...continued from part one

Shaken, I watch as the lava creeps closer and closer to Domas Firstfigures. As the cloud of steam engulfs the vampire, I feel a glow of satisfaction fill my shivering core. At least one of the bloodsuckers has the decency to accept his fate.

A moment later, the glow fades into horror as Domas emerges from the wall of vapor and walks up the volcano's slopes.

I check the vampire's wounds and clothing. Nothing burnt - Domas must have avoided the molten rock completely. I'm left speechless. The three of us - Domas, Rith, and myself - watch as the flood continues.

The lava flood collides with the volcano's slopes soon afterwards, melting away only some of the ramps before triggering the formation of another curtain wall formation.

Because of these walls, only the southern end of the flood continues to flow.

From both sides, the curtain wall formation of obsidian and ice progresses along the edge of the lava.

The edges of the walls grow closer and closer...

...and soon seals completely.

The body of magma fills and pressurizes thoroughly, but still has no real effect on the two corpses in the obsidian corridor. Now, both stand in pools of grease that somehow persist, despite the incredible temperature.

Their status screens haven't gotten any prettier. Now, both are thoroughly burnt, all the way down to the bone, but somehow continue to gush boiling blood from all their organs.

As expected, all of their fat has completely boiled off, leaving the two corpses gaunt and perpetually aflame.

Hopefully, they won't ever escape the magma corridor.

The MELT has completed, so now I have the levers pulled that will seal off the pump stack.

As well, I deactivate the pumps themselves.

The hatches snap shut - the weapon's "safeties" are back in place. This has been the third activation of the pump stack, and the only activation thus far that has not caused any casualties amongst the pump operators themselves.

Before I can assess the success of the MELT, yet another visitor arrives in the deeps - a beast of nightmares, if ever there was one. A bloated, scaly tarantula with a nacreous shell and a poisonous bite.

Fortunately, it can't fly. Mafa will creep around the caverns forever - or, at least, until I decide to reopen the passages that lead from the fortress to the caves.

The small army of pump operators, now relieved of duty, returns to the heart of the fortress - thirsty, tired, and hungry.

Meanwhile, the fruit of their labors continues to drain out of the obsidian-ceilinged chamber and into the cistern below.

The cistern's depth has reached the three urist mark. Since the cistern is eleven urists by eleven, with two cubic urists taken up by the ramp that leads up to the entrance, each urist of depth corresponds to one hundred and nineteen cubic urists of capacity. Each cubic urist filled with water corresponds to seven bucketfuls, so a single urist of depth in the cistern corresponds to eight hundred and thirty-three bucketfuls.

I suspect that Roomcarnage has secured all the water it will ever need.

Now that the fortress has secured a safe and reliable source of fresh water, there is no need for the undead-filled farce of a hospital.

The infirmary will be relocated to the old dormitories, where the dwarves of Roomcarnage slept, before the creation of the residential wings.

It will need tables, for surgery.

And chests, to hold the various medical supplies.

Also, I order some copper chains to be forged, to be used for the construction of a pair of traction benches.

As the dwarves furnish their new infirmary, I watch as the cistern continues to fill. I've locked the door to the cistern during the filling operation, of course, to prevent flooding in case the cistern is not large enough to contain the vast amount of water.

Unfortunately, this means that none of the dwarves get to have happy thoughts from seeing a misty waterfall.

Hopefully, the new hospital will make up for the lack of a visible waterfall. The prospect of saving dwarven lives seems like a fair trade, I decide, as I watch the haulers bring a wealth of pig tail fiber thread and cloth into the hospital.

The melted glacier continues to drain. I desperately hope that it doesn't fill the cistern to the brim.

The infirmary has been zoned, a water source has been secured - all that remains is to make soap. With no access to rock nuts (and thus rock nut oil), I have no choice but to butcher some of the livestock. The dogs have ceased to birth puppies - hopefully they haven't become a non-renewable resource.

It's been a while since I've made soap, but I remember the raw materials. Wood has to be burnt, then processed into lye, which is then combined with tallow (rendered animal fat) to produce soap. I have the manager process my work orders, then turn my attention back to the rest of the fortress.

As the glacier drains, the volcano fills - water rushes and streams downward, while lava burbles and surges upward.

The first water source of Roomcarnage is not a small one. It will serve the fortress until the end.

