Copyright 2017 Mark Mulle
Published by Mark Mulle at Shakespir
Shakespir Edition License Notes
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your enjoyment only, then please return to Shakespir.com or your favorite retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
This short story is for your reading pleasure. The characters in this “Minecraft Adventure Series” such as Steve, Endermen or Herobrine…etc are based on the Minecraft Game coming from Minecraft ®/TM & © 2009-2013 Mojang / Notch
Table of Contents
Almost three years ago
Somewhere in the Ironheim Ice Biome
The sun shone down faintly on the mountaintop village.
Two swordsmen clashed blades: once, twice and three times their swords slammed into each other as the crowd watched expectantly. The biggest moment of the young men’s lives hung on a thread.
One was tall, dark-haired and handsome, a chieftain’s son; the other was a short and heavy boy that was known for his brute strength and dark humor.
Only ten of the twenty who fought on the day would complete their training and ‘come of age’, so to speak. The other ten who lost would go home and lick their wounds, their lives forever marked with the shame of having lost the final and most deadly test that an Ironheim teenager would face. Three years of training culminated in this final trial and although each of the young warriors standing in or close to the fighting ring had gone through many other challenges, this one was a must-win competition. Even the smartest or most resourceful young man or woman was unable to call him or herself an Ironheim warrior if they couldn’t prove their prowess with a weapon.
Nine had already been chosen so only one remained. The one who would be decided in this long-expected fight.
The tall boy stepped forward in a sudden evasive movement that unbalanced his opponent, and proceeded to stab and thrust with quick motions. The other youth weaved and danced to avoid his foe’s blade, but it managed to brush past his face ever so slightly.
For a strange reason the shorter lad’s reaction was not to recoil in fear, but to growl in anger.
“That’s it! Enough!” he roared, charging forward at his opponent. The tall fighter, who had been in control for most of the fight until then, stumbled back in an attempt to get into balance. It was, however, too late.
The fat boy’s blade came slamming down onto the other one’s head. He collapsed, not dead but simply unconscious. Fortunately, every weapon was blunted before the fight began. The pain of defeat would be much worse than the bruising.
“We have a winner!” a powerful man cried. As the chieftain’s son was carried away, the chieftain himself approached with a smile. His son had been beaten, but he knew how Ironheim’s laws worked — only the strongest and most able deserved to come of age. His youngest son would get his chance again. He himself would make sure of it.
The heavy lad raised his fists to the air and howled in celebration. The great Coming of Age event was over, at least for another year.
A small, thin lad sat on a nearby rock, watching the events unfold. His eyes were wide as he witnessed the end of the duel and imagined himself fighting within the ring, his axe — the weapon that he preferred the most — flashing at his enemy and cutting him down before the most glorious moment arrived: His coming of age.
“I will be standing there one day, having won the final fight. You’ll see,” the boy told his friend, who sat next to him.
“Oh come on, Luke. You know the final fight is always reserved for the best warriors. Maybe you’ll get the first one, if you even get that far at all.” The other youngster grinned, but Luke ignored him. In his mind, he made a silent promise.
I start training next month. That will be me in three years, I know it. I’ll prove to Ironheim who I am and what I’m capable of. I am a man of Ironheim and I will become one of the greatest warriors from these lands ever.
I’ll show them all what I’m capable of.
As his light blue eyes shone with fire, the sun hit them and for a moment, Luke was not a thirteen-year-old kid from Ironheim.
He was a warrior from the legends themselves. As he picked up a diary and started to write, he knew a great story was about to begin…
Ironheim Ice Biome – Now
The comet’s trail shone in the sky. Is it a herald of doom, or of fortune? Opinions were mixed in the village.
I sat on the stump of a tree, the cold morning breeze hitting me head-on from the mountains like an unforgiving wave rushing against the shore. The smell of snow, nature and life came with it and I closed my eyes to allow myself to savor the moment.
The sun still hadn’t emerged from beyond the horizon, and I wondered about what awaited me in less than twenty-four hours. I have trained for the last three years, my mind and body transformed into something entirely different from what it was when I began. The Ironheim trials were not for the weak — you either adapted or you perished somewhere in the mountains or valleys.
The tests of strength and speed were long behind me; the survival trials had ended. Now it was all about the final duel. I inhaled and exhaled, meditating as the first rays of sunlight began to appear. I had seen so many promising youngsters fall in these last months, many beaten in their duels by smarter opponents who fought with brains more than brawn. Nevertheless, I had made it to the final stages against all odds. No, the final. Some opponents had underestimated me; others had tried to act meek and helpless so that I would lower my guard.
I knocked my own best friend out of the trials by beating him in the first round of duels. He had never believed in me; perhaps that would change now that I had gotten this far.
When the sun was properly shining its light above the land, I stood up and picked up my axe. The short, heavy-headed weapon was my preferred tool for combat, the feel of a sword just not the same. I spun it in my grip and practiced a few cuts and slashes. My next and final opponent was a wolf-hunter; he fought with a blade in each hand and had proven again and again that no man in the village could challenge him. He was also blindingly fast and never missed a strike. I picked up a second axe — I would need to fight fire with fire and counter his dual-wield with my own.
My hands flashed forward as I danced and struck at a pile of stones, catching imaginary blows on my weapons. I stopped to look at the comet once again, my mind drifting as I wondered if it was a good omen for the coming days. Perhaps it was a sign of some sort. It wouldn’t be the first time that a celestial object spoke to us of an important event.
“Ready for tomorrow, Lucas? You’re the underdog, you know.” a voice asked from behind me. I turned and saw him standing there, his typical smile beaming on his face. The chieftain was a giant of a man: his arms as thick as my legs and his chest more like a barrel of muscle. The elders of the village spoke of his prowess, the way he had led the Ironheim contingent during the war and smashed our enemies to pieces whenever he entered the battle. It was considered an honor for the chief to come and see you personally like this, especially when you were training.
“I am, sir, and yes, I know. I made a promise, three years ago during the final duel.”
The chieftain’s eyebrows rose. He knew what date I meant.
“The day my son fell? What promise was that?”
I turned away from him and continued my training.
“I promised myself I would become one of the greatest warriors ever. I intend to keep it.”
There was silence as the chieftain chewed on that fact.
“You go out there tomorrow and you win, and maybe it could come true…”
Finally I turned, smiling at the man and bowing my head…but he was already gone.
