Past the isles of God Forgot, past Talar Hold and Casino Town, are the cursed ruins of the Clanking City, one of the most haunted places in the Holy Country. In the late Second Age, the pragmatic sorcerer smiths of the city (allied with the God Learners or even a God Learner subsect) crafted many magical wonders, mass produced magical items, and even constructed an artificial god of wheels and gears. These sorcerers worked with the inhabitants of God Forgot, who had developed a rabid atheistic belief. Together, they bloomed with the new mysteries unveiled before them.
The city’s name came from the infernal sounds of machinery which continually came from its mills and factories. Smoke and sludge befouled the air, earth, and waters. Gears, furnaces, hammers, flat rollers, and other devices milled out tools, weapons, and armor. The atheist sorcerer-smiths developed radical machines never seen before or even imagined. Among their creations were kite parachutes, pedaled helicopters, hot air balloons, and a mobile fortress. The dwarves protested against the theft of their secrets, and the gods protested when it seemed that the inhabitants were mass producing magical items.
Ultimately, the inhabitants of the Clanking City worshiped their constructed as the Machine God, an atheist artificial god. The dwarves, trolls, humans, and dragonewts of the Shadowlands united to destroy this abomination.
The ten-year siege of the Clanking CIty became one of the epic battles at the end of the Second Age. The inhabitants were aided by wizards who also lived near the isle, and by many Jrusteli refugees from other cities. The struggle is known to people from all over the region, and for a while it almost seemed that the Elder Races would forge anew the forgotten umty of the past. Through such cooperanon, the city finally fell, Its inhabitants slaughtered, its stones scattered, and its metals plundered.
All that was left behind were cursed ruins set with traps, disuse, and ghosts. The ruins are now called the Machine Ruins, and the damage of those ancient battles is still visible. For instance, the city sits atop a high cliff by the sea, and no matter what the tide may be, there are waves which still reach hungrily up the cliff face far above sea level, hungrily aching to destroy once again. The trolls left a mystical guardian there, a cursing shadow which sometimes rolls slowly over the ground, even at full noon, or sometimes forms, then dissipates, seeking into even the tiniest and most hidden places for anyone who would ever dare to enter the place – intent upon keeping it forgotten and feared.
Basically imagine what would happen if an entire cult of da Vincis had access to the resources and support of the Ottoman Sultan.
Of course it was destroyed – it was an abomination. But what a magnificent abomination it was!
In short – da Vinci punk instead of steampunk.
Atheists? They were atheists in the same way the Brithini are – the gods are nothing more than mortals imposing an anthropomorphic persona on natural forces and energies.
Now Kostern Island (the ruins are on) is not all that big, roughly 40 km by 30 km. The Machine Ruins themselves are on a smaller island that is less than 4 square km. Think about something about the size of the Old Town of Dubrovnik or the Innenstadt of Lübeck.
The mystic guardian placed there by the trolls is one heck of a frightening thing – “a cursing shadow which sometimes rolls slowly over the ground, even at full noon, or sometimes forms, then dissipates, seeking into even the tiniest and most hidden places for anyone who would ever dare to enter the place.” Imagine this as the largest darkness elemental you have ever seen, whose Fearshock is almost always lethal. I kind of imagine as something like Alioth from the Loki series.
That map really helps emphasise how small Esvularela was in the Second Age. It is basically a band 15 km wide and 60 km long, above the cliffs. In the Third Age, much of that forest was cut down, and settled – but more came from the north and the west than the south. Four-fifths of all the Aeolians are still south of the Minthos River.
And we still have a division between the Aeolians of Esvular and Bandori, and the atheists of God Forgot. God Forgot is a strange place, and the people are considered weirdly different by others in the world. Fortunately they are a small population and considered less harmful than they used to be.
How does Leonardo the Scientist fit into your vision of Glorantha? Leonardo the Scientist – the terribly named sorcerer-smith is attempting to revive the techniques of his ancestors.