On Friday, May 15th, the 2020 Second Life Science Fiction Convention, raising money for Relay for Life of Second Life and the American Cancer Society, opens its doors to sci-fi enthusiasts from across virtual worlds.
Running through until Sunday, May 24th, 2020, the convention is spread across eight regions packed with all things science fiction, and offers insight into sci-fi goods and services, role-play, communities, and more, whilst also including a range of entertainment, talks, readings, hunts and activities to keep people engaged throughout the event.
Information on the event has been sketchy in places during the run-up when compared to other major RFL events (how to attend the blogger’s day was only published on the day, for example, which left some wondering that – while the date was known in advance – would it require registration beforehand, and if so how they might register in the run-up to the day).
Of course, now the event is rolling along, the core details are there, including a complete calendar of events (although information on hunts, etc., is best obtained from the information boards within the convention regions), and information on the region themes, the latter being:
When exploring the regions, you’ll find the usual interesting mix of merchants and role-play groups, all with something to offer. All of the major franchises from media sci-fi are represented – Star Trek in its various forms, Docotor Who, Stargate, Battlestar Galactica, etc., together with the likes of Gundam, Babylon 5 while there are some nice references to Buck Rogers, Space 1999, etc., awaiting discovery, with even what might be a nod towards the short-lived Terra Nova, with much more besides. In touring, I admit to particularly liking Waxen Works’ The Life and Work of Gerry Anderson.
So, whatever your interest in science fiction, be sure to set your phaser on fun and head back to the future with a visit to the SL SciFi convention. So say we all!
Wednesday, May 13th, 2020, marked the start of the 4th annual Bid A Linden Bald event organised by the Relay Rockers in support of Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society.
First held in 2017 as an extension to the Relay Rockers annual Bid Me Bald challenge, in which people are invited to bid (make donations to RFL) to see a well-known Second Life resident go bald for a period of time in-world
For Bid a Linden Bald – as the name suggests – a number of teams from Linden Lab challenge one another to see who can raise the most in Linden Dollar donations for RFL of SL. At the end of the event, the team raising the least amount of money see their avatars get their hair shorn. Or as the event advertising puts it:
Top team gets the scissors – lowest team gets the haircut!
This year sees four teams from the Lab taking part in the week-long event. They are:
Team 1: Darcy, Jet, Oz, Spots, and Volo.
Team 2: Derrick, Kit, Patsy, TJ, and Wendi.
Team 3: Dottie, Kristin, Rocko, Vanessa, and Whitney.
Team 4: Izzy, Madori, Patch, Roran, and Vix.
For 2020, the team that is “bid bald” will have their avatars remain so through until the RFL of SL Relay Weekend of June 6th and 7th, 2020. They will receive their haircuts at a special events to be held at 15:00 SLT on Wednesday, May 20th, 2020, on the Relay Rockers region.
Should you wish to place a bid, drop in to the Relay Rockers’ home region. The kiosks for the event can be found in the south-east corner of the region by the barn (just follow the signs). You can make your donation based on the team you’d like to see win – or against the team you’d like to see lose!
We came to the coast once more early on the morning, and even as the Sun rose we could see its light glittering off the blue domes of our destination even before it fell across the seas beyond.
It was said that Zodiac had been founded by a company of Royales who departed the fair city of Magnificat many years ago. I had once visited Magnificat as a traveller riding alone, and the memory of that journey remained never far from my thoughts. As we left our mounts fed and watered on the outskirts of the city, so I was able to see a certain resemblance within these dome-topped halls and the spire-topped palaces of that ancient place. But more than that, this city brought to mind legends of the great temples and river of the Golden Delta, while the walls of water that fell straight and true down hand-made cliffs brought forth tales of the floating retreat of Sanctum, said to be held aloft on pillars of crystal waters.
I had heard that Zodiac was a place in which the mysteries of the heavens are venerated, and above the doorways of these tall houses glowing blue spheres glittered and turned with the patterns of the stars, marking out the heroes and gods of the past as they were said to look down from the night skies. Within the great hall of each of these houses, another glowing wheel of stars turned.
