...continued from part one

There are now enough wafers of adamantine to move onto the next stage - actually forging the equipment. Keeping in mind the foes that Roomcarnage's bravest are preparing to face, I decide upon battle axes - their long cutting edge, combined with adamantine's propensity towards razor sharpness, will help the warriors fell even the largest foe.

But it is not enough. Most of the fortress' store of adamantine will be used up crafting just these twenty axes. More equipment is needed - armor, and perhaps cloaks.

Ignoring the risk, I order the dwarves to delve deeper.

The job is taken up by Atír Fingerarmors, a legendary miner who migrated to Roomcarnage in the mid-spring of 1202 - fifteen years ago, to the month.

Fortunately there is no disaster this time. Atír quickly sets about the vein, carving out boulder after boulder of valuable ore.

Soon, the layer is cleared - its ore added to the stockpile.

It is unreasonable, of course, to expect the dwarves to produce enough adamantine to clad twenty or more warriors entirely in adamantine. Besides, when it comes to armor, adamantine is not the final word - the metal is nigh-unpiercable, it is true, but it is a poor absorber of heavy blows. A denser metal is preferable - alas, all Roomcarnage has in the way of traditional ore is copper.

It will have to do.

Designating the long, circuitous veins for digging is a labor in and of itself.

The rewards are great, however - in a short time, the fortress' stocks of copper ore swell far beyond what is necessary.

It's time to fire those workshops up again. I queue up a fresh round of repeating extraction jobs.

As well, I set up repeating copper smelting jobs at the furnaces.

Before work can begin, another dwarf is taken with a secretive mood - this time, it is the planter Dodók Parchfence.

To my surprise, Dodók does not claim a craftsdwarf's workshop, and instead sets up shop in the magma furnace!

Dodók is only a dabbling metalsmith - but it is all it takes. Even the tiniest shred of a skill is enough to focus a dwarf upon a specific workshop. Without exception, dwarves with no crafting skills whatsoever - children, for example - claim a craftsdwarf's workshop.

As Dodók begins gathering raw materials, another forgotten beast appears out of the abyssal caverns - a colossal three-eyed pterosaur with deadly spittle.

The beast possesses a curious name, but it poses no further interest. The dwarves of the Momentous Dye have forever forsaken the caverns - whatever resources the nighted tunnels surrounding the fortress might offer, they are not needed. The only wood on the map - blood thorns - now grows in a carefully guarded tree farm near the surface, as well as in the caverns. The dwarves make do with pig tail fiber cloth, so silk is not strictly needed. Arable land, in the form of muddy cavern floor, has been tamed and sown for a decade now, and comprises a main thoroughfare within the fortress. I do not care what goes on beyond the fortress' cavern walls.

Soon, Dodók begins work on her artifact, forging the disparate and odd materials upon an iron anvil.

I watch patiently as she works at the forge. Around her, other dwarves work diligently. At the other forge, Libash Stakeamazes, legendary weaponsmith of the Momentous Dye, gathers adamantine wafers to create a deadly battle axe - once he has enough, he hammers away at the glowing blue discs, forming them upon an adamantine anvil. Around the two metalworkers, haulers run to and fro, and in the other room strand extractors work tirelessly.

Finally, Dodók completes her artifact - and it is glorious.

No mere bauble of wood or stone, the Mute Coil is a formidable barrier - menacing with spikes of obsidian, gemstone, and leather, and inlaid with obsidian and blood thorn. An image of a wren in green zircon, supported by two obsidian whip vines, is emblazoned upon the front. Truly a portal fit for a king.

Alas, without a caravan to send word back of Roomcarnage's exploits, the fortress will never have a king. What it has now, however, is arguably much more valuable - a legendary metalsmith.

Summer arrives on the calendar. Has spring passed so quickly? Adamantine extraction is a lengthy process...

Summer creeps by. Throughout the fortress, work continues. In the copper mines, picks draw near to older tunnels - digging ceases as soon as the dwarves can hear the moans of the undead through the ore.

