Inspired by an excerpt from The Blade Between by Sam J. Miller.
Transcribed from the reading by Draxtor, prior to the Second Life Book Club on 14th April 2021.
“In 20 years the railroad will arrive from New York City, heading north for Albany for Canada. Its path perfectly plotted to cut off Hudson’s North Bay crippling the city’s shipping trade, start it’s slow decline to irrelevance. 40 years after that, Hudson will have become the East Coast largest centre for prostitution. Diamond Street whorehouses so notorious they will have to change the name of the streets of Columbia after the governor personally census form of state troopers to bust up the brothels that local authorities have coddled and patronized and exploited for information for decades.”
So I thought it would be fun to put together a cliche prostitute look for that episode of the Book Club.
Turns out the quote was one of the readings as well, you can hear it at timestamp: 33.38
Of course some location shots were a must, but wouldn’t be complete with an arresting officer too! Which is why it’s taken so long to get around to publishing this, I needed to find one that would let me go afterwards!
Yesterday saw the start of American Cancer Society (ACS) Relay Weekend. There are 36 regions in a circuit similar to Fantasy Faire but larger, with a track running through them all.
You can take laps around this track in aid of Relay For Life. There are themed builds along both sides of the entire track (known as campsites) that you can stop and explore, as well as donation vendors everywhere, so you can chip in your own contribution, which will usually also yield a gift item of some kind. I was able to snag one of the Ultra-rare Cancer Aware wishbears from a gatcha vendor.
This is just a sample of some of the fantastic builds by the track, you can see more I took in this Flickr Album.
The scheduled events run through to 5pm SLT/PST on Sunday 13th June, you can see the schedule on the ACS SecondLife website. Update: The track regions will be available “at least” until Thursday 17th so you have plenty of time to get over there and do a lap!
Why rainbows? I didn’t intend to mix meanings here, wearing a Pride (Rainbow) outfit to a Relay (Purple) event. Its quite simple, I wasn’t originally intending to blog the Relay (just do a lap) until I was part way around and saw all the beautiful builds, it was simply what I was already wearing when I got there.
Quote from a painting in the Castle you shall see.
The arrival point here is a small round tower with not much information there at all, because the place speaks for itself.
You step out into a mystical woodland, large trees and clearings with shafts of light make it feel magical.
The first hints of mans encroachment are some ruins visible through the trees, but before I find my way there I come across a miniature stone circle. Noticing movement near the ruin I don’t want to disturb other explorers, so I go the other way.
This takes me to a small stream that I cross via a log bridge and find myself at the bottom of a set of steep stone steps. I can see as I ascend the steps the looming form of a large castle.
The steps bring me not to the castle itself but a path running below it.
To the left it slopes down towards some kind of habitation, I can see a windmill down there. To the right the path slopes upwards and winds around the castle mound leading to the entrance.
However before I get there, a large full sized stone circle is just off the path at the corner, which is enchanting!
When I reach the castle entrance I discover a sign that tells me there is artwork within the castle created by Cybele Moon. So not only are the surroundings beautiful, but they contain art as well.
I might normally take you step-by-step through the castle, but in this case there’s not really much need, it’s basically circular with a series of corridors throughout (pictures of corridors aren’t that interesting when you’re in an art gallery). I would simply advise taking each staircase, up or down, that you come to and you’ll probably find everything there is to see.
I leave the castle and head down the path to the settlement I’d seen earlier. This seems to be a crofters cottage or similar that you might find in rural Scotland or Wales. It’s in a beautifully picturesque setting, next to a river banked by hills on the far shore.
Its the kind of setting that would make a lovely landscape painting and I felt like I was walking through one.
I follow the shore of the river around to the far side of the cottage that leads me back into the forest and to the ruin that turns out to be an old Chapel.
To be honest I recognised the ruin as soon as I saw it since I have the very same one at home that I used in my post “The Demons Lost Secret” during Fantasy Faire. This one appears to have a resident spirit occupying it.
