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Just a little short story of my most recent fortress adventure. Was totally not expecting a ruin, and didn't expect them to spot my dwarves that fast. It soon became a fight for survival. It was chaos. Zombies, skeletons, and dark gnomes running every which way. Those little bastards got away with some food too.

Story of Grandsilver[edit]

A band of seven dwarves were riding a wagon passed through a dense forest. Shorast Knifeblazed lead the group, riding the camel at the head of the band. In the wagon were the other six, Vabok Drinkringed, a miner; Zasit Apering, another miner; Edem Spearpaddle, the farmer; Rigoth Shellsoar, the cook; Cog Charmglazed, the metalsmith; and Albel Paddleran, the woodworker.

"Well, there it is, lads! The Tragic Tower. A bit unimpressive, eh? Well no matter, we will call this place home!", Shorast Knifeblazed announced to the rest of the expedition. The hardy group of seven had set off from the safety of the Mountainhomes some time ago, in pursuit of glory and carving themselves a name amongst the legends of the present era. There was Shorast Knifeblazed at the head of the wagon, riding a camel. She considered herself to be the leader of this group, having led the hardy band a great distance through the untamed wilds. Vabok Drinkringed, who had the skills to dig into the earth, was driving the wagon. Vabok was actually the leader of this expedition, but he had engaged in a fierce argument with Shorast. Only his friend, the other miner known as Zasit Apering, managed to calm him down and keep things from turning sour. Zasit had been his friend for many years before. She had a level head and was not afraid to voice her opinions when emotions were in a state of unrest.

Cog Charmglazed sat in the back of the wagon, brooding over what materials may lay in the mountain for her to forge with. She snapped to attention from her daydream and looked towards the horizon, something peculiar catching her eye. "Do you see something, Cog?", said Edem, taking notice of Cog's sudden distraction. "Yes... I see some strange... constructs on the horizon. They look like towers built into the mountainside." replied Cog. "Towers!? That can't be. I double-checked this location. There are no known goblin fortresses in the location!" snapped Vabok, overhearing the conversation. "They don't look like goblin towers. I can't tell from here but they look like they're partially in ruin.", said Cog, as she squinted towards the towers, attempting to discern them. "Well, I don't think they'll be anything to worry about then. Once we get our base of operations set up, we can explore them further. For now, let's start looking for the best spot for our plans." replied Shorast, also overhearing the conversation. The wagon was slowly treading up to to the mountainside. The mountain was only barely that. To most dwarves, this rocky outcropping could barely qualify as a hill, let alone a full fledged mountain, yet Shorast and Vabok believed there was value to this place. "Do you believe this place is really cursed?" Rigoth piped up. "Hah! Don't let superstitious beliefs get in the way of our goal, Rigoth!" laughed Shorast. "I don't believe this place is as dangerous as the myths say." But suddenly, a movement in the distance caught the attention of all the dwarves. As they drove past, they saw short, strange little humanoids peering around a cliff at them. They were short, with fiery red eyes and a twisted, scowling complexion. "Pah. Dark gnomes... foul little things. Looks like these creatures are no myth. I suppose we should keep an eye on our food." sneered Shorast. Another strange feeling was starting to overcome the dwarves as they drove into the rocky terrain. The air itself felt oppressive and had an aura of tension and anxiety. It was low at first and hardly noticible, so no-one said a word of it.

The wagon soon came to a stop in a shallow depression in the mountain, and the dwarves set foot on the mountain. The feeling of tension in the air was becoming stronger. The stronger dwarves shrugged it off, but all said not a word, the eerie silence remaining unbroken as they prepared to unpack the wagon. Suddenly, a shrill scream pierced the silence. All of the dwarves nearly jumped in fright and looked around in the encroaching mist. One of the foul little creatures ran past. But what the dwarves saw chasing the being worried them indeed. A walking abomination... the living dead. A skeleton had given pursuit

into one of the gnomes. It stopped for a moment and looked directly at the intrepid band, but then ran in pursuit of its quarry.

"This is not good. This is not good at all" said Albel, gripping his axe. He was the woodcutter, carrying the only true weapon of the group. "What if there are more of them..." "Don't worry. If that... thing... attacks us, we'll defend ourselves. We should start getting the fortress planned out faster." replied Vabok, attempting to calm down Albel.

