...continued from part one

Spring arrives on the calendar. Fortunately, nobody dies this time.

Towards the end of the season, another clothier is taken by a mood! My strategy of training recently grown peasants in clothesmaking is paying off.

The clothier claims a workshop, and begins gathering raw materials.

Besides the moody clothier, the springtime is uneventful.

Construction begins - I hope for something useful!

I am slightly disappointed - but at least it's not a scepter or a ring or something like that.

The heavily ornamented glove, dubbed the Glum Trifles, showcases a bit of ancient history - the ascension of one of the first dwarven kings.

Summer slips into autumn.

It occurs to me that the steady passage of time is bringing with it a new threat - an abundance of cats. Cats can be dangerous - they adopt dwarves of their own accord, and in great numbers can drag the FPS of even the most well-designed fortress into oblivion. Fortunately, only a few of the cats have adopted dwarves - and FPS is not a huge issue in Roomcarnage anyway. After all, there are only so many places to which a cat can path.

I will not risk the cats becoming an issue. I order all strays to be butchered.

The dwarves make use of the butchery - an older portion of the fortress, which has gone unused for years. The constant threat of the Ice of Ghosts makes butchering animals a dangerous affair - any raw hides or coats of hair produced by a butcher will rise as horrific undead monsters before they can be tanned or disposed of.

Kittens are small beasts, though. When butchered, they produce only skulls.

Time drags on. A dwarven child is possessed. I prepare myself for more disappointment.

Unpredictably, the child produces a unique and interesting artifact!

The incredibly named dog bone pick is unremarkable, except for the fact that it is a pick made of bone. I remind myself that this pick can carve through stone and ore, and try not to think too hard about it.

As the months have gone by, many ghosts have appeared and been put to rest. The memorial hall, which lies between the statuary and the unused mayoral suite, is thoroughly lined with engraved slabs. Another location will be needed for future memorials.

Winter arrives.

As the season turns, a farmer is taken by a strange mood.

The farmer claims a craftsdwarf's workshop. Zon Chancetraded is a dabbling engraver - not a clothier. Damn.

Zon produces an obsidian scepter.

Gorgeruled - useless and unremarkable. At least I now have a legendary engraver.

Spring arrives on the calendar. Where has the year gone?

With the passing of the year, three stray dogs die of old age! The dwarves must act quickly - years have passed with little event, but this could be the spark that ignites the inevitable firestorm that is Roomcarnage's final fate.

I find one of the dog corpses in the upper food stockpile.

The other two are in the old statuary, far from the incineration chute.

I unpause, hoping that haulers can arrive before any of the corpses reanimate - but within seconds, one of the beasts rises again as a shambling, life-hating zombie.

Fortunately, the undead has strayed into the lower food stockpile, which is adjacent to the incineration chute. It is a small blessing, but even the smallest of fortunes is cause for celebration in Roomcarnage.

I order the Worthy Seals, led by Adil Claspedpalace, to station themselves within the lower stockpile.

As the warriors rush to the scene, the dog corpse chases civilians through the carefully arranged pots and barrels.

The militia arrives at nearly the same time as two haulers, carrying the other dog corpses.

The Worthy Seals charge the undead monster - one axedwarf reaches the enemy before the others and severs its leg before cutting it down.

I order the once-undead dog and its severed leg to be dumped. The dwarves carrying the other corpses dropped their loads the moment they saw the undead - new haulers will need to come and carry the bodies the rest of the way.

Fortunately, the dogs are tossed into the chute without further incident. The crisis is averted.

I allow the Worthy Seals to return to their training, and life continues for another improbable year in Roomcarnage.

Another child is taken by a strange mood - it is unfortunate. If these children would make it to adulthood without suffering through a useless mood, they could be trained as clothiers.

Hmm, this is interesting.

The cat bone door, questionably named Shrivelromance, is emblazoned with three images. One is a depiction of a zombie slaying a dwarf, here in Roomcarnage. Another is an image of an ettin slaying a dwarf, quite a bit earlier in time. The last image is a depiction of Strappingtame the Cosmos of Yelling - the adamantine weapon rack that now stands in the center of the dining hall. Shrivelromance is interesting - I have no immediate use for it, but perhaps one will arise.

