Resonance was the primary fuel for magic. There weren't many mages left. Mages tended to be paranoid about teaching others their tricks of the trade, and over the course of generations, the lack of new apprentices resulted in a decline in the total mage population. This eventually led to the population of mages numbering 12... 7... 3... eventually only two remained. Moreover, the lack of mages reduced the resonance between them, leading to a fall in magic power.
Markus, or, as a mage, Notch, was the lesser of the two remaining mages before he figured out that video games could generate resonance. Then, however... well, his first games weren't all that successful. Minecraft, however, ended up with millions of users. 1.12 was just released, and it was time for Notch to execute the second part of his plan. He would bring magic back. At the moment, he couldn't create much of an effect using the resonance he had. Say, enough to effect a single person. Eventually, he could effect another. However, with each effect, the effect would grow easier. Given time, the exponential growth would lead to everybody who played minecraft being trapped within.
Then he could execute phase 3. He would use Minecraft to resonate with the real world. And he would bring magic back.
For the moment, though, he had not yet executed his plan at all. He still needed to find a suitable subject for the first to be trapped. Thank goodness for social media. Notch scanned through the followers of his social media profile. Today was the seventh day, and Notch was feeling optimistic. Seven wasn't inherently magical, but years of it being considered special developed a kind of resonance. For mages, good things tended to happen on the seventh repetition. Aha.
Notch scanned the twitter profile of the follower he located. Perfect. For one, a name of Steve. This would create resonance between the game and the man. For another, the man was a huge fan of Minecraft. In fact, he had played it from the very beginning. Chronological resonance. To top it off, the man had attended every Minecon, meaning Notch had already magically developed resonance between the man and Minecraft for the purpose of the plan.
Now then. To begin the spell... Notch began writing computer code. A software update. Like 1.12, but with a few differences. He would pass it off as 1.12.2. A fix for a (false) critical bug. Everybody would recieve it... but only Steve would be affected by it. He would tune the code to Steve's Minecraft username... and when he loaded the game, off he would go. But Notch needed to add a bit extra to get the magic code to work.
Latin was perfect for this. Over years of use, it had acquired a kind of resonance that could be invoked by a mage to add power to a spell.
"Huic insidiator ori meo in ludum! Ne quis iste sit primus multarum!"
It was done. Soon, Steve would download the update. Soon, he would enter the game. Soon, well, later anyway, magic would return in full force to the world.
Unless, of course, Steve escaped. It wasn't like that could happen, however, in order to do that, he would have to enter the End and slay the Enderdragon, the resonance of which would undo Notch's spell. That could happen, Notch realized. Best to make it difficult. But that was fairly easy to do.
For one, the world would be locked onto hardcore mode. Notch didn't like killing people, but it was a necessary evil if magic was to be reborn. Notch could not risk the possibility of the spell being broken. For another, Notch would be able to interfere personally via his Minecraft character.
It was time. Notch released the update. Those who thought he had quit Minecraft were mistaken. Notch had ensured he still had a hold over his masterpiece via a possession spell on Jeb. Appearing to leave Minecraft was necessary. The other mage had recognized what Notch was doing, and only that trick could stave off war.
The game had begun.
Chapter 1: New World
Steve smiled as the 1.12 update finished loading. Finally. He was about to start playing when the launcher changed. 1.12.2... a critical bug fix? Well, that wouldn't do at all. Steve loaded the new update. It probably wouldn't take too long. Indeed, it didn't. With his smile growing ever larger, Steve began the process of creating a new world.
Seed... no. Bonus chest... no. He wanted a challenge this time. Accordingly... difficulty, hard. Steve then hit the button to create a new world. It didn't take long. His character occupied a forest. Steve looked about, taking stock of the area... then he noticed something. A sign. Confused and curious, Steve walked over to the sign in Minecraft. The sign had some odd symbol on it. An easter egg of some kind?
