Tag Archives: Searlait Nitschke

Meet Our Sponsors: Roawenwood

Searlait Nitschke, the creator and owner of Roawenwood, sponsor and world builder of Chaddul Ro.

Searlait Nitschke, the creator and owner of Roawenwood is also the sponsor and world builder of Chaddul Ro. She shares with us the story of Chaddul Ro, her reasons for building Fairelands, the growth and change through creation.

You took a break from world-building last year. Did it affect how you approached the task this year? Did it feel different?

This year believe it or not I was planned out much better than previous years, the thing that always seems to happen did though… real life decided to throw a wrench into my plans scattering them to the winds so I wasn’t able to even remotely keep to them.
I had my concept, my dedication, my reasoning for doing it and I felt like I had a really good handle on it. I am glad I did to an extent because it helped keep that focus throughout the creative process that I really needed.

It felt a lot different. The Faire is intensely personal for me. Every year it is for one reason or another but this year it is even more than usual. I adore my Faire family, we don’t always talk much but I feel like their presence is there throughout the year and really if I ever needed any of them all I have to do is reach out and they’ll be there.
Last year I felt a little lost even though I was still a big participant, odd how that is but it’s true.

Fantasy Faire 2017 - Chaddul Ro
Chaddul Ro – picture by Wildstar Beaumont

How have your creations in Second Life evolved in time? What new skills or themes have you embraced and learned along the way?

So many things. After 10 years of being in Second Life I’ve learned how to use programs I never even heard of or were around ages ago. I knew Paint Shop Pro coming into SL, which grew into learning Photoshop, then various other programs…, it has been a lot. I never would have thought of 3D modeling or pursued it if it hadn’t been for Second Life. Themes are always a funny thing, I never seem to keep a complete focus on one theme over another, I don’t usually care for most contemporary things though that’s about the only constant.

How was Chaddul Ro born? What inspired it, what is its story?

I have been asked how much of my story am I going to share this year, and I couldn’t figure out how to answer that. There is the Faire answer, the concept and the idea of the orcs and then there is the personal answer. What do we share? I have talked about this with a few people and one of my favorite responses to it was… “*f* it, say it, do it, the people who get it will, the people who don’t never will.”
Whenever I do one of these sims I put a reason or dedication to it. From specific family members to concepts or ideas… feelings.

The orcs of Chaddul Ro! Chaddul Ro is the name of the outpost, the orcs are part of a tribe called the Chal Khizzur. I got a little bit fancier this time around creating something of a persona that I would draw upon as I created it. These orcs are fiercely protective and strong. The whole concept was about strength.

The inspiration came from a few places initially. The concept was that this tribe of orcs has outposts sprinkled along their borders and only the bravest most dedicated of their warriors are given the honor of serving there. Their task is twofold… simple yet not. One to keep the beacon that each outpost has lit… never doused a fire to burn brightly from the tallest tower. The reason… to show those that need a way through the night a light to come home to, as well as the assurance that as long as those fires burn brightly their tribe is strong. That the tribe has weathered whatever may come and will survive. Orcs who have been lost, are bleeding from battle, or weary from being displaced can find a beacon… to come home because let’s face it. Everyone pretty much has it out for Orcs.

Chaddul Ro – picture by Justen Tyme

So that is the second task… to welcome the weary, wayward and sometimes even the enemy of the Orc to give them respite… tasked to care for their tribe and families. The Orcs fiercely protect these outposts and celebrate within it; the rugged home is also full of life for those who need its shelter and for the warriors who never stop fighting.

So the sim… initially was for caretakers and survivors. For the survivors who can sometimes feel so weary to have a place that gives them strength and for the caretakers who have to be so strong in the face of this disease, in the daily tasks that they take on willingly, willfully placing others first from family to friends to ease them as they suffer or need that bit of extra strength to make it through the day.

The caretakers are the beacon, a place of safety and of strength when things can be so difficult. I dedicate this sim to those people… the quiet army that tends to the wounds, that celebrates each life and protects those they care for.

