Words By Beq Janus
Pictures By Judith Lefevre & Beq Janus
Hear that? A horde is coming. Big one. The final weekend of the Faire will bring more denizens of the Grid World to our shores than all previous days combined. They will shop, explore, dance, and hunt in our beloved Realms. And they will depart with much more than the items they buy. They’ll carry away seeds of Faireland magic within themselves. In the rich soil of their dreams those seeds will grow, That’s the gift you will have given them…….We have raised $14,842 so far. More is coming. Hear it?– Zander Greene, Friends Fighting Cancer
My thanks to the whole RFL team, the Fantasy Faire team, sponsors, designers, patrons, shop-keepers, visitors and bloggers. Together we create one of the best events on the virtual realms. – Elicio Ember
Yesterday, on Day 6 of Fantasy Faire 2012 we marvelled at the ingenuity of mankind, in Alia Baroques homage to Atlantis, The Tides. Today, the waves lapping about our knees (or necks for the petites amongst out merry band of travellers), we find ourselves in a region that embraces the sea, it flora, fauna and mythos, combining man and marine.
Welcome to Siren’s Secret, sponsored by Booshies who along with the petites seem to have been somewhat of a hit this Faire. The region was built by Elicio Ember of Cerridwen’s Cauldron, whose beautiful handiwork we have already encountered at the start of our tour in The Ruins of Nu Orne
Building two entire sims is no small undertaking and Elicio started over two months ago, well before the actual sims were available, just to make sure that he had enough time to do them justice. I think we can say, without fear of dispute, that it was two months well spent. In siren’s Secret, Elicio has been able to express his passion for the sea.
I had always had a thing for the sea…and I wondered where a water-dwelling being would retreat to. Where do Siren’s and Tritons go to when not dealing with the land-dwellers so to speak.
Siren’s Secret is very much a tale of two worlds. The one above and the one below, each has its own essential beauty and blends with the other. As someone who lives in an undersea region, I share Elicio’s passion and will be taking many inspirations from this wonderous place back home to update my aging build, however far too few Second Life residents even realise that there is an undersea.
Many places on the grid have a sea that is barely deep enough to swim in, and there are places, where magical submarine landscapes exist, far too few but they can be found.
We will begin, upon the surface where mighty steel and glass structures rise from the sea. Influenced by early 20th Century architecture, there is a distinctly Art Nouveau leaning to the architecture. This is in part because the organic forms often found in Northern European Art Nouveau in particular were influenced by the marine world.
Elicio uses the sea-horse and snail, with fish and kelp or sea weed, each wrought from brass and turned verdigris by the actions of nature.
I cannot help but see a part of the Paris metro whenever I look at the wonderful jellyfish domed gazebos that form the teleport pad and other gathering points.
Some of the store owners have taken Elicio’s lead, employing waves and spray in their store decor to great effect.
The real beauty of the sim, the secret of the Siren for which it is named, is not up here with the air-breathers. Time to take mer-form and plunge into the depths, towels will be provided at the exit.
The undersea world of Siren’s Secret is a richly coloured coral garden, the perfect playground for Merfolk and other sea creatures. At first it may seem a little sparse, flat expanses of rippled sand cover the gaps between the reefs and rocks, but this is quite realistic and typical of many reef environments. The rippled sand is the Mermaid’s lawn, and the reefs are her flowerbeds.
That is not to suggest that Elicio’s creations are echoing the real world. Much like the flora seen in his land-side builds, the plant-life here draws from nature but twists it to fantastical creations. Giant anemones wave their tentacles, a phosphorescence shimmering across their surface as they feed on the tiny organisms carried by the tides.
Gargantuan Jellyfish, their deadly stinging tentacles dangling beneath them, float nonchalantly over towering sponges and sea squirts, arrayed with colourful plant life.
The man-made world is never far away. The ancient remains of a long-boat that presumably never made land fall in Shadow’s Claw has become part of the reef. Its ribs exposed and colonised by plants and fish, it has become a home for marine life and a playground for the Merchins (cheeky Merchildren).
Elicio wanted to create a place where the Merfolk would go to when they tire of seducing sailors to their doom. If you look carefully when you visit you may see the Merfolk at play. If you visit the stores you could even join them.
The architecture from the surface extends beneath the water, integrating beautifully with the ocean. The graceful forms both alien and yet at home. Great verdigris arches stretch spectacularly up from seabed, and the mer swim slalom through the supports of the walkways above.
But not all is beauty and wonderment. Look carefull and you will find the sinister presence of the ancient god Cthulhu, reaching out ominously to grab the unaware.
I truthfully hope that many of you will think more often of the beauty of the ocean in Second Life, the largely untapped potential for creativity such as this.
And with a promise to the waves for a speedy return, we clamber back on to land, shed our scales and wade up the ramp leading to our next destination in the Faire lands. A chain of volcanic islands, known simply as the Devil’s Locket. Join us tomorrow when we see Steampunk with a desert twist.
As we prepare to leave, we spy a small group of Merchins, each folding a paper boat and giggling as they push about on the waves. It seems they have been “borrowed” from the careless humans who discarded them. I am not so sure they were discarded though, but I am sure that many more will be making paper boats this weekend