• 1

    posted a message on Citadel Storm (Server Suggestion) (Hypothetical)
    This is my idea for a server that I do not have the resources to make; it's an idea I'm posting in case someone wants to try putting it into action. If a notably similar server already exists, do not hesitate to inform me.

    Citadel Storm is my idea for a constantly-running server that puts players into a special player-versus-mob world, which they can enter and exit at their will.


    The Citadel is a breeding ground of evil, surrounded by a mile-wide battleground of monsters. It's a huge map, broken into 150 rings about the citadel, each about 20 blocks wide and with its own level of difficulty and reward. Players spawn at the very edge, in ring #151, the village. Their goal: destroy the citadel.

    Of course, fighting through all 150 rings would take hours, especially when players have to collect the loot necessary to advance. Thus, when a player enters the world, they can see how far the army of players have progressed, and decide whether he wants to help or join another server.

    The 150 Rings

    You can craft anything in Citadel Storm, but it only becomes gradually available through mob drops. In the 150th ring, the loot is simply wooden planks. There isn't nearly enough to build a bridge all the way to the Citadel, even if you could get past the skeletons and Blaze. Houses, havens and other cheap ways of progressing are extremely susceptible to griefers. However, storage chests are protected property, and mass-collected resources are fairly distributed so that new players can quickly advance to wherever the main battle is. This is probably the most mod-y part of the server; it keeps players somewhat together, though in a successful Storm server the players should be dispersed all over collecting resources.

    :Iron: Note: This is Adventure Mode. You must craft your tools from mob drops. /Gamerules dictate that explosions cannot break blocks, nor can breaking blocks yield loot.


    For quick transport through the battlefield, the ranks of the enemies must be culled. Mobs that provide vital resources will always spawn, but there will be especially powerful ones that dominate each ring, providing meager loot and impeding progress. To eliminate them, players must clear dungeons dispersed throughout the battlefield. The outer rings are very large and thus contain a plethora of dungeons, allowing early joiners a chance at fame; however, as the rings tighten and players are brought together in the final battles before the Citadel, dungeons will become sparser and longer, sometimes requiring several players. Once a dungeon is destroyed, it is crushed for good and stops spawning powerful enemies. Destroy enough dungeons to cull a ring for easy transit. Dungeons can be dealt with however the players see fit, but most of it is indestructible. There will sometimes be special walls that test the player's equipment to bypass in adventure mode. Dungeons provide a sense of permanent progress in the long battle of Citadel Storm.

    :Iron: Note: There's a lot of destruction going on here. After the Citadel is destroyed, there's about five minutes of congratulations and partying, then the server is rebooted.

    Facing the Citadel

    Of course, everyone is trying to get to this part of the game, so it should be satisfying. Rings #3 through #1 are full of incredibly difficult monsters (sometimes spilling over into rings #4 and above), which will defend the Citadel at all costs. Once the Citadel, Ring #0, is reached, a flood of players will storm in, mucking their way through several rooms befitting such a great crowd. There will be jumping puzzles, traps, split paths (to divide up the group based on their preferences and add a sense of vigilante exploration to the game), and of course, lots of mobs.

    Final Bosses

    Once they reach the top, the Citadel opens up and flushes the players back into Ring #1 for the final battle. Two mobs face the army of players: Legend and Lore. They are Wither Skeletons wearing red and light blue armor respectively. The opened Citadel washes the landscape over with TNT, crowd-controlling the players while leaving Legend and Lore unaffected due to their Blast Resistance 99 armor. Each of them has thousands of hit points and takes the full strength of the players' army to defeat; as the players begin to die, Legend and Lore test how well they cleared the 150 rings by making them take the perilous trip back into the fray. Suddenly everything everyone has worked for is coming to a close with this final battle.

    Legend and Lore both wield bows and summon adds of their own color. Legend is a master of raw damage, while Lore harries the party with status ailments, dark beacons and frightening control over its foes. They also have invisible spawner-minecarts riding them; these minecarts trigger huge explosions every once in a while to keep the two wither skeletons from being overwhelmed. Meanwhile, the Citadel continues to ravage the players and their structures.

    Scoreboard Use

    Sidebar: Dungeons left in each ring. Once a ring is completely culled, it's removed from the scoreboard. Thus, newcomers can see just how far the epic battle has progressed.

    List: Points this battle. Players earn points by clearing dungeons and participating in noteworthy actions. It is also increased by killCount. Players' total points (throughout all battles) are permanently stored as an aspect of consistent progression.

    Below Nametag: Health. This is displayed as a number and a heart symbol, from "1 ❤" to "20 ❤". I've tested this and it works very nicely. It's good for 2-3 person teams and "healers" who use lots of health potions to keep players alive in dungeons or the Legend & Lore battle.

    Tentative Additions

    These are features I'm not quite sure about yet.

    Citadel Defender: If you get enough points, you can join a game as an evil Citadel Defender. You spawn in the citadel, and your equipment is geared based on how many rings have been cleared of dungeons. (Just use /testfors.) The citadel provides waypoints through which you can warp to the top of a dungeon, then jump down and do battle with the heroes. You still have to avoid idle mobs, but you can try to assassinate lone heroes with your dark weaponry. Defenders have access to dark powers like Wither potions and Infinity bows.

    The Enderdragons: Seven dragons are released when Ring #1 is reached. They fly around the battlefield, using the prisms atop every undefeated dungeon, the bane of players who aren't prepared for the final battle. The dragons force players to go back and make sure they've beaten the dungeons, possibly leaving Legend and Lore in light combat for a while.

    Legendary Timer: An online scoreboard for Fastest Citadel Storm, Fastest Legend & Lore Kill, and so on.

    • This map is both creative and adventurous, and can be played at any skill level and in any size group.
    • This map has many forms of progression and achievement.
    • The map can scale with popularity. If it ever becomes real, it could have ~20 waves to get started, then work its way up to 150 or even more!
    Sample Loot Arrangement

    Finally, here's my idea for some of the important loot that might appear throughout the rings (dropped by normal mobs); there will definitely be stuff in between, maybe in every ring.
    • Ring 150: Wooden Planks (& Dirt, from the ground)
    • Ring 149: Raw Porkchops
    • Ring 142: Redstone Dust
    • Ring 135: Minecart Rails
    • Ring 130: Powered Rails
    • Ring 120: Saplings
    • Ring 110: Leather
    • Ring 95: Cobblestone
    • Ring 80: String
    • Ring 75: Feathers
    • Ring 72: Gold
    • Ring 70: Gravel & Sand
    • Ring 65: Sugar Cane
    • Ring 60: Blaze Rods
    • Ring 55: Witches (Potion ingredients)
    • Ring 50: Iron
    • Ring 40: Enchantment Table
    • Ring 35: Bottles o' Enchanting (equipment can be maxed out very quickly)
    • Ring 30: Emeralds
    • Ring 27: Arrow Bundles
    • Ring 25: Gunpowder
    • Ring 15: Epic Equipment (gear enchanted beyond the level of anvils/enchanting tables)
    • Ring 10: Diamonds
    • Ring 5: Potion Stashes
    • Ring 0: The End

    What do you think?

    Is this a good idea for a 24/7 server? Does anyone want to take a crack at designing it?
    Posted in: Server Recruitment
  • 2

    posted a message on Survival Tip: Snow Golems
    They aren't useless if you're creative. Here are a few of cool things you can do with them:
    • Use them for a bit of extra knockback when fighting with a bow.
    • Put them in towers outside your base, with a moat of lava for all of the mobs they provoke.
    • They can defend you against Endermen, which instinctively teleport away from any projectile.
    • (less practical) Afraid of Blaze coming through your Nether portal? Guard it with a bunch of Snow Golems, which can damage it! You can also put them on pressure plates connected to a lockdown mechanism with a NAND gate, so that the Blaze that blast through the golems are contained.
    Posted in: Survival Mode
  • 2

    posted a message on Comprehensive Vehicles
    Comprehensive Vehicles (fancy text!)

    I've seen several truly great ideas for 'vehicles' in Minecraft, and I think this one is quite different from them, but please let me know if this idea is particularly similar to someone else's. Also, I'm especially excited about this idea because it actually seems plausible to implement; check the "Why This Could Work" section before disregarding this idea.

    This suggestion is mostly about vehicles, but it could actually add a whole new level to Minecraft gameplay; check out the Applications section!

    Table of Contents

    :LH: Short Section
    :IH: Moderate Section
    :GH: Long Section
    :DH: Technical Section Overview

    Everyone loves vehicles, so this is my idea to implement them practically into the game so that they don't interfere with any of the core concepts of Minecraft. In this idea, vehicles are not entities; they're collections of blocks.

    Say you want to build a car (or a carriage for the nostalgic people out there (including me)). Often--and I'm not saying these ideas aren't great--people suggest a crafting recipe along these lines:

    :cobblestone: :cobblestone: :cobblestone:
    :cobblestone: :Diamond: :cobblestone:
    :stone: :Furnace: :stone:

    Well...my idea isn't quite like that. This recipe is for making an entity, implying that there are a finite number of cars or carriages or planes or whatever that are open to the player. But Minecraft isn't just about crafting: it's about building. Let's say I have some "wheel" blocks (call them :Water: ) and I can simply place them wherever I want and build vehicles on top of them. This is how I would build my carriage/car/whatever.

    Layer 1:
    :Water: :: :: :: :Water:
    :: :: :: :: ::
    :: :: :: :: ::
    :: :: :: :: ::
    :Water: :: :: :: :Water:
    Layer 2:
    :Logs: :Logs: :Logs: :Logs: :Logs:
    :Logs: :cobblestone: :cobblestone: :cobblestone: :Logs:
    :Logs: :cobblestone: :cobblestone: :cobblestone: :Logs:
    :Logs: :cobblestone: :cobblestone: :cobblestone: :Logs:
    :Logs: :Logs: :Logs: :Logs: :Logs:
    Layer 3:
    :wood: :wood: :wood: :wood: :wood:
    :wood: :: :: :: :wood:
    :wood: :: :: :: :wood:
    :wood: :: :: :: :wood:
    :wood: :wood: :: :wood: :wood:

    You can place blocks on vehicles the same way you can place them on the rest of the world! For anyone who's going to stop listening to me at this point, please read this.

    So what can you do with this idea? Here are some ideas:
    • Giant trains with cargo and areas to walk around
    • Assault vehicles coated with dispensers
    • Epic PvP wars
    • Moving-mountain fortresses
    • Shifting platforms
    • Huge boats and minecarts
    • Quick travel through mines
    • Practical redstone usage
    • More fun than riding a pig
    In addition, the gameplay of Minecraft is untarnished; after all, a vehicle like this is just a very small, moving world. By adding a minimal amount of new blocks and items to the game, these buildings can add a neat new dimension to Minecraft.

    Components of a Vehicle

    To keep this suggestion fairly Minecraft-y, I wanted these vehicles to be as simple as possible. Thus, a vehicle is just a collection of blocks in a somewhat vehicular shape, with a few additions:
    • A Motion Producer
    • A Power Source
    • A Form of Control
    Let's look at each of these.

    Motion Block

    These are basic wheels, flotation devices, anything that will prop up your vehicle and allow it to move. To build a working vehicle, just take a few of these and space them around the bottom. You must place your motion blocks on your vehicle instead of the other way around, or else each motion block will count as a separate vehicle.

