The Rise of the Warlords Book Two: An unofficial Minecrafter’s adventure.
Watcher must stand up against the terrifying skeleton-warlord, Rakir and his magical weapons.
After the fall of the zombies, the balance of power between the monsters of the Far Lands of Minecraft is disrupted. The skeleton-warlord Rakir grows stronger, and his skeleton army is leaving a terrible path of destruction as they search for enchanted weapons hidden away in the Far Lands. The great NPC wizards and monster warlocks hid these enchanted relics hundreds of years ago, after the Great War that ravaged the landscape. Now, Rakir and his skeleton general are searching for these terrible weapons to make their army unstoppable.
Watcher and his friends, determined to keep the Far Lands safe, realize they must stop Rakir from discovering these weapons. Racing across the Minecraft, the villagers try to find these powerful relics before the skeletons can find them. Along the way, Watcher learns something about himself that will shake the very foundation of Minecraft, and make him the most hunted villager alive.
Watcher will be required to face his greatest fear as he risks his life to save his friends. The only question is . . . will he be brave enough to do what must be done, or all will be lost.
Excerpt from Bones of Doom
The villagers all ran through the jungle, everyone glad to be out of the sweltering dry heat of the desert. Though it was not as hot, the jungle was incredibly humid, making it feel just as uncomfortable as the previous biome.
Watcher continued heading to the east, but with the tall jungle wood trees obscuring the clouds and sun, it was difficult to tell which way they were heading. He glanced at his father. “I’m afraid we’re gonna get lost in this jungle.”
“To reach your goal, it’s important to not only know where you’re going . . . but why.” Cleric gave his son a knowing smile. “To know your true goal, you must first know yourself. Only then, can you point the way for others.”
“What?” Watcher was confused.
“Here, use this.” Blaster tossed him a dark object.
Snatching it out of the air, Watcher stared down at the object . . . it was a compass. He looked up and flashed a grin at Blaster, then gave Cleric a wry smile. “Sorry Dad, but a compass is much easier to use than one of your philosophical riddles.”
“We’ll see,” his father replied.
Watcher held the compass out, then headed east. Blocks of leaves and thick shrubs blocked their progress, and at times it was necessary to use axes to cut through the undergrowth. Glancing around, he saw the villagers were becoming scattered, the difficult terrain forcing many to choose alternate paths around the frequent obstacles.
“This is not good.” Watcher searched for Cutter. He found the big NPC chopping through blocks of thick leaves, creating a path for the wounded. Motioning with his bow, he gestured for him to come near. “We need to keep everyone together. I suspect this is called the Creeper’s Jungle for a reason.”
“I know,” the big warrior said. “I’m trying to—”
An explosion rocked the jungle. The ground shook and leaves fell from the towering trees, creating a leafy rain that made it difficult to see for just an instant. Cutter stared down at Watcher with fear in his wide eyes.
He’s deathly afraid of creepers, Watcher realized. But he doesn’t want anyone to know.
“Archers, form a perimeter around me!” Watcher yelled as loud as he could. “Everyone, come to the sound of my voice.” He glanced up at Cutter. “Bang your sword on that armor of yours . . . make some noise.”
The villager glanced around at the green blocks that surrounded them, his head moving from place to place in a panic. Watcher drew Needle from his inventory, then smacked Cutter across the chest with the flat of the blade. The warrior turned and glared down at the boy, his hand reaching for his own sword.
“Bang on your armor and get everyone’s attention. We need the army together, in one place.” Watcher smacked his chest again, lightly. “Do it!”
Cutter shook his head, as if trying to dislodge his fear, then pulled out his huge diamond sword and another piece of iron armor. He banged on the metal plating as if it were a gong, the clanking drifting out into the jungle.
“Everyone, move to the sound,” Watcher shouted. “Come together . . . here, with me and Cutter.”
Villagers moved toward them, their eyes darting about, eyeing the green surroundings with suspicion. As soon as Watcher had enough archers, they fanned out into a large circle. Next, he sent the woodcutters to clear out some of the brush so they could see each other without having to look around shrubs or large clusters of leaves.
Psssss . . . BOOM!
Another creeper detonated, but this time, the explosion was punctuated with a terrified scream that was suddenly cut off.
I hope my friends are okay, he thought. Just then, a terrible image came to Watcher’s mind.
“Where’s Planter?” Watcher said, panicked, as he searched frantically for his friend.
“I’m here.” Her voice was like the ringing of a perfect bell. He took a breath and allowed the stress that had built up to seep slowly away.
