The Known Alone

Dear Gwyneth,

I’ve begun this letter many times. Sometimes I even finish it. The first time, maybe even the first ten times, I wrote it, it started, continued, and ended with apologies. I think I’m past that now, which is one reason I hope that once I finish this letter, I may hit “send” and not regret it too much.

It is the unknown that excites the ardor of scholars, who, in the known alone, would shrivel up with boredom. —Wallace Stevens

Well, we are more than three months into a pandemic lockdown as I write this, and I am in the known alone, because venturing into the unknown isn’t practical right now.

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So, I Googled you.

So, I Googled you. Of course I’ve done this many times over the years. I don’t know how long ago it was when I discovered you had a blog, but I’ve been reading it off and on, in between teaching terms and workshops. I don’t know if you’ve Googled me. All that software that says it’ll tell you stuff like that costs money and looks a bit dodgy if you ask me.

You remember that big old house my parents inherited from my granddad? You can see it out the window in the photograph above. Yeah; it’s mine now, for about ten years. They’re rolling over in their Tory graves every time they think of me now, because about ten people are living there at the moment. Usually I live there too, but the whole pandemic thing scared me when it first started, so I locked myself down in the garden house.

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I’m lucky.

I’m lucky. But then I think I was predisposed to be lucky. Now I just try to be grateful for it while not being an arsehole because of it.

I don’t think I ever took you and Fen and the others to the garden house; my mum lived here most of the time because she and my dad couldn’t stand one another. The garden is full of her things, and it’s a good place to remember her.

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I garden.

You’d laugh: I garden. Well, I keep the garden from dying. Most of these are wildflowers my mum loved, hollyhocks and Queen Anne’s lace and some campion, lots of clover. Oak, birch, and cherry trees, and I’m uncomfortable this year in the midst of all this growth.

Most of the kids in the big house are students of mine who either pay some rent or need a place to crash when their lives fall apart. They are respectful kids—I say kids; they’re older than you and I were when I last saw you. Anyway, they take pretty good care of the place and I have only had to go up there once since March when the country locked down.

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Time and time

Time and time. It’s funny: all that time we knew each other, all through uni, or mostly through uni, anyway, I knew you were special. I never would have guessed you were one of the Fae, though. I’ve wondered, often, why you hid it. Your parents seemed perfectly human, no Court allegiance sigils on the door, and you, I mean, I would almost have said that you were not at all concerned with the magical world. I guess a lot of us humans try not to be; it’s easy to have an inferiority complex if you consider that someone you know could be holding phenomenal cosmic powers, to quote Aladdin because I don’t know what else to quote here and my life revolves around other people’s words, except when it revolves around my own.

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And yes; I’m bored.

And yes, I’m bored. Don’t get me wrong: I live a lot of my life online, and so some things haven’t changed all that much. Classes go on, virtually. Workshop pieces trickle in via email. The publication date for my next book is still the same, though we’re concentrating less on physical book sales than ever before.

I would have said, at the beginning of all this, that my life wasn’t going to change at all, that I’d just move out to the garden house and treat it as a writing holiday, and for the most part that’s been true. It’s not as if I have a family, a wife, even a girlfriend.

But I’m restless now. My friend Des, you won’t know him, tells me it’s impossible to be restless if you never go anywhere in the first place.

But that’s really why I’m writing.

When all this is over, I want to visit Faeryland. The most recent craze to “go with the fairies” has died down a bit, and I know your Realm is a tourist spot. I’m not asking for special treatment, or a place to stay: I’ll arrange it all through DreamTime travel; they’ve got a pretty good reputation and I have a little spare cash lying about.

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This is Covie

This is Covie— he used to be called just The Book Dragon, but now he’s Covie The Book Dragon, because aside from the cats (they’re not around right now) and the birds, he’s the only creature I see on a daily basis. Every day I ask him if he has some new books for me. He never answers, because he is a plush dragon guarding a small pile of books. I promise I’ve not gone mad here.

Anyway, I’ve got this far without apologising or trying to promise you anything except for that bit about not being mad above, so it’s looking promising.