    Power Source / Propulsion

    Redstone to the rescue! I don't really like the idea of having to use 'fuel' to keep your vehicles powered, so what if you have to use redstone to connect your steering with more advanced wheel mechanisms? It would encourage Survival players to get more redstone, and it would open up a genre of "who can make the coolest vehicle with a compact redstone system?"

    The idea is that redstone can allow your steering system to control any wheels it's connected to mechanically. However, you can use redstone on its own; you can power a wheel from the left for it to turn left, from the right for it to turn right, and from the top for it to go forward!

    Now is probably a good time for an example. Let's say :Water: is your wheel, :Bench: is your steering system and :RedShroom: is redstone wire. You may have something that looks like this:

    :: :: :Bench: :: ::
    :RedShroom: :RedShroom: :RedShroom: :RedShroom: :RedShroom:
    :RedShroom: :: :: :: :RedShroom:
    :RedShroom: :: :: :: :RedShroom:
    :Water: :: :: :: :Water:

    But is that the most efficient way to do it? Do we need vertical redstone mechanisms to get the wheels at the bottom? Can we have different switches control different axles? The possibilities!

    Controls and Steering

    Of course we need a steering block. It's practically mandatory. But let's keep it simple; maybe not even a wheel. Just a rod on some string that you can pull left, right or back (or in Minecraftspeak, right-click and use WASD). It controls any wheel connected to it through redstone, you can still flip levers and the like while piloting, and you can connect it to tripwire. Simple enough.

    Building a Vehicle

    Building a vehicle would be very easy, and should come naturally to anyone who likes building houses or fake boats or something. Just follow these steps:
    1. Build the vehicle sans wheels/steering, just a bunch of blocks propped up so the wheels can fit underneath. This is not unlike real-life engineering. Except, you know, Minecraft physics.
    2. Craft the motion blocks and place them underneath the vehicle.
    3. Craft any steering or levers you might need to operate the motion blocks, put them somewhere in your vehicle and attach them with redstone.
    4. Well...that's it. I honestly thought there would be a step 4.
    The idea is that various wheel blocks are very expensive, so you can't run around animating everything you see, but you can build vehicles like you would build anything else.

    Motion Blocks

    In this section, I'll go over some specifics about motion blocks, which you need to get your vehicles moving. But first, here are some properties of all motion blocks:
    • They are powered by redstone.
    • They can only support eight blocks in the x/y/z directions. In other words, you can't put a wheel under a mountain and make it move.
    • Their speed could be altered by capacitance. In 1.5, the 'strength' of redstone may have an effect on circuits, so lower strength could mean slower, more stable motion.
    • If a motion block is broken, all nearby blocks in the vehicle are updated; if they are no longer supported, they break into a scattering of items.
    So far, I've come up with 8 different types of motion blocks:

    Tread Wheel

    The most basic motion block. Can be powered from the left, right or top to make it turn or move, or you can just use a steering wheel and WASD, like a boat. Tread wheels are all-terrain, but they won't move if there isn't a block underneath them. If you build a floating vehicle, it will just act like a normal jumble of blocks.

    3 Iron Blocks
    1 Redstone Repeater
    1 Redstone Dust
    4 Iron Ingots
    (makes 4)

    • Flatland buggy
    • Moving house
    • Siege Tower
    • Moving Bridge
    • Supply Carrier
    Cart Wheel

    This one can't be steered or turned, but it travels along minecart rails! This would be especially useful for more automated vehicles.

    1 Tread Wheel
    1 Minecart

    • Minecart with Walking Area
    • Spelunking Bot
    • Summonable House
    • Minecart Drop System
    • Lock & Key Adventure Map Puzzle
    Pivot Wheel

    This one can't move forward at all, but it can turn in place. It can also be embedded in the ground. Try putting a dispenser in it!

    1 Gold Block
    6 Iron Ingots
    1 Leather
    1 Redstone Dust
    (makes 2)

    • Ground Turret
    • On-Vehicle Turret
    • Lever-Controlled Moving Bridge
    • Double-Jointed Factory Arm
    • Splash Potion Dropper
    Wooden and Stone Panels

    Panels aren't exactly 'motion blocks,' but they do control the motion of the vehicle. They can be crafted from three planks or smooth stone arranged vertically, and they send redstone current whenever they collide with something unconnected to the vehicle. Wooden panels can be activated by entities as well.

    • Collision Detector
    • Automatic TNT Miner
    • Algorithm-Movement Engine
    • Bumper Cars Minigame
    • Oscillator
    Star Wheel

    Okay, so technically it isn't a wheel, but I wanted to keep the theme. Basically, the Star Wheel makes flying vehicles. It doesn't have to have a block under it in order to move, so it can even be placed inside your vehicle and guarded with obsidian. Attach it to a steering wheel and press Shift or Space to make it ascend or descend.

    1 Nether Star
    1 Piston
    5 Iron Ingots
    (makes 4)

    • Flying Castle
    • Submarine
    • Willy Wonka's Elevator
    • Airship
    • Fire Charge Bomber
    Float Wheel

    Because giant boats are awesome. There is already a great giant boats post (I can't seem to link to it though), and this section definitely won't measure up, but it's worth pointing out. These wheels--well, they turn your vehicle into a boat.

    1 Tread Wheel
    1 Boat

    • Various Boats and Ships
    Drill Wheel

    This one may not be important to implement, but it is cool. Drill wheels have no collision box, and they only move if they are inside another block. Thus, drill wheels can make vehicles that 'slide' along the ground. Drill wheels to not break the blocks they move through.

    1 Diamond
    7 Obsidian
    1 Redstone Dust
    (makes 4)

    • Moving Mountain with Cannons
    • Shifting Floor
    • Guarded Siege Tower
    • Concealable Transport
    • Tunnel Pod

    Once again, these aren't actually wheels, but they are very important. Right now, the size of our vehicles is limited by how many blocks a wheel can support. Even with a large grid of tread wheels (which can get very difficult to wire,) the height of a vehicle cannot exceed 8 blocks. A cheap way to fix this is the support, which allows another eight blocks to be supported in any direction (like how redstone repeaters renew the capacitance of wire.)

    3 Gold Ingots
    6 Iron Ingots

    The Steering Block

    Of course, using a bunch of levers and buttons would get very cumbersome. So how about vehicles are just like boats? Just craft a steering block with a leather and two string. It looks like just a rolled hide attached to rope, which produces torsion, but that's technical stuff. Right-click the roll to man it and use WASD to control any attached motion blocks; you can use several of these steering items to make advanced vehicles with many passengers to operate them!

    You can also attach steering blocks to tripwire. Just thought I'd point that out.

    Using Redstone for Advanced Mechanisms

    I've been using redstone for a while now and have found it very useful even in Survival, but I haven't really been able to exercise my ability in 'vertical' redstone engineering much. Well, this suggestion should help! If you have a large amount of wheels, or multiple joints, or if you just want to build a robot, it will really help to exercise your full redstone potential.

    (It might also help if we had Redstone Blocks, this cool idea where they can store binary input and get pushed by pistons--wait, one suggestion per thread.)


    Finally, here are some ways one might use these vehicles.
    • Explorer
    While traveling on flattish terrain, you can always go a little faster.
    • Shifting Platforms
    Put a square of blocks on an underground cart system and use it to get around your tunnel base! Or build an adventure map where the rooms move around like a jigsaw.
    • Lock & Key
    Use panels and a giant vehicle for an 'unlock the box' puzzle.
    • Wars
    Put some TNT cannons or dispensers on your vehicle! Cut out a hole from which you can axe enemy vehicles! You could set up land, sea or sky-based battles; guard your Star Wheels well, or saboteurs could drop you out of the sky.
    • Factories
    It may be a bit implausible for vehicles to be able to edit blocks in the world, or on other vehicles (sans TNT), but attaching a few pivots together to make factory arms could have many possibilities! For example, a folding bridge or an item dropper.
    • Flavorful Movement
    This is more of a passive thing, but it would be great if you could just walk around the deck of a speeding minecart...IN MINECRAFT! Could make some awesome machinimas too.
    • Sieges
    If you want an alternate way to get through a swarm of mobs, just build a little car and speed down an Abandoned Mineshaft! Or in Multiplayer (Adventure Mode?), you could build movable siege ladders.
    • Redstone Creativity
    A great new way to use redstone. Could you build a robot that responds well to collisions? What about a bridge that you can rotate around on a rod to fit into several different pathways? It's not just vehicles, you could build whole worlds on a concept like this.

    Why This Could Work

    This is probably the most important part of my idea. I started this suggestion with a lot of ambition, so I would like you all to know that it is actually plausible--and doesn't require much extra programming. I'm fairly new to Java, but here's how I think it could work.

    First off, these vehicles are not entities. With my method of putting blocks together like one would do to build a house, that could get very complicated very fast. However, these vehicles should have the same movement mechanics as boats (sans breaking). So what to do?

    First of all, remember that the Minecraft world is just a 3D grid of data values, plus some entities.
    :: :: :: :: ::
    :: :grass: :grass: :grass: ::
    :grass: :soil: :soil: :soil: :grass:
    :soil: :soil: :soil: :soil: :soil:
    :opblock: :opblock: :opblock: :opblock: :opblock:
    This grid is broken into chunks and sorted into files in the 'region' folder. They take up a lot of memory, but when simplified they're really just huge arrays of numbers.

    So here's how it works: When a wheel is placed, and it isn't on an existing vehicle, an extra grid is created and saved in a subfolder of 'region.' If the vehicle turns, the grid does too, creating a web-like pattern for calculating collisions. When the avatar gets close to a vehicle (a range limit should save fps), it will calculate its movements on the vehicle's grid as well as the universal grid. Thus, not only will vehicles function as solid, but their slanted surfaces can be interacted with just like normal blocks!

    Now, another thing that would be nice is placing vehicles on vehicles; what about an aircraft carrier, or a tank with a pivoting top? Well, as long as vehicles define themselves relative to other vehicles like the avatar does, it shouldn't be a problem. To show how the class configurations could work, here's some pseudocode:

    class MotionBlock extends Block
    • Block[8][8][8] SupportedBlocks
    class Vehicle
    • MotionBlock[] definingBlocks
    • double[][][] pos
    • double rotation (this is important for collisions!!!)
    • region...or...something blocks (a configuration of blocks similar to the 'region' file, but without support for stuff like entities; collisions will take care of that)
    That's it! What did you think? Anything that should be added or removed? Still implausible? Let me know!

    (also, I'm taking suggestions as to how to improve the format of this thread.)
    Posted in: Suggestions
  • 6

    posted a message on [Story] Moonrise (FINISHED!)
    Overview: Essentially, hundreds of people are playing on a Hardcore server. Two factions, Reun and Moonrise, are at war with each other. Stig was an inhabitant in Reun, but finds himself trapped between two hostile factions with his best friend Hylda.

    This story is different in that it does not mention Notch, Minecraftia, or anything about it being a game. A surprising number of fanfictions do this, and while some are awesome, I wanted to try something different.

