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Author Topic: Bonepillar, lair of the undead cave beasts - Succession Fort [40.24]  (Read 15884 times)

QuQuasar

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"Now, then! Gather around, little beardlings. Imma tell ye a tale, the tale of Bonepillar."

"What sort of tale, uncle Urist?"

"Ooh a terrible, terrible tale. A tale of pride and greed, horror and fear, death, magic and stark raving madness... and blood. Sea's of blood, gore and foul miasma."

"Yaaaaaay!"

"It all started with a caravan of 14 dwarves, two wagons, sent to the north to settle a brand new mountainhome called..."

"Hang on, the mountainhome only ever sends 7 dwarves and 1 wagon on founding expeditions. How come they had twice as many?"

"That's a good question young Cattan! But I'm the one telling the story, so shut ye're yap! Ungrateful little orphan. Now, where was I... oh right. A mountain home called: Oddomkosoth, "Cloisterpalace"."

"I thought you said this was the tale of..."

"SHUT UP CATTAN!"



Bonepillar: Introduction



Bonepillar is fairly simple Succession fort, building off of a fort built in this comically difficult embark, discovered by Jazzeraint. The succession fort itself was initially begun over here by Gwolfski.

Fairly standard and simple rules:

* no cheating,
* two weeks real time or 1 year game time, whichever comes first,
* cleanly uninstall all graphics if you use them.

I'll add that I'm telling this tale to the best of my ability, and would appreciate it if everyone else could do the same. Try to keep things reasonable for a medieval fantasy world. Don't consider this a rule, though: just a request.

OVERSEER TURN LIST

1. Quasar (Year 1) - Complete

Prologue
Spring
Summer
Autumn
Late Autumn
Winter - (Out of character)
Epilogue

2. Gwolfski (Year 2) - Complete

Year End Report

3. DDDragoni (Year 3) - Complete

Prologue
Spring
Summer
Autumn
Winter

4. Iamblichos (Year 4) - Complete
Spring
Summer
Autumn
Winter

5. Sanctume

1

6. MaxCat61
7. Gwolfski
8. DDDragoni



Quote
I love the fact that the enormous terrifying gemstone titan arrives on the surface, scares the shit out of everyone and disappears down the cave... and you find it later in the darkness, limping along hopelessly and having obviously been through some serious shit, presumably at the hands of something that's even *worse* waiting for you down there.

Bonepillar: where even the Titans are left terrified and broken by the horror of it all.

I never wanted to come here.  This was all a mistake, a horrible, horrible mistake.  We're all going to die in this place.

A useless weapon made entirely of dead things with a picture of a coffin on it. I think think Athel just summed up all of Bonepillar in one artifact.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2015, 08:04:25 pm by QuQuasar »
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QuQuasar

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Re: Bonepillar, lair of the undead cave beasts - Succession Fort [40.24]
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2015, 05:43:34 pm »

Bonepillar: Prologue

"Oi, Eshtan! Oi aint much of a forest dwarf, but is the jungle supposed tae be all dark and ominous lookin' loike that?" asked Sodel Telingurist.



She was right to say she was no forest dwarf, Eshtan Otunglor, expedition leader, mused. They'd traveled this jungle for weeks now, and the entire time Sodel had done naught but complain about the tree's. But then again, Eshtan had chosen her for this expedition for mining, not her traveling abilities. Undoubtedly she would settle once the fourteen pioneers found the site of Cloisterpalace and were able to strike the earth.

"Aye, that's the Jungles of Frothing, Sodel. Godhorrible place! Don't worry, we're not going in there: not for all the adamatine in the magma sea!" He paused. He was an honest dwarf at heart. "Well, okay, maybe for all of it. But not for a modest amount of adamatine, anyway! We're just going to follow the border for a while."

"We'd better," said Morul Noramlogem aggressively. Quite unlike Sodel, Morul was the very model of a modern forest dwarf: a short, brash and aggressive outdoorsy type with the self-confidence of someone holding a big axe even when, in point of fact, he wasn't. Eshtun had had it confiscated and put on the front wagon after a particularly heated conversation had resulted in a traveling companion losing a toe.

"I've heard of that place," the carpenter/hunter continued. "They say the dead stalk those tree's, their souls long gone but their bodies forever cursed. I wouldn't carve those tree's into a goddamn amulet, let alone a bed."

"The undead are a truly fascinating phenomena, though," piped up a clipped female voice. "What I wouldn't give to get such a creature in a cage. Could you imagine what we could do if only  we could harness whatever magiks powerful enough to keep unliving matter animated?"

