Welcome to "The Diary of a Miner"; a blog detailing the adventures and mysteries that I, Syeonyx, embark upon in my quest to further my mining and survival skills! It'll be tough, there will be good times and bad times, but I'll always be alive to post my adventures... probably...

Day 27: I baked a cake... but STILL they did not come!

     Today started pretty much exactly as it had yesterday: I woke up REALLY early, had breakfast and went straight to the tower to overlook the sea. Nothing! Again! Not even on the horizon! There was no sign of them at all, and I had made it very obvious where I was with the brightly lit pier! I lowered myself down from the tower, feeling considerably let down! They were late! There was no reason for them to be late: HoN Co. boasted some of the best technology in the world, fast ground, air and water transport included! I cast it from my mind and set on with the task that I had been working on for some time; the wall! Today I was determined to finish it! Interruptions or not, this wall would be complete by the end of the day!

     From early in the morning to late into the afternoon, I worked on the wall, making sure it was secure and there was enough illumination across the top for me to walk across. My main worry though was the proximity the final part of the wall would be to the cliff. Not only was this the place I had seen shadows, but was also the place I had seen a Creeper, not more than a few days before! The last thing I wanted was to be attacked with my back to the cliff! I decided that working by natural light would be better than sticking torches up near the wall whilst I was building it. That way I didn't attract any unwanted attention! I had gotten into the routine of building the wall so much, I was practially stuck on auto-pilot; I had gone past the stage where I had to think about what to do. This allowed my mind to wander, although this wasn't always a good thing. At one point I began to think about the origin of these strange creatures, but this freaked me out too much, and I decided to think about something else!

     It was then that I had a great idea: build another gate! When the task force arrived, they would be able to utilise it without having to go all the way around from the beach-side entrance! It might even lure some creatures closer, allowing me - or the task force - to investigate them more closely! However, my original gate made use of a flaw in the location; it used sand as part of the barricade. On the other side of the area, there was no sand! I would have to think of another way of creating a gate which didn't have crossed wires or utilise sand!

     I had it! Within an hour, I had a fully working and fully efficient gate operational!

     In the middle of working on it, an idea had struck me; extend the length of wires to ensure that the use of sand was not needed! It was so simple, and yet I had not utilised it on the first gate. My intial problem with the first gate was crossed wires. I got round this by alternating the sides with which each piston operated. I made use of the same system, but my excavating a bit more dirt, and laying down a lot more redstone wiring, I was able to make a gate that made use of pistons that worked properly! Now this new gate made use of the same piston system from the ceiling, but now the pistons in the floor met them! There was no need for an intermediary material to bridge the gap! With the gate up and running, and only a small amount of the wall to go, I was ecstatic! I hadn't felt so happy with my own work for a long time. This feeling was added to immensely a few hours later when I finished the wall!

     It was starting to get very late by this point, but the fact that I had the entire wall finished and illuminated made me ecstatic! I actually whooped for joy! However my joy was quelled rather quickly when I heard a low rasping moan... It almost sounded as though it was answering my exclamation! I climbed the wall - using the same elevator system I had for the beach-side - and looked out into the cliff system, with safety. Nothing! There was nothing I could see; no shadows, no shapes, and yet this was where I had heard the noise! Rather freaked out by this, I decided to retire for the day and returned back to the house!

It was still light and I felt like I should busy myself with something to do whilst there was still daylight, so I decided to see if I was able to do anything with the reeds. I had questioned the ability to refine them earlier in the week, and after an hour or so of drying and refining, I found out I could extract a sweet paste from them! I don't think it was quite sugar, but it was close enough, and I decided to cook with it! I had all the ingredients I needed, and decided that a cake would be best, especially if the task force arrived tomorrow. I just need to find a way to grow tea and I'd be set! Oh god how I miss tea! I don't drink much, and when I do, it's mainly water. I might try milking a cow - if they are the right breed for that - and see what I can do with that!

     I've just finished the cake, and I've noticed Chiron's not in the house. He was on the porch, staring out across the beach-side wall! I couldn't see anything, but it occurred to me to check. But instead of going all the way down to the wall, why not check from the roof access I had made for the house! After climbing out onto the roof, I looked out over the sea and saw nothing. When I had seen Chiron as he was, my heart began to beat faster. I actually thought the task force was here! But nope, nothing! Not even on the horizon! Perhaps tomorrow.

Syeonyx signing off

Day 26: I built a wall... but they did not come!

     The task force should be here! HoN Co. said they should arrive by today at the latest and still they are not here! I don't get it!

     I woke up especially early to make a little more progress on the wall before they came, but I made sure to check if they were already within sight. I went straight to one of the towers on the wall and looked out to the South and saw nothing! I wasn't worred at this point because they could still easily make it by the end of the day, which gave me plenty of time to work a bit more on the wall. I had butterflies in my stomach the entire day, hoping that I would be surprised to see a large boat or ship on the pier.

     I left Chiron back at the house today; for some reason he was incredibly excitable. I think he may have noticed something is up! Taking vast quantities of stone and torches with me, I felt optimistic all day, and set to work on the wall... again! I kept my eye out for anything unusual - Creepers and the like - because then I would have fresh evidence to show the task force! But nothing... Well, a sheep fell into the remnants of the water trap. This made me laugh for the first time in ages!!! After helping it out, I decided that now it was considerably more of a hinderance, and its use was past. So I filled the hole with dirt and gravel to make sure no other animals (or me for that matter!) had an accident. I continued with the wall for a further few hours until I decided to check on the state of the other side of the wall. It hadn't actually occurred to me to check, but the last time I had a look at the other side was when I got distracted by the walkway up to the house! My initial plan was to knock straight through the cliff and continue the wall to the far side, but with limited time, I had to prepare a different solution: join it to the cliff! It didn't take long, and the solution still retained the necessary security and efficiency the rest of the wall possessed!

     After ensuring that this end of the wall was finished and illuminated, I went back up the tower on the beach side to check if the task force was here... or coming in to land! Nothing! It didn't matter, there was still the rest of the day... Returning to the final side of the wall, I thought about how much land I needed to enclose within the wall, and went with a little more than necessary. I had big plans for an open-cast mine in an open area, and still leave enough room for a forest. I worked well into the afternoon, until the wall extended to the small hole where I had found the mossy walls, and the strange skeleton in a cage! Curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to explore it again! Carefully going up the steps, I noticed nothing new, and continued. When I peered inside, I noticed only one difference: the strange metal cage had gone! The mossy walls and the chests were still there, but the cage was gone! The only hint as to its existance was a small charred spot on the ground where it had lain. Shuddering, I returned to the wall, but my mind had become distracted again, and I couldn't concentrate at all! Even so, I kept up the work until late into the evening, when it started to get dark. I decided to return to the gate and see if the task force was there. Surely they had arrived by now!

