Friday, October 16, 2009

The History of Phantomdaggers, Epilogue

Phantomdaggers strode into the Age of Heroes under the guidance of the last surviving elder, Evan Dunestorches. Evan is known for dealing harshly with high nobility and low peasantry alike. Due to the "mysterious" deaths of barons and other rulers (before the king settled there, Phantomdaggers was regarded as a Barony and then a County), in time the fortress came to have six baroness/countess consorts.

The greatest danger to the underground metropolis came in its infancy. For those too young to recall the bitter attacks and subversions of the Jaundiced Vice, it was ruled over from the citadel of Seducedbrute where the vile demon Ostru made his home. Two other fortresses there were, the Bastion of Malice and the Citadel of Hate, and from these, hordes of goblins assaulted all of the kingdom. The ten year-long Searing Assault on Phantomdaggers, most famously defended against by master mason Benjamin in the Assaults of Craziness, took a toll upon the fortress. The Jaundiced Vice was irreperably maimed after this all-out attack, leading to its eventually demise.

Several issues have impacted the vast halls over the past few years since, yet each time the dwarves overcame them magnanimously. Worst of these, in the year 49 of the Age of Legends, a plague of cats threatened to throw the fortress into disarray. Dwarves of all walks of life could be seen hoarding newborn cats in their quarters and in their overcoats, while simultaneously insisting to the mayor that something be done about the overpopulation. The butcher tried in vain to separate the cats from their owners, only to be met with dwarven terror that a favourite pet would become tomorrow’s supper. Today scholars believe that the breed of cats which once dwelled in Phantomdaggers was a manipulative parasite, which produced unyielding feelings of attachment in certain dwarves through a specialized musk gland. Luckily, the mayor was not susceptible to the animals, and set up a euthanasia clinic. It was never called anything of the sort, of course, but nevertheless served its purpose well. The clinic functioned thusly: dwarves would be drafted auspiciously into a new “emergency militia” to deal with the cat issue. They would be stationed in a room with numerous automated spike traps in the floor and the dwarves would be tolden the correct path to trod to avoid impalement. Their beloved cats meanwhile, would follow them into the death chamber, only to be quickly dispatched.

Likewise, problems from without threatened the fortress as well. In the year 52, the constant disappearances of caravans affected on the mentally deficient elves prompted the druid circle to send a diplomat to investigate. Cata Fuitylords by name, never was he permitted to speak to the merchants of the city. He did however insist to those who guarded his quarters that the woodsmen impose a quota of logs upon themselves in the coming year. Like most dwarves who ever set foot inside the fortress, he was drowned. Instead of a caravan, an elven war party arrived in the area in the following year. Fruitylords, it seems, was the beloved nephew of the elf king. Their soldiers sneaked into the fortress and past the traps, but the alarm was sounded by the trusty war dogs . Bearing only wooden weapons and armour, the elves were easy targets once they made their first strike. For some time afterwards the craftsmen busily whittled some of the finest elf bone bolts and crafts ever seen to date.

As you may see, the problems faced by Phantomdaggers after the first nine years were no less numerous, yet fell far short of the gravity of earlier dangers. Gone were the horrours of the deep, yet still remained the precious adamantine of the glowing pits. Slain were the local goblins, but now their iron contributes to the massive steel forges. The dwarvish ingenuity and industry only increased with time.

Perhaps the secret to the fortress’s continuing success is that even the less respectable professions have their adherents. Truly, Phantomdaggers now supplies half the kingdom with foodstuff and the end products of once living things. And the brewery! Though it is yet a secret what plants they use, the “sunshine” brew is the most popular in all the land. And now the tower cap farm in the deeps surpasses that of the old capital in Ezum Cenath. But most importantly, Phantomdaggers is one of the precious few sources of raw adamantine. New pockets continue to be found almost yearly. Any waste of the material is seen as an insult to all those killed at the massacre in the pit, most of all to elder Joshua.

Alas! His death was unjust and came long before his time. If Joshua can be said to have had a fault, it might only be that he loved riches of the earth too much. Benjamin likewise had a lust for beauty. The great hall stands as a testament to his dedication, but also his singlemindness. Dwarves I have interviewed say that this great dwarf scarcely saw the sun the entire time he worked upon Phantomdaggers. His love of the beauty trapped within every stone made him unable to see the gathering storm of political intrigue that nearly brought down the the stones of the vault. Perhaps only they who love control, such as Evan, will survive at the reins of the birth of a mountainhome. This I know: though the elders may have placed importance on vastly different things, such as the mineral riches below, the beauty of the great hall, or that of a masterpiece in dwarven steel, they all took pride in the work of their own hands.

-Deler Bunemustuth, Philosopher

Twentieth of Slate, fifth year of the Age of Heroes

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The History of Phantomdaggers, Chapter IX

1 Moonstone

Winter sets upon the fortress, and I, Urist Tegiraban, take up the quill and parchment. I must attempt to record the history of this hallowed place, so that the death of our leader does not go unremarked.

I do not speak of Evan, that blathering fool. He "leads" us, perhaps; to our doom! No, I mean that first of our order who was struck down so cruelly many months ago. I have taken up leadership of what is left of our battered sorority in her stead. Recent months have seen a rare calm; the hallways are purged of snakemen and goblins, and peace reigns in our quarters and markets. May freemasonry see this condition persist!

3 Moonstone

At the urging of the sorority, Evan finally constituted the Royal Guard today. The entire fortress knows that it is a farce; if the goblins make it through the gates, then some piddling royal servants will be of little help. But the nobles demand it, if only to remind themselves that they are worth protecting.

14 Moonstone

The butcher is finally being moved. Just down the hall, but a location nearer the refuse stockpile will allow for better... butchering.

16 Moonstone

A kobold thief was stopped at the entrance. He tried to escape, but the Circular Lanterns targeted his pancreas, and he fell unconscious trying to flee. It was probably a sugar overdose.

1 Opal

Exploratory mining has recommenced. Nothing of interest has yet been found, although several existing veins have been more thoroughly explored.

5 Opal

The new butcher's shop is being inaugurated with some of the animals. So many are pets, though, that it seems the halls will remain quite clogged.

7 Opal

The meeting with the human guild leader was today. I saw him striding about the halls; he did not seem at all perturbed about the atrocities wrought upon his kin in this place. Perhaps he is from a different clan.

19 Opal

It seems that several of our killsmiths have been concealing serious injuries to their nervous system. The fortress guard will suit them well; they are not reliable enough to grace the front lines.

20 Opal

Alas! Addled though he may be, Eshtan still insists that Champions need not serve in the guard. "It is for low-lifes," he mutters. I suppose he has been quite good at standing guard in the hallway. Perhaps a bit too good.

5 Obsidian

The statue garden is filled with vomit. Evan claims that it balances out the colors.

25 Obsidian

Rakust Lisidmelbil, one of the novice craftsdwarves, has claimed the clothier's shop. An offbeat choice, but he is an offbeat sort of fellow.

1 Granite

Spring has sprung. The fortress runs smoothly, humming with the sound of sloshing booze and sparring wrestlers. May the coming year be so peaceful.

3 Granite

The craftsdwarves insist that skulls are not sufficient for their work; they must have bones. The fool peasants can't seem to tell the difference, though; mountains of skulls clutter the stockpiles. The freemasons are concocting a re-education campaign for the poor half-wits; their bones will populate the pile if they can't sort it out!

4 Granite

A baby thrall is born! Give him sixteen years, and he'll be hauling just as well as his da.