Steve leaned in for a closer look. The symbol was maddening him. It didn't seem to be changing, but every time he blinked it seemed different. Steve mentally complemented the programmer. He didn't see any way to get something to behave like that. Then Steve leaned in a little further. His nose touched the screen. Touched the symbol on the screen.
Nothing happened. Steve almost thought the symbol would do something weird when he looked at it that closely, but he supposed it wasn't meant to be. Mentally shrugging, Steve leaned back, posting on the Minecraft Forums on his mind.
Steve fell onto his bottom on grass. Looking about, Steve realized that no part of his office room was anywhere in sight. Rather, the cubic trees of the Minecraft forest surrounded him. Oak and birch, they loomed above. It was his MInecraft world in every way but one. The sign was blank.
Steve finally mustered the willpower to speak. "What? What the ****? What is... how... what?" Mind blown, Steve collapsed onto the grass, all the while mouth uttering some variations of "What".
Eventually(several minutes later), Steve calmed down. His speaking grew more coherent then. "I'm in Minecraft. That symbol put me into Minecraft!" Steve wasn't sure what to think about that. On the positive side, he was in the world of his dreams, literally. On the negative side, he was alone. Aside from the monsters, anyway. "Oh. ****." At that point Steve realized he needed to get moving. If he was in Minecraft(and that certainly appeared to be the case), monsters would spawn at night... and the sun was shooting across the sky at a rate far higher than in the real world. "Well, Earth anyway." Minecraft was real now, after all.
Steve leaped to his feet, and examined the trees. Taking a deep breath, Steve punched the nearest oak tree. It didn't hurt. But no cracks appeared. But of course, he needed to destroy the tree with multiple punches. As such, he began punching in earnest. The cracks spread, and before long the oak log broke. A tiny version of it floated above the ground, before shooting into his head and appearing in his hand.
Steve noted the log's appearance in his heads up display as well. It only took him a moment to figure out how to switch the selected item. It was like a part of his body, for he could move it at will. He couldn't say how he did it, but he knew how to do so. Noting the sun's position(it was getting late), Steve furiously attacked the rest of the tree. Log after log fell until only the disintegrating floating leaves were left.
"Alright... crafting." Steve focused, and an interface appeared in his mind, his inventory and 2x2 crafting. One log made four planks, which made a crafting table. The crafting table hit the ground.
One log made four planks which made eight sticks. Another log made four planks. Three planks and two sticks made a wooden pickaxe.
Steve hurriedly punched a pit into the ground. It was sunset. Steve didn't much like staying in an underground shelter, but it seemed to be a necessity this time around. Steve didn't know what it felt like to be shot by a skeleton or punched by a zombie, and that was more than enough of a reason to take shelter underground. The other was pride. Steve, as a Minecrafter, didn't want to die day one.
Three cobblestone and two sticks made a stone pickaxe. Three cobblestone and two sticks made a stone axe. Steve grabbed a few more logs, then leaped into his mine. Steve replaced his crafting table in his mine and dug out stone for a furnace. The furnace was crafted and then put to use burning a log for charcoal. Then Steve heard the groan. He had heard it plenty of times before. He knew exactly what it was. Zombie.
Immediately, Steve selected his dirt blocks and blocked up the entrance to the mineshaft. Safe, hypothetically. The survivor breathed a sigh of relief. He wouldn't be dying tonight. Probably.
The light vanished. Steve turned to where he remembered his furnace was and focused on it. The familiar interface appeared, and Steve withdrew his charcoal. One charcoal and one stick made four torches, two of which now illuminated Steve's hidey-hole.
Steve hungered for something to do. Getting food was the first choice, but food was most easily found at the surface... and it was currently night. Hence, mining became the object of Steve's focus. Steve took his wooden pickaxe and began to dig further down. He couldn't go far, unless he struck coal, because he only had two spare torches.
