Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Hallowe'en

Happy Hallowe'en from Waldencraft! Thoreau will dig his way out soon, with lots to say about his adventures.

Guest Commentary: Albert Camus

Bonsoir à tous. Albert Camus here, filling in for Thoreau just for the interim.

Sorry for the disruption, but maybe you guys haven't noticed. That'd be fitting, wouldn't it. Poor guy's out there, busting his hump on his little chain of islands, or somewhere on the Lost Continent or whatever. His last message to the world is that he's going deep into some mysterious caverns near the bottom of the world, trying to create an amazing transcontinental railway on his lonesome. His only obstacle, after the crushing loneliness and astounding geographical distances he has to cross, is an unending horde of horrifying monsters that defy rational understanding. And he says, "Back in a bit," and then we never hear from him again, and you don't even bat an eye. That's priceless. Isn't that just the way?

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Thoreau's Crazy Train

The fanning method of mining.
Many days have been spent on the back-breaking labor of digging the underground railway. While the activity itself is entirely uninteresting, affording me a liberal week of neglecting my journal (for what is there to update? Pontificating upon the blisters of my hands? The unchanging scenery of a one-meter-by-two-meter corridor in stone?), there are in fact a few aspects and discoveries I would like to record here for my own benefit.

Mind you, this is intensely boring work. To create a railway, I carve out just enough room to run a minecart down, plus headroom for myself. This has been a trial-and-error process: I stand two meters tall in this realm, and when I sit in the minecart, I still require two meters height and one meter in width. This is the barest necessity for a gangway. While digging this out, of course, it is advantageous to start "fanning", that is, mining large side passages as far as I may reach in all directions, at intervals of two meters, to advance my odds of finding mineral deposits. While this triples my work time, it is essential for personal development and acquisition of resources, so for the present time I see no alternate route about this.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Beginning of a Plan

I have sighed many times over this article which now I write. My spine has cramped with my scribe's position, sitting on the oaken floorboards in the cabin which once Selidon and Voessi inhabited. I did not sleep last night but paced the floor, attempting to sort in my head the various thoughts and dreams and half-baked notions which ramble about in there like a pack of feral children. There is no tea to be had, nor pipe to be smoked, none of the usual distractions or vices, even if I should break with convention and take one up. Because why not, in this world where nothing makes sense?

The author entertains himself by
mocking the skeleton for 15 minutes.
When I press my cheek against the coarse glass of the cabin's windows, it is cold. The sky is dark, though I see the pink hues beginning to form on the horizon. An archer-skeleton ambles past the window, bow at the ready, sounding for all the world like someone has kicked a xylophone down a staircase; soon he will burst into flames, if he does not find a sheltering tree. I watch the back of his bleached skull round the corner of the cabin as he stalks off, and I have no emotional attachment to his presence. Not fear, not revulsion, even my academic curiosity wanes.

Oh. He has fallen into the well, in a misguided attempt at self-preservation. Surely, there is enough shade in there to guard him from the sun, and should he catch fire, he is perpetually bathed in cool water. But now he can't climb out nor operate his bow to pluck out the eyes of casual observers.

I could draw an analogy between us, but honestly, it would take too much out of me.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Lost to Dreaming

The author long ago constructed a fishing-shack on a small island
I have said several times in this journal that I cannot sleep. All the more surprise, then, that I found myself waking up upon the floor of the villagers' cabin. Were there sheep in the area, I should make a bed of their wool... come to think of it, I do know where to locate some, not far from here.

But I slept, I tell you O my reader. I had fallen asleep at some moment last night, and I plunged into a deep slumber. Were this the usual world I was born into and knew all my life, I could reasonably assume I had exhausted myself with all my boating and climbing. Oh yes, yesterday I spent the entire day sailing around Sewall Sea. I had a clear orientation of south, based on the rising and setting of the sun, and my little wooden boat does not seem to drift but sails true, unerringly true. This is the most valuable factor for navigating the ocean in this or any world, a craft that does not list or stray. Due to this, I was able to sail south and, after some hours, catch sight of Ellery Island. My crops and livestock were doing well, but my maps were not in the dwelling-house. It was no trick to sail from there to Bartram Island, of course, and there I found my old maps.

