Chapter 57 :: The Death of Kadol Worklimb

February 16th, 2016

It is the 19th of Felsite, in the late spring of 1215. In three months, a dwarven caravan will arrive at Roomcarnage, having braved the journey from the mountainhome - a harrowing journey across desolate leagues of haunted glacier, to the Ice of Ghosts where no dwarven feet had trod for a millenium. In their unquenchable desire to make diplomatic and commercial contact with the dwarves of the Momentous Dye, the dwarves of the mountainhome have sent a caravan out upon the ice every year.

I do not know if any of the survivors of the last few years' caravans made it back to the mountainhome. The merchants broke and ran, scattering helplessly across the ice - often fleeing from the shuddering remains of their own pack animals. The liaisons and merchant guards, on the other hand, have shown a staunch will in completing their task - all have perished in the shadow of the Oily Furnace.

There is hope, however. A new effort is well underway to secure a small - and perhaps tractable - portion of the map's edge.

To accomplish this task, however, I require pump components - magma-safe pump components. Steel is not an option - there is no iron on the map, and not enough of the material has been secured through trade to craft into tube sections or giant corkscrews. Glass, too, is out of the question - the only sand on the map is located within the caverns, and I have grown to rue the smallest of passages that once connected the old barracks to those nightmare depths.

No, there is only one option - that which lay beneath. The digging has already begun.

Far above, on the hellish surface, construction draws to a close.

It would seem that the last segment of walls cannot be completed by the dwarves. The workers cannot abide being within a few urists of the edge of the plateau - it brings them uncomfortably close to the undead just beyond.

Fine then - in time, the edge of the plateau will be further out than it is now. I cancel the walls.

With that annoyance out of the way, I return my attention to the depths. This is an endeavor I will need to watch over closely - one misstep, and all of the dwarves' efforts will have been for naught.

For now, though, the task is relatively safe - a narrow tunnel must be carved out of inert stone, leading from the fortress to the ore. Kadol Worklimb is the first miner to answer the call, the staccato of his pickstrikes echoing in the deep. Kadol Worklimb, founder of Roomcarnage and the only surviving miner who can recall a time when the Ice of Ghosts gleamed a pristine, crystalline white - not the gory crimson of the current charnel landscape.

It is a long passage, though, and the dwarves take turns carving out the tunnel. Before long, Mosus Slingclouts - legendary grower, master miner, and talented gem cutter - takes over the digging.

As Mosus Slingclouts slowly works his way through the plutonic rock, I notice an announcement - the mayor has ended a mandate. Have I missed a production order?

I examine the nobles screen - but there is no indication of a failed production order. Urvad Teachanvil, mayor of the Momentous Dye, is in the greatest spirits a dwarf can be. I dismiss the situation as unimportant, and turn my attention back to the task at hand.

Before long, the miners will descend through the deepest layers of stone - that warm rock that lay close to the boundless sea of chthonic flame. There, at the bottom of the deepest stair, they will find the greatest of treasures, coveted by all of dwarvenkind - a vast lode of nigh-weightless grey ore, struck through with rivulets of shining cyan: a priceless fortune of raw adamantine.

The dwarves desperately need this ore - once processed, it can be forged into giant corkscrews and pipe sections that can be used to construct magma-safe mechanical pumps. Once in place and powered, these pumps will pour a river of molten rock through channels to the edge of the map - where, Armok willing, a section of the map's edge will be secured for safe use by the dwarven caravan.

As Mosus reaches the top of the stairwell, a dangerous-looking announcement appears - in fact, it is just another job interruption caused by dwarves spotting undead over the edge of the plateau.

Also, Mosus has cancelled his digging - choosing to leave the job to someone else, while he goes to plant seeds. Does he fear what he suspects may lie in the deeps?

It matters not - another miner, more experienced, takes over the job.

I watch as Kol Fanggravel makes the long trek through the bowels of the fortress to the dig site.

Just as Kol begins to mine downwards, the mayor issues a mandate.

Hmmm, two spears, eh? That can wait.

I hold my breath as Kol excavates and descends the stairway - digging out adamantine is always a risky business.

