Lost Unicorn Forest Sanctuary – click any image for full size
Lost Unicorn Forest Sanctuary is the full region component of a trio of regions we were recently pointed towards by Milo Collas. Designed by Nessa Zamora (Noralie78), it is themed after an elven fantasy setting, routed somewhat in Tolkien, but with enough departures to make it clear this is not in any way a Middle Earth clone. It is, however, one of the most visually impressive and – when taken with its two neighbouring regions, Faerie Tale and Storybook Forest – creatively intriguing settings we’ve recently visited in Second Life.
Such is the scope of all three, that I’m devoting a couple of posts to them, with this one focusing in Lost Unicorn Forest Sanctuary and Faerie Tale. I’ll look at Storybrook with a follow-up article in the near future.
A journey begins towards the north-east of Lost Unicorn, within a stone tower. Beyond it, an entire world awaits visitors. Distinctly elven in design as noted, it feels somewhat Sindarin in nature: rich woodlands with tall trees that support the flets of elven tree-houses.
A more direct Tolkien symbol faces south-east: the great Argonath, the Pillars of the Kings. Carved in the likenesses of Isildur and Anárion in Tolkien’s mythology, they stood on either side of the River Anduin, guarding the northern borders of the realm of Gondor. Here, the great figures stand either side of a river much narrower than the great Anduin, and which winds its way inland, one of three that cut the region into several landmasses, each connected to the next by bridges that invite visitors to explore them all.
Across the landscape unicorns roam, keeping watch whilst resting under the eaves of trees or in the shafts of sunlight rotating through them. Within the water, mermaids swim And which may trap you in the water if you’re not careful – just look for the whirlpool, and great sea beasts raise their heads from the coastal seas.
Throughout this landscape, coloured by plants and the changing colour of leaves overhead, paths and trails wind their way. The more obvious lead to the tree-houses, others point the way to secret glades and places hidden among trees and hills, awaiting the chance to delight the eye. Some of these – such as the entrance to the crystal cavern – again carry hints of Tolkien (the gate into Moria). Others draw on other realms of fantasy, such as faery gardens.
Not all of these places are necessarily easy to find, so there are teleport points also waiting to be found offering a short route through the region. For those who prefer other means of travel, a flying horse rezzer can be found close to the landing point.
However, I strongly recommend taking the time to walk along trails and climb steps lest you miss things along the way. This is certainly the best way to reach the great council house to the north-west. Located above falls that tumble into a slender pool below, this can only be reached on foot by climbing up into the flets of the elven tree-houses. Watched over by dragons circling overhead, it is a place of rest and serenity, a kind of inverse Imladris, sitting above the lands, rather than hidden in a valley below them.
Nor is this all; close by the landing point tower, at the end of a short path, a rowing boat can be found. Sit in this, and you’ll be transported across the waters to Faerie Tale, one of the neighbouring regions, and home to the Lost Unicorn Gallery. Here you’ll be delivered to a wooden wharf within a great cavern, with signs inviting you to ascend by stair, platform and bridge – although for those who prefer there is a bubble car rezzer or – for part of the way up – a rope climb. At the top of the climb is the gallery: a fairytale castle sitting on a great finger of rock around which a great dragon is coiled, apparently at war with a powerful unicorn.
This is a magnificent setting, designed by Jennifer May Carlucci (JenniferMay Carlucci). An entire story unto itself, time should be spent camming around it and appreciating it. The halls of the castle form an exhibition space for art. Climbing through the different levels of the castle are displays by Iruki Levee, Aleriah, Ursula Floresby, Pretty Rexen (prettyparkin Rexen), Freyja (Freyja Merryman), Natalie (Natalie Montagne), Luka Henusaki and Efinyn Jinx. Together they provide a wonderfully mixed exhibition of landscape and avatar studies.
However, the gallery isn’t purely about displaying art, it also serves to support First Book, an organisation dedicated to providing access to new books for children in need, and which since 1992 has distributed more than 100 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families throughout the United States and Canada. A portion of all donations made to the Lost Unicorn Gallery go directly to First Book.
Should you opt to make your way back to Lost Unicorn, there is a path running south that will take visitors by bridge and tower to Storybook Forest – but that is a journey for another blog post.
For now I’ll leave you with thoughts of visiting Lost Unicorn and, should you enjoy it as much as we did, I hope you’ll consider a donation towards the upkeep of the regions – and perhaps in support of First Book.