19th day of Malachite, 550 years since the Record began,
Stakud “Closebolt” Urolalath, Mason and Bookkeeper for the Expedition Group Anuzlolor, “The Fair Letter”
Today I was working in the unfinished cistern, smoothing the stone in preparation for the coming day we start the pump, when Adil came rushing down the channel shouting, “They’re here! They’re here!” Her voice echoed so loud I misunderstood her joy for fear, and I thought that goblins had begun a raid. Praise Rimtar, I was wrong: we have doubled our numbers!
They came from Basementportal, Lensyell, and Squashedropes in the southwest; they had heard of our quest and decided to come to our aid. What good fortune that some salted meat from the slaughtered draft animals is still left over in storage. We feasted tonight!
I drank a mug to Rimtar in thanks, for I am no longer outnumbered among the she-dwarves! Of the eight that have joined us, six are males, and a sturdy group they are. Shorast the blacksmith is aching to forge us weapons of war, and was delighted we had an anvil. Surprisingly, Lokum never took credit for bringing it, but merely said she hoped Shorast could it put it to good use soon. (Why she didn’t rub it in my face, I may never know; she is a mystery, that Lokum.) I have already recruited two of the men, Udib and Uvash, as apprentice masons, and they seem eager to learn the trade. Tomorrow we will return to the cistern, for I fear the autumn is coming quickly, and I don’t want to have the pool freeze over before we pump the water below ground. Once finished, I think I may be able to devote more time to keeping better track of our stores, and leave the mundane masonry tasks to the new men.
Tun is a crossbow maker, but since we have few marksdwarves among our ranks, I suggested he learn some basic carpentry from Edem, for now we urgently have a great need for beds! Ilral the fisherman went right to the ponds and caught us a few frogs to eat, but I would be surprised if he found anything more. I’m planning to ask Lokum that he be reassigned to more useful duties. Ezum is a jeweler and was delighted to see our modest collection of rough gems. We have no work area for him right now, but he seemed happy enough to lend a hand where ever we needed, so I think he will fit in nicely here. Two she-dwarves came along with the men, Sarvesh the Weaver and Tekkud the Dyer. Clothing is not something we need to worry about right now, but I’m sure their skills will be much appreciated in the future. Until then, they have offered to farm some crops that could be threshed and spun into thread later in the year. Lokum agreed, and once we find some more silty clay to farm upon, the soil is theirs. And to top it all off, it was only just a moment ago that the newest she-dwarves revealed that they were in fact wives to two of the men! Shorast and Sarvesh are a couple, as are Udib and Tekkud. How long will it be before there are little dwarflings scurrying about?
In all, our summer has been quite productive. Lokum slaughtered the draft beasts herself, skinned them, and made backpacks and waterskins from the hides. The meat was prepared and preserved (and tonight cooked into delicious biscuits), and then Adil took the bones and created some crossbow ammunition for our future defense sentries. I admire Adil, for she is a cautious one, and always many steps ahead. I can see she fears we are not prepared to defend ourselves, but has not yet pressed the issue–at least not to me. She probably has spoken with Lokum about it, for Lokum has begun training the dogs for war and hunting. I wouldn’t be surprised to see one of them guarding our entrance soon.
With fifteen of us here now, I think Adil’s concern is warranted. Perhaps we are nearing the time to start building some defenses. We are sure to cause enough of a ruckus here to draw the attention of someone, and if they be foe, we need to be ready.
The story continues next week…
For a breakdown of the actual gameplay, read on here.
If you’re enjoying this story, perhaps you might enjoy my original fantasy novel, By the Light of the Moons, available for download on Amazon Kindle.