Chapter 36 :: Double Vampiricide

September 27th, 2014

It is the 11th of Malachite, in the mid-summer of 1210. Not that summer means anything, here in Roomcarnage - the elf blood snowstorms rage year-round, shrouding the Oily Furnace in thick unchanging drifts of frozen gore. For years, the only changes that have taken place upon the surface have been those implemented by the dwarves themselves. Now, once again, the weapon has been primed and powered, and a vast reservoir of molten rock seethes and fumes at the ready - this summer, it seems, will be a warm one indeed.

With the repairs completed, I have a choice regarding the weapon's activation - it may fire lava either east or west. Of course, within a year or two, the weapon may be activated again, so the choice is really which direction to conflagrate first.

The presence of a dwarf within the western lava vent makes the decision much easier.

In any other fortress, I might fire the weapon eastward, to spare the life of the foolish dwarf standing within the lava vent - but this is no ordinary fortress, and the dwarf in the vent is none other than Domas Firstfigures, a known vampire.

While the vampires in general have been extremely helpful, aiding in the construction and repair of the purifying weapon, their behavior has been weird at best, and horrifying at worst. I have come to dread their appearance - their helpfulness and smiling visages belie their dark pasts. How many hundreds - or thousands? - of pale corpses have these monsters left unwaking in their beds? I have no doubt that the vampires would leave the fortress in ruin, if they were ever to gain access to it. For that reason alone, I can see no way around their extermination.

And then, there is something else - a vague sensation of something unspeakable, lurking just beyond the edge of perception, something that peers and extrudes and grasps through the thin veil of an LCD screen, through violet eyes and black nothingness...

A shiver runs down my spine.

Pull the levers.

Obsidian doors snap open, and a torrent of molten rock is pushed through the narrow passage. It halts suddenly, the continues more slowly. The upper safety must have released before the lower one, so all this lava was merely what was contained within the pump stack when it was activated.

Domas stands there, unmoving. Is he aware of his impending doom? Is this some sort of trick that the vampires will use to finally break into the fortress?

It doesn't matter now. The hatches open, a new wave of magma surges up through the pumps, and Domas Firstfigures is engulfed in the flood of molten rock.

I take one last look at the vampire.

It's not a pretty sight.

Curious, I examine Domas' relationships. The vampire claims to have many relatives, including a wife, but it's impossible to tell if they are his real family, or simply another layer of lies.

Surprisingly, I find a single dwarf at the bottom of the list, whose existence is assured. Rith Craftportent, the vampire mayor of Roomcarnage - Domas' only friend.

I take a look at Rith's relationships. In contrast with Domas, the mayor has no family. No relatives, no other objects of worship. Just Zon, and her only friend, Domas Firstfigures.

Soon, there will be only Zon.

As the lava pours out of the western vent, a pillar of steam rises and obscures the cliffside. Inside, plumes of smoke fill the passage as Domas Firstfigures is incinerated.

A moment later, there is nothing left of the vampire except smoke.

I wonder if Rith will be aware of the death of her only friend, or if she will only know that he has "gone missing."

I don't try to provide myself with an answer.

Instead, I just enjoy the show.

The weapon issues forth a cataclysmic deluge of water and stone in various states - liquid, solid, gas. Spikes of lag annihilate my framerate as the area immediately to the west of the volcano is engulfed.

As I take one last look at the western glacier, covered with nearly a decade of year-round elf blood snowfall, a curiosity catches my eye. It's Doren Gemslip, one of the three vampiric worshipers of Zon. At some point in the past, Doren was mysteriously exposed to the vile contaminant known as foul fog, and became some sort of abominable undead hybrid. Since then, he has stood motionless amidst the sanguine drifts, naked save for one wool sock on his right foot.

I shudder to think of what horrors might befall the fortress, if Doren Gemslip were allowed inside. A foul fog zombie vampire - it seems less like an unfortunate accident, the inevitable result of a bare foot laid down in a frozen smear of bile-green contaminant, and more like a part of Rith Craftportent's unceasing machinations.

It doesn't matter now. Doren will be encased in ice, and shall trouble the fortress no more.

