...continued from part one

Already, Bëmbul Brushedguild has engraved the entire statuary and memorial hall - a testament either to her legendary skill, or the amount of time that has elapsed since I issued the work order.

I take a moment to look over a few of the engravings. Some are simple, yet informative - I discover, after nearly forty years in the Ice of Ghosts, that the symbol of the Momentous Dye is a mantis. A symbol of patience, of stealth, of impending but unheralded violence.

Other engravings detail specific events. I find many, for example, that depict the founding of Roomcarnage in the early spring of 1201 - thirty-seven years ago.

The rest of the event-related engravings tend to depict battles between dwarves and various beasts and monsters that took place upon the Ice of Ghosts. This engraving - a depiction of the slaying of a polar bear named Clinchrampages by the dwarven hero Mörul Tiredknives the Tin Limb of Bridles three centuries ago - is a prime example.

On the other hand, the symbol of the Playful Spattered Walls - the broader dwarven civilization to which the Momentous Dye theoretically belongs - is an unbroken circle. A symbol of eternity and perfection.

There are many engravings that celebrate artifacts that have been created here in Roomcarnage.

There are a few engravings, however, which commemorate less heroic events - from the perspective of the dwarves, at least.

There are also many artistic engravings, which depict no specific events or items or symbols - art for the sake of art, courtesy of Bëmbul Brushedguild's sense of personal expression. Good job, Bëmbul.

Curiously, I find a depiction of the ghostly vampire, Adil Crushedgild, making a plaintive gesture while the other dwarves refuse her. The engraving relates to the departure of the ghostly vampire from the position of mayor - and event which occurred when her physical form was obliterated by a drawbridge.

After thoroughly sifting through the new engravings, I withdraw my attention and allow the fortress to grind forward once more. More artifacts, of course, are produced in the following months - including the impressively named Battlewraths the Factional Square, a native copper amulet.

The next artifact gives me pause - a thong woven of adamantine thread. This gleaming cyan loincloth, encrusted with gems and menacing with spikes, is perhaps the greatest groin protection one could hope for. The name, however...

...Ast Authorchambers somehow thought it would be a great idea to name this adamantine thong after herself. Perhaps she intends to start her own clothing line.

Before the year turns, an artifact dacite bed is produced - it would be a perfect sleeping-place for a noble, if only one dwelt in Roomcarnage.

Another year passes on the calendar.

More artifacts - another depiction of the founding of the fortress, this time with adjoining images of a fearsome yeti and a vampire general.

An adamantine mitten, for when the oven is very, very hot.

A sheep wool cloak, for the fashionable traveler who likes to brag about the names of their clothing.

The year 1240 arrives on the calendar - and brings with it the death of an axedwarf.

It is a distressing event for some - but perhaps it is only distressing because those who witnessed the axedwarf's death are aware that in Roomcarnage, an early death is a mercy. This axedwarf's body will be hurled into the heart of the earth and incinerated immediately, and as soon as their spirit appears they will be laid to rest without hesitation. It is the most peaceful fate any dwarf of the Momentous Dye can hope to achieve - for those who live to see Roomcarnage's final days, there will be no rest, for body or for spirit.

After designating the corpse to be dumped, it is hauled away to the incineration chute as quickly as the dwarves are able.

I follow the corpse, ready at any moment to summon the militia should it shudder to unlife - but no need arises. The body of the axedwarf disappears into the magma sea, forever safe from the reanimating clutches of the Ice of Ghosts.

More artifacts - a pig tail fiber loincloth uncomfortably named Scaldgem...

...and a dacite crown named the Wire of Shocks, which appropriately includes an image of one of the Playful Spattered Walls' earliest kings.

Another year passes on the calendar...

...bringing with it even more artifacts.

Sometimes, artifacts do contain curious flecks of information - this coat, for example, either celebrates or laments the ascension of a vampire king in 369. It is possible that the current dwarven king is a vampire, as well.

The monotony is broken up by another kind of ascension - one of the warriors of Roomcarnage has achieved the title of axe lord!

There are now a few dwarves in Roomcarnage who have achieved a high level of mastery, either with their chosen weapon or in the art of fighting in general.

These warriors will be a great asset in the desperate battles to come.

Alas, my negligence has resulted in a potential disaster - by allowing the fortress to basically run idle, I overlooked a lack of materials for a child's strange mood.

I mobilize the portion of the military that is on active duty, and order them to slay the berserk child.

