Words By Beq Janus
Pictures By Judith Lefevre
I noticed it early on. Monday? Three letters on the back of a clam shell in Sirens. “O.F.F.” I saw them again Wednesday, this time in Nu Orne under the cap of an enormous mushroom. Intriguing. And again tonight, under a dragon’s leg in Shadow. Don’t ask. Finally, I checked with Faireland wizard Matt Anthony. Did he know what the strange letters meant. “What do you know, ” he asked softly, “about the Occupy the Fantasy Faire movement?” Cue lightening & music…Day 7. $16,133 US. We are the 100% 😉– Zander Greene, Friends Fighting Cancer
It is Day 8, and we have traveled through many lands, been captivated (and even captured) in the imaginative worlds created by the designers here at Fantasy Faire. There is a constant to this, a common background that knits these themes together. Every build is a statement of defiance, every store a prayer of hope, every visitor a whisper of unity, every dollar a blow against Cancer, the unweaver of families and lives.
Today we enter, Devil’s Locket, a small chain of islands that earned its name for the treacherous navigation of its waters and the amazing, but explosive, firegems that are mined from its volcanic depths.
It is the creation of Lauren Thibaud of Lauren at the landing, under the sponsorship of Maxwell Graf of Rustica.
This is Maxwell’s first time at the Fantasy Faire, and those that know him, will also know that he holds some strong views about the Relay For Life, they also know that he can be trusted to share them, so why is Max relaying?
I’ve lost my grandparents to cancer. My mother was the longest survivor of bone cancer in US history – 28 years. My RL partner just lost her father to cancer in February. I’ve seen so many people die from this fucking disease….I couldn’t sit and not contribute another year.I do not like or agree with the ACS, as they refused to help my family on several occasions so I don’t really have anything positive to say about that organization on a personal level. However, I am not participating for them. I am in this for the people who have lost someone, for the people who currently suffer from this damn disease and in the hopes that we can treat and eventually stop it from killing us all. People who have this disease touching their lives need to know we are out here, thinking of them, caring, wanting to do something, trying to help. That message is sometimes the most important of all. We are here with you and for you….you are not alone.– Maxwell Graf
At the Faire Max has launched his new range of furniture and a rather special prefab, all of which can be found in his store. But for now we will return to our own journey, and admire the work of builder Lauren.
Lauren has been part of the Friends Fighting Cancer team since the beginning and one of a handful of “staff” builders who perform a variety of roles at the Faire from helping with the assembly of the sims, designing props and paraphernalia to building entire sims. She had been campaigning for a steampunk sim since the beginning and was overjoyed when the Nemo build returned last year. This year, Lauren was asked to create a full steampunk sim, but with a twist, it had to be desert themed.
I liked the idea of an oasis. My ever-present theme of old and new brought me to an old mining town with a population of people living amongst ancient architectural styles now reworked in pipes and metals, and then sinking it into the water was just good fun. The name reminds me of locks in a manmade canal, but also of secrets, treasure and danger if you can withstand the tests to their discovery.
We arrived from the east, leaving Siren’s secret behind us, the hot sun quickly warming us through. The sky is a deep dark blue, the buildings glow in the desert sunlight but there is distinct smell of sulphur in the air.
The stores are that line the sun-baked pathway look like typical colonial period moorish dwelling, their patchy sand and clay rendering fading and cracking under the intense heat of the sun, it is not until you look a little closer that you notice the neatly pathed pipework, that connects each store, to the steamgrid that powers the region.
As we step forward towards the edge of the waters of the oasis, we find the source of the odour. Two smoking, volcanic cones are spewing smoke, ash and hot lava, the latter then cascading down the sides and hissing as it hits the water.
The mer-folk of Siren’s Secret will not be at ease with their human neighbours here.For while the surface of the oasis is beautiful and clean, the very kind of idyllic scene that the word ‘oasis’ conjures in the mind, in fact….under the water the tale is somewhat different.
‘out of sight out of mind’ goes the human saying, and beneath the surface lies the garbage and detritus of the mining activities that gave this land its wealth.
Explosives, rusting machinery, crates and barrels have all been left here to rot, the crystal clear waters covering the sins of industry.
As we walk around the edge of the oasis, following te path, we stop, jaws dropping as we set our eyes upon the most magnificent, mechanical beast.
The Mechaderm, as Lauren has called it, is a one-off, never to be recreated. It is inspired by the Real World “Sultan’s elephant” built by street artist Royal de Luxe and itself no longer in existence. Like it? Want it? Then your one and only chance will soon come round. The Mechaderm, this amazing, totally unique work of art, is to be auctioned at the Live Auctions on Sunday at 4pm SLT over at Fairelands Junction.
From the very large, to the petite. The Mechaderm stands majestically outside the sponsor’s store. Inside the store we are transported to a medieval land of green rolling hills and loose cobbled pathways.
At first, nothing seems out of the ordinary, another exquisitely textured prefab from Max. Nothing out of the ordinary that is, until you walk up to it.
It is then that you realise that… you’ve grown. A quick check confirms that you appear to be the same size asbefore and therefore the house itself must be small. Bending down you peer through the window to find a breathtakingly gorgeous room, set out with Max’s latest range of mesh furniture.
The house, Maison de Maile been carefully reduced for the petite community and all aspects from doorways and stairs to seats and poses, have been tweaked to work with the tiny mesh avatars and as I am demonstrating, not really suited for biggies!
The full size version can also be seen (and bought of course) in a special skybox high above. It’s certainly a lot more comfortable to sit down in.
And so we come to the end of another Fantasy Faire mega build. The seventh of the eight Faire lands. That means that tomorrow we must venture forth into out final region, Shifting Sands. Don’t miss it.
At the start of today’s acount we heard from the sponsor Maxwell Graf, it seems only fitting to have the builder of this delightful region, and the creator of the stupendous Mechaderm, Lauren Thibaud, tell us why she relays.
Why do I relay? Because my mother has a memory for dates. She was always reminding us of anniversaries -both happy and sad. We’d say a prayer for her aunt- her grandmother- a cousin to honor the day they had died. As a child I prayed for people I’d never known, but when I grew older death became more of a reality. I lost my grandfather, my grandmother, a 7 year old cousin, then my mother’s sister- my godmother. Next an uncle -then another. The family on my mother’s side dwindled- and always to this same enemy- Cancer. It wasn’t just one kind, either. The variety of them was unbelievable. One had lung cancer. Another had a malignant brain tumor- they developed leukemia and colon cancer. The thing about my mother’s family was that they were all dying from it- but there wasn’t one I could hold onto and claim as “my family’s cancer”. We got them all. Then my dad told us that he had leukemia- and not long after that he found out he had prostate cancer too. “Don’t worry” he said- “they are just conditions- not life threatening.” And it was true- his cancers were managed well- when he died it was his heart that failed after all; but we wondered what the stress of those conditions had added. Today I don’t look at cancer as something in my family’s history- I see it as my own and my siblings future. We have the legacy. I relay to save their lives, their children’s lives, and my own. – Lauren Thibaud, Friends Fighting Cancer.
Good news has reach me though. For while tomorrow will be the last stop on our journey, the Fairelands will now be remaining open another day so if you have not yet had time to see something you wished to see, or perhaps you still have some lindens left to spend, now those kind Friends Fighting Cancer people have brought you that most valuable of commodities, extra time.
That is all for now, but don’t forget that the silent auction items over at the FaireLands Junction are due to finish today, so hurry, hurry, hurry to get your hands on one of the many unique and precious prizes. All the important details can be found on the Fantasy Faire website where Miss Breezy Carver has been bringing us special reports