Apr 23, 2007

And Now For Something Completely Different

I am pleased to share with all of you that I have been planning and plotting an event for Loch Avie – and all of Caledon – which will be so different from anything that we have ever experienced here that the excitement is building at a rapid pace among those that have heard me speak of it.

What is it? I shall endeavor to answer that question in my own words first, and I will then show you a pictorial display which should peak your interest.

We will be calling this exhibition the Tournament for Life

My Goals for this
1. Fundraising event for Relay for Life (kiosks all around the sim, VIP section of the arena for donors, vendors with unique items donated from Caledon and Torvaldsland)
2. New and inventive way for Caledonians to come together as a community
3. Opportunity to create relationships with peoples of other diverse sims
4. Explore the possibilities of creating our own tournament series in Caledon (jousting, horsemanship, steampunk creations, etc)

One of my oldest friends in Second Life, Telemachus Dean, is a warrior in the Torvaldsland sims. Several weeks ago I had the opportunity to watch him spar in the Scagnar arena. I was amazed at the strength and skill of these men – even in a relaxed practice setting as this was.

An idea began to percolate as I thought of several of my good friends in Caledon, both men and women, who had begun to express interest in having more diverse events offered. There has been increased interest in things like skirmishes, flight, medieval contests and the like. Beginning a tournament series became an obvious answer to me. I had enjoyed watching the brave men fighting in Scagnar and I felt sure that others would also enjoy such contests.

Soon I contacted Telemachus to determine whether he might have an interest in helping with such an affair. He was! I was thrilled. Next step was to discuss this with Desmond Shang in an effort to ensure that he would support such an event. He does! Step three: contact Lapin Paris about RFL benefits of the event. She is excited at the possibilities as well. We will soon be coordinating with the RFL team on vendors and other money-making ventures for RFL at this event.

What happened next went beyond my wildest dreams. I met with Telemachus and two other warriors, including Elric Wilberg, a noted builder in SL. We sat in Tele’s lodge and discussed the charity and my proposal. I expected some resistance as I am an outsider to them and to the Gorean community. Because of Tele’s influence in the community, and the information I was able to provide about Relay for Life, they immediately agreed to assist with the tournament planning. The most overwhelming part of this all, however, is that donations of time, builds, services, clothing just keep coming in from them. They have fully embraced this idea and want to be involved. I am moved beyond belief.

Tele then presented our proposal to the council in Torvaldsland in order to gain full support from the High Jarl (their leader) and the other warriors. He stood before them and explained the cause and our basic plan. Again full support!! And now warriors volunteering for the exhibition. It just gets better and better.

This weekend, prior to attending Duchess Gabrielle Riel’s Rez Day Spectacular, I attended the regular Saturday night tournament in Scagnar. This event is broadcast on Gor radio and is very well attended. At one point there were 60 in the sim. Below you will see some images of the event, which takes place in an arena very much like the one which Elric Wilberg has donated to me for use in the Tournament for Life. An incredible structure. Again I am astounded by the generosity and open hearts and minds that I have found as we make preparations.

I was also honored to have been introduced to the High Jarl. He expressed his full support of our proposal, and hopes to be able to attend our event. His life has been closely touched by cancer and is pleased to be involved with our efforts at fundraising.

In the arena with Telemachus to my right.

Best seats in the house.

Telemachus Dean in the Battle Royal - an impressive sight.

We hope to have the event in mid-May. We are waiting to learn whether Magnum will be able to referee the event for us, and we need to work on his time table. Will post to the events calendar and send a notice once something is set in stone.

We are accepting donations of weapons and steampunk items for a prize chest for the winner of the tournament. Thus far the High Jarl and a number of other Torvaldslanders have donated weapons and clothing items. As well, some of the generous free women and at least one slave have donated items for the event or to be placed into vendors with full proceeds going to our RFL efforts. Please contact me if you would like to donate something for the prize – or for RFL vendors.

“Your Grace, did you say free women and SLAVES??”

Yes I did. I have hopes of creating diversity in our relationships, and a tolerance among ourselves and other peoples. Torvaldsland is one of several Gorean-theme sims in SL. But as you have noted in my descriptions above, I have found generous and gentle hearts among these people. Telemachus and I intend to create cultural education notecards for our citizens. We will pass these to you prior to the event. We will expect everyone to behave in an appropriate fashion towards one another. We are all in this for a good cause, and to expand ourselves. And it should be great, good fun!

Oh! Did I mention that any free man present may join in the Battle Royal at the end of the tournament? Combat systems will be provided to entrants. Just for you, Mr. Somme. And you, Colonel O’Toole. And you, Mr. Pearse. And you, Mr. Wormser. And you, Mr. Scaggs. And you………oh well you get the idea. *grins*

There will also be a party in the Loch after the hour-long event. Things will be relaxed. I am told the slaves will be permitted to be in “normal clothes” and their rules more lenient. We will be able to change from our Victorian clothing into whatever pleases us as well. Plenty of Uisge Beatha to go around, as well as fun and games to move our RFL gains along.

