Chapter 25 :: The Attack of Rupola the Steamy Scabs

July 26th, 2014

It is the 16th of Felsite, in the Late Spring of 1207. After over six years of solitude, the dwarves of Roomcarnage have finally received a visit from one of the primordial, ill-formed beasts of the deep.

Behold: Rupola the Steamy Scabs, a foul and primal titan, spawned in the time before time, beyond the memory of the even gods themselves. For twelve centuries, Rupola has wandered the caverns, forgotten by the rest of the world.

After a blind millennia in the darkness, its wanderings have finally brought it to Roomcarnage.

All forgotten beasts take umbrage at dwarven fortresses, without exception. Rupola's trunk will sniff out the swiftest path to the fortress - the dwarves of the Momentous Dye have mere minutes to organize their defense.

Rupola will attempt to gain access to the fortress through the same route that Standarddispersed the giant rat used - it leads directly from a muddied ledge overlooking a pool of magma to the main farming area of the fortress. The obsidian doors and the cage trap will do nothing to stop the forgotten beast - it will smash the doors, and the cage simply will not work against it.

I could very easily wall off the passage entirely. It would only delay the threat, of course - but there are nonviolent ways of dealing with forgotten beasts, such as trapping them in long hallways with raising bridges.

After that, I might... what? Capture the beast in a trap, using an elaborate cage/cave-in contraption? Channel it against the undead on the surface? Just leave it there until the time after time?

It all seems a little boring - not to mention, it'll cut off my supply of lumber while the beast is waiting outside. Besides, I've got other stuff to deal with right now - like the vast army of undead that waits with supernatural patience just outside the surface entrance to the fortress. As Rupola the Steamy Scabs becomes aware of the dwarves' presence and begins tearing through the darkness to the fortress, I decide on my course of action.

While a forgotten beast, when captured and controlled, may be a great asset to a fortress capable of utilizing its power, the truth is that, in Roomcarnage, all creatures are better off dead and incinerated. The warriors of the Momentous Dye will be rallied to the defense of the fortress, the beast will be slain, and its massive body will be tossed into magma - or, at least, that's the plan.

I decide to have the military engage the beast on the muddy cavern ledge just outside the passage from the fortress, before the marble block bridge leading to the rest of the caves. The bottom of the cleft to the east of the stationing designation is now a pool of magma - I hope to have the forgotten beast's corpse dumped there.

Rupola charges through the darkness, chitinous trunk sniffing out the way amidst mud and blood thorns. Before the beast reaches the fortress, however, it encounters a dwarf!

Who is this!? A helpless dwarven child, Avuz Oilnotched.

For a moment, it seems as if Rupola will pass the child by, ignoring the youth for the promise of the fortress... but foolish Avuz too seeks to return to the fortress, and catches the attention of the Steamy Scabs.

Avuz's fate is neither swift, but could hardly be described as merciful. The forgotten beast seizes the dwarven child's head in its left pincer and brutally gouges away his face.

Moments later, Rupola caves in the child's skull.

In time, of course, Avuz's corpse will rise to its feet, but at the moment, Rupola is the bigger threat.

Besides, with a forgotten beast on the rampage, the last thing I want is more dwarves out in the caverns.

The route through the caverns to the fortress is long and circuitous, but Rupola moves with a terrifying agili- what!? Another child!?

Little îton Bustfloor, another dwarven child inexplicably wandering the caverns. Fortunately, Rupola seems to have passed this one by - that much is a mercy, at least.

I take a look at the entrance to the fortress - only one swordsdwarf has arrived to defend against the forgotten beast. A couple other children are wandering around - I suppose, once all of this is done, I'll have to figure out why the hell these children are so far outside of the fortress.

I must trust that more military will arrive in time. Otherwise, things could get ugly. Rupola crosses a portion of cavern that was recently cleared out by the woodcutters - only young blood thorns, living and dead, are found this close to the fortress.

The giant hairy scorpion careens down the sloping cavern floor that forms the final approach to the fortress.

Only two warriors have arrived in time to meet Rupola the Steamy Scabs as it emerges from the caverns. The first is Meng Earthencoasts, an adept swordsdwarf.

Meng is equipped with the standard Roomcarnage military uniform - a breastplate, greaves, shield, and weapon. In this case, all are forged of copper.

The other is Inod Mawwhipped, a proficient swordsdwarf.

Inod, too, is equipped with copper greaves, breastplate, shield, and weapon.

Standing beside Meng is little Imush Sprinklerough - perhaps, Meng's child. I don't stop to check before the battle - it makes no difference.

The chittering horror charges out of the darkness. The warriors run forth to meet it on the marble bridge.

The giant hairy scorpion snaps at one swordsdwarf with its huge pincers, but the dwarf dodges both attacks. Unfortunately, one of those maneuvers sends the warrior careening into the magma-filled crevice.