    Book 1


    Book 1

    Chapter 1 – Prologue

    “Well?” asked the pale-faced woman in the armor of hardened leather. “Does it not worry you?”
    “I don’t know what would,” remarked the man beside her, clutching his iron sword like an insolent throat. The two figures were sitting on two pillars of glass, peering quietly over the wall of the city Reun. The woman was pensive, her eyes narrowed inscrutably, but detesting the small city all the same. The man was arrogantly laid-back, as if he was relishing the thought of spitting on the city and scoffing at its ruler.
    “Reun is not to be underestimated. Its walls are thick; I think they have something inside them. And the city itself…well, a high-ranking Constructor such as you would see the number of surprises that place could hold.” The woman’s expression didn’t twitch, but she seemed to grow slightly paler.
    “Sarrial, you have a keen eye, but you think too much. Don’t look at the fortifications; just take one glance at the inhabitants. Do you suggest that the Moonrise would be halted by such simple folk?”
    The woman known as Sarrial scoffed. “You speak harshly of simple folk, Lucus, while you would apparently have yourself to be no better.”
    There was a long silence. The man, Lucus, glared at Sarrial for her tone, then sniffed heavily and drew back. Just as Sarrial was turning back toward the city Reun, Lucus lashed forward so fast he became but a smudge of gray, his sword biting into Sarrial’s side. Her leather tunic was ripped in half, and a streak of red appeared in Sarrial’s side.
    “Remember who the power is here,” spat Lucus. “And remember what I am, when stood next to any man or woman in the city Reun.”
    Sarrial almost fell off of her glass pillar. A wave of pink rushed over her pale face. “Fine,” she said at last, disgusted.

    “Still...” Lucus pondered, “...there is one who hesitates me.” Lucus pointed at a small house. A boy lived there, barely sixteen, lying motionless in the comfort of his bed.
    Sarrial nodded. “Yes...I believe his name is Stig.” She may have been worried about him herself; she didn’t remember. Sarrial wasn’t sure whether she was truly worried or if she simply didn’t want to cross Lucus again.
    “He is very gifted in Construction,” said Lucus. “I don’t know whether it’s something the city Reun may use against us...but still, it disturbs me.”
    “Then we will have to take preemptive action,” said Sarrial. Lucus nodded.
    “You may have some truth in your argument, Sarrial. But we must make sure that Stig dies quickly--a suitable time frame for my patience.”
    “Agreed,” said Sarrial. They looked at each other for a long while, trying to decode each other. Then they began to break the glass beneath them, letting themselves down to ground level. They heard a guard run across the wall; he must have glimpsed one of them. Sarrial allowed a smile to dribble across her lips and she drew her bow. Just like that, the guard cried out in surprise and fell off the wall to his death. The small “thump” barely blocked out the sound of Sarrial and Lucus running quietly into the forest.
    “Lucus’s time will end,” Sarrial thought to herself. “I pray I’ll have the wisdom to sustain Moonrise.”

    Chapter 2 – Constructor

    The “Welcome” mat outside Stig’s home triggered, causing an ironically joyful tune to permeate Stig’s sleep. He groaned and sat up, not at all pleased to be up so early. He realized that his face was imprinted in his red bed sheets. Stig sat up and immediately wanted to lie back down, but the incessant chiming all around him made it apparent that someone was tapping his foot on the “Welcome” mat. Stig groaned and slammed his fist on the button beside his bed, then reached up to catch the bread and stew dispensed from the ceiling. He motioned for the person outside to come in.
    In walked a sturdy man with pitch black hair, who strutted quickly across the room and straight up to Stig’s bed, scowling.
    “You shouldn’t keep me waiting,” he said sternly. “You’ll be an official Constructor soon, so you’d best act like it.” Stig nodded wearily.
    “And another thing,” the man continued, “you shouldn’t be building these sorts of things at your age. There are many ways that doormat out front could have gone awry.”
    “Well, it’s not as if I’m being unsafe,” said Stig, taking a bite out of his bread.
    “Your incessant insolence will be the death of you yet. Come, you’ll be late for...” The man looked contemptuous. “...your ceremony.” The man strutted out of the bedroom and prepared to leave. On his way out, he said, “Also, try not to eat dispenser food every morning like that. It’ll make you sick.”

    As soon as Stig walked out the door, he was assaulted by another teenager.
    “Hey Stig!” she said. “‘Bout time you woke up! Your ceremony starts at midday!”
    She was a girl a little younger than Stig, a blonde holding a spade and a wide smile.
    “I see Wes has already been on your back this morning,” she remarked.
    “Yeah...” Stig replied.
    Her name was Hylda. She was Stig’s friend, and had been for a long time, but she wouldn’t be a Constructor for a month yet.
    “Anyway, you’d best be off! Becoming a Constructor is definitely not a ceremony to be late for,” she remarked.
    Stig nodded and the two of them ran for the town center. Once they were there, they could see that the whole center was full of people. Stig had seen this, but now that it was his turn to step up to become a Constructor, he became grasped by a sudden fear. He was about to back away, but Hylda laughed and shoved him up onto the podium. Once the crowd was silent, the monarch of the city Reun approached Stig. The monarch was as ancient as his odor, and Stig resisted the urge to step backward. The monarch was closely accompanied by Wes, the man who woke up Stig.
    “People of Reun,” the monarch spoke loudly. “We are here to celebrate one of our own being promoted to the rank of Constructor. He has proven his worth and he has come of age, and I think we are all proud to have him officially join the ranks of Reun.” Applause sounded.
    “Now, a more personal note,” the monarch continued. “Stig has often proven himself to be gifted and creative. He is resourceful, helpful and intelligent, creating complex, yet wonderful things. He can be rebellious, but he helps Reun and himself through his rare creativity.” Stig could feel Wes’s eyes burning into Stig’s forehead.
    The monarch held a book. “This book was specially created for you. Not only does it contain useful knowledge, it will allow you to be recognized as a Constructor. Protect this book, and you will protect your rank.” Stig was handed the book, and he nodded in gratitude. The crowd broke into applause, the sound of which was only broken by a mysterious explosion.

    Everyone stopped and turned toward the sound of the explosion. A block of TNT soared over the wall, straight at Stig. Hylda leapt onto the podium and shoved Stig out of the way just as the podium exploded from the TNT. Hylda covered her face with her arm and backed away from the wreckage.
    “What...?” the monarch exclaimed.
    “I can see them! They’re up there!” Wes shouted. Several figures were standing on a mountain outside the city Reun.
    “The Moonrise Cult...” Stig whispered. A chill ran down his spine; he had heard of them, but never seen them with his own eyes. And they were after him.

    Chapter 3 – Canary

    Stig was panting heavily. He wasn’t sure if it was from fear, the force of the explosion, or Hylda’s elbow landing painfully on his stomach.
    “Oops, sorry,” said Hylda, getting up.
    Just as Stig was getting up after her, another explosive was shot over the wall. Stig tried to run, but his arm was suddenly caught in what felt like a vice. Wes yanked him down the street, running into an alley as several more explosions shot behind them. Once they reached Stig’s house, one more explosion sounded, destroying half of the alley, and Wes threw him into the house.
    “Now you stay here until all this is sorted out,” said Wes. “I don’t know who did this, or why they’d be after YOU, but until those questions are answered, you will stay right here.”
    Stig started to open his mouth, but the door slammed shut.

    The next morning, Stig woke up to the smell of sulfur. It took him awhile to remember what had happened yesterday. He sighed and got out of bed, not bothering to get breakfast. He walked into the middle of the room and looked around. So here he was; stuck, useless, while an unknown danger out to get him was bombarding the city Reun and there was nothing he could do. He looked out the window; it was still night out. Stig had woken up early. “Fine,” he resolved. “I’m leaving the house.”
    He didn’t know what he would do after that. Probably search for the people who tried to kill him. And then...what? Stig didn’t care anymore. The first step would be to get out of this house. Stig walked quickly to the front door and yanked it open. Then he gasped in horror.

    The door led to nothing but a brick wall. Someone--probably Wes--had done it while he was asleep. They were keeping him by force. Stig looked at the sign on the bricks. “We’ll know if you break anything”.
    Stig was furious. His home had been turned into his prison, just so he couldn’t interfere with matters he “wasn’t ready for”. He never believed that excuse; Wes always wanted him out of the way. Stig knew that Wes was the real power behind Reun, but still wanted it to be an official position. But Stig had already decided to flat-out disobey orders, so he would have to follow through. He looked up his chimney; it was completely sealed up. He tried opening his window; but the pistons used to pull the glass apart had been smashed. There wasn’t even any wood or dirt that he could smash through and then replace.
    Then...they had taken his satchel. All his circuitry, anything he could have used to fill a gap; they had taken it and either hidden it or--Stig winced at the thought--burned it. Stig fell into bed and stared at the ceiling, pushing back tears. His imprisonment began to make him claustrophobic, but there was nowhere he could get air. He could be stuck for months...
    But a thought occurred to him. There was a way he could get out; he just hadn’t thought of it yet! It would disobey all safety protocol, but they couldn’t trace it. Stig stuck his head through the gap in his broken pistons and whistled as loudly as he could. Just as he had hoped, a creeper turned toward the window. Stig whistled again. The creeper perked up and began to hop toward the house. As it reached the window, a small hissing sound came into the house. As Stig jumped out of the way, the side of his home exploded.
    “Perfect”, Stig said. Everyone would think that the mysterious attackers had bombed Stig’s house. Stig walked out of the hole, and got a breath of fresh air.

    Stig snuck through the city Reun and checked the moon. The TNT had been fired from northward; he headed in that direction. Once he reached the wall, Stig looked back at the city Reun. Nobody was awake, and Reun looked a lot less thriving and a lot more ghostly. Maybe it was just Stig’s anger that made it look that way, but the city looked a bit evil. Stig shook his head and turned back toward the wall. The topology of Reun was simple; the city itself, the strip of land around it where Stig had found the creeper, and the wall. Stig was two-thirds out.
    Just as Stig was about to climb the ladder to the top of the wall, an arrow whizzed past his head. Two skeletons had ambushed him. Stig frantically climbed the ladder, but the second skeleton shot him in the foot and he toppled off. Stig scrambled to his feet to see two arrows pointed at his head. He reached for his satchel, and then remembered that it had been taken. Instead, he had been left unarmed against two of the smartest and most powerful type of wandering monster. He lashed forward and punched one of the skeletons in the ribs, and took an arrow to the shoulder. Plucking out both arrows, Stig tried the ladder again and the skeletons fired more arrows after him. Stig reached the top of the wall and jumped off, not caring about the painful fall. The skeletons were climbing the ladder after him. Stig knew better than to run into the woods, so he ran around the outer wall of the city Reun, with the skeletons in pursuit. An arrow ripped across Stig’s arm, and he fell over. The skeletons caught up to him and surrounded him again, preparing to fire into Stig’s head. But just as they loaded their arrows, a voice called out:
    “Enough! That boy is mine.”
    The skeletons whirled around toward the voice and started to fire, but there was a whizzing slash and they were both knocked against the wall. Stig lifted his head up to see what was going on; a battle was about to begin.