With a grin, I shook my head and turned back to look at the ball of flaming gas hurtling far above somewhere in the cold reaches.
Tomorrow I will prove it to him and to everybody else.
The look on my opponent’s face as I pulled the two axes out and spun them in my hands was priceless. He, like everyone else around us, had been expecting me to come out and fight with my typical axe and shield combination. I would have been at a disadvantage — not counting his superior size and strength — but not anymore.
The Chieftain nodded and dropped his arm in a cutting motion and we pounced forward from each of the corners of the ring. The moment of truth was here.
The teen’s blades crossed and he struck in an X-motion, aiming to disarm me in a single flashy strike. It’s useless, I knew. I twisted my axes to simply catch each strike on their heads and threw a carving thrust at the boy’s head. A parry followed as he side-stepped to the right and rammed his left blade into my side. I cried out, but the fight was far from over. He’d hurt me, but I was now within range to unleash my fury. My first attack knocked a sword out of the way and my other hand came slashing around as I caught him in the neck with a powerful blow.If these blades weren’t blunted, he’d be dead, I knew.
The lad cried out and fell to one knee, but was fast enough to catch my downward cut with his blades, pushing me back several steps with his sudden charge and forcing me to block his sudden flurry of stabs and slashes. The crowd began to get excited, and I risked a small glance at the chieftain.
Come on, you can do this, his gaze said.
My counterpart charged forward, his blades moving faster than I could follow. I caught one blade, then the other, but the third and fourth attack flew past my guard, smacking me in the face and ankle, the fifth attack knocking an axe right out of my hand and the sixth throwing me off my feet. The cheers got louder as my opponent stood over me with his blades pointing down at me like a hunter getting ready to finish off his prey.
“I win,” the youth said with a grin. His blades rose one final time.
In that very instant, I looked past him and saw the comet in the sky. It was larger than ever, shining brightly over the world like a huge star which had been pulled all the way in front of us by a mysterious hero of legend.
“No,” I muttered simply. I grabbed my remaining axe with both hands and swung it as hard as I could.
The axe smashed the incoming swords out of the way and cut right through the other boy’s guard. A loud crack was heard as the axe head slammed into his chest and threw him flying onto his back. A loud gasp was heard.
I’ve done it, I thought as the boy landed hard onto the ground, hitting his head as it snapped back against the earth.
The crowd cried out in shock as I picked up my other axe and lifted both weapons into the sky.
“Yes!” I shouted.
It was a glorious moment, the pinnacle of all I had been training for. Slowly, some within the crowd began to applaud, and that applause became cheers that rose to a roar. The chieftain was looking on proudly, his eyes shining as the light of the comet hit them.
Something was wrong. The cheers were starting to sound strange, almost as if they were turning into screams…
I looked up at the comet again as somebody pointed up to the sky, and I felt my skin go cold. It looked strange and too bright, almost as if—
The flash lit us all up an instant later, blinding us all for a few moments until it ended.
When the stars cleared from my eyes, I saw the pieces of molten rock flying through the sky. They were all heading in different directions, away from us. All but one. The largest of them all.
It was on a collision course, headed straight towards us.
What had only moments ago been a moment of sweet joy was about to become a moment of pure terror.
The chieftain’s face whitened as he saw what was coming. He shook his head and roared the command:
My heart raced as I ran as fast as I could, making as much distance from the enormous shadow that grew with every passing second. A massive shard of space-rock was plummeting down onto us and we couldn’t do a single thing to stop it.
Smashing noises echoed from above and I saw how the huge rock began to fracture and release smaller pieces of itself. I turned back to our village and saw the screaming crowds running away. I hadn’t even stopped to look for my family or friends — I wouldn’t have time to go back now either. My legs were pumping as I used all of my strength and speed to escape the destruction. Impact was imminent, and by the final few seconds, I saw the size of it.
It was practically a mountain crashing down to the Minecraft World behind us; each of its smaller shards the scale of a three-storied house.
Finally, it crashed into the ground.
We were thrown off our feet as the rock impacted, the shockwave decimating our village and launching us off the surface and into the air. I spun several times in the air and soon lost my awareness of what was up and what was down.
“Oof,” I spat as I hit something hard and began to lose consciousness.
In the final moments before everything went black, I saw the smaller pieces of rock hitting the ground.
At least none of them hit me…
When I awoke, I was indoors.
The chieftain looked up wearily from across the room and forced a smile.
“You’re awake.” The tall man stood and limped across the room. I could hear noise outside, the sounds of a crowd.
“What happened to you, sir?” He carried a grimace on his face that was rare to see on such a cheerful and confident man. He’d probably been hit by one of the rock fragments.
“Nothing. Don’t worry. I am actually grateful to be alive and well; many people in our village are now homeless, others have gone missing.” He paused and seemed to remember something. “This is where I’d normally congratulate you for winning the tournament and coming of age, but you’ll understand that things are a bit different this time round…” There was a smile on his face, and I nodded wearily.
“That’s not an issue. What was that, by the way, the thing that crashed into our world?”
“We don’t know. I’m going to send people out to find out: villager pairs to each shard and a search party to the main thing itself. We need to know what it is that landed among our lands. You never know; it might have been carrying something.”
I felt a chill run down my spine as I chewed on his words.
“I’m going as well.”
The door to the hut opened and somebody stepped inside. My mother shook her head and I saw her eyes filling with tears. She didn’t say anything, just ran toward me and hugged me as hard as she could.
“Mom, it’s okay…Really! I’m fine.”
My father stepped inside a moment later. He stood in the doorway, watching. It was a way of showing me he cared without being too overprotective. Ironheim culture was very tough on its children: both boys and girls had to be taught that life wasn’t one big safe place without dangers. Parents were typically cold and prepared to let us leave at a young age to begin our training. Their main job for at least ten to twelve years was to keep us well fed and teach us how to survive in the cold ice plains.
“I’m glad you’re okay. We were returning from trading when we see the smaller rocks smash against the village. I thought you had been caught right under it.” There was a small smile on my dad’s face and it was all I needed.
“Your son,” the chieftain interrupted, “Wants to set off with the search parties. I believe he needs to rest and recover. He is the champion after all, and despite what’s happened I think he deserves a bit of a prize, even if it’s a couple of days laying down and resting. What do you, as his parents, think about it?”