     I got closer to the gate expecting to see a tall mast peering over the wall, but nothing. Maybe the boat was smaller than I expected! I opened the gate and stared out onto the pier: nothing! Nothing at all, no boat, no task force... nothing. I went back inside, closed the gate and scaled the tower. I looked out across the expanse of sea, but still... nothing! They weren't here! HoN Co. had said five days. Five days later and still nothing!

     I returned to the house awhile back and noticed I had received a message from HoN Co.

Syeonyx, we've been informed that the task force may be experiencing radio difficulties. We've tried to establish contact with them, but to no avail.

Don't worry though; this area of Minecraftia is similar to the Bermuda triangle. Radio signals get eaten up all the time!

As a result there may be a delay with their arrival, but we've studied the meterological reports, and there is no hint of a storm or anything we, or they need to worry about. Just give it a few more days.

HoN Co. out

     Well I am worrying; "similar to the Bermuda triangle."? Let's just hope that lack of radio contact is the only similarity Minecraftia shares with the Bermuda triangle!

Syeonyx signing off

Day 25: Taking a break from wall building...

     Due to the little incident yesterday, I had initially decided to devote my time to finishing the wall... or at least attempting to. But one thing hadn't struck me until I saw it; the trees! My forest was blocking the way for me to finish a part of my wall! I relied upon the trees as a source of wood to craft things, and to support the mineshaft - not that I had done much mining though. If I was going to going to receive the task force tomorrow, I wanted to ensure that they were safe! For all I know, I might end up going back to HoN Co. and the investigation team take over! I wouldn't necessarily mind... as long as I could bring Chiron back with me, I'd be glad to see the last of this place. I finished off the tower that I started yesterday, and began extending the wall as far North as I could, making use of the new wall-building technique I picked up yesterday! It wasn't long before the inevitable; having to go from builder to lumberjack!

     I devoted almost the entire morning - and some of the afternoon - to clearing the forest. I got a huge stockpile of wood, which I had to deliver to my house in small shuttle runs. In the end, I decided to make a chest, put all the wood into it and wheeled it back to the house on the minecart I had left outside during the night. Surprisingly it was still there, intact and it hadn't been moved! After clearing the entire forest, I was left with a lot of spare branches and twigs that I had no use for whatsoever, so I burnt them using a rustic lighter I cobbled together from some flint and steel, and a bit of cloth as tinder! I sat there and just watched the entire thing go up in flames, the only thing I wanted to see in flames! After the flames had died out, I stamped on the ashes and went to work to extend the wall where the forest had once been.

     I think the amount of work I did yesterday - and all the tree lopping i did today - has really taken it out of me; I'm really tired and I was easily working with half the effort as usual! Still, the sight of that Creeper in the early morning light behind my forge kept me going. I would make this area safe! The task force would get here and they would find out what's going on here! By about five in the afternoon, I had barely covered any ground at all extending the wall along the existing forest! Tomorrow, the task force would arrive and they'd have to make do with the inadequate security I had provided. I just hoped they had the manpower to help me finish the job in a short time! Then they could conduct their research quickly and safely!

     After making little progress with the wall, I decided to retire for the day and have some fun with Chiron! Today would be the last day of normality for us... if you can call the recent goings on "normal"! This place is likely to get very crowded soon, and I kinda liked being alone here! Even with the Creepers, and the zombies - and the spiders and skeletons apparently - I feel like I belong here, with just Chiron to keep me company! It's what I always imagined life to be; pure survival! Where each day you chose something new to do that would extend your life a couple more days. Back in the cities, it was all too hectic for me. Everyone ran around like sheep, doing the same routine, day in, day out! I could never do that... It's why I joined HoN Co.; they promised adventure and intrigue! Well, I'm definately getting my fill of those two!

     Can't wait until the task force arrives tomorrow! Partially so I feel safer knowing there are other people who have my back, but mostly because I can prove to them that I can survive and thrive in this land! I might even make a cake for their arrival! I have all the ingredients lying around and it's something to do at least!

Until tomorrow then...

Syeonyx signing off

Day 24: I saw another...

     Today started off like any other; I woke up, had breakfast, fed Chiron and went to check on the farm! It was still pretty dark, but with the newly erected wall on the beach side providing illumination, I didn't really notice. I went to check on the gate to make sure it still worked... Or more accurately, it wasn't in a large Creeper-sized hole! It was still there, it was still working and it was still closed! That was one thing from my mind. I didn't care what was outside those walls; as long as I was inside them there could be a zombie war and I'd be safe! As I said yesterday, I decided that today would be a day to check on the mineshafts; illuminate every tunnel, cut off any water access and generally ensure it is safe. However, I decided to check on the forge first. Like with the gate, I wanted to make sure it was still in one piece. Not because of Creepers or anything... Just the fact that a large lava pit dominated the central square! It began to rain just as I got back onto the porch from the stairs, but I thought nothing of it. Continuing around, I admired my wall, extending out along the beach head, and then turned my attention to the forge: intact!

     I was running low on coal (for once!) and I thought it best to take some from the furnaces there. I had loads of them all fully stocked, so a few bits to make some torches wouldn't hurt. I then ascended the small staircase to check on the small spare room I had, and the rooftop access, when something caught my eye... It was green, and moving...

     It was a Creeper... Moving around, outside the forge... Less than 30 metres away... It didn't see me, but I got a good look at it; it was a strange creature that seemed to have no arms or forelegs. Having said that, when it moved it had 2 pairs of legs!!! It was odd; it looked like it was standing up, but the position of the four legs seemed natural?!?! It moved from spot to spot with quick and fluid motion, and it's face seemed stuck in a constant gaping maw! It would move around for a bit, stop periodically and look around. Then it would begin moving around and then repeat. It didn't look like it was doing anything! At some point, I think something caught its attention because it started hopping quite high into the air, and then scuttled quickly off under the cliff to the East! I slumped down under the window, totally aghast... I didn't know what to think; that was the same creature I had seen about a week ago! And there was another one, in the open! I stood up on shaky legs and managed to make it back down to the door. Then an idea struck: if it was wandering around, there may be more! With renewed energy, I ran straight back to the house, getting totally soaked by the rain. Mining be damned; there was a wall to finish!

     I went straight to the chest that I had filled with stone and took all of it out and put it into a minecart I had spare. I then wheeled the stone-laden cart slowly outside and down the steps, towards the far end of the beach-side wall. I needed to enclose my area quickly and ensure that everything was fully illuminated and was in visual range of the house! Thanfully it had stopped raining by this point, but I had to overcome another problem whereby, the wall was too low to join onto the flat field near to the forge. I either continued at the same height and spent a lot of time digging, or I raised the level of the wall! I decided with the latter; there was no way I was going to compromise the security of this wall! Within an hour, I had raised the wall 2 metres so it joined with the flat field via a small slope that joined with the beach!

