Update, September 20th: Shadezar and Venesha appear to have closed.
All of this has happened before, and it will all happen again.
No, that’s not a quote from the Ronald D. Moore re-imagining of Battlestar Galactica – although that show did famously use a variation of these words and is possibly a more popular modern frame of reference when the quote is now used. However, in this form, the words actually come from J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, and it is one of two quotes Hera (Zee9) uses (with very good reason) to introduce the latest iterations of her builds Shadezar and Venesha, which are once again available for people to see in-world, at least for a time.
When Hera contacted me to say she had decided to bring these two build back to SL, I confess I moved them to the top of my list of places to visit because, as I recently stated when writing about Shangri-La, the build she opened earlier in August 2021 (see: Losing myself in Hera’s Shangri-La in Second Life), Hera a region creator whose imagination is in many ways unparalleled in Second Life. In fact, I’ll expand on that statement here: Hera is a genuine world builder, conjuring cities, islands, kingdoms and more from the depths of her imagination and casting them into Second Life where they might be discovered and inhabited by those who find them.
In this, Hera is also a weaver of tales. Whether we are transported to a future world – be it Earth or elsewhere in the solar system / galaxy (Drune), or to the romance and danger of desert kingdoms (Shadezar) or a voyage to arrive in an alternate version of renaissance Venice (Venesha) or a medieval city cast within a Gothic garden ( Golgothica) or discovering the mysteries of an ancient tropical temple (Shangri-La) – Hera lays down the fibres of stories in such a way that we are invited to weave them together within our imaginations into stories that can take flight, be it through our photography, a changing of outfit so as to feel more fully immersed in the setting whilst exploring, or casual free-form role-play with friends.
It is as a world builder / story weaver that Hera here presents the latest versions of Shadezar and Venesha. Both are offered on a Full region, with Shadezar occupying the ground level, and Venesha, in keeping with its last appearance in Second Life and these pages) occupying a sky platform. However, they are not the only builds within the region. Those visiting will automatically arrive in a third – the Attic.
Sitting within its own skybox, the Attic is more than a simple landing point; it is the place where dreamers are welcome and stories await their telling. As such, it is a place that should not be immediately hopped away from, but should be appreciated in its own right, having much to say for itself, both it terms of Hera’s builds and in reference to her approach to her creations.
For as long as I can remember I have wanted to do a Neverland for adults. I even came up with a name for it, Neverworld X. It has always seemed to me that the Peter pan story has a lot more going on than the Disney version. But although I tried many times to build it, I always ended up feeling that it would in the end just become a naff place used for kinky sex etc. Nothing wrong with that, but not something I wanted to pour a lot of time and effort into. And it occurred to me that, in fact, SL itself was already this Adult Neverland. So, needing an entrance hub for these sims I decided to get this whole Neverworld, Perter Pan Nursery thing finally off my chest once and for all.
– Hera, explaining The Attic landing point for entering Venesha and Shadezar
Thus, The Attic sits as a place where we can enter a world of dreams and tales – the three books on the trunk under the window beckoning us to open them and be transported to Hera’s lands of fable and into tales framed though her work and our imaginations. It is a place that, as a portal, reflects Hera’s thoughts on the magic and power of Second Life, thoughts she also gives voice to in introducing visitors to her creations of Shadezar Venesha and Shangri-La by way of this attic setting:
You are maybe familiar with the Neverland from your childhood. But that is just one small Island of the Neverworld created by the minds of children. Adults loose the ability to play there when they grow up. But they should not despair, it is simply time to move on and discover the far bigger land of fantastic fantasy, The Neverworld.
It was once said of the Neverland in relation to adults that “On these magic shores children at play are for ever beaching their coracles. We too have been there; we can still hear the sound of the surf, though we shall land no more.” … Listen now to its deep sea waves as they crash against dark rocks of deep forbidden desires, and again to the soft lapping rhythm of the surf as it gently rolls up upon the beach of sensual dreams. Listen as they call you away to adventures far beyond the innocence of childhood, to the mysterious islands of Neverworld X.
Here as well, to further enhance our mood for a visit to each (and preferably all) of her designs, Hera offers us a story of her own, written in the manner of J.M. Barrie, and which is deserving of being read for itself. Look for a fourth book within this attic nursery as it lies propped against the fireplace; and when you find it, give it a click.
And without wanting to over-egg things, I would suggest Hera’s use of the quote from Peter Pan also has a very literal application.
This is not the first time either Venesha or Shadezar has appeared (or reappeared) in Second Life. Both have long histories – Shadezar’s origins lie within the Hera’s Kingdom of Sand build, whilst Venesha’s history stretches back to her Venexia build. Both have appeared in Second Life more recently (August 2020). Thus they are very much an embodiment of the quote from Barrie used by Hera and seen at the top of this article.
However, their return is no mere repeated roll-out of builds that were here a year ago; there are departures from previous iterations awaiting discovery. This iteration of Venesha, for example, has an entirely new version of the Doge’s palace from baths up to salons. Elsewhere, links to the past remain as well. Shadezar, for example, retains its subterranean invitation for swords and sorcery role-play that carries echoes all the way back to the Kingdom of the Sand. Reached via direct teleport from the landing point outside of the city’s walls, the role-play information area also offers a map of the city for those who might need it.
Throughout both of the builds, as one would expect, there are numerous opportunities for photography – and also numerous opportunities for engagement among friends and visitor, be it through simply spending time within one or both, engaging in casual role-play or making use of the rooms and places waiting to be found as a quiet hang-out (the Doge’s palace in Venesha caries out for use!).
When introducing her idea of Neverworld within The Attic, Hera also offers a variation of a quote by T.E. Lawrence from his autobiography, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom:
Those that dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds,
wake in the day to find that it was but vanity
But the dreamers of the day are dangerous folk
for they may act upon their dreams
with open eyes and Dream True.
This is an excellent quote to repeat in closing this article, because Hera is such a dreamer – and we are fortunate to be able to share in her dreams as we walk the streets, paths, halls and rooms of Venesha, Shadezar and Shangri-La. And if you appreciate her work, please consider a donation to her teddy bear in The Attic – the funds will go towards the cost of keeping Hera’s dreams available for all of us to enjoy.