...continued from part one

My relief is short lived. Soon, I notice the appearance of another undead corpse, this one named Urdim Rigòtheshon. In my panic, I overlook the other announcements that appeared in the wake of the new year - a dwarf has perished of old age, and another ghost has appeared.

Interestingly, I find the corpse of Urdim Rigòtheshon and the ghost of Medtob Inkrags very close to one another. My eyes widen as I comprehend what I am seeing - I have caught the ghost in the act of opening a door which was previously locked. My suspicions that unseen ghosts have been unlocking doors are confirmed. As it turns out, ghosts push open doors, but can freely pass through walls. Fascinating.

Something will have to be done about the doors later. For now, I need Urdim's corpse dealt with. I order the militia and the fortress guard to slay the undead.

Moments after the door is unlocked by a ghost, the body of Urdim Rigòtheshon bursts out into the hallway. Fortunately for the dwarves of the Momentous Dye, a pack of stray dogs attacks the corpse as it emerges from the darkened corridor. The warriors arrive quickly, and the monster is destroyed.

I look through the combat reports to get an idea of how the battle went. First, there are sixteen pages of dogs biting the corpse, latching on, then letting go to attack again. Then, the militia arrives, gets in a few good strikes, and the battle is over. I read the final report, which indicates the killing blow - and am stunned to discover that my militia commander is wielding a masterfully crafted adamantine warhammer.

I examine the militia commander's inventory, just to make sure. Reg Fencedsplatters, the disappointingly unskilled leader of the Worthy Seals, is clad in the fortress' finest full plate armor - boots, greaves, gauntlets, as well as precisely two breastplates, all of gleaming copper. Her helm is forged from the legendary metal adamantine, which the dwarves gathered at great risk. She wears one of the newly made leather backpacks, and strapped to her breastplate is Aromsokan, or "The Beloved Phrase," an artifact adamantine flask.

Such a suit of armor may be wasted, I fear, on a dwarf such as Reg Fencedsplatters, for an adamantine warhammer crafted of adamantine is next to useless in combat. I believe I had this one forged in the hopes that the fortress' hammerer would use it exclusively, but that was a long time ago, and it's been some time since justice was meted out upon the dwarves of the Momentous Dye. I should have had the thing melted down, for now my militia commander goes into combat with a weapon about as effective as a wiffle bat.

Perhaps it's not entirely useless - it managed to knock out all of the corpse's teeth. I order the body to be dumped, all the while fighting the growing cold that has steadily cut deeper and deeper into my soul.

I watch as a dwarf arrives to haul off the corpse - but my attention is called away as I notice an announcement appear at the bottom of the screen. A sickening sensation creeps through my viscera. Another corpse has appeared in the fortress - but this one isn't here, in the hospital.

I check the announcement screen. Not only has the corpse of Bomrek Rigòthemet been spotted, but also the remains of Obok Ustuthvod. Two more. The darkness is closing in.

I feel slightly relieved to find the two corpses outside the fortress, beneath the garbage door south of the barracks, but again relief gives way to terror and panic. These undead, the remains of the dwarves within Roomcarnage who perished and were tossed out into the caverns, are nightmares of blood and grease and flame.

While they are not within the fortress per se, their presence has finally begun to terrify the haulers who are bringing other corpses to be dumped. This doorway may no longer be used to dispose of dead bodies - of which, I fear, Roomcarnage may soon have many.

I order a new hole to be dug at the barracks' eastern end.

This new disposal area has a significant advantage - dumped corpses will fall into a pool of magma far below, where they will be incinerated. I should have done this a long time ago.

I add a new activity zone, and remove the old one.

I unpause, and let the haulers try and carry away the bodies - but they can't. The moment they arrive at the threshold, where a pair of dead bodies are holding the door open, they spot a flaming corpse far below, through the smoke-filled darkness, and run away in panic.

A few moments later, I check the announcement screen. More undead have somehow been released into the fortress. Another dog has been struck down. I race to the scene, desperately responding to every breach of the fortress' defenses - at least, every breach I am aware of. Something is trying to break through, something evil and powerful, and it is slowly but surely succeeding.

I find an unmoving dwarf corpse in the corridor, as well as the corpse of a dog. I order both to be dumped, then return to the barracks to solve the more pressing problem.

With the haulers unable to retrieve the two corpses that lay upon the threshold of the southern doorway, I order a wall to be constructed, separating them forever from the rest of the fortress.

Then, just to make sure that no further accidents occur, I forbid both the corpses. Then I unpause, and pray that no more disasters occur before the walls are completed.

My prayers go unanswered. The announcement screen is inundated with cancellations brought on by undead. Two more dwarves have been struck down. Death has come to Roomcarnage.

I find one of the monsters standing in the main stairwell, next to a recently slain dog which didn't appear in my announcements. This dog's death must have gone unseen by the dwarves - how many other dwarves are already dead?

I go through the combat reports to try and glean some kind of understanding out of the accelerating disaster. This clothier didn't stand a chance - the corpse shattered the bones in both of the dwarf's shoulders and one knee, then crushed their skull when they passed out.

The clothier's corpse lies upon the stairwell, a short distance from the well and the mines. It isn't the only one.

After slaying the clothier, the corpse must have quickly descended the stairwell, where it encountered a helpless dwarven child. The child put up no fight at all - in the course of the battle, the corpse seizes the child's pig tail fiber sock.

The child's broken body lies just a little further down from the clothier, atop a bloodsoaked flight of stairs.

The battle with the dog was mercifully short. If the fortress weren't on the brink of oblivion, I might find the combat report humorous - with the dwarven child's pig tail fiber sock, Wanescorn crushes the dog's skull.

