Well, those of you who have met Chiaroscuro on FurryMUCK have done so in a variety of places: West Corner of the Park, of course, and the wonderfully warm and open Honeybadger's Burrow; perhaps at the Studio du L'artiste, The Giant's Club, Chrono's The Raccoon's Tale[*1], the New Avian's Club or Equine Central, perhaps at the Dancing Unicorn Inn when you rang the helpstaff bell. But, increasingly, he's to be found at FurryMUCK's first place of a place, the nexus of Texas, .
By the first 'place of a place', I mean that Itza Castle was the first location on FurryMUCK to be themed and focused around an actual geographic region, in this case, the state and former nation of Texas. Since its founding in early 1995, some others have sprung up, a New England room and a European one, but only Itza keeps making its way on the whereare dependably.
Now, Itza castle was co-built by myself and Jamen-Riit, a much-missed Kzinti fellow and a wonderful friend throughout my college years. I brought him on FurryMUCK, along with the rest of the Baylorites that made their way there: Alegana, Paloma (God rest her soul), Panfilo, Sunder and Prince. I believe I'm the only one still left of that wonderful crew, leaving me and gyngerfox as the only Baylor Bears on FurryMUCK.
We collaborated heavily in the bulding process, him desgining the Narthex and some subsidary rooms off of it, sketched out on paper with database numbers beside arrows and in boxes to represent the exits and rooms. And we gave Itza its first home, floating over Dreamscape Mountain in Drachenswald., I believe at that time you needed to go taxi, dsr, west, west, up, and up again.. climbing through a dangling skyladder to come up to Itza.
Oh yes, Itza was a skyborne castle, through the powers of Kzinti technology and Retcotheric magic; it was build from Jamen-riit's old warship, but surrounded and enhanced through with the stones of Castle Kitellia, Chiaroscuro's origin-story home and the center of the Kitellian Empire, both of which fell about a century after his departure, and hundreds of years before the present day. Furthermore, my magic enable the castle engines to run permamently to keep the castle aloft.
Itza stayed skyborne for a solid 3 years or so, and grew; adding domiciles on upper floors, then an elevator system to smooth out the upper floors, and a dungeon. (Somehow, we reconciled a dungeon that was quite above ground.) The exit's path shortened to a brisker 't dsm, up' at some point, which went well.. then, as luck would have it, Sam's Furry Personals Club happened to vanish in an idlepurge, and the castle moved to uptown Itza. Five steps north from the park, then southwest; kittycorner to the Room Tempature Banana Detective Agency, in an excellent physical space.
Then teleport became a global, and stepdisks became obsolete, and the real notion of FM geography started to fade.. much as Deuce has done to keep it alive through his mapping efforts. But, Itza finally got its own teleport exit thanks to <lj user="Boingdragon", and to this day, a simple 't itza', five letters and a space, will bring you by.
Jamen left FurryMUCK in late 2000, unfortunately taking the Itza Narthex and some subsidary rooms with him; I was unable to get them returned after that idlepurge, and had to scamble to put a new narthex in place. Along with that, I extended the castle further upwards, it now encompassing a full seven floors from dungeon to spire, housing some 30+ residences.
There are a few things yet that have been dissapointments. I've yet to rebuild the guest room at Itza for those swept, an elegant idea of Jamen's that kept people in the castle. And the board has grown to see very little use, as LiveJournal communities and email lists have done a far better job of linking Texan community than I'm capable of.
Yet, the success of the castle have oughtweighed those by far. The Narthex is a good conversational space, adaptable and flexible, not quite as cozy and homey as Honeybadger's Burrow but still with an honest warmth and a vibrancy. I recall the final episode of Cheers.. where Sam Malone declines to go with Diane to California. It'd mean that he'd have to leave Cheers behind.. and even moreso than Diane, or Rebecca, the bar is his driving force; that space for friends, conversation, crazy schemes and fun. It's home, and he can't leave without losing something precious.
And Itza,, in that way, is Chiaroscuro's home.
[*1] Located on the fourth floor of Itza Castle.