...continued from part two

The militia engage Faithheated...

...and after a few blows, the beast is returned to a state of restfulness.

I designate Faithheated's flesh to be dumped.

I watch, waiting for the mention of a job interruption amidst the endless reports of corpses caught in flames. As a few of the corpses are dumped, I notice one, and manage to catch it in time to trace the source.

The corpse of the cat Dakost V├║shmelbil has risen from the dead. Nearby, a hauler has dropped the dog corpse they were carrying - I redesignate it to be dumped.

The cat corpse scampers down into the lower stockpile, chasing after a dwarven child for some time until the military catches up. The beast is slain...

...but rises again, almost instantaneously.

Fortunately, with so many warriors present, the little monster stands no chance. It is slain once more, and I order it to be dumped.

I wait and watch once more...

...but it seems that the annual new year's crisis has been averted.

I double-check the stocks screen, and find that all six corpses, dogs and cat, have been removed.

Now - how to deal with this nuisance? It is not merely an issue of aesthetics - all of these pointless announcements clog the feed and make it difficult to identify authentic threats when they arise.

I have a solution in mind - demolish both corpses, and perhaps their fiendish assailant, by dropping huge blocks of raw stone onto them. It won't be tidy - the ceiling of the caverns are run through with undead-infested corridors. What's more, the bit of stone that I would specifically like to drop is right next to an undead at this very moment.

Rather than try and fight the undead, secure the section of tunnels I want to control, and then seal it off - a dangerous, foolhardy endeavor - I decide to instead use a preliminary stone-fall to isolate the necessary tunnels in the first place. I carefully identify the location of the plug, and begin designating the space around it to be carved out. These falling-rock devices are simple, but care must be taken in their execution, lest a miner be crushed. Here in Roomcarnage, as always, there is an extra set of consequences associated with failure.

Once the designations are in place, I connect them to a section of the mines still controlled by the dwarves.

I unpause... and nothing happens. All of the fortress' miners are preoccupied with other tasks. Ah well, there's no rush, I suppose.

As I wait for excavation to begin, another useless artifact is created - a dog bone ring.

Negativecolor, the dwarves call it. It is a nice ring. Useless, but nice.

A distressing announcement appears - miraculously, I notice it amidst the endless stream of old news.

A rotten dog skin? In the fortress? How could this have happened? The butchery shops are surrounded on all sides by cage traps!

Ah. Not on all sides, it would seem. On the far side of the southwest workshop, a stairwell leads into the secluded section of mines that lead to the rock-fall trap.

This is no ordinary undead. Reanimated animal hides are terrors to face. They lack bones, or flesh - attacks pass right through without dealing any damage. Bludgeoning weapons are entirely useless against such creatures. This rotten undead will engulf, pummel, constrict, and smother any living creature it happens upon.

I take no risks - not with skin. I order the entire fortress to retreat to a highly restricted area, creatively named the Double Emergency Burrow.

The Double Emergency Burrow covers the heart of the fortress - the food stockpiles, the dining halls, the farms, and the old hospital. With such an alert in place, much of the fortress may continue their duties, but any dwarves who are still in the mines - or the butchery - will retreat to safer tunnels.

With the alert activated, the announcements feed is filled with reports of job cancellations. I watch as the dwarves in the mines attempt to evade the rotten dog skin and return to the fortress.

Some make it, while others flee down dead-end corridors. I watch as a planter takes a daring risk, and tries to dodge past the fluttering hide.

No helpless planter is this - the dwarf brandishes her copper battle axe and cuts the skin into four pieces.

Even after losing its entire lower "body" and left front leg, the rotten raw hide billow after the planter. It chases the dwarf down the corridor, towards the staircase that leads back to the fortress. If only the skin would enter the butchery, and get caught by a cage trap!

Alas, not this time. The undead seems to be plenty content here in the mines, chasing after the dwarves who, one by one, manage to escape back into the fortress.

One dwarf, however - the same planter - can't quite reach the stairwell. Or, rather, can't quite flee down it. The planter runs past the stairwell several times, but in her terror she passes it by.

The planter flees down a dark, claustrophobic corridor, the undead following close behind.

It is a dead end. At some point, the planter will have to face the billowing monster.

Finally, the planter reaches the end of the tunnel - a spent vein of copper ore. At a crook in the mine, dwarf and skin meet. I watch as the planter stumbles past the undead - then turns back, and strikes a few parting blows!

