“Sitting alone with many friends who have lost their fight in the ACS “Catt Gable” Memorial Garden, I had a chance to reflect on the many things that give me reason to relay and why it is important to me. Our team is very special and a very global team in relay. We are all very close. One event that draws all of us together is Fantasy Faire. The magic of the Fairelands affects each and every one of us. Some come as DJs, performers, others as merchants, sponsors, builders, sheriffs, Jailbirds, bloggers, shoppers and photographers. Speaking for all of us, Fantasy Faire brings together our rules: smile, have fun and do pawsum things. Our motto is “Whatever is rightly done, however humble, is noble.” The Magic of the Fairelands brings that together for all of us, no matter how we present ourselves in this wonderful world of Second Life.
One lovely addition to the Fairelands this year completed by Shiran Sabra and Secret Rage is the Survivors and Caregiver’s information build on Kakushi Pasu. It is a lovely spot to sit and reflect, get information, or chat with others. There are support groups year round in SL to “allow people to share their experiences, fears, anger, helpful information and more importantly the knowledge they are in a “safe place” among people who are going through or went through similar experiences. They are not alone, the group understands…they all have their own journey. That support may help each member manage their own emotions and pull from the courage of others.”
Also on Kakushi Pasu is another important part of that sim related to Relay For Life. The Mission Info Area created by Ms. Kitty Gumbo is very special. We have used the mission statement for the American Cancer Society in all of our thank yous for any and all contributions. “Fantasy Faire thanks you so much for your generous donation to Relay For Life. The American Cancer Society’s mission is to save lives, celebrate lives, and lead the fight for a world without cancer.” I believe in this mission and have used the ACS website for information on many occasions: www.cancer.org.
On a more personal level, my father had laryngeal cancer. He was treated with radiation and the cancer was gone. However, the remnants of the treatment caused a hardening and thickening of the carotid arteries. He was on blood thinners which left him very bruised. One day, I got that call, he had fallen. I left as quickly as possible – to be with my mother and brothers. He passed within 42 hours. He was a survivor but my mother was alone for the first time in over 62 years.
Several things interfered as they do with every family and their struggles. I live three hours away from my hometown. Every week for 7 years, I made a trip to do all the grocery shopping, laundry, dr. visits, and during hospital stays and her eventual diagnosis of cancer, I would stay full time for weeks sometimes months. She had a rare form of blood cancer that was taken care of with 8 chemo trips. Cassie and I stayed in touch through Second Life. At night, we were able to dance, build, and relay together. My mother recently passed in November of 2016 as a survivor at age 90.
I honestly do not know what we would have done without Second Life, and Relay For Life gave it even more purpose. I am not a builder – (my boxes are great) I am not a scripter. But as a retired teacher, I am an events coordinator. I found a place where I fit in, in Second Life. My mother got involved in relay also. She thought I was a silly bobcat and would laugh. Fantasy Faire and all the special folks and friends involved mean so much to Cassie and me. Thank you all for being there when we needed you most.”
– OldeSoul Eldemar,
High Sheriff of The Fairelands Watch,
Captain of Team ACTS
Mysterious fliers about a super secret (siikret) rave party have been appearing all over the Fairelands! Is this a bold attempt to abuse the exhaustion of the Pawlice? A cunning plan to blind you with glowsticks? An infiltration into the Mists by hiding in the rose bushes?
The grapevine whispers of samba dancing dinkies and macarena tookie totems, tiki bars and disco balls, and all naturally in absolute hush-hush silence so the authorities don’t find out!
The party might possibly take place around 2 PM SLT at a Very Secret Location! (Please keep an eye on the Fantasy Faire group chats for more information, either the public Fantasy Faire Fans or the Backstage.)
With the Fantasy Faire 2017 nearing its end, we still have some days/hours to wander around the amazing sims and keep making memories of yet another wonderful event.
One of the things, the many things, I love from being part of the Faire is: you all. The Fairefolk. The elves, the dragons, the tinies, the monsters, the wizards, the humans, the furries, the poets, the builders, the hosts, the performers…..everyone. Without you all, there would be no Fantasy Faire.
