Year one ended with a ton of dwarves packed into Winter Haven, while miner after miner risked, and ultimately lost his life to mine the central shaft of the Hammered Pillar, sunk down to bedrock 5 layers beneath the surface. A great shaft, open to the sunlight, was their reward for such suffering. It was the foundation of their glorious undertaking.
During the spring of their second year, the dwarves finally began the arduous process of moving out of Winter Haven and into their new fortress. Of course, with only two bent and mangled picks, and two wet-behind-the-ears dwarves to wield them, the mining out of the great halls beneath the pillar was a time consuming task. The level just beneath the pillar was to be a military zone, so they had to dig one below that, down to level 7 for the dining hall and private chambers. This was a process that took all summer to complete, as more and more dwarves showed up.
Being open to the air had drawbacks as well. Even though a wall was built around the pit, flying creatures were a problem, and the workers were continually beset by curious buzzards flying down into the shaft, and thence into the rest of the underground network. Many doors were needed to seal off the interior of the fortress from the outside, while a quick glass-making factory was set up to produce green glass grates to seal off the surface and enclose the shaft in beautiful emerald refracted light.
As summer heated up, the buzzard attacks continued and eventually a dwarf was knocked off a platform and into the new fountain being filled below. The water was red with his blood, and before it could be stopped, the water was drank up by the hordes of thirsty dwarves toiling away.
So began the summer of madness. A disease was released from this corrupted water, and within a few days, the dwarves were becoming insane. Lack of a hospital contributed to the mania, and the miners were diverted into hollowing out a chamber for the care of sick dwarves, but their were so many dwarves that the beds were used by the scores of floor sleepers, and little healing got done.
Right at this time a new mayor was elected, who began throwqing tantrums that he had no bedroom or office. With heavy heart Lolor the now defunct expedition leader had to be removed from his sumptuous chambers to make room for the mayor. Bad mistake. The mayor was now contented but Lolor immediately flew into a berserk rage that left him and many other dwarves dead.
Within days, every level of the fortress was rife with rebellion and fighting. Out of water, unhappy with the lack of quarters, injured, and out of work dwarves took to the halls with anger in their hearts. 20 or more dwarves lost their lives during the uprising, and their decaying, stinking bodies caused clouds of purple miasma to waft up and out through the central shaft, increasing the illness, anger, and sadness of the dwarves in a spiral of doom that continued into late autumn, when the goblins attacked.
If only that were the bitter end, but no, amazingly the dwarves pulled together, and while the entire fortress ran to Winter Haven for protection, two quickly formed squads of dwarves actually managed to repel the goblin raiding party. They returned to find a small room full of 60 or more angry dwarves unwilling to do anything but fail at getting drinks of water. The fortress became untenable, and with a heavy heart, the mayor called off the expedition and the survivors abandoned the Hammered Pillar and returned defeated to their mountain home.
If only that were the end of the sad tale, but no, two more expeditions were launched to recover the Hammered pillar. The hardest work was done, and a newly stocked expedition could take over where the last left off. Only the roofing of the shaft was left undone, but careful management of floors and green glass grates could see it done.
What they didn’t count on was a huge buzzard-like forgotten beast, who had taken over the pillar as its lair. Both expeditions were wiped out trying to slay the beast, and finally, the king under the mountain decreed that the Hammered Pillar was a failed experiment and that none shall try and reclaim the lost riches of that place. Haunted, forlorn, and finally forgotten altogether, the dwarves would have to plan a new strategy.
The magic amulet Fancypresent was never recovered.