As the cistern and hospital fill, the miner Vutok Grottopainted is possessed by unknown forces.

He claims a mason's workshop - one of those up near the surface - and begins to gather his materials.

Returning my attention to the fortress, I notice that the flow of haulers to and from the hospital is... prodigious.

There doesn't seem to be any end to to how much cloth the dwarves can stuff into the infirmary's coffers.

The hospital currently has an advised requirement of one hundred thousand urists of cloth (note that a single bolt of cloth is measured in thousands of urists) - however, the dwarves have already crammed six million one hundred and thirty-eight thousand urists into the stone coffers (not to mention a gross excess of buckets).

Clearly something is wrong. I order one row of coffers to be removed - hopefully that will fix the problem, or at least lessen it.

In the meantime, there's a traffic jam at the entrance. I order the caves leading to the infirmary to be expanded.

The miner, having gathered the essential raw materials, begins his mysterious construction.

I decide that this is as good a time as any to complete the new lava vent.

Rith arrives quickly and begins setting pick to ice. Dumat stands by, watching intensely.

It is a slow process - Rith has been starved of alcohol for centuries, but the effects of alcohol withdrawal never really go away.

Once the passage has been cut open, I order Rith to widen the exit. The vampires no longer have access to obsidian blocks, so this vent will just have to work as-is.

Vutok the miner completes the artifact - it's an orpiment weapon stand! Not a useless artifact at all - if Roomcarnage ever manages to gain true nobles, artifact furniture will go a long way towards assuaging their needs.

The rack is known as the Massive Beans. Besides its ridiculous name, it is otherwise unremarkable.

A quick glance at the announcement screen, and I let out a groan.

Lye is made from ash, not charcoal.

In my defense, it's been a while since I've tried to make soap.

The hospital debacle continues - I decide that it would be best to just remove the activity zone, wait for things to calm down, and then carefully moderate the stocking of the hospital, one rock coffer at a time.

For a while, the haulers keep bringing cloth to the unzoned room. I guess they didn't get the memo.

The cistern continues to fill, reaching a depth of thirteen urists - a mere three urists from the edge of the upper landing.

If it fills all the way to the top, it is likely that I will have to engineer another way for the dwarves to access the water. For now, there's nothing to do but let the water flow.

In the food stockpile, I notice a new ghost. Eager to put another spirit to rest, I take a look at the undead.

It's the disembodied specter of Nish Metaldied.

The broker, slain by a ghost, has now become a ghost herself.

A tranquil sadness washes over me as I order a memorial slab to be engraved once more.

When the slab is completed, I order it to be placed in the center of the memorial area in the southeastern corner of the food stockpile.

A pump operator carefully places the slab in the middle of the other four - a macabre shrine to the only living mayor Roomcarnage has ever known.

Nish Metaldied served as broker of the Momentous Dye from 1203 to 1209. She was mayor for a time, as well - until that monstrous usurper took over.

For her, the struggle is over.

And yet, she has seen Roomcarnage through to a time when hopeful plans and brave labor bring true fruits. The fortress has produced its first bars of fresh soap.

On the surface, a new lava lake has formed below the volcano's eastern cliffs. It ripples and burbles, not quite filled to full capacity.

Immediately beneath the lava lake, a vast area has nearly completely drained of water. Now, it is filled with rivulets and puddles running through layers of mud. Already, young blood thorns grow in the warm cavern, their gruesome, sanguine roots finding purchase in the ice-carved floor.

Life - thorny and tenacious - has come to the Ice of Ghosts.

The cistern has finally stopped filling. The water hovers about a third of the way between thirteen and fourteen urists deep - well over fifteen hundred cubic urists. Almost assuredly, it is more water than the fortress will ever need.

I designate a water source - the first water source, and the last.

It is the 10th of Malachite in the mid-summer of 1209, and upon checking the status screen I am met with a pleasant surprise - at some point during the previous months, Roomcarnage transitioned from a city to a metropolis. I'm not sure what the distinction is - perhaps it's the fact that the fortress now has a source of fresh drinking water. In any case, attaining the rank of metropolis means that Roomcarnage is now eligible to become the mountainhome. Whether or not such an event is even feasible remains to be seen, but with such a glorious goal set before them, the dwarves of the Momentous Dye are sure to do everything within their power to ensure that their hellhole of a fortress becomes the center of dwarven civilization before it crumbles into dust.