     I then continued the wall along for a very long time, building a basic foundation to get an idea about how far I would need to extend the wall. All the while I kept an eye out for Creepers; as I had seen one twice now, they could be anywhere, even in the day! The building of the wall was taking far too long though; by just after midday I had barely made any progress, so I decided to employ a different tactic! I would create a basic staircase into the wall which would allow me to build the sides incredibly quickly without constantly relying on scaffolding! It seemed simple, and after an hour of attempting this new method, I was astounded at the rapid progress I was making!

     After awhile of wall building, I realised how carried away I had gotten and noticed that I hadn't left enough room for a future project. I needed to further extend the wall, but in the opposite direction! It had started raining again and by this time I was incredibly tired. The only thing keeping me going was the thought of being safe! I altered the extension direction to enclose a greater area of the flat plain, and within a few hours, I had this bit done! It was then that I decided that another tower placed on top of this corner wall would give an ample viewpoint to spot things in different directions. I was still toying with the idea of turning them from lookout posts into actual proper towers! But the actual wall itself held a greater priority!

     By this time, it had already started getting dark, so I left the minecart where it was, and returned to the house. I was soaked to the bone when I eventually got back, but it had given me enough time to determine the effectiveness of the wall. It was tall, long and strong. That and the brilliant illumination made it a very effective barrier to whatever is in this land!

     Two days to go now... Just two days... The task force better be well prepared; the Creepers are obviously hostile, but for an unknown reason. Could it be terrority? Were they threatened by the presence of anything? If there were more of them, than it is likely that an animal may have confronted one. This would ultimately mean it would react violently, and explode... There should be more craters... but there aren't! Maybe they don't see other animals as a threat... Maybe it's just me...

Roll on two days...

Syeonyx signing off

Day 23: A gate to keep out the nasties!

     I decided today would be a great day to actually fortify my wall with something a little more solid than a wooden barricade. So I drew up plans for a simple redstone circuit gate! I had a few issues with technical drawings because the position of the gate and the thickness of the wall limited my options considerably! Also, as redstone only works when in direct contact with itself or a mechanism that can receive and make use of the charge, placing redundant stuff on top was going to mess with the circuit! This meant either raising the level of the gate, or lowering it. But I had it how I wanted it, and it was wide enough to allow the task force to bring anything in through the walls. So I cheated; instead of a single gate that closes from a single direction, how about it closing from both directions? Then I hit another snag in terms of redstone wiring! How would I get the wiring into the wall? Well, after about an hour of technical drawing, I got in a huff and decided to tackle it the manly way: trial and error! I tore down the wooden barricade and dug up the cobblestone pathway, dirt and sand. I then went back inside to fetch the pistons, one at a time, which took quite a while itself! I then laid them out on the floor in a reasonable position.

     After laying down some wire, I realised that, without further excavating (and therefore weakening) the path, the pistons would not operate properly because of crossed wires! I soon tackled this problem, like I tackle sudoku in my spare time (spare time? HA!). I alternated the sides that the pistons received wiring. As there were five pistons, two were connected to the redstone on one side, and three on the other. This meant that the charge would reach each individual piston without crossed wires! After affixing a lever to the end of the redstone, I tested it; it worked perfectly! Now all I needed was to do the same thing... But have the pistons coming out of the ceiling. Simple...?

     After a few hours of teasing, hammering and sacrificing wall, I managed to cement the pistons face down into the ceiling. This would ensure that when I flicked the one lever, the top pistons would reach the bottom, and thus create a gate, or a trap. Once again, I had the issue of crossed wires, but due to the thickness of the wall, I had the freedom to merely extend the wall as needed. Within half the expected time, I had the wiring finished for the top pistons as well, and I was definately ready for a test!

     After ensuring that the wiring was complete and there were no weak links which might break or have a fault, I re-affixed the lever and pulled it; VOILA!!! I had a fully working gate that would block intruders from entering within my walls! I felt truly safe now; nothing could get into my area without me ensuring it could! After bricking up the wall - paying careful notice where the redstone wiring was - I then filled in the hole and poured sand onto the pistons that rise out of the ground. It was a particularly effective method, but when I flicked the lever, the pistons in the ground would push sand up to meet with the pistons coming from the ceiling. Unless something was really small, or crawling on the ground, it is unlikely to get through. And as Creepers only seem to self-destruct when startled, I was unlikely to awaken to a smoldering ruin of a gate!

     With the new gate in place, I was happy in the knowledge that I wasn't going to be attacked by random creatures... At least, not from the beach side! I just needed to finish the walls on the other sides now and ensure the entire area was well illuminated. I spent the rest of the day farming and fishing, and was able to make a decent loaf of bread with the wheat that had grown again. The reed I had grown is now harvested, and I'm beginning to wonder what would happen if I refined it, rather than made it into paper...

     Three days to go!!! I should be accompanied by a HoN Co. certified task force by the end of the week! Knowing this, and the newly installed gate, I was able to relax a little, and actually had some fun with Chiron down on the beach! The way I saw it, I had earned it! I might not be here if it wasn't for my quick thinking, many skills and handy work! A break was definately in order. So I decided to make a rooftop access to my house from one of the upstairs rooms. This was for ease of use, and to prevent anything finding its way up from the outside! I then made a comfortable wooden deck chair from scraps of wood and dyed cloth and sat out facing the West; sundown is a VERY beautiful time of the day...

     Off to bed now... Really need to think what I'll be doing tomorrow... Do I dare check out the mineshaft? It's worth a shot... Chances are there's nothing down there... I hope!

Syeonyx signing off


     FINALLY!!! HoN Co. sent me a further message concerning the rest of the book I found. They say that the book DOES make mention of the Lapis Lazuli stone as a catalyst for the reaction to allow Creepers to survive in harsh sunlight! I'd only found a small pocket of the stuff, and that teamed with the book meant an obviously dangerous mix! I don't know whether I should dispose of them, or keep them until the task force arrives... They also added that they have dispatched the task force, and should be with me within five days. It was actually sent to me yesterday, but didn't arrive until today, so they should be here in four days time! I've got everything ready for them; a secure wall, a peer to land on... I've messaged ahead asking if there is any need to provide additional assistance, but I probably won't receive an answer until it's too late!

     As I possess both the book and an active ingredient for the reaction, I'm quite worried that the Creepers - or something/someone else - will come after me! If the book itself is imbued with a specific power, then whoever wrote it may be able to track it! In which case, they've known where I am located... and have done for some time! This meant that I was going to have to pick up the pace for the building of the wall! I had already achieved so much, but I was worried about the rest of it. The main worry being how to gain access to the actual wall walkway! I decided to implement two ideas: have a quick and direct route from the beach head straight onto the wall, and have a walkway leading from my house onto the wall. The latter was more dangerous, because if something could get onto my wall, it could get to the house no problem! I decided to make use of the wooden walkway I had already made quite some time ago, and extended it downwards to reach the wall itself! Within a few hours, I had the entire area connected, illuminated and secure!

