OOC note: I’ve been neglecting this blog– life and work have been eating me alive! But I need to finish this story in order to get on to other posts. Regular blogging will resume as soon as I have a couple of minutes to rub together!
When the note got passed under my door that morning, telling me the crown I’d ordered was ready, I knew what I had to do. All this time I’d been wandering through the Faire, feeling lost, out of place, not the right person, indeed, experiencing things as the person I’d been not so long ago, and that morning, I just knew. To start on a new chapter in my life, I’d need to end all the old ones.
So I went back to the beautiful Faerie Court.
I flew up to the tree icon— it was large enough, I thought, you could hold a dance party on this if you had the right people. They’d have to be people you knew pretty well. I’d picked out one of those dresses Father used to love to see me in: the ones that fell like nightgowns to my ankles and marked me as a very well-behaved princess. Poor Father, wanting me to be a well-behaved princess!
And then, well…
It seemed to take forever, though I know it must have been only a few seconds. I also know as I read that sentence that it’s a cliché and my writing instructors would be rolling their eyes at me. But time really did seem to slow down, or my thoughts went faster. Things compressed and expanded, and every little breath of wind seemed to buoy me up and slow my progress. I know that’s not true: I know it must have been fast. People were watching: I know they thought they were witnessing a suicide.
And they were, in a way.
Just before I hit the water, I realised I didn’t know how deep it was. I could be falling into a puddle, about to break all my bones at once. Maybe it was a suicide.
But then the water was deep, and cold, and what a shock it was, the cold, the fantastical sensation of losing my clothes and the garland separating from my hair, so cold it felt like my skin was burning away from my body.
Then, time really did slow down. I heard shouts, from above the water, as if from a very distant place, muffled by the water above me. Then, I think I passed out, or I must have, because I dreamed I walked into the artisan shop and received the item I’d had made. I dreamed I walked into the shop as a confident Queen, not as a timid child, but the artisan recognised me. Money changed hands, and the forge warmed me. The artisan thanked me for my custom, winked, and said, “It’s time you be getting back now, Your Majesty. I’m sure your people are waiting to see you.”
And you know– I knew he was right. “I think they can wait one more night,” I said.
Then, I rose from the water. The raccoon constables were busy filling out reports as people milled about. A diver stretched into the water. Vaguely, I realised they must have been looking for me, for Gwyneth. “Did you find her?” asked a breathless woman who saw me coming up out of the water.
“I did,” I replied. “Don’t worry: she’s fine.”
A constable overheard me and came scuttling over to find out what I knew. “Where is she?” He asked. “We had reports of a girl jumping off the tree.” He shook his head. “Happens every year, you know. They get here, can’t afford everything they want, or realise they’ll have to leave Faerie when the Faire is over. They can’t bear it, one thing or the other, and so they jump.”
“It was me,” I said. “I was the girl who jumped into the water.”
The constable cocked a brow. The woman’s eyes widened in disbelief. “But that girl, she was short and wearing a pink nightie,” said the woman. “You are a Queen, and you don’t look as if you’ve been in freezing water for half an hour.”
“Half an hour?” I asked. “Really?” I looked the constable in the eye. “I swear to you that it was me who jumped off the tree,” I assured him. “You won’t find a body, because there isn’t one.”
He looked me up and down, nodded his furry head twice. “Boys!” he cried, “False alarm! Not a suicide! I’ve got the girl right here!”
There was a little kerfuffle while they got everyone together and dismissed the divers. The constable took my statement, then winked at me as he tore it up. “This happens more often than you’d think, as well. You have to keep an open mind at the Fantasy Faire.”
And that was that. I spent the rest of the day wandering the Faerie Court, picking up this or that, buying a few things but not many. And nobody thought I was somebody’s daughter any more.
That night, I didn’t go back to the Inn. I slept under the stars, in view of the moonlit castle, under the possibly watchful eye of a wyvern. Trumpet mushrooms are gorgeous for sleeping in: I must put a few in my bower when I get back home. Home.