9 Granite

Rakust has finally completed Izeg Kal, The Apes of Smiling. It is a cloth mask, encrusted and burdened with so many stone accouterments that I must conclude that it is purely decorative. The centerpiece of the mask is an image of a cat, crafted from cat leather. Twisted genius; his fellow craftsdwarves mutter behind his back.

No matter, though; he now refuses to work but in the clothier's shop. Half of the dwarves in this place are running around in rags anyway, so I welcome the change of profession.

14 Granite

I am engraving the entrance to the tombs with art fitting for the resting place of great dwarves. I have completed a tribute to Benjamin.

15 Granite

A large force of goblins was spotted moments after the Elven caravan. With luck, they will make it inside the walls...

17 Granite

The Elves have made it inside, but the goblin force is larger than first anticipated. Over two dozen have been counted, a horde proper. We will see what our newly trained marksdwarves make of them.

18 Granite

Two more squads been spotted. Our marksdwarves have picked off several, but the hordes are nearly at the gates. Soon the battle will truly be joined.

Fully half of our melee forces believed that this would be a good time for a nap.

20 Granite

We have won the field! Praise the warriors, there is not a scratch on them. Although the blood will take weeks to soak out of their armor.

Evan was distracted enough by the battle, giving a hearty "Huzzah!" everytime the marksdwarves loosed their arrows, that I have managed to commence trading with the elves without his noticing. I don't think he is paying them much mind at all; their lives depend upon this.

23 Granite

The fool elves! They come all this way, and then when we attempt to trade with them, they shout angrily about desecration and leave at once. We should have closed the gates and left them to the goblins.

27 Granite

In response to the elven fiasco, Evan has banned the export of earrings. That sort of no-nonsense economic warfare will certainly bring them to their senses.

9 Slate

A few immigrants have trickled in. Apparently, tales of the complete modern comfort and safety of Phantomdaggers have not yet permeated the collective dwarven consciousness. We still managed three new nobles, though; I am scrambling to accommodate them.

19 Slate

The miners have struck a vein of tetrahedrite, most versatile of metals. May it run long and deep.

9 Felsite

The entire fortress is playing some sort of cruel mind game. It involves ignoring the vast dining room with its massive array of tables, and complaining that there are no tables to eat at. I can't imagine what purpose this serves, but it seems to amuse the thralls; they snicker every time they walk by.

5 Hematite

Native platinum! It seems the directive to greatly expand exploratory mining was quite justified.

19 Hematite

The humans have arrived. I have arranged for Evan to be taken on a tour of the exploratory mining progress, which should take long enough for them to escape another flooding.

20 Hematite

As if on cue, a horde of rhesus macaques has descended upon us. They are stealing all of the goblin clothing still strewn about the entrance. The human guards have scattered all about, hunting them down.

23 Hematite

The skill of our craftsdwarves (and the value of raw adamantine crafts!) is on fine display. Half a dozen finished goods bins were worth everything the humans had.

They carried a wide assortment of food, drink, cloth, leather, barrels, wood, and other basic necessities. I also purchased eight or ten iron anvils, and a large assortment of iron weaponry, which we can melt down.

25 Hematite

Despite the miners' furious digging, the jewelsmiths have pulled ahead, at least for the moment. They have exhausted every gem in the fortress, no small feat at all. A well-deserved rest is in order for the trio.

4 Malachite

We have too much food! Several plentiful harvest seasons combined with an onslaught of traded goods have left our stockpiles bulging. I have recommended that the miners dig out an adjunct storage area, and that everyone eat a lot.

16 Malachite

Evan is utterly drenched in blood and mud. He seems to enjoy it, really; he ambles about, whistling.

28 Malachite

Again with the "cursed death trap"! Their ignorance disgusts me.

9 Galena

The word in the great hall is that the fortress is collectively worth ten million dwarfbucks. Komut be praised! The fool immigrants don't know what they're missing.

14 Limestone

Our fellow-dwarves from Ezum Cenath come to brighten our halls! Let us see what they have for exchange.

20 Limestone

A veritable smorgasbord of armor, weapons, food, and every sort of store imaginable! Our friends from the outer reach have not let us down. Even though they brought enough for six wagons, we were still able to trade finished stone goods for the lot of it.

22 Limestone

Evan demands still more piccolos; his urging of the craftsdwarves echoes down the halls. There is much grumbling; he may just have to make them himself.

25 Limestone

The hammerer is wearing a dress, bless him. His new fashion is the talk of the fortress.

28 Limestone

Owba Cobinaquuv, the human guild representative, has tied up the mayor in meetings for days on end. Today he ingratiated himself among us masons, however, by helping to pave a section of road travelling out of the fortress. With this addition, it is almost to the river.

17 Sandstone

I happened upon Estan in the dining hall today. He had some ale in him, and seemed talkative enough, so I greeted him warmly: "Tell us a war story, champion!"

"Well," he said, "It all began in the summer of 40..."

Six hours later, the barrel of booze was empty, but Estan was still talking. "Now Osta Devilzeniths, he was a cunning one! Nearly cut me beard off, he did! Surrounded by his pals, of course. They always come on so tough, surrounded by their foul-named pals. He wasn't quite so cunning when his friends deserted him. Kind of lost his head, he did. And his arms too! Har har har!"

It would be rude to walk out on a war veteren, of course, so we stayed. It seemed that half the fortress had gathered to hear the gruesome tale. It took Estan three days to talk himself out, from Utes Monstrousfails right down to Asno Idlestolen. Finally, he took his ale a bit too quickly and dozed off. We scattered quickly, but as the last of us left the hall he awoke, crying, "But wait! I haven't even gotten to the rhesus macaques!"

1 Moonstone

I must give up the pen for a time; masonry beckons. It has been a calm year, but a hearty one, and we begin the winter with enough stores to withstand a two year siege. The miners have delved deep and found many treasures, the fortress guard is finally up to snuff, and our roads pour forth shining goods from the mountain home. Phantomdaggers prospers!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The History Of Phantomdaggers, Chapter VIII

1 Moonstone

My name is Udil Kollerteth, a humble Minesmith of Phantomdaggers. I began this diary as a sort of tribute to Komut. The written word is a form of speech, is it not? As my youthfulness fades daily, I feel that this is the only way to properly pay obeisance.

I have had trouble in making friends here in Phantomdaggers, and so this diary is also a way to make a friend, as it were. The dwarves here seem put off by my love of pig iron - it was not until I learned how hard fuel and raw materials are to come by here that I realized why. I have since tried to steer the conversation towards cabinets and harps, other areas of interest for me, but to little avail.

Finally, I understand that the histories of Phantomdaggers have been, thus far, writ by the great and powerful. I am not so self-centered as to think that anyone would ever hold my works in high regard, but if the world ever needs the true story of Phantomdaggers, it shall lie within these pages.

In case you were wondering, the story involves lots of miasma. Evan's disastrously lax prisoner policies have left the lower tunnels swarming with lizardmen, snakemen, and olmmen, and we struggle desperately to smoke them out.

7 Moonstone

The queen has gone quite mad. Her room overlooks the statue garden of the Great Hall - she leapt off of her balcony today, hurting naught but her pride. She seems ready to do it again.

We are desperately engraving her walls in hopes of bringing her cheer.

13 Moonstone

The largest task currently facing us is sorting and storing the equipment stolen from the murdered human caravan. Almost every dwarf has been set to this task - we work tirelessly, but the goods are endless.

A fellow miner killed what may be the last lizardman - for now, at least, things have quieted down.

The queen has entered into a deep debate with a kitten. I fear that the kitten is winning - he has successfully framed the context of the debate in his own terms, which is itself half the battle, as every dwarf knows.

