Âsax Masterjails, The Most Awesome Cave Swallowman Ever

About a year or so into my most recent embark, I received a message informing me that Rusmo Ômourog, a forgotten beast, (specifically, a shelled hippopotamus with external ribs and curly emerald hair) had been struck down.  Which was strange, since I was still dallying about on the surface, still paranoid from my last fort being annihilated by a fire-breathing pterodactyl thing.  Not long thereafter, I found out the cause:

“Âsax, Cave Swallow Man Spearman has bestowed the name Mudoung upon a tunnel tube shield!”

“Âsax, Cave Swallow Man Spearman has bestowed the name Zosbagnaxob Spug Akul upon a fungiwood spear!”

Unfortunately, it would appear Âsax either could not make up his mind, or was exceedingly forgetful; the blighter began renaming his weapons thereafter, at an alarmingly high rate, pausing the game and zooming into the unexplored blackness of the earth each time.  So I placed a note at the place I was forever being dragged to, and had my miners dig there. Âsax had to die.

There were two odd things when I found him at his camp.  Unlike his kin, Âsax was “friendly,” not “hostile.”  And he was a bit busy.  Specifically, he was locked in combat with Ejem Itvidsiñur Ipizocul, a massive, poison-spitting blob of ash. He apparently didn’t think killing one forgotten beast with a wooden spear and shield was enough.  And Âsax is winning; Ejem had a tail at one point, but Âsax has lopped it off, and Ejem’s body is red (mangled) at the time of writing.  Âsax, although “tired,” is unhurt.

I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do about Âsax.  I can’t let his obsessive renaming grind my game to a halt, but since he’s not hostile, I can’t attack him.  And the fact that he’s killed one and a half forgotten beasts to my zero makes me think that might not be wise.  Perhaps his obsessive renaming is related to his combat with Ejem; I’ll see if I can help him hasten the beast’s demise.

OK, this is getting ridiculous.  While waiting for some source of leather to make a quiver (for some reason, I’ve not seen a single caravan), Ana showed up.  Ana is “a great quadruped composed of coral” with three tails, a “gaunt appearance,” and deadly spittle.  Since it couldn’t reach me, it went straight for Âsax, whose third toe on his right foot is now broken and smashed open.  This is the only damage Ana and Ejem (who just won’t die despite being in the red) have done.
Let me re-iterate: he is trapped between two poison spitting Forgotten Beasts, and that’s all they’ve managed to do to him.  Maybe it’s a bug…


This is insane.  Lacking any major source of magma or water, I figured I’d just have my miners cut open an alternate route, and then hack Ana and Ejem, into pieces.  I mean, tearing a creature limb from limb will kill it eventually, right?

I soon found out this answer was “wrong.” As soon as I pierced through on ground level, Âsax decided he wanted to see the sky and flew like a maniac out of the cavern, with Ana and Ejem close behind.  I eventually managed to lure them into a side tunnel and seal the two forgotten beasts in (along with a fish dissector dwarf I’d used to distract them); my very own Hidden Fun Stuff.

Though no longer fighting the beasts, Âsax is still doing the obnoxious renaming every few minutes that started this whole mess.  My dwarves are ignoring the kill order; they have it on their job list, but are hanging out in the barracks instead.  They’ll obey other kill orders, though.  Since I don’t have any magma, and very little water, I can’t think of how to eliminate Âsax… or at least get him to shut up.  He’s presently chilling in my main hallway, showing benign interest in my dwarves’ activities.

I found out how to make the game not react to Âsax’s obsessive renaming; it had risen to twice a minute.  Now that that problem is solved, I’ll let him roam freely throughout my fort.
This was by far the weirdest series of events I’ve ever had happen to me personally in Dwarf Fortress.

Also, when sealing in Ejem and Ana, I forgot to seal their escape route back into the depths.  They’re back down there, beating up reptile men.  Whoops.  Well, as long as I dig carefully, not my problem…

…I can’t believe it.
There was a goblin ambush.  Master lasher Atu Wraithwhipped managed to do what three of the most appalling abominations in all of creation, two of them immortals, failed to do; kill Âsax.  Âsax defended the fortress as nobly as any of my actual soldiers, but evidently, his specialty was in dealing with freakish behemoths, not armed, armored goblins.
Those gobbo bastards managed to kill two of my most popular and useful dwarves as well; I may be looking at a fatal tantrum spiral thanks to them.
What a strange little tale.  Atu Wraithwhipped… I’ll remember that name, and if the fortress falls, I’ve got a goblin to hunt down in Adventurer mode.

Well, I made a copy to look at the legends mode:

571 artifacts are listed, all of them just different names Âsax gave to his fungiwood spear and tunnel tube shield.

Not much on the painfully unremarkable Atu Wraithwhipped.  He was born to unknown parents in 803 (present date is early 1055), and he’s a member of the Blotted Incest.  He has no home listed, and his only kills are Âsax and a stray cat, also in my fort.

