Elicio Ember, the creator and owner of Cerridwen’s Cauldron and the world builder of OtherWorld shares with us the story of OtherWorld, how it became the world for the Literary Festival and Fantasy Faire Radio, what OtherWorld’s theme songs are and what he looks forward the most in the Faire. You can find out more about Elicio from his previous interviews: 2014 | 2013 | 2012
You are both sponsoring and building OtherWorld, which hosts the Literary Festival. How did the Festival affect the build, how was it different than building a sim for shopping? How did the collaboration with the Literary Festival begin?
The story of this build is very different to the other sims I have built. I started sketching this project out since last year’s Faire, but I made very little advances on it during some months due to hardware issues. I had said I wanted to do the LitFest sim from the very moment I knew there would be one next year too. Also, I had planned for a great scale remodeling of my own region’s ground. When I was able to upgrade my hardware I launched into a frenzy of building that lasted months and exhausted me. I had not been able to actually enjoy my own builds fully for years due to the old pc. So, after some more months I opened the new landscape at my own sim, though I slowly continued adding to it, with new mesh plants or features like the dragon skull. At that moment I thought I would not be able to do the landscape for the Faire, since the new landscape evolved into something that had not the usual Fantasy Faire requisites or layout, and there was no way that in the time left I would be able to do a new landscape, even if I had the energy for it.
So, a couple of months ago Elizabeth contacted me again to ask me if I would do the sim and I told her at first I did not think I could, but then it occurred to me that if the Fantasy Faire accepted, I could have my new landscape (which by now had almost a year of continuous work, but only a couple of months rezzed) adapted to the Literary Festival region and the Fantasy Faire Radio Regions. After visiting the sim, Liz accepted, so then I got to work on making the adaption for the Faire’s requirements and finishing the landscaping. It was very exciting, since my landscape had reached a complexity level which I could not afford to do for the Faire otherwise, and I thought it was a perfect fit for the parties and the Literary Festival with its gorgeous views of the surrounding lands and its many lounges and public and party areas. And so, there is also a very big difference to my other Fantasy Faire region designs; this one will prevail after the Faire at my own region. It will not be exactly the same, of course, but very very similar. That is something strange and somehow wonderful to me; like I get to keep a bit of the Faire at home.
Beyond the romantic reasons, there are also practical ones though, as I mentioned, I have worked on this landscape for over a year and finished it only recently. Projects this large need to prevail somehow for world makers that live from their designs. Otherwise we would need sponsors ourselves. And last, but most important of all, people love this landscape, and enjoy it deeply. And that makes me in turn deeply happy with it.
On how my collaboration started, it was simple. I found out there was a LitFest Sim last year, and as soon as I found out I shouted, as loud as I could, that I wanted to do that, heh.
How was OtherWorld born? What is its story?
Otherworld was first imagined as something I was not sure I could pull off, a massively vertical, elaborate plateau with a cave system. Something that would give a huge vertical area to expand the region’s explorable surface and lend the whole landscape an epic feeling and still remain organic and chaotic in its layout but following its own visual rhythms. Like nature does, naturally, heh.
Otherworld is a part of, quite literally, the Other World. It’s inspired in the Keltic Otherworld, the realm of not only Spirits, but of Gods and the Fae. For them the land beyond, though there were several interpretations, was often depicted as an archipelago of Islands. Cerridwen is actually a Welsh Goddess of Magic and Wisdom, and her Cauldron is known as the Cauldron of Wisdom and Poetic Inspiration. So, it was a natural evolution to have the land be part of Cerridwen’s realm in the Otherworld. It’s a place that was anciently volcanic, as we can see on the basaltic cliffs and columns, and we can surmise that either the sea or some other powerful force carved out the the island into the plateau supported on massive basaltic legs, and has a long history after that. The palette is subdued (for my style anyway) and separated according to the “biome”, so are the plants and fungi; so, for the cave area we have a purple and teal palette, for the plateau and beaches a green palette with touches of warm colors, and for the underwater reef purples and oranges.
