First Explorer

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Editor’s note: Mr. Whitfield wrote the following article in Selenitica in Evergreen on Kitely.

Am I the first to explore here in this world? On this ‘grid’ is what I really mean. I think. Guess I’ll have to start using that word. Region/sim/land/world are somewhat interchangeable here. And with the Devokan regions/sims/lands/worlds, throw in ‘ages’ as well. In my other worlds – my two main worlds, that is – which I have referred to on these pages in the past, the word ‘world’ encompasses everything. In those worlds, RL for 1st life or Real Life or the real world and SL for Second Life – the words region/sim/land are somewhat interchangeable but not so much as here in this world…I mean, on this grid.   This grid being Kitely. And the word ‘world’ I have used in this publication before many times. Often I use “this world” to refer to SL and “the other world” to refer to RL. But ‘world’ in Kitely is different. Grid is better to refer to all of it. And maybe that is confusing too. Or maybe it’s just plain wrong. Is Kitely a grid or a gateway to part of a/the grid? I’m going to have to figure out all that usage stuff for writing purposes.

And I don’t mean: Am I the very first to explore in/on Kitely ever? (Is it “in” or “on” ? I dunno. Maybe it’s up to me. For some reason I say “in” for RL and SL but I want to say “on” for Kitely.) Obviously I am not the first. I just got here a few weeks ago, others have explored before me. What I am asking is: Am I the first to be here for that reason and (pretty much) that reason alone, to explore? This world, this grid, this place is a place for builders. At least that’s what it is right now, IMHO. And the financial cost of being here and the time constraints involved, the being “on the clock” aspect of it, does not lend itself to exploring as one’s primary purpose. Nor to just hanging out for that matter. But that may change.

I have written several pieces about my being on this grid already but this is the first one I am writing while I am here, “inworld” or “ongrid.” This is because of the aforementioned time constraints. But here I am, with 18 1/2 hours of my 30 hours per month remaining and only three more days to use them. If I was a builder I would certainly be here more often and would likely be complaining that 30 hours a month is not enough and upgrading my “plan” accordingly. But I am not a builder. So I can afford to explore. And that’s what I plan to do here. I’m going to watch the rest of you build this world, err…grid, and explore it and write about it. I suspect it will be a tough job but someone has to do it, right? I don’t want to appear self-important – and I never really know where my explorations or my writing will take me – but I am going to help create the community here, whatever that turns out to be. You will do so by building it, I will do so by writing about it. We need each other for there to be a community here. We need all sorts – builders, sellers, buyers, tourists, party people, people who just like to hang, explorers, writers, musicians, DJs, EMs and many others. Not that everyone is here for community. Some just want their own private space. Nothing wrong with that either.

I created an alt to try my hand at building once again but I know from a few attempts in SL, it ain’t my thing. I really suck at it. So I will spend my time here exploring. And I’m wondering if I’m the only one doing that here at this time in Kitely’s development. Can’t be, right? If there are others out there like me, let’s exchange information. I have formed two groups here which I invite you to join. One is Kitely Explorers. That one is for anybody who likes to explore. The other is for a particular genre, Steampunk Explorer. (No ‘s’ on the end of that one.) I run a group by that name in SL, 300 members. Join one, join ’em both if you like. (If you’ve got anything Steampunk-related, by all means send an IM or NC inworld.) I expect there won’t be many members in either, not now anyway, maybe in a few years. Be the first on your block to join up!

I’m not leaving SL, just setting up camp here. I’ll be in SL a lot and Kitely too. I have visited other worlds and not set up camp, just visited. I was about to go visit them again in October when I heard about Kitely for the first time. After just a month here, I am really turned on by Kitely and plan to spend a lot of time here. (But I’ll visit the others again too.)