The others on the wagon gave Zuglar Lolokstigil a look. Nobody had become particularly attached to the company doctor: her cold personality and delusions of self-importance matched her gaunt appearance perfectly. Even so, they had to admit she was damn good at her job after she'd stitched that toe back on.

"No mortal can't harness a curse, you intellectual nitwit," said Lor Nekutkubuk grumpily as the wagon bounced along. He was a hauler, and one of the most superstitious dwarves Eshtan had ever met. The doctor and the peasant had had a mutual grudge from practically the moment they met. "It would fight back and take you. Undead curses are living things, and nae'r to be messed with, you understand?"

"Uneducated Luddite," muttered Zuglar. Luddites were a tribe of kobold.

"Skeletal cow," retorted Lor.

"Come on now, my friends! Can't we all get along?" said Logem Nokimgim, the groups farmer and food-maker. A fairly likable dwarf, his innate desire to get along with everyone had meant he hadn't had time to become close friends with anyone. Also, it had to be said: far too fond of spouting idealistic cliches. "We're founding a new life and a new outpost out here! How are we ever going to found the next great mountainhome if we can't even get along with each other?"

Unexpectedly, the wagon rolled to a halt.

"Hey you lot!" Zulban Etostatir, architect, called back over his shoulder from his position on the front of the wagon. Eshtan grit his teeth. Zulban had a habit of interrupting others, something that grated on his nerves, and the stoneworker didn't seem to like him much either.

 "I think something's up," Zulban continued. "The other wagon drifted into the dark jungle and just... stopped. I think the seven of them have gotten out."

Eshtan peered into the dark woods, waiting for his eyes to adjust. "Looks like they've stopped to take a look at a glacial boulder. Oh well, shouldn't take them long."



Sodel, peering out from behind him, suddenly tensed. "Oh no, we need to leave," she shouted in a near panic. "Zulban! Get us the hell out of 'ere! Droive!!!"

"Whoa there dear," said Eshtan gently. "Explain. Then we'll drive."

"You dun unnerstand!" screamed Sodel, her voice high pitched, no longer merely near panic. "There's no time! That's dacoite! We need to get oit o' 'ere now!"

"Dacite?"

"Yeah, looks like Dacite," said Zulban thoughtfully, and started checking it's properties off his fingers. "Hard, grey, layer stone, non-magma safe, igneous-extrusive. Hmm... so not a glacial boulder then. Heck, you wouldn't even get it on the surface unless..."

His eyes went wide in fear.

"Cave entrance!"

"Duh!" said Sodel, sarcasm overriding her panic for a moment.

"Hyah!" Zulban flicked the reigns sharply. The wagon jolted forward as the horses leapt forward...

... and just as quickly stopped with a loud crack, throwing them all to the ground. The wagon had caught in a tree-root while they'd been stopped, and the rapid acceleration had broken off one of the wheels entirely.

"Armok be dam-" Eshtan swore, landing hard on the ground, but his curse was cut short by a deafening wail of roars, screeches and growls as seemingly the entire population of cave creature's swarmed from a hidden entrance in the stone. Dozens of troglodytes, trolls, giant bats, moles and rats, draltha's and elk birds: the voices of all the creatures from the dampest, darkest abyss raised in a foul and above all angry chorus...



And seconds later, a far worse sound: the terrified screams of the 7 dwarves in the point wagon as they were set upon, and torn limb from limb.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2015, 05:46:48 pm by QuQuasar »
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TheCheeseMaker

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Re: Bonepillar, lair of the undead cave beasts - Succession Fort [40.24]
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2015, 06:37:30 pm »

I don't want a turn, although I'll take a random dorf from the first migrant wave. Great writing QuQuasar!
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As it turns out, pulling every lever in the fortress wasn't as good of an idea as it sounded like at the time.

QuQuasar

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Re: Bonepillar, lair of the undead cave beasts - Succession Fort [40.24]
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2015, 07:39:50 pm »

"Hang on uncle Urist! Cave creature's don't swarm. Demons do that. Cave creature's don't attack unless you disturb them."

"Well they obviously disturbed 'em, because they attacked! Or maybe they were part demon I dunno I didn't make the story."

"Also, they can't just tear dwarves limb from limb without the dwarves fighting back. The dwarves in your story are wimps."

"Did I say they didn't fight back? Did I?"

