Toru: The Enchanted Forest – “In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit…”
Update July 2014: Toru appears to have closed.
I was first drawn to Toru, Waynenz’s homestead region, back in September 2013. At that time, it was openly inspired by Wendy Xeno’s Hazardous. Since then, it’s been through a couple of transformations and is now “an enchanted land dedicated to NZ and the Hobbits” – and the last part of that description was bound to get my attention.
Now called Estesil Lega, the Enchanted Forest, the region is precisely that; a mist-shrouded forest set between the shoulders of steep-sided hills and surrounded by mountains. Paths wind through the trees and over bridges of wood and stone, leading the explorer around and through the forest to reveal its secrets in turn.
Chief among these is a hobbit hole – although sadly, no hobbits were to be seen when I visited. But then, they are shy folk and tend to hide when they hear us Big Folk coming – which they can do from a good distance away.
As we know, hobbit holes are neither nasty, dirty, wet holes, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor are they yet dry, bare, sandy holes with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat. They are hobbit holes, and that means comfort.
Toru: The Enchanted Forest – “Remember! do not stray from the path!”
This one is in slight disarray, it must be said; books scattered over the floor, the bed unmade, the pantry strangely lacking and a meal unfinished. It’s almost as if the occupant found him or herself taking An Unexpected Journey …
The design of the region is such that it is clearly intended to be explored on foot; flying isn’t disabled, but if you opt to do that, you’re likely going to miss the various little treasures scattered under bough and branch. The default windlight gives considerable atmosphere to the place, although I confess, I’ve opted to most use alternative settings for my snaps here and on Flickr.
Keep your eyes peeled as you do explore – some of the trails and paths may not be as obvious as others, so take your time. Do make sure you have sound on as well, as the ambient sounds really give the forest even greater depth and texture.
- Toru: The Enchanted Forest SLurl (Rated: Moderate)
Given the nature of the region at the moment, here’s an interpretation of some of the music from The Lord of the Rings from Stephen and John.