I will miss the ongoing 24/7 groupchat, because even though I did not always actively participated in chats, I had the window open and read most of it.
The other night I had time to chat and somehow it ended in an impromptu Gangnam Style party on San Mora, thanks to all who showed up and danced with me!
One of my favourite memories of the Fantasy Faire 2017 was made that night and I have a video to prove it!
I will be around for as long as the Fairelands are here, so no goodbye yet from me, but a ‘see you on the Faire!’
I know that the tribe of people we collectively refer to as “Fairelanders” are just that. They are people.
It is clear to me that Beryl is not really a big, black cat, no more so than Oldesoul is a tiny, grey one. I know that Gar is not a dragon, and Sonya is not a bunny. Alia is not a Fallen God, no more than David is a demon nor Kasi a drow. I know that Avariel is not a unicorn, Zaps is not a mermaid, and Vasa is not a satyr. Encaiteron is neither a Tookie (whatever the heck that is!) nor a detective.
And I know that the Boss Fairy, Elizabeth is not – well, no. I am pretty sure she actually IS a fairy. Still!
I know these things, and yet…
As the Faire has risen from the virtual mists each year for the last nine years – and for that brief, precious window of time before they dissipate into mist again – that is precisely who each of these people truly is.
If the internet provides some of us with the opportunity to sink to the lowest level that is within them, to others it affords the chance to rise to the best idea they have of themselves. Unfettered by the mortal coil that was thrust upon them, freed from the constraints of the so-called “real” world, these people lock arms, wings and fins, straighten their whiskers, polish up their horns and set about the doing of a mighty task.
They come to do battle with a monster.
Some have argued that it is not productive, nor accurate to personify cancer in this way. They warn us of the dangers of employing too martial a language in the Survivor’s struggle to get from one day to the next. Maybe they have a point. I leave it to those far wiser than me to say.
But I watched my father battle cancer and that is exactly what it was. It was a battle, one that left him with many a bruise and scar. It was a battle that ultimately claimed his life.
So, when the American Cancer Society sees fit to urge each of us as Relayers to, “Celebrate, Remember, and FIGHT BACK” who am I challenge their choice of words?
And who am I to see the form each of you chooses to take in our shared, magical realms, and hold back so much as an ounce of belief in the deeper truth that form reveals. The shape you take is the truth of your spirit and there is ample evidence everywhere I look that the truth of that form exists on a level much deeper than the avatars we stroll about in outside the world in which the Fairelands exist.
I Relay with dragons, elves and fairies, with cats both large and small. I Relay with satyrs and unicorns, with angels and demons, mermaids and werewolves and wizards.
If I invest my belief in the forms that take shape before me, it is only because that is the debt I owe to Fairelanders of all shapes, sizes and forms.
Because nine years ago, they did the same for me. I claimed to be something I was not: an organizer of Fantasy Faire. Fairelanders chose to look past the fact that I had never done anything quite like that before. They believed and- in the nine years that have followed – they transformed a fiction, a fantasy, into reality.
I believe in magic, because by magic was I transformed from a broken, grieving son into an empowered Faireland Relayer. Be the best idea of yourself, bring that personification to the Faire.
Monday evening saw the big closing party at the Faire, and Tuesday morning I had to go to work after a long weekend spent between two worlds, the tangible and the virtual one… well, maybe the balance was tilted a wee bit more towards the Fairelands, but only a wee lil bit. A teeny-weeny wee lil bit, you know.
I caught a very early train and, being the polite commuter that I am, I promptly reached for my lovely new pink hat with the froggies to take it off, and for a brief second it crossed my mind that I should also curl up my fluorescent pink Burbaglur antennae, as the light might disturb my fellow passengers. (Pssst… if you don’t know what, better to say who a Burbaglur is, ask Kilik Lekvoda. He will be happy to help…)
Then I almost slapped my forehead in realisation. Damn. I was traveling on a RL train, and the only body parts I could curl or fold or bend were my RL limbs… and the funny pink hat with the froggies was left behind in another realm.