    Chapter 4 – Through the Wall

    Another flash of light, and a sword shot through one of the skeleton’s skulls and stabbed right into the wall of the city Reun. The other skeleton fired an arrow, but the mysterious figure stepped to the side and bolted, snapping each rib in succession with one powerful sweep. Stig tried to stagger up and back at the same time as an iron sword flashed over and over, as its wielder dodged and dodged. Finally, the figure twirled around, shattering the assailants’ skulls. Then the person turned toward Stig.
    For the first time, Stig could catch a good look at the person. He could see nothing but a face and the person’s black cloak and sword. “Who are you?” he demanded, though his voice broke halfway through.
    Stig could barely make out a grin. The person threw off her cloak to reveal a pale-faced woman. She had the emblem of a crescent on her tunic, and she had long black hair and eerie red eyes. Everything about her looked off.
    “I am known as Sarrial,” said the woman before Stig could get out any words. “I have come to kill you, and collect your remains. Those idiotic skeletons would probably have just eaten them.”
    “What…?” Stig managed. Sarrial rolled her eyes.
    “I have to take your body to Lucus. The Moonrise will invade the city Reun in four days, and you will have to be taken care of before then.” With a sarcastic note, she added, “I’m sure you’ll understand.”
    Stig didn’t understand. “So...who’s this ‘Lucus’?”
    For some reason, this made Sarrial wince. “He’s...” she paused. “He’s our leader, but...it’s only because he’s under a spell...we’re forced to follow him...” Stig blinked in confusion, but Sarrial continued. “A warlock by the name of Nemus turned him against Reun, and we have no choice but to obey.” Sarrial suddenly fell onto her knees. “Please...try to break the spell. Lucus is innocent.”
    “I--...” Stig wasn’t sure what to say. “I’ll try to.”
    “Thank you...” said Sarrial. “Go back to your city. You won’t be able to enter the Lunar Citadel, so you’ll have to confront Lucus during the invasion. The Cult will attack Reun in four days, and that’s when you’ll have to break the spell. Don’t tell your city ANYTHING.”
    “I won’t,” said Stig. Sarrial placed a ladder on the wall, and Stig climbed up, preparing to go back home. He turned back to Sarrial. “I’ll help. I promise.” Then he left.

    Sarrial watched him leave, waiting until he was out of earshot. Then she grinned like she hadn’t been pleading just minutes ago. “Such an idiot boy,” she said to herself. “Keeping his own city in the dark...this will be better than killing him.” Then Sarrial turned on her heel and walked back into the forest, her sword dangling from her hand, covered in marrow.

    Chapter 5 – War Beginning

    Stig limped toward his home; he was still tired and hurt, and could barely walk. He was also hungry. Stig walked over to one of Reun’s towers, and climbed down, entering the city. He looked around for guards, and then began to head toward his house. He found the hole in the side and climbed through, only to see Wes scowling in the foyer.
    “You took us for fools,” Wes said. “That’s a mistake I’m sure you won’t make again.”
    Stig tried to run, but he had lost so much blood that he collapsed to his knees. The last thing he remembered before he passed out was the force of being dragged backward by his feet, the rubble stinging painfully on his stomach.

    He woke up on a bed. Stig still wasn’t sure if he was awake; it was dreadfully dark. He could only see a bit of light coming from what looked like an iron door. He decided to lay there for a while; he wasn’t sure how hurt he was, but whatever his status, he definitely hadn’t been treated yet. After a while, he heard a knock on the door.
    “What?” he muttered; his voice barely audible and even less comprehensible. The door opened, and in walked Wes.
    “Finally awake, I see,” he said. Stig didn’t respond, although his mind was swimming with questions…and dizziness.
    “So, you’ve been having a little ‘chat’ with the Moonrise?” Wes said accusingly.
    “I was attacked…” Stig said. There was no point denying he was out that night.
    Wes glared. “You’re really in for it now, Stig. You’re in for breaking out of confinement, breaking safety protocol, causing property damage by means of a creeper…and suspected allegiance with a known cult. I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ll never live to become a Constructor.”
    Stig didn’t know what to say; he had done those things. And when he made a deal with Sarrial, even his allegiance charge was legit. Instead, he said,
    “So my Constructor status is repealed, then?”
    “Oh, it was never there to begin with. Your ceremony was interrupted, remember?”
    “I want my book.”
    Stig was talking about the book he was given at the ceremony. It was the mark of his Constructor status; if he could just see it…
    “Your book was burned.”
    What?” Stig exclaimed. He wasn’t sure that was even allowed.
    “But stop distracting us. Tell me everything you know. What did you hear about the Cult? What are they planning next? You’d better spill or else things won’t end well for you.”
    Stig’s stomach churned painfully. “I’m wounded,” he said. “Do you—”
    “You’ll receive treatment only if you tell us everything. Pretty convenient, isn’t it? You’re not a Constructor and can’t be given full rights, but you’re still qualified enough to serve prison terms.”
    Stig glared. “The cult is commanded by someone called Lucus. He’s not really evil, he’s under a spell and the rest of the Cult has to follow him. Also, I’m not part of that cult. Beyond that, I swore not to tell.”
    Wes’s eyes narrowed. His face was dreadfully close to Stig’s, and his breath stank up the air around him. He was obviously taking some sort of sick pleasure in seeing Stig get what was coming to him. “So if you’re not part of this Cult, why did you swear secrecy on what we need to know?”
    Stig grinned. “Because you’re all a bunch of warmongers that are going to ruin everything that Sarrial’s trying to do to make peace.”
    Wes raised his fist in fury, and then dropped it. He looked disgusted. “We’ll find out. We’ll find out where this ‘Lucus’ is. And we’ll win this war, no matter how much you try to corrupt this city.” Wes left, shut the door, and everything was dark again.
    Stig lay on his back, having no idea what to do. He would either break his promise or stay here for the rest of his life. He wouldn’t even get to become a Constructor. He always wanted to build…to engineer…but that was over now. He had nothing to work with, nobody to let him work. After a long rest, he finally fell asleep.

    Stig woke up to Hylda peering over the bed at him. He woke with a jump, and then suddenly realized he wasn’t wounded anymore.
    What were you thinking?!” she exclaimed.
    Stig groaned. “Oh come on, you would have wanted to escape too.”
    “I’m not talking about that!” said Hylda. “I’m talking about you swearing to secrecy with a cultist. That person may have been on our side after all, but now you’re officially a criminal!”
    “Look, it was stupid, all right?” said Stig. “I just—”
    “And to go and break that promise?” Hylda interrupted. “The way I heard it, getting Reun involved is the worst thing you could do, and now Wes is leading a huge army to the cultists’ base right now!”
    “Wait, what…? I didn’t break my promise, what are you talking about?” Then Stig realized it. While he was asleep, he had a nightmare. He was in a black cloak, running up the mountain, into the Lunar Citadel. He saw a dark figure sitting in a throne, and a great shadow weaving behind him. The shadow was saying, “I am Nemus”. He tried to run, but the floor broke and he fell into a dark pit, waking up suddenly. Now he knew why Wes went to the Lunar Citadel…Stig was talking in his sleep. He had told them about the invasion, and they went to launch a preemptive attack. He had broken his promise.
    “Hylda, I’m sorry, there was a nightmare, and…I must have talked in my sleep…” Stig said. Hylda nodded.
    “Take some food,” she said, handing him a loaf of bread. “You’ll need it.”
    “Why?” asked Stig. Hylda paused.
    “Um…you should probably come outside and see.”
    “Where is the Lord?”
    “He’s going to the Citadel with Wes. About four fifths of Reun’s guard is out there. Now hurry!”
    Stig ran up a flight of stairs and into sunlight; it was almost blinding. As soon as Stig reached the wall, Hylda beckoned him to the gate. Once Stig walked through, he saw something that sent a chill up his spine.
    Hundreds of cultists were lined up on the horizon. They were bristling with weapons.
    “But…Sarrial said the attack was in four days!” Stig gasped.
    Hylda looked at him with a mix of hardness and pity. “Stig…Sarrial suckered you. It was a ploy for a sneak attack. I’m sorry, Stig…but she’s tricked you into removing all our defenses while they attack.”
    Stig couldn’t believe how gullible he felt. Not only had he destroyed his chance at becoming a Constructor, but it was all so he could get tricked. And now, an army was approaching Reun, and he would have to fight.

    Chapter 6 – Storm’s Edge

    “This is it?” Stig asked, exasperated. “This is the army we have at Reun?”
    Stig was looking at two hundred—three hundred, tops—soldiers, most of them privates with simple leather armor. Many were barely nineteen years of age.
    “There was a call to arms for storming the Lunar Citadel,” Hylda said. “Almost everyone chose to go.”
    “So that’s it then? We’re here with this sparse, weak army facing a legion of fanatical cultists? I hope we have something that can help,” Stig said.
    “But we do,” said Hylda. “All of these people, the ones who stayed behind…why do you think they stayed behind?”
    Stig shrugged. “Because they didn’t know what they’d have to deal with…”
    “No, Stig. They stayed behind because they agreed with you. If we’re going to stand a chance, it’s because you got us there. Stig…you’re going to help us win.”
    Stig couldn’t speak. It was as if the weight of the world was being pressed upon him all at once. Not only were they all doing to die; now it would be his responsibility if they did. Some of the other soldiers sensed his fear.
    “Who is this kid?” scoffed one of the soldiers. As Stig was opening his mouth, Hylda stepped in.
    “Excuse me, but he’s going to be your leader in this fight, so you’d better show some respect. I don’t think any of you are going to last a minute without a miracle. And as far as Reun is concerned, a prodigy is a miracle. Sure he’s classified as a criminal; but everyone who disagreed with his motives is on a wild goose chase at the Citadel right now! This ‘kid’ is going to be the one to save your hides, because no one else will.”
    Stig thought about what Hylda had said; he would be the one to save those hundreds of people? Stig wasn’t sure if Hylda was helping them or pressuring him. Either way, he turned to Hylda and said, “Thanks.”
    Hylda grinned. “Just don’t make them regret trusting me.”
    Stig gulped.

    “We don’t have much time!” Stig told the soldiers. “Grab the items from the chests, especially redstone, dispensers and TNT! We’ll set up cannons on the walls, so that they can shoot across and down if we need it. And head to the dungeons; grab every pressure plate you can find!”
    The soldiers ran off. Stig turned to Hylda.
    “Let’s get some glass. We need to mark where we set the heavy weapons.”
    “Wouldn’t Reun already have those?”
    “Nah,” Stig smiled. “These are just a little thing I made up.” A soldier ran in and threw a heap of supplies in front of them. “Here, try assembling this one. Just do what I do.”
    “I’ve never seen TNT cannons like this before.”
    “The ones on the wall have too little force for too much space. These are carpet spreads; for maximum coverage, we’ll put them in this street and aim high.”

    It had been three hours. The cultists had moved alarmingly close, but the city Reun was full of the most advanced traps and weapons Hylda had ever seen. At the moment, Stig was wiring up a piston machine behind the wall that could repair it if it’s damaged and even protrude a cactus trap when activated in reverse. He was in a sort of…Zen. His mind dropped everything else when he was just working, doing the thing he loved. It may have been the first time that Stig could do something at this scale. Hylda was gathering blocks of iron from the houses to make improved armor and swords, but she just decided to stop, simply watching Stig work. Stig sprinkled the last bit of redstone over the control switch and looked up.
    “Oh, uh, hi there, Hylda,” Stig said, slightly startled by her sudden appearance. Hylda was a good friend of his, but she was still somewhat intimidating.
    “Hi Stig,” Hylda said. “Hey, during the battle, I think I’d do well as a soldier.”
    Stig stood up. “Sounds like a good idea. You could lead the charge, if you want.”
    Hylda’s face brightened. “You really want me to, Stig? That’s great! I’ll…I’d better get armored up!”
    “Definitely,” Stig said. “But be sure to wear full armor! Remember that the leader has to trigger—”
    “Right, right, I get it. I’d better go get ready!” Hylda said as she ran off.

