Chapter 5 - jo

Jul 19, 2020

(Original Post)

I take one last look at the mountainhome as I begin my journey to be overseer of the relatively new settlement of Siegedcraft to the west. We hear things in Flashedbasement of course, and the meteoric rise of this settlement has taken pressure off Queen Inod to defend against the goblins and beasts of the realms. She seems to have a complicated relationship with the previous overseer Mala, from whom I hope to hear much in the coming year, and certainly the Countess bghvgjd (must be a goblin name), will have much to say about what we accomplish this year, as well.

(if you want to hear this the way I hear it, https://music . apple . com/us/album/ultimate-rainforest/1459142408)

An uneventful journey through the lands of the Calmed Lances. My escort and I saw many armed patrols along the way coming and going (presumably dealing with goblins), and we arrive at Zokunrigoth. Or Siegedcraft in the common tongue. This will be a long year. The birds and wild animals of this place ceaselessly mewl and crow as we pass under the trees. The din of the bugs is deafening. The heat is oppressive. And it's been raining without stop for 3 days straight. This is a far cry from the obsidian-cast cap of the mountainhome and it's ancient shining chalk roads leading to our other settlements. I hope to see at least the deep gabbro's browns and blacks as I have reports they have at least that here. And of course I will miss the smell of the peat bogs surrounding the mountainhome when I sit in the tavern (and the smoke of that peat from the hearth and in the dwaren ale).

When I enter the main gate I am impressed by what they've achieved here in such a quick time. This fort was established on a war footing and their defenses, while still under construction, belies the competence of the former overseers who are found in this place. The mountainhome is old and slow to adapt to this new war with the goblins, so part of my mission is to learn what I can here as fast as possible and send plans back to Queen Inod so Flashedbasement can be made ready to attack and defend more effectively. I show my writ from the Queen to some workman on the eastern edge of the settlement and they direct me to go near to the bottom of the fort to meet with Mala and Countess bghvgjd. I tell the young dwarf to fetch all the nobles as I want a full accounting of the comings and goings here. I meet them all in the fox-shaped tavern that everyone in the Calmed Lances (and seemingly every other nation) has heard of.

Certainly they have stockpiled enough food and drink to last out any siege, and I am happy to see they've installed a moat and drawbridges, valuable tools we've used underground to deal with the various denizens of the caverns. There's not much of a military and no trained military leaders to speak of. There's also no one running the hospital. We shall have to right that very soon. But they have a good supply of iron and have managed to bring some impressive amounts of magma very near to the fort's entrance. Of course I share with them all the news from the mountainhome as we are at war. And the Countess is livid about her living conditions so we shall have to do something about that as well.

(Lots of iron and bronze!)

(Siegedcraft has made a very appreciable thrust to the west in terms of settling the rest of the continent. The light blue are economically linked settlements.)

Countess bghvgjdh needs a better place to live, and has responsibilities that need to be shared. A countess should be in the business of making sure the county is working, not looking over orders for beer inside the fort.

The fox-shaped room contains a large tavern called the Amusing Fountains. Mala assures me there is a lever I can pull to make the titular fountains come on, so I make a note to find it once I've settled in.

Buried in a sub-report is a note from an explorer in the deepest caverns of spotting the tale-tale signs of adamantine, that most coveted of metals. I look forward very much to being the overseer who arms our squads with the sharpest swords anywhere this side of the mountains. Why it hasn't been done by the previous overseers I can't fathom. They complain of goblins and monsters and it seems perfectly peaceful here!

A sketch of the fort from my first moments there. There is a most impressive moat and power supply that Mala says she designed herself.

I did note that we would need to do some work on the entryway as the caravans would be here before we know it and the trade depot couldn't even be reached from outside the fort.

There's a great deal of detritus in the moat that I'll have our fisherdwarfs haul out. And we'll have to dredge those edges out so we don't get snakes and trolls coming through the water into the fort. Sadly I also see some poor dwarf's body sunk in the mud of the moat. That's our first priority, but we really must clean this place up. There were logs and bodies everywhere.

I also notice a couple of visitors casually swimming in the western moat and send a messenger immediately after I meet with the nobles to tell them to get on land.

When they've dried off I find that the two swimmers are nothing less than a baroness consort I've met in the mountainhome and a priestly scholar. I agree I will not tell the baroness's baron of this impropriety if she agrees to swim with her scholar in some place less conspicuous.

As we had no one truly in charge of the militia, I took it upon myself to give them an inspection after my meetings. I had a couple years of service in the under-roads myself and I know this fort has had more than its fair share of attention these last few years. I speak to their commander, who is very green, and tell her they must immediately start wearing any of the dozens of pieces of metal armor I've seen on my way through the halls. They complain they will smell of goblin, and I tell them that's better than being stabbed by one and they shape up. I also assure them we will soon be adorned in properly made dwarven armor.

I've seen a number of injured dwarfs in the fort and upon interviewing several dwarfs with experience, I choose young Onul to be our chief medical dwarf. She lacks diagnostic experience, but she's the best we have. In passing, she and a number of other dwarfs have expressed a need for a place to worship, so I make a note to look into it. If nothing else, the Queen has charged me with setting up a temple to The Pulpy Itch should she ever visit this fort and need a place for her own worship.