In the metalworks, the gathering and smelting of copper ore has become the primary source of jobs. The strand extractors have worked through the stockpile of raw adamantine - Libash, the legendary weaponsmith, continues to labor in the forges.

Suddenly, Libash's work is interrupted - Äs Apexrazor strikes again!

The ghostly child cannot be allowed to continue - all it takes is a thoughtless strike, made out of misplaced rage and upset, to turn a tantrum into a disaster.

Fortunately, Äs can be dealt with. I order the ghostly child's memorial slab to be put in place - as well, I order the other slab to be constructed, even though the other ghost has caused no noticeable trouble.

One ghost is put to rest...

...and then another. More ghosts, I know, will rise in their place - the battle against the undead is ongoing and unwinnable. All the dwarves can do is strike down the monsters when they arise here, in the heart of the fortress.

And the undead do arise, often. Truly, Roomcarnage is an accursed place.

I check the combat reports - fortunately, the military was on hand to defeat the dismembered body part before it caused too much damage. I am pleased to notice that a few of the warriors have already taken to using the valuable adamantine battle axes.

I find the severed hand under a pile of soldiers. I order the hand to be dumped... but before that happens, I investigate a little further. Where did this hand come from?

The appendage once belonged to a recruit named Lolor Craftedcall. In his profile, I find a telling thought - "He has been attacked by the dead lately." It is likely that his hand was torn off by one of the ghosts that were recently put to rest.

As soon as I unpause, the hand shudders and begins scurrying about the dining hall.

Once more, the military valiantly defeat the undead.

Again, I designate the hand to be dumped - and, nearby, I find some "partial skeleton" that also belonged to Lolor Craftedcall. A fingerbone, perhaps? It doesn't matter - I designate it to be dumped as well.

I unpause and wait for a hauler to arrive - but the hand returns to unlife for the third time before anyone can dump it.

The hand offers no challenge to Roomcarnage's finest.

For the third - and, I hope, last - time, I order Lolor's severed hand to be dumped.

This time, someone arrives on the scene before the Ice of Ghosts can reanimate the flesh.

The remains of Lolor's hand are hurled into the magma vent, and there is peace. Life can continue in Roomcarnage - at least until the next near-catastrophe.

Work continues in the furnaces. The bars stockpile overflows with gleaming copper, even as the smelters fume away at full capacity. The furnace operators struggle to empty the stones stockpile, even as haulers top it off with fresh ore from the mines.

Roomcarnage has plenty of copper - it's time to put it to good use.

Unfortunately, the fortress has no armorer. I select a peasant - a young adult named Reg Strokepaints. Reg was born in Roomcarnage, having never seen the lands of her people beyond the deadly ice. I make sure that Reg has never crafted an artifact - I want to make sure that there is the potential for her to grow moody and become a legendary armorer.

As Reg begins working, her profession changes to planter instead of peasant - this is because, as a child, she gained skill by helping to gather plants from the communal farms. Farming skills, fortunately, do not interfere with moods.

I examine the stocks menu - Roomcarnage has 73 units of copper ore, and a stockpile of 502 copper bars. Plenty to supply Reg Strokepaints with everything she needs to outfit the military.

Autumn arrives on the calendar. It's amazing how quickly time seems to fly by when there isn't say, a fortress-threatening clothing shortage, or a forgotten beast incursion, or a management-intensive megaproject.

The recruits train, the furnace operators smelt ore into metal, and an amateur armorsmith teaches herself the craft. Days turn to weeks, and the stockpile of native copper shrinks and dwindles.

Finally, there is no more - all the copper that has been mined has been smelted into bars.

Reg has her work cut out for her - even though the furnace operators have blown through the entire stockpile of ore, she has yet to complete just the first work order for thirty copper helms.

I'm pretty sure that 730 copper bars are enough for all the armor that I've mandated. I turn my attention to the remaining supplies of adamantine - twenty-three wafers and fifty-four strands. I could simply have the strands smelted into wafers... but I have a better idea.