Yes, Dear Reader, this year I could spend more time in the Fairelands than ever before, thanks to some well-placed RL holidays… and boy, did I live life to the fullest. I talked a lot. A lot, I say… I met creators I had previously known only by name, who turned out to be nice, smart and funny people. I rode the Candy Bus together with a black unicorn, the driver’s seat occupied by a penguin. I modelled at a Mermaid group picture shoot.
I went to a jail-and-bail where I ended up in the cage with the tag “Jailbird” above my head, and I shared my prison with some tiny cats and a bathtub full of bottled beer. I received so many wonderful gifts, and I also handed out some. I saw breathtaking dance and theatrical performances. I chatted, I laughed (a lot!), I shot pictures, I was standing around in the Fairelands in absolute awe of the genius that made them emerge from the mists.
It is a weird coincidence (but do coincidences exist at all?) that the scheduled topic to discuss with my med students in class during Fantasy Faire Week is one of the toughest and most difficult… end-of-life issues. How to communicate with terminally ill patients, how to face and manage the hardest kind of loss, the loss of a human life.
I always bring many, many stories with me from the Fairelands… life stories told between a Deera stampede and a Gangnam-dancing flashmob, burdened with suffering and pain, both physical and psychological, memories from hospital visits, the gut-wrenching fear before the result of a biopsy is revealed… and I also tell my students how you relay, Faire Folk, how you are able to find immense pleasure in what you do, how you appreciate the moments of shadow-free mirth. I have been enjoying the Faire differently, too, ever since I got the diagnosis of “The Big C”… because serene moments are dear and precious for us, Reader, and our laughter rings with this deep understanding.
… by the way, I know a small milliner shop in town. Maybe, if I bring a nice picture, they can make me a pink hat with froggies perching on the brim… just like the one I wear when I’m a cute pink Burbaglur in Second Life.
Monday was our surprise extra event day! As you might remember, Faire Folk donated for an extra day of the Faire at the Lindens Jail & Bail and so we wanted to give them a party to celebrate their generosity and their love for the Fairelands.
We partied six hours at Opal Flight with the Fantasy Faire Radio DJs Elrik Merlin, David Abbot and Zander Greene.
The party was dedicated to the One Team Spirit of the Relay For Life of Second Life and we had invited six fantastic RFL Teams to come and Relay with us. They brought their own team’s donation kiosks, and the Fairelanders helped them reach closer towards their goals.
The magic of the Fairelands moved five teams to Rising Star: Core Charities, Hope Haven Heroes, Mieville Steampunks, Team Too Tough To Die, and Foundation For Life. Meli’s Maniacs only made Rising Star last night with a donation from their captain, but they are almost Bronze now. In total the Faire Folk raised 125 578 lindens in the name of these teams. That’s the Spirit of the Fairelands!
DJ David Abbot’s shift saw a certain challenge fulfilled: he had promised to wear a dress if the Fairelanders Relay 7 million lindens, and high heel boots if we get to 8 million. Mr. Abbot might be a demon, but he’s a demon of his word!
David also made sure to pass the Torch of Fabulous onto Zander Greene, challenging him to make a similar promise next year. Make note, Faire Folk, next year we’ll get Zander in a dress! I think he’ll have to wear green, if for nothing else than name-symbolism. (Plus it’s clearly his colour.)
Silent Auction wrapped up during the party, making a lot of Fairelanders happy with their new shinies. Speaking of new shinies, the Fantasy Faire Hat Gacha has been a hit! If you don’t yet own your favourite one to flaunt throughout the year, go play! You can find the gachas for example in Opal Flight and at The FaireChylde in Kakushi Pasu.
Our official scheduled events are over now. Always a strange feeling when that happens. But sigh not so, Faire Folk, but be you blithe and bonny: Fantasy Faire stays open through May 4th! (Hey Nonny Nonny!) Quest is playable, shopping possible, exploring encouraged! Surprise impromptu parties might sprout up. Come and cherish the Fairelands for a few more days before they fade into the mists.
Fantasy Faire has relayed L$ 8,461,463 ($ 32,544) by the end of the twelfth day of the Faire. Keep up the fantastic work, Faire Folk!
