We first visited visited Xana Newall’s Souls of Dreams in November 2019 (see: Souls of Dreams in Second Life). A captivating design built by Loly Hallison with added décor from Xana, at that time it occupied a Homestead region. Well, time has moved on since then, and so has Souls of Dreams, with Xana relocating to a Full region and bringing in Busta (BadboyHi) to provide the a new look.
Busta is responsible for a range of captivating region designs across Second Life, many of which I’ve covered in these pages since 2016. It’s something I’m always happy to do, as he really does produce designs that are worth seeing; and with the new Souls of Dreams (which at the time of our visits, he was busily completing), Busta has produced something truly exceptional.
A visit commences on the south side of the region on a wide terrace complete with waterside structures that have something of an ancient Greece feel to them. Steps slip gently down into the shallow waters on two sides, the water also being the home to an expanse of marsh plants floating on its surface.
These marshy waters continue on around to the west side of the island, beyond a growth of tall mangroves, to where wooden board walks span faster-moving waters fed via a variety of falls tumbling out of the region’s uplands. Beyond these, flat shingle runs sit between the high cliffs and the water, moss-covered stone slabs suggesting a path or terrace may once have lain across them, wooden bridges offering crossings where water continues to flow outward from further falls.
Rounding the island to the north, the path offers wooden steps leading up to the higher ground, guarded at their top by an old warehouse now converted into a place of residence. This is furnished by Xana, who once again has offered plenty of touches of her own throughout the region to help bring it to life, and is open to the public to explore inside. For those who prefer, the path at the base of the cliffs continues onwards to the east, passing a beach and further opportunities to move inland via by rocky path or rough wooden steps, before it arrives at a headland house, also open for exploration.
And that’s just the start of things for the region – indeed, given it is reached by skirting the mangroves and following a path lying in the shadow of the cliffs that rise behind them, it is really the least obvious route of exploration for arriving visitors. This is because immediately to the east of the landing point (and visible from it) sits the bulk of what appears to be a small seafront town beckons, reached by way of a small flagstoned and gated terrace and two gently arching bridges which a distinctly Dutch flavour to them.
Within the archways leading into the town, the Dutch feeling is for me heightened both by the tall forms of the buildings used to define it, and the narrow, stone-sided waterways spanned by cobbled bridges, that have more of a feeling of canals rather than that of a simple mooring basin for boats. Though it may occupy less than a quarter of the region, the little town is very evocative of parts of Amsterdam and Rotterdam, and has plenty to offer the camera lens both within and around it.
Cut off from the rest of the region by two narrow channels of water, the town is nevertheless very much a part of the whole, not just joined to it by the bridges that physically link it with the rest of the setting, but because Busta’s design offers a marvellous blending of locations and styles.
There’s the aforementioned landing point with its Mediterranean hints, the town with its Dutch twist, suggestions of terraces and paved areas of great age mixed with beaches and a curving bay backed by ancient walls that also sit behind a more recent terraced bar, and the Tuscan villa lying in the lee of the island’s highest peak. This is reached via a number of paths, be they stone steps, rocky trail or rutted track, and is again open to exploration. And off of these elements are richly and marvellously presented, drawn together into a single and quite natural whole both by the various paths and trails that link them, and by the green stitching of foliage provided by great oaks and smaller maples.
To catalogue everything here would be a waste, as Souls of Dreams needs to be not just seen, but savoured. Places abound where visitors can sit and relax, whilst joining the local group for L$250 gives photographers rezzing rights for props (do remember to pick them up afterwards!). But truly, there is so much to see and appreciate here that you’re going to want to set aside plenty of time for wandering and finding all the paths and touches; and even then,it’s likely the region will call you back because the region really is that attractive.
Definitely not a place to miss, although given the amount of detail, some adjustment to viewer settings might be required to ease moving around comfortably if you tend to have a lot of rendering options turned up).
With thanks to Loverdag by way of Annie Brightstar for the pointer.
- Souls of Dreams (Glanmire, rated Moderate)