A Shadowlands Retreat in Second Life

Shadowlands Retreat, October 2019 – click any image for full size

DylanShadows presents his Homestead region of Shadowlands Retreat as a “relaxing sim with series of photographic areas. Enjoy a walk around, horseback ride, a dance or cuddle with someone special,” and there is little to argue with in this description. There are number points throughout the region for photography, for spending time with friends and for enjoying that romantic cuddle or dance.

Surrounded by off-region hills that match the autumnal feel of the region, Shadowlands Retreat offers a series of areas within it that are very mixed in their individual attractiveness, from a beach through rocky outcrops with winding paths, to open grasslands offering paddocks and ancient ruins, to hints of fantasy and mysticism and which include woodlands, a high plateau, and more – all of which weave themselves into a landscape rich its attraction for exploration.

Shadowlands Retreat, October 2019

The region’s landing point – which is unenforced – can be found on a large deck area built over an artificial water close to the Western side of the island’s central plateau. It sits close to a stone cottage and alongside a tall windmill that points a blunt finger to the sky. A sea of late summer blooms washes across most of the plateau, flowing under the shade of trees to one side and breaking against islands of rock and water in what can only be described as a garden of wild flowers, waterfowl and restful spots, be they on the deck, under the boughs of trees or within the cottage or the gazebo keeping it company.

Below and surrounding this central flat-topped hill are the island’s lowlands that can be reached through several means: by the simple expedient of walking down the steep grassy slopes that vie with rocky cliffs to support the hill, or by finding one of the numerous paths offering a way down. Some of the latter are obvious – such as the worn, winding trails running down either side of the waterfalls to the south side of the hills; others are still rocky, but perhaps not-so-obvious at first glance, like the fern covered path running down the east side of the hill, or the aged blocks of rock close to it that offer more of a switchback route down.

Shadowlands Retreat, October 2019

Whichever route you take, there is much to be found between the hill and the water’s edge. To the north, for example, visitors will find a barn, complete with tractor and a small mix of livestock. These add to the suggestion that cottage and windmill above were perhaps once part of a working farm. However, whatever animal husbandry is now performed is perhaps more about self-sufficiency than the setting being a working farm.

Just around to the west, and beyond a stone henge, the farm element continues with a small paddock of horses. As these are Waterhorse rideables, I wondered if they would be set to allow the horse riding described in the region’s description, but it would appear not. As we also didn’t find a horse rezzer in our wanderings (although we could have missed it!), this led me to conclude that riding required ownership of your own wearable horse.

Shadowlands Retreat, October 2019

A hint of ancient mysticism is enfolded into the setting as well. The region is bracketed to the south-west and north-east by the stern faces of Moai, for example. Looking inward, they appear to be keeping an eye on all the coming and goings by visitors. More hints of an ancient past are also awaiting discovery: old stone rings, the broken wrist and hand of what must have once been a huge statue (now converted into a cosy cuddle spot), the broken statue of what appears to be a elf maiden at rest… All of these add an air of mysticism to the region, while the numerous little seating spots and dance areas scattered between them present further reasons to tarry within Shadowlands Retreat and explore.

Nor is this all; for those who enjoy beaches and sand, these can be found to the south and east of the region, curving as they do around the island’s high point: a large table of rock rising on vertical cliff faces from the sand.  A path winds its way up this cliffs to the flat summit where can be found a gazebo kept warm by a stone built fireplace, sharing the space with more ruins of different eras, while a crooked promontory thrusts its way across the lower-lying plateau towards the cottage, a further path winding down it.

Shadowlands Retreat, October 2019

Ruggedly photogenic, finished with a rich sound scape and – as noted – plenty to see and enjoy, Shadowlands Retreat lends itself to a range of Windlight settings and to time spent in exploration and in enjoying the setting. Those taking photos are invited to share with through the region’s Flickr group.

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