Part 208: MortuusLupus: Update 9
There is a very real feeling of dread in the air. The howling of the spawn, jagged mouthes twisted with rage, trapped in their cage like rats, echoes down the halls and stairways at all hours of the day. The joy of trapping these beasts has faded, replaced with dread. We have, inside our fortress, more than a dozen of the most dangerous creatures ever to walk the earth. We number at a mere 61. Five to one odds against an enemy whose sole purpose in life seems to be to wipe our settlements from existence.
The strain is wearing on us all, and already one has snapped. I don't know how he managed to do it, or where he left, but nielsm, master clothier, decided he would have no more of this place and the demons trapped within.
Sadly, he met his fate at the hands of those surrounding us.
Despite his skill with cloth he was relatively unknown, and does not seem to be missed. Life goes on. The haulers still haul, the crafters craft, and the soldiers continue to train.
A new champion emerges, CountryMatters, and his advancement in skill brings some measure of relief. Having these skilled warriors nearby will greatuly reduce our risk should containment fail. An unlikely scenario, to be sure, as this would presuppose a flaw in my design.
The defensive device being assembled by my assistant The Deadly Hume and his team of engineers
continues to be pieced together. I find myself getting more and more frustrated with the slow pace at which they are working. This device should take no more than a month of work, yet it feels as though years have been spent. I have lost count of the number of times construction has been halted because they have refused to move a small pile of rubble. I am trying to look out for the well being of the people of this fortress, and I am being obstructed by these laborers. I will not let this stand.
Results! It appears that imprisonment is an effective motivator indeed, if properly applied. Even the children understand the importance of doing what is told of them.
With the help of young Kithrixx the main power distributor of the device is completed. And with it, my first words.
"OH MY SWEET BABY CAN YOU SAY MAMA?? Say MAMA!!!"
"YES SWEET BABY SAY MAMA FOR MAMA AND MAKE MAMA SOOOOO HAPPY!!!"
Unless you have ever lost the ability to speak, you cannot imagine the difficulty in generating these two simple words. Nor my absolute joy in having those words leave my mouth! I no longer had to rely on the excessively loud, shrill commands of Mother to relay my orders. Surely now construction will continue on schedule.
Work was proceeding at a fantastic pace, with the entire engineering team (and one of The Deadly Hume's many cats) laying down the mechanisms and power transfer units. And the sign of a true master engineer if I do say so myself:
As the Scholarly Hames continued their work, Eumenides began producing the steel spikes I require. Then, disaster. Perhaps the most distressing event of my second childhood.
How dare he. HOW DARE HE? This CHILD takes MY PLACE as Mother's favored. I, who was ripped from my life, forced into this shell. This FEMALE shell! AND THIS ONE GETS TO GROW UP TO BE A MAN??? He has done nothing of worth, simply the end result of a chemical reaction. I will end him. I swear this, if it is the last thing I do, I will end this Gex.
But now is not the time. There are enough threats to my plans as it is without worrying about the future of this putrid fruit.
A small bit of good news:
His campaign of "I've not destroyed the fortress yet, plus dragons die at the sight of me" struck a chord with the citizens of Syrupleaf, and I cannot argue with its success. Even more encouraging, however, is the fear this nobleman's victory has struck in the hearts of the Frost Giants, and they have abandoned their foolish siege. I am disappointed at the loss of the opportunity to test our new defenses against them when it is complete, but we can now finish the task of caging the captured spawn. Or, should we fail, what will surely be the end of life in this corner of the world.
There has been a long tradition of capturing the beasts we fear, and this fortress is no different. We've captured sand raiders and war horses.
Killed scores of Spawn and Frost Giants.
Breached the very gates of the underworld and turned back the demons within.
Located, captured, tamed, and trained the massive moles of the bottomless chasm.
The cave-in blew the reinforced hinges off the door that was holding the spawn in the containment zone and sent the steel door flying down the hallway, narrowly missing the two guards stationed there.
And throughout all this, our fortress has scraped by, each time inching closer to defeat.
Every victory has come at some cost. Families have been torn apart.
Heroes have risen and been struck down.
A golden age of wealth has come and passed.
We were once home to the very queen herself, such was our majesty.
Syrupleaf's brief history has been like that of a dying star. A bright jewel in the darkness flashing on, burning bright, then fading.
Everything that begins must eventually end.
But I have discovered one thing in my time here.
Moles are for pussies.