Yet these were not what held our attention, for as we came to the city’s waterfront, so we saw for the first time the great orb hanging effortlessly in the air over the city’s central channel. Sea blue in colour, it sat within great metal ribs, the golden powder of stars contained within it; and within that cloud, an entire world I could scarce recognise. As we looked upon this wondrous thing, so I perceived rivers of golden energy flowing outwards from the globe and into the buildings below.
“The energies of the heavens. Our blessing and our studies.” I turned towards the voice, and found a tall citizen of Zodiac standing close by, his long blue robes sparkling like the light flowing outwards from the sphere, his face fair and ageless, his eyes a bright, piercing blue. “They are what brought us to this place and raised this city. They give life and peace to all who come here.”
“It is magnificent,” I replied softly, “And bewitching; but how…”
“Does it remain so in the air?” He smiled, his face brightening with an inner light. “How else, but by the grace of the Guardians?”
“I thought the Guardians were but a myth!” I interrupted, and his eyes twinkled in the warmth of mirth.
“Perhaps. Perhaps not,” he replied. “It is true that they are now rarely seen here within the city; but they might yet be found for those with an open heart – such as you, who have travelled so far.” He bowed courteously, arms wide. “May I be your guide?”
And so we walked the paths of Zodiac, and its many parts were revealed, from stone gazebos where models of many worlds turned, to high terraces overlooking the waters below, where we could look on the energy-laced waters that fell outwards from the buildings around us, as boats passed down the channel and out to sea. Our host proved affable, yet mysterious; much of the history of Zodiac did we learn, but on some things he remained quiet, turning conversation away from the strange flow of energy from globe to building to water, while also turning away questions as to his place within the city.
So the day passed, with refreshments at a waterfront garden, and then a slow walk to our lodgings, where our mysterious guide bade us a fair evening, his cloak swirling about him in the lowering light of the evening Sun. I watched as he walked back into the city, towards that great sphere until just the sparkling mist if that blue robe glittered faintly. And as I looked, it seemed to me that glittering wafted upwards, climbing to the glowing blue sphere that now cast a soft blue glow over the city’s heart…
Zodiac, designed by Alia Baroque. Sponsored by Fallen Gods Inc, BamPu Legacies, and Bella Moda / ZED for MEN / MALified. Featuring stores by Astalianda & The Critter Corner, AtaMe, *~by Nacht, !dM deviousMind, Fantasy China, HOUSE OF RFYRE, Illusions, Lacrime dell’anima & Faida & Velvet Whip, lassitude & ennui, MacMoragh an Gabha, NeverWish & A.D.D.Andel!, On A Lark & Artisan Fantasy, .:Soul:., The Stringer Mausoleum & [CIRCA] Living, VENGE and Wasabi.
Total raised by the end of the Faire’s fifteenth day: L$17,047,087 (US $68,188). Remember, you can still visit the Fairelands and appreciate their realms through until May 10th.
From the high mountains around Auxentios’ Pass, we at length descended to warmer lands. For the first part of our journey down from that strange, steam-powered town nestled in its high pass, we were led by one of the clanking, hissing machines that so startled and amazed us on first seeing them.
Driven by man sitting in a closet-like space below the rounded belly of the mechanical beast, the machine walked with a clumsy, yet sure-footed grace in response to the levers he pulled and pushed. A second man seated before him in that iron closet used the long funnel extending before it to blast our path with steam that cleared away the frost and ice, allowing us safe passage over the smooth rock that might otherwise have been as treacherous as glass beneath feet and hooves.
Even after the machine had stood aside to let us continue down warmer slopes towards the tree line below, it was hard not to keep looking back up the hard rock path to try to catch sight of our strange companion, even though we all knew we had left it behind and the echoing sound of its heavy footfalls echoed down to us as it made its way back up to its home in the snows.
