yarny and the wheel

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Where did Wirrow come from? Yarny asked himself this question, though he had an idea what the answer might be and a sneaking suspicion that he himself was responsible for his arrival. He was fairly certain he was not from the present time, he was familiar with that dazed state that he was in as he stood silently staring up a Old Mother Button the day he appeared on her doorstep. He had seen the same look, oddly enough, on a sky beast that he unintentionally had brought back to Nevernotwuz not too long ago. The sky beast was also from another time, part of the distant past, and this poor creature had been catapulted into the present day as the direct result of Yarny’s inexperience with the wheel.


Ah, the wheel, a gift that Maggie had given him, one that he would have politely refused if he had known the powers that it held, but he and the wheel were now inextricably linked and there was no giving it back. He remembers the day clearly. He had not been living at the Button house for long but one day, during one of their many long morning conversations over hot cups of Pamagotchi tea, Maggie became suddenly solemn. She said that she had something she wanted to give him, something that had belonged to Sam.


Maggie got up from the table and walked across the living room to a hand hewn secretary in the corner of the room that Yarny hadn’t noticed before. As she made her way back, he could see she was holding what appeared to be a slightly oversized pocket watch. She set it down on the table in front of him. Yarny looked at it, then back up at her. Maggie said nothing to his quizzical look, so he picked it up and turned it over in his hand. It was fairly large and had some weight to it. The face was divided into four sections and each section divided into thirds, not unlike a clock face only it had no hands or numbers. It was marked all over with strange squiggles, runes of some kind, he imagined. As he looked at it closer he noticed that there were plates set into in it in a series of concentric circles and there were small levers that appeared to be there to turn the circular plates. Small holes were cut in seemingly random places that revealed more runes which changed as he slid the tiny levers. A knob at the top, with a ring to hang it from and what appeared to be a winding mechanism completed the illusion of a pocket watch, but what effect could this winding have?


On the back it was engraved with a heart filled with evenly spaced dots and around the heart, some ornate filigree. He turned it over and over, then looked back up at Maggie.


“I don’t know quite what to say” he said ”except… what is it?”


Maggie sat down again and let out a sigh and the awkward moment suddenly lost it’s air of solemnity. “To be honest, Yarny, I don’t know. It’s something Sam always had with him and he used it to tell stories to the kids. He called it his wheel. I think it helped him remember things.”


Yarny examined it’s many strange markings and cuneiforms. It was indeed a beautiful contraption even if it’s purpose was a mystery. He had almost decided to tell her couldn’t accept it when he looked up and saw a pleading look in Maggie’s eyes that he hadn’t seen before.


“It was one of Sam’s wishes that it be passed on to the right person and you are that person Yar.”


Yarny was dumbstruck for a moment, then said, “Thank you, Maggie” now smiling, “ I will do my best to figure out how this thing works.”




And Yarny did indeed spend several days trying to crack the code of this strange little device, turning each layer to reveal yet another strange squiggle or pictogram underneath. As he examined each little inscription he would jot it down in the notebook that he carried around hoping to find the one thing that would be the key to crack the code. Suddenly he started to see these same little symbols carved into the wood beams of the house and odd places here and there. Why had he never noticed this before? Little details that he must have passed over as mere decoration would catch his attention and often times they would match one of the symbols he had copied into his book. Even a scar on the trunk of the old tree out front proved to be one of these strange little runes. But still none of this meant anything to him.


Nevertheless, he carried the little wheel around with him everywhere he went, twisting it back and forth, memorizing each symbol. He had hoped he could solve this little mystery but was beginning to think that it might just be the useless invention of a doddering old man who may have lost touch with reality a bit before he moved on to the next life. Oh, but that was a harsh assessment, maybe instead, it was just a toy he made to amuse the children. Yarny had been walking in circles on the slightly rocky farmland behind the old house with his head down as he examined the wheel, clicking it right and left. Suddenly he tripped over a boulder and his feet flew out from underneath him. The wheel went flying up into the air and he landed with a crash on the other side of the rock. Happy not to have cracked his head open, he stood up and brushed himself off, then retrieved the wheel which was lying on the ground a few yards away.


