Subsubsection: 11 March 2015 (finding Makan-la and the Forever City) Up Subsection: The Forever City Subsubsection: 15 April 2015 (the end of the Forever City) 

25 March 2015 (investigating the Forever City)

The attackers are twelve gospog, probably first planting: humanoid masses of vegetable matter, grown from seeds planted in fields of the dead, and the preferred expendable troops of the invaders. Thorfin spies a patch of shadow rather darker than it should be, some distance away under an archway.
The gospogs charge in, wielding wooden clubs. Diamond draws pistols and opens fire; body shots don’t do much harm against their tough vegetable substance, but gunfire into the eyes is much more effective. Thorfin tries to slice one with his troll-claw knife, but neither local reality nor his own worldview can really support this, and he becomes disconnected. Both Thorfin and David are well-enough armoured that they don’t have much to fear from the clubs, at least until the gospog start swinging for their arms – but they’re able to evade the blows even so. When this new tactic doesn’t work, the gospog start trying to slam the team off the edge of the cliff; sadly for them, having enough momentum to hurl someone off a cliff means having enough momentum to hurl yourself off a cliff, and as the heroes evade their attacks they diminish their own numbers most effectively. Diamond keeps up the eye shots, and Thorfin finishes off the last one with his knife.
The pool of darkness is clearly magical, but firing a bullet, throwing rubble, and eventually poking a stick into it reveal nothing more than a lump of stone, perhaps a seat or bench. If anyone was there, they’re gone now. Thorfin leaves a note, reading “Do not sit on the bench in the darkness”, with the hope of confusing any Nile Empire shocktroopers who may be following.
The city itself, as spied from the air by Diamond, is in a mixture of styles: there’s an Egyptian pyramid (with its smooth limestone cladding), Sumerian statues, an Aztec stepped pyramid, giant stone heads… there’s a permanent cloud layer overhead, and compass needles lie lifeless in their housings. Snow blows through the air, but doesn’t seem to be wetting the ground. Looking through ruined dwellings reveals the remains of remarkably sophisticated indoor plumbing, not to mention a copper-piped central heating system, apparently supplied with hot water from elsewhere. There are various fragments and whole plates, cutlery, and less explicable items (“probable ritual purpose”). A globe about four inches across contains a floating metal arrow, which always points upwards; Thorfin takes this.
A temple appears to honour some woodland god, whose statue (a naked and vine-crowned young man) is covered in vines with striking pink leaves. They smell fresh and outdoors-ish. Thorfin plucks a couple.
A library contains scrolls and papyri in ancient Greek, Egyptian, and other languages; there’s poetry and other material, but the main focus of what the team can read is on descriptions of the outside world. Diamond finds a scroll describing the Egyptian, or more specifically the Nile Empire, system of astronomy and magic.
The Egyptian-style pyramid is in its own courtyard, separated from the rest of the city by a curtain wall. Within that courtyard are small temples (or tombs?), and a number of ruined marble sphinxes – as well as two people who step forward as the team enters. One is a woman about seven feet tall, preternaturally beautiful; the other is a man a foot taller, with a dog- or jackal-head. The woman greets the heroes, and mentions that “we would welcome your worship”; she talks of lighting the Signal Fire to bring back the old gods (“all of them”). David notices that the man is getting ready to draw the massive sword slung across his back, and draws his own pistol to try to head off the confrontation; instead, this provokes it, as the man draws and strikes at David, who evades and shoots him, wounding him badly. The woman steps back as Diamond joins in the gunfire, hitting the man again and taking him down; she then shouts “my saviour” and rushes forward as if to hug Diamond, but Diamond flies upward and evades the blade she’s just apparently drawn out of the air. Thorfin stares her down, and Diamond shoots her, fatally.
The team clambers around the pyramind, and eventually Thorfin locates a loose block, which when pushed opens the way to a passage leading down…
 Subsubsection: 11 March 2015 (finding Makan-la and the Forever City) Up Subsection: The Forever City Subsubsection: 15 April 2015 (the end of the Forever City)