As the day passed, so we came to the green lands beneath the mountains, and to the gardens of Lunafae. Here, built around a natural grass basin, the fae folk had established a home. We arrived as the Sun passed behind the mountains and the Moon slowly rose to the east. As it did so, life began to stir among the oval and round houses that ringed the basin, translucent orbs hung from arches and sitting upon stone pedestals lighting the paths and gardens within the circle of houses with the captured moonlight, while fireflies danced over the round of water that sat at the lowest heart of the basin.
So too came the sound of voices, as strong and fair as any among the elves – and also small and sweet as children at play; bright, happy laughter that I could not trace until tall, silvan folk stepped forth in greeting, more fireflies dancing around them. As they approached, so I realised that the “fireflies” were tiny faefolk, no taller than the length of my arm from finger-tip to elbow. They held tiny lanterns – and they floated upon the air! As they darted and danced around us, I perceived delicate wings on their backs that whispered gently as those of a humming bird.
Dismounting, we watched as our horses were gently led away to be fed and watered, while we were each taken by the hand by fae folk our own height, their long-fingered hands pale in our own, the air around them sweet with the fragrance of spring flowers. Together, we descended to the pavilion rising from the round of water. Eight runs of stone steps offered a way down the basin’s slopes, but only four connected to the pavilion by arched bridges over the water. The remaining four caught the light of lanterns and the Moon in silvered splashes as water tumbled from step to step in each, replenishing the waters of the basin.
Within the pavilion, we passed the night with food and drink, talking with our hosts as their tiny cousins danced and played on silvered wings, voices bright and clear. I cannot remember when I fell asleep, but I awoke on a green lawn sitting between stone steps and tumbling water. Two of my company slept beside me, and as I sat up and looked around, I saw more of my companions lying on other lawns across the steps and waters. Broad leaves carrying breads and fruit were set out on tables for us, but of our tall hosts, naught could be seen wherever I looked.
Laughter, high and sweet, caused me to turn my head and four of the tiny folk danced lightly above the waters falling down to the circular lake. “You will not find them!” A voice sang as they danced. “For they do not like the sun; night and the light our Lady Luna is more to their liking and desires. They will remain indoors until she rises again. But we are here, and we will dance! Will you not stay with us? The citadel lays not far, and we will show you the way, but not before you share Luna’s blessing once more with us!”
Sweetly given, and with laughter and music around is, we could not refuse such an invitation.
Lunafae by Sharni Azalee, sponsored by The Looking Glass, ~Jeanette’s Joint~*, Realm of Rosehaven*, The Lost Unicorn Gallery*. Featuring stores by Air, *Amaranthus*, Boudoir, *CINNAMON*, Cole’s Corner, *~Dream Things~*, :[Even~Tide]:, Fae Fantasy Creations, GUARAN-DOU, Kittycat’s Creations, Roawenwood, **Tir Na Nog**, Titans, Swank & Co., and The Olde Attic & My View.
Total raised by the end of the Faire’s eleventh day: L$13,311,225 (US $53,244). Remember, you can still visit the Fairelands and appreciate their realms through until May 10th.
Renewed by the beauty of Agra Adara, we crossed the inland sea to arrive at Autumnium. Scarce could the change be greater; from the arid lands that washed around the golden domes and minarets of that now distant haven of peace and the golden lands of Autumnium, a place forever caught between the greens of summer and the white and grey of winter.
Here the the trees grew tall, rich in yellow and orange and ochre and red, boughs heavy with leaf even as the ground lay under a carpet of golden grass heavy with leaves that had already fallen. Through these trees the wind blew gently, stirring branches and rippling through the wheat-like grass with a gentle sigh of warmth.
We followed the paved road up from the docks and through the trees the were a small town raised steep blue roofs and taller round towers between the surrounding blanket of trees. here were throngs of people, laughing, happy, and moving freely from shop to store and back as music floated down from high towers.
