Fantasy Faire: treasure the memories

Fantasy Faire 2015: Vallacia; Inara Pey, April 2015, on Flickr Fantasy Faire 2015: Vallacia April 2015 (Flickr) – click any image for full size

The Westering sun is starting to draw longer shadows across the hills and valleys and rivers  and roads of the Fairelands, and soon they will once again be taking their leave of us.

Truth be told, I’ve once again failed in my intent to wander the Fairelands as much as I had wanted, seeking stories and writing of fair folk and the wonderful realms within their borders. Fantasy Faire is always special, and this years it again seems even more so, and I once again find myself regretting allowing other things to limit the times I have been able to spend there. Because once the Fairelands has passed into the West at the end of each year’s Faire, all we are left with are photos and memories of the spirit that once wrapped us in its embrace that year.

Fantasy Faire 2015:  Tangleshimmer Grove; Inara Pey, April 2015, on Flickr Fantasy Faire 2015: Tangleshimmer Grove April 2015 (Flickr) – click any image for full size

Which is why, no matter how much time we have or haven’t spent wandering these beautiful worlds, meeting others, engaging in role-play, enjoying the many and varied entertainments – and in the process (and at the time of writing, the total is still rising!) raising almost L$6 million (almost US $24,000) for Relay for life – there is now a new way to keep the Spirit of the Faire alive and with us as the Fairelands themselves fade into memory.

The beautiful Spirit of Fantasy Faire pendant designed by
The beautiful Spirit of Fantasy Faire pendant designed by Kaelis Ember and available through Shapeways.com

Writing in the Fantasy Faire Blog, Sonya Marmurek brings word that Kaelis Ember has designed a beautiful pendant representing the Spirit of Fantasy Faire, as envisioned by Alia Baroque for the 2015 Fantasy Faire poster.

Made of polished brass with a choice of 14k, and 18k gold plating or Rhodium finish, the Pendant is a beautiful reminder of all that Fantasy Faire represents and can be yours from just US £59.90 / €69.01 (both including basic shipping, and Euro price inclusive of VAT) when you order via Shapeways.

The description of the pendant reads:

This gorgeous piece of original art will hang proudly around your neck, a tangible token of your efforts to end the hold cancer has over the lives of so many. A Relay for Life of Second Life event benefiting the American Cancer Society, the Fantasy Faire brings together people from all around the globe who share a love of Fantasy and a united belief that a cure for cancer doesn’t have to be a fantasy forever. Join us and show that you too believe in the strength of Fantasy to shape our reality. Whether it’s for yourself or a loved one, this pendant will always be a reminder of the strength of what we can do together when share a common dream.

Such has been my lot that I sadly couldn’t even stay awake for the May Day Masked Ball as witness the crowing of the first King and Queen of the Faire, together with the appointment of their Chancellor. With the votes all tallied, it was a clean sweep for Discworld, with Havelock Vetinari crowned king, Granny Weatherwax as Queen, with Greebo the Cat as their Chancellor.

All hail the Fantasy Faire 2015 King and Queen, and their Chancellor!
All hail the Fantasy Faire 2015 King and Queen, and their Chancellor!

Although my own votes went to Tyrion and Maleficent for king and queen, I confess that I’m also glad Havelock and Granny won. A world without Sir Terry Pratchett isn’t quite what it once was, and so this is a fitting way to top-out the commemoration of his life and work which was also a part of the Faire this year.

One thing I did manage to squeeze in this year was a little bit of filming. While my efforts don’t span the visual delights of ColeMarie Soliel’s magnificent tour through all 13 regions of the Fairelands, I managed to complete some filming in Ichi-Go Ichi-E, which I used in a post earlier in the week, and also at the Spires of Andolys, which I offer below.

Another activity I really enjoyed was the opportunity to walk through this year’s remarkable hunt – The Lost Lands. The creative effort that went into this is quite extraordinary, and everyone involved is deserving of congratulations. From all the chatter I’ve seen in the FF groups, the hunt has been greatly enjoyed again this year, and I was pleased to be able to play a minor role in things.  But – how did you find the hunt? the organisers would like to know so that they can start planning for 2016. So, if you completed or only tried the hunt, please give your feedback.

Fantasy Faire 2015: Vallacia; Inara Pey, April 2015, on Flickr Fantasy Faire 2015: Vallacia April 2015 (Flickr) – click any image for full size

There is still much to see and a lot to day at the Faire, so be sure to check the events pages and announcements. But time is passing! Don’t miss your chance to gather memories of the Fairelands, and then let the Spirit of the Faire help you to recall them once this year’s Faire has passed into the West.