Mom backed away from me and turned, looking the chieftain in the eye.
“If he doesn’t want to rest and prefers to go out there and risk his life, I’m not going to complain.”
The chieftain looked at her with an eyebrow raised.
“Very well. I’ll have some equipment brought to you, Lucas. The main party sets off in two hours. Think it through, they won’t be returning if you’re not well enough to continue — you’ll probably be dumped somewhere warm until they can come back for you in a few days. By then you might even have been attacked by wolves…or worse.” He nodded at everybody in the room and left through the door. I managed to see the crowd outside. There were people lying on the snow as if they were injured and I spotted a woman crying beside a camp fire.
“What’s happened? Is there anything left of the village? Did everyone make it out alive?”
My parents glanced at each other without saying anything and I knew.
The rock had been a terrible bad luck omen, nothing close to what I had thought before the fight. I needed to get to it, for some reason. My heart pushed me to it, if only to see what it was and why it was here. It was an obstacle, but I was an expert at getting past obstacles.
The promise still stood, this would only be a small distraction.
I am going to become the greatest warrior that ever lived.
I’d put my equipment on long before the man arrived to pick me up and set out.
In fact, the guy who came to inform me that we were leaving was shocked as he saw me on my own two feet, standing beside the bed and stretching my arms and back.
“I heard you were hurt and would need a bit of help,” the bearded scout muttered.
“You heard well, but those are just pessimists talking. I’m a strong guy.”
“If you say so.” The man wasn’t very cheerful, his pale face looking strained and worried about all of the events that had taken place. “It’s better this way. We’re going to travel through some tough territory to get to that thing. I hope you are ready as you say.”
“I have come of age; do not doubt it for one second.”
I stepped out of the hut behind him and saw my parents jogging over toward me.
“Son! You can’t leave without saying goodbye! Take care, please. You’ve been hurt; it could be serious.”
I smiled at my mother, but that was when I saw what lay behind her. The pain of seeing my fellow villagers in the states they were in was crushing: little kids, orphaned by the destruction, were sobbing and asking for their mothers and fathers; old and sick people were crying out for help, but there were only so few doctors around; and finally I saw others lying in the snow and trembling, though there were others that weren’t moving at all.
“Look at that, mother,” I told her. “That’s serious. I’m fine. Just stop worrying. I’ll be back to help these poor people. They don’t deserve this at all. I’ll find out what that thing that landed was, I promise.”
The bearded man looked at me with newfound respect. Ironheim men and women despised weakness; it was clear to him that I was no weakling or coward.
“Time to go, son.” He set off without me toward where the others waited on their horses, and I hugged my mom as hard as I could. My father stretched out his hand, but he was just as upset as my mother about my departure.
“Good luck and bring honor to our name and to our village.”
I walked after the man and jumped onto my horse without looking back.
My adventure had just begun and I was going to prove to the world who I was and what I was capable of.
“The chieftain wants us to be back as soon as we’re finished, so I don’t want any stragglers,” the bearded scout said. His name was Rengerd and it seemed that he had come from another village to help. The other scouts in the party seemed to greatly respect him, though I was unaware who he was or where he was from.
“Yes, sir,” one of the younger scouts said. He was the second youngest after me, a boy called Markus. He had come of age a year ago, his skills with a bow second to none. I remembered watching him fight — he had beaten his enemy with a well-placed slingshot blow to the head, all without being hit once.
“Lucas, are you feeling okay back there?” Rengerd’s question was a mix of cruelty and worry, it seemed. The man didn’t want a weakened scout at the back of his formation, but he also wasn’t happy at taking a kid along with him.
“I’m fine,” I lied. My head ached and my vision was slightly blurry. That blow to the head got me good…
The huge piece of rock got larger as we approached, and I began to see the details on its sides and edges. There was something worrying about the large shard from space: it was mostly dark grey, but other shinier spots were visible where the sun hit it. The material of the shiny areas looked different to the rest of it, and I had the dark feeling that maybe the rock wasn’t the actual object but a protective casing that enclosed it.
“Rengerd, what do you think it is?” I asked, risking a scolding for speaking so directly to a superior.
The scout didn’t care about the manner of my asking.
“It isn’t an asteroid, that’s all I can say. I’d rather it just be something simple, though.” He looked like he was trying to keep himself positive but was failing. “I’ve seen what you’ve seen, Lucas. It might just be the outside shell for something more dangerous.”
It was as if he had read my mind.
There were twelve of us; all mounted and all armed in case of any threats. Rocks falling from the heavens weren’t the only dangers around here — just outside of Ironheim territory the Spider Caves began, an area of dark and dangerous caverns that many entered but few returned from. We were surrounded on all sides by enemies and that was a real worry now that the massive boom had woken them all up.
Soon, we’ll have mobs and rival tribes all over our lands. It is going to be a real threat.
We passed by one of the smallest rock fragments as we headed towards our target. Rengerd picked it up with both hands and inspected it before dropping the thing again. Some of the others took their time to circle it, but there wasn’t anything special about the fragment. Finally I led my horse past it, but suddenly my thoughts were cut short. I even gasped in shock.
“What’s wrong?” Markus asked, his hand jumping to the handle of his blade as he turned his horse around.
I looked at the rock again. Nothing.
“No, I just…coughed,” I lied again.
For a split second as I had been looking at it, I could have sworn that the rock had moved.
A bad feeling crossed over me like a dark cloud.
Something was about to take place.
“We’re only a quarter of an hour away,” Rengerd shouted over the noise of the wind. We had been forced to climb a tall, icy hill to get to the rock. The other easier route into the valley where the object had fallen had already been occupied by other creatures.
A mass of them stood on the lower side of the peak, all looking intently at the steaming boulder that melted the snow around it.
“We’re so close,” Markus had his bow ready in case the Skeletons became hostile, but he was more concentrated on the weird object down below. “What will we do with it?”
“Nothing until I give the order to take samples of it back home. Be careful, we cannot be sure on what the thing is and what it may contain.” We began to descend the slope, every passing second filling me with more and more dread. It would have been the mark of a coward to tell them I was afraid, but it was definitely the truth. This was nothing like facing an enemy; it was more like preparing for a natural disaster.