But I’m here for real. So I need a base from which to operate on this grid. That is my other contribution, the world called Evergreen. It is made up of four of the Devokan regions/sims/lands/worlds/ages. Dot Macchi and her friends created the regions I am hosting on Evergreen. I just live there. And write. Come visit anytime (it’s Free). And, eventually, I will come and visit your regions/sims/lands/worlds too. I’m not doing a travelogue, at least it’s not what I’m setting out to do. I write what I feel when I feel it. I’ll still be writing about SL experiences and about any other world I visit. It’s an RP blog so, just because I show up at your place doesn’t mean I’m going to write about it. I’m not here to promote you or Kitely. Anyway, I’m sure both you and Kitely will get along fine with or without me. But whether it’s me or someone like me, having someone write about it in the manner that I do actually is important to the future of this place. Just as having others write about it in other ways is important too. But, as I say, I’m not doing it for that reason. I’m here to experience this grid and to write about it for my own sake. If that ends up promoting/helping you or Kitely, cool. I hope it does, I would like that. But it’s not why I’m here. Like you, I am here for my own reasons. So there’s nothing automatic about me writing about your region/world/etc.

Unless you give me something to write about.

I’ll see you around…in/on one world/grid or another.

Danko’s room at the Castle in Selenitica, Evergreen, where he wrote this article._

Winter Fell

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It was a cold and windy night in Ebonshire, the kind of night that makes one wish he had stocked up on wood for the stove. “There’s enough for tonight,” I thought as I placed another log on the fire, “but I know what I’ll be doing tomorrow.” I returned to my writing table to review my notes and sipped from my cup of hot cocoa. I had a long night of rewrites before me and it crossed my mind that something stronger than cocoa would be necessary before it was over.

I had travelled to the Mainland in the morning and bumped into an old friend from New Babbage. He told me they already had snow there and that he had trudged through drifts up to his knees the night before. He asked about Winterfell and I replied with a smile and a shiver, “Not yet.” “Won’t be long,” he said. Couldn’t argue with that. So, I stocked up a bit in the shops to be ready before heading for home.

“Won’t be long” is right. As much as I still like to think of late November as fall, I have been here long enough to know how the seasons work in these parts. Last winter I was in Haven, living in a castle for the first time and learning just how cold and drafty such a place can be. Still, that was in the southern most part of Winterfell. Oh yes, it was still a Winterfell winter, no question, but not like up here. I have lived in Ebonshire in winter before. Winter in the north of Winterfell is harsh. It comes in early and it hits hard. They don’t call it Winterfell for nothing. The weather, earlier this week, had been almost spring-like but that wasn’t going to fool me.

I arrived home in the early evening to find winter had fallen while this Winterfallen had been out of town. It wasn’t snowing now but the ground was covered in white. As I unpacked my goods, I turned on the radio and learned that a second snow was falling in Babbage at that moment. I made some supper and had the cocoa as my dessert. Now, as the rewrites awaited me, I looked out the window and saw the nearly full moon through some breaks in the clouds and watched as a few flurries swirled around in the wind. It gave me a bit of a chill to think, “This is only the beginning.” I guess it’s just about time for that “something stronger.”

Dinner With Quin

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The stew was coming along nicely. The sun was setting through the haze. With no wireless set available, I had to make music in my head, accompanied by bursts of whistling, humming and scatting*. The wine may have inspired the musicality of the scene but it was ostensibly for cooking purposes… “a little wine for the stew, a little wine for me. a little more for me, so a little more for the stew.” Yes, the stew was coming along nicely.

I was in Quin’s quarters. It had been a week now that I had been waiting for him to arrive. There was a brief note that came by messenger, that he would be further delayed, but that was all. I had not yet answered the question I kept asking myself, “How long can I wait for this guy?” I needed to get back to Winterfell where I was just getting settled in to my cottage at Ebonshire Riverside, the writers and artists colony. I was in the midst of  multiple writing projects when Quin’s letter came and it was hard to break away. I never had expected to be gone this long but the trip’s purpose was too important to give up on lightly and I had come an awfully long way. But really! It was just as important to Quin – where is he?

Just then, the door opened and there he was.

“Greetings, Mr. Whitfield! My good friend, please accept my apology for keeping you waiting like this…” He dropped his bags and an armful of books and papers and shook my hand and went on about, “…how wonderful it is to see you after all this time…” and quickly through, “…so very glad you could travel such a distance to discuss a very important matter…” and back to, “…so sorry about my unavoidable delay…” then wrapping up with, “…hope you have made yourself at home and enjoyed exploring the surrounding area. Aren’t these ages beautiful?”

They are beautiful, of course. This is what we talk about as I pour Quin a glass of wine and then talk him through the recipe for the stew. “Oh!” he shouts and looks in the pantry and comes out with additional spices and herbs which I review and consider. Two of them are added to the pot.