14 Moonstone

We finished an addition to the crypts, and began laying even more dwarves to their final rests, Komut have mercy on them. During the funeral ceremonies, the queen began to cry out, "Ia! Ia! Cthtulu fthaghan!"

Needless to say, we were somewhat perturbed.

28 Moonstone

During a game that involved bashing her head against the floor and then drowning herself in the resulting puddle of blood, the queen has died. Evan has declared a month of mourning, but the work of Phantomdaggers shall go on.

Dastot Onulromek bore her body to her tomb. Many wept, but I believe that many more were glad to see her go.

8 Opal

The fortress is, for now, free of miasma. Praise Komut for small blessings. This seems to be the end result of an aggressive public relations campaign, fronted by Evan, embodied by the catchy phrase, "Food goes in barrels, not on the floor / Dead dwarves go in coffins, but not if they're poor".

23 Opal

Zulban Olilkubuk has created a magnificent ring. It is beautiful, if somewhat single-minded.

1 Granite

Spring has arrived! We have been hard at work. The trade depot is finally, blessedly clear. The farms have been enlarged in preparation for a diversification of crops (not that I was complaining; I love plump helmets). The storage areas have been expanded and cleared, and the fortress is nearly free of piles of dead goblins' former equipment.

26 Granite

Libash Ducimtastrod, a lumberjack and carpenter, has begun to take his meals in the late queen's private dining hall. If she were alive to see this... well, seeing as her madness was the result of Evan's impudent opulence, I imagine it would have driven her... madder?

17th Hematite

Evan has been re-elected; no surprise there. In fairness, he has done wonders with the place.

We are in the process of installing a waterwheel-powered millstone to grind some of our newly grown crops - namely, sweet pods and longland grass. (And now that it is summer, perhaps cave wheat as well? My mouth waters at the thought of cave wheat beer...) We have also begun a new defensive installation, one that will hopefully bring the might of our siege weaponry to bear.

19 Hematite

We traded the humans some crafts and gems for an enormous amount of precious metals, lumber, and food. Evan seemed to initially favor a more flooding-focused negotiation, but was dissuaded.

24 Hematite

Operations were briefly interrupted by a goblin ambush - several dwarves were caught outside, so The Bent Tools were dispatched to intervene. Some nearly escaped, but Eshtan Gimmelbil Edanison Deleth, the Captain of the Guard, struck the sole survivor with his mighty adamantine hammer, and sent him flying several hundred meters.

With the loot from the goblins, and the haul from the trade depot, I imagine we will be quite busy for some time.

3 Galena

It seems that we can expect no new migrants this season.

17 Galena

Evan has thrown the captured goblins into the Pit of Dispair. Even as I loathe them, I must pity them, a little.

17 Limestone

A beseiging force of goblins arrived on the same day as the dwarven caravan. Methinks we can use this to our advantage.

19 Limestone

The foolish goblins hoped to exploit a "weak spot" in our defenses - the flood gate to the south of the trade depot. Unfortunately for them, this weak spot was actually, well, a strong spot. The caravan guards slaughtered them mercilessly with crossbows.

A stray puppy valiantly held off the second wave until The Broken Tools could arrive - when they did, they drove back the invaders ruthlessly.

The survivors fled.

19 Sandstone

After so much careful preparation, we were careless enough to leave one of the doors to the Pit of Despair unlocked after releasing the goblins. Two were contained, the other two quickly put down by The Bent Tools. The ones which were contained were killed almost too quickly - those whips can be deadly when they put their minds to it.

27 Sandstone

The fortress has attracted migrants - some mutter that they must be suicidal masochists, but their presence is welcome as far as I'm concerned.

1 Moonstone

As winter sinks her icy fingers into Phantomdaggers, I reflect. It has been a quiet year, and after the chaos to which we have all grown accustomed, I think this is for the best. The fortress is in a better place now than it was a year ago, and migrants are beginning to return. What lies in store for the future of Phantomdaggers? Only time, and the wisdom of Komut, will tell.

And the trainees all have bone crossbows. Why would anyone have bone crossbows?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The History of Phantomdaggers, Chapter VII

12th Slate

Blood! The walls are covered in dwarven blood! Oh, I am saddened for the future of Phantomdaggers. We shall not stand long if dwarf continues to batter and maim fellow dwarf.

I found Benjamin’s Body near the gory accessway to the glowing pits. Kumil was slain in his quarters in the night. Melbil’s body has been broken, and I doubt he shall ever recover. We now have no butchers, except for butchers which crush and slice dwarven flesh. Vabok the mechanic had both his legs cruelly broken. Sarvesh the trainee lies mangled! Iden the miner received a comparatively light sentence of sixty days in prison.

And who has perpetrated these foul acts? None other than the captain of the guard, Oddom Solameral! He has corrupted the Secretive Brunch and fortress guard into following the vengeful agenda of the tax collector, who was enraged that we traded away idols to the elves. Just now, news reaches me that Lorbem the guard recently threw two more dwarfs to the dungeon.

I must move swiftly if this fortress is to survive.

16th Slate
During a party I organized in the zoo, I talked with several members of the fortress guard, Shorast Momuz and Degel. Lorbem I believe is a lost cause. I pleaded with them to think of the safety of Zimehurst and its residents, not the whims of the non-native tax collector. The ravings of the goblin thieves served well to hide our talk, from the Baron who poked his bald head in from time to time. I do hope they will make the right decision.

Afterwards I closed the great hall to the public in the hope that those with warrants for beating may hide a while longer in the tunnels. The sculpture garden and zoo are likewise no longer public meeting spaces.

Iton Zudenducim the Mechanic has had most bones in her left arm broken, and now both our primary mechanics are hopeless invalids. The children attend to them, since no grown dwarf will bear the scrutiny from Captain Oddom.

17th Slate
I entered the Sodel the tax collector’s ridiculously opulent quarters. His tables and shelves are saturated with idols…and not just any idols, but many figurines bear his likeness. What madness is this?

I told the tax collector of a new chamber that I was assigning to him, so that he might better store and protect his “goods” without appearing as vastly wealthy as he really is. He gleefully began moving microcline idols. He knows not that the room was dug out long ago to follow a cassiterite vein, and is now long forgotten. It is on the far side of the magma chamber which borders the dungeonmaster’s room. Indeed, the miners who dug it are long dead from the demons they so carelessly released. I ordered only fellow metallurgers of Omer to place a door and furniture within.

I heard Kadol the farmer being dragged away as she was walking to the clothing shop this afternoon. My determination to cleanse Phantomdaggers is only stronger with each day.


19th Slate
I sent a miner in to hack away at the wall of the tax collector’s treasure room, and a flood of magma issued forth. Sodel barely looked up from his figurines to see the miner run by, until he saw the tide of molten rock. Once the miner was through the door, I sealed it shut. It is being walled up with magma-safe material as we speak. Urist was happy to do her part to make an end of her master’s murderer.

Meanwhile, the trustworthy members of the fortress guard followed through and sealed Oddom in his quarters, placing him under house arrest. I constrained the movements of the Baron and his spouse as well to be cautious. I remember the better times.


21th Slate
The trials today revealed that Oddom “the beardless” killed Kumil just days after being appointed to captain of the guard. When Benjamin discovered him by the glowing pits, he was struck down likewise.

In light of his “honorable” military service to Phantomdaggers, he pleaded for his life. Looking through his kill record I saw the strange death of another dwarf that had been overlooked, that of Minkot Strongtomes. He numbered as one of the poor half-born found in the pits. Perhaps Oddom thought to put him out of his misery, but regardless, the dwarf is a murderer, through and through.