Sunday, October 11, 2015


The vale behind the cabin: poppies, tulips, no huckleberries
This rainy, overcast morning finds me more withdrawn and taciturn than normal. I'm tired of "the fresh woods and pastures new" just now, though I trust I will not always be so. It surprises me to discover within myself an emptiness for other people, when so often in Concord the abundance of them drove me into the woods.

It is no surprise, of course, to miss the chirp of birds in conversation, as this world has none. And as I walk about the former villagers demesne, a random memory has burst into my mind: there are no huckleberries here. Why should there be, of course, when Providence has populated this bizarre realm with plants and animals in a manner conforming to no sensible pattern or system. There are horses and cows but no dogs or cats; there are potatoes without cabbage.

I am a little surprised at myself for this nostalgia for things I once took for granted, for people I sought to escape. I confess to feeling a bit childish at this moment.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Heart of a Pig

The map will have to wait! The most exciting development has occurred!

When that it happened I took a moment's whim to settle down to while an hour by fishing, I did this in my usual fashion (lacking pipe or cup of tea, of course): I found a nice slope by the house, I carved a serviceable pole from a stripling and some spider's silk, then seated myself comfortably to cast into the lagoon.

Yet another dreaded sea-temple, uncomfortably near the cabin.
Now, one troubling thing about this atoll is that it is frightfully near another of those underwater temples that blister up occasionally throughout the Sewall Sea. To overreach and strain the analogy, it was not unlike the woman I thought I loved, where at first I took in her comport and façade at face value, believing her to represent herself as I saw her. Call me naïve, yes, but no moral crime was committed by yours truly in assuming people to be representing their truest selves. When in the course of time, as must naturally transpire, one becomes aware of greater depth and dimension to another person—and certainly, no human has ever laid out all their cards upon the table, at first meeting—this manifested in a certain turbulence beneath the placid surface, shall we say. And this is reasonable and acceptable in a beautiful young woman, as it is in any human being; on this I am confident we all may agree. All of us, we have our undercurrents, our riptides, our ebbs and flows. How churlish would it be to permit these within us but little tolerate them in others?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Learning the Language

The homestead, as the author has come to consider it. For now.
I find this village pleasant... well, it is inaccurate to call this a village, as it really is only one solitary house on a hillock, standing above an atoll. One cabin and its garden: I'm sure I don't know what could be as pleasant.

Except, of course, for another couple of houses somewhere nearish. I must wonder what has happened to the other houses, if others there were. What is it about the area that retains these two villagers to this house? Are they the keepers of a disappeared tradition? Are they defenseless to travel across great stretches of land, just the two of them? Are they waiting for the others to return?

I cannot answer any of these, but the truth is that I have picked up a few words in their tongue. I am not fluent, but it was a stroke of that particular genius/obviousness that we seemed to hit upon recently, which compelled us to share the names we have for various objects. Promptly we traded our words for, of course, the crops: wheat, carrots, potatoes, and then water and then soil. When we established the pattern of education, that is, isolating an object and then naming it, we were able to properly introduce ourselves. They know me as "Henry"; they are Selidon and Voessi. While they appear identical, they nonetheless manifest subtle traits that distinguish them from each other, not the least of these being their occupations. Selidon is a shepherd (we have amassed many other words through drawings and rather superior pantomime on my part) and Voessi is a fisherman. As soon as we established this, they wanted to begin trading.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Storming the Village

The witch spotted me when I drew within a few meters of her: an inopportune bolt of lightning illuminated my craft and caught her eye. As soon as I was detected, I leapt from the boat and scrambled for stable footing on shore. She knocked back a potion and lights began to swirl around her person, the effect of whatever she had used to empower herself, I know not what. Her hand darted under her robes and withdrew another potion; I nocked an arrow and envisioned a golden line from my bow to her core, despite rivulets of the storm blurring my vision. When she drew back to hurl her vessel, I released the arrow, and it flew true to bury itself into her throat. Her eyes rolled in their sockets, she dropped the bottle and clawed at her throat, sinking to her knees. With a second arrow loaded I cautiously approached her. Her lips pulled back in a terrifying sneer and her jaw worked, but then the life drained from her face and she collapsed upon the sand.

