...continued from part one

Good, the levers have been built. I carefully link each lever to its corresponding door within the plateau.

Soon, dwarves arrive with mechanisms and begin linking lever to door.

As I watch, another notification from the mayor pops up.

The export of flasks has been prohibited! Ugh!

Nevermind that now - this is the tricky part. In order for these vents to be successful, they need to have the ice on either side sufficiently cleared away, or else the vent will jam with fresh obsidian. I decide to use ramps, so that the ice floor above these tiles will also be cleared away.

The fortress' miners pick up the jobs immediately.

I watch with excitement as the first dwarf arrives - but my mood quickly changes when the dwarf is interrupted by a nearby corpse on the surface of the glacier.

Ugh. There's no way that corpse could get up on top of the plateau, but the dwarves don't care - just the sight of something is enough to make them drop whatever they are doing and run. These tiles will have to be dug out from within.

I watch anxiously as a miner arrives and begins carving out the designation - but this dwarf is interrupted as well!

I try altering the designations to see if the dwarves will mine out any more, but I already know that it is a lost cause.

It would seem that I have taken for granted the undeniable benefit of having a miner who is not bothered by the undead. The vampire mayor, Rith Craftportent, may have been a constant threat to the fortress, kept at bay for years, but she was also a valuable tool. Without her pick, the weapon itself could never have been completed - at least, not without directly fighting the undead.

I cancel the remaining designations. These pipes will be abandoned.

Instead, I'll have the dwarves construct a pipeline across the surface of the plateau. I'll make sure that the constructions don't go all the way to the cliff's edge, so that none of the builders ever need to lay eyes on the haunted, undead-infested glacier beyond.

But first, to make sure that no geyser magma-pressure shenanigans happen with the pond, I have the lower up/down stair removed.

It will be replaced with an up stairway, and the vent will be completely unconnected to the pond. Additionally, I order the bottom section of wall to the south of the stairwell removed.

With the stairwell fixed and the wall removed, I have some floor laid down to the south.

The floor is finished quickly.

Then, I order the first stretch of channel walls laid down.

It will continue to the south, where I suspect it will divide in very much the same way as the pipes the dwarves had dug out previously.

Before construction gets very far, another forgotten beast appears in the deep. It's not cause for very much concern - countless horrid monsters have emerged from the darkness, but most have perished in magma, or at the claws of their undead kin. None have ever gained access to the fortress.

Still, Simo Veiledsins is rather dangerous-looking, as far as forgotten beasts go. Hopefully it'll fall into a pool of molten rock and incinerate.

I return my attention to the construction of the surface channels. The dwarves crowd into and out of the blocks stockpile, each one responsible for a single stretch of wall atop the plateau.

This traffic jam happens every time a construction of this scale takes place. I order a section of the inner obsidian wall - a leftover from when this was a trap designed to melt the glacier above - to be mined away.

On the surface of the plateau, construction moves quickly. The block stockpile has already been exhausted, however.

I send work orders for 90 block-carving jobs to the fortress manager. Each job will produce 4 stone blocks - I think 360 blocks ought to be enough to finish this project.

I double check my stone preferences - only obsidian is highlighted, so the stoneworkers and masons will ignore all other stones.

The masons get to work, but as before, I have some waiting to do.

As I wait for the blocks to be constructed, a kobold ambush appears from the south.

Ah, the brave and stupid kobolds. Year after year, they come to Roomcarnage in as much force as they can muster, fight helplessly against some nearby undead, and are struck down as they flee. Although, I suppose that they aren't very different from the dwarves.

At least someone is making it out of this situation alive, with some kind of profit. Good job, kobold thief - you rank among those lucky few who have come to Roomcarnage and escaped alive.

As the dwarves toil in the mason's workshops, I casually examine different individuals. I come across this fellow, whose name hilariously translates into the common tongue as Shorast Hoistedcloistered.

On a whim, I check out Shorast's relationships, and find evidence of a tragedy. Both Shorast's wife and only child are dead.

I examine the profile of Urist Mobguilds, Shorast's dead wife. I notice something curious in her list of memberships - she is both a former member and an enemy of the Playful Spattered Walls and the Momentous Dye. The only way she could have become an enemy before her death is if she went insane.

I notice that Urist Mobguilds has a kill list. One dwarf, Ingish Whipsnarls, and fifteen zombie dwarves.

Suddenly, it hits me. Oh no.