Chaddul Ro – picture by Justen Tyme

This sim is also dedicated to my mother.

This is the much more personal layer… the one that was not initially there but now is.

I didn’t honestly think I was going to be able to complete the sim throughout some of this but she kept prodding me forward and I had to finish it. For her. For myself.

This March everything irrevocably changed. Life was moving along as it does, the sims the plans the work. Family… I was feeling confident, settled, I had this and suddenly it spun out of control.
After a brief stay in the hospital of less than a week my mother was gone.

I felt like I was in a vacuum. I didn’t know what I was feeling and whenever those feelings started to surface again I would plunge into the vacuum unable to comprehend or deal with it. I talked to Elizabeth and said I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. She assured me of course that if it was too much to take care of myself, my family but she was there if I needed anything.

I came to the decision that I needed to finish it.

I really _needed_ to.

Even if it wasn’t going to exactly be what I had envisioned as it morphed while I worked on it, while I built it on the sim… the more warlike feel being changed into what you see now.
I accept that though, my emotions tend to lead me along more than my head.

Fantasy Faire 2017 - Chaddul Ro
Chaddul Ro – picture by Wildstar Beaumont

I could have stopped and not done it… no one would have questioned why but it gave me something… it let me hold onto her for a little bit longer. My mother was always so proud of my creativity, of my talent. She always was so supportive of what I did, and would brag about the things I learned or did in Second Life even if she didn’t entirely understand it. She was proud of the work I did with RFL, the things we accomplish and if I had given up on the sim I felt like I would be giving up on her and what she believed in… in me. So I finished it… for her, for me. Sometimes late at night when it would get very hard… exhausted from trying to keep life together and my grief I’d sit at my computer working on it… when I felt like I couldn’t finish it I would talk to her… whispering under my breath… “We’ll make it Momma, we’ve got this, we can do this.” And sometimes…. Sometimes it felt like she was whispering back.

At the heart of the sim there is a sacred space that I was determined to finish… it was one reason I didn’t write this, it needed to be done or the sim wouldn’t have been even close to complete. Yes I wanted to add more, but this… this was important.

Within it you will find a memorial area. Upon the alter there are little bits and pieces strewn around it, candles lit… incense burning. Each of them meant to represent something… the dreamcatchers, the little symbols. They are things my mother loved or remind me of her… it is a quiet place. It is funny in some ways I chose a tribal feel for my sim long before all of this because my mother was very in tune with this sort of thing in her life. So it fit somehow as if it was meant and within the story of the Orcs it is where they go to … to leave little tokens of past loved ones. Tokens for the living that they hold close to their heart…. A place for sharing, of love, dreaming and remembering.

Fantasy Faire 2017 - Chaddul Ro
Chaddul Ro – picture by Alisaundra Andel

Protected as fiercely as the beacon high above in the towers and surrounded by the land… by the trees.

This space is specifically dedicated to my mother, for all she believed in, for all that she was… for what she had always hoped to be.
The Faire is so brief… far too brief sometimes it feels like but then other times it feels just right for what we need. That emotional giving, because if we are honest… no one could sustain the emotional levels that come about during this time every year all of the time.

I believe the Faire, these sims… while they are shopping, and events are also a sharing that we can’t and don’t find that often elsewhere.
That is the magic of the Fairelands and I am so grateful to be allowed to build for you all and share these things with you so that maybe you can pause and have a breath… to connect with other people and to do things for a cause that helps so many.

This year I am more grateful than ever because it has helped me find a little bit of peace and focus, it has helped me find ways to celebrate my mother, to help say good-bye to her and share it with those around me.

That is the full story of my sim.

What are you bringing to the Faire this year? 

Mostly, the Faire sim. I always have plans to do an awesome uber creation but when I do the sim the smaller things fall to the wayside a small bit… that is one thing I need to really address for future years. This go round I have a few of the pieces from the sim and some small lil bumper cars from before.