The flood rapidly expands outward. To the south, the lava flows smoothly across the vast plateau left behind from the very first activation of the weapon, vaporizing the drifts of elf blood snow before it. To the north, it violently reacts with ice to form an entirely new formation.

Depending on how one counts the lava floods, this might be the third, fourth, or fifth. The first flood created the vast southwestern plateau, and the second created the northern formation. The third activation was a part of the MELT, but might still be considered a flood. The fourth activation was a failure, being obstructed by a void in space and time.

This flood, regardless of how it is numbered, is sure to produce spectacular results.

At ground level, the effect is a slowly encroaching wall of ice, engulfing and encasing everything caught before it in a frigid embrace of eternal calm.

Even so, Doren Gemslip stands unmoving - is he aware of his imminent destruction? I cannot know for sure.

I notice that the lava lake beneath the southwestern vent is teeming with activity - I accidentally left one of the doors open. It's not that big of a problem, but the rest of the flood will be more effective if the door is closed.

I order the proper lever to be pulled...

...and a few seconds later, the obsidian door just to the west of the nothing snaps shut.

Now, the flow is concentrated here, beneath the western vent.

The ice creeps ever closer, but the foul fog zombie vampire does not budge.

At its highest level, the deluge has already formed some very interesting outgrowths. The unpredictable nature of the interaction between lava and ice always make for fascinating forms such as these.

Back on the surface of the glacier, the deluge has almost reached Doren Gemslip. The foul fog zombie vampire is engulfed in steam, but still he does not flee.

I take one last look at his description.

Then the glacier claims him.

I look for the last remaining vampire. She stands at the door of her office, conducting her eternal meeting with the foul fog zombie diagnoser.

Her time will come...

...but for now, there is little to do but watch the flood of lava engulf the surface.

The flood is impressive - precisely what I've come to expect from the previous activations of the weapon.

It progresses across the plateau to the south...

...and extends the plateau to the north.

Already, the flood has claimed a huge portion of the glacier in its cataclysmic embrace, but the deluge has only just begun.

Watching the fuming hellscape is calming, relaxing - sort of Zen, really. An unending cascade of red tildes slowly spreading out over the entire screen.

It won't be rushed, there is nothing more to do. I can only watch.

As before, certain strange interactions between ice and lava create odd formations - this time, a winding, narrow passage, still accessible by foot from the exterior of the map. Curious.

At the plateau's western end, the lava flood reaches the cliff's edge - which is made of ice, not of stone - in a long northerly wave of pluming steam.

The plateau's cliff creeps westward, driven toward the edge of the map by a vast flood of molten stone.

The afflicted area has grown quite large. I can only watch in awe, and hope that I don't miss the more spectacular displays.

As I patiently watch the lava flood extend outward, I reflect on the perfect duality that has come into being, here in Roomcarnage. Everywhere I look, symmetries of ice and fire jump out of the procedurally generated landscape. To the south, the elf blood snowdrifts atop the plateau apparently sublimates as the lava approaches...

...while in the north, it is subsumed beneath cooling glacial ice.

Other times, I'm too excited to watch new formations emerging from the union of lava and ice to care too much about the poetry of the event.

Fascinating.

From above, the emerging effect of the flood becomes clear - the southwestern plateau is being expanded, extended, to the west and to the north.

Several times I observe an odd phenomenon occur at the edge of the flood - the pools of liquid water that regularly form as the lava creeps across the ice will occasionally freeze back into solid ice all at once. Odd.

I check back at the flood's western reaches, and am not disappointed - the deluge has almost reached the edge of the map.

When this occurs, the map will be divided, with certain portions of the surface being inaccessible by foot to others.

While it might not seem like much, this division of the map may prove useful to the dwarves.

If ever a time came when the warriors of Roomcarnage might be forced onto the surface, to fight the undead in single combat as a last resort, it would be better if they did not have to fight the entire undead army at once.

Success! The plateau reaches the edge of the map.

It takes a little longer for the ground level to fill in. A zombie kitten scampers along the edge of the flood - but a sudden expansion of ice blocks off its escape.

Soon afterwards, the walls of ice reach the edge of the map. The surface has been divided!

The flood will continue, though. Many more undead stand in the path of the lava, to the south...

...and to the north.

continued in part two...