All roads lead to Middle Earth, but my road began at Edhelion, city invaded by dwarves, grave of my avatar’s master, Talagan Silvertongue, and the shadowed homeland of those who survived, though they are often more broken in spirit than body. So where is the fantasy? It breathes in the ancient relics so desired by Skorgrim the “evil dwarf king,” in the magic wielded by wizards and elves alike, and in the quieter deeds and quests performed by the virtual inhabitants of the realm. Here, fantasy and reality collide. The language used by the elves, wherein the words, sentences, grammatical rules are all based on the languages spoken in the real world, the “meat space” we inhabit. It sounds beautiful, fitting for a world where great heroes can emerge, elves can live forever, where animals can take humanoid forms, and where an eye that hangs over a mountain peak can haunt the edges of the land and change the course of souls and nations, raising from the grave kings who should have stayed dead. The fantastic backdrop of the world is strengthened by the familiarity. We have seen, even if only in pictures, the landscapes (of snowy mountains, quiet valleys, mournful stretches of grassy plains), though the cities are too whimsical to match the buildings most of us see every day. Even the simulated, looping behaviors of the NPCs are familiary. The NPCs in Edhelion are caught in a loop of destruction and aftermath, with dialouges that speak of nightmares, loss, betrayal, anguish, and fear. These are hollow beings, but the representations are there, virtually mimicking greed or selflessness, honor or domination. These characters, presented in extremes when we are used to greys, are part of the fantasy. Heroes whose moral compass may always point north, where others struggle with themselves and always come out on top or give into the madness and end up being slain. The evil plaguing the land, though, is more single-minded than that. Sauron, Saruman, Angmar, the orcs, only wish for destruction and the enslavement of others. They too play into the backdrop of fantasy. The heroes need quests and the villains provide them such places to gain honor.