As I said, the Countess needs to focus on her county. I was impressed by the bookkeeper and asked her to look after making the numbers she reports to me continue to look good. We also worked out a short plan to increase our trade with our elven and human allies and make some impressive goods for the mountainhomes.

It took some time for me to decide who would be the captain of the guard. My candidates were all poorly trained, and my first choice Imara Alinopavi turned down the job. There was a former mercenary turned citizen living in the fort named Olin who I approached next and after some talk and a bit of the mountainhome's peated ale, he decided to take over the role.

After my first day I was exhausted and retired to the tavern for a beer before rest. A classic tale of the first general! She was the first dwarf to be slain by the dreaded Uker Oceanseaks. That monster hasn't been seen in 20y, but no one believes it is dead. We don't even know if it can be killed. No one has succeeded in 250y.

My first order of business upon awakening is to increase the comfort of my newly appointed fortress managers. That means large bedrooms and offices away from everyone else (and conveniently located near the tavern!). The Countess's quarters will require some consideration.

Our second order of business, we've fished Rith out of the moat and put the remains in a coffin so their friends can grieve properly.

I'm informed it was a very impressive fighter.

Also there are unholy howls coming from the southeastern wood. I shall have to deal with that I think.

Tosid and I work out a plan to keep the food and drink stocks within desirable levels indefinitely, and begin producing goods from the animals we butcher. It was a day of small tasks. Tomorrow I look forward to more of the same.

I wake up my third day in the fort to the alarm bells.

Our scouts have spotted a large force of goblins and trolls. I suppose we will not be working on peaceful tasks today.

The next months are a blur. We are sieged and I am thankful I had memorized the location of the lever to close the main drawbridge as Japa had informed me. We have a great deal of lumber in the fort, so I immediately order crews to work extra hours on building a defensible entry to the trade depot. Sadly we must leave the visitors to the goblins. Some of them make a good showing of themselves. They just never stop coming. Their screams are what I will remember most about my time in this fort.

Knowing we are likely to take heavy losses given the training of our military, I establish a new area to be kept clear of growth where we can put the bodies. Japa has told me of a facility she built, but I think we shall need more.

When the defensive walls are finally completed, Olin and I work out how best to defend the base. We position our troops in the depot itself and will open the drawbridge. Visiting mercenaries have killed a number of the goblins but the trolls are still unmarked and make their eerie patrols of the moat nightly. NO time like the present to open the gate.

The fight ended and we were victorious. The bodies took months to clean up and I'm afraid that's where my time has been spent. We've had to expand the moat and pick up pieces of monsters from trees and all manner of other grisly things. We completely filled up the facilities of the fort for dealing with bodies. I've worked out the plans for a more elaborate system to confuse our enemies before we kill them. The maze shall be extremely large and contain surprises for the unwary.

By my count, we lost 59 beings to the goblins in this siege because we were not prepared. The next time they come they will not find us such a soft target. I swear it.

Some four months after my arrival we finally manage to begin work on the Countess's chambers. She has been more and more upset over time. I hope that she will appreciate the grandeur of her new rooms.

In order to make the dwarfs more productive, I instruct the masons to install a number of small placards throughout the fortress to direct visitors and work crews to the right parts of the fort. The haulers keep ending up in the bedrooms. That should be a thing of the past.

I instruct my woodcutters that they can in fact stack their logs one on top of another. (QSP wood)

And the I've told the miners the same. (QSP stone)

The elves set a quota for us. I shall have to ask the mountainhome to send wood. That will technically be within the bounds of our agreement and give us plenty to work with.

Work progresses on our wooden maze, despite the presence of the elves.

The elves inform us of many attacks throughout the continent. We *must* be prepared for the next one.

The mayoral vote is tallied and Rakust has no problem. A swell dwarf and one I was happy to root for. I will put in a good word as he and the rest of the fort's management have been most helpful to me with very little fighting my elaborate plans.

I've spoken extensively to those in the fort who knew the monsters that now inhabits our southeastern reaches and even tried talking to them myself. I think leaving them alive may have been the crueler of two choices. The dwarfs of the fort can hardly get work done in the eastern reaches without being scared off by the howling of these two monsters.

The humans brought a great deal of bookmaking supplies and were only too happy to trade for some good dwarfish booze! Kol gave them one heck of a deal in their eyes, but I know the true wealth of this place and they got the worst of it! Ha!

Someone had informed our masons to make coffins for the dead and I guess when Japa handed me her notes she forgot to mention it. I put an immediate stop to it, but now we have enough coffins for the next century.

We had almost 60 deaths at the hands of the goblin invaders but dwarfs won't be cowed. The numbers that migrated more than replace what we lost, and they're not all humans and elfs!

A lovely, lovely gem.

I've placed it where the fortress management can see it from their doorsteps each time they must attend to their duties.