Later as we eat the stew and bread and share the wine, Quin brings the conversation to the central reason he has asked me here.

His experiments in Illusion did not go well at all. He still seems in a bit of a shock about that. And the cost of it in hard cash! So he finds himself scrambling a bit to raise funds, as busy as he is investigating what went wrong and trying to continue his on-going work to “restore what was lost.” What he needed was a sponsor to underwrite his work here in Selenitica at his “study retreat” as well as someone to watch over the neighboring lands.

Dot Macchi had passed my letter on to him, at my request, so Quin had read about my recent life changes. He thought I might be interested in accepting both responsibilities as an opportunity to do a little exploring and still have a hand in overseeing land.

He was right, I was interested. I wasn’t sure what Quin was going to propose but on my way here I had pretty much decided to accept. Whatever it was, I knew it would be interesting and different and that was good enough for me right now, without even knowing the details.

But now that we’re here, what are the details? Quin went over his proposal, point by point. I would fund the hosting of Selenitica and the outer regions and, in exchange for that privilege, I would check on the lands from time to time, welcome and assist visitors and explorers and let Quin or Dot know of any problem that came up. And I’d have the run of the lands whenever I visited. I would pretty much keep them as is and wouldn’t develop the lands in any way, rather, I would cultivate them, gently and slowly. Not much work involved at all, really. Sounded good to me. I told Quin how I’d been using the room in the castle and the Japanese house up north. He was delighted. We discussed other details and the logistics of operating so far from a population center.

In addition to Quin and myself, Dot and some of Quin’s other friends and associates might come to work in the lands from time to time, so a land management group must be formed. What to call it? Quin offered, “It has occurred to me the name ‘Evergreen’ is available here.” He smiled. That sealed it. And me, as leader of the group? I used to be the Duke of Evergreen, what will I be here? Quin thought a moment. “You are the custodian of the ages, sir,” he said.

Custodian of Evergreen. Has a nice ring.

More wine was poured and the ages of Evergreen were toasted. Then there were stories about past explorations and experiments. Quin promised to fill me in on his current work over breakfast, a conversation to which I was quite looking forward.

In the morning, when I came down from my room in the castle, Quin was gone. An envelope, tacked up inside the castle door contained a note with his thank yous, apologies and a vague explanation. I smiled. Same old Quin.

After breakfast, I made a list of items I would need to have delivered here in time for my next visit, basic supplies and equipment and plenty of writing paper. I will have to go through my collection of machines that generate music. A standard wireless set would not do the trick here as it would be too far away from the transmitting point of any signal. I would need something from a slightly later time, possibly one of the gadgets I picked up in the 21st century, a personal music player. Must have something to keep me entertained in this remote place and time.

In the afternoon, I took one more look around and then packed my things and began the long trip back to Winterfell.

*Scatting –  A very hip word I learned  in my travels to the mid-20th century.

From Quin

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Editor’s note: This message was found at the arrival point in Illusion, apparently left for explorers and other visitors…

Permit me to introduce myself. I am Quinquifid Oddenfen, the founder and director of the Devokan Trust, a foundation funded by a legacy from my not-so-late aunt, Elspeth Sorrelwood, “to research and restore what was lost”.

Unfortunately, funds are now depleted due to an experiment that was not as successful as I had hoped. The result? This miserable mess of Illusion.

A letter from gentleman-explorer Danko Whitfield arrived late in October 2012. I quickly made up my mind to entrust my study retreat, Selenitica, into his capable hands.

In the meantime, I will attempt to investigate the roots of this chaos.

The Outer Regions

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I began the day in Quin’s study, reviewing his maps over coffee. Satori is the sea region to the east that sports some vegetation. The region to the northeast where, on this clear morning, I can see rock islands, trees and other plant life, is called Tao. There is a huge tree up in the sky above Tao, with no visible ties to sea level. That will not be easy to get to. But first, to the north and Kamar, where I begin to scout the area.

In my walk from the castle across the series of bridges to Quin’s building, I spotted a sailboat on the northside of Selenitica. At low tide I must be able walk there, the most difficult part being finding a good spot to get down off of these high islands.

