Ciaran Laval

Apr 252015

Vallacia Art

Vallacia at Fantasy Faire 2015 has been created by Mayah Parx  and is described as :

A floating market town, a bustling trade hub where denizens of the Fairelands come to trade for even the most obscure of items. Dark & weatherbeaten, all matter of constructions crisscross the waters to keep this hodgepodge of shacks,stalls and barges afloat. Magical mysteries abound in this haven for traders and thieves alike.

The floating market town is easy to see but this region is also full of the weird and the wonderful, including artwork.


This weird and wonderful setting makes it an ideal location for Sredni Vashtar’s (AKA Sredni Eel) Avatar Bizarre, which, as its name implies, sells items that are in some cases bizarre. However Avatar Bizarre are also purveyors of fine clothing, eyes, outfits, Chinese shoulder dragons and more!

Vallacia Boats

At Fantasy Faire Avatar Bizarre are promoting a number of items, which include :

  • Boudica armor – Available in six colors (blue, brown, green, purple, red, and teal). Materials enhanced. Rigged.
  • Boudica Boots – sold separately of the armor, include a rigged and unrigged pair, are materials enhanced, and include a color change HUD.
  • Goblin King and Goblin Queen – Rigged mesh (male and female versions), available in 7 colors each (black, blue, brown, green, purple, red, and teal).
  • Goblin King and Queen jackets are also sold as separate items and include color change HUDs.
  • Apophis and Woodsprite eyes each come with one pair of mesh eyes (color HUD included, plus all the colors on system layer eyes.

Then there are items that are on sale for the benefit of Relay For Life.

Continue reading »

Apr 242015

Judi Newall At LitFest

I attended the literature festival at Fantasy Faire today and it was rather a joy to behold. The session I attended was an Open Mic session whereby participants who were brave enough, could take centre stage and share their own personal stories, poetry and even Haiku.

Judi Newall was the star of the show but others volunteered.

Wildstar Beaumont and Me

I think virtual world storytelling is an under tapped market. There’s the opportunity to not only tell stories, but also to use the 3D environment to bring a story to life. Whereas today’s event didn’t use props, it still worked wonderfully well. There was a nice atmosphere and participants were well received.

Continue reading »

Apr 232015

Spires Of Andolys Portal

I set off on the epic journey from the land of Dwarfins to Fantasy Faire in Second Life with just a few belongings. I had been given some tips, don’t drink too much mead, eat properly, don’t talk to strangers .. too much and most of all, head for The Spires Of Andolys as a first port of call. Spires Of Andolys, I was reliably informed, was a Dwarfin friendly region.

Upon arrival at Fairelands Juction, by means of teleportation, I looked for the magic portal. There were several portals at the landing zone but the one I was looking for was easy to find, largely due to a bright sign decreeing that this was indeed the way to The Spires Of Andolys.

Spires Of Andolys Towers

After taking a step through the portal I arrived in a bright land, complete with a fairy tale looking castle and colourful buildings. I checked my notes, there were two points of interest, one being the mystery location of The Dwarfins and the other being a shop called Spires Of Andolys.

Spires Of Andolys Shop

I found the shop first. This was, I was reliably informed, the work of Jaimy Hancroft, who is a lead designer with The Dwarfins. This all sounded a bit human to me but I sat outside the shop and ate some breakfast hoping that Jaimy would appear and guide me in the right direction. Unfortunately Jaimy was busy elsehwere and therefore I was left to my own devices. I decided to continue my journey through the the streets of The Spires Of Andolys.

Continue reading »

Apr 232015

Spires Of Andolys

The moment I’ve been waiting for … and some of you, has arrived. Fantasy Faire 2015 is open to all and sundry, including Halflings and Elves. This wasn’t my decision by the way, don’t blame me!

The Fairelands are awash with all manner of beings, to such an extent that some of the sims are full. However fear not, there are thirteen sims available, if you count Ravenshold, which will be hosting the second part of the hunt.

