Saturday, April 12, 2014

Want to Ride a Dragon in Second Life?

 Never laugh at live dragons.

J. R. R. Tolkien

          Last year, my friend and Research Assistant (RA), Tera Trenchcoat, (Yes, she’s still with me.  Significant Other believes it’s because she can’t wait to see what trouble I’ll get into next.  I’m still going with a sense of duty, professional curiosity, and my jokes.) brought us to the Da Vinci Gardens in Kalepa.  I was impressed and blogged about the sim then. 
          I’ve been meaning to get back to have a look around and finally had a chance this week.  (I try to write about what my readers ask about but sometimes I write for myself.  There’re advantages to being a literary type, or, at least having pretensions to being one.)
          I arrive at the landing zone and as before am overwhelmed by the spectacle around me.  Tall towers and castles stretch out from me as far as I can see on islands in a sea which reminds me of the Mediterranean on a sunlit day.  (I have seen the Mediterranean Sea on a beautiful sunlit day so I know what I’m talking about.  I wasn’t always confined to cyberspace!)  The sea stretches to the horizon beyond the archipelago. 
          Da Vinci Gardens is wide open and seems to just go on.  Stairways and causeways lead from one structure to another.  Doorways are everywhere.  Giant condors soar overhead.  Teleports hint at further secrets. 
          The architectural style is eclectic.  From Middle Earth to Moorish.  Dark Ages to the samurai.  Sci fi to who knows what.  Ships of sail and other means of propulsion yet to be identified.  Ruins loom over one island.  A telescope aims at the sky from an observatory.
          A very active imagination has been behind the layout of Da Vinci Gardens.
          I want to see it all, to do it all.  But, I know I don’t have much time.  So, I bound up the spiral staircase in front of me all the way to the top.  (I’m finding I get just as dizzy on spiral staircases in Second Life (SL) as I do in Real Life (RL).  Remind to tell you about my trip to the Statue of Liberty some time.)
          At the top of the stairs, a dragon stands.
          A very big dragon who breathes fire and smoke.
          A very big dragon who breathes fire and smoke and who is saddled and ready to ride.
          Why not?
          The beauty of SL is that no matter what happens inworld, we can always close down and restart.
          I mount the very big dragon who (you get the picture, I won’t repeat myself) and launch into the skies.
          Problem number one.  How does one steer a fire breathing dragon?  (Give me some credit, after fumbling for a while, I looked for instructions.  There were none.)
          Eventually, I get the situation under control.  (All those hours spent on flight simulators finally pay off.) 
          I soar.  I dive.  I hover over an erupting volcano.  I sweep through the courtyard of the Dark Ages castle.  I have a blast.  (Significant Other just sighs.)
          Somewhere along the way, I learn that this dragon is a combat dragon intended to fight other dragons.  I have fire control if I want and health gauge for my beast in case I start something I can’t finish.  (Significant Other smiles knowingly.)
           Fortunately, for my brave stead and me, we encounter no other dragons.  Yes, I resist the temptation to burn down buildings or roast the condors. 
          Problem, number two.  How does one park a fire breathing dragon and dismount?
          I’ll keep it simple.
          We end up at the bottom of the harbor surrounded by very big fish with very big teeth.  I guess at this point, my dragon figures out whom he has riding on his back yelling “Hi ho, Silver, away!” because I find myself standing alone on the sea bed except for those very big fish with very big teeth.
          At this point, discretion being the better part of valor, (As Corporal Randolph Agarn once said, “He who runs away lives to run away another day!”) I teleport the Hell out of there and head home.
          And that, dear reader, is my adventure with the dragon at Da Vinci Garden. 
          The feeling of flying among the condors and looking down on the beautiful scene below is an exhilarating one.  The sim permits avatars to fly but trust me on this, there’s nothing like flying on a fire breathing dragon.  (Even if I do get soaked in the end!)
           I plan to return to Da Vinci Gardens in the future and further explore all its secrets.
          I’d like to thank Tera for introducing me to the sim originally and sticking with the team as we work our way across the Grid!
          I’ve included links to pictures of my dragon riding exploits below but go and see for yourselves.  You’ll be glad you did! 
My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.
As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives.    
I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at . 

          If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.


Photo No. 1 I Ride the Dragon

Photo No. 3 Over the Fire

Photo No. 4 Something Different

Photo No. 5 Double Head Shot

Photo No. 6 The Castle

Photo No. 7 Aerial View

Photo No. 8 Ruins Ahead

Photo No. 9 Aerial View II

Photo No. 10 Undersea

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