St Helens

Steelhead Stories: Antfarm Lumber & Timber Supplies Now OPEN!

I’ve been hard at work in St Helens and can announce that Antfarm Lumber & Timber Supplies is now open!
HBA Sawmill working_004

I’m employing one of the latest steam engines to power my mammoth saw blade and it’s making quick work of the trees in my forest at the base of Mt St Helens…
HBA Sawmill working_002

As you can see from this aerial shot, the log flume takes the felled trees right down into the river where they can be either rafted up and floated to Shanghai & Port Harbour for transport out to Babbage, Steeltopia & the like, or they can be loaded onto my mighty saw and planed into planks in no time!
HBA Mine_004

Hmmm… I’m not sure what that cave-like rocky outcropping is at the back of my forest – maybe I’ll head up there and take a look…

In the meantime, remember that for all you lumber & timber needs, Antfarm Lumber & Timber Supplied uses only the finest trees from Steelhead’s own forests of St Helens!

HBA Lumber Stamp V1b

Gang Wars: Broken Chains…

Floating Logs_001

Floating Logs_002

Great. Just great. First goddamn week of business. Antfarm crouched by the water’s edge and stared out at the line of half-submerged logs bobbing along the river towards Boomtown and out towards the ports and docks of Shanghai. Somewhere out there one of these logs – his logs – had struck a boat. Three people had died. The harbour-master was coming out to investigate. This could shut him down. Antfarm shifted round and looked down at the remains of the log raft he’d chained together only the day before. The chains he’d used were new, strong. The shackle was bolted tightly. The weather overnight had been mild, the river calm. Nothing could have slipped out, nothing could have come loose. He turned a U-shaped piece of steel over in his hands, rubbing his thumb over the sharp, crimped ends. Bolt-cutters.

Floating Logs_003

First goddamn week of business.

Great.

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To be continued…
All the “Gang War” posts can be read on my blog here and over on the Steelhead Ning here.

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Links to other blogs and stories:
1) This post follows Alana’s on the Steelhead Ning here.

Nightfall in St Helens…

I’ve been working hard over at my log cabin, mainly constructing the parts for a wooden lathe, but I’m never too busy to enjoy a sunset like this…
Steelhead sunset_001

And who wouldn’t love sitting out on a night like this…
St Helens by moonlight_001

I knew I was right coming out here, even the Scamps have stopped exploring the forest and disturbing me. All is peace.

EDIT (3rd Nov 10): I took the two pictures above and wrote this short post waaaaay back in June or July, shortly before SL’s many glitches pissed me right off and I quit blogging for a while to let the blood pressure drop again. I re-scheduled it for 2011 meaning to post it once I calmed down, but once I had calmed down I got stuck into the Steal Head story. Anyhoo, now I’m getting more involved in St Helens again it is time to post this – especially as I’ve just moved the log cabin and replaced it with a small sawmill & log flume!
HBA Saw Mill_009

A Third Tour of Steelhead’s St Helens

It was time for me to ride into town again. Since my last trip (not to mention the one before that) many things had changed in St Helens, none so much as the residents. As Frank and I slowly trotted through the morning splendour of Steelhead’s beautiful wilderness, I recorded these changes for posterity. Here, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you a pictorial record of my third tour of Stelhead’s St Helens, starting with my own, hand-built humble abode in the shadow of the mighty mountain itself…
Third Tour of St Helens (HBA)_001

Third Tour of St Helens (HBA)_002

I followed the river east to where, on the former site of Autopilotpatty Poppy’s tree-stump house, Thadicus Caligari has set up camp. Frank has a knack of finding other horses, y’know…
Third Tour of St Helens (Thadicus Caligari)_003

Journeying around the back of Mr Caligari’s property, it seems Mr Vain Adder has expanded his own land holdings considerably and built an impressively large town house in the middle of the forested wilderness.
Third Tour of St Helens (Vain Adder)_004

Frank led me over the mountain and past Miss Fogwoman Gray’s charming cottage (where Frank found yet another horse to snuffle at).
Third Tour of St Helens (Fogwoman Gray)_005

Nearby, Otenth Paderborn had set up a small stables for horses (which seems to have replaced Maev Ceawlin’s balloon air tours)…
Third Tour of St Helens (Otenth Paderborn)_006