I thought of home the moment I awoke, and suddenly I was there. Ardan watched the grove like a sentinel, and I could hear the fish playing in the river just upstream from where I landed.
For the first time in a long time, I didn’t long to be uncomplicated Gwyneth Evans with the active fantasy life and the awkward love life. I thought about furniture, and furs, and making the official residence as comfortable as it could be. And Bran was next to me with a cup of tea the moment I entered, and Clutie asked me if I’d had a good shopping trip. Later, I had a picnic lunch with Nathaniel in the meadow, and later still, I went to Janus and asked him how he felt about gardens. As it turns out, he is in favour of gardens, so we made one, that night. And a beautiful garden it is. My garden.
Soon, I’d discover that we’d made other things as well, but there is so much time now, to tell stories. All the time there ever was.
I’d forgotten how young I must have looked when I first started this journey. How short my legs were. How completely unremarkable I was in every way. The shopkeepers must have laughed, seeing me buy gowns an jewellery as if I were someone special. “Someone’s daughter,” I heard more than once. “Spoiled little rich girl,” I heard in my head.
As I made my way through the suspended village, I noticed clouds up ahead. When I approached what I realised was the last suspension, they parted to reveal a massive airship, the kind you read about in steampunk novels. Or the kind I used to read about in steampunk novels, anyway, back before everything went…. well. Before everything that happened.
I explored every part of the airship. It too was part of the Faire and lined with shops from one end to another.
But I loved the little village as well, and I was so happy when I found this view portal where I could look back upon it.
What fun I had, sneaking in to places and pretending I was a steampunk explorer. In an old body, I felt childlike enough that I could pretend with no trouble. I was a spy, an explorer, the captain’s daughter stowed away, sneaking about and discovering every little bit of her father’s realm. I found a telescope and became a navigator and another kind of spy as I looked down on all the people below, whose focus seemed to be the shops and not this beautiful place that held them.
Eventually, I found the cockpit, though I was tentative. What if I caused some damage? I couldn’t bear to touch any of the controls, though I did play with the optics a bit. I hope I didn’t damage anything for the real airship captain, and I can’t think what made me just sneak into everything like that. Was I more adventurous, before my life changed? Or has the influx of real adventure into my life simply made me more mindful of consequence? Either way, I think the old Gwyn would have been unable to resist pushing just one little button. But I didn’t.
This realisation seemed to spark something in me, and I just got angry. Then I remembered my first brush with my own mortality in Jasper Cove: the night the Huntsman touched me and I fell into some limbo-like place where I ran with the Hunt, but only in my dreams. How angry I was when I had to trade my hair to a witch in order to wake up.
I was so fragile then, so defensive and angry. I remember trying to scare Wrennie with stories of what had happened to me. Of course, what was happening all around me was so much bigger then I knew. But all that anger made me retreat into myself, and when I finally realised what was going on, the realm of Jasper Cove was collapsing and I was sojourned in Castle Shithole with the rest of the refugees. As if echoing my remembrances, the Faire road wound into a dark forest, and I found myself lost. Lost like I was the day that Valene, before I even knew who she was, touched me and brought my hair back, because she was healing me from my encounter with Captain FuckBeak, and she couldn’t bear to see me so sad over my hair. She said I should always be beautiful.
But I was still lost. I guess that’s why it was so comforting to feel my hair below my shoulders again, feel something light on my skin as I turned a corner to find myself in a sheep meadow, able to look back on where I’d been before, the airship, the whimsical village. I was, literally, out of the woods!
And into what it seemed might have been a mediaeval monastery, if it hadn’t been also part of the Faire. I laughed when I saw the stairway that led to — well, I couldn’t see what it led to, so I climbed it and found only a locked gate. What a disappointment! No heaven for you, Gwyneth!
