Cowell

A Much Changed Forest…

I took the long journey back to the forest yesterday but even the strangeness of my dream could not have prepared me for what I found there. The gridquakes I had heard about, often third or fourth hand from people who knew that despite my distance from the world Cowell & Kahruvel still meant a great deal to me, had wreaked havok through the ancient woodland and nearby village. It broke my heart to see so many familiar old landmarks gone, washed away into the void or desecrated by hateful thugs possessed by desires I would never, ever understand. Still, even though the tower had finally crumbled into the sea and the aqueduct had collapsed over the cliff, the forest itself still felt warm and inviting and I had a warm glow of nostalgia as I walked beneath her boughs. Even passing the spot where I had found the backpack that had transformed me so long ago made me smile a little.

But that smile faded as I came across the ancient landing stones near the border with Noyo. In my last visit Salazar’s archaeological dig had uncovered a circle of stone posts around a central dais and I had detected a weak, blue light rising up the stones and dissipating into the atmosphere. Although the stone circle had always been called a landing point, in truth I had no idea what it was for and the blue light inside it was just as mysterious, but now I found the site in an awful state of disrepair! All but one of the stones had gone, whether by the efforts of looters or the vagaries of grid stability I could not tell, but the rhythms of the blue energy had obviously thrown into discord and instead of a bubble of energy gently rising up the stones, now great arcs ballooned off into the air and crackled all around me.
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“Impressive, huh?” came a voice behind me. I spun around with my heart in my mouth only to find my old friend, and follow half-gazelle, Shigeko Tachikawa stood looking at the light show.
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“Shig! Wow! So, you see it too, huh?” I said.

“Yeah, I see it. No one else seems to, I’ve been watching and no one stops, just me, and now you. Oh, and hi by the way,” with that she hit me hard on the arm.

“Ow!” I said, “What was that for?”

“How long have you been away? How long?” she replied, emotion strong in her voice.

“Ahh, yeah, that,” I said sheepishly. “Look, I’m sorry, I’ve been busy…” I trailed off and offered her the kind of big toothy grin that often got me out of trouble, and occasionally got me in more.

“Yeah,” she said with semi-mock hurt, “Well just don’t do it again, ok?”

“I’ll try,” I said but knew I couldn’t ever keep such a promise. The lure of other worlds was always going to be too strong to ignore. I turned away from my lie and looked back into the light, a large arc just passing us by and running over some metal equipment Salazar had left out nearby.

“What is it?” she asked.

“I’m not sure but my guess only Sal, or his gran, will know what to do about it. How about we take a wander down to the lighthouse and leave him a note?”

Shig beamed a smile at me and said “Race?”

I laughed, “Yeah, why not but you go easy on an old guy, huh?”

She laughed back, “Never!” and pushed me to the floor. I landed with a thud in the dust of the trail and she shot off like a rocket over the hill. I jumped to my feet and shouted after her “You cheat!” Ha! Who was I kidding, there was no way I’d ever beat her. I set off at a trot down the path but as I passed the pile of Sal’s equipment I turned back for one last look at the energy bleeding and arcing from the old stone. What the hell did it all mean? I must speak to Sal.
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A Curious Dream in Kahruvel

I dreamt of the shaman last night, not something I have done in over two years.
Backpacking Burro - Kahruvel

In the dream I awoke on the floor of the old wooden lookout clinging to the side of the hills over the sea of Mohr and found the shaman sat staring at me, just as he had done so long ago. As always with dreams the details are hazy and hard to recall exactly, but I must have asked him what he wanted because he pointed out to sea and said “Look at the clouds.” Over the waters rain-heavy clouds hung like wet washing on a line. “Look at the clouds,” he said again, “the pressure is building.” I must have asked what pressure but he merely repeated himself before standing and pointing at the sun which suddenly began rising over the far off storm. “The light is rising,” he said, “The light is rising.”

And that was it. I awoke from my dream and found my fur sodden with sweat and my heart racing. I’m sure it is nothing, I mean the shaman, the Eldars and even the damn elemental in my old backpack have been silent for so long now I’d truly begun to believe the past was done with me. Maybe it is. Still, I think I’ll pay a visit to the old forest tonight and see how it is faring.