When all this is over, I’d like to plan a holiday to Awenia, spend a few weeks there, and maybe we could see one another? It’s been thirty years; I think that’s maybe long enough to rebuild.

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I’m still short.

I’m still short. I still like some of the same music, but I stopped dyeing my hair black and I binned the eyeliner collection years ago. I mean, I could probably still rock it if I put my mind to it, but I’d mostly rather put my feet up and enjoy my middle age at this point, you know?

You don’t have to answer this email. But I’m putting all my contact information at the bottom here, so you can get in touch if you want to. If you would rather I didn’t visit Awenia, that’s OK; just please let me know. Otherwise, I’m thinking this will all be over probably in the autumn, and I’ll plan to visit for a couple of weeks maybe in early October so I don’t run into your Samhain high season.

I think I’m going to press “send” this time.

Love (not that kind; the kind old friends share),
Richard Caper

Notes & Credits
Plot:
Gwyneth, the primary narrator of Three Twisted Knots, is a character I’ve been roleplaying and writing stories about for almost eight years, and she is why there’s a blog here at all. Richard Caper is a blast from the past, one of the people who was with her in the automobile accident that set her on the path she now walks. He has featured prominently twice in the blog, and here are those links if you would like to read more of his story. 
The keeping of journals
“The past is never where you think you left it.” –Katherine Anne Porter

Richard Caper Avatar:
Body: Signature Gianni
Head: Lelutka Evolution Skylar
Skin: Poema, Zeus (Get it at Vintage Fair!)
Eyebrows: Arte, Fiore brows
Hair: Dura, Game 4
Facial Hair: Volkestone, Zek
Clothes: Cold Ash, Chelsea Boots, Larkham Jeans, Montana Tee
Eyes: Euphoric, Natha
Earring: Kunst, Eden
Necklace: EarthStones, Hoot Owl

Environment:
Location: Awenia (not currently open to the public)
Exterior—
Garden House: Trompe Loeil, Soleil Garden House
Big Trees (oak, birch, cherry), all from Heart
Flowers & Underbrush, all from Heart, except
Rose Field: {anc} Sugar Rose Field; and
Grass Clumps: The Looking Glass, The Shrine Tree Grass Clumps
Outdoor Table: The Looking Glass, Harmony Garden Tea Time Table & Chairs
Rockery & Birdhouse Tree: The Looking Glass, Harmony Garden Birdhouse Tree & Rockery
Gate and Fence: Pandemonium, Tall Pointed fence & gate
Fox Fountain: Foxwood, Fox Fountain
The Big House: Compulsion, Tudor Manor
Path: Happy Mood, Dirt Road
Interior—
Desk & Clutter: Nutmeg, Familiar Mess Desk, Chair, Cabinet
Bed: Nutmeg, Disarray Bed Dark
Lounge Furniture: Nutmeg, Dreamy Pastels Armchair, Coffee Table, Floor Pillows, Sofa
Dining Nook Table and Chairs: Apple Fall, Pottery Dining Table and Chairs
Breakfast Food: Apple Fall, Elvira Plate with Egg, Avocado, & Toast, Plate with Sliced Grapefruit, Rose Tea
Tea Pot: The Secret Store, Folk Teapot – Olive
Napkins and Towels: Second Spaces, Kitchen Colletion, Napkiins & Towels
Covie The Book Dragon was portrayed by the 2016 Lucentia Dwagi, a treasured memento of Fantasy Faire from 2016.

Don’t Look Down

Dreams are so weird.

I mean, I’ve spent large portions of the past few years explaining the vagaries of being a Fae Queen through dream sequences because sometimes they’re the only things that make more sense than trying to explain it all as a straight-up narrative.

But that doesn’t mean they make sense.

Sometimes they do at least have plots, and then I can tell them to you as a story.

But sometimes.

Sometimes they’re just images, seemingly disconnected from everything else in my life, startling and disruptive points of clarity that don’t make any objective sense.

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Don’t Look!

“Don’t Look!” It’s all I could say to myself, because I could sense I was standing on something that wasn’t all that sturdy, and the sensation of wind, everywhere, led me to understand that I was at some height.

