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Jan. 31st, 2008



A letter

 This letter was left in a secret pool deep in the hedge . . . 

Dear Seamus,


My dear brother, I am leaving this note for you in this strange spot I’ve found here in the hedge.  It reminds me more than I can tell you of that one hidden hollow by the willow roots where we played as cubs.  I am indulging a foolish hope that my heart has led me close enough to you that you will find this.  I know you will probably never will, at least not here, but I am afraid to send a more direct message in case I should put you and the family in danger again.


If you should get this, please tell everyone that I miss you all terribly.  It has been 6 long months since I left.  I miss the cozy dens that straddled the worlds, the River Games played in and out of the water, the lazy swims, the fresh fish that tastes of home. 


Still, I suppose it is my own fault.  It haunts me, how close we all were to discovery.  I should have been more careful.  I never dreamed that that man (I know that you warned me he was too attracted, but I didn’t want to believe you about the danger.) followed me to the river.  He saw me put on my skin.  And he knew right then.  Because he knew the old tales.  Thank the Water that you saw him and warned me. 


I get goosebumps when I think what might have happened if he had found my skin when he broke in.  Because of your warning, I had it with me.  Otherwise, I might have been the Silkie in the old tales trapped by a man who hid her skin away and so had control of her.  Better to have run than that.  Tell me, did the glamour work?  Does he remember?  Grandmother thought it would probably hold if he did not ever see me again, but I worry.  Should I be looking over my shoulder for him, even here?


I am more careful now.  None of the ordinary men here seem to be paying me too much attention.  A fanatic is a very good disguise.  They see only the crazy environmentalist, and not the woman, or the silkie.  A pretty woman, but crazy, and not worth tramping near the river for.  Thank the Water.


However, I do not want you to think these last months have been nothing but worry and homesickness.  Probably less for me than for you.  I like this school and this place I now call home (You know it’s best if I don’t say too much).  On dry land, the passions and pleasures of the people here keep me fed and healthy.  I have found many swimming companions.  There is a group of otters near here, and I have become fast friends with the leader browncoat and his mate swimfast.  To them, I am wetdryfey.  As you can tell from their name for me, they know I straddle the worlds and thankfully do not care as long as I play and fish and keep the human messes away.


More even than swimming companions, I am finding myself a part of a group here.  We might even become a family.  There are many changlings in these parts, and they are all very different from me, but I seem to be drawn to a few of them.  The first is a pookah, a rabbit.  She is foolish and flighty and more loyal than I ever expected.  Then there is a unicorn who loves her horses and believes the best of everyone.  Finally, less often we are joined by a temple fox or a troll.  Of all of these, I am perhaps the least naïve.  That may worry you, Seamus, as you always did think I was too impractical, but don’t.  Together, we have faced some amazing things.  The most impressive by far is that we bested the Hunter and a few of his Hounds before Christmas.  Yes, that Hunter.  With these companions, I am strong and safe.


Speaking of strength, I have developed a new power that I wish I could show you.  Remember Grandmother’s tale of her mother in Scotland who could be more than just a regular otter  silkie?  I may have the same gift.  When we bested the Hunt, I acquired the skin of a Hound.  I’ve found that I can wear this the same as my otter skin and take that shape as well.  It runs more slowly on land than I can fly through the water, but the power of a wolf is very tempting.  Especially if I am ever cornered again.  I don’t know yet if I can do this with any creature as great-grandmother Morag could, but the second form makes me wonder . . .


In any case, I hope that you find this letter, Seamus.  Tell Mom and Dad, and all the family that I love them.  And if you do find this by some miracle of the Water, please leave a reply here with news of home.


                                                                                    Much Love,


Jan. 23rd, 2008



about the stable

Many years ago, a benefactor donated the stable and horses to the University, along with a fund to maintain it and to support a stable-boy – now called a groomsperson (which also happens to be how I earn my way). Due to my interest in horses and the fact that there is little competition vying for this particular job, I have been handling the stables and horses for some time and expect I'll have the job until I don't want it anymore.

Few people realize how old the stable is (dates back into the 1800's) and even fewer realize there are secret passages built into it. Not that I'm about to let just anyone in on it, but it's a good thing to know about.

This is a relatively small stable, with only 10 stalls, 5 on each side of an isle 3 feet wide. It also has a tack room at the end of the building – by going all the way down the isle, you reach it and the stairs leading to the loft. The loft is half the size of the ground floor and has a 1.5 foot shelf that runs the perimeter of the building – just enough to walk (carefully) around.

It is in the loft area that I've made myself at home – I’ve a small cot up there, a chair, table, lamp, microwave (electricity was installed relatively recently – in 1980's), mini fridge, an old wardrobe, and bookcases made of 2x4's and cement bricks. All in all, I’m pretty comfortable. I’ve rigged up a bathroom in a tiny lean-to off the stables where water is piped in for watering the horses.

As for the stalls, rarely are they all used and in the event that we have more than 10 boarding, there are some outside stalls available. There are 3 permanent boarders from around the area, with the number swelling temporarily during semesters to maybe an addition 2-3. It’s a good number, any more than that and I have to put in pretty long days to keep them groomed, fed & watered, exercised, and amused. Sometimes the owners are very hands on – which reduces my workload considerably and sometimes they aren't. I find the hands-on people are more likely to be down2earth and friendly folks – but that's not always the case either.

