...continued from part one

I check back in on the butchery - and notice that the copper cage containing the cat skin has not yet been stockpiled. I double check to make sure that the trap has been reset with another trap - it has.

The issue, then, is stockpile space. I order the current animal stockpile, which is currently full of empty cages, to accept only empty cages.

Then, I create an animal stockpile in the great statue hall, which will only allow caged creatures - nothing empty.

I look to see if Libash has started work on the enormous adamantine corkscrew. He hasn't.

In fact, I'm not sure it's even on his radar.

While Libash sleeps, a restless ghost topples an armor stand.

The poltergeist toppled a piece of furniture in the old mayor's quarters - a suite of rooms originally carved out by and for Rith Craftportent. This spirit, Ingish Towerlungs, is almost certainly a victim of the Rapidity of Ink.

I order a slab to be engraved for the poltergeist.

Finally! Libash is on the job.

In mere seconds, he completes the corkscrew. Meanwhile, I am notified that the fortress attracted no migrants this season. I cannot blame them.

Immediately afterwards, Libash gets to work on the adamantine spear.

The components completed, I order them to be fitted together to form two more screw pumps along the magma conduit.

Additionally, I order a hole to be carved out, allowing access to the lowest of the pumps.

Meanwhile, Libash whips together another masterwork spear - all in a days work for a legendary weaponsmith.

I follow mayor Urvad Teachanvil as she and another dwarf begin construction of the pumps.

They are completed before my eyes.

And now, the pumps are ready to be activated. There is no time to waste - the caravan always seems to arrive just before the dwarves' plans have been completed.

Going up the conduit, I order each of the pumps to be operated.

Suddenly, I notice something. Curses! I've forgotten the final pump, at the highest level!

Only two adamantine wafers remain - not enough to craft another pipe section and corkscrew.

There is no other option. I grit my teeth and order the miners to delve blindly downward into the adamantine.

The stairway is extended down one more level without incident.

Once more, I oversee the excavation of the lode, designating the ore tile by tile as it is revealed.

I place work orders for precisely what is needed - fourteen wafers of adamantine, nine for a pipe section and five for a corkscrew.

Work gets underway immediately. As before, there is no rushing the process.

While I wait, I order the recently engraved slab to be placed.

Soon, the ghostly marksdwarf is put to rest. Libash Stakeamazes complains that there aren't enough adamantine wafers.

Well, no, there aren't enough yet. I am pleased to see that work is progressing easily, however.

The smelters are hard at work, and the extractors are nearly finished - it won't be long now before the components are finished.

And not a moment too soon - Autumn has come. In less than three months, the caravan will be here.

Eventually, Dodók Parchfence finishes the pipe section, and the components are complete.

I order the final pump to be constructed...

...and it is finished soon afterwards.

Now, the time has truly come! I order the pumps to be activated.

An operator arrives at the lowest pump, and molten rock pours into the channel to the north.

This is no deluge of Roomcarnage's cataclysmic middle years. The pump is drawing magma from a notch in the edge of the volcano - not from deep within the caldera itself as the weapon of yore did. That weapon also had pairs of pumps working side by side - but I do not need a massive flood, here. This is a precise operation, and the price of failure is the loss of Roomcarnage's last good chance to become the mountainhome.

In time, the flow reaches the level of the plateau. As molten rock flows slowly down the channel, it melts the bloody snow before it - otherwise, in ASCII, it looks no different than the frozen elf gore that covers the map. Magma, or bloody snow - it is impossible to tell the difference between the two at a glance.

Soon, the channel is at capacity - on to the next phase.

I decide to begin with the northern channel.

With the pull of a lever, a door snaps open, and lava pours through. I observe the progress of the flow by watching the receding patch of bare obsidian left by the melting snow.

Then, the flow reaches the end of the channel and begins to spread out. The patch of bare obsidian becomes a horseshoe - pillars of steam begin to erupt from the edge of the plateau.

I watch with satisfaction as the slowly encroaching ice encases an undead - possible one of those responsible for all the job cancellations earlier.

Of course, one of the benefits of the old weapon was this - when two pumps are operating side by side, one dwarf can relieve themselves of duty and be replaced by another worker without halting the flow of magma. Again, this is not so much of a problem here - if I am not careful, I will flood the very area that I am trying to secure at the map's edge. Slower is better.

Even in such a limited form, a lava flood upon a glacier is a sight to behold.

I decide to halt the flow of lava to the north - I am concerned that the flood is reaching to far to the south. This can be remedied - after the lava has dried, the channel can be extended, since the edge of the plateau is now further out. I order both levers to be pulled, sending the flow of lava to the southern channel.