As we let ourselves slide down the slope, we finally saw the thing up close. The massive rock was huge, its misshaped base occupying almost the entire valley. The shiny parts were eerier than we had initially observed; they were definitely of a different material and beneath the outside rock. The shell itself was of a mineral I had never seen in or around Ironheim. It was also only now that we understood how massive the rock was.
“Is it me, or is it pulsing?” Rengerd asked. We all voiced our agreement or nodded. The object was certainly releasing some sort of energy waves every few instants.
Markus took a few steps closer to it as we finally reached its base.
“It’s so beautiful…”
“Markus,” Rengerd warned, but the boy was getting too close.
“I’m okay, don’t worry. I just want to touch it…”
This time it was me that cried out. One of the shining pieces had lit up, and others were doing the same.
“No, Markus! Something is wrong!”
I saw the lad turn around with a strange face as he heard my fear. There was a smile there, a look of confusion and suddenly a look of distress.
“I can’t help it…”
His hand stretched out to touch the material inside the shell, and my eyes widened. As his fingers made contact with it, something happened.
A terrible sucking sound, followed by a whining roar like a gust of wind through a small cavern.
We covered our ears as the noise threatened to split our eardrums, and backed away from Markus as he cried out in pain and terror. From the point where his hand touched the strange material, small cracks began to appear on the outer shell. The ground trembled, and our eyes burned with the pulses of light that suddenly and rapidly speared towards the sky.
“No!” Rengerd screamed. The material was stretching out over Markus’ arm and pulling him inside it as the rocky shell’s cracks finally reached each other.
The pieces of shell flew off, landing around us. One of them hit a member of our group and crushed him without warning. We stumbled away as fast as we could, fighting to stay on our feet. Elsewhere, the other fragments of the fallen rock were also lighting up.
“What’s going on? Where did Markus go?!” I asked as we ran.
When it seemed that the rock was about to end the world itself, the light suddenly stopped flashing. The ground’s trembling came to a halt and the horrible noise was gone.
We breathed heavily and backed away from the thing. There were more creatures standing around. They kept their distance, but we could see the Zombies, Skeletons and Villagers watching from the nearby hills.
“Be careful,” Rengerd said. “We don’t know what could happen nex—”
He never finished his sentence. It was at that precise moment that we realized what the rock had really been all along.
The Skeleton known as ‘Mercenary’ looked down from the hill.
The noise and lights had stopped. The humans were curious creatures, always getting into more trouble than they needed to. Mercenary had pulled his small group of soldiers from the cave to see what had fallen in the middle of the icy valley, but the humans had beat him to it.
One of them had already been sucked into the rock, the young fool having made the grave mistake of touching it. Now though, it seemed like it had ended.
Mercenary pointed to other hills where other watchers stood: Zombies, Villagers, Pigmen, other humans…Everybody had been called by this massive rock’s arrival.
“Those fools,” a Skeleton beside him said, “They just couldn’t keep their hands to themselves. For a moment, I thought that we were all going to perish in an explosion or something because of them.”
Mercenary nodded and looked down at the group of men as they fought to regain control of the situation. One of them looked up at his group fearfully and the Skeleton smiled at him.
The leader began to talk, and Mercenary decided it was time to go down and get rid of these humans — after all, they were on Skeleton territory.
That was when it happened.
The rock hadn’t stopped. It was only just beginning.
Mercenary’s eyes widened as a ripping noise split the silence and the rock finally burst open like an egg from outer space.
From it, a giant structure began to form.
“What is that?” A Skeleton said as the valley began to tear apart.
The humans were running for their lives now, some of them being sucked into the spreading mass of alien rock that was forming in and around the object. The structure was growing horizontally, yes, but it was also growing upwards at an incredible speed. It didn’t even stop when it hit the clouds, the mountain-like tower stretching far and wide, its black structure absorbing the light from all around. Ice coated it in large sheets and made it even thicker. It looked like it was made of Obsidian, but no Obsidian looked as pure and polished as the tower walls did.
It was only then that Mercenary realized what the smaller fragments were for. They also sprung open, revealing smaller but similar towers that shot out wire-like bridges that connected with the main one.
Ways in…or perhaps ways out…
The tower didn’t stop getting thicker until it almost reached the hill he and his soldiers were standing on. Only then did the structure stop its spreading.
“Wow…” he breathed. Many of the others who had been standing on the hills around the structure had fled, surely fearful of being crushed by the thing.
If there was one thing that Mercenary admired as he looked down at the base of the tower, it was that the humans had managed to make it out of the valley and up onto the hills. He looked at them then and caught sight of a young boy.
Despite the fact that all of the men were dangerous, well-trained warriors, there was something about the lad that made Mercenary’s eyes widen. There was a hunger in the boy’s eyes, a desire of greatness.
That lad is going to be trouble, he knew.
He flashed a smile at the youngster and nodded, the human nodding back respectfully — a salute between two warriors.
And then the voice echoed from the structure and the whole world froze to listen to it.
I turned away from the Skeleton in time to hear the powerful voice boom over the hills. The tower had finally stopped growing and it was time for the final great reveal. Those of us who had survived had barely lived to see it.
“Beings of the Minecraft World.”The words were a thick purr, the powerful voice of a large figure who knew he possessed great power and feared no man or thing in the lands. Chills ran down my spine. I didn’t need to see the speaker to know he was a being of great darkness. The light in the sky itself was fading, as if the massive icy tower was sucking it in like a vacuum. “Your world has been claimed.” The voice seemed to whisper other strange words as it spoke, and it was only a moment later that I realized that it was speaking in all of our tongues at once, so that all the gathered races understand what the being was saying. “You will soon learn what that means, what suffering and terror I can bring to this world…” The tower’s smaller bases, the towers that had once been fragments of the larger rock that fell from the sky, began to pulse with energy as noise began to emit from their insides. “If you ever wish to end it, I dare you to come up to the summit of this tower. I dare you to defeat me. I am the Demon King, and I am waiting for you…”
Lightning criss-crossed in the clouds and thunder boomed and roared.
I tried to look up past the thick storm-clouds and failed. The top of the tower was impossible to see. Each of the tower’s floors themselves seethed with movement — strange beings were being spawned all over them. They stumbled dizzily out of doorways on the sides of the tower and began to stumble their way around it as if they were going somewhere.
But then I realized in shock: they were going somewhere.
