horse

Riding from Bay City to Nova Albion

You know the stuff about visiting Holocluck Henly’s gallery and Marianne McCann’s shop in Bay City? Good, because there’s more. Pull up a chair, get a brew and read on.

You see, after visiting Marianne’s store I wandered about Bay city a little looking for signs of life. My SL experience is largely one of zero green dots in the sims I’m in and this visit was no different. Teleportation has a lot to answer for – very few people travel through sims to go places so you rarely meet strangers and have the chance to chat. I decided I would do something different and instead of just beaming out and back to Steelhead (I had left HBA Island by this point) I would mount up on my trusty steed Frank and trot all the way through the city to Nova Albion.

I saw some wonderful builds and interesting shops. The bridges worked and the tram passed me at least twice. But not once did I see another soul. Not once. Not until I got into the gutted* Sistana and found Mossant in her lovely coffee shop where we talked about how much the empty sim she now found herself was ticking her off. How her and LisaHot carry on and keep enthused is beyond me, but I’m glad they do – SL needs more community builders like them and Marianne. Anyhow, off my soapbox for a bit, here are the pics of my horse ride from city to city.

Bay City Tram

Bay City Bridge

First Mole in the moon

Sunny Mole's Planets

Lazy elf!

Chatting with Mossant :)

Mossant!

* When people had to pack up and go to Zindra, the ones who left their old, old lands of Nova Albion’s Sistana district felt so aggrieved that they put the lands up for sale at stupid prices ensuring no one could buy them and redevelop the community. Frankly this sort of dog-in-the-manger childish stupidity fucks me off royally and I just wish LL had the balls to take the land off them and give it out to folks who would rebuild the city suburbs instead of sulking all the way to the bank cashing in their earnings from making fake cocks and clits. Fuckers.

Lost & Found: Chapter 9 – Adrift in Steelhead

The horse flicked an ear in irritation. The furry man hadn’t moved at all on the journey back to the scary old laboratory, just sat there mumbling to himself, so he’d decided to keep walking. Now, as a fine drizzle set in, he was regretting his decision. Oh to be in his mistress’ warm, dry barn with some hay to munch and no furry men making him miserable. He snorted loudly and swished his tail just to show how angry he was. The furry man didn’t seem to notice, just kept on mumbling.

****

Jeremiah sat on the swaying horse oblivious to the world around him. The day wore on into its afternoon. Leaden clouds gathered overhead and began to empty themselves on the quiet city below. Despite the rain Jeremiah simply let the horse take him where it wanted as he tried to make sense of the last few hours. The news he was a killer, or rather a would-be-killer, had hit him hard and he was struggling to deal with the emotional turmoil it had left him with.

He rode past houses whose occupants were slowly returning to evening meals and warm fires. Those that saw him pass nudged each other and pointed – Steelhead had a gossip mill second to none and news of the stranger claiming to be Dr Mason’s father had travelled far in the few weeks since his appearance. Jeremiah saw none of them, his mind fitfully jumping around thoughts he was rapidly loosing control of, and he rode along talking to himself with eyes edged with confusion and panic.

“But who?… a demon… why?… must be… monster!…”

Cobbled roads gave way to wooden boards and then to dirt trails as he passed out of the city and into the rolling foothills that lay beneath a soaring mountain range. The rain was falling in earnest, soaking through Jeremiah’s clothes and matting his fur against cold skin. Still he did not seem to notice, he just sat the saddle and muttered half sentences through chattering teeth.

“Must be… me?… kill them?… must remember… can’t…”

The evening grew dark around him. Creatures of the night brave enough to venture out into the rain watched the strange figure babbling to itself. A peel of thunder and sudden bolt of lightning sent them scurrying for cover and Jeremiah looked up, blinking into the rain as he seemed to finally become aware of his surroundings. He looked at horse, slick with rain and shivering in the cold, “Where…?” he asked in a daze. The horse whinnied pitifully. “I… I’m sorry…” was he could say in reply. “To… to the lab,” the horse went rigid beneath him but he didn’t notice, “I have to see… I have to know… I have to know what kind of monster I am. I have to remember.”

****

As the clearly miserable horse finally set off back into town with Jeremiah swaying in its saddle, an equally miserable and wet, cold, uncomfortable nun emerged from her surveillance place in the undergrowth. She set off in clandestine pursuit and, although she would never admit it to Mother Superior, found herself having some distinctly uncharitable thoughts about her mark.

In the skies above them all huge, winged shape swooped through the violent clouds and arced down towards the Dragon’s Leap Saloon. It vanished behind the structure and a few moments later a tall, elegant woman emerged from behind the bar and into the quiet lounge. Seeing no sign of her barman, she called his name. A swarthy man in a bowler hat came in from the balcony that overlooked the valley and river below, rain running off him in thick rivulets, “What are you doing out there, Warren?” she asked. “Nothink, vatching the storm,” he replied in a heavy Russian accent. She peered past him into the night and, riding through the rain and across the bridge into the city, she saw the horned man claiming to be Darien’s father. She turned to Warren, but he was already across the room with his back to her wiping the bar in slow, deliberate circles.