Before sentencing, the former captain also incriminated the Baron, who, upon questioning revealed that he was not of noble blood. Instead, he admitted to be nothing but a profiteer, intent on seizing the riches of the city. We have no case against his consort, pregnant and worshipper of Omer, whom I shall allow to go free.

The body count shows 4 dead, and 7 more who are too badly injured to leave their beds.
Eshtan Twisttome Edanison Deleth is the new captain of the guard. He killed ten demons at the head of the Free Lancers during the breach of the glowing pits. His wife (also named Eshtan) was tragically slain in the same engagement. Some think him not quite right in the head, as he still behaves as if she still lives.

27th Slate
With the purges complete, a long retinue of dwarves was spotted from atop the new watchtower. The train of dwarves and their pets stretched as far as the eye could see. But, that’s not the best part!
As I live and breathe, I know I saw the royal banner of the Blockade of Ticks unfurl.

1st Felsite
The fair Queen has arrived, closely guarded by a new hammerer. Benjamin had suspected this day would come since our adamantine strike, and had the foresight to carve out chambers for her. The freemasons Ingish, Stukos and Tulon are most welcome here. With Benjamin dead, rebuilding the fortress shall rest on them. Urist will show them the ways of Phantomdaggers once they are settled. Another fellow armoursmith of the third degree has also joined we metallurgers.

104 dwarves in all are now residents of Phantomdaggers. Long live Zimehurst, Mountainhome of the Hames of Adventuring!

10th Felsite
Olon Kolkokeb the trainee was possessed by unknown forces to produce Tomen Zodost, “The Group of Rot.” It is a figurine of the King, made of raw adamantine.

1st Hematite
The Tax Collector was given a funeral of sorts today. Some chert blocks were placed in his coffin and his tomb was sealed with all his once precious idols within. No one came.

14th Hematite
A human diplomat and his retinue were seen walking along the Trifling Bands. I am not thrilled by the prospect.

15th Hematite
A caravan comes as well. It may as well be an entire traveling village. This sour news was however made better by a strike of bauxite in the chert. It bring some interesting magma control ideas into the realm of the possible. I’ve already started drawing up plans.

17th Hematite
The last human stragglers have arrived. We are hosting nearly 30 unwelcome guests. Many of them are armed to the teeth. They make me uneasy.

18th Hematite
The hatches were sealed. The Baron stood miserable in the lever room. Oddom Nationvessels, the Muddled Trails of Clearing’s sentence was read at every gathering place, and once more from in front of the drawbridge before we sealed him in with the humans, the mud, and the water.


Prafumis the kobold theif was torn apart by a war dog. He dressed like a human, but it did him little good. Even the dogs have become uneasy at their foul scent. We stand wholly opposed to the humans’ corruption of spirit.

21st Hematite
The depot is now completely inundated. I had feared that with the new arrangement a human might have been able to swim up into the holding tank, but their ridiculous armours and weapons must have held them down.

22nd Hematite
Perhaps I spoke too soon. I can hear their feeble cries for help beneath the hatch which leads to the holding tank (it has not yet refilled, giving them a short respite). The windmill continues drawing water, and soon their will be nowhere left to draw breath.

24th Hematite
The screams have stopped. It had begun to wear on my nerves. Draining has begun, and the windmill was disconnected from the pump system.

5th Malachite
For some reason, the humans brought forty of what the Queen informs me are “chausses.” I cannot begin to discern their functions. She tells me that their poleyns are of excellent quality.

The wicked Baron starved to death. Thob conveniently forgot to schedule him any feedings.

7th Malachite
‘Been overhauling the trade depot as it drains. I decided to set one lever to control each portion and installed a new system for closing the drawbridge.

6th Galena
Recent rainfall has exposed a vein of gold on the hillside.

There’s a human guild member walking about the fortress demanding to see me. I think it wise that we keep the trade depot closed a little longer.

Three trainees were crushed under the drawbridge due to sloppy maintenance of the trap system. Several corpses are still clogging up the floodgate. Emptying the depot will have to stop until someone can be sent in to push them out.

17th Galena
The baroness has taken to staring for hours at a time into the underground pool. I need to keep an eye on that one.

The trade depot is now fully drained, but needs repairs before the multitude of human trade goods can be claimed and sorted.

1st Limestone
Food stocks are increasingly running low, and booze is (as usual) very difficult to come by. The dwarven caravan should arrive soon though.

Urist has begun construction of a lovely golden tower that will soon rise above the keep. She stupidly made the staircase out of obsidian. Maybe it will wear better?

6th Limestone
A goblin siege has come, dashing our hopes of seeing the dwarven caravan this year. Eshtan had been hassling the rhesus macaques nearby and began battling the goblins tooth and claw, killing three before they destroyed his left eye and he had to retreat. His new adamantine shield is serving him well, and no doubt helped him to take on an entire platoon by himself.

10th Limestone
The magma execution chamber is a pretty sight. With those mechanisms done, I thought another whip trap might do well for the maze well before I open it.

2nd Sandstone
The grand opening was today. We’ve begun to dump creatures down into the maze.
The queen has been melancholy as of late, so I had a wall punched through so she could admire her furniture from every room.

14th Sandstone
The maze, it’s wonderful! It’s positively brimming with goblins, kittens, and horse foals, all running about. From the observation room, I saw a goblin fall unconscious from the pain of the bronze whip. He landed on the plate which triggered it again, and again and again. My only worry is that the bodies might eventually clog up the traps. Perhaps I should have built more of them before throwing the goblins in there. Next up, Lizardmen!!

20th Sandstone
I hope to try out the magma chamber on the traitor Lorbem soon.

9th Timber
Some problems hav ari s

10th Timber
By the gods, it seems the maze is not completely inescapable! Damn Vabok for telling me the mechanisms were failsafe! By working together to trigger the pressure plates in the correct order, several goblins escaped, lead by the master thief we held in the zoo for so long.

23rd Timber
When the lizardmen cages were opened up to bring them to the maze, they escaped and have begun to terrorize the main storage level. I do not know how this could have happened, but they are no longer accounted for. Neither are the Olmmen. Nor the Snakemen.

I can’t deal with this myself, as another issue has arisen. I had a meeting with the queen today in my dining room. Despite her luxuriant quarters, she had still been claiming that her office was not up to snuff. Seeing my golden dining set pushed her over the edge. After a brief interview, the hammerer gave me this report on her psychological well-being. It does not look good.


25th Timber
It’s been extremely difficult to protect her in this state from the goblins. I’ve spent all day trying to console the queen, but she now runs about the Great Hall babbling orders to “increase the width of the plump helmet biscuits.” Perhaps she will come out of it, but if not, I have prepared her tomb.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The History of Phantomdaggers, Chapter VI

14 Sandstone

Calamity, tragedy, woe! Disaster has struck our once-mighty fortress. Blood covers the walls, dwarven blood! The tale will chill your very soul.

It is odd indeed that I have taken up the journal on this irregular date. Joshua had more than four months left as leader of Phantomdaggers, so I had sequestered myself among the nobles' quarters, engraving scenes of joy and calm tranquility sure to please the nobility (I would not want to provoke yet another increase in the price of goods!). Suddenly, Evan appeared in the doorway. I gasped-- his fine tunic was soaked in blood.

I had heard whispers of that most precious metal, adamantine. Peasants shouted excitedly through the halls as they hauled ton after ton of this finest dwarven gem. Even as a mason, I feel the lust for its shimmer, its final form impossibly light in your hand. There were whispers, though, that Joshua, who was leading the mining expedition, had discarded all reason, that he was digging deeper and deeper into the mountainside, that he refused food or ale.

