Thursday, September 30, 2010

Day Fourteen

Time to move on.
The last hours before dawn, I could here zombies and skeletons outside. I wasn't sure if they were downhill on the grass or directly above me in the tunnel. Last thing I wanted was to knock out the wall and have a zombie land on me. I stood back as far as I could as I opened my cave up to the morning.

No zombies yet...
I walked out of the cave backwards, sword in hand. The tunnel was empty. I crept to the ledge and looked down. Sure enough, a zombie and a skeleton were both trying to jump up at me. But both were on fire and dead moments later.

Burning zombie arm.
So on we go.
I worked my way down to the beach and pulled out my workbench to make a boat.

Wait. I'm missing something...
 ...and then I realised I had no wood. Whoops. The closest trees were back up the hill, so instead I decided to follow the beach north. I looked back at the baffling mountain one last time.

Goodbye, crazy mountain I once thought of as friendly.
Moving on, the ground was relatively flat for a time. The ocean followed me to my right, and several mounds rose to my left like giant termite mounds. Ahead east, what looked like a tall tower appeared on the horizon.

Mounds to the north.
Mountain ahead.
As I neared it. though, it became apparent that the vertical shaft was floating free of the mountain behind it.

The dirt bridge to the right of the mountain is cool, too.
I was temped to head north and get atop the mountain just to walk across the dirt bridge, but getting to it could take some time. Instead, I turned to the south where it looked like I may be able to walk around the mountain.

More sheer walls. Looks like a Mario level. South, though, was a way around.
Beyond the mountain was smoother ground with rolling hills and the occasional mountain to the north.

An easy stroll.
A deep valley to the north.
Some more cliffs, but not blocking my direct path.
And yet more easy going.
The day went on like this for some time, and I made good ground. Then I came across a small cavern beneath an overhang and, for the third time since leaving home, spotted the telltale mossy cobblestone.

The cavern is beyond the small pyramid-hill, center-left.
Just a quick look...
Two chest and a spawner. But no mobs?
I drew my sword but did not move any closer. There were no mobs at present, but they could spawn any moment I made a deal with myself: if they were zombies, I would take them out and attempt to get to the loot; if they were skeletons, I would flee. I simply cannot take on a single skeleton without losing a lot of health. I held my sword and waited.

...and waited. Nothing spawned for quite some time. Perhaps the spawner was broken? I took one hesitant step forward. I heard the bow 'twang' before I even saw the skeleton. That was all I needed. I bailed.

I ran quite far, looking over my shoulder constantly for an army of skeletons that I was certain would be following me. It would not be an exaggeration to say my heart was pounding. Skeletons are serious business when you can't afford to die. I moved on.

The ground continued to be flat and green and hilly. It was quite nice, but doesn't make good adventure juice. After a while, though, i spotted this mountain to the north, pocketed with little caves.

Kinda cool.
But I didn't explore it. I kept on walking.

Looking east, down a hill.
Back west up the same hill. Sun is getting low.
In the distance I could see a lake on the horizon. But closer, and far more exciting, was a whole gang of chickens! Or ducks. People seem to disagree on this.

Hey guys! There were more behind the tree, too.
Approaching the lake.
Before the lake, I found a shaft sticking into the ground. Fortunately, I didn't fall in. But I did get close enough to have a look:

I see iron...
It had been some time since I found iron. I was not running out (I still had at least 50 ingots in my inventory), but I would like to replace my armour and tools soon enough. I looked back west at the sun.

Plenty of time... right?
I decided I would be fine. I jumped down into the shaft. I walked along for a while and placed some torches, mostly to ensure no zombies ambushed me again, but also to check for more potential iron veins. Alas, I found none. I did, however, find a crevasse leading down to a deeper cave. I decided to leave that alone.

Deeper down is not my way.
Just get the ore and get out of here, Brendan.
The sky was darkening as I climbed. Surely I had enough time to find a camp site...

...Okay. Perhaps not.
I was growing anxious. It was getting darker by the second now. I rushed down towards the lake, looking for some cover.

Nothing here...
Ah-huh! A small cavern! (looking back south and west)
I rushed for the small alcove, desperate to get underground. I almost dived in without looking, but luckily had the foresight to place a torch first.

The 'alcove' was a deep shaft going straight down. This would not do. I needed somewhere small, secure, safe. I turned back to the lake.

This is NOT good.
I was beginning to panic. The moon was up proper now, and I was still wandering around the grass like a stupid cow. I was considering just digging straight down into the ground when I heard the sound I had been most dreading: a twang.

Skeleton in the water!
It was too late. The mobs had found me. I started to flee back north around the lake. I could hardly see. I got stuck on a ledge I could not jump up, and a creeper exploded right behind me, denting my armour and taking me down to three and a half hearts. I got myself unstuck with the help of a torch and rushed on. I could hear skeletons, zombies, and spiders behind me. Another creeper was bobbing up and down in the middle of the lake. An arrow flew past me. 

I was screwed. Completely screwed. Even if I found a cavern now, I could not seal it up before the mobs overtook me. Could I just keep running all night? Doubtful. Before long a skeleton or creeper would surely ambush me from the front. And in the dark I would probably trip and get myself cornered in a ditch. I really had no options.

There was one other option, though. Once I was certain I had put some distance between me and the skeletons, I quickly opened my inventory. At first I couldn't see them and thought I had left them at my last campsite but sure enough, there they were: 25 cobblestone blocks. I quickly set them to my hotkeys and ran on.