To be continued (after a short break)…
All the “Lost & Found” posts can be read here

Lost & Found: Chapter 8 – Genealogy Part 2

Frau Lowey’s office was a large, efficient looking space with a rather fetching view over the street below to the Steelhead town hall. Jeremiah had heard from Genie that weekly town meetings took place there and he mentally made a note to try and attend at least one in the near future. Frau Lowey took her seat behind her spotless desk, only a few items of writing paraphernalia, a photo of a small boy and a single rose, decorated its surface. “Please,” she said indicating a well padded chair across the desk from her. Jeremiah sat down as Frau Lowey pressed a button on a small wood and brass box. Moments later a servant brought a tray of refreshments through and began to serve them, “Tea or coffee sir?” he was asked and surprised himself when he answered “Tea please, no sugar but milk and quite strong thank you,” without the slightest hesitation – he didn’t remember preferring tea, but clearly he did.

Frau Lowey broke him from his thoughts; “So what can I do for you, Herr – well, that is the rub is it not? Herr ‘what’ indeed?” she said as she sipped her own drink.

“May I take it you don’t agree with the others that I am Jeremiah Mason then, Frau Lowey?”

She looked at the, well, man for want of a better description, over the top of her steaming cup. His flame-red eyes and curving horns could easily have been Jeremiah’s. Or Darien’s or Marcus’ for that matter. Flaming eyes and horns reeked of the demon, but the rest? His strong features were softened by the white and tan fur that covered his face and were nothing like the many lives that had gone before. Steam and brass fused with bone and blood were the mark of the Masons and their curse. This creature was more animal in nature; magickal maybe, but not the twisted dark powers of Jeremiah or the others. She found herself wondering who in their right mind would claim to be part of that most troubled lineage. She removed her glasses and pinched the bridge of her nose between thumb and finger, “Sir,” she began as she placed her glasses back across her tired eyes “In all honestly I do not know who, or indeed what, you are – but I can, with the upmost of certainty, say you are not Jeremiah Mason.”

Jeremiah looked across the desk at her, blinking rapidly, “I see,” he was struggling to swallow down a wave of emotions he barely understood, “may… may I ask how you can be so sure?”

Frau Lowey placed her cup and saucer on the desk, gently cleared her throat and looked the stranger claiming to be Darien Mason’s clone father directly in the eyes, ”There are two factors that lead me to such a conclusion. The first is the simple fact that the Jaegers, the sheriff and Amarantis all tell me you are not him. To put it bluntly, your scent and aura are simply different. Whilst that in itself is more than enough to tell me you are not Jeremiah, I also have the advantage of knowing a little of Jeremiah’s nature due to the simple fact that in one incarnation he – or as you would have it, you – tried to kill me and several of my friends. He did not succeed.” A small, tight smile played across her lips.

Jeremiah’s mouth fell open and he felt the bone china cup slip from his fingers to crash and shatter on the floor.

“Hmm, luckily that wasn’t one of the consulate’s best sets,” Frau Lowey said as the same servant who had brought the drinks returned to clean up the mess at his feet. “I’m sorry to tell you in such a blunt fashion,” Frau Lowey was looking at her visitor again “but as I am sure you are not Jeremiah…”

“Kill you?” he interrupted.

“Yes,” she replied, her voice even and calm.

“But why?”

“I am afraid that is a long story…” she was interrupted by a small chime from her pocket watch. She took it out and gave a small tut, “..one that will need to wait in the telling. I am sorry, you really have called at a very busy time. Perhaps you could return again in a few days and we can discuss any other questions you may have…” she was already stood up and moving to the door.

Jeremiah felt his legs working but without his conscious effort. They led him downstairs and to the front door. Frau Lowey talked to him but he heard nothing. He walked past the sniggering guard and along the path to his horse. In a daze he climbed into the saddle and just sat there.

The confused horse stood for a few minutes before slowly trotting off to the last place the furry man had visited, the scary old lab…

************

To be continued…
All the “Lost & Found” posts can be read here.

Lost & Found: Chapter 7 – Meeting Frau Lowey

The horse plodded his charge through the city’s streets and alleyways in silence. A strange mood had come over the furry man since he had come out of the scary building. The horse wasn’t surprised, that place made all the animals nervous. He’d never met a single animal that had been inside. Sure some said they had but he knew full well were lying and he’d never met one, not one who’d actually been in and come out again – the whole place smelt of a strange, wrong sort of death. A shudder ran down his spine and he tried to put it from his mind as he trotted on to the Consulate, there all he to worry about was the sharptooths who eyed his sort hungrily. He wondered how they would take to the furry man and found himself snorting in amusement.

****

As he left his son’s laboratory behind, Jeremiah settled into the rhythm of the horse beneath him and allowed his mind to drift, only the occasional shudder or snort from his steed pulling him from his thoughts. He was slowly gathering himself again, repairing the fragile links undone by his time in the lab, and by the time his mount stopped outside the Consulate he was once more in charge of his volatile emotions and feeling, if not normal, then at least a little better.