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Fantasy Faire: my King and Queen of the Fairelands

One of the new features at Fantasy Faire this year is the opportunity to vote for the King and Queen of the Fairelands and their (strictly non-human) Chancellor.  The winners will be crowned at the Fantasy Faire May Day Masked Ball, which will also see their Chancellor announced.

Since the Faire opened, residents have been invited to nominate their favourite characters from the worlds of fantasy whom they would like to see crowned king and queen, or appointed to the role of Chancellor (a role for strictly non-human characters).

The nominations have now closed, and voting for the  top five nominees in each category (King, Queen and Chancellor) is underway.

And the Nominees for King of the Faire are:

FF-KING1-BKWulf FF-KING2-GILGA FF-KING4-HAVELOCK
FF-KING3-LEGOLAS FF-KING5-TYRION

Quite an interesting selection there. Orlando Bloom has a lot going for him, and given I’m a Lord of the Rings aficionado, you might think my vote would be for Legolas. But actually no, I confess that as a character, Legolas has never had that much appeal to me,  and I don’t lose hobbits often enough to need his assistance in tracking them down.

No, I confess that my vote goes to Tyrion Lannister; not because A Song of Ice and Fire / Game of Thrones is all the rage right now nor even because Lannisters always pay their debts (a promise I’ve always found to be more threatening than hopeful). Rather, Tyrion is simply one of the most delightfully, honourable rogues yet to walk out of the pages of a book. so he gets my vote, as you’ll always know where you stand with him.

So, on to the nominees for Queen of the Faire:

FF-QUEEN3-AGATHA FF-QUEEN4-GALADRIEL FF-QUEEN2-GRANNY
FF-QUEEN5-MALEFICENT FF-QUEEN1-ZANTA

Once again, you might think that as a LOTR fan, I’d be placing my vote with Galadriel. Had the nominee been Arwen  – or better yet, Lúthien Tinuviel from Tolkien’s Middle Earth, then perhaps that might well have been the case. As it is, the who gets my vote here is the magnificent Maleficent.

And to whom might I give my vote for Chancellor?

FF-CHANC4-GENIE FF-CHANC2-GREEBO  FF-CHANC1-KROSP
FF-CHANC3-TREEBRD FF-CHANC5-VONPINN

Well, this is really hard for me – oh look! Kitties! 🙂 .

To vote for your favourites, visit the kiosks which can be found in one of the beautiful underwater art galleries in Poseidons Abyss. Simply make a donation of your choice to cast your vote (yes, this election is one that can definitely be bought!). Voting will remain open in-world through until the end of the first hour of the May Day Masked Ball.

If you prefer, you can also voting on the web via the RFL Convio page for Fantasy Faire – although you’ll have to hurry; “postal” voting in this way closes at 11:59 SLT on Thursday 30th April. After that, you can still donate – but your vote may not be counted!

For full details on voting, visit the vote registration page of the Fantasy Faire website.

So don’t delay – vote today!

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Fantasy Faire: celebrate Sir Terry Patchett’s life and work

The celebrated author Sir Terry Pratchett series, passed away in March 2015.  Perhaps most famous for his Discworld series of some 40 volumes, he was a much-loved figure in the world of fantasy, and April 28th would have marked his 67th birthday. It is therefore fitting that in honour of his life and works, Fantasy Faire has declared that April 28th, 2015 will be Pratchett Day.

A whole series of events at the Faire’s LitFest in Sylvan of Spells will mark the occasion, and visitors to the Faire are encouraged to dress as their favourite Terry Pratchett characters – and even adopt their personas! For those seeking to commemorate Sir Terry a little more quietly, there will be copies of his trademark black fedora on offer for people to wear.

ff15_pratchett_poster-resized

Events at the LitFest start at 10:00 SLT, and continue throughout the day, comprising:

  • 10:00 – 11:00: Share your favourite Pratchett extract! Bring your favourite quotes or longer extracts to share with other Pratchett friends – and join the  discussion. Moderated by Judi Newall.
  • 12:00 – 13:00: Who is your favourite Terry Pratchett character? Come and talk about your favourite Pratchett character – Vetinari or Granny Weatherwax? Samuel Vimes or Nanny Ogg? Susan or Death? Or do you love a character who appeared in just one novel? Moderated by Judi Newall.
  • 14:00 – 15:00: What is your favourite Terry Pratchett novel? A discussion for Terry Pratchett fans. Which is your favourite novel, and why? Come along and share your favourites! Moderated by Judi Newall.
  • Note that unfortunately, the Poetry Slam originally planned as a part of the day’s events has been cancelled.
Wear your fedora and celebrate Pratchett Day at Fantasy Faire!
Wear your fedora and celebrate Pratchett Day at Fantasy Faire!