…which dovetailed nicely with the Mayor’s blacksmith’s business near the welcome centre.
Third Tour of St Helens (TLE)_008

Frank stopped for a drink in Elegia Underwood’s rather eerie pool…
Third Tour of St Helens (Elegia Underwood)_009

Whilst I’d much rather have been in her saloon!
Third Tour of St Helens (Dragons Rest Saloon)_007

Nearby, MisLily Nightfire has a truly lovely home by the border with Shanghai.
Third Tour of St Helens (MissLily Nightfire)_010

And the Asian influences from Shanghai seem to have inspired Miss Kristianna Fotherington’s home (which I think has replaced the strange rabbit tent of Katsu Catnap).
Third Tour of St Helens (Kristianna Fotherington)_011

Third Tour of St Helens (Kristianna Fotherington)_012

It was a delight to find Miss Anna Darwinian’s gorgeous wee cottage and garden still here!
Third Tour of St Helens (Anna Darwinian)_013

As it was with Miss Mara Razor’s mill – hell, St Helens wouldn’t be St Helens without Mara’s mill!
Third Tour of St Helens (Mara Razor)_015

Across the road from the mill, Thadicus Caligari has a rather lovely piece of land by the river that I think replaces the house Maxim built.
Third Tour of St Helens (Thadicus Caligari)_014

Valdyr Dreamscape has built a Jagerhut (forgive the spelling if wrong) on the site of Mari Moonbeam’s old farm & campsite.
Third Tour of St Helens (Valdyr Dreamscape)_016

Which is even more striking inside!
Third Tour of St Helens_ (Valdyr Dreamscape)_017

Frequency Picnic has moved out and her wee log cabin has been renovated by Otenth Paderborn.
Third Tour of St Helens (Otenth Paderborn)_018

Who has a rather lovely prairie meadow just above it (Frank loved the fresh grass!)
Third Tour of St Helens (Otenth Paderborn)_019

The lovely BobbiJo Jonson still has her wonderful place above the river!
Third Tour of St Helens (BobiJo Jonson)_020

As does Miss Riven Homewood, who also has some rather fine horses to boot!
Third Tour of St Helens (Riven Homewood)_021

And that ends my third tour of St Helens my dear readers. As best as I cab figure, the only place I’ve never photographed is (or was, as he’s moved out) nichus Berman’s gorgeous log cabin. Ironic really as it was nichus who kindly showed me how to make log cabins and without his help and his cabin as both inspiration and guide, I would never have built my own!

p.s. Come and visit St Helens by beaming in at my place here.

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You can read more about the history of St Helens, as well as how to rent a plot there, over on the Steelhead Ning here. The rates and prim allocations (as of 29th Sept 2010 and subject to change by management, of course) are:

  • Land Fee or Buy in Price: 6144L$
  • Monthly Rental: 1800L$
  • Weekly: 450L$
  • Most lots are double prim 234 some sims offer more than double prims at an additional fee if available

For all my Steelhead related posts click here.

For all my St Helens related posts click here.

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Come on down to the Dragon’s Leap Saloon…

I was pasing through the back corridor’s of the Dragonland’s Hotel recently (you don’t need to know why, I just was) when I saw this poster for the Dragon’s Leap Saloon over in St Helens. Antfarm drinks there, keeps telling me I should stop off for a snifter after my visits to see him. Maybe I will so why not join me.
Dragons Leap Saloon Advert_001

Mr Creighton’s Air Tours of Steelhead and Environs.

Way back in mid May I dropped by my surgery in Shamian Alley and bumped into a most charming new resident of our fair city (by which I mean Steelhead, obviously), one Mr Paul Creighton.
Meeting Paul Creighton_001

