Bloodline:Tinbolt Chapter 5
This log entry is from the bloodline game Tinbolt.
The journal of Rhoegund Wheelbrews, Captain of the Guard.
 1st Granite, 1055
The spring always brings changes, and I'm one of 'em. I guess they figured it was time for a bit of military discipline -- with the new year, I was asked by the populace to take control over more than just the grunts. So be it. I hope they know what they're gettin' in to.
Certainly first things be first. I've been noticing a whole lotta partyin' goin' on while I've been in charge, mostly at this "sculpture garden" they all so love to crowd around in. Didn't matter to me before, 'cause I wasn't in charge of the lot of 'em. That's changed, and so does this. I told 'em all to bugger on back to work, because this wasn't a party hole anymore. In case they hadn't noticed the obsidian towers encrusted with rough goblins, we ain't exactly in a sort of peacetime here to screw around. They can take breaks and make parties when we aren't in risk of bein' overrun by greenskins.
Also of note, we haven't got much in the way of metalsmelting work goin' on. That's going to make things tough for our soldiers, who are gonna be, y'know, kind of important with all the goblins tryin' to make friends with us. The butchery a year or so ago of so many of our fine dwarves hasn't gone lost on my temper, and I don't plan to leave them unarmored or ill-equipped any longer. I ordered the construction of one additional wood burnin' stove, for charcoal power, and three more smelters to get magnetite into a form that can menace with proper sorts of spikes, if you get my meanin', diary.
On the same page, I tossed peasants Vucar and Dastot battle axes to get on more woodchoppin'. With a bare three score of logs reported to be in stock, we aren't goin' to do enough for charcoal or the additional traps I have planned for the front gate. So we'd best get to proper choppery.
For the meatier part of soldierin', I threw an additional six recruits into the sparring chambers to wrestle with our veterans. If they don't get their necks broke, they'll be fine soldiers in no time.
 15th Granite, 1055
A few days in, and there's far less partyin' and far more smoke from the new smelters. Smells good to me. Naturally, the first setback hit shortly after my new orders got underway.
I hope they enjoyed the sweet scent of tree blood coverin' our axes, as they happened to come in right where our newly-redoubled woodchop efforts were makin' raccoons homeless and new homes for dwarves. Didn't speak a word of it, though they looked sick. I figure that helps our trading position some.
I sent Roman to go take care of business with 'em. He looked a little rough about the edges for savvy businessmanship, but I figure the pansies will make a good teeth-cutting for him.
The haunting cry of a fox in the distance caught my attention; a solitary kobold with a knapsack struggled to hide itself again quickly, but the fox's unlikely warning made it too difficult. The critter was too far away for a long-shot from my crossbow, but it was pretty clear he wasn't here to fight, given he just hauled his arse away as fast as his gnarled legs could take him. Nice sort, that fox. We'll give it a good presentation at our dinner table, soon as our hunter catches it.
I came back to find the elves packing their things not an hour after they'd arrived. I took Roman by the shoulder and pulled him aside. "So what's all this about?"
"Err, I, uhm, accidentally showed them one of our wooden idols. They stopped talking right after that, wouldn't say a thing, just packed their belongings."
I scratched at my beard. "No harm to us, the tulip-frolicking bastards. Get anything?"
"Just these." He produced a small bag of orange seeds. Sun berry seeds. I couldn't believe our luck. Sunshine! I took a dwarf by the name of something-or-other and shook him. "GET A NEW FARM PLOT GOING! Open-air. Carve it out by channels, north of the underground stone stockpiles or somethin'. Just get it done, now!" He didn't say a word; then I realized the shaking had thrown him unconscious. Dropping him to the sand with a flump, I barked out more of the same orders to another dwarf. We would have our sunshine!
 3rd Slate, 1055
The sun berry plot's underway. Knowin' goblins would be gleeful to rain a hail of arrows and bolts down on the farmers, I ordered a wall constructed around the open channel where our berries would grow.
A couple days later, I checked to see how it was coming along. It was painted green. Looking to ask what sort've elfy art direction this was taking, I aimed myself in the direction of the stonecrafters; but I didn't even have to bother with the question. A mason, queasy from the sun, belched his half-digested turtle onto the wall he was still working.
Maybe it'll raise the property value.
 15th Slate, 1055
Well, we didn't get the fox we wanted, but we got plenty of raccoon. They chittered and screamed at our woodcutters as they worked; not too impressed, they wound up and slapped the little beasts, dead in the air, across the chasm. Then they went back to chopping.