Half a year gone and we've added many new faces to the fort, doubled our military, made the Countess happy (you wouldn't believe how she yelled about her mausoleum), and produced stone craft that will make even the mountainhome jealous. I've also told the fisherdwarfs to stop fishing the moat. We couldn't get the smell of fish out of the tavern after trying for a month and they seem to like their new lives as builders better. They still get to be outside!

Our maze progresses well.

After speaking with our visitors and residents I feel I have created a plan with our miners and masons to build enough space for everyone to worship as they see fit. The queen will be pleased to know she can worship in a sanctuary dedicated in her name.

We've completed the cover of the animal pen, and have started putting the cover on the maze. I also was forced to put a top over the depot and the path to it because IT NEVER STOPS RAINING. We also thought it would sensible to put a wall around the corpses so that the children would stop playing with the skulls.

In the center of the corpse pile I placed a statue dedicated to Sarek, the god of caverns, worshipped by our dwarf brethren far to the southwest. I placed next to this a chain. We had some prisoners of war who seemed like they would be good target practice for our military, and a convenient place to leave the bodies.

The management housing level is truly beautiful.

I had not the heart to previously say this, but Japa died in the defense of the fortress some months ago. We had so many conversations in my office and the tavern when she wasn't practicing her defenses. I have decided she should have the first of many spacious memorial halls. I interviewed witnesses to her death and was able to find the very mace that killed her, and the name of her killer after speaking many times with our librarians and the war prisoners we previously held captive. We should honor our enemies as well as our heroes, and their memorials shall be together, just as the ends of their lives were together.

They was a worthy foe.

(japa and statues thereof to the west, and the goblin memorial to the north center. The mace is on the ground and I put it on a pedestal later)

The memorial hall turned out splendidly, and I see many dwarfs who remember Japa's leadership and come to reflect here.

Our masons did a wonderful job in honoring Japa.

Our temple spaces progress.

The caravan from the Flashedbasement finally arrived, and we traded our lesser items to them for good steel to melt down and use, and a number of bookmaking supplies and metal. I've asked them next year for a goodly supply of things to make our own steel - coal, charcoal, flux - and some eagle leather. It seems eagles don't venture into this rain forest we find ourselves in.

They've told me to make a good deal of earrings, and I believe they will love the crafts we devised this year.

We had some months of peace, but our defenses are ready now for this. I am not concerned.

A fearsome looking foe, but we haven't time to ask the librarians about her before the attack.

To arms!

An unlucky scholar ran into the cyclops before she came into the fortress.

I watch the fight from a safe distance as best I can.

Our militia is victorious.

She carried a number of strange, old artifacts out of lore.

She took a team of dwarfs to haul away from the field of battle.

Our militia inform us this cyclops killed a dwarf in battle with her breastplate. Gods.

(she was truly a great foe, and we're lucky we didn't lose anyone) Some of our visitors inform us they know this cyclops by name.

As we shall honor our greatest enemies, a shrine to Logem, with several highlights from her long and bloody past in the form of engravings and statues. On the pedestal with her skeleton are some of the artifacts she wielded in life.

Another beautiful example of dwarven ingenuity

And the perfect place to put it. Beauty for our master forgedwarfs when they about their tasks.

(for reasons unknown to me we had a LOT of statues)

I decided to enhance the park in the southwest of the fort with the statues I have seen going unused. Their carvers seem pleased to see them placed in the world and not sold off to a caravan.

The temples complex is complete for now. If more migrants come with even more disparate beliefs, we have room to grow.

Many come to perform and see others perform! We're a multicultural hub. We were before I took over, and continue to be.

(QSP for wood, stone, bars, and furniture) I set out to simplify the work of our haulers and craftsdwarfs and think I've done well.

9 months of work to get here. We are almost done enclosing the deadly entrance to the fort.

We have drainage at the back of the maze for the next phase of the project, flushing attackers out with water, and drowning them if necessary.

The management is all happy. I cannot find someone I like for the position of hammerer. Perhaps the next overseer will. I am too busy with this defense project to think further on it.

Rakust again easily wins.

The military has shaped up well and we will fight the goblins back in their hovels.

Resistant bunch.

The last baby born of the year I think. It is good to see new life in this place where there was so much death.

My time is done. I've accomplished much.

We can now get water from the moat almost into the cistern. I had the bucket dwarfs fill it almost full in case we need it.

The roof of the new barracks reminds the militia what their job is.

Here they train and remain vigilant to protect the other 250+ souls of the fort

The temples have gained popularity.

The Countess is now a Duchess, and her rooms reflect it.

The mist generators are functioning. I managed to find the correct lever to pull.

We filled the reservoir.

We finished the maze, and it's currently setup for capture. It turned out well!

Well that is the end of my time managing this fort. I believe the next overseer is positioned well for success. The militia is partially away dealing death to goblins, but those that remain are prepared.

And we have a healthy population of course! Busy about their various jobs and passions!

In readying myself to leave, I toured the facilities once more and found another cyclops that I believe I should have honored. If nothing else I will honor them finally here in my journal.

And the books are in order. A great deal of iron awaits our next leader.

One last note, in order for our dwarfs to be able to work on the eastern side of the map I had a wall built near the crazed werebeasts.