Spring passes unremarkably into summer.

Another ghost rises to haunt the fortress - at first I pay it no mind, but I notice something striking. This is no ordinary ghost.

It is a ghostly vampire! Could it be?

No. The true name of the vampire mayor of Roomcarnage was Adil Crushedgild, not Udib Helmshot. However, there were two other worshipers of Zon who made the trek across the Ice of Ghosts during the fortress' earliest years. This ghost must be the remnants of one of those monsters.

I order a slab to be engraved. Perhaps I can gather more information this way.

I order the slab to be built...

...and the vampire is finally put to rest.

I examine the slab in an attempt to confirm the identity of the vampire. It would appear that Udib Helmshot, Slayer of Dwarves was encased in ice in the year 1210. After some research, I identify this vampire as Doren Gemslip, one of the worshipers of Zon who migrated to Roomcarnage along with Rith Craftportent. Doren Gemslip - a pseudonym - was mysteriously exposed to the foul fog shortly after arriving, and resided upon the surface for many years as a foul fog zombie vampire. During one of the great magma deluges, both Doren and another vampire - Domas Firstfigures - were slain. Doren was encased in encroaching ice, and Domas was incinerated in a torrent of magma.

It's odd to think back to those days. Roomcarnage faced such dire foes, but there was still such hope for the future. The surface was not so blasted then, and caravans came every year. Even the dwarves' greatest enemies, the Worshipers of Zon, were an asset - the magma-spewing weapon could not have been completed without their help. In those days, I could not imagine Roomcarnage lasting for more than another year or two.

Yet here we are. Months pass into years. The surface grows ever more inhospitable, and the caravans have ceased their voyages. The vampires are long dead - Doren by ice, Domas by fire, and Rith by atomizing drawbridge. All that remains are those dwarves unlucky enough to still live, and the Ice that is their ultimate fate. Shadows of the past, like the disembodied spirit of Udib Helmshot, also serve as grim reminders of the future that awaits all of the dwarves of the Momentous Dye.

But still, Roomcarnage endures, for as long as it is able.

As the fortress reclines into idleness, the process of keeping things running shifts away from activity and towards a few simple housekeeping tasks, performed every few months or years.

The dangers posed by exterior threats can be ignored. During these long, dark seasons, the attentions of the dwarves are focused upon keeping things running. After butchering all these cats, the refuse stockpile is nearly full.

Seeking to avoid clogging up various workshops, I order all the cat skulls to be crafted into totems. For what purpose, I ask myself? Totems have no use, except to be traded to the caravan. It is a silly question - for what purpose do we live at all? Existence has no meaning - there is only will.

To ensure that the craftsdwarf's workshop does not, in turn, become clogged with totems, I allow the fortress' block stockpile to include finished goods.

Ah ha! Another amateur clothier is taken by a mood.

Will she produce something useful? I hope.

Before Inod Meethandles can complete her artifact, a visitor arrives at Roomcarnage - a minotaur!

I can't recall if a minotaur has ever visited Roomcarnage before - this might have been a momentous occasion, if the surface weren't totally forsaken already.

A moment after arriving on the map, the minotaur is beset upon from all sides by undead. In a flash, she is twisted into a foul fog zombie.

It doesn't take much - you can spot the exact moment where the minotaur was zombified. The minotaur seized a dwarven child's fourth finger, and by the time the child has a chance to respond, the curse has already befallen the beast.

Now at peace with one another, the combat ceases. The armies of undeath have a new champion to bolster their ranks.

Before much longer, Inod Meethandles completes her artifact - an adamantine skirt!

The Haunt of Apexes, while not entirely spectacular, is still a valuable addition to the fortress' arsenal. Skirts (the medium-length variety, not to be confused with long or short skirts), protect a dwarf's lower body and upper legs. So this artifact is sort of like a metal kilt. Awesome.

I order Commander Adil to equip the Haunt of Apexes...

