When I came back from the rather less than formal ball held in the Drifts of Anamnesis, a desert which somehow became an oasis at exactly the right time, I admit I was feeling a bit drained and a bit sad.
I know what you must be thinking, of course. ‘But who could possibly feel sad in such a beautiful gown, Your Fae Majesty’?
And you’d have a point. Silvan Moon Designs has created the most wonderful spring gown in an array of colours appropriate to the season. I was so proud to wear Dance of Spring to the informal ball; it almost didn’t matter that nearly everyone else was dressed rather less than formally. This periwinkle colour is to die for, isn’t it? And the gown’s crushed velvet falls so beautifully. I admit I sneaked out of the Fairelands to visit the carnival of fashion and hijinks that is We Love Roleplay, and that’s where I found this beautiful gown. I’m sure they still have a few left if you hurry to the carnival.
But the truth is, sometimes even when one is wearing a fabulous dress, it’s still possible to feel a bit sad. Even a lot sad.
I’m one of those people with a running narration going on all the time: it’s like a voiceover in my head. And that night, the voice wanted me to remember and feel sad about the fact that the Great Fantasy Faire was ending for another year. And I did feel sad, and I did remember. I remembered the first chilling steps I took into Lamented Fens and how I grew to love that darkness. I remembered the sheer joy of Heliodor and the rush of being in a Realm of light. And the more filtered light of Autumnium, yes, that too. There was the darker call of Siren’s Lore, the inescapable bottoms of Melusina’s Depths, the madcap hysteria of Mistakes Were Made. I recalled dancing on turtles in Cassiopeia, listening to the words of great authors in the Drifts of Anamnesis, seeking the pleasure of the Bard Queen in Queensgarden. My surprise at entering Agra Adara and finding it was not at all what I thought it would be. Ambigula, a living art installation, Isle of Shadows with its scary giant bunnies, the frozen distance of Auxentios’ Pass, and of course the cosmic order (and chaos) of Zodiac. The stunning basin of the Spirit Valley of Kuruk will stay with me always, and of course, the Fairelands Junction bridged all these gaps and brought me closer to every Realm simply and easily, this time from a crystal desert cave. My two homes away from home, Elemaria and Lunafae, will be the hardest to leave behind. I’ve written from both these realms, and while the Fairelands were too vast this year for me to write from every one of them, I considered my next steps, and the next day, carefully, as I prepared for my last morning in the Fairelands.
I awoke in Elemaria and descended the long staircase to the spiral star labyrinth at the forest junction. In spring, butterflies like to follow Fae royalty, so I had a few to contend with. I don’t mind them, just so you know. But they do get a bit buzzy.
In the glorious May sunshine, I sent the butterflies out to do their work. Flower pollination is serious business at this time of year. And I thought about pollination, about the kind of growth that irritates your nose and makes you briefly grumpy with life. What could I plant now, just as myself, that might be worthy of this land, these Fairelands, our kingdom and community, our spirit?
My fingers lingered over the spirit star of Elemaria woven into the bodice of my gown. This, my loves, is the Elemaria Spirit Gown, and I cannot tell you where to go and get it, for there is only one, and I am fortunate to wear it in the name if Elemaria and Light and the rising star of Hope. I don’t often showcase one-of-a-kind gowns, because I want you all to be able to find the treasures I show you, but I am now wondering why I do not do that. Perhaps over the next few weeks I’ll photograph some of the beautiful one-of-a-kind dresses I’ve collected over the years.
Forgive me for the fashion tangent: it’s just my nature. I was thinking what could I plant, what could I give, what would be a thing from me, more than the time (and, let’s be real, the money) I spend every year to help our Faire be a success and help us grow and help more and more people. What would that thing be?
And then it came to me, in the form of an apple. Because one thing my darlings, one thing I am told I’m very good at, is offering inspiration. I have a life that revolves around teaching, the arts, music, writing, and helping light the spark of creativity in folk both young and old.
So no this isn’t the apple you’re thinking of, even though I am come straight from fairy tale and myth to be with you here.
This is the apple of inspiration. You can see it in the emblem carefully painted on its curved edge. It’s an emblem you see if you ever look at any of my work. It’s an emblem you see if you ever look at me: it’s tattooed once on my real life wrist, and again in the belly of a symbolic salmon on my real life chest. This is the Awen, the symbol of divine inspiration, said to represent the three rays of poetic inspiration shining straight down from the gods themselves.
And so today, at the centre of the spirit labyrinth of Elemaria, I give you this apple. Here, I will plant it in the forest nearby. And because inspiration is not an ordinary apple, but a magical one, it may bear fruit sooner than you think.
Fairelanders all, be you world builders, paper pushers, music folk, organisers of parties, readers of books and tellers of tales, sculptors of meshes and images, willing to bring your sense of wonder, thank you. And don’t worry: this is not just my apple tree. This is your apple tree, too. You can sit beneath it with anybody you like, discover gravity in your own way, learn the ways of magic, marvel at the star within that mirrors, not-so-coincieentally, the spirit star of Elemaria I’m thinking of now. Take it with you. Plant your own. Bring back your baskets of apples to share with all the world.
Look at what we can grow.
Items featured from this year’s Faire:
Skin: Petrichor, Viscivorus Skin in Serinus (first set of photos) and Pareities (second set of photos) (The Faire is closed now, but I’m sure these skins will be at the Petrichor Main Store soon enough!)
Ears: Petrichor, Viscivorus Ears (These beautiful ears come with each of the Viscivorus skins, and they’ll be available at the Petrichor Main Store before you know it!)
Gowns: Silvan Moon Designs, Dance of Spring (first set of photos) (Find it at We Love Role-play!); Silvan Moon Designs, Elemaria Spirit Gown (one-of-a-kind, and my honour to wear). The Elemaria Water Gown was available at the Faire and will I hope be available soon at the Silvan Moon Designs Main Store
Other Stuff in this look:
Head: Lelutka Nova Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Ayashi, Amalia Hair (a rare Gacha from The Epiphany) (first set of photos); EMO*tions, Hairbase B and hairpieces A and K (at the EMO*tions Main Store)
Crown (second set of photos): Rivendale, Evenstar Crown
Elemaria was one of 18 regions in the 2020 Relay For Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire. It was sponsored by Silvan Moon Designs and designed by Bee Dumpling and Solas Enchantment.
Although the fairelands exist only in our memories and our photographs once they’ve receded back into the mists, they are never forgotten. This year, the spirit that built those lands raised over $73,000USD for the American Cancer Society. We are a blessed and mighty community, and I am proud to be part of it. Good night, Fantasy Faire 2020. You were a beauty.