The next place I had marked as a point of interest on the map is a mapping tower. This one is in Necluda, on top of a rocky hill. To get to it, I have to cross the river. I make a go at it a few different ways, but it’s too wide to swim and I don’t have materials nearby to create a decent boat with. Plus even if I did get across the river I’d still have to climb up some sheer rocks, and I don’t know if I can make it with one Stamina meter.
I end up almost drowning in the river, but I use the Purah Pad to fast-travel back to the stables I found a few sessions ago. This is a cheap way of getting out of death, if you ask me, but the game allows it, and well there’s not much consequence for dying in this game anyway, so I’m not going to feel guilty about it.
I take another look at the map, and it looks like if I take a roundabout path I don’t have to try to swim across that river. It’ll be longer overland, but worth it, I think, so I try that route. Along the way I run from every monster I encounter, not wanting to waste my time with them. I also pick up whatever forage ingredients I happen to find along the way, but I’m not really trying to divert from my goal to pick stuff up right now.
I eventually get to the tower, and find that it is locked. There’s a Rito birdman with a puzzled look about him, and he explains he came to try to fix the tower, which he was part of the construction crew of, only to find that he was locked out. He says he’s hungry and wishes he had some of the mushrooms that grew in the caves below the tower.
I take the hint and go to look for the cave he’s talking about, and find one. When I set foot in it, the game tells me I’ve made a Discovery. The walls of this cave are breakable, and I happen to have a couple of stone hammers, so I go to work clearing a path through. A few broken walls later, and I realize that there are some monsters in this cave, and they’re alert to my presence. I haven’t seen these creatures before, and I’m not even sure whether they are humanoid, or more like some kind of giant frog-lizard thing. They’re called Horriblins, and they seem menacing, but are not actually too difficult. I hit one in the face with an arrow, and knock another one into a pool of water at the back of the cave. To my great surprise, it’s not capable of swimming, and ends up taking damage while it struggles in the water, and eventually drowns. The final Horriblin goes down to my melee weapon, a rusty claymore topped with a bokoblin skeleton arm, which deals the most damage of anything I’ve been able to fuse together in the game so far.
With the cave cleared out, I’m hoping to find some of those mushrooms, but I don’t find anything except mineral deposits that drop when I break the stone walls, and some glowing cave fish, and maybe some other stuff, one random mushroom but it doesn’t seem like a special type.
I walk back up to the Rito and talk to him again, hoping he’ll tell me I found what he wanted, and help me, but he just tells me the same thing. I wonder if I should try holding one of the mushrooms from my inventory and offer it to him, but only after the fact. There’s so many ways to do things in this game, you never know what will work or if you’ve tried everything — almost certainly, you haven’t.
I noticed a Stone Talus walking along the path below the tower, which had a battle platform manned by three bokoblins, and decide it would be fun to see if I can take it down. I’m high enough that I can glide down and divebomb them, and they’re just puny red bokoblins, not particularly well arme, and I figure why not.
I attempt it, but after taking the bokoblins down easily, as soon as I hit the Talus in its weak point, it bucks me, and I go flying clear off the platform, all the way down off the side of the cliff, to a fatal landing below. Dang it.
I go back to talk to the Rito, this time holding one of each mushroom variety, and drop them in front of him, hoping that this will be what he wants, but that doesn’t seem to interest him at all. OK, well I’ll go back to fighting the Battle Talus, then. At least that will be fun.
It takes several tries, but I eventually take down the Talus. It isn’t too difficult, a decent challenge, but I keep screwing up. When I get knocked off, it takes me a while to get back on my feet, during which time I’m vulnerable to the Talus’s attack, which does me in with one hit more often than not. And if it doesn’t, it takes me nearly down, and sends me reeling. Climbing onto the Talus’s back to finish it off is more difficult, almost impossible due to the platforms built onto its back, which I can’t get on top of when climbing from below. I find that the best way to get back on top is to ride a thermal with my glider, after a fire is started. Fortunately, the last surviving Bokoblin has fire seeds that he throws, which make this easy. When he goes down, though, I’m left to my own fire devices. I happen to have a Zonaite fire generator fused to one of my shields, which I can use to set the grass on fire in front of me, and then zip up on my glider, and as long as I can ride it up high enough, and don’t get stuck in the Talus (which screws up the camera controls, leaving me effectively blind and turned around) I can get back onto the platform and take another whack at the Talus’s weak point.
After I hit it a few more times, the Talus is down to its last few hitpoints, and my stone hammer breaks, leaving me with no good melee weapon to do damage to it with. Anything else I hit with will do minimal damage and shatter quickly, so I jump back off, and fire bomb arrows at the Talus, which ends up actually being the best method.
It dies, dropping a bunch of gemstones, and a heart-shaped rock, which I fuse to my rusty claymore. The Stone Talus Heart Claymore seems like it will be an effective rock smasher.
I go back into the cave to look again for the mushrooms. I smash some rocks with the new Stone Heart hammer, and it does indeed do a fantastic job of smashing rocks. I blow up some more rocks and discover an opening I didn’t see before. There’s another monster in there, I make quick work of it, and pick up some more forage, including some more gems. Looking around, I still see no mushrooms that this Rito might like to eat. I decide to try Ascend, and sure enough that works, and I find myself inside the tower, coming up through the floor behind the locked door.
There are two long wooden sticks propping the door closed, jamming it, and I remove them and then the door opens. The Rito enters, and puts some oil on the machinery in the Tower. I then activate the tower, shoot up into the sky, and map the area. On my way down, I see some nearby floating rocks, and glide toward them.
I think it’s time to explore the sky world for a bit.
I have no idea what I’m doing, really, but it doesn’t seem to matter. In this game, there is no urgency, and you’re free to do things in any order at all. Any distraction you choose to follow is the right direction. You can come back to any mission or challenge at any time, so it literally doesn’t matter what choices you make, to do this, or do that, nothing matters.
Only, I would like it to matter, at least a bit. So I can feel like I’m a better player if I make better decisions, or like I’m on the right track. Anything to give my actions in the game more meaning, importance, substance.