By: Andrew W
Chapter 1 (More on the way!)
Chapter 1: Memories.
Rain fell from the heavens as if the Creator himself had dropped a bowl of tear-shaped glass beads onto the world. It splattered on his iron helmet and the iron helmets of the other NPC’s next to him with a quiet plunk, proceeding to run down the sides of their protective headgear and fall onto their shoulders, neck or back whenever they tilted their heads any way. It was quite an annoyance, but the fear and trepidation emanating from them all made them ignore it; the task on hand was more important. Out on the soon-to-battlefield it was pitch black. Only some moonlight helped to see through the dense, depressing fog smothering the lovely green blanket that was the grassy plains; the strongest light coming from torches placed here and there on the wall that would’ve been more preferable out there instead. Peering forwards he attempted to see through the fog a little better. His grip tightened on the enchanted diamond sword in his left hand and the enchanted bow in his right.
A line of archers, clad in iron armor, stood in a row of one on either sides of him. The dull grey and white colors provided little eye candy, but the way the rain created a wet mirror on their armor was a beautiful sight to behold. He was an exception from this iron wall, clad in ¾ of a suit of diamond armor, with cracks and chips here and there from the last battle he had fought through. His helmet-which was the ¼ that was not diamond-was merely iron, but he wore it with pride. The dents and shreds in it did not faze him as what that helmet had been through with him was legendary. He stood at the middle of the wall, trying to be as tall and proud as he could, as if a conductor preparing to conduct his orchestra.
Bows creaked as their owners notched an arrow and breathing became heavy. Each of the archers were positioned behind a two-block tall sanctuary, one block apart from the brave soldiers next to them. Their plan was to notch an arrow, poke out from behind their blocks, fire at the shortly oncoming horde, then duck back behind, hopefully unscathed.
The boy’s body seemed wiry and short, but his skill and behavior told a different story. He was a boy who was mostly judged by his cover, like a book, because being not as tall as the other villagers around him made him look like just a young teenager. But his brave NPC army he led was not fooled. They had seen his true skill.
This boy’s name was Ruse.
Ruse was not a normal NPC. He came from the jungle, and not born in a normal village like all other NPC’s. In addition, all villagers were named for their jobs, like his friend Stonecutter who worked to create stone bricks and other stone goods for the village. His name was special, and he was proud of it. But oh, how he missed his old friend Stonecutter…
The comforting static-like sound of the downpour pressed in upon his ears, relaxing his mind. Raindrops thudded against the stone brick wall and his helmet and in some way made Ruse think of his wooden home stuffed in amongst the other village houses behind him. He leaned against one of the two-block pillars next to him sleepily and began to daydream of his rough beginning in this blocky world.
Ruse could remember his rescue clearly. However, he didn’t remember how he got where he began… a flash of white light… Hmph. In addition, he somehow came in to this world understanding it. He knew what was what. How he knew what was what, he didn’t remember either! What he did remember, however, was stumbling blindly through the shady darkness of the jungle as sunset approached. He was growing desperate and could feel his hunger bar growing low…
The branches of dense jungle foliage reached out at him like little knives, proceeding tearing his clothes to pure shreds. He sprinted towards a decently sized clearing in the distance… Salvation. His feet squished against the wet mud and grass on the jungle floor. He narrowly avoided slipping in his haste to escape.
“Hey!” Shouted a wary voice.
Ruse spun around towards the noise, his fists raised in a defensive position. He had no hope to fight against any enemies, as he was too weak from his travel. But he had to do something. The leaves in front of him shook with unseen movement, and suddenly-
The mysterious being gasped with surprise. He had jolted through the bushes with the force of a creeper blast, skidding to a halt approximately three or four blocks in front of Ruse. It was a human, definitely, in full iron armor and clenching an iron sword-which had seen a little bit of wear and tear from cutting through the multitudes of thick jungle undergrowth-in his left fist. His entire set of iron armor had a few scrapes in it here and there, as cutting back the bushes with his sword seemed to have still not stopped their ravaging branches. His lower half was splattered with mud, boots brown like leather. Clearly he had been out here as well-exploring or doing some other activity. Shocked by the sudden appearance of this other person, he raised his sword defensively but soon lowered it as he noticed Ruse was relatively harmless. Ruse, after quickly recovering from this jumpscare, observed his post-assailant’s bodily form warily.
He was a regular NPC with a long rectangular nose and a tall bald head, his iron helmet securely resting on top. His smock was obscured by the armor he wore, but Ruse could see the frayed hem of it-a light grey, the color of stone, with a darker grey stripe running down the middle. His arms were scarred here and there, likely from flying chips of stone as he mined downwards, gaining the-to him at least-valuable raw cobblestone which he could smelt, craft, and turn into beautiful stone goods for his village. His strong muscles bulged slightly under the skin of his rectangular arms from cutting into the flesh of Minecraft for so long, and his foggy grey eyes observed Ruse up and down. Everything about him seemed slightly sad.