Soon, the last tile - an upward stairway - remains.

The stair is completed - a gleaming fortune glitters in the darkness.

I take one moment to examine the ore - rough-hewn boulders are the largest non-corpse objects in the game, and yet this mined boulder weighs a mere twenty urists, less than a pair of silver goblets.

I pray that the uppermost tip of this lode is enough to complete the pump stack. I order the visible stone to be dug out, and designate the rest of the ore to be mined as it comes into view.

It looks like plenty, but I remind myself that whereas a steel giant corkscrew might take a single bar of metal to craft, an adamantine corkscrew requires a full five wafers.

Just as the dwarves begin to haul their prize up to the smelters, Summer arrives on the calendar. Before Winter comes, the caravan will have arrived - I am honestly doubtful that the dwarves will be prepared in that time. Adamantine extraction is a time-consuming process, and magma deluges act unpredictably.

There is no point in rushing - either the device will be completed in time, or it won't. Only time will tell - and besides, even if the Momentous Dye is late, what is one more year in the darkness?

Soon, the fortress' meager workforce appears in the forges, walking past the battery of craftsdwarf's workshops and into the dark, portentous passage beyond. These workshops were constructed so that a dozen or more dwarves could process the raw adamantine in parallel - most have sat unused for years.

I spot a rare bird - a peasant, flashing as if she were a legendary dwarf. In fact, Olin Bronzegilded is a legendary stone crafter, having created an artifact during her childhood. It would seem that all dwarves who come of age are peasants at first - Olin's birthday was on the 20th of Felsite, just last month.

I look again at Olin's profile - and notice something unusual about her group memberships and vital statistics. She is, and has only ever been a member of the Momentous Dye and a citizen of the Playful Spattered Walls. She is twelve years old, born on the 20th of Felsite in the year 1203. No mention is made of the day she came to Roomcarnage - because she was born here.

I can't help but feel a cold, sinking feeling in my gut. Roomcarnage is all Olin Bronzegilded has ever known. It will likely be all she ever knows - a frigid labyrinth of death.

Boulder by boulder, the dwarves haul the raw adamantine out of the depths and into the ore stockpile.

I notice that a significant minority of the workforce are peasants - young adults, usually skilled growers, most of them born here at Roomcarnage.

Once again, I notice some job cancellations due to undead. However, I have already ordered construction upon the northeastern plateau to be halted. Why are dwarves still wandering about up here?

Ah, yes - the dwarves are eager to collect the bricks that were unused when construction was interrupted.

Using the mass designation tool, I forbid all items in the area - four stone blocks and a copper bin. Hopefully this prevents any more unseemly announcements.

Meanwhile, collection of raw adamantine continues.

A stockpile full of glittering cyan - it is a sight that has not been seen in Roomcarnage nigh on a decade.

It is time to begin extraction. I place a repeating order at each craftsdwarf's shop on this level to extract metal strands.

Once again, Kadol Worklimb, legendary miner and founder of Roomcarnage, is the first dwarf to respond to the call of industry.

Before long, other dwarves arrive, seize a boulder of raw ore, and haul it over to one of the workshops for processing.

The area is soon bustling with industry. All these dwarves have professions in other parts of the fortress - but strand extraction is too time consuming a process to leave to one skilled laborer. Instead, I have enabled the strand extraction job in all adult dwarves.

So many dwarves working in parallel, carefully drawing the hair-thin strands of shining metal from the inert gray ore - it is a satisfying sight.

Kadol Worklimb is the first dwarf to complete a round of extraction - a collection of adamantine strands lay bundled in the workshop.

Soon, other dwarves complete their first rounds as well.

It has been some time since the dwarves of the Momentous Dye processed adamantine - I am curious to know exactly where these strands will be taken. I wait for a hauler, copper bin in hand, to arrive and collect the strands.

Then, I examine the bin - it is already filled with pig tail fiber cloth. The bin is assigned to cloth stockpile #19.