Then they came. First, strangeness itself; elves, dwarves, even men emerged from the depths, but whether they were alive or dead, no one could tell. Even now they roam our halls, dazed, uncaring. Then the terrible demons emerged, a slaughter of fire and tentacles. The miners were the first to fall, I am told. Peasants hauling the precious ore were flung willy-nilly, their blood painting the walls in eerie display; the demons were not halted by man, beast, trap, or door. Finally, our military hastened to the scene. Many a glorious song will be sung of the battle that ensued; glorious, but overflowing with sadness and despair. The demons were defeated with fist and sword, but 23 dwarves lost their lives on that fateful day, including Joshua himself, doomed by his folly.

I must take up Joshua's stead, and attempt to tend to the needs of the survivors. I will shelve my own grief for now; only my engravings can tell the tale.

16 Sandstone

I will not speak ill of the dead, but it is hard to tell how many of our fortress's woes are due to the slaughter and how many to gross mismanagement. Even as my comrades return to their tasks, they seem sure of what to do, assigned to jobs willy-nilly. We have no remaining marksdwarves, nor a Fortress Guard or Royal Guard to speak of. Rebuilding the military must be the utmost priority, of course. I have appointed Oddom Solameral the Captain of the Guard, and have assigned him the surviving trainees to patrol the fortress. They are not ready, of course, but the fortress cries out for protection, every corner of it.

18 Sandstone

The word from the human merchants is that tales of our fortress have terrified potential migrants. I can hardly blame them. The humans express their sympathy for the massacre, but seem to be especially eager to leave. They will not consider caring for even a few of their soulless brethren that wander our halls.

I have set all of our metallurgers to making their finest sarcophagi, and have ordered a new wing of the funereal chamber to be dug out.

21 Sandstone

One of the fortress guard had the courage to patrol the adamantine pit today. He emerged visibly shaken, speaking of horrible carvings on the walls. He also tells me that there are still dwarves and other creatures chained and caged in that Godsforsaken place. I gave the order to free them, but I suspect it will take a while for the peasants to work up the nerve.

28 Sandstone

It has been two weeks, and still we wallow in our own filth. Miasma abounds; I have designated temporary refuse piles outside to attempt to relieve the smell. Miasma has seeped into the quarters of the Baroness through the peephole that Joshua had ordered me to carve in her wall. Needless to say, she is furious, although when I told her that it was the last wish of a doomed dwarf she was mollified a bit.

5 Timber

The peephole has been replaced with a solid gold wall. Joshua, your licentiousness shall be commemorated by the ages.

9 Timber

Oddom requested artwork for his new nobles' accommodations. I did my best, but my thoughts have been dark of late.

I did manage a fitting tribute to Joshua. May his craftsdwarfship be remembered by generations to come.

24 Timber

Udil Kollerteth, who is little more than a peasant, has unceremoniously booted me out of my workshop and is gathering adamantine as we speak. I expect nothing less than perfection for all of the trouble.

1 Moonstone

Winter has arrived. The fortress is much cleaner now; the dead are buried. I have ordered the construction of some shops behind the great hall, so that the merchant class might buy and sell their wares.

3 Moonstone

Zasit is rather more sensible than his consort; he has banned the export of adamantine items. I have not even begun to consider the wealth of possibilities encompassed by our possession of so great a quantity.

7 Moonstone

Udil has completed Foundcrazy, a raw adamantine cabinet decorated with the bones of fallen demons. This fortress echoes with tragedy. Nonetheless, Evan estimates that Foundcrazy represents more than a quarter of our fortress's wealth.

15 Moonstone

The last of the half-born have dropped dead of madness and exhaustion. May their souls find peace.

24 Moonstone

Two goblin ambushes in quick succession, each easily repulsed.

28 Moonstone

Those cursed tower caps! I have been moping about all day. It was one of my best works!

8 Opal

A snatcher has taken baby Thob! I have roundly upbraided the Bent Tools, who were on duty at the time.

4 Obsidian

One of my predecessors saw fit to construct a magnificent set of bedrooms above the great hall, all of which are too expensive for anyone but nobles to afford. I am not sure what purpose they can serve; however, I have begun a labor-intensive construction immediately above these ghost rooms.

20 Obsidian

Sodel the Tax Collector has mandated the creation of a pair of stone idols, made in his image. I do believe he is putting on airs.

22 Obsidian

We've run clean out of booze again. Apparently, we lack the appropriate plants. I have sent the farmers outside to gather berries, as they don't seem inclined to grow anything at the moment.

2 Granite

Spring has arrived. I believe the fortress to have largely recovered from the disaster of the deep, except that we sorely lack dwarfpower of every sort. Very little productive work is being done because of the sheer amount of hauling that remains. I have kept the military deliberately under strength, because drafting more dwarves would further lessen our hauling capacity.

Nonetheless, my projects proceed apace, awaiting the arrival of a renewed peasantry.

5 Granite

Minkot Emenmelbil has been badly wounded ever since I took command; I presume he somehow survived the madness last fall. He had only a broken arm, but it had stubbornly refused to heal, and he had grown more and more despondent. Today I am sad to say that he went berserk and had to be put down by the Armored Fences.

12 Granite

The Elven caravan has arrived, if it can be called that. Four elves and their mules, bearing nothing but a few cloth bins and some lumber. I was under the impression that elves did not appreciate the chopping down of trees, but I authorized that stone trinkets be given to them in exchange (a mere fraction of our total trade goods). Evan seemed very reluctant about approaching the depot, despite his duties; I thought I heard him muttering something that sounded like, "...flood the pointy-eared knaves!" I must have misheard, but don't know what's gotten into him.

15 Granite

An ambush! A mid-sized party of goblins caught Rakust Okiramost fishing by the river. Luckily, he is quite light on his feet, and managed to evade the goblins as he sprinted north. There were no marksgoblins, so I sent my military out into the field. They pursued the goblins at a terrifying pace, killing them one by one.

Nightmaregurgled, indeed. Despite his suboptimal flight route, Rakust survived with only minor injuries.

3 Slate

Goddamn kids and their goddamn parties.

10 Slate

What madness is this? I have been interrupted from my engraving to learn that one dwarf is dead, and another severely injured. We are not under assault; what madness has overcome us? I must investigate at once.

This journal was found on Benjamin's bloodied corpse as her body was prepared for burial.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The History of Phantomdaggers, Chapter V

1 Granite

Spring has arrived, and though my grudge with Evan goes back for some time, I will admit that he has worked wonders with the place. His are large shoes to fill - I hope that I am dwarf enough to fulfill the task.

As I strode about the hallowed halls of Phantomdaggers, attending to some minor administrative tasks, I occasionally found myself pausing to wipe a tear from my eye. Such is the beauty of my home, and the engravings of the dwarf and dwarves that bedeck her great halls.

2 Granite

During a routine excavation, Iden Cogesmul struck raw adamantine. Most precious of all the metals. Gods be praised.

9 Granite

A goblin assault approaches, no doubt intent on seizing our newly mined adamantine. I sounded the call to battle stations immediately, and ordered all dwarves indoors. Our will is strong, and our traps are deadly. We shall prevail.

12 Granite

The goblin force consists primarily of spearmen and wrestlers. We stand ready.

13 Granite

I needn't have worried. Benjamin and Evan have formed a crack fighting force. Our wrestlers and swordsdwarves tore through the creatures - our marksdwarves didn't even have time to get into position. Two more for the labyrinth.

