Subsubsection: 20 January 2016 (on to Teotihuacan) Up Subsection: High Lord of Earth Subsection: Night of Masks 

3 February 2016 (Fighting Malcolm Kane and the Darkness Device)

Diamond flies over Kane, hovering over the temple roof, so that he has to split his attention between her and the others below: he can’t evade incoming attacks if he can’t see them, and she puts a few rounds into his back. This distracts him enough that David’s able to score a hit from the bottom of the pyramid, and Kane collapses. This might be a trick of some sort, but Diamond shoots him repeatedly in the head and chest, and when Stephen arrives at the top he cuts off Kane’s head.
All Kane has on him, apart from the usual feathered robes, is an obsidian dagger. It doesn’t seem to be magical.
As at Tikal, the temple leads to underground passages, though these reek of corruption and are significantly colder than outside, even out of the howling wind. There are occasional niches; in the first one, a distinguished-looking man appears, speaking in a deep voice and offering good things to the people of Earth: “an end to weakness, an end to uncertainty, an end to the hollow mockery of life which humanity now lives”. Stephen shoots him, and the figure vanishes, but everyone felt the pressure on their minds; so when the next figure, a portly man, appears, Stephen shoots him immediately.
The next niche is empty, and the group pokes around for a while looking for concealed traps; as they move on, a brightly coloured parrot appears and starts to squawk at them, but Diamond shoots it before it can get any words out.
Finally, in the middle of a straight section of corridor, the stones themselves waver and begin to speak. The Darkness Device is asking for one of the group to join with it and become its High Lord, upon which it will “spill the blood of your enemies and lead you to glory”.
The corridor leads to a large chamber, illuminated by lightning flashes from a small window high on the far side. The walls and floor are spattered with blood, both old and relatively recent, but are not otherwise decorated. The only furnishing is an altar, on which are a stone idol of a fanged warrior, holding a bloodstained bowl over its head, and a stone or wood construction that resembles a stela.
A voice, resonating from the air and inside everyone’s minds, asks: “Which of you shall become my new master and slave?” As the group makes it clear that nobody’s interested, the Device shows a series of scenes: Baruk Kaah leading his army of dinosaur cavalry, the mighty armies of Doctor Mobius, a red-eyed and gleaming-fanged presence in the jungles of Orrorsh, and other scenes from the invasion. The Device argues that this world will inevitably fall; can any ally be turned away? If they join with it, they can reclaim their world.
Diamond makes a pretence of being interested, and it asks that she plant the stela, one mile west. Then it can obtain the power it needs to defeat the foes of Earth, and…
This is the point at which Thorfin hits the idol with his pick. The thing’s a lot stronger than it looks, but it does at least stop talking. Thorfin smashes the stela, and that works rather better. Stephen rigs explosives around the idol, and starts a timer, but the exit slams shut, the stone bulging to fill the corridor. He cancels the countdown, and puts up a bubble of his own reality; the Device triggers a reality storm, and things go downhill.
The storm is clearly far more powerful than any of the group can hope to beat, though Thorfin and then Diamond hold it back briefly while the others try things. A smaller explosive charge doesn’t leave anything more than blackened marks, lighting a fire in the bowl and then quenching it does nothing, and the troll-claw blade leaves no impression, but when Diamond cuts into the stone blocking the passage that’s rather more effective: gouts of blood pour out, as the stone seems to be a thin shell over muscle and other tissue. Everyone works on getting out, with Diamond carrying the force of the storm until, with a heroic effort, Stephen picks her up and hauls her out of it. She’s glowing and crackling with possibility energy, and the storm shrinks behind the group as they sprint up the corridor and out to the more conventional thunderstorm at the top of the pyramid.
The group heads down and to the stela site: there’s a hole, apparently dug by lightning strike. Thorfin can detect two stelæ already planted, but they’re hundreds of miles away, and one of them’s out in the Gulf of Mexico. With some quick thought, David realises that the Device must be planning to travel up a Maelstrom Bridge to its own home realm to gather power, then back to Earth; if the Bridge could be set up and then broken…?
There’s no stela, of course, but Diamond is still glowing with the possibility energy of the Aztec realm. She steps into the hole, using her skill in the manipulation of reality to provide the anchor, linking to the other two stelae. A winding bridge of obsidian grows out of the distant pyramid and twists towards the clouds; a negative glow moves up it and out of sight.
Nobody know how long this will take, but Diamond waits a while then attempts to disconnect herself from the network. She severs the links to the other stelae, then suppresses the stela-nature she’s taken on herself and is thrown out of the pit, landing neatly.
The obsidian bridge cracks, falls in fragments, and shatters to dust as it hits the ground. The storm dies away, and the ancient city of Teotihuacan has fallen back into ruin. Going back to search reveals no sign of the passages in the Pyramid of the Moon, or of anything that was left in the chamber.
 Subsubsection: 20 January 2016 (on to Teotihuacan) Up Subsection: High Lord of Earth Subsection: Night of Masks