5 April, 2016 by katelaity
‘Why ever not? Did you build this?’ I looked around the chamber which appeared well-lit though I saw no torches to light it.
‘I did not. Though I did add the track you see there,’ he said pointing to a small track that look much like that found in many mines. A small cart with a handle sat ready for use but rather than coal filling its depths there was a sparkle of something bright.
The Captain laughed. ‘I suppose mining might be what they did. Perhaps like I they searched for the depths of possibility.’
His answers were just another puzzle, which I discovered soon vexed me. Tansy looked entirely amused, so I was a bit put out that nothing much was clear to me. I may not be a superlative scholar but I was under the impression that I did not lack for normal intellect. Perhaps they were simply amusing themselves with me. I decided on a change of tactics. ‘And what is this sparkly ore you have here? I don’t recall ever seeing its like.’
‘Locally it’s known as faerie crystals. The most prized are the green ones. As you can see,’ the Captain waved his hand down the extending cavern, ‘they do light up the space well.’
I observed the truth of his words as far as the light was concerned but I stopped a the cause. ‘Are you suggesting they really are faerie lights?’
‘I suggest nothing. I go only by empirical facts.’
‘How did we get here?’ The Captain smiled, his face somewhat eerie in the greenish glow of the crystals.
I did not allow that to cloud my judgment. ‘Through the portal of the O rock, or whatever it is you might call it.’
‘There are various names, depending on the use one put it to: Crick Stone, Hole Stone—that’s what the Welsh name means—and of course, the Faerie Door.’
I shook my head and looked over at Tansy who looked eminently amused, though I did not see why. ‘And are you proposing that faeries are responsible for this!’
‘It’s better to refer to them as the Gentry or the Other Folk or anything but that name as it has caused much trouble throughout history for they are extremely dangerous despite the delight they often bring to those unwary.’
‘You mean the Gentry, surely,’ Tansy chafed me then laughed.
‘Oh, you are outraged as a man of science, I understand,’ the Captain said with a placating gesture. ‘When we use the word “faeries” it is only to say that we do not understand how a thing works. We say it is the fey folk and then we need say no more.’
‘I think we need say a great deal more!’
‘Indeed, sir, indeed. We wish to explore the unknown and find new things, plumb the depths of possibility—’
‘We,’ I stressed the word a great deal with all the zeal I could manage without feeling myself entirely apoplectic, ‘were on a mission to measure the height of absurdity, not plumb the depths of wretched possibility.’
‘Do you not think we might have a common cause?’ The Captain clasped my arm in his large hand, squeezing—I must admit—a little too tightly.
‘We are looking for very different things…’
‘But they may intersect!’ He let my arm go to clap his hands together. ‘Just think: explorers all together. Now I am having a wee bit of fun with you, for I know the prejudice against the nebulous world of folk tales from modern men like yourself. And well-earned, I must say.’
‘He does appreciate science, you know,’ Tansy reassured me. She held a large chunk of the green crystal in her hand, shifting it to catch the light so it created an almost hypnotic play of sparkles.