...continued from part one

As Eral stands there, I notice a combat report appear. I rush to the combat logs, dreading the worst - but it is only the forgotten beasts and the forsaken undead, battling in the deep.

Bora, a huge nightjar with lidless eyes, knobby antennae, and a poisonous sting, has found its way to the goresoaked hellhole that lies beneath the barracks' old dump. Here, Bora will fight the undead forever, until a chance wound weakens the beast, and the reanimating monsters finally gain the upper hand.

Chief among the undead is the corpse of Rithi Filthwaste the Cavernous Holes, a towering vapor-spewing eyeless salamander with warty skin and three broad horns - the fourth has long since been broken off. For some time, it was Rithi who fought here in the name of the forgotten beasts of the deep, but Rithi was struck down in time, as all things are in Roomcarnage.

I watch as Bora tears through the undead. It is truly a sight to behold - such a massive, ruthless creature tearing through unarmed humanoids. Soon, all the monsters that stand in the open of the cavern are slain, and there are only a few left in the claustrophobic side tunnels. Bora takes to the wing.

I find the lidless nightjar a little further up the slope, apparently drawn to the flaming undead that lurk high up on the cliff. The dwarves have surnamed the beast Abysswitches - a distressingly ominous name. I might be more worried if I had not recently walled off the barracks' southern dump.

As I watch, Bora assaults the undead on the ledge above. Suddenly, smoke fills the area, and Bora is engulfed in the cloud.

I examine the area, and Bora. The beast doesn't seem to be on fire.

I continue following Bora, and am relieved to see the tremendous nighthawk emerge from the smoke unharmed. Also, I see that Eral has calmed down again. I don't get my hopes up that she won't throw another tantrum.

Suddenly, my attention is dragged away from the fight in the deep - the child has begun constructing an artifact. Alright.

I look back at Eral Paintmorning. The swordsdwarf still stands in the same place in the dining hall, teetering upon the brink of insanity. At any moment, I know, the warrior's mind might snap, and any dwarf nearby will be put to the sword.

Suddenly, my announcement feed is filled with a stream of tantrum-related updates. Another swordsdwarf is throwing a tantrum! Before I can respond, Eral Paintmorning begins throwing a tantrum as well, and finally begins to move around the fortress. As she leaves the dining hall, I look to where she was standing - the engraved floor is now visible. Eral must have smashed the obsidian table to pieces in her fury.

I follow Eral for a few paces as the announcement spam continues. Eral spontaneously drops out of active military service as I watch, for whatever reason. I can't be sure that she won't cause trouble, but I have to check in on this other swordsdwarf that is tantruming.

The other dwarf is Ber Trustmirrored. I find Ber in the stairwell just outside the textile industry workshops.

Unlike Eral, Ber has not suffered the death of anyone close to him - but he has witnessed death, and been attacked by the dead, not to mention being caught in miasma. I suppose that's enough to ruin anyone's day.

Ber stands there, tantruming for a moment or two, then calms down and makes his way into the food stockpiles - presumably, so he can finally refill his waterskin. Then, he leaves the stockpiles - but as he does so, I think I see someone else passing in the other direction.

Yep, it's Eral Paintmorning. Still tantruming - although, something is different. My heart sinks when I notice a trend in Eral's pathing. She's not going somewhere specific - she's following someone. Chasing them. There's a farmer, always several paces ahead of the swordsdwarf.

Eral has chosen a target.

Just then, the child completes the artifact - it's an andesite crown! How wonderfully useless.

At least it has some nice artwork. Also, the dwarves apparently keep track of every theft that the kobolds perpetrate against them.

I return my attention to Eral Paintmorning. I find her, once again, in the farms. The plot she destroyed has been rebuilt and resown, but the swordsdwarf's misery has not subsided. She's intent on starting a fist fight with the farmer - there's not much else I can do except wait, and watch.

Oh no. Eral's finally snapped. Most fortunately, she went berserk just as she was crossing paths with a pack of stray war dogs.

Just in case the dogs can't handle Eral, I order the military to put down their former comrade in arms.

The battle happens quickly, and its not pretty. Shattered teeth and steaming guts spray out over the furrowed mud.

Curiously, the combat reports start off with Eral grabbing a brewer's arm with her shield. That happened two days ago, though.

The first section of the combat reports are brutal. With a few swipes of her masterfully forged copper sword, Eral disembowels one dog and pierces the lung of another.