He made sure it was in one piece, mortified that he might have broken this cherished object. Fortunately he hadn’t. He brushed himself off but as his attention moved from his dirtied clothing and he raised his head he found he had totally lost his bearings. The landscape looked familiar but… the house was gone. He looked all around and determined that he was facing the right direction, then he ran over to where the house had been and found only the large rock out cropping the house had been built on.


As he stood on the spot where their front door had been he looked out over the valley. There was the waterfall, he was indeed in Nevernotwuz, but where was the town? Everything appeared to be gone. Even the valley looked strangely different as he looked closer he was nearly struck dumb by what he saw. Where he was used to seeing the Fajigajiga river wind it’s way across the valley floor there was no river but a vast expanse of water. It stretched across where Teafaerie meadow should have been reaching almost to the base of Forest Knauff. And that wooded hillside was covered with saplings. Saplings! Where there had been a dense forest! It seemed half of the valley was covered with water! Water dotted with patches of green. It what was clearly a massive swamp land. The thought boggled his mind.


He could feel his heart racing and thoughts of how he had gotten here mixed with thoughts of how he would get back fought for his immediate attention. It didn’t even seem reasonable to question the concept of time-travel at this point. It wasn’t possible to come up with another explanation. Here he was in the living, breathing past, something that should be long gone… a place one shouldn’t be able to go, a place of history, a place of death. His heart would have dropped to his stomach if it weren’t beating so fast.


There was nothing to do. It wouldn’t help to panic. A voice in his head told him to keep calm. “Well, my heart is racing so I must be alive”, he thought. He decided he may as well take it all in. It a moment, his mind would clear and he could focus on this maniacal pocket watch and maybe remember where the levers were set before he…. fell.


It was a glorious day. He couldn’t see a cloud for miles. The basin that was Nevernotwuz was an explosion of color. As he looked out over the valley he began to notice the wildlife. Well, they had the place to themselves didn’t they? Birds of every kind sailed back and forth, and the air was full of their song. The sounds… he hadn’t noticed. Was that a moose call? There was so much to hear, so much to observe. He moved closer to the edge of the rock and looked down the green hill that swept down to meet the swamp below. He squinted his eyes at the dense thicket of vegetation. Just down a way, he saw what appeared to be a hummingbird thrusting its beak into a vibrant orange blossom. The strange little bird retracted its head and turned suddenly towards him. It seemed to have seen him and now was heading up the hill.


He watched as the bird grew in size as it headed towards him. Strange, he thought, much too large to be a hummingbird. And as the mysterious creature approached it suddenly struck him that was not a bird at all… but a narwhal. A narwhal that could fly? He didn’t have time to make sense of it. All he knew was that he had to start running and he headed out across the rocky terrain. As he heard it approach he jumped headlong into the dirt and just then he could feel the force of it as his brushed past him. He stayed there for a moment, his face planted in the soil, his hands crossed over the back of his head.


“Was it gone?” He was afraid to move. Slowly he moved one arm and turned his head to the side. He moved the other arm now and began to raise him self up. Just then he felt a prodding on his left shoulder. He froze. Then again, a gentle push. Well, if it were going to skewer me, it could have done so by now, he thought and he turned onto his side. Indeed, there it was, hovering in the air, its massive horn making something of a figure eight in the air. He stared at it and it tipped its head staring right back at him. Slowly he pulled his knees towards him and sat up.


It continued to nod as if it were trying to tell him something, then it suddenly swooped down next to him and began to roll from side to side, twisting on its back like a kitten wanting attention. He knew enough about animal behavior to know this was anything but an aggressive gesture so he put out his hand and gently patted the beast on its head. That seemed to be what it was after and he continued to rub its head as it flapped its fins and squinted its eyes in appreciation.


Forgetting now his apprehension about where he was (…or what century he was in), and how he was ever to get back, and no longer feeling threatened by this loving animal, he began to wonder if it might be possible to ride the colossal beast. It was worth a try, he told himself, and slowly, all the while continuing to pet the reclining mammal, he gradually moved one leg up to straddle it. As soon as he did this, the narwhal seemed to sense what he was trying to do and it rolled onto its belly. Sure enough, in moments they were air borne.


