Contractual Obligation

It’s not like I just sit around eating bonbons, you know. Not like some faeries. No, I have to work for a living. And occasionally that means doing stuff I don’t like, even if I kind of do like it in the end. That probably made no sense, but I can clarify by telling you that I just got done doing an ushering gig for some events at The Looking Glass. Now, The Looking Glass is one of those pocket Realms created by someone who has an amazing sense of design. Sharni is one of those creating wizards who just makes everything look so beautiful. I love visiting her Realm, and it’s almost impossible for me not to bring some of her beautiful creations home with me when I visit.

TAC at TLG BLOG - 1

So, this event had a steampunk theme.

So, this event had a steampunk theme. And I don’t mind steampunk, but there was of course a uniform involved. Obviously, there was a “no leggings” rule. And high heels. I mean, it wasn’t as bad as that time I had to get gussied up like the cover of a bad fantasy novel and tag unicorns… And I kind of like the hat. Luckily, the folks at The Looking Glass are accepting enough of my kind that I didn’t have to change my skin. In honour o that, I got a beautiful new skin painting from 7 Deadly s{K}ins, and I can’t even say how much I love the amazing work that Izara does. Nothing like being at home in my own Svart Alfar skin with a great skin painting.

TAC at TLG BLOG - 3

As I walked down the steps, I had to be careful of the heels.

As i walked down the steps, I had to be careful of the heels. Azoury makes beautiful shoes, but I did nearly lose my balance on the second step. They always say the first one is a doozy, but I think I must have got overconfident.

TAC at TLG BLOG - 4

I’d better be more careful.

I’d better be more careful, I thought to myself. Nothing like an usherette who can’t even stand up on her own two feet. I adjusted the hat from Wicca’s Wardrobe. I love this hat. I’ll probably wear it even after I’m done with this short-term gig. I got my hair done by the talented Truth Hawks for the occasion: I wanted something that, I don’t know, softened my look a bit. And it was nice to go back to the natural silver of my race. And then I thought about softening. I was in this mostly-prim steampunk outfit—and I was really pleased the uniform they chose was from Silvan Moon Designs, by the way. I know they mostly make girly gowns, but there was just something a bit snarky and spirited about this little dress. And I’m nothing if not snarky and spirited.

TAC at TLG BLOG - 2

I took the next step much more carefully.

I took the next step much more carefully. And although I wasn’t really looking forward to the job, I was sure the music would be great. How could it not be, in such a place? Briefly, I wondered about the audience, who might be there, what potential problems I might have to manage.

TAC at TLG BLOG - 5

As it turned out, there weren’t any problems.

As it turned out, there weren’t any problems. The event went off without a hitch, I enjoyed listening to the music even if I only got to sit down for an hour or so in the middle of the show. If it weren’t for the natural stealth-glamour of the Svart Alfar, I am sure my feet would be hurting like a bitch right now.

So why did I tell you all this? Well, I guess it’s because I want you to know that at least I’m working again and not hiding in the forest, as I have been for the last month or so. And also, I was looking for some news from the outside world. You see, yesterday, when I looked out from the forest dock, I found that there was nothing but mist across the Sound. It was as if White Owl Island never existed. And where does that leave me? I can camp, I can hunt, I can work with whatever creatures I find in the wood, but I know this little Realm is built upon pure Faerie. It’s over there somewhere, probably through the mists. I felt sure someone at The Looking Glass would know what was going on—there are some powerful magicians who frequent the place—but the folk who would converse with me either didn’t know or wouldn’t say.

Disconcertingly, when I arrived back at my camp in the forest, there was…. something. Something different. Some change in the air, and I’m not talking about the onset of the dark half of the year. Something that just smelled like change, but not a dying change. It may be that Little Miss Queeniepoo has got herself all powered up for winter and is somewhere in Faerie chanting and dancing her heart out, or whatever it is that they do, and who knows. Maybe I’ll wake up in a clearing of pink pumpkins. All this time, she’s known about me and hasn’t spoken to me, not one word. It’s not surprising: Gwyneth when I knew her was always a bit avoidant (and I mean “a bit” in the English sense, which is to say she avoids anything that puts her off balance) around personal conflict issues. Still… if this Realm that feels like home really is Gwyneth’s Realm, I know I must confront her sooner or later. Of course, I’ll pick sooner; she’ll pick later. We might get it done by Midwinter.

