...continued from part one

The effect is magnificent. The fiery flood already covers much of the western part of the map.

Curiously, a new formation has appeared immediately to the north of the fuming vent - an odd fan-shaped structure, over which the lava flow pours.

It's oddly satisfying - strangely symmetrical to the lower lava flow to the south.

The outline of the stone and ice formation is almost a mirror of the flowing magma below it. The symmetry is oddly satisfying - wait a second.

Something catches my attention in the corner of the screen. My stomach lurches.

It's her.

The vampire mayor stands upon a ledge at the base of the ramps leading up the northwestern side of the volcano.

The ledge is tucked away between the ice and obsidian walls created by different activations of the weapon - although she stands mere urists away from the destructive torrent of lava, it is arguably one of the safest places to be.

Against my better judgement, I linger a while to see if the mayor moves again.

She doesn't, though.

Despite the torrential flood of molten rock filling half my screen, as I stare into those lifeless violet eyes, all I can feel is the chill of the void, seeping into my bones from beyond the thinning borders of reality.

I look away, and return to examine the rest of the deluge. The effectiveness of the weapon is proven again and again, as crowds of undead are encased in ice. The enemies of Roomcarnage grow fewer and fewer with every passing minute.

I check the depth of the lava within the volcano - effectively, I'm looking to see how much ammunition the weapon has left before it begins to sputter and halt. It's important that the weapon not be run to that point - dwarves have perished in flame every time the lava has been depleted to below the level of the pumps. Spikes of molten rock fire up into the lowest part of the weapon if the surface of the lava dips below the pumps, incinerating the operators and their children.

For now, it seems there is still some time to go before the weapon will need to be deactivated.

So, I direct my attention back towards the oddly emergent formations, all the while trying to ignore the icy nibbling at the back of my mind.

For a moment, it almost seems as if this strange body of stone and ice will be "completed," it instead erupts southward, as waves of lava crash against watery promontories.

Fascinating.

The overall effect of the flooding is incredible. The affected area is vast - the surface above Roomcarnage will never be the same.

I look back to that odd ice cave - it's still there, and still accessible to the outside. Hmm.

However, high above, a fresh flood of molten rock is edging its way towards the cliffside above the hidden ice cave. There is no guarantee that the cave will remain open - but I can only wait, and watch.

My observations are interrupted by a mayoral mandate.

Rith Craftportent demands two slabs. The only use for slabs in a fortress are as memorials, to keep away the disembodied spirits of the departed. Once again, I ponder why Rith, a champion of the undead, would mandate the construction of ghost-banishing slabs.

I order two slabs to be built.

Perhaps it is a taunt.

"Go ahead, construct slabs. It won't help you now."

I order thirty more slabs.

Can't hurt.

And still she stands there, smiling and chatting with her undead attendant, while only a short distance away the fusion of ice and lava bring into existence new land.

Your time will come, Rith.

The flood continues. I admire the bizarre juxtapositions of ice and fire, and the emergence of unpredictable structures from their union.

There's something indescribably beautiful about it all.

A battle report cuts through my reverie. Kobolds!

The little thieves put up a brave fight, but it's all for naught. The undead will just keep rising up, and at this point, there's really no way into the heart of the fortress from this part of the surface.

Still, that doesn't stop the plucky little bastards from diving straight into the densest crowd of undead.

This thief lucked out, and managed to escape off the edge of the map once it realized how hopeless the situation was.

It seems that the kobolds have come in force.

I suspect that the kobolds have already stolen a fortune in loot off the surface of the glacier, left behind by the migrants who now shamble about mindlessly. Tales of wealth, told by those thieves who managed to escape from the haunted ice volcano with sock in hand, are surely what are driving the kobolds to attack the fortress.

They will pay for their greed. A kobold bowman dallies for too long in a pool of foul fog, and soon turns against its comrades.

It is, of course, unwise to trod the surface of a glacier without the proper footwear. On a normal glacier, a bare foot might mean frostbite or death, but on the Ice of Ghosts, the price for negligence is much, much higher.

Still, I have to admire the courageous thieves. In all the years the dwarves have dwelt in Roomcarnage, the kobolds have been the only other mortal race that has dared to visit the fortress.

Their motivation for coming to this accursed place is, of course, greed.

In that sense, I suppose that kobolds and dwarves aren't all too different after all.

I watch as a lone kobold stands his ground against a zombie dwarf - the kobold fires arrow after arrow as the undead scrambles closer and closer. Just as the zombie comes within arms reach, the kobold fires a missile at point blank range, and the undead collapses into a corpse.

Well done, Kleelbus Mostpains. I look at his equipment - nothing more than a copper bow, and copper arrows. The dwarves of Roomcarnage might learn from this daring kobold. Perhaps it would be in the fortress' best interests to train some of the dwarves with crossbows.

No more kobolds appear, and I assume that their ambushes have been dispersed. I look back to the ice cave - while it appears open at first glance, it has actually been cut off from the edge of the map by a flow further to the north.

Curious. As I admire the formations, I notice that a patch of stone near the lava vent has begun to dry. That means that the flow has slowed down, and that the weapon has begun to run low on ammunition.

I examine the pump stack - just as I suspected.

While I could probably still run the weapon for a few more minutes, the lava within the volcano has already dipped below what might be considered "safe," if not by dwarven standards, then by mine.

Besides, the desired effect has surely been achieved. A huge portion of the map now lies under bubbling and cooling molten rock.

I prepare to shut off the weapon. First, I order a lever pulled that will close the hatches at the base of the pump stack.

This way, the pump will continue running for a second or two, and all of the lava within will be pumped out into the passages above, rather than being left within the weapon.

Then, I order the pumps to be deactivated.

The pump operators, their children, and their pets all leave the pump stack at once. A job well done! Time for a drink.

On the surface, the weapon's deactivation is immediately noticeable. The height of the lava drops quickly, no longer fed by the screw pumps.

The flow at the edges of the deluge stops quickly, as whatever lava is left fills in the spaces vacated by drying. Bizarre formations like this one now fill the landscape.

South of the volcano, the flow had almost reached the edge of the first deluge - a very, very short distance from Rith Craftportent's office.

At the deluge's southwestern edge, more walls of ice and stone have sprung up.

It's becoming a familiar reaction - these curtain walls spring up under certain conditions, and then quickly enclose the lava flood, thrown up by the molten rock itself.

Slowly, the extremities of the flooding cool and dry, the fuming molten surface dotted with patches of black, glassy stone. A feeling of satisfaction overcomes me - the dwarves have, once again, asserted their power over the vile glacier.

I take one last glance at the mayor and her attendant, and reflect again upon the fact that I have killed her only friend.

I'm not sure that won't come back to haunt me.

It is the 26th of Galena, in the late summer of 1210. In what might have been the most successful activation of the weapon to date, the dwarves of Roomcarnage have slain two vampires, divided the map into smaller sections, purified a vast portion of the glacier, and encased countless undead in ice. Now, the dwarves must wait for the weapon to recharge, for the eastern vent still lies open and unused. Once the surface has been broken up into small, easily managed portions, the final process of reclamation may begin, leading to the eventual welcoming of caravans and diplomats, and the ascension of Roomcarnage to the status of Mountainhome. Warm hope fills my heart, even as a biting chill eats away at my extremities - these small victories may seem futile in the face of Roomcarnage's ultimate fate, but like the kobolds bravely fighting against the reanimating horde of undead, small victories are all the dwarves have.