You have to go. That’s what everyone says, anyway. Sometime in your life, where your life is defined as that period of existence between physical birth and physical death, you must at one time or another visit the Spirit Valley of Kuruk. I will note that visiting the Spirit Valley of Kuruk is a challenge, because it has appeared only once in my physical lifetime (that I know of).
Once I heard that the Spirit Valley was visible and within a day’s travel, I just dropped everything and went, all by myself. I felt it needed to be a personal and solitary journey.
One thing no-one will deny is that the Valley itself is singularly beautiful. With a landscape marked by stunning chalk paintings (which look to be well-kept by those who live there), it’s easy to just stand there, awestruck, when you first enter the basin. For me, the paintings were overwhelming. It was only after I had taken many of them in that I began to notice the rock formations themselves, the many paths and caves. It seemed made by a miracle, the sort of place where anything could happen. So, as I stepped into the Valley, I was prepared for a magical experience.
And magic did occur soon after I took that first step. For there, asleep on a rock, was an adorable turquoise kitty cat with ickle pink ears! I couldn’t help it: I squealed.
Now, if you’ve ever woken up an adorable turquoise kitty cat with ickle pink ears (and who hasn’t, really?), you know that the adorable turquoise kitty, as a rule, does not like to be disturbed while she is sleeping.
There was hissing. Hackles were raised. Claws were displayed. Clearly, the kitty was just here for the sunlight and nap spots.
“Fine,” I said, and made to walk away. Everyone knows the first thing you have to do in the Valley is take a picture with the Big Bear by the singing bowls at the big fire circle. I’m not really sure if he has a name: I was really just there for the photo opp.
Halfway across the circle, I heard a loud ‘MEOW’, and sure enough there was the adorable turquoise kitty! She was trotting up behind me fast. ‘Look, you!’ she said. ‘I don’t know what you are, Miss Biped, but you woke me up, so now I’ll be visiting the Valley with you. That means you have to feed me.’
Well, all right then. I was in the company of an adorable, verbal turquoise kitty cat with a sarcastic streak. Super. I may sound sarcastic, but in fact it was very nice to meet a talking kitty cat; I’ve always wanted to know what’s on their adorable little minds.
And here we all are, mugging for the camera with one Big Bear and one Little Bear! This photo cost me five dollars! Five dollars for a single photo? I suddenly began to wonder about the spiritual basis of the Spirit Valley itself, or at least of the Photo Bear, who had impressive looking teeth.
Still, looking up was a treat. So I did that instead of thinking about how many photos I wanted to pay that kind of money for. Luckily, my mobile phone is easily stashed inside even the smallest vest, which I might have been wearing that day.
Still, I was here, and I was going to see as much of the legendary Spirit Valley as I could before nightfall. Bears make me kind of nervous at night, if I’m honest.
‘We’re going over there!’ said the adorable, talking turquoise kitty cat.
‘What if I don’t want to?’ I had not yet realised that one does not argue with an adorable, talking turquoise kitty cat.
‘Well, La Dee Dah says you do!’ said the cat. And she hoisted her tail and ran up the mountain, up a roundabout trail, and toward a cave.
‘Caves are dangerous!’ I called out. ‘Is that your name, then? La Dee Dah? That’s a mouthful. Can I just call you “La” for short?’
‘No!’ came the sharp reply, followed by a loud yowl. ‘Shit! I fell’.
Great, adorable talking turquoise kitty cat has a potty mouth. I sighed and followed. ‘Do you need help? I could pick you up.’
‘Touch me at your peril, you winged abomination!’
I chose to avoid peril and watched as she clawed her way out of the ravine into which she’d fallen.
Up and up we climbed, until we came to…
There were skeletons. Like humanoid skeletons. In chains. ‘La Dee Dah!’ I shouted. That was going to take some getting used to. ‘We do not sit in skeletal laps! You don’t know who’s been gnawing on those bones!’
It was at this point I noticed that her eyes were rather glow-y. I feared the worst.
Instead, she just muttered, ‘Spoilsport’, and stalked off in another direction. ‘I guess you want to see the Pretty Pretty River’, she said.
As a matter of fact, I did, so I didn’t argue and followed her down the steep slope onto what felt once again like mostly level ground. Now, you may think La (I can call her that in my head) was being sarcastic, since she’d been mostly sarcastic since we met, but in fact the river in the Spirit Valley of Kuruk is called the Pretty Pretty River. It may be translated from some language that involves a lot of tonal humming and clicks, or maybe a bear roar? I don’t know.
It lived up to its name, though. There were many lovely trees and even a frog carved out of the rock. ‘Look, La Dee Dah’, I said, ‘his eyes are the same colour as your fur’!
She didn’t answer me, or really even acknowledge that I’d spoken, so intent was she on getting back to the great circle in the central part of the basin.
I sighed the sigh of the long-suffering Divine Being who has just had her view of the Pretty Pretty River cut short. And I followed her, because what else was to be done, really. She was so small she might get hurt out there alone. There were, after all, bears.
