But, actually, some of you may also have thought of the stunning debut novel by Katherine Addison, The Goblin Emperor, which I cannot recommend too highly. Published in 2014, it received the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel and was nominated for the Nebula, Hugo and World Fantasy Awards. It tells the story of Maia, a young man of mixed Elven and Goblin heritage, who unexpectedly becomes Emperor of the Elflands, and has to contend with the court’s Byzantine power structure as well as racial and social tension in his realm.
This choice surprised some people who are unfamiliar with the novels of Seanan McGuire, but the October Daye series is a very popular one in the modern urban fantasy genre. Beginning in 2009 with Rosemary and Rue, there are now nine novels published.
At the start of the series, October “Toby” Daye, a changeling who is half human and half fae, has been an outsider from birth. After getting burned by both sides of her heritage, Toby has denied the Faerie world, retreating to a “normal” life. Unfortunately for her, the Faerie world has other ideas…
This character comes from one of the most loved fantasy novels of all time. The Last Unicorn is a fantasynovel written by Peter S. Beagle and published in 1968. It follows the tale of a unicorn, who believes she is the last of her kind in the world and undertakes a quest to discover what has happened to the others.
In 1987, Locus ranked The Last Unicorn number five among the 33 “All-Time Best Fantasy Novels”, based on a poll of subscribers.
Rest turns to sleep, sleep turns to dreams, and the FaireLands turn over into a new day. A day that made me realise something. Well, a lot of somethings, but we’ll get to those in a minute or twenty, as soon as I’ve collected my thoughts.
Our universe, our metaverse, is full of a million wonders. And I, without humility (what Sidhe is possessed of humility?) can say that I am one of those wonders. But the magicians who make the FaireLands? The magicians behind the magicians who create this once-a-year spectacle of light and sound and literature? These are the wonder-makers.
It’s because of those magicians, in so many ways, that I can be who I am: Gwyneth Evans become Gwyneth, Queen of Faerie, born in the mind of a different kind of magician and risen, kneaded, and risen again in the kitchen of story.
Many of my wanderings during this year’s Great Faire have been informed by magicians behind magicians: in this case, the wonder makers and thought experimenters of the Fantasy Faire LitFest. Each day, a different Realm came up as a tour for writers, and word-weavers came along to look at the Realms and write something down about them.
So I shall take on a different guise for you today. I am Gwyneth, but I am something different.
Something, perhaps, from a sonnet:
Hope Always Remains
In this dark land, she spreads her golden wings
And calls for mist to clothe her shining limbs.
Before the dawn, her smothered spirit sings
As if her destiny lies in a hymn
Or maybe some inhuman synonym.
What calls to her at last? It is a sound
And when she stirs, her steps feel tugged by whim
Her feathers lift her just about the ground
And when she finds the source, she stands, spellbound.
Where river pours itself onto the rocks
And makes the stones and crevices rebound
As if the water goddess bends and talks
And calls the mist to clothe her where she stands
To bless her with the waterfall’s pure hands.
(Gwen Enchanted, LitFest Tour, Blackmoor)
In this dark land, she spreads her golden wings and calls for mist to clothe her shining limbs.
Blackmoor. Land of darkness. Land of gargoyles. Land of enough cemetery architecture to make the most eyelinered up goth in Gothtown, Gothy McGothface, tear up and buy every Sisters of Mercy album. On vinyl. Again.
In fact, it would be easy to walk through Blackmoor and not see anything but the darkness.
But did you look up?
But did you look up? Up into the trees? Up into a night lit with stars beyond counting?
Did you look up?
Did you travel to the edge of the land and look back upon the glimmering stars?
Did you travel to the edge of the land and look back upon the glimmering stars against the waterfalls?
Did you balance between a meadow and a waterfall?
Did you balance between a meadow and a waterfall, trying not to be distracted by the glimmering lights overhead?
I looked back from where I’d come.
I looked back from where I’d come. Such a long way. That may have been the point where I realised I had hieroglyphs painted on my golden (!) skin, a scarab around my neck, wings like a bird’s rather than a butterfly’s. And I thought of myself as a vessel carrying the past into the future. Carrying my story. Carrying all my stories. Carrying my friends and family, and being carried when I cannot carry myself.
Sometimes it seems like the hardest thing to reach for is hope.
Sometimes it seems like the hardest thing to reach for is hope.
And yet, like the golden-winged girl in that poem made by my personal magician, I think sometimes it is not so far away at all.
Hope Always Remains
What if, even in the darkest of lands, hope yet remains? What if the golden light of hope fills us, and our bodies, our souls, vessels that carry the past into the future, also carry hope?
Every life is a box.
And every bit of hope is a star in the darkness, the mist of the water goddess, green shoots from the earth, ideas from the air.
It’s in every box. It’s in every life.
Far away from Blackmoor, on a cliff above the beach at White Owl…
Far away from Blackmoor, on a cliff above the beach at White Owl, there sits a harper made of stone. She plays hope. Her box, at the bottom, contained a little sliver of hope named Words, and Music. Other people have the same kind of sliver. Still others have slivers named Science. Other slivers are named differently, but everyone has at least one.
Hope. Like music in the night, like stars in the darkness, like a cure for cancer. It lives in every body. And in everybody.
