Studying the maps took Genji a few hours and left him and the others of his team with a few findings. and several questions:
- The script was confusing and hard to understand, as each symbol represented ideas rather than letters. Genji identified markings that looked like dates and places, and it looked like the portal they’d closed was of primary importance to the enemy, but not the only portal in the realm. Several others had been opened at one point or another, and some seemed primed to be opened, including on in Misthaven itself.
- The ledger listed troop movements and supply movements through that closed portal in order, and with some writings around other locations gave a sense that there could be more enemy troops about than was originally thought.
- Belgrey, Burmovton, and Misthaven all had symbols that seemed to indicate infiltration, while Freeton had a symbol that indicated alliance. An enemy camp seemed to be located within the northern Narlmarches.
- It seems highly likely that another galleon came through a now-closed southern portal, about two weeks after the one the team captured…which seems to have come through two months ago, which is about a month before all these troubles started.
- Silverstep was bracketed by marks, but not symbols. They were not script, and therefore impossible to decipher.
- The cartographer’s tools included strings of different lengths with pins attached to each end, to serve as measuring devices. Their lengths did not correspond to any known system of measurement. Time and date markings didn’t, either, but intervals of time could be deciphered.
- The journal was a base/team report log, noting goings-on at the camp around that portal. The only thing of interest was an annotation about the arrival of an individual of extreme importance and his entourage of several others. It would seem that whoever is in charge of this whole thing showed up about a month ago, and not in one of the galleons.
After deciding to make directly for Misthaven, the team headed southeast and, after crossing the King’s Northern Highway (and attracting some attention from a farming community below), the team spotted something winging up out of the great Narlmarches forest, coming at them. At first it looked like another griffon with a rider, but its shape and the fact that it kept getting bigger, and bigger, finally led them to realize it was something much worse: a massive bird of prey ridden by a giant, dropping rocks on them from within the cloud layer above them and swooping down once to rend the sails. The Reach took three rocks through its deck and significant damage to the sails, rigging, and masts before Korrigan found a large enough clearing to put down, but not before crashing through the trees and landing hard.
The giant rider leaped off the gargantuan (official size) bird circled while the giant attacked, and was killed; the bird then fly off to the south. Appraising the damage to the ship revealed serious damage to the stern section, including the steering/navigation room again); a hole completely through the main deck and all decks below and the bottom of the hull; and a partially smashed main mast and serious damage to the deck and ladderwell in the center of the ship, requiring climbing by rope to get below decks now.
The Oornothi, Genji, and Korrigan got to work assessing which repairs should be done first, with the priority being getting airborne, while Ti’ and Sarick patrolled the clearing and the edge of the woods.
Sarick decided to light a pair of fires in the clearing to provide light and therefore perhaps advance warning of attack, given that the hard landing and bird shrieks had probably alerted anyone within miles already. Ti’ climbed a tree along the southern edge of the clearing, listening and looking for threats, given that the enemy camp marked on the map – and possible origin of the bird – was to the south.
An hour into their work, Ti’ heard the unmistakable sounds of advancing threats, across his front in a line, trying to move silently toward the clearing…