#SL: Salazar’s ArcheoExpo 2011

I’ve been so wrapped up in playing LOTRO that I had forgotten to upload & post my pictures from the ArcheoExpo Salazar arrange in Cowell this year. It was a really fun event that Sal and many other worked really hard to make so enjoyable and here are my photos from it (did I mention I got to see a Starax Wand in action? No? Well I did and it was bloody brilliant!)

Cowell coming alive?

I’ve been re-establishing my links with my old stomping grounds on the Sansara mainland recently and as part of that I’ve been checking out my old place in Cowell (kicked off in part by tweets from the Trust who look after Kahruvel and a visit to the village by Tish) and I’ve remembered just why I love the place 🙂

This is the view along the canal from east to west.
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This is my neighbourhood, with Ilia’s shop next to the news stand.
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The bridge over the canal.
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Sunset on the obelisk.
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Bridges, arches and alleyways.
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The village square.
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The community hall.
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The southern sea.
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The walkway across the lands washed into the sea.
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The view from the western edge of the village.
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The lighthouse and the aerodrome…
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The one thing Cowell needs is people. Its streets are empty, its square quiet. It has a community hall with no community to meet in it. If what I hear from Sal is right, that might be about to change and the Trust might… just might… be about to open up the village for rentals 😀

The Reading – New Film from TSMGO Studios & Mysterio Productions

My mate Enjah has been working hard (very bloody hard!) on her new movie – and what a doozy! She’s leapt from 2-3 minute comic shorts to a 9 minute drama set in the gorgeous seaside village of Cowell & mighty forest of Kahruvel, places close to my heart 🙂

So, without further ado, I present the latest TSMGO Studio release of the Mysterio Production*, The Reading…

* Don’t let Enjah’s modesty fool you. This is almost entirely the product of her hard work and certainly my only input was a few discussion emails and a very dodgy East European accent ;-D

Airships over Cowell…

A few weeks back I took a trip out to Cowell (I have a home there, after all) to look at the damage left after a recent flood.
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I stood admiring Sal & Champie’s work when a twin-prop passenger plane from Abbott’s flew overhead. As I squinted up into the bright sky I gasped out loud at the sight that greeted me behind the community centre – a truly huge airship was moored between the buildings like some great red whale bobbing in balmy ocean currents.
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I made my way through the stone streets, over the canal bridge and through the winding maze of alleyways and cut-throughs until I was stood a few feet from the nose – this thing was just massive!
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I walked up through the community building and out onto the balcony next to the ship’s cockpit – it was as beautiful as the rest of the ship, a steampunk labour of love in wood and brass. I just had to get in!
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I couldn’t fly it as it was locked down to its owner (one Messer Salazar Jack I believe) but if you’d like to know more, and maybe buy one yourself, then check out Cubey Terra’s blog here, have a looksee at his page on XStreet here or pop over to Abbott’s Aerodrome in-world. Happy flying!

Cowell is vanishing?

Report to follow… can’t talk… too shocked and upset…

EDIT (8 hours later): Salazar has confirmed that the land and Champie Jack’s building has been washed away by an ocean surge of unknown orgin but tests indicate it was a random eveny and does not indicate a wider instability in Cowell. He also says that the prims the wave has freed up will lead to to remodelling rather than direct rebuilding. Watch this space! Hat tip to Douglas Quinn for alerting me!

EDIT (19th April 10): Sal has added some links on the Kahruvel website about the Rodeo Incident & the Phyneas Jack Memorial Trust plans for the future.

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A Trip Over Cowell…

I popped into Cowell a few days ago – I wanted to pay Sal my rent and check my wee villa is all ok as I’ve negelected it terribly of late. It looked fine and dandy (although I really need to buy a picture from Young and Osprey to decorate the place) but I was so engrossed in my thoughts that I was nearly sucked into the engines of a jumbo jet taking off from Abbotts!
Flight out of Cowell

The slip stream sent me tumbling over the hill into Kahruvel and I jetted through the trees trying my best to avoid a serious head injury! When I managed to regain control I saw I was over the water to the wast of the great forest. Hovering nearby I saw a familiar sight, an alien craft I regognised immediately! I flew over and checked and I was right! It was my old mate Neal Lyle’s ship gently bobbing in the breeze above his camp site.
Neal Lyle's camp site in Kahruvel :)

Of the old gentleman there was nary a trace so I took a picture and flew back over the forest to turn my lights out in Cowell and head back to St Helens.

