The City of the Crocodile God (1,000 XP)
Nestled within the grasslands of the Valley of the Mariners is the City of the Crocodile God. It is a weird city of metal enclosed within the remains of a great dome, composed of some unknown glass-like substance of sea-blue. Presumably built by the Senex at some point, it is now inhabited by a tribe of Wildmen who must have stumbled upon it at some point and decided to settle therein. The Wildmen, however much they may realize the ridiculousness of it, will brook no talk of the city’s “founders”; they staunchly maintain that they built the domed city upon the instructions of the eponymous tutelary deity.
The inhabitants have no idea what the city was originally called and they have not given it a proper name themselves. “The City of the Crocodile God” is the only term they will use for it. They regard it as a holy place, for it houses their patron god, a similarly nameless being called only “the Crocodile God”. The People of the Crocodile God believe that this being is the oldest living thing in the world and, at the end of time, he will eat the world itself. They regard it is as their divine mission to keep the god’s hunger appeased as long as possible and, in so doing, prolong the dying of the world. Any talk of a “dying sun” is considered rank heresy and immediately consigns one to the only penal sentence which exists in the city: feeding the appetite of the Crocodile God.
The Crocodile God resides in a tremendous amphitheatre, approximately 2 miles in circumference, which was filled with water at some point and which has become a swamp. It seems likely that this was once a stadium for the builders of the city and only later became a divine abode. Steps of the ubiquitous metal of which the city is built descend into the swamp, whose waterline is some 30 feet above the ground-level of the city; whether or not the swamp is deeper than that, nobody knows.
The Crocodile God himself appears to be a massive Magara, adapted (or re-adapted perhaps) to an amphibious life. He is at least 30 feet long; possibly longer as he is never seen in his entirety. In general only his lambent, yellow eyes, a good half-foot in diameter, are seen above the water’s surface. Sacrifices to this deity are tied up and tossed into the swamp with much barbaric ritual; the god often watches the proceedings (with how much interest is anybody’s guess), but does not attack the victim who swiftly sinks under the water’s slimy surface. It is assumed that the sacrifice is then swallowed by the great beast at his leisure. Since Magara continue to grow through-out their lives, it must be assumed that Crocodile God is a tremendously old animal, even if he is not quite as ancient as the Wildmen believe.
The folk of the City of the Crocodile God, numbering about 100 in all, have an undying hatred for Hajal, which diverted the Shavathi from the Valley of the Mariners centuries ago and thus deprived them of their natural water-source. How the brutes recall this is unclear. Their chief, who styles himself “Amdrut, Emperor of all Mariners, Beloved of the Crocodile God, and Sword of the Faith” constantly schemes to march upon Hajal and burn it to the ground. This seems rather unlikely.
It would be easy enough to ignore this strange city, save for the store of Senex artifacts which surely still lie within. Parts of the city have artificial lighting, which seems to turn on and off at irregular intervals. Several cylindrical tubes which bear cursory resemblance to those flying platforms known as “vimana” have been found, although no one has yet deciphered their use. On the other hand, the antique slug-throwers found therein have been readily put to their intended use by treasure-hunters, usually upon the Crocodile People.