Having reached the sailboat, I headed north toward the entrance to a large bay. Here was the Japanese-style building I saw last night from the castle window. I landed near the house and walked around to the front, which faced north to the ocean. Inside the house was empty. A staircase led to an opening and out onto the roof, a simple, one room house with a rooftop observation deck. The ocean to one side, the bay, with its interesting trees and plants, to the other. This would be a good spot for a writer to getaway. (Although most any spot in this world could serve that purpose.) Yes, I will use this house…as no one else is. The room in the castle and this house by the water, they will do nicely.

I walked back to the boat and sailed east for Tao. It was mostly open sea, my main focus being that giant tree in the sky. I sailed south into Satori to confirm that it too, was mostly open water. There may be interesting plant life to see below sea level but I am not prepared for that sort of exploring today. So back north to Tao, to stare up at that tree.

Stare was all I could do as there was no visible way up there. This calls for extreme measures. As revealed on these pages some 20 months ago while on another trip to the Devokan worlds, I can fly. I prefer not to but sometimes there is no other way. This was one of those times. Maybe Quin or Dot know another way up to that…that tree tower…but I do not. And so, left with no other choice…

I flew straight up to view the leaves at the top of the tree. Interwoven through them was a multi-level stone walkway. Flowers here and there. I walked around in circles on these walkways, then flew out from them and down a bit to look at the roots of the sky tree. At the end of some of the roots were rounded…pods. I moved in for a closer look. Well, look at that! These pods looked bigger on the inside than they were on the outside, I know that sounds ridiculous but it was true. And on the inside, they were entire rooms! Furnished rooms. A study, a living room, a drawing room, a laboratory. Books everywhere, some artwork on the walls. This was astounding! I entered one of the pods and took a seat in a comfy Victorian-style chair. Wow! Does Quin use this or does it belong to another? With that thought, I jumped to my feet and left, just in case.

That was truly unexpected. Nothing would top it. My day of exploring was over. I returned to Selenitica, to my room in the castle, to write in my journal of the days’ sights and wonders. I went to my bags and the secret pouch where I kept my most important papers…and pulled out a bottle. I poured a drink and reached for pen and paper.

Selenitica

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I slept for the better part of the day.

After making a meal in Quin’s quarters, I returned, with my things, to the room I have taken in the castle on the tallest of the islands in Selenitica. As the sun set, I took a mental inventory of the lands that lay before me from my perch at this large window.

To the west and south, all was ocean. Due east was open water as well but there was some vegetation in the distance. That would be one place to explore in the morning. To the northeast there was still some fog but I believe I could see trees though much of the area was open water as well. The largest land mass was due north. That area was called Kamar, I had seen it on a map in Quin’s laboratory…monitoring post? I’m not quite sure what to call that building…just as I’m not exactly sure what Quin does, though I understand what he does better than how he does it. I will have to note how he refers to this place so I will know how to refer to it. That is the best way with Quin as he does not have time for questions, other than the Great Questions. It is best, whether trying to figure the daily goings-on or trying to understand the important work he is doing, to observe Quin and listen to him, rather than to ask him. That’s how I have dealt with him in the past although I may have to ask a question or two if he is going to offer me a position. Though he didn’t exactly put it that way, he said he has a job for me if I’m interested. A job and a position are not necessarily the same thing. Sometimes they are, sometimes not. Since we are dealing with Quin, I’ll bet this is one of those times they are not.

As the mind tried to analyze the situation on the small amount of information I had, the eye was drawn to Kamar. There were trees of a different sort there and flowers and other plant life. It looked beautiful from afar. “That’s where I will start tomorrow’s explorations,” I thought. And then I noticed a structure in the trees, all by itself on the other side of a bay. Hard to tell from a distance but there are hints of the style of the Orient.

“I wonder if that building is being used?” Hmmm.

Kitely

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Editor’s note:

While newly re-settled in a simple cabin retreat in Ebonshire, a region in northern Winterfell (on the Second Life grid), Mr. Whitfield’s travels take him now to the lands/worlds/ages of the Devokan Trust (reached via Kitely.com). Fans of Myst and Uru may be interested in visiting these places/times.

It is the Editor’s assumption that Mr. Whitfield may be found in either Second Life or Kitely these days and at times may be in both worlds simultaneously.

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