Sunday, February 20, 2011

Part 5: Entering Horse Heaven

Full morning arrived and the horrible hissing squelching noises of dying monsters had finally stilled, leaving only the slurping sounds of the spiders on my roof.  Squares and I had survived the night, but the task of actually exiting our makeshift house/pit was still before us.  My normal method of exiting shelters that may have monsters lurking outside is to bust through the wall and run screaming for the horizon, in hopes that anything pursuing me would give up the chase.  But now I had Squares to look after, and my chances of convincing him to run screaming in the same direction as me were slim.  Slim also were my chances of exiting the pit on horseback in an orderly manner.

I carefully opened a hole in one side of the pit roof.
This about gave me a heart attack.
Yep, there were spiders out there.

I opened the hole wider and ran screaming for the horizon.  But, being a Brave Horse Caretaker, I then summoned all my courage and turned around, swinging my sword madly.  I hadn't run far enough, and was frankly quite lucky there weren't any creepers.  I took out the spiders, taking only minor damage, while Squares shouted encouragement from our shelter.  I scanned the horizons nervously for creepers, finding only a cow that was lingering near our shelter, looking up at me as if to say, "What spooky cow noises?  I don't know anything about no spooky cow noises."
Only a cow.... or IS it?
My next task was to get Squares out of our shelter, so we could hit the road.  This proved to be deceptively difficult, because although Squares and I both fit in the shelter with a three meter high roof, when I'm on horseback we're approximately five meters tall, and when we jump my head reaches a height of about eight meters.  I found out without a doubt that there is such thing as head-bonking damage.  I took a lot of head-bonking damage before I managed to clear away the roof enough for us to scramble out.

Immediately the cow scrambled into the shelter we had just vacated and hid its head in the corner. 

Cow in the corner.  I translate its "Mooooo" as "You can't seeeee me!  I'm invisible!  Invisi-Cow!"
When I looked up at the hill, I discovered the reason why: a lion making its way toward us.
Could it be that cows are smarter than I had thought?  Certainly it proves that this cow was smarter than Squares, who, rather than hiding was now shouting a loud friendly greeting to the lion.  "Hi!  Hi there!  Are you a horse too?"  I judged it was time to move on.
The country ahead was mostly bare of trees, and although there were tall canyon walls on either side, the path ahead of us remained mostly clear.  We nearly fell in a shallow cave/pit before I managed to turn Squares aside from the brink.  A drama was being played out between a fox chasing a sheep along the rim - it wasn't until I looked at the screenshot later that I noticed it was looking straight at us in a wall-eyed appeal for aid.  As it was, we had lost enough time that morning, and galloped on our way, up a small hill.

We crested the hill, and the horizon fell away.
Oh, my, this will be much easier going.
This... this was Horse Heaven.  The ground stretched out flat and treeless into the far distance, with gently sloped mountains and hills on either side of the plain.  Herds of horses, pigs, cows, and bunnies roamed the grassy landscape.  I was thrilled, and Squares was probably ecstatic at the chance to finally stretch out his legs and race for the horizon.

We approached a herd of horses that was bouncing about under a distant tree.  From my screenshot timestamps I see that we made it in about nine seconds.

How pastoral!  This is definitely country for horses.
"We're horses!  We're horses!"  They seemed friendly and bounced vigorously in greeting.  I let Squares bound about in the flower-strewn meadow with them for about as long as it took me to assure myself that there was no pegasus in among them.
We left the herd and raced like lighting - like lightning, I tell you! - across the plains, soon coming across another herd scattered across a group of low rolling hills.  In the screenshot it looks like I found the God of All Horses, a 50-meter megahorse, which truly would have been the best thing ever (yes, I would have tried to tame it.  Of course), but I think it was merely an ordinary horse that jumped at just the right moment to create an impressive piece of forced perspective.
We found another group of horses almost immediately, our third of just that morning, and Squares exchanged pleasantries with them as I scanned the herd for pegasus.
Howdy!  Howdy!  Howdy!
A bit of white movement caught my eye and I looked past them to the horizon.  Then did a double-take.
"Oh, her," the horses seemed to say. "Yeah, she's got some kind of deformity.  We try to be kind, but really, these gross bits of flesh just flap around all over the place whenever she bounces and, honestly, it's a disaster to stand anywhere near her when we're doing a bit of community bouncing."

We covered the distance to that tree in under ten seconds.

Can it be - the rare - a - really a - GOLLY!
It was a pegasus.  Actually a pegasus.  On only my second day of travelling.  But considering how this valley was swarming with horses, I had probably stumbled upon the perfect horse-hunting territory, and with Squares's super speed, I could travel enough distance to see horse after horse.  It was getting toward sunset, and pegasus are supposed to be even harder to tame than unicorns (and I once had to give up trying to tame a unicorn after it threw me so many times that all I could do was limp home with one heart left, before the sun set and left me utterly doomed).  But I couldn't just let this pegasus escape.  This is why I had brought three whole stacks of sugar lumps, and several haystacks, and a saddle.

