...continued from part two

As I place the skeleton of the trap, the dwarves finish the cage traps on the lowest level. No more corpses haunt these halls, but every now and then an undead creature wanders in from the outside.

I settle on a trap layout, and begin drawing a floor plan of constructed stone fortificatoins, creating switchbacks across the southern third floor chamber.

The passageways between the fortifications will be filled with cage traps.

Soon afterwards, I spot an unusual notification. The planter, Udil Hallpool, has been found dead.

I zoom to the area - and find only an empty suit of armor, and spatterings of Udil's blood in a trail across the slade floor.

With no interruptions or distractions, the dwarves work with relative haste. I watch, patient in spite of my excitement - I've attempted this sort of trap many times in past, but never under these circumstances. The trapped passageway is convoluted, necessarily squashed into the tight, unminable space within the primordial slade structure. I can only hope that the forces of hell are not too cautious to see the trap that has been laid for them.

I entirely lose track of time as the dwarves go about their business, making sure every block, mechanism, and cage is carefully placed. No fewer than four raising drawbridge are used in the completion of the elaborate construction - at one point, five dwarves are hard at work linking up levers to the bridges, as well as to a cage that is located towards the center of the northern wall.

Finally, at long last, the area is completed. I designate an area to be smoothed at the back of the southern passage, and a dwarf soon arrives to perform the task.

The moment has arrived - I order one of the new levers in the dining hall to be pulled.

I watch - as Cilob reaches the designation, the drawbridge at the far end of the untrapped hall is raised, isolating the weaver between a row of fortifications, and the outer slade wall.

With Cilob trapped behind the fortifications, I order another lever to be pulled.

The constructed cage falls apart, and the wild giant cave spider emerges from the clattering copper bars. The trap is live.

I cancel the smoothing designation, then create another one at the far end. I watch with bated breath as the weaver walks along the perimeter, within view of the giant cave spider - but apparently not within range.

Cilob progresses further along the passageway, but the arachnid shows precisely zero interest in the dwarf. The game autosaves just as the weaver reaches the far end, locking in my disappointment.

Some adjustments will need to be made, but I am confident that this trap will work - just not as effectively as I had previously hoped. I pull the levers necessary to reset the trap.

The bridge holding back Cilob is lowered, as is the one containing the spider - soon after the bridge next to it goes down, the arachnid leaps out of its prison and into another cage trap.

After removing the first row of cages, I send a military dwarf into the closest corridor next to the web-spinner - and success!

It takes some time to build up the webs, and the dwarves take turns moving back and forth in front of the spider, careful not to travel too far, lest they get caught in a trap themselves.

Before long, a portion of cage traps - maybe a third or so - are laden with sticky silk. Even demons, with their [TRAPAVOID] token, are susceptible to caging while they are webbed. I don't know how many demons are still hiding in the labyrinth - or, indeed, what is up there at all - so perhaps this will be plenty.

And now, in order to delve deeper - which, ironically, happens to be upwards - a single dwarf must brave the darkness, and whatever lies within it. I am loathe to select a dwarf at random, or on some basic quality such as age, skill, attributes, or preferences.

Instead, I choose to do a character profile of all twenty dwarves, specifically examining their personality traits, in order to determine who would be most likely to volunteer for such a mission.

Some dwarves seem to disqualify themselves immediately - Cerol Viperbrass explicitly does not go out of her way to help others. I can almost imagine the dwarves holding a solemn discussion about who should carry out the mission, with Cerol cracking her knuckles at anyone who glances in her direction.

Likewise, these four dwarves - Minkot Frillyoils, Sarvesh Growlclasps, Tekkud Watchfultreaties, and Zulban Ochrehoists tend towards doing as little work as necessary. While this doesn't immediately disqualify any of them, none of them possess other traits that might convince me that they would volunteer.

Tun Noselance the manager is risk-averse, and Unib Pageorder the miner leads a leisurely-paced life. They don't strike me as the sort who would step forward for what is most likely a suicide mission.

Several other dwarves don't stick out as having any traits that might push them towards or against volunteering. They all seem to be quite typical dwarves, with few extremes - and this is certainly an extreme mission.

After evaluation, there are only six dwarves that stick out as most likely to volunteer, and they fall into three categories. Dôbar Sealyawned and Domas Urnprice both find helping others rewarding - an especially keen trait for Dôbar, as the chief medical dwarf. As the fortress physician, however, their responsibilities might keep them from volunteering.

Domas, as someone who often does the first thing that comes to mind, strikes me as someone who might be the first to step up to the plate - but when her friends notice the clicking of her tongue, they kindly talk her back down from it.

The second pair of dwarves, the planters Monom Buddedhatchets and Rîsen Halllock, are both thrill-seekers, and one is even helpful as well. I imagine that the dwarves have some idea that this could be one of the last real thrills afforded to the Momentous Dye - the last chance to explore some undiscovered realm from which there will likely be no return. What greater thrill could there be?

There are others, though, who might yet insist upon being the one to brave the dark.

Of twenty dwarves, there are just two who have a distinct sense of duty - Dodók Parchfence, the fortress blacksmith, and Kogan Knifeleads, a planter. Both are fine warriors - according to Dwarf Therapist, Dodók is the most skilled fighter remaining in Roomcarnage. Kogan, however, is possessed with a profound sense of duty and obligation - exactly the sort of person who would insist upon carrying out this dire, ultimate task, and I would imagine Kogan's sense of duty outweighs his willingness to compromise in this situation.

I can almost see the conclusion of this imaginary dwarf-moot in my mind - Dodók, immodestly speaking over the other voices, insisting that she is the obvious choice to explore the labyrinth, before her voice trails off... and Kogan steps forward, confidant if nervous, and unenthusiastically declares his intent.

