Evontobul: The (True) Story of Loverscanyon
This is a narrative After Action Report of the rise and fall of the mighty fortress of Evontobul, Loverscanyon (that isn't a canyon and is in fact a field) told largely through the eyes of Ogmund the mine (the self-proclaimed 'only sane dwarf'). It is also my first ever game of Dwarf Fortress but the oddities and mistakes that only a noob can encounter only make for a more interesting narrative. Finally this is more just a funny ARR, the writings not supposed to be top-notch. But read on funny stuff is about to go down.
Part 1: Stable Foundations
"Evontobul…" Elgrich said in awe, her voice barely a whisper. "We're here, we're final here!"
"Evontobul?" The murmur ran through the assembled Dwarfs, their confusion clearly evident.
"Lovers Canyon!" she cried, falling to her knees. "We've made it, this is the site we shall raise for the glory of the Mountainhomes, this is the site where Evontobul shall stand!"
It wasn't a canyon, it wasn't even a mountain, it was a flat marshy field. To the west of where the six bemused (and one awestruck) dwarfs stood, a babbling river sung out with the early morning songbirds, it clearly flooded often, for all around them were marshy pools, dotted with pond life.
"Here Elgrich?" Ogmund, the senior miner asked. "This is just a field!" The young, female dwarf rounded on him.
"This isn't 'just a field!' This is the site, the site I saw in my dreams! The trees, the river, the pools, this is the site where the future fortress of Evontobul shall stand and everyone shall know it's radiance, from the Forsken Isles of the West, to the Barren Hotlands of the North and all the way to the Mountainhomes of the South. Every man, elf and dwarf shall know this place, for this is the site where Elgich Stonecrow founded the greatest fortress since the Mythic Era. So get bloody digging!"
Ogmund was pretty shaken by the ferocious outburst, but Elgrich was his superior and he was honour bound to follow her. Without another word, he and his comrade said to work, burrowing into the soft sandy ground as the other dwarfs began unloading the wagon and cutting down trees. It was easy digging and the pair made quick work, channelling out a long subterranean corridor. With the entry way complete they began to carve out a large hall. With this complete the other dwarfs began to move the provisions inside. The grand Fortress of Evontobul was underway.
The next few days saw the fortress grow and grow. Bedrooms, workshops and offices were gradually chiselled into the stone below to be populated by the useful, if basic crafts of the challenged craftdwarf. A farm was set up on the upper level using the many marshy ponds as irrigation and it seemed that Evontobul would soon be overcoming the first hurdle all fledging fortresses must face, self-sustainability.
The work was unceasing and relentless, punctuated only by Elgrich's occasional bursts of eccentricity ("I want engravings of my triumphs all across the great dining hall! What do you mean 'what triumphs?' My triumphs could fill many tomes, they've just yet to occur! Now engrave!") Indeed it seemed that the fortress was destined to be a success.
Word of the early success had evidently travelled back to the Mountainhomes (somehow) a within the year a group of migrants had arrived, pushing the number of residents from seven to twelve, amongst them a fisherdwarf and a cook. They settled in nicely (save a half-naked Badgerman scaring one of the children) and were soon active members of the fledging society.
Urrta was making barrels, she was always making barrels these days it seemed, barrels for meat, barrels for fish, barrels for wine and most importantly barrels for beer. Yes there was a never ending demand for barrels in Evontobul, but Urrta didn't mind, she liked making barrels. But something was different today, something was wrong. At first she couldn't quite put her finger on it, but then it struck her.
"Wood." She had run out.
Crossing out of her cramped workshop she waddled through to the stockroom, her stumpy legs struggling to pick a path through the masses of barrels.
"Wood?" She enquired. But there was none, the wood stockroom was empty as well. "Wood." She grunted, before setting off to the offices below.
Elgrich's office didn't have a door yet so Urrta just knocked once on the wall outside before barging in. The young expedition leader was scrawling franticly into her journal, as though she were in a rush to write down all she knew. But that didn't bother Urrta in the slightest, Urrta couldn't read.