I unpause, and watch as the child leaves the workshop and ascends the stairwell leading from the magma forges to the rest of the fortress.

The berserk youth does not make it much further beyond the top of the stairwell.

It is a brutal death - dismemberment of two limbs, followed by disembowelment. The child bleeds to death in seconds.

I order the child's body - and their severed limbs - to be dumped.

The severed leg is no threat, really - it might rot, emitting a cloud of miasma that will bring down morale, but besides that it is harmless. Both the body and the severed arm, however, have the potential to reanimate as undead horrors.

I watch warily as the child is carried to the incineration chute in three armloads...

...and mercifully, all three are hurled into the magma sea without incident.

A new year arrives.

A new artifact armor stand is produced, with a curious name: Helmstwinkle the Cat of Romancing. I don't know what it means - I have only questions. Why a cat of romancing? Who is Tekkud Listentomb? The world may never know.

A dacite piccolo named Staledeath - an appropriate name for a rock instrument.

A dog bone cage, which bears a depiction of a remarkably current event - the settlement of a well-known dwarven warrior in Roomcarnage in the early spring of 1203.

A sheep wool cap, which bears a depiction of an ancient conflict between dwarves and goblins, named The Crazy Battle. I wonder what was crazy about it - perhaps individual warriors were driven insane by the carnage. That seems likely.

My attention is suddenly caught by something out of the ordinary - a cloud of miasma, filling the finished goods stockpile and clothier's workshops.

I scan the floor beneath the miasma for the cause - and find a severed leg.

Still standing - floating? - above the dismembered limb is a violent spirit. I do a double take - it's the angry ghost of the dwarven child that went berserk last year!

First, I order the leg to be dumped into magma.

Then, I order a memorial to be engraved for violent Feb - I also notice that there are a few other ghosts in need of memorializing, so I add them to the queue as well.

While I wait for the slab to be carved, another artifact is made - a pair of trousers bearing the image of a goblin being slain by a giantess.

Once the slab has been engraved, I look towards the memorial hall - it is full to the brim with slabs already. So too is the hallway leading south from the hall to the stairs that lead to the well. The dwarves have carved so many memorials over the years for so many dead, that they are running out of places to erect slabs.

I find an unused section of the fortress - the old archery range - and order the memorials to be built there. No dwarf uses the archery range anymore - ever since the great military disaster of 1214, I have been loathe to train any marksdwarves.

Soon, the memorials are in place in the quiet hall, and the violent ghost fades into eternity.

I notice a distressing notification - a kitten has adopted the manager!

The cat population cannot be allowed to spiral out of control - I order the remaining unclaimed kitten to be slaughtered, lest the fortress be overrun with felines.

Soon afterwards, another artifact is created - a pair of braies named the Brash Executioner, emblazoned with images of an adamantine crown and a werecapybara. It is terrifying!

The relative peace is broken again when I notice yet another disturbing announcement.

A shambling corpse has somehow found its way into the statuary. Frankly, I am at a loss - I didn't notice any dwarf's death, and to my knowledge Roomcarnage is completely sealed off from the surface. Where could it have come from?

Hmm. The military is nearby, and in force - close and strong enough to contain any outbreak, even if Inod Odrozathel's corpse murders the injured planter on the ground before it. I decide to take a moment to investigate the situation, and to try and determine where this corpse came from - if it managed to make it in from the outside, after all, the dwarves could have a much greater problem on their hands than a single undead.

First, the combat reports - all that is evident is the corpse's assault of Tulon Cagetreaty, the planter. It is possible that the corpse was involved in other conflicts, but nothing recent enough to appear in the reports.

I notice that a nearby planter, Rith Flagclub, is very unhappy - a dismal mood, far worse than one would expect for simply witnessing an undead monster.

I check Rith's thoughts and preferences - and there it is! "She has lost a sibling to tragedy recently."

I examine Rith's relationships, and find that Inod Odrozathel is her older sister.

By locating Inod Odrozathel - "Inod Fatalrings" - on another dwarves' relationships screen, I can access her most recent thoughts and preferences, even though she is dead. This reveals that, at time of death, Inod was dehydrated, starving, and tired. I can deduce that she was either isolated somehow - left in a locked room, or in chains - or she was insane and refused food or drink.

I do find Inod's name in the justice screen - but it is impossible to tell if her death was due to a failed mood, or the result of draconian justice. In any case, I can be sure that Inod's corpse did not wander in from outside the fortress, and that the present threat is posed by her corpse alone.

continued in part three...