Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Once More Into the Deep

Entry 13 Day 9

I looked down into the whirlpool cave, at the light that gleamed up at me from the lava flows and torches below. Today I had to find the stone the elder spoke of and I had to take whatever other materials I could locate as there was no knowing what the elder would say once I revealed different things to him. Grabbing hold of the vines I lowered my self down, this time as far as I could go. I had a fresh bundle of torches and a new flint and steel since my last was well worn.

I began wedging the torches in cracks and niches every three meters or so and mined whatever I could find. At first it was only iron and coal, until I found a large drop with lava at its bottom. Along the side of the drop I mined out a staircase that I used to descend below. I came to a ledge about halfway down and looked around for my next move and saw a strange ore. I leaned over and held a torch up to it and saw that it was a dark blue color. I decided to mine this ore and take it with me. I moved around to where I mined out and found a cavern leading away from the drop. Climbing around to it, I placed a torch in the wall only to hear "SSssssssss". I looked up and saw one of the exploding creatures. Acting on instinct I grabbed the creature and threw it behind me, into the pool of lava. I never heard an explosion. Continuing onward the cave opened up into a much larger room that split off in a thousand tunnels and ways. I marveled a moment at this work of nature and noticed that even my soft footfalls resounded rather loudly in the room. I looked up and saw only darkness above and a small hole where a waterfall cascaded down to the cavern floor.

Realizing I couldn't have enough torches on me to explore every tunnel, I set off down one and set my torches along the way. As I continued onward I found a little more of the blue ore. Dismay crept upon me as frost settles on hastily sprouted grass in early spring. Ahead I saw a light that I thought to be lave but found to be a line of my own torches in a hole that dropped down on top of where I was earlier. Here the cave ended and I lowered myself down.

Adjusting my pack, I went on undeterred. Another path enticed me as the waterfall came down out of the ceiling of the cavern and descended into the darkness at its end. Placing torches, I made toward the back of the cavern. For at least twenty minutes, the cavern descended until I could see the soft orange glow of lava ahead. Where the cave opened up into was an immense underground ravine. The waterfall poured into the darkness of some distant pol below along side another water fall. Ahead as far as my eye could see, the ravine floor was flooded by a massive lava pool. Narrow ledges crept along the walls toward the far end. Steam billowed thickly from a spot where water flushed into the lava pool and evaporated in its immense heat. From where I was I saw that the pool was too vast to be overtaken by the lava, and the water was evaporating too fast to harden all the lava. The edge of the water flickered as the lava constantly threatened to melt away the volcanic rock that was forming.

I looked to my right and saw another tunnel that wove its way down and as I placed a torch at its mouth, my eye was caught by the gleam of the wall. Running a hand along the stone and ore, I analyzed it hard and concluded that it had to be gold. This would undoubtedly come in handy. I mined about four pounds of ore with an iron pick from that vein alone and found six other veins that added up to a total of twenty-three pounds of ore.

My bag had grown heavier, but I was far from finished. I followed the tunnel downward and came out almost on top of the lava pool when my eyes noticed something remarkable : an ore that glowed faintly a deep, dark red. I took out my iron pick, as the ore looked equally tough as the gold ore, and set to work on it. It was plentiful where I could find it and altogether I collect seventy five pounds of the dust from that ore.

I was halfway finished my expedition when I heard a series of deep, unnatural groans. A horde of undead had found me, but I was prepared for a fight. With my back to the lava pool I unsheathed my sword and stuck it into the dirt and gravel at my feet. I set down my pack and readied my bow, sticking six arrows in the ground before me. I notched my first arrow and waited. Alongside the cave I came out of, another cave wove back into the darkness away from the lava pool. My enemies came from this direction and I could only hear them until they found the light of my torches only ten meters away. Luckily, the undead were relatively slow-moving. Three zombies emerged from the darkness at once, the middle one taking my shaft to its forehead. I readied another shot and sent it into my next enemy, its corpse falling to dust as the last one. I dispatched the other as more of the creatures crept forth. One after another, I slew the creatures, dust piling up in the space between myself and the cavern. Soon my arrows were gone, my last few remaining in my backpack. I took up my sword and waited for the undead.

An arrow whizzed by my face and sliced open my left cheek before burning up in the lava behind me. I ran forward and took up a torch. Using the torch to parry with my off-hand, I sliced my enemies to ribbons of dust, which flew from me into the dark. The skeletons continued to fire as several zombies dropped in their volleys. I pressed into the back of the cave where I could see the skeletons' bleached bones grinning as they fired. I was gaining ground but losing cover and only one zombie remained between myself and the skeletons. Ramming my shoulder into the creature, I charged onward. Several more arrows flew toward me with cunning accuracy. The zombie on my shoulder evaporated just as I came upon my foes. Enough adrenaline was coursing in my veins that I did not feel as the last arrow buried itself deep in my shoulder at first but as my blade snapped the bones of the skeletons, the pain drew on me more and more. The last of the skeletons fell clattering to a pile of bones and dust when I set eyes on the leader of the assault : an ender-man stood glaring hatefully at me from his place at the back of the cavern.

Without faltering I charged at the beast and raised my sword to strike. In my first rush the Ender disappeared and I heard the eerie puff as he reappeared behind me, returning my charge with his own. Thinking quickly I took my sword under my arm and leaned over forward. Before he noticed what I had done, the ender charged up behind me and screeched as my sword slid up inside its body. I rounded as the ender blew into smoke and I collected the pearl that fell. Breaking off the arrow, I gathered some of the bones as I knew they might be useful for making more bows.

I set my torch down and cleared away the last of the bones when my eyes beheld in the stone the gleam of a diamond in the rock. I immediately set to mining and found two more diamonds in the same area. Alongside the diamonds there was more of the red ore, which I mined hastily. There was no knowing how soon another ender-man and his posse might catch my trail, but I decided I had found enough for the day. I climbed back up through the ravine to the cavern then back to the whirlpool. I climbed up the vines and remerged in the river.

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