Part 56: Intermission
SIROCCO'S GUIDE TO SYRUPLEAF!
'Hey, guys! Syrupleaf's a big fortress so I thought I'd show you the sights (though there's mostly smells, ha ha ha!) and show you what a wonderful home it is for us dwarves.
'If you'll just follow me... the ramp up to the gatehouse is just this way. See those pillars on either side of the road? That's to stop the caravans going the wrong way.'
'Tired already? Still a way to go, ha ha ha! We like to tire our enemies out before they get to even raise a claw at us.'
'Um... just ignore the blood and vomit-covered armour lying everywhere. I've suggested we clean it up to make the ramp look prettier but no one wants to do it. I made leaflets and everything. Oh well.'
'Hooray! We made it to the top! This is the gatehouse where we trade with merchants. The trade depot is in the centre. The bridges on the perimeter are fully retractable in case of danger or unwanted guests, ha ha ha! It's also where we store all our wood because no one wants to drag them inside. See that tower over to the north there? That's our watchtower. Marksdwarves can look out for enemies and shoot through the fortifications if they see... THEM. Who? What? Oh... that's a story for another time, ha ha ha! Follow me.'
'This is the golden road! This was once the setting of a great battle. Royal W decapitated the leader of the Holistic Spawn just over there. Hey, no flash! Over here is- oh, look, there's IceDrake! HI, ICEDRAKE!'
'You stay away from me you sick bastard!'
'Ha ha ha, that woman! Don't worry, it's an in-joke... I think.'
'This is the main lobby! It's a bit of a mess at the moment, we've got workshops falling out of our beards here, ha ha ha! No! No, don't go in that room! That's where we keep our refuse - old bones, rotten meat, stuff like that. Very stinky! But useful for carving bolts, crafts, and even certain pieces of armour if we wanted. Oh! See those stairs [the 3x3 'X's]? Those go all the way up and all the way down - it's one of the largest thoroughfares in the whole fortress! We'll be visiting it later.'
'These are our master stockpiles. Anything that isn't currently being used or is destined for trade ends up here. See that well? You would not believe how much trouble our miners had to go to so we could drink from there. We'll go into that more later.'
'This is where our first quarters were built. My bedroom's here! Look, look- no over there. My room's between Mehuyael and OrangeSoda's. See it there? It's the second one from the far left on the second row. It's got my old copper hammer in it. I've got a new one now made of steel now. I call her... Patsy II.'
'Down here we have the Corridor of Levers! WoOoOoOoOOOO! Don't pull them - they control the bridges for the most part but if you pull one at the wrong time you might crush someone. They collapse with such a weight that you get compressed into a quantum singularity that instantly collapses dispersing your matter throughout time and space. Or something. I can never recall the exact details.'
'This place is from before my time. When Syrupleaf was first founded and we discovered this chasm, many batmen flew out and dwarves were lost to their bitey teeth and scratchy claws...'
'We don't go over here anymore.'
'Let's head downstairs! These are the rest of the quarters! Most of the others live here except some of the higher-ups who have their own special apartments. I don't think you've met Firos and OutOfPrint have you? They're great guys.'
'Sirocco, who the hell are you talking to?'
'Shh, don't get his attention! You know what he's like... pretend you're interested in the wall or something.'
'I love walls.'
'These are our farms! How did we manage to get a farm growing in a glacier I hear you ask? Well, it wasn't easy that's for sure! The only river we have is frozen over so we needed to reroute a magma pool under the river to melt it. A bit of mining here and there, stick in some mechanised floodgates and bingo! An irrigation system gets our floors nice and muddy so we can sow the ground. If we didn't have our farmers we'd be dead within the year isn't that right, Spoonboy?'
'If you ever wanted to learn about the history of Syrupleaf, Spoonboy is your go-to-dwarf, ha ha ha! He's been here since the very beginning! OK, next stop is just this way...'
'What an odd man.'
'You can't see it but if you'll just press your hand against this wall... feel that warmth? On the other side of this wall is a gigantic pool of molten rock! It's essential for our survival in this cold climate. OK, that's enough of the lower levels, it's time to go to the summit!'
'This is our food stockpile. Many a time have I enjoyed a midnight snack of dimple cup and quarry bush leaves here. If we'll carry on up the stairs... watch your head...'
'This is our mighty dining and meeting hall! Note its close proximity to the food pile. It'd be quite inconvenient to have to wander back and forth across the fortress just to have a table to eat your meal at. Anyone who wants to keep an ear close to the gossip likes to hang out here. Woah, watch your step... a lot of puppies around here. I'd complain about them getting underfoot all the time but they're so adorable don't you think? We've got more stairs to climb, I'm afraid, but don't worry, the tour's nearly over.'
'I'm not supposed to bring anyone up here so I won't tell if you won't OK? This is The Tower, I've saved the best for last. The view's amazing isn't it? It was set up as a tribute to some of our fallen heroes. You see that bridge over there? Pure adamantine. It's rigged up so that it raises whenever- no! Don't go too close! Wait-'
And so ends Sirocco's grand tour of everyone's favourite frozen deathtra-
'Wait, I want to show everyone something!!!'
Eh? Oh... OK.
'This is a list I've drawn up of my closest friends! At least I think they're my friends. They make eye contact anyway, ha ha ha!'
'Wait, something's wrong!'