I keep changing. I’m always changing. I have been a Romani traveller, I have been a forest elf, I have been so many things over the last decade, and yet that feeling of home, that sense of a place that grounds and anchors a being, has never been mine. I am long removed from the travelling life, yet I am still a traveller. Now, I move down different paths. Sometimes even time seems like just another road. But there are few places that combine both breath-stealing beauty and carefully crafted distance the way that Somniatoris Arx does.
To begin with, Somniatoris Arx is immense. Even the window repairs need scaffolding, it seems. I have in my time visited cathedrals. I have even visited cathedral cities. But Somniatoris Arx is both a cathedral and a city, and there is no middle ground, no park, no bounding river, and very little green.
Still, it is breathtaking.
Probably because of the gothic architecture, I got a real sense of being inside history somehow whilst in Somniatoris Arx, but it was not my history.
Never seen a fellow quite like this, for example, and the figures in the stained glass were equally impenetrable. But we do not always know where things come from, in the Fairelands; we have them for such a short time, and we only know what histories they bring to us as they are.
Of course, there are scholars who’ve written their PhDs around aspects of this or that Faireland; the number of researchers scurrying around Somniatoris Arx was enough to make me chuckle. I imagine them, snapping photos, taking notes, surveying things. They’ll write proposed histories of this Realm, based on the evidence they are able to collect during the barest amount of time. And they’re bound to miss things. For example, I was sure I saw the silhouette of a man in one of the spire windows, but when I looked again, he was gone. He—well, I assume it was a he, because he appeared to be wearing a bowler hat—seemed almost as out of place as I felt. Maybe I’ll pick up some dandy clothes and come back to this Realm before the Faire ends, although we’re all too close to that ending for me now.
During the Great Faire, because the Fairelands are so many and so packed together, we experience the strangest juxtapositions. I know Her Majesty already mentioned this, from the other side of that gate, but part of me really thought she should have been in this stonebound building and I should have been next door, with the green grass and the tufty flowers and the colourful banners. It might have reminded me of my Romani, you know. I could have set up shop and told a few fortunes, read some palms, sold a little this and that.
But something, whether it was Mr Tall, Dark and Hooded over there, or maybe just the quality of the light, compelled me to stay, for a little while at least.
And as predicted (because so many Fairelands are this way), the shopping was, to borrow a phrase from Her Majesty’s new intern, “epic”. I bought some fancy stuff for later on in the Faire; I’m sure I’ll get a chance to wear it, because there’s a party every night, and all of them might as well be fancy dress.
I couldn’t help climbing as many of the spires as it was possible to climb, and if I’m honest, I felt far more natural in the lofty heights than in the thronged streets below. One thing I never did really get a glimpse of was whatever is behind those brass pipes that connect the stained glass feature behind the buttressed hall where the remains of a so-called fallen angel lie. I didn’t photograph the angel, for a couple of reasons: first, it seemed a bit creepy; second, there were hundreds of tourists everywhere, and although the docents tried to keep them out, I swear to you there were children climbing on the remains; and finally, some part of me decided it would be disrespectful and possibly evoke the sacrilege response, and you know if anybody’s going to get fitted up for not maintaining proper decorum, they’ll pick the swarthy fellow in homespun and not the screeching urchins in the frilly collars.
Or possibly I’m just jaded.
Either way, it just didn’t seem like a good day for rebellion, so I let it be.
That’s an awfully wordy way to say, yeah, so I went to Somniatoris Arx and didn’t even get a photo of the Fabled Angel.
The superb skyline notwithstanding, I took only a few more minutes to ponder the significance of Tall, Dark & Creepy, and then I did in fact cross the border into the Isles of Tarrin. Although I didn’t realise it at the time, I very much needed to see about a horse.
But here’s one last look at the stunning spires of Somniatoris Arx for you.
That’s how I’ll remember her: not because of the fabled angel, or the shopping, or even the stained glass oddities. I’ll remember how, from one of the tallest spires in the lower city, I almost loved Somniatoris Arx, even though I knew that no matter what fine clothing I found, or what friends I made, I’d forever be an alien if I chose to stay.
From The Author:
Please note that I, The Author, adore Somniatoris Arx. When it came time to write a blog story from there, I chose the blog narrator who would feel least at home in the Realm, because I thought he’d come up with some interesting insights instead of just fawning over the stained glass as Gwyneth might have, complaining about the staircases, as TAC surely would have, or just gaping and going, wow, it’s so big, as Fridros surely would have.
Notes & Credits:
Somniatoris Arx is one of twenty-one regions that make up the Relay for Life of Second Life’s 2021 Fantasy Faire Fairelands. Good news: The Faire has been extended until 12 May, so you can click on the link above to head to the landing point at Somniatoris Arx until that day. Somniatoris Arx is sponsored by ContraptioN and designed by Walter F Wainwright and Victor Eton.
Items in photos that are featured at this year’s Faire:
- Davi’s clothes: R3D, Viking Tunic Njord; it includes the trousers and boots as well, and comes with a colour-change HUD (Get it in Scrimshaw Warrens!)
- Davi’s skin: Petrichor and Trap, Kalari Vors Skin, Vikkes (Get it from Petrichor in The Cerulean Bombora, or from Trap in J’adoube!)
- Davi’s pendant: Bliensen & MaiTai, Fisk Necklace (Get it in Isles of Tarrin!)
- Davi’s hair: Wasabi, Raven Hair
- Body: Belleza Jake
- Head: Lelutka Evo Connor