It occurred to him that a harness of some kind would have been preferable and he found himself hugging its back for fear of tumbling to the earth. They doubled back now and he found himself soaring over the great green bowl below and dipping down towards the massive lake that covered most of the valley floor. For a moment he thought this great mammal, which is a beast of the water after all, was going to plunge head first into the lake but it pulled up and headed now towards the falls. It seemed to be giving him a tour as it took him to the outer edges of the valley up to where the forest looked pretty much like it always had, dense, green and endless. Soon they were back to where they started and Yarny’s thoughts began to turn to the wheel. He reached into his pocket as best he could, still laying fairly flat against the beast and he began to pull it out of his pocket. As he did this, his thumb hit the knob on top and suddenly the landscape changed.


The dense forest that had looked so familiar, seemed to shift as if the trees had all suddenly traded places, still as tall as ever, just rearranged slightly. But more importantly, there dead ahead, was the Button House. He patted the beast now, hoping it would understand his ride was over, and it seemed to have gotten the message. Downward it flew, taking him to the spot where they had started, some distance behind the house. He had hoped for a smoother dismount but as the beast got five feet or so above the ground it simply bucked him off. He went tumbling to the ground, lucky not to have cracked his head open on one of the many stones that protruded out of the earth, but managed to pull himself up finding his body only scraped but not injured. As he looked into the sky to see the poor Narwhal darting frantically back and forth, that is when he began to wonder what he might have done. Clearly out of its element, the poor thing circled around a few times then shot up into the clouds and disappeared.


“What will be the result of this?”, he wondered, as he made his way back to the now wonderfully familiar house. “What good can come of bringing such a beast out of the past into this treacherous world we humans have created?” The panic in the gentle beasts eyes would haunt him, but there was so much more about his experience this day that he was yet to learn.





A note to the writers and anyone following this story: Yarny is mistaken. This wheel of Sam’s is NOT a time-machine, it is simply a device though which he is able to view images of the past that have been recorded. These are RECords that have been created by the ancient Nevernotwuzians. He will find, on further exploration, that he cannot interact with people or even pick up an object. The fact that he can interact with the narwhal kind of throws him off, but the truth is, the narwhal exists in the present time (he had only gotten trapped in this universe – that’s why he was so happy to see Yarny!) Now Wirrow, on the other hand, is indeed from the future and he gets to the present the same way Yarny gets to the past, by viewing the RECords. The reason Wirrow is able to interact with the people of the present is that the future hasn’t happened yet. Tricky, I know, but there is a certain sense to it and I will explain how these RECords are created and where they are stored.


The Button house is filled with written RECords and, as I mentioned before, there are RECords buried in various locations all over Nevernotwuz. But the RECords that Yarny accesses via the wheel are ones that are stored inside a great rock that is buried under the Tree of Hearts. This rock is essentially a giant thunder egg. A large uninteresting looking rock that has a crystal inside of it. The ancient Nevernotwuzians were quite advanced technologically as well as mentally and they had developed a skill whereby they were able to send messages telepathically to this great crystal. They were able to ‘speak to the stone’. It is the tree that acts as transmitter and receiver as it’s roots are wrapped around the rock. There are many such stones scattered around but unless they have a tree growing on top of them they are not able to be used to store RECords.


On the back of the wheel there is a heart with a number of dots. Yarny thinks this is merely decorative and he thinks it is an engraving but he is wrong on both counts. He will notice later that there are little hearts hanging all over the house (and many more stashed away in drawers here and there) and they are the same size as this heart on the back of the wheel. They are all decorated with different patterns that appear to be random but on closer examination he finds that the decorations help to obscure a series of small holes. Each heart has holes located in different places. Some have more holes than others. On a whim, he lines one of the hearts up with the back of the clock and as he does this it starts to give. It turns out the little circles are indeed pins and when he presses the heart against the back of the wheel, all of the pins are depressed except the ones that protrude up through the hole. By doing this he will be taken to a particular RECord. So one can access the RECords by turning the levers on the front but if you have the proper heart, which contains a the code for a single RECord, you can get there by pressing it into the back of the wheel. Once the wheel is inserted you simply depress the button on the top and you are taken to the RECord.



Created: Jan 16, 2011


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