Chapter 19 :: Stories of Labor and Dynamism

July 5th, 2014

It is the 12th of Hematite, in the early summer of 1206. The tantruming stonecrafter has been slain and disposed of, but Roomcarnage may yet pay the price for Dastot Ringmute's misery - several dwarves have dipped into unhappiness. The total population of the fortress climbs ever higher, now well above the default cap of 200 - somewhere along the timeline, I know, more dwarves means more corpses.

I can only hope that the weapon may be finished in time - that the Ice of Ghosts may be reduced to a steaming obsidian wasteland, before Roomcarnage tears itself apart from the inside.

Since Roomcarnage's earliest days, most of the dwarves have lived in communal dormitories or barracks. Now, the unhappy thoughts caused by not having proper bedrooms are contributing to the general decline in fortress morale. The dwarves need bedrooms, and that means more beds - more beds means more wood. After unlocking the door leading from the fortress to the caverns, I designate a large area, over many z-levels, to be marked for logging.

While the woodcutters get to work, I look toward's Roomcarnage's industries. Tun Noselance, longtime manager and bookkeeper of the Momentous Dye, is hard at work in the magma forges. Once a second anvil is forged, construction of the machine components necessary to build the magma pumps may happen without difficulty.

Meanwhile, a sizable chunk of the labor force is currently dedicated to clothesmaking. These clothier's shops area active around the clock...

...as are these workshops, as well. With so many dwarves working constantly, the dwarves of the Momentous Dye will soon be clad in fresh, well-tailored clothing.

The anvil is finished. For the curious, it only weighs around two urists - or kilograms, for those filthy, plains-dwelling humans amongst my readership.

I order the construction of the second forge, using the adamantine anvil. There's something special, almost poetic, about building a forge with an adamantine anvil. It fills me with a feeling - the same sort of feeling I have when minting adamantine coins or making adamantine cloaks. What is that feeling? Overwhelming decadence, made necessity in this hellhole of a fortress.

Despite the massive population, Roomcarnage is hard at work, with few idlers. Tun Noselance has worked hard to keep the books balanced, handling the backlog of work orders - and yet, it is not enough.

Now, to appease the general population, rooms must be made. It would not do to have Roomcarnage erupt in self-slaughter on the eve of the activation of its greatest project.

After ordering the construction of many beds, I look towards the woodcutting area. An infant dwarf catches my eye - it is none less than Rovod Dyeshocked, son of Dastot Ringmute, the mad stonecrafter. The infant now crawls around the map aimlessly, with no mother to hold or feed him.

What should be done regarding the slaying of Dastot Ringmute? The entire fortress has testified against poor Obok, the axedwarf - but Obok was administering punishment for the slaughter of Kadol the strand extractor! Is the executioner to be held accountable for murder?

Despite the overwhelming evidence against Obok, I cannot convict him for murder. I let the case pass - hopefully the dwarves will simply forget about it. If the time comes where I desperately need to administer dwarven justice to an individual, I can unjustly convict them of this murder.

I glance back at the abandoned baby. A woodcutter runs past the crawling infant, with a child of her own, as well as an axe in hand. There's nothing I can do for her now.

I figure that war dogs would be more helpful to have around the fortress, compared to normal dogs. So, I order all of the adult dogs to be trained as war animals (making sure to create an animal training zone somewhere in the fortress).

Finally, the construction nears completion. All that remains is to build the rooftop on the highest level. One last level to be dug out...

...and one last set of floors.

As part of an ongoing series of minor improvements to the fortress, I have a few passages expanded to allow a wider flow of movement.

Now, dwarves my pass side by side in these tunnels, while before passage would have been limited by one standing, and everyone else lying down.

I had thought to make a refuse stockpile for all of the dwarves' rotting clothes, but instead I notice that Roomcarnage has, at its disposal, a certain unused resource - bone. Curious, but not incredibly significant - unless I seek to use bone as a type of clothing. It's good to know it's there for moods, though.

While casually viewing the churning textile industry, I notice an oddity - a crawling child outside the fortress. Indeed, little Rovod has managed to crawl out of the fortress, around the pool of magma, and to the entire opposite side of the caverns. I don't know why.

Construction of the weapon's casing approaches completion. I decide to place a few walls here, just to make sure that nothing unsavory gets into the weapon's primary components. Soon, the last bricks are laid into place, and the penultimate stage of construction is finished.

The time has come to prepare for the refilling of the volcano. I cancel this old activity zone, a garbage dump where the vampires were tossing bins of cloth and leather for the living dwarves to claim.

I place a new activity zone, so that the vampires will be tossing into an area that won't be inundated with lava in the near future.

Then, I claim all the bins that the vampires have already dumped down. These cloth and leather bins will be gathered by haulers... when? There are only two idlers.

When I order the lever controlling the obsidian hatches at the volcano drains to be pulled, no dwarf comes immediately to do the job. Roomcarnage, a bustling fortress of over 120 adult dwarves, is working at full capacity.

Let the fortress work. The surface is lost... as these migrants are about to discover.

I'm a little confused. With the population cap at 200 and the fortress population well above that, Roomcarnage ought not to receive any migrant waves. Yet it does.

The migrants scatter as they pour onto the map, dodging the frozen corpses that shamble savagely towards them.

Ultimately, their corpses will only add to the ever-growing mass of undead that plague the surface. More and more, the prospect of reclaiming the surface in any meaningful way seems entirely unlikely.

Still, I will see the Ice of Ghosts turn to stone and steam before Roomcarnage falls.

