Dark Moon, a Homestead region owned by Nepherses Amat, is both enchanting and something of a mystery – and well deserving of your time to explore.
The theme of the region is prone to change over time – Nepherses has no fewer than nine images of the region in its various forms, covering her time of occupancy from 2009 through to today – and each iteration brings something new and unusual to see and share.
You’ll need to set aside time when visiting, as there is much to see here, both above and below ground. The region is a fabulous mix of caves, tunnels and hidden comforts as well as a rich garden of flowers and trees and the home of a carnival and circus.
Your journey through and around the region starts at the main teleport point, and the entrance to the caves. You may want to dress appropriately, as it is a little wet ;-). While you can opt to skip the caves entirely and hop up above to the gardens (if you cheat and use fly override, that is), doing so would be a mistake, as the caves themselves are an adventure of discovery – and invite the imagination to make up adventures as you investigate them.
Wandering through the tunnels, it’s hard not to picture yourself in an Indiana Jones-esque adventure, seeking a lost treasure; or perhaps you’re involved in some great spy mystery, exploring the hidden lair of your arch-nemesis. Whatever your mood of adventure, you’ll come across many strange delights as you explore – places to dance with a loved one or sit and chat with a companion, an unlikely study complete with bookcases and deep, comfortable armchairs, works of art and more, all carefully placed to guide you along your way.
Some routes will lead you out of the caves at ground level (or near to it), offering you the chance to explore the waterfront, crossing over bridges and perhaps taking a rest amidst a small ruin. But (at least so far as I can tell), only one route will lead you up to the gardens topside, and that you’ll have to seek out for yourself, no clues here! Just be prepared for a bit of a physical climb…!
Colour is used to great effect throughout Dark Moon, and you’ll need to be running in deferred mode in order to fully appreciate it, especially when underground. Even up in the garden, once you reach it, things are best seen with lighting and shadows active to really see the care with which the region has been developed.
If the caves are a blend of adventure and discovery, then the garden above them is a mix of fantasy, colour and mystery with a splash of surrealism. Under a lowering sky – perfect for the region, so make sure you accept the windlight settings if prompted – sits a rich sea of colourful flowers and blossom-filled trees admidst which sits a carnival / circus, complete with big top and posing elephants. To reach them, you walk under carved arches around which thick vines curl, both the arches and vines creating an almost elven feel to the path beneath them.
Here sits a Ferris wheel, reached by climbing stone stairs and available to ride, standing like some kind of sentinel above the surrounding garden and the sea beyond. From it you can see the carousel, also waiting to be ridden, while between the two sits the tall form of the big top. Here, in the dimness of the tent you can dance amidst Meeroos and watched over by elephants, or make yourself a part of the Greatest Show on Earth.
It is around the big top and carousel that new stories suggest themselves and add to the mystery of the place. The ticket master as the carousel may well where clown’s paint, but not all clowns are funny, while inside the big top things seem a little run-down, as if better days have come and gone. Or perhaps it is just the artistry of the selected windlight and the overly bright eyes of the Meeroos giving wing to my imagination.
But that is what makes Dark Moon so appealing; the very fact that it does stir the imagination so and prompt one to create stories as one explores. And for those who choose to visit the region with a close friend or lover, Dark Moon is equally appealing, with the aforementioned places to dance, rides to share and nooks and places to while away the hours.
If you love exploring Second Life and/or enjoy SL photography, or simply like to find new places where you can sit for a time on your own or with a friend, then I cannot recommend Dark Moon highly enough. It is a magical garden of delight atop meandering caves of wonder. Altogether a superb visit – just please do respect the privacy of the house up in the gardens, and don’t forget the donations sign down at the main teleport point!