Really, I suppose it’s just the Realm Centrepiece, if you want to get pedantic about it, but I have never seen such a thing, and frankly the tentacles are a bit jarring. I suppose if you were close enough, you might not notice, but Bran flew right out to get a good distance shot for us, since we like to remember these things.
I was going on and on about the disembodied head and where the rest of the (alleged) merman might be (yes; I am self aware enough to know that I do go on about things from time to time), when Friðros, bless her plain-spoken Icelandic heart, asked, ‘Is there some reason you’re in a crappy mood today, Your M, or are you just trying to piss everyone off’?
‘I hadn’t noticed’, I replied, and you can bet that indeed I had noticed, thank you very much. ‘Do you have something you’d like to share with the group’?
Bran took two steps sideways.
Friðros might be plain-spoken, but she can recognise when she’s made a blunder and is about to be in Mortal Peril. She pointed and said, ‘Look! a gazebo’!
Nathaniel burst out laughing.
I burst out laughing.
Wulfrich burst out laughing.
Bran raised an eyebrow.
Friðros looked confused.
‘Well, there’s nothing to be done now’, Wulfrich said. ‘You’ll have to tell her the joke’.
‘I do like jokes’, said Friðros. Personally, I think she was just happy she’d dodged the bullet.
‘It comes from a magazine’, Nathaniel said. ‘Gwyneth would say it’s an old magazine, but I have no such anchor in her particular time or time-stream, I should say. Something about a roleplaying game, I believe’.
‘Yes’, I replied. But you all know I cannot resist a gazebo, so I had to make my way over there in order to tell the joke.
Everyone dutifully gathered round. It is good to be Queen.
‘So’, I began. ‘There’s a group of kids—and by kids I mean they were mostly under I guess eighty—and they’re playing Dungeons and Dragons. Has everyone heard of that’?
Scattered nods, enough that I didn’t feel I had to explicate tabletop roleplaying games to the small subset of the Shining Throng in attendance that day.
‘Rumour has it’, Wulfrich added, ‘there was a fellow playing a Paladin, by the name of Eric. We don’t know if Eric was the player’s name, or the Paladin’s name, but since the story is likely apocryphal, it doesn’t really matter’.
I stared at Wulfrich. Wulfrich blew me a kiss. Cheeky.
‘So’, I continued, they’re all playing this game of D&D, and the GameMaster says, ‘You come upon a meadow in which there is a gazebo’.
‘And at this point’, Nathaniel said, ‘the Paladin’,
‘Eric’, Bran supplied helpfully.
‘Yes. Eric. At this point, Eric pulls out his Holy Avenger sword’….
‘Why did the GM give him one of those’? Wulfrich asked.
‘Boys’, I said. ‘Nathaniel is speaking’.
‘Right. Eric pulls out his Holy Avenger sword and says, “I detect evil on it!” and then looks to the GM for confirmation’.
So this is how we’re doing this. OK, fine. ‘GM just shakes his head and says, “You don’t detect any evil. It’s a gazebo‘, I said.
‘”Well, how about magic,” Eric continues. Is it emanating any magic’? Nathaniel mimed poor Eric pointing his Holy Avenger at the gazebo.
‘Nope, the GM replies’, I said. ‘It’s a gazebo, Eric’.
‘”I know, I know!” says Eric’. Nathaniel now mimed Eric pulling something out of his trouser pocket. ‘”OK”, he says, “I’m rolling initiative!”‘
‘”You have initiative,” says the GM, not even bothering to look at the die. “What do you want to do?”‘ I just shook my head.
‘Now at this point’, said Nathaniel, ‘It is patently obvious that Eric The Paladin has no fucking idea what a gazebo is, and the rest of the party are all holding in laughter’.
‘I’m pretty sure they try firing arrows at it’, Wulfrich added.
‘Oh, they definitely do’, Nathaniel agreed. ‘In some versions of the story, the Paladin actually hacks the gazebo to splinters and then asks for experience points’.
Even Friðros is snorting with laughter now. ‘OK, is this like the oldest gaming joke in the universe’?
‘Impossible to say, really’, I replied. ‘No matter where we are in the universe, or the multiverse, or the meta verse or whatever the kids are calling it these days, it’s always possible that someone thought of a joke long before this one’.
‘It’s more fun when the GM decides the gazebo eats the Paladin’, Wulfrich chimed in.
‘How can a gazebo eat a Paladin’? Sometimes, Friðros is the biggest literalist of them all, and that’s saying something, given present company.
‘With its long, pointy wooden teeth’! said Bran, and he pulled his lips back grotesquely.
‘At this rate, we’ll be on to vorpal bunnies in no time’, Nathaniel said. ‘When really we could just enjoy the scenery’.
The fact is, there was a lot of beautiful stuff to see in Aarkenfen, and I don’t just mean gazebos. Everywhere we turned, there was another lovely statue, another little water feature.
And, if you were tenacious enough to climb to the top of the mer-king’s head (and not make jokes about how every pub in London that isn’t called The Queen’s Head is called The King’s Head), you got an amazing view of neighbouring Open, with a glimpse of Mythspire Ridge int he distance.
Not to mention this lovely mer-damsel.
‘Does this mean the mer-king has water in his brain’? Friðros laughed at her own joke. Luckily, the rest of us did, too.
Notes, Credits, and SLURLs
- Aarkenfen is one of twenty regions that make up the 2022 Relay for Life of Second Life’s Fantasy Faire, to benefit the American Cancer Society. Aarkenfen is designed by Alrunia Ahn and Luna Barak and sponsored by Dandelion Daydreams Factory. Fantasy Faire opened on the 22nd of April at 12pm SLT (that’s US Pacific Time!). Visit before the 8th of May, when all the Fairylands will fade back into the mists, never to be seen again as they are this year.
- Gwyneth’s Crown: Kotolier, Circlet Justus
- Gwyneth’s Gown: Poet’s Heart, Frederika
- Gwyneth’s Wings: rainnn, Hope Butterfly Cloak
- Gwyneth’s Skin: Milk Blood, Alina in T1
- Other stuff, not featured at Fantasy Faire: Body: Maitreya; Head: Lelutka EvoX Gaia; Hair: Magika, Monarch.