I struggle to decide which fate might be worse - being slain by relentless frozen zombies moments after arriving at the destination of a long voyage, or succumbing to whatever end befalls the dwarves of the Momentous Dye. Of course, I cannot know. Yet.

In the end, the dwarves that now comfortably burble about the caverns deep beneath the ice may come to envy these migrants who now meet their end upon the bloody ice.

What!?

Tobul Vesselwinds has risen as a ghost upon the glacier!

A troublesome poultergeist... in Roomcarnage, this kind of trouble could result in the spontaneous death of an innocent, well-loved dwarf. A well-aimed copper barrel full of dwarven rum can do terrible things in the middle of a dining hall.

I cancel the production of rock crafts at one of the craftsdwarf's workshop - the mayor's production order will have to wait. This poltergeist needs to be memorialized immediately, while it still haunts the surface.

I decide that I might as well order a few more memorials to be carved - unhappy thoughts from otherwise benign ghosts aren't helping Roomcarnage, either. One more, and then - not memorialized?

So many forsaken souls - in fact, every dwarf who has ever died in Roomcarnage. Some have had the mercy of perishing in flame, or having their bodies incinerated immediately after their death. Most have died on the surface, slaughtered by the ever increasing horde of undead - their own broken bodies added to the ranks of their attackers.

Towards the bottom of the list, I find those dwarves who rose as ghosts, and were later memorialized. After that, there are a few oddities - a water buffalo, a wagon, and some kobolds. Hmm.

At some point, a dwarf walked by and pulled the lever controlling the volcano drains. The hatches have slammed shut, ceasing the torrent of molten rock that has been pouring into the caverns for nearly a year. Even so, the magma still flows, violently streaming through the claustrophobic passages.

So much magma - nearly the entire cavern system is inundated with it.

It flows through the deep, forgotten caverns, through dark passages that no dwarven eye has perceived.

Up in the caldera, the difference in volcanic activity is unmistakable. The surface of the lava lake is still, disturbed only by the periodic fountains of molten rock that spurt up from the deeps.

It is this activity that will eventually fill the volcano, returning the lava lake to its original level. The lava spouts are powerful, often reaching five or six urists.

An irregular announcement catches my attention.

Right in the middle of the farms. Wonderful.

Gremlins are trouble - they sneak unnoticed into fortresses, pulling levers and opening cages willy nilly. It's fortunate that this one was noticed.

Besides their mischievous nature, gremlins are otherwise largely harmless.

Unfortunately, this gremlin has already injured a dwarven child.

In my carelessness, I left the door leading to the caverns unlocked, so that the woodcutters and log haulers could come and go as they please. While a gremlin may be harmless, a giant cave spider is anything but.

I order the fortress guard to deal with the threat.

The gremlin breaks free from the child and runs through the farms. A dog takes notice and attacks the stranger!

Good job, dog.

Soon, the fortress guard arrives, led by captain Obok.

The gremlin emerges from unconsciousness just in time to have the bones her right upper arm and right lower leg shattered. Then, she lapses.

One more swing of the captain's artifact copper mace is all it takes.

Obok Girderflares is certainly the finest warrior in the fortress - and also, the best equipped. In addition to a masterfully crafted suit of copper armor, Obok wears an exceptionally crafted adamantine helm, and bears two legendary artifacts.

The first is a copper mace named Mirrorstalkers.

It "contains" a gremlin blood spatter.

The other artifact is The Beloved Phrase, the legendary adamantine flask.

It contains rum.

The dwarves are starting to get the hang of emergency corpse disposal.

Fortunately, one of the few idlers in the fortress picks up the job.

The fortress guard stands watchful over the gremlin's corpse, just in case the malign influence of the Ice of Ghosts urges the intruder to its feet.

Yet again, nothing happens. The hauler arrives, grabs the corpse, and begins hauling it back to the caverns.

Just to be safe, I order the military to follow along.

Ultimately, their presence is unnecessary - the hauler descends the stairs towards the caverns...

...and tosses the gremlin corpse in the magma without further incident.

I look around the fortress - general morale has returned to comfortable levels. It seems as if the tantrum spiral that threatened to erupt from one stonecrafter's misery has been averted. Even so, steps are being taken to ensure that the dwarves have every luxury available to them.

So, too, are the dwarves handling other threats to fortress happiness. One by one, many minor changes or additions have been made, so that the dwarves of the Momentous Dye might have more reasons to laugh than to cry.

Everyone is fine, content, happy, or ecstatic... except for one dwarf.

Poor little Rovod still roams the caverns - hungry, dehydrated, very unhappy, and completely alone. I doubt that he will survive for very long - when the time comes, I hope that the dwarves don't have to deal with a tiny undead.

The lava weapon's casing is complete. The time has come for the final stages of the weapon's construction.

In a symbolic gesture, I place the uppermost two pumps. While the machine parts for much of the device have yet to be forged, I am eager to oversee the weapon's completion.

As an afterthought, I have a door installed just next to the pumps. Maybe it will come in handy at some point.

It is the 3rd of Galena, in the late summer of 1206. Autumn approaches, and the weapon nears completion. Roomcarnage endures - the threat of a tantrum spiral has faded back into the menacing shadows that lurk all about the fortress. A sense of relief spreads through the fortress as the unhappy memories of danger fade - but the Ice of Ghosts does not forget, nor will it relent. The haunted glacier will continue its supernatural siege, relentless and cruel, until every last dwarf in Roomcarnage is caught in the frigid grasp of undeath.