Welcome to "The Diary of a Miner"; a blog detailing the adventures and mysteries that I, Syeonyx, embark upon in my quest to further my mining and survival skills! It'll be tough, there will be good times and bad times, but I'll always be alive to post my adventures... probably...

We all knew the risks...

     It was fully night by now. The moon was ascending into the sky from the East, and we had little else to see by than the light it produced. UOPETA knew what he was doing though, and he guided us carefully and cautiously through to the next portal. I for one was glad that we had left the sand behind and gone more towards the grassy plains with hills and trees. Admittedly we had to be extra careful not to run into something hidden in the shadows, but we could use those shadows to our advantage, and hide from any possible guards waiting to close a trap! As usual, we stuck to the tree line, staying in the deep shadows until UOPETA was confident there was no danger ahead. I had noticed a sudden change in pace after the last portal; whether it was because it was night, or that UOPETA was become fatigued, but we were definitely spending less time waiting for the all clear. We would even have small bursts of speed every now and again, but at the time I put it down to the initial lack of cover. I suppose I wasn't complaining; as long as we got to the last portal and back to base before morning, I was happy, but I didn't like that idea if it meant UOPETA was forfeiting safety. After a shorted time than expected, we arrived at the edge of the pool, which in reality turned out to be a vast lake! Squinting into the distance, still looking South, I could see a small island in the centre of the lake. It was very small, but judging from the map, it was where the portal was... Oh yay, we were going to have to get wet... Again(!)

     We navigated around the lake for some time, sticking to the shadows, but mainly looking for the shortest or shallowest crossing we could find. In the end, we went back to the area we had arrived by, finding it was the easiest to cross. After a few minutes of wading in freezing cold water, we clambered up onto the far side of the little island. It wasn't very big at all, and I had begun to think that this might not be the right place at all...

"Are you sure this is it?"

"According to the map, this is the only lake around here for quite a distance. Closest body of water to here is the sea... So yes, this is the right place!"

We had all become highly strung, partially from the cold water, but mostly from the fact that we were all dead on our feet! We really needed to rest at the base before heading back to the conducting tower. I just hope UOPETA saw it that way, and not a case of "get it out of the way whilst we're here" type of thing. The portal wasn't located on the surface, and after a few minutes fumbling around in the dark, we found where we had to go. Well, THEROS did, but only because he nearly fell down a series of steps!

     We descended down the steps, UOPETA in the lead carrying a torch. THEROS also put a few up on the walls to make it easier to navigate on the way out. It went quite far down, and then veered off to the left like so many of them had before! We followed the twists and turns of the passage until we could hear the echoey sounds from the portal, and the end of the tunnel became bathed in a purple light. There it was. The last portal of this stage, and then we could head back! For a change, THEROS handed the Solus stone to UOPETA, who stepped into the chamber to place it onto the portal. I stayed with THEROS to keep guard, but as UOPETA approached it, we heard a "click" sound. UOPETA froze, and turned back to look at us. What was that? Then I noticed that a small portion of the wall to his right was sliding to one side... There was silence for a moment. No-one dared to move, let alone breathe! Then, without warning, a skeleton leapt from the hole and went straight after UOPETA!

He tried to dodge, but the skeleton was already ready, and fired an arrow into his arm. UOPETA fell to the floor, defenseless, and I did the only thing I could think of. I shouted to draw it's attention; it stood there for moment, before reaching up with a bony arm, over it's shoulder and taking out another arrow. I quickly took my pickaxe in hand and threw it at the skeleton! My aim was way off; it gazed it's arm, but caused no damage whatsoever, clattering to the floor. It stood for a moment longer, opening it's lower jaw in a silent scream. I took out my bow and stepped into the room, narrowly avoiding the arrow it let loose in my direction! Before I had time to retrieve an arrow of my own, the skeleton was bearing down on me, pushing me into the wall using the bow as leverage. I pushed back, trying to force it into the room it had come from, but it was too strong! My grasp slipped, and it gained the advantage; the string of it's bow was now pressed tightly against my neck, choking me! I couldn't breathe! Stars danced around my vision, and I struggled to hold on to consciousness. Then the grip was released; the skeleton dropped the bow and fell to the floor, the pickaxe embedded into it's pelvis. Before giving it a chance to stand back up, I moved from the wall and stamped on it's head! The remainder of it's body fell limp, and pieces of it's skull skittered across the floor. I bent over double, coughing, trying to get the air back into my lungs. THEROS rushed past me at this point, and went to help UOPETA. After a few moments, I stood back up, rubbing my neck where the string had dug in. It was then that I realised that UOPETA had attacked the skeleton with the pickaxe when I was pinned against the wall. I thanked him, and went over to see how he was. He was in a bad way; the arrow had embedded itself into his upper left arm, just below the shoulder joint. He was bleeding quite badly, and from the sweat beading his forehead, I think he was trying to keep the shock at bay!

