Part 28: Jazzimus Prime: Update 1
Syrupleaf - Chapter V Part 1 - The Arrival
I realize that this is no dream, no hallucination. Our company has finally arrived at this icy hell of a fortress. I am met at the gates by mayor Bobthethurd and fortress manager Skullbuggy.
"Jazzimus, I presume?" says Skullbuggy.
"I am he," I reply.
"You're not a moment too soon. The previous overseer has been incapacitated by a broken leg, and is unable to continue his duties. All of our dwarves are currently busy with other tasks, so it would be appreciated if you could see to it that he receives water and food."
"Do you have any other advice to deal with the situation here?" I ask.
"We will need a stronger army to deal with the Spawn of Holistic, and these soldiers will need to be outfitted. The steel weapon and armor industries must be a priority in order to outfit a larger army," says Skullbuggy. "We have very little wood, but coal and coke are abundant here, so please use those instead of charcoal for steelmaking, and try to import as much wood as you are able. Also, as a general rule, try to keep most of the dwarves inside of the fortress at all times, there isn't anything outside that would make it worth the danger."
"Thank you," I reply. I turn to Bobthethurd. "Do you have anything to add to that?"
"If you could find a way to capture one of the Holistic Spawn and domesticate it, I would like to have one as a pet," says Bobthethurd.
I stare at Bob incredulously.
"Or, failing that, could you at least commission a bismuth bronze drinking cup for me perhaps? It would really mean a lot to me."
Sure, I'll get right on that, I think to myself.
After seeing to the previous overseer 64bitrobot, I get to work on the steel industry. We have plenty of coal, lignite, and flux stone already, but we will need to mine out more iron.
I order the miners Rixaxun, sewermancer, Manic Mole, Idles, and The Deadly Hume to get to work extracting hematite and limonite ore from the mines. Mayor Bobthethurd, a legendary miner in his own right, grabs a pick as well and begins unearthing iron ore at alarming speed.
Perhaps this dwarf is capable of more than just making ridiculous requests after all. I take Green Intern aside and request that he go ahead and forge the bismuth bronze goblet that Bob had requested. To run an efficient fortress, one must keep the more useful dwarves happy.
As for our existing supply of steel bars, it is time we use them for something. I see that Vox Nihili, our legendary armorsmith, is preparing a new plot of farmland. I order him to stop farming and to focus on the production of steel armor.
This request immediately pays off, as Vox Nihili begins churning out several masterpiece-quality suits of steel plate mail.
Unfortunately, without Vox Nihili, our farming industry is now shorthanded. Mehuyael, one of our more skilled farmers, had been ordered not to farm by the previous overseer. I request that he complete the construction of another farm plot, which will be used to plant quarry bushes.
Those who aren't hauling iron ore, working in the steel industry, or working on the farms are put to work smoothing and engraving the walls and floors of the fortress. By making this miserable place seem as pleasant as possible, I hope to keep the dwarves in relatively high spirits.
I notice that the peasants Kallisti, OutofPrint and Recursive have to resort to sleeping on the cavern floor. There are not enough beds for all of the dwarves, and there is no more wood remaining to build any more beds. I hope that the annual elven caravan arrives soon to supply us with wood, as there are no trees growing anywhere on this glacier.
Here, the following annotation has been scribbled into the margin of the journal
Little did I know that we would receive the wood that we needed soon enough, but at what cost?
Bobbin Threadbare wrote :-
The journey itself was not without its perils. No such passage is, of course, and certainly not one to a fortress known most for its inhospitable surroundings. The occasional appearance of mysteriously displaced Sand Raiders did little to warm my feelings towards my surroundings, although the near future would cause me to feel comforted whenever they appeared around SyrupLeaf. After all, when they are the explanation for why the warning bell sounds, it means that They are not the ones surrounding our feeble defenses.
Upon my initial arrival, I discovered, much to my satisfaction, that I would be permitted to retain my current profession. Not every dwarf in my immigrant group was so lucky, after all. Indeed, I was filled with optimism those first few weeks. One dwarf who was my senior in the fortress told me of the dire issues of water and food shortages, and of their initially desperate need for wood. Thankfully, however, most of these issues had been resolved before I entered the gates of SyrupLeaf, with a slow trickle of water feeding the muddy mushroom grounds, while I had to pass by a massive stockpile of wood gathered from caravans as I crossed the anteroom into the fortress proper. It would not be until Their appearance that I would come to understand the Hell to which I had consigned myself.