It's julian date 270, commonly known as September 27, and I woke up today after having a remarkable dream, one that felt realistic, one that felt wonderful though I hadn't realized it yet.

I rolled over in bed and took the shemagh wrapped around my head for use as a blindfold off and I looked at the clock, and if I wasn't mistaken I swore I'd seen "09:54" in digital letters on my small alarm clock. I checked the other clock, and it read the same thing. Something clicked in my mind "oh shit, I'm late for work, I was supposed to be at work 3 hours ago!". I forced myself out of the sheets of my bed and stood up, immediately looking for my uniform and boots, I was in a hurry! Shortly thereafter my alarm clock went off and I woke up...

Now that I'm awake and fully cognizant of my surroundings (and quite apparently my actual thoughts) I shouldn't have been so alarmed when I'd woken up at that hour, I realized nobody had come to my room to wake me up, I was dreaming of a day off! I guess a life of 12 hour workdays 7 days a week will do that to you...

1st Granite, 1054
Well, it looks like we partied too hard at Year's End again. I woke up this morning and found myself not only in Hapax's bed (suck on THAT, you dirty elf-humping tree-lover), not only missing my pants, but a note on my arm reading:

UR TH LEADER NOW, I MISS THERAPY ALLIGATOR
No amount of washing has been able to take the writing off. I'm not sure how he managed to get that on there so well.

...

Panic is starting to settle in as the hangover wears off. I can't find Clockmaker to confirm what's on my arm and I've already had three dwarves walk up and ask if I'm going to take care of that bird-moth-dinosaur on the lower levels. How should I know? The current militia commander's nowhere to be found and this DAMNED INK STILL ISN'T COMING OFF

~

2nd Granite
Well, I sat down with Kizor and we took stock of the fort's situation. Since I ceded control of the fort:

  • 36 dwarves have perished, mostly by giant cave mole attacks.
  • Many dwarves were injured by same, including myself (no left hand any more) and Hapax (wicked awesome scar on her arm). One of the dwarves is paralyzed from the waist down and has been put in a bed in the hospital wing. (Poor bastard.)
  • The supplies of booze are dwindling; we should be okay for another month or so but will need to make sure someone's in the still from here on out.
Kizor wouldn't look me in the eyes when I asked her about the dress and the pair of pants lying on the floor of her office. I didn't press the issue but I'm pretty sure I saw "CLO" written on the inside of the waistband.

~

5th Granite
The new labor assignments have been handed out and things are running a bit smoother. Clockmaker finally reappeared and was assigned one of the younger female migrants as an assistant nurse. Still haven't seen Creases since the 1st. Kizor's been taken off of all other duties until the bookkeeping can be brought up to snuff. Our new soapmaker got a bit huffy over being reassigned and complained to Kizor; as far as I know she talked him down and he's busy setting up the workshops he needs.

~

6th Granite
Future note: if I become administrator of any other forts (gods forbid), the hospital gets dedicated ventilation. Some of the dismembered body parts are starting to smell up the entire workshop district and I can't get Clockmaker or his nurse to clean any of it out.

~

14th Granite
Sauth and his assistant engraver ran out of stone to smooth and started lounging around the workshops getting in everyone's way. I told him to find work and he got a weird look in his eyes. The two of them have been having hushed conversations and pointing at stuff a lot while in the dining hall and the dorms. I hope nothing strange comes out of this.

~

17th Granite
No one will shut up about that blasted monster in the dark down on the bottom levels. I've decided to put in a ceiling three floors up where the workers won't be attacked. Out of sight, out of mind!

~

27th Granite
A pack of rhesus macaques got caught in the cage traps out by the front gate and will NOT shut up. I detached a couple of haulers to go move them indoors and maybe feed them or something but they all refuse to get close. I guess I can't blame them; those are some pointy teeth.

~

5th Slate
A pack of migrants have arrived - twenty-two of them! As before, the majority were conscripted for manual labor and the tiny few with actual skills were put to work. Tobul, the militia commander, reappeared and pulled a few more of the hardy-looking ones out to start training as part of her militia.

I'm a bit concerned about Tobul; that dent in her head from that last giant mole attack must have warped her or something. She's got this dead look in her eyes all the time and won't stop sharpening her axe, even while she's eating. I heard that she even sleeps with it in her bed now.

~

20th Felsite
Elven traders arrived, and as we were moving a bunch of caged goblins out to the trade depot, the goblins attemped to break out. They released four or five of the macaques. Tobul and her squad got right up there as soon as the alarm went out. In fact, Tobul cut three of the goblins down in under a minute as soon as she spotted them. In honor of her deeds and the first kill she took against a dirty elf, her new nickname is "Crusher of Forests."

~

26th Felsite
Something happened with the elven trade liason and they're leaving without doing any business. When I asked Kizor about it, she said "How was I supposed to know they'd object to fungiwood?" and huffed off.

