Chapter 46 :: Legends of Patience and Enterprise

February 18th, 2015

It is the 6th of Felsite, in the late spring of 1212. The crises of the early spring have been averted, and the fortress has returned to a quiet equilibrium of calm contentedness. Roomcarnage has endured the nightmarish curse of Rith Craftportent - in the face of total destruction, the dwarves of the Momentous Dye have been forced to purge the fortress of all corporeal undead. All passages to and from the fortress have been sealed with obsidian blocks, except for the trade depot which is protected by lever-controlled bridges, and the new trash dump in the barracks, set high into a cavern wall overlooking a magma lake. In short, Roomcarnage is safe - as safe as any fortress hewn from haunted stone can be - and the time has come for the dwarves to begin their final ascent towards glory.

In a few months, the dwarven caravan will arrive, and the dwarves of the Momentous Dye will be able to offer up their treasures as a gift to the monarch - this show of wealth is the only gesture needed to convince the dwarven monarchy to change its seat from Drunkentorch to Roomcarnage. At that point, Roomcarnage will become the mountainhome - the capital of all of the Playful Spattered Walls.

Of course, once it has become the mountainhome, Roomcarnage will no longer receive an outpost liaison - and thus, will no longer have the option to raise one of its citizens up into the noblery as a baron, duke, or count.

Additionally, I cannot even be sure that the monarch and their royal retinue will arrive from the northwest, where the glacier has been cleared and made safe for the caravan. The map's northeastern edge is a frozen hell of blood, foul fog, and undeath. There is no way that the monarch would survive if they arrived here - even if the dwarves had not recently walled up the only passage leading to this part of the surface, the monarch would be torn to pieces within seconds.

Even more worrisome is the map's southern edge. It is a vast area, with no connection to the fortress, sealed or otherwise.

And I cannot forget that this part of the map harbors a great evil - Nelo Mistystrap the Pristine Skins, a tundra titan smeared with foul fog from head to tails.

Something will have to be done about the southern and northeastern areas of the glacier, left untouched by the lava floods of the past several years - and I have just the thing in mind. I order a bit of ice to be dug out, thus connecting the magma weapon's access stairwell to the western lava vents.

The job is done quickly.

I order a lever to be pulled...

...and high above, a door in the lava vent creaks open. I try not to look to closely at the empty void right next to the opening door - but I do acknowledge that the passage will need to be expanded around it, if the weapon is to be reactivated and used in the manner I intend. As I direct my attention towards this new goal, I can't ignore the icy chill that suddenly whirls around my living room like a draft on a cold winter's night - never mind the warm California sun that shines through the open windows.

Shrugging away the unseasonable cold, I order the top of a stairwell to be constructed at the end of the obsidian structure. This structure was built by the vampires, I remind myself - in the years since the weapon was first activated, it has been covered in a thick layer of frozen elf blood.

One of the fortress' many pump operators arrives and constructs the down staircase.

Below the completed landing, I order another bit of staircase to be built.

This, too, is done quickly. The fortress has many idlers - I intend to put them to good use very soon.

Finally, I order the bottom of the staircase built. It may seem odd, to place an up/down staircase immediately above the small pool of lava that lay at the base of the obsidian structure - but this is indeed part of my plan.

Soon, the stairwell is complete.

The dwarves will need a bridge of sorts, leading across the lava pool, by which they may access the surface of the obsidian plateau.

Additionally, I might as well order the walls around the stairwell to be built as well.

The workers arrive without delay...

...and I'm able to continue construction, one bit at a time.

It is a slow affair, but necessarily so. Soon, all this will pay off.

After a few minutes, the lowest level of walls are finished.

I order some of the next layer of walls to be constructed. By the time I am finished, the entire stairwell will be enclosed in a sheath of obsidian.

The obsidian walkway, leading to the plateau, progresses one tile at a time. It cannot be easily or safely rushed.

However, there is always something else that may be done. I order a door to be built, thus enclosing the stairway entirely.

Meanwhile, construction of the walls continues.

It is, of course, a tedious process - but in these situations, patience is a virtue. When building this sort of structure, I construct only a few walls at a time - sometimes the dwarves finish the middle of the walls first, thus leaving the corners inaccessible to other masons. It is better to go slowly, and thus avoid cancellations.

Finally, the last floor is constructed. For the first time in the history of Roomcarnage, the dwarves have gained access to the surface of the vast obsidian plateau - a smoking, jagged hellscape of ice and stone and blood, forged from the glacier itself by the dwarves as a way of purging the surface of undead.

Soon, the surface will be purged again. I order the dwarves to commence construction of the last and uppermost layer of walls.

Soon, those walls are finished, and the last set can be put into place. In this way, the weapon's southwestern lava vent is thus extended and connected to the stairwell, which leads downward, directly into the lava pool below.

I watch as the door is put into place at the bottom of the stairwell. This door will be linked to a lever, so that the stairwell can be vented in case the dwarves need to access it after it has been filled with lava.

I decide to excavate a new lever room - a control chamber just for this new extension of the weapon.

While the fortress' miners are excavating the lever room, I watch as the dwarves complete the walls above the plateau. As the obsidian bricks are carefully laid in place, I reflect on how this vent, wide-hewn and carefully lined with stone, was the first to erupt with molten rock. Now, the weapon's adamantine pumps will force a torrent of magma downward, into the lava pool below the surface of the plateau - which, very soon, will be connected to another series of pipes leading to various other places on the map.

The last bricks are laid, and the vent is extended.

Just for aesthetics, I order the one patch of raw obsidian to be smoothed and brought in line with the rest of the vent's walls.

Thus far, I've been trying to place levers around the fortress in such a way that their relative placement is similar to the relative locations of the structures to which they are linked. Thus, the chamber containing the lever that will be linked to the door at the bottom of the southwestern vent stairwell is located below and to the southwest of the two levers controlling the doors adjacent to the malignant void.

It seems like everything is done here for now. I don't want to connect the lava pond with the new tunnels until after they've been fully excavated.

First, I place designations for the end of the pipes - where I want them to emerge from the plateau. I select four points, spaced out along the plateau's southern edge.

Then, I connect them, and connect them with a long dig designation leading back to the lava pool, without actually connecting to it.

Lastly, I dig an access tunnel, so that the miners can reach the pipes.

Zon the Planter - also a skilled miner - arrives and begins digging into the strange obsidian formation rising ominously from the elf blood snow drifts. It is the first time in the history of Roomcarnage that a dwarf has set foot upon the plateau.

The lever has been built - I order it to be linked to the door at the base of the vent stairwell.

Because these tunnels are going to be very narrow - only one urist wide - it may take some time to mine out. That's alright, I can wait. Roomcarnage is safe for the time being - the dwarves are content, well fed, and drunk. With the surface and cavern floor walled off, nothing will be able to get in on foot. True, there are a few points above and below ground where a flying creature, by chance, might enter the fortress - but in Roomcarnage's eleven and a half years, not a single one ever has.

Time passes. Summer arrives - not that you'd be able to tell, here on the Ice of Ghosts.

Within the plateau, the miners continue to work.

Finally, they are finished.

Excellent.

I order four doors to be placed next to the outer junctures, so that the weapon may be fired precisely from each opening in the plateau.

The lever room will need to be expanded.

Once it is, I order four levers to be placed, one for each door.

As I watch the fortress, waiting for the jobs to be completed, I notice that the mayor has mandated the construction of goods.

Flasks, eh?

No problem. I'm pretty sure the fortress already has a surplus of flasks, but it can't hurt to have more. At least I'll be able to trade them in the autumn when the caravan comes.

continued in part two...