I order Kogan to be stationed, alone, within the upper levels of the slade structure - it takes him several minutes to reach the webbed cage traps, which he bypasses through a back entrance to climb the stairs upwards.

Once he is above the traps, I order the lever to the right to be pulled.

The bridge on the right raises into place, blocking the shorter route, forcing whoever descends from above to travel through the cage traps.

The trap is primed and ready, and Roomcarnage is inaccessible to the demons - the bridges have been raised, cutting of the enclosed passage that the dwarves have spent years building. I order Kogan into the labyrinth.

As he rounds a corner, more of the passage is revealed, including another stairwell leading even further upwards.

The stair leads up into a cavity of slade, still only partially revealed, bristling with demons - and yet another upward stair.

Dutiful Kogan will fulfill his obligation as completely as he can. I order him as far as I can, atop the next stairwell.

Unopposed, Kogan rushes through the rest of the tunnel.

He bursts from the stairwell, spear driving fast and sharp through one of the ashen fiends.

The demon's remains lie in a pile at Kogan Knifeleads' feet.

It is a brief moment of glory, soon cut short.

Immediately after striking down one haunt of cinders, three others converge upon him, shattering his bones and draining his blood before one crushes his skull and sends his body tumbling.

Kogan's slayer is dubbed Snarlfrothy - by whom, though, is anyone's guess. Kogan is dead, and no other dwarf was present to witness his passing.

I unpause, and the demons scatter. The dwarves of the Momentous Dye and the mysteries of Roomcarnage are both one fewer.

Hail, Kogan Knifeleads - your obligation is fulfilled.

I pan upwards, and discover that this cavity goes deep - a rift of slade, driving upwards through the semi-molten rock, as though hell itself had tried to force its way towards the surface. The entire void is teeming with fiends that now buzz around in - distress? Anger? Hunger?

And - to my immediate frustration and laughter - the uppermost visible stairwell leads into a passageway, the end of which is shrouded in unrevealed shadow. Yet again, several dozen demons lie between the dwarves and some final mystery.

I scan the units screen - I don't need to count the number of demons to know that they will overwhelm the number of webbed cage traps. So be it - I just hope that these fiends act as others of their kind did, and eventually abandon their post to disappear into the greater underworld.

I wait, and watch - a few demons, one by one, begin trickling through the winding tunnel downward, but most of them stay where they are. I am conscious of the fact that this part of the process might take some time - but I am confident that, eventually, all of these demons will abandon their timeless stations.

After all, Kogan Knifeleads has brought a new foe to the demons, one they have never fought before, and one that will never rest until its foes are dead or absent.

Kogan's repeatedly reanimating corpse will, I hope, drive the demons towards leaving their stronghold sooner, and not later.

In the meantime, there is nothing for the dwarves to do but wait.

Slowly, one after another, the demons wander into the trap and are caught in the webbed cages. It's satisfying, even if the layout isn't ideal.

All at once, I notice it - a total migration, as approximately half of all of the demons star to travel downwards, through the labyrinth, towards the cage traps.

Before I forget - I order a memorial to be engraved for Kogan Knifeleads.

The demons pour into the corridors now in a steady stream. Soon, the cage traps will be exhausted - and that's okay. I don't have any particular use for caged demons, except for the pure aesthetic value - or perhaps the conundrum of how one contains a colossal, primordial blob of salt water in a wooden cage small enough for a dwarf to carry.

The arrival of spring interrupts my thoughts, and a cat dies as usual.

But it is not just a cat's death that the new year has brought with it.

Sigun Savepaints, legendary farmer of Roomcarnage, has died of old age - falling dead where she stood at the western end of the deep dining hall.

I had known this would happen soon. She lived long enough to see the completion of the enclosed passageway - not to mention all eight decades of Roomcarnage's wildest exploits and riskiest tumults.

As I designate her body to be dumped, I cannot help but feel as though I am saying goodbye to an old friend.

Farewell, Sigun Savepaints. For more than seventy years, you fed a fortress. May your dwarven syrup roasts last until the last meal of the last dwarf in Roomcarnage.

I make sure to have the dwarves engrave a memorial for Sigun as well.

The two corpses - Sigun's, and the cat Ingish as well - are quietly and uneventfully hauled to the incineration chute.

Sigun's body plummets downward, splashing into the magma, and disappears.

I check on the cage traps, and discover an accident. I neglected to release the giant cave spider before the demons came through, and the arachnid is now dead. This means that the traps cannot be re-armed, but I suppose that is alright.

I check the slade cavity again, and there are many fewer demons present than were before. Many of the fiends are in the process of fleeing the fortress, while others remain still. The dwarves, of course, will wait to see what happens before they dare enter these chambers.

I must do one more thing, before saving the game and going to bed - placing memorial slabs for Kogan Knifeleads and Sigun Savepaints. There are these two alcoves in the enclosed passage, which I was forced to work around due to repeated and unexplainable job cancellations.

Now, they are perfect for these memorials for two dwarves who died after seeing its construction.

Kogan's memorial is vague about his death, but is otherwise respectful. Born in 1203, Roomcarnage is all he has ever known, and I can guarantee he had never met a naked mole dog in his life.

Sigun's memorial is quietly moving. I will not say more.

It is the 5th of Granite in the early spring of 1280. Eighteen dwarves remain in Roomcarnage, but to what end? As always, simply to persist and endure is to claim a small victory in the face of the pervasive evil that lurks within every corner of this fortress. And yet, there is a hope - still! - that an unspeakable glory might be theirs to claim somewhere in the deep.

I can only promise to see it through to its end - and I will, rest assured, dear reader.