Âsax was born in 1042, and his life was completely unremarkable until he slew Rusmo Mournfulcackled.  (Rusmo failed to kill a single creature before Âsax slew him in early 1053.)  Âsax, for his part, never stopped considering himself a member of his nameless tribe of cave swallowmen.  Due to Âsax’s efforts, said tribe is now listed on the legends screen, though it has no symbol or name.  Its history only records Ejem, Ana, and Atu Wraithwhipped becoming its enemies.

Oh, and I found out why no caravans, and only a smattering of migrants, have come.
My settlement, Reignstake, has truly been well named. The entire reign of dwarvern civilization is indeed at stake.

It is the last dwarvern settlement on the entire planet.

Just when I thought this game could get no stranger…

As soon as is possible, Âsax will be getting a shrine; I intend ensure that his remains and weapons are given a place of honor.

This will have to wait until the dwarves’ current tantrum spiral wears off. Until then, I plan to set up a far more brutal series of traps and surprises to deal with the Blotted Incest, involving cage traps and guard dogs.  I can’t exactly expand my military, though.  It consists of two dwarves, one of whom has been struck by melancholy.  The rest of my dwarves are needed for their non-military skills.  (Oddly, the melancholy dwarf has not committed, or sought to commit, suicide; he has been obsessively practicing in the barracks, but has refused both food and drink.  He’ll no doubt be dead soon, at any rate…)

Then again, I’ve got a nice little subterranean ecosystem going, independent of the bloodthirsty fiends of the underworld.  Now that I know why the Mountainhomes haven’t been sending caravans (because they’re dead to the last dwarf), and why the humans and elves have been ignoring me (because according to their records, I don’t exist), maybe I should just close up that bridge and be done with it.  Then I have only to deal with the abominations of the underworld, should I inadvertently break back into the subterranean ecosystems.

I’m down to fourteen dwarves now, including the aforementioned melancholy dwarf, and the ones not actively suicidal are mostly pretty close.

In short: I cannot dare dig too deep, lest the undying horrors below tear my people asunder.  I cannot sacrifice even the least of my people, for even they are needed to repopulate my nigh-annihilated people.  The rest of this world either cares nothing for my fate, or seeks to hasten the extinction of all dwarfkind.  The only glimmer of hope my people have ever borne witness to, an eccentric cave swallowman, lies dead by a goblin’s lucky strike.

This is the most Fun I’ve had in a long time.

Here is everything worthy of note from his legends description:  (Âsax is goblin-tounge for Masterjails, by the way, since the underground peoples use goblin as their communication language.)

Masterjails was a cave swallow man born in 1042.  He was of unknown parentage.

In the early autumn of 1053, Masterjails mortally wounded the forgotten beast Rusmo Mournfulcackled, who suffocated, with Squareluck the Tones of Safety in Reignstake.

[Yes, Âsax was 11 years old when he killed Rusmo.]

In the early summer of 1054, Moroserivers the Decent Salve received its name in Reignstake from Masterjails.

In the early summer of 1054, The Cyclopean Tar received its name in Reignstake from Masterjails.

[So on and so forth for many pages…]

In the early spring of 1055, Masterjails bled to death, slain by the goblin Atu Wraithwhipped with a silver whip in Reignstake.

Yeah, that’s pretty much his entire life according to legends mode.  It misses the months spent fighting undying abominations of ash and coral, though, dodging attack after attack, without suffering anything worse than a broken toe, but there isn’t much to say about him.  He only had thirteen years of life, though with them, he achieved more than the average elf does in a thousand.

I think the sheer ordinariness of him makes him all the more awesome.  He wasn’t chosen by some mighty god, or born to some ancient lineage.  He did not wield mighty artifacts or arcane magics.  He was a cave swallowman with a fungiwood spear and a tunnel tube shield, who dared to challenge the unspeakable… and won.

Written by KillerClowns


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8 thoughts on “Âsax Masterjails, The Most Awesome Cave Swallowman Ever

  1. Hi man,
    that’s the most interesting tale I readed so long !
    Nice drawings also.

    I’m new to Dwarf Fortress, but I’m studying so much and I built “today” (in my forth attempt) a good one with waterfalls and so.

    You know what “today” means, it means days of not-work and not-sleep just because I couldn’t do anything else than playing this game, and of course reading other players tales and guides.

    Thank you again,
    maybe someday I’ll have my tale too !


  2. I’ve seen this happen–usually what happens is they stab out the FB’s eyes, but can’t do any other damage to it, and the FB can’t hit it, so they are locked in combat pretty much permanently.

  3. Well, i can only hope to be so blessed in my forts with one such as him. I had a combination of this and cacame in a civ i had 2 weeks ago. The king was somehow an Olm Man with 149 kills, including two giants and a forgotten beast, a massive skinless rhino with wings and a freezing breath

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