"Wood!" She shouted. Elgrich looked up from her scribbling, she had been so engrossed in her writing that she had dipped her nose in the ink. The black liquid now dripped off, splattering the stone table below.
"What?" Elgrich barked. "What do you want?"
"No wood!" Urrta shouted back.
"Well that's not my bloody fault! Go and find the woodcutter!"
"No wood!" Urrta repeated, stamping her feet stubbornly.
Ogmund was returning to the dining hall, having finished digging out the new migrants bedchambers when he heard the shouting. A long, heavy sigh escaped him, he was usually the only dwarf who could resolve these issues. The others were often too preoccupied, or simply socially incapable. Entering Elgrich's office he despaired slightly at what he saw, Urrta stamping her feet and Elgrich with ink dripping from her nose, he couldn't help but sigh again
"What's the problem here then?"
"No wood!" Urrta shouted, rounding on the new arrival.
"There's no bloody wood apparently." Elgrich confirmed dryly.
"That'll be Feb's fault, he's the woodcutter, come on Urrta, let's find him."
The pair left the room to a mutter of; "Twelve dwarfs? Too bloody many!" Ogmund did despair sometimes, why had the Mountainkings put Elgrich in charge?
The pair checked all over for Feb the Woodcutter, in his room, in the stock rooms, even in the woods outside. But to no avail and all the searching soon made Ogmund thirsty, he wasn't as young as he once was and needed more than a few beers to get him through the day.
"Come on lass, we'll keep searching after a break."
Pouring two mugs of fine, freshly brewed ale from the keg-room the pair entered the elaborately carved dining hall. Elgrich 'magnificent' figure dominated the heavily carved walls, each one depicting one of her great victories and triumphs that had yet to happen. And there at the back of the room, to their surprise (although was it really that surprising? Ogmund wondered) was Feb the Woodcutter.
"What are you doing there Feb?" Ogmund asked amiably.
"Wood!" Urrta added.
Feb didn't answer, instead he merely stared blankly, as though he could see right through the dwarfs talking to him.
"Feb? Are you feeling alright?" Ogmund was already slightly unsettled. Still no answer, not even a flicker of recognition. It was then Ogmund noticed the copper battleaxe, Feb's chosen tree slayer, still gripped in the silent dwarf's hand. Ogmund nodded to it. "We need you to put hat to work Feb, poor Urrta's run out of wood."
"WOOD!" Urrta bellowed, spittle splattering Feb's emotionless face. Yet not even that drew a reaction. Ogmund was worried now.
"Well Feb, if you're not up to cutting, then let someone else borrow the axe." No response, but then Ogmund had hardly expected one, instead he reached down and tried to prize the weapon from Feb's grip.
It wouldn't budge, the Woodcutter's clasp on it was as strong as the stone that had birthed him. Feb wouldn't budge either for that matter, it was as though he had become a part of the hall itself. Only the steady rise and fall of his chest betrayed the fact that he was alive at all. Ogmund shrugged, this was a lost cause.
"Come on Urrta, leave him be. He'll get you your wood when he's ready."
"Wood!" the Craftdwarf whined, tear welling in her stony eyes.
'Bugger me…' Ogmund thought, leaving the hall. 'I swear I'm the only sane Dwarf here…'
Luckily Dwarfs are much more dependent on stone that wood (indeed many hate the horrible, organic stuff.) And so the chronic wood shortage went nearly unnoticed (save for one inconsolable dwarf who spent her days sobbing in an empty workshop). The fortunes of the Fortress continued to rise though, the farms and bedchambers were expanded, a new metal forge was dug into the lower levels, traps were scattered around the entrance to ward off attackers and a grand drawbridge was installed, the control leaver (on Elgrich's insistence) was in her office. Traders came and went and soon ten new immigrants had arrived.
The new arrivals found themselves in a nice, spacious and well provided fortress and like those who came before them, they soon found themselves active members of society. There was one hitch however, one that mothers constantly warned their children about in hushed tones.
"Don't disturb the silent dwarf in the dining hall."
