They kept themselves hidden, but it’d happen from time to time that they would appear
to the local inhabitants. You see, their skin was what we call light adaptive...
light would bend around their bodies (If you know about such things, their outer
skin was a type of fibre optic cell layer. Only very recently have we figured out
how to do it ourselves!)
Wellanyway, imagine sitting around a campfire, maybe one of the dozen Haidas
on the beach, gazing into the smoke rising up. Tell yeh what: you’re not just one
of them- you’re the SHAMAN! Welcome to our story, Shaman ‘Nightroot’!
The Stone Guardians
SOmany years ago, already. Though you rediscovered much of Grandfather’s knowledge,
you never really thought about him that much. And today, out of the blue, he seemed
to be sharing your mind. Of course, this WAS a major healing ceremony. A bad case
of sniffily noses and stomach aches had been going around the clan for weeks already
and this required a LOT of heavy cedar-bark smoke. (At least, that’s what Grandfather’d
And that was it, wasn’t it? You miss him- more than you ever thought. And maybe
that tear rolling down your cheek wasn’t just from the smoke. Never mind.
The entire assembly was rubbing their eyes now and a harmony of barking coughs echoed
out across the bay. Good- that’d clear their lungs out. You stand aside out of the
choking cloud so you can see better. And see, you did.
The ‘raven’ shapes were back. They hovered in the dense cloud of smoke- as if a
transparent window into the background danced amidst the smoke. “Whaaaattt?” you
cry. “Look there!!” But the shapes are already swirls before your clan sees a thing.
You wipe your eyes once more, but these things can’t be your imagination. Grandfather’s
words come to life as surely as a failing belief you had only minutes before. The
Now of course, the creatures themselves, who had come to do the actual healing on
the poor, sick natives, noticed the gaping expression on the Shaman's face gazing
in their direction! "Ahhh, NO! This was not supposed to be!" (Nightroot and his clan
could never hear this shrill cry- it was pitched far above our normal range of hearing.)
The smoke swirled and danced from their flight as the creatures made a quick exit.
But, it would not keep their secret.
LONG nights after the ceremony, you pondered. “Nightroot”, you say to yourself,
“certainly these strange Spirits have great powers.” (And unlike other ‘spirits’
of the forest, no doubt these were real enough.) “Might it be possible to arrange
some kind of magic with these creatures?” Meaning, of course, could he use them for
his own cause?
“There must be some way,” you plot and thought. And thought and plot. And... that’s
how it all happened.
Sometimes it happens to even the most advanced of beings; an unforeseeable accident.
Because the local inhabitants and the creatures had co-existed for a thousand years
and time really had no meaning for the creatures ( they called themselves ‘the Y~innon’.
Just try to say it!), it’d never really occurred to them that the people living around
them were evolving.
This foggy October night, water had somehow gotten into the Y~innon projection
crystal and trashed the ‘holo’ into a blurry mess. Then, in a million-to-one chance,
a bobcat had chased Nightroot right beside the very entrance of the cave. And so
it was, that in the unusually heavy fog, the creatures once again became visible
to the Shaman. He saw them enter the cave. He saw the flickering image of the bear
disappear. And... he became very curious of this place which was so much to be feared,
yet seemed no more than a mirage on a hot day. Finally, the last straw... the Y~innon
had completely missed seeing him cowering behind the ancient tree nearby.
A curious human is one thing, but having the Y~innon all upset about being seen
by the Shaman, that did it. 'Breach of protocol' they called it. 'Contamination of
the natural lifeforms', they worried. Their heated discussion sounded much like
all the crickets of the island had gathered in this one cave. And as every Y~innon
left the cave to re-visit the location where it had happened, Shaman Nightroot went
How do you describe an optical control center to eyes which have never seen a switch?