"Well you implied it by stating they were being torn limb from-"

"It's called "artistic liberties"! Look it up sometime you whiny little upstart! Now shut up and let me tell the story."



Bonepillar Year 1: The Spring from Hell

Eshtan and the others near him stared in horror as monsters of all shapes and sizes erupted from the ground and set upon their fellow dwarves. For a moment the expedition leader was unable to look away, and then self-preservation kicked in. In a split second, he made a decision that would shape all of their lives from this moment forward.

"Get the rock salt!" he shouted, positioning himself in front of his companions and turning  his back to the massacre taking place. "We need to fortify the wagon before those things reach us!"

"Wait, you mean to-" Zulban started, and stopped when Eshtan turned his glare on him.

"We can't just leave them and hide!" Logem began, stepping forward "They need our help!"

Eshtan resisted the urge to turn and look at the horrifying screams of pain and terror eminating from behind him. At least, judging by the noises, the other members of their travelling group were making the monsters pay in blood for their lives.





"We can't help them! All we can do here is live, or die! If you choose the former, then help me grab that rock salt!"

Zulban the architect tapped him on the shoulder. Eshtan rounded on him "What?!"

Zulban held up his hands in a gesture of peace. "Not complaining. I agree this is the right decision, no matter how cold, but it is not going to work." He pointed upwards. "We can't install a roof until those branches are removed."

Eshtan nodded. The dwarf knew his architecture. "Morul!"

"Sir!"

"Get that tree down!"

"With what axe, sir?!" Morul retorted. Eshtan silently cursed his decision to put the axe on the first wagon.

"I don't care! Work something out!"



Not long later, the walls complete but for an entrance for Morul and work beginning on the roof, Eshtan glanced over to see how the carpenter was doing with the tree and was astonished to find him sitting at a small, but apparently fully-outfitted, carpenters workshop... carving.



"Morul, are you kidding me?!"

"What?! You told me to cut down that tree! I'm making an axe!"

"I thought you'd use a sharp stone or something! Not build an armok-damned workshop!"

"Can't cut tree's with stone. It's not natural."

"Arrgh! Just... just get on with it!"



As work began on the roof, Eshtan stared to the north. Amazingly, three of their companions were still alive and fighting.



But then...

"That troll over there... it's head is nearly cleaved in two... how can it still be alive?" Eshtan muttered in quiet shock.

"Simple," said Lor, joining him on the top of the wall for a moment as he put a roof stone into place, as the troll let out an unnatural roar.

"It's not."





Working with renewed fervor, the dwarves desperately tried to finished off the roof before the undead abominations reached them.

Thankfully, the undead monstrosities seemed more interested in closer prey: not just their fellow dwarves, but the swarm of living cave creature's they had once been a part of.

"Done!" shouted Morul, holding aloft a -highwood training axe-.

"Get that tree down!" screamed Eshtan. Morul took the axe to the tree with a vengeance, and not long after, the Treefoe fell.



"Just three more blocks!" Eshtan shouted, weeping in relief. "We're safe! We're going to make it."

"Just give me a moment to deconstruct the carpenters worshop," said Morul patiently.

"Leave it! Get inside!"

"Nearly done."

"Oh my god you're insane. But I suppose it's okay. They're nowhere near us. We're actually going to survive thi-"

And then something landed squarely on Eshtan's head.



"Don't... move..."

"What is it?" whimpered Eshtan.

"Relax. It's just a peregrine falcon. But a, uh... a dead one."

"Oh god. Shoo... shoo it off or something?"

"I don't... think 'shoo' is going to work on unholy abominations of necromancy."

"Heh, it looks hilarious perched on his head like that. Maybe we should keep it as a pet?"

"No," said Eshtan sharply. "Thank you, but no. It's moving. What's it doing now?"

"It's... leaning down the back of your neck. Like it's looking for something. It's upside down now... looking at the base of your skull-"

[squich]

"AAAAAAA-"

"OH MY GOD! GET IT OFF HIM!"

[rriiip] - [plorch!]

"AAAAAAAA- <gurgling noises>"

"OH GOD IT PULLED OUT HIS SPINE IT PULLED OUT-"

[fade to black]



« Last Edit: August 08, 2015, 09:44:02 pm by QuQuasar »
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QuQuasar

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Re: Bonepillar, lair of the undead cave beasts - Succession Fort [40.24]
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2015, 07:53:00 pm »

I don't want a turn, although I'll take a random dorf from the first migrant wave. Great writing QuQuasar!
Welcome to Bonepillar. You're a male cook now, from the second migrant wave.