More information to follow.

On a personal note, I was extremely pleased to be permitted to attend Telemachus’ initiation ceremony at the Sacred Mountain in Torvaldsland where he, along with two others, became full citizens of that land.

Taking the sacred oath

A proud and moving moment at the Sacred Mountain

I look forward to providing more information to you on this event and possible future tournaments, which may include, but would not be limited to:
Samurai tournament (guests exhibiting)
Renaissance (guests exhibiting)
Creation of our own Caledon tourneys - steampunk faire, horsemanship, jousts, military combat, and the like

Comments encouraged. I cannot wait to hear what everyone thinks!


Hotspur O'Toole said...

A very worthy concept, your Grace. I support it wholeheartedly and will promote it with vigour! I am not, by nature or predilection, eager to promote the concept of free women as slaves in any setting; such things cause a natural revulsion in me. However, the approach you have laid out in this missive represents a fine (and tasteful) compromise between our way of life and the ways of the Jarls. I will not be judgemental in word or deed, and I would expect the same of my Caledonian fellow citizens.

As for participating in the Battle Royale, by all means, I am your man. They look like a pack of fine, strapping big fellas, and I would not hesitate to try my iron against theirs. Off to Polymath, to break out my fencing dummy!

Hola! Avant! Touche!

Telemachus said...


I am over-Honored; this is an excellent post, with beautiful pictures....and your tone is, as always, diplomatic, charming, and gracious.

Thank you also Hotspur for supporting the tourney...I have known you as long as the Duchess, though we spend too little time together.

As a prelude to writing my intro to Gor for non-Goreans for this event, may I say a few things:

One, I too found the sight of bondmaids (or slaves) repugnant when I landed in a Gorean sim in December. But since then I have learned several things.

One, is that both owning a bondmaid and choosing to be a bondmaid or thrall (male slaves are called thralls in Torvaldsland) are personal choices. All you see in Gorean sims in SL is consensual. One chooses to be free or bond, regardless of avatar gender. I know several strong free women, for example. The fact is, every bondmaid and thrall I know in Torvaldsland likes her or his role, many a great deal, and the interactions I have seen between Jarls and bonds in Tland is tender, affectionate, even loving; the bonds all have nicknames, like flower, which denote affection and protection. Families form. And Tland, under the rule of the High Jarl Thor Nielsen, has strict rules in place to protect the bonds from both abuse and neglect. Yes there are power-hungry jerks who abuse their position in SL Gor, but they would not last long in my sim, and I believe, based on my experience, they are the uncommon exception, not the rule, SL-wide.

And the second thing is that it is easy to forget, even for me, that there are no real bodies in SL...only avatars. True, these avatars are connected to human typists with real emotions, but fantasies get played out in SL which can't be played out elsewhere. (Like axe fighting in an arena). To be blunt, how many of those who play SL avatars (and please, no one needs to confess on Eva's blog :)) have tried a pair of handcuffs with a lover in real life? Or playful spanking? Or other D/s games? I would guess many. The slaves in SL Gor is an extension of such recreation, in a fantastical animated free-choice community, where anyone can log or tp at any time.

And third and last, the bondmaids or slaves are not the center of SL Gorean culture. Honor. Brotherhood. Loyalty to the Home City. Service. Telling the truth and keeping one's word. These are the Center for most of us. I myself have chosen not to own a bondmaid, for personal reasons, but I take much from the Honor and Combat SL Gor offers.

Appearances, in both worlds, are easy to misjudge. I make the same mistake often, in rl and sl. My sincere thanks, Duchess, for having the courage to suggest this charity tourney, and my sincere thanks to all from Caledon and SL Gor who attend and support it, especially my Brothers and Sisters from Torvavldsland. Tis a good cause; let us look within our hearts and find our Truest selves to Honor it.

Be well :)


Amber_Palowakski said...

Your Grace, you have caught my interest! As a member of the GLBT community, and also the D/s community, I know what it feels like to be at the brunt of intolerance. SL as a whole is more tolerant than rl, and Caledon is even more so tolerant. Yet even in SL, and occassionally even in Caledon, I have felt the effects of intolerance. We can accept diversity without changing our 21st century Victorian values in Caledon. So count me in, when I am finally able to make it back to SL!

Amber Lady Palowakski

Gabrielle said...

I am personally thrilled that you and your dear friend have decided to host such a thrilling event - and that it will be an opportunity for our communities to learn more about each other!

Oh dear...I appear to be slipping into "I love ya man" mode again!