~

4th Hematite
Before the liason left, she tracked me down and insisted that we limit the number of trees we cut down this year to under a hundred. I assumed she meant "aboveground" and consented.

~

6th Hematite
I can't get anyone to clean the goblin corpses out of the holding pens. The stink is so bad it's penetrated several floors down. Is everyone a mincing dwarfmaid now or something?

~

14th Hematite
Kizor has been ejected as expedition leader and some unknown hauler named Nish Mörulmistêm has been elected as Fort Mayor. I can only assume this is due to the elven trade debacle. Neither my nor Kizor's duties appear to have been changed. Figures.

~

16th Hematite
That moron Mayor is asking for a bunch of ridiculous equipment, like his own fancy quarters and dining room. I asked Tobul if she'd be willing to let Nish have her quarters and she stared at me without blinking for almost a solid minute. I asked if that meant yes and she didn't say anything else, so I told Tobul to go ahead and move in for now. Man, that dent in her head is creepy.

...

Creases has gone crazy and taken over the carpenter's workshop, muttering something about trade and statues. That jerk, I bet he's just faking this to make out like he's better than me or something.

~

19th Hematite
Another pack of migrants showed up, but there were only eight this time. No weirdness to report, fortunately.

~

21st Hematite
I've been trying to someone, anyone, to set up the soapworks down on level 48 ever since the beginning of the year. Each time I ask, I get treated to a patient explanation of dwarven supply and demand and workshop logistics. I got sick of it, went down there myself, and moved the damned rocks out of the way of the building site. The soap maker gave me a nasty glare when I told him it was all ready for him.

~

22nd Hematite
That jerk Creases came out of the workshop carrying a statue (made from wood, of course) that showed the very first trading session we had with the Homeforge. I have to grudgingly admit that it's well done, but then he used it to coerce me into letting him have a couple of assistants to help out with the new barrel quotas. I let him have the assistants, but just to mess with him I put the other workshop he requested on level 22.

~

23rd Hematite
The Fort Mayor has instituted a Captain Of The Guard and promoted Tobul into the position. I'm not sure what the difference is supposed to be from her old position as militia commander and sheriff, but it encouraged a few more dwarves to volunteer for military service and we now have two small squads training 'round the clock.

~

8th Galena
A giant olm attacked the workshop district earlier today. I'm still having trouble believing it, but Tobul actually cut it in half with her first swing. The olm knocked over a couple of statues in the Mayor's quarters before Tobul got down there; watching Nish fuss and complain was worth the attack.

~

13th Galena
Great tragedy today. The junior militia squad was training up on the top floor when a goblin siege party showed up. The whole group was butchered; someone said they had forgotten to put on armor before rushing out. Tobul's squad has been dispatched and the front gate has been closed.

~

20th Galena
I'm not really sure what to do at this point. A scout reported that the rest of Tobul's squad was killed right by the front gate; one of them bled to death before we could get the gate down and a hauler out to get her. As far as we can tell Tobul's been fighting alone since we sent her up there. Goblin fingers and toes litter the landscape.

~

27th Galena
Well, it's over. The rest of the goblin skirmishers got sick of Tobul harrassing them for another straight week and surrounded her. I'm not sure on the particulars, but it sounds like she fell or was pushed into the moat and drowned under the weight of her armor.

The front gate's been sealed until further notice. Either we wait the goblins out or we find another way to kill them. If they get inside, they'll butcher us all.

~

4th Sandstone
The large number of unemployed workers is taking its toll on our booze stores. We don't have enough to last another week. I've told the brewer to pull out all the stops, and he says he might be able to keep us supplied, but we won't be able to build up any reserves. Ugh, I hope we don't have to start drinking water.

~

8th Sandstone
One of the haulers went crazy and forged a silver warhammer. Despite being mostly ceremonial, it's pretty impressive; there's a design of a famous human myth on one side and a design about the first goblin attack we had on the other side.

~

10th Sandstone
Even if we can't do anything else, we can at least honor our dead. When we manage to recover Tobul's body from the moat, we're going to inter her in her own special tomb in an artifact glass coffin that one of the others made a few years back.

~

14th Sandstone
One of the other dwarves came up with an idea to try and break the goblin siege. We're going to reroute some of the moat and build a gigantic pit trap with a bridge over it, then lure the goblins inside and drown the bastards. Work has commenced, albeit slowly.

~

4th Timber
To commemorate the siege, Aerobe volunteered her artifact mechanism for the construction of the bridge trap. Unfortunately, I don't think we're going to get it done for at least another month.

~

21st Moonstone
Kizor got the bridge finished, but when we opened the gates to lure in the goblins, it looks like they'd up and left! I sent out a scout to recover Tobul's body, but it looks like the moat iced over and we're never going to be able to pull her out.

