She noticed, immediately, that it was unlike any sundial she had ever seen. The upright gnomon, which catches the rays of the sun and sends a shadow across the dial plate, was much taller than usual. Its shadow reached beyond the plate and clear to the stone wall in front of them.
The dial plate was unique as well. Instead of the usual numbers around its perimeter that allow the observer to determine the time of day, odd shapes decorated the edge. Carling looked closely at the plate and the designs carved into it. There was a five-pointed star on the left side. Next to that was a curving tree branch. A round circle was next. Beside that was a key and, finally, a shape that looked like a drop of water.
The shadow from the gnomon was slicing across the tree branch and up to the stone wall. Carling’s eyes followed the shadow and was surprised to see it rested on a small branch growing out from a winding crack in the stone, its roots grabbing hold of a secret place in the dark recesses of the scar.
How odd, she thought. Her eyes reverted to the sundial, and she watched as the shadow moved slowly toward the circle shape. Carling looked up and followed the shadow as it left the little tree and moved silently toward a round hole in the cliff. Just as the shadow passed over the circular hole, a ground squirrel, with black stripes down his back poked his head out of the opening and examined Carling with a look of suspicion mixed with curiosity on his face. He chattered at her and clicked his teeth before disappearing back into his hole.
Carling turned and looked at Púca with a cock of her head. She knew he had brought her here for a purpose, but she hadn’t yet figured out what that purpose was.
Púca tossed his head, causing his long forelock to flop to one side of his left eye. “Keep watching,” he said. “The shadow will lead you.”
Carling shrugged and turned back to the golden sundial. The shadow was now past the circle and moving toward the key.
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