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The Infested Badlands

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Makaneek avatar Makaneek
Level 43 : Master Answer
This one's a little longer than usual, but I tried to make it more interesting so you guys wouldn't fall asleep. I hope I succeeded!

The great ship from whitehelm sailed miles and miles down the coast of westland. They were long past the place where they had arrived in the new world, and the biome had changed as they went further south. Instead of taigas with their spruce trees and berry bushes, this land was a warmer forest, with oak trees, beehives, and various animals, like cows and sheep. Sometimes they saw camps of natives, who were not bewildered by their passing ship. They had likely heard stories of exploring ships from the colony of New Iceblight, and knew they had nothing to fear from newcomers. The native people wore leather and hunted game with expertly crafted bows. Neither civilization, native or colonists, had much the other wanted, so they largely ignored each other.

Further south, became sparser and the land opened up into plains, with large mountains in the background. After a while, the mountains became flatter and redder, the air grew drier, and a great bay opened to the west. This was the great gulf, named by Sargon. The land around the great gulf was called the badlands because it was very hot, and little to no food was to be found there. It’s only living things Steve could see were cacti, roundish bushes that rolled in the wind when uprooted, and strange black birds with bald heads that screeched greedily when the group brought out their food, raw mutton, and beef. Steve and his shipmates had run into something of a predicament. They had stopped for food in the fields, finding many cows and sheep, but they couldn’t cook the meat. The plains biome they had found had no trees, and no caves, so nothing to build a fire with. If this badlands biome didn’t have some coal, they would have to eat the meat raw. Fortunately, Steve and his friend Svein were both skilled miners, and there were a few sticks left to make torches, so they agreed to set off into the desert-like biome to find caves with coal.

After a few minutes of walking through the maze of canyons and mesas, the adventurers found two caves on two colorful cliffs on opposite sides of the canyon from each other. Steve went down one and Svein went down the other. After a few minutes of searching, Steve found his first vein of coal. He made some torches and found another vein of coal, but before he found a third vein, he saw some gold glittering in the cave wall. Steve was amazed. He knew from experience that gold usually wasn’t this close to the surface. He mined the gold vein and returned to the surface. On the way back to the ship he met Svein, who had also finished mining. “You’ll never believe this,” Steve said, “but I think gold is extra common in this biome. I found a vein of it not far from the surface.”

“Interesting,” Svein replied. “We’ll have to tell Vortigern and the others. Maybe we can start a mine here.”

When they returned to the campsite they had made by the shore, they told Vortigern about their discovery over a hot meal of steak and mutton.

“That is very interesting,” Vortigern remarked. “Before I vas jarl of vitehelm, I vas the owner of two mines in the mountains to the east of it. Vith my experience, I could handle legal matters, and ve could start a mine vithin the veek.”

“First we should scout out the area to make sure the operation wouldn’t disturb any natives,” Steve said. “Keeping peaceful relations with them is important.”

All agreed, and Steve set out to scout the land about 60 or 70 chunk’s distance inland. There were no active settlements, but Steve found two abandoned villages built out of terracotta into the side of the canyon. All the buildings had been stripped of items, and neither village appeared less than 300 years old. This biome really was perfect for a mining operation.

Steve returned to the campsite and helped the men to dig the first of the tunnels for the mine. After a few days, their food supplies began to run low, so the captain and some of the crew sailed north to gather resources to start a few farms. By the time they returned with sheep, cows, and plenty of wheat seeds, their comrades had grown the campsite into a terracotta village modeled after the ones Steve had seen further into the biome, And dug the mine deeper, discovering several rich veins of gold. But this prosperity wasn’t to last. The caves under the badlands harbored a terrible secret.

It began the next day, when Steve was off his mining shift. He was milking the cows when he heard one of the men shouting for help from inside the mine. Not stopping to drop his buckets, he ran into the mine tunnels and toward the distressed calls. He quickly found the source. One of the miners had a fellow miner in his arms. The second miner looked extremely pale, with bloodshot eyes. The outward symptoms of a toxic cave spider bite. Fortunately, cave spider poisoning had a common cure: milk, which Steve happened to have a bucket of. The man was quickly cured of the poison, and in response to the incident, all miners were advised to carry milk with them to counteract future bites. Only time would tell if it would be enough.

Milk may have cured the arachnid’s poisoning, but it didn’t stop them from attacking, and they attacked in droves. They multiplied so quickly that their numbers seemed without end, and without some sort of power boost, and with a sorely limited supply of enchantments or potions, the miners were outmatched. They were forced to take their haul of gold aboard the ship and evacuate the biome, leaving an untold fortune below the earth, protected by endless amounts of venomous spiders. Now, they sailed further south to continue exploring this amazing new land.

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10/25/2019 5:10 pm
Level 9 : Apprentice Engineer
Jedi2113 avatar
10/25/2019 5:20 pm
Level 43 : Master Answer
Makaneek avatar
Thanks! And this isn't even my best one!
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