 A bit later I stopped, looked down, and started building. I raised myself on a tower 15 blocks high, jutting out in the middle of the forest. And there I sat for an entire night as the moon passed slowly overhead and the mobs congregated around me. They knew I was here, I didn't doubt it for a second. At any given time I could see a dozen zombies and skeletons, and half a dozen creepers. 

It's dark, but you can see them if you look closely.
At least when I spent the night in the boat I was able to keep moving forward slowly. Here, I could not move at all. I stood perfectly still on my single cube, watching the moon and watching the mobs. It was going to be one of those nights...

Go away! Go away!
At last! But what to do about all the creepers...

Day Thirteen

Almost time to get going...
I'm not a superstitious person. But when you are spending your days walking across new lands, when a single misstep could send you tumbling into a pool or lava or a dungeon full of skeletons (which there are a lot of lying around, if those Cartograph numbers are to be believed!) it pays to be careful.

 A spider had been scuttling back and forth over my glass ceiling all night, so I decided on a less orthodox exit, by digging into the river.

There we go.
 The water rushed down the shaft I had dug over night, undoubtedly flooding all the torches I had placed down there. Not that it mattered. Not that I would ever return here. I swam out of the camp and started my day.

Fingers crossed...
Directly east was water. I had picked up my workbench without crafting a boat, though, so I followed the land as it crept to the north. 

Following the edge of the island north-east.
I came to a shady knoll beside the water. A pig was out splashing around.

This looks nice.
Morning, Aqua Pig!
Continuing east, it looked like I would finally need that boat.

Boat time.
It didn't last long. The land closed in around me and even though I could see more ocean ahead, I had to abandon the boat. Or dig a ravine, which I considered briefly, but it didn't seem like a very nomad thing to do.

The grass was flat for a while, but ocean was ever-present just to the south.

Then, after crossing a small inlet, the water was to the north as well.

Looking north.
The woods grew thicker as the land grew thinner.

Trees and water.
A big tree, but the land is running out.
Those are fairly sheer cliffs. Doubt I can swim to shore.
Okay. I guess it is boat time again.
Here we go then.
I followed the cliffs for a time until they swung around north. Then I had to hit the ocean proper for a time until several small islands appeared on the horizon.

A literal desert island? (looking south)
Another odd island (looking north)
I made landfall on a weird beach that was part sand and part clay.

I gathered some sand before leaving. Mostly for glass, but I had another idea too. See, I had been carrying around a fair supply of gunpowder for some time, ever since I took out those five or six creepers last week. With some sand, I could craft some TNT. What on earth would a nomad want with TNT? Well, it could potentially make my brief mining spouts swifter. I could dig down a shaft, place some TNT, and grab any minerals from the resulting cave. Though, without any redstone to remote detonate, it could be a risky business. I'll craft if for now, and decide later if I use it or not.

Anyway, that is still in the future. For now, I left the beach and kept walking. The ground rose gradually up a hill until I came out on a clearing that looked east towards another grand mountain, though one that looked easily passable.

Hills. Hills. Hills.
Oh. Hello there.
Quite friendly looking, as far as mountains go.
As I drew closer, I spied a cavern digging into the hillside. I decided to check it out briefly.

A cavern...
...of grass?
Yep. A grass cavern. Well there you go.
Leaving the fruitless cavern behind, I began to climb. I barely had to dig away any dirt blocks, the hill was gradual and evenly stepped.

Easy going.
And then I reached the top and saw exactly what I was not expecting. I mean, there is little that I could have seen from the top of this mountain that I was expecting less.

Meep. 0_0*
A cloud. Right in front of my face. And look how high up I was! What the heck?! I was dumbstruck. I had no sense of having climbed so high since leaving my boat. This was incredible. The view just went on in every direction. Amazing! The top of this 'hill' was a mere block wide before dropping straight down. Who would have thought such a friendly looking hill could house such a cliff on its opposite side. I tried to creep closer to take a picture looking down the drop and, uh, fell. Fortunately, some way down, was another single-cube ledge. It still hurt, but my armour took most of the damage.

Ow. Thank you, iron armour!
The view from the 'lower' ledge.
Still quite a long way down...
This ledge put me in no better situation than the last. I had no choice from here but to dig my way down to the more gradual slopes. It was slow work, and I had to mine my way through stone part of the way. Once I got to sea level, I looked back at the rear side of the friendly mountain.

No, really. What the heck, hill?!
 Then I saw the cavern. How could I resist the urge to look inside such a bizarre hill? Just quickly. I clambered back up and ducked inside. There was nothing there, sadly, except a tunnel that hooked around to a northern entrance.

The tunnel and its lack of minerals.
I turned back to head at the water, and looked at the sky for the first time for some minutes.

Oh. Is that the moon?
Yes. Yes it is.
I didn't just want to sit in the tunnel all night--mobs would surely flank me from whatever entrance I wasn't guarding. Instead, I dug down into the east-facing entrance. At least there I would see the sun rise.

Not too bad for a spur of the moment camp.
I dug quite deep that night, but I found nothing. No coal, no iron. Just a heap of stone. I considered crafting my TNT, but had already unthinkingly placed all my sand in the furnace to make glass. Whoops! At least I wouldn't be blowing myself up for at least another day.

And that was the thirteenth. Almost fell to my death once, but otherwise a decent day.

That mountain is still blowing my mind, though.