The sunset in this place was fantastic, and I suppose the sunrises must have been too, though I wasn’t there for very long. I felt unbelievably weary so I made my way back to the sheep meadow and fell asleep.
It was mid-day when I woke up again, to the now familiar sight of other parts of the massive Faire in the distance. Something told me I didn’t want to go back into the monastery; I’m not sure what or why. I felt more myself than I had in hours, though; the sleep must have done me good.
Then, I found myself in an elfin city– again, still part of the massive Faire. This was some kind of a dream, right?
There were beautiful sculptures and gardens, and the architecture just blew me away.
I had such fun! Running around in a pink dress I’ve not worn since we were all living in the Underhill. I had a sharp memory of Rachel and nearly cried.
Everything was so quiet, despite the crowds. It was like everyone just knew it was a special place. I wonder if Roanofa is like that. I wonder if I’ll ever get to see it. Everything was so lovely, but all I could think of was my life in the sithen with Father, and how I missed them all, and all the things I want to say to Lady Siansa when I find her.
And there was a Faery Court, too, at the Faire. It was massive, full of amazing plants and flowers: one day I will have a house that looks like one of these. One day I will have great trumpet mushrooms outside my front door. One day.
And such a castle! Watching the sun set over this castle, I felt so small. There were such wonders inside. I had a crown commissioned. I think the artisan thought I might have been some kind of a con artist: he bit my gold and looked at me funny. “It’s not for me,” I said. “Well, not this me.” He laughed then and said I’d have my crown by the end of the faire.
There were other dark woods, of course. I got lost a dozen times trooping through the realms of the Faire. But every step was worth it. I slept at inns, once in a tree, wherever I could find space: the place was teeming with people for all the time I visited it.
I don’t know when it happened, but somewhere during that journey, I started to feel more alive. More awake. It was as if the journey itself was awakening me: maybe it was. I couldn’t believe I’d had a crown commissioned. Was I really a fae queen? And then one morning I awoke and thought, yes. Yes, I am a fae queen. I can do this now. Oddly, that was the same morning the note came through the inn door (and I don’t know how the artisan found me) saying my crown was ready.
I knew what I had to do.
(to be continued)
I sometimes wake up and think I don’t like being Queen. I remember being a little girl and thinking there here would be nothing finer than being a Princess in a castle. But the weight of responsibility is a heavy thing. Even though I have not had much of a taste of leadership, I fear it. Janus is so capable, and I feel insignificant next to him. Even in my season. How will it be, come autumn, when his power is on the rise and mine will wane with the land? I know there’s no answer to that, and no amount of scrying lets me see my own future: that is as it should be.
Sometimes, I just want to run away. That’s why Alec and Isabella helped me with the move to Cranberry Cove, and I’ve thought of travelling to other places as well. But Cranberry Cove is not as welcoming a community as I believed it was, and besides, people keep disappearing.
So I suppose I lost my mind, or that’s what it felt like. I woke up one morning, one of my first in the Residence in the summerlands, and it was so empty,so cavernously empty. I just wanted to cry. I missed what I’d never really had: the feeling of being a part of a bustling sithen, with lots of sidhe around to help bear things up and sort things out struggle against what mundane forces might try to destroy us. I missed my Father. I hated the thought of having lived so close to my mother for so long and not knowing her. Then, I started missing Castle Shithole and the bustle of life there. I even missed self-important Cristof and his violent life lessons. Of course I could have found Nathaniel and cried on his shoulder. I might even have been able to lean on Janus. But what I wanted was busy-ness. People. The bustle of a crowd. A packed pub. And New York wouldn’t have done. London might have done, but I can’t go there in my own time and I don’t think I want to go there in any other time. I missed all the things I’d been before that moment. I got up and walked past the throne tree to the waterfall, and I bathed in the pool and watched the fish, and it was so beautiful, and I hated it a little, hated the things we’d made and the Land we are growing, and I missed Jasper Cove as well. I walked into the waterfall. I asked the goddess to choose a place for me, somewhere bustling, somewhere full of life. I might have asked her to fix my life as well, but I know she doesn’t do that.
