The purpose of my addition to the very fine reporting on the exploration received by Society members thus far, is to further illumine the discussion held as we examined the grid or map and the engraved language (which will be reported by others of the expedition more fully, I am sure) found in various areas throughout the mine. Ash has provided a fairly thorough description of the physical findings. As well, Eugenia Burton has posted some excellent daguerreotypes on the Society's Flicker page.
After several minutes of high level exploration of the mines by the expeditionary party, Colonel O'Toole came upon what appeared to be a grid or map. Those of us who were nearby the sight joined him as he shined the lights from his gear on the west wall of the mine.
We were all quite surprised by the grid. It was clearly Caledon in the days before the Middle Seas and the northern and extreme southwestern lands formed. What was incredibly striking to me was that to the west of Loch Avie there was a depiction of land (South of the Moors and west of Loch Avie). Seeing this was nearly like a lightning bolt to me. Baron Wulfenbach noticed my shock and inquired as to whether I was quite alright. I began to explain.
There are stories passed down from generation-to-generation in my clan of the disappearance of lands that were once part and parcel of the area surrounding our homelands in Caledon.
The tradition of storytelling in Celtic cultures such as ours tends to be preserved within certain families. Where a few folk gather for an evening's ceilidh stories are told, particularly if a well known teller of tales was present. Phrases such as "Do you mind when . . ." or "There was a time in the highlands when . . ." nearly always set the ball rolling. Young and old gather round to listen spellbound to tales tall, strange or true. Few ever leave early for home!
Now I begin to wonder if this story told for many years among the Bellambi Clan is actually true. I have explored the seas around the Loch many times and have never noticed any evidence of a land presence. No ruins. No broken earth beneath the surface. Shortly after my mumbling about this, the Baron wondered whether any of our magikal citizens had ever used Cavorite in their rituals. I told him that I never had used it in the limited ceremonies that are still performed at Loch Avie, but that Lady Darkling or Lady Amber may have more knowledge about such matters than I have. Looking over at the Colonel I noticed his frown of concentration as he listened to this conversation. After Miss Annechen Lowey expressed her fear that use of Cavorite AND magik would be devastating, the Colonel recalled that my family's lands are much desired by the Vulgarians. In fact claims on my lands were made by their Ambassador, Barken Rolff, last year as he so boldly danced - an unexpected guest - in my home.
As all of us began to discuss the known, and the possibilities, before us, I remembered that one of the most popular stories shared by the Druis and Uelis of the clan were of a Sassenach tribe that invaded our lands centuries ago who were rebuffed by the Chieftain's elite warriors and other members of the clan. The story then went on to say that the Sassenachs boldly used dark magic, against which the Druis were powerless to defend, in order to "destroy what could not be taken by force". And the lands surrounding Loch Avie sank deep into the earth in a cataclysmic fire. As children we adored this tale for the uelis would imitate the actions of the Sassenach priests as they chanted and danced around the fire. Then our poet-magicians would throw green powder onto the flames of the family fires to make the smoke of the earth-shaking – earth-taking – event.
There may well be some connection to these drawings and the stories spun around our family's fires. There may not be. But it warrants some further investigation. As well I wonder if the writing found on the cave walls IS that of those ancient Caledonians. In truth the ancients felt that any writing of the traditions and stories was profane, but this may have been a warning….or so important a story to tell that they were written on the walls of the mines.
There is so much more to investigate.