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The wolverine was a savage looking beast, black furred with blonde stripes running down his back and his eyes red with Bloodwrath and foam building up at his mouth. He sat in his tent, glaring at a small wimpy looking stoat that sat before him. The weasel quaked under the wolverine's stare.
"Where are my troops?", the wolverine growled, his voice a rumble like mighty thunder. "They should've been back by now. Speak!"
The stoat, who was named Yaky, tried hard to look into his master's insane glare. He gulped and said in a thin voice, "Master, they said it would take them time to find the Mountain ye spoke of. There is nought I can do, Radfra, but wait for them to return with news of the Mountain."
Radfra grabbed Yaky by his skinny neck. The stoat turned his head to avoid breathing in the wolverine's rancid breath. "The mountain is called Salamandastron! It shall be my fortress! I will slay anybeast who stands in my way of that mountain!"
Yaky saw a moment where he could talk the wolverine into something. "Sire, with a mountain that large, ye wouldn't need the Forest of Mossflower or the Redhouse!"
Radfra grinned. "Oh rest assured, my ill friend, that the Redhouse and all of Mossflower will be mine. Every last acre. Every single last piece of woodland scum will serve under me, Lord Radfra from the Lands of Ice and Snow!"
Radfra tossed the stoat away and smiled. "My father was known as Gulo the Savage. He disowned me when I was nought but a welp and sailed off to this land in search of some stupid stone! And do ye know what happened to my idiot father? He was slain! Haha! Slain by some stupid Highander squirrel in a skirt! Gulo slew my mother before he left and left me out in the cold to die. But I lived. Wolverines live for a longtime. My father was weak! But I will win this battle. Salamandastron, Mossflower, the Redhouse, will all be mine! Every last beast will be a slave. Any who dare oppose me will be slain where they stand! That is my word! You have failed Gulo the Savage! Now, watch your son pick up where ye failed, from Hellgates!"
Abbot Ribus was an odd mouse, different than the others. His fur was a snow white color. His eyes, nose, and ears were a bright pearly pink. He was slender and was still in his younger seasons. Ribus was known to be wise for someone so young, and manybeasts of Redwall Abbey had voted for him to be new Abbot.
Ribus sat near the pond, dipping his feet in the cool relaxing water. His friend, a pretty young brown mouse named Feline, was making a flower reef, humming to herself calmly. However, Ribus was not calm inside. Last night he had seen fires burning near Salamandastron's shore and he heard chanting. A large black vessel was anchored there. Ribus was sure it was corsairs, and many of them. Tenscore at least.
Feline looked at her friend. "Abbot, what's troubling you? You've been moping around all day! Its a wonderful summer day. Try and cheer up. Here." The dainty mousemaid placed the flower reef across the albino mouse's and smiled at him. Ribus sighed. "I'm still worried about last night. I saw fires burning and heard vermin chanting near Salamandastron. There was a huge black vessel anchored there as well."
Feline pawed at her habit cord nervously. "You think its a corsair ship?"
Ribus nodded. "Aye. Merchant ships don't have crewbeasts who chant and yelp around large bonfires, my friend."
"Would you like for me to fetch Niko and some of his warriors? They're inside the Dining Hall right now, probably causing chaos in the kitchens."
Ribus got up and bowed. "You sit there and relax, Feline. I'll go to talk to him. Perhaps we can organize some troops to go over and investigate."
"NIKO! GET OVER HERE THIS BALLY INSTANT!"
Friar Telles was a large overweight grumpy hare and the first hare ever to be Friar of Redwall. The hare bustled around the steamy kitchens, looking for the mouse, muttering to himself. "When I get my hands on that mouse, why I'll..."
A grey mouse popped out from behind sacks of flour and grinned at the hare. He was a handsome mouse, covered in sleek grey fur with shing brown eyes. His face had a few red battle scars on it. He was sinewy and wore a blue tunic, with throwing daggers shived in the belt. He spread his paws. "Ye wanted me, Friar? I'm here."
The hare yanked on Niko's ear and dragged him to where a large red cake stood on a platter. The hare pointed at the cake angrily. "You put ale in the batter again, didn't ye?"
Niko smiled patronizingly. "What? Me? No sir!"
"Oh really? Well, have a taste then!" The hare friar picked up the cake and slammed it into the grey mouse's face. Niko took his paws and wiped cake crumbs and icing from his eyes, licking the mixture off his paws. He grinned. "Good cake Friar! Come now, don;t stand there glaring at me like a boiled frog! Smile a little bit!"
Niko took his paws and grabbed the hares mouth, turning it up in a smile. The hare continued to glare at him and said from behind clenched teeth, "I'll kill you."
The mouse looked up to see the Abbot looking sternly at him. The mouse pushed Friar Telles away and bowed casually. "Goog afternoon Abbot. I was just helping in the kitchens a bit...."
Abbot Ribus wiped away a dollop of icing from Niko's head. "Helping? More like creating a mess. Come Niko. I have something I'd like to discuss with you. Here." Ribus handed the mouse a handkerchief and began walking towards Great Hall. Niko followed, wiping away cake icing. He waved back at Friar Telles, who's face was a bright red. "Good day to ye, Friar! Don't ye be putting anymore ale in that cake, y'here!" The mouse smiled to himself as he heard the fat hares rantings and ravings from the kitchens.
Abbot was sitting down under one of the stained glass windows, sunning himself. He looked up as Niko sat beside him. The abbot smiled. "You really must'nt antagonize Telles so, Niko. You are the Abbey Warrior. Show some pride. You're no longer a Dibbun."
The mouse looked down. "Sorry Father Abbot."
Abbot Ribus nodded. "When I first say ye at the abbey gates, ye were begging to be taken in, I took you in and raised you as my own son. I taught you how to live in peace and never fight a creature out of anger or greed. I never knew that Martin the Warrior would choose ye as Abbey Warrior."
Niko nodded. "Aye, neither did I." The mouse twiddled his paws for a moment and cleared his throat. "So, er, there was something you wanted to speak with me about?"
Ribus nodded again. "Aye. Last night, on the shores of Salamandastron, I saw bonfires burning away and vermin chanting battle cries around them. Anchored near the shore was a huge black vessel. I am sure its corsairs, Niko."
The sinewy mouse nodded. "You want me to send a few of my warriors out to scout the area?"
"Aye. Just to see who they really are. I'll get Firar to give ye some rations. Take some weapons and about a dozen mice, squirrels, anybeast who is willing to go, with ye. Be careful and take Martin's sword as well. Don't let it out of your sight!"
Niko got up and ran down the hall, towards the Warrior's Cottage where his warriors stayed. Abbot Ribus sighed and rested his back against the warm stone wall. He looked up at Martin the Warrior, in the tapestry. Vermin ran from him as he stood there, holding up his sword. His eyes were confident and his smile was care free and reckless. And for the first time, Ribus noticed that Martin looked alot like Niko.
~END OF PART ONE~