     I was incredibly happy with this system, as it allowed me to travel directly from my house to the Eastern side of the wall. My main worry however was getting quick access to the South facing wall - the wall facing the sea! As there was no cliff or hill close to this, it wasn't as simple as extending a bridge across, so I needed a quick and direct route to the top of the wall. Then it hit me: elevator! A simple elevator system, making use of the pistons I was going to use for a gate! I had the housing of the elevator erected in no time, but the actual wiring of the system took longer than expected. It seems I'm not so great when it comes to pistons... I'm a dab hand with a fuse and TNT though! A little after midday I finally had the wiring ready, and the piston was connected to a simple one-push button. After testing it thoroughly, I blocked the wiring in to stop it being damaged by the elements, and then gave it a real test! It worked great. It quickly propelled me onto the wall with just enough force to not cause any damage to me... or the system itself!

     Now that I had that finished, I had the rest of the wall to concentrate on. Although I still wanted to implement a gate system at some point before they arrived, so I was only able to spend a small amount of time on the wall. After extending the Western wall, I noticed that I'd have to further extend it so that it didn't intefere with the trees that I had planted, or the walkway I used to get from the house to the forge! This meant changing direction entirely and following the beach again, parallel to the water. I continued the wall along this way for a good 150+ metres until I was sure I had cleared the tree line. I decided to leave it there for the moment due to the lack of torches on the wall. The last thing I wanted was strange zombies and Creepers finding a way onto the wall! I placed torches all along the length of every wall I had created so far, continuing with the alternating side for each torch.

     After I had the set length for the wall just about right, I returned to the house. Then it occurred to me: would a watchtower be better than just a standard tower? With this thought in mind, I've once again been distracted by thoughts to extend the towers on the beach-side wall so that I could use as proper look-out posts, and maybe even a landing beacon for the ship! I really think that the gate will never get planned at this rate, let alone built! But I'm hoping to feel a lot safer in four days when the task force arrive! With the current wall erected, I actually feel safer than I have in a long time! Probably since before I found the book! I have yet to plan what awaits my day tomorrow though! Watchtower/beacon, or piston-activated gate?

Syeonyx signing off

Day 21: Beach-facing wall finished!

     Today I worked like no other man has ever worked! I completed an entire wall, including the towers for the two corners of the wall! I woke up especially early to get a headstart. I wanted a decent portion of it finished so I had some form of early protection against whatever is out there during the night! I started off with the South-Westerly tower so that I had a lookout post to check if anything was coming. It wasn't long after about 10 in the morning that I had that finished! It was then that a brilliant idea struck: emergency escape route! I decided to build an escape route from the top of the newly constructed tower, underneath the wall and onto the external side! I would conceal it of course, but it would provide an excellent means of escape if there was a need to. It would also provide an excellent way of getting back into the limits of the wall, by going through the tower!

     After about midday, I had already begun on the South-Eastern tower and was making excellent headway! It was then that I started contemplating a gate: how would I ensure that only things I wanted to could gain entry inside the walls? Like the task force! The one thought that occurred to me was rather insane, but would provide an excellent means of entry and security: pistons! I could make use of pistons to either push aside a door or allow one to fall into and out of the ground. This would require mass amounts of planning and technical drawings... as I hadn't heard from HoN Co. yet, I had plenty of time. I finished the South-Eastern tower just after about 2:00pm and it was already a fine sight; the towers standing as great monoliths to the magnificance that was the wall! I had successfully created a barrier to the outside! For one side... which had a hole in it... But still... I was in awe of my work and began immediately on extending the wall round both edges of the house. This would provide protection against everything on all sides, and would ensure that I never came across anything unexpected again! I decided that a wooden barricade would do for now, and had one erected in less than an hour!

     It was a little after 5pm when I realised that the top and inside of the walls required lighting; if I was to see anything within the walls, i would have to illuminate the area. So I went about crafting masses of torches from the spare coal I had stored away. After an hour of torch crafting, I scaled the wall and began planting torches on alternating sides of the wall to minimise the use of torches, but maximise the amount of light generated by them... It was then that it started raining! I swear it has rained A LOT since the Creeper incident! I don't know the weather patterns or seasons in this land, but it sure seems to have rained more than usual. I was forced to retreat for the day, back to the house. Just before going inside, I took one last photo of the wall so far:

     I've since been drawing up plans for this piston-operated gate, door thingy! I haven't decided what method to use, but the barricade would do for the moment. I had more pressing matters of shifting mass amounts of stone, sand and dirt! The beach head was fine, it was all flat sand (something I wish to replace at a later date anyway), but on either side of the house were large hills composed of stone with a thin layer of top soil. This would takes AGES to shift! I don't know if it'd be done even by the time the task force came... That is, if HoN Co. are sending one... I'm still waiting for a reply from them about that... Hope I get a reply soon.

     Off to bed now, happy in the knowledge that nothing will come to kill me... not if it comes out of the sea anyway! I just hope I get a reply from HoN Co. soon...

Syeonyx signing off

Day 20: I've built a wall... for my safety...

     I still hadn't heard anything back from HoN Co. about the task force, or any more information about the book. Sitting in my house and flicking through it was driving me nuts! I was scared, but I needed to do something... even if it was something trivial like checking on my farm... So that's what I did; early in the morning, I went down and checked on my farm. It was doing great, and I decided to harvest the wheat now. I might not get a better chance at any point in the future, and I didn't want it to spoil. I took the wheat harvest back to the house and then returned to the beach... That's when I decided that if the task force would arrive in a few days, they'd need a way to land the boat. I don't know how many are coming, but if they come by boat and they are planning on pulling off a big investigation, it's going to be a big one! I drew up plans for a peer or runway for the boat to pull up alongside allowing them to disembark quickly. To do this though I had to either raise the level of the beach head, or extend the peer out into deeper water. I decided that the latter would be better for both arriving and launching!

     Within a few hours, I had the peer finished and ready to receive the task force... Throughout the entire build, I had kept a watchful eye on my back; I didn't want anything getting the jump on me, and occasionally I ended up shooting a cow or pig with an arrow if it got too close!

     I then spent the better part of an hour removing the cacti plantation; it was of no use to anyone! If anything, it'd be more of a hinderance then a help! So I burnt it... It was then that I got a genius idea to protect my buildings and the other resources that I accessed: build a wall! It seemed simple, but by building a wall I could keep unwanted things out, and protect my assets! If I had towers at each of the four corners, I'd also be able to keep a lookout for anything trying to get in, as well as the task force before they arrived. I spent a good hour drawing up plans for that too; I wanted to make sure it was perfect, that it covered everywhere I went and that it didn't have any blindspots! I was so excited about this I started straight away! I had masses of stone kept to one side which I effectively put to use for the walls. But I decided to make the wall thicker than intially intended; this was to truly stop anything coming through them, and hopefully defend against an explosion... like that of a Creeper.