Mordecai Scaggs said...

Your Grace, Mr O'Toole, Mr Dean,

I am known to be hotheaded and opinionated at the best of times, so in the interest of cultural amity I shall do my best to restrain my usual self-righteousness.

I have no problem with D/s relationships - I am a switch myself, and thoroughly enjoy sexual roleplay where I am restrained as much as I enjoy it where I am doing the restraining. RL and SL. I do take issue with the use of the word "slave", and whilst I accept the initial decision to be so is a fully consensual personal choice, I am concerned by the reports I here of coercion and peer pressure used to retain people in those roles.

That said, this cultural exchange can only be a good thing, as the one effective deterrent to prejudice is personal contact with the other's culture. I look forward to meeting with the warriors for Torvaldsland, and maybe even of giving a good account of myself in the arena too. Though I am well practised at falling on another's blade! I suspect the there are people (even daemons) just as irascible as me amongst the Goreans, so it should be quite a fun event!

And just as with our forthcoming battle against Neualtenberg, this is in the cause of combatting one of the great scourges of modern life, and is meant to be FUN! Doubtless there will be those who get far too uppity and serious about the whole kajira/ kajirus thing, just as they have seen the coming blood-letting as a hook to hang all their RL anti-war sentiments upon. There are limits, I feel, to how much we allow RL to invade SL - fund raising is one thing, political soap-boxing quite another. And yes I will hold my hand up to the latter, I know what a pompous ass I am!

To finish, your Grace, I think this will be a fun, enjoyable, and no doubt controversial, event. Let us hope it is the first of many such cross-cultural happenings. Now, I'm off to practice my death scene!

Her Grace, Eva Bellambi said...

I thank all of you for your comments on this event. First - thanks for your support of the tournament. It is going to be fantastic fun! Second - I am very pleased that while not all of us approve of the Gorean way of life, we are all expressing a desire to have new experiences, be tolerant, and to give new relationships a chance.

My thanks!

Hotspur O'Toole said...

Thank you also Hotspur for supporting the tourney...I have known you as long as the Duchess, though we spend too little time together.

Tele, I shall take steps to remedy that once a matter of great import to Caledon (and another sim) has been resolved (he said, knowingly). I hope I may apply for safe-conduct to visit your land at some point; I have only stood outside the gates, once, not wishing to intrude.

As for your comments; I know you to be an honorable man, and cannot doubt the sincerity of what you say here. I also do not wish to make the Gorean notions of slavery & freedom the centerpiece of any discussion promoting an event with such a noble cause as cancer research.

COL Hotspur O'Toole

Telemachus said...

much can be known about a person based on his or her friends, and Duchess, those who responded to your post are humane and articulate people. Caledonians can write!

I am far from an expert on Gor, having read one book and a part of another, and having only been in SL Gor for a few months; I'm a Gorean noob. The initial draw for me was the strong sense of Honor and readily available Combat, and those, along with dear new friends who mentored me from the beginning, are what keeps me. Plus, though SL is growing fast, no one I know in SL does international role play like the Gorean sims. War, skirmish, spies, diplomacy, alliance, trade...it's impressive, truly. Rather like 17th-century Europe, in that sense :) Fun to role play, but no place I would want to live in the real world. I know for some close friends of mine Gor is almost a religion; it has not touched me in that way.

Truly, I am moved that so many have expressed tolerance and support for the Relay for Life Cause. I know I am a little nervous about the mix, but know I can expect the best from both sims :)

And Hotspur, you are welcome as my guest in Torvaldsland anytime, in the arena to spar or in any context. Let me know when. As soon as we decide on the weapons system for the tourney, I will try to get free weapons to you and others who want them so they can practice for the Battle Royale and fun-sparring before and after the competition :)

Best to all,


Edward Pearse said...

I'm intrigued.

I will admit that the *concept* of slavery is something I find repellant, whether it's Gorean or otherwise. Yes I'm aware that all those participating in such roles in SL do so of their own choice.

I remember reading about three or four of the Gor books as a young teenager and even then it wasn't to my taste.

However I have a great respect for a person's freedom of choice. I do in fact keep a Pet of my own (not a slave though). I am certainly not going to tell a person they can or can not roleplay a particular way of life.

In my time in SL I have had many of my understandings of alternative lifestyles to be shown to be misunderstandings and crossovers of a variety of subcultures. Perhaps this Tournament will give me a better understanding of Gorean attitudes as well.

Having my own fair share of interest in martial activities I am most certainly looking forward to the Tournament and will happy to offer any assitance I may.

Her Grace, Eva Bellambi said...

Mr Pearse -
I thank you for your comments and offer of support and assistance. We will certainly look forward to your presence at the event, and I hope that you will join in on the Battle Royale.