One door flicks open while another snaps shut.

Slowly but surely, the lava creeps down the corridor.

As I watch, the flow reaches the plateau's edge and a wall of steam shoots up into the sky. It is likely that I will have to cease this flow before it reaches the map's edge as well - I need to be very careful not to let the flows reach too far into the space between them. Once the lava has dried, I will extend the channels closer to the map's edge, allowing for an even greater degree of precision - this will almost certainly mean that this year's caravan will perish before the dwarves complete their task.

I might as well have the dwarves begin work on the improvements. The passage workers once used to reach the plateau is now filled with lava - I order two new corridors to be carved out, one to the north and one to the south, to grant access to the work site. I do notice one open square on the south side, but don't think too much of it - it's just a patch of elf blood snow.

The flooding to the south continues for as long as I will allow it.

It reaches about halfway to the map's edge when I decide to halt the flow. I am content to let this year's caravan perish upon the ice, if it means that I have a good chance at being prepared for next year's caravan.

I order the door to the southern channel to be closed...

...and with the pull of a lever, it snaps shut.

Now, I must wait. The lava will dry in its own time - there is no rushing it.

In reality, it will be quite some time. I continue to prepare in other ways for when the dwarves will be able to extend the channels.

I notice a strange scene in the southern corridor I had ordered to be carved out - the eastern bit of the tunnel has yet to be dug out, and shallow puddles of magma fill the corridor. But how? There is no connection between this passage and the lava on the other side of the wall.

Unless... oh no. I realize my mistake in a painful flash. That open spot, which I had assumed was elf blood snow, was, in fact, lava.

My heart sinking, I examine the units list - a familiar name, a name I have known since Roomcarnage's earliest days, that for years has been right there at the top of the units list, is no longer there. I examine the other miners - all of them were migrants. None were founders.

There is no more question of it, nor is there anything to be done. Kadol Worklimb is dead.

I am almost positive I know what happened - but I need to be sure. I order the engraving of a slab memorializing Kadol Worklimb.

As the engraver works, the lava continues to dry.

Before too long, the slab is finished, and I order it to be placed in the memorial hall outside the mayor's quarters.

Once it is in place, I read the slab - it is as much of a confirmation I will ever receive as to the fate of Kadol Worklimb, founding miner of Roomcarnage.

Up on the plateau, the lava has receded enough in some places to allow the construction of a wall, extending the channel eastward.

The dwarves make the dangerous trek across the plateau to the dig site, carefully avoiding patches of still-cooling lava - the dwarves, apparently, have no trouble discerning between lava and elf blood snowdrifts.

The dwarves lay the bricks in place, and things are looking pretty great. Of course, it is unlikely that work will be finished before the caravan arrives - but I'm resigned at this point to planning for next year's autumn. Even if the flooding had been successful on the first try, I would still have to carve out a trade depot, and a tunnel leading to the fortress below - that will have to wait, of course. For the time being, everything is progressing according to plan.

That is, however, until one of the dwarves opens the door leading to the flooded corridor and sets themselves on fire.

Cursing my own lack of foresight - you can always trust the dwarves to do the stupidest thing in any given situation - I lock and seal both doors.

With the access tunnel flooded, the dwarves scatter. Libash Stakeamazes, the weaponsmith, drops his stone blocks when he spots a foul fog zombie over the edge of the plateau.

This is fine - not a problem. I will simply have the dwarves carve a side passage. This is only a minor setback, I tell myself, trying to stem the rising tide of panic - at least the dwarves who died were incinerated, and won't return as undead. Yes, this situation isn't as bad as it seems - then, why do I feel so uneasy?

Oh. That's why.

A new ghost has arrived - Mafol Acerelics, a spectral metalsmith who is not content in his unlife to simply harass and depress the dwarves of the Momentous Dye. Mafol is a murderous spirit, and has already claimed one soul - the operator of the lowest pump. Sensing that the pump was unpowered, another dwarf set themselves to the task, but opening the door, found only horror and death.

Such is life, in Roomcarnage.

It is the 7th of Timber, in the late autumn of 1215. There is no chance now that the dwarves of the Momentous Dye will be ready for this year's caravan, which will arrive in mere days. If they can manage their current situation - multiple deaths, an undead incursion, and a murderous ghost - the dwarves may be prepared for next year's round of merchants. Then again, I must remind myself, and my readers, that nothing is guaranteed in Roomcarnage except death - that the future of the dwarves of the Momentous Dye perhaps holds treasure and glory, and certainly holds death and misery. Will they achieve one before succumbing to the other? Only time will tell.