21 April 2020

Ceilingcharm

Ceilingcharm, a fortress of the Tome of Uttering, of the Factional Corridor, was established in the early spring of 250. Seven dwarves struck out under directions from the Tome of Uttering to establish a fortress of crafts — its name, Ceilingcharm” reflected that goal of achieving mastery of craftsdwarfship, a delicate name, some might say, a whimsical name, even.

Early in the life of the fortress, Kulet Crimsoncrafts proved herself to be worthy of her name, creating many masterpieces wrought from the plentiful wood of the nearby forests. She was rarely seen outside of her carpenter’s workshop, honing her craft on useful items like barrels and bins, wheelbarrows and beds. Her workshop, for a while, was the centre of all craft activity in the fortress, and many dwarves benefitted from her skilled hands. Her illustrious achievements adorned Ceilingcharm for many months, and the records of Ceilingcharm read almost like a catalogue of her work. She was a true daughter of Ceilingcharm.

As migrants settled in, frantic construction became the norm. Bedrooms were constantly being excavated, but a failure to attend to these more basic needs — a side-effect, perhaps, of an almost-obsessive pursuit of the crafts — meant that living conditions were not up to par. Surely many migrants, who were attracted to the high calling of Ceilingcharm, perhaps beguiled in part by the beauty of that name, were disappointed by the fortress itself, although the workshops produced some of the highest quality crafts in the land.

An abundance of ores and gems discovered in the early months of the fortress shifted the dwarves’ attention to metalworking. Soon, a silver industry was booming, together with gem workshops and stone masons. Silver battleaxes were the blacksmith’s favourite, and hundreds were produced. Lobram Justicenet’s crafts soon rivalled those of Kulet Crimsoncraft, but since each worked in different materials, no bitterness arose. The silver battleaxes of Ceilingcharm remain, to this day, renowned in all of the Factional Corridor, and the dwarves and elves who traded with Ceilingcharm in these days were greatly enriched by their travels.

While less prolific, the dwarves of the gem workshops also added to the beauty of Ceilingcharm, adorning stone and silver statutes and altars with the finest cut gems: aquamarine, garnet, marcion, and rubicelle. These lined the halls of Ceilingcharm. Together with the efforts of the engravers, the halls of Ceilingcharm began to reflect the beauty of the crafts to which these dwarves aspired. Dwarves like Sazir Urnsense, Reg Razorcatches, Vulcar Workgales, and Shorast Gemgranite were among those who produced masterpieces for Ceilingcharm.

All, however, was not well. A dwarf necromancer, by the name of Mingkot Cudgelenjoys settled in Ceilingcharm in the midspring of 252. Soon, she gained the trust of the dwarves of Ceilingcharm, becoming Ceilingcharm’s mayor. All seemed well, but there was soon talk that she was not quite what she seemed.

The pursuit of the crafts led some to paths of self-destruction. Kulet Crimsoncraft, in the midautumn of 252, was overcome with a fey mood and took control of a craftsdwarf workshop. But it was to no avail. The other dwarves were too busy with their work, and the fortress was directed, almost single-mindedly, to focus on the crafts it had at hand. Without the resources she needed, she was stricken by melancholy, and by midwinter that year, she died of thirst, refusing to eat or drink and preferring the stony grave to a life of unfulfilled creation.

The crafts of Ceilingcharm and its wealth began to attract attention. In 253, the goblin Sarek Seizureraptor led an attack on Ceilingcharm, the Attack of Skinning”, in an attempt to seize the weapons and wealth that had accumulated at Ceilingcharm. The goblins were driven back, with the dwarf Endock Tradeddreams the Eerie, once a scholar in his younger years and who had settled in Ceilingcharm in 251, killing Sarek the goblin. In that battle, Endock proved his worth as an axedwarf, killing a total of three goblins. Another goblin was killed by Cerol Spiritmine, a ranger and axedwarf, while two dwarves were lost in the attack. The Attack of Skinning was just the first volley in the war that came to be known as the Conflict of Bolts, an attempt by the Confusing Poisons, a goblin horde, to overcome the Factional Corridor.

