1st Granite, 1053:
This morning I woke up to the realization that I have no idea what a scalpel is.
Squinting through a bleary haze of sobriety, pawing at my nightstand for the mug of Dwarven Atomic Grog I keep there, I turned it over frantically — but sluggishly — in my mind. I had just concluded that I must have lost my skills through lack of practice when three dwarves stormed in, shouting.
»You never do anything!«
Then they dragged me off to be the new overlord, claiming that since I had to do some job and didn't have any skills, I had been automatically chosen.
I always wondered how you become a politician.
As soon as they left my new office — which turned out to be my own room, they had just dragged me in a circle — I snuck off to get properly drunk so I could think clearly, all the while reading the briefing someone had dumped in my room while I was being hauled around. Dang! I'm glad I did! It turns out the rulers of this place get the good stuff, I tell you, diary. Apparently GhettoAardvark built a secret snack chamber in... but I cannot even commit it to paper. The only copy has to stay in the file. Which I burned, I think enough guys are skimming off it on the sly already.
Anyway, this super booze really makes you sharp! I had figured out what the problem was in moments, dear diary. The reason I had lost my skills was that I had no work! And the reason I had no work was... that the hospital was gone! It's as though it had never existed. I tried to look through the file to find an explanation, but I realized I had just burned it. The only remaining parts were a meticulous log by GhettoAardvark and a scrap of paper from Aerobe Lolokfarash saying something about a nonexistent Therapy Alligator. (I looked over the Creature Registry, and it wasn't in there, not in the deceased column either. It seems to have never existed. Kizor Bekomfath keeps his registers scrupulously. Albeit in a repurposed closet on the second floor.)
I soon discovered that these were not the only things missing, however: another absentee was any semblance of a functional economy. All my fellow-citizens were idling about like... like tallfolks, pardon my Elfish, just idly taxing our resources! I asked the first clutch I could lay my hands on why they were refusing to do any work, and they said we were »being besieged by goblins«. Mounting to the surface level, bringing the fort's strongest spyglass with me, I surveyed the canal-riddled landscape — what had these people been doing? — beyond the gates. Far, far away, on the far side of a raised bridge across the river, I saw a tiny cluster of goblins. The maps told me there was no way they could get into the fort even if I ordered everyone out, so I told the sheriff to...
There was no sheriff.
I hastily assigned one, and told him to go to No Alert and blow the all-clear. He told me there was no alert system. I may have become mildly intemperate at this point, and instructed him in no uncertain terms to arrange one with haste. He exited stage left, pursued by a swear.
I've been spending two weeks drawing up plans for our new installations, including a wood furnace, a hospital and a kennel for training our dogs. I'm baffled and amazed that we have no wood furnace already, since that means no charcoal, and no charcoal means no functioning industry. We also have four butcheries but only one butcher, and no fishery despite lots of raw fish needing to be cleaned. In the inner courtyard, a whole year's harvest of prickle berries is rotting on the vine! There are also gobs of mineral veins sitting totally unmined everywhere; I've ordered Hapax Dorenamug and her team of mattock-waving crazies to start exploiting them immediately. It's a litany of woe.
Our scouts in the underground inform me of sighting a hideous steam-beast in the southern caves. Supposedly it has deadly spittle, and is named Aditha. I asked the scouts how they knew its name, but they seemed completely nonplussed by this simple question.
That secret booze cache is making more sense every day.
Now the damn creature has vanished as well. The scouts are terrified of their own shadows, but I won't let this stop my GLORIOUS PLAN
A bunch of migrants arrived! Our scouts aboveground caught sight of them and estimated them to be fortyish in number. Unfortunately, those pesky goblins also caught sight of them, and promptly set off to slaughter them. I'm worried about the potential PR effects of a thing like this.
Yep, they're all dead. And they don't even seem to have dinged the goblins' weaponry.
For lack of other entertainment, the goblins have taken to sitting on our inner curtain wall, which they apparently discovered they could get atop after that little mass-murder jaunt. They can't get down without breaking their necks, but we can't get at them up there either, and even though they're harmless, people are refusing to do any work outside. A bunch of tall vegetarians, the lot of them!