The bridges that led down to the smaller towers that had formed around the main one were starting to fill with the rows of demons that shuffled down them. It would be a while before they reached the bottom, but once they did it would mean total destruction for those villages nearest to the small towers.
Rengerd sighed exasperatedly.
“This is going to hell real fast. We didn’t come prepared to fight this!” The Skeletons and other creatures watching from the hills made their retreat immediately, surely returning to warn their peoples of what was coming. We had to do the same.
“Sir,” I said, “Give us an order, we must act!”
Rengerd watched the descending demon forces for the longest moment before turning away.
“We must go; it is time to warn our people and the King of Ironheim. Great misery and despair is coming to our world; it will only end in war. But we must be ready to fight it.”
We passed by several villages as we thundered our way toward the Ironheim capital. One by one, Rengerd left men behind at each town to ensure that they had at least one experienced warrior among their number, someone who could lead them in case of a battle.
By the end, it was just him and I charging toward the city where the throne lay.
“Will the King see us?” I asked, lifting my eyes up at the city a few miles away from us. “He might be too busy reacting to this sudden development.” It was visible even from here, the great spiked walls recognizable from any distance. Sunforge. It was a beautiful but intimidating thing, even for someone who had already seen it as was my case. The city stretched from one side of Iron Peak Mountain to the other. It was naturally defended by the steep slopes of the rocky formation and the strong winds that could easily rip an attacking army off its sides or bring an avalanche down upon them; but it still possessed a tall, strong wall and a powerful army within. The King’s army, I corrected myself.
“He will see me,” Rengerd said confidently, and that was that.
The last few miles passed by in a breeze, though our horses were exhausted by the time we reached the city. There were many guards surrounding the entrance, their spears dropping at once to confront us.
“Stay back now, don’t get too close.” I jumped as a spearpoint came to a stop inches away from my face. The guard holding it looked like he wasn’t afraid to strike if he detected any strange behavior from us.
“My name is Rengerd of the Icy Plains; I have come to see my friend. His Majesty, the King himself.” A guard captain stepped out from inside a tower and looked over his men’s shoulders to check us out.
“You…” he said simply.
“Me.” Rengerd’s face broke into a smile, and the captain ordered his men to lower their weapons. They walked over to each other and embraced briefly before the scout looked the captain in the eye. “That was frightening, I must say. I have left all of my men behind to help at the villages closest to the tower, but we need the King’s forces. Even our village, as far as it may be from this ‘Demon King’ and his forces, is still in danger. Our people are in danger, William. I need to talk to His Majesty at once.”
Captain William made a face.
“I am afraid that won’t be possible.”His words didn’t just tear our confidence down, they demolished it. I looked up at him and only then did the captain spot me. “Who is this?”
“A young warrior,” Rengerd said as he looked at me proudly, “With a lot of potential. He will be a great warrior one day. Now please,” the scout said as his expression became sterner, “Tell us why the King cannot see anyone at such a time.”
The captain approached us, looking at me strangely. He needed to say something private, but Rengerd nodded him on.
“He has been having strange visions,” Captain William whispered uneasily. “They’ve been assaulting him for days now. He predicted that…*thing*…crashing into our world, and now that it’s here he can barely get out of his bed. The headaches are too strong and his guards have had to muffle his screams so that the castle can’t hear them! It’s like the enemy got into his head, our great Warrior King, and now we’re headless and lost!”
Rengerd grabbed the captain and shook him hard. Several guards stepped forward to protect him, but I stepped forwards and grabbed my axe’s handle.
I heard some laughs, but none of them took a step further.
“Calm down, men,” William sighed. “I needed that.”
“Look, William, you giant fool,” Rengerd hissed furiously, “Do you think we, the people of Ironheim, cannot face the enemy without our King?! Let him rest, but find a way for us to get in so that we can find someone else to lead our armies against the enemy…Otherwise; our people will perish in the thousands!”
Captain William nodded and shrugged.
“It’s your funeral, Ren. Good luck.” He turned away. “All of you; stand aside.”
The guards parted to allow us to pass, and I caught a few ugly looks that were thrown at me.
We were about to demand help from a King, one that was acting strangely and could throw us into a dungeon…or worse. It couldn’t get crazier than this.
No, wait, I thought.
It would definitely get crazier before this was over.
The city was no massive and modern urban miracle — it was simply a typical Ironheim village that had grown way too much. There was certain order to it, and taller buildings with stronger worlds than any in a normal town, but the city of Sunforge still had the ‘small town’ feel to it.Even if it was twenty times the size of our village, with thousands living within its walls. I hadn’t been here since I was a boy, coming with my father during one of his work trips. He’d bought some construction materials and we’d returned, but not after he took me to see the most interesting parts of the city.
“You look like you’re remembering something,” Rengerd said with a smile as we hurried our way through the city streets towards the castle. The fortress itself was an imposing giant of rock and iron, its doors barred and guarded. Frightened citizens watched us from windows and shadows as we passed, and I noticed that not many merchants were out on the streets offering their produce.
“I came here once with my dad. We saw the King; he had just come back from a raid on the Zombies. He carried trophies and treasure. I’ll never forget that day.”
“That’s a nice memory to hold dear. I’ve never seen the King as anything other than a legendary warrior either, so this is a great shock. We have to find a way to actually talk to him.”
The guards took a moment to step aside as we arrived, a sharp whistle coming from behind us seeming to be the only notice they needed to know that we weren’t enemies.
“You may pass. Keep your weapons sheathed at all times,” A tough looking guard said, “Or else.”
The insides of the castle were impressive. They definitely didn’t have any of the warm, homey feelings of the city. Instead, it was like walking into a fortress of legend. There were imposing statues guarding the passages that led to the throne room, their forms capturing the most glorious moments of the people they represented. Scenes of epic battles were painted on the walls and the guards with the ornate armor only served to make the place even more incredible.
“Wow,” I breathed.
Rengerd nodded with a smile.
“That was my first word on entering as well.”
Suddenly, someone stepped out onto the corridor and cut our progress short.
“Why are you here?”
“I am Rengerd of the scouts. I wish—”
“I don’t care,” the middle-aged man said rudely. He had thick eyebrows and a scarred face. “You’re not supposed to be here.”
“Who are you?” I asked, feeling angry that we’d been treated so well until this stranger appeared.
