I must confess:Â I took Elricâ€™s recent featureÂ as something of a personal challenge.Â Not that he oh so gracefully threw down an elegantly embroidered velvet gauntlet, or anything like that.Â Oh, noâ€”it was far more subtle than that.Â You had to read between the lines, quite literally.Â Iâ€™ve been fascinated by the furry culture in SLâ€”who hasnâ€™t?â€”but I never felt any personal interest in taking that particular plunge.Â I suppose the closest Iâ€™ve come to date has been my neko alter-ego.Â But Elric presented a furry of refinement and sophistication, and that seemed infinitely more accessible to me.
Elricâ€™s gentleman fox was, however, most decidedly not a creation to be casually copied or imitated.Â In any case, I still didnâ€™t feel any special pull or calling to be a fox myself, however gentlemanly a fox I might manage.Â I decided to ponder on what might appeal and even speak to me, and to be on the lookout for something intriguing as I shopped and explored around, as is my occasional wont.
I donâ€™t know just what put the thought in my mind, but somewhere along the way I was reminded of my childhood fascination with the hybrid creatures of Greek and Roman mythology.Â I did a little reading to refresh my memory (Google and Wikipedia are my friends) and, as will often happen, in addition to re-learning a few old things I actually learned a few new ones.
Mythological creatures such as centaurs (half-human, half-horse warriors), fauns (half-human, half-goat place-spirits of untamed woodland) and (companions of Pan and the god Dionysys) satyrs symbolize both human and animal natures embodied in the same being.Â â€œThis half-human and half-animal composition has led many writers to treat them as liminal beings, caught between the two natures, embodied in contrasted myths, both as the embodiment of untamed natureâ€¦or conversely as teachers, like Chiron, the [centaur] mentor of Achilles.â€
â€œIn speculative fiction and, loosely applied, in mythology, a liminal being is a fantasy character that combines two distinct states of simultaneous existence within one physical body. This unique perspective may provide the liminal being with wisdom and the ability to instruct, making them suitable mentors, whilst also making them dangerous and uncanny.Â Many beings in fantasy and folklore exist in liminal states impossible in actual beings.â€
I couldnâ€™t help but wonder if this concept of liminality might be part of what people are exploring as their furry selves.Â Perhaps the mythological hybrids were the first furries?Â That was something to think about.Â Thus educated and informed, I found myself energized as well.Â Now I had a specific goal.Â Let the shopping commence!
Iâ€™ll spare you details of the tedious part of my search.Â I will say that I made liberal use of XstreetSL, for purposes of comparison shopping, and then went inworld to seek out a handful of likely candidates.Â This approach often works well for me, although itâ€™s a good idea to use inworld search as well, else you risk missing out on designers who have inworld shops only.
My search for a well crafted Faun avatarÂ in a handsome shade of red led me to Titaniaâ€™s Court (Deviant 110, 183, 21).Â There I found Riann Malteseâ€™s wonderful Faun avatars for both men and women, L$600 each in a range of colors.Â I took one home for myself in Autumn Red.Â Each set includes underwear-layer fur, cloven-hoofed legs, spiraling horns, ears and tail.Â (For ease in fitting, a suggested shape is also included.Â I chose to wear my own shape here.)Â The digitigradeÂ legs are both impressive and fun, and they make effective use of invisiprims to conceal your â€œrealâ€ legs â€œinsideâ€ the goat legs.Â Ears and tail are scripted with subtle but lively animation, so the effect is of a real, living creature, not the proverbial â€œguy in a suit.â€
Riannâ€™s Faun avatar is impressive enough on its own, but here Iâ€™ve chosen to add some minimal but appropriate accessories.Â (It is, after all, all about the accessories.)Â The Red Square Loincloth and Armbands set (L$100) includes a belted flexi loincloth, garment-layer armbands and prim wrist cuffs.Â I was unable to size the cuffs down enough to fit my wrists properly, so I decided to forego the armbands, re-attach the cuffs higher up, on my biceps, and wear them that way.Â I can only speak for myself, but I prefer this look.Â BeltÂ and cuffs have heavy leather laceÂ closures.Â I like this Red Square style with my red faun, but other styles are also available.Â My Pan Pipes (L$80) include a gesture-driven play animation with Zamfir-esque music loop.Â I made a copy of the pipes that I stretched larger, so it would fit my hands properly during the play animation, but kept the original smaller size for holdingÂ and carrying around.Â Loincloth set and Pan Pipes are by Chernobyl Rasmuson and available at Hoof & Horn (Jamadhi 172, 85, 32).