But, first of all, whoever listens to warnings in dreams? And secondly, I’ve never personally expired from a dream, even though Dyisi used to warn me it could happen and I’ve heard, you know. Stories.

So of course I looked.

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Don’t Look Down!

OK, WTF brain? Who puts a train track with creepy American-style wired telephone and power poles up in the middle of the air? Who does that? Clearly, my brain does that.

I have no idea what the significance, if any, of this sharp-relief set of images that startled me awake just now, might be.

But I guess when the time comes, I’ll be unable to look away.

Style Card:
Skin: Ritual, Elspeth, Fantasy Tone Laele. This is a new release in the Ritual Main Store! Ritual has some other great fantasy tones in new releases, and I’ll be showing them all to you over the next few days! Ears come with the skin in matching shades, natch, because Moonmagik over at Ritual is fabulous.
Hair: Truth, Delirium. OMG I WON SOMETHING! Truth Hawks gave away some fatpacks of this hair via Facebook and Flickr, and I won one! I love winning things, and the fact that this hair is called “Delirium” is part of what inspired me to photograph it this way. Delirium is new in the Truth Main Store, and the textures are ah-mazing.
Photo Setting: Milk Motion, Cloudy Dream Scene. This is at Collabor88, and it’s super cool. I am imagining some other scenes I can create with it, but the scene itself is just so pretty I wanted to photograph it just for itself.
Dress: The Secret Store, Celeste Ruffle Dress. Also at Collabor88— it just fit the theme. Comes in lots of mix and match colours that you can customise using a HUD, which is super cool.
Necklace: Swallow, Key Friendship Necklace. This is at eBento. I’m a sucker for anything with a key on it!
Gloves: Supernatural, Crystal Gloves. I can’t even remember when I got these, but they’ve obviously been waiting for this post!
Shoes: Mosquito’s Way, Giselle. (I will use any excuse to break out the SLink Pointe Feet, and I wish more people would make shoes for them.
Lipstick: Pink Fuel, Dazzle Me (Haunted). PF put a set of their Genus lipsticks in a recent Genus Project Powder Pack, and I loved the ombre shades so much I went out and bought them aaaaall!
Eyeshadow: Mila, June Cosmetic Pack (from the June Genus Powder Pack).
Eyes: Lotus, Fable Eyes, at Spellbound, which you can visit for a few more days.
Body: Maitreya
Head: Genus Project, Baby Face

Small World, Part 2

Another day, another breakfast. I get the feeling the weather may be about to turn; there’s a generous bowl of porridge this morning, a pot of coffee in addition to the usual orange juice. I wish once again that I could have coffee every day.

Halfway through, it starts to rain. Great. This means I will spend at least part of the day inside. So. Not. Thrilled.

Down the stairs I come

And yet, down the stairs I come, because there’s even less to do up there. I’ll try reading for a while, and I might or might not just give up since I’ve read them all (well, almost all of them: there is this huge and bloody dry one called The Silmarillion that I’ve given up on more times than I’ve read most of the others).

This is my nap face.

Maybe I’ll spend the morning napping on the couch on trying not to think about things too much. I don’t really like napping. This is my nap face, though. It’s a good nap face.

But there’s that damn beeping noise again. Beep-beep; beep-beep; beep-beep. Am I crazy, or is it more frequent today? I’m probably crazy. Or perhaps it’s the sound of an approaching Prince. Let’s go with that.

No luck.

Aaand.. that-was an abysmal failure. Super. The windows are still rain-streaked, and I’m sure this break in the rain is only temporary.

I hear laughter in the distance. Perhaps the gods or goddesses of fate are laughing at my stupidity, thinking I could get a nap on a rainy day in my lonely little world.

The music-box shelf

I wander over to the music-box Shelf. Sure, I’ve heard them all before, multiple times. But somehow, even though I know in my heart there must be more music then I can imagine Out There…the familiar tunes are comforting.

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What does this stuff do?

What does this stuff do? I have no freaking idea. But I’m sure if I explored the much more dry books that reside in the cabinet below these shelves, I could figure something out. Of course, there’s no point in learning to make poisons if I’ve nobody to poison. Maybe this is all stock knowledge for the future. I could come away from this place with a stockpile of poisons, in case my Prince doesn’t turn out to be my perfect match. Then I’d be a widow with a really big dowry. This shelf is a relatively new addition to the tower, so I haven’t really explored it yet— but some of those bottles contain things that smell right nasty.