The villagers were beginning to set up defenses, placing blocks of dirt on the ground to make it difficult for creepers to approach. Swordsmen pulled out shields and blades, ready for any monster attack.
“I think we have everyone together now,” Blaster said, his green leather armor merging with the background. “I’m going to the treetops with some other scouts. We’ll try to find the creepers. When we do, we’ll let you know where they’re at.”
“How will you let us know where the monsters are hiding?” Winger asked.
“Don’t worry . . . you’ll know.” The boy smiled.
“Wait . . . take these.” Winger handed him four pair of Elytra wings. “They might make it easier for you to get back to the ground.”
Blaster took the shimmering gray wings, then ran to the largest junglewood tree with three other villagers following close behind. Using blocks of dirt, he built a set of stairs that spiraled around the trunk of the looming tree until they disappeared into the foliage high overhead.
A hissing sounded off to the right.
“Creeper!” one of the archers yelled.
The twangs of bowstrings filled the air as a group of warriors fired on the creature. In seconds, a cheer rang out, signaling the monster had been destroyed.
“Watcher,” a voice said from high overhead. “Keep moving to the east. There’s a large group of creepers sneaking up from behind. Get moving!”
Cutter turned and looked behind the group, but the only thing visible was the thick jungle foliage. The creepers could have been right there, but their mottled green and black skin merged perfectly with the foliage. He put his diamond sword back into his inventory, then pulled out an axe.
“That’s a good idea.” Watcher smiled up at the big warrior. “Swordsmen, take out axes. We’re cutting through the jungle as we head for the ocean. Archers, keep your eyes open for creepers. Use your ears . . . their hissing will give them away.” He glanced around at the army of NPCs. They were scared; he could see it in their eyes. But now, his friends and neighbors were looking for him to lead them to safety.
Maybe I can do this. Watcher found Planter and gave her a smile, then pulled out his enchanted bow and notched an arrow to the string.
The army moved through the jungle to the sound of chopping. The soldiers tore into the leaves and shrubs as if they were cutting through an army of monsters. As they attacked the jungle with their axes, the archers stood guard on the perimeter, ready to silence any creeper that might be foolish enough to approach.
An explosion detonated high in the treetops, far to the north.
“That must be the signal from Blaster,” Cleric said. “There are creepers to the north.”
Another explosion rocked the jungle to the south.
“More creepers,” Cutter said, his voice lacking its normal confident, booming edge.
“Come on, everyone . . . we need to move faster!” Watcher put away his bow and pulled his own axe out, lending the iron tool to the effort.
The army of NPCs moved through the jungle but it was slow going. The growth of shrubs, trees, and vines was thick, and almost seemed to be getting denser as they delved deeper into the biome. Sweat rained down from Watcher’s forehead as he hacked at the blocks of leaves before him. He could just imagine the mottled green creatures sneaking up on them from the three sides, the strange, four-footed monsters wanting to end their lives by destroying as many of his friends as possible. It made him shudder with dread.
Just then, an explosion punctuated through the sounds of the jungle high in the treetops ahead of them. Then more blocks of TNT went off behind and to the left and right . . . the creepers were closing in from all sides.
“We’re surrounded,” Cutter said, his voice shaking.
Watcher put away his axe and glanced around at the members of their army. Everyone had stopped cutting through the jungle and were just staring at him, terrified expressions on their faces . . . all except Er-Lan. The zombie seemed to be staring off into the distance, listening to the animals of the jungle. The faint growls and howls of ocelots could be heard through the foliage, the spotted cats illusive and difficult to tame.
“What I wouldn’t give for a clowder of cats right now,” Watcher muttered.
“Clowder of cats?” Er-Lan asked.
“Yeah, clowder means group of cats. Creepers are afraid of cats.” Watcher turned in a circle and surveyed their surroundings. He glanced at Cutter and could tell the big NPC was paralyzed with fear. “Here’s what we’re gonna do. Everyone pull out blocks of dirt or stone or whatever you have. We’re building our own little castle right here in the jungle.” He pulled out his enchanted bow. “We aren’t gonna let any creepers get close to us without paying a price.”
A few villagers cheered . . . but very few.
“I know you’re all scared, but we can get through this if we work together.” Watcher held his bow high over his head. “This is not the end . . . it’s only the beginning of our defense against the monsters of the Far Lands.”
Just then, a whistling sound filled the air. Behind him, Er-Lan had two fingers in the corner of his mouth and was making a piercing sound that cut through the noises of the jungle. Instantly, parrots descended upon the circle of villagers. Colors beyond anything Watcher could imagine floated down to their clearing, all of the birds heading toward the zombie.
