Part 5: Vox Nihili: Update 3
From the Journal of Vox Nihili, Settlement "Leader" Pro tem, Entry #9
I fear the end is near. Our supplies are dwindling. Even now hungry mouths consume the last of our pickled turtles and salted plump helmets:
The estimates Bobthethurd makes are optimistic. Personally, I counted some 2 plump helmets, 5 bloated tubers, and 15 turtles remaining, amongst a few bits of meat. This would have fed the four of us for months, but will be depleted quickly by our 23 current residents. Perhaps... perhaps some measures might be required. First, though, I order that our surviving draft animals be butchered, along with a few of the weaker looking puppies:
Our new tannery, kitchen, still, and butcher's shop will yet keep us alive. And in summer, perhaps a human caravan will bring warm tidings and warmer food.
Skaw, one of the original seven to set out to this place, was taken by a mood:
and created our settlement's first true artifact, a tower-cap statue:
Perhaps hunger prompted him to carve images of fat, delicious looking hippos on the side. I begin to wonder just how much nutritional content tower-caps might have.
From the Journal of Vox Nihili, Settlement "Leader" Pro tem, Entry #10
It is summer now, and the situation worsens. Our intrepid residents have recovered most of Ticklehug's remains, though unfortunately her skull will probably never be found. Her remains were interred in the most respectful tomb we can construct given the current situation. With her pick and the spare in our stockpile, we outfitted two unskilled peasants to work as apprentice miners to Bobthethurd. They have started a massive project to tunnel magma from the nearby vent under the frozen fresh water springs and brook nearby. Bobthethurd says Ner will give them the strength to persevere:
Personally, I feel his useless god holds no sway over this place, where dark clouds linger always, but neither rain nor snow ever fall.
Meanwhile, misfortune continues to mock us ceaselessly. Rixaxun managed to get bitten by a highly venomous cave spider, though he is expected to survive:
Koorisch is attacked by a batman while gathering webs out by the Rift:
Fortunately, he proves to be more of a dwarf than he looked, and punished the creature mercilessly until it finally breathed its last:
I fear all of this is meaningless. Though we have stabilized our food supplies for the moment by killing most of our animals, our drink cache is running dry. The last of our plants have been brewed, and the last of the fisher wine from the elves has been polished off. Only a barrel of tuber beer remains, and the dwarves fight over drinking rights now. It is late summer, by my measure, and the human caravan has not come. The others do not know it yet, but I feel this is the end. Despair grips me.
Bobthethurd may be a poor leader, but I feel she at least understands our situation now. I do not hold her entirely at fault.
From the Journal of Vox Nihili, Settlement "Leader" Pro tem, Entry #11
The miners have pierced the magma pipe, no casualties. A glimmer of hope to some, but not I. I know the speed at which magma moves, and I know also that by the time the brook thaws we will be drinking eachother's blood for sustenance.
The other day I swore I saw a troglodyte fighting a sand raider, of all things, in the distance. Later, only a pool of frozen blood and a corpse could be find. I pray that we have not yet been discovered by the powerful, savage nations of this region.
From the Journal of Vox Nihili, Settlement "Leader" Pro tem, Entry #12
What follows is a diagram of the brook melting megma tunnel. It has already experienced multiple failures. Seems the miners were unable to prevent the tunnel from being explosed to ice. Obviously, the magma hit the ice and melted it, then solidified into obsidian. A second route was channeled from above using a special emergency tunnel, but this one pierced the Rift and began hemorrhaging our precious magma into its depths. An emergency wall was built in the rift to patch this, but much time has been lost.
The magma is weeks away from reaching the brook, and we have less than 5 units of drink remaining. Already, many go thirsty. (Blue Arrows indicate thirsty dwarves.)
I feel a madness gripping at me, tearing at my mind. No drinks left, magma too slow. No drinks left, caravan coming soon? No drinks left, all my friends dead. No drinks left, no gods left, no hope left. Water everyone, solid, hard, undrinkable. A good flagon of ale, a barrel of wine, a mug of beer, aye, a full cup of ale, that's the stuff! They laugh at me, why? None of them have drinks either. Unless. No. My new friend Spoonboy would tell me if there was anything to be had. Yes. Oh Atith, where is your revelry in this place? I will have none of them, Atith. None of them. I must be alone. I will be alone. What's that? You have a job for me? Yes... yes...