovely here. Such a surprise after…”

He raises a brow. “Have you had bad experiences elsewhere, Gwyneth?”

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“Um…”

“Um…” I swallow. Not everyone has the same set of memories as I do now, but I expected the magician might be a little more informed. Then again, he is human. Maybe I need to put Skeleton or Nathaniel on research which folk have two different sets of memories, and which folk do not.

There’s that eye-crinkling smile again. “You remember the Cataclysm. Good. Not all Fae do, of course: those who are confined to their own realms mostly, but it’s important to make sure before we begin any conversation.” He nods as if I’ve passed a test.

I exhale. And I smile. “Great. We’re on the same page. So yes, walking into Seattle last night, unglamoured, was very interesting. And while I recognise that whoever perpetrated the Cataclysm has been a very bad boy or girl, I can’t say I’m altogether displeased with the result.”

He laughs outright at that. “Very diplomatic, Your Majesty. I begin to see some of that Sidhe charm I was expecting from someone like you. Did you know, the flowers on the paintings in your room look as if they’re alive?”

I glance back to the now super-saturated paintings. “I have that effect on things. It’s part of being what the Fae call a Life-Bringer, but I don’t claim that title. I believe just about anything can be accomplished if the challenges are met with love, rather than trickery, greed, violence…. That’s one reason why I want Awenia to be a Fae town open to everyone: I want different beings to see the good in each other, learn about their differences, learn to co-exist. Because even if they think they have co-existed for a long time, there are bound to be problems.”

“No need to launch into your sales pitch right away,” replies Art with another one of those smiles. “I can’t keep the mirror communication up for long: for me, it requires a rather difficult spell. One thing I’d love to acquire from you in Awenia, as a Fae town where trade will be encouraged, is a proper magic mirror. Do you have a mirror smith?”

“Of course we do, and a good one too,” I reply. “I think we can make that happen for you.”

“All paid for, of course,” he is quick to reply. “I could not accept a gift from you, for many reasons.” He meets my eyes. “But before we sit down in the shop to do business this afternoon, I was wondering if you’d like to have lunch with me, just so we can get to know one another a little better, lay some ground rules for future interactions, if you will.”

I smile. “That sounds like a great idea.”

“Wonderful. I’ll pick you up at your hotel around eleven thirty, and then we’ll have a while to natter about whatever we like before we get down to business. Now I’ll bid you good morning, and thank you very much for your time.”

I don’t wrinkle my nose at the ‘thank you’; I know it’s a human custom and I used to do it myself. But I’ll have to make sure Mr Treem knows what’s meant by ‘thank you’ to one of us. “It is nothing,” I reply. “I’m happy and honoured to be here, and I look forward to our meeting later.”

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I even blow him a little kiss before I dismiss the mirror communication. Can’t hurt.

I even blow him a little kiss before I dismiss the mirror communication. Can’t hurt.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona
Eyes: Mesange, Sanford Eyes
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Skin: The Plastik, Golha (Amethyst) (Available NOW at Season of the Witch!)
Hair: Analog Dog (natch!), Moira A (Available NOW at The Epiphany!)
Headpiece: Cae, Lasa Circlet
Bracelets: The Plastik, The Aeliora Cuffs (Available NOW at The Season’s Story!)
Dress: Oubliette, Royal Vega Dress (Available NOW at  Season of the Witch!)
Boots: !go, Fae Boots Brown

Photo Backdrop: Mary Etc., After Hour Background (Available NOW at Designer Circle!)

Thanks are always due to the incredibly talented Queue Marlowe of Analog Dog who created such.a lovely set of hairs for The Epiphany. I’ll be showing you the other versions soon!

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Air and Darkness

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I braved the sea.

I braved the sea today. Out on the edge of the Realm, where the water flows (always) round the now-frozen landscape, there is a fragment of an old temple, lovingly preserved by the demifae. And a lighthouse. There is little else in this corner of the Realm, save the lighthousekeeper’s house, which is just far enough from the lighthouse to make it an uncomfortable walk at this time of year.

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How quickly it gets dark!

How quickly it gets dark! Even though I know to expect it, darkness catches me sometimes, catches my breath and my spirit, and takes them on flights, farther away than I could go even with wings and my ability to move between Realms so easily.