I leapt off Squares and approached the pegasus.  "Nice horsey, niiiice horsey, c'meeeere horsey."  I tried desperately to remember how much food you were supposed to give a horse before it would accept a saddle.  Pegasus were supposed to require the most food of any wild horse.  I readied a sugar lump.  "Niiiiice horsey."

I gave it a sugar lump.  Crunch.  I gave it another sugar lump.  Crunch.  I tried the saddle.  "Poink."  The saddle was on the pegasus, and I couldn't believe my eyes.
Pegasus with a saddle!   Getting closer!

After you put the saddle on, you're supposed to bribe the horse with lots of food and then climb on - it'll throw you, and you'll take damage, but you should get back on repeatedly until it finally stops throwing you off.  I think when I was taming Squares he threw me at least seven times.  When I was attempting (and failing) to tame a unicorn it nearly killed me and I gave up.  Pegasus are supposed to be worse.  When it threw me, would it do so from a height of 500 meters?

I nervously readied my sugar lumps.  "Niiiiice horsey, you'd like some more sugar, wouldn't you?  Nice sugar?"  Sugar.  Crunch.  Sugar.  Crunch.  Sugar.  Crunch.  The pegasus devoured ten lumps of sugar in quick succession and then stared at me fixedly.  I got on.  As expected, after a short pause the pegasus threw me off, but I didn't even take any damage.  I got on again, and waited for the pegasus to throw me off.  And waited.  And waited.  Nothing happened.  "What, really?"

"Sure, whatever," the pegasus seemed to say.

I tried to steer to the right.  The pegasus turned to the right.  I experimentally punched the "jump" button twice.  We rose up into the air.  "Why were you just standing there under the tree when you can do THIS?" I asked the pegasus.  The pegasus made no answer, as if I couldn't possibly understand the complexities of her decision to fly or not fly at any given point in time, and really shouldn't I understand that the difficult thing is not learning how to fly, but learning how NOT to fly?

Sunset was nearing, so I reluctantly let us settle to the ground.  I hadn't exactly planned this next part out, how I was going to possibly secure TWO horses, plus myself, from predators all night, especially given that one of the horses could leap into the skies at any point she chose.  Pit.  I would build another pit, and then drop the horses into it, and then build a roof over the pit before digging my way in later.  I started digging as fast as I could, musing that perhaps I should have made room for a shovel in my inventory.
C'monnnn, dig dig dig dig dig hurry
Miraculously, Squares and the pegasus didn't bound off into the sunset, but stayed put, watching my progress with interest.  Once the pit was deep enough, I got on the pegasus and dropped her into it, then placed a block so I could climb out.
Why have you put me in a hole?
"Oh no look at that." She seemed to say. "I'm in a pit.  How shall I ever get out."  I scrambled to get Squares and walked him into the pit as well.  "Whee!  I'm in a pit! I'm a horse!"  The sun set as I hurried to build walls around the edge, then place a roof on top.
Sunset!  Sunset!  Gotta hurry!
In the darkness and confusion, I accidentally right clicked on Squares.  "Whee!  More playing in the dark!  Wheeeeeee!"  I quickly got off, but now I was in the pit with the horses, getting jostled about as Squares bounced off the walls.
Squares was very very excited by the prospect of being in another fun pit.
My attempts to put the roof on were punctuated by short laps around the pit when I accidentally clicked on Squares, but the walls were by now tall enough that we never actually found ourselves outside the pit, and I could climb safely back off, shaking my fist at Squares who practically vibrated with excitement.  I even managed to floor the pit with cobblestone.  While I worked, the two horses stared at each other and exchanged a constant volley of loud neighs that reverberated through the pit.  I had also unluckily built the pit in the vicinity of a cave that contained a couple of zombies and lava, so the jumble of noises all night was maddening.  "Horse!  Horse! scufflescuffle Braaiiiiinnnns!  Ploink ploink ploinkity scuffle ploink Horse! ploink BRAINS poink scuffle HorseHorseHorse ploinky ploinkity plink Brains Braiiiinnns HORSE brains plinkity ploink WoooooooOOOooooo scuffle Horse WOOOOoooOOOOOOooo"  Spooky Cow was visiting us again.  This was going to be a long night.
"Why is the human sitting there huddled in a corner with its paws over its ears?"


  1. Do you leave bread crumbs or markers of some type to insure you can find your way home? Home is an odd term in this situation as essentially you "own" all of this. Maybe starting point.

  2. I've got a compass, which you can see in my inventory in some of the screenshots. It always points to the exact spot where I first spawned. It takes a while before you can get the resources to make a compass, and I always tend to get lost during that phase. I have sometimes resorted to placing pairs of cobblestone/sand blocks as markers, with the cobblestone always on the side closest to my house.