Hurrying back to his bedroom, Grundlink grabbed his knapsack and followed Cockleburr into the private room that Arries had shown them, barely noticing the newcomer ferret entering the inn.
“Miss Arries.” Grundlink bowed before her respectfully and gave her a promising assuring nod. “My map is written in a language that is ancient an' intrinsic in nature, beyond th’ understandin’ o’ even th’ most brilliant o’ minds on our planet. My friend Cockleburr and myself are th’ only ones able t’ read it. You've done great to help us today. Thank ye for this private room.”
After the squirrelmaid had left, Grundlink sat comfortably down on one side of a red velvet sofa, patting the cushion beside him for Cockleburr to join in. The black-and-white-faced rat’s eyes appeared to expand in his high piqued curiosity; he raised his half-empty glass of cognac at the hedgehog, encouraging the story.
“Now, my mate Cockleburr, wha’ is it ye heard from th’ Sparra? Wha’ are they doin’ in th’ East? Or does this concern somethin’ different, their own business? Is it somethin’ ‘bout th’ map?”
Grundlink opened up his knapsack to retrieve the map. Undoing the twine knots and unwrapping the sackcloth covering, the rat spread it out on a large birch round table before the sofa.
“Part o’ this front’ side is translated, or wha’ little I can gather. Best ye write this down, it’s a tiny little piece..”
Grundlink cleared his throat and read meticulously, tracing his fingers along the runes imprinted on the sides of the map.
‘Familiar shadows…lands o’ memory. Lights on hills o’ rock an’ stone. Five weapons an’ one flag.’
Makes no sense; can’t get my head around anythin’!” He folded it up lengthwise and passed Cockleburr’s glass of ale to him. “Puttin’ it aside, for now, wha’ have ye got? Wha’ do th’ Sparra say?”