Another Time Another Place

I have, it seems, become accustomed to the company of people who share at least some common experience with me. They are the people who understand what I am, where I am from and where I have been. They are my family – Gwyn, Wren, Bronwen, Drysi and Eilian; my extended family – Dyisi Valene, Aoibheann, and those who are only with me now in spirit – Faermorn and Maric. They all know me and know of my story, or at least those parts I have shared, and I do not need to explain.

And yet, there are times when I must move among those who do not understand, those who do not know. And, to make things worse, there are times when I would not be able to explain. There will be those to whom my story would be inexplicable. How could I explain my story to people for whom the vampire, the fae and other such beings exist only in fiction and lore? How could I explain the where and when of my journeys to those for whom yesterday, today and tomorrow happen only in strict succession, for whom the past is the past and the future comes one day at a time?

Of course, sometimes, it can come down a much simpler thing, such as the question “how old are you?”  Now this is a complicated question at the best of times, even among those who understand. I was born in 1853, by the calendar I once knew. I was embraced in 1885, when I was just shy of my 32nd birthday. There followed six years of travelling in what I foolishly believed to be the real world before I fetched up in the Isle of Legacies, that strange place that resembled, yet did not resemble, the London I knew as a young man. By then, I would have been 38 years of age by the calendar, but, the embrace stopped the process of aging, so was I 38 or 32? Some while later, I found myself in Jasper Cove, which was, so far as I could tell, contemporaneous with the modern day that Gwyn knew, the 21st century, albeit somehow in parallel to, rather than part of that time. By then, perhaps two years had passed, so far as I could tell, so was I 40, 34, or was I 159 years old? Such a simple question, yet so hard to answer.

I had reason to reflect on this question recently. Lacking anything constructive to occupy my time while the Consilium Arcanum’s gears grind slowly through the process of making Awenia an open fae realm, I decided to take to the Shadow Roads and go exploring. The Cait were happy to see me, but sadly there was no sign of their queen, save for the lingering scent of mint. So, after a while, I took my leave of them and, lacking any particular destination, decided to part the veil from the Roads and, trust to chance for my destination.  Well, not entirely to chance. My other ability, to walk the realms, given to me by Alec, my demonic former friend, would normally only take me to places or people I knew, however, I had learned that it could take me to other places where realm-walking was possible. So I reached out with that sense, and let that guide me, to see where it would take me.

It took me to a night club. Of course it did. Whatever the mechanisms are that allow me to travel this way, they must be influenced by experience, and after faerie and medieval castles, much of my experience has been in such places. This did not stop me being slightly exasperated. “A nightclub! Why is it always a nightclub?  All of time and space and I end up in a nightclub,” is more or less what I said once I got my bearings.

I was not expecting an answer, but I got one. An elegant young lady, dressed for some evening occasion, appeared and said that she supposed there were worse places. I could not disagree, and commented that given my navigational skills, this was entirely possible.  Hoping to get some clue as to my whereabouts, I asked if I would regret asking where I was.

She told me that I was in a club, in a mansion called La Chateau De La Rose. Fortunately, she said, there wasn’t an event on, because I wouldn’t have passed the dress code. This was likely true, as I was dressed casually. I promised to wear my tux next time. As to where I was, she then suggested using a smart phone or a GPS unit. That at least gave me some clue as to the when, if not the where. This place must more or less be concurrent with the time I had left. I knew that my phone was apparently a smart one and that it had GPS, however, I had not yet mastered the use of it, despite Wren’s guidance. I pulled it out and fumbled fruitlessly for a few moments before giving up and admitting my lack of expertise with technology.

And then came the question that stumped me. Well, not so much of a question as a statement that raised many questions I was ill-prepared to answer.

“You look pretty young not to know anything about technology!”

I had to admit that she was probably correct in that assumption. Whatever numerical value one might attach to my age, I look to be a man in his 30s, and it would be fair to assume that any man of that age would be familiar with the technology of the present time, which, I had to assume, was roughly commensurate with the time I had left, i.e. early in the 21st century. I prevaricated, saying that as a former night-club manager myself; I would probably not have let myself in dressed this way. She gestured to some armchairs nearby and suggested we sit. She then added a further question, asking where I had come from.

I was still at a loss as to an answer that made sense. Other than the approximate time period, I knew nothing of this place and certainly did not know how they would react to the somewhat paranormal nature of myself and my travels. I opted for a believable half-truth. “Technically, I am about 40,” I told her and explained that I had only recently been introduced to technology. “It’s complicated,” I said, adding that this also applied to the matter of my travels.

