The first Duchess Loch Avie, Shenlei Flasheart, started this tradition in January 2007, and I am honored to have been able to continue to hold this beautiful ball each year, first in my role as Duchess Loch Avie, then as the Lady of Skye in Winterfell. Although I have had a change in my Second Life - less time in world, a move to a smaller and more modern parcel of land - I am proud to continue to hold those title and to play those roles when I am in my beloved Steamlands. And this is one of the three traditions that I hold near and dear to my heart. I'll not stop holding this ball until the gods of the electronic world see fit to remove me entirely.
Snowflake by William Baer
Timing’s everything. The vapor rises
high in the sky, tossing to and fro,
then freezes, suddenly, and crystallizes
into a perfect flake of miraculous snow.
For countless miles, drifting east above
the world, whirling about in a swirling free-
for-all, appearing aimless, just like love,
but sensing, seeking out, its destiny.
Falling to where the two young skaters stand,
hand in hand, then flips and dips and whips
itself about to ever-so-gently land,
a miracle, across her unkissed lips:
as he blocks the wind raging from the south,
leaning forward to kiss her lovely mouth.