“I am the King’s brother. He isn’t available, and you shouldn’t be here. In fact, I think I’ll escort you out right n—”
“Brother.” A figure stood in a doorway behind the rude man. He was slightly older, but not by much. It was clear that he was the powerful warrior that I had seen once, so long ago. Rengerd and I bowed our heads immediately in reverence. “Leave them be. They have come a long way, and for a good reason. Forgive my brother, we haven’t been having the best of times around here lately and now the enemy has entered our territories.”
We were led away to the throne room by the King himself, and my excitement grew.
“I want to say it simply, Your Majesty —we need soldiers. A level of manpower that can defend our borders and keep those enemies out. We don’t know what they’re capable of, but their Demon King has sent them down to destroy us all. Help us, please. We are within the first villages in their path. Our people aren’t ready for such a massive invasion.”
The King shifted uneasily in his throne. Something passed over him and he grimaced.
“Are you okay, Your Majesty?” I asked, lifting myself from my chair to help him out. He lifted a hand and nodded.
“I have been assaulted by visions for a while now; terrible visions that have helped me foresee many of the events happening now in our world. I was aware of the Demon King’s arrival before it actually took place, and I have seen what occurs if we send all of our armies at him.”
Rengerd swallowed awkwardly.
“What will happen?”
“They will all perish.” The King looked away and sighed softly. It was as if his heart was begging him to fight but his mind ordered him not to. It wasn’t the best sight to see from our leader, but he was simply human as well.
“We can change that,” I said.
“No. We cannot.” The man seemed to have made his decision.
“Will we simply sit by and allow our world to be consumed by them instead?” Rengerd asked, and I knew he was going too far talking to the King like that.
“No, Rengerd. We sit back and defend, and then we find a way for there to be peace. I have seen our final moments if we fight the enemy. They are terrible and full of pain.”
Rengerd cursed softly and stood.
“Very well, sire. Thank you. I will return to my village.”
“I’m sorry, but we must find a way.”
As we walked out of the castle, I felt devastated. We had come to Sunforge feeling so confident — now it was as if we had been slapped in the face. I looked at Rengerd as we walked out of the city gates and past the guards.
“I told you,” Captain William said to Rengerd as we walked away. The scout didn’t even turn back.
As we mounted our horses, I asked the inevitable question.
“What now? Are we really going back home with our tail between our legs like this? The people at the village will be devastated if we return without help…”
“No?” My heart filled with hope.
“Good men died when that rock crashed, others when the tower emerged and started spreading. More men and women are surely suffering right now with the arrival of the demon army. Do we sit back and allow the monsters to tear us apart? No. I will not allow it. We fight. Will you follow me in my quest to find reinforcements wherever we can and raise an army?”
Of course, I thought.
“Yes, yes I shall. I shall be there at your side!”
Finally, there was a chance. I decided at that moment, that as soon as we had fought the army back, it would be time to climb the tower. Once I was there, I would remove the Demon King’s head from his shoulders.
And when that happened, I would become the greatest warrior.
The villagers awaited us with hopeful eyes. I saw my parents and the families of the scouts that had followed us, and all of them were smiling eagerly as they watched us approach.
Many smiles began to fade as they saw our faces, but some still thought we carried good news.
One of the well-known elders of our village, an old nurse who had seen many of us born, approached with a look of desperation.
“Lucas! Rengerd! Please, tell us how the King is going to help us!”
Rengerd took a deep breath and said the words.
“The King will not be helping us.”
The previously happy crowd turned furious and frightened at once. Many tried to have their voices heard by shouting; others pushed their way towards us.
“Where are my sons?!”
“Is the King insane?”
“Who was that speaking a few hours ago? I heard a horrible voice from far away!”
“Rengerd, what can we do?!”
The scout lifted his hands.
“I have left some of our men behind to defend the villages at the borders…the rest were slain.” His words seemed like a second shockwave that rocked the village again.
It was going to be a long night.
Finally, I was able to lie down on my own bed. My parents sat nearby, asking about the journey. I told them everything.
“Rengerd and I will set out tomorrow,” I ended. Mother nodded sadly and Father put an arm around her. They knew it was necessary.
“I am sure that you will accomplish your mission. I will stay and protect your mother. Be sure to take as many men and women from the village. The enemy must be crushed. The Demon King, eh? He’ll soon learn from his mistakes: nobody attacks the Ironheim people and lives to tell the tale,” Father said with a grin.
I fell asleep then, and dreamed of fighting my way to the top of the tower.
When I heard the noise outside, I knew the moment had come.
My things were already in place, the axe and shield that I had received on my thirteenth birthday and the leather armor which Rengerd had given me when we set out. It was a big moment, and my parents bid me farewell for the second time in a few days.
The chieftain was already armed and ready to leave.
“Lucas! You’re one of the last of the soldiers to arrive. Get into formation; we leave in a few minutes.”
“You’re coming with us, sir?” I was shocked. While our younger King was sitting back at his castle, our chieftain — who could have been his father — would be fighting a war.
“Yes, why wouldn’t I?”
I smiled and got onto my horse with a feeling of purpose running through me. Around eighty brave men and women turned to the chieftain as he raised his hand into the cold air.
“Now let’s go out and tear that tower down!” His hand dropped and we all roared as one, the sound of charging horses echoing around the village as we ran towards the battle that would be written into the legends themselves.
Our rush through the surrounding villages was one of pure passion. We roared as we went, calling for help from those young warriors in other towns that could help us. Our chieftain’s presence helped to convince them to add their numbers to ours.
There were so many warriors coming to join our forces that we had to stop and turn kids and old men away. Many came on foot, those too poor to afford horses. Others pulled out their donkeys and joined in. The biggest army that Ironheim had ever seen was forming, and our enemy was going to receive a massive shock.
It was a few hours later when we finally entered our border territory. The final villages were up ahead, but we couldn’t see them due to the hills.
“How do we approach this?” Rengerd asked the chieftain over the noise of the army.
“We climb it as a single force. We can’t know what to expect on the other side, so dividing our force could be dangerous!”
I got anxious. There were a dozen or more villages on the other side of the hills. Have they been hit, or did we arrive on time? Did the King basically condemn his own people to destruction? There was hope in our hearts and we began to climb. The slippery ice and thick snow were an issue, but we put our backs into it. Polar bears watched curiously as we pushed our way up the hill, helping those who couldn’t do it by themselves and lifting each other’s spirits as we fought to reach the top.
