When we first visited Elvion back in early 2019, we found it to be a magical ¼-Homstead parcel dressed as an elven retreat quite bewitching in its design and layout (see: Elvion: an elven sanctuary in Second Life). Later that year, Elvion relocated to take up an entire Homestead region, bringing with it a wholly new design that presented visitors with a setting beautifully suggestive of the open countryside of a national park, complete with distant mountains (see Elvion expands in Second Life).
Sadly, Elvion vanished from Second Life when its designer, Bo Zano (BoZanoNL) and his SL partner, Una Zano (UnaMayLi) opted to take a break from SL. However, Miro Collas, who first alerted me about Elvion back in 2019, prodded me via Twitter over the weekend to pass on the news that Bo and Una were both back in SL, and that Elvion would be opening anew on July 12th, 2020; so we scurried over to take a look.
The new landscape offers something of the look and feel of Elvion’s late 2019 design: there are the distant mountains / hills framing one side of the region, the low-lying grasslands cut by water, and familiar bridges that span said water. However, this is no reproduction of a previous design. There is a lot that is wholly unique to this iteration of Elvion that make it unique to itself and that carries with it a sense that rather than emulating a past build, this is in fact a continuation; that were we to follow the coastline far enough, or perhaps climb over the north-western mountains, we’d find ourselves once more looking out over Elvion’s past landscape.
This is also a place that offers a echo of Elvion’s more mystical elements. Tucked away behind a screen of giant oak and fir trees, for example, lie the overgrown ruins of a gigantic cathedral-like structure (a clever kitbashing of Mark Inkpen’s Chapel Ruins, a long-time favourite of mine).
Rising from among the trees, this is a place where water drops from high on the walls, flooding its lower floor even as more water bursts from rocks at the base of one wall. These rocks may one have been part of the foundational stone on which the great building had been established, but they have been rudely thrust upwards by some cataclysmic event that perhaps brought about the structure’s ruin. For those who wade across the shallow flood waters, a set of steps lead up to where a fountain awaits, doves keeping watch on the stone benches alongside it.
Away from this mighty ruin, and across the low-lying grassland and the swift-flowing river flowing through it, lies a smaller ruin, this one of an old tower. It is reached via two wooden bridges that use a long, slender mid-stream island to span the fast-flowing waters. Fed by falls tumbling from the north-western highlands, the waters of the river have a crisp, cold look to them, as if they are largely melt water originating in the snows of the mountains, so the bridges are a welcome means of reaching across them.
The eastern bank of the river shares offers space to both the tower ruin (with the curio of an old barber’s chair sitting within it) and a small summer house converted into a cosy bedroom. The latter also has a little fenced garden close by, offering one of the regions many places to sit – another can be found just to the north of the old tower, where a bench swing hangs from a high bough.
It is around the summer house and old tower that the richness of Elvion’s wildlife can be particularly found, as deer graze amidst the lush grass, watched over by birds, and heron sit patiently on the rocky banks of the river, awaiting lunch in the form of a passing unwary fish. In addition, elk can be found on the island and close to the cathedral ruins, while geese circle overhead and seagulls ride the breeze over the region’s eastern bay.
The presence of the animals and birds again echo past Elvion designs whilst adding that attractive sense of depth we like to see in region designs. They also add a tweak of humour as well – keep an eye out for a couple of members of the Rat Pack and two of the Three Stooges who are hanging around the island (I understand the third Stooge and another member of the Rat Pack might get to be added!).
Finished with a rich sound scape, and with much more hidden away awaiting discovery (do keep an eye on the region’s coastline, as there are one or two little areas of peace and solitude tucked away!), Elvion once again presents a natural setting perfect for exploration (including via a wearable horse, if you have one) and for photography.
- Elvion (Tempted, rated Adult)