Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Lycanthia and Freyashawk's Tower

While Wolves Bain was involved in the project of building a very large, imposing Vampyre Castle, I remarked jestingly that I would love to have a portion of that castle for my own personal tower. I love the trefoil shape particular. The corners and parapet of the castle he was building at the time combined many of my favourite styles and shapes.

He responded by building 'Freyashawk's Tower'. If 'Freyashawk's Tower' existed in the real world in the 18th century, it probably would have been called a 'Folly', as it is a marvelous indulgent concoction suited only to the aristocracy. It is a perfect sanctuary for my avatar. I smile each time I think of it or gaze upon it.

Wolves Bain made me a gift of Freyashawk's Tower and declared that it would be unique, never replicated and never sold nor given to any one else. This gesture of his is so characteristic of him. I do not know how many hours he spent on Freyashawk's Tower but the fact that he would not allow himself ANY profit from it is one of the qualities that places him above the ordinary builder. The gift of such a build left me speechless but to further make it exclusive and unique was far more than I ever would have imagined.

One photograph shows the wonderful ship Lycanthia as seen through the archway of the entrance to Freyashawk's Tower. Another shows Freyashawk's Tower as seen from the deck of Lycanthia. The third shows the view of both from the sea.

Lycanthia has a story of her own which I will post separately.

Images of Castle Row

Darks Adria, wife and partner of Wolves Bain, is a very talented artist in her own right. She has taken many compelling photographs of Castle Row which she graciously agreed to share with me.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Untimely End of Castle Row

(Views of a small portion of the incredible Castle Row of Wolves Bain, upper and lower levels)
As Freyashawk, I have been privileged and honoured to call Wolves Bain my friend. He is a great builder in a world named Second Life but he is far more than that. He is a truly great Lord, with an unfailing sense of personal honour and the sort of spontaneous generosity and instinct for kindness that is characteristic of the truly noble in any world.

In Second Life, a resident can own 512 land without paying any tier. At the very heart of Wolves Bain's philosophy is the premise that even an individual with only 512 land has the right to live in a castle. He built magnificent castles suited to the great landowner, but he never neglected the small landowner.

Castle Row was his home and it was a showcase for all of his castles but it was far more than a place where his work was displayed and offered for sale. Any one and every one was welcome at Castle Row. One could enjoy the spacious grounds, wander amidst the gardens or swamp... and of course, one could 'walk the Row' where castle after castle stood proudly, a testament to this man's incredible energy and creativity.

Those like myself who own castles by Wolves Bain and whose lives in SL have been touched by his work and by the man himself have spent many wonderful hours at Castle Row. It was so much a part of the landscape of my life in SL that I never could have contemplated its destruction. And yet, a few days ago, Wolves Bain announced that Castle Row no longer could be sustained. The man who did so much for others refused to accept any donations or aid. Truly a great Lord... although a part of me wishes that he would have allowed those who believe in him to lend their aid at this point in time, another part of me understands him very well.

He is a great storyteller as well as builder and I should allow the tale of the 'End of Days' to be told in his own words.

I am not ashamed to confess that I wept real tears on my final visit to Castle Row.

Castle Row, the Story

As I sit in front of my home at Castle Row I think back on the 299 years I have existed, Some would say 'You have lived a long life' when in fact I have lived many lives as told in my stories.

At the risk of sounding cliche, I have been a pauper and a prince, a beggar and a thief, a slave and a Master among other things. I was even a vampire for a spell before being bitten by the wolf.

I have killed many men in the time I have lived, but I have never killed for sport, all that I have killed have tried to end my life or others lives for their own amusement and financial gain only finding I had the upper hand and lived to tell the tales.

I am a man that is loved by some at the same time hated by others, I can be welcome sight or a fearful thought, I can be lasting memory or a forgotten moment either way I have always been here, but what exactly have I achieved?

I often think back on these lives when time permits and wonder if I had made an impact on this wonderful, but sometimes cruel world. It was when I told my gem Darks "Someday I will buy you a castle", but after searching for what seemed like an eternity I found none that were worthy of her. At that moment I decided if I cannot find a castle suitable for her I will build it myself.