At one of the fortress' looms, I place an order to weave metal thread into cloth, and put it on repeat.

Uzol Knifebrass, the fortress' legendary weaver, takes up the task.

He works quickly, spinning shining threads of cyan gossamer into bolts of supernaturally strong cloth. When crafted into clothing - especially garments with broad coverage, like a cloak or robe - this magnificent fabric offers unparalleled protection.

Uzol's great skill produces cloth of excellent quality - to aim for anything less would be a waste of good adamantine. However, one might argue that weaving adamantine threads into cloth is itself a waste - adamantine clothing degrades over time, and at the same rate as less ostentatious garments. Why bother, then?

After most of the adamantine threads have been woven into metal cloth, I search the fortress for other peasants who have not created an artifact - these young adults represent a well of untapped potential. I enable the clothesmaking labor on as many as I can find.

Then, I place a few work orders with the manager for pig tail fiber clothing. The peasants will gain some skill in clothesmaking - not much, but enough to focus their mood, when the time comes. And when they claim a clothier's workshop, they will first seize a bolt of adamantine cloth - the result of their mood will be an indestructible metal garment that will never decay.

To make sure that only the unskilled peasants complete these jobs, I disable the clothesmaking labor on all dwarves that already possess the skill.

The clothiers-in-training get to work immediately. As with many of their other current efforts, there is little else to do now except wait.

Time passes, and a child is possessed with a strange mood.

Of course, the child claims a craftsdwarf's workshop - the mood is wasted.

Little Kogsak gathers their materials and begins working.

Before the artifact can be completed, autumn passes into winter. For the third year in a row, the caravan has not braved the trek to Roomcarnage. I would be disappointed, if I had not already given up all hope of establishing contact with the outside world.

As I predicted, nothing good comes from this mood.

A worthless bauble. The silver lining here is that Kogsak didn't claim any adamantine to make this artifact.

I sit back and take stock of the fortress. Completely isolated from the surface and the caverns, Roomcarnage has settled into a steady routine - as steady as anything can be, nestled between undead-infested mines and a malevolent glacier. The months grind by - recruits train in the dining hall, furnace operators smelt ore, and everyone drinks and eats and chats. The monotony of everyday life in Roomcarnage is punctuated by the rare visitor - who never makes it further than the edge of the map - and the occasional death by ghost or old age. This grim routine is the closest that the Momentous Dye will ever come to peace - even in death, true rest will elude them.

And yet, there is still work to be done. The new armorsmith and clothiers have many work orders to slog through - and there is no way to tell how long it will be until their labor pays off with a strange mood.

For now, I am resolved to wait. It will be many years yet, before the green recruits in the dining hall are grown into martial paragons. When I have judged them ready, they will face the greatest foe Roomcarnage will ever know - not from behind a protective grate, or at one end of a linked lever - but in melee combat, as befits a true warrior. Until then, they will train, and grow in skill, until the time comes - or until a disaster forces my hand.

And disasters happen often, here in Roomcarnage. Perhaps the more common foes - undead armies, foul fog, forgotten beasts and titans - are staved off for as long as the dwarves remain hidden beneath the volcano. But I have learned long ago that it is at those times when the dwarves of the Momentous Dye are at their most confidant, their most secure, that the worst catastrophes tend to occur.

And besides - the fortress' stores of adamantine run low. Surely it will not be long before they greedily return to the deepest mines for more.

It is the 16th of Moonstone, in the early winter of 1217. A whole year has passed - in that time, the wealth of Roomcarnage has grown immensely. Of course, it is impossible to tell by exactly how much - the fortress has not had a skilled broker for many years, and it is not likely to obtain one again. But in darkness, the dwarves grow strong - their numbers swell, slowly but surely, and their skills and blades alike are honed ever sharper. Who knows what the future holds? The dwarves do not trouble themselves with such questions, but instead hurtle forward into the future, ever seeking the glory and splendor that they know is theirs.