The dwarves split up and began to do their tasks. Albel, as the dwarf wielding the only weapon, was keeping watch over the band while the rest did their tasks. Vabok and Zasit marked out the spots where the plans would go and began to dug. Rigoth and Edem collected plants from the nearby forest. Cog and Shorast helped with the unloading. Soon, the band met up again at the wagon. But something startling became apparent. The cook, Rigoth was missing. The band scanned the misty horizon, but could not find any sight of her. But then, Albel spotted movement. He motioned for the attention of the other dwarves and pointed. Something stepped into view. It was a skeleton. Covering its cold, dead hands was a spattering of fresh blood. The mist cleared behind the skeleton. Just off in the distance lay the body of Rigoth, still and devoid of life in a pool of blood.

The dwarves looked on in a mix of fear and anger. Moans and rattles were becoming apparent behind them... they looked, and there they saw many of the walking damned. Zombies shuffled towards them, arms outstretched. Skeletons ran past, charging full speed towards the dwarves. The fight for survival had begun. Albel charged in, bravely defending his compatriots with his axe, while they dealt with other threats. He clashed with a skeleton, hacking at it mercilessly.

Despite his lack of skill in using the axe as a weapon, he still managed to do some damage... But then the fiend landed a powerful blow on Albel, letting loose a sickening crunch. His hand became useless and his lower body throbbed with pain as he fell to the ground. He kept his axe in a defensive position, warding off the skeleton's further attacks. "HELP!" cried Albel, with as much strength as he could muster. The walking damned were advancing on him fast, but it was not yet Albel's time. No sooner had he yelled when his allies charged towards his position, hacking the damned creature to bits, and warding off the other foul undead. Shorast looked down and offered to lift up Albel. "Are you alright?" "That beast... it landed a terrible blow on my body. I'm afraid I have some broken bones. I can't stand..." Albel sternly replied. "But I will fight to the last."

The dwarves turned around, with Albel mustering his strength into a crawl. They attacked a large group of the walking dead. Unfortunately, one of the beasts landed a lucky blow on metalsmith Cog. Her hand was broken and she fell to the ground. The skeleton moved in and unleashed its fury on Cog, beating her mercilessly until she moved no more.

By now, they had felled many of the creatures, and had earned some weapons. Among the fallen damned was a zombie mace lord, whose mace was put to better use by one of the band. A skeletal swordsman was spotted in the distance. Four of the dwarves went after it, but Shorast fell behind to deal with an ambushing skeleton. Shorast fought with determination... she saw her allies coming to help her and renewed her vigor. But then a sharp pain filled her body. She fell onto her back, clutching her stomach, and the beast let loose a terrible blow into her abdomen. She yelped a cry of pain, and then fell silent. Vabok saw what had happened and froze. He realized that despite their differences and arguments, they still made quite the formidable pair. Now he was alone in leading the band...

The surviving dwarves, Vabok, Zasit, Edem, and Albel rallied together. Vabok was about to announce to the group, but could not find the will to speak. However, he and the others knew what they must do... they will survive. They must survive now, and avenge the deaths of their brethren. Vabok kneeled by Shorast and closed her lifeless eyes, then stood to his feet and raised his mace. A large group of the abominations charged at them. With determination in their hearts and fury guiding their weapons, they smashed the rotting husks until they ceased to move. They knew now that they must not become seperated, lest another get caught by ambush and fall.

The four charged, Albel with the group, mustering all of his willpower to move his broken body. Although he had been injured, he had struck a grave blow against one of the foul creatures. He earned knew he had accomplished a great deed and earned himself a title, alongside the farmer Edem. They mercilessly beat down the abominations. There were no skeletons left now, only zombies. All were tired, but all knew that they must destroy these creatures to have any hope of surviving this ordeal.

The team of dwarves were out of breath, on the brink of total exhaustion. Before them stood the last zombie. With an effortless blow, Edem caved the fiends skull in, sending it flying off a cliff. The feeling of tension and dread left the air. The dwarves were victorious. They lowered their weapons and surveyed the carnage. Twenty of the walking dead lay in various states of disarray and decomposition, scattered to the earth. Many of the strange little gnomes lay, scattered and dead from dwarf and undead alike. Even Shorast's camel had managed to destroy one of the beasts, earning itself a name, although the accompanying horse died early in the ordeal.

Vabok turned to the group. "We have done it... we have avenged our friends. Now, we will honor them by carving out a Fortress here worthy of legends. Their deaths are sad indeed, but they gave their lives for the defense of our dream, our goal. We shall call it... Grandsilver. It will forever be known as the site where a band of seven had encountered an army of the dead, and lived to tell the tale. I will lead us to victory over this cursed mountain!" Vabok raised his pick and struck the mountain, followed by Zasit. Edem and Albel nodded in agreement. "Grandsilver. It will be known across the face of this land as the mightiest and wealthiest stronghold. May Armok guide us!"