Part 78: Sirocco: Update 13
Sirocco's Year: Part Thirteen
I quickly assembled a military squad to take down the giant moles and rescue IceDrake from a grisly demise. Time was of the essence!
The squad roster:
Oni Elem - Squad leader.
I decided to give them a pep talk before they went to boost morale.
'Hey guys!!!' I said, waving to them. 'I just know you're all going to be swell warriors and do us all proud! Oh, Meliv, you've got something on your cheek, lemme just- there, got it-'
'Now now, don't fuss. Oni, IceDrake is depending on you. Don't let her down.'
'I'll do my best! Uh... some of us don't have any weapons.'
A hurried inventory check later, Illarkul handed out some hammers and axes to the squad and we both wished them good luck.
Suddenly, Eiba burst through the door.
'I'm coming with you! They're my moles, they're my responsibility!'
Illarkul had to wrestle the dwarf to the ground to stop him following the soldiers over the bridge. 'Sir, you can't! It's too dangerous!'
'I can't let this happen! I'm a moleboy! No mole left unburied, that's my motto, you oik! You runty bastard! You elf-loving little- little-' and he burst into tears, his little shoulders heaving with each sob.
'My moles! My mo-ho-hoooooooles!'
I helped him to his feet and put my hands on his shoulders so I could talk to him face to face.
'I'm sorry, Eiba! I tried but I couldn't save them! I couldn't save any of them!' My own eyes began to well up.
'But they're so y-y-YOUNG,' Eiba wailed.
We stood there, openly bawling into each other's arms for a few minutes while Illarkul stood to the side respectfully. Eventually, our faces wet with tearstains, we broke the embrace.
'I know,' he sniffed. 'I know. You ARE a good kid, Sirocco. Maybe you have got it in you to be a moleboy.' He leaned against the wall and inhaled deeply before wiping his eyes and wandering back along the tunnel into the fortress.
He stopped and turned. 'Oh. Sirocco?'
He raised his arm and threw something to me. I caught it in my palm and looked at it. It was a badge, pure gold. In the centre was a single letter, engraved: M.
I was in awe. 'Eiba-' I said.
But he had already left.
Oh, journal. I don't think I've felt as close to another dwarf as I have today. It wlll stay in my heart forever. But I couldn't let myself get caught up in the moment when lives were at stake! I turned my attention once more to the direction of Oni Elem's squad against the giant moles:
Matters were worse than I realised.
It hadn't just been IceDrake and Skaw who'd visited the cave to reload traps and move cages. Phrederick the Dungeonmaster had been nearby at the time the alarm was sounded and was valiantly breaking the skull of a mole pup in an attempt to save IceDrake. Dwarf after dwarf were running down the staircase despite my panicked pleas to stop.
Sewermancer gave me an angry look as he ran by. 'At least I got one of the buggers,' he grinned swinging his pick into its strap leaving a spray of mole blood on the wall.
It was not, however, looking good for our damsel in distress:
And our mayor had himself barely escaped the fracas and was in an understandably foul mood:
And then tragedy struck.
Not moments later, Oni Elem and his squad arrived. I can't help but feel personally responsible for what happened that today, journal. Was it wrong of me to send the less experienced squad down? Should I have gone in their stead?
Alas it will just be one of those things we can never understand like where the wind comes from or why the sun turns into the moon or where people go when they're crushed by drawbridges.
'How am I going to explain this to the children?' I asked Illarkul. He simply shook his head.
'Don't, you'll just fuck it up.'
I nodded sadly.
But it was far from over.
I don't even know what he was doing down there. Collecting cages I suppose. Wherever you are now Val I hope you're able to spend your creative energies however you please.
Eviscerated by a giant mole, OutOfPrint had choked on his own blood. I wish I'd got to know him better. I've asked around but it seems his eulogy's just going to consist of 'He was a dwarf'. At least we can say it loudly or something I guess.