What are you looking forward to most this year in the Fairelands?

Same as most years. The people. The sharing.

Thank you, Searlait, for taking the time to talk with us. Thank you for sharing with us your vision, your feelings, your loss, and showing us how you have honored them.

Chaddul Ro – picture by Caitlin Tobias

Meet Our Sponsors: Roawenwood

Searlait Nitschke - 2016 - 512x512
Searlait Nitschke, the creator and owner of Roawenwood

Searlait Nitschke, the creator and owner of Roawenwood, returns to sponsor the Faire for the fourth time. She talks of her Faire-memories, her favourite fantasy realms, and the strange socializing in the Fairelands! You can also read her previous interviews here: 2015 & 2014.

This is your fourth year sponsoring Fantasy Faire. What made you return and do it again?

I know I’ve gone on and on over the years about the Faire and what it means to me each time finding something new to talk about. I suppose this year isn’t going to be much different since I’m babbling yet again. Each year it means a little something different to me…. this year I had to take a break from creating a sim for everyone because of RL and found that in the process of doing so that I was just so so sad. I have so many awesome memories of the Faire. There’s times that the stories and the people involved lift me up pushing me forward and giving me so much that when I think of the Faire I can’t help but want to give something back. To really make some kind of difference or at least feel like I am and I think that is part of it.

I want to be able to share and give back a little bit of something, I really love to be a part of it because the people involved are like family from the creators to the people who visit, it just feels different than any other event or thing that I am a part of in Second Life. Cancer is so hard, I’ve been touched by it with different relatives and people in my life suffering from it. I’ve had a scare or two on a personal level as well, in these moments I just want to be able to help. To do something, to feel like I am doing something when so many times we feel powerless.

It’s a small thing… sponsoring. Really it is, but it means a lot to me to be able to do it.

The Faire to me is magic, and I believe in magic….

Are there any common, continuing themes in your work, items that belong together, or is each creation a separate entity?

My work can go all over the place but generally I have a few solid themes that continue or work together. Rustic, medieval, fantasy based things are of course a favorite. Then there’s other styles, steampunk/Victorian, some exotic themes or world areas. I like a lot of different styles. I’m rather helter skelter in that regard. One week you might see something rather rough and looking like you’ll get a splinter if you sit on that particular chair and then the next week a big silk draped bench then next week I’m making donuts.

You never know. I just go wherever I feel like and what feels right at the time and create it. I enjoy the creative process, the expression, the seeing if I can make it thing. All of it. I could use some help on the boring parts though… you know… Marketplace listings, remembering events and dates, that sort of thing. LOL

What are you bringing to the Faire this year? Give us some sneak peeks or teasers!

no peeking (Edit: you can go and take all the peeks you want in Roawenwood’s store in Fairelands Junction!)

What are your favourite fantasy realms?

Let’s see…. I like fantasy, magic… if it’s done well and I can get into the whole world of it then I’m all over it. I suppose it would be fairly standard to mention things like The Hobbit stuff and J.R.R. Tolkien, perhaps a few nods over towards the Harry Potter way and then loving much on the Game of Thrones thing…. when I was young I loved the Dragonriders of Pern. I have a lot of love for a lot of different kinds of things, I love to role play, I love to feel like I am in the middle of a story or a life… it’s rare to find but once in awhile you do. I could probably go on and find a lot of examples but it’s early yet and I’m only on my first cup of coffee as of this writing.

What are you looking forward to most this year in the Faire?

I’m not sure. Living the Faire I think. It’s so easy to get caught up and wrapped up in so many things that can make a day feel long, or hard to deal with. The Faire is this wonderfully magical place that comes just once a year where a few creators try to bring it forth so we can get together, share, laugh, dance or whatever else comes along for a very good cause.

It’s some of the only times during the entire year that I do something that is wayyy out there for some of us in SL even though it really isn’t supposed to be.