The Europa Consulate was an impressively austere block of stone and columns set in its own formal grounds. The horse trotted up to the gate but steadfastly refused to enter, eyeing the Jaeger guard with more than a little nervousness. Jeremiah hopped down and walked the short distance to the door which was guarded by a single Jaeger who stared at him with casual disdain. “Vat hyu vant here? Ve not vant heny pegs or lucky hever!”

“I’m here to see Frau Lowey,” Jeremiah replied ignoring the insult, “please be so kind as to tell her Dr Jeremiah Mason is here and would very much like to speak with her.”

The green-skinned guard leered at the upright antelope but remembered well the last broom handle the Frau had broken across his back for being rude to a guest. “Hyu vait here, vurry man,” he said and slipped inside for a moment before coming back as if nothing had happened and pointedly stared off into the distance. Jeremiah looked around, unsure what to do next. He cleared his throat deliberately. The guard ignored him and began to quietly whistle an off key tune to himself. Jeremiah coughed again. “Huh? Hyu schtill here? Hwy hyu not gone hin, bud?” the guard said at last.

“But you never said anything,” Jeremiah said, exasperation clear in his voice.

The Jaeger gave him a toothy grin, all malice and self-satisfaction, “Hy didn’t? Zorry bub, must have schlipped my mind, huh? Hyu’ll be kheeping ze Frau vaiting und sche hates dat, bub.”

Jeremiah shot a furious glare at the creature and pushed passed to enter the Consulate. As he strode angrily through the door, he almost knocked over a women coming the opposite way.

“Oh! I’m sorry…” he stammered but the woman cut him off, “Sir!” her voice was exquisite steel “Please be a little more careful, this is not a race track after all!” She straightened her small, round glasses and patted her hair to ensure the bun had not come loose. Jeremiah proffered another apology and looked down at the handsome woman, “Frau Lowey?” he asked.

“Yes, and I can take it you are the man claiming to be one Jeremiah Mason?”

Jeremiah smarted, “Madam, I am Jeremiah Mason, I do not claim to be him.”

Frau Lowey looked the tall figure in front of her up and down, “Hmm. Please follow me to my office. We can talk more there rather than on the steps like this,” and she turned on her heel and headed up the stairs.

To be continued…
All the “Lost & Found” posts can be read here

My Second Life Road Trip 6: Trekking through Clementina

With the noon sun high above me, I swung the speedboat north east and headed for the small sandy shore gathered at the base of a cliff that supported a large white mansion that looked like the kind of place Columbo would have rolled up to in the late 70s to solve a cunning murder. This, I thought, was something I had to see.
Clementina 1

The boat gently crunched onto the beach and I hopped out, tied off the boat* and began the long climb up the steep hill.
Clementina 2
Halfway up, the land plateaued out and there, nibbling the warm grass, was the most beautiful horse I’d ever seen. Fully seventeen hands if he was an inch and with feet as big as my head.
Clementina 4

I approached slowly, not wanting to spook him, until I could reach out and stroke his face. He snorted contentedly and shook his mane. I gingerly took his reins and put a foot into a stirrup. He instinctively braced himself as I swung my leg over and dropped into his saddle, which fit me perfectly almost as if it had been made for me. I pulled on the reins and with a snort the horse padded off to the left, up the hill towards the mansion.

Once again the rise flattened out and my mount stopped by the sources of a gushing waterfall that led down to a beautiful wooden house.
Clementina  6

I climbed down while he drank (I would have to find a name for him… Charger? Adolphus? ClipClop? I needed to think) and gazed across the expanse of the inland sea back towards Davenport and Bodega. The hills and mountains of Sansara rose into the sky like old friends waving to me and I felt my first real pang of homesickness.
Clementina 3

I climbed back into the saddle (Speed? Fleet?) and headed along the ridge that circled the white house until I came to an opening leading into the grounds. I rode in and found that the whole place was in fact a partial reconstruction of an earlier mansion built by SL’s first ever resident, Stella Sunshine. Having built the original in the days of Linden World, she gave it to the Lindens for the move across to the grid as we know it. Some things have been lost along the way and a team of volunteers have worked hard to restore it and maintain it as a sort of museum of lost builds.

I decided not to linger, rather to carry on around the house to another waterfall where my new friend (Dasher? Europa?) decided to leap down in a manner that frankly (Frank! That was it! Frank!) left my stomach in my mouth.
Clementina 10

But soon, sure-footed Frank had us down on the ground and we meandered through the beautifully maintained park…
Clementina 11

…to take a closer look at the wooden house by the sea I had seen earlier (which turned out to be a Victorian marvel selling musical instruments…
Clementina 9

…before Frank whinnied and stamped impatiently, eager, I felt, to move on to the next location. Although I would have liked to make my way back to the car so long ago parked in Bodega across the inland Omidyar sea, I patted his neck and we headed North towards what looked like an enormous beanstalk. An enormous beanstalk laying just past a fully rigged pirate ship that is…
Clementina 12

Yours in Travel,
HeadBurro Antfarm
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* Well, it was auto-returned immediately, but it’s sort of the same…