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Apr 3rd, 2017
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  1. THE VIEW
  2. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  3. Darkness came upon Steve’s oak wood boat.
  4.  
  5. There was no forewarning of what would come - not a slow, timed transition from day to night, but a sudden shift into frightening darkness. There was no moon; there were no stars. The sky was pitch black. And as the boat drifted along the salt waters, Steve looked back towards what he thought was the mainland. He was lost, not just physically, but in his mind as well. In all his journeys throughout his vast world, he had always seemed to know where he was going. This was different. Out in these waters, he felt like he had no control over what was to come. And he was right.
  6.  
  7. As he moved in whatever direction he saw fit, he somehow knew that no matter what path he took, there was no going back to where he came from. This was it. Even though he did not know exactly where he was going, he felt that this adventure would either be his final, or his greatest story ever told.
  8.  
  9. Approaching a small island and preparing to get off the boat, Steve thought about how much time it took for him to get to the island. Little did he know that upon arriving in this place, time became irrelevant. He stood on the ground, sword in hand and walked forward to the middle of the small island.
  10.  
  11. The ground was pure sand. No sandstone, rocks nor vegetation were in sight. An occasional ruin from unknown structures, but that was it. Upon reaching the middle of the small island, Steve found what seemed to be the remains of a lighthouse. He began walking around when suddenly he felt something other than sand touching his leg. Below him, he saw an object partially made by glass, hidden as if almost camouflaged with the sand. He dug up the sand around it with his bare hands and picked it up. A beacon, the beacon of the lighthouse.
  12. “Fitting,”, he thought. “The only thing that could guide me through these waters doesn’t work.”
  13.  
  14.  
  15. Trekking across the barren island towards the other end, Steve pondered about the significance of this place. If there was a lighthouse to help people get here, then surely there was some purpose to it?
  16. At the other end of the small island, Steve saw the remains of a great bridge leading to another, much larger island. Not wanting to take the risk of crossing what was left of the bridge, Steve swam to the beach of this other island.
  17.  
  18. From the very moment he stepped into the sand of this new, larger island, he saw it in the distance: a tower. A massive sandstone-based tower that seemed to pierce the sky with its height. The tower was built in blocks Steve had not seen before. Similar to chiseled quartz, the blocks were heavily detailed. No two blocks were the same however, neither in color nor in the detailing. Marveled by its beauty, Steve rushed toward the tower.
  19.  
  20. Running in the sand was difficult for him, but the prize of knowing this tower's secrets was more than enough for him to keep going. His linear path was interrupted by another structure out in the open which seemed out of place, but at the same time strangely fit the desert-like terrain: a pyramid.
  21.  
  22. Two times over he circled around the edges of the pyramid hoping to find some sort of entrance, with no luck. When he concluded that there was no going inside, he began walking towards the tower again.
  23.  
  24. Coming near this magnificent structure, Steve had a very close encounter with Death. Mesmerized by its design, he did not notice that about twenty blocks from the tower there was no ground. The entire tower was surrounded by a massive pit that seemed to go on forever into the abyssal darkness of the Void. Higher up the base of the tower black, white and gray particles could be seen dancing around. Sounds of a frightening storm echoed in Steve's ears. But what was the point? There was no way of getting inside the tower.
  25.  
  26. "Is this it?", Steve thought. Suddenly he began to feel as if His entire journey to this mysterious place had been in vain - until he looked more closely down into the pit and saw a broken-down bridge connecting a cliff to the lowest part of the tower. Tracing its direction, he turned around to see that it lead back to the pyramid he discovered earlier.
  27.  
  28. Swiftly, he ran back to the pyramid and decided to break through it. With his bare hands, he began to hit blocks of the sandstone, saving his sword for anything that might await him inside. After a dozen punches, both his hands began to bleed. He did not stop. He could not stop now from this pain. He just kept hitting the blocks, which continued to hurt him more and more. Finally, the wall was broken, and he stumbled with an agonizing scream coming from his lungs - he had done it. With his trembling hands still covered in blood, he anxiously stepped inside the pyramid.
  29.  
  30. THE ECHOES
  31. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  32. The bleeding had stopped.
  33.  