You... uh... you wouldn't have wanted to come in the first migrant wave. Trust me on this one.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2015, 08:16:46 pm by QuQuasar »
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QuQuasar

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Re: Bonepillar, lair of the undead cave beasts - Succession Fort [40.24]
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2015, 09:33:35 pm »

Bonepillar Year 1: The Summer that Never Was

3 months later...





"What? You can't just skip 3 months!"

"Sure I can! Watch me. 'Autumn Has Arrived'. See? Just did."

"But that completely ruins the story!"

"Oh yeah? What makes you the authority on storytelling, then? Yer parents raise you to be a legendary storyteller, is that it? Oh no wait, they cann've done, 'cause they're dead!"

"You're sick, Uncle Urist."

"Sick like a fox, you whiny little brat! Now where were we? Oh right..."



3 months later....

Eshtan opened his eyes.

"Damn that architect. This is bad, this is real bad..." muttered a familiar clipped voice from his right. He turned his head slightly, bringing the gaunt figure of Zuglar into view. She was bent over a chair by his bedside, staring at a sheaf of paper.

Eshtan tried to sit up, but his body wouldn't co-operate. In fact, he couldn't feel anything below his neck. He tried to call out, but all that came out was a gasp. It was enough to make Zuglar look up, though.

"Eshtan? You're awake!" she looked genuinely relieved. "Took you long enough. Take it easy, don't want to stress that injury."

"W... w..."

"Water? Not to worry, we've got an aquifer here. Plenty of water."

"W... where..." Eshtan said, staring at the long hall he was in.



"Oh! Right where we were, I'm afraid. Sodel dug us a hall and a few storage and bed rooms. I don't think we'll be leaving any time soon, though. Here, I'll get you some water. It'll be easier to talk, trust me."

A few hours of discussion revealed everything that had happened.

After Eshtan had lost consiousness, a punch from Zulban had deanimated Tradehoists, the zombie peregine falcon that had attacked him. Ironic that the one person Eshtan liked the least on this expedition would be the one avenging him. With the falcon zombie dead they had dragged his unconsious body into the safe zone and sealed it up.

After that, Zulban had taken charge, drawing up some designs and ordering Sodel to dig out a small fort below the ground.

They'd taken a few peeks outside since then, but each time the undead monstrosities were still there: a variety of cave creatures, and one of their ex-companions, Tekkud Eritham. Eshtan was saddened to hear of this: he had hoped the cursed woods would at least spare their fellow dwarfs that hideous fate.



Unfortunately, the undead showed no desire to leave. Rescue was unlikely, and should any migrants travel this road seeking Cloisterpalace... well, all they would find was death and, if they were extremely lucky, a dirt hovel that served as little more than a sanctuary for 7 dwarfs.

"Six dwarves and a cripple," corrected Eshtan, putting on a cheerful smile. "I'm not going to be much good to you from here on out, I'm afraid."

"Don't write yourself off yet, Eshtan. There's still a chance you may heal, and you're still our leader no matter what. Besides, anything's possible if someone like me can find-" the doctor cut herself off.

Eshtan stared.

"You didn't."

Zuglar went bright red.

"You did! Oh congratulations. Who?"


(Just disregard that last name, they haven't shown up yet)

"Morul".

This garnered an awkward silence.

"Okay, well... I mean, I know you can't choose who you fall in love with, but... he's... the guy's nuts, is all I'm saying..."

"I know, I know, but we just... get along, I guess. It's not official. You can't tell anyone, okay?"

"Alright then, Zuglar. I'm... I'm happy for you."

"I... yes. Thank you."



Eshtan studied the plans for everything Zulban had done while he had been in a coma. It... wasn't bad. But it wasn't great, either.



Most notably, he'd dug over to the the cave and started quarrying dacite from the boulder. He'd also sunk a few ramps trying to establish the extents of the aquifer.

The one thing he *hadn't* done was make any concessions to trade caravans or incoming migrants. One migrant party had already attempted to pass by and... well, things had ended poorly for them.



Eshtan noticed the hardened looks on the faces of his comrades when they told him this. The months in this terrible place had changed them. Perhaps not by much, not yet, but it was there.

"We need to do something for these people," said Eshtan emphatically. He couldn't use his hands to gesture as he'd always done in the past, so he tried to put all his determination into his voice. "They're dwarves, just like us. We need a way to get them in and safe. An airlock system, with two doors, to the south. As far away from the Jungle of Frothing as we can get it. Got it?"