Definitely worth a visit for both the scenery and the artwork in the castle.
After a spontaneous snap I posted on Flickr I thought another was in order, but this time with a friend, since we’d been planning to do something together for a while. One snap turned into several and then into a story.
I pace my room glancing frequently at the clock, where has she got to I wonder. I want to take our time to be relaxed, but the longer I must wait, the worse my thirst gets.
Will I be able to restrain myself when she arrives, long enough for her to feel relaxed. A little bit of adrenaline in the blood from excitement is good, but I’m not in the mood for the taste of fear tonight, if I rush, that’s what I’ll get.
When she does arrive she’s very giggly and flirty, almost throwing herself at me, not her usual self. She’s drunk. She knows why she’s come here, maybe she got nervous, I did advise her against drinking, but I guess a little alcohol is better than fear.
A few glass or two as we sit and get comfy, then my thirst gets the better of me. I stand to remove my coat and move in close in front of her, staring into her eyes before taking her hand and a small bite from her wrist.
I slip her off the couch to kneel in front of me and hold her in a tight embrace as I feed from her eagerly.
Sensing she’s getting weak, sagging in my arms, I lift her effortlessly to lie across my lap to few more sips from her chest
before I stop and raise her into an embrace, as she passes out.
Following up on my previous posts featuring my new Centaur avatar and the Centaur Parade, I’ve come to visit the Ancient Order of Centaurs (AOC) . Although today I visited as a different “Taur”from Jinx called the Felintaur, which has the body of a large feline instead of a horse and was kindly donated to the Blogger room.
You arrive at a large circular landing point with four exits leading in different directions.
I opted for the one located directly behind me because I saw something interesting in the distance.
There was an intruiging arch that seemed to be mad of some large creatures rib cage over the path.
The AOC grounds cover four regions styled in a High Fantasy medieval appearance. There are long winding woodland paths everywhere connecting all the various places.
Leading to some lovely places to see and explore. Some of which are available to rent, I only spotted the “Private Property” outside the first one on the way *out* however.
No fantasy location would be without an abandoned castle..
If you want a nice aerial view over the place, there’s a handy lift:
There’s even a market where you can shop for many things Centaur related that I may well be returning to soon.
As usual with my blogging photo trips it’s not usually good for SLT so no-one around, but they do have regular meetups, a timetable is located at the landig point. I think I’ll try and make it to one of those at some point in the near future.
A very dear friend of mine for many years, Nytesong, got married last night and invited me along. Always nice to be invited to such things I think, it shows they genuinely want you around. Unlike an RL wedding where you sometimes have to invite people (like disliked relatives) out of a sense of politeness or to save hassle, you don’t have to in SL.
Occasions like this make me think again of the attachments we make in virtual worlds, there’s a lot of real emotions being experienced here. While there’s no legal commitment implications of an SL marriage, the emotional one is just as real. People that don’t understand would say it’s just pixels, it’s not real, sure what you see on your screen is made by computers, but the emotions are all too real.
I’ve absolutely no doubt Nyte was just as nervous and stressed as any bride before an RL wedding, wanting everything to be perfect. All the same things have to be done in preparation, from the Dress to flowers and photographer, pretty much everything except catering!
Of course there’s also that quiet bit where everyone is just waiting..that’s just the same in SL as RL too!
A very happy occasion they shared with friends from all over the world by the magic that is SecondLife. Congratulations and best wishes Nyte and Sorely!
This is a first for me. While I was busy blogging about Fantasy Faire I received a random notecard. It was an invitation to visit and maybe blog this place. The location is based around the Fallout games, while I’m aware of them I’ve never played any of them. That means I’m really going into this blind and means I’ll probably miss any references to places names or locations, so you’ll have to forgive me for that. Kinda how I like it when exploring in SL really, usually my only research of a place is just enough to ensure I’m dressed appropriately. In this case that resulted in a combat suit with weapon accessories. I did consider a helmet, probably would have been advisable for an IC visit due to the environment, but I just couldn’t find one that I felt worked with the suit.