The decaying creature held his arms out, allowing many of the creatures to land. They bobbed their heads up and down, squawking and squeaking. Er-Lan said something to those nearest, then flung his arms upward, sending the parrots into the air. The feathery creatures squawked to each other, then dispersed out in all directions.
“What was that?” Watcher asked.
Er-Lan smiled. “Clowder means a group of cats.” His grin grew larger.
“I think the zombie is losing it,” Cutter said.
Watcher spun around and saw the big warrior approaching. “You okay?”
“Yeah . . . sorry. Creepers are not my favorite monster.”
“I know, I’m afraid of them too,” Watcher said.
“Who said anything about being afraid?” Cutter snapped.
“Ahh . . . well, I . . . umm.” Watcher looked for something to say, but found no words that would help.
“And who put you in charge?” The big NPC glared at Watcher. “I’m leading this army, not you. You’re just leading the archers; everyone does what I say. You got that?!”
Watcher nodded and took a step back. The angry edge to Cutter’s voice was a little frightening.
What did I do? I was just trying to help, the boy thought.
Notching an arrow to his bow string, Watcher moved to the perimeter and watched for the green monsters. Villagers all around him were building barricades of dirt and stone. Swordsmen were clearing away shrubs beyond the impromptu barricade, making it easier for the archers to find their targets. Archers built tiny towers of dirt, then attached wide platforms on top able to hold four defenders, allowing them to shoot over the walls at any approaching monsters.
The defenses came together quickly, but Watcher suspected they would not be enough. He knew if one creeper made it to their wall, it would detonate, tearing open their defenses. The monsters would then pour into the clearing. Their explosive lives would destroy every last member of their army until no one was left.
I’ve led everyone into a trap, and their deaths will be my fault, Watcher thought. I can only hope I don’t survive; I don’t think I could bear this guilt.
“They’re coming!” a voice said from high overhead.
Four figures jumped out of the trees overhead, then leaned forward, causing their Elytra wings to snap open. The gray wings allowed the villagers to fly in a wide circle around the perimeter of their formation, slowly floating toward the ground. They landed gracefully, then removed the wings and replaced them with armor.
“Thanks for the wings,” Blaster said to Winger. “They got us down so we wouldn’t miss the fun.”
“What do you mean?” Winger asked.
Blaster sighed. He removed his leather armor, and replaced it with thick iron.
“You can’t run very fast or hide in that,” Watcher said.
“I don’t think we’re going to do much running or hiding.” A sad expression came across the boy’s face.
He reached out a hand to Watcher, the archer doing the same. The clasped each other’s wrists, a sign of greeting and parting. This time, Watcher knew it meant the latter.
Panic suddenly flooded through him. Where’s Planter? Watcher glanced around, looking for his friend. I must make sure she’s safe. And then he saw her. She was organizing the archers along one of the walls, placing villagers so they’d have the clearest field of fire while at the same time staying near the children, ready to protect them with her bow. Watcher’s heart swelled as he watched her, but was then filled with panic when he heard the next words.
“Here they come,” an archer shouted from his perch. “Oh no . . .”
“What?” Watcher stared up at the villager, who stood on a tall watch tower built out of dirt. The archer looked down with a resigned expression on his face and just shook his head.
Pulling blocks of dirt out of his inventory, Watcher jumped into the air and placed the block under his feet. He repeated this six times, then slowly turned. Emerging from the jungle were countless creepers, their dark eyes filled with hatred. Some of the monsters sparkled, with electric sheets of energy hugging their bodies; these were charged creepers . . . and they were very dangerous.
He tried to count the monsters, but there were just too many. The creepers were packed together, shoulder to shoulder, with more ranks of monsters pushing through the underbrush. They probably outnumbered the villagers ten to one . . . it was impossible.
Watcher gazed down at his companions.
“Well?” Planter stared up at him.
Her green eyes and long blond hair had never looked so beautiful to Watcher. And then, suddenly, Watcher realized what he’d been feeling toward Planter: he liked her, not just as a childhood friend . . . but something more. And now, he’d never get a chance to experience this emotion with her . . . that is, if she felt the same way about him.
“What do you see?” she asked.
What should I say . . . that I see everyone’s death? It’s hopeless.
He said nothing, just stared down at Planter and tried to burn her image into the back of his mind so that it’d be there at the end.
“Here they come!” another villager shouted.
Watcher turned toward the tree line as hundreds of creepers charged toward them. It was the end.