14th of Corantine, 1669 AV
George closes the door softly, careful not to let it slam. The marine captain had learned the hard way that waking the baby was a good way to earn Mary Margaret’s wrath. It had been the first, but not the last, time he had regretted the magic that repaired his hearing.
Entering the kitchen, the Avalonian man finds his wife seated at the table, baby Michael in a bassinet on the floor. Copies of the two ancient maps, the stone carving, and the sailor’s journal lay scattered on the wooden surface. George smiles at the look of intense concentration on the young woman’s face, her red hair rumpled from the day’s work.
Looking up from her study, Mary Margaret’s eyes remain unfocused for a second before she recognizes her husband’s presence.
“Oh! You’re home! What time is it?! Oh lordy, I haven’t even started dinner!”
George enfolds the flustered woman in a warm hug, kissing her gently. “Hush, dear. You’ll wake the baby. I can help you with the meal.” Looking down at the clutter on the table, he sighs, “Do you have any ideas about these bloody things?”
Her gaze drops to the maps and other paraphernalia, and she tilts her head to one side. “Most of the items listed on the top are described, or at least mentioned in the journal. And it’s possible to figure out what the phases of the moon were during those events. What if the carving were some sort of coded legend to allow you to trace the correct path on the map? Only someone who had the journal, or knew the events in detail, could guess at the correct reference points.”
The discussion is interrupted by Michael’s wailing as the baby begins fussing in his bassinet. Mary Margaret hurries off to deal with the child, leaving George to further contemplate the maps.