...continued from part one

Meanwhile, more kobolds have begun to show up. This thief will try and make off with whatever he can find outside the fortress - its welcome to try.

I check in on the tundra titan, and find the battle recently finished. The kobolds have either fled or perished upon the ice.

When I examine the combat reports, however, a curious tale emerges. All of the kobolds who have viewable combat reports were slain not by the tundra titan, but by the severed right hand of Sodel Akruladas.

The hand's recent combat reports confirm the other side of the story.

While the tundra titan foul fog zombie fought off the kobolds, the severed hand known as Languishblenched joined the battle and slew the intruders. How horrifying.

The kobold thief jogs around the map, deftly evading undead while keeping an eye out for valuables.

Just beneath the surface of the ice, work continues on the gatehouse. A small army of unskilled engravers arrive to smooth the mayoral quarters. Also, amateur architects work on constructing the obsidian bridges.

Once again, I notice an announcement - Rithi the forgotten beast is no longer enraged. It's been a while since I checked in on Rithi Filthwaste, a terrifying monster that has been the bane of the undead in the caverns since it arrived. Let's see how things are going down there.

I zoom to the site, and find a pit of carnage.

Body parts of all shapes, sizes, and sources lie strewn about the cavern floor amidst pools of blood and ichor. An animated dwarf corpse stands idle in a darkened passage.

Towering over it all is Rithi Filthwaste the Cavernous Holes. Rithi arrived at Roomcarnage in the autumn of 1208, nearly three years ago. Since then, it has fought and slain undead countless times, including other forgotten beasts whose corpses continue to rise from the dead over and over. The beast is covered from horn to toe with the dust of its own poisonous vapors.

Three years of constant combat have taken its toll on Rithi, the living champion of the caverns. The beast's warty, puce skin is criss-crossed with scars, bruises, and open wounds. It has lost a horn and a toe, yet still it fights on in the dark, amidst ever-growing piles of gore.

Still, this bloodstained hellhole is an innocent lair compared to the undead which shuffle and burn eternally upon a ledge further up the cavern wall. These are what remains of the corpses that have been tossed out of the barracks' southern door. Among them is a certain smoldering corpse named Leaderfailure - the remains of Roomcarnage's first mayor, Nish Metaldied, who was slain by a ghost before being irreverently tossed out into the caverns.

Leaderfailure's profile is a nightmare of charred bone, burning flesh, and spraying blood. I pray to whatever forces I still have on my side in this game that no shred of Nish Metaldied's consciousness is still locked within this shambling conflagration.

I return to the work site. The bridges have yet to be completed, but the mayoral suite has been completely smoothed.

I check in on the mason's workshop, and find that most of the work has yet to be done.

As might be expected, I find Rimtar Gateechoed having a drink in the food stockpile.

I decide to furnish the chambers with whatever I happen to have on hand, which turns out to be plenty. Most of Rith's furniture will be crafted of obsidian, although the armor stand is made of andesite, and the bed is made of blood thorn. Suck on that, Rith.

Soon afterwards, the bridges are completed and I have the levers constructed in the eastern hall. I link the western lever...

...and then the eastern one.

Work continues marvelously as summer crawls by unnoticed.

I designate the second round of digging. Stairwells lead down into narrow passages leading to a set of ramp designations placed immediately below the bridges. This way, when the bridges are raised, anything caught upon them and thrown downward will land at the bottom of a pit that is appropriately accessible. That is, the easternmost pit will be accessible only to interior of the fortress, the central pits will only be accessible to the trade depot, and the westernmost pit will be accessible only to the exterior of the fortress.

I want to make sure that the fortress has plenty to offer in terms of trade. I order another round of glass toys to be constructed, as well as the sand necessary to be gathered.

The furniture is placed. I create rooms and assign them all to Rith Craftportent.

She'd like her office and her quarters to be a little nicer, but I feel like I've been gracious enough. It can wait.

For now, she can dig her way into her chambers. There's currently no land route from where she stands upon the volcano to the exterior of the map, and I can't risk having a living dwarf dig a route for her, so she'll have to do it herself.

She quickly gets to work. How uncharacteristically obedient.

Suddenly, a distressing announcement appears.

What!? It's the corpse of Fikod the miner, who suffered a broken ankle when the undead escaped through a mysteriously unlocked door. Nobody took Fikod to the infirmary, and nobody brought him water.