The all-important landing area that gives your first impression is a small fenced area clear of clutter, just staff online boards, information about Factions, vendors for a group gift outfits and a table that offers free weapons:
[04:57:42] Second Life: Free Weapons Giver owned by Bishop Slade gave you '10mm Pistol 1' . 'Carter Knife'. 'NCR Standard Issue M16'. 'NCR Standard Issue M16 (Slung)'. '10mm Pistol'. 'US army Mag Pouch'.
There’s also a rentals board but it’s thankfully relatively discreet and there’s no nagging signs to ruin the atmosphere.
Heading through the nearby archway you arrive on the street where you get a very clear idea of what kind of place you’ve come to, cracked tarmac, boarded up ruined buildings and most noticiably, a green sky. That’s what suggests some kind of natural disaster, that there’s a story, seperating it from many other post-apocolyptic style locations.
I headed down the main road checking out various places along the way, but not exploring inside yet.
When I get to the far end there’s a large “This Way” neon sign. Presumably it meant the nearest doorway which opened into what seems to be a power station control room. Here you meet one of the several NPC’s that are dotted around the region. (Of course it could also have implied using the stairs, although that takes you to a rental, but also a good spot to jump over the wall into the power station yard, if you didn’t want use the doors.)
[10:23:40] Engineer Sophia: Hey! I need someone to go check the power lines for me. Can you head out to the Wastelands and check they are all looking ok? I'll pay you for your time of course. Here, take this radio with you so we can communicate out there. Head up the main street, take a right at Slocum Joe's, head straight through the tunnel and then you'll be at the Wastelands. You know, the desert? Check all the lines on the right side of the street. Theres 12 lines in total out there. Make sure you check all 12 before you come back here, I'll radio you when you can come back.
So I did as she asked, followed the directions and went to check all the powerline poles in the “Watelands” which are appropriately named. Out here is very dusty and barren like a scene from a Mad Max film.
[10:37:13] Power Line 1/12: You check the line for any signs of damage, it looks fine. [10:36:54] Power Line 2/12: You check the line for any signs of damage, it looks fine.
After clicking all the ones that gave a response I heard from Sophia:
[10:53:22] Engineer Sophia: *RADIO STATIC* ~~ Looks like that's the last one. Come on back and I'll pay you. Over and out ~~ *RADIO STATIC* [10:54:57] Engineer Sophia: Good job out there today, heres 20 caps.
Caps here referring to a HUD system the region uses, it’s automatically attached when you accept the SL Experience upon arrival.
I then started to explore a bit more there being a small alley adjacent to the control room, I headed down it to see where it led. Through some undergrowth, on what used to be a back street, littered with broken down cars I come through some fencing onto a basketball court. Either end is fenced so I cut through the building opposite, between some more cars and undergrowth onto a main street.
The street ended in one of the teleporter arches leading to an out of town forested area on the coast. If it wasn’t for that green sky you could easily have thought you’d returned to somewhere normal, but it is a lovely landscape to explore.
All these explorations were along the West side of the region (the teleporter arches taking you to different altitudes), perhaps the opposite side has similar locations to explore behind the row of abandoned premises, but I’ll leave that to you to discover, along with the odd npc or two located inside some of them. If that’s not enough there is a whole second region to the North to explore! The quickest way to get there is by clicking on the signs to the left of the teleport arch at the arrival point.
Something is wrong with a Spheres. She doesn’t know where or what, but something is wrong. The shrine where she stands was built where the leylines from various parts of the Fae races converged. Most of them maintained a connection to the respective Spheres continuously, except the Mermaids obviously. Their airheaded builders putting the temple in the wrong place,but at least it was regularly connected enough to do its job. But something still felt wrong.
There were some that were only occasionally showing up, but from different lines, as if they were moving, perhaps one or more had been stolen. The Web of spheres and leylines must be maintained, or the Egg of Ostara will hatch. With no parent, the bleached bones of the last of its race outside of the Khol Dracus valley curled around it, who knows how it will react.