It is perhaps not too surprising that at Titaniaâ€™s Court I found that Riann has also created some really very fine Centaur avatars.Â Available once again for both men and women in a variety of colors, these are a little more expensive at L$700 each.Â I decided on the rich Chestnut color.Â The Centaur sets include underwear-layer hide, foreleg attachments, sculpted body with hind legs, and tail.Â The flexi tail is scripted to twitch realistically, but itâ€™s the horse body with hind legs that really impressed me.Â A complete AO, loaded with a full set of poses and animationsÂ designed just for a Centaur, is integrated into the bodyâ€”no need to wear a HUD or extra attachment.Â (All the centaur poses shown here are included in the AO.)Â In addition, the hind legs are cleverly scripted to create the illusion of a walk cycle.Â My guess is that the multiple leg setsÂ cycle an invisiprim script on and off, so the legs appear to walk.Â Fitting was a bit of a challenge, as I chose not wear my own shape rather than using the included shape.Â Always, always, always make a backup copy first!Â I did make one, and was glad that I had, as I ended up returning to it more than once to check the â€œout of the boxâ€ proportions and fit.
I felt strongly that my Centaur needed a bow and arrow.Â After looking around and rejecting several as looking too contemporary or just not rustic enough, I finally found Sorabis Sladeâ€™s Ranger Bow.Â The look was just what I wanted, with decorative leather lacing along the bow, a leather quiver and feather-tailed arrows.Â Although Iâ€™m using it here as a prop accessory, albeit a beautiful one, itâ€™s fully scripted for combat, with 50-shot capacity and three reload quivers with unlimited reloads.Â The built-in poses and animations are well done and look great, but they were designed for an anthropoid avatar, and didn’t work too well with my quadruped Centaur.Â L$300 at Crimson Sun (Crimson Sun 94, 161, 22), which showcases a wide variety of bows and other weaponry.
The jewelry pieces Iâ€™m wearing here are simple rather than elaborate, with classic, even archetypal shapes and design work.Â The Survivor Necklace (L$100) features a bold, almost primitive pierced metal disc strung on bundled leather thongs that hark back to the lacework on the bow.Â Heavy, chunky metal construction on the Quatre Cuffs and RingÂ (L$100 for the set) contrasts with the delicate traceries of the six-segmented knotwork mandalaâ€”it almost looks like a Celtic snowflake.Â These jewelry designs are by Brandy Rasmuson, whose creations at Shine (Covet 142, 49, 28) I am long overdue in featuring here.Â My Centaur is also wearing Brandyâ€™s Lustrous Eyes in Isla (L$50 each in a range of colors).Â When you visit, be sure to check for the ever-changing selection of great freebies for both men and women.
All in all, Iâ€™ve greatly enjoyed my mythological hybrid avatarsâ€”and, Iâ€™ll have you know, received a number of compliments for them as well.Â Believe it or not, between the Faun and Centaur I think I wore them around for almost a week.Â Iâ€™m not sure if they qualify as â€œfurryâ€ in the usual sense, but I had fun, and if you know me at all then you know I think thatâ€™s what matters most in SL.
Photographed on location in the Lost Gardens of Apollo (Apollo 140, 131, 709) and the Seven Isles (Seven Isles 169, 223, 52).Â Both locations are beautiful, with fantastic builds and natural areas to explore.Â The Seven Isles in particular is especially themed so mythological creatures will feel right at home.