...and soon the might warrior is clad in both adamantine cloak and skirt.

Time passes...

...and another clothier is taken by a mood!

How fortuitous! Hoods provide valuable head protection - oddly, the head is one of the few places not protected by cloaks.

The hood is a true masterpiece. In addition to the standard decorations, the artifact features images of a deposed, confused vampire king and a dwarf-slaying ettin. Spectacular.

Before I can equip the militia commander with this new garment, the new year arrives, heralded by deaths, as usual. This time, six dogs die of old age all at once - if the dwarves act quickly, and are a bit lucky, this situation could be contained without more casualties. If they are unlucky, this situation could easily spiral out of control.

Three of the dogs perished while a dozen of them were packed into a bedroom, not far from the kitchens.

Two more died in the dining hall and the statuary, respectively.

The sixth dog died in the old statuary. I order all of the corpses to be dumped.

I also deploy the military to secure each location. I station the Labyrinthine Pants in the dormitory, the Tin Diversions at the doorway between the dining hall and the statuary, and the Worthy Seals in the old statue hall.

Their orders are received, and the warriors stomp off to guard the rest of the dwarves.

There is a fortunate side effect to all of this idle waiting - there are no shortage of dwarves willing to take up hauling jobs.

Things get a little crowded with so many dwarves rushing into the tight corridors, but it's for the best.

The first hauler has almost reached the incineration chute when I receive the dreaded notification.

I check the combat reports - the reanimated dog corpse has already attacked a living hound and done serious, possibly fatal damage.

Fortunately the military is already on the scene. The sight of stray dogs killing each other is not as traumatizing as seeing undead friends and cousins, so I consider it lucky that only strays have been injured so far.

The military slays the dog corpse - but as they do so, I notice more job cancellations. Another dog has risen from the dead.

As well, two more living dogs have been slain. My heartrate quickens - this outbreak could easily destroy the fortress if I am not careful. Even if I am careful, it could still prove catastrophic.

I check the combat reports again - the dog corpse managed to slay their living cousin but soon afterwards fell to the militia.

I sift through the pools and spatterings of dog blood to find the mutilated corpses, and order them to be dumped.

I also revise the station of the Tin Diversions, so it lies closer to the newly-slain corpses.

Haulers arrive quickly. I hold my breath...

...and watch as, one by one, the dog corpses are brought to the incineration shaft and hurled in.

Soon, there is only once corpse left. I follow it, waiting for a hauler to arrive...

...but I quickly realize that no hauler will take the body, because it is lodged in a statue. I order the statue to be deconstructed.

The building is torn down.

A few seconds later, the same dwarf that tore down the statue picks up the corpse and hauls it downstairs.

I watch as the corpse is flung into the shaft, then plummets down into the magma sea. It disappears instantly, and I breathe a sigh of relief.

The situation has been handled tidily - the fortress is secured for another year. I cancel the militia's orders, and allow them to return to their duties. As well, I add the newly crafted artifact to Commander Adil's uniform. Soon, her suit of copper plate is layered with glimmering folds of decorated adamantine cloth - the hood Glowingcharms, the skirt the Haunt of Apexes, and the cloak Carnagecold. Few fortresses have produced such magnificent protection - it is a shame that the outside world will never hear of the Adil Claspedpalace, or her adamantine clothing.

It is the 4th of Granite, in the early spring of 1221. Fully twenty years have passed since the dwarves of the Momentous Dye first struck the Ice of Ghosts in the shadow of the Oily Furnace. In those days, few would have expected the fortress to last more than a few months - my estimates were even more conservative. And yet, somehow, against some of the most dire odds that Dwarf Fortress can throw into the mix, Roomcarnage has endured for two decades. I hesitate to hope, but I expect that this it will last for many more years. The dwarves quietly and carefully bide their time in the darkness, growing their strength until the time has come to face the ultimate evil. How far off is that day? Nobody can say - but the tale will be told long after the eyes of the last dwarf are shut, in whispers and groans and rattling breaths, by the unfortunate few whose disembodied souls remain to haunt the ruins of Roomcarnage.