She must leave the tower for the first time in centuries and track down these spheres. They need to be restored to their rightful places, or if the place is no more, a new home and caretakers must be found. She can keep them all at the tower they need to be spread out, there are already too many here.
They were mysterious and beautiful creations, many a lifetime had been spent searching and eventually she’d found one. Having heard the tales when a child she had first thought them just stories. It wasn’t til her teen years that an old journal had surfaced among a crazy old relatives possessions. This contained research notes in several different hands, clearly it had been written by many over a long period of time.
There were descriptions of egg-like objects of many designs but their purpose and origin were unknown. Apparently they held great power, but to what end and how? This one had turned up in a woodland, a logger clearing a swathe of ancient forest, that really should have been protected, found it secreted within a hollow tree he had felled. Apparently it had been found with a symbol made of gold, resembling two letter Fs back to back, this he had sold to a local gold dealer and was likely melted down by now, such a waste! He had shown a little more sense when it came to the Egg though. He took it to an antique dealer in the city, where he’d received a fair price for it he believed. The antique dealer was laughing all the way to the bank though, believing he had just acquired one of the famous jewelled eggs of Russia.
This was when it came to my attention, when the dealer listed it for auction. All those people that had spent decades searching for these things had lacked something that made the job much easier : Twenty-first century Internet with AI search algorithms.
I’d spent a lot of time and money setting this up using some possibly privacy invasive techniques along the way. When the antique dealer in the back end of nowhere pressed Submit on the Web page, my search algorithm picked it up. Which proceeded to run the photo through comparison photos of all the known Russian eggs and found no match ran a trace of the dealers IP address, using hacked access to the service providers customer list then promptly emailed me with the dealers home address and a photo of the item in question.
Now I had it in my hands and the dealer wasn’t going to be selling anything ever again. I say my hands, but currently it was sat on the ornate table in front of me while I watch mezmorized as candle and firlight reflect off it.
Little does she know, far away in a place she doesn’t even know exists, someone has noticed..
The Centaur patrols the pool below the waterfall, enjoying the cool water on her legs when everywhere else in the forest is warm.
She sees movement in the trees and becomes alert, she relaxes its just a faun come to drink. She doesn’t mind her watch shifts in the summer, she gets to stay cool in the water, it’s the best position to guard the cave behind the waterfall that contains her races sacred Sphere.
Generations of her kin have watched over it, not knowing its true purpose or function, just its importance to continued freedom of the Faire races.
More movement on the shore, something darker, not an animal. She nocks an arrow and wades slowly in the water, trying to remain silent as she moves into cover that will let her see better that area. It’s a human dressed in black, very curiously dressed for entering the forest, but suggests they are not trying to conceal their presence.
She calls out from her cover out of his sight. “Who goes there? What’s your business in this part of the forest?”
There is no response and the Human is even looking in a different direction, as if they had not heard. Curious now she comes up onto the shore and partially out of cover, her bow raised and aimed in no uncertain terms at the man..in a flat cap, this is most odd.
She calls again louder this time and the stranger responds this time. “I hope you’re not going to be loosing that that thing at me” he says. “That depends, what are you doing here in this part of the forest? Are you lost?”
He looks rather confused and asks “Am I not still in the park?” she eases the pressure on the string but doesn’t lower it just yet, “Where do you *think* you are? she asks a little concern in her tone now, this guy is clearly not all there. “Avebury?” he replies, clearly coming to the realisation that he wasn’t. Clearly he’s accidentally done something in the stone circle and transported himself to the Faire Lands.
She lowers her bow and gestures along a path, “Follow that path you’ll come to a cirlce of stones and there should be a glowing archway, walk through there and you’ll be back where you belong…then you will wake up from this weird dream you’ve been having about Centaurs. OK?” The man looks embarrassed and heads off along the way she had indicated.
She goes back to the waterfall and checks on the sphere behind it, satisifed she assumes her sentry position once again.