She seemed to accept that, taking this to mean that I must have been living in the woods, somewhere off the grid. I had come across this phrase before as referring to people who prefer to live a simpler life, or sometimes wishing not to be noticed by the authorities. In either case, an avoidance of technology was involved. It seemed safe enough to let her continue with this assumption. I agreed that “off the grid” was a good way to put it and said that my daughter had been teaching me about technology. That also seemed a safer option than mentioning I had also learned from a demon that went by the name of Skeleton, and from my fae queen wife.

I decided to change the subject away from possibly risky territory towards something more plausible, like me needing a job, since I had mentioned my own involvement in the night club business. She had used the word “we” in respect of having a dress code, so I asked if she was part of the club management. She was not, but gave me some names – Mitch and Amythe who might be able to help. I recorded this in my trusty notebook, as has been my habit for many years. Then I noticed her expression and thought I would show that I did have some facility with modern technology by getting my phone out and making a similar note on that. Of course, being inexperienced, I managed to set off the music player by mistake, but that turned out to be a fortuitous accident, for it diverted the conversation onto more pleasing matters.

Wren had shown me how to download music onto the phone, so when I accidentally started the player, it started playing the Overture to the Mikado. I managed to stop it after a few bars, but that was enough for my new friend to recognise. She commented on me being caught between two technologies but complimented me on my taste in music and appreciation for the theatre. I told her I was pleasantly surprised to meet a fan of Gilbert & Sullivan, saying that too few people appreciated such things these days. I also thought I’d establish my more serious music credentials by singing a few lines of An die Freude. I told her a little about my mother and how she had raised me on fine literature, music and the other arts. She seemed most impressed that I had been raised in a cultured household. She used the word ‘classical’, which I thought quite amusing, as that word might well apply to my Victorian upbringing from her point of view. Of course, I didn’t mention that, but I did say I had practical skills too, learning the craft of building, and especially woodwork, from my father.

I did ask after her background, but I received no answer. She looked to be lost in thought for a while and then departed abruptly without a word. Perhaps some pager or phone message I had not noticed, or some other summons by means unknown. Or, for all I knew, she had suddenly grown bored and decided to leave. Either way, she did not return, and, lacking any other company, I decided I should return home. This place, whatever land it might be, intrigues me, so I shall explore further another day.

Another Time Another Place


If You Don’t Know Me By Now

According to the Bard, the night before the big battle, Henry V went among his men, disguised in a borrowed cloak to see how they fared and what they were thinking. His reasoning being that they would not know him without the trappings of his rank and would thus give a more honest response. Of course, not everything he heard was to his liking, but such are the perils of going incognito.

It would make sense that most of the men in that army would not know their king by his face, because there were many of then and only a few would have occasion to see him save on the battlefield, when he would be fairly obvious.  One might have thought it would be harder to remain incognito here in Awenia. It is not a huge realm and both Gwyneth and I are not prone to hiding in our castle. Nevertheless, it is, apparently, possible.

Gwyneth and I had arranged to go out for dinner. Partly because we like to spend time together occasionally, as married couples do, and partly because we wanted to see how the eateries in town would deal with visitors in advance of us opening the realm. And so, we arranged to meet and eat.

Unfortunately, I arrived a little late, delayed by official business and by mistakenly going to the wrong restaurant at first. Now, I had expected a fairly informal, intimate dinner, and had dressed appropriately – what I gather is known as smart-casual, so I was somewhat surprised to find her there in full regalia, speaking to the kitchen and wait staff. I took it in my stride, complimented her on her beauty and commented that I felt woefully underdressed next to her.

Now, while I do not lack a sense of humour, I am not overly given to cracking jokes, however, this remark sent the entire restaurant staff into hysterical laughter. My beloved wife seemed equally amused, and even more so by my apparent bemused expression. I am not quite sure why, since bemused seems to have been my default state of mind since she entered my life.

We took our seats and perused the menu. After a few moments, she took pity on me and explained. Apparently, she had also dressed down for the occasion. The waiter who was supposed to be attending our table had somehow failed to recognise her and had been most insistent that this table was reserved for important guests and refused to allow her to sit. He had also told her that she was woefully underdressed for the establishment, which explained the laughter when I had applied the same description to myself. Apparently, he had insisted on standing his ground, continuing to refuse her, and continuing to not recognise her, despite the portrait on the wall, until she changed the glamour to appear in her full regalia.

The poor man was mortified to say the least, and tried begging her pardon. Which, I am sure my darling Gwyneth will grant him, eventually. In the meantime, she decided that he could be better put to work elsewhere and gave him into the tender care of Bran, suggesting that he might serve well as a footman. I cannot blame the man entirely, as he is apparently relatively new to Awenia and may not yet be fully familiar with its inhabitants or its leaders. And I have to give him credit for doing his job, albeit while labouring under a misapprehension. And, he provided some measure of entertainment too, even if I missed most of it.