I examine Roomcarnage's building list - rather than scroll blindly through the archive, I use dfhack's search tool to narrow the list to stockpiles. Then, I simply locate stockpile #19 and zoom to it. Predictably, it is located within the textiles quarter.

I look over the stockpile's parameters - frustratingly, I have already forbidden metal thread to be stored here. It is an inconvenience - the smelters will have to trek all the way up here in order to reclaim the strands - but one that I can deal with.

Anticipating job cancellations - mostly due to copper bins containing adamantine threads being carried around, rendering their contents temporarily unavailable - I place a work order for thirty adamantine wafers. The manager will make sure that the work is finished, even through multiple job cancellations.

The work order is placed - and soon, both the smelters and the craftsdwarf's workshops are abuzz with activity.

The forges have not seen this kind of traffic for many years.

Mere minutes pass before the first wafers are smelted - much less time than the actual strand extraction. A dwarf holds up one of the paper-thin metal disks, reflecting the pure red glow of magma in its mirror-like surface. For a moment, I cannot help but share in their avarice.

Feeling rather proud, and presuming that the dwarves have enough adamantine to craft the necessary machine components, I place a work order for two adamantine spears. The mayor's mandate must be met, of course - but I must also address the massive losses in equipment incurred by the recent betrayal of Tun Linearch, swordsmaster of the Rapidity of Ink. Equipping the new recruits begins here, with these two spears.

The task is taken up by Libash Stakeamazes, legendary weaponsmith of the Momentous Dye.

I follow Libash as he strides back and forth between the stockpile and the forge, collecting raw materials for the spears.

He stacks three sets of adamantine wafers upon the anvil, which is also made of adamantine.

In a blur of fire and hammer, Libash forges the wafers with exceptional skill.

Soon, the other spear is finished - a masterpiece!

Such a weapon is supremely deadly, even in the hands of an untested recruit.

Now, onto the machine components. I look through the channel, and count two missing pumps.

That's two corkscrews and two pipe sections - easy.

Unfortunately, the fortress is missing a dedicated blacksmith to make the pipe sections. I locate a peasant - a young adult by the name of Dodók Parchfence - and enable the blacksmithing job, while disabling all other jobs.

Dodók immediately departs for the forges...

...and is soon hard at work, although it is practically guaranteed that she has no idea what she is doing.

The work order for thirty wafers has almost expired. Just to make sure that no adamantine strands are left in the cloth stockpile - or, hell, the hospital - I put all the smelters on repeat.

Also, I notice that the fortress population has been experiencing a lot of growth recently - of the feline variety.

As wonderful as cats are, they also have a tendency to get out of hand. Fortunately most of them are still strays - I order to have the lot butchered. So long as a few cats remain, any vermin problem that comes up will not be an issure.

The slaughter begins immediately.

I've forgotten how productive a butchery industry can be. From a single cat: several servings of meat, fat for soap, bone for carving, and raw hide.

Is is, of course, the hide that poses the difficulty here in Roomcarnage. I watch as the raw cat skin shudders and flutters out of the unoccupied butchery and across the stone floor. For a moment, I reflect on how truly horrible these monsters are. Do they move across the ground in a boneless parody of their movement in life? Or do they behave in a more unnatural way - like a rippling hide rug, or a gliding, fluttering sheet? In any case, they make no sound - no sound except the slap of wet skin against the cold stone floor.

Fortunately, a cage trap neutralizes the threat before it can go far.

As if sensing the threat, a stray cat adopts a dwarven child. This cat has merely delayed its own fate, for all those who live in Roomcarnage are doomed to die.

Suddenly, the mayor issues another mandate.

Another spear?

I will hold off on making anything else out of adamantine until the machine components are completed. Instead, I order a spear to be forged of copper.

Before too long, the two pipe sections are completed.

Only one more task remains - crafting the second corkscrew. Work has not begun on the copper spear - I suppose it can't hurt. I cancel the copper spear order and queue the construction of another adamantine spear, as soon as the corkscrew is completed.

Besides, Libash Stakeamazes is busy. He will need to finish his drink before he goes to forge the corkscrew - the spear might as well wait until after that is finished.

continued in part two...