"And let me guess, I'm going to have to design it," said Zulban grumpily. Apparently 3 months in a coma wasn't enough to settle a grudge.

"You won't do it?" asked Eshtan innocently.

Zulban grunted. "Don't be insulting. Of course I'll do it."

Generally, this would be the point where Eshtan would clap his hands enthusiastically. Instead, he said "Alright! Let's get to it. When the trade caravan passes by, I want them and their goods safe indoors!"

DDDragoni

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Re: Bonepillar, lair of the undead cave beasts - Succession Fort [40.24]
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2015, 10:14:51 pm »

Fantastic writing! Can I get a ford, perchance? I may take a turn as well.
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Stuff I run:
Icehold(Second Thread)
Stuff I was/am involved with:
The Succession Tower, ConstructIvory
Bonepillar                    Thunderdoom
Parallel Fortresses

PyroTechno

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Re: Bonepillar, lair of the undead cave beasts - Succession Fort [40.24]
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2015, 11:34:55 pm »

I like it.

I don't usually play with aquifers on, so this might get messy... but sign me up for a turn!
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Lidku

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Re: Bonepillar, lair of the undead cave beasts - Succession Fort [40.24]
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2015, 06:49:35 am »

Can I be dwarfed in?
Name: Tuaiq Uacca
Preferred Job: Militia Commander or recruit.
((I will die fast, lol   :P))
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Iamblichos

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Re: Bonepillar, lair of the undead cave beasts - Succession Fort [40.24]
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2015, 10:46:56 am »

I'll take a turn and a dwarf.

Name: Iamblichos
Profession: Wastrel

Please make sure I get the laziest, most useless dwarf you've got.  If there's no water, a fisherdwarf.

Wow.  This looks like exactly my kind of blood-soaked shitstorm fun embark!
« Last Edit: August 08, 2015, 10:49:47 am by Iamblichos »
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I'm new to succession forts in general, yes, but do all forts designed by multiple overseers inevitably degenerate into a body-filled labyrinth of chaos and despair like this? Or is this just a Battlefailed thing?

There isn't much middle ground between killed-by-dragon and never-seen-by-dragon.

QuQuasar

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Re: Bonepillar, lair of the undead cave beasts - Succession Fort [40.24]
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2015, 07:08:06 pm »

Bonepillar Year 1: The Autumn of Trade

"Can you feel that?" asked Zuglar, holding a candle to the soles of his feet.

"I... don't know," said Eshtan. "It's faint. Or I could be imagining it. But... I think I can. Like, the tiniest sensation of heat? Or maybe more like an itch?"

Zuglar wrote this down in the daily journal she was keeping. How she managed to keep a doctors journal in addition to all the bookkeeping, Eshtan had no idea. Until the last few months, being attended by someone pulling double shifts as a doctor and bookkeeper, he'd had no idea how much paperwork even the smallest imaginable fortress could generate.

"That's good. It means there are still nerve connections there. There's hope for you yet, Eshtan!"

"Good, good. By the way, uh... Tekkud Eritham and Erith Ottanudil... they died, right?"

"Yes. When we first arrived. Although Tekkud... got up again. But he was deanimated for good a few weeks back."

(OOC: Not sure how: I can't even find his body. Nonetheless, his corpse is in the deceased list)

"Right. So. Um... The fact that I've seen both of them wandering the halls recently..."

"Don't fret, you're quite sane. We've all seen them."



"Oh."

"We think it's because we haven't properly memorialised them. We've got some slabs queued up to be made, but nobodies had time, least of all Zulban. He's been far too busy building your trade depot. Oh, I forgot to tell you: it's been a complete success! The trader's arrived yesterday when you were asleep. Got in without any fuss."

"They did? It worked! Haha! Oh Zuglar, that's truly wonderful!"



"Aye, it did work. No outpost liason, though. Odd, that. And... well, there was a problem with the actual trading, so..."

"Oh no..."



Yesterday...

"Listen to me, this isn't about making a profit! We're just trying to survive here!" Zulban shouted.

"And we're just trying to make a profit," said the merchant matter-of-factly. "I'm sure you can see our dillema."

"But we need that equipment." Zulban said angrily. "We've got an injured dwarf in need of cloth, no anvil, barely any food... look, I swear I'm trying to be reasonable. We're not asking for much, we don't want to rip you off, and we can pay you back next year. Besides, we built this entire depot to save your lives! Shouldn't that count for some credit?"

