Valarie (Zalindah) recently invited me to visit the current iteration of Raion No Su, a homestead region design she has produced alongside of the Knick Knacks store, owned and operated by Natacha Haroldsen.
I’ve covered a number of Valerie’s region designs in this blog and I’ve always enjoyed the fusion of Asian, oriental and fantasy she brings to her designs – and Raion No Su is no exception. However, rather than having a specific theme to this build, Zalindah has brought together a setting of separate and yet conjoined vignettes, each featuring a certain animal motif.
The Knick Knacks store sits tucked into the south-east corner of the region, along with the main landing point. Occupying stepped ruins, the store fits in with the overall styling of the region, and is separated from Raion No Su by a long over-the-water boardwalk running westwards to a chain-like spread of land that almost breaks into a series of islands. This sensibly allows the store and the rest of the region to remain apart so that tourists don’t get in the way of shoppers and vice-versa.
The end of the boardwalk comes in two parts: a short walk to a Japanese-style gazebo also sitting over the water, and the second to the foot of a steep slope rising from the water.
Torii gates march up the side of a hill, guarding the steps rising from the end of the boardwalk, the gates themselves guarded by stone cats. The top of this hill offers the first of multiple places spread across the setting to sit and relax and have fun. Beyond it, the land falls away back towards the waters below, offering a broad meadow, a narrow channel separating it from the rest of the landscape.
Reached via a brightly-painted bridge, the lowlands continue onwards before rising to the top of a long spine of north-pointing rock along which a tree-shaded path runs. Close to the northern end of this path, a bridge branches away to cross a steep-sided gully to a thumb of rock almost sitting as an island in its own right. Beyond the bridge the path slopes gently down before switch-backing its way back up to a high, flat-topped promontory marked by a wide beach on its western side.
All of which barely describes the beauty of the setting. Throughout all of it are the aforementioned places to sit – ranging the benches to swings to little shaded sheds, rafts and even giant plushies; flowers bring sweeping blankets of colour or stand as beacons of reds and violets and blossom to mark the paths that await people’s footfall, and which rise from the waters as gardens of colour.
Also to be found through the setting and helping to bring it marvellously to life – frequently in the most fantastical and mythological of ways – are the animals and creatures which act as the aforementioned motfis for the different vignettes. From skull-headed foxes to sea-worms to great dragons to Krin, many of these creatures draw on Japanese influences, and they share the setting with cats, birds, rabbits, stag, orca, wolves and even an albino lion.
Nor does it end there; Valerie has added a huge amount of subtle detail to the region as well, much of which can be easily missed by the hurrying eye, but which also doesn’t strain the viewer overly much providing a little sensible care is taken with settings.
Finished with an engaging soundscape, photogenic under a broad range of EEP settings, this iteration of Raion No Su makes for a rewarding visit. However, if you do want to catch it, then you’d better hop along in the next couple of weeks – I understand from Valerie that she’ll be changing things towards the end of the month.
My thanks to Valerie for the personal invitation!
- Raion No Su (Silent River, rated: Moderate)