I…… socialize.

*a gasp and cough is inserted here for dramatic purposes*

I leave my work, I leave my workshop, I go out… I am around………… people.

*laughs* it’s a great time of year and I need it. I need it to help recharge for the rest of the year, I look forward to the shopping, the events, the people, the whole thing and I get to help people too… I just look forward to the Faire. Period.

Thank you for taking the time to chat with us, Searlait. Thank you for joining us and socializing!

Meet Our Sponsors: Roawenwood

Searlait Nitschke, the creator and owner of Roawenwood, the designer and builder of Tangleshimmer Grove.

Searlait Nitschke, the owner and creator of Roawenwood and the designer and builder of Tangleshimmer Grove, shares with us the story of Tangleshimmer Grove, how her Faire builds evolve and tell their own story and her favourite Faire memory involving a certain bus and a stairway to heaven.

You are both sponsoring and building a Faireland this year again. Does it get any easier in time, or does the challenge grow bigger every year?

Each year is a little different. Each year I have something of a challenge to overcome that ends up making it a little crazier towards the deadlines whether it is SL related, personal, or something to do with the build. One of the bigger challenges for me is always trying to decide the feel of the sim or what I’m trying to project. That can be the toughest part.

Tangleshimmer Grove JustenTyme003
Tangleshimmer Grove – Picture by Justen Tyme

How was Tangleshimmer Grove born? What inspired it, what is its story?

Tangleshimmer Grove has its own story. It has its own feeling and its own life. Whenever I build for the Faire my ultimate goal is for it to feel like it has its own life somehow.

My first Faire sim was cold, not dark really because it had its light elements, and color but it was in that bitterly cold part of winter that I like. The theme was magical, trying to get across the magic of that bitter cold. Finding the beauty even when it feels like we are gripped within places that are so cold you can hear the creaking of the branches. The next year was definitely dark. Burned out dead type forest, ominous lighting, gypsy camps… recovery. The theme was living through the dark parts, finding the safe places, dancing around the campfire with music playing, finding solace and regrowth in the dark. The journey. Finding hope.

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Tangleshimmer Grove – Picture by Wildstar Beaumont

Tangleshimmer Grove started out conceptually as a fun, light place where fairies, woodland folk and others took up residence. Full of color, and life. It was me in a way following a progression. I felt like it was time to come out of the dark, to come out of the cold, and to breathe life into something brighter. In essence it felt like it was time for spring to come to the world. Time for the light to break through.

As I was building it… it took something of a turn. Real life crept in and began to color the world I was trying to create. My world as I knew it was changing and with that so did the sim .

I am not a technical builder. I don’t draw a plan and go from point A to point B. I rarely have a real plan to begin with. When I am creating it is by instinct, feel, and inspiration, especially when it is something like this.

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Tangleshimmer Grove – Picture by Wildstar Beaumont

Without my realizing it the sim began to take shape and form into something much more personal, I knew I wanted the sim to capture something different this year than before however I didn’t realize it was going to end up where it did. Initially I wanted it to shimmer with playfulness with a nod towards remembering the wonder we felt as children imagining trolls under bridges and fairies floating in sunbeams .

But it became a safe place instead. A sanctuary. Without meaning to I drew elements from my own personal need to find some peace and brought it to the Faire. The flow of the river, the colors… the softness of the ground and grass beneath my feet. Each space has its own feel. Each area has its own vegetation or color combinations that you won’t find elsewhere on the sim. I layered different looks, and plucked the flowers lovingly placing them in different places with floating butterflies or the quick blink of a firefly.

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Tangleshimmer Grove – Picture by Wildstar Beaumont

Tangleshimmer Grove has its fairy rings, it has its light, it has its color, its life but most of all it has its peace. When walking the Grove I feel at home as if the trees surrounding it shield us with their thick roots and leafy canopy letting the light dance about protecting those within it from the things outside of its borders that we can’t always control.