The Fantasy Faire 2017 is made possible by the generous support of our sponsors: Abstract Soul, [ Aleutia ], AviewTV, Building Daydreams, Dandelion Daydreams Factory, Dark Unicorns of Lovelace, Dragon Magick Wares, DRD, Epic Toy Factory, Faida, Fallen Gods Inc., Kei Spot, Little, Big Designs, The Looking Glass, The Lost Unicorn Gallery, MacMoragh an Gabha, meadowWorks, Merchants of Dreams, The NeoVictoria Project, OtherSkin, Poliak’s Emporium, Rivendale, Roawenwood, Ruins of Xenark RP Community, Sanctuary RP Community, Satyr’s Moon, Silvan Moon Designs, Solarium, Spyralle, Steelwood, TIS Club Equipment and Animations, Titans, Velvet Whip and Vengeful Threads.
Searlait Nitschke, the creator and owner of Roawenwood is also the sponsor and world builder of Chaddul Ro. She shares with us the story of Chaddul Ro, her reasons for building Fairelands, the growth and change through creation.
You took a break from world-building last year. Did it affect how you approached the task this year? Did it feel different?
This year believe it or not I was planned out much better than previous years, the thing that always seems to happen did though… real life decided to throw a wrench into my plans scattering them to the winds so I wasn’t able to even remotely keep to them.
I had my concept, my dedication, my reasoning for doing it and I felt like I had a really good handle on it. I am glad I did to an extent because it helped keep that focus throughout the creative process that I really needed.
It felt a lot different. The Faire is intensely personal for me. Every year it is for one reason or another but this year it is even more than usual. I adore my Faire family, we don’t always talk much but I feel like their presence is there throughout the year and really if I ever needed any of them all I have to do is reach out and they’ll be there.
Last year I felt a little lost even though I was still a big participant, odd how that is but it’s true.
How have your creations in Second Life evolved in time? What new skills or themes have you embraced and learned along the way?
So many things. After 10 years of being in Second Life I’ve learned how to use programs I never even heard of or were around ages ago. I knew Paint Shop Pro coming into SL, which grew into learning Photoshop, then various other programs…, it has been a lot. I never would have thought of 3D modeling or pursued it if it hadn’t been for Second Life. Themes are always a funny thing, I never seem to keep a complete focus on one theme over another, I don’t usually care for most contemporary things though that’s about the only constant.
How was Chaddul Ro born? What inspired it, what is its story?
I have been asked how much of my story am I going to share this year, and I couldn’t figure out how to answer that. There is the Faire answer, the concept and the idea of the orcs and then there is the personal answer. What do we share? I have talked about this with a few people and one of my favorite responses to it was… “*f* it, say it, do it, the people who get it will, the people who don’t never will.”
Whenever I do one of these sims I put a reason or dedication to it. From specific family members to concepts or ideas… feelings.
The orcs of Chaddul Ro! Chaddul Ro is the name of the outpost, the orcs are part of a tribe called the Chal Khizzur. I got a little bit fancier this time around creating something of a persona that I would draw upon as I created it. These orcs are fiercely protective and strong. The whole concept was about strength.
The inspiration came from a few places initially. The concept was that this tribe of orcs has outposts sprinkled along their borders and only the bravest most dedicated of their warriors are given the honor of serving there. Their task is twofold… simple yet not. One to keep the beacon that each outpost has lit… never doused a fire to burn brightly from the tallest tower. The reason… to show those that need a way through the night a light to come home to, as well as the assurance that as long as those fires burn brightly their tribe is strong. That the tribe has weathered whatever may come and will survive. Orcs who have been lost, are bleeding from battle, or weary from being displaced can find a beacon… to come home because let’s face it. Everyone pretty much has it out for Orcs.
So that is the second task… to welcome the weary, wayward and sometimes even the enemy of the Orc to give them respite… tasked to care for their tribe and families. The Orcs fiercely protect these outposts and celebrate within it; the rugged home is also full of life for those who need its shelter and for the warriors who never stop fighting.
So the sim… initially was for caretakers and survivors. For the survivors who can sometimes feel so weary to have a place that gives them strength and for the caretakers who have to be so strong in the face of this disease, in the daily tasks that they take on willingly, willfully placing others first from family to friends to ease them as they suffer or need that bit of extra strength to make it through the day.
