1st Granite, 1053: I seem to be alive and back underground. I still don't remember what happened after the goblins rushed me, but I'm told I became the leader of the fortress before collapsing with a concussion. My colleagues get cagey when I press them on the details. For the time being, I'll have to accept distractions from my bookkeeping to make sure we don't all die. Kizor Bekomfath, ruler of the Dwarven outpost Copperstrapped.
My first act was to make clear what would happen to anyone who suggests that I set foot in the overbright again.
2nd Granite: I've gone through my predecessors' journals. Sauth's account of the deep mineshaft dug last year was fascinating. He had the miners survey the earth several times deeper than the current Copperstrapped. Not only did they strike silver and platinum, but cassiterite, galena, magma-proof quartzite, and several kinds of opals. By this rate, we'll all be rich before we dig deep enough to awaken an ancient anything.
Speaking of, I knew of the cavern at the end of their shaft, but not of its fifteen-meter drops or underground lake! The shores support fungiwood and tunnel tube, good lumber; it could be a pleasantly deep alternative to the surface some day. It also hosts giant cave spiders and whatever it is that giant cave spiders eat, so the cavern has been sealed off. Any attempts to explore it will need a failsafe system. I have ordered the excavation of a tunnel to the river's bed and the construction of assorted mechanisms. Once these are installed, the flick of a lever will operate a system of floodgates and divert the river into the mineshaft. I wish we had the resources for a properly destructive solution, but this one may do. Unless there are killer cave carps in the lake. I should add a pressure plate system halfway down in case of killer cave carps.
Scouts report that the goblins have been stranded beyond the river that's beyond the moats that are beyond the wall that's at the mouth of the unclimbable canyon that's been fashioned out of the hillside around our entrance. Six swords and a crossbow menaced forty dwarves. It'd be ridiculous if our numbers didn't consist of seven founders and a mass of unskilled dregs, the kind that migrate to unproven outposts. The fittest were formed into a militia. When the goblins came and Copperstrapped went into lockdown, half the population was still left to mill about, unable to find work. I have solved this problem by opening our doors, and ordering them to haul all loose rocks outside for inspection and cataloguing.
6th Granite: I'm worried about our stocks of booze. Twenty barrels' worth may have suited the first seven of us, but right now it's not even a barrel per dwarf. Our mushroom farms are modest, and the goblin mess has left our aboveground bushes drooping with withered prickle berries and strawberries. Ale and rum are running low, so we may be forced to subsist mainly on wines.
This sort of thing can kill a fortress. I lost a great-uncle to sobriety: he'd stumble along the corridors, shaking and ranting horribly slurred things, until water-fueled rage drove him to attack a hammerdwarf. Not here. I have ordered the construction of a farming hall under a sizable pool on the hill, and a stairway to run from it to the still and the grand hall. My calculations show that once we breach the pool, the water will rush to the hall, muddy the floor, and evaporate. We'll then wall off the hole and the pool will start to refill for the next time we need to irrigate. It's a foolproof plan.
11th Granite: The bottom of the deepest shaft trembles as something moves in the cavern. A rhythmical thwop-thwop-thwop comes through the walls, sounding like multiple pairs of wings were beating against scales.
Work on the tunnel to the river is proceeding apace. Good times.
20th Granite: OldMiner installed the floodgates today. In doing so, he locked himself and a junior miner into the tunnel. The gates are closed, and their mechanisms would break if they were operated by hand. You'd think that he would've noticed he was on the wrong side after installing the first gate of a row, but apparently he'd gotten too far into it. I can understand that.
1st Slate: I've finished the appraisal of our trade goods! The last free wall of my office is now filled with equations. I'll have to smooth them all again.
I'm not too proud to admit that my job would be easier with paper, the namby-bamby stuff that it is. We only brought enough for leaders' journals and the occasional letter, not for things that don't need plausible deniability.
It'd be great if the wastrels of this fort could study paper-making, but that's impossible. There may be elves in the region. Tradition is clear: until we know for sure, trees must only be felled for essential purposes. I won't be known as the administrator who met elves and couldn't chop down enough trees to piss off the gits.
In other news, OldMiner and the not-so-old miner are still trapped. Shouldn't someone be working on that?
4th Slate: Well, OldMiner and that other dwarf are free. I ended up constructing the floodgate control mechanisms myself after Aerobe barged into my office and revealed some things about herself and OldMiner. She rushed off to install them, and now the two are back together again. This is not a bad feeling, but I can't dwell on it. There are figures to add up.
The floodgate control lever was installed in a new chamber off the side of the great hall. I'm hoping to expand it with another level that collapses the chamber entrance, stocks of food and booze, and a pick-axe.
7th Slate: The farming hall is finished. It's always a pleasure to watch Hapax work. She doesn't really mine: she just strolls forward, and what her pick-axe does to the stone in front of her is both scary and exhilarating. The timing couldn't have been better: yet another group of migrants has arrived. They've managed to arrive on top of the hill, with no way around and no way down on this side. I've sent Hapax to fashion stairs into the hillside, and one of our less accomplished miners to undermine the pool.
8th Slate: There's been a miscommunication. The young dwarf mined under the pool instead, causing a significant lack of flooding. He's been instructed to dig out a way up from the tunnel and sent back.
9th Slate: The young dwarf dug a ramp to the tunnel's ceiling. He's been instructed to smash rock upwards until things start getting wet and sent back.
10th Slate: The goblins! They found a way to the hilltop and they've swarmed down the stairs! I saw one twisting a sword in Clockmaker's throat - they made him jump before he died.
We have no armor, so few axes. The forges are cold! I've had to conscript the migrants and send them to wrestle the goblins. They're falling almost like elves!
Oh God God God SAVE US
14th Slate: We found Aerobe's head.
We'd run out of fuel for the forges. The militia hadn't been drilling properly. I knew these things. I saw the figures, added them up, and did nothing about them.
So many are dead now. If we couldn't have led them into the cage traps my predecessors installed, we might all have been killed. As it is, I think we only got one of them because it rebounded off a dwarf as it stabbed her and fell into the river. A new arrival finished off the last two. Now he's just flopping there on the floor, three of his limbs cut open and his intestines spilling out. He's vomited 29 times so far. 30. 31. I don't know his name. 32. 33. A part of me admires the miracles of dwarven physiology.
We're safe. If sorrow and rage don't make us tear each other apart - and in these cramped halls, they may - we can go on. But what sort of self-respecting dwarf would ever again migrate to a fortress like this? What kind of merchants would assume that they'll get their money's worth in Copperstrapped? 41. 42. The chief medical dwarf won't be seeing our new hero, or anyone else in this world. 43.
<-- Back | Let's try that again -----/