A more irritating problem was that the peasants' work was interrupted constantly by a troll. The first I heard of it, I slung and loaded my crossbow and charged out there, only to find a single, shivering peasant. "Where's the foul beast?"
Unable to form words, the peasant pointed down into the chasm.
Gettin' on my knees to steady myself, I peered down into the darkness. "What're you goin' on about?"
"T-there! Can't you... see it?!"
I could. Barely. A good ten heights down, it was scratching its arse and... well, doin' things generally unmentionable. But not to dwarves. "It's ten leagues down, you dolt. What's the problem?"
Great. I ordered the construction of a shaft on the other side of the chasm so we could bolt the stupid thing and get back to work. I hate the citizens sometimes.
 4th Felsite
More snot-nosed buggers to babysit. Luckily, we already had plenty of bunk space for them. A little under a score of them in all, but at least they can get to work and make up part of their room and board by hauling things, something we need pretty badly. I took the ones that looked fairly strong-hearted and pointed them towards the barracks; of the seventeen, that was two recruits. They don't make dwarves like they used to. Well, I 'magine they do, they just don't come out quite right anymore.
 8th Felsite, 1055
Sick of hangin' around, waiting for the lot to get off their breaks and actually do something, I decided to make some action for myself. Taking two squads of three, led by myself and fadingattheedges, our Axe Lord, I ordered a breach in the obsidian tower most northwest of our position.
Eventually, after hangin' around in the bloody sun for what felt like months, Roman came up and gave me the word that it'd been done. He looked a little upset. "What, you see a goblin?"
"Bits of one."
Working the story out of him, it seems one of our miners broke through the tower and saw a goblin. Rather, a goblin child. The details get a little muddy, but apparently he went berserk.
A little bit disturbin', I guess, but zeal is hardly a bad thing when it comes to the goblin menace. Better to kill theirs than to have them eat ours, I suppose.
Soon as the breach was made, I sent the teams in to clean house. The place was downright eerie. I'd heard tales, but never seen the inside of one before. Apparently they go to great lengths to haul pure obsidian and construct their forts entirely out of it. The steps, the floor, the walls, the artwork was all sheer, glassy obsidian. Would make good short-swords once we were done with the place, but for now, we had to concentrate.
I sent the axedwarf team ahead. Hearin' shrill screams, we followed closely behind, and found blood painting the walls. Apparently fadingattheedges had seen a solitary guard and took matters... goblin matter... into his own hands. Bits of goblin coated the wall, sheared off by a frenzy of axe-strikes. I clapped him on the back -- the sort of fervor I love to see in my men.
The place was nearly deserted, strangely enough. Maybe they were scared of us and they all ran, but every floor was an empty, haunted soon-to-be-tomb of only one or two screaming goblins. We finished cleaning out the interior of the goblin threat soon enough, and reached the laddered trapdoor to the roof. It seemed quiet enough, so I gave fadingattheedges the motion to take a look.
Soon as he popped the hatch, wild, raucous screaming could be heard, and some sort of drum music. He clapped it down shut as quickly as he'd opened it a crack. "At least a dozen. Probably more. That's where they've all gone."
Now, I take great pride in my men, but with so many above, it seemed we'd have a bit of trouble trying to take that number. But with the rest of the fortress deserted, I couldn't imagine there'd be quite that number. "Take another gander. Carefully. I can't imagine there's that many. Probably some statues or somethin' mixed in there."
He gave me a querulous look, but slowly opened the sound-stopping hatch again. I saw his eyes flicker in the torchlight, then widen a moment before a loud crack gouged the top of the hatch. He pulled it shut. "Been seen! Seen!" To follow his words, goblin hands began grasping at the top of the hatch and yanking against the Axe Lord's brute strength. He was mighty, but that was a lot of goblin hands. He looked strained.
Pulling the bolt from my bow, I waved his fingers aside and slipped it in the hatch-lock. Grateful, he let go, but the bolt bended a bit with every yank from topside. Waving my men forward, I covered the rear as we let them to their difficulty. I hate retreats, but I hate losin' fine men even more, and we'd soaked ourselves in plenty of blood that day.
 13th Felsite, 1055
I'd barely took my helmet off when I heard tell of the latest nonsense the civvies had gotten themselves into. Apparently Thob Nitemasmel, some leatherworker-turned-peasant, had run screaming into the stockpiles, seized some stone, uncut gems, cut gems, deer bones, and freshly-smelted iron, then ran down into the depths of the keep, babbling all the way. I just shook my head and went to take a patrol of the peasant quarters before settling down for a well-deserved nap.