From this side of the circle, the bear rock looked much more menacing. I tried to concentrate on the Pretty Pretty River, which does actually run all the way round the bottom of the Valley; I didn’t expect I’d get much closer to it for the duration of our time together.
Even though the trip wasn’t turning out the way I’d imagined, I couldn’t blame it on the scenery. As we turned toward the circle again, I was struck by the megalithic stones that flanked the entrance to the circle from across the Pretty Pretty River. I took a breath. La was having none of my hesitation; she just romped on out to the centre of the meadow, not bothering to walk the spiral in or out. Apparently the wrath of the bear gods does not descend upon adorable talking turquoise kitty cats. Apparently.
Once again, she ran ahead of me. It’s a good thing she’s so brightly coloured; I’d surely lose her if she had any sort of natural camouflage. Another reason to make sure she stayed with me: I suspected that after dark she’d glow in the firelight, and some bear would be all, ‘Look, an adorable turquoise marshmallow’! I still had to sprint to keep up.
I found her cuddled up with a bunny. A bunny. Oh, I’d heard the rumours, rumours that the Fairelands this year were overrun with bunnies, possibly spawned by the very likely evil blue glowing globe in Zodiac. I’d also heard rumours that they were being manufactured by the Fairchylde Herself, or at least by one of those insane Fantasy Faire Radio DJs. Those folks are weird, baby. But we love them. I personally did not love them enough to forgive them for the Plague Of Bunnies the Fairelands were currently experiencing, but of course your mileage may vary. It is also suspected that Princess Sonya Of Critter Meadow might be involved, but she just seemed so nice that one time I met her. But while I was sifting through conspiracy theories in my head, La was still cuddled up with a bunny. A bunny!
‘La! We do not cuddle bunnies‘! I shouted. The accomplice bunny just glared at me balefully as I spoke. They have great big teeth, you know, bunnies. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that’s what really happened to the skeletons up there on the cliffside.
‘I can’t hear you’! La replied. She began grooming herself.
‘Fine’, I muttered. ‘La Dee Dah! We do not cuddle bunnies!’
The adorable talking turquoise kitty cat stood up, arched her back, and hissed at me. ‘You are not my real mum’, she said. ‘I do what I want’. She sneezed. ‘And I have decided that we are going to climb up the other side of the basin because I want to meet a real bear’.
Oh, good; another hike. Luckily, I have wings.
‘How about this one’? I suggested. ‘He looks important’.
‘Can you not smell‘? she replied. ‘Or do they not teach you the difference between stuff that’s real and stuff that’s been carved out of stone and is some kind of bear god where you come from’? There may have been eye-rolling. ‘I’m gonna need a nap’.
I had heard that cats sleep 12-15 hours a day. ‘How long a nap do you need’?
‘Dunno. But after that we’re going back home and you’re going to feed me’.
I seem to have a new life-mate.
It didn’t take long for La to find the bear she was looking for. After a short exchange in growls, grunts, and paw movements, they came to an understanding.
I ended up sitting on a pillow next to a bear deep in meditation and probably afraid to move for fear of cat claws, for four solid hours while La took a nap.
And that, my friends is How I Visited The Spirit Valley Of Kuruk And Did Not Find My Centre Or Experience Perfect Bliss And Tranquility.
Credits And Notes:
Location: The Spirit Valley of Kuruk, sponsored by Spyralle and designed by Loki Eliot, is one of 18 regions in this year’s Relay for Life of Second Life Fantasy Faire. You can visit the Spirit Valley and maybe even find your centre and experience perfect bliss and tranquility, but you will have to do it before the tenth of May, when the Fairelands will recede, as they do every year, back into the mists. Although the Fairelands return year after year, each Realm is unique and will not be seen again, at least not on this plane.
Items featured at this year’s Faire:
Skin: Petrichor, Viscivorus Skin in Quelea, with 30% lightening tattoo applied (Find it at the Petrichor Store in Sirens Lore!)
Ears: Petrichor, Viscivorus Ears (Find them at the Petrichor Store in Sirens Lore!)
Hair: Raven Bell, Nereid Hair (Find it at the Raven Bell Store in Auxentios’ Pass!)
Clothes: Laced Up Stamped Leather Top and Skirt, in Dark Brown (Find it at the MishMash Fusion Store in Lamented Fens!)
Long Necklace, Bracelets: Rise Design, Banje Bracelets, Banje Necklace (Find them at the Rise Design Store in Melusina’s Depths!)
Other Stuff in this look:
Head: Lelutka Nova Bento Mesh Head
Bracelets and Short Necklace: Empyrean Forge, Wayfare Bracelet, Wayfare Choker, Wayfare Duo Necklaces
Wings: BentBox, Feathered Wings
Eyes: Euphoric, Talula
Special Guest Star: La Dee Dah, as herself (Dyisi)