"Lower the longboat!" The bosun yelled at the crew, "Handsomely now, lads!" Lit by storm lamps, the crew struggled with the hoist to lower the longboat over the side of the Wave Dancer and into the water.
"Captain, it's dangerous for the crew to row in the dark," the first mate advised his captain. "Not to mention trying to make landfall in the goblin-infested waters."
"That's why we must make immediate repairs to the ship, so we can get underway before the sun comes up," Omaj explained. "When dawn breaks and the goblins spot us still here, they will swarm us with their ships."
The Wave Dancer was currently anchored several kilometers offshore, her crew working to get the longboat down, to transport a work party onto shore to cut an everblue tree down.
"Make sure the men know the risks, the faster we rebuild the mast, the earlier we can get away from this godforsaken place!" Omaj said to his first mate.
A mighty splash and the cheers of the crew signal the boat had safety dropped over the side. The work party started climbing down the cargo net rigged to the side of the side and onto the longboat.
"Two trips to bring everyone over." The bosun reported to Omaj. "Guards and all, Sir. "Do you want to refill the water barrels if freshwater is found?"
Omaj nodded in the dim light from the storm lamps. "Once the boat sets off, douse all lights. And ensure all crew to be on silent watch."
"Aye Captain!" the first mate left the upper decks and started instructing the rest of the crew in a low voice.
Omaj looked up at the twin waning moons and prayed silently to the fickle goddess of the sea, for protection against the goblin pirates.
"What are they doing?" Blake stood at his usual spot on the bridge, with Ford at his side. "Why are they lowering a boat over?"
The Owl Eye UAV hovered at an altitude of a hundred meters, it's quad motors struggling against the strong sea wind to stay stable, the main propeller on standby mode.
Its triple sensor lens spun once and focused on the moving figures on the anchored ship, displaying the whole scene in green light, to the observing humans.
"It appears that the mast of the ship is down," Ford points to a dark empty section on the deck of the ship. "They seemed to have fought a naval battle earlier."
"Well, I am not surprised," Lord General Joesph said. "The sea and lands around these areas are notorious for goblins. That's why we were quite surprised to see your city built here."
"Ready? We didn't encounter many goblins." Blake frowned. "Are they that dangerous?"
"Well, they are mostly a nuisance but as a massive army, yes, unless you are behind a high wall, with lots of arrows and bolts," Joesph explained. "Settlers had attempted to settle down here hundreds of years ago but were driven off by the green skins," Joesph explained the history of the area to Blake and Ford. "Several nations banded together in an alliance to destroy the goblins were instead defeated."
"With their ships captured or razed, the defeated remnants fell back deeper into the lands, over the mountains before building a city fort to defend against the Green Tide." The bridge crew stopped work as they became absorbed in Joesph's story.
"That was how the People founded the first city in this land. Seven different nationalities united in one goal, to survive in the new world."
"So what happened?" Ford asked.
"Our ancestors fought off the goblin hordes, and slowly expanded, growing stronger, but soon they faced creatures beyond their understanding and facing internal turmoil, before finally split into dozens of small kingdoms after the death of the first King."
"Is that how the Goldrose Kingdom was formed?" Blake asked.
"Hahaha, no! We Goldrose are from the direct bloodline of the first King! He who united the defeated and lost allied armies. King Legon Goldrose!" Joesph proudly said.
"Our princess is the 34th descendant of King Legon!" Joesph stated. "But sadly, she is the only final descendant of that proud lineage."
"I see…" Blake and Ford looked each other with a raised eyebrow. "Interesting..."
"Cap, the boat has landed on the beach," a bridge crew reported the movements of the unknown ship, interrupting their thoughts. "It unloaded the people and is returning back to the ship."
They turn their attention back to the screens, observing a dozen men spreading out from on the beach, heading towards the forest.
"Strange, if you said these lands are all goblin infested, but we really did not see much of them around," Blake spoke out his thoughts to Joesph.
"I am not very sure. We choose to escape here as we planned to make use of the goblins to keep the Empire off our backs." Joesph replied. "Rarely had anyone came so far, we relied on maps that are hundreds of years old!"
Both Blake and Ford frowned and looked at each with a worried look. "So where have all the goblins gone to?"
Joesph shrugged in a very human way. "I have no idea. The goblins tend to like to live deep underground in caves or ruins."
"Alright, no point worrying about that now," Blake said, "Let's focus on these strangers. Lord Joesph, do you have any idea where they came from?"
"As we are a landlocked country, not really, but they might be merchants from the isles." Joesph stroked his chin. "The Isles are famous for their ships and merchants."
"The Isles?" Ford asked, "Is it on the maps you shared with us?"
"Yes, but the maps are not very accurate nor detailed like yours." Joesph looked embarrassed. "We do not really have much knowledge of the seas around these lands."
Ford nods and opened the scanned Goldrose map, interposing over the current area mapped by the humans on the main display.
All the way up north of the Pass laid the old Goldrose Kingdom, and further up their borders stands the Empire, and another two nations to the northeast and east of Goldrose, the Meccan Kingdom, and the Foral Kingdom.
The entire continent is similar in shape to a pear, with several clusters of islands to the southeastern part of the continent. The Isles laid around that cluster of islands.
The interesting feature is that the entire continent appeared to be surrounded by a ring of mountains, with a giant inland freshwater sea in the middle of the continent. The nations appeared to walled in by the mountains. The elves named the land as the New World.
Another two continents laid south of the New World, where their ancestors came from were labeled as the Old World. "Do you know how far are the distance between New and the Old World?" Ford enquired Joesph.
"Well the old texts said, as much as 20 5 day weeks or more," Joesph replied.
"Why didn't you return to the Old World?" Blake asked, "And did the Old World send any more ships over?"
"Well, from what the old history texts wrote, our ancestors were too busy trying to defend as the goblin horde to devote much attention to the Old World. Outposts and forts built in the untamed lands get overrun easily if not garrison enough or supply lines get constantly raided. Therefore the decision to stop sending men to their deaths was made." Joseph explained. "I am sure it is the same for the other nations."
"Hmmm, so there is no news of whatsoever of the Old World?" Blake asked again to which Joesph shook his head.
"We have no contact with the land where our ancestors came from for over hundreds of years," Joesph said.
Blake thought to himself, so they have been cut off from the whole world, living in this ring of mountains, like a frog in a well. Blake gave a look to Ford who nodded, signaling him that they will talk about this later in private.
"Sirs," the tech reported from his station. "The boat has returned with another load of passengers and is currently beached on the shore."
Blake nods, "Keep observing, inform us of any changes." He turns back to Joesph and asked, "What do you know of the people from the Isles?"
"Mostly from merchants, they are supposed to be the remanents of the defeated allied fleet. The surviving warships and supply ships with their sailors escaped to the islands and settled down over time." Joesph narrated the history of the Isles as much as he knows of and remembers.
"It's said that they have the blood of the sea in them, making them great sailors and merchants," Joesph explained. "They rarely come to do trading in Goldrose, mostly dealing with Meccanians instead as they have a seaport nearer to the Isles."
"So there is a high chance they are traders?" Blake points to the image on the screen. "If we contact them, we start some trading."