    Meanwhile, the cultists’ camps were restless. Large, brawny soldiers with iron swords, clad in leather tunics, were brandishing their weapons and checking the crescent symbols on their tunics, ready to fight. Two generals stood in the center of the camp: one timid, one angry.
    “Sir, Sarrial had informed me straight from the top that Reun would be almost completely unprotected. It was not my—”
    “You are the one who informed me; do not shamelessly shaft the blame to a superior! You told me we’d be against a handful of weaklings…does this look like a handful of weaklings to you?”
    A mass of confident, young men and women were standing at the gate, led by a young girl with a constitute look on her face. Siege weapons, the likes of which they had never seen before, surrounded and guarded the walls.
    The timid general stared. “I…I was misinformed, I swear…”
    It was too late. The angry general whirled around, clutching his sword so hard his hand was red. The timid general was cleanly decapitated, causing all the other soldiers to look at the commotion.
    “We’re beginning the assault,” the general said. “Ready the assassins.”

    Chapter 7 – Full Moon

    The Moonrise Cult began to charge. Hylda yelled back to Stig, “Now?”
    “Not yet,” Stig said. “Get ready to activate the splitter!”
    “What’s that?” asked Hylda.
    “You’ll see.”
    The Cult was getting closer. They were such a dense mass, it seemed as though they could just run right over Stig’s sparse army.
    They were getting closer…closer…
    Stig could already hear the clanking of metal, the shouting of war cries.
    “Use the splitter now!” Stig yelled behind him. Another man threw a lever and the entire cult gasped in shock. The ground was yanked open by a field of pistons. The cultists in front were thrown forward; the ones in back, backward.
    “They’re split into two groups!” said Stig. It was just like ripping open a phone book; instead of tearing it as a block, one has to separate it into pages, secretly only splitting one at a time. The Cult was impenetrable…unless it was divided into layers.
    The cultists in the front stopped short and ran back toward the slower ones, trying to regroup.
    “They’re hesitating!” Stig said. “Focus fire!”
    Several soldiers in the back of Stig’s army fired bows, and a shower of TNT fell into the stumbling cultists with terrible accuracy. After the arrows and TNT hit, the cultists realized that they were in danger and decided to charge raggedly, keeping space between them, not waiting for those that were trapped.
    “Everyone charge!” Stig yelled. He looked up to see Hylda running at top speed, clutching her sword hard, swinging it strongly at the cultists. Just as she made it to the army, she stepped on a pressure plate.
    The ground exploded; the cultists were blown back by the TNT, their tunics ripping. Hylda was launched back to the wall, into the city, and into a pool of water by Stig.
    “What…?” Hylda began.
    “Great job,” said Stig. “You were able to trigger that trap before the cultists could destroy it! You’d better get some iron armor on; the leather was just for surviving the blast.”
    “So I was just a…trigger?” Hylda said, hurt. “I thought that—”
    “Hylda, didn’t you know what the charge leader had to do? I thought you wanted to go in front and hit the trap!”
    “No! Of course I didn’t! I actually wanted to fight, and…you just made me a scapegoat!”
    “Hylda, I’m sorry, I didn’t know—”
    “Just give me the armor.”
    Stig knew he’d messed up. There was nothing else for it now. He silently handed Hylda the armor, and she took it angrily. She picked up her sword and ran back toward the fight; Stig just stood and watched, alone.

    Hylda was running back toward the gate, hoping there’d still be some cultists to fight. Suddenly, she looked to the right and saw a small hole in the city wall…just big enough for a person to get through. She turned into the alley and checked out the hole, pulling out some cobblestone to patch it up. She almost didn’t notice the sound of a sword swinging at her from behind.
    She whirled around, barely ducking the assassin’s stone blade. In surprise, she dropped her own sword; the assassin kicked it away.
    “It’s just a little girl?” the assassin said, startled. Then he smirked. “This’ll be easier than I thought.”
    For some reason, Hylda thought of Stig…how he used her just like one of his traps. She glared at the assassin. “Now is not a good time to be calling me a little girl!”
    The assassin tried to swing his sword, but she brought her foot up painfully into him, causing him to stop mid-swing. He tried to grab her ankle, but she yanked her foot into his face, backing him against the back of a house. She grabbed his head and slammed it into the bricks. Another assassin heard the commotion and ran around the house, but Hylda had taken the sword from the first foe and leapt at her assailant, bringing the butt of her sword into his forehead. He staggered blindly, his pupils dilating, but Hylda saw him ready his sword. She brought her own sword around quickly and stabbed him through the stomach. Hylda’s arms went limp as the assassin’s eyes rolled up as he gasped in surprise and pain. She had no idea how hard it would be to kill someone…now that she’d done it, it felt like she was dirty, stained. Hylda was so afraid of what she’d done that she didn’t notice the third assassin sneaking up behind her. A white flash struck across Hylda’s back, and as she felt her spine tingle from the blow, everything went dark.

    At the Lunar Citadel, an army was storming through the halls. In the front was Wes, brandishing his sword, cutting down the meager squads of cultist guards. The monarch of Reun stood just behind him, holding a bow defensively. They had finally made it to the central spire, and it was guarded by only an iron door. A cultist inside locked it. Wes took out a pic and smashed through the wall next to the door, and Reun’s army stormed in to find a long hallway, lit softly with glassed torches. The room was huge, but fairly empty, and pillars formed a circular pattern around the edge. A pale-faced woman stood at the end of the room.
    “You’re too late,” said Sarrial. “Our true army is already crushing Reun.”
    “What?!” shouted Wes furiously. Then he somehow retained his composure. “Once we’re done here…this place will be Reun.” He drew his sword; Sarrial drew hers carelessly.
    “You really aren’t a bright folk. You’re just brutal,” Sarrial said, looking away slightly. “Tell me, how would you deflect a battering ram? Would you stick out your palms and hope for the best? Or would you chip it away…bit by bit…before they even notice? You look like a fairly solid army, but I can give you a bet. I can make your whole army fall apart with just one sweep…of this sword.” Sarrial pointed her sword at Wes, who gritted his teeth, obviously angry at her disparaging of his tactics.
    Suddenly, Sarrial sprinted at him. Wes hunkered down, ready to lunge forward and stab her through the heart. But Sarrial leapt, right over Wes, and with one clean cut, she impaled her sword into the chest of the monarch of Reun.
    “No!” several soldiers cried and Sarrial landed in their midst. One of the soldiers stabbed blindly, but Sarrial threw his comrade into the soldier’s sword. Another soldier came up from behind, but she grabbed his wrist so hard he dropped his sword. She twisted his arm hard, and then slit his throat. The other soldiers pretended to want to fight, but they were putting more and more distance between themselves and Sarrial. They were collapsing.
    Wes was looking around wildly, with a mix of fury and fear, and saw a shadowy figure sitting on a block of gold across the room.
    “Goodbye spawns of Reun,” Lucus whispered. Then he let out a battle cry that disturbed the soldiers’ very souls, and caused even Wes to step backward, his heart racing. Cultists leapt out from behind every pillar, bows readied. The sound of pistons was heard underneath the ground, and dispensers shot out of the once stone floor. The dispensers began to shoot arrows, everywhere, filling the room, as the cultists fired into the crowd of confused soldiers. The soldiers dropped as if affected by plague, as Wes and only a hundred other men ran from the Citadel, attempting to retain dignity.

    Chapter 8 – Ashes

    The cultists must have numbered in the thousands. They swarmed all around the walls, and even when large groups of them were massacred by explosions, they just seemed to keep coming. Many only had wooden pickaxes, but they were still hacking at the walls so fast that it almost couldn’t be repaired at the same rate. Stig reversed the wall repair, and the cultists around the wall jumped back, clutching their feet, which were full of cactus needles. Stig hadn’t seen Hylda in a long time; that was unusual.
    Stig heard a noise behind him; one of the TNT cannons was being re-aimed. Stig turned around to find an assassin blocking the top of the explosives. Before Stig could run forward, the assassin activated it and TNT shot past Stig. It slammed into the gates of the city Reun and exploded, leaving a gaping hole right in the middle of the front gate.
    Cultists began pouring in, colliding heavily with the guards inside the city. Stig ran at the assassin, who drew a sword. But Stig wasn’t holding a weapon; he was holding a red glowing torch. He stuck it into the cannon and ran as the cannon exploded, taking the life of the assassin. Stig looked back at his corpse and shuddered; it was gruesome, and he couldn’t escape the feeling that he had done that. Hylda wouldn’t have had trouble with this at all, Stig thought.
    The cultists were pushing forward. Stig circumvented the battle and climbed up onto the wall; if he could activate the system above the gate, he could blockade the opening with sand. Stig ran across the wall, toward the gate, but a cultist shot an arrow and caught him in the side. Stig toppled over the wall and barely hooked a ladder to the wall, hanging onto the bottom rung with all his strength. On the other side, a cultist took several planks of wood and began building his way over the wall. Stig reached the top and blocked off the cultist with a quickly placed cobblestone overhang, heading toward the wall. As he let the sand fall, many cultists were crushed by the avalanche, and the others tried to break through, only causing more to fall. Stig climbed back down the wall, drawing a sword and preparing to fight…but he needed to find Hylda.
    Stig ran through the town, calling Hylda’s name. She didn’t respond. Stig knew that she’d never ditch a battle, no matter how mad at him she was; Stig was getting worried.
    Then he heard a groaning from the alley behind his house. Stig ran over to find Hylda, slumped against the wall, bleeding heavily.
    “Hylda, what happened?” Stig said. “Are you okay?”
    “Can’t…move…” Hylda coughed out. She opened her mouth to say something else, but her voice game out and she fell sideways, unconscious. Stig grabbed Hylda’s arm and began to drag her out of the alley, but the wall was detonated right before them and four cultists ran through. Stig stabbed at the nearest one, who was pierced through the chest as Stig was hit in the shoulder. Holding his shoulder to stop the blood, Stig hacked through the other three cultists at the cost of long gashes across his face and left leg. As more cultists headed toward the breach, Stig sheathed his sword and dragged Hylda around and into his house as a TNT charge exploded, much closer to them. Stig grabbed an axe and hacked down his wooden door, replacing it with hard cobblestone. He got Hylda into his bed; she was barely breathing, and Stig grabbed some mushroom stew and poured it down her throat. With Hylda recovering, though still unconscious, Stig was only then aware of his gaping wounds.
    “We’ve done all we can,” said Stig. “Just rest.”
    Stig sat next to the bed, watching Hylda vigilantly, and waiting for a sign that the outside world would be safe again.

    The hours that followed were terrifying. Completely isolated, Stig could hear the sounds of metal clanking and men dying outside, and even the sound of fire burning. Stig wanted dreadfully to look outside, wondering if there would be a Reun to walk out to, or maybe it would be full of dangerous cultists. Stig’s wounds weren’t getting worse, but he was using everything he had to help Hylda heal. In his state, he definitely couldn’t overpower even one cultist, so all he could do was sit in this isolated field, waiting for whatever was outside to stop; it reminded Stig of being blocked in his house once before, after the Cult tried to assassinate him.
    The sounds outside lasted two hours, three hours, four hours; it became dark. Stig was getting tired, but he forced himself to keep watching the walls. After six hours, Stig heard a knocking on the wall and a voice calling, “Stig? Stig…?”
    Stig ran to the wall and hacked it open. He saw a boy, barely his age, bearing a sword and a lot of scars.
    “Did we win…?” asked Stig.
    The boy paused, which Stig did not take as a good sign. But then he said, “…yes, we won.”
    Stig began to smile in relief, but the boy said, “You might want to see this, though.”
    Stig limped out into the battlefield and saw hundreds of corpses, all of them from Reun.
    “We already cremated the cultists’ bodies,” said the boy. “But we thought…everyone should know the sacrifices. Looking at your scars, I guess you probably understand.” Stig slowly nodded, horrified by the sheer number of bodies.
    “I received word that Wes will be back soon. I guess he probably doesn’t need to see this…I’ll get a burial started.”
    “Okay,” Stig whispered, walking back into the house. After taking down the defenses around it, Stig went back to Hylda, who was still unconscious.
    “If I hadn’t done any of this,” Stig asked her, though he knew she wouldn’t respond. “Would all those people still be alive?”
    “What about you? If I had said something different…would you still be healthy?”
    “It doesn’t matter,” said the boy who called Stig from his house. “Sorry I’ve been eavesdropping. But you could’ve made much worse choices. You did the right thing based on what you knew then, not what you know now.”
    Stig turned to the boy. “I guess so…thanks.” Stig was alone again; he continued to stay with Hylda, waiting for her to show signs of feeling better. Stig was relaxing a bit; Hylda’s wounds were healing well, and Stig was then certain she would make it. But all his optimism was shattered when his door opened and revealed the broad-shouldered figure of Wes. The next thing Stig knew, he was yanked out of the house and down, down deep, into the dungeon of Reun.

