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  1. A peaceful fog rolls over the hills of The Forgotten Gardens, where fantasy roleplayers and curious explorers can spend hours writing their own story. This expansive region feels like a slice of English countryside cloaked in elements of high fantasy. Creator Eloise Lionheart explains, “I've always been drawn to the fantasy side of avatars. Fairies, elves, and other mythical creatures. That combined with my love of nature, I felt a need, a pull towards something more fantasy in theme, more an escape into the imagination, an escape from reality.” It certainly is, with glowing specks floating in the air giving the entire region a very magical touch. Upon arrival, visitors walk out into tall grass where a creek flows nearby. On the other side is a gazebo overgrown with vines, flowers, and thick roots wrapped around the fountain in the center. The lush plant life makes it feel as if the whole place is alive. In addition to the fantasy genre, Eloise tells us of a particularly influential book: “The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson is a childhood memory and building a secret garden filled with fantasy and wonder became a must.” Quirky frog sculptures and plants with bulbous flowers the size of your head add a whimsical flair. The English undertones are visible yet again with none other than a sweet Corgi sitting in a wagon. Eloise proclaims, “For me, one of the many joys of the Second Life Metaverse is that region creators can bring to life fantasy, roleplay or real life destinations.” However, building was not on their radar at first. “I never once thought I would have the ability to create regions people enjoy so much. I knew nothing about landscaping or creating a scene. I spent a long time browsing Flickr in wonder at the way bloggers, creators, and landscapers would display content and make it look so realistic and thought provoking.” So, to newer Residents or those interested in building but are scared to try, Eloise says, “When you are looking at that flat square of terrain, it can be close to impossible to imagine it can be developed into your thoughts. That first step is to believe in yourself and if I can do this, anyone can!” Each section of this region feels like a chapter of a story. In one corner, a small cemetery is adorned with wildflowers, under the careful watch of some stoic deer. If you dare to cross into the more dense fog, sculptures of two rearing unicorns form an arch at the entrance of a bridge. Of the twists and turns of the creative process, Eloise says, “That is the magical part of learning on this journey. Each failure has been a lesson and each lesson another idea, and from that idea has grown a new thought to share. Best of all, a small piece of land can be the start of great things and this ability to grow is open to everyone, it just takes some belief in yourself…” A mansion or castle lies just beyond, with halls bearing trails of white rose petals. This place could even be a wedding venue, with a regal ceremony room and playful modern touches like a rec room offering billiard and ping pong tables. It gives The Forgotten Gardens an air of unpredictability, proving again that in Second Life, anything is possible. “I truly believe that Second Life and the 3D world is an extension to books or films. You can lose yourself in a book, the hours pass and you crave the ending, to know the full story, to see if your theory was right. That creativity of writing carries over into this world we all share: as books fill our minds with words, those words become pictures, and from those pictures we form ideas. It pushes your need to create it in another form, and that is the beauty of Second Life. People bring stories to life virtually as their imagination is stirred. It's a never-ending flow that brings inspiration to the wanderer…” Wander through The Forgotten Gardens today to see what kind of story you’ll leave with. Post on the region’s Flickr to share with others, and maybe your story will evolve into an epic tale! Video Production Credits: Draxtor Despres The Forgotten Gardens Paths in moonlight, tread with care. Fairies sleeping, please don't stare! A towering stag guards his home, explorers are welcome to rest or roam. The Forgotten Gardens is a walk in moonlight, along abandoned paths each taking you to something old but magical. Please use shared region environment. Welcome to all! Visit in Second Life
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