Well .. time to go check on them. Perhaps I'll get around to introducing the regular guests sometime.

Jan. 15th, 2008



Christmas Eve birthing

It's been very quiet here in Peoria. Everyone seems to have laid low studying for exams and heading off for the winter break. I haven't seen hide nor tail of the priest, Asuka, or Fiona. The first snows have a tendency to quieten the world, making things seem new-born, fresh, and innocent.

Speaking of new-born, I had the privilege of being present at a birthing on Christmas Eve. There's something so magical about witnessing the beginning of life. No matter what is going on in the world at large or my own little corner of it, it all takes a back seat to those few precious moments when breath is first inhaled and the cry of life is uttered.

Having experienced the grief of the life-leaving of several who held importance in my life, this life-coming filled my heart till I thought it would burst and in the midst of that joy, so was the sorrow for those no longer. Yet, somehow that was right in its own way too. Never to forget and to appreciate more fully the beginnings of this new one because of the loss felt for the others. I felt their spirits ringing us at the birthing. Tears of joy .. sorrow.. hope .. marking the cycle of life.

Two emotions surprised me in their appearance due to this witnessing .. humility and trust.

Humility because I know myself better for having participated in the birthing and not simply know myself better, but also accept myself more -- as no more than I am *and* no less than I am.

Trust in that the guidance of this new life is in the right hands - no need to attempt to control, patrol, or urge my views or needs upon it - but, rather, that those in whose hands it is are the right ones. That their inevitable errors will be recoverable, forgivable ones that provide teaching moments instead of shattering or lessening of the tender soul placed into their care. The ease with which this has occurred for me - this lack of needing to hover over them, making sure it's done right - is a welcomed surprise.


Nov. 17th, 2007



Hallowed Eve

Things have been interesting in Peoria lately. First, I met someone whose name I still have to figure out. For some reason she keeps changing it. I don't know why. And she seems to have a really hard time telling the truth. I *thought* I'd figured out a way to get around that by just taking the opposite of what she's saying. Turns out that doesn't work as well as you might think. Sometimes there's no "opposite" as in the name~du~jour and she seems to have caught onto to that technique as well and the last time we were hanging around together her fibs weren't "opposite" fibs. Still, when things were getting scary, she did revert back to the opposite type fibs. This is leading me to think that she can't really control her lack of truth-saying - because when she had important information she told us her lies in a way that we could figure out the correctness of it. I don't know what she's doing in Peoria, but despite her lying ways, I like her. Because I don't know what her real name is - and you know lots of people don't want to tell their true name (like me), but at least have a consistent not-true name - I'm calling her Asuka. Asuka is Japanese (明日香) meaning fragrance of the bright day. That seems very suited to her personality so far.

Then, there's the foxy priest. It took me a while to figure out that she was a good guy - at least I think she is. She's harder to figure out than Asuka. Of course I've never encountered someone quite like her before. She can do super-terrific tricks like make paper things that do stuff! I have a sneaky suspicion that she has a secret agenda. Still, she was a huge help during the events that happened on Hallowed Eve.

Finally, I met Fiona on Hallowed Eve day. She is newly arrived to Peoria and is a student at the University. I don't know very much about her yet, except that she had skills that helped us fight off some pretty bad guys.

So, there we are four females - (well, the foxy priest is sorta a-gender-ish .. haven't been able to positively identify her as a her yet) - who seem to be forming a loosely aligned fighting-off-the-bad-shit-quartette.

We had our first major battle on Hallowed Eve - but the horses are calling for me right now, so I'll tell that story another time.

Ayumi - my true name which means "walk your own way" (歩)

Nov. 4th, 2007



Settled in Peoria

I started grad school in Peoria this fall, and am settling down nicely. I have made a few friends, altough they are a little more interesting than I expected in Peoria. One is a Japanese temple priest, another runs the school stables, and one just sort of wanders around. I'm not sure what she does, but she seems to be around a lot.

I have spent lots of time learning the Fox River, which is where my dissertation research will be based. It is a nice river with many nearby wetlands perfect for otter colonies.

Private: I miss my family, but the dangerous internet stalker doesn't seem to have found me yet. I have also found a nice safe place for my skin. None of the other graduate students suspect anything.

Nov. 3rd, 2007

naomi cooner


Naomi Cooner: A Raccoon Girl on September 19, 2007

Mama always said that you should never talk to strangers. But, what you do when everyone is a stranger? I mean, everyone in my family lives in a den next to the shinesty river in the entire world. It sparkles all day and all night and I like to spend all my time cleaning off the pretties I find in the forest.

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This is the first entry for the College of Veils. I'm planning on doing in-character journal posts like the players, mainly to add details from interesting characters that come up during the game. That and I like writing in character.

Oct. 9th, 2007

Ocean Cuddle


Welcome to the College!

Welcome to the College of Veils community. This is intended to be an in-character journal of the various players who are in a Changeling/Hero System game. I'm playing the storyteller for this game which runs every four weeks. Since not everyone can make it, the journal posts are a way of getting extra experience for purposes of keeping up with the players.