Now, I have three more corpses to dealt with. The body count is increasing with every passing minute.

Fortunately, the corpse currently stands in the stairwell, a short distance above the barracks itself. The militia will be able to respond quickly. I order both squads to slay the monster known as Wanescorn.

I follow Wanescorn, hoping to watch it be destroyed by the militia - but instead, the walls of the stairwell are painted crimson with the blood of Roomcarnage's bravest.

I stare at the announcements screen, dumbfounded. Wanescorn has killed two more.

The axedwarf put up very little fight before being struck down - once again, with the pig tail fiber sock.

The other warrior was the militia commander herself, Reg Fencedsplatters. Her masterfully crafted adamantine warhammer knocks out the corpse's back teeth before Wanescorn crushes her skull with the pig tail fiber sock as well.

I examine the sock. This is insane.

The battle continues for a moment or two more before Wanescorn is struck down.

Scan the corridor, ordering bodies to be dumped as I see them. There is blood everywhere. I reach the landing where I might expect to find the corpse of the clothier - but the body is nowhere to be seen. My skin crawls.

The dwarves find the clothier's corpse soon enough.

It didn't go far.

I order the fortress military to the scene, and desperately hope this battle goes better than the last one.

The corpse dives down the stairwell - down, past the militia, past the barracks and the forge and the lava lake, into the deepest mines of the fortress. The walls of the claustrophobic passage run red with blood before the corpse is slain.

The battle goes on for a time, but the corpse doesn't manage to slay anyone else. For the last several pages of the combat report, the corpse doesn't do much besides repeatedly gouge out the eyes of a stray dog.

After the battle, I order the corpse - and its severed arm - to be dumped.

I take a look at the dog that the corpse attacked - it's not pretty.

Soon afterwards, a dog - another dog - dies of suffocation, just as yet another corpse appears.

I order the dog's corpse to be dumped. Numbness overtakes me. In the midst of chaos, I feel nothing.

The most recently animated corpse has escaped from the former infirmary. Already, it has a living corpse in its undead clutch.

I order the military to the scene once again.

Fortunately, the pack of dogs attacks the corpse and slays it before it can destroy the dwarf.

I designate the corpse to be dumped - as well as another corpse, further down the hallway, which I hadn't noticed. Luckily, it was probably slain by the dogs as well.

Back in the barracks, I watch as a pair of corpses are dumped. I'm not sure where they came from, but I know where they're going - into a lake of magma. It's a comforting feeling, knowing that two possible undead have been taken care of - but a once again, a short lived one. A frigid, creeping sensation snakes across my scalp as I notice the appearance of two more undead.

One corpse, I find in the infirmary. It's the body that I had just noticed a minute or two earlier, risen once again to its feet.

The other corpse, I find in the stairwell. I order it to be dumped.

The corpse in the infirmary is quickly slain - praise the dogs!

I order the corpse to be dumped, then brace myself for more disastrous announcements.

Minutes pass. The announcements feed is eerily quiet. I watch as corpse after corpse are tossed out of the barracks' eastern end, into the magma lake. No undead appear - the curse, it seems, is over.

I finally get around to doing something that, in the wake of disaster, I unwisely put off. Who knows how many lives might have been saved if I had had a memorial engraved for Medtob's ghost once it appeared? I cannot say.

Once the slab is engraved, I have it placed in the memorial hall.

Medtob Inkrags, the ghostly metalcrafter, haunts the nearby statuary. How many locked doors did Medtob open? It may be that Medtob is innocent, and it was the ghostly hammerdwarf, Rith Craftportent's companion and ally, who opened the bulk of the doors.

The slab is soon placed, and Medtob Inkrags is put to rest.

No sooner has Medtob Inkrags passed into the great dwarven beyond, than another ghost appears.

It is Monom Reveredsword, the howling spirit of a forsaken dwarven child.

I've learned my lesson regarding ghosts. As I queue up a slab to be engraved for the ghostly child, I reflect upon the carnage of the spring of 1212. Five dwarves have died, and a number of dogs as well. For a long time, I feared that Roomcarnage would be fragile - that the slightest inconvenience or distress inflicted upon a dwarf of the Momentous Dye would send them into a tantrum. And yet, the past few days have been surprisingly quiet. Perhaps the dwarves are more resilient than I thought.

Or perhaps the fortress is poised upon the brink of total destruction. A swordsdwarf begins throwing a tantrum just as another shambling corpse appears in the fortress. The crisis continues. The dwarves, oblivious to the threat of imminent death and misery, throw a party. All in all, the situation seems fairly grim.

I take a look at the mayor, for the first time since the first of Granite. She stands there, idle but busy, conducting her unending meeting. An attendant follows her around wherever she goes, desperate for attention, or a stray word. Her violet eyes stare back out at me, cold and mocking.

It is the 25th of Granite, in the early spring of 1212. The new year has brought only death, and a confluence of events that leaves me frozen with terror. Since the dwarves arrived, this fortress has been cursed, for the blizzards of elf gore did not begin until after their picks struck the ice. For a decade, the dwarves locked the undead out of the fortress, and there were few accidents. Then the mayor of Roomcarnage met with a spectral hammerdwarf who, it was discovered, could not be memorialized. It was this ghost who opened the door to the mayor's quarters, which led to the sudden disappearance of the mayor. And now that ghost is opening up all of the doors in the fortress, one by one. As the vampire mayor's haunting visage seems to possess the current mayor, her plots and schemes are coming to fruition. I am not sure that Roomcarnage will survive them.