Chapter 20 :: Waiting For Urist

July 8th, 2014

It is the 3rd of Galena, in the late summer of 1206. Calmness comes over the fortress in the wake of a brush with doom - a barely averted tantrum spiral. I am reminded more than ever of the fragility of the fortress - there is no doubt that mere carelessness or negligence can serve as a fitting replacement for more common dangers, such as goblin sieges or forgotten beasts.

Even as the device nears completion, I opt to make changes and additions. I suspend construction of the pumps until I've made the necessary alterations.

First, I'm not totally comfortably creating a direct, unprotected route from the exterior of the fortress straight to the pump stack. I order a pair of doors to be placed in the tunnel.

Then, I order the construction of a lever, to control the doors once they have been linked. I like to put levers like these - which might need to be pulled in an emergency - out in the open like this. Of course, it increases the risk of the lever being smashed by a tantruming dwarf, but oh well.

I designate a section of wall for deconstruction. At some point, I may want to divert the lava along a different route. It is easier to take care of stuff like this before the weapon has been activated.

A dwarf runs to the site and begins tearing down the obsidian wall. Once activated, the weapon will pump a torrent of pressurized magma down this obsidian corridor and out, onto the surface of the Ice of Ghosts. What effect will it have? I can't say - ice and magma act curiously with one another.

By installing the extra door, I allow the same pump stack to serve a network of magma routes. Thus, even if the lava flood weapon fails (as did the glacier melting weapon), the infrastructure will already be in place to make another attack.

Another door - linked to a different lever, of course.

Also, just to ensure that the dwarves can access the tunnels that lay beyond the pumps, I have one more passage placed, this time on the west side of the pumps.

While the dwarves are handling those orders, I look to the forges - I'm eager to have the adamantine screw pumps completed quickly. Just to make sure that there are plenty of raw materials, I order the crafts dwarves' workshops to process all the remaining raw adamantine into threads.

I look back to the construction site. I'd rather have the eastern passage closed to the outside for now, even if it's not yet being used. That means walls...

...and a ceiling.

Also, I place the last structure on this level - an obsidian door.

And, of course, another lever to control it.

I glance across the fortress and spot an unhappy dwarf. It's little Rovod - helpless and on the verge of death. Nothing can be done, except to wait for the end to come.

Realizing that I've finished the last additions to this portion of the weapon, I allow construction of the adamantine pumps to continue.

But what's this? Another unhappy child?

It's Ustuth Carnalcoal...

...another son of Dastot Ringmute. Even in death, the miserable stonecrafter threatens to bring the fortress to ruin. "He has lost a sibling to tragedy recently." That can only mean one thing.

A quick look at Ustuth's relationships page confirms it. Little Rovod has perished, since the zoom option is greyed out.

I check my announcements, but nothing relevant comes up. Then again, I have only one page of announcements, stretching back less than a single day.

This is because all of the game's memory is being eaten up by these fuckers. For years, these undead monsters have fought with one another, captured in an eternal melee. Perhaps, by covering both the undead and the glacier in a deluge of molten stone, I might end their battle, and reclaim my announcements screen.

In any case, Roomcarnage has an immediate threat to deal with. I zoom to the last place I saw Rovod. Four children and dozens of dogs occupy the statuary and memorial hall - and there's Rovod. Or, what's left of him - the fact that the body is a dark teal @, rather than a familiar ☺, means that it has already risen from the dead.

This is problematic. Rovod's corpse occupies the same square as one of the stone statues. Statues are impassible to dwarves, so the corpse is effectively out of reach.

The statue itself is a depiction of the expedition that founded Roomcarnage. Somewhere, on top of this statue, or tangled within it, lies a diminutive corpse that has already risen from the dead at least once.

And then there's this child. Another unhappy dwarf!

I might have guessed. Dodók Parchfence is yet another child of Dastot Ringmute. And, unfortunately, he bore witness to his younger brother's grisly fate. Dodók stood by, watched as little Rovod withered away from starvation, thirst, and unhappiness - and did nothing.

I fear for this family, even as I fear for all of Roomcarnage.

I attempt to deduce what happened when Rovod's corpse was taken by the Ice of Ghosts, but in vain. Already, the undead melee on the surface has wiped the combat reports clean. However, based on the placement of Rovod's corpse's combat log, I can reasonably assume that the dogs took care of the threat. That, at least, is a mercy - few things are a better defense against intruders than a swarm of dogs.

