...continued from part two

I order a few squads to rush to the planter's defense - and to my surprise, Rith Flagclub leaps into action!

Rith leaps forward, slashes at her sister's corpse with her copper short sword - but the undead monster's attention remains focused upon the prone, injured planter.

As the rest of the military rushes into the statue hall, the battle continues to rage between Rith Flagclub, her older sister's corpse, and the agonized planter.

Looking at the combat report, it seems as if Inod Odrozathel's corpse is completely ignoring the swordsdwarf, even as her blade tears through fat and muscle.

The planter passes out from the pain before the military arrives, and collapses helplessly to the floor. All it would take at this point is one well-placed punch from Inod's corpse to double the undead threat faced by the dwarves.

The military arrives seconds later - but I fear the damage has already been done.

The warriors charge Inod Odrozathel's corpse, striking mercilessly - the killing blow is struck by one of the militia captains.

The corpse is put down - I designate its remains to be dumped. As I survey the floor, I notice some dropped equipment - a silver battleaxe, lying next to the injured planter, Tulon Cagetreaty. Tulon is having trouble breathing, which does not bode well.

As I suspected - amidst all her other injuries, her upper spine is broken.

I reexamine the combat reports, and locate the moment the injury occurred - a deadly punch to the head, tearing apart the upper spine's nervous tissue. The attack sent the planter flying - she dropped her battleaxe and slammed into the copper cage behind her.

Tulon's fate is sealed - paralyzed from the neck down, she will suffocate to death.

I leave the military stationed nearby - just in case.

As dwarves arrive to haul the dead off to the magma shaft, one well-meaning hauler comes to escort Tulon to the hospital.

She doesn't make it. Tulon suffocates before she can be carried out of the statuary.

Grimly, methodically, I order her corpse to be dumped.

The situation is still unresolved - I allow two squads to return to their training. While this might seem like I am easing up on security, in fact I am strengthening it - the training area for these squads is the central dining hall itself, through which the corpse will have to be carried on its way to the incineration shaft.

Suddenly, one of the haulers' tasks is cancelled in the worst way. "Job item misplaced" is a clever dwarven euphemism for "reanimated in the arms of the hauler."

So close! Just a few tiles away from the incineration shaft, Inod Odrozathel's corpse returned to life. The hauler, Etur Cloisteredallied, is trapped in the narrow passageway beyond the undead, which has been named Luredredged by the dwarves.

The military is too far from the incineration shaft to get there in time - Etur Cloisteredallied will need to make a stand. I examine Etur's military status - he is a member of the Silvery Soldiers. I order his squad to kill Luredredged, and order two more squads to station themselves just outside the passageway.

Etur dutifully readies himself for battle, opens the door, and rushes out to attack Luredredged. The battle rages, but Etur holds his own until the rest of the military can arrive.

Fortunately, the undead is destroyed before it was able to inflict any more damage. The final blow is a punch to the face - the mutilated corpse crumples to the stone floor amid the melodic tinkling of dwarven teeth.

Again, I order the corpse to be dumped - I ignore the teeth.

I watch with satisfaction as Luredredged and its victim's corpse are consigned to the center of the earth.

With the crisis over, I cancel all military orders. Life returns to normal - such as it is in Roomcarnage.

As time passes, artifact creation continues unabated - the first after the tragedy is a pig tail fiber robe named the Tactical Cosmos.

Then, a giant cave spider silk bag - Dwellingband the Watchful Merchants.

And a third, before the year ends - Fleshmines the Veneration of Wealths, a cave spider silk face veil.

The new year, 1245, is far less eventful than the previous one. All there is to report is a trio of artifacts...

...a cave spider silk head veil...

...a sheep wool turban...

...and a cave spider silk face veil.

Another year arrives.

The first artifact produced in 1246 is a basalt trumpet - Flankedrot the Common Nature. It bears a noteworthy image in basalt - the settlement of the ettin Thikén Bristlerenown in the Ice of Ghosts at the dawn of time. There's also an interesting depiction of one of the Playful Spattered Walls' first queens.

I notice a stark raving mad dwarf running around the dining hall. It is Olin Spearfliers, who is missing his entire right leg - I can't be sure, but I suspect that it was Olin's leg that the violent ghost tore loose. I also am not entirely sure why Olin went crazy - perhaps I missed another mood. In any case, the damage is done - I just have to make sure I have his body disposed of as soon as he dies of thirst or hunger.

More artifacts - a basalt amulet named Lullcontained...

...a blood thorn trumpet named the Mournful Cage...

...and a large rat leather bag named the Quills of Heaviness. This artifact bears a reference to Iden Temptedoar's removal from the position of outpost liaison to the Playful Spattered Walls in the late autumn of 1214.