Meanwhile, Medtob Stelidatir has taken to muttering to himself. I note that he has amassed a stockpile of obsidian, rubicelles, steel bars, lizardman bones, and adamantine. I eagerly await results.

18 Granite

Medtob has created Eddudnikot, an adamantine earring menacing with spikes of lizardman bone and engraved with an image of two wild strawberries. I think it's time I sat down and had a talk with that boy.

20 Granite

An olmman has somehow escaped from the depths of the chasm. I have dispatched The Bent Tools to investigate, and they have dealt with the threat swiftly and decisively.

22 Granite

The olmman incident has led me to an inescapable truth - we need more marksdwarves. I have set up a cross-training gym, and assigned four layabout peasants to run themselves ragged.

26 Granite

More migrants have arrived, and with them a baron, or should I say, a baroness. (Rawr.) Zimehurst is now a barony! Thrilling. I must scramble about trying to accomodate the newcomers.

1 Slate

The newcomers are beginning to settle in - there are a great many of them. Among their number are a tax collecter and a Hammerer, who gives me the chills. I have the opposite feeling regarding the baroness, who is quite fetching.

19 Slate

I have seen to the Baroness' every need, providing her with a solid gold table from which to dine and a matching obsidian desk and chair for her study. The other nobles can wait their damn turns.

21 Slate

The Baroness has forbidden the export of all pig tail items. I passed her in the hall and complimented her on the wisdom of the decision, pointing out that pig-tail ropes were vital to the defense of the fortress and brought out the natural color of her eyes. She glanced at me strangely as she strode past.

25 Slate

I have commisioned engravings for the wall of her bedroom - I made it clear to Benjamin that there must an image of Eshtan Twisttome striking down Smunstu Fiendprices the goblin during Kok Sox, The Assaults of Whipping. I do hope she likes it.

Unbeknonwst to the Baroness, I have also commisioned the carving of a secret peephole in her bedroom. I have instruted Benjamin to be discreet - I'm sure she won't notice.

1 Felsite

The Baroness has deposited her right mitten just outside her tomb. I wonder if she is trying to tell me something.

7 Hematite

The nobles are finally satisfied with their living arrangements - the Baroness has deposited her left mitten as well. This is somewhat troubling, but examination of her dreams reveals nothing.

12 Hematite

The human caravan has arrived. Evan muttered something about "flooding the bastards". He's quite mistaken - the flooding problem from the underground lake has been dealt with, for the time being.

13 Hematite

We traded some cheap trinkets for tons upon tons of rare metals, and, perhaps more importantly, lumber and barrels. Quite a haul. Decent folk, these humans.

14 Hematite

A fisherman evaded a goblin snatcher, so I dispatched The Bent Tools. He made no attempt to escape them - it was if he had already accepted his fate. I almost felt bad as Athel Mafolsil split the goblin's skull with his hammer.

17 Hematite

Evan has been re-elected. The mayor is dead, long live the mayor.

18 Hematite

Kubuk Savotoddom, or "Stoodcloisters" to his owner, Stukos Giginkeskal, has been caught in a goblin ambush. I mobilized the troops as quickly as I could, but it was too late. In my rage and grief, I sent the brave defenders of Phantomdaggers charging towards the goblins, but this of course played right into their hands. Eshtan Astelrigoth was cut down by crossbow fire before the foul creatures were destroyed. I weep for him, and for us all. Truly, he was the best of us. The Free Lancers, the elite wrestlers, now number five.

12 Malachite

I have conceived of a defensive structure such that its construction shall ensure that the tragedy of Stoodcloisters will never be repeated. A new round of migrants arrived today; thankfully, they are all salt of the earth, with none of the pretentions of the last group.

20 Malachite

My defensive structure is complete - an above-ground catapult outside the entrance to our fortress, surrounded by walls with arrow slits to fire through. It is supplied with ammunition from beneath. I eagerly await the next goblin attack.

12 Galena

Our tower-cap farm has borne fruit, so to speak - we are harvesting the first crop now. This could be the next step towards true self-sufficiency for our fortress.

I elected to test one of the traps so cunningly devised by Evan, should its activation become truly necessary in the future. It floods the trade depot with water pumped (by windmill) from the stream to a chamber above, which then flows down through a hatch operated by lever.

Another lever drains the depot from the south... but there is no way to close the hatch above without opening the drawbridge (and flooding the fortress in the process). I have disabled the trap via the rudimentary expedient of tearing down one of the windmills powering it for the time being - if it is to be of use, it must be re-thought carefully.

19 Galena

Our initial adamantine strike was tantalizing, but we have thus far uncovered only a few isolated clusters, and we have searched the area quite extensively. The next direction to go is down.

20 Galena

Our excursions were successful, though not to the degree that I had hoped. And yet, now that I have tasted adamantine, I long for more.

21 Galena

We have uncovered more adamantine, and platinum besides! This mountain is bountiful. Praise Esrel! I neglected to mention this before, but we have uncovered an entire layer of gabbro, a notable indicator stone.

1 Limestone

The adamantine vein seems to travel vertically. It seems as though it may descend into the heart of the world itself!

7 Limestone

We have struck the mother lode, among a layer of microcline, of all things. I feel almost compelled to dig deeper, and deeper - I must find more!

14 Limestone

Another cursed siege - a frustrating distraction from my mining. I will be more conservative with our defenses this time.

16 Limestone

The baroness was caught outside during the siege. As she fled, she somehow managed to find the time to alter the price of goods.

17 Limestone

The siege has been repelled - we lost many animals, but no dwarves. The dwarven caravan arrived, but the trade depot is still flooded.

I have carved out a new area for our adamantine stockpile - I can hardly believe that we have found enough to warrant this, but there it glimmers, plain as day.

23 Limestone

Another vein of gold. How brightly it shines! And yet, it seems, not near so bright as adamantine...

1 Sandstone

The trade depot finished draining, so I opened it back up - somehow, the caravan made it in. I traded a little, just to be polite, but I think they could tell that my heart wasn't into it.

6 Sandstone

Zasit has found something very strange. We uncovered some kind of chamber, deep underneath the surface of the earth.

There are... people here. Dwarves, and elves, and humans. Some of them... in cages. Zasit and I approached one and greeted him cautiously, but was met with no response.

Delving deeper, Zasit found further horrors. Ashes from what could only be bodies. Horrific engravings. And some kind of glowing pit...

We're going to investigate further.

(Note: The charred remains of this diary's final pages were found several days later, next to Joshua's horrendously mauled corpse.)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The History of Phantomdaggers, Chapter IV

1st Granite

This has gone on for too long. I gave much freedom to Benjamin and Joshua in the runnings and tunnelings of Phantomdaggers as I secretly worked to complete my book, “On the Use of Slag in Smelter Temperature Control.” Now, these two being founding members of the Secretive Brunch, our governing council, I had high hopes. What I have re-inherited is a state in disarray, a lack of social hierarchy, and worse still--disorganized stockpiles! Why, the other day I went in search of floodgates to complete my inventory, and I found them piled among mountains of chert by the new forges!

The first thing I did today was begin to take practically every dwarf into my office and advise, nay, insist that they reconsider their career path. Peasants, as I always have believed, are the key to a functioning society. We have none. I also noticed that some reason we have seven farmers. It is my experience from my time in Hammerbreads that three are enough for even a large fortress. Four of them were the first to be demoted. I combined all handlers and hunters into a fraternal order of rangers to patrol lands. I then took one of the least skilled from practically every class of workers and told them that they were barred from acting in their former capacities from this day forward. We now have a healthy peasantry of 13 dwarves! The 13 wrestlers, once peasants themselves, were too set in their ways. These “Champions of Phantomdaggers” say they need not work, and I know that they must not work. Being so set in things of war, they would only cause chaos in the workforce.