After that, we had an excellent dinner, and the staff, no doubt wishing to avoid future careers below stairs at the castle, performed their tasks most efficiently. I am tempted to have a quiet word with Bran and suggest that he makes sure that establishments are fully briefed before we go out to dinner again, to avoid repetition of this embarrassment.  On the other hand, that might deprive us of future amusement and the opportunity to hear what the people think. Of course, with the latter, there is the risk that we, like Henry, might hear things not to our liking. I am not sure how I would feel about that, or how Gwyneth would like it either. I guess we’ll just have to see how things go.

If You Don’t Know Me By Now – Seal


A Room for Everything

I have limited experience of this modern marvel that is called television. And for what it can deliver, I have to agree that it is a marvel, even if the word itself, a bastard hybrid of Latin and Greek offends me somewhat. I am, it would seem, not the only one to think so. I was quite surprised to discover that C.P. Scott, a journalist and politician from my own time, experienced this marvel, presumably after I left that particular timeline, and commented something along the lines of “Television? The word is half Greek, half Latin. No good can come of it.”

I have to disagree with the latter part, but perhaps he did not live to see all that it could offer in terms of drama, documentaries (these programmes about the natural world are quite stunning) and even comedy, although I lack the cultural context that would enable me to understand much of the latter. Among the offerings that this medium offers seem to be rather a large number of programmes (I believe that is the correct word, although it seems that Americans prefer programs) devoted to the construction, acquisition, remodelling, refurbishment, decoration and furnishing of houses and homes. Father would have perhaps enjoyed the construction programmes; although I think he might have disapproved of the fascination such things seem to hold for people who would not know one face of a brick from the other.

Mother would probably have enjoyed those programmes about decorating and furnishing. This latter was something she often sought my opinion on, when we would sometimes travel to London to browse the stores for such things. I do not know why. Perhaps she enjoyed the company, or perhaps she appreciated my contrasting, if less well informed, opinion.  On music, poetry and literature, I can at least offer an informed opinion, but when it comes to soft furnishings and drapes and other such things, I could only offer an entirely subjective reaction. Perhaps that was all she needed. I was certainly happy enough to indulge her. I can almost hear her voice, commenting on the decisions made in some of these redecorating programmes and decrying their choice of colours or fabrics. Or perhaps she wouldn’t. While she was not a slavish follower of the latest fashions, she was well enough informed about them and understood the reasons for them, so she would probably have adapted well to the modern aesthetic.

One minor aspect of some of these programmes seems to involve the presenters, or possibly the potential buyers of a property, walking through and commenting on the use of the rooms. “This will make a great study” and “this would be ideal for the children’s bedroom” and such like. Now there I am on a firmer footing. Only a short while ago, my darling Gwyn summoned me to solicit my opinions with regard to our new official residence in Awenia, which opinions I was happy to supply, and she was seemingly happy to accept. Of course, we have both been somewhat busy since then, so implementation of those ideas is very much a work in progress. That is not an issue, since our private spaces are already established, and the more “public” areas of the castle are unlikely to be needed for a while.

In the meanwhile, I found myself attending to a similar task at another castle. My old home, the Castle of Mysthaven, is slowly reconstructing itself, albeit in a rather strange manner more reminiscent of a Perpendicular Gothic cathedral than a castle. Nevertheless, my castle is what it will be until such time as I can find a successor to the Lordship of Mysthaven. I took myself across the realms a few days ago, to see how things progressed. I did not encounter Aoibheann or my daughter, but I did meet with my stewards. They, much as Gwyn did recently, solicited my opinion of the allocation of function to the various rooms.

The entrance to the castle is suitably grand and imposing and will serve well as a general reception/waiting area, though obviously, it will need some furniture – bench seats, occasional tables and such like. A raised area, near the window, and at the bottom of the stairs looks like a good place to have informal meetings and discussions. A place for comfortable chairs and low tables, for chats with my stewards and people from the town over a pot of coffee and a few pastries. There was a large, impressive seat there. A magnificent construction of wood and leather, perhaps intended as some kind of throne. If I have to have a throne, I would rather something such as this than a gaudy affair of gilded, carved wood and red velvet. Maybe it will look better once in the proper place, rather than left here, presumably put down for some reason and not subsequently moved.

I was less pleased by the next room, which had a raised area at one side, clearly intended as some sort of dais for a throne, or possibly for an altar. I dismissed the latter out of hand, since I have no intention of taking up any religion for myself, much less imposing such on anybody else. For my personal preference, I would as soon dismiss the former idea out of hand too. I have no desire to sit upon a throne of any sort, much less hold audience from one in such a grand and imposing room. That said, much as the concept repels me, I can see there may be a necessity for such things. The people of Mysthaven are used to my informal ways, but visitors from elsewhere, even Faerie, may need to see the trappings of power and authority. Mornoth probably expects such things, and Bronwyn probably accepts the necessity, although I hope that what she will see is still her father, outside the formalities of court.

