Chapter 18 :: The Pig Tail Fiber Trousers Crisis

July 3rd, 2014

It is the 27th of Slate, in the mid-spring of 1206. In a fit of rage, the miserable stonecrafter Dastot Ringmute has slain a strand extractor. For years, the fortress' defenses have stood strong against the ever-increasing hordes of undead, but nothing can stop the malign influence of the Ice of Ghosts. A single dwarf corpse poses a dire threat to the fortress that must be dealt with swiftly - with a single blow, Dastot has lit a violent spark that threatens to engulf Roomcarnage in a conflagration of undeath.

The strand extractor's corpse lies in one of the craftsdwarf's workshops, at the feet of little Imush Sprinklerough.

It would seem as if Imush was the one who found the body. How much time has passed since the stonecrafter dealt the blow? The body could return to its feet at any second.

Perhaps the sibling Imush lost to tragedy is, in fact, the strand extractor. How sad... but unless the dwarves move quickly, little Imush will have a lot more to be sad about.

At least the incident occurred in the forges. I place a garbage dump over one of the unused magma vents.

Then, I order the strand extractor's body to be dumped.

Just to be safe, I order the fortress guard to stand watch while a hauler comes.

Knowing full well the gravity of the situation, I look over the fortress. If the situation in the forges doesn't turn out well, these caverns may soon be strewn with blood.

I may be able to stave off the undead by locking certain obsidian doors that have been placed at strategic points around the fortress, but morale is slipping - soon, Dastot's misery might be shared by everyone in Roomcarnage. How many deaths will it take to trigger a tantrum spiral?

I cast one last glance across the fortress before returning my attention to the forges.

I take a deep breath and watch as the dwarves run about their business in the deeps - apparently oblivious to the nascent horror that lurks nearby.

After several nerve-wracking seconds, the fortress guard arrives. I feel a little more at ease now, but the threat is hardly gone. There is little to do now, but wait.

Finally, a hauler arrives and picks up the corpse.

He carries the corpse into the forges and tosses it in a magma vent. The untainted remains of the strand extractor disappear in a puff of magma mist. It is the best fate a dwarf of the Momentous Dye could ever hope for.

I allow the fortress guard to return to their training, and assess the condition of the rest of the fortress.

Morale problems seem to be especially bad in the militia - I assume, because they spend all day training in a featureless, rough-hewn cave, while the rest of the dwarves spend their time in the legendary engraved dining hall. It can't hurt if the militia has a few more nice things to look at, so I have a bunch of rock statues installed in the barracks.

Meanwhile, construction continues on the weapon's casing. So far, the casing is complete up to the top of the eastern access tunnel, visible here on the left. The platforms hanging off the edge of the cliffside are pump locations that have yet to be encased in walls. Soon, it will be complete - if Roomcarnage survives that long.

What? Another unhappy dwarf?

What's wrong with you, Kol Fanggravel?

Ah, of course. Kol's poor mood is a combination of wearing decaying clothing, eating nothing but plump helmets every day, and taking a short walk outside. I can remedy the first two, and the third will no longer be an issue, once construction of the weapon's casing is complete.

And Dastot's mood has not improved. She is still entirely miserable.

If anything, she's more miserable than before - she received an unhappy thought as a result of the murder she committed during her tantrum.

I still hold out some hope that the situation might be solved, if only I could get Dastot to wear some pants.

Unfortunately, the textile industry seems to have hit a snag.

But according to my stocks, I have plenty of thread! And lots of cloth! Unless...

...unless all of that cloth and thread was, in fact, lying unused in a frozen corridor that no living feet have trod in years? The fortress desperately needs more cloth and thread.

The fortress' farming and weaving industries are large, but they are still struggling to meet the dwarves' demands.

I designate an activity zone at the rim of the volcano, directly above the construction. Of course, once the volcano is refilled, this spot will be under the surface of the lava - but for now, it will do.

Then, I use the mass claim tool to reclaim all the objects left by the slain merchants.

Finally, I designate all the bins of leather and cloth to be dumped.