~

3rd Opal
Another pack of migrants arrived to bolster our numbers. One of them, Stukos, is apparently a warrior of serious renown back home. He's been assigned as the new Captain of the Guard along with a couple of flunkies who look like they can use an axe.

~

21st Opal
Everything appears to have stabilized after the attack. The booze production was higher than we expected, and we should be okay for a month or two, but a second still is probably not a bad idea. Like they say, "there's no such thing as too much beer!"

~

28th Opal
A liaison from Homeforge showed up and said that in light of the war with the goblins, the colony's history, and our production levels, they're going to make us official! Maybe now they'll stop sending us convicts and college dropouts. I heard rumors that my name's been put forward for a barony. If the Homeforge goes through with it, I'll eat a goblin.

~

21st Obsidian
Nothing to report in the meantime besides another crazy hauler. Unfortunately, it looks like those goblins came back with a bunch of their friends. Stuko's squad still isn't quite up to snuff, so I ordered everyone back inside and the gate closed. Our stocks are much better off this time. We should be able to wait them out way past the end of the year, at which point it'll no longer be my problem. I miss my forge.



The tale of Outpost Copperstrapped
A Dwarf Fortress Bloodlines Game, told in parts
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Last night, I dreamed of California ...

So, settle back and indulge me in a bit of rambling … a few nights ago, I was enjoying reading Eric’s many Facebook postings about his adventures in California. I got a bit nostalgic, being reminded of when I did much the same thing over 30 years ago. I arrived in the Bay Area, a green kid from Kentucky, all of 18 years old and just out of high school. I hadn’t been any farther west than ... well ... western Kentucky, and California in 1975 was like another planet. Friends told me, much later, I often had this look of perpetual wonder on my face.

I had adventures ... oh yes, and plenty of them. I couldn’t get enough of everything California had to offer. When I look back now, all that seems as if it happened to another person, or I read about it somewhere. I have to remind myself that I did live that life.

Fast forward to 2005, and I’m on one of my semi-regular visits back to the old home grounds. Along with the other things I had planned, I went about one day visiting some of my old haunts: bookstores, pipe shops, the coffee house in Campbell where I spent a lot of time. The malls where I used to go shopping, some of them now changed beyond recognition. My last apartment building, which, oddly enough, looked just as it did in 1998 when I left. San Jose State University, where I went to school. Drove down so many of the streets and freeways I used to drive all the time.

It was an odd, strange, mildly uncomfortable feeling driving around those places – now, not as a resident, but as a sort of tourist, a visitor. The discomfort gradually began to be replaced by a sadness, or was it homesickness? I didn’t know then and I don’t know still. Had I left the golden land, the western paradise, and now the doors were closed to me forever? I started to count, in my mind, the reasons why I left. There was Tom, of course, the biggest and best reason, but coming in a close second was the fact that there seemed to be a memory on every street corner. Then I remembered fully why it had been time to leave, back then.

See, so much of my family and friends had either passed on, or moved away, or returned from whence they came ... and I was left mostly alone out west. After all those years, I thought I’d laid down deep, permanent roots in the California soil – indeed, I expected to live out my life and die there someday – but I began to realize that what I thought were roots were instead grappling hooks, and the shaky sand wasn’t enough to hold them (or me) fast. I remembered that as the time to pack up and move drew near, I was impatient and excited at the idea of starting a new life, in a different state and with someone I’d given my heart to.

And today, I do like what I still think of as my 'new life'. It’s been better than anything I knew out west. But I still catch myself wishing (as I suspect many people do) that I had some sort of magic viewer which would let me see how life and circumstances would’ve been if I’d chosen one of the other paths ...

Dreaming of Kissing a Friend
I have to write about a dream I had a few nights ago.  I was driving back from school this evening and a song came on the radio that made me think of it: “You're Beautiful”, by James Blunt.  

There is a married woman I know, one of my friends now, as well as her husband.  We’ve been on hiking trips together with freinds, gone to yoga, etc.  She’s such a cheerful person, so apt to make you a part of the group, etc, it’s hard not to really like her.  Anyway, I gave her a ride to yoga once, and I think this brief time spent alone w/ her set up the scene for the dream.

In my dream, we were somewhere away from home.  I leaned against a building in the shade.  She walked up, as if to say something, and moved close.  In the moment, I leaned forward and kissed her.  

I knew right after that it was the wrong thing to do.  I think she said, “I hope your happy”.  In that moment, I knew that we couldn’t even be friends any more.  I couldn’t do that to her or her husband.  The rest of the dream was filled with awkwardness of “that was a mistake”.  We went back to the truck so I could give her a ride home.  The dream fades out.

This is related to how I feel about keeping things the same between myself and my female friends.  I don’t want to scare them off. At some point, I have to put myself out there, to put my feelings on the line.  Driving home today listening to the song I mentioned above, remembering this dream inspired me to keep looking for someone wonderful.

I’m not sure if I can’t tell a good thing when I have it or if I’m trying to make the best of what I have.

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