All Nightroot saw was a wealth of the most tradable crystals he’d ever seen. This
could make him the most respectable Shaman in the entire world! ( he knew there were
at least 5 islands in it )
And so, Nightroot reached out for the crystal with the most valuable and familiar
hue to it- silver. In Y~innonese... this was the 'master homopolar generator switch'.
(Never mind what it means... Our Shaman would only have heard the words as a nice
little rhyme anyway.) As fingers clutched the crystal, immense electrical currents
flowed and far out on the point, a massive machine started up. It gets a bit technical
here. (after all, the Y~innon were a vastly knowledgeable race.) Right, I warned
you. “Huge power pulsed through superconducting bars and squeezed the super-dense
singularity sphere in the center of the machine far beyond critical mass. Instead
of re-aligning the earth's crust to limit earthquake energy at a sensitive geological
zone, the machine built a roiling wave of gravity”. Yeah. Time... simply went crazy.
As the crystal broke off in Nightroot's hands, three other crystals were triggered.
The Y~innon knew then, of course... but there was absolutely nothing they could do
about it. You can't go back in time when you can't get to the controls. The gravity
wave swept over the forest and most Y~innon just ceased to be. The local people had
never been born. Ancient trees were still ancient trees, just generations younger.
Two of the oldest Y~innon sitting on a massive sandstone bank were spared the worst
of the disaster. Spared, perhaps, but doomed just the same- they literally became
part of the rock they were sunning upon. (Re-integration, if you will, in Y~innonese.)
And so it was, for thousands of years.
3500 years passing, ocean currents and storm waves have unceasingly etched the sandstone
bluffs, leaving behind harder materials.
What you see when you enter Mayne Island's Campbell Bay is incredible. A bizarre
coastline of hollowed-out sandstone and rounded boulders sticking out of the rock.
It makes you simply awe at the power of the water... (and wonder what else might
be stuck in the rock)
And so, after millennia of water blasting, a shape was gradually carved out of
the rock... a prominence at the top, a sweeping ramp of rock, and a thin ridge trailing
" All hands on deck... prepare to make anchor!"
4000years ago, a race of dragon-like creatures were custodians of a wonderful paradise-ours.
Only five nights after the ceremony, our Shaman Nightroot stumbled perchance upon
that very spot.
HAVEN’T you ever seen rolls of smoke that look like creatures? All the time-
you ARE the Shaman, after all. Dancing and chanting, you’d point out what you see
to the others and smile. “Deer bounding! Rabbits jumping... spirits of the forest!
Brothers of the island!” You’re so clever... Mmmm--you make a big show of concentration--can’t
see exactly, but look! Wasn’t that a raven flying in the smoke? Errr, no. A hole
in smoke that looked like a huge raven! A hole that was just as suddenly gone. You
lower your hand and shake a feathered head. “It was nothing”, you mutter.
Grandfather had once seen something very strange- it’d scared the life out of him.
On his mossy bed one day, he’d grabbed his young grandson by the shoulders and shook
him. “They are alive, Nightroot, young Shaman! Look upon them, but treat them with
Grandfather died then, and took many secrets with him.
It’d be a good 3500 years later, when what you started was finally undone by a curious
crew of navigators.
Wait for iiittttt !!
OK, OK. I’ll give you a little preview of what’s coming in the next chapter- After
all, this IS what Captain Hood saw as they rounded the bend, narrowly escaping the
reefs at the mouth of the bay. Let's face it, after such a stormy crossing, the fine
crew of Hood’s ship was happy just to be in quiet waters. The Capt’n blinked his
eyes at the sight, but gave it no further notice.
He would dream this night...
Now, these Y~innon had a most secret-of-secret places on the island. For years,
they had been instilling rumors and fear in the locals about this place. If the cave
entrance itself wasn’t creepy enough on sight, the holographic image of a ferocious
bear kept people out for generations. This place was their control center- the place
in which they communicated with their home world beyond the light we believed to
be a star.
THE STRANGE (and science fiction) TALES of CAPTAIN HOOD