I built that castle and realized, this...this is my purpose to build castles and not just any castles, but castles based on the stories of my long and up till now, meaningless life. I will build castles for people that never thought they would own one because they were limited by the size of their land and the amount in their pockets.

I have Built many castles over the course of my life and have enjoyed the messages of many castle owners when they realize they live in a castle that they can call home, they invite me to see how they have decorated my simple buildings into warm and welcome dwellings that are truly their own, It amazes me that the same castle can look so different when owned by such a variety of people from different backgrounds and still look so wonderful.

I so have enjoyed building these homes and when I explore SL and happen upon one of my castles out of nowhere standing there so majestically and the landscape around it is there for the purpose of accenting it further, it almost makes me say aloud "I built that castle and someone is enjoying it as their home"

It is these thoughts that bring me to this moment, a moment that had never crossed my mind, that is until now.
After long and careful thought and exhausting all my options, after centuries of building castles and ships I have come to the painful conclusion that I will be closing down Castle Row and letting the land go to the Lindens, I am not certain when, but it is inevitable, more likely on or before 7-26-09.

My heart aches to have to do this, but I see no way around it, a world called RL has taken my means to hold on to Castle Row for the time being, not to say I won't be back, but at the moment I cannot hold on to her.

I will always be at your service to help and maintain your castles as I stand behind all those who chose me as their castle builder.

This is not the final chapter, this is not the end, this is just an intermission in story of Wolves Bain.
I am not closing the group, but you are welcome to leave it should you need the room for another as I know group space is precious.

So now how do I end such a story, it is not a happy ending, but not so much a sad one, just different then my other endings. Perhaps I will just say......When the next chapter is written I will let you know.

Thank You for choosing me as your castle builder
Be safe and well M'lords and Ladies

Castle Row...End of Days

As I get my men ready to dismantle Castle Row tomorrow I realize how much needs to be done. There is the matter of rounding up the live stock and creatures all around the lands, There is the slow process of tearing down the castles stone by stone, beam by beam and placing them on ships to unknown destinations for storage. I must fill in the streams and lakes that had provided water and fresh fish for our meals.

I also must dismantle the docks and release Accalia¹ and her mother ship Lycanthia² from their binds to continue on to terrorize others who may cross paths with them.

But the most daunting task is the moving of my beloved Nyrah³ from her resting place of almost 25 years, what do I say to her?, how do I explain that I must disturb her sleep and place her in unfamiliar territory?

All this as I look upon Castle Row from it's highest point, a land that has served me well and has given me such pleasure. A place where all were welcome not only to purchase castles, but to just visit and enjoy the lands, a place to escape, a place to dream, a place some called home because they did not have a home of their own.

My heart is heavy and weighs me down as I accomplish these tasks, but know that I am truly grateful to all of you that have chosen me as your castle builder, also know that I will always be available to guide and assist you with your castles.

I am not leaving SL, I am just stepping back for a time to regroup and gather my thoughts. To those who sent me donations I am truly grateful, but I have returned them as I must battle this demon alone.

Be safe and well M'Lords and Ladies
A heart felt thank you to you all


¹ see Accalia_the story
² see Lycanthia_the story
³ see the Tavern_the story

The hour glass has turned and the sands run far quicker then I would like, I will collect a few small mementos that are left behind before I send my men in for the final cleanup.

As each grain of sand falls, so does a piece of my heart. She will be gone, but I await her return to fill the already emptiness I feel as I look upon her,

She is my maiden, my mistress, my lady and yes my love. I will wait for her because that's all I can do and when she returns I will be there with open arms and welcome her as if had she never left.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Angevin Castle

Angevin Castle

He had married her, bedded her and gone off to war again, all in the space of a week, leaving her as chatelaine of the castle.

‘There’s a war on, woman!’ he declared. ‘And when there’s a war, there’s money to be made!’

He was speaking of the latest craze in combat. It was almost a game, but an extremely costly one. Lords carried their own banners into battle. Men looked for the banner of the richest, most powerful nobleman, then set about capturing him to hold him for ransom. There was nothing political about it, except that you had to capture some one on the other side.