Tangleshimmer Grove is meant to make you slow down. Appreciate the quiet. Breathe in the light. Meditate or muse as the water flows from one side to the other shimmering. To take a few precious moments to spend with someone you care about. It is meant to be something more intimate. In essence it is in its own way an extension of what I hope others will find. The small little spots of beauty, the surprises of color… to take a moment, slow down, to remember. It seemed fitting considering the message and hope we have when doing something like the Faire and for RFL so I went with it.

Tangleshimmer Grove JustenTyme002
Tangleshimmer Grove – Picture by Justen Tyme

What are you bringing to the Faire this year?

As per usual my time was mainly caught up with working on the sim. I always intend to create something fantastic to put into the RFL vendors and rarely do I feel like I am able to. This year I added the mushrooms and fairy rings to the RFL vendors so people could take a piece of the Faire home. I also added a gacha to benefit RFL with a set of mushroom seats, and special fairy rings with cuddles & dances in it. I also shrunk down the smallest store and made a little townhouse type thing for petites that’s in the RFL vendors.

What is the best thing about building in Second Life? Which things inspire you, make you happy and satisfied when creating?

For me it’s mostly a really great outlet. To be creative. To build something from nothing. Gives me a lot of satisfaction that is relatively easy to get. Rather addictive in its own way. I suppose the best thing about building in Second Life for me is seeing how my work evolves and changes over time.

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Tangleshimmer Grove – Picture by Alisaundra Andel

Do you have a favourite Faire memory? What are you looking forward to most in this year’s Faire?

Favorite Faire memory…. I have a lot. I think one that is particularly telling and a lot of fun was a moment during last year’s bus tour. For those that don’t know every year something of a tradition we climb onto a bus and do a big tour of all the sims a few times.

Last year Alia built a stairway that was supposed to go straight up to heaven right? So we’re doing the bus tour… round and around, driver cussing as usual trying to do sim crossings. Trying to drive over some really awkward spots on the sims…. And so we end in the courtyards at the base of this massive, and rather thin set of stairs heading up into the sky.

We can do this right? Drive up it… we’re all pumped up, we can do this, we can do this. So revving up the engine we go for it. Quite a few times stopping at the base, punching it to go up and each…. Time…. Off the side we go flying down into the pits below, laughing, screaming and joking. If I remember right there was some lava. Nice touch there.

The Bus Going Up the Stairs – Picture by Sonya Marmurek

Sooooooo what do we do? The ingenious builder types we are along with a bit of a deviant streak?

We cheat!

Driver… Alia I believe at the time comes in with ye olde handy builde tools and picks up the bus, moves us upwards… inch by inch till we’re balancing precariously at the very top of the stairs! We made it! We turn, looking around from our new vantage point at the world below us very proud of our accomplishment. We were not going to be stopped. So then there is the going down part…. The bus looks down the steep stairs as we rock back and forth driver at the wheel.

And wouldn’t you know it? Going DOWN we stayed on the straight and narrow never once falling off to the side as if the stairs were made for us. Typical huh? What do you get when you a bunch of smartarsed Fantasy Faire workers/builders and the like try to drive their way up to the gates of heaven? Multiple gut wrenching drops into lava pools. Drive away from the gates of heaven and downwards towards hell? No problem, couldn’t have driven it straighter.

Looking forward to most? Playing, talking, relaxing, catching up with friends. I miss people very much during the year and sometimes it seems like the only time we really catch up or take the time to see each other is during the Faire. That’s what I look forward to.

Thank you, Searlait, for taking the time to talk with us. Thank you for bringing your evolving story to the Fairelands, thank you for the sanctuary within them.

FF2015 Tangleshimmer Grove
Tangleshimmer Grove – Picture by Alisaundra Andel

Meet Our Sponsors: Roawenwood

Searlait Nitschke, Creator of Roawenwood, Builder of Mourningvale Thicket.

