Thursday, March 17, 2011

Part 12: I hate forests.

I had just finished spending the night in a pit with a menagerie: Boxter the horse, a very noisy duck, a wild horse that had seen I was building a safe hideout and wanted in on the deal, and a mourning dove that seemed to want in but didn't quite have the brains to figure out how to fall into a hole.

The dawning sun didn't reveal anything scary on the brink of our pit.
But since I couldn't even see the dove, and I knew it was out there, I had to assume the worst.  I built the world's ugliest staircase, and, sword in hand, charged out of the pit.

It wasn't so bad.

Momentary calm.  Little does the pig suspect...
As long as I had my sword drawn, I might as well do some chores - specifically, racing around the countryside killing anything that moves.  Pork!  Leather!  More pork!  I can't do any hunting or even item collecting from horseback, and it's a pain to jump off every time I need to do something, especially when I then have to go chase down Boxter.  So, I seem to be spending my days as a pacifist, and my mornings as a bloodthirsty killer.  Kind of like a werewolf, except only during sunrise.

Finally, when I had run out of things to kill, I returned to the pit.  The wild horse and duck were gone, with the dove in their place.

The dove was probably harmless, but the darndest things in this game turn out to be dangerous (cobblestone ceilings, to take an example at random), and I didn't know exactly what had happened to the other horse and the duck.  I quickly made stairs for Boxter, and we skedaddled.

This part of the world seemed to be made of thick forests.  Boxter is about as easy to steer through a forest as a semi truck on ice skates would have been, so we stuck to the coastline for as long as possible.
Finally, the coastline curved away to the east, and to continue north we had to make our way through the forest.

Have I mentioned I hate forests?  Through some strange feat of physics, a semitransparent block of leaves is fully strong enough to support the weight of a horse and rider, or to prevent us from barging through.  If I could somehow affix a snowplow to Boxter, allowing us to barge through leaves, I would do it in a heartbeat, aesthetics be darned.  I tried jumping from treetop to treetop, but that didn't end well - Boxter is less resistant to falling damage than Squares had been, so when we fall out of trees, it hurts a lot. 

Presently the forest cleared somewhat and my spirits lifted.  I spotted a bear and grew curious.  "You know, Boxter, bears attack horses always, but never attack humans in the daytime.  I wonder if bears attack humans on horses.  Let's go closer and find out."
Boxter was probably less than pleased with this experiment.  I inched us closer and closer, while Boxter commented.  Finally I grew skittish as well, and we backed off, with me able to draw the conclusion that bears probably didn't attack humans on horses.

More tromping through the forest, until I eventually checked my watch and judged it was time to stop for the night.  There was no good place to stop, just whatever space I could find in between trees with some room to maneuver and build a pit and walls.

I may have gotten carried away building the pit this time.

The problem was, I had started the pit in a slight depression in the forest floor, then realized that anything up in the trees would be able to jump down on us, so I would therefore have to build the walls halfway up to the treetops.

Finally we were secure, and I began to mine into one of the walls, hoping to strike iron (Iron, though commoner, is much more valuable to find than gold).
Then a bear roared from almost directly overhead.

Boxter appeared concerned, and stood at the doorway to my mine, looking in with an expression that clearly read, "You with the sword.  Come back here and defend me! .... please?"

"I'm pretty sure I built the walls high enough," I told him.  "The bear can't get in.  See?"
Boxter seemed unconvinced, and pressed close to me.  I sighed, and gave up mining, instead setting up a crafting table and a forge.  In retrospect, the smell of grilling porkchops probably did nothing to disperse the bears from our immediate surroundings.  Every time I turned around, Boxter was standing as close as possible.

"Do you hear that?" he seemed to be asking.
"That! The bear!  There's a bear out there!  Bear bear bear bear...."
"The bear can't get us."
"How do you know?  Can't you hear it?  BEAR!"
"If the bear could have gotten in, it would have done so by now."
"The dove was outside all night last night, and then just before morning it was inside!  The bear could be inside next!  Panicpanicpanic."
"Look, Boxter, do you mind?  I'm trying to do some crafting here, and it's pretty hard when I'm getting pushed across the room by a skittish horse."
"Then doooo something about the bear!  Make it go away!"

But there was nothing I could have done about the bear, not without leaving the pit in the dark, and exposing myself to the very real danger of Creepers.  Creepers!  Brrr...  They were probably out there now...

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