     Within a few hours, I had the basic structure for the wall ready, and the majority of it was protecting the beach head! All I needed to do now was to extend it across the length of the beach to cover the entirety of my assets. This included things like my forest and forge. Although my main worry was the cliff system; my forge was incredibly close to the cliff, and the last thing I wanted was to disrupt any more creatures! I continued with the wall building pretty much until sun down; all the while I kept an eye out for anything unusual... or Creeperish. But nothing... since the incident a few days ago, I hadn't seen anything else suspicious at all. The only other notable suspicion was the increase in weather variations; it had rained considerably more since the incident with the Creeper, and I was beginning to think that they might be linked!

     I've decided to leave it for tonight and have another crack at it tomorrow, and see how far I get! I'm hoping by tomorrow I'll have one full wall done, and maybe a tower for observation!

Syeonyx signing off

Day 19: Finally got a message from HoN Co.!!!

     I finally got a message from HoN Co. concerning the strange creature I saw and the pigpen cipher/Latin runes in the book I found. They said that the two are linked, the creature is referred to as "CREEP" in Latin, meaning "CREEPER" and the "SERPERE" I kept translating doesn't refer to a snake, but refers to the verb "TO CREEP". I initially thought it was an apt name being called a Creeper because both Latin translations refer to its movement and the noise it makes. They went on to say that the book is some sort of experiment, containing sorcerous magic to imbue this Creeper creature with some sort of power! The book documented the other creatures of Minecraftia: "skeletal archers and zombies, but they are plagued with the inability to roam during the day! Undead creatures cannot be touched by the light! The Creepers however were mutated through a sorcerous experiment which imbued them with the power to roam the land during the day without turning to ash!" When I read this bit I stopped suddenly; there were more of them?!?! I had initially thought that this creature I had seen was the one performing the magic, and had convinced myself it had teleported. Now I had learnt that not only were there more of these Creepers, but there were also skeletons! Although on the rather gloomy bright side, they couldn't roam the land during the day because of the sun! I suppose that's what the name of the book refers to! The people at HoN Co. say that the book actually says that the Creepers violently explode when threatened and are considered a "hostile presence in the land of Minecraftia"!

     I don't know what to do now... there are more than one of these creatures... and they aren't restrained by daylight! They're immune! Which puts me in danger! HoN Co. said they hadn't fully finished the translation, but would contact me again at some point within the next few hours. They said that they are preparing a task force to investigate the strange goings on. They said the best thing to do would be to stay inside and wait for further instructions from them! I'm to seal off the mine with any means necessary, and to not draw attention to my location; they want me to remove the torches from the outside of the house! But how will they see me? They won't know my location! I've decided to go against their orders and leave the torches up... at least until the task force arrives and secures the area.

     I daren't leave the house in case one of those Creepers is hiding somewhere close by and decides that my house would look better with a hole in it! I couldn't see anything outside of the windows, from either of the floors... Nothing from the balcony either, but then again my house is on a small lip of the hill with steep drops on three of the four sides! Who knows what's down there. How do I know they haven't found a way in through the mines and are slowly making progress towards the cellar! I've gotta stop doing that! They are not there, there is nothing out to get me! I just need to keep calm, stay inside and wait for a response from HoN Co. It shouldn't be too long now, surely... Although, I don't know how long a task force would take to get here... presumably if they went by sea or by air, it'd still take days. I can't stay locked up in this house for days! I need to get out... I need to see what's going on! And my guess places the centre of the activity squarely on the cliff system close to the forge! That seems to be a hotbed of activity and shadows since day 1!

     I didn't find anything in the mines; I went to do a quick check, kitted out with the full metal armour and sword. I don't think they can get in that way... There's no point in flooding the area if there's nothing there. I could block of the back door entrance to secure that area... but what if I go exploring and get trapped... what if I need to use that back door as an escape route back to the house? Nope, it's best left the way it is. I must say though, aside from the occasional growl, Chiron is doing rather well! In fact, he seems more bored than usual. But I daren't risk going out with him... I don't know how he'd react if he saw a Creeper. I don't know how I'd react to be honest!

Syeonyx signing off

Day 18: First day spent inside...

     There was no distinguishable difference between the end of yesterday and the start of today... I haven't slept at all! I was up all night decoding the "Codex Solis" and found that it was almost entirely written in Latin. There were also diagrams too which were annotated in Latin, wrapped in the pigpen cipher! The main diagram that I am most interested in is the obvious picture of the creature I saw yesterday! The same shape... the same gapping maw... it is the same creature! The diagram seems to depict it being struck by lightning... I don't get it! It doesn't make any sense! I sent the fully decoded version off to HoN Co. this morning at about 3am. I've had no sleep... all night I've been worried about what I may have stumbled across... Am I in danger? Does HoN Co. know about this, or other incidents before this?
Passage and diagram from the book

     I got a message back from HoN Co. about the strange blue stones I found a few days ago. it appears that there may be a delay in the sending and recieving of messages. This is the message I recieved a few hours ago:

The strange blue stones and powder you found are known as lapis lazuli. It is a semi-precious stone composed of lazurite, and is often put to use in jewelry, pottery and can be ground up to make a fine powder to use in dyes and paints.
Why you've excavated this, I don't know Syeonyx. It is close to useless in terms of monetary value!

     Now that I know it is of no value, I could probably ignore it if I came across it again... but in the current circumstances, that isn't likely to happen! The groaning I heard stopped a little after dawn. Presumably whatever was out there either went away... or turned to dust. I still don't know about any other creatures, but it's also stopped raining... so there's not likely to be any electrical activity! I've been waiting all day for another message from the people at HoN Co. about my new evidence, but nothing! I hope I get an answer soon!

     I just checked downstairs, and it seems clear; there are no sounds coming from the cellar, and there's no movement out at the front of the house. I removed the barricade from the door, and, sword poised, I edged myself outside... Nothing... Absolutely nothing! I'm beginning to think it's the lack of social interaction making me jumpy... but those photos I took are not my imagination! That creature was there... it DID blow up... the water did disappear... and then it began raining suddenly...

     Chiron has calmed down considerably since last night; he spent most of the night growling at the window... There's nothing there now, but before... well I don't know... I'm going to search the cellar... and then the mines. I need to know if there's anything down there! I'm really tempted to flood the mines and ensure that nothing gets through them, but what if I'm over doing it? What if HoN Co. contact back and say I was being paranoid? Even so... I'm not taking that chance! I'll try to update my diary with findings... if there are any... and if I don't die!

Syeonyx signing off


     I've cracked it! The book! The runes in the book! I've cracked them! It was so simple; I knew I'd seen them before! When I was young i was fascinated by code and other stuff like this! Me and a friend back in primary school used to send notes to each other using something very similar. It was so obvious, it was staring me in the face! PIG. PEN. CIPHER!!! A simple monoalphabetical substitution!