Head: Catwa Jessica
Ears: Soul, Uni High Elf Ears
Skin: Fallen Gods, Blessings of Isis
Eyebrows: The Skinnery, The Lyre Brows, 5
Hair: Analog Dog (natch), Epsilon (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Necklace: Musa, Seraph (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Dress: Poet’s Heart, Joy (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Shoes: Bliensen & Maitai, Dreki Anklet (Available at the Fantasy Faire!)
Setting: Blackmoor and (last photo) White Owl
Yes, the Second Life Fantasy Faire officially closed last night! But the sims are still up and will be for a few days! If you haven’t been already, go check them out now!
Thank you, everyone who works together to create and sustain the Second Life Relay for Life, and thank you, everyone who creates and sustains Fantasy Faire. The event itself is uplifting and inspiring, but nothing prepared me for the joyful and understanding and creative magicians I’d meet there. You are all stars in the darkness.
Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never explore the Fairelands without it!
Saturday, April 30th
The Final Challenge- Suitor for the Queen
In an atmosphere charged with tension the Court gathers once again, The Queen’s Guard Pelinor calls for attention.clears her throat… “Lords and ladies, courtiers and courtesans, please attend Queen’s table as Her Majesty wishes to knows the results of our efforts in testing out the would be suitors… among other things. We also have some insights into a few mysteries that have had us perplexed of late, I’m sure each of you has some concerns to voice regarding the path Her Majesty has embarked upon.”
Bump Wumpole places his gloved hand on the hilt of his bone axe as he looks around the room at those in attendance. In his short time here, the old king has learned many things about the Queen and her subjects… and of the bees drawn to the honey. He recalls with discomfort his own courtships; young dwarven maidens parading before a monarch. “This be no way to find a mate. For where is the jewel hidden among so many flowers?”… he shakes it off and attends to the Queen and her table.
Lady Malada informs the court that she has researched Prince Kelmor and his Kingdom of Alabaster and discovered that they do not exist. That there is no record what so ever. Once again the accusations fly, The Queen then brings up the question of the Necklace and the sword that were found in the possession of the orc. Lady Pelinor produces the necklace and the two are put together, forming a heart. The Queen holds them letting it sway from her hand, slowly becoming hypnotized by the movement. It was then that the Queen’s Guard Pelinor let the court know that it was the Prince’s sword that slew Northman. Chaos ensued as the Queen called for him to be removed from her presence. King Bump jumps on the table to fight the Prince.
Prince Kelmore glares around the table coldly before turning to look back at the queen, “You asked me a moment before if I was working with the Dark Prince. I can honestly say I am not.” He leaps from his chair, grabbing the sword in hand and raising it to the sky, “I….. AM…. The Dark Prince!” A magic bolt crashes down to dissipate the disguise and reveal his true, dark form. A bright orb of swirling light form around him.
He points his sword at the Queen, “Here! Now you see me for who I am! The thing you despise and claim threatens you because of my dark origins! Do not think I was not sincere though in my courting! Many a night I’ve gazed upon you from below, desiring your hand but knowing you would cast me off only because i am of the shadows! But now you have seen! You can feel affection for me!” The Dark Prince demands that she make her choice.
The Queen speaks telling all “I believe I will choose the Bard Gage! He has been wise and true. Let us do a simple ceremony Pelinor and have done with it” Gage Colinsgrove would have swept her up in his arms a tthat moment, were the Dark Prince not still standing on the table…..
The Dark Prince declares that if he can not have her, than noone can, and lunges, The Queen’s Guard swings into action and the lords and ladies all join in the fight untill the Dark Prince is driven from the Pavilion to fall into the firely lava below.
The Queen seeing the Dark Prince fall to his death, realizes that this has solved her delima, and decides not to wed anyone, but instead invites her suitors to make their homes in he court.
We would like to thank all who donated and came to see our roleplay. Thank you.
Sunday, May 1st A Prophesy Fulfilled: Grand Finale
Today the heroes returned to the site of the prison of the escaped Blood King, so as to battle him, and save all of creation from his evil and rage. Belial tried to strike a deal, but the heroes were not having it.
Garret helped to carry the body of the old gypsy in, as Martine felt that she deserved to be there for the final battle, win or lose. Respect.
The Blood King called up many terrible creations and blades of blood. Most were injured, but fought on until suddenly, the Old Gypsy rose! She was now the angel that she truly had been, made to wander the lands for her role in the creation of the Blood King in that long past battle in Hell, and thereby given another chance. The rage and hatred of the angels that fell, and her own, and the blood of angels and demons together created the terrible foe.
The angel called upon the warriors to stop fighting..that hate could not defeat this foe.
The prophecy was finally understood, and Garret, revealed to have been a demon who had contributed blood, handed over the sword to the Angel who now faced the Blood King with it, and just…touched him. At that time…it…thanked her! And the spirits of all the fallen angels from that battle all were free! All that anger and hate…gone. Hatred could not defeat the Blood King..only love.
Of course, Belial then jumped down from above, to run off laughing with a bone of the Blood King…crying out that the others had done his work for him…and something to the effect of…”SUCKERS!” The angel called him Snake Boy and attempted some fleas on his person, but without hatred…then she proceeded with the rest of the angels to heaven.