A semi-circular area off the throne room would serve well for gatherings and perhaps feasting and a more convivial setting for after the formal business of court. This should be a multipurpose area, and when not otherwise in use, will be a nice place to stand and look out over the town.

On the other side of the reception area, there are a couple of rooms that can be a meeting room, for more business-like meetings, and my office, for I should still have such in this new castle. Here I could receive visitors in a more private setting and sit and discuss matters of state, of trade, of treaties etc without the trappings of court. I could also have smaller formal meals here, which will be a little more cosy and comfortable than the main court room.

Up the stairs, of which there were many, were rooms that would serve well as guest quarters for those of my visitors I could not politely lodge at the tavern, and rooms that will serve well as my private chambers. I do not imagine that I will be spending a great deal of time here as my primary residence is always going to be the castle in Awenia, but, a Lord should have his private chambers, where I can retire from the business of being Lord of Mysthaven, and perhaps where I can receive more intimate guests, should I ever have any.

The vaults themselves do not seem to have changed that much. Maric’s laboratory looks pretty much as I remember it, as do the quarters for the men. I do not know why. Perhaps it is by design, but if that is so, then I might ask the question, as did Blake, “What immortal hand or eye, Could frame thy fearful symmetry?” It could be that the presence of the laboratory, and the aura of magic that surrounds it, have somehow protected them from change. Or, perhaps the process of change is not yet complete. For now, it is enough that there is some place familiar to me.

That logical part of my mind that was shaped by Father’s influence tells me that there should be further rooms to explore at the higher levels, especially given the height of the main tower, but I could not find any way to them. Perhaps, that too is a work in progress.

I did not see many others around the town. At the moment, the town seems subdued, quiet, with the townsfolk going about their business quietly scuttling from one place to another in case a building falls on their heads. Given the fluid mature of the realm, this is entirely possible and I can not blame them. They were pleased enough to see me, and some had questions regarding the disposition of the other buildings around the town square, but overall, they seemed as content as could be expected given the changes they are undergoing. My stewards have been doing an excellent job in my absence. Much as I would like to claim credit for that, they were already more than competent before I took the reigns. I would like to think, however, that they have learned something from me. Perhaps they have.

I gave further suggestions regarding the disposition and furnishing of the various rooms of the castle, and regarding the other buildings, but they were only suggestions. The townsfolk and my stewards have been a part of the town a lot longer than I have, and they likely know what is best. I took my leave then, and returned to Awenia and to my wife. There at least, although the castle is still new to me, is home.

A Room for Everything – 10,000 Maniacs





Into the Mist

I mentioned, in my last journal entry, a hankering to go travelling. I would have thought that I would have tired of it by now. I have travelled for most of my adult life.  There were all my years with the Haskins shipping company aboard the Carisbrooke Castle, Raglan Castle and Odiham Castle. Then there were my journeys in search of Katarina; journeys that came to naught, but did lead me, by and by, to London. There I sought atonement for a mistake I made in Richmond, Virginia with the lovely Vyktorya, only to find that she fared well enough and had found a home among the Sabbat. It was only years later, in Jasper Cove and later, Ashmourne Wylds, that I learned of her grisly fate from her adopted daughter, Sophia, also now lost to me through the vagaries of the fractured realities we both walked. And there  are other journeys – from London to Jasper Cove to Ashmourne Wylds to Mysthaven and finally to White Owl Island, which my memory still insists existed, and Awenia, which I now regard as home.

I have another home, of course, back in Mysthaven. That home I have neglected for too long, being too caught up in the affairs of the island and Awenia. And so, shortly before Yule, I took a journey there to see how things fared at my old home. In keeping with the theme of recent journal entries, I found that much there had changed, as once again, the realm has reshaped itself. Gone at least, are the floating lumps of rock, upon which much of the castle and village of Mysthaven rested. I am not sorry to see those gone, for they offended my sensibilities as a rational man. I have come to believe much that I would not normally have believed, but floating rocks was a hard one to accept. Of course, I did not dare give voice to such belief in case the rocks heard me and forgot how, which would have been somewhat of a disaster for all concerned.

No, this reshaped realm seems, thus far anyway, to be very much rooted in terra firma, so I can cross villagers falling off of the edge from my list of things to worry about. The mists remain, but the world seems darker than I remember. Most of the buildings have changed and there is more stone and ironwork than I remember. In some ways, with the stone and iron and the gloom, it reminded me of when I first arrived on the Isle of Legacies. Most of all, the castle had changed. It loomed much larger and in a very different style to that which it had been, seeming in places to resemble a cathedral as much as anything. Given that Maric had shaped the castle from the bones of his sire and tormentor, it made sense that the castle should be malleable and changeable, even if it had not changed when the landscape reformed itself before. The process of change was clearly ongoing, as everything still seemed to be in a state of flux and I was reminded of times I had been to the construction sites with my father when buildings were as yet unfinished.

