Ransackediron Restored, Part 6: A Dwarf Fortress Story

← Continued from Part 5

28th day of Obsidian, 550 years since the Record began,

Stakud “Closebolt” Urolalath, Manager, Head Mason and Bookkeeper for the Expedition Group Anuzlolor, “The Fair Letter”

The winter is nearly over. I sit here at my desk, a fine wine in one hand, quill in the other, as I warm my sore muscles by the heat of boiled stones Stodir prepared for me. On this final day of the year, I cannot help but look back and wonder how we have lasted so long here with so little. A few weeks ago, I thought it was the end for us; thankfully, I was wrong.

It happened due to my own mismanagement of the outpost. My thoughts and efforts were ever on the defenses, mostly overseeing the trap for Siga our great enemy, and I would not listen to those closest me. I would become annoyed at the slightest interruption of my work, and I just bellowed out orders without planning, without thinking. I focused everyone’s efforts on the Hall of Death, to the detriment of all. Then the alcohol ran dry.

I’m sure someone noticed the dwindling supply; it’s possible they even told me about it. But when I reached for a mug of ale myself and found an empty barrel, only then did I see my folly: no brew; all the water outside frozen, and our barren cistern incomplete. A dozen thirsty dwarves looked at me blankly, some with contempt. I deserved it.

I immediately sent the brewers to work at the still, and the carpenters to create more barrels. As I oversaw the operation, Stodir returned with news that the next stage of the hall was ready for planning. Still angry at myself, but childishly taking it out on her, I ordered Stodir to begin a trench. She started to explain why it wouldn’t work. I didn’t listen.

Days later, I saw why Stodir had warned me – a trench in the Hall of Death led right down into the level we had dug out months ago, into the patch of silty clay the farmers were using. Stodir dug it to prove a point. No one was hurt (she saw to that) but the damage to my pride was her intention, and she succeeded. It was the best thing she could have done for me.

I summoned all that night, and begged their forgiveness for my missteps. We have been here almost a year; it is no longer an outpost, it is our home. It is time we started making this place feel that way. This week we corrected the trench, and come spring, we will move on to bettering our stay here.


17th day of Granite, 551 years since the Record began,

Stakud “Closebolt” Urolalath, Manager, Head Mason and Bookkeeper for the Expedition Group Anuzlolor, “The Fair Letter”

Such activity this week as we have never seen! Elves from Senawimimale came with their wares, and we hastily crafted a place of trade for us all to deal. We had very little to offer, but they seemed delighted with our gemstones, even the rough ones Ezum had not cut yet. In return they traded delectable fruits which we took gratefully, and some well-crafted hardwood armor and shields for our defenses.

Not a day later, the outpost was overrun by thieves; not by goblins or kobolds, thank Rimtar, but Kea. These giant birds must have traveled in the Elves’ wake, for we had never seen them before. They swooped in between our ranks, stealing not our food nor seeking to hurt us, but simply to take away our new purchases before we even had time to bring them inside. I can laugh now at the absurdity of it all, but at the time, the outpost was furious. What would a bird want with a wooden shield? we all wondered. The Elves merely smiled and shrugged, and reminded us that all trades were final. Perhaps the tree worshipers trained these pests? The Kea are gone, but the Elves remain nearby, so perhaps not. Still, we will be more vigilant the next time.

As if this was not enough, two days ago, as we celebrated our first year here with a rousing party, who should arrive but more migrants from the west. None of them were from the besieged cities, nor had they seen any signs of goblin ranks in the area. Have we dodged an arrow, and the goblins will not attack? We hope so.

The migrants have brought children. Kel and Lor, newlywed, cradle their baby girl Cilob, just months old; Olon the brewer brought his three children with him, yet his wife Vabok, whom he talks of often, is not among them. And just today Sarvesh and Shorast from our first newcomers welcomed their baby girl Nil into the world.

The addition of children changes everything here, for now we truly are a home, a place that must be safe but also a place to grow, to thrive. Even in my old age, I look to Stodir and wonder if we should attempt to bring a young one here. But first, the outpost must know we are betrothed. I can’t wait to see the looks on their faces.

Gameplay breakdown

I love this game, even though it’s so hard! So much to keep an eye on once the population starts increasing, and boy did I make a huge mistake! While micromanaging the trap hall, I noticed this message, my first indication of trouble:

noWaterSource

No water source? That usually means someone is injured, someone else is trying to give the injured party water (injured can’t be given alcohol), and since I have no well or cistern, they are out of luck. But just as I was looking for the injured dwarf in a bed, that’s when I saw this:

thirsty

Those blue down arrows are my thirsty dwarves. That many thirsty dwarves can only mean one thing: the alcohol’s gone. Nothing strikes fear into the heart of dwarf fortress player like seeing a dozen unhappy dwarves that could turn destructively berserk with rage. Luckilly, I must have caught things early, for once I made a batch of brew, the thirsties went away. Phew.

It was at this same time I made a stupid mistake in the trap hall, telling the miner to dig a trench, forgetting that I already had dug out the level below for farms. The last thing I want is for enemies to use the trench to get in the fortress through a back door I never intended. I was able to patch it up, thankfully:

trench_below

Below

trench_above

Above

Then those Keas! What the heck is a kea? I had to look them up. Apparently they really do exist, and they really do steal things they can’t use. Awesome.

kea

Pretty vicious though. Banged up my worthless war dog that’s supposed to guard against intruders. I feel safe now.

kea_dog_fight

When the next batch of migrants arrived, I realized I hadn’t looked at the relationships screen at all since starting the game. Imagine my surprise to find out that my main character and the buff and burly female miner were an item. How cool is that? Fits right in with the story (all those long nights together… digging.) :/

lovers

And then the first birth. Aw…

its_a_girl

So a lot happened in a short amount of time, as always in this game. And now that I am over 30 people, it’s time to ditch the dormitories and start making individual rooms, so the couples can have some peace and quiet. I need a bigger dining hall too.

Let’s hope the goblins continue to stay away. And the keas.

The story continues in part 7.

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.

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