A garden of dreams at World’s End

Update: World’s End Garden relocated to its own region at Worlds End Garden.

Himitu Twine has a marvellous talent. No, that’s not right; Himitu Twine has many marvellous talents. Let me start over…

One of Himitu Twine’s many talents is the ability for find truly wonderful places in Second Life one can visit and enjoy. In the time I’ve known her, she’s introduced me to places that, to my shame and despite nigh-on five years in this incarnation in SL, I’ve totally missed – and would have remained in ignorance of, if not for her.

One such place is World’s End Garden. The work of Lucia Genesis, the garden is a haven for the lost or restless soul; a place for quiet contemplation, for thinking about life, and for romance.

World’s End Garden; come, explore

You arrive in a the stone ruins of once was clearly a huge building – but what was it? Abbey? grand mansion? Towering castle? Immediately the imagination is engaged – what was this place? Who built it? What is its story? Wander the ruins and seek clues; you might find them – you might not; it depends on your own imagination. But as you wander, you will discover things.

Across the water is the decaying remnants of what once had clearly been a house – this one made of wood and, it would seem, built much later than the ruins where you arrive. Furniture and ornaments sit within what is left, broken staircases climb forlornly to half-vanished rooms and empty sky. Does someone still live here? Why is the decrepit carousel still turning, the paint on the horses faded, cracked and peeling? Again, the visual cues are here to set your imagine running, curiosity well and truly piqued.

Is a house still a home?

The house also doubles as Lucia’s shop and features some gorgeous creations masquerading as household objects; I particularly fell in love with the rose in a glass bowl; simply exquisite – as are all of the designs.

Water is cleverly used to break the garden up into individual “islands” that attract the eye as one wanders the sim; but nothing is entirely unrelated here – or at least, that is the feeling the place gives. It is as if one is wandering the ancient estate of some great family, long past its prime or that once belonged to the church but now long abandoned, the land deserted and given over to the encroaching sea, the surf lapping about those parts still left, gulls crying distantly.

Wander on through the water and you’ll discover not all is forlorn or decayed; under the shade of a great tree you can sit and reflect the passing of days or play the ghostly piano that awaits you. If you are with a friend, you can dance to the music of the piano as the sun kisses the far horizon.

Dancing is also the focus of another “island” shaded by a tree, where stands a peculiar gazebo looking for all the world like a gigantic bird-cage, waiting to trap whosoever steps inside to waltz to the music of an old, horned gramophone.

Come sit, come play, come dance

The impression that the gardens are but a remembrance of a once great estate is heightened by the fading white of an old church, fighting a losing battle against moss and lichen and – just a short distance away – bleached crosses presumably marking the last resting place of the departed…

But were they members of a family or an order? Listen at the church and you’ll hear a deep, ghostly chanting…the last echoes of a forgotten brotherhood? Close your eyes and let your imagination paint a picture…

But this isn’t just a place to explore and look at – there are hidden secrets for you to find; gateways that lead Elsewhere. Is the sunlight falling through the ruined roof of the church and across the partially flooded floor simply sunlight, or does it offer something more?

More to see than may be apparent (click to enlarge)

What happens if you try to touch a beam of sunlight?

And is a cross simply a mark that death has passed this way – or it is also a gateway to another place and another mood?

Take these clues and discover what they hide for yourself.

It is this added dimension of exploration that is possible within Second Life that makes places like World’s End Garden a joy to visit; no only do you have so much to see and contemplate and enjoy from the moment you arrive, you also have much to discover, little mysteries to solve that lead you to new scenes, new possible revelations and a new sense of wonder.

Every scene in World’s End is beautifully designed and rendered; Lucia has clearly spent  many hours in developing the Garden and sculpting it to tell just enough of a story that it naturally draws you in; it is truly a visual delight. Just take the time to zoom in close to any of the trees down on the ground or elsewhere and examine the intricate detail of the textures used to create the foliage.

The Garden is a place this is very much alive as well – it evolves and changes over time as Lucia revisits and remodels, which means that over a span of months a returning visitor may find much has changed and shifted and there are new secrets to uncover.

But that is the beauty of art in Second Life: it need never be static; the artist and the creator are free to turn and change, and as a result the visitor and audience always has more to discover and share.

For my part, I have fallen in love with World’s End Garden, and will be returning often to wander, to dance …. and simply to sit and look.

Links and Hints

Premium Memberships discount offer. Again

Not too long ago, Linden Lab ran a 50% limited-time Premium Membership offer.

They’re now doing it again. This time the offer is for longer – an entire week, starting at 08:00 SLT/PST today, Monday 21st November, and ending at 08:00 SLT/PST on Monday 28th November.

As with the original offer

  • The discount only applies to Quarterly membership billing plans
  • Only the first quarter will be discounted the rest of the year will be charged at the full Quarterly membership rate.

There’s even a cheesy video this time – although I still dispute some of the claims made:

  • More space? How, exactly? 512sq m (even with a Linden Home), isn’t a huge amount of space
  • More privacy? Again, how, exactly?
  • More Access? Really? Where?

Fact is, as far as these claims are concerned, they can all be matched via Basic membership, and I still find LL’s use of them as promotional tools mildly misleading. For space – you can rent land (OK, making a payout, but the space will be way more than the free 512 from Premium); you’ll get privacy to the same degree as Premium (if you have your own land – right down to the same parcel settings). Access? simply go PIOF and age verified (no longer the big bad bogeyman it once was), and you’ll enjoy the same access.

It’s going to be interesting how well this is received – not they we really got any indication as to the success of September’s promotion.

What will be more interesting is whether or not this may lead to a repeat of the Land Sale that LL held towards the end of October to follow-up on the Premium drive, and if so, how long for – both schemes original ran just for a weekend in their first outings.Should LL opt to run with the Land Sale again, then it could come up as a little Christmas enticement (assuming they’re not seriously contemplating doing anything drastic with tier in the New Year).

So, if you feel up for going Premium, now’s the time to try – you might want to read my reports on the upgrade process and things like Linden Homes and the Premium Sandboxes. That said, I actually don’t think the Quarterly membership, even with a single discount offers that great value for money – if you want to go for Premium, best to go directly for Annual. Yes, you’re making a greater commitment, but the return on your membership is greater – and you arguably have greater protection against account suspension due to a payment error / failure.