...continued from part one

In the midsummer of 1227, a unique and terrifying visitor arrives at Roomcarnage.

No dragon has ever deigned to attack Roomcarnage before. Inira Diamondjade the Torrid Silver of Glows is the first of her kind to menace the dwarves of the Momentous Dye.

I use an alternate save and go into Legends mode to find out more about Inira. She is an ancient creature - over twelve centuries old, if the myths are true. While she once made her lair in the Walls of Toning - the forbidding central mountain range that is also home to the Playful Spattered Walls - she has spent most of her life wandering the lifeless wastes of the Ice of Ghosts, attacking any traveler unlucky enough to cross her path.

Her centuries have been long and lonely - for such a beast, I would have expected a much greater kill list. What madness has driven Inira Diamondjade to wander the Ice of Ghosts? Perhaps it is the same madness that has driven the dwarves here as well.

For whatever reason, this ancient reptile has now come to Roomcarnage. I watch as the great beast exhales colossal gouts of flame across the glacier, clearing away the ageless snowdrift, reducing the foul fog to pools of green muck at the edge of the conflagration.

Soon, the glacier is a light with burning corpses, and a great cloud of smoke rises over the haunted ice.

Soon, the inevitable occurs - one of the undead manages to land a blow on the dragon.

Even the slightest contact is all it takes for the curse to spread.

The smoke continues to billow, but the dragonfire has ceased. Inira Diamondjade the Torrid Silver of Glows has joined the ranks of the undead.

I didn't think it was possible, but this quadrant of the map has now grown even more inhospitable. It doesn't seem as if the flaming undead have any effect upon the ice beneath them - a pity. I was hoping for something a little more spectacular.

Life in Roomcarnage continues. A clothier produces an artifact - an adamantine sock dubbed the Permanent Culmination. I'm not sure what the dwarf meant when it bestowed the name, but I assign it to the militia commander anyway.

Some artifacts are even more useless than socks - their creation serves only to mark the slow, grinding passage of time.

A new year arrives. One of the cats dies of old age - its body reanimates twice on the way to the incineration shaft, but there are no injuries among the dwarves.

Ah, wonderful! This adamantine face veil will make a fine addition to Commander Adil's uniform. It even has an image of the headscarf!

Ah, an artifact mechanism. I doubt this will have much use in Roomcarnage, but it may yet serve a purpose before the end.

With the passing of the years, many of the younger dwarves have grown into adulthood. I create a new militia squad - the Tombs of Memory - and enlist the newly eligible young adults.

Days blend into months, and months into years. Roomcarnage endures, as it always has - in darkness, fearful anticipation, and morbid expectancy.

Food production continues as always - with few solid ingredients at their disposal, the dwarven chefs have elevated dwarven sugar to the status of a nutritional staple. I can only assume that dwarven dietary needs are somewhat different than those of humans.

More artifacts - this year, a cat bone chain named Fanciedrelieves the Spires of Competition.

As well, an adamantine loincloth, conspicuously named Bledtruss. I assign it to the commander and move on.

A new year arrives. A cat dies of old age, and its body is incinerated without incident.

A worthless quern.

And a less worthless shoe.

Besides these two artifacts, the year passes uneventfully.

As does the next.

It would seem that the dwarves tend to produce two artifacts each year - not quite like clockwork, although they seem regular enough.

The next spring arrives silently and uneventfully. In truth, it marks the completion of Roomcarnage's 30th year.

The dwarves continue to train and produce artifacts. The Lustrous Strikes - an excellent artifact bed, fit for the king that never came.

A native copper earring named the Pregnancy of Contesting, the existence of which will never be made known to the outside world.

Like the turning of an hourglass, winter once again slides into spring - but this time, it brings a shock. Two dwarves have died of old age.

Without wasting any time, I locate their corpses and order them to be dumped.

Before the deed is done, I take a moment to look up the two deceased dwarves. Kol Fanggravel came to Roomcarnage in the mid-spring of 1202.

Dôbar Tomeswatch arrived in the same migration wave as Kol. Both were one hundred fifty-two years old.

Unfortunately, Dôbar's corpse reanimates in the lower food stockpile before it can be dumped.

I order five squads - the Worthy Seals, the Rapidity of Ink, the Everlasting Wires, the Tin Diversions, and the Labyrinthine Paints - to report to the lower food stockpile.

As the militia rushes to the scene, Dôbar's corpse chases its former hauler and a cat into the passage way to the north. Kol Fanggravels corpse lies abandoned at the mouth of the passage, which leads to the incineration shaft. If both were to reanimate...

The corpse attacks the cat, grabbing it by the throat and nose and kicking it - mercifully, one of the fortress' swordsdwarves arrives and attacks the undead. The warrior bites the monster in the leg, latching on for a moment before the undead wrenches out of his grip. With two slices, the swordsdwarf disembowels and decapitates the corpse.

I order the remains - head and mutilated body - to be dumped.

The body parts are dumped, but not without incident - another reanimation occurs, and an axedwarf is seriously wounded. A hauler soon arrives and escorts the injured warrior to the infirmary, where her wounds are treated.

Life continues in Roomcarnage - complete with useless artifacts.

Even more dwarves have reached adulthood - I create yet another new squad, and enlist all eligible civilians.

As the fresh recruits gather up their equipment, I survey the fortress. Not much has changed in ten years - many more cages in the statuary, of course, and the familiar barks that once echoed through these halls have long since ceased. The old memorial hall is more symmetrical than it once was - the result of securely abandoning a portion of the fortress that was once jealously protected. The warriors are perhaps more skilled than they were, and there are certainly far fewer children now. But besides that - little has changed. Throughout these frigid tunnels, life continues - devoid of effort outside of training, where my only actions are that of periodic maintenance. Each year comes and goes without expectation or anxiety, bringing with it new artifacts, new deaths, and new ghosts.

Speaking of ghosts - I realize it has been a while since I had a round of slabs engraved. I go to the craftsdwarf's workshop and check the engraving list - there is only one name on the list.

My heart freezes. A draft of cool air wafts over me, even though all my doors and windows are sealed. I know this name.

I find the restless haunt in the dining hall, mingling with those she never met in life. My skin crawls as I read her name: Adil Crushedgild, ghostly vampire.

Over two decades ago, the dwarves created a statue. A statue that seemed to imply that they knew the true nature of the vile, life-hating monster that had inexplicably usurped the position of mayor despite never meeting a single living member of the fortress.

This statue depicted the vampire mayor as who she truly was - Adil Crushedgild. The dwarves knew, then, of the vampires true identity - and I realized in a flash of terrible insight that it was I for whom the disguise was meant. The dwarves never knew Adil as anything but Adil - they never had to look into the cold violet eyes of Rith Craftportent.

But I did.

It is the 16th of Felsite, in the late spring of 1233. Nearly a decade has passed since I began this chapter, in the early summer of 1223. Since then, a foul fog zombie dragon has taken up residence atop the Oily Furnace, the vampire mayor has returned in spectral form, and the militia commander is now thoroughly shrouded in adamantine cloth. I never expected Roomcarnage to grow to be a year old, let alone three decades - but here it is, enduring years at a time beneath a terrifying glacier. I cannot say when the end will come - it may yet be many decades off. It may be just around the corner. One thing is certain - the dwarves of the Momentous Dye will not succumb to the frigid darkness without one final brandishing of copper and adamantine.