Once at the bottom of the cleft, nothing can be done. The dwarf is seared away by the heat, even as their copper armor melts upon their body.

One on one, most dwarves are no match for a forgotten beast, no matter how well trained or equipped. Rupola bears down upon the other swordsdwarf with stinger and pincers - the warrior blocks and dodges desperately, driven backwards over and over.

Suddenly, two more swordsdwarves arrive, and take the beast from behind!

After a few well-placed strikes, the beast collapses to the muddy floor, and the three warriors mercilessly begin butchering the primordial monster.

Soon, the cavern walls are painted with pale ichor.

A few more sword-swings are all it takes, and the forgotten beast ceases its twitching, insectoid movements.

I waste no time - Rupola is almost certainly a more dangerous threat dead than alive.

I designate a new garbage dump, just adjacent to the corpse. Forgotten beast bodies are not light - it would have taken ages to haul it through the caverns, if Rupola had been slain sooner.

In order to check and ensure that a dwarf has picked up the Dump Item job, I go to the job manager screen. While scrolling through, I notice a single word that has almost become a trigger - "Rest." A dwarf has been injured.

Ah, little Cerol Phrasepulley. As I recall, Cerol was injured by the giant rat Standarddispersed.

Nothing can be done. I lock Cerol in her room and leave her to die.

Back in the caverns, the military returns to their position. Soon, a dwarf arrives to haul the corpse.

The pump operator labors under the weight of Rupola's corpse, but fortunately there isn't far to go. The dwarf heaves the forgotten beast's remains over the edge.

I pause and take a look at the body before it plunges into the pool of molten rock. The corpse weighs no less than 8861 urists - a staggering mass. It's covered with Rupola's ichor - I imagine the beast's dark pink hair, which must be torn and matted with scorpion gore.

For a moment, I feel a little regretful. For such a proud beast, a lord of the deepest caverns for over a millennia, this seems like such an inglorious end.

The moment passes, and what is left Rupola the Steamy Scabs disappears beneath the surface of the magma pool. A plume of magma mist erupts from the churning, liquid inferno as the forgotten beast's huge remains are incinerated.

I dismiss the military, their time is done.

I attempt to look for the only dwarven casualty, but all I find are a pair of copper greaves and a few globs of molten copper. Nothing is left of the swordsdwarf except their armor, and soon even these traces will disappear into the molten rock.

I try to look back through the announcement log to find a death report, but the log is crowded with job cancellations due to a lack of barrels.

Well, I've got all this wood lying around...

...might as well give the carpenters something to do with it, now that the bedrooms have been established.

Speaking of which, these bedrooms need doors! I order all the doors already built to be installed - the masons are busy working through the job orders for rock doors. Soon, the rest will be completed.

A distressing announcement catches my eye, despite the flood of job cancellations.

Oh. Right.

I consider designating the corpse to be dumped. The nearest sources of magma are far from Avuz's body's location. One lay to the south - of course, it is much farther away than it might appear to be, due to the labyrinthine nature of the caverns.

The other possible magma dump is, of course, the location of the battle with Rupola the Steamy Scabs, just outside the fortress.

A tough decision.

I decide that, this time, it might be best to just allow the child's corpse to come to the fortress. Just like Rupola - I'll allow the corpse to rise into undeath, and then slay it when it arrives at the entrance to the fortress. I forbid the corpse, and the clothing Avuz was wearing.

Meanwhile, I turn my attention to other industries. Roomcarnage is a large fortress, requiring many management techniques. Anticipating the need for more clothing, I order a large amount of raw pig tails to be processed into pig tail thread, so that the textile industry may be restarted with vigor when the time comes.

As well, I can no longer bring myself to ignore the wealth that lay strewn about the caverns, waiting to be exploited - sand, and hence glass. While glass offers very little in the way of new item possibilities, it may help to round out the fortress, and provide a way for the glassmakers of Roomcarnage to help fortress morale. Clear glass statues are a wonderful addition to any fortress, and clear glass windows are certainly a rare and exciting inclusion.

Unfortunately, much of the area where sand might be collected is very near to an undead menace - the animated remains of those dwarves who were tossed out of the barracks, into the caverns. For now, they cannot path to the fortress' entrance, and I am not eager to deal with them at the moment.

After scouring the caverns for a patch of sand, I find one that is very close indeed to the fortress - just south of the marble bridge, and a ways below it, on the shores of the magma pool.

I create a sand collection zone over the patch, and remind myself that it may become unavailable, if I seek to drain the volcano into the caverns again.

Of course, before any sand collection can take place, I require glass furnaces. Six smelters are no longer necessary - I have two torn down to make room for the glass furnaces.

My habitual checking of the combat reports pays off - I notice a pair of reports that aren't from the surface.

continued in part two...