“Who are you? Are you a new mob or something?” He questioned, still alert despite Ruse’s dilapidated form. Stonecutter’s grip tightened on the blade, his voice deep.
“I’m… I’m,” Ruse stuttered with a quiet and hoarse voice, “I’m not quite sure who I am exactly. Who are you?” He replied nervously.
The NPC peered down at Ruse quite curiously (As he was much taller than him), making a thoughtful “Hm!” at the thought of someone not knowing their own name.
“’Names Stonecutter. I live in a village somewhere over to the East,” He said, waving a blocky hand in the general direction. “I was out here working on a new jungle temple for the users to explore. That’s my job… to build and create with stone, not to mention mine it,” He said upon noticing Ruse’s also curious gaze. “Hence the name. Anyways, introductions over, follow me. You don’t look like an NPC, but I’m sure the Crafter has to do something with you. He’s got a warm heart.” He added.
Before Ruse could reply, Stonecutter had grabbed his hand and was leading him through the route he had cut to get into the jungle-now going out of it.
Who was this Crafter? Ruse wondered. He stumbled once or twice behind Stonecutter (Who was easily walking his way through the path), the jungle tree roots sticking up here and there in the path making it hard not to. Glancing up into the sky whenever there was a clearing between the towering jungle canopies, Ruse could see it was becoming night. Eventually, he could see a dim light ahead, and suddenly-after forcing their way past some overhanging tree branches-were out. Ruse put a tan hand up to his face and looked away, as the sky was still bright despite the setting sun. It hurt his eyes. A horse was tied to an oak wood fence with a lead and hungrily munching on some grass just outside of the opening. A grassy plains biome stretched out into the distance behind it, a river somewhat visible in the very background. The steed eyed Ruse with interest.
Stonecutter let go of Ruse’s hand then jumped on the horse’s back, putting a hand out. “Get on kid, this is our fastest means of transportation here,” He said. His eyes were scanning the jungle behind them, and Ruse could see he was getting nervous at the approaching darkness. A blazing sunset, muffled by the dense foliage of the jungle, still managed to light up the tops of the tall trees and spread throughout the sky, giving the appearance of a orangey-yellow fire blossoming somewhere in the biome. Night time meant monsters.
Snapping out of his awe at the beauty of the sunset, he sprinted forwards, jumping-and landing neatly behind his savior. For his first time mounting a horse, he wasn’t sure how he had done it, especially in his weak condition. Ruse assumed he was all of a sudden natural at this. How he was, he was again not sure. Once upon the back of the horse-Which was incredibly comfortable to him-he grabbed onto Stonecutters’ waist in front of him and wearily rested his head on his newfound friends’ cold armored back, staring out into the sunset as his eyes adjusted to it. Stonecutter smiled and lightly kicked the steed into a gallop towards the distant village.
Chapter 2: The Crafter’s Decision.
Ruse awoke from his slumber with a loud yell from the tall Stonecutter sitting in front of him. His eyes were still closed and he longed to be back in the darkness of sleep.
“Open the gates!” He shouted with an air of extreme command, appearing to be talking to the two large archery towers flanking the left and right side of the main gate. The ‘gates’ he had mentioned were not exactly these massive, beautifully decorated gates that you would think as being on castles, it was just two iron doors that were mounted into the large stone walls that loomed over them both. As the steed galloped over the thin wooden drawbridge spanning the moat the doors swung open. Stonecutter ducked down low as they went through them, the horse almost being too tall to fit through the narrow passageway. They slowed to a trot once inside and this sudden movement jolted Ruse fully awake.
Disturbingly, as he rubbed his eyes and gazed at the sides of the gravel pathway they were trotting down he noticed that both sides were lined with villagers staring up at him with wonder, their different colored smocks creating a slightly dull rainbow feast for the eyes. Whispers floated to his ears and as he looked around from his mount he could see that there were hoes of all makes laying in partially-tilled fields; Farmers must have paused their daily jobs to see this strange sight. The Blacksmith’s anvil lay abandoned; the same must have gone for them. Doors were left wide open to the square oak wood and cobblestone houses sprinkled about inside the walls. Not all of them had lighting on the inside. The larger houses had a more unique shape, but it still wasn’t much of an improvement.