    Chapter 9 – Endgame

    Stig was thrown into a cell. As the door slammed shut, Stig struggled his way out of the mass of cobweb he had landed in. Wes glared at him through the door.
    “I heard you were a bit of a leader in this…massacre. It looks like you’ll finally get executed after all…you knew it was coming too, didn’t you?”
    Stig glared back, but he knew that nothing he could say would get him out of that cell.
    “Where’s Hylda?” Stig said.
    “She’s still in your bed. She’ll be interrogated as soon as she wakes up. It’s odd…I really thought you liked her. And yet you caused this to happen.”
    Shut up!” Stig suddenly exclaimed. “I would never do that to Hylda! I waited in there for hours for her to get better…your filthy goons had better keep your hands off her!”
    Wes didn’t flinch. He took a potion from his satchel and threw it through the door.
    “Your execution is in a few minutes,” he said. “Drink the potion; you’ll need to look good on your deathbed.”
    Stig suspiciously sniffed the potion; he smelled sugar and mushroom.
    “It’s a weakening potion,” Stig said.
    “Just in case you have any thoughts about escaping once you’re healed. Now drink it.”
    Stig uncorked the bottle and drank the potion; he felt his wounds sealing up, but his arms began numbing.
    “So…” Stig said, wanting to get as many shots in at Wes as possible before he died, “That attack you pulled on the Lunar Citadel didn’t work out so well…did it?” Wes’ nostrils flared.
    “You tricked us, Stig. You caused us to lose so many of our men…I wouldn’t be surprised if a score of cultists could take our city right now!”
    “And what does our Lord think of all this?”
    Wes grinned darkly. “You’re looking at him.”

    A minute after Wes had gone, Hylda entered; she looked much healthier.
    “So they’re going to kill you?” Hylda said.
    “Yeah, not much of a surprise though.”
    “Are you going to escape?”
    “Of course I am. I’m not going to let this be the result of my actions, and I guess the only way to do that is to make some new ones.”
    “Then where are you going to go?”
    “I’ll probably go straight to the Lunar Citadel. I’m pretty sure this ‘Nemus’ guy doesn’t exist now…so I’m going to fight Lucus.”
    “You’ll die!” Hylda suddenly burst out. “At least let me help!”
    “No,” said Stig. “I don’t want to get you any more involved than you already are.”
    “Why? You think I’m weak?”
    Stig wanted to say no, and he believed with all his heart that Hylda was the strongest person he knew…but he hesitated; it was a difficult question for him to answer, and he wished that he could answer honestly.
    “So that’s how it is,” Hylda said. “I thought you would have trusted my more by now.” Hylda turned to leave.
    “Hylda, wait—”
    “No! I’m not waiting for you any longer. I left your cell door open, but I’m not going to be any more involved with you than that. Goodbye, Stig.”
    Hylda left the dungeon and things seemed unbearably quiet. Stig sighed, got up, and snuck out of his cell. He should have been happy about being out of prison, but all he felt was alone. He lost his home, his rights, his life’s work, and now his best and only friend. As he snuck around the wall of Reun until he reached and opened the gate, he became certain that he would face Lucus. He was ready to die.

    Hylda was almost back at her house when she felt someone tap her shoulder from behind her. She turned around; it was the same young boy who had announced the end of the war. She didn’t recognize him, but she knew he looked worried.
    “I’m not in the mood right now,” she said, turning around.
    “Aren’t you going to help Stig?” the boy asked, ignoring her.
    “He doesn’t need me,” she said. “And I don’t need to see him again. He barely cares about me at all…I’m just another pawn to him. What’s one less pawn, right?”
    The boy lowered his head. “Hylda…I don’t know what Wes told you, but please trust me. Stig…he cares about you more than anyone else he knows. He found you when you were injured, and the whole time the war threatened to tear this city apart…he just stayed with you, protected you. I saw Wes come to take him to the dungeon…he fought every step of the way. He loves you, Hylda. Please…help him.”
    Hylda was silent. She felt like she just couldn’t comprehend his words. She had decided for herself that Stig didn’t care at all about her. But this…?
    “He didn’t do that.”
    “I saw him!” the boy said. “You would’ve died in that bed if he hadn’t been helping you heal every step of the way. You’ve known Stig a long time…do you really think I’m lying?”
    “He…Stig did that?”
    “Wes made Stig drink a weakening potion before his execution,” the boy continued. “He won’t last against a silverfish, let alone the Moonrise leader himself. You have to help him, Hylda.”
    “Th—th—” Hylda stammered. “Thank you.”
    “Hurry, we don’t have much time!”
    “So what are we going to do?”
    “Oh, I have an idea.”
    The boy led Hylda into the main road of Reun, into an alley, around a patch of sugar canes, and behind the rostrum. He handed Hylda a shovel and they started to dig. Once they had gone some distance, the boy shoved his shovel into the ceiling, knocking down a flood of musty gravel. He and Hylda climbed out, to find something that made Hylda’s eyes water from the light.
    Piles of gold and clusters of glowstone littered the floor. A brewing stand and an enchanting table sat on the diamond desk, and a chest sat on the floor, full of supplies the magnitude of which Hylda had never seen.
    “All this…was under Reun this whole time?”
    “I’m sure Wes won’t mind if we take a few things,” the boy said, sarcastically but with a beaming smile.”
    Hylda looked at the bounty of supplies, then back at the boy. She suddenly thought about Stig, the awful things she said to him, and that he was about to die.
    Let’s get crafting.

    The boy passed a stack of books and some planks to Hylda, who began to feed the contents into the enchanting table. The boy put some gunpowder and a fermented spider eye into a sickly-looking potion, which began to bubble. Hylda smashed open the diamond desk and began to forge it into a pair of breastplates and a pair of boots.
    About ten minutes later, the boy looked up from the potions stand and maps. “I think you’re ready.”
    Hylda fit the armor over herself and nodded.
    “Thanks again.”
    “No problem. I hope I—” The boy became stiff, his eyes rolling up. A splotch of red and a small piece of flint appeared in his neck. A guard was standing in the shadows, clutching a bow.
    “Intruders! Wes, intruders! They’re in the safe room!”
    Hylda took her own bow and shot the guard through the head. She ran to catch the boy before he fell.
    “Leave me…run,” the boy said. “No,” Hylda replied. The boy smiled sadly, apologetically, before he took his own sword and stabbed himself through the heart. Hands shaking, Hylda got up and ran through the tunnel as she heard Wes’s outraged voice.
    “Potions out? The desk and half the supplies gone? Who did this?!”
    Hylda scrambled back out the tunnel and didn’t look back until she was a hundred meters from Reun. She couldn’t stop her hands from shaking, still horrified about the innocent boy’s death. I never asked his name.

    Chapter 10 – Eulogy

    Stig sprinted across the plain as another zombie swiped at him. He leapt off a plateau and over the zombie, but was knocked sideways by a spider. He slipped and almost fell into a lava pit, but he stumbled forward. A group of monsters was cornering him against the pit.
    No…it can’t end like this. I have to get to Lucus.
    Suddenly, Hylda burst through the wall of monsters, her diamond sword slashing through the throat of a zombie. She threw a potion at Stig, which shattered as the liquid inside was saturated by Stig’s body and began to heal him. Hylda killed two more zombies and a skeleton as she helped Stig up.
    “I’m sorry,” Hylda said. “I’m helping you fight Lucus…I got a huge load of supplies from Wes’s secret storage. What’s wrong?”
    Stig was making a weird face between happiness and pain.
    “Um…there’s a silverfish on my ankle. It…really hurts.”
    Hylda smiled at Stig, happy to have her friend back. She grabbed the silverfish by the tail and tossed it into the lava pit. Then she turned around and hugged Stig.
    “H-Hylda?” Stig said.
    “I heard what you did for me,” Hylda said. “But even if you hadn’t…I wasn’t fair to you. I owe you an apology.”
    “Me too, for dragging you into this,” said Stig. “We fight Lucus together?”

    They reached the Lunar Citadel; the moon was full and directly overhead.
    “This place…” Stig said, looking around. “It’s beautiful.”
    The Lunar Citadel was amazing. Spires stretched incredibly high, but they seemed like they were part of the surrounding mountains. Skyward bridges connected the spires, and the architecture made the place look almost celestial. Stig and Hylda looked around; the place looked very quiet. There were a couple guards guarding the bridge to the main spire, but everyone else seemed to be asleep.
    “I’ll take the guards,” Hylda whispered. She drank a potion and snuck toward them. With a magically empowered jump, she launched herself high over them, slamming each of her feet into their heads. Stig dug a hole to hide the unconscious defenders.
    “We don’t have many of those short-lasting potions,” said Hylda. “We have to save most of them for Lucus. Hold on…I think I hear someone coming.”
    Stig and Hylda drew their weapons as they waited on the bridge as a small silhouette began to approach them. It drew closer, starting to swagger a bit. It was a figure wearing the cloak of Moonrise, but it looked like it was missing its insignia.
    “Who are you?” Hylda said as the figure reached them. Without speaking, she took off her cloak.
    “Sarrial…!” Stig exclaimed.
    “Not anymore,” Sarrial replied.

