...continued from part one

Meanwhile, it's time to get in a round of lever linkages. I use all of the available mechanisms to link to as many bridges as possible.

Time passes...

...and I notice that the mayor has placed a ban on exports.

Export of flasks is forbidden - this is tyranny I can deal with.

While the miners dig out the parallel rooms, haulers arrive to collect the wealth of gems that are unintentionally carved from the rock - a tangential benefit common to all large excavation projects.

I create a few gem cutting jobs at the jeweler's workshop - more treasure to be offered to the caravan, come late autumn.

Then, something wholly terrible happens.

The migrants flee the moment they arrive, desperate to escape the icy clutches of undeath and find an entrance to the fortress they have sought.

It is in vain. There is no entrance to the fortress on this side of the map.

Among the migrants is a novice marksdwarf - Uzol Carriedboots.

While the undead pursue the dwarves who came before her, Uzol launches bolt after bolt at the nearest foe.

Two bolts strike their mark, and two monsters crumple into a lifeless mass, the reanimating spark gone from their frozen flesh.

It is not a permanent solution - these undead horrors will soon rise again, for nothing truly rests here in Roomcarnage. However, it seems to be an excellent way to temporarily "deanimate" these corpses - perhaps I should create a couple squads of marksdwarves. Hmm.

My thoughts are interrupted by the possession of a dwarven child - little Goden has been taken with a strange mood.

It is not a terribly exciting event - Goden will undoubtedly create some useless stone or wood object, probably a goblet or scepter or ring or something.

The situation on the surface is far more pressing and interesting. Poor Uzol Carriedboots bravely stands her ground, but ultimately her efforts are doomed. As I watch, she fires bolt after bolt at her enemies - when suddenly, the corpse of a kobold which she struck down only minutes before rises again, and charges her with unholy ferocity. They collide, and for a moment the marksdwarf is hidden from view.

When the kobold scrambles away, all that remains is a soulless husk.

The crossbow once held by Uzol Carriedboots now lies amongst the frozen gore. Its former wielder now stands nearby, her eyes cold with hatred for all living things.

Most of the migrant wave is already dead - killed within minutes of their arrival at Roomcarnage. The only remaining dwarf is Asën Cavefactions, a helpless, unhappy leatherworker.

Somehow, I doubt that Roomcarnage has lived up to Asën's expectations.

A second after I unpause, Asën's soul departs his body.

One blow from a kobold corpse, covered from nose to tail in foul fog, is all it takes to convert Asën from a faithful servant of the Playful Spattered Walls into a violent, cursed thrall to the Ice of Ghosts.

Meanwhile, little Goden has claimed one of the craftsdwarf's workshops.

While the child collects materials to create an artifact, I survey the miners' progress. It is interesting to note that dwarves have tendency to carve out areas of designated stone from the west to the east - since the access stairwell is located to the west of the dig sites, they have thus carved out the western portions of many layers, but continue to move on to the next layer, which provides more westerly diggable stone.

If I had located the stairwell to the east of the dig site, I suspect they would execute the project in a very different way. Ultimately, I don't think it makes a very big difference - but it might in other situations, and is interesting to note, at the very least.

As construction continues, a ghost rises to haunt the fortress.

It is the specter of Alåth Earthentowns - a ghostly swordsdwarf. Fortunately, Alåth is rather harmless, as far as ghosts go, and is only a nuisance who disturbs one or a few dwarves at a time.

I order a slab to be engraved, but I do not find Alåth's name at the top of the list. I find another name, however - that of one Ézum Berlelum. The name sounds familiar...

I scan the list of names for Alåth Beramost, but I do not find the ghost's name. It would seem that a third specter has come to haunt Roomcarnage, who can never be banished from the physical realm.

Also, I look through the list of deceased entities, hoping to find any sign of Ézum Berlelum - but to no avail.

I am surprised when, moments later, I spot the ghost in the farms.

Ah, of course! "Berlelum" is dwarven for "Earthwane" - in life, this dwarf was Ézum Earthwane, the outpost liaison to Roomcarnage who, for over a year, met with the mayor, yet that meeting came to no fruition. Eventually, liaison Ézum - who must have been a weaponsmith prior to attaining her position - suffered an unfortunate accident and was incinerated.

I may resent Ézum Earthwane for failing at her task, and also for delaying the arrival of another outpost liaison for an entire year - but besides that, I harbor her no particular ill will. I order a slab to be engraved in memoriam.

As the miners work, the child gathers the necessary materials...

...and constructs an entirely useless artifact.

I mean, it is a nice earring. But nobody will ever wear it - it will lay forgotten at the bottom of a wooden bin in the finished goods for the rest of the foreseeable future.

In preparation for the next phase of construction - which, admittedly, is still a ways off - I order a door and hatch to be installed near the trap rooms are shattered and crushed.

Soon, the furniture arrives.

Ézum's slab has been finished. I order it to be built in the memorial hall, just outside the mayor's quarters.

I take one last look at the ghostly weaponsmith and former outpost liaison.

Then I unpause and observe the last moments of Ézum Earthwane. Before my eyes, she disappears, a restless spirit put to rest.

Damnit! Autumn has already arrived on the calendar. In just over two months, the caravan will be here! If the trap is not completed in time, the surface will not be rid of undead by the time the travelers from the mountainhome arrive. In that case, the fortress would have to wait another year before another caravan would arrive - and I cannot say for sure that the fortress will survive for that long.

The dwarves, as always, exhibit sublime ignorance and levity.

I scan the dig site. A few of the rooms have been finished, while others are mostly carved out. Excellent.