  34. The pyramid consisted of many long, eerie hallways. There was no indication of where to go. Realizing it made no difference, Steve turned right and kept going until about four corridors later, where he stopped for a moment. He concentrated on what he thought was a whir that cracked the pyramid’s silence. This pyramid was not silent. A faint but distinct sound, very hard to hear. Not the ocean waves outside, nor the storm around the tower. Perhaps... whispering? Certainly.
  35.  
  36. Even despite the faintness of the whispers, Steve felt as though he recognized the voice. It was almost as if...hm.
  37. "That's not possible..", he thought as he scanned around him. But it clearly was. The voice of the whispers was none other than Steve's own. He tried not to focus on the noise and pushed away the thoughts of these strange whispers. One thing he did conclude however, was that this pyramid, and this place in general had some very strange and mysterious presences in it. Tightly gripping his sword with his blood-stained hands, Steve continued moving forward through the hallways. He found a stairway leading up, and climbed it.
  38.  
  39. On the upper floor, there were no hallways, simply one large room with a massive glass sphere in the center. The room was barely lit, making it impossible for Steve to see the sphere in detail from the stairway. Just as he tried to move closer, he stepped on a tripwire set up around the sphere.
  40.  
  41. The inside of the sphere showed a powerful black flame. Particles began to circle around the sphere like electrons orbiting an atom. Steve did not move. The focus of his sight was the sphere itself.
  42.  
  43. Paying no attention to anything around him, in the sphere he saw... flashes appear on the surface of it. . Flashes of pain and of agonizing screams into a pitch black space. Others like him were the central figures of these flashes. In the flashes, the figures walked the same path Steve did just moments ago. Many looked like him, many did not. Some carried a sword as he did, others carried a pickaxe. Some wore aqua blue, others wore crimson red.
  44.  
  45. Looking into the sphere Steve felt afraid, more than he had ever been. It seemed like the sphere not only showed pieces of what was before, but also glimpses of what was to come. Steve deduced this by noticing that some of the rooms in the flashes were rooms that he had not yet seen. And then came the final flash.
  46.  
  47. A glimpse of light was shown on the surface of the sphere, just for a moment, before it faded back into darkness. This was repeated many times until finally the light permanently came out and the flashes stopped. When that happened, the entire room went dark once more.
  48. Feeling uneasy in the darkness, Steve rushed out of the room through an opening he had not seen upon entering. The opening had a ladder which led straight down, going deep underground directly below the pyramid. When he climbed down the ladder, Steve found a very long hallway.
  49.  
  50. Something was off about the architecture in this hallway. The style it was built in felt very different compared to the pyramid he had just exited. It was made of bare stone, with occasional cobblestone arches every 6 or so blocks. The walls between the arches contained paintings framed in circular frames, but with only various shades of gray painted on them. Some were dominantly black, some were whiter than the rest.
  51.  
  52. Steve walked through the hallway until he found a wall where there was no painting. Instead, Steve was looking at a mirror. Before he even had the time to carefully observe his reflection, the glass transformed into a divided circle of paint: half white, half black. A compass-like arrow came out of the wall in the middle, rotating around the frame for a few moments until it finally stopped directly between the black and white halves. The arrow went back into the wall, and the wall was now with a painting just like the rest.
  53.  
  54. "What could it mean?", Steve thought. The hallway was filled with these paintings, and now Steve had one for him as well. Down in the underground of this strange place he was in, Steve felt vulnerable. Not even the sword in his partially healed hands could help him retake the role of the hero who had fought the legendary battles stories told of. There was nothing to fight in this place, and that's what made it so dangerous.
  55.  
  56. At the end of the hallway, Steve found an opening which led to the pit. The opening was directly connected to the broken down bridge Steve saw when he explored the surface of the island. With every step carefully calculated, he tried crossing this great bridge to get to the tower.
  57.  
  58. As he crossed the bridge, with each movement he heard echoes, progressively getting louder and louder. Like the cry of a ghast, voices of men and women echoed around him in pain. They were coming from right below, from the Void. The black and white particles around the tower intensified in sync with the echoes. While the white particles shined brightly, the black particles seemed to draw the light toward their core, almost as if they were eating the light.
  59.  