Looking for a new home

I’ve been in SL for two and a half years now, man & gazelle, but I’ve never really had a home. Even my currnt home point is the Eleanor Theatre in Phobos because that means I can beam back there if I crash out during a show.

Best I can recall is:
I was born in Braunsworth I think – I can no longer remember as I never stayed there but went wandering.
I ended up in Nova Albion but only to camp.
I moved to an abandoned infohub in Murray.
I bought a small plot on a private island called Gembong East.
I finally made my home point the theatre when the show quickly became the most important thing in my SL.

Apart from Murray I have never been part of a fixed community, and even that was just standing around chatting and booting griefers. I don’t count the show as although the troupe are my friends, it’s not a fixed community and, with only a small number of exceptions, there is no interaction outside the show. I have wonderful friends in SL, but timezones mean I rarely see them beyond the show. I need a purpose to come in-world and outside of the show I’m struggling.

I guess what I’m suffering from is loneliness.

I’m willing to bet that when Darien Mason contacted me about writing with him in The Lost Journal he had no idea what he would set in motion; I certainly didn’t. I want to be part of a wider comminty of roleplayers and writers. I want to feel the energy of creation I get from writing and taking photos. I want to have adventures and fun outside the show, and not just on my own all the time.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been exploring, on this blog and others, what it means to roleplay in SL and I’ve moved from a place where I wanted the perfect sim/RP experience served on a plater, to wanting to get in with a far more open and looser system. But where?

Caledon has always scared me because of its size – too easy to simply get lost I think and my views on it have been coloured by an earlier attempt to find a sort of home there. New Babbage is amazing but I don’t have the skills needed to be there – it’s a big boys place. Nova Albion/Bay City are places I have lots of love for but Bay City more about city life there and Nova Albion’s roleplaying days seem long behind it. Cowell/Kahruvel are places I simply adore but nothing goes on there. Outside of that it’s all film and book roleplaying and outside of a 1940s noir setting I’m not that interested (1).

But one name keeps coming up. One name that seems to involve community and lightness of touch that appears to allow a hell of a lot of creative roleplay to spring up despite not being a roleplay sim. It’s a place that takes in strays, a category I think I fall smack bang into. That place is called Steelhead.

I think this is it. I’m almost certain I’m going to move, abandon my beloved old HBA Island forever and find a new home with new stories to tell, ones where I’m not the only voice and player.

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(1) Especially in frigging vampires.

Another night with friends

Way back in March I was sat all alone on the edge of the SL museum in Phobos (next to the Eleanor Theatre – you can’t miss it) sending out notecards for the Nova Albion 5th anniversary parade when who should hove into view but Enjah!
An afternoon with Enjah & Young

I finished up and leapt into The Seahorse for a trip around the bay…
An afternoon with Enjah & Young

…before she whipped out her trusty airship to fly us north towards Davenport…
An afternoon with Enjah & Young

…via Bodega (hey! I can see Osprey’s house!)
An afternoon with Enjah & Young

Passing through the western most edge of Bodega we found a sleeping Young akip on her feet amid the foundations of her new home (now finished – read about it here)
An afternoon with Enjah & Young

An afternoon with Enjah & Young

Young woke up in time for Enjah to jet us all off to the west, past her new tree house…
An afternoon with Enjah & Young

…and into Cowell…
An afternoon with Enjah & Young

…to my home!
An afternoon with Enjah & Young

And as the evening drew in about us, we settled down for a cup of tea…
An afternoon with Enjah & Young

…and a game of make the Burro blush as he pretends to write a blog post!
An afternoon with Enjah & Young

All too soon night had descended (rather in the manner of a stunned sparrow, I thought – falling quietly & from above) and my friends had to depart. Funny how the house seems so depressingly quiet when your party is over…
An afternoon with Enjah & Young

I’m a very lucky Burro indeed – here’s to good friends!
An afternoon with Enjah & Young