Wasn't two steps into the right hallway before I smelled something rotten foul. Taking my paces down the deserted hallway, I could hear the buzz of blood flies; a forgotten bucket spilled stagnant water on the floor. The smell grew greater 'til the very end.
Opening the door, I found the bloated body of Fath Dumatonol, one of our guardsmen. Dead of neglect. I knew he'd been wounded in action, but I figured the peasants would take good care of him as he recovered. My blood steamed as I saw just how wrong I was.
I can't be entirely clear on what happened after that, but flinging a few peasants and screaming factored into it. I yelled my futile rage into the winds atop our dig's entrance. Those in earshot gave a short glance, then continued their work.
Is this what we've come to? I could wonder only this as I stared at the five evil towers on the north horizon. Were we being corrupted into the beasts we sought to slay, basing ourselves here? Did looking at those peaks every day threaten to take what made us dwarves?
That moment, I set myself to a plan. We wouldn't endure the sight of them any longer.
 23 Felsite, 1055
The leatherworker finished his... thing today, presenting it to me with pride. It had some very interesting images.
I smiled at him. Then I slapped him upside the head.
 12th Hematite, 1055
My project plans were still in the formulation phase when the humans arrived. They're generally cause for cheer, hauling a proper fortune in supplies with 'em whenever they come. Roman set himself unbidden to trade as the haulers brought out our rock things we give them for useful stuff.
Nothing much to speak of in the transaction, we got ourselves some solid supplies in exchange for the useless rock things our craftsdwarves are so fond of making. Stopping by the trade depot, a jovial pot-bellied human tried to offer me something for my wife, a lass of fictional existence.
The stupidest thing I've ever seen crafted, but I can't imagine this fortress will fail to one-up me on that front.
Roman, flush with the success of trading with the tall folk, offered me some rock-things for my pants.
I stared at him until he wandered off.
 1st Malachite, 1055
In the depths of summer, my plan to sunder the goblins' hold on our psyche took flight. The orders were set. The miners, inspired to action by tales of our squads' success against the murderous beast, gladly hewed into the ground floor of the evil tower we'd explored. Leaving careful supports attached to pulley mechanisms, they worked to grind out the tower from under the monsters.
I couldn't help but be cheered, watching them sap the fortress. Dwarf beside dwarf, soldier and civilian together, we were going to crush these bastards.
 25th Malachite, 1055
The sappin's complete, the tenuous supports all set up to drop. In ceremony, I assigned Roman the last thing to do.
With a flourish, he pulled the lever.
Or tried. Yanking harder, he found the thing beyond stubborn. I chided him. "What'sa matter, a little lever givin' you some trouble?"
Grunting with his full force against the mechanism now, he bantered back, "I don't see you helpin' me bring down an entire goblin tower with my bare hands! I'm tryin' to move seven damn pillars at once, it's a little rough!"
Shrugging, I helped. Or tried. I saw what he was talking about. "Alright, hold it, back up. Let's give it a proper tackle on three. One, two... three!"
Throwing ourselves at it, we pounded it with our full weight. Slowly, the rock salt gave under our combined might.
Suddenly, it slid into position, our momentum slamming us into the dirt.
A titan crushed us to the ground with its mighty foot, flattening grass and trees, rolling stones. For a good thirty seconds, all I heard was the tinny ring of my own ears, blinded by the concussion. Slowly, my senses returning, I got to my feet, lending Roman a hand. We looked on our handiwork.
The tower stood.
But it was a bit shorter.
I could see the rabble of goblins still atop the tower from here. They tried to get to their feet, but I could see the hairline cracks splitting and crumbling ominously.
A battlement rolled off the top of the tower's fortifications, slamming to the ground below. Another followed it. A chunk of obsidian split from the side of the goblin fortress and fell. More followed their brethren.
 7th Galena, 1055
Things have settled back after the wild week-long party that followed the fall of one of the five towers. Nothing much of note but normalcy around here, though we finally got to put a bolt through the heart of the troll that had been bothering the peasants. Can't say I've been more cheery since I started this stint as outpost leader.
 15th Limestone, 1055
Our countrymen come, with pack mules. Roman was eager to test his skills against his own fellows, myself now excepted. A chat with the liaison brought us an agreement for pearlash, potash and charcoal, for fertilization and smelting purposes; trade gave us more supplies. Some booze, some barrels to make booze, some food to make meals.