  60. Right in the middle of all these strange occurrences, Steve was both blinded by the light and deafened by the echoes. Because of this, he was unable to see where he was going along the bridge and right before he reached the tower itself, he fell over the side of the bridge.
  61.  
  62.  
  63. THE ABYSS
  64. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  65. He was alive.
  66.  
  67. Luckily, he was so close to the tower that he landed on a single block of its exterior. His left leg was severely injured, but he knew he had to go on. His sword had landed on another exterior block of the tower, just slightly out of his reach. Despite the strong pains, he moved toward the edge of the block he stood on, trying to reach the sword. And he did.
  68.  
  69. With all his strength, he stood up by leaning on his sword so that his left leg would not have to hold his weight. Almost conveniently for him, the block he landed on was next to an crack in the tower, small enough for him to fit inside. Still careful not to fall once more, he went into the opening and entered the tower.
  70.  
  71. It was fairly dim inside. Struggling to stand but slowly figuring it out, Steve saw something that piqued his interest. The interior of the entire tower was a gigantic stairwell, with an open space in the middle. However, the stairwell did not just go up to the sky, it also went below into the Void itself.
  72.  
  73. "That's not possible!", Steve thought. In all his travels across sea and land, he had never seen blocks placed inside the Void. Clearly though, the blocks of this stairway went on deep into the mysterious realm. Steve had heard rumors of people crossing over into this abyss, but none had come back.
  74.  
  75. With great caution, Steve approached the point between the Void and his world. He was curious, so he tried stepping on the first stair step that was inside the Void. But the blocks of air between his world and the Void behaved like barriers, he just stood on them.
  76. Trying not to be discouraged by this, Steve began climbing the stairwell. Still though, he kept looking back below into the Void, as if he was drawn to it. He had never seen an opening into it with his own eyes.
  77.  
  78. As he was climbing the tower, he noticed that his leg was not bleeding. It was definitely injured, likely even broken. But there was no blood. Carefully leaning onto the wall, he dropped his sword onto the ground. There was no pain in his leg anymore.
  79. Confused, but still focused on his goal, he picked up his sword, and continued climbing the tower standing on both legs. After a while, he stopped to think. Other than the lack of pain in his leg, he also noticed that the fear he felt before had permanently gone away. He didn't feel afraid, but he felt dedicated to his personal goal of seeing what was at the top of the world.
  80.  
  81. In his head, he began counting. How many blocks had he climbed since he stood at the bottom, a block from the Void? One, two, three...ten...one hundred...five hundred...nine hundred. Steve had never reached such a height before. He had passed two hundred fifty five countless times before through various redstone contraptions, but he had never been this high.
  82.  
  83. When he stopped counting, he immediately began to climb the stairwell again. He did not feel tired, only eager. But as he went higher and higher, things began to change around him. The tower progressively began to turn darker, almost making him unable to see where he was going. Blocks around him were no longer solid, but instead scattered combinations of color and nothingness. This did not stop him.
  84. A couple of steps later, and he hit his head in the air. Just like he saw at the bottom, the stairwell continued upward, but there was a layer of invisible solid blocks that did not allow him to continue.
  85. "No!", he thought. Devastated that all his efforts seemed to be in vain, Steve sat down on one of the stairs. He looked at his trusty diamond sword once more, and that's when the idea came to him.
  86.  
  87. With the sword, he made a small, clean cut to his arm. He did not feel a thing, and there was no bleeding. Standing up, he began preparing for a leap into the central hole of the stairwell. If he felt no pain, then he could charge down into the barrier and potentially break it with his sword. He took a deep breath and he jumped with his sword tightly gripped.
  88.  
  89. He never reached a bottom, however. Instead, he kept falling. After a short while, the tower and stairwell were no longer around him. Instead he saw two massive orbs spin around him in the empty space he was falling into. One seemed to be the world he knew, filled with trees, grass and water. The other which seemed to be closer to him, was the world that he had just left: the island and the tower. Ignoring them for a second, he looked directly into what he was falling toward: a light. With each second, he got closer and closer to it, almost like he was being consumed by it.
  90.  
  91. With his sword still tightly gripped, Steve fell into and embraced the light.
  92.  
  93. <other text>:
  94. Darkness came upon Steve’s birch wood boat.
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