It is a tragic loss, but one that may be easily dealt with. I lock the door to Fikod's chamber, and hope that whatever force released the other two corpses doesn't do it again.

A great deal of the gatehouse is now completed. I order the new trade depot to be built in the open chamber between bridges.

Soon afterwards, I am informed of the appearance of another ghost.

This one is a moaning spirit, that will prevent poor little Zan from getting any real sleep.

I have a memorial engraved for the ghost. I check to see if there is another ghost, one which might have been opening locked doors, but I don't find one.

And yet, another door has been unlocked, and an undead is attacking a dwarven child.

Once again, a dwarf corpse has been released from a previously locked chamber. This can't be a coincidence - something is actively unlocking doors in the fortress.

I order the military to the scene.

The undead continues to attack the dwarven child, unhindered and unnoticed by most other dwarves.

Eventually, the child passes out, the corpse places a rotting chokehold around its tiny neck, and squeezes.

Just then, the military arrives.

Just in time - a few moments later, and the child might have perished.

I order the corpse to be dumped, as usual.

Fortunately, this time someone arrives to carry the wounded child off to the infirmary.

Soon afterwards, a garbage hauler comes and picks up the corpse.

The hauler moves through the heart of the fortress, heaving the weight of the dead body through the textile workshops.

Eventually, the hauler arrives at the barracks, and the corpse is tossed outside. The fortress is again safe for the time being.

Now that another trade depot is built, there is no need for this one. I have it torn apart.

I decide to place the memorial to the recently appeared ghost here next to the others, but when I do so, I find that there are two slabs that are ready to be built. One is for Zas Olinstesok, the moaning spirit of the outpost liaison who came in 1208. The other slab is for Sigun Komantobul, the outpost liaison who came in 1210. I have both constructed.

Although it is not shown here, two ghosts were laid to rest following the construction of the slabs. It is possible that one of those ghosts was responsible for unlocking the doors that kept back the undead - but I cannot be sure.

Rith Craftportent is sure taking a lot of time digging this passage - I decide to have a stretch of it dug out by one of the fortress' miners. I want to make sure that Rith is in her office, ready to receive the outpost liaison when they arrive in the late autumn.

"The fortress attracted no migrants this season." I wonder why.

Curiously, I notice a couple combat reports detailing a brief skirmish between a magma crab and undead ram wool. I zoom to the site of the altercation and find nothing. It would seem that the ram wool I had thrown down the volcano during the fortress' early years has finally found rest. After being deanimated by the magma crab's molten spittle, the lifeless wool sank into the semimolten rock and was annihilated.

I look back to the mayor's access tunnel and watch as the fortress' miner works several times faster than Rith Craftportent. The vampire mayor is in the extremely advanced stages of alcohol withdrawal, and is now good for very little in the way of actual labor.

Still, she can complete her own tunnel. The living dwarf returns to the fortress. There is but one more thing to do before pulling the lever.

I order the thin ice wall separating the gatehouse from the frozen, bloody outside world to be mined away.

Without hesitation, the miners arrive and cut away the blocks of ice. A snowstorm rages outside as the passage is opened up.

Soon, the passage is complete. The gatehouse is finished.

The entire northwestern corner is now accessible to this depot. When the wagons arrive, they ought to enter the map somewhere around here.

I order the eastern lever to be pulled.

As the miners casually amble back into the fortress, the obsidian bridges behind them snap to an upright position. The fortress is sealed, and the trade depot is accessible to the outside.

The final touch - I connect Rith Craftportent's passage so that she can reach her new quarters. With luck, I might be able to trap Dumat Sensesstakes in the dining room or bedroom, allowing Rith to meet with the outpost liaison unhindered. For now, though, all I can do is wait, and watch the vampire mayor's pick slowly but steadily carve a narrow passage through the glacial ice.

It is the 12th of Galena, in the late summer of 1211. A mere three months have yet to pass before the dwarven caravan arrives. In past years, theirs has been a hopeless and vain effort, but this year they will be received by a fortress that has triumphed over the powerful forces that sought to destroy it. I must stay calm, however - three months can be a long time, and if I am not careful, the caravan may yet arrive to find a lifeless shell of a fortress, full of mindless undead and ruled by a ruthless and bloodthirsty mayor.

Will all those glass toys make it back to the mountainhome this year? Stay tuned!