At the centre of the town was a great throng laughing, singing dancing, with more up on the hill above, moving among standing stones. These stones stood apart from the golds and yellows of Autumnium, for they lay among a rich carpet of green grass looking like an emerald amongst the amber grass and trees. Nor were the people dancing between and around the stones, so to did swirls of light and colour, turning and twirling between the ancient stones. Then, as I watched, two magnificent winged horses swept down from the burnished blue sky, their riders tall and fair, to land on the grass. Riders and mounts bowed us as we passed along the road below them, and I found myself longing to once again stay our journey, but we had tarried enough along our path, and so we moved on.
More strange lands lay before us, but in all my travels, I confess that none from this journey nor any of those from my past, could compare to the high seat of Auxentios’ Pass for the extent of its strangeness.
While Autumnium might forever be caught in the midst of an everlasting autumn, this was a place sitting in the depths of a forever winter. Occupying a saddle pass in the high mountains, it sat as a place where wealth had been exhumed from the living rock on which it had grown. In doing so, and perhaps because of its icebound isolation, the town had forged its own path, giving birth to great machines that allowed it to both survive and thrive.
Scarce could I have imagined a place so different to all I have known. Stepping up the get rocky shelves of the pass, the town stood as stalwart buildings hewn from cut stone and brick, each one standing as a fortress against the harsh cold. Broad streets lay between this formidable structures, which climbed up to a great singular building of tall sloping roofs and high smoking stacks than spoke to the warmth within.
Nor was that warmth restricted to the great houses; the very streets hissed, exhaling clouds of warm steam, their surfaces utterly free of the snow and ice that clung to almost every surface. It was a magical sight, the streets looking as if they were themselves breathing, our horses skittish and reluctant to pass along them to the point where we had to find stables – heated by great pipes running along the ceilings – and set them to rest as we continued on foot, wrapped in heavy cloaks and preceded by clouds of our own exhaled breath.
As we did so, so the secret of the street was revealed: a gaping hole was open as a rectangular maw, the iron plates of the street raised on either side, allowing us to see the mighty pipes that carried heat along them, so it could heat the plates when in place, freeing them from the ice and snow. Witnessing this, I followed the line of iron road as it swept back down to where, rising above the houses, a great machine lay, red and round, belching fire from its uppermost extent, a great hissing and thumping of machinery carried to us as the breeze turned to blow along the street on which we stood.
Such was the mystery of this massive thing, that we were drawn towards it, passing down the street until we could see it stood over a great pit on three massive legs like a giant iron creature rising from the deeps, drawing the energies of mother Earth with it. I would have called it the most frightening, wondrous creation I had ever seen except at that moment, another machine, smaller but no less daunting a sight, clanked around the corner on two hissing, thumping bird-like legs, a cylinder strapped behind it blowing gouts of smoke into the frigid air as it passed.
We could not help but fall back against the wall as this weird mechanical beast clanked by, and then like children drawn after a forbidden fruit, we followed it back up the road. And so we witnessed how it flourished the long funnel extending from its front, guided by unseen eyes and hands within, as it swivelled towards the icy walls of the houses before it and blasted them with a great roar of steam, blowing away the ice and snow and revealing the rich colours of the stone beneath.
And so we followed this strange machine as to banged and clomped up the hill, marvelling as it worked, to come at last to that great hill-top hall, its walls heavy with pipes that climbed up them as airships circled overhead. Here we were greeted by townsfolk and shown in through heavy doors to were many were gathered to eat and share.
Autumnium by Kilik Lekvoda, sponsored by Teegle, Roleplay: Piltover & Zaun, and The Realm of Dark Moons. Featuring stores by 1313 Mockingbird Lane, Adeyakko, Balderdash, Bare Rose Tokyo, Dark Fairy Fashions, Deadly Nightshade, (Dragon Forge Weapons), Lunistice, Mindgardens Creations & Color Alchemists, Moonley Inc., ~Mythril~ & . Heraldic ., Spider Productions, Stargazer, SugarBloq, The Flying Pony, The Little Bat, Torgon’s and Tutto E Vanita.