The war never ended either, which meant infinite chances for an enterprising soldier. Of course, any one who was neither particularly rich nor powerful ran the risk of being killed and the weapons had become nastier since the introduction of gunpowder into the mix. Still, what better way could there be of making a fortune? It was far more appealing than grubbing about in the soil for vegetables. Let the wife organise that. A real man shouldered his weapons and went off to war, every chance he could…

Harry was a gambler at heart. He had inherited a small holding from his father, and the land was decent enough for mere survival but it never would make him rich or famous. He wanted to make a name for himself on the battlefield, but even more, wanted to bring back a fortune by bagging a careless Lord.

Before he left on his latest bid for fortune, he had married a young woman of noble blood. She was a pretty girl, but Harry had little interest in her apart from the need to put an heir in her womb. He sowed his seed there for a week, then bade her farewell.

‘Have a son for me when I return!’ he shouted as he waved farewell to her.

Jacqueline was from the South, where the climate was mild and the grapes were plentiful and sweet. The South was the centre of culture, where troubadours and poets thrived as well as the crops. Harry de Court would not have been her choice of husband but she had no choice in the matter. Women of noble birth were bartering counters and her father gained by trading her off to young Harry. The North with its endless fog and rain did not inspire cheer, and Harry’s obvious indifference made matters more difficult. The only ray of sunshine so far was his speedy departure.

At first, she was disposed to hate the castle. It was a prison, far from her true home, a place where neither sunlight nor love penetrated… She cried herself to sleep each night for a fortnight, then gave herself a stern scolding. If she were unhappy, it could be no one’s fault but her own. Life was what one made of it.
It was the North, but the land itself was good. She surprised the serfs one morning by joining them in the fields. She had brought some seeds and plants from her childhood home and these she planted, instructing the peasants on their care. As the months passed, the first flowers blossomed and the grapevines she had planted grew heavy with fruit. The child in her womb grew as well.

News from the battlefront arrived sporadically but seldom varied. Victories were won by both sides and the land changed hands again and again. If Harry was a gambler, the reigning King was even more of one, crossing the Channel to take land that belonged to his cousin on the basis of an old and very tenuous family claim. Harry yet had to make a fortune and in fact, was laid low by an illness caused by bad water. Jacqueline, not surprisingly, did not long for his return. In his absence, the castle itself had won her heart.

She had grown increasingly fond of Angevin Castle. The severity of the stone was softened by the ivy that clung to its walls outside as well as the wooden shutters and the lovely wooden trim that ran along the interior walls. The servitors grew to love her as well, discovering that their Mistress took a keen interest in every detail of their lives and although demanding, always was just. She shared in their labours as well as their accomplishments, celebrating the birth of any child on the estate and grieving with them on the occasion of any death. When her son was born, every one rejoiced.

She had lived at Angevin Castle for two years when the messenger finally arrived. The news was bad. Harry had been captured and demanded that she surrender the castle to his captors as ransom for his release. Nor had he been captured in honest combat. He had gone out to a tavern and had passed out in a drunken stupour. A man from the other side looking to make HIS fortune had surmised that a profit could be made by taking him prisoner. While still unconscious, Harry was trussed like an animal and carried off to his captor’s dilapidated home.

Jacqueline knew that she was little more than a chattel by law but her son was the future lord. She had been schooled to obey first her father and then her husband but two years as mistress of Angevin Castle had given her a different view.

She called together all the men-at-arms, the priest and the household servants and then surprised every one by including every serf in her summons.

‘Angevin Castle is home for all of us here,’ she said. ‘Our Lord has been captured and demands that we surrender our home to a stranger. I have called you here to make a decision. Shall we obey or shall we refuse? I will not make this decision alone because it affects all of us, but I am disposed to refuse for the sake of my young son as well as myself. Know that if we refuse to surrender the Castle, we may be forced to fight. If I surrender, some of you may have a future here serving the new owner, so think well before you decide.’

It was not for the child but for their Mistress that every voice was raised. ‘We will fight, if need be, Milady!’

