Indy stood at the edge of the cavern. The sunlight was dim, only just above the horizon and trickling through the thick Scottish overgrowth.
“There must be a reason the Scots call this thing ‘Storm,’” he whispered to himself and clicked a flame atop his revered father’s lighter. He rubbed his chin and squinted into the darkness before him, this being only a partial pose of contemplation. His jawbone was still aching at its hinge from the fistfight in Amsterdam the night before, which apparently he’d lost because when he awoke, he was tied to a chair in Edinburgh and facing the unforgiving end of a Walther P38. Having heard a lengthy yarn from an unknown captor with a thick German accent about a mythical Scotch whisky edition called “Storm,” he was pistol whipped into unconsciousness again, drifting away to the warning that if he didn’t acquire this particular bottle by sundown, the girl would die.
“Marion,” he gasped and hastily began to make his way into the darkness. With each step, he jostled and knocked stones free, causing them to tumble downward with clacking echoes into the hollow blackness. He moved quickly.
It wasn’t long before he had descended deep into and around the turns of the cave when he came to a small, but unnatural hole in the rocky wall. Its circular opening was marked all the way around with etchings that had the appearance of clouds. At the top of the opening was the image of a sun just beginning to hide behind an ensuing cumulus. Inside the hole, Indy could see sudden bursts of light followed by what sounded like sizzling pops.
“A storm is coming,” he said looking back to the cloud etching beginning to cover the sun. “This is it,” he said and reached into the opening to get a grip so that he could pull himself through. But then he hesitated. “This is too easy,” he thought. He let himself back down and lifted the flame of his lighter to the opening to get a better look. He could see thick flat edges of stone to the right and left just inside the opening. He stepped back, picked up a larger stone, and heaved it through the hole. With its knock against the stony ground within, the flat stone to the right slammed against the stone to the left sending out a billow of dust and a piercing crack. Indy breathed a sigh of relief.
With the movement of the stone, however, a doorway was revealed which let the flashing lights flicker into the cave. Fanning away the dust, Indy cautiously made his way inside where at first he was met by the shattered bones of previous explorers, but then his attention was immediately stolen to the center of the cavernous room by sudden surges of lightning firing up from the ground and making contact against a gilded plinth with a stone top. Waiting there upon the pedestal was the prize — the Talisker Storm. Behind the treasure, carved in massive symbols easy enough to read even in the flashing lights, were three incantations in the following order:
Beidh an srón a fháil as an uisce de shaol an chuimhne binn na bláthanna in aice leis an fharraige agus an deataigh go ndéanann feadh an siúcra torthaí.
Beidh an béal a fháil ar an gcéanna a rinneadh ar anfa de salann agus spíosraí eile.
Beidh cur i gcrích an bronntanas nochtann a thabhairt duit a ainm mar a dtosaíonn gach ceann de na déithe sna flaithis chun cogaidh le chéile. Beidh an mhóin a dhóitear n-buile fós leis an mortal a ídíonn an bronntanas agus beidh sé bheannaigh.
“Its Gaelic,” Indy muttered and began to translate roughly, “The nose will receive… from this water of life… the sweet memory of the flowers… beside the sea… and the smoke that carries along the sugar… or sweetness… of fruits.” He went to the second, “The mouth… will take in… or receive… the same… carried upon an angry sky… a storm… of salt and other spices.” And the third, “The completion of this gift… will show… or reveal… to you its name… as all of the gods in the heavens… begin to war together. The burned peat… of their rage… will remain with the mortal who consumes this gift… and he will be blessed.”
“Wow. Sounds nice…”
Newly motivated, Indy moved closer but was quickly compelled backward by the biting efflux of electricity making contact with the pillar’s golden edges which glowed red hot at each strike point. Certainly if Indy tried to get through, the lightning protecting this magnificent drink would be his end.
He looked around the room, again, caressing his sore chin and whispering, “What could be causing the electricity to shoot up like this?” But no sooner than the words rolled from his lips did he remember a visiting professor by the name of Nathan Stubblefield at the university during Indy’s graduate years who lectured on the science of what Stubblefield called an “earth battery.” Indy remembered that the science invested in the theory claimed that by burying particular metal plates in the ground at precise distances from one another, the telluric currents produced by the earth could be harnessed. The theory spoke further that if a meridian conductor was placed at the center, the telluric energy could be focused.
“This is a giant battery,” Indy thought. “It’s an earth battery. The gold on the pedestal is the meridian.” He dropped to his knees and began to gauge the electricity’s points of origin. “I just need to find one of the plates.” He knew that if he could locate and remove at least one plate (and with the right timing), it may be possible to create an opening in the surges to reach in and grab the whisky.
He waited through several strikes, estimating the location and pulse of one in particular. With a flattened stone in hand, as soon as the supposed plate released its energy, he began to dig. In only a moment Indy was upon it. He kicked it away just as it began to hum in preparation for another surge.
Knowing time was incredibly limited, and as the other plates continued to send bolts whipping toward the pillar around him, Indy leaned in to snatch the whisky and prepared to retreat through the doorway. Enthralled by the new prize, however, he gazed into its glass with admiration while reaching into his satchel to fetch a linen for protective wrapping. But a mere pace from the exit, Indy tripped a stone lever on the cavern floor which sent the entrance stone slamming back into position and another weighty slab dropping from the ceiling to cover the smaller round opening. Surprised, he dropped his father’s lighter, which ricocheted from one stone to another and came to a rest in the circle of lightning behind him.
He was trapped… but strangely unconcerned… hypnotized by what he held in his hands.
He sat down on the ground and whispered to himself in somewhat of a monotone voice, “C’mon, Indiana, you know the villains are all the same. They’re probably at the mouth of the cave with Marion right now. They’ll demand the treasure. You’ll promise to hand it over if they spare Marion. Blah, blah, blah.” He knew what would happen. He knew they would come looking for him and then he’d have his usual opportunity to outwit them and escape.
“But if not…”
In the fragmented darkness of occasional sparks of light, the sound of the Talisker’s cork being popped was warm and comforting. Indy sipped, waited, and sighed, “At least I hope the villains are all the same.” He sipped again. “If not,” he said in a gurgling pause as he savored a mouthful, “poor Marion.”