Saturday, December 19, 2015

Upon Reflection

When the last of the archer-skeletons crumbled and no more Ebonmen gurgled and flitted about, then I stood alone in the desert for a long while.

My sweat chilled me in the morning air, and then the sun soaked into my clothes and warmed me up again. Reflexively, my mind strained to interpret this and translate it into some kind of analogy for my condition. If this labor produced anything, it has since melted like a thin drift of snow and I mayn't record it here.

Tired in my limbs and tired of myself. I stared off into the featureless blue sky, an unending and consistent hue of robin's egg. No birds, no clouds. No squirrels chittered or sprinted up rough bark; no children laughed and shrieked in the distance. Biter slid from my fingers as I stood there unsteadily, entranced with nothingness, in the broad sea of sand.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Story in the Stones

The nightmare legion assembles outside the desert temple.
To my dismay, the pyramid temple was surrounded by fell beasties, milling about as though expecting an event to erupt and coalesce them into an organized platoon—or even a company, so numerous were they. I ground my molars as my eyes adjusted to take them all in, to differentiate the Explodicons from the cacti, to pick out the tall and slender humanoids as black as the night itself, for there were a few of these about as well.

All of my senses were on high alert. Agasado, to his extensive credit, held perfectly still while I took the lay of the land. Now, I have very little skill with the base function of chivalry, that is, fighting from horseback (Old French chevaler, "knight"; Latin caballarius, "pack-horse"). I certainly had no desire to abuse Agasado's patience with grazing cuts with a sword or nasty cracks about the skull with my bow, during my preliminary learning phase, so I rode him out a certain distance to a clearing, then crept around the largest group of these predatory nasties.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Gazing Pool

"Nature, in return for his love, seems
to adopt him as her especial child."
What became of the explosion-cultists?

Were they hoisted on their own petard?

Surely this place could not have been erected by the monsters themselves. Surely not.

With the pyramid temple secured, I returned to Agasado (starting to have second thoughts about this moniker). He had patiently waited for me, milling about in a mildly restive state entirely appropriate to a high-spirited and healthy stallion. I admired his discipline and wondered at his trainer. Myself, I have an affinity with animals, one well documented if I may be completely honest with myself. Documented by no less august a personage than Nathaniel Hawthorne himself, most kindly. But thus it is with the small critters, the chipmunks and little brown birds; to bond with and manage a large creature like a horse, wild and willful, that is an achievement I must respect with some awe. Like I said, I get along with Agasado just fine, but I admire the hand that steadied his nerves and gave him to trust.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Dapple Gray and the Demesne

Now it's time for Thoreau to know the dappled stallion.
There is nothing else to do today but explore my environment. I'm now living in a desert, which heretofore has been absent in my direct experience, and as there are no other pressing concerns (save the protracted, long-term ones I've plotted), I will avail myself of the leisure.

I'm thinking of what to do with the horse. There is no hay here to feed him currently, yet he (the horse is very apparently male, before anyone chide me for crass assumptions) does not appear emaciated. Once my own garden is underway I should be able to provide for him, at any rate.

As I said, he is calm around me and does not mind the scent of human, apparently. He is outfitted with tack and harness, and his coat is a healthy mottled gray with few blemishes or scrapes. Whether he originates from here or was selected and brought hither from that wild herd I discovered so long ago, there is no way for me to tell. All I could do was assess his flanks and rub his velvety nose while trying to come up with a name for him.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Far Away, So Close

It wasn't until the second day on the sea that I realized how much I miss sailing. I hadn't done much of it back in Massachusetts, truth be told, but the opportunity presented itself fairly regularly in this unlikely world. I've sailed out of desperation, for survival and exploration, and I've sailed strictly for the leisure of it.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

My Decision Is Made For Me

Thoreau is cultivating his pigs, to prepare a large to-go lunch.
Diligent Reader, may I address you casually, do you recall the last time I fled a place? Do you remember what was going on when I finally decided it was time to pack up and leave? Let me remind you.

I had been on Ellery Island, you will no doubt remember, when I had been tergiversating over this exact same situation. I was growing weary of the one location and needed to expand and challenge myself, so better to invigorate my faculty with new air and revitalized blood. While I entertained these discussions, the monsters on that patch of land began manifesting an alarming new strategy, taking me completely unawares and nearly terminating my existence once again. (When will be the last time, I wonder?)

The obvious conclusion to be drawn, thus, is that the monsters are somehow attuned to my thoughts. Just as the critters and small birds of Concord had sensed my good nature and befriended me in displays of unity and support to guests, so too do these aberrations of nightmare sniff the changed breeze when my thoughts drift and shift. For no sooner had I merely begun to entertain the possibility of leaving the villagers' cabin than they stepped up their offense. This morning I spotted no fewer than three witches milling about behind my quarters. I pounced upon them easily enough, only to be flanked by Explodicons that emerged from I know not where. While I could knock these back to a safer, more manageable distance, abruptly my vision began to jar and rattle, as a gale of arrows lodged violently into my armor. For as I had descended into the depression behind my cabin to wrangle the Explodicons, no less than a squad of archer-skeletons crested the ridge to pepper me with their volleys.

Friday, December 4, 2015

The Roads Not Taken

Thoreau is engaged in lots and lots of this.
Most of the time it yields nothing, yet still he persists.
Not much new to add in this department. I'm back to mining, sorry to say. I'm no longer carving out a complete railway to my island of origin; I am, however, hewing through stone several meters above that track, fanning at exactly the same intervals until I've created parallel rills of perilously deep free-falls in the rock. Should I misstep and tumble down these, there would only be smooth granite and andesite for me to grasp at, and as my tender fingernails are not up to biting into volcanic mineral, my fleshy corpore would accelerate until it struck bedrock, which as I've stated before is wholly indestructible.

So I'll watch my step, and I'll continue to mine away in search of minerals. I did find a few veins of iron and gold, a little more ante for my furnace's pot. Not that I was ever a card-fancier, I merely know these terms. Lately I find myself scraping the recesses of my musty skull for all the old axioms and... what's the word... colloquialisms which spiced the dialogue of my former community. As I lack any suitable company for conversation, I can only practice my faculty of speech by reading aloud these journal entries, and then only less than half of each day, as the sun rapidly streaks across the sky and plunges the terrain into darkness, when my sonorous voice should attract the usual variety of malefic supernatural entities.