I pounded ahead of the rest with my horse, powering forward among the younger and hungrier warriors. It was clear that the first to reach the summit would be remembered for eternity, perhaps even making his or her place in the paintings and songs that would follow. Only another young man kept up with my pace as I galloped ahead, and soon we were pushing and shoving each other around with laughter as we hit the last few yards toward the top.
Finally, I pushed him away hard enough and led my horse up the final few feet.
“Yes!” I cried as I climbed and looked over the tallest point to the fields below— “Oh, no…”
I felt my body go cold and my face pale. Many of the warriors below and behind were calling up at me so that I could tell them what I could see. I was unable to talk.
The other lad reached the peak a moment later and began to say something, but it was cut short when he looked down and saw what I had seen.
“I can’t believe it,” he breathed.
I fell to my knees and felt tears welling in my eyes. I had not been prepared to see this — it had always been a possibility, but I had not thought that it would come to pass…
The villages had been torn apart, utterly destroyed by the advancing horde. I saw them: warriors of all sizes with monstrous faces and mutated features, tall swords and axes in their grips and dark ink all over their bodies. Fires and smoke dotted the lands and I knew that our people were gone forever.
But that was not all.
The demon horde was all heading outward from the tower. It stretched across the horizon, ahead of the tower closest to us. They were advancing…
…and they were coming straight towards us and our people.
I was slapped back to reality by the fact that we were going to fight at any minute.
“Everyone get to the top now! The demon host is only a couple of miles away!”
Chaos ensued as the army fought to get into formation. Not everyone was healthy or fit enough to recover from the climb, and we would need to wait for those slowest to reach us. The best tactic would be to wait for the demons to reach the base of the hills before charging down to meet them, our horses trampling the lines of warriors before we were forced to fight up close. Nevertheless, there were just so many of them, numbers that could easily be used to surround our forces and cut us all down.
The demon army seemed to have no commander in sight, but it was moving in a very purposeful manner towards the hill as if it sensed us. The chieftain was roaring for our archers to come forward and I regretted not having brought a bow and arrow with me.
“Notch!” he cried, “Draw!” Hundreds of arrows were pulled back and aimed at the army that was moments away from reaching the hill. “Loose!”
The projectiles flew forth, showering down onto our enemies like a rain of death. The demons were resistant, but they weren’t invincible; many of them fell to the arrows and were trampled on by the soldiers behind them. Others were quicker to react and lifted their shields. Our archers loosed again and again, their shots getting more desperate as the enemy army approached. Those warriors who had been hit but hadn’t fallen were angered by the attacks and broke into a faster run than the rest.
“They’re coming,” I breathed, “they’re coming!”
I looked forward past the army one last time and saw the tower. I needed to get to it, no matter what. Turning away, I spotted the chieftain thundering forward on his horse as the battle began for real. Rengerd looked at me and nodded. He knows where we must go, just like I do.
The order was given, and we roared a powerful battle cry as our forces swept down the hills in a crushing advance. The demons on the front lines were trampled and crushed as we charged through them like a scythe cutting wheat in a field. We angled our charge so that we could return to the hill and charge again, but some of our soldiers were cut or pulled down from their horses.
My first enemy arrived as our charge reached its end — a tall armored beast with red eyes and gray skin. It wore spiked shoulder armor and a closed black helmet. It hammered my shield with its sword and I heard my horse cry out in pain.
“I…will..end…you…” it hissed at me, and I cried out when its sword slammed into my helmet.
“End this!” I roared back, bringing my axe down with all of my strength. The demon’s helmet cracked and he fell to the ground, dead. That was close, I realized.
More of them were beginning to surround us, and I saw more of our soldiers being dragged down to the ground. We are going to lose this battle very soon if something doesn’t happen.
And then something did.
The sound of the war horn echoed around the snowy plains, making everyone stop and lift their heads. I turned on my horse and spotted something on the hills to one side of us, and then to the other. There were more in the distance.
“The other races have sent their forces!” Rengerd yelled over the noise. As I looked to one side of us where the Skeletons charged down toward the enemies with their Wither Skeleton allies, I spotted him: the Skeleton from before. He fought fiercely, firing arrow after arrow and taking out an elegant and deadly dagger once he was close enough to fight with a blade.
The chieftain roared as we prepared for the next charge.
The war had begun.
Every race was here for a reason. They all wanted glory of their own.
In the final moments before our line of horsemen hit the enemy I looked at the tower one last time.
I’m coming for you, Demon King.
Far, far above the battlefield, the origin of all of this evil remained silent and observant.
Dark storm clouds surrounded the tower, but its top floor was above even them.
The architect of this disaster sat, his eyes closed as he studied the battle through the eyes of one of his demons. The other races had joined, surely looking for a way into the tower and a chance at defeating him. The humans, as always, had been the first and bravest…but there would be others.
The Demon King paid special attention to those that seemed to desire a final battle with him even more so than their companions. He saw a Skeleton who fought like one of his best soldiers, the creature’s dagger seeming to be something of ancient power; he spotted a villager girl that didn’t miss a single shot from her bow and was too agile for his demon soldiers; the son of a Zombie Emperor caught his eye as the young undead mob flashed a curved blade around and slayed dozens of demons in minutes…
Finally, he spotted the last of them. It was a human boy. The lad was young, barely a young man if he could be called a man at all. The Demon King concentrated on him for longer than he had the rest. The boy was respected by the human leader and other officers around him, and wow, did he know how to fight. There was something about him that made the Demon King smile.
“Very well, Minecraft World. You have sent your best,” he said maliciously, “Soon you will get to know my own.”
Closing his eyes and standing from his strange metal throne which moved slowly as if it were alive, the Demon King prepared for his visitors to arrive.
He had never meant for his army outside the tower to defeat the enemies, only to batter them slightly.
The best battle hadn’t even begun yet…but it was about to.
