There is something growing in the depths of the Internet, something that is more than just interesting. This something is called the Realm of Dreyrull, a role-play community that recently hit dot-com status under the guidance of its creator, artist and manager, Cassidy Ford of Chelmsford.
It all started with a contest to make line art for a website that is now called Gaia Online. For this contest, Ford decided to draw the creatures that she had been having recurring dreams about, winged wolves with long ears. Thus the first Aershaa was born. At that time, Ford decided to start running her own role-play community on the same site, basing it on the first drawing that she made.
She said her ideas came from her love of Brian Jacques’ “Redwall” series of adventure stories for young people. “I went and re-wrote the world and community as it is today with that as my guiding hand,” Ford said. “So you could call him my root of inspiration for Dreyrull as a whole, but really it’s been a mesh of things.”
Things have really spread since that first drawing. Now that the Realm of Dreyrull has its own website, at www.dreyrull.com, new members are coming in. People are finding it through friends, DeviantArt.com, and the place it began, Gaia Online.
But how does Ford explain its growing success?
“Well, honestly, Dreyrull would be nothing without its community,” said Ford. She said it really is the creativity of its members that brings this world to life. She knows she has to be flexible and allow the community to grow and change with its members, within reason of course. “I don’t think the carefully painted characters hurt any, either,” Ford said. “People love a visual aid to their writing.”
There has to be a point where the creator can step back and look at her work and say, “This is good. I like it this way,” though. Ford says that there is still a bit to do before she reaches that point. Between the templates for the different species that are missing or the writing that is incomplete, there is another project that she has taken on currently: a more interactive encyclopedia for the world so that others can find what they need to know, without digging through links for hours. Once she gets through all of that, she still wants to be part of the community, rather than just pulling the strings.
The member list has been hovering between 80 and 110 for the past two years and Ford says that is fairly comfortable to run – not too many and not too few. Once all is said and done, though – once Ford decides that she is finished with her work – she hopes to start advertising and maybe double that number.
But what about these Aershaa? What are they based on? Most would say, wolves, taking a look at the breed Fire. But what about the others: Waters, Darks, Ices, Airs and the many others thriving on the site? Ford says that she patterns most of their body types on various breeds of domestic dogs. Breeds like Waters, with the advantage of being swift, get the lithe body of a greyhound; something heavy-set, like the big Stone, gets the body type of a Burmese mountain dog. Ford says that using these body types brings her art to a new, more life-like level.
Dreyrull offers something to do on the Internet beyond reading gossip or playing on Facebook. Here visitors can write and create their own characters, and share that creativity in a community of others at www.dreyrull.com.