A last chance to weave a Faire tale of your own

Friday May 31st marks the final day for submissions to the Prim Perfect / Fantasy Faire short story competition.

When I started exploring the 2013 Fantasy Faire regions, they struck me as so evocative that there were tales to be told about them – and this thought shaped my writing on the event, causing me to blog a series of vignettes of a traveller’s journey through the regions, rather than produce more review-type articles.

Lotus Valley Dream
Lotus Valley Dream

I wasn’t alone in feeling that there are tales to be told, for the organisers of Fantasy Faire have joined forces with Prim Perfect to present one last challenge for all those who wish to hold on to the magic just a little longer: to write a short story about the Fairelands of between one and three thousands words.

Tales can be set within a single region, or several, or all of them – the choice is yours. The subject matter for your story is also up to you, it can be sad or happy, wise or witty and make readers laugh, cry, gasp, nod with agreement – or do all of these things by turns. The only other stipulations (other than the length!) are that:

  • The region(s) you write about should be identifiable to the reader. There’s no need to explicitly give the name of a region in the story, or give long descriptions to make it clear where your story is set – but you shouldn’t leave the reader wondering “Is this Evensong Woods or is it Titan’s Hollow?”
  • The story must be an original piece, written purely for the competition, and not published elsewhere. By submitting a story, you retain overall copyright, but give us permission to publish the story in electronic format in Prim Perfect and on websites and social media sites belonging to Prim Perfect and Fantasy Faire.
Magnificat
Magnificat

Entries can be in .TXT, DOC or RTF format, and should be submitted via e-mail to: fantasyfaireshortstory@gmail.com.

Once the competition has closed (midnight SLT on May 31st), entries will be reviewed by a panel of judges comprising Zander Greene and Elizabeth Tinsley from Fantasy Faire; Saffia Widdershins, Honour Macmillan and Aisling Sinclair from Prim Perfect; Ceejay Writer, Editor in Chief at Penny Gaff Publications and Judi Newall, Librarian.

Results (and winning entries) will appear in the August issue of Prim Perfect magazine.

(view slideshow full-screen)

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Fantasy Faire: before they depart into the West …

Tuesday 30th April marks the last public day for Fantasy Faire 2013. If you have not already visited the Faire regions, or if lag was your personal Dark Lord who forced you to turn away when making a visit earlier in the week, I urge you to take time and pay the Faire a visit before the builds vanish altogether, as they are more than worth the visit.

Lumenaria: Fantasy Faire 2013
Lumenaria: Fantasy Faire 2013

All eight of the themed regions will remain open untill 11:59 SLT on Tuesday April 30th. Because of the requirements of the Key of Hope hunt, the Valley of Ish’Nar has already closed to public access. After midnight on the 30th, the regions will close to public access, although they will remain until some time on Friday May 3rd, and store owners are asked to keep their stores up for as long as they like between now and Friday to allow all the volunteers and helpers from the backstage team to enjoy them.

At the time of writing, some L$8,538,035 (approx. $34,152) has been raised for RFL during the Faire – an incredible amount by anyone’s standards, which once again demonstrates the generosity of Second Life users and which also takes the five-year total of funds raised in the fight against cancer by Fantasy Faire to over $100,000.

Valley of Ish'Nar: Fantasy Faire 2013
Valley of Ish’Nar: Fantasy Faire 2013

The Key of Hope hunt will enter its Final Chapter starting on May 1st, and will run through until the 19th May, so all those who have been busy working through the prologue won’t have long to wait before resuming their quest.

For me,what has again struck me as I’ve visited the regions and stores and blogged about them, is the way everyone who has been involved in the Faire in whatever capacity – organiser, backstage helper, store owner, or visitor – have all joined in the spirit of things, being not only been generous of pocket but also generous of deed and word from one to another. The Fantasy Faire public and Backstage groups have been filled with humour and good cheer, the regions themselves have been filled with people having fun, taking time to chat with one another, pursue clues to hunts, slip L$ into donation booths, seek out their favourite wares, tell their friends and blog, blog, blog.

Such is the overwhelming good spirit which pervades the event, it is a shame that it has to pass, but all good things must eventually come to an end. In some ways, even the closing of the Faire reminds me of the underlying purpose of the event; letting go is never easy, so those of us who have lost family and loved ones to cancer know well. But as with the previous Faires, we also know that there is another year to come, and with it, the Faireland gods and spirits willing, another Faire.

For my part, I’d like to pass on my thanks to Zander, Elizabeth, the core team behind Fantasy Faire, the backstage helpers, the volunteers, the region designers and builders and everyone else who took time and effort to make this event happen.

Fantasy Faire Fiction Competition

When I started exploring the Fantasy Faire regions, they struck me as so evocative that there were tales to be told about them – and this thought shaped my writing on the event, causing me to blog a series of vignettes of a traveller’s journey through the regions towards a final goal, rather than produce more review-type articles.

I wasn’t alone in feeling that there are tales to be told, for the organisers of Fantasy Faire have joined forces with Prim Perfect to present one last challenge for all those who wish to hold on to the magic just a little longer: to write a short story about the Fairelands of between one and three thousands words.

Once the stores are packed away and the crowds have departed … what beings take possession of the glass lantern city high in the mountains that shines in Titan’s Hollow? What languid aristocrats return to their faded palaces along the canal of Magnificat to watch the little boats sail out eternally toward the sunset? What troglodytes or dwarves emerge, grumbling, from the lower depths of Dragonspire to reclaim their caves? What heroes push their way through the blood-red roses of Crimson Fields, their eyes fixed on the looming Dark Tower ahead? And so for all the regions, each with their special tales to tell.