I did not get much opportunity to explore, for my attention was distracted by a familiar shape, or so I thought – a distinctly feline shape dressed largely in black. My heart skipped a beat for a moment, but when I got a closer look, it was not that other queen of my life, Valene. Whoever it was, I did not get a chance to discover for she slipped away into the shadows before I could speak. And then, there was another familiar shape, if a little wilder and more fae in appearance than I remembered. Aoibheann, Mother of Trees was there. I smiled and greeted my long-lost friend, saying it had been far too long.

This seemed to confuse her for a moment as she started to say that she had only just spoken to me before changing her mind and wishing me a good evening. This is perhaps not surprising; as it was likely time had passed differently here, or for her, than it had for me. Her next question confounded me somewhat, asking if I had ever found that violin. For a moment I could only think of Wren’s violin that I had long ago promised to restore for her after it had gotten wet on her travels. I was wrong; it was Maric’s violin to which she referred. She said that she understood that the castle and the village were mine, and that she did not contest that, or that I could guard it better, especially in her current state, but that she would like something of his, even if she feared that she might destroy even that. She paused a moment, seemingly choking slightly on her words and asked if I could hear the howls.

I had to profess that I had not, but then, I had been back in the realm but a few minutes and had not fully adjusted. I reached out with my other senses, but could sense nothing, at least, not in that brief moment. I did not know what she feared, but afterwards wondered if it was the cŵn that she had heard. Since I could sense nothing at the time, I addressed her other concerns. The castle and the village were mine only in the sense that Maric had appointed me guardian and protector, but that did not make them my property. I assured her that anything within the castle, or without, she may have, save that I preferred to keep the library intact if I could, and so would reserve judgement on any books she might desire. Mention of Maric brought back that sense of loss and sadness that he was gone from us. I had loved him too, I told her. Perhaps not in the same way, but nevertheless, I had loved him. I promised that as and when the castle had finished rebuilding itself, I would take account of the castle and its contents and anything she wished, including the violin if I found it, he could have with my blessing.

There was more on her mind, as is often the case with her. She composed herself before continuing. She had awoken something, she told me, but she did not know what. She loved him too, loved him still, but was concerned for the realm. Her heart grew wylder and she feared what might come of that. Everything slumbered, she said – the realm, and the mallorn trees, Ardan and Awnye. Something was wrong. Perhaps it was her doing or perhaps it was the King and Queen’s, she did not know. All she did know was that she was dangerous and it was a danger that the people of Mysthaven deserved a reprieve from.

I sighed inwardly. I had heard such talk from her before, but I could not tell for certain if this was yet more drama of the sort that always surrounds her, or that something was going on. Since I know longer know exactly what Aoibheann is, I could not say for certain that she was not a danger. She may be. Not through malevolence or intent, but perhaps through impetuousness or something implicit in her nature that might bring danger from others. I reached out my senses again, touching the castle. There was trouble there, I could tell, but from that brief touch I could not tell what that might be, whether it be the pangs of the reshaping or some other cause. Mention of the King and Queen gave me cause to reach out further, to my beloved daughter, Bronwyn. This troubled me somewhat, for, while I could sense her, I could not tell where she was, nor could I communicate. I did not sense any immediate danger, but it troubled me nevertheless.

My watch reminded me that, back in Awenia, it was time for dinner, and I had promised Gwyn that I would return to eat with her. I told Aoibheann that I would reach out to the King and Queen and see how things fared with them, and that I should also reach out to Queen Teuta, since she was so tightly bound with the castle. I bade her well, then, and left her, to return to my other home, and to my wife. I only spoke of it briefly with Gwyn, since she has more or less cut herself off completely from that former life and has no further interest in Mysthaven. That is easier for her, since she was able to pass on her duties and responsibilities to Mornoth and Bronwyn. I did not have that luxury, and will not until such time as I can pass on my burden, if ever. After that, I spoke no more of it, and gave my attention to the business of organising our new home. Indeed, I gave it no further thought until the celebrations were over. Some time soon, I must return and see what passes there now. It is still, in part, my home, and I miss my daughter.

