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.

An archer-skeleton in full leather armor.
An A.C.M. in full gold-plated armor.
Frantically I scaled the ridge and hacked and slashed my way through these, when I saw the next wave approach: monsters in full armor. Immediately after my shock at seeing otherwise mindless foes dressed head-to-toe in complete sets of protective battle armor, then came the realization that I was witnessing these otherwise nocturnal opponents in the fullest beams of daylight. They did not burst into flames, they did not collapse into smoldering embers. They simply turned toward my position, as soon as they sensed me, and advanced.

That's enough for me, I thought.

I dodged, wove, parried, rolled, feinted, sprang, and was sorely called upon to expend the fullest resources of my newly honed martial prowess. Sweat ran into my eyes and my lungs burned for air as I dealt with each horror in sequence while remaining alert and mindful of all the others. At last I stood, panting and aching, over the crumbling remains of the final foe, scanning the horizon for any further threats. None forthcoming, I ran back to my cabin and began to pack my things.

The first question is that of materials. How much wood do I need to construct a durable Yankee dwelling-house? I'll also need another workbench, another furnace, and at least two large chests, just to get started, plus a shovel and hoe for gardening (plus all my starter seeds (plus a store of food to carry me through the first harvest)), a new fishing pole, and a couple of my best mattocks.

Thoreau rationalizes that at least this is a good opportunity
to start filling in the brown Terra Incognita regions, finally.
Then I have to meditate upon the niceties, like bringing supplies to make a new bed, which would require boating back to Ellery Island, at least, to shear several sheep, or starting a grove of sugar canes, for both paper and map-making, which itself requires redstone and iron...

It goes on and on. I can think about these things until weeks pass and absolutely no progress has been made. And that's another thing to consider: I'll be saying farewell to my labor of love, the underground railroad. To bring all my stores of iron, gold and diamond is at least impractical and at most suicidal, as one unforeseen death should cause me to eject and lose everything for which I've striven to date. This specific occurrence has happened to me several times more than I would have liked, and now I'm careful to bear it in mind on any new ventures. Indeed, I'm never more wary or self-conscious than when I'm finally picking my way back to base after a particularly lucrative haul.

So goodbye to the cunning little ore-feeder/furnace I designed, goodbye to Selidon and Voessi's smart little garden arrangement, and goodbye most sincerely to that horrid undersea temple that glows and crackles viciously all night long. I'm gathering an abundance of essentials, tracing my route upon a spare map, and sailing (oh yes, I have to craft a new boat) due east and then down into what looks like a broad expanse of desert, for a change. And I'm going to do this now, before the sun sets and another platoon of better-armed monsters may rise up and overtake me. I hope to write more in you soon, journal.

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