The Confusing Poisons were an old race of goblins, tracing their heritage to the demon Witchlie the Sin of Wickedness. They had been relatively dormant since the Violent War in the years 75 and 76, turning inwards to worshipping their demonic masters. Their attack on Ceilingcharm was the first outright attack that the Confusing Poisons had attempted in centuries. Some say that they were provoked when, in the midspring of 250, the Society of Subtlety, of the human kingdom of the Ashen Union, attacked the Puzzling Cruelty of the Confusing Poisons at Boltjackal, leading to the Violent Conflict”. Whatever the reason, the Confusing Poisons’ sudden turn outwards embroiled the Factional Corridor in a war with a new goblin foe.

With that lesson learned, and in fear of future attacks, new squads were formed in Ceilingcharm, armed with their famous silver battleaxes. A strict routine of training was imposed, and soon, many became competent axedwarves, ready to defend the crafts and wealth of Ceilingcharm.

This, however, proved to be of no avail. While Ceilingcharm continued to expand and to produce masterful crafts, the goblin forces had amassed and were prepared again to attack Ceilingcharm. This they did in a massive assault in 254, with the beak dog, Obxog Bravesevered, leading the attack, hordes of goblins and not a few trolls swarming against Ceilingcharm. The forces of the Confusing Poisons rained down onto Ceilingcharm from the hills to the West. As soon as they were spotted, however, squads of dwarves had begun arming themselves and began streaming out of Ceilingcharm to meet the enemy where they were. However, stout as they were, as heavy and shining their silver battle axes, the terrain favoured the goblins. Arrows rained down on the dwarves as they tried to make their way up the hill, and though many goblins, beak dogs and trolls died, the squads were destroyed and the goblins breached the entrance and entered Ceilingcharm.

The abundance of battle axes served the residents of Ceilingcharm well, however, and each man and woman took up arms against the invaders. Close fighting in the narrow corridors of the first level of Ceilingcharm prevented any of the forces of the Confusing Poisons from getting any deeper, but at great cost. Corpses were strewn along the hall, and while the goblins fled, life in Ceilingcharm was never to be the same again. Heroes from the first battle, the Attack of Skinning, were struck down — Ednok Tradeddreams the Eerie was struck down, although a dwarf necromancer, Lolor Scorchingpage, exacted revenge on that goblin, but not before that particular goblin claimed six other dwarven lives.

The hospitals, under-valued in the best of times, were struggling with the influx of broken dwarven bodies. A lack of a proper water supply (a standing problem from the early days of Ceilingcharm when the focus was on getting the crafts industries going) meant that many patients were not washed, and even fewer were given the drink that they needed. Many perished who could have been saved.

The toil on the survivors was equally hard — the gore of the battle shook many more, and many dwarves spiralled into uncontrollable depression. The work of burying the dead and removing the corpses of the enemies was taking longer and longer, but as the bodies remained out, the dwarves were increasingly demoralised. Food production began to cease, and riots began to break out. In the midautumn of 254, Vutok Cactuscobalt hunted down the ex-mayor, Minkot Cudgelenjoys, blaming her necromancy and leadership for the ill-fate that had befallen Ceilingcharm, and strangling her to death. Minkot, however, was not to be deterred, and in the shambles of Ceilingcharm, came back as a forlorn haunt to walk the halls where she once enjoyed power.

Ceilingcharm was no longer what it was. The Factional Corridor, engaged in the war with the Confusing Poisons, were in no position to manage a fortress rapidly spiralling out of control. In the winter of 254, many more succumbed to thirst and starvation. The hoards of silver battle axes, gem-encrusted altars and statutes, finely crafted wooden crafts, and beautiful gems, remained, but Ceilingcharm was a graveyard, a mausoleum. In the late winter of 254, the Tome of Uttering of the Factional Corridor retired Ceilingcharm and left its inhabitants to their own devices.


Dwarf Fortress


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