The Captain of the household guard then spoke the thoughts of all. ‘This is your home, Milady. We vow to protect Angevin Castle with our lifesblood if need be.’
News took time to travel. They had a month or so to prepare the defences. Then, one morning, standing on the rooftop, she spied the glint of metal in the distance and heard the echo of drums. She sent out messengers to all her people to gather within the safety of the castle walls.

As the company approached, there was no doubt that they came to wrest Angevin Castle from her and her people. The heavy gates were shut. Both men and women, including herself, were armed. Angevin Castle was more than stones, wood and mortar. It was their Home.

Come see Angevin Castle at Castle Row. But be warned: Once you own Angevin Castle, you had best be prepared to defend her!

Castle by Wolves Bain
Story by Freyashawk

Ship with a View

A view from the window of the cabin of the Accalia...

The story of the Accalia was written by its creator, Wolves Bain:

I remember it like it was yesterday. It had rained for 3 days solid. When the rain had ended, I walked along Castle Row to assess the damages and to locate two of my builders who had gone missing. When I reached the beach at the end, I noticed a ship had run aground there. I boarded her to see if I could be of assistance, but not only was no one aboard, there was no cargo. I noticed a plaque above the door that read 'Accalia'.

Accalia? Why do I know this name? Where have I heard it before? I then recalled that I had been held prisoner aboard her for near a decade (but that is another story). I'm not sure how, but I managed to escape.

That was almost a century ago, but she now has found me again. I fear she will not let me out of her grasp so easily. You see, 'Accalia' in Latin means 'She-Wolf'. We all fight our own demons. She happens to be one of mine.......Wolves

Come see 'Accalia' at Castle Row, but be warned: Once you board her, you will be at her mercy.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Castle Daeva, Vampyre Mist

Castle Daeva
Vampyre Mist

I might have dismissed him as an ordinary drunken sot were I not practiced in discerning that which is hidden to most.

He had been handsome once not too long ago, but the curse had him by the throat and burned with a flame that soon would reduce all to ashes. What would remain would be something entirely other... It was Springtime in the world, but the man who sat there in the corner was fast becoming a creature who would be deaf to the soft murmur of a nesting dove and unable to feel the cool refreshment of dew-laden new grass.

Touched with pity and, dare I admit it, the dark allure that any of his kind inspire in us, I accepted his invitation and took the seat across from him.
Why did he choose me? Was it the instinct of the spider who must spin a web to waylay its prey or was it the desire not to be wholly forgotten by his own people? Whatever the reason, he told his story to me. This then is his tale:
My life had ordinary beginnings, born in Naples of what might have been called peasant stock once. my father was a stonecutter and my mother a cook from Spain. Both worked hard to support their families. For all my respect and love for them, I always felt I was destined for something different, something altogether more extraordinary.

I saw education as the key to freedom and studied to become an archaeologist, a profession that allowed me to travel throughout the world, exploring diverse cultures both of the past and present.

It was at a dig near Tarquinia that I made a bizarre discovery that proved to be an omen of my future. It was a human skull with fangs.

In my desire to rise far beyond my humble beginnings, perhaps I was inclined in my youth to scorn the old folktale's as 'peasant superstition', but ironically it was my education, both academic and practical, that gave me new respect for old legends and myths.

The discovery of the fanged skull fired a new passion in me and I became obsessed with a quest to find every Vampyre source that existed, whether among the bones of the past or the shadowed alleys of the present.

I journeyed through Asia and the Americas, through the jungles of Borneo and the steppes of Mongolia but it was when I returned at last to my own homeland that I finally came face to face with the elusive race I sought.

It was not in the course of research that I met her at last, but in a local tavern in Livorno. The place had nothing in particular to recommend it apart from its ability to satisfy the hunger and thirst of a man who had spent long hours grubbing in the soil for remnants of a vanished civilization. Like the sudden appearance of a bright star in a sky overcast with clouds, her entry dazzled and changed the quality of all that surrounded me.

Legends speak of the power of glamour possessed by vampyres. The head of Clan Daeva was beautiful and seductive... but more than that, she exuded the power of one who can beckon without ever doubting that she will be obeyed instantly.