I walked through the waterfall, and I found myself in a thick swamp with a path running all through it. People were bustling everywhere; the whole place was heaving! And they we’re dressed in all kinds of clothing, from all kinds of backgrounds. I say “people”. There were elves and dwarves and fae and combinations of all, and some tiny koala bears who talked up a storm.
I stopped to catch my breath at one point where the path had a little hook in it, and I glanced down at my face in hue he water. There I was– but I looked as I had done when I arrived in Jasper Cove. I don’t think I thought I looked all that young back then, but I felt old, looking at myself.
Amidst all the bustle, I overheard conversations, some buzzing about a Faire. As I was stopped on the side of the path, I asked a burly looking warrior, “which way to the Faire?” in hopes of finding out a little more about the event. All I received in reply was a grunt, a rude gesture, and one words about couldn’t I see where all the people were going, and get out of the way if I couldn’t move along.
Fine. I followed the crowd through the swamp. When the road finally widened out, I found myself in a little village that looked to be held together with rope and bamboo. Well, I say it was a little village, but in fact it was just that the buildings looked kind of small. They seemed to stretch on for miles, each one a stall or a shop selling everything from clothing and furs to what looked to be entire houses on spec.
Signs everywhere proclaimed that I was in Wiggenstead Mooring, but I didn’t really see any boats until I reached a part of the village that seemed to be a staircase down to the sandy ground. Then I realised that all along I’d been walking on a series of bridges suspended high above a beach. And there were some boats, and an island, and so etching that looked suspiciously like it might have been the clubhouse for Peter Pan’s lost boys.
I explored for a little while, and as it was a Faire, and I found my purse full of gold, I bought a few things. Such things!
So, Ardan’s birthday party was kind of small. Nathaniel came, but only for a little while; he had pressing matters to attend to back in the village. Janus was only able to be there for a little while as well; I didn’t ask him where his other business was.
People drifted in and drifted out, but in the end only Helene, Ket’lyn, Aoibheann and I went back to the residence to chill out.
I was a little deflated, because I so wanted to show off my new space. But it ended up being nice and quiet. I’m afraid we lost Helene early on, to Nathaniel’s library, which he has not yet seen. Soon, I hope.
It is a beautiful space, though some changes might still take place as we finalise everything. That said, I love the library, which you can just see through the tree, and everything is very soft and comfy. I didn’t want a hard, cold, marble space like Father’s.
Folks came in through the kitchens, which I’ll have to sketch and put in the book another time— I’m just so tired right now. Bran and Brassica did a great job of helping everyone get settled: Brassica even dressed Aoibheann earlier, which I think she appreciated. Clutie helped with serving, so my merry little band of fae support continues to move along apace.
So surprised, though; I have gone off cider for some reason. It just tasted like sour apples to me, and that never happens.
In fact, the only thing I wanted to drink was goats milk, which I have never had much of a taste for before. I’m afraid Aoibheann made some horrible suggestions about me while I was drinking it, but that’ll have to wait until I can bring myself to talk about them.
I was so tired, so early! But everyone else seemed to feel the same way, so we all wandered off to bed. I put Ket’lyn up in the big guest bed upstairs, and we discovered Helene asleep on the furs near the library fireplace, so I got her some blankets and a pillow. Aoibheann left us for the tree, of course, and then I made my way to the private residence: it’s not ready for visitors yet, but soon.
And there’s not really much more to say about the first social gathering in the summer lands. Ardan looked great, the lands looked great, everyone was tired, I don’t like cider any more, and then we all toddled off to go to bed.
Such a bunch of old ladies! Though I suspect Ket might have stayed up a wee bit later than the rest of us: I’m sure I caught Bran giving her the eye as he watched from kitchen supervising.
Fine, I’ll mention it.
But just as a PS.