Eventually... it was over. The heroes of the day were Oni Elem with three giant mole kills and Meliv with one. Screaming Idiot had been asleep the entire time and missed the whole thing.
We will hold a two minute silence in remembrance of the dead tomorrow. It has been a grave day.
Skaw wrote :-
A dwarf is seen outside the overseers office looking around for others, writing furiously on a peach of parchment, he stuffs the note in to the suggestion box upon finishing. On it reads:
Dear Construction team,
Sitting in bed all day, recovering from a bitten pancreas, I had come up with a brilliant solution to our.. uninvited guests we currently have detained. First, we must construct two rooms, equal in size, one on top of the other. Then remove the floor of the second room, creating a small, shallow pit.
Now, this is where it gets good, you see.. We then fill the bottom of this shallow pit with magma. In the same room, above the level of magma, we carve out a tunnel for water flow, blocking it from entering the room with a floodgate. In the room above this small pit, we break apart the floor at certain parts and install some floor grates.
We use the water to generate steam, which shall rise in to the room above the pit and take care of our issues. I call this room "a Sauna."
markus_cz wrote :-
Dear mr. Eiba,
My name is Markus Cz. Clasplashes, I am 12 years old (almost) and I hate you.
I curse you by the name of Ostësh the Sadnesses of Silence. May all your Hair and Beard fall out untill you become as naked as the frigging Mole Dogs you brought to Syrupfleaf. I hate you I hate you I hate you.
Hope you die soon!
Markus Cz. Clasplashes
I hate you.
Last week I prayed and asked you to bring us a Mole Dog. I didn't mean it like that! That was the last time I prayed in my life.
I'm signing this letter in my own blood and burning it as a proof.
Your former worshipper,
Markus Cz. Clasplashes
Come, Leperfish. It's just you and me now. I'm gonna find a job and earn us some flutes. Everything's gonna be allright.
Screaming Idiot wrote :-
The stocky, greasy, soot-covered dwarf sat at a table. He hadn't lost anyone to the moles, but the incident had him despairing anyway.
"Poor Icedrake," he muttered, sounding dangerously sober, "poor lass jus' wanted ta raise 'er wee ones. It didnae 'ave ta be this way... nay, didnae 'ave ta be this way 'tall." He sipped idly at a small mug of hot water with a sprig of cave leaf soaking in it, normally bright piggy eyes damp with unshed tears. "What 'bout 'er Leppy an' Markieboy? They donnae got nobody now."
He growled and crushed the wooden mug in his brawny hand, its menacing spikes of granite unnoticed even as they pierced his hand. "Tha' bloody Eiba's gonna pay fer this! Comin' in 'ere with all 'is bloody swagger, singin' ta us sweet songs 'bout mole-wranglin'! I oughtta 'ave tha wee ones 'old 'im down while I wallop tha teeth outta 'is 'ead with me biggest wrench!"
But even as he said it he knew he couldn't blame it on Eiba. The moleboy was an opportunity-seeking git, for certain, but there was no way he'd meant for this to happen. And he couldn't blame Sirocco for it--no, it was just a freak occurrence, and freak occurrences were the norm in a dwarven fortress.
Speaking of Sirocco, Screaming Idiot caught sight of him coming to the table. He offered a small smile and said, "Can I sit down?"
"Go ahead," muttered the pump operator. "Ye be tha overseer, yeh can do what yeh want."
"It's not your fault-"
"Bugger off," Screaming Idiot growled. "If I'da been there, I'd've saved 'er life an' yeh know it like ev'rybody else does. I be useless."
"But you're the best pump op-"
"Come off of it yeh pea-brained idjit," he growled softly, "we both know there ain't no bloody pumps 'ere."
Sirocco's vacant smile faltered. "I don't know what to say."
"Then don't say nothin' ta me," Screaming Idiot said as he got up to tend his hand. "Go comfort tha wee ones. An' yeh might wanna go 'ave a talk with Skullivan."