Mr Creighton was in the process of moving into the city (at the time I met him he was looking at a plot in Shanghai, but by June he had settled in Port Harbour, very close to where the old Mason lab blew up) and was planning to give air tours of the surrounding countryside and city blocks to anyone interested. I was honoured to be offered a test flight in his airship and we had a grand time touring all six Steelhead regions (although I’ll confess to boring him rigid with my history of the city and endless list of who lived where and what buildings used to be there and what places blew up or burnt down or were attacked by demons and blew up before burning down, etc.). I was having a terrible time staying in-world that weekend but I managed to hold on long enough to get a few snapshots and I present them below. In the meantime, should anyone be interested in contacting Paul about a tour (or attending one of his weekly flying tea parties) please do drop him a line and tell him Dr Beck sent you 🙂 You can also find him on the Steelhead Ning where his is part of the Airship group. Now, what about these pictures I hear you cry…

This is Paul’s smaller airship (pictures of his larger one, his luxury yacht Heimdall, to follow in another post)
Paul's Airship_001

Heading out over the slums…
Paul's Airship_002

And away from the poverty…
Paul's Airship_004

Through the city…
Paul's Airship_007

Past Nish’s Butterfly House to be
Paul's Airship_010

Past Mt Hood and towards St Helens…
Paul's Airship_011

And over some ugly old shack I think I’ve seen before 😉
Paul's Airship_012

Before landing in the Shanghai plot he was considering making his own at the time.
Paul's Airship_014

Mari comes a-callin’

A while back I was up in my (very basic) sky workshop high high high above St Helens when Mari came over to see the wooden wood-work lathe I was building…
Mari & the lathe_002

Mari’s a cracking builder so it’s always nice to show her stuff as I’m still such a noob at it (and I think I always will be). She was a great help with my log cabin and I wanted to show her that I’d actually started enjoying building after moaning on at her about how tedious rezzing and moving and colouring prim-after-prim-after-prim could be. Here she is with my lathe and guide pictures taken from t’interweb behind her (I was in the middle of altering all the textures so the final result looks a bit different, but that’s for another post)…
Mari & the lathe_001

After I picked her brains we chatted for a while and she showed me the Primmer cars that were going to used in Bay City’s 2nd Anniversary parade – based on the American Shriners I just can’t stop smiling when I see them!
Mari & the lathe_003

My latest project… my wee wooden lathe!

I’ve not been in-world much of late as the real world has been full of those pesky new job distractions but before I vanished into the aether I’d been busy building a wooden lathe. Yup, a wooden lathe. Y’see in Steelhead I’ve got a plan and involves HBA, the burnt roleplaying HBA living in his log cabin in St Helens, working with wood and in the 1890s that means building a wooden wood-working lathe.

I started off trying to build it with SculptCrafter but for some bloody reason it’s playing silly buggers and won’t do it – I guess I should IM the SculptCrafter people but I just can’t work up the enthusiasm. Sigh. Anyhoo, here is the potentially sculptie version (with guide pics taken from the web in the background).
Building a Lathe_006

I switched all the special prims from the SC system and started to re-texture, my plan now to make it a simple prim affair. Here’s a picture of it half-way through a texture change from the barked wooden plank texture I used in the log cabin to a new barkless texture (the wee face is my mate Mari who came to visit).
Mari & the lathe_001

Now the finished product is down in my cabin and I think it looks pruddy darn good! The hard part was making the rope that powers it – I can’t remenber exactly how I did it now, but it involved making a torus and splitting it to make a spring shape – I got the idea on Ayumi’s blog here).
HBAs Wooden Wood Working Lathe_003

HBAs Wooden Wood Working Lathe_004

HBAs Wooden Wood Working Lathe_001

I say finished but it isn’t really, the only trouble is all the stuff I want to do next is all the stuff I have no idea how to do – a standing & moving animated poseball, moving parts, particle emmisions, sound effects – not a sodding clue but for now you can see the static non-working version over at my place here 🙂

Building a log cabin – part the deux

When I left you last (in Part 1 – here) I had opened up the windows & doors by cutting the logs out as well as texturing their frames…
Log Cabin

But I was a looooong way from finished. For a start the roof was bare boards and needed some shingles and the windows needed glazing to keep the rain out!
Log Cabin windows_002

Log Cabin windows_001

A little later I added a small, simple porch at the front as well as a some smaller steps (complete with posball for sitting on) and a storm lantern from the ever generous nichus Bermann 🙂
St Helens by moonlight_002