PS: I am not pregnant, thankyouverymuch.
I just thought I should make that very clear to everyone. If we lived in normal world, I’d have statistics to trot out or something, but there is a reason there are so few sidhe, and it’s less to do with the fact that huge underworld demons keep wiping us out than our general infertility.
We (sidhe) are generally infertile.
Therefore, it extremely likely that I am infertile.
In conclusion, not pregnant.
From the summer lands, over and out.
Yeah, I really need a new tag line.
I know I owe folks loads of RP posts. This is not one of those posts.
Folks who know me know I love gachas and I spend a lot of money with creators whose designs inspire me. But this morning, as I was preparing for a very stressful day, I got the most amazing surprise.
I saw on Seraphimsl.com that FREE BIRD was having a gardeny-themed event, and I checked out the gallery to find they had a gacha. First of all, it was a floral headband. Gwyneth has to have lots of those, so obviously I was going. Second, it’s a gacha. Duh. Gwyneth is going.
But THIS floral headband? Is DIFFERENT. It actually blooms as you are wearing it; I kid you not.
I had a really nice chat with Cortez Brandriss of Free Bird, who I hope will make a mint off these very reasonably priced ($L50) flower garlands.
This one is a lavender one, which of course goes perfectly with Gwyneth’s super casual look that I’ve been wearing around the Fantasy Gacha Carnival and Fantasy Faire this week. Let’s not even talk about my inventory. It scares me. One day it will eat me.
It starts out as little buds, very green, and lovely and springlike.
In a few minutes the gorgeous flowers begin to BLOOM!
I cannot even say how cool this is. I am such a nerd! It is so cool. You have no idea. You must get some.
And it doesn’t stop! Things keep on happening. I swear– you guys know I take a lot of selfies, but I think I brought constantly vanity camming to new heights, at least for me!
Once the headband is fully bloomed, it will stay bloomed, which means you have to have about, oh, I don’t know, sixty of these or so on hand, for those occasions when your fae queen simply must have flowers that are currently blooming upon her person.
And if you don’t have such a need, MAKE ONE UP! I am not kidding. Cortez and the folks at free bird have made something wonderful that is also geeky and beautiful. I hope everyone will go out and buy about a million of these so they’ll be inspired to make many, many more.
Now, I am not a fashion blogger, or an event blogger: if you look back through this blog (and I hope you will, if you’re visiting!), you’ll see that I am a role-player, pure and simple. I blog my characters’ exploits, and I don’t get in to where I bought what. I think I did once for some Deviance wings about a year or so ago (I’m still wearing those A LOT), so let’s just say I have to be super excited about something to make a point of breaking the wall in this blog and coming out of Gwyneth’s character to talk about a product or the things I do OOCly in Second Life, which mostly involve spending loads of money and trying to make it back by selling my gacha extras. ;)
In the interest of full disclosure, I must tell you that Cortez gave me a couple of these because she thought I might enjoy them, but I know her only as someone who admires [free bird] and the stuff they produce. And I promise you my endorsement, whatever it’s worth, can’t be bought for $L100. Trust me; I bought a few with my own Lindens. Yeah. Just a few. And I gave some away. And I brought at least one friend along who was as excited as I was about this little item. The item I’m wearing is a common: the rares are gorgeous roses, but I can’t bring myself to wear the couple I ended up with: they’ll bloom and be gone. And then I will have to go back and get MORE.
Since I’m playing Fashion Blogger this morning:
Skin: The Plastik, Asaiah in Helvynne, new from Fantasy Faire|
Hair: Lelutka: Jolie
Eyebrows: Maia from SyS, from Cosmetics Faire
Necklace: House of Rain
Corset: Schadenfreude Fluorite Tree Corset
Skirt: Spyralle, group gift, Lulu, Grapevine
Bracelet: Tabloid, Sea Story in Blue.
[free bird]‘s Kensington Gardens event is at http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Sky%20High/60/143/23