Feb still stood in the dining hall, no one ever saw him move, no one ever saw him speak and yet he stood there for month after month, season after season. Many dwarfs were sympathetic towards poor Feb, some people were cursed with fragile constitutions, Feb evidently just needed some time to sort things out. Still it was kind of creepy, how he was always there, watching you eat, listening to you chat, you couldn't nip down for a quick midnight snack without passing his endless gaze. It was understandable that many of the children were afflicted with nightmares of him. Still he never moved and never spoke and soon the dwarfs came to ignore him.
It was late in the Winter, the Fortresses first anniversary rapidly approaching and all seemed to be sailing smoothly. Ogmund was in the dining hall, sharing his daily meal with Danga the Farmer. The conversation was upbeat, predicting the exciting times to come, indeed Ogmund was almost oblivious to Feb's endless gaze. Danga was an able farmer and the reason the fortress was so well supplied with booze. Ogmund would have grudgingly accepted that the farmer could conceivably be sane, if it were not for his obsession with dogs, he kept three as pets, including a very noisy puppy.
That puppy had been barking incessantly through the entire meal and Ogmund was getting sick of it. Danga didn't seem to mind the horrific, tinny yapping and was chatting away merrily. But evidently Ogmund wasn't the only dwarf who couldn't stand the noise. For on that day, after nine months of motionless silnce, Feb stirred.
"PUPPY!" The dwarf wailed, his voice croaking from months of disuse.
With a lightning swing that the startled Ogmund could barely follow, Feb sent his copper battleaxe arcing at the yapping puppy. Luckily for the animal the stone dining table deflected the worse of the blow and only the tip bit into doggy flesh. The animal yelped pitifully and then fled the room.
"What?" Danga cried his eyes wide with despair.
The puppy's parents were much quicker to react than their stunned owner. The war-bred animals had bared their fangs and were leaping at the suddenly mobile Feb. Two quick slashes ended the attack prematurely. One dog went down hard, a gaping wound open in its back, the other cried shrilly as the copper blade sliced it's front leg off.
"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Danga wailed, is cry as shrill as the dogs.
"Get out of here fool!" Ogmund bellowed at the hysterical farmer.
Feb the Woodcutter had picked up the severed leg and was beginning to decorate the room with his new, grisly paintbrush. Thankfully Danga had fled the room, so Ogmund only had one dwarf to deal with.
The crazed dwarf span around, lunging at Ogmund with his axe. Ogmund dodged the wild blow before dancing in with one of his own, landing a thick headbutt on Feb's nose with a crack. Blood streamed out the crazy dwarfs nose and with a yelp Feb belted from the room, axe still in hand.
"Bugger." Ogmund swore, he considered following, but decided he best run back to his room first and grab his pick.
It wasn't hard to re-find Feb, the screams of fleeing dwarfs acted as a clear homing beacon. Ogmund had picked up his apprentice as well as his pick and the two armed dwarfs sprinted after the crazed one.
Rounding a corner into the Hallway of Offices they came face to face with the madman (maddwarf?) Feb was quick, sending a deadly blow towards Ogmund's head. Luckily Ogmund was quicker, sidestepping the axe he let forth with a swing of his own. Ogmund's pic found Feb's elbow and the sharpened tip, designed to chip through heavy rocks and metals, easily bi through flesh and bone, sending Feb's forearm soaring off. Then it was Ogmund's apprentice's turn, dancing in the quick blow severed the crazed dwarf's other forearm. Feb seemed stunned by the sudden damage wrought o his frame.
"What the bloody blazes is all this racket?" A voice bellowed.
Feb turned to face Elgrich who had exited her office and now stood in the hallway. Wide eyed and teeth gnashing, the mutilated dwarf let out a squeal and began to run towards Elgrich, the Expedition Leader let out a squeal of her own and fled in a blind panic. She needn't have bothered though, Feb made it about three paces before he collapsed onto the gory stone floor. Bloodloss claimed him.
Dropping his messy pic, Ogmund collapsed to. "Bugger me I need a drink." He wheezed. Something told him the 'triumphs' of Evontobul had only just begun.