For those who do opt to dress as a Pratchett character or those on the look-out for Pratchett characters, there is an informal photo contest being run. Simply take a snap of yourself in your Pratchett costume while in the Fairelands – or take a shot of someone you see in the Fairelands in a Pratchett costume – and post it to the Fantasy Faire Flickr group (please indicate if it is a selfie or a shot of someone else, and include the fact it is a snap for the Pratchett Character Photo contest in the description).

The entries most in the spirit of Sir Terry’s writing and characters, as judged by the Faire team  will be featured in the Fantasy Faire blog, and the overall winner, as selected by the Faire team, will receive a special prize.

There will also be additional events to commemorate Sir Terry as well:

  • Wednesday, 29th April, 10:00 – 11:00 Reaper Man Live Reading: Caledonia Skytower and Dubhna Rhiadra in a duet presentation of selected passages from Terry Pratchett’s 1991 Reaper Man, the 11th book in the Discworld series
  • Thursday, 30th April, 18:00 – 20:00 Good Omens Discussion: Aoife Lorefield leads a discussion on Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s book Good Omens.

Terry Pratchett would doubtless have loved Fantasy Faire, both for all that it represents, and for the way it becomes a melting pot, bring people from across the grid and around the world together in their love of all things fantasy and the power of imagination.

Certainly, he was not unfamiliar with Second Life; as many will remember, he came in-world in October 2009, when he gave a Q&A session, mostly about his (then) new book, Nation, but which also covered other topics as well – including his thoughts on Second Life, and whether he’d come back. At the time, he thought the graphics let the platform down – and I think that’s something we’d all agree upon. But would he feel the same today? With mesh, materials, improvements to the viewer’s rendering capabilities and more, the Second Life we see today as exemplified by Fantasy Faire, is quite unlike anything that could be achieved in 2009 – and I think Sir Terry would have loved explore the realms of the Fairelands.

Terry Pratchett, October 2009; by Gellan Gelnelg on Flickr Terry Pratchett, October 2009; by Gellan Gelnelg on Flickr

For those who missed Sir Terry’s in-world visit, Ciaran Laval has an abridged transcript of the event available on his website.

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Fantasy Faire: one time, one meeting: treasuring Ichi-Go Ichi-E

Ichi-go Ichi-E, Fantasy Faire 2015 Inara Pey, April 2015, on Flickr Ichi-go Ichi-E, Fantasy Faire 2015 (Flickr) – click any image for full size

A fabled land, bordered by hills and open sea; a place where sakura flowers tower above you and giant dragonflies hover over pools of water set in a chequerboard landscape one which an ancient circle stand close to the shade of a giant cherry tree; a place that encourages us to treasure the meetings we have with others.

To wander here is to wander a land of dreams and to share time with others. There are no strangers here, as those in the west might say, only friends we have yet to meet. Climb the steps carved from living rock and pass under roofless arches into the circle surrounded by stone. Perhaps you’ll dance a while, alone or with others…

Ichi-go Ichi-E, Fantasy Faire 2015 Inara Pey, April 2015, on Flickr Ichi-go Ichi-E, Fantasy Faire 2015 (Flickr)

Or perhaps the shade of the tall sakura flowers will beckon and there beneath, you’ll discover the tiny winged sakura fae, awaiting a chance to serve visitors and offer them rest and refreshment.  For those who feel in need of greater rest, the sakura pods offer sanctuary, rest and a chance for meditation and renewal as ghost butterflies keep the spirits of darkness at bay.

Walk across the water and share secrets with the dragonfly, or travel beneath the waves and into The Looking Glass to discover a realm of wonder, offering delights to one and all; as do the stone-hewn stores that sit beneath this realm’s bordering hills.

Ichi-go Ichi-E, Fantasy Faire 2015 Inara Pey, April 2015, on Flickr Ichi-go Ichi-E, Fantasy Faire 2015 (Flickr)

It is here that adventurers might find the Monkey Prince, Sun Wukong; a rogue once, and cursed to live in the form of a monkey until he had recovered the seven sacred sutras from the lands to the West. Having succeeded in the task assigned to him and a man once more, fleet of foot and great of strength, he found himself another assignment – aiding the Bard Queen in the raising and care of her daughter. But like his nine fellow champions, the loss of Princess Flora lay as a malaise on Sun Wukong; and the hardly adventure may have to engage in a game of dice or cards if they are to reawaken his memories, because for Sun Wukong, the loss of the Princess was to call forth his gambling rogue once more…

Such is the wonder of this fair land that tales lies at every turn, and wonders await under every spreading bough and sun-touched flower. Treasure the time you spend here; treasure the meetings you have.

Treasure Ichi-Go Ichi-E 一期一会.

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