Searlait Nitschke, the creator of Roawenwood and the sponsor and sim builder of Mourningvale Thicket, shares with us how it is to build Fairelands, her reasons to relay, her reasons to build and the depth behind the story of Mourningvale Thicket.

This is not the first time you have created a Fairelands sim — a fantasy world — out of nothing in a short span of months and nerves. How does it feel like? What made you return and do it all over again?

It can feel overwhelming but it’s a thrill at the same time. Picking a concept, an idea… then hoping that you can bring it to life or give it justice. Sometimes it can get a little frightening feeling if I can’t find the hook or the way to bring it all together the way that I want in my head. The ideas and concepts float around trying to take root and until that one little piece that you’re looking for starts to work it feels like it’s just floating and I need to find the anchor. Frustrating in that sense and right beforehand no one sleeps, we’re all working trying to bring it all to life and that is part of why I came back to do it again. The team, the camaraderie, the cause… RFL is very important to me. Being able to bring a small world to life, to try to convey a vision.

How many Fairelands have you built? Tell us about them, is there something that ties them together as a theme, as a development?

This is my second. The first had a lot of trees without leaves too but a lot of evergreens and such as well. It was a wintery themed sim. Tree city type thing, everything raised up off of the ground with platforms, ribbons, crystals, velvet and such. Snowy, and beautiful. I tend to dedicate my RFL builds to someone or something or an idea. It was for a few reasons… which I wrote up last year.

Probably easier to link it than try to explain it all again, it is far too easy for me to get wordy. The winter has a special meaning for me as do the trees and forests. The thing that ties them together, I’m not sure. That I try to convey feeling in my builds, a sense of wonder perhaps. Until I can find the sense of wonder it doesn’t feel quite right.

Mourningvale Thicket - I by Caitlin Tobias
Mourningvale Thicket – I by Caitlin Tobias

How did you begin building in Second Life? What inspires you to create?

I began building in SL almost as soon as I joined it. Not really on purpose but I couldn’t stand not having a place to ‘live’ so within a week or two I had purchased land through Anshe Chung, very big name at the time, on the side of a mountain on a Gothic zoned sim. So of course then I needed to get a house, furnish it, and most of the time I am not entirely happy with the things that I find. I’m particular, so I figured out how to do it myself. Before I was in SL I was in chats that used webpages for their backgrounds and learned all sorts of web design, paint shop, how to run a website, a database and tons of other things to create an immersive type place to live there. I had also been in a 3d platform called Activeworlds, we had a world for awhile because I just don’t like to do things small. I ‘built’ there too, creating an interactive environment so when I found Second Life it really was not a shocker that I was really really intrigued to figure out building and to take it up a notch. I felt like I could really create more in Second Life and give it the life that I wanted.

I’m inspired by almost anything. Feelings, desires, passion… the way the light filters through the leaves or the sound of the wind blowing. People can inspire me. An idea, a thought, wanting to give back and make their experience more enjoyable. I love seeing what people come up with when they use something I created. You never really know where your things might end up in here and the stories can be quite interesting, or the environments. From one end of the spectrum to the other what people can come up with can be truly amazing to watch. I love seeing it. When I am in a truly creative place and I’m making something that feels ‘inspired’ whether it is a furniture set or a piece of clothing I tend to try to place myself or the creation within a scenario of my own making and then get that feeling across. There’s a difference when I feel like I am making an item because it is expected or part of someone else’s plans and when I have that little thrill that runs through me when it just feels right. Finding that thrill is partly what inspires me, it’s fairly addicting. Almost like a drug.

What are you bringing to the Faire this year? 

Mostly… the sim. As I create the environment I tend to make pieces that will be given in the hunts, or sold at the auctions. This year for the hunts I’ve placed a couple items, a wagon you won’t see on the sim and some decorated lanterns.

And for the Silent Auction I’m adding the jail scene from the sim. It won’t be resold or placed in the store after this more than likely. A nice little souvenir for someone if they want it.


