Update, September 2021: Elvion has relocated and expands – see: Elvion expanded in Second Life.
Elvion, the homestead region design by Bo Zano (BoZanoNL) has always been a place to which I’m drawn. Since its inception and through several iterations, it has presented a haven of natural peace and beauty in Second Life that can smooth both troubled mind and upset heart, and which never fails to offer the eye and camera much to see and appreciate.
As far as I can recall, Bo has tended to keep his designs to the ground level, but with the iteration I visited at the start of June, he’s made use of the space available overhead as well and the ground level environment. The result is a setting of three distinct parts, each complete unto itself whilst also joining naturally with its companions to offer visitors much to see and appreciate – and even more space to reflect.
The ground level of the region presents a setting that in part echoes past Elvion designs in terms of general landscape and the mix of land and water, but which is nevertheless unique in its presentation, sitting as a small, low-lying island, the partial region surround suggesting it might be part of an small archipelago.
This island, rich in summer greens and the bright colours of wild flowers, is home to the main landing point that sits to the the south-east, watched over by a mature pelican and young goat. Two large buoys are stranded on the shore here, rusting and fading under the Sun. Their position raises the question of whether they might have been deposited by some past storm that tore them from their anchor chains or if they were simply abandoned by human hands, their work out in the channels beyond the island long since finished.
A path leads the way up from the landing point to where an A-frame house sits as a quiet retreat, places to sit and appreciate the view both on its raised deck and among the flowers growing around it. This house is, together with a small gazebo / pergola sitting closer to the landing point and overlooking the rocky shoreline, pretty much the only sign of human habitation to be found on the island, allowing its rugged beauty to be fully appreciated.
The path from landing point to house will lead visitors past one of the region’s little pug dogs that have in the past been named after either the Three Stooges or members of the Rat Pack (along with other animals found in past Elvion iterations), but who sits unnamed here, keeping an eye on the region’s information givers and pointing the way to the teleport signs.
Set as a group of wooden signs, these provide access to the two sky settings within the region at the time of my visit.
Touching Forest will carry you to – unsurprisingly – a woodland setting. It’s a place in the blooms of spring and colours of summer that could so easily be pictured as a further part of the island, the A-frame house waiting to rise back into view if you just wandered far enough in the right direction through the surround mist.
At the same time, however, those surrounding mists, the ruins and the trails winding over the the grass and rocks to a domed stone gazebo and the falls and water that lie beyond it, present the feeling that its is genuinely an altogether different place to the island; somewhere altogether more mystical.
Walking the path from the landing point and its ruins to – and beyond – the waterfalls and their streams, I felt I was wandering into some corner of Westeros or perhaps a forgotten outlier of Imladris, such is the deep sense of place bound within the setting that encourages the imagination to take flight.
Dreamland, the highest of the settings in terms of general elevation offers a similar connection to both forest and the island through its landing point, which sits within a ruined abbey, and the surround rich foliage of trees.
But step beyond the confines of the old walls, and you find you have been transported somewhere entirely different: a place where desert and grasslands intertwine – but whether it is a place where prairie meets dustlands or veldt meets desert’s edge, is entirely up to you.
A thatched cottage and nearby windmill give a slight European lean to the setting, but at the same time, were a herd of cattle to come through the scrubby grass, driven by weather-beaten cowpokes, they would be at all out of place.
And certainly, for those with wearable horses, this is a location with more than enough room for riding, whilst those seeking places to sit and reflect, cogitate or enjoy the company of another, there is also plenty here to be found.
Beautifully conceived and executed, Elvion remains a joy to visit and behold.
- Elvion (Quiet, rated Moderate)