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Too much tea!

When I make my way back over to the bookshelf, possibly to read Gossamer Axe one more time, I see that someone or something has placed yet another tea service on the table. What’s with all this tea? No sandwiches, no biscuits, just tea. Obviously it’s not lunch time yet, but do they really expect me to drink all this tea? Three pots full? Perhaps it is some kind of tea test. What sort of test could you take with tea?

Beep-beep; beep-beep; beep-beep. Murmuring voices. A different series of beeps. Are they (whoever they are) trying to drive me round the bend?

I know: I shall ask the Wishing Fairy to take all these noises away.

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My closest companion.

Sure, she’s a silver cast statue— but she’s the closest thing to a full-size companion I have in this place of weirdness. “Hey,” I say, “Wishing Fairy.” (I don’t know if that’s her real name but I’ve called her that since I’ve been here and she’s never objected) “Can you make those noises go away? I’m really tired of them.” And suddenly I have a coughing fit. I don’t know why. Great. My handkerchiefs are upstairs.

I go up to retrieve the handkerchief, and I feel dizzy on the stairs: that’s unusual. On the way back down, handkerchief in hand, I have to use the handrail. Still a bit dizzy, and the fall would be pretty bad, I assume.

At the bottom of the stairs, I take a few deep breaths and look out the window. The rain appears to have stopped, so I can get out of this stuffy tower, at least for a little while.

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The reading bench

So, back to my favourite reading bench I go, copy of Gossamer Axe in hand. It’s one of my favourites, even though I don’t know the first thing about the kinds of music they talk about in the book. It’s my favourite first line ever, though.

“Chick with a harp.”

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa Keme Bento Mesh Head
Skin: Lumae, Catwa Cinnamon, Tone (All current skin lines are available at the Lumae Main Store!)
Hair: Truth, Yuko
Ears: Swallow, Shiny Elf Ears
Eyes: S0ng, Demi Eyes
Makeup: Cazimi, Flushed Blush cheeks, Tempting eyeshadow, Pastel Petals lips and nails
Circlet: Ersch, Bethany Headband
Necklace: RealEvil Industries, Noelle Necklace
Gown: Silvan Moon Designs, Moonlight Dance Gown (Moonlight Dance is available at The Trunk Show until 18 November)

Environment:
Indoors
Tower: Poetica, Willow Tower
Stopped Clock: The Plastik, Waine Clock
Lights: Lucas Lameth, Glimmer of Hope and Crawling Lotus lamps
Ottoman with Crown: Nutmeg, Old Story Ottoman with Crown (at Shiny Shabby)
Couch: Trompe Loeil, Noelle Sofa
Music Box Shelf: The Looking Glass, Knick Knack Hutch
Top Shelf: The Looking Glass, Dawn’s Promise Music Box
Middle Shelf: HEXtraordinary, Rapunzel Music Box
Bottom Shelf: HEXtraordinary, Captured Faerie Light Lanterns, Absinthe and Rose
Creepy Potion Shelf: 22769, Witch Shelf Nature (At Salem)
Coffee Table: Silas Merlin, The Haze Metal Table
Teapots: The Secret Store, Folk Teapot (at The Epiphany), THOR, Teapot with herb tea, and 8f8, La Petite Joie, Tea Order
Bookshelf: 22769, Bookshelf (common)
Angel Statue (on wall): Quasi, Angels Wept
Fairy Statue: Lucas Lameth, Autumn Fairy, Female, Hover
Outdoors
Statues: By Nacht, Proserpina (L), and Brigid (R)
Bench, Topiary, and Walls: Rivendale, Fairy Labyrinth and Gothic Garden gacha sets
Yellow Brick Road: The Roawenwood, Yellow Brick Road

Poses: All from An Lar (An Lar Poses is sadly closing its doors after several years of offering some of the most subtle, and most versatile poses in Second Life (in my opinion). Everything at the An Lar Main Store is 50% off through the 31st of October.)