The Legend of the Ice Fisher

Okay then, young’en, sit down and hear the story about how your old grandad became the most legendary fisherman ever to walk the Realm of Legends. It all started in the winter of fifty one. You may not believe it, but we had no idea what “winter” even meant back then. Our people come from the south, where it never gets cold. I’d never seen snow in my life, and I had no idea a whole river could freeze over. So back then, we didn’t have no rules against walking on the ice. In fact, we all thought it was a blast! When that river first froze, we had a party on the ice. Kids and dogs and donkeys and even oldsters slippin’ and slidin’ all over the place. Bein’ a fisherdwarf, I was a bit concerned that I was out of a job, but I spied some steam rising from the river a ways off one morning, and I decided to go check it out.

Well, you know how the waterfall freezes up into a big ice damn, and the big pool above it doesn’t freeze? I was the first Dwarf to find that out that winter, and I was in fisherman’s heaven. All the fish had schooled up there, and they were biting like there’s no tomorrow, practically throwing themselves on the shore to get at my bait. I was just casting and realin’ ’em in as fast as I could.

That’s about when I heard *CRACK* from the ice damn. Ol’ Bossy, the expedition leader back then, yelled at me to run for it, but it was too late. He got real scared the water would swamp the fort through our summer fishing port, so he started building a drawbridge to seal it up if the water got too high. He yelled over that they’d build me a bridge to get back as soon as they were done.

But right about then, a big bunch of shiftless layabouts showed up looking for beds and hot meals. And one of ’em gets that crazy look in her eye, you know the one, and starts yellin’ about how she needs a clothing shop, she’s got this great idea for a thing called a “coat,” says it will keep us all real warm. We figure it must be some kind of portable wood furnace, turns out it’s just a thick shirt, but of course YOU know what a coat is, we all do, now.

Well, we all know you can’t keep a crazydwarf waiting for her workshop or she might get a little stab-happy. Nobody wants to get poked with knitting needles, so that was the top priority. Meanwhile, I was going a little crazy myself, stuck out in the cold and the rain with no booze. I had plenty of food though! When them huge stacks of fish started rotting, I got an idea. Booze is just rotted plants, right? Well let me tell you, I ate a LOT of rotten fish that spring, trying to get drunk. Turns out, no matter how rotten a fish gets, it won’t turn into booze. It WILL turn into something that makes your head go funny, but not in a good way. The fish started talking to me, tellin’ me all their secrets, tellin’ me the other dwarfs didn’t like me, that’s why they left me over here, they were all laughin’ at me and drinkin’ MY booze! I’d show THEM! I’d build my OWN fortress! Out of fish!

It took five strong dwarves to pull me out of my fish palace once they got the bridge built. I was King of All Fish, what did I need them for? It didn’t help matters that they was all holding their noses and throwin’ up left and right. I’d long since stopped noticing the smell. Luckily, one of them shiftless layabouts knew how to make this stuff called “soap.” It confused everyone at first, we all thought we should eat it, but that didn’t work. He said you put it where it smells, and eating something is the only comfortable way to get it to where it smells, you don’t want stuff goin’ in the other way, so, yeah, laugh all you want youngster, you’ve got it easy nowadays with your soap and your coats and your rules about not walkin’ on the ice and no fishin’ in the winter and your enormous jungle-gym made out of fish bones. All thanks to yer elders, and don’t you forget it!

Everyone thought I was crazy, sure, but those fish really did tell me their secrets. I can catch enough fish in a day to feed the fort for a year. They won’t even let me catch fish most of the time, say I use up all the barrels in an hour, nobody can cook that many fish, give it a rest old man, we get it, you are the King of the Fish.

Just a note, the climate indicator on Embark said “warm.” Don’t believe the climate indicator, if you are working down below and you get a big long lag in the winter for no apparent reason, pause the game and go look at the surface, see if stuff froze up, and if it has, mark the ice as restricted and turn off fishing! Old Urist McFishystink was a merely competent fisherdwarf when he got stuck across the river, by the time I got a bridge built, he was legendary. He had nothing to do all spring but eat, sleep, drink river water, and fish. There was a literal wall of fish running the whole length of the river, starting with piles of two and three fish, ending with stacks of thirty or so! I wasn’t quick enough forbidding them, either. The whole fortress emptied out for a Grand Fish Parade, and most of it was THIS close to rotting before they grabbed it, so the whole kitchen complex turned purple for months before I got all the rotting fish cleared out. I’m just thankful they weren’t jumped by Goblins during the Fish Parade, it was right about the time in spring when the Elven caravan shows up, but I’m guessing not even Goblins could stand the smell. God only knows what the Elves thought of the whole thing. “You SICK little monkeys! What ARE you doing to those poor fish?!? You are never going to eat them all. Is this some kind of Dwarven religious ritual? I will never understand you people. No, just bring out the gold, I don’t even want to know. Wait, are you EATING soap?!?!”

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3 thoughts on “The Legend of the Ice Fisher

  1. Terrific post! Dwarf Fortress Stories , Archive » The Legend of the Ice Fisher certainly tends to make my evening somewhat nicer 😀 Keep going with the magnificent posts! Thanks, Just

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