Joshua I told to work less on mining and more on crafting masterpieces. To entice him, I had to convince him that I would open up the gold stores for his craftshop, and only his craftshop. This is best for all of us.

Lastly, since I be the finest weaponsmithand armorer in these halls, I replaced Onul as the head metallurger and gave up pointless mining. Harhar! Despite the rest of the miners' claims that iron is nowhere to be found, I saw today that the rest of the old hematite vein had not even been followed through its arc. The fools must not know that hematite yields iron, and so is necessary for making steel. Granted, it may be more difficult to extract from, but what other choice do we have?

3rd Granite

I found several tons of goblin iron in the dump pit by the main entrance today! The equipment is brittle and all the wrong size for us to wear, but it be the perfect stuff to melt. Now that the magma has filled the chambers beneath our smelters, we can do so at no cost of fuel.

6th Granite

Joshua's last mining duty was to mine out some rough golden beryl. His skills led him to locate perhaps 500 ducats worth. An excellent send-off I must say.

8th Granite

I ordered mass slaughters of the livestock today. The horses are doing us no good mucking up the halls. I had nearly all of them marked to be killed, as well as most of the flea-ridden cats which roam our halls. They breed like the rats they stalk.

My first craft is complete: Finely crafted Steel Plate mail, worth I’d say, oh, 9000 ducats.

I feel empowered, and I vow never to leave the forges again so long as I live. I decided to designate a new hoardmaster sometime later, though I shall have the time to serve as mayor still.

10th Granite

I had a subordinate miner break into the bottomless pit's chamber in earnest today. The troglodytes within stood no chance against our mighty wrestlers, standing ready behind the miner and led by Ducim the Killsmith. I vow to arm them, now that the first stage of their training is complete. As I have always said, a fully clad and armed dwarf is mightier than a heavy cavalryman, and twice as stalwart.

11th Granite

The elven caravan from Olova Emino has arrived. All they carried was a bloated tuber, 12 boxes of cloth, and 5 logs of wood. Useless, stinkin’ elves! I moved a number of goblin cages up to the trading room.

When I had calmed down, I designated a place in the mushroom farm for sand collection.

22nd Granite

Chrobogopeerbis the goblin thief tried to steal a sock from the cook Vabok today. The poor dwarf. He dropped a turtle he had been carrying and started a chase around the countryside, but it was a trap! The thief led him directly into an ambush sneaking down from the mountains. We could offer no help, as a second ambush tried to sneak in through the gates. It was repelled by the Reputed Bolts. Ducim Solonust, having shown his worth with 5 kills, is the new sheriff of Phantomdaggers.

1st Slate

I decided not to release the goblins in the trading hall, as it would endanger the peasantry running about, hauling goods uselessly to and from the depot. Instead I hatched a devious plan, which I shall write of later.

2nd Slate

Huzzah! More Hematite! The vein runs deep. Soon I shall have the entire fortress outfitted with fine dwarven steel.

Migrants arrived late in the afternoon after this blessing. One of them is a renowned dungeonmaster, who lives to tame savage beasts. For such an auspicious event, I decided to have a dungeon built, deep in the bowels of Phantomdaggers. He arrived clothed in only mittens and a fine cloak. His cloak is generally enough to cover his frame, but I find I cannot carry a conversation with him while he is sitting.

In his entourage were a potash maker, seven peasants, two fisherdwarfs, a weaver, an armorsmith, two metalcrafters, a craftsdwarf, four rangers, a child, a woodburner, and finally a butcher. That brings our numbers up to a mighty 86. Soon Phantomdaggers shall rule this county!

6th Slate

We tried to drop a goblin maceman three stories down onto a ledge in the pit, but he escaped, and began terrorizing the group of dwarves dumping stone. He was summarily put down by the sheriff Ducim. The peasants complain only mildly about having to dump waste stone which has been littering the great hall and stockpiles.

13th Slate

Two more suits of Plate mail, and three cruel looking steel discs were this week’s work. I decided to start having the traps re-engineered with better weapons and mechanisms. Some of them haven’t had maintenance since our first year! There are far too many cage traps. Though a few prisoners make good sport, hauling them about wastes our valuable time.

20th Slate

The butchering goes well. Last I looked into the shop, it was cluttered with entrails, skin and bone, and stinking with miasma.

3rd Felsite

I began forging enough weapons to equip an army today…crossbows, warhammers, and the like. I forged a superior crossbow the other day, and realized that we had no marksdwarves.

8th Felsite

Benjamin began creating arrow slits by the well so that we may one day clear out the pool beneath.

15th felsite

Joshua completed a masterful golden crown today worth 3600 ducats. I am in awe.

We are desperately low on booze once again.

17th Felsite

The masons are being truly lazy, though Urist has of late become a true mason. They do not take well to the smoothing of walls and floors I have assigned to them.

Athel the Killsmith has taken to hoarding the armour, but there is little I can do. He is now dressed in an excellent suit of plate, superiorly crafted chain mail underneath, excellent greaves, and the best gauntlets we have.

23rd Felsite

Joshua built a craftshop in the storage level amid a pile of obsidian and began turning out rock short swords at an amazing rate. What's more, they appear to be sharp as steel...

24 Feslite

Joshua’s swordcarving has in fact been using up a great deal of wood for handles. I had to put a stop to it.

Eral Osustusthuth the Chippy gave birth to a girl today while dumping stone into the pit.

The spittin' image of her mother.

1st Hematite

Today two construction plans were put into action. The first I shall not speak of yet. The second is a tower cap mushroom farm. It shall be 25 by 25 screllings in either direction, with a small antechamber. The key is to allow enough water in to muddy the cave floor, while keeping the level low enough so that it evaporates naturally on its own. I have ordered a number of new floodgates made for both projects.

3rd Hematite

I realized today that poor old Soxgaspa the faithful wardog has been struggling from the pain his broken left leg is given him, and I had him replaced with a younger dog.

5th Hematite

The rangers organized a party today in the great hall, complete with mountain goat from their most recent kill. I may need to take a few off of hunting duty, as they tend to depopulate the surrounding area of game and then lounge about on the mountainside.

11th Hematite

The humans arrived from the south with four wagons full of goods. We have an obscene amount of stonecrafts to trade, even with the temporary stop in production. When I looked out, I saw that Benjamin had trapped himself high on the crenellations of the fortress by walling from the wrong side. By the time he realized his error, he was too weak, and so young Urist was sent to help. The castle is coming along nicely.

Among the humans’ goods were nearly twenty tons of wood of all sorts! There also were a surprising number of finely crafted barrels, which shall soon hold delicious dwarven brew. If only we could have gotten some sun berries off of the filfthy elves, we might have had the finest in the land…

I saw a fine bronze whip lying to the corner near a great barbaric scimitar, and I thought to myself what a fine torture weapon it would make against the goblins. It was a natural purchase for me, along with an absolutely beautiful iron piccolo.

17th Hematite

I was re-elected today. Clearly the people’s faith in me is boundless! Mosus finished work on a glass screw pump as part of my secret project. I thought she was trapped next to it just like Benjamin was, but instead she was just staring at her work. I fear she is starting to go mad. Benjamin's increasingly morbid engravings do nothing to lighten the mood.

12th Malachite

I banned the export of piccolos today. I have been learning much in the way of music lately, and I must have more examples on which to learn and practice!

18th Malachite

The tower cap cave is nearly done. We hit a large amount of Orthoclase, a kind of fool’s gold. Joshua has been going down to marvel at it often lately when he has no work to do.

