Fantasy Faire is one of the most popular large-scale events in Second Life. It is something looked forward to with huge anticipation by all those who participate and visit, not only because of its underpinning aim – to support cancer research and the care of cancer victims – but because it has such a unique atmosphere. The Faire is not so much an event, rich in activities and places to visit; it is a world within a world; a series of realms through which we are invited to travel and explore, where we can discover new things and make new friends.
A large part of this does come down to the regions themselves. Each year we area treated to the most incredible, region-wide themed builds, each joined one to the next to create a series of realms, contiguous to themselves through which we can travel as visitors, adventurers, the curious or the amazed.
But every so often a Fantasy Faire brings forth builds that are just that little bit extra special; and for me, 2016 is one of those years. Each of the regions has its own unique look and feel – as they always do; yet at the same time, there is something that resonates as we walk through them, a faint feeling of deja-vu; a feeling that while nothing quite like them has been seen here before, so to are these places someone connected to Fairelands of the past.
Kilik Lekvodas’ Bright Haven, for example, carries an echo of Kayle Matzerah’s Lumenaria from 2013 through its colours and broad streets, while Kayle’s build for Breeze carries a similar whimsy to that found in his 2014 Wiggenstead Mooring, albeit it with a little hint of Hobbiton thrown in! Meanwhile, in Kaelis Ember’s Serenity, one can also hear the elven songs once sung in Rynn Verwood’s Medhir Woods from 2014. Even dark Malfience in some ways carries echoes of 2013’s Valley of Ish’Nar.
Which is not to say that any of this year’s builds are in any way copied from the builds of the past – far from it; they are all truly unique. Rather, these echoes and hints help give us a feeling that not only do they form a world of their own, they are also part of a larger whole.
It’s not hard to imagine, for example, that if we could just continue a little further south from Mayah Parx’s Tinker’s Hollow, so might we come to her 2013 realm of Ravenshard, before travelling onwards from there to that year’s Blackwater Glenn, by Marcus Inkpen and Sharni Azalee, and from there travel back to Lokii Violet’s Blackmoor to continue our journey owards through this year’s realms. Or that by travelling north from Elicio Ember’s Otherworld, we might once again tarry in his Faery Court from 2014. whilst west of Twilight’s Illusion, by Sweetgwendoline Bailey and Eldowyn Inshan, there waits the winter city of Aurora, designed by Beq Janus.
Such echoes are strong throughout many of the Faireland regions this year, greatly adding to the sense of returning to much-loved and familiar lands, even while the regions themselves are unique.And where the echoes may be less clear, we have the magnificence of builds which may well resonate into the future – The Golden Delta, by Alia Baroque, or Loki Eliot’s norse masterpiece of Echtra, the Sapphire Mirror Lake, Dangarnon, Lucentia.
It is in exploring the regions at each year’s Faire they I find my greatest pleasure; allowing my imagination free rein to concoct stories about each of them while seeing if memories of past realms and places seep through and alter my imaginings. Of course, your memories of Fairelands past as reflected in Fairelands present most likely differ from mine. Nevertheless, they are still link us, one to another, as citizens of these realms, and of those which have come before them, and which are never truly lost to the mists of time.
If you haven’t yet visited the Fairelands this year, there is a still time – follow the portal links on the right of this blog!