Fantasy Faire 2023 – The Winding Valley

A woman with long white hair in a turquoise top with almost pauldron like shoulder pads sits on a bench on the right edge of the image. She is wearing a visor that shades from green to purple. Next to her, on her right, is a pelican with a fish in its beak. Behind the pelican is the trunk of a large tree. The left side of the image is filled with other trees and dense undergrowth.

The Winding Valley

Sponsor: United InshCon
Designer: Eldowyn Inshan

A heavily forested foreground under a partly cloudy, slightly hazy sky partly hides a village of many buildings. Some of the nearer buildings are single story log structures while the more distant ones are built of stone and stand two stories tall.

There is a village in The Winding Valley that stands almost untouched by time. It has a history with hints both of Shangri-La and Brigadoon. Reached by a hidden entrance into a secret valley bounded by high mountains, it appears to the outside world only for a few weeks in a century. But while Lerner & Loewe’s and James Hilton’s creations were ideal retreats from the stress and strain of modern life, the village in The Winding Valley lies under a curse.

Once it was the site of a battle between good and evil forces that drew to a stalemate. As the evil witches withdrew, they left it under a spell. It must remain unchanged, having contact with the outside world three weeks in a hundred years. And no resident may leave the village, or it will vanish forever.

A stone path bordered by logs winds through several large trees in a heavily shaded grassy meadow. The trees stand  several feet up on roots that vault to the ground leaving natural archways beneath the tree. In the distance, several buildings can be seen through the trees.

The village definitely does exist in an earlier time. The shops are log structures, but not crude ones. They have wide, open entrances but also glass windows of several lights each, protected by elegantly carved shutters. Window boxes with blooming flowers decorate most of them.

The paths between them are neatly laid stone bordered with logs. The grounds are well kept with short grass, flower gardens and large wooded areas free of undergrowth. (Though some of this may be due to frequent floods, as the trees seen here hint.)

A small gazebo made from roughly shaped wooden poles and fine ironwork sits in the middle of a grassy lawn between two story brick and stone buildings. Branches and other perches for birds have been placed within the gazebo. Several wild birds are sitting around inside.

As the path through the shops takes me to the center of the village, I notice the construction is more substantial with brick and stone taking over as the materials of choice. The window boxes and shutters are even more elaborate; not merely carved now but also brightly painted. Many of the buildings have murals depicting village celebrations painted on their upper walls.

Flower gardens are in raised beds here. Curiously, the grass has been left to grow longer, maybe for the deer and cows to graze?

There are signs of the villagers’ love of wildlife. For example, there is this beautiful gazebo which appears to have been built not for the citizens, but for the wild birds.

On a large rock, statues of two rampant stags are poised to butt heads. The stag on the left is white while the one on the right is black. Both have golden antlers and highlights on their flanks. Both are equal in size. In the background a grassy lawn recedes toward a row of trees, a mix of hardwood and evergreen. The rocky sits in a pond in which water lilies bloom. Boughs of nearby trees droop into the frame from above-right.

After wandering through the village, I take a turn off the main path to another that runs along the southern border of the region. Here is a quiet area with all kinds of interesting places to explore. There are fields, cows, horses, goats, standing stones, a grotto, trees aplenty, and a curious monument in the center. Two stags, one white, one black, both with golden antlers and highlights on their flanks battle each other on top of a large rock in the middle of a pond. The two appear equally matched. Is this a reminder of the great contest that took place here long ago?


By this time, there are about 0.5 shopping days left in Fantasy Faire 2023. For the record, here are the shops I encountered in The Winding Valley.

  • Sekai
  • Micsha Store
  • Fae Fantasy Creations
  • VRazeTheBar
  • Sparrows Nest
  • Shamon’s Hut
  • Furry Fashion
  • Mythmaker
  • SK
  • United InshCon
  • Kumiho
  • Vanilla Cloud
  • Una
  • Katz Creations
  • Grasshopper St.
  • Sweet Intoxication
  • Pixel Doll
  • VUDU
  • Witch in a Box
  • Spells & Charms To Go

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