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I thought, as the moon rose, about darkness.

I thought, as the moon rose, about darkness. And as the winds blew up and I could sense a storm coming, I thought also about air. If I am the Queen of Winter now, I am also Queen of Air and Darkness, or so the legends and songs say.

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If I am Queen of Air and Darkness, I shall not rush to meet Spring.

If I am Queen of Air and Darkness, I shall not rush to meet spring. I shall stand, and say to the Air, “blow through me”, and I shall say to the Darkness, “be one with me”. And I shall call the cold in, and befriend it, though I shall not scorn the sun.

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On the beach, it was harder to let the Air blow through me.

On the frozen beach, it was harder to let the Air blow through me: it threatened to blow me over. And so I bent, and let it come, and I remembered a song I learned back in my days of folk-club hopping:

I shall bow and be simple
I shall bow and be free
I shall bow and be humble
Yea, bend like the willow tree

I shall bow; this is the token
I shall wear the easy yoke
I shall bow and be broken
Yea, I’ll fall upon the rock

I’ve always heard this described as a Shaker hymn, although the only explicit references to the Christian teachings I can see there are the phrases, “I shall wear the easy yoke”, which comes from the Gospel of Matthew (“My yoke is easy and my burden is light”), and “I’ll fall upon the rock [and be broken]”, also from the Gospel of Matthew. But I digress into academic explication, a habit that’s mostly worthless to me now.

Bending my body and letting the wind take me, however, was not worthless to me.

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I found strength in bending.

I found strength in bending. And then, it was as if the wind blew through my body effortlessly, and I became an instrument of the wind.

And, as darkness fell, I also became an instrument of the darkness. What kind of instrument I will be, well. That remains to be seen.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Catya Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Phoenix,  Kiara (Available NOW at Hairology!)
Eyes: Mesange, Lionsong Eyes (Omega eye appliers)
Skin: The Plastik, Taryn in Creme (Available NOW at The Plastik Main Store!)
Makeup: Arte, Frost Mask (blue)
Ears: Swallow, High Definition Elf Ears
Wings: Material Squirrel, Thethys Wings (light coloured)
Hands: Vista, Bento Prohands
Nails: The Plastik, Veez (Available NOW at The Season’s Story!)
Necklaces: both from The Plastik; short: The Skein Necklace; long: The Hallow necklace
Gown: Junbug, Ice Maiden (in Ice) (Available NOW at The Season’s Story!)
Crown: E.V.E, Valindra’s Crown
Shoes (even though you can’t see ’em!): Violatility, Fairy Heels, in Bubble

Scene:
Stairs: {anc}, Stairs for Moonlight
Lighthouse: Hideki, Lighthouse
Poses: An Lar, all from the Marta Series (Available NOW at The Season’s Story!)

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never make Gwyneth wander frozen shores and contemplate her existence without it!

 

Self Portraits in the Dead of Winter

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Sometimes…

Sometimes, sometimes, sitting here on my cloud
My thoughts turn to fears I cannot speak aloud.
It seems too much trouble, this holding ’til Spring
And so in this darkness I whistle and I sing.

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Then I ask why…

Why did my life lead me to times such as these
Where hope for the future’s as slight as the breeze
Just give me one tale for my trouble in mind
And round it I promise I’ll twist and I’ll twine

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I’ll twine and I’ll twist…

I’ll twine and I’ll twist, till my shadow appears
I’ll see her and sing her the song of the spheres
She’ll dance with me sing with me, carry me home
We’ll drink honeysuckle and eat honeycomb
And we’ll while away decades out on the front porch
Just singing and dancing, no fear or remorse
Where there’s music, there’s hope, and my shadow will know
All of the songs I forgot long ago
Long ago, long ago, like a vine I will twine
Every tune I forgot will be mine

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But my shadow is fading…

But my shadow is fading, the dawn’s spreading blue
Blue January’s the fear I construe
She does not want to know me: she withdraws her hand
She leaves me alone all in this no girl’s land

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Catya Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Mithril Apothecary, Gromwell (Available NOW at  Hairology!)
Eyes: Mesange, Sekhmet Eyes (Omega eye appliers) (Available NOW at The Chapter 4!)
Ears: Swallow, High Definition Elf Ears
Skin: Lumae, Ruby (for Catwa heads), Tone 1 (Available NOW at the Lumae Main Store!)
Makeup:
Eyeshadow: Veechi, Solstice Shadow (Available NOW at The Season’s Story!)
Lipstick: Arte, Alexandra Lipstick, Pastels
Hands: Vista, Bento Prohands
Necklace: The Plastik, The Lairelei Jewelery (Available NOW at The Season’s Story!)
Top: Salt, Ella, Navy (Available NOW at The Chapter 4!)
Boots: Have Unequal, Betty Boots, Blue (Available NOW at The Liaison Collaborative!)