Xiola Linden has been in on the act, blogging about Fantasy Faire – to Benefit Relay for Life of Second Life. Xiola’s blog post is important because it contains some top tips, such as :

Start planning your adventure by visiting the full calendar of events, dust off your “bag of holding” for all of the great finds you will walk off with, and come shop for a great cause.

The offiical Fantasy Faire website also has a very good blog post about the opening of The Faire : Welcome To The Fairelands!

The portals to the Fairelands are now open, the camouflage enchantments dispelled, the whole continent of fantasy worlds awaits visitors to come and explore, enjoy and perhaps shapeshift into one of the Faire Folk.

This post is worth reading because it gives you some insight into the regions that make up The Fairelands.

Continue reading »

Apr 232015

American Cancer Society In SL

Fantasy Faire 2015 will open its doors to everyone within the next hour or so but as well as being a magnificent example of fantasy related themes, creations, storytelling, art, poetry and much more in Second Life, it’s also part of the Relay For Life In Second Life fundraising effort on behalf of The American Cancer Society.

Last year’s event raised 5,955,893 Linden Dollars, that’s 23,824 in US Dollars. So far this year, before the doors have even officially opened, the event has raised 1,643,825 Linden Dollars, that’s  6,575 US Dollars.

Fantasy Faire is of course far from being the only event in Second Life raising money for Relay For Life. The combined total for last year’s fundraising efforts reached a quite staggering $415,000, yes that’s US Dollars.

Continue reading »

Apr 222015
An Image Should Be Here

Literature Festival

At Fantasy Faire 2015 they will be holding a literature festival. I’ve talked about this before but more details have been posted about the event on the official Fantasy Faire 2015 blog : Are You Looking Forward To The Literary Festival (LitFest) At Fantasy Faire? By the way, you should be looking forward to it!

As the poster suggests, there will be story telling, poetry, bring your own fantasy tale or poem, discussion workshops, meet the author sessions and more. Whereas some of the storytelling will be from works of popular fiction, such as Caledonia Skytower reading from Lord Of The Rings, in other aspects of LitFest, authors will be reading or discussing their own work, for example :

Freyja Nemeth discusses her book “The World of Ice and Fire”

Freyja Nemeth says as her real life self Linda Antonsson “My partner Elio M. García (Ran Garrigus in SL) and I collaborated with George R.R. Martin on “The World of Ice and Fire”, a book about the history, culture and geography of the world of “A Song of Ice and Fire” (and “Game of Thrones”).”

Interesting? Oh come on, that’s interesting. There will also be interactive sessions such as :

Collaborative fiction game with Taralyn Gravois

In Between – A Magical Story – Tara gives the group the beginning and end of a story. We think of characters to be in the story and use the sim we are on as the scene for the storyline. Then each person adds a line to the story until we get from start to finish.

There’s much more and one of the wonderful thing about all this on a personal level is that it’s introducing me to new storytellers and groups in Second Life, new to me I mean, they aren’t new to Second Life, for example :

Speculative Fiction Saturday

Led by Simeon Beresford

Simeon Beresford leads a regular long running fantasy and science fiction discussion group in this special location for Fantasy Faire.

Then of course, there’s Pratchett Day.

Continue reading »

Apr 222015
Banner Should Be Here

Fantasy Faire 2015

Faire warning (pun intended) this blog is going to go Fantasy Faire nuts over the next eleven or twelve .. or thirteen days. I’m going to party like it’s 1419 (Shire Reckoning) as much as I can at Fantasy Faire 2015..

Now first things first, I’ve been sent a shed load of stuff as a blogger for Fantasy Faire and I have to announce that in all good faith, it’s highly unlikely that I will be able to review all the items I’ve been sent. I hope people won’t take offence if I don’t get around to looking at everything.

Gwarda And The King

Next up, I don’t know where I’ll be staying for this year’s event. I usually manage to talk The Dwarfins in to letting me stay with them, but I may have to try out some different accommodation this year.