My RFL items are a few things at the moment but I intend to place at least one more before we’re all said and done. A set of shoes that weren’t released before: (though the black had been part of an event back in Nov. I almost kept them out of things due to that but decided it was too nice a color to do that. The rest are brand new and not released before)


A set of wagons and then a decorated jeweled belt. As you can see I’m fairly all over the place, whatever I like I make so I make a lot of different things.

What calls you to fantasy? When was the first time you encountered the genre and realized you enjoyed it?

I’ve always been called to fantasy. I remember my first book of fairy tales when I was 3. I remember in 6th grade writing and illustrating my own fantasy tales with dreams of creating worlds with words to share and bring people into them. Wanting to give back the feelings that authors created for me when they wove a spell drawing me into their fantasies. Almost any genre, I wasn’t picky really but fantasy. Myth. Things where gods were created and creatures you couldn’t imagine caught my attention so I think that I have always been fascinated by it… the idea of things bigger than me, that nothing really is unreasonable or unreachable if you can imagine it. If you can let it live, breathe, and not be afraid of it then it is all possible. Fantasy allows us to dream, and to create dreams.

What are you looking forward to most this year?

The sharing, the environments, the people, the coming together. I think I am hoping that people ‘get’ what I tried to do with my sim too. I’ve already had some amazing feedback and in one instance…. a profoundly personal look into someones feelings, things that are tough to deal with on any level. The faire to me isn’t about the shopping. It isn’t even entirely about the sims though they play a big part. It isn’t about the profits made, or anything like that. It isn’t about the outfits, the accessories, it isn’t about the money though the donations are of course very important.

Fantasy Faire is, for me and to me, the one of the few times of the year that we end up feeling like something bigger than us is taking shape to help shape the lives of other people. It’s big. Epic in it’s own right. I meet and talk to more people within that week or two than I do any other time of the year and for the most part it is all because we come together to do something. To fight for a cause. To help each other. The sims are the backdrop, the background where the dreams and fantasies… the crazy avatars, all of the different things come together briefly in a way that just doesn’t seem to happen that often. We play, we laugh, we do things together… every year I look forward to that. I’m like a kid waiting for Christmas and then I get to wander, eyes wide with wonder watching, listening, soaking it in. It’s phenomenal.

Mourningvale Thicket Sponsored by Roawenwood3 by Alisaundra Andel
Mourningvale Thicket 3 by Alisaundra Andel

How was Mourningvale Thicket born? What inspired it, what is its story?

Before the faire started I wrote up something for my store blog talking about the sim. What inspired it, and how it came to be. Its story and its purpose. I’m going to paste that here and leave a link because I don’t think I could recount it much better than this.

“Fantasy Faire is just about here. It opens on the first of May to benefit RFL (Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society).

Each year for the past two I wrote up a little blurb to post on the blog about the faire after it was over. It is like a yearly peek inside what makes Sear tick, a cleansing, and some of what I am behind the screen along with a fair amount of theatrics as I describe the experience or inspiration involved. I don’t know if I will end up writing another snippet at the end of the faire this year… it seems to be something of a tradition since this time of year is very emotional for me. However I feel like I need to write already…. This year I want to share and reflect before the gates even open. As the faire goes on I’m sure there will be shifts and thoughts that come about but I want to share the inspiration and the dedication of the sim before we all get going in a whirlwind trying to experience every moment, trying to catch up and finish before it opens. With all of the stress, all of the anxiety, all of the expectations, and work I want to take a moment and I’m bringing you along with me. I know now is not the best time as we try to finalize everything but you never really know when that time might come again so I have learned to take life in the moment.

Mourningvale Thicket_009 by Wildstar Beaumont
Mourningvale Thicket_009 by Wildstar Beaumont

Mourningvale Thicket isn’t meant to be epic. It isn’t meant to be impressive. It isn’t meant to use the latest mesh or the latest greatest thing that SL has to offer in the way of shinies. It isn’t meant to push envelopes, it isn’t meant to make you catch your breath in awe or in wonder staring up at a magnificent build.