Eivør – Í Tokuni



The Year Turns Around Again

I was born in 1853. That much I know for certain. I was married to my dear Alexandra in 1880. I lost her to the pains of childbirth in 1885, the same year that Katarina took me from the mortal life I had known and thrust me into this world of darkness before vanishing from my life. For six years, I wandered, seeking answers and seeking her, until I fetched up on the Isle of Legacies, that strange mirror of the London I had once known. That was in 1891. That was the last time, until now, that I knew for certain what year it might be. Since then, I have known only the turning of the wheel of the year; not by the numbers on the calendar, but by the passage of the sun and stars. And so it was through the time that passed in Jasper Cove, Ashmourne Wylds and Mysthaven. I could not say for certain how many years, for I was not as assiduous as I could have been in recording the passage of time in my journal, but I suspect at least five.

But now, once again, I am back in what passes for the normal passage of time. I followed my heart, following my wife across the realms to the 21st century. I followed her to the year 2017 of the Common Era, which phrase I am told is now preferred to the Anno Domini that was the habit in my time. For the first time in many a year, I once more knew both where and when I was. I was on an island in Puget Sound. I found myself, once again, managing a bar. I found myself learning the basics of the marvel that is the Internet. I found that human nature has not changed in the 126 years since I left the world I once knew and had to deal with those who would hate another for what they were.

So my memory tells me. The rest of the world, as I recorded in an earlier journal entry, thinks otherwise. I do not yet know why. Whatever other disparities there may be between my memories and those of the world, the time itself has not changed. It is still 2017, if only for a short while longer. I am grateful that I will get to spend this New Year’s Eve in the company of Gwyn, my beloved wife and our close friends. The house is not yet completely organised as we might wish, but the important parts, the library and private chambers are already a home. And so, we shall celebrate, quietly, but in good company.

What the coming year will bring, I do not know. There is much to be done in preparing Awenia for when it becomes an open faerie realm, arrangements to be made, negotiations with the Consilium Arcanum etc. There will be times I will not be needed and I have a hankering for travel. The possibilities are endless. Between the Shadow Roads and my own abilities to walk the realms, I could go almost anywhere. The biggest problem is choosing where. In the meanwhile, I will go join my wife and friends to ring in the New Year.



Hi there. While Nathaniel goes off to celebrate, I, Nathaniel’s chronicler and typist, am going to take over. 2017 has not been the most productive year for this journal. Role play, for various reasons, has been thin on the ground for Nathaniel and my other characters. That said, it has still been a productive year. I’ve worked on various other projects at the Daily Dash in Milk Wood, the best writing community in Second Life, and on stuff not related to Second Life. I even had a go at Nanowrimo. Of course, as with every other year I have attempted Nano, real life intervened and stole most of my writing time during November. Despite that, I achieved more words than I might otherwise have done. I don’t do resolutions, but I plan on being a bit more disciplined with regards to writing in the coming year.

I also hope to get more role play in. Nathaniel’s home sim is unlikely to be up and running for role play for a few months, but I hope to take him on a grand tour of other sims in the meanwhile. And, with a bit of luck, my other characters will get some playtime in too.

To all those who have stuck with me over the years, and those few who have sampled the contributions from Albert, Katarina, Francois and Ben, I thank you for your patience. I wish you all a happy, prosperous and productive New Year. Many thanks to all the fellow role-players without whom none of Nathaniel’s adventures could have happened. In particular, Faermorn, Dyisi, Wren, Kit and especially Gwen, a blogger, photographer, role-player, friend and all round wonderful person who also portrays Gwyn, Nathaniel’s wife.  I’ll now return you to Nathaniel…

Oh! He seems to be busy with Gwyn. Oh my goodness, I didn’t know you could do that with a bottle of rum and a bunch of mistletoe… maybe we’ll just leave it there.

The Year Turns Around Again 

Plus ça Change


The French have a saying – “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” which translates as “the more it changes, the more it’s the same thing,” or, as most people would express it, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” In my last diary entry, I quoted Heraclitus saying how everything changes and made reference to how my Gwyneth rebuilds the landscape and our home in the faerie realm, Awenia, as often as she changes her dress or her hair. These words were maybe, accidentally, prophetic, for it seemed but a few hours since I committed those words to paper that I received a text message from my beloved – “We’re Moving. Obviously Yule Decorations Will Come First.”  I have become used to such things with Gwyneth. She is as changeable as the weather and as constant as the sun and the stars, and I love her for that. I could see that some, perhaps living under more normal circumstances, might feel that something as important as moving house deserves a slightly less peremptory notification, but our circumstances have long ceased to be normal. Besides, even before I was able to walk between worlds with the same ease that others walk down the street, I was used to a nomadic existence. For much of the year, my home was my cabin aboard ship – the Carisbrooke Castle, the Raglan Castle and the Odiham Castle and, until the sea took her from me, the Bold Admiral, and so far as your surroundings are concerned, nothing is as changeable as the sea.