What are you bringing to the Faire this year?
For the Relay For Life items I have some very popular Lovecraft inspired plushies in the RFL characteristic colors; a Cthulhu Plushie and a Nightgaunt Plushie. As for now these are for decoration, but I do hope to do more with the idea in the future. Also, the RFL ed. Tinderlings, which are only available during RFL events. As for my store, well, most of what you can see at Otherworld is new and available; the basaltic columns, the structures, four new plants, including the Chalice Flower, the Dryad Pitcher V2, the Tube Sponge, the Eggplant….and then the recent ones, like the popular Ancient One dragon skull, the clovers, the ferns….etc. And, I do plan to continue creating more v2 and new species during the following months, though I am anxiously expecting too the advances on project Bento to get to work on avatars again.
Your creations always come with excerpts, pieces of a story. Where are these quotes from, is there a larger story somewhere just waiting to be turned into plants and environments?
My first contact with creative imagination was through writing. Tolkien, Homer, then anything I could get my hands on. Then I became a role-player, a Dungeon Master, and was so for 20 years. Sharian “The Old”, a character that often appears in my story snippets, was my first AD&D character. A young wizard (then). In a (not so secret now) homage to my storytelling years, he is now my master and teacher (and my implacable quality assurance alt), a grumpy, classic “Gandalf the Grey” wizard that enjoys sharing his admiration for nature and magic with his elven disciple.
I tell stories through my work, either be a painting or a whole SL landscape. I hint at these through the “Apprentice’s Journal” snippets I always add to a products description. The little snippets of story I give are to inspire people to create their own stories. That’s what they are for. And that’s why they always hint too to a larger world or telling. Quoting Ende on his masterful Never Ending Story; “…but that, is another story, and should be told another time”.
You mentioned OtherWorld has a theme song. What is it? How does music inspire you and your builds?
Indeed! Music is incredibly important to me while working. I have my favorite genres I listen when creating, Epic (like the fabulous Two Steps From Hell), Lounge and Chill, Electronic (especially Psychadelic Trance), Celtic. I find like, soundscaping, the music is incredibly helpful to convey an atmosphere to SL ambients. I even created some time ago playlists on soundcloud for people to visit the new Otherworld landscape, when you are not listening to the FF Radio of course!
I think that though in the end everyone will choose their own music to make their own “soundtrack”, I find it personally interesting, and think others might too, listening to music the landscaper suggests while visiting her/his work. It deepens the understanding of the atmosphere the author wants to convey. Even if it’s music you do not usually listen to and even if you decide you like your own “soundtrack” better.
And, all that said, heh, these are the “Soundtrack” songs for Otherworld:
Do you have a favourite Faire memory? What are you looking forward to most in this year’s Faire?
I am sure everyone involved with the Faire says or thinks the same; it’s so difficult to choose one, there are so many. The Fantasy Faire has such a special team and ambiance. But, picking up a couple I would say the first time I joined the now classic bus tours. They are always so much fun. As many as the team members as possible start on a now legendary yearly bus going around the regions, stopping at each and playing instruments, or joining the DJ, or just doing whatever tomfoolery we can think of (nothing disruptive or destructive) and celebrating the Faire. Also, as Kae noted, sitting atop a high point with the team and world makers and watch the regions fill up is always exciting and very special.
The Faire is loads of work, even though I had most of the landscape done, I was not really “ready” for the Faire until 10 hours before opening, and that felt like a lot of spare time, because usually everyone is still frantically working well beyond opening date. And even though it’s so much work it’s always so much more than just the work, its the relay, the team, the friends, the idea that always moves us; we can all win, and even have insanely amounts of fun while doing so. For me the Faire is always the highlight of the year and I look forward to it as soon as the current one ends. So thanks to you, to the readers, and everyone attending and involved for making the Faire an example on how things can be done differently, and lovingly.
Thank you for taking the time to talk with us, Elicio! Thank you for the magic, enchantment and life you bring to the Fairelands!