Then, things get crazy. Eral goes full berserker and bites hard into the throat of one of the dogs, her teeth cutting deep into skin and artery. Blood sprays everywhere as the insane swordsdwarf shakes the dog back and forth like a rag doll. One of the wounded dogs bleeds to death nearby.

Another dog bleeds to death as the rest of the pack closes in. Overwhelmed by the horde of fierce, battle-trained canines, Eral has no opportunity to strike out again before the militia arrives. One of her fellow swordsdwarves makes the killing blow, and the fight is over.

Three corpses lay in the middle of the farms - a dwarf and two dogs. I order all three to be dumped, and pray to Armok that nobody was pushed over the edge by witnessing the carnage.

Haulers arrive quickly, gathering both the corpses and the former belongings of Eral Paintmorning.

As one of the dog corpses is being hauled through the barracks, it reanimates in the hands of the dwarf carrying it. The militia responds quickly and efficiently.

Very efficiently.

I order the dog's body and severed head to be dumped once more. As I do so, I notice a ghost hovering nearby.

It's a Edëm Frecklefenced, the adorably named ghostly marksdwarf.

I open up the craftsdwarf's workshop menu to engrave a memorial slab, and am horrified to discover that the dwarf's name isn't right there at the top of the list, as it should be. Fortunately, I find the name a little further down on the first page - for some reason, the dwarf isn't indicated as having risen as a ghost.

While I wait for the slab to be engraved, I watch as the remaining corpses are dumped.

The dwarves toss the mutilated bodies of the dead out of the barracks' eastern doorway, and the magma lake far below spews a small cloud of magma mist as the corpses are incinerated.

Soon afterwards, I notice the arrival of another ghost.

It is the disembodied spirit of Dumat Treatypolished.

I'm happy to find Dumat's name right at the top of the list.

As a memorial to the ghostly engraver is crafted, I look out over the fortress. No red down arrows, no real signs of lasting morale damage. Are things returning to normal?

I order the slabs to be placed.

At once, three ghosts are memorialized and put to rest. Activity within the fortress normalizes, and no more signs of the undead horrors appear in my announcement feed.

Although, there's still one thing that hasn't been removed. Urvad Teachanvils, the recently elected mayor of Roomcarnage, is still conducting a meeting with the outpost liaison. Months have passed now, with no sign of progress. A telltale chill runs up my spine, and I quickly avert my gaze from the mayor's violet eyes.

Instead, I look over the rest of the fortress. Everyone seems to be in fair spirits - not a single red arrow in sight.

I wait and wait, suspicious that the malign forces that besiege Roomcarnage day in and day out have some last trick up their sleeve. Perhaps they still do - but for now, an eerie normalcy settles over the fortress.

After some scanning, I do find a pair of dwarves who are still unhappy - one of them is Ber Trustmirrored, who has already thrown a tantrum recently. Ber's mood has improved, though, and it seems likely that the other warrior will be okay too. The fortress will live.

The fortress will live - but only for now. As an afterthought, I check in on the forgotten beast Bora, and find that the monster has been slain and reanimated. I do feel a little disappointed - as horrifying as the deep-spawned monster was, it still fought against the undead. Now it has joined their number. I clear my mind of Bora's fate - the fate of all living things that perish above, below, or within the Ice of Ghosts.

And there's no getting around it - all living things will perish in Roomcarnage.

The only question is how far the dwarves will get before their final bane strikes down the last remnants of the Momentous Dye. For indeed, all mortal creatures must die in time, and Roomcarnage will eventually crumble under the withering pressures that bear in upon it from all sides.

There will come a time when tales of the accursed fortress beneath the Oily Furnace are told not in drunken boasts over tavern fires, but in hushed whispers in darkened rooms - tales of power, wealth, and glory, but also of death, misery, and terror. Long will the story be told, of the bloodstained hellhole - carved out of an icy volcano by an ill-fated expedition that clung to life beneath the unholy glacier for years before finally crumbling into oblivion - the fortress Mosusilush, known in the common tongue as Roomcarnage, mountainhome of the damned.

It is the 6th of Felsite, in the late spring of 1212. Come Autumn, the caravan will come again, and the opportunity to become the mountainhome will present itself. I hope that autumn will also bring a new outpost liaison, one whose tales of the outside break through the monotony of the mayor's current meeting. I hope too that it is a quiet summer - for the fortress to ascend to mountainhome, it must first survive long enough to make an offering. As always, the fortress' fate lay in the shadows beyond safe prediction, and the only safeguard against the forces of evil is constant vigilance.