So reads the introduction to the challenge, which goes on to set-out the guidelines for the competition.

The closing date for submissions is Friday May 31st. A panel of judges will read the stories, and the results and winning entries will appear in the August issue of the Prim Perfect magazine. For full details and requirements, please read the Fantasy Blog post on the challenge linked to above – and good luck with your writing!

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Fantasy Faire: to dream in the Lotus Valley

It was by boat – a junk in fact – that I came at last to my destination: the fabled Lotus Valley Dream; a magnificent palace high on a rock face, overlooking a sheltered bay. Here my long journey at last came to an end, and as the junk steered a course between sea-worn rocks and into the bay, I knew I could rest for a time before starting my homeward trek.

Lotus Valley Dream
Lotus Valley Dream

Leaving the wooden junk at the quayside, I wandered among the wood-built houses and shops built on the green shores of the bay, the wind carrying the heady aroma summer pines through the air, mixing it with sweet fragrances from stores and homes and the scent of fish being simmered and cooked. Finding a place to stay, I set down my pack and changed clothes; a temple visit was not for the rugged travelling garments I’d been wearing. When satisfied with my appearance, I set out once more.

The temple lay beside a small stream which bubbled the last short distance to the waters of the bay over moss-covered rocks. A delicate bridge arched over the stream and I paused there a moment before removing my shoes and entering the shine, josticks in hand.

Afterwards, I wandered through the streets some more, admiring the wares on display in the many shops, pausing here and there to buy this or that. Those who have visited Lotus Valley Dream will know how strangely time passes there; while the rest of the world seems to hurry onwards, life there is altogether calmer and more gentle. So it was that while an age may well have passed in the wider world, a languid afternoon brought me at last to the stone steps climbing up to the great palace.

Lotus Valley Dream
Lotus Valley Dream

Here, longer still seemed to pass as I walked through the great halls and along the paved street, the sun slow dipping towards the horizon in a graceful bow. There was simply no need to hurry now; my heart was at peace matched only by those around me, with whom I shared smiles and quiet, gentle words as we passed one another; linked by the same magical spirit which made Lotus Valley Dream both mystical and mysterious.

As I arrived at length at my lodgings, I knew that the time would come when I must make my return home; but for now, I was content to stay yet a while. Perhaps I might even retrace my steps; for these lands, from Lumenaria to Lotus Valley Dream were all wonderful to behold and explore, and it might a long while before I might see their like again once I leave.   

Region design by: Marcus Inkpen and Sharni Azalee

Sponsored by: The Looking Glass; featuring: Hoof It!; ezura Xue; Quest for the Golden Prim; FALCONROSE; Raven’s Heart; Demons & Angels; and with themed stores: SAKIDE; Pin Me Down; Caverna Obscura; Kouse’s Sanctum; Affinity Boutique; Ari’s Neko Retreat; NAMINOKE; 2Xtreme; Star Journey; Flecha Creations; TRU Textures.

Total raised to date: L$6,840,284 (approx: $27,361 USD)

Note: The Fantasy Faire regions will apparently remain open an extra day: Monday April 29th (with thanks to Ziki Questi for the info).

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Fantasy Faire: the Key of Hope

Update April 27th: There has been a slight hitch with the Key of Hope. A note from Fantasy Faire co-ordinator Elizabeth Tinsley reads: “The agents of the Unweaver have struck a mighty blow, forcing a lull in the fight against the Demon Prince Val’Baan. But the fight will resume! In short (and OOC) there are some technical issues we need to address, and Madpea tell us that we should be ready to reopen in a few days. But do not fear! The Valley of Ish’Nar will remain on the Grid and the hunt will be open until the end of Sunday 19th May.”

‘Find us our champions,’ she said, ‘That we may remain safe another century. Call those of heart, and courage, and strength. Send to me those who would stand for what is right, and who do not fear the labour and the pain of that standing.

“‘Send me heroes.’

“The call was raised, and those of such a stature answered. They came to the Fairelands, to the Junction, and set out upon their quest…”

The Valley of Ish'Nar
The Valley of Ish’Nar

The Key of Hope is a special hunt devised by MadPea Productions and Fantasy Faire which is now running across all eight of the Fantasy Faire regions, and a specially commissioned region – the Valley of Ish’Nar.  It is the prologue to a much wider, grid-wide hunt, which will be running through until the 19th May 2013.

Key of Hope Hunt - The Valley of Ish'Nar
Key of Hope Hunt – The Valley of Ish’Nar

In the first two parts of the hunt, players must seek eight items scattered across the eight Fairelands regions, which together will form a Talisman which will allow them entry into the Valley of Ish’Nar and the second stage of their quest. Successful completion of this part of the hunt will both reward players with “memories and mementos” of their travels and also set them on their way for the grid-wide Final Chapter of the hunt, which promises some very special prizes for the heroes and heroines who persevere.

KoH-1Those heeding the call for heroes set out in the Prologue (beautifully voiced by Zander Greene – someone I could quite possibly listen to all day, even were he reading the telephone directory, just listen to the video below) will need to obtain a hunt HUD from any of the HUD vendors, which will cost L$100 (all proceeds from sales of the HUD go directly to the RFL of SL coffers as a part of the overall fund-raising).

Once you have the HUD, players must proceed to the Bard Queen’s camp, north of Lumenaria, there to read the letter from the Bard Queen and commence their quest.

Full instructions on how to play can be found on the Fantasy Faire website.

The Final Chapter of the hunt started on April 25th – and as mentioned, runs through until May 19th. So even if you have not yet participated in the quest, there is still time. And what better way to spend you on-line weekend than coming to the aid of the Bard Queen, seeking valuable rewards and helping RFL of SL in the progress?

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