Continue reading »

Apr 212015

I’ve been taking a short break from blogging these last few days. A combination of getting ready for a lot of blogging, The Mighty Villa making it through to the FA Cup final and having trees cut down in my back garden have distracted me somewhat.

However, last Saturday I was invited to a blogger preview of MadPea Productions forthcoming game, UNIA. Alas a combination of confusion (the launch had been delayed by a week) and being forced against my will to go to the pub (no really ….) meant I missed the preview. This led to Kess Crystal sending me a photo of two people sitting in a diner, with the message :

at the end of the tour Ziki Questi and Kiana ate your tuna sandwiches in the UNIA diner 😛

Charming! The incriminating photo will be stored in my file of incrimination. However, what of UNIA I hear you ask, I mean after all, that’s why we’re here! Well the game is scheduled to launch on April 27th. Originally it was set to launch on April 20th. However the good news about the delay is that it gives people longer to enter a photo contest, details of which can be found here.

Continue reading »

Apr 172015

I saw a tweet from Canary Beck the other day about a forthcoming book from Huckleberry Hax. This may well sound like the start of a work of fiction, but I promise you it’s not because Canary has now blogged : Second Life Is A Place We Visit (2015) By Huckleberry Hax. One of the reasons Canary has been tweeting about this is explained in her blog post :

Huckleberry Hax has published a new book and it’s now available for download. I’m especially happy that Huck asked me to design the book cover typography for this work, a second time! And as a bonus, the cover image – taken by Huck – is a scene from my beach at Basilique!

However what is the book about? Whereas Canary explains it very well I think it’s only fair to turn to the author for some explanation :

Huckleberry Hax has been writing about the virtual world of Second Life® for eight years. This volume collects together 42 of these articles, including his monthly column for over two years at the celebrated AVENUE SL lifestyle magazine.

This is a work of non fiction, even if it is virtual world based. However what Canary’s tweeting (no pun intended) has also opened my eyes to is the fact that Huckleberry Hax also writes fiction, and a lot of that fiction is based upon Second Life.

Continue reading »

Apr 152015

When the news broke that VICE reporter Cecilia D’Anastasio was looking to hear from Second Life residents regarding avatar identity I was somewhat sceptical. My concerns were largely due to the way the wider media have reported on Second Life in the past and the way the wider media seem to like to be economic with the truth all too often these days. A glaring example of this is the current nonsense going on with the Hugo awards, which has left me despairing about how the media seem more interested in sensationalist clickbait than the actual issues.

However, my scepticism was definitely misplaced as Cecilia’s article is actually quite touching and respectful. The article, simply titled, Avatar IRL, looks into what Lisa Nakamura called, Identity tourism. However as we see from Cecilia’s article, avatars are not merely a mirror of ourselves, they can also be taken away from the keyboards with us.

In the article, Cecilia talks to Veronica Sidwell and we learn that Veronica has adopted the name of her avatar outside of Second Life, and by this I mean that Veronica has legally changed her name. Does this suggest that Veronica was so encompassed by her avatar that her real self became her avatar? Not at all, the article explains that the name change was due to Veronica transitioning from male to female in real life and the name change was a mark of respect for the sim that had given Veronica the confidence to make that transition :

Originally, Veronica was merely an avatar. Now, Veronica Sidwell is a 37 year-old transwoman working as a picture framer in Atlanta, Georgia. Veronica, who would not disclose the name she lived most of her life under, changed her legal name to match her Second Life avatar. It was a gesture of respect to the sim who lent her the confidence to transition IRL from male to female. Veronica’s experience as a female-bodied avatar in a virtual world, she told me, convinced her that she would live a fuller, happier life in womanly form.

The issue of avatar identity and roleplaying are well covered here and it’s not just about Second Life either, World Of Warcraft also gets a mention with regards to the story of Laura Kate Dale : How World of Warcraft helped me come out as transgender.

Continue reading »