Sunday, April 10, 2016

Restless, Desperate, and Committed

Thoreau has discovered more villagers,
who sadly have been converted to the status of A.C.M.
Boredom gnaws at me. I know, I know, with as much work as I've to do, who could possibly become bored?

Yet so it is. All my work is in accruing resources, and so this I have done for weeks upon weeks, months upon... how much time has elapsed? There are no weekdays, no weekends, no holidays here, and so the days bleed into each other. When I'm mining dozens of meters down, closer and closer to the impenetrable bedrock, several days might slip by without my awareness. I occupy my imagination with the slaying of fell beasties, the relentless defense against Explodicons and A.C.M.s as I plunder the earth for precious resources. "Precious," I say, though I amass scores of gold bars without a single assayer to quote me a price in American dollars. What worth are these to me, then?

The only evidence of the passage of time is when I emerge, at last, to discover every last seedling in my garden has long reached the fullness of adulthood.

The instinct to migrate grows within me, however. I may plumb for months beneath my property, the temple in the desert I have claimed for my own, down and down and fanning outward. Tremendous labor yielding a pittance in gains. Why not make this labor elsewhere? This day I looked toward the north, wondering. The castle ruins lie to the south, but there is nothing to be found there; beyond that, the handy bridge I constructed in two days, the better to enable my mining and excavation, for all that's worth. To the west lies the sea, and the snow-capped mountains stretch up in the east. For all their exotic icy cover and the pines unique to their region, all they represent to me, now, is vast tracts of rock to be mined, if superterranean rather than subterranean (I rue my own jadedness).

The desert lays stretch endlessly in nearly all directions,
and the dunes rise to swallow all in their domain.
But north? What lies north? I saddled Chestnut at the break of dawn and bolted across the desert while the archer-skeletons and A.C.M.s yet burned in the healing rays of sunlight. We found the well that was our landmark beyond the Scandinavian lake, beneath which that tremendous cavern yawns, and we rode on even further, through the pastures where Chestnut and Charlie's brethren reside, unfettered.

I'll continue to beat myself up over my willful subjugation of my fellow beasts, but time is of the essence and none fly faster than Chestnut at full tilt.

And it happened that I did find another temple, or the uppermost levels of it, as the dunes have drifted and subsumed better than half of it. I entered the upper level, climbed down to the floor, then immediately started my drilling-down to access the bottom of its pit while not falling prey to the dynamite trap installed at the bottom. I know the drill, as do you, Dear Reader. In these trunks, however, were the most peculiar prizes: human bones, gunpowder, the rotted flesh of A.C.M.s, and the harvestable silken strands from the region's great spiders. A questionable treasure, I should think anyone might agree, though these items do have their uses: ground bone meal helps the garden and forests grow most efficiently, and the silk is employed for fishing rods and archery bows alike.

Chestnut truly, and at last, is girded for war.
But also within these chests was a full set of armor for Chestnut, and a suit not made of steel nor leather but diamond! I fitted him with this promptly and admired him. I had no idea that armor for a horse was even possible, but given how helplessly they defend themselves when swarmed with the nightmarish monsters, it should have occurred to me sooner.

Yet I studied their design, and their construction seem to exceed my technical prowess as well as the capacity of my otherwise diverse and reliable craft bench. Mayhap the only means by which to procure armor for a horse is to hope to find it in any of these treasure chests stashed away in temples and mine shafts. What a strange and inexplicable world, I say for not the first time.

The sun was now well past noon, so I wasted only a little time in scouting the area and developing a new map of this region. To my surprise, there is an end to the desert, and it lies quite far to the north. It is a dense and lush forest, this much I could spy from great distance, and its trees appear exceptionally tall... unrealistically so. I must be mistaken, perhaps due to an optical illusion from the concentrated heat the desert generates, but the trees did seem to reach up to the sky... I made a note of this on my map, and Chestnut and I beat a hasty retreat to the desert temple.

I did not spy a single musquash, but this merits further investigation.

Godspeed, sturdy carts. The author's destiny lies in your hold.
It was there, as well, I took decisive action. I will no longer remain at this temple but should take an inventory of what supplies I will require to start a new house of some luxury elsewhere. Enough refined stone brick, enough stout lumber, and all the tools and implements such as I require for my industry. To that end, I have finally taken one decisive action and fulfilled a goal in long-standing. For I have emptied all my chests of that most precious cargo, all the gems and valuable metals for construction and decoration. It simply is my hope that these will effect my transition from this world to my own native plane, however that answer should reveal itself. To date, however, I have been stockpiling these in every home I establish. No longer: today I constructed two mine carts, one bearing a chest to contain all my best treasures, and a second being a cunning device of a coal-burning furnace working with the cart to achieve locomotion. From behind it will shove the cart with the chest, and so huffing and puffing will they wend their way back to the last home at the southern end of the track. I don't think I have successfully linked Bartram Island to this underground railroad, but the treasure should reach Ellery Island in any event.

With this gesture, I have gambled upon—and committed to—my future. Either I will have lost these ludicrous precious items that others hold so far in esteem, or they will amass at my former house (along with many other shipments, so be it in my power). Alea jacta est.

And yes, once again: I was wrong about rail. It's not the downfall of civilization. It's actually incredibly handy (after a massive amount of hard work), or at least I hope it will be.

UPDATE: Everything arrived at Ellery Island perfectly well! I'm deeply satisfied at my little system: the cargo cart wheeled up to a podium designed to hold it over a hopper, and the contents transferred securely to a chest embedded in the floor. I myself rode a cart at top speed from the desert temple to Ellery Island—tremendously convenient, if too thrilling—and oversaw the process, which was executed to perfection. I'm tempted to complete the route to Bartram Island and ravage the depths of its rocky foundation as well. Yet this would stall my plans to explore the wild north, that enticingly lush and dense forest, novel characteristics that allure me with promise...

No comments:

Post a Comment