I order the statue torn down.

Then, I sit back and wait.

This may take a while. Several of Roomcarnage's industries - specifically, the textile workshops and the magma forges - are operating at maximum. The fortress is preoccupied with a back log of hauling jobs, even as the skilled tradesdwarves chew through a long queue of production orders.

With so many other jobs, it takes some time before anyone takes notice of my request to have the statue torn down. Dodók decides to get some rest - a good idea, Dodók. I wouldn't want you around when your baby brother's undead corpse gets torn apart by dogs.

Dodók puts himself to sleep in one of the hospital rooms. I keep an anxious watch over the statuary.

Time passes. Tun Noselance, manager and bookkeeper of the Momentous Dye, takes his break in the statuary. The infant corpse does not move.

More time passes. Tun leaves, and Dodók wakes up from his rest. Still, Rovod's body remains mercifully still. Finally, a dwarf arrives to deconstruct the statue.

The job is done. Now, all that remains is for the body to be tossed out of the fortress. I've already designated the corpse to be dumped, so once again, I can only wait.

This time, the magma cleft in the caverns is too far. Much closer is the barracks, where I dumped the corpses involved in the first incident.

Suddenly, Rovod's corpse springs to unlife! The living dwarves panic and run, while the pack of dogs, fierce and barking, descends upon the undead infant.

The battle is fairly one-sided. Eventually, the dogs do enough damage to return the body to unmoving stillness.

During reanimation, the corpse lost its dump designation - it is necessary to apply it once more.

Following the battle, the dogs disperse, and the dwarves cautiously emerge from the hospital hallway.

Once again, I wait.

Time passes, but eventually a hauler comes. Rovod's body moves no more.

The hauler carries the infant's broken body out of the statuary, towards the barracks...

...where it is tossed into the caverns. Another corpse dodges out of the way and plummets even further down the subterranean cliffside.

Now there are four corpses in the caverns.

The lowermost one might eventually get a clear route to the fortress' cavern entrance (the locked obsidian door near the magma cleft and the woodcutting area), but for now, molten rock blocks access in all directions.

The crisis is averted, and the statue can be put back in place.

A few announcements catch my eye - the fortress has run out of raw obsidian. It's a simple enough fix, but I'm not content to simply carve out a big square area for a quarry.

Instead, I incorporate a new passage into the fortress that passes through an obsidian layer. The passage begins near the looms and clothier's workshops...

...and leads down a stairwell for a few urists.

I have a particular design that I like to use for stairwells... it's not particularly effective, but it's pleasing to my eye.

The stairwell is connected to the food stockpiles. Perhaps the broad route will allow faster traffic from one place to another. It doesn't matter - my main objective is to allow for more obsidian to be mined out.

The food stockpiles themselves are carved out of a layer of obsidian - and I can always carve out another stockpile here.

I check in with the construction of the machine parts. Adamantine pipe sections are being made, but precisely zero progress has been made on the enormous adamantine corkscrews.

Even so, the forges bustle with activity. Strand extractors process the raw adamantine into strands of cyan metal, which are then pounded into thin wafers - like gold leaf, except adamantine wafers retain the strength and hardness of steel. I allow the industry to continue - once the pipe sections have been produced, the enormous corkscrews will come along quickly enough.

My gut clenches as I spot a sickeningly familiar announcement flash across the bottom of my screen.

Perhaps the tantrum spiral was not averted after all. Feb Griffoncrafts... I know that name.

He is the husband of the late Dastot Ringmute - the miserable stonecrafter who single-handedly brought Roomcarnage to the brink of destruction.

Dastot was miserable because she had no pants, and was caught outside in the freakish weather. Feb is miserable because he has lost both his wife and his infant son within a very short time. I can only hope that Feb recovers from his unhappy thoughts before he gets the opportunity to pass them on to other dwarves, as Dastot passed her misery on to him.

It is the 2nd of Limestone, in the early autumn of 1206. Roomcarnage quivers and shakes, balanced upon the edge of an ☼adamantine blade☼. The dwarves draw ever closer to their goal of turning the surface of the map into a steaming wasteland of obsidian and lava, yet the fortress never seems to be free of the shadow of doom. Such is life in Roomcarnage - to thrive in glory and prosperity, with the veil of misery and undeath hanging perpetually overhead.