Eri-Ador – click any image for full size
In Middle Earth, Eriador lies between the Blue Mountains (Ered Luin – or Erid Lindon) to the west and the Misty Mountains (Ered Hithui or Hithaeglir) to the east. It is the land within which – among other places – the Grey Havens, The Shire and Rivendell (Imladris) might be found.
Within Second Life Eri-Ador lies with mountains to the west and to the east (and also, admittedly, to the north and south). While carrying certain echoes of Tolkien’s mythical realm of Middle Earth – within it you will find elven halls and tree houses, Ents and Orcs and even the Dark Tower itself, surmounted by the Eye – it is not intended to be a facsimile of the world made famous through the likes of The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings. Rather, it is a region that draws a degree of inspiration from Tolkien and from Second Life itself to present a place edged in mysticism and with a rich artistic vein.
The work of Tom Mcgregor (mastersinn) and his SL partner Misty Mcgregor (MistieDream), Eri-Ador is difficult to really quantify; it is a place which has to be experienced, rather than described. There is so much to see and appreciate.
In the broadest terms, the region is split into two – the west side largely sitting on shallow water, the east a rugged, snow-dusted stretch of land. A visit beings on the western edge of the region, within a gazebo of distinctly elven design. From here, and lying under the guarding branches of arched trees, a grassy avenue sits on the water, pointing the way east to the rise of dry land.
To the right and left of this avenue, the waters offer the setting for a garden of sculptures from the likes of Mistero Hifeng, Sharni Lubomir (Sharni Azalee), Groll (Groll Greggan), Kadaj Yoshikawa, Shepherd (BF2 Shepherd), Paco Pooley and CioTToLiNa Xue to name just some. These are displayed either side of the east-pointing avenue, those to the south caught beneath a torrential downpour, about which a line of street lamps guarding a south-pointing board walk can do little: the umbrellas that hold aloft little more than handles and spines…
Travel south through the rains and you’ll eventually come to the elven hall. Imladris it may not be, but it sits, Rivendell like within the shadows of mountains, echoing the Last Homely House and carrying inside it, its own sense of mystery and magic – or perhaps modern elven science …
The board walk also branches to the east before reaching the elven hall and, like the grass path under the arched trees pointing eastwards from the landing point, eventually makes landfall. Here, sitting atop a low snow-covered shoulder of rock sits Barad-dûr, a dark finger of a tower, its nail the burning all-seeing eye. Before the tower floats a gaunt wraith, hands cupping fireballs – one of the Nine, perhaps?
Like the watery half of the region, there is much to discover on the rocky landscape either side of the Dark Tower, making careful exploration a must. There is, for example, a harpsichord and harp to be found with a small music stage close by; while elsewhere a balloon-suspended bridge connects a pointed escarpment to a platform floating upon clouds, while a stone stairway climbs even higher into the heavens, its passage marked by more of Mistro’s figures.
Eri-Ador – “Heaven”
All this still only touches on the richness to be found within Eri Ador – from the aforementioned Ents in their confrontation with an Orc through touches of whimsy with bearded dwarves. For those wishing to sit and admire the art and the setting, their are numerous places to sit – and even to participate in the music of the setting. And al of that is without mentioning the two further points of exploration: Heaven and riding area.
The latter are both located overhead, and reached via the teleport disc at the landing point. The riding area in particular offers a very different environment than found at ground level, giving visitors a touch of the Old Western frontier. This is also not without its sense of sitting outside of time: it’s not every day you travel through a frontier town with saloon, stagecoach and gun slinger to arrive at a farm with a pick-up truck and tractor … I will confess, neither Caitlyn or I were entirely clear on the “riding” aspect of this level; neither of us were successful in finding any kind of horse rezzer – which didn’t stop us from exploring!
Eri-Ador – “Riding Area”
All-in-all, Eri-Ador is a fascinating and unique region; very different from those of recent visits, and definitely a place to visit and explore. I would note that the use of mesh rain and similar effects can have an impact on viewer performance, so some tweaking of viewer preferences might be in order – but this shouldn’t be used as a reason not to make a visit.
- Eri Ador (Mystical Kingdom, rated: Moderate)
With thanks to Shakespeare for the LM ♥ .