1st Galena

A giant bat struck down two of my peasants in quick succession. The dwarves are calling him Katakesdor, “Scalysold” in the old tongue. It brutally killed Adil and Likot the peasants on the rim of the Pit. I have dispatched both crossbow and hammer to strike him down!

2nd Galena

Degel Oltartulan struck the batman upon its head in a spirited chase down the bloodstained hallway leading to the Pit, just before Ducim gave it such a blow that it was knocked from the air at once. He now has seven notable kills.

4th Galena

Today is a sad day. Ducim stood on the brink of the underground pool, triumphant in victory. To show off, he grabbed a snakeman and mangled its upper body. A frogman too, jumped out of the pool, only to be dealt with likewise. He crushed its filthy arm with his warhammer and it toppled into the water. Unbeknownst to this hero, one of its vile appendages dragged him under with its last hateful might. He fought bravely, but the pool was deep. He battled the creatures for a day and two hours until his strength began to run out. We stayed our bolts from above from fear to hit him as well. He died there in extreme pain, drowning, surrounded by more and more of the sinister watery kin, but Ducim never released his chokehold, even as he sank beneath the black surface. This I saw through the obsidian well, and now commit to memory.

20th Galena

Three more rangers immigrated at some point in the last week. The fortress was still depressed about the recent deaths and the lack of alcohol, and I was too busy consoling the citizens to notice. The alcohol must go to the dwarves of legendary status. Some of the poor who do not merit booze simply do not understand that their labour is not worth as much as those who have skill.

It seems that the peasant Vabok has some skill with mechanics that I overlooked. Since Stukos is turning out to be a lazy oaf, I may have found a great replacement.

1st Limestone

At last Autumn came. Another thief was spotted outside the walls. So much has happened this summer. Steel production halted for a time, until I realized that the smelters had run out of flux. There is plenty of marble below for this, but it had not yet been excavated.

13th Limestone

A dwarven caravan from Ezum Cenath of five wagons arrived today and began unloading goods. My hand is pained from designating so many rock crafts for trade.

20th Limestone

I had to pull myself away from the Limefall Festival in the great hall in order to attend upon the caravan. We invited their guards to the party, but they prefer to stand in quiet vigil in the depot. No matter. Once we got down to business, the traders became very excited about the goblin garb we offered. I thought them mad until I recognized the incredible tensile strength of giant cave spider thread in a number of the items. This enabled us to send a grand sum of offerings to the king, while still making a volume of trade exceeding thirty thousand ducats. The greatest prizes of the day were the finely crafted pieces of armour and beautiful gems. Some of the items bore images of our most prized artifacts, such as Crossimpale the Prestigious Shadows, our prized steel chain leggings.

Benjamin incidentally carved a fine rendition of the leggings in the depot the day before.

22nd Limestone

Early in the morning, Kubuk Morulsazir the metalsmith hung a holy symbol of Omer above a magma forge. His passion for the craft has taken his senses from him and I fear it may consume him. He seized steel immediately, and made a cursory examination of several stockpiles. Afterwards he gathered no more, sat quaking in the forge, and began carving pictures all over the ground. A quarry, shells, a forest, and pelts! I realized that he had been stricken mute by his fervor, and was showing us what he required. Checking the books, I saw that we had no shells in the refuse piles. I had to forbid all foodstuffs but turtles for two entire days in order to procure what Kubuk needed. He is now rushing about, picking up valuable goods right and left. If he require anything further, hopefully it may be purchased from the caravan.

3rd Sandstone

We began construction on some new apartments for the nobles and other dwarves of high standing deep in the fortress today. They shall be heated by the nearby magma chambers, and will enclose the finest furnishings. Already I see the outline of my glorious new chambers next to those of the dungeonmaster. We are the only true members of the noble class in this fortress, and we naturally deserve special attention. However, I am noticing an acute housing shortage for the middle class--all those who can aspire to greater privilege through their labours. Perhaps I shall rectify that when the tombs are complete.

18th Sandstone

The dungeonmaster is demanding a silver table in his tomb. His tomb is nowhere even near complete, but I understand his frustration. His rooms have only just now become furnished (albeit with some of the finest goods available). I myself am particularly proud of my golden dining set. Benjamin carved a lovely picture of me ascending to mayorhood in my bedroom. The dungeomaster has a finely rendered image of a kobold being hacked to pieces.

17th Sandstone

Kubuk Emerged from the forges carrying a fantastic steel drum, “Tustzalrazmer,” or “The Malign Violator” in the old tongue. I have ordered a music room dug to celebrate the occasion. I can barely even place a price on his beautiful artifact. He is now a legendary metal crafter after the ordeal.

20th Sandstone

Today I received the message that migrants were too nervous to make the journey this season. Their trepidation is no doubt due to news of the recent bat trouble in the depths, or perhaps the frequent goblin ambushes.

Our alcohol production has ramped back up. I discovered that the butcher had been preserving the horse fat after each slaughter over the summer and spring. Now over one hundred units of it are dumped; the rest was rendered so that more barrels would be free--and that did the trick!

Several peasants were complaining about having to sleep in the barracks, among the scuffling soldiers. I was far too busy managing the forges and pacified the complainers with the offer of a bit of my swamp whiskey. Those elves’ bloated tubers had some use after all!

14th Timber

Eshtan the hammerdwarf entered a martial trance in the lower class bedrooms, wounding his training partner Sodel in the arm. I have decided to disarm these dwarves until I have proper armour suits fashioned, or there will be more casualties.

15th Timber

We’re out of hematite, alas! There is enough iron to continue steel production for a little while.

I found out why the mechanic Stukos has been so lousy lately at the craft. She gave birth to a boy in her quarters this morning.

3rd Moonstone

Thob organized a roaring party in the great hall. I unveiled my new housing plan to the residents of these grand fortifications. The refuse pit is to become a pleasant outdoor statue garden, and all about on the upper levels there shall be apartments for those who show their worth. The mason's guild was quick to throw in their support when I mentioned the possibility that they could secure some of the new quarters. Dwarven ale all around!

4th Opal

We started planting in the plump helmet cave again due to dipping food supplies and plentiful alcohol stores.

23rd Opal

There was a scuffle in the tower cap farm as we opened the floodgate to irrigate the new lower level. Two lizardmen were ripped limb from limb when they tried to interfere.

6th Obsidian

As my last project this year, I had a massive maze dug beneath the dungeon. Here I plan to release goblins and let them know the fear of the whip and a tantalizing but impossible escape. The mechanics are starting a series of pressure plates that will open and close doors to the exit as our prisoners wander the tunnels.

19th Obsidian

It has been an unusually cruel winter. The earth is so hard that we cannot even grow plump helmets any more. The outer garden is useless as well. A thick layer of snow has fallen all about.

25th Obsidian

A snakeman got into the kitchens somehow. He killed one of our puppies with his wicked spear and then began to chase the fishermen who had been dipping into the drink stocks. Lor Esdolorath the swordmaster defeated the beast. I hope one day that that cauldron of evil where they come from will be emptied of its evils. I berated the cowardly peasantry for not saving the puppy. At least when grown, a wardog would prove more useful than they.

26th Obsidian

The smoothed walls of Phantomdaggers shall be a bastion of dwarfdom for all time. I am leading the fortress into a shining new era and none shall stop me.

Note To Self: In the old arms storage room, the upper lever (alunite) opens the floodgate and closes the drawbridge, the lower lever (obsidian) drains the depot afterwards. MAKE SURE TO CLOSE THE HATCHES BEFORE OPERATING.