A Forgotten Hope in Second Life

Forgotten Hope, March 2023 – click any image for full size

I received an invitation from Clifton Howlett to attend the opening of his latest Homestead region build, and while I was unable to make the event on Saturday, March 18th, I did manage to hop over a couple of times over the weekend and take a look around. Working with Coralile Resident, Clifton is a region designer who puts together imaginative settings which offer places in which to retreat, relax, explore and have fun, each one a little different to the last.

With Forgotten Hope, Clifton and Coralile have come up with a most unusual setting. Hidden from much of the light of day yet still rich with natural growth, it takes a new turn in presenting both a place of mystery for those who like to create stories about the location they visit in-world, and a place where personal time and a little fun can be has for those just seeking to unwind.

A veil of darkness cloaks its mysterious depths, enticing explorers and spelunkers from far and wide to uncover the dark secrets it harbours. Amidst abandoned huts and a submerged ‘plane [you can] embark on an adventure like no other and immerse yourself in the eerie atmosphere of this enchanting location.

– From the Forgotten Hope description and opening invitation card

Forgotten Hope, March 2023

A journey through this underground location – quite where it might be is up to you to decide, but for reasons I’ll come to, I thought of it as perhaps a little twist on the Lost style of mystery – commences within a fairly nondescript cavern. Here, smoke from a slightly out-of-control wood fire pit is slowly – and doubtless suffocatingly – filling the space, encouraging people to seek escape through the arch of a tunnel to one side of the dome-like cavern.

Lit by a smaller fire held in check by a rock of stones, the tunnel floor is wreathed in creeping mist as it descends down roughly hewn steps and doglegs its way into a second chamber. This appears to have been long-used; chests of hand written scrolls sit against the round walls, together with barrels of who-knows what – dried food? water? both? – and stacks of candles and other signs of human occupancy. It is a place suggestive of age and darkness – if anything is to be gleaned from the scrolls at least.

Forgotten Hope, March 2023

An arch leads to a further small cavern where more oddments can be found – including, somewhat incongruously, an upright piano complete with stool and sheet music which all look in remarkably good condition. Both form a strange combination – the chests of scrolls contrasting with the piano and the heap of mouldering mattresses; however, the mystery of these caves is liable to fade into the background after passing through the wood door tucked to one side of this little dome of rock.

Beyond the door is a split in the rock, a narrow defile, a cave taller and somewhat brighter in natural light than those on the other side of the door, perhaps suggesting that daylight is not that far away – a feeling added to by the presence of vines on the walls. Someone has gone to great lengths to lay a path of carefully cut and placed logs to ease passage over the floor of this defile, complete with a hand-made ladder to help people over a rocky lip to reach the cave mouth beyond. This sits high up on a cliff face, the ground and surface of a body of water fed by water plummeting from further around the high cliffs and visible above the tops of trees. However, its is not open land, but rather a vast and high cavern.

Forgotten Hope, March 2023

Mist rises from the waters below the cave mouth to fold itself around the trees, and thin strands of cloud float around the cavern’s high roof, the sunlight which dapples the water falling through a jagged hole in the cavern’s dome, the stray clouds around the hole acting as a prism to break the light into finger-like beams of illumination pointing down into this netherworld of a place. In doing so they fall upon the element which gives this place a Lost-like feel: a partial carcass of an airliner broken and semi-submerged in the water and, perhaps the cause of the rend in the cavern’s roof.

Here is where more mystery grows: was it the people who survived the ‘plane crash who built the path lading back to the entry caverns – and the platforms with their ladders providing the way up to (or down from!) the high cave? Or were they merely the latest inhabitants of this strange world? The evidence of long-term habitation is intriguing: at “ground” level, there is a ramshackle cabin built into the remnants of a once massive tree; there are remnants of cut-stone walls suggesting ancient buildings; board walks and decks pass out over the shallow waters to connect with the the rest of this huge cavern space. Trees grow throughout, whilst a range of wildlife sitting beneath their boughs and amidst the wild grass.

Forgotten Hope, March 2023

If the cabin and other structures located here were built before the nose of the airliner arrived – then who built them? Who was responsible from shipping the large boiler system sitting within the corrugated sides of a ramshackle shed in the second large cavern? Is this a retreat from the world, or a place where people can end up apparently stranded by misfortune – or some form of strange experiment in the human condition? Maybe the weird hooded figure lurking within the setting has some of the answers; or perhaps you don’t find them important.

If you don’t, there’s more than enough to keep you occupied here – the large deck sitting over the water of the first of the big caverns is home to DJ events and dancing, whilst scattered throughout the caverns (and up in their rocky walls) are places to sit and cuddle or read a book, with sofa and wine available by the bottle whilst the local wolves, snakes and alligator are content to let people freely come and go without being in anyway bothersome.

Forgotten Hope, March 2023

A strange but engaging world, Forgotten Hope makes for an engaging visit and serves as a spark for the willing imagination.

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One thought on “A Forgotten Hope in Second Life

  1. Looks fascinating. I’ll visit for certain. However, the real “Forgotten Hope” is L.L. issuing a bug-free viewer update…altho’, come to think about it, it isn’t forgotten…we still hope it will happen,

    Liked by 1 person

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