Style Card:
Body: 
Maitreya
Head: LAQ, Lulu
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Arnica, Drow Version (Available NOW as part of the Trick Or Treat Hunt, or for sale at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store!)
Ears: Gauze, High Elf Ears
Eyes: Whymsical Marketplace, Fantasy Eyes in Werewolf Amber
Dress: Silvan Moon Designs, Belladonna Ravenwood Dress Set (Available NOW at the Fallen Gods Tenth Anniversary Event!)
Hair: Wicca’s Wardrobe, Rumor (At the Truth Main Store!)
Hat: Wicca’s Wardrobe, Wellington Hat (Available NOW at We ❤ Roleplay!)
Boots: Azoury, Atlantis Boots
Ring: Aisling, The Good Wife
Collar: Footpaws, Celtic Filigree Garnet Collar

Poses: An Lar, The Zelena Series (Available NOW at We ❤ Roleplay!)

Location: The Looking Glass

Remembering Shining Lands

Gwyneth:

Gwyneth:

My first LARP, I guess I was eighteen or nineteen years old. It was my first year at uni, and some of the people from the science fiction society got me into a tabletop gaming group and then suggested I come to this LARP with them. They had some stuff I could use for a costume and I didn’t need much of a character description, just something I could work with for the weekend. OK, I said, I’d go, on the condition that we stay in the lodge and not in the campground, because I hated camping. My parents sent me on an adventure holiday once when I was a kid and I was camping with three other girls in a tent, and there were spiders, and I think a badger tried to eat us. Anyway, I don’t camp. I said I’d pay the lodge fee for the three of us, and they were sold. I mean, who wouldn’t choose running water and a bed, no matter how narrow and uncomfortable, over being attacked by badgers in the middle of the night. Right?

The first thing I discovered when we got to the LARP site, naturally, was the Rialto.

The first thing I discovered when we got to the LARP site, naturally, was the Rialto.

The first thing I discovered when we got to the LARP site, naturally, was the Rialto. We arrived early, and not all the merchants were set up: this was one corner where everyone seemed t have their wares out but they were all in the business of loading and unloading and none of them were open for trading yet.

As I was weaving my way in and out of the stalls, a guy asked if he could take my picture; I said sure, because I didn’t mind being photographed even back then. I was always a bit of a ham, to be honest. So he snapped a couple of pictures and I thought nothing more of it. Later in the weekend, it turned out he was the court photographer: this picture made it into the LARP newsletter. And that’s how I met Kevin, who ended up being Fen’s fiancée.

By the time Kevin was done taking my photograph, the jewellery seller had appeared.

By the time Kevin was done taking my photograph, the jewellery seller had appeared.

By the time Kevin was done taking my photograph, the jewellery seller had appeared. She was amazingly costumed and had painted her face and body with the most amazing designs. I remember asking about them and she was only too happy to show them to me. She was more interested in showing me her jewellery, of course, and all of it was lovely. I wished I could buy one of everything, but I’d spent most of my pocket money on the lodge fee, so I didn’t have much left for extra food, much less jewellery. That’s when she slyly told me that even though it was a LARP of course she took credit cards….

So I ended up buying a necklace and a pair of earring then and there.

So I ended up buying a necklace and a pair of earring then and there.

So I ended up buying a necklace and a pair of earrings then and there, and over the two years I played LARP with this group, I’m sure I bought a dozen more pieces from her. She had excellent taste and just knew where to find the best stuff. She didn’t make it herself; said she didn’t have the talents or skills it took, but once I saw her working on a beading project that made me think otherwise. I never said anything to her about it, though now I kind of wish I had. It’s funny, when I think of my past, I always think of how I’d interact with the people from my past as I am now. Gwyneth the Fae Queen could tell Elayne from My Pretties to take a year off the jewellery cart circuit and take a course in metal casting or something, help her turn into the artist she wanted to be. Gwyneth the uni LARPer just made supportive noises and kind of wished she could help more people.

This stall with the swords and Greek gods was always at the LARPs as well.

This stall with the swords and Greek gods was always at the LARPs as well.

This stall with the swords and Greek gods was always at the LARP rialto as well, though I didn’t meet the guy who ran it til much later: half the time he parked next to Elayne and asked her to run his stall. I don’t think he made much money except on the swords, but Richard said he made quite a bit; I just didn’t see all the people who bought swords from him.

