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.