Sadly, after a bit of digging, he hadn't found any coal and he was out of torches. Steve still had some digging to do, though he couldn't do much more. Even after that, though, with a rather expanded chamber, he still hadn't found any coal. The light his four torches created was stretched to the limit.
Good thing it was day. Steve could hear the sound of burning zombies. Now he could finally leave his hidey-hole, try to find some food, and hopefully build an actual house.
Chapter 2: Painful Dawn
Steve began excavating the roof of his hidey-hole. After a delay, of course. He wouldn't want a flaming zombie to go kamikaze on him. Hopefully waiting would lead to any remaining undead burning away before he ascended.
Thunk went his fists against the dirt blocks blocking the mineshaft entrance. One by one, they fell. At last, Steve ascended the staircase into his mineshaft. A new day dawned. To the average artist, the real-world sun was the most beautiful, Steve thought. But to him? The pixelated sun that the Overworld bore was the sweetest, the most beautiful, the brilliant luminous projector of light across the world.
Steve made a mental note that his new house should have an observatory. High up, so no monsters could get there. Not using glass. As clear as glass was, it still wasn't as clear as air was, or as real-life glass was. Steve frowned. A rephrasing was in order. Or as Earth glass was. This was real life now.
Of course, that was a longer term goal. Before that he would need the basics. A house. A mineshaft(done!). Security appropriate to hard mode.
Two things occurred simultaneously: an arrow entered Steve's flesh, and his hearts went down by two and a half. Steve looked up to see a mocking skeleton pointing its bow at him. Then Steve noticed the zombies. There were disadvantages to living in a forest. Shade could let monsters survive the day sun, for instance.
The arrow hurt, Steve realized. "Aaargh!" Steve bit back his reflexive vocalization when he realized it didn't hurt as much as he would have thought. The pain was dulled. That said, it still hurt, and the zombies were approaching. Steve wasn't eager to repeat the experience.
The undead didn't seem to care that leaving the shade set them aflame. They were more than willing to sacrifice their lives(for a given value of such) to see Steve die.
Steve didn't want to see that happen, understandably. Steve quickly ran back to his mineshaft entrance. Before the undead could enter, he blocked up the entrance with dirt blocks again. The only mob that could excavate him now would be an Enderman, and Steve hadn't seen any Endermen while outside. For that matter, Steve didn't see any Creepers either. Lucky. Steve imagined a Creeper sneaking up behind him silently while he was thinking and shuddered. From now on he would have to be more careful.
Steve turned and looked at his chest where the arrow struck. Sure enough, the arrow was still there. It didn't hurt at all. There wasn't any blood. Minecraft operated by different rules as Earth.
Then Steve heard a sound he realized he should have waited for in the first place. The sound of a pained zombie as a result of flame was good, but the sound of a dying zombie was far better. The fact that the sound of burning zombies stopped before they died meant they sought out shade and succeeded. Steve mentally reemphasized the fact that he would have to be more careful. This was his life now.
Steve turned to his crafting table. The interface bloomed when he focused on it, and with some quick movements, he arranged his last stick and two cobblestone blocks into a stone sword.
The dirt blocks in the way of his entrance were punched away again, and Steve cautiously ascended the staircase. Rotten flesh adorned the ground, and it reeked. Steve gagged at the horrible smell. At least the zombies were gone. The skeleton that shot him earlier, however, wasn't. An arrow hit Steve for two hearts. "Aargh!" Steve turned to face the skeleton. It had to be weak and nearly dead by now. Steve charged.
In a tactical manner, of course. Step 1: approach, but keep the landscape in between him and the skeleton. The trees were a double edged sword for the skeleton. They kept it shaded, but they also offered cover against its arrows. By advancing tactically and using the trees as protection, Steve was able to get within melee range of the skeleton. Then he struck. Steve dashed forwards, and his stone sword cut through the air, hitting the skeleton. And lo, it was slain.