     With an example grid used for the real pigpen cipher, I can decrypt this book in a matter of hours. I just hope then that it doesn't contain a secondary level of encryption... then I would be stuffed! I've just decrypted the title of the book... Oh! It's in Latin, I think... I suppose what better language to write a mysterious book in then a dead language! Either that, or this book predates modern languages! It just says "CODEX SOLIS". Well from that I can only assume it has something to do with the sun, and codex refers to a book or something similar... So roughly translated... this book is called "The Book of the Sun"! Further decryption just reveals more latin, although there's constant reference to the word "creep" and "serpere". A snake? Possibly... I need to send this to HoN Co. immediately and see if they can get someone who's familiar with Latin on it! It's going to take some time decrypting it all though. I have still yet to hear back from them about the strange blue stone/powder I found!

     Chiron is still staring out of the window! I daren't go out to investigate. I have my bow and sword... I even have my armour... but what use are they if there are exploding creatures out there? I fear for my life at the moment; I don't know what to do... HoN Co. told me that I was the only person in this land... 'the only other inhabitants are animals' they said. Well tell that to the zombie and the weird green creature!

Still loads of references to "serpere"... is there a snake I have to worry about now? The same with "solis"... I think that refers to "the sun", or maybe "of the sun". The latter makes sense in relation to the book title. I really hope HoN Co. contacts back soon; I need answers!

Day 17: WHAT IS GOING ON?!?!?!

     I am officially freaked out!!! I don't know what's real any more! I don't know what to do, I'm so scared and confused! There's so much to tell, and yet I understand so little of it! I'll start from the beginning:

     Today began like any other day; I woke up, had an early breakfast and began to plan the days events. I'd spent the majority of the day mining yesterday and so I thought it would be nice to go exploring. I was able to construct a very crude compass from some redstone and iron. Placing it into a wooden container and crafting a small glass lens, I was able to determine the direction of each compass point based on the position of the sun. I was actually surprised at how accurate it was! As I didn't know what to expect, I filled my inventory with food; pork, fish and bread. I then retrieved my leather overalls that I had made awhile back and placed my quiver into the bag too. I also decided to take my sword with me, as well as a shovel and a pickaxe, just in case I came across any useful finds on the surface.

     I couldn't tell which direction to go in, but before heading off I decided to check on my farm. Heading down to the beach, I also noticed my cacti plantation was thriving! I hoped it would act as a nice barrier to anything that attempts to get into my little mining settlement. The farm was doing great; the wheat was nearly ready and the reeds were quickly spreading and reseeding itself with little issue. I guess making a running stream was a bright idea! I returned back up the stairs to the house and decided to check on the forge and the water trap. Once again I hadn't got high hopes about the trap, but it was still something I could tick off as done for the day. I got to the forge and secured the door because I didn't know how long I would be, and then I went to check on the trap. Once again, there was a green thing bobbing around in the water! Remembering what it was yesterday, I looked up at the overhanging branches and cursed to myself. As I neared the green branch I noticed that it was moving. I assumed it was the current of the water doing this and continued approaching. But then it turned around and bobbed to the far side of the trap... It definately wasn't a branch! I must've made a noise when I was confused because it turned around and made the most hideous face I'd ever seen!

     It then widened its gaping maw and began to emit a low rasping hiss! I took out my sword and prepared myself in case it tried to attack me, but instead the hissing got steadily louder, and then it began to swell in size. Then it disappeared in a flash of light, a huge cloud of smoke and a bang. It was like it had popped. I shielded my eyes from the light with my arm and then looked back at the creature... only to find it wasn't there... just a hole where it had stood. Stranger still was that all the water in the trap had completely disappeared!

     I stared in disbelief at the slightly smoking hole where the strange green creature had stood moments before! Lowering my sword, I peered further into the hole, but was only met with the sides of the trap. I dug a small recess into the side of the trap and cautiously lowered myself into it, taking note of everything! As I reached the base of the trap, I noticed a familiar grey powder close to where the creature had stood. It was the same stuff that I had found in the pouch... I was sure of it! The next logical thought was that the creature had blown up, leaving an explosive residue behind! It had sacrificed itself for some reason! Was this a reflex action of it being seen, or maybe it hadn't blown itself up... maybe it had teleported somewhere else! This got me even more worried and I quickly climbed out of the trap. Reclaiming my sword, I decided that now was the time I should explore the cliff system where I saw the shadow awhile back! It was literally now or never! I cautiously strode towards the cliffs, not knowing what to expect...

     Just as I neared the edge, it quickly grew dark and it began to rain! I saw this as a bad omen... first the weird creature in the trap and now this! In the distance I could see more looming shadows but I couldn't distinguise what or who they belonged to. For all I knew, there could be more of those creatures looming around in the dark. Then it struck me: if it was getting dark now, what was stopping them coming out into the open! More worringly, what if they lay hidden in my forest; it was very dark and a perfect place for these strange creatures!

     With this thought at the forefront of my mind, I beat a hasty retreat back to the house! I removed the water-soden leather armour and made sure that the door was securely closed. Chiron was sitting in the far corner of the kitchen, growling at the window. Something had definately spooked him... it wasn't just me being stupid! I went up to the top floor and out onto the balcony and watched the sun go over the horizon. The rain kept coming down, soaking me to the bone, whilst all around I could see strange shadows fumbling around... Chiron was still growling; I could hear him over the rain... WHAT IS GOING ON?!?!?! I think the zombies are back! I think they found me... or someone found me! Maybe another person is still here who has the ability to control them! The book! It has to be the key!

     I've just forced a book shelf against the door and barricaded the entrance to the balcony from my room. I've also shut the room up containing the ladder down to the cellar; I'm not taking any chances!!! I've just sent those images of the creature to HoN Co. via my PDA. There! They have their evidence... they have to send someone now!

Day 16: Today I grew a forest in 20 minutes!

     I got up early today, but this was because I had plans! I had grand plans to dramatically expand my forest, making use of the saplings I had harvested from the trees, and the bone dust I acquired by grinding down bones from animals I've killed for food. I filled my bag with saplings and the bone dust, placed into a separate pouch, and took a shovel with me. On the way out I picked up my bow and quiver. I took it everywhere now. I took the same journey to the flat field near to the forge and the water trap, making sure not to fall off. I really need to make a fence for the edge of this walkway. As I got closer to the forge, I noticed something green floating in the water of the trap from a distance. Placing my bag onto the ground and taking my bow in hand, I readied an arrow and inched closer. I lowered my bow... it was a branch with some leaves sticking out of the end... I was relieved and annoyed at the same time... I really thought I'd trapped something this time. I retrieved my bag and got to work, planting saplings 5 metres from each other and applied the bone dust to each sapling individually. As I went onto planting the next sapling, the previous one had already matured, and would provide me with plenty of wood! Within 20 minutes or so, I had made a decent sized copse of trees.