"Son, if I gave credit to every fortress that told me they'd saved my life, I'd be broke. Now if you're not going to offer me some decent trade goods, them I'm taking mine and leaving."

"You..." Zulban spluttered incoherently for a few moments. "I just told you, literally the only thing we have of any value right now is wine!"

"So trade us some of that."

Zulban's face went from spitting rage to a tranquil calm in an instant as he passed some mental threshold. "Trade you our tiny stockpile of booze?"

"Right."

"One moment while I confer with my colleagues."

Zulban walked stiffly back to the main fortress where Morul was waiting for him.

"Well?" asked the woodcutter with a nasty grin. "How did 'being reasonable' work out for yah?"

"Morul, that idea of yours? Is that still on the table."

"Yup."

"Do it."



The merchants were surprised to see a short, unkempt dwarf approaching them from the tunnel. Their bodyguards, two heavily armed swordsdwarfs and a macedwarf, tensed. The dumb merchants might think it was a good idea to tease these trapped dwarves, but the mercenaries knew desperation when they saw it. This fortress was reeking of it, and they were glad for their bronze weapons and leather armour.

"Hey lads! We came up with better idea!" shouted the scruffy dwarf.

"And what's that, friend? What happened to the other one?"

"Don't you worry about him! You're dealing wit' me now!" He was grinning widely. The mercenaries inhaled and hovered their hands over their weapons. Something was about to happen.

"See this doorbridge here? In about... oh, say 10 seconds, it's gonna close. And then the other one'll open. And *then* those monsters out there from the dark jungle'll come and eat you all. I recommend running. Leave your shit. You'll run faster. Cheers!"

"What?! Are you threatenin-" the merchant spluttered, but was interrupted by the quicker thinking mercenaries making a run at the door. Morul waved cheerfully as the drawbridge shut in their face.

A few seconds later, there was a second thump as the outer bridge lowered. Morul started counting to 10, and had reached 4 by the time he heard the pattering of fleeing feet. He returned to the main hall, dusting his hands theatrically.

"And that's how you get a good trade deal, ladies and gentlemen," he said smugly.



"He set the undead on them!" Eshtan shouted, jerking into a sitting position.

"Now, to be fair, they were going to have to leave that way anyway. He just made sure they left their equipment. We need that equipment."

"But even so, that's..."

"He warned them before he opened the doors. They had as much chance of making it, with or without their goods. That cloth I used to clean your wound earlier? We only got that because of what Morul did. Don't worry, I'm sure they made it out perfectly okay."



"I... I hope you're right. I really do."

(OOC: he really did warn them. Morul was the one who deconstructed the trade depot. There was nothing else I could have done to save them: I don't know why wandered out onto the surface rather than just leaving straight away through the escape tunnel)

"Urgh... I suppose it really would be remiss of me to punish him."

"Indeed. But, my friend, I think there's something even more important than what Morul did that that you've missed," said Zuglar seriously.

"Oh Armok, what now?" groaned Eshtan

"You just sat up. Yourself."

Eshtan looked down. As the shock of realisation at what he'd done ran down his body, he realized he could feel it, all the way down his back. Tears of joy stung his eyes. He looked over at the doctor, who had broken her usual cold, distant expression to offer a small smile of genuine happiness.

"Told you so. You're going to make it."

Eshtan grinned at her. "No. We're all going to make it."



"Migrants!" shouted Lor from the above-ground bunker. He'd taken to spending his idle time there, watching the outside jungle from tiny peepholes in the rock salt bricks.

"Oh those poor souls," said Logem hopelessly as Zulban ran past him to the levers.

"Where are they? Can they make it in?"

"South-west!" shouted Lor. "They've got a chance! Open the doors!"

"Come on, come on..."

"Troll corpse approaching! It's Duskringed!"

Tathathel "Duskringed" the Troll (or, ex-troll) was one of the most fearsome of the shambling monstrosities. Aside from scars, the corpse was almost perfectly intact: if it wasn't for the milky white, sunken eyes and the jerky, unnatural way it moved, the monster could easily have been mistaken for a living troll.



"Oh no, not that one! Run you bastards! Run!"

"It's too late, they're never going to... whoa! He dodged it! He actually dodged it! He's going to make it! Close the outer door!"

"What about the others?"

"I'm sorry! They're a lost cause! I... oh god, it's just like when we arrived... Get the one in while Duskring is distracted!"