Log Cabin - Storm Lamps from nichus_001

A rest from my toils_001

Log Cabin - Storm Lamps from nichus_002

As you can see from above, the first doors were HUGE! I did this to compensate for the camera but it became clear I had over compensated. I shrunk them down from this…
The Size of My Doors_002

to this…
The Size of My Doors_001

The Size of My Doors_003

I took the last shot to show the difference between the two but due to the perspective I don’t feel it does. What it does show, however, are the small triangular gaps at the top of the roof. In real life I would have filled them with mud adobe but in SL it’s a bit harder and would have required mucho faffing about with a single prim per hole. In the end I decided to slap up a ceiling (you can see it behind me in the picture below) and I really think it improved the inner space greatly…
Log Cabin - Storm Lamps from nichus_001

I still have some plans for the cabin, but for now I’ve finished tinkering. I need to tidy up the site and add some furniture, but more of that in a future post. For now I’ll leave you with a couple of shots that I think show you why I moved into the wilderness and built my own cabin.

A gorgeous suset through the rushes behind the cabin…
Steelhead sunset_001

The moon rising over the steam…
St Helens by moonlight_005

Come over and see the cabin here.

Mutations: Chapter 3 – Smoke and Water

Beck rode back in silence; both rider and mount had a lot to think about and the winding path around Spirit Lake and back home afforded them plenty of time to do it in. Once they reached the blacksmith outside Shanghai, Beck passed his surefooted steed back and retrieved his bicycle for the last part of his journey through the tunnel and onto the rickety wooden bridges that clung to the side of the crowded harbour. Normally he cycled slowly along these, having more than once nearly tumbled over the edge in the past, but now he peddled urgently with a seemingly scant regard for his safety. He’d been eager to get back to his practice before nightfall but something he’d seen when he looked at Antfarm had shaken him to the core and now he had a very different destination in mind.

Down in the belly of Shanghai, as night seeped its way across the water and squeezed itself into the alleys, snickets & ginnels criss-crossing between buildings, parents fussed and worried over their children. Those rich enough set guards to watch over their wards whilst others less well off locked and barred their homes and prepared to spend another uncomfortable night propped up in a chair with a gun nestled on their lap. The parents in the slums had no such comforts, and indeed, far more reason to worry. Their homes could not be barred and bolted, the heaps of rotting wood and crumbling brick they had no option to live in couldn’t even keep the night breeze out, let alone a child-snatching nightmare. They couldn’t afford gaurds to patrol their streets and watch their windows. Oh they had tried, exhausted men and women banding together after long, hard days in the cannery. They took hour long shifts from their precious sleep to walk the streets and alleys and watch over their sleeping children, but the Tong smelt money and sent in their thugs to deliever a series of painful lessons; pay us to protect your streets or no one protects them. Now families gathered even more tightly together, taking it in turns to sleep through the darkness of the night whilst someone sat awake, boning knife or fish-hook at the ready.

Beck could taste this atmosphere, could taste the fear and anguish and resentment, and it made him sick. Not since Manchester had he felt such terror infesting one place and he’d been living in it every day and every night since little Li Fe’s bones had been brought to his surgery. Well not tonight, he had decided. He couldn’t take it anymore, couldn’t take the constant pall of dread, the sense of impotence, the bloody memories. Not tonight. As the sun set behind the harbour, the shadow cast by the glorious Sun Tower falling across the slums as if to deny its wretched residents any crumb of comfort by cutting off their light first, Beck propped his bicycle against the rear of the Dragon Lady’s hotel and slipped in a secret door.

“Ahhh, Meester Smeeth, welcome back,” the greeter’s tone a perfect blend of ice cold warmth, his spell gutting fish had apparently worked wonders on his attitude. Beck all but ignored him and instead allowed himself to be led through the heady, sickly smoke to a cot by one of the pipe girls. Unlike the poor women owned by the Tong, the Dragon Ladys girls were never forced into anything as seedy as common prostitution. That wasn’t to say such a path was closed to them, but if they chose it they ceased to be pipe girls and instead moved behind the curtain, deeper into this dimly lit underworld, and became concubines, dreams wrapped in flesh and silk, soft-skinned angels bestowing their graces upon mere mortals. Beck had always resisted their siren song no matter how insistent the call, but despite his resolve in his mind he was an adulterer; another failing, he thought, to add to his legion. He climbed into his allocated cot and loosened his collar while the girl handed him a pipe and turned to leave. As she walked away, her hips swaying back and forth beneath her exquisite red hanfu, Beck tried to ignore the knot of desire that twisted in his groin and the shame that it brought. Instead, to block it out, he put the pipe to his lips and drew in a cloud of sweet, thick smoke. Somewhere deep in his brain the rational, lucid, controlling part of him collapsed like a marionette having its strings cut. He was free once more…