I know now that there are many Vampyre clans but even among Vampyres, Clan Daeva has a dark reputation. Emotional and sensual, they aspire to heights of passion unusual even for the undead. Sexual predators and sensual hedonists alike rule the clan. Those who hesitate to embrace the darkest vices of the flesh lose their Willpower in doing so. Should they continue to hesitate, in an ironic twist typical of the Daeva, they ultimately will be relegated to the role of servants to the human race they hold in some contempt.

The Succubi is a creature known to humankind for aeons and the Succubi exemplifies Clan Daeva. Irresistible in the power of lust, sucking the very marrow from the bones of mortality... and she was the Mistress of all Succubi.

Immortality has a tendency to create a jaded outlook on existence. Apathy and entropy of the senses are a natural effect of longevity. Clan Daeva strives unceasingly to combat this by its energetic drive towards the life force in its more bizarre and twisted manifestations.

Where some ancient Vampyres sink their fangs into a vein only in order to prolong their existence, members of Clan Daeva do so with ever-regenerated lust.
It is for this reason that they are drawn towards couplings with mortals. The blood of our short-lived, passion-dominated race is like an intoxicant to the ancient Daeva. If we are their slaves, they nonetheless surrender willingly to their own bondage to the lust we engender in them. Some of us are sucked dry in a night and cast aside, but those who excite them most are allowed to taste the blood of the Immortals.

Many Daeva embrace mortals to whom they have become attached, but the attachment almost invariably proves false, a mixture of animal lust and simple hunger.
Few relationship are as euphoric as those between Immortal Daeva and newly embraced mortal Childe and few grow cold as quickly. This knowledge glimmers darkly at the edge of every moment of ecstasy I have experienced with my Maker. For I am a childe of the Daeva, one of the chosen few who has sipped from the Immortal vein.
Yes, I am her Childe but like any Childe, much was denied to me still. There are places to which I never had been admitted and chief among them was Castle Daeva, the ancient inner sanctum of the Immortal Clan Daeva.

Jealousy and the ever-increasing thirst for knowledge vied with one another in my soul and both induced a sort of madness in me. In vain did I beg and endure all manner of subtle tortures, humiliations and twisted acts in the hope of winning that final proof of her favor. Yet she would not extend the ultimate invitation to me.

One stormy night I determined to force the issue. I stood outside the gates of the Castle, calling out her name. As dangerous as this course of action might be, I knew that my position as her current favorite prevented the guards from dealing out the usual punishment for a Childe's impertinence. I was past caring. It was jealousy that was paramount now. Tortured by the thought of any other soul who might be allowed into the inner sanctum, nothing else signified to me.

The Castle of the Daeva towered majestically overhead surrounded in an eery mist. I felt as insignificant as an insect as I gazed upward at it. Its facade was unyielding, revealing absolutely nothing of the extraordinary secrets and mysteries it held. My burning need to penetrate its walls blinded me to everything else.
How long I stood outside the barred doors of the citadel I could not say, but my voice grew hoarse in shouting her name and ultimately diminished to the merest whisper. Yet I continued to gasp out the name of my Maker as the blinding tempest battered my body and despair took hold of my spirit.

When she at last appeared out of the mist I was at a point where reality no longer held any shape. Was it nothing more than a vision of my fevered desire or had she finally deigned to hear my cry of desperation?

The touch of her hand brought me acutely to my senses with that peculiar mixture of intense pleasure and sharp agony that characterizes any physical contact with one of the Vampyre race. I bared my neck to her trembling, begging to be used... but she only gazed at me as though plumbing the very depths of my lost soul.

Her voice was almost inaudible, forcing me to focus my attention solely upon her, despite the roar of the wind and rain. It is an old tactic, a Master’s subtle test of the devotion of a slave.

'You are a Childe indeed,' she whispered. 'Like all mortals, you are blinded easily by your illusions. You stumble forward seeking eternal life in the embrace of the dead.

'Did you truly believe it an act of cruelty or indifference on my part to deny you entry to our stronghold? You poor fool!

‘Jealousy burns holes in your vision and you see only the magnificence of our Clan without reckoning the cost. Immortality can be a curse, a slow undoing of the very best that was our legacy as human beings. Ah, yes, we cultivate physical perfection and majesty, incomparable grace and charm but have you considered what it is like to watch the beginnings and ends of all things again and again and again?