 23rd Limestone, 1055
The mayor stormed up to me today, demanding a proper office. He was sick, he said, of having to eat at the same table he worked. Irritated at my marksmanship training being interrupted, I waved him off, saying I'd take care of it.
Shortly after, a new room was carved out and smoothed for him. Standing with the sack of lard, I offered him the place. He snubbed it, saying he wanted engravings.
Fine. I gave him Roman, who worked on a few fine carvings.
The mayor never spoke to me again. Relieving, but unnerving; his silence was unclear to me until I actually saw the engravings.
A giant spider striking down a dwarf.
Another of a dead dwarf.
Well done indeed, Roman.
Word came that another peasant had gone mad, screaming a strange name and seizing materials. This one didn't find all he wanted, though, demanding shells that we already had. Knowing not what to do, we left him to his anger.
 3rd Timber, 1055
Autumn brings us red trees and red blood. Migrants arrived.
So did a titan.
Cheerfully referred to as an "Uninvited Guest" by the bookkeeper, I was informed his name was "Bem Naturalpeacefuls". The name left me nonplussed, as he didn't look to be here for tea.
It was time to test the new bunker I had installed on the island amidst the chasms.
Yelling at the marksmen to get to the bunker, we charged up the bridge across the chasm and set ourselves into position, the thundering footsteps of the titan fast approaching. Setting my ammo in place, I looked up through the fortifications to find Meng, a member of my squad, had misinterpreted my orders.
She was outside the bunker.
I didn't even have time to scream at her before the hulking form of the titan stomped into view. Terrified, she let fly at the laughing creature lurching towards her with three bolts. Its laughs turned into enraged yells as the bolts struck home. She was trained well. But not well enough.
Wrenching the missiles out of its flesh, it folded its hands into a double-fist and pounded her into the limestone road.
Struck dumb by her death, we mutely launched our own salvos. Unfortunately, the fortifications were poorly constructed, and we could get shots only at its feet, and poor ones at that. It stormed onwards, its back to us, toward the trade depot. Bem bellowed, its bloody fists raised high, before a single bolt pierced its chest, just to the left of its sternum.
The civilian hunter had thrown himself into battle from atop the trade depot, and his first shot was a perfect one. Its heart cut through, the titan's bellows turned to shrill, garbled screams. It stumbled towards the depot, blood on its mind; but the river of life fluid pouring down its chest was not inclined to cooperate. It fell to its knees, a weak cry of defiance escaping its lips before imprinting its dead body on the sand.
Standing down, we hauled Meng's crumpled body to the graveyard for a warrior's burial.
I ordered a second level be built atop the bunker so we can get proper aim next time.
 12th Opal, 1055
Winter comes. Belatedly, I heard of the insanity and subsequent death by thirst of the peasant who had last seized a craftshop; and then of another peasant. This one was smart enough to find his shells, and he came up to me with something looking more like what the damned elves bring us.
At least it might be put to some damn use when it finally gets pried out of the idiot's hands.
 1st Obsidian, 1055
Seems I'm a bloody bear; I've gotten hardly nothing done of note this winter, with my tenure's end approaching. Stumbling out of my hibernation, I decided to look around.
It seems the wrestling barracks is six square, a humble size. Annoyed, I ordered the construction of a proper barracks to the west of the current living quarters, a huge affair where we can have a proper army train. Also, with only a few unoccupied rooms, I decided to order the construction of a new set of quarters for any migrants to come. I'm sure the new outpost leader will appreciate the work.
 15th Obsidian, 1055
The mayor made himself annoying for one last time in my tenure. He wants querns made, he said. Three of them.
I told him we don't have anything to mill.
He screamed obscenities at me until I agreed to his nonsense. Easy enough to make; stone's something we have no end of. Might as well satisfy the idiot.
 1st Granite, 1056
So it ends. Made quite a bang, I must say, diary. The fall of a tower won't go forgotten in the history of this fortress.
Oh, and something I didn't write down 'til now, for it is a note I'm pleased to give to the following leader.
There's a suspended order to pull the breakdown lever, which is built in the far west central plains, north of our westmost entrance.
I think you'll be pleased to order that lever pulled, whoever you might be. Consider it a parting gift.
Bring two dwarves of decent strength. It's a bit tough to pull, as I can attest.
Rhoegund Wheelbrews, signing off.