TO BE CONTINUED
About the Author
Mark Mulle is a passionate Minecraft gamer who writes game guides, short stories, and novels about the Minecraft universe. He has been exploring, building, and fighting in the game ever since its launch, and he often uses in-game experiences for inspiration on creating the best fiction for fellow fans of the game. He works as a professional writer and splits his time between gaming, reading, and storytelling, three hobbies and lifelong passions that he attributes to a love of roleplaying, a pursuit of challenging new perspectives, and a visceral enjoyment the vast worlds that imagination has to offer. His favorite thing to do, after a long day of creating worlds both on and off the online gaming community, is to relax with his dog, Herobrine, and to unwind with a good book. His favorite authors include Stephen King, Richard A. Knaak, George R. R. Martin, and R. A. Salvatore, whose fantasy works he grew up reading or is currently reading. Just like in Minecraft, Mark always strives to level up, so to speak, so that he can improve his skills and continue to surprise his audience. He prefers to play massive multiplayer online games but often spends time in those games fighting monsters one on one and going solo against the toughest mobs and bosses he can manage to topple. In every game, his signature character build is a male who focuses mostly on crafting weapons and enchanting, and in every battle, he always brings a one hander sword and a shield with as much magical attributes as he can pour into them. Because he always plays alone, he likes to use his game guides to share all the secrets and knowledge he gains, and who know—he may have snuck some information into his fiction as well. Keep an eye out for his next book!
Other books by this author
Please visit your favorite eBook retailer to discover other books by Mark Mulle
Diary of a Brave Iron Golem
Book 1: The Village Protector
Book 2: Attacked by the Wither
Diary of Jake and His Zombie Pigman
Book 1: The Creature from the Nether
Book 2: The Spiders Show the Way
The White Eyed Ghost’s Promise
Book 1: Herobrine Lives
Book 2: Herobrine’s Manor
Diary of a Hero Zombie
Book 1: Herobrine’s Gauntlet
Book 2: The Cult of Herobrine
Book 3: Into the Nether Portal
Diary of Erik Enderman
Book 1: Block Thief
Book 2: Adventures with Steve
Book 3: The Legend of the Endermen’s Treasure
Diary of a Valiant Wolf
Book 1: Steve’s Wolves
Book 2: Zombie Horde
Book 3: Defeating the Dragon
Diary of a Mob – Bony the Skeleton,
Book 1: Where the Block is My Bow?
Book 2: Where the Block is My Dad?
Diary of a Mob – Sebastian the Gutsy Sheep
Book 1: No Ordinary Sheep
Book 2: Sebastian Seeks Revenge
Rise of the Wither, Book 1: New Danger
Books in the Carnival of Doom series
Book One: The Angry Ghost
Book Two: To the Nether Portal
Book Three: Trapped
Books in the Diary of a Crafty Player Series
Book One: Blocky World
Book Two: The Fort Keepers
Book Three: The Search for the Dragon
Diary of Reg the Villager,
Book One: In Search of the Creative Mode
Book Two: Nether Here Nor There
Book Three: The Wolfdog and the Dragon
Diary of Steve the Explorer, The Cube World Chronicles
Book One: The Unknown Enemy
Book Two: Diary of the Curious Creeper
Book Three: Diary of an Enderman, the Game Keeper
Diary of Steve the Adventurer,
Book One: In the Lair of Herobrine
Book Two: To the Nether Portal
Diary of a Zombie Hunter,
Book One: The Zombie Specialist
Book Two: Zombie or Griefers
Book Three: The Captain of Overwatch
Diary of a Mob – Rowley the Rabbit,
Book One: The Runaway Rabbit
Books in the Diary of an Adventurous Creeper Series
Book One: Creeper Chronicles
Book Two: Journey to the End
Book Three: Dragon Savior
Books in the Adventures Through the Over World Trilogy
Book One: Creeping Transformation
Book Two: Steven and the Island of Bones
Book Three: The Zoo in Jericho City
The Quest: The Untold Story of Steve Trilogy
Book One: The Tale of a Hero
Book Two: The Unfinished Game
Book Three: The Endings and Beginnings of a Legend
The Obsidian Chronicles Trilogy
The Obsidian Chronicles, Book One: Ender Rain
The Obsidian Chronicles, Book Two: Hell and Back
The Obsidian Chronicles, Book Three: Of Dragons and Demons
The Doppelganger Trilogy
The Doppelganger, Book One: Steve’s Chance
The Doppelganger, Book Two: Steve vs. Herobrine
The Doppelganger, Book Three: The Ender Dragon Reborn
The Cult Trilogy
The Cult, Part One
The Cult, Part Two
The Cult, Part Three
The Legend: The Mystery of Herobrine Trilogy
Book One: The Start of the Quest
Book Two: The Truth about the Myth
Book Three: Herobrine versus the World
The Dragon’s Mountain Trilogy
Book One: Attacked by the Griefers
Book Two: The Hidden Village
Book Three: The White Mobs
The Temple of Destruction Trilogy
Book One: The Lost Treasures
Book Two: The Curse
Book Three: Notch versus Herobrine
Books in The Enemy’s Revenge Trilogy
Book One: Ghost Sightings
Book Two: Kidnapped
Book Three: To The End World
Attack of the Overworld Trilogy
Book One: Finding Herobrine
Book Two: Finding Steve
Book Three: The Final Mine
GENRE: Childrenâ€™s Adventure (An Unofficial Minecraft Book for Kids Ages 9 - 12 (Preteen) Lucas is a young lad from the Ice Biome known as Ironheim. His people are strong and brave, and he has a great desire: To become the greatest warrior that ever lives. His big day has arrived â€” the day of the Coming of Age Tournament. A great comet shines over the Minecraft World, and he knows that his fate is to succeed. Howeverâ€¦the comet is not a good omen at allâ€¦It is the herald of doom. A terrible explosion lights up above him and his village and they all realize: the giant flaming rock carries something much more dangerous inside. A Demon King from another world, and his thousands-strong army. The Minecraft World is about to face its biggest ever threat. The tale of Dangerous Ascent is one of heroism, battle, darkness and fear as Lucas begins his quest to save the world and become the greatest ever warrior. The Demon King is a powerful and cruel being, and he has claimed the Minecraft World with his seemingly unstoppable might. Can the races of Minecraft unite and fight this enemy, or will they lose everything? The great battle is about to begin. This unofficial Minecraft book is not authorized, endorsed or sponsored by Microsoft Corp., Mojang AB, Notch Development AB or any other person or entity owning or controlling the rights of the Minecraft name, trademark or copyrights. All characters, names, places and other aspects of the game described herein are trademarked and owned by their respective owners. MinecraftÂ®/ /TM & Â©2009-2016 Mojang/Notch.