The planter lops off another bit of skin, and slices a long gash in the monster's upper body.

Still, nothing will stop the rotten dog skin.

The planter flees back down the corridor - and, hopefully, with the dog skin far out of sight - up the stairwell.

This is the dwarves' chance. I order a door to be constructed at the end of the corridor. To be sure that no dwarf ventures further than that point, I forbid all of the stone and ore that lay in the passage beyond.

Then, expectantly, I cancel the alert.

To ensure that nothing like this happens again, I order cage traps to be built around the base of the stairwell leading between the butchery and the mines. Then - just to be sure - I order the other bits of skin, that the planter hacked off in the southern section of the mines, to be dumped.

Soon, the door is built. I have the door locked, and sealed firmly. Then, I order a wall to be constructed, forever sealing off the corridor. The crisis is averted - without a single casualty. In other fortresses, such a feat might be considered a victory - but in Roomcarnage, the success is hollow, for with it comes the understanding that death is a mercy, and that the greatest punishment for the dwarves of the Momentous Dye is merely an extension of their profound suffering.

Soon, the preliminary rock plug is complete. At two urists high, it will ensure that the section of tunnel to the east will be sealed off, as well as leave a nice section of raw stone in the chamber above, satisfying my irrational concern that there might be a gap left between the plug and the ceiling it just fell through. The plug is supported by a single pillar, already linked to a lever.

I order the lever to be pulled.

A dwarf arrives, mechanisms grind, and somewhere else in the fortress, the cavern collapses.

Clouds of smoke and dust, filled with tumbling boulders and shards of crushed stone, fill the bloodied corridors of the abandoned mines. A section of the mines is cleanly separated from the rest of the labyrinth, containing only a severed head.

Now, for the really dangerous part. I order a stairwell to be carved between the plug chamber and the tunnel below. Then, I station the fortress' most skilled warriors, the Worthy Seals, to be stationed in the plug chamber.

The warriors arrive, and a miner soon afterwards. The stairwell is hewn.

Now, the Worthy Seals go on the offensive - I order them to take control of the tunnel from the lone undead inside.

The battle is over in seconds.

I order the severed head - now missing all of its teeth - to be dumped.

A hauler arrives and carries off the head. I follow it closely, just to be sure it doesn't reanimate en route to the incineration shaft.

Fortunately, the head is disposed of without incident.

Now, the time has come to craft the stone-fall traps that will actually obliterate the eternally burning undead, as well as the fire-spewing imp. As before, I carefully designate the space around the missiles - a stone block measuring one urist on each edge - to be carved away.

One of the plugs must be carved out several urists higher than the other - this one will actually plummet through the previously hewn out plug chamber.

As the dwarves work, summer arrives on the calendar.

Soon, the plugs are complete. The supports are in place - the northwest plug is actually connected to the ceiling, rather than being held up off the floor. The levers have been linked. All that remains is to pull the lever.

I take one last look at the placement of the plugs, and the positions of their targets far below. In all these months, the three monsters in the magma have not moved at all. Good.

It occurs to me that, after the lever is pulled, there will be an open passage from the caverns to these mines. The holes left in the cavern ceiling by the falling stone will allow any flying creature to enter the fortress. Previous experiences with such a visitor have made a singular impression on me - I order the plug chambers to be walled off.

Then, the dwarves pull the lever.

Simultaneously, both blocks of stone plummet downward, leaving twin pillars of smoke and dust in their wake. I check their destinations - the imp, and both undead, are no more.

I watch with satisfaction as the smoke and magma mist clear, and the molten rock displaced by the stone plugs washes up onto the scorched cavern floor nearby.

Back in the fortress, training continues - in peace.

It is the 19th of Hematite, in the early summer of 1223. Years grind by as the dwarves of the Momentous Dye hone their martial skills and prepare for glory. These are the autumn days of Roomcarnage. No more is the excitement of conquering the surface, for the surface is lost. No more is the hope that the fortress might one day become the mountainhome, for the dwarves of the Momentous Dye have been forsaken. The grim future that was once whispered of with fearful anticipation has come to pass, and the dwarves now see Roomcarnage for what it was always fated to be - a frozen tomb, stained with blood and necrotic magic, a fortress of the dead.