After I found out we had crossbows in storage, I ordered OldMiner Ableludist to go fetch one and perforate the goblins. He went to bed instead.
OldMiner finally woke up(!), but even though he tromped off and got the crossbow and went to stand in the courtyard, he wouldn't shoot at them; he hadn't picked up any bolts. We have lots of bolts, so I tried to get him to explain why he wasn't using them, but he just stood and sulked, and try as I might I couldn't get him to budge. If I didn't know better I'd've thought he resented the job.
An elven caravan also showed up today. I hoped the elves might go ahead and kill the goblins, but they just stood on the border and sulked too. I wonder if OldMiner is half elf.
The goblins have apparently decamped. I ordered the bridges lowered so as to let the elves in for trading.
In other news, some troglodytes have apparently been seen massing in the caves below our fortress. I'm convinced this will never be a problem.
Damnation! Some different goblins were lying in ambush! I've decided that I've had enough both of being cooped up under siege like this and of not exercising my medical skills, so I sent our watch patrol, The Crowded Boats, to smack them around.
After several days of claiming that they were very sorry but they couldn't obey my orders, the Boats have engaged the enemy. Two or three of our civilians lie dead, and many more are no doubt wounded. I confess to rubbing my hands in glee in anticipation of the much-needed practice.
The goblins were quickly put to the rout, but not before scaring away the elven merchants. Oh well. You can't trust treehuggers, I always say. I've often wanted to see if trepanning might fix their obvious psychological deviancy. I think trepanning is the wave of the future.
What's worse is that they left some sort of envoy behind, who keeps demanding to speak to Kizor about a no-logging treaty. I've ordered him to stall for as long as he can, and he seemed happy to comply.
In other news, Aerobe is spewing out a constant torrent of masterful rock sculptures and jewelry. They're cheap for the most part, but we can no doubt pawn off some of the dross of it on the humans later.
The troglodytes snuck in and started surreptitiously ripping up Master Engraver Ugoshkol. I ordered the Boats down to aid him, but they all refused, saying they were busy eating, so I fear he is not long for this world.
Nope. He wasn't.
Finally, a hospital where I can work. Unfortunately, it turned out that all those wounded people weren't content to wait for proper medical care and decided to just fix their problems with naps, leading to several now walking around maimed. One bled to death in his bed in the dormitory. It was a mess.
We've run out of booze. It's horrible. I can't even drink from the secret stash anymore, or the others would notice I was drunk and lynch me. Sobriety grates like a sharp flinder of granite inside my head.
More migrants. Apparently they're unfazed by the dead bodies strewn about the landscape, and ignorant of the lack of alcohol. Poor bastards. They'll find out soon enough. A heavy rain welcomes them to Copperstrapped.
Last month of summer. We appear to finally be running at something vaguely approximating efficiency.
Another heinous monstrosity, Nethgön Vurtibngalák Ulthush, has seen fit to arrive. I asked the scouts who comes up with these tongue twisters and they all became skittish and nervous, as though they were talking to an insane person. I've put them on my mental list of trepanning candidates. The other beast, Aditha, has disappeared again after making itself known awhile back. I'm sure neither of these things are worth worrying about. On the plus side, the booze stocks seem to be growing again!
Some schmuck I've never seen before named Urist Keskalnökor flipped out completely! He's sequestered himself in GhettoAardvark's smithy, as much as you can sequester yourself in a workshop with no walls in the Artisans' Hall, and is giggling insanely over a cow hide and some iron. We'd best leave him there.
A human caravan! We will bring forth our shittiest works and trade them for worse beer. Hopefully they also have some gypsum powder, which I need to make plaster casts.
That metalsmith nut made an iron barrel. I don't want to talk about it. I'm declaring a damnatio memoriæ, outside of this journal anyway.