"Okay! Closing!"

"No, wait! Another one slipped by! She's in the tunnel!"

"It's too late! It's already closing!"

"Oh no run! RUN!"

*CRUNCH*

*silence*

"I... don't think she made it..."







The newcomer, a dwarf by the name of TheCheeseMaker, was greeted with sympathy rather than the enthusiasm a fortress would normally bestow on a Talented Cook. He was, quite naturally, a crying, gibbering mess after having watched his party torn apart by the walking dead.



The others ushered him out of the trade depot, trying not to look at the horrific red liquid that was once a dwarf oozing down the back of the drawbridge. TheCheeseMaker thought it important to let them all know, repeatedly, that the crushed dwarf's name was Besmar Mountainwhims and she was a leatherworker.

Knowing that, of course, only made it worse.



Several weeks later, Autumn was coming to a close with Winter quick on it's heels...

TheCheeseMaker had recovered somewhat from the emotional shock, and had taken over cooking duties from Logem.

Lor had cleaned up the trade depot door, but informed them sadly that the majority of the food had rotted away before they could store it. They rest of the equipment was still good, though, to everyone's relief.

Solon had carved more rock from the boulder, and Zulban had built slabs to memorialise the dead, though carving them would yet take a few weeks more.

Zuglar had been rehabilitating Eshtan who, in true dwarven fashion, was nearly able to walk on his own through sheer force of stubborn willpower.

Morul and Zuglar still hadn't told anyone except Eshtan about their relationship, but that didn't mean nobody knew. Simply seeing their faces go red when they were caught looking at each other was proof enough.

Tiny sparks of happiness were lighting in the darkness of their prison, and the future seemed at least somewhat hopeful.

But fate is a cruel mistress, and she had other idea's for the brave dwarves of Bonepillar...



"Really, Uncle Urist? "Fate had other idea's"? That's the best foreshadowing you could come up with?"

"Don't you go picking apart my foreshadowin' you little whelp!"

"Well you could at least have given us a hint of how many dwarfs were gonna die. And also when did they name it Bonepillar? You never said."

"Two! Two dwarfs are gonna die! There, I just ruined th' entire story for everyone thanks to you, Cattan! You happy now?! All you ungrateful little dwarf larvae want to sit around and make morbid bets on whose gonna die? Be my guest! My voice is hoarse, I'm going to go get a drink!"

"Well I don't think it's ruined. And you didn't answer..."

"They named it Bonepillar when they decided "Cattansarsehole" was too hard to pronounce!"
« Last Edit: August 08, 2015, 07:44:18 pm by QuQuasar »
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Taupe

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Re: Bonepillar, lair of the undead cave beasts - Succession Fort [40.24]
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2015, 08:37:01 pm »

Excellent storytelling, mister Kincaid!

QuQuasar

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Re: Bonepillar, lair of the undead cave beasts - Succession Fort [40.24]
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2015, 09:41:01 pm »

Bonepillar Year 1: Late Autumn - The Attack of Glitterdeer.

"You know, Eshtan, I think you're nearly ready to walk on your own again!" said Zuglar.

Eshtan noted that her personality had softened a lot in the time she'd spent caring for him: she had confided in him that in her previous position she had simply gone from dwarf to dwarf, diagnosing their wounds but never actually spending time with them, sharing in their joy as they healed and returned to work. They had become fast friends in their time together.

"I agree," he said, rocking gently on the edge of the bed. "It still hurts like the underside of an adamantine spire to move, but it's nothing hard work won't fix. I'm truly amazed at your work, Zuglar. I didn't think spinal injuries were even recoverable from."

She smiled. "Thank you, but I think your will to survive had a part in it as well. You're a stubborn dwarf, Eshtan. In all the best ways."

Eshtan nodded. "Thanks. I... is that a horse? I thought we butchered our pack animals?"

Zuglar looked over. "Oh, yes. It's one the merchants brought. It's been hanging around the Trade Depot for weeks now."

"Weeks? It must be starving. There's nothing for a horse to eat down here."

"Yeah, poor thing. Hang on, I'll just take it back. Hey, Morul!" she shouted over to the carpenter, who was hauling. "I'm heading to the trade depot. Give me a hand with this?"

Morul and Zuglar shared a private smile as Zuglar approached the animal. Eshtan grinned. They really weren't subtle, were they? No wonder everybody knew about them.

And then...