I decide to expand the fortress' textile industry once again.

Three more clothier's shops - that makes eight total - and a leather works. Hopefully, with this new influx of cloth from the surface, the fortress may be comfortably clothed.

Meanwhile, the vampires get to work. They move slowly, having gone for years without a single sip of alcohol.

They do the work, though, and soon the bins are piling up on the roof of the eastern access tunnel of the weapon.

Against all odds, the weapon's casing nears completion. Soon, it will be time to install the pumps - but none of the adamantine strands have been made into wafers, let alone forged into machine parts! Time for a couple more magma smelters, I think.

I'd rather not let the single magma forge act as the bottle neck in this project.

Ah! Finally! Dastot has her pants, and an exceptionally made pair, at that!

And yet, her mood has not improved. Once again, it only seems to have worsened - her clothing has begun to decay, and she was unable to find someone to cry on recently.

Usually, extremely upset dwarves go to the mayor for consolation. Roomcarnage's mayor resides far above the fortress, on the frigid surface of the haunted Ice of Ghosts.

I cannot allow Dastot to continue. At any moment, she might slay another dwarf.

If a death must occur in Roomcarnage, let it occur. I convict Dastot for the murder of the strand extractor, and the sentence is read - a beating. The captain of the guard allows the axedwarf Obok to carry out the sentence.

With the eighth blow, Obok crushes the stonecrafter's skull. Unfortunately, a new set of difficulties has arisen.

The sentence was carried out in the middle of the food stockpile, amidst dozens of thirsty dwarves.

Once again, I order the fortress guard to the scene.

Once again, I place a garbage dump overlooking a pool of magma.

Once again, I order the corpse to be dumped.

The military arrives more quickly this time. Here, though, the reanimation of a corpse would serve to be even more damaging to the fortress than anywhere else in the fortress. Already, too, they have witnessed the death of the stonecrafter - it will not take as much to push them over the edge, if that time comes.

Time passes, and amidst the burbling, idiot crowd, Dastot's corpse lies still and quiet.

As I wait, I notice more and more flashing red arrows. Not now. Not yet.

Finally, a hauler arrives and grabs the body.

The dwarf carries the corpse out of the food stockpiles and up the stairwell that leads to the rest of the fortress.

The hauler carries the corpse in one arm, and her infant child in the other. At any moment, the Ice of Ghosts could strike.

If it does, the military is there to strike down the vile monster before it has a chance to harm anyone.

But, as it turns out, their blades were not needed. Dastot's body remained still throughout its journey to the caverns. With a splash, it sinks into the molten rock and disintegrates immediately, leaving nothing behind. It is a merciful fate - the best a dwarf could hope for.

As the military clears out, a child runs to the edge of the plateau and peers over the edge, into the magma-filled cleft. I notice another unhappy dwarf.

It's Obok Workerringed, the axedwarf who struck down Dastot Ringmute.

I guess Obok's just not cut out for this line of work.

There are a few other unhappy dwarves as well - most of whom, seem to have been traumatized by the carnage in the dining hall. I can only hope that their moods will improve. There is one, however, whose mood will not improve, I guess.

Little Rovod Dyeshocked, son of Dastot Ringmute, who fell from her arms when her skull was crushed by Obok Workerringed.

I don't know if Rovod will live or die. The dwarves will not touch him - he is not their own child. Time will tell.

The outer casing of the weapon nears completion. Only the uppermost levels remain unfinished - within a season, it will be finished.

It is time. I order the construction of the machine parts, even as all four magma smelters begin churning out adamantine wafers. I can only hope that Roomcarnage survives long enough to see their completion.

It is the 12th of Hematite, in the early summer of 1206. Multiple crises have been averted, but damage has been done. Morale dips lower and lower with every passing week, as the clothiers and weavers and threshers and planters work around the clock to provide Roomcarnage with fresh clothing. Will the dwarves of the Momentous Dye successfully activate the weapon and cover the surface of the glacier with molten rock, or will they tear the fortress apart due to a lack of socks? Tune in next time!