A story that has it all: Love! Devotion! Foxes!
Humankind has been writing love stories about the moon for so long that it’s a wonder we haven’t actually sent any astronauts to our lunar friend with a dozen roses and a box of chocolates. There’s something mystical and romantic about that big ball of reflected light that hangs in our sky at night. People see faces and rabbits in her distant, craggy surfaces; the power she has over the tides mirrors the power she has over our hearts. Never mind that she’s a 4-billion-years-old hunk of dusty rock - she’s our beautiful bright girlfriend, and we love her.
But not all love stories are so difficult to reconcile. We will probably never get a chance to smooch the moon, but today’s build has a love story behind it that’s much more down-to-earth.
Nine years ago, Minecraft builder Shaliquinn married her husband. A few years later, the ring that her husband had worn - her grandfather’s ring - had broken beyond repair. Since then, she’s been saving up in secret for a new one. But rather than just giving him a new ring, she decided to craft a special surprise for him to go along with it - and that’s where this build comes in.
“This piece was something I have been thinking on for some time now, as my husband has been telling me the story of a rogue and a farm girl who fall in love,” Shaliquinn says. “I had always thought of the rogue as a sly fox in the story, and as the story progressed she fell in love with her fox.” The girl learns that she can do magic, and is taken away for training, but before she goes, the rogue gives her a gift: a necklace shaped like a crescent moon.
“As she wore it walking away from him, the necklace allowed her to feel a light inside connecting the two, so that they could find each other anywhere in the world.” So it’s like a tracking device! Er… but a romantic tracking device. “This necklace was specifically connected to his ring, engraved with a skulking fox that he wore.”
It’s that fox ring that Shaliquinn has ordered for her husband, to replace the broken one, along with this build that she will use as a book cover image on her version of his story.
“The day I started this build I found myself crying,” Shaliquinn admits, “not out of tears of sadness - but of joy and love from the story he was telling me each day. I find that as he tells me this story, I fall in love with my husband just a little more every day.”
Still, not every stage of the build went smoothly. “My snow kept turning back into snowballs,” says Shaliquinn, “and my sand fell out into the void. Finally, I gave in and caved, so I put a solid bottom on the piece, and hand-built it to match my top layer, filling it in block-by-block so it would not fall into the void again.”
All the organics - the trees, animals and flowers - were built by hand as well. “I can often work faster on things such as this,” admits Shaliquinn, “but I had a very specific feel I wanted to this, so I took a little extra time to make sure the creatures and trees looked just right.”
There’s even a neat trick involved in making the beautiful shimmery ice in the centre of the build: “I use grass and let the blocks below turn to dirt, then I recolor the grass with one color for the surface, and the dirt with another to create layers that look like natural ice.”
If you look closely at The Fox and The Moon, you might notice sparkly swirls cascading down around the tree and the buildings. This, Shaliquinn says, is “magic”.
“I create a cone and use WorldEdit brushes to create a swirl of color going down, and slowly pull out extra blocks to leave just a few remaining pieces in a decorative way. Replace with a little glass, some glowing End rods, and you have what looks like magic!”
With most builds, the builder is either trying to replicate something in real life, or take something out of their imagination and into the real world. Shaliquinn’s build is trying something else: taking something from someone else’s imagination and trying to imagine what it might look like, with the extra challenge of making something beautiful enough that it can be a gift for that person.
“I was hoping to make something that was as beautiful as the story [he] told to me,” she says. “I feel like I have still only captured a small part of that. But I feel it was a good start.”