The smoke moved about him and through him. It infused his skin and flesh and bone, it swirled into his ears and nose and mouth filling him up with warm water from the bottom of the ocean. He was a fish swimming through himself in the depths of his own smoke and he was empty of purpose and memory as he drifted on strange currents, uncaring and unknowing. Until the hand. It reached through the smoke and the water and caressed his cheek, rocking him, tugging him. He turned away, pushed it aside. Not here! Not now! The currents raced and he pushed off into them, determined to get away, to stay free! But the hand was fast and strong. It fought for him, grasping and grabbing. He swam and dodged, flipping and wheeling to get away but it was tricksy and swift. And then, it had him. Strong fingers took hold of him and held him fast.

“Dr Beck…?” words darted around him, quicksilver through the smoke and water. He opened his eyes, staring up from the murky depths and into a woman’s face. For a moment he couldn’t place himself, a young well dressed white woman here? What would a respectable woman be doing here?

Er, yes? What can I do for you Miss…?” his mouth felt strange and full of seaweed and fish scales.

“Rhianon Jameson,” she said offering a gloved hand and Beck moved his own dull, dead hand to meet it, “I was hoping you could help me find someone. It’s quite important.”

“Hmm, yes, who is it?” he mumbled.

“A man who goes by the nom de plume the Scientist. He apparently knows some powerful medicine. I must find him, and time is running short.”

Beck’s face froze. Him! This woman was looking for him! God help her because if she found him no one else could. “I’m, ahhh, afraid I don’t know anyone with that name,” he tried to sound as sober as possible, please believe me please believe me please believe me he thought.

“You lie, sir. I can see it in your face,” her voice had a steel-edge that matched her eyes.

“I’m telling you, I don’t know…” A wave caught him, currents and undertows pulling him away as he started to drift off. The hand grabbed him again, he opened his eyes and she had him by the arm, anchoring him in the swell of the opium’s ebb and flow.

“Dr. Beck!” she was angry now, “You call yourself a medical man; you took an oath. And yet you are willing to let a man die – for what purpose? To protect the Scientist?”

One of the attendants appeared by her side, politely asking that she stop but she was having none of it. Around the small den people in various states of drug-induced apathy were gawping at the most unusual scene unfolding, all except Beck. He was staring at his hands as if trying to remember what they were called. No, not to protect him, he thought, to protect you! “Dangerous,” he said at last.

“I understand danger. I can take care of myself. Just tell me where he is!” Her tone was diamond hard.

“I don’t…know. I really don’t. He didn’t want anyone to find him. All I know is…Babbage…” Beck mumbled through the fog behind his eyes.

“New Babbage? Where?”

“Hmm, not sure. Find…” his voice trailed away as a wave narcotic slumber crashed against the rocks of Miss Jameson’s enforced lucidity. The attendant called for reinforcements. Footsteps coming near. He must warn her. He must.

“Find who? The Scientist?”

“No, not him. Find Lo Ping. Elderly chap. At least I think so…can’t really tell. He’s the only one…only one…who knows how to locate Scientist. SssssallIknow. Nowleavemealone.” Beck’s connection with the world was severed. The waves roared over him and pulled him far out to sea. The woman became but a distant speck on the horizon, a pinprick of light lost in the stars who were themselves extinguished by the ocean closing over him. He sank into it, to the bottom of its warm, cosseting depths to where his beloved waited for him with their children and he was disturbed no more…

Rynes Addiction_007

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To be continued…
All the “Mutations” posts can be read here.

Links to other blogs and stories:
1) For more on Miss Jameson’s hunt for The Scientist, read her blog here
2) For more on the death of the Chinese boy Li Fe, read about Creaky Gloom on this blog here and on the Steelhead Ning here.

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