The Hu-Men had no gypsum, and not much drink, but some other useful items. We stocked up on crutches, splints and buckets, and Kizor gave the humans a nice profit so they'd want to come back, ten whole dimdums. Later in the day, he cut a deal with that elf not to cut down more than 111 trees in the coming year. I told him to go ahead, since we have several huge deposits of lignite which will serve us just as well once we get some charcoal to start the coking process.
In other news, I had a wood furnace built ages ago and it still hasn't produced the necessary coal. I looked around for someone that I could have blamed, hammered and then plastered, but the hospital was empty. (I like to do all my ruling work from here, the sterile atmosphere and ready supply of knives instills a proper fear in people. I credit this wise managerial strategy with my success in reducing the number of idlers to zero.)
Autumn is here, and with it a functioning coaling operation. This will allow us to supply GhettoAardvark with fuel for the foreseeable future, keeping him happily at work hammering out weapons and armor for our jolly hatchetmen.
The scouts tell me that both the giant, hideous creatures we saw have disappeared. I don't know why they sound so nervous, that's good, isn't it? I tried to explain to them that it's irrational to get worried both at the monsters appearing and at them disappearing, but they refused to listen. I'm starting to wonder if our scouts are some sort of mongrels. They look unsound.
More migrants. They even seem useful this time! We now number 58.
A caravan from home! Some of Aerobe's better stuff will buy us decent booze, not that there's a shortage anymore.
Right after the caravan, a whole bunch of goblin ambushes appeared! They killed almost our whole guard patrol, including the majority of the war dogs we'd trained. We did get the better of them in the end, though.
The horrific Nethgön is threatening to ascend into our fortress! The men refuse to descend and wall off the passage, because the creature is too near the hole. I try to explain that that's the whole problem, but as usual nobody listens to my superior logic.
Yaaay, it's my birthday! I spent extra long in the Secret Booze Hole to celebrate. Kizor gave me two bags of gypsum plaster that he bought off the caravan from the Mountainhome, and the others walled off that hole. Best presents ever.
I finally got to do some suturing! On a hunter wounded in the goblin battle. He was really good about the whole thing, even when I lost track of the wound and stitched three inches too far up. I think the trick was letting him drink the medical alcohol.
One of our newest immigrants, a furnace operator, drowned in the river when the ice melted, and while our last soldier lies wounded, a giant mole is going berserk somewhere in the fort. As if that wasn't enough, I also found out today that GhettoAardvark lost his left hand at some point, and is faint from the blood loss, yet refuses to rest or come see me. I wonder if the hunter's been talking.
One of the haulers was just killed by that giant mole. We're going to have to deal with it, military or no military. But wait! The sole remaining soldier is free of his convalescence thanks to my expert ministrations! He goes forth to destroy the beast! In recognition of his services to the fortress, I've made him sheriff.
A blind cave ogre has shown up and started to wreck our shit. I've dispatched Sheriff Soldier Man to deal with it, and am preparing the Disgusting Trauma Ward right now.
He actually dealt with it! The ogre fled into my hospital, but he followed it in and hacked all its limbs open. I think that young man might make a fine surgeon one day.
Mere days from my retirement, the cook freaked out! He's announced his temporary withdrawal from society. What kind of artifact do cooks make? I've used my autarchic authority to claim first eating rights.
Apparently cooks make jewelry. Garnet- and tourmaline-based, in this case. We'll see what comes out.
The last war dog succumbed to an infection. People complained, but it's beneath my dignity to treat a dog.
Or an infection. Ew.
It's my last day. To my successor, I leave these notes and some scrawled markings on the map. To some — you know who you are — I leave surgical scars: sorry, guys, I was out of practice. To all of Copperstrapped, I leave what is greater: my magnum opus, UNDERCITY!
Oh, the cook finished his life's work, too. It's a clear tourmaline coffin. Yeesh. What an omen on the ending of my rule.
Clockmaker Amostuzol's recipe for Dwarven Atomic Grog:
1 pint dwarven rum
1 pint dwarven ale
1 pint ground pitchblende
The tale of Outpost Copperstrapped
A Dwarf Fortress Bloodlines Game, told in parts
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