I’m laughing at myself now because you know how when you get into memories, you start remember this or that and then your brain goes all chatty with the things you remember and the details, even insignificant ones like whether or not that guy sold lots of swords, keep coming back to you?

To be honest, I don’t even know why I’m thinking of Shining Lands today. I’ve been thinking about my past a lot over the past couple of months, and today I suppose it’s just al coming out. For the last couple of weeks, if I’m honest, I’ve had this disconcerting feeling that things from my past are just going to pop up anywhere and everywhere I turn, as if my past is just around the corner. Even things that I’ve not thought about in ages, like the time those photographs of Richard suddenly appeared in my chamber at the old Seelie sithen. I remember being convinced at the time that he was going to somehow re-enter my life and that things would get very complicated. It never happened though, and that thread of my history remains unexplored.

At the end of the weekend, there's always a ball.

At the end of the weekend, there’s always a ball.

At the end of the weekend, there’s always a ball. Doesn’t matter which weekend it is or what the theme of the LARP is, the ball gives everybody a chance to dress up and not be crossing swords with the other side, even if just for one night. Everyone had to come down this staircase to get in to the event, and they positioned a photographer (Kevin, of course) at the bottom of the stairs who’d take your photograph if you wanted.

This is my ver first “Nerd Descending a Staircase” photo. Kevin laughed at that when I told him that was my immediate name for these pictures.

Aw, there I am again, close-up this time.

Aw, there I am again, close-up this time.

Aw, there I am again, close-up this time. I wanted him to take the close-up so I would remember that it was at this event where I bought this wonderful necklace. I don’t know where Elayne found it, but the tag by the clasp says, “Cae”.

And omg, that was the year I let them talk me into going to a VtM party near campus.

And omg, that was the year I let them talk me into going to a VtM party near campus.

And omg, that was the year I let them talk me into going to a Vampire: the Masquerade party on campus. I was never much into vampires or vampire games, even though they were all the rage at the time what with the backlash against the Twilight books.

The party was in this old church in Cambridge, and I remember feeling really uncomfortable.

The party was in this old church in Cambridge, and I remember feeling really uncomfortable.

The party was in this old church in Cambridge, and I remember feeling really uncomfortable, as if there might be real vampires lurking somewhere there. At the time I thought I was just being paranoid, but now…. well, now I don’t know. Now I think maybe there might really have been vampires there.

And why do I even think of that? Oh! I know: I’m thinking of that because it was the very first time Fenella came to visit me at my digs in Cambridge, and she came along to the party. Unlike me, she had great time. But unlike me, she met Kevin and he immediately asked her out on a date. From that night, they were together. Those two, wow. I always wanted to have someone like that in my life. And now I guess I do, and of course the great irony is that Nathaniel actually is a vampire, while Kevin was just pretending to be one.

Memories are such weird things. Anyway, after my first LARP, I decided to get serious about costuming.

Here I am in my standard Elf-Clan forest outfit.

Here I am in my standard Elf-Clan forest outfit.

Here I am in my standard Elf-Clan forest outfit. This photo was taken a couple of years after my first LARP, probably just a few months before everything changed. I didn’t make any of this stuff, of course, but I met this guy from Reading, Peter, and he and his fiancée did a lot of custom costuming work for LARP people. He really liked working with leather, so I got him to make this for me. It took ages, but I loved it so much. I was wearing one like it in brown when I got dumped in to Jasper Cove, so this black one I think is lost forever.

And ha, there I go again, talking vaguely.

And ha, there I go again, talking vaguely.

And ha, there I go again, talking vaguely about “when everything changed” or “getting dumped into Jasper Cove.” It’s been three years now, and Alec and the Boatman are a distant memory. I believe I must have died in the accident and then moved into another life here, wherever “here” is. I know enough of realm-hopping that I know it’s also possible there’s a version of me back in London, recovering from the accident, going on to live a good life, or dead, or in a coma—but I don’t believe I am that person any more. I remember thinking when I first arrived in Jasper Cove that I must be in a coma back home and this weird place was my coma dream. I don’t think that any more, because a coma dream wouldn’t go on for as long as this one has: my parents would have pulled the plug on me in deference to my lost quality of life. And then I’d have died in two worlds. I just don’t think that’s possible.

No: I think my life line split.

No: I think my life line split.