Tired, Steve leaned against an oak tree. The bone and two arrows he received from killing the skeleton weren't much worth getting shot. Steve made a note of something else he had to do: clear out the trees from around his chosen house location. But first, he would rest a little. He was only human, after all.
Chapter 3: The Ultimate DIY Experience
Steve turned to the sun. Minecraft worked on a 20 minute day-night cycle. Already the sun was shooting into the sky at a noticeable speed. Steve gripped his stone axe. Several strikes were made against one of the trees around Steve's hidey-hole. The first block above the bottom block broke, then the one above it. Steve hopped onto the bottom block, then cut down the rest of the tree from underneath. The bottom block was the last to go. Playing Minecraft for a long time, one picked up tricks. Leaving the bottom block of a tree for last was one of them.
Steve promptly repeated the process. Each tree he felled would be one less to provide shade for the undead. Chop, chop, chop. As he remembered. All the while, time passed. But for a skilled Minecrafter, a few minutes were enough time to build shelter. Steve wasn't worried. And if he didn't have time to start on his house, he could always use his hidey-hole again.
Before too long, the trees around Steve's hidey-hole were cleared away. The forest as a whole was unharmed, save for the small hole in it that Steve wrought. Steve knew he would have to clear more of the trees away later, and set torches on the ground to prevent monster spawning, but for now, what he had done would be good enough. Steve held up an apple, fallen from one of the oak trees he axed. Steve had no desire to starve to death, and hence took a bite of the apple. Firm, juicy, delicious. His hunger bars were unchanged, however. Steve figured that he would need to eat the apple the same way as in Minecraft for that benefit to apply, and as such began to rapidly bite into the apple.
Before long, nothing was left, not even a taste in Steve's mouth. Consuming the apple the Minecraft way was... unsatisfying for the tongue. Steve didn't care too much about that, however. Maybe someone else would, but Steve was alone. There was no somebody else to care about it.
Steve gave a mental shrug, then reentered his hidey-hole. He would make it better. Logs made planks made sticks which made ladders. The hole ceased to have a staircase entrance, and instead had a vertical ladder entrance. Six planks made two trapdoors. A trapdoor capped off his ladder entrance. With that, Steve burned more logs into charcoal which made torches with sticks. Steve turned to his mine. Wood made a good cosmetic building material, but cobblestone was far more practical. Easier to acquire, more durable against explosions, non-flammable... Steve's pickaxe struck against the stone floor of the hidey-hole, and a downwards spiral staircase took shape.
Steve noted the sound of zombies groaning from above. That didn't matter, though. Zombies couldn't open trapdoors. Creepers wouldn't go off if he wasn't nearby. No, the only enemies he needed to worry about were the ones in any cave he might dig into.
Steve noted the presence of iron ore. The sight brought a smile to Steve's face. Iron was incredibly useful. Steve's stone pickaxe was running out of steam, but it definitely had enough strength in it to dig out an iron vein.
The pickaxe struck the iron ore again and again. Each strike grew the cracks in the ore. It didn't take long for the ore to break. As expected, the pickaxe survived each block of iron ore. Steve smiled again. Seven iron ore meant a bucket and a pair of boots. Sustainable farming and protection from harm. Alternatively, a bucket and an iron pickaxe for digging out rarer ores. Either way, Steve was going to make a bucket. Steve leaped from block to block, climbing the staircase. The groans of zombies continued. Steve didn't mind, as long as he had some distance, and a trapdoor was definitely enough.
A spare charcoal burned the iron ore slowly but surely. As with the skeleton Steve killed, glowing green orbs emitted themselves from the furnace and leapt into him. At the moment, though, Steve needed the iron ingots far more than experience orbs. Steve couldn't live on apples forever, and a bucket meant controlled farming. Three iron ingots made a bucket. The rest of the ingots, Steve saved. Steve leaned against the wall for another moment, breathing out, listening to the groans of the undead, then dove back into his downwards staircase. He needed more cobblestone.