The Painted Ones were a tribe of savage rats who lived in pine trees and terrorized any travelers passing through their territory. They covered themselves with yellow and purple (also black and green) paint and tattoos in order to merge with the darkness of a pine forest. Painted Ones were fearful of fire, which could easily destroy their habitat.
Cunning and treacherous, the Painted Ones moved in large gangs virtually undetected through the dark branches until they unleashed their vicious attack. These vermin were cannibalistic and ate their victims, leaving their carcasses on the branches.
In The Legend of Luke
The Painted Ones were encountered by Martin the Warrior, Gonff the Mousethief and their companions in a pine wood section of Mossflower Woods. Martin and his companions attempted to avoid them by navigating their raft at full speed, but were stopped by nets set by the savages. However, Martin managed to cut the nets with his sword and fought the beasts off successfully, scaring them away with the famous badger lord war cry, Eulalia.
While Matthias and his companions were crossing the pine forest of the Southern Plateau to travel to the kingdom of Malkariss, the Painted Ones who dwelt there kidnapped Cheek, a young otter. Jess Squirrel retaliated by capturing the Painted Ones' chief, and Log-a-Log created torches to scare the Painted Ones, since the vermin had never seen a fire and were immediately terrified of it. Matthias and his companions traded the captured Painted One for Cheek, then continued on through the forest unharmed, as the Painted Ones were too terrified of the fire to try to attack again.
In The Long Patrol
Many seasons later, Tammo and the Long Patrol encountered the Painted Ones in Mossflower Woods, where the villains were revealed to be tree rats; their leader was called Shavvakamalla. The Painted Ones kidnapped Tammo, whom they deemed a trespasser, and might have killed him were it not for the prompt action of Russa Nodrey. The squirrel freed Tammo and injured Shavvakamalla by pushing him out of a tree, thus allowing him to be used as a temporary hostage by the Long Patrol to ensure safe passage through the area.
The Painted Ones seemed to have gained the ability to speak correctly and appeared a bit more civilized than their predecessors. They were smaller and weaker, but quicker. They also had families, the main one being the family of tribe leader Chigid. The entire group lived in a five-topped oak tree. These Painted Ones also wielded blowpipes armed with poison darts that deadened the muscles of the target. They were encountered by the Redwallers and the Guosim, and were thrown out onto the Western Plains after they were defeated.
Known Painted Ones
- The Painted Ones have appeared in more books than any other vermin group.
- In the Redwall TV Series, the Painted Ones are shown as lemur-like creatures.