The A.C.M.s groaned and pounded at the cabin's door.
I released the breath I was not aware I'd been holding. Some savage instinct within me overrode my faculties: I searched the wretched body for useful items, then planted my boot to her shoulder and rolled her into the ocean, her purple robes swiftly vanishing within the depths of the Sewall Sea. I am surprised at myself for the callousness of my behavior, it is not something I would have imagined myself capable of. And yet this is the fact of it, as I record it without waiver or apology.

This accomplished, I turned my attention toward the large stone house, only to witness two A.C.M.s battering at the oak door. I sprang into action: two arrows pierced the back of one animated corpse, and it collapsed. The other seemed not to notice, so I carefully lined up two more shots and dispatched it as well.

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Journey Worsens

Vast stretch of desert, entirely unfamiliar to the author.
It should surprise no one that I have found the great continent which was my destination. I cannot determine what was my intent to deceive the reader of this journal, in pretending that I was abandoning Ellery island with no specific designs to land. I suppose it was more romantic to sound as though I'd trundled up my essentials into a small wooden tub and flung myself once more into the vagaries of the Great Sewall. No reader can be more disappointed by the mundanity of my itinerary than I am by my flimsy deceit; I think that I do not mistake in this.

That behind us, I have found the southern coast to the lands I knew full well to exist. Where I have gone awry, to the reader's delight, is that I recognize nothing of these lands. According to my map, I should have found enormous, savage snow-capped mountains, down which fearsome rivers of lava ran to most dramatic effect. Spruce carpeted the sides and caves enticed the adventuresome eye, both for ready-made shelter and allure of what prizes they contained.

Nope, couldn't find a shred of this. No mountains, no lava, no spruce. Just a vast desert covered in sand and more sand, with traces of cactus and sugar canes, plus a low and miserly scrub-brush about which there seems no magnificent promise. I skirted the coast, scanning for anything remotely familiar, as disappointment filled up my vessel before catalyzing into dread: if I couldn't recognize the land I expected, flying due north across Sewall Sea, what were my odds of turning southward and drifting to the familiar lands?

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Last Ditch of the Horrors

It is no matter to build a new boat. I've nurtured a thriving grove of trees on Ellery Island, and I have deconstructed and repurposed the trestles in nearly every rail gangway within my ambit. Nonetheless, I admit to being perturbed at the mindless monsters that shouldered my little craft out of its specially designed safe-hold and on into the waves. Voiceless my rage, still did I hustle downstairs and take out a mob of them in my controlled monster-generator. I came out loathing myself but, I confess with savage pride, a little sated.

This is true and I need admit it to myself. If I cannot be absolutely honest on these pages, to myself, then there is no point to staining this book with my thoughts. There is no point. If I cannot frankly address the world, if I refuse to stare into my own depths and honestly chronicle all that I find, but instead attempt to deceive and mislead the true authority... there is no point to continuing this journal. I will not contrive a sottisier as my only remaining testimony.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Stifling Complacency

Baah-baah, they say. Cluck-cluck. They bide their time.
Oh, what do I do with myself now... I have a system in place, that serves me well. It's called "playing it safe": there still are random factors beyond my control, this is well, but on the main I'm able to mitigate the worst disasters due to having managed my property with discipline. On the surface of Ellery Island, my sheep and chicken mingle well, produce eggs and wool, and when they are numerous I render them to meat-stuffs. Between them and my well-tended plots of carrots, potatoes and wheat, I will never go hungry. As Heraclitus saith...

...nope, that's still gone. I've lost all my Classics. This saddens me deeply.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Measure of a Man

Coal lies within easy reach; diamonds may be had,
if one chooses to risk the threat of burbling lava.
There are days, weeks perhaps, when I mine solely for the meditative comfort it affords me. Perhaps this sounds strange, to you of my civilized brethren, for whom society has been forged and tweaked for the surplus of creature comforts and convenience, and you cannot understand my sentiment. Generations prior, men reaped modest benefits commensurate to the sweat of their brow. Integrity was quantified by the effort an ambitious laborer plied to his trade.

This is no longer true, as merit is gauged by how many menials and slaves one may indenture toward one's own riches, and somehow the whole of a nation has been finagled into compliance with this horrific estimation. But on my island—or on my secondary island—yet may the purest estimation of a productive being be evaluated strictly by productivity. No one does my work for me; I hire no one, I commission no one to labor for my profit. I stake the estimation of my worth not on any corporation of desperate lackeys and subservient drones.