Auxentios’ Pass by Faust Steamer, sponsored by [ContraptioN] and Insomnia Angel. Featuring stores by Birth, :::c*C*c:::, Caboodle, CerberusXing, [Cubic Cherry], Cutie Larks, Folly, GERMINAL, Ghoul 喰種, Hotdog, Limehouse Textures, NAMINOKE, ~NLD~ New Life Designs, Raven Bell, !Reliquary!, ::Static::, Stix, The Crosstime Garage, The NeoVictoria Project, and Unrepentant.
Total raised by the end of the Faire’s ninth day: L$8,449,725 (US $33,798).
Beyond the borders of Heliodor the lands changed. Verdant grass and trees gave way to scrub, then rock and sand. As they changed, so did the say above, turning to the pale blue of burnished steel, the Sun hot and painful to the eyes. Hard and unwelcoming, these were lands that gave birth to doubt and the desire to turn back from our path and seek again the haven offered by the elves of Heliodor once more.
But onward we strove, company and horses wilting in equal measure under the heat of the Sun and huddled against the cold nights that awaited at the end of each day. We were drawn by the mystical promise of Agra Adara, and when its golden domes and slender minarets rose through the horizon’s haze, we all could not help but be lifted in spirit and pace, despite the Sun’s heat until at last we came to the gates of the city as it sat between the seas of sand and water.
Standing as a beacon of light in the surrounding darkness of desert and sea, Agra Adara is a place that defies description for those who have not seen it. Scarce have I found a place more strange to my eyes: the peoples here be-robed in white or bright colours even to their heads, their skins warmed brown by the Sun, their eyes bright stars filled with greeting, their houses and buildings natural palaces of cool air, rich carpets and tiles that carried the heat of the body away through the very soles of our boots.
The gardens surrounding these snow-white buildings offered a rich sanctuary from the trials of journeys by land or across the inland sea. As rich and verdant as those of Heliodor, Elemaria or the other realms through which we had passed, these gardens lay cut by channels of water built by hand, and by natural pools. Thus Agra Adara is more than an oasis – it is a haven for life, watched over by the strange – to mine own eyes at least – animal and man-gods of the ancient peoples who formed it.
Never have a seen a place so rich in life – the people, the deer, the rabbits, the dogs and the most magnificent horses I have ever seen, tall and proud, with blankets instead of saddles. It was on these marvellous beasts that I and three of my companions were given a tour of the gardens on our second day in this most renewing of places. Dressed in the light robes and headdresses of out hosts, we followed paths through the long grass to discover the decorated gardens where the deer roamed, and thence out to the pools beyond where we were greeted by the wonderful site of elephants that raised their trunks in greeting.
It was here by day we could rest and renew our spirits and by night witness such dance and entertainment as we have never witnessed – but not for ourselves or the other travellers, traders and merchants drawn to Agra Adara’s jewel , but for the people of the city itself. Filled with an inner light and a lightness of heart, they dances for one another, for their love of life, weaving tales of the history of the world as they saw it, celebrating those strange gods who had helped them to found this golden-domed city and caused it to flourish.
For me, this was a place I could so happily have settled, the richness of history and depth of beauty called to my heart, the dance caused me to want to learn more of the legends of the gods and men who gave the city form. and so I counted each day within Agra Adara, hoping the ship that would carry onward might be delayed by yet another, so my time here could continue.
Agra Adara by Eldowyn Inshan & Katz Republic, sponsored by United InshCon & Bad Katz, Camp Italia, Eagle’s Photo Studio. Featuring stores by: ChangHigh Art, CKit Falconry, DCKM & Rogues Echo, Dragons Arise, Dreamcatcher, .: Eclectic Stars :., Grumble, Hawker’s House & Dragon Forge Weapons, John Dee’s Emporium, Little 2 Large, Lyrical Bizarre Templates, Mirage Treasure Co., Sakka’s Studio, Shaman’s Hut, Stitched, and TFF – Tayren’s Fantasy Fashions.
Total raised by the end of the Faire’s eighth day: L$7,695,927 (US $30,783).