"Looks like you needed my help back there... Good job I think fast!"

It was only a flesh wound; a bandage applying pressure, a lot of rest, and some food, and he'd be back up in days!

"Glad I'm wearing this armour. I don't think I could take what's going on under there..."

The blood had begun to seep through to the surface, running down the length of the arrow shaft. I supported UOPETA, and told THEROS to finish the job. THEROS nodded and took the Solus stone from the floor where UOPETA had dropped it, and placed it onto the portal. He then took the pickaxe from the inanimate skeleton's pelvis, and disappeared into the hole in the wall... A few moments later he returned.

"It's done. We'll wait for the portal to collapse and then we'll get UOPETA onto the surface. Don't ask me how, but we're going to need to get UOPETA back to the base. We're leaving the conducting tower until later, and no UOPETA, that's not under discussion!"

We sat with UOPETA until the portal collapsed, and then began to move him slowly to the surface. THEROS was right; getting him back was going to be a pain. It was going to be dangerous, but I was worried about getting him back to the shore!


     We managed to get UOPETA back to the base without being detected; UOPETA was very stubborn, and decided that he would continue to keep a look out. It was slow going, especially as we had to keep stopping to ensure he wasn't losing too much blood! The ladder down from the hatch was the worst; he couldn't move his left arm. He had taken to partially hugging himself to keep it still, whilst very cautiously edging from each rung to teh next. From there it was easy! OROTHO and Amie had looking over him now. They've managed to remove the arrow head after initially removing the shaft, and have patched up the wound with a secure bandage. His arm's in a sling as well, and he's been confined to bed until "further notice"... We were debriefed by COLUS, and informed him and OROTHO about what we had encountered. I covered everything: the locations of the portals, the states of each, the odd Creeper not attacking us, the encounter with skeletons on two separate occasions and the attack a few hours ago. Amie came in from UOPETA's room as I mentioned the skeletons and she seemed surprised... We thought that HoN Co. had found a way to animate skeletons and control them for their evil deeds, but she seemed to know nothing about them!

"How were you not aware? Surely this would come under the scientific branch of HoN Co.?"

"Well yes it would. But we're not just one big lab! The scientific community working internally within HoN Co. is split into cells, each one performing research independent on the others. I was tasked with portal research, along with a few others. It's likely that another cell was tasked with a form of security; one cell to make the Affinitas cages, and another to animate corpses. Or at least the research to develop this. It's in HoN Co.'s best interests to only give a single person enough information to allow them to work. If a single scientist worked on every project, they'd piece it all together and refuse to work for them! We all knew about the different scientific cells, but we didn't know which ones anyone worked for, or what they were doing. It was impossible to piece anything together because they always kept us separate. I only found out about this whole operation after trying to find more information about OROTHO's disappearance..."

It seems whoever ran HoN Co. was paranoid to the most severest of extents! Not allowing parts of the company to interact with other parts was a rather large step to keep it from going public, but if it had worked for this long...

"But weren't you suspicious about why HoN Co. was messing around with portals to the Nether?"

"At the time I didn't know. We were told that these portals were an advanced form of communication device which had been taken from a company that had merged with ours. They wanted us to merely replicate that technology so it could be 'widely distributed throughout the known world!'... We weren't told what it actually did!"

It was likely then that whoever worked on the projects to animate dead bodies were not aware of what their ultimate goal was. Maybe they thought that HoN Co. was branching out into medical treatment, or something like that...

"Okay, fine. That doesn't matter now. We can discuss that later, but we need to keep a close eye on UOPETA at the moment. He's lost a lot of blood, and OROTHO is still studying the arrow head to check for poisons or toxins. At the moment UOPETA is only exhibiting the effects of severe blood loss, but we want to be a step ahead in case he takes a turn for the worse... You two, get some rest. You need it, but don't expect to be going anywhere soon. Until UOPETA is back to fighting form, no-one leaves the base! Understood? Good!"

That suited me fine! I was worried about UOPETA too much to concentrate on going out there on my own anyway. Like COLUS said: I needed some rest. In the morning I'd check on UOPETA. I really hope this doesn't go any further... We need him!

Syeonyx signing off

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