25/1/283- The Deadlands expedition led by Veronica Trenum has borne fruit, if a recent delivery received by the University of Oeil de Fleur is any indication.
After half a year of silence as to the whereabouts or status of the expedition, a crate was delivered to the University in the wee hours of Surnsday morning. Within the crate was the carcass of a strange, fearsome looking bird, along with several reams of paper detailing the expedition as of late twelfth month of last year.
“After a tumultuous crossing of the mountains in late 9th, during which we narrowly avoided the closing of a climatological event which allowed us passage, we came to the remains of a mid-sized ruin. I would date the ruin to be around 1500 years old, and it is the first sign of any sort of civilization in the lower Newland continent. It has been slow going, trying to eke out a theory as to the culture of these ‘Deadlands’ people, as the ruin has largely been eroded and reclaimed by a thick jungle growth It is apparent that they had a working knowledge of stonework and masonry on par with our own middle ages, nearly half a millennium before us. What happened to these people, I cannot say. There is, heretofore, a lack of evidence pointing to any cause. It is my hope that a closer study will provide answers, and it hurts to move on. We are pioneers, however, and as such we must push on.”
A later entry in the notes explains the carcass that accompanied the document.
“We ran afoul of a hostile creature this past week (the entry is dated early eleventh). It is avian in nature, roughly the height of a Sarnwainian ostrich, but heavily muscled and displaying behaviors resembling pack predators.
“The creatures ambushed us in the late hours, attacking from all sides. I’d say there were about eight in all. The low light made it difficult enough to discern them, but the patterns of their feathers matched the foliage almost identically. Indeed, one of our security men cried out that the trees had come alive. Such was not the case. The creatures seemed to have a sort of adaptive camouflage…a feature often observed in reptiles but never in birds. They killed three of our party before Mister Mackay dropped what we assume is the lone male in the group. The other creatures broke off their attack and disappeared into the jungle.
“The specimen I am sending you is that individual. It is a spectacular find! Nothing like it exists in the known zoological world. I also hope never to run across one again, as the ferocity of their attack and the noises they made will forever be embedded in my nightmares!”
The specimen sent to Oeil de Fleur is said to be in excellent shape, despite a several months journey across the ocean. The headmaster of the university says that they plan to strip the carcass, saving his feathers for study and its bones for exhibition.