‘All that mortals hold cheap are those things we prize the most but which are denied to us save in moments stolen from humankind. I would spare you that... loss.’

'You brought me into this world!' I responded stubbornly. 'I no longer am fully human. I would rather be cursed than be a ghost flitting between the borders of two worlds. And you were not so careful of my soul and being when you first took your pleasure and fill of my blood.'

Lust and wisdom seldom dwell in the same house. If they do, wherever Lust rules, Wisdom is bound and gagged to be a silent witness of the truth.

I should have realized the value of the gift she offered and the price she paid should have been another clue to me. I was driven by my own desires, however, and did not heed her warning.

I strode through the gates without hesitation then. The mysteries of Castle Daeva and the desire to bind myself ever closer to her propelled me that night to ignore her words.

Though admitted into that inner sanctum, I never can be her equal. The irony of it all is that, in taking another step towards immorality, I blindly threw away the fragile spark that was my greatest attraction to any vampire and especially to the Daeva.

Every mystery of Castle Daeva is open to me now and no longer do I see through a glass darkly as a mortal. I see clearly and share now in the thirst for the transient and exquisite spark that winks at the heart of mortality. It draws me like a lodestone...

That thirst is unquenchable, a fire that will burn for eternity. Alcohol, drugs and even blood have no power to slake it.

Yet even now my longing for her love outruns any other desire... but I sense her interest dwindling even as my own immortality grows stronger...

His speech had become slurred as he told his tale. He slumped suddenly against the table as though crushed finally by the weight of a fatigue that spanned ages.

At Castle Row, the doors of Castle Daeva are locked no longer... M'Lords and Ladies, knowing the price, who among you nonetheless will choose to enter?

Visit Castle Daeva
Vampyre Mist
Only for a limited time and only at
Castle Row
Once gone, it may be gone forever

Story written by Freyashawk
but the original concept of this story was imagined by Wolves Bain

The Fear by Wolves Bain

One day while relaxing outside my home, I spotted a figure on a horse in the distance moving slowly towards me.

A man in my position has made many enemies as well as friends. I cannot afford to be careless. I therefore was about to set my wolves on him when I realised he was nothing more than a child, a boy of 12 years or so.

As I allowed him to approach, I saw more clearly how frail and weak the child was, barely able to hold himself in the saddle. In fact, when I addressed him, he swayed and fell from his mount.

I called for my servants. They cared for him but it was a week or more before he regained his strength enough to speak.

The boy explained that he had been sent by his master on a quest to find me in order to build a castle to his specifications and he handed me a parchment with drawings and measurements.

I told him not to worry about it now, that when he was well I would send him back to his master with my answer and price. Rather to my surprise, he turned pale and began to shake uncontrollably.

'Are you ill?' I asked, then rather sternly added, 'I told you to recover your strength. There will be time enough for this business later!'

His words tumbled from him then in a rush. There was no mistaking his fear and dread now.

'Please, Lord, I do not wish to go back! I beg to stay here with you. I will work for you free of charge and do anything you ask, but please do not send me back to him!'

What could I do? I did not know why he did not wish to return to his Master, but the fear in his eyes was undeniable. I am not one to pry, but I told him he could stay.

He became my best apprentice and builder, but that was over eighty years ago. The boy who came to me has since grown old and passed on to another place.

Finding the parchments with his Master's plans sketched upon them, in studying them idly, I remembered again how terrified the boy had been and thought to myself, 'What kind of home is this?'

There was no way to see in and, on the first floor, there was no way to see out either. Beyond that, though, something that struck me even more: a very detailed crypt had been planned. In this crypt were cages... but to house what or whom? Animals or perhaps human beings?

I slowly began to understand why the boy was frightened: perhaps this was to have been a home for one person, but for others it would be hell.

Remembering the boy, I made a decision: I would build this castle! I would build it for the boy who came to me in fear for his life and I will call it 'The Fear'.

But be forewarned! If you visit 'The Fear', you may never return.

'The Fear'
Now Available at Castle Row

It is NOT for the prim-conscious