Deep in Da Nile

We now join renowned Egyptologist Sir Reginald Ginger Hazelteen (a man affectionately known as Gingie by his old chums at Eaton). Following decades of exploration in the land of the Pharoah, Sir Reggie has stumbled upon an epic (and rather bizarre) find.

Not far from the River of Lost Souls, Hazelteen’s monumental dig is proceeding rapidly. Based on a series of glyphs (emblazoned in bright gold, Western letters with “Welcome to” at the top), Gingie has christened the find Durangopolis.

The dig is remarkably well-preserved thanks in part to the substance that entombed it for so many years. Several feet of what can only be described as coal soot shrouded the perfectly preserved civilization. “Most peculiar,” Hazelteen reports in his lilting English accent. “It appears that these people spent their days beneath an almost mystical haze.”

Further analysis reveals that the largely intact city spans two distinct dynasties. The city’s early dwellers were relatively rustic by Egyptian standards, Sir Reggie notes. Largely an agrarian-artisan people, the first Durangopolans clothed themselves in short canvas pants, most often wore sandals and lived in segmented housing with a peculiar Egyptian name – kondo. For transport, these firsts preferred strange, two-wheeled, horseless chariots.

Hazelteen’s find goes on to reveal an elemental people who worshipped dirt, rock and the river that bisected their home. They also had a special fondness for their canid god, Mutt, leaving small, odorous, brown pyramids here and there to preserve his memory.

In their leisure time, early Durangopolans could be found slowly embalming themselves with a hoppy beverage, known as Ail, all the while living in mortal fear of a dark god they gave an unusual name – The Aspen. So preoccupied were they in their river worship and so dulled by Ail, the early Durangopolans barely noticed as the next dynasty moved in, the dynasty they would end up serving.

“Durangopolis’ second dynasty is a bit harder to pin down,” Sir Reggie notes with a scholarly air. The civilization’s new denizens boast vast amounts of wealth, according to early findings, and usually settled near the River of Lost Souls for only a few short months each year. Unlike the firsts, the new Durangopolans actually revered The Aspen, and during the rainy season, their animal fur boots and lambskin vests set them apart from the others. As for transport, the chariots of the seconds are much larger and powered by an inky cloud with some examples even boasting the namesake – Durango – in silvery letters.

Kondo architecture also begins to vanish during this time, replaced by monuments to the seconds, who Sir Reggie surmises considered themselves living gods. A particularly rich find rests on Durangopolis’ western fringe. Shrouded in a rosy Barbie pink, the massive keep could be seen from everywhere in the valley and boasted high walls and turrets to ward off prying eyes. Ironically, several of the fallen firsts set up camp not far from the monument when the Time of Lean Living hit.

On the north end of the civilization, another notable monument bears witness to the seconds. “La Luxurella,” a kondo-like structure, was crafted with Mediterranean stylings to commemorate The Aspen, but oddly appears to have never been occupied. In perfectly preserved lettering, the site reads, “Executive lofts and suites now available! Starting in the low 600s!” Hazelteen interjects, “This translation is completely lost on us.”

Starting with the La Luxurella site, Sir Reggie is still puzzling together the factors that led to the destruction of Durangopolis. He’s unearthed the writings of one of the prominent scribes of the era, a man called Harold, or The Harold (depending on one’s station). The writings are somewhat disjointed and inconclusive, but they do provide some hints as to the fate of this bipolar people.

“It is clear from the writings of The Harold that twin scourges arose,” Sir Reggie explains. “To the south, he describes havoc caused by the Rock of the Desert, a cauldron of fire so terrible it darkened the skies for three generations.”

Coincidentally, the Rock happened to rise during a time of quiet invasions by southerners riding in chariots with yellow flagging. These devious warriors actually managed to pilfer much of the second generation’s wealth and haul it in droves to the “Enchanted Land.”

At the same time, a high priest of Aspen and devotee of the order of Texas also came on the scene and worked to establish a rival Village. “It’s difficult to translate Harold in the case,” Gingie notes. “He calls the priest McCombs. But there’s also repeated references to B.J. We can only assume this McCombs was a master of that art.”

South Durangopolis holds many more secrets, Sir Reggie confides. Teams have already unearthed a vast crypt piled with artifacts, which had the strange name of “Dunlap.” Hazelteen has also exposed the tomb of a low-ranking priest named K-Bob, nestled next a most paradoxical creation, Lake Nighthorse. “Peculiar indeed,” Gingie concludes. “I dare not utter the word ‘curse,’ but I fear Durangopolis still has much to show us.”

– Will Sands



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