The Horse kicks The Doctor in the head with her right front hoof, and the injured part explodes into gore!



"ZUGLAR! NO! PLEASE NO!"

Morul's terrified scream brought dwarfs from every direction as the doctor's headless body crumpled to the ground. As everyone else stared in horror, the carpenter's eyes changed from horror to rage.

"Morul, stay back! It's dangerous!" Eshtan screamed, but nothing could have stopped the enraged maddwarf. Letting out an incoherent, gutteral cry, the carpenter tore his -highwood training axe-, the very first piece of dwarven craftsmanship made at Bonepillar from his belt and swung it high into the air, bringing it down on the creatures back...

... to no effect. The horse turned on him and reared...



The Horse kicks The Carpenter in the head with her right front hoof, and the injured part collapses!
An artery has been opened by the attack!


"Dear Armok, no," Eshtan whispered.

"PILE ON!" this shout came from Logem, who charged alongside Lor and TheCheeseMaker. One of them caught the creature a lucky blow to the head, knocking it unconsious. They laid into it, each of them unleashing their rage until they fell unconsious, but dwarven fists can only do so much and a horse skull is tough. They needed help...



Eshtan looked to the other end of the hall, where Sodel was standing. She was the only one with a weapon! But... she looked terrified. Broken. And there were two apparitions standing behind her, hovering over her...

It was up to him.



He stood.

The pain was bad.

He walked forward.

The pain was worse.

He ran.

And the pain faded away. The wind in his ears as he ran was the most incredible sound he'd even heard. He ran up the hall, past dogs and cats, between the workshops, over the furrowed soil, and leapt for the copper pick.

And then the whispers started.



The pain wracking his body returned, dropping the dwarf to his knees, and then face first into the furrowed silt.

"You let us die, Eshtan."

"You let us all die."

"You hid, like a coward, Eshtan."

"Like a coward."

He was no expedition leader. He wasn't even fit to haul. He'd spent the last three months in bed! Could he even call himself a dwarf?

"It was you."

"You killed us."

"You murderered us."

And now, when it mattered the most, with two of his friends dead, with the rest fighting for their lives, he couldn't even move a muscle...

"Killer."

"Coward."

"Murderer."

"Monster."

[fade to black]





In the end, Glitterdeer was felled not by a brave act of heroism, but by a stray dog, whose teeth were sharp enough to break through the tough skin on it's head. The horse bled to death while unconscious.

Logem had his nose and knee broken, and had to be seen by a doctor. Eshtan volunteered, tears running down his face as he said it. The rest of the dwarves worked out what to do amongst themselves, rather than asking the broken dwarf.

The Barricaded Roads would be disbanded, but the name would be kept in honour what was lost this day.

And Zulban queued up two coffins. Morul and Zuglar would be interred side by side in the same tomb.

Together for eternity.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2015, 09:43:18 pm by QuQuasar »
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TheCheeseMaker

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Re: Bonepillar, lair of the undead cave beasts - Succession Fort [40.24]
« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2015, 12:28:17 am »

Well, not a very uplifting love story, but I suppose it's a fairly standard dwarf fortress one.  So the population is what? 6 dwarves?
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As it turns out, pulling every lever in the fortress wasn't as good of an idea as it sounded like at the time.

QuQuasar

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Re: Bonepillar, lair of the undead cave beasts - Succession Fort [40.24]
« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2015, 12:48:42 am »

Well, not a very uplifting love story, but I suppose it's a fairly standard dwarf fortress one.  So the population is what? 6 dwarves?
That's correct.

After that, a full writeup for Winter would be all sorts of disappointing, so I'll just sum up the cleanup routine so far and provide some of the notable/funny points.

* Sodel got below the aquifer and started digging out workshop space.



* Zulban made engraved slabs for the ridiculous amount of casualties we've had, and designated them to be installed everywhere. We'll surround traders with the names of all the dwarves who've died here so they take us a bit more seriously in the future.



* We've laid one ghost to rest, one of the merchants who raised just before we installed his memorial, but we've yet to memorialised the two from our initial arrival who freaked out Sodel and Eshtan so badly.



* Logem appears to have become rather hardened to death and ghosts lately.



* A Kobold apparently challenged Duskringed himself to a duel. It went about as well as you'd expect.



* TheCheeseMaker apparently likes dogs. Like, a lot. I don't know how else to explain this:



* Sodel and Zulban have leveled up and unlocked the "2 Dwarfs, 1 Workshop" feat. I.. I just... I don't even...

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