1214 was a momentous year - Iden Temptedoar was caught outside the fortress, alive but in danger of being slain by undead. Roomcarnage's military was mobilized and sent out upon the ice in a desperate attempt to save the outpost liaison. The effort might have been a success - if the complicated loyalties of the foul fog zombies had not caused Roomcarnage's finest to turn upon each other in a bloody cascade of betrayal and slaughter.

During the chaos, Iden Temptedoar was removed from the position of outpost liaison by a trio of flesh-hungry undead.

Later in the year, another dwarf goes berserk after a failed mood. I really have to keep a closer eye on moody dwarves...

As before, I order the military to slay the mad dwarf.

The military arrive on the scene quickly...

...and the berserk dwarf is slain before they have the chance to inflict anything more than a scratch.

Without hesitation, I order the dead planter's body to be dumped...

...and it is, without incident.

As the year turns, mayor Urvad Teachanvil passes away from old age.

Urvad's death has the potential to cause more disruption within the fortress than another dwarf's passing - as mayor, Urvad was by definition the most popular, well-known dwarf in the fortress. There will be many negative thoughts going around - I'll have to be on the lookout for tantrums.

In life, Urvad Teachanvil was a well-loved leader. In death, she is the same as any other piece of meat - a potentially deadly undead monster. I order the corpse to be dumped.

I check the nobles screen, wondering whether I should appoint a new mayor myself, or let the dwarves elect the new one - only to find that there is no mayoral position available at all. Curious.

The former mayor's corpse shudders to life in the middle of the dining hall before it can be hauled to the incineration shaft. The dining hall is quite possibly the safest place in the entire fortress - it is always full of actively training military dwarves.

After scrolling past two full squads worth of warriors, I order the former mayor's corpse - including a severed arm and two legs - to be dumped once more. This time, nothing reanimates before it hits the magma.

A day later, the dwarves elect a new mayor.

Meet Atír Fingerarmors, a tough-as-nails bruiser with good intuition, poor analytical abilities, a very poor sense of empathy, and a shortage of patience. She is also rather devout. I'm sure she'll make a great mayor.

Whispering an apology to Urvad Teachanvil's widow, I reassign the mayoral suite to Atír Fingerarmors.

And so, life continues in Roomcarnage with a different mayor and a few more hurt feelings.

Following upon my previous resolution to keep track of strange mood demands, I check in on a secretive dwarf soon after they claim a clothier's shop. Once it is clear that they are missing a specific material, I go through their demands, cross referencing them with the stocks menu. Eventually, I narrow it down to a single missing ingredient - leather.

Unfortunately, I only have two cats. I ordered the fortress' population of wild dogs to be slaughtered en masse decades ago. Even if I had livestock available, most raw hides left over from butchered animals are possessed with vile unlife before they can be tanned.

There is nothing that can be done for Tun Wheeledgleamed - or for any other moody dwarves who desire leather.

The grind continues, bringing with it new artifacts. This one, a pig tail fiber turban named Vesselangel, bearing an image of the fortress' founding.

A new year arrives on the calendar.

1249 turns out to be another one of those uneventful years - where there is nothing to report except new artifacts. This one is a basalt bracelet called the Mythical Sling, which bears a depiction of the founding of another fortress, called Tangledarmors.

Another - a basalt amulet named the Tower of Tulips, relatively unremarkable by dwarven standards. I mean, come on - it bears an image of gems, in stone. Why not just include gems?

The third artifact of the year is much more interesting - and graphic. The Branded Entry is a pig tail fiber dress, bearing three images. One is an image of a dwarf surrounded by dwarves - the ascension of a dwarf vampire king to power. One is an image of a laughing cyclops ripping the head of a cringing dwarf. One is an image of seahorses.

The new year arrives - 1250. One year to go until Roomcarnage's 50th birthday! This time, two dwarves die of old age. Theoretically, there might come a day when there are no dwarves alive in Roomcarnage who recall life outside the fortress - a day when all dwarves living in Roomcarnage were born there.

What a nightmare.

The two corpses lay close to each other - Datan's body is slumped beside a memorial along the dining hall's eastern wall. Libash's remains block one of the northern doors. I order both of them to be dumped - their bodies are hurled down the steaming chute without fanfare or incident. The damage inflicted upon the general morale is noticable however, with nearly a dozen dwarves in the dining hall suddenly slipping into unhappiness.

Later in the month, something happens that I'm sure will have a more than "noticable" effect on the general morale.

I read through the announcements twice, to make sure I'm not hallucinating.

I'm not. There is a foul fog zombie roc standing in the middle of the memorial hall, covered from beak to talon in necromantic slime.

Incredible muscles ripple beneath the beast's white, fog-soaked plumage. Malice glints in the frigid depths of his black eyes.

It is the 22nd of Granite, in the early spring of 1250. On the eve of its 50th year, the relative warmth and safety of the fortress has been shattered by the arrival of a gigantic undead predator. I cannot say what will happen next - I dare not guess. Roomcarnage is now home to 137 living dwarves - how many, I wonder, will still live by the end of the next chapter?