Summer and Autumn – Year 3


Spring and summer have given way to autumn and Helmgorge hums with activity.

After sorting through the initial confusion, most of the dwarves are set to work at tasks at which they are highly skilled. This seems to have breathed fresh life into all, myself included. Every dwarf now moves with purpose and seems fairly content.

The carpenters are churning out beds and cabinets to complete the bedrooms, the masons are cutting tables, chairs and doors from stone and the craftsdwarves are manufacturing stone trinkets by the dozens. The mausoleum I’ve commissioned for our fallen is complete, and we lay to rest our poor unknown dead as the ash trees burst with fresh life. I had the cook whip up some lavish meals to commemorate their anonymous passing and to remind everyone of our common dwarvenhood.

Naturally as things quieted to a gentle buzz, twenty more migrants arrived. At first I was put-off by this bedraggled swarm, but as they came in, it was evident they were refugees. It seems the wars in the north reverberate even as far as our remote outpost. Our founding in such a secluded area is, by nature, appealing to those who have already lost much in conflict. This, I think, explains the giant waves of folk that have crashed upon us, and why such a strange and sometimes useless set of skills comes with them. Nevertheless, they are eager to work and there are plenty of jobs, even if they aren’t ideally suited to them.

In spite of their past misfortune, this new group was full of stout-hearted dwarves. A miner, an engraver and a craftsdwarf were put to work immediately in their respective professions. The rest had a strange mish-mash of specialties that were either already at capacity or not necessary at this time. As a result, they now form the core of Helmgorge’s militia. Using their recent tribulations as motivation, they’ve taken to wrestling and marksdwarfship very well. I feel proud to be able to give them a new home and help them forget the ravages of the past.

With our population expanding, so too has the dwarven social contract. No more does an overseer make the only commands. Esseffbee has been elected mayor and he has appointed Coal Ash Captain of the Guard. Naturally, I’ve seen fit to give them proper rooms and offices; an honor due their station. As his first mayoral decree, Esseffbee demanded that we produce toy hammers. Thankfully, when I told our craftsdwarves to make toys, they figured out what to do.

I passed the miner Orto the other day:

“Well met Orto. Cracked any adamantine veins?”
“I’ve cracked through the stone of our existence and see salvation only in endless labor unto the peace of death. This mountain draws only the damned and binds each of us to the same blasphemous fate – to lie eternal near its cold, metal heart.”
“No adamantine yet, and hardly any gems.”
“Right, well…”
“And the new central staircase has been cut. I suspect we’ll have the workshops connected and new housing dug below them within the month.”
“About the fates…”

But he was already off to the staircase down. Before descending, he glanced in my direction. His countenance seeming to pass a message too complex for me to scrye.

Not long after, the elves arrived. I bear them no love, but I was glad to see their trade, until I saw what they had to trade… Their wagons overflowed with fine cloths and silks and their attitudes were as cultivated and useless as their goods. I sent them away with nary a word and returned to my work. I had hoped for some meat or different alcohol. The lads and lasses could use some variety. There are only so many ways to cook a plump helmet.

With summer ebbing and the liaison bound to arrive, output has increased while the need for many goods has gone down. As a result, there is a fair bit of clutter around, but while it is a little unsightly, it is not inconvenient and given all the work that has been accomplished, it is a minor task to be handled another day.

Fey moods abounded in summer and a few possessed dwarves created some artifacts. While not entirely useful, they have at least provided an outlet for the emotion we are all feeling as we prepare for winter and even more time indoors.

I’ve also noticed that the folk are becoming too accustomed to the indoors. While it is unnatural to spend too much time outside, it is good to get some sun so that you can appreciate the calm interiors of a mountain. To that end, I authorized a statue garden be placed upon a plateau not too far from our entrance.

With that the liaison arrived with a fine selection of goods. I requested flux stone and flux blocks (mostly limestone) be brought along with as much raw steel as could be had. I’ve also requested seeds for sweet pods, dimple cups and others so that we may add variety to our food, drink and clothing. The liaison tells me that he suspects cut gems, metal goblets and seeds will be in high demand next year. I’ll be sure to pass this along to my successor as he also brought word that I would be relieved of my duties come spring.

I feel a sense of relief and accomplishment. While my rule has not been ideal, I believe I will be leaving Helmgorge in a better state than when I arrived (though no disrespect to my predecessors- this place has a mood its own and you cannot but abide by it). I shall spend the rest of autumn and winter seeing the stocks remain full, and getting the militia fully up to speed.

I’ll also be thinking about my next assignment. Thank you sire for allowing me to choose my next post. It is always an honor serving you and feel duly rewarded. I only hope my clumsy administration accomplished the goals you had set.

I’ll send my final report upon the arrival of my successor.

With gratitude,

Enclosed you will find some sketches of the fort before my arrival and after some expansion.

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