Scene:
Window Seat, Cushions, Poses: oOo Studio, Winterview Vignette (Available NOW at The Season’s Story!)

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never write depressing love songs without it!

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Sixteenth Night?

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I know there’s something I’ve forgotten to do.

I know there’s something I’ve forgotten to do. The days go by so fast in this season, as if we’re hurrying Winter out the door. Which I guess, in a way, is what we’re doing, what with all the bell-ringing, sun-waking, clock-starting traditions.

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Oh, yeah!

And of course: that’s what it is. My human mother always, without fail, took “Christmas” decorations down on Twelfth Night, the sixth of January. And here we are, four days late, and I still have a Yule Tree and all these beautiful cards tacked up over the hearth. Right. Needless to say, those traditions don’t matter as much to me now as they did when I was a kid in school, but it would do the reception room good to have a bit of a clear-out, and it’ll help potential visitors to think I’m on top of things (ha!).

Trouble is, Clutie and Danae have buggered off somewhere for the day, and Bran is in a meeting, and Kern, well. Gods know where he’s got to, so I’m all alone in the Atrium this evening.

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But I am mighty!

But I am mighty! Just because, as Queen, I let other beings do lovely things for me because they are my devoted subjects does not mean I cannot do them for myself when duty calls. And so…

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Ah! Just like that.

Ah! Just like that. I’m lucky Fae magic doesn’t have a lot of reagents and spell components, unless it’s something super-important: if everything required equipment, I’d never get anything done. But here we have no cards on the hearth and no book tree.

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Now, I just have to figure out what to put in this space.

Now, I just have to figure out what to put in this space. Not a clock. Not a posh lamp. Oh! I have just the thing!

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There. Table, decor, candles, whoosh!

There! Table, décor, candles, whoosh! Ah, I’m not half bad, for a lazy old Queen, am I?

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And yes, let’s update the chandelier to this one.

And yes; let’s update the chandelier to this one. Many twinkling lights, fewer little birdies.

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And now, I’d say my work here is done….

And now, I’d say my work here is done….

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Until Imbolg, that is.

Until Imbolg, that is. The advent of Spring will require a major redecoration on my part. I might even change houses. Move everything two feet in one direction or another: won’t that please Nathaniel! Or maybe… maybe I’ll just colour everything pink.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Catya Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Wasabi Pills, Alexa (COMING SOON to The Season’s Story, which opens TODAY, 10 January, 2017)
Eyes: Mesange, Sekhmet Eyes (Omega eye appliers) (Available NOW at The Chapter 4!)
Ears: Bent Box Elf Ears (with appliers by the amazing Lumiya Rae)
Skin: Lumae, Ruby (for Catwa heads), Tone 1 (Available NOW at the Lumae Main Store!)
Hands: Vista, Bento Prohands
Necklace: Minimal, Camera Necklace (Available NOW at The Project Se7en!)
Dress: Baiastice, Lya Slip Dress (Available NOW at The Liaison Collaborative!)
Poses: Most from An Lar, the Rory Series (Available NOW at The Liaison Collaborative!)
Hand Poses: All from Nantra, Show of Hands (Available NOW at The Liaison Collaborative!)

Scene:

Book Tree and Hearth: Book Tree: {e}lusive designs, Book Tree
Tree Art: Lybra, Quasi- The Tree
New Table: Second Spaces, Frozen Elegance Table (Available as part of the January DecoCrate!)
New Chandelier: Hextraordinary, Winter Chandelier (Available as part of the January DecoCrate!)
Sofa: Libertine, Justine
Paintings: All by Erin Wylde (Available on Marketplace)

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never give Gwyneth a day off without it!

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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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