     After finishing up with the rest of the planting, I decided that it would be best to finish off the forge; my dedication to finishing things really takes a punch every now and again. I didn't know how regular the weather was here in Minecraftia but the last thing I wanted was collections of water pooling into the forge. I created a small wooden ladder to get onto the upper most walls, and began cementing cobblestone blocks into place. Once I had the height of the wall as needed, I returned to the upper floor and erected a simple wooden walkway across the top of the upper wall. This would help me to complete the forge whilst the cement dried, and stop me from plummeting into the lava below. Within a few hours I had a simple flat roof complete, which I added to by creating ridges from stone blocks on top. This would prevent water pooling on the top of the roof, and possibly causing cracks and leaks. Happy with the work, I returned to the house with my inventory considerably lighter!

     After having a quick lunch (and a a bit of a play with Chiron on the beach with a stick), I decided that I should try a bit more mining in the main shaft; I wanted to see how deep I could go without risking pockets of toxic gas and lava. The thing that kept me going was the possibility of finding diamond, the deeper I was. Returning to the main shaft, and after a few minutes digging, I found something totally unexpected...

     After a few mintues of deliberating the pros and cons, I descended into the hole, making use of some stone I had collected. I then had to return to the entrance of the shaft to construct a few wooden steps to ensure I could get down further. Returning to the mysterious hole, I placed the wooden steps down near the stone blocks and nailed them into place. It was then that it occurred to me that I could here running water. After finding my torches in my bag, I was able to illuminate the small hole and found an underground source of water! Unexpected, but not unwanted, I was able to force the tide of the water back to a small pool, and began to explore further into the hole. It wasn't very big... It had a large amount of gravel and hard stone, but something else: redstone! I already had masses of the stuff, but more wasn't a bad thing. I excavated it and found that a vein of coal resided behind the redstone!

     If that wasn't enough, behind the vein of coal was a huge desposit of iron! It was like a nice ore sandwich; there just seemed to be loads of it! I was half expecting to find gold behind the iron, and then diamond behind that... But alas no. After the iron, there was only more gravel and hard stone. Returning to the entrance of the shaft, I sent my finds up to the surface on the chest cart, being pushed by the steam cart. I wanted to take one more look around the shaft before returning to the surface. I spent another hour down there before returning to the surface, and, looking outside, I realised how late it was! I really needed a way to tell the time when underground! That is another reason why an open-cast mine would be so much more effective; no need for torches because the light from the sun illuminates everything, no need to have wooden steps as frequently because I can create my own from the stone, and after I'm finished with it, I could pump water into it to turn it into a lake! The only downside with an open-cast mine is the need for large amounts of TNT! Which I don't have... yet!

     Back at the house now, sending a message back to HoN Co. to see if they can identify this strange blue stone I found yesterday. I've already determined it is useless as an energy source, but I'm sure it could be useful for something... I just hope it doesn't have a more sinister use. Talking of which, still no progress with the book; I've filled a wooden shelf with books of my findings and still I don't see any connection! Oh well...

Syeonyx signing off

Day 15: I HIT GOLD!!!

     I still can't make heads nor tails of that weird pig in my dream two nights ago... I didn't have that dream last night, just a regular, boring one where I felt like I was falling. For a change, Chiron woke me up by jumping on the bed and slobbering all over me! I suppose it was a good way what with it being slightly later than usual. I gave him his customary pork chop breakfast and I went to check on the farm; it's doing great. The reeds are shooting up, and the wheat is progressing steadily too! As i returned, I noticed a ton of feathers lying around near the base of the stairs that I hadn't spotted on my way down. It seems something or someone killed a few chickens during the night. Although whether it was another wolf or that weird shadow remains unknown. Probably for the best... Although I think I had seen another wolf around recently, and so it is likely to be the former.

     I decided to go along with my little idea and made a simple minecart system from some of the iron I found yesterday. After a few hours of smelting, I had enough iron bars to construct a long enough track to go into my main shaft, and I made a breaker at either end to stop the carts causing damage to the ends of the track. I was then able to make a simple steam cart to push other carts along so that the tough hills didn't require me to push. Then it was simply a case of sticking a chest into one of the open carts and placed it onto the track. Then came the task of making splitters to allow the cart to change tracks...

     I then decided to take the minecart for a test; I set the steam cart to push the other cart down the main shaft and I raced off ahead, hopefully wanting it to work. About a minute later along came the steam cart and the chest cart. They came down the track and collided with the breaker... a little too violently for my liking, but there was no damage done so I decided to leave it as it was. I then descended back into the main shaft and decided to go digging a bit more. I was hoping to find something really precious down here, what with it being rather deep. After about an hour of fruitless digging, I was tempted to break out another block of TNT, but I decided against it, especially as I had two other shafts to explore, and who knows how much further it'll last. My refrain was rewarded greatly though, about half an hour later!

     GOLD!!! I couldn't believe it: I'd actually struck gold! There was quite a bit of it too, I was ecstatic! After harvesting it, I returned to the entrance and placed it into the chest cart and sent it to the surface, being pushed by the steam cart. Hoping that there would be more, I returned to the spot where I had found it and continued digging. After another hour or so of digging around in the general area, I still had found nothing else. It had now gotten to the stage where I had begun finding coal veins, and I was leaving them in hopes I'd find something better to use my pickaxe on! It wasn't long after that when I found something I had never seen before; I had just got through a rather stubborn patch of gravel when I saw a glint of blueish light. My heart skipped a beat; had I found diamond? After digging awhile longer I had excavated the strange find, only to be confronted with a strange blue stone.

     After excavating, I noticed the rock was actually made up of smaller blue stones which broke up in my hand when enough pressure was applied. I'd never seen this before, not even in the MiNES! Maybe it was a new form of gem or ore which could be used as an alternative energy source. Maybe I'd found the solution to the world's energy crisis! All I saw though was a handful of blue stones and powder. In any case, I collected it up and put it into my inventory, and returned to the surface. On the way up I noticed the chest cart had successfully made it back to the surface and the gold was intact. I had no use for actual gold, due to its softness, so it was terrible for armour, weaponary and tools. I decided to smelt it anyway into bars so it was easier to transport, and placed them into the same chest I had put the extra iron. This would be my bonus chest! When I returned to the house from the cellar, I hadn't realised how long I'd been down there; the sun had already begun to go down and Chiron was sitting in front of the cellar hole expectantly. I think I might try another bit of fishing again later, or maybe try a bit of late night work flattening the area near the forge: I have grand ideas for a huge forest there at some point, I'm just waiting for me to use up the current stockpile of wood already there... That's a point, I could go and chop some wood! It'd be a good excuse to check on the water trap.

Syeonyx signing off

Day 14: Correction again! I made a subterranean crater!