“Plus ça change…” The more things change…  The landscape of Awenia may change, the shape, size and location of our home may change, but some things will remain the same. This will still be our official residence. We will still have parts of our home that are not really ours – those that belong to the people we serve. We will still have those parts that are reserved for our more intimate guests and friends, and those that are ours alone. It was thus in the faerie home in the Wylds. It was thus in the castle at Mysthaven. It was thus in the tree-house here in Awenia. And it will be thus in this new home. Such is the way of things for those of us who are called to serve the people as their leaders. This service is far from what either of us, my beloved Gwyn or I, would have chosen, but, it is a service we accept with, I hope, good grace.

Having been so peremptorily notified of our move, I immediately curtailed my activities, which were of no great importance, and made my way to Awenia to see what our new home might be.  I was pleasantly surprised. It is not the cottage by the sea that I have long promised Gwyn, but as an official residence, it will more than suffice. This new castle, unlike our tree-house, it does not require ladders to access the front door, which will be a great improvement for me, even though I mostly flew rather than climbed. It is also, so far as I have been able to determine, not constructed from the bones of an ancient vampire, nor haunted by the ghost of a 2,000 year old queen.  In these respects, it has many advantages compared to previous residences. In general appearance, it seems to be a series of overlapping and interconnected octagonal towers, pleasantly arranged in a way that flows naturally from one to the other. It was on this matter that Gwyn wished to consult with me; seeking my ideas as to the usage, furnishing and décor for the rooms. Normally, I am content to leave such things to her, so it was a pleasant surprise to be asked.

Of course, she had already made a start by the time I got there – moving stuff in crates by means of magic. My remark that this was perhaps not seemly for a queen was not well received. I am more used to men in brown overalls carrying stuff, but perhaps such people are in short supply in faerie. I concentrated on the functional side of things, since my aesthetic is firmly rooted in the Victorian, which might well have suited the style of the building, but may not necessarily be appropriate for the modern day.  I did offer ideas regarding the furnishing, but only so far as they were relevant to the suggested function. The main doors opened into two overlapping octagons, so I ventured that this should be the most public area of the castle, a reception area where we could receive guests, hold meetings, have cocktail parties, balls and such like. A small room off of that would serve well as the office for the purpose of official business, much as my office did in the castle in Mysthaven.

Another octagonal room from the main receiving area would serve well as a dining room, where official visitors and larger groups of personal visitors could be entertained, and a further room beyond that could be a lounge/withdrawing room where we could relax with guests after dinner, a place for port and brandy and cigars. I envisaged that this sequence of rooms would also represent a gradual transition from the public to the more private. The main reception area would be for any guests, whereas the dining room and lounge would be for those guests we have more of a relationship with, be they diplomats and official representatives or personal friends, and those few that are both.

Upstairs, I envisaged as being more the private parts of the residence, though there would be guest quarters for our official visitors and friends. It was here that I was reminded of some of the many reasons I love Gwyn. We have only had the castle for a short while, but Gwyn has her priorities, which I find are much in accord with mine. While the rest of the building is largely given over to crates and miscellaneous furniture brought from the tree-house, upstairs, she had already decorated and furnished the library and our private chambers. Even in this short time, she has already made it a home. There is also a Christmas tree in the library. Apparently, this is now a tradition, though it was a new thing that the Prince Albert introduced in my era. The library is a good place for it, as it is possibly the only room tall enough. I am glad she did so. It will make it a home, and we can celebrate Yule together in it.

There remains much to be done. Decisions on the function of the other rooms, furnishing and decorating them, but we have time. It will be some months before we will be receiving official visitors other than the people of the town. Gwyn has opened discussions with Arcturus Treem, the local representative of the Consilium Arcanum, with regard to opening our faerie realm to humans and other folk. Yes, the Consilium still exists, albeit in a somewhat different form, and some folk, like Arcturus are still here and remember the way things were before the change, or the Cataclysm, as he apparently called it. Her initial discussions with him were productive and he seemed in favour of the idea, but these things take time. That is a good thing, as it gives us time to prepare. And I look forward to it, because this is something where I think I could be of help. While things may be different here in this reality, some things have not changed, and that includes the various manners and protocols involved in dealings between the fae and humankind. Here, at least, I have experience, from drawing up the Accords that we had between Mysthaven and Faerie, and I am sure I could help in these negotiations too.

Talking of Mysthaven, I have neglected it too long, and I miss my friends. I must visit there soon.

