February 6 &7[sup]th [/sup]:
The Elendil heads south. The winds and current are favorable for a steady sail and Binton has spells to enhance the speed. Gil-Gandel is request to rest during the day and take night watch on the bow. Binton’s spells has The Elendil going nearly 15 miles per hour for 12 hours and the winds and currents keep it going 6 miles per hour at night. There are three calls to the sweeps during the day for extra power and steerage.
It is nearly 300 miles to the mouth of the Anduin and the Bay of Belfalas and the fleet. It is another 500 south to get past the Great Port of Umbar once known as the City of Corsairs. The Elendil joins the fleet early on the 7th and the fleer heads south at a steady 10 knot speed. The Prince on the Amroth signals that he expects to reach the destination in 3 days if the weather holds.
The party members begin to fall into a routine, Deor and Mulligan start each day with medicines for their seasickness and work on their sea legs. Mulligan does not like the Sea she decides and she has little appetite. It is the goodberries that keep her going. Deor is getting use to it.
Rorimac is a natural and finds use in the sails and takes a watch in the crow’s nest.
Ghân and Gilraen spend mostly idle time aboard but learn the sickbay and study for the ship’s doctor and Binton.
Gwaelur and Bitur find the Ship’s Shops keep them busy and distracted. They prefer greatly to be inside. The do study the water driven windlasses for the huge center board (movable keel) when it was acting up and came up with a small improvement. It takes nearly 35 minutes to fully raise the board and 13 to lower it safely at 10 knots. However, in practice while underway when the gearing is suppose to work the pressure failed it. They rigged a way to redirect the water flow to make the paddle gears more efficient. It was jamming and grinding before.
Thoroncir and Hraedsig drill the troops and learn their abilities. Gil-Gandel rarely sees his friends but does an evening and morning song daily.
February 8-10[sup]th [/sup]:
South of the Great Port, the fleet begins to break up a little. The Commodore leads off the main warships for a surprise raid on a small island. The Elendil is to now leads the troop transports and a few swift escorts to a destination 80 miles south with good beaches. Here they will land with Thoroncir charged with establishing the beach head. It is 10 transports and 4 escorts in all.
On the 10th while only 40 miles from their goal, the small fleet sees sails coming from the south west. Windwing and Folca are immediately sent aloft to scout and report. Windwing is swifter but Deor can see through Folca’s eyes and report sooner.
Captain Langdon orders all hands to battle stations and readies the catapults. Gwaelur and Bitur are given short safety lines and asked to be ready in the aftcastle with his crossbow. Bitur may wish to wear his full mail. Thoroncir and both Hobbits are to join them. Gil-Gandel goes to a small unsteady perch high on the stays of the forward mast. The rest are near the Captain near the Helm.
Deor reports that there are 8 vessels, all about 100’ in length and sailing galleys. They are equipped with catapults and having open flames on the deck in iron barrels and pitch balls loaded. They ships are brimming with men. The ships match no known vessels of friends or foes; we may have to let them take the first move. Does anyone have any ideas he asks?