No; I think my life line split, somehow, when the accident happened, and my consciousness flew into Jasper Cove and created this me. I’ll have to ask Dyisi if such a thing is possible, but I can hear her already telling me that everything is possible and she doesn’t know everything and blah blah blah Dyisi talk, but how I love her anyway.

Well, that got maudlin and reflective all of a sudden, didn’t it?

Let me show you instead my favourite Court dress.

Let me show you instead my favourite Court dress.

Let me show you instead, my favourite Court dress. Peter and Katy didn’t make this, but they did introduce me to the seamstress who did. And I loved this antler headband so much I think I wore it to class a couple of times!

Kevin made me pose so you can see the slashing on the dress' arms.

Kevin made me pose so you can see the slashing on the dress’ arms.

Kevin made me pose so you can see the slashing on the dress’ arms. Even though my body’s different since my Quickening ages ago at the old Seelie sithen, I can imagine myself now wearing a dress like this (not the antlers, natch, or not at the moment anyway). I shall have one of the Court tailors look into recreating it for me.

Here I am reaching out, once again a request from Kevin.

Here I am reaching out, once again a request from Kevin.

Here I am reaching out, once again a request from Kevin. He really did like those sleeves.

But now the clock is striking 5:00. I’ve spent too long lingering over old memories today, and I’m still not sure why: I haven’t thought of these things in so long. I have a strategy meeting with Bran and Wulfrich over dinner, and I have to get dressed and ready for that. I’d better put my old life back in the drawer and remember that in my present life I have duties and responsibilities that can’t be avoided.

But I can’t stop thinking of the moment I introduced Fenella to Kevin and what happened when their eyes met. I wonder what happened to them. They were in the front of the MPV when it flipped. I hope they’re recovered, happy, married, expecting a baby. I wish that for them.

Yes, yes, yes. 5:00. I’m late. Strategy and tactics, not eyes across a room a lifetime ago.

Style Cards:

Gwyneth’s First LARP Costume Photos:
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Grazia (Available at the Summer Sale Event at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store!)
Body: Maitreya
Hair: Lelutka, Kayla
Ears: Mandala, Steking Ears Season 5
Dress: Whymsical Marketplace, Wiccan Maiden Medieval Dress (Available now at the Whymsical Marketplace Main Store!)
Shoes: Aisling, Tess Orty Shoes
Necklace: Aisling, Wilow Necklace
Eyes: IKON

Elayne of “My Pretties”:
Skin: 
Fallen Gods
Body: Belleza
Dress: Sweet Lies
Tattood: Fallen Gods
Collar: DeSSion
Hair: Moon

Gwyneth’s First LARP Ball Photos:
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Grazia (Available at the Summer Sale Event at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store!)
Body: Maitreya
Ears: Mandala, Steking Ears Season 5
Eyes: IKON
Shoes: Aisling, Tess Orty Shoes
Elf Ears: Kahli Designs Faux Elf Ear Silver
Hair: Elikatira, Piper
Gown: Mistique, Beitris Dark

Gwyneth’s Elf Clan Photos:
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Grazia (Available at the Summer Sale Event at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store!)
Body: Maitreya
Ears: Mandala, Steking Ears Season 5
Eyes: IKON
Hair: No Match, No Flowers
Clothes (dress, skirt, jacket, boots, bracers): Fashionably Dead Designs Stories, Amaelle

Vampire Party Photos:
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Grazia (Available at the Summer Sale Event at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store!)
Body: Maitreya
Ears: Mandala, Steking Ears Season 5
Eyes: IKON
Hair: Truth, Freya
Necklace: Le Forme, Aegon Necklace Lover Gold
Clothes (boots, jacket, pants): Yasum, Vintage (Available at the Fantasy Gacha Carnival!)

Gwyneth’s Experienced LARP Ball Photos:
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Grazia (Available at the Summer Sale Event at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store!)
Body: Maitreya
Ears: Mandala, Steking Ears Season 5
Eyes: IKON
Headpiece: Bauhaus Movement, Fly to the Angels (Available at Collabor88!)
Hair: Exile, Come What May (Available at We Love Roleplay!)
Dress: Junbug, Aria Azure (Rare) (Available at The Gacha Garden!)
Elf Ears: Kahli Designs Faux Elf Ear Silver
Necklace: Cae, Hedera
Shoes: Aisling, Tess Orty Shoes

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never leave home without it! 

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