The caretakers are the beacon, a place of safety and of strength when things can be so difficult. I dedicate this sim to those people… the quiet army that tends to the wounds, that celebrates each life and protects those they care for.
This sim is also dedicated to my mother.
This is the much more personal layer… the one that was not initially there but now is.
I didn’t honestly think I was going to be able to complete the sim throughout some of this but she kept prodding me forward and I had to finish it. For her. For myself.
This March everything irrevocably changed. Life was moving along as it does, the sims the plans the work. Family… I was feeling confident, settled, I had this and suddenly it spun out of control.
After a brief stay in the hospital of less than a week my mother was gone.
I felt like I was in a vacuum. I didn’t know what I was feeling and whenever those feelings started to surface again I would plunge into the vacuum unable to comprehend or deal with it. I talked to Elizabeth and said I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. She assured me of course that if it was too much to take care of myself, my family but she was there if I needed anything.
I came to the decision that I needed to finish it.
I really _needed_ to.
Even if it wasn’t going to exactly be what I had envisioned as it morphed while I worked on it, while I built it on the sim… the more warlike feel being changed into what you see now.
I accept that though, my emotions tend to lead me along more than my head.
I could have stopped and not done it… no one would have questioned why but it gave me something… it let me hold onto her for a little bit longer. My mother was always so proud of my creativity, of my talent. She always was so supportive of what I did, and would brag about the things I learned or did in Second Life even if she didn’t entirely understand it. She was proud of the work I did with RFL, the things we accomplish and if I had given up on the sim I felt like I would be giving up on her and what she believed in… in me. So I finished it… for her, for me. Sometimes late at night when it would get very hard… exhausted from trying to keep life together and my grief I’d sit at my computer working on it… when I felt like I couldn’t finish it I would talk to her… whispering under my breath… “We’ll make it Momma, we’ve got this, we can do this.” And sometimes…. Sometimes it felt like she was whispering back.
At the heart of the sim there is a sacred space that I was determined to finish… it was one reason I didn’t write this, it needed to be done or the sim wouldn’t have been even close to complete. Yes I wanted to add more, but this… this was important.
Within it you will find a memorial area. Upon the alter there are little bits and pieces strewn around it, candles lit… incense burning. Each of them meant to represent something… the dreamcatchers, the little symbols. They are things my mother loved or remind me of her… it is a quiet place. It is funny in some ways I chose a tribal feel for my sim long before all of this because my mother was very in tune with this sort of thing in her life. So it fit somehow as if it was meant and within the story of the Orcs it is where they go to … to leave little tokens of past loved ones. Tokens for the living that they hold close to their heart…. A place for sharing, of love, dreaming and remembering.
Protected as fiercely as the beacon high above in the towers and surrounded by the land… by the trees.
This space is specifically dedicated to my mother, for all she believed in, for all that she was… for what she had always hoped to be.
The Faire is so brief… far too brief sometimes it feels like but then other times it feels just right for what we need. That emotional giving, because if we are honest… no one could sustain the emotional levels that come about during this time every year all of the time.
I believe the Faire, these sims… while they are shopping, and events are also a sharing that we can’t and don’t find that often elsewhere.
That is the magic of the Fairelands and I am so grateful to be allowed to build for you all and share these things with you so that maybe you can pause and have a breath… to connect with other people and to do things for a cause that helps so many.
This year I am more grateful than ever because it has helped me find a little bit of peace and focus, it has helped me find ways to celebrate my mother, to help say good-bye to her and share it with those around me.
That is the full story of my sim.
What are you bringing to the Faire this year?
Mostly, the Faire sim. I always have plans to do an awesome uber creation but when I do the sim the smaller things fall to the wayside a small bit… that is one thing I need to really address for future years. This go round I have a few of the pieces from the sim and some small lil bumper cars from before.
What are you looking forward to most this year in the Fairelands?
Same as most years. The people. The sharing.
Thank you, Searlait, for taking the time to talk with us. Thank you for sharing with us your vision, your feelings, your loss, and showing us how you have honored them.