Inara Pey : Simurg’s mythical beauty in Second Life

Simurg’s mythical beauty in Second Life

Simurg, June 2024

Located within the north-west corner of a Full private region  which has been sub-divided into a series rental parcels, and which leverages the Land Capacity bonus, Simurg occupies a little under 4096 sq metres and is held by Lintu (KorppiLintu). It is offered as public space for visitors and photography, redressing it to suit the season and / or to offer different themes. The iteration I visited at the start of June 2024 carried the sub-title Ancient City, and contained a mix of ancient history wrapped with a touch of fantasy mythology.

Given its small size, the setting is seemingly easy to take in at a single glance, open to the water on two sides and the other two screened from the rest of the region intruding through the considered use of a main structure and two scenic backdrops. However, a simple glance can be deceptive; there is a lot more here than at first appears to be the case.

Simurg, June 2024

Perhaps the easiest way to think of the setting is as an ancient and once massive building – perhaps a temple; a place long since overcome by the passage of time. The landing point sits on the north side of the parcel, backed by great arches of a tall, ruined wall and looking across what was once a flagstone floor, now broken and open to flooding by the surrounding waters.

A good portion of this floor survives, pointing south-east towards stairs leading up to an antechamber apparently overlooking the rooftops of a large town or city suggestive of some where in Italy or southern Europe. Also pointing towards the antechamber  is a high wall mixed with rock formations which seems to form  the western boundary of the setting – although looking through its lower arches will reveal this is not the case.

Simurg, June 2024

Upon this wall, and looking down over the flagstones and water, is a line of statues which carry a Grecian styling about them. Further statues are set just above the waters at the base of this arched wall, although one of these is more Elven in look, thus providing one of the more fantasy elements to the setting. This is increased by the presence of stone-rendered sea beasts in the waters either side of the main flagstone floor. These in turn may have been called forth by the strange mer-like figures trumpeting the arrival of a figure upon a chariot and carrying a trident as he appears to have risen out of the sea behind the landing point.

All of this statutory add to the idea that this is a place steeped in history and legend (that charioted figure, for example, might well appear to be raiding up out of the sea, but he appears to in fact be Achilles, rather than any deity of the deep rising from the sea). However, little touches are add to the mix which bring together so much – as with the elven figures mentioned above, together with one of the statues within the antechamber also mentioned earlier. Rather than being something from ancient times, it is in fact a reproduction of a statue on the Honour Grave of Johannes Benk (1844-1914), located within the Vienna Central Cemetery, thus giving a further little twist to the setting’s narrative.

Simurg, June 2024

This great, semi-flooded hall is only a part of the setting. Sitting atop the high wall running on the west side, and above the statues thereon, sits a large table of rock forming a north-pointing promontory. Here, within a garden-like setting is evidence that however ancient the ruins below and around it might be, this is a place still very much in use. To one end stands the remnants of a modern brick-built structure with the bric-a-brac of modern life in and around it, presenting cosy place to sit and pass the time. facing it from the far end of the promontory is  wrought iron gazebo with table and chairs under its open top, offering another place to sit, whilst between them, the garden is split by water tumbling from above and then down a gaping hole it has tunnelled through the rock so it might fall onwards to join the waters below.

A glance down through the hole created by the waterfall reveals a little campsite tucked out-of-sight from the main ruins and sitting on a rocky outcrop. But how is it, and this elevated garden to be reached? There is no means by which to climb the ruins / rocks to reach it, and the waters surrounding and campsite on its outcrop appear too deep to wade through. The answer is to follow the trail skirting the waters flood a part of the ground level area and running north, away from the steps up to the antechamber.

Simurg, June 2024

Lit by electric or gas street lamps, this path leads the way to a teleport portal sitting within a door-like ring of stones. Obey the instruction of Click to Teleport, and you’ll be carried up to the garden. A second teleport tucked behind the brick ruins will then carry you down to the foot of the waterfalls. From here it is possible to take stepping stones back through an arch to the main part of the setting, or – despite the depth of the water between shore and campsite – walk to the little campsite without getting dunked, courtesy of an invisiprim.

Making excellent use of the available parcel space and vertical elevation, this iteration of Simurg has a welcoming mystical air to it. For me, this was increased by the parcel’s name: “Simurg” is one of the alternate spellings for the benevolent bird of Persian mythology, the simurgh. This is perhaps more happenstance than intentional – as noted, the parcel’s design seems to change over time (at least going by Lintu’s profile picks), rather than intentional – but it’s still a nice convergence between name and theme.

Simurg, June 2024

Certainly, the atmosphere within the setting is enhanced by the local environment settings (which I admittedly tweaked very slightly for the purposes of the images here), and brings together a mix of influences in a pleasing cocktail of sights and opportunities for photography. It might perhaps benefit for a slightly more immersive soundscape, but this is a very minor niggle and in no way detracts for the overall  beauty and appeal of Simurg.

SLurl Details

Simurg Ancient City (Myra rated Moderate)

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