    “Who is she?” Hylda asked.
    “She’s the one who tricked me into helping them in the war.”
    “I assure you,” said Sarrial, “I come purely in diplomacy.”
    “How can we trust you?” Hylda demanded.
    “The worst dishonor for a citizen of Moonrise is the loss of her insignia. I am no longer in Moonrise…I have been exiled.”
    “What?” Stig asked, surprised. “Why?”
    “My exile is the same as yours,” Sarrial replied. “Lucus banished me for failing to kill you in the battle last week. I planned the entire thing…so I received the entire blame, all because I was different. You can understand, can’t you?”
    “No, I can’t,” Stig said. Sarrial raised an eyebrow.
    “You think that being a little smarter makes an excuse to separate yourself,” Stig said. “However separated I’ve become, I’m still from Reun, so I defend it…and you’re still a cultist.”
    Sarrial looked down and grinned, drawing a bright blue sword. She waved it in front of her, the air hissing as she pierced it. Stig drew his own sword; Hylda stepped forward too. “Sorry, Hylda,” Stig said. “I have to do this myself.” Stig’s own sword glinted purple, and as he held it in front of him, it became sharp as a needle. Stig drank a jumping potion; Sarrial reached out expectantly, and Stig tossed her one. They both leapt across the bridge. Sarrial swept sideways, and Stig pushed her sword upward with his own, launching himself back to the ground. But Sarrial flipped backward, impossibly fast, and repeatedly hacked toward Stig. Stig fell over backward as Sarrial leapt again. Stig’s mind raced as Sarrial slowly came down. He couldn’t possibly beat her physically, but she seemed to be expecting to lose. Then he felt the ground. He couldn’t explain it, but it felt thin…like paper. Just before Sarrial’s sword went through his head, he pushed himself forward as Sarrial landed on the bridge. Stig grabbed his pickaxe and slashed it through the ground, and Sarrial fell through the crevasse in the bridge, barely catching the rim.
    “Well done,” Sarrial said, groaning from the exertion of holding on. “Lucus is powerful, but not as clever as you. Stig…you will kill him.”
    “I will. But I won’t do it for you,” Stig said as he walked over to Sarrial. He reached his hand down to pull her up.
    “I wouldn’t do that,” Sarrial said, suddenly frowning. “It’s like I said, my exile is on my own hands. There is nothing left here for me.” Sarrial’s hand began to loosen.
    No!” Stig ran forward to grasp her hand, but she pulled her hand away and tumbled down into the cobblestones below. A sickening crunch was all that was left.

    Stig and Hylda continued across the bridge, both incensed and saddened by the death of Sarrial, even though she was a hated enemy. At the end of the bridge, they exchanged potions and weapons.
    “Once we go through here, we can’t come back until all of this is over,” said Hylda. “Are you ready?”
    “Yes,” Stig said. “Are you?”
    “No,” Hylda said. “But it won’t get any easier than this. Stig…be clever.”
    “I will.”
    Stig and Hylda walked up to the iron doors, and smashed through.

    Chapter 11 – Silenced Stars

    Lucus was at the other side of the room. He was standing in front of his throne, as if expecting them. There were arrows and holes in the pillars encircling the room.
    Lucus walked forward, holding two swords made of diamond. He was switching between them. They must be enchanted differently, Stig thought.
    Lucus stopped. He was within Stig’s striking range, but it didn’t seem to matter.
    “You’ve come to kill me,” Lucus said.
    “If it has to be that way,” Stig replied.
    “Tell me,” said Lucus, looking at a point in the distance and not even paying attention to Stig’s sword being raised. “We call ourselves Moonrise. You call us the Moonrise Cult. Do you even know what a cult is?”
    “It’s a collection of people sharing a religious concept…that harms others.”
    Lucus laughed, sending a chill up Stig’s spine. “Moonrise is nothing more than a separatist nation! Neither Reun nor we have any concept of religion. But is even that true? For Reun, their power is their religion…and we are the ones who deny that power. Hence, we are a cult.”
    “Why are you telling us this?” said Hylda.
    “I tell you this because there’s no point in killing me. Reun is the true enemy! It is what killed your friends, what got you imprisoned, what ruined your life! And yet you come after me. Tell me…are you siding with your enemies?”
    Hylda clutched her sword, preparing to slash Lucus across the throat. “You’re trying to distract us.”
    “Wait, Hylda,” said Stig. “I think I understand. If he convinces us that killing him is pointless…we won’t be able to. Lucus…I can answer your question.”
    Lucus sheathed his sword and stepped backward, looking straight into Stig’s eyes.
    “Yes, Reun ruined my life. Wes got me imprisoned, my friends killed, and my dignity taken. But as much as I hate it, I’m still a part of it. You’re the catalyst for all this, and you’ll keep turning my home city against Hylda and me. You’re still a part of Moonrise, no matter what you think of some of the others there. So banishing Sarrial…wasn’t that a bit hypocritical of you?”
    Lucus grinned, drawing four potions from his satchel and drinking them. “I underestimated your will. But knowing why you must kill me is one thing; actually doing so will be completely different.”
    Before Stig could even draw his sword, Lucus shot forward and a huge red streak appeared in Stig’s side. Stig ducked the other sword and then swung wildly, but Lucus leapt over him and shot an arrow into Hylda’s heart, barely missing her flesh through her armor. Stig and Hylda attacked over and over, surrounding Lucus, throwing potions, and attacking with enchanted weapons, but Lucus was too fast. He took maybe three hits, before he whirled around and knocked both of them into opposite sides of the room. He walked up to Stig, stabbed him through the stomach, and threw him into Hylda. Stig lay on the ground, clutching his wounds, and Hylda couldn’t seem to get up.
    “Maybe I didn’t underestimate you at all,” Lucus said, approaching them with nothing but a gash on his shoulder. “You didn’t even make an effort.”
    “We have one healing potion left,” gasped Stig through gritted teeth. “Hylda…use it.” He reached out to Hylda.
    Hylda almost took the potion, but she sighed and withdrew her hand. “No,” she said. “Thanks for finally trusting me. But…if anyone can beat him, it’s you. Remember what Sarrial said, Stig. Lucus seems impossible, but he’s not smart. You are.”
    Stig looked at the potion, and then slowly drank it. “You’ll be okay?”
    “Yeah,” she said. “Go kick his butt.”

    “Still trying?” Lucus said. “I would have thought you’d have given up by now.”
    “Of course you’d think that.” Stig was reaching in his satchel, looking for something that he could work with. Then he found it; he’d paid it no attention before, it was near-worthless; but he could use it. Lucus loaded an arrow, and Stig readied his item.
    Lucus heard his arrow hit something, but when he looked, he didn’t see Stig. All he could see was a little tower of dirt. Lucus slashed the dirt away and saw Stig’s sword shooting forward, catching him in the shoulder and causing Lucus to stumble back. Stig walked forward.
    “You really needed Sarrial’s help, didn’t you?”
    Lucus’s eyes narrowed furiously. He leapt at Stig, who quickly protected his head with an arch of dirt. As soon as Lucus slashed through it, Stig hit him with the butt of his sword and backed up. Lucus slashed wildly through wall after wall of dirt, and Stig continued to sidestep and back up. Then Stig put one foot behind the other, stumbled, and fell sideways. Lucus grinned madly and started to slash down at Stig, but with her last bit of strength, Hylda fired an arrow into Lucus’s side. Lucus yanked the arrow out as Stig ran for the door.
    “Trying to escape?” Lucus said as he shot at Stig, but Stig grabbed a load of fence posts and began sticking them in the walls, jumping up toward the top of the spire.
    Lucus was jumping up behind him. Stig shot at him, but Lucus had empowered jumping and dodged the arrows. Once Stig reached the top, he continued to shoot, as Lucus tried to reach him. But Stig could only get a single shot on Lucus before they both were at the top, hacking at each other with their swords. Stig still couldn’t beat Lucus; he ran to the window and out onto the ledge around the top of the spire. He got a sudden sense of vertigo as he inched around the edge, trying to find a way out. Lucus was running around the edge after him, blocking Stig’s attempts to knock him of.
    “It’s the end of the line, Stig,” Lucus said. “There’s nowhere you can run.”
    “No…there’s always a way…”
    Stig was gasping from fear; he was so high that a tiny slip would mean death. Then he saw a way out; there was another spire, connected on a mountain. There was a fountain on top. Stig held his breath, closed his eyes, and leapt. The fall was so intense that he couldn’t even scream. He fell into the fountain, and almost drowned scrambling to the surface of the water. He heard Lucus’s gasp of surprise, but then Stig saw him jumping after him. Stig crawled out of the fountain, begging his legs to work, as Lucus sped toward where Stig had landed. Thinking fast, Stig turned around and threw a huge clump of dirt into the fountain. As Lucus landed on the dirt, Stig could hear his boots shattering.

    Lucus was lying in the fountain. Stig slowly got to his feet, looking over the edge. There was nothing under them but grass and a pit of lava. Stig walked over to the lava, still gasping, wondering what would have happened if he had jumped there. It’ll be okay, Stig said to himself. I beat Lucus. It’s all over.
    Just then, Stig felt a sword hit him in the back. His armor broke. Lucus was standing behind him, clutching his stomach and laughing.
    “I’m not dead yet,” he said, before shoving Stig off the spire, straight toward the lava.
    This fall was even worse than the last. Stig could barely breathe, let alone see Lucus at the edge of the spire. The contents of Stig’s satchel were spilling out. Stig saw his swords, his potions, and his bow slip out—there was no hope left.
    Time seemed to have slowed down as Stig realized what he had to do. He reached out for his anti-fire potion, and just as he was drinking it, he splashed into the lava.

    It burned like nothing Stig had ever felt, but he focused all his strength on finishing the potion. Suddenly, he felt nothing. He put his hand to his heart to see if he was dead; he wasn’t.
    Stig was holding his breath at the bottom of the lava lake, a red aura protecting him from burning to death. Stig was alive, but unfortunately, so was Lucus. He still needed a way to win…
    Stig grabbed his fishing rod from his nearly-empty satchel, wading just on the surface so Lucus couldn’t see him through the embers. Stig cast his fishing rod with all his strength; it went up, up, onto the spire…and the line wrapped around Lucus’s throat. Stig yanked, and Lucus fell, gasping, grasping the choking line, before falling into the pool with a nauseating sizzle. Stig felt his fire protection fading, so he crawled out of the lava. As he looked back, he saw Lucus’s blackened, dead body floating in the deadly lake.
    He stumbled back into the spire to see Hylda still on the ground.
    “Come on,” he said. “Let’s go home.”
    Hylda didn’t need to ask if Lucus was dead. She got up, and they supported each other on the long walk back to Reun. The sun was just rising, but they still weren’t safe.

    Chapter 12 – Bittersweet

    Two guards stood outside the city Reun, as they loitered at the gate with their swords sheathed. The faint noise of two voices was heard in the distance.
    “I can’t believe we did it…”
    “Yeah, after all of this, it’s finally over.”
    “Reun’s just up ahead, we’ll be safe there.”
    “Yeah, we just need to get Lucus’s crest over there and we’re done.”
    “Ha ha…”
    “What’s so funny?”
    “I just—I just can’t believe we made it this far.”
    “You seemed a little more confident when we were on the way.”
    “Oh, shut up…”
    The guards straightened up, drawing their swords and watching the direction of the voices. Stig and Hylda slowly limped into view, holding each other up. They both had huge gashes across their bodies and through their armor, and Stig’s skin was badly burned.
    “It’s Hylda…and Stig!” one guard said to the other. “Wait…is that the crest of the Moonrise Cult?!”
    The guard was loud enough that Stig could hear. He grinned. “We did it.” But what he heard next sent a chill up his spine.
    “It doesn’t matter,” the other guard said. “Orders are, we kill Stig and his accomplice no matter what. Let’s go.”
    Stig couldn’t believe what he heard. He had won…he had killed Lucus…but he still couldn’t have a place to call home. “Do we run?” Hylda asked, grabbing her sword.
    “Yeah,” said Stig. “I’m not fighting for this.” Stig threw a potion at the guards, causing them to slow to a crawl.
    “A…potion…of…slowing!” the angry one said. “Get…back…here!”
    Stig and Hylda ran as fast as they could, still to hungry to sprint. “There’s a cave!” Stig said, and they dived in. Hylda sealed off the entrance, while Stig twisted torches into the walls and lit them. Hylda drew her bow and shot through the skull of a skeleton deeper in, and then they sealed that off too. Stig sat down on a rock, gasping from exertion and anemia.
    “So…Wes is still after us…even when we killed Lucus.” Hylda said.
    “Yeah…we really didn’t win, did we?”
    “Not yet, anyway,” said Hylda. She was trying to stand, but a tear ran down her cheek and she clutched her stomach, eventually sitting down opposite Stig.
    “We’re out of potions…and our arrows and enchanted swords won’t hold up much longer. We’re trapped.”
    “What do we do now, Hylda?”
    Hylda opened her mouth, and then closed it. She didn’t know. She thought there was always a way, but she didn’t know. “…I’m sorry,” Hylda said.
    Stig slowly got up and walked over, sitting next to Hylda. “We’ll start over. We’ll build on our own terms. We’ll just keep hiding, and we’ll build in this cave until we’re safe. And then…eventually…maybe we can save the people in Reun.”
    Hylda looked at Stig; he was dead serious. She smiled and looked away. “Sure. Let’s do it…on one condition.”
    “What is it?”
    “I get to steal from Reun.”
    Stig laughed. “Fine…just don’t get caught.”
    They both got up.
    “Well, we should get started,” Hylda said. “What first?”
    “Well, I am kind of hungry…”


    Due to the fact that my books exceed the max length for a post, I've posted books 2 and 3 later in the topic; link to them here!

