Monday, November 22, 2010

A Brief Hiatus

My apologies for the utter lack of updates this past week. My life became very hectic very abruptly and I now have more writing commitments that I must deliver in the next week or so than I anticipated having. Towards Dawn will return to its regular schedule early next week. I appreciate everyone who has been reading and commenting with motivation and suggestions and I'm sorry for the delay. I'll make up for it somehow when I post again, perhaps by doing something with TNT!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Day Thirty-Five

The night was eerily quiet. At one point I through I saw a skeleton looming behind a mound to the north, but it was just a sheep.

Where are all the mobs?
 As the sun climbed higher I looked to the horizons, but not a single mob was in sight. Warily, sensing things were not right, I chipped away at my tower and returned to the ground.

Still no mobs.
My defenses did more harm than good :(
I refused to pick up the pork. I left it where it lay, stowed away some cacti, and climbed up out of the canyon back to the west and walked around on the northern side.

Mushrooms! (looking north)
Looking south at my camp in the canyon.
 Beyond the eastern edge of the canyon, the ground rolled down towards an ocean. A slither of land continued east just to the south of my location.

Looking east and a bit north from atop the eastern edge of the canyon.
Heading east-south-east through a small wood.
Continuing east.
Peppered among the hills were several abrupt, deep shafts. I kept my eyes on my feet as I walked.

After a brief forest, the ocean came up abruptly from the south as well to cut off my path. I backtracked into the forest and took the northern pass that put me closer to the next continent.

Through the forest
Dead end this way. I backtracked as to come down the hill visible to the right of this photo.
Hills and desert to the south of the new continent.
Large mountains and an interesting monument.
Like a staircase up the centre of the mountain.
The path up the mountain could not have been easier to traverse. The ground dropped away to the north and south but my eastern path inclined gradually and comfortably.

Waterfall to the north as I climb.
The view back west from the top.
The top of the mountain was amazingly flat.
Islands in the clouds.
As I descended back beneath cloud-level, a breathtaking valley appeared before me.

Getting into the valley, however, proved something of a problem.

Not this way.
I had to head some way north to find a way down before returning to my eastern path.

Looking back west at the mountain.
I mined a vein of coal from the side of a cliff wall before heading off to get a closer look at the monument and waterfall I spied from the mountainside. 

Looking back west.
I left the valley behind me and continued east through a relatively flat forest before coming across another large mountain. This one would not be so easy to step over, however.

Continuing east out of the valley.
Mountain on the horizon.
Yeah. Don't think I am climbing over this one.
I walked around to the south where the ground seems tamer. I clambered over the foothills between the mountain's southern cliffs and the ocean to the south.

East around the mountain.
Looking up.
And looking down. Meep!
The cobblestone gave me a fright. It has been some days since I saw a dungeon. Without a second thought, I dug away the sand and let the water flow in so no mobs could assail me. But when I listened, I could hear nothing. No mobs at all. I hesitantly stepped down into the cobblestone ditch, but I could not even spy a spawner or any chests. Perhaps I was on the outside of the dungeon, not the inside. Or perhaps it was beneath me, buried beneath a cave-in of sand? The afternoon was getting late and I did not want to be stuck in a dungeon at night so I did not spend any time investigating. I moved on, looked up again, and noticed for the first time the amazing overhang above me.

Looking back at the overhang from further east.
I stepped down onto a narrow bridge of sand that crossed into another desert just as the sky began to darken. I moved away from the water and began placing my cacti.

Looking back west at the mountain.
Into the desert.
Setting my defenses.
Up we go.
I watched the sun set from atop my tower and waited for the mobs. But just like the previous night, and just like in the dungeon, none spawned. I swear the lack of mobs was freaking me out than the usual presence of mobs! But then I remembered: my younger brothers had been playing Minecraft on my computer the previous day and had turned down the difficulty. I was playing on peaceful! Whoops!

I turned the difficulty back to normal, and instantly the zombies, skeletons, creepers, and spiders began to litter the hills and crawl towards my tower. So much for another peaceful night.

There they all are.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Day Thirty-Four

I dug deep beneath my island in a tight spiral until I hit a vast, dark cavern network. I took several tentative steps into the cave, hoping a block of diamond might just appear before me. Of course, it didn't, and I hastily retreated back up my shaft before mobs could swarm me.

Back in my island camp, there were no mobs to be seen so I knocked down a wall and went outside to gaze at the stars.

Leaving camp before dawn.
Being outside at night is an odd sensation.
My hastily-built shelter.
Can you tell I am eager to get going?
That's close enough to dawn.
I headed for my boat and headed off, keeping an eye out for any mobs swimming out towards me, but I did not see a single spider or creeper all morning.

First things first, I needed to grab some wood and make a chest to dump all the dirt and stone from the night's mining in. I decided to keep a stock of stone on me so I could continue to build towers to camp on while my resources lasted, but plenty more went into the chest.

Sorted. Now to just get back in my boat.
Damn it. (Looking north)
I swam out to my boat and was on my way. The ocean looked to continue for some time yet.

Almost crashed on those.
There was a continent off to the north. At first I thought that it was a desert but as I came closer, I realised that the slopes were stone, not sand. I sailed closer to investigate.

Can't say I have ever seen coal underwater before.
I used my steel pick to quickly mine the iron and most of the coal (not the underwater stuff, though). The iron ore went several cubes deep. Quite a decent find. I jumped back in my boat and sailed back to the south to regain my eastern path.

The sheer, eastern face of the stone hill.
Looks like I might finally have found somewhere to land.
So that was a long boat ride. Perhaps twenty-four hours since I first crafted it. I left the boat at the beach and continued up to the mountain. Its base was pocketed with deep shafts and  a honeycomb of caves.

Not even off the beach and I'm already almost falling into a cavern.
More ore!
And more tunnels.
It took some time to work myself across to the second vein, but I now had a dozen cubes of iron ore. Not bad for a day's travel. I climbed back out of the caverns and circled around the southern side of the mountain.

Entrance to the caves from the southern side.
Tree pigs! (There were two of them, I swear!) (Looking north)
Beyond the mountain, hills were sloping up to the north-east, and several sandy pillars were jutting from the ocean to the east and the south.

Looking north-east.
East and south.
I headed across the sand. It looked as though I would be crossing another ocean soon enough, but I was determined to stick to land for as long as I could.

Sandy islands to the south.
Looking south again, a pillar standing alone.
I think I've walked as far as I can (Looking east).
I could see the land just ahead of me. I decided it would probably be faster to swim than to craft a boat.

On my first attempt to take this photo, I managed to drop my axe to the bottom of the ocean.
Heading east onto the new continent.
Getting late.
It had been a long day, considering how early I had started. I had more than enough resources on my person so I decided I would spend the night atop a tower, so I could continue on for a bit longer for now. The new continent gradually inclined and the grass grew greener underfoot. As the sky eventually began to darken, the ground dipped into a small gully. The patch of sand beside the water looked like the perfect place to plant some cacti and build my tower.

Home for the night.
Building the tower is still an unnerving experience.
Perhaps the bottom of a gully wasn't the greatest idea after all.
I built the tower higher than I would have liked so no skeletons could shoot me from the hillside. The night was uncannily quiet, however, as I placed my furnace and set to smelting all the ore I had found today.