The horse rounded a corner and they approached a large, L-shaped cobblestone building that Ruse somehow knew off the top of his head. It sat upright, pointing into the now pitch black sky littered with stars (As It becomes night quite fast in Minecraft), the beautiful patchwork quilt of the Creator. It was either a church or a watch tower. Whatever it was, he did not know. Stonecutter got off the horse nonchalantly, but Ruse had to be taken by the hand. He was exhausted despite the rest he got on the journey here. A nervous villager came forwards out of the large crowd vaguely lit by the few torch-lamps around the village and quietly handed the newcomer a piece of steak, then backed off, seemingly melting back into the cluster of fellow villagers.
Accessing the piece of food from his hotbar he ravenously consumed it immediately, simply holding it up to his mouth. Small particles of meat flew off of it in an eating animation, and suddenly it disappeared, the code binding into his food bar and filling in the empty chicken “drumsticks” he had. He felt rejuvenated. Looking down, he could see he had brown pants-now shorts, shredded from the jungle-and a sea blue shirt-torn up as well. He looked up, and saw Stonecutter motioning to him to come through the open door of the church. (He still wasn’t sure what it was yet, but he figured it was a church). Light streamed out through the door As soon as he entered, taking nervous, shaky steps up the cobblestone stairs, his eyes rested on an old, aged NPC in a black smock, the stripe a diamond blue, sitting down crisscross on top of a pedestal sitting at the far end of the room. A grey stripe, barely visible against the black, ran down the middle. He looked down at the ground, as if concentrating very hard on something nonexistent.
Whoever this person is he must be very sacred to the village, Ruse thought. He seems important.
“Yes, Stonecutter?” The ancient villager said in an aged, hollow voice, not having to look up or hear Stonecutter to know who he was. His voice sounded somewhat like a Wither and the whistling wind of a thunderstorm mixed together. Somehow, the NPC-which Ruse assumed was the Crafter-knew who Stonecutter was without having to look up.
“This. I found him in the jungle, blundering about at sundown. He doesn’t have a name, he says,” Stonecutter grumbled, lightly pushing Ruse forward with a rectangular arm.
The crafter looked up slowly, and Ruse could see his face clearly. His eyes were set back into his skull a small bit, his face pale. It was slightly intimidating until Ruse noticed his eyes. They were a beautiful emerald green that sparkled in the light of the torches on the walls to the left and right of Ruse. He relaxed as he looked into their gaze, and after some scrutinizing, the Crafter spoke.
“Hasn’t a name, has he? We’ll call him…” The villager paused, then a grin slowly spread across his face.
Stonecutter raised an eyebrow. “Ruse? Why not a name for a villager? Like Baker, Weaver, Farmer, Topper, Digger, Chopper-“
“Because, Stonecutter, I can feel that this boy is going to be a warrior when he grows up. I can sense the power within him,” He croaked, then looked over to Stonecutter. “You take good care of Ruse, you hear?”
Stonecutter rolled his eyes, but nodded.
“You may go,” The crafter finished.
Stonecutter and the newly-named Ruse turned to walk out the door with Ruse still questioning… Well, everything that was going on. Ruse was about to walk out the door behind Stonecutter when-
“Wait,” Spoke the Crafter abruptly.
Ruse turned around, an eyebrow raised. Stonecutter was already out the door.
“Each warrior in our village carries his own weapon, one that he takes care of passionately and wields true to his heart,” He said to Ruse, his voice mystifying. “While you may only see a mere iron sword held by each one of them, to the warrior it is a symbol of his bravery, a passion he lives and fights for,” He continued.
The Crafter then reached behind his back accessing his inventory-in his hand appearing a golden sword. The blade was a dark, shiny yellow that gleamed in the torchlight; the hilt of polished oak wood. But there was one thing that set it apart from every other golden sword in Minecraft… Set into the guard where the hilt met the blade was a bright blue diamond, which seemed to shine brighter than the whole object itself. The Crafter slowly reached forwards, and held it out to Ruse.
“If you choose to follow that path… Take this,” He said.
To Ruse, everything seemed to be at a stand-still as the Crafter handed it out to him. Conflict raged through his mind; should he live life as a normal villager, maybe a farmer or a blacksmith? Or take up the sword and live a risky, dangerous life as a warrior?
Outside the tall structure, the crowd jostled and milled about, trying to see what was happening through the small windows set into the building.
All of a sudden the oak door ominously swung open, revealing a shadow with something pointy and long in his right hand. As it stepped out of the doorframe, torchlight lit up its face…
It was Ruse. With no word, no question, he quietly raised a gleaming golden sword with a diamond gem set into the cross-beam high above his head. Stonecutter, who was walking down the street, heard cheering and turned around, only to see the historical scene unfolding at the church. He didn’t need to ask to know who that was. He just smiled.
Chapter 3: Attack! (Coming soon!)