Ingish Whipsnarls was the only son of Urist Mobguilds and Shorast HoistedCloistered. Ingish was born in the early summer of 1205. About a month into his infancy, his mother Urist was taken by a strange mood, but there was no yarn cloth to satisfy her demands. Mother and child alike were walled up in mason's workshop, and when Urist went violently insane, there was nobody to stop her from murdering her own infant son.

The fifteen zombies on Urist's kill list are all Ingish, or Ingish's left arm, which Urist slew over and over again until she died of thirst. Now there are three corpses behind the obsidian block walls, and for seven years Shorast Hoistedcloistered has endured that knowledge. Poor Shorast.

Enough blocks have been crafted to continue the construction. I plan to use the natural wall formations at the edge of the plateau as boundaries for the different flooding zones. This space here will be the westernmost of those zones.

Soon, the dwarves arrive, bricks in hand, and another stretch of the wall is completed.

As I watch, autumn arrives on the calendar. Already? I suppose things truly are quiet here in Roomcarnage, with nothing to do but wait for the masons.

And observe children making useless artifacts.

What will it be, little Cog? A scepter? A crown, perhaps? I can hardly contain my excitement.

At least the masons are working hard. I order the next round of blocks to be laid down...

...and the dwarves respond immediately.

To give the masons easier access to obsidian, as well as to help traffic issues, I order the rest of the inner wall around the block stockpile to be mined out.

The fortress is hard at work - masons, miners, and haulers alike toil day in and day out

It looks like there are enough blocks to build another section of walls atop the plateau.

This will be the second flooding zone. The dwarves will have no problem constructing these walls - I doubt they will be able to see the glacier from this far in.

I use the remaining blocks to continue construction of the western channel. Excellent! The channels are starting to take form.

The dwarves trudge across the vast drifts of elf blood snow, obsidian blocks in hand, and the walls begin to rise - but not quickly enough. Late autumn is fast approaching, and I doubt that the weapon will be ready before the caravan arrives. If I make the offering to become the capital this year, I run the risk of the monarch and their retinue arriving in the midst of foul fog and animated corpses. Oh well. There's not much else I can do but wait.

While the masons labor, I scan through the fortress. By chance, my gaze falls upon the lower food and drink stockpiles. The mayor is there, along with the outpost liaison - and a ghost.

Without warning, a horrid sense of uncanniness and familiarity hits me like a bucket of ice water. An awful, deep sound, more felt than heard, creeps through the lowest frequencies of audibility.

I examine the ghost, and the air seems to freeze around me. Claws of ice sink deep into my flesh, and my ears are filled with demonic, rumbling static.

Urvad Tongssteamy, ghostly hammerdwarf, accompanies the mayor and her companion.

The companion with whom the mayor is always conducting a meeting.

My heart sinks, and I feel my viscera freeze. The hellish gale of nothingness roars in my ears. Everything falls into place, and for a moment I see past the gaily flashing colors and symbols, beyond the fraying veil of ignorance that shrouds my fragile mind from - nothing.

The cold disappears, the roaring stops - for a moment, my senses are engulfed by merciful oblivion. Then, with an awful, vertiginous heave, I find myself back in my chair, staring at the computer screen.

But something is horribly wrong.

Instinctively, I check the announcements screen.

No. No no no.

Horror and death have returned to Roomcarnage in force. I was a fool to believe that the fortress would be safe, even for a season.

The new trash dump, at the barracks' eastern end, located high in the cavern wall overlooking a magma lake - I had to dig out this new dump, because the old one was clogged with undead corpses. Corpses that were released from their prisons by ghosts - ghosts in league with Rith Craftportent, the vampire mayor of Roomcarnage. Could it be, that Rith actually orchestrated this entire series of events, so as to doom the living to an afterlife of eternal torment? I cannot know.

I examine the cloud of dust, looking for the monster hidden inside. It's Simo Veiledsins, the forgotten beast I dismissed earlier. A quadruped composed of bituminous coal, that emits clouds of deadly dust.

The beast would be a nightmare anywhere, but here in Roomcarnage, it could be the doom of the entire fortress.

It is the 6th of Sandstone, in the mid-autumn of 1212. In one month, the caravan will arrive from the Mountainhome - but I am not longer sure that there will be any fortress to meet them when they arrive. Will the dwarves of the Momentous Dye be able to repel this dire threat? Will they be able to defeat the monster without throwing the fortress into an irreversible tantrum spiral first? Will I go completely mad from the inexplicable coincidences surrounding the fortress' mayorship? Tune in next time!