It is meant to make you feel.

It is chaotic in places. It is dark and raw. It is ruined, dead and has a sense of foreboding.

It also has life. Music, love, laughter and celebration.

From one extreme to the other Mourningvale Thicket is meant to take you on a journey. It is not just a shopping sim, I know this is a faire and I know this is meant to be a place to shop and spend your lindens but it is not just that, at least…. Not if I have my way.

In some ways it is understated and on purpose.

It is meant to on some level make you uncomfortable in spots. It is the sort of place that in some areas the darkness has overcome, the curse has taken hold… death and decay with ruins dotting the landscape of blackened earth and jagged rock are the things you will encounter.

There is hope.

Places where life has begun to spring back fighting back against the curse that has most of the land in its grasp.

There is regrowth.

There is celebration.

Depending on how you travel the sim there is a remarkable difference in what you will encounter first.

If you come from an adjoining sim you will be met with darkness.

If you travel in from a portal or landmark you will be met with life.

The extremes can be traveled as you walk along the paths.

Mourningvale Thicket_014 by Wildstar Beaumont
Mourningvale Thicket_014 by Wildstar Beaumont

Imagine walking from the sim next door met with dead trees, jagged rock, overgrown grass and ruins. Gnarled roots, black trees reaching up leafless to the sky… the sort of place that as a child you avoided your parents admonishing you that the creatures within might spirit you away into the darkness never to be seen again. Subdued one almost wants to whisper as you walk past the ruined buildings. Someone lived here once or it seems like they must have but their story has long been forgotten the cursed earth keeping its secrets locked in the darkness. There are times when you might be tempted to run back the way you came not wanting to travel further but if you keep going with a little bit of faith you will be met with hope. You begin to see renewed signs of life. Roses begin to grow amongst some of the ruins and craggy rock. The thorns are less dangerous looking. A people have decided to try to combat the darkness building their homes amongst the brambles and dead branches. Colorful and full of life they begin to beat back the darkness taking shelter on the outer edges of the cursed woods welcoming you to continue down the path.

If you keep moving forward through the darkness, through the ruins, through the thorns a clearing opens. Small flags sway gently in the breeze; trees have begun to regain their leaves even if still dark and grass is growing beneath your feet as you take in your surroundings. Laughter, celebration… Life. Firelight and campfires keep the shadows at bay, the night safe – the Thicket a place of warmth once more in this small pocket.

Mourningvale Thicket_006 by Wildstar Beaumont
Mourningvale Thicket_006 by Wildstar Beaumont

Mourningvale Thicket might mean different things to different people and it might mean nothing at all but when I decided to take on this design I wanted to create a world where even in the darkest corners there is hope and light, life amongst struggle, a balance… a journey.

I have been touched many times by cancer, loved ones struggling for life, some surviving… some succumbing to the harshness of it. I have watched a loved one slowly wither away from bone cancer crying out in pain, and I’ve seen a family member struggle for breath when his lungs were invaded by it hunched over powerless to help. I have also embraced and celebrated those who have survived and are still with us.

My sim this year is dedicated to those people.

The survivors, and to those we have lost. It is dedicated in loving memory to an uncle, to a grandfather, and to an aunt who has survived. It is dedicated to the journey that we go upon through our daily lives with the struggles, the darkness… the pain and the harshness… the light, the laughter and the music. To the lives we lead and the moments along the way that define us carrying us towards our journey’s end.

I invite you to join me this faire season in supporting a cause close and dear to my heart. To relay, and to make a difference in someone’s life.

Thank you, for sharing these moments with me and I hope you truly have a wondrous faire experience this year.”

Thank you, Searlait, for sharing your vision, your feelings with us and making them tangible within the Thicket.

Mourningvale Thicket_005 by Wildstar Beaumont
Mourningvale Thicket_005 by Wildstar Beaumont