Layan’s Cabin – The Valleys
The three friends had returned from their camping trip.
Jaak and Tag had only told Dieter about the discovery of the blue cavern and what they had found there. He had been thoroughly delighted when they had presented him with one of the glowing cyan stones. The stones had proved to be a source of great fascination between them as they spent their last night camping together.
In the darkness the stones shone with a bright blue glow, giving off their own aura of energy – it was as if they possessed their own life force or essence. This energy intensified when the three stones were brought in close proximity to each other. They behaved strangely – sometimes one would repel or attract the other depending on how you held them, similar to a magnet. At times they would feel warm to the touch, other times they would feel cool.
The most curious thing about them however, was that the stones also seemed to change their weight quite unexpectedly – sometimes they would feel heavy in their hand or pocket and other times they seemed to have no weight at all.
The boys had decided after much discussion to confide in Layan about their find, as it seemed to be just too big of a secret to keep to themselves. He also seemed to be the most likely person that would know the most about them and their mysterious properties. They were now on the way up the trail to his cabin.
Jaak: My one feels light in my pocket!
Tag: My one feels warm!
Dieter: Mine now feels heavy!
It was almost as if the stones had a mind or personality of their own, changing in their behavior whenever the boys got close to one another. They continued their trek up to Layan’s cabin occasionally commenting on whatever the stones happened to be doing at any particular time. As they crested the ridge, they saw the welcoming sight of a wisp of wood smoke curling its way up. Dieter gave the rock outcrop a wide berth, lest they too suddenly were to obtain mysterious powers and leap out and trap his head again. Naturally there was a certain amount of good natured teasing from the other two about large hunde heads as they passed. They mounted the steps of Layan’s cabin, crossed the deck and knocked on the door.
Their rap, rap, rap on the door was answered by the familiar tap, tap, tap of someone approaching.
Layan: Well, hello there. Two young cubs and a pup! Come in! I was just about to put coffee on the stove – you must have heard the rattle of my cookie tin!
Tag: Hullo Layan! We’ve been camping!
Jaak: Yup – you are never gonna believe what we found!
Dieter: Arwoof! Arwoof! Arwoof!
The boys seemed to be bursting to share their news before they had even made it properly through the door. They all tumbled through the door in a noisy torrent of chatter and at least one wildly wagging tail. Layan who was pleased to see them as always, retreated quickly back to the relative safety of his stove to tend to the coffee pot. Soon, the coffee pot was steaming and the tin of cookies was produced.
Layan: Well then, you all seem in fine mettle today. So what news of the wilds of the Hot Lake camping trip?
The boys all looked at each other, all suddenly quiet – not sure who should say what or who should start. Then as if some kind of telepathic mind link occurred between them, they all as one reached into their pockets and pulled out their stones – placing them on the table in front of them.
Whatever Layan may or may not have been expecting – he most certainly did not expect this. He gave the boys and their treasure now before them one of his hard stares. No one spoke for several moments.
Layan: Three? You found… …three!? …how…? …where? That’s… that is, unheard of – that’s incredible!
The boys then took turns, in telling their story – moreso Jaak and Tag, once the story progressed underground into the lava tubes. When they got to the part about finding the small cave and the chalk inscription, Layan smiled broadly with his trademark toothy grin.
Layan: It’s still there! After all these years!
Jaak and Tag then continued their story of how they had found the second lava tube and squeeze which led them to the blue cavern full of glowing cyan stones. At this point Layan looked completely shocked.
Layan: Seriously? I was so close! But no, I never found it – I only ever got as far as the small cave where I found my own stone. I never dreamed that just a bit further on there might be a cavern full of them!
Finally Tag told of how he had gone through the third and narrowest squeeze and how he eventually came right out into the workings of Big John’s mine.
Layan: No one saw you?
Tag: Nope. I stayed hidden.
The first thing I want to say is that you were right to keep this to yourselves. It would not be wise to go blabbing it about that you found not one but three stones, and you should certainly not say anything about the blue cavern – at least not for now.
What you three need to understand is that what you have found is incredibly rare. There have only ever been two cyan stones found outside of the mines that I know of. Even in the mines, weeks or months may go by before a single stone is found. Of the two found outside of the mines, one a small pebble I found when I was a boy in the small cave, and there was another very small one found a number of years ago by someone fossicking about in one of the piles of mine tailings. People were digging through that tailing pile for months afterwards. So as I say – to find one is rare – to find three at once – this is completely unheard of. These stones of yours what’s more, are also much bigger – it looks like they would fit in the palm of your paw quite nicely.
You also need to know that there are strict rules and controls around cyan stones. Jaak you will remember I told you that distribution of mined cyan stones is tightly controlled by CORA the Committee of Resource Allocation. A bureaucratic interfering bunch of clip board wavers from Aoraki in my humble opinion.
However, if you find a stone outside of the established mines, then the rules state that you are allowed to keep it. However, this has so rarely ever been an issue – finding stones outside of the mines has up until now with the two exceptions I mentioned, simply never ever happens. Well… if CORA found out that you had found three, and especially of the size they are – well they might not think the rules should be followed. And what’s more, if word got out that there was a cavern full of them… that would cause quite a stir indeed.
Layan paused, and took a long slug of his coffee.
Jaak: Layan – can you tell us about these stones? I mean they behave strangely – it is almost like they are self aware or have a mind of their own.
Jaak then explained some of the odd things they had noticed about them, how their energy seemed to increase when they were in close proximity to another, their ability to repel or attract, and the unexpected changes in temperature and weight.
Layan: Oh yes, they certainly do seem to follow their own set of rules. It appears that they are not bound by our normal physical laws.
Layan motioned towards the stone laying in front of Jaak. Jaak nodded.
Layan then picked up the stone and held it, the palm of his paw facing upwards above the table. Then he quickly lowered his paw to the table. The stone almost seemed to pause and hesitate in midair before it fell and settled back down into his palm.
He then held it up again in his palm, and carefully brought his other paw over the top, palm facing downward. Then to the astonishment of the boys around the table as Layan brought his paw closer, the stone then floated up from his lower paw and suspended itself exactly halfway between his two paws. After a few moments it began to revolve slowly on an unseen axis between his paws. He then moved his paws to the vertical and the stone continued to revolve between them. As it did so the stone began to shine brightly.
Dieter: Are they magic?
Layan did not answer immediately. He was giving the stone now resting back in his palm a hard stare. He then carefully placed the stone back on the table in front of Jaak.
Layan: Magic? Hmm. Well they certainly are mysterious. While we do know some things about them, and we have been able to harness their energy for our power stations and Tet-net stations – no. No we do not know everything there is to know about them. I learned that particular lesson the hard way.
How do they come to be? Where does their power come from? Are they a naturally occurring phenomenon, perhaps caused as a byproduct of volcanic activity?
He paused and then added quietly and almost as an afterthought to himself… …thinking for the first time about the bug like shells the boys had mentioned
Or were they created and left behind – and if so why and by whom?
His voice returned to a normal level
What I do know is – that just because we do not fully understand something, does not mean that it is not real or true – it is just something that is outside of our current knowledge.
The cookie tin was now empty.
Previous: Episode 21 – The Blue Cavern
Next: Episode 23 – Seasons Change
Dieter’s question is a good one. “Are they magic?” Definitely unique properties, at the very minimum.
They were right to show him first. Of all the characters they’ve met so far, he’s the one who would have the most measured, reasonable response.
Well yes it depends on how you define “magic” – but dabbling in a little bit of para-normal makes the story interesting.