Plus ça Change

Everything Changes

There is a line, oft misquoted, from Heraclitus – “πάντα χωρεῖ καὶ οὐδὲν μένει” or, roughly translated, “Everything changes and nothing stands still”. An odd snippet to remember from my school days, but one that is entirely appropriate to my life. Or, perhaps I should say, lives, for I feel sometimes that I have been living several. One was a relatively ordinary life as a gentleman of the 19th century; the mild-mannered accountant who went to sea as a ship’s purser. And then, everything changed. Katarina, my friend and my lover, who, by unfortunate circumstance, became my sire and took me from that world into a far stranger one, a world of darkness, filled with strange creatures that I had previously believed to be myth, and now, I was one of them.

And that took me, by and by, to the Isle of Legacies, in a London at once strange and familiar, where I led a somewhat less ordinary life, to some extent anyway. Yes, I was still an accountant, but I extended my skills to managing night clubs and bars and becoming city treasurer. In that sense, it was still ordinary, but, I consorted with faeries, dragons, werewolves and other vampires, and I was confidant and friend to the Prince of the Vampires even. So, in many ways, it was definitely a life less ordinary.

But then, everything changed again. That London I knew slipped away, lost in some unfathomable dimension deep in the Nexus. I escaped, and circumstance brought me to Jasper Cove, and from there, to the Wylds, and the town of Mysthaven. Many changes happened in those years. I changed in many ways, and those changes have been documented in these very pages, in this neglected diary I have otherwise kept for most of my life, and so I need not relate them further.

But change is never done with me, or with the world. I have neglected this diary for some months now, while I adjusted to a new life, dividing my time between Mysthaven and the 21st century. And now, I am doubting my own memory. More so, since I have not yet recorded the happenings of those months as has been my habit for so many years. And so, I doubt my own recollection, for something else has changed. In the time that my pen has been absent from these pages, my memory tells me I lived in the 21st century. That I lived in a place called White Owl Island, a sanctuary in Puget Sound, where beings like me could be open about what they are, instead of concealing themselves as they have to do in the rest of the world, a concealment that was achieved in collusion with the mundane authorities. That is how I remember the world being. I remember troubled times. Despite our best efforts to conceal our existence, we had to deal with threats from hate groups who had learned of our existence and resented that. I remember having to deal with the way they threatened to expose those of us who dwelled among the ordinary people, and some of those who took refuge on the island. I remember that the threats escalated, to arson and murder, even attacks on the island itself. These things are distinctly there, in my memory.

But something changed. The world has changed, and I don’t know how. I am still in the 21st century, but White Owl Island no longer exists, and somehow, in this changed world, it has never existed. Some of us, me, Gwyn, Skeleton, Dyisi and a few others, somehow managed to flee to Faerie and we remember, but most others do not. To others, there was never a White Owl Island. Nor was there a need for such a place. Somehow, in this changed world, there was never any need to hide. Vampires, faeries, werewolves, satyrs and such like are a normal part of the world, no more unusual than a Frenchman or an Arab or an Eskimo. I do not know how this can be, for I remember the world otherwise.

Perhaps reality has altered, or I have walked, somehow into some alternative history.  That old sorcerer, John Dee, the man once known to me as Grayson and then as the demon, Alex, for I cannot not now consider him as anything other, speculated on such things in the journal he gave me. Is it possible that somewhere, perhaps in my travels between the realm of Mysthaven and here, I took a wrong turning, into some different timeline? I do not know. All I know is that there is a difference between what I remember as my reality, and what I now experience as reality. This is not like the other changes I have related. When I became a vampire, the past I knew up until that point still existed. As did the pasts I remember from the Isle of Legacies, from Jasper Cove, and the various phases of the Wylds and Mysthaven. Some of those places are now lost, but at no point has “reality” denied that they once existed. Only this change seems to have changed the past, erased that which only a few of us now remember, and made a new present that is both strange to us, and, at the same time, a past we have always known.  It is a dichotomy that I can not yet understand.

Some things however, despite Heraclitus’ assertion, do stand still. This faerie realm that Gwyn named Awenia, which was, in our memory, adjacent to White Owl Island, is, so far as I can tell, still the same faerie I knew. It, at least, is constant, or as constant as anything can be, given my beloved wife’s habit of changing the landscape and homes as often as she changes her clothes or hairstyle.  And she, my beloved Gwyneth, although she has grown from the pint-sized, potty-mouthed polymath barmaid I once fell in love with, to the regal queen she is now, is still, at the core, the same beautiful person she always was. She is still my life, my love, my guiding star. Some might find our love strange, with our other lovers, our separate travels, our often very different lives.  It may seem odd, I’ll grant, to those who only see us from the outside, but they are not us. Whatever else passes, we always have each other, and always will. That much, at least, is constant, and something I can rely upon, no matter what else changes. One gift that Alex gave us was the ability to be our own anchors, but we also have another anchor, each other. Perhaps, some day, we will come to understand how and why the reality we knew changed; or perhaps we may never know. As long as we have each other, that will be enough.

Rachel Sermanni – Everything Changes