Well, the elves kept count apparently. On the dawn of Datanerith's fourth year, they attacked.
Oh fuck, are they seriously riding war tigers and leopards into battle? Shit.
There were about 260 elven soldiers, including a swordmaster, an elite bowman, and two spearmasters. You saw that number correctly: 260. My entire dwarven population, including children, is a little under 200 at this point. The elves were divided into three large squads; one of swordsmen, and two of bowmen. The swordsmen rode on horses and tigers, and the bowmen rode on leopards. I hadn't had any time to make much adamantine equipment - a single sword and a single spear. I re-equipped my guards to carry spears of metal instead of wood, and made sure everybody else was well-armed before marshaling them on the field. Only Solon Beridos stayed behind; he stood guard over the children and civilians in the Living Quarters.
The elves had one huge advantage: their numbers. Fortunately, the layout of Datanerith cut down on their advantage by funneling them all through the same narrow bridge. Here, there numbers amounted to little. Only a few could cross at a time, and they were never given an opportunity to overwhelm my military. The elves were all wearing armor and weapons made of wood (lol), and with few exceptions, were not as well-trained as most of my soldiers. For a while, it looked like my dwarves could handle this massive army.
Still a lot of them, though.
It turns out my defenses had a flaw, however. On the second floor of Datanerith, behind one of my towers, was a small section that I had carved poorly. It was still a slope, instead of a cliff, meaning that enemies could still climb down. And climb they did. Entire squadrons of the elven army climbed down this tiny pathway, single-file, walked across the top of my rightmost wall, and took the service stairs down to the main floor.
Even though it was clearly marked "Employees Only." Fucking savages.
So while the brave dwarven army was fighting an army to the west, the elves came up behind them from the east. My army was caught between both forces, and had to fight a battle on both fronts. They were only barely holding their own to begin with, and this clever maneuvering by the elven barbarians was the final death knell for my military. Here's where the fighting stopped being described as "glorious combat" and turned into what poets refer to as "a fucking bloodbath."
Spoiler alert: "bloodbath" is gonna be a running theme for this post.
Stakud the Ranger and his three dogs killed seven elves and three tigers before dying.
Ral the Militia Commander killed three elves, four tigers, and two leopards before dying.
Asob the Swordsdwarf killed five elves, including the Elf Swordmaster, before dying.
Rakust the Chief Medical Dwarf was killed in his hospital, as he performed surgery on a miner with two broken legs.
I'd had twenty-five soldiers. At least fifty of the elves died in the battle before making their way through the Underpass. Another thirty elves were caught in the cage traps in the Underpass itself. They swarmed right over Vitriol the giant scorpion, and went straight down into the Living Quarters, where all the rest of the dwarves awaited.
As my framerate dragged to a crawl, trying to keep track of all 200 enemy combatants, I could do nothing but watch as the elves slaughtered the dwarves of Datanerith. Some dwarves tried to fight back, but none of them had arms, armor, or training. The elves literally went room to room, kicking down doors and butchering the masons, tailors, cooks, farmers, and children.
Only Solon Beridos was equipped to fight the elves. He was a Mace Lord, and the Hammerer of Datanerith, and the greatest warrior this fortress had ever seen... but he was only one dwarf. He fought valiantly as the ocean of pointy-eared murderers crashed over him like a tidal wave. Solon Beridos killed seven elves before he lost his left foot. He killed thirteen more elves and two tigers before he was finally brought down by a vicious tiger bite.
Without Solon, there was no hope. There was no fighting back, and there was no escape.
I can't help but feel like there was something I could have done differently to avoid making these enemies.