     Today, I can say with a degree of pride and joy that I spent all day mining! I woke up early and went straight to the cellar. Although I should point out that by "mining" I actually meant extending my main shaft, blowing a giant hole in it and then harvesting the fruits of my labour! I constructed two large latrines from wood, equivalent to about 3 blocks of TNT each, carried them to the mineshaft and then went back for the bucket of sulphur and sand. I then thought that it might be best to extend my mineshaft down a little to ensure that I didn't rupture the top layer of soil and cause a cave-in. After about 20 metres or so, using the step shaft method, I dug out two long holes on either side of the mineshaft walls, placed the wooden latrines into them, and then filled them with the contents of the bucket. Then, carefully connecting the fuse wire to the redstone dust, I made a trail back up the stairs and connected the same flint switch.

     Needless to say, with the equivalent of six blocks of TNT going off, the result was rather amazing: the hole was rather deep and wide, which exposed multiple veins of coal, and a large amount of gravel. Knowing my stuff, I knew that gravel meant the presence of iron or other ores, due to the high pressures causing pure raw ore to become concentrated in small pockets.

     I had to return to the ground floor of the house and retrieve a few wooden steps I'd premade awhile back after constructing the wooden walkway. I carefully made my way down to the bottom of the hole using the steps, and began to place a few torches around to light up the place. Iron is a tricky ore to spot in the dark, and I wanted to make sure I found some! Not seeing any on the surface, I decided to shift some of the gravel that was everywhere! I had high hopes due to the amount of gravel I had found, but the one problem with it was it could easily cause a collapse if I wasn't careful. After about an hour or so shovelling gravel from one of the walls, I noticed a small vein of coal actually under the main stairwell that I had constructed. With a bit of moving steps around, I managed to extract all the coal, and put it into a chest I'd constructed towards the far end of the mineshaft. Returning, I continued with the removal of the gravel, when I suddenly I hit the jackpot! Before I began excavating my find, I cleared the area around it to ensure I knew how much digging would be involved. I was ecstatic at my find!

     After excavating all of the iron ore I had found, I took it to the surface in shuttle runs that took about 40 minutes. I really needed a better way of getting this to the surface, and was toying with the idea of constructing a minecart and railway system to transport the ore from the source directly to the surface! I had certainly found enough iron for the job, and I had enough left over to store as a few blocks to sell to make a bonus on top of my pay packet. If I could find some gold, I could really make a huge bundle, what with the high price that is being paid for gold in it's pure form. In previous MiNES I'd even found diamond, but that was unlikely to be around due to the geography of the place. There were no volcanoes or underground sources of lava to generate intense pressure and heat to create diamond. Knowing my science, I knew that the gas laws played heavily into the creation of diamond! Coal is the like diamond, but considerably easier to create naturally.

     I had that dream again, the one where I had solved the runes in the book, but I couldn't quite remember when I woke up. The weird thing was, the only other thing I could remember in my dream, was a pig running around in my house with me ignoring it! This confused me instantly when I woke up, but I feel it has a link somehow...

Syeonyx signing off

Day 13: Correction: I made a hole...

     I had a good feeling about today; and for good reason! I woke up at a decent time and decided to take Chiron with me to go start the vertical mineshaft. Although I left Chiron at the top, I kept him occupied with a pork chop and a few bones. I just hoped he'd stay there. As i went past the water trap, I noticed nothing unusual; the pork chops were still there, along with a chicken! I constructed a few ladders and ensured that I had loads of torches; the way I mine I'd need lots, especially as there is no other light source underground... I hope. Vertical mining is a quick way to gain depth, but it is considerably more dangerous as I need to watch what I'm mining for underneath me. Occassionally I may come across small pockets of isolated toxic gas and lava. It's worse if I find both at the same time! My method however should improve the danger facor slightly: I would dig down vertically for about 20 metres, then dig horizontally for a few feet and then start a new shaft underneath the old one. This protected me if parts of the upper shafts began to collapse, and it also prevents other stuff falling on top of me! I had to create a small fence and gate to stop Chiron being too nosy and falling down into the shaft after me!

     After about 4 hours of mining, I'd gone down quite a distance. I'd almost exhausted my supply of torches and ladders. I was about to turn back around and return to the surface, when I saw red sparks being emitted from behind some dirt. I dug it out and found a huge stockpile of redstone! Plenty to make fusewire for the TNT blocks! Now I could actually perform some large scale mining, as long as the sulphur/sand mix went far enough. I suppose that the TNT would be great for open-cast mining, but only if I had enough of it, which I don't!

     The next logical stage was testing: this time I returned to the surface, redstone in my inventory, with the perfect place to test it! As I climbed the wooden staircase I had erected around the hill base linking my forge to my house, I noticed another small, white creature at the base of the hill. I could've sworn it was another wolf, but it saw me and ran off before I could get a better look. Casting it from my mind, I returned to the cellar where I had placed the sulphur/sand mix, and returned to the ground floor. I constructed some simple wooden boxes with a basic lid flap and copied the design for three boxes. I was only going to test the TNT with 3 blocks... a controlled amount. I also constructed a simple flint switch to send a charge through the redstone fuse to the TNT. I had to take the three boxes out to the preassigned place separately and then fill each with enough powder to be effective. I then crushed the redstone into a fine powder and created a trail leading from the TNT blocks to the flint switch at a safe distance.

     After ensuring that no wildlife was too close, and that the fuse was safely connected and at a reasonable distance, I set my camera up on a small rocky outcrop nearby and put it on reverse flash setting. This meant it would instantly take a photo if it detected a flash of light. I then flicked the flint switch and covered up my ears!

     After I felt the explosion, I uncovered my ears, but waited for the remaining debris to finish falling. After a minute or so, I stood up and looked in awe at the destruction that had been wrought: there was a giant hole with a vein of coal on the surface! It had worked perfectly.... better than perfect! In a simple controlled test I'd ensured that I could safely use TNT and redstone fuses together, and I had found a vein of coal which might otherwise have lain hidden. I could definately make use of this later on, and was wondering if it was possible to create a basic form of sulphur or gunpowder to make an open-cast mine a more profitable option!

     I'll see what I can make using manure from the animals; they're definately plenty of them so I might as well put their waste to use! On returning to the house with flint switch and fuse line, I spotted the little white shape again, this time on the wooden pathway leading to the forge. I lowered myself and crept along the side of my house, but before I could get to it, it had gone. I'm sure there's another wolf, or maybe a pack of them, wandering around near my house. I'm worried that they may be looking for Chiron... It then reminded me that I'd left him back at the vertical shaft, but as I headed towards the walkway, he came running towards me, bone in mouth! He shot straight past me, down the side of the house and onto the porch where he then lay down and began gnawing at the bone. I returned to the house decided to give the mysterious book another look over.It was strange; I'd had a dream about it last night, but the only thing I could remember was solving it, but not how! It was infuriating; I had it in my head but within seconds of waking, I felt the solution bleeding from my head! I'll get it sometime... I know I will!