However, most of the bridges still have yet to be linked. I order another round at the lever, filling up the queue with work orders that can only be fulfilled by a single mechanic, one at a time.

As the mechanic works, I survey the dig site again - the miners are completely finished.

I order a support to be built two levels from the top.

Then, I order a lever to be built just behind the hatch and door that were installed earlier.

When both are built, I link them together.

Then, another disaster occurs.

It would seem that, since the fortress is below the population cap (thank you, Simo Veiledsins the Obscure Terrors), it will continue to receive waves of migrants every season.

If I do nothing, the flesh of these migrants will be added to the force of undead that I am trying to cleanse from the northwestern corner of the map. Something must be done.

At this point, I do the only thing I can - I order a wall to be dug out. I was planning on digging out this tile anyway, once the trap was completed - but now, I do so in the desperate hope that at least one of the migrants might find their way into the darkened tunnels, to find safety within Roomcarnage.

In the meantime, I watch the migrants flee in terror the moment they arrive on the map's edge.

There is nothing else I can do at this point - the only other passage leading into the fortress is clogged with foul fog zombies.

More migrants arrive with each passing second. As their horrified screams sound across the ice, a blizzard of elf blood snow begins to fall.

I check in on the miner - a dwarf named Zon Nuttour, one of the fortress' legendary growers, has taken up the job. Already, he is only a short distance from the tile I have ordered to mined out.

And yet, I fear he will not make it in time. I watch as a brave dwarf ranger, standing atop the stairwell, fires bolt after bolt as the undead close in. A moment later, the smiling face recedes into a cold, lifeless @, and I abandon all hope of saving these pour souls.

I check back on Zon Nuttour - he is ascending the staircase leading to the designated wall.

I cancel the designation. Almost made it.

I watch as the remaining dwarves scramble across the bloody snowdrifts. I pity them - but not as much as I pity the dwarves who yet linger in the heart of the mountain. For these migrants, their suffering will soon be at an end.

I notice something odd - the dwarf ranger foul fog zombie, Solon Talkarrows, still wields her crossbow.

As I watch, the abomination turns her weapon upon her still-living comrades.

I am sickened - only minutes before, these dwarves were trusted traveling companions, sharing a perilous journey to a legendary fortress. How many stories were traded over sputtering campfires in the frigid night? How many hopes and dreams were confided?

Now, those hopes and dreams are crushed. All of them will perish upon the Ice of Ghosts.

As the last of the other dwarves breathe their last, I notice another odd occurrence - Solon Talkarrows has entered an unending duel with Edzul Lashtattoos, a guineacock foul fog zombie.

Both dwarf and guineacock are undead monsters, and yet they fight each other. In the past, battles likes these have gone on for years, ended only when both parties were encased in ice or obsidian.

This battle, though, doesn't go on for long. Foul fog zombies can be slain only by decapitation.

I watch for a few more seconds, as Solon Talkarrows slays one dwarf and incapacitates another. The situation is lost - I'll have to deal with the ranger foul fog zombie along with all the others.

The plan remains the same. I order the last few bridge-lever linkages to be made.

Then, I designate the remaining stone floors at the top layer to be channeled away.

The legendary miners of Roomcarnage work quickly...

...and soon, all that is left in the top layer is a serpentine catwalk of retractable bridges.

The layer immediately below the bridges, then, needs to be separated from the surrounding rock so that it may plummet downward, opening up a shaft leading down into the magma sea. I order the walls around it to be channeled out, and make a small access path leading to one of the corners. Also, I have the ramps removed, so that there aren't any unbecoming downward ramps hanging in midair after the cave-in.

The miners arrive and get to work.

As before, it doesn't take them too long at all.

At this point, I realize that I will need to build a wall in the area that is currently channeled out around the edge - otherwise, falling undead might catch hold of one of the ledges, and find their way into the fortress that way. To build these walls, the dwarves will need access once the shaft has been opened - I dig a square around both levels, which will enable the dwarves to build walls where it will be necessary.

I watch as the miners work. Once they are done with this, the lever may be pulled, and the shaft will be opened.

Suddenly, a forgotten beast arrives in the depths.

A terrifying beast with a foreboding name, perhaps, but Azstrog Hexveil poses no immediate threat to the fortress. In this dark, remote corner of the caverns, the blood thorns grow thick, for none have ever known the axes of dwarves. Azstrog cannot pass through these gory groves.

The dwarves finish carving out the last few tiles...

...and the construction of the trap is ready to move to the next phase.

I order the lever to be pulled...

...and a section of the cavern collapses! The stacked rooms, excavated over the course of the summer, are united in a single pillar of stone dust and magma mist.

At the bottom of the shaft, the cloud of dust obscures the magma mist, and then dissipates just as quickly. The mist, however, drifts back down into the magma sea much more slowly.

It's purpose fulfilled, I have the lever removed.

Then, I order another door to be placed at the northern end of the trap. With this action, the trap is complete, and ready to be used. All the bridges are linked, and below them is a thirteen z-level drop into searing magma.

Once more, I order the wall to be cut away, opening a direct footpath from the surface of the map to the heart of the fortress. The trap is ready, and not a moment to soon.

It is the 1st of Timber, in the late autumn of 1213. In just over two weeks, the dwarven caravan will arrive. If the dwarves have any hope of doing trade this year, the surface must be cleared of foul fog zombies before then. Can the trap save this year's mercantile prospects, or will the dwarves of the Momentous Dye be forced once again to dwell patiently in the darkness for another year, their hopes and dreams growing dimmer and dimmer with every passing month? Only time will tell.