    Book 2
    Book 3
    Posted in: Literature
  • 1

    posted a message on [Version 1.15] [Selfmade Java Minigame] Craftris - the Minecraft Tetris! *Dismember, shoot, burn or blow up those mobs!* *click
    Wow, this is epic.

    Things I like about it:
    • Graphics are amazing.
    • Mobs and blocks are very detailed.
    • Concept is ingenious.
    • You can pause when you need to organize inventory or craft.
    • Great background
    • Love the creepers
    Things that could be improved:
    • Game occasionally freezes
    • The 'Minecraft' aspect mostly makes the game easier; try making the Tetris part harder so you have to craft, collect, etc.
    • You have to click rapidly to pick up blocks; try a click-and-hold interface, or just autocollect
    • Instructions please? It took me a while to figure out how to place a chest.
    • There doesn't seem to be any difficulty slant
    • Some items are really hard to pick up; maybe you could click in an area and all nearby items are pulled to your mouse cursor?
    • You can't rotate a block if it's against a wall, which can be annoying; try making the block rotate to its closest legal position
    Please don't think the negatives outweigh the positives; the things that could be improved are very small, and the game overall is amazing and way beyond my current programming ability. I always geek out over games with really neat concepts. This is awesome.

    By the way, ever play Tuper Tario Tros.? http://www.newground...tal/view/522276
    Posted in: Other Fan Art
  • 10

    posted a message on Isometrus's Minecraft Comics
    Using MSPaint, I've been drawing some minecraft comics. Once I reached the third one, I decided I should make my own thread.

    This comic is, and always will be, kid-friendly. This means no profanity, no blood/gore, and no innuendo. So if you have a younger brother, sister or friend (or son, daughter, grandchild, nephew, niece, or strangely Minecraft-addicted infant cousin), feel free to share these comics! The larger the audience range, the better!


    Comic 1 - Economics
    Comic 2 - Red-Blown Dust
    :Iron: :Iron:
    Comic 3 - Geography
    :Iron: :Iron: :Iron:
    Comic 4 - Recycling
    :Iron: :Iron: :Iron: :Iron:
    Comic 5 - The Mightiest Tree
    Comic 6 - Spider-Pig
    :GoldBar: :Iron:
    Comic 7 - Everyone Hates Blue
    :GoldBar: :Iron: :Iron:
    Comic 8 - Enderman (Part 1)
    :GoldBar: :Iron: :Iron: :Iron:
    Comic 9 - Enderman (Part 2)
    :GoldBar: :Iron: :Iron: :Iron: :Iron:
    Comic 10 - Ineffective
    :GoldBar: :GoldBar:
    Comic 11 - Growth Spurt
    :GoldBar: :GoldBar: :Iron:
    Comic 12 - Skeleton Crew
    :GoldBar: :GoldBar: :Iron: :Iron:
    Comic 13 - Shafted Duties
    :GoldBar: :GoldBar: :Iron: :Iron: :Iron:
    Comic 14 - Griefer
    :GoldBar: :GoldBar: :Iron: :Iron: :Iron: :Iron:
    Comic 15 - Ode to the Eggs
    :GoldBar: :GoldBar: :GoldBar:
    Comic 16 - Fermental
    :GoldBar: :GoldBar: :GoldBar: :Iron:
    Comic 17 - Full House
    :GoldBar: :GoldBar: :GoldBar: :Iron: :Iron:
    Comic 18 - Simply A Ghast
    :GoldBar: :GoldBar: :GoldBar: :Iron: :Iron: :Iron:
    Comic 19 - Funeral
    :GoldBar: :GoldBar: :GoldBar: :Iron: :Iron: :Iron: :Iron:
    Comic 20 - Lost (Part 1)
    :GoldBar: :GoldBar: :GoldBar: :GoldBar:
    Comic 21 - Lost (Part 2)
    :GoldBar: :GoldBar: :GoldBar: :GoldBar: :Iron:

    And now, the comics.


    Red-blown Dust
    :Iron: :Iron:

    :Iron: :Iron: :Iron:

    :Iron: :Iron: :Iron: :Iron:

    The Mightiest Tree

    :GoldBar: :Iron:

    Everyone Hates Blue
    :GoldBar: :Iron: :Iron:

    Enderman (Part 1)
    :GoldBar: :Iron: :Iron: :Iron:

    Enderman (Part 2)
    :GoldBar: :Iron: :Iron: :Iron: :Iron:

    :GoldBar: :GoldBar:

    Growth Spurt
    :GoldBar: :GoldBar: :Iron:

    Skeleton Crew
    :GoldBar: :GoldBar: :Iron: :Iron:

    Shafted Duties
    :GoldBar: :GoldBar: :Iron: :Iron: :Iron:

    :GoldBar: :GoldBar: :Iron: :Iron: :Iron: :Iron:

    Ode to the Eggs
    :GoldBar: :GoldBar: :GoldBar:

    :GoldBar: :GoldBar: :GoldBar: :Iron:

    Full House
    :GoldBar: :GoldBar: :GoldBar: :Iron: :Iron:

    Simply A Ghast
    :GoldBar: :GoldBar: :GoldBar: :Iron: :Iron: :Iron:

    :GoldBar: :GoldBar: :GoldBar: :Iron: :Iron: :Iron: :Iron:

    Lost - Part 1
    :GoldBar: :GoldBar: :GoldBar: :GoldBar:

    NEW! Lost - Part 2
    :GoldBar: :GoldBar: :GoldBar: :GoldBar: :Iron:


    Posted in: Fan Art
  • 2

    posted a message on Clay Soldiers Mod v. 3.0.0-alpha.3 (MC 1.12.x) / 2.0.0-beta.2 (MC 1.7.10)
    I finally figured out how to download mods and this is the first one I thought of! I can't wait for the 1.2.4 version. :D

    Suggestions (because I love getting creative with things like this)
    1: Right-Click a clay block with the Clay Disruptor to destroy all the clay, but NOT the clay soldiers. Keep your soldiers behind a wall of clay and use the Disruptor to start the battle! (sorry if this is already the case)
    2: Water Bottle: Allows Clay Soldiers to put out their burning allies.
    3: Bonemeal: The soldier becomes slightly larger, with seemingly no effects...but when this soldier is killed, it splits into four! Disadvantage: No other items can be used on that soldier.
    4: Spider Eyes provide a jumping boost! Soldiers with spider eyes can jump over 1-2 block gaps.
    5: Eyes of Ender allow soldiers to teleport; they can zap behind enemies, dodge gravel and snow/fireballs, and cross gaps!
    6: Fermented Spider Eyes allow soldiers to steal items from their opponents! They can't steal diamonds or gold nuggets, though.
    7: Redstone Torches gives an entire squadron a "radar"; your redstone torch is converted into a unique wand, which you point with to lead your squad around the map. SMP-ers can compete by strategically managing several wands!
    8: Add guns; laugh at the forumers' reactions; remove guns two days later. :D
    9: Sand is a very short-range projectile! Give a soldier sand and a quarter-stack of sticks and he'll build a tiny outpost (an entity, not a block) from which he'll throw gravel and drop sand on attackers.
    10: Item Nexus: Spawns items that only clay soldiers can use, not you.
    11: Soldier Strengthener: Craft four clay, for glowstone and any dye to make a little entity like a Nexus, which buffs all nearby soldiers of its color. Perfect for designing HQs! Give a soldier a strengthener and he'll place it by himself.
    12: Give a soldier a piece of string and it'll be able to yank enemies toward itself, at which point its allies will take it down. For getting rid of those pesky ranged attackers!
    13: Give a soldier Soul Sand and he'll turn any block of clay lying around into a squadron of soldiers!
    14: Put a dispenser on the ground and fill it up, and a nearby soldier will soon get behind it and trigger it whenever an enemy is in range! They don't need pressure plates or levers; they just wait for a target can bombard it with arrows, fire charges, or even launch Nether Wart into enemy lines!
    15: Ink Sacs are slippery! Equip a soldier with an ink sac and he'll use it to send enemies sliding off randomly; perfect when there's lava nearby!
    16: End Stone turns soldiers invisible! You can see an outline of them, but other soldiers don't even know he's there unless they have goggles. Goggles and Gravel is a great spy repellent; watch out for invisible soldiers equipped with gunpowder!
    17: Give a soldier Lapis Dye and he'll become an elite; other soldiers will let it have a triple share of items, and let the elites charge into battle ahead of them.
    18: Cacti allow soldiers to counter melee attacks, dealing damage every time they're hit. A great way to get back at soldiers with blaze powder!
    19: Fence posts are huge clubs! A soldier with a fence post can instantly kill an unprotected enemy, but they can only attack once every couple of seconds.

    Wow, 19 suggestions...I hope you enjoy them!
    Posted in: Minecraft Mods
  • 1

    posted a message on Golems mean infinite iron?
    Okay, here is why Iron Golems don't provide a good source of iron.

    The Take Equation (Iron Golem iron collection rate):

    Ig / (Tk + Rs + Dl) * Pk * Ga = Im

    Ig: Average Iron gained per Golem (4)
    Tk: Time it takes to kill an iron golem (20sec at best, or 0.33 mins)
    Rs: Time it takes for said golem to respawn (maybe 10min)
    Dl: Delay between killing a golem and attacking another (5min with mob trap, 1min without)
    Pk: Probability that a player can kill the golem (3/10 without mob trap, 9/10 with)
    Ga: Golems available at any one village (2?)
    Im: Iron gained per minute from farming golems

    This means that you'll get MAYBE one iron ingot every two minutes (every five minutes if you don't use a mob trap). A 1.2 zombie farm could probably get that profit, and it would be much more efficient to just go mining, with the side affect of getting lots of cobblestone and ores.

    There, that was hard statistics. Iron golems are fine. Success!
    Posted in: 1.1 Update Discussion
  • 1

    posted a message on Villagers model change?
    It is too late to remove the Testificates. The Testificates are deeply rooted. The Testificates have grown too powerful...the Fan Art has begun to flow.

    Seriously though, if they're going to make a new NPC model, they'll probably just add new villages instead of replacing the villagers they have.
    Posted in: 1.1 Update Discussion
  • 1

    posted a message on Achevement get banner?

    A lot of people have achievements generated on this site, which also act as URLs to the mag.racked home page.
    Posted in: Fan Art
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