Part 22: by BremenAfter consulting diagrams and schematics left by my predecessors, I think I've found a way to seal off the fortress.
Pull the damn lever!
Pulling the lever has entirely forseeable consequences. Oh well, they were going to die anyways.
With the survivors all holed up inside the fortress, I begin organizing things to best effect. Without wood I can't produce more ballista bolts, but the lava forges and smelters are able to produce a trickle of bronze bolts. I order as many dwarves as I can spare to arm themselves with crossbows and hope they can find some without going outside. Most of these dwarves think this would be a perfect time to eat, drink, and sleep.
Meanwhile, the elephants, bored without a steady stream of dwarves to kill, are slowly torturing a war dog that was stuck outside.
After a few months of being pricked by whatever crossbow bolts I can forge, the two remaining elephants keel over and die of blood loss. Victory!
I order the drawbridge lowered and dwarves stream out for their first breaths of fresh air in months.
I immediately order a door placed on the entrance to stave off the elephant hordes. However, within a month I become aware of another herd approaching!
A single untrained marksdwarf stands ready to defend the crossing, but I doubt he'll be enough. I wonder why no dwarf has put up the doors yet, or even cleared the equipment and refuse from the area. A quick inspection finds the problem:
The huge number of tame animals, combined with the narrow corridors, is causing a truely horrible traffic jam. I order the corridors widened and as many animals as possible put into cages.
Luckily, the elephant herd turns south and skips the fortress entirely. With the corridors beginning to be passable again, a dwarf manages to construct the door, blocking off the elephants forever.
In the final days of summer, a mason creates a controversial work of art to express his feelings of frustration and guilt. I have him imprisoned for defeatism.
"Here, I've made an amulet of all the history I know. Look, it